USE OF THE
HARMONIZING WITH THE
EXPERIENCE AND TO
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]
God our Saviour--The Father
(1Ti 2:3; 4:10;
Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4;
It was a Jewish expression in devotion, drawn from the Old Testament
Tit 1:2; 2:13).
2. my own son--literally, "a genuine son" (compare
mercy--added here, in addressing Timothy, to the ordinary salutation,
"Grace unto you
&c.), and peace." In
"peace and mercy" occur. There are many similarities of style
between the Epistle to the Galatians and the Pastoral Epistles (see
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
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;
[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
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
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"
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
at Ephesus--Paul, in
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
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
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
teach no other doctrine--than what I have taught
His prophetic bodings some years before
(Ac 20:29, 30)
were now being realized (compare
4. fables--legends about the origin and propagation of angels, such as
the false teachers taught at Colosse
"Profane, and old wives' fables"
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
[Against Valentinian, c. 3], and IRENÆUS
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
Paul opposes to their "aeons," the "King of the aeons (so the
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"
by anticipation, confutes the subsequently adopted notions in the
Gnostics' own phraseology.
questions--of mere speculation
not practical; generating merely curious discussions. "Questions and
strifes of words"
"to no profit"
(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
"which is (has its element) in faith." CONYBEARE
translates, "The exercising of the stewardship of God"
He infers that the false teachers in Ephesus were presbyters, which
accords with the prophecy,
However, the oldest Latin versions, and
IRENÆUS and HILARY,
support English Version reading. Compare
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
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
The foundation is faith
the "end" is love
out of--springing as from a fountain.
pure heart--a heart purified by faith
good conscience--a conscience cleared from guilt by the effect of sound
faith in Christ
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
faith unfeigned--not a hypocritical, dead, and unfruitful faith,
but faith working by love
The false teachers drew men off from such a loving, working, real
faith, to profitless, speculative "questions"
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,"
Instead of aiming at and attaining the graces above named, they "have
unto vain jangling"; literally, "vain talk," about the law and
genealogies of angels
Tit 3:9; 1:10);
"vain babblings and oppositions." It is the greatest vanity when divine
things are not truthfully discussed
7. Sample of their "vain talk"
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
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
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;
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
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
disobedient--Greek, "not subject"; insubordinate; it is translated
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