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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

1 Timothy

- 1 Timothy

by Joseph Sutcliffe

ST. PAUL’S FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.

OF the conversion of Timothy, and his call to the work of the ministry, Luke has given an account in Acts 16:1-3. His praise is often repeated in St. Paul’s epistles. He was a native, it would seem, of Lystra. His father was a Greek, and his mother Eunice a jewess, and also his grandmother Lois. Paul however was obliged to circumcise him, because of the strong predilection of the christian jews to the rites of the ancient law.

The book of the Acts teaches that Timothy became the companion of Paul in his three great ministerial courses in Asia minor, and among the Greek nations; and that he was left at Ephesus in the last journey St. Paul made into Macedonia. Acts 17:13-14; Acts 18:5; Acts 19:22; Acts 20:4. Other parts of his life, and his martyrdom, are not regularly reported by any father of the church.

Learned men have spent much time about the date of this epistle; they have weighed every expression, but can arrive at no certainty as to the exact year, there being no authentic chronology concerning the infancy of the church.

Cardinal Baronius fixes the date of this epistle in the year of Christ fifty seven; those who fix it in the year sixty four or sixty five are not aware that Paul travelled five years, says St. Clement to the Corinthians, to the utmost boundaries of the west, and on coming a second time to Rome, received the crown of martyrdom under Nero in the year sixty six. By consequence, archbishop Usher could not fix it later than the year sixty.

In Biblia Magna a succession of fathers is quoted, who affirm out of the numerous books of St. Dionysius, that Timothy presided in all about fifty years in Ephesus, and survived St. John by the space of ten years; and that he was martyred by the worshippers of Diana for having opposed their superstition, about the year of Christ one hundred and nine.

The parts of this epistle are,

1.An injunction to oppose erroneous doctrine: 1 Timothy 1:3-6.

2. The nature and design of the law, contrasted with the gospel: 1 Timothy 1:7-17.

3. Prayer and intercession: 1 Timothy 2:1-8.

4. Decency of female dress: 1 Timothy 2:9-12.

5. Of episcopacy and deacons: 1 Timothy 3:1-13.

6. The falling away foretold: 1 Timothy 4:1-5.

7. Maxims and rules for the church: 1 Timothy 5.

8. A pastoral charge to Timothy: 1 Timothy 6:11-21.