Chapter 1 Chapter 6
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

It is well known to all who are familiar with the writings of the Apostle Paul that Timothy was one of his closest and most trusted friends and fellow ministers, although much his junior in age. Paul speaks of him as "my own son in the faith," and with other equally endearing expressions. In some of his letters to the churches he mentions Timothy as joining him in his greeting to the church. In most places his name, "Timotheos," is translated to its Latin equivalent, "Timotheus," but in both epistles to him it is the English, "Timothy." Some of what Paul has written in this letter is personal to Timothy, but much of it presents doctrines that are valuable to the church today, as it was when written.

Chapter 1

(Verses 1 and 2) "Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, Which is our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."


In the opening line of most of his letters Paul says that he is an apostle of Jesus the Christ, by the "will" of God. Here he says, "by the commandment of God," signifying a truth, which, though seldom expressed, is yet fundamental. Since God is omnipotent, that which He wills is the same as that which He commands, for both are supported by His own eternal and irresistible power. He is then an apostle by a commandment, which is jointly of God our Saviour, and our Lord Jesus the Christ, Who is also our hope, or our confidence. Our Lord Jesus the Christ is also God our Savior, and our hope, or confidence. He then addresses Timothy as "my own son in the faith", and to him, as he usually does to the churches, he desires "Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."


(Verses 3 and 4) "As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do."


This sets the foundation for much of Paul's teaching not only in this epistle, but also much of his writings to the churches. While they were together at Ephesus , Paul saw the necessity for further instructions to head off errors which some had a tendency to bring in even then. So he constrained Timothy to remain there to insist that the Ephesians adhere strictly to the gospel as he had already presented it to them, and to permit no new doctrines to be brought in. He also commissioned Timothy to restrain them from paying any heed to "fables and endless genealogies." A fable is a false, or fictitious, story intended to illustrate some principle, which may be considered valid. However, since the story in a fable is fictitious, it will likely generate more questions than it will ever answer, and is therefore to be avoided. There is far more godly edification to be found in a few words of the truth than in all the fables in the world. Genealogies, the tracing of family trees, may be of some value to a social or civic group, but since salvation is dependent not upon who our ancestors were, but upon what our Lord has done for us, they have no place in gospel doctrine. They will always raise questions: the first of which should be, "Why are they even being presented?" The last expression in verse 4, "so do," though added by the translators, is, nevertheless, in keeping with the remainder of what the apostle says here. It is his purpose in leaving Timothy at Ephesus .


(Verses 5 through 7) "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm."


We as servants of the Lord Christ Jesus, ought daily to review verse 5. It tells us what is the final purpose of God for the commandment. (No doubt the commandment to which Paul refers is the same as that mentioned by David in Psalms 19:8, "_ _ _the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.") When the apostle says "the end of the commandment," his meaning clearly is "the final result this commandment is purposed to bring about." That result is love out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and genuine faith, no pretense, or empty profession. But the problem which has arisen is that some have "swerved," or have become side tracked, from this, and have turned completely away to "vain jangling," which is nothing more, nor less than "noisy quarreling"; and, as we all know, this can bring no good to anyone. Having lost sight of the "end of the commandment," they want to be teachers of the law; but their problem is that they understand "neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm." In Galatians 4:21 , Paul says, "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" Then he points out to them the facts of the law, which the would-be legalizers today, as well as then, have evidently overlooked.


(Verses 8 through 11) "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for the righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."


Those to whom Paul refers as "desiring to be teachers of the law _ _ _," do not know what the purpose of the law is, and therefore cannot use it lawfully. If it is used lawfully, it is good; but its lawful use must be according to the knowledge of its purpose. The apostle first tells what the law is not designed for. It "is not made for a righteous man.” It will not, and indeed cannot, make an unrighteous man righteous; and the righteous man does not need it, for "the just shall live by faith." If then it is not for the righteous, for whom is it? "For the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane_ _ _." Here the apostle names eight specific sins, and adds, "and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust." That is, the law was not given to make men righteous, but, by the fear of its penalties to restrain wicked men from exercising their wickedness, and thus provide a measure of protection for the righteous. Otherwise society would be in even worse chaos than it is today. Verse 11 is further explanation of what is sound doctrine. It is that which is "according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God", and anything which is contrary to it, whether specifically mentioned above, or not, is included in the clause, "and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine." The apostle was entrusted with the preaching of the "glorious gospel of the blessed God," particularly among the Gentiles.


(Verses 12 through 15) "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry: who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."


Paul gives his thanks to our Lord Jesus for three things. "He hath enabled me," "He counted me faithful," and He put "me into the ministry." It is Jesus our Lord Who gave Paul the knowledge of the gospel, (See Galatians 1:11-12) faith to believe it, and grace, strength, and zeal to preach it under whatever conditions might arise, as well as the authority and power of apostleship. So, in whatever manner we may view it, Christ "enabled" him. Our Lord also counted him faithful, not because of any faithfulness Paul may have had in his own character, but by reason of that with which He purposed to bless him, and did bless him. When Paul thanks our Lord for "putting me into the ministry," his choice of words says two things loudly and clearly. First, for any one or any thing to be "put" anywhere signifies that he, or it, is there by some power completely aside from any that he, or it, may possess. Secondly, it signifies that his will was not even consulted in the matter; and a review of Acts 9:1-20, as well as many statements made by Paul in his writings, will completely establish this truth. Paul did not "enter the ministry," as so many like to say of themselves today: he was "put" therein. He now describes himself before he was put into the ministry. He was a blasphemer, one who speaks evil of someone, or something; in this case, the name and work of our Lord Jesus the Christ. He was also a persecutor of the church of our Lord, and inflicted much injury and harm upon the saints of God. Then he says, "But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief." This is not to be interpreted that all, who do those things "ignorantly in unbelief" will find mercy, and be put into the ministry, as was the apostle. But it is to be considered in contradistinction to one who, like Judas, having gone along with our Lord and His saints as one of them, and having heard His teaching and seen His works, turns away, and betrays Him. Since Paul's being put into the ministry he has made no attempt to turn back into the old life, and has never betrayed our Lord. A little rearrangement of the wording of verse 14 may be worthwhile, thus: "And the grace of our Lord which is in Christ Jesus was exceeding abundant with faith and love." Certainly it is the "grace of our Lord which is in Christ Jesus" which works the faith and love in the hearts of not only the Apostle Paul, but also of all God's elect. John the Baptist said, of Jesus, "Behold, the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world," and our Lord Himself said, "I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." So here Paul says, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners". Then he adds, "of whom I am chief." His manner of saying this has the force of saying, "I know this to be true, because He saved me, and I am the worst of the lot."


(Verses 16 and 17) "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. Now unto the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."


As we pointed out above, Paul here says that the real cause of mercy being given to him is not his ignorance and unbelief, but the purpose of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, that He might make Paul a pattern of His longsuffering, and that this pattern might be to those who "hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting." So if we believe in our Lord Jesus the Christ, although we may, at times, become downcast when we think of the evils we did before the grace of our Lord came to us, we should never fear that He is going to turn us loose to fall back into sin, and be lost. Just consider the pattern. Paul says, "I am chief" of sinners; and though we may feel that we are indeed worse than the apostle, the pattern still stands: if the grace of God is sufficient for him, it is also enough for us; and in that pattern we can find comfort for our souls. At this point the apostle breaks forth in spontaneous praise unto God, "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."


(Verses 18 through 20) "This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies that went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have turned over to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme."


Actually, everything from the beginning of verse 5 to the end of verse 17 is a parenthesis, leaving verse 18 to depend upon verses 3 and 4 for its meaning. Paul has charged Timothy with the work of confirming the Ephesians in gospel truth, with no addition of new doctrine, and no dependence upon the works of the law, or any thing else besides the work of our Lord Jesus the Christ. He now says that he is giving Timothy this charge "according to the prophecies which went before" on him. He is probably referring to things which have been said by himself and others concerning how faithful Timothy would be in the discharge of any obligation or work which might be assigned to him. Because of what had previously been manifested in his ministry, it was no doubt expected that he would be a good soldier of the Lord, holding fast to the faith, and keeping a good conscience by reason of his faithful attention to his duties. The apostle now says that some, so far as faith is concerned, have put it aside, and as a result thereof, "have made shipwreck." They have destroyed their influence for good among the churches. He mentions two of those, Hymenaeus and Alexander, both of whom he mentions again in his second letter to Timothy. We find them nowhere else in the scriptures, and so very little is known of them except that they turned away from the truth. Speaking of them, he says, "Whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme." In I Corinthians 5:3-5, Paul mentions another man whom he "delivered to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ." This is an act of judgment which he, as an apostle of our Lord, had power to execute; but there is no mention of such authority ever being given to the church nor to any man after the apostles.



Chapter 2

(Verses 1 through 4) "I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth."


Before commenting on this scripture, we shall present two other selections. First, let us look at a declaration made by a Gentile king who knew first hand about the power of God. (Daniel 4:34-35) "At the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured Him That liveth for ever, Whose dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?" Then consider Ephesians 1:11. "In Whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will." Now, with this background, let us look at the passage before us. The apostle first exhorts that we make supplications, prayers, and intercessions for all men, and also give thanks for them. Paul's phrase, "all men," is not to be interpreted to mean "every person in the world", although in verse 1 it might could be so rendered. Yet in verse 4 such cannot be his meaning. Rather he means "not Jews only, but men of every race, nationality, age group, social, political, or economic class, or condition of the world," which is his usual meaning for this phrase, and this meaning is in keeping with the context. Actually it appears that, in verse 1, his primary concern is for those who are in positions of authority, from kings down to the lowest officials of the community. Some may question the giving of thanks for all of them, inasmuch as sometimes these very officials are leaders in the persecutions of the saints. Yet the apostle has said, (Romans 13:1,) "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." So, since God has ordained the powers [governments] that be, let us thank Him for them, for even bad government is better than anarchy. So let us constantly pray, intercede, and make supplication for them, "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." Paul continues, by saying, "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." Here again we come to the phrase, "all men," which, if we interpret it to mean "every person in the world," brings us to the point where we have to accept one or the other of two courses, both of which the scriptures deny. If we take that interpretation, based upon what Nebuchadnezzar said, and the quotation from Ephesians 1:11, we would be forced into acceptance of the idea that everyone in the world will be saved and brought to the knowledge of the truth, which denies Matthew 25:46, John 5:28-29, Revelation 20:15, and many other scriptures. On the other hand, if we take that interpretation, and yet say that in spite of the fact that God "will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth," there are those who will not be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, we find ourselves saying that God is not able to do His will among the inhabitants of the earth, nor to work all things after the counsel of His own will. This leaves us with only one conclusion: since there is no contradiction in God's word, the apostle's meaning of the phrase is as given above. God will have men (and women) of every nation, class, age, or condition of humanity, to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. The expression "Who will have," does not mean that He would just like them to do this, but the Greek wording indicates that He has determined that they shall do this.


(Verses 5 through 7) "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity."


The reason why Paul has exhorted that all men be prayed for is that "There is One God, and One Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." When men speak of mythology, they talk about "the gods of the Babylonians," "the gods of the Assyrians," the gods of the Greeks," etc., for in mythology each nation had different gods; but when we consider true religion, there is but "One God, and One Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." No doubt the Jews and the Arabs have been the most adamant enemies, and over the longest period of time, of all nations on earth. Yet both the Jew and the Arab who are saved, in spite of what each may have thought in times past, must acknowledge that they have the same God, and the same Mediator, Christ Jesus our Lord. This holds true for every tribe and nation, as well as for every class and condition of humanity on the face of the earth, for our Lord Jesus the Christ is the ransom for all. No man can claim any other means of salvation. Although this is according to the eternal purpose of God which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Ephesians 3:11 ) and is therefore effective even back to righteous Abel, Christ was "to be testified in due time," or at the appointed time. And for this work Paul is "ordained a preacher, and an apostle, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity." Having given this testimony, he seals it with, "I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not." It is hardly likely that this declaration was necessary for Timothy's benefit, so it must have been said for our sakes, that we should have no reason to question the truth of what he has said.


(Verses 8 through 10) "I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."


This passage again shows something of which many seem to be unaware. That is the special powers and authority given to the apostles. When Paul says, "I will," he does not mean that it is by his own authority that he wills this. But, inasmuch as he has just declared that he is ordained an apostle, he says, "therefore," by the authority of Christ Jesus as vested in the office of apostle, he wills this. So it is as binding as if our Lord Himself had said it. It is then appointed of God that "men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." Obviously his meaning is that it is his will, and that of God, that the gospel be preached everywhere; so that, men may be taught that there is only One God, and One Mediator between God and man. Thus, in this knowledge they can live lives such that will allow them to lift up holy hands, and leave off all wrath and doubting, while they pray to the same God, and the same Mediator, Christ Jesus our Lord. He says that the same thing should apply to the women, and in addition he mentions how they should dress. Since the King James Version uses a word or two which in modern usage may have slightly different meanings from the original, we shall attempt a more modern translation of verses 9 and 10. "In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in properly arranged dresses, with modesty and sobriety; not with plaited hair, gold, pearls, or very expensive clothing; but (as is appropriate for women professing godliness) with good works." With this translation, it seems that little, if any explanation would be necessary.


(Verses 11 through 15) "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety."


Paul declares that according to his authority, (and again he is relying upon his authority not as of Paul, the preacher, but as of Paul, the apostle, which establishes it as also the authority of Christ Jesus our Lord,) women are not permitted to teach, nor usurp authority over the man. This applies to the public worship. In his letter to Titus, Paul lays out some teaching that is to be done by women, and no one else; but not in the public meeting. He gives his reasons for this. First, he says that Adam was first formed, and then Eve. This makes Adam the elder of the two; and since age and wisdom are considered synonymous, Adam, or the man, is therefore to be the teacher. He further says, "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." This lays the foundation for a beautiful "type." When Eve ate of the forbidden fruit she became subject to death, and therefore separated from her husband. Since she could not return to him, the only way in which they could ever be reunited is that he come down to her level and partake of death with her, and for her sake. Herein is the "type." The church, the bride of Christ, sold under sin, was in the clutches of death, and could never recover herself from it that she might return to her Husband. Nevertheless because of the great love He had for her, even when she was dead in sin, He came down to the same plane upon which she was, in that He submitted Himself to the hands of men, and suffered death that He might redeem His bride. This is evidently Paul's view of the situation, for if there were no extenuating circumstances, Adam's sin would be greater than that of Eve, for he was not deceived and yet transgressed. The apostle obviously considers that since the woman was more readily deceived, she is not "to teach, nor usurp authority over the man". In Genesis 3:16 we read, "Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children_ _ _." Here Paul says, "Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing." The word translated "shall be saved," has no reference to eternal salvation, but simply means, "shall be restored to health." This is promised if they, both husband and wife, "continue in faith and love and holiness with sobriety."



Chapter 3

(Verses 1 through 7) "This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (for if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."


Notice carefully the first statement in this passage. Paul does not say, "This is something that may be true." Instead he says, "This is a true saying." This true saying is, "If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." This should immediately focus our minds upon one question, "If he wants this office, is he qualified?" The fact that a man wants this office does not in any way qualify him for it. In order that we might be able to know who is qualified, and who is not, the apostle sets forth with utmost clarity the qualifications not that he may have, but those which he MUST have. He begins thus: "A bishop then must", and this applies to each and every one of these qualifications, both the positive and the negative. The word, "bishop," is the translation of the Greek word, "episcopos," which means "overseer," and in New Testament usage refers to the pastor of the church; and the same qualifications should apply to all gospel ministers, as well as pastors, since no other qualifications are given for others. Some object to this on the grounds that Paul was apparently not married, and so would not fit that of being the husband of one wife, and having his children under subjection. This, however, seems a little far fetched, since he was ordained not just a minister, but an apostle, and that not by the church, but by the Lord Himself. Not only so, but, as high as he was in the Jewish religious establishment, there seems to be a strong possibility that he may have been married before he was called to the apostleship. If so, he then is one of those of whom our Lord spoke in Mark 10:28-29). Still the qualifications given here stand as the rule for the guidance of the church in considering whether or not to ordain one to the ministry. Since the office under consideration is a "good work," there are both positive and negative qualifications for it. Though the apostle mixed the positives and negatives in one list, their force will not be affected by separating them into two lists. First let us consider the negatives, the "must nots." He must not be "given to wine." In Chapter V, verse 23, of this epistle, Paul says, to Timothy, "Drink no longer water, but take a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities;" but this in no way negates this restriction: the emphasis there should be placed upon "little." A minister must not be addicted to alcohol (though the word here is "wine," it is used to include all strong drinks). He is not only the overseer of the flock, but the example to the flock also. He must be able to say, with Paul, "Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no meat while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend"; and this same sentiment applies to drinking, as well as to eating. One who is addicted to alcohol cannot follow this example. One cannot be addicted to alcohol without running the risk of being drunken; and for Paul's declaration concerning drunkenness, see Galatians 5:21. He must not be a "striker." The word here translated "striker," means one who is "pugnacious; ready to fight." He must not be "greedy of filthy lucre" [literally, "a lover of money"]. He must not be a "brawler." Whereas the word translated "striker," above, means one who is actually ready to hit someone, the one here translated "brawler," is slightly milder, in that it means one who is contentious, or quarrelsome, whether actually ready to fight or not. To be either is a disqualification. Last, but by no means least, he must not be a "novice." The Greek word here is "neophytos," which means "newly planted," and in reference to the church, "a new convert." Some of the qualifications are given with no explanation of the reason for them, since the reason is quite obvious. Here lest there be someone who might not understand the reason Paul states it thus: "lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." He, the devil, was puffed up with pride, and thought he could rebel against, and overthrow God; for which he was cast out of heaven. Our Lord said, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." If a man puffed up with pride partakes of the same condemnation, it will be very damaging to the church, and should be avoided if at all possible.


Now we shall try to examine the positives, the "He musts." The first is, "a bishop then must be blameless." He is not required to be perfect, totally without sin; for then none would qualify. But he is required to live above reproach, so that nothing in his life will support any charge that might be brought by the enemies of Christ against him, or against the church because of him. Then he must be "the husband of one wife." Attention should be called to the fact that in the days of the apostles, and even today in Middle Eastern cultures, polygamy was, and is, a recognized way of living; and in the churches there were, without question, men who had more than one wife, which is nowhere in scripture actually forbidden. The very fact that this is mentioned as a qualification for the bishop says clearly that this was not a prerequisite for membership in the church. However, since monogamy is the ideal marriage relationship, being that which God instituted in the beginning, the bishop is restricted to one wife, because he is to be the example to the flock in all things; and the example must be according to the ideal. Some argue that this means, "IF he is married, he must have only one wife, But he is not required to be married." We shall address this argument later. We then have a list of five qualifications, each a "must". To clarify them, we shall give the literal translation of the Greek words in the order in which they occur. He must be "one who abstains from wine," "self controlled," "modest," "generous to guests," and "skillful in teaching." All of these are clear enough that they need no explanation; but they all need more emphasis than seems to be given to them. The last one, in particular, seems to have been completely discarded. If a man can get up before the public, and talk, whether he is able to teach at all, or not, the cry is raised, "We must ordain him." The qualification is not "He can talk." In fact it is not even, "He can teach." Instead, it is, "He is skillful in teaching." In addition to these "musts," a bishop must be a man of patience and reason. We now come to the answer to the argument, noted earlier, concerning whether or not a bishop MUST be married. To give an alternate, but accepted, translation of verse 4, we have, "one who oversees his own house excellently, having his children in obedience with all respect." Our reason for a different choice of words from that used in the King James Version is that the use of "ruleth well," and "having his children in subjection with all gravity," have been taken by some to mean that he should rule his house with a heavy hand, which is not at all the intent of the apostle. For in other places he teaches that this is to be done by gentle means and good examples, so that the children will obey because of their love and respect for their father. Now, as to the necessity for this experience; "For if he know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God ?" In addition to these requirements, one more is necessary. "Moreover he must have a good report of them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." No church can prosper under the leadership of any man who does not have a good report of those who are not members of the church. This does not mean that they must approve of what he believes, and the doctrines he teaches, but that even those outside the church must admit that he lives an honest, upright, and clean life. If otherwise, he will have no influence for good in the community; and the church will suffer for his lack of a good reputation, as he falls into the devil's snare; and because of this the word is blasphemed, spoken evil of, by the unbelievers.


(Verses 8 through 13) "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children  and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus."


Paul says that just as the qualifications discussed above are to be required of bishops, so must those here be met by any, who are to use the office of deacon. And inasmuch as most of them are the same as already discussed there should be little, if any difficulty in understanding them. He also adds qualifications for the wives of the deacons, which, though not mentioned with the bishops, are, by all means, to apply to the wives of the bishops also. About the only difference between the qualifications of the bishop and those of the deacon, is that the bishop is to be skillful in teaching, which is not required of the deacon. Otherwise any difference is negligible. So let us look at the requirements for the wives, considering this as applying to wives of both bishops and deacons. "Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things." The word here translated, "grave," literally means "honorable." That rendered "slanderers" is "false accusers;" and it is interesting to note that it is the same word which, in verses 6 and 7, is translated "the devil." He is so called because he is "the false accuser" of the saints. "Sober," in this sentence, according to the Greek word from which it is translated, means, "abstaining from wine." With these explanations there should be no problem in understanding these requirements. In closing his list of qualifications, Paul gives us this comment: "For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase unto themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." This simply means that they earn the respect of the church for their faithful service, and because of this they can more boldly speak forth concerning those things which, being given of our Lord, are believed by His saints. To know whether or not one has served well in the office of a deacon one must know what are the duties of that office; and the only place in scripture where these are found is Acts 6:1-4.


(Verses 14 and 15) "These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."


It has been said that this letter was written while Paul was a prisoner at Rome , and, of course, very unsure of whether he would be released or not, but he had not given up hope, as evidenced by verse 14. Yet he feels that, in the event that his return may be delayed, or cut off altogether, it is necessary to give instructions which may remain for the guidance of Timothy, and others after him, in the selection of church officers, and in doctrinal teaching to the church, which he calls "the house of God, the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." Our Lord declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." The ground of anything is its foundation, and the pillars of any structure are its supports; and, while, since our Lord is the truth, it will stand forever with no other support, yet, in the sense of promoting the cause of the truth here in the world, the church of the living God is indeed its foundation and support until He returns.


(Verse 16) "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."


Many try to build up a very mysterious thing from this verse just because Paul uses the phrase, "the mystery of godliness." A review of the third chapter of the Ephesian letter will convince any serious reader that such is not the apostle's intention. The word translated "mystery," also means "secret," and that is the proper meaning at this point. In the above referenced scripture Paul shows that this "secret of godliness" is that eternal purpose of God which He kept hidden in Himself until the time He had Himself appointed for its revelation in the coming of our Lord Jesus the Christ into the world, His death on the cross, his resurrection, and His ascension back to the Father. Surely this is great. However it is no longer a secret. It is now a revelation. This is that former secret: "God was manifest in the flesh." Jesus' name, "Emanuel," means "God with us." So in Him God was clearly seen. In proof of this, Jesus said, to Philip, "_ _ _he that hath seen me hath seen the Father." "He was justified in the Spirit." The power of the Spirit in Him justified every claim he made of being the Son of God. Never did He fail. He was fully justified. "He was seen of angels." Luke records a host of angels announcing His birth, angels ministered to Him after His temptations in the wilderness, an angel was sent from heaven to strengthen Him in the garden of Gethsemane, and angels announced His resurrection (Luke 24:4-7). That these last were angels, see Luke 24:25. "He was preached unto the Gentiles." Certainly none will dispute this. This is the very reason why the Apostle Paul is in prison at the time of this writing. "He was believed on in the world." Even today we see the evidence of this all around us, and what is of much greater value to us, we find it in our own hearts. "He was received up into glory." For the proof of this, read Acts 1:9-11. How great indeed is this "secret of godliness" which has now been revealed in our Lord Jesus the Christ.          



Chapter 4

(Verses 1 through 5) "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."


Paul's expression, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly," does not mean that what he is about to write is more important, nor any more true than what has gone before. It does mean that what he is about to write is something that neither he nor any other man could know except by the revelation of the Spirit, since it is something that is to take place "in the latter times," that is, "times yet to come." Since it is in the future, as looking from the time of this writing, man can not know it but by the Spirit of God. "The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God;" and the "Spirit speaketh expressly." (Although this was, at the time of this writing, still future, some of it has already in our day taken place.) So let us examine this warning, for indeed that is exactly what it is. The first step that some will take is to "depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." They will lay aside, and forsake all the great truths of the gospel, not all at once, but little by little, until they have left them all, as they "give heed to these seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." Another acceptable translation of the quotation in our last sentence is, "cleaving to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons (or idol gods)." Of course there is very little difference in these two translations, but one point is slightly clearer in the latter. That is the relation of these doctrines to paganism, in that the word incorrectly translated, "devils," actually means, "a deity, a being inferior to God, but stronger than men." If we examine the origin, and practice associated with our two major so called "Christian holidays," Christmas and Easter, we find both firmly rooted in paganism, from start to finish. Neither was celebrated in the days of the apostles; nor would such have been permitted by them. The same can be said for many other practices and doctrines which some who profess to be Christians tenaciously cling to today. Paul says that, according to the testimony of the Spirit, those who do these things have their conscience seared with a hot iron. That is, just as searing a place on the body with a hot iron will produce a scab, and later scar tissue, which will dull the sense of feeling in the area, so it is with the conscience of these. They have no feeling for the things of God, and while in their hypocrisy they pretend to teach the word of God, they speak only lies in His name. They will even forbid marriage, and will impose strict dietary regulations, forbidding the eating of certain foods. Some will immediately say that the prohibition some have put upon their ministers against marriage is what is under consideration in the phrase, "forbidding to marry," and this is certainly part of it. But what is still worse is that in the history of the church there have been some who have advocated "community of wives", that is, no marriage is necessary, but let any man go with any woman he may desire, and the women likewise with any man. With the present trend of society, such ungodliness may soon be considered acceptable to many churches, for some are already allowing the practice of having what are called, "live in boy friends" and "live in girl friends." Such ungodliness can only bring upon us the judgments of God. So far as dietary bans on certain foods are concerned, Paul says that God has created all of these "to be received with thanksgiving of them, which believe and know the truth." He leaves no doubt as to his meaning as he continues, "For every created thing of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." This declaration seems so clear that any attempt to explain it further might becloud rather than clarify it.


(Verses 6 through 10) "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For we therefore both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, Who is the saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."


Paul's primary consideration concerning these things is that the church should have them brought to remembrance. Inasmuch as he declares this to be a matter which the Spirit is expressly addressing, it is clear that this is the first time it has been doctrinally set forth. So when he says, "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things," He clearly means, "If you not only tell them, but also constantly remind them of these things." To do so will prove him to be a good servant of Jesus the Christ, and one who is "nourished up," has full knowledge, in the words of faith and good teachings. The apostle declares that Timothy has indeed attained to this position, and therefore he by his teaching should present the proof of it. Obviously what was good for Timothy is good for God's people today, and especially for His ministers. Paul instructs him to avoid common and senseless tales, or stories, and to exercise himself unto godliness. The word translated "exercise," literally means "exercise naked." Its reference is to the athletes of that day, for that was the manner of their exercising, as well as their manner of participation in the games in which they engaged. The purpose of their so doing was that nothing should bind, restrain, or otherwise interfere with them or cause them to be any less adept at that in which they were engaging. Paul's use of this term certainly does not intend that Timothy should lay aside his clothes, and literally go naked. But that, as the athlete laid aside every thing that could be thought to hinder or hamper his athletic prowess, so should he lay aside whatever might hinder his exercise of godliness. There is a very important reason for this. Although there is today, and was even in the time of the apostle, great emphasis being placed by some on bodily exercise and its benefits to physical health, Paul says, "bodily exercise profiteth little." He does not deny that it could be of some value, but it is not the all-important thing which some think. What profit it may be can only relate to the present life, perhaps giving promise of better health than would be likely without it. On the other hand, "godliness is profitable unto all things," or "with respect unto all." It has "promise of the life that now is, and that which is to come." One who exercises himself unto godliness, shows promise of the present life, that it will be beneficial to him who has it, and to those around him. At the same time, that same godliness identifies him as one to whom eternal life has been given, thus giving promise of that which is to come. In contrast to the common and senseless sayings, which he has instructed Timothy to avoid, Paul says that here is one that is faithful, and worthy to be accepted by all. "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe." Apparently no one has any trouble understanding this saying until he comes to, "Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe." Then some very strange ideas seem to crop up. If we set aside the psychological effect of the fact that in our King James Version of the Bible the word, "saviour," is capitalized, (which it is not in the Greek,) we can more readily rest our minds upon the fact that Paul's usage of the word has nothing to do with "eternal salvation for all men." But rather, he is saying, that this same "living God" in Whom we trust is "Saviour," that is, the Preserver, Deliverer, Keeper, of all men, in that it is He Who gives natural life, and preserves the same by giving to all men, as indeed He does to all beasts, fowls, fishes, etc., the necessities of life. This may properly be considered the general salvation of the race, whereas He is specially the Saviour of those who believe, for to them He has given eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.


(Verses 11 through 16) "These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself and the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee."


The word translated, "conversation," in verse 12 is the Greek word, "anastrophe," which means "walk," and in consideration of a man's "walk in life," came to be understood as "manner of life, behavior, or conduct." So, in that verse, Paul tells Timothy to give no man any reason to think lowly of him because of his being, as they might think, too young for the responsibility of his position; but to make himself an example to the believers, in word, in his manner of living, in the love he shows among them, in his exercise of faith, and in purity of thought, word, and deed. Some Greek texts omit the phrase, "in spirit." However, since a person's spirit (whether kind, humble, willing, pleasant, etc., as contrasted to haughty, domineering, demanding, etc.,) is of great importance, mention of it certainly cannot be out of place. In all these things Timothy is instructed to be an example to the brethren; and surely this is no less important for a gospel minister today. Paul, still with hope of again being able to come to Timothy, says, "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." We sometimes hear brethren express the thought that we no longer need the Old Testament. They say that, since our Lord has come and fulfilled the law, all we need is the New Testament. Since, at the time of this writing, there was no New Testament, as it was only in the process of being developed, this letter itself being one of its components, Paul could not have been instructing Timothy to give attendance to reading it. With all the condemnations the apostle has declared against worldly wisdom and philosophy, it is extremely unlikely that he was encouraging Timothy to study it. So, what is left? The word of God, the Old Testament; and it is just as important to us today. Without it as a background one can not properly understand the New Testament. We now have the blessing of the New Testament also, which added to the Old, makes up the whole of the written, revealed word of God. "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." The word here translated, "gift," although it does mean "a gift of grace," which could even refer to eternal life itself, should be considered as the gift of authority as a gospel minister, since it was given to him "by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." As is often the case in New Testament usage, "prophecy" does not necessarily mean the "foretelling" of events, but rather the "forth-telling," or public declaration of something. This, together with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, is the manner that even today men are ordained by the church to the public ministry of the word. Since this gift has been conferred upon him, he is not to neglect it, but make full use of it. He is to meditate upon these things, the things he reads, the exhortations he has received, and the doctrines he has been taught; and give himself wholly to them, that is, make them the pursuit of his life. By taking heed unto himself, or taking heed to keep his conduct in line with what he has been taught; and by maintaining the doctrines he has received, both in teaching them, and living according to them, he will by his teaching and example, keep himself and those who heed him safe from error, and the chastisement sent upon disobedience.



Chapter 5

(Verses 1 and 2) "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; and the younger as sisters, with all purity."


Here we have instructions that we should all follow in our church relationships. The first thing we should notice is that in this sentence the word, "elder," has no reference to the office of elder, for in that sense we do not have women elders. Inasmuch as in the first clause the masculine form of the word was used, it could just as properly have been translated "older men." Then no one could have found any room to argue about it. Also the word which is translated "rebuke," originally, and properly means, "to strike, or beat upon," and metaphorically it can mean "rebuke," or "beat with words," while the word translated, "entreat," combines the ideas of exhorting, comforting, and encouraging. So, in order to bring out as nearly as possible the meaning of the apostle, we would translate the passage thus: "Do not speak roughly to an older man, but instruct him gently as a father; and the younger men as brothers; the older women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity." The emphasis is upon gentleness and purity as should always be the case in our relationships in the "church family."


(Verses 3 through 7) "Honour widows that are widows indeed. But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless."


It is certainly not difficult to see what is the apostle's subject in this passage. Today we would probably entitle it, "Widow Welfare." His first order is that we hold in respect "widows that are widows indeed." This immediately presents the question, "What constitutes a widow indeed?" With the exception of verses 7 and 8, all from here through verse 16 is designed to answer this question. Paul tells us both who fits this classification and who does not. One observation that must be made is that some are widows worthy of respect, and yet are not to be considered as "widows indeed," in the sense that they are to be supported by the church; and their support is the principal theme of this discussion. "Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day." This shows that although some are "widows indeed," and are to be respected as such, they are not desolate, and therefore are not to be considered charges of the church. Those who are desolate, those who have no one to support them except God and those, whose hearts He opens to attend to such matters, are to be taken care of by the church. Because they are serving God night and day with prayers and supplications, not only for themselves, but for the church also. If, however, a widow has children, or even nephews, they are to attend to her needs, and not expect the church to support her. They are thus to pay back the debt they owe to their parents for taking care of them during their formative years, "for that is good and acceptable before God." Another, who is not to be honored as a widow indeed, and is not to be supported by the church is she who turns to a "life of pleasure," which is an euphemism for "prostitution," to which it was not uncommon for young widows to turn, since in that period of time there were no honorable working careers open to women. Paul says, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." Obviously then she is not to be supported by the church. Verse 7 may at first glance seem just a very mild statement, but in actual fact it is an authoritative command, "And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless." If these things are clearly taught, and given as a charge to the church, there will be no misunderstanding concerning who is, and who is not, eligible for support by the church. And the church will not incur blame from either supporting one who is unworthy, or from neglecting one who is worthy.


(Verse 8) "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."


This, surely, is in reference to verse 4, and declares that the children or nephews who will not provide for the widows of their family ("house") have denied the faith, and are worse than infidels, or as the literal translation would be, "the hand of unbelief."


(Verses 9 through 16) "Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 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. But the younger widows refuse: for when they begin to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith, 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. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan. 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."


The number, into which these eligible widows are to be taken, is that of those considered wards of the church insofar as their support is concerned. The first requirement of eligibility is that of age. She must be at least sixty years old. In addition to this, she must have been the wife of one man, not one who has been passed from man to man. She must have been sufficiently engaged in good works to be well reported of for them. Paul names some of these good works. He does not say that she must have been constantly engaged in all of these. He simply says, "If she has done this", "If she has done that," etc. He does, however, follow these itemized works with, "if she have diligently followed every good work," signifying that her life must have been spent in doing good works, not in a life of pleasure. One of the good works mentioned here, "if she have washed the saints' feet," may seem a little puzzling to some. It has no reference to that part of the service wherein the saints wash one another's feet according to the example and admonition of our Lord in the thirteenth chapter of the gospel as recorded by John. Since in Paul's listing, it immediately follows "if she have lodged strangers," it seems evident that its primary meaning is that she has refreshed those strangers whom she has lodged by literally washing their feet, thus presenting herself as a servant to the saints of God. Some try to tell us that it was the ordinary custom of those days to wash the feet of one's guests. However an examination of the scriptures will show that the custom was to provide water that they might wash their own feet. The younger widows are not to be taken into that number, for the reason that "when they begin to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith." In I Corinthians 7:39, Paul says, "The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord." So it is clear that he is not condemning young widows for marrying again. "Her first faith," as he says it here, is not her marriage vows to her first husband, for his death has freed her from them. What he refers to, is such a case as a young widow who comes to the church asking it to take on the responsibility of her support. She would, in such case, declare her intention of never marrying again, but giving herself to the service of the church in the good works of helping those in need, caring for the sick, relieving the afflicted, etc. And after engaging in this for a while, she tires of it, and decides to marry again. She is not satisfied with the spiritual joys of serving the Lord, but wants the natural pleasures of the marriage relationship. She has therefore cast off her first faith, and brought condemnation upon herself. The Greek word, “krima," which is here translated, "damnation," has such a wide spectrum of meaning, (all the way from a mild decree of judgment, such as a reprimand, to even one as harsh as eternal damnation,) that we should not attempt to set the degree of condemnation meant by the apostle. It is sufficient to know that it definitely does not mean "approval." A further evil that could well be incurred by taking the younger widows into this number is that they would develop habits of idleness, wandering around in the community, carrying tales from one to another, and trying to interfere with the business of others, being busybodies, and telling things they should not. Therefore he says, "I will that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully." Two things are to be noted here. First, since this whole discussion has been about widows, Paul's expression, "the younger women," is to be understood as "the younger widows." Second, when he says, "I will," this is to be considered as what he, as an apostle of Christ Jesus decrees, and not just what Paul, the man would like to see done. Then he says that some of the younger widows have already turned aside after Satan. In verse 16 he commands that if any believer, man, or woman, has widows who fall within the guidelines of verse 4, "let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed."


(Verses 17 through 20) "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And the labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may fear."


In speaking of the elder who rules well, Paul uses the same word for "rule" that he used in verses 4 and 5 of Chapter III. So it seems only proper to consider that the one to whom he refers here as "elder" is the same as there he calls "bishop," since neither is to rule as a master, but as an overseer. He says that those who do a good job of this, and labor in the word and doctrine, that is, teach, are to be counted worthy of double honor. And, in view of his quoting the two selections of scripture that he does, his obvious meaning is that such should be supported by the church, in spite of the fact that he constantly affirms that he will not allow himself to be chargeable to the church. Then he says that no accusation is to be received against an elder except in the presence of two or three witnesses. This, although, perhaps based upon it, is not the same as Deuteronomy 19:15, which says, "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established." It is obvious that the statement in Deuteronomy has to do with proving a man's guilt, while Paul is speaking only of the receiving of the accusation. Unless the accuser will make the accusation in the presence of two or three witnesses, don't even let him tell you about it. Now for a commandment that, with the translation given in the King James Version, seems to contradict the first instruction given by the apostle in this chapter. However there is no contradiction. We have already considered the word which, in verse 1, is translated, "rebuke." The one in verse 20 is a different word; and it means "to bring to account," or "rebuke," but not in the sense of "beating one with words," nor physically "beating" as does the one in verse 1. So the apostle says, "Them that sin bring to account before all, that others also may fear." When one goes astray, it is known by all; so when he is corrected, that too should be done in public, that everyone will know that no special favor is shown to one above another. And often the fear of public reprimand is the most effective means of restraining one from error.


(Verses 21 through 23) "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. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. Drink no longer water, but take a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."


It would be difficult to imagine a more solemn charge than that here given by Paul to Timothy. The apostle calls upon God the Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, as witnesses of the charge, the substance of which is that Timothy teach, and put into practice all these things, every part of this letter, with no respect of persons, and no partiality. Further, he charges him to "lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins." The laying on of hands has long been the symbol of passing on of authority, from one to another. Thus Timothy is charged to take time to know a man before placing him in any position of authority. This should be carefully observed today by the church when considering whether or not to ordain a man as either bishop or deacon, since these are the only two positions of authority in the church. Whoever ignores this charge, and promotes one who has not been properly proved, becomes partaker of any sins in which such an one may engage while in the position to which he is promoted, or any in his past which should have been examined beforehand. Evidently Timothy has been troubled with some health problems, and verse 23 is strictly personal advice to him for his health's sake. One thing should here be noted; when Paul says, "Take a little wine_ _ _," the emphasis is to be put on "little:" he has already made it clear that addiction to wine is not acceptable.


(Verses 24 and 25) "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid."


Much can be, and has been, said and written about these verses, but it seems that for now the concise explanation may be the best. All Bible readers are cognizant of the fact that our Lord Jesus the Christ took upon Himself all the sins of all who believe in Him, all the elect of God, and bore them not only on the cross of Calvary, but also in the judgment of God. There our Lord, having no sin of His own, was adjudged guilty for our sakes, as Paul says, (II Corinthians 5:21 ,) "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." So He took our sins to judgment before us; and by the same token, since He is our righteousness, our righteousness, or "good works", are manifest beforehand in Him. On the other hand, the sins of the wicked will follow them to judgment. (Revelation 20: 13 and 15) "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to his works_ _ _And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Since no "good works," or righteousness for them have been manifested before in Christ, seeing they are not in Him, they cannot be hid. There is no refuge for them.


Chapter 6

(Verses 1 through 5) "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and His doctrine be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren; but rather do them service because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself".


Many will tell us that this is completely out dated, and is of no value to us, seeing that slavery was abolished in our nation more than a hundred years ago. While it is true that this was written to slaves who are "under the yoke," bond slaves, it still remains that the same instructions are valid for "hired servants." And whether we like it or not, that is what we are as long as we accept payment from someone for services rendered to him, whether in the home, in the field, in the office, or in the factory. To sum up what the apostle says here in as few words as possible, we are brought to a saying, which has long been known in the work place: "The boss may not always be right; but he is always the boss." Now should it be that he is one of our brethren, we should not think less of him, but we ought to count it a privilege to work for him instead of an unbeliever. If there be one who would try to persuade us contrary to this, Paul tells us exactly what he is; and he uses words easily understood to describe him. From such he commands Timothy (and, by extension, us) to "withdraw thyself." He does not say, "excommunicate him from the church," but "withdraw thyself," that is, "keep no company with him." Such people seem to be driven by the idea that "gain is godliness." When someone seems to be prospering in every thing he attempts to do in business, we are likely to hear someone say, "He must be living right." While it may be possible that he is, his prosperity is no evidence of it. For the wicked are also permitted to prosper in this world; and the idea that his prosperity is evidence of godliness is rooted in the very principle Paul is here condemning, and from which he commands us to withdraw ourselves.


(Verses 6 through 10) "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have pierced themselves through with many sorrows."


Although gain is certainly not godliness, the combination of godliness with contentment is great gain. Every thing of this world, whether fame, fortune, power, etc., is fleeting, and will soon pass away. If we should be permitted to gain it all, the moment God calls us away it is all over, and we will soon be forgotten. But if we are blessed with the love of God, which creates godliness in our lives and contentment in our hearts, we have a gain far greater than any this world knows, or can give. It saves from anxieties here, and holds promise of the life to come. Those who "will be rich," those to whom that is all-important, often fall into temptations, snares, and lusts which in the end cause them great distress. A man seeking wealth may, as he sees a competitor making dishonest "short-cuts," be tempted to do the same. For a while he may resist the temptation knowing such practices to be wrong. Then he may yield to the temptation. When he does, one or the other of two things will take place. Either he will be caught in his dishonesty, and disgraced thereby. Or, he will succeed in it, and seeing how easily he can "get away with it," will go deeper and deeper into such sins, and goaded by his own greed, forget that there was ever in his mind a question of right or wrong. He being caught up in the snare of his own foolish lusts will be brought to destruction. It is noteworthy that in the expression, "which drown men in destruction and perdition." Paul used two words which mean destruction: the first is the Greek word, "olethron," which means "ruin, destruction, or death," and the second is "apoleian," meaning, "the destruction which consists of loss of eternal life, eternal misery, perdition." Since the love of money is the root of all evil, it is hardly surprising that those who covet it err from the faith, and pierce themselves through with many sorrows.


(Verses 11 through 16) "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, Who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting Amen."


Having declared the consequences of the love of the world and the things thereof, Paul gives Timothy a commandment to flee, or avoid, these things, and to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness. That which a man is said to "follow after" is that to which he devotes his life. So these six things are to be his goal. Then he says, "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses." No man can ever "fight a good fight" of any thing, if he "takes a dive," or even if he lets up at any time before the fight is over. The prize of any fight is never placed in the hands of any contender until the fight is over, and he is victorious. So, the only way he can "lay hold" of the prize, which in this case is eternal life, is that he finish the fight to the best of his ability. Certainly we are not able of ourselves to win the prize by our own merits: if we were it would not be by grace; but we are commanded to fight on until the fight is over, and the prize awarded. Paul says, in Romans 8:37, "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us". He is not at all uncertain of the outcome of this battle, for he says, of the prize, “whereunto thou art also called". In all his writings the apostle contends that those who are called will receive the prize. In Romans 8:28-30, he establishes the calling as only one link in the great chain of God's works by which He insures the salvation of all of His elect. Paul is assured that Timothy is thus called, and reminds him of that fact, and that he has already "professed a good profession before many witnesses" that this is true. There are a few things that may be of benefit to us in our consideration of Paul's command to "lay hold on eternal life." Although both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle John sometimes speak of eternal life as being already given to us, they also speak of it as being something yet to come, especially in the full enjoyment of it. I John 5:11-12 says, "And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life". This at first glance might seem to indicate that we have full possession of this life now; but let us look at a declaration by the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians1:13-14. "In Whom [Christ] ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." If we had possession of the inheritance, there would be no place for an "earnest" of it. It is with eternal life as is illustrated by what is often done with a natural inheritance for minor heirs. The inheritance is assigned to the heir, but set up in a trust until the heir reaches an age predetermined by the grantor of the inheritance. The trust is so established that it will take care of the necessary expenses of the heir until he comes of age to receive the full inheritance, at which time he can "lay hold of" the inheritance, and not before, although it has been his since the day the grantor set up the trust; and that which he draws from it until he actually comes into full possession thereof is the "earnest" of the inheritance. This inheritance is given to us in such a trust, with our Elder Brother, Christ Jesus, the Executor of the estate. As John says, “This is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." One may say, “But we have His Son, and therefore we have eternal life." This, of course, is true, but only in a limited sense. For Paul says, (II Corinthians 5:6-8) "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body and present with the Lord." So we are to fight the good fight of faith until that day when we can lay hold on eternal life. Until then we draw on the trust which has been set up for us by our heavenly Father in His Son. In another place Paul does use this expression in a manner that seems to refer more to our drawing on the earnest of the inheritance than to our receiving the full inheritance. Again the apostle charges Timothy to "keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ." He also establishes this charge "in the sight of God, Who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession." It is not completely clear whether Paul's reference here is to what our Lord actually said to Pilate, (See John 18:36-37 and John 19:11,) or to His quiet submission to all the indignities and sufferings of that mock trial: probably to both. Verses 15 and 16 say that "in His times," that is, at the time of His return, He will demonstrate, not just declare, Who is, not just the greatest among others, but "THE BLESSED and ONLY POTENTATE, the KING of kings, and LORD of lords". Certainly this needs no explanation. In addition He is the ONLY ONE, WHO has immortality, "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see, to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." Surely He was seen while He lived here on earth, and even after His crucifixion and resurrection, but Paul's statement here, "Whom no man hath seen, nor can see," means that no man has seen, nor can see, Him as He now is, dwelling in that light unto which no man can approach; and the Apostle John says the same thing in slightly different words, (I John 3:2,) "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not appear what we shall be: but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."


(Verses 17 through 19) "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."


It is no sin to be rich in this world's goods. The sin is in trusting in worldly riches. Let those who have been blessed with an abundance of such things remember that God is the giver of all things we have to enjoy; and He can just as easily take away as give. So be not haughty, or high-minded, looking down upon those who may have less. In verse 18, the word translated "that they do good," literally means, "do that which is beneficial to others." This is in perfect keeping with the remainder of this verse. Since God is the giver of that which they have, they are to be ready to make use of it for the benefit of His people who may be in need thereof. In so doing, they lay "up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." As he here uses the expression, "lay hold of eternal life," Paul may have in mind more the drawing upon that trust which is set up for us than the time of its being fully settled upon us.


(Verses 20 and 21) "O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen."


This is Paul's personal appeal to Timothy, not that he was afraid that Timothy would not be faithful, but by way of encouragement to him. We should heed this today fully as much as was necessary for him then. Avoid common and empty, or unprofitable babblings, or discussions, and "oppositions of science falsely so called." What the world calls "scientists" have always attempted to overthrow the word of God, and prove it to be false. The key to all these oppositions is given in Paul’s phrase, "oppositions of science falsely so called." The definition of two words should be considered. First, consider the word, "science." The root of this word is the Latin verb, "scio," which means "know;" and it comes through the Latin noun, "scientia," which means "knowledge." So, "science" means, "that which is known," not that which may be guessed at, or surmised. On the other hand, "theory" means, "a supposition explaining something; a doctrine or scheme of things resting merely on speculation; hypothesis." The dictionary rambles on and on about both "science" and "theory." But this is sufficient to show that all the pretended oppositions of science are indeed falsely so called, for all these oppositions, such as the "Big Bang Theory," "The Theory of Evolution," etc., are exactly that, Theory, which is nothing but a doctrine based entirely upon speculation. Yet people call them "science," which they cannot be, because science is knowledge and theory is speculation. The fact that the whole world has adopted these theories, and called them science does not make them so. Nevertheless these very theories, false though they are, have led many to err, that is, wander away from the faith. No doubt most of them were never in the faith, but as long as it was popular to be known as a Christian, they professed the faith; but they now have shown their true colors by following after "falsely so called" science. True science has never denied the word of God. The only thing that will stem the tide of defection is the answer to the apostle's prayer, "Grace be with thee. Amen."


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