Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
THE PASTORAL EPISTLES OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO TIMOTHY AND TITUS Commentary by A. R. Faussett
Genuineness.—The ancient Church never doubted of their being canonical and written by Paul. They are in the Peschito Syriac version of the second century. Muratori's Fragment on the Canon of Scripture, at the close of the second century, acknowledges them as such. Irenæus [Against Heresies, 1; 3.3.3; 4.16.3; 2.14.8; 3.11.1; 1.16.3], quotes 1Ti 1:4, 9; 6:20; 2Ti 4:9-11; Tit 3:10. Clement of Alexandria [Miscellanies, 2, p. 457; 3, pp. 534, 536; 1, p. 350], quotes 1Ti 6:1, 20; Second Timothy, as to deaconesses; Tit 1:12. Tertullian [The Prescription against Heretics, 25; 6], quotes 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 1:14; 1Ti 1:18; 6:13, &c.; 2Ti 2:2; Tit 3:10, 11. Eusebius includes the three in the "universally acknowledged" Scriptures. Also Theophilus of Antioch [To Autolychus, 3.14], quotes 1Ti 2:1, 2; Tit 3:1, and Caius (in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 6.20]) recognizes their authenticity. Clement of Rome, in the end of the first century, in his first Epistle to the Corinthians , quotes 1Ti 2:8. Ignatius, in the beginning of the second century, in Epistle to Polycarp, , alludes to 2Ti 2:4. Polycarp, in the beginning of the second century [Epistle to the Philippians, 4], alludes to 2Ti 2:4; and in the ninth chapter to 2Ti 4:10. Hegisippus, in the end of the second century, in Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.32], alludes to 1Ti 6:3, 20. Athenagoras, in the end of the second century, alludes to 1Ti 6:16. Justin Martyr, in the middle of the second century [Dialogue with Trypho, 47], alludes to Tit 3:4. The Gnostic Marcion alone rejected these Epistles.
The HERESIES OPPOSED in them form the transition stage from Judaism, in its ascetic form, to Gnosticism, as subsequently developed. The references to Judaism and legalism are clear (1Ti 1:7; 4:3; Tit 1:10, 14; 3:9). Traces of beginning Gnosticism are also unequivocal (1Ti 1:4). The Gnostic theory of a twofold principle from the beginning, evil as well as good, appears in germ in 1Ti 4:3, &c. In 1Ti 6:20 the term Gnosis ("science") itself occurs. Another Gnostic error, namely, that "the resurrection is past," is alluded to in 2Ti 2:17, 18. The Judaism herein opposed is not that of the earlier Epistles, which upheld the law and tried to join it with faith in Christ for justification. It first passed into that phase of it which appears in the Epistle to the Colossians, whereby will-worship and angel-worship were superadded to Judaizing opinions. Then a further stage of the same evil appears in the Epistle to the Philippians (Php 3:2, 18, 19), whereby immoral practice accompanied false doctrine as to the resurrection (compare 2Ti 2:18, with 1Co 15:12, 32, 33). This descent from legality to superstition, and from superstition to godlessness, appears more matured in the references to it in these Pastoral Epistles. The false teachers now know not the true use of the law (1Ti 1:7, 8), and further, have put away good conscience as well as the faith (1Ti 1:19; 4:2); speak lies in hypocrisy, are corrupt in mind, and regard godliness as a means of earthly gain (1Ti 6:5 Tit 1:11); overthrow the faith by heresies eating as a canker, saying the resurrection is past (2Ti 2:17, 18), leading captive silly women, ever learning yet never knowing the truth, reprobate as Jannes and Jambres (2Ti 3:6, 8), defiled, unbelieving, professing to know God, but in works denying Him, abominable, disobedient, reprobate (Tit 1:15, 16). This description accords with that in the Catholic Epistles of St. John and St. Peter, and, in the Epistle to the Hebrews. This fact proves the later date of these Pastoral Epistles as compared with Paul's earlier Epistles. The Judaism reprobated herein is not that of an earlier date, so scrupulous as to the law; it was now tending to immortality of practice. On the other hand, the Gnosticism opposed in these Epistles is not the anti-Judaic Gnosticism of a later date, which arose as a consequence of the overthrow of Judaism by the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, but it was the intermediate phase between Judaism and Gnosticism, in which the Oriental and Greek elements of the latter were in a kind of amalgam with Judaism, just prior to the overthrow of Jerusalem.
The DIRECTIONS AS TO CHURCH GOVERNORS and ministers, "bishop-elders, and deacons," are such as were natural for the apostle, in prospect of his own approaching removal, to give to Timothy, the president of the Church at Ephesus, and to Titus, holding the same office in Crete, for securing the due administration of the Church when he should be no more, and at a time when heresies were rapidly springing up. Compare his similar anxiety in his address to the Ephesian elders (Ac 20:21-30). The Presbyterate (elders; priest is a contraction from presbyter) and Diaconate had existed from the earliest times in the Church (Ac 6:3; 11:30; 14:23). Timothy and Titus, as superintendents or overseers (so bishop subsequently meant), were to exercise the same power in ordaining elders at Ephesus which the apostle had exercised in his general supervision of all the Gentile churches.
The PECULIARITIES OF MODES OF THOUGHT AND EXPRESSION, are such as the difference of subject and circumstances of those addressed and those spoken of in these Epistles, as compared with the other Epistles, would lead us to expect. Some of these peculiar phrases occur also in Galatians, in which, as in the Pastoral Epistles, he, with his characteristic fervor, attacks the false teachers. Compare 1Ti 2:6; Tit 2:14, "gave Himself for us," with Ga 1:4; 1Ti 1:17; 2Ti 4:18, "for ever and ever," with Ga 1:5: "before God," 1Ti 5:21; 6:13; 2Ti 2:14; 4:1, with Ga 1:20: "a pillar," 1Ti 3:15, with Ga 2:9: "mediator," 1Ti 2:5, with Ga 3:20: "in due season," 1Ti 2:6; 6:15; Tit 1:3 with Ga 6:9.
Time and place of writing.—The First Epistle to Timothy was written not long after Paul had left Ephesus for Macedon (1Ti 1:3). Now, as Timothy was in Macedon with Paul (2Co 1:1) on the occasion of Paul's having passed from Ephesus into that country, as recorded, Ac 19:22; 20:1, whereas the First Epistle to Timothy contemplates a longer stay of Timothy in Ephesus, Mosheim supposes that Paul was nine months of the "three years" stay mostly at Ephesus (Ac 20:31) in Macedonia, and elsewhere (perhaps Crete), (the mention of only "three months" and "two years," Ac 19:8, 10, favors this, the remaining nine months being spent elsewhere); and that during these nine months Timothy, in Paul's absence, superintended the Church of Ephesus. It is not likely that Ephesus and the neighboring churches should have been left long without church officers and church organization, rules respecting which are giver in this Epistle. Moreover, Timothy was still "a youth" (1Ti 4:12), which he could hardly be called after Paul's first imprisonment, when he must have been at least thirty-four years of age. Lastly, in Ac 20:25, Paul asserts his knowledge that the Ephesians should not all see his face again, so that 1Ti 1:3 will thus refer to his sojourn at Ephesus, recorded in Ac 19:10, whence he passed into Macedonia. But the difficulty is to account for the false teachers having sprung up almost immediately (according to this theory) after the foundation of the Church. However, his visit recorded in Ac 19:1-41 was not his first visit. The beginning of the Church at Ephesus was probably made at his visit a year before (Ac 18:19-21). Apollos, Aquila and Priscilla, carried on the work (Ac 18:24-26). Thus, as to the sudden growth of false teachers, there was time enough for their springing up, especially considering that the first converts at Ephesus were under Apollos' imperfect Christian teachings at first, imbued as he was likely to be with the tenets of Philo of Alexandria, Apollos' native town, combined with John the Baptist's Old Testament teachings (Ac 18:24-26). Besides Ephesus, from its position in Asia, its notorious voluptuousness and sorcery (Ac 19:18, 19), and its lewd worship of Diana (answering to the Ph�nician Ashtoreth), was likely from the first to tinge Christianity in some of its converts with Oriental speculations and Asiatic licentiousness of practices. Thus the phenomenon of the phase of error presented in this Epistle, being intermediate between Judaism and later Gnosticism (see above), would be such as might occur at an early period in the Ephesian Church, as well as later, when we know it had open "apostles" of error (Re 2:2, 6), and Nicolaitans infamous in practice. As to the close connection between this First Epistle and the Second Epistle (which must have been written at the close of Paul's life), on which Alford relies for his theory of making the First Epistle also written at the close of Paul's life, the similarity of circumstances, the person addressed being one and the same, and either in Ephesus at the time, or at least connected with Ephesus as its church overseer, and having heretics to contend with of the same stamp as in the First Epistle, would account for the connection. There is not so great identity of tone as to compel us to adopt the theory that some years could not have elapsed between the two Epistles.
However, all these arguments against the later date may be answered. This First Epistle may refer not to the first organization of the Church under its bishops, or elders and deacons, but to the moral qualifications laid down at a later period for those officers when scandals rendered such directions needful. Indeed, the object for which he left Timothy at Ephesus he states (1Ti 1:3) to be, not to organize the Church for the first time, but to restrain the false teachers. The directions as to the choice of fit elders and deacons refer to the filling up of vacancies, not to their first appointment. The fact of there existing an institution for Church widows implies an established organization. As to Timothy's "youth," it may be spoken of comparatively young compared with Paul, now "the aged" (Phm 9), and with some of the Ephesian elders, senior to Timothy their overseer. As to Ac 20:25, we know not but that "all" of the elders of Ephesus called to Miletus "never saw Paul's face" afterwards, as he "knew" (doubtless by inspiration) would be the case, which obviates the need of Alford's lax view, that Paul was wrong in this his positive inspired anticipation (for such it was, not a mere boding surmise as to the future). Thus he probably visited Ephesus again (1Ti 1:3; 2Ti 1:18; 4:20, he would hardly have been at Miletum, so near Ephesus, without visiting Ephesus) after his first imprisonment in Rome, though all the Ephesian elders whom he had addressed formerly at Miletus did not again see him. The general similarity of subject and style, and of the state of the Church between the two Epistles, favors the view that they were near one another in date. Also, against the theory of the early date is the difficulty of defining, when, during Paul's two or three years' stay at Ephesus, we can insert an absence of Paul from Ephesus long enough for the requirements of the case, which imply a lengthened stay and superintendence of Timothy at Ephesus (see, however, 1Ti 3:14, on the other side) after having been "left" by Paul there. Timothy did not stay there when Paul left Ephesus (Ac 19:22; 20:1; 2Co 1:1). In 1Ti 3:14, Paul says, "I write, hoping to come unto thee shortly," but on the earlier occasion of his passing from Ephesus to Macedon he had no such expectation, but had planned to spend the summer in Macedon, and the winter in Corinth, (1Co 16:6). The expression "Till I come" (1Ti 4:13), implies that Timothy was not to leave his post till Paul should arrive; this and the former objection, however, do not hold good against Mosheim's theory. Moreover, Paul in his farewell address to the Ephesian elders prophetically anticipates the rise of false teachers hereafter of their own selves; therefore this First Epistle, which speaks of their actual presence at Ephesus, would naturally seem to be not prior, but subsequent, to the address, that is, will belong to the later date assigned. In the Epistle to the Ephesians no notice is taken of the Judaeo-Gnostic errors, which would have been noticed had they been really in existence; however, they are alluded to in the contemporaneous sister Epistle to Colossians (Col 2:1-23).
Whatever doubt must always remain as to the date of the First Epistle, there can be hardly any as to that of the Second Epistle. In 2Ti 4:13, Paul directs Timothy to bring the books and cloak which the apostle had left at Troas. Assuming that the visit to Troas referred to is the one mentioned in Ac 20:5-7, it will follow that the cloak and parchments lay for about seven years at Troas, that being the time that elapsed between the visit and Paul's first imprisonment at Rome: a very unlikely supposition, that he should have left either unused for so long. Again, when, during his first Roman imprisonment, he wrote to the Colossians (Col 4:14) and Philemon (Phm 24), Demas was with him; but when he was writing 2Ti 4:10, Demas had forsaken him from love of this world, and gone to Thessalonica. Again, when he wrote to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon, he had good hopes of a speedy liberation; but here in 2Ti 4:6-8, he anticipates immediate death, having been at least once already tried (2Ti 4:16). Again, he is in this Epistle represented as in closer confinement than he was when writing those former Epistles in his first imprisonment (even in the Philippians, which represent him in greater uncertainty as to his life, he cherished the hope of soon being delivered, Php 2:24; 2Ti 1:16-18; 2:9; 4:6-8, 16). Again (2Ti 4:20), he speaks of having left Trophimus sick at Miletum. This could not have been on the occasion, Ac 20:15. For Trophimus was with Paul at Jerusalem shortly afterwards (Ac 21:29). Besides, he would thus be made to speak of an event six or seven years after its occurrence, as a recent event: moreover, Timothy was, on that occasion of the apostle being at Miletum, with Paul, and therefore needed not to be informed of Trophimus' sickness there (Ac 20:4-17). Also, the statement (2Ti 4:20), "Erastus abode at Corinth," implies that Paul had shortly before been at Corinth, and left Erastus there; but Paul had not been at Corinth for several years before his first imprisonment, and in the interval Timothy had been with him, so that he did not need to write subsequently about that visit. He must therefore have been liberated after his first imprisonment (indeed, Heb 13:23, 24, expressly proves that the writer was in Italy and at liberty), and resumed his apostolic journeyings, and been imprisoned at Rome again, whence shortly before his death he wrote Second Timothy.
Eusebius [Chronicles, Anno 2083] (beginning October, A.D. 67), says, "Nero, to his other crimes, added the persecution of Christians: under him the apostles Peter and Paul consummated their martyrdom at Rome." So Jerome [On Illustrious Men], "In the fourteenth year of Nero, Paul was beheaded at Rome for Christ's sake, on the same day as Peter, and was buried on the Ostian Road, in the thirty-seventh year after the death of our Lord." Alford reasonably conjectures the Pastoral Epistles were written near this date. The interval was possibly filled up (so Clement of Rome states that Paul preached as far as "to the extremity of the west") by a journey to Spain (Ro 15:24, 28), according to his own original intention. Muratori's Fragment on the Canon of Scripture (about A.D. 170) also alleges Paul's journey into Spain. So Eusebius, Chrysostom, and Jerome. Be that as it may, he seems shortly before his second imprisonment to have visited Ephesus, where a new body of elders governed the Church (Ac 20:25), say in the latter end of A.D. 66, or beginning of 67. Supposing him thirty at his conversion, he would now be upwards of sixty, and older in constitution than in years, through continual hardship. Even four years before he called himself "Paul the aged" (Phm 9).
From Ephesus he went into Macedonia (1Ti 1:3). He may have written the First Epistle to Timothy from that country. But his use of "went," not "came," in 1Ti 1:3, "When I went into Macedonia," implies he was not there when writing. Wherever he was, he writes uncertain how long he may be detained from coming to Timothy (1Ti 3:14, 15). Birks shows the probability that he wrote from Corinth, between which city and Ephesus the communication was rapid and easy. His course, as on both former occasions, was from Macedon to Corinth. He finds a coincidence between 1Ti 2:11-14, and 1Co 14:34, as to women being silent in Church; and 1Ti 5:17, 18, and 1Co 9:8-10, as to the maintenance of ministers, on the same principle as the Mosaic law, that the ox should not be muzzled that treadeth out the corn; and 1Ti 5:19, 20, and 2Co 13:1-4, as to charges against elders. It would be natural for the apostle in the very place where these directions had been enforced, to reproduce them in his letter.
The date of the Epistle to Titus must depend on that assigned to First Timothy, with which it is connected in subject, phraseology, and tone. There is no difficulty in the Epistle to Titus, viewed by itself, in assigning it to the earlier date, namely, before Paul's first imprisonment. In Ac 18:18, 19, Paul, in journeying from Corinth to Palestine, for some cause or other landed at Ephesus. Now we find (Tit 3:13) that Apollos in going from Ephesus to Corinth was to touch at Crete (which seems to coincide with Apollos' journey from Ephesus to Corinth, recorded in Ac 18:24, 27; 19:1); therefore it is not unlikely that Paul may have taken Crete similarly on his way between Corinth and Ephesus; or, perhaps been driven out of his course to it in one of his three shipwrecks spoken of in 2Co 11:25, 26; this will account for his taking Ephesus on his way from Corinth to Palestine, though out of his regular course. At Ephesus Paul may have written the Epistle to Titus [Hug]; there he probably met Apollos and gave the Epistle to Titus to his charge, before his departure for Corinth by way of Crete, and before the apostle's departure for Jerusalem (Ac 18:19-21, 24). Moreover, on Paul's way back from Jerusalem and Antioch, he travelled some time in Upper Asia (Ac 19:1); and it was then, probably, that his intention to "winter at Nicopolis" was realized, there being a town of that name between Antioch and Tarsus, lying on Paul's route to Galatia (Tit 3:12). Thus, First Timothy will, in this theory, be placed two and a half years later (Ac 20:1; compare 1Ti 1:3).
Alford's argument for classing the Epistle to Titus with First Timothy, as written after Paul's first Roman imprisonment, stands or falls with his argument for assigning First Timothy to that date. Indeed, Hug's unobjectionable argument for the earlier date of the Epistle to Titus, favors the early date assigned to First Timothy, which is so much akin to it, if other arguments be not thought to counterbalance this. The Church of Crete had been just founded (Tit 1:5), and yet the same heresies are censured in it as in Ephesus, which shows that no argument, such as Alford alleges against the earlier date of First Timothy, can be drawn from them (Tit 1:10, 11, 15, 16; 3:9, 11). But vice versa, if, as seems likely from the arguments adduced, the First Epistle to Timothy be assigned to the later date, the Epistle to Titus must, from similarity of style, belong to the same period. Alford traces Paul's last journey before his second imprisonment thus: To Crete (Tit 1:5), Miletus (2Ti 4:20), Colosse (fulfilling his intention, Phm 22), Ephesus (1Ti 1:3; 2Ti 1:18), from which neighborhood he wrote the Epistle to Titus; Troas, Macedonia, Corinth (2Ti 4:20), Nicopolis (Tit 3:12) in Epirus, where he had intended to winter; a place in which, as being a Roman colony, he would be free from tumultuary violence, and yet would be more open to a direct attack from foes in the metropolis, Rome. Being known in Rome as the leader of the Christians, he was probably [Alford] arrested as implicated in causing the fire in A.D. 64, attributed by Nero to the Christians, and was sent to Rome by the Duumvirs of Nicopolis. There he was imprisoned as a common malefactor (2Ti 2:9); his Asiatic friends deserted him, except Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16). Demas, Crescens, and Titus, left him. Tychicus he had sent to Ephesus. Luke alone remained with him (2Ti 4:10-12). Under the circumstances he writes the Second Epistle to Timothy, most likely while Timothy was at Ephesus (2Ti 2:17; compare 1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 4:13), begging him to come to him before winter (2Ti 4:21), and anticipating his own execution soon (2Ti 4:6). Tychicus was perhaps the bearer of the Second Epistle (2Ti 4:12). His defense was not made before the emperor, for the latter was then in Greece (2Ti 4:16, 17). Tradition represents that he died by the sword, which accords with the fact that his Roman citizenship would exempt him from torture; probably late in A.D. 67 or A.D. 68, the last year of Nero.
Timothy is first mentioned, Ac 16:1, as dwelling in Lystra (not Derbe, compare Ac 20:4). His mother was a Jewess named Eunice (2Ti 1:5); his father, "a Greek" (that is, a Gentile). As Timothy is mentioned as "a disciple" in Ac 16:1, he must have been converted before, and this by Paul (1Ti 1:2), probably at his former visit to Lystra (Ac 14:6); at the same time, probably, that his Scripture-loving mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, were converted to Christ from Judaism (2Ti 3:14, 15). Not only the good report given as to him by the brethren of Lystra, but also his origin, partly Jewish, partly Gentile, adapted him specially for being Paul's assistant in missionary work, laboring as the apostle did in each place, firstly among the Jews, and then among the Gentiles. In order to obviate Jewish prejudices, he first circumcised him. He seems to have accompanied Paul in his tour through Macedonia; but when the apostle went forward to Athens, Timothy and Silas remained in Berea. Having been sent back by Paul to visit the Thessalonian Church (1Th 3:2), he brought his report of it to the apostle at Corinth (1Th 3:6). Hence we find his name joined with Paul's in the addresses of both the Epistles to Thessalonians, which were written at Corinth. We again find him "ministering to" Paul during the lengthened stay at Ephesus (Ac 19:22). Thence he was sent before Paul into Macedonia and to Corinth (1Co 4:17; 16:10). He was with Paul when he wrote the Second Epistle to Corinthians (2Co 1:1); and the following winter in Corinth, when Paul sent from thence his Epistle to the Romans (Ro 16:21). On Paul's return to Asia through Macedonia, he went forward and waited for the apostle at Troas (Ac 20:3-5). Next we find him with Paul during his imprisonment at Rome, when the apostle wrote the Epistles to Colossians (Col 1:1), Philemon (Phm 1), and Philippians (Php 1:1). He was imprisoned and set at liberty about the same time as the writer of the Hebrews (Heb 13:23). In the Pastoral Epistles, we find him mentioned as left by the apostle at Ephesus to superintend the Church there (1Ti 1:3). The last notice of him is in the request which Paul makes to him (2Ti 4:21) to "come before winter," that is about A.D. 67 [Alford]. Eusebius [Ecclesiastical History, 3.42], reports that he was first bishop of Ephesus; and [NICOPHORUS, Ecclesiastical History, 3.11], represents that he died by martyrdom. If then, St. John, as tradition represents, resided and died in that city, it must have been at a later period. Paul himself ordained or consecrated him with laying on of his own hands, and those of the presbytery, in accordance with prophetic intimations given respecting him by those possessing the prophetic gift (1Ti 1:18; 4:14 2Ti 1:6). His self-denying character is shown by his leaving home at once to accompany the apostle, and submitting to circumcision for the Gospel's sake; and also by his abstemiousness (noted in 1Ti 5:23) notwithstanding his bodily infirmities, which would have warranted a more generous diet. Timidity and a want of self-confidence and boldness in dealing with the difficulties of his position, seem to have been a defect in his otherwise beautiful character as a Christian minister (1Co 16:10; 1Ti 4:12; 2Ti 1:7).
The DESIGN of the First Epistle was: (1) to direct Timothy to charge the false teachers against continuing to teach other doctrine than that of the Gospel (1Ti 1:3-20; compare Re 2:1-6); (2) to give him instructions as to the orderly conducting of worship, the qualifications of bishops and deacons, and the selection of widows who should, in return for Church charity, do appointed service (1Ti 2:1-6:2); (3) to warn against covetousness, a sin prevalent at Ephesus, and to urge to good works (1Ti 6:3-19).
1Ti 1:1-20. Address: Paul's Design in Having Left Timothy at Ephesus, Namely, to Check False Teachers; True Use of the Law; Harmonizing with the Gospel; God's Grace in Calling Paul, Once a Blasphemer, to Experience and to Preach It; Charges to Timothy.
1. by the commandment of God—the authoritative injunction, as well as the commission, of God. In the earlier Epistles the phrase is, "by the will of God." Here it is expressed in a manner implying that a necessity was laid on him to act as an apostle, not that it was merely at his option. The same expression occurs in the doxology, probably written long after the Epistle itself [Alford] (Ro 16:26).
God our Saviour—The Father (1Ti 2:3; 4:10; Lu 1:47; 2Ti 1:9; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jude 25). It was a Jewish expression in devotion, drawn from the Old Testament (compare Ps 106:21).
Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. my own son—literally, "a genuine son" (compare Ac 16:1; 1Co 4:14-17). See Introduction.
mercy—added here, in addressing Timothy, to the ordinary salutation, "Grace unto you (Ro 1:7; 1Co 1:3, &c.), and peace." In Ga 6:16, "peace and mercy" occur. There are many similarities of style between the Epistle to the Galatians and the Pastoral Epistles (see Introduction); perhaps owing to his there, as here, having, as a leading object in writing, the correction of false teachers, especially as to the right and wrong use of the law (1Ti 1:9). If the earlier date be assigned to First Timothy, it will fall not long after, or before (according as the Epistle to the Galatians was written at Ephesus or at Corinth) the writing of the Epistle to the Galatians, which also would account for some similarity of style. "Mercy" is grace of a more tender kind, exercised towards the miserable, the experience of which in one's own case especially fits for the Gospel MINISTRY. Compare as to Paul himself (1Ti 1:14, 16; 1Co 7:25; 2Co 4:1; Heb 2:17) [Bengel]. He did not use "mercy" as to the churches, because "mercy" in all its fulness already existed towards them; but in the case of an individual minister, fresh measures of it were continually needed. "Grace" has reference to the sins of men; "mercy" to their misery. God extends His grace to men as they are guilty; His "mercy" to them as they are miserable [Trench].
Jesus Christ—The oldest manuscripts read the order, "Christ Jesus." In the Pastoral Epistles "Christ" is often put before "Jesus," to give prominence to the fact that the Messianic promises of the Old Testament, well known to Timothy (2Ti 3:15), were fulfilled in Jesus.
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,
3. Timothy's superintendence of the Church at Ephesus was as locum tenens for the apostle, and so was temporary. Thus, the office of superintending overseer, needed for a time at Ephesus or Crete, in the absence of the presiding apostle, subsequently became a permanent institution on the removal, by death, of the apostles who heretofore superintended the churches. The first title of these overseers seems to have been "angels" (Re 1:20).
As I besought thee to abide still—He meant to have added, "so I still beseech thee," but does not complete the sentence until he does so virtually, not formally, at 1Ti 1:18.
at Ephesus—Paul, in Ac 20:25, declared to the Ephesian elders, "I know that ye all shall see my face no more." If, then, as the balance of arguments seems to favor (see Introduction), this Epistle was written subsequently to Paul's first imprisonment, the apparent discrepancy between his prophecy and the event may be reconciled by considering that the terms of the former were not that he should never visit Ephesus again (which this verse implies he did), but that they all should "see his face no more." I cannot think with Birks, that this verse is compatible with his theory, that Paul did not actually visit Ephesus, though in its immediate neighborhood (compare 1Ti 3:14; 4:13). The corresponding conjunction to "as" is not given, the sentence not being completed till it is virtually so at 1Ti 1:18.
I besought—a mild word, instead of authoritative command, to Timothy, as a fellow helper.
some—The indefinite pronoun is slightly contemptuous as to them (Ga 2:12; Jude 4), [Ellicott].
teach no other doctrine—than what I have taught (Ga 1:6-9). His prophetic bodings some years before (Ac 20:29, 30) were now being realized (compare 1Ti 6:3).
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
4. fables—legends about the origin and propagation of angels, such as the false teachers taught at Colosse (Col 2:18-23). "Jewish fables" (Tit 1:14). "Profane, and old wives' fables" (1Ti 4:7; 2Ti 4:4).
genealogies—not merely such civil genealogies as were common among the Jews, whereby they traced their descent from the patriarchs, to which Paul would not object, and which he would not as here class with "fables," but Gnostic genealogies of spirits and aeons, as they called them, "Lists of Gnostic emanations" [Alford]. So Tertullian [Against Valentinian, c. 3], and Irenæus [Preface]. The Judaizers here alluded to, while maintaining the perpetual obligation of the Mosaic law, joined with it a theosophic ascetic tendency, pretending to see in it mysteries deeper than others could see. The seeds, not the full-grown Gnosticism of the post-apostolic age, then existed. This formed the transition stage between Judaism and Gnosticism. "Endless" refers to the tedious unprofitableness of their lengthy genealogies (compare Tit 3:9). Paul opposes to their "aeons," the "King of the aeons (so the Greek, 1Ti 1:17), whom be glory throughout the aeons of aeons." The word "aeons" was probably not used in the technical sense of the latter Gnostics as yet; but "the only wise God" (1Ti 1:17), by anticipation, confutes the subsequently adopted notions in the Gnostics' own phraseology.
questions—of mere speculation (Ac 25:20), not practical; generating merely curious discussions. "Questions and strifes of words" (1Ti 6:4): "to no profit" (2Ti 2:14); "gendering strifes" (2Ti 2:23). "Vain jangling" (1Ti 1:6, 7) of would-be "teachers of the law."
godly edifying—The oldest manuscripts read, "the dispensation of God," the Gospel dispensation of God towards man (1Co 9:17), "which is (has its element) in faith." Conybeare translates, "The exercising of the stewardship of God" (1Co 9:17). He infers that the false teachers in Ephesus were presbyters, which accords with the prophecy, Ac 20:30. However, the oldest Latin versions, and Irenæus and Hilary, support English Version reading. Compare 1Ti 1:5, "faith unfeigned."
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
5. But—in contrast to the doctrine of the false teachers.
the end—the aim.
the commandment—Greek, "of the charge" which you ought to urge on your flock. Referring to the same Greek word as in 1Ti 1:3, 18; here, however, in a larger sense, as including the Gospel "dispensation of God" (see on 1Ti 1:4; 1Ti 1:11), which was the sum and substance of the "charge" committed to Timothy wherewith he should "charge" his flock.
charity—LOVE; the sum and end of the law and of the Gospel alike, and that wherein the Gospel is the fulfilment of the spirit of the law in its every essential jot and tittle (Ro 13:10). The foundation is faith (1Ti 1:4), the "end" is love (1Ti 1:14; Tit 3:15).
out of—springing as from a fountain.
pure heart—a heart purified by faith (Ac 15:9; 2Ti 2:22; Tit 1:15).
good conscience—a conscience cleared from guilt by the effect of sound faith in Christ (1Ti 1:19; 1Ti 3:9; 2Ti 1:3; 1Pe 3:21). Contrast 1Ti 4:2; Tit 1:15; compare Ac 23:1. John uses "heart," where Paul would use "conscience." In Paul the understanding is the seat of conscience; the heart is the seat of love [Bengel]. A good conscience is joined with sound faith; a bad conscience with unsoundness in the faith (compare Heb 9:14).
faith unfeigned—not a hypocritical, dead, and unfruitful faith, but faith working by love (Ga 5:6). The false teachers drew men off from such a loving, working, real faith, to profitless, speculative "questions" (1Ti 1:4) and jangling (1Ti 1:6).
From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
6. From which—namely, from a pure heart, good conscience, and faith unfeigned, the well-spring of love.
having swerved—literally, "having missed the mark (the 'end') to be aimed at." It is translated, "erred," 1Ti 6:21; 2Ti 2:18. Instead of aiming at and attaining the graces above named, they "have turned aside (1Ti 5:15; 2Ti 4:4; Heb 12:13) unto vain jangling"; literally, "vain talk," about the law and genealogies of angels (1Ti 1:7; Tit 3:9; 1:10); 1Ti 6:20, "vain babblings and oppositions." It is the greatest vanity when divine things are not truthfully discussed (Ro 1:21) [Bengel].
Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
7. Sample of their "vain talk" (1Ti 1:6).
Desiring—They are would-be teachers, not really so.
the law—the Jewish law (Tit 1:14; 3:9). The Judaizers here meant seem to be distinct from those impugned in the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, who made the works of the law necessary to justification in opposition to Gospel grace. The Judaizers here meant corrupted the law with "fables," which they pretended to found on it, subversive of morals as well as of truth. Their error was not in maintaining the obligation of the law, but in abusing it by fabulous and immoral interpretations of, and additions to, it.
neither what they say, nor whereof—neither understanding their own assertions, nor the object itself about which they make them. They understand as little about the one as the other [Alford].
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
8. But—"Now we know" (Ro 3:19; 7:14).
law is good—in full agreement with God's holiness and goodness.
if a man—primarily, a teacher; then, every Christian.
use it lawfully—in its lawful place in the Gospel economy, namely, not as a means of a "'righteous man" attaining higher perfection than could be attained by the Gospel alone (1Ti 4:8; Tit 1:14), which was the perverted use to which the false teachers put it, but as a means of awakening the sense of sin in the ungodly (1Ti 1:9, 10; compare Ro 7:7-12; Ga 3:21).
Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
9. law is not made for a righteous man—not for one standing by faith in the righteousness of Christ put on him for justification,and imparted inwardly by the Spirit for sanctification. "One not forensically amenable to the law" [Alford]. For sanctification, the law gives no inward power to fulfil it; but Alford goes too far in speaking of the righteous man as "not morally needing the law." Doubtless, in proportion as he is inwardly led by the Spirit, the justified man needs not the law, which is only an outward rule (Ro 6:14; Ga 5:18, 23). But as the justified man often does not give himself up wholly to the inward leading of the Spirit, he morally needs the outward law to show him his sin and God's requirements. The reason why the ten commandments have no power to condemn the Christian, is not that they have no authority over him, but because Christ has fulfilled them as our surety (Ro 10:4).
disobedient—Greek, "not subject"; insubordinate; it is translated "unruly," Tit 1:6, 10; "lawless and disobedient" refer to opposers of the law, for whom it is "enacted" (so the Greek, for "is made").
ungodly and … sinners—Greek, he who does not reverence God, and he who openly sins against Him; the opposers of God, from the law comes.
unholy and profane—those inwardly impure, and those deserving exclusion from the outward participation in services of the sanctuary; sinners against the third and fourth commandments.
murderers—or, as the Greek may mean, "smiters" of fathers and … mothers; sinners against the fifth commandment.
manslayers—sinners against the sixth commandment.
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;
10. whoremongers, &c.—sinners against the seventh commandment.
men-stealers—that is, slave dealers. The most heinous offense against the eighth commandment. No stealing of a man's goods can equal in atrocity the stealing of a man's liberty. Slavery is not directly assailed in the New Testament; to have done so would have been to revolutionize violently the existing order of things. But Christianity teaches principles sure to undermine, and at last overthrow it, wherever Christianity has had its natural development (Mt 7:12).
liars … perjured—offenders against the ninth commandment.
if there be any other thing—answering to the tenth commandment in its widest aspect. He does not particularly specify it because his object is to bring out the grosser forms of transgression; whereas the tenth is deeply spiritual, so much so indeed, that it was by it that the sense of sin, in its subtlest form of "lust," Paul tells us (Ro 7:7), was brought home to his own conscience. Thus, Paul argues, these would-be teachers of the law, while boasting of a higher perfection through it, really bring themselves down from the Gospel elevation to the level of the grossly "lawless," for whom, not for Gospel believers, the law was designed. And in actual practice the greatest sticklers for the law as the means of moral perfection, as in this case, are those ultimately liable to fall utterly from the morality of the law. Gospel grace is the only true means of sanctification as well as of justification.
sound—healthy, spiritually wholesome (1Ti 6:3; 2Ti 1:13; Tit 1:13; 2:2), as opposed to sickly, morbid (as the Greek of "doting" means, 1Ti 6:4), and "canker" (2Ti 2:17). "The doctrine," or "teaching, which is according to godliness" (1Ti 6:3).
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
11. According to the glorious gospel—The Christian's freedom from the law as a sanctifier, as well as a justifier, implied in the previous, 1Ti 1:9, 10, is what this 1Ti 1:11 is connected with. This exemption of the righteous from the law, and assignment of it to the lawless as its true object, is "according to the Gospel of the glory (so the Greek, compare Note, see on 2Co 4:4) of the blessed God." The Gospel manifests God's glory (Eph 1:17; 3:16) in accounting "righteous" the believer, through the righteousness of Christ, without "the law" (1Ti 1:9); and in imparting that righteousness whereby he loathes all those sins against which (1Ti 1:9, 10) the law is directed. The term, "blessed," indicates at once immortality and supreme happiness. The supremely blessed One is He from whom all blessedness flows. This term, as applied to God, occurs only here and in 1Ti 6:15: appropriate in speaking here of the Gospel blessedness, in contrast to the curse on those under the law (1Ti 1:9; Ga 3:10).
committed to my trust—Translate as in the Greek order, which brings into prominent emphasis Paul, "committed in trust to me"; in contrast to the kind of law-teaching which they (who had no Gospel commission), the false teachers, assumed to themselves (1Ti 1:8; Tit 1:3).
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
12. The honor done him in having the Gospel ministry committed to him suggests the digression to what he once was, no better (1Ti 1:13) than those lawless ones described above (1Ti 1:9, 10), when the grace of our Lord (1Ti 1:14) visited him.
And—omitted in most (not all) of the oldest manuscripts.
I thank—Greek, "I have (that is, feel) gratitude."
enabled me—the same Greek verb as in Ac 9:22, "Saul increased the more in strength." An undesigned coincidence between Paul and Luke, his companion. Enabled me, namely, for the ministry. "It is not in my own strength that I bring this doctrine to men, but as strengthened and nerved by Him who saved me" [Theodoret]. Man is by nature "without strength" (Ro 5:6). True conversion and calling confer power [Bengel].
for that—the main ground of his "thanking Christ."
he counted me faithful—He foreordered and foresaw that I would be faithful to the trust committed to me. Paul's thanking God for this shows that the merit of his faithfulness was due solely to God's grace, not to his own natural strength (1Co 7:25). Faithfulness is the quality required in a steward (1Co 4:2).
putting me into—rather as in 1Th 5:9, "appointing me (in His sovereign purposes of grace) unto the ministry" (Ac 20:24).
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
13. Who was before—Greek, "Formerly being a blasphemer." "Notwithstanding that I was before a blasphemer," &c. (Ac 26:9, 11).
injurious—Greek, "insulter"; one who acts injuriously from arrogant contempt of others. Translate, Ro 1:30, "despiteful." One who added insult to injury. Bengel translates, "a despiser." I prefer the idea, contumelious to others [Wahl]. Still I agree with Bengel that "blasphemer" is against God, "persecutor," against holy men, and "insolently injurious" includes, with the idea of injuring others, that of insolent "uppishness" [Donaldson] in relation to one's self. This threefold relation to God, to one's neighbor, and to one's self, occurs often in this Epistle (1Ti 1:5, 9, 14; Tit 2:12).
I obtained mercy—God's mercy, and Paul's want of it, stand in sharp contrast [Ellicott]; Greek, "I was made the object of mercy." The sense of mercy was perpetual in the mind of the apostle (compare Note, see on 1Ti 1:2). Those who have felt mercy can best have mercy on those out of the way (Heb 5:2, 3).
because I did it ignorantly—Ignorance does not in itself deserve pardon; but it is a less culpable cause of unbelief than pride and wilful hardening of one's self against the truth (Joh 9:41; Ac 26:9). Hence it is Christ's plea of intercession for His murderers (Lu 23:34); and it is made by the apostles a mitigating circumstance in the Jews' sin, and one giving a hope of a door of repentance (Ac 3:17; Ro 10:2). The "because," &c., does not imply that ignorance was a sufficient reason for mercy being bestowed; but shows how it was possible that such a sinner could obtain mercy. The positive ground of mercy being shown to him, lies solely in the compassion of God (Tit 3:5). The ground of the ignorance lies in the unbelief, which implies that this ignorance is not unaccompanied with guilt. But there is a great difference between his honest zeal for the law, and a wilful striving against the Spirit of God (Mt 12:24-32; Lu 11:52) [Wiesinger].
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14. And—Greek, "But." Not only so (was mercy shown me), but
the grace—by which "I obtained mercy" (1Ti 1:13).
was exceeding abundant—Greek, "superabounded." Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Ro 5:20).
with faith—accompanied with faith, the opposite of "unbelief" (1Ti 1:13).
love—in contrast to "a blasphemer, persecutor, and injurious."
which is in Christ—as its element and home [Alford]: here as its source whence it flows to us.
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.
15. faithful—worthy of credit, because "God" who says it "is faithful" to His word (1Co 1:9; 1Th 5:24; 2Th 3:3; Re 21:5; 22:6). This seems to have become an axiomatic saying among Christians the phrase, "faithful saying," is peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles (1Ti 2:11; 4:9; Tit 3:8). Translate as Greek, "Faithful is the saying."
all—all possible; full; to be received by all, and with all the faculties of the soul, mind, and heart. Paul, unlike the false teachers (1Ti 1:7), understands what he is saying, and whereof he affirms; and by his simplicity of style and subject, setting forth the grand fundamental truth of salvation through Christ, confutes the false teachers' abstruse and unpractical speculations (1Co 1:18-28; Tit 2:1).
acceptation—reception (as of a boon) into the heart, as well as the understanding, with all gladness; this is faith acting on the Gospel offer, and welcoming and appropriating it (Ac 2:41).
Jesus—as manifested [Bengel].
came into the world—which was full of sin (Joh 1:29; Ro 5:12; 1Jo 2:2). This implies His pre-existence. Joh 1:9, Greek, "the true Light that, coming into the world, lighteth every man."
to save sinners—even notable sinners like Saul of Tarsus. His instance was without a rival since the ascension, in point of the greatness of the sin and the greatness of the mercy: that the consenter to Stephen, the proto-martyr's death, should be the successor of the same!
I am—not merely, "I was chief" (1Co 15:9; Eph 3:8; compare Lu 18:13). To each believer his own sins must always appear, as long as he lives, greater than those of others, which he never can know as he can know his own.
chief—the same Greek as in 1Ti 1:16, "first," which alludes to this fifteenth verse, Translate in both verses, "foremost." Well might he infer where there was mercy for him, there is mercy for all who will come to Christ (Mt 18:11; Lu 19:10).
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.
16. Howbeit—Greek, "But"; contrasting his own conscious sinfulness with God's gracious visitation of him in mercy.
for this cause—for this very purpose.
that in me—in my case.
first—"foremost." As I was "foremost" (Greek for chief, 1Ti 1:15) in sin, so God has made me the "foremost" sample of mercy.
show—to His own glory (the middle Greek, voice), Eph 2:7.
all long-suffering—Greek, "the whole (of His) long-suffering," namely, in bearing so long with me while I was a persecutor.
a pattern—a sample (1Co 10:6, 11) to assure the greatest sinners of the certainty that they shall not be rejected in coming to Christ, since even Saul found mercy. So David made his own case of pardon, notwithstanding the greatness of his sin, a sample to encourage other sinners to seek pardon (Ps 32:5, 6). The Greek for "pattern" is sometimes used for a "sketch" or outline—the filling up to take place in each man's own case.
believe on him—Belief rests ON Him as the only foundation on which faith relies.
to life everlasting—the ultimate aim which faith always keeps in view (Tit 1:2).
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
17. A suitable conclusion to the beautifully simple enunciation of the Gospel, of which his own history is a living sample or pattern. It is from the experimental sense of grace that the doxology flows [Bengel].
the King, eternal—literally, "King of the (eternal) ages." The Septuagint translates Ex 15:18, "The Lord shall reign for ages and beyond them." Ps 145:13, Margin, "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom," literally, "a kingdom of all ages." The "life everlasting" (1Ti 1:16) suggested here "the King eternal," or everlasting. It answers also to "for ever and ever" at the close, literally, "to the ages of the ages" (the countless succession of ages made up of ages).
immortal—The oldest manuscripts read, "incorruptible." The Vulgate, however, and one very old manuscript read as English Version (Ro 1:23).
invisible—(1Ti 6:16; Ex 33:20; Joh 1:18; Col 1:15; Heb 11:27).
the only wise God—The oldest manuscripts omit "wise," which probably crept in from Ro 16:27, where it is more appropriate to the context than here (compare Jude 25). "The only Potentate" (1Ti 6:15; Ps 86:10; Joh 5:44).
for ever, &c.—See note, above. The thought of eternity (terrible as it is to unbelievers) is delightful to those assured of grace (1Ti 1:16) [Bengel].
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
18. He resumes the subject begun at 1Ti 1:3. The conclusion (apodosis) to the foregoing, "as I besought thee … charge" (1Ti 1:3), is here given, if not formally, at least substantially.
This charge—namely, "that thou in them (so the Greek) mightest war," that is, fulfil thy high calling, not only as a Christian, but as a minister officially, one function of which is, to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine" (1Ti 1:3).
I commit—as a sacred deposit (1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 2:2) to be laid before thy hearers.
according to—in pursuance of; in consonance with.
the prophecies which went before on thee—the intimations given by prophets respecting thee at thy ordination, 1Ti 4:14 (as, probably, by Silas, a companion of Paul, and "a prophet," Ac 15:32). Such prophetical intimation, as well as the good report given of Timothy by the brethren (Ac 16:2), may have induced Paul to take him as his companion. Compare similar prophecies as to others: Ac 13:1-3, in connection with laying on of hands; Ac 11:28; 21:10, 11; compare 1Co 12:10; 14:1; Eph 4:11. In Ac 20:28, it is expressly said that "the Holy Ghost had made them (the Ephesian presbyters) overseers." Clement of Rome [Epistle to the Corinthians], states it was the custom of the apostles "to make trial by the Spirit," that is, by the "power of discerning," in order to determine who were to be overseers and deacons in the several churches planted. So Clement of Alexandria says as to the churches near Ephesus, that the overseers were marked out for ordination by a revelation of the Holy Ghost to St. John.
by them—Greek, "in them"; arrayed as it were in them; armed with them.
warfare—not the mere "fight" (1Ti 6:12; 2Ti 4:7), but the whole campaign; the military service. Translate as Greek, not "a," but "the good warfare."
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
19. Holding—Keeping hold of "faith" and "good conscience" (1Ti 1:5); not "putting the latter away" as "some." Faith is like a very precious liquor; a good conscience is the clean, pure glass that contains it [Bengel]. The loss of good conscience entails the shipwreck of faith. Consciousness of sin (unrepented of and forgiven) kills the germ of faith in man [Wiesinger].
which—Greek singular, namely, "good conscience," not "faith" also; however, the result of putting away good conscience is, one loses faith also.
put away—a wilful act. They thrust it from them as a troublesome monitor. It reluctantly withdraws, extruded by force, when its owner is tired of its importunity, and is resolved to retain his sin at the cost of losing it. One cannot be on friendly terms with it and with sin at one and the same time.
made shipwreck—"with respect to THE faith." Faith is the vessel in which they had professedly embarked, of which "good conscience" is the anchor. The ancient Church often used this image, comparing the course of faith to navigation. The Greek does not imply that one having once had faith makes shipwreck of it, but that they who put away good conscience "make shipwreck with respect to THE faith."
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
20. Hymenaeus—There is no difficulty in supposing him to be the Hymenæus of 2Ti 2:17. Though "delivered over to Satan" (the lord of all outside the Church, Ac 26:18, and the executor of wrath, when judicially allowed by God, on the disobedient, 1Co 5:5; 2Co 12:7), he probably was restored to the Church subsequently, and again troubled it. Paul, as an apostle, though distant at Rome pronounced the sentence to be executed at Ephesus, involving, probably, the excommunication of the offenders (Mt 18:17, 18). The sentence operated not only spiritually, but also physically, sickness, or some such visitation of God, falling on the person excommunicated, in order to bring him to repentance and salvation. Alexander here is probably "the coppersmith" who did Paul "much evil" when the latter visited Ephesus. The "delivering him to Satan" was probably the consequence of his withstanding the apostle (2Ti 4:14, 15); as the same sentence on Hymenæus was the consequence of "saying that the resurrection is past already" (2Ti 2:18; his putting away good conscience, naturally producing shipwreck concerning FAITH, 1Ti 1:19. If one's religion better not his morals, his moral deficiencies will corrupt his religion. The rain which falls pure from heaven will not continue pure if it be received in an unclean vessel [Archbishop Whately]). It is possible that he is the Alexander, then a Jew, put forward by the Jews, doubtless against Paul, at the riot in Ephesus (Ac 19:33).
that they may—not "might"; implying that the effect still continues—the sentence is as yet unremoved.
learn—Greek, "be disciplined," namely, by chastisement and suffering.
blaspheme—the name of God and Christ, by doings and teachings unworthy of their Christian profession (Ro 2:23, 24; Jas 2:7). Though the apostles had the power of excommunication, accompanied with bodily inflictions, miraculously sent (2Co 10:8), it does not follow that fallible ministers now have any power, save that of excluding from church fellowship notorious bad livers.