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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
1 Timothy 5

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 5

1 Timothy 5:4. μανθανέτωσαν] The reading μανθανέτω, which is found in some cursives, 3, 35, and many others, as well as in Vulg. Clar. Ambr. Aug. Ambrosiast. Pel., is to be regarded as a correction, τὶς χήρα being supposed to be the subject of the verb. As to the correctness of this supposition, see the exposition.

ἀπόδεκτον] The words καλὸν καί, which precede in the Rec., are rightly omitted from the text by Griesb., who follows all uncials, very many cursives, versions, etc.; they are beyond doubt taken from 1 Timothy 2:3.—1 Timothy 5:5. Instead of ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν, א and some other authorities have the reading ἐπὶ κύριον.—1 Timothy 5:8. τῶν οἰκείων] The article is wanting in A D* F G א; probably not genuine; Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8 omitted it.

For the active προνοεῖ (Tisch. 7), D* F G K א, al., have the middle προνοεῖται (Tisch. 8), which, however, may be a correction after Romans 12:17; in 2 Corinthians 8:21 the reading is doubtful.—1 Timothy 5:10. ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν] The reading ἐτεκνοφόρεσεν in F G, gr. is strange, since the word occurs nowhere else.—1 Timothy 5:11. For καταστρηνιάσωσι (Rec. Lachm. ed. maj., Tisch. 7, following C D K L א, most others), A F G 31 have the reading καταστρηνιάσουσιν (Lachm. ed. min., Buttm. Tisch. 7). The infrequency of the construction of ὅταν with the indic. pres., which occurs only a few times in the N. T. (compare especially Revelation 4:9), might be an argument for the originality of the latter reading; but most authorities are against it.—1 Timothy 5:14. Before νεωτέραζ there stands in D* and some cursives the article τάς; some other cursives, as well as Slav. Chrys. Theodor. etc., have χήρας after νεωτέρας; clearly an explanatory correction.—1 Timothy 5:15. It is doubtful whether τινες was originally placed before or after ἐξετράπησαν. For the former position (Rec. Tisch. 8) we have the authority of א C D K L P, al.; for the latter (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 7), that of A F G, al.—1 Timothy 5:16. The Rec. πιστὸς πιστή is found in D K L, nearly all cursives, some versions, and in Ath. contra Arr. Tisch. 7 retained the Rec.; on the other hand, Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8 omitted πιστὸς . The expositors (also Reiche) have declared for the Rec. It is to be noted further, that in Vulg. ed. Ambros. Aug. Pel. the words πιστή are omitted, and also that in Boern. Vulg. ms. the translation si quis fideles habet viduas is found. For further remarks, see the exposition of the verse.

Instead of ἐπαρκείτω (Rec. Tisch. 7, following C D K L P, al.), A F G א have the middle ἐπαρχείσθω (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8), which is indeed the original reading, the change being occasioned by the ἐπήρκεσεν in 1 Timothy 5:10, and the ἐπαρκέσῃ in 1 Timothy 5:16.—1 Timothy 5:18. For βοῦν ἀλοῶντα οὐ φιμώσεις, Lachm. and Buttm., on the authority of A C P 37, 57, 73, 80, al., Copt. Arm. Vulg. Chrys. etc., read οὐ φιμώσεις βοῦν ἀλοῶντα, which, however, might be a correction after 1 Corinthians 9:9. Tisch. has the common reading.—1 Timothy 5:20. After τούς, Lachm. and Buttm., on the authority of A D* Clar. Theoph. Ambros. Jerome, read δέ, which in F G, Boern. Vulg. ms. is found after ἁμαρτάνοντας. This variety in the position of δέ makes it suspicious in any case.—1 Timothy 5:21. χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ (Scholz, Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. Reiche, etc.), instead of the usual reading κυρίου ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ. Against κυρίου we have the testimony of A D* F G 17, 31, al., Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Clem. Basil, etc., and for χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ we have that of A D* G 17, 31, 73, al., versions, even the Sahidic and Fathers.

For πρόσκλισιν (Rec., with the authority of F G K, many others, It. Vulg. etc.) it is too rash, with Lachm. and Buttm., on the authority of A D L 10, 31, al., Ath. Bas. etc., to read πρόσκλησιν; because, notwithstanding the testimony of the oldest MSS., the sense almost imperatively demands πρόσκλισιν. This is a case where Tisch.’s words (see the article “Bibeltext des N. T.” in Herzog’s Real-Encyklopädie, II. pp. 183 f.) apply: “In spite of the great preference to be given to our oldest Greek MSS., we must not overlook the fact that sometimes those opposed to them, and centuries later, have at the same time the authority of much older versions and Fathers.” Tisch. retained the Rec.; he explains (l.c. p. 164) πρόσκλησιν as an itacism occasioned by the dictation of the text; similarly Reiche on the passage.—1 Timothy 5:23. Rec. στόμαχόν σου (Tisch. 7, after D F G K L, al.); the σου is wanting in A D* P א (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch. 8); in any case, the later addition is easier to explain than the omission.—1 Timothy 5:25. After ὡσαύτως, Lachm., on the authority of A F G g., inserted δέ; it is possible that δέ was struck out by a copyist on the analogy of 1 Timothy 2:9.

τὰ κάλα ἔργα] Instead of this reading, A D F G א 37, 116, al., Vulg. Clar. Boern. Theophyl. Aug. Ambros. Pelag. are decisive for τὰ ἔργα τὰ καλά (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch.).

Instead of the Rec. ἐστι after πρόδηλα, there stands in D F G P 17, 67* 93, al., εἰσιν; in A א 67* it is omitted (Lachm. Buttm. Tisch.).

δύναται] Lachm. Buttm. and Tisch. read the plur. δύνανται, on the authority of A D א 17, 44, 67, 71, al., plur. edd. Theodoret.


Verse 1-2

1 Timothy 5:1-2. Directions regarding Timothy’s behaviour towards elder and younger church-members of both sexes.

πρεσβυτέρῳ μὴ ἐπιπλήζῃς] Chrysostom rightly remarks: ἄρα τὸ ἀξίωμα νῦν φησίν; οὐκ οἶμαι· ἀλλὰ περὶ παντὸς γεγηρακότος. Otherwise we could not but take νεώτεροι as equivalent to διάκονοι, and understand by νεώτεραι the deaconesses, which, however, would be arbitrary. There is, besides, no ground for Mack’s opinion, that the οἱ νεώτεροι mentioned in Acts 5:6 (1 Timothy 5:10 : οἱ νεανίακοι) were “church servants.” By far the greater number of expositors rightly agree with Chrysostom.

ἐπιπλήσσειν] only occurring here, properly “strike upon,” then “scold, make violent reproaches.” The opposite: Galatians 6:1, καταρτίζειν ἐν πνεύματι πραότητος. It is presupposed in this and the next exhortations that the church-members named had been guilty of some transgression or other.

ἀλλὰ παρακάλει ὡς πατέρα κ. τ. λ.] It is not to be forgotten that Timothy was still a νεός. As such he is in his office to deal in childlike respect with the elder men and women, if they had rendered themselves liable to his correction.

νεωτέρους ὡς ἀδελφούς] supply only παρακάλει; still Bengel is right in meaning when he remarks on μὴ ἐπιπλήξῃς: hoc pertinet etiam ad ea, quae sequuntur. By ὡς ἀδελφούς and ὡς ἀδελφάς it is implied that Timothy was not to exalt himself over those who were of the same age as himself or younger, but that he was to deal with them in brotherly love as his equals.

The addition ἐν πάσῃ ἁγνείᾳ, which follows ὡς ἀδελφάς, may grammatically be referred to all the members; but Chrysostom(170) and most expositors since, connect it closely with the words immediately preceding. Rightly; since, even when taken in the more general sense of “purity of morals” (1 Timothy 4:12), it cannot rightly be referred to the preceding relations; but it is very appropriate to the last, all the more if it be taken in the more special sense of “modesty, chastity.”(171)


Verse 3

1 Timothy 5:3. From this to 1 Timothy 5:16 we have instructions regarding the widows of the church.

χήρας τίμα] Theodoret, Theophylact, Pelagius, and most recent expositors, among others, de Wette and Wiesinger, refer τίμα to the support of the widows by money. De Wette explains τίμα directly as “care for them, support them,” adding, “he is speaking of support from the church-purse.” Wiesinger, on the other hand, remarks: “We do not say that τιμάω means ‘support’ exactly, but it means an honouring which was to manifest itself in supporting them.” In proof of this view, appeal is made to the passages in Acts 6:1; Acts 28:10; Matthew 15:4-6; but wrongly. In the two last passages the meaning “support with money” can only arbitrarily be given to τιμᾷν (see Meyer on Acts 28:10); and though the widows were supported by the church, as we learn from Acts 6:1 (comp. also Ignatius, ad Polycarp. chap. iv.; Justin Martyr, Apolog. i. 67), we cannot from that draw any inference as to the meaning of τιμᾷν. But even the context does not necessitate us to specialize the meaning. Granted that all that follows referred only to money-support to be given to the widows, why should not these special exhortations be introduced by one of a more general nature? Besides, the support mentioned being the business of the church, and not of Timothy alone, the apostle—according to the analogy of καταλεγέσθω (1 Timothy 5:9)—would not have written τίμα, but χῆραι τιμάσθωσαν. Hence, with several old and some recent commentators, such as Matthies, van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann, we should retain the usual meaning of τιμᾷν. Their support by the church is simply a consequence and proof of the τιμᾷν.

τὰς ὄντως χήρας] is added to define more precisely what widows Paul was thinking of, viz. those who are widows in the true and proper sense of the word (Luther: right widows). ὄντως is used as an adjective only here in the N. T. (Plato, Phaedr. 260a: τὰ ὄντως ἀγαθά). What kind of widows are meant thereby, we are to infer from what follows.


Verses 4-8

1 Timothy 5:4-8. There are two opposing views regarding the explanation of this section. (1) The view upheld by the majority of recent commentators, de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Plitt, which is as follows. Paul is giving Timothy instructions to support the “real” widows. From these he distinguishes (1 Timothy 5:4 being in contrast with 1 Timothy 5:3) the widow who has children or grandchildren, because they are able and ought to care for her. With μανθανέτωσαν we should supply as subject τέκνα ἔκγονα, and we should understand by τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον and τοῖς προγόνοις the widowed mother or grandmother. 1 Timothy 5:5 contrasts again with 1 Timothy 5:4; καὶ μεμονωμένη explains the signification of ὄντως χήρα. The predicate ἤλπικε κ. τ. λ. denotes the life-work which the “right,” i.e. the forsaken, widow has to fulfil, her fulfilment of it being a necessary condition of receiving support. 1 Timothy 5:6 declares negatively what conduct the apostle expects from an ὄντως χήρα, and to such conduct Timothy (1 Timothy 5:7) is to exhort them. At 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul returns to 1 Timothy 5:4, τις referring to the widows’ relations, and τῶν ἰδίων καὶ μάλιστα [ τῶν] οἰκείων to the widows themselves.—(2) The view upheld by most older and some recent commentators, especially Matthies and Hofmann, which is as follows. After enjoining on Timothy to honour the “real” widows, Paul first directs the widows who have children or grandchildren (still uncared for), to show these all loving care, and thereby recompense the love shown to themselves by their parents. The subject of μανθανέτωσαν is τις χήρα (as a collective idea); τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον are the children or grandchildren, and οἱ πρόγονοι the dead parents of the widow. 1 Timothy 5:5 describes the “real” widow as one who in her loneliness leads a life pious and consecrated to God; and as a contrast to this we have the picture of a wanton widow in 1 Timothy 5:6. In 1 Timothy 5:8, again (1 Timothy 5:4), widows who have relations needing their care are again reminded of the duty of this care.(172)

Each of these views has its difficulties. Against the second view, the supporters of the first maintain the following points:—(1) that as 1 Timothy 5:4 is in contrast with 1 Timothy 5:3, and 1 Timothy 5:5 in contrast again with 1 Timothy 5:4 ( δέ), the χήρα spoken of in 1 Timothy 5:4 cannot be regarded as belonging to the ὄντως χήραις; and (2) that as εὐσεβεῖν (1 Timothy 5:4) applies more naturally to the conduct of children towards their mother (or grandmother) than vice versâ, and as the thought: the widow is by her care for her children to make recompense for the care shown to herself by her parents, is “somewhat far-fetched” (de Wette), the ὄντως χήρα can only mean the widow with no relations for whom it is her duty to care.

But the first view has also its difficulties. If we adopt it, we find it strange that the apostle should not have written simply αὐτήν for τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον, and αὐτῇ for τοῖς προγόνοις, all the more that οἱ πρόγονοι is a name for “progenitors.” Further, πρῶτον, which Wiesinger translates inaccurately by “before all,” does not get its full force. It is arbitrary to understand by τέκνα ἔκγονα, grown-up children, especially as the expression τέκνα ἔχειν makes the children appear dependent on the mother (comp. 1 Timothy 3:4; Titus 1:6). De Wette says regarding 1 Timothy 5:5 : The author would have more clearly said: “Remind a true and forsaken widow to whom thou dost give support, that it falls upon her to show an example of confidence in God and of continual prayer;” but we can hardly think that the apostle would have expressed this thought in such an uncertain way. Even the three repetitions of the same thought in 1 Timothy 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:16, is at least very strange. Finally, the idea of money-support, on which this view lays all stress, is purely imported. These difficulties are too considerable for us to regard the first view as right in spite of them.(173)

De Wette and Wiesinger are certainly right in regarding 1 Timothy 5:4 as contrasted with 1 Timothy 5:3, and 1 Timothy 5:5 with 1 Timothy 5:4, as well as in thinking that the word μεμονωμένη sets forth the apostle’s mark of the ὄντως χήρα; but they are not justified in inferring that in 1 Timothy 5:4 he is speaking of a widow with relations who can take care of her. Why, in that case, should the apostle in 1 Timothy 5:5 have said regarding the ὄντως χήρα, that she was to προσμένειν ταῖς δεήσεσι καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς, and to do so νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας, for all this is in no way opposed to what is said in 1 Timothy 5:4? The προσμένειν leads us to suppose that the apostle was thinking of a widow who had not to care for relations.

The right view will accordingly be this. After exhorting Timothy to honour the “real” widows (see on 1 Timothy 5:3), Paul distinguishes from these ὄντως χήραις, in the first place, the one who is not forsaken, but has children or grandchildren (not grown up); and he lays it on her as a duty not to neglect them. Then he describes the conduct of the “real” or forsaken widow, who has therefore no ἴδιον οἶκον, showing what beseems her in her position in life as a Christian widow; so that he is contrasting the widow who works diligently for her own, and the lone widow who continues day and night in prayer. As opposed to the latter (or even to both), he mentions in 1 Timothy 5:6 the χήρα σπαταλῶσα, who is, however, to be considered as dead, because her conduct is in entire contradiction with her widowed state. Then there is a natural transition to the exhortation in 1 Timothy 5:7, which gives the apostle an opportunity for uttering, in 1 Timothy 5:8, a general maxim in order to impress once more on the widow with relations to care for, the exhortation in 1 Timothy 5:4.—1 Timothy 5:4. τέκνα ἔκγονα] ἔκγονα here (in connection with τέκνα) means the “grandchildren” ( τέκνα τέκνων, Hesychius).(174) In classical usage, ἔκγονος is usually the son ( ἔκγονος, the daughter), but also the grandson; τὰ ἔκγονα denotes properly posterity (comp. Wisd. 40:15, 44:11, 45:13, 47:22; synonymous with τὸ σπέρμα).

μανθανέτωσαν] The subject for this verb might be taken from the object in the protasis; but the formation of the sentence is more correct, if we take the subject of the protasis ( τις χήρα) to be the subject here also. τις χήρα is then a collective idea, and takes the plural. Winer, too (p. 586 [E. T. p. 787]), supports this opinion.

πρῶτον] viz., before they give themselves up to the care of the church for them, with special reference to what follows: χήρα καταλεγέσθω, 1 Timothy 5:9, or better perhaps: “before she makes work for herself outside the house” (Hofmann).

τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον εὐσεβεῖν] The term οἶκον likewise shows that he is speaking not of the things which the children are to do for their widowed mother (or grandmother), but of the things which the widows as mothers are to do for the children; because the mother or grandmother does not necessarily belong to the οἶκος of a grown-up son or grandson, whereas the children not grown up necessarily belong to the οἶκος of the widowed mother. The meaning therefore is: they are not to forsake their house, i.e. their children or grandchildren. The term εὐσεβεῖν is used to show that the house is a temple to whose service they are to devote themselves. Matthies inaccurately translates: “practise piety in regard to one’s own house.” οἶκον is not the accusative of reference, but purely an objective accusative; comp. Acts 17:23, and Meyer on the passage. “To honour one’s house” is therefore equivalent to serving it with pious heart;(175) Luther’s translation: “rule divinely,” is not to the point.

καὶ ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδιδόναι τοῖς προγόνοις] According to the context, the meaning is this: the widows by the εὐσεβεῖν of their house, i.e. by their pious care for their children and grandchildren, are to recompense the love shown to themselves by their parents. Chrysostom: ἀπῆλθον ἐκεῖνοι ( οἱ πρόγονοιοὐκ ἠδυνήθῃς αὐτοῖς ἀποδοῦναι τὴν ἀμοιβὴν· ἐν τοῖς ἐκγόνοις ἀμειβοῦ· ἀποδίδου τὸ ὀφείλημα διὰ τῶν παίδων. Though this thought is peculiar, it is neither ingenious (de Wette) nor far-fetched (Wiesinger).

ἀμοιβή, in the N. T. ἅπαξ λεγόμ.; ἀμοιβ. ἀποδιδόναι, Euripides, Orestes, 467.

οἱ πρόγονοι, in contrast with the previous τὰ ἔκγονα: the progenitors; in the N. T. only here and 2 Timothy 1:3. It would be against usage to understand by it the (widowed) mother or grandmother who is still alive.

τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι ἀπόδεκτον κ. τ. λ.] comp. 1 Timothy 2:3.


Verse 5

1 Timothy 5:5 defines more precisely what widows the apostle specially exhorts Timothy to “honour.”

δὲ ὄντως χήρα καὶ μεμονωμένη] καὶ μεμονωμένη is an epexegetical addition, defining ὄντως χήρα as one with no relatives who take care of her, or of whom she takes care.

ἤλπικεν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν] The distinction between ἐλπικέναι ἐπί with the dative (1 Timothy 4:10) and ἐλπικ. ἐπί with accusative, is that in the former case the object furnishes the ground on which the hope rests; in the latter, the goal towards which it is directed.

καὶ προσμένει (strengthened form of μένει; τῇ προσευχῇ προσκαρτερεῖν, Romans 12:12; Colossians 4:2) ταῖς δεήσεσι κ. ταῖς προσευχαῖς (comp. 1 Timothy 2:1) νυκτὸς κ. ἡμέρας (1 Thessalonians 2:9). With this we may compare what Luke (Luke 2:37) says of Anna the prophetess. Jerome (Ep. ad Gerontiam): quibus deus spes est, et omne opus oratio. Matthies rightly remarks: “The idea of the genuine widow is explained not abstractly, but in concrete form, in actual realization, for which reason we have the indicative used instead of the imperative or optative, as if a single representative of the whole class were described in living, personal form.” Hofmann will not allow this natural explanation to stand, because “the predicate which names a moral behaviour does not accord with a subject denoting an outward state.” Taking δέ as a relative pronoun, he connects it with ἤλπικεν ἐπὶ θ., and regards καὶ προσμενεῖ (for προσμένει) as the apodosis, ὄντως χήρα καὶ μεμονωμένη forming an affix to δέ. Apart from the objection that the meaning advanced by Hofmann would have been expressed much more naturally by δὲ ὄντως χήρα κ. μεμ., ἤλπικεν ἐπὶ θεὸν, καὶ προσμενεῖ, the meaning would be far from appropriate here. Besides, it gives no characteristic mark of the widow, for the hope which results in continual prayer is not peculiar to widows. Hofmann in his polemics does not observe that, in the apostle’s presupposition, she whose outward condition is more definitely described is a believing widow. When this is observed, we cannot deny the appropriateness of the reference (in Wiesinger) to 1 Corinthians 7:32 ff.


Verse 6

1 Timothy 5:6. δὲ σπαταλῶσα] The opposite of the ὄντως χήρα who has dedicated her life to piety. σπαταλᾷν, “revel, be wanton,” occurs elsewhere only in James 5:5 (Wisd. 21:15). There is nothing to show that the apostle was here thinking of the squandering of the support received.

ζῶσα τέθνηκε] These words have been taken as exhorting Timothy to consider the wanton widow as dead, and not to support her; but this takes away all point from the words. The right meaning is obtained by comparing such passages as Ephesians 4:18, Revelation 3:1, and others similar. While the widow who conducts herself as a widow should, lives in God, the wanton widow leads a life given up to the desires of the world, a life only in appearance, the very opposite of the true life. Theophylact: κἂν δοκεῖ ζῆν κατὰ τὴν αἰσθητὴν, τέθνηκε κατὰ πνεῦμα.


Verse 7

1 Timothy 5:7. After describing briefly the conduct of the two classes of widows, the apostle continues: καὶ ταῦτα παράγγελλε] ταῦτα refers to what was said regarding widows. Timothy is, by way of exhortation, to announce to the church, therefore to the widows, what the apostle has written to him; παράγγελλε, comp. 1 Timothy 4:11.

ἵνα ἀνεπίληπτοι ὦσιν] ἵνα here gives the purpose (at 2 Thessalonians 3:12 it stands after παραγγέλλειν κ. παρακαλεῖν in a different sense). The subject of the clause is not the dependants ( τέκνα καὶ ἔκγονα, 1 Timothy 5:4) of the widows, much less they along with the widows (Heydenreich), or men and women (Grotius), but the widows spoken of in the preceding verses.


Verse 8

1 Timothy 5:8. εἰ δέ τις τῶν ἰδίων καὶ μάλιστα [ τῶν] οἰκείων οὐ προνοεῖ] “But if any one does not take care for his relatives, and especially for those of his household;” τις is here quite general in meaning, and this generality must in the first place be maintained.

τῶν ἰδίων and [ τῶν] οἰκείων are not neuters, but masculines. In the N. T., as a rule, οἱ ἴδιοι are those in close fellowship and community with another. For instance, in John 13:1 the relation of Christ to His disciples is thus named. οἱ ἴδιοι is here wider in meaning than οἱ οἰκεῖοι, which is “those properly of the household.” Hofmann thinks that, if the reading without the article be adopted, μάλιστα does not belong to the verb, but to οἰκείων = οἰκειοτάτων. It is well known that in classic Greek the superlative is sometimes expressed by μάλιστα before the positive. But this usage is never found in the N. T.; and besides, here, where οἰκεῖος refers to τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον (1 Timothy 5:4), and is therefore equivalent to “member of the household or family,” the superlative οἰκείοτατος is meaningless. To paraphrase it into “nearest kinsman of all” is purely arbitrary. At any rate, the article is by no means necessary before οἰκείων, since the ἴδιοι and the οἰκεῖοι belong to one class; the intervening μάλιστα makes no difference, although it lays special emphasis on the latter.

τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται] inasmuch as he does not do that to which faith, if it be a living faith, incites him; fides enim non tollit officia naturalia, sed perficit et firmat, Bengel.

καὶ ἔστιν ἀπίστου χείρων] ἄπιστος here is not (as at 2 Corinthians 4:4; Titus 1:15) “an enemy of Christ,” but “one who is not a Christian,” one who as such is incited by natural law to love his own children (comp. Matthew 5:46-47).

Calvin says on this: quod duabus de causis verum est, nam quo plus quisque in cognitione Dei profecit, eo minus habet excusationis; … deinde hoc genus officii est, quod natura ipsa dictat, sunt enim στοργαὶ φυσικαί.

The reference of this general thought varies according to the various interpretations of 1 Timothy 5:4. If τέκνα καὶ ἔκγονα be taken there as the subject of μανθανέτωσαν, then it refers to the relation of these to the widowed mother or grandmother; if the proper subject be αἱ χῆραι, it refers naturally to the conduct of the widows. There is nothing to show that the apostle here was thinking of the mutual relation between the widows and their dependants (Matthies). Still less correct is it, with Hofmann, to wrench 1 Timothy 5:8 away from 1 Timothy 5:4, and to understand by τιςthe father of a family,” “who at his death leaves wife and child unprovided for, when he might well have provided for them.” Such a sudden transition from what hitherto has been the subject of discussion would be exceedingly strange; nor is there any hint of it given by the verb προνοεῖν, which denotes care in general terms, not “care for those left behind at death.” Paul has hitherto been speaking of the conduct of widows, and only to that same subject can this verse be referred.


Verse 9

1 Timothy 5:9 ff. From this point the apostle takes up a special class of widows, viz. those who had been placed by the church on a formal list, and who accordingly possessed a certain position of honour in the church. From 1 Timothy 5:16 it is to be inferred that it was the duty of the church to care for them so long as they lived, while from 1 Timothy 5:10 it appears that they had to perform for the church certain labours of love suited to them. The various views regarding them have already been given in the Introduction, § 5; each has its special difficulties. Still Mosheim’s view is the most probable,(176) only what the apostle says of these widows does not justify us in transplanting into the apostolic age the ecclesiastical institution of the χῆραι ( πρεσβύτεραι, πρεσβύτιδες) in the same form as it had at a later date. We have here only the tendencies from which the institution was gradually developed. Though the apostle takes it for granted that the church takes care of these widows, we cannot conclude that, as the older expositors assume,(177) he means by the καταλεγέσθω their reception into the number of the widows to be supported by the church. Poor widows, like poor persons generally, would surely be supported by the church without being placed in the special class of the χῆραι here meant.—1 Timothy 5:9-10. χήρα καταλεγέσθω] καταλέγειν ( ἅπ. λεγ. in N. T.), properly “select,” then “place upon a list,” used especially of the citizens chosen for service in war; comp. Aristophanes, Acharn. 1629, Lysist. 14. 6. χήρα is not the subject, but the predicate; Winer, p. 549 [E. T. p. 738]: “as widow let her be registered (enrolled) who is not under sixty” (so, too, Wiesinger, Hofmann). The common translation is: “let a widow be chosen” (so de Wette, van Oosterzee, Plitt.).

μὴ ἔλαττον ἐτῶν ἑξήκοντα γεγονυῖα] Leo and some others connect γεγονυῖα with what follows (Vulgate: quae fuerit unius viri uxor; so Luther). A comparison with 1 Timothy 3:2 shows that this is incorrect; besides, the construction itself demands the connection with what precedes. The genitive does not depend on γεγονυῖα (as Luke 2:42 : ὅτι ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα), but on ἔλαττον, and is equivalent to ἔτη ἑξήκοντα (comp. Demosthenes, in Timocrat. p. 481: γέγονα οὐκ ἔλαττον τριάκοντα ἔτη).

ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή, after the explanation given at 1 Timothy 3:2 of the corresponding expression: ΄ιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ, denotes the widow who has lived in sexual intercourse with no one but her lawfully wedded husband.

ἐν ἔργοις καλοῖς ΄αρτυρου΄ένη] ΄αρτυρεῖν in the N. T. has often the meaning: give one a good testimony; hence the passive is: possess a good testimony ( μαρτυρίαν καλὴν ἔχειν, 1 Timothy 3:7). ἐν here (as elsewhere in connection with verbs of similar meaning, see Wahl, s.v. ἐν η. α.) gives the ground (of the good testimony); comp. Hebrews 11:2, for which in Hebrews 11:39 we have διά.

The ἔργα καλά (comp. 1 Timothy 5:25; 1 Timothy 6:18, and other passages in the Pastoral Epistles) are not only works of benevolence, although to these chief attention is directed, but generally “good works”.

εἰ ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν] εἰ cannot be joined immediately with καταλεγέσθω, since the sense forbids us to consider this and the following clauses as co-ordinate with what precedes. It is rather attached to the ἐν ἔργ. καλ. ΄αρτυρου΄ένη, not, however, in such a way (as Heydenreich thinks) as to stand for ὅτε (which is also not the case in Acts 26:22-23), but in such a way as to distribute the preceding idea into its single parts, and connect them with it in free fashion, “if namely.” Luther: “and who has a testimony of good works, as she has brought up children.”

On ἐτεκνοτρόφησεν ( ἅπ. λεγ.) Theodoret remarks: οὐ θρέψαι ΄όνον ἀπαιτεῖ, ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ εὐσεβῶς θρέψαι. Wrong; the verb, not “rear” (van Oosterzee), but “nurse” (Luther), refers to the attention of love, as do the verbs that follow; compare Acts 22:3 : ἀνατεθρα΄΄ένος distinguished from πεπαιδευ΄ένος. There is no reason for thinking here of strange children, since it may rightly be called a καλὸν ἔργον, if a mother does not entrust the rearing of her children to others, but takes care of them herself (in opposition to Leo and Wiesinger); the apostle is not thinking of the distinction between strange children and one’s own. Heydenreich, de Wette, and others think that Paul bases this exhortation on the ground that the τεκνοτροφία was part of the official duties of a χήρα, and that she must have practised them before; but they are wrong, because in that case we could not but consider the ξενοδοχεῖν κ. τ. λ. as also the special duties of such widows.

εἰ ἐξενοδόχησεν] comp. 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8 ( φιλόξενος); Romans 12:13; Hebrews 13:2. The word ξενοδοχεῖν (Euripides, Alc. 555) is in the N. T. ἅπαξ λεγ.

εἰ ἁγίων πόδας ἔνιψεν] comp. John 13:5 ff.; also Luke 7:44. Wahl: pedum lotio (apud Judaeos) opus erat servile eademque apud eos in primis humanitatis officiis hospiti praestandis ponebatur. The feet-washing is meant literally, and not merely as “a symbolic expression for the manifestations of self-denying love” (first ed.); although Paul might at the same time be thinking of other services of lowly love. Theophylact: εἰ τὰς ἐσχάτας ὑπηρεσίας τοῖς ἁγίοις ἀνεπαισχύντως ἐξετέλεσε.

The ἅγιοι are not merely the ξένοι (in opposition to Wiesinger), but the Christians in general who came into the house as guests.

εἰ θλιβο΄ένοις ἐπήρκεσεν] Bengel arbitrarily limits the meaning of θλιβό΄ενοι, wishing to interpret it only of the poor; it is to be taken more generally as equivalent to “those in distress.” ἐπαρκεῖν in the N. T. only here and at 1 Timothy 5:16.

After naming several works of love in detail, the apostle adds more generally, in order to exhaust the ἐν ἐργ. καλ. ΄αρτυρεῖσθαι: εἰ παντὶ ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ ἐπηκολούθησε.(178) Hence we must not here think of works of benevolence only, but take πᾶν ἔργον in its entire meaning.

ἐπακολουθεῖν (in the N. T. only here at 1 Timothy 5:24, at Mark 16:20, where it is absolute, and at 1 Peter 2:21, where it is joined with τοῖς ἴχνεσι) is mostly referred to persons; but we cannot therefore, with Schleiermacher, supply here αὐτοῖς, i.e. θλιβομένοις.(179) It stands here in the same sense as διώκειν, 1 Timothy 6:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Hebrews 12:14. Luther: “who has followed every good work.”(180)


Verse 11

1 Timothy 5:11. νεωτέρας δὲ χήρας παραιτοῦ] νεωτέρας is not here strictly comparative in reference to 1 Timothy 5:9 (Wiesinger: “widows under sixty years”); it is rather a positive, as in 1 Timothy 5:1-2 (so, too, van Oosterzee).

παραιτοῦ] in opposition to καταλεγέσθω, 1 Timothy 5:9 (and in opposition to τίμα in 1 Timothy 5:3); yet in such a way that, according to the analogy of the passages, 1 Timothy 4:7, 2 Timothy 2:23, Titus 3:10, Hebrews 12:25, it denotes not only that they are to be omitted from the καταλέγεσθαι, but also that they are to be avoided personally. Luther: “the young widows, however, get rid of.”(181) The reason for this injunction is given by the apostle in the next words: ὅταν γὰρ καταστρηνιάσωσι τοῦ χριστοῦ γαμεῖν θέλουσιν] The meaning of the verb is variously given by expositors. Several take it as equivalent to “be voluptuous, lust after,” and so refer it to sexual relation, appealing to Revelation 18:9, where στρηνιᾷν is used along with πορνεύειν. But this collocation does not prove that the verbs are related in sense, all the less that in the passage πορνεύειν is not used literally. Even in Revelation 18:3, στρῆνος has not the meaning of sexual desire, but more generally of “wantonness.” There is no justification, therefore, for de Wette’s translation: “to feel sexual desire,” and that of Jerome (Ep. 123, al. 11, ad Agcrochiam al. Gerontiam): quae fornicatae sunt. Others maintain here the more general meaning of the word luxuriari (Wiesinger; van Oosterzee also translates: “if they have become luxurious,” but explains it of voluptuous desire, of the pruritus libidinosus). Since the word στρῆνος also occurs in the sense of violent desire for something (Lycophr. 438, see Pape, 5, s.v.), Plitt explains στρηνιᾷν as equivalent to “go in pursuit of the satisfaction of one’s desires,” but without saying what desires are here meant. In Pape, the word is explained as equivalent to “be insolent” ( στρῆνος = “insolence”); so, too, in Stephanus ( καταστρηνιάω = insolentius et lascivius me gero adversum); similarly Theophylact: καθυπερηφανεύεσθαι. It will be most correct to adhere to the meaning “be luxurious.” In all these various explanations the prefix κατα is taken in the sense of hostile opposition, and the genitive τοῦ χριστοῦ regarded as the object to which those widows are opposed by their στρηνιᾷν. This reference of κατα is in entire accordance with Greek usage; comp. in the N. T. the words: καταδυναστεύω, κατακαυχάομαι, καταναρκάω, κατασοφίζομαι. Hofmann’s explanation completely diverges from these: “After such widows have let the Saviour have their whole desire, after they have delighted in Him, they wish to marry.” For this interpretation of καταστρηνιᾷν χριστοῦ, Hofmann appeals to Psalms 37:4, where the Hebrew הִתְעַנֵּג עַל־יְהֹוָה (“rejoice in God, delight in God”) is translated in the LXX. by καταστρυφᾷν τοῦ κυρίου. But to this there are three objections—(1) This interpretation of καταστρυφᾷν in a good sense is quite singular in nature; (2) καταστρυφᾷν cannot without proof be considered identical with καταστρηνιᾷν; and (3) ὅταν is explained simply by “after that,” whereas it properly means: “in case that, so soon as.” ὅταν may indeed be sometimes rendered by “after that;” but whereas the latter only expresses the relation of time, ὅταν is only used in such cases of an inner relation. In the present case it shows that the θέλειν γα΄εῖν is something which has its ground or presupposed condition in the καταστρηνιᾷν of the widows. But how can it be imagined that delight in the Lord gives any ground whatever for the desire of marriage?

Besides, the whole context compels us to take καταστρ. in a bad sense.(182)

γαμεῖν θέλουσιν] We must not overlook the fact that Paul does not say simply γαμοῦσιν; he wishes here to bring out the direction in which their thoughts turn. If a widow received the honourable distinction of καταλέγεσθαι, she had to recognise it as her duty to devote her life henceforth to her office, to her works of love for the church. These she must regard as her life-vocation. But in young widows the worldly desire was roused only too easily, so that they put aside their life-vocation, and sought only their own satisfaction in forming a new marriage, thereby withdrawing themselves from the work for the church. Their thoughts were therefore turned to something else than the things to which their position in the church directed them.(183)


Verse 12

1 Timothy 5:12. ἔχουσαι κρίμα, ὅτι] Almost all expositors take ὅτι as introducing the object, so that what follows describes the κρίμα which the widows have to suffer. There is variance only in the more precise definition of κρίμα, whether it is to be understood as the judgment of God (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee), or the judgment of men (Wegscheider: “they draw blame on themselves;” Plitt: “they meet with reproof”), or the judgment of their own conscience (so in this commentary; comp. 1 Timothy 4:2 : κεκαυτηριασένοι τὴν ἰδίαν συνείδησιν). Hofmann takes ὅτι as “because,” as there is no article with κρίμα: “they are liable to condemnation;” but this makes the meaning of κρίμα ἔχειν too vague. Since the use of the article in the N. T. is so wavering, it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion. Plitt’s explanation may be taken as the most natural.

ὅτι τὴν πρώτην πίστιν ἠθέτησαν] τὴν πίστιν ἀθετεῖν in Polybius (who often uses ἀθετεῖν by itself) is “fidem fallere, break a pledge.” This meaning has rightly been maintained here by most. So Chrysostom: παρέβησαν τὰς συνθήκας; Augustine on Ps. lxxv.: primam fidem irritam fecerunt; voverunt et non reddiderunt. We cannot infer from this expression that any formal oath not to marry again was demanded when they were received into the number of church-widows; but it certainly does follow that the reception pledged the widows to devote their lives only to the service of the Lord. To this pledge they were unfaithful so soon as they began the behaviour described in 1 Timothy 5:11. It is out of place here to appeal to such passages in the Fathers as testify that in later times the deaconesses had to vow that they would not marry. πρώτην does not stand for πρότεραν, but is used by the apostle because the vow (tacit or expressed) to serve the Lord was taken at the beginning of their new position in life. Calvin wrongly takes the πρώτη πίστις as the fides in baptismo data, referring the unfaithfulness to the desire to marry, which is defined more precisely by ὅταν καταστρηνιάσωσι τ. χρ.


Verse 13

1 Timothy 5:13. ἅμα δὲ καὶ ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσι περιερχόμεναι τὰς οἰκίας] By far the greater number of expositors connect μανθάνουσι immediately with περιερχόμεναι, “they learn to run about in houses” (Luther; so, too, de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee). But μανθάνειν with the partic. does not mean learn; it is “observe, perceive, remark;” μανθάνειν, in the sense of learn (“accustom oneself”), has always the infinitive (comp. 1 Timothy 5:4). Leo therefore takes it here as “be wont to;” but this sense only occurs in the preterite. Winer (pp. 325 f. [E. T. p. 436]) thinks it probable that ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσι are to be taken together, “they learn idleness” (or “they learn to be lazy;” so in the second edition of this commentary; so, too, Hofmann). It is in favour of this construction that the chief emphasis is laid on ἀργαί; but no passage can be found confirming it.(184) Besides, the position of ἀργαί shows that it belongs to the subject. Bengel had taken refuge in supplying something explaining it: discunt quae domos obeundo discuntur, i. e statum familiarum curiose explorant. Buttmann (pp. 260 f.) agrees with this explanation, only that he regards the supplied words: statum, etc., as too arbitrary and sweeping; he observes: “what they learn περιερχό΄εναι τ. οἰκ. is sufficiently indicated, not indeed grammatically, but in sense, by ἀργαί, φλυαροί, περιέργοι, λαλοῦσαι τὰ ΄ὴ δέοντα.” But if, as Buttmann thinks, we are to assume here an anacolouthon, it would be more natural to find the hint of what is to be supplied in the περιερχό΄εναι τ. οἰκ., so that the meaning would be: they learn περιερχό΄εναι this very περιέρχεσθαι.

On the construction περιερχό΄εναι τὰς οἰκίας, comp. Matthew 4:23 : περιῆγεν ὅλην τὴν γαλιλαίαν.

οὐ ΄όνον δὲ ἀργαὶ, ἀλλὰ καὶ φλύαροι κ. τ. λ.] φλύαροι, “talkative” (Luther), only occurs here; the verb φλυαρέω in 3 John 1:10. Theophylact: περιοδεύουσαι τὰς οἰκίας, οὐδὲν ἀλλʼ τὰ ταύτης εἰς ἐκείνην φέρουσι, καὶ τὰ ἐκείνης εἰς ταύτην. Calvin: ex otio nascebatur curiositas, quae ipsa garrulitatis est mater.

καὶ περίεργοι, “inquisitive,” Luther (likewise ἅπ. λεγ.; but in 2 Thessalonians 3:11 : ΄ηδὲν ἐργαζο΄ένους, ἀλλὰ περιεργαζο΄ένους), forms a peculiar contrast to the preceding ἀργαί; Chrysostom: γὰρ τὰ ἑαυτοῦ ΄ὴ ΄ερι΄νῶν τὰ ἑτέρου ΄ερι΄νήσει πάντως.

λαλοῦσαι τὰ ΄ὴ δέοντα] added to define further what precedes.

In these two verses Paul sets forth the danger of receiving young widows into the class of church-widows. It is not improbable that there were definite instances, and these caused the apostle to speak in this general way.


Verse 14

1 Timothy 5:14. Positive instructions regarding young widows.

βούλομαι οὖν] βούλομαι, does not express a wish merely (de Wette: “I hold it to be advisable, desirable.”), but a definite command; comp. 1 Timothy 2:8.

οὖν shows that this thought is a deduction from the one previous; Leo: quae quum ita sint.

νεωτέρας, sc. χήρας, not the virgins, as Baur thinks.

γαμεῖν] used also in 1 Corinthians 7:39 of the re-marriage of widows.

τεκνογονεῖν ( ἅπ. λεγ., the substantive in 1 Timothy 2:15) does not include, according to the notion peculiar to himself, the rearing of children (van Oosterzee). The apostle mentions single points; every one can supply the appropriate details for himself. Leo rightly says that the idea of rearing children is included rather in the next word.

οἰκοδεσποτεῖν ( ἅπ. λεγ.; the substantive often occurs in the N. T.) denotes properly the work of the husband, and is equivalent to τοῦ οἴκου προΐστασθαι, 1 Timothy 3:4; 1 Timothy 3:12; here it is used of the wife, who necessarily has her share in ruling the household.

μηδεμίαν ἀφορμὴν διδόναι τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ λοιδορίας χάριν] The last words: λοιδορίας χάριν, are not to be taken with βούλομαι, (Mack: “I will … for the sake of the reproach which would otherwise be cast upon the church;” the meaning is obviously the reverse of this, so soon as these words are placed in thought after γαμεῖν, since χάριν never loses the sense of “for the sake of”), nor with τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ (Leo: “inimico ad calumniandum parato”). They are to be connected with ἀφορμὴν διδόναι, but not in such a way as to form a supplement to that phrase (de Wette, with the remark that this is indeed a strange construction; also Wiesinger); the supplement should have been in the genitive, see 2 Corinthians 5:12. In short, λοιδορ. χαρ. only defines ἀφορμὴν διδόναι more precisely. A definite object is not to be supplied (Leo: occasionem sc. ipsas seducendi praebere; so, too, van Oosterzee, and in this commentary), but the interpretation is: “they are to afford the enemy no opportunity for slandering,” i.e. they are to abstain from everything which the enemy may use for slandering the church (not merely the widows); so, too, Hofmann on the whole. By the ἀντικείμενος is meant either the devil (so most of the older commentators,(185) also Leo and Matthies; van Oosterzee uncertain) or the human enemy, the Jew and Gentile (so de Wette, Wiesinger, Plitt, Hofmann). Hofmann is wrong, however, in asserting that τοῦ σατανᾶ in 1 Timothy 5:15 is decisive against the first explanation, for αὐτοῦ would have been used.

De Wette joins the last part of the clause to what precedes, in such a way as to supply: “and in this way.” But there is no hint of this limitation. If we add it simply to what precedes, it is more natural to refer it to the whole conduct of the widows.


Verse 15

1 Timothy 5:15. Reason for the injunction given: ἤδη γάρ τινες ἐξετράπησαν ὀπίσω τοῦ σατανᾶ.

τινές, viz. “widows;” ἐξετράπησαν κ. τ. λ.; comp. 1 Timothy 1:6; ὀπίσω, comp. Acts 5:37; Acts 20:30 : they have turned away, viz. from the Christian path of life, and have followed Satan. This does not necessarily mean a formal apostasy from Christianity, or a connection with the heretics; it may also mean yielding oneself up to an un-Christian, carnal life (Wiesinger). This arose from their not living in accordance with the rule laid down by the apostle.

On ἤδη, Bengel rightly remarks: particula provocandi ad experientiam. De Wette is quite unjustified in asserting that Paul could not yet have had such an experience.


Verse 16

1 Timothy 5:16. According to Heydenreich, Leo, de Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and other expositors, this verse is in substance a repetition of what was already said in 1 Timothy 5:4; 1 Timothy 5:8; but if a right view of those verses be taken, there is not so much repetition.

Hofmann wishes to separate 1 Timothy 5:16 from what precedes it, as he separates 1 Timothy 5:8 from the preceding words: “If in 1 Timothy 5:16 the apostle comes to speak of the case in which the support of a widow is not to fall a burden on the church, this has no reference to the honouring of widows.” There is as little ground for the one separation as for the other; for it is not to be supposed that καταλέγεσθαι in 1 Timothy 5:9 does not refer to the church’s support.

εἴ τις πιστὸς πιστὴ ἔχει χήρας] so runs the Rec. (Tisch. 7). But the weightiest MSS. have the reading: εἴ τις πιστὴ ἔχει χήρας (Tisch. 8), which is decidedly to be preferred. The other is only a pointless correction, arising from the idea that the husband should be named along with the wife, and without considering that is by no means suitable to the mention of both together, and that τὶς πιστή must in any case be a Christian spouse. The reason why the wife and not the husband is named is, that on her was laid the duty of caring for the widows belonging to the house. The ἔχειν expresses the close connection of the widows with the particular family, a connection which may most naturally be supposed to be one of kin.(186) Erasmus translates it: si qua mater habet filiam viduam; and de Wette, too, supposes that by widow here we are to understand the daughter, niece, etc., not the mother, aunt, etc. This limitation, however, is not contained in the expression itself. Had Paul thought of the relationship in this definite way, he would have expressed himself accordingly.

καὶ μὴ βαρείσθω ἐκκλησία] let not a charge or burden be laid on the church by undertaking the support of such widows. (The verb belongs to later Greek for the common βαρύνειν; only the form βεβάρημαι is Attic; comp. Butmann, Ausf. Gr. II. p. 88.)

The next words give the reason: ἵνα ταῖς ὄντως χήραις κ. τ. λ.

On the train of thought in this section dealing with widows, Matthies rightly says: “Complaints are made from the most various quarters regarding difficulties and inequalities, regarding want of order and clearness, regarding repetition and confusion in this section; but all this is, for the most part, founded on presuppositions which have no basis in fact.” We cannot but see that the train of thought is simple and natural, so soon as we observe that the chief point in the apostle’s mind in this section is the injunction regarding the καταλέγεσθαι of the widows, and that in 1 Timothy 5:4 he is not speaking as in 1 Timothy 5:16 of widows to be cared for, but of those who have to care for the children or grandchildren belonging to them.


Verse 17

1 Timothy 5:17. In this and the following verses Paul instructs Timothy as to his behaviour towards the presbyters.(187)

οἱ καλῶς προεστῶτες πρεσβύτεροι διπλῆς τιμῆς ἀξιούσθωσιν] On καλῶς προεστῶτες, comp. 1 Timothy 3:4. The contrast to the elders “who superintend well,” is formed by οἱ ἁμαρτάνοντες, 1 Timothy 5:20, not merely, as van Oosterzee thinks, “those who distinguish themselves less in their office;” καλῶς does not denote a special distinction, but conduct worthy of the office.

Chrysostom explained τιμή by θεραπεία καὶ τῶν ἀναγκαίων χορηγία; de Wette translates it directly by “reward.” True, τιμή does occur in classic use in the sense of “present, reward”; but the context by no means demands that meaning here (in opposition to de Wette). We must keep here to the general meaning of τιμή, “honour,”—as in 1 Timothy 6:1 (comp. also τιμᾷν, 1 Timothy 5:3),—although we may grant that the apostle was thinking particularly of the honour which the church was bound to show to their elders by presenting them with the means necessary for their support. It is quite erroneous to interpret τιμή of a maintenance definitely fixed. The adjective διπλῆς is taken by most expositors in the wider sense; but though in the use of διπλόος it is not necessary to urge an accurate measure, still it is never equivalent to πλείων. It is certainly wrong to refer (see de Wette on the passage) the διπλῆς here to the heavenly and earthly honour (Ambrosius), or to the distinction between respect and reward (Matthies), or to the double portion of the first-born (Grotius), or to the double portion which, according to the Const. Apost. ii. 28, the presbyter received in the oblations (Heydenreich and Baur); all these references are arbitrary. The double honour here is that which comes to the presbyter on account of his office (not, as Hofmann thinks, on account of his age(188)), and that which he obtains by filling his office well.

μάλιστα οἱ κοπιῶντες ἐν λογᾷ καὶ διδασκαλίᾳ] On κοπιῶντες, comp. 1 Timothy 4:10. Wiesinger says rightly: “we need not seek any special emphasis in κοπιῶντες: those who toil and moil in opposition to those who do not; κοπιάω is used, as elsewhere, of the teacher’s arduous vocation.”

The preposition ἐν denotes that λόγος κ. δ. is the sphere in which the work takes place (van Oosterzee).

λόγῳ καὶ διδασκαλίᾳ is not to be taken as an hendiadys. λόγος is more general, διδασκαλία more special. Special stress is laid here on the latter, because activity in teaching was of special importance as a bulwark against heresies. This addition does not prove that at the time when this epistle was composed there was a clear distinction between ruling and teaching presbyters (in opposition to de Wette and Baur). The apostle might quite well have used the same expressions, although the individual superintendents laboured according to their gifts and free determination, not according to fixed rules.


Verse 18

1 Timothy 5:18 furnishes the reason for the instruction given in 1 Timothy 5:16, a reason which attaches itself to the idea of κοπιῶντες.

λέγει γὰρ γραφή· βοῦν ἀλοῶντα οὐ φιμώσεις] This expression is found in Deuteronomy 25:4. φιμόω, though often used figuratively in the N. T., stands here in its literal meaning. The whole passage, however, is taken figuratively, just as at 1 Corinthians 9:9, where Paul handles it at greater length. Even Philo says (De Sacrif.): οὐ γὰρ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλόγων νόμος, ἀλλʼ ὑπὲρ τῶν νοῦν καὶ λόγον ἐχόντων.

To these words of Scripture the apostle further adds: καὶ ἄξιος ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὐτοῦ] These words are not quoted from the O. T., for the passages to which attention has been directed at Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:14 run differently; but they are found in the N. T. at Luke 10:7 (similarly Matthew 10:10). Hence Baur and Plitt maintain that they are quoted from Luke.

The λέγει γραφή does not, however, compel us so to refer the words; the apostle simply adds to the words of Scripture a proverb (Christ, too, in the passage quoted seems to use the phrase as proverbial). So Calvin, also Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Hofmann.

The two sentences, according to the apostle’s meaning, express the same thought; hence it is not improbable that the second was added as an interpretation of the first.


Verse 19

1 Timothy 5:19. The apostle now defines the proper conduct on Timothy’s part towards the presbyters who do not superintend the church καλῶς, but expose themselves to blame, thereby doing hurt to their official influence.

κατὰ πρεσβυτέρου κατηγορίαν μὴ παραδέχου] Chrysostom wrongly remarks on πρεσβυτέρου: οὐχὶ τὸ ἀξίωμα, ἀλλὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν. Timothy is not to receive an accusation ( κατηγορια, Luke 6:7; John 18:29) in order to decide regarding it, ἐκτὸς εἰ μὴ ἐπὶ δύο τριῶν μαρτύρων. On the pleonasm, ἐκτὸς εἰ μή, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 459; comp. 1 Corinthians 14:5; 1 Corinthians 15:2. Paul is here referring manifestly to the Mosaic law, Deuteronomy 19:15 (LXX.: ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων καὶ ἐπὶ στόματος τριῶν μαρτύρων στήσεται πᾶν ῥῆμα); comp. Deuteronomy 17:6 ( ἐπὶ δυσὶ μάρτυσιν ἐπὶ τρισὶ μάρτυσι). It is a question whether he does so in the sense—corresponding with the law—of ordaining that Timothy is only to receive an accusation against a presbyter when supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses (so de Wette,(189) Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and in general most expositors); or whether here, as in Matthew 18:16, there is only a somewhat general reference to the law, and it is merely said that Timothy is to receive the accusation only when brought before him in presence of two or three witnesses(190) (so Hofmann; comp., too, Winer, p. 351 [E. T. p. 469]; Buttmann, p. 289; ἐπὶ μαρτύρων occurs also in the classics in the sense of “before witnesses”). As he is not speaking here of a decision, but only of the reception of an accusation (in order that a decision may be made), and as the construction also is irregular, the second view may be adopted as the more probable one (different in the third edition of this commentary). Reference to the law is made in the N. T. also at Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1, and Hebrews 10:28; comp., too, John 8:17.


Verse 20

1 Timothy 5:20 contains a further instruction regarding his conduct toward the presbyters.

τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας] does not refer to the members of the church in general (de Wette, Wiesinger), but to the presbyters (van Oosterzee, Plitt, Hofmann),—those presbyters who, in their official work or general walk, do not conduct themselves in a manner worthy of their office. In such cases it does not matter whether a charge against them is brought before Timothy or not.(191)

ἐνώπιον πάντων ἔλεγχε] The most natural reference of πάντες also is to the presbyters. It would clearly be too much to expect that Timothy should punish all sinners before the whole church (comp. Matthew 18:15-17); that would be unsuitable, even in the case of presbyters who had sinned. On ἐλέγχειν, “censure,” comp. Luke 3:19; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15.

ἵνα καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ φόβον ἔχωσι] “ οἱ λοιποί may be only the rest of the same class to which the ἁ΄αρτάνοντες belong,” Hofmann.


Verse 21

1 Timothy 5:21. The apostle concludes the section, on the proper conduct towards the presbyters, with a solemn adjuration to observe the precepts given.

διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ καὶ τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν ἀγγέλων] In the N. T. the verb διαμαρτύρεσθαι means “testify” (so Acts 8:25; Acts 10:42; Acts 18:5, etc.) and “adjure,” and in the latter sense often serves to strengthen an exhortation (Luke 16:28; Acts 2:40; 1 Thessalonians 4:6; 2 Timothy 2:14, etc.); so, too, here. The addition καὶ τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν ἀγγέλων is explained from the idea that the throne of God is surrounded by angels as His servants. The reference to the last judgment is wrong, as in Bengel (with whom Wiesinger and van Oosterzee agree): repraesentat Timotheo judicium extremum, in quo Deus revelabitur et Christus cum angelis coram conspicietur. Paul is appealing, not to something future, but to something present.

The ἐκλεκτῶν cannot be taken as a genitive dependent on τῶν ἀγγέλων (= “before the angels of the elect, i.e. believers,” so Hofmann); ἐκλεκτῶν, as its position between the article and the substantive shows, is an adjective belonging to ἀγγέλων.(192) It does not distinguish higher angels from lower,(193) nor the good from the bad, nor the guardian angels of Timothy and the Ephesian church (Mosheim) from all others, nor the angels in general from earthly beings; it is to be taken simply as an epitheton ornans. The angels as such are ἐκλεκτοὶ θεοῦ, whom God has chosen as the objects of His love; comp. 1 Peter 2:4, where ἐκλεκτός is synonymous with ἔντι΄ος. Wiesinger rightly remarks that ἐκλεκτοί is to be taken as a general epithet of all angels, like ἅγιοι ἀγγ., ἄγγ. φωτός, and the like. It is added in order to give greater solemnity to the form of adjuration. Comp. with it the form in Josephus, where (Bell. Jud. ii. 16. 14) in Agrippa’s address to the Jews we have: μαρτύρομαι διʼ ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμῶν τὰ ἅγια καὶ τοὺς ἱέρους ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ.

ἵνα ταῦτα φυλάξῃς] ταῦτα does not refer to “everything that has been said to Timothy regarding his conduct towards each class” (Hofmann), but to what was said in 1 Timothy 5:17-20 regarding the presbyters. The solemn adjuration is due to the importance which the office of presbyter had for the church. De Wette, Wiesinger, van Oosterzee refer it only to 1 Timothy 5:20; but this is contradicted by the close connection of the verse with what precedes.

χωρὶς προκρί΄ατος, ΄ηδὲν κ. τ. λ.] πρόκρι΄α, “prejudice,” in a favourable as well as an unfavourable sense. Several expositors take it here in an unfavourable sense, so that the next words: μηδὲν ποιῶν κατὰ πρόσκλισιν, form a contrast to χωρὶς προκρί΄ατος (so in this commentary). But as there is nothing to indicate a contrast, it is better to take the second member as defining the first more precisely: “without prejudice, doing nothing by favour.”

Hofmann translates πρόκριμα by “preference” (so Leo); but Wiesinger has already remarked that this meaning cannot be proved. If πρόκλησιν were to be taken as the original reading, it would have to be explained as Theophylact explains it: προσκαλεῖταί σε τὸ ἓν ΄έρος εἰς τὸ βοηθεῖν αὐτῷ· ΄ὴ τοίνυν ποιήσῃς κατὰ τὴν ἐκείνου πρόσκλησιν, which nevertheless is still an artificial interpretation.(194)


Verse 22

1 Timothy 5:22. The exhortation in this verse: χεῖρας ταχέως μηδενὶ ἐπιτίθει, is not defined further. In the N. T. the laying on of hands is mentioned on various occasions; thus specially in healing the sick (whether by Christ or His disciples), in bestowing the divine blessing (Matthew 19:13; Matthew 19:15), in imparting the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:17), in appointing to a definite ecclesiastical office (Acts 6:6), in setting apart for special church work (Acts 13:3). It has been thought that Paul has here in mind the laying on of hands which was done at the readmission of excommunicated persons (de Wette, Wiesinger); but there is no trace in the N. T. of the existence of this custom in apostolic times. It is more natural to refer it to the ordination, whether of a presbyter or deacon (besides the older expositors, Mosheim, Otto, van Oosterzee,(195) Plitt, and others); but in that case 1 Timothy 5:22 should have come before 1 Timothy 5:21. Hofmann thinks that it is used of the appointment to a church office; but of this there is no hint in the context. It will be most correct to take the exhortation quite generally, so that the meaning is, Timothy is to lay hands ταχέως, i.e. “in over-hasty fashion,” on no one—whatever the occasion may be. The reason why not, is given in the next words: μηδὲ κοινώνει ἁμαρτίαις ἀλλοτρίαις. The ἀλλοτρίαι ἁ΄αρτίαι are not, as Hofmann thinks, the sins of those who are hasty in the laying on of hands, but the sins of those on whom hands are too hastily laid. He who thoughtlessly lays hands on the unworthy, thereby declaring them worthy of the divine blessing, makes himself a sharer in their sins. Against this Timothy is to guard; he is rather to observe what Paul expresses by saying: σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν τήρει. This exhortation is in itself quite general, but it stands here in close relation to the foregoing warning. Timothy is to keep himself pure ( ἁγνός as in 1 Timothy 4:12, not in the special meaning “chaste”), particularly in not making himself a partaker of others’ sins by laying hands on them too hastily. This reference, declared by van Oosterzee to be the only one possible, is wrongly denied by de Wette and Wiesinger. Heinrichs and others err in regarding the apostle’s exhortation as “a prohibition against intercourse with wicked men.”


Verse 23

1 Timothy 5:23. ΄ηκέτι ὑδροπότει κ. τ. λ.] Of course the apostle does not mean to forbid Timothy to drink water at all, but only urges him not to avoid wine altogether. ὑδροποτεῖν does not exactly mean “drink water,” but: “be a water-drinker,” and is only used of a man who makes water his special and exclusive drink; see Winer, p. 464 [E. T. p. 624]. The reason of Timothy’s abstinence from wine is not that he, after the fashion of the Essenes, regarded its enjoyment as something not permitted to him, nor that he subjected himself to an asceticism wrong in nature (Wiesinger); but that, in his zeal for moderation (which is a part of the ἁγνεία), and in order to set an example against excess, he avoided wine, whereby, however, he might appear to favour a false asceticism (so, too, van Oosterzee). If this be kept in view, we cannot overlook the connection of the verse with what precedes. De Wette rightly remarks (following Estius, Grotius, and others) that this exhortation contains a limitation of the previous exhortation, and at the same time a contrast to exaggerated asceticism. As a reason for Timothy’s enjoying some wine, Paul adduces his sickliness. It does not, however, follow, as Matthies thinks, that the apostle made this exhortation only out of concern for Timothy’s health. Had that been the case, we cannot but hold, with Schleiermacher, that the apostle here descends to particulars which strangely interrupt the train of thought, since 1 Timothy 5:24 is clearly attached again to 1 Timothy 5:22.


Verse 24

1 Timothy 5:24. This and the following verse, in close relation to one another, as ὡσαύτως shows, express a truth quite general, which the context defines more precisely.

τινῶν ἀνθρώπων αἱ ἁμαρτίαι πρόδηλοί εἰσι] πρόδηλος does not mean “formerly manifest” (Calvin, Beza, Leo, Mack, Matthies, and others), but “manifest before all eyes” (Chrysostom, Theodoret, de Wette, Wiesinger, Hofmann, and others). Comp. Hebrews 7:14 (see Delitzsch, comment. on the passage); Judith 8:29; 2 Maccabees 3:17; 2 Maccabees 14:39; so also in the classics (comp. the Latin propalam).

προάγουσαι εἰς κρίσιν is here, as often, intransitive (opp. ἀκολουθεῖν, comp. Matthew 21:9), equivalent to “precede.” According to the sense, we must supply as the dative of more precise definition: “those who have committed the sins.”

εἰς κρίσιν, equivalent to “to judgment.” The meaning therefore is: some men are in such a condition that their sins are not only made manifest by the κρίσις, but they are already notorious beforehand; they precede to judgment those who have practised them, and thus show in anticipation the result of the judgment.

The next clause forms the contrast to this thought: τισὶ δὲ καὶ ἐπακολουθοῦσιν] ἐπακολουθεῖν corresponds to the προάγειν, and ἄδηλοι naturally suggests itself in contrast with πρόδηλοι. The meaning is: Some men are in such a condition that—in regard to the κρίσις—their sins follow them, i.e. that their sins are only made manifest by their coming to judgment; the judgment alone makes their sins manifest.

Mack imports arbitrary references by his interpretation: “they follow hard on their heels, so that they cannot remain unknown, except to those hasty and careless in observing.”

De Wette is right in his explanation: “with some they are only known afterwards;” but he is wrong in his additional remark: “when they have gone on a longer or shorter distance;” on this point there is clearly nothing said here.

As the verse has the appearance of an aphorism, κρίσις is to be taken quite generally; but since the apostle utters this general sentence in reference to 1 Timothy 5:22, it is to warn Timothy that he is to lay hands on no man rashly, etc., without a κρίσις, i.e. without subjecting him to a judgment whereby sins, usually hidden, may become manifest.

As there is no good ground for interpreting 1 Timothy 5:22 of ordination, it is wrong to take κρίσις here as identical with δοκιμάζειν, 1 Timothy 3:10. For de Wette’s explanation also: “the ecclesiastical decision of the moral censor,” there is no sufficient ground. There is as little ground for the opinion of some expositors (Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, Hofmann) who interpret the κρίσις of the judgment of God, and find the thought expressed that in the divine judgment all sins alike, whether manifest before or hidden, shall come to light. Wiesinger further assumes that thereby the exhortation to Timothy to beware of others’ sins as of his own, is strengthened. But, on the one hand, it is arbitrary to supply θεοῦ with κρίσις;(196) on the other hand, the apostle is not discussing various sins, but the sins of various men. Further, it is wrong to obscure the meaning of ἐπακολουθοῦσιν, and to put in its place the thought, “they are hidden.” Besides, we cannot see how the thought thus taken could serve Timothy as a standard for his conduct, for those sins which are only made manifest by the last judgment must remain hidden to Timothy, in which case he could not be reproved for laying hands on those who had committed such sins.(197) To the opinion that Paul wished to strengthen his exhortation to Timothy by alluding to the last judgment there is this objection, that the only reason for drawing a distinction between manifest and hidden sins, would have been a suspicion on Paul’s part that Timothy was guilty of secret sins. But how could he have such a suspicion, and how can this interpretation agree with τινῶν ἀνθρώπων and τισὶ δέ?

The κρίσις here mentioned is therefore not the divine judgment, but a trial which Timothy must hold, lest the thing of which he is warned in 1 Timothy 5:22 should happen (so, too, Plitt).


Verse 25

1 Timothy 5:25 supplements 1 Timothy 5:24, the distinction between manifest and hidden being applied to good works.

ὡσαύτως καὶ τὰ ἔργα τὰ καλὰ πρόδηλα] It may be supposed from what precedes that τινῶν ἀνθρώπων is to be supplied here. But it is improbable that Paul was thinking definitely of this, otherwise the clause following would have received another form. Hofmann maintains that the Rec. πρόδηλά ἐστιν is the original reading, taking the words ὡσαύτωςκαλά as a complete clause, and explaining πρόδηλά ἐστιν by: “there are manifest (ones).” This purely arbitrary view needs no refutation. The assertion that the apostle could not say that the good works were manifest, is contradicted by the addition of the necessary restriction in the next words.

καὶ τὰ ἄλλως ἔχοντα is not to be referred to καλά, but to πρόδηλα: the good works with which it is different, i.e. which are not πρόδηλα.

κρυβῆναι οὐ δύνανται] “can, however, not remain continually hidden;” they will likewise become manifest on a careful κρίσις. 1 Timothy 5:24 was a warning against showing favour too hastily; this verse is a warning against condemning too hastily.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 5:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-timothy-5.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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