RPM, Volume 18, Number 46, November 6 to November 12, 2016

Barnes' New Testament Notes

Notes on the New Testament
Explanatory and Practical
Part 79

By Albert Barnes




NEARLY all that can now be known of Timothy is to be learned from the New Testament. He was a native of either Derbe or Lystra, but it is not certainly known which, Ac 16:1. Paul found him there on his visit to those places, and does not appear to have been acquainted with him before. His mother, whose name was Eunice, was a Jewess, and was pious, as was also his grandmother, Lois, 2 Ti 1:5. His father was a Greek, but was evidently not unfriendly to the Jewish religion, for Timothy had been carefully trained in the Scriptures, 2 Ti 3:15. Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, and became acquainted with him about A.D. 51 or 52; but there is no method now of ascertaining the exact age of Timothy at that time, though there is reason to think that he was then a youth, 1 Ti 4:12. It would seem, also, that he was a youth of uncommon hope and promise, and that there had been some special indications that he would rise to distinction as a religious man, and would exert an extended influence in favour of religion, 1 Ti 1:18. At the time when Paul first met with him, he was a "disciple," or a Christian convert; but the means which had been used for his conversion are unknown. His mother had been before converted to the Christian faith, (Ac 16:1) and Timothy was well known to the Christians in the neighbouring towns of Lystra and Iconium. The gospel had been preached by Paul and Barnabas, in Iconium, Derbe, and Lystra, some six or seven years before it is said that Paul met with Timothy, (Ac 16:1,) and it is not improbable that this youth had been converted in the interval.

Several things appear to have combined to induce the apostle to introduce him into the ministry, and to make him a travelling companion. His youth; his acquaintance with the Holy Scriptures; the "prophecies which went before on him;" his talents; his general reputation in the church; and, it would seem also, his amiableness of manners, fitting him to be an agreeable companion, attracted the attention of the apostle, and led him to desire that he might be a fellow-labourer with him. To satisfy the prejudices of the Jews, and to prevent any possible objection which might be made against his qualifications for the ministerial office, Paul circumcised him, (Ac 16:3) and he was ordained to the office of the ministry by "the laying on of the hands of the Presbytery," 1 Ti 4:14. When this ordination occurred is not known; but it is most probable that it was before he went on his travels with Paul, as it is known that Paul was present on the occasion, and took a leading part in the transaction, 2 Ti 1:6.

Timothy having joined Paul and Silas, accompanied them on a visit to the churches of Phrygia and Galatia, in which they delivered them the decrees to keep which had been ordained at Jerusalem, Ac 16:4, seq. Having done this, they endeavoured to go together into Bithynia, a province of Asia Minor, on the north-west, but were prevented; and they then went into Mysia, and to the town of Troas, Ac 16:8. Here Luke appears to have joined them; and from this place, in obedience to a vision which appeared to Paul, they went into Macedonia, and preached the gospel first at Philippi, where they established a church. In this city Paul and Silas were imprisoned; but it is remarkable that nothing is said of Timothy and Luke, and it is not known whether they shared in the sufferings of the persecution there or not. Everything, however, renders it probable that Timothy was with them at Philippi; as he is mentioned as having started with them to go on the journey, (Ac 16:3, seq.;) and as we find him at Berea, after the apostle had been released from prison, and had preached at Thessalonica and Berea, Ac 17:14. From this place Paul was conducted to Athens, but left an injunction for Silas and Timothy to join him there as soon as possible. This was done; but when Timothy had come to Athens, Paul felt it to be important that the church at Thessalonica should be visited and comforted in its afflictions, and being prevented from doing it himself, he sent Timothy, at great personal inconvenience, back to that church. Having discharged the duty there, he rejoined the apostle at Corinth, (Ac 18:5,) from which place the First Epistle to the Thessalonians was written. See Intro. to 1 Thess., and See Barnes "1 Th 1:1" See Barnes "1 Th 3:2".

These transactions occurred about A.D. 52.

Paul remained at Corinth a year and a half, (Ac 18:11,) and it is probable that Timothy and Silas continued with him. See 2 Th 1:1. From Corinth he sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila, whom he appears to have left on his way at Ephesus, Ac 18:18,19,26.

Whether Timothy and Silas accompanied him is not mentioned, but we find Timothy again with him at Ephesus, after he had been to Caesarea and Antioch, and had returned to Ephesus, Ac 18:22; 19:1,22.

From Ephesus, he sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia, Ac 19:22; but for what purpose, or how long they remained, is unknown. From 1 Co 4:17, it appears that Paul expected that on this journey Timothy would stop at Corinth, and would give the church there instructions adapted to its situation. Paul continued in Ephesus until he was compelled to depart by the tumult caused by Demetrius, when he left and went to Macedonia, Ac 20. Whether Timothy, during the interval, had returned to Ephesus from Macedonia, is not expressly mentioned in the history; but such a supposition is not improbable. Paul, during the early part of his residence in Ephesus, appears to have laboured quietly, (Ac 19:9,10;) and Timothy was sent away before the disturbances caused by Demetrius, Ac 19:22. Paul designed to follow him soon, and then to go to Jerusalem, and then to Rome, Ac 19:21. Paul (Ac 20:31) was in Ephesus in all about three years; and it is not unreasonable to suppose that he remained there after Timothy was sent to Macedonia long enough for him to go and to return to him again. If so, it is possible that when he himself went away, he left Timothy there in his place. Comp. 1 Ti 1:3. It has been the general opinion that the First Epistle to Timothy was written at this time: either when the apostle was on his way to Macedonia, or while in Macedonia. But this opinion has not been unquestioned. The departure of Paul for Macedonia occurred about A.D. 58, or 59. In Ac 20:4, Timothy is again mentioned as accompanying Paul after he had remained in Greece three months, on the route to Syria through Macedonia. He went with him, in company with many others, into "Asia." Going before Paul, they waited for him at Troas, Ac 20:5, and thence doubtless accompanied him on his way to Jerusalem. It was on this occasion that Paul delivered his farewell charge to the elders of the church of Ephesus, at Miletus, Ac 20:17, seq. When in Macedonia, Paul wrote the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, and Timothy was then with him, for he unites in the salutations, 2 Co 1:1. Timothy was also with the apostle on this journey at Corinth, when from that city he wrote his epistle to the Romans, Ro 16:21.

The subsequent events of the life of Timothy are less known. It does not appear from the Acts of the Apostles, that he was with Paul during his two years' imprisonment at Caesarea, nor during his voyage to Rome. It is certain, however, that he was at Rome with the apostle when he wrote the epistles to the Philippians, to the Colossians, and to Philemon, Php 1:1; Col 1:1; Phm 1:1.

From Heb 13:23, it appears, also, that Timothy had been with the apostle there, but that when the epistle was written, he was absent on some important embassy, and that Paul was expecting his speedy return. See Barnes "Heb 13:23.

Between the first and second imprisonment of Paul at Rome, no mention is made of Timothy, nor is it known where he was, or whether he accompanied him in his travels or not. When he was imprisoned there the second time, he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy, in which he desires him to come to Rome, and bring with him several things which he had left at Troas, 2 Ti 4:9-13,21. If Timothy went to Rome, agreeably to the request of the apostle, it is probable that he was a witness there of his martyrdom.

In regard to the latter part of the life of Timothy, there is nothing which can be depended on. It has been the current opinion, derived from tradition, that he was "bishop" of Ephesus; that he died and was buried there; and that his bones were subsequently removed to Constantinople. The belief that he was "bishop" of Ephesus rests mainly on the "subscription" to the Second Epistle to Timothy, which is no authority whatever. See Notes on that subscription. On the question whether he was an episcopal prelate at Ephesus, the reader may consult my "Inquiry into the Organization and Government of the Apostolic Church," [pp. 91—114, London edition.] The supposition that he died at Ephesus, and was subsequently removed to Constantinople, rests on no certain historical basis.

Timothy was long the companion and the friend of the apostle Paul, and is often mentioned by him with affectionate interest. Indeed, there seems to have been no one of his fellow-labourers, to whom he was so warmly attached. See 1 Ti 1:2,18; 2 Ti 1:2; 2:1; 1 Co 4:17, where he calls him "his own son," and "his beloved son;" 2 Ti 1:4, where he expresses his earnest desire to see him, and makes a reference to the tears which Timothy shed at parting from him; 1 Co 16:10,11, where he bespeaks for him a kind reception among the Corinthians; Ro 16:21; 1 Th 3:2; and especially Php 2:19,20, where he speaks of his fidelity, of his usefulness to him in his labours, and of the interest which he took in the churches which the apostle had established.


THE subscription at the close of the epistle states that it was written from Laodicea. But these subscriptions are of no authority, and many of them are false. See Notes at the end of 1 Corinthians. There has been much diversity of opinion in regard to the time when this epistle was written, and of course in regard to the place where it was composed. All that is certain from the epistle itself is, that it was addressed to Timothy at Ephesus, and that it was soon after Paul had left that city to go into Macedonia, 1 Ti 1:3. Paul is mentioned in the Acts as having been at Ephesus twice, Ac 18:19-23; 19:1-41. After his first visit there, he went directly to Jerusalem, and of course it could not have been written at that time. The only question then is, whether it was written when Paul left the city, having been driven away by the excitement caused by Demetrius, (Ac 20:1;) or whether he visited Ephesus again on some occasion after his first imprisonment at Rome, and of course after the narrative of Luke in the Acts of the Apostles closes. If on the former occasion, it was written about the year 58 or 59; if the latter, about the year 64 or 65. Critics have been divided in reference to this point, and the question is still unsettled, and it may be impossible to determine it with entire certainty.

Those who have maintained the former opinion, among others, are Theodoret, Benson, Zaehariae, Michaelis, Schmidt, Koppe, Planck, Grotius, Lightfoot, Witsius, Lardner, Hug, and Prof. Stuart. The latter opinion, that it was written subsequently to the period of Paul's first imprisonment at Rome, is maintained by Paley, Pearson, L'Enfant, Le Clere, Cave, Mill, Whitby, Macknight, and others.

An examination of the reasons in favour of each of these opinions as to the date of the epistle, may be found in Paley's Hor. Paul.; Macknight; Hug's Intro., and Koppe, Proleg.

The theory of Eienhorn, which is peculiar, and which is supported by some ingenious and plausible, but not conclusive reasoning, may be seen in his Einleitung in das neue Test. 3 B. 314—352.

In the diversity of opinion which prevails about the time when the epistle was written, it is impossible to determine the question in such a manner as to leave no room for doubt. After the most careful examination which I have been able to give to the subject, however, it seems to me that the former opinion is correct, that it was written soon after Paul was driven from Ephesus by the tumult caused by Demetrius, as recorded in Ac 19:1-20:1. The reasons for this opinion are briefly these:—

1. This is the only record that occurs in the New Testament of the apostle's having gone from Ephesus to Macedonia. See above. It is natural, therefore, to suppose that this is referred to in 1 Ti 1:3, unless there is some insuperable difficulty in the way.

2. There is no certain evidence that Paul visited the church at Ephesus after his first imprisonment at Rome. It is certainly possible that he did, but there is no record of any such visit in the New Testament, nor any historical record of it elsewhere. If there had been such a visit after his release, and if this epistle were written then, it is remarkable that the apostle does not make any allusion to his imprisonment in this epistle, and that he does not refer at all to his own escape from this danger of death at Rome. Comp. 2 Ti 4:16,17.

3. The supposition that the epistle was written at the time supposed, agrees better with the character of the epistle, and with the design for which Timothy was left at Ephesus, than the others. It is manifest from the epistle that the church was, in some respects, in an unsettled condition; and it would seem, also, that one part of the duty of Timothy there was to see that it was placed under a proper organization. This Paul had evidently proposed to accomplish himself; but it is clear, from 1 Ti 1:3, that he left his work unfinished, and that he gave what he had proposed to do into the hands of Timothy to be perfected. After the first imprisonment of Paul at Rome, however, there is every reason to suppose that the church was completely organized. Even when Paul went from Macedonia to Jerusalem, Ac 20, there were "elders" placed over the church at Ephesus, whom Paul assembled at Miletus, and to whom he gave his parting charge, and his final instructions in regard to the church.

4. At the time when Paul wrote this epistle, Timothy was a young man—a youth, 1 Ti 4:12. It is true, that if he were somewhere about twenty years of age when he was introduced into the ministry, as has been commonly supposed, this language would not be entirely inappropriate, even after the imprisonment of Paul; but still the language would more properly denote one somewhat younger than Timothy would be at that time.

5. To this may be added the declaration of Paul in 1 Ti 3:14, that he "hoped to come to him shortly." This is an expression which agrees well with the supposition that he had himself been driven away before he had intended to leave; that he had left something unfinished there which he desired to complete, and that he hoped that affairs would soon be in such a state that he would be permitted to return. It may be also suggested, as a circumstance of some importance, though not conclusive, that when Paul met the elders of the church of Ephesus at Miletus, he said that he had no expectation of ever seeing them again: "And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more," Ac 20:25. I do not think that this is to be understood as an inspired prediction, aiming with absolute certainty that he never would see them again, but that he rather expressed his apprehensions that it would be so from the circumstances which then existed, Ac 20:22,23. Still, this passage shows that when he uttered it he did not expect to visit Ephesus again, as he manifestly did when he wrote the epistle to Timothy.

These considerations seem so clear that they would leave no doubt on the mind, were it not for certain things which it seems to many impossible to reconcile with this supposition. The difficulties are the following:—

1. That before Paul went to Macedonia, he had sent Timothy with Erastus before him, (Ac 19:22,) purposing to follow them at no distant period, and to pass through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go to Jerusalem, and afterwards to visit Rome, Ac 19:21. As he had sent Timothy before him but so short a time before he left Ephesus, it is asked how Timothy could be left at Ephesus when Paul went himself to Macedonia? To this objection we may reply, that it is not improbable by any means that Timothy may have accomplished the object of his journey to Macedonia, and may have returned to the apostle at Ephesus before he was driven away. It does not appear, from the narrative, that Timothy was intrusted with any commission which would require a long time to fulfil it, nor that Paul expected that he would remain in Macedonia until he himself came. The purpose for which he sent Timothy and Erastus is not indeed mentioned, but it seems probable that it was with reference to the collection which he proposed to take up for the poor saints at Jerusalem. See Barnes "Ac 19:21, See Barnes "Ac 19:22".

Comp. 1 Co 16:1-6. If it were the purpose to prepare the churches for such a collection, it could not have required any considerable time, nor was it necessary that Timothy should remain long in a place; and it was natural, also, that he should return to the apostle at Ephesus, and apprize him of what he had done, and what was the prospect in regard to the collection. It has been clearly shown by Hug, (Intro. to the New Test., % 104. 109,) that such a journey could easily have been made during the time which the apostle remained at Ephesus after he had sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia.

2. The next objection—and one which is regarded by Paley as decisive against the supposition that the epistle was written on this occasion—is, that from the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, 2 Co 1:1, it is evident that at the time in which this epistle is supposed to have been written, Timothy was with the apostle in Macedonia. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians was undoubtedly written during this visit of Paul to Macedonia, and at that time Timothy was with him. See the Introduction to 2 Co 3. How then can it be supposed that he was at Ephesus? Or how can this fact be reconciled with the supposition that Timothy was left there, and especially with the declaration of Paul to him, 1 Ti 3:14, that he "hoped to come to him shortly?" That Paul expected that Timothy would remain at Ephesus, at least for some time, is evident from 1 Ti 3:15, "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God;" and from 1 Ti 4:13, "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." The only solution of this difficulty is, that Timothy had left Ephesus, and had followed the apostle into Macedonia; and the only question here is, whether, since the apostle designed that he should remain at Ephesus, and expected himself to return and meet him there, Timothy would be likely to leave that place and go to Macedonia. It is certain that the history in the Acts does not make this record, but that is no material objection—-since it cannot be supposed that every occurrence in the travels of the apostles was recorded. But there are two or three circumstances which may render the supposition that Timothy, either by the concurrence, or by the direction of Paul, privately communicated to him, may have left Ephesus sooner than was at first contemplated, and may have rejoined him in Macedonia.

(1.) One is, that the main business which Timothy was appointed to perform at Ephesus—to give a solemn charge to certain persons there to teach no other doctrine but that which Paul taught, 1 Ti 1:3 —might have been speedily accomplished. Paul was driven away in haste, and, as he had not the opportunity of doing this himself as he wished, he left Timothy in charge of it. But this did not require, of necessity, any considerable time.

(2.) Another is, that the business of appointing suitable officers over the church there, might also have been soon accomplished. In fact, the church there is known to have been supplied with proper officers not long after this, for Paul sent from Miletus for the elders to meet him there on his way to Jerusalem. This remark is made in accordance with the opinion that a part of the work which Timothy was expected to perform there, was to constitute proper officers over the church But there is no proof that that was a part of his business. It is not specified in what Paul mentions, in 1 Ti 1:3, as the design for which he was left there, and it is hardly probable that the apostle would have spent so long a time as he did in Ephesus—nearly three years, Ac 20:31—without having organized the church with proper officers. Besides, the address of Paul to the elders at Miletus, implies that they had received their appointment before he left them. See Ac 20:18-35, particularly Ac 20:35. The instructions to Timothy in this epistle about the proper qualifications of the officers of the church, do not prove that he was then to appoint officers at Ephesus, for they are general instructions, having no particular reference to the church there, and designed to guide him in his work through life. There is, therefore, nothing in the duties which Timothy was to perform at Ephesus which would forbid the supposition that he may have soon followed the apostle into Macedonia.

(3.) It appears, that though Paul may have intended, if possible, to visit Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem, in accordance with 1 Ti 3:14,15; 4:13, yet, if that had been his intention, he subsequently changed his mind, and found it necessary to make other arrangements. Thus it is said, Ac 20:16, that "Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia;" that is, he had resolved to sail past Ephesus without visiting it. It would seem probable, also, that this resolution had been formed before he left Macedonia, for it is said that he `had determined' it, (ekrine;) and if so, there is no improbability in supposing that he had, in some way, caused it to be intimated to Timothy that he wished him to leave Ephesus, and join him before he left Macedonia.

(4.) In fact, and in accordance with this supposition, we find Timothy with Paul when he went on that occasion into "Asia," Ac 20:4,5. These considerations render it probable that the epistle was written to Timothy soon after Paul left Ephesus to go into Macedonia after the tumult excited by Demetrius. As Paul was driven away unexpectedly, and when he had not completed what he designed to do there, nothing is more natural than the supposition that he would embrace the earliest opportunity to give suitable instructions to Timothy, that he might know how to complete the work.


This is specified in 1 Ti 1:3. Paul had gone in Macedonia, having been suddenly driven away from Ephesus, before he had entirely done what he had designed to do there. He left Timothy there to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine:" that is, no other doctrine than that which he had himself taught there. It is clear, from this, that there were certain errors prevailing there which Paul thought it of the highest importance to have corrected. In regard to those errors, see the Introduction to the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Epistle to the Colossians. some of the circumstances which gave occasion to this epistle, can be gathered from the history in the Acts of the Apostles; others can be derived from the epistle itself. From these sources of information we learn the following things in reference to the state of the church in Ephesus, which made it proper that Timothy should be left there, and that these instructions should be given him to regulate his conduct.

(1.) There was much opposition to the apostle Paul from the Jews who resided there, Ac 14:8,19.

(2.) There were in the church teachers who endeavoured to enforce the maxims of the Jewish law, and to represent that law as binding on Christians, 1 Ti 1:6,7.

(3.) Some of the Hews residing there were addicted to exorcism, and endeavoured to make use of Christianity and the name of Jesus to promote their selfish ends, Ac 19:14. Comp. 1 Ti 1:4.

(4.) The Jewish teachers laid great stress on geneologies and traditions, and were much given to debates about various questions connected with the law, 1 Ti 1:4-6.

(5.) There were erroneous views prevailing respecting the rights of women, and the place they ought to occupy in the church, 1 Ti 2:8-15.

(6.) The organization of the officers of the church had not been effected as Paul wished it to be. It is probable that some of the officers had been appointed, and that some instructions had been given to them in regard to their duties, but the whole arrangement had not been completed, 1 Ti 3, 5.

(7.) There were certain questions in regard to the proper treatment of widows, which had not yet been determined, 1 Ti 5.

(8.) The apostle, in his preaching, had inculcated benevolent principles, and had asserted the natural equality of all men; and it would seem that certain persons had taken occasion form this to excite a spirit of discontent and insubordination among those who were servants. The doctrine seems to have been advanced, that, as all men were equal, and all had been redeemed by the same blood, therefore those who had been held in bondage were free from all obligation to serve their masters. There were those evidently who sought to excite them to insurrection; to break down the distinctions in society, and to produce a state of insubordination and disorder, 1 Ti 6; comp. Eph 6:5-10; Col 3:22; 4:2.

The remainder of this note is continued in note on 1 Ti 1:2


Continuation of Note from 1 Ti 1:1. Material for Verse 2 is at end of this material.

Such appears to have been the state of things when the apostle was compelled suddenly to leave Ephesus. He had hitherto directed the affairs of the church there mainly himself, and had endeavoured to correct the errors then prevailing, and to establish the church on a right foundation. Matters appear to have been tending tot he desired result; religion was acquiring a strong hold on the members of the church Ac 19:18-20; error was giving way; the community was becoming more and more impressed with the value of Christianity; the influence idolatry was becoming less and less, Ac 19:23, seq. and the arrangements for the complete organization of the church were in progress. Such was the promising state of things in these respects, that the apostle hoped to be able to leave Ephesus at no very distant period, and had actually made arrangements to do it, Ac 19:21. But his arrangements were not quite finished, and before they were completed, he was compelled to leave by the tumult excited by Demetrius. He left Timothy, therefore, to complete the arrangements, and, in this first epistle, gave him all the instructions necessary to guide him in that work.

This view of the state of things in Ephesus at the time when the apostle was constrained to leave it, will enable us to understand the drift of the epistle, and the reasons why the various topics found in it were introduced. At the same time, the instructions are of so general a character, that they would be an invaluable guide to Timothy not only at Ephesus, but through his life; and not only to him, but to all the ministers of the gospel in every age and land. A more detailed view of these topics will be furnished in the analysis prefixed to the several chapters of the epistle.

The epistles to Timothy and Titus occupy a very important place in the New Testament, and without them there would be a manifest and most material defect in the volume of inspiration. Their canonical authority has never been questioned by the great body of the church, and there is no doubt that they are the productions of the apostle Paul. If the various epistles which he wrote, and the various other books of the New Testament be attentively examined, it will be found that each one is designed to accomplish an important object, and that if any one were removed, a material chasm would be made. Though the removal of any one of them would not so impair the volume of the New Testament as to obscure any essential doctrine, or prevent our obtaining the knowledge of the way of salvation from the remainder, yet it would mar the beauty and symmetry of the truth, and would render the system of instruction defective and incomplete.

This is true in regard to the epistles to Timothy and Titus, as it is of the other epistles. They fill a department which nothing else in the New Testament would enable us to supply, and without which instructions to man respecting redemption would be incomplete. They relate mainly to the office of the ministry; and though there are important instructions of the Saviour himself respecting the office, Mt 10; Mr 16, and elsewhere; and though, in the address of Paul to the elders of Ephesus, Ac 20, and in the epistles to the Corinthians, there are invaluable suggestions respecting it: yet, such is its importance in the organization of the church, that more full and complete instructions seem to be imperiously demanded. Those instructions are furnished in these epistles. They are as full and complete as we could desire in regard to the nature of the office, the qualifications for it, and the duties which grow out of it. They are fitted not only to direct Timothy and Titus in the work to which they were specifically appointed, but to counsel the ministry in every age and in every land. It is obvious that the character and welfare of the church depend greatly, if not entirely, on the character of the ministry. The office of the ministry is God's great appointment for the preservation of pure religion, and for spreading it abroad through the world. The church adheres to the truth; is built up in faith; is distinguished for love, and purity, and zeal, in proportion as the ministry is honoured, and shows itself qualified for its work. In every age corruption in the church has commenced in the ministry; and where the gospel has been spread abroad with zeal, and the church has arisen in her strength and beauty, it has been pre-eminently where God has sent down his Spirit in copious measures on those who have filled the sacred office. So important, then, is this office to the welfare of the church and the world, that it was desirable that full instructions should be furnished in the volume of revelation in regard to its nature and design. Such instructions we have in these epistles, and there is scarcely any portion of the New Testament which the church could not better afford to part with than the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. Had the ministry always been such as these epistles contemplate, had they who have filled the sacred office always had the character and qualifications here described, we may believe that the church would have been saved from the strifes that have rent it, and that the pure gospel would long ere this have been spread through the world.

But it is not to the ministry only that these epistles are of so much value. They are of scarcely less importance to the church at large. Its vitality; its purity; its freedom from strife; its zeal and love, and triumph in spreading the gospel, depend on the character of the ministry. If the church will prosper from age to age, the pulpit must be filled with a pious, learned, laborious, and devoted ministry, and one of the first cares of the church should be, that such a ministry should be secured. This great object cannot better be attained than by keeping the instructions in these epistles steadily before the minds of the members of the church; and though a large part of them is particularly adapted to the ministers of the gospel, yet the church itself can in no better way promote its own purity and prosperity than by a prayerful and attentive study of the epistles to Timothy and Titus.




This chapter comprises the following subjects :—

(1.) The salutation to Timothy, in the usual manner in which Paul introduces his epistles, 1 Ti 1:1,2.

(2.) The purpose for which he had left him at Ephesus, 1 Ti 1:3,4. It was that he might correct the false instructions of some of the teachers there, and especially, as it would seem, in regard to the true use of the law. They gave undue importance to some things in the laws of Moses; they did not understand the true nature and design of his laws; and they mingled in their instructions much that was mere fable.

(3.) The true use and design of the law, 1 Ti 1:5-11. It was to produce love, not vain jangling. It was not made to fetter the conscience by vain and troublesome austerities and ceremonies; it was to restrain and bind the wicked. The use of the law according to these teachers, and according to the prevailing Jewish notions, was to prescribe a great number of formalities, and to secure outward conformity in a great variety of cumbrous rights and ceremonies. Paul instructs Timothy to teach them that love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience, was the elementary principle of religion, and that the "law" was primarily designed to restrain and control the wicked, and that the gospel brought to light and enforced this important truth.

(4.) The mention of the gospel in this connection, leads Paul to express his thanks to God that he had been intrusted with this message of salvation, 1 Ti 1:12-17. Once he had the same views as others. But he had obtained mercy, and he was permitted to publish that glorious gospel which had shed such light on the law of God, and which had revealed a plan of salvation that was worthy of universal acceptation.

(5.) This solemn duty of preaching the gospel he commits now to Timothy, 1 Ti 1:18-20. He says that he had been called to the work in accordance with the prophecies which had been uttered of him in anticipation of his future usefulness in the church, and in the expectation that he would not, like some others, make shipwreck of his faith.

Verse 1. Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ. See Barnes "Ro 1:1"

By the commandment of God. See Barnes "1 Co 1:1".

Our Saviour. The name Saviour is as applicable to God the rather as to the Lord Jesus Christ, since God is the great Author of salvation. See Barnes "Lu 1:47".
Comp. 1 Ti 4:10; Tit 2:10; Jude 1:25".

And Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul had received his commission directly from him. See Barnes "Ga 1:11, See Barnes "Ga 1:12".

Which is our hope. See Barnes "Col 1:27".

{a} "by the commandment" Ac 9:15

Verse 2. Unto Timothy. For an account of Timothy see Intro, § 1.

My own son in the faith. Converted to the Christian faith by my instrumentality, and regarded by me with the affection of a father. See Barnes "1 Co 4:15".

Paul had no children of his own, and he adopted Timothy as a son, and uniformly regarded and treated him as such. He had the same feeling also towards Titus. Tit 1:4. Comp. See Barnes "Ga 4:19" See Barnes "1 Th 2:7, See Barnes "1 Th 2:11" See Barnes "Phm 1:10".

Grace, mercy, and peace, etc. See Barnes "Ro 1:7".

{c} "my own son" Ac 16:1

{d} "in the faith" Tit 1:4

{e} "Grace" Ga 1:3; 1 Pe 1:2


Verse 3. As I besought thee still to abide at Ephesus. It is clear from this, that Paul and Timothy had been labouring together at Ephesus, and the language accords with the supposition that Paul had been compelled to leave before he had completed what he had designed to do there. See the Intro. 2.

When I went into Macedonia. Having been driven away by the excitement caused by Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen, Ac 20:1. See the Intro. & 2, 3.

That thou mightest charge some. The word charge here—paraggeilhv— seems to mean more than is commonly implied by the word as used by us. If it had been a single direction or command, it might have been given by Paul himself before he left, but it seems rather to refer to that continuous instruction which would convince these various errorists, and lead them to inculcate only the true doctrine. As they may have been numerous,—as they may have embraced various forms of error, and as they might have had plausible grounds for their belief, this was evidently a work requiring time, and hence Timothy was left to effect this at leisure. It would seem that the wrath which had been excited against Paul had not affected Timothy, but that he was permitted to remain and labour without molestation. It is not certainly known who these teachers were, but they appear to have been of Jewish origin, and to have inculcated the peculiar sentiments of the Jews respecting the law.

That they teach no other doctrine. That is, no other doctrine than that taught by the apostles. The Greek word here used is not found in the classic writers, and does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament except in 1 Ti 6:3 of this epistle, where it is rendered `teach otherwise.' We may learn here what was the design for which Timothy was left at Ephesus.

(1.) It was for a temporary purpose, and not as a permanent arrangement. It was to correct certain errors prevailing there which Paul would have been able himself soon to correct if he had been suffered to remain. Paul expected soon to return to him again, and then they would proceed unitedly with their work. 1 Ti 4:13; 3:15.

(2.) It was not that he might be the "bishop" of Ephesus. There is no evidence that he was "ordained" there at all, as the subscription to the second epistle declares, (see Notes on that subscription,) nor were the functions which he was to perform, those of a prelatical bishop. He was not to take the charge of a "diocese," or to ordain ministers of the "second rank," or to administer the rite of confirmation, or to perform acts of discipline, he was left there for a purpose which is specified, and that is as far as possible from what are now regarded as the appropriate functions of a prelatical bishop. Perhaps no claim which has ever been set up has had less semblance of argument than that which asserts that Timothy was the "bishop of Ephesus." See this clause examined in my "Inquiry into the Organization and Government of the Apostolic Church," [pp. 91-114, London edition.]

{f} "went into Macedonia" Ac 20:1,3


Verse 4. Neither give heed to fables. That is, that they should not bestow their attention on fables, or regard such trifles as of importance. The "fables" here referred to were probably the idle and puerile superstitions and conceits of the Jewish Rabbies. The word rendered fable (muyov) means properly speech or discourse, to and then fable or fiction, or a mystic discourse. Such things abounded among the Greeks as well as the Jews, but it is probable that the latter here are particularly intended. These were composed of frivolous and unfounded stories, which they regarded as of great importance, and which they seem have desired to incorporate with the teachings of Christianity. Paul, who had been brought up amidst these superstitions, saw at once how they would tend, to draw off the mind from the truth, and would corrupt the true religion. One of the most successful arts of the adversary of souls has been to mingle fable with truth; and when he cannot overthrow the truth by direct opposition, to neutralize it by mingling with it much that is false and frivolous.

And endless genealogies. This also refers to Jewish teaching. The Hebrews kept careful genealogical records, for this was necessary in order that the distinction of their tribes might be kept up. Of course, in the lapse of centuries, these tables would become very numerous, complicated, and extended—so that they might, without much exaggeration, be called "endless." The Jews attached great importance to them, and insisted on their being carefully preserved. As the Messiah, however, had now come—as the Jewish polity was to cease—as the separation between them and the heathen was no longer necessary, and the distinction of tribes was now useless, there was no propriety that these distinctions should be regarded by Christians. The whole system was, moreover, contrary to the genius of Christianity, for it served to keep up the pride of blood and of birth.

Which minister questions. Which afford matter for troublesome and angry debates. It was often difficult to settle or understand them. They became complicated and perplexing. Nothing is more difficult than to unravel an extensive genealogical table. To do this, therefore, would often give rise to contentions; and, when settled, would give rise still further to questions about rank and precedence.

Rather than godly edifying which is in faith. These inquiries do nothing to promote true religion in the soul. They settle no permanent principle of truth; they determine nothing that is really concerned in the salvation of men. They might be pursued through life, and not one soul be converted by them; they might be settled with the greatest accuracy, and yet not one heart be made better. Is not this still true of many controversies and logomachies in the church? No point of controversy is worth much trouble, which, if it were settled one way or the other, would not tend to convert the soul from sin, or to establish some important principle in promoting true religion.

So do. These words are supplied by our translators, but they are necessary to the sense. The meaning is, that Timothy was to remain at Ephesus, and faithfully perform the duty which he had been left there to discharge.

{g} "heed to fables" 1 Ti 6:3,4,20


Verse 5. Now the end of the commandment. See Barnes "Ro 10:4".

In order that Timothy might fulfil the design of his appointment, it was necessary that he should have a correct view of the design of the law. The teachers, to whom he refers, insisted much on its obligation and importance; and Paul designs to say that he did not intend to teach that the law was of no consequence, and was not, when properly understood, obligatory. Its nature and use, however, was not correctly understood by them, and hence it was of great importance for Timothy to inculcate correct views of the purpose for which it was given. The word "commandment" here, some have understood of the gospel, (Doddridge;) others of the particular command which the apostle here gives to Timothy, (Benson, Clarke, and Macknight;) but it seems more naturally to refer to all that God had commanded—his whole law. As the error of these teachers arose from improper views of the nature and design of law, Paul says that that design should be understood. It was not to produce distinctions and angry contentions, and was not to fetter the minds of Christians with minute and burdensome observances, but it was to produce love.

Is charity. On the meaning of this word, See Barnes "1 Co 13:1".

Out of a pure heart. The love which is genuine must proceed from a holy heart. The commandment was not designed to secure merely the outward expressions of love, but that which had its seat in the heart.

And of a good conscience. A conscience free from guilt. Of course there can be no genuine love to God where the dictates of conscience are constantly violated, or where a man knows that he is continually doing wrong. If a man wishes to have the evidence of love to God, he must keep a good conscience. All pretended love, where a man knows that he is living in sin, is mere hypocrisy.

And of faith unfeigned. Undissembled confidence in God. This does seem to be intended specifically of faith in the Lord Jesus, but it means that all true love to God, such as this law would produce, must be based on confidence in him. How can any one have love to him who has no confidence in him? Can we exercise love to a professed friend in whom we have no confidence? Faith, then, is as necessary under the law as it is under the gospel.

{a} "of the commandment" Ro 13:8,10; Ga 5:14

{*} "charity" "Love"

{b} "pure heart" 2 Ti 2:22


Verse 6. From which some having swerved. Marg., not aiming at. The word here used astocew— means properly, to miss the mark; to err; and then, to swerve from. Comp. 1 Ti 6:21; 2 Ti 2:18. It does not mean that they had ever had that from which they are said to have swerved—for it does not follow that a man who misses a mark had ever hit it—but merely that they failed of the things referred to, and had turned to vain talk. The word "which" (wn,) in the plural, refers not to the law, but to the things enumerated —a pure heart, a good conscience, and unfeigned faith.

Have turned aside unto vain jangling. Vain talk, empty declamation, discourses without sense. The word here used does not mean contention or strife, but that kind of discourse which is not founded in good sense. They were discourses on their pretended distinctions in the law; on their traditions and ceremonies; on their useless genealogies, and on the fabulous statements which they had appended to the law of Moses.

{1} "having swerved" "not aiming at"


Verse 7. Desiring to be teachers of the law. That is, to have the credit and reputation of being well versed in the law of Moses, and qualified to explain it to others. This was a high honour among the Jews, and these teachers laid claim to the same distinction.

Understanding neither what they say. That is, they do not understand the true nature and design of that law which they attempt to explain to others. This was true of the Jewish teachers, and equally so of those in the church at Ephesus, who attempted to explain it. They appear to hare explained the law on the principles which commonly prevailed among the Jews, and hence their instructions tended greatly to corrupt the faith of the gospel. They made affirmations of what they knew nothing of, and though they made confident asseverations, yet they often pertained to things about which they had no knowledge. One needs only a slight acquaintance with the manner of teaching among Jewish Rabbies, or with the things found in their traditions, to see the accuracy of this statement of the apostle. A sufficient illustration of this may be found in Allen's "Modern Judaism."

{d} "understanding neither" Ro 1:22


Verse 8. But we know that the law is good. We admit this; it is that which we all concede. This declaration is evidently made by the apostle to guard against the supposition that he was an enemy of the law. Doubtless this charge would be brought against him, or against any one who maintained the sentiments which he had just expressed. By speaking thus of what those teachers regarded as so important in the law, it would be natural for them to declare that he was an enemy of the law itself, and would be glad to see all its claims abrogated. Paul says that he designs no such thing. He admitted that the law was good. He was never disposed for one moment to call it in question. He only asked that it should be rightly understood and properly explained. Paul was never disposed to call in question the excellency and the utility of the law, however it might bear on him or on others. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 7:12, and See Barnes "Ac 21:21-26".

"If a man use it lawfully". In a proper manner; for the purposes for which it was designed. It is intended to occupy a most important place, but it should not be perverted. Paul asked only that it should be used aright, and, in order to this, he proceeds to state what is its true design.

{e} "law is good" Ro 7:12


Verse 9. Knowing this. That is, "If any one knows, or admits this, he has the proper view of the design of the law." The apostle does not refer particularly to himself as knowing or conceding this, for then he would have used the plural form of the participle, (see the Greek;) but he means that any one, who had just views of the law, would see that that which he proceeds to specify was its real purpose.

The law is not made for a righteous man.—There has been great variety in the interpretation of this passage. Some suppose that the law here refers to the ceremonial laws of Moses, (Clarke, Rosenmuller, Abbot;) others to the denunciatory part of the law, (Doddridge and Bloomfield;) and others that it means that the chief purpose of the law was to restrain the wicked. It seems clear, however, that the apostle does not refer merely to the ceremonial law, for he specifies that which condemns the unholy and profane; the murderers of fathers and mothers; liars and perjured persons. It was not the ceremonial law which condemned these things, but the moral law. It cannot be supposed, moreover, that the apostle meant, to say that the law was not binding on a righteous man, or that he was under no obligation to obey it—for he everywhere teaches that the moral law is obligatory on all mankind. To suppose also that a righteous man is released from the obligation to obey the law, that is, to do right, is an absurdity. Nor does he seem to mean, as Macknight supposes, that the law was not given for the purpose of justifying a righteous man—for this was originally one of its designs. Had man always obeyed it, he would have been justified by it. The meaning seems to be, that the purpose of the law was not to fetter and perplex those who were righteous, and who aimed to do their duty and to please God, It was not intended to produce a spirit of servitude and bondage. As the Jews interpreted it, it did this, and this interpretation appears to have been adopted by the teachers at Ephesus, to whom Paul refers. The whole tendency of their teaching was to bring the soul into a state of bondage, and to make religion a condition of servitude. Paul teaches, on the other hand, that religion was a condition of freedom, and that the main purpose of the law was not to fetter the minds of the righteous by numberless observances and minute regulations, but that it was to restrain the wicked from sin. This is the case with all law. No good man feels himself fettered and manacled by wholesome laws, nor does he feel that the purpose of law is to reduce him to a state of servitude. It is only the wicked who have this feeling—and in this sense the law is made for a man who intends to do wrong.

For the lawless. To bind and restrain them. The word here used means, properly, those who have no law, and then those who are transgressors—the wicked. It is rendered transgressors in Mr 15:28; Lu 22:37; and wicked, Ac 2:23; 2 Th 2:8.

And disobedient. Those who are insubordinate, lawless, refractory. The word properly means those who are under no subjection or authority. It occurs in the New Testament only here, and Tit 1:6,10, where it is rendered unruly, and Heb 2:8, where it is translated not put under; that is, under Christ.

For the ungodly. Those who have no religion; who do not worship or honour God. The Greek word occurs in the following places, in all of which it is rendered ungodly, Ro 4:5; 5:6; 1 Ti 1:9; 1 Pe 4:18; 2 Pe 2:5; 3:7; Jude 1:4,15.

The meaning is, that the law is against all who do not worship or honour God.

And for sinners. The word used here is the common word to denote sinners. It is general, and includes sins of all kinds.

For unholy. "Those who are regardless of duty to God or man." Robinson, Lex. The word occurs in the New Testament only here, and in 2 Ti 3:2. It has particular reference to those who fail of their duty towards God, and means those who have no piety; who are irreligious.

And profane. This does not necessarily mean that they were profane in the sense that they blasphemed the name of God, or were profane swearers—though the word would include that—but it means properly those who are impious, or who are scoffers. See Barnes "Heb 12:16".

The word occurs only in the following places, in all of which it is rendered profane, 1 Ti 1:9; 4:7; 6:20; 2 Ti 2:16; Heb 12:16.

A man who treats religion with contempt, mockery, or scorn, would correspond with the meaning of the word.

For murderers of fathers. The Greek properly means a smiter of a father, (Robinson,) though here it undoubtedly means a parricide. This was expressly forbidden by the law of Moses, and was a crime punishable by death, Ex 21:15. It is said to have been a crime which the Roman law did not contemplate as possible, and hence that there was no enactment against it. It is, indeed, a crime of the highest order; but facts have shown that if the Romans supposed it would never be committed, they did not judge aright of human nature. There is no sin which man will not commit if unrestrained, and there is in fact no conceivable form of crime of which he has not been guilty.

Murderers of mothers. A still more atrocious and monstrous crime, if possible, than the former. We can conceive nothing superior to this in atrocity, and yet it has been committed. Nero caused his mother to be murdered, and the annals of crime disclose the names of not a few who have imbrued their own hands in the blood of those who bare them. This was also expressly forbidden by the law of Moses, Ex 21:15.

For manslayers. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means a homicide—a murderer. The crime is expressly forbidden by the law, Ex 20:13; Ge 9:6.

{f} "the law" Ga 5:23


Verse 10. For whoremongers. Le 19:29; 20:5.

For them that defile themselves with mankind. Sodomites. See the evidence that this crime abounded in ancient times, See Barnes "Ro 1:27".

It was forbidden by the law of Moses, and was punishable with death. Le 20:13.

For menstealers. The word here used andrapodisthv occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means one who steals another for the purpose of making him a slave—a kidnapper. This is the common way in which men are made slaves. Some, indeed, are taken in war and sold as slaves, but the mass of those who have been reduced to servitude have become slaves by being kidnapped. Children are stolen from their parents, or wives from their husbands, or husbands from their wives, or parents from their children, or whole families are stolen together. None become slaves voluntarily, and consequently the whole process of making slaves partakes of the nature of theft of the worst kind. What theft is like that of stealing a man's children, or his wife, or his father or mother! The guilt of manstealing is incurred essentially by those who purchase those who are thus stolen—as the purchaser of a stolen horse, knowing it to be so, participates in the crime. A measure of that criminality also adheres to all who own slaves, and who thus maintain the system-for it is a system known to have been originated by theft. This crime was expressly forbidden by the law of God, and was made punishable with death, Ex 21:16; De 24:7.

For liars. Le 6:2-4; 19:11.

For perjured persons. Those who swear falsely. Le 19:12; 6:3; Ex 20:7.

And if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine. To sound or correct teaching—for so the word doctrine means. The meaning is, if there is anything else that is opposed to the instruction which the law of God gives.

{a} "doctrine" 2 Ti 4:3; Tit 1:9


Verse 11. According to the glorious gospel. The gospel is a system of Divine revelation. It makes known the will of God. It states what is duty, and accords in its great principles with the law, or is in harmony with it. The law, in principle, forbids all which the gospel forbids, and in publishing the requirements of the gospel, therefore, Paul says that the law really forbade all which was prohibited in the gospel, and was designed to restrain all who would act contrary to that gospel. There is no contradiction between the law and the gospel. They forbid the same things, and in regard to morals and true piety, the clearer revelations of the gospel are but carrying out the principles stated in the law. They who preach the gospel, then, should not be regarded as arrayed against the law, and Paul says that they who preached the gospel aright really stated the true principles of the law. This he evidently intends should bear against the false teachers who professed to explain the law of Moses. lie means here that if a man wished to explain the law, the best explanation would be found in that gospel which it was his office to publish. Comp. Ro 3:31.

Of the blessed God. Revealed by the blessed God—the same God who was the Author of the law. Which was committed to my trust. Not to him alone, but to him in common with others, he had received it directly from the Lord, 1 Co 9:17. See Barnes "Ga 1:1".

{b} "blessed God" 1 Ti 6:15

{c} "was committed" 1 Co 9:17


Verse 12. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord. The mention of the gospel 1 Ti 1:11, and of the fact that it was committed to him leads the apostle to express his gratitude to him who had called him to the work of preaching it. The Lord Jesus had called him when he was a blasphemer and a persecutor. He had constrained him to leave his career of persecution and blasphemy, and to consecrate himself to the defence and the propagation of the gospel. For all this, though it had required him to give up his favourite projects in life, and all the flattering schemes of ambition, he now felt that praise was due to the Redeemer. If there is anything for which a good man will be thankful, and should be thankful, it is that he has been so directed by the Spirit and providence of God as to be put into the ministry. It is indeed a work of toil and of self-denial, and demanding many sacrifices of personal ease and comfort. It requires a man to give up his splendid prospects of worldly distinction, and of wealth and ease. It is often identified with want, and poverty, and neglect, and persecution. But it is an office so honourable, so excellent, so noble, and ennobling; it is attended with so many precious comforts here, and is so useful to the world, and it has such promises of blessedness and happiness in the world to come, that no matter what a man is required to give up in order to become a minister of the gospel, he should be thankful to Christ for putting him into the office. A minister when he comes to die, feels that the highest favour which heaven has conferred on him has been in turning his feet away from the paths of ambition, and the pursuits of ease or gain, and leading him to that holy work to which he has been enabled to consecrate his life.

Who hath enabled me. Who has given me ability or strength for this service. The apostle traced to the Lord Jesus the fact that he was in the ministry at all, and all the ability which he had to perform the duties of thai holy office. It is not necessary here to suppose, as many have done, that he refers to miraculous power conferred on him, but he makes the acknowledgment which any faithful minister would do, that all the strength which he has to perform the duties of his office is derived from Christ. Comp. See Barnes "Joh 15:5" See Barnes "1 Co 15:10".

For that he counted me faithful. This is equivalent to saying that he reposed confidence in me. It means that there was something in the character of Paul, and in his attachment to the Saviour, on which reliance could be placed, or that there was that which gave the assurance that he would be faithful. A sovereign when he sends an ambassador to a foreign court, reposes confidence in him, and would not commission him unless he had reason to believe that he would be faithful. So it is in reference to all who are called by the Redeemer into the ministry. They are his ambassadors to a lost world. His putting them into the ministry is an act expressive of great confidence in them—for he commits to them great and important interests. Learn hence,

(1.) that no one ought to regard himself as called to the ministry who will not be "faithful" to his Master: and

(2.) that the office of the ministry is most honourable and responsible. Nowhere else are there so great interests intrusted to man.

{d} "enabled me" 1 Co 15:10

{e} "faithful" 1 Co 7:25

{f} "putting me" Col 1:25


Verse 13. Who was before a blasphemer. This does not mean that Paul before his conversion was what would now be regarded as an open blasphemer—that he was one who abused and reviled sacred things, or one who was in the habit of profane swearing. His character appears to have been just the reverse of this, for he was remarkable for treating what he regarded as sacred with the utmost respect. See Barnes "Php 3:4-6".

The meaning is, that he had reviled the name of Christ, and opposed him and his cause—not believing that he was the Messiah; and in thus opposing he had really been guilty of blasphemy. The true Messiah he had in fact treated with contempt and reproaches; and he now looked back upon that fact with the deepest mortification, and with wonder that one who had been so treated by him should have been willing to put him into the ministry. On the meaning of the word blaspheme, See Barnes "Mt 9:3".

Compare See Barnes "Ac 26:11".

In his conduct here referred to, Paul elsewhere says, that he thought at the time that he was doing what he ought to do, Ac 26:9; here he says that he now regarded it as blasphemy. Learn hence that men may have very different views of their conduct when they come to look at it in subsequent life. What they now regard as harmless, or even as right and proper, may hereafter overwhelm them with shame and remorse. The sinner will yet feel the deepest self-reproaches for that which now gives us no uneasiness.

And a persecutor. Ac 9:1; Ac 22:4; 26:11; 1 Co 15:9; Ga 1:13,23.

And injurious. The word here used, (ubristhv,) occurs only in one other place in the New Testament, Ro 1:30, where it is tendered despiteful. The word injurious does not quite express its force. It does not mean merely doing injury, but refers rather to the manner or spirit in which it is done. It is a word of intenser signification than either the word "blasphemer," or "persecutor," and means that what he did was done with a proud, haughty, insolent spirit. There was wicked and malicious violence, an arrogance and spirit of tyranny in what he did, which greatly aggravated the wrong that was done. Comp. the Greek in Mt 22:6; Lu 11:45; 18:32; Ac 14:5; 1 Th 2:2; 2 Co 12:10, for illustrations of the meaning of the word. Tindal and Coverdale render it here "tyrant."

But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. Comp. See Barnes "Lu 23:34".

The ignorance and unbelief of Paul were not such excuses for what he did that they would wholly free him from blame, nor did he regard them as such—for what he did was with a violent and wicked spirit—but they were mitigating circumstances. They served to modify his guilt, and were among the reasons why God had mercy on him. What is said here, therefore, accords with what the Saviour said in his prayer for his murderers: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." It is undoubtedly true that persons who sin ignorantly, and who regard themselves as right in what they do, are much more likely to obtain mercy than those who do wrong designedly.

{a} "a blasphemer" Ac 8:3; 1 Co 15:9

{b} "ignorantly" Lu 23:34


Verse 14. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant. That is, in his conversion under these circumstances, and in the aid which was afterwards imparted to him in his work.

With faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. Accompanied with the exercise of faith and love; or producing faith and love. The grace which was imparted to him was seen in the faith and love which it produced. See Barnes "1 Co 15:10".


Verse 15. This is a faithful saying. Gr., "Faithful is the word," or doctrine— o logov. This verse has somewhat the character of a parenthesis, and seems to have been thrown into the midst of the narrative because the mind of the apostle was full of the subject. He had said that he, a great sinner, had obtained mercy. This naturally led him to think of the purpose for which Christ came into the world—to save sinners—and to think how strikingly that truth had been illustrated in his own case, and how that case had shown that it was worthy the attention of all. The word rendered "saying," means, in this place, doctrine, position, or declaration. The word "faithful," means assuredly true; it was that which might be depended on, or on which reliance might be placed. The meaning is, that the doctrine that Christ came to save sinners might be depended on as certainly true. Comp. 2 Ti 2:11; Tit 3:8.

And worthy of all acceptation. Worthy to be embraced or believed by all. This is so because

(1.) all are sinners and need a Saviour. All, therefore, ought to welcome a doctrine which shows them how they may be saved.

(2.) Because Christ died for all.

If he had died for only a part of the race, and could save only a part, it could not be said, with any propriety, that the doctrine was worthy of the acceptance of "all". If that were so, what had it to do with all? How could all be interested in it, or benefited by it? If medicine had been provided for only a part of the patients in a hospital, it could not be said that the announcement of such a fact was worthy the attention of all. It would be highly worthy the attention of those for whom it was designed, but there would be a part who would have nothing to do with it; and why should they concern themselves about it? But if it were provided for each one, then each one would have the highest interest in it. So, if salvation has been provided for me, it is a matter claiming my profoundest attention; and the same is true of every human being. If not provided for me, I have nothing to do with it. It does not concern me at all.

(3.) The manner in which the provision of salvation has been made in the gospel is such as to make it worthy of universal acceptation. It provides for the complete pardon of sin, and the restoration of the soul to God. This is done in a way that is honourable to God—maintaining his law and his justice; and, at the same time, it is in a way that is honourable to man. He is treated afterwards as a friend of God and an heir of life. He is raised up from his degradation, and restored to the favour of his Maker. If man were himself to suggest a way of salvation, he could think of none that would be more honourable to God and to himself; none that would do so much to maintain the law, and to elevate him from all that now degrades him. What higher honour can be conferred on man than to have his salvation sought as an object of intense and earnest desire by one so great and glorious as the Son of God?

(4.) It is worthy of all acceptance, from the nature of the salvation itself. Heaven is offered, with all its everlasting glories, through the blood of Christ—and is not this worthy of universal acceptation? Men would accept of a coronet or crown; a splendid mansion, or a rich estate; a present of jewels and gold, if freely tendered to them; but what trifles are these compared with heaven! If there is anything that is worthy of universal acceptation, it is heaven, for all will be miserable unless they enter there.

That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. The great and peculiar doctrine of the gospel. He "came into the world." He, therefore, had a previous existence. He came. He had, therefore, an object in coming. It makes his gospel more worthy of acceptation, that he had an intention, a plan, a wish, in thus coming into the world. He "came" when he was under no necessity of coming; he came to save, not to destroy; to reveal mercy, not to denounce judgment; to save sinners—the poor, the lost, the wandering, not to condemn them; he came to restore them to the favour of God, to raise them up from their degradation, and to bring them to heaven.

Of whom I am chief. Gr., first. The word is used to denote eminence, and it means that he occupied the first rank among sinners. There were none who surpassed him. This does not mean that he had been the greatest of sinners in all respects, but that in some respects he had been so great a sinner, that, on the whole, there were none who had surpassed him. That to which he particularly refers was doubtless the part which he had taken in putting the saints to death; but in connexion with this, he felt, undoubtedly, that he had by nature a heart eminently prone to sin. See Ro 7. Except in the matter of persecuting the saints, the youthful Saul of Tarsus appears to have been eminently moral, and his outward conduct was framed in accordance with the strictest rules of the law, Php 3:6; Ac 26:4,6.

After his conversion, he never attempted to extenuate his conduct, or excuse himself. He was always ready, in all circles, and in all places, to admit, to its fullest extent, the fact that he was a sinner. So deeply convinced was he of the truth of this, that he bore about with him the constant impression that he was eminently unworthy; and hence he does not say merely that he had been a sinner of most aggravated character, but he speaks of it as something that always pertained to him—" of whom I am chief." We may remark

(1.) that a true Christian will always be ready to admit that his past life has been evil;

(2.) that this will become the abiding and steady conviction of the soul; and

(3.) that an acknowledgment that we are sinners is not inconsistent with evidence of piety, and with high attainments in it. The most eminent Christian has the deepest sense of the depravity of his own heart, and of the evil of his past life.

{c} "faithful saying" 2 Ti 2:11; Tit 3:8

{d} "came into the world" Mt 9:13; Lu 19:10


Verse 16. Howbeit for this came. That is, this was on, of the causes, or this was a leading reason. We are not to suppose that this was the only one. God had other ends to answer by his conversion than this; but this was one of the designs why he was pardoned— that there might be for all ages a permanent proof that sins of the deepest dye might be forgiven. It was well to have one such example at the outset, that a doubt might never arise about the possibility of forgiving great transgressors. The question thus would be settled for ever.

That in me first. Not first in the order of time, as our translation would seem to imply, but that in me the first or chief of sinners en emoi prwtw he might show an example. The idea is, that he sustained the first rank as a sinner, and that Jesus Christ designed to show mercy to him as such, in order that the possibility of pardoning the greatest sinners might be evinced, and that no one might afterwards despair of salvation on account of the greatness of his crimes.

Might show forth all long-suffering. The highest possible degree of forbearance, in order that a case might never occur about which there could be any doubt. It was shown by his example that the Lord Jesus could evince any possible degree of patience, and could have mercy on the greatest imaginable offenders.

For a pattern. Upotupwsin. This word occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in 2 Ti 1:13, where it is rendered form. It properly means a form, sketch, or imperfect delineation. Then it denotes a pattern or example, and here it means that the case of Paul was an example for the encouragement of sinners in all subsequent times. It was that to which they might look when they desired forgiveness and salvation. It furnished all the illustration and argument which they would need to show that they might be forgiven. It settled the question for ever that the greatest sinners might be pardoned; for as he was "the chief of sinners," it proved that a case could not occur which was beyond the possibility of mercy.

Which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. All might learn from the mercy shown to him that salvation could be obtained. From this verse we may learn

(1.) that no sinner should despair of mercy. No one should say that he is so great a sinner that he cannot be forgiven. One who regarded himself as the "chief" of sinners was pardoned, and pardoned for the very purpose of illustrating this truth, that any sinner might be saved. His example stands as the illustration of this to all ages; and were there no other, any sinner might now come and hope for mercy. But there are other examples. Sinners of all ranks and descriptions have been pardoned. Indeed, there is no form of depravity of which men can be guilty, in respect to which there are not instances where just such offenders have been forgiven. The persecutor may reflect that great enemies of the cross like him have been pardoned; the profane man and the blasphemer, that many such have been forgiven; the murderer, the thief, the sensualist, that many of the same character have found mercy, and have been admitted to heaven.

(2.) The fact that great sinners have been pardoned, is a proof that others of the same description may be also. The same mercy that saved them can save us—for mercy is not exhausted by being frequently exercised. The blood of atonement which has cleansed so many can cleanse us—for its efficacy is not destroyed by being once applied to the guilty soul. Let no one then despair of obtaining mercy because he feels that his sins are too great to be forgiven. Let him look to the past, and remember what God has done. Let him remember the case of Saul of Tarsus; let him think of David and Peter; let him recall the names of Augustine, and Col. Gardiner, and the Bari of Rochester, and John Newton, and John Bunyan—and thousands like them, who have found mercy; and in their examples let him see a full proof that God is willing to save any sinner, no matter how vile, provided he is penitent and believing.

{a} "pattern" Ro 15:4


Verse 17. Now unto the King eternal. This ascription of praise is offered to God in view of the mercy which he had shown to so great a sinner. It is the outbreak of that grateful emotion which swelled his bosom, and which would not be denied expression, when Paul recalled his former life and the mercy of God to his soul. It somewhat interrupts indeed the train of his remarks, but the heart was so full that it demanded utterance. It is just an instance of the joy and gratitude which fill the soul of a Christian when he is led along in a train of reflections which conduct him to the recollection of his former sin and danger, and to the fact that he has obtained mercy and has now the hope of heaven. The apostle Paul not unfrequently, in accordance with a mode of writing that was common among the Hebrews, interposes an expression of praise in the midst of his reasonings. Comp. Ro 1:25; 2 Co 11:31. God is called King here, as he is often in the Scriptures, to denote that he rules over the universe. A literal translation of the passage would be, "To the King of ages, who is immortal," etc. The meaning of this expression—"the King of ages" basilei twn aiwnwn — is, that he is a King who rules throughout all ages. This does not mean that he himself lives for ever, but that his dominion extends over all ages or generations. The rule of earthly monarchs does not extend into successive ages; his does. Their reign is temporary; his is enduring, and continues as one generation after another passes on, and thus embraces them all.

Immortal. This refers to God himself, not to his reign. It means that he does not die, and it is given to him to distinguish him from other sovereigns. All other monarchs but God expire—and are just as liable to die at any moment as any other men.

Invisible. 1 Ti 6:16. See Barnes "Joh 1:18".

The only wise God. See Barnes "Ro 16:27".

The word "wise" is wanting in many .Mss., and in some editions of the New Testament. It is omitted by Griesbach; marked as doubtful by Tittman; and rejected in the valuable edition of Hahn. Erasmus conjectures that it was added against the Arians, who maintained that the Father only was God, and that as he is here mentioned as such, the word wise was interpolated to denote merely that the attribute of perfect wisdom belonged only to him. Wetstein regards the reading as genuine, and suspects that in some of the early manuscripts where it is wanting it was omitted by the transcriber, because it was regarded as inelegant for two adjectives to be united in this manner. It is not easy to determine as to the genuineness of the reading. The sense is not materially affected, whichever view be adopted. It is true that Jehovah is the only God; it is also true that he is the only wise God. The gods of the heathen are "vanity and a lie," and they are wholly destitute of wisdom. See Ps 115:3-8; 135:16-18; Isa 40:18-20; 44:10-17.

Be honour. Let there be all the respect and veneration shown to him which is his due.

And glory. Praise. Let him be praised by all for ever.

Amen. So be it; an expression of strong affirmation. Joh 3:3. Here it is used to denote the solemn assent of the heart to the sentiment conveyed by the words used. See Barnes "Mt 6:13; 1 Co 14:16".

{b} "eternal" Ps 10:16

{c} "invisible" 1 Ti 6:15,16

{d} "wise God" Joh 1:16

{e} "God" Ro 16:27

{f} "honour and glory" 1 Ch 29:11


Verse 18. This charge. This command or injunction. It does not refer to any "charge," or "cure," which he had as bishop or minister, as the word is sometimes used now, but to the commands or injunctions which he was delivering to him. The command particularly referred to is that in 1 Ti 1:3.

According to the prophecies which went before on thee. The general meaning of this is plain. It is, that Paul was committing to him an important trust, and one that required great wisdom and fidelity; and that in doing it he was acting in conformity with the hopes which had been cherished respecting Timothy, and with certain expressed anticipations about his influence in the church. From early life the hope had been entertained that he would be a man to whom important trusts might be committed; and it had been predicted that he would be distinguished as a friend of religion. These hopes seem to have been cherished in consequence of the careful training in religion which he had had, 2 Ti 2:2; 3:15, and probably from the early indications of seriousness, prudence, and piety, which he manifested. It was natural to entertain such hopes; and it seems, from this place, that such hopes had even assumed the form of predictions. It is not absolutely necessary to suppose that these predictions referred to by the word prophecies were inspired, for the word may be used in a popular sense, as it is often now, We speak now familiarly of predicting or foretelling the future usefulness of a serious, prudent, studious, and pious youth. We argue from what he is, to what he will be, and we do not deem it unsafe or improper to hazard the prediction that, if he lives, he will be a man to whom important interests may be intrusted. As there were, however, prophets in the Christian church, See Barnes "Ac 11:27" See Barnes "1 Co 14:32, and as it is possible that in some cases they were inspired to foretell future events, it cannot be regarded as improper to suppose that some of them had foretold the future usefulness of this religiously educated youth. Whatever may be meant by the expression, this general observation may be made, that when a young man enters on the active duties of life, and when great interests are intrusted to him, it is not improper to remind him of the hopes which had been cherished of him; of the anticipations which had been formed of his future usefulness; and of the expressions which have been used by the pious and the discerning respecting his future character. This is a kind of reminiscence which will rather increase his sense of responsibility than flatter his vanity; and it may be made a means of exciting him to diligence and fidelity. A virtuous young man will not willingly disappoint the long-cherished hopes of his friends. He will be likely to be made more diligent by the remembrance of all their fond anticipations of his future success.

That thou by them. By those prophecies. That is, that being stimulated and excited by those predictions and hopes, you might be led to fidelity and usefulness.

Mightest war a good warfare. The Christian life is often compared to a warfare or struggle for victory, comp. Eph 6:10-17; 1 Co 9:7 2 Co 10:4, and the services of the Christian ministry especially are likened to those of a soldier, 2 Ti 2:3,4; 4:7.

The meaning here is, that he should contend with earnestness as a Christian and a minister in that holy service in which he was engaged, and endeavour to secure the victory. He "wars a good warfare" who is engaged in a righteous cause; who is faithful to his commander and to his post; who is unslumbering in observing the motions of the enemy, and fearless in courage in meeting them; who never forsakes his standard, and who continues thus faithful till the period of his enlistment has expired, or till death. Such a soldier the Christian minister should be.

{a} "according to the prophecies" 1 Th 4:14

{*} "on thee" "concerning thee"


Verse 19. Holding faith. Fidelity to the cause in which you are enlisted as a good soldier should do. This does not mean, as it seems to me, that Timothy should hold to the system of doctrines revealed in the gospel, but that he should have that fidelity which a good soldier ought to have. He should not betray his trust. He should adhere to the cause of his Master with unwavering steadfastness. This would include, of course, a belief of the truth, but this is not the leading idea in the phrase.

And a good conscience. See Barnes "Ac 23:1".

A good conscience, as well as fidelity, is necessary in the service of the Redeemer. A good conscience is that which is well informed in regard to what is right, and where its dictates are honestly followed.

Which some having put away. That is, which good conscience some have put from them, or in other words, have not followed its dictates The truth thus taught is, that men make shipwreck of their faith by not keeping a good conscience. They love sin. They follow the leadings of passion. They choose to indulge in carnal propensities. As a matter of course, they must, if they will do this, reject and renounce the gospel. Men become infidels because they wish to indulge in sin. No man can be a sensualist, and yet love that gospel which enjoins purity of life. If men would keep a good conscience, the way to a steady belief in the gospel would be easy. If men will not, they must expect sooner or later to be landed in infidelity.

Concerning faith. In respect to the whole subject of faith. They are unfaithful to God, and they reject the whole system of the gospel. "Faith" is sometimes used to denote the gospel—as faith is the principal thing in the gospel.

Have made shipwreck. There is an entire destruction of faith—as a ship is wholly ruined that strikes on a rock and sinks.

{b} "Holding faith". "1 Ti 3:9


Verse 20. Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander. Hymeneus is nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament, except in 2 Ti 2:17, where he is mentioned in connection with Philetus as a very dangerous man. An Alexander is mentioned in Ac 19:33, which some have supposed to be the same as the one referred to here. It is not certain, however, that the same person is intended. See Barnes "Ac 19:33".

In 2 Ti 4:14, Alexander the coppersmith is mentioned as one who had done the apostle "much evil," and there can be little doubt that he is the same person who is referred to here. One of the doctrines which Hymeneus held was that the "resurrection was past already," 2 Ti 2:18; but what doctrine Alexander held is unknown. It is not improbable, as he is mentioned here in connection with Hymeneus, that he maintained the same opinion; and, in addition to that, he appears to have been guilty of some personal injury to the apostle. Both also were guilty of blasphemy.

Whom I have delivered unto Satan. On the meaning of this expression, See Barnes "1 Co 5:5".

That they may learn not to blaspheme. It cannot be supposed that Satan would undertake to teach them not to blaspheme, or that Paul put them under him as an instructor on that subject. The instructions of Satan tend rather to teach his followers to blaspheme, and none in his school fail to be apt scholars. The meaning here is, that Paul excommunicated them, and not improbably brought upon them, by giving them over to Satan, some physical maladies, that they might be reformed. Comp. See Barnes "1 Co 5:5".

It is not entirely clear what is meant by blaspheme in this place. Comp. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:13"

It cannot be supposed that they were open and bold blasphemers, for such could not have maintained a place in the church, but rather that they held doctrines which the apostle regarded as amounting to blasphemy; that is, doctrines which were in fact a reproach on the Divine character. There are many doctrines held by men which are in fact a reflection on the Divine character, and which amount to the same thing as blasphemy. A blasphemer openly expresses views of the Divine character which are a reproach to God; an errorist expresses the same thing in another way—by teaching as true about God that which represents him in a false light, and to suppose which, in fact, is a reproach. The spirit with which this is done in the two cases may be different; the thing itself may be the same. Let us be careful that we hold no views about God which are reproachful to him, and which, though we do not express it in words, may lead us to blaspheme him in our hearts.

{c} "delivered unto Satan" 1 Co 5:5


I Timothy Chapter 2


THIS chapter is occupied mainly in directions about the mode of conducting public worship. Timothy had been left at Ephesus to complete the plans which the apostle had commenced in reference to the church there, but from completing which he had been un- expectedly prevented, (see the Intro.;) and it was important to state the views which he entertained on this subject to Timothy. It was important also that general directions on these subjects should be given, which would be useful to the church at large. The directions in this chapter relate to the following subjects:—

I. Public prayer, 1 Ti 2:1-8.

(1.) It was to be offered for all classes of men, without distinction of rank, sect, party, country, or name; especially for all that were in authority, 1 Ti 2:1,2. The reasons for this were,

(a) That God desired all men to be saved, and it was acceptable to him that prayer should be offered for all, 1 Ti 2:3,4.

(b) There is but one God over all the human race, and all are alike his children, 1 Ti 2:5.

(c) There is one and the same Mediator between God and all men, 1 Ti 2:5.

(d) The same atonement has been made for all, 1 Ti 2:6,7.

(2.) The way in which prayer should be offered. It should be with holy hands, and without the intermingling of any bad passion, 1 Ti 2:8.

II. The duties of women, 1 Ti 2:9-15.

(1.) Modesty in their demeanour and apparel, 1 Ti 2:9.

(2.) Good works—the chief ornament of women professing piety, 1 Ti 2:10.

(3.) The duty of learning from others with a gentle and quiet spirit, 1 Ti 2:11.

(4.) The duty of a proper subordination and submission to man, 1 Ti 2:12.

(5.) The reasons for this subordination and submission are then stated. They are,

(a) That Adam was first formed, 1 Ti 2:13.

(b) That the woman had been deceived, and should be willing to occupy a subordinate place, as she was first in the transgression and was the means of leading him into sin, 1 Ti 2:14.

(6.) Yet, as if to make a kind remark in favour of woman—to show that he did not intend to teach that she was degraded and abandoned of God—the apostle says that she would be under the Divine protection, and that in the special sorrow and peril which had been brought upon her for her transgression, God would sustain her if she continued in faith, and evinced the spirit of a Christian in her life, 1 Ti 2:15.

Verse 1. I exhort, therefore. Marg., desire. The word exhort, however, better expresses the sense of the original. The exhortation here is not addressed particularly to Timothy, but relates to all who were called to lead in public prayer, 1 Ti 2:8. This exhortation, it may be observed, is inconsistent with the supposition that a liturgy was then in use, or with the supposition that there ever would be a liturgy—since, in that case, the objects to be prayed for would be prescribed. How singular would it be now for an episcopal bishop to "exhort" his presbyters to pray "for the President of the United States and for all who are in authority." When the prayer is prescribed, do they not do this as a matter of course?

First of all. That is, as the first duty to be enjoined; the thing that is to be regarded with primary concern. Comp. Lu 12:1; 2 Pe 1:20. It does not mean that this was to be the first thing in public worship in the order of time, but that it was to be regarded as a duty of primary importance. The duty of praying for the salvation of the whole world was not to be regarded as a subordinate and secondary thing.

Supplications. It is not entirely easy to mark the difference in the meaning of the words used here, and it is not essential. They all relate to prayer, and refer only to the different parts of prayer, or to distinct classes of thought and desire which come before the mind in pleading for others. On the difference between the words supplications and prayers, See Barnes "Heb 5:7".

Intercessions. The noun used occurs only in this place and in 1 Ti 4:5, of this epistle. The verb, however (entugcanw) occurs in Ac 25:24; Ro 8:27,34; 11:2; Heb 7:25.

See the meaning explained in the See Barnes "Ro 8:26" See Barnes "Heb 7:25".

There is one great Intercessor between God and man, who pleads for our salvation on the ground of what he himself has done, but we are permitted to intercede for others, not on the ground of any merit which they or we possess, but on the ground of the merit of the great Advocate and Intercessor. It is an inestimable privilege to be permitted to plead for the salvation of our fellow-men.

Giving of thanks. That is, in behalf of others. We ought to give thanks for the mercy of God to ourselves; it is right and proper also that we should give thanks for the goodness of God to others. We should render praise that there is a way of salvation provided; that no one is excluded from the offer of mercy; and that God is using so many means to call lost sinners to himself.

For all men. Prayers should be made for all men—for all need the grace and mercy of God; thanks should be rendered for all, for all may be saved. Does not this direction imply that Christ died for all mankind? How could we give thanks in their behalf if there were no mercy for them, and no way had been provided by which they could be saved? It may be observed here, that the direction to pray and to give thanks for all men, showed the large and catholic nature of Christianity. It was opposed entirely to the narrow and bigoted feelings of the Jews, who regarded the whole Gentile world as excluded from covenant mercies, and as having no offer of life. Christianity threw down all these barriers, and all men are on a level; and since Christ has died for all, there is ample ground for thanksgiving and praise in behalf of the whole human race.

{1} "exhort" "desire"


Verse 2. For kings. On the respect due to rulers, See Barnes "Ro 13:1-7".

The meaning here is, that while all men should be the subjects of prayer, those should be particularly remembered before the throne of grace who are in authority. The reason is, that so much depends on their character and plans; that the security of life, liberty, and property, depends so much on them. God has power to influence their hearts, and to incline them to what is just and equal; and hence we should pray that a Divine influence may descend upon them. The salvation of a king is of itself of no more importance than that of a peasant or a slave; but the welfare of thousands may depend on him, and hence he should be made the special subject of prayer.

All that are in authority. Marg., "or, eminent place." This does not necessarily mean those who hold office, but refers to any of elevated rank. The happiness of all who are under their control depends greatly on them, and hence we should pray for them that they may be converted men, and inclined to do that which is right.

That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. That their hearts may be so inclined to what is right that they may protect us in the enjoyment of religion, and that we may not be opposed or harassed by persecution. This does not mean that their protection would dispose us to lead quiet and peaceful lives, but that under their protection we may be saved from oppression on account of our religion. Christians are disposed of themselves to be peaceful and orderly; they ask of their rulers only that they may not be harassed in the enjoyment of their rights.

In all godliness and honesty. In the practice of all our duties towards God, and of all the duties which we owe to men. The word godliness here denotes piety—or the duty which we owe to God; the word honesty refers to our duties to our fellow-men. The Christian asks from civil rulers such protection that he may be enabled quietly to perform both these classes of duties.

{a} "kings" Ro 13:1

{2} "that are in authority" "eminent places"


Verse 3. For this is good and acceptable. That is, it is good and acceptable to God that we should pray for all men. The reason is, that he desires their salvation, and hence it is agreeable to him that we should pray for it. If there were no provision made for their salvation, or if he were unwilling that they should be saved, it could not be agreeable to him that we should offer prayer for them.


Verse 4. Who will have all men to be saved. That is, it is in accordance with his nature, his feelings, his desires. The word will cannot be taken here in the absolute sense, denoting a decree like that by which he willed the creation of the world, for then it would certainly be done. But the word is often used to denote a desire, wish, or what is in accordance with the nature of any one. Thus it may be said of God that he "wills" that his creatures may be happy—because it is in accordance with his nature, and because he has made abundant provision for their happiness—though it is not true that he wills it in the sense that he exerts his absolute power to make them happy. God wills that sickness should be relieved, and sorrow mitigated, and that the oppressed should go free, because it is agreeable to his nature; though it is not true that he wills it in the sense that he exerts his absolute power to produce it. A parent wills the welfare of his child. It is in accordance with his nature, his feelings, his desires; and he makes every needful arrangement for it. If the child is not virtuous and happy, it is his own fault. So God wills that all men should be saved. It would be in accordance with his benevolent nature. He has made ample provision for it. He uses all proper means to secure their salvation. He uses no positive means to prevent it, and if they are not saved it will be their own fault. For places in the New Testament where the word here translated "will" (yelw) means to desire or wish, Lu 8:20; 23:8; Joh 16:19; Ga 4:20; Mr 7:24; 1 Co 7:7; 11:3; 14:5; Mt 15:28.

This passage cannot mean, as many have supposed, that God wills that all kinds of men should be saved, or that some sinners of every rank and class may be saved, because

(1.) the natural and obvious interpretation of the language is opposed to such a sense. The language expresses the desire that "all men" should be saved, and we should not depart from the obvious sense of a passage unless necessity requires it.

(2.) Prayer and thanksgiving 1 Ti 2:1 are directed to be offered, not for some of all ranks and conditions, but for all mankind. No exception is made, and no direction is given that we should exclude any of the race from the expressions of our sympathy, and from an interest in our supplications. The reason given here for that prayer is, that God desires that all men should be saved. But how could this be a reason for praying for all, if it means that God desired only the salvation of some of all ranks?

(3.) In 1 Ti 2:5,6, the apostle gives reasons showing that God wished the salvation of all men, and those reasons are such as to prove that the language here is to be taken in the most unlimited sense. Those reasons are,

(a) that there is one God over all, and one Mediator between God and men—showing that God is the Father of all, and has the same interest in all; and

(b) that Christ gave himself a ransom for all—showing that God desired their salvation. This verse proves

(1.) that salvation is provided for all —for if God wished all men to be saved, he would undoubtedly make provision for their salvation; and if he had not made such provision, it could not be said that he desired their salvation, since no one can doubt that he has power to provide for the salvation of all;

(2.) that salvation should be offered to all men—for if God desires it, it is right for his ministers to announce that desire, and if he desires it, it is not proper for them to announce anything contrary to this;

(3.) that men are to blame if they are not saved. If God did not wish their salvation, and if he had made no provision for it, they could not be to blame if they rejected the gospel. If God wishes it, and has made provision for it, and they are not saved, the sin must be their own—and it is a great sin, for there is no greater crime which a man can commit than to destroy his own soul, and to make himself the eternal enemy of his Maker.

And to come unto the knowledge of the truth. The truth which God has revealed: the "truth as it is in Jesus." See Barnes "Eph 4:21".

{b} "Who will have" Joh 3:15,16; 2 Pe 3:9


Verse 5. For there is one God. This is a reason for offering prayer for all men, and for the declaration 1 Ti 2:4 that God desires that all men should be saved. The reason is founded in the fact that he is the common Father of all the race, and that he must have the same desire for the welfare of all his children. He has made them of one blood, Ac 17:26, and he must have the same interest in the happiness of all. Comp. See Barnes "Eph 4:6; See Barnes "Ro 3:30".

And one Mediator between God and men. See Barnes "Ga 3:19, See Barnes "Ga 3:20" See Barnes "Heb 9:15".

This also is given as a reason why prayer should be offered for all, and a proof that God desires their salvation. The argument is, that there is the same Mediator between God and all men. He is not the Mediator between God and a part of the human race, but between "God and men," implying that he desired the salvation of the race. Whatever love there was in giving the Mediator at all, was love for all the race: whatever can be argued from that about the interest which God has in man, is proof of his interest in the race at large. It is proper, therefore, to pray for all. It may be remarked here that there is but one Mediator. There is not one for kings and another for their subjects; one for the rich and another for the poor; one for the master and another for the slave. All are on the same level, and the servant may feel that, in the gift of a Mediator, God regarded him with the same interest that he did his master. It may be added, also, that the doctrine of the Papists, that the saints or the Virgin Mary may act as mediators to procure blessings for us, is false. There is but "one Mediator;" and but one is necessary. Prayer offered to the "saints," or to the "Virgin," is idolatry; and, at the same time, removes the one great Mediator from the office which he alone holds, of making intercession with God.

The man Christ Jesus. Jesus was truly and properly a man, having a perfect human body and soul, and is often called a man in the New Testament. But this does not prove that he was not also divine—any more than his being called God, Joh 1:1; 20:28; Ro 9:5; 1 Jo 5:20

Heb 1:8, proves that he was not also a man. The use of the word man here was probably designed to intimate that, though he was divine, it was in his human nature that we are to consider him as discharging the office. Doddridge.

{a} "one God" Ro 3:30

{b} "one mediator" Heb 9:15


Verse 6. Who gave himself a ransom for all. This also is stated as a reason why prayer should be offered for all, and a proof that God desires the salvation of all. The argument is, that as Christ died for all, it is proper to pray for all; and that the fact that he died for all, is proof that God desired the salvation of all. Whatever proof of his desire for their salvation can be derived from this, in relation to any of the race, is proof in relation to all. On the meaning of the phrase "he gave himself a ransom," See Barnes "Mt 20:28" See Barnes "Ro 3:26".

On the fact that it was for "all," See Barnes "2 Co 5:14".

To be testified in due time. Marg., a testimony. The Greek is, "the testimony in its own times," or in proper times— to marturion kairoiv idioiv. There have been very different explanations of this phrase. The common interpretation, and that which seems to me to be correct, is, that "the testimony of this will be furnished in the proper time; that is, in the proper time it shall be made known through all the world." See Rosenmuller. Paul affirms it as a great and important truth that Christ gave himself a ransom for all mankind—for Jews and gentiles; for all classes and conditions of men alike. This truth had not always been understood. The Jews had supposed that salvation was designed exclusively for their nation, and denied that it could be extended to others, unless they became Jews. According to them, salvation was not provided for, or offered to heathens as such, but only on condition that they became Jews. In opposition to this, Paul says that it was a doctrine of revelation that redemption was to be provided for all men, and that it was intended that the testimony to this should be afforded at the proper time. It was not fully made known under the ancient dispensation, but now the period had come when it should be communicated to all. See Barnes "Ro 5:6, See Barnes "Ga 4:4".


Verse 7. Whereunto. Gr., "Unto which;" that is, to the bearing of which testimony I am appointed.

I am ordained. Gr., "I am placed or constituted" eteyhn. The word "ordain" has now acquired a technical signification, meaning to set apart solemnly to a sacred office by the imposition of hands; but it has not that meaning here. It does not refer to the manner in which he was set apart, or to any act of others in consecrating him to this work, but merely to the fact that he had been placed in this office, or appointed to it. He refers, doubtless, to the fact that the Lord Jesus had designated him to this work.

A preacher and an apostle. See Barnes "1 Co 9:1, and following. See Barnes "Ga 1:11, also See Barnes "Ga 1:12".

I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not. That is, by Christ; or I solemnly appeal to Christ—a form of an oath. See Barnes "Ro 9:1".

Paul makes a solemn declaration similar to this in regard to his call to the apostleship, in Ga 1:20. For the reasons why he did it, See Barnes "Ga 1:20".

It is probable that there were those in Ephesus who denied that he could be an apostle, and hence his solemn declaration affirming it.

A teacher of the Gentiles. Specially appointed to carry the gospel to the gentiles or the heathen. See Barnes "Ro 11:13" See Barnes "Ga 2:7".

In faith and verity. These words mean that he was appointed to instruct the Gentiles in faith and the knowledge of the truth.


Verse 8. I will therefore. The Greek word here boulomai is different from the word rendered will yelw 1 Ti 2:4. The distinction is, that the word there used—yelw—denotes an active volition or purpose; the word here used—boulomai—a mere passive desire, propensity, willingness. Rob. Lex. The meaning here is, "It is my will"—expressing his wishes in the case, or giving direction— though using a milder word than that which is commonly employed to denote an act of will.

That men pray everywhere. Not merely in the temple, or in other sacred places, but in all places. The Jews supposed that there was special efficacy in prayers offered at the temple in Jerusalem; the heathen also had the same view in regard to their temples—for both seemed to suppose that they came nearer to God by approaching his sacred abode. Christianity teaches that God may be worshipped in any place, and that we are at all times equally near him.

See Barnes "Joh 4:20" and following. See Barnes "Ac 17:25".

The direction here given that men should pray in contradistinction from the, duties of women, specified in the next verse, may be intended to imply that men should conduct the exercises of public worship. The duties of women pertain to a different sphere. Comp. 1 Ti 2:11,12.

Lifting up holy hands. To lift up the hands denotes supplication, as it was a common attitude of prayer to spread abroad the hands towards heaven. Comp. Ps 68:31; Ex 9:29,33; 1 Ki 8:22; 2 Ch 6:12,13; Isa 1:16.

See also Horace Odes, III. xxii. 1; Ovid, M. ix. 701; Livy, v. 21; Seneca, Ep. 21. "Holy hands" here mean hands that are not defiled by sin, and thai have not been employed for any purpose of iniquity. The idea is, that when men approach God they should do it in a pure and holy manner.

Without wrath. That is, without the intermingling of any evil passion; with a calm, peaceful, benevolent mind. There should be nothing of the spirit of contention; there should be no anger towards others; the suppliant should be at peace with all men. It is impossible for a man to pray with comfort, or to suppose that his prayers will be heard, if he cherishes anger. The following exquisite and oft-quoted passage from Jeremy Taylor, is a more beautiful and striking illustration of the effect of anger in causing our prayers to return unanswered than was probably ever penned by any one else. Nothing could be more true, beautiful, and graphic. "Anger sets the house on fire, and all the spirits are busy upon trouble, and intend propulsion, defence, displeasure, or revenge. It is a short madness, and an eternal enemy to discourse and a fair conversation; it intends its own object with all the earnestness of perception or activity of design, and a quicker motion of a too warm and distempered blood; it is a fever in the heart, and a calenture in the head, and a fire in the face, and a sword in the hand, and a fury all over; and therefore can never suffer a man to be in a disposition to pray. For prayer is the peace of our spirit, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of recollection, the seat of meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest; prayer is the issue of a quiet mind, of untroubled thoughts; it is the daughter of charity and the sister of meekness; and he that prays to God with an angry, that is, with a troubled and discomposed spirit, is like him that retires into a battle to meditate, and sets up his closet in the out-quarters of an army, and chooses a frontier garrison to be wise in. Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer, and therefore is contrary to that attention which presents our prayers in a right line to God. For so have I seen a lark rising from his bed of grass, and soaring upwards, and singing as he rises, and hopes to get to heaven and rise above the clouds; but the poor bird was beaten back with the loud sighings of an eastern wind, and his motion made irregular and inconsistent. Descending more at every breath of the tempest than it could recover by the libation and frequent weighing of its wings, till the little creature was forced to sit down and pant, and stay till the storm was over; and then it made a prosperous flight, and did rise and sing, as if it had learned music and motion from an angel." The Return of Prayers, Works vol. i. 638. Ed. Lond. 1835.

And doubting. This. word, as used here, does not mean, as our translation would seem to imply, that we are to come before God without any doubts of our own piety, or in the exercise of perfect faith. The word used (dialogismov) means, properly, computation, adjustment of accounts; then reflection, thought; then reasoning, opinion; then debate, contention, strife. Lu 9:46; Mr 9:33,34; Php 2:14. This is the sense evidently in this place. They were not to approach God in prayer in the midst of clamorous disputings and angry contentions. They were not to come When the mind was heated with debate, and irritated by strife for victory. Prayer was to be offered in a calm, serious, sober state of mind, and they who engage in polemical strife, or in warm contention of any kind, are little fitted to unite in the solemn act of addressing God. How often are theologians, when assembled together, so heated by debate, and so anxious for party victory, that they are in no suitable state of mind to pray! How often do even good men, holding different views on the disputed points of religious doctrine, suffer their minds to become so excited, and their temper so ruffled, that they are conscious they are in an unfit state of mind to approach the throne of grace together! That theological debate has gone too far; that strife for victory has become too warm, when the disputants are in such a state of mind that they cannot unite in prayer; when they could not cease their contentions, and with a calm and proper spirit, bow together before the throne of grace.

{a} "pray everywhere" Joh 4:21

{b} "holy hands" Heb 10:22


Verse 9. In like manner also. That is, with the same propriety; with the same regard to what religion demands. The apostle had stated particularly the duty of men in public worship, 1 Ti 2:8, and he now proceeds to state the duty of women. All the directions here evidently refer to the proper manner of conducting public worship, and not to private duties; and the object here is to state the way in which he would have the different sexes appear. He had said that he would have prayers offered for all men, 1 Th 2:1, seq., and that in offering such petitions he would have the men on whom devolved the duty of conducting public devotion, do it with holy hands, and without any intermingling of passion, and with entire freedom from the spirit of contention. In reference to the duty of females in attendance on public worship, he says that he would have them appear in apparel suitable to the place and the occasion; adorned not after the manner of the world, but with the zeal and love in the cause of the Redeemer which became Christians. He would not have a woman become a public teacher, 1 Ti 2:12, but would wish her ever to occupy the place in society for which she was designed, 1 Ti 2:11, and to which she had shown that she was adapted, 1 Ti 2:13,14. The direction in 1 Ti 2:9-12, therefore, is to be understood particularly of the proper deportment of females in the duties of public worship. At the same time, the principles laid down are doubtless such as were intended to apply to them in the other situations in life, for if modest apparel is appropriate in the sanctuary, it is appropriate everywhere. If what is here prohibited in dress is wrong there, it would be difficult to show that it is right elsewhere.

That women adorn themselves. The words "I will," are to be understood here as repeated from 1 Ti 2:8. The apostle, by the use of the word adorn, kosmein shows that he is not opposed to ornament or adorning, provided it be of the right kind. The world, as God has made it, is full of beauty, and he has shown in each flower that he is not opposed to true ornament. There are multitudes of things which so far as we can see, appear to be designed for mere ornament, or are made merely because they are beautiful. Religion does not forbid true adorning. It differs from the world only on the question what is true ornament, or what it becomes us, all things considered, to do in the situation in which we are placed, the character which we sustain, the duties which we have to perform, and the profession which we make. It may be that there are ornaments in heaven which would be anything but appropriate for the condition of a poor, lost, dying sinner on earth.

In modest apparel. The word here rendered modest, kosmiov, properly relates to ornament or decoration, and means that which is well-ordered, decorous, becoming. It does not, properly, mean modest, in the sense of being opposed to that which is immodest or which tends to excite improper passions and desires, but that which is becoming or appropriate. The apostle does not positively specify what this would be, but he mentions some things which are to be excluded from it, and which, in his view, are inconsistent with the true adorning of Christian females —" broidered hair, gold, pearls, costly array." The sense here is, that the apparel of females should be such as becomes them, or is appropriate to them. The word here used, kosmiov shows that there should be due attention that it may be truly neat, fit, decorous. There is no religion in a negligent mode of apparel, or in inattention to personal appearance- any more than there is in wearing gold and pearls; and a female may as truly violate the precepts of her religion by neglecting her personal appearance, as by excessive attention to it. The true idea here is, that her attention to her appearance should be such that she will be offensive to no class of persons; such as to show that her mind is supremely fixed on higher and more important things, and such as to interfere with no duty which she owes, and no good which she can do, either by spending her time needlessly in personal adorning, or by lavishing that money for dress which might do good to others, or by neglecting the proprieties of her station, and making herself offensive to others.

With shame-facedness. With modesty of appearance and manner—an eminent female virtue, whether in the sanctuary or at home.

And sobriety. The word here used means properly, sanity; then sober-mindedness, moderation of the desires and passions. It is opposed to all that is frivolous, and to all undue excitement of the passions. The idea is, that in their apparel and deportment they should not entrench on the strictest decorum. Doddridge.

Not with broidered hair. Marg., plaited. Females in the east pay much more attention to the hair than is commonly done with us. It is plaited with great care, and arranged in various forms, according to the prevailing fashion, and often ornamented with spangles, or with silver wire, or tissue interwoven. See Barnes "Isa 3:24".

The sense here is, that Christian females are not to imitate those of the world in their careful attention to the ornaments of the head. It cannot be supposed that the mere braiding of the hair is forbidden, but only that careful attention to the manner of doing it, and to the ornaments usually worn in it, which characterized worldly females.

Or gold, or pearls. It is not to be supposed that all use of gold or pearls, as articles of dress, is here forbidden; but the idea is, that the Christian female is not to seek these as the adorning which she desires, or is not to imitate the world in these personal decorations. It may be a difficult question to settle how much ornament is allowable, and when the true line is passed. But though this cannot be settled by any exact rules, since much must depend on age, and on the relative rank in life, and the means which one may possess, yet there is one general rule which is applicable to all, and which might regulate all. It is, that the true line is passed when more is thought of this external adorning, than of the ornament of the heart. Any external decoration which occupies the mind more than the virtues of the heart, and which engrosses the time and attention more, we may be certain is wrong. The apparel should be such as not to attract attention; such as becomes our situation; such as will not be particularly singular; such as shall leave the impression that the heart is not fixed on it. It is a poor ambition to decorate a dying body with gold and pearls. It should not be forgotten that the body thus adorned will soon need other habiliments, and will occupy a position where gold and pearls would be a mockery. When the heart is right; when there is true and supreme love for religion, it is usually not difficult to regulate the subject of dress. Costly array. Expensive dress. This is forbidden, for it is foolish; and the money thus employed may be much more profitably used in doing good. "Costly array" includes that which can be ill afforded, and that which is inconsistent with the feeling that the principal ornament is that of the heart.

{1} "broidered" "plaited" 1 Pe 3:3


Verse 10. But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. That is, it is not appropriate for women who profess to be the followers of the Saviour, to seek to be distinguished for personal, external decorations. If they are Christians, they have seen the vanity of these things, and have fixed the heart on more substantial realities. They are professed followers of Him "who went about doing good," and the performance of good works especially becomes them. They profess to have fixed the affections on God their Saviour, and to be living for heaven; and it is not becoming in them to seek such ornaments as would indicate that the heart is supremely attached to worldly things. There is great beauty in this direction. Good works, or deeds of benevolence, eminently become a Christian female. The nature of woman seems to be adapted to the performance of all deeds demanding kindness, tenderness, and gentleness of feeling; of all that proceeds from pity, sympathy, and affection; and we feel, instinctively, that while acts of hardy enterprise and daring in a good cause peculiarly become a Christian man, there is something exquisitely appropriate to the female character in deeds of humble and unobtrusive sympathy and benevolence. God seems to have formed her mind for just such things, and in such things it occupies its appropriate sphere, rather than in seeking external adorning.


Verse 11. Let the woman learn in silence

With all subjection. With due subjection to those who are in authority, and who are appointed to minister in holy things See Barnes "1 Co 14:34".

{a} "woman learn" 1 Co 14:34


Verse 12. But I suffer not a woman to teach. See Barnes "1 Co 14:34".

Nor to usurp authority over the man. See Barnes "1 Co 11:3".


Verse 13. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. The apostle in this verse, and, the following, gives reasons why a woman should occupy a subordinate situation, and not usurp authority. The first is, that she was second in the act of creation, or was made subsequent to man. The reason here assigned cannot be understood to be merely that of priority of existence—for then it would give every old person authority over a younger one; but it must refer to the circumstances of the case as detailed in the history of the creation, Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Man was made as the Lord, of this lower creation, and placed in the garden, and then the woman was made of a rib taken from his side, and given to him, not as a lord, but as a companion. All the circumstances combine to show the subordinate nature of her rank, and to prove that she was not designed to exert authority over the man. See Barnes "1 Co 11:8,9".


Verse 14. And Adam was not deceived. This is the second reason why the woman should occupy a subordinate rank in all things. It is that in the most important situation in which she was ever placed, she had shown that she was not qualified to take the lead. She had evinced a readiness to yield to temptation; a feebleness of resistance; a pliancy of character, which showed that she was not adapted to the situation of headship, and which made it proper that she should ever afterwards occupy a subordinate situation. It is not meant here that Adam did not sin, nor even that he was not deceived by the Tempter, but that the woman opposed a feebler resistance to the temptation than he would have done, and that the temptation as actually applied to her would have been ineffectual on him. To tempt and seduce him to fall, there were needed all the soft persuasions, the entreaties, and the example of his wife. Satan understood this, and approached man not with the specious argument of the serpent, but through the allurements of his wife. It is undoubtedly implied here that man, in general, has a power of resisting certain kinds of temptation, superior to that possessed by woman, and hence that the headship properly belongs to him. This is, undoubtedly, the general truth, though there may be many exceptions, and many noble cases to the honour of the female sex, in which they evince a power of resistance to temptation superior to man. In many traits of character, and among them those which are most lovely, woman is superior to man; yet it is undoubtedly true that, as a general thing, temptation will make a stronger impression on her than on him. When it is said that "Adam was not deceived," it is not meant that when he partook actually of the fruit he was under no deception, but that he was not deceived by the serpent; he was not first deceived, or first in the transgression. The woman should remember that sin began with her, and she should therefore be willing to occupy an humble and subordinate situation.

But the woman being deceived. She was made to suppose that the fruit would not injure her, but would make her wise, and that God would not fulfil his threatening of death. Sin, from the beginning, has been a process of delusion. Every man or woman who violates the law of God is deceived as to the happiness which is expected from the violation, and as to the consequences which will follow it.


pgreek Verse 15. Notwithstanding she shall be saved. The promise in this verse is designed to alleviate the apparent severity of the remarks just made about the condition of woman, and of the allusion to the painful facts of her early history. What the apostle had just said would carry the mind back to the period in which woman introduced sin into the world, and by an obvious and easy association, to the sentence which had been passed on her in consequence of her transgression, and to the burden of sorrows which she was doomed to bear. By the remark in this verse, however, Paul shows that it was not his intention to overwhelm her with anguish. He did not design to harrow up her feelings by an unkind allusion to a melancholy fact in her history. It was necessary for him to state, and for her to know, that her place was secondary and subordinate, and he wished this truth ever to be kept in memory among Christians. It was not unkind or improper, also, to state the reasons for this opinion, and to show that her own history had demonstrated that she was not designed for headship. But she was not to be regarded as degraded and abandoned. She was not to be overwhelmed by the recollection of what "the mother of all living" had done. There were consolations in her case. There was a special Divine interposition which she might look for, evincing tender care on the part of God in those deep sorrows which had come upon her in consequence of her transgression; and instead of being crushed and broken-hearted on account of her condition, she should remember that the everlasting arms of God would sustain her in her condition of sorrow and pain. Paul, then, would speak to her the language of consolation, and while he would have her occupy her proper place, he would have her feel that God was her Friend. In regard to the nature of the consolation referred to here, there has been a considerable variety of opinion. Some have held, that by the expression "she shall be saved in child-bearing," the apostle designs to include all the duties of the maternal relation, meaning that she should be saved through the faithful performance of her duties as a mother. Robinson, Lex. Rosenmuller regards the word rendered "child-bearing" (teknogonia,) as synonymous with education, and supposes that the meaning is, that a woman, by the proper training of her children, can obtain salvation as well as her husband, and that her appropriate duty is not public teaching, but the training of her family. Wetstein supposes that it means, "she shall be saved from the arts of impostors, and from the luxury and vice of the age, if, instead of wandering about, she remains at home, cultivates modesty, is subject to her husband, and engages carefully in the training of her children." This sense agrees well with the connexion. Calvin supposes that the apostle designs to console the woman by the assurance that, if she bears the trials of her condition of sorrow with a proper spirit, abiding in faith and holiness, she will be saved. She is not to regard herself as cut off from the hope of heaven. Doddridge, Macknight, Clarke, and others, suppose that it refers to the promise in Ge 3:15, and means that the woman shall be saved through, or by means of bearing a child, to wit, the Messiah; and that the apostle means to sustain the woman in her sorrows, and in her state of subordination and inferiority, by referring to the honour which has been put upon her by the fact that a woman gave birth to the Messiah. It is supposed also that he means to say that special honour is thus conferred on her over the man, inasmuch as the Messiah had no human father. Doddridge. The objections to this interpretation, however, though it is sustained by most respectable names, seem to me to be insuperable. They are such as these:

(1.) The interpretation is too refined and abstruse. It is not that which is obvious. It depends for its point on the fact that the Messiah had no human father, and if the apostle had intended to refer to that, and to build an argument on it, it may be doubted whether he would have done it in so obscure a manner. But it may reasonably be questioned whether he would have made that fact a point on which his argument would turn. There would be a species of refinement about such an argument, such as we should not look for in the writings of Paul.

(2.) It is not the obvious meaning of the word "child-bearing." There is nothing in the word which requires that it should have any reference to the birth of the Messiah. The word is of a general character, and properly refers to child-bearing in general.

(3.) It is not true that woman would be "saved" merely by having given birth to the Messiah. She will be saved, as man will be, as a consequence of his having been born; but there is no evidence that the mere fact that woman gave birth to him, and that he had no human father, did anything to save Mary herself, or any one else of her sex. If, therefore, the word refers to the "bearing" of the Messiah, or to the fact that he was born, it would be no more proper to say that this was connected with the salvation of woman than that of man. The true meaning, it seems to me, has been suggested By Calvin, and may be seen by the following remarks.

(1.) The apostle designed to comfort woman, or to alleviate the sadness of the picture which he had drawn respecting her condition.

(2.) He had referred, incidentally, as a proof of the subordinate character of her station, to the first apostasy. This naturally suggested the sentence which was passed on her, and the condition of sorrow to which she was doomed, particularly in child-birth. That was the standing demonstration of her guilt; that the condition in which she suffered most; that the situation in which she was in greatest peril.

(3.) Paul assures her, therefore, that though she must thus suffer, yet that she ought not to regard herself in her deep sorrows and dangers, though on account of sin, as necessarily under the Divine displeasure, or as excluded from the hope of heaven. The way of salvation was open to her as well as to men, and was to be entered in the same manner. If she had faith and holiness, even in her condition of sorrow brought on by guilt, she might as well hope for eternal life as man. The object of the apostle seems to be to guard against a possible construction which might be put on his words, that he did not regard the woman as in circumstances as favourable for salvation as those of man, or as if he taught that salvation for her was more difficult, or perhaps that she could not be saved at all. The general sentiments of the Jews in regard to the salvation.of the female sex, and their exclusion from the religious privileges which men enjoy; the views of the Mohammedans in reference to the inferiority of the sex; and the prevalent feelings in the heathen world, degrading the sex, and making their condition, in regard to salvation, far inferior to that of man, show the propriety of what the apostle here says, and the fitness that he should so guard himself that his language could not possibly be construed so as to give countenance to such a sentiment. According to the interpretation of the passage here proposed, tho apostle does not mean to teach that a Christian female would be certainly saved from death in child-birth—for this would not be true, and the proper construction of the passage does not require us to understand him as affirming this. Religion is not designed to make any immediate and direct change in the laws of our physical being. It does not of itself guard us from the pestilence; it does not arrest the progress of disease; it does not save us from death; and, as a matter of fact, woman, by the highest degree of piety, is not necessarily saved from the perils of that condition to which she has been subjected in consequence of the apostasy. The apostle means to show this—that in all her pain and sorrow; amidst all the evidence of apostasy, and all that reminds her that she was "first" in the transgression, she may look up to God as her Friend and Strength, and may hope for acceptance and salvation.

If they continue. If woman continues—it being not uncommon to change the singular form to the plural, especially if the subject spoken of have the character of a noun of multitude. Many have understood this of children, as teaching that if the mother were faithful, so that her children continued in faith, she would be saved. But this is not a necessary or probable interpretation. The apostle says nothing of children, and it is not reasonable to suppose that he would make the prospect of her salvation depend on their being pious. This would be to add a hard condition of salvation, and one nowhere else suggested in the New Testament. The object of the apostle evidently is, to show that woman must continue in the faithful service of God if she would be saved—a doctrine everywhere insisted on in the New Testament in reference to all persons. She must not imitate the example of the mother of mankind, but she must faithfully yield obedience to the laws of God till death.

Faith. Faith in the Redeemer and in Divine truth, or a life of fidelity in the service of God.

Charity. Love to all.

See Barnes "1Co 13".

Holiness. She must be truly religious.

With sobriety. All these things must be united with a becoming soberness or seriousness of deportment. See Barnes "1 Ti 2:9".

In such a life, woman may look to a world where she will be for ever free from all the sadnesses and sorrows of her condition here; where, by unequalled pain, she will be no more reminded of the time when "her rash hand in evil hour

Forth reaching to tile fruit, she pluck'd, she ate;" and when before the throne she shall be admitted to full equality with all the redeemed of the Lord. Religion meets all the sadnesses of her condition here; pours consolation into the cup of her many woes; speaks kindly to her in her distresses; utters the language of forgiveness to her heart when crushed with the remembrance of sin—for "she loves much," Lu 7:37-48; and conducts her to immortal glory in that world where all sorrow shall be unknown.

{*} "in childbearing" "through"

{+} "sobriety" "sober mindedness"


1st Timothy Chapter 3


THE object of this chapter is to give directions respecting the qualifications and duties of the officers of the Christian church. As it is evident that Timothy was to be partly employed in the appointment of suitable officers for the church at Ephesus, and as the kinds of officers here referred to were to be permanent in the church, it was important that a full statement should be put on record, under the influence of inspiration, respecting their qualifications and duties. The chapter embraces the following subjects:—

I. The qualifications of a bishop, 1 Ti 3:1-7. The enumeration of his qualifications is preceded by a general statement that the office was an honourable one, and that he who aspired to it, sought an employment that was, in itself, to be regarded as desirable, 1 Ti 3:1. The qualifications specified for this office, are the following:—

(1.) He must be a man of good private character; possessing and illustrating the Christian virtues, or, as we would say now, an upright man, and a Christian gentleman, 1 Ti 3:2,3.

(2.) He must be a man who ruled his own house well, and who thus showed that he was qualified to preside as the first officer in the church of God, 1 Ti 3:4,5.

(3.) He must be a man of suitable age and experience—one who would not be likely to fall into the temptations that are laid for the young, 1 Ti 3:6.

(4.) He must have a fair reputation among those who were not Christians —as it is intended that the influence of his ministry shall reach them, and as it is impossible to do them good unless he is believed to be a man of integrity, 1 Ti 3:7.

II. The qualifications of deacons, 1 Ti 3:8-10,12,13.

They must be,

(1.) Men of fair character—serious, temperate, candid, 1 Ti 3:8.

(2.) Men who hold to the doctrines of the gospel with a pure conscience, 1 Ti 3:9.

(3.) Men who have been proved, and who have shown that they are qualified to serve the church, 1 Ti 3:10.

(4.) Men whose wives are of such a character that their example will contribute to the promotion of the common cause, 1 Ti 3:11.

(5.) Men not living in polygamy, and who exercise exemplary family government, 1 Ti 3:12,13.

III. The reason why Paul gave these instructions to Timothy, 1 Ti 3:14,15. It was, that he might know how he ought to demean himself in the important station which he was called to occupy. Paul hoped to be able to come to him before long, and to complete the work which he had commenced at Ephesus; but, in the mean time, he gave him these written counsels, that he might understand particularly the duty which was required of him.

IV. The chapter closes with a statement which seems to have been intended to impress the mind of Timothy with the importance of the duties in which he was engaged, 1 Ti 3:15,16. The statement is, that the church is the great defender of the truth in the world, 1 Ti 3:15, and that the truth which the church is to maintain is of the greatest importance. It relates to the incarnation of the Son of God, and to the work which he accomplished on earth—a work which excited the deepest interest in heaven, and the true doctrine respecting which it was of the utmost importance to keep up among men, 1 Ti 3:16. This reason is further urged in the following chapter, by showing that the time would come when, under the influence of Satan, these great doctrines would be denied, and the truth be corrupted and perverted.

Verse 1. This is a true saying. Gr., "Faithful is the word"—the very phrase which is used in 1 Ti 1:15. See Barnes "1 Ti 1:15".

The idea here is, that it was worthy of credence; it was not to be doubted.

If a man desire. Implying that there would be those who would wish to be put into the ministry. The Lord, undoubtedly, by his Spirit, often excites an earnest and irrepressible desire to preach the gospel—a desire so strong, that he in whom it exists can be satisfied in no other calling. In such a case, it should be regarded as one evidence of a call to this work. The apostle, however, by the statements which follow, intimates that wherever this desire exists, it is of the utmost importance to have just views of the nature of the office, and that there should be other qualifications for the ministry than a mere desire to preach the gospel. He proceeds, therefore, to state those qualifications; and no one who "desires" the office of the ministry should conclude that he is called to it, unless these qualifications substantially are found in him. The word rendered desire here, (oregw,) denotes, properly, to reach or stretch out—and hence to reach after anything, to long after, to try to obtain. Heb 11:16.

The office of a bishop. The Greek here is a single word— episkophv. The word episkoph—episcoe—whence the word Episcopal is derived—occurs but four times in the New Testament. It is translated visitation in Lu 19:44, and 1 Pe 2:12; bishoprick, Ac 1:20; and, in this place, office of a bishop. The verb from which it is derived, (episkopew) occurs but twice. In Heb 12:15, it is rendered looking diligently; and in 1 Pe 5:2, taking the oversight. The noun rendered bishop, occurs in Ac 20:28; Php 1:1; 1 Ti 3:2; Tit 1:7; 1 Pe 2:25.

The verb means, properly, to look upon, behold; to inspect, to look after, see to, take care of; and the noun denotes the office of overseeing, inspecting, or looking to. It is used to denote the care of the sick, Xeno. Oec. 15, 9; comp. Passow; and is of so general a character, that it may denote any office of overseeing, or attending to. There is nothing in the word itself which would limit it to any class or grade of the ministry; and it is, in fact, applied to nearly all the officers of the church in the New Testament, and, indeed, to Christians who did not sustain any office. Thus it is applied

(a) to believers in general, directing them to "look diligently, lest any one should fail of the grace of God," Heb 12:15;

(b) to the elders of the church at Ephesus, "over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers," Ac 20:28;

(c) to the elders or presbyters of the church in 1 Pe 5:2, "Feed the flock of God, taking the oversight thereof;"

(d.) to the officers of the church in Philippi, mentioned, in connection with deacons, as the only officers of the church there, "to the saints at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons," Php 1:1;

(e.) to Judas, the apostate, Ac 1:20; and

(f.) to the great Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Pe 2:25, "the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." From this use of the term it follows,

(1.) That the word is never used to designate the peculiarity of the apostolic office, or so as to have any special applicability to the apostles. Indeed, the term bishop is never applied to any of them in the New Testament; nor is the word in any of its forms ever used with reference to them, except in the single case of Judas, Ac 1:20.

(2.) It is never employed in the New Testament to designate an order of men superior to presbyters, regarded as having any other functions than presbyters, or being in any sense "successors" to the apostles. It is so used now by the advocates of prelacy; but this is a use wholly unknown to the New Testament. It is so undeniable that the name is never given in the New Testament to those who are now called "bishops" that even Episcopalians concede it. Thus, Dr. Onderdonk (Tract on Episcopacy, p. 12) says, "ALL that we read in the New Testament concerning 'bishops' is to be regarded as pertaining to the 'middle grade;' that is, to those who are now regarded as 'priests.'" This is not strictly correct, as is clear from the remarks above respecting what is called the 'middle grade;' but it is strictly correct so far as it affirms that it is never applied to prelates.

(3.) It is used in the New Testament to denote ministers of the gospel who had the care or oversight of the churches, without any regard to grade or rank.

(4.) It has now, as used by Episcopalians, a sense which is wholly unauthorized by the New Testament, and which, indeed, is entirely at variance with the usage there. To apply the term to a pretended superior Order of clergy, as designating their peculiar office, is wholly to depart from the use of the word as it occurs in the Bible.

(5.) As it is never used in the Scriptures with reference to prelates, it should be used with reference to the pastors, or other officers of the church; and to be a pastor or overseer of the flock of Christ, should be regarded as being a scriptural bishop.

He desireth a good work. An honourable office; an office which it is right for a man to desire. There are some stations in life which ought never to be desired; it is proper for any one to desire the office of a bishop who has the proper qualifications. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 11:13".

{a} "bishop" Php 1:1


Verse 2. A bishop. A minister of religion, according to the foregoing remarks, who has the charge or oversight of any Christian church. The reference here is doubtless to one who had the government of the church intrusted to him, 1 Ti 3:4,5, and who was also a preacher of the gospel.

Must be blameless. This is a different word (anepilhptov) from that rendered blameless in Lu 1:6; Php 2:15; 3:6, (amemptov) Compare See Barnes "Lu 1:6" See Barnes "Php 3:6".

The word here used does not mean that, as a necessary qualification for office, a bishop should be perfect; but that he should be a man against whom no charge of immorality, or of holding false doctrine, is alleged. His conduct should be irreprehensible or irreproachable. Undoubtedly it means that if any charge could be brought against him implying moral obliquity, he is not fit for the office, he should be a man of irreproachable character for truth, honesty, chastity, and general uprightness.

The husband of one wife. This need not be understood as requiring that a bishop should be a married man, as Vigilantias, a presbyter in the church at Barcelona in the fourth century, supposed, however desirable, in general, it may be that a minister of the gospel should be married. But, while this interpretation is manifestly to be excluded as false, there has been much difference of opinion on the question whether the passage means that a minister should not have more than one wife at the same time, or whether it prohibits the marriage of a second wife after the death of the first. On this question the Notes of Bloomfield, Doddridge, and Macknight, may be consulted. That the former is the correct opinion, seems to me to be evident from the following considerations:

(1.) It is the most obvious meaning of the language, and it would doubtless be thus understood by those to whom it was addressed. At a time when polygamy was not uncommon, to say that a man should "have but one wife" would be naturally understood as prohibiting polygamy.

(2.) The marriage of a second wife, after the death of the first, is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as wrong. The marriage of a widow to a second husband is expressly declared to be proper, 1 Co 7:39; and it is not unfair to infer from that permission that it is equally lawful and proper for a man to marry the second time. But if it is lawful for any man, it is right for a minister of the gospel. No reason can be assigned against such marriages in his case, which would not be equally valid in any other. Marriage is as honourable for a minister of the gospel as for any other man, (comp. See Barnes "Heb 13:4; and, as Doddridge has well remarked, "circumstances may be so adjusted that there may be as much reason for a second marriage as for the first, and as little inconvenience of any kind may attend it."

(3.) There was a special propriety in the prohibition, if understood as prohibiting polygamy. It is known that it was extensively practised, and was not regarded as unlawful. Yet one design of the gospel was to restore the marriage relation to its primitive condition; and though it might not have seemed absolutely necessary to require of every man who came into the church to divorce his wives, if he had more than one, yet, in order to fix a brand on this irregular practice, it might have been deemed desirable to require of the ministers of the gospel that they should have but one wife. Thus the practice of polygamy would gradually come to be regarded as dishonourable and improper, and the example and influence of the ministry would tend to introduce correct views in regard to the nature of this relation. One thing is clear from this passage, that the views of the Papists in regard to the celibacy of the clergy are directly at variance with the Bible. The declaration of Paul in Heb 13:4, is, that "marriage is honourable in all;" and here it is implied that it was proper that a minister should be married. If it were not, why did not Paul prohibit it altogether! Instead of saying that it was improper that a bishop should have more than one wife, why did he not say that it was improper that he should be married at all! Would not a Romanist say so now?

Vigilant. This word nhfaleov occurs only here and in 1 Ti 3:11; Tit 2:2. It means, properly, sober, temperate, abstinent, especially in respect to wine; then sober-minded, watchful, circumspect. Robinson. A minister should have a watchful care over his own conduct. He should be on his guard against sin in any form.

Sober. swfrona. Properly, a man of a sound mind; one who follows sound reason, and who is not under the control of passion. The idea is, that he should have his desires and passions well regulated. Perhaps the word prudent would come nearer to the meaning of the apostle than any single word which we have.

Of good behaviour. Marg., modest. Coverdale renders it, mannerly. The most correct rendering, according to the modern use of language, would be, that he should be a gentleman. He should not be slovenly in his appearance, or rough and boorish in his manners. He should not do violence to the usages of refined intercourse, nor be unfit to appear respectably in the most refined circles of society. Inattention to personal neatness, and to the rules which regulate refined intercourse, is indicative neither of talent, learning, nor religion; and though they are occasionally—not often—connected with talent, learning, and religion, yet they are never the fruit of either, and are always a disgrace to those who exhibit such incivility and boorishness, for such men ought to know better. A minister of the gospel should be a finished gentleman in his manners, and there is no excuse for him if he is not. His religion, if he has any, is adapted to make him such. He has usually received such an education as ought to make him such, and in all cases ought to have had such a training. He is admitted into the best society, and has an opportunity of becoming familiar with the laws of refined intercourse. He should be an example and a pattern in all that goes to promote the welfare of mankind, and there are few things so easily acquired that are fitted to do this, as refinement and gentility of manners. No man can do good, on the whole, or in the "long run," by disregarding the rules of refined intercourse; and, other things being equal, the refined, courteous, polite gentleman in the ministry, will always do more good than he who neglects the rules of good-breeding.

Given to hospitality. This is often enjoined on all Christians as a duty of religion. For the reasons of this, and the nature of the duty, See Barnes "Ro 12:3; Heb 13:2".

It was a special duty of the ministers of religion, as they were to be examples of every Christian virtue.

Apt to teach. Gr., Didactic; that is, capable of instructing, or qualified for the office of a teacher of religion. As the principal business of a preacher of the gospel is to teach, or to communicate to his fellowmen the knowledge of the truth, the necessity of this qualification is obvious. No one should be allowed to enter the ministry who is not qualified to impart instruction to others on the doctrines and duties of religion; and no one should feel that he ought to continue in the ministry, who has not industry, and self-denial, and the love of study enough to lead him constantly to endeavour to increase in knowledge, that he may be qualified to teach others. A man who would teach a people, must himself keep in advance of them on the subjects on which he would instruct them.

{b} "bishop" Tit 1:6

{1} "good behaviour" "modest"


Verse 3. Not given to wine. Marg., "Not ready to quarrel and offer wrong, as one in wine." The Greek work (paroinov) occurs in the New Testament only here and in Tit 1:7. It means, properly, by wine; i.e., spoken of what takes place by or over wine, as revelry, drinking songs, etc. Then it denotes, as it does here, one who sits by wine; that is, who is in the habit of drinking it. It cannot be inferred, from the use of the word here, that wine was absolutely and entirely prohibited; for the word does not properly express that idea. It means that one who is in the habit of drinking wine, or who is accustomed to sit with those who indulge in it, should not be admitted to the ministry. The way in which the apostle mentions the subject here would lead us fairly to suppose that he did not mean to commend its use in any sense; that he regarded its use as dangerous, and that he would wish the ministers of religion to avoid it altogether. In regard to its use at all, except at the communion or as a medicine, it may be remarked, that a minister will do no injury to himself or others by letting it entirely alone; he may do injury by indulging in it. No man is under any obligation of courtesy or Christian duty to use it; thousands of ministers of the gospel have brought ruin on themselves, and disgrace on the ministry, by its use. See Barnes "Mt 11:19, See Barnes "1 Ti 5:23".

No striker, he must be a peaceable, not a quarrelsome man. This is connected with the caution about the use of wine, probably, because that is commonly found to produce a spirit of contention and strife.

Not greedy of filthy lucre. Not contentious or avaricious. Gr., Not desirous of base gain. The desire of this is condemned everywhere in the New Testament; but it is especially the duty of a minister of the gospel to be free from it. He has a right to a support, See Barnes "1 Co 9:1" and following, but there is nothing that more certainly paralyzes the usefulness of a minister of the gospel than the love of money. There is an instinctive feeling in the human bosom that such a man ought to be actuated by a nobler and a purer principle. As avarice, moreover, is the great sin of the world—the sin that sways more hearts, and does more to hinder the progress of the gospel, than all others combined—it is important in the highest degree that the minister of religion should be an example of what men should be, and that he, by his whole life, should set his face against that which is the main obstruction to the progress of that gospel which he is appointed to preach.

But patient. Modest, mild, gentle. See the word (Gr.) in Php 4:5; Tit 3:2; Jas 3:17; 1 Pe 2:18, where it is rendered gentle. The word means that the minister of the gospel should be a man of mild and kind demeanour, such as his Master was.

Not a brawler. Comp. 2 Ti 2:24. That is, he should not be a man given to contention, or apt to take up a quarrel. The Greek is, literally, Not disposed to fight.

Not covetous, Gr., Not a lover of silver; that is, of money. A man should not be put into the ministry who is characteristically a lover of money. Such a one, no matter what his talents may be, has no proper qualification for the office, and will do more harm than good.

{1} "Not given to wine" "not ready to quarrel and offer wrong, as one on wine"

{a} "not a brawler" 2 Ti 2:24


Verse 4. One that ruleth well his own house. This implies that a minister of the gospel would be, and ought to be, a married man. It is everywhere in the New Testament supposed that he would be a man who could be an example in all the relations of life. The position which he occupies in the church has a strong resemblance to the relation which a father sustains to his household; and a qualification to govern a family well, would be an evidence of a qualification to preside properly in the church. It is probable that, in the early Christian church, ministers were not unfrequently taken from those of mature life, and who were, at the time, at the head of families; and, of course, such would be men who had had an opportunity of showing that they had this qualification for the office. Though, however, this cannot be insisted on now as a previous qualification for the office, yet it is still true that, if he has a family, it is a necessary qualification, and that a man in the ministry should be one who governs his own house well. A want of this will always be a hinderance to extensive usefulness.

Having his children in subjection with all gravity. This does not mean that his children should evince gravity, whatever may be true on that point; but it refers to the father, he should be a grave or serious man in his family; a man free from levity of character, and from frivolity and fickleness, in his intercourse with his children. It does not mean that he should be severe, stern, morose—which are traits that are often mistaken for gravity, and which are as inconsistent with the proper spirit of a father as frivolity of manner —but that he should be a serious and sober-minded man. He should maintain proper dignity, (semnothv;) he should maintain self-respect, and his deportment should be such as to inspire others with respect for him.

{a} "ruleth well" Ps 101:2


Verse 5. For if a man know not how to rule. This is a beautiful and striking argument. A church resembles a family. It is, indeed, larger, and there is a greater variety of dispositions in it than there is in a family. The authority of a minister of the gospel in a church is also less absolute than that of a father. But still there is a striking resemblance. The church is made up of an assemblage of brothers and sisters. They are banded together for the same purposes, and have a common object to aim at. They have common feelings and common wants. They have sympathy, like a family, with each other in their distresses and afflictions. The government of the church also is designed to be paternal. It should be felt that he who presides over it, has the feelings of a father; that he loves all the members of the great family; that he has no prejudices, no partialities, no selfish aims to gratify. Now, if a man cannot govern his own family well; if he is severe, partial, neglectful, or tyrannical at home, how can he be expected to take charge of the more numerous "household of faith" with proper views and feelings? If, with all the natural and strong ties of affection, which bind a father to his own children; if, when they are few comparatively in number, and where his eye is constantly upon them, he is unable to govern them aright, how can he be expected to preside in a proper manner over the larger household, where he will be bound with comparatively feebler ties, and where he will be exposed more to the influence of passion, and where he will have a much less constant opportunity of supervision? Confucius, as quoted by Doddridge, has a sentiment strikingly resembling that before us: "It is impossible, that he who knows not how to govern and reform his own family, should rightly govern and reform a people." We may remark, also, in this verse, a delicate and beautiful use of words by the apostle, to prevent the possibility of misapprehension. While he institutes a comparison between the government of a family and that of the church, he guards against the possibility of its being supposed that he would countenance arbitrary authority in the church, even such authority as a father must of necessity employ in his own family. Hence he uses different words, he speaks of the father as 'ruling' over his own family, or presiding over it —prosthnai; he describes the minister of religion as having a tender care for the church —epimelhsetai.


Verse 6. Not a novice. Marg., one newly come to the faith. The Greek word, which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, means, properly, that which is newly planted. Thus it would mean a plant that was not strong, or not fitted to bear the severity of storms; that had not as yet struck its roots deep, and could not resist the fierceness of a cold blast. Then the word comes to mean a new convert; one who has had little opportunity to test his own faith, or to give evidence to others that he would be faithful to the trust committed to him. The word does not refer so much to one who is young in years, as one who is young in faith. Still, all the reasons which apply against introducing a very recent convert into the ministry, will apply commonly with equal force against introducing one young in years.

Lest being lifted up with pride. We are not to suppose that this is the only reason against introducing a recent convert into the ministry, but it is a sufficient reason. He would be likely to be elated by being intrusted at once with the highest office in the church, and by the commendations and flattery which he might there receive. No condition is wholly proof against this; but he is much less likely to be injured who has had much experience of the depravity of his own heart, and whose mind has been deeply imbued with the spirit of the gospel.

He fall into the condemnation of the devil. That is, the same kind of condemnation which the devil fell into; to wit, condemnation on account of pride. It is here intimated, that the cause of the apostasy of Satan was Pride—a cause which is as likely to have been the true one as any other. Who can tell but it may have been produced by some new honour which was conferred on him in heaven, and that his virtue was not found sufficient for the untried circumstances in which he was placed? Much of the apostasy from eminent virtue in this world, arises from this cause; and possibly the case of Satan may have been the most signal instance of this kind which has occurred in the universe. The idea of Paul is, that a young convert should not suddenly be raised to an exalted station in the church. Who can doubt the wisdom of this direction? The word rendered lifted up, (tufwyeiv,) is from a verb which means, to smoke, to fume, to surround with smoke; then to inflate—as a bladder is with air; and then to be conceited or proud; that is, to be like a bladder filled, not with a solid substance, but with air.

{1} "novice" "one newly come to the faith"

{b} "pride" Pr 16:18

{c} "devil" Jude 1:6


Verse 7. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without. Who are without the church; that is, of those who are not Christians. This includes, of course, all classes of those who are not Christians—heathens, infidels, Jews, moral men, and scoffers. The idea is, that he must have a fair reputation with them for integrity of character. His life must be in their view upright must not be addicted to anything which they regard as inconsistent with good morals. His deportment must be such that they shall regard it as not inconsistent with his profession. He must be true, and just, and honest in his dealings with his fellow-men, and so live that they cannot say that he has wronged them. lie must not give occasion for scandal or reproach in his intercourse with the other sex, but must be regarded as a man of a pure life and of a holy walk. The reason for this injunction is too obvious. It is his business to endeavour to do such men good, and to persuade them to become Christians. But no minister of the gospel can possibly do such men good, unless they regard him as an upright and honest man. No matter how he preaches or prays; no matter how orthodox, learned, or apparently devout he may be, all his efforts will be in vain unless they regard him as a man of incorruptible integrity. If they hate religion themselves, they insist justly that since he has professed it, he shall be governed by its principles; or if they feel its importance, they will not be influenced to embrace it by a man that they regard as hypocritical and impure. Go to a man whom you have defrauded, or who regards you as having done or attempted wrong to any other one, and talk to him about the necessity of religion, and he will instinctively say, that he does not want a religion which will not make its professor true, honest, and pure. It is impossible, therefore, for a minister to over-estimate the importance of having a fair character in the view of the world, and no man should be introduced into the ministry, or sustained in it, who has not a fair reputation. See Barnes "Col 4:5" See Barnes "1 Th 4:12".

Lest he fall into reproach. That is, in such a way as to bring dishonour on the ministerial character. His life will be such as to give men occasion to reproach the cause of religion.

And the snare of the devil. The snare which the devil lays to entrap and ruin the ministers of the gospel and all good men. The snare to which reference is here made, is that of blasting the character and influence of the minister of the gospel. The idea is, that Satan lays this snare so to entangle him as to secure this object, and the means which he uses is the vigilance and suspicion of those who are out of the church. If there is anything of this kind in the life of a minister which they can make use of, they will be ready to do it. Hence the necessity, on his part, of an upright and blameless life. Satan is constantly aiming at this thing; the world is watching for it; and if the minister has any propensity which is not in entire accordance with honesty, Satan will take advantage of it, and lead him into the snare.

{d} "them which are without" Ac 22:12; 1 Th 4:12

{e} "snare or the devil" 1 Ti 6:9; 2 Ti 2:26


Verse 9. Holding the mystery of the faith. On the word mystery, See Barnes "1 Co 2:7".

It means that which had been concealed, or hidden, but which was now revealed. The word faith, here, is synonymous with the gospel; and the sense is, that he should hold firmly the great doctrines of the Christian religion, which had been so long. concealed from men, but which were now revealed. The reason is obvious. Though not a preacher, yet his influence and example would be great, and a man who held material error, ought not to be in the office.

In a pure conscience. A mere orthodox faith was not all that was necessary, for it was possible that a man might be professedly firm in the belief of the truths of revelation, and yet be corrupt at heart.

{c} "the mystery" Eph 1:9

{d} "of the faith" 1 Ti 3:16


Verse 11. Even so must their wives be grave. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Grotius, Bloomfield, and many others, suppose that by the word wives, here, gunaikav, the apostle means deaconesses. Clarke supposes that it refers to women in general. The reason assigned for supposing that it does not refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is, that nothing is said of the qualifications of the wives of bishops —a matter of as much importance as that of the character of the wife of a deacon; and that it cannot be supposed that the apostle would specify the one, without some allusion to the other. But that the common interpretation, which makes it refer to the wives of deacons, as such, is to be adhered to, seems to me to be clear. For,

(1,) it is the obvious and natural interpretation.

(2.) The word here used—wives—is never used of itself to denote deaconesses.

(3.) If the apostle had meant deaconesses, it would have been easy to express itwithout ambiguity. Comp. See Barnes "Ro 16:1".

(4.) What is here mentioned is important, whether the same thing is mentioned of bishops or not.

(5.) In the qualifications of bishops, the apostle had made a statement respecting his family, which made any specification about the particular members of the family unnecessary. He was to be one who presided in a proper manner over his own house, or who had a well-regulated family, 1 Ti 3:4,5. By a comparison of this passage, also, with Tit 2:3,4, which bears a strong resemblance to this, it would seem that it was supposed that the deacons would be taken from those who were advanced in life, and that their wives would have some superintendence over the younger females of the church. It was, therefore, especially important that they should be persons whose influence would be known to be decidedly favourable to piety. No one can doubt that the character of a woman may be such, that it is not desirable that her husband should be an officer in the church. A bad woman ought not to be intrusted with any additional power or influence.

Grave. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:4".

Not slanderers. Comp. Tit 2:3, "Not false accusers." The Greek word is diabolouv—devils. It is used here in its original and proper sense, to denote a calumniator, slanderer, or accuser. It occurs in the same sense in 2 Ti 3:3; Tit 2:3. Elsewhere in the New Testament, it is uniformly rendered devil, See Barnes "Mt 4:1" and is given to Satan, the prince of the fallen angels, (Mt 9:34,) by way of eminence, as the accuser. Comp. See Barnes "Job 1:6, and following; See Barnes "Re 12:10".

Here it means that they should not be women who were in the habit of calumniating others, or aspersing their character. Mingling as they would with the church, and having an opportunity to claim acquaintance with many, it would be in their power, if they chose, to do great injury to the character Of others.

Sober. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:2".

Faithful in all things. To their husbands, to their families, to the church, to the Saviour.

{e} "wives be grave" Tit 2:3


Verse 12. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:2".

Ruling their children and their own houses well. See Barnes "1 Ti 3:4" See Barnes "1 Ti 3:5".


Verse 13. For they that have used the office of a deacon well. Marg., ministered. The Greek word is the same as deacon, meaning ministering, or serving in this office. The sense would be well expressed by the phrase, deaconizing well. The word implies nothing as to the exact nature of the office.

Purchase to themselves. Procure for themselves. See this word explained See Barnes "Ac 20:28".

A good degree. The word here used baymov occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means, properly, a step, as of a stair; and the fair meaning is that of going up higher, or taking an additional step of dignity, honour, or standing. So far as the word is concerned, it may mean either an advance in officer in dignity, in respectability, or in influence. It cannot certainly be inferred that the apostle referred to a higher grade of office; for all that the word essentially conveys is, that, by exercising this office well, a deacon would secure additional respectability and influence in the church. Still, it is possible that those who had performed the duties of this office well were appointed to be preachers. They may have shown so much piety, prudence, good sense, and ability to preside over the church, that it was judged proper that they should be advanced to the office of bishops or pastors of the churches. Such a course would not be unnatural. This is, however, far from teaching that the office of a deacon is a subordinate office, with a view to an ascent to a higher grade.

And great boldness in the faith. The word here rendered boldness properly refers to boldness in speaking. See it explained in the See Barnes "Ac 4:13" See Barnes "2 Co 3:12; See Barnes "Php 1:20".

But the word is commonly used to denote boldness of any kind—openness, frankness, confidence, assurance. Joh 7:13,26; Mr 8:32; 2 Co 7:4.

As it is here connected with faith—"boldness in the faith"—it means, evidently, not so much public speaking, as a manly and independent exercise of faith in Christ. The sense is, that by the faithful performance of the duties of the office of a deacon, and by the kind of experience which a man would have in that office, he would establish a character of firmness in the faith, which would show that he was a decided Christian. This passage, therefore, cannot be fairly used to prove that the deacon was a preacher, or that he belonged to a grade of ministerial office from which he was regularly to rise to that of a presbyter.

{1} "used" "ministered"

{b} "well" Mt 25:21

{+} "purchase" "acquire"

{++} "degree" "an honourable rank"

{c} "faith" 2 Ti 2:1


Verse 14. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly. That is, he hoped to come there to give instructions personally, or to finish, himself, the work which he had commenced in Ephesus, and which had been interrupted by his being driven so unexpectedly away. This verse PROVES that the apostle Paul did not regard Timothy as the permanent diocesan bishop of Ephesus. Would any Episcopal bishop write this to another bishop? If Timothy were the permanent prelate of Ephesus, would Paul have intimated that he expected soon to come and take the work of completing the arrangements there into his own hands? In regard to his expectation of going soon to Ephesus, See Barnes "1 Ti 1:3".

Comp. the Introduction to the Epistle.


Verse 15. But if I tarry long. Paul appears to have been uncertain how long circumstances would require him to be absent. He expected to return, but it was possible that his hope of returning soon would be disappointed.

That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself. That is, that he might have just views about settling the affairs of the church.

In the house of God. This does not mean in a place of public worship, nor does it refer to propriety of deportment there. It refers rather to the church as a body of believers, and to intercourse with them. The church is called the "house of God," because it is that in which he dwells. Formerly, his peculiar residence was in the temple at Jerusalem; now that the temple is destroyed, it is in the church of Christ, among his people.

Which is the church of the living God. This seems to have been added to impress the mind of Timothy with the solemn nature of the duty which he was to perform. What he did pertained to the honour and welfare of the church of the living God, and hence he should feel the importance of a correct deportment, and of a right administration of its affairs.

The pillar and ground of the truth. There has been no little diversity of opinion among critics whether this phrase is to be taken in connection with the preceding, meaning that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth; or whether it is to be taken in connection with what follows, meaning that the principal support of the truth was the doctrine there referred to—that God was manifest in the flesh. Bloomfield remarks on this: "It is surprising that any who have any knowledge or experience in Greek literature could tolerate so harsh a construction as that which arises from the latter method." The more natural interpretation certainly is, to refer it to the former; and this is supported by the consideration that it would then fall in with the object of the apostle. His design here seems to be, to impress Timothy with a deep sense of the importance of correct conduct in relation to the church; of the responsibility of those who presided over it; and of the necessity of care and caution in the selection of proper officers. To do this, he reminded him that the truth of God that revealed truth which he had given to save the world—was intrusted to the church; that it was designed to preserve it pure, to defend it, and to transmit it to future times; and that, therefore, every one to whom the administration of the affairs of the church was intrusted, should engage in this duty with a deep conviction of his responsibility. On the construction of the passage, Bloomfield, Rosenmuller, and Clarke, may be consulted. The word "pillar" means a column, such as that by which a building is supported, and then any firm prop or support. Ga 2:9; Re 3:12. If it refers to the church here, it means that that is the support of the truth, as a pillar is of a building. It sustains it amidst the war of elements, the natural tendency to fall, and the assaults which may be made on it, and preserves it when it would otherwise tumble into ruin. Thus it is with the church. It is intrusted with the business of maintaining the truth, of defending it from the assaults of error, and of transmitting it to future times. The truth is, in fact, upheld in the world by the church. The people of the world feel no interest in defending it, and it is to the church of Christ that it is owing that it is preserved and transmitted from age to age. The word rendered "ground"—edraiwma—means properly, a basis, or foundation. The figure here is evidently taken from architecture, as the use of the word pillar is. The proper meaning of the one expression would be, that truth is supported by the church, as an edifice is by a pillar; of the other, that the truth rests on the church, as a house does on its foundation. It is that which makes it fixed, stable, permanent; that on which it securely stands amidst storms and tempests; that which renders it firm when systems of error are swept away as a house that is built on the sand. Comp. See Barnes "Mt 7:24" Mt 7:25-27. The meaning then is, that the stability of the truth on earth is dependent on the church. It is owing to the fact that the church is itself founded on a rock, that the gates of hell cannot prevail against it, that no storms of persecution can overthrow it, that the truth is preserved from age to age. Other systems of religion are swept away; other opinions change; other forms of doctrine vanish; but the knowledge of the great system of redemption is preserved on earth unshaken, because the church is preserved, and because its foundations cannot be moved. This does not refer, I suppose, to creeds and confessions, or to the decisions of synods and councils; but to the living spirit of truth and piety in the church itself. As certainly as the church continues to live, so certain it will be that the truth of God will be perpetuated among men.

{&} "tarry long" "delay"

{d} "house of God" 2 Ti 2:20

{2} "pillar and ground" "stay"


Verse 16. And, without controversy. Undeniably, certainly. The object of the apostle is to say that the truth which he was about to state admitted of no dispute.

Great is the mystery. On the meaning of the word mystery, See Barnes "1 Co 2:7".

The word means that which had been hidden or concealed. The meaning here is not that the proposition which he affirms was mysterious, in the sense that it was unintelligible, or impossible to be understood; but that the doctrine respecting the incarnation and the work of the Messiah, which had been so long kept hidden from the world, was a subject of the deepest importance. This passage, therefore, should not be used to prove that there is anything unintelligible, or anything that surpasses human comprehension, in that doctrine, whatever may be the truth on that point; but that the doctrine which he now proceeds to state, and which had been so long concealed from mankind, was of the utmost consequence.

Of godliness. The word godliness means, properly, piety, reverence or religiousness. It is used here, however, for the gospel scheme, to wit, that which the apostle proceeds to state. This "mystery" which had "been hidden from ages and from generations, and which was now manifest," Col 1:26, was the great doctrine on which depended religion everywhere, or was that which constituted the Christian scheme.

God. Probably there is no passage in the New Testament which has excited so much discussion among critics as this, and none in reference to which it is so difficult to determine the true reading. It is the only one, it is believed, in which the microscope has been employed to determine the lines of the letters used in a manuscript; and, after all that has been done to ascertain the exact truth in regard to it, still the question remains undecided. It is not the object of these Notes to enter into the examination of questions of this nature. A full investigation may be found in Wetstein. The question which has excited so much controversy is, whether the original Greek was yeov, God, or whether it was ov, who, or o, which. The controversy has turned, to a considerable degree, on the reading in the Codex Alexandrinus; and a remark or two on the method in which the manuscripts of the New Testament were written, will show the true nature of the controversy. Greek manuscripts were formerly written entirely in capital letters, and without breaks or intervals between the words, and without accents. See a full description of the methods of writing the New Testament, in an article by Prof. Stuart in Dr. Robinson's Bibliotheca Sacra, No. 2, pp. 254, seq. The small, cursive Greek letters which are now used, were not commonly employed in transcribing the New Testament, if at all, until the ninth or tenth centuries. It was a common thing to abridge or contract words in the manuscript. Thus, pr would be used for, pathr, father; kv for kuriov, Lord; yv for yeov, God, etc. The words thus contracted were designated by a faint line or dash over them. In this place, therefore, if the original were yC, standing for yeov, God, and the line in the y and the faint line over it, were obliterated from any cause, it would be easily mistaken for ov, who. To ascertain which of these is the true reading, has been the great question; and it is with reference to this that the microscope has been resorted to in the examination of the Alexandrian manuscript. It is now generally admitted that the faint line over the word has been added by some later hand, though not improbably by one who found that the line was nearly obliterated, and who meant merely to restore it. Whether the letter O was originally written with a line within it, making the reading, God, it is now said to be impossible to determine, in consequence of the manuscript at this place having become so much worn by frequent examination. The Vulgate and the Syriac read it, who, or which. The Vulgate is, "Great is the sacrament of piety which was manifested in the flesh." The Syriac, "Great is the mystery of godliness, that he was manifested in the flesh." The probability

Was manifest. Marg., Manifested. The meaning is, appeared in the flesh.

In the flesh. In human nature. See this explained See Barnes "Ro 1:3".

The expression here looks as though the true reading of the much disputed word was God. It could not have been, it would seem evident, o, which, referring to "mystery," for how could a 'mystery'" be manifested in the flesh? Nor could it be ov, who, unless that should refer to one who was more than a man; for how absurd would it be to say that a "a man was manifested, or appeared in the flesh!" How else could a man appear? The phrase here means that God appeared in human form, or with human nature; and this is declared to be the "great" truth so long concealed from human view, but now revealed as constituting the fundamental doctrine of the gospel. The expressions which follow in this verse refer to God as thus manifested in the flesh; to the Saviour as he appeared on earth, regarded as a divine and human Being. It was the fact that he thus appeared and sustained this character, which made the things which are immediately specified so remarkable, and so worthy of attention.

Justified in the Spirit. That is, the incarnate Person above referred to; the Redeemer, regarded as God and man. The word Spirit here, it is evident, refers to the Holy Spirit; for

(1.) it is not possible to attach any intelligible idea to the phrase, "he was justified by his own spirit, or soul,"

(2.) as the Holy Spirit performed so important a part in the work of Christ, it is natural to suppose there would be some allusion here to him; and

(3.) as the "angels" are mentioned here as having been with him, and as the Holy Spirit is often mentioned in connection with him, it is natural to suppose that there would be some allusion to Him here. The word justified, here, is not used in the sense in which it is when applied to Christians, but in its more common signification. It means to indicate, and the sense is, that he was shown to be the Son of God by the agency of the Holy Ghost; he was thus vindicated from the charges alleged against him. The Holy Spirit furnished the evidence that he was the Son of God, or justified his claims. Thus he descended on him at his baptism, Mt 3:16; he was sent To convince the world of sin, because it did not believe on him, Joh 16:8,9; the Saviour cast out devils by him, Mt 12:28; the Spirit was given to him without measure, Joh 3:34; and the Spirit was sent down, in accordance with his promise, to convert the hearts of men, Ac 2:33. All the manifestations of God to him; all the power of working miracles by his agency; all the influences imparted to the man Christ Jesus, endowing him with such a wisdom as man never had before, may be regarded as an attestation of the Holy Ghost to the divine mission of the Lord Jesus, and of course as a vindication from all the charges against him. In like manner, the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, and his agency in the conversion of every sinner, prove the same thing, and furnish the grand argument in vindication of the Redeemer that he was sent from God. To this the apostle refers as a part of the glorious truth of the Christian scheme now revealed—the "mystery of religion;" as a portion of the amazing records, the memory of which the church was to preserve as connected with the redemption of the world.

Seen of angels. They were attendants on his ministry, and came to him in times of distress, peril, and want. Comp. Lu 2:9-13; 22:43; Lu 24:4; Heb 1:6; Mt 4:11.

They felt an interest in him and his work, and they gladly came to him in his sorrows and troubles. The design of the apostle is to give an impressive view of the grandeur and glory of that work which attracted the attention of the heavenly hosts, and which drew them from the skies that they might proclaim his advent, sustain him in his temptations, witness his crucifixion, and watch over him in the tomb. The work of Christ, though despised by men, excited the deepest interest in heaven. Comp. See Barnes "1 Pe 1:12.

Preached unto the Gentiles. This is placed by the apostle among the "great" things which constituted the "mystery" of religion. The meaning is, that it was a glorious truth that salvation might be, and should be, proclaimed to all mankind, and that this was a part of the important truths made known in the gospel. Elsewhere this is called, by way of eminence, "the mystery of the gospel;" that is, the grand truth, which had not been known until the coming of the Saviour. See Barnes "Eph 6:19" See Barnes "Col 1:26, See Barnes "Col 1:27" See Barnes "Col 4:3".

Before his coming, a wall of partition had divided the Jewish and Gentile world. The Jews regarded the rest of mankind as excluded from the covenant mercies of God, and it was one of the principal stumbling-blocks in their way, in regard to the gospel, that it proclaimed that all the race was on a level, that that middle wall of partition was broken down, and that salvation might now be published to all men. Comp. Ac 22:21; Eph 2:14,15; Ro 3:22; 10:11-20.

The Jew had no peculiar advantage for salvation by being a Jew; the Gentile was not excluded from the hope of salvation. The plan of redemption was adapted to man as such—without regard to his complexion, country, customs, or laws. The blood of Christ was shed for all, and wherever a human being could be found salvation might be freely offered him. This is a glorious truth; and, taken in all its bearings, and in reference to the views which then prevailed, and which have always more or less prevailed, about the distinctions made among men by caste and rank, there is scarcely any more glorious truth connected with the Christian revelation, or one which will exert a wider influence in promoting the welfare of man. It is a great privilege to be permitted to proclaim that all men in one respect—and that the most important—are on a level; that they are all equally the objects of the Divine compassion; that Christ died for one as really as for another; that birth, wealth, elevated rank, or beauty of complexion, contribute nothing to the salvation of one man; and that poverty, a darker skin, slavery, or a meaner rank, do nothing to exclude another from the favour of his Maker:

Believed on in the world. This also is mentioned among the "great" things which constitute the mystery of revealed religion. But why is this regarded as so remarkable as to be mentioned thus? In point of importance, how can it be mentioned in connection with the fact that God was manifest in the flesh; that he was vindicated by the Holy Ghost; that he was an object of intense interest to angelic hosts; and that his coming had broken down the walls which had separated the world, and placed them now on a level? I answer, perhaps the following circumstances may have induced the apostle to place this among the remarkable things evincing the greatness of this truth:

(1.) The strong improbability arising from the greatness of the "mystery," that the doctrines respecting the incarnate Deity would be believed. Such is the incomprehensible nature of many of the truths connected with the incarnation; so strange does it seem that God would become incarnate; so amazing that he should appear in human flesh and blood, and that the incarnate Son of God should die, that it might be regarded as a wonderful thing that such a doctrine had in fact obtained credence in the world. But it was a glorious truth that all the natural improbabilities in the case had been overcome, and that men had accredited the announcement.

(2.) The strong improbability that his message would be believed, arising from the wickedness of the human heart. Man, in all his history, had shown a strong reluctance to believe any message from God, or any truth whatever revealed by him. The Jews had rejected his prophets, and put them to death, Mt 23; Ac 7, and had at last put his own Son—their Messiah—to death. Man everywhere had shown his strong inclination to unbelief. There is in the human soul no elementary principle or germ of faith in God. Every man is an unbeliever by nature—an infidel first, a Christian afterwards; an infidel as he comes into the world; a believer only as he is made so by grace. The apostle, therefore, regarded it as a glorious fact that the message respecting the Saviour had been believed in the world. It overcame such a strong and universal reluctance to confide in God, that it showed that there was more than human power in operation to overcome this reluctance.

(3.) The extent to which this had been done may have been a reason why he thought it worthy of the place which he gives it here. It had been embraced, not by a few, but by thousands in all lands where the gospel had been published; and it was proof of the truth of the doctrine, and of the great power of God, that such high mysteries as those relating to redemption, and so much opposed to the natural feelings of the human heart, should have been embraced by so many. The same thing occurs now. The gospel makes its way against the native incredulity of the world, and every new convert is an additional demonstration that it is from God, and a new illustration of the greatness of this mystery.

Received up into glory. To heaven. Comp. Joh 17:5. See Barnes "Ac 1:9".

This is mentioned as among the "great," or remarkable things pertaining to "godliness," or the Christian revelation, because it was an event which had not elsewhere occurred, and was the crowning grandeur of the work of Christ. It was an event that was fitted to excite the deepest interest in heaven itself. No event of more importance has ever occurred in the universe, of which we have any knowledge, than the re-ascension of the triumphant Son of God to glory, after having accomplished the redemption of a world.

In view of the instructions of this chapter, we may make the following remarks:—

1. The word bishop in the New Testament never means what is now commonly understood by it—a Prelate. It does not denote here, or anywhere else in the New Testament, one who has charge over a diocese composed of a certain district of country, embracing a number of churches with their clergy.

2. There are not "three orders" of clergy in the New Testament. The apostle Paul, in this chapter, expressly designates the characteristics of those who should have charge of the church, but mentions only two—"bishops" and "deacons." The former are ministers of the word, having charge of the spiritual interests of the church; the other are deacons, of whom there is no evidence that they were appointed to preach.—There is no "third" order. There is no allusion to any one who was to be "superior" to the "bishops" and "deacons." As the apostle Paul was expressly giving instructions in regard to the organization of the church, such an omission is unaccountable if he supposed there was to be an order of "prelates" in the church. Why is there no allusion to them? Why is there no mention of their qualifications? If Timothy was himself a prelate, was he to have nothing to do in transmitting the office to others? Were there no peculiar qualifications required in such an order of men which it would be proper to mention? Would it not be respectful, at least, in Paul to have made some allusion to such an office, if Timothy himself held it?

3. There is only one order of preachers in the church. The qualifications of that order are specified with great minuteness and particularity, as well as beauty, 1 Ti 3:2-7. No man really needs to know more of the qualifications for this office than could be learned from a prayerful study of this passage.

4. A man who enters the ministry ought to have high qualifications, 1 Ti 3:2-7. No man ought, under any pretence, to be put into the ministry who has not the qualifications here specified. Nothing is gained in any department of human labour, by appointing incompetent persons to fill it. A farmer gains nothing by employing a man on his farm who has no proper qualifications for his business; a carpenter, a shoemaker, or a blacksmith, gains nothing by employing a man who knows nothing about his trade; and a neighbourhood gains nothing by employing a man as a teacher of a school who has no qualifications to teach, or who has a bad character. Such a man would do more mischief on a farm, or in a workshop, or in a school, than all the good which he could do would compensate. And so it is in the ministry. The true object is not to increase the number of ministers, it is to increase the number of those who are qualified for their work, and if a man has not the qualifications laid down by the inspired apostle, he had better seek some other calling.

5. The church is the guardian of the truth, 1 Ti 3:15. It is appointed to preserve it pure, and to transmit it to future ages. The world is dependent on it for any just views of truth. The church has the power, and is intrusted with the duty, of preserving on earth a just knowledge of God and of eternal things; of the way of salvation; of the requirements of pure morality:—to keep up the knowledge of that truth which tends to elevate society and to save man. It is intrusted with the Bible, to preserve uncorrupted, and to transmit to distant ages and lands. It is bound to maintain and assert the truth in its creeds and confessions of faith. And it is to preserve the truth by the holy lives of its members, and to show in their walk what is the appropriate influence of truth on the soul. Whatever religious truth there is now on the earth, has been thus preserved and transmitted, and it still devolves on the church to bear the truth of God on to future times and to diffuse it abroad to distant lands.

6. The closing verse of this chapter 1 Ti 3:16 gives us a most elevated view of the plan of salvation, and of its grandeur and glory. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to condense more interesting and sublime thought into so narrow a compass as this. The great mystery of the incarnation; the interest of angelic beings in the events of redemption; the effect of the gospel on the heathen world; the tendency of the Christian religion to break down every barrier among men, and to place all the race on a level; its power in overcoming the unbelief of mankind; and the re-ascension of the Son of God to heaven, present a series of most wonderful facts to our contemplation. These things are found in no other system of religion, and these are worthy of the profound attention of every human being. The manifestation of God in the flesh! What a thought! It was worthy of the deepest interest among the angels, and it claims the attention of men, for it was for men and not for angels that he thus appeared in human form. Comp. See Barnes "1 Pe 1:12".

7. How strange it is that man feels no more interest in these things! God was manifest in the flesh for his salvation, but he does not regard it. Angels looked upon it with wonder; but man, for whom he came, feels little interest in his advent or his work? The Christian religion has broken down the barrier among nations, and has proclaimed that all men may be saved; yet the mass of men look on this with entire unconcern. The Redeemer ascended to heaven, having finished his great work; but how little interest do the mass of mankind feel in this! He will come again to judge the world; but the race moves on, regardless of this truth; unalarmed at the prospect of meeting him; feeling no interest in the assurance that he has come and died for sinners, and no apprehension in view of the fact that he will come again, and that they must stand at his bar. All heaven was moved with his first advent, and will be with his second; but the earth regards it with unconcern. Angelic beings look upon this with the deepest anxiety, though they have no personal interest in it: man, though all his great interests are concentrated on it, regards it as a fable, disbelieves it all, and treats it with contempt and scorn. Such is the difference between heaven and earth—angels and men!

{a} "mystery of godliness" 1 Co 2:7

{1} "manifest" "manifested"

{b} "flesh" Joh 1:14; 1 Jo 1:2

{c} "Spirit" Mt 3:16; Joh 16:8,9; Ro 1:4; 1 Pe 3:18; 1 Jo 5:6

{d} "seen of angels" Mt 4:11; Lu 2:13; Eph 3:10; 1 Pe 1:12

{e} "believed" Ac 13:46,48; Ro 10:12,18

{f} "world" Col 1:6

{g} "into glory" Lu 24:51; Ac 1:9

Subscribe to RPM
RPM subscribers receive an email notification each time a new issue is published. Notifications include the title, author, and description of each article in the issue, as well as links directly to the articles. Like RPM itself, subscriptions are free. Click here to subscribe.