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1 Timothy 2:8

ESV I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
NIV Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
NASB Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger and dispute.
CSB Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument.
NLT In every place of worship, I want men to pray with holy hands lifted up to God, free from anger and controversy.
KJV I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
NKJV I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;

What does 1 Timothy 2:8 mean?

This verse concludes a section on prayer in Christian worship, which began in verse 1. Paul uses the Greek word oun in this sentence, meaning "therefore," to shift to his conclusion. In other words, the statement being made here is justified by the points Paul has just made.

Just as God desires all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), Paul desires that "in every place the men should pray." Men, as in males, are specified here by Paul, using the Greek word andras. In some cultures, prayer was often delegated to others, particularly to women. This, of course, is not how prayer is meant to be. Something as crucial as communicating with God is not meant to be passed to other people, or left out of a worship gathering. Paul is countering that cultural trend and specifically telling men to pray.

This does not imply, at all, that women are not to pray, as the next verse will include them, by using the Greek word for "likewise." This follows an important principle of interpretation: telling one group to do something is not, necessarily, an indication that no other group is allowed to do that same thing. In this case, Paul seems to be applying the same general principles to both men and women, but with specific applications given where appropriate.

Lifted hands, as a symbol of worship, is often seen in the Psalms. Psalm 134:2 states, "Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the Lord!" Psalm 88:9 says, "Every day I call upon you, O Lord; I spread out my hands to you."

Paul's reference to avoiding arguments will be used again, later in the letter. A qualification for church leaders called elders—also known as pastors or overseers—was to be "not quarrelsome" (1 Timothy 3:3) Some church leaders in Ephesus may have been bickering during church gatherings. This would lead Paul to specifically mention this as a concern. Prayer during church gatherings is certainly not the time for an argument.
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