1 Timothy 4. 10 to 5.2

Verse 10. For to this end we labour and strive, – the phrase “to this end" is, literally, ‘unto this,’ referring to the latter past of verse 8, i.e., in view of the “promise of the life which now is and of that which is to come,” Cp. Phil 3. 11-14. The word rendered “we labour" is kopiao, which signifies to all toil, involving weariness. It is used again in this sense in this Epistle in 5. 17. The R.V. “strive" translates those texts which have the verb agonizomai, whence the English verb to agonize. Its primary sense was that of contending in the public games (see 1 Cor, 9. 35, R.V.); in 6. 12 it is used of contending perseveringly against opposition and temptation; see also 2 Tim, 4. 7; in Col. 4. 12 it is used of striving in prayer. The A.V. translates those texts which have the verb oneidizomai, to suffer reproach.

These experiences are the lot of all servants of Clod who, realizing the tremendous issues in the lift; to come of the present life of service, shrink not from arduous toil and constant labour, and obtain grace to endure hardship and to engage in the spiritual conflict with the forces which are inevitably set against them.

because we have our hope set on the living God, – lit. ‘we have hoped’; the perfect tense marks the continued experience of the believer; hence the helpful rendering of the R.V. The future fruition of present suffering and toil in service faithfully rendered is fully assured in the hearts of those who engage in it; they know their God will fulfil His promises, and accordingly God Himself is the firm foundation of their hope. It is not merely a trust in God but a hope that rests upon Mini. For the phrase “the Living God” sea Note on 3. 15. In each place the contrast is with lifeless objects of pagan worship. Contrast Matt. 16, 16, where the phrase expresses the fact that God, as self-existent, is possessed of unoriginated self-sustained life.

who is the Saviour of ill] men, specially of them that believe. - while it is true that God has provided salvation for all men through the death of Christ, the meaning here almost certainly is that God is the Preserver of all men. His providential arrangements and beneficent gifts are proof of this, in the case of believers His preserving care is especially exercised; for they areHis children. “All His saints are in His hands.” Moreover He sends forth His angels to minister to those who shall inherit salvation (Heb. 1. 14).

As for those who would mid into this verse the false doctrine of universal salvation, the words of Ellicott may well be quoted: “These words, like the assertion of chapter 2. 4, have been often pressed into the service of that school of kindly, but mistaken, interpreters, who ignore, or explain away, the plain doctrine of Holy Scripture which tells us there are those whoso destruction from the presence of the Lord shall be everlasting, whose portion shall be the “second death" (2 Thess. 1. 9; Rev. 21. 8). These interpreters prefer to substitute in place of this terrible but repeated declaration, their own perilous theories of universalism.

Verse 11. These things command and teach. – referring to the instructions concerning tin; exercise of godliness, in contrast both to the unscriptural prohibitions and practices of asceticism mentioned in the early part of the chapter and the prejudicial nature of the “ profane and old wives’ fables “ (ver. 7).

Verse 12. Let no man despise thy youth; – not that Timothy was a mere youth; ho had been for many years associated with the Apostle in the work of the gospel. He would, however, be regarded as young comparatively with many of those over whom he had a spiritual charge, and considering the character of the responsibilities devolving upon him. The fearlessness suggested by this exhortation must needs be free from the “pretentious assumption” to which younger men in such circumstances are liable.

but be thou an ensample to them that believe, - the word rendered “ensample" is tupos, lit. a type; the literal meaning is, however, not to be pressed. The A.V. has “an example of the believers," signifying that he should manifest the characteristics of believers. The R.V. rendering is supported by the fact that the same construction (the genitive case of tile noun following tupos) is used in 1 Pet. 5. 3, “ensamples to the Hock," where the meaning could not possibly be ‘of the flock.’ The prevention of his being despised lay, not in the assumption of a superior dignity but in his being a pattern to the believers among whom he was labouring.

in word, – i.e. in speech, whether in public teaching or private intercourse. The character of his utterances, in either respect, would influence the whole assembly. Cp. Eph. 5. 18, 19, where the connection probably is “be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another.”

in manner of life, – this represents the one word anastrophe, which signifies conduct in general, behaviour. Sec the R.V. of Gal. 1. 13; Eph. 4. 22; 1Pet. 1.18; 3. 16. In Heb. 13. 7; Jas. 3. 13; 2 Pet. 2. 7 it is rendered “life”; in 1 Pet. 1. 15 and 2 Pet. 3. 11, “living”; in 1 Pet. 2. 12; 3. 1, 2, “behaviour.”

in love, - whether toward fellow-believers or toward men generally. Love (agape) is not a mere emotional impulse, it expresses itself in seeking the welfare of others, in seizing theopportunity to do good to all men, “and especially toward them that are of the household of the faith”, Gal. 6. 10. To love like this is true discipleship of Christ; cp. Phil. 2. 4, 5. Agape and the corresponding verb agagao are to be distinguished from affection, which is represented by the verb phileö (the noun philia occurs in Jas. 4. 4 only, where it is rendered “friendship").

in faith, - whilst love, as here mentioned, is duty to men, faith is duty to God. Cp. the order in 1. 5. The order faith and love is used in 1. 14; 2. 15; 6. 11; 2 Tim, 1. 13; 2. 22. In1 Tim. 2. 7, faith is associated with truth.

in purity. - hagneia denotes the chastity which excludes all impurity of spirit, mind, manner, or act; it includes the singleness of motive, which forgoes dissimulation and hypocrisy. This word occurs elsewhere only in 5. 2. The synonymous word hagnotes occurs in 2 Cor. 6. 6 and 11. 3.

Verse 13. Till I come, give heed – for the verb prosechö, to give heed, see at t. 4 and 4, 1.

to reading, – this, as the context shows, refers to the public reading of the Scriptures, whether of the Old Testament or of those portions of the New which were by this time in circulation; cp. Luke 4. 16; Acts 13. 15; 2 Cor. 3.14; Col. 4. 16; 1 Thess. 5. 27; Rev. 1, 3. The custom of reading the Scriptures in the synagogues continued in the church. Justin Martyr (who lived in the first half of the 2nd cent. A.D.) refers to such reading as a regular part of the procedure in church gatherings (Apologia, i. 67).

to exhortation, – paraklesis has three meanings, (1) comfort, as in Rom. 15. 4; (2) intreaty, as in 2 Cor. 8. 4; (3) encouragement or exhortation, as in Rom. 12. 8; this last is its meaning here. So with the corresponding verb parakaleö (see at 2, 1). To exhort is to urge one to adopt a certain course of conduct, in the N.T. always by way of what is right in the sight of God.

to teaching, – didaskalia sometimes denotes “doctrine," or what is taught; here it denotes the practice of instruction, the exposition of the Scriptures, not the provision of new truth, but the unfolding of truth already received;

Verse 14. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, – the verb ameleo means to be careless about a thing. It is used in Matt. 22. 5 of those in the parable who “made light of “ the invitation to the marriage feast; in Heb. 1. 3 of “neglecting so great salva­tion”; only elsewhere in the N.T. in Heb. 8. 9.

Charisma is a gift of grace, i.e., involving grace on the part of God as the Donor; cp. 2 Tim. 1. 6.

which was given thee by prophecy, – i.e. through the medium of prophetic utterance, either by the Apostle himself or by others, indicating him as one chosen for special service and predicting his usefulness as a servant of God. See on 1. 18.

with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. – In 2 Tim, 1. 6 the Apostle states that the impartation of the gift by God was through the laying on of ids own hands. Hero the preposition “with" indicates that his act was accompanied by that of tilt; presbytery, or elders, by way of ratification. The laying mi of hands was an outward sign of the bestowment of a spiritual gift. In the act of the presbytery it was a token of their identification with Timothy in his calling. The laying on of hands was a con­tinuation of the divinely-appointed custom in the Old Testament. We may compare the act of Moses in the case of Joshua, Num. 27. 18, 23; Deut. 34. 9; this is somewhat similar to the case of Paul and Timothy. In Num. 8. 10 the children of Israel were commanded to lay their hands upon the Levites. This simply signified their recognition of the separateness of the Levites for their ministry; this resembles the art of the presbytery in regard to Timothy.

Verse 15. Be diligent in these things; – The verb meletao Here signifies to attend carefully to a tiling. Thy R.V. indicates something more than to meditate as in the A.V., a. rendering which, however, is given in the R.V. margin of Acts 4. 25.

give thyself wholly to them; – literally ‘be in these things,’ as much as to say, ‘let them constitute the great subjects of your thoughts and activities.’ There is a danger lest a servant of God should be occupied in various kinds of pursuits to the detriment of his spiritual life, and his devotion to the Lord.

that thy progress be manifest unto all, – tae word prokope, rightly rendered “progress" in the R.V., literally denotes a striking forward. It is used always in a good sense. In Phil, 1. 12 it is used of the progress of the gospel in the world; in 1. 25 of progress in the faith. Here it refers to the effects of faithful service to the Lord. The corresponding verb prokopto is used in a good sense in Luke 2. 52; in an evil sense in 2 Tim. 2. 16; 3. 9, 13; in a neutral sense in Rom. 13. 12 and Gal. 1. 14. There is always room for, and there always should be, progress in the knowledge of God and of His Word, with the consequent practical effects in the daily life.

Verse 16. Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. - not to “the doctrine” (A.V.), but to the handling of it. The teaching would be of little value if his own character and life failed to accord with it. The presentation of truth is valuable and effective only as we practise it ourselves. Attention to our own demeanour and conduct will determine the quality of our teaching. Precept without example is vain. Cp. Acts 20. 28, where the verb (prosechö) differs little from that used here (epecho).

Continue in these things; – i.e. in taking heed to himself and to his teaching, though perhaps referring also to exhortations given in the- preceding verses. The verb epimeno, to continue, is a strengthened form of meno, to abide, remain. The servant of God must see to it that nothing is allowed to intrude itself into the life which would prove detrimental to his spiritual power and his progress in the knowledge of God and His Word, nothing which would influence him to become slack in the service committed to him.

for in doing this them shall save both thyself and them that hear thee – The salvation indicated here is from failing into sin, and so from failure to walk so as to please God. Unre­mitting diligence in maintaining one’s moral and spiritual integrity brings deliverance in one’s own life from what mars prosperity of the soul. The effect of this diligence makes for similar salvation in the hearts rind lives of those to whom one is called to minister the Word of God.


A charge concerning the church members The chapter has three divisions: –

(1)  Timothy’s attitude towards the various members of the
church (verses 1, 2)

(2)  Concerning widows (verses 3-16)

(3)  Concerning elders (verses 17-25).

Verse 1. Rebuke not an elder, but exhort him as a father; While the word presbuteros is frequently used of those who are spiritual guides in the churches, as in 4. 14 and 5. 17, yet the context perhaps indicates that the Apostle is here referring to those who are elders in years. For what follows speaks of younger men and older men.

The verb epiplesso, rendered “rebuke," is found here only in the N.T. It lias a stronger force than the usual word epitimao (used, e.g., in 2 Tim. 4. 2). Literally the word epiplesso means to strike at, and hence signifies to rebuke severely. In the A.V. of 5. 20 the different word elencho, to convict, reprove, is rendered “reprove" in the R.V. and always so elsewhere (see, e.g., Tit. 1. 13; 2. 15; in 2 Tim. 4. 2 the A.V. and R.V. have “reprove"). What is here intended may therefore he taken as an exhortation not to rebuke an elderly man hut rather to appeal to him as a lather. Respect for age must temper the expression of reproof of an elder man’s misdemeanours.

the younger men as brethren; – some such verb as “treat" or “behave towards" or “deal with," is to be understood as preceding this clause, as well as those in verse 2. Young men were not to be treated as if they were inferiors because of their younger age. The attitude adopted towards them was to be free from that of a dignified superior.

Verne 2. the elder women as mothers; – a further exhortation against any assumption of superiority.

the younger women as sisters, in all purity. hagneia (the same word as in 4. 12) denotes the chastity which excludes all impurity of spirit, manner or act. In relation to the other sex both forethought and self-mastery are essential for the servant of God, to avoid grieving the Holy Spirit and marring one’s consciousness of the Lord’s approval, and one’s usefulness in His service. Also everything should be done to prevent suspicion in this matter.

(Under the heading “Gleaners’ Corner” Mr. Lovering tins lot two years pre­sented readers with suggestive outlines for study. With this Issue we com­mence a new series on the neglected Minor Prophets. Eds.)