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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
1 Timothy 4



Verse 1

1 Timothy 4:5 ἁγιάζεται γὰρ διὰ λόγου θεοῦ καὶ ἐντεύξεως. In this verse it is difficult to explain the context on any hypothesis save that λόγος θεοῦ is here used of the Scriptures of the O.T.

The result of this investigation tends to confirm the legitimacy of the title ‘the Word of God’ as commonly applied to Holy Scripture. It seems to have the authority of the N.T. (Matthew 15:6 || Mark 7:13 and 1 Timothy 4:5). It is nevertheless remarkable that the title is but rarely so applied in early Christian literature. Clement of Rome comes near it when he introduces an O.T. quotation (as he does twice, §§ 13, 56) with the phrase φησὶν ὁ ἅγιος λόγος. But Origen is the earliest writer in whom I have succeeded in finding the full title ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ applied to Scripture. After quoting Jeremiah 4:5-6 he goes on: εἰς ἀτείχιστον πόλιν οὐ βούλεται ἡμᾶς εἰσελθεῖν ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ (Hom. v. in Jerem. § 16; cp. also Hom. 13: in Exod.). The phrase is frequent by the time we get to Chrysostom, and Augustine has it also (in Ps. cviii. 1, cxxix. 1). But this is not the place to trace its history further. It has been thought desirable to state fully the usage of the N.T., as it is interesting in itself and important in its bearing on the interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:5.

Verses 1-6


Verse 2

2 Timothy 2:9 ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται.

Titus 2:5 ἵνα μὴ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ βλασφημῆται.

iii. The Apocalypse.

Here in four instances out of five, it stands for the Gospel and is coupled with the testimony of Jesus, viz.:

Revelation 1:2 ὃς ἐμαρτύρησεν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

Revelation 1:9 διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ.

Revelation 6:9 διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἣν εἶχον.

Revelation 20:4 διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ καὶ διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ.

iv. The Epistle to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 13:7 οἵτινες ἐλάλησαν ὑμῖν τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ. This is sense (b). Hebrews 4:12 ζῶν γὰρ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐνεργής κ.τ.λ. This notable statement seems to mark the transition from (b) to (c), from the Revelation of God to the Logos, who was Himself the Revealer.

(c) The Word Incarnate. This sense of the personal, Incarnate, Logos we have explicitly once, viz.:

Revelation 19:13 κέκληται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, ὁ Λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ.

This is the sense of λὸγος brought out prominently in the Prologue to St John’s Gospel (1 Timothy 1:1-3).

(d) The Word Written. From a consideration of the passages quoted above it appears that ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ generally stands in the N.T. for the Divine message revealed to men, indirectly by the prophets of the O.T. and the Apostles of the N.T., and directly by Christ Himself. This message is recorded, in part, in the pages of the O.T., and it is thus plain that in a certain sense the title ‘the word of God’ is applicable to the revelation of the Divine counsels therein contained. The revelation recorded in the O.T. would unquestionably have been regarded by a Jew as truly ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ. So Philo speaking of the βίβλος γενέσεως of Genesis 2:4 adds βιβλίον δὲ εἴρηκε τὸν τοῦ θεοῦ λόγον (Leg. All. i. 8, cp. Leg. All. ii. 26). We may be sure that no Apostle would have excluded Scripture from the agencies to which the title might be given. And there are two or three passages in the N.T. where the title seems to be actually so applied, viz.

Matthew 15:6 ἠκυρώσατε τὸν λόγον [al. νόμον] τοῦ θεοῦ διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν.

Mark 7:13 ἀκυροῦντες τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ τῇ παραδόσει ὑμῶν ᾗ παρεδώκατε.

In the second of these parallel passages (at least) there is no doubt about the true reading; and it is hard to doubt that the contrast between the canonical Scripture of the O.T. and the unauthorised comments and additions of the scribes is the point of emphasis.

The other passage coming under this head has been already commented on, viz.

Verse 3

3. κωλυόντων γαμεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων. See critical note. If the text is not corrupt, the construction is a little awkward, although the sense is plain, and we must suppose some word like διδασκόντων or κελευόντων to precede ἀπέχεσθαι: forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats. There is a similar ellipse in Lucian Charon § 2 κωλύσει ἐνεργεῖν καὶ [sc. ποιήσει] ζημιοῦν.

The false asceticism is two-fold, (a) in respect of marriage, (b) in respect of food. It is viewed not as present, but as future, and as the practical consequence of the apostasy foretold in 1 Timothy 4:1. The germ of it, however, was already in being. Among the Essenes ὑπεροψία γάμου (Joseph. B. J. II. 8. 2) was not unknown, and the Therapeutae described by Philo (de vit. Cont. 4) practised abstinence from food. The former error, in itself foreign to Jewish ideas, does not receive here formal refutation from the Apostle, probably because it had not yet appeared in the Christian communities; but the latter had already been recognised in more directions than one. The Colossian heresy (Colossians 2:16) laid stress on precise regulations as to food; and Romans 14 shews that to such questions a quite undue importance was attached. This is not surprising, when the minuteness of the Levitical law on these points is borne in mind. But the refutation of the error is plain and decisive. These ‘meats’ are the creation of God (not of the Demiurge, as a later Gnosticism, with its dualistic view of the impurity of matter, taught), and were created that they might be received (εἰς μετάλημψιν) with thanksgiving.

μετάλημψις (not elsewhere in Greek Bible) is, of course, not to be confused with ἀπόλαυσις (1 Timothy 6:17); it is the use, not necessarily the enjoyment, of the Divine gifts which is the final purpose of creation.

μετὰ εὐχαριστίας. Thanksgiving is to accompany the use of the gifts of creation, as it is to accompany all requests for future benefit (Philippians 4:6). Cp. εἰ ἐγὼ χάριτι μετέχω, τί βλασφημοῦμαι ὑπὲρ οὖ ἐγὼ εὐχαριστῶ; (1 Corinthians 10:30).

τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσι τὴν ἀλήθειαν. By them that believe and know the truth, i.e. in contrast to the unbelieving Jews or to the ‘weak brethren’ (Romans 14:21), the half-instructed Christians, who had not yet arrived at ἐπίγνωσις ἀληθείας (see on ch. 1 Timothy 2:4 above). The absence of the article before ἐπεγνωκόσι shews that the πιστ. καὶ ἐπεγν. τὴν ἀλ. are to be taken as constituting a single class of persons, the ‘faithful.’

The word πιστός is here used in the active sense, common in later Greek but rare in the N.T. and nowhere found in the LXX., of believing. We have it again used thus 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 Timothy 5:16, 1 Timothy 6:2, and Titus 1:6; but the older sense ‘faithful’ or ‘trustworthy’ is more frequent. see on 1 Timothy 1:19 above.

Verse 4

4. ὅτι. This is not to be taken specially in connexion with ἀλήθειαν, but with the whole of the preceding statement—because.

πᾶν κτίσμα θεοῦ καλόν. Every creature of God is good. See Genesis 1:31; Sirach 39:33, and (although the thought is here slightly different) Romans 14:14; cp. also Acts 10:15.

κτίσμα does not occur elsewhere in St Paul’s writings (although frequent in LXX.); he generally has κτίσις. Possibly the word is here used of set purpose, to mark with emphasis the handiwork of the Creator.

καλόν. A favourite word in the Pastorals (see on 1 Timothy 1:8 above); it signifies absolute worth, the thought here being quite different from Titus 1:15, viz. for the pure all things are pure, sc. for their use. See note in loc.

οὐδὲν ἀπόβλητον μετὰ εὐχαριστίας λαμβανόμενον. Nothing is to be rejected if it be received with thanksgiving. This is a distinct idea from that of the objective goodness of God’s gifts. The words have striking verbal similarity to Homer’s: οὔ τοι ἀπόβλητʼ ἐστὶ θεῶν ἐρικυδέα δῶρα (Il. III. 65). ἀπόβλητος is not found elsewhere in N.T. or LXX. Note that the all important condition μετὰ εὐχαριστίας λαμβ. is repeated from 1 Timothy 4:3; cp. 2 Corinthians 4:15.

Verse 4-5


Verse 5

5. ἁγιάζεται γὰρ κ.τ.λ. Not only is πᾶν κτίσμα objectively good (καλόν), but it is also, despite the Fall and its consequences (Romans 8:20), good in relation to man, provided it be received μετὰ εὐχαριστίας; then ἁγιάζεται, it is sanctified‚ each time that it is used. The present tense shews that it is no single Divine act which is here in the mind of the writer, but a continued and recurring sanctification. εὐχαριστία is used in its most general sense; but the view of life here presented may be described as sacramental.

διὰ λόγου θεοῦ καὶ ἐντεύξεως. What is the meaning of λόγος θεοῦ here? The tense of ἁγιάζεται (see above) shews that it cannot be referred (a) to the Incarnate Word, as the Creative Agent (John 1:3), or (b) to the Divine voice of creation (Genesis 1:31; cp. Acts 10:15). The general sense of the clause undoubtedly is that meat becomes sanctified for man’s use by devout, thankful, and prayerful reception (see above on 1 Timothy 2:1 for ἔντευξις); and thus the Apostle seems to have had in his mind the pious practice of ‘grace before meat.’ Hence the point to be determined is the meaning of λόγος θεοῦ, if λόγ. θεοῦ καὶ ἔντ. is a description of such εὐχαί. Now the commonest and most general meaning of λόγος θεοῦ in the N.T. is the Divine message spoken or delivered under the guidance of the Divine Spirit (see Additional Note at end of chapter iv.), but no such general meaning will fit the context here. It is true that St Paul (Colossians 3:16) follows up the exhortation εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε by adding ὁ λόγος τοῦ χριστοῦ ἐνοικείτω ἐν ὑμῖν πλουσίωςδιδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς ψαλμοῖς, ὕμνοις κ.τ.λ.; and it has been urged that in like manner in the present passage the εὐχαριστία, which is the condition of right use of God’s gifts, is the outcome of the indwelling λόγος θεοῦ, which is then understood (c) of the Divine utterance through the mouth of the person who offers his grace before meat. But, though λόγ. θ. καὶ ἔντ. constitute one conception, yet the connecting ͅκαί distinguishes λόγ. θ. from ἔντευξις; λόγ. θ. seems to mark some special feature which differentiates this ἔντευξις from prayer in general. And this special feature in the earliest Christian age (as is still the case) was the employment in the ‘grace’ of phrases from Holy Scripture. An interesting form from the Apostolical Constitutions (vii. 49) runs as follows: εὐλογητὸς εἶ κύριε ὁ τρέφων με ἐκ νεότητός μου, ὁ διδοὺς τροφὴν πάσῃ σαρκί· πλήρωσον χαρᾶς καὶ εὐφροσύνης τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν, ἱνα πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες, περισσεύωμεν εἰς πᾶν ἔργου ἀγαθὸν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, διʼ οὖ σοὶ δόξα τιμὴ καὶ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν, which is packed with Scriptural phrases[530]. The words of the Psalter (e.g. Psalms 145:15-16) have often been used for this pious purpose. Hence we conclude (d) that λόγος θεοῦ in the verse before us refers to the words of the O.T. which were commonly embodied (by the Jews as well as by the early Christians) in the εὐχαὶ ἐπ ̓ ἀρίστῳ or prayers before meat: for it is sanctified through the Word of God and prayer.

Verse 6

6. ταῦτα ὑποτιθέμενος κ.τ.λ. In setting these things (sc. the principles laid down in 1 Timothy 4:4-5) before the brethren. ὑποτίθεσθαι (cp. Romans 16:4) does not carry with it the idea of reminding or advising, but simply of expounding.

διάκονος. Here used in its most general sense of minister. See above on διακονίαν (1 Timothy 1:12), and cp. 2 Timothy 4:5; 2 Corinthians 11:23 &c.

Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ. This places the duty of Timothy in respect of false asceticism on a very high level; he is to expound the principles of 1 Timothy 4:4-5 as a good minister of Christ Jesus.

ἐντρεφόμενος. The word does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible, but its meaning is not doubtful, being nurtured, the present participle indicating a continual nourishment and training. Cp. 2 Timothy 3:14.

τοῖς λόγοις τῆς πίστεως. The A.V. renders in the words of faith, which seemingly means the words in which faith expresses itself (cp. 1 Corinthians 2:4 σοφίας λόγοι). The R.V. (more correctly) lays stress on the article, in the words of the faith, understanding πίστις objectively of the Christian creed, rather than subjectively of the belief of individuals (see note on 1 Timothy 1:19). τῆς πίστεως in any case must be taken in close connexion with καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας; and the words of the faith and the good doctrine have reference to formal doctrinal statements in which Timothy had been instructed and to which he could continually appeal. It is natural to think at once of the ‘Faithful Sayings’ of the Pastoral Epistles (see above on 1 Timothy 1:15).

ἦ παρηκολούθηκας. Which thou hast followed, sc. until now. The A.V. “whereunto thou hast attained” does not give the sense accurately. Compare 2 Timothy 3:10 σὺ δὲ παρηκολούθησάς μου τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ.

Verses 6-10


Verse 7

7. τοὺς δὲ βεβήλους καὶ γραώδεις μύθους παραιτοῦ. But eschew profane and old wives’ fables. παραιτεῖσθαι, ‘to refuse,’ ‘to have nothing to do with,’ does not occur in St Paul outside the Pastorals (1 Timothy 5:11; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:10), but is found in St Luke (Luke 14:18; Acts 25:11) and in Hebrews 12:25 &c., as well as in the LXX. The def. art. τούς suggests that current and familiar myths are in the writer’s mind; he is not speaking now of the ascetic extravagances of the future, but of the trivial and foolish teachings with which Timothy was in contact at Ephesus. For μύθους see above on 1 Timothy 1:4, and for βεβήλους on 1 Timothy 1:9.

γραώδεις, ‘anile.’ The word does not occur elsewhere in the Greek Bible, but is found in Strabo and other writers. It is quite unnecessary and far-fetched to see here, with Baur, a reference to the Valentinian story of Sophia Achamoth (Iren. Haer. I. 4. 5).

γύμναζε δὲ σεαυτὸν πρὸς εὐσέβειαν. But (in contrast to any such false asceticism as that foreshadowed in 1 Timothy 4:3) discipline thyself unto godliness. πρός is used of the aim and motive of the discipline; cp. 1 Corinthians 7:35. See note on 1 Timothy 3:7.

Verse 8

8. ἡ γὰρ σωμ. γυμν. κ.τ.λ. For the discipline of the body is profitable for a little, but godliness is profitable for all things. We should not understand either γύμναζε or γυμνασία of gymnastic training for the games or athletic exercise, although the words are so taken by Chrysostom and others; any such idea is foreign to the context. In contrast with the extravagant asceticism which St Paul fears in the future, the true γυμνασία or discipline of the body (a) is only to be practised in moderation; it is profitable πρὸς ὀλίγον (ad modicum, not as in James 4:14 for a little time); and (b) is undertaken, not because of false views of the impurity of matter, but as a means to an end, πρὸς εὐσέβειαν. Cp. 1 Corinthians 9:27. This εὐσέβεια is profitable (ὠφέλιμος does not occur in the Greek Bible outside the Pastorals, but St Paul has ὠφέλεια and ὠφελεῖν) for all things. See note on 1 Timothy 2:2.

ἐπαγγελίαν ἔχουσα κ.τ.λ. Inasmuch as it has (the causal use of the participle) promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come. Observe that here is no guarantee of the worldly prosperity of the εὐσεβής (as in Psalms 1:3 and often in the O.T.); ζωή is the higher principle of life, in contrast with βίος which takes account of the man’s environment; cp. Luke 12:15 οὐκ ἐν τῷ περισσεύειν τινὶ ἡ ζωὴ αὐτοῦ ἐστὶν ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων αὐτῷ and 2 Timothy 1:1. See Hebrews 9:15.

Verse 9

9. πιστὸς ὁ λόγος καὶ πάσ. ἀπ. ἄξ. See above on 1 Timothy 1:15. It is not certain what the reference is. This formula refers without doubt to what follows in 1 Timothy 1:15, and equally without doubt to what precedes in Titus 3:8. Hence its reference in any given instance must be determined by the context. On the whole it seems more natural here to understand it of the saying at the close of 1 Timothy 4:8 about the blessings of εὐσέβεια. 1 Timothy 4:10 does not read like a familiar or proverbial saying, and the γάρ after εἰς τοῦτο seems to be explanatory. (Yet compare 2 Timothy 2:11.)

Verse 10

10. εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κ.τ.λ. The whole verse is explanatory of the motive and the aim of the γυμνασία or discipline of the body, as of all earthly struggle.

κοπιῶμεν. κόπος means ‘wearying fatigue,’ and κοπιάω ordinarily means ‘to be weary of.’ The word carries special allusion here to the training for athletic contests, a sense which it frequently bears, as e.g. at Philippians 2:16. It is used in Romans 16:6; Romans 16:12; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11 of the daily work of an Apostle. The reading ἀγενιζόμεθα (see crit. note) is better supported than ὀνειδιζόμεθα of the received text; cp. Colossians 1:29 εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος, and also [2 Clem.] § 7 οὐ πάντες στεφανοῦνται, εἰ μὴ οἱ πολλὰ κοπιάσαντες καὶ καλῶς ἀγωνισάμενοι.

ἠλπίκαμεν. The perfect marks the continued ἐλπίς of the believer; we have set our hope. Cp. 1 Timothy 6:17 where ἐλπίζειν is again followed by ἐπί, with the dative, the preposition marking the ground of the hope (cp. Romans 15:12). See Hort on 1 Peter 1:13. For θεῷ ζῶντι see on 1 Timothy 3:15.

σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων. See note on 1 Timothy 1:1; the phrase is found in Wisdom of Solomon 16:7, διὰ σέ, τὸν πάντων σωτῆρα.

μάλιστα πιστῶν. μάλιστα is used just as at Galatians 6:10; Philippians 4:22, i.e. especially. There is, then, a special sense in which God is the Saviour of those who believe, as distinct from all men; it is only in those who believe that the Divine intention that all men should be saved (1 Timothy 2:4) can be completely fulfilled. For the same thoughts stated in the reverse order, see 1 John 2:2.

Verse 11

11. παράγγελλε ταῦτα. These things command; sc. the mode and measure of bodily discipline which has been under discussion. The recurrence is noteworthy of the somewhat vague ταῦτα (1 Timothy 3:14, 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 4:15, 1 Timothy 5:7, 1 Timothy 6:3) as the counterpart to the trivial teachings which are repudiated.

καὶ δίδασκε. And teach; i.e. the doctrine on which the practical rules of discipline depend. δίδασκε refers to the theory of conduct, παράγγελλε to practice.

Verses 11-16


Verse 12

12. μηδείς σου τῆς νεότητος καταφρονείτω. This is advice to Timothy, not a command to the members of the Church at Ephesus, though no doubt they would take note of it. σου depends on νεότητος and is not directly governed by καταφρ.: let no man despise thy youth. νεότης (a word not occurring again in St Paul’s Epistles, though found in his speech before Agrippa in Acts 26:4) is a relative term. Timothy must have been about 30 years of age at this time (cp. again 2 Timothy 2:22), and was thus young in comparison with St Paul and in respect of the duties which were incumbent on him, though not by any means a boy or immature[531]. See further in Introduction p. xliii, and for the reverence due to young bishops cp. Ignatius Magnes. 3 and Apost. Const. ii. 1. In an earlier Epistle St Paul had expressed similar anxiety that Timothy should be treated with respect: ἐὰν δὲ ἔλθῃ Τιμόθεοςμή τις οὖν αὐτὸν ἐξουθεήσῃ (1 Corinthians 16:11). Cp. the advice to Titus (Titus 2:15) μηδείς σου περιφρονείτω.

ἀλλὰ τύπος γίνου τῶν πιστῶν. But be a pattern of the believers, not merely an example to them but a model for them. So Titus is counselled περὶ πάντα σεαυτὸν παρεχόμενος τύπον καλῶν ἔργων (Titus 2:7). St Paul refers more than once to the duty which was incumbent on himself to be a τύπος to his converts (Philippians 3:17; 2 Thessalonians 3:9).

ἐν λόγῳ, ἐν ἀν. κ.τ.λ. The order should be noted. Timothy is to be a τύπος τῶν πιστῶν [1] in outward conduct, in speech and act, in word and in manner of life. Compare Romans 15:18 λόγῳ καὶ ἕργῳ and Colossians 3:17, and for ἀναστροφή conversation, a favourite word of St Paul, cp. Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 4:22. He is also to be a τύπος [2] in inward disposition, ἐν ἀγάπῃ, ἐν πίστει, ἐν ἁγνείᾳ, in love, in faith, in purity, graces which may be said to cover respectively our duty to man, to God, and to ourselves (cp. Titus 2:12). The classical substantive ἁγνεία only occurs again in the N.T. in ch. 1 Timothy 5:2 (it is a false reading in Galatians 5:23); but we have ἁγνός in 1 Timothy 5:22 of this Epistle, and ἐν ἁγνότητι (the later Greek word) in 2 Corinthians 6:6, references which seem to define its meaning here. It signifies purity of life and motive, and not merely chastity, which is only one outward manifestation of the Christian grace of ἁγνεία. It is interesting to note that in the prayer before the Benediction in our Form of Consecration of Bishops, where the words of this verse are reproduced, for ἐν ἁγνείᾳ we have the double rendering “in chastity and in purity,” indicating this larger meaning of ἁγνεία.

ἐν πνεύματι of the rec. text is an interpolation (see crit. note).

Verse 13

13. ἔως ἔρχομαι. Possibly the present tense implies a more confident expectation than would be suggested by ἕως ἄν ἔλθω; cp. 1 Timothy 3:14 ἐλπίζων ἐλθεῖν πρὸς σὲ τάχιον.

πρόσεχε, give heed; see note on the word at 1 Timothy 3:8.

τῇ ἀναγνώσει, τῇ παρακλήσει, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ. These are the three main departments of the public duties of a pastor. (a) ἀνάγνωσις, reading, is not the private study of Scripture (Chrys.), but the public reading of the O.T. in the congregation, a custom taken over from the synagogue (Luke 4:16; Acts 15:21; 2 Corinthians 3:14). The Apostolic letters were also read in the Christian assemblies in the Apostolic age (Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27); and by the time of Justin Martyr’s Apology (i. 67) portions of O.T. and N.T. Scripture alike were read aloud by the ἀναγνώστης at the Sunday Service. (b) The ἀνάγνωσις τοῦ νόμου was accustomed to be followed by the παράκλησις or exhortation (Acts 13:15), corresponding to a modern sermon. παράκλησις is the regular word in Philo for an ‘appeal’ to the individual to rise to the higher life of philosophy. (c) διδασκαλία. This word in the Pastorals generally means ‘doctrine,’ but here it is used in the sense of teaching. (See note on 1 Timothy 1:10.) It is closely connected with παράκλησις, as the appeal to the heart and conscience ultimately rests on the instruction provided for the intellect. Both come within the pastor’s province. Cp. Romans 12:7 εἴτε ὁ διδάσκων ἐν τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, εἴτε ὁ παρακαλῶν ἐν τῇ παρακλήσει, and 1 Timothy 6:2 below ταῦτα δίδασκε καὶ παρακάλει.

Verse 14

14. μὴ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος, neglect not the gift that is in thee. ἀμελεῖν is not found elsewhere in St Paul, but it is a LXX. word (cp. Hebrews 2:3); χάρισμα, on the other hand, is characteristically Pauline, occurring 16 times in his Epistles and only once elsewhere in N.T. (1 Peter 4:10). This gift is not a charm which is supposed to act of itself, without the cooperation of its possessor; it may be neglected and needs to be kindled into a flame (see 2 Timothy 1:6). To neglect God’s gifts, whether of nature or of grace, is a sin.

ὃ ἐδόθη σοι, i.e. by God; cp. 1 Corinthians 12:4 for such spiritual gifts.

διὰ προφητείας. πρ. is here without doubt the gen. sing., although some have taken it as acc. pl.; διά expresses the medium or vehicle through which the gift came, as μετά in the next clause marks the attestation of its bestowal.

The whole passage must be taken in close connexion with 1 Timothy 1:18 κατὰ τὰς προαγούσας ἐπὶ σὲ προφητείας (see the note thereon), and with 2 Timothy 1:6 διʼ ἣν αἰτίαν ἀναμιμνήσκω σε ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου. The allusion of all three passages seems to be to the same event. Hort argues (Christian Ecclesia, p. 184 ff.) that this was the ‘laying of hands’ on Timothy by the presbyters (see Acts 14:23) at Lystra during the early days of his discipleship. But more probably the event in question was the ordination or ‘consecration’ of Timothy by St Paul, in the presence and with the ratification of the Ephesian College of presbyters. For this office Timothy had been marked out by the προφῆται whose utterances would be regarded as giving the Divine sanction (1 Timothy 1:18); the spiritual χάρισμα for his new spiritual work was bestowed on him (a) διὰ προφητείας, which has reference either to the προφητείαι of 1 Timothy 1:18 or to the words of prayer used by a προφήτης on this solemn occasion, and (b) διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου, by the imposition of St Paul’s hands (2 Timothy 1:6). This act was accompanied (μετά) by the imposition of the hands of the presbyters who were present; but the difference of preposition indicates clearly that their action had a different significance from that of the Apostle. The custom of our own ordinal that ‘the Bishop with the priests present’ shall lay their hands upon the ordinands is derived from this passage. Prayer and imposition of hands as the instruments of ordination have been already mentioned in the Acts, in Acts 6:6 of the Appointment of the Seven, and in Acts 13:1-3 of the ordination of Barnabas and Saul. The custom of χειροθεσία, as the outward sign of the transmission of a spiritual grace, was taken over from Judaism: it is said e.g. of Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:9) ἐνεπλήσθη πνεύματος συνέσεως, ἐπέθηκεν γὰρ ΄ωυσῆς τὰς χεῖρας αὐτοῦ ἐπ ̓ αὐτόν. Liddon points out in his note on this verse that when in Numbers 8:10 the Israelites are said to have ‘laid their hands’ on the Levites, the χειροθεσία merely signified their recognition of the separateness of the Levites, just as in the passage before us the χειροθεσία of the College of presbyters did no more than attest the authoritative χειροθεσία of the Apostle.

τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου. The word is used in Luke 22:66, Acts 22:5 of the Sanhedrin; it is here used for the first time of the confraternity of presbyters, a sense in which it frequently appears in Ignatius.

Verse 15

15. ταῦτα μελέτα. μελετάω only occurs once again in N.T. (Acts 4:25) and then in a quotation from the LXX. (Psalms 2:1). It may mean either (a) meditate, ponder, as in that passage, or (b) practise, the latter being the prevailing meaning of the word. But (a) here seems more suitable to the context, ponder these things, sc. the injunctions of 1 Timothy 4:12-14.

ἐν τούτοις ἴσθι. Cp. Horace “omnis in hoc sum”; and “totus in illis.”

προκοπή, progress, whether in the Christian life or (more especially) in fitness for his office. The word only occurs in N.T. here and in Philippians 1:12; Philippians 1:25, but is found in LXX.; cp. 2 Timothy 2:16; 2 Timothy 3:9; 2 Timothy 3:13 where the verb προκόπτειν is used of progress in the direction of evil.

φανερὰ ῃ πᾶσιν. Cp. Matthew 5:16.

Verse 16

16. ἔπεχε σεαυτῷ, take heed to thyself. ἐπέχειν is used in a somewhat similar way in Acts 3:5. The warning is put impressively by Bishop Butler in a fragment found among his papers:—“Be more afraid of thyself than of the world.”

καὶ τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, and to thy teaching; not ‘to the doctrine,’ sc. of the Apostles. It was his own presentation of truth, of which he was to be heedful.

ἐπίμενε αὐτοῖς, continue in them. In what? If the punctuation of the text be followed αὐτοῖς must refer to σεαυτῷ καὶ τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ, a somewhat harsh construction. But perhaps we should rather connect it with what follows, in which case we may take αὐτοῖς as having reference to the ταῦτα of 1 Timothy 4:15 and indeed to all the preceding injunctions.

τοῦτο γὰρ ποιῶν κ.τ.λ. In doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee. σώζειν is to be taken in its highest sense; the faithful pastor must save himself in saving others.

τοὺς ἀκούοντάς σου. ἀκούειν τινός is not found elsewhere in St Paul’s Epistles, but it is frequent in Luke. Compare Acts 22:7 (in a speech of Paul’s) ἤκουσα φωνῆς with Acts 9:4 (the direct narrative) ἤκουσεν φωνήν.


The ‘Word of God’ in the New Testament

The growth in meaning of the phrase ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ is worthy of fuller investigation than it can receive here; but it may be useful to tabulate the instances (38 in all) of its occurrence in the N.T.

In the corresponding O.T. phrase ‘the Word of the Lord,’ ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου (1 Chronicles 17:3 &c.), the prominent idea is (a) the word which came from God (gen. subjecti) rather than the word which tells of God (gen. objecti); and in the N.T. also this is the primary sense, which, however, passed gradually, as the phrase became familiar, into the sense of the whole revealed message of God to the world (as distinguished from ῥῆμα θεοῦ, a special utterance for a special purpose, e.g. Luke 3:2; Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 6:5). It is thus (b) a synonym for the Gospel, preached by Christ and His Apostles, which may, again, be conceived of as (c) embodied in the Person of Christ Himself. From another point of view God’s message to the world may be regarded as (d) recorded for man’s guidance in the Scriptures of the O.T. In each case the word, whether the Word spoken, the Word Incarnate, or the Word written, is God’s word (ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ).

(a) John 10:35 εἰ ἐκείνους εἶπεν θεοὺς πρὸς οὒς ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ ἐγένετο κ.τ.λ.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, October 24th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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