Ver. 2. By mentioning all men as the object of their prayers and thanksgivings, the apostle undoubtedly meant to teach Christians to cherish wide and generous sympathies, and to identify their own happiness and wellbeing with those of their fellow-men. But he specially associates the duty with those on whose spirit and behaviour the peace and good order of society more directly depended—kings (quite generally, as in the address of our Lord to His disciples, Mat_10:18; also Rom_13:1; 1Pe_2:13; hence affording no ground to the supposition of Baur, that the emperor and his co-regents in the time of the Antonines were meant by the expression), and all that are in authority (
, strictly eminence, but here, as elsewhere, the eminence of social position—a place of authority). Then follows the more immediate end, as regards the praying persons themselves: in order that we may pass a quiet and tranquil life, in all godliness and gravity; that is, may be allowed freely to enjoy our privileges, and maintain the pious and orderly course which becomes us as Christians, without the molestation, the troubles, and the unseemly shifts which are the natural consequence of inequitable government and abused power. The last epithet, gravity,
, is quite in its proper place; for though it has respect to deportment rather than to Christian principle or duty, it is very closely allied to this, and is such a respectable and decorous bearing as is appropriate to those who live under the felt apprehension of the great realities of the gospel. The term honesty in the A.V. is quite unsuitable, in the now received sense of that word.