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1 Timothy 1:1
Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; according to for by, A.V.; Christ Jesus our hope for Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope, A.V. and T.R. For the inscription, comp. Romans 1:1, Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:1; 2 Timothy 1:1; Titus 1:1; in all which St. Paul asserts his apostleship, and ascribes it directly to "the will of God" (comp. Galatians 1:11, Galatians 1:12, etc.). According to the commandment (as Titus 1:3) expresses the same truth, but possibly with a more direct reference to the command, "Separate me Paul and Barnabas," recorded in Acts 13:2. This assertion of his apostolic authority indicates that this is not a private letter to Timothy, but a public Church document for all time. Our hope (comp. Colossians 1:27; Acts 28:20).
1 Timothy 1:2
My true child in faith for my own son in the faith, A.V.; peace for and peace, A.V.; the Father for our Father, A.V. and T.R.; Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. My true child in faith. A most awkward phrase, which can only mean that Timothy was St. Paul's true child because his faith was equal to St. Paul's, which is not St. Paul's meaning. Timothy was St. Paul's own son, because he had begotten him in the gospel (1 Corinthians 4:14-16; Philippians 1:10)—his spiritual son. This is best expressed as in the A.V. by "in the faith" (comp. Titus 1:4, where the same idea is expressed by κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν). Grace, mercy, and peace. This varies from the blessing at the beginning of the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, by the addition of the word "mercy," as in 2 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4 in the T.R., and also in 2 John 1:3 and Jude 1:2. It seems in St. Paul to connect itself with that deeper sense of the need and of the enjoyment of mercy which went with his deepening sense of sin as he drew towards his end, and harmonizes beautifully with what he says in 2Jn 1:12 -16. The analogy of the other forms of blessing quoted above strongly favors the sense our Father rather than the Father. Whether we read ἡμῶν with the T.R. or omit it with the R.T., the idea of Father is contrasted, not with that of Son, but with that of Lord; the two words express the relation of the Persons of the Godhead, not to each other, but to the Church.
1 Timothy 1:3
Exhorted for besought, A.V.; tarry for abide still, A.V.; was going for went, A.V.; certain men for some, A.V.; not to teach a different for that they teach no other, A.V. Exhorted (παρεκάλεσα). In about sixty places this word has the sense of "beseech," "entreat," "desire," "pray," which is more suitable to this passage than the R.V. exhort. It is a strong expression, and seems to imply that Timothy had been anxious to go with St. Paul to Macedonia, to share his labors and wait upon him; but that St. Paul, with that noble disinterestedness which characterized his whole life, had, not without difficulty, persuaded him to abide at Ephesus. Tarry. Here again the R.V. is unfortunate. The exact sense of προσμεῖναι is "to stay on," or, as in the A.V., "to abide still." The word tells us that Timothy was already at Ephesus when he received the request from St. Paul to stay on there instead of going to Macedonia. There is nothing in the phrase that implies that St. Paul was at Ephesus himself when he made the request to Timothy. It may have been made by message or by letter. When I was going. Some commentators have endeavored to explain πορευόμενος as applying to Timothy, or as if the order were ἵνα πορευόμενος παραγγείλῃς; but the Greek will not admit of it. Charge (παραγγείλῃς); a word implying authority, almost invariably rendered "command" or "charge." It is taken up in 1 Timothy 1:18 (ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν), "This charge," etc. Teach a different doctrine (ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν). This is one of the many words peculiar to the pastoral Epistles. It only occurs here and 1 Timothy 6:3. It is formed from ἑτεροδιδάσκαλος, a teacher of other than right doctrine, and means "to play the part of a teacher of other than right doctrine," just as in ecclesiastical language ἐτερόδοξος means "one who holds opinions contrary to that which is orthodox," and such as do so are said ἑτεροδοξεῖν. The classical sense is a little different, "one who holds a different opinion"—"to be of a different opinion." The introduction of the word into the vocabulary of Scripture is a sign of the somewhat later age to which this Epistle belongs, when heresies were growing and multiplying. Other similar compounds are ἑτερόγλωσσος (1 Corinthians 14:21) and ἑτεροζυγεῖν (2 Corinthians 6:14).
1 Timothy 1:4
To give for give, A.V.; the which for which, A.V.; questionings for questions, A.V.; a dispensation of God for godly edifying, A.V. and T.R. (οἰκονομίαν Θεοῦ for οἰκοδομίαν Θεοῦ); so do I now for so do, A.V. Fables (see 1 Timothy 4:7). If the spirit which gave birth to the fables of the Talmud was already at work among the Jews, we have a ready explanation of the phrase. And that they were Jewish fables (not later Gnostic delusions) is proved by the parallel passage in Titus 1:14, "Not giving heed to Jewish fables." The prevalence of sorcery among the Jews at this time is a further instance of their inclination to fable (see Acts 8:9; Acts 13:6; Acts 19:13). Endless genealogies. What was the particular abuse of genealogies which St. Paul here condemns we have not sufficient historical knowledge to enable us to decide. But that they were Jewish forms of "vain talking," and not Gnostic, and related to human pedigrees, not to "emanations of eons," may be concluded from the connection in which they are mentioned in Titus 3:9, and from the invariable meaning of the word γενεαλογία itself. It is true that Irenaeus ('Contr. Haer.,' lib. 1.) applies this passage to the Valentinians and their succession of eons (Bythus, Nous, Logos, Anthropus, etc.—in all thirty, male and female); and so does Tertullian, who speaks of the seeds of the Gnostic heresies as already budding in St. Paul's days ('Advers Valentin.,' cap 3. and elsewhere), and Grotius supports thin explanation ('Comment.,' 1 Timothy 1:4). But it was very natural that Irenaeus and Tertullian, living when the heresies of Valentinus, Marcion, and others were at their height, should so accommodate St. Paul's words—which is all that Irenaeus does. On the other band, neither Irenaeus nor Tertullian shows that γενεαλογία was a word applied to the emanations of the eons in the Gnostic vocabulary. The genealogies, then, were Jewish pedigrees, either used literally to exalt individuals as being of priestly or Davidic origin (as the pedigrees of the Desposyni, or later of the princes of the Captivity), or used cabbalistically, so as to draw fanciful doctrines from the names composing a genealogy, or in some other way which we do not know of (see the writers 'Genealogies of Christ,' 1 Timothy 3:1-16. § 1 Timothy 2:1; and note C at the end of the volume). Endless (ἀπέραντος); found only here in the New Testament and so one of the words peculiar to the pastoral Epistles, but used in the LXX. for "infinite," "immeasurable." It means either "endless," "interminable," or, "having no useful end or purpose;" οὐδὲν χρήσιμον (Chrysostom). But the former ("interminable") is the better rendering, and in accordance with its classical use. Questionings (ζητήσεις or ἐκζητήσεις, R.T.). (For ζητησις, see John 3:25; Acts 25:20; and below, 1Ti 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 3:9; and for the kindred ζήτημα, Acts 15:2; Acts 18:15; Acts 23:1-35. Acts 23:29; Acts 25:19; Acts 26:3.) The reading ἐκζήτησις is only found here. A dispensation of God. This version arises from the Greek οἰκονομίαν, which is the reading of the R.T. and almost all manuscripts. The T.R. οἰκοδομίαν is thought to be a conjecture of Erasmus, which, from its much easier sense, was taken into the T.R. Taking the reading οἰκονομίαν, the phrase, "a dispensation of God which is in faith," must mean the gospel as delivered by revelation and received by faith. These fables and genealogies address themselves, the apostle says, to the disputatious, itching curiosity of men's minds, not to their faith. The substance of them is matter of doubtful disputation, not revealed truth. "The dispensation" is better English than "a dispensation." So do I now; or, as the A.V., so do, is the conjectural filling up of the unfinished sentence which began "as I exhorted thee." But it is much more natural and simple to take verse 18 as the apodosis, and the intermediate verses as a digression caused by St. Paul's desire to show how exactly the charge was in agreement with the true spirit of the Law of God.
1 Timothy 1:5
But for now, A.V.; charge for commandment, A.V.; love for charity, A.V.; a good for of a good, and faith for of faith, A.V. But the end of the charge. Before proceeding with his sentence, in which he was about solemnly to commit the trust of the episcopate of the Church of Ephesus to Timothy, he breaks off abruptly to show the beneficent character of the charge, viz. the furtherance of that brotherly love and purity of heart and life which are the true fruit of the gospel dispensation, but which some, by their false doctrine, were so ruthlessly impeding. Each of these phrases, "a pure heart" and "a good conscience" and "faith unfeigned," seems to rebuke by contrast the merely ceremonial cleanness and the defiled conscience and the merely nominal Christianity of these heretical Judaizers (comp. Titus 1:10-16).
1 Timothy 1:6
Which things for which, A.V.; talking for jangling, A.V. Having swerved (ἀστοχήσαντες); literally, having missed the mark, as in the margin. It is found in the New Testament only here and 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18. In Ecclesiastes 7:19 (21, A.V.) and Ecclesiastes 8:9 (11, A.V.) it is used in a slightly different sense, "forego" and "miss." In Polybius and Plutarch repeatedly, "to miss the mark.... to fail," with the kindred ἄστοχος ἀστοχία αστόχημα, These men missed the true end of the gospel—purity of heart and conscience and life—and only reached vain and boastful talking. Have turned aside (ἐξετράπησαν); 1 Timothy 5:15; 1Ti 6:20; 2 Timothy 4:4; Hebrews 12:13; but not elsewhere in the New Testament. It is found in the active voice in the LXX., and is common in all voices in classical Greek. Vain talking (ματαιολογία); here only in the New Testament, and not feared in the LXX., but used by Strabo, Plutarch, and Porphyry. The adjective ματαιολόγος is used in Titus 1:10, and applied especially to those "of the circumcision." The Latin equivalents are vaniloquus dud vaniloquium. Livy's description of a vaniloquus is "Maria terrasque inani sonitu verborum complevit" (lib. 35:48; comp. Jude 1:16).
1 Timothy 1:7
Though they understand for understanding. A.V.; confidently affirm for affirm, A.V. Teachers of the Law (νομοδιδάσκαλοι. as Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34). This, again, distinctly marks the Jewish origin of these heretics. Though they understand, etc. So our Lord rebuked the scribes and teachers of the Law in his day: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God;" "Ye do greatly err". They confidently affirm (διαβεβαιοῦνται). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Titus 3:8, "I will that thou affirm confidently." So in classical Greek, "to maintain strongly," "to be positive." This was right in the minister of Christ declaring Divine truth, but very wrong in these vain janglers. The nature of their confident assertions is apparent from what follows—they spoke of the Law, but not lawfully.
1 Timothy 1:8
The Law is good (see the similar statement in Romans 7:12). The Jews thought that St. Paul spoke against the Law (comp. Acts 6:13, Acts 6:14), because he vindicated its true use (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:24; Galatians 4:4, Galatians 4:5, etc.). But he everywhere speaks of the Law as good and holy. If a man—i.e., a teacher of the Law—use it lawfully; knowing its proper use, as it follows in the next verse.
1 Timothy 1:9
As knowing for knowing, A.V.; Law for the Law, A.V.; unruly for disobedient, A.V.; and sinners for and for sinners, A.V.; the unholy for unholy, A.V. Law is not made for a righteous man. It is much better to render νόμος, with the A.V., "the Law," as e.g. Romans 2:12-14. The whole proposition relates to the Law of Moses, which these teachers perverted and tried to force upon Christians, being ignorant that the Law was made, not for the righteous, but for sinners. For is not made, we might render does not apply to or is not in force against. Κεῖται with the dative following (as 2 Macc. 4:11) suggests some such meaning, somewhat different from the simple νόμος κεῖται. This freedom of the righteous from the Law is what St. Paul everywhere asserts (Romans 6:14; Romans 8:2; Galatians 2:19; Galatians 3:25; Galatians 5:18, etc.), the Law being viewed, not as a holy rule of life, but as a system of penalties—"a Law of sin and death." That νόμος here means the Law of Moses is further evident from this, that in the following list the apostle clearly follows the general order of the Decalogue, taking first the offences against the first table, and then sins against the fifth, sixth, seventh, and ninth commandments (compare, too, Romans 2:11 with Romans 2:16). Lawless (ἀνόμοις); with no special reference to its etymology, but meaning simply "transgressors," "wicked," as Luke 22:37; Act 2:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (A.V.), and very frequently in the LXX. Unruly (ἀνυποτάκτοις); insubordinate, resisting lawful authority. In the LXX. for the Hebrew לעִיַלִבְ (1 Samuel 2:12, Symmachus),and perhaps Proverbs 16:27. In the New Testament it is peculiar in this sense to the pastoral Epistles, being only found here and in Titus 1:6, Titus 1:10 In Hebrews 2:10 it has the classical sense of "unsubdued." The express application of the word in Titus 1:10, to the "unruly talkers of the circumcision," shows that St. Paul has them in view here also. Ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane. All terms implying offences against the first table. Ἀσεβέσι, (with the kindred ἀσεβεία and ἀσεβέω) is always rendered "ungodly," "ungodliness," "to act ungodly;" ἁμαρτωλοῖς, sinners, viz. against God; ἀνοσίοις, unholy (found only here and at 2 Timothy 3:2 in the New Testament, but frequent in the LXX.) is the contrary to ὅσιος, holy, saintly; βεβήλοις (whence βεβηλόω, to profane, Matthew 12:5; Acts 24:6), profane, of persons and things not consecrated to God—peculiar in the New Testament to the pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 4:7; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16;) and Hebrews 12:16, but found commonly in the LXX. and in classical Greek. Πατραλῶαις and μητραλῴαις, not murderers, but, as in the margin, "smiters, ill-users of father and mother." Both words are only found here in the New Testament, but found in Demosthenes, Aristophanes, etc. The allusion here is to Exodus 21:15, where the Hebrew word for "smiteth" is 1Ti , which does not necessarily mean "to smite to death" any more than ἀλοάω does. Ἀνδροφόνοις, man-slayers; found only here in the New Testament, but used in 2 Mace. 9:28 and in classical writers. The reference is to Exodus 21:12.
1 Timothy 1:10
Fornicators for whoremongers, A.V.; abusers of themselves with men for them that defile themselves with mankind, A.V.; false swearers for perjured persons. A.V.; contrary for that is contrary, A.V.; the sound for sound, A.V. Πόρνοις ἀρσενοκοίταις. The latter word is only found in the New Testament here and 1 Corinthians 6:9. and nowhere else; but the reference is to Leviticus 18:22, where the two words ἄρσενος and κοίτη occur, though not in actual composition. Ἀνδραποδισταῖς, men-stealers; only here in the New Testament, but very common, with its many kindred forms, ἀνδραποδίζειν ἀνδραποδισμός, ἀνδράποδον, etc., in classical Greek. The last word is found once in the LXX., viz. in 3 Macc. 7:5. The crime of man-stealing is denounced Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7. Ψεύσταις ἐπιόρκοις, liars, false swearers. The latter word only occurs here in the New Testament—the verb ἐπιορκέω in Matthew 5:33—and twice in the LXX., where ἐπιορκία is also found (Wis. 14:25); all are common in classical Greek. The reference is to Le Matthew 19:11, Matthew 19:12. The order of the offences, as above noted, is that of the Decalogue. The sound doctrine. The article is better omitted, as in the A V. This is one of the many phrases peculiar to the pastoral Epistles. Though the verb ὑγιανίνειν occurs three times in St. Luke's Gospel and once in 3 John 1:2 in its literal sense of bodily health, it is only in the pastoral Epistles that it is applied to doctrine (see 1 Timothy 6:3; 2Ti 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1, Titus 2:2; and note on 2 Timothy 4:3).
1 Timothy 1:11
The gospel of the glory for the glorious gospel, A,V. The gospel of the glory of the blessed God. The phrase, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης τοῦ μακαρίου Θεοῦ, cannot mean, as in the A.V., "the glorious gospel of the blessed God," except by a very forced construction. It might mean three things:
(1) τῆς δόξης τοῦ Θεοῦ might be a periphrasis for "God," as Romans 6:4, or Exodus 24:16, Exodus 24:17; Exodus 33:18; Le Exodus 9:6, Exodus 9:23; Psalms 104:31; 2 Corinthians 4:6; or as "the Name of the Lord" (Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 30:27, etc.); and as we say "thee queen's majesty," the "king's grace." Or
(2) "the glory of God" might mean Jesus Christ, who is the Brightness of God's glory, the Image of the invisible God, in whose face the glory of God shines (2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 4:6). Or
(3) it might mean the gospel which tells of the glory of God, which reveals and proclaims his glory, the glory of his grace (Ephesians 1:6, Ephesians 1:12), or perhaps here rather the glory of his holiness, which St. Paul's "sound doctrine" pressed for imitation upon all Christians (see 1 Timothy 6:3); comp. 2 Corinthians 4:4, "The gospel of the glory of Christ." Either the first or last is doubtless the true meaning. The blessed God. This and 1 Timothy 6:15 are the only passages in the New Testament where μακάριος, blessed, is an epithet of God. Elsewhere "blessed" is εὐλογητός; as e.g. Mark 14:61; 2 Corinthians 11:31. In classical Greek μάκαρ is the proper epithet of the gods; μάκαρες Θεόι μακάριος is usually spoken of men or qualities, and especially of the happy dead. It does not appear how or why the apostle here applies μακάριος to God. Committed to my trust; literally, with which I was entrusted. A thoroughly Pauline statement (comp. Romans 1:1, Romans 1:5; Romans 2:16; Galatians 1:11, Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:1-8, etc.).
1 Timothy 1:12
I thank for and I thank, A.V. and T.R.; him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord for Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, A.V.; appointing me to his service for putting me into the ministry, A.V. I thank, etc. This outburst of praise for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had called him to the ministry of the Word, is caused by the thought, which immediately precedes, of his being entrusted with the gospel. He thus disclaims any notion of merit on his part. That enabled me (ἐνδυναμώσαντι). This verb occurs once in the Acts (Acts 9:22); three times in St. Paul's other Epistles (Romans 4:20; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13); three times in the pastoral Epistles (here; 2 Timothy 2:1 and 2 Timothy 4:17); and Hebrews 11:31. It denotes the giving that peculiar power which was the gift of the Holy Ghost, and which was necessary for the work of an apostle to enable him to bear witness to Christ in the face of an adverse world. This power (δύναμις) Christ promised to his apostles before his ascension (Acts 1:8). St Paul received it after his conversion (Acts 9:22). He continued to hold it throughout his apostleship (Philippians 4:13); he enjoyed it especially at the approach of his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:17). It comprised strength of faith, strength to testify and to preach, strength to endure and suffer. St. Paul's whole course is the best illustration of the nature of the δύναμις which Christ gave him (see in Ephesians 3:6 the χάρις, the διακονία, and the δύναμις all brought together as here). Appointing me to his service. The A.V., putting me into the ministry, is a better rendering, because" the ministry" exactly expresses the particular kind of service to which the Lord appointed him (see the exactly parallel passage, Ephesians 3:7). The absence of the article is unimportant (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Timothy 4:11). (For the general phrase, comp. Act 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:28; or, still more exactly as regards the grammar, 1 Thessalonians 5:9.)
1 Timothy 1:13
Though I was for who was, A.V. and T.R.; howbeit for but, A.V. A blasphemer (βλάσημον); applied, as here, to persons, only in 2 Timothy 3:2; applied to words, Acts 6:11,Acts 6:13 (T.R.). The verb βλασφημεῖν, and the substantive βλασφημία, are very common, both in the sense of "blaspheming" and of "railing" or "reviling." St. Paul was a blasphemer because he spoke against the Name of Jesus, which he had since discovered was a Name above all names. A persecutor (διώκτης); only here; but the verb διωκεῖν is applied to St. Paul repeatedly (Acts 9:4, Acts 9:5; Acts 22:4; Acts 26:11, etc.), and the διώκτης here refers possibly to that very narrative. Injurious (ὑβριστής); only here and Romans 1:30, where it is rendered "insolent," R.V. The verb ὑβρίζειν, both in the New Testament and in classical Greek, means to "treat or use others despitefully," "to outrage and insult" them, not without personal violence (Matthew 22:6; Luke 18:32; Acts 14:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:2). The ὑβριστής is one who so treats others. St. Paul was thinking of his own conduct toward the Christians, whom he not only reviled, but handled roughly and east into prison (Acts 8:3; Acts 9:1; Acts 22:19). There is no English word which exactly renders ὑβριστής.
1 Timothy 1:14
Abounded exceedingly for was exceeding abundant, A.V. Abounded exceedingly (ὑπερεπλεόνασε); only here in the New Testament or elsewhere except "in Psalterio Salomonis Psa 5:1-12 :19, et in fragmento Hermae ap. Fabricium Bibl. Graec., lib. 5. cap. 1" (Schleusuer). But the word is thoroughly Pauline (comp. ὑπεραίρομαι ὑπεραυξάνωὑπερβάλλω ὑπερεκτείνω ὑπερπερισσεύω ὑπεροψόω, and other compounds with ὑπέρ. It is further remarkable, as regards ὑπέρ itself, that of the hundred and fifty-eight times (or thereabouts) that it occurs in the New Testament, one hundred and six are in St. Paul's Epistles, and twelve in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and only forty in all the other books. With faith and love, etc. The grace bestowed upon St. Paul at and after his conversion showed itself in the wonderful faith and love toward Jesus Christ, whom he had previously disbelieved in and reviled, which accompanied that grace (μετὰ) and was the fruit of it, and characterized his whole after-life.
1 Timothy 1:15
Faithful is the saying for this is a faithful saying, A.V. Faithful is the saying (πιστὸς ὁ λόγος). This formula is peculiar to the pastoral Epistles (1Ti 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8), and seems to indicate that there were a number of pithy sayings, maxims, portions of hymns or of catechetical teaching, current in the Church, and possibly originating in the inspired sayings of the Church prophets, to which the apostle appeals, and to which he gives his sanction. The one appealed to here would be simply, "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." This, St. Paul adds, is worthy of all acceptation—by all, and without any reserve. Acceptation (ἀποδοχῆς); only here and 1 Timothy 4:9, in connection with the same formula. The verb ἀποδέχομαι occurs in Luke 8:40; Acts 2:41; Acts 15:4; Acts 18:1-28:29; Acts 24:3; Acts 28:30. It contains the idea of a glad, willing acceptance (see note on Acts 2:41). So doubtless ἀποδοχή also means "hearty reception." I am chief; in respect of his having been" a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious." That great sin was indeed freely forgiven by God's grace, but it could never be forgotten by him who had been guilty of it. "Manet alta mente repostum" (comp. Ephesians 3:8).
1 Timothy 1:16
As chief for first, A.V.; might Jesus Christ for Jesus Christ might, A.V.; his long-suffering for long-suffering, A.V.; an ensample of for a pattern to, A.V.; unto eternal life for to life everlasting, A.V. That in me as chief; rather, as A.V., first; i.e. both in order of time, and in respect also of the greatness of the sin forgiven. Show forth (ἐνδείξηται; see 2 Timothy 4:14, note). All his long-suffering; more properly, as Alford, the whole long-suffering; i.e. the entirety of long-suffering—all that was possible, every kind and degree of long-suffering. Ὁ πᾶς with the substantive denotes the whole of a thing: τὸν πάντα χρόνον, "the whole time" (Acts 20:18); ὁ πᾶς νόμος, "the whole Law" (Galatians 5:14). So in the two examples from Polybius, τῆς πάσης ἀλογιστίας and τῆς πάσης ἀτοπίας "the utmost unreasonableness," and "the utmost strangeness," the construction is exactly the same. Long-suffering (μακροθυμια); more literally, long-animity; very frequent both in the New Testament and in the LXX. The adjective μακρόθυμος (LXX.) is a translation of the Hebrew מיִפַאַ רצַקְ, "long," or "slow to anger," to which the opposite is כְרֶאֶ, ὀξύθυμος (LXX.), "short to anger," i.e. hasty, passionate. The verb μακροθυμέω also occurs frequently, both in the New Testament and in the LXX.: Ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ, "Charity suffereth long" (1 Corinthians 13:4). For an example (πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν). The word only occurs in the New Testament here and 2 Timothy 1:12; but both it and the verb ὑποτυπόω are good classical words. The meaning of ὑπότύπωσις is "a sketch" or "outline," and hence a "pattern." This pattern is spoken of as being the property of, being for the use of, them which should hereafter believe. Just as the workman looks at his plan, or outline, by which he is to work, so those future believers would see in Christ's dealings with St. Paul the exact pattern of the long-suffering which they might expect for themselves. Others take ὑποτύπωσις in the sense of "instruction," but this sense cannot be made good. Believe on him unto eternal life. These words hang together. The particular force of πιστεύειν ἐπ αὐτῷ, "found in the New Testament only here and Romans 9:33; Romans 10:11; and 1 Peter 2:6" (Huther)—as distinguished from the other constructions of to πιστεύειν £—is "rest," "lean on" (Ellicott). St. Paul thus incidentally affirms that his own faith rested upon Jesus Christ in the full assurance of attaining to eternal life (see 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:2).
1 Timothy 1:17
Incorruptible for immortal, A.V.; only God for only wise God, A.V. and T.R. The King eternal. The Greek has the unusual phrase, τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, "the king of the worlds or ages," which is not found elsewhere in the New Testament, but is found twice in the LXX.—Tobit 13:6 and 10-and in the Liturgy of St. James, in the εὐχὴ τῆς ἐνάρξεως and elsewhere. The similar phrase, ὁ Θεὸς τῶν αἰώνων, is also found in Ecclus. 36:17. In all these passages it is quite clear that the phrase is equivalent to αἰώνιος, Eternal, as a title of the Lord, as in Romans 16:26. The genitive τῶν αἰώνων is qualitative. In Tobit 13:6 he is "the Lord of righteousness," i.e. the righteous Lord; and "the King of the ages," i.e. of eternity, i.e. "the eternal King," the King through all the ages. And in verse 10 it is said, "Bless the eternal King," who, it follows, will, as King, "love the miserable εἰς πάσας τᾶς γενέας τοῦ αἰῶνος;" and then it follows, in verse 12, "They that love thee shall be blessed εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα;" and again in verse 18, "Bless the Lord, who hath exalted Jerusalem εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας;" and the same conception is in the phrase, σὺ εἷ ὁ Θεὸς τῶν αἰώνων. Satan, on the other hand. is (ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου, "the god of this world" (compare such passages as Psalms 102:24; Psalms 104:31; Psalms 105:8; Psalms 135:13; Psalms 145:13; and the doxology in the Lord's Prayer, "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, εἰς, τοὺς αἰῶνας"). It seems to be, therefore, quite certain that St. Paul is here using a familiar Jewish phrase for "eternal" which has nothing whatever to do with Gnostic eons. Perhaps in the use of the phrase, βασιλεὺς τῶν αἰώνων, we may trace a contrast passing through the writer's mind between the short-lived power of that hateful βασιλεύς, Nero, by whom his life would soon be taken away, and the kingdom of the eternal King. Incorruptible (ἀφθάρτῳ); applied to God also in Romans 1:23, where, as here, it means "immortal" (ὁ μόνος ἔχων ἀθανασίαν, 1 Timothy 6:16), not subject to the corruption of death, just as ἀφθαρσία is coupled with "life" (2 Timothy 1:10) and opposed to "death" So on the other hand, φθορά means "death." φθαρτός, "perishable." Elsewhere it is applied to a crown, to the raised dead, to the inheritance of the saints, to the seed of the new birth, to the apparel of a holy heart, which no rust or moth corrupts (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1Co 15:52; 1 Peter 1:4, 1 Peter 1:23; 1 Peter 3:4). Invisible (ἀοράτῳ); as Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 11:27. The word is used by Philo of God, and of the Word. Here it is especially predicated of God the Father, according to what our Lord says (John 1:18; John 6:46; John 14:9); though some of the Fathers, Nicene and post-Nicene, predicate it also of the Word or Second Person (Hilary, Chrysostom, etc.). But in Scripture the Son is spoken of as the Manifestation, the Image (εἰκών and χαρακτήρ) of the Father, through whom t he Father is seen and known; ἀόρατος, therefore, applies to the Father (see Bishop Lightfoot's note on Colossians 1:15). The only God. The best manuscripts omit σοφῷ, which seems to have crept in here from Romans 16:26. The exact construction is, "To the eternal King, the Immortal, the Invisible, the only God [or, 'who alone is God'], be honor," etc. Be honor and glory. A little varied from St. Paul's usual doxologies (see Romans 11:36; Rom 6:1-23 :27; Galatians 1:5; Ephesians 3:21; and 1 Timothy 6:16, where δόξα stands alone, and has the article—Ellicott on Galatians 1:5). In Romans 2:10 δόξα and τιμή are coupled together, but applied to man. This interposition of doxology is quite in St. Paul's manner.
1 Timothy 1:18
My child for son, A.V.; by them thou mayest for thou by them mightest, A.V.; the good for a good, A.V. This charge. The apostle now picks up the thread which he had dropped at 1 Timothy 1:4, and solemnly commits to Timothy the episcopal care of the Ephesian Church, for which he had bid him stop at Ephesus. Omitting the long digression in 1 Timothy 1:5-17, the sense runs clearly thus: "As I besought thee to tarry at Ephesus in order that thou mightest charge some not to teach a different doctrine, so now do I place this charge in thy hands, according to the prophecies which pointed to thee, that thou mayest war the good warfare according to the tenor of them." He thus adds that he entrusted this charge to Timothy, not mero motu, but according to direct indications of the Holy Ghost, through the prophets of the Church, which pointed out Timothy as the person who was to war that good warfare. The words, ἵνα στρατεύῃ ἐν αὐταῖς τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν, might possibly depend upon τὰς προαγούσας ἐπί σε, meaning that those prophecies had this end in pointing to Timothy, viz. that he might war the good warfare, that he might be placed in the difficult post of στρατηγός, and the ἐν αὐταῖς follows rather more naturally in this case. But it is, perhaps, better to take them as dependent upon παρατίθεμαι. By them (ἐν αὐταῖς). Here ἐν may be either the causae efficiens, indicating that by the influence of these prophecies Timothy would war the good warfare, or be equivalent to κατὰ, "according to" (see Schleusner's 'Lexicon').
1 Timothy 1:19
Thrust from them for put away, A.V.; made shipwreck concerning the faith for concerning faith have made shipwreck, A.V. Thrust from them. The addition "from them" is meant to give the force of the middle voice as in Acts 7:39, A.V. The verb ἀπώθομαι occurs Acts 7:27, Acts 7:39; Romans 11:1, Romans 11:2. It is a strong expression, implying here the willful resistance to the voice of conscience. The form ἀπωθέω, -έομαι is found, Acts 13:46, and frequently in the LXX. Which (ἥν) applies to the good conscience only. Hence the important lesson that deviations from the true faith are preceded by violations of the conscience. The surest way to maintain a pure faith is to maintain a good and tender conscience. The faith. It is by no means certain that ἡ πίστις here means "the faith" rather than "faith" (subjectire). Both the grammar and the sense equally admit the rendering "faith," referring to the preceding, tiaras.
1 Timothy 1:20
Delivered for have delivered, A.V.; might be taught for may learn, A.V. Hymenaeus; probably the same as is mentioned 2 Timothy 2:17, 2 Timothy 2:18, as holding heretical doctrine concerning the resurrection, anti overthrowing the faith of some. It is an uncommon name, though borne by a Bishop of Alexandria in the second century, and by a Bishop of Jerusalem in the third. Alexander; doubtless the same as "Alexander the coppersmith" of 2 Timothy 4:14. I delivered unto Satan. The passages in Scripture which throw light on this difficult phrase are, chiefly, the following: the almost identical passage, 1 Corinthians 5:5; Job 1:12; Job 2:6, Job 2:7; Luke 13:10; Acts 5:5, Acts 5:10; Acts 10:38; Act 13:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:7; and Hebrews 2:14. Putting these together, it appears that sickness and bodily infirmity and death are, within certain limits, in the power of Satan to inflict. And that the apostles were able, on fitting occasions, to hand over peccant members of the Church to this power of Satan, that by such discipline "the spirit might be saved." In the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander (as in that of the incestuous person at Corinth), the punishment incident on this delivery to Satan would appear to have been short or' death, but in the ease of the two first not to have had the effect of bringing them to a true repentance. Might be taught (παιδευθῶσι); viz. by correction and punishment, as children are taught (Hebrews 12:6-8). The metaphor in the word κολαφίζειν (2 Corinthians 12:7) is similar.
1 Timothy 1:1, 1Ti 1:2, 1 Timothy 1:19, 1 Timothy 1:20.—Church government.
St. Paul was about to commit extensive powers in the Church to Timothy. It was therefore necessary that lie should define clearly the source of his own authority. This he does very distinctly. He was an apostle according to the commandment of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence his power to delegate authority to his son Timothy, and hence the duty of the Church to submit to Timothy's ruling. Among the powers committed to Timothy was that of ordaining bishops and deacons by the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 3:1-16. and 1 Timothy 5:22, compared with 2 Timothy 2:2), which seems to give us very clearly the doctrine of apostolical succession. For it should be observed that this succession is alone consistent with what St. Paul here writes. If the power to appoint and ordain their ministers had been vested by Christ's ordinance in the congregation, St. Paul would have been violating the rights and liberties of the Church by sending Timothy to do that which really belonged to the Ephesian congregation to do. But the theory that the government of the Church is in the hands of those who have received their commission by succession from the apostles is in exact accord with what St. Paul here writes to Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:3-11, 1 Timothy 1:19, 1 Timothy 1:20.—The heretic.
We have in these verses some of the characteristics of heresy very graphically portrayed. First, there is the teaching of other or different doctrine from that which they had received. The Fathers always lay stress upon novelty as characteristic of heresy, while it was characteristic of the Church to teach the old truths which had been banded down to them by those who went before them. And they are right. "I delivered unto you that which I also received," is the spirit of sound teaching. To invent new doctrines, and to preach things of one's own choosing, is the spirit of heresy. Then, again, it is characteristic of heresy to start curious questions, not with a view to real edification in the faith of Jesus Christ, but for the sake of displaying subtlety in disputing, and keeping up controversy and a war of words, and factious partisanship. The unity of the Church, and loving agreement amongst the brethren, is the last thing that heretics think of. Puffed up with self-importance, desirous of being leaders, despising others, treating with contempt all who will not follow them, they turn the Church into a bear-garden, and substitute vain jangling for the words of truth and soberness. Especially is arrogance combined with ignorance a leading feature in the heretic; and in his method of handling Divine truth he makes a display of both. Another feature may be noted, as set forth in 1 Timothy 1:19, viz. the divorce between conscience and faith. The heretic handles the things of God as matter for mere intellectual contests, apart from reverence and godly fear. He disputes about God and about Christ, and thinks it unimportant whether his own heart is pure or impure. He walks in open disobedience to God's commandments, and yet thinks himself competent to judge of God's nature and attributes. He darkens his own soul by sin, and yet dares to approach the mystery of godliness. Lastly, it is characteristic of the heretic that he rarely, if ever, repents, and returns to the faith which he denied. Hymenaeus and Alexander, in spite of the godly discipline ministered to them for their correction, are still found subverting the faith of many, and withstanding the apostle of Jesus Christ, in the latest mention of them. They were in this respect like their brethren in heresy, Simon Magus, Cerinthus, Marcion, Valentinus, Montanus, Manes, Arius, Socinus, and many more. The shipwreck of faith is, for the most part, total and irremediable.
1 Timothy 1:12-18.—The apostle.
The character of the apostle and true minister of the gospel stands out here in striking and glorious contrast with that of the heretic. Called by the grace of God to the ministry of the Word, not self-appointed; enabled by the grace of God, not trusting in his own cleverness; seeking the glory of God and the salvation of souls, not aiming at his own self-exaltation;—the apostle and minister of Christ moves altogether in a different plane from the heretical leader. A humble sense of his own unworthiness, instead of arrogant self-conceit; a lively apprehension of the mercy and love of God to his own soul, instead of a self-sufficient reliance upon his own intellect; a faithful delivery of the truth committed to him, instead of a presumptuous fabrication of new doctrines; and a glowing faith and love, with a growing apprehension of the glory of the central truths of the gospel, instead of a vain reaching after new things, and an itching for exciting fables—mark off the true servant of Christ from the pretentious heretic by unmistakable distinctions. Well were it for the Church if these characteristics of the true bishop of souls were more distinctly visible in all her ministers. Questions, and strifes of words, and fables, and speculations, which tend to division more than to unity, may be found in the teaching and writing of professing Churchmen, as well as in those of avowed heretics. Let "the faithful saying" hold its supreme place in the heart and in the teaching of the Church's ministers, and the unity as well as the holiness of the Church will be proportionately increased. Its strength to resist heresy will be increased in the same degree.
HOMILIES BY T. CROSKERY
1 Timothy 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:2.—Apostolic address and greeting.
As this Epistle was designed to bear an official character, it was necessary that its address should set forth the authority under which the apostle gave his instructions concerning Church order and Christian work.
I. THE APOSTLE'S AUTHORITY. "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the commandment of God our Savior, and Christ Jesus, who is our Hope." The apostleship was his, not merely because he was called to it (Romans 1:1), or destined to it by the will of God (1 Corinthians 1:1), but according to express Divine commandment.
1. It was the commandment of God our Savior, evidently in allusion to the command of the Spirit at Antioch, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have appointed them" (Acts 13:2), but more distinctly to his earlier call (Acts 26:16), as "a vessel of election" (Acts 9:15), to preach the Gospel to Jews and Gentiles. As the things of the Father are the Son's, so the things of the Son are the Spirit's. Thus God—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—gave him his original appointment. Thus the salvation would be seen to be of God's purpose and agency; for he is "God our Savior."
2. It was also the commandment of Christ Jesus, our Hope. Therefore his ordinary title is "an apostle of Jesus Christ." The aged apostle, in the near prospect of death, dwells on the thought of Christ as his one blessed hope. He is our Hope:
(1) as its Author;
(2) as its Object;
(3) as its Revealer;
(4) as its Procurer;
(5) but, above all, as its Substance and Foundation.
He is our very "Hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27).
II. THE APOSTLE'S GREETING. "To Timothy, my true child in the faith."
1. His early life. Timothy was a native of Lycaonia in Asia Minor, probably of Lystra, one of its towns. His father was a pagan, his mother a pious Jewess, named Eunice, who trained him early in the principles of true religion. It is an interesting fact that the apostle's more intimate companions were Gentiles, or with Gentile blood in their veins—Timothy, Titus, Luke, and even Demas.
2. His relationship to the Apostle Paul.
(1) He was converted by the apostle.
(2) He was associated with the apostle during a longer range of time than any other disciple.
(3) He was an interesting disciple of the Lord.
(a) There was great personal affection between Timothy and Paul.
(b) There was "no one like minded" with Timothy who could be brought to take care of individual Churches.
(c) Timothy was a constant organ of personal communication between the apostle and individual Churches.
(d) He seems to have been of a soft and, perhaps, timid temperament.
(e) He was very abstemious in his habits (1 Timothy 5:23).
3. The salutation. "Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
(1) The blessings invoked upon Timothy.
(a) Grace—a fresh discovery of Divine favor, an increase of grace, a fuller enjoyment of the gifts of the Spirit.
(b) Mercy—a fresh application of the pardoning mercy of God in Christ. It occurs only here and in the Second Epistle to Timothy suggested, perhaps, by the nearness of his own death, and the increasing difficulties of his last days; for he hopes that Timothy may share in the mercy he has sought for himself.
(c) Peace—peace of conscience through the blood of Christ, so necessary "to keep heart and mind" in the midst of the perturbations and distractions of his service at Ephesus.
(2) The Source of these blessings. They spring alike from the Father and the Son—a proof of the coequal Godhead of the Son; for they are strictly Divine gifts.—T. C.
1 Timothy 1:3, 1 Timothy 1:4.—The object of Timothy's continued sojourn at Ephesus.
I. CONSIDER THE TENDER CARE WHICH THE APOSTLE TAKES OF THE EPHESIAN CHURCH, "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, so do I beseech thee now that thou charge some that they teach no other doctrine." As Timothy was with the apostle in his first journey through Macedonia (Acts 16:3, Acts 16:12; Acts 20:3, Acts 20:4), this must refer to a later journey, occurring after the first imprisonment at Rome.
1. Mark the affectionate style of his address—"I besought thee;" whereas to Titus he said, "I gave thee command" (Titus 1:5). Timothy received no authoritative injunction, but merely a tender request that he would prolong his stay so as to check the waywardness of false teachers who had risen to mar the simplicity of the gospel.
2. Mark the tendency of the purest Churches to be spoiled by false doctrine. The apostle had foretold the rise of a separatist party when he was addressing the elders of Ephesus at Miletus (Acts 20:29, Acts 20:30). They may have been few—"some;" but if they were like "the grievous wolves" of the prediction, they might succeed in "drawing away disciples after them, speaking perverse things."
II. THE CHARGE WHICH THE APOSTLE GIVES TO BE ADDRESSED TO THE FALSE TEACHERS.
1. It was a charge that they should teach no doctrine different from the gospel. "That they teach no other doctrine."
(1) This implied that the apostle's doctrine was the true standard of teaching by which all other teaching was to be judged.
(2) There may have been no doctrinal heresy at Ephesus; but the teaching, being of a morbid, unedifying, speculative character, would tend to reduce the warmth of "the first love" of Ephesian saints, if not to lead to serious departures from the faith.
(3) Ministers must take special care that no false doctrines be broached in the Church of God.
2. It was a charge that the errorists should give no heed to fables and genealogies.
(1) Fables. Evidently rabbinical fables and fabrications in the regions of history and doctrine. The Talmud is full of them.
(2) Endless genealogies. The genealogies of the Pentateuch were actually made the foundation of allegorical interpretations by Jews like Philo, who largely influenced their countrymen. There may have been a disposition likewise, on the part of Jews, to establish their genealogical connection with Abraham, as if the bond of a physical relationship could add strength to that firmer bond which allies all to Abraham, whether they are Jews or Gentiles, who believe in Christ (Galatians 3:29).
3. Consider the ground upon which the apostle condemns this injurious teaching. "Inasmuch as they minister questions, rather than the dispensation of God which is in faith."
(1) The teaching was unprofitably disputatious. It ministered questions not easily answered, and which, if answered, had no practical bearing upon Christian life.
(2) It did not tend to promote the scheme of salvation as set forth by the apostles—"the dispensation of God which is in faith."
(a) God's dispensation is simply his method of salvation, as unfolded in the gospel (Ephesians 1:10), with which the Apostle Paul was specially entrusted (1 Corinthians 4:1).
(b) This dispensation has its principle in kith; unlike the fables and genealogies, which might exercise the mind or the imagination, but not the heart. Faith is the sphere of action upon which the dispensation turns.
(3) The apostle's anxiety to check this false teaching at Ephesus had evidently two grounds.
(a) This rabbinical teaching, if allowed to enter into the training of Gentile congregations, would cause Christianity to shrink into the narrow limits of a mere Jewish sect. Judaism might thus become the grave of Christianity.
(b) It would despiritualize the Christian Church, and rob it of its "first love," and prepare the way to bitter apostasy.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:5-7.—Nature of the charge connected with the fulfillment of God's dispensation.
In resisting these false teachers, Timothy must remember the true scope and design of the practical teaching which sets forth the scheme of Divine salvation for man.
I. THE END OF THIS TEACHING IS LOVE.
1. The teaching, as opposed to "fables and genealogies," is of the nature of a solemn charge or practical exhortation. It is not
(1) the Mosaic Law, nor
(2) the evangelical law, but
(3) sound doctrine in its preceptive, and therefore practical form.
2. The end or aim of it is love. "The end of the charge is love." It is love to men, not to God; for the charge stands in contrast with "the questionings which minister strifes" (2 Timothy 2:23). Practical religious teaching has a tendency to unite men in love.
(1) It is hard to maintain brotherly love in presence of active differences of doctrine.
(2) It is impossible to edify without love; for "love edifieth" (1 Corinthians 8:1), as speculations and contentions cannot.
II. THE NATURE OF THE LOVE WHICH IS RELATED TO THIS GOSPEL CHARGE. It is "love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." This is the threefold foundation on which it rests.
1. It springs out of a pure heart as its inward seat.
(1) Such a heart is purified by faith (Acts 15:9).
(2) Sprinkled from an evil conscience by the blood of Christ.
(3) Directed into the love of God (2 Thessalonians 3:5).
(4) Inclined to God's testimonies (Psalms 119:36).
(5) Therefore it is a heart pure from selfish desires, ignoble aims, and sinister policy.
The love springing from such a heart must be "without dissimulation;" for it is loving with a pure heart fervently.
2. It springs from a good conscience.
(1) Such a conscience is made good by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ, which reconciles us to God. Thus we have the answer of a good conscience before God.
(2) It is purged from dead works to serve the living God.
(3) Therefore a man is enabled to keep a conscience void of offence toward God and man; to be true to his convictions of truth and duty, and to respond faithfully to every moral obligation. Love springing from such a source will have its actings wisely determined.
3. It springs from faith unfeigned.
(1) This is its true origin; for "faith worketh by love," and must therefore be in existence before love.
(2) It gives reality and power to love, because it is itself not the pretence of faith, but faith in real existence and power. There was thus a marked contrast with the life of the false teachers—corrupted in mind (1 Timothy 6:5), seared in conscience (1 Timothy 4:2), and "reprobate concerning the faith" (2 Timothy 3:8).
4. Mark the order of grace here followed. In the order of nature, faith must be placed first. The apostle follows the order of practical working. Furthest down in man's inner nature is the deep well of a purified heart; then the love, as it comes forth into exercise, must be arrested on its way by a good conscience, to receive restraint and regulation; then, to sustain the vigor of love in its continuous exercise, there must be faith unfeigned, grasping the promises of God, and in intimate relation to things not seen.
III. THE EVIL EFFECTS OF SWERVING FROM THIS THREEFOLD FOUNDATION OF LOVE. "From which things some having swerved have turned aside to vain talking.
1. The persons referred to had evidently belonged, if they did not still belong to, the Church at Ephesus. Timothy could not otherwise have exercised authority over them.
2. The swerve was moral in its nature, but it would have intellectual effects of an injurious character. How often does the heart determine the bias of the mind!
3. Its actual result was a persistent habit of vain talking. It was empty babbling, without sense or profit—about mere trifles, to the neglect of weightier matters of doctrine.
IV. THE PRESUMPTUOUS IGNORANCE OF THIS PARTY, "Desiring to be teachers of the Law, not understanding either what they say, or concerning what things they confidently affirm."
1. It is no new fact in life to find the least qualified the most ready to undertake the task of instruction. They were ignorant and unlearned men, who were only able to wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction.
2. Their ignorance was of the most unquestionable character; for they neither understood their own averments or arguments, as to their nature and drift, nor did they comprehend the things concerning which they were so ready to give their foolish but deliberate judgment.
(1) It is evident they did not reject and disparage the Mosaic Law, but rather exalted it by their interpretations.
(2) They were not mere Judaists such as the apostle contended with in Galatia and elsewhere; for they are not charged with any attempt, either to maintain the ancient customs or to bring in legal observances out of their proper place.
(3) They rather, as misunderstanding the true nature and design of the Law, tried to work up a compost of Judaic and Gnostic elements, which explained the Law according to the philosophic views of the East. Therefore their theology was marred by fanciful allegorizings of the Law, which eliminated its moral element, and thus robbed it of all power to touch the heart or conscience of men.
(4) The case in hand illustrates the progress of error in the Church. The incipient Gnosticism of Ephesus gradually developed into the more pronounced Gnosticism so pointedly condemned by the Apostle John in his First Epistle.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:8, 1 Timothy 1:9.—The nature and design of the Law.
"We know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully." This passage contains the last recorded utterance of the apostle concerning the Law, and of which he speaks with all the conscious authority of an apostle. He asserts the goodness of the Law—the moral Law, not the ceremonial, which was now disannulled, for the context refers expressly to the precepts of the Decalogue—and this goodness is manifest if you keep in view the moral end for which it was given. Perhaps the apostle may have had in view the lax moral practice of the errorists at Ephesus.
I. THE LAWFUL USE OF THE LAW. Scripture sets forth its design in plain language.
1. It was a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. (Galatians 3:24.) Thus "Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness" (Romans 10:4).
2. But it only brings us to Christ as it reveals to us our imperfections and our sins. "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). It was, indeed, "added because of transgressions" (Galatians 3:19). The Law shows us our sinfulness, and drives us to the Savior. It thus "shuts us up to faith" (Galatians 3:23).
II. THE UNLAWFUL USE OF THE LAW.
1. To make it the occasion of endless logomachies—of vain talking, of "strivings about the Law."
2. To seek justification by obedience to its precepts.
3. To strive for the attainment of holiness by a use of the Law, interpreted, not in its plain sense, but with meanings imposed upon it by mystical allegorizings and theosophic culture. The errorists at Ephesus were no Pharisaic legalists or mere Judaists, but persons ignorant of the true nature and design of the Law; who abstained from things lawful and good, and were yet morally corrupt (Titus 1:10; Revelation 2:9, Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:20, Revelation 2:24).
III. GROUND OF THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN ITS LAWFUL AND UNLAWFUL USE. "Knowing this, that the Law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless"
1. The Law is not made for a righteous man.
(1) This does not mean that a righteous man—that is, a man right with God, whose experience has made the principles of righteousness habitual with him—has no relation whatever to the Law.
(a) Because the Law had relation to
(α) Adam in innocence, who had the Law written in his heart;
(β) to Abraham, who was a righteous man;
(χ) to David, who was a righteous man;
(δ) and to all the Old Testament saints;
(ε) it had even relation to Jesus Christ himself,
who was "made under the Law"—the very "Law that was in his heart" (Psalms 40:8), of which he was "the end for righteousness" (Romans 10:4), because he came to fulfill it (Matthew 5:16).
(b) Because the Law has relation to believers under the Christian dispensation; for this very apostle enforces the obligation to obey it, specifying six of its enactments (Romans 13:8, Romans 13:9; Ephesians 6:1). James says that believers who show respect of persons become "transgressors of the Law." Therefore, when the apostle says "the Law is not made for a righteous man," he does not mean that the righteous man is no longer bound to obey it. He delights in it; he actually serves it (Romans 7:25). If any should say that the apostle means that the righteous do not need the Law to direct them, we answer that they might as well say they do not need the Scripture to direct them, as the Law is already in their hearts. How is a righteous man to know sin but by the Law? "For by the Law is the knowledge of sin."
(2) His statement has an abstract cast, like our Lord's saying, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
(a) The Law was not made because of righteous, but because of wicked, men. "It was added because of transgressions." It is similar to the statement of the apostle concerning the nine graces of the Spirit—"against such there is no Law" (Galatians 5:23). The Law does not, cannot condemn, any one of these graces.
(b) The Law was never made for the righteous man in the sense in which it was made for the unrighteous man, to condemn him; for the righteous man is redeemed from the curse of the Law (Galatians 3:13). Its penalty cannot affect him; its burden does not weigh him down; its terrors do not bring him into bondage. On the contrary, he delights in it as he serves it. Thus, while in one sense the righteous man delights in it and serves it, he is in another sense "not under the Law, but under grace" (Romans 6:14). It may be further observed that if Adam had continued in his original righteousness, the Law of Sinai would never have been given to man. "It was added because of transgressions."
2. The Law is made for the wicked. They are described according to the two tables of the Decalogue. Those in the first table go in pairs.
(1) The lawless and unruly. These terms describe opposition to the Law—the one in its more subjective, the other in its more objective side; the one representing, perhaps, a more passive, the other a more active hostility to Law.
(2) The ungodly and sinful. These terms describe the opposition to God—the one without reverence for him, the other living in defiance of him.
(3) The unholy and profane. These terms describe the manifestation of the wicked and godless spirit toward the Name or ordinances of God. They touch upon the violation of the first four commandments.
(4) Those in the second table in with
(a) sins against the fifth commandment: "smiters of fathers and smiters of mothers;"
(b) sins against the sixth: "man-slayers;"
(c) sins against the seventh: "fornicators, sodomites;"
(d) sins against the eighth: "men-stealers"—this special form of transgression being selected because the theft of a man himself is a far more serious offence than the theft of his goods;
(e) sins against the ninth: "for liars, for perjurers"—the one being a great advance in enormity upon the other.
(f) Strange that the apostle does not enumerate the tenth, which operated upon himself so powerfully (Romans 7:7). Perhaps it was designed by the inclusive reference no longer to the committers of sin, but to the sins themselves: "And if there be any other thing that is contrary to the sound instruction, according to the gospel of the glory of God which was committed to my trust." This language implies
(1) that the list is not designed to be exhaustive of the various forms of evil in the worm;
(2) that the Law and the gospel are in perfect harmony respecting what is sin;
(3) that the design of the gospel is to set forth the glory of God's mercy, goodness and love;
(4) that the gospel is a precious deposit committed to human hands, to be dispensed for the benefit of the race of man. The apostle did not shrink from such a solemn trust, but rather rejoiced in it.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:12, 1 Timothy 1:13.—Ejaculation of thankfulness for this high trust.
Though he appears to turn aside for a moment from the false teachers, he is still carrying out his design to inspire Timothy with a proper view of the true nature and importance of the gospel.
I. THE SUBJECT-MATTER OF HIS THANKSGIVING. "I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, that enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, appointing me to the ministry."
1. The Lord gave him strength for his work. "He enabled me." He gave him all his intellectual abilities, all his capacity for winning men to the truth, all his firmness, endurance, and patience in preaching the gospel.
2. The Lord gave him his appoint-melt to the ministry.
(1) The apostle did not thrust himself into it, nor take this honor to himself, neither was he called unto it by men.
(2) It was the Lord himself who made a minister of him; for the apostle speaks of "the ministry which I received of the Lord Jesus to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). The ministry here signifies the more humble service, rather than the apostleship; for he refers rather to the work to be done than to the prerogatives of his office.
(3) The Lord counted him faithful for the work; not that the faithfulness was a foreseen quality which became the ground of his call to office, but that he counted him faithful because he made him so, for he speaks of himself as" one who hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful" (1 Corinthians 7:25). Faithfulness must be the pre-eminent quality of the steward of God (1 Corinthians 4:2).
II. HIS THANKSGIVING IS GREATLY ENHANCED BY THE THOUGHT OF HIS DEEP UNWORTHINESS. "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a doer of outrage." These are words of bitter self-accusation.
1. He had been a blasphemer. He spoke evil himself of the Name of Jesus, and compelled others to follow his example (Acts 26:11). This was the highest sin that could be committed against God.
2. He had been a persecutor. "I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women" (Acts 22:4). He "breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Acts 9:1). He not only spoke evil of Christ, but persecuted Christ in his members.
3. He had been a doer of outrage. Not content merely with reproachful words, he broke out into deeds of violence. His conduct was contumelious and injurious in the last degree.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:13.—The Lord's mercy contrasted with his own want of it.
Great as his sin had been, he became a subject of Divine mercy.
I. THE LORD'S MERCY TO HIM. "I obtained mercy."
1. The mercy included the pardon of his great wickedness. It was mercy unsought for as well as unmerited.
2. It was mercy with the grace of apostleship added to it.
II. THE GROUND AND REASON OF THIS MERCY. "Because I did it ignorantly in unbelief."
1. The true ground of mercy is nothing whatever in man, but the compassion of God himself (Titus 3:5).
2. The apostle does not signify that he had any claim to God's mercy, for he calls himself in the next verse "the very chief of sinners."
3. He does not mean to lessen the enormity of his guilt, but sets it forth, in all its attending circumstances, as not being such as excluded him from the pale of mercy, because he had not sinned against his own convictions.
(1) He did it ignorantly; but ignorance was no excuse where there were the means of knowledge; and unbelief, out of which the ignorance springing could not be accepted as an excuse, since he had heard the statement of Stephen. Besides, all sins spring from ignorance, and are aggravated by unbelief.
(2) But he did not sin willfully against light and conscience, and so commit the sin against the Holy Ghost.
(3) He who has compassion on the ignorant had compassion upon him, when he found him an ignorant and blinded zealot. Thus were confirmed the words of Christ, that every sin against the Son of man will be forgiven, so long as there is no blasphemy against the Spirit (Matthew 12:31). The apostle had not deliberately set at naught the counsel of God, but stood on exactly the same ground with those sinners converted at Pentecost, who had acted "in ignorance" (Acts 3:17). The sin was great in both cases, but it was not unpardonable.
(4) There is nothing in the apostle's statement to justify the opinion that those who have never heard of Christ will be forgiven on account of their ignorance. Our Lord's words warrant the expectation that there will be a mitigation, but not a remission, of punishment in such cases. "He that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes" (Luke 12:48). The language in both passages justifies charitable judgments even respecting persecutors.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:14.—The super-abounding grace of the Lord to the apostle.
He now explains how fully he received of God's mercy in spite of his unbelief.
I. THE MERCY OF THE LORD OVERFLOWED IN GRACE ON GOD'S SIDE. "But the grace of our Lord super-abounded." His salvation was of free grace. He had done nothing to deserve it, but rather everything to forfeit his claim upon it. It was grace first that made him a Christian, and then made him an apostle.
II. THE MERCY OF THE LORD OVERFLOWED IN FAITH AND LOVE ON MAN'S SIDE. "With faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."
1. These two graces are the fruits of grace. When grace abounds, they will necessarily abound.
2. Faith stands in opposition to his old unbelief. It is that grace which receives every blessing from Christ, and gives him all the glory, bringing peace, joy, and comfort into the heart, and ending in eternal life.
3. Love stands in opposition to his former rage and cruelty. He now has love to God and man.
4. His faith and love find their true spring in Jesus Christ, as in him all fullness dwells.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:15.—The summary of the gospel.
This statement is grounded on his own experience of God's saving mercy.
I. THE TRUTH AND CERTAINTY OF THE GOSPEL REVELATION. "Faithful is the Word, and worthy of all acceptation." Five times does this phrase occur in the pastoral Epistles. It was a sort of formula or watchword of the early Christian Churches.
1. The doctrine of salvation is entitled to all credit. It is certain that Christ came to save sinners.
2. It is to be received by all sorts of people, with heartiness and gladness, as a doctrine suitable to the necessities of all men. With what zeal it ought, therefore, to be set before men!
II. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE GOSPEL REVELATION. "That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
1. This language implies Christ's pre-existence. He left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was (John 16:28).
2. It implies that he came voluntarily of his own free will. It is true that God's love is manifest in the sending of Jesus, but Christ's love is equally manifest in his advent. It was necessary that he should come into the world, because he could not otherwise suffer and die in our stead. The fact that he came as man in the fullness of time implies that the mere forth-putting of spiritual power from heaven did not suffice. A man's work had to be done that God's mercy might reach us.
3. It suggests the true design of his coming. "To save sinners."
(1) This implies the revelation of God's will to man.
(2) The impetration of salvation through Christ's suffering and obedience.
(3) The application of the salvation to the objects of it.
(4) That sinners need salvation, and are lost without it.
(5) That the greatest sinners have no right to despair of salvation—"of whom I am chief."
(a) The apostle speaks of himself in the present tense, not in the past, for he still feels himself to be but a believing sinner.
(b) The language recalls his frequent allusions to his persecutions of the Church of God. God had forgiven him, but he could never forgive himself. He places himself in the very front rank of transgressors because of his share in the devastation of the Church.
(c) The language implies his deep humility. It was an element in his spiritual greatness that he had such a sense of his own sin. He calls himself elsewhere "less than the least of all saints" (Ephesians 3:8).
(d) It is well to be mindful of our sin in a way of godly sorrow, as a means of keeping us humble and thankful for the rich grace of the gospel dispensed to us.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:16, 1 Timothy 1:17.—The apostle an example of the Divine long-suffering to all ages.
There was an economical purpose in the salvation of the Apostle Paul.
I. THE EXERCISE OF THE LORD'S LONG-SUFFERING TOWARD THE APOSTLE. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy."
1. The mercy takes the form of long-suffering; for the Lord bore long with the ways of this fierce persecutor of the saints, when he might have cut his career short in judgment.
2. It took the form of positive deliverance from guilt and sin and death. How often "the long-suffering of the Lord is to usward salvation" (2 Peter 3:9)!
II. THE DESIGN OF THIS REMARKABLE EXHIBITION OF MERCY. "That in me as the chief Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them who should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."
1. The long-suffering is exercised by the Lord himself. It is he who is wounded in the persecutions of his members. "Saul, Saul! why persecutest thou me?" Yet it is he who shows mercy.
2. The greatest persecutors may not despair of mercy. The Lord will tarry long with them if peradventure they may repent and turn to him.
3. The case of Paul—"the chief of sinners"—ought to encourage sinners of every class and sort to exercise hope and trust in the Lord, as well as to meet the misgivings of those who think they have sinned too much to warrant the expectation that the Lord will have mercy upon them.
4. Trust in Jesus Christ necessarily brings with it eternal life. There is nothing needed but faith for this purpose. "He that hath the Son hath life."
III. ASCRIPTION OF PRAISE AND THANKFULNESS TO GOD FOR HIS MERCY.
1. Consider the titles by which God is addressed. "Now to the King of the ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God."
(1) He is King of the ages, as his kingdom is called the kingdom of all the ages (Psalms 145:13); because as God, knowing the end from the beginning, he fixes the periods or stages of the development through which this world is destined to pass, shaping all events according to his pleasure, and making all things work together for good to them that love him.
(2) Incorruptible; because "he only hath immortality" (1 Timothy 6:16).
(3) Invisible; for no man hath seen him at any time, as he dwells in light inaccessible.
(4) The only God; in opposition to the false gods of the heathen, or to the multitudes of angels and principalities and powers.
2. Consider the doxology. "Unto him be honor and glory for ever and ever."
(1) They already belong to him alone.
(2) They will belong to him to all eternity.
(3) The thought of the overruling wisdom and. mercy and goodness of God in his case leads to this devout acknowledgment.—T.C.
1 Timothy 1:18-20.—The solemn charge to Timothy.
The apostle here returns to the duty of directing Timothy.
I. IT IS NECESSARY FOR EVEN GOOD MINISTERS TO BE REMINDED OF THEIR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. "This charge I commit to thee, my son Timothy."
1. The charge may have indirectly alluded to the commands already given, but refers immediately to the good warfare in which he is to war as the fulfillment of his calling.
2. It is committed to him like a precious deposit to be guarded and kept. How anxious the apostle is that Timothy should be faithful to his position and his responsibilities!
II. IT IS A SOLEMN THING TO INVOKE THE MEMORY OF PROPHECIES OR PIOUS ANTICIPATIONS IN AID OF A DIFFICULT CAREER. "According to the prophecies that went before on thee, that by them thou mightest war a good warfare."
1. The allusion is to prophecies uttered probably at his ordination by the prophets of the Church, foretelling his future zeal and success. Such prophetic intimations were not uncommon in the primitive Church. We trace them at Jerusalem (Acts 11:27, Acts 11:28), at Antioch (Acts 13:1), at Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:1-40.), at Caesarea (Acts 21:8-10).
2. Such prophecies would act with a stimulating, self-protective power upon a temperament like that of Timothy, inclined, perhaps, to softness and timidity. They would encourage him in the midst of his present perils and trials at Ephesus.
3. It is a serious thing to disappoint the hopes of the pious.
III. THE PURPOSE CONTEMPLATED BY THE COMMAND AS WELL AS ITS IMMEDIATE SUBJECT. "That by them"—that is, in virtue of them—"thou mightest war a good warfare." The figure is a familiar one with the apostle (Ephesians 6:12; 2Co 10:3, 2 Corinthians 10:4; 2 Timothy 2:3).
1. Christian life, and above all that of a minister, is a good warfare.
(1) It is good because it is against evil—the world, the flesh, and the devil;
(2) because it is directed toward the good of men;
(3) because it is for a good end, the glory of God.
2. It is to be carried on
(1) under Christ as Captain (Hebrews 2:10);
(2) with watchfulness and sobriety (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6);
(3) with an enduring hardness (2 Timothy 2:3, 2 Timothy 2:10);
(4) with self-denial (1 Corinthians 9:25-27);
(5) with prayer (Ephesians 6:18).
IV. THE WEAPONS IN THIS WARFARE ARE FAITH AND A GOOD CONSCIENCE. "Holding faith and a good conscience. The two must go together, but faith must necessarily go first. You cannot have a good conscience without faith, nor faith in its reality without a good conscience. There must be faith in your teaching, conscience in your actions.
1. Faith. There is "the shield of faith." It is not the mere doctrine of faith, but the grace of faith. It is by this faith we overcome
(1) the world (1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:5);
(2) the flesh (Galatians 5:24);
(3) the devil (1 John 2:14);
(4) everything that exalts itself (2 Corinthians 10:5);
(5) death and the grave (1 Corinthians 15:54, 1 Corinthians 15:55).
A mere intellectual belief could not produce such results; for "the devils believe and tremble."
2. A good conscience.
(1) It is good because it is sprinkled with the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:14).
(2) Because it helps to keep the faith in purity (1 Timothy 3:9).
(3) Christians ought to seek the approval of their consciences in all things (Acts 24:16).
(4) Its testimony ought to be a source of joy (2 Corinthians 1:12; 1 John 3:21).
(5) Ministers ought always to commend themselves to the consciences of their people (2 Corinthians 4:2).
V. THE WOEFUL SHIPWRECK OF CONSCIENCE. "Which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck." The figure is a nautical one. When the cargo or ballast of a good conscience is tossed overboard, the ship becomes unmanageable, and is easily shipwrecked. "Some" at Ephesus resolutely stifled the admonitions of conscience, and thus turned faith into a mere matter of speculation, with no influence whatever upon their practice.
1. These persons made shipwreck of the doctrine of faith; for they held that the resurrection is past already (2 Timothy 2:18).
2. If they made shipwreck of the grace of faith, it may not have been a total shipwreck; for the discipline imposed upon them by the apostle was for the saving of the spirit, "not for the destruction of the flesh" (2 Corinthians 5:5).
3. The apostle's method of dealing with these off riders. "Of whom are Hymeaeus trod Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan, that they may be taught not to blaspheme."
(1) Hymenaeus was almost certainly the same as the impugner of a future resurrection (2 Timothy 2:17); and Alexander was probably, but not so certainly, the same as Alexander the coppersmith (2 Timothy 4:14), who was a resolute personal enemy of the apostle.
(2) The apostle delivered them unto Satan, which seems to have included
(a) a solemn excommunication from the Church, carried out no doubt by the Church at the apostle's command; and
(b) the infliction of bodily disease. Cases of the exercise of this terrible apostolic power are those of Ananias and Sapphira, Elymas, and the incestuous person at Corinth.
(3) It was not an irrevocable sentence, for its remission depended upon the return of the offenders to faith and. repentance. "That they may be taught through chastisement not to blaspheme." The design was the recovery of the offenders; but neither this Epistle nor the next throws any light upon the ultimate effect of the severe discipline inflicted by the apostle.—T.C.
HOMILIES BY W.M. STATHAM
1 Timothy 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:2.—The Divine benediction.
"Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." This is a trinity of blessing. The gospel is to be preached as a new life. This contrasts with vain jangling in the sixth verse. Some had swerved, or literally turned aside, as an arrow that misses the mark. Paul speaks of "questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith." And there are questions mysterious, questions curious, which unregenerated hearts may discuss to the hindrance of true religion. This salutation of the young apostle begins, therefore, with a high spiritual tone: "Grace, mercy, peace."
I. WHO THE GIFTS WERE FROM. "God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." But in the first verse Paul speaks of God as our Savior. Notice this; it is peculiar, and may keep us from confining ideas of pity and tenderness to Christ alone. God is the Author of salvation, He sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Here, then, we come to the Fountain-head of the river of grace. Paul cannot give grace, mercy, and peace; they are from "God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." Paul was the ambassador of the gospel, not the author of it; a preacher, not a priest. The priest never dies, because proud human nature never dies. Men like to say," through us." In after years, when Paul was dead, there might have come some temptation to Timothy to say, "I derived my apostolate from, I stood next to, him." But a salutation is not a consecration.
II. WHAT ARE THE GIFTS THEMSELVES? Emphatically Christian gifts. The Roman motto would have been, "Courage, skill, force." The Athenian motto would have been, "Pleasure, beauty, philosophy."
1. Grace. God's favor. The beautiful Divine nature revealing itself on the cross as forgiveness, and in a life of tenderness, pity, and holiness to which the Christian is to be conformed. Grace forgives and grace renews. It is a large word. It carries at its heart all that we mean by moral loveliness and gracefulness. It is the fulfillment of the ancient prayer, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."
2. Mercy. What a picture of cruelty we see in the Roman age, with its amphitheatres, its gladiators, its horrors on a Roman holiday, and its slave quarters! No hospitals for the sick, no asylums for the poor and needy. "Mercy." The cross meant mercy. The parables meant mercy. The prayer was fulfilled, "Lord, show us the Father."
3. Peace. The Jews had their disputations about eatings and drinkings and genealogies. Their Church was alive, only with vigorous disputation. The gospel meant true peace—peace, not of condition, but of conscience. Ever must it be so. Peace with God! Peace with our brethren! Peace within ourselves! So the Savior's legacy was realized: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you."—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:5.—The vital end of religion.
"Now the end of the commandment is charity." When we know the Divine end or purpose, we get light on all that leads to that end. Charity, or love that is like God's own love, is the end of all. Religious principle in its root and stem is to blossom into the beauty of Christ-like character. Christianity is a truth, that it may be a life. It is not to be mere doctrine, or mere ritual. We may be fiery disputants without being faithful soldiers. We may even be workers in the vineyard, without the faith which worketh by love. Ecclesiasticism is not necessarily religion. There may be Church uniformity, Church harmony, and aesthetic ceremonial, and yet, so far as Divine life is concerned, there may be "no breath at all in the midst of it." Let us confine ourselves to the first word.
I. CHARITY IS HIGHER THAN UNIFORMITY. With Constantine Christianity meant uniformity, with Hildebrand it meant supremacy. But in its spirituality and simplicity the gospel remains the same in all ages. We are to live Christ; and to live Christ is to live in love, as Christ also loved us, and gave himself for us. Ecclesiasticism is often a system of severe outward drill, an obedience to outward rite and cult. So the Romish Church in Spain, centuries ago, forcibly converted the Moors by dashing holy water in their faces, and so admitted them into the communion of the Church. The gospel cannot be spread by a rough-and-ready "multitudinism" like that. It must begin in personal faith, and work in the spirit of love.
II. CHARITY FINDS ITS IMAGE IN GOD. We need not ask what this love is. For we have seen it incarnated in the words and deeds of the Christ, and in his sufferings for "our sakes" upon the cross.
1. It is not the selfish love which gives affection where it receives affection, and turns even a gift into barter and exchange.
2. It is not the costless love which will be an almoner of bounty where there is no personal self-denial and suffering; but it gives itself.
3. It is not the love of a passing mood, which ministers in affectionate ways in times of high-wrought emotion; but a love which is full of forbearance with our faults, and is triumphant over our faithlessness. So the end of the commandment is worthy of the God who gives the commandment. Like himself, it is charity. And we have reached the highest vision-point in Revelation, when we see in its sublime teachings, not were commandments which may be arbitrary, but an unfolding of the nature of God.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:5.—Life's inner springs.
"Out of a pure heart." This is the soil in which the heavenly grace grows, and this soil is essential to the purity and beauty of the grace. It is not enough to plant the seed; we must till and nourish the soil.
I. THE HEART IS THE TESTING-PLACE OF WHAT WE LIKE. Here I would give emphasis to the fact that "the good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things." There must be passion in all true life. As Mr. Ruskin truly says, "The entire object of true education is to make people not merely do the right things, but enjoy the right things; not merely industrious, but to love industry; not merely learned, but to love learning; not merely pure, but to love purity; not merely just, but to hunger and thirst after righteousness. Taste is not only a part and index of morality; it is the only morality. The first and last and closest trial-question to any living creature is—What do you like? Tell me what you like, and I'll tell you what you are." Exactly! So says the gospel. "Out of the heart are the issues of life;" "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." This is a true teaching, and may open up a new view of moral and spiritual life to the thoughtful mind.
II. THE HEART IS THE REVEALING PART OF THE TRUE MAN. You must watch life in its temper and spirit at all times and in all places. You may be deceived by good actions. Men may build almshouses and yet live so as to break hearts; they may be courageous in confronting tyrannies abroad, and yet live impure lives in the indulgence of besetting sins. Think of this. Good actions do not make a good man; it is the good man that makes the good actions. A man may be beneficent and give thousands to hospitals, or brave and rescue drowning men from death, or patriotic and save a nation in perilous times, and yet he may not have the mind of Christ, and his heart may be unrenewed. "A pure heart." We all love pure things—the white marble, the rain-washed sky, the peerless alabaster, the silver wings of the dove. So Christ would have us all desire and seek the pure heart.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:5.—The sense of rectitude.
"And of a good conscience." We here come to the ethical region of rectitude, showing us how complete the gospel is, and how it stands related to the whole of our complex nature. We notice here the connection of "good" with conscience; let us see what it means. May there be another conscience that is not good?
I. THERE MAY BE THE CASUIST'S CONSCIENCE. We see this in the ease of the scribes and Pharisees in the time of our Lord. The simple instincts of justice and mercy were perverted by ecclesiastical routine, and the minutiae of legal ordinations. They overlaid the Law, which appealed to the native instincts of conscience, by their traditions, which did not so appeal, and which were burdensome and troublesome. So in Luther's time the consciences of men were in the keeping of the priests, and an artificial and Jesuitical morality made even immorality sometimes expedient and lawful. Men lost the native instincts of right and wrong in obedience to an artificial and ecclesiastical code of morals; they worried themselves about sins that were no sins, and they lost the consciousness that men may be sinners even when they are obedient sons of the Church.
II. THERE MAY BE THE WORLDLY CONSCIENCE. This makes custom into a god. Conscience is ruled and regulated by what is expedient, or what society expects of men. They are pained at the sin which brings shame before men, but are not disconcerted at desires, emotions, and actions which are evil in the sight of God. It is a wonderful interesting study this—the relation of society to sin. For there are fashionable vices and respectable sins which are heinous in the sight of God, but the conscience is at ease because the spirit of the age does not condemn them. How important, then, it is to keep conscience enlightened by the Word of God and invigorated by the Holy Ghost! The end of the commandment is in the best sense to make you a law unto yourself. It is important to have the Bible in our heads, but it is most important to have Christ enthroned in the tribunal of conscience within.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:5.—The absence of hypocrisy.
"And faith unfeigned." We all dislike shams. Led by Carlyle, the English nation has lately heard many prophetic voices against them. We insist, in art, in dress, in manners, and in religion, on sincerity. Without this nothing is beautiful, because nothing is real. We hate feigned learning, feigned skill, feigned culture, and feigned superiority. The apostle tells us here that faith must be unfeigned. Now, if the end of the commandment is love, the argument is this, that the faith which is to be worked by such a glorious inspiration of charity must be an honest, earnest, real faith.
I. WE MUST BELIEVE IN HUMANITY BEFORE WE CAN LOVE MEN. Believe, that is, that there is an ideal of God in every man; that underneath his depravity and degradation there is a moral nature which may be renewed, and a life which may be transfigured into the glory of Christ. For man's conscience was made to know the truth, his heart to feel it, and his will to be guided and energized by it. If we think of men cynically or contemptuously, then there will be no earnest efforts to save that which is lost.
II. WE MUST BELIEVE IN THE POWER OF CHRIST AND HIS CROSS, OR WE SHALL NOT BE ENTHUSIASTIC IN PREACHING THEM. No doubter can be a good preacher. Men know and feel the power of ardent faith. The arrow will miss the mark if the hand of the archer shakes, or distrusts its weapon. The one great element of success is unfeigned faith—a faith which says, "I believed, and therefore have I spoken." There may be a variable faith, like that of the Vicar of Bray's, which believed anything—Romanistic, Rationalistic, or Evangelical—for the sake of position. But the mask soon drops, anti men, instead of receiving the truth, despise the raise teacher. "We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God," is the essential basis of a true ministry. Such a faith will be touched with enthusiasm like unto his who said, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of Christ Jesus our Lord."
III. WE MUST BELIEVE IN A VITAL SENSE SO AS TO LIVE OUR BELIEF. An unfeigned faith is one that we practice ourselves; one that fills every channel of our being—our ethical life, our philanthropies, our missionary endeavors, our home joys and sanctities. There is a faith which is merely dogmatic—which holds fast the Christian doctrines, but fails to translate them into life. The atonement itself, so august and awful, must ever stand alone as a Divine sacrifice; but its moral effect is to be lived. "We thus judge, that if One died for all, then were all dead; and that we who live should not henceforth live unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again." Faith is not to be a waxwork fruit—something artificial and unreal—but the living vine, of which Christ is the root.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:11.—A gospel of glory.
"According to the glorious gospel." These are the words of a true enthusiasm. St. Paul gloried in the gospel. We may read it, however, as in the Revised Version, "According to the gospel of the glory of God." Either way the glory of it fills the heart of the apostle with intense rapture. No good work is done without enthusiasm. The great Italian artists—men like Angelico, Fra Bartolomeo, and Michael Angelo—associated heaven with earth in their work, and did it, not for mere pay, but for great ideal results. So also great apostles and reformers, like Paul, Wickliffe, and Luther, were enthusiasts. But all healthy enthusiasm is inspired by reality and truth. Some men have made shipwreck of religion because they lost the compass of the Word of God; and others, dependent on feeling alone, have wandered, being led by the ignis-fatuus of imagination alone.
I. PAUL SEES IN HIMSELF WHAT THE GOSPEL CAN DO. "Take me," he says; "I was before a persecutor, and injurious." What could account for such a change as is embodied in the man who from Saul became Paul? No theory of moral dynamics can stand, that suggests he lifted himself into so great a change. Neither could the Hebrew Church of that age, which was coldly ritual, sterile, and barren. "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. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Christ Jesus might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." No man can be so ardent about a cure as he who has tried a physician; no man admires the great artist so much as he who has tested his own feeble powers. And now "what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son," had done, and done in Paul: he is a proof of the gospel before he becomes a preacher of it.
II. PAUL GIVES A NEW SIGNIFICANCE TO THE WORD "GLORY." On his lips glory takes a new meaning. He had seen the glories of the Caesars, who raised their thrones on hecatombs of human lives, and filled their courts with unbounded luxuries and lusts. Surrounded by soldiers and courtesans, their glory was in their shame. He had seen the glories of the architects, sculptors, and artists, at Athens, Corinth, and Rome. But the glory of which he spoke was in a life that gave itself—that came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and that on the cross died for the sins of the whole world. It was the glory of goodness, the glory of compassion, the glory of self-sacrifice.
III. PAUL REJOICES TO TELL THE GOOD NEWS OF THIS GLORY. It is the glorious gospel, or the glorious "good news" for all men—Greek and Jew, barbarian and Scythian, bond and free. How simple a thing it seems—"good news!" and yet it is speech that moves the world! Homer is remembered, when the military heroes of Greece are forgotten. Syncs live longer than thrones. This good news was of a Christ who had died, and risen, and was working then in the hearts of men. Paul lived long enough to plant Churches, and to show that the cross could turn men "from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." He could show them not only the root, but the tree; not only the seed, but the flower. It was good news in relation to man himself—to his present history and his everlasting destiny. The gospel had made life desirable, and checked the false euthanasia of Roman suicide; and it had spread a great sky of immortality above men's heads, so that to live was Christ, and to die was gain.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:11.—The nature of God.
"Of the blessed God." Prove that the gospel comes from God, and it must be blessed; for God is blessed in himself. His nature is light, which is always beautiful; and love, which is always beneficent.
I. THIS IS A DESCRIPTION OF THE DIVINE NATURE. Not of some of the attributes of that nature, but of the very heart and center of it. Not the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, the Omniscient; but the Blessed! Look at nature! Study its purity, its harmony, its exquisite adaptations of provision and plenty to the varied wants of all living things, show that God is not a Being of mere power or wisdom, but One whose works are very good, One who wished his creatures to share in his own blessedness.
1. Look at his revelation. Do we want beatitudes? Duty turned to joy? We find the way of peace and rest and joy in obedience to his will.
2. Look at the Christ himself. Blessed within, amid all outward forms of temptation and all endurances of trial. "That my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
3. Look at the cross. Designed to make atonement, to reconcile man to God, and so to renew his image within, and to make man understand that separation from God was the root-cause of all his misery. The gospel is not only a revelation of doctrine; it is an unfolding of the Divine nature, into which we may be changed "from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
II. THIS IS THE UNIQUE REVELATION OF THE GOSPEL. False religions give prominence to aspects of power, and merge into dreads. The gospel alone shows that God is Love. And in revealing the blessed nature of God in his Son, it has shown us that evil is misery because it is another nature. Life apart from God is death—death to peace, purity, harmony, holiness. Men have in their experience testified to this. All is vanity apart from him. Over all life may be inscribed, "Nihil sine Deo"—"Nothing without God." So Christ would lead us to the Father, unite us with the Father, and transform us into the likeness of the Father—One who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:11.—Trustees of the truth.
"Which was committed to my trust." Here Paul speaks of the preacher of this glorious gospel as a trustee. It is not a gospel of merely personal salvation; it is not designed to awaken only moral and spiritual admiration for its teachings; nor for the culture of immortal happiness, so far as we are ourselves alone concerned.
I. THE GOSPEL IS OURS IN TRUST. Water is sweet, but others are perishing with thirst. The open sky is beautiful, but others are in prison. Peace is restful, but others are in pain. What do you think in earthly matters of fraudulent or neglectful trustees? You rank them amongst the very worst of men. How ninny sons and daughters of the careful and. the prudent have been ruined through the long years by negligent trustees!
II. THE GOSPEL AFFECTS ALL TRUSTEESHIPS. Its spirit is to pervade all that we have and are. Men are coming to see that knowledge, skill, wealth, are not only to be enjoyed for personal gratification, but to be used for the uplifting and bettering of others. These will, and always must be, "our own;" but we are to look also "on the things of others." Do not fence in the park of your life, but act the steward of its beauties and its joys. Rights of possession there are, and yet responsibilities of possession too. Look at Christ.
1. He knew the secret of blessedness, and came to earth to reveal it.
2. He knew the grandeur of human nature, and came to live in it and to restore it.
3. He knew the mastery that evil had over us, and he came to break the fetters.
4. He knew that sin separated us from God, and he came to die, "the just for the unjust, to bring us unto God." Our captains at sea are guardians of life, and bravely do they do their duty. Our soldiers are trustees of a nation's honor, and never have failed in the great crises of her life. And our great citizen-fellowships are trustees of broad rivers, open commons, and the health and well-being of the poor, and have striven to protect their interests. As Christians we are each and all trustees of the gospel. It is no mere ecclesiastical privilege; for, alas! ecclesiastics have too often been trustees only of their own rights, or the rights of their special Churches. We are all trustees of the glorious gospel of the blessed God, and woe be to any of us who shirk our responsibilities or idly neglect our trust!—W.M.S.
HOMILIES BY R. FINLAYSON
1 Timothy 1:19.—Human wreckage.
"Some have made shipwreck." Words sound differently to different men. Language is a "word-picture," and we must see the facts before we understand the word. Paul chooses a metaphor applied to character, which is so terrible when applied to disasters at sea. Many a beautiful vessel has arrested the gaze of admiring spectators as she spread her sails to the favoring breeze, and breasted the waters like a thing of life. But, on another shore, her shivered timbers and her shattered prow have been washed up as the wreckage of a once gallant ship, her half-defaced name the only testimony to her fate. So Paul had seen men wrecked on the breakers of self-indulgence, vice, and folly. Paul associated loss of character with loss of faith. "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having lint away have made shipwreck."
I. SHIPWRECK SOMETIMES COMES AT THE VERY COMMENCEMENT OF THE VOYAGE. The ship scarcely leaves the river before she runs aground. There has been too much self-confidence, and the Divine Pilot has not had the ship in hand.
II. SHIPWRECK SOMETIMES COMES AT THE CLOSE OF THE VOYAGE, when the ship is almost home; when from the masthead land was almost in sight. But the watch has not been kept. In the voyage of life we may have the cross on the flag, and the chart in the cabin, and the compass on the deck; but we sleep, as do others, and we are wrecked with the land almost in sight.
III. SHIPWRECK AFFECTS THE VERY HIGHEST ELEMENTS OF OUR BEING. "A good conscience," the sweetest meal to which ever a man sat down! The sublimest music, which no Beethoven or Mendelssohn can approach! The noblest heritage that a Moses could sacrifice Egypt for! A conscience cleansed by Christ's blood, enlightened by the Word of God, and quickened by the Holy Ghost. "A good conscience!" Wealth cannot purchase it, envy cannot steal it, poverty cannot harm it, and naught but sin can denude it of its crown. It is the strength of the confessor's endurance, the luster of the sufferer's countenance, the peace of the martyr's heart. "A good conscience." Wreck that, and all is lost; and the sun of the moral firmament sets in darkness.—W.M.S.
1 Timothy 1:1-11.—Introduction.
1. Sender. "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and Christ Jesus our Hope." It is usual for Paul to begin his letters by taking the designation of apostle. He thus claimed to write, and to order ecclesiastical affairs, under infallible direction. In thus writing to Timothy, who had no special need of being reminded of his authority, he would seem to give an official character to the letter. While he claimed authority, it was, at the same time, as himself belonging to Christ Jesus. Not satisfied with stating to whom he belonged in the authority he exercised, he further traces his apostleship, not, as in previous Epistles, up to its primal source in the will of God, but more immediately to the commandment of God or actual appointment after his conversion. He received his appointment from God our Savior—a designation of God which in the New Testament is peculiar to the pastoral Epistles. It is introduced here as carrying with it the obligation on the part of Paul and Timothy to be the bearers of the Divine salvation to their fellow-men. He also received his appointment from Christ Jesus, whom he thus, the second time in the short space, introduces. By Christ, as acting for God, all appointments are made. The seven stars, i.e. Christian ministers, are held by him in his right hand; and he has the whole ordering of their locality and time of service. In this second introduction of his name he is designated our Hope, i.e. he from whom the appointed have their reward, and in whom it subsists.
2. To whom addressed. "Unto Timothy, my true child in faith." Not according to the flesh, but in the sphere of faith, was Timothy his child. Thus he is accustomed to regard his converts; he is both father and mother to them. We may, therefore, conclude that Timothy, though of godly parentage and with godly influences working efficaciously in him, owed it to Paul's instrumentality that he was converted to Christianity. It was in Lystra, a city of Lycaonia, on Paul's second visit, that Timothy joined him as his assistant. He was his true child, not only in his being his convert, but in his having the evidence of that in his being after the same stamp—like-minded, as he is called in Philippians 2:20; one who seemed instinctively to enter into his views and plans, and therefore, we may say, the ideal of an assistant.
3. Salutation. "Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." The insertion of mercy in the salutation is a peculiarity of the Epistles to Timothy. There is invoked grace on him as unworthy, mercy on him as exposed to suffering, peace on him as the result of his being graciously and mercifully dealt with. The Source from which the blessing is invoked is God the lather. It is to the fatherly feeling in God—that which is highest in his nature, and with which redemption originated—that our appeal is to be made for saving blessings for ourselves and fur our friends. In the thought of Christ as the second Source of blessing, Paul finds occasion for the third introduction of the name of Christ. He is thought of as our Lord, i.e. the sovereign Dispenser of the saving blessings in his Father's house, of which there are enough and to spare.
I. CHARGE DEVOLVED ON TIMOTHY. "As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, the which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith; so do I now." The time of the journey into Macedonia would seem to be after the first imprisonment at Rome, beyond the period included in the Acts of the Apostles. This brings the date of the Epistle well on to the close of the apostle's life. If this is correct, then Paul's confident anticipation of never again being in Ephesus was not verified. For it is here mentioned as his point of departure for Macedonia. He would have taken Timothy with him; but there were manifestations in the Church at Ephesus which necessitated him to leave him behind. There were certain persons not otherwise characterized, who taught a different doctrine, i.e. different from the gospel as preached by Paul. It could not be called a different gospel as in the Galatian Churches; it was rather something taught by itself which tended to frustrate the ends of the gospel. It was a giving heed to fables and endless genealogies. We come upon incipient Gnosticism here, of which we have already seen traces in the Epistle to the Colossians. This is best known as Eastern mysticism in contact with Christianity. But there seems reason to believe that there was a prior contact of Eastern mysticism with Judaism in the form of Essenism. This has many elements in common with Gnosticism; the peculiarity is that it is Jewish materials that are thrown into the mystic form. A great feature in Gnosticism is the interposing of intermediate agencies, to account for the creation of the world, supposed to be evil, so that God could not come into immediate contact with it in its creation. What were afterward known as eons or emanations, in the Epistle to the Colossians are called angels. Here the interminable genealogies found in rabbinical speculations are associated with the intermediate agencies. God created a being at a certain remove from himself, with a name which they were in a position to give. This being created another at a further remove from God, who also was named. The object was to come down to the name of one who was bad enough to create the world; but it was difficult to know where to stop. Upon these genealogies ingenuity was exercised; but, as there was nothing of the element of certainty in them, they only ministered questionings or disputings as to the names. What Timothy was to direct his efforts to was to set forth the dispensation of God which is in faith, i.e. the Divine order of things, as seen partly in creation and specially in redemption, in which faith can lay hold on certainty. "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen hath not been made out of things which do appear." By filth also we understand that Infinite Love has in Christ Jesus provided a full atonement for our sins.
II. THE END OF THE CHARGE. "But the end of the charge is love." The link of connection is the charge to be given by Timothy to the false teachers. The thought which follows is, these teachers missing the aim of what is charged on them. We have here, then, not the end aimed at in others, as the end of the physician is health (which is Ellicott's idea), but plainly the end aimed at in what is charged on the teacher. The words are suitable to one who is receiving a charge. "What is the end of what I charge on you?" says the giver of the charge; "it is that you have your being filled with love." This is the qualification of the healer of the body: he must be thoroughly interested in the recovery of his patients. So it may be said to be the main qualification of the healer of the soul: he must be thoroughly interested in the spiritual health of those who are committed to his care.
1. The love of the teacher must be associated with pure elements. "Out of a pure heart." He must have, mingled with his affection, and giving character to it, an antipathy to sin in every form, to unreality, to superficiality; am a passion for holiness in every form, for reality, for depth.
2. The love of the teacher must be associated with conscientiousness. "And a good conscience." He must have, in the first place, a conscience that faithfully witnesses to his duty, to the methods he should follow in his work, to the forms of service his love for the people should take. And he must have, in the second place—which is also included in the scriptural idea of a good conscience—the approval of his own mind, the consciousness that he is using all diligence in carrying out his ideas of duty, in following his methods, in his endeavors to be serviceable.
3. The love of the teacher must be fed from the highest Source. "And faith unfeigned." His faith brings him into contact with an invisible Savior, by whom he is elevated in his whole spirit as a teacher, at the fountain of whose love his love is fed, and not only in intensity but in all that it needs of purity and direction. Only his faith must be unfeigned; for if it is not in his life, if it is only as a mask, then he can only come into contact with his own imaginings, by which certainly he cannot be elevated, from which source his love cannot properly be fed.
III. THE END MISSED. "From which things some having swerved have turned aside unto vain talking; desiring to be teachers of the Law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm." The end was missed by the false teachers. They did not hit the purity of motive, conscientiousness, unfeignedness of faith, that should have given character to their affection. Being thus incapable of profitable discourse, they "turned aside unto vain talking." They gave themselves out to be "teachers of the Law," i.e. the Mosaic Law, especially the Law of the ten commandments, afterward referred to in detail. But they were doubly disqualified. They were confused in what they said. They were, therefore, different from the teachers of the Law who were opposed in the Churches of Galatia. For these were not chargeable with incoherencies; they knew well enough what they said in seeking to subvert Christian liberty. We are rather to think of mystical interpretation of the Law. They were further disqualified in not understanding their subject, viz. the Law; the confidence of their affirmations being in proportion to the extent of their ignorance.
IV. USE OF THE LAW. "But we know that the Law is good, if a man use it lawfully, as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man-slayers, for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for men-stealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine." The apostle begins by laying down a proposition about the Law which no one would be disposed to controvert. It was a boon from Heaven if used according to its intention. In the next proposition he indicates the intention of the law as coming under the intention of all law. His position is, that law is not made for a righteous man. "Let us think of the relation in which a good man stands to the laws of his country. In one sense, indeed, he is under them; but in another and higher sense he is above them, and moves along his course with conscious freedom, as if he scarcely knew of their existence. For what is the object of such laws but to prevent, under severe penalties, the commission of crime? Crime, however, is already the object of his abhorrence; he needs no penalties to keep him from it. He would never harm the person or property of a neighbor, though there were not a single enactment in the statute-book on the subject. His own love of good and hatred of evil keep him in the path of rectitude, not the fines, imprisonments, or tortures which the law hangs around the path of the criminal. The law was not made for him." As truly can it be said that the Law of the ten commandments is not made for the Christian, who is the righteous man. For he is justified by the faith of Christ, i.e. he is regarded as having fulfilled the whole Law in Christ. What more, then, has the Law to do with him? And further, so far as he answers to the conception of a Christian, he is sanctified by the faith of Christ. He is in Christ as the Source of his holiness. He has got beyond the discipline of the Law, inasmuch as he has got it already in his heart. Thus does the apostle take the ground from under the would-be teachers of the Law, whose position would be that the Law mystically interpreted was necessary to putting the crown of perfection on the Christian. The Law is made for unrighteous persons, of whom many classes are mentioned. These are grouped with reference to the two tables of the Law. Under the head of breakers of the first table, i.e. the unrighteous toward God, are given six classes in pairs. There are the lawless and unruly. With aggravation, they refuse to be under law, making their own pleasure their law. There are the ungodly and sinners. They have thrown off all awe of God. There are the unholy and profane. Instead of being consecrated to God, they trample on holy things. If the division of commandments had been followed, the classes would have been deniers of God, idolaters, the profane, sabbath-breakers. Generally, it is disregard of what is Divine that is brought out under this head. Under the second head, of breakers of the second table, i.e. the unrighteous toward man, are given eight classes. Six of them in pairs. Here the division of commandments is followed. There are murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers. "Smiters" is preferred by some. These are the breakers of the fifth commandment with the greatest aggravation. Next by itself stands the class of man-slayers. These are the breakers of the sixth commandment. There are fornicators and abusers of themselves with men. These workers of abomination are the breakers of the seventh commandment. Next by itself stands the class of men-stealers. The apostle puts the man-stealer as the most flagrant of all breakers of the eighth commandment. No theft of a man's goods can be compared with that most atrocious act which steals the man himself, and robs him of that free will which is the first gift of his Creator. And of this crime all are guilty who, whether directly or indirectly, are engaged in, or uphold, from whatever pretence, the making or keeping of slaves. There are liars and false swearers. These are the breakers of the ninth commandment. He does not go on to the breakers of the tenth commandment, hut concludes with the greatest inclusiveness, "And if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine" (i.e. not morbid, as the teaching of the mystical interpreters). The apostle's position is that the Law is made for all these unrighteous persons. But for things being in an abnormal state there would not have been the writing down of so plain duties in the Ten Commandments, especially in the form, "Thou shalt not." The Law is made for sinners, in being intended to hold up before them a proper representation of righteousness, by which, if they are convicted, they should also feel shut up to the righteousness which is by filth. Has the Law, then, no use for the Christian? Only in so far as he is not Christianized. It is of use in keeping him under grace as the source of his security and happiness. And it is of use in so far as it holds up a representation of righteousness that reaches beyond his attainment. The truth is well brought out in one of the symbolical books of the Lutherans. "Although the Law was not made for the righteous (as the apostle testifies, 1 Timothy 1:9), yet this is not to be understood as if the righteous might live without law; for the Divine Law is written upon their hearts. The true and genuine meaning, therefore, of Paul's words is, that the Law cannot bring those who have been reconciled to God through Christ under its curse, and that its restraint cannot be irksome to the renewed, since they delight in the Law of God after the inner man. But believers are not completely and perfectly renewed in this life; and though their sins are covered by the absolutely perfect obedience of Christ, so as not to be imputed to believers to their condemnation, and though the mortification of the old Adam and the renovation in the spirit of their mind has been begun by the Holy Spirit, yet the old Adam still remains in nature's powers and affections."
V. ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOSPEL. "According to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." The gospel may be presented either in relation to man, or in relation to God. In relation to man, the gospel is manifold. It is a gospel of peace; it quiets the guilty conscience. It is a gospel of purity; it purifies the heart. It is a gospel of comfort; it imparts to us a strong consolation under all the ills of this life. It is a gospel of hope; it opens up to us beyond this bounded life the boundless prospect of the life everlasting. In relation to God, too, the gospel is manifold. It is the gospel of a righteous God; it is a satisfaction of Divine justice. It is the gospel of a gracious God; it is an overflow of Divine mercy and compassion. It is the gospel of a wise God; it is the application of Divine intelligence to a very difficult problem. It is the gospel of an almighty God; it is an agency charged with Divine power. It is here the gospel, not of a righteous God, not of a gracious God, not of a wise God, not of an almighty God, but of a blessed God. And in this connection it is put forward as embodying the glory of the blessed God. "The gospel of the glory of the blessed God." Such are the words of Paul, the great gospel preacher, to his pupil Timothy. Consider, in the first place, how it belongs to the blessed God to communicate his blessedness; and, in the second place, how the gospel is a communication of the glory of the blessedness of God. First, then, how it belongs to the blessed God to communicate his blessedness. The "blessed God" is an uncommon conception in Scripture. We indeed find—"Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" "The Creator, who is blessed forever.... God blessed for ever." But "blessed" there is adorable, worthy to be praised; literally, "worthy to be well spoken of." It is the word which conveys an acknowledgment of God's claim to undivided worship. Whereas "blessed" here is equivalent to "happy" as applied to us. God is said to be blessed, as we are said to be happy. And seeing "blessed' is used in a totally different sense in Scripture, the "happy God" would best convey the sense here. And we see no reason why we should not say that God is happy, when in the original the word which is applied to God is the same which is applied to man. There is only one other place in Scripture where God is said to be thus blessed; and, noticeably, it is in this same Epistle: "The blessed and only Potentate;" literally, "the happy and only Potentate." It is as if the inspired writer consciously supplied a want. it had never been said that God was happy. So twice he introduces this conception into this late Epistle. And it is to be regretted that in the Revised Version "happy" has not been substituted for "blessed" in the two places. The blessedness of God is not different in kind from ours. If there is any deep calm in our minds, that is the same with the calm of God. If any true thrill of joy passes through our hearts, that is the same which passes through the heart of God. But blessedness is God's in a way that it is not ours. We are only blessed in him who gave us being, and for whom we have being. And ours is a blessedness that can be added to. We are finite, and there will always be, in the fact of our finitude, a desire to be more blessed. But God is self-blessed. We think of this by means of the conception of God existing far away in a past eternity, when there was yet no other intelligence, not even the faintest reflection of his glory in any created object, and as happy then as now when he has peopled a universe. Such a thought is not bearable by us, and God has not asked us to dwell upon it; and we would say that, while we may be forced thus to think of Godhead as self-poised, or resting in self, we may at the same time be allowed to dwell upon the far more pleasing thought of the Three Persons of the Godhead as resting in one another. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are happy in one another's society and fellowship. It will be felt that that thought, which is denied to the Unitarian, greatly relieves the thought of a God isolated, in his blessedness, away before and out of time. Still the fact remains, that as the one God is infinitely blessed, so also he is blessed in himself. As there is in his boundless being no void of blessedness to fill up, no jarring note to correct, so there can be no desire to make himself more blessed. But it perfectly consists with that that he should desire to make others blessed. This is in keeping with what we find among men. It is true of the miserable man that he is selfish. It is there that he is wrong, at the very commencement. In the very act of enclosing himself, or in the habit of keeping himself enclosed within his own shell, he shuts himself out from blessedness. He does not go out to God. At every approach and overture of God, he draws back further within himself. His sin is that he will keep within himself, and will not go out in confession and desire and faith toward God. And so God does not bless him. He does not go out in love to God's creatures, and so these do not bless him. And thus, shutting himself out from blessedness, his tendency is to grudge blessedness to others. He has a secret joy in misfortune, tie could see a funeral pall drawn over all that is fair in nature, He would have the smile to vanish from our countenance. He would have sweet voices hushed. He would have all things brought down to his own dull level. And, worst outcome of all—yet we would say a necessary outcome—he grudges even God his blessedness. His feeling is that, being miserable himself, he could see God less happy than he is. The happy man, on the other hand, is unselfish. It is by being open that he comes to be happy. He goes out to God in meek abnegation of self, and so God blesses him. He goes out to God's creatures in delight and gratitude and mercy, and so he receives contributions to his happiness on every side.
Now, just as the miserable man would have a miserable world around him, so the happy man would have a happy world around him. He would distribute happiness most lavishly. He would admit all to a share of it. He would have all to be happy as he is happy. "I would to God," said Paul to Agrippa, "that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost and altogether such as I am, except these bonds." The happy man is magnanimous; he wishes ill to no one; he invokes blessing even upon his enemies. Out of his own heart of blessedness there seems to rise the desire to make others blessed. And so, although God can have no desire to make himself more blessed, yet, being full of blessedness himself, he desires to make others blessed. Creation may be taken as an expression of that desire on the part of God. Creation is just God flowing out in blessedness. It is God saying, "Let me not keep my blessedness to myself; let others be blessed with me." What purpose in creation can we conceive into which that does not enter? It is true that we are created to give praise to God; but that is more from our side. Front God's side, it is perhaps better to say that he created us, not so much that he might receive our praise, as that we might receive his blessedness. God, we may suppose, would not have created for the mere purpose of creating, however pleasurable that is to him. Neither would he have created merely to have a sphere for the exercise of his power. What to him were empty worlds in which to store up his power, through which at will to roll the thunder of his power? N-either would he have created for the mere pleasure of working according to a plan, or of having the marvels of his wisdom set forth before him. What to hint were the clothing matter with plants and trees, touching each minutest part with his plastic hand, and varying every form? The blessed God created, not to have pleasure himself, but to give pleasure. It was that, we think, that moved him to create. And therefore he made living creatures—creatures capable of receiving pleasure. And he cared for having nothing in the world which was not to bless them. From the tiniest insect that dances out its lifetime in a summer sun, through all the orders of living beings up to man himself, invested with lordship, he has only one design—to make existence pleasurable to iris creatures. True, there is evil in the world, reaching down from man to the other creatures which necessarily share with him his earthly lot. But there is reason for the evil; and the evil, it is to be observed, is not in the creation. It has been induced on an all-good creation. In no case does God as a final end make a being to inflict pain on it. And even as it is, with the evil introduced into our world, who will say that God intends our destruction? It would have been a very different world if there had been the shadowing forth of any such intention. It is of things as they are that Paul says, taking a broad retrospective view of God's dealings in providence, "He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." He would not continue to make provision for our support, did he mean our destruction. And not only does he make provision for our support, but he gives us all things richly to enjoy. He gives us food, and the other necessaries of life in abundance. And not only so, but he gives us many things for the mere pleasure of them. He arranges objects in nature with a regard to beauty. He richly colors them; he floods them with a kindly light, He gives us flowers; he gives us the song of birds, He gives us rainbows and sunsets, and clouds of many a form. And he curtains the earth, that he may show us the glory of the starry heavens. And all these things he gives us chiefly as luxuries. We say, then, that even in nature God testifies to his desire, to his intention to make us happy. Even in nature, which has been spoken of as "red in tooth and claw with fawn," God gives us the promise of the coming gospel. Consider, in the second place, how the gospel is a communication of the glory of the blessedness of God. We remark
(1) that this is true of the gospel, if we consider who are made blessed by it. It is a gospel of blessedness to us. It does not need to be proved that we are not in the state for which God intended us. We do not bear the impress of the blessed God. The lark mounts up on wings of joy to the sky. Song seems to be of its very nature. And as soon as it has got strength of wing, it mounts up and pours out its song. We could scarcely think of a lark in a summer day, hiding itself away from the light and refusing to sing. But it is not so natural for us to be happy. We are accustomed to misery. We do not expect men to be highly joyous. We do not expect men to be musical to the height of their nature. We expect a certain depression, a certain note of sadness in all their joy. What better confession could there be that we are miserable? We are sadly out of tune. Who can bring joy out of us? Now, here comes in the gospel to make us happy. God could have made others happy. If there had not been enough, he could have created more, and poured out his happiness upon them. But no; here are a few miserable beings. Out of the hundred sheep, here is one that has strayed- away in the wilds and haunts of beasts of prey. Out of the countless myriads that are in God's universe, here are a few that are miserable. And the blessed God says, "I would make them happy; I would bring back joy to their hearts; I would pour out my blessedness on them." As if one more philanthropic than the rest should say, "I will not go to the homes of peace and health and plenty, and try to make these already blessed doubly blessed; but I will go to the prisons, and to the hospitals, and to the alleys, and, wherever I see suffering, I will attempt to relieve it." Glorious gospel, then, that has respect to us who are miserable! But far more glorious, if it is considered how we are miserable. We are miserable by our own act. In our folly and sin, we have thrown away blessedness. We have sold it for a mess of pottage. Strange it is, yet it is truly none other than this, that we have wilted our own misery. And, having guiltily willed our own misery, God, we can suppose, might have willed it too. He might have said, "I have made all my creatures for happiness; but these—these whom I have honored above others—they will not have it; they have spurned it away from them, and so by their own act, not by my wish, they are miserable." But glorious gospel, in spite of our sin, the blessed God willed our happiness. And in his compassions he said, "I will raise them out of their misery." And so his language now is, "I have no pleasure in your misery." Thrice to this effect i.e. speaks in Ezekiel: "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God;" "For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; Say unto them that pine away in their sins, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Here, then, is our glorious gospel. The blessed God, the Fountain of blessedness, wishes you to be blessed. Whoever you are that are unhappy, that are pining away in your sins, that are afraid of eternal misery, believe it, that is not according to God's heart. To the most wretched, woe-begone, sin-distracted soul on the face of the earth, we are warranted in the Name of the happy God to say—Be happy. We remark
(2) the gospel is glorious, if we consider the means by which we are made blessed. If creation was pleasing to God, it was also easy. He had simply to will the existence of happy creatures. But he bad to do more than will us sinners to be happy. We look upon a great city; we think by what means it has been built up; we think of the incalculable labor that has been spent upon it. We think how generations of men have toiled hard at it, with what anxiety they have contrived, with what patience and endurance they have laid stone upon stone, and added house to house arid street to street. We think how many able men have spent their lives, sacrificed their available strength, in the building up of this city, and then we think with what majestic ease, and how in a moment of time, God might have placed it there complete. But to make us sinners happy, was work more difficult for God than for us the building up of a city—work requiring greater sacrifice of life. But glorious gospel, glorious beyond all parallel, glorious beyond all conception, the blessed Son in the bosom of the blessed Father said, "I will undertake it; I will suffer and die to make men happy." And so he takes measures to suffer and die. He descends into our humanity. And do you say it is man who is there, suffering and agonizing and dying? Say, rather, it is God in our humanity. Why, the means used to make us happy are altogether stupendous in their proportions. And dreadfully hard-hearted and void of all feeling must we be, if we can see these means used before our eyes, and yet we be content to remain in our misery, as though God had done nothing but had allowed us to suffer the consequences of our sins. Oh, let us learn the lesson that Calvary has to teach us about God's desire to make us happy. Let us dismiss every dark conception of God from our minds which an evil heart may throw up. Let us feel that on God's part there is an infinite willingness, nay, an infinite anxiety and longing to bless us. And let us heartily respond to God's desire to bless us, in the way prescribed by him. Let us take, as the object of our faith, what has come out of that heart of blessedness, and is now evidently set before us. Let us take, as the object of our faith, the lull and free and meritorious righteousness of the crucified Son of God, to make us just and holy, that so we may be happy. We remark
(3) that the gospel is glorious, if we consider the nature of type blessedness that is communicated by it. The blessedness for which man was intended, and to which he would have attained through obedience, was very great. Passing safely through the gate of trial and peril, he would have attained—shall we say?—to a God-like blessedness. He would have had the blessedness of a free, intelligent being. He would have been made blessed with God, and in the enjoyment of God, to all eternity. Now, the gospel is glorious in proclaiming this, that man is not to be less blessed than he would have been had he never fallen from blessedness. He is not to be mulcted in blessedness. He is not to have a stigma upon him to mark the dishonor he formerly did to God. He is not to be placed on a lower order of blessed beings. Nay, in the fact that Christ has taken our human nature into glorious union with his Divine nature, have we not thereby been made capable of a higher blessedness? And not only so, but we have been redeemed. And how peculiarly blessed it is to he redeemed! It is more than if we had stood. We can now not only say, "Our God," but "Our Redeemer." How often does God take the name in Isaiah! "Thus saith the Lord, thy Redeemer." It is a new tie, "Thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not; for I have redeemed thee.' Our peace is peculiarly blessed; it is the feeling of reconciliation, the sweet sense of sin forgiven. Our joy is peculiarly blessed; it is the joy of salvation. It is the sense of indebtedness to Divine grace. We were on the broad road to destruction. We were down in the horrible pit, and in the miry clay; but we have been saved, we have been redeemed. And does not the woe we have escaped sweeten our present joy? Can we ever forget it? Our heaven, we think, will begin with a sight of the woe of which we were worthy. And then we have been redeemed by God. "Your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." And does it not heighten our blessedness to remember that we owe it to the grace of the most holy God? And then he has redeemed us by no less glorious a Being than his own well-beloved Son, and at the expense of that Son's life. Is that not fitted to raise the soul to its most joyful exercise? The blessedness of every intelligent being has been heightened in connection with this salvation. For views have been presented by it of the character of God which could not otherwise have been presented. Still, there is always this additional in our case. We are the parties concerned; we are the parties for whom all this has been done; we are the parties for whom this great salvation has been provided. It is a glorious gospel, then, we say. It makes us doubly blessed. It seems to contain the elements of an ecstatic bliss. Ever as we realize the greatness of the redemption, we shall become more gloriously blessed. We conclude with two practical remarks. First, let us keep near to the Source of blessedness by faith and prayer and meditation. Let us not go out to any creaturely good, far less to evil, as though it were the fountain of pleasure; but let us go out to the blessed God himself, especially in the glorious gospel, that we may have our hearts filled with a hallowed and satisfying joy. "Whosoever drinketh of this water"—of mere creaturely pleasure—"shall thirst again: but whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall he in him a well of water springing up to everlasting life." In the second place, being blessed ourselves, let us seek to make blessed. That is to be like the happy God. Let us make sacrifices for the happiness of others. Let us count those moments the happiest of our existence in which we lose sight of self, in prayerful or active devotion to the interests of those whom Providence puts in our way, or more specially commits to our care. And if sin was not an inseparable obstacle in the way of God blessing us, let it not be an inseparable obstacle in the way of our seeking to bless others. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."—R.F.
1 Timothy 1:12-17.—Personal digression.
I. THANKFULNESS FOR BEING APPOINTED BY CHRIST TO HIS SERVICE. "I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, appointing me to his service." At the close of the eleventh verse Paul brings in his relation to the gospel of the glory of the happy God. It was a trust committed to him, i.e. it was made his great business to convey the message of happiness to his fellow-men. And as He was made responsible, so also He was empowered. He was not sent a warfare on his own charges. He was supplied with all that was necessary for the discharge of the duties connected with the trust. And so he cannot refrain from turning aside for a little, to pour forth his soul in gratitude to him who empowered him as he also gave him the trust, even Christ Jesus our Lord, the great Head of the Church, from whom proceed all ministerial appointments and all ministerial qualifications. What called forth his gratitude was, that Christ reposed confidence in him in appointing him to his service. He saw that he was one who could be used and trusted for the furtherance of the gospel; and so he gave him the appointment and the qualifications. To be assured of this as Paul was is great joy. How thankful ministers should be, if they have some evidence, in their own earnestness and in the fruits of their ministry, that they have not mistaken their calling!
II. THE CONSIDERATION OF HIS PREVIOUS LIFE. "Though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: howbeit I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." The gratitude of the apostle was enhanced by the consideration of his persecuting career. He was before a blasphemer, his evil speaking being directed against the Name of Jesus of Nazareth. He was also a persecutor even in this respect, that he compelled others to blaspheme. And he rose to the full conception of a persecutor in the tyrannical way in which he went about the work of' persecution. At this stage of his life he was far removed from being the minister of Christ. But though he showed no mercy, he obtained mercy. There was this to be said for him, that what he did against Christ he did ignorantly. He acted under an erroneous impression. It was not that he knew Christ to be the Son of God, and hated him for his Divine credentials, especially because he manifested the Divine goodness. But he was carried away by zeal for the Jewish religion, which, he thought, was greatly endangered by the triumphs of Christianity. He was thus not in the most direct, most deliberate way, against Christ. And, so far as he was not throwing away the most sacred convictions, he was within the pale of mercy. He was within the scope of the Savior's intercession from the throne, if we are to regard it as conformed to his intercession from the cross, which was in these words: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"—words which are echoed by Peter in his address to the Jews, "And now, brethren, I wet that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers." It was in a state of unbelief that he was ignorant. This implied that he had not followed his lights as others had followed theirs, not greater than his. He had been directed away from Christianity by confidence in his own righteousness. And be had given way to the disposition, so natural to the depraved heart, to make a tyrannical use of power. He was, therefore, most culpable, standing in need of repentance and forgiveness, as Peter went on to impress on the Jews in the address just referred to: "Repent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."
III. GRACE ABOUNDING EXCEEDINGLY. "And the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." In Romans 5:1-21. Paul says of sin that it abounded; here the same word is used of grace, with an addition to it which gives it the force of a superlative. He labors to express the stretch of grace which our Lord had to make toward him when he, a guilty persecutor, was saved. His salvation was accompanied by the two graces, faith and love. From being a disbeliever in Christianity he became a humble believer in it, even preaching the faith of which formerly he made havoc. From having the spirit of the persecutor he came to have the spirit of the Christian, forgiving those who persecuted him, and seeking to subdue men, not by force, but by the power of Christian truth and example. It is said of this love that it is in Christ Jesus—subsisting in him, and determined in its outgoings by him. We can understand that his own experience of salvation had to do with his eminence as a minister of Christ. It filled him with deep personal gratitude to his Savior. It urged him to labor, so as to take revenge on himself for the evil he had done. It fitted him for sympathizing with others in such condition as that in which he had been. And it enabled him the better to understand the sweet gentle spirit of the religion of Christ, that he could contrast it with his own unlovely persecuting zeal.
IV. THE GOSPEL THROUGH WHICH GRACE OPERATED.
1. Reliableness of the gospel. "Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation." When our Epistle was written, this was one of the sayings that passed as proverbs in Christian circles. This profatory formula is peculiar to the pastoral Epistles. The first clause, which occurs five times, points to the certitude of the gospel. The would-be teachers of the Law—apparently Essenes—dealt in fables for which there was no ground of certainty, and in genealogies or namings of intermediate agencies, which only ministered disputings as to the names. The apostle regards the gospel as the embodiment of certainty. Venturing our immortal souls upon the truth of this saying, it will not prove a myth, but a glorious reality. The second clause, which occurs twice, points to the saying as worthy of a universal welcome. Let all men lay hold upon it as an essentially good saying—good for the whole nature; it is only the reception it deserves.
2. Particular form in which the gospel is presented. "That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." This is the gospel in all simplicity, to which the aged apostle cleaves. The Anointed of God for salvation said of himself, "I came out from the Father, and am come into the world." The world is to be understood in the physical sense; it is the earth, however, not in the purity of the conception, but the earth as it has become the congenial abode for sinners. It could not be said of Christ when he was here, that this was his original or congenial abode. He came into the world, he came from a pure world, from the Father, and that meant a world of highest purity. And what drew him to this world, with all its uncongeniality? Jesus, the Name which he has made his own, the Name which is above every name, points to his nature as love. It is of the nature of love to find a congenial outlet in saving. But whom on this earth did Christ come to save? Men who were wronged, upon whom superhuman powers were causelessly inflicting tortures? Did he come to assert their innocence against their strong oppressors? No; men who were in the wrong themselves, who were wrongers of God, and were the causes of their own misery. It was sinners that drew the Savior down to earth. He longed to save them from their misery, from themselves as the guilty causes of their misery, from their sinful habits and associations, and to make them pure as the heaven from which he came. In saving sinners, he had to suffer from sinners, in his purity coming into contact with their impurity, and exposing him to their hate. He had especially to suffer in the room of sinners, in all the loneliness of a pure, perfect life, treading the wine-press of the Divine wrath against sin.
3. Individualization of the gospel. "Of whom I am chief." He was not at the head of sinners in this sense, that at one time he had reached a point beyond which sinning could not go in heinousness. He had not committed the sin against the Holy Ghost. He had not sinned like Judas, in close neighborhood to Christ and in clear impression of his Divinity. He had never been, in sinning, beyond the pale of mercy. Neither was he in the position to compare himself with all who had obtained mercy, and to say infallibly that he was the greatest of them all. But he was at the head of sinners in his sense of his own utter unworthiness apart from Christ. That unworthiness he viewed chiefly, we may say, in the lurid light of his persecuting career. It was so complete a self-revelation, that he could not keep it from coming up before his imagination when he thought of sell. But this self-revelation was not all before his conversion. He knew how self was ever seeking to mingle with all he did. In the whole discovery, then, of what he was apart from Christ, as one for whom the gospel was intended, he could say in all truthfulness of feeling, and with no decrease of truthfulness as he advanced in the Christian life, but rather an increase, that he was at the head of the class of sinners.
V. ENCOURAGEMENT TO SINNERS. "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his long-suffering, for an ensample of them which should hereafter believe on him unto eternal life." There was a fitness in Paul as chief in obtaining mercy also coming at an early period in the history of the Christian Church, for the sake of future generations. He was a typical illustration in what happened in his case of the fullness of the long-suffering of Christ. For the first thirty years of his life he was going in the wrong direction altogether. As he drew near the end of that period he seemed far enough away from believing, in the active violent part he took against Christ. But Christ did not, as he could have done, make his hostility to recoil upon his own head. But he treated him magnanimously, as one who is conscious of pure intention and forgiving love can do his foe. He treated him without haste, giving him space for experience, for thinking about the Divine dealing, and for seeing his error. And, in the end, Paul was subdued into believing, to the praise of the long-suffering of Christ. Whoever thinks he is far enough away from believing, in resistance to the Divine leadings, in hostility offered to Christ, Paul would have him to be encouraged by his example to believe on Christ, the certain end, of this believing being eternal life, or possession, up to our capacity, of the blessedness of the Divine life.
VI. DOXOLOGY. "Now unto the King eternal, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen." The apostle concludes his personal digression with a doxology which is unique in its character, and, we may be sure, appropriate. God is styled, as he is nowhere else in the Scriptures, literally "King of the ages," i.e. Sovereign Controller of the vast periods under which centuries and millenniums are included. Outside of them himself in his absolute eternity, he sways all that takes place in them. He can be long-suffering as he is in Christ; he does not need to be in haste, having the ages in which to work out his purposes. He is also styled "incorruptible," as he is also in Romans 1:23; and "invisible," as he is in Colossians 1:15 and Heb 2:1-18 :27. There is great difficulty in all religions in rising above gross notions of God. As a pure Spirit there is denied of him the corruptibility and visibility which pertain to our corporeal nature. There is not, therefore, permitted a corporeal representation, or any image of him, as tending to degrade our conception of him. He is further styled "the only God," as in 1 Timothy 6:15 he is styled "the only Potentate." This seems to be chiefly directed against the Essene religion, which invested their intermediate agents with Divine powers of creation. To God, as thus exalted, is ascribed, with a fullness of expression, honor and glory (as in Revelation 5:13) to the ages of ages over which the Divine existence extends.—R.F.
1 Timothy 1:18-20.—Recurrence to Timothy.
1. The charge. "This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that by them thou mayest war the good warfare; holding faith and a good conscience." The reference seems back to 1 Timothy 1:3, which, though distant, is the only charge which has been defined, viz. the charge laid on Timothy, that he should charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies. This involved his coming into contact with these men, and so there is naturally introduced the idea of warfare, He was to embrace his opportunity in Ephesus of warring the good warfare. "Knighthood" is Luther's word, the suggestion being the whole service in war that is required of a good Christian knight, such as he would wish the youthful Timothy to be. It is the good warfare; for it is not mere romance, but a warfare against all forms of sin—a warfare in the Name of the Savior and with his gospel, and a warfare which has the promise of success. To call forth the knightly qualities in Timothy, Paul calls up the prophecies which went before on him. These were founded on the good hopes which he awakened in good men, when first he began to show his qualities; he must not disappoint these good hopes. As prophecies, or uttered under the inspiration of the Spirit prior to or at his introduction into office, they were to be taken as a Divine indication that he was being put to his proper work. They would also, we may believe, point to the hard work which, as a good knight, he would not fear to face. Thus using the prophecies, they would be a Divine assistance to him; they would be as amour in which he was clad. Especially, however, with a view to what is to follow, would the apostle impress on him the importance of holding faith and a good conscience. Prophecies, expressions of good opinion, are only useful in so far as they help us to lay hold by faith upon the great Source of strength, in whom alone we can show all knightly activity and endurance. They are also useful, only if we do not allow them to seduce us to part with a good conscience, our better self—that inward monitor that from moment to moment points to us our duty, and in whose approval we can feel that we have the approval of God.
2. Warning. "Which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme." For Timothy's warning, Paul points to the heretics. Instead of holding faith and a good conscience, these thrust away from them the latter, as men, with a certain violence, put away something that is disagreeable. Their truest friend they thrust aside, as they would a troublesome creditor. The result was, that they made shipwreck of their faith. Throwing away all that was needed to direct them, all that served as chart, compass, rudder, they made shipwreck of themselves concerning faith in Christ, thus coming short of eternal life. How disastrous, especially for those who seemed to make a fair start in the voyage of life! The teaching of the apostle is suggestive regarding the causes of heresy. "As unbelief nearly always leads to grosser or more refined immorality, so not rarely it begins from an immoral ground, at least when faith existed before (Romans 1:21). This is a deep mental truth; for it is far too common to represent faith or infidelity as a matter of abstract opinion." Earnestness in life leads to correct opinion (John 7:17), whereas moral indifference makes it for Our interest to doubt. Heresies have a secret moral genesis which will one day be made plain. Two notable heretics are mentioned here—Hymenaeus and Alexander. In 2 Timothy 2:17 Hymenaeus is associated with Philetus in this, that their teaching did eat like a cancer. He and Alexander (not the coppersmith of 2 Timothy 4:14) are here referred to as having been delivered unto Satan. This seems strong language to us who have nothing to impress us in the shape of such apostolic discipline in our time. It is properly regarded as "a form of Christian excommunication, declaring the person to be reduced to the state of a heathen, accompanied with the authoritative infliction of bodily disease or death." In this case the infliction of punishment was with a view to reformation. There was nothing to hinder their being received back into the Christian Church. Their probation was not at an end; there was reason for further dealing, and what was suitable to their case was the hard. dealing here referred to. Better that men should be excommunicated—with which power the Church is still invested—better that men should have disease sent upon them, than that they should remain in a state of religious indifference or be spreaders of error.—R.F.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30