Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
Verse 1. - Exhort for intreat, A.V.; and omitted. Rebuke not (μὴ ἐπιπλήξης); only here in the New Testament for the more usual ἐπιτιμάω (2 Timothy 4:2, and frequently in the Gospels) or ἐλέγχω, as Titus 1:13; Titus 2:15; Revelation 3:19, and elsewhere. In classical Greek it expresses a sharp castigation with words. Compare the "patruae verbera linguae" (Hor., 'Od.,' 3. 12:3). It answers to the Latin objurgo. An elder (πρεσβυτέρῳ). The context shows that the meaning is not a "presbyter," but "an old man." The precept has relation to Timothy's youth (1 Timothy 4:12). See the same order in respect to the persons to be admonished (Titus 2:1-6, where, however, we have the forms πρεσβύτας and πρεσβύτιδας with νέας and νεωτέρους). The direction is an instance of that admirable propriety of conduct, based upon a true charity, which vital Christianity produces. A true Christian never forgets what is due to others, never "behaves himself unseemly." Exhort (παρακάλει); certainly a much better rendering than intreat in the A.V. The younger men. This and the other accusatives in this and the following verse are governed by παρακάλει; the prohibitive μὴ ἐπιπλήξῃς Is con- lined to the πρεσβυτέροι. As brethren. This phrase shows that Timothy was still a young man himself. Observe, too, how even m reproving the sense of love is to be main- mined. The members of the Church over which he rules are either fathers and mothers, or brothers and sisters, or, it may be added, as his own children, to the faithful pastor.
The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
Verse 2. - In for with, A.V. Purity (ἀγνείᾳ); see 1 Timothy 4:12, note. See how jealously the apostle guards against any possibility of abuse of the familiar intercourse of a clergy- man with the women of his flock. They are his sisters, and ἀγνείω is to be the constant condition of his heart and character.
Honour widows that are widows indeed.
Verse 3. - Honor (τίμα). The use of the verb τιμάω in the comment on the fourth commandment in Matthew 15:4-6, where the withholding of the honor due consists in saying, "It is corban, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me," and so withholding the honor due, shows clearly that in the notion of honoring is included that material support which their condition as widows required. So again in ver. 17 of this chapter, the "double honor" due to elders who labor in the Word and doctrine is clearly shown by ver. 18 to include payment for their maintenance. This is also borne out by the frequent use of τιμή in the sense of "price" (Matthew 27:6, 9; Acts 4:34; Acts 7:16; Acts 19:19; 1 Corinthians 6:20, etc.). The passage might, therefore, be paraphrased, "Pay due regard to the wants of those widows who are widows indeed." The "honor" here prescribed would be exactly the opposite to the "neglect" (παρεθεωροῦντο) complained of by the Grecian Jews (Acts 6:1). The same idea is in the Latin honorarium, for a fee. Widows indeed; i.e. really, as in vers. 5 and 16, desolate and alone. We learn from this passage that the care of widows by the whole Church, which began at Jerusalem in the very infancy of the Church, was continued in the Churches planted by St. Paul. We find the same institution though somewhat different in character, in subsequent ages of the Church. Widowhood, as well as virginity, became a religious profession, and widows were admitted with certain ceremonies, including the placing on their heads a veil consecrated by the bishop. Deaconesses were very frequently chosen from the ranks of the widows (Bingham, 'Antiq.,' bk. 7. 1 Timothy 4.).
But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
Verse 4. - Hath for have, A.V.; grandchildren for nephews, A.V.; towards their own family for at home, A.V.; this for that, A.V.; acceptable in the sight of for good and acceptable before, A.V. and T.R. Grandchildren (ἔκγονα; only here in the New Testament, but common in the LXX. and in classical Greek); descendants, children or grandchildren (as on the other hand, πρόγονοι in this verse includes grandparents as well as parents). In Latin nepotes, "descendants;" nos neveux (in French), "our descendants;" and so the English word "nephews" (derived from nepos, through the French neveu) properly means, and is commonly so used in all old English writers, as e.g., in Holinshed (Richardson's Dictionary), "their nephews, or sons' sons, which reigned in the third place." Locke's phrase, "a nephew by a brother," seems to show the transition to the modern use of "nephew." But as the old meaning of "nephews" is now obsolete, it is better to substitute "grandchildren," as in the R.V. Let them learn. Clearly "the children or grandchildren" is the subject. To show piety towards (εὐσεβεῖν). In the only other passage in the New Testament where this word occurs, Acts 17:23, it has also an accusative of the person - "whom ye worship." In classical Greek also εὐσεβεῖν τινα is used as well as εἰς, or περὶ, or πρὸς τινα.. Their own family, of which the widowed mother or grandmother formed a part. The force of τὸν ἴδον οῖκον, "their own family," lies in the implied contrast with the Church. As long as a widow has members of her own house who are able to support her, the Church ought net to be burdened (see ver. 16). To requite (ἀμοιβὰς ἀποδίδοναι); literally, to give back the return or exchange due. Ἀμοιβή is only found here in the New Testament, but is not uncommon in the LXX., and is much used in the best classical authors. The πρόγονοι had nourished and cared for them in their childhood; they must requite that care by honoring and supporting them in their old age. This is acceptable (ἀπόδεκτον); only here in the New Testament or LXX., and rarely if ever in classical Greek. The same idea is expressed in 1 Timothy 1:15, by πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος, and in 1 Peter 2:19, 20, by χάρις Τοῦτο χάρις παρὰ Θεῷ, "This is acceptable with God."
Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
Verse 5. - Hath her hope set on for trusteth in, A.V. A widow indeed (see ver. 3). Desolate (μεμονωμένη; only here in the New Testament, rare in Greek versions of Old Testament, frequent in classical Greek); literally, left alone, or made solitary, which is also the exact meaning of "desolate," from solus, alone. A widow with children or grandchildren able to support her is not altogether desolate. As regards the connecting δέ, rendered "now" both in the A.V. and the R.V., Bishop Ellicott rightly renders it "but." The apostle is contrasting the condition of the ὄντες χήρα, who has only God to look to for help, and who passes her time in prayer, with that of the widow with children and grandchildren. The second "but" in ver. 6 is no real objection; the widow who "giveth herself to pleasure ' is contrasted in her turn with the devout prayerful widow whose conduct has just been described. The inference intended to be drawn, as Ellicott justly remarks, is that the one is eminently fit, and the other eminently unfit, to be supported at the common charge of the Church. Hath her hope set on God (see 1 Timothy 4:10). Supplications and prayers (see 1 Timothy 2:1, note). Night and day. Perhaps by night and by day would express the genitive better (Matthew 2:14; Luke 18:7), as indicating time when, rather than time how long. In Luke 2:37, Anna the prophetess is said to worship "with lastings and supplications night and day (νύκτα καὶ ἡμέραν)," where the accusative conveys rather more the notion of vigils prolonged through the night. As regards the order of the words, "day and night," or "night and day," there seems to be no rule. St. Mark always has "night and day" (Mark 4:7; Mark 5:5); St. Luke uses both (Luke 2:37; Luke 18:7; Acts 9:24; Acts 20:31; Acts 26:7). St. Paul always "night and day," as in this passage (Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 3:8; 2 Timothy 1:3). St. John always "day and night" (Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:10).
But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
Verse 6. - Giveth herself to for liveth in, A.V. Giveth herself to pleasure (ἡ σπαταλῶσα); only here and James 5:5 (ἐσπαταλήσατε "taken your pleasure," R.V., "been wanton," A.V.) in the New Testament, but found (as well as σπατάλη and σπάταλος) in Ecclus. 21:15, and in Polybius (Liddell and Scott). Trench ('Synonyms of New Testament,' p. 191) compares and contrasts στρηνιάω τρυφάω, and σπαταλάω, and says that the latter includes the idea of prodigality. The word brings into the strongest possible contrast the widow who was like Anna, and those whom St. Paul here denounces. Is dead while she liveth; or, has died (is dead) in her lifetime. She is dead to God, and, as Alford suggests, is no longer a living member of the Church of Christ. Compare St. Jude's expression "twice dead" (ver. 12). The expression in Revelation 3:1 is different, unless ζῶσα here can have the same meaning as ὄνομα ἔχει ὅτι ζῇ, "though nominally alive as a Christian," etc.
And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
Verse 7. - These things also command for and these things give in charge, A.V.; without reproach for blameless, A.V. These things, etc. The apostle had been giving Timothy his own instructions concerning widows and their maintenance by their own relations. He now adds the direction that he should give these things in charge to the Ephesian Church, lest they should be guilty and blameworthy by acting in a different spirit. He probably was aware of a disposition existing in some quarters to throw the burden of maintaining their widows upon the Church. Without reproach (ἀνεπίληπτοι); above, 1 Timothy 3:2, note. If they did not so they would be liable to the terrible reproach mentioned in ver. 8, that, Christians as they called themselves, they were in their conduct worse than unbelievers.
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.
Verse 8. - Provideth for provide, A.V.; his own household for those of his own house, A.V. and T.R.; unbeliever for infidel, A.V. Provideth (προνοεῖ). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Romans 12:17 and 2 Corinthians 8:21, where it has an accusative of the thing provided; here, as in classical Greek, with a genitive of the person; frequent in the LXX., and still more so in classical Greek. The substantive προνοία occurs in Acts 24:2 and Romans 13:14. His own household; because in many cases the widow would be actually living in the house of her child or grandchild. But even if she were not, filial duty would prompt a proper provision for her wants He hath denied the faith; viz. by repudiating these duties which the Christian faith required of him (see Ephesians 6:1-3).
Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man,
Verse 9. - Let none be enrolled as a widow for let not a widow be taken into the number, A.V. Let none be enrolled, etc. The proper translation seems certainly to be (Ellicott, Alford, Huther, etc.), let a woman be enrolled as a widow not under sixty years old; i.e. χήρα a is the predicate, not the subject. It follows that the word "widow" here is used in a slightly different sense from that in the preceding verses, viz. in the technical sense of one belonging to the order of widows, of which it appears from the word καταλεγέσθω there was a regular roll kept in the Church. We do not know enough of the Church institutions of the apostolic age to enable us to say positively what their status or their functions were, but doubtless they were the germ from which the later development (of which see Bingham, bk. 7. 1 Timothy 4.) took its rise. We may gather, however, from the passage before us that their lives were specially consecrated to the service of God and the Church; that they were expected to be instant and con-slant in prayer, and to devote themselves to works of charity; that the apostle did not approve of their marrying again after their having embraced this life of widowhood, and therefore would have none enrolled under sixty years of age; and generally that, once on the roll, they would continue there for their life. Enrolled (καταλεγέσθω); only here in the New Testament or (in this sense) in the LXX.; but it is the regular classical word for enrolling, enlisting, soldiers, etc. Hence our word "catalogue." In like manner, in the times of the Empress Helena, the virgins of the Church are described as ἀναγεγραμμένας ἐν τῷ τῆς ἐκκλησίας κανόνι (Socr., 1:17), "registered in the Church's register," or list of virgins. Under three score years old. A similar rule was laid down in several early canons, which forbade the veiling of virgins before the age of forty. This care to prevent women from being entangled by vows or engagements which they had not well considered, or of which they did not know the full force, is in striking contrast with the system which allows young girls to make irrevocable vows. The participle γεγονυῖα, "being," belongs to this clause (not as in the A.V. to the following one), as Alford clearly shows, and as the R.V. also indicates, by putting having been in italics; though it does not translate γεγονυῖα in this clause, unless possibly the word "old" is considered as representing γεγονυῖα. It should be, Let none be enrolled as widows, being under sixty years of age. The wife of one man; see above, 1 Timothy 3:2, the similar phrase, "the husband of one wife" (which likewise stands without any participle), and the note there. To which may be added that it is hardly conceivable that St. Paul should within the compass of a few verses (see ver. 14) recommend the marriage of young widows, and yet make the fact of a second marriage an absolute bar to a woman being enrolled among the Church widows.
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.
Verse 10. - Hath for have, A.V. (five times); used hospitality to for lodged, A.V. Well reported of (μαρτυρουμένη; see 1 Timothy 3:7 and note). This use is frequent in the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:8; Hebrews 11:2, 4, 5, 39), also in 3 John 1:6, 12. Good works (ἔργοις καλοῖς). The phrase occurs frequently in the pastoral Epistles, both in the singular and in the plural (1 Timothy 2:10; 1 Timothy 3:1; in this verse; ver. 25; 6:18; 2 Timothy 2:21; 2 Timothy 3:17; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7, 14; Titus 3:1, 8, 14). Our Lord had first used the phrase, and taught how "good works" were to be the distinctive marks of his disciples (Matthew 5:16), as they were evidences of his own mission (John 10:32, 33). It denotes all kinds of good actions as distinguished from sentiments. Love, e.g. is not a good work. Feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and visiting the sick are good works (see Matthew 25:35, etc.). Brought up children (ἐτεκνοτρύφησεν); only here in the New Testament or LXX., but found, as well as τεκνοτροφία, in Aristotle. The word must mean "brought up children of her own," because τέκνον does not mean "a child" with reference to its age, but "a child" with reference to its parent who bare it. The only apparent exception in Holy Scripture is 1 Thessalonians 2:7, where the nurse's alumni are called "her own children," but obviously this is no rent exception. The classical usage is the same. We must, therefore, understand the apostle here to mean "if she hath brought up her children well and carefully, and been a good mother to them." The precept corresponds to that laid down for an ἐπίσκοπος in 1 Timothy 3:4. Possibly, as Grotius suggests, a contrast may be intended with the conduct of some heathen mothers, who, if they were very poor, exposed their children. Used hospitality to (ἐξενοδόχησεν); only here in the New Testament or LXX., but, as well as ξενοδόκος and ξενοδοχία, not uncommon in classical Greek. The common form in the New Testament is ξενίζειν. (For the inculcation of hospitality, see 1 Timothy 3:2, note, and 3 John 1:5.) Washed the saints' feet (see John 13:5-8; and comp. Luke 7:44, where the omission to provide water to wash the feet of a guest is reprobated as inhospitable). The saints (Romans 12:13). Hath relieved (ἐπήρκεσεν); only here and twice in ver. 16 in the New Testament, and. in 1 Macc. 8:26 and Romans 11:35; but common in classical Greek. The afflicted (τοῖς θλιβομενοις); used of any kind of trouble or afflictions (θλίψις); compare, for the precept, Romans 13:15. Diligently followed (ἐπηκολούθησε; comp. 1 Peter 2:21). The idea is somewhat similar to that of "pressing on toward the goal," in Philippians 3:14 (see also ver. 12, where διώκω is rendered in A.V., "I follow after"). Good work. Here ἔργῳ ἀγαθῷ, as in Acts 9:36; Romans 2:7, 10; Romans 13:3; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 2:10; and frequently in the pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 2:10).
But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
Verse 11. - Younger for the younger, A.V.; waxed for began to wax, A.V.; desire to for will, A.V. Refuse. Note the wisdom of Paul, who will not have the young widows admitted into the roll of Church widows, lest, after the first grief for the loss of their husbands has subsided, they should change their minds, and wish to return to the world and its pleasures, and so incur the guilt of drawing back their hands from the plough. Would that the Church had always imitated this wisdom and this consideration for the young, whether young priests or young monks and nuns! Waxed wanton against (καταστρηνιάσωσι). This word only occurs here, but the simple στρηνιάω is found in Revelation 18:7, 9, and is used by the Greek poets of the new comedy in the sense of τρυφᾶν, to be luxurious (Schleusner, 'Lex.'). Trench ('Synonyms of New Testament'), comparing this word with τρυφᾶν and σπαταλᾶν, ascribes to it the sense of "petulance" from fullness, like the state of Jeshurun, who waxed fat and kicked (Deuteronomy 32:15); and so Liddell and Scott give the sense of "to be over-strong." The sense, therefore, is that these young widows, in the wantonness and unsubdued worldliness of their hearts, reject the yoke of Christ, and kick against the widow's life of prayer and supplication day and night. And so they return to the world and its pleasures, which they had renounced.
Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
Verse 12. - Condemnation for dare, ration, A.V,; rejected for cast off, A.V. Condemnation; κρίμα, variously translated in the A.V. "damnation," "condemnation," and "judgment." The word means a "judgment," "decision," or "sentence," but generally an adverse sentence, a "condemnation." And this is the meaning of the English word "damnation," which has only recently acquired the signification of "eternal damnation." Rejected (ἠθέτησαν); literally, have set aside, or displaced, and hence disregarded, an oath, treaty, promise, or the like. In the A.V. variously rendered "reject," "despise," "bring to nothing," "frustrate," "disannul," "east off." The κρίμα which these widows Brought upon themselves was that, whereas they had devoted themselves to a life of prayer and special service of the Church, they had now set aside this their first faith, and returned to the ordinary pleasures and avocations of the world.
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.
Verse 13. - Also to be for to be, A.V.; going for wandering, A.V. Also seems unnecessary, as "withal" seems to represent ἅμα καὶ. Learn to be idle (ἀργαὶ μανθάνουσιν). This is a construction which has no similar passage in Greek to support it, except one very doubtful one in Plato, 'Euthudemus' (vol. 4. p. 105, Bekker's edit.). But the other constructions proposed, viz. to construe μανθάνουσι, "they are inquisitive, or, curious," as Grotius and substantially Bengel; or to take περιερχόμεναι after μανθάνουσι, "they learn to go about" (Vulgate, De Wette, etc.), cannot be justified by examples either, as μανθάνειν has always either an accusative ease or an infinitive mood after it, unless it is used in quite a different sense, as in the passage from Herod., 3:1, quoted by Alford: Διαβεβλημένος... οὐ μανθάνεις, "You are slandered without being aware of it." In this difficulty it is best to take the sense given in the A.V. and the R.V., following Chrysostom, etc., and of moderns Winer, Ellicott, Alford, etc., which the general turn and balance of the sentence favors. Going about (περιερχόμεναι); comp. Acts 29:13, where there is the same idea of reproach in the term. It is used in a good sense in Hebrews 11:37. Tattlers (φλύαροι); only here in the New Testament, and once only in the LXX. (4 Macc. 5:10), but common in classical Greek. It means "a trifling silly talker." The verb φλυαρέω occurs in 3 John 1:10. Busybodies (περίεργοι); only here and Acts 19:19 in the New Testament or LXX., but not uncommon in classical Greek, in the sense in which it is used here. The verb περιεργάζεσθαι occurs in 2 Thessalonians 3:11 in the same sense, "meddling with what does not concern you."
I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
Verse 14. - Desire for will, A.V.; widows (in italics) for women A.V.; rule the household for guide the house, A.V.; for reviling for to speak reproachfully, A.V. Widows. As the whole discourse is about widows, it is better to supply this as the substantive understood in νεωτέρας. In ver. 11 we have νεωτέρας χήρας. The οῦν which precedes is a further proof that this direction or command of the apostle's springs from what he had just been saying about the young widows, and therefore that what follows relates to them, and not to women generally. In order to avoid the scandal mentioned in ver. 11 of the young widows first dedicating their widowhood to Christ, and then drawing back and marrying, he directs that they should follow the natural course and marry, in doing which they would be blameless. Bear children (τεκνογονεῖν): here only in the New Testament or LXX.; but τεκνογονία occurs in 1 Timothy 2:15 (where see note). Rule the household (οἰκοδεσποτεῖν; here only in this sense); act the part of οἰκοδέσποινα, the mistress of a family (Plutarch and elsewhere). οἱκοδεσπότης frequent in the New Testament, and kindred words are used in classical Greek. For reviling (λοιδορίας χάριν). The adversary (ὁ ἀντικείμενος), the opponent of Christianity, was always seeking some occasion to speak reproachfully of Christians and revile them. Any misconduct on the part of Christian widows would give him the occasion he was looking for. They must be doubly careful, therefore, lest they should bring reproach upon the Name of Christ (camp. James 2:7; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:4, 14, 15). "Λοιδορίας χάριν is added... to ἀφορμὴν διδόναι to specify the manner in which the occasion would be used" Ellicott). Do not give the adversary a starting-point from which he may be able to carry out his desire to revile the people of God.
For some are already turned aside after Satan.
Verse 15. - Already some are for some are already, A.V. Some. This is generally understood of some widows who had already given occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully, by turning aside from the path of Christian virtue which they had begun to walk in, and following Satan who had beguiled them into the path of vice and folly. But the words are capable of another meaning, equally arising kern the preceding verse, viz. that some have already followed the example of Satan, "the accuser of the brethren," and have begun to revile Christianity, taking occasion from the conduct of some who were called Christians. These revilers might be not unbelieving Jews or heathen, but apostate or heretical Jews like those of whom the same verb (ἐκτρέπεσθαι) is used in 1 Timothy 1:6 and 2 Timothy 4:4. In something of the same spirit St. Paul called Elymas the sorcerer "a child of the devil," because he sought to turn away Sergius Paulus from the faith, probably by speaking evil of Barnabas and Saul.
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.
Verse 16. - Woman for man or woman, A.V. and T.R.; hath for have, A.V.; her for them, A.V.; burdened for charged, A.V. If any woman, etc. So the preponderance of the best manuscripts, and the texts of Lachmann, Buttmann, Tischendorf, etc. But the T.R. is retained by Alford, Ellicott, 'Speaker's Commentary,' and others. If the R.V. is right, the woman only is mentioned as being the person who has the management of the house. The precept here seems to be an extension of that in ver. 4, which relates only to children and grandchildren, and to be given, moreover, with special reference to Christian widows who had no believing relations to care for them, and so were necessarily cast upon the Church. Let her relieve them (ἐπαρκείτω, as in vet 10). Widows indeed (ταῖς ὄντως χήραις, as in vers. 2 and 5).
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
Verse 17. - Those for they, A.V.; in teaching for doctrine, A.V. The elders (πρεσβυτεροι) here in its technical sense of "presbyters," which in the first age were the ruling body in every Chinch (see Acts 14:23; Acts 20:2, 4, 6, 22), after the analogy of the elders of the Jews. Rule well (at καλῶς προεστῶτες). The presbyters or elders were the chiefs, rulers, or presidents, of the Church (see Romans 12:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:12; and above, 1 Timothy 3:4, 5). It seems that they did not necessarily teach and preach, but those who did so, laboring in the Word and teaching, were especially worthy of honor. Double honor (see note on ver. 3) means simply increased honor, not exactly twice as much as some one else, or with arithmetical exactness. So the word διπλοῦς is used in Matthew 23:15; Revelation 18:6; and by the LXX. in Isaiah 40:2; Jeremiah 16:18; and elsewhere also in classical Greek. And so we say, "twice as good," "twice as much," with the same indefinite meaning. The Word and teaching. The "Word" means generally "the Word of God," as we have "preach the Word," "hear the Word," "the ministry of the Word," "doers of the Word," etc. And although there is no article before λόγῳ here yet, considering the presence of the preposition ἐν, and St. Paul's less careful use of the article in his later Epistles, this absence is not sufficient to counterbalance the weight of those considerations which lead to the conclusion that "laboring in the Word" refers to the Word of God. The alternative rendering of "oral discourse" or "in speaking" seems rather weak. Teaching would mean catechetical instruction and similar explanatory teaching. Labor (οἱ κοπιῶντες); a word very frequently used by St. Paul of spiritual labors (Romans 16:6, 12; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Galatians 4:11; Colossians 1:29, etc.).
For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
Verse 18. - When he for that, A.V.; hire for reward, A.V. Thou shall not muzzle, etc. This passage, kern Deuteronomy 25, which is quoted and commented upon, in the same souse as here, in 1 Corinthians 9:9, shows distinctly that reward was to go with labor. The ox was not to be hindered from eating some portion of the grain which he was treading out. The preacher of the gospel was to live of the gospel. The laborer is worthy of his hire (ἄξιος ὁ ἐργάτης τοῦ μισθοῦ αὑτοῦ). In Matthew 10:10 the words are the same as here, except that τῆς τροφῆς (his meat) is substituted for τοῦ μισθοῦ. But in Luke 10:7 the words are identical with those here used, even to the omission (in the R.T.) of the verb ἔστιν. The conclusion is inevitable that the writer of this Epistle was acquainted with and quoted from St. Luke's Gospel; and further, that he deemed it, or at least the saying of the Lord Jesus recorded, in it, to be of equal authority with "ἡ γραφή," the Scripture. If this Epistle was written by St. Paul after his first imprisonment at Rome, we may feel tolerably certain that he was acquainted with the Gospel or St. Luke, so that there is no improbability in his quoting from it. His reference to another saying of the Lord Jesus in Acts 20:35 gives additional probability to it. The passage in 2 Timothy 4:18 seems also to be a direct reference to the Lord's Prayer, as contained in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. St. Paul does not directly call the words ἡ γραφή, only treats them as of equal authority, which, if they were the words of Christ, of course they were.
Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Verse 19. - Except at the mouth of for but before, A.V. An elder; here clearly a presbyter, as the context proves. Receive (παραδέχου); give ear to, entertain; as in Acts 22:18, "They will not receive thy testimony." At the mouth of, etc. There is a reference to the law in Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 19:15, and elsewhere (to which our Lord also refers, John 8:17), and St. Paul applies the principle of the law to Timothy's dealings with presbyters who might be accused of not "ruling well." He was not to encourage delatores, secret accusers and defamers, but if any one had a charge to make against a ruler, it was to be done in the presence of witnesses (ἐπί with a genitive). A doubt arises whether" the witnesses" here spoken of were to be witnesses able to support the accusation, or merely witnesses in whose presence the accusation must be made. The juxtaposition of the legal terms κατηγορία and ἐπὶ μαρτύρων favors the strict meaning of μαρτύρων, witnesses able to support the κατηγορία. And, therefore, the direction to Timothy is, "Suffer no man to accuse a presbyter unless he is accompanied by two or three witnesses who are ready to back up the accusation." The italic the mouth of, in the R.V., is not necessary or indeed justified. There is no ellipsis of στόματος. Ἐτὶ δύο ῃ} τριῶν῞ μαρτύρων, "before two or three witnesses," is good classical Greek.
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Verse 20. - Reprove for rebuke, A.V.; in the sight of for before, A.V.; the rest for others, A.V.; be in fear for fear, A.V. Reprove; ἔλεγχε, not ἐπιπλήξῃς, as in ver. 1 (see Matthew 18:15). There, the fault being a private one, the reproof is to be administered in private. But in the case of the sinning presbyter, which is that here intended, Timothy is to reprove the offender "before all," that others also may fear, and may be deterred by their fear from committing a like offence.
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.
Verse 21. - In the sight of for before, A.V.; Christ Jesus for the Lord Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; prejudice for preferring one before another, A.V. I charge thee, etc. It has been well remarked that the solemnity of this charge indicates the temptation which there might be to Timothy to shrink front reproving men of weight and influence" rulers" in the congregation, and "elders" both in age and by office, young as he himself was (1 Timothy 4:12). Perhaps he had in view some particular case in the Ephesian Church. Charge (διαμαρτύρομαι; not παραγγέλλω, as 1 Timothy 6:13); rather, I adjure thee. The strict sense of διαμαρτύρομαι is "I call heaven and earth to witness the truth of what I am saying;" and then, by a very slight metonymy, "I declare a thing," or "I ask a thing," "as in the presence of those witnesses who are either named or understood." Here the witnesses are named: God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels. In 2 Timothy 2:14 it is "the Lord;" in 2 Timothy 4:1 God and Jesus Christ, as also in 1 Timothy 6:13. In the passages where the word has the force of "testifying" (Luke 16:18; Acts 2:40; Acts 10:42; Acts 18:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:6, etc.), no witnesses are named, but great solemnity and earnestness are implied. The elect angels. This is the only passage where it is predicated of the angels that they are elect. But as there is repeated mention in Holy Scripture of the fallen angels (Matthew 25:41; 1 Corinthians 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6; Revelation 12:7, 9), the obvious interpretation is that St. Paul, in this solemn adjuration, added the epithet to indicate more distinctly the "holy angels," as they are frequently described (Matthew 25:31; Luke 9:26, etc.), or "the angels of God" or "of heaven" (Matthew 22:30; Matthew 24:36; Luke 12:8, 9; John 1:51). Possibly the mention of Satan in ver. 15, or some of the rising Gnostic opinions about angels (Colossians 2:18), may have suggested the epithet. The reason for the unusual addition of "the angels" is more difficult to adduce with certainty. But perhaps 2 Timothy 4:1 gives us the clue, where the apostle shows that in appealing to Jesus Christ he has a special eye to the great and final judgment. Now, in the descriptions of the lust judgment, the angels are constantly spoken of as accompanying our Lord (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 25:31; Mark 8:48; Luke 9:26; Luke 12:8, 9; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, etc.). If St. Paul, therefore, had in his mind the great judgment-day when he thus invoked the names of God and of Christ, he would very naturally also make mention of the elect angels. And so Bishop Bull, quoted in the 'Speaker's Commentary.' Without prejudice (χωρὶς προκρίματος); here only in the New Testament, and not found in the LXX. or classical Greek, though the verb προκρίνω occurs in both. Although the English word "prejudice" seems at first sight an apt rendering of πρόκριμα, it does not really give the sense so accurately as "preference." We commonly mean by "prejudice" a judgment formed prior to examination, which prevents our judging rightly or fairly when we come to the examination, which, however, is not the meaning of the Latin praejudicium. But προκρίνω means rather "to prefer" a person, or thing, to others. And therefore πρόκριμα means "preference," or "partiality," or, as the A.V. has it, "preferring one before another." The two meanings may be thus expressed. "Prejudice," in the English use of the word, is when a person who has to judge a cause upon evidence prejudges it without evidence, and so does not give its proper weight to the evidence. "Prefer-once" is when he gives different measure to different persons, according as He is swayed by partiality, or interest, or favor. St. Paul charges Timothy to measure out exactly equal justice to all persons alike. By partiality (κατὰ πρόσκλισιν). This also is an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον as far as the New Testament is concerned, and is not found in the LXX., but is found, as well as the verb προσκλίνω, in classical Greek. It means literally the "inclination" of the scales to one side or the other, and hence a "bias" of the mind to one party or the other. The balance of justice in the hands of Timothy was to be equal.
Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.
Verse 22. - Hastily for suddenly, A.V. Lay hands, etc. Surely if we are guided by St. Paul's own use of the phrase, ἐπίθεσις χειρῶν, in the only two places in his writings where it occurs (1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6), we must abide by the ancient interpretation of these words, that they mean the laying on of hands in ordination. So also in Acts 6:6 and Acts 13:3, ἐπιτίθεναι χεῖρας is "to ordain." And the context here requires the same sense. The solemn injunction in the preceding verse, to deal impartially in judging even the most influential eider, naturally suggests the caution not to be hasty in ordaining any one to be an elder. Great care and previous inquiry were necessary before admitting any man, whatever might be his pretensions or position, to a holy office. A bishop who, on the spur of the moment, with improper haste, should ordain cue who afterwards required reproof as ἁμαρτάνων, sinning (ver. 20), would have a partnership in the man's sin, and in the evil consequences that flowed from it. And then it follows, Keep thyself pure; i.e. clear and guiltless (2 Corinthians 7:11), which he would not be if he was involved in the sin of the guilty elder. Observe that the stress is upon "thyself."
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
Verse 23. - Be no longer a drinker of for drink no longer, A.V. Be... a drinker of water (ὑδροπότει); here only in the New Testament. It is found in some codices of the LXX. in Daniel 1:12, and also in classical Greek. We learn from hence the interesting fact that Timothy was, in modern parlance, a total abstainer; and we also learn that, in St. Paul's judgment, total abstinence was not to be adhered to if injurious to the health. The epithet, "a little," should not be overlooked. Was Luke, the beloved physician, with St. Paul when he wrote this prescription (see 2 Timothy 4:11)? It is also interesting to have this passing allusion to Timothy's bad health, and this instance of St. Paul's thoughtful consideration for him. Infirmities (ἀσθενείας); in the sense of sicknesses, attacks of illness.
Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
Verse 24. - Evident for open beforehand, A.V.; unto for to, A.V.; men also for men, A.V. Some men's sins, etc. St. Paul is evidently here recurring to the topic which he had been dealing with ever since ver. 17, viz. Timothy's duty as a bishop, to whom was entrusted the selection of persons for the office of elder, or presbyter, and also the maintaining of discipline among his clergy. Alford sees the connection of the precept about drinking a little wine with what went before, and with this twenty-fourth verse, in the supposed circumstance that Timothy's weak health had somewhat weakened the vigor of his rule; and that the recommendation to leave off water-drinking was given more with a view to the firmer discharge of those duties than merely for his bodily comfort. This may be so. But there is nothing unlike St. Paul's manner in the supposition that he had done with the subject in hand at the end of the twenty-second verse, and passed on to the friendly hint with regard to Timothy's health, but then subjoined the fresh remarks in vers. 24 and 25, which were an afterthought. Evident (πρόδηλοι); only found in the New Testament, in Hebrews 7:14 besides these two verses, and in the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. It is common, with the kindred forms, προδηλόω προδήλωσις, etc., in classical Greek. It is doubted whether πρὸ in this compound verb has the force of "beforehand," as in the A.V., and not rather that of "before the eyes of all," and therefore only intensifies the meaning of δηλόω. But the natural force of πρὸ in composition certainly is "before" in point of time; and hence in a compound like πρόδηλος would mean" evident before it is examined," which of course is equivalent to "very evident." St. Paul's meaning, therefore, would be: Some men's sins are notorious, requiring no careful inquisition in order to find them out; nay, they of themselves go before - before the sinner himself - unto judgment. But there are also some whose sins follow after them. It is not till after close inquiry that they are found out. They go up to the judgment-seat apparently innocent, but after a while their sins come trooping up to their condemnation. This enforces the caution, "Lay hands hastily on no man."
Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
Verse 25. - In like maturer for likewise, A.V.; there are good works that are evident for the good works of some are manifest beforehand, A.V.; such as for they that, A.V. There are good works, etc. It is much best to understand πινῶν, as the A.V. does, and render the good works of some, answering to τινῶν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι of ver. 24. Such as are otherwise - i.e., not manifest beforehand - cannot be hid. "They will be seen and recognized some time or other" (Ellicott). Alford seems to catch the true spirit of the passage when he says, "The tendency of this verse is to warn Timothy against hasty condemnation, as the former had done against hasty approval. Sometimes thou wilt find a man's good character go before him.... but where this is not so.... be not rash to condemn: thou mayest on examination discover it there be any good deeds accompanying him: for they... cannot be hidden."
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