W. J. Franklin
Timothy was Paul’s beloved son—I Cor. 4:17; I Tim. 1:2,18; II Tim. 1:2. He was highly esteemed by Paul—Phil. 2:19-23, and was called a fellow labourer of Paul—I Thess. 3:2.
Not much is known of his early life. He was the son of a mixed marriage—Acts 16:3, which marriage was contrary to the law of Moses. His mother and grandmother were godly women—II Tim. 1:5. They trained him from childhood in the Holy Scriptures—II Tim. 3:15.
Timothy was evidently led to a saving knowledge of Christ during Paul’s first visit to that part of the world where he lived, as he was a noted Christian when Paul made his second missionary journey. See Acts 16:1-3. His home was in either Lystra or Derbe. See Acts 14:6; 16:1. He was not mentioned in earlier Scriptures, but God had him in training for the work that was before him.
None of his words are preserved to us, but he is mentioned in twelve books of the New Testament, and has one of the highest compliments paid to him recorded in the Christian Scriptures—Phil. 2:19-23. He experienced a prison term in Rome—Heb. 13:23.
In the book of I Timothy, there are two thoughts that should be kept in the mind of the reader, “Care of the church of God”—3:5; and “That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God”—3:15.
A BRIEF OUTLINE
Evil doctrine rebuked Chapter 1
The order of prayer and of the sexes Chapter 2
Qualifications of elders, deacons and their wives Chapter 3
Conduct of a minister Chapter 4
Ministerial instructions Chapter 5
Varied instructions Chapter 6
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope”—V. 1. The revealed will of God, the living guidance for our lives, includes commandments to us from God. God didn’t command you or me to be an apostle nor to write part of the New Testament as He did Paul. It was not a mere choice of Paul, but a command to him from God.
“God our Saviour.” Note the following texts, I Tim. 2:3; 4:10; II Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4. This expression occurs in other sections of Scripture, but is used more in the pastoral epistles. It indicates the divine origin of our salvation.
“Christ Jesus our Hope.” Christ is called our light, our life, our peace, and many other things. Here He is called our hope. In Titus 2:13, He is called that “Blessed Hope.” There is no other solid hope for the future in a system or in a person or things apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God’s will that His people be filled with hope—Rom. 15:13. Christ is not a hope of material possessions or positions, but is a hope of the soul for a full and wonderful deliverance from all that is earthly.
“Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord”—V. 2. Timothy was Paul’s own son in the faith or a spiritual son. “Own” means, a lawful, legitimate or genuine son. This made him very dear to Paul’s heart.
“Grace” is God’s favour to us, and at all times He is for us as His Children. In the addresses to the churches, Paul did not use the word “Mercy,” but when writing to individuals, he used it. Grace is toward man in sin while mercy is toward him in his misery. Pardon, forgiveness, support and the other things of God that come to us stem in grace and mercy. The peace of God passeth understanding—Phil. 4:7. From grace and mercy, peace of heart, mind and conscience come to us from God. May we learn to value it highly. It gives quietness and assurance in the heart.
WHY TIMOTHY WAS IN EPHESUS
“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine”—V. 3.
Timothy was clearly left in Ephesus to uphold the doctrine that Paul preached. Some might have told Timothy that he ought to be out evangelizing or getting people healed. Those things have a place in God’s program, but there are times to just feed and sustain the sheep of God’s pasture. This was on Paul’s heart, and the Spirit of God had put it there.
“Teach no other doctrine,” Paul warned the Ephesian elders of what would take place after his departure—Acts 20:29-31. His teaching was the norm. Anything else was heterodoxy, as is the Greek word, translated “Teach no other doctrine.” This word occurs in only one other place in the New Testament—I Tim. 6:3.
“Doctrine” is mentioned eight times in this epistle. With reference to evil doctrine, it is used once in the plural—4:1. The doctrine of God is one, a divine system of revealed truth. Evil doctrines are many. Those who proclaim, “We do not preach doctrine” should take down their shingles, as they admit compromise when they make such statement. There can be no real stability without a real stabilizing doctrine, soundly preached and solidly believed.
“Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do”—V. 4. There were especially two forms of evil doctrine, “Fables” and law misapplied.
“Fables,” this means, a tale, figment, myth or fiction, idle fancies. The “Endless genealogies” would nave special reference to the Jews who doted on them, as they proved their ancestry to be Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and one of the sons of Israel. Also, there were those who tried to show the origin of angels with confusing and fruitless results. See Col. 2:18.
These raise questions outside the Word of God, questions with which the Word of God does not concern itself. They lead men into paths of research which have nothing to do with the spiritual things of God. The Bible was not meant to satisfy mere curiosity, neither is it a scientific text book, though correct along these lines, but a book that leads to God and satisfies the heart. It never leads one to hurtful or doubt-ministering questions.
“Godly edifying” should be rendered, “A dispensation” or a “Stewardship of God” according to my best Greek texts. The false teachers, instead of being occupied with a stewardship of God, would be carried away with useless and idle matters. These matters could not be in faith. Our faith is not in fables nor genealogies or any kindred subjects, but in the revelation of God. No natural descent is involved, so why seek genealogies for spiritual blessings?
“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned”—V. 5. The “End” is the purpose or aim. That aim is “Love” as “Charity” means. The commandment has to do with the things proclaimed. The same word translated thus here, is used in I Thess. 4:2. Love is not to be pretense, but to flow out of a pure heart. A heart deceitful and desperately wicked, once sought expression through us. What a pleasure and privilege to have a pure heart, a heart purified by faith—Acts 15:9; II Tim. 2:22. Paul lived in all good conscience—Acts 23:1; and exercised himself always to have a good conscience before God—Acts 24:16. Some have a weak conscience—I Cor. 8:7; some have a seared conscience—I Tim. 4:2; while others have a defiled conscience—Titus 1:15. We all had an evil conscience—Heb. 10:22. In Christ, we have a pure conscience.
“Faith unfeigned.” “Unfeigned” means, real, sincere, undissembled. The word is translated “Without dissimilation (Hypocrisy).” Possibly the law keepers and teachers were pretending faith in the Gospel in order to gain a hearing for the purpose of bringing people back to the bondage of the law.
“From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling”—V. 6. Some seemed to have aimed at the end, but missed the aim, as the word “Swerved” means. It also means, to miss the mark, deviate. No man can swerve from the afore-mentioned things and fail to come short of God’s thought.
They have turned aside to “Vain jangling,” which means, random talk, to babble, given to vain talking, or trivial disputation. It is discourses that are profitless, many words, but little truth.
“Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm”—V. 7. A desire for notoriety, to be esteemed or called teachers, but no heart for the true things of God.
Sometimes they read or hear something that strikes their fancy, they remember it and assert it to be factual, but too often do not understand what they so dogmatically affirm to be truth.
PURPOSE OF THE LAW
“But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully”—V. 8. Some people think that because the law is in the Bible they are obligated to try to keep it. “Try” is all they will ever do. No earthly man is able to keep the law. The law gives knowledge of sin—Rom. 3:20. It ministered condemnation and death—II Cor. 3:6-9. It caused the offence to abound—Rom. 5:20. It was not a means of justification—Acts 13:39. God gave the law to condemn. Using the law lawfully is to give it the place God gave it. One translates the verse as follows: “Now we know excellent is the law if one put it to lawful use”—Rotherham. The law can never be used to make a man righteous, keep him righteous or as a means of drawing him nearer to God. It can never be a means of advancing the spirituality of the Christian life. To try to use it in any of these ways is to use it unlawfully. The law was of great benefit to God to condemn evil and to pass sentence on all forms of ungodliness. It showed God’s attitude to all evil. It was never used to save sinners nor to build up the righteous.
“Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murders of mothers, for manslayers”—V. 9. Law is not for a righteous man! Many who are righteous in Christ feel that they must have the law. However, it was never made for them! Note the class of people for whom the law was made—
1. Lawless, those who will not be bound by any law, they have no moral concept or conduct and refuse to acknowledge that there is such. It further means, wicked, transgressor or impious.
2. Disobedient, those who acknowledge no authority, not subject, insubordinate, disorderly.
3. Ungodly, impious, wicked, sinful, those who have no reverence or worship of God.
4. Sinners, those who deviate from the path of virtue, sinful, depraved, detestable.
5. Unholy, impious
6. Profane, what is accessible and open to all, hence profane, moral outcasts.
7. Murderers of fathers, murderers of mothers, one who kills a parent. The word “Murderers” also means, to strike or thresh. See Ex. 21:15.
8. Manslayers, homicide, manslaughter.
“For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”—V. 10.
9. Whoremongers, adulterers, prostitutes of all kinds, impure persons.
10. Defile themselves with mankind, a sodomite, a catamite. The same word is translated, Effeminate, in I Cor. 6:9.
11. Menstealers, kidnapers, enslavers, one who brings men to his feet.
12. Liars, one who utters falsehood, one who speaks for truth that which he knows to be a lie.
13. Perjured person, one who violates his oath, false swearer. Following this long catalogue of sins, Paul makes a sweeping statement, “Anything contrary to sound doctrine.” The word “Sound” means, to be whole, found in health, healthy, pure, uncorrupted. This kind of doctrine occupies the heart with Christ. If a doctrine draws us from Him to ourselves, other people, or to the law, it is not a wholesome doctrine. “Wholesome doctrine” is in contrast with the doctrines taught by those of V. 7 and other false teachers of the time
“According to the glorious Gospel of the Blessed God, which was committed to my trust”—V. 11. The “Glorious Gospel” is “Gospel of the glory” in the Greek language. The Gospel of grace tells of God’s love, and His great interest in the sinner. It tells that God will meet the sinner in mercy and forgive his sins. It tells that God will warmly receive the sinner for Jesus’ sake. The Gospel of Glory leads us as saints to God, to see our destiny in heaven, our place of reigning with Jesus. It shows us our place in glory in a glorified body with Jesus in the throne of glory with crowns of glory. It calls our attention to a “High calling,” with a race to be run and won. It occupies our hearts with the prize. Paul was entrusted with this highly important and choice revelation of God. What a trust! But what a responsibility!
MERCY AND GRACE SHOWN TO PAUL
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry”—V. 12. What Paul said is, “I have gratitude to Christ Jesus our Lord.” He knew the importance of the place he filled, and was thankful.
“Enabled” means, to empower, invigorate. God gave Paul His message then gave him power to proclaim it, and the qualities to endure the hardships associated with it.
“Counted me faithful,” Paul testified in Damascus, also in Jerusalem. He spent some time in Arabia, and went to his own country. Barnabas sought him there, and brought him to Antioch where they taught for a year. God judged him faithful after those years of ministry, and called him to the great work for which He had been preparing him. See Acts 13.
“Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief”—V. 13. Paul did not blaspheme the God of Israel. That is, the God He knew about, but the Lord Jesus Christ. In this text, he recognized Jesus as God. He had spoken impiously and irreverently of Jesus of Nazareth and calls it “Blasphemy.” The word means, railing, volumnious, reproachful. “Persecutor” comes from a word meaning, to pursue with malignity. Paul did not simply endeavour to make life miserable for the Christians, but used the uttermost of his power to exterminate all who believed from the earth.
“Injurious” means, an overbearing, wantonly insolent person, full of insolence and violence, an insulter or maltreater. It is difficult to imagine the apostle Paul to have been such a person, but he states that he was.
“I obtained mercy.” “Mercy” means, to pity, commiserate, have compassion on. Passively, it means, to be the object of gracious favour and saving mercy, specifically, to obtain pardon and forgiveness.
“Ignorantly in unbelief.” Read carefully Numbers 15:24-31. Also read of the cities of refuge in Numbers 35. Paul knew the Scriptures well. In his actions of blaspheme and persecution, he was acting in ignorance. Read also Acts 3:17. Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” His ignorance did not excuse him. He was deeply guilty. However, he had not been guilty of the presumptuous sin, called in Psa. 19:13, the great transgression. There is a great difference in a wilful sin, committed with the eyes wide open, and the sin of ignorance.
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”—V. 14. The Greek order of this verse is interesting and is as follows—”And superabounded the grace of our Lord with faith and love in Christ Jesus.” The Word “Abundant” means, to superabound, to be in exceeding abundance, over exceed. Paul was an extraordinary sinner, so superabounding grace was needed. It took this kind of grace for the chief of sinners. Paul was an enthusiastic proclaimer of the grace and mercy he had received and enjoyed. The message of pure grace and mercy was in complete accord and harmony with the proclaimer. He was a perfect advertisement of the fact that grace could reach and save all.
GREAT GRACE TO A GREAT SINNER
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief”—V. 15. Quite in contrast with the teachers of V. 7 is Paul’s statement in this verse. He knew by revelation and experimentally whereof he affirmed.
The words “Faithful saying” occur four times in the pastoral epistles: I Tim. 1:15; 4:9; II Tim. 2:11; Titus 3:8. The saying is “Worthy,” that is, fitting, estimable, deserving credit. It is “Acceptable.” That is, it is worthy of being heartily welcomed, accepted with satisfaction.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The New Testament gives many reasons why Jesus came into the world. See Heb. 10:7; Matt. 5:17; Mark 1:38; Luke 5:32; Matt. 10:34,35; John 18:37 for some of the reasons why He came. This verse along with Luke 19:10 emphasizes His mission in regards to the unsaved.
It should make the sinner’s hungry heart to sing. It should thrill the heart of one under divine conviction from the Holy Spirit.
“Of whom I am chief” or first, not first in time, but first in degree. If God’s grace is sufficient for the chief of sinners, it will suffice for all those who come after him. None need despair, because God has saved the worst of sinners, even the chief.
The word translated “Chief” in this verse is the same as that translated “First” in V. 16. God saved the chief of sinners, that in him as chief, He might demonstrate His grace and mercy for the sake of others who would live in after years.
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first (In me as chief) Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting”—V. 16. For the second time, Paul gives a reason for his mercy or the mercy shown to him. God was extemely longsuffering with Paul and showed him very great mercy. This was with a view to those who would “Hereafter believe on Him.” None need now feel that he is too great a sinner to be saved. If God saved Saul, He can save any other who feels his need of salvation.
The word “Pattern” means, a sketch, a form, formula sample or model. A model representation. This is God’s thought that, regardless of Paul’s sin, even though he murdered, blasphemed, injured, made havoc of and wasted the church, God saved him after much longsuffering. If God’s grace was that great then, it is just as great now.
A BURST OF PRAISE
“Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen”—V. 17. As Paul weighed the subjects of these verses, his heart became so full that he gave way to a fervent burst of praise. According to Paul, God is king of the ages. The word “Eternal” is plural possessive in the Greek, and may be translated, belonging to the ages, or of the ages. The word means, among other things, illimitable duration, eternity. It also means, ages.
“Immortal” means, incorruptible. The English words, mortal and immortal, refer to the body. God has no physical body. Jesus said, “God is Spirit.” That is, pure spirit. As such, He is above sensory perception, and has no body, either mortal or immortal.
God is “Invisible.” When men of the Old Testament saw what they believed to be God, they saw an angelic representation of God. Even at Sinai the Scriptures testify that Angels were active. Note Psa. 68:17; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2. See also, John 1:18.
“Only wise God.” According to my best Greek texts, the word “Wise” does not belong. A God above the perception of natural man. A God who either makes Himself known or remains unknown to man. Not limited by time, but “King of the ages.” Not subject to decay, incorruptible. He alone is worthy of the praise that will be part of our occupation for ever. All glory and honour, all reverence and worship, belong to Him, into the ages of the ages.
EXHORTATION AND WARNING
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare”—V. 18. “Charge” means, direction, precept or an order. It was Paul’s strong desire expressed to Timothy.
“According to the prophecies which went before on thee.” This is translated by many, “The prophecies which led to thee.” The Greek is translated by many, “The prophecies which led to thee.” The Greek can bear that translation. By the courage and inspiration coming to Timothy from those prophecies, he was to war a good warfare.
“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck”—V. 19. “Faith” here is faith in all revealed truth, held in a good conscience. These are of inestimable value and importance to a Christian. They cannot be let go without serious results.
Some thrust away the good conscience as the word means, made a wreck in regards to the faith. Faith holds one steady in the storm. Without faith and a good conscience, men are driven to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine.
“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme”—V. 20. These men swerved aside, thrust faith and a good conscience from them and shipwrecked in their faith. The first-mentioned is perhaps the same as the one mentioned in II Tim. 2:17. Paul also warned Timothy against Alexander in II Tim. 4:14. There is also a man named Alexander in Acts 19:33. Evidence is not sufficient to identify positively these as the same person all the way through.
We learn a bit about delivering to Satan in this verse. I Cor. 5 contains the other New Testament example of such a delivery. This was to be correctional. It corrected the man of I Cor. 5, according to the record in II Cor. 2. The verb “Learn” in our verse means, to train a child. It carries the thought of discipline or punishment. It is translated “Chastise” in Luke 23:16,22. This phrase may be translated, “That they may learn through punishment not to blaspheme.”
PRAYER FOR ALL THE WORLD
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men”—V. 1. “First” in order of dignity as well as time. “Supplications” means, petitions, or entreaty. “Prayers” is just general prayer. “Intercessions,” a request on behalf of others. It also means, a meeting with, hence, concourse, address, supplication. “Giving of thanks” is gratitude, grateful language, an act of worship, conversation marked by the gentle cheerfulness of a grateful heart. This, in contrast to unseemly mirth.
“All men” refers to saved and unsaved, friends and enemies. It includes all races, heathen and Christian, Jew and Gentile. Jesus said, “I pray not for the world”—John 17:9. He leaves that for us to do. He intercedes for His people and asks us to pray for an unsaved world. Since Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all, and God desires to save all, we are asked to pray for all. Let us endeavour to be in harmony with God and His Word and will.
“For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty”—V. 2. King Darius asked that prayer for the life of him and his sons be offered—Ezra 6:10. The Israelites were told by Jeremiah to pray for the cities into which God had sent them captive and to seek its peace—Jer. 29:7. We may not appreciate the man or the ruler who is in office, but let us pray for him because of the office. The New Testament teaching regarding rulers may be seen in the fact that Jesus never spoke unkind words of them, though many of them were vicious men. Paul said the powers that be are ordained of God. See Rom. 13:1. Note I Pet. 2:17. Note God’s thought concerning those who do speak against the authorities—II Pet. 2:12; Jude 1:8. Rulers, and all who are in authority, should be subjects of our prayers.
The object of such praying is that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life. When wars or persecutions rage, all things are in turmoil. With peace in view, we do not ask whether a ruler is good or bad, we just pray for him.
The liberty to live in honesty and godliness should be sufficient for Christians as a motive for prayer. “Godliness” means, a reverential feeling, piety, devotion. “Honesty” means, gravity, dignity or seriousness.
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour”—V. 3. Prayer for all legally-constituted rulers and for all men is both good and acceptable with God. It brings benefit to us, glory to God, and good to our country. What is well pleasing to God is always good practice for the Christian.
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth”—V. 4. The word “All” occurs seven times in this chapter. Jesus died for all men, therefore, we can pray for all men, because God would have all men to be saved. The hard, cold doctrine that men are mere automatons without hope of being saved unless God predestinates them, has no place in the Bible. The doctrine of predestination certainly has a place in Scripture, but to teach that God wants only certain individuals saved is contrary to Scripture. God appeals to men with a “Whosoever will.” Jesus tasted death for every man—Heb. 2:9. God laid on Him the iniquity of us all—Isa. 53:6. Note verse six of this chapter. This text contradicts the theory of the brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God. Those who are saved enter into the family of God, and if they are not saved, they remain children of wrath.
“And to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Many people are saved but come far short of God’s best in personal Christian experience as well as usefulness because they never come unto a knowledge of the truth of God. Not many ministers are set for the first part of this verse who are equally concerned about leading men into God’s truth! See for certain conditions of truth, I Tim. 3:7.
ONLY ONE MEDIATOR
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”—V. 5. We are told again, as we were in 1:17 of this book, of one, or an only, God. He is originator of all things, creator of man, and sustainer of all creation. He wills the salvation of all those men He created.
“One mediator between God and man.” “Mediator” means, a go-between, a reconciler, one who acts between two parties, one who interposes to reconcile two adverse parties. Paul alone uses the word among the writers of the New Testament. It is found seven times in his writings in the King James version. Once it appears in italicized form, hence in the Greek, there are only six occurrences of the word. See Gal. 3:20.
God and man were far apart. Christ bridged the chasm, and brought the two parties together in a union of life. One gives the meaning of this word “Mediator” as peace maker. Christ bridged the gap and made peace.
“The man Christ Jesus.” The work of Christ as mediator is that He is the equal of both parties, and can be a perfect daysman, able to put His hand on each, both God and man. See Heb. 2:14; 4:15 for the fact that His priestly ministry is based on and because He is man and God and in touch with both.
“Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time”—V. 6. “Who gave Himself a ransom.” Ransom has the following meanings—the redemption of a captive, a redemption price. It comes from two Greek words, “Anti,” which is the Greek preposition of price, bargain or exchange, and “Lutron,” something to loosen with, in the sense of, to pay, quittance price paid, ransom. In interpreting it, we gather the following, the exchange of one person for another, the redemption of life by a life.
Note that the price is Jesus Christ Himself, and it is for all men. It is as easily proven that God did not create all men as it would be to prove that salvation and its horrible price did not include all men. That is, that there are those who cannot be saved, or that there are those for whom Jesus did not die.
“To be testified in due time” might be better rendered, “A witness for its own time.” The sweet story of Jesus’ ransom price is to be testified to all nations.
“Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not:) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity”—V. 7. “Ordained” may be translated, “Appointed.” It means that God set Paul up as a minister. Here, human ordination is not under consideration, but the acts of the Lord, as in Gal. 1:1; I Tim. 1:1. See Rom. 1:5.
“I speak the truth in Christ and lie not.” Paul always spoke the truth in his ministry, but seemed to feel that the point he is about to make requires a strong affirmative. He was an apostle, a preacher and a teacher to and for the Gentiles. To them, he constantly, fervently, but affectionately preached the truth. “Faith and Verity” are simply, faith and truth in the original.
CONDUCT FOR CHRISTIAN MEN AND WOMEN
“I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”—V. 8. Since ‘Paul voiced the mind of Christ when he said, “I will,” this is the will of God for the Assembly. He chose or was pleased that it be that way.
The Greek has “That the men pray.” The kinds of prayer for the public meeting are expressed in verse one. “Everywhere” may be translated. “In every place,” in contrast to the Jews who prayed in or toward the temple. Christians pray everywhere.
“Lifting up holy hands,” Hands were stretched out in blessing, laid on the blessing, laid on the animals which were to be sacrificed, and here held up, as if to embrace the petitioned help or aid offered or requested.
The word “Holy” is not the usual word so translated. It is translated Holy, and mercy. It means, right, by intrinsic or divine character. What good is lifting defiled hands to God?
“Wrath” means, a mental bent, impulse, indignation, anger, a desire for vengeance. If I try to pray with a vengeful attitude, or my mind full of resentment, a vindictive attitude against God’s people, how can I pray for their blessings? Forgiveness is a wonderful help in life, and especially when we go to prayer.
“Doubting” means, discussion, inward consideration, debate, inward disputation, reasoning, doubt, hesitation or scruple. No marvel that prayer is often hindered. So many go to the Lord with this kind of an attitude.
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array”—V. 9. From verse nine to the end of the chapter, woman’s place in the assembly and in life is put before us. As Paul had shown man’s place in the assembly in the earlier part of this chapter, so in the following verses, he gives God’s will for the women professing Christianity.
“Modest apparel” may be rendered, orderly clothing, proper or decorous. It means, an arrangement in order, adjustment of dress. “Shamefacedness” means, reverence, downcast eyes, bashfulness, modesty; toward God, awe. “Sobriety” denotes, soundness of mind, or a sane mind.
“Not with broided hair.” A form of this word “Broided” is used in regards to the crown of thorns that Jesus wore. See Mk. 15:17; Jn. 19:2. The word means, anything plaited or intertwined. It teaches to use good Christian taste in a so-called hairdo.
“Gold, or pearls or costly array” teaches against extravagance of dress among Christians.
“”But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good words”—V. 10. “Becometh,” what is fitting, proper, suitable or decorous. “Women professing godliness.” “Professing” means, to assert something concerning oneself, to announce formally. This they did when they accepted Christ.
“Good works” are a far better adornment than all eye-catching attire combined. Note Peter’s words, “The hidden man of the heart,” and again, “The ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price”—I Pet. 3:4. Not what others, or we ourselves approve, but what God approves.
“Let the women learn in silence with all subjection”—V. 11. “Silence” means, rest, tranquility, quietness, silent attitude. The thought is, not with boisterousness. Paul said, “Study to be quiet”—I Thess. 4:11. Women are enjoined to learn in quietness.
“All subjection” is translated by Coneybare, “Entire submission.” It means, to subordinate, to submit oneself.
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence”—V. 12. Women were allowed to prophecy. Acts 2:17; 21:9; I Cor. 11:5; 14:31.
To “Usurp authority” is to claim or exercise over a man. “Usurp” is to act of oneself, that is, dominate, one who executes by his own hand, one active in his own authority. These words give the meaning quite fully, and express the sense of the Greek word.
“For Adam was first formed, then Eve”—V. 13. God made and formed man first, and since headship had to be vested in one or the other, God vested it in man. Man’s body is made stronger to meet the harder things of life. This order of headship is just recognizing God’s instituted order for the earthly sojourn of His people.
EVE WAS THE FIRST IN TRANSGRESSION
“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression”—V. 14. Satan led the woman astray. Adam “Hearkened to the voice of his wife”—See Gen. 3:17. Though she led him into sin, he seems to have known what he was doing. Eve yielded to Satan, Adam seems to have done what he did for marital love. There is a difference in my Lexicon in the two words translated, “Deceived.” The word used of Adam means to seduce into error. This, Paul states that Adam was not. The word used of Eve means, to deceive thoroughly, delude or beguile. Eve said, “The serpent beguiled me.” The Hebrew word, “Beguiled” means, to lead astray, delude, or seduce. Eve’s yielding to Satan brought the following to her and to her daughters—”Thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee,” and in human relationships, these things still need to be observed. However, in the Lord, we equally come boldly to the throne of Grace, have the same Lord and the same High Priest, Advocate and Mediator, and an equal right in prayer and Christian privileges.
Promise to mothers: “Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety”—V. 15. “Saved in childbearing.” The Greek preposition “Dia” here rendered “In” is translated nearly two dozen ways in the New Testament. The context must be the deciding factor in what the word means. We believe the King James version is correct in the way it translates the word. It is translated “Through” in Luke 6:1. So, it can be said, to be through or in the ordeal of childbirth. Despite the fact that the painful side of this is because of the curse, women that continue in the principles of the Christian life shall be saved through it, but not by it. The promise is conditioned on their continuing in the things last mentioned in this chapter. This seems to be God’s specific promise for motherhood, since so many have died in this time of physical trial.
QUALIFICATIONS OF RULERS IN THE CHURCH
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work”—V. 1. The two words, “Desire” and “Desireth,” are different words in the original. The first word means, to desire earnestly, or passionately. The second word means, to desire or covet. The office the man desires after this manner, is the office of an overseer or a presbyter. Note Titus 1:5,7. The words, “Elder” and “Bishop,” are used interchangeably. The pomposity that is now associated with this word was totally unknown in the early church. See Acts 20:17. There Paul called these men “Elders,” while in V. 28, he called them “Overseers.” This latter word is “Episkopous” in the Greek, and is the word from whence the words “Episcopacy, Episcopal,” are derived. The words used refer to the men and a function of their office. The Greek word “Episkopous” comes from two other Greek words, meaning, “I look” and “Over,” that is, an overseer.
Paul made a difference in those who were officials in the church only, and those who laboured in the Word and doctrine. See I Tim. 5:17. Note that the “Bishops” were included in Paul’s address to the assembly in Philippi—1:1. Peter refers to himself as a “Co-presbyter” (Gr.) with the other elders to whom he wrote. I Pet. 5:1. A “Good work” it was, even though it involved hard work and constant responsibility. For that day, it usually entailed also great hardship in that it made a man an official among men who were despised religiously and politically.
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach”—V. 2. The qualifications of an appointed bishop may be said to contain seven negatives and eight positives. Note that this has nothing to do with calling a man to preach the Gospel. Only God can do that. It has to do with the properly appointed officials to care for the local assembly.
“Blameless,” to be a person against whom no evil can be proven, one never caught doing wrong, without reproach. “Husband of one wife.” In this day of extreme carelessness along this line in the world, Christians should be careful. See Matt. 19:8,9; I Cor. 7.
“Vigilant.” The Bishop must watch over the church and also, watch on behalf of the church. The word means, sober, temperate, circumspect. “Sober” means, prudent, or a man of sound mind, staid, temperate and discreet.
“Of good behavior.” This is one word in the Greek, and means, orderly, decent, grave and correct, well ordered. “Given to hospitality” is again one word in the Greek. It was much needed in the early church, when acceptance of Christ meant that one might be shut out of his own home. Along with our text, see Rom. 12:13; Titus 1:8; I Pet. 4:9. The word means, fond of strangers or guests. Paul exhorted to entertain strangers—Heb. 13:2. “Apt to teach.” One able to teach, qualified to teach, and I would add, not only able to teach but with something worthwhile to teach. Not just able to say something, but with something to say, something with a real spiritual depth to it, one having been taught himself, and able and willing to teach others.
“Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous”—V. 3. “Not given to wine.” The R.V. says, not a brawler, with the margin saying, “Not quarrelsome over wine.” Marshal translates, “Not an excessive drinker.” It can be rendered, “Not one who acts out his drunkenness.” “No striker.” Various versions give the following, “Not combative,” “Not addicted to brawling,” “Not pugnacious,” “Not violent,” “Not ready to wound.” Paul said, “The servant of the Lord must not strive (Fight)”—II Tim. 2:24.
“Not greedy of filthy lucre.” Not desirous of base gain, is one rendering. My Greek text gives, “Not eager for dishonourable gain.” The word means further, sordid, shameful or base gain.
“Patient,” meek and gentle, mild and fair, reasonable. “Not a brawler,” is not contentious, not given to controversy, not disposed to fight.
“No covetous,” means, not a lover of money, not avaricious. We are reminded of Peter’s exhortation to the elders—I Pet. 5:1-3. They were to take the oversight of the flock, not for the gain that might come to them, but of a ready mind.
“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity”—V. 4. To qualify for an appointment to this office, a man must properly preside or govern his own house or family. Of course, not as a tyrant, but in firmness with fatherly kindness. God has set a family man as head and governor of his house. The word translated “Subjection” is the same used for a wife’s subjection in I Tim. 2:11. “Gravity” means, majesty or dignified seriousness.
“(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”—V. 5. “Know how” is very important. A man may know what he wants, but not have the “Know how” to attain his goal. If a man know not how to rule his family, how can be care for the church of God? If domestic affairs are not right, how can he rule in spiritual things? Note Jesus’ words, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” So, if a man cannot care for his natural children, who would wish to commit to him spiritual children?
“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil”—V. 6. A novice is one lately converted to the faith. It also means, a young plant, one newly implanted in the Christian faith.
Note especially the reason for not selecting a novice, “Lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” The amplified version paraphrases this, “Develop a beclouded and stupid state of mind.” “Lifted up with pride” is one word in the original and means, with the fumes of conceit, to be demented with conceit, puffed up. One translates, “Wrapped in smoke.” With little experience in the things of God, a man would need help, but would not be able to give help to others. Pride ill becomes a man who is dust and ashes. Pride was not made for man, nor was man made for pride.
We judge from the latter part of the text that pride was at least, one of the reasons that brought about the spiritual destruction of Satan. He seems to have fallen because of great self-esteem and self-importance.
“Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil”—V. 7. The Greek says, he must have a good witness. Note the evil report that Joseph took to his father concerning his brothers—Gen. 37:2. Rotherham translates, “An honorable testimony.” He should be given time to develop a reputation for godliness, as was Timothy in Acts 16. If he has had a disgraceful life, God can cleanse and develop a man into a solid Christian and qualify him in time to fill some office.
“Reproach” means, censure. A form of the same word means, disgrace. “Snare” means, a trap, gin, device, a trap of ruin. This is a trap set by the devil. Note that in the Greek context, the word “Devil” occurs three times in this section. We saw the words, “Condemnation of the devil” in V. 6; in this verse, the “Snare of the devil;” and in V. 11, the word translated “Slanderers” is the word “Devil” again.
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre”—V. 8. The word “Deacon” means, one who renders service to another, an attendant or servant. See Rom. 15:8 where the word is rendered “Minister,” and applied to Christ. Paul applies the word to himself and to Appolos in I Cor. 3:5, there translated “Minister.” In our text it is used of an office in the local church. It was an office beneath that of elder or overseer. However, qualifications for the office are almost exactly the same for either position.
“Grave” is a form of the word translated “Gravity” in V. 4, which see for definition. “Doubletongued” is from two Greek words, meaning, “Two” and “Worded.” “Speaking one thing and meaning another” is one rendering. It means also, deceitful words, telling a different story, is a meaning to the word. We say of people, “They are two faced.” The Amp. Ver. says, “Not shifty and double-talkers.” Moffat renders it, “Not to be tale bearers.” The last two qualifications were considered earlier in the chapter.
“Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience”—V. 9. The “Mystery of the faith” is the mystery of the Gospel as revealed to us. It was not to be just a matter of being orthodox, but holding to the truth in a pure conscience. Truth is to hold sway over the whole man, and especially the conscience.
“And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless”—V. 10. “First be proved” is rendered by the Amplified Version, “Let them also be tried and investigated and proved.” Moffat translates, “They too must be put on probation.” It is all one word in the Greek New Testament, and the Lexicon gives, to prove by trial, scrutinize, decide after examination. “Blameless” means, irreproachable.
“Even so must their wives be grave, not slanders, sober, faithful in all things”—V. 11. Again the word “Grave” comes before us. It is used in regards to the bishop (V. 4), the deacon (V. 8), and in this verse, of the wives of the deacons.
“Not slanderers.” This is the plural feminine of the word translated “Devil” elsewhere in the New Testament. It means, to defame, inform against. This is a trait of the old man which should be deeply judged. The tongue is an unruly evil full of deadly poison. People should judge the tendency to be talebearers or gossips. But this is especially directed to the wives of deacons. They would be in a position to know many things concerning the congregation and could be in a position to backbite. Moffat translates, “Gossips.”
“Let the deacons be the husband of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well”—V. 12. On this verse, see verses two and four of this chapter for comment.
“For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus”—V. 13. The deacons who were faithful in their offices obtained a good degree. This means, a step, a stair, a grade of dignity, rank or standing. Stephen and Phillip of Acts 6-8 were appointed to serve tables. However, they were taken up by the Holy Spirit and swept into a place of deep spiritual ministry. They served well where they were, and God promoted them to a greater and deeper service.
The “Great boldness in the faith” is freedom in speech, boldness of speech, openness or frankness. He would learn to speak for Christ, learn to expound the Scriptures and add a new function to his life.
“These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly”—V. 14. Paul didn’t write largely at this time, because he had hopes of going to Timothy. He was always planning on being the greatest blessing to the most people.
THE SUPPORT OF THE TRUTH
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth”—V. 15. If he were delayed, Paul wished Timothy to have guidance in prayers, in the public meetings, and especially how to select men who would have the proper qualities to fill a public office, and men who would co-operate with him in the Gospel. He also gave him instructions so he would know how to “Behave himself” in regards to his own personal life.
No longer was the temple in Jerusalem the house of God. Neither was it the support of God’s truth. The church is now the house of God, and it is the only body of people that represents the truth of God for this age.
This is the “Church of the living God” in contrast to all dead gods. It is that in which God lives in the world and is His testimony in the earth. God’s truth is that revealed in the New Testament.
The words, “Pillar and ground,” means, “Pillar and foundation.” Final truth has been committed to the church, especially truth as revealed to the apostle Paul.
THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”—V. 16. “Without controversy” means, “And confessedly.” “Godliness” is “Piety” in the Greek. This has reference to the means God has used to restore godliness or piety to those who were deeply ungodly. These are centered in the person of Christ presented in the sixfold cluster of truths in this verse.
Though there are manuscript questions as to whether to retain the word “God” in the verse or not, several Greek texts retain it, and four of my translations have it. One would judge from the note in Coneybeare and Howson that the authorities are about evenly divided, so we retain it. Many who oppose the deity of Christ are opposed to its retention. Note the truths in their order.
1. “Manifest in the flesh.” This reminds us of John 1 where the Word was God, and the Word was made flesh. In Christ dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily—Col. 2:9. That is, all the divine perfections were in Him. They were His because of His divine being and nature. He took human nature and in a human body He was manifest to the world in the flesh. God was in Christ—II Cor. 5:19.
2. “Justified in the Spirit,” Jesus bore our sins and all guilt in His body on the tree. But He died and was freed from our guilt, that is, justified from it. His preaching to the spirits in prison proves this. By resurrection from the dead, He was proven to be the Son of God, and all His claims were vindicated. See Rom. 1:4.
3. “Seen of angels.” These heavenly spirit-beings learned many things, as did the human race, by Jesus’ being manifested in the flesh. They witnessed Jesus’ birth, testified to the Shepherds as to the time and place of His birth. They came to Jesus and ministered to Him after the devil left Him when he was tempted in the wilderness. One came and strengthened Him in the garden. They were witnesses of the resurrection, and testified of it to some of the disciples, they seemed to hover around the tomb, as one rolled back the stone, and one said, “Come see the place where the Lord lay.” Later, two of them testified to the disciples that “This same Jesus shall so come as ye have seen Him go into heaven.” His work caused them to have a great desire to look into the truths, of redemption—I Pet. 1:12.
4. “Preached unto the Gentiles.” This is also used to add to the knowledge of the angels—Eph. 3:9,10. Philip preached to the Samaritans and to the Ethiopian, then Peter enlarged this, and preached to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius; and later, in Acts 13, Barnabas and Saul (Paul) accompanied by John Mark made the first official missionary trip to the Gentiles of this age. Paul became the official voice of God to the Gentiles and many others came to be joined with him. Indeed, one of the mysteries is that the Gentiles become fellow heirs with the Jews by having the Gospel preached to them. See Eph. 3:1-8. Jesus tore down the middle wall between the two people—Eph. 2. Because of Him, God granted to the Gentiles repentance unto life. Acts 11:18.
5. “Believed on in the world.” Even after His official rejection by the Jewish people, the Gentiles and many Jews believe on Him. The people at Thessalonica believed Him, turned to God from their idols and were saved—I Thess. 1. The disciples continued to believe on Him, after He had given many infallible proofs of His resurrection.
6. “Received up into glory.” Most of the places where Jesus’ ascension is spoken of, as here, the verb is in the passive voice, as though God reached down and took Him up to heaven. He is there as a Man. As such, He is our representative. In Him, God came out to man, and in Him, man went in to God. He is there as our representative as High Priest, Advocate, Mediator, as head of the church and in many other offices for the perfecting of the assembly.
SATAN’S DOCTRINE ON MARRIAGE AND FOOD
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”—V. 1. Just preceding this verse, Paul had spoken of the “Mystery of godliness.” He seems to let us look into the fact that there will also be a mystery of iniquity. See II Thess. 2:7.
“Expressly” means, openly, or in express words, or manifestly. One translator renders it, “The Spirit distinctly declares”— Montgomery. It seems that the Spirit of God wished this specially emphasized for a warning to God’s people.
“In the latter times.” This is, later season or aftertimes. John said, “It is the last time”—I John 2:18. We are in the latter part or last days of the last times
“Depart from the faith.” One says, “Revolt from the faith.” “Depart” is “Apostatize” in the Greek. Professors of Christianity would renounce the basic truths and would refuse to place confidence in them.
The reasons for this are not far to seek. They give heed to “Seducing Spirits.” The word “Seducing” means, a wanderer, a vagabond, an imposter or a deceiver. These are erring spirits or spirits of error, demons who lead people away from Christ and truth.
“Doctrines of devils,” There are places where we cannot mince words. Some things are deadly poisoned wells along the ways we have to go. Any teaching that leads from Christ is a doctrine of demons. Either it is God who works in men or it is the devil. A good question is, “Is it Christ-centered?” “Does he try to exalt God or himself?” “Does he try to occupy you with himself, or point you wholeheartedly to the Christ of Calvary?” Analyze a man in the light of these questions, and his doctrine will position itself. Either a doctrine is of God or of Satan. Satan has his own ministers—II Cor. 11:15.
“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron”—V.2. “Lies in hypocrisy.” They are led away of their own lusts, and overpowered by evil spirits. They are impelled by those to speak that which they know to be a lie. As the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of truth,” moves upon the hearts of those who are anointed by Him to speak truth, so these are empowered of the devil to speak evil doctrine and hypocritical lies.
“Conscience seared with a hot iron.” That is, they have become so callous, they are past feeling, and their conscience is like elastic that has been stretched until the stretch has no rebound. The conscience refuses or is incapable of performing its duty. Another way of expressing it is, they have hardened themselves against God.
This can also carry another thought. The word “Seared” has a multitude of meaning. Among others, note the following, to cauterize, brand, to be branded with marks of guilt, to be seared into insensibility. Satan has cauterized the conscience, but has also made this his brand, or mark of ownership.
“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth”—V. 3. The testimony of Scripture concerning marriage is that marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled—Heb. 13:4. God said, “It is not good for man to be alone”—Gen. 2:18. Note that the two things these ministers of Satan teach against are both sanctified by the Word of God. Marriage was the institution of God in the realm of human relationships. See Gen. 2:21-25. Later God instituted such things as human government, Israel, the Church, to mention the greater things brought into being of God. In regard to marriage, let us believe Moses and the Scriptures which give us God’s order, rather than the ministers of Satan.
Regarding food, God first gave man all vegetable matter as food. Note Genesis 1:29. Later, He sanctified all animal food for man by His Word. Gen. 9:2,3. These texts clearly sanctify all food. The law of Moses set restrictions for Israel for a time, but neither the Gentiles nor the church was ever put under the law.
If we need further proofs for our conscience regarding foods, note the words of Jesus in Mark 7:14-16. The last part of verse 19 of this chapter as quoted from the R. V. says, “This He said, making all meats clean.” Paul’s testimony is that to the “Pure all things are pure”—Titus 1:15. Again he said, “I know and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself”—Rom. 14:14. Then before us is the thought, “Every creature of God is good and nothing to be refused.” The Words of God from Genesis, the Words of Jesus and the words of Paul will satisfy the pure, and to the ones not pure, all things are defiled. To those who know and believe the truth, and are willing to let God’s Word settle all questions of conscience. These texts will give ease of conscience on these phases of our conduct. Those who believe and know the truth settle all things by the truth. Those who let men regulate their lives will continue to yield to doctrines of demons or devils. The truth enables us to receive things from the hand of God with thanksgiving.
“For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving”—V. 4. The words, “Every creature” are all inclusive. Nothing is excepted. In various parts of the world, people have eaten every kind of creature. We cannot say one word against this from a religious point of view. In India, I usually abstained from beef for the sake of testimony, as many held the cow kind sacred. However, there was no scruple on my part. We may abstain from some things that do not agree with our health, but this is not from a religious viewpoint. Jesus said, “There is nothing from without that entering into a man can defile him.”
“Nothing to be refused” adds to Paul’s earlier statement. Because of training, some things may be repulsive to us, but they cannot defile us of themselves. Note that the word, “Refused,” means, to cast away or regard as vile.
“If it be received with thanksgiving.” Christians above all other people have the right to be thankful. And, above all other people, they should be thankful. Food fills an immediate need, and is partaken of at different times during the day. All the labour of man is for his mouth—Ecc. 6:7. This keeps us thanking God with regularity. Since food is basic to the sustaining of life, let us receive it and appreciate it as a gift of God.
“For it is sanctified by the Word of God and prayer”—V. 5. The passages cited above indicate that all vegetable matter and animals are set apart for food for man. God set it apart for the use for which He intended it.
“And prayer.” We quote the following from Conybeare and Howson, as an ancient thanksgiving, as quoted by them from the Apostolic Constitutions—”Blessed art Thou O Lord, who feedest me from my youth, who givest food to all flesh. Fill our hearts with joy and gladness, that always having all sufficiency, we may abound to every good work, in Christ Jesus our Lord, through whom be glory, honour and might unto Thee forever. Amen.” May we add our prayer and thanksgiving which, along with what God has spoken, sanctifies the food and victuals we eat.
“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained”—V. 6. “In remembrance” means, to suggest, to recommend to attention. That is, to put the dangers of an apostasy before those to whom he ministered. Paul showed the Ephesian elders the dangers of what was to come in Acts 20. This letter was written to Timothy in Ephesus, and the devil came in differently, and caused them to leave their first love according to Jesus’ words in Rev. 2. All God’s dear people should be alert.
“Nourished up in the words of faith and good doctrine.” Or, nourished by the word of faith. “Nourished” means, to bring up or educate. Timothy had a good spiritual background and had known the Holy Scriptures from childhood. One meaning here is not, what thou hast received, but “What thou hast understood thoroughly.” Timothy knew the truth, understood it, and followed where it led him.
“But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness”—V. 7. In contrast to the words of faith are the fables which are profane. Paul spoke of fables in I Tim. 1:4; 4:7; II Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; and Peter also used the word, II Pet. 1:16. See notes on I Tim. 1:4 for meaning of the word.
“Old wives” means, old womanish, that is, crone-like. It comes from a word meaning, silly or absurd. Going back to the word, “Profane,” it means, what is open to the public, (The temple and other holy things were closed to the public) not religious or connected with religion.
“Exercise thyself rather unto godliness.” That is, let your gymnastics be exercise or discipline toward piety. Not physical culture but spiritual discipline toward a more godly life.
“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come”—V. 8. Speaking of the profit of bodily exercise, our version says for a little. Another version says, they are “Of little worth.” We feel that the contrast is that one helps for a little time. The other, godliness, helps forever. One is for time, the other both for time and eternity. Godliness has God’s blessings and approval all through this life and forever. One is profitable in a few things, the other in all things. We need a good set rule of life, that the whole bent of life be toward the things of God. This is the right discipline.
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation”—V. 9. This saying is faithful in word, as the Greek has. None need doubt that statement. All may rest assured that exercising oneself to piety is acceptable unto God.
“For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe”—V. 10. We are not to think that all is easy for those who yield to God. They carry on a wearying labour as the word, “Labour,” means. To carry it further, it also means, to grow weary, suffer exhaustion. Also, those who follow Jesus suffer reproach. This means, a violent struggle, agony, to contend, fight or strive earnestly. All of this because they trust in the living God.
“Saviour of all men” means that God has provided a salvation for all, enough to go around, and provides naturally for all men. Jesus died for all. He gave Himself a ransom for all. God is not willing that any should perish, therefore, Jesus died for all, not just a chosen few.
“Specially of those that believe.” This particularizes it. God experimentally saves those who believe. Then salvation moves out of the realm of provision and becomes practical. If a man has reached the age of accountability, he is never saved until he believes. Since Jesus tasted death for all men, if a man is lost, he is personally responsible for his eternal destiny.
BE AN EXAMPLE
“These things command and teach”—V. 11. Timothy was clearly taught what to teach and what to give in charge or command. The things put before us earlier in the book, such as Christ’s death, His mediatorship, the mystery of godliness, the warnings in the first part of this chapter, are all truths much needed by God’s people.
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity”—V. 12. This epistle was written while Timothy was still a youth. This same word is used by the rich young ruler in Matt. 19:20, “From my youth up.” Since Paul had taken Timothy with him from Acts 16 to the resent, we would place him in his late thirties, and as compared to Paul and the other elders, he would be considered a youth. Because of this, some could easily slight, scorn or disregard him. By his sober and godly life, he could refuse to allow this.
Timothy is to be an example, that is, a type, a model of believers morally and spiritually. Another meaning of “Example” is pattern.
“In word.” His words or speech was to be in harmony with the Word of God. Words give expression to thoughts and emotions. They should be deeply weighed. “In a multitude of words, there lacketh not sin.”—Proverbs. No one could despise conversation in harmony with the Word of God, if he himself were in harmony with God.
“In conversation.” The whole of the manner of life and behaviour is covered by this word.
“In charity.” In the Greek language, this is the usual word translated love. It is the word used in John 3:16, “God so loved.” It is not the word for “Fondness.” This word for fondness, “Phileo,” is the word for friendship love, and is never commanded in the Scriptures. It is not limited to this, but it is also used of Christ’s love in John 11, “Behold how He loved him.” It is used of both the divine and human love.
“In spirit,” The atmosphere around a minister should be a believing atmosphere. A spirit of courage and confidence in God.
“In faith.” A minister should so wait on God in prayer that he can be confident and inspire the confidence of others. A spirit of gloom, sadness, a story of woe is not becoming to a leader of God’s people. This is the result of unbelief, not of faith. A conviction regarding Rom. 8:28 tends to keep the faith high in the face of adversity and difficulty.
“In purity.” The word means, chastity or moral purity. Note 5:2 of this book. One meaning is “Purity of moral behaviour.”
DILIGENT APPLICATION TO THE THINGS OF GOD
“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine”—V. 13. We feel that this is good advice to all, but especially, should ministers give attendance to reading, both publicly and privately. All ministers should so read the holy Scriptures that their minds and memories are well saturated and dominated by the Word of God.
“To exhortation.” This phase of the ministry stirs up and encourages God’s people to aggressive action, such as prayer, testimony or whatever the need may be for the time.
“To doctrine,” This means, “The teaching.” This is a much neglected subject in our day. One said that the day of the teaching pastor is past. If so, it is because men have neglected God’s order. Oh, that there were an awakening in the ministry to teach the Word of God in faith!
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery”—V. 14. “Neglect” means, to disregard, or be careless of the gift. Through discouragement, Timothy could lose the sense of the value of the gift which God had given him for the ministry.
The “Gift” is not defined in our lesson. It was a divine enabling perhaps one or more of what is called, “Spiritual gifts,” in I Cor. 12:1. Timothy’s ministry was now his life. To allow anything to creep into the life, that would stifle the ministry, would be to neglect the gift God had bestowed.
We could believe that, when Timothy was ordained in his early years by Paul and other elders, that there were prophetic utterances given as in Paul’s case. Note God’s words to Ananias in Acts 9:15,16. Note also the Lord’s encouragement to Moses in Ex. chapters 3,4. When the Lord called Jeremiah, He gave him some assurances—Jer. 1:4-10. Note Isaiah’s vision—Isa. 6. Timothy is called a man of God, so since the Lord has a special place for him, He gave him words of assurance pertaining to his ministry.
I would translate the last part of the verse, “Which was given thee through prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders.” The elders and the prophets were only instruments in the hands of God, and would have no power of their own to bestow any gift. The Spirit of God used them to make known, confirm, and point out His instruments at times.
“Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all”—V. 15. “Meditate” means, to care for, to bestow careful thought upon, to give painful attention to, to study beforehand, premeditate. Paul wanted Timothy to let these things be turned over and over in his mind with a view to settling his mind in the things of God. He wished him to weigh them deeply and often, to keep securely in his heart that they may flow out to others.
“Give thyself wholly to them.” I find the Gr. very interesting here. It has, “In these things be.” Just stay in them is Paul’s thought. Not just turn to them occasionally, but be in them. There is no other way to fulfill them. Concerning nothing else can it be said, “Give thyself wholly to them.” Nothing else merits that kind of devotion. Nothing else is worthy of being our whole or sole concern. Study and thought life is to be governed by “These things.”
“Profiting” means, progress. Literally, it means, to cut a passage forward. The thought carried farther means, to advance in age or wisdom, to make progress. Paul wished others to see Timothy’s advancement in the things of God so that they too, would desire such progress.
“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee”—V. 16. Some translate the words, “Take heed,” as “Guard thyself.” It also means, to exhibit, display, observe, attend to. This was a grave part of Timothy’s life and ministry. By taking heed to the doctrine or teaching, he would limit himself to what God had revealed.
To “Continue” is to remain, embrace, to persist in. This was to be Timothy’s attitude to doctrine.
A minister of the Gospel needs clear perception of truth, along with the unction of the Holy Spirit. He needs to minister the Gospel in the power and ability of the gift God has bestowed upon him. Except this be the case, he will be like Samson shorn of his hair and again like Samson, he becomes weak like other men.
This kind of life and ministry would save Timothy’s life for God as well as those who gave heed to his ministry. He would not save their souls. Only God could do that. That is, men are saved by believing in Jesus. Their lives are made spiritual and are invested in the things of God as they listen to and take in the Word of God and make it practical in their lives.
PASTOR’S ATTITUDE TO THOSE IN THE CHURCH
“Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren”—V. 1. The elder in this verse is not one who is officially an elder, but just a man of years. The word in V. 2, translated “Elder women” is one word in Greek, and is just the feminine of the word translated “Elder.” The official elder comes before us in V. 17.
“Rebuke not an elder.” “Rebuke” means, to chide or reprove, chastise or upbraid. It means, to beat with words. Note the respect enjoined by Moses toward the aged—Lev. 19:32. Also, note Pro. 16:31; 20:29.
Instead of “Rebuke,” Timothy was to “Intreat” as he would his own father. “Intreat” means, to exhort, He was to take this attitude toward younger men, younger women and older women.
“The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity”—V. 2. “All purity” may be rendered “With all chastity.”
“Honour widows that are widows indeed”—V. 3. The word “Honour” has the implied thought of support or of sustaining materially. This is not the meaning in the dictionary but the connoted meaning. See Acts 28:10; Matt. 15:4-6.
“Widows indeed” mean those who are truly or really widows. The church was to sustain widows who were destitute. That is, those who were aged and no longer able to provide for themselves, and who met the qualifications. Poverty, as such, did not make a person eligible for church support, but other matters entered into it.
“But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to show piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God”—V. 4. This indicates that a “Widow indeed” was one who had no descendants to care for her. Relatives, that is, descendants, inasmuch as they are able, are responsible before God to care for aged ancestors or close relatives. This is something that cannot be set aside in the will of God. Charity begins at home.
The word translated “Nephew” means, descendants or grandchildren. The usage is now obsolete, but formerly, the word “Nephew” in English meant, grandchildren.
“Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day”—V 5. A “Widow indeed” is one who is “desolate,” that is, left alone. Being entirely alone, she would have no descendant or relative to care for her. She needs to be one who trusts in God and cries to Him night and day, as did Anna of Luke 2. God took special care to give instructions in His Old Testament regarding widows—Deut. 10:18; Psa. 146:9.
“But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth”—V. 6. “Pleasure” means, luxury, to live luxuriously, voluptuously or wantonly. It also means, indulgently. The word is used of frisking sheep in a rich pasture. Such a person living after this manner is dead to usefulness, fruitfulness and testimony. Rotherham translates, “She that runneth riot while living is dead.” The Twentieth Century New Testament has, “The life of a widow who is devoted to pleasure is a living death.” They are not to be supported by the church.
“And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless”—V. 7. The object of the things given is to keep the assembly blameless. “Blameless” means, irreprehensible, that is, not to give the enemy a handle to lay hold of.
“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”—V. 8. “His own house” means, those of his relatives for whom he was responsible. “He denies the faith.” That is, the Scriptures clearly teach that a man’s family is a responsibility given of God. To refuse to support them is to deny the Scripture and its teaching. The unsaved world taught that a man should care for his own. I quote Rotherham on this, “If however if for his own, and specially them of his own household, he taketh not forethought, his faith he hath denied, and is worse than one without faith.”
WHICH WIDOWS TO HELP
“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man”—V. 9. Seemingly, there was a number for whom the church was to make itself responsible. The age limit was sixty, as it was assumed that one younger than this could care for herself. “Wife of one man.” See I Tim. 3:2,12 where instructions are given for bishops and deacons. The teaching is nearly the same.
“Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work”—V. 10. This verse begins and ends with good works. In fact, it is a verse of good works. The qualities are not just negative, not just poor, not just a matter of being sixty years of age, but a matter of having a life behind one of having done what could be done for the Lord.
“Having brought up children,” either hers or others. Many then, as now, had children that they were not able to care for. Many times, these were taken by others and brought up by them.
“Lodged strangers.” This was a very necessary practice is those early days of deep poverty and persecution against God’s people. Hospitality is commendable at all times, but was so deeply needed at that time.
“Washed the saints’ feet.” This does not refer to the false practice of an ordinance that some people have imagined. It is listed among some other good works. People in the East wear a sandal, or nothing, on their feet. In an altar call in a foreign country, I had twelve men come forward, and none of them had anything on his feet. It was a civility in biblical days. See Gen. 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:34; I Sam. 25:41; Luke 7:38-46. When people come from a journey, they either washed their feet or it was done for them by their host or one of his servants.
“Relieved the afflicted.” Visited and ministered to the sick or needy people after any fashion, those under any kind of pressure are under consideration.
“Diligently followed every good work.” Some people do good if it does not inconvenience them or is no bother. These women were to be followers of good works. This means, to be devoted to or pursue. Not just be a casual bystander, but an aggressive seeker after of good works.
SOME TO BE EXCLUDED FROM THE NUMBER
“But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry”—V. 11. They would create complications. “Wanton” means, to be headstrong toward, hard or harsh. There is nothing against their marrying if they may legitimately do so. see V. 14. It is their attitude toward Christ that is wrong. Weymouth translates this section of the verse, “Their affections stray wantonly from Christ.” Such become ungovernable in their natural impulses.
“Having damnation because they have cast off their first faith”—V. 12. She stands self-condemned because of turning her back on Christ. She gave her first faith to Christ, then failed to give Him whole-hearted loyalty. Paul didn’t mean to assign such women to hell, nor even from the assembly. The word translated “Damnation” doesn’t carry this thought in this place.
“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not”—V. 13. Note some of the sad results of casting off the first faith and loyalty to Christ.
1. “They learn to be idle,” That is, adverse from labor, lazy, useless. They refuse to pull their weight in the boat. Instead of learning to work and be useful, they learn to be idle.
2. “Wandering.” Several of my versions say, “They gad about,” Never satisfied at home but must be seen in public places and abroad.
3. “Tattlers.” Many translate, “Gossips.” The word means, to boil over, bubble, a prater, tattler, to talk folly. This pretty well defines a gossip.
4. “Busybodies.” Overcareful, officious, in the sense of being overcareful for the sake of attention, paying attention to things that do not concern them.
5. “Speaking things which they ought not.” Williams has this, “Talking of things which they ought not to mention.” Clark gives it as, “Telling things which are not proper.” We would say, senseless talkativeness.
So to sum up, we have idlers, wanders, tattlers, busybodies and those who slander to get attention. They do much damage with their tongues, and much harm to the cause of Christ.
They could spend their time learning something useful, but instead, they spend it learning what is deeply detrimental to the things of God.
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully”—V. 14. This evidently refers to the young widows of the preceding verse.
Domestic responsibilities are ordained of God. Certainly they are more profitable than those things mentioned in verse 13.
The “Adversary” would or could be either in the realm of men or Satan. Both Satan and his followers are watching for an opportunity to reproach the Gospel.
“For some are already turned aside after Satan”—V. 15. Some of those that he had been discussing had gotten behind Satan, as one translates it. They had accepted him as their leader instead of Christ. How horrible. They were under his influence, and were using their influence for the great enemy of both God and man.
“If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed”—V. 16. “Charged” means, to be heavy upon, care, expense. Paul never at any time taught that one was to take another’s God-given responsibility. The church was not to be charged for the upkeep or expense of those who were either able to care for themselves, or who had believing relatives who were able to care for them. There are enough of those who genuinely need help without taking on those who are able to care for themselves or have those who can care for them.
“Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the Word and doctrine”—V. 17. In verses 17-19, we consider the elders who serve in the assembly in an official place. Their “Double honour” is their material help and support as is indicated in the two quotations in V. 18. It is implied that some elders did not labour in the Word and the teachings, though they were to be apt to teach, as we read earlier in this book.
“For the Scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward”—V. 18. In quoting Deut. 25:4, we may be sure that Paul had the spiritual meaning in mind. Read carefully I Cor. 9:9,10, where Paul applies this text to the ministry. God takes care of oxen as one of His creatures, but Paul taught that He had the text written for the sake of the ministry.
Then note the quotation from the words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since he quoted from the Gospel of Luke, his co-worker, Luke’s Gospel was probably in circulation at the time. The text from Luke 10:7 simply teaches that a hired man deserves his wages. Likewise, an elder who gave his full time to the gospel work, the Word and doctrine, deserved to be sustained. Note the expressions used by Paul, “They who minister at the altar should live of the altar.” “They who minister about holy things should live of the things of the temple.” “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn” and, “The labourer is worthy of his reward.” To muzzle the ox that was treading out the corn or withhold support from those to whom it is due, is the same as letting a man go thirsty who was treading out the grapes.
“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses”—V. 19. Anyone should be careful about receiving a word against an elder, though such accepting and spreading of such reports is the sport of the devil. If we are to accept the slander against a man of this office, we must number the witnesses and, we might add, consider their character, as we have known those who deliberately sullied the good names of others and, especially, the good names of ministers. An elder may have to correct someone, and thereby make an enemy who would be too happy to smear him and ruin his testimony in a community.
“Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear”—V. 20. Where there is failure, efforts should be made to regain the erring one. However, the word “Rebuke” has so many meanings it is a bit difficult to settle on just what Paul had in mind. Some of the meanings, among many others, are, to put to the proof, to test, to convict, to refute or confute. It further means, to detect, lay bare or expose. Any one of these things may be necessary in dealing with a failing brother. It is to be done before all.
Sin needs to be dealt with. The one dealing with it, not so much the dealing with it, as the manner of dealing with it, will manifest his spiritual condition or state. We may deal with it in such a manner that it will seem like a personal affair, resulting in a deep-seated resentment. The individual is caused to wish to fight back in such cases. Paul said, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.” Of course, however it is done, there will always be those whom we cannot help, whatever our attitude. “Love covers a multitude of sins,” but there are times for public exposure. This action plants the proper fear in the hearts of others.
A SOLEMN APPEAL
“I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality”—V. 21. The word “Charge” means, to make a solemn and an earnest affirmation, to bear witness. That is so serious that Paul further intensifies it by stating that it is before God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels. All is owed to God. He originated our redemption. Christ is the all-sufficient redeemer. The angels are sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation.
“Without preferring” is without pre-judging or prejudice. Don’t just promote a cause for someone, weigh the facts. “Act impartially” would be another way of wording it. A minister should not accept the person of one above another.
“Partiality” means, leaning toward another, inclination of mind toward one. To practice this is a form of politics.
“Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure”—V. 22. “Suddenly” means, speedily, rapidly or hastily. We feel that Paul was warning Timothy against a hasty ordination to the ministry. Timothy was to give a man time to develop and manifest that God had called him. God gave Paul several years before He said, “Separate Barnabas and Paul to the work.”
If Timothy was hasty in such action and there was failure, he could be a partaker of other men’s sins, and would have failed in keeping himself pure. Williams translates this verse, “Make it a rule not to ordain anyone in haste, and not to be responsible for the sins of others, to keep thyself pure.” If I help forward into the ministry a man whom God has not called, I share in his failure. Timothy was to be pure in this matter but also in all others.
“Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach”s sake and thine often infirmities”—V. 23. Paul had said of an elder earlier in the book, “Not given to wine”—3:3. The same words occur in Titus 1:7. Then of the deacon he said, “Not given to much wine”—3:8. Mark 7:15 would apply here as well as in other things. Sin is not in an external thing, but in the use we make of it. Timothy was evidently often sickly, and needed something added to his diet to strengthen him. If the water did not agree with him, he could substitute a little wine. “Often infirmities” means, frequent weaknesses.
SINS, MANIFEST AND HIDDEN
“Some men’s sins are open before hand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after”—V. 24. This verse is used of Paul to illustrate the truths of V. 25. The words “Open beforehand” are translated “Manifest beforehand” in V. 25, and the same word is translated “Evident” in Heb. 7:14. These are the only occurences of the word in the Greek New Testament.
The words “Going before” come from two Greek words, one meaning, before, and the other meaning, to lead. The manifest sins of some lead to judgment, that is, an earthly judgment, not the heavenly. This is notorious sins that loudly accuse the guilty.
“Follow after” is to accompany, to appear in the sequel. Sins at times are outwardly manifest, but when not so open, they come to light later. Timothy was told to rebuke openly those who sinned—V. 20. This needed rebuke or judgment in some cases would be so manifest that the ones who sinned would be openly manifest in their failure. Others would have to have their sins manifest on examination and the sins would appear in the sequel.
“Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid”—V. 25. Similarly, the good works of some are manifest before hand, and those that are of the opposite character cannot be hid.
DUTIES OF SLAVES TO THEIR MASTERS
“Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the Name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed”—V. 1. Paul never advocated slavery, neither did he teach rebellion. I Cor. 7:20,24 expresses his teachings in every relationship of life. It is pleasing to note that inasmuch as Paul addressed slaves so often, that many of them must have found Christ and been saved. Note his words in Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22; Titus 2:9.
Christian slaves were told to treat their masters, mostly heathen, with all respect lest God’s Name and His doctrine be blasphemed, as the owner, if not Christian, would wonder what kind of God they served, if they were worse after yielding to Him than before.
We may note that God didn’t send His Son to set up a new social order, nor to change governments, but to save men and prepare them for heaven. He will in His time bring in a new social order, but as yet, that has to wait.
“And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort”—V.2. The slaves who had believing masters were to serve harder, and be better workmen than if their masters were heathen. They were not to despise, that is, think against their masters or to disesteem or scorn them. Instead, they were to serve more cheerfully, as their service was benefitting a fellow believer, faithful and beloved.
It is easy to see how the slaves could believe that they should be set free, or that they should rebel against the awful practice of slavery. But they were to abide God’s time. Timothy was to teach this faithfully to counteract anything of a contrary nature.
FALSE DOCTRINE WITH ITS RESULTS
“If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness”—V. 3. “Otherwise” is “Heterodoxy” in the Greek. Paul knew from whence his doctrine came, See Gal. 1:11,12. Therefore, he could reprove any who disagreed with him.
“Wholesome words” means, words that are sound in health, healthy words that are pure. One renders this section, “Healing doctrines.” This would be words and doctrine which would give health and food to the soul. They are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are in accord with godliness. That is, they promote godliness.
“He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings”—V. 4. The word “Proud” means, smoke, to be possessed with the fumes of conceit or be demented with conceit. One can become blown up with an exalted opinion of himself, his imagined knowledge or experiences, and yet know nothing. Too bad that people cannot properly evaluate themselves.
“Doting about questions.” “Doting” means, sick or to have a diseased appetite or craving for a thing, to have an excessive and vicious fondness for a thing. Moffatt says, “He is a conceited, ignorant creature, with a morbid passion for controversy and argument.”
“Questions” mean, a dispute or debate. Some people enjoy strife or verbal battles, not with a view to spiritual edification, but just to feel that they bested someone in a discussion.
“Strifes of words” is one word in the Greek, and means literally, a battle of words. By implication, it means, a dispute about trivial things. Some enjoy fights. We might quote Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the peace makers.”
According to Proverbs, “Envy is the rottenness of the bones.” The word in this verse means, jealousy, spite or ill-will.
“Strife” means, altercations. It also means, to use the harsh words or tones of a wrangler or brawler.
“Railings” is blasphemes; “Evil surmisings” is suspicion. This bespeaks a dark surmising mind.
GREED WITH ITS RESULTS
“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself”-V. 5. “Perverse disputings” means, collision, altercation, pertinacious disputations, meddlesomeness. Only a knowledge of the truth and a willingness to submit to it can remedy such things. Men with such corrupt, wasted and rotten minds cannot perceive truth, nor could they appreciate it if they could.
“Destitute” means, to deprive, to be destitute or devoid of. They make a choice against truth and have no capacity for it, and truth is denied them. They suppose that gain is godliness. That is, they imagine that piety is a means of wealth and try to make it a paying concern.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain”-V. 6. Indeed, godliness with contentment is great gain, but not material gain. “Contentment” means, competence of the necessaries of life. A good meaning of the word is, a frame of mind viewing one’s lot as sufficient, contentedness. This is a deeply needed grace which is absent most of the time. It takes much of the world’s goods to satisfy vanity. It takes little to satisfy one who is entirely taken up with Christ. Godliness develops a sense of contentment in the heart, just as greed, by way of contrast, develops restlessness and a discontented feeling.
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”-V. 7. All men are born poor. Anything they have afterward, they either acquired or it was given to them. See Job 1:21; Ecc. 5:15.
When we leave this life, we shall go as we came. We came in without material wealth, and we shall leave the world after the same fashion. Unless we have acquired the wealth of Christ, we leave this world to go to one of eternal poverty.
“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content”-V. 8. This verse is a big order. How few are willing to be satisfied with what God sends, especially when it is something small. The desires reach out for the things around, and most of the time, no effort is made to draw them in again. Paul considered food and raiment (covering of any kind, and would include shelter) to be sufficient to satisfy, and so it is.
“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition”-V. 9. Those who set their hearts on this one object and are determined to be rich, is the force of the Greek. Some of the meanings of the words translated “Will,” are to desire, to choose, to decree or determine. Some become possessed with a desire for wealth. They make this their aim and sole objective in life. Such people refuse to be satisfied with food and raiment.
Such an attitude to worldly goods leads to temptation and a snare. This in turn gives birth to many foolish and hurtful lusts.
“Snare” is a trap, device or wile, a trap of ruin. “Foolish” means, unintelligent, unwise. Also, brutish or brutelike. In the mad rush for money, men become like animals. “Hurtful” is, injurious. These desires move men to activity that harms the spiritual life and blinds the heart to true values. Such men fall into traps from which it is extremely difficult to extricate themselves. Their lives are lost, drowned, when they might have been highly useful to God.
“For the love of money is the root of all evil: Which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”-V. 10. “Love of money” is all one word in Greek. It literally means, love of silver. Avariciousness or covetousness is a root of all kinds of evil. The definite article does not occur in the Greek, so it is better translated, “A root.” It is a poisoned spring from whence comes all kinds of evil. All evil may not manifest itself in each life, but the potential is there. If the love for money is in the heart, the root is there also. Note that it is the “Love of money,” not the money that is the root of evil.
The word “coveted” means, to stretch oneself out, to reach forward to, to indulge in or be devoted to.
One meaning of the word “Snare” of verse 9 is a deep hole in the ground, the bottom of which was lined with sharp pointed stakes driven into the ground, the top being lightly covered so that a deceived victim would easily fall into it. The last part of this verse completes the picture. Men fall into the snare and pierce themselves through with many torments.
“They erred from the faith,” that is, they wandered from it. They loved money. They followed their own devices and desires and not the faith. They fell into the trap of Satan.
TIMOTHY'S GOD-GIVEN TITLE
"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness"--V. 11. The title, "Man of God," is rarely used in Scripture, but who could wish a greater one! It is lofty and sedate in its thought. Note that Moses was so called--Deut. 33:1; also, Elijah and Elisha. See II Kings 1:9,11,13; II Kings 4:7. Paul used the term only once elsewhere. See II Tim. 3:17. a few other men are called or spoken of as men of God, and some are never named anything else.
"Flee" may be better translated as, "Shun" or "Stand aloof from these things." This is the negative side. Sometimes, the man of God is to fight, and sometimes, he is to flee. At times he fights by fleeing.
"Follow" means, to pursue. It is a very strong word, and is the word usually translated "Persecute." Paul used the word in Phil. 3:12,14, when he said, "I follow after," "I press toward the mark."
There are plenty of things to follow after, some good, some bad, but Paul lists the worthwhile things to follow. "Righteousness" is first on the list, and is very becoming to one professing Christ. If we lay aside the "Breastplate of righteousness," we throw ourselves open to, the devil's attacks, "Godliness" is a life of piety, a life of submission toward God, and is principally Godward. "Faith" is especially Godward, and is a living in an atmosphere of confidence in God, "Love" is both manward and Godward. Faith is said to work by love--Gal. 5:6. "Patience" is steadfastness in trials and afflictions, the willingness to await God's time to work for us. "Meekness" is submitting to God's hand under any condition, in blessing and trials.
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses"--V. 12. Other versions render the first part of this verse as, "Agonize the good agony," or "Struggle the good struggle." Either of these fit the first part of the verse very well. This is not a physical fight but a fight of faith.
"Lay hold on eternal life." This in contrast to those who try to get from natural life all they can squeeze from it. Eternal life is a gift, but in its fulness is also an inheritance. See Matt. 19:29. We read, "Shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting"--Gal. 6:8. Timothy was saved and enjoying eternal life, but life in its fulness speaks of maturity in Christ, growing up in the truth in all things, a well rounded development in the Christian life.
"And hast professed a good profession." The word, "Good," occurring twice in this verse, is one of the characteristic words of the book, occurring twenty-three times in this one small book. Earlier, we read of a "Good warfare"--1:18, here of the good fight. "Profession" is the same word translated, "Confession," in V. 13. Timothy's "Good profession" began when he accepted Christ as his Saviour. It was enlarged before many witnesses when he was ordained to preach, and the number of witnesses increased as he traveled with Paul to spread the Gospel.
A CHARGE TO TIMOTHY
"I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession"--V. 13. "I solemnly entreat" is a good translation of the first part of this verse. See I Tim. 5:21 for a like expression.
"Quicken" means, to bring forth living creatures, to preserve alive. Only God can give life, therefore, all life proceeded from Him. Also, only God can preserve or sustain life after it comes into being. Paul is giving God credit for creating and sustaining all created life. Not only is God all that this verse affirms, but He, through Christ, will prove to be the source of resurrection of all mankind.
Jesus confessed before Pontius that He was a king, that He came to bear witness to the truth, and that His kingdom was not of this world. He also informed Pilate that He would come on the right hand of power. This was simply a confession to truth. Paul called it a good confession.
"That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ"--V. 14. The "Commandment" has reference to the instruction in the preceding verses. "Without spot" means, unblemished or pure. "Unrebukeable" means, unblameable. Timothy was to be above reproach morally and spiritually all his life or until the appearing of the Lord.
"Which in His times He shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords"--V. 15. The coming of Christ will manifest who alone is the only blessed or happy Potentate. The word means, a person of rank and authority. Christ carries the title of "King of kings and Lord of lords" in Rev. 19. He alone is King of those reigning as kings, and Lord of those ruling as lords. However, here it is the Father.
"Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen"--V. 16. I feel that the better translation of the first sentence of the verse would be, "Who only hath deathlessness." This belongs to deity alone.
The next sentence, ten words in our version, is only three words in Greek. It would be well translated, "Inhabiting unapproachable light."
Of old, Solomon said, "The Lord said that He would dwell in thick darkness."--I Kings 8:12. For us who are not under the law, He dwells in the light.
Apart from Christ, no man can come to God, and apart from Him, no man will ever see God. The Lord said to Moses, "There shall no man see my face and live"--Ex. 33:20. See also John 1:18.
"To whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." God is the source of all being, the bestower of all good, the final authority in all matters, the sustainer of all, and He deserves all honour. Here, honour is for a short time only. He will be and is honoured forever.
THE RICH EXHORTED
“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy”-V. 17. Paul had given a word regarding riches in verses 9,10. The rich are not to be highminded. “Highminded” means, to have lofty thoughts or be proud, overweening or haughty. It also means, arrogant. Such an attitude ill becomes any man who could be saved only by the death of Christ. Such men measure themselves by their earthly, worldly possessions, despite the fact that Jesus said, “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of his possessions.”
“Nor to have their hopes set on uncertain riches.” Values of material things go up and down. Many have had all they owned wiped out by the crash of the stock market. It is certainly characteristic that “Riches make themselves wings”-Pro. 23:5. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Then why make them our hope? By way of contrast, there is the living God, the true riches. To know Him is greater riches than all else. He gives to us all things to enjoy. “Richly” means, copiously, and is translated, “Abundantly.”
For a contrast between the rich and poor on their outlook on life, see Proverbs 18:23.
“That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate”-V. 18. “To do good” is all one word in Greek and simply means, to work good.
“Rich in good works.” Let them have as many good words as they have wealth, not rich in material wealth only but rich in feeding the poor, relieving the oppressed, and in any other way possible.
They were to be “Ready to distribute.” Again, all one word in Greek. It means, to be bountiful, liberal, ready to distribute where there is proven need.
“Ready to communicate.” Ready to communicate in kind offices, beneficent, ready to bring poor brothers into fellowship in the good things of life. “Freegivers” is a good way to express it.
“Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life”-V. 19. One translates, “Storing away for themselves a good endowment for the future.” In Luke 16:9, we read in the R. V., “Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles.” The principle is the same here. One can invest his material wealth for God and have “Treasures in heaven.”
The “Eternal life” should be read, the “Really life.” The word translated “Eternal” is, by my Greek lexicon, rendered, really, in truth, truly. One translates it, “Life in earnest.” Whatever others may call life, God calls this the true life.
O TIMOTHY, KEEP THE DEPOSIT
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called”-V. 20.
All the truth Timothy enjoyed had come to him from God. He originated none of it. God had deposited it with him. It was God’s treasure of truth deposited in an earthen vessel. He was to teach it, guard God’s people against error and watch over it. It would be well rendered, “Keep the deposit,” or guard what has been intrusted to you. He was to cling to sound doctrine and sound words, the precious teaching of the Gospel given to his keeping. What a grave responsibility it places on the minister of the Gospel!
“Avoiding profane and vain babblings.” Goodspeed translates this, “Keep away from the worldly and empty phrases.” “Profane” means, of the world, or not religious, unholy. “Vain babblings” is vain disputation, fruitless discussion.
“The oppositions of science” is just false knowledge. It is not science as we think of it, though science has come up with many false conclusions.
“Which some professing, have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen”-V. 21. Some professed a special knowledge, but missed aim regarding the faith. Beware of anyone who has a knowledge that the Bible will not support. This is false knowledge, and so few have the ability to test things by the Word, that many false ideas are foot-loose in the land.
Paul used his usual benediction, “Grace be with you.” If grace in its fulness were with them, they could wish for no more, so why extend the blessing into more words.