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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary
1 Timothy 4

 

 


Verse 1

1.] But (contrast to the glorious mystery of piety which has been just dwelt on) the Spirit (viz. the Holy Spirit of prophecy, speaking in the Apostle himself, or in others,—or, which is most probable, in both—in the general prophetic testimony which He bore throughout the church: cf. γίνωσκε, spoken from the same point of prophetic foresight, 2 Timothy 3.]. Some (even Wiesinger) have supposed the Apostle to refer to some prophetic passage of the O. T., or to the general testimony of the O. T. prophecies (Daniel 7:25; Daniel 8:23; Daniel 11:30), or those of our Lord (Matthew 24:4 ff., Matthew 24:11), or of the Apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:3 ff. 1 John 2:18. 2 Peter 3:3. Jude 1:18), or all these combined. But in the two former cases, we should hardly have had τὸ πνεῦμα λέγει, but ἡ γραφή, or ὁ κύριος, or the like; τὸ πνεῦμα implying rather the present agency of the Spirit: and the latter is only a less clear way of putting the explanation given above: for why should writings be referred to, when the living men were yet testifying in the power of the Spirit among them? Besides, see the way in which such written prophecies are referred to, in Jude 1:17) expressly (‘plainly,’ ‘in so many words:’ ῥητῶς is a postclassical word, found once in Polyb. (iii. 23.5: given by Schweigh., Lex., and Palm and Rost, wrongly, ii. 23. 5; and by Liddell and Scott, in conseq., Polyb. without a reference), ὑπὲρ δὲ σικελίας τἀναντία διαστέλλονται ῥητῶς, and often in later writers—cf. examples in Wetst., especially Sext. Empir.,— ὁ ξενοφῶν ἐν τοῖς ἀπομνημονεύμασι ῥητῶς φησιν, ἀπαρνεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ( τὸν σωκράτην) τὸ φυσικόν; see also Plut. Brut. 29), saith, that in after times (not as E. V. ‘in the latter times,’ which though not quite so strong as ‘in the last times,’ yet gives the idea of close connexion with them: whereas here the Apostle speaks only of times subsequent to those in which he was writing: see the difference in 2 Timothy 3:1. and compare Acts 20:29) certain men (not the false teachers: rather, those who will be the result of their false teaching) shall depart (or decline: not by formal apostasy, or the danger would not be that which it is here represented: but subjectively, declining in their own minds and lives from holding Christ in simplicity) from the faith (objective—the doctrine which faith embraces, as so often), giving heed to (see reff.: the participle contains the reason and process of their declension) seducing spirits ( πνεύμασιν, as Huther remarks, is in contrast with τὸ πνεῦμα, 1 Timothy 4:1;—it is to be understood as in 1 John 4:1; 1 John 4:6, in which last verse we have the cognate expression τὸ πνεῦμα τῆς πλάνης. Wolf’s ‘spiritualibus seductoribus,’ or ‘doctoribus seducentibus’ is quite inadmissible. The spirits are none other than the spirits of evil, tempting, energizing in, seducing, those who are described, just as the Spirit directs and dwells in those who abide in the faith), and teachings of dæmons (doctrines taught by, suggested by, evil spirits: gen. subjective: cf. σοφία δαιμονιώδης, James 3:15, and Tert. de præscr. hær. c. 7, vol. ii. p. 19, “Hæ sunt doctrinæ hominum et dæmoniorum, prurientibus auribus natæ:” see Colossians 2:22. So Thdrt. (Chrys. is vague), and the fathers generally: (Grot., vaguely,) Wolf, Bengl, Olsh., De W., Huther, Wiesinger, Conyb., Ellic. Two wrong interpretations have been given: (1) understanding the genitive as objective, ‘teachings concerning dœmons;’so Mede, Works, p. 626 ff., supporting his view by διδαχαὶ βαπτισμῶν, Hebrews 6:2, &c., and Heydenreich (‘a characteristic designation of the essene-gnostic false teachers, who had so much to say of the higher spirit-world, of the æons, &c.:’ in Huther)—but against the context, in which there is no vestige of allusion to idolatry (notwithstanding all that is alleged by Mede), but only to a false and hypocritical asceticism: (2) applying δαιμονίων to the false teachers, who would seduce the persons under description (so Mosheim, Mack, al., and even Calvin—‘quod perinde est ac si dixisset, attendentes pseudo-prophetis et diabolicis eorum dogmatibus’); but this is without example harsh and improbable. The student may refer, as a curiosity, to the very learned disquisition of Mede on these δαιμόνια:—not merely for the really valuable information which it contains, but also as a lesson, to assure the ground well, before he begins to build with such pains) in the (following in the …, ἐν giving the element, in which: see below) hypocrisy of those who speak lies (the whole clause belongs to τινὲς ἀποστήσονται, the previous one, προσέχοντεςδαιμονίων, being complete in itself. Bengel gives the construction well: ‘construe cum deficient, Hypocrisis ea quæ est falsiloquorum, illos auferet. τινές, aliqui, illi sunt seducti; falsiloqui, seductores: falsiloquorum, genitivus, unice pendet ab hypocrisi. τὸ falsiloquorum dicit relationem ad alios: ergo antitheton est in ἰδίαν, sua.’ This is much better than to join the gen. ψευδολόγων with δαιμονίων (so Wegscheider and Conyb., but understanding that which is said of the dæmons as meant of those who follow them), or with διδασκαλίαις (Estius,—‘doctrinis, inquam, hominum in hypocrisi loquentium mendacium’),—as making the sentence which follows apply to the false teachers (cf. κωλυόντων), whom the τινές follow. And so De W., Huther, Wiesinger: and Mede himself, book iii. ch. 2, p. 677), of men branded (with the foul marks of moral crime: so Cie, Catil. i. 6, ‘quæ nota domesticæ turpitudinis non inusta vitæ tuæ est?’ Livy, iii. 51, ‘ne Claudiæ geuti eam inustam maculam vellent:’ Plato, Gorg. 524 E, ὁ ῥαδάμανθυςπολλάκις τοῦ μεγάλου βασιλέως ἐπιλαβόμενος ἢ ἄλλου ὁτουοῦν βασιλέως ἢ δυνάστου κατεῖδεν οὐδὲν ὑγιὲς ὂν τῆς ψυχῆς, ἀλλὰ διαμεμαστιγωμένην καὶ οὐλῶν μεστὴν ὑπὸ ἐπιορκιῶν καὶ ἀδικίας. See more examples in Wetst. and Kypke.

καυτηριάζω is properly to burn in a mark with a καυτήρ, a branding-instrument of hot iron. Thl. explains: ἐπεὶ συνίσασιν ἑαυτοῖς ἀκαθαρσίαν πολλήν, διὰ τοῦτο τὸ συνειδὸς αὐτῶν ἀνεξαλείπτους ἔχει τοὺς καυτῆρας τοῦ ῥυπαροῦ βίου. Thdrt. gives an explanation more ingenious than correct: κεκ. δὲ τὴν ἰδ. συν. αὐτοὺς κέκληκε, τὴν ἐσχάτην αὐτῶν ἀπαλγησίαν διδάσκων. ὁ γὰρ τοῦ καυτῆρος τόπος νεκρωθεὶς τὴν προτέραν αἴσθησιν ἀποβάλλει. The idea rather seems to be as Bengel, “qui ipsi in sua sibi conscientia, inustis ei perfidiæ maculis, infames sunt:” cf. Titus 1:15; Titus 3:11, where αὐτοκατάκριτος seems to express much the same. Or, as Ellic., ‘they knew the brand they bore, and yet, with a show of outward sanctity (compare ὑποκρίσει), they strove to beguile and seduce others, and make them as bad as themselves.’ The genitive still depends on ὑποκρίσει, as does κωλυόντων also) on their own conscience ( τὴν ἰδίαν, as Beng. above—these false teachers are not only the organs of foul spirits, but are themselves hypocritical liars, with their own consciences seared by crime. The accusative is one of reference: cf. ch. 1 Timothy 6:5), hindering from marrying (this description has been thought by some to fit the Jewish sects of Essenes and Therapeutæ, who abstained from marriage, Jos. B. J. ii. 8. 2: Philo de vit. contempl. 4, 8, vol. ii. pp. 476, 482: cf. Colossians 2:18 ff. But as De W. remarks, the abstinence by and by mentioned seems too general to suit the idea that they were Jews (see below): besides that the Epistle does not describe them as present—but as to come in after times), (commanding) (see a like ellipsis (zengma), in which a second but logically necessary verb is omitted, and must be supplied from the context,—in ch. 1 Timothy 2:12, 1 Corinthians 14:34. Bengel quotes a similar construction from Chrys., ταῦτα λεγω, οὐ κηδεύειν κωλύων, ἀλλὰ μετὰ συμμετρίας τοῦτο ποιεῖν) to abstain from meats (compare Colossians 2:16. It does not appear here from what sort of food this abstinence would be enjoined: but probably the eating of flesh is alluded to. Euseb. H. E. iv. 29, quotes from Irenæus (i. 28. 1, p. 107), ἀπὸ σατυρνίνου καὶ ΄αρκίωνος οἱ καλούμενοι ἐγκρατεῖς ἀγαμίαν ἐκήρυξαν, ἀθετοῦντες τὴν ἀρχαίαν πλάσιν τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ ἠρεμα κατηγοροῦντες τοῦ ἄῤῥεν καὶ θῆλυ εἰς γένεσιν ἀνθρώπων πεποιηκότος· καὶ τῶν λεγομένων παρʼ αὐτοῖς ἐμψύχων ἀποχὴν εἰσηγήσαντο, ἀχαριστοῦντες τῷ πάντα πεποιηκότι θεῷ. These seem to be the persons here pointed at: and though the announcement of their success in after time is prophetic, we may fairly suppose that the seeds of their teaching were being sown as the Apostle wrote. The existence of gnosticism in its earlier form is certainly implied in ch. 1 Timothy 6:20; and in 2 Timothy 2:17-18, we find that denial of the resurrection which characterized all the varieties of subsequent gnosticism. See the whole subject discussed in the Prolegg. ch. 7. § i. 12 ff.), which God made for participation with thanksgiving for (dat. commodi) those who believe, and have received the (full) knowledge of the truth. This last description of the worthy partakers of God’s bounties is well illustrated by Calvin: ‘Quid ergo? annon solem suum quotidie oriri facit Deus super bonos et malos (Matthew 5:45)? annon ejus jussu terra impiis panem producit? annon ejus benedictione etiam pessimi aluntur? est enim universale illud beneficium quod David Psalms 104:14 decantat. Respondeo, Paulum de usu licito hic agere, cujus ratio coram Deo nobis constat. Hujus minime compotes sunt impii, propter iropuram conscientiam quæ omnia contaminat, quemadmodum habetur ad Titum, 1 Timothy 1:15. Et sane, proprie loquendo, solis filiis suis Deus totum mundum et quicquid in mundo est destinavit, qua ratione etiam vocantur mundi hæredes. Nam hac conditione constitute initio fuerat Adam omnium dominus, ut sub Dei obedientia maneret. Proinde rebellio adversus Deum jure quod illi collatum fuerat, ipsi una cum posteris spoliavit. Qnouiam autem subjecta sunt Christo omnia, ejus beneficio in integrum restituimur, idque per fidem … Posteriore membro definit quos vocat fideles, nempequi notitiam habent sanæ doctrinæ.’ On μετὰ εὐχαριστίας, sec 1 Corinthians 10:30; and below on 1 Timothy 4:4.


Verses 1-16

1–16.] Of future false teachers (1 Timothy 4:1-6); directions to Timotheus in reference to them (1 Timothy 4:7-11); general exhortations to him (1 Timothy 4:12-16).


Verse 4-5

4, 5.] Reason for the above assertion. Because ( ὅτι is more the objective,— γάρ, which follows, the subjective causal particle: ὅτι introduces that which rests on a patent fact, as here on a Scripture quotation,— γάρ, that which is in the writer’s mind, and forms part of his own reasoning) every thing which God has made is good (in allusion to ref. Gen. See also Romans 14:14; Romans 14:20); and nothing (which God has made) is to be rejected (Wetst. cites Hom. Il. γ. 65, οὔτοι ἀπόβλητʼ ἑστὶ θεῶν ἐρικυδέα δῶρα—on which the Schol.,— ἀπόβλητα, ἀποβολῆς ἄξια· τὰ ὑπὸ θεῶν, φησί, δεδομένα δῶρα οὐκ ἔστι μὲν ἀρνήσασθαι) if received with thanksgiving (“properly, even without this condition, all things are pure: but he did not rise to this abstraction, because he was regarding meats not per se, but in their use, and this latter may become impure by an ungodly frame of mind.” De Wette): for (see on ὅτι and γάρ above) it (this subject is gathered out of the preceding clause by implication, and = ‘every κτίσμα which is partaken of with thanksgiving’) is hallowed (more than ‘declared pure,’ or even than ‘rendered pure:’ the latter it does not want, the former falls far short of the work of the assigned agents. The emphasis is on ἁγιάζεται, and a new particular is introduced by it—not purity merely, but holiness,—fitness for the godly usage of Christian men. To this, which is more than mere making or declaring pure, it is set apart by the εὐχαριστία; so that the minus is proved by the majus. There is certainly a slight trace of reference to the higher consecration in the Lord’s Supper. The same word εὐχαριστία is common to both. Ordinary meals are set apart for ordinary Christian use by asking a blessing on them: that meal, for move than ordinary use, by asking on it its own peculiar blessing) by means of the word of God and intercession (what ‘word of God?’ how to be understood? treating the plamer word first, the ἔντευξις is evidently intercession (see on ch. 1 Timothy 2:1) on behalf of the κτίσμα partaken of—that it may be ‘sanctified to our use.’ This, bound on as λογου θεοῦ is to εντεύξεως by the non-repetition of the preposition, may serve to guide us to its meaning. And first, negatively. It cannot mean any thing which does not form part of the εὐχαριστία: such as God’s word in the Scripture just cited (Mack), or in any other place (Grot., al.): or God’s word in the foundation-truths of Christianity. Then, positively: it must mean in some sense the εὐχαριστία, or something in it. But not, as Wahl and Leo, the ‘word addressed to God,’ ‘oratio ad Deum facta,’ which would be an unprecedented meaning for λόγος θεοῦ: the only way open for us is, that the εὐχαριστία itself, or some part of it, is in some sense the word of God. This may be (1) by its consisting in whole or in part of Scripture words, or (2) by the effusion of a Christian man, speaking in the power of God’s Spirit, being known as λόγος θεοῦ. This latter is perhaps justified by the reff.: but still it seems to me hardly probable, and I should prefer the former. (So Ellic. also.) It would generally be the case, that any form of Christian thanksgiving before meat would contain words of Scripture, or at all events thoughts in exact accordance with them: and such utterance of God’s revealed will, bringing as it would the assembled family and their meal into harmony with Him, might well be said ἁγιάζειν the βρώματα on the table for their use. Many of the Commentators quote from the Constt. Ap. vii. 49, p. 1057, Migne, the following grace before meat, used in the primitive times: εὐλογητὸς εἶ κύριε ὁ τρέθων με ἐκ νεότητός μου, ὁ διδοὺς τροφὴν πάσῃ σαρκί· πλήρωσον χαρᾶς καὶ εὐφροσύνης τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν, ἵνα πάντοτε πᾶσαν αὐτάρκειαν ἔχοντες, περισσεύωμεν εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἐν χριστῷ ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, διʼ οὗ σοὶ δόξα τιμὴ καὶ κράτος εἰς τους αἰῶνας, ἀμήν. Here almost every clause is taken from some expression of Scripture).


Verses 6-11

6–11.] Recommendatory application to Timotheus of what has been just said, as to form part of his teaching, to the avoidance by him of false and vain doctrine, and to the practice of godliness. These things (hardly, as Rosenm., Heinr., Heyd., ch. 1 Timothy 3:16 f., nor as Chrys., ποῖα; ἅπερ εἶπεν· ὅτι τὸ μυστήριον μέγα ἐστίν, ὅτι τὸ τούτων ἀπεχεσθαι δαιμόνιόν ἐστιν, ὅτι διὰ λόγου καὶ ἐντεύξεως θεοῦ ἁγιάζεται—but simply the matter treated since the beginning of the chapter,—the coming apostasy after these ascetic teachers and the true grounds of avoiding it. This best suits the following context and the ὑποτιθέμενος, which certainly would not be used of the μέγα μυστήριον) suggesting (or counselling, cf. Il. θ. 36, βουλὴν δʼ ἀργείοις ὑποθησόμεθʼ, ἥτις ὀνήσει: Herod. i. 156, κροῖσος μὲν δὴ ταῦτά τε οἱ ὑπετίθετο: … Palm and Rost’s Lex. sub voce, 2, c; and Ellic’s note here) to the brethren, thou wilt be a good servant of Christ Jesus, ever training thyself in (the idea of ἐντρέφομαι is not ‘nourish oneself with,’ but to grow up amongst, or to be trained in: cf. Eur. Phœn. 368, γυμνάσιά θʼ, οἷσιν ἐνετράφην: so ἐντρέφεσθαι νόμοις, ἔθεσιν, ὅπλοις, μουσικῇ, λόγοις, τρυφῇ, Plato, Plutarch, al.: see Palm and Rost’s Lex. The present, as Chrys., denotes continuance in this training, τὸ διηνεκὲς τῆς εἰς τὰ τοιαῦτα προσοχῆς δηλῶν, and again, μηρυκώμενος (ruminans), συνεχῶς τὰ αὐτὰ στρεφων, ἀεὶ τὰ αυτὰ μελετῶν. Cf. 2 Timothy 3:14) the words of the faith (the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel), and of the good instruction (not ‘words of the faith and good doctrine,’ as Conyb. The repetition of the article forbids this, severs the ᾗ παρηκολούθηκας from τοῖς λόγοις τῆς πίστεως, and attaches it to καὶ τῆς καλῆς διδασκαλίας only) the course of which thou hast followed (I have thus endeavoured to give παρηκολούθηκας:—‘hast followed along, by tracing its course and accompanying it:’ see reff.; and Ellic.’s note).


Verse 7

7.] But profane and anile (Baur understands this epithet to refer to the gnostic idea of an old universal mother, the σοφία or ἀχαμώθ (see Irenæus, i. 4. 1 ff. pp. 18.): but Wiesinger well replies that this will not suit the word γραώδης (from γραῦς, εἶδος, as θεοειδής), which must be subjective,—nor βέβηλος, which on this supposition would not be appropriate) fables (see notes on ch. 1 Timothy 1:4; 1 Timothy 1:7, and Prolegg.) decline (lit. ‘excuse thyself from,’ see reff., Luke 14:18-19, and Palm and Rost’s Lex.): but exercise thyself for piety ( τουτέστι, πρὸς πίστιν καθαρὰν καὶ βίον ὀρθόν· τοῦτο γὰρ εὐσέβεια· γυμνασίας ἄρα χρεία καὶ πόνων διηνεκῶν· ὁ γὰρ γυμναζόμενος καὶ ἀγῶνος μὴ ὄντος ἀγωνίζεται ἱδρῶτος ἄχρι Thl. (not Thdrt., as Huther).

πρός, with a view to, as an athlete with a view to the games: cf. Soph. El. 456, πρὸς εὐσέβειαν ἡ κόρη λέγει,—and the common expressions πρὸς ἠδονὴν λέγειν, δρᾷν, δημηγορεῖν, &c.: Soph. Antig. 1170, τἄλλʼ ἑγὼ καπνοῦ σκιᾶς οὐκ ἄν πριαίμην ἀνδρὶ πρὸς τὴν ἡδονήν):


Verse 8

8.] for the exercise (gymnastic training: see below) of the body is to small extent (‘for but little,’—in reference only to a small department of a man’s being: not as in ref. James, ‘for a short time,’ as the contrast πρὸς πάντα below shews) profitable (to what sort of exercise does he allude? Ambr., Thom.-Aq., Lyra, Calv., Grot., Heydenr., Leo, Matthies, al., take it as alluding to corporal austerities for religion’s sake: ‘hoc nomine appellat quæcunque religiouis causa suscipiuntur externæ actiones, ut sunt vigiliæ, longa inedia, humi cubatio, et similia,’ Calv. But against this are two considerations: 1) that these are not now in question, but the immediate subject is the excellence of being trained and thoroughly exercised in piety: 2) that if they were, it would hardly be consistent with his previous severe characterization of these austerities, 1 Timothy 4:3, to introduce them thus with even so much creditable mention.

Wiesinger has taken up this meaning again and contended very strongly for it, maintaining that the πρὸς ὀλίγον ὠφέλιμος must be moral, not corporeal. But it may fairly be answered, if it be moral, then it cannot be said to be πρὸς ὀλίγον, for it would contribute to εὐσέβεια. And indeed he may be refuted on his own ground: he says that the σωματ. γυμνασία must belong to εὐσεβεια: for that if it meant bodily exercise merely, πνευματικὴ γυμνασία, not εὐσέβεια, would be the proper contrast to it. But surely we may say, if σωματικὴ γυμν, does belong to εὐσέβεια, how can it form a contrast to it? On his hypothesis, not on the other, we should require πνευματικὴ γυμνασία as the contrast. A part cannot be thus eontrasted with the whole.

It is therefore far better to understand the words, as Chrys., Till., Thdrt. ( οἱ τῆς τοῦ σώματος, φησίν, εὐεξίας ἐπιμελούμενοι πρὸς ὀλίγον ταύτης ἀπολαύουσιν), Pel., Corn.-a-lap., Estius, Wolf, al., Bengel, Mack, De W., Huther, of mere gymnastic bodily exercise, of which the Apostle says, that it has indeed its uses, but those uses partial only. Bengel adds, perhaps more ingeniously than conclusively, “Videtur Timotheus juvenis interdum usus fuisse aliqua exercitatione corporis (ch. 1 Timothy 5:23) quam Paulus non tam prohibet quam non laudat.” Two curious interpretations of the expression have been given; one by Chrys., as a sort of afterthought: ὃ δὲ λέγει, τοιοῦτόν ἐστι· μηδὲ εἰς γυμνασίαν ποτε καταθῇς σεαυτὸν διαλεγόμενος πρὸς ἐκείνους, ἀλλὰ ταῦτα τοῖς αὑτοῦ παραίνει. οὐ γάρ ἐστι πρὸς τοὺς διεστραμμένους μαχόμενον ὀνῆσαί τί ποτε,—the other by Braun (Selecta sacra i. 10. 156, cited by Huther), who understands by it the ceremonial law): but piety (the first member of the antithesis contained the means, ἡ σωμστικὴ γυμνασία: this, the end, εὐσέβεια;—that which is sought by γυμνασία πρὸς εὐσέβειαν) is profitable for all things (not one portion only of a man’s being, but every portion of it, bodily and spiritual, temporal and eternal), having (seeing that it has) promise of the life (we may, as far as the construction is concerned, take ζωῆς, as Ellic., abstract, of life, and then divide it off into τῆς νῦν and τῆς μελλούσης. But see below), which is now and which is to come (how is the genitive ζωῆς to be taken? is it the objective genitive, giving the substance of the promise, LIFE, in its highest sense? in this case it would be ἐν τῷ νῦν αἰῶνι καὶ ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι. And seeing it is not that, but τῆς νῦν κ. τῆς μελλούσης, we should have to understand ζωή in two different meanings,—long and happy life here, and eternal life hereafter—it bears a promise of this life and of the life to come. This to say the least is harsh. It would be better therefore to take ἐπαγγελία as ‘the promise,’ in the sense of ‘the chief blessedness promised by God,’ the blessed contents of His promise, whatever they be, and ζωῆς as the possessive genitive: the best promise belonging to this life and to that which is to come. It may be said, this also is harsh; and to some extent I acknowledge it,—it is not however a harshness in thought, as the other, but only in construction, such as need not surprise us in these Epistles. The concrete ἐπαγγελία instead of the abstract is already familiar to us, Luke 24:19; Acts 1:4; Acts 13:32, al.: and the possessive genitive after ἐπαγγ. is justified by Romans 15:8, ἑπαγγ. τῶν πατέρων, and by the arrangement of the sentence).


Verse 9

9.] Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation (see on ch. 1 Timothy 1:15. The words refer to what follows, not as Heinr. to ch. 1 Timothy 3:16, nor as De W., Huther, Wies., al., to what went immediately before: see on γάρ below. The connexion is with καὶ τῆς μελλούσης. Piety has the promise of that life attached to it, according to the well-known Christian saying which follows. Otherwise 1 Timothy 4:10 comes in disjointedly and unaccountably): for ( γάρ is introduced from a mixture of two constructions, rendering a reason for καὶ τῆς μελλούσης, as if πιστὸς ὁ λόγος had not been inserted. We have the same construction in 2 Timothy 2:11, where Huther, though he regards the γάρ as decisive against it here, refers the πιστὸς ὁ λόγος to what follows) to this end (viz. the σωτηρία implied in that which follows, introduced by ὅτι,—as in reff.: thus alone can the saying as a πιστὸς λόγος cohere together: and so Thdrt., Thl., Beza, Grot., Beng., Mosh., Wegsch., Leo, Wahl:—not, as De W., Huther, Ellic., al., for the obtaining of the promise mentioned above (De W. claims Thdrt. and Bengel for this meaning, but wrongly: the former says, τί δηποτε, &c. εἰ μὴ τίς ἐστι τῶν πόνων ἀντίδοσις; ὰλλὰ γάρ ἐστιν ἀντίδοσις. ἀΐδιος γὰρ θεὸς ἀγωνοθετεῖ τοῖς ἀθλοῦσι, καὶ πάντων ἐστὶν ἀνθρώπων σωτὴρ κ. τ. λ.; and the latter, ‘hoc nomine, hoc fine, hac spe,’ referring to ἠλπίκαμεν)) we (Christians in general) [both] toil (more than labour ( ἐργαζόμεθα): it gives the idea of ‘toil and moil:’ see reff.) and suffer reproach (climax: we might toil and be had in honour, but as it is, we have both fatigue and shame to bear. The reading ἀγωνιζόμεθα is very strongly supported, but appears to have been introduced from Colossians 1:29), because we have fixed our hope (the same perfect occurs John 5:45; 2 Corinthians 1:10; ch. 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Timothy 6:17; it refers to the time when the strong resolve and waiting began, and to its endurance since that time) on (for construction see reff., and Ellicott’s note here. Thus in Polyb. i. 12. 6, τὰςἀγοράςἐφʼ οἷς εἶχον τὰς μεγίστας ἐλπίδας) the living (inserted for emphasis and solemnity, to bring out the fact that the God in whom we trust is a veritable personal agent, not a creature of the imagination) God, who is the Saviour of all men (cf. ch. 1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11; His will is that all men should be saved, and He has made full and sufficient provision for the salvation of all: so that, as far as salvation stands in Him, He is the Saviour of all men. And it is in virtue of this universality of salvation offered by God, that we have rested our hopes on Him and become πιστοί), especially them that believe (in these alone does that universal salvation, which God has provided, become actual. He is the same σωτήρ towards and of all: but these alone appropriate His σωτηρία. Bengel rightly observes, ‘Latet nervus argumenti a minori ad majus:’ but he applies the σωτὴρ πάντων to this life, and μάλιστα πιστῶν to the life to come. So also Chrys.: εἰ δὲ τοὺς ἀπίστους σώζει ἐνταῦθα, πολλῷ μᾶλλον τοὺς πιστοὺς ἐκεῖ. But this does not seem to suit the context, nor the higher sense to which σωτήρ is every where in the N. T. confined, and most especially in these Epistles, where it occurs very frequently. The true ‘argumentum a minori ad majus’ lies in this—“if God be thus willing for all to be saved, how much more shall he save them that put their trust in Him.” For the expression, see reff., and especially Galatians 6:10).


Verse 11

11.] Command (see ch. 1 Timothy 1:3) these things (viz. those insisted on since ver.7) and teach them.


Verses 12-16

12–16.] General exhortations to Timotheus. Let no one despise thy youth (as to the construction, Chrys. ( μηδεὶς διὰ τὴν νεότητα καταφρονήσῃ σον), Leo, Mack, Matthies, take σοῦ as immediately governed by καταφρονήσῃ, and τῆς νεότητος as a second genitive—‘thee for thy youth.’ But though I cannot think with Huther that such a construction would be illegitimate (for in what does καταφρονέω differ in logical reference from κατηγορέω?—cf. εἰπαρανόμωνἤμελλον αὐτοῦ κατηγορεῖν, Demosth. Meid. p. 515. 26), yet 1 Timothy 4:15 seems to rule in favour of the simpler construction, where we have σου preceding its governing substantive with no such ambiguity. As to the matter of the youth of Timotheus, see Prolegg. ch. vii. § ii. 35, note; and remember, that his age relative to that of the Apostle himself, whose place he was filling, rather than his absolute age, is evidently that which is here meant. By the ἕως ἔρχομαι, we see that this comparison was before the Apostle’s mind. The interpretation of Bengel, ‘ “talem te gere quem nemo possit tanquam juvenem contemnere:” libenter id faciunt senes inanes,’ thus endeavouring to eliminate the fact, of Timotheus’s youth, is forced, and inconsistent with the τῆς. It is quite true (cf. what follows— ἀλλὰ τύπος γίνου, &c.) that the exhortation is to him, not to the Ephesian church: but it is grounded on the fact of his youth, in whatever light that fact is to be interpreted);—but become (by gaining their respect for the following acts and qualities) a pattern of the believers (the comma after πιστῶν, in which I have followed Lachmann, gives more force and independence to the clause adversative to μηδεὶς κ. τ. λ., and then leaves the specifications to follow),—in word (the whole of thine utterances, in public and private: ἐν λόγῳ is elsewhere contrasted, as in Colossians 3:17, with ἐν ἔργῳ), in behaviour (the other outward sign of the life within: ἐν ἔργῳ, Col. l. c., but expressing more—‘in quotidiana consuetudine,’ as Beng. The ἀναστροφή may testify, in cases where no actual deed is done), in love, in faith (the two great springs of Christian conduct, the one it is true set in motion by the other,—cf. Galatians 5:6, πίστις διʼ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη,—but both, leading principles of the whole man), in purity (probably, not chastity, in the more restricted sense, though in ch. 1 Timothy 5:2 it certainly has this meaning from the context: but in the wider and higher meaning which the context here requires, all believers being in view, of general holiness and purity. Cf. for this,— ἁγνός, ch. 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Corinthians 7:11; James 3:17,— ἁγνίζω, James 4:8; 1 Peter 1:22. From these passages the quality would appear definable as simplicity of holy motive followed out in consistency of holy action).


Verse 13

13.] Till I come (not as De W., as long as thou in my absence presidest over the Ephesian church: for this supposes the Apostle to be the normal president of that Church and Timotheus his locum-tenens, which was not the case. Timotheus was put there with a special commission from the Apostle: that commission would cease at the Apostle’s coming, not because he would resume residence and presidence, but because he would enforce and complete the work of Timotheus, and thus, the necessity for special interference being at an end, the church would revert to the normal rule of its own presbytery), attend to the (public, see below) reading (“scripturæ sacræ, in ecclesia. Huic adjunguntur duo præcipua genera, adhortatio, quæ ad agendum, et doctrina, quæ ad cognoscendum pertinet, ch. 1 Timothy 6:2 fin. Romans 12:7 ff.” Beng. This is certainly the meaning; cf. Luke 4:16 ff.: Acts 13:15; 2 Corinthians 3:14,—not that of Chrys. ( ἀκούωμεν ἅπαντες, καὶ παιδευώμεθα μὴ ἀμελεῖν τῆς τῶν θείων γραφῶν μελέτης), Grot., Calv. (“certe fons omnis sapientiæ est Scriptura, unde haurire debent pastores quicquid proferunt apud gregem”), al., who understand private reading.

Whether the O. T. Scriptures alone, or in addition to them the earlier gospels were at this time included in this public reading, cf. Just. Mart. Apol. i. (ii.) 67, p. 83 ( τὰ ἀπομνημονεύματα τῶν αποστόλων ἢ τὰ συγγράμματα τῶν προφητῶν ἀναγινώσκεται, μέχρις ἐγχωρεῖ), cannot be determined with any certainty), to the (also public) exhortation, to the (also public) teaching (cf. Bengel above. Chrys. takes παρακλήσει as social, διδασκαλίᾳ as public,— τῇ παρακλήσει τῇ πρὸς ἀλλήλους, τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ τῇ πρὸς πάντας—so Grot., ‘in monendis aliis privatim, docendis publice:’ but why so?).


Verse 14

14.] Do not neglect (= ἀναζωπυρεῖν, 2 Timothy 1:6,—do not suffer to decay and smoulder by carelessness: ‘negligunt qui non exercent, nec putant se posse excidere,’ Bengel) the spiritual gift which is in thee (see more at length in 2 Timothy 1:6. The spiritual gift is that of teaching and ruling the church. Thdrt. says, too narrowly (and so nearly Ellic.), χάρισυα τὴν διδασκαλίαν ἐκάλεσε: it was not teaching only, but the whole grace of God given him for the office to which he was set apart by special ordination), which was given thee (by God, 1 Corinthians 12:4; 1 Corinthians 12:6) by means of prophecy (not as Mack, ‘on account of prophecies,’ alleging the plural in ch. 1 Timothy 1:18. That verse (see note) refers to the same fact as this—viz. that, either at the first conversion of Timotheus, or at his ordination to the ministry (and certainly the latter seems here to be pointed at), the Holy Spirit spoke, by means of a prophet or prophets, His will to invest him with χαρίσματα for the work, and thus the gift was said to be conferred, as to its certainty in the divine counsels, by such prophecy—‘ita jubente per os prophetarum Spiritu Sancto,’ Beza. All attempts to make διὰ bear other meanings (‘potest tamen sic accipi ut idem valeat quod εἰς προφητείαν, i.e. ad prophetandum; vel ἐν προφητεία ita ut quod sit hoc donum exprimat apostolus,’ Beza) are illegitimate and needless: see Acts 13:1-3, which is a case precisely analogous: the gift was in Paul and Barnabas διὰ προφητείας, μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως χειρῶν. Bengel strangely joins προφητείας with πρεσβυτερίου, parenthesizing μετὰ ἐπιθ. τ. χειρῶν, alleging that ‘impositio manus proprie fit per unam personam et quidem digniorem: prophetia vero fiebat etiam per æquales,’ &c. But this certainly was not so: see below), with laying on of the hands (see on Acts 6:6. Neander, Pfl. u. Leit. i. 267. There is no real difference, as De W. thinks, between this and 2 Timothy 1:6. There was a special reason there for putting Timotheus in mind of the fact that the Apostle’s own hands were laid on him: but that fact does not exclude this. See references on the χειροθεσία in Ellicott’s note) of the presbytery (reff.: of the body of elders who belonged to the congregation in which he was ordained. Where this was, we know not: hardly in Lystra, where he was first converted: might it not be in Ephesus itself, for this particular office?).


Verse 15

15.] These things (viz. the things enjoined 1 Timothy 4:12-14) do thou care for, in these things be (employed) (Wetst. cites Plut. Pomp. p. 656 b, ἐν τούτοις ὁ καῖσαρ.… ἦν: Lucret. iii. 1093, ‘versamur ibidem, atque insumus usque:’ Hor. Ep. i. 1. 11, ‘quod verum atque decens curo et rogo et omnis in hoc sum.’ To which I may add a more striking parallel, Hor. Sat. i. 9. 2, ‘Nescio quid meditans nugarum, et totus in illis’), that thy progress (ref.: προκοπή is branded as a “vox non immerito a grammaticis contemta” by Lobeck, Phryn. p. 85: towards perfection; certainly in the Christian life, as Heydenr., De W.: this is implied; but the more direct meaning is, ‘with reference to the duties of thine office:’ and especially as respects the caution given 1 Timothy 4:12, that no man despise thy youth) may be manifest to all.


Verse 16

16.] Give heed to thyself (summary of 1 Timothy 4:12. On ἔπεχε, see Ellicott’s note) and to thy teaching (summary of 1 Timothy 4:13. “Duo sunt curanda bono pastori: ut docendo invigilet, ac se ipsum purum custodiat. Neque enim satis est, si vitam suam componat ad omnem honestatem, sibique caveat ne quod edat malum exemplum, nisi assiduum quoque docendi studium adjungat sanctæ vitæ: et parum valebit doctrina, si non respondeat vitæ honestas et sanctitas.” Calv.). Continue (reff.) in them (most naturally, the ταῦτα of 1 Timothy 4:15; but the words are ambiguous and puzzling. Grot. gives a curious interpretation: ‘mane apud Ephesios,’ which is certainly wrong: Bengel, as an alternative, refers it to τοὺς ἀκούοντας below, which is no better. I have punctuated it so as to connect this clause with what follows, and thus to render it not quite so harsh, seeing that it then will assume the form of a recapitulatory conclusion); for doing this (‘in doing this,’ as E. V., better than ‘by doing this,’ which asserts too much) thou shalt save (in the day of the Lord: the highest meaning, and no other, is to be thought of in both cases) both thyself and those that hear thee (thyself, in the faithful discharge of the ministry which thou hast received of the Lord: thy hearers, in the power of thine influence over them, by God’s word and ordinances).

 


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Bibliography Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:4". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-timothy-4.html. 1863-1878.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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