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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 1

Carroll's Interpretation of the English BibleCarroll's Biblical Interpretation

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Verses 1-17




1 Timothy 1:1-17


Chapter One:

1. The salutation (1 Timothy 1:1-2).

2. Timothy reminded that he was left at Ephesus to correct certain errorists (1 Timothy 1:3-4).

3. These errorists, assuming to be teachers of the Law while ignorant of its end and application, were so teaching as to subvert both Law and gospel (1 Timothy 1:5-11).

4. Paul’s own case an illustration of gospel grace and power (1 Timothy 1:12-17).

5. Consequent charge to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18-19).

6. The case of Hymenaeus and Alexander, making shipwreck concerning the faith, illustrate the evil of turning away from the gospel (1 Timothy 1:19-20).

Chapter Two:

7. Directions for public prayer worship, distinguishing between the spheres of men and women.

Chapter Three:

8. Directions concerning church officers and their qualifications (1 Timothy 3:1-12).

9. Reasons for Paul’s writing (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

10. The church and its mission concerning the truth (1 Timothy 3:15).

11. The elements of truth concerning the mystery of godliness (1 Timothy 3:16).

Chapter Four:

12. The Spirit’s prophecy concerning heretics in later times (1 Timothy 4:1-5).

13. What constitutes a good minister of Jesus Christ:

(1) As touching heresy (1 Timothy 4:6)

(2) As touching himself, in example (1 Timothy 4:6-12)

(3) As touching himself, in consecration, to study, exhortation, and teaching (1 Timothy 4:13-16)

Chapter Five:

14. How to administer internal church affairs:

(1) In relation to old men, young men, and widows (1 Timothy 5:1-16)

(2) And to preachers (1 Timothy 5:17-25)

Chapter Six:

15. What to teach on social problems (1 Timothy 6:1-10).

16. Solemn charge to Timothy:

(1) Concerning his own life (1 Timothy 6:11-16)

(2) Concerning the rich (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

(3) Concerning the deposit of faith committed to his trust (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

(4) Benediction (1 Timothy 6:21)


1 Timothy 1:5 – The end of the commandment. 1 Timothy 1:5, with 1 Corinthians 13:13 and 2 Peter 1:5-7 – The Christian Pyramids. 1 Timothy 1:11 – The gospel of the glory of the happy God. 1 Timothy 1:12 – Christ puts men into the ministry and enables them. 1 Timothy 1:13 – From blasphemer to preacher. 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:16 – The two poles of salvation:

(1) Who are salvable (1 Timothy 1:13)

(2) The salvation of the outside man among the salvable (1 Timothy 1:16) 1 Timothy 1:15 – Wherein Paul was the chief of sinners 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9 with Titus 3:8 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13. The five faithful sayings of the Pastoral Epistles. 1 Timothy 2:4 – God’s desire for the salvation of all men. 1 Timothy 2:8-15 – The distinct spheres of men and women in public worship. 1 Timothy 3:1 – The pastorate a good work. 1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Timothy 3:10, with 1 Timothy 5:22 – The proving of preachers and deacons before ordination. 1 Timothy 3:6 – The cause of the devil’s condemnation. 1 Timothy 3:7 – The testimony of outsiders concerning fitness for the ministry. 1 Timothy 3:11, with Romans 16:1 – The deaconess of the New Testament church. 1 Timothy 3:13 – What a faithful deacon gains. 1 Timothy 3:15 – How the church is the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:16 – The mystery of godliness and the elements of its truth. 1 Timothy 4:1 – The great apostasy of post-apostolic days:

(1) The cause, seducing spirits, or demons, and the doctrines taught by them (1 Timothy 4:1)

(2) Their human agents, lying hypocrites with seared consciences (1 Timothy 4:2)

(3) What the demon doctrines (1 Timothy 4:3) 1 Timothy 4:6 – Who a good minister of Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 4:8 – The promise of godliness in this life and the next. 1 Timothy 4:10 – God, the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe. 1 Timothy 4:12-14 – The preacher as an example – his reading, exhortation, teaching, and the gift that is in him. 1 Timothy 4:14 – The laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 1 Timothy 4:16 – How the preacher saves himself and his hearers. 1 Timothy 5:5 – "A widow indeed." 1 Timothy 5:6 – She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth, and "Little Women" (Greek: gunaikaria, 2 Timothy 3:6). 1 Timothy 5:8 – He that provideth not for his own hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. 1 Timothy 5:10 – The "washing of feet" a good work, not a church ordinance ; Christ’s washing of the feet of the disciples as a preparation for the Old Testament Passover, and not connected with the New Testament Lord’s Supper. 1 Timothy 5:21 – The elect angels. 1 Timothy 5:24 – Sins that go before and sins that follow after. 1 Timothy 6:9 – They that are minded to be rich. 1 Timothy 6:11 – The love of money a root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:17-19 – Charge to the rich. 1 Timothy 6:20 – The deposit of faith.

EXPOSITION (1 Timothy 1:1-17)

I have called the Pastoral Epistles the preacher’s vade-rnecum, i. e., "traveling companion," because of their incalculable importance. They contain the Bible’s best teaching on church polity and order and constitute a richer mine for sermon texts than can be found elsewhere in the same space of biblical literature. The author has preached, in his long pastorate at Waco, more than an equal number of sermons from the thirty-six texts cited above from only one of these letters, and an almost equal proportion from Titus and 2 Timothy.

I cannot now refrain from calling your attention to Paul’s new phrase: "Faithful is the saying." Its use five times in these Pastoral Epistles makes it proverbial, let us now look at them:

1. 1 Timothy 1 Timothy 1:15: "Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

2. 1 Timothy 1 Timothy 3:1: "Faithful is the saying, if a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." It is sometimes alleged that New Testament churches had no definite organization. But it was already a current proverb concerning this ruling officer of the church.

3. 1 Timothy 4:8-9 or 1 Timothy 4:9-10: "Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation." Here it is somewhat difficult to determine whether 1 Timothy 4:8 or 1 Timothy 4:10 expresses the proverb, so we give both. Verse 1 Timothy 4:8: "Godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is and of that which is to come." Verse 1 Timothy 4:10: "The living God who is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe." The context favors 1 Timothy 4:8.

4. Titus 3:8: "Faithful is the saying . . . that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works." Attention is specially called to this, because some seem to desire to stop at believing. Not only was this a current proverb, but Titus is exhorted to affirm it constantly. Paul’s doctrine of justification never rested on a barren faith.

5. 2 Timothy 2:11-13. This one is fourfold:

"Faithful is the saying:

(1) If we died with him, we shall also live with him;

(2) If we endure, we shall reign with him;

(3) If we shall deny him, he also will deny us;

(4) If we are faithless, he abideth faithful, for he cannot deny himself."

These sayings may be treated briefly in one sermon, or more particularly in eight sermons. The author has done both. The Greek student will find in the Pastoral Epistles quite an increase of new words in Paul’s vocabulary. But special words in each group of letters is characteristic of Paul’s adaptation of new terms to new lines of thought.

We need to note only these points:

1. God, the Father, is called "Saviour," which is new for Paul, but repeated in Titus 1:3. In both cases he attributes his office to the command of the Father. Mary, in her magnificat, had already used the phrase.

2. Christ is called "our hope." Paul generally puts Christ as the object of faith, but in Colossians he had already said, "Christ in you the hope of glory." In all his later letters he is turning to the future, the realm of hope.

3. Timothy is called his "true child in the faith," meaning that Timothy was converted under his ministry, as was Titus also (Titus 1:4). So in Philemon he says the same of Onesimus: "My child begotten in my bonds." I suggest to preachers the preparation of a sermon clearly distinguishing the several thoughts in these expressions:

(1) Christ our righteousness.

(2) Christ our hope.

(3) Christ our wisdom.

(4) Christ our sanctification.

(5) Christ our redemption.

(6) Christ our life.

On this last, Angus wrote his prize volume, Christ Our Life, for translation into heathen languages.

Clearness of thought in the general departments of our Lord’s work will greatly confirm our faith, and as special reading in preparing such a sermon, I commend two old-time Puritan books: Owen on Justification and Flavel on The Methods of Grace.

Now let us take up Timothy and the errorists at Ephesus, 1 Timothy 1:3-11. Here we come upon a new word which became, and is, world-famous: Greek, hetero-didaskalein. Certain ones are commanded not to teach "heterodoxy." There we have it: Orthodoxy versus Heterodoxy. It is quite popular in certain liberal (meaning loose) circles to sneer at one’s insistence on orthodoxy and to denounce him as being a "heresy hunter." Paul had no such spirit, but holding heresy as a deadly evil, hit it hard and hit it to kill as he would any other venomous snake.

It is easy to say: "Orthodoxy is my doxy and heterodoxy is your doxy," but there is no argument in the catch phrase.

Orthodoxy is conformity to New Testament teaching.

Heterodoxy is departure from New Testament teaching.

Paul was ready to write "anathema" in letters of fire on the brow of even an angel from heaven who preached a different gospel from the one delivered by our Lord. It is to teach instead, as these Ephesian heretics did, "the doctrines of demons." And we are partakers of their sins if we fellowship with them, or bid them Godspeed.

What the heterodox teaching here denounced? Assuming to be teachers of the Law, while ignorant of both its scope and application, they so taught as to subvert both Law and gospel. Leaving out the saving dispensation of God in faith, they confined their teaching to myths and endless genealogies which ministered questionings and disputes about matters either insoluble or of no value when solved. Later these fables grew into the Talmud, which may be likened to "a continent of mud," or, on account of the dryness of the matter, to the Sahara Desert minus its oases. It is as unpalatable as sawdust bread. Its diet is as void of nutritive properties as the sick soldier’s soup, accord-ing to his own hyperbolic description: "A piece of blue beef held up between the sun and a pot of boiling water, so as to boil its shadow."

The Old Testament genealogies had an intelligent purpose till Christ came, for they located him. After that they were of no value, and when they were arbitrarily spiritualized they became vicious.

In a political race in McLennan County one of the candidates devoted an hour to tracing his honorable descent from illustrious families. The other won the race by a reply in one sentence: "I would rather be a horse without a pedigree than a pedigree without a horse."

So Paul, in one great sentence, disposes of the Law: "Now the end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, out of a good conscience, out of faith unfeigned." Mark well the order:

(1) Unfeigned faith in our Lord, leading to

(2) A good conscience, leading to

(3) A pure heart, culminating in

(4) Love.

Not some sentimental gush miscalled love, but love bottomed on faith and emerging from a good conscience, cleansed by the blood of Christ, and from a purified heart. This brings us not to the hollow Egyptian Pyramids, but to the Christian pyramids.

Let us mentally construct them so we can diagram them on paper. Take these passages: 1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Peter l:5-7, and construct three pyramids, arising in ever-narrowing terraces, always with faith the foundation and love the capstone:

1. Faith – Hope – Love.

2. Faith unfeigned – A good conscience –

A pure heart – Love.

3. Faith – Courage – Knowledge – Self-control – Patience

Godliness – Brotherly Kindness – Love.

These heterodox teachers never understood this supreme end of the Law. Moses himself had compressed his Ten Commandments into two – Love God supremely and your neighbor as yourself, and our Lord, quoting him, said, "On these two hang all the Law and, the prophets." Paul compressed them into one: "Love is the fulfilling of the Law." He would have them understand that the Law was not a way of life, but to discover sin – making sin appear to be sin and exceedingly sinful. Then he adds: "But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully, as knowing this that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine."

And over against this he solemnly declares that what is "sound doctrine" must be "according to the gospel of the glory of the happy God," which was committed to his trust. All doctrine contrary to that gospel is unsound, whether preached by demon or man. Paul’s sound doctrine here accords with his sound doctrine in Titus 2:1. We hear much of sound doctrine, but let us not make a mistake. It is not the doctrine of grace theoretically held, resting on a barren faith, but on a faith which works by love, purifies the heart, and makes the man a better man in all the relations of life – parent, child, brother, husband, neighbor, and citizen.

On my first visit to St. Louis, Dr. Pope Yeaman asked me: "Are Texas Baptists sound?" I replied: "Some of them are nothing but sound: Vox et preterea nihil."

Before the Southern Baptist Convention I preached on this passage, 1 Timothy 1:11: "The gospel of the glory of the happy God," rendering the Greek word, Makariou by "happy" instead of "blessed," because this is not the usual word for "blessed" and because "happy" expresses the precise thought. The success of the gospel makes God happy. As in Luke 15, it is the shepherd who rejoices when he finds the lost sheep; and it is the woman who rejoices when she finds the lost coin; and it is the father who rejoices when he recovers his lost son. And that this rendering accorded with Christ’s being anointed with the oil of gladness, and of his being satisfied when he saw of the travail of his soul.

My rendering was criticized by one captious hearer, but I was gratified to find afterward in one of his books that Dr. Harwood Patterson of Rochester Seminary gave the same rendering and for similar reasons.

There are two kinds of heretics, both abominable to God for their "unsound doctrine." The one who claims the power of godliness and decries its form; the other who magnifies the form and despises the power. In one community I found striking examples of both kinds. One of them was ever saying, "I care nothing for your dogmas and ordinances and churches and preachers. I go in for keeping the heart all right, and stand for good morals." The other was the most contentious, disputatious man I ever knew. As a good old deacon described him: "He pulled all the buttons off your coat trying to hold you while be set forth his infallible propositions, and developed corns on his fingers in repeating his points." All his followers carried chips on their shoulders, and like a wild Irishman at a fair, were daring people to step on their coattails.

One of the converts of such (an old Negro, as I have heard), as soon as he rose from his baptism, spat the water out of his mouth, and said, "Now I’s ready fur a ’spute."

The first was blind to God’s methods in grace, i.e., enveloping the life germ in a form for its protection until maturity. I asked him once what would become of the corn and wheat and nuts if they attempted to mature without the protecting forms of husks and chaff and shells, and showed him a nubbin that grew on the top of a cornstalk where the tassel ought to be. It had no shuck to protect it, no tassel to fertilize it, no silk to catch the shedding from the tassel. Birds had pecked it, worms had bitten it, "smut" had discolored it and infested it, cold had smitten it, heat had scorched it until there was not a sound grain on it. Not even a hog would eat it.

My young readers, let no "broad-gauged" fool beguile you into despising forms and ordinances established by the wisdom of our Lord, and follow no brass band and tinkling cymbal crowd in resting on a barren faith and wordy orthodoxy.

Paul’s case an illustration of gospel power. The paragraph, 1 Timothy 1:12-17, is one of the deepest, broadest, richest, and sweetest in the Holy Scriptures. It has as many sermons in it as there are eggs in a guinea’s nest – and I once found a guinea’s nest with sixty eggs in it.

The first thought that rushes into my own mind as I read it is: What a wonderful use Paul makes of his own Christian experience. Eight times, at least, it is used, and each time for a different purpose. Once Luke tells it (Acts 9:1-18) ; once Barnabas tells it (Acts 9:26-27); six times Paul tells it himself (Acts 22:1-16; Acts 26:1-18; Romans 7:9-25; Philippians 3:4-14; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; 2 Timothy 1:12).

I am reminded of the fighting Methodist preacher’s advice, as given in one of Edward Eggleston’s romances. On the way to an appointment two wicked men met him and told him he must go back or take a whipping. He concluded to do neither, but got down off his horse and whipped both of them till they "hollered," prayed for them, and then made them go with him to church! But when he got there his own bruised jaw was so swollen he couldn’t preach. Whereupon he peremptorily ordered a young convert to get up and preach. The timid boy protested that he had no sermon and did not know how to make one. "Get up at once and preach," said the stern circuit rider, "and if you can’t preach, tell your Christian experience." The boy obeyed. His heart was overflowing with gratitude to his Lord for saving him, a wicked, ignorant, country lad. He attempted no sermon, scraped down no star-dust of rhetoric, indulged in no sophomore flights of fancy, shot off no glittering fireworks, scattered no bouquets of compliments, but went right on in sobs and tears and rejoicings to tell how he was convicted of sin, how the Lord graciously met him, how God, for Christ’s sake, pardoned his many sins, how gloriously happy he was, how Jesus was ready to welcome any other poor country boy, and how the one desire of his soul was to lead others to Christ, and there he stood, himself a monument of grace, and exhorted till Heaven came down their souls to greet, And glory crowned the mercy seat – And the woods were afire like the burning bush. That broken-jawed circuit rider bugged him on the spot and told him it was the greatest sermon he ever heard, instantly called for his ordination, and put him at once into a life-saving work that ended only when his voice was hushed in death.

If a man has a genuine experience, and keeps right on experiencing new manifestations of grace, it is a big part of his preaching stock. In our next chapter this glorious paragraph of Paul’s experience will be unfolded and illustrated.


1. What is the analysis of 1 Timothy?

2. What are its great pulpit themes?

3. Why are the Pastoral Epistles the preacher’s vade-mecum and what do they contain?

4. What is new phrase in these epistles?

5. Give in order the five "Faithful Sayings."

6. Why does Paul use new terms in each group of letters?

7. What are three points of note in the salutation?

8. The preparation of what sermon was suggested, and why, and what old books commended for help in the preparation?

9. What new term in 1 Timothy 1:3?

10. Give both a false and a true statement of heterodoxy and orthodoxy.

11. Wherein do many moderns differ from Paul on heterodoxy?

12. What the heterodox teaching here condemned?

13. In what Jewish book are most these legends contained and how would you illustrate its value?

14. What is the original purpose of the biblical genealogies and when did they become valueless?

15. Illustrate their present worthlessness by a certain political race.

16. How does Paul in one sentence dispose of the law?

17. Using 1 Corinthians 13:13; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Peter 1:5-7 construct a diagram of three Christian pyramids, the foundation in each being "Faith" and the capstone "Love."

18. How did Moses himself condense his Ten Commandments and what our Lord’s comment thereon? How does Paul condense them even more?

19. Instead of being a way of life for the righteous what classes was it designed to restrain and convict?

20. According to what is all "sound doctrine"? Illustrate.

21. What is the defense of the rendering "happy" instead of "blessed" in 1 Timothy 1:11?

22. What are the two kinds of heretics?

23. How many times and where in New Testament is use made of Paul’s Christian experience?

24. Cite Edward Eggleston’s instance of the value of one’s Christian experience as a pulpit theme.

Verses 12-13



Acts 21:39; Acts 22:3; Acts 23:6; Acts 23:34; Acts 26:4-5; 2 Corinthians 11:22; Romans 11:1; Galatians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:4-6; 1 Timothy 1:12-13; 2 Timothy 1:3.

This discussion does not make much headway in the text book, but it covers an immense amount of territory in its facts and significance. This section is found in Goodwin’s Harmony of the Life of Paul, pages 15-17, and the theme is Paul’s history up to the time that he enters the New Testament story. Saul, now called Paul, a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin, of the sect of the Pharisees, yet a freeborn Roman citizen, by occupation a tentmaker, by office a rabbi, and a member of the Sanhedrin, was born in the city of Tarsus, in the province of Cilicia, about the time of our Lord’s birth. Tarsus was situated on the narrow coast line of the eastern part of the Mediterranean, just under the great Taurus range of mountains, and on the beautiful river Cydnus, which has a cataract just before it reaches the city, and a fall, beautiful then and beautiful now, coming down into that fertile plain where the city goes into a fine harbor, which opens the city to the commerce of the world through the Mediterranean Sea. It was on the great Roman thoroughfare, which was one of the best roads in the world. There were two of these mountain ranges, one of them right up above the city through the Taurus range into the coast of Asia Minor, the other following the coast line, which leads into Syria. This is the way that the mountains came down close to the sea, making a certain point very precipitous, and there was a typical beach between those mountains and the sea. That road into Syria was called the Oriental way. Over the Roman thoroughfare passed the land traffic, travel and marching armies for centuries. It was in that pass that Alexander fought his first great battle against the Persians, and thus obtained an entrance into the East. It was through that pass that, marching westward, and before Alexander’s time, Xerxes the Great, the husband of Esther (mentioned in the Bible), marched his 5,000,000 men to invade Greece. I could mention perhaps fifty decisive battles in ancient history that were set and were successful conquests by preoccupation of that pass. That shows the strategical position of this city – that it commanded the passes of the Taurus into Asia Minor, and the pass into Syria, and through its fine harbor came in touch with the commerce of the world on the Mediterranean Sea.

Paul says that it was "no mean city," in size or in population. It was notable, (1) for its manufacture, that of weaving, particularly goat’s hair, for on that Taurus range lived goats with very long hair, and this was woven into ropes, tents, and things of that kind; (2) because it was the capital of the province of Cilicia; (3) because, under Rome, it was a free city, i.e., it had the management of its own internal affairs, which constituted a city a free city, like the free city of Bremer in the early history of Germany. Other cities would be under the feudal lords, but there were a number of cities free, and these elected their own burghers, and governed their own municipal matters – a tremendous advantage.

Tarsus received from the Roman Emperor the privilege of being a free city. Keep these facts well in mind, especially and particularly as regards the land and sea commerce. (4) Because it possessed one of the three great world-famous universities. There were just three of them at that time: One at Tarsus; one at Alexandria, at the mouth of the Nile; and one at Athens. It was not like some other cities, remarkable for its great buildings, its public games and its works of art. You could see more fine buildings in Athens or in Ephesus or in Corinth than you had any right to look for in Tarsus. It celebrated no such games as were celebrated in the May festivals at Ephesus, and in the great Greek amphitheater in that city, or in such games as the Isthmian, celebrated in Corinth. It was not remarkable for any of these. Its popular religion was a low and mixed order of Oriental paganism. There is this difference between the Oriental and Occidental heathen – the former in the East, and the latter at Rome, and the West. Ephesus had an Oriental religion, though it was a Greek city. Tarsus, too, was a Greek city, but was partly Phoenician and partly Syrian. There were more arts and intellectuality in western paganism than in the Oriental, which was low, bestial, sensual, in every way brutal, shameful, immodest, and outrageous. The Phoenicians, who had a great deal to do with establishing the city of Tarsus, had that brutal, low form of paganism. That infamous emperor, Sargon, celebrated in the Bible, the Oriental king of the original Nineveh, was worshiped in that city. There never lived a man that devoted himself more than he to luxury in its fine dress, gorgeous festivals, its gluttony, its drunkenness, its beastiality. Paul was born in that city, and he could look out any day and see the heathen that he has so well described in chapter 1 of the letter to the Romans.

Citizenship in a free city under Rome did not make one a Roman citizen, as did citizenship in Philippi, a colony. To be born in a free city did not make one a Roman citizen. It conferred upon its members, its own citizens, the right to manage their own municipal affairs. To be born in Philippi would make one a Roman citizen, because Philippi was a colony. The name of its citizens were still retained on the muster roll in the city of Rome. They had all the privileges of Roman citizenship. Their officers were Roman officers. They had processions, with the magistrates, and the lictors and with the bundles of rods. But there was nothing like that in Tarsus. The question came up in Paul’s lifetime, when the commander of a legion heard Paul claiming that be was a Roman citizen. This commander says that with a great sum of money he did purchase his citizenship in Rome. Paul says, "But I was freeborn." If freeborn, how then could he have obtained it? In one of two ways: Before Christ was born, Pompey invaded Jerusalem, and took it. He was one of the first great triumvirate, with Julius Caesar and Marcus L. Crassus. Pompey’s field of labor was in the East, Caesar’s was in the West, and he (Pompey) took Jerusalem and led into slavery many Jews of the best families. When these slaves were brought to Rome, if they showed culture, social position, educational advantages, they were promoted to a high rank or office, among slaves; and if they particularly pleased their owners they were manumitted, either during the lifetime of their owner, or by will after his death. In this way many noble captives from all parts of the world were carried as slaves to Rome. They were first set free and then had conferred upon them the rights of Roman citizenship. It could have been that Cassius, who with Brutus, after the killing of Julius Caesar, combined against Mark Anthony, and Octavius (Augustus), who became the emperor and was reigning when Christ was born, captured this city of Tarsus and led many of its citizens into Rome as slaves. Paul’s grandfather, therefore, or his father, might have been led away captive to Rome, and through his high social position and culture may have been manumitted, and then received as a citizen. Necessarily it occurred before this boy’s time, because when he was born, he was born a Roman citizen. It could be transmitted, but he had not acquired it.

There is a difference between the terms – Jew, Hebrew, Israelite, Hellenist, and a "Hebrew of the Hebrews." All these are used by Paul and Luke in Acts. We get our word, "Hebrew" from Heber, an ancestor of Abraham. Literature shows that the descendants of Heber were Hebrews, and in the Old Testament Abraham is called "the Hebrew." That was not the meaning of the word in New Testament times. We come to the New Testament meaning in Acts 6, which speaks of the ordination of deacons, and uses the word "Hebrew" in distinction from "Hellenist." They both, of course, mean Jews. While a Hebrew in the New Testament usually lived in Palestine, but not necessarily, he was one who still spoke or was able to read the original Hebrew language and who practiced the strict Hebrew cult. A "Hellenist" was a Jew who had either been led into exile, or who, for the sake of trade, had gone into other nations, and settled among those people and had become liberalized, lost the use of the Hebrew tongue entirely, and neither spoke nor wrote the Hebrew language, but who spoke and wrote mainly in Greek. "Hellenist" is simply another term for "Greek." Whether used in the New Testament Greek or the Hellenistic Greek, it means Jews living among Greek people, and who had acquired the language, and in the many respects had followed more liberal Greek customs. Then a Hebrew living in Palestine would not allow himself to be liberalized.

Paul lived out of Judea. He, his father, and indeed his grandfather, adhered strictly to all the distinguishing characteristics of the Hebrews. The "Israelite" and the "Jew" mean anybody descended from Jacob. "Israelite" commenced lower down in the descent. "Hebrew" gets its name from the ancestor of Abraham, but an Israelite was a descendant of Jacob. The distinction of "Jew" came a little later to those descendants of Jacob living in Judea. The "Hebrew of the Hebrews" means a Jew-who went to the greatest possible extreme in following the Hebrew language, cult, habits, training, and religion. He was an extremist among them.

Some people would suppose from Paul’s occupation – tentmaking (he worked at that occupation, making tents with Aquila and Priscilla) – that from this unskilled labor his family were low in the social position, and poor. The inference is wholly untenable. In the first place, every Jew had to have a trade, even though he were a millionaire, and Paul’s old teacher, Gamaliel, used this language: "Any kind of learning without a useful trade leads to sin." Paul took up this trade because he lived at Tarsus. There anybody could go out and learn the trade of weaving ropes and check-cloth made out of the long hair of Mount Taurus goats. The trade would not simply satisfy the Jewish requirement, but a man could make his living by it. We see Paul a little later making his living just that way. Well for Paul that he knew something besides books.

I am more and more inclined to follow an industrial idea in systems of education. We have our schools and universities where the boys and girls learn a great deal about books, and the girl goes home and does not know how to make bread. She does not know how to rear a brood of chickens; she does not know how a house is to be kept clean, nor how to keep windows clean. The floors in the corners and in places under the beds and sofas are unswept. Boys come home that cannot make a hoe handle. They have no mechanical sense, no trade. They can neither make a pair of shoes nor a hat nor a pair of socks, nor anything they wear. And thus graduates of universities stand with their fingers in their mouths in the great byways of the world – practically beggars – not knowing how to do anything.

The Jews guarded against that. Let Paul fall on his feet anywhere, and withdraw from him every outside source of financial support, and he would say, "With these hands did I minister to my necessities." He could go out and get a piece of work. He knew how to do it. All this is bearing on the social and financial position of Paul’s family. Everything indicates the high social position of his family, and that it occupied a high financial position. They did not take the children of the lowest abode and give them such an ecclesiastical training as Paul had. They did not educate them for the position of rabbi, nor let them take a degree in the highest theological seminary in the world. Paul’s family, then, was a good one.

Paul’s religious and educational advantages were on two distinct lines: Purely ecclesiastical or religious, and I can tell just exactly what it was. A little Hebrew boy five years old had to learn the Ten Commandments, and the hallelujah psalms. When six, he advanced to other things which could be specified particularly. His education commenced in the home and went on until he entered the synagogue, which trained him in all the rudiments of biblical education. When he was twelve or thirteen years old he was called "a son of the commandments." Just like the occasion suggests when Jesus was twelve years old he had them take him to Jerusalem, and he was allowed to go into the Temple and to be with the great doctors there.

When Paul was twelve or thirteen his influential father sent him to the great theological seminary. There were two of these seminaries. One had a greater influence than the other in the city of Jerusalem. Therefore, he says, "I was brought up in this city. I was born in Tarsus, but brought up in the city of Jerusalem, at the feet of Gamaliel." He was a very noble character. The opposite seminary differed from this one. It was the Shammai Seminary, differing from the other on this point: The Shammai Seminary was very narrow; did not allow its pupils to know anything about literature whatsoever except religious literature. But the aged Gamaliel said to Paul and to all his other students, "There are certain classical lines along which you may study and learn." This is the kind which Paul attended, the school of Gamaliel, graduating there and becoming a doctor of divinity, or a rabbi. He studied profoundly. This religious part of his education he got in the original Hebrew. When he and Jesus met at the time of his conversion, they spoke in the Hebrew tongue to each other. "There came a voice which said in the Hebrew [the old Hebrew tongue], Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" And he answered in the Hebrew. Then, of course, he spoke and wrote in the Aramaic, which was the common dialect in Judea, and different from the Hebrew, since the Hebrew had gone altogether out of use in the ordinary speech, and almost in the ordinary reading.

The New Testament abounds in evidence of Paul’s general educational advantages. The city of Tarsus possessed one of the three great universities of the world. Did Paul take a course in that? There is no evidence that he did, and no probability that he did. For the universities in that day did not mean as much as they do today in a certain line, though I am sorry to say that the great universities of the present day are dropping back and adopting the old utterly worthless studies of the universities of that day; that is, speculative philosophy about the origin of things, and they do not know anything more when they get through than when they began. Also the Epicurean philosophy, which we now call "Darwinism," making a speculative study of biology, botany, geology, etc., trying to prove that everything came from a primordial germ, and that man not only developed from a monkey, but from a jellyfish, and that the jellyfish developed from some vegetable, and that the vegetable is a development of some inorganic and lifeless matter.

There never was at any time in the world one particle of truth in the whole business. None of it can ever be a science. It does not belong to the realm of science.

Saul never had a moment’s time to spend in a heathen university, listening to their sophistries, and to these philosophical speculations, or vagaries. If he were living now he would be made president of some university. We learn from the Syrians that one of these universities, the one in Tarsus, had a professor who once stole something, and was put in "limbo." Their university professors were also intensely jealous. They had all sorts of squabbles, one part in a row with another part; so that after all there was not much to be learned in the universities of those times, and after a while there will not be much in ours, if we go on as we are now going. I am not referring to any university, particularly, but I am referring to any and all, where philosophical speculations are made thee basis of botany, zoology, natural history of any kind, geology, or any kindred thing. Paul struck it in the city of Athens, its birthplace, and smote it hip and thigh.

I do not suppose at all that Paul was a student in the university of Tarsus, but that while he was at Jerusalem, and under the teaching of Gamaliel, he did study such classics as would be permitted to a Jewish mind. Hence we find in his letters expressions like this: "One of themselves, a prophet of their own said, Cretans are always liars," and when at Athena he says, "Certain, even of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." How could he become acquainted with those classical allusions if he had never studied such things? That chiliarch, who commanded a thousand men – a legion – said to Paul, "Do you speak Greek?" He had heard him speaking Greek. Of course he spoke Greek, and wrote Greek, All of his letters were written in Greek. He had learned that Greek language somewhere. He had not learned it in that university at Tarsus, but in the Seminary at Jerusalem. Take his letters and see his profound acquaintance with the Greek games of every kind. Some of them he may have attended, but he certainly knew all about them as though he had witnessed them. He may have seen only an occasional game. So he must have learned it from the literature, for he discusses every phase of it, especially the foot-racing, the combats in the arena between the gladiators, and the wrestling with the lions in the arena. His letters are full of allusions that indicate his acquaintance with the Greek literature. At Alexandria there was one of the other universities, a much greater one in its Greek literature than the university of Tarsus. Alexandria was founded by a Greek, Alexander the Great. One of the Ptolemies had a great library, the greatest library in the world, which was destroyed by the Saracens. But notice also how Paul puts his finger right upon the very center and heart of every heathen philosophy, like that of Epicureanism – our Darwinism; that he debated in Athens; and note the Stoics whom he met while there, and the Platonians, or the Peripatetics. You will find that that one little speech of his, which he delivered in the city of Athens, contains an allusion which showed that he was thoroughly and profoundly acquainted with every run and sweep of the philosophic thought of the day, and anybody not thus acquainted could not have delivered that address. This is to show the general culture of his mind.

Take the mountain torrent of his passion in the rapid letter to the Galatians. Take the keen logic, the irresistibility of its reasoning, which appears in the letter to the Romans, or take that sweetest language that ever came from the lips or pen of mortal man, that eulogy on love in 1 Corinthians 13. Then take the letter to Philemon, which all the world has considered a masterpiece in epistolary correspondence. It implies that he was scholarly. Look at these varieties of Saul’s education. He was a man whose range of information swept the world. He was the one scholar in the whole number of the apostles – the great scholar – and I do not see how any man can read the different varieties of style or delicacy of touch, the analysis of his logic or reasoning, which appear in Paul’s letters, and doubt that he had a broad, a deep, a high, and a grand general education.

As to Paul’s family the New Testament tells us in Acts 23:16 that he had a married sister living in Jerusalem, and that that sister had a son, Paul’s nephew, who intervened very heroically to help Paul in a certain crisis of his life. And in Romans 16:7-11 are some other things that give light as to his family: "Salute Andronicus and Junias, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners . . . who also have been in Christ before me." Here are a man and a woman, Andronicus and Junias, Paul’s kinsfolk, well known to the apostles in Jerusalem, for he says, "Who are of note among the apostles." They were influential people, and they had become Christians before Paul was a Christian. Take Romans 16:11: "Salute Herodion my kinsman," and Romans 16:21: "Timothy, my fellow worker saluteth you; and Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen." So here we have found six individuals who are kinspeople to Paul, and who were all members of the church at Rome. We know that much of his family, anyhow.

The things which distinguished a Pharisee from a Sadducee were of several kinds: (1) The latter were materialists, whom we would call atheists. They believed in no spirit; that there was nothing but matter; that when a man died it was the last of him. (2) There were Epicureans: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die," they said. (3) Also in their political views they differed from the Pharisees. The Pharisees were patriotic, and wanted the freedom of their nation. The Sadducees were inclined to the Roman government, and wanted to keep up the servitude to the Romans. (4) The Pharisees also cared more about a ritualistic religion. They were Puritans – stern, and knew no compromise, adhering strictly to the letter of the law, in every respect. If they tithed, they would go into the garden and tithe the cummin and the anise. The phrase, "Pharisee of the Pharisees," means one who would whittle all that down to a very fine point, or an extremist on that subject. He said (Galatians 1:14), "I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of mine own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers." They were just Pharisees – he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He went all the lengths that they would go, and he topped them. It meant something like this: "I am a son of Abraham; I am freeborn; I have never sinned; I need no vicarious expiation for me; I need no Holy Spirit; I was never in that bunch; you need not talk or present regeneration to me; I am just as white as snow." It followed that they were not drunkards, they were not immoral; they were chaste, and did not have any of the brutal vices.

Paul had perhaps never met Jesus. They were about the same age. Paul went to Jerusalem when he was thirteen years old, and stayed there until he graduated in the same city. Some contend from certain expressions, as, "I have known Christ after the flesh; henceforth I will know him . . . no more," that he had known Jesus in the flesh. It will be remembered that in the public ministry of Christ he was very seldom in Jerusalem. He stayed there a very short time when he did go. His ministry was mainly in Galilee. Even in that last mighty work of his in Jerusalem – there is a big account of it – but it just lasted a week. And Saul may have been absent at Tarsus during that time. I think when he saw Jesus the fact that he did not recognize him is proof enough, for if he had known him in the flesh he would have recognized him. But he said, "Who art thou?" when he saw him after he arose from the dead.

Paul, before conversion, was intensely conscientious in whatever he did – free from all low vice, drunkenness and luxurious gluttony and sensuality of every kind. He was a very chaste man, a very honest man, a very sincere man, a very truthful man, and all this before conversion. I take it for granted that he was a married man. An orthodox Jew would not have passed the age of twenty unmarried. He could not be a member of the Sanhedrin without marrying; and in that famous passage in Corinthians he seems to intimate clearly that he was a married man. Speaking to virgins (that means unmarried men and women and includes both of them that had never married) he says so and so; and to widows and widowers, "I wish they would remain such as I am." It seems to me that the language very clearly shows that at that time he was a widower. Luther says that no man could write about the married state like Paul writes if he was an old bachelor. I think Luther is right; his judgment is very sound. Paul did not marry again; he remained a widower, and in the stress of the times advised other widowers and widows to remain in that state; but if they wanted to marry again to go ahead and do so; that it was no sin; but the stress of the times made it unwise; and he boldly took the position that he had a right to lead about a wife as much as Peter had, and Peter had a wife.


1. What the theme of this section?

2. What Saul’s name, nation, tribe, sect, citizenship, occupation, office, birthplace, and date of birth?

3. Give an account of Tarsus as to its political, strategical, commercial, manufacturing, educational advantages, and its popular religion.

4. Did citizenship in a free city under Rome make one a Roman citizen as did citizenship in Philippi, a colony?

5. How, then, could one obtain it?

6. Distinguish the difference between these terms: Jew, Hebrew, Israelite, Hellinist, and a "Hebrew of the Hebrews."

7. What the social and financial position of Paul’s family, particularly in view of his occupation?

8. What Paul’s religious and educational advantages?

9. What New Testament evidences are there of Paul’s general educational advantages?

10. What do we know about Paul’s family as seen in the New Testament?

11. Was Paul a rabbi? If so, where did he probably exercise his functions as a rabbi?

12. What is the meaning of the phrase, "Pharisee of the Pharisees?"

13. Did Paul ever meet Jesus before his death? If not, how account for it in view of the interest and publicity of the last week of our Lord’s life?

14. What was Paul’s character before conversion?

15. Was he a married man, and what the proof?



1 Timothy 1:18-2:7

At the close of the last chapter we were considering Paul’s use of his Christian experience, and eight instances of its use were cited. In that connection a promise was made to begin this chapter with a bit of history illustrating the last two instances of its use, namely, 1 Timothy 1:12-13 and 2 Timothy 1:12. The history is this:

The Southern Baptist Convention held its first Texas session at Jefferson. On Sunday two remarkable sermons were preached. Rev. W. W. Landrum, a licensed preacher, was pastor-elect of the First Church, Shreveport, Louisiana. The church called for his ordination to take place Sunday at 11:00 A.M. at Jefferson during the Convention session there, in order that Dr. Broadus and Dr. S. Landrum, the father of the candidate, might serve on the presbytery. The Convention, of course, did not ordain him, but some thought it would have a misleading effect to have the ordination away from the home church and at an important Convention hour. Dr. Broadus preached the ordination sermon from the common version of 1 Timothy 1:12-13, the very passage we are now considering. It was a great and very impressive sermon.

From memory I give you his outline:

1. Christ puts men into the ministry: "Putting me into this ministry."

2. Christ confers ability on his ministers: "Enabling me."

3. This should be a matter of thankfulness to the minister: "I thank Christ Jesus my Lord."

4. Especially when the preacher was formerly Christ’s enemy: "Putting me into this ministry who was before a blasphemer, persecutor, and injurious."

Sunday night the Convention sermon was preached by Dr. Taylor, newly-elected pastor of the Colosseum Place Church, New Orleans, Louisiana. His text was another relating of Paul’s experience: 2 Timothy 1:12: "For which cause I suffer all these things; yet I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed; and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day."

I have italicized the words stressed in the sermon. Again from memory I give the outline:

1. Paul called to be a great sufferer: "I suffer all these things," citing in illustration Acts 9:16; 1 Corinthians 4:9; 2 Corinthians 4:10-11; 2 Corinthians 6:4-5; 2 Corinthians 11:23-29. This point was exceedingly pathetic.

2. The cause of his willingness to suffer: "For this cause I suffer"; he found in the preceding verse: "Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

3. Called to suffering but not to shame: "Yet I am not ashamed."

4. Reasons for not being ashamed:

(1) "I know him whom I have believed." Here the preacher, evincing great classical research, contrasted the vague guesses of the wisest heathen in their philosophies, with the certitude of Christian knowledge.

(2) "Whom I have believed." Here, with great power, the preacher showed that the object of faith was a person and not a proposition, contrasting the difference between a burdened sinner resting his weary head on a sympathetic heart, and resting it on the cold marble of an abstract proposition.

(3) "I know whom I have believed," Here he made plain that faith is not blind credulity, but based on assured knowledge and therefore reasonable.

(4) "And I am persuaded that he is able to guard." Here the assurance of faith.

(5) "To guard that which I have committed unto him." Here faith, having believed a well-known person, commits a treasure to his keeping, being assured of his ability to guard it. The thought is clear and impressive that faith is not only believing, but a committal – the making of deposit – even one’s own assaulted body and soul – the life of the man himself – to be hid with Christ in God.

(6) "Against that day." The great judgment day – not only guarded in all of life’s trials, sorrows, and sufferings, and in death’s dread hour, but even in the last great assize, where before the great white throne final assignment is made to one’s eternal state, home, and companionship.

The two sermons were much discussed as to their relative greatness. The general verdict was that Dr. Broadus’ was the greater to the hearer, and Dr. Taylor’s was the greater to the reader, the one being much more impressive in delivery than the other.

I have given this bit of history not only to illustrate the force of the closing point in my last discussion on the uses made of Paul’s Christian experience, but because the sermons were masterpieces of homiletics.

In resuming the exposition of our great paragraph, attention is called to two distinct reasons assigned for Paul’s conversion.

The Two Poles of Salvation. The first reason assigned – latter clause of verse 1 Timothy 1:13: "Howbeit I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." A blasphemer, a persecutor, an injurious man may obtain mercy if these things are done in spiritual ignorance and unbelief. This answers the question: "Who are salvable?" to wit: all sinners on earth who have not committed the unpardonable sin – eternal sin – pardonable because not wilfully against the light, knowledge, and conviction of the Holy Spirit. Let the reader consult the teacher’s exposition of Hebrews 10:26-31, and compare Matthew 12:32; Mark 3:28-30; 1 John 5:16-18. Paul was conscientious in all hw blasphemies and persecution. He verily thought he was doing God’s service. Conscience is that inward monitor, divinely implanted, which pronounces verdict on good and evil. It is a mistake to say that it is the creature of education. Education itself being only development and training of what is already potentially present, can have no creative power. Conscience, unenlightened, may become the servant of education and environment. Its light may be darkened; it may become callous and even seared as with a hot iron, but it never vacates its witness box or judicial seat in either Christian, Jew, or heathen (Romans 2:14-15; Romans 9:1; Acts 26:9).

The second reason assigned is in 1 Timothy 1:16: "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering, for an example of them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life." This is the other pole of salvation. The chief of sinners, the outside man of the salvable, was saved to show the utmost extent of longsuffering mercy as an example of encouragement to despairing men less guilty than the chief, to believe on Christ unto eternal life.

Now, the use that we make of that last reason is this: We may take that case of Paul as the outside man, the chief of sinners, and holding it up as a model, as an example, go to any sinner this side of hell – even if his feet be on the quivering, crumbling brink of the abyss – and preach salvation to him, and if he despairs and says, "I am too great a sinner," then we may say, "Behold, God saves the outside man, nearer to hell than you are."

In order to get the full benefit of that thought we must conceive of all sinners that are salvable put in a row, single file, and graded according to the heinousness of their guilt – here the least guilty, there the next most guilty, and the next and the next, and away yonder at the end of the line is that outside man, Paul, right next to hell. Now Christ comes and reaches out a long arm of grace over that extended line and snatches the outside man from the very jaws of hell, and holds him up and says, "Is not this brand plucked from the burning?"

I have used that example just the way God intended it to be used in preaching in jails and penitentiaries and city slums, and in coming in contact with the toughest and roughest and most criminal sinners in the world.

The next question is: Wherein is Paul the chief of sinners? Quite a number of men have disputed my contention that Paul was really the greatest sinner, leaving out of course the unpardonable sin. He was a blasphemer) but that did not make him the chief of sinners, for others have been more blasphemous. He was a persecutor, but that did not make him the chief of sinners, for other men have been greater persecutors : Nero, Louis XIV of France, and especially that spiritual monster, Philip II of Spain. Any one of these men persecuted beyond anything that Paul ever did. He was an injurious man, but other men have been more injurious than he. What, then, constituted him the chief of sinners, the outside man? My answer is: He was a Pharisee of the Pharisees in his self-righteousness – the extremest Pharisee that ever lived – and self-righteousness stands more opposed to the righteousness of Christ than does either persecution or blasphemy. To illustrate: The Pharisee who came into the Temple to pray, and with uplifted eyes, faces God and says, "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men – especially this poor publican. I fast twice every week; I pay tithes of all I possess." No praying in that. It is the feigned prayer of the selfrighteous man, denying that he is a sinner. He denies any need of regeneration and sanctification by the Holy Spirit. He denies any need of the cleansing by the blood of Jesus Christ: “I need no Saviour; I stand on my own record, and answer for myself at the bar of God." The self-righteous man would come to the very portals of heaven over which is written: "No unclean thing shall enter here," march right in and stand unabashed in the presence of the Cherubim who sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty," and brazenly say to God’s face: "I am as holy as thou art. I am as white as snow. I was never in bondage. I have no need to be forgiven." That made Paul the chief of sinners; nobody ever came up to him on self-righteousness. Now, if this chief of sinners, this outside man, be saved, that gives us the other pole of salvation.

Proceeding with the discussion, we note what 1 Timothy 1:17 says: "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." How is God more immortal, more eternal than the soul of man? If the soul of man is deathless, then how is he more immortal? There was a beginning to that soul, but there was no beginning to the being of God. How is God invisible? The Scriptures declare that no man bath seen God at any time, or can see him. The only way in which he has ever been seen has been in his image, Jesus Christ. Jesus has revealed him; so when we look at Jesus we see the Father, and in the teachings of Jesus we hear the Father. But there will come a time, when we are completely saved, when the affairs of the world are wound up, then we shall see God; "God himself shall tabernacle with men, and they shall see his face." That was the glorious thought in Job’s declaration: "Oh, that my words were now written, that they were graven with iron and lead in a rock forever, for I know that my Redeemer liveth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold." In quoting this passage, I stand upon the King James Version: "In my body" – not "apart from my body." We do not see God in our disembodied soul, but when our soul and body are redeemed, then God himself becomes visible. The context and all the scriptures in other connections oppose the Revised Version on this passage. See Revelation 22:4.

1 Timothy 1:18 gives a consequential charge to Timothy. It reads: "This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way unto thee, that by them thou mayest war a good warfare." What is the meaning of the prophecy that led the way to Timothy? In Acts 13 in the church of Antioch there were certain prophets, and it was revealed unto these prophets that Saul and Barnabas should be set apart, or ordained, to the foreign mission work. Later Barnabas drops out, and Paul needs another and better Barnabas and some prophet, either Paul himself or Silas, receives & revelation that that boy, Timothy, who was led to Christ in Lystra or in Derbe, should be ordained to go with Paul to the foreign mission work.

The second part of the charge is, "holding faith and a good conscience." Do not turn faith loose; don’t say, "I once believed in Jesus Christ, now I do not." Hold on to a good conscience. Conscience is never good until it is purified with the application of the blood of Jesus Christ in regeneration. The lamp of the Lord shines with a clear light upon every action, right or wrong, as long as it remains good. But when we begin to trifle with the conscience – when we do things we are conscientiously opposed to, our conscience will become callous. Therefore, let us hold to our faith, and hold to a good conscience.

In the next verse: "Which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith, of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme." Now here we have a shipwreck – not of faith – but concerning the faith. These men turned loose the faith, blinding their consciences. Now the question comes up: On what specific point did these two men turn loose the faith? 2 Timothy 2:16 ff answers: "But shun profane babblings, for they will proceed further in ungodliness, and their word will eat as doeth a gangrene (or cancer), of whom is Hymenaeua and Philetus (here we get one of them with another added); men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." Men in Ephesus denied that there was any such thing as the resurrection of the body – that it was scientifically impossible – and taught that the resurrection was the conversion of the soul. They have followers today. Some who claim to be teachers of preachers virtually deny the resurrection of the body. A preacher of the annual sermon before the Southern Baptist Convention, taught that Christ assumed his resurrection body simply for identification, and that after he was identified it was eliminated, and it did not concern us to know what became of it.

Now, what does Paul say about the denial of the resurrection? He calls it profane babbling that will progress to greater ungodliness: "And their word will eat as doth a gangrene." We know how a cancer eats while we are sleeping, commencing perhaps in the corner of the eye, and after a while it will eat the eye out, then the side of the face, then it will eat the nose off, and then the lips, and keep on eating. That was the shipwreck concerning the faith made by Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus.

The next question is: What chance did Paul give these men to be saved? The text says that he turned them over to Satan that they should be taught not to blaspheme. In other words, the true Christian in the fold is hedged against Satan – he cannot get to him – he cannot put the weight of his little finger on him without asking permission; he asked permission to worry Job and Peter. Whenever a sheep on the inside gets too unruly and he is put on the outside and hears the wolves howl a while, he will bleat around to come back in. But if one turns an unruly hog out of the pen, he will strike for the woods and never come back. Peter, in the exercise of his apostolic power, could strike Ananias dead. Paul, in the same power, struck Elymas blind, but where the object of this power is to save, offenders were temporarily turned over to the buffeting of Satan as in the case of the offending Corinthian. This man had taken his father’s wife, but the discipline led him to repentance and he was glad to get back in.

1 Timothy 2 gives direction concerning public prayer worship. The first injunction is that prayers, supplications, and intercessions be made for all men – not only for our Baptist brethren, but our Methodist brethren; not only for the Christians, but for those on the outside. Pray for all rulers, all people in authority – presidents, governors, senators, city councils, and police – ah, but some of them do need it! Now, he gives the reasons – it is important to see what the reasons are: (1) Pray for these rulers that we may live a quiet and orderly life. If they are bad, we won’t have an easy time. If the administrators of law be themselves lawless in their speech, every bad man construes it into permission to do what he pleases. When the wicked are in power the righteous suffer. (2) It is good and acceptable in the sight of God that we should do it. God wants us to pray for all people. (3) And the third reason is the great reason: That God would have all men to be saved. Let us not squirm at that, but for a little while let us forget about election and predestination, and just look this scripture squarely in the face: God desires the salvation of all men. In this connection I commend that sermon in my first book of sermons on "God and the Sinner." Note in order its several proof texts.

God asks, Ezekiel 18:23: "Have I any pleasure at all in the death of the wicked that they should die and not live?" Ezekiel 33:11, God takes an oath: "As I live saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that he will turn from his evil way and live. Then why will you die? saith the Lord." Then we come to the passage here: "God would have all men to be saved." "And God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." In Luke 15 the accusation made against him was: "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them"; and he answered: "I came to seek and to save that which was lost." And the text here says that he gave his life a ransom for all. That all is as big here as elsewhere. He would have all men to be saved; pray for all men because he would have all men to be saved, and because Christ gave his life as a ransom for all. Then this scripture: "Jesus Christ tasted death for every man." If there is still doubt, look at the Lord’s Commission: "Go ye, and make disciples of all nations"; " Go ye, and preach the gospel to every creature." Finally, consider the teaching of Peter: "We must account that the long suffering of God in delaying the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is that all men should have space to repent and come to the knowledge of truth." That’s the construction he puts upon the apparent tardiness of the final advent of our Lord. However, when we study election and predestination, we should study and preach them just as they are taught. Let us not say, "I don’t know just how to harmonize them with these other teachings."

God did not appoint us harmonizers of his word.

As Dr. Broadus used to say, let the word of God mean just what it wants to mean, every time. Preach both of them. These lines are apparently parallel, but they may come together. If on a map parallels of longitude come together at the poles, why not trust God to bring together in himself and in eternity his apparent parallels of doctrine? Up yonder beyond the clouds they will come together. That is my own method of preaching.

Now, we come to a very important part of this prayer, verse 1 Timothy 2:5: "For there is one God, one mediator between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus." Oh, if we could but learn thoroughly the relation of this passage to the doctrine of prayer: The Old Testament gives us the type of it: The victim is sacrificed; the high priest takes the blood and starts into the holy of holies to sprinkle it upon the mercy seat. Then he takes a coal of fire from the altar of that sacrifice and kindles the frankincense, which represents the prayers of the people. The high priest alone takes the prayers of the people there into the holy of holies: "Father, behold the atoning blood. On account of that blood, hear these petitions of the people and answer them."

The thought is that in offering up prayers to God, there is only one mediator. Let us not kneel down and say, "Oh, virgin Mary, intercede for me with Jesus, that he may hear my prayers." Or, ’’Oh, Peter, John, Paul, James, ye saints, help me in getting my prayers up to heaven." There is just one mediator between God and man, and one of the most blasphemous doctrines of the papacy is prayer to saints. Saints may pray for sinners, but saints are not allowed to mediate prayers nor themselves be prayed unto. We are not mediators with Jesus. There is just one case in the Bible where a prayer was made to a saint, and that prayer was not answered. The rich man lifted up his eyes and seeing Abraham afar off, said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me."


1. What bit of history illustrates the uses of Paul’s Christian experience and furnishes two models in homiletics?

2. What are two reasons are assigned in the text for Paul’s conversion and show how they constitute the poles of salvation?

3. What use in preaching may be made the second reason?

4. Wherein was Paul the chief of sinners?

5. How alone is God now visible?

6. When and to whom will he be directly visible?

7. Explain the prophecy that led the way unto Timothy?

8. Wherein did Hymenaeus and Alexander make shipwreck concerning the faith & what the difference between "shipwreck of faith" &"concerning faith"?

9. Show in two respects how this heresy worked evil.

10. What was the power given to apostles and what cases of its use: (1) To destruction. (2) In order to save. (3) And what illustration of the test of "turning over to Satan." (4) What notable examples of "turning over to Satan" where it worked for good to its subject?

11. What is the topic of 1 Timothy 2?

12. For whom should we pray and what the general reasons given?

13. Cite other passages in line with 1 Timothy 2:4.

14. Can you satisfactorily harmonize these passages with the doctrines of election and predestination?

15. What will you do with doctrines you can’t harmonize?

16. What is the bearing of "One Mediator" on the doctrine of prayer?

17. What is the Old Testament typical illustration?

18. What are errors of the papacy at this point?

19. What one case in the Bible of praying to a saint?

20. What is the result and what is the inference?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". "Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bhc/1-timothy-1.html.
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