Anger and Quarelling (1 Timothy 2:8)

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling" (1 Timothy 2:8)

In one sense there is nothing particularly important about what posture we adopt when we pray - God hears us regardless.

On the other hand, our posture not only communicates something to the one we're talking with, it also affects our own attitude of heart. Try praying to God with clenched fists and then try praying with open palms. Or try praying standing up and then pray kneeling down. Something feels different and that difference affects our heart.

In this verse Paul expresses a desire that people should "pray lifting holy hands". However this is not meant as a prescription for the correct posture in prayer. When we examine the context, we see that Paul is drawing a link between posture and attitude of heart.

The first clue is that he uses the term "holy hands", Apart from Christ none of us have holy hands! All of us are guilty of actions that are far from holy. But because of what Christ has done, we are not only forgiven but declared holy. Christ has taken on our sin and we have taken on His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5;21)

So Paul is saying, worship God with the holiness given to you through Christ and don't argue or quarrel.

Arguing and quarrelling is a surefire way to destroy the unity of any team of youth leaders. If you've ever had to get on with someone given over to disagreement, you'll know it's hard work. It's tempting to argue back and have the quarrel escalate, destroying unity.

So what's the antidote to dealing with an argumentative person? Or perhaps more importantly, how do you deal with your tendency to argue?

Paul says, first adopt a stance of submission to God. Lifting our hands is an act of surrender in which we indicate "Your will be done". It's hard to argue when we take that stance.

Secondly, keep in mind that God has declared you to be holy, through Christ. You are forgiven and made righteous. When this truth invades your heart, again, it's hard to be argumentative. The natural tendency is instead to be forgiving and understanding.


Are there people you know who tend to bring out the worst in you? Being around these people tends to bring out the argumentative and quarrelsome side of your nature. Lift your hands to God now in prayer thanking Him for the forgiveness you've received through Christ and asking Him to help you show love and grace to that person, and the self-control not to argue back.