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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
1 Timothy 1

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

1. The ordinary form of salutation in a private letter of the period would be simply: Παῦλος Τιμοθέῳ χαίρειν. But St Paul’s Epistles differ from ordinary letters in two respects: (a) they were written with a direct religious purpose, (b) they are semi-official in character, not merely the communications of a private friend, but the instructions of one entrusted with authority. Hence (a) for the brief χαίρειν (which is the form of salutation in the Ep. of St James alone among N.T. Epistles; cp. Acts 15:23) is substituted χάρις καὶ εἰρήνη in eleven of the Pauline Epistles (as in St John’s greeting to the Seven Churches, Revelation 1:4), the fuller χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη being used in the remaining two (1 and 2 Tim.), both forms having a deep religious significance: (b) the apostolic office of St Paul is explicitly mentioned at the outset in nine out of his thirteen Epistles, the remaining four being letters written in conjunction with others (1 and 2 Thess., Phil., and Philemon), and (with the exception of Philemon) having their official character indicated in other ways. It would seem from 1 Timothy 1:3 in this Epistle that St Paul’s authority had been challenged at Ephesus, and hence his claim to the title of ἀπόστολος is here especially in place.

κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν θεοῦ κ.τ.λ. The more frequent form with St Paul is διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ (1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1), and some see in the alteration of phrase an intention to lay especial stress here on the apostolic office of St Paul as given him by Divine command. But it is hardly safe to find so much significance in the change. The central thought is one which was ever present to St Paul, viz. that the Apostolic ministry with which he was entrusted was a direct commission from God and not from men. κατʼ ἐπιταγήν is thoroughly Pauline; cp. Romans 16:26; 1 Corinthians 7:6; Titus 1:3.

θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν. The title σωτήρ is not applied to God the Father by St Paul outside the Pastoral Epistles (see 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:4, but cp. 1 Corinthians 1:21 for the same thought), and the only other instances in the N.T. of this usage are Luke 1:47 and Judges 1:25. But the title was familiar to the Hebrew religion and often occurs in the LXX.; see Psalms 24:5; Psalms 61:7; Isaiah 12:2; Wisdom of Solomon 16:7; Baruch 4:22; 3 Maccabees 7:16. We have it also in Philo (de migr. Abr. 5, de Vita cont. 11), and in the Sibylline Oracles (iii. 35). St Paul, who in his earlier letters uses σωτήρ of Christ, generally reverts in these latest letters to the old Jewish thought that the ultimate source and fount of salvation is the Eternal Father, a thought which the Gospel explained and enriched; but cp. Titus 2:14, for σωτήρ applied to Christ.

The article is omitted before σωτῆρος, as the title has become almost like a proper name. see on Titus 1:13.

καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν, i.e. the ground of our hope, Him on whom our hopes are fixed. Cp. Colossians 1:27 Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, ἡ ἐλπὶς τῆς δόξης. See also for the σωτήρ as the ἐλπίς, Psalms 64:6; Sirach 31:15. The phrase Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν is used afterwards by Ignatius (Magn. 11 and Trall. inscr.).


Verse 1-2

1, 2. SALUTATION


Verse 2

2. Τιμοθέῳ γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει. To Timothy, true child in faith. Timothy (see Acts 16:1-3) might fitly be so described; ἐν πίστει expresses the sphere of the relationship between him and St Paul (see Titus 3:15). The older man was to him, as we say, a ‘father in God.’ Cp. the parallel phrase in Titus 1:4 γνησίῳ τέκνῳ κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν and 1 Corinthians 4:17. Timothy was thus a recognised representative of his spiritual father. The young men among the Therapeutae (Philo de Vit. cont. 9) are described in like manner as ministering to their elders καθάπερ υἱοὶ γνήσιοι.

χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη. As has been already said, this full formula of salutation is used by St Paul only here and in 2 Timothy 1:2 (ἔλεος is spurious in Titus 1:4); it is found again in the N.T. letters only in 2 John 1:3. Lightfoot (note on 1 Thessalonians 1:1) finds “in the additional touch of tenderness communicated by ἔλεος in these later Epistles a sense of the growing evils which threatened the Church.”[512] But we have εἰρήνη ἐπʼ αὐτούς καὶ ἕλεος in Galatians 6:16; and, again, ἕλεος ὑμῖν καὶ εἱρήνη καὶ ἀγάπη πληθυνθείη in Judges 1:2. The combination of ἔλεος and εἰρήνη occurs also in Tobit 7:12 (א): and that of χάρις καὶ ἔλεος in Wisdom of Solomon 3:9; Wisdom of Solomon 4:15. Even grace will not give peace to man, unless mercy accompany it; for man needs pardon for the past no less than strength for the future. And so the combination of the Greek with the Hebrew salutation, of χάρις with εἰρήνη (first suggested, perhaps, by the form of the priestly blessing in Numbers 6:24), was not doctrinally exact or complete, if it was intended to convey the idea of the best Christian blessing, without the addition of ἕλεος. As persecution came on the Church, we find Ignatius (Smyrn. 12) adding yet another word, ὑπομονή, as a grace needful for the Christian. See on this subject Hort on 1 Peter 1:2.

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χρ. Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν. Christ is coupled with the Father as the source of blessing in the salutation in all of St Paul’s letters, with the exception of Colossians, where we have the shorter form χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν. It is through Christ that the blessings of the Father come upon the Church.


Verse 3

3. καθὼς παρεκάλεσά σε. There is no apodosis here; the sentence is unfinished, and grammatically incoherent. The writer meant to add words like οὕτω καὶ νῦν παρακαλῶ or οὔτω ποίει, but he was carried away by the rapid flow of his thought (see note on 1 Timothy 1:18). Thus the A.V. adds at the end of 1 Timothy 1:4so do,” in italics. This is quite in St Paul’s manner (cp. Galatians 2:6), and would be beyond the art of a forger to produce.

παρεκάλεσα, I exhorted, is perhaps a shade less strong than the parallel διεταξάμην, I charged, of Titus 1:5; see on 1 Timothy 4:13.

προσμεῖναι. To abide. προσμένειν is not used by Paul outside 1 Timothy; cp. Acts 18:18.

πορευόμενος εἰς ΄ακεδονίαν. When I was going into Macedonia. For the necessity of remanding this visit to a time outside the period covered by the Acts, see Introd. p. xxiv. ff.

ἵνα παραγγείλῃς τισίν. That thou mightest charge certain men. Classical Greek would require the optative mood after the past tense παρεκάλεσα: but in the N.T. the use of ἵνα with the optative is seldom found. παραγγελία is a regular term for ‘an order’ passed along the line (παρά); see 1 Timothy 1:5. The purpose of Timothy’s continued residence in Ephesus was that he might check the progress of heretical doctrine. The false teachers are not named (their names were no doubt known to Timothy), but they are described vaguely as τινές: this is St Paul’s usual way of referring to opponents (cp. 1 Timothy 1:19 and 1 Corinthians 4:18, 2 Corinthians 3:1, Galatians 1:7).

μὴ ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν. Not to teach other [sc. incongruous] doctrine. The word ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν only occurs in the Greek Bible here and at 1 Timothy 6:3. The element ἑτερο- points to irrelevance and incongruity of teaching (see Introd. p. xlvi.), as in 2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:6 εὐαγγέλιον ἕτερον; it is equivalent, in fact, to ἕτερα διδάσκειν, ‘to be a teacher of ἕτερα.ʼ In our own Ordinal both priests and bishops are instructed that it is their duty to drive away not only “erroneous” but “strange” doctrine. So the false teachers are to be warned not ‘to play at deviations’ from the faith. ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν is used by Ignatius (Polyc. 3); similar verbal forms are νομοδιδάσκαλος (1 Timothy 1:7), καλοδιδάσκαλος (Titus 2:3), ψευδοδιδάσκαλος (2 Peter 2:1), κακοδιδασκαλεῖν ([2 Clem.] 10), ἐθελοδιδάσκαλος (Hermas Sim. ix. 22. 2), λαθροδιδασκαλεῖν (Iren. Haer. iii. 4. 2).


Verses 3-11

3–11. REPETITION OF CHARGE ALREADY GIVEN TO TIMOTHY


Verse 4

4. μηδὲ προσέχειν. Not to give heed, cp. especially Titus 1:14. The word is not used by St Paul outside the Pastorals, but is found in other N.T. writers and is common in the LXX.

μύθοις καὶ γενεαλογίαις ἀπεράντοις. To myths and endless genealogies. The reference of these words, and the nature of the heretical teaching which is deprecated, have already been discussed in the Introduction (chap. iv.). The myths and genealogies were of Jewish origin, and related to the heroes and patriarchs of early Hebrew history; such legendary matter was foreign to the Gospel, and study of it would distract from the essential doctrines of the Christian faith,

The word μῦθος (see 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14) only occurs once in the N.T. outside the Pastorals, viz. in 2 Peter 1:16, and once in the LXX. (Sirach 20:19); γενεαλογία is only found in the Greek Bible here and at Titus 3:9, but we have γενεαλογεῖσθαι in 1 Chronicles 5:1; ἀπέραντος, interminable, occurs twice in the LXX., but only here in N.T. The connexion between μῦθοι and γενεαλογίαι is illustrated by the rule of interpretation laid down by Cornutus, one of the later Stoics: δεῖ δὲ μὴ συγχεῖν τοὺς μύθουςμηδʼ εἴ τι προσεπλάσθη ταῖς κατʼ αὐτοὺς παραδιδομέναις γενεαλογίαις ὑπὸ τῶν μὴ συνέντων κ.τ.λ. (see Zeller’s Stoics &c. p. 356).

ἀπέραντος means endless and so ‘tiresome.’ There is no limit (πέρας) to this sort of speculation, and nothing comes of it.

αἵτινες. Inasmuch as they = quippe quae; cp. Titus 1:11.

ἐκξητήσεις παρέχουσι. Minister questionings. In like manner in Titus 3:9 the γενεαλογίαι are preceded by μωρὰς ζητήσεις. These questionings, according to the view which has been taken above of the heresies in the thought of the writer, were not so much concerned with abstract speculations (like the Gnostic enquiries about the origin of evil) as with legend and casuistry. Dr Hort suggested[513] that as myths and genealogies would include the Haggadoth or legendary developments of Hebrew history, so the questionings would embrace the problems of the Halacha, the other great province of Jewish teaching. This may have been the case, but it seems more natural in this context to understand by the ἐκζητήσεις something like the Quaestiones in Genesin of Philo. The vanity and unprofitableness of such enquiries may well have been present to the mind of St Paul.

μᾶλλον ἢ οἰκονομίαν θεοῦ τὴν ἐν πίστει. Rather than the dispensation of God which is in faith. οἰκονομία may mean either (a) the office of an οἰκονόμος, or (b), as here, the system by which he orders his household. Here the Church is the οἰκία, its members οἰκεῖοι, the plan on which God the great οἰκονόμος distributes His blessings, the οἰκονομία. So the word is often used by early writers of the Incarnation, as being the heart and kernel of the οἰκονομία. Cp. Aristides Apol. xv. καὶ τελέσας τὴν θαυμαστὴν αὐτοῦ οἰκονομίαν διὰ σταυροῦ θανάτου ἐγεύσατο ἑκουσίᾳ βουλῇ κατʼ οἰκονομίαν μεγάλην. The heretical myths would do far more to encourage idle enquiries about matters of no importance than to promote that Divine dispensation whose sphere is faith, and not antiquarian curiosity. See the critical note, and, for St Paul’s use of οἰκονομία, cp. Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:2; Ephesians 3:9. Lightfoot (Revision of N.T. p. 184) called attention to the curious fact that in the English Bible of 1611 the word θεοῦ was left untranslated by inadvertence, the rendering there found being “edifying (reading οἰκοδομίαν) which is in faith”; in 1638 the mistake was discovered, and ‘godly’ was inserted after the earlier English versions.


Verse 5

5. τὸ δὲ τέλος. But (sc. in contrast with the irrelevant teaching of the ἑτεροδιδάσκαλοι) the aim, or final cause: cp. Romans 10:4.

τῆς παραγγελίας. Of the charge. The reference is not to the Mosaic law, but to the whole of the practical teaching bound up with the Gospel; the word is suggested by παραγγείλῃς of 1 Timothy 1:3 (where see note). This is the charge with which Timothy was entrusted (1 Timothy 1:18).

ἐστὶν ἀγάπη. Is love, sc. to men, not to God, which is not here in question. On the other hand, the fanciful ζητήσεις of the false teachers bred strife (2 Timothy 2:23). As “love is the fulfilling of the Law” (Romans 13:10), so it is the aim and purpose of the Gospel ethics, as the greatest Christian grace (1 Corinthians 13:13). The word ἀγάπη has been described as “foreign to profane Greek” and as an ecclesiastical word, first appearing in literature in the LXX. But we find it in Egyptian Greek, in a letter, e.g., of the second century B.C.; and it is probable that the LXX. only took over and consecrated to high uses a word already current in the popular speech of Greek Egypt[514].

ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας κ.τ.λ. The source of this ἀγάπη is threefold:—(i.) a pure heart, for which the Psalmist prayed (Psalms 51:6); cp. Matthew 5:8. καρδία stands in Scripture for the moral affections and emotions, the pathological, as contrasted with the intellectual, element of the moral faculty. Where this is corrupted (as was the case with the false teachers at Ephesus, 1 Timothy 6:5), the springs of moral action and spiritual insight (Matthew 5:8) are poisoned, cp. 2 Timothy 2:22; —(ii.) a good conscience. The συνείδησις represents the self sitting in judgement on self; it stands for the self-conscious and rational element in the man. Emphasis is specially laid on a good conscience in the Pastorals, e.g. 1 Timothy 1:19, 1 Timothy 3:9, 2 Timothy 1:3; in sharp contrast with one who has a good conscience, the false teachers are κεκαυστηριασμένοι τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν (1 Timothy 4:2); cp. 1 Peter 3:16; Hebrews 13:18[515];—(iii.) faith unfeigned. This brings in a reference to God, as the source and spring of love. Love is indeed for man the outward and appropriate manifestation of faith; cp. πίστις διʼ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη (Galatians 5:6). The juxtaposition of a good conscience and faith is significant; all through the Pastorals the intimate connexion of the two, the close relation between creed and life, is a prominent thought (see on Titus 1:15). Again, we find this test of faith unfeigned lacking in the false teachers; they are ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν (2 Timothy 3:8). The word ἀνυπόκριτος is applied to faith here and at 2 Timothy 1:5; it is applied to love, Romans 12:9; 2 Corinthians 6:6.


Verse 6

6. ὧν, sc. the three above-mentioned sources of ἀγάπη. ὧν is apparently governed by ἀστοχήσαντες, not by ἐξετράπησαν.

τινές. Note the usual vague reference to the false teachers.

ἀστοχήσαντες. Having missed (their aim). ἀστοχεῖν is only used here and at 1 Timothy 6:21, 2 Timothy 2:18 in N.T. (cp. Sirach 7:19; Sirach 8:9), and, in each case, of the failure of the ἐτεροδιδάσκαλοι; they may have meant well, but through want of sound method they failed to reach their goal.

ἐξετράπησαν. Have swerved aside, as from the straight path. Being once in the right way, they did not keep to it. ἐκτρέπεσθαι occurs four times in the Pastorals, but not again in St Paul; cp. Amos 5:8 and Hebrews 12:13.

εἰς ματαιολογίαν. To vain talking. This was a special characteristic of the false teachers, who busied themselves unduly with vain and irrelevant questions; they are called ματαιολόγοι in the parallel passage Titus 1:10. The abstract word ματαιολογία does not occur again in the Greek Bible.

ματαιολογία, vaniloquium, has in many ages and countries, and not only at Ephesus in the days of Timothy, proved the bane of theology. The subtleties of the Talmud are not worse than the absurdities of speculation to be found in so great a book as the Summa Theologica of St Thomas Aquinas.


Verse 7

7. θέλοντες εἶναι νομοδιδάσκαλοι. Desiring to be (i.e. almost claiming to be) teachers of the law, sc. of the Mosaic law. The false teaching had its roots in Judaism, and the intention of its exponents was good; they failed in their aims for the reasons now to be explained.

μὴ νοοῦντες μήτε ἃ λέγουσιν κ.τ.λ. Understanding neither what they say, nor the subjects concerning which they make confident assertions. Their ματαιολογία was, in many instances, devoid of meaning (μὴ νοοῦντες κ.τ.λ.); and they did not understand the principles underlying the Mosaic law which they professed to expound (μήτε περὶ τίνων κ.τ.λ.). Cp. 2 Timothy 2:7 νόει ὃ λέγω. διαβεβαιοῦσθαι is found in the Greek Bible only here and at Titus 3:8 περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι; it signifies positive affirmation and entire confidence on the part of the speaker.


Verse 8

8. οἴδαμεν δὲ κ.τ.λ. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully. For οἴδαμεν δέ cp. Romans 2:2; Romans 3:19; Romans 8:28 and οἴδαμεν ὅτι πάντες γνῶσιν ἔχομεν (1 Corinthians 8:1) ‘we grant that &c.’: the phrase introduces a concession. St Paul hastens on to explain that a true νομοδιδάσκαλος is a valuable minister of godliness; it is only the irrelevances and trivialities of these would-be teachers of the law that he deprecates. The law (sc. the Mosaic law) is good, if it be used for the purposes for which law (not only the law of Moses, but law in general) is intended, viz. to restrain evil-doing; but not, if it be used as a peg on which to hang unverifiable speculation, or as a system of casuistry by which either asceticism, on the one hand, or licence, on the other, may be defended. He does not here take into account the function of law in developing a consciousness of sin which he elsewhere expounds (e.g. Romans 5:20); the primary subject of law, in his thought, is not the righteous man, but the sinner, as he proceeds to explain.

καλὸς ὁ νόμος. The adj. καλός (also used of law at Romans 7:16) is used with unusual frequency in the Pastorals, occurring 24 times, as against 16 occurrences in the other letters of St Paul. It expresses the ‘beauty of holiness’ in a fashion which no single English word can reproduce. To a Greek the union between ‘goodness’ and ‘beauty’ was almost inseparable in thought, and the best translation for καλός is, often, simply ‘good.’ But it has a shade of meaning which ἀγαθός has not, inasmuch as it directs attention to the outward and visible beauty of that which is ‘good,’ whilst ἀγαθός does not suggest anything beyond the intrinsic quality. See on ch. 1 Timothy 2:10 below.

νομίμως. The paronomasia or word-play is quite in St Paul’s manner; law is good, if it be used lawfully, i.e. suitably to the purposes which law is intended to serve. The adverb νομίμως only occurs elsewhere in the Greek Bible at 2 Timothy 2:5; 4 Maccabees 6:18.


Verses 8-11

8–11. DIGRESSION TO AVOID MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHAT HAS BEEN JUST SAID


Verse 9

9. εἰδὼς τοῦτο. This refers to the foregoing τις; the view which must be taken of the law by the teacher who would use it lawfully is now expounded.

δικαίῳ νόμος οὐ κεῖται. The law (sc. the Mosaic law, in particular, although the proposition is true of law in general) is not laid down (enacted) for a righteous man (δίκαιος being here used in its largest sense). κεῖμαι is the passive of τίθημι. τίθημι νόμον ‘I enact a law,’ sc. for other people; but κεῖται νόμος, ‘the law is enacted,’ and so is binding. It is quite in accordance with St Paul’s usage to omit the article before νόμος when it signifies the Mosaic law; there are many examples in the Epistles to the Romans (e.g. Romans 2:25) and the Galatians (Galatians 2:19).

ἀνόμοις δὲ καὶ ἀνυποτάκτοις. But for the lawless and unruly, a general description of those who will not submit to the restraints of law, viewed as an ordinance of man. We have the epithet ἀνυπότακτος again in Titus 1:6; Titus 1:10, and (in the sense of ‘not subject to’) in Hebrews 2:8; it is not found in the LXX., nor elsewhere in the N.T., but ὑποτάσσειν is a common Pauline word.

ἀσεβέσι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς. The ungodly and sinners, a general description of those who will not obey the law, viewed now as an ordinance of God. ἀσεβής is the man without inward reverence, ἁμαρτωλός the man who defies God by outward act. The two epithets are conjoined again 1 Peter 4:18 (a quotation of Proverbs 11:31) and Judges 1:15.

These lawless ones are now more exactly described, the order of the Decalogue being followed, and the extremest form of the violation of the Commandment being specified in each case.

ἀνοσίοις καὶ βεβήλοις. The unholy and profane. Such is the temper which lies at the root of the sin of perjury, explicitly forbidden in the Third Commandment. ἀνόσιος is a LXX. word, only occurring again in N.T. at 2 Timothy 3:2; βέβηλος is also a LXX. word, but not found in St Paul outside the Pastorals. βέβηλος conveys the idea of secularity (see esp. Leviticus 10:10; Hebrews 12:16), and strictly means what may be ‘walked on’ (βα-), and so is outside the shrine.

πατρολῴαις καὶ μητρολῴαις. Smiters of fathers and smiters of mothers. These words do not occur again in the Bible, but are common in Greek literature; the rendering of A.V. and R.V. ‘murderers of fathers’ is, no doubt, legitimate, but it is not the sin of murder, but of dishonouring parents, which is here uppermost in the writer’s thought, and the wider translation is justified by the usage of the words elsewhere. For this extreme and outrageous violation of the Fifth Commandment the punishment of death was provided in the Mosaic law (Exodus 21:15).

ἀνδροφόνοις. Manslayers. The word only occurs in the Greek Bible elsewhere at 2 Maccabees 9:28. Murder is, in itself, the worst and most explicit manifestation of human hate, forbidden in the Sixth Commandment.


Verse 10

10. πόρνοις, ἀρσενοκοίταις. Fornicators, sodomites; the most repulsive forms of the violation of the Seventh Commandment. Cp. 1 Corinthians 6:9.

ἀνδραποδισταῖς. Men-stealers. A man’s most precious possession is himself, and the worst form of thieving (condemned in the Eighth Commandment) is that practised by slave-dealers, whose booty is not things, but persons. Thus Philo (de Spec. Leg. IV. 4) has a section περὶ ἀνδραποδιστῶν, whom he explains to be the worst kind of thieves. This crime, again, was punishable with death according to the Pentateuchal Code (Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7), though the word ἀνδραποδιστής is not found elsewhere in the Greek Bible.

ψεύσταις, ἐπιόρκοις. Liars, perjurers. To suppress the truth is a form of ‘false witness,’ but the worst form is a false charge made on oath. ἐπίορκος is not found again in the N.T.; but cp. Matthew 5:33.

καὶ εἴ τι ἕτερον κ.τ.λ. Only those sins have been enumerated of which human law can take cognisance, and so violations of the Tenth Commandment are not specified in this dreadful catalogue. The concluding phrase is very like Romans 13:9 καὶ εἴ τις ἑτέρα ἑντολή κ.τ.λ., and is quite in St Paul’s manner.

τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ. To sound doctrine. This remarkable metaphor, according to which the true doctrine is wholesome, and the false, diseased, is repeated again and again in the Pastoral Epistles. We have ὑγιαίνουσα διδασκαλία here; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1; ὑγιαίνοντες λόγοι, 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; ὑγιαίνειν τῇ πίστει, 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 2:2; λόγος ὑγιής, Titus 2:8; and in 2 Timothy 2:17 the false λόγος is compared to a γάγγραινα. It has been suggested that this medical phraseology may be due to the influence of St Luke the physician. Again, it might be urged that such language only continues the metaphor by which in earlier letters of St Paul the Christian Society is compared to a body. When the Body of Christ is in a sound condition, the expression of its belief will be healthy; and if it be diseased, the false doctrine will be like a gangrene eating into its vitals. But in truth the comparison of the soundness of the moral and spiritual judgement to the health of the body is not so far-fetched or so novel as to need elaborate explanation. In Greek literature it is common. Clement of Alexandria, commenting on ch. 1 Timothy 6:3 (Strom, I. 8), quotes in illustration a line of Euripides (Phoen. 473) in which the ἄδικος λόγος is said to be νοσῶν ἐν αὑτῷ. Plato, in a famous passage (Republ. IV. 18), explains ἀρετὴ μὲν ἄρα, ὡς ἔοικεν, ὑγίειά τέ τις ἂν εἴη καὶ κάλλος καὶ εὐεξία ψυχῆς, κακία δὲ νόσος τε καὶ αἶσχος καὶ ἀσθένεια. (Cp. also Plutarch Vir. mor. 2.) And so in the LXX. of Proverbs 31:8 (xxiv. 76) we have κρῖνε πάντας ὑγιῶς, as parallel to κρῖνε δικαίως. But we perhaps come nearest to the metaphor as used in the Pastorals in the Stoic idea that the πάθη were diseases, which the wise man should eradicate by every means in his power. So in Philo we have the very phrase of St Paul anticipated: ἔτι τῶν παθῶν καὶ νοσημάτων παρευημερούντων τοὺς ὑγιαίνοντας λόγους (de Abrah. 38), i.e. ‘the passions and diseases prevailing over the sound λόγοι.’ And with this well accords the language of the Collect for St Luke’s Day, where we pray that “by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed.”

The word διδασκαλία is used with peculiar frequency in the Pastorals, occurring 13 times in the sense of doctrine, as in Ephesians 4:14; Colossians 2:22. (Cp. Matthew 15:9.) It is found twice (1 Timothy 4:13, where see note, and 1 Timothy 5:17) in the sense of instruction or art of teaching, as in Romans 12:7; Romans 15:4. It was natural that, in the development of the Church’s life, the word for teaching should gradually come to be used for the content of the teaching, the doctrine taught. See note on 1 Timothy 4:13.


Verse 11

11. κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κ.τ.λ. This seems to be in connexion with the ‘sound doctrine’ of which the Apostle has just spoken; viz. if there be anything else opposed to the sound doctrine, according to the gospel of the glory &c.

τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης τοῦ μακαρίου θεοῦ. Cp. the expression τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης τοῦ Χριστοῦ in 2 Corinthians 4:4. In both cases δόξης is the genitive of contents; the import or substance of the good tidings preached is ‘the glory of God,’ which is described in Romans 5:2 as the object of the Christian’s hope (cp. also Titus 2:13). δόξα is in these passages used for a glorious revelation of God, as in Acts 7:2; and the meaning of the whole phrase is that, according to the Gospel of the glorious revelation vouchsafed in Jesus Christ, justification comes not through the law. The use of the law is negative, to restrain and punish evildoers; but obedience to it has of itself no justifying efficacy. Cp. Romans 3:20.

τοῦ μακαρίου θεοῦ. This and 1 Timothy 6:15 are the only two passages either in O.T. or N.T. where μακάριος is applied to God. God is not only εὐλογητός, the Object of His creatures’ blessing, but μακάριος, having in Himself the fulness of bliss (cp. Titus 2:13). So in Homer and Hesiod the gods are called μάκαρες θεοί, and the epithet is frequently used by Philo.

ὃ ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ. This is characteristically Pauline; cp. Romans 3:2; 1 Corinthians 9:17; Galatians 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; Titus 1:3.


Verse 12

12. χάριν ἔχω. This formula of thankfulness (instead of the more usual εὐχαριστῶ with which St Paul begins nearly all his letters) occurs again 2 Timothy 1:3. Cp. Luke 17:9 and Hebrews 12:28.

τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντι. To Him that hath enabled me; a favourite expression with Paul in reference to the grace of Christ. In the Ephesian letter he bids his correspondents ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ (Ephesians 6:10); he charges Timothy ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χρ. Ἰησοῦ (2 Timothy 2:1); of himself he says ὁ κύριοςἐνεδυνάμωσέ με (2 Timothy 4:17), and (a close parallel to the present passage) πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με (Philippians 4:13). In the beginning of his ministry it was said Σαῦλος δὲ μᾶλλον ἐνεδυναμοῦτο (Acts 9:22); and the spiritual δύναμις, needed for the due discharge of the apostolic office, was never lacking throughout his course. The aorist participle here suggests a direct reference to the early days of his preaching (see 1 Timothy 1:13), but we must not limit the reference to these. A study of the verb in the various contexts in which it is found is instructive. Of all the faithful may the words be used, ἐδυναμώθησαν ἀπὸ ἀσθενείας (Hebrews 11:34); none can more fully realise their truth than those upon whom the burden and responsibility of the pastoral office have been imposed.

ὅτι. That, not because. The sentence expresses the reason of his thankfulness.

πιστόν. The word occurs eleven times in this Epistle. Here it means ‘trustworthy,’ as at 1 Corinthians 4:2; Hebrews 11:11 see on 1 Timothy 1:15 and 1 Timothy 4:3 below.

ἡγήσατο. This is a common Pauline word. Cp. 1 Thessalonians 5:13; 2 Corinthians 9:5; Philippians 2:3; Philippians 2:25 &c.

θέμενος. Appointing me (note the tense); the word is used of the Divine purpose (as in 1 Thessalonians 5:9) and so is not equivalent to ‘putting me,’ cp. 1 Timothy 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11.

διακονίαν. The word διακονίαν is used here, not specially of the function discharged by a διάκονος, but in the general sense of ‘ministry.’ St Paul frequently speaks of his apostolic office as a διακονία and of himself as a διάκονος. Compare, e.g., Romans 11:13 τὴν διακονίαν μου δοξάζω, also 2 Corinthians 5:18; 2 Corinthians 6:3; and, again, Colossians 1:23 τοῦ εὐαγγελίουοὖ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος, and 1 Corinthians 3:5; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 3:7 &c. διακονία, in short, originally meant service of any sort; it is applied in Acts 1:17; Acts 1:25 to the service of apostleship, and is continually used throughout the Pauline Epistles in a wide and general sense. By the second century the words διακονία, διάκονος were generally restricted to the third order of the Christian ministry, and the beginnings of this specialisation of meaning may be traced in the N.T. Cp. e.g. Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8; 1 Timothy 3:12 (where see notes). Thus the use of this word here to denote the apostolic office is in favour of an early date for the Epistle. No writer of the second century (by which time the distinction of orders was fully recognised) would have used a term then significant of the lowest grade in the ministry for St Paul’s ministerial work; cp. 2 Timothy 4:5.


Verses 12-17

12–17. PARENTHETIC DOXOLOGY

These verses are a digression, quite in the manner of St Paul, suggested by the thought of the Divine mercy vouchsafed to him personally. Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8.


Verse 13

13. τὸ πρότερον ὄντα. Although I was aforetime. Cp. Galatians 4:13 for the significance of τὸ πρότερον.

βλάσφημον καὶ διώκτην καὶ ὑβριστήν. The βλάσφημος displays his hostility to the truth chiefly in words (see Acts 24:11); the διώκτης, in deeds (see Galatians 1:13, where St Paul refers to his zeal as a persecutor). The term ὑβριστής only occurs once again in N.T., viz. Romans 1:30; it conveys the idea of violence and outrage (see Acts 8:3). It is a stronger word than either of the other two.

ἀλλὰ ἠλεήθην, ὄτι κ.τ.λ. Howbeit I obtained mercy because, &c. See Acts 3:17, and our Lord’s prayer for His executioners, Luke 23:34.


Verse 14

14. ὑπερεπλεόνασεν. A rare word, not found elsewhere in N.T. or in the LXX.; it occurs in the Psalms of Solomon, 1 Timothy 5:19, and in Hermas, Mand. 1 Timothy 1:2. St Paul shews a marked inclination in all four groups of his letters for verbs compounded with ὑπέρ, e.g. ὑπεραυξάνω (2 Thessalonians 1:3); ὑπερβαίνω (1 Thessalonians 4:6); ὑπερεκτείνω (2 Corinthians 10:14), ὑπερεντυγχάνω (Romans 8:26); ὑπερνικάω (Romans 8:37); ὑπερυψόω (Philippians 2:9); ὑπερφρονέω (Romans 12:3); all of which are ἅπαξ λεγὁμενα in the N.T. Compare with the present passage ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν ἡ χάρις (Romans 5:20).

The simple title ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν, without the addition of Ἰησοῦς χριστός either before or after, is only used by St Paul here and at 2 Timothy 1:8; cp. Hebrews 7:14.

μετὰ πίστεως κ.τ.λ. Faith and love are the characteristic concomitants of the grace of our Lord. The best gifts of the grace which is from Christ are faith in Him, and love which, centred in Him, necessarily embraces all the members of that human family whose brotherhood is revealed in the Fact of the Incarnation. There is an intimate connexion between them; ἀγάπη μετἀ πίστεως is part of St Paul’s benediction at the close of the Ephesian letter (Ephesians 6:23); the breastplate ‘πίστεως καἰ ἀγάπης’ is part of the Christian panoply (1 Thessalonians 5:8); it is indeed through ‘love’ that ‘faith’ manifests itself most plainly; cp. Galatians 5:6, πίστις διʼ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη. see on 1 Timothy 1:5 and Titus 2:2.


Verse 15

15. πιστὀς ὁ͂ λόγος. This remarkable formula is peculiar to the Pastorals. Here and in 1 Timothy 4:9 the words καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος are added; in 1 Timothy 3:1, 2 Timothy 2:11, and Titus 3:8 we have the simple form πιστὸς ὁ λόγος. In 1 Timothy 3:1 it introduces a saying which may well have become proverbial at this stage of the Church’s development, If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. In 2 Timothy 2:11 the words which follow probably formed part of an early Christian hymn (εἰ γἀρ συναπεθἁνομεν, καὶ συνζήσομεν κ.τ.λ.). In the three remaining cases it refers to some important statement of doctrine tersely and generally expressed (as here and in 1 Timothy 4:8-9), or with more detail (as in Titus 3:8). πιστός is used in the sense of trustworthy (see below on 1 Timothy 4:3); and a ‘faithful saying’ in the Pastorals indicates a maxim (whether of doctrine or practice) on which full reliance may be placed. There is nothing in the N.T. quite analogous to the phrase. We have πιστός ὁ θεός (1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18), πιστός ὁ καλῶν (1 Thessalonians 5:24), but these do not help us much. A more instructive parallel is afforded by οὖτοι οἱ λόγοι πιστοἰ καὶ ἀληθινοί εἰσιν of Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6. The usual Latin rendering of πιστός in the phrase πιστὸς ὁ λόγος is fidelis; but at this verse r has humanus, a reading also adopted by Augustine in one place. See crit. note on 1 Timothy 3:1.

πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος. ἀποδοχή only occurs again in the Greek Bible at 1 Timothy 4:9. It had come to mean approbation in late Greek; cp. Philo (de Praem. et Poen. 2) where the man who is ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος is contrasted with the ὑπαίτιος. Cp. also an inscription found at Ephesus[516]:

Τίτου Αἰλίου

Πρἰσκου ἀνδρὸς δοκιμωτάτου καὶ

πάσης τιμῆς καὶ ἀποδοχῆς ἀξὶου.

The rendering acceptation gives the nearest sense here; cp. Acts 2:41, οἱ μὲν οὖν ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ ἐβαπτίσθησαν.

We thus translate: worthy of all (universal) acceptation. As always in such constructions in St Paul, πᾶς is used extensively, not intensively, and the phrase is equivalent to ‘acceptation by everyone,’ or as we have it in our office of Holy Communion (where this verse is one of the Comfortable Words) “worthy of all men to be received.”

Χρ. Ἰη. ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον. The phrase is, with this exception, only found in the Fourth Gospel (see John 1:9; John 12:46; John 16:28), and is not characteristically Pauline; it here occurs in a doctrinal formula so familiar and undisputed among Christians as to take rank as a ‘faithful saying.’ Indirectly the expression involves, as has been often pointed out, the pre-existence or προῢπαρξις of the Redeemer; but the prominent thought in the ‘saying’ is simply that Redemption was part of the purpose of the Incarnation. The ‘coming into the world’ is the assumption of human nature by the Eternal Word. It is worth observing that throughout this Epistle the name of our Lord is χριστὀς Ἰησοῦς, not Ἰησοῦς Χριστός. It is God’s Anointed who is man’s Saviour.

ἁμαρτωλοὺς σῶσαι. Parallels from the Gospels readily suggest themselves; St Luke 5:32 is the nearest in form. The statement is quite general.

ὦν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ. “Non quia prior peccavit, sed quia plus peccavit” (Aug. Serm. 299); πρῶτος here applies not to time, but to degree; Paul is ‘chief,’ not ‘first’ of sinners. The phrase may seem extravagant, and indeed would hardly have commended itself to a forger; but it is quite in conformity with St Paul’s way of speaking of himself and his conversion. Cp. 1 Corinthians 15:9 and Ephesians 3:8, where the expressions “the least of the Apostles,” “less than the least of all saints,” are used by him. Such language is not to be described as mere rhetoric; it is too often found in the writings of the most saintly and most sincere to permit of any such explanation. For instance, Ignatius again and again speaks of himself as ‘the last’ (ἔσχατος) of the Christians at Antioch, among whom he is not worthy to be reckoned (Ephes. 21; Magn. 14, &c.). The Confessions of St Augustine, the autobiography of Bunyan, the letters of Dr Pusey, furnish other notable illustrations. The truth is that in proportion as a man fixes his ideal high, in proportion as he appreciates the possibilities of what St Paul calls ‘life in Christ,’ in that proportion will his actual progress in the spiritual life appear poor and unworthy of the grace with which he has been endowed. It is noteworthy that the Apostle does not say ‘of whom I was chief,’ but ‘I am,’ by the present tense marking the abiding sense of personal sinfulness.


Verse 16

16. ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθῃν, ἵνα κ.τ.λ.Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, viz., that &c. διὰ τοῦτο emphasises the following ἴνα as in 2 Corinthians 13:10.

ἐν ἐμοὶ πρώτῳ, in me as chief; this is the rendering of the Revisers, and certainly brings out the connexion with ὦν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ of the preceding verse better than A.V. “first.” As Bengel puts it: ‘Incomparabile exemplum Pauli, sive peccatum sive misericordiam spectes.’ This is borne out by the words which follow, that in me as chief Jesus Christ might shew forth (‘display,’ ‘give a signal instance of’) the entire range of His long-suffering. ἄπας (see critical note) is stronger than the more usual πᾶς, and is deliberately used by St Paul here. A close parallel is found in Ephesians 2:7, ἵνα ἐνδείξηται ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς ἐν Χρ. Ἰη.

μακροθυμίαν. This is a late Greek word, of frequent occurrence in N.T. and LXX., but rarely elsewhere (it is found e.g. in Plutarch). In 2 Timothy 3:10; 2 Timothy 4:2 (and generally in St Paul) it is applied to the longsuffering which becomes a Christian apostle; here, as in Romans 2:4; Romans 9:22; 1 Peter 3:20, it is used of God.

πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν κ.τ.λ. ὑποτύπωσις does not occur in the Greek Bible save here and in 2 Timothy 1:13. It is, literally, an ‘outline sketch,’ and so a ‘pattern’ or ‘ensample’; and the meaning is that the purpose of the manifestation of the Divine longsuffering to St Paul was that he might furnish a type or ensample of them which should hereafter believe. A somewhat similar expression is found in 2 Peter 2:6, ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων ἀσεβεῖν τεθεικώς, where it is applied to the Cities of the Plain, which were, as we say in common speech, ‘made an example of’ for their abominations.

πιστεύειν ἐπʼ αὐτῷ εἰς ζωἡν αἰώνιον. Faith in Christ has as its consequent eternal life. For πιστ. ἐπʼ αὐτῷ, cp. Isaiah 28:16 (quoted in Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11) πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων ἐπʼ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται.


Verse 17

17. We have here a characteristic breaking out into a doxology. A complete list of the Apostolic doxologies has been drawn out by Dr Westcott (Additional Note on Hebrews 13:21)[517], and will repay careful study. In the three doxologies of the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 6:16, and 2 Timothy 4:18) we may perhaps observe a greater tendency to dwell on the absolute Eternity, Power, Unity of the Godhead, than in the expressions of thanksgiving in the earlier letters; but the main features are the same in all. In only one instance, 1 Peter 4:11, is the verb expressed, ᾧ ἐστὶν ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος; and it seems probable that in every instance ἐστίν rather than ἔστω should be understood. So the verb in the doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:13) is in the indicative mood. A doxology is not a prayer or an aspiration; it is a reverent and thankful statement of the Divine glory.

τῷ δὲ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων. This exact phrase occurs elsewhere in the Greek Bible only in Tobit 13:6; Tobit 13:10, and in Revelation 15:3 (where the received text has τῶν ἁγίων); but it naturally flows from the language of Psalms 145:13, ἡ βασιλεία σου βασιλεία πάντων τῶν αἰώνων. Cp. Exodus 15:18 (where Philo read βασιλεύων τῶν αἰώνων, De Mundo, 7), Sirach 36:19, and Bk of Enoch ix. 4, where one of the texts has βασιλεὐς τῶν αἰώνων. See also Book of Jubilees, xxv. 15; xxxi. 13. The corresponding expression οἱ βασιλεῖαι τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, which occurs in Ignatius (Romans 6), brings the meaning out well. There is no reference to the aeons of Gnostic heresy; αἰών in the singular means an ‘age,’ a certain limit of time, and so ὁ αἰὼν οὖτος is ‘this present age.’ But in the plural, when we sum up these ‘ages’ or ‘world periods,’ we arrive at the idea of eternity; and ‘the King who rules over the ages’ is ‘the King eternal.’ So too εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα = ‘to the end of this present age’; but εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας = ‘for ever.’

ἀφθάρτῳ ἀοράτῳ μόνῳ. All three adjectives qualify θεῷ, not the preceding βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων. ἄφθαρτος θεός is a combination only found again in Romans 1:23; but ἄφθαρτος is a regular epithet of Deity in Philo (e.g. Quod deus immut. 6). For ἀόρατος we may compare Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15, and Hebrews 11:27. With both expressions cp. ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίανδν εἶδεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων of 1 Timothy 6:16.

μὁνῳ θεῷ. Bengel calls this a ‘magnifica lectio’ (see critical note). Cp. John 17:3, τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν, Romans 16:27 and ch. 1 Timothy 6:15. Compare also Philo’s μἁ τὸν ἀληθῆ μόνον θεόν (Leg. All. ii. 17) and ἡ θεοῦ μόνου θεραπεία (De Prof. 7).

τιμἠ καὶ δόξα. This combination in a doxology occurs again only in Revelation 5:13. Cp. Revelation 4:9 and Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10.

εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων· ἀμήν. Perhaps this phrase implies that the form of doxology in this verse had become stereotyped by liturgical use. At all events this is a common ending. See Hebrews 13:21; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Peter 5:11; Revelation 7:12 : cp. Psalms passim.


Verse 18

18. ταὑτην τὴν παραγγελίαν. If the interval of 15 verses were not so long, it would be natural to take this as the apodosis of καθὼς παρεκάλεσά σε of 1 Timothy 1:3, but it seems better to suppose (see note in loc.) that the protasis there is never complemented, and that the sentence (quite in St Paul’s manner) breaks off unfinished. Chrysostom and many commentators explain ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν by what follows, ἵνα στρατεύσῃ, &c.; but this is not so much the matter as the motive of the charge. The reference is rather to the παραγγελία of 1 Timothy 1:5, the main subject of the Epistle; and this is confirmed by the close similarity of 1 Timothy 1:6; 1 Timothy 1:19.

παρατίθεμαί σοι. The same word is used in 2 Timothy 2:2; Timothy in his turn is to ‘commit’ to faithful men that which he has received; cp. 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:14.

κατὰ τὰς προαγούσας ἐπὶ σὲ προφητείας. This committal of trust is according to the prophecies directed to thee previously. We have the phrase προαγούσης ἐντολῆς, ‘a foregoing commandment’ in Hebrews 7:18; but here ἐπὶ σέ requires the sense ‘leading up to’ (cp. Ezekiel 13:16). What the prophecies spoken of were it is impossible to determine with confidence. Hort (Christian Ecclesia, p. 181 ff.) put forward the hypothesis that St Paul’s action in the circumcision of Timothy at Lystra (Acts 16:3), and his choice of the young convert as an associate in the work of the Gospel, were prompted by prophetic voices which then led the way to Timothy. But, when we compare the language of 1 Timothy 4:14, in which the χάρισμα given to Timothy, διὰ προφητείας μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου, is mentioned, it seems more probable that in both this verse and 1 Timothy 4:14 the reference is to prophecies uttered at the ordination of Timothy. Cp. Clem. Alex. Quis Dives, § 42, ἕνα τέ τινα κληρώσων τῶν ὑπὸ τοῦ πνεύματος σημαινομένων. Thus the plural προφητείας would be explained by the number of the ‘prophets’ present. The description in Acts 13:2 of the ordination of S. Paul himself helps us in some measure to realise such a scene.

ἵνα στρατεύση κ.τ.λ. That in (the strength of) them (sc. the prophecies spoken over him) thou mayest war the good warfare. This is the purpose which St Paul has in view in recalling to Timothy the words of hope and promise used at his ordination. στρατεία is ‘militia,’ a campaign, and is not to be confounded with μάχη, which is but a single battle. The ὅπλα of this στρατεία are spoken of, 2 Corinthians 10:4. The idea, however, is quite distinct from that in 1 Timothy 6:12, ἀγωνίζου τὸν καλὸν ἁγῶνα (cp. also 2 Timothy 4:7), where see the note. Cp. 4 Maccabees 9:23, where the exclamation is recorded of one of the martyr-brethren, ἱερὰν καὶ εὐγενῆ στρατείαν στρατεύσασθε περὶ τῆς εὐσεβείας.


Verse 18-19

18, 19. THE CHARGE TO TIMOTHY REITERATED


Verse 19

19. ἔχων πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν. Cp. 1 Timothy 1:5, where faith and a ‘good conscience’ are named as sources of that love which is the τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας.

ἤν τινες ἀπωσάμενοι. Which [sc. the good conscience] some having thrust from them. The verb is expressive of a wilful and violent act. For τινες see on 1 Timothy 1:3 above.

περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν. Have made shipwreck in the matter of the faith. ναυαγεῖν only occurs in the N.T. here and in 2 Corinthians 11:25; and so far may be called a ‘Pauline’ word, but it is not uncommon in late Greek.

ἡ πίστις here (though the presence of the article would not by itself determine this) is to be taken objectively, as equivalent to ‘the Christian faith,’ not subjectively, of the faith of individuals. The words πιστός, πίστις have an interesting history, which cannot be here discussed at length[518]; but a few references must be given. πίστις, which in Philo is used quite vaguely of belief and trust in God, became to the early Christians gradually equivalent to faith in Christ as the supreme revelation of God. This faith grew by degrees in clearness and distinctness, until it embraced the Incarnation, the Atonement, and all the great dogmas of the Gospel; from this the transition was easy to the word being used objectively to signify the content, as it were, of a Christian’s belief, to signify, in short, the Christian Creed, the Gospel. Among the more conspicuous instances of this use of the word in the N.T. outside the Pastorals may be noted Acts 6:7; Acts 13:8; Acts 16:5; Galatians 1:23; Galatians 3:23; Philippians 1:27. In the Pastorals, which give us a more developed form of Christianity, we find as is natural a proportionately larger number of examples of this usage; and out of 33 occurrences of πίστις in these Epistles the objective sense seems to be required in 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:13. See notes in loc. in each case.


Verse 20

20. Υμέναιος. This is doubtless the same Hymenæus who is mentioned as a heretical teacher in 2 Timothy 2:17.

Ἀλέξανδρος. An Alexander is mentioned three times in connexion with Ephesus: (i.) here; (ii.) an Alexander was put forward as their spokesman by the Jews on the occasion of the uproar excited by the silversmiths at Ephesus (Acts 19:33); (iii.) ‘Alexander the coppersmith’ (2 Timothy 4:14) who ‘did much evil’ to St Paul. The designation ὁ χαλκεύς suggests that there were at all events two men of the same name; and this appears again from the consideration that (i.) was a heretical Christian, while (ii.) was a Jew (Acts 19:34). ὁ χαλκεύς might be either; but there are no sufficient data to determine the question.

παρέδωκα τῷ σατανᾷ. In 1 Corinthians 5:5 St Paul directs the Corinthian Church in the case of a certain notorious sinner, παραδοῦναι τὸν τοιοῦτον τῷ σατανᾷ εἰς ὄλεθρον τῆς σαρκός, ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα σωθῇ κ.τ.λ.; and the formula to deliver to Satan has plainly the same significance there as here. It is certainly a disciplinary or remedial and not a merely punitive penalty in both cases (cp. Job 2:6, where a similar expression is used of Job’s sufferings, εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος τῷ διαβόλῳ Ἰδοὺ παραδίδωμί σοι αὐτόν), and it was a penalty within the power of the Church to inflict. The aorist παρέδωκα here seems to indicate that St Paul’s action, whatever it was, took place at Ephesus at a definite time; and this marks its official character. It seems then best to suppose that the ‘delivering over to Satan’ was a spiritual penalty, like excommunication, the strong phrase resting on the principle that the kingdoms of Christ and of Satan are mutually exclusive (see Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:13), and that this was accompanied by the supernatural infliction of bodily sickness, which it was believed would follow the authoritative sentence. The cases of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11) and of Elymas (Acts 13:11) witness to the power granted to the Apostles of calling down supernatural punishments on evil-doers in exceptional circumstances.

ἴνα παιδευθῶσιν. This is the purpose of the sentence, that they may be disciplined &c., in the English of the, either by supernatural penalties (ὄλεθρον τῆς σαρκός, 1 Corinthians 5:5) or by the mere fact of exclusion from the Christian society and consequent loss of privilege.

 


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-timothy-1.html. 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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