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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 1

Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy ScriptureOrchard's Catholic Commentary

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Verse 1


The Name— These three epistles are usually grouped together under the title Pastoral Epistles, a name which fittingly describes their character, since they are not addressed to any church or individual in his private capacity, but to Timothy and Titus as pastors for their guidance in ruling the communities committed to their care. The use of the word pastoral in connexion with them goes back at least to the time of Thomas Aquinas (cf. Prol. to 2 Tim), but the modern practice of referring to them as the Pastorals may be traced to the course of lectures given at Halle University by Paul Anton in 1726-7, cf. Harrison, 13; Spicq, xxi.

The Occasion and Date of the Epistles— In the course of a general tour of the East, probably in the year a.d. 66, as St Paul was making his way up the coast of Asia Minor towards Macedonia he left Timothy at Ephesus to deal with a dangerous situation brought about by the activities of false teachers. 1 Tim was written during this journey, may be in Macedonia itself. No doubt St Paul was anxious because of the grave responsibilities resting on Timothy’s youthful shoulders, and so wished to renew his counsels and warning in writing. At this time too he wrote the epistle to Titus who was confronted in Crete with a situation very similar to that at Ephesus. 2 Tim was written shortly after the Apostle had been re-arrested, and taken back to Rome, while he was awaiting his final trial. Knowing that death was imminent he summoned Timothy to Rome by letter and at the same time renewed his warnings and counsels, urging him to courage in the faithful fulfilment of his pastoral charge. The Pastoral Epistles, therefore, help us to fill in the gap between the end of Acts and Paul’s death.

Timothy— Timothy, who belonged to Lystra in Lycaonia, was the son of a Jewish mother and a Gentile father. He was probably converted to the Christian faith along with Eunice, his mother, and Lois, his grandmother, during St Paul’s first missionary journey. When the latter revisited Lystra he resolved to make Timothy his companion in future missionary work. On account of the Jews Paul was careful to have his disciple circumcised in order to facilitate his work amongst the members of the Chosen Race with whom they were so frequently to make contact. From that time onwards he became the Apostle’s constant companion. As is shown by the frequent references to him in the epistles and by the important missions he accomplished (cf.1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 16:10), he enjoyed St Paul’s complete confidence: ’For I have no man so of the same mind, who with sincere affection is solicitous for you’, Philippians 2:20. During the first Roman imprisonment he was with his master and afterwards accompanied him as far as Ephesus on the last missionary journey. There he was left to take charge of the local church, cf.1 Timothy 1:3. In 2 Tim he is bidden to go to Rome before the winter, 4:21. Little is known of his later life as bishop of Ephesus.

Titus— Titus who was a Gentile was probably converted to the faith by St Paul who addresses him as his ’beloved son’, 1:4. He accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their journey to Jerusalem and, although the Judaizers demanded that he be circumcised, Paul resisted them; cf.Galatians 2:1ff. During the third missionary journey Titus was twice sent on urgent missions to Corinth and succeeded in restoring harmony between that Church and its Apostle, 2 Corinthians 7:13-15; 2 Corinthians 8:16-24, We lose sight of him after this until the time of the epistle addressed to him. This found him in Crete, where he had been entrusted with the organization of the Church, Titus 1:5. Later he was summoned to meet Paul at Nicopolis in Epirus and eventually during the final imprisonment he was sent to Dalmatia, 2 Timothy 4:10.

The Authenticity of the Pastoral Epistles— Their authenticity is not universally admitted today, cf. for example, * A. M. Farrer, "The Ministry in the NT", in The Apostolic Ministry, ed. K. E. Kirk, Oxford, 1946, p 160: ’Of course the Pastorals affect antiquity and apostolic authorship, and it is conceivable that in Titus the writer becomes suddenly conscious of the pose and puts in an equation between elders and bishops which he believes to have once obtained’. The arguments brought against their authenticity have been ably summarized by Harrison, whose thesis is that the epistles received their present shape at the hands, not of Paul, but of a Paulinist living in the early years of the second century’, p v. Briefly the difficulties may be grouped together under three headings: (i) The views attacked in the Pastorals are Gnostic in character and belong to a period later than St Paul. (ii) The Church organization implied is too advanced. (iii) The style and more especially the vocabulary are not the Apostle’s. On these points one may suggest the following considerations. (i) The historical background of the Pastorals does not require the developed Gnostic environment of the 2nd century. As indicated § 919d, the teachers mentioned in the epistles were for the most part Jews, and errors similar to theirs may be found described in Col, the authenticity of which is generally accepted, cf.Colossians 2:4, Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:16, Colossians 2:23. Points of similarity between their teaching and that of the later Gnostics may be admitted. (ii) Church organization found in the Pastorals, far from being too advanced, is exactly what would be expected at the period when they purport to have been written, i.e. at the end of Paul’s gives commands and guidance to his representatives. What we should expect and what we actually find is the new position in which these representatives now find themselves. Since Paul is near the end of his life they are made to feel that for the future the responsi-

bility which he had borne so long is to be theirs. They are to succeed him and carry his burden. Such is the setting into which the Pastorals fit. Also the absence of a clearly defined hierarchy in the Pastorals, such as certainly existed in the ond cent, is another indication that they were written in the 1st century. (iii) The Style of the Pastorals— The Apostle’s style varies, the earlier epistles differing in style from the Captivity epistles, and it has been remarked that it would not be easy to prove that 1 Thess, Col and 1 Cor all come from the same pen. The Pastorals, although possessing traits common to Phil have a style of their own, simpler, clearer, more rhythmic and balanced than the other Paulines and they lack those long difficult periods. The language is more technical and shows a wider Hellenistic vocabulary.

However, if we take account of the time when they were written, of their purpose and of their recipients, we should expect a change from Paul’s other writings and precisely that change in style actually found in the Pastorals. Here, for instance, we have a man advanced in years, who recalls the past, as older men like to do (1 Timothy 1:12-17; 2 Timothy 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:6; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:10-12; Titus 1:5) and, mellowed by age, thinks of the future, by love, advice, and counsel urging his younger disciples to continue his work. He is no longer writing under the stress of everyday events and publicly solving the problems of harassed churches, but is advising trusted disciples about safeguarding the Church of the future. He is not now concerned to argue and to prove with his earlier impetuosity, but rather to exhort and to guide. His style is therefore more measured and calm, without declamation or rhetorical argument and in consequence the syntax, too, shows a change, e.g. the absence of particles, ??a, ??+??, (absent also from Col and Phil but present in Gal) also ?de, ?d??, p??+?, cf. Spicq cxv. It would be a matter for surprise if a man of dynamic character like Paul, capable of the differing style of Phil and Gal, and of adapting himself to such contrasted situations as those found at Athens and Ephesus (Acts 17:22-31; Acts 20:18-35) a man, moreover of long and varied ministry and one who had spent the previous four or five years in the new environment of Rome, did not show some changes in his later writings, the Pastorals. Plato whose literary evolution in old age is even greater than that of Paul, shows a similar tendency to a more uniform style and a newer and wider vocabulary. In some respects the same has been shown to be the case with Schiller, Goethe, and Shakespeare. St Paul in thus adapting himself to his new milieu and using his wider acquaintance with the Hellenistic world in presenting the Gospel message—as for instance using the pagan Hellenistic words ??µ?asía and e??+_s?ße?a in 1 Timothy 4:8 —sets us an example of turning current language and usage to good account in conveying Christian truth; cf. further Spicq, loc. cit. But though there is this natural change, the usual Pauline characteristics are there: the anacolutha and parentheses (1 Timothy 1:3-5; 10-12; Titus 1:1), the same love of compound words (cf. Spicq cviii, n. 3), the same lists and maxims (1 Timothy 2:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:2-4; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 1 Timothy 5:12 f.; 6:4 f.; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:8-10), the same antitheses (2 Timothy 1:7, 2 Timothy 1:12), the Hebraisms and metaphors from military life and sport and the same formulae of salutation.

The argument based on difference of vocabulary is more forceful. Harrison points out that the ’Pastorals consist of some 902 words of which 54 are proper names. Of the remaining 848, 306 or 36 per cent are not found in any of the ten Paulines’, 20. Further the vocabulary bears a striking resemblance to that of the Apostolic Fathers and Latin writers of the early 2nd cent., and hence, it is argued, would point to a 2nd cent. date. The list of Pauline hapax legomena is impressive, but it must not be used too forcefully, otherwise it might prove three separate authors for the three epistles! The list includes words which occur in LXX and would therefore have been known to Paul; there are cognates to words used elsewhere by him and words which must have been current at that time but which he had no occasion to use previously, e.g. terms dealing with Church organization and erroneous doctrines. That new subject-matter does give occasion for new vocabulary is clear, for example, from I Cor where 200 of the 310 hapax legomena occur in sections treating of new subjects. Parry gives the number of hapax legomena in the Pastorals connected with new subjects as 286. In fact, of the 306 Pastoral hapax legomena 131 occur elsewhere in the NT (125 of these also occur in writings before a.d. 50) and of the remaining 175, at least 153 can be quoted before a.d. 50. The probability is then that the few remaining words are previous to and not later than that date since words may be long current in daily use before they appear in literary works, cf. F. R. Montgomery Hitchcock, "Tests for the Pastorals", JTS 30 ( 1929) 279. Spicq notes that only 18 words have not been found in writers before a.d. 100 (p cx). Difference in expression and width of vocabulary are also to be expected from the Apostle’s contact with Latin idiom and Roman Greek, thus e??a??st?+? gives place to ????? ??? (gratiam habeo), d?ó to d?’ ?? ?tía?(quam ob causam) and the frequent p?stò? ? ?ó??? corresponds to the Latin proverb, ’verum illud verbum’, cf. Spicq, cxiv. This Latin influence would also account for the similarity to the pagan Latin writers and the Apostolic Fathers, since Clement, Hermas, and Justin were Christians of Rome and therefore subject to the same influences as Paul. Nor should one neglect the similarities between the vocabularies of the Pastorals and earlier Epistles for, of the 612 words they all have in common, 38 are proper to Paul and are not found elsewhere in the NT. In addition many favotirite expressions of St Paul are to be found throughout the Pastorals, e.g. ?ídaµe? d? ?t?, eì de t?? and see the full list in Spicq cxvii. There remains, lastly, the possibility that Paul used a secretary; Luke has been suggested since he was in close contact with him at this time and so may have been responsible for the more ordered and Hellenistic style.

Finally it is impossible to explain how these epistles came to be assigned to St Paul if they did not actually belong to him. The external evidence for their Pauline character is overwhelming: there are the explicit statements of Irenaeus, Adv. Haer., I, 1, Prol.; III, 3; 4; 14, PG 7, 438; 755; 854; 914; the Muratorian Fragment, lines 60 ff.; Clement of Alexandria, Strom., 1:1; 14; II, 11, PG 8, 690; 758; 990; Tertullian, C. Marc., V, 21; De Praescr., 25; De Pudic., 13, PL 2, 20; 43; 44; 556; 1057; Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., III; 3:5, PG 20, 218; 270. Implicit testimony comes from earlier times. In fact Spicq argues that there is a reference in 2 Peter 3:15 to 1 Timothy 1:16.2 Pet alludes to a passage of Paul’s regarding Christ’s longsuffering with sinners. Although a number of texts from various epistles have been suggested as apposite, none is more suitable than 1 Timothy 1:16 where the Apostle sets forth his own case as the classic example of our Lord’s long-suffering, cf. Spicq xcv. But much will depend upon the date assigned to 2 Pet, cf. J. Chaine, Les Epîtres Catholiques ( Paris, 1939) 28 ff. In Clement of Rome’s Epistle to the Corinthians there are more than 25 passages which show close correspondence with the Pastorals; Ignatius of Antioch, obviously with 1 Timothy 1:4 in mind, writes: ’Be not deceived with strange doctrines nor with old fables which are unprofitable’, Magn., 8:1, cf. also Smyrn., 10, 2 and 2 Timothy 1:16; Polycarp not only shows his acquaintance with the Pastorals, but also presupposes that his readers are familiar with them, cf.Phil-2. 4:1 and 1 Timothy 6:7, 1 Timothy 6:10. The force of tradition regarding the Pauline authorship of the Epistles is so strong that in view of it the Biblical Commission has laid it down that they are to be held as Pauline. It also states that this opinion is not weakened by the difficulties commonly advanced from differences of style and language, cf. §51l-o; SCSS 3, 352 f.

The Doctrine of the Pastorals. The Preservation of True Doctrine— At Ephesus and

Crete, where Timothy and Titus exercised their episcopal ministry, false teachers, for the most part of Jewish origin, were spreading error of a pernicious character. Their teaching was not markedly heretical, but in the nature of misleading conjecture or vain quibbling in the Jewish rabbinical style: ’From which things some going astray, are turned aside unto vain babbling, desiring to be teachers of the law’, 1 Timothy 1:6-7. The consequences, however, were grave; strife and contention were engendered and threatened the unity and harmony of the communities, cf.2 Timothy 2:23; faith became enfeebled so that some of the faithful began to fall away, and already there appear traces of the erroneous practices characteristic of the later Gnostics and Manicheans; cf.1 Timothy 4:3. The position was aggravated by the motive actuating the false teachers, which was ’filthy lucre’, Titus 1:10 f. To counteract this evil the evil Apostle relied upon a zealous, carefully chosen ministry jealously guarding the ’deposit of faith’ and handing on ’sound doctrine’ to communities of well-ordered life. The sound doctrine of which St Paul stresses the need is that received from the Apostles: ’Hold the form of sound words which thou hast heard of me’,2 Timothy 1:13 f. It is ’sound’, i.e.health-giving (???a????+?sa) in ’contrast to the ’canker’ of error, 2 Timothy 2:17. Such is its importance for the well-being of the community, that Timothy was urged to grasp it firmly and retain it, to preach it carefully and publicly without fear or favour, to select diligently fellow workers who in their turn would transmit it faithfully, cf.1 Timothy 4:11, 1 Timothy 4:13, 1 Timothy 4:16; 1 Timothy 5:22; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:2; Titus 2:1f. St Paul was anxious to secure this faithful transmission of the Truth because of the dangers which he knew to lie ahead and against which he uttered repeated warnings, cf.2 Timothy 3:1ff.; 4:3. In a striking passage illustrative of his inspiring faith he described the Church herself as the ’pillar and ground of truth’, 1 Timothy 3:15. She is a witness, she safeguards the truth, explains its hidden mysteries and preserves the moral life which is necessarily based upon it. Nevertheless, although the Church is a fortress against error, much depends upon the life and character of her ministers, and so he stresses the need for them to maintain high ideals, preserve good morals, and preach sound doctrine, 1 Timothy 3:1ff.; Titus 1:5ff. With impressive urgency he concludes, 1 Tim: ’O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called, which some professing have erred concerning the faith’. In our modern way of speech St Paul is teaching that Christ’s doctrine must be handed on and will be uaranteed by an infallible Church guided by the Spirit of God, which now as ever has need of apostolic and worthy priests.

Bishop and Presbyter— While dealing with the organization of the communities St Paul makes mention of the presbyters and of the office and qualities of a bishop, episcopos. What light do the Pastorals throw upon the difficult Episcopos-Presbyter question and what distinction do they make in their use of these terms? Whatever view is taken of the identity of presbyters and episcopoi in the NT, the existence of bishops in the modern sense in Apostolic times is in no way in doubt. For example, there is no doubt that Timothy and Titus themselves were bishops since they ordain, 1 Timothy 5:19-22; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Timothy 3:8-10; they are responsible for sound doctrine and judge the presbyters, 1 Timothy 1:3; 3:1-15; 4:11; 5:19; 6:2; 2 Timothy 4:2-5. It is likely that in the beginning the Apostles kept in their own hands the control of the churches they founded, sending their fellow missionaries who possessed episcopal authority, legati a latere as it were, to represent them, and the presbyter-episcopoi would assist in their work under their direction in the localities to which they were appointed.

First of all it can be admitted that from the beginning of the 2nd cent., in Asia Minor at least, the title episcopos was reserved to the ecclesiastical superior now known as bishop, cf. Ignatius of Antioch, Philippians 1:1; Eph 2; Magn 2, and that presbyter corresponded with the modern use of priest. But it cannot be shown that this usage held in the 1st cent., and different interpretations are given of the passages in the NT where these terms occur. Catholic opinions may be reduced to five classes: (i) The two words correspond to the modern use of bishop and priest. (ii) The two words were used indiscriminately to include bishops and priests. (iii) That all, whether episcopoi or presbyters, were bishops. (iv) That the words were synonymous and indicated simple priests only. In favour of this view it has been pointed out that nowhere in the NT do we find the expression ’bishops and priests I (or its equivalent) as representing two distinct orders or classes. On the contrary the names are closely connected and refer to the same ministers. This would explain the omission of presbyters in Philippians 1:1; 1 Tim 3. In Acts 20:17ff. Paul addresses the presbyters of Ephesus as episcopoi, though they were not bishops, since he later left Timothy there to exercise episcopal duties. The reason for the title on this occasion would be that these presbyters exercised an ’episcopacy’, i.e. the function or duty of ’supervising’ or ’shepherding’ the local community. Similarly in 1 Peter 5:1f. the presbyters are urged to fulfil their office of episcopoi. The Apostle orders Titus ( 1:5) to set up presbyters in each city, and in speaking of their necessary virtues and character lays down what is demanded of an episcopos, a way of reasoning which shows that the episcopos is a presbyter. The parallelism of Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:1ff. and the lists of qualities there given show the close connexion between the episcopos of Timothy and the presbyter of Titus. (Both passages are referred to in the ordination of a priest and the consecration of a bishop, and both are used in the first nocturn of a Confessor Bishop.) (v) The latest view, that of Spicq, 84 ff., is a modification of iv. In his opinion the words were at one time used one for the other, but there had been a gradual adaptation of names corresponding with the progressive evolution of the hierarchy. The word ?p?s??pt?µa?, for instance, at first denoted one aspect of an Apostle’s ministry, namely the periodic visitation and vigilant supervision of the various communities; cf.Acts 15:36. Then the name episcopos was employed gradually for priests who exercised the pastoral ministry in the local churches; cf.Acts 20:28 and Philippians 1:1. By the time of the Pastorals the name episcopos had become a technical term for a special kind of presbyter, namely a presiding one, who fulfilled a special function, the episcopacy, whose duty it was to preside and in whom special qualities were sought. Thus the way was prepared for the still later use of the word episcopos to denote the rulers of the Church, the successors of the Apostles, i.e. bishops in the modern sense of the word. For an interesting contribution to the discussion by an Anglican theologian, see G. Dix, The Apostolic Ministry, 1946.

Evidence for this view is found by Spicq in the Pastorals. Thus in 1 Timothy 3:4-5; Titus 1:7, the principal function of the episcopos is to preside or exercise rule (p???st?µe???), like the father of a family or the administrator of a household, and so a candidate for this office must show signs of an aptitude for exercising authority. It is moreover the first time that the case of an episcopos is dealt with explicitly and not merely by way of passing allusion. He is now the holder of an office sufficiently well defined to be the object of a definite desire, an office expressed by the abstract term ?p?s??p?, 1 Timothy 3:1. This use of the word has no parallel in the NT, except in Acts 1:20 where, however, it means the apostolic office. It is also the first time that episcopos, immediately related to the office, is used in the singular and that the person receives his appointment by one of Paul’s representatives after due examination of his suitability. In other words episcopos has become a technical term indicating one who holds a specific office and exercises a particular function. But it is not used with the precise meaning

which it had in the 2nd cent., i.e. to denote the monarchical episcopate, since there is no indication of any subordination of presbyters to the episcopos. ’In fact it would appear’, ’says Spicq, ’that the episcopos is a presbyter, although every presbyter is no longer an episcopos in the new meaning of the term. In other words the presbyter-episcopos has no quality essentially different from that of all other presbyters, nor even, in all likelihood, a privileged dignity—and that is why the desire (??e???) must be stimulated. But he does exercise a special function’. 93. Thus the office of ?p?s??p?, common to all presbyters earlier at Ephesus and Philippi, is now reserved to one person specially qualified and, although all priests retain the authority previously exercised, there is but one who presides. His dignity is no greater than that of his fellow priests, but the duty he undertakes is more important, more extensive and charged with greater responsibility than that of the priests as a whole. This function of presiding is as yet vague, but from the analogy with profane literature, the LXX and the context of 1 Tim 3, we might conjecture that the holder of this office would preside at assemblies, direct prayers and take the chief part in worship. In a word, by the time of the Pastorals the word episcopos would indicate a priest who was ’primus inter pares’.

Christ’s Mediatorship— Although it is true that the Apostle is concerned in these epistles with foiling the attempts made to undo his work, he does, as indeed he must, touch upon those essentials of the Christian faith which occur so frequently in his other epistles. In 1 Timothy 2:5ff. he speaks of Christ’s mediatorship showing how he exercises an efficacious mission because, on the one hand he was sent by God and, on the other, is man’s representative; in the hypostatic union two natures are united in one person through whom God and man are brought together in reconciliation: ’For there is one God and one mediator of God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself a redemption for all’. The word ’gave’ emphasizes Christ’s love and obedience, the voluntariness of the act by which he gave his life a ransom to secure our freedom from Satan’s thraldom. This idea is developed in Titus 2:14, where the concept of ransom is carried further still to its ultimate effects in us: ’that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and might cleanse to himself a people acceptable, a pursuer of good works’; cf. 1 Timothy 1:15. Another important aspect of the Redemption stressed in the Pastorals is God’s will to save all men. Since man after the Fall could not of himself regain his lost status, God had to come to his aid. This he did and extended succour to all who responded to his call, cf.1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 Timothy 3:16. Other important points of doctrine may be briefly mentioned, we must offer prayers for all (2:1); for the living and the dead (2 Timothy 1:18); the qualities necessary in candidates for orders (Titus 1:5ff.; 1 Timothy 3:1ff.); the apostolate of good example (1 Timothy 4:12); the dangers of the active life if divorced from the interior life and without due regard for spiritual perfection: ’Our Lord’demands in explicit fashion from all those whom he associates with is apostolate, that not only do they maintain their virtue, but that they make progress in it. The proof exists in every page of the Epistles of St Paul to Timothy and Titus, and in the appeals of the Apocalypse to the Bishops of Asia’, Dom Chautard , O.C.R., The Soul of the Apostolate ( Dublin, 1937)

Verses 2-20


3-20 The Safeguarding of True Doctrine— Immediately the Apostle presses forward to express the thoughts uppermost in his mind which concern, first and foremost, the urgent need ’of restraining false teachers and so preventing the spread of false doctrine and practice.

3. Characteristically he begins with an unfinished sentence; in his anxiety to deal with the repression of errors he leaves aside the directions to be given to Timothy to which he returns in ch 2; cf. 2:1: ’I desire therefore. . . .’

4. Fables and Endless Genealogies— cf. 4:7; 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16, 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9. Some think that these were part of some teaching similar to that of the later Gnostics, a sort of pre-Gnosticism, referring to successive generations of aeons or angelic beings from the creator of the material universe. More probably Paul has in mind Jewish speculations which added legends and spurious pedigrees to the OT narrative. The apocryphal Book of Jubilees is an excellent example of the futile speculation he is attacking. He is obviously not concerned here with formal heresies which would have been denounced in sterner tones, but rather with vain and idle questions, quibbling about the Law, all of which was either misleading or to no purpose.

5. ’The Commandment’—This is either the charge given to Timothy or the Divine Law, the Christian Dispensation itself. ’Unfeigned Faith’—a sincere faith free from any surreptitious compromising with Jewish doctrines and practices.

6. It appears that these false teachers at Ephesus concerned themselves with the Mosaic Law and the part it should play in Christian life. Their knowledge of the law and their attempts to apply it were at fault.

9. ’The law is not made for the just man’—St Paul turns aside to discuss the true role of the law, which is to restrain sinners by making them conscious of and giving them a true knowledge of their sins.

10. ’Who defile themselves with mankind’—who sin against nature. ’Men stealers’—slave-dealers or kidnappers. ’Sound doctrine’—Note St Paul’s insistence on a body of truths to be accepted and guarded, cf.1 Thessalonians 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:1ff.

12-17 Personal Digression— The mention of the Gospel leads him to consider what he owes to God who has made him a minister of the New Covenant. He recalls how he, a sinner and persecutor, has been considered trustworthy and appointed to Christ’s ministry. Thoughts such as these were intended to encourage Timothy and all his followers, to spur them on to greater efforts so as not to disappoint him who had placed such trust in them. Paul’s vocation was the supreme example of God’s long-suffering and lovingkindness. Who but the Apostle himself could have been responsible for this extremely personal message? It is in itself a guarantee of the authenticity of the passage. /par/par14. The change wrought in him was complete; his life was flooded with divine grace, along with faith and love abundantly bestowed. /par/par15. ’A faithful saying’—This phrase, which occurs several times in the Pastorals, serves to confirm the truth or reliability of a statement: ’It is a true saying’. The saying in this instance is some familiar aphorism which stresses our Lord’s work of salvation while at the same time indicating his pre-existence and Incarnation. /par/par16. ’For the information of them that believe’—The lesson or moral to be drawn is that after the mercy shown to the Apostle none should despair. Paul should serve as a typical instance or pattern of the way Christ would deal with others. /par/par18. ’This precept’— the charge given to Timothy. ’The prophecies going before on thee’—probably revelations made either to the Apostle himself or through Christian prophets (cf. 13:1 ff.) regarding Timothy’s zeal and fitness for the ministry. St Paul recalls the prophecies to inspire him with confidence. /par/par20. ’ Hymenaeus’, whose name occurs again in 2 Timothy 2:17, was responsible for the spread of false doctrine, particularly concerning the resurrection. ’Alexander’ may be the coppersmith of 2 Timothy 4:14 who grievously wronged the Apostle. ’Delivered up to Satan’—some form of excommunication, cf.1 Corinthians 5:4f. ’That they may learn not to blaspheme’—That they may be taught (by correction) not to blaspheme.

Bibliographical Information
Orchard, Bernard, "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". Orchard's Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/boc/1-timothy-1.html. 1951.
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