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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


{b} "eternal" Ps 10:16 {c} "invisible" 1 Ti 6:15,16 {d} "wise God" Joh 1:16 {e} "God" Ro 16:27 {f} "honour and glory" 1 Ch 29:11

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