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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
1 Timothy 1

 

 

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Verse 1

1 Timothy 1:1. ἀπόστολος, an apostle) This title serves to confirm Timothy. Familiarity must be laid aside, where the cause of God is concerned.— κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν, according to the commandment) So Romans 16:26; comp. 1 Corinthians 1:1, note.— σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, our Saviour) So God the Father is also called, ch. 1 Timothy 2:3, 1 Timothy 4:10; Titus 1:3; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:4; Jude 1:25; Luke 1:47. The reason [for the Father being so called] is explained, 2 Timothy 1:9.— τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν, who is our Hope) Synonymous with σωτῆρος, our Saviour,


Verse 2

1 Timothy 1:2. τιμοθέῳ, to Timothy) The epistles sent to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, as being addressed to individuals, have some things which are rather sealed, than explicitly set forth, for example 1 Timothy 1:18. If there were no epistle to Timothy extant, we should have particularly wished that there was one, in order that we might see what Paul would chiefly recommend to Timothy; now, since there are two, we ought the more earnestly to turn them to use.— τέκνῳ son) Acts 16:12.— χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη, grace, mercy, peace) Paul, when addressing the churches, writes, grace to you and peace. When writing to Timothy, he adds mercy in this passage, and many years after, in 2 Timothy 1:2 : comp. Jeremiah 16:5; Galatians 6:16. Mercy implies grace, as it were, of a more tender kind towards the miserable, and the experience of this divine mercy produces fitness for the Gospel ministry; 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:25 : comp. Hebrews 2:17.— χριστοῦ ἰησοῦ, Christ Jesus(1)) Paul often, especially when writing to Timothy, puts the surname Christ before the name Jesus, in respect of [as having a view to] the promises of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, which were fulfilled in Jesus and were well known to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:15.


Verse 3

1 Timothy 1:3. καθὼς, even as) The Protasis; the Apodosis is at 1 Timothy 1:18. [In the meantime Paul refutes those who taught other doctrine, by the very striking example of his own conversion.—V. g.]

There are three divisions of this epistle:

I. The Inscription, 1 Timothy 1:1-2.

II. The Instruction of Timothy in regard to the holy administration of the church affairs at Ephesus in the absence of Paul: where

1) In general, he commits to him a charge to he delivered to those who erroneously taught the law, the sum of the Gospel being established and confirmed by his own example, 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 1 Timothy 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:11-12; 1 Timothy 1:18-19.

2) In particular,

1) He prescribes the order of prayer, 1 Timothy 2:1-2, chiefly to men, ver. 8; moreover to women good works, 1 Timothy 2:9-10, with modesty, 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

2) He enumerates the requisite qualifications of a bishop, 1 Timothy 3:1-2.

And also the duties of deacons and women, 1 Timothy 3:8-9; 1 Timothy 3:11-13.

3) He explains what Timothy ought to teach, after he had very weightily set forth the most momentous points, 1 Timothy 3:14 to 1 Timothy 4:3; in 1 Timothy 4:4-5, also what he ought to avoid, and what he ought to follow, 1 Timothy 4:7-8; 1 Timothy 4:12-13 :

Then how he should deal with men and women, 1 Timothy 5:1-2;

With widows, 1 Timothy 5:3-4; 1 Timothy 5:9-12; 1 Timothy 5:16;

With elders, 1 Timothy 5:17-18;

With offenders, 1 Timothy 5:20-21;

With Timothy himself, 1 Timothy 5:22-23;

With those of whom he is in doubt, 1 Timothy 5:24-25;

With servants, 1 Timothy 6:1-2.

4) Those who teach otherwise are reproved, 1 Timothy 6:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:6-7; but Timothy is admonished and incited forward, 1 Timothy 6:11-12, and a charge is given to him, 1 Timothy 6:13-14; and precepts are prescribed to be enforced upon the rich, 1 Timothy 6:17-18.

III. The Conclusion.

προσμεῖναι, to abide) The same word occurs in Acts 18:18. The presence of good men is a restraint upon the wicked. Timothy at Ephesus, Titus at Crete, were not bishops, but were directors of the bishops, and, so to speak, Vicars Apostolic.— μὴ ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν, to teach no other doctrine) than that which I have taught. Let them not substitute anything else for it, let them not add [liter, impart by rubbing, ‘affricent’] aught to it. Comp. the address of Paul to these same Ephesians, Acts 20:28-30. The same word occurs, ch. 1 Timothy 6:3, where those things which are contrary [to wholesome doctrine] are condemned, just as at the beginning of the epistle, the things which are good are commended. Even the things which seem to be only different (“other doctrine”), carry with them something which is positively contrary [to the true doctrine]. They taught the law, in opposition to the Gospel, 1 Timothy 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:11.


Verse 4

1 Timothy 1:4. ΄ηδὲ προσέχειν, nor give heed) in teaching.— μύθοις καὶ γενεαλογίαις, to fables and genealogies) A Hendiadys. Comp. on fables, ch. 1 Timothy 4:7; 2 Timothy 4:4; Titus 1:14; on genealogies, ib. ch. 1 Timothy 3:9. And because these two things are joined together, and because those who taught such doctrines boasted of the law, it is evident that the apostle is not speaking of the genealogies of the Jewish families, but of the genealogies of the œons, against which Irenaeus and Tertullian quote this very passage. Nay, even Paul opposes to them the true consideration of the œons, 1 Timothy 1:17 [ τῷ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνωνδόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, “to the King of the æons (ages)—be glory, throughout the æons of æons”]. But if there be any doubt, whether those who taught another doctrine used the word œons already at that time, the wisdom of God [“the only wise God,” 1 Timothy 1:17] should be the more admired, which confutes (by anticipation) words not yet framed; comp. note to Matthew 26:27. γενεά and αἰὼν are kindred words. The more inquisitive Jews had at that time very much mixed themselves up with the Gentiles. Paul casts no reproach on civil genealogies: he puts fables before this word; a fact quite inconsistent with his meaning the genealogies of families, which were evidently not fabulous. At least Paul would not have cared whether they were true or false. There was on the part of those men a certain degree of boasting, that they can search more deeply than others into the mysteries contained in the law—a circumstance which greatly impeded the power of the Gospel, especially around Ephesus.— ζητήσεις, questions) Questions to be terminated by no decision, nothing at all desirable; pure truth is profitable. Comp. on these, and on “strifes about words,” ch. 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:23-24; and presently after, 1 Timothy 1:6-7; Titus 3:9.— οἰκονομίαν θεοῦ) [godly edifying]. οἰκονομία, in this passage, implies the act, not the state; moreover, the constant act [‘edifying’]. Where time is wasted in useless questions, there the necessary and salutary functions in the house(2) of God are neglected.


Verse 5

1 Timothy 1:5. τὸ τέλος, the end) to which all things tend. The article denotes the subject. Whoever rightly looks to the end, cannot suffer his energies to be diffused on other things. Paul does not, even to Timothy, write about profound mysteries in particular, in order that he may the rather rebuke the Gentiles; the governor of a church ought to look to the things which are necessary, not to such as are sublime (too high-flown), in discharging the duties of his office.— τῆς παραγγελίας, of the commandment) which you ought to urge upon men at Ephesus, 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:18.— ἀγάπη, love) The foundation is faith, 1 Timothy 1:4 : the end is love, 1 Timothy 1:14; Titus 3:15. Contentions are unfavourable to this love.— καθαρᾶς, pure) 2 Timothy 2:22; Titus 1:15.— συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς, a good conscience) ch. 1 Timothy 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:3; 1 John 3:19, note.(3) Here, with Paul, conscience is in the understanding; the heart is the seat of love. The former would be in the idea, the latter in the desire; comp. Matthew 22:37, note.(4)πίστεως, of faith) Faith towards God becomes stronger when the heart is purified in respect of our neighbour, and when the conscience is cleansed (rectified) in respect of one’s self; wherefore faith is put in the third place. Pure faith and a good conscience are also treated of conjointly, in 1 Timothy 1:19, and ch. 1 Timothy 4:1-2.


Verse 6

1 Timothy 1:6. ὧν, from which) a pure heart, etc.— ἀστοχήσαντες) The same word is found at ch. 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18. ἀστοχεῖν is said of him who misses the point at which he aimed, who does not obtain his end.— ἐξετράπησαν, have turned away) Not only did they not become better, but worse. A false and preposterous elevation and extent of knowledge renders its possessor more estranged from the faith, and from the sense of good and evil, etc., than is any illiterate person.— εἰς ματαιολογίαν, unto vain jangling) Titus 1:10; Titus 3:9. He comprehends in this one term the empty (vain) babblings and oppositions, ch. 1 Timothy 6:20. It is the greatest vanity where Divine things are not truthfully discussed; Romans 1:21.


Verse 7

1 Timothy 1:7. θέλονες, desiring) rashly.— μήτεμήτε, neither—nor) A good teacher ought to be intelligent, and at the same time well-informed. Paul says, both of these qualities are wanting to those of whom he is here speaking.— ) those things, which: περὶ τίνων, concerning what things [whereof]. ὃς and τίς differ.— μήτε λέγουσι, neither what they say) Thence arise the profane vanities of words [“vain babblings”], ch. 1 Timothy 6:20.— μήτε περὶ τίνων διαβεβαιοῦνται nor whereof they affirm) Thence arise the oppositions of science, falsely so called, ch. 1 Timothy 6:20. βέβαιος and θέσις, firm and position, accord with one another.(5)διαβεβαιοῦνται, affirm) Titus 3:8.


Verse 8

1 Timothy 1:8. νόμοςνομίμως) Conjugate terms: νομίμως, according to what is agreeable to the law. They used to “strive about the law,” Titus 3:9.— χρῆται) Sophocles has the phrase, νόμῳ χρῆσθαι, which is explained as equivalent to νομοθετεῖν by the Scholiast; and so Paul is speaking in this passage, not of the hearer of the law, but of the teacher.


Verse 9

1 Timothy 1:9. εἰδὼς, knowing) construed with χρῆται, use.— δικαίῳ, for a righteous man) Many things which follow are put in antithesis to this one word. Therefore righteousness is widely spread.— οὐ κεῖται) is not in force, doth not exist among us, in its application is not intended [“is not made”]. Therefore a true teacher ought not to use the law against a righteous person, Galatians 5:23. The antithesis is ἀντίκειται, in the following verse.— ἀνόμοις, for the [lawless] unrighteous) Paul here names the unrighteous according to the order of the Decalogue; from which it is evident that the commandment, Honour thy father, is fourth, not third.(6)ἀνόμοις καὶ ἀνυποτάκτοις, lawless and disobedient) Referring to the first commandment, the foundation of the law, the foundation of all obedience.— ἀσεβέσι καὶ ἀμαρτωλοῖς, for the ungodly and sinners) not reverencing the ‘name’ of God, and thereby involved in great guilt,(7), Exodus 20:7,— ἀνοσίοις καὶ βεβήλοις, for unholy and profane) despising the true worship of God with a profane mind.(8) Such were those very persons whom Paul notices; comp. 1 Timothy 4:7. βέβηλος is compounded of the inseparable preposition, βε, Lat. ve, and βηλὸς, a threshold, especially a sacred threshold: whence βέβηλοι τόποι, οἱ βατοὶ καὶ τοῖς τυχοῦσι, places accessible to the common people. See E. Schmid. on Matthew 12, and Eustathius.


Verse 10

1 Timothy 1:10. ἀνδραποδισταῖς) who make free men ἀνδράποδα, slaves, by violence. They do not differ far from these, who do not levy (legally enlist) soldiers, but take them away by allurements, fraud, violence.— ἓτερον, any other thing) inconsistent with the ninth and tenth commandment.(9)τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ, to sound doctrine) So 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1; and wholesome words, ch. 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; and to be sound in regard to believers, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:2. The contrary is, νοσῶν, morbid [“doting”], ch. 1 Timothy 6:4; a canker, 2 Timothy 2:17.


Verse 11

1 Timothy 1:11. κατὰ, according to) This is construed with sound doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:10. Paul hereby establishes the authority of his own ‘commandment.’ Those who know the glory of God from the Gospel, vehemently detest all kinds of profligacy. The law is thus established by faith. Or else κατὰ is construed with χρῆται, if a man use it, 1 Timothy 1:8; although I know not whether it can be said, that we must use the law according to the Gospel; or with πίστεως, from faith, 1 Timothy 1:5.— τῆς δόξης, of the glory) Glory redounds to the Gospel from the Divine blessedness, and thence there results ‘soundness’ of doctrine.— τοῦ μακαρίου, of the blessed) The same epithet is applied to God, ch. 1 Timothy 6:15. A peculiar phrase, indicating immortality and supreme happiness, which most powerfully move men to confess the Gospel. The highest pinnacle of praise is blessedness; comp. notes on Chrysostom de Sacerdotio, p. 371. The Blessed blesses: thence He is called the Saviour, 1 Timothy 1:1.— ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ, with which I was entrusted) Titus 1:3. This sets forth the peculiar and extraordinary privilege of Paul, Romans 15:16; Ephesians 3:8; Colossians 1:25.


Verse 12

1 Timothy 1:12. χάριν ἔχω, I thank) A modal expression. [See Append. on Sermo Modalis.] These are correlatives: Christ entrusted Paul with the Gospel: Paul, being “accounted faithful,” ‘thanks’ Christ. He thanks Him at 1 Timothy 1:17; and in all his epistles and in their introductions.— ἐνδυναμώσαντι, who hath endued me with power) True conversion and calling confer power, Romans 5:6.— πιστόν με ἡγήσατο, counted me faithful) A Metonymy of the antecedent for the consequent; i.e. He hath entrusted to me the office of the Gospel ministry: θέμενος, while he put (in that He put me), denotes the very act. The fact that He entrusted the ministry to me, is the moral aspect: the fact that He put me into it, is as it were the physical aspect of His act. In the phrase, He counted me faithful, we have an example of ἀνθρωποπάθεια (the actions of men attributed to God). For if I count any one faithful, and trust him, this is a kind of thing opposite of actual knowledge.(10) But the Divine judgment concerning Paul, that he would he faithful, is infallible. God sees and knows all things. Therefore, in the active sense, πίστις does not properly apply to Him. Faith and vision are things antithetic. I wished to convey all this idea by the expression Metonymy, which I used above.


Verse 13

1 Timothy 1:13. βλάσφημον, a blasphemer) against God.— διώκτην, a persecutor) against holy men, lest others should be converted.— ὑβριστὴν, despiser) [Engl. Vers., injurious], in rejecting my own salvation. This threefold relation to God, his neighbour, and himself, is frequent in this epistle especially, and in that to Titus; see presently at 1 Timothy 1:14, which forms an antithesis to this verse: likewise 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 1:9. Titus 2:12, where the word εὐσεβῶς, godly, is opposed to ἁσεβείᾳ, ungodliness, and yet the two words, soberly, and righteously, are opposed to worldly lusts. So here love (1 Timothy 1:14) alone has a threefold relation: it is love towards God, of which the opposite is a blasphemer; it is love towards the Church, of which the opposite is a persecutor; it is love towards himself, of which the opposite is a despiser.— ἠλεήθην, I obtained mercy) This word is resumed, as if after a parenthesis, in 1 Timothy 1:16. This sense of mercy was perpetual in the mind of the apostle, 1 Timothy 1:2, note.— ὅτι, because) Ignorance does not deserve pardon in itself; but in classifying the reasons which might impel a man to reject salvation, it is opposed to pride and every higher degree of wickedness.


Verse 14

1 Timothy 1:14. ὑπερεπλεόνασε δὲ, and was exceeding abundant) He explains how he obtained mercy, namely, with faith, etc. The epistles to Timothy, in a peculiar degree, breathe this ‘abundance.’— χάρις, grace) by which I obtained mercy, 1 Timothy 1:13.— κυρίου, of the Lord) Jesus.— μετὰ πίστεως, with faith) Its opposite is, in unbelief, 1 Timothy 1:13.— καὶ ἀγάπης, and love) Its opposite, as we have said, are the three, a blasphemer, a persecutor, a despiser. The words, mercy and grace (in 1 Timothy 1:13-14), correspond to each other. Unbelief and faith are opposed.


Verse 15

1 Timothy 1:15. πιστὸς, faithful) A very solemn form of preface. Paul knows what he says, and whereof he affirms (1 Timothy 1:7), and refutes the false teachers by the very simplicity of his language, treating, but with great beauty, of common topics, so much the rather, as others affected to treat of those which are more abstruse. So also Titus 2:1.— πάσης, all) Even faith is a kind of acceptation. This statement deserves all acceptation by all the faculties of the whole soul: ἀποδοχὴ (from δέχεσθαι, Luke 8:13), is when I am thankful, and speak of a thing as a good deed (a boon conferred on me): comp. the correlative, ἀποδεκτὸν, acceptable, ch. 1 Timothy 2:3.— χριστὸς ἰησοῦς) Christ, viz. as promised: Jesus, as manifested. Franckius, in Homil. on this passage, shows that in this sense the name Christ here is put first, and Jesus after it; comp. 2 Timothy 1:9, note.— κὀσμον, world) which was full of sin, John 1:29; Romans 5:12; 1 John 2:2.— ἁμαρτωλοὺς, sinners) great and notable sinners. He saves also those whose sins have been not so aggravated; but it is much more remarkable that He saves so great sinners. It can scarcely happen, but that they who themselves have tasted the grace of God, should taste its universality, and, in like manner, from it entertain favour towards all men. Paul draws the conclusion from his own individual case to all men.— πρῶτος, first) This is repeated with great force in the following verse [a force which is lost by the Engl. Vers., chief]. The example of Paul is incomparable, whether we consider sin or mercy. [There had been then no such example from the ascension of the Lord.—V. g.]


Verse 16

1 Timothy 1:16. (12) ἀλλὰ, but) Although I am the first (foremost and chief) of sinners.— διὰ τοῦτο) for this very cause.— τὴν πᾶσαν μακροθυμίαν) all long-suffering; whereas even a less proportion (of long-suffering), so to speak, may restore such as are not so great sinners; comp. Exodus 33:19, that expression כל טובי, all the goodness of the Lord, in respect of a people exceedingly guilty.— πρὸς ὑποτύτωσιν, for a pattern) that others might so ὑποτυποῦσθαι, be conformed to the pattern, or might revolve it in their mind, and make it the subject of their serious consideration. If you believe, as Paul did, you will be saved as Paul was. [In like manner, David also desired to be an example, Psalms 32:6.—V. g.] The same word occurs, 2 Timothy 1:13.— ἐπʼ αὐτῷ) on Him, on God.— εἰς, to) This may be construed with pattern.


Verse 17

1 Timothy 1:17. τῷ δὲ) The doxology flows from a sense of grace.— βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, to the King of œons or ages [eternal]) A frequent phrase with the Hebrews. The thought of eternity is particularly delightful to those assured of grace, while it miserably terrifies others.— ἀοράτῳ, invisible) This attribute is given Him in the way of praise. See how perverse they are who affirm that there is no God, because they do not see Him.— μόνῳ θεῷ, the only God) So, the only Potentate, ch. 1 Timothy 6:15; comp. Psalms 86:10; John 5:44; Jude 1:25. [A magnificent reading!(13)—Not. Crit.]— τιμὴ, δόξα, honour, glory) Such an Asyndeton is commonly used, where circumstances and feelings would tend to render the words much accumulated (tend to produce somewhat of an accumulation of words): for example, honour and glory and strength, etc.; and where nevertheless he leaves them to be supplied in the mind of the hearer. Such an Asyndeton is very suitable to the ardour of the apostle in doxologies, ch. 1 Timothy 6:16; 1 Peter 5:11; although the transcribers have very generally inserted καὶ. The omission of this particle in so many passages is not accidental; but its addition is due to the over-busy officiousness of transcribers.(14)


Verse 18

1 Timothy 1:18. παρατίθεμαί σοι, I commit to thee) to lay before thy hearers, 1 Timothy 1:3. [Its sum is indicated in 1 Timothy 1:5.—V. g.]— προαγούσας, that went before) When hands were laid on Timothy, the spirit of prophecy showed that many things of great importance were about to be entrusted to Timothy, ch. 1 Timothy 4:14.— προφητείας) Divine predictions (Acts 11:27), given forth regarding thee by many witnesses, ch. 1 Timothy 6:12.— στρατεύῃ, mightest war) A comparison taken from military concerns. In the following verse the comparison is from naval concerns.— αὐταῖς) προφητείαις, viz. the predictions.— τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν) that good warfare.


Verse 19

1 Timothy 1:19. ἔχων, having) Whilst the warfare has to be maintained.— πίστιν, faith) Faith is like a very precious liquor; a good conscience is like clean or pure glass.— ἣν, which) good conscience.— ἀπωσάμενοι, having thrust away) It withdraws unwillingly; it always says, Do not injure me. He who retains it, does not easily make shipwreck of his faith.— ἐναυάγησαν, have made shipwreck) Therefore they had entered on the voyage of faith. Hesychius explains ἐναυάγησαν as ἐκινδύνευσαν.


Verse 20

1 Timothy 1:20. ὑμέναιος καὶ ἀλέξανδρος, Hymenœus and Alexander) A reproof, with the names expressed: comp. on Hymenæus and Alexander, 2 Timothy 2:16-17; 2 Timothy 4:14-15.— οὓς, whom) though absent. They were at Ephesus; Paul was at Rome. This was the part of an apostle; it was the part of Timothy merely to avoid them and to be on his guard.— παρέδωκα, I have delivered) for [or to] the destruction of the flesh [1 Corinthians 5:5].— μὴ βλασφημεῖν) lest they should fall into blasphemy, and wholly complete their guilt by becoming more hurtful to themselves and others. [The danger of blasphemy is near at hand to the man who has made shipwreck of his faith. Satan might harass them: he could not force them to blaspheme.—V. g.]

—————

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-timothy-1.html. 1897.

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