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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY - Chapter 1 - Verse 18

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

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

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

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

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

{a} "according to the prophecies" 1 Th 4:14 {*} "on thee" "concerning thee"

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