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Bible Commentaries

The Expositor's Greek Testament
1 Timothy 4

 

 


Verse 1

1 Timothy 4:1. τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα: The Apostle here passes to another theme, the manifestation of religion in daily life. The connexion between this section and the last is as indicated above. There is a slightly adversative force in the connecting δέ.

The Spirit is the Holy Spirit Who speaks through the prophets of the New Dispensation, of whom St. Paul was one. Here, if the following prophetical utterance be his own, he speaks as if Paul under the prophetic influence had an activity independent of Paul the apostle.

ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς: The latter times, of course, may be said to come before the last days, ἔσχαται ἡμέραι (Isaiah 2:2, Acts 2:17, James 5:3, 2 Peter 3:3; καιρὸς ἔσχατος, 1 Peter 1:5; ἔσχ. χρόνος, Judges 1:18).

But a comparison with 2 Timothy 3:1, a passage very similar in tone to this, favours the opinion that the terms were not so distinguished by the writers of the N.T. In this sort of prophetical warning or denunciation, we are not intended to take the future tense too strictly. Although the prophet intends to utter a warning concerning the future, yet we know that what he declares will be hereafter he believes to be already in active operation. It is a convention of prophetical utterance to denounce sins and sinners of one’s own time ( τινες) under the form of a predictive warning. Cf. 2 Timothy 4:3, ἔσται γὰρ καιρὸς, κ. τ. λ. It gives an additional impressiveness to the arraignment, to state that the guilty persons are partners in the great apostacy, the culmination of the world’s revolt from God.

τινες is intentionally vague. See note on 1 Timothy 1:3. It is not used, as in Romans 3:3, of an indefinite number.

πνεύμασι πλάνοις: As the Church is guided aright by the Spirit of truth, He is opposed in His beneficent ministrations by the Spirit of error, τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης (1 John 4:6), who is τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ κόσμου, whose agents work through individuals, the “many false prophets who have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

διδασκαλίαις δαιμονίων must be, in this context, doctrines taught by demons, a σοφία δαιμονιώδης (James 3:15). See Tert. de Praescr. Haeret. 7. The phrase does not here mean doctrines about demons, demonology. Still less are heresiarchs here called demons. This is the only occurrence of δαιμόνιον in the Pastorals. In Acts 17:18 the word has its neutral classical meaning, “a divine being,” see also Acts 17:22; but elsewhere in the N.T. it has the LXX reference to evil spirits. For διδασκ. see note on chap. 1 Timothy 1:10.


Verses 1-5

1 Timothy 4:1-5. Over against the future triumph of the truth, assured to us by the finished work of Christ, we must set the opposition, grievous at present, of the Spirit of error. His attacks have been foreseen by the Spirit of holiness. They are just now expressed in a false spirituality which condemns God’s good creatures of marriage and food.


Verse 2

1 Timothy 4:2. ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων: The three genitives ψευδολ. κεκαυστ. κωλ. are coordinate, and refer to the human agents of the seducing spirits and demons. ἐν ὑποκρίσει depends on πνεύμασι and διδασκαλίαις. The spirits work, and the teachings are exhibited, in the hypocrisy of them that speak lies; and this hypocrisy finds detailed expression in regulations suggested by a false asceticism.

Although the ψευδολόγοι are included in the τινεςπροσέχοντες, yet there is a large class of persons who are merely deceived; who are not actively deceiving others, and who have not taken the initiative in deceit. These latter are the ψευδολόγοι. For this reason it is better to connect ἐν ὑποκρίσει with προσέχοντες (Ell., von Soden) rather than with ἀποστήσονται (Bengel, Alf.), though no doubt both verbs refer to the same class.

ἐν ὑποκρίσει of course is not adverbial as A.V., speaking lies in hypocrisy. This could only be justified if ψευδολόγων referred to δαιμονίων. The absence of an article before ὑποκρίσει need cause no astonishment.

ψευδολόγων: This word expresses perhaps more than ψεύστης the notion of definite false statements. A man might be on some occasions and on special points a ψευδολόγος, a speaker of that which is not true, and yet not deserve to be classed as a ψεύστης, a liar.

κεκαυστηριασμένων τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν: These speakers of falsehood are radically unsound. They are in worse case than the unsophisticated heathen whose conscience bears witness with the law of God (Romans 2:15). The conscience of these men is perverted. κεκαυστ. may mean that they are past feeling, ἀπηλγηκότες (Ephesians 4:19), that their conscience is callous from constant violation, as skin grows hard from searing (A.V., R.V. m., so Theodoret); or it may mean that these men bore branded on their conscience the ownership marks of the Spirit of evil, the devil’s seal (ctr. 2 Timothy 2:19), so perhaps R.V.; as St. Paul “bore branded on his body the marks of Jesus” (Galatians 6:17), as “Christ’s bondservant” (1 Corinthians 7:22). (So Theophylact). Either of these interpretations is more attractive than that of Bengel, followed by Alford, who takes it to mean that the marks of crime are burnt into them, so that they are self-condemned. See Titus 1:15; Titus 3:11.

There is no special force in ἰδίαν (see on chap. 1 Timothy 3:4), as though a course of deceiving others should, by a righteous judgment, result in a loss to themselves of moral sensitiveness.


Verse 3

1 Timothy 4:3. κωλυόντων γαμεῖν: Spurious asceticism, in this and other departments of life, characterised the Essenes (Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 8, 2) and the Therapeutae (Philo Vit. Contempl. § 4), and all the other false spiritualists of the East; so that this feature does not supply a safe ground for fixing the date of the epistle. At the same time, it is not likely that this particular heresy was present to St. Paul’s mind when he was writing 1 Corinthians 7:25-40; see especially 38, μὴ γαμίζων κρεῖσσον ποιήσει; but similar views are condemned in Col., see especially Colossians 2:16; Colossians 2:21-22. See also Hebrews 13:4. St. Paul had come to realise how tyrannous the weak brother could be; and he had become less tolerant of him.

ἀπέχεσθαι: The positive κελευόντων, commanding, must be supplied from the negative κελευόντων μή, commanding not = κωλυόντων.

(265). (266). (267). Vulg. preserve the awkwardness of the Greek, prohibentium nubere, abstinere a cibis. But Faustus read abstinentes, and Origen int. et abstinentes se a cibis. Epiphanius inserts παραγγέλλουσιν after βρωμ., and Isidore inserts καὶ κελευόντων before ἀπεχ., which was also suggested by Bentley. Theophylact inserts similarly συμβουλευόντων. Hort conjectures that ἀπέχεσθαι is a primitive corruption for ἅπτεσθαι or καὶ γεύεσθαι. He maintains that “no Greek usage will justify or explain this combination of two infinitives, adverse to each other in the tenor of their sense, under the one verb κωλυόντων; and their juxtaposition without a conjunction in a sentence of this kind is at least strange”. Blass, however (Grammar, p. 291) alleges as a parallel κωλύσει ἐνεργεῖν καὶ [sc. ποιήσει] ζημιοῦν from Lucian, Charon, § 2. Another instance of zeugma, though not so startling as this, is in 1 Timothy 2:12, οὐκ ἐπιτρέπωεἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ. See also 1 Corinthians 10:24; 1 Corinthians 14:34 (T.R.). For ἀπέχεσθαι, as used in this connexion, see reff.

θεὸς ἔκτισεν, κ. τ. λ.: It has been asked why St. Paul does not justify by specific reasons the use of marriage, as he does the use of food. The answer seems to be that the same general argument applies to both. The final cause of both is the same, i.e., to keep the race alive; and man is not entitled to place restrictions on the use of either, other than those which can be shown to be in accordance with God’s law.

μετάλημψιν μετὰ εὐχαριστίας is one complex conception. This expresses the ideal use, truly dignified and human, of food. See Romans 14:6, ἐσθίων κυρίῳ ἐσθίει, εὐχαριστεῖ γὰρ τῷ θεῷ; and 1 Corinthians 10:30, εἰ ἐγὼ χάριτι μετέχω, τί βλασφημοῦμαι ὑπὲρ οὗ ἐγὼ εὐχαριστῶ; St. Paul of course does not mean that believers only are intended by God to partake of food. His argument is an à fortiori one. “Those that believe,” etc., are certainly included in God’s intention. He who makes His sun to rise on the evil is certainly well pleased to make it rise on the good.

Again, St. Paul does not merely desire to vindicate the use of some of God’s creatures for them that believe, but the use of all of God’s creatures, so far as they are not physically injurious. “God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good,” καλὰ λίαν (Genesis 1:31).

For the association of μετάλημψις compare the phrase μεταλαμβάνειν τροφῆς, Acts 2:46, and reff. on 2 Timothy 2:6.

τοῖς πιστοῖς: dat. commodi, as in Titus 1:15, where see note.

τὴν ἀλήθειαν means, as elsewhere in these epistles, the Gospel truth in general, not the truth of the following statement, πᾶν κτίσμα, κ. τ. λ.


Verse 4

1 Timothy 4:4. ὅτι πᾶν κτίσμα: This is the proof of the preceding statement, consisting of (a) a plain reference to Genesis 1:31, (b) a no less clear echo of our Lord’s teaching, Mark 7:15 (Acts 10:15), also re-echoed in Romans 14:14, Titus 1:15.

λαμβανόμενον: This verb is used of taking food into one’s hand before eating (in the accounts of the feeding of the multitudes, Matthew 14:19 = Mark 6:41; Matthew 15:36 = Mark 8:6, also Luke 24:30; Luke 24:43) as well as of eating and drinking. See reff. Perhaps it is not fanciful to note its special use in connexion with the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23; Matthew 26:26 (bis) 27; Mark 14:22-23; Luke 22:19).

καὶ οὐδὲν ἀπόβλητον: The statement of Genesis 1:31 which is summed up in Every creature of God is good might be met by the objection that nevertheless certain kinds of food were, in point of fact, to be rejected by the express command of the Mosaic Law. St. Paul replies that thanksgiving disannuls the Law in each particular case. Nothing over which thanksgiving can be pronounced is any longer included in the category of things tabooed. It is evident, from the repetition of the condition, μετὰ εὐχαριστίας λαμβ., that St. Paul regarded that as the only restriction on Christian liberty in the use of God’s creatures. Is it a thing of such a kind that I can, without incongruity, give thanks for it?

Field regards οὐδὲν ἀπόβλητον here as a proverbial adaptation of Homer’s saying (Il. γ. 65): οὔτοι ἀπόβλητʼ ἐστὶ θεῶν ἐρικυδέα δῶρα.

For κτίσμα see reff. κτίσις is found in Rom. (7), 2 Cor. (1), Gal. (1), Col. (2); but in these places creation is the best or a possible rendering. κτίσμα means unambiguously thing created.


Verse 5

1 Timothy 4:5. ἁγιάζεται: The use of the present tense here supports the explanation given of 1 Timothy 4:4, and helps to determine the sense in which λόγος θεοῦ is used. The food lying before me at this moment, which to some is ἀπόβλητος, is sanctified here and now by the εὐχαριστία. See 1 Corinthians 10:30.

λόγος θεοῦ and ἔντευξις (see note on 1 Timothy 2:1) are in some sense co-ordinate (almost a hendiadys), and together form elements in a εὐχαριστία. If St. Paul had meant by λόγος θεοῦ, the general teaching of Scripture, or the particular text, Genesis 1:31, he must have said ἡγίασται. At the same time, the written word was an element in the notion of the writer. λόγος θεοῦ has not here merely its general sense, a divine communication to man; it rather determines the quality of the ἔντευξις, as a scriptural prayer; a prayer in harmony with God’s revealed truth. The examples that have come down to us of grace before meat are, as Dean Bernard notes here, “packed with scriptural phrases”.

The best commentary on this verse is the action of St. Paul himself on the ship, when, having “taken bread, he gave thanks to God in the presence of all; and he brake it, and began to eat” (Acts 27:35).

Although there is not here any direct reference to the Sacrament of the Eucharist, it is probable that thoughts about it have influenced the language; for the Eucharist is the supreme example of all benedictions and consecrations of material things. And if this be so, the passage has light thrown on it by the language of Justin Martyr and Irenæus about the Prayer of Consecration; e.g., Justin, Apol. i. 66. “As Jesus Christ our Saviour, by the word of God ( διὰ λόγου θεοῦ) made flesh, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so we have been taught that the food over which thanks have been given by the word of prayer which comes from him ( τὴν διʼ εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρʼ αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστηθεῖσαν τροφήν)—that food from which our blood and flesh are by assimilation nourished—is both the flesh and the blood of that Jesus who was made flesh”. Similarly Irenæus (Haer. 1 Timothy 4:2-3), “Both the mingled cup, and the bread which has been made, receives upon itself the word of God, and the Eucharist becomes the body of Christ” ( ἐπιδέχεται τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ γίνεται εὐχαριστία σῶμα χριστοῦ). Perhaps by the word of prayer which comes from him Justin means a formula authorised by Christ. It must be added that the Prayer Book of Serapion, bishop of Thmuis in Egypt, circ. A.D. 380, contains an epiclesis in which we read, “O God of truth, let thy holy Word come to sojourn on this bread, that the bread may become Body of the Word, and on this cup, that the cup may become Blood of the Truth” (Bishop J. Wordsworth’s trans.).

A comparison of these passages suggests an association in the thought of the primitive Church of the Holy Spirit and the λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ.


Verse 6

1 Timothy 4:6. ταῦτα: repeated in 1 Timothy 4:11, refers to all the preceding directions, but more especially to the warnings against false asceticism.

ὑποτιθέμενος: (remind, suggest) is a somewhat mild term, as Chrys. points out; but in some circumstances suggestion is more effectual than direct exhortation.

διάκονος χρ. ἰησ. seems emphatic, a deacon, not of the Church, but of Christ Jesus, who is the Chief Pastor.

ἐντρεφόμενος: The present tense is significant, “meaning to imply constancy in application to these things” (Chrys.), “ever training thyself” (Alf.). “The present … marks a continuous and permanent nutrition” (Ell.). The process begun from his earliest years, 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15, was being still maintained.

πίστις and διδασκαλία denote respectively the sum total of Christian belief, conceived as an ideal entity, and the same as imparted little by little to the faithful. See note on 1 Timothy 1:10.

παρηκολούθηκας: There is a similar use of this verb in 2 Timothy 3:10, where see note. Alford attempts to give the word here the same force as in Luke 1:3, by rendering the course of which thou hast followed. The A.V., whereunto thou hast attained, expresses also the sense of achievement which we find in Luke l.c. It seems better, however, to associate the word with the notion of discipleship; so R.V., doctrine which thou hast followed until now.


Verses 6-10

1 Timothy 4:6-10. The spread of these mischievous notions among the brethren is most effectively discouraged by a demonstration in the person of the minister himself of the positive teaching of the Gospel as to practical life. We are assured, and declare our confidence by our lives, that Christianity differs essentially from theosophy in that it has respect to the eternal future, as well as to the passing present.


Verse 7

1 Timothy 4:7. W. H. place a comma after παρηκολούθηκας and a full stop after παραιτοῦ; so R.V. nearly. But as παραιτοῦ is an imperative, as in reff. in Pastorals, it is best taken as antithetic to γύμναζε.

γραώδεις: The μῦθοι, in addition to their profane nature, as impeaching the goodness of the Creator, were absurd, unworthy of a grown man’s consideration. See note on chap. 1 Timothy 1:4. Hort’s view (Judaistic Christianity, p. 138) that βεβήλους here merely means “the absence of any divine or sacred character” does not seem reasonable.

παραιτοῦ: refuse, turn away from, as in Hebrews 12:25. Alf. renders excuse thyself from, as in Luke 14:18 (bis), 19. Decline would be a better rendering. In addition to the reff. given above, παραιτέομαι occurs in Mark 15:6, Acts 25:11 (a speech of St. Paul’s), Hebrews 12:19.

γύμναζε: There is here an intentional paradox. Timothy is to meet the spurious asceticism of the heretics by exercising himself in the practical piety of the Christian life. See chap. 1 Timothy 2:2. The paradox is comparable to φιλοτιμεῖσθαι ἡσυχάζειν of 1 Thessalonians 4:11. The true Christian asceticism is not essentially σωματική, although the body is the means by which the spiritual nature is affected and influenced. Although it brings the body into subjection (1 Corinthians 9:27), this is a means, not an end in itself.


Verse 8

1 Timothy 4:8. σωματικὴ γυμνασία: The parallel cited by Lightfoot (Philippians, p. 290) from Seneca (Ep. Mor. xv. 2, 5) renders it almost certain that the primary reference is to gymnastic exercises (as Chrys., etc., take it); but there is as certainly in σωματικὴ γυμνασία a connotation of ascetic practices as the outward expression of the theories underlying the fables of 1 Timothy 4:7. παραιτοῦ elsewhere in the Pastorals is followed by reasons why the particular thing or person should be avoided. The teaching is identical with that in Colossians 2:23. St. Paul makes his case all the stronger by conceding that an asceticism which terminates in the body is of some use. The contrast then is not so much between bodily exercise, commonly so called, and piety, as between piety (which includes a discipline of the body) and an absurd and profane theosophy of which discipline of the body was the chief or only practical expression.

πρὸς ὀλίγον: to a slight extent; as contrasted with πρὸς πάντα. πρὸς ὀλίγον means for a little while in James 4:14. This notion is included in the other. The R.V., for a little is ambiguous; perhaps intentionally so. In view of the genuine asceticism of St. Paul himself, not to mention other examples, it is unreasonable to think him inconsistent in making this concession.

ἐπαγγελίαν ἔχουσα ζωῆς; If we take ἐπαγγελία to signify the thing promised (as in Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4; Acts 13:32), rather than a promise, we can give an appropriate force to the rest of the sentence. A consistent Christian walk possesses, does not forfeit, that which this life promises; in a very real sense “it makes the best of both worlds”. ἔχω will then have its usual meaning; and ζωῆς is the genitive of possession, as in Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4 ( ἐπ. τοῦ πατρός). It is not the genitive of apposition, piety promises life. That which is given by life to Christians is the best thing that life has to give. Von Soden compares πάντα ὑμῶν, 1 Corinthians 3:21 sq. Bacon’s saying “Prosperity is the blessing of the Old Testament; Adversity is the blessing of the New” is only half a truth. If religion does not make us happy in this life, we have needlessly missed our inheritance (see Matthew 6:33; Mark 10:30). On the other hand, though piety does bring happiness in this life, the exercise of it deliberately with that end in view is impious; as Whately said, “Honesty is the best policy, but the man who is honest for that reason is not honest”.


Verse 9

1 Timothy 4:9. πιστὸςἄξιος: This is parenthetical and retrospective. The teaching of 1 Timothy 4:8 is the λόγος. So Chrys.


Verse 10

1 Timothy 4:10. γὰρ, as in the parallel 2 Timothy 2:11, introduces a statement in support of the judgment, πιστὸς λόγος.

εἰς τοῦτο: i.e., with a view to the obtaining the promised blessings of life. The best commentary on this is what St. Paul said in an earlier epistle, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10).

κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα express St. Paul’s personal experience of what the profession of Christianity involved. It was then an almost universal experience, see Acts 14:22; but is not of necessity a concomitant of the exercising of oneself to godliness. The two words are similarly combined Colossians 1:29, εἰς καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος. κοπιᾶν is usually used by St. Paul of ministerial labours: his own, 1 Corinthians 15:10, Galatians 4:11, and those of others, Romans 16:12, 1 Corinthians 16:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Timothy 5:17; but this restriction is not necessary, nor would it be suitable here. See reff.

For ὀνειδιζόμεθα (var. lect.) cf. Matthew 5:11 = Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14.

ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν, κ. τ. λ.: This was at once an incentive to exertion, and thus correlative to ἐπαγγελία ζωῆς, and in itself a part of the thing promised, the ἐπαγγελία. A consciousness that we are in an harmonious personal relation with the living God lifts us into a sphere in which labour and striving have no power to distress us.

ἠλπίκαμεν: we have our hope set on (R.V.). The same use of the perfect of this verb, “expressing the continuance and permanence of the ἐλπίς” (Ell.), is found in the reff. In addition, ἐλπίζω is also followed by ἐπί with the dat. in Romans 15:12 (Isaiah 11:10) and 1 Timothy 6:17; by ἐπί with the acc. in 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Peter 1:13; by εἰς with an acc. in John 5:45, 2 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Peter 3:5; and by ἐν followed by the dat. in 1 Corinthians 15:19.

θεῷ ζῶντι: As indicated above, this is said in relation to ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς. To know the living God is life eternal (John 17:3).

ὅς ἐστιν σωτὴρ πάντων, κ. τ. λ.: Saviour of all ( τὸν πάντων σωτῆρα) occurs in Wisdom of Solomon 16:7. Cf. Saviour of the world, John 4:42.

The prima facie force of μάλιστα certainly is that all men share in some degree in that salvation which the πιστοί enjoy in the highest degree. Compare the force of μάλιστα in Acts 25:26, Galatians 6:10, Philippians 4:22, 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:17, 2 Timothy 4:13; Titus 1:10.

The statement is more unreservedly universalist in tone than chap. 1 Timothy 2:4 and Titus 2:11; and perhaps must be qualified by saying that while God is potentially Saviour of all, He is actually Saviour of the πιστοί. It is an argument a minori ad majus (as Bengel says); and the unqualified assertion is suitable. If all men can be saved, surely the πιστοί are saved, in whose number we are included. It is better to qualify the statement thus than, with Chrys. and Bengel, to give to σωτήρ a material sense of God’s relation to all men, as the God of nature; but a spiritual sense of His relation to them that believe, as the God of grace. See notes on ch. 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:4.


Verse 11

1 Timothy 4:11. παράγγελλε: In point of time, teaching precedes commanding. The tone of command can only be used in relation to fundamentals which have been accepted, but are in danger of being forgotten. Similar directions recur in 1 Timothy 5:7 and 1 Timothy 6:3.


Verses 11-16

1 Timothy 4:11-16. Silent example or mild suggestion will not do in every case. There are many occasions when it will be necessary for you to speak out, with the authority given to you at your ordination. At the same time, do not forget that the charismatic gift will die if it be neglected. Give yourself wholly to the cultivation of your character; so will you save yourself and those committed to your charge.


Verse 12

1 Timothy 4:12. μηδείςκαταφρονείτω (“Libenter id faciunt senes inanes,” Bengel). Many, probably, of the Ephesian presbyters were older than Timothy. For μηδείς in this position, cf. 1 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 2:18; Titus 2:15; James 1:13. καταφρονέω connotes that the contempt felt in the mind is displayed in injurious action. (See Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vi., viii. 432). The meaning of this direction is qualified by the following ἀλλὰ τύπος γίνου, κ. τ. λ. It means, Assert the dignity of your office even though men may think you young to hold it. Let no one push you aside as a boy. Compare the corresponding direction Titus 2:15, μηδείς σου περιφρονείτω. On the other hand, St. Paul shows Timothy “a more excellent way” than self-assertion for the keeping up of his dignity: Give no one any ground by any fault of character for despising thy youth.

σου depends on τῆς νεότητος. Field supports this by an exact parallel from Diodorus Siculus. The two genitives do not, in strict grammar, depend on καταφρον., despise thee for thy youth.

τῆς νεότητος: St. Paul had met Timothy on the second missionary journey, dated by Harnack in A.D. 47, and by Lightfoot in A.D. 51. About the year 57, St. Paul says of Timothy, “Let no man despise him” (1 Corinthians 16:11). 1 Tim. may be dated not more than a year before St. Paul’s martyrdom, which Harnack fixes in A.D. 64, and Lightfoot in A.D. 67. The question arises, Could Timothy’s νεότης have lasted all that time, about fifteen or sixteen years? We must remember that we have no information about Timothy’s age when he joined St. Paul’s company. But if he had been then fifteen or sixteen, or even seventeen, νεότης here need cause no difficulty. Lightfoot (Apostolic Fathers, Part II. vol. i. p. 448) adduces evidence from Polybius and Galen to show that a man might be called νεός up to the age of thirty-four or thirty-five. In any case, the terms “young” and “old” are used relatively to the average age at which men attain to positions in the world. Forty is reckoned old for a captain in the army, young for a bishop, very young for a Prime Minister. In an instructive parallel passage, Ignatius commends the Magnesians (§ 3) and their presbyters for not presuming upon the youth of their bishop. For Timothy’s comparative youth, cf. 2 Timothy 2:22, τὰς δὲ νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας φεῦγε.

τύπος γίνου: For the sentiment, compare reff. and 1 Corinthians 4:16, Philippians 4:9.

τύπος is followed by the genitive of the person for whose edification the τύπος exists in 1 Corinthians 10:6, 1 Peter 5:3.

In the following enumeration, λόγος is coupled with ἀναστροφή as words with deeds (Romans 15:18; Colossians 3:17). These refer to Timothy’s public life; while love, faith and purity refer to his private life, in reference to which they are found in conjunction in 1 Timothy 2:15.


Verse 13

1 Timothy 4:13. ἕως ἔρχομαι: For ἕως with present indic, instead of fut. see Winer-Moulton, Grammar, p. 370. Cf. Luke 19:13, John 21:22-23.

ἀνάγνωσις, παράκλησις, διδασκαλία are the three elements in the ministry of the word: (a) reading aloud of Scripture (Luke 4:16; Acts 13:15; 2 Corinthians 3:14, see Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., 4:262); (b) exhortation based on the reading, and appealing to the moral sense (2 Timothy 4:2; Justin Martyr, Apol. i. 67); (c) teaching, appealing to the intellect, see note on chap. 1 Timothy 1:10. Exhortation and teaching are similarly joined in Romans 12:7-8, and 1 Timothy 6:2.


Verse 14

1 Timothy 4:14. μὴ ἀμέλει: J. H. Moulton (Grammar, vol. i. p. 122 sqq.), distinguishes (a) μή with the pres. imperat, “Do not go on doing so and so,” e.g., 1 Timothy 5:22-23, from (b) μή with the aor. subjunctive, “Do not begin to do it” (1 Timothy 5:1; 2 Timothy 1:8). In this case, μὴ ἀμέλει is equivalent to πάντοτε μελέτα. Timothy’s χάρισμα lay in his commission to rule and in his powers as a preacher. The χάρισμα was given by God; in this particular case the formal and solemn assumption of its use was accompanied by the indication of prophecy addressed to the ear, and by the laying on of hands addressed to the eye. See Acts 13:1-3.

Winer-Moulton notes, p. 471, that the instrument, as such, is never expressed by μετά in good prose. Here, with, amid imposition of hands (conjointly with the act of imposition). μετά is here equivalent to διά in the sense given above, i.e., of accompanying circumstances.

2 Timothy 1:6 is usually reconciled with this passage by saying that the body of presbyters was associated with St. Paul in the laying on of hands. But there is no reason to suppose that the same transaction is referred to in both places. Here the charismata refer to preaching and teaching; but in 2 Tim., to the administrative duties committed to Timothy, as it is reasonable to suppose, by St. Paul alone, when he appointed him his representative. Note that διά is used of St. Paul’s imposition of hands (2 Timothy 1:6), μετά of that of the presbyters, here. This suggests that it was the imposition of hands by St. Paul that was the instrument used by God in the communication of the charisma to Timothy.

πρεσβυτέριον: elsewhere in N.T. (Luke 22:66; Acts 22:5) means the Jewish Sanhedrin; but Ignatius uses the term, as here, to indicate the presbyters in a local Church (Trall. 7, 13; Philadelph. 7, etc.).


Verse 15

1 Timothy 4:15. ταῦτα: i.e., reading, exhortation, teaching. μελέτα: practise, exercise thyself in, rather than meditari. So R.V., Be diligent in. (Bengel compares γύμναζε 1 Timothy 4:7.) Cf. Psalms 1:2, ἐν τῷ νόμῳ αὐτοῦ μελετήσει, “In his law will he exercise himself,” P.B.V., quoted by Prof. Scholefield.

ἐν τούτοις ἴσθι: To the parallels cited by Wetstein, ἐν τούτοις καῖσαρἦν (Plut. Pomp. p. 656 b), “Omnis in hoc sum” (Horace Epistles, i. 1, 11) and Alford: “Totus in illis” (Horace, Sat. i. 9, 2), we may add ἐν φόβῳ κυρίου ἴσθι, Proverbs 23:17. Timothy’s progress manifest to all would secure his youth from being despised: cf. Matthew 5:16.

φανερὰ : This expression is quite Pauline; see reff.; but St. Paul more frequently has φανερὸς γενέσθαι, 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 1 Corinthians 14:25, Philippians 1:13.


Verse 16

1 Timothy 4:16. ἔπεχε σεαυτῷ, κ. τ. λ.: The teacher must needs prepare himself before he prepares his lesson. A similar thought is conveyed by the order of the words in Genesis 4:4, “The Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering”. ἐπέχειν (see reff. and Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vii. 377) has a quite different signification in Philippians 2:16. Cf. Acts 20:28, προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς.

τῇ διδασκαλία: Thy teaching (R.V.). The doctrine (A.V.) can take care of itself. See note on 1 Timothy 1:10. αὐτοῖς is neuter, referring to the same things as ταῦτα; not masc., “Remain with the Ephesians,” as Grotius supposed, a view tolerated by Bengel.

σεαυτὸν σώσεις: cf. Ezekiel 33:9.

 


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Bibliography Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:4". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-timothy-4.html. 1897-1910.

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