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1. This is a true saying (pistov o logov). Better,faithful is the saying. See on ch. i. 15.
Desire (oregetai). Better, seeketh. Only here, ch. vi. 10, and Hebrews xi. 16. Originally to stretchv forth, to reach after. Here it implies not only desiring but seeking after. Desire is expressed by ejpiqumei immediately following. The word implies eagerness, but not of an immoderate or unchristian character. Comp. the kindred word orexiv with its terrible meaning in Rom. i. 27.
The office of a bishop (episkophv). o P. Episkopov superintendent, overseer, by Paul only in Philip. i. 1. The fundamental idea of the sword is overseeing. The term ejpiskopov was not furnished by the gospel tradition: it did not come from the Jewish synagogue, and it does not appear in Paul's lists of those whom God has set in the church (1 Corinthians xii. 28; Eph. iv. 11). Its adoption came about in a natural way. Just as senatus, gerousia and presbuterov passed into official designations through the natural association of authority with age, so ejpiskopov would be, almost inevitably, the designation of a superintendent. This process of natural selection was probably aided by the familiar use of the title In the clubs and guilds to designate functions analogous to those of the ecclesiastical administrator. The title can hardly be traced to the O.T. There are but two passages in LXX where the word has any connection with religious worship, Num. iv. 16; 2 Kings xi. 18. It is applied to God (Job xx. 29), and in N.T. to Christ (1 Pet. ii. 25). It is used of officers in the army and of overseers of workmen. The prevailing O.T. sense of ejpiskoph is visitation for punishment, inquisition, or numbering. 101 He desireth (epiqumei). See on 1 Pet. i. 12.
The husband of one wife (miav gunaikov andra). Comp. ver. 12; Tit. i. 6. Is the injunction aimed (a) at immoralities respecting marriage - concubinage, etc., or (b) at polygamy, or (c) at remarriage after death or divorce?
The last is probably meant. Much of the difficulty arises from the assumption that the Pastorals were written by Paul. In that case his views seem to conflict. See Rom. vii. 2, 3; 1 Cor. vii. 39; viii. 8, 9, where Paul declares that widows are free to marry again, and puts widows and virgins on the same level; and comp. 1 Tim. v. 9, according to which a widow is to be enrolled only on the condition of having been the wife of but one man. The Pauline view is modified in detail by the writer of the Pastorals. Paul, while asserting that marriage is right and honorable, regards celibacy as the higher state (1 Cor. vii. 1, 7, 26, 34, 37, 38). In this the Pastoral writer does not follow him (see 1 Tim. ii. 15; iii. 4, 12; iv. 3; v. 10, 14). The motive for marriage, namely, protection against incontinency, which is adduced by Paul in 1 Cor. vii. 2, 9, is given in 1 Tim. v. 11-14. As in Paul, the married state is honorable, for Bishops, Deacons, and Presbyters are married (1 Tim. iii. 2, 12; Titus i. 6), and the honor of childbearing conferred upon the mother of our Lord is reflected in the Christian woman of later times (1 Tim. ii. 15). While Paul advises against second marriages (1 Cor. vii. 8, 9, 27, 39, 40), in the Pastorals emphasis is laid only on the remarriage of church - officers and churchwidows. In the Pastorals we see a reflection of the conditions of the earlier post - apostolic age, when a non - Pauline asceticism was showing itself (see 1 Tim. iv. 3, 4, 8; Tit. i. 15). The opposition to second marriage became very strong in the latter part of the second century. It was elevated into an article of faith by the Montanists, and was emphasised by Tertullian, and by Athenagoras, who called second marriage "a specious adultery" (euprephv moiceia). 102 Vigilant (nhfalion). Only in the Pastorals. See ver. 11, and Tit. ii. 2. o LXX. The kindred verb nhfein means to be sober with reference to drink, and, in a metaphorical sense, to be sober and wary; cool and unimpassioned. Thus Epicharmus, nafe kai memnas ajpistein be wary and remember not to be credulous. See on 1 Thess. v. 6. In N.T. the meaning of the verb is always metaphorical, to be calm, dispassionate, and circumspect. The A.V. vigilant is too limited. Wise caution may be included; but it is better to render sober, as A.V. in ver. 11 and Tit. ii. 2, in the metaphorical sense as opposed to youthful levity.
Of good behavior (kosmion). o P. Only here and 1 Tim. ii. 9, see note. Rend. orderly.
Apt to teach (didaktikon). o P. Only here and 2 Tim. ii. 24. o LXX, o Class. In the Pastorals the function of teaching pertains to both Bishops and Elders (see 1 Tim. v. 17; Tit. i. 9). It is at this point that the tendency to confound and identify the two reveals itself. Bishops and Presbyters are not identical. Earlier, the teaching function does not seem to have attached to the position of ejpiskopov. The office acquired a different character when it assumed that function, which is not assigned to it in Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians. In the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (about 100 A.D.) the ministry of teaching is to be assumed by the Bishops only in the absence of the Prophets and Teachers (xiii. xv).
3. Given to wine (paroinon). Only here and Tit. i. 7. The verb paroinein to behave ill at wine, to treat with drunken violence, is found in Xenophon, Aeschines, Aristophanes, and Aristotle. Once in LXX, Isaiah xli. 12. Rev. renders brawler, which is not definite enough. Better, quarrelsome over wine. See Aristoph. Acharn. 981: paroiniov ajnhr efu which Frere renders "behaved in such a beastly way." Cicero, ad Att. x. 10, uses paroinikwv = insolently.
Striker (plhkthn). Only here and Tit. i. 7. Some soften down the meaning into a pugnacious or combative person. In any case, it is a peculiar state of things which calls out such admonitions to Bishops. Not greedy of filthy lucre. Omit.
Patient (epieikh). Better, forbearing. The word occurs Philip. iv. 5, and ejpieikia forbearance in 2 Cor. x. 1, where it is associated with prauthv meekness. From eijkov reasonable. Hence, not unduly rigorous; not making a determined stand for one's just due. In 1 Pet. ii. 18; Jas. iii. 17, it is associated with ajgaqov kindly, and eujpeiqhv easy to be entreated. It occurs in LXX.
Not a brawler (amacon). Better, not contentious.
Not covetous (afilarguron). Only here and Heb. xiii. 5. o LXX, o Class. Filargurov money - loving, Luke xvi. 14; 2 Tim. iii. 2. Rend. not a money - lover. The word for covetous is pleonekthv. For the distinction see on Rom. i. 29.
This admonition is cited by some writers in support of the view that the original ejpiskopov was simply a financial officer. It is assumed that it was prompted by the special temptations which attached to the financial function. Admitting that the episcopal function may have included the financial interests of the church, it could not have been confined to these. It can hardly be supposed that, in associations distinctively moral and religious, one who bore the title of overseer should have been concerned only with the material side of church life. 103
4. That ruleth (proistamenon). Mostly in the Pastorals, but also in Rom. xii. 8; 1 Thess. v. 12. The participle means placed in front. Here in a general sense, but in 1 Thess. i. 5 of church authorities, but only functionally, not as a title of specially appointed officers. It is characteristic of the loose and unsettled ecclesiastical nomenclature of the apostolic age.
5. Shall he take care of (epimelhsetai). Only here and Luke x. 34.
6. Novice (neofuton). N.T.o . From neov new and futon a plant. Comp. 1 Corinthians iii. 6, 7; Matthews xv. 13. Hence, a new convert, a neophyte. Comp. in LXX Job xiv. 9; Psalm cxxvii. 3; cxliii. 12; Isa. v. 7. Chrysostom explains it as newly catechised (neokathchtov); but a neophyte differed from a catechumen in having received baptism. Better the ancient Greek interpreters, newly baptized (neobaptistov). After the ceremony of baptism the neophytes wore white garments for eight days, from Easter eve until the Sunday after Easter, which was called Dominica in albis, the Sunday in white. The Egyptian archives of Berlin give neofutov a Fayum papyrus of the second century A. D., of newly - planted palm trees. Comp. LXX, Psalm cxxvii. 3: "Thy sons as neofuta ejlaiwn plants of olives."
Being lifted up with pride (tufwqeiv). Only in the Pastorals. See ch. vi. 4; 2 Tim. iii. 4. The verb means primarily to make a smoke: hence, metaphorically, to blind with pride or conceit. Neither A.V. nor Rev. puffied up, preserves the radical sense, which is the sense here intended - a beclouded and stupid state of mind as the result of pride.
Fall into condemnation (eiv krima empesh). Krima in N.T. usually means judgment. The word for condemnation is katakrima. See especially Rom. v. 16, where the two are sharply distinguished. Comp. Matthews vii. 2; Acts xxiv. 25; Rom. ii. 2; v. 18; 1 Cor. vi. 7. However, krima occasionally shades off into the meaning condemnation, as Romans iii. 8; Jas. iii. 1. See on go to law, 1 Cor. vi. 7, and on 1 Corinthians xi. 29. Krima is a Pauline word; but the phrase ejmpiptein eijv krima to fall into judgment is found only here.
Of the devil (tou diabolou). See on Matthews iv. 1, and on Satan, 1 Thessalonians ii. 18. Paul uses diabolov only twice, Eph. iv. 27; vi. 11. Commonly Satan. The use of diabolov as an adjective is peculiar to the Pastorals (see 1 Tim. iii. 11; 2 Tim. iii. 3; Tit. ii. 3), and occurs nowhere else in N.T., and not in LXX. The phrase judgment of the devil probably means the accusing judgment of the devil, and not the judgment passed upon the devil. In Apoc. xii. 10 Satan is called the accuser of the brethren. In 1 Cor. v. 5; 1 Tim. i. 20, men are given over to Satan for judgment. In ver. 7 the genitive diabolou is clearly subjective. In this chapter it appears that a Christian can fall into the reproach of the devil (comp. Jude 9; 2 Pet. ii. 11), the snare of the devil (comp. 2 Timothy ii. 26), and the judgment of the devil.
7. A good report (marturian kalhn). Comp. Acts vi. 3. Not only does kalov occur in the Pastorals nearly twice as many times as in Paul, but the usage is different. Out of 16 instances in Paul, there is but one in which kalov is not used substantively (Rom. vii. 16), while in the Pastorals it is, almost without exception, used adjectively. Marturian, better testimony. Comp. Tit. i. 13. Not in Paul, who uses marturion.
Of them which are without (apo twn exwqen). Exwqen only once in Paul (2 Cor. vii. 6), and oiJ exwqen nowhere in Paul, and only here in Pastorals. Paul's phrase is oJ exw: see 1 Cor. v. 12, 13; 2 Corinthians iv. 16; 1 Thess. iv. 12.
8. Deacons. The office of Deacon appears in the Pastorals, but not in Paul's letters, with the single exception of Philip. i. 1, where the Deacons do not represent an ecclesiastical office, though they remark an advance toward it. Clement of Rome (ad Corinth. xlii, xliv) asserts their apostolic appointment. But the evidence at our command does not bear out the view that the institution of the diaconate is described in Acts vi. 1-6. The terms diakonov and diakonia are, in the Pauline writings, common expressions of servants and service either to Christ or to others. Paul applies these terms to his own ministry and to that of his associates. Diakonia is used of the service of the apostles, Acts i. 25; vi. 4. Diakonov is used of Paul and Apollos (1 Cor. iii. 5); of Christ (Gal. ii. 17; Rom. xv. 8); of the civil ruler (Rom. xiii. 4); of ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians xi. 15). The appointment of the seven grew out of a special emergency, and was made for a particular service; and the resemblance is not close between the duties and qualifications of deacons in the Pastorals and those of the seven. The word diakonov does not appear in Acts; and when Paul and Barnabas brought to Jerusalem the collection for the poor saints, they handed it over to the elders.
Double-tongued (dilogouv). N.T.o . o LXX, o Class. Saying one thing and meaning another, and making different representations to different people about the same thing.
Greedy of filthy lucre (aiscrokerdeiv). N.T.o . o LXX. The adverb aijscrokerdwv in a base, gain - greedy way, 1 Pet. v. 2. From aijscrov disgraceful and kerdov gain. Comp. Hdt. i. 187: eij mh aplhstov te eav crhmatwn kai aijscrokerdhv if thou hadst not been insatiable of wealth and ready to procure it by disgraceful means. Aristoph. Peace, 622, alludes to two vices of the Spartans, ontev aijscrokerdeiv kai dieirwnoxenoi sordidly greedy of gain, and treacherous under the mask of hospitality. Similarly Eurip. Androm. 451. Comp. turpilucricupidus, Plaut. Trin. 1, 2, 63.
9. The mystery of the faith (to musthrion thv pistewv). The phrase N.T. '. In the Gospels only, mystery or mysteries of the kingdom of God or of heaven. In Paul, mystery or mysteries of God, of his will, of Christ, of the gospel, of iniquity, the mystery kept secret or hidden away. Several times without qualification, the mystery or mysteries. See on 2 Thessalonians ii. 7. The mystery of the faith is the subject - matter of the faith; the truth which is its basis, which was kept hidden from the world until revealed at the appointed time, and which is a secret to ordinary eyes, but is made known by divine revelation. Comp. Rom. xvi. 25; Eph. iii. 9; Col. i. 26; 1 Corinthians. ii. 7. For the faith see on Gal. i. 23, and comp. Introduction to these Epistles, VI.
In a pure conscience (en kaqara suneidhsei). Comp. 2 Tim. i. 3, 5, 19. Const. with holding. The emphasis of the passage is on these words. They express conscientious purity and sincerity in contrast with those who are described as branded in their own conscience, and thus causing their followers to fall away from the faith (ch. iv. 1, 2). The passage illustrates the peculiar treatment of "faith" in these Epistles, in emphasising its ethical aspect and its ethical environment. This is not contrary to Paul's teaching, nor does it go to the extent of substituting morals for faith as the condition of salvation and eternal life. See 2 Timothy i. 9; ii. 1; Tit. iii. 5. Nonetheless, there is a strong and habitual emphasis on good works (see 1 Tim. ii. 10; v. 10; vi. 18; 2 Tim. ii. 21; iii. 17; Tit. i. 16; ii. 7, 14; iii. 1, 8, 14), and faith is placed in a series of practical duties (see 1 Tim. i. 5, 14; ii. 15; iv. 12; 2 Tim. i. 13; 1 Timothy i. 19; ii. 7; iii. 9; vi. 11; 2 Tim. ii. 22; iii. 10). "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience" is a significant association of faith with ethics. As Weiss puts it: "It is as if the pure conscience were the vessel in which the mystery of the faith is preserved." The idea is sound and valuable. A merely intellectual attitude toward the mystery which, in every age, attaches to the faith, will result in doubt, questioning, and wordy strife (see 1 Tim. vi. 4; 2 Tim. ii. 23; Tit. iii. 9), sometimes in moral laxity, sometimes in despair. Loyalty and duty to God are compatible with more or less ignorance concerning the mystery. An intellect, however powerful and active, joined with an impure conscience, cannot solve but only aggravates the mystery; whereas a pure and loyal conscience, and a frank acceptance of imposed duty along with mystery, puts one in the best attitude for attaining whatever solution is possible. See John vii. 17.
10. These also (kai outoi de). As well as the Bishops. No mention is made of a proving of the Bishops, but this may be fairly assumed. Comp. not a novice, ver. 6.
Be proved (dokimazesqwsan). Common in Paul; only here in Pastorals. See on 1 Pet. i. 7. Not implying a formal examination, but a reference to the general judgment of the Christian community as to whether they fulfil the conditions detailed in ver. 8. Comp. 1 Tim. v. 22; 2 Tim. ii. 2. Let them use the office of a deacon (diakoneitwsan). Much better, let them serve as deacons. In this sense only in the Pastorals. Comp. ver. 13. 104 The verb is very common in N.T.
Being blameless (anegklhtoi ontev). Rather, unaccused: if no charge be preferred against them. In Paul, 1 Cor. i. 8; Col. i. 22. Comp. Tit. i. 6, 7. It is a judicial term. The participle ontev signifies provided they are.
11. Their wives (gunaikav). Probably correct, although some find a reference to an official class of women - deaconesses (so Ellicott, Holtzmann, Alford). But the injunction is thrown incidentally into the admonition concerning Deacons, which is resumed at ver. 12; and if an official class were intended we should expect something more specific than gunaikav women or wives without the article. A Deacon whose wife is wanting in the qualities required in him, is not to be chosen. She would sustain an active relation to his office, and by her ministries would increase his efficiency, and by frivolity, slander, or intemperance, would bring him and his office into disrepute.
13. Purchase (peripoiountai). Only here, Luke xvii. 33, and Acts xx. 28 On which see note. Purchase is unfortunate from the point of modern usage; but it is employed in its original sense of to win, acquire, without any idea of a bargain. So Bacon, Ess. iv. 14: "There is no man doth a wrong for the wrong's sake; but thereby to purchase himself profit, or pleasure, or honor, or the like." And Shakespeare:
"Then, as my gift and thine own acquisition Worthily purchased, take my daughter." Temp iv. 1, 14
Rend. acquire or obtain for themselves.
A good degree (baqmon kalon). Baqmov, N.T.o . Primarily, a step. In LXX, 1 Sam. v. 5; sir. vi. 36, a threshold: 2 Kings xx. 9, a degree on the dial. In ecclesiastical writers, order, grade, rank: see, for instance, Eusebius, H. E. vii. 15. Also degree of relationship or affinity. Here the word apparently means a position of trust and influence in the church; possibly a promotion from the diaconate to the episcopate. Others (as De Wette, Eillicott, Pfleiderer) refer it to a high grade in the future life, which Holtzmann sarcastically describes as a ladder-round in heaven (eine Staffel im Himmel). John the Scholar, known as Climacus, a monk of the latter half of the sixth century, and Abbot of the Sinai Convent, wrote a mystical work entitled Klimax tou Paradeisou the Ladder of Paradise. The ladder, according to him, had thirty rounds.
Boldness (parrhsian). Primarily, free and bold speaking; speaking out every word (pan, rJhma). Its dominant idea is boldness, confidence, as opposed to fear, ambiguity, or reserve. The idea of publicity is sometimes attached to it, but as secondary. Only here in the Pastorals: several times in Paul, as 2 Cor. iii. 12; vii. 4; Philip. i. 20. The phrase pollh parrhsia much boldness is also Pauline. An assured position and blameless reputation in the church, with a pure conscience, would assure boldness of speech and of attitude in the Christian community and elsewhere.
In faith. Connect with boldness only. It designates the boldness as distinctively Christian, founded on faith in Christ
Thou oughtest to behave thyself (dei anastrefesqai). The verb ajnastrefesqai only here in Pastorals. In Paul, 2 Cor. i. 12; Eph. ii. 3. The reference is not to Timothy's conduct as the A.V. impliest but rather to the instructions which he is to give to church members. Rend. how men ought to behave. See on conversation, 1 Peter i. 15.
House of God (oikw qeou). An O.T. phrase, used of the temple. More frequently, house of the Lord (kuriou); see 1 Kings iii. 1; vi. 1; 1 Chronicles xxii. 2, 11; xxix. 2, etc. Applied to the church only here. Paul has oijkeiouv thv pistewv Hebrews householders of the faith (Gal. vi. 10), and oijkeioi tou qeou householders of God (Eph. ii. 19), signifying members of the church. Christians are called naov qeou sanctuary of God (1 Cor. iii. 16, 17; 2 Cor. vi. 16); and the apostles are oijkonomoi household stewards (1 Cor. iv. 1). So of a Bishop (Titus i. 7). See also Heb. iii. 6.
Church (ekklhsia). See on 1 Thess. i. 1.
Pillar and ground of the truth (stulov kai edraiwma thv alhqeiav). Stulov.pillar, in Paul only Gal. ii. 9. In Apoc. iii. 12; x. 1. Edraiwma stay, prop, better than ground. N.T.o . o LXX, o Class. The kindred adjective eJdaiov firm, stable, 1 Cor. vii. 37; xv. 58; Col. i. 23. These words are in apposition with church. 106 The idea is that the church is the pillar, and, as such, the prop or support of the truth. It is quite beside the mark to press the architectural metaphor into detail. By giving to eJdraiwma the sense of stay or prop, the use of the two words for the same general idea is readily explained. The church is the pillar of the truth, and the function of the pillar is to support. 107
16. Without controversy (omologoumenwv). Lit. confessedly. N.T.o . The mystery of godliness (to thv eusebeiav musthrion).
(a) The connection of thought is with the truth (ver. 15), and the words mystery of godliness are a paraphrase of that word. The church is the pillar and stay of the truth, and the truth constitutes the mystery of godliness.
(b) The contents of this truth or mystery is Christ, revealed in the gospel as the Savior from ungodliness, the norm and inspiration of godliness, the divine life in man, causing him to live unto God as Christ did and does (Rom. vi. 10). See ch. i. 15; ii. 5; Colossians i. 26, 27. According to the Fourth Gospel, Christ is himself the truth (John xiv. 6). The mystery of godliness is the substance of piety = mystery of the faith (ver. 9).
(c) The truth is called a mystery because it was, historically, hidden, until revealed in the person and work of Christ; also because it is concealed from human wisdom, and apprehended only by faith in the revelation of God through Christ.
(d) The genitive, of godliness, is possessive. The mystery of godliness is the truth which pertains or belongs to godliness. It is not the property of worldly wisdom. Great (mega) means important, weighty, as Eph. v. 32.
God (Qeov). But the correct reading is ov who. 108 The antecedent of this relative is not mystery, as if Christ were styled "the mystery," but the relative refers to Christ as an antecedent; and the abruptness of its introduction may be explained by the fact that it and the words which follow were probably taken from an ancient credal hymn. In the earlier Christian ages it was not unusual to employ verse or rhythm for theological teaching or statement. The heretics propounded their peculiar doctrines in psalms. Clement of Alexandria wrote a hymn in honor of Christ for the use of catechumens, and Arius embodied his heresy in his Thalia, which was sung in the streets and taverns of Alexandria. The Muratorian Canon was probably composed in verse. In the last quarter of the fourth century, there are two metrical lists of Scripture by Amphilochius and Gregory Nazianzen.
Was manifest (efanerwqh). More correctly, was manifested. The verb is used John i. 2; Heb. ix. 26; 1 Pet. i. 20; 1 John iii. 5, 8, of the historical manifestation of Christ; and of the future coming of Christ in Colossians iii. 4; 1 Pet. v. 4; 1 John iii. 2.
Justified in the Spirit (edikaiwqh en pneumati). The verb dikaioun, so familiar in Paul's writings, is found in the Pastorals only here and Titus iii. 7. Its application to Christ as the subject of justification does not appear in Paul. Its meaning here is vindicated, indorsed, as Matthews xi. 19; Luke x. 29. Concerning the whole phrase it is to be said:
(a) That the two clauses, manifested in the fesh, justified in the Spirit, exhibit a contrast between two aspects of the life of Christ
(b) That ejn in must have the same meaning in both clauses
(c) That meaning is not instrumental, by, nor purely modal, expressing the kind and manner of Christ's justification, but rather local with a shade of modality.
It expresses in each case a peculiar condition which accompanied the justification; a sphere of life in which it was exhibited and which gave character to it. In the one condition or sphere (the flesh) he was hated, persecuted, and murdered. In the other (the Spirit) he was triumphantly vindicated. See further the additional note at the end of this chapter. Seen of angels (wfqh aggeloiv). Better, appeared unto or showed himself to, as Matt. xvii. 3; Luke i. 11; Acts vii. 2; Heb. ix. 28. The same verb is used of the appearance of the risen Christ to different persons or parties (1 Cor. xv. 5-8). The reference of the words cannot be determined with certainty. They seem to imply some great, majestic occasion, rather than the angelic manifestations during Jesus' earthly life. Besides, on these occasions, the angels appeared to him, not he to them. The reference is probably to his appearance in the heavenly world after his ascension, when the glorified Christ, having been triumphantly vindicated in his messianic work and trial, presented himself to the heavenly hosts. Comp. Philip. ii. 10; Eph. iii. 10, and, in the latter passage, note the connection with; "the mystery," ver. 9.
Was preached unto the Gentiles (ekhrucqh en eqnesin). Better, among the nations., There is no intention of emphasising the distinction between the Jews and other nations.
Was received up into glory (anelhmfqh en doxh). Better, received or taken up in glory. Analambanein is the formal term to describe the ascension of Christ (see Acts i. 2, 22), and the reference is most probably to that event. Comp. LXX, 2 Kings ii. 11, of Elijah, and Sir. xlix. 14, of Enoch. En doxh in glory: with attendant circumstances of pomp or majesty, as we say of a victorious general, the entered the city in triumph." This usage is common in N.T. See Matthews xvi. 27; xxv. 31; Mark viii. 38; Luke ix. 31; xii. 27; 1 Cor. xv. 43; 2 Cor. iii. 7, 8, 11. 110
ADDITIONAL NOTE ON iii. 16
Christ's existence before his incarnation was purely spiritual (en pneumati). He was in the form of God (Philip. ii. 6): He was the effulgence of God's glory and the express image of his substance (Hebrews i. 3), and God is spirit (John iv. 24).
From this condition he came into manifestation in the flesh (en sarki). He became man and entered into human conditions (Philip. ii. 7, 8). Under these human conditions the attributes of his essential spiritual personality were veiled. He did not appear to men what he really was. He was not recognised by them as he who "was in the beginning with God" (John i. 1, 2); as "the image of the invisible God" (Col. i. 15); as one with God (John x. 30; xiv. 9); as he who had all power in heaven and earth (Matthews xxviii. 18); who was "before all things and by whom all things consist" (Col. i. 17); who was "the king of the ages" (1 Timothy i. 17). On the contrary, he was regarded as an impostor, a usurper, and a blasphemer. He was hated, persecuted, and finally murdered. He was poor, tempted, and tried, a man of sorrows.
The justification or vindication of what he really was did not therefore come out of the fleshly sphere. He was not justified in the flesh. It came out of the sphere of his spiritual being. Glimpses of this pneumatic life (en pneumati) flashed out during his life in the flesh. By his exalted and spotless character, by his works of love and power, by his words of authority, in his baptism and transfiguration, he was vindicated as being what he essentially was and what he openly claimed to be. These justifications were revelations, expressions, and witnesses of his original, essential spiritual and divine quality; of the native glory which he had with the Father before the world was. It was the Spirit that publicly indorsed him (John i. 32, 33): the words which he spake were spirit and life (John vi. 63): he cast out demons in the Spirit of God (Matt. xii. 28): his whole earthly manfestation was in demonstration of the Spirit. These various demonstrations decisively justified his claims in the eyes of many. His disciples confessed him as the Christ of God (Luke ix. 20) some of the people said "this is the Christ" (John vii. 41): others suspected that he was such (John iv. 29). Whether or not men acknowledged his claims, they felt the power of his unique personality. They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority (Matthews vii. 28, 29). Then followed the more decisive vindication in his resurrection from the dead. Here the work of the Spirit is distinctly recognised by Paul, Romans i. 4. See also Rom. viii. 11. In the period between his resurrection and ascension his pneumatic life came into clearer manifestation, and added to the vindication furnished in his life and resurrection. He seemed to live on the border-line between the natural and the spiritual world, and the powers of the spiritual world were continually crossing the line and revealing themselves in him.
In the apostolic preaching, the appeal to the vindication of Christ by the Spirit is clear and unequivocal. The spiritual nourishment of believers is "the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ" (Philip. i. 19): the Holy Spirit is called "the Spirit of Christ" (Rom. viii. 9; Gal. iv. 6): Paul identifies Christ personally with the Spirit (2 Cor. iii. 17); and in Rom. viii. 9, 10, "Spirit of God," "Spirit of Christ," and "Christ" are used as convertible terms. The indwelling of the Spirit of Christ is the test and vindication of belonging to Christ (Rom. viii. 9). Thus, though put to death in the flesh, in the Spirit Christ is vindicated as the Son of God, the Christ of God, the manifestation of God.