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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 1 - Verse 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY.

 

CHAPTER 1.

 

ANALYSIS OF CHAPTER 1.

This chapter comprises the following subjects :—

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Our Saviour. The name Saviour is as applicable to God the rather as to the Lord Jesus Christ, since God is the great Author of salvation. See Barnes "Lu 1:47".

Comp. 1 Ti 4:10; Tit 2:10; Jude 1:25".

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

{c} "my own son" Ac 16:1 {d} "in the faith" Tit 1:4 {e} "Grace" Ga 1:3; 1 Pe 1:2

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