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1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
Ver. 1. By the commandment of God ] For how should he have preached except he had been sent? This he mentioneth, Romans 10:15 , as a thing impossible.
Of God our Saviour ] So the Father also is here called. Hoc autem quantum est? (saith Cicero), Is nimirum Soter est, qui salutem dedit. The Greek word here used is so emphatic, that other tongues can hardly express it.
Our hope ] So Christ is called, because the perfection of our life is hid with Christ in God. Something we have in possession, but more in reversion.
2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ver. 2. Mine own son ] This the apostle speaketh απο πολλης φιλοστοργιας , "out of deep affection," as Chrysostom observeth.
Grace, mercy, and peace ] Not only grace and peace, as to others. When we pray for ministers, we must be more than ordinarily earnest for them with God. These three are joined together only in the Epistles of Timothy and Titus; as Theophylact out of Chrysostom hath observed.
3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
Ver. 3. That they teach no other doctrine ] Either for matter or manner, for substance or circumstance. What hideous heresies are today broached and preached among us in city and country. See Mr Edwards’ Gangrena, the first and second part.
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do .
Ver. 4. Endless genealogies ] It is but laborious loss of time to search into those things, whereof we can neither have proof nor profit; the gains will not pay for the pains, the task is not worthy the toil. Toilsome toys they are, hard to come by, but of no use or worth; like an olive or date stone, hard to crack the one, or cleave the other; but nothing, or nothing worth aught, when cracked or cloven, within either. The shell fish among the Jews was counted unclean, because it had but a little meat, and a great deal of labour to get it.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
Ver. 5. Now the end of the commandment ] Or, of the charge, to wit, of that charge, to teach no other doctrine, &c., 1 Timothy 1:3-4 . As if the apostle had said, This is that which a teacher should aim at, to beget such a love in his hearers’ hearts, as may speak them true believers and good livers. Boni Catholici sunt (saith Augustine) qui et fidem integram sequuntur, et bonos mores. Those are good Catholics that believe well and live well.
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
Ver. 6. Some having swerved ] αστοχησαντες . "Having missed the mark," as unskilful shooters, being "heavenly wide," as Sir Philip Sidney translateth that proverb, Toto errant caelo.
Having turned aside unto vain jangling ] Ignoble quarrels, ubi vincere inglorium est, atteri sordidum, wherein a man cannot quit himself so as to come off with credit or comfort. (Mr Burroughs.) Mr Deal never loved to meddle with controversies of the times; he gave that reason, he found his heart the worse when he did. Grinseus, provoked by Pistorius to dispute, sent back the letters (not so much as opening the seal) with this answer out of Chrysostom, Inhonestum est, honestam matronam cum meretrice litigare, It is no honour for an honest matron to scold with a harlot. (Melch. Adam.) See Trapp on " 1Ti 1:4 "
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
Ver. 7. Understanding neither what ] Non curo illos, saith Augustine, qui vel non intelligendo reprehendunt, vel reprehendendo non intelligunt. I pass not for the censures of such as dare to reprehend what they do not comprehend.
Nor whereof they affirm ] And are therefore to be slighted. Galatinus (saith Mr Sarson), as he affirmeth without reason, so he may be dismissed without refutation.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
Ver. 8. If a man use it lawfully ] For discovery of sin, for manuduction to Christ, and for a rule of life. Lex, lux, Proverbs 6:23 . Xenophon telleth us, that this was the drift of the Persian laws, to keep men from acting, yea, from coveting, anything evil or idle, κειται .
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
Ver. 9. Is not made for a righteous ] For he is freed by Christ from the coaction, malediction, and irritation of the law. The law lieth not upon the righteous (so the Greek soundeth), it urgeth not upon them, as it doth upon the wicked. To these it is as chains and shackles, to the righteous as girdles and garters, which gird up his loins and expedite his course the better. It confineth him (saith Rev. Dr Preston) to live in that element where he would live; as if one should be confined to Paradise, where he would be, though there were no such law. The wicked (on the contrary) it confineth to the place where he would not be, and to the actions that he would not do; as Shimei confined, leapeth over the pale after profit and pleasure, and dieth for it.
But for the lawless, &c. ] Those masterless monsters, that send messages after Christ, saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us." But shall they thus escape by iniquity? "In thine anger thou wilt cast down these people, O God,"Psalms 56:7; Psalms 56:7 . Aut faciendum, aut patiendum. Either do or suffer. They that will not bend shall break; they that will not be Christ’s subjects shall be his footstool: his arrows are sharp in the hearts of the king’s enemies, whereby the people (that fall not down before him) fall under him, Psalms 45:5 .
10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
Ver. 10. For menstealers ] That steal away other men’s children; so those that steal other men’s books and writings, and set them out in their own name; as one dealt by Diagoras, who thereupon, out of discontent (because he that had done it was not presently stricken with a thunderbolt), became an atheist. (Diod. Sic.) So Fabricius stole Tremellius’ Syriac translation, Villa Vincantius stole Hyperius’ Treatise De ratione studii Theologici, and Possevinus recently translated Dr James’s Cyprianus redivivus into his Apparatus Theologicus, and made it his own doing. Sic vos non vobis.
And if there be any other thing ] For the apostle took no delight to mention more of this cursed crew; but leaves them to the law to handle and hamper them, as unruly beasts, dogs, lions, leopards, are chained and caged up that they may not do mischief.
11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
Ver. 11. Of the blessed God ] Blessed in himself, and to be everlastingly blessed of all creatures. Hence he is called, "The blessed," Mark 14:61 . And frequently in the Commentaries of the Hebrew Doctors he is set forth by this title, Baruch hu, " he that is blessed."
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
Ver. 12. Who hath enabled me ] Christ sends none but whom he gifts. Asinos elegit Christus et idiotas, sed oculavit in prudentes, simulque dona dedit et ministeria.
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
Ver. 13. Who was before a blasphemer ] Chrysostom observes it of Paul, as his greatest honour, that although he had obtained pardon of God for his sins, yet he is not ashamed to reckon them up to the world. So David does penance in a white sheet, as it were, Psalms 51:1 ; title. So Augustine writeth books of confessions. And I was as obstinate a Papist, saith Latimer, as any was in England, and so servile an observer of the Popish decrees, that I thought I had never sufficiently mingled my mass wine with water, and that I should never be damned if I were once a professed friar. Also when I should be made Bachelor of Divinity, my whole oration went against Philip Melancthon and his opinions. And standing in the schools when Mr Stafford (a godly orthodox divine) read, Latimer bade the scholars not to hear him, exhorted the people not to believe him. And yet the said Latimer confessed himself, that he gave thanks to God that he asked him forgiveness before he departed.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
Ver. 14. Was exceeding abundant ] Hath abounded to flowing over, υπερεπλεονασε , as the sea doth above mole hills. "I will scatter your sins as a mist," saith God, "and they shall be cast into the midst of the sea." Note these two metaphors, and despair, if thou canst. Paul was a blasphemer (and so sinned against the first table), be was also a persecutor (and sinned against the second table), he was injurious (and so came near unto the unpardonable sin), and yet he obtained mercy; albeit his ignorance was not invincible, but of a brave disposition. Cheer up therefore and despond not. There is a pleonasm of free grace for thee in other Scriptures, as Ephesians 2:7 ; Romans 5:20 , but here is a superpleonasm.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
Ver. 15. This is a faithful saying ] Worthy to be credited and embraced, as it was by Bilney the martyr, who by this promise was much comforted in a great conflict. So was Ursine byJohn 10:29; John 10:29 . Another by Isaiah 57:15 . And another by Isaiah 26:3 , saying that God hath graciously made it fully good to his soul.
Of whom I am chief ] Primus, quo nullus prior, as Gerson expounds it; Imo quo nullus peior, as Augustine, more worse than the worst. The true penitentiary doth not elevate but aggravate his sins against himself, is ever full in the mouth this way, as Daniel 9:5 . Paul veils all his top sails, we see, and sits down in the dust; vilifying and nullifying himself to the utmost.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Ver. 16. Might show forth ] By full demonstration and sufficient evidence, ενδειξηται , so that all might see and say, There is mercy with Christ that he may be feared, yea, mercy rejoicing against judgment, that he may be everlastingly admired and adored.
For a pattern to them, &c. ] Therefore the apostle was assured of remission in an ordinary way, and not by any special revelation.
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Ver. 17. Invisible ] God is too subtle for sinew or sight to bear upon. We can but see his back parts and live; we need see no more, that we may live.
Now unto the King immortal ] Paul cannot mention the great work of our redemption without a thankful acclamation. The Grecians being restored to liberty by the Roman general Quintus Flaminius, he was entertained by them with such applauses and acclamations, while they roared out Saviour, Saviour, that the very birds that flew over them, astonished with the noise, fell to the ground. When Hunniades had overthrown Mosites, the Turk’s general, at his return from the camp, some called him the father, some the defender of his country; the soldiers, their invincible general; the captives, their deliverer; the women, their protector.
The only wise God ] The temple of Sophia in Constantinople is now the Turk’s chief mosque, and by them still called Sophia, because they hold, even as we do, that the wisdom of God is incomprehensible.
18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
Ver. 18. Son Timothy ] This is Timothy’s task, whom the apostle fitly calleth son, according to the custom both of those and these times. Patres eos dicimus qui nos catechesi instituerunt, saith Clement: We call them fathers that instruct and catechise us. Hence Numbers 3:1 , those there mentioned were Aaron’s sons by nature, and they are called Moses’s sons, because he taught and instructed them.
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
Ver. 19. Holding faith and a good conscience ] A good conscience, saith one, is as it were a chest wherein the doctrine of faith is to be kept safe, which will quickly be lost if this chest be once broken. For God will give over to errors and heresies such as cast away conscience of walking after God’s word. What a blind buzzard then was that Popish inquisitor, who said of the Waldenses, You may know the heretics by their words and manners: Sunt enim in moribus compositi et modesti; superbiam in. vestibus non habent: They are neither immodest in their carriage, nor proud in their apparel. (Dr Ussher de Christ. Eccles. success.) Like unto this was the speech of the bishop of Aliff in a sermon preached at the Council of Trent; that as the faith of the Catholics was better, so the heretics exceeded them in good life. (Hist. of Council of Trent.) But can they live well if heretics? how can the treasure be safe, if the ship wherein it is laid be split and broken? Surely a corrupt opinion will soon corrupt a man’s life, as rheum falling from the head doth putrefy the lungs and other vital parts.
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Ver. 20. That ye may learn ] Ut castigati discant; that being buffeted and bodily tormented by Satan, as Acts 13:2 ; (for as yet there were no Christian magistrates), they may learn, παιδευθωσι .
Not to blaspheme ] That is, not to hold erroneously, and to live scandalously, to the reproach of the gospel. Confer Proverbs 30:9 .
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent