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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1TIMOTHY 1
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    CHAPTER 1

    1Ti 1:1-20. ADDRESS: PAUL'S DESIGN IN HAVING LEFT TIMOTHY AT EPHESUS, NAMELY, TO CHECK FALSE TEACHERS; TRUE USE OF THE LAW; HARMONIZING WITH THE GOSPEL; GOD'S GRACE IN CALLING PAUL, ONCE A BLASPHEMER, TO EXPERIENCE AND TO PREACH IT; CHARGES TO TIMOTHY.

    1. by the commandment of God--the authoritative injunction, as well as the commission, of God. In the earlier Epistles the phrase is, "by the will of God." Here it is expressed in a manner implying that a necessity was laid on him to act as an apostle, not that it was merely at his option. The same expression occurs in the doxology, probably written long after the Epistle itself [ALFORD] (Ro 16:26).
    - God our Saviour--The Father (1Ti 2:3; 4:10; Lu 1:47; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jude 25). It was a Jewish expression in devotion, drawn from the Old Testament (compare Ps 106:21).
    - our hope-- (Col 1:27; Tit 1:2; 2:13).

    2. my own son--literally, "a genuine son" (compare Ac 16:1; 1Co 4:14-17). See Introduction.
    - mercy--added here, in addressing Timothy, to the ordinary salutation, "Grace unto you (Ro 1:7; 1Co 1:3, &c.), and peace." In Ga 6:16, "peace and mercy" occur. There are many similarities of style between the Epistle to the Galatians and the Pastoral Epistles (see Introduction); perhaps owing to his there, as here, having, as a leading object in writing, the correction of false teachers, especially as to the right and wrong use of the law (1Ti 1:9). If the earlier date be assigned to First Timothy, it will fall not long after, or before (according as the Epistle to the Galatians was written at Ephesus or at Corinth) the writing of the Epistle to the Galatians, which also would account for some similarity of style. "Mercy" is grace of a more tender kind, exercised towards the miserable, the experience of which in one's own case especially fits for the Gospel MINISTRY. Compare as to Paul himself (1Ti 1:14, 16; 1Co 7:25; 2Co 4:1; Heb 2:17) [BENGEL]. He did not use "mercy" as to the churches, because "mercy" in all its fulness already existed towards them; but in the case of an individual minister, fresh measures of it were continually needed. "Grace" has reference to the sins of men; "mercy" to their misery. God extends His grace to men as they are guilty; His "mercy" to them as they are miserable [TRENCH].
    - Jesus Christ--The oldest manuscripts read the order, "Christ Jesus." In the Pastoral Epistles "Christ" is often put before "Jesus," to give prominence to the fact that the Messianic promises of the Old Testament, well known to Timothy (2Ti 3:15), were fulfilled in Jesus.

    3. Timothy's superintendence of the Church at Ephesus was as locum tenens for the apostle, and so was temporary. Thus, the office of superintending overseer, needed for a time at Ephesus or Crete, in the absence of the presiding apostle, subsequently became a permanent institution on the removal, by death, of the apostles who heretofore superintended the churches. The first title of these overseers seems to have been "angels" (Re 1:20).
    - As I besought thee to abide still--He meant to have added, "so I still beseech thee," but does not complete the sentence until he does so virtually, not formally, at 1Ti 1:18.
    - at Ephesus--Paul, in Ac 20:25, declared to the Ephesian elders, "I know that ye all shall see my face no more." If, then, as the balance of arguments seems to favor (see Introduction), this Epistle was written subsequently to Paul's first imprisonment, the apparent discrepancy between his prophecy and the event may be reconciled by considering that the terms of the former were not that he should never visit Ephesus again (which this verse implies he did), but that they all should "see his face no more." I cannot think with BIRKS, that this verse is compatible with his theory, that Paul did not actually visit Ephesus, though in its immediate neighborhood (compare 1Ti 3:14; 4:13). The corresponding conjunction to "as" is not given, the sentence not being completed till it is virtually so at 1Ti 1:18.
    - I besought--a mild word, instead of authoritative command, to Timothy, as a fellow helper.
    - some--The indefinite pronoun is slightly contemptuous as to them (Ga 2:12; Jude 4), [ELLICOTT].
    - teach no other doctrine--than what I have taught (Ga 1:6-9). His prophetic bodings some years before (Ac 20:29, 30) were now being realized (compare 1Ti 6:3).

    4. fables--legends about the origin and propagation of angels, such as the false teachers taught at Colosse (Col 2:18-23). "Jewish fables" (Tit 1:14). "Profane, and old wives' fables" (1Ti 4:7; 2Ti 4:4).
    - genealogies--not merely such civil genealogies as were common among the Jews, whereby they traced their descent from the patriarchs, to which Paul would not object, and which he would not as here class with "fables," but Gnostic genealogies of spirits and aeons, as they called them, "Lists of Gnostic emanations" [ALFORD]. So TERTULLIAN [Against Valentinian, c. 3], and IRENÆUS [Preface]. The Judaizers here alluded to, while maintaining the perpetual obligation of the Mosaic law, joined with it a theosophic ascetic tendency, pretending to see in it mysteries deeper than others could see. The seeds, not the full-grown Gnosticism of the post-apostolic age, then existed. This formed the transition stage between Judaism and Gnosticism. "Endless" refers to the tedious unprofitableness of their lengthy genealogies (compare Tit 3:9). Paul opposes to their "aeons," the "King of the aeons (so the Greek, 1Ti 1:17), whom be glory throughout the aeons of aeons." The word "aeons" was probably not used in the technical sense of the latter Gnostics as yet; but "the only wise God" (1Ti 1:17), by anticipation, confutes the subsequently adopted notions in the Gnostics' own phraseology.
    - questions--of mere speculation (Ac 25:20), not practical; generating merely curious discussions. "Questions and strifes of words" (1Ti 6:4): "to no profit" (2Ti 2:14); "gendering strifes" (2Ti 2:23). "Vain jangling" (1Ti 1:6, 7) of would-be "teachers of the law."
    - godly edifying--The oldest manuscripts read, "the dispensation of God," the Gospel dispensation of God towards man (1Co 9:17), "which is (has its element) in faith." CONYBEARE translates, "The exercising of the stewardship of God" (1Co 9:17). He infers that the false teachers in Ephesus were presbyters, which accords with the prophecy, Ac 20:30. However, the oldest Latin versions, and IRENÆUS and HILARY, support English Version reading. Compare 1Ti 1:5, "faith unfeigned."

    5. But--in contrast to the doctrine of the false teachers.
    - the end--the aim.
    - the commandment--Greek, "of the charge" which you ought to urge on your flock. Referring to the same Greek word as in 1Ti 1:3, 18; here, however, in a larger sense, as including the Gospel "dispensation of God" (see on 1Ti 1:4; 1Ti 1:11), which was the sum and substance of the "charge" committed to Timothy wherewith he should "charge" his flock.
    - charity--LOVE; the sum and end of the law and of the Gospel alike, and that wherein the Gospel is the fulfilment of the spirit of the law in its every essential jot and tittle (Ro 13:10). The foundation is faith (1Ti 1:4), the "end" is love (1Ti 1:14; Tit 3:15).
    - out of--springing as from a fountain.
    - pure heart--a heart purified by faith (Ac 15:9; 2Ti 2:22; Tit 1:15).
    - good conscience--a conscience cleared from guilt by the effect of sound faith in Christ (1Ti 1:19; 1Ti 3:9; 2Ti 1:3; 1Pe 3:21). Contrast 1Ti 4:2; Tit 1:15; compare Ac 23:1. John uses "heart," where Paul would use "conscience." In Paul the understanding is the seat of conscience; the heart is the seat of love [BENGEL]. A good conscience is joined with sound faith; a bad conscience with unsoundness in the faith (compare Heb 9:14).
    - faith unfeigned--not a hypocritical, dead, and unfruitful faith, but faith working by love (Ga 5:6). The false teachers drew men off from such a loving, working, real faith, to profitless, speculative "questions" (1Ti 1:4) and jangling (1Ti 1:6).

    6. From which--namely, from a pure heart, good conscience, and faith unfeigned, the well-spring of love.
    - having swerved--literally, "having missed the mark (the 'end') to be aimed at." It is translated, "erred," 1Ti 6:21; 2Ti 2:18. Instead of aiming at and attaining the graces above named, they "have turned aside (1Ti 5:15; 2Ti 4:4; Heb 12:13) unto vain jangling"; literally, "vain talk," about the law and genealogies of angels (1Ti 1:7; Tit 3:9; 1:10); 1Ti 6:20, "vain babblings and oppositions." It is the greatest vanity when divine things are not truthfully discussed (Ro 1:21) [BENGEL].

    7. Sample of their "vain talk" (1Ti 1:6).
    - Desiring--They are would-be teachers, not really so.
    - the law--the Jewish law (Tit 1:14; 3:9). The Judaizers here meant seem to be distinct from those impugned in the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, who made the works of the law necessary to justification in opposition to Gospel grace. The Judaizers here meant corrupted the law with "fables," which they pretended to found on it, subversive of morals as well as of truth. Their error was not in maintaining the obligation of the law, but in abusing it by fabulous and immoral interpretations of, and additions to, it.
    - neither what they say, nor whereof--neither understanding their own assertions, nor the object itself about which they make them. They understand as little about the one as the other [ALFORD].

    8. But--"Now we know" (Ro 3:19; 7:14).
    - law is good--in full agreement with God's holiness and goodness.
    - if a man--primarily, a teacher; then, every Christian.
    - use it lawfully--in its lawful place in the Gospel economy, namely, not as a means of a "'righteous man" attaining higher perfection than could be attained by the Gospel alone (1Ti 4:8; Tit 1:14), which was the perverted use to which the false teachers put it, but as a means of awakening the sense of sin in the ungodly (1Ti 1:9, 10; compare Ro 7:7-12; Ga 3:21).

    9. law is not made for a righteous man--not for one standing by faith in the righteousness of Christ put on him for justification,and imparted inwardly by the Spirit for sanctification. "One not forensically amenable to the law" [ALFORD]. For sanctification, the law gives no inward power to fulfil it; but ALFORD goes too far in speaking of the righteous man as "not morally needing the law." Doubtless, in proportion as he is inwardly led by the Spirit, the justified man needs not the law, which is only an outward rule (Ro 6:14; Ga 5:18, 23). But as the justified man often does not give himself up wholly to the inward leading of the Spirit, he morally needs the outward law to show him his sin and God's requirements. The reason why the ten commandments have no power to condemn the Christian, is not that they have no authority over him, but because Christ has fulfilled them as our surety (Ro 10:4).
    - disobedient--Greek, "not subject"; insubordinate; it is translated "unruly," Tit 1:6, 10; "lawless and disobedient" refer to opposers of the law, for whom it is "enacted" (so the Greek, for "is made").
    - ungodly and . . . sinners--GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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