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Bible Commentaries

International Critical Commentary NT

1 Timothy 1

Verses 1-99

The Greeting

1:1-2. I Paul, writing with all the authority of an Apostle of Christ Jesus, and in obedience to the direct commandment of God who has saved us from our sins, and of Jesus Christ, who is the object of our hope, send this letter to you Timothy, with all the confidence which a father feels in a true son in the faith; and I ask God, the Father of us all, and Christ Jesus our Lord, to give you grace for your work, to aid you in your difficulties, and give you peace at heart.

The greeting is formal and elaborate; it is partly personal to Timothy (γνησίῳ τέκνῳ . . . ἔλεος), but also official �

χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ] In the other Epistles (Jas., Pet., Jude, Jn.) the order is Ἰης. Χρ., perhaps because to their writers the memory of the earthly life had been the first thing; in St. Paul the order is generally Χρ. Ἰης., perhaps because the knowledge of the Heavenly Messiah came before that of the earthly life; but there is no uniformity in him, though when he refers to facts of the earthly life the order is often Ἰης. Χρ. 6:3, II 2:8, 1 Corinthians 2:2, 1 Corinthians 2:3:11, 1 Corinthians 2:15:57, 2 Corinthians 8:9.


For a full examination of the usage, cf. I.C.C., Galatians, pp. 392 ff.

κατʼ ἐπιταγήν] ἐπιταγή, Paul only in N.T. (1 Corinthians 7:6, 1 Corinthians 7:25, 2 Corinthians 8:8, Titus 2:15); κατʼ ἐπιταγήν (Titus 1:3, Romans 16:26). It suggests a royal command which must be obeyed, cf. Esther 1:8, and was used of divine commands (cf. M.M. s.v.). Ramsay quotes κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ Κυρίου Τυράννου Διός (Inscr. Le Bas Waddington, No. 667). Here it refers primarily to the choice of Paul as an Apostle (2:7, Acts 22:14), though it may include the wider command of the King of all the ages (cf. 1:17, 6:15), revealing the message of salvation (Romans 16:26) and calling for obedience, cf. εἰς ὑπακοὴν πιστέως (Romans 1:5). It gives the commission in virtue of which he acts, and the rule and standard of his work. Paul writes because necessity is laid upon him (1 Corinthians 9:16-18); he is anxious to be able to report to his Lord, when He returns, κύριε, γέγονεν ὃ ἐπέταξας (Luke 14:22).

θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν] Possibly with an allusion to the heathen use of the title as applied to Zeus, Apollo, or Æsculapius (Titus 2:13 note) cf. Harnack, Exp. of Christianity, i. 2. 2;, but the phrase is Jewish, Deuteronomy 32:15, Psalms 24:5, Luke 1:47, Jude 1:25. By St. Paul it is applied to the Father in 1 Ti., to Christ only in 2 Ti. (1:10), to the Father and to Christ in Tit.: in the earlier Epistles only to Christ, Ephesians 5:23, Philippians 3:20, but cf. 1 Corinthians 1:21. Here it anticipates the thoughts of 1:15, 2:3, 4, 15, 4:10, 16.

τῆς ἔλπιδος ἡμῶν] On whom we place our hopes, whom we hope to see and to be like; cf. Colossians 1:27 Χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν, ἡ ἔλπις τῆς δόξης, and 1 John 3:2, 1 John 3:3. Cf. Psalms 64:6 ἐπάκουσον ἡμῶν ὁ θεὸς ὁ σωτὴρ ἡμῶν, ἡ ἔλπις πάντων τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς: Wisd 14:6 ἡ ἔλπις τοῦ κόσμου, of Noah (Wohlenberg). Liv. xxviii. 39: “spem omnem salutemque nostram,” of Scipio (Wetstein). Similarly κύριε, ὑπομονὴ Ἰσραήλ, Jeremiah 17:13. Here the phrase has almost become a fixed title, as it has become by the time of Ignatius (Trall. Inscr. and 2, Magn. 11, Ph. 5 and 11, Eph. 21. Cf. ἡ τελεία πίστις, ad Polyc. 10): and Polycarp, Phil. 8.


2. Τιμοθέῳ] Cf. Introd., p. xxvi.

γνησίῳ τέκνῳ (dilecto, Vg.; germano, Ambros.; viscerali, itg.) perhaps combines the thought of 1 Corinthians 4:17 “my true son whom I have begotten and to whom I have a right to appeal,” with that of Philippians 2:20-22 (ἰσόψυχον . . . γνησίως . . . ὡς πατρὶ τέκνον σὺν ἐμοὶ ἐδούλευσεν), “my son whom I know that I can trust,” perhaps with implied contrast to others who had failed him, inf. 3-11, 6:3-10. Dibelius compares the use of father and son for teacher and pupil in the Mysteries, quoting Poimandres 13:3, p. 340 (Reitzenstein), μὴ φθόνει μοι, πάτερ· γνήσιος υἱὸς εἰμί διάφρασον μοι παλιγγενεσίας τὸν τρόπον.

ἐν πίστει] Cf. ἐν Χριστῷ, 1 Corinthians 4:15; ἐν κυρίῳ, ib. 17. There the stress is on the spiritual sphere, here on spiritual character, faith in and loyalty to Christ; cf. 4. 5 and Titus 1:4 κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν.

χάρις ἔλεος, εἰρήνη] For χάρις and εἰρήνη, cf. S.-H., Romans 1:5-7: ἔλεος is found in prayers combined with εἰρήνη (Galatians 6:16, Tob 7:11 (א)), with εἰρήνη and�Jude 1:2, with χάρις and εἰρήνη, as here, only in 2 Timothy 1:2, 2 John 1:3. The addition in 1 and 2 Ti. (not in Titus) may have reference to Timothy’s difficulties at Ephesus. τοῦτο�

ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ χρ. Ἰ. τοῦ κ. ἡμῶν] cf. S.-H., Romans 1:7; Frame, 1 Thessalonians 1:1. πατρός is here, perhaps, limited by ἡμῶν (cf. 1), or quite unlimited “the Father,” ἐξ οὗ πᾶσα πατριὰ ὀνομάζεται, Ephesians 3:15; the father invokes blessings on his spiritual son from the source of all fatherhood.


1:3-20. Appeal to Timothy. Warn the false teachers at Ephesus not to waste their time on myths and genealogies and teachings about the law to the neglect of the true spiritual aim of the gospel. They entirely misunderstand the true purpose of the law, as seen in the light of the gospel. Its purpose was to control sin, but the gospel saves from sin; yes, it saved me the chief of sinners, and I was allowed to be its preacher. Do you then, as my true child, hand on this charge, and be warned by the fate of Hymenæus and Alexander.

Note.—The key-words of the section are πίστις with its cognates (cf. 1, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 19 bis) and�1Co_8, between speaking with tongues and prophesying in 1Co_14.


3-11. Paraphrase. I wrote to press on you the purpose with which I urged you to stay in Ephesus when I had to leave for Macedonia. It is that you should strictly charge certain teachers there—I need not mention their names—not to pride themselves on being teachers of novelties, or to waste their time on untrustworthy legends and questions of genealogies which are unending, for they only supply them with abstruse investigations, and do not help them to do their work as God’s stewards, whose one aim is to produce faith. The whole purpose of the charge which Christ has given us, His stewards, is to produce a true spirit of love, springing out of simplicity of aim, of a clear conscience, and a sincere faith. But some of these teachers have wholly failed in these qualities, and turned out of the narrow path into worthless discussions: they claim to be Christian rabbis, but they do not understand their own assertions, nor the meaning of the subjects on which they are so positive. But we know that the law is of high value, if a teacher enforces its right purpose, if he realizes that law is never enacted to control one who is already acting rightly, but it is to control the wilful and restless, those who violate their duty to God and their neighbour in any way that is inconsistent with the sound teaching of Christ. This is the position of the law in the light of the good news that the blessed God has now communicated His glory to men and enabled them to obey. It is this good news with which I was entrusted, I on whose behalf you have to speak.

Note.—With the whole section cf. Acts 20:30, and inf. 6:3-10: here, the stress is laid on the character of the teaching; there, on the character of the teachers.


3. For the historical position, cf. p. xvii. On the duty of the Bishop to check his clergy from useless discussions, cf. Chrys., de Sacerd., §§ 409-412.

καθὼς παρεκάλεσα] What is the apodosis? Probably (as Grotius suggested) ἵνα παραγγείλῃς, “As I urged, so now see that you charge”; ἵνα being elliptical, vid. note on Titus 3:13. If this is not so, then the sentence is an anacoluthon, cf. Romans 5:12; such anacolutha are common at the commencement of letters; cf. Ignatius, Rom_1, Eph_1, Son_1; Pap. Oxyr. x. 1299, quoted in MM S.V. καθώς. The reason is that the act of writing takes the place of an apodosis. “As I urged, so now I write.” So on the stage the apodosis has often to be supplied from some movement on the part of the actor; cf. Soph. O.T. 325. A similar movement explains Matthew 26:50.

παρεκάλεσα] Perhaps “encouraged,” implying hesitation on T.’s part (so Chrys., Theod.-Mops.), but more probably “urged.” Cf. 2:1, Philemon 1:9.

προσμεῖναι (cf. 5:5, not in the earlier Epistles, but cf. Acts 13:43), slightly stronger than μένειν, “stay on.”

τισί] They have not reached the point of shipwreck of faith, and have not had to be dealt with judicially like Hymenæus and Alexander (20); so he tactfully mentions no names; cf. 6-19, 5:15, 24, 6:10, 21, and compare 2 Corinthians 3:1, 2 Corinthians 10:2.

ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν, cf. 6:3, Ign. ad Polyc. 3 (Cf. κακοδιδασκαλεῖν, Clem. R. ii. 10; ἑτεροδιδάσκαλος, Eus. H.E. iii. 32). The word was possibly coined by the writer, half-parodying νομοδιδάσκαλοι. They pride themselves on being “teachers of law”; they are really only teachers of novelties, of things alien to the true gospel, παρὰ τὴν διδαχὴν ἣν ὑμεῖς ἐμάθετε, Romans 16:17; ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον, Galatians 1:6.

4. προσέχειν (c. dat. 3:8, 4:1, 13, Titus 1:14: also Luke (2), Acts (6), Heb (2), not in the earlier letters; but cf. Acts 20:28).


μυθ καὶ γεν.�

(i) Probably they refer to something Jewish; and if so, to legends and stories centring round the pedigree of the patriarchs and O.T. history which were handed down in tradition, the Rabbinical Haggada, and which are prominent in Jewish Apocalypses (so cf. Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 135), and were used to support the institutions of the Jewish law. The Book of Jubilees, “an attempt to rewrite primitive history from the standpoint of the law,” based on τὸ γενεαλογικόν and introducing many legends about evil spirits, or “The Book (attributed to Philo) concerning Biblical Antiquities,” a legendary chronicle of O.T. history from Adam to Saul, dating from the 1st century a.d. (ed. M. R. James, S.P.C.K., 1917), would be the best illustrations of this. Cf. also Justin M. Dial. c. Tr. c. 112; Irenæus, 1:30, for similar profitless discussions. This Jewish reference is made probable (i) by the fact that these teachers claimed to be νομοδιδάσκαλοι: (ii) by the clear reference in Titus 1:14 Ἰουδαϊκοῖς μύθοις: 3:9 γενεαλογίας καὶ ἔρεις καὶ μάχας νομικάς: (iii) by Ign. ad Magn. c. 8 (possibly an allusion to this place), where μυθεύμασιν παλαιοῖς πλανᾶσθαι is a note of living κατὰ Ἰουδαϊσμόν. (iv) The allusion to Jannes and Jambres, 2 Timothy 3:8, is perhaps drawn from such legendary Haggada.


This reference is supported by Chrys., Pelagius, Thdt. τὴν Ἰουδαϊκὴν ἑρμηνείαν τὴν ὑπʼ αὐτῶν καλουμένην δευτέρωσιν: and Ambrosiaster, “de fabulis quas narrare consueti sunt Judæi de generatione suarum originum.” F. H. Colson (J. Th. St. xix. 265-271) thinks that the reference is not to a Pharisaic Judaism, but to a “somewhat conceited pseudo-Hellenic Judaism,” which treated the O.T. as the “grammatici” and “rhetores” treated Homer in literary circles; and he quotes a similar criticism of such points by Suetonius, Tiberius, c. 70, “Maxime curavit notitiam historiæ fabularis, usque ad ineptias atque derisum,” quoted with other reff. by Mayor on Juv. 7. 234.

(ii) But, possibly, to the genealogies of the æons, which in Gnostic teaching separated the supreme God from the material world, cf. 4:1-4. Irenæus directly applied these words to the teaching of Valentinus (adv. Hær. præf. i.), and so did Tertullian (Præscr. 7 and 33); but neither states that our writer was referring to them, for Irenæus applies Matthew 7:15 and Tertullian Colossians 2:8, Galatians 4:3, Galatians 5:2 to the same heretics; and Tert. (adv. Valent. 3) supposes St. Paul to anticipate these teachers, and to meet the germs of their teaching (“his jam nunc pullulantibus seminibus hæreticis damnare prævenit”); cf. Introd. p. xvii.

ἐκζητήσεις] Here only in N.T., “out-of-the-way researches” (Cf. ἐκζητεῖν, Ecclus 39:1, 3 (of the Jewish Rabbi, σοφίαν πάντων�Acts 15:2 γενομένης . . . ζητησέως οὐκ ὀλίγης ἔταξαν . . .�

οἰκονομίαν θεοῦ] “God’s stewardship,” i.e. they do not help them to carry out the stewardship entrusted to them by God; cf. Titus 1:7 ὡς θεοῦ οἰκονόμον: supra 1 κατʼ ἐπιταγήν: 11 ἐπιστεύθην. Ign. ad Eph_6, πάντα ὃν πέμπει ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης εἰς ἰδίαν οἰκονομίαν. The metaphor is a favourite one with St. Paul (cf. esp. 1 Corinthians 9:17) and St. Luke: elsewhere only in 1 P 4:10. This is ultimately “God’s own method,” His “scheme of salvation” (cf. Ephesians 1:10, Ign. Eph. 18, 20 (ubi v. Lightfoot), Clem. Alex. Strom. i. 24: οἰκονομία καθʼ ἣν ἐπαιδεύοντο Ἑβραῖοι . . . εἰς μόνον τὸ πιστεύειν τὸν θεὸν εἶναι (quoted with other interesting illustrations in Tatiani, Or., ed. Schwarz, Texte und Unters. i. 4, 1, pp. 86-90); but the analogy of Titus 1:7 shows that this is not the primary thought here, and is almost conclusive against the reading of the Western text, οἰκοδομήν, for which cf. 3:15, 1 Corinthians 3:9, and supra, p. xxxvi.


τὴν ἐν πίστει] which has faith as its central principle—faith in the steward (cf. 1) and faith in those whom he teaches (cf. 5); faith, not abstruse questionings (cf. 4); faith, not stress on law (7-11); cf. Col_2, Gal_3.

5. τὸ δὲ τέλος] τούτεστι τὸ συνπλήρωμα, cf. Romans 10:4, Chrys.; but here the metaphor is of “the way” (cf.�

τῆς παραγγελίας] i.e., primarily, the charge which Timothy has to give (παραγγείλῃς, 3; παραγγελίαν, 18): but the last words, οἰκοδ. θεοῦ τῆν ἐν πίστει, have carried the mind on to the whole scheme of salvation, and perhaps extend the meaning more widely—the end of all Christian moral preaching, the whole moral charge which is given to God’s stewards; cf. ἡ διδασκαλία, 6:1: ἡ ἐντολή, 6:14: τὸ κήρυγμα, 1 Corinthians 1:21.

ἀγάπη] Cf. Galatians 5:6 πίστις διʼ�

ἐκ καθαρᾶς κ.] Cf. 2 Timothy 2:22, 2 Timothy 2:1 P 1:22 (Si v.l.), Matthew 5:8. It is an O.T. conception, Genesis 20:5, Genesis 20:6, Job 11:13, Job 33:3, Psalms 23:4, Psalms 50:12.

συνειδήσεως�Hebrews 13:18; contrast συνειδ. πονηπά, Hebrews 10:22. For the history of the word, which is of Greek philosophic origin, cf. S.-H. on Romans 2:15; Bonhoffer, Epiktet und das NT, p. 156.

ἀνυποκρίτου] 2 Timothy 1:5 “a word chiefly Christian” (but used in Wisd 5:19, 18:6), “as might be expected from Our Lord’s warnings against ὑπόκρισις and ὑποκριταί, partly from the high standard of veracity set up by the Apostles; cf. James 3:17 (σοφία), Romans 12:9, 2 Corinthians 6:6Luke 8:15 ἐν καρδίᾳ καλῇ καὶ�Galatians 2:13), resulting in love for God and man.

All these qualities can be re-created in the penitent sinner; cf. Psalms 50:12, Hebrews 10:22, Hebrews 3:12.


6. ὧν] Failure in these moral qualities loses sight of the true goal; cf. 1:19.

ἀστοχ.] 6:21, 2 Timothy 2:18 (only in N.T.), Ecclus 7:19, 8:9, and common in Polybius and Plutarch, “failing to strike,” or perhaps, rather more definitely, “taking no pains to aim at the right path”; cf. the description of their character in 6:3-5, Ecclus 8:9 μὴ�Matthew 7:14.

ἐξετραπ.] 5:15, 6:20, 2 Timothy 4:4, Hebrews 12:13 only in N.T. ματαιολογία here only in N.T.; cf. Titus 1:10, Romans 1:21.


7. νομοδιδάσκαλοι] Perhaps without reference to the Jewish law, half-ironical, “claiming to be professors of moral philosophy”; cf. Epict. ii. I, 25, πῶς οὖν ἔτι ὑμῖν πιστεύσομεν, ὦ φίλτατοι νομοθέται (Dibelius); but vv. 4, 8, 9, 10 make a reference to the Jewish law more probable.

τίνων] The interrogative is probably used for the relative for the sake of variety alone, as in late Greek they tended to become interchangeable; cf. Moulton, N.T. Greek, p. 93; Blass, P. 175.

διαβεβαιοῦνται] Titus 3:8 only in N.T., “on which they insist, lay so much stress.” Hort (W.H. App., pp. 167 and 171) suggests that the form is really subjunctive, Cf. ζηλοῦτε, Galatians 4:17 φυσιοῦσθε, 1 Corinthians 4:6, “nor on what points they ought to insist”; cf. Romans 8:26 τὸ γὰρ τί προσευξώμεθα καθὸ δεῖ οὐκ οἴδαμεν: but this would probably have been stated more clearly.

8. οἴδαμεν] “We Christians,” with, perhaps, a conscious reference to Romans 7:12, Romans 7:14 οἴδαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ὁ νόμος πνευματικός.


καλός (cf. note, p. 22) ὁ νόμος. The Mosaic Law, but only as the instance used by these teachers of what is true of all law, νόμος 9.

ἐάν τις] Any teacher (cf. τισί, 3; τινές, 6): νομίμως (here and II 2:5 only in N.T.), in accordance with its true spirit, “as a law,” not “as a Gospel.” “Si quis sciat quibus, quare, et quamdiu habenda sit data,” Pelag. Law with its penalties is needed to control sinners, but when once the true love of God is created in a man’s heart, there is no longer need to appeal to its sanctions; Love fulfils it: the true Christian is “non sub lege sed cum lege” (Aug. on Joh_1, Tr. 3), he is “amicus legis” (Ambrosiaster on Romans 2:12), and law is put on a firmer basis, not as a penalizing force, but as the guidance of a loving God; cf. Romans 3:31, Romans 7:14, Romans 8:4, Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:23. “When at last love suffuses all the mind—love of God and His Laws, and love for our neighbour as made in His image and the chief mirror of His goodness, then indeed the yoke becomes easy and the burden light,” Inge, Personal Idealism, p. 16.

9. δικαίῳ νόμος οὐ κεῖται: cf. Galatians 5:22, Galatians 5:23 κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἔστι νόμος. He appeals to an universal principle, acknowledged generally, and Cf. ὁ μηδὲν�

ἀνόμοις κ.τ.λ.] The list follows the order of the Decalogue:�Jude 1:15) the general refusal to obey the law of God:�Exodus 20:15, πόρν.�Romans 1:21-32. Plato, Phœd., pp. 113, 114; Verg. Æn. vi. 608 sqq.

10.�Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7, and an interesting chapter in Philo, de Spec. Legg. iv. 4, which condemns�

εἴ τι ἔτερον …�Romans 13:9 εἴ τις ἑτέρα ἐντολή, and of Galatians 5:17 ταῦτα γὰρ�

τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ] i.e. the moral teaching of the gospel; but as these sins have just been treated as sins controlled by the Mosaic Law, the gospel is thought of as absorbing in itself the Law of Moses and, we may add, the natural law written in the hearts of the heathen, which itself often, as embodied in legislation, condemned many of these vices; cf. 5:8, 1 Corinthians 5:1; so Pelag. “legem evangeliis concordare demonstrat,” and Ambrosiaster, quoted above.

ὑγιαινούσῃ]. Sanœ, doctrinœ, “sound” (cf. Luke 5:31, Luke 7:10, Luke 15:27), not “wholesome.” There may be an allusion to the diseases of the soul (cf. Plato, Rep. iv. 18; Philo, de Abr. 38, ἔτι τῶν παθῶν καὶ νοσημάτων παρευημερούντων τοὺς ὑγιαίνοντας λόγους, 2 Timothy 2:17 ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν ὡς γάγγραινα); but it is doubtful whether the medical reference was at this time more conscious than in our word “sound”: cf. Prov 24:76 (= 31:8) κρῖνε πάντας ὑγιῶς: ib. 13:3 ὁ φοβούμενος ἐντολὴν οὗτος ὑγιαίνει: Plut. Mor., p. 20 F, ὑγιαινούσαι περὶ θεῶν δόξαι καὶ�2 Timothy 1:13, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13, Titus 1:2:1, Titus 1:2, Titus 1:8: it is of a piece with the stress on an ordered regulated life, and is found in Stoic writers: ὑγιὴς λόγος, Marc. Aur. viii. 30.

διδασκαλία] Used in N.T. only by St. Paul (except Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7 in quotation from Isaiah 29:13), 15 times in Past. Epp., 4 elsewhere. It varies elsewhere between the sense of “active teaching” (cf. 4:1, 13-16, 5:17, 2 Timothy 3:16, Titus 2:7, Romans 12:7, Romans 15:4, Colossians 2:22) and “the body of doctrine” (4:6, 6:1, 3, 2 Timothy 3:10 (?), 4:3, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:2:1, Titus 1:10, Ephesians 4:14): here the latter is probably right, as it implies a definite standard; but the contrast to ἐτεροδιδασκαλεῖν (3), νομοδιδάσκαλοι (7), suggests the former.

11. κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγελιον κ.τ.λ.] Constructed with the principal sentence οἴδμεν . . . χρῆται: cf. Romans 2:16.

τῆς δόξης τοῦ μακ. θ.] Possibly a title for Christ. The gospel of Him who is the manifestation of the Divine Glory (cf. Hort on James 2:1 and Titus 2:13 note); but the context suggests rather the glory of God as manifested in man, of which all sinners fall short (Romans 3:23), but which gives liberty to the children of God (Romans 8:21), which is the note of a ministry of righteousness and of the Spirit, and into which we are gradually transformed, 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, 2 Corinthians 3:4:2 Corinthians 3:4-6, 2 Corinthians 3:1 P 4:14. It is thought of here as a present glory, though its complete realization will come with the Returning Christ, cf. 6:15, 16. καὶ τὰ μέλλοντα αἰνίττεται, Chrys.

τοῦ μακαρίου θεοῦ] Here and 6:15. God as containing all happiness in Himself and bestowing it on men. “Beatus beat” (Bengel); cf. Isaiah 65:19 “I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people.” The exact title is not found elsewhere, but “the happy gods,” θεοὶ μάκαρες, is frequent from Homer’s time; and the idea of God as independent of men, and containing all happiness in Himself, came through Epicurus (τὸ μακάριον καὶ ἄφθαρτον, ap. Plut., p. 1103 D) and Aristotle (εὐδαίμων ἐστὶ καὶ μακάριος . . . διʼ αὐτὸν αὐτός, de Rep. vii. 1) into Alexandrine Judaism, and is common in Philo (e.g. ὁ θεὸς . . . σωτήρ τε καὶ εὐεργέτης, μακαριότητος καὶ πάσης εὐδαιμονίας�

ὃ ἐπιστεύθην (Cf. κατʼ ἐπιταγήν, 1) ἐγώ: cf. Ephesians 3:7, Colossians 1:23, Colossians 1:25, Titus 1:3. I, your father, whom you have to represent; I, the founder of the church, who have authority to enforce against false teachers (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15 ἐν γὰρ Χρ. Ἰης. διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγ. ἐγὼ ἐγέννησα ὑμᾶς); I, who know the power of the gospel to rescue from sin.


12-17. Paraphrase. Yes, it was entrusted to me; but when I say me, I must stop to thank Him who gave me strength for the task, Christ Jesus our Lord, for He deemed that He could trust me; for His own purpose He chose me for service,—me who before had blasphemed His truth and persecuted and harried His followers. But mercy was shown to me, because I did it in blindness while still unbelieving; but the grace of our Lord overflowed its channel and flooded my heart with faith and love, that perfect love which is known only in Christ Jesus. Faithful, indeed, is that saying, and worthy of whole-hearted acceptance:

“Christ Jesus stooped this world within

Sinners to rescue from their sin,”

sinners—of whom I am chief; yet for this very purpose was mercy shown to me, that in me first Jesus Christ might make clear that there are no limits to His long-suffering, and so make me the first sketch of all the myriads who are going to believe on Him and win life eternal. Now to Him who rules the ages, to the immortal, the invisible, the only God be honour and glory age after age. Amen.

This section is a personal digression, dominated by the emphatic ἐγώ (11); but it is not a mere digression, it serves as an encouragement to Timothy (cf. ἔλεος, 2; ἡλεήθην, 13, 16); and it illustrates the main purpose of the gospel, to save sinners and to produce love and faith; cf. 2 Timothy 1:12-14.

12. χάριν ἔχω] 2 Timothy 1:3, not elsewhere in St. Paul, but it was a common phrase; cf. Luke 17:9 and Hebrews 12:28; Pap. Oxyr. i. 113, χάριν ἔχω θεοῖς πᾶσιν (Dibelius); perhaps a little stronger than εὐχαριστῶ. “I feel and show, I express, gratitude.”

τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντι] Perhaps a reminiscence of Philippians 4:13 πάντα ἰσχύω ἐν τῷ ἐνδυναμοῦντί με. Here the primary thought is “who gave me strength for my task as Apostle,” the time being that of ἐπιστεύθην: Cf. ὅτι πιστόν . . . διακονίαν: and 2 Timothy 1:7 πνεῦμα δυνάμεως: 2 Corinthians 3:5 ἡ ἱκανότης ἡμῶν ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ: Ign. Smyrn. 4, πάντα ὑπομένω, αὐτοῦ με ἐνδυναμοῦντος τοῦ τελείου�Romans 5:6, Romans 8:3), and this thought emerges in 14-16, Cf. 10-11.

ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο.] “Fidelem si putaveris, facies,” Seneca, Ep. Mor. i. 3; Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25 ἡλεημένος ὑπὸ κυρίου πιστὸς εἶναι.

θέμενος] Appointing for His own purposes: cf. ἔθετο, 1 Corinthians 12:18, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Thessalonians 5:9 οὐκ ἔθετο ἡμᾶς εἰς ὀργήν, and ἐτέθην, inf. 2:7, 2 Timothy 1:11, 2 Timothy 1:1 P 2:8 (ubi v. Hort). There is perhaps a reminiscence of Isaiah 49:6, quoted by St. Paul of himself, Acts 13:47 τέθεικά σε εἰς φῶς ἐθνῶν, and of Jeremiah 1:5 προφήτην εἰς ἔθνη τέθεικά σε.

εἰς διακονίαν] Not only εἰς�1 Corinthians 16:15, 2 Timothy 4:11, Hebrews 1:14, Acts 11:29 (when Paul was used for much humbler service), 20:24 in Paul’s address to the elders of Ephesus; but, above all, for the ministry of reconciliation, 2 Corinthians 5:18.

13. βλάσφημον καὶ διώκτην καὶ ὑβριστήν] A triad (as so often in St. Paul) with perhaps an ascending scale rising from words to acts of authorized persecution and of illegal violence; cf. Psalms 1:1. Bengel would treat them as sins against God, against others, and against himself (insulting his own Saviour), all failures in love; but though βλάσφημον may include blasphemy against God, the other distinction is fanciful; and the main thought of each word is of attacks on the Church; cf. Galatians 1:13, Galatians 1:23, Philippians 3:6, Acts 22:4, Acts 26:9-11.

ἠλεήθην κ.τ.λ.] Cf. Acts 3:17, Luke 23:34, and more directly Romans 10:2 (οὐ κατʼ ἐπίγνωσιν·�Jude 1:19, of which this may be a ren iniscence,�Rom_9, perhaps a reminiscence of this place, οὔδε γὰρ ἄξιος εἰμι, ὢν ἔσχατος αὐτῶν καὶ ἔκτρωμα·�

14. ὑπερεπλεόνασε] Here only in N.T., but found in Ps.-Sol 5:19; cf. Romans 5:20 ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν ἡ χάρις. ὕπερ = “above its usual measure,” rather than “rising higher than my sin.” This v. was the origin of the title of Bunyan’s autobiography, Grace Abounding.

μετὰ πίστεως] In contrast with�Titus 3:3.

τῆς ἐν χτῷ. Ἰησοῦ] Not the love shown by Christ Jesus, which is already implied in ἡ χάρις, but the true love which Christians feel, cf. 5 supra, and which is only felt in union with Christ, and is a reflection of His love; cf. John 15:9 μείνατε ἐν τῇ�

15. πιστὸς ὁ λόγος] Cf. Titus 3:8 n., and for the v.l.�Luke 5:32, John 12:47), and is a witness to their essential unity, but does not imply direct quotation from either.


πάσης, “entire,” perhaps combining the thought of “wholehearted,” cf. 16, and “universal,” Cf. 2:4.

πάσης�Acts 2:41 οἱ μὲν οὖν�

ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον] Contrast ἡ ἁμαρτία εἰς τὸν κόσμον εἰσῆλθε. Romans 5:12 and cf. John 1:9, John 12:46, John 16:28. The analogy of John 6:14, Romans 5:12 shows that the idea of Divine pre-existence is not necessarily involved in it.

ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι] “I am,” not “I was.” The sinner remains a sinner even if forgiven; the past is always there as a stimulus to deeper penitence and service. The sins for which he reproaches himself are not sins against the moral law (cf. Philippians 3:6), but sins against the truth and the light; sins which disqualified him from Apostleship. Hence the longer he lives, the more he knows of the power of Christ and His truth, the severer becomes the self-reproach for having opposed it; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9 ἐλάχιστος τῶν�Ephesians 3:8 τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων, and here πρῶτος ἁμαρτώλων. “Quoniam enim præ ceteris Sacramento se imbuit Salvatoris, propius ad cognoscendam magnificentiam ejus accedens, accusat se magis qui tantum boni tarde agnovit,” Ambrosiaster. For similar self-condemnation, cf. Tert. de Pæn. c. 4 and c. 12, with Glover’s comment, Conflict of Religions, p. 313) and Mr. Keble’s Letters of Spiritual Counsel, Preface, pp. xxxv-l. Celsus used this verse to point his taunt against the character of the Apostles, Orig. c. Cels. i. 63; cf. Ep. Barn. v. 9. Moreover, by this time Paul had himself been evil-spoken of (Romans 3:8, 1 Corinthians 4:13, 1 Corinthians 10:30, Acts 13:45), persecuted (1 Corinthians 4:12, 2 Corinthians 4:9, Acts 13:50), insulted (1 Thessalonians 2:2, 2 Corinthians 12:10), and so could more keenly enter into the feelings of those whom he had wronged.

16. διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθην ἵνα κ.τ.λ.] It is suggestive to compare Romans 9:17, Romans 9:18 λέγει γὰρ ἡ γραφὴ τῷ φαραώ· ὅτι εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο ἐξήγειρά σε, ὅπως ἐνδείξωμαι ἐν σοὶ τὴν δύναμίν μου καὶ ὅπως διαγγελῇ τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐν πάσῃ τῇ γῇ· ἄρα οὖν ὃν θέλει ἐλεεῖ, ὃν δὲ θέλει σκληρύνει.


πρώτῳ] Starts with the meaning “chief” (cf. πρῶτος, 15), but also implies “first” in contrast to those who are coming after (τῶν μελλόντων).

ἐνδείξνται] A favourite word with St. Paul, 5 times in earlier Epp., 4 in Past. Epp. (elsewhere 2 in Heb.). He only also uses ἔνδειγμα and ἔνδειξις.

Ἰησοῦς χριστός] The change of order (contrast vv. 1, 2, 12, 14, 15) perhaps emphasizes the note of personal affection, and recalls the moment of conversion, and the words ἐγώ εἰμι Ἰησοῦς ὃν σὺ διώκεις, Acts 9:5.


τὴν ἅπασαν] Here only in N.T. with the article. His entire unlimited, ever-patient patience, not only converting, not only choosing me for service, but making me Apostle, and keeping me faithful.

ὑποτύπωσιν] Here and 2 Timothy 1:13 only in N.T.: an incomplete (ὑπο-; cf. ὑπογράφη) sketch in contrast to the complete picture �Hebrews 10:1. The substantive may be consciously active, “that He might draw a sketch,” “ad informationem,” Vulg.; “deformationem,” Am.: or of the result “to serve as a sketch,” “ad exemplum,” Ambrosiaster. The former is more common elsewhere: the latter suits 2 Timothy 1:13 better; cf. ὑπόδειγμα, 2 P 2:6. For this vista into future generations, cf. Ephesians 3:20, Ephesians 3:21

ἐπʼ αὐτῷ] As upon a sure corner-stone. πιστεύειν ἐπί, c. dat., is only applied elsewhere to Christ in quotations from Isaiah 28:16 (Romans 9:33, Romans 9:10:11, Romans 9:1 P 2:6), and that passage may be in the writer’s mind here.

17. For similar doxologies, cf. Galatians 1:5, Romans 11:36, Romans 16:27, Philippians 4:20, Ephesians 3:21 inf. 6:16.

τῷ βασιλειͅ τῶν αἰώνων] This first title is suggested by τῶν μελλόντων and by ζωὴν αἰώνιον of 16, and�Psalms 10:16 βασιλεύσει κύριος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος: Tob 13:1, 6, 10 in prayer, εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς ὁ ζῶν εἰς τονὺς αἰῶνας . . . ὑψώσατε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν αἰώνων . . . εὐλόγει τὸν βας. τῶν αἰώνων . . . εἰς πάσας τας γενεας τοῦ αἰῶνος: Test. XII. Patr., Reuben, c. 6; Clem. Rom 1:61 (also in a prayer), Liturg. Jacobi, Brightman, E. and W. Lit., p. 51.

ἀφθάρτῳ,�John 1:18: both common thoughts in Greek philosophical conceptions of God, and in later Jewish speculations; cf. Wisd 12:1; Philo, de Abr. 75 f.; Vita Mosis, ii. 171 ; Josephus, Bell. Jud. vii. 346; Epicurus ap. Diog. Laert. x. 123, τὸν θεὸν ζῶον ἄφθαρτον καὶ μακάριον νομίζων (and other exx. in Wetstein or Dibelius); cf. Clem. Rom. ii. 20, τῷ μόνῳ Θεῷ�

μόνῳ] Cf. 6:16, Romans 16:27. 1 Corinthians 8:4, 1 Corinthians 8:5 explains the emphasis on this.


18-20. Paraphrase. This charge, then, I now in my absence place in your care, my own son Timothy; recalling to mind the words of the Christian prophets which led me to choose you to help me in my work, that in the strength of these words you may carry on God’s true campaign, holding fast yourself faith and a good conscience, for remember how some refused to listen to their conscience and so made shipwreck of their faith: of such are Hymenæus and Alexander on whom I formally passed sentence, that they may learn under discipline not to speak against the truth.

Compare the similar warning from the example of others in 2 Timothy 1:15.


18. ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν] i.e. the charge of 5 as expanded in 11.

παρατίθεμαι] For the metaphor, cf. 2 Timothy 1:13 note. The middle shows that he still feels his own responsibility: he will still have to give account for that which had been entrusted to him, 11. “That I may be faithful to my trust, I choose one whom I can trust,” cf. 2 Timothy 2:2.

τέκνον Τιμόθεε] Cf. Ramsay on Galatians 3:1, p. 310; and notice how here, as in Philippians 4:15, the personal address to another follows directly on an account of his own work and of Christ’s power to aid him. Is there a play on Timothy’s name, “You whose name commits you to giving honour to God”? cf. τῷ . . . θεῷ τιμή 17.

κατὰ τὰς προαγ. ἐπὶ σὲ προφητείας] “Either according to the previous” (cf. Hebrews 7:18Ezekiel 37:4 προφήτευσον ἐπὶ τὰ ὀστᾶ ταῦτα). or “according to the prophecies leading” (cf. 5:24 προάγουσαι εἰς κρίσιν: Matthew 2:9 ὁ�

προφητείας] Utterances by Christian prophets pointing out T.’s promise of useful work. The plural point, to more than one such occasion, and may well include St. Paul’s first choice of T. (cf. ὃς ἐμαρτυρεῖτο ὑπὸ τῶν . . .�Acts 16:2, and the appeal to their first common work in 2 Timothy 3:11), and his delegation of him for the special work at Ephesus; cf. 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6 (of Timothy himself), Acts 13:1-3 (of St. Paul’s delegation to new work), Acts 20:28 (of the presbyters at Ephesus ὑμᾶς τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἔθετο ἐπισκόπους): so Chrys. ὅτε περιέτεμε καὶ ὅτε ἐχειροτόνει. Such prophecies may have come from Silas, who himself was a prophet, Acts 15:32.

ἵνα στρατεύῃ . . . στρατείαν] The metaphor is perhaps suggested here by τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, the true campaign in the service of the true King. Cf. Maximus Tyr. xix. 4, στράτηγον μὲν τὸν θεόν, στρατείαν δὲ τὴν ζώην, ὁπλίτην δὲ τὸν ἄνθρωπον (ap. Wetstein). It was a common metaphor both in philosophical writers (cf. Plato, Apol. 28 D; Epict. iii.24, στρατεία τίς ἐστιν ὁ βίος ἑκάστου: Seneca, Ep. 96, “Vivere, mi Lucili, militare est”) and in the mysteries, cf. Apuleius, Met. xi. 15, “da nomen sanctæ huic militiæ.” “Enrol thyself in the sacred soldiery of Isis.” These may have influenced the Christian use of it, but the thought here is more of an aggressive campaign against evil, and its use is Jewish; cf. 4 Mac 9:23 ἱερὰν καὶ εὐγενῆ στρατείαν στρατεύσασθε περὶ τῆς εὐσεβείας. “Omnis vita hominis militia (Job 7:1) imprimis hominis Christiani (2 Corinthians 10:4) maxime vero pastoris evangelici (1 Corinthians 9:7, 2 Timothy 2:3, 2 Timothy 2:4, Philippians 2:25),” Grotius. For interesting illustrations cf. Wetstein and Dibelius, ad loc.


τὴν καλὴν στρατ] ἐστὶ γὰρ καὶ κακὴ στρατεία, Chrysostom, but the contrast is rather with service of earthly kings.

19. ἔχων πίστιν καὶ�

ἀπωσάμενοι] Cf. Acts 13:46, Proverbs 15:32 ὃς�Hosea 4:6 ὅτι σὺ ἐπίγνωσιν�Ephesians 4:19.

περὶ τὴν πίστιν] Perhaps (cf. note, p. 20) here “about the Christian faith,” i.e. they have not held to the central doctrines, cf. 6; and this is strongly supported by 6:21, 2 Timothy 2:18 περὶ τὴν�


ἐναυάγησαν] For the metaphor, cf. Orelli on Hor. Od. i. 14; Lightfoot on Ign. ad Polyc. c. 2; Cebetis Tabula, ναυάγουσιν ἐν τῷ βίῳ καὶ πλανῶνται: Philo, de Decal. c. 14, σαλεύουσιν …μηδέποτε εἰς λιμένα κατᾶραι μηδʼ ἐνορμίσασθαι βεβαίως�

20. ὦν ἐστιν] SO 2 Timothy 1:15, 2 Timothy 2:18 only: in each case with two nominatives, perhaps implying some common action of the two.

Υ̓μέναιος] cf. 2 Timothy 2:18. Ἀλέξανδρος, perhaps the same as in 2 Timothy 4:14, but not the same as the Jew Alexander, Acts 19:33.

οὓς παρέδωκα τῷ Σατανᾷ] The origin of this phrase seems to lie in Job 2:6 εἶπεν δὲ ὁ κύριος τῷ διαβόλῳ Ἰδοὺ παραδίδωμί σοι αὐτόν· μόνον τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ διαφύλαξον, where Satan is allowed to inflict any bodily suffering short of death on Job to test the sincerity of his religion. Hence it seems to have become a formal phrase for passing sentence, perhaps in the Jewish synagogue, certainly in the Christian Church; and it is also possible that the use may have been influenced by, it is at least illustrated by, the contemporary Pagan “execration-tablets” by which a person who had been wronged handed over the wrong-doer to the gods below, who inflicted bodily suffering upon him; cf. Greek Papyri in the British Museum, i. p. 75, νεκυδαίμον παραδίδωμί σοι τὸν δεῖνα . . . ὅπως …: so also of a form for exorcising a demon, παραδίδωμι σε εἰς τὸ μέλαν χάος ἐν ταῖς�

The punishment implied is either (i) an exercise of the power of John 20:23 ἄν τινων κρατῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας, κεκράτηνται, carrying with it exclusion from the society, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 1 Corinthians 5:11, 3 John 1:10 ἐκ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἐκβάλλει: cf. Tert. Apol. 39 of the meetings of the Church for discipline, “judicatur magno cum pondere … si quis ita deliquerit ut a communications orationis et conventus et omnis sancti commercii relegetur,” so Chrys. ἐξεβάλλετο τοῦ κοινοῦ συνεδρίου: Theod. “abalienavi ab ecclesia”; or also (ii)the infliction of some bodily suffering: and the analogy of Job, of the Pagan tablets, of 1 Corinthians 11:30 διὰ τοῦτο ἐν ὑμῖν πολλοὶ�Acts 5:1-11, Acts 13:11), makes it almost certain that this is included.

παρέδωκα] Seems to imply the action of the Apostle only, and if the infliction was only bodily suffering this would be probable, cf. Acts 13:11; but the action of the whole community is not excluded; there would be no need to repeat the whole details to Timothy, and it is included in 1 Corinthians 5:3-5 where the language is equally individual, ἐγὼ . . . κέκρικα . . . παραδοῦναι.

μὴ βλασφημεῖν] Might include the thought not to speak evil of us, cf. 6:4, Titus 3:2; but as the warning is against false teaching, the main thought is not to speak evil of God, to misrepresent His truth, cf. 1 Corinthians 15:15.


πίστις—πιστεύειν—πιστός

A careful account of the previous history of these words will be found in Burton, Galatians, I.C.C., pp. 475-85; cf. also Hort on 1 P 1:21. Here it will be sufficient to note the usages in these Epistles and to compare them with the earlier Pauline letters.

πίστις = (a) faithfulness, Titus 2:10, and perhaps 1 Timothy 2:15, 1 Timothy 2:5:11, 2 Timothy 2:22; so Romans 3:3, Galatians 5:22. In both groups the usage is rare.


(b) faith as the essential quality of each Christian life, so passim: as in St. Paul; but whereas St. Paul frequently adds a defining word—Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, Ἰησοῦ, τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰς Χριστόν, ἐν τῷ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ, that is rare here, and the one phrase in which it occurs, ἡ πίστις ἡ ἐν Χρ. Ἰης. (I 3:13, II 1:13, 3:15), is slightly different: “the faith which is found in union with Christ.” The object of the faith no longer needs defining.

(c) the principle of faith as characteristic of Christianity, and as professed and taught: almost equal to “the Creed,” “the doctrines believed”; but it is doubtful whether it is ever quite equivalent to that. The strongest instances of this use are: I 4:1�Titus 1:4 κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν, 1:13.

This scarcely goes beyond St. Paul’s use of ἡ πίστις: cf. Romans 3:31, Romans 10:8 τὸ ῥῆμα τῆς πίστεως ὃ κηρύσσομεν: 12:6 κατὰ τὴν�1 Corinthians 16:13 στήκετε ἐν τῇ πίστει: Galatians 1:23 εὐαγγελίζεται τὴν πίστιν ἥν ποτε ἐπόρθει: 6:10 τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως: Philippians 1:27 συναθλοῦντες τῇ πίστει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου: Colossians 2:7 βεβαιουμένοι τῇ πίστει καθὼς ἐδιδάχθητε. But the usage is more frequent here, and perhaps slightly more fixed.

πιστεύειν = (a) to entrust, commit to, 2 Timothy 1:12, and in passive I 1:11, Titus 1:3; so Romans 3:2, 1 Corinthians 9:17, Galatians 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 2:4.

(b) to believe, (i) c. dat. Titus 3:8 οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ: cf. Romans 4:3; (ii) ἐπί with dative, I 1:16, cf. Romans 9:33, Romans 10:11.

Once in the passive, I 3:16; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 (si vera lectio).


In the verb there is no difference in usage.

πιστός = (a) trustworthy: I 1:12, 15, 3:1, 11, 4:9, II 2:2, 11, 13, Titus 1:6 (?) 9, 3:8; so 10 times in St. Paul.

(b) believing: I 4:3 τοῖς πιστοῖς: 4:10 πιστῶν: 4:12 τῶν πιστῶν: 5:16 εἴ τις πιστή: 6:2 bis, Titus 1:6 (?). This also is found in St. Paul but much more rarely, Galatians 3:9, 2 Corinthians 6:15, and more doubtfully, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:2; but never of οἱ πιστοί = the believers, the Christian body: yet οἱ ἄπιστοι is a regular title for “unbelievers.”




Similarly—

ἀπιστεῖν: Romans 3:8 only—probably “to be unbelieving,” though perhaps “unfaithful.”

2 Timothy 2:13 only—probably “to be unfaithful.”

ἀπιστία: St. Paul 4 times, Romans 3:3, Romans 3:4:20, Romans 3:11:20, Romans 3:23— “want of faith,” “state of unbelief.”

Past. Epp. 1 Timothy 1:13 only, in the same sense.


ἄπιστος: St. Paul 14 times, always, “unbelievers,” “heathen.”

Past. Epp. twice, 1 Timothy 5:8 “unbeliever,” Titus 1:15 “wanting in faith.”




There is then a slight difference from the Pauline letters, and a rather greater fixity of meaning. πίστις as the Christian quality is not felt to need a defining object: it approaches nearer to the meaning of a faith professed and taught; and πιστός has become the natural antithesis to “heathen”; οἱ πιστοί, a common term for the Christian Body. The difference is slight and conceivable within St. Paul’s own lifetime and in his own writing, but it is noteworthy; cf. also Parry, pp. ciii-cx.

καλός,�

The distinction between�Genesis 1:8ff. ἴδεν ὁ θεὸς ὅτι καλόν: Matthew 5:16 ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα: 1 P 2:12 ἐκ τῶν καλῶν ἔργων ἐποπτεύοντες: 1 Timothy 5:25 τὰ ἔργα τὰ καλὰ πρόδηλα: 6:12 τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν ἐνώπιον πολλῶν μαρτύρων: Luke 8:15 καλῇ καὶ�Hebrews 5:14), of πονηρός (Genesis 2:9, Genesis 2:17 τοῦ γινώσκειν καλὸν καὶ πονηρόν, Leviticus 27:10, Isaiah 5:20, Micah 3:2): and this is perhaps the most common usage of it in the N.T. It is clear then that the distinction cannot always be pressed: it may often be a mere desire for euphony or variety which decides the choice between the two words, except where there is a clear reference to the effect upon others.

A comparison of the Pastoral Epistles with St. Paul’s earlier letters is suggestive. St. Paul uses καλός 16 times, καλῶς 8, generally in the sense “practically” or “morally good”; cf. καλοποιεῖν, 2 Thessalonians 3:13; κατεργάζεσθαι τὸ καλόν, Romans 7:18; τὸ καλὸν ποιεῖν, Romans 7:21, 2 Corinthians 13:7, Galatians 6:9, a phrase not found in Pastoral Epistles. (The sense “good to sight,” καλὰ ἐνώπιον πάντων�Romans 12:17, 2 Corinthians 8:21, is a quotation from Proverbs 3:4.) He never uses καλὰ ἔργα. The Pastoral Epistles use καλός 24 times, καλῶς 4; cf. καλοδιδασκάλος, Titus 2:3, and the phrase καλὸν ἔργον, καλὰ ἔργα, 7 times: often with reference to a deed as seen by others, I 2:3 ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ: 3:7 μαρτυρίαν καλὴν�Galatians 6:10, Romans 12:18.

“No one English word will express καλός fully, the meaning changing with the context. Thus ‘every creature of God is good’ (1 Timothy 4:4), i.e. free from defilement, fit for human use, with the Creator’s stamp upon it. ‘The law is good’ (1 Timothy 1:8), valuable, working a good purpose, an excellent instrument in a teacher’s hand, if he use it in accordance with that purpose. One who desires a bishopric sets his heart on ‘a good task’ (1 Timothy 3:1), on an honourable post that sets him before the world’s eye, and that requires constant labour: he must rule his family with dignity and success (1 Timothy 3:4, cf. 5:17), he must have an excellent reputation from those without (1 Timothy 3:7): the deacon who gains distinction (καλῶς) acquires a distinguished position for higher service (1 Timothy 3:13, cf. 4:6). The widow must not only have taken part in every good work (ἔργῳ�1 Timothy 5:10). The Christian soldier must endure hardness as a well-trained soldier (2 Timothy 2:3), engaged in a noble struggle (τὸν καλὸν�1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7) in the most honourable of all campaigns (1 Timothy 1:8). The doctrine which he preaches is attractive, winning, with the glow of healthy life upon it (1 Timothy 4:6, Titus 2:1, Titus 2:7). Timothy’s public profession had something heroic about it, as had that of his master (τὴν καλὴν ὁμολογίαν, 1 Timothy 6:12, 1 Timothy 6:13): Titus is to be an example of ‘excellent’ works (Titus 2:7): the rich are not only to do good �1 Timothy 6:18, 1 Timothy 6:19). All members of the Christian family are to take the lead in honest, honourable occupations (Titus 3:14), for this is the duty of those who believe in God, who had purified unto Himself a peculiar people for the very purpose that they should be zealous for works that should rise above the level of the world and exhibit the beauty of holiness (ζηλωψὴν καλῶν ἔργων, Titus 2:14, where Theodoret paraphrases καλῶν by τῶν ἐπαινουμένων ἔργων).”1










I.C.C. International Critical Commentary.

S.-H. The Epistle to the Romans, by Sanday and Headlam, in the I.C.C.

Pap. Oxyr. The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, ed. Grenfell and Hunt, vols. i.-xv., London, 1898-

J. Th. St. The Journal of Theological Studies, London, 1910-

Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Grœcarum, ed. W. Dittenberger, 1888.

Orelli, Inscriptiones Latinœ Selectœ, I. II., ed. J. E. Orelli, 1828.

Pap. Paris. Paris Papyri, ed. Brunet de Presle, Paris, 1865.

1 Cf. Hort on James 2:7; “καλός is what is good as seen, as making a direct impression on those who come in contact with it: contrast�


1 From my St. Paul the Master Builder, p. 118.

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Bibliographical Information
Driver, S.A., Plummer, A.A., Briggs, C.A. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". International Critical Commentary NT. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/icc/1-timothy-1.html. 1896-1924.