Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;Ch. 5:1-25.] General directions to him for governing the church.
1, 2.] Injunctions respecting his behaviour to the elder and younger of either sex.
πρεσβυτέρῳ] The reference to an office was called in question as early as Chrys. ἆρα τὸ ἀξίωμα νῦν φησιν; οὐκ ἔγωγε οἶμαι, ἀλλὰ περὶ παντὸς γεγηρακότος. This indeed is evident from the quadruple specification in these verses. So even Mack, though he maintains that the νεώτεροι of Acts 5:6 were official. Leo, as cited by Wiesinger, gives well the connexion with the last chapter: “quum supra scripsisset, nemini licere ex juventute Timothei ejus despiciendi occasionem sumere, nunc jam ipsum hortatur Timotheum, ut semper memor suæ νεότητος ita se gerat erga seniores uti revera deceat virum juniorem.” But this connexion must not be too closely pressed. Some important general instructions have intervened since the μηδείς σου τῆς νεότηος καταφρονείτω.
ἐπιπλήξῃς] Thus Il. μ. 211, Ἕκτορ, ἀεὶ μέν πώς μοι ἐπιπλήσσεις ἀγορῇσιν " ἐσθλὰ φραζομένῳ.
ἀλλὰ παρακάλει] ὡσανεὶ πρὸς πατέρα, φησί, προσενεχθείης ἁμαρτάνοντα, οὕτω πρὸς ἐκεῖνον διαλέγου, Chrys.
νεωτέρους] understand παρακάλει. Thus the prohibition, μὴ ἐπιπλήξῃς, applies to all, all being included in the παρακάλει which is the other and adopted alternative.
ὡς ἀδελφούς] as on an equality with them, not lording it over them.
ὡς ἀδελφάς] ‘Hic respectus egregie adjuvat castitatem,’ Bengel. μηδὲ ὑποψίαν, φησί, δῷς. ἐπειδὴ γὰρ αἱ πρὸς τὰς νεωτέρας γενόμεναι ὁμιλίαι δυσκόλως διαφεύγουσιν ὑποψίαν, δεῖ δὲ γίνεσθαι παρὰ τοῦ ἐπισκόπου καὶ τοῦτο, διὰ τοῦτο “ἐν πάσῃ ἁγνείᾳ” προστίθησι. Chrys. See similar sentiments from profane writers in Wetst. The Commentators cite the apologist Athenagoras (legat. pro christ. 32, p. 310): καθʼ ἡλικίαν τοὺς μὲν υἱοὺς κ. θυγατέρας νοοῦμεν, τοὺς δὲ ἀδελφοὺς ἔχομεν καὶ ἀδελφάς· καὶ τοῖς προβεβηκόσι τὴν τῶν πατέρων καὶ μητέρων τιμὴν ἀπονέμομεν. “The rule of Jerome (Ep. 52 (2). 5, vol. i. p. 259) is simple: ‘omnes puellas et virgines Christi aut æqualiter ignora aut æqualiter dilige.’ ” Ellic.
3-16.] Directions concerning widows. This whole passage is somewhat difficult, and has been very variously understood. The differences will be seen below.
3. τίμα] Is this to be interpreted generally, ‘honour’ merely, or with reference to the context? The best guide to an answer will be what follows. If the command be merely to hold them in honour, why should the destitute be held in more honour than those who had families? The command χήρας τίμα would surely apply to all alike. But seeing that it does not apply to all alike, we must necessarily limit its general meaning to that particular in which the one would be honoured, and the other not. Thus without giving or seeking for an unusual meaning to τίμα, we may fairly interpret it of this particular kind of honour, viz. being inscribed on the Church’s κατάλογος (ver. 9) as a fit object of charitable sustenance. That such a roll existed in the very earliest days of the church, we know from Acts 6:1. Cf. also Ignat. ad Polyc. c. 4, p. 721 f.: Justin M. Apol. i. 67, p. 84: Euseb. H. E. vi. 43. Thus Huther and De W., and Ellic., after Grot., Calv., all.
τὰς ὄντως χήρας] cf. ver. 16 below,—those who are really in a widowed (destitute) state, as contrasted with those described ver. 4. But then the enquiry has been made, Is this ὄντως χήρα to be defined by mere external circumstances, or not rather by the religious character, described below, ver. 5? Or are we to bind (as Chrys., al.) the two together? In a certain sense, I believe we must thus unite them. The Apostle commands, ‘Honour (by placing on the list) those who are widows indeed:’ for it is these especially, they who are destitute of earthly friends, who are most likely to carry out the true religious duties of a widow. Thus, without the two qualifications being actually united, the former is insisted on as ordinarily ensuring the latter.
4.] The case of the χήρα who is not ὄντως χήρα, having earthly relations answerable for her support.
ἔκγονα] τέκνα τέκνων, Hesych.; grandchildren: not as E. V. ‘nephews;’ at least, not in its present sense.
μανθανέτωσαν] What is the subject? (1) The ancient Commentators mostly understand αἱ χῆραι, implied in τίς χήρα: so vulg. (discat: also D-lat, 2 cursives have μανθανέτω), Chr. (see below), Thdrt., Œc., Jer., Pel., Ambr., Luth., Calv., Grot., Calov., Huther, al. (2) But some of the ancients took τὰ τέκνα ἢ ἔκγονα as the subject: e.g. Œc. 2, Thl., and so Beza, Wolf, Mosh, Wegscheid: Heydenr., Flatt, Mack, De W., Wiesinger, Ellicott. There is much to be said for both views; and as we advance, we shall give the interpretations on both hypotheses, (1) and (2).
πρῶτον] Either, ‘first of all duties,’ which seems supported by ver. 8 below; or first, before applying to the church for sustenance. These meanings will apply to both the above alternatives: whether we understand the subject to be the widows, or the children and grandchildren.
τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον εὐσεβεῖν] On hypothesis (1),—to behave piously towards, i.e. to rule religiously (Luth.; so vulg.), their own household. This seems somewhat to force εὐσεβεῖν, see below; while the sense of τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον is thus the simple and usual one, as the widow in question would be the head of the household. On hypothesis (2), to behave piously towards, i.e. to honour with the honour which God commands, their own family, i.e. the widowed mother or grandmother who is one of their own family. This sense of εὐσεβής, εὐσέβεια, and εὐσεβέω, is common enough (see especially Palm and Rost’s Lex.): the reference being generally (not always, it is true) to superiors,—those who demand σέβας,—those who stand in the place of God. This sense of τὸν ἴδιον οἶκον is not so usual, but not therefore to be rejected. To dishonour their widowed mother or grandmother, would be to dishonour their own family, in that one of its members who most required respect.
καὶ ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδιδόναι τοῖς προγόνοις] On hypothesis (1), as Chrys., ἀπῆλθον ἐκεῖνοι· οὐκ ἠδυνήθης αὐτοῖς ἀποδοῦναι τὴν ἀμοιβήν· οὐ γὰρ δὴ καὶ αὐτὴ ἐγέννησας ἐκείνους, οὐδὲ ἀνέθρεψας. ἐν τοῖς ἐκγόνοις αὐτοῦ ἀμείβου· ἀποδίδου τὸ ὀφείλημα διὰ τῶν παιδῶν. But surely it is a very strange way of requiting one’s progenitors for their care of us, to be kind towards our own children: and besides, what would this have to do with the question, whether or not the widow was to be put on the charity roll of the church? But on hypothesis (2), this sentence certainly becomes more clear and natural. Let them, the children or grandchildren, learn first to be piously grateful to (these members of) their own families, and to give back returns (a return in each case) to their progenitors (so called, although living, because, the mother and grandmother having been both mentioned, πρόγονοι was the only word which would include them in one category).
τοῦτο γὰρ …] see ch. 2:3.
5.] see above on ver. 3.
ἡ ὄντως χήρα, as opposed to the widow just described; κ. μεμονωμένη, as contrasting her condition with that of her who has children or grandchildren. Thus what follows is said more for moral eulogy of such a widow, than as commending her to the charity of the church: but at the same time, as pointing out that one who thus places her hopes and spends her time, is best deserving of the Church’s help.
ἤλπικεν, ch. 4:10, has set and continues to set her hope.
ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν, on God as its portion and ultimate aim,—as distinguished from ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ, ch. 4:10, on God as its present stay.
ταῖς δεής. κ. ταῖς προσευχ.] see on ch. 2:1. The articles may refer to the public prayers of the Church, or may be possessive—‘to her supplications and her prayers:’ or may serve merely to designate the two great divisions of prayer.
νυκτ. κ. ἡμ.] so St. Luke of Anna the prophetess, ii. 37,—νηστείαις κ. δεήσεσιν λατρεύουσα νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν.
6.] Contrast (δέ) to the character just described: and that certainly with a view to point out that this kind of widow is no object for the charity of the Church, as not being at all a partaker of the life unto God.
σπαταλῶσα] Wetst. from the glossaries, gives σπαταλᾷ, λίαν τρυφᾷ, ἀσώτως ζῇ. In the Anthol., iv. 28. 14, we have coupled πᾶν τὸ βρότων σπατάλημα κ. ἡ πολύολβος ἐδωδή. It appears to be allied to σπαθάω (σπάω),—see Aristoph., Nub. 53, and Schol. (in Wetst.); and Ellic., here.
ζῶσα τέθνηκεν] while alive in the flesh, has no real life in the Spirit: see ref.—and Matthew 8:22: Ephesians 5:14. Wetst. quotes many such expressions from profane writers: one, as compared with this passage, remarkably illustrative of the moral difference between Christianity and heathenism: Soph. Antig. 1183,—τὰς γὰρ ἡδονὰς ὅταν " προδῶσιν ἄνδρες, οὐ τίθημʼ ἐγὼ " ζῇν τοῦτον, ἀλλʼ ἔμψυχον ἡγοῦμαι νεκρόν. The very expression is found in Stobæus; see reff. I cannot help regarding the idea as in the background,—‘and, if devoid of spiritual life, then not to be taken into account by the Church.’
7.] ταῦτα most naturally applies to the characters just given of widows, not more generally: and in that case ἵνα ἀνεπίλημπτοι (see reff.) ὦσιν must refer to the widows also, not to the τέκνα and ἔκγονα, or to these and the widows together, as Heydenr., or more widely still, as Grot., al. This narrower reference is confirmed by the next verse, which takes up the duty of the relations, being connected not by γάρ, but by δέ.
8.] τίς, not only of the τέκνα ἢ ἒκγονα above, or any persons connected with widows,—but the saying is perfectly general, grounding their duties on an axiomatic truth. Agreeably with their former interpretation, Chrys., &c. regard τίς as meaning ‘a widow:’ Calv. and Thdrt. unite both, widows and children.
οἱ ἴδιοι seem to be generally any connexions,—οἱ οἰκεῖοι, those more immediately included in one’s own family as dwelling in the same οἶκος—see reff. Mack is certainly wrong in regarding οἰκεῖοι (without τῆς πίστεως) as meaning those connected by the faith. The omission of the article (see var. readd.) would make the two belong to one and the same class.
οὐ προνοεῖ, viz. in the way noted above,—of support and sustenance. Notice εἰ οὐ, in its regular usage, the negation being closely connected with the verb: “neglects to provide.” On the construction of προνοεῖν, see Ellic.’s note.
τὴν πίστιν ἤρνηται] ‘fides enim non tollit officia naturalia, sed perficit et firmat.’ Bengel.
The Roman-Catholic Commentator Mack has some good remarks here, on the faith of which the Apostle speaks: “Faith, in the sense of the Apostle, cannot exist, without including love: for the subject-matter of faith is not mere opinion, but the grace and truth of God, to which he that believes gives up his spirit, as he that loves gives up his heart: the subject-matter of faith is also the object of love. Where therefore Love is not, nor works, there is not, nor works, Faith either: so that he who fulfils not the offices of love towards his relatives, is virtually an unbeliever.”
ἀπίστου χείρων] For even among heathens the common duties of family piety are recognized: if therefore a Christian repudiates them, he lowers himself beneath the heathen. Cf. Matthew 5:46, Matthew 5:47. Also, as Calv. suggests in addition, the Christian who lives in the light of the Gospel, has less excuse for breaking those laws of nature which even without the Gospel are recognized by men.
According to hypothesis (1) or (2) above, this general statement applies to the widows or to their children and grandchildren: not, as Matthies, to their mutual relations, about which the context contains no hmt. But surely it would be very harsh to understand it of the widows: and this forms an additional argument for hypothesis (2).
9-16.] Further regulations respecting widows.
9.] Is χήρα subject or predicate? ‘let a widow καταλεγέσθω,’ or ‘let a woman καταλεγέσθω χήρα?’ I own, from the arrangement of the words, I am inclined to believe the latter to be the case. The verb καταλεγέσθω introduces the new particular. Had χήρα then been the subject, the verb, having the emphasis, must have preceded. As it is, χήρα has the emphasis, as it would have, were it the predicate, spoken of those of whom the κατάλογος consisted. I render therefore,—Let a woman be inserted in the catalogue as a widow. But now, for what purpose?
καταλέγειν is to enrol on a list or roll: so Aristoph. Acharn. 1029: ὅταν στρατιώτας καταλέγωσι …,—Lysistr., ὁ δὲ Δημόστρατος " ἔλεγεν ὁπλίτας καταλέγειν Ζακυνθίων: Xen. Rep. Lac. iv. 3, τού́των δʼ ἕκαστος ἄνδρας ἑκατὸν καταλέγει: Lysias, p. 172. 37, οὐ τοίνυν οὐδʼ εἰς τὸν κατάλογον Ἀθηναίων καταλέξας οὐδένα φανήσομαι: see other examples in Palm and Rost’s Lex., and in Wetst. But what catalogue are we to understand? (In replying to this question I agree in the main with De Wette, from whose note the substance of the following remarks is adopted.) Hardly, (1) that of those who are to receive relief from the Church (so Chrys. h. l., Thdrt., Œc., Thl., Jer., Erasm., Calv., Est., Wolf, Neand., al.): for thus the rule, that she is to be sixty years of age, would seem a harsh one, as many widows might be destitute at a far earlier age: as also the rule that she must not have been twice married, especially as the Apostle himself below commands second marriage for the younger widows. Again, the duties enjoined in ver. 10 presuppose some degree of competence, and thus, on this hypothesis, the widows of the poorer classes would be excluded from sustenance by charity,—who most of all others would require it. Also, for the reason alleged in ver. 11, sustenance can hardly be in question—for then the re-marrying would simply take them off the roll, and thus be rather a benefit, than a detriment to the Church. Nor again (2) can we understand the roll to be that of the deaconesses, as Pelag., Beza, Schleierm., Mack, al.: although the Theodosian code, founded on this interpretation, ordained “nulla nisi emensis lx annis secundum præceptum Apostoli ad Diaconissarum consortium transferatur,” xvi. 2. 27 (De W.). For a) the age mentioned is unfit for the work of the deaconesses’ office, and in the council of Chalcedon the age of the deaconesses was fixed at 40: b) not only widows but virgins were elected deaconesses (Balsamon, ad Can. xix. conc. Niceni, παρθένοι … τεσσαρακονταετοῦς ἡλικίας γενόμεναι, ἠξιοῦντο καὶ χειροτονίας διακονισσῶν εὑρισκόμεναι πάντως ἄξιαι. Suicer, i. 865): (3) it is implied in ver. 12, that these widows were bound not to marry again, which was not the case with the deaconesses. It seems therefore better to understand here some especial band of widows, sustained perhaps at the expense of the church, but not the only ones who were thus supported:—set apart for ecclesiastical duties, and bound to the service of God. Such are understood here by Chrys. himself in his homily on the passage (311 in div. N. T. loc. 3, vol. iii. p. 523, Migne),—καθάπερ εἰσὶ παρθένων χοροί, οὕτω καὶ χηρῶν τὸ παλαιὸν ἦσαν χοροί, καὶ οὐκ ἐξῆν αὐταῖς ἁπλῶς εἰς τὰς χήρας ἐγγράφεσθαι. οὐ περὶ ἐκείνης οὖν λέγει τῆς ἐν πενίᾳ ζώσης καὶ δεομένης βοηθείας, ἀλλὰ περὶ ταύτης τῆς ἑλομένης χηρείαν. They are also mentioned as τάγμα χηρῶν, τὸ χηρικόν, πρεσβύτιδες, προκαθήμεναι: i.e. such widows as corresponded in office for their own sex in some measure to the presbyters,—sat unveiled in the assemblies in a separate place, by the presbyters, and had a kind of supervision over their own sex, especially over the widows and orphans: were vowed to perpetual widowhood, clad with a ‘vestis vidualis,’ and ordained by laying on of hands. This institution of the early church, which was abolished by the eleventh canon of the council of Laodicea (in the translation of Dionys. Exiguus,—‘mulieres quæ apud Græcos presbyteræ appellantur, apud nos autem viduæ seniores, univiræ, et matriculariæ nominantur, in ecclesia tanquam ordinatas constitui non debere’), is sufficiently affirmed by Chrys. l. c. Epiphan. hær. lxxix. 4, vol. ii. (Migne), p. 1060 f., and long before by Tert. de veland. virg. 9, vol. ii. p. 902: ‘ad quam sedem (viduarum) præter annos lx non tantum univiræ, i.e. nuptæ aliquando, eliguntur, sed et matres et quidem educatrices filiorum.’ De W. imagines he finds also a trace of it in Herm. Pastor, i. vision 2. 4, p. 900: ‘καὶ Γραπτὴ μὲν (‘Grapte diaconissa fuisse videtur.’ Hefele, not.) νουθετήσει τὰς χήρας καὶ τοὺς ὀρφανούς:’ and in Lucian de morte peregrini, Opp. iii. 335 Reig.,—ἕωθεν μὲν εὐθὺς ἦν ὁρᾷν παρὰ τῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ περιμένοντα γραιδία, χήρας τινὰς καὶ παιδία ὀρφανά. He also refers to the dissertation of Mosheim on this place, in which he has thoroughly gone into all the bearings of the subject and maintained the above view. So also Grot., Fritzsch., and Michaelis: so Wiesinger,—and in a somewhat modified shape, Huther, repudiating the idea of formal ordination and setting apart of widows so early as the apostolic age. In this he is probably right. De W. makes the allusion to this ‘institute of widows’ one proof of the post-apostolic date of the Epistle: but on this see Prolegg. ch. vii. § i. 27. Let a woman be enrolled a widow, who is not less than sixty years old (γεγονυῖα is joined by the vulg. (‘quæ fuerit unius viri uxor’), Jer., Luth., Calv., Beza, Grot., Mack, al., to the next clause: but against this is usage (ὅτε ἐγένετο ἐτῶν δώδεκα, Luke 2:42: cf. also Plato, Legg. vi. p. 765, ἐτῶν μὲν γεγονὼς μὴ ἔλαττον ἢ πεντήκοντα, and see other examples in Wetst.), and the fact that μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα stands alone in ch. 3:2. Besides, if it belonged to the next clause, it would have in it any place but the first), the wife of one husband (cf. ch. 3:2. Here, as contemporaneous polygamy is out of the question, and thus one element of difficulty in the other case is eliminated, we can hardly understand any thing other than that the πρεσβύτις should have been the wife of only one husband: i.e., not married a second time: so Tertull. ad uxor. i. 7, vol. i. p. 1286: “digamos non sinit præsidere, … viduam allegi in ordinem nisi univiram non concedit.” So that the parallel expressions here and in ch. 3:2 will be consistently interpreted. See the mistaken views of Thdrt. (τὸ σωφρόνως ἐν γάμῳ βιοῦν νομοθετεῖ), &c., treated of under ch. 3:2), having a good character (testimony from without, cf. reff. and ch. 3:7) in (the element or region in which that μαρτυρία is versed) good works (reff.), if (‘the conditions have as yet been expressed by participles in agreement with the noun: the construction is now changed for the hypothetical.’ De W.: but εἰ does not depend immediately on καταλεγέσθω: the intervening clauses must be taken for granted. So that it may more properly be said to be dependent on μὴ.… μαρτυρουμένη:—such an one, if in addition she, &c.) she (at any time—keep the aor.) brought up children (her own? or those of others? If (1), the barren might seem hardly dealt with: if (2), the word must be somewhat forced aside from its ordinary meaning (see τεκνοτροφία in Palm and Rost’s Lex.: where in the examples cited, die Kindererzeugung mitinbegrissen ist). Still this latter, considering that ἐξενοδόχησεν is the next good work specified, seems most probable: and so, but for the most part combining it with the other, Beng., De W., Huther, Wiesinger, al. Grot. understands it, ‘si nec abortum sibi fecerit, nec ob paupertatem exposuerit liberos …, sed omnes sibi natos educaverit, et quidem honeste ac pie:’ Calv.,—‘non sterilitatem hic damnari a Paulo, sed matrum delicias, quæ sobolis alendæ tædia devorare recusant’), if she (at any time) received strangers (practised hospitality. This clearly points out a person above the rank of the poor and indigent: though Chrys. pithily replies, κἂν πένης ᾖ, οἰκίαν ἔχει. οὐ γὰρ δὴ αἴθριος μένει. One is glad to hear that all the Christian widows at Constantinople were so well off. But it can hardly have been so in the apostolic age. Cf. ch. 3:2: Titus 1:8: Romans 12:13: Hebrews 13:2), if she (at any time) washed the feet of the saints (‘synecdoche partis, pro omni genere officiorum humilitatis,’ Beng. εἰ τὰς ἐσχάτας ὑπηρεσίας τοῖς ἁγίοις ἀνεπαισχύντως ἐξετέλεσε, Thl. Still, we must not dismiss from our consideration the external act itself: as Thdrt. ἐποίουν γὰρ τοῦτο πάλαι: see John 13:14, and note, in which, though a formal ceremony in obedience to our Saviour’s words is repudiated, the principle of humbly serving one another, which would lead to such an act on occasion presented, is maintained), if she (at any time) relieved (cf. Herod. i. 91, καιομένῳ αὐτῷ ἐπήρκεσε:—Eur. Hec. 963, τί χρὴ τὸν εὖ πράσσοντα μὴ πράσσουσιν εὖ " φίλοις ἐπαρκεῖν;—and examples in Wetst. It is more rarely found with an accus.: see Palm and Rost’s Lex.) the distressed (not merely the poor, as Beng., but those afflicted in any way; cf. example from Herod. above), if she followed every good work (Chrys. in his fine homily on this passage, cited above, § 15, says: τί ἐστιν ἐν παντὶ ἔργ. ἀγ. ἐπηκολούθ.; ὥστε καὶ εἰς δεσμωτήριον εἰσιέναι καὶ τοὺς δεδεμένους ἐπισκέπτεσθαι, καὶ ἀῤῥωστοῦντας ἐπισκοπεῖν, καὶ θλιβομένους παραμυθεῖσθαι, καὶ ὀδυνωμένους παρακαλεῖν, καὶ πάντα τρόπον τὰ κατὰ δύναμιν εἰσφέρειν ἅπαντα, καὶ μηδὲν ὅλως παραιτεῖσθαι τῶν εἰς σωτηρίαν καὶ ἀνάπαυσιν τῶν ἀδελφῶν γινομένων τῶν ἡμετέρων. Bengel’s idea, ‘Antistitum et virorum est, bonis operibus præire, Titus 3:8, Titus 3:14: mulierum, subsequi, adjuvando pro sua parte,’ is ingenious, but wrong: cf. Plato, Rep. p. 370 c,—ἀλλʼ ἀνάγκη τὸν πράττοντα τῷ πραττομένῳ ἐπακολουθεῖν μὴ ἐν παρέργου μέρει).
11.] But younger widows decline (to place on the κατάλογος, see above on verse 9: not ‘avoid,’ for fear of scandal, as Chrys. in the homily above cited: nor both of these combined, as Huther: nor ‘decline as objects for the alms of the church,’ as some above. Baur’s idea (Paulus u. s. w. p. 497), that χήρας is the predicate,—‘the younger women decline as widows,’ refuse to put on the list of widows, is not justified by the construction, nor does it derive any support from the rendering given above of χήρα καταλεγέσθω, verse 9): for when they shall wax wanton (a very full account of the usage of ἐάν and ὅταν with the indic. is given in Klotz, Devar. ii. pp. 468 ff. Ellicott sums it up by saying that in such cases the whole conditional force is restricted to the particle, and there is no necessary internal connexion between the verb in the protasis and that in the apodosis. He does not hold this to be applicable here, and therefore prefers the rec. reading) against (στρηνιάω, and στρῆνος, see reff.—from στρηνής (strenuus), ‘strong,’—‘to be strong,’ whence κατα-στρ., to be strong against,—to rebel against (see Ellic. here): and in the particular matter here treated, ‘to become wanton against’) Christ (their proper bridegroom: Jerome’s expression, ep. 123 (11) ad Ageruchiam (Gerontiam) 3, vol. i. p. 901, which the Commentators blame as too strong, in fact gives the sense well,—“quæ fornicatæ sunt (-cantur?) in injuriam viri sui Christi.” Thl. similarly, but too vaguely,—ὅταν καθυπερηφανεύσονται τοῦ χριστοῦ, μὴ ἀποδεχόμεναι αὐτὸν νυμφίον), they desire to marry (again),—having (bearing on themselves, as a burden: see reff. and Galatians 5:10) judgment (from God: and as the context necessarily implies, condemnation: but we must not so express it in a version: that which is left to be fixed by the context in the original, should be also left in a translation. The meaning ‘bringing on themselves the imputation of having,’ &c., given by De W. and upheld by Huther, al., appears to me to be ungrammatical), because they set at nought their first faith (i.e. broke, made void, their former promise. So Chrys., interpreting it, τὰς πρὸς τὸν χριστὸν καταπατῆσαι συνθήκας, Hom. var. ut supra: and again, πίστιν τὴν συνθήκην λέγει, Hom. in loc.: Thdrt. τῷ χριστῷ συνταξάμεναι σωφρόνως ζῇν ἐν χηρείᾳ, δευτέροις ὁμιλοῦσι γάμοις: Thl. ἐψεύσαντο τὴν συμφωνίαν τὴν πρὸς χριστόν. Tert. de monogam. 13, vol. ii. p. 948,—“quod primam fidem resciderunt, illam videlicet a qua in viduitate inventæ et professæ eam non perseverant.” Aug. in Ps. 75:12, § 16, vol. iv. p. 968: “Quid est ‘primam fidem irritam fecerunt?’ voverunt et non reddiderunt.” Having devoted themselves to widowhood as their state of life, and to the duties of the order of πρεσβύτιδες as their occupation, they will thus be guilty of a dereliction of their deliberate promise. Of the later vows of celibacy, and ascetic views with regard to second marriages, there is no trace: see below. Calv. (al.) interprets τὴν πρώτην πίστιν ἠθέτησαν of falling away from the faith,—‘quia a fide baptismi et Christianismo prorsus deficiant,’ and defends this view against that given above, calling it ‘nimis frigidum:’ but as it seems to me quite unsuccessfully. He expresses well, however, the difference between this addiction to single life and the later compulsory vows: ‘non ideo cœlibes se fore promittebant olim viduæ, ut sanctius agerent vitam quam in conjugio: sed quod non poterant marito et ecclesiæ simul esse addictæ:’—see the rest of his note).
13.] Moreover they also learn to be idle (so Syr., Chr., Thl., Beza, Huther, Winer, Ellic. (“It is needless to say that Winer does not conceive ‘an ellipsis of οὖσαι for εἶναι.’ Bloomf.,—a mistake of which such a scholar could not be capable.” Ellic. edn. 1), al.;—a harsh construction, but, it is said, not without example: however, the only one cited is from Plato, Euthyd. p. 276 b: οἱ ἀμαθεῖς ἄρα σοφοὶ μανθάνουσι, where the word σοφοί does not occur in Bekker’s text, and seems on critical grounds very suspicious. Still, I conceive that the present sentence will admit of no other construction, on account of the emphatic position of ἀργαί, which is further heightened by οὐ μόνον δὲ ἀργαί below. De W. objects to it, that idleness is the cause, not the effect, of going about, &c.: but it may well be answered, that not only does a spirit of idleness give rise to such going about, but such going about confirms the habit of idleness.
Bengel would lay the stress on μανθάνουσιν—‘reprehenditur discendi genus: sequiturque species,—discunt, quæ domos obeundo discuntur, i.e. statum familiarum curiose explorant.’ But μανθ. does not seem to bear this meaning. The usual interpretation has been to take περιερχ. as an infin., ‘learn to go about:’ so vulg., Luth., &c.: but the objection to this is, that μανθάνω with a participle always means to be aware of, take notice of, the act implied in the verb: e.g. διαβεβλημένος ὑπὸ Ἀμάσιος οὐ μανθάνεις, Herod. iii. 1) going about from house to house (lit. “the houses,” viz. of the faithful. For the construction compare Matthew 9:35, περιῆγεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὰς πόλεις: but not only (to be) idle, but also gossips (περιοδεύουσαι τὰς οἰκίας, οὐδὲν ἀλλʼ ἢ τὰ ταύτης εἰς ἐκείνην φέρουσι, καὶ τὰ ἐκείνης εἰς ταύτην. Thl. ‘Ex otio nascebatur curiositas, quæ ipsa garrulitatis est mater.’ Calv.) and busybodies (reff.), speaking (not merely ‘saying:’ the subject-matter, as well as the form, is involved in λαλοῦσαι) things which are not fitting (his fear is, that these younger widows will not only do the Church’s work idly, but make mischief by bearing about tales and scandal).
I will (consult Ellic.’s note on βούλομαι. We may generally state that θέλω is the resting inclination of the will, βούλομαι its active exertion) then (“οὖν has here its proper collective force, ‘in consequence of these things being so, I desire.’ ” Ellic.) that younger widows (such, and not the younger women, is evidently the Apostle’s meaning. (χήρας is supplied in several cursives, Chr., Thdrt., Jer.) The whole passage has concerned widows—and to them he returns again, ver. 16) marry (not as Chrys., ἐπειδὴ αὐταὶ βούλονται βούλομαι κἀγώ … ἔδει μὲν οὖν τὰ τοῦ θεοῦ μεριμνᾷν, ἔδει τὴν π στιν φυλάττειν. ἐπειδὴ δὲ ἐκεῖνα οὐ γίνεται, βέλτιον ταῦτα γενέσθαι (so also, characteristically, the R.-Cath. Mack): for it is not younger widows who have been taken into the catalogue of πρεσβύτιδες of whom he is speaking, but younger widows in general: Chrys.’s interpretation would make the Apostle contradict himself. The οὖν on which Mack lays stress as favouring this meaning, simply infers from the temptations of young widows just described. There is no inconsistency here with the view expressed in 1Corinthians 7:39, 1Corinthians 7:40: the time and circumstances were different), bear children, govern households (i.e. in their place, and with their share of the duties: οἰκουρεῖν, as Chrys. Both these verbs belong to later Greek: cf. Lobeck on Phryn., p. 373), give no occasion (starting-point, in their behaviour or language) to the adversary (who is meant? Chrys. and the ancients for the most part understand, the devil (μὴ βουλόμενος τὸν διάβολον ἀφορυὴν λαμβάνειν): and so, lately, Huther, defending it by his interpretation of λοιδορίας χάριν (see below). But St. Paul’s own usage of ἀντικείμενος (reff., see also Titus 2:8) is our best guide. Ordinarily using it of human adversaries, he surely would here have mentioned ὁ διάβολος, had he intended him. And the understanding him to be here meant brings in the next verse very awkwardly, as he there has an entirely new part assigned him. Understand therefore, any adversary, Jew or Gentile, who may be on the watch to get occasion, by the lax conduct of the believers, to slander the Church) for the sake of reproach (to be joined with ἀφορμήν: the ἀφορμή, when taken advantage of by the adversary, would be used λοιδορίας χάριν, for the sake and purpose of reproaching the people of God. Mack would join λ. χ. with βούλομαι,—most unnaturally: ‘I will, on account of the reproach which might otherwise come on the Church, νεωτέρας γαμεῖν &c.:’—Leo,—with τῷ ἀντικειμένῳ,—which would more naturally be τῷ λοιδορίας χάριν ἀντικειμένῳ.
λοιδορία must be kept to its true sense, reproach brought on the Gospel; not forced, as Huther, for the sake of his view of ὁ ἀντικείμενος, to that of disgrace brought on the church by the fall of the widows);—for already (‘particula provocat ad experientiam,’ Beng.) some (widows) have been (we are obliged here to give a perfect rendering in English. Our language will not, as the habit of mixed constructions in the Greek permits, bear the placing an indefinite past event in a definite portion of time such as ἤδη expresses) turned away (out of the right path, ref.) after (so as to follow) Satan (‘eoque occasionem dedere calumniæ,’ Beng. When De W. doubts whether St. Paul’s experience could have been long enough to bear out such an assertion—and thus impugns the genuineness of the Epistle,—this is very much a matter of dates: and even taking the earliest commonly assigned, the assertion might be strictly true, applying as it does not only to Ephesus, but to the far wider range of his apostolic ministry).
16.] Not a repetition of vv. 4, 8, but an extension of the same duty to more distant relatives than those there spoken of. If any believing [man or] woman has widows (in [his or] her family—dependent in any degree, however distant—e.g. as sister, or sister-in-law, aunt, niece, cousin, &c.), let such person relieve them (see above, ver. 10), and let the church not be burdened (with their support: “later and less correct form for βαρύνειν;” see Ellic.), that it may relieve those who are widows in reality (really χῆραι—destitute of help).
17-25.] Directions respecting (17-19) presbyters; (20-25) church discipline: and certain matters regarding his own official and personal life.
17.] Let the presbyters who well preside (not, as in some former editions, have well presided: the perf. of ἵστημι has the present signification throughout. I owe the correction of this inadvertence to Bishop Ellicott. Preside, viz. over their portion of the Church’s work. Chrys. has well expressed the meaning, but not all the meaning; for wisdom and ability must be taken also into account:—τί δε ἐστι, καλῶς προεστῶτας, ἀκούσωμεν τοῦ χριστοῦ λέγοντος· ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλὸς τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ τίθησιν ὑπὲρ τῶν προβάτων. ἄρα τοῦτό ἐστι καλῶς προεστάναι, μηδενὸς φείδεσθαι τῆς ἐκείνων κηδεμονίας ἕνεκα), be held worthy of double (not, as compared with the widows, as Chr.,—(alt. 1: διπλῆς τῆς πρὸς τὰς χήρας, ἢ τῆς πρὸς τοὺς διακόνους, ἢ ἁπλῶς διπλῆς τιμῆς, πολλῆς λέγει), Thl. (1), Constt.-ap. (ii. 28, p. 674, Migne), Erasm., Calv., al.,—the deacons, as Chr. (2, see above), Thl. (2),—the poor, as Flatt, &c.—but as compared with those who have not distinguished themselves by καλῶς προεστάναι; and evidently, as Chrys. 3, it is not to be taken in the mere literal sense of double, but implies increase generally—see reff., and below) honour (so Plato, Legg. v. p. 378 d, τίμιος μὲν δὴ καὶ ὁ μηδὲν ἀδικῶν· ὁ δὲ μηδʼ ἐπιτρέπων τοῖς ἀδικοῦσιν ἀδικεῖν πλέον ἢ διπλασίας τιμῆς ἄξιος ἐκείνου: and see other examples in Wetstein. From the general tenor of those, as well as from the context here, it is evident that not merely honour, but recompense is here in question: but the word need not be confined to that meaning: honour, and honour’s fruit, may be both included in it. Grot. conceives an allusion to the double portion of the first-born (Deuteronomy 21:17): Elsner, to the double share of provision which used to be set before the presbyters in the Agapæ (Heydr., Baur: cf. Constt.-apost. as above). But as De W. remarks, that practice was much more probably owing to a misunderstanding of this passage): especially those that labour in (the) word and teaching (therefore the preaching of the word, and teaching, was not the office of all the πρεσβύτεροι. Conyb. rightly remarks, that this is a proof of the early date of the Epistle. Of these two expressions, λόγος would more properly express preaching; διδασκαλία, the work of instruction, by catechetical or other means).
18.] Ground for the above injunction. See the first citation (‘an (or ‘the,’ an anarthrous emphatic word) ox while treading,’ &c., not, ‘the ox that treadeth,’ &c., as E. V.) treated by the Apostle at more length, 1Corinthians 9:9. It is doubted whether the words ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτ. κ.τ.λ. are a citation at all. Some have referred them to Leviticus 19:13: Deuteronomy 24:14, which passages however say nothing of the kind, being special directions about paying a labourer’s wages before night. Thdrt. and Thl. suppose it to be quoted from the New Testament; i.e. from our Lord’s saying, reff. Matt., Luke. But it is very unlikely that the Apostle should cite these under the title of ἡ γραφή: and Calvin’s view seems most probable, that he adduces the sentiment, as our Lord Himself does, as a popular and well-known saying (so Wolf and Huther). This verse it is which makes it extremely probable, that τιμή above refers to the honorarium of pecuniary recompense.
19.] See the summary above. Against a presbyter (Chrys., Thl., are certainly wrong in supposing that age, not office is again here indicated: the whole passage is of presbyters by office—cf. ver. 22 below) entertain not an accusation, except (reff. pleonastic expressions such as ἐκτὸς εἰ μή, χωρὶς εἰ or εἰ μή, are found in later writers, such as Plutarch, Dio Cassius, &c.: we have πλὴν εἰ μή in Demosth. 141. 21, 719. 1: Aristot. de Anim. i. 5. 9, al. See Lobeck on Phrynichus, p. 459) before (lit. in presence of; and perhaps we ought to press the meaning: but from the occurrence of ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτ. κ.τ.λ. in ref. Deut., it is more likely figurative, ‘in the presence of,’ signifying merely ‘vorhandenseyn,’ their presence in the case) two or three witnesses (De W. asks,—but were not these required in every case, not only in that of a presbyter? Three answers are given: one by Chrys. (τὸ δὲ ἐπὶ ἄλλων, φησί, μάλιστα δὲ κατὰ πρεσβυτέρου), Thdrt. (συμβαίνει γὰρ ἐκκλησίας αὐτὸν προστασίαν πεπιστευμένον καὶ λυπῆσαι τῶν ἁμαρτανόντων τινάς, εἶτα ἐντεῦθεν ἐκείνους δεομένως διατεθέντας συκοφαντίαν ὑφῆναι. δεῖ τοίνυν ἀπαντῆσαι τῶν μαρτύρων τὸν ἀριθμόν), and so Calvin at more length: the other by Huther, that Timotheus was not constituted judge in private men’s matters, only over the officers of the church in faults with which they might be charged as regarded the execution of their duty: a third by Bengel,—‘privatus poterat, lege Mosis, citari uno teste, non condemnari: presbyterum ne citari quidem Paulus jubet, &c.’ But this is manifestly a distinction without point—the κατηγορίαν παραδέχεσθαι being used not of mere citation, but of entertaining the charge as a valid one: in other words, as including citation and conviction as well. So nearly Grotius, but bringing out a different distinction, which is manifestly here not in question—‘poterat ad unius testis dictum vir plebeius capi aut contra eum inquisitio incipi: non ita autem contra Senatorem, cui æquiparatur Presbyter.’ The first reason seems the more probable: that he is only recalling the attention of Timotheus to a known and prescribed precaution, which was in this case especially to be always observed. Somewhat otherwise Ellicott: see his note).
20.] [But] those who are doing wrong (if δέ is read, these are the sinning presbyters, and cannot well be any others. Without the particle, the application may be doubted. De W., Wiesinger, and Ellic., following a few others (Aret., Heinr., Matthies, al.), maintain the general reference. So appears Chrys. to have done, understanding πρεσβ. merely of age, and going on without any further remark, and so (apparently) Thdrt. But, even thus, the other view is the more likely, from the strong language used in ver. 21, and the return again to the subject in ver. 22; and so most Commentators. The pres. part. is no argument against it (against De W. and Wiesinger): ‘those who are (detected in) sinning,’ who are proved to be living in sin, may well be intended by it: the fact of their being ἁμαρτάνοντες is not ascertained till they have been charged with fault, and the evidence of the witnesses taken) reprove in the presence of all (not all the presbyters, the ‘consessus presbyterorum:’ see on καὶ οἱ λοιποί below: but the whole congregation. Had it not been for ecclesiastical considerations, we should never have heard of such a limited meaning for ἐνώπιον πάντων), that the rest also (not, the other presbyters, which would have certainly been pointed out if intended,—but in its usual sense of ‘the rest,’ generally: the καί seems to make this even plainer: that the warning may not be confined to a few, but may also spread over the whole church) may have fear (see Deuteronomy 13:11: fear, on seeing the public disgrace consequent on sin. ἔχωσιν, as above, ver. 12).
21.] I adjure thee (see reff., especially 2Timothy 4:1) in the presence of God, and of Christ Jesus (on the supposed reference to one Person only, see Ellic.’s note); and of the elect angels (the holy angels, who are the chosen attendants and ministers of God. Thus ἐκλεκτῶν is an epithet distributed over the whole extent of ἀγγέλων, not one designating any one class of angels above the rest, as De W. Bengel says rightly, ἐκλεκτῶν, “epitheton, Timothei reverentiam acuens:—the angels, God’s chosen ministers.” Various meanings have been proposed: good angels as distinguished from bad (so Thl., Ambr., Grot., Est., Wolf, al.),—but οἱ ἄγγελοι without any such designation, are ever good angels:—the guardian angels of Timotheus and the Ephesian church (Mosheim): ‘those especially selected by God as His messengers to the human race, as Gabriel’ (Conyb.),—which, if we suppose these to be any particular class of angels, would be the best; but I doubt ἐκλεκτός, absolute, ever bearing this meaning, and much prefer that upheld above. Calvin says: “electos vocat angelos non tantum ut a reprobis discernat, sed excellentiæ causa, ut plus reverentiæ habeat eorum testimonium.” There is a parallel form of adjuration in Jos. B. J. ii. 16. 4, where Agrippa is endeavouring to persuade the Jews to remain in the Roman allegiance: μαρτύρομαι δʼ ἐγὼ ὑμῶν τὰ ἅγια καὶ τοὺς ἱεροὺς ἀγγέλους τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ πατρίδα τὴν κοινήν.
Schleiermacher thinks this mention of one class of angels as ‘elect,’ inconsistent with the Apostle’s warning against genealogies and idle questions: but with the above interpretation such objection falls to the ground. Baur would explain the expression by the gnostic notion of angels more immediately connected with our Lord, alluded to by Irenæus, i. 4. 5, p. 21, οἱ ἡλικιῶται αὐτοῦ ἄγγελοι: see ib. 7. 1, p. 32. But Irenæus’ text is μετὰ τῶν ἡλικιωτῶν αὐτοῦ τῶν ἀγγέλων, which hardly justifies the interpretation: and if it did, the whole lies too far off the matter in our text, to be brought to bear upon it), that thou keep these things (viz. the injunctions, vv. 19, 20. De W., taking ver. 20 generally, is obliged, although he confesses that the connexion with ver. 19 would be best if only vv. 19, 21 came together, to explain ταῦτα of ver. 20 only, see below) without prejudice (‘præ-judicium’—previous condemnation before hearing a man’s case: a word only found here), doing nothing according to partiality (bias towards, as the other was bias against, an accused presbyter. Diod. Sic., iii. 27, uses the word in its literal sense: τὸ δένδρον διὰ τὴν γινομένην πρὸς αὐτὸ πλεονάκις πρόσκλισιν τοῦ ζώου, τετριμμένον ἐστί:—Diog. Laert., proœm. 20, in its metaphorical: εἰ δὲ αἵρεσιν νοοῖμεν πρόσκλισιν ἐν δόγμασιν. Thdrt. says well, δύο παρακελεύεται· μήτε τῇ τῶν κατηγόρων ἀξιοπιστίᾳ πιστεύσαντα κατακρίνειν, ἢ φιλαπεχθημόνως διακείμενον τοῦτο ποιεῖν πρὸ τῆς ἀκριβοῦς ἐξετάσεως. μήτε τῶν ἐλέγχων προφανῶς γενομένων ἀναβάλλεσθαι τὴν ψῆφον τῇ πρὸς τὸν κρινόμενον χάριτι τὸ δίκαιον διαφθείροντα).
22 f.] The same subject is continued, and direction given whereby the scandal just dealt with may be prevented: viz. by caution in ordaining at first. The reference is primarily to presbyters: of course extending also in its spirit to all other church offices. This reference, which is maintained by Chrys., Thdrt., Thl., Grot., Est., Flatt, Mack, al., is denied by De W., Wiesinger, and Huther: the two former (as also Hammond, Ellic.) understanding the command of receiving back into the church excommunicated persons, or heretics, which from later testimonies (Cypr., the Nicene council, &c.) they shew to have been the practice: Huther, rightly rejecting this idea, yet interprets it of laying on of hands as merely conveying ecclesiastical blessing on many various occasions. But surely this is too vague and unimportant for the solemn language here used. Regarding the whole, to 5:25, as connected, and belonging to one subject, I cannot accept any interpretation but the obvious and ordinary one: see especially ch. 4:14: 2Timothy 1:6.
Lay hands hastily on no one, nor be partaker in other men’s sins (as he would do by being the means of negligently admitting into the ministry unfit and ungodly persons, being properly held responsible for the consequence of those bad habits of theirs which more care might have ascertained. ἁμαρτίας points to the former ἁμαρτάνοντας):—keep thyself (highly emphatic: not merely others over whom thou art called to preside and pronounce judgment in admitting them to the ministry. And the emphasis is peculiarly in place here, as applying to that which has just preceded. If he were to admit improper candidates to the ministry from bias or from negligence, his own character, by his becoming a partaker in their sins, would suffer: whatever thou doest therefore, be sure to maintain, by watchful care and caution, thyself above all stain of blame) pure (not here to be referred to personal purity and chastity, though that of course would be the most important of all elements in carrying out the precept: but as above. On the word, see Ellic.). No longer (habitually) drink water, but use a little wine, on account of thy stomach, and thy frequent illnesses (the question, why this injunction is here inserted, has never been satisfactorily answered. Est., Grot., al., De W., Ellic., al., take it as a modification of σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν τήρει, so as to prevent it from being misunderstood as enjoining asceticism. But on our explanation of the words, and I may add on any worthy view of the context, such a connexion will at once be repudiated. Chrys. has caught the right clue, when he says δοκεῖ δέ μοι καὶ ἄλλως ἐπίνοσος εἶναι. καὶ τοῦτο δείκνυσι λέγων, διὰ τὰς πυκνάς σου ἀσθενείας, ἀπό τε τοῦ στομάχου, ἀπό τε τῶν ἄλλων μερῶν: but he has not followed it up. Timotheus was certainly of a feeble bodily frame, and this feebleness appears, from other hints which we have respecting him, to have affected his character. See especially 1Corinthians 16:10, 1Corinthians 16:11, and note there. Is it not very possible, that such feebleness, and perhaps timidity, may have influenced him as an overseer of the church, and prevented that keen-sighted judgment and vigorous action which a bishop should ever shew in estimating the characters of those who are candidates for the ministry? If this was so, then it is quite natural that in advising him on this point, St. Paul should throw in a hint, in fatherly kindness, that he must not allow these maladies to interfere with the efficient discharge of his high office, but take all reasonable means of raising his bodily condition above them. I feel compelled to adopt this view, from the close connexion of the next verse with the whole preceding passage, and the exceedingly unnatural isolation of this, unless it bears such a reference. It is impossible to avoid remarking, that the characteristic, but unnecessary anxiety of Ellicott to rescue the apostolic Timotheus from any imputation of feebleness of character has blinded him to the delicate connexion of thoughts here, as frequently in the second Epistle).
24.] The same subject continued: τὸν περὶ τῆς χειροτονίας ἀναλαμβάνει λόγον. Thdrt. If my view of the last verse is correct, the connexion will be found in the fact, that the conservation of himself in health and vigour would ensure his being able to deal ably and firmly with the cases which should come before him for decision. To guide him still further in this, the Apostle subjoins this remark, indicating two classes of characters with which he would have to deal in judging, whether favourably or unfavourably.
Of some men the sins (connects with ἁμαρτίαις ἀλλοτρίαις, ver. 22) are evident (there does not seem to be any relation of time in πρόδηλοι, ‘manifest beforehand,’—for thus the meaning would be,—as in πρόδηλος πότμος, κίνδυνος, &c., that the sins were manifest before they were committed, which would reduce this case to the other (see below): but the προ- seems rather of place than of time,—πρὸ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν,—openly manifest,—notorious by common report), going before them (so that the man’s bad report comes to the person appointed to judge, before the man himself: not transitive, as Heinrichs,—‘peccata in judicium eos vocant’) to judgment (i.e. so that when they come before thee to be judged of as candidates, their sins have arrived before them): but some men again they (their sins) follow (i.e. after-proof brings out the correctness or otherwise of the judgment. Their characters come before thee unanticipated by adverse rumour: but thou mayest by examination discover those flaws in their conduct which had been skilfully concealed—the sins which, so to speak, follow at their heels. Therefore be watchful, and do not let the mere non-existence of previous adverse rumour lead thee always to presume fitness for the sacred office).
25.] So also (in like manner on the other side of men’s conduct) the good works (of some) are openly manifest: and those which are otherwise situated (which are not πρόδηλα) cannot be hidden (will come out, just as the sins in ver. 24, on examination. The tendency of this verse is to warn him against hasty condemnation, as the former had done against hasty approval. Sometimes thou wilt find a man’s good character go before him, and at once approve him to thee: but where this is not so, do not therefore be rash to condemn—thou mayest on examination soon discover, if there really be any good deeds accompanying him: for they are things which cannot be hidden—the good tree like the bad will be known by his fruits, and that speedily, on enquiry). I have abstained from detailing all the varieties of interpretation of these verses, following as they do those already specified on verses 20-22. They may be seen shortly enumerated in De W. and Ellicott, and commented on at somewhat tedious length in Wiesinger. Chrys., al., confuse the context by understanding κρίσις of eternal judgment, and the sentiment as equivalent to ἐκεῖ πάντα γυμνά ἐστιν. And so even Ellicott, who in objecting to the above interpretation (which is also Bp. Wordsworth’s) charges it somewhat naïvely with failure in explaining the context. That it only does explain it satisfactorily, is, in my view, the decisive consideration in its favour.