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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 3

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

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Verse 1

1 .] Faithful is the saying (see on ch. 1 Timothy 1:15 , from the analogy of which it appears that the words are to be referred to what follows, not, as Chrys., Thl., Erasm., al., to what has preceded): if any man seeks (it does not seem that he uses ὀρέγεται with any reference to an ambitious seeking, as De W. thinks: in Heb 11:16 the word is a ‘vox media,’ and even in ch. 1 Timothy 6:10 , the blame rests, not on ὀρεγόμενοι , but on the thing sought; and in Polyb. ix. 20. 5, the word is used as one merely of passage, in giving directions respecting the office sought: κελεύοντες ἀστρολογεῖν κ . γεωμετρεῖν τοὺς ὀρεγομένους αὐτῆς ( τῆς στρατηγίας ). So that De W.’s inference respecting ambition for the episcopate betraying the late age of the Epistle, falls to the ground) the overseership (or, bishopric; office of an ἐπίσκοπος ; but the ἐπίσκοποι of the N. T. have officially nothing in common with our Bishops . See notes on Acts 20:17 ; Acts 20:28 . The identity of the ἐπίσκοπος and πρεσβύτερος in apostolic times is evident from Titus 1:5-7 ; see also note on Philippians 1:1 , the article Bischof in Herzog’s Real-Encyclopädie, and Ellic.’s note here), he desires a good work (not ‘a good thing :’ but a good employment : see 1 Thessalonians 5:13 ; 2 Timothy 4:5 ; one of the καλὰ ἔργα so often spoken of (reff.)). It behoves then ( οὖν is best regarded as taking up καλὸν ἔργον , and substantiating that assertion: “bonum negotium bonis committendum,” Bengel) an ( τόν generic, singular of τοὺς ἐπισκόπους ) overseer to be blameless (Thucyd. v. 17, Πλειστοάναξ δὲ … νομίζων … κἂν αὐτὸς τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἀνεπίληπτος εἶναι …, where the Schol. has, μὴ ἂν αὐτὸς παρέξων κατηγορίας ἀφορμήν . Thdrt. draws an important distinction: μηδεμίαν πρόφασιν μέμψεως παρέχειν δικαίαν · τὸ γὰρ ἀνεπίληπτον , οὐ τὸ ἀσυκοφάντητον λέγει · ἐπεὶ καὶ αὐτὸς ἀπόστολος παντοδαπὰς συκοφαντίας ὑπέμεινεν ), husband of one wife (two great varieties of interpretation of these words have prevailed, among those who agree to take them as restrictive , not injunctive , which the spirit of the passage and the insertion of μιᾶς surely alike forbid. They have been supposed to prohibit either 1) simultaneous polygamy , or 2) successive polygamy . 1) has somewhat to be said for it. The custom of polygamy was then prevalent among the Jews (see Just. Mart. Tryph. 134, p. 226, διδασκάλοις ὑμῶν οἵτινες καὶ μέχρι νῦν καὶ τέσσαρας κ . πέντε ἔχειν ὑμᾶς γυναῖκας ἕκαστον συγχωροῦσι : and Jos. Antt. vii. 2 (so cited in Suicer and Huther, but the reference is wrong), πάτριον ἐν ταύτῳ πλείοσιν ἡμῖν συνοικεῖν ), and might easily find its way into the Christian community. And such, it is argued, was the Apostle’s reference, not to second marriages, which he himself commands ch. 1 Timothy 5:14 , and allows in several other places, e.g. Romans 7:2-3 ; 1 Corinthians 7:39 . But the objection to taking this meaning is, that the Apostle would hardly have specified that as a requisite for the episcopate or presbyterate, which we know to have been fulfilled by all Christians whatever: no instance being adduced of polygamy being practised in the Christian church, and no exhortations to abstain from it. As to St. Paul’s command and permissions, see below. Still, we must not lose sight of the circumstance that the earlier Commentators were unanimous for this view. Chrys. is the only one who proposes an alternative: τὴν ἀμετρίαν κωλύει , ἐπειδὴ ἐπὶ τῶν Ἰουδαίων ἐξῆν καὶ δευτέροις ὁμιλεῖν γάμοις , κ . δύο ἔχειν κατὰ ταὐτὸν γυναῖκας . Thdrt.: τὸ δὲ μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα , εὖ μοι δοκοῦσιν εἰρηκέναι τινές . πάλαι γὰρ εἰώθεισαν καὶ Ἕλληνες κ . Ἰουδαῖοι κ . δύο κ . τρισὶ κ . πλείοσι γυναιξὶ νόμῳ γάμου κατὰ ταὐτὸν συνοικεῖν . τινὲς δὲ καὶ νῦν , καίτοι τῶν βασιλικῶν νόμων δύο κατὰ ταὐτὸν ἄγεσθαι κωλυόντων γυναῖκας , καὶ παλλακῖσι μίγνυνται κ . ἑταίραις . ἔφασαν τοίνυν τὸν θεῖον ἀπόστολον εἰρηκέναι , τὸν μιᾷ μόνῃ γυναικὶ συνοικοῦντα σωφρόνως , τῆς ἐπισκοπικῆς ἄξιον εἶναι χειροτονίας . οὐ γὰρ τὸν δεύτερον , φασίν , ἐξέβαλε γάμον , ὅ γε πολλάκις τοῦτο γενέσθαι κελεύσας . And similarly Thl., Œc., and Jeremiah 2:0 ) For the view that second marriages are prohibited to aspirants after the episcopate, is, the most probable meaning (see there) of ἑνὸς ἀνδρὸς γυνή in ch. 1 Timothy 5:9 , as also the wide prevalence in the early Church of the idea that, although second marriages were not forbidden to Christians, abstinence from them was better than indulgence in them. So Hermas Pastor, ii. 4. 4, p. 921 f., ‘Domine, si vir vel mulier alicujus discesserit, et nupserit aliquis eorum, numquid peccat?’ ‘Qui nubit, non peccat: sed si per se manserit, magnum sibi conquirit honorem apud Dominum:’ and Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 12 (81), p. 548 P., ὁ ἀπόστολος ( 1Co 7:39-40 ) δι ʼ ἀκρασίαν κ . πύρωσιν κατὰ συγγνώμην δεντέρου μεταδίδωσι γάμου , ἐπεὶ κ . οὗτος οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει μὲν κατὰ διαθήκην , οὐ γὰρ κεκώλυται πρὸς τοῦ νόμου , οὐ πληροῖ δὲ τῆς κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον πολιτείας τὴν κατ ʼ ἐκίτασιν τελειότητα . And so in Suicer, i. p. 892 f., Chrys., Greg. Naz. ( τὸ πρώτον (συνοικέσιον) νόμος, τὸ δεύτερον συγχώρησις, τὸ τρίτον παρανομία. τὸ δὲ ὑπὲρ τοῦτο, χοιρώδης . Orat. xxxvii. 8, p. 650), Epiphanius ( δευτερόγαμον οὐκ ἔξεστι δέχεσθαι ἐν αὐτῇ (τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ) εἰς ἱερωσύνην . Doct. compend. de fide, p. 1104), Orig., the Apostolical Canon xvii. ( ὁ δυσὶ γάμοις συμπλακεὶς μετὰ τὸ βάπτισμα , ἢ παλλακὴν κτησάμενος , οὐ δύναται εἶναι ἐπίσκοπος , ἢ πρεσβύτερος , ἢ διάκονος , ἢ ὅλως τοῦ καταλόγου τοῦ ἱερατικοῦ ), &c. Huther cites from Athenagoras the expression εὐπρεπὴς μοιχεία applied to second marriage. With regard to the Apostle’s own command and permissions of this state (see above), they do not come into account here, because they are confessedly (and expressly so in ch. 1Ti 5:14 ) for those whom it was not contemplated to admit into ecclesiastical office. 3) There have been some divergent lines of interpretation, but they have not found many advocates. Some (e.g. Wegscheider) deny altogether the formal reference to 1) or 2), and understand the expression only of a chaste life of fidelity to the marriage vow: “that neither polygamy, nor concubinage, nor any offensive deuterogamy, should be able to be alleged against such a person.” But surely this is very vague, for the precise words μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ . Bretschneider maintains that μιᾶς is here the indefinite article, and that the Apostle means, an ἐπίσκοπος should be the husband of a wife. This hardly needs serious refutation. Winer however has treated it, edn. 6, § 18. 9 note, shewing that by no possibility can the indefinite εἷς stand where it would as here cause ambiguity, only where unity is taken for granted. Worse still is the Romanist evasion, which understands the μία γυνή of the Church.

The view then which must I think be adopted, especially in presence of ch. 1 Timothy 5:9 (where see note) is, that to candidates for the episcopate (presbytery) St. Paul forbids second marriage. He requires of them pre-eminent chastity, and abstinence from a licence which is allowed to other Christians. How far such a prohibition is to be considered binding on us, now that the Christian life has entered into another and totally different phase, is of course an open question for the present Christian church at any time to deal with. It must be as matter of course understood that regulations, in all lawful things, depend, even when made by an Apostle, on circumstances: and the superstitious observance of the letter in such cases is often pregnant with mischief to the people and cause of Christ) sober (probably in the more extended sense of the word (‘vigilantem animo,’ Beng.: διεγηγερμένον , καὶ προσκοπεῖν τὸ πρακτέον δυνάμενον , Thdrt. τουτέστι διορατικόν , μυρίους ἔχοντα πάντοθεν ὀφθαλμούς , ὀξὺ βλέποντα , καὶ μὴ ἀμβλύνοντα τὸ τῆς διανοίας ὄμμα , κ . τ . λ . Chrys.), as in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:8 ; a pattern of active sobriety and watchfulness: for all these adjectives, as far as διδακτικόν , are descriptive of positive qualities: μὴ πάροινον giving the negative and more restricted opposite), self-restrained (or, discreet ; see above on ch. 1Ti 2:9 ), orderly (‘quod σώφρων est intus, id κόσμιος est extra,’ Beng.: thus expanded by Theodoret: καὶ φθέγματι καὶ σχήματι καὶ βλέμματι καὶ βαδίσματι · ὥστε καὶ διὰ τοῦ σώματος φαίνεσθαι τὴν τῆς ψυχῆς σωφροσύνην ), hospitable (loving, and entertaining strangers: see reff. and Hebrews 13:2 . This duty in the early days of the Christian church was one of great importance. Brethren in their travels could not resort to the houses of the heathen, and would be subject to insult in the public deversoria), apt in teaching ( τὰ θεῖα πεπαιδευμένον , καὶ παραινεῖν δυνάμενον τὰ προσήκοντα , Thdrt.: so we have τοὺς ἱππικοὺς βουλομένους γενέσθαι , Xen. Sympos. ii. 10: not merely given to teaching, but able and skilled in it. All might teach , to whom the Spirit imparted the gift: but skill in teaching was the especial office of the minister, on whom would fall the ordinary duty of instruction of believers and refutation of gainsayers):

Verses 1-13

1 13 .] Precepts respecting overseers (presbyters) ( 1Ti 3:1-7 ), and deacons ( 1Ti 3:8-13 ).

Verse 3

3 .] not a brawler (properly, ‘ one in his cups ,’ ‘a man rendered petulant by much wine:’ τὸ τοίνυν παρ ʼ οἶνον λυπεῖν τοὺς παρόντας , τοῦτ ʼ ἐγὼ κρίνω παροινίαν , Xen. Sympos. vi. 1. And perhaps the literal meaning should not be lost sight of. At the same time the word and its cognates were often used without reference to wine: see παροινέω , - ία , - ιος , in Palm and Rost’s Lex. As πλήκτης answers to πάροινος , it will be best to extend the meaning to signify rather the character, than the mere fact, of παροινία ), not a striker (this word also may have a literal and narrower, or a metaphorical and wider sense. In this latter it is taken by Thdrt.: οὐ τὸ ἐπιτιμᾷν εἰς καιρὸν κωλύει · ἀλλὰ τὸ μὴ δεόντως τοῦτο ποιεῖν . But perhaps the coarser literal sense is better, as setting forth more broadly the opposite to the character of a Christian ἐπίσκοπος ), but (this contrast springs out of the two last, and is set off by them) forbearing (reasonable and gentle: φέρειν εἰδότα τὰ πρὸς αὐτὸν πλημμελήματα , Thdrt. See note on Philippians 4:5 , and Trench, N. T. Syn. § xliii.; but correct his derivation, as in that note), not quarrelsome (cf. 2 Timothy 2:24 . Conyb.’s ‘ peaceable ’ is objectionable, as losing the negative character), not a lover of money (‘ liberal ,’ Conyb.: but this is still more objectionable: it is not the positive virtue of liberality but the negative one of abstinence from love of money, which, though it may lead to the other in men who have money, is yet a totally distinct thing. Thdrt.’s explanation, while true, is yet characteristic of an ἐπίσκοπος of later days: οὐκ εἶπεν ἀκτήμονα · σύμμετρα γὰρ νομοθετεῖ · ἀλλὰ μὴ ἐρῶντα χρημάτων . δυνατὸν γὰρ κεκτῆσθαι μέν , οἰκονομεῖν δὲ ταῦτα δεόντως , καὶ μὴ δουλεύειν τούτοις , ἀλλὰ τούτων δεσπόζειν ):

Verses 3-7

3 7 .] (His negative qualities are now specified; the positive ones which occur henceforth arising out of and explaining those negative ones):

Verse 4

4 .] (This positive requisite again seems to spring out of the negative ones which have preceded, and especially out of ἀφιλάργυρον . The negatives are again resumed below with μὴ νεόφυτον ) presiding well over his own house ( ἰδίου , as contrasted with the church of God below, οἴκου , in its wide acceptation, ‘ household ,’ including all its members), having children (not ‘ keeping (or having ) his children ’ ( ἔχοντα τὰ τέκνα ), as E. V. and Conyb. The emphatic position of τέκνα , besides its anarthrousness, should have prevented this mistake: cf. also Titus 1:6 , μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ , τέκνα ἔχων πιστά , κ . τ . λ .) in subjection (i.e. who are in subjection) with all gravity (‘ reverent modesty ,’ see ch. 1 Timothy 2:2 . These words are best applied to the children , not to the head of the house, which acceptance of them rather belongs to the rendering impugned above. It is the σεμνότης of the children, the result of his προστῆναι , which is to prove that he knows how to preside over his own house, not his own σεμνότης in governing them: the matter of fact, that he has children who are in subjection to him in all gravity, not his own keeping or endeavouring to keep them so. Want of success in ruling at home, not want of will to rule, would disqualify him for ruling the church. So that the distinction is an important one): but (contrast, as in ch. 1 Timothy 2:12 , to the suppressed but imagined opposite case) if any man knows not (the use of εἰ οὐ here is perfectly regular: see Ellicott’s note) how to preside over his own house (shews, by his children being insubordinate, that he has no skill in domestic government), how shall he (this future includes ‘ how can he ,’ but goes beyond it appealing, not to the man’s power, which conditions his success, but to the resulting matter of fact, which will be sure to substantiate his failure) take charge of (so Plato, Gorg. p. 520 a: οἱ φάσκοντες προεστάναι τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἐπιμελεῖσθαι ) the church of God ( ὁ τὰ σμικρὰ οἰκονομεῖν οὐκ εἰδώς , πῶς δύναται τῶν κρειττόνων καὶ θείων πιστευθῆναι τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν ; Thdrt. See the idea followed out popularly in Chrys.) ?

Verse 6

6 .] (the negative characteristics are resumed) not a novice ( νεόφυτον τὸν εὐθὺς πεπιστευκότα καλεῖ · ἐγὼ γάρ , φησίν , ἐφύτευσα . οὐ γάρ , οὕς τινες ὑπέλαβον , τὸν νέον τῆς ἡλικίας ἐκβάλλει , Thdrt. So Chr. ( νεοκατήχητος ), Thl. ( νεοβάπτιστος ). An objection has been raised to this precept by Schleierm., that it could hardly find place in the apostolic church, where all were νεόφυτοι . Matthies answers, that in Crete this might be so, and therefore such a precept would be out of place in the Epistle to Titus, but the Ephesian church had been many years established. But De W. rejoins to this, that the precepts are perfectly general, not of particular application. The real reply is to be found, partly by narrowing the range of νεόφυτος , partly in assigning a later date to these Epistles than is commonly held. The case here contemplated is that of one very recently converted. To ordain such a person to the ministry would, for the reason here assigned, be most unadvisable. But we cannot imagine that such period need be extended at the most to more than three or four years, in cases of men of full age who became Christians; and surely such a condition might be fulfilled in any of the Pauline churches, supposing this Epistle to bear any thing like the date which I have assigned to it in the Prolegg. ch. vii. § ii.), lest being besotted with pride (from τῦφος , smoke, steam, and hence metaphorically, the pother which a man’s pride raises about him so that he cannot see himself or others as they are. So τὰ τῆς ψυχῆς , ὄνειρος καὶ τῦφος , Marc. Antonin. ii. 17: τὸν τῦφον ὥσπερ τινὰ καπνὸν φιλοσοφίας εἰς τοὺς σοφιστὰς ἀπεσκέδασε , Plut. Mor. (p. 580 c. Palm. Lex.) Hence τυφοῦσθαι , which is used only in this metaphorical sense, to be thus blinded or bewildered with pride or self-conceit. So τετυφωμένος ταῖς εὐτυχίαις , Strabo xv. p. 686, ἐπὶ πλούτοις τε καὶ ἀρχαῖς , Lucian, Necyom. 12. See numerous other examples in Palm and Rost’s Lex., from whence the above are taken) he fall into the judgment of the devil (these last words ore ambiguous. Is τοῦ διαβόλου (1) the genitive objective (as Rom 3:8 ), ‘ the judgment into which the devil fell ,’ or (2) the genitive subjective, ‘ the judgment which is wrought by the devil? ’ (1) is held by Chrys. ( εἰς τὴν καταδίκην τὴν αὐτήν , ἣν ἐκεῖνος ἀπὸ τῆς ἀπονοίας ὑπέμεινε ), Thdrt. ( τῇ τοῦ διαβόλου τιμωρίᾳ περιπεσεῖται ), Thl., Œe., Pel., Calv. (‘in eandem cum diabolo condemnationem ruat.’ See below under (2)), Beza, Est., Grot. (‘id est, pœna qualis diabolo evenit, qui de cœlo dejectus est, 2 Peter 2:4 , nempe ob superbiam, Sir 10:13 ’), Beng., Wolf (‘repræsentato diaboli exemplo’), Heinr., Heydenreich, Mack, De W., Wiesinger, al.: and by Ellicott. (2) by Ambr. (apparently: ‘Satanas præcipitat eum’), Heumann, Matthies (“if a Christian church-overseer allowed himself to be involved in a charge of pride, the adversary ( in concreto living men, his instruments) might by it have reason as well for the accusation of the individual as for inculpation of the congregation, cf. ch. 1 Timothy 5:14 , Ephesians 4:27 ,” cited by Huther), Calv. (as an alternative: “activam significationem non rejicio, fore ut diabolo causam sui accusandi præbeat.” He adds, “sed verior Chrysostomi opinio”), Bezn (altern.), Huther.

It is hardly worth while recounting under this head, the views of those who take τοῦ διαβόλου for a slanderer , inasmuch as ὁ διάβολος never occurs in this sense in the N. T. (on διάβολος , adjective, in this sense, see below, 1Ti 3:11 ). This is done in both 1 Timothy 3:6-7 , by Luther ( Lästerer ), Rosenm., Michaelis, Wegseh., Flatt: in 1Ti 3:6 and not in 1 Timothy 3:7 , by Erasm., Mosheim, al.

In deciding between the above, one question must first be answered: are we obliged to preserve the same character of the genitive in 1Ti 3:6-7 ? because, if so, we must manifestly take (2): for ( ὀνειδισμὸν κ .) παλίδα τοῦ διαβόλου (see below) cannot bear any other meaning than ‘ the (reproach and) snare which the devil lays .’ This question must be answered, not by any mere consideration of uniformity, but by careful enquiry into the import of the substantive κρῖμα . I conceive we cannot understand it here otherwise than as a condemnatory sentence . The word is a vox media ; οὐκ εὔκρτον τὸ κρῖμα , Æsch. Suppl. 392: but the dread here expressed of falling into it necessarily confines it to its adverse sense. This being so, Bengel’s remark is noticeable: “diabolus potest opprobrium inferre, judicium non potest: non enim judicat, sed judicatur.” To this Huther answers, that we must not consider the κρῖμα of the devil as necessarily parallel with God’s κρῖμα , any more than with man’s on his neighbour. “To understand,” he continues, “the κρῖμα τοῦ διαβόλου , we must compare Ephesians 2:2 , where the devil is called τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ νῦν ἐνεργοῦν ἐν τοῖς υἱυῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας : so that whatever the world does to the reproach ( zur Schmach ) of Christ’s Church, is the doing of the spirit that works in the world, viz. of the devil.” But surely this reply is quite inadequate to justify the use of the decisive κρῖμα : and Huther himself has, by suggesting ‘ reproach ,’ evaded the real question, and taken refuge in the unquestioned meaning of the next verse. He goes on to say, that only by understanding this of a deed of the Prince of the antichristian world, can we clearly establish a connexion with the following verse, pointed out as it is by δέ . But this is still more objectionable: δὲ καί disjoins the two particulars, and introduces the latter as a separate and additional matter. From the use of the decisive word κρῖμα , I infer that it cannot be an act of the adversary which is here spoken of, but an act in which ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου κέκριται . Then as to uniformity with 1 Timothy 3:7 , I should not be disposed to make much account of it. For one who so loved similarity of external phrase, even where different meanings were to be conveyed, as St. Paul, to use the genitives in κρῖμα τοῦ διαβόλου and παγὶς τοῦ διαβόλου in these different meanings, is surely nothing which need cause surprise. τοῦ διαβόλ ου is common to both: the devil’s condemnation, and the devil’s snare, are both alike alien from the Christian, in whom, as in his divine Master, the adversary should find nothing, and with whom he should have nothing in common. The κρῖμα τοῦ διαβόλου is in fact but the consummation of that state into which the παγὶς τοῦ διαβόλου is the introduction. I therefore unhesitatingly adopt (1) the condemnation into which Satan fell through the same blinding effect of pride ).

Verse 7

7 .] Moreover ( δέ , bringing in the contrast of addition; ‘ more than this ,’ … καί , the addition itself of a new particular) he must have a good testimony (reff.) from those without (lit. ‘ those from without :’ the unusual - θεν (reff.) being added as harmonizing with the ἀπό , the testimony coming ‘from without’), lest he fall into (a question arises which must be answered before we can render the following words. Does ὀνειδισμόν (1) stand alone, ‘ into reproach, and the snare of the devil ,’ or is it (2) to be joined with παγίδα as belonging to διαβόλου ? For (1), which is the view of Thl., Est., Wolf, Heyden., Huther, Wiesinger, al. (and Ellic. doubtfully), it is alleged, that ὀνειδισμόν is separated from καὶ παγίδα by ἐμπέσῃ . But this alone cannot decide the matter. The Apostle may have intended to write merely εἰς ὀνειδισμὸν ἐμπέσῃ τοῦ διαβόλου . Then in adding καὶ παγίδα , we may well conceive that he would keep εἰς ὀν . ἐμπ . for uniformity with the preceding verse, and also not to throw κ . παγίδα into an unnatural prominence, as would be done by placing it before ἐμπέσῃ . We must then decide on other grounds. Wiesinger, seeing that the ὀνειδισμὸς τοῦ διαβόλου , if these are to be taken together, must come immediately from οἱ ἔξωθεν , objects, that he doubts whether any where the devil is said facere per se that which he facit per alterum . But surely 1Jn 3:8 is a case in point: ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐκ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐστίν , ὅτι ἀπ ʼ ἀρχῆς ὁ διάβολος ἁμαρτάνει . εἰς τοῦτο ἐφανερώθη ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ , ἵνα λύσῃ τὰ ἔργα τοῦ διαβόλου , and indeed Ephesians 2:2 , τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ νῦν ἐνεργοῦν ἐν τοῖς υἱοῖς τῆς ἀπειθείας . Huther supports this view by ch. 1 Timothy 5:14 ; but I am unable to see how that verse touches the question: for whether the ὀνειδισμός belong to τοῦ διαβ . or not, it clearly must come in either case from οἱ ἔξωθεν . One consideration in favour of this view has not been alleged: that ἡ παγὶς τοῦ διαβόλου seems, from 2 Timothy 2:26 , to be a familiar phrase with the Apostle, and therefore less likely to be joined with another governing substantive.

For (2), we have Thdrt. ( τῶν ἔξωθεν τῶν ἀπίστων λέγει . ὁ γὰρ καὶ παρ ʼ ἐκείνοις πλείστην ἔχων πρὸ τῆς χειροτονίας διαβολήν , ἐπονείδιστος ἔσται , καὶ πολλοῖς ὀνείδεσι περιβαλεῖ τὸ κοινόν , καὶ εἰς τὴν προτέραν ὅτι τάχιστα παλινδρομήσει παρανομίαν , τοῦ διαβόλου πάντα πρὸς τοῦτο μηχανωμένου ), al., Bengel (“diabolus potest antistiti malis testimoniis laboranti plurimum excitare molestiæ, per se et per homines calumniatores”), De W., al. The chief grounds for this view are, (a) grammatical that the εἰς is not repeated before παγίδα . I am not sure, whether we are right in applying such strict rules to these Pastoral Epistles: but the consideration cannot but have some weight. (b) contextual that the Apostle would hardly have alleged the mere ἐμπεσεῖν εἰς ὀνειδισμόν as a matter of sufficient importance to be parallel with ἐμπ . εἰς παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου . This latter, I own, inclines me to adopt (2), but I would not by any means speak strongly in repudiation of the other) the reproach and the snare of the devil (reff. This latter is usually taken as meaning, the danger of relapse (cf. Thdrt. cited above): so Calv.: “ne infamiæ expositus, perfrictæ frontis esse incipiat, tantoque majore licentia se prostituat ad omnem nequitiam: quod est diaboli plagis se irretire. Quid enim spei restat ubi nullus est peccati pudor?” Grot. gives it a different turn: ‘ne contumeliis notatus quærat se ulcisci.’ These, and many other references, may well be contained in the expression, and we need not, I think, be at the pains precisely to specify any one direction which the evil would take. Such an one’s steps would be shackled his freedom hampered his temper irritated his character lost and the natural result would be a fall from his place, to the detriment not of himself only, but of the Church of Christ).

Verse 8

8 .] The construction continues from the preceding the δεῖ εἶναι being in the Apostle’s mind as governing the accusatives.

In like manner (the ὡσαύτως seems introduced by the similarity of character, not merely to mark an additional particular) the deacons (mentioned as a class, besides here, only Philippians 1:1 , where, as here, they follow the ἐπίσκοποι . Phœbe, Romans 16:1 , is a διάκονος of the church at Cenchrea. The term or its cognates occur in a vaguer sense, but still indicating a special office, in Romans 12:7 ; 1 Peter 4:11 . The connexion of the ecclesiastical deacons with the seven appointed in Acts 6:0 . is very doubtful: see Chrysostom’s and Œe.’s testimony, distinguishing them, in note there. But that the ecclesiastical order sprung out of similar necessities, and had for its field of work similar objects, can hardly be doubted. See Suicer, διάκονος : Winer, Realw.: Neander, Pfl. u. Leit. i. p. 54 note) ( must be ) grave, not of double speech (= δίγλωσσος , Proverbs 11:13 (Ellic. adds διχόμυθος , Eurip. Orest. 890), not quite as Thl. ἄλλα φρονοῦντας κ . ἄλλα λέγοντας , but rather as Thdrt. (and Thl., additional), ἕτερα τούτῳ , ἕτερα δὲ ἐκείνῳ λέγοντας ), not addicted (applying themselves, reff.) to much wine (= μὴ οἴνῳ πολλῷ δεδουλωμένας , Tit 2:3 ), not greedy of gain (hardly, as E. V., to be doubly rendered , ‘ greedy of filthy lucre,’ so also Thdrt., ὁ ἐκ πραγμάτων αἰσχρῶν κ . λίαν ἀτόπων κέρδη συλλέγειν ἀνεχόμενος . It would appear from Titus 1:11 , διδάσκοντες ἃ μὴ δεῖ αἰσχροῦ κέρδους χάριν , that all κέρδος is αἰσχρόν which is set before a man as a by-end in his work for God: so likewise in 1 Peter 5:2 , ἐπισκοποῦντες μὴ … μηδὲ αἰσχροκερδῶς … ‘nor with a view to gain,’ such gain being necessarily base when thus sought. This particular of the deacons’ character assumes special importance, if we connect it with the collecting and distributing alms. Cyprian, Ep. 54 (12 ad Corn. Pap. § 1, Migne, Patr. Gr. vol. iii. p. 797), stigmatizes the deacon Felicissimus as ‘pecuniæ commissæsibi fraudator’) holding the mystery of the (or their ) faith (that great objective truth which man of himself knows not, but which the Spirit of God reveals to the faithful: cf. Romans 16:25 f.: 1 Corinthians 2:7-10 ; and even Him who in fact is that mystery, the great object of all faith: see note on 1 Timothy 3:16 , τὸ τῆς εὐσεβείας μυστήριον . That expression makes it probable that τῆς πίστεως is here to be taken subjectively: the , or their, faith : the apprehension which appropriates to them the contents of God’s revelation of Christ. That revelation of the Person of Christ, their faith’s μυστήριον , they are to hold. See Ellic.’s note) in pure conscience (see reff. and ch. 1 Timothy 1:19 . From those passages it appears, that we must not give the words a special application to their official life as deacons, but understand them of earnestness and singleness of Christian character: being in heart persuaded of the truth of that divine mystery which they profess to have apprehended by faith).

Verses 8-13

8 13 .] Precepts regarding deacons and deaconesses (see below on 1Ti 3:11 ).

Verse 10

10 .] And moreover (the δέ introduces a caution the slight contrast of a necessary addition to their mere present character. On this force of καὶ … δέ , see Hartung, i. 182: Ellic., here. There is no connexion in καὶ … δέ with the former requirements regarding ἐπίσκοποι ) let these (who answer, in their candidateship for the diaconate, to the above character) be put to the proof first (viz. with regard to their blamelessness of life, cf. ἀνέγκλ . ὄντες below: e.g. by testimonials, and publication of their intention to offer themselves: but no formal way is specified, only the reality insisted on), then let them act as deacons (or, minister : but more probably here in the narrower technical sense, as in reff. (?) Not ‘ be made deacons,’ as Conyb.: the word is of their act in the office, not of their reception of it, which is of course understood in the background), if they are (found by the δοκιμή to be) irreproachable .

Verse 11

11.] (The) women in like manner (who are these? Are they (1) women who were to serve as deacons, deaconesses? or (2) wives of the deacons? or (3) wives of the deacons and overseers? or (4) women in general? I conceive we may dismiss (4) at once, for Chrys.’s reason: τί γὰρ ἐβούλετο μεταξὺ τῶν εἰρημένων παρεμβαλεῖν τι περὶ γυναικῶν ; (3) upheld by Calv., Est., Calov., and Mack, may for the same reason, seeing that he returns to διάκονοι again in 1 Timothy 3:12 , be characterized as extremely improbable, (2) has found many supporters among modern Commentators: Luth., Beza, Beng. (who strangely adds, ‘pendet ab habentes 1Ti 3:9 ’), Rosenm., Heinr., Huther, Conyb., al., and E. V. But it has against it ( a ) the omission of all expressed reference to the deacons, such as might be given by αὐτῶν , or by τάς : ( b ) the expression of ὡσαύτως , by which the διάκονοι themselves were introduced, and which seems to mark a new ecclesiastical class: ( c ) the introduction of the injunction respecting the deacons, ἔστωσαν μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρες , as a new particular, which would hardly be if their wives had been mentioned before: ( d ) the circumstance, connected with the mention of Phœbe as διάκονος of the church at Cenchrea in Romans 16:1 , that unless these are deaconesses, there would be among these injunctions no mention of an important class of persons employed as officers of the church. We come thus to consider (1), that these γυναῖκες are deaconesses , ministræ , as Pliny calls them in his letter to Trajan (see note on Rom 16:1 ). In this view the ancients are, as far as I know, unanimous. Of the moderns, it is held by Grot., Mosh., Mich., De W., Wiesinger, Ellicott. It is alleged against it (a) that thus the return to the διάκονοι , 1 Timothy 3:12 , would be harsh, or, as Conyb. “on that view, the verse is most unnaturally interpolated in the midst of the discussion concerning the deacons.” But the ready answer to this is found in Chrys.’s view of 1 Timothy 3:12 , that under διάκονοι , and their household duties, he comprehends in fact both sexes under one: ταῦτα καὶ περὶ γυναικῶν διακόνων ἁρμόττει εἰρῆσθαι : (b) that the existence of deaconesses as an order in the ministry is after all not so clear. To this it might be answered, that even were they no where else mentioned, the present passage stands on its own grounds; and if it seemed from the context that such persons were indicated here, we should reason from this to the fact of their existence, not from the absence of other mention to their non-indication here. I decide then for (1): that these women are deaconesses ) ( must be ) grave, not slanderers (corresponds to μὴ διλόγους in the males, being the vice to which the female sex is more addicted. Cf. Eurip. Phœn. 298 ff., φιλόψογον δὲ χρῆμα θηλειῶν ἔφυ , | σμικράς τ ʼ ἀφορμὰς ἢν λάβωσι τῶν λόγων , | πλείους ἐπεισφέρουσιν · ἡδονὴ δέ τις | γυναιξί , μηδὲν ὑγιὲς ἀλλήλαις λέγειν .

διάβολος in this sense (reff.) is peculiar in N. T. to these Epistles), sober (see on 1 Timothy 3:2 , corresponding to μὴ οἴνῳ πολλῷ προσέχοντας ), faithful in all things (corresponds to μὴ αἰσχροκερδεῖς : trusty in the distribution of the alms committed to them, and in all other ministrations).

Verse 12

12 .] General directions respecting those in the diaconate (of both sexes, the female being included in the male, see Chrys. cited above), with regard to their domestic condition and duties, as above ( 1Ti 3:4-5 ) respecting the episcopate. Let the deacons be husbands of one wife (see on this above, 1Ti 3:2 ), ruling well over children (the emphatic position of the anarthrous τέκνα , as above 1 Timothy 3:4 , makes it probable that the having children to rule is to be considered as a qualification. sec Titus 1:6 , note. Chrys. gives a curious and characteristic reason for the precept: πανταχοῦ τίθησι τὴν τῶν τέκνων προστασίαν , ἵνα μὴ ἀπὸ τούτου οἱ λοιποὶ σκανδαλίζωνται ) and their own houses .

Verse 13

13 .] The importance of true and faithful service in the diaconate . For those who served well the office of deacon (the aor. participle, not the perf., because the standing-point of the sentence is at first the great day, when their διακονία has passed by. In fact this aor. participle decides between the interpretations: see below) are acquiring (the Apostle having begun by placing himself at the great day of retribution, and consequently used the aor. participle, now shifts, so to speak, the scene, and deals with their present conduct: q. d., ‘Those who shall then be found to have served well, &c.… are now , &c.’ On περιποιέω and περιποίησις , see notes, Eph 1:14 ; 1Th 5:9 ) for themselves (emphatic besides the service they are rendering to the church) a good standing-place (viz. at the great day: cf. ch. 1 Timothy 6:19 , ἀποθησαυρίζοντας ἑαυτοῖς θεμέλιον καλὸν εἰς τὸ μέλλον , ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται τῆς ὄντως ζωῆς : and Daniel 12:3 (Heb. and E. V.), where however the metaphor is different.

The interpretations of βαθμόν , a step , or place to stand on (in LXX, the threshold , or step, before a door; see reff.), have been very various. (1) Ambr., Jer., Pel., Thl., Erasm., Bull, Beza, Corn.-a-lap., Est., Grot., Lightf., Beng., Wolf, Mosh., Schöttg., Wordsw., al., understand it of a degree of ecclesiastical preferment , scil. from the office of deacon to that of presbyter, and take καλόν for a comparative. Against this is (a) the forcing of καλόν ; (b) the improbability that such a rise upwards through the ecclesiastical offices was known in the Apostle’s time: (c) the still greater unlikelihood, even if it were known, that he would propose as a motive to a deacon to fulfil his office well, the ambitious desire to rise out of it. (2) Mack, Matth., Olsh., Huther, al., following Calv. and Luther, understand by it a high place of honour in the esteem of the church (see on παῤῥησία below): “qui probe funeti fuerint hoc ministerio, non parvo honore dignos esse.” Calv. Against this is (a) that there is not a more distinct reference made to the estimation of the church; indeed that the emphatic ἑαυτοῖς (see above) is altogether against such reference: (b) that thus again an unworthy motive would be set before tha deacons: (c) that again (see below) παῤῥησία will not on this interpretation, bear any legitimate rendering. (d) the aor. part. διακονήσαντες , as before. (3) Musc., al., take it spiritually , as meaning progress in the faith . Chrys. is claimed for this view, but this is somewhat doubtful. His words are, τουτέστι , προκοπὴν καὶ παῤῥησίαν πολλὴν τὴν ἐν πίστει χρ . Ἰησοῦ · ὡσεὶ ἔλεγεν , οἱ ἐν τοῖς κάτω δείξαντες ἑαυτοὺς διεγηγερμένους , ταχέως καὶ πρὸς ἐκεῖνα ἀνελεύσονται : where, notwithstanding that προκοπήν would seem to mean subjective progress, Thl.’s explanation of ἐκεῖνα , τὰ ἀνώτερα , the higher office, seems best to fit the sentence: and thus προκοπή must be objective, preferment . But (a) the whole (especially βαθμὸν περιποιοῦνται ) is of too objective a character thus to be interpreted of a merely subjective process besides that (b) thus also the present περιποιοῦνται would require a present participle διακονοῦντες . (4) Thdrt. (below), Croc., Flatt, Heinrichs (modified: see below), De W., Wiesinger, understand it nearly as above of the station or standing-place which the faithful deacon acquires before God, with reference to his own salvation. The opinions of these Commentators are, however, somewhat various as to the exact time to which the standing on this βαθμός is to be referred. Thdrt. says: εἰ καὶ ἐλάττονα , φησί , τιμὴν ἔχουσι κατὺ τόνδε τὸν βίον , ἀλλ ʼ οὖν εἰδέναι προσήκει , ὡς τὴν ἐγχειρισθεῖσαν πεπληρωκότες διακονιαν , τὸν τιμιώτατον βαθμὸν ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι λήψονται βίῳ , καὶ τῆς πρὸς τὸν δεσπότην χριστὸν ἀπολαύσονται παῤῥησίας . Heinrichs, with whom De W. and Wiesinger are disposed to agree, understands that they procure to themselves a good expectation of salvation : a βαθμός i.e. in this life, with reference to the future one. I believe, from the form of the sentence, that the truth will be found by combining the two views. The διακονήσαντες , as above stated, is used with reference to their finished course at that day. The περιποιοῦνται transfers the scene to the present time. The βαθμός is that which they are now securing for themselves, and will be found standing on at that day: belonging therefore in part to both periods, and not necessarily involving the idea of different degrees of blessedness, though that idea (cf. 1Co 3:15 ) is familiar to St. Paul, but merely predicating the soundness of the ground on which these διάκονοι will themselves stand) and much confidence (this also is variously understood, according as βαθμός is interpreted. Those who think of ecclesiastical preferment , render παῤῥησία ‘freedom of speech as regards the faith (obj.),’ i.e. in teaching (‘ majore fiducia aliis Evangelium prædicabunt ,’ Grot.), or in resisting error, or, ‘libertas ingenue agendi,’ as Est.: or ‘a wide field for spiritual action,’ as Matthies. To these there might be no objection, but for the adjunct to παῤῥησία , ἐν πίστει τῇ ἐν χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ . Thus defined, παῤῥησία must necessarily have a subjective reference, i.e. to the confidence towards God possessed by those who have made good advance in faith in Christ, as in reff. And so Thdrt. (above), Ambr., Croc., Cocc., Flatt, Calv., Beza (these two understand it more generally, of the confidence wrought by a good conscience), Bengel, Wies., De W., Ellic., al.) in (the) faith (subjective, from what follows) which is in (see reff. ἐν denotes more the repose of faith in , εἰς the reliance of faith on , Christ) Christ Jesus ,

Verses 14-16

14 16 .] CLOSE OF THE ABOVE DIRECTIONS by a solemn statement of their object and its glorious import . These things (the foregoing precepts, most naturally: hardly, as Bengel, ‘totam epistolam’) I write (expressed in the epistolary aorist, Philemon 1:19 ; Philemon 1:21 ; but in the present, 1 Corinthians 14:37 ; 2Co 1:13 ; 2 Corinthians 13:10 ; Galatians 1:20 . ( 1Jn 1:4 ; 1 John 2:1 , &c.)) to thee, hoping (‘though I hope:’ “part. ἐλπίζων per καίπερ seu similem particulam esse resolvendum, nexus orationis docet.” Leo, cited by Huther) to come to thee sooner (than may seem ) (on the comparative, which must not be broken down into a positive, as it is by almost all the Commentators, see Joh 13:27 note, and Winer, edn. 6, § 35. 4. Also Acts 17:21 ; Acts 25:10 ; Acts 27:13 ; Hebrews 13:19 ; Hebrews 13:23 , which last is exactly parallel with this. Some supply it, before this Epistle come to thee: or, before thou shalt have need to put these precepts into practice: but the above seems simpler, and suits better the usage elsewhere): but if I should delay (coming ) (from ἐλπίζων to βραδύνω may be regarded as parenthetical, the ἵνα belonging immediately to γράφω ), that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to conduct thyself (reff. Huther would take πῶς δεῖ ἀναστρέφεσθαι generally, ‘ how men ought to behave themselves ;’ alleging, that in the preceding, there is no direct prescription how Timotheus is himself to act, and that if we supply σε (as D 1 in digest), we confine the reference of οἶκος θεοῦ to the Ephesian church. The latter objection need not detain us long. If the church in general is the house of God, then any portion of it may clearly partake of the title and the dignity. To the former, we may reply, that in fact, the whole of what has preceded does regard Timotheus’s own behaviour. He was to see to all these things to take care that all these precepts were observed) in the house of God (see reff. also Hebrews 3:2 ; Hebrews 3:5-6 , and notes: 1 Corinthians 3:16 ; 2 Corinthians 6:16 ; Ephesians 2:22 : that congregation among whom God dwells, by His Spirit); for such (the house of God: the ἥτις brings out into prominence the appository explanation, and specially applies it to the antecedent) is the congregation ( ἐκκλησίας οὐ τοὺς οἴκους λέγει τοὺς εὐκτηρίους , κατὰ τὴν τῶν πολλῶν συνήθειαν , ἀλλὰ τῶν πιστῶν τὸν σύλλογον . Theod.-mops.) of the living God (thus designated for solemnity, and to shew his personal and active presence among them), the pillar (see below) and basement (= θεμέλιος , 2 Timothy 2:19 ; ‘firmamentum.’ It is a climax, not as Bengel, “instar unius vocubuli solidissimum quiddam exprimentis:” the στύλος is the intermediate, the ἑδραίωμα the final support of the building: as Wahl, “omne id, cui ut primario et præ ceteris insigni innititur aliquid”) of the truth (these latter words are variously referred: being (1) by Camero, ErSchmid., Limborch, Le Clerc, Schöttg., Beng., Mosh., Rosenm., Heinr., Wegsch., Heydenr., Flatt, al. (see in Wolf. Not Chillingworth, as stated in Bloomf.: see below), joined with the following sentence, putting a period at ζῶντος , and proceeding στύλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας καὶ ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ἐστὶν τὸ μυστ . κ . τ . λ . To this I can only say, that if any one imagines St. Paul, or any other person capable of writing this Epistle, able to have indited such a sentence, I fear there is but little chance in arguing with him on the point in question. To say nothing of its abruptness and harshness, beyond all example even in these Epistles, how palpably does it betray the botching of modern conjectural arrangement in the wretched anti-climax στύλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα (rising in solemnity) τῆς ἀληθείας , καὶ (what grander idea, after the basement of the whole building, does the reader suppose about to follow?) ὁμολογουμένως μέγα ! These two last words, which have (see below) their appropriate majesty and grandeur in their literal use at the emphatic opening of such a sentence as the next, are thus robbed of it all, and sink into the very lowest bathos; the metaphor being dropped, and the lofty imagery ending with a vague generality. If a sentence like this occurred in the Epistle, I should feel it a weightier argument against its genuineness than any which its opponents have yet adduced.

(2) by Gregory of Nyssa (de vita Mosis: vol. i. p. 385, οὐ μόνον πέτρος καὶ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωάννης στύλοι τῆς ἐκκλησίας εἰσὶ … ὁ θεῖος ἀπόστολος … καὶ τὸν Τιμόθεον στύλον καλὸν ἐτεκτήνατο , ποιήσας αὐτόν , καθὼς φησὶ τῇ ἰδιίᾳ φωνῇ , στύλον καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας ), Chillingworth (Religion of Protestants, &c., ch. iii. 76: but he allows as possible, the reference to the Church: “if you will needs have St. Paul refer this not to Timothy, but to the Church, I will not contend about it any further, than to say, Possibly it may be otherwise”), by others mentioned in Wolf, and in our own days by Conybeare, it is taken as referring to TIMOTHEUS: “ that thou mayest know how to conduct thyself in the house of God, which is &c.… as a pillar and basement of the truth .” In the very elaborate discussion of this passage by Suicer (s. v. στύλος ), he cites those fathers who seem more or less to have favoured this idea. Of these we must manifestly not claim for it those who have merely used the word στύλος or columna of an Apostle or teacher, or individual Christian, as that is justified, independently of our passage, by Galatians 2:9 ; Revelation 3:12 : but Greg. Naz. applies the very words to Eusebius of Samosata (Ep. xliv. 1, vol. iii. (Migne) p. 39), and to Basil (Orat. xviii. 1, vol. i. p. 330): and Basil in the Catena says, εἰσὶ καὶ στύλοι τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ οἱ ἀπόστολοι , κατὰ τὸ εἰρημένον , στύλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας : and in the Epistle of the churches of Lyons and Vienne, Euseb. 1 Timothy 3:1 , it is said of Attalus, στύλον καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῶν ἐνταῦθα ἀεὶ γεγουνότα . Other cognate expressions, such as τὸ στερέωμα τῆς πίστεως (Chrys., of St. Peter, Hom. xxxii. vol. v. p. 199; and Basil, of Eusebius, as above), πίστεως ἔρεισμα (Greg. Naz., of Basil, Or. xviii. as above), τὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας στήριγμα (Thl. on Luke 22:0 , of St. Peter), θρησκείας στηρίγματα (of Pastors, Nicephorus Hist. vii. 2), are adduced by Suicer. The principal modern reasons for adopting this view have been (a) polemical as against Roman Catholic infallibility of the Church, or (b) for uniformity of symbolism, seeing that in Galatians 2:9 , Revelation 3:12 , men are compared to pillars (see this very copiously illustrated in Suicer). On both of these I shall treat expressly below.

To the grammatical construction of the sentence thus understood, there is no objection. The nominative στύλος after δεῖ would be not only allowable, but necessary, if it expressed, not a previous predicate of the understood σε , but the character which by the ἀναστρέφεσθαι he was to become or shew forth: cf. Plato and Demost. in Kühner, § 646, 2 anm., who however has not apprehended the right reason of the idiom.

But to the sentence itself thus arranged and understood, there are weighty, and I conceive fatal objections: to wit, (c) if στύλος κ . τ . λ . had been meant to apply to Timotheus, it would hardly have been possible that σε should be omitted. He would thus be the prominent object in the whole passage, not as now the least prominent, lurking behind ἀναστρέφεσθαι to make way for greater things. (d) I can hardly think, that, in this case, στύλος would have been anarthrous. Though ‘a pillar’ might be the virtual meaning, σε , τὸν στύλον , or σε ἀναστρέφεσθαι , … ὁ στύλος , would certainly be the Greek expression. (e) In this case also, the καὶ ὁμολογουμένως which follows would most naturally refer, not to the great deposit of faith in Christ which is entrusted to the church to keep, but to the very strong and unusual expression which had just been used of a young minister in the church, ‘and confessedly great is the dignity of the least of the ministers of Christ: for,’ &c. (3) The reference to THE CHURCH is upheld by Chrys. ( οὐχ ὡς ἐκεῖνος ὁ ἰουδαικὸς οἶκος θεοῦ . τοῦτο γάρ ἐστι τὸ συνέχον τὴν πίστιν καὶ τὸ κήρυγμα · ἡ γὰρ ἀλήθειά ἐστι τῆς ἐκκλησίας καὶ στύλος καὶ ἑδραίωμα . This inversion of the sentence may have arisen from taking τῆς ἀληθείας as a genitive of apposition), Thdrt. ( οἶκον θεοῦ καὶ ἐκκλησίαν τῶν πεπιστευκότων τὸν σύλλογον προσηγόρευσε . τούτους ἔφη στύλον καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας . ἐπὶ γὰρ τῆς πέτρας ἐρηρεισμένοι καὶ ἀκλόνητοι διαμένουσι , καὶ διὰ τῶν πραγμάτων κηρύττοντες τὴν τῶν δογμάτων ἀλήθειαν ), Theodor.-mops. (as cited above, on ἐκκλησία , as far as σύλλογον , then he proceeds, ὅθεν καὶ στύλον αὐτὴν καὶ ἑδραίωμα τῆς ἀληθείας ἐκάλεσεν , ὡς ἂν ἐν αὐτῇ τῆς ἀληθείας τὴν σύστασιν ἐχούσης ), Thl., Œc., Ambr., Pel., the Roman Commentators, Luth., Calv. (“nonne Ecclesia mater est piorum omnium, quæ ipsos regenerat Dei verbo, quæ educat alitque tota vita, quæ confirmat, quæ ad solidam perfectionem usque perducit? eadem quoque ratione columna veritatis prædicatur: quia doctrinæ administrandæ munus, quod Deus penes eam deposuit, unicum est instrumentum retinendæ veritatis, ne ex hominum memoria pereat”), Beza, Grot. (“veritatem sustentat atque attollit ecclesia, efficit ne labatur ex animis, efficit ut longe lateque conspiciatur”), Calov., Wolf, &c. De Wette, Huther, Wiesinger, al. And this interpretation agrees with 2 Timothy 2:19 ; see note there. But there is brought against it the objection, that there is thus introduced confusion of metaphor. The ἐκκλησία , which was the οἶκος above, now becomes στύλος , a part of the οἶκος . This is not difficult to answer. The house contains in itself both στύλος and ἑδραίωμα the pillar and the basement both belong to the house. Why may not the στύλος be taken collectively? the very word ἐκκλησία , occurring since, has pluralized the idea the building consists of the κλητοί , who are so many στύλοι why should it not in the aggregate be described as the στύλος ? This seems to me far better than, with some in Suicer, to suppose a monumental pillar, or base of an image, to be meant. The way in which the congregation of the faithful is the pillar and basement of the truth is admirably given by Thdrt. and Calvin above: viz. in that it is the element in which and medium by which the truth is conserved and upheld).

Verse 16

16 .] And (follows on the preceding: it is indeed worth all thy care to conduct thyself worthily in this house of God for that truth which is there conserved and upheld is great and glorious above all others, being (see below) none other in fact than THE LORD HIMSELF, in all His gracious manifestation and glorious triumph) confessedly (‘as is acknowledged on all hands:’ so Thucyd. vi. 90, Ἴθηρας καὶ ἄλλους τῶν ἐκεῖ ὁμολογουμένως νῦν βαρβάρων μαχιμωτάτους : Xen. Anab. ii. 6. 1, Κλέαρχος ὁμολογουμένως ἐκ πάντων τῶν ἐμπείρως αὐτοῦ ἐχόντων δόξας γενέσθαι ἀνὴρ καὶ πολεμικός , κ . τ . λ .: see other examples in Palm and Rost, Lex., and in Wetst. In this word there is a reference to the ἐκκλησία as the upholder of the truth: confessedly among the κλητοί . But we must not therefore take the word in n formal sense, ‘as we confess,’ and then in consequence regard the following words as a portion of a confession or song of praise (see below). The adverb is of too general signification for this special reference) great is the mystery (see 1 Timothy 3:9 ; that which was hidden from man until God revealed it, historically, in Redemption) of piety (see ch. 1 Timothy 2:2 , note: ‘of the religious life.’

In order to comprehend fully what follows, we must endeavour to realize the train of thought in the Apostle’s mind at the time. This ‘ mystery ’ of the life of God in man, is in fact the unfolding of Christ to and in him: the key-text to our passage being Colossians 1:27 , οἷς ἠθέλησεν ὁ θεὸς γνωρίσαι τί τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης τοῦ μυστηρίου τούτου ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὅ ἐστιν χριστὸς ἐν ὑμῖν , ἐλπὶς τῆς δόξας . This was the thought in St. Paul’s mind; that the great revelation of the religious life is, CHRIST. And in accordance with his practice in these Epistles, written as I believe, far on in his course, and after the figures and results of deep spiritual thoughts had been long familiar to him, he at once without explanation, or apology as beforetime in Colossians 1:27 , or expression of the χριστός justifying the change of gender in the relative, joins the deep and latent thought with the superficial and obvious one, and without saying that the mystery is in fact Christ, passes from the mystery to the Person of Christ as being one and the same. Then, thus passing, he is naturally led to a summary of those particulars wherein Christ has been revealed as a ground for the εὐσεβεια of His Church. And, the idea of μυστήριον being prominent before him, he selects especially those events in and by which Christ was manifested forth came forth from that secrecy in which he had beforetime been hidden in the counsels of God, and shone out to men and angels as the Lord of life and glory. Let me say in passing, that it should be noticed, in a question which now happily no longer depends on internal considerations, how completely the whole glorious sentence is marred and disjoined by the substitution of θεός . It is not the objective fact of God being manifested , of which the Apostle is speaking, but the life of God lived in the church, the truth, of which the congregation of believers is the pillar and basement, as identical ( Joh 14:6 ) with Him who is its centre and heart and stock as unfolded once for all in the unfolding of Him. The intimate and blessed link, furnished by the ὅς , assuring the Church that it is not they that live, but Christ that liveth in them, is lost if we understand μυστήριον merely as a fact, however important, historically revealed. There is hardly a passage in the N. T., in which I feel more deep personal thankfulness for the restoration of the true and wonderful connexion of the original text) who (thus, and not ‘which,’ nor ‘He who,’ should we render, preserving the same transition, from the mystery, to Him of whom now all that follows is spoken. ὅς is, as stated in Ellicott, and of course implied here, “a relative to an omitted though easily recognized antecedent, viz. Christ”) was manifested in the flesh (it has been often maintained of late, e.g. by Mack, Winer, Huther, Wiesinger, Conyb., al., that these sentences, from their parallelism and concinnity, are taken from some hymn or confession of the ancient church. We cannot absolutely say that it may not have been so: but I should on all grounds regard it as very doubtful. I can see no reason why the same person who wrote the rhetorical passages, Romans 8:38-39 ; Romans 11:33-36 ; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 , and numerous others, might not, difference of time and modified mental characteristics being allowed for, have written this also. Once written, it would be sure to gain a place among the choice and treasured sayings of the Church, and might easily find its way into liturgical use: but I should be most inclined to think that we have here its first expression. The reason which some of the above Commentators adduce for their belief, the abrupt insulation of the clauses disjoined from the thought in the context, has no weight with me: I on the other hand feel that so beautiful and majestic a sequence of thoughts springing directly from the context itself, can hardly be a fragment pieced in, but must present the free expansion of the mind of the writer in the treatment of his subject. On the sense of this clause, cf. John 1:14 , ὁ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο , and 2 Timothy 1:10 . This is put first in the rank, as being the preliminary to all the rest. It is followed by the next clause, because the assertion and assurance of Christ’s perfect unsinning righteousness was the aim of his manifestation in our flesh all those thirty years which preceded His public ministry: see below), was justified (i.e. approved to be righteous, according to the uniform Pauline usage: not as De W., al., ‘proved to be what he was.’ The Apostle is following the historical order of events during the manifestation of our Lord on earth . That this is so, is manifest by the final clause being, ἀνελήμφθη ἐν δόξῃ . I take these events then in their order, and refer this to our Lord’s baptism and temptation, in which His righteousness was approved and proved) in the Spirit (He was dwelt on by the Spirit in His baptism led up by the Spirit to His great trial, and ἐν πνεύματι , the Spirit of God being His Spirit (but cf. Ellicott’s note), that of which he said τὸ πνεῦμα μὲν πρόθυμον , ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής , He was proved to be righteous and spotless and separate from evil and its agent. See Romans 1:3-4 , where another proof of this His spiritual perfection is given, viz. the great and crowning one of the Resurrection from the dead. Some have thought of that proof here also: others, of the continued course of His miracles, especially the Resurrection: Bengel of the Resurrection and Ascension, by which He entered into His glory: alii aliter. But I prefer keeping the historical order, though I would by no means limit the δικαίωσις to that time only: then it was chiefly and prominently manifested), was seen by angels (viz. by means of His Incarnation, and specifically, when they came and ministered to Him after His temptation. This seems to be regarded as the first, or at all events is the first recorded occasion on which they ministered to Him. And thus Chrys. and Thdrt.’s remark may apply: τὴν γὰρ ἀόρατον τῆς θεότητος φύσιν οὐδὲ ἐκεῖνοι ἑώρων σαρκωθέντα δὲ ἐθεάσαντο , Thdrt.: μεθ ʼ ἡμῶν , as Chrys. This, one of the particulars of the glory and manifestation of the incarnate Saviour, is, though not immediately concerning the mystery of piety as upheld in the Church, cited as belonging to the unfolding of that mystery in Christ), was preached among the nations (that preaching commencing with the sending out of the Apostles, and though not then, in the strict technical sense, carried on ἐν ἔθνεσιν , yet being the beginning of that which waxed onward till it embraced all nations. See and compare Romans 16:26 ( Eph 3:8 ). So that we are still proceeding with our Lord’s ministry, taking ἔθνεσιν in that wider sense in which the Jews themselves are numbered among them (so also Chrys., Huther), and the fact itself as the great commencement of the proclamation of Christ to men), was believed on in the world (including all that winning of faith first from His disciples ( Joh 2:11 ), then from the Jews ( Joh 2:23; Joh 8:30 ), and Samaritans ( Joh 4:41-42 ): see also id. John 10:42 . Our clause boars with it a reminiscence of his own great saying, John 3:16 ff., οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν , ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλ ʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον . οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἵνα κρίνῃ τὸν κόσμον , ἀλλ ʼ ἵνα σωθῇ ὁ κόσμος δι ʼ αὐτοῦ . ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν οὐ κρίνεται · ὁ δὲ μὴ πιστεύων ἤδη κέκριται κ . τ . λ .), was received up in glory (at His Ascension (against De Wette, who understands it of celestial precedence ( von einem himmlischen Vorgange ): but qu. his meaning?): cf. reff.

ἐν δόξῃ is best taken as a pregnant construction was taken up into, and reigns in, glory.

It is this distinct reference to the fact of our Lord’s personal Ascension, which in my mind rules the whole sentence and makes it, whatever further reference each clause may have, a chain of links of the divine manifestation of the Person of Christ, following in chronological order from His incarnation to His assumption into glory. The order and connexion of the clauses has been very variously understood, as may be Seen in Wolf, and in De Wette. The triple antithesis, so characteristic of St. Paul, can hardly escape any reader: ἐν σαρκί , ἐνπνεύματι , ἀγγέλοις , ἔθνεσιν , ἐν κόσμῳ , ἐν δόξῃ : but further it is hardly worth while to reproduce the distinctions which Some have drawn, or motives for arrangement which they have supposed).

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 3". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/1-timothy-3.html. 1863-1878.
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