New Testament Backgrounds, Histories, and Introductions-- BibliographyRelated Media
Aharoni Yohanan, and Michael Avi-Yonah. The Macmillan Bible Atlas. Revised Edition. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1968.
The Babylonian Talmud. Translated into English with Notes, Glossary, and Indices under the editorship of I. Epstein. 18 vols. London: Soncino Press, 1959.
Billerbeck, P. Kommentar zun Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch. 4 vols., 1922-1928.
Bruce, F. F. New Testament History. Garden City: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1980.
________. Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977.
Childs, Brevard S. The New Testament as Canon: An Introduction. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984.
Deissman, Adlof. Light from the Ancient East. New York: Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
Guthrie, Donald. New Testament Introduction. Third edition. Revised in on volume. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1970.
Hammond's Atlas of the Bible Lands. Edited by Harry Thomas Frank. Maplewood, New Jersey: Hammond Incorporated, 1977, 1984.
House, Wayne H. Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1981.
Johnson, Elliott E. Expository Hermeneutics: An Introduction. Grand Rapids: Academic Books, 1990.
Josephus. 9 vols. With an English Translation by H. St. Thackerary, Ralph Marcus, and Louis H. Feldman. Loeb Classical Library. London, 1926-65.
Lolatch, Alfred J. Who's Who in the Talmud. Middle Village NY: Jonathan David Publishers Inc., 1984.
The Literary Guide to the Bible. Edited by Robert Alter and Frank Kermode. Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1987.
Metzger, Bruce M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.
________. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament: A Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament. Third edition. United Bible Societies, 1975.
Mishnayoth: Edited by Philip Blackman. Second edition. New York: The Judaica Press, 1963.
New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods. Edited by I. Howard Marshall. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1977.
The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1983.
The Oxford Annotated Apocrypha of the Old Testament. Expanded edition containing the Third and Fourth Books of the Maccabees and Psalm 151. Revised Standard Version. Edited by Bruce M. Metzger. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965.
Ramsay, W. M. St Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen. 3rd ed. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1897. Repr. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1949.
Ryken, Leland. Words of Life: A Literary Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987.
________. The Literature of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974.
________. How to Read The Bible as Literature. Grand Rapids: Academic Books, 1984.
Schürer, Emil. The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ. III.2 vols. Revised and Edited by Geza Vermes, Fergus Millar, and Matthew Black. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark Ltd., 1973.
Unger, Merrill F. Archaeology and the New Testament: A Companion Volume to Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1962.
Related Topics: Introduction to Theology
An Argument Of The Book Of TitusRelated Media
Paul Writes Titus As His Representative In Crete To Aid The Churches In A Prophylactic Way Against Jewish False Teachers By Appointing Those In Leadership Who Are Able To Manage God’s Household Well And Stand Against The False Teachers, And By Exhorting All Believers To Excel In Good Works So That They Might Reach Those Outside Of The Church With The Gospel
I. OPENING GREETING--SALUTATION: Paul, a bond-servant and apostle of Christ Jesus in order to help the elect come to faith and to have a deep knowledge of the truth writes to his true son in the faith, Titus, and prays that he might receive grace and peace from God the Father and their Savior Christ Jesus 1:1-4
A. The Writer: Paul writes as a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ in order to help the elect come to faith and a deep knowledge of the truth which is in keeping with godliness based upon the hope of eternal life which God promised and brought to light in Paul’s gospel 1:1-3
2. Purpose of Paul’s Apostleship:3 Paul affirms that his apostleship is for the purpose of the (coming to) faith of the elect and their deep knowledge of the truth which is in keeping with godliness based upon the hope of eternal life which God promised and brought to light in Paul’s gospel 1:1b-3
b. The Goal--Deep Knowledge of the Truth: Paul affirms that his apostleship is for the elect’s deep knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιν) of the truth which is in keeping with godliness based upon the hope of eternal life which God promised and brought to light in the gospel entrusted to Paul 1:1c-3
1) Deep Knowledge of the Truth: Paul affirms that his apostleship is for the elect’s deep knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιν) of the truth which is in keeping with godliness (κατ᾿ εὐσέβειαν)6 1:1c
2) The Foundation of the Truth--Hope: Paul affirms that the truth which is in keeping with godliness rests on the hope (ἐπ᾿ ἐλπίδι) of eternal life which God truthfully promised7 before all time8 and manifested (now)9 in the gospel which Paul entrusted10 1:2-3
B. The Reader: Paul writes to Titus as his true son in a common faith11 1:4a
II. SETTING THE CHURCH IN ORDER AGAINST FALSE TEACHERS: Paul left Titus in Crete to set the churches in order by appointing elders who are qualified to manage God’s house and to defend the faith against false teachers who must be silenced so that they (the false teachers/congregation) may be sound in the faith because the false teachers are defiled unbelievers 1:5--16
A. Setting the Church in Order--The Appointment of Elders:14 Paul left Titus in Crete to complete the unfinished task for which he was instructed of setting the church in order and appointing elders in all of the churches who are blameless and above reproach in their households because they will be God’s household managers and defenders of the faith who are not to be identified with vices but with virtues 1:5-9
1. The Task--to Set in Order and Appoint: Paul left Titus in Crete15 to complete the unfinished task, just as he instructed Titus, of setting the church in order and appointing elders16 in all the churches 1:5
2. The Qualifications for Elders: The content of Paul’s instruction to Titus for appointing leaders in the church is that they are to be blameless, above reproach, in their households because they will be God’s household managers and defenders of the faith 1:6-9
b. Private Qualifications--Household Matters:19 Paul affirms that Titus is to appoint elders in every city if they are the husband of one wife, and have children who believe (are faithful) and not unruly or rebellious 1:6b-d
1) Husband of One Wife: Paul affirms that Titus is to appoint elders in every city if they are the husband of one wife (μεᾶς γυναικὸς ἀνήρ)20 1:6b
2) Children Who Believe: Paul affirms that Titus is to appoint elders in every city if they have children who believe (or are faithful, τέκνα ε῎χων πιστά) 1:6c
3) Children Not Accused of Dissipation or Rebellion: Paul affirms that Titus is to appoint elders in every city if their children are not accused of a lack of self-control, or of rebellion (μὴ ἐν κατηγορίᾳ ἀσωτίας η῎ ἀνυπότακτα21) 1:6d
c. Public Qualifications--Negative and Positive: The reason why the church leader must be “blameless” as a husband and father is because he must be above reproach as God’s household manager (steward) and defender of the faith by not being tied to vices, but to virtues 1:7-9
1) Five Vices to Be Avoided: The reason why the church leader must be “blameless” as a husband and father is because he must be above reproach as God’s household manager (steward) by not being tied to vices 1:7
a) God’s Steward Above Reproach: The reason why the church leader (ἐπίσκοπον here, “overseer”) must be “blameless” as a husband and father (1:6) is because (γὰρ) he must be (δεῖ) above reproach as God’s household manager (steward) 1:7a
d) Not Fond of Sordid Gain: It is necessary that the church leader not be fond of sordid gain (μὴ αἰσχροκερδῆ)26 1:7f
2) Six Virtues to Be Sought: In contrast to the above vices the church leader must be “blameless” as a husband and father by being virtuous because he is God’s household manager and defender of the faith 1:8-9
a) Hospitable: It is necessary that the church leader be hospitable (φιλόξενον)27 1:8a
b) Loving Good: It is necessary that the church leader be one who loves good (φιλάγαθον)28 1:8b
c) Sensible: It is necessary that the church leader be sensible (σώφρονα)29 1:8c
e) Holding Forth the Word:32 It is necessary that the church leader hold firmly to the trustworthy message just as it has been taught in order that he may exhort in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict sound doctrine33 1:9
B. Warnings Against False Teachers: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders is because there are many false teachers who must be silenced so that they (the false teachers/congregation) may be sound in the faith because the false teachers are defiled unbelievers 1:10-16
1. Reason to Appoint Worthy Elders--False Teachers: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders is because there are many false teachers who must be silenced 1:10-13a
a. Many False Teachers: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders (1:5-9) is because (γὰρ) there are many false teachers 1:10
1) Rebellious Men: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders is because there are many rebellious34 men 1:10a
2) Empty Talkers and Deceivers: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders is because there are many empty talkers and deceivers especially (in particular) of the Jews (circumcision)35 1:10b
b. Who Must Be Silenced: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders is because there are many false teachers who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families with their teaching for self-interest (a judgment of Cretans which is supported by a Cretan prophet and confirmed by Paul) 1:11
1) Statement: The reason that Titus must appoint worthy elders is because there are many false teachers who must be silenced 1:11a
3) Support: Paul supports and confirms his accusation that the false teachers are acting out of self-interest by citing a Cretan poet/religious-teacher who indicts the Cretans as being liars, beasts, and idle sensualists 1:12-13a
a) The Testimony of a Cretan: Paul supports his judgment of the Cretan false teachers as being consumed with self-interest when he cites the Cretan poet/religious teacher38 who describes his own people as being always liars,39 evil beasts, and lazy gluttons40 1:12
b) The Confirmation of Paul: Paul confirms the Cretan teacher as being true in his description of the Cretan false teachers 1:13a
2. The Response to the Situation: Because there are many false teachers who need to be silenced Paul urges Titus to rigorously correct them in order that they (the false teachers/church) may be sound in the faith 1:13b-14
a. Exhortation to Reprove False Teachers: Because there are many false teachers who need to be silenced Paul urges Titus to severely reprove (rigorously correct)41 them 1:13b
b. Purpose in Reproving False Teachers: Paul urges Titus to severely reprove false teachers in order that (ι῞να) they42 may be sound in the faith by which he means not paying attention to Jewish myths43 and commandments of men44 who turn away from the truth45 1:13c-14
3. The Condemnation of False Teachers: Paul condemns the false teachers as being defiled in their mind and conscience and denying their profession of knowing God because through their evil actions 1:15-16
a. They Are Defiled:46 Unlike that pure for whom all things are pure, the false teachers are defiled and unbelieving in their mind and conscience and are thus defiled 1:15
1) The Pure: Paul affirms that all things are pure47 when one is pure 1:15a
2) The Defiled: In contrast to those who are pure nothing is pure when one is (morally) defiled and unbelieving--their mind and their conscience are defiled48 1:15b
III. WHAT GOD WANTS BY WAY OF GOOD WORKS:51 Paul instructs Titus to exhort different groups of believers to consider Christ’s redemption of them and thus to avoid the evil works of the false teachers and to live in such a way that those outside of the church may be attracted to the gospel 2:1--3:11
A. Instructions for Different Groups of Believers: In contrast to the false teachers Titus is instructed to speak to the congregation the things which are in accord with sound doctrine, namely, that the Cretan believers live in such a way that those outside of the church may be attracted to the gospel by their behavior 2:1-10
1. Instructions to Titus: In contrast (Σὺ δὲ) to the false teachers (1:10-16) Titus is instructed to speak to the congregation the things which are in accord with sound doctrine (upright living) 2:1
2. Instructions to Different Age Groups:52 Paul exhorts Titus to urge older men and women, young women and men, and bondslaves to live in such a way that those outside of the church may be attracted to the gospel by their behavior 2:2-10
a. Older Men: Titus instructs older men53 to be respectable in every way and especially exemplary of the cardinal Christian virtues of faith towards God, love towards all, and endurance to the End 2:2
1) Respectable: Older men should be respectable in every way 2:2a
a) Sober: Older men should be temperate/or sober (νηφάλιους)54
b) Respect: Older men should be worthy of respect/or dignity (σεμνούς)
c) Sensible: Older men should be sensible (σώφρονα)55
2) Cardinal Christian Virtues: Older men should be exemplary of the cardinal Christian virtues of faith, love and endurance 2:2b
a) Hope: Older men should be sound in faith (τῇ πίστει) [towards God]
b) Love: Older men should be sound in love (τῇ ἀγάπῃ) [towards one another]
c) Perseverance: Older men should be sound in perseverance (ὑπομονῇ) to the End56 2:2
b. Older Women: Paul instructs Titus to teach older women to be reverent, not slanderers or those addicted to wine, but teachers of what is good 2:3
1) Reverent: As with older men (ὡσαύτως), Paul instructs Titus to teach older women (Πρεσβύτιδας) to be reverent57 in the way that they live 2:3a
2) Not Slanderers: Paul instructs Titus to teach older women not to be slanderers (malicious gossips (διαβόλους) 2:3a
3) Not Addicted to Much Wine: Paul instructs Titus to teach older women not to be slaved to much wine58 2:3b
4) Teaching Good: Paul instructs Titus to teach older women to teach what is good59 2:3c
c. Younger Women: Paul exhorts the older women to advise the younger women with respect to their responsibilities as wives 2:4-5
2) Self-Controlled and Pure: Paul exhorts the older women to advise the younger women with respect to their being virtuous and chaste62 2:5a
3) Keepers of the Home and Kind: Paul exhorts the older women to advise the younger women with respect to being workers at home and kind (to servants?) 2:5b
4) Subject to Husbands: Paul exhorts the older women to advise the younger women with respect to being subject to their own husbands in order that (ι῞να) the word of God may not be dishonored (βλασφημῆται)63 2:5c
d. Young Men: As with the above (ὡσαύτως) Paul urges Titus to in instruct younger men (νεωτέρους) to be sensible (σωφρονεῖν)64 in all respects 2:6-7a
e. Titus (as a Younger Man): Paul urges Titus to fulfill the Apostolic role of modeling genuine Christian behavior in order that the opponent might be won over (not have a reason to accuse him) 2:7b-8
1) An Example of Good Works:65 Paul urges Titus to put himself forward as an example of good works66 with integrity and seriousness in teaching,67 sound in speech which is beyond contradiction (ἀκατάγνωστον) 2:7b-8a
2) Purpose of Good Works: The purpose of Titus’ good works in the community is so that (ι῞να) the opponent68 may be put to shame69 having nothing bad (evil) to say about Christian leaders (Paul and Titus and Christians in general)70 2:8b
f. Bondslaves: Paul exhorts Titus to urge bondslaves to subject themselves to their own masters in everything so that will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive 2:9-10
1) Subject Themselves to Masters: Paul exhorts Titus to urge bondslaves to subject themselves (ὑποτάσσεσθαι; middle voice) to their own masters in everything--to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing good faithfulness 2:9-10a
2) Purpose of Subjection: Paul exhorts Titus to urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything in order that (ι῞να) they may wear (in an attractive way; κοσμῶσιν) the teaching of God their Savior in every respect 2:10b
B. The Theological Basis for Christian Living:71 Paul affirms that Titus should instruct believers that they should exhibit good works as a proper response to Christ’s redemption and out of a concern for the lost for whom salvation has appeared 2:11-15
1. Concern for the Outsider: The reason that God’s people should live as commanded in 2:2-10 is because (γὰρ) God’s grace has appeared bringing salvation to all men 2:11
2. The Grace of Salvation Instructs Behavior:72 Paul affirms that Christ’s redemption of believers was to result in good works as they renounce what is evil and cling to what is good in expectation of Christ’s glorious return 2:12-14
b. Positively:76 Paul affirms that the grace of God instructs believers to live sensibly (σωφρόνως), righteously (δικαίως) and godly (εὐσεβῶς) in the present age as they look for the hope that brings blessing, namely, the appearing of the glory of their great God and Savior,77 Christ Jesus78 2:13
c. Basis: The basis of Christian behavior is Christ Himself who gave Himself for believers79 in order that he might redeem them from every lawless deed, and purify them for himself as a people for his own possession--zealous for good works80 2:14
C. Good Works for the Sake of the Outsider--Instructions for Living in State and Society:83 Paul urges Titus to remind the Cretans to do good works with respect to civil authorities and all people because God saved them from their fallen state that they might be heirs of eternal life and share this with others 3:1-8
1. A Reminder to Good Works: Paul urges Titus to remind the Cretans that they are to be subject and obedient to civil authorities, and ready for every good work by not maligning anyone, not being quarrelsome, being conciliatory, and showing humility toward all men 3:1-2
b. All Man: Paul urges Titus to remind the Cretans that they are to malign no one,86 to be uncontentious (not quarrelsome), gentle (conciliatory), and showing consideration (true humility) for all men 2:2
2. A Theological Basis for Good Works: The reason Paul appeals for the believing Cretans to do good works toward outsiders is because God saved them from their fallen state in order that they might be heirs according to the hope of eternal life 3:3-7
a. The Former State of Believers--Fallen: The reason Paul appeals for the believing Cretans to do good works toward outsiders is because (γάρ) of their former falleness 3:3
1) Foolish: Believers were once foolish87 themselves 3:3a
2) Disobedient: Believers were once disobedient (to God)88 3:3b
3) Deceived: Believers were once deceived89 3:3c
4) Enslaved: Believers were once enslaved90 to various lusts and pleasures spending their lives in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another 3:3d
b. God’s Response to the Human Condition--Salvation:91 Even through believers were in their fallen state God saved them in accordance with His mercy in order that they might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life 3:4-6
1) God Saved Rebellious Man: Even though believers were in their fallen state (δὲ) God saved them when the Savior’s kindness and love appeared92 3:4-5a
2) God’s Salvation Was According to Mercy:93 God saved believers according to His mercy by the washing94 of regeneration95 and (that is the) renewal (ἀνακαινώσεως)96 by the Holy Spirit97 Whom He richly poured out upon them98 through Jesus Christ their Savior and not by works of righteousness which they had done99 3:5b-6
3) God’s Justification Was Designed For Heirship: The purpose of God’s justification100 (ι῞να) was in order that they might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life 3:7
3. Desire for Others: Because of the trustworthiness of God’s merciful work among believers Paul urges Titus to confidently speak of God’s gracious work so that those who have believed may be careful to do good works for the profit of all men 3:8
a. God’s Salvation is Trustworthy: Paul confirms that the above affirmation of God’s merciful work among believers is trustworthy101 3:8a
b. Speak the Above Confidently: Paul urges Titus to speak of God’s merciful salvation102 confidently 3:8b
c. The Goal--Good Works: Paul desires for Titus to speak of God’s merciful salvation confidently so that those Cretan’s who have believed in God may be careful to enter into good works (because) good works are good and profitable103 for men 3:8c
D. Good Works in Contrast to False Teachers--Final Exhortations and Warnings against Errors:104 In a negative contrast to the good deeds which are exhorted above Paul exhorts Titus to urge the Cretan believers to avoid the evil works of the false teachers and to reject them if they persist in being divisive 3:9-11
1. Do Not Argue Over the Law: In a negative contrast to the good deed which are exhorted above (δὲ) Paul exhorts Titus to urge the Cretan believers to avoid unprofitable disputes concerning the Law 3:9
a. Cretan believers are to avoid foolish controversies105 3:9a
b. Cretan believers are to avoid genealogies106 3:9b
c. Cretan believers are to avoid strife and disputes about the Law107 3:9c
d. Reason: The reason Cretan believers are to avoid unprofitable disputes concerning the Law is because they are unprofitable and worthless 3:9d
2. Reject a Divisive Person: Paul urges Titus to instruct the Cretan believers to reject a factious108 man after a second warning109 with the knowledge that such a man has become perverted110 and is continuing in his sinning111 thus bringing self-condemnation112 3:10-11
IV. CONCLUSION--PERSONAL INSTRUCTIONS AND GREETINGS: Paul closes with some concluding instructions for Titus to come to him after his replacement arrives and to help Zenas and Apollos on their way, whereupon, he sends greetings, and prays that they might all receive God’s grace 3:12-15
A. Concluding Instructions: Paul concludes his instructions by urging Titus to come to him at Nicopolis, to help Zenas and Apollos on their way, and to help their people to learn to engage in good works (for others) in order that they (others) might be fruitful 3:12-14
1. Come to Nicopolis: Paul urges Titus to make every effort to come to him at Nicopolis where he has decided to spend the winter after Paul sends either Artemas or Tychicus to him113 3:12
3. Help Believers to Be Fruitful: Paul urges Titus to help their people to also learn to engage in good works117 and to meet pressing needs (of others) in order they (others) may not be unfruitful 3:14
B. Personal Greetings: Paul sends greetings from all of those who are with him to Titus and to all who love them in the faith 3:15a-b
1. Paul Sends Greetings Titus: Paul sends greetings from all of those who are with him to Titus 3:15a
2. Paul Gives Greetings to Believers: Paul greets all of those who love him and those with him118 in the faith 3:15b
C. Closing Benediction: Paul closes by praying that grace might be with all of them 3:15c
1 See the similar identifications in Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Galatians 1:10. Paul is “God’s Agent” (cf. Josh. 1:2; Jer. 7:25; Amos 3:7).
2 This latter description expresses Paul’s authority.
3 This emphasis upon the “purpose of Paul’s apostleship” is an expansion which emphasizes the purpose of this letter. Titus did not need this explanation. The letter was no doubt meant to confirm Titus who represented Paul so that the message might be extended in accordance godliness in daily life (D. Edmond Hiebert, “Titus,” Expositors Bible Commentary, 11:427).
4 Here it is with the sense of goal of purpose (BAGD, II,4).
5 Here Paul is describing the believers as God’s people in continuity with OT language (cf. Ps. 105:43; Isa. 65:9, 15). Perhaps this is for the benefit of the false teachers who require a Jewish approach to salvation (see 1:10, 14; 3:8-9).
6 This is “truth and its visible expression in correct behavior” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, p. 66). See 1 Timothy 2:2 and 3:16; 4:7-8).
7 See Numbers 23:19 (cf. Heb. 6:18).
8 This does not just refer to OT prophecy, but the eternal counsels of God (cf. 1 Cor. 2:7-10; 2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 1:4)
9 Romans 16:25-26; Col. 1:25-26.
10 Again, Paul is probably writing so that the purity of this message might be preserved.
11 This is very similar to 1 Timothy 1:2a and probably is an authentication of Titus as a legitimate one to carry on Paul’s ministry. Perhaps the emphasize upon “common” is to stress the unity of Jew (Paul) and Gentile (Titus; Gal. 2:3).
Titus is never found in the book of Acts and is only noted in the following scriptures (Gal. 2:1, 3; 2 Cor. 2:13; 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18; 2 Tim. 4:10). In view of Galatians 2 it seems probable that Titus was from Syrian-Antioch and was converted as a Gentile during the early ministry of Paul and Barnabas there (cf. Acts 11:25-26). Later, Paul brought Titus to Jerusalem as an example of how a Gentile does not have to follow the code of the Mosaic Law (be circumcised) for him to be a Christian (Galatians 2:1-3; cf. Acts 11).
The next time Titus is mentioned is in the writings of 2 Corinthians. This was during Paul’s third missionary journey while Paul was in Ephesus. On Paul’s third missionary journey Ephesus became his base of operations for three years (Acts 18:23; 19:1--20:1, 31). From Ephesus Paul made a visit to Corinth which was not recorded in the book of Acts. Paul then wrote an epistle which the church does not now possess (cf. 1 Cor. 5:9, “I wrote you in my letter ....”). Paul later sent Timothy to Corinth by way of Macedonia (1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10-11; Acts 19:22). It is doubtful whether Timothy reached Corinth before the writing of 2 Corinthians. After the sending of Timothy, news of conflicts in the Church at Corinth reached Paul through “Chloe’s people” (Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus) (1 Cor. 1:11-12; 16:17). Paul wrote 1 Corinthians in response to the reports from “Chloe’s people” and probably sent it by Titus (cf. 1 Cor. “περὶ δὲ,” and 2 Cor. 7:12-15). Either Titus, or whoever delivered 1 Corinthians, probably told the Corinthians of Paul’s intention to visit the Corinthians twice as is reported in 2 Corinthians 1:15--2:4. Paul seemed to have agreed with Titus to meet him in Troas when Titus returned from delivering the letter of 1 Corinthians to Corinth to report on the response to the Corinthian church to Paul’s severe letter of correction (2 Cor. 2:13). But Paul could not find Titus and thus went on to Macedonia (2 Cor. 2:12-13). Paul found Titus in Macedonia (2 Cor. 7:5-6) and when he heard of the response of the church to 1 Corinthians, he wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia (2 Cor. 7:5-16; 8:1; 9:2-4) and sent it back with Titus and two other men (2 Cor. 8:6, 7, 13-15, 18-20) to administer the love gift for the Jerusalem church.
When Paul later came to Corinth and wrote the book of Romans, it does not appear that Titus is still present since his name does not appear in the greetings to the Romans in Romans 16:21-23.
Titus is not heard of again until the Pastoral Epistles. Paul left him on the island of Crete (Titus 1:5). He had probably been working there for quite a while when this letter arrived and was to leave when a replacement arrived and to join Paul in Nicopolis (Titus 3:12) where apparently Paul had further Plans for Titus. Finally, Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:10 that Titus had gone to Dalmatia. Therefore, it may be assumed that he was with Paul during his second imprisonment, and had gone to Dalmatia on Christian service.
As Hiebert writes, “These scanty references to Titus reveal that he was a trustworthy, efficient, and valued young co-worker. He possessed a forceful personality, was resourceful, energetic, tactful, skillful in dealing with difficult situations, and effective in conciliating people” (“Titus”EBC, 11:422).
12 As with 1 Timothy, so is it in Titus that Paul begins without a word of thanksgiving. He moves directly to business. This is not exactly a personal letter to Titus. No doubt the church would read this aloud.
13 Note Paul’s high Christology by interchanging “our Savior” with God and then Christ Jesus (1:4; 3:4, 6).
14 It seems that Titus is more in line with preventative measures than with prescriptive measures (as with 1 Timothy). In these young churches the best offense against false teachers is a good defense by appointing leaders in the church who can stand against the false teachers. Perhaps that is why Paul begins here with the appointing of elders rather than with addressing the false (Jewish teachers, cf. 1:10) as in 1 Timothy.
In the list that follows many similarities exist with 1 Timothy 3:1-7 (five qualities are identical and five or six have points of correspondence). But there are some significant differences: (1) Titus is to appoint elders and these are qualifications for that appointment, (2) one item of duty is spelled out in this list [that they be teachers of the truth able to refute error, v.9], and (3) the list has a more orderly progresses [household matters, followed by five vices to avoid, and six virtues to be sought].
15 It is difficult to know when this was accomplished. It does not seem probable that this occurred during Paul’s trip to Rome in Acts 27:7-8. Therefore, this probably was after his first Roman imprisonment and before his second. It seems that he came to Crete with Titus, began to set things in order, and then had to leave. But he had Titus remain to continue the task which he had started (note the terms, “left,” “remains,” “directed”).
16 The term is πρεσβυτέρους. Acts 20:17, 28 and Titus 1:5 and 7 indicate that the terms for “overseers” (ἐπισκοποι--Acts 20:28; Titus 1:7) and “elders” (πρεσβυτεροι--Acts 20:17; Titus 1:5) are interchangeable. Therefore, these “elders” are probably also church leaders, “overseers.”
17 The first of the guidelines given in verse six are not in the imperative mood, but are actually indirect questions and might better read, “Is a man blameless?” (ει῎ τίς ἐστιν ἀνέγκλητος ).
18 This term describes one as being above reproach in that he cannot be “called against,” “called to account,” he is “unreprovable,” “unaccused,” and thus, “blameless” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:8; Col. 1:22; 1 Tim. 3:10; Thayer,s.v.” ἀν-έγκλητος,” p. 44).
19 This category is also present in the list in 1 Timothy 3:4-5. The way which one acts in one’s home is an indication of how one will act with the church (the household of God).
20 There are several views as to the meaning of this character quality: (1) a church leader must be married, (2) a prohibition against polygamy, (3) a prohibition against all second marriages (especially in the case of widowhood), (4) an exhortation to marital fidelity to one’s wife, and (5) a prohibition against divorce and remarriage (e.g., a one-woman man).
Meanings 1-3 above are unlikely: (1) 1 Corinthians 7:25-38 argues against the suggestion that Paul would be insisting that one must be married. It is possible that Timothy himself was not married, (2) the use of the same phrase in 1 Timothy 5:9 for widows argues against the probability that Paul is addressing polygamy since widows were not known to have multiple husbands, and (3) Romans 7:1-2 and Paul’s exhortations to widows in 1 Timothy 5:14ff make it unlikely that Paul would restrict marriage for widowers.
Therefore meanings 4 and 5 above are the most likely interpretations of the options. Also meaning four may be inclusive of meaning 5 since one’s divorce and remarriage would not demonstrate one to be a one-woman man. Our culture seems to want to work the conclusion in just the opposite direction (e.g., all one needs to be is a “one-woman” man in the relationship which one is presently engaged). Such an understanding seems to miss the overall characteristic of “above reproach.”
In any case Paul’s concern is for church leaders to lead an exemplary life in the realms of their marriage.
21 This term for rebellion is used of the false teachers in 1:10 (rebellious men, “ἀνυπότακτοι”). See also the LXX of 1 Sam. 10:27 with respect to Eli’s sons.
22 The household manager is to be a servant (cf. Mk. 10:41-45; 1 Cor. 3:5-9; 4:1-2).
24 See 1 Timothy 3:3.
25 The term literally means, “alongside of wine.” Paul is not affirming that the church leader is to necessarily be a total abstainer (cf. 5:23), but that he is not to be addicted to wine or a drunkard (cf. 3:8; Titus 1:7). Jesus himself turned the water into true wine at the Wedding in Cana (John 2). Reasons for abstaining from alcoholic beverages relate more to one’s love for others than to a biblical prohibition (Romans 12:10;14; 1 Cor. 8). Nevertheless, one is not to be addicted to strong drink, or to be drunk (cf. M. & M. p. 496).
26 See 1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:11 of the false teachers. Clearly, this list has special application in view of the false teachers in Crete (1:10-13).
27 This is one who loves strangers and thus welcomes them into his home. See 1 Timothy 3:2.
28 Perhaps especially good people.
29 This is descriptive of one who is thoughtful and self-controlled; he has his “wits about him”. See 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 2:2, 5.
30 See the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:23.
31 Together these three terms may describe one’s relationship with (1) other people, (2) with God [cf. Luke 1:75; Eph. 4:24; 1 Thess. 2:10] and then (3) with one’s self.
32 This verse is transitionary in that this qualification is a duty which has particular significance in the next unit which deals with false teachers.
33 It is of some interest to note that the thirteenth-century MS 460 includes the following addition: “Do not appoint those who have been married twice, nor make them deacons; nor may they have wives from a second marriage; neither let them approach the altar for divine service. As a servant of God, rebuke the rulers who are unjust, swindlers, liars, and merciless” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 176 n. 1:9; the Greek reads as follows: μη ζειροτονειν διγαμους μηδε διακονους αυτους ποιειν μηδδε γυναικας εχειν εκ διγαμιας, μηδε προσερχεσθωσαν εν τω θυσιαστηριω λειτουργειν το θειον. τους αρχοντας τους αδικοκριτας και αρπαγας δαι ψευστας και ανελεημονας ελεγχε ως θεου διακονος.”
34 This term was used in 1:6.
35 See Acts 10:45; 11:2; Galatians 2:7-9, 12. While these false teachers may not have been promoting the same error as the Jews in Galatians, they do seem to be promoting Jewish themes (1:14-16).
36 The early church met in the homes of people (cf. Philemon 1:2). As Fee writes, “The picture that emerges is one of a somewhat less than cohesive church structure in which a lot of the teaching activity takes place in various households. In some cases, whole households are being overturned by the false teachers, rather than, as some have suggested, some families being upset by the defection of one or two within them” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 178).
37 See 1:7.
38 Epimenides--c. 600 BC.
39 These are mere talkers, and deceivers (ψεῦσται; see 1:10).
40 In other words the actions of the false teachers is very “Cretan.”
41 This term, ε῎λεγχε, is used in 1:9 as a necessary qualification for an elder (e.g., “refute those who contradict;” see also 1 Tim. 5:20; 2 Tim. 3:16; Titus 2:15).
42 Contextually, Paul probably has the false teachers in view here (cf. 2 Tim. 2:25-26), but he may also have the congregation as a whole in view (e.g., correct the false teachers so that the congregation may be sound in the faith).
43 See 1 Tim. 1:4; 4:7. Perhaps, they were an attempt by the Jews to emphasize physical heritage (e.g., pedigrees of the patriarchs) or “far-fetched minutiae of rabbinical exegesis to the detriment of the gospel” (cf. Book of Jubilees, or Philo’s Questions and Answers on Genesis, or Pseudo-Philo’s Book of Biblical Antiquities; J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, pp. 44-45; Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 7).
44 See Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:7 = Matt. 15:9; Col. 2:22.
45 The “truth” is the truth of the Gospel which emphasizes salvation by grace rather than by religious rules and regulations.
46 This may well be speaking of Jewish food laws. They believed that some foods would defile one (cf. Acts 11).
47 See Romans 14:20; Mark 7. All things are ritually pure.
48 Paul’s point is that when one is unclean, all that one touches is unclean (cf. Hag. 2:10-14; Philo, On the Special Laws 3.208-209). Since the false teachers are unclean within, their “ritual law” does not cleanse anything. The problem is an internal one, not an external one.
As Fee writes, “his devastating punch is that, instead of becoming or keeping themselves pure by eating only pure things, they very fact that they consider anything impure and therefore need regulations for their own purity is the demonstration that the false teachers are themselves corrupted. They are so precisely because they also do not believe, that is, they do not put their trust in Christ. Thus in the Age of the Spirit, everything is new. The one who seeks purity by obedience to regulations, that is, human commandments, turns out not to be one of God’s people at all, but among the unbelieving” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 181).
49 This need not be a reference to the gnostics. The Jews are in view here, and they claimed to know God (1 Thess. 4:5; 2 Thess 1:8; Galatians 4:8; Romans 2:17-18; 1 John 2:4; James 2:14-16).
50 They find abominations everywhere, but they are an abomination; they obey human commands, but they disobey God, therefore, they are unqualified for any good work.
Paul will now describe the good which which God wants in 2:1--3:11.
51 It seems that the logical progression between chapters one and two is one of contrast. Fee writes, “the concern throughout the passage is on observable behavior, obviously in contrast to that of the ‘opponents’ described in 1:10-16, who are finally judged as unqualified for any good work. The language used is quite general and very much that which was current in pagan philosophical and religious circles, here adapted to Christian life. One gets the feeling, therefore, that the passage does not so much address ad hoc problems in Crete as it does in a more general way call for good works and a lifestyle in the part of Christians that will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive (v. 10) [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 184]. Likewise Hiebert writes, “Paul here stresses the importance of building up the inner life of believers as the best antidote against error. Sound doctrine must lead to ethical conduct in the lives of all the groups in the congregations. Emphasis falls on the family groups; the false teachers there had apparently done their greatest damage (1:11) [“Titus,” EBC, 11:435].
52 These instructions are similar to the groupings found in 1 Timothy 5:1-2. This material may be distinct from the “house codes” in Colossians 3:18--4:1, Ephesians 5:21--6:9, and 1 Peter 2:18--3:7 because these instructions are not as concerned with relationships as with character and conduct in general for the sake of the gospel’s reputation with outsiders (see Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 184, 191).
53 These are those from among whom elders would have probably been chosen (Πρεσβύτας). This explains the correlation of character traits with those of elders and overseers.
54 This term describes one who is “temperate in the use of alocholic beverages”--sober (1 Tim. 3:2,11; Tit. 2:2; BAGD, p. 538). Figuratively, it may have the sense of being free from spiritual drunkenness, excess, passion, rashness, or confusion (e.g., well balanced; cf. νήφω; 2 Tim. 4:5).
55 This is descriptive of one who is thoughtful and self-controlled; he has his “wits about him”; he is sound minded. See 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 2:5.
56 This last term may be a variation of the triad “faith, love, and hope” as in 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:11 (cf. 2 Timothy 3:10).
57 The term describes one as fitting for temple service since one is holy (ἱεροπρεπεῖς; cf. 4 Macc. 9:25; 11:20).
58 The passage reads, “μὴ οι῎νῳ πολλῷ δεδουλωμένας.” See 1 Timothy 3:8, 11.
59 The term is unique in all Greek literature, “καλοδιδασκάλους.” This may be a teaching by word and example.
60 The term is σοφρονίζωσιν which occurred in 2:2 above meaning “sensible,” or “to bring one to one’s senses.” Paul may be urging the older women to “wise up” the younger women with their responsibilities as wives.
61 In the culture of Paul’s day most younger women would be married.
62 As Fee writes, “The next work, self-controlled, is identical to what was said of the older men in verse 2. However, this is one of the most frequent words used by contemporary writers to describe a good wife, and most often it intends to describe her as a virtuous woman .... Therefore, in this context self-controlled and pure probably mean ‘virtuous and chaste” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 187).
63 This presents the first of several statements that good works are for the sake of nonbelievers (cf. 2:10, 11, 14; 3:2, 8, 14).
64 See 2:2, 4, 5 above. This is descriptive of one who has his wits about him.
65 These good works are probably related to Titus’ responsibilities in the community.
66 This is in contrast to the false teachers in 1:16, “worthless for any good work.” Titus is to set himself along side of the young men as “type,” “shadow,” “example” of good works (σεαυτὸν παρεχόμενος τύπον καλῶν ε῎ργων).
67 This is in contrast with the false teachers of 1:10-16.
68 The word is singular not plural as in the NIV (ὁ ἑξ ἐναντίας). Suggestions of identity have been Satan, those within the church (1:10-16), either of the above, and those outside of the church. It is difficult to know for certain.
69 Two senses are possible here: (1) that the opponent might be ashamed in a judgment [e.g., disgraced], or (2) that the opponent might be shamed into repentance (cf. 2 Thess 3:14; Rom. 12:17-21). The latter is the more probable contextually. Paul is not so concerned with sending people to judgment as with winning them over to the truth.
70 As Fee writes, “Paul’s point is not that the opponent should not be able to point out evil in Titus’ doctrine--although that would follow--but in his conduct, which in turn would also implicate Paul (about us).
71 This section provides the theological basis for the imperatives given in 1:10--2:10. Note that Fee writes, “It should be noted that this concern for ‘good works’ is not non-Pauline, as some suppose. Paul avoids this language in the earlier controversial letters because his opponents were trying to establish a righteousness based on ‘works of Law.’ But from the beginning Paul expected the encounter with grace to issue in proper behavior, which only later he calls ‘good woks’ (cf. Eph. 2:8-10) [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 199].
72 Paul often speaks in negative and positive ways about Christian behavior (Rom. 6:5-14; Gal. 5:16-26; Col. 3:8-14).
73 This statement corresponds with the first goal of Christ’s redemption of believers in 2:14.
74 See Romans 1:18. The term is ἀσέβειαν which is the opposite of εὐσεβεια.
75 These are passions or desires (ἐπιθυμίας) which are enticed by the world-system (κοσμικὰς) which is opposed to God (cf. 1 John 2:15-17).
76 This corresponds with the second goal of Christ’s redemption of believers in 2:14.
77 This is one person, Christ Jesus. The article before great controls both God and Savior (τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σοτῆρος ἡμῶν). The Father is nowhere else said to be joining the Son in the Second Coming.
78 Christ is the manifestation of God’s glory.
79 See Galatians 1:4; Mark 10:45.
80 Paul is adapting language for the people of God in the OT to NT saints (cf. Ps. 130:8; Ezk. 37:23; Ex. 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18).
81 This is with the authority which Titus has in his relationship with Paul.
82 This may be similar to 1 Timothy 4:12 only Titus’ youth is not mentioned. Perhaps he was older than Timothy.
83 As Fee writes, “This section, however, makes a decided turn in the argument. In 2:1-14 the concern for ‘good works’ had to do largely with relationships between believers, which when seen by outsiders would keep them from ‘maligning the gospel’ (2:5) and perhaps would even attract them to it (2:10). Now the interest centers in the effect of Christian behavior upon outsiders (3:1-2, 8).
84 See Romans 13:1-8; Acts 4:19; 1 Timothy 2:2; Revelation 6:9-11; 12:11; 13-14.
85 See the false teachers in 1:16. This good work may not only be a reference to that which is civic duty. It could also be transitionary to the list that follows in verse 2.
86 Note that the term is βλασφημεῖν (to insult). This is unlike the false teachers (3:9).
87 Without understanding (ἀνόητοι).
88 See 1:16.
89 Or misguided (πλανώμενοι) as by Satan (cf. 1 Tim. 4:1-2; 2 Cor. 4:4).
90 The term is δουλεύοντες.
91 This sentence (verses 4-7) is creedal presenting Pauline soteriology in a highly condensed form (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 203).
92 While there is a historical time when God’s kindness appeared in the incarnate Christ, this appearance may better be understood to be an individual experience of His kindness and love at the time of their rebirth and renewal (3:5).
93 Note that the trinity are involved in this salvation--God the Father, Son and Spirit.
94 The washing is probably more in line with spiritual cleansing than with baptism. But if baptism is in view it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
95 Rebirth (παλιγγενεσίας; cf. Matt. 19:28).
96 Romans 12:2; cf. also 2 Cor. 5:14-17.
97 Three basic view are held to regarding the meaning of this larger phrase: (1) The washing refers to conversion (or baptism) and renewal refers to the coming of the Spirit referring to two realities (a Holiness-Pentecostal view), (2) The washing refers solely to baptism and “regeneration and renewal” are controlled by it in that the Spirit effects these things at baptism (baptismal regeneration), and (3) the washing alludes to baptism but is a metaphor for spiritual cleansing and emphasizes the cleansing, regenerative work of the Holy Spirit (e.g., “through the washing by the Holy Spirit that brings rebirth and renewal) (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 204-205). This third view is correlates best with Pauline theology elsewhere (1 Cor. 2:6-16; Rom. 6--8) and conforms to the emphases of the sentence itself.
98 See Joel 2:28-30; Acts 2:17-18.
99 Ephesians 2:8-9; Phil. 3:9; 2 Timothy 1:9.
100 The term is δικαιωθέντες--a very Pauline expression.
101 See also 1 Timothy 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11. This is the second instance where the saying follows the point (cf. 1 Tim. 4:9). The “statement” is verses 4-7 since they are one complete sentence in Greek.
102 And possibly all of 3:1-7.
103 They are profitable not only because of the good impact they have upon people, but because they lead them to the gospel.
104 Fee discusses the argument of this unit well with the following observations: “With these final exhortations Paul brings the ‘argument’ of the letter, which began in 1:5, to its fitting conclusion. Actually these verses do not so much form a new paragraph as bring the paragraph begun in 3:1 to a conclusion, by way of some contrasts with verse 8 (through the motif of profitable and unprofitable deeds). At the same time, however, the contrasts in verse 9 also reach back to 1:10-16, thus bringing the whole letter to conclusion.
The net result is that the argument form 1:10 (which hinges on 1:9) to 3:11 forms a kind of chiasmus:
a 1:10-16--warnings against the false teachers, with their ‘false works’
b 2:1-14--specific ‘good works’ for specific believers, with the outsider in view, plus their theological basis
b’ 3:1-8--once again, ‘good works’ for outsiders, this time directed toward them, and again with their theological basis
a’ 3:9-11--final warning against the false teachers and their ‘false works’” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 210).
105 See 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Tim. 2:23. Perhaps these are questions, word battles resulting in division in the community (see the warnings in Galatians 5:21 and Romans 1:29).
106 See 1 Timothy 1:4. They were probably some kind of Jewish discussions about origins. It is not possible to be specific beyond this. Perhaps, they were an attempt by the Jews to emphasize physical heritage (e.g., pedigrees of the patriarchs) or “far-fetched minutiae of rabbinical exegesis to the detriment of the gospel” (cf. Book of Jubilees, or Philo’s Questions and Answers on Genesis, or Pseudo-Philo’s Book of Biblical Antiquities; J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, pp. 44-45; Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 7).
107 This is an important clue that the false teachers were in some way related to Judaism. These disputes were related to the Law!
108 This term (αἱρετικὸν) became transliterated and later identified with the concept of a heretic! But this may be saying too much because the issue was one’s behavior (e.g., divisiveness), and not simply one’s theology. Therefore, the issue is not so much whether one agrees with another as much as whether one is dividing the body with their views. Fee’s words may be appropriate, “Unfortunately, all too often in the church the ‘orthodox,’ in ferreting out ‘heretics’ (i.e., people who hold different views from mine), have become the divisive ones!” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 211).
109 These warnings are to be admonishments.
110 This is a perfect tense, ἐξέστραπται.
111 This is a present tense, ἁμαρτάνει.
112 In other words, “by his very persistence in his sinful behavior he has condemned himself, thus putting himself on the outside, hence to be rejected by Titus and the church” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 212). This is not necessarily speaking of his eternal state. Note that there is a similar warning at the end of Romans (16:17-20).
113 It seems that either Artemas or Tychichus was to be a replacement for Titus in Crete. Nothing is known about Artemas, but Tychichus is mentioned in Acts 20:4; Colossians 4:7 and Ephesians 6:21). Fee writes, “On the basis of Paul’s eventually having sent Tychicus to Ephesus (2 Tim. 4:12) and of Titus’ departure for Dalmatia (2 Tim. 4:10), up the coast from Nicopolis, we may safely conjecture that the plan eventually materialized with the sending of Artemas” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 214.
114 Perhaps an expert in Roman law (e.g., a jurist).
115 He is the well known Alexandrian preacher/teacher (Acts 18:24--19:1; 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4-22; 16:12).
116 Perhaps they are the ones who have delivered the letter to Titus from Paul. Such assistance was a common Christian practice (Acts 15:3; 21:5; Rom. 15:24; 1 Cor. 16:6, 11; 2 Cor. 1:16; 3 John 6).
117 See 3:8.
118 Probably some of the Cretans have been disloyal to Paul and his companions with the gospel.
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Argument Of The Book Of 2 TimothyRelated Media
Paul Writes As A Man Whose Life And Ministry Is Nearly At An End To Not Only Request That Timothy Join Him In Rome, But To Encourage Timothy To Be Loyal To The Lord, Paul And Especially The Gospel Ministry Under Any And All Circumstances As He Gently, But Firmly Resists The False Teachers In Ephesus Knowing That The Lord Will Reward Him For Faithfulness Just As He Is About To Reward Paul
I. INTRODUCTION: As a chosen apostle with an eye to his future life Paul writes to his dear son Timothy, prays that he might receive grace, mercy and peace from God, and thanks God for the faith which is within him 1:1-5
A. Salutation: As a chosen apostle with an eye to the future Paul writes to his dear son Timothy and prays for grace, mercy and peace from the father and Christ Jesus their Lord 1:1-2
2. The Reader: Paul writes to Timothy his dear son4 1:2a
3. The Greeting: Paul prays for Timothy to receive grace mercy and peace from the Father and Christ Jesus their Lord 1:2b
B. Thanksgiving:5 In a spirit of continuity in the faith and with a longing to see him again Paul regularly gives thanks to God for Timothy because of his genuine faith(fulness) 1:3-5
1. Paul Gives Thanks for Timothy: Paul, as one who serves God with a clear conscience as his forefathers did,6 gives thanks to God for Timothy as he constantly remembers him in his regular times (day and night) of prayer 1:3
3. Reason for Thanksgiving--Timothy’s Faith: The reason Paul gives thanks for Timothy is because he knows of the genuine faith9 within him which was first10 in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice11 1:5
II. APPEALS TO LOYALTY (STEADFASTNESS) IN THE MINISTRY: Paul urges Timothy to not be like many in Asia who are disloyal, but to be loyal to the Lord, Paul, and especially the gospel ministry, which has been given to him by investing it in faithful men who will teach it to others because the Lord will certainly reward him (and all faithful believers) in the eschatological future for his willingness to endure suffering 1:6--2:13
A. An Appeal to Loyalty Despite Hardship: Paul urges Timothy to fan into flame the Spiritual gift of his ministry of the gospel and to thus join Paul in suffering for the gospel without personal shame because it is the message of salvation which they are already partakers of through Christ Jesus and Paul is certain that God will guard their lives until that End day 1:6-14
1. Empowering of the Holy Spirit: Because of the genuine faith that Paul is persuaded that Timothy has, he urges him to kindle afresh (fan into flame) the Spiritual gift which is in him through the laying on of Paul’s hands because that gift will enable him to stand against the false teachers with power, love, and soundmindedness 1:6-7
a. Exhortation: Because (Δι ᾿) of the genuine faith that Paul is persuaded that Timothy has, he urges him to kindle afresh the gift12 of God which is in him through the laying on of Paul’s hands 1:6
b. Reason: The reason (γὰρ) Paul urges Timothy to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in him is because God has not given to them a spirit13 of timidity, but a spirit of power,14 love,15 and discipline (or soundmindeness)16 1:7
2. Appeal--Do Not Be Ashamed But Join in Suffering: Because the Spirit has given to them power, love and soundmindness Paul concludes that Timothy should not be ashamed of the testimony of their Lord, or of Paul, the Lord’s prisoner, but that Timothy should join Paul in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God 1:8
a. Do Not Be Ashamed: Because the Spirit has given to them power, love and soundmindnesses Paul concludes, therefore (ου῏ν), that Timothy should not be ashamed of the testimony of their Lord, or of Paul, the Lord’s prisoner 1:8a
b. Join in Suffering: In contrast to being ashamed of their Lord, or of Paul, Timothy is exhorted to join Paul in suffering for the gospel17 according to the power of God 1:8b
3. Basis of Appeal--The Gospel [First Loyalty]: Paul urges Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel because it is the message of God’s salvation and calling of believers to holiness in accordance with God’s own purpose and grace which were hidden in eternity past but are now revealed in Christ Jesus who is their savior and has overcome death with life of which they are presently a part (to light) 1:9-10
a. Salvation and Calling: God has saved believers (leaders, Paul and Timothy specifically) and called them with a holy life18 1:9
b. Not According to Works, But God’s Purpose and Grace: God has saved and called believers not according to their (good) works, but according to His own purpose and grace granted in Christ Jesus from all eternity (past)19 1:9b
c. The Revealed Christ: God’s salvation and calling are realized through the appearing of the savior of believers, Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light20 through the gospel 1:10
4. Paul’s Example [Second Loyalty]: Paul affirms that the gospel is that for which he was appointed a preacher/apostle/teacher and that he suffers as a fulfillment of his commission resulting in no personal shame, but confidence in God’s ability to guard his life until the End 1:11-12
a. Appointed for the Gospel: Paul affirms that the gospel (described above) is that for which he was appointed a preacher, an apostle and a teacher 1:11
b. Suffers Because of the Gospel: Paul affirms that it is because he fulfills his commission (as a preacher/apostle/teacher) for the gospel that he suffers21 and is not suffering personal shame because he knows Christ in whom he has trusted, and is convinced that His is able to guard what he has entrusted to Him (his life)22 until that day23 1:12
5. Timothy’s Ministry [Third Loyalty]: Paul urges Timothy to retain and guard by the help of the Holy Spirit the standard of sound teaching which he has heard from Paul with the modeling of faithfulness and love which are in Christ Jesus 1:13-14
a. Retain Sound Teaching: Paul urges Timothy to retain the standard of sound teaching (words) which he has heard from Paul in the (modeling of) faith(fulness) and love which are in Christ Jesus 1:13
B. Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty: Paul encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of Paul’s imprisonment and to seek to share in his sufferings for the gospel by describing those who from Asia who have been disloyal to Paul, especially mentioning Phygelus and Hermogenes, and by praying that the Lord would be merciful to Onesiphorus who shared in Paul’s suffering by seeking Paul out in Rome and refreshing him while he was in prison 1:15-18
1. Disloyalty--Phygelus and Hermogenes: Paul reminds Timothy of that which he knows, namely, that all who are in Asia turned away from Paul among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes26 1:15
2. Loyalty--Onesiphorus: Paul prays that the Lord would grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus because of his loyal ministry to Paul in Rome as well as his services in Ephesus 1:16-18
a. May God Grant Present Mercy:27 Paul prays that the Lord would grant present mercy to the house of Onesiphorus 1:16a
b. Reasons: The reason that Paul prays that the Lord would grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus is because he not only refreshed Paul, but eagerly searched for Paul and found him not being ashamed of Paul’s chains 1:16b-17
1) Refreshed Paul: The reason that Paul prays that the Lord would grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus is because he refreshed28 Paul 1:16b
2) Searched For and Found Paul: The reason that Paul prays that the Lord would grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus is because he was not afraid of Paul’s chains29 but eagerly searched him out and found him 1:16c-17
c. May God Grant Future Mercy: Paul prays that Onesiphorus would find mercy from the Lord at the future judgment (on that day)30 emphasizing that Timothy knows the services (ministries) Onesiphorus rendered at Ephesus 1:18
C. The Appeal Renewed:31 In contrast to those in Asia who have deserted Paul and in congruence with Onesiphorus who was loyal to Paul, Timothy is urged to fulfill his ministry by passing the gospel on to faithful men who can teach others, and by suffering hardship through perseverance which will yield future reward 2:1-7
1. Fulfill Your Ministry: In contrast to those in Asia who have deserted Paul and in congruence with Onesiphorus who was loyal to Paul Timothy is urged to be strong in the gospel and to pass it on to faithful men who will be able to teach others 2:1-2
a. Be Strong in the Gospel: In contrast to those in Asia who have deserted Paul and in congruence with Onesiphorus who was loyal to Paul Timothy is urged32 to be strong in the gospel (the grace that is in Christ Jesus) 2:1
b. Pass the Gospel On to Faithful Men: Paul urges Timothy to entrust33 the gospel (the things which he has heard from Paul34 through [the attestation of] many witnesses35) to faithful men who will also be able to teach others 2:2
2. Suffer Hardship:36 Paul urges Timothy to carefully consider his exhortation to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ who needs to persevere, as an athlete who follows the rules (of suffering) to receive a victor’s crown, and as a hardworking farmer who will receive reward for his labor 2:3-7
a. As a Soldier Who Needs to Persevere: Paul urges Timothy to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus in that he perseveres by not entangling himself in the affairs of everyday life37 so that he may please the one who enlisted him 2:3-4
1) Exhortation: Paul urges Timothy to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus 2:3
2) Illustration: Paul urges Timothy to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ in that he perseveres by not entangling himself in the affairs of everyday life so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier (e.g., the Lord) 2:4
c. As a Farmer Who Receives Reward for His Labor: Paul urges Timothy to suffer hardship as a good farmer in that he ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops 2:6
d. Paul urges Timothy to reflect on what he is saying (in the above three metaphors) because the Lord will give him understanding in everything40 2:7
D. The Theological Basis for the Appeal to Loyalty:41 Through the examples of Jesus who received eschatological reward for his endurance, and Paul who presently endures hardship for the sake of the saints, Paul exhorts Timothy (and all believers) to endure suffering knowing that eschatological reward awaits them for faithfulness, there will be negative consequences for not enduring, and that Jesus is faithful to bring about the future even if they are not faithful 2:8-13
1. Remember Jesus Christ--the Gospel: Paul encourages Timothy to remember Jesus Christ who is the prime example of eschatological victory after death in that he is risen from the dead42 and is an example of God fulfilling his promises since he is of David’s seed43 according to Paul’s gospel44 2:8
2. Remember Paul’s Imprisonment: Paul affirms that he suffered hardship, even to the point of imprisonment as a criminal for the gospel, but God’s word is not imprisoned, therefore, he endures for the salvation of those who are chosen 2:9-10
a. Suffered Hardship: Paul affirms that he suffered hardship even to the point of imprisonment as a criminal for the gospel entrusted to him 2:9a
b. God’s Word is Not Imprisoned: Paul affirms that even though he suffered imprisonment for the gospel, God’s word is not imprisoned 2:9b
c. Conclusion--Paul Endures for the Sake of Others: Since God’s word is not imprisoned Paul affirms that he endures all things for the sake of those who are chosen, namely, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and eternal glory 2:10
3. A Faithful Saying Which Encourages Endurance:45 Paul writes a trustworthy statement encouraging Timothy (and all believers) to endurance, warning all against the lack of endurance, and affirming God’s faithfulness to the future even if believers are unfaithful 2:11-13
a. A Trustworthy Statement: Paul affirms that what follows is a trustworthy statement46 2:11a
b. An Encouragement to Endurance: Paul encourages Timothy (and all believers) to endurance by affirming that if believers suffer (die, endure) with Jesus they will also find eschatological reward (live, reign) with Jesus 2:11b-12a
1) Conversion--Death and Resurrection: Paul affirms that if believers (we) die with Jesus they will also live with Jesus47 2:11b
2) Perseverance--Endurance and Reigning: Paul affirms that if believers endure with Jesus they shall also reign with Jesus 2:12a
c. A Warning Against the Lack of Endurance: Paul affirms that if believers deny Jesus,48 he will also deny them 2:12b
III. EXHORTATIONS IN VIEW OF FALSE TEACHERS: Paul exhorts Timothy to correct the false teachers in their error, yet with a spirit of kindness so that they may repent and be saved all of the while being sure to keep himself separate from them and their teachings, as an honorable vessel, because they are a part of the difficulties connected with the last days in that they are religious charlatans who subvert weak women and oppose the truth even though they will not ultimately triumph 2:14--3:9
A. Exhortation to Resist False Teachers: Paul exhorts Timothy as one who is to do his best to present himself approved to God to remind and charge the false teachers as though they are in the presence of the Lord not to dispute about words because this infectious talk overturns some in their faith even though the church overall will not capitulate because it is known by God and will abstain from the teaching of the false teachers 2:14-19
1. Exposure of the False Teachers and Teaching: Paul exhorts Timothy to remind and charge false teachers as before the presence of the Lord not to dispute about words because this only ruins its hearers 2:14
a. Exhortation: Paul exhorts Timothy to remind false teachers before the Lord not to dispute about words51 2:14a
b. Reason: The reason the false teachers should not dispute about words is because rather than doing good, this only ruins the hearers 2:14b
2. An Appeal to Resist: Paul exhorts Timothy to do his best to present himself to God as one approved by avoiding the infectious talk of the false teachers which overturns some in their faith 2:15-18
a. Present Oneself Approved: Paul exhorts Timothy to do his best to present himself to God as one approved--a workman who has no need to be ashamed rightly handling the word of truth 2:15
b. Avoid The Infection Talk of the False Teachers: Paul urges Timothy to avoid the infectious talk of the false teachers like Hymenaeus and Philetus whose false teaching about the resurrection is overturning the faith of some 2:16-18
1) Avoid Godless Chatter:52 Paul exhorts Timothy to avoid godless chatter because it will lead to further ungodliness and the teaching (ὁ λογος) of the false teachers will spread (or eat away) like infectious gangrene 2:16-17a
2) The Talk of the False Teachers: Paul identifies Hymenaeus53 and Philetus as men among the false teachers who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place,54 thus, upsetting (overturning) the faith of some 2:17b-18
3. The Church Will Not Capitulate: Even though there are some defections, nevertheless (μέντοι), Paul affirms that the church (the firm foundation of God)55 stands as those who are recognized (having this seal)56 by the Lord knowing them57 and who abstain from wickedness58 (of the false teachers) 2:19
B. A Supporting Analogy from Household Vessels:59 As a large house has expensive vessels meant for honorable use and inexpensive vessels meant for dishonorable use, so is it that if a person cleanses himself from the false teachings of the false teachers then he will be a vessel for honor which is useful for the Master 2:20-21
1. The Facts of the Analogy: Paul affirms that in a large house60 there are not only expensive vessels (gold and silver), but also inexpensive vessels (wood and pottery), and that the more expensive ones were used for honor (public functions and meals) and the less expensive ones were used for dishonor (garbage or excrement)61 2:20
2. The Application of the Analogy: Paul concludes (ου῏ν) from this analogy of two kinds of vessels that if a man cleanses himself from the teachings62 of the false teachers (cf. 2:19), then he will be a vessel for honor,63 sanctified, and useful for the Master (τῳ δεσπότῃ) being prepared for every good deed 2:21
C. Timothy’s Responsibilities in Light of the False Teachers:64 Paul urges Timothy to flee from those youthful desires and to pursue what is upright as all of God’s people do, thereby resisting foolish and ignorant speculations yet without a quarreling spirit, but with a spirit of kindness so that the false teachers who are captives of Satan used for his will might be saved 2:22-26
1. Flee Youthful Desires: Paul urges Timothy to flee from youthful passions65 of the false teachers 2:22a
2. Pursue Righteousness, Faith, Love and Peace: Rather than pursuing youthful desires, Paul urges Timothy to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace66 along with all of those who call on the Lord from a pure heart67 2:22b
3. Resist Foolish and Ignorant Speculations: Paul urges Timothy not to have anything to do with foolish and ignorant speculations68 knowing that they produce quarrels 2:23
4. Dealing with False Teachers: Paul urges Timothy as the Lord’s bondservant to not be quarrelsome in his correction of error, but to be kind to all, and able to teach with a good spirit those who are in opposition to him with the hope that the Lord might grant them repentance leading to salvation 2:24-26
a. Do Not Be Quarrelsome: Paul exhorts Timothy as the Lord’s bondservant to not be quarrelsome69 2:24a
b. Be Kind to All: Paul exhorts Timothy as the Lord’s bondservant70 to be kind to all (even opponents), able to teach, patient when wronged and correcting with gentleness those who are in opposition71 2:24b-25a
c. Purpose--Salvation: Paul exhorts Timothy to be kind to all when correcting in order that the Lord might grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth72 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil who has held them captive to do his will73 2:25b-26
D. Final Indictment of the False Teachers:74 Even though Paul exhorts Timothy to be kind when he corrects the false teachers with the hope that they will repent, Paul also exhorts Timothy to have nothing to do with them because they are a part of the difficulties connected with the last days in that they are religious charlatans who subvert weak women and oppose the truth even though they will not ultimately triumph 3:1-9
1. Avoid the False Teachers Who Are a Part of the Last Days: Even though Paul exhorts Timothy to be kind when he corrects the false teachers with the hope that they will repent, Paul also exhorts Timothy to realize that the false teachers are a part of the last days because they partake in many evil vices, therefore, Timothy should have nothing to do with them 3:1-5
a. Statement--The Last Days Will Be Difficult: Even though Paul exhorts Timothy to be kind when he corrects the false teachers with the hope that they will repent, Paul also exhorts Timothy to realize that the false teachers are a part of the last days75 in which difficult times will come 3:1
b. Reason: The reason (γὰρ) Paul affirms that the false teachers are a part of the last days in which difficult times will come is because they partake in many evil vices 3:2-4
1) Lovers of Self and Money: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be lovers of self and lovers of money 3:2a
2) Boastful and Proud: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be boastful and arrogant 3:2b
3) Revilers: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be revilers (or abusive, βλάσφημοι) 3:2c
4) Disobedient to Parents: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be disobedient to Parents76 3:2d
5) Ungrateful, Unholy, Unloving, Unforgiving:77 The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be ungrateful, unholy, unloving, and unforgiving 3:2e-3a
6) Malicious Gossips: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be slanderous 3:3b
7) Without Self-Control: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be without self-control 3:3c
8) Brutal: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be brutal 3:3d
9) Haters of Good: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be those who hate what is good 3:3e
10) Treacherous and Reckless: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will stop at nothing to gain their ends (e.g., treacherous and rash) 3:4a
11) Conceited: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be conceited78 3:4b
12) Lovers of Pleasure: The characteristics of men in the last days include that they will be misdirected in their love (lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God) 3:4c
c. Avoid Such Men: Paul exhorts Timothy to have nothing to do with such men81 as those described above 3:5
2. Religious Charlatans: The reason Paul urges Timothy to have nothing to do with such men is because (γὰρ) they are religious charlatans who subvert weak women and oppose the truth as the Egyptian magicians did Moses, but who will not ultimately triumph 3:6-9
a. Subverting Weak Women:82 Paul exhorts Timothy to have nothing to do with the false teachers because there are those among them who creep into homes83 and captivate84 weak women85 weighed down with sins,86 lead on by various desires (ἐπιθυμίαις) who are always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth 3:6-7
b. Opposing the Truth--Like Egyptian Magicians: Paul exhorts Timothy to have nothing to do with false teachers who lack clear mindedness (depraved) and are rejected as far as the faith is concerned because they oppose the truth with deceptions like the Egyptian magicians Jannes and Jambres87 opposed Moses88 3:8
c. Will Not Ultimately Triumph: In contrast to the progress that the false teachers appear to be making with weak women and their deceptions, Paul affirms to the contrary (ἀλλα) that they will not advance very far because (γὰρ) their folly will be obvious to all89 as was that of Jannes and Jambres came to be90 3:9
IV. A FINAL APPEAL TO LOYALTY IN THE MINISTRY: Even though persecution will come, Paul exhorts Timothy to keep to his ministry of the apostolic gospel under any and all circumstances because Paul senses that his own life and ministry are about to end 3:10--4:5
A. Another Appeal to Loyalty and Endurance91 Paul urges Timothy to follow Paul’s example in teaching and conduct by keeping the apostolic gospel knowing that godly living will lead to persecution, and that the Scriptures are reliable since they come from reliable sources, lead to Salvation in Christ Jesus, and are profitable as God’s revelation for all matters of ministry 3:10-17
1. Recall the Past--Paul’s Teaching and Example: Paul urges Timothy to follow his example in teaching and conduct realizing that he will experience persecution as all will who desire to live a Christian life, but that the false teachers, who appear to be triumphing, will actually move from bad to worse--even future destruction 3:10-13
a. Follow Paul’s Example:92 In contrast to the false teachers (Σὺ δὲ) Paul urges Timothy to follow Paul’s teaching, conduct,93 purpose,94 faith,95 patience, love,96 perseverance,97 persecutions, and sufferings which happened to him at Antioch,98 Iconium99 and at Lystra100 which he endured and out of which the Lord delivered him101 3:10-11
b. All the Godly Will Be Persecuted: Paul affirms that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted102 3:12
c. Evil Men Will Proceed From Bad to Worse: Paul affirms that evil men and impostors (charlatans, who appear to be succeeding) will proceed from bad to worse (future destruction) both deceiving and being deceived 3:13
2. Give Heed to the Scriptures: In contrast to the false teachers, Paul exhorts Timothy to continue in the things which he has learned and become convinced because he learned them from reliable people, they made him wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and they are from God and thus are profitable for instruction 3:14-17
a. Continue in the Things You Have Learned: In contrast to the false teachers (Σὺ δὲ) Paul exhorts Timothy to continue in the things which he has learned and become convinced (the Apostolic Gospel) 3:14a
b. Reasons To Continue in the Scriptures: The reasons that Paul urges Timothy to continue in the things that he has learned is because he learned them from reliable people, they made him wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and because they are profitable for instruction 3:14b-17
1) Learned from Reliable People: The reason Paul urges Timothy to continue in the things that he has learned is because he knows the reliable people103 from whom he has learned these things 3:14b
2) Provide Wisdom Which Led to Salvation: The reason Paul urges Timothy to continue in the things that he has learned is because from childhood he has known the sacred writings which were able to give him the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus104 3:15
3) Provide Instruction: The reason Paul urges Timothy to continue in the things which he has learned is because All Scripture is of divine origin--God-breathed (inspired by God)105--and profitable for tasks of ministry--teaching,106 reproof,107 correction,108 and training in righteousness109 in order that the man of God may be adequate (to meet all demands), equipped for every good work110 3:16-17
B. The Final Charge to Timothy:111 Paul solemnly charges Timothy before God to stay by his ministry under any and all circumstances even through many believers will not endure sound teaching, but will turn from the truth toward teachers who will satisfy their curiosity with myths 4:1-5
1. The Charge--Stay By Your Ministry Under Any and All Circumstances: Paul solemnly charges Timothy in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus112 who is the judge of the living and the dead,113 and by his appearing and His kingdom114 to preach the word,115 to be ready (stand by it, keep at it) in season and out of season, to reprove (those in error), rebuke (or warn those who do not heed the correction), and exhort (them all) with great patience and instruction 4:1-2
2. Reason for the Charge: The reason Paul exhorts Timothy to stay by his Ministry under any and all circumstances is because (γὰρ) believers will not endure sound teaching, but will turn from the truth toward teachers who will satisfy their curiosity with myths 4:3-4
a. Believers Will Not Endure Sound Teaching: The reason Paul exhorts Timothy to stay by his ministry under any and all circumstances is because (γὰρ) the time will come (and is)116 when believers117 will not endure sound teaching but will accumulate teachers in accordance to their own desires desiring to have their ears tickled118 4:3
b. Believers Will Turn From the Truth: The reason Paul exhorts Timothy to stay by his Ministry under any and all circumstances is because (γὰρ) believers will turn away from hearing (their ears) the truth119 and to myths120 4:4
3. The Charge Renewed: In contrast (Σὺ δὲ)121 to the response of believers to the truth Timothy is to be sober in all things,122 endure hardship,123 do the work of an evangelist,124 and fulfill his ministry 4:5
C. The Reason for the Charge--Paul’s Final Testimony:125 The reason Paul solemnly charged Timothy to stay by his ministry under any and all circumstances is because he senses that the time of his death has come, his ministry is over, and the eschatological prize awaits him and all of those who have loved his appearing 4:6-8
1. The Time of Paul’s Death Has Come: The reason Paul solemnly charged Timothy to stay by his ministry under any and all circumstances is because (γὰρ) Paul senses that the time of his death has come (he is already being poured out as a drink offering,126 and the time of his departure127 has come) 4:6
2. Paul’s Ministry is Over: The reason Paul solemnly charged Timothy to stay by his ministry under any and all circumstances is because (γὰρ) Paul’s knows that his ministry is over (he has fought the good fight,128 he has finished the course,129 he has kept the faith130) 4:7
3. The Eschatological Prize Awaits Paul: The reason Paul solemnly charged Timothy to stay by his ministry under any and all circumstances is because (γὰρ) he knows that his eschatological prize awaits him (in the future there is laid up for him the crown of righteousness,131 which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to him on that day) as it awaits all of those who have loved His appearing132 4:8
V. CONCLUSION:133 Paul closes his letter by exhorting Timothy to come to him by Winter because he is without all of his co-workers except for Luke, and then sends personal greetings to those in Ephesus and from those in Rome before he closes with a prayer for Timothy and those in Ephesus 4:9-22
A. Personal Words and Instructions: Paul exhorts Timothy to make every effort to come to him soon because he is without all of his co-workers except Luke, and desires for Timothy to bring along Mark as well as his cloak and books all the while watching out for Alexander and informing him that God has delivered from his preliminary hearing as he will ultimately deliver him from all evil 4:9-18
1. Exhortation to Come: Paul urges Timothy to make every effort to come to him soon134 4:9
2. Reason He Wants Timothy to Come--He is Alone: The reason why Paul desires for Timothy to make every effort to come to him soon is because (γὰρ) he all of his co-workers are gone except for Luke who is with him (Demas135 deserted him and has gone to Thessalonica136 out of a love for this present world, Crescen has gone to Galatia, and Titus has gone to Dalmatia)137 4:10-11a
3. Who and What to Bring: Paul urges Timothy to pick up Mark and bring him along because he is useful for service, reminding Timothy that he has sent Tychicus to Ephesus, and urges him to bring the cloak, books and parchments 4:11b-13
4. Whom to Watch Out For: Paul warns Timothy to watch out for Alexander142 the coopersmith who did him much harm for he vigorously opposed their teaching, re-affirming that the Lord will repay him according to his deeds 4:14-15
5. Information As To How Things Are Going: Paul informs Timothy that at his first defense everyone abandoned him except the Lord who stood with him, strengthened him in order that the gospel might be fully accomplished by him, and delivered him as he will deliver him and bring him safely to his heavenly kingdom, to Whom belongs the glory for ever and ever 4:16-19
a. First Defense--Abandoned Except for the Lord: Paul informs Timothy that no one supported him during his first defense143 (all deserted him, nevertheless, he prays that it might not be held against them144) but the Lord who stood with him and strengthened him in order that the gospel (proclamation) might be fully accomplished through him, namely that all the Gentiles might hear 4:16-17a
b. First Defense--Delivered by the Lord: Paul informs Timothy that he was delivered, during the first defense, as from the mouth of a lion145 by the Lord who will deliver him from every evil deed, and bring him safely to his heavenly kingdom146 to Whom belongs the glory forever and ever147 4:17b-19
B. Final Greetings: Paul closes his letter with greetings to Prisca & Aquilla and the household of Onesiphorus, reports personal news about Erastus and Trophimus, requests that Timothy make every effort to come to him before winter, sends greetings from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brethren, and closes with a prayer for the Lord to be with Timothy’s spirit, and grace to be with all of those in Ephesus 4:19-22
2. Personal News of Friends: Paul reports that Erastus150 remained at Corinth, but that Paul left Trophimus sick at Miletus 4:20
3. A Final Request: Paul urges Timothy to make every effort to come to him before winter151 4:21a
4. Greetings from Specific Persons: Paul sends greetings from Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia152 and all the brethren 4:21b
1 This may be to make Paul’s readers more sympathetic to him and his Gospel. Also, Paul is writing so that his gospel ministry could be continued by Timothy.
2 Paul did not choose to suffer as an apostle, but was made an apostle by God’s will.
3 Paul probably has his own future in view since he is about to lose his earthly life.
4 Here Paul calls Timothy “beloved” rather than true and faithful. This may be because 2 Timothy is more of a letter to Timothy than first Timothy which affirms Timothy to the congregation.
5 As with Paul’s other letters, this thanksgiving is in keeping with the major theme of this letter--loyalty to God, Paul, and the gospel message. This major theme is woven throughout this thanksgiving and naturally moves toward the first major section of the letter after the greeting.
6 Paul is emphasizing continuity with the Old Testament. The false teachers did the same, no doubt. Here Paul is affirming his continuity against that which was proclaimed by the false teachers (cf. 1:9-10; 2:8, 19; 3:8, 14-17). This also relates to the large exhortation to remain loyal to the ministry.
7 Although this is a kind of aside from the main logic of the thanksgiving given in verses 3 and 5, it is no doubt another reason for the letter. This is an expression of “Paul’s loneliness in his final vigil and his desire for Timothy to join him, despite the unfinished work in Ephesus ...” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 222-223).
8 This may be that which was referred to in 1 Timothy 1:3 when he left Ephesus to Macedonia (“As I urged you upon my departure from Macedonia, remain in Ephesus ...”).
9 This may carry the idea of “faithfulness” too. Paul constantly thanks God for the faithfulness of others (1 Thess. 1:3; 3:6-7; 2 Thess. 1:3; Rom. 1:8; Col. 1:4; Philemon 5; Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 223).
10 Note that the theme of continuity comes through again. Paul desires for Timothy to carry on this faithfulness (to God, Paul, and the ministry of the gospel) which has been passed on by others. As Fee writes, “That is ‘Don’t lose heart, because just as my ministry has continuity with my forebears (v. 3), so does yours. Don’t forget your roots; they go way back, and your own faith is like that of your mother and grandmother’ “(1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p.223).
11 Perhaps Paul emphasizes the female lineage not only because they became Christians, but because Timothy’s mother was Jewish and his father was a Gentile. Therefore, Paul is emphasizing that Jewish continuity of Timothy’s faith (cf. Acts 16:1).
12 His gift as pastor-teacher (?) through which he is to overcome the false teachers. The term is χάρισμα--the grace gift. See 1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14. Unlike 4:14 where the emphasis is upon the laying on of hands by the elders to authenticate Timothy before the church, here the emphasis is upon Paul alone--it is much more personal.
13 Commentators are split on the meaning of “spirit” in this verse. Is it descriptive of one’s inner qualities or “spirit” brought about in one by the Holy Spirit (D. Edmond Hiebert, Second Timothy, EBC, p. 36) or is it the Holy Spirit Himself (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 226-227)? While there is a difference in meaning, there may not be any difference in result. Even if it is descriptive of the Holy Spirit, the point is that Timothy should let the Holy Spirit work these qualities in his life. As Fee finally paraphrases this verse he writes, “For when God gave us his Spirit, it was not timidity that we received, but power, love, and self-discipline” (p. 227).
Paul begins by reminding Timothy of his gift in the ministry which gives him the necessary power, love and wisdom to carry out that ministry.
14 See Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13, 19; 1 Corinthians 2:4 (δυνάμεως).
15 Galatians 5:22; Romans 5:5.
16 The term is σωφρονισμοῦ. One needs to be wise in the face of the false teachers and the coming persecution from Rome.
17 See the following passages for a history of suffering for the gospel (2:9; 3:12; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2:14; 3:4; 2 Cor. 4:7-15; Rom. 8:17; Col. 1:24; Phil. 1:12, 29).
There was humiliation with being associated with Christ (a state “criminal”) and Paul His “political prisoner”). Timothy is urged to join with Paul in suffering that will be by his association with the gospel and by his own activities in its behalf (1:6). Therefore there are three loyalties (1) Christ (and His gospel), (2) Paul, and (2) his own ministry. These three loyalties will be developed below: (1) the gospel in verses 9-10, (2) Paul in verses 11-12, and (3) his ministry (“the deposit”) in verses 13-14 (cf. 1 Tim. 6:20).
18 While “a holy calling” could be a dative of means describing the kind of calling which God made, it may better be understood to be a dative of interest, “to a holy life,” or to be a “holy people” (cf. 1 Thess. 4:7; 1 Cor. 1:2).
19 Titus 1:2.
20 As Fee writes, “So his word to Timothy is plain: ‘Be steadfast; rekindle your gift; take your part in the suffering; for we are already among those who have overcome death through Christ’” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 230).
21 Paul is no doubt speaking of his imprisonment (2:9).
22 While many understand this deposit to be the sound teaching of verse 13 which God entrusted to Paul (v. 12) and Paul entrusted to Timothy (v. 14; cf. 1 Tim. 6:20) who was to entrust it to others (2:2), it is more probable that the deposit was Paul’s own life, or his commitment to Christ and his gospel which God will guard until the End.
23 Paul has a sense of his personal vindication (Pss. 31:1-5; 69:9).
24 See 1 Timothy 6:20. This is probably the “sound teaching” of the gospel.
25 The Holy Spirit is to be the One who aids Timothy in his responsibilities.
26 There are two basic views to understanding what Paul is saying here: “Either this means that some Asians, including Onesiphorus, had come to Rome, and all but Onesiphorus had deserted him and returned home (so Bernard), or else (more likely) it means that the defections in Asia have been so staggering (Kelly, ‘the exaggeration [of] depression’) that even friends (presumably) from whom he would have expected more--including [perhaps led by] Phygelus and Hermogenes--have deserted him.
If this is how we are to understand ‘who’ and ‘where,’ then ‘when’ probably has to do with events since the writing of 1 Timothy, perhaps a general ‘abandoning ship’ at the news of Paul’s arrest (cf. Kelly). Paul himself would have been informed of it by Onesiphorus” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 235-236).
27 Fee writes with insight, “This sudden bursting out in a wish-prayer (hardly intercession, as Kelly, but an expression of Paul’s desires for them; cf. 2 Thess. 3:16; Rom. 15:5) for the household of Onesiphorus (cf. 4:19) means that he is not now with them (otherwise Paul would have said ‘to Onesiphorus and his household’). The fact that Paul should begin his reminder about Onesiphorus in this way, by asking for present mercy for his household, and that at the end (v. 18a) he should ask for future mercy (on that Day) for Onesiphorus himself, suggests very strongly that Onesiphorus had died in the meantime. If so, it could only have increased Paul’s present pain and loneliness” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 236).
28 This may have included food and cheering up.
29 Paul was a state prisoner and soon to die.
30 No doubt this refers to the second advent of the Lord (begun at the Rapture--John 14). This may not be an intercessory prayer for the dead so much as a recognition that even Onesiphorus only has God’s mercy to appeal to.
31 Fee writes, “After a brief ‘digression’ in 1:15-18 that reminded Timothy of the disloyalty of ‘everyone in Asia,’ with the noteworthy exception of Onesiphorus, Paul resumes the appeal to Timothy. With an emphatic, you then, in contrast to those in verse 15, Paul repeats the urgencies of 1:6-14: that he fulfill his trust and ministry (reflecting 1:6-7 and 13-14), in this instance by entrusting it to others (v. 2), and that he be ready to endure hardship (v. 3, reflecting the main concern of 1:8-12)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 239).
32 Note the emphatic position of the Greek, “Σὺ ου῏ν.” The “therefore” probably goes back to the imperatives of 1:13-14.
33 This may be emphasized because Timothy is being asked to leave Ephesus to join Paul in Rome (cf. 4:9, 21).
34 See 1:13.
35 The Greek is διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων. While this could mean, “in the presence of” it could also mean “though many witnesses”--not in that Paul’s teachings were mediated to Timothy through many witnesses, but in that Paul’s teaching was attested to by many witnesses (cf. 3:14).
36 As Barrett writes, “Beyond warfare is victory, beyond athletic effort a prize, and beyond agricultural labour a crop” (The Pastoral Epistles, p. 102).
37 As Fee writes, “The analogy does not negate ‘civilian affairs;’ rather, it disallows ‘looking back’ (cf. Luke 9:61-62) or hankering for an easier path (in this case defecting, as have so many others)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 242).
38 See 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.
39 The rules in this case seem to involve suffering for the gospel (cf. 1 Tim. 6:12; 1:18).
40 That is the strength to stand in grace and to share in suffering.
41 Fee writes, “the basic themes of the whole section are reiterated: Christ and his gospel, Paul’s present suffering, and an appeal with a warning, for Timothy himself (and now including God’s people) to endure despite the suffering” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 245).
42 This reflects on 2:5-6 and thus encourages one who is suffering (see also 2:11-12a). Fee writes, “(i.e. he who conquered death through resurrection will ‘strengthen you’ for your task and endurance). Furthermore, it also anticipates the exposure of the false teachers in verses 14-18, who, by arguing that the ‘resurrection [of believers] has already taken place,’ are in effect denying the eschatological future that Paul is affirming (vv. 5-6, 10)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 246).
43 The point here is that Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises providing continuity with the past. This too has been a them which Paul has been stating in 2 Timothy to encourage Timothy to endure with the ministry (cf. 1:3, 5; 3:14-17).
44 This is the gospel which was entrusted to Paul (cf. 1 Tim. 1:11; Rom. 2:16; 16:25) to which Timothy is to be steadfast.
45 This was probably a four line hymn or poem which was written by Paul or those very close to him. The “for” (γὰρ) in verse 11 probably refers to all of 2:1-10 where Paul has urged Timothy to endure in suffering and to keep their risen Lord in mind.
46 See 1 Timothy 1:15; 3:1; 4:10; Titus 3:8.
47 This may well be the same sense as in Romans 8.
48 Contextually, this is probably best understood in terms of one’s response when placed under trial by those who are hostel to Jesus (cf. 1:15; Matthew 10:33).
49 There are two disparate views as to the meaning of this verse: (1) if one is faithless in that one commits apostasy (cf. 1:15), then God must be faithful to Himself and mete out judgment. This is possible, but could have been plainly said; also, there is no future verb but the present tense (ἐκεῖνος πιστὸς μένει), (2) if one is faithless this will not affect God’s faithfulness to his people meaning that he will either override one’s infidelity with His grace or that he will overcome faithlessness with his gift of eschatological salvation for his people. Perhaps the latter is the better choice contextually. Even though some have been unfaithful, God’s faithfulness has not been diminished. This is an exposition which focuses upon Salvation.
50 For Paul his future salvation is rooted in the character of God.
51 See 1 Timothy 2:8; 6:4-5; cf. Titus 3:8-9.
52 Now Paul moves back to those who are not approved because they do not correctly handle the word of truth.
53 See 1 Timothy 1:20 where Paul delivered him over to Satan.
54 See 2 Thessalonians 2:2 which is similar, e.g., “the Day of the Lord has come.” See also 1 Timothy 4:3. There is some from of over-realized eschatology in that the fullness of the resurrection has already been realized in a believers spiritual dying and rising with Christ (cf. v. 11; Rom. 6:1-11; Col. 2:20--3:4). There is a dualism which denies the value of the body, and exalts the value of the spiritual. By contrast see Paul’s discussion in 2:10-13.
55 It is difficult to be certain about this building metaphor. It could be referring to Christ or the apostles as the foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:10-12; Eph. 3:20), but Fee writes, “it is altogether likely that he does not ‘intend’ some specific point of reference. The emphasis, as the rest of the verse shows, is on God’s proprietary ownership, on the certainty of eschatological triumph for those who are his. Since the metaphor stands in sharp contrast to the fact that the faith of some is being overturned, Paul clearly intends it to affirm the opposite: what God is doing in Ephesus, saving a people of his own (cf. Titus 2:14) for eternal glory, cannot be thwarted by the activity of the false teachers. In that sense, of course, the implied ‘building’ refers to the church in Ephesus, his chosen people (v. 10) [1 and 2 Timothy, p. 257].
56 As in the seal inscribed on the foundation stone of a building which would indicate the architect or the owner.
57 See the LXX of Numbers 16:5 from Korah’s rebellion.
58 See the following passages for portions of this verse (LXX of Lev. 24:16; Isa 26:13; Ps. 34:14; Prov. 3:7).
59 This analogy further elaborates the second portion of the inscription in 2:19 (“Let everyone who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness”) and leads in to the next imperatives to Timothy about his own personal responsibilities toward false teachers and teachings (2:22-26).
60 As belonged to the wealthy.
61 See other passages that play on this imagery such as Jeremiah 18:1-11; Wisdom of Solomon 15:7; Romans 9:19-24. With insight Fee writes, “as verse 21 and the context make clear, Paul’s point is neither that of 1 Corinthians 12:21-24 (though of differing kinds and uses, both vessels are useful to the master of the house) nor that of the parable of the wheat and tares (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43, where the church is pictured as containing both the elect and false teachers, who will be separated at the End), interpretations that are often given to this passage” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 261).
62 See 2:14, 16, 19b.
63 “In applying this imagery, Paul has thus moved from the house that contains all sorts of vessels to the good vessels themselves and argues that only these, with their ‘honorable’ purposes, count (although it is not the value of the vessels, but their contents, i.e., purpose, that is the reason for ‘cleansing oneself’ of the others). In particular Paul is anticipating what he will say to Timothy in verses 22-26, in light of verses 14-19, so he must therefore cleanse himself from all such false teachings and behavior” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 261).
64 Fee unfolds the argument well, “The commands introducing this section flow directly from the application of the analogy of verses 20-21, but all the time in the context of the concerns that began in verse 14. In ‘cleansing himself from these things’ (v. 21), Timothy is again urged to avoid the foolish arguments of the false teachers, which only lead to quarrels. On the contrary--and this is a new theme--he is to try to rescue people from their entrapment by error.
The entire paragraph is directed toward Timothy and his responsibilities in view of the presence of the false teaching. The dominating theme is peace. The false teachers revel in arguments that breed quarrels (cf. 1 Tim. 6:4); Timothy, by contrast, should pursue peace. He must not quarrel but be kind toward all, and he must gently correct, with the desire that his correction and gentleness may lead some to repentance” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 263).
65 Rather than thinking of sexual passions, Paul probably has in mind youthful desires (νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας) such as a love for novelties, foolish discussions, and arguments that all too often lead to quarrels.
66 See 1 Timothy 6:11.
67 See 2:10; Titus 2:14 for these OT descriptions of God’s people.
68 See 1 Timothy 1:7 where these terms describe the false teachers.
69 See the qualifications for overseers/elders in 1 Timothy 3:3; Titus 1:7. This may not mean that Timothy is to let error go without addressing it, but that he must be kind in his confrontations rather than quarrelsome.
70 See 2:21.
71 This may include those who have been ensnared by the false teachers and even the false teachers themselves.
72 Could this be salvation (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; 4:3)?
73 See 1 Timothy 4:1-2.
74 Even though Paul hopes that the false teachers might come to repentance, he also knows that they are truly captives of Satan to do his will; therefore, he enters into a final indictment of them in 3:1-9. This final indictment is placed in the context of eschatological fulfillment which began with the coming of Christ.
75 See 1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 John 2:18; 2 Peter 3:3; Jude 17-18; Acts 2:16-21; Hebrews 1:2.
76 Perhaps this describes not caring for parents (cf. Mark 4; 1 Timothy 5:8).
77 These next four words all begin with the negative prefix a (ἀχάριστοι, ἀνόσιοι, α῎στοργοι, α῎σπονδοι).
78 See 1 Timothy 3:6; 6:4.
79 The term is εὐσεβείας. This is probably descriptive of their external expressions of religion (e.g., ascetic practices, endless discussions of religious trivia). As Fee writes, “thinking themselves to be obviously righteous because they were obviously religious” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 270).
80 Evidence that they denied the power of godliness is in the vice-catelogue above--they practiced “irreligious” attitudes and actions that characterized the pagan world. See also Titus 1:6 for the opposite.
81 This imperative demonstrates that Paul did not only have the future in mind with the above list.
82 This verse may provide background for many of the passages in the Pastoral Epistles (cf. 1 Timothy 2:9-15; 3:11; 4:7; 5:3-16). As Fee writes, “the false teachers and these women feed on one another. The women are given ‘religious training’ --of the worst kind, destined to feed their curiosity but not bring them to the freedom of the gospel--and they in turn undoubtedly pay the false teachers handsomely (1 Tim. 6:3-10). No wonder that Paul forbade the women to teach, encouraged submission to their husbands (1 Tim. 2:9-15), and wanted the younger widows, who had given themselves to pleasure (5:6) and had already turned away to follow Satan (5:15), to marry (5:14).
83 The Greek is τὰς οἰκίας, “the houses” implying that Timothy already knows about which households they have entered. This may have been more possible with respect to younger widows than with wives of ordinary tradesmen; thus, 1 Tim. 5:3-16?
84 As through misleading or deceiving (cf. Judith 16:9; Ignatius Philadelphians 2:2).
85 The term is actually descriptive of little women, women who are “easy prey” (γυνναικάρια).
86 Either present or from a sinful past.
87 See B. M. Metzger, “Names for the Nameless in the New Testament: a Study in the Growth of Christian Tradition,” in New Testament Studies: Philological, Versional, and Patristic (Leiden: Brill, 1980), pp. 23-43; Damascus Document 5:18; Targum Ps-Jonathan 1.3 (on Exod. 1:15) and 7.2 (on Exod. 7:11); Menahoth 85a; Midrash Rabbah Exodus 9:7; Pliny, Natural History 30.1.11.
88 Exodus 7:11-12, 22; 8:7.
89 In other words truth will win out. Truth and time walk hand and hand together.
90 Perhaps Exodus 9:11.
91 Here Paul renews his appeal to Timothy to “continue in what you have learned” (3:14), but in full view of what has been said about the false teachers and Timothy’s responsibilities regarding them, thereby bringing together the first two sections of the letter (e.g., 1:6--2:13; 2:14--3:9). This paragraph also serves as a preparation for the final charge in 4:1-5 (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 275). Both of the subunits of this paragraph begin with “but you” (Σὺ δὲ; 3:10, 14).
92 Paul’s examples of suffering go back to before the time that Timothy was a partner with Paul in the ministry. This is curious because one would have expected Paul to cite his more recent experiences at Philippi (Acts 16:19-34), or Ephesus (2 Cor. 1:1-11), or even Rome (Phil. 1:1, 12-18). Fee offers a good suggestion for the reasoning when he writes, “The answer to this lies in what we noted as early as the thanksgiving (1:3-5), namely, that part of the appeal to loyalty made in this letter is to remind Timothy of his origins. It is Paul’s way of saying: ‘Look, you were there in Lystra when I was stoned. You recall that such sufferings were visible to you from the time you began your Christian walk. So don’t bail out now in the midst of the present--and coming-distress’” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 277).
93 These first two are foundational.
94 Paul’s resolve, his single-minded commitment to Christ.
95 Toward God.
96 Both patience and love are to be towards others.
97 To the End especially in view of the sufferings that did follow for Paul and will follow for Timothy and all who seek to live a godly life.
98 Persecution and driven out (Acts 13:50).
99 Jews and Gentiles attempted to mistreat and to stone Paul so he fled (Acts 14:2-6).
100 This was Timothy’s hometown (16:1-2). Here Paul was stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20).
101 See Psalm 34:19 which may be alluded to.
102 Suffering is the lot of righteousness (cf. Mark 8:34; Matt. 5:11-12; 1 Thess. 3:4; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Rom. 8:17; Phil. 1:29).
103 This may refer to the many witnesses of 2:2, Paul (3:10-11), and Timothy’s own mother and grandmother (1:5).
104 Salvation is not in the Scriptures themselves, but in the One to Whom they point (cf. Jn. 5:39).
105 The Greek says, “πᾶσα γραφὴ θεόπνευστος.” As Fee writes, “he is not offering a theory of inspiration; he is rather, reflecting the common tradition of Judaism (cf. 2 Pet. 1:21) [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 279].
106 Sound instruction.
107 Exposing the errors of the false teachers and their teachings.
108 This is tied to reproving and emphasizes the behavioral, ethical side of things (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 280).
109 This is the positive side of correcting.
110 This may especially look forward to 4:1-5.
111 This appeal was begun in 1:6, was picked up in 3:10, and now is given as a solemn charge in 4:1 to be followed by nine imperatives--five in verse 2 and four in verse 5.
In addition Fee sees the grammatical connection of 4:1-5 with 4:6-8 (γὰρ) and thus writes, “This charge, therefore, though made against the backdrop of the situation in Ephesus, looks far beyond that. Here we have a kind of changing of the guard, the work of a dying man to his heir apparent. To use the athletic metaphor of verses 7-8, it is the passing of the baton. The whole paragraph needs to be read with this reality in view” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 283). Continuing he says, “This set of imperatives, in serving as an introduction to verses 6-8, ‘draws a contrast between Timothy, still in the thick of the fight, and Paul who has fought the grand fight’” (Fee,1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p.287 citing Hendriksen, Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles, NTC (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1965), p. 312).
112 This is emphasizing the present reality of one’s relationship with God. One lives one’s life in the very presence of God. See also 1 Timothy 5:21.
113 He who appeared once to save will appear again to judge (see Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Cor. 5:10 1 Peter 4:5). The first part of this appearing will be to gather his own where they will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Jn. 14:1; 1 Cor. 3; 1 Thess. 4).
114 These are eschatological realities which are presented as a motivation to Timothy.
115 The Greek reads, “κήρυξον τὸν λόγον.” This word probably has reference to the gospel message (cf. 1 Tim. 4:5) not only in its evangelistic sense, but in its full sense (e.g., the Scriptures above in 3:14-15).
116 This future tense does not negate the present reality as Paul writes (cf. 3:1-5, esp. v. 5; 1 Tim. 4:1-2). The present mirrors the future. The future will only be even more intense.
117 Even though believers are described as deceived elsewhere (1 Tim. 4:1-2; 5:15; 6:5; 2 Tim. 3:6-7, 13), here they shoulder some of the blame.
118 That is they cannot receive enough bits of interesting and spicy information.
119 That is the gospel.
120 See 1 Timothy 1:4; 4:7; Titus 1:14.
121 See 2:1; 3:10, 14; 1 Timothy 6:11.
122 In other words do not be taken in by the false teachers and their false teachings.
123 See 1:8; 2:2; 3:12. This is especially in relationship to the gospel.
124 This term, εὐαγγελιστοῦ recalls the original charge in 4:2, “Κηρυζον τὸν λόγον,” “preach the message.
125 Fee writes with insight when he says, “This final testimony, then, with its announcement of his impending death, serves first of all as a the primary reason for the foregoing charge (vv. 1-5). At the same time, as before, it serves as one more model for Timothy to follow. (See 1:11-12; 2:9-10; 3:10-11)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 288).
126 This metaphor was already used in Philippians 2:17. Both pagan and Jewish sacrifices were usually accompanied and completed by a libation of wine poured out either on top of the sacrifice or at the foot of the altar to honor the deity (cf. Numbers 15:5, 7, 10; 28:7; 2 Kings 16:13; Jer. 7:18; Hos. 9:4). The wine probably replaced the blood libations of pagans (Ps. 16:4). Paul sees his life as being part of a sacrifice for God (cf. Rom. 12:1-2). See Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 288-289, Hawthorne, Philippians, p. 105).
127 This term, ἀναλύσεώς, means to let loose from as one might break up a camp or loose a ship from its moorings.
128 Contested the noble contest (τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι) with the sense of a race rather than a boxing match.
129 Not only is Paul’s live over, but his ministry, which he likens to a race, is over.
130 This statement either means that he has kept the “faith” (e.g., the sound doctrine) in tact, or he has been loyal to his trust. The latter seems to be more close to the sense here.
131 This statement picks up the race metaphor again in that he is going to win the overcomers crown (στέφανος).
132 Perhaps Demas is an example of one who loved this present age rather than the coming of Christ (4:10).
133 This is now Paul’s second reason for writing 2 Timothy--he is lonely in his imprisonment and desires for Timothy to join him (cf. 1:4). Tychicus who carried the letter will probably replace Timothy in Ephesus. The whole paragraph is full of personal, private concerns--each verse has a first person pronoun in it.
134 Or before winter (cf. 4:21).
135 See Colossians 4:14; Philemon 24.
136 Perhaps his home town?
137 These latter two have probably gone out of ministry obligations. Fee writes, “That means, since Erastus stayed in Corinth, Trophimus had been left in Miletus (v. 20), and Tychicus was dispatched to Ephesus (v. 12), that of his co-workers only Luke (cf. Col. 4:14; Philem. 24) is with me” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 294).
138 Implying that he is not in Ephesus, but stating where he is.
139 See Acts 13:13; 15:36-41. This service, διακονίαν, may be personal service or have the broader sense of ministry. Perhaps Mark will fulfill the role of Tychicus with Paul.
140 As Fee writes, “The most likely reconstruction (understanding, of course, the hypothetical nature of much that is said) is that on his way back to Ephesus, Paul had been arrested, either in Miletus (v. 20, en route from Nicopolis through Corinth?) or Troas itself. There, at the house of Carpus (presumably a believer in that city), he had left his cloak, the heavy woolen garment used by travelers in cold or rainy weather. Now he wants Timothy to bring it (apparently in anticipation of winter; v. 21) and my scrolls” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 295).
141 This could mean that Paul desires for Timothy to bring him two things (e.g., the books [OT?] and parchments (documents of various kinds), or the books--I mean by that the parchments notebooks [OT?]).
142 This may have been: (1) Alexander who, with Hymenaeus, had been excommunicated by Paul in 1 Timothy 1:19-20, (2) the Jew by that name who tried to quiet the riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:33-34), (3) one and the same person with 1 and 2 above, or (4) someone whom we do not know. If it was the first one, he may have gone after Paul when he was excommunicated from the church due to Paul’s exhortations (note the change of partnership with Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Tim. 2:17).
143 This is probably not Paul’s first Roman imprisonment (e.g., Acts 28; Colossians, Philemon, Philippians), but to the Roman juridical practice of a preliminary hearing before the emperor or a magistrate to be followed by an actual trial during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment.
144 See Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60.
145 Could this be an allusion to Psalm 22?
146 What the Lord has begun he will complete.
147 See Philippians 4:20.
148 Having been in Rome with a house church (Romans 16:3-4), they are now back in Ephesus.
149 Again, if Onesiphorus had died (1:16-18) than this personal greeting makes sense.
150 Romans 16:23 or Acts 19:22?
151 Not only because Paul would need his coat, but because the Mediterranean was closed to shipping from November to March.
152 These are all Latin names, therefore, they are probably Roman believers. If they are not only acquaintances of Timothy’s they may be leaders. It is of interest that a woman’s name is included among them. Later Irenaeus identified Linus as the bishop of Rome (Against Heresies 3.3).
153 The “your” is singular here (cf. 1 Timothy 6:21), and thus is very personal.
154 Here the “you” is plural once again. Paul is concerned with the Ephesian church. As Fee writes, “It is altogether fitting that the very last words from Paul should be a benediction, a desire for God’s grace to be with all his people” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 302).
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Argument Of The Book Of 1 TimothyRelated Media
In View Of The Corrupting Influence Of The False Teachers Paul Exhorts Timothy To Fulfill His Designated Ministry To The Church At Ephesus By Correcting False Teachers, Protecting The Church From Their Influence, Appealing To Those Who Are In Sin, And Pursuing Godliness With An Attitude Of Contentment Rather Than With A Desire For Personal Gain
I. INTRODUCTORY GREETING: Paul greets his spiritual child, Timothy, with the authority of an apostle who is called by God, and with a prayer for Timothy’s experience of grace, mercy, and peace from Christ their Lord 1:1-2
II. A CHARGE TO INSTRUCT FALSE TEACHERS: Paul charges Timothy to remain in Ephesus in order that the might exhort false teachers in the church not to teach false doctrines which lead to speculations rather than God’s saving plan through faith, and cites himself as an example of how God’s grace can reach a false teacher 1:3-20
A. The Charge: Paul urges Timothy to remain in Ephesus in order that he might charge certain persons not to teach false doctrines which promote speculations rather than God’s saving plan through faith because they do not teach love, but righteousness through the code of the Law which is not a lawful use of the Law for the righteous 1:3-11
1. The Charge: Paul urges Timothy to remain in Ephesus9 just as he requested when he was going to Macedonia 1:3a
2. The Purpose of the Charge: Timothy is to remain in Ephesus in order that he10 might charge certain persons not to teach false doctrines such as interminable fables and genealogies which promote speculations rather than God’s saving plan which is through faith 1:3b-4
b. Specific Statement: Timothy is to instruct certain persons to not give their minds to relentless fables (legends) and genealogies14 which promote speculations15 rather than God’s (saving) plan16 which works through faith 1:4
3. The Reason for the Charge: Unlike the object of the instruction from Paul and his co-workers which is love, the false teachers are teaching the Law without understanding by making the code of the Law necessary for the righteous rather than the ethic of the Law necessary for the evil 1:5-11
b. Negative Concern--Teachers of Law: Paul affirms that some20 have turned away from “a pure heart, clear conscience, and genuine faith” and have lost their way in foolish discussions by desiring to be ‘teachers of the Law’ even though they do not understand what they are saying or the matters about which they are being so dogmatic 1:6-7
1) Statement: Paul affirms that some have turned away from “love” and have lost their way in foolish discussions 1:6
2) Examples: Those who have turned away from “a pure heart, clear conscience, and genuine faith” desire to be ‘teachers of the Law’21 even though they do not understand that which they are saying or the matters about which they are speaking so confidently 1:7
c. Proper Instruction Concerning the Law:22 Paul affirms that the Law is good if it is used as it should be--not for the righteous, but for lawbreakers who are opposed to the sound teaching in the Gospel 1:8-11
1) Law is Good: Paul affirms that the Law is good if one uses it as it should be used (lawfully, “νομίμως”) 1:8
2) Not for the Righteous: Paul affirms that law is not made for righteous people (δικαίῳ)23 1:9a
3) For Lawbreakers:24 Paul affirms that Law is for lawbreakers--for those who are: 1:9b-11
THE FIRST TABLE OF THE DECALOGUE
(THE LAWLESS AND INSUBORDINATE)
a) Lawless (ἀνόμοις)
b) Rebellious (ἀνυποτάκτοις)
(THE IMPIOUS, SINFUL, AND PROFANE)
c) Ungodly (ἀσεβέσι)
d) Sinners (ἁρμαρτωλοῖς )
e) Unholy (ἀνοσίοις)
f) Profane (βεβήλοις)
THE SECOND TABLE OF THE DECALOGUE
g) Who kill their fathers or mothers (πατρολῴαις καὶ μητρολῴλοῖς )
h) Murders (ἀνδροφόνοις)
i) Immoral men (πόρνοις)
j) Homosexuals (ἀρσενοκοίταις)
k) Kidnappers (ἀνδραποδισταῖς )
(SINS OF SPEECH)27
l) Liars (ψεύσταις)
m) Perjurers (ἐπιόρκοις)
CONTRARY to OLD TESTAMENT / GOSPEL28
n) And whatever else is contrary to sound teaching which is also found in the gospel29 that was entrusted to Paul to announce--the Good News from the glorious and blessed God 1:10b-11
B. The Reason for Hope: Paul cites himself as a prime example of how God in his grace can deliver a false teacher by giving thanks to Christ for His gracious work with him, and by affirming that God works in such a way with all men who believe in Him to the glory of God 1:12-17
1. Paul Gives Thanks: Paul gives thanks to Christ Jesus their Lord who has given him strength for his work 1:12a
2. The Significance of Paul’s Thanksgiving: Paul gives thanks to the Lord for graciously considering him in his rebellion to be worthy and appointing him to serve Him affirming that God’s grace with him is a model of His work with all men who believe in Him to the glory of God 1:12-17
b. Context From Which Paul was Chosen: Paul gives thanks to the Lord for choosing to use him even though in the past he spoke evil of Him, persecuted, and insulted Him32 1:13a
c. God’s Gracious Work: Paul proclaims God’s gracious work with him in his rebellion and affirms that it as an illustration of God’s gracious work to all men who believe in Him to the glory of God 1:13b-17
1) God’s Gracious Work with Paul: In Paul’s rebellious state God was merciful to him as one without faith and in ignorance,33 by pouring out His abundant grace upon him and giving him faith and love34 which belong to all believers in union with Christ Jesus35 1:13b-14
2) Paul Displays God’s Gracious Work for All: Paul affirms the saying as true that “Christ came into the world to save sinners” and affirms that he is an example par excellence of God’s mercy in order that Christ might show His full patience in dealing with him, the worst of sinners36 as an example for all who would later believer in Him and receive eternal37 life 1:15-16
3) Doxology to God: Paul concludes his discussion of God’s gracious work with a doxology which ascribes honor and glory forever and ever to the King of ages,38 immortal,39 invisible,40 the only God41 1:17
C. The Charge Restated: Paul entrusts the command to resist the false teachers to Timothy in accordance with his own calling from God and in order that he might faithfully complete it against the false teachers 1:18-20
1. The Command to Timothy: Paul entrusts this command to Timothy, his son, in accordance with the previous prophecies made concerning Timothy42 1:18a
2. The Purpose of the Command: Paul entrusts this command to Timothy in order that he may fight the good fight43 keeping faith and a good conscience with some like Hymenaeus and Alexander who have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith (τὴν πίστιν),44 and whom Paul has delivered over to Satan45 in order that they might be taught not to blaspheme 1:18b-20
III. THE MEANS OF PROTECTING AGAINST FALSE TEACHERS:46 In view of the corrupting influence of false teachers upon the church Paul offers specific exhortations concerning prayer, church leadership, and personal example to Timothy and the church (at Ephesus) in order for the church to continue its ministry of the truth with effectiveness 2:1-13
A. The Proper Objects of Prayer--All Men:47 Paul urges that prayers be made on behalf of all men including those in authority over men because God sees this as good and acceptable since He desires for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in accordance with the mediation made by Christ between God and man concerning which Paul was appointed a preacher and an apostle 2:1-7
1. Prayers for All Men: As a conclusion (ου῎ν) to Paul’s exhortation for Timothy to remain in Ephesus to stop false teachers48 he urges of most urgency49 that entreaties, prayers, petitions and thanksgivings be made on behalf of all men50 2:1
2. Specific Examples:51 Paul specifically urges that prayers be made on behalf of governing authorities in order that the church may live an upright life 2:2
a. Prayers for Rulers: Paul urges that prayers be made on behalf of kings and all who are in authority52 2:2a
b. Purpose: Paul urges that prayers be made on behalf of rulers in order that the church may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity53 2:2b
3. Reason for Prayers for All Men: Paul urges that the church pray for all men because God sees this as good and acceptable since He desires for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in accordance with the mediation made by Christ between God and man concerning which Paul was appointed a preacher and an apostle 2:3-7
a. God’s Sees Prayer for All as Good: Paul urges for prayers for all men (“this”) because God our Savior54 sees this as good and acceptable 2:3
b. God Desires all to Be Saved: Paul affirms that God views prayer for all men as good because he desires for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth in accordance with the mediation between God and man made by Christ Jesus concerning which Paul was appointed a preacher and apostle as a teacher of the Gentiles 2:4-7
2) The Evidence--Christ Jesus: The evidence that God desires for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth is the Man57 Christ Jesus who gave His life as a ransom for all58 and thus became the one mediator between God and men at the right time in history (at the proper time) 2:5-6
B. The Proper Demeanor for Prayer:61 As a conclusion to Paul’s discussion of prayer on behalf of all mankind, he exhorts men in every church to pray without the dissensions of the false teachers, and women to do likewise as is reflected in their dress and submission to the instruction of men 2:8-15
1. Men--Pray without Strife: As a conclusion to Paul’s discussion of prayer on behalf of all mankind (ου῎ν),62 Paul exhorts for the men in every place (ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ)63 to pray lifting up holy hands,64 without anger (ὀργῆς) and arguing (διαλογισμοῦ)65 2:8
2. Women’s Role in the Church: Paul exhorts women to adorn themselves in a modest, Godly manner, and not to exercise authority over a man against the design of creation, but to find deliverance through child bearing in faith, love, sanctity, and self-restraint 2:9-15
a. Exhortations Concerning Adornment--Modesty & Godliness: Just as Paul exhorts men, so does he exhort women to adorn themselves in a modest, discrete way with proper clothing and good works as befit a godly woman 2:9-10
b. Exhortations Concerning Leadership--Not Over Men: Paul exhorts women to quietly receive instruction and not to exercise authority over men in accordance with the order of creation, but to find the salvation of sanctification through bearing children in faith, love, sanctity, and self-restraint 2:11-15
2) Do Not Exercise Authority Over Men: Paul does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet because of the created order and because of the effect of the reversal of the created order when she was deceived and initiated the fall 2:12-14
b) Reason One--Created Order: The reason Paul does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man is because (γὰρ) the order of creation in Genesis 2 supports (or is in harmony with) the female submission to male authority (for it was Adam who was first created, then Eve)76 2:13
c) Reason Two--The Initiator in the Garden: The reason Paul does not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man is also because (καὶ) it was the woman who was deceived77 and thus led the fall into transgression78 2:14
3) In contrast to women exercising authority over men (δὲ), they are preserved through the bearing of children, if they remain in faith, love, and sanctity with self-restraint79 2:15
C. Qualifications for Church Leadership:80 Paul affirms that church leadership is an excellent work, and that it is thus necessary for overseers and deacons to be above reproach so that the gospel ministry might not be hindered and so that their own faith may be strengthened 3:1-13
1. Qualifications for Overseers (ἐπίσκοπος):81 Paul affirms that church leadership is an excellent work, and that it is necessary, therefore, for church leaders to be those who are considered to be above reproach so that the gospel ministry of the church among unbelievers might not be hindered by the devil 3:1-7
a. An Affirmation of Church Leadership: Paul affirms that if anyone desires to be a church leader, he desires to do an excellent work82 3:1
b. Characteristics of Church Leaders: Because church leadership is an excellent work, Paul therefore (ου῎ν) affirms that it is necessary (δεῖ ) for a church leader to be above reproach (ἀνεπίλημπτον ει῎ναι)83 by being the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, or pugnacious, but gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money, one who manages his household well, one who is not a new convert, and one who has a good reputation with unbelievers 3:2a
1) Overall Characteristic--Above Reproach: An overseer must be (δεῖ ) above reproach (ἀνεπίλημπτον ει῎ναι)84 3:2a
2) Husband of One Wife: In order to be above reproach one must be the husband of one wife (μεᾶς γυναικὸς α῎νδρα)85 3:2b
3) Temperate: In order to be above reproach one must be temperate/or sober (νηφάλιον)86 3:2c
4) Prudent: In order to be above reproach one must be prudent (σώφρονα)87 3:2d
5) Respectable: In order to be above reproach one must be respectable (κόσμιον)88 3:2e
6) Hospitable: In order to be above reproach one must be hospitable (φιλόξενον)89 3:2f
7) Able to Teach: In order to be above reproach one must be able to teach (διδακτικόν)90 3:2g
8) Not Addicted to Wine: In order to be above reproach one must not be addicted to wine (μή πάροινον)91 3:3a
9) Not Pugnacious: In order to be above reproach one must not be pugnacious (μὴ πλήκτην), but gentle, and uncontentious (ἀλλὰ ἐπιεικῆ α῎μαχον)92 3:3b
10) Free from the Love of Money: In order to be above reproach one must be free from the love a money (ἀφιλάργυρον)93 3:3c
11) Manage Household Well: In order to be above reproach one must manage94 his own household well by keeping his children under control with all dignity95 because otherwise it does not seem probable that he will be able to manage the church of God well 3:4-5
12) Not a New Convert: In order to be above reproach one must not be a new convert (and thus be mature in one’s faith)96 in order that (ι῞να) he may not become conceited and fall into judgment as the devil did97 3:6
2. Qualifications for Deacons (διάκονος):100 As with overseers, so is it that Paul sees the Christian leadership as a good work, and thus affirms that deacons are to be men of respect and dignity because they will obtain for themselves a high standing (in the Christian community) and great confidence in their Christian faith 3:8-13
a. Overall Characteristic--Respect: Because church leadership is an excellent work, Paul likewise (ὡσαύτως) affirms that deacons are to be men of respect/or dignity (σεμνοίς)101 3:8a
b. Negatively: In order to be a person of respect one is not to be characterized by false speech, drinking, or greed 3:8b-d
1) False Speech: In order to be a person of respect one is not be double tongued (μὴ διλόγους)102 3:8b
2) Drinking: In order to be a person of respect one is not to be addicted to much wine (μὴ οι῎νῳ πολλῷ προσέχοντας)103 3:8c
3) Greed: In order to be a person of respect one is not to pursue dishonest gain (μὴ αἰσχροκερδεῖς ) 3:8d
c. Positively: In order to be a person of respect a deacon is to hold to the revealed truth of the faith with a clear conscience, to have been demonstrated to be beyond reproach, to have women helpers who are of good character, to be the husband of one wife, and to manage their own household well 3:9-10
2) First Tested: In order to be a person of respect one is first to be tested to be seen as “beyond reproach before they serve as deacons 3:10
4) Husbands of One Wife: In order to be a person of respect a deacon is to the husband of one wife (διάκονοι ε῎στωσαν μιᾶς γυναικὸς α῎νδρες)108 3:12a
5) Mangers of Their Households: In order to be a person of respect one is to be a good manager of one’s children and their own household109 3:12a
d. Reason: The reason (γὰρ) deacons are to be men of respect/or dignity is because they will obtain for themselves a high standing (in the Christian community, if not with God) and great confidence in their Christian faith 3:13
D. Purpose of The Letter:110 Although Paul hopes to come soon to Timothy, he is writing the things in this letter in order that Timothy might know how to conduct himself in the church which protects the truth of Christ’s earthly and continuing ministry 3:14-16
1. How to Conduct Oneself in the Church--the Guardian of Truth: Although Paul hopes to come soon to Timothy, he is writing the things in this letter in order that Timothy might know how to conduct himself in the household of God111--the church of the living God which is to be the pillar and support112 of the truth113 3:14-15
2. The Truth Is Summarized--A Hymn: Paul unfolds the essence of the truth which the church is to protect as the mystery of religion, namely, the earthly and continuing ministry of Jesus Christ 3:16
a. Affirmation--The Truth is Great: Paul affirms that the revealed truth (mystery) of religion is great 3:16a
b. Demonstration--Jesus Christ: Paul demonstrates that the revealed truth of religion is great as he proclaims Christ in his earthly ministry and his continuing ministry 3:16b-f
1) Christ’s Earthly Ministry--Humiliation, Exaltation, and Glorification: Jesus was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit at His resurrection and then glorified at his ascension by angels 3:16b-d
a) Incarnation: Jesus was manifested in the flesh114 3:16b
b) Resurrection: Jesus was justified (ἐδικαιώθη) in the Spirit115 3:16c
c) Glorification: Jesus was beheld by angels116 3:16d
2) Christ’s Continuing Ministry--Gospel Proclaimed and Glorification: Jesus was preached among the Gentiles and believed in throughout the world leading to glory 3:16d-f
a) Preached: Jesus was preached among the nations (Gentiles)117 3:16d
b) Believed In: Jesus was believed in throughout the world 3:16e
c) Taken: Jesus was taken up in glory118 3:16f
E. False Doctrine Censured: In view of the corrupting consequences of demon-influenced false-teachers upon those in the church, Paul urges Timothy to be a good servant of God by developing godliness through personal discipline, by prescribing and teaching the truth about godliness, and by paying close attention to his personal life in the realms of his spiritual gift, his personal progress, and his teaching because this will provide present aspects of salvation for him and those who hear him 4:1-16
1. The Influence of False Teachers: In contrast to the church which is the defender of the faith, Paul affirms that the Spirit explicitly says that in latter times some will fall away from the faith by means of paying attention to deceitful spirits with their demonic doctrines and by means of hypocritical men who claim that they know the truth, but restrict believers from enjoying aspects of God’s good creation through a legalism 4:1-5
a. Statement--The Spirit’s Prediction: In contrast (δὲ) to the church which is the defender of the faith (3:16), Paul affirms that the Spirit explicitly says119that in latter times120 some will fall away from the faith 4:1a
b. The Means of Falling Away--Demonic Work Through False Teachers: Paul affirms that some will fall away from the truth by means of paying attention to deceitful spirits with their demonic doctrines and by means of hypocritical men who claim that they know the truth, but restrict believers from enjoying aspects of God’s good creation through a legalism 4:1b-5
2) Sourced in Hypocritical Men: Paul affirms that some will fall away from the truth by means of the hypocrisy of liars who they claim that they know the truth, but restrict believers from enjoying aspects of God’s good creation through a legalism 4:2
a) Speakers of Falsehood: The hypocrisy comes from men who speak falsehoods123 4:2
b) Seared in Their Conscience: The hypocrisy comes from men who are seared (branded) in their own conscience as with a branding iron124 4:2b
c) Forbid Marriage: The hypocrisy comes from men who forbid marriage125 4:3a
d) Abstain from Foods: The hypocrisy comes from men who advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth
2. Timothy’s Personal Responsibilities in Light of the False Teachers:130 In view of the corruption of the false teachers, Paul urges Timothy to be a good servant of God by developing godliness through personal discipline, by prescribing and teaching the truth about godliness, and by paying close attention to his personal life in the realms of his spiritual gift, his personal progress, and his teaching because this will provide present aspects of salvation for him and those who hear him 4:6-16
a. Be a Good Servant of God: Paul urges Timothy to be a good servant of Christ by exposing the errors of the false teachers, not becoming involved with their “worldly fables,” and by developing godliness through the personal discipline of word of God because of godliness’ comprehensive value 4:6-8
1) Point Out the Errors of False Teachers: Paul affirms that Timothy will be a good servant131 of Christ by pointing out the errors of the false teachers which he has just described132 to the brethren133 4:6a
2) Be Nourished on the Word through Personal Discipline: Paul urges Timothy not to be caught up in “worldly fables” but to be nourished on the word through personal discipline leading to godliness since is offers hope for one’s present life and for one’s future life as a motivation for one’s labor 4:6b-10
a) Nourished on the Word: Paul affirms that Timothy will be a good servant of Christ as he is nourished134 on the words of faith and on excellent teaching (διδασκαλίας) which he has been following 4:6b
b) Rejecting Worldly Fables: In contrast to being nourished on faith and sound doctrine Paul warns Timothy not to have anything to do with worldly fables135 only fit for old women 4:7a
c) Being Disciplined for Godliness: Paul exhorts Timothy to discipline himself136 for the greater value of godliness137 since it holds promise for one’s present life and for one’s future life thereby motivating ministers to labor with their hope of salvation fixed upon God 4:7b-10
(1) Discipline Yourself: In contrast to being enmeshed in “worldly fables” Paul urges Timothy to discipline himself for the purpose of godliness 4:7b
(2) Godliness vs. Physical Discipline: Paul affirms that although physical discipline138 has some value,139 it is a trust worthy statement that godliness has a surpassing value since it holds promise for one’s present life and for one’s future life 4:8-9
(3) Fix Your Hope: Because godliness holds the promise of life Paul affirms that He and those like him in ministry140 labor141 and strive with a fixed hope on the living God who is the savior of all men--especially believers142 4:10
b. Prescribe and Teach Truth: Paul urges Timothy to prescribe and teach the truth about godliness in such a way that he does not give others an opportunity to discredit him, but in fact becomes an example of a true believer 4:11-13
1) Statement: Paul urges Timothy to prescribe and to teach the above truths about godliness (as opposed to those errors taught by the false teachers) 4:11
2) Personal Integrity:143 Paul urges Timothy not to provide an opportunity for people to look down upon him because he is young, but to be an example to those who believe through his speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity144 4:12
3) Prescriptive Ministry: Paul urges Timothy to give attention to (public) reading of the Scripture, to exhortation, and to teaching145 until Paul comes to him 4:13
c. Pay Attention to Yourself: Paul urges Timothy to pay close attention to himself in terms of his spiritual gift, his personal progress at godliness, and his teaching because this work will provide present salvation for both himself and those who hear him 4:14-16
1) Do Not Neglect Your Gift: Paul urges Timothy not to neglect his spiritual gift146 which was bestowed upon him through the prophetic utterance (prophecies) with the laying on of hands by the elders147 4:14
2) Work at Your Progress: Paul urges to take pains at developing godliness so that his progress148 may be evident to all 4:15
3) Pay Attention: Paul urges Timothy to pay close attention to himself and to his teaching by persevering because this work will provide (present experiences of) salvation for himself and for those who hear him149 4:16
IV. INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING VARIOUS GROUPS: After a general charge to Timothy concerning how to appeal to believing men and women who are sinning, Paul exhorts Timothy to care for true widows but not to place younger ones on the list, to care for elders but to reprove and replace those who are sinning, and to instruct slaves to honor their masters 5:1--6:2
A. Instructions Regarding Relating to Men and Women as Believers:150Paul exhorts Timothy not to sharply rebuke a man or a woman, but is to appeal to them as one would to one’s own father/mother or brother/sister with all purity151 5:1-2
1. Men: Paul exhorts that no one is to sharply rebuke a man, but to appeal to him as one would to a father or to brothers 5:1
a. An Older Man: Paul exhorts Timothy not to sharply rebuke (ἐπιπλήξῃς) an older man,152 but to appeal to (or come along side of, παρακάλει) him as one would appeal to a father 5:1a
b. Younger Man: Paul exhorts Timothy not to sharply rebuke a younger man, but to appeal to him as one would to brothers 5:1b
2. Women: Paul exhorts Timothy not to sharply rebuke a women, but is to appeal to her as one would to a mother or to a sister, namely, in all purity 5:2
a. Older Women: Paul exhorts Timothy not to rebuke an older woman, but to appeal to her as one would to a mother153 5:2a
b. Younger Women: Paul exhorts Timothy not to rebuke a younger woman, but is to appeal to her as one would to a sister, by which he means, in all purity154 5:2b
B. Instructions Regarding Widows:155 Paul urges Timothy to care for true widows by placing them upon a list--if they have no living family to care for them and have certain qualifications of age and good works--and not to put younger widows on the list since they may not model the qualities of the older widows; Paul also urges those women in the church who are caring for true widows to continue so that the church may be free to care for other true widows 5:3-16
2. General Qualities for Identifying True Widows:158 In view of the fact that a widow who has living family should be cared for by that family lest they be perceived as being worse than unbelievers in their behavior, Paul identifies real widows as those who have no one to care for them and are dependent upon God rather than being self-indulgent and thus spiritually dead 5:4-8
a. Words to Relatives--They Should Care for Their Widows: Paul urges children or grandchildren of widows to practice piety and to make some return to their family because this pleases God 5:4
1) Practice Piety: Paul exhorts children or grandchildren of widows to practice piety in regard to their own family 5:4a
2) Make Some Return: Paul exhorts children or grandchildren of widows to make some return to their parents 5:4b
3) This Pleases God: The reason Paul exhorts children or grandchildren of widows to practice piety and make some return to their parents is because such activity please God159 5:4c
b. Words to Widows--Be of Godly Character: Hope in God’s Care: Paul identifies a true widow as one who has been left without family to care for her, so is fixed in her hope upon God which is expressed through continued prayers to Him for care 5:5
1) Fixed Her Hope on God: Paul identifies a true widow as one who has been left alone and has fixed her hope on God 5:5a
2) Prays: Paul identifies a true widow as one who continues in entreaties and prayers all of the time (night and day)160 5:5b
c. Words to Disobedient Widows--Judgment for Being Disobedient: Paul exhorts Timothy to instruct widows to place their hope in God and against being self-indulgent because this latter state describes spiritual deadness even though they are physically alive 5:6-7
1) Self-indulgent: In contrast to a widow whose hope is in God is one who is self-indulgent (given to wanton pleasure)161 because she is spiritually dead even through she is physically alive 5:6
2) Prescribe these Things: Paul urges Timothy to give the instructions of verses 5-6 to the self-indulgent widows so that they might be blameless (above reproach)162 5:7
d. Words to Relatives--Judgment for Disobedience:163Paul warns that if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household164 that he has denied the faith and is worth than an unbeliever165 8:8
3. Specific Qualities for Identifying and Prescribing Direction for Widows: Paul urges widows to be placed upon a list by the church if they meet certain qualifications of age and good works, but not to put younger widows on the list since they may not model the qualities of the older widows, and urges those women in the church who are caring for true widows to continue so that the church may be free to care for other widows 5:9-16
a. Qualified to Be Put on a List: A widow is to be placed upon a list166 by the church if she meets the following qualification--she is sixty or older, not divorced and remarried, and known for good works: 5:9-10
1) Sixty or Older: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she is not less than sixty years old167 5:9a
2) Not Divorced and Remarried: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she is the husband of one man168 5:9b
3) Is Known for Good Works:169 A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she known for good works such as raising up her children, showing hospitality, being spiritually active in believers’ lives, assisting those in distress, and in general being devoted to good works 5:10
a) Affirmation: Paul affirms that a widow is to be placed upon a list by the church is she is known for good works 5:10a
b) Examples of Good Works: Paul then lists some specific examples of good works which a widow is to be known for such as raising up her children, showing hospitality, being spiritually active in believers’ lives, assisting those in distress, and in general being devoted to good works 5:10b-f
(1) Brought Up Her Children: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she has brought up her children 5:10b
(2) Shown Hospitality: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she has shown hospitality to strangers 5:10c
(3) Been Spiritually Active in Believers’ Lives: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she been spiritually active in believers’ lives (e.g., washed their feet)170 5:10d
(4) Assisted Those in Distress: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she has assisted those in distress 5:10e
(5) Summary--Devoted to Good Works: A widow is to be placed upon a list by the church if she has devoted herself to every good work 5:10f
b. Detailed “Exposure of” and “Instruction for” The Self-Indulgent: Paul exhorts Timothy to refuse to put younger widows on the widows’ list because they become self-indulgent and do not model godliness, therefore, Paul exhorts them to re-invest themselves in family ministries 5:11-15
1) Younger Widows Not to Be On List: Paul exhorts Timothy to refuse to put younger widows on the list 5:11a
2) Reasons Younger Widows Are Not On List: Because younger widows become self-indulgent and do not model godliness Paul does not permit them to be placed upon the widows’ list, but exhorts them to re-invest their lives in family ministries once again 5:11-15
a) Reasons Stated: The Reasons Paul does not desire for younger widows to be placed upon the list is because they become self-indulgent and do not model godliness 5:11-13
(1) They Become Self-Indulgent--They Break Their Commitment: The reason why younger widows should not be place on the list is because they become moved by their sensual desires in disregard to their commitment to Christ and desire to get married incurring condemnation because they have set aside their previous faith171 5:11-12
(2) They Do Not Model Godliness--They Become Idle Speakers of Nonsense: The second reason172 why younger widows should not be place on the list is because they learn to be idle speakers of nonsense and busybodies as they go from house to house (church?) talking about things not proper to mention173 5:13
b) Conclusion Drawn: Paul concludes in view of the above reasons that younger widows should invest their lives in family ministry again (e.g., emulate the good work of the older widows)--get married, bear children, keep house and give the enemy no occasion for reproach as some have by turning aside to follow Satan174 5:14-15
c. Genuine Concern for Widows: Paul urges any believing woman175 who has dependent widows to continue in their assistance of them so that the church may be free to assist true widows 5:16
C. Instructions Regarding Elders:176 Paul urges Timothy to care for the financial needs and the reputation of those elders who work in the church, to reprove those elders who are sinning, and to be careful in the reappointment of other elders who are to replace those who are sinning 5:17-25
1. The Care of Elders: Paul urges Timothy (and thus they church) to care for those elders who work among them in the community by providing for their needs financially and by protecting them against false accusations which have no confirmation 5:17-19
a. Double Honor: Paul urges Timothy (and thus the church) to honor those elders177 who rule well with double honor178--especially those who work hard at giving instruction (preaching and teaching) 5:17
b. The Reasoning for Provision: The reason (γὰρ) the church should provide for those elders who work hard among them is because Scripture confirms179 that they should care for those in their community (as an ox should be allowed to eat while he is threshing, so is the one who works worthy of receiving wages) 5:18
c. Protections Against Accusations: Paul urges Timothy (and thus the church) not to receive an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed with two or three witnesses180 5:19
2. The Impartial Reproof of Sinning Elders: Paul urges Timothy with a solemn charge before all of heaven to impartially reprove those elders who continue in sin in order that the remaining elders may be fearful of sinning 5:20-21
b. A Solemn Charge to Impartiality: Paul solemnly charges Timothy before all of heaven (in the presence of God, Christ Jesus, and chosen angels)184 to maintain these principles of reproof without bias or partiality 5:21
3. The Replacements for Sinning Elders: Paul urges Timothy (and thus the church) to keep themselves from true sin (and not the false definitions imposed by the false teachers) by not appointing replacement elders too quickly because their sinfulness is not always easy to detect even though it will eventually show itself 5:22-25
a. Their Selection: Paul urges Timothy (and thus the church) to keep themselves free from sin by not appointing (replacement) elders too hastily since this would cause them to share responsibility for the elder’s sins 5:22
b. The Reasons for Careful Selection: After Paul is sure that Timothy can distinguish between what would be a true entanglement with sin (5:22) and a false accusation of sin by the false teachers (e.g., partaking of wine, 4:3), Paul supports his affirmation that Timothy should be careful when choosing replacement elders because their sinfulness, which will eventually be revealed, is not always immediately evident 5:23
1) Related Digression: Paul urges Timothy against a total asceticism as taught by the false teachers (4:3) by urging him to no longer drink water exclusively,185 but to take a little wine when necessary for medicinal reasons (your stomach and your frequent ailments)186 5:23
2) Negative Reason: Paul reasons that Timothy should be careful in his selection of replacement elders because not all men’s sins are immediately manifest (e.g., some men’s sins go before them to judgment,187 while other men’s sins follow after them188) 5:24
3) Positive Affirmation: In a positive contrast with verse 24 Paul also affirms that the good deeds of men are very evident and the evil deeds of men will not be able to be concealed 5:25
D. Instructions Regarding Slaves:189 Paul urges Timothy to preach and teach to believers who are slaves to regard their masters of worthy honor and especially if they are Christians to be respectful of them so that God may be honored because believing Masters are their beloved brothers 6:1-2
1. Attitudes Towards Pagan Masters: Paul urges believers who are slaves190 to regard their masters as worthy of honor191 in order that (ι῞να) the character of God and Christian teaching may not be spoken against192 6:1
2. Attitudes Towards Christian Masters:193 Paul urges believers who are slaves not to be disrespectful194 to them, but to serve them all the more because they are believers who are loved (by God and us) 6:2a
3. Exhortation to Teach: Paul urges Timothy to teach and preach these principles about how slaves should treat their masters 6:2b
V. INSTRUCTIONS REGARDING GODLINESS: In view of the false teachers who have abandoned the gospel and perverted godliness for personal gain leading to many sorrows Paul urges Timothy to remain faithful to his ministry until the Lord returns, and exhorts those who are wealthy to not focus their hope upon their riches but upon God thereby generously investing their riches in good deeds and thus laying up for themselves reward for their future life 6:3-19
A. Final Exposure and Indictment of the False Teachers--A Warning Against the Love of Money:195 Paul exposes the false teachers as those who abandoned the Gospel and perverted godliness for personal gain, affirms the value of godliness when it is accompanied by contentment with one’s financial state, and indicted the false teachers as being those whose greed has resulted in a downward spiral, spiritually, piercing them with many sorrows 6:3-10
1. A Final Exposure of Prideful Self-interest: Paul affirms that because the false teachers have abandoned the gospel from Christ, they have a morbid interest in disruptive controversy leading to depraved minds which desire to achieve financial gain through religion. 6:3-5
a. Abandonment of the Gospel: Paul affirms196 that the false teachers advocate a different teaching which does not agree with the gospel which comes from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself which leads to godliness 6:3
b. Morbid Interests in Controversy and Financial Gain: The results of the false teachers’ abandonment of the gospel is that they have a morbid, prideful craving for controversy (questions, word battles resulting in division in the community197) leading to depraved minds which are deprived of the truth and thus desire to achieve financial gain (εὐσέβειαν) through godliness (religion)198 6:4-5
2. A Contrasting Attitude Toward Godliness: In contrast to the false teachers’ perversion of godliness for financial gain, Paul affirms that godliness (religion) in itself is of great value when one is content in one’s financial circumstances because a discontentment out of greed is illogical since one can not take things with one, and since the essentials of life (food and clothing) are all that are truly necessary in this life for contentment 6:6-10
a. The Gain of Godliness: In contrast to the false teachers’ perversion of godliness Paul affirms that godliness (religion) does provide great gain (μέγας ἡ εὐσέβεια)199 when it is accompanied by contentment200 6:6
b. Reason I--the Future: The first reason that godliness brings great gain when it is accompanied by contentment is because material things are finite having no continuity with life beyond this world201 6:7
c. Reason II--the Present: The second reason that godliness brings great gain when it is accompanied by contentment is because provisions for our present needs (food and clothing) should be enough to make one content (ἀρκεσθησόμεθα)202 6:8
3. A Contrasting Look at the False Teachers Who Want to Get Rich: In contrast to the value of godliness (religion) when it is accompanied by contentment Paul affirms that those who desire to get rich enter into a downward spiral, spiritually, and cites the false teachers as specific examples of those who have pierced themselves with many sorrows 6:9-10
a. In General--The Downward Effect of Loving Money: In contrast (δὲ) to being content Paul affirms that those who out of greed desire to get rich fall into a downward spiral of being tempted, followed by being trapped with many foolish and harmful desires which pull people down (plunge them) into ruin and destruction 6:9
b. In Specific--The False Teachers: In accordance with the proverb that the love of money is the source of all sorts of evil Paul affirms that some (the false teachers) have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows because of their love for money 6:10
1) A Proverbial Support: Paul supports (γὰρ) his contention that loving money leads to a downward spiritual effect by affirming the proverb that “the love of money is the source of all sorts of evil” 6:10a
2) A Historical Illustration: Paul affirms that by longing for money some (the false teachers) have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves (as with a sword) with many sorrows 6:10
B. Final Exhortation to Timothy--Remain Faithful:203 Through specific imperatives and a solemn charge Paul exhorts Timothy to remain faithful to his ministry in the face of false teachers until the sovereign Lord Jesus Christ returns who is unique in his lordship 6:11-16
1. Four Imperatives: Paul exhorts Timothy to flee form the patterns of the false teachers, strive for virtues and behavior which reflect the gospel, and to persevere in the contest until he receives the prize of eternal life 6:11-12
b. Strive for Virtues: In contrast (δὲ) to the patterns of the false teachers Paul urges Timothy to strive for virtues and behavior which reflect the gospel (e.g., uprightness in conduct [righteousness], godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness) 6:11b
c. Keep the Athletic Contest: Paul urges Timothy to keep contending in the athletic contest of the faith206 6:12a
d. Take Hold of Eternal Life: Paul urges Timothy to take hold of the eternal life to which he was called by God when he publicly confessed the Lord before many witnesses207 6:12b
2. A Solemn Charge: In the solemn setting of God who maintains all life, and Christ Jesus who made a good profession before Pontius Pilate Paul charges Timothy to remain faithful to his ministry in all purity until the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ 6:13-14
a. The Sacredness of Paul’s Charge: Paul sets the scene for his summary charge to Timothy as being in the presence of God who maintains all life, and in the presence of Christ Jesus who made a good confession before Pontius Pilate 6:13
b. The Charge to Obey Orders: Paul charges Timothy to keep the commandments208 in a way which is unstained and free from reproach until the coming (appearing) of our Lord Jesus Christ 6:14
3. A Doxology: After mentioning Christ’s return, Paul confirms that this will occur at the proper time when the Lord determines it to occur, and then praises the Lord through a series of character qualities which describe Him as unique in his sovereignty 6:15-16
a. A Certain/Sovereign Second Advent: In view of the mention of Christ’s return Paul affirms that this will occur at the proper time when the sovereign God decides for it to occur209 6:15a
b. Praise to the Lord: Paul praises the Lord through a series of epithets about His uniqueness as Ruler: 6:15b-16
1) He is the only Sovereign One210
2) He is the King of kings and Lord of lords211
3) He is the only one having immortality212
4) He lives in light which is unapproachable213
5) He is invisible214
6) He is the recipient of honor and eternal dominion, Amen215
C. Instruction to the Rich:216 Paul commands Timothy to charge the rich in this world not to be proud or to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but to hope in God and to use their money in generous, liberal ways to do good so that they may lay up reward for themselves in the future 6:17-19
1. One’s Focus for Hope: Paul commands Timothy to charge the rich217 in this world not to be proud or to set their hopes on uncertain riches,218 but on God who richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy219 6:17
2. One’s Use of Money: Paul charges the rich to use their money in a generous way for doing what is good because by doing so they will lay for themselves a good foundation for the future 6:18-19
a. Use Money for Good: Paul charges the rich to use their money in a generous, liberal way for doing what is good 6:18
1) Paul charges the rich to do what is good 6:18a
2) Paul charges the rich to be rich in good deeds220 6:18b
3) Paul charges the rich to be liberal 6:18c
4) Paul charges the rich to be generous 6:18d
b. An Eschatological Motivation: The reason Paul charges the rich to use their money for what is good is because by doing so they will lay for themselves a good foundation for the future so that they may participate (take hold of) the life which is truly life221 6:19
VI. CONCLUSION--A FINAL CHARGE:222 In a final charge Paul urges Timothy to guard his ministry against the false teachers and to avoid their false-knowledge because it has led many away from the faith, whereupon he prays for them all to receive God’s grace 6:20-21
A. Admonition to Timothy: In a final charge Paul urges Timothy to guard his ministry against the false teachers which has been deposited with him and to avoid their false knowledge because it has led many away from the faith 6:20-21a
1. Guard Your Ministry: Paul once again exhorts Timothy to guard his ministry (e.g., that which has been entrusted to him)223 6:20a
3. Reason: The reason Paul exhorts Timothy to avoid the false-knowledge of the false teachers is because some who have professed it have missed the mark (lost the way)226 with regard to the faith227 6:21a
B. Prayer for Grace: Paul prays that God’s grace might be with Timothy and all who are with him in Ephesus228 6:21b
1 Paul is emphasizing his authority with this title. This was probably not for Timothy so much as for “ill-wishers” who would hear this in the congregation when it was read aloud (see J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 39).
2 Paul is a man under orders from God (cf. Acts 9:15-16). As Fee says, “in this letter is going to charge Timothy to ‘order’ the church, or the errorists, to do or refrain from doing certain things. Thus he who gives orders is himself under orders” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 1-2).
3 See 1 Timothy 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4,6; Philemon 3:20; Ephesians 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:10). The reference need not be an allusion to emperor worship since it has roots in the OT (cf. Deut. 32:15; Psalm 24:5; 25:5; 27:1; 9; 42:5; Habakkuk 3:18; Isaiah 12:2; Luke 1:47; Jude 25).
4 As “Savior” Christ has inaugurated a redemptive process which he will consummate when he returns for believers (cf. 1 Tim. 6:14), therefore, he is also their “Hope” of redemption (cf. Titus 2:13).
5 The emphasis upon “true” (γνσίῳ τέκνῳ) may also reflect an authority motif. Perhaps Paul is assuring that the church does not reject Timothy (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 2).
6 The phrase “in the faith” actually does not have an article (ἑν πίστει) and thus may well refer to Timothy as being faithful.
7 Even in this greeting there is an emphasis upon Timothy as that half-way house between Judaism and the Greeks. Grace and peace were typical elements of Paul’s letters, but when he adds in mercy he is emphasizing Jewish roots. As Fee writes, “Thus in the final letters the salutation has become complete” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 3).
8 This combination of names almost becomes like a full proper name for the Lord in the Pastorals.
9 This implies that the church is an actor in this event (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 4).
10 Timothy is not the pastor but Paul’s representative authorized to oppose the deceivers and their followers (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 5).
11 Paul seems to omit his usual section of thanksgiving before jumping into the heart of this letter. Oddly enough, the only other letter where he does this is Galatians where he was also concerned with false teachers. This may well be another indication that this letter is for the church more than for Timothy.
12 The meaning for “charge” is “to give strict orders” (παραγγείλῃς ).
13 The term is ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν which literally means “other teachings” or “teachings of a different kind” (cf. 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6). These are clear perversions of the pure gospel which Timothy is to clear up.
14 These have been understood in different ways: (1) the “myths” were ways which the Gnostic thinkers sought to solve the the problem of evil (J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 44); the genealogies were “speculative cosmologies of the later Gnostics with their systems of aeons (spiritual beings) that emanate from God (the Father of All), such as one finds in Valentinus” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 6; C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 40; see the paraphrase of the Living Bible, “Their idea of being saved by finding favor with an endless chain of angels leading up to God”). However, the Gnostic system of aeons were never called genealogies, the genealogies are lumped in with the Law in 3:9, and the “fables” were explicitly labeled Jewish (cf. Titus 1:14)
(2) They were descriptions which appeared in Hellenism and Hellenistic Judaism to refer to traditions about peoples’ origins. “Μύθοις” was used in a pejorative sense to contrast the legendary character of the stories to historical truth. They were some kind of Jewish (v. 7) discussions about origins. It is not possible to be specific beyond this (Ibid., pp. 6-7). Perhaps, they were an attempt by the Jews to emphasize physical heritage (e.g., pedigrees of the patriarchs) or “far-fetched minutiae of rabbinical exegesis to the detriment of the gospel” (cf. Book of Jubilees, or Philo’s Questions and Answers on Genesis, or Pseudo-Philo’s Book of Biblical Antiquities; J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, pp. 44-45; Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 7).
15 “Tis a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Shakespeare, Macbeth. Kelly writes that Paul is concerned about, “the condemning the mass of pseudo-problems which the heretics’ exegesis engenders. The end of Bible study should be an apprehension of god’s saving plan” (J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 45).
16 See Ephesians 1:10; 3:2,9; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:17; Colossians 1:25.
17 The sense of “command” or “charge” here is probably wider in meaning than that implied in verse 3. It is descriptive of the requirement disclosed in the Gospel (C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 41).
18 Kelly writes, “The ultimate object of Paul’s charge, as of all Christian moral preaching, is not merely negative. If its initial purpose is to check error, it has the further and more positive aim of establishing love in the Ephesian congregation in place of the spirit of contentiousness which the errorists have sown there” (J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 46).
Fee relates this to the context even more when he writes, “This is probably not a general statement about the gospel, in contrast to the errors; rather, Paul is specifically giving the reason for Timothy’s involvement, namely, to arouse the love that comes from a pure heart (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p 7).
19 These characteristics are to be contrasted with those of the false teachers who are deceived and deceitful (4:1-2; 5:24; 2 Tim. 2:26; 3:13; cf. 1 Tim. 2:14; 5:15; 2 Tim. 3:5-7), have “branded” consciences (4:2) and “have made a ruin of their faith” (1:19) [Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 8).
20 These may well have been elders in the church. Remember Paul’s prophetic warning to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:28-30! Other support that elders are in view is that Paul also discusses the responsibility of the elders (5:17; cf. 3:2), the naming and excommunicating of two by Paul (1:19-20, Hymenaeus and PHiletus), qualifications for elders (3:1-7), as well as disciplining and the apparent replacement of elders (5:19-25) [Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 5-6; C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 40].
21 An honorable title in the OT (cf. Luke 5:17, Gamaliel in Acts 5:34). Paul throws it back upon them in irony.
22 It seems that the false teachers may have been imposing the code of the Law rather than the ethic of the Law. The code was the negative aspect of the Law which the false teachers were insisting was necessary for believers to be pleasing to God. Here Paul affirms that the ethic of the Law should be the negative aspect which is imposed because it constrains people from doing evil to one another. Barrett writes, “Love is repeatedly praised...no doubt also because he was aware of perversions of Christianity which made a show of piety, but were loveless” (C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 42).
23 An imposition of code of the Law for the righteous to be accepted by God. Kelly does not see the issue as being similar to the Judaizers in Galatians who impose the full ceremonial law upon Christians because of the discussions of myths and genealogies above and the ascetic descriptions in 4:5 (J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, p. 48). Likewise, Barrett understands the teachers to spin out of the Law allegorical meanings which bear no relation to the original sense, and to make it the basis of an ascetic system of morals (C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 43), but these emphases do not necessarily negate Judaizers.
24 An imposition of the ethic of the Law which exposes evil (see Jesus’ use of the Law in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5--7; Luke 6). Even Kelly notes that, “What is interesting in the present list is that it is largely based on the Decalogue” (J. N. D. Kelly, A Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles, pp. 49-50; see also Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 10-11).
25 The sixth commandment
26 The seventh and eigth commandments.
27 The ninth commendment.
28 See Romans 13:9; Galatians 5:21.
29 This is an affirmation that the ethic of the Law is found in the Gospel.
30 The point is not that God appointed Paul because he thought so highly of him, but that it is amazing that He considered him at all trustworthy.
31 Paul is not appointed here as an apostle, but as a servant (διακονίαν).
32 This certainly speaks of Paul’s persecution of the church (cf. Acts 8:3; 9:1-2; 22:4-5; 26:9-11; cf. Gal. 1:13).
33 Paul is not saying that his state made him less culpable, but that his ignorance is why God was gracious to him. His sin was not highhanded (cf. Num. 15:22-31). This was true for those who crucified the Lord as well (1 Cor. 2:8; Luke 23:34). God’s grace in Israel’s ignorance is why Peter could remake an offer of the Kingdom in Acts 3. Likewise, Stephen’s grace in the ignorance of those who stoned him (in Paul’s presence) is why Paul later became the recipient of grace on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
34 Faith is the response of grace, and faith acts then in love.
35 The particulars of this verse are to be contrasted with Paul’s earlier discussion of the gospel in contrast with the teaching of the false teachers (1:8-10; cf. 1:5). God’s grace brings with it “faith” and “love” and “eternal life” (see Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 15, 17-20).
36 Paul does not use the past tense, but the present tense, “ω῞ν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ !” Paul always recognizes that he has the status of a sinner redeemed (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 18).
37 Eternal life is not only life with an endless longevity, but life in the coming age with Him (cf. 6:12-15; 2 Tim. 4:6-8; Titus 2:11-14).
38 The eternal King (βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων ) picks up the theme of eternal life in verse 16.
39 God is “incorruptible”. This may be a term from Hellenistic Judaism.
40 This may be an OT theme (cf. Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:15).
41 This is the essence of the OT view of God (Deut. 6).
42 Paul’s seems to have Timothy’s commission or ordination in view when he was recognized to have received the gift of the Spirit for ministry and there was a clarification made through some words of prophecy (cf. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6). Therefore, Paul is entrusting this command to him in accordance with Timothy’s divine commission. The exhortation is one higher than from Paul--it’s from the Spirit of God.
43 Paul uses a military metaphor as one engages against the enemies of the gospel (cf. 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Cor. 10:1-6; Philemon 1 [Col. 4:17]; Eph. 6:10-17).
44 By rejecting their complete trust in God’s grace they are at the same time bringing the faith to ruin.
45 See 1 Corinthians 5:5. Paul seems to be placing these men outside of the protective umbrella of the church and its fellowship into Satan’s sphere.
46 Some see chapters two and three as an early church manual such as was needed for setting a church in order (although Paul has already done this in Acts 19--20). Barrett writes in this vein when he says, “After the opening chapter, which strikes a personal note, the Epistle turns to more general regulations for the ordering of the Christian life, with special reference to the life of the community” (C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 48). The connections between chapters 1 and 2 & 3 are lost because there is not specific reference to false teachers in the latter.
However, there is a logical connection made between chapter one and what follows with the textual marker, “Therefore” (ου῞ν) implying a result or inference from what has preceded it. As Fee writes, “That means that these instructions are best understood as responses to the presence of the wayward elders, who were disrupting the church by the errors and controversies. In fact, Paul does not suggest at any point that Timothy is to set the church in order, as for the first time. In each case the activities seem already to be present. What Paul is doing, rather is correcting abuses of various kinds. For example, it may be assumed that men pray, and do so with raised hands (v. 8). The instruction here is that they do so with ‘holy’ hands, not ‘soiled’ by anger or argument” (see Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 25).
47 This paragraph is not so much about prayers for rulers or a Christian attitude for the state so much as about the gospel that is for all people (cf. 2:1, 4-6,7). Verse two is a sort of a meaningful digression to the central point. Fee discusses this emphasis when he writes, “The best explanation for this emphasis lies with the false teachers, who either through the esoteric highly speculative nature of their teaching (1:4-6) or through its ‘Jewishness’ (1:7) or ascetic character (4:3) are promoting an elitist or exclusivist mentality among their followers. The whole paragraph attacks that narrowness” (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 26).
48 See 1:3, 18-20.
49 The phrase “first of all” (πρῶτον πάντων) is describing that which is of most urgency rather that the first thing to be discussed. It is urgent that prays be made for all people.
50 These are to be prayers of all kinds are to be made for all people.
51 While some such as Barrett see these verse as the center of this discussion and verses 4-7 as a digression (C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 49), it is probably just the opposite. These verse are the digression by way of example.
52 This would include the emperor, provincial officials, and local magistrates. There is a long history of this in Judaism (Ezra 6:9-10; 1 Macc. 7:33; Letter of Aristeas 44-45; Pirke Aboth 3.2; Josephus Wars 2.196; Philo In Flaccum, 49; see Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 31; C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 49). See also Romans 13:1-5 for a passage with a similar attitude toward the state.
53 Paul’s concern does not seem to be so much that the church not have any kind of turmoil or unrest (cf. 2 Tim. 1:8; 3:12) as that it not come under oppression due to the evil affects of false teachers (cf. 6:1). As Fee writes, “it probably reflects the activities of the false teachers, who are not only disrupting (‘disquieting’) the church(es) but apparently are also bringing the gospel and the church into disrepute on the outside (see esp. 3:7; 5:14; 6:1; cf. Titus 2:5, 8; 3:1-3)” (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 27).
54 This is God the Father who is the originator of our salvation (Phil. 1:28; 1 Thess. 5:9).
55 Paul does not say that God “wills” but that God desires (θέλει σωθῆναι). The point is not that God’s desire is frustrated since all will not be saved but to emphasize the, “universal scope of the gospel over against some from of heretical exclusivism or narrowness” (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 28).
56 Perhaps this is the cognitive side in response to the error of the false teachers.
57 Paul uses the term for mankind (α῎νθροπος Χριστὸς ᾿Ιησοῦς) to emphasize that Jesus is the one human being of which this can be said. He is the second Adam (see Mark’s temptation account, Paul’s discussion in Romans 5).
58 Literally it reads “in behalf of,” “in the place of” (ὑπὲρ πάντων) all. There does not seem to be any indication that Jesus only died for the elect in this context (limited atonement).
59 This again emphasizes the universal scope of the gospel. Paul emphasizes this with “I am telling the truth, I am not lying!”). This suggest some form of Jewish exclusivism lying at the heart of the problem (cf. Titus 1:10-16).
60 This is a combination of “faith” and “truth” as a kind of nominal hendiadys. The true faith is over against the exclusivism of the false teachers.
61 If in 2:1-7 Paul has been describing the objects of prayer, namely all men, in 2:8-15 he now discusses the proper demeanor on the part of those who pray.
The false teachers are again central to this section. The mention of men (2:7) no doubt relates to those who were raising controversies and strife (1:4). It seems that the emphasis upon women (2:8-15) may well relate to them as those upon whom the false teachers are finding their most fruitful hearing (cf. 5:3-16; and especially 2 Tim. 3:5-9). It is also possible that some of the discussion could relate to women who were in the Artemis cult.
62 See 2:1-7 above.
63 This could refer to every church service, or to any place where the believers gathered (e.g., perhaps the house churches; see Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 34,39).
The identification of this phrase gains significance as one attempts to identify the limitations upon the exhortations given to women in the next unit (2:9, “I also want women ...”). If it refers to the church service, than it has specific application to the local church. If it refers to the “everywhere” (NIV), than it may have application to any gathering of believers beyond the confines of the local assembly. The phrase is more generic than specific, and thus may well refer to the latter meaning--e.g., any place where believers are gathered together. Nevertheless, Fee does have a point when he affirms that Paul usually identifies the sense of “the churches universally” when he means for this broader sense as in 1 Corinthians 11:26; 14:33 (Ibid., 39). The more narrow sense would also match the particular problem with the false teachers in the Ephesian church. Therefore, it may be best to understand Paul’s sense to be in the local church.
In support of this conclusion Barrett writes, “this is no mere literlism for in Jewish usage ‘place’ meant ‘meeting-place’, ‘place of prayer’, and there is evidence (especially 1 Cor. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:8) that is become Christian usage too. The author means ‘in every Christian meeting-place’. Cp. also Mal. 1:10f.” (C. K. Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 54).
64 This seems to have been a common practice in Judaism (cf. 1 Ki. 8:54; Pss. 63:4; 141:2; 2 Macc. 14:32; Philo, Flaccus 121; Jos. Antiquities 4.40; and in early Christianity see Tertullian, On Prayer 17).
65 The imagery is that of ritual purity through hands which are cleansed before praying. Here the sense is that they are not soiled by anger or arguing which are the specific sins of the false teachers (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 34).
66 Although the term for “women” (γυναῖκας) could be understood to refer to “wives” when placed alongside of the term used for men (ἀνηρ), it does not have an article before it so it probably has reference to a broader group than “wives.”
67 With “good judgment,” or “decency” (σωφροσύνης) (BAG, p. 802).
68 It may be that they act of “dressing up” was understood to be an attempt to be provocative for the sake of attaining a husband, or an expression of wifely insubordination, or even unfaithfulness. Some support is in the following:
“Juvenal’s Satire 6: “There is nothing that a woman will not permit herself to do, nothing that she deems shameful, when she encircles her neck with green emeralds and fastens huge pearls to her elongated ears.... So important is the business of beautification; so numerous are the tiers and storeys piled one upon another on her head!... Meantime she pays no attention to her husband” (Loeb, pp. 121ff).
1 Enoch 8:1-2: “And Azaz’el taught the people (the art of) making swords and knives, and shields, and breastplates; and he showed to their chosen ones bracelets, decorations, (shadowing of the eye) with antimony, ornamentation, the beautifying of the eyelids, all kinds of precious stones, and all coloring tinctures and alchemy. And there were many wicked ones and they committed adultery and erred, and all their conduct became corrupt” (Charlesworth, 1:16).
Fee also notes Testament of Rueben 5:1-5; Ps-Phintys 84-86; Perictione 135;l Seneca, To Helvia 16:3-4; Plutarch 26.30-32; Sentences of Sextus 235 and writes, “the words fancy hair styles and gold ornaments or pearls may go together and have to do with tiered hair decorated with gold and pearls. See J. B. Hurley, Man and Woman in Biblical Perspective, pp. 198-199” (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 39, n. 2:9-10).
In view of the above descriptions, it may be that Paul was dealing with some women who were acting out in this cultural framework (cf. 2 Tim. 3:6-7 which reads, “For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” NASB). See also 1 Peter 3:3.
69 Some examples of such good works in 1 Timothy 5:10 are: bring up her children well, showing hospitality to strangers, washing the saints’ feet, and assisting those in distress.
70 Fee suggests that the women were, “being ‘up front,’ talking foolishness, or being a ‘busybody’ (5:13)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 35). Perhaps they were doing this in response to false teaching which they were receiving.
71 The term is ἡσυχίᾳ meaning in a “quiet demeanor,” and not necessarily “in silence” or “without speaking” (cf. 2:2 “quiet life”). There is a sort of inclusio involved with this word since it is the first thing said here and the last thing mentioned in 2:12 (“ἐν ᾿῾συχίᾳ”).
72 To be “submissive in every way” (ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ). While this may have reference to their husbands, the implication of Πάσῃ suggests a larger realm which may include the conduct of younger widows and their going from house to house (house-churches) and talking about things that they should not (5:13).
73 This may correspond to “receive instruction” above in verse 11. It seems that teaching was where the problem lay in the church in Ephesus (1:3; 6:3; in contrast see 2:7; 5:17). It seems that this teaching had to most likely do with instruction in the Scriptures including the gospel (cf. 2 Tim. 3:15-17).
74 This may correspond with “entire submissiveness” above in verse 11. The term has the sense of “to domineer” (αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός). Perhaps the women were advancing the errors which they were receiving from the false teachers.
75 This is the same term that was used above in verse 11. The women are not to be domineering, or boisterous in the affirmations of the heresies of the false teachers, but are to receive instruction in a quiet manner.
76 Allen P. Ross writes, “What the apostle is doing in this section, it seems to me, is making an analogical application from the text. At creation God had an order, the man was created first and then the woman. The implication is that this order of creation should be preserved in the church, the new creation as it were, especially now when there is so much need for order. He is not saying that Genesis is teaching the superiority of the male over the female, nor that his instruction on women not teaching is in Genesis. It is an application by analogy. His ruling would stand as authoritative whether he connected it to creation or not” (“The Ministry of Women in the Seminary”, unpublished paper presented to the faculty of DTS, Faculty Retreat, 1990), p. 16.
77 This is based upon Eve’s statement in Genesis 3:13, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” In Romans 5:12, 19 the man (Adam) is the representative one through whom the fall of the race came, here it is the woman. In the case of 1 Timothy, there seems to have been a parallel with the Genesis account in that the deceptions of false teachers who had the “doctrines of demons” (4:1) were influencing some of the women to turn away from the truth and “to follow Satan” (5:15).
78 Ross writes, “Again it seems to me that Paul is connecting Genesis by an analogy to make an application. He uses the word “deceived” as the link between the contexts, but such usages of the Old Testament are from broader than prooftexting--they draw the entire context into the discussion. In Genesis the woman was tempted by the serpent in to a discussion about the word of God. When it appeared that she did not know the wording precisely, he deceived her by setting aside the penalty of death. Consequently, she ate of the fruit and gave some to her husband. The sum of it all is that she was beguiled, and that beguiling caused her to lead the man into sin rather than remain as a spiritual equal. Because of that the oracle gives the man domination over the woman. Paul is saying that that scene must not be worked out in the Church. A woman must not take the lead and have the man obey--that is how we got into this mess in the first place. Rather, Paul maintains the order laid out in the oracle, only without the sting of the curse. When teaching the word of God in the assembly is to be done, the qualified overseer or elders are to do it. The analogy is a good one, and certainly applies to the Pauline instruction--do not relive the temptation and the fall” (“The Ministry of Women in the Seminary”, p. 17).
79 Ross writes, “In Genesis God created male and female, the male first, and then the female. He place them together as His image, to form a complementary union. But in the temptation the woman was beguiled and sinned, and then prompted the man to sin. The oracle of God announced the curse for the man’s sin, and in talionic justice the woman would have pain and domination by the man. And yet under the announcement of death, Adam and Eve by faith see the blessing of the LORD--they interpret childbirth as evidence of redemptive blessing. They cannot do anything about the oracle--that is the way life will be. But they can take what God gives them and serve Him with it, for it is a token of His favor. So too do we find the steps in Paul’s analogy. By analogy with creation and the fall, the ruling is that the woman must not teach or have authority. Nevertheless (I take this verse to be almost a parenthesis or an aside in the discussion before he gets to the bishop) she shall be saved in childbearing. The work σωθήσεται, I am sure we would all agree, cannot mean “she shall be saved” in the sense of conversion. It must refer to Christian levels of the meaning of σωζω, sanctification, deliverance, blessing, glorification, or the like. The apostle might be saying--especially in that culture when bearing and rearing children was the primary and constant activity of women--that even though there is this prohibition on the woman, she should not think that there is no service or reward for her in the faith. She, like Eve, can see God’s provision of children as a token of blessing and an avenue of service that will be equally rewarding and rewarded” (“The Ministry of Women in the Seminary”, p. 18).
80 Paul has addressed concerns related to worship and corrected abuses by erring elders. Now he turns to the qualifications for the office of elders. This may well be motivated out of providing a safe-guard against the influx of false teachers into the leadership of the church.
In 1 Timothy Paul is not charging Timothy to appoint elders as in Titus 1:5 because there were probably already elders appointed (cf. Acts 20). Paul’s concern is that those who are elders (or will be becoming elders) live according to their appointment.
Fee offers the following reasons as to why these qualifications have false teachers in view: “First, most of the items in the list stand in sharp contrast to what is said elsewhere in the letter about the false teachers. Second, the list itself has three notable features: It gives qualifications, not duties; most of the items reflect outward, observable behavior; and none of the items is distinctively Christian (e.g., live, faith, purity, endurance; cf. 4:12; 6:12); rather, they reflect the highest ideals of Hellenistic moral philosophy. Since the whole passage points toward and concludes with verse 7, that is, concern for the overseer’s (and the church’s) reputation with outsiders, this suggests that the false teachers were, by their behavior, bringing the gospel into disrepute. Therefore, Paul is concerned not only that the elders have Christian virtues (there are assumed) but that they reflect the highest ideals of the culture as well” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 42).
81 Acts 20:17, 28 and Titus 1:5 and 7 indicate that the terms for “overseers” (ἐπισκοποι--Acts 20:28; Titus 1:7) and “elders” (πρεσβυτεροι--Acts 20:17; Titus 1:5) are interchangeable. Therefore, these church leaders are probably also church elders.
82 Paul is affirming that being a church leader is a good task to which one might aspire. He is probably emphasizing the task more than the aspiration of the person.
83 See also this character quality with widows (5:7) and with Timothy himself (6:14). This is probably the overall, general category under which the rest are to be subsumed. One is to be irreproachable in his observable conduct (BAG, p. 65). An example of this in the Koine period is where this description is given as a condition of a decree of amnesty for offenses τὰς παρακειμένας ὑπ᾿ αὑτοῦ συγγραφὰς ἀνεπιλήπτους ει῎ναι (P Tor I. i.vii.15 (M. & M. p. 41).
84 This term refers to “irreproachable observable conduct” (cf. 5:7; 6:14). This leader is to be “not apprehended,” “not laid hold of,” “not open to censure,” or irreproachable” (Thayer, s.v. “ἀν-επ-ληπτος,” p. 44).
85 There are several views as to the meaning of this character quality: (1) a church leader must be married, (2) a prohibition against polygamy, (3) a prohibition against all second marriages (especially in the case of widowhood), (4) an exhortation to marital fidelity to one’s wife, and (5) a prohibition against divorce and remarriage (e.g., a one-woman man).
Meanings 1-3 above are unlikely: (1) 1 Corinthians 7:25-38 argues against the suggestion that Paul would be insisting that one must be married. It is possible that Timothy himself was not married, (2) the use of the same phrase in 1 Timothy 5:9 for widows argues against the probability that Paul is addressing polygamy since widows were not known to have multiple husbands, and (3) Romans 7:1-2 and Paul’s exhortations to widows in 1 Timothy 5:14ff make it unlikely that Paul would restrict marriage for widowers.
Therefore meanings 4 and 5 above are the most likely interpretations of the options. Also meaning four may be inclusive of meaning 5 since one’s divorce and remarriage would not demonstrate one to be a one-woman man. Our culture seems to want to work the conclusion in just the opposite direction (e.g., all one needs to be is a “one-woman” man in the relationship which one is presently engaged). Such an understanding seems to miss the overall characteristic of “above reproach.”
In any case Paul’s concern is for church leaders to lead an exemplary life in the realms of their marriage--espceially in view of the low view of marriage which the false teachers are affirming (4:3 “men who forbid marriage”).
86 This term describes one who is “temperate in the use of alocholic beverages”--sober (1 Tim. 3:2,11; Tit. 2:2; BAGD, p. 538). Figuratively, it may have the sense of being free from spiritual drunkenness, excess, passion, rashness, or confusion (e.g., well balanced; cf. νήφω; 2 Tim. 4:5).
87 This is descriptive of one who is thoughtful and self-controlled.
88 This describes one as respectable and honorable.
89 This is one who loves strangers and thus welcomes them into his home.
90 This is a characteristic which implies duties. It describes one who is able to teach the truth and refute error (cf. 2 Tim. 2:24; Titus 1:9).
91 Paul is not affirming that the church leader is to necessarily to be a total abstainer (cf. 5:23), but that he is not to be addicted to wine or a drunkard (cf. 3:8; Titus 1:7). Jesus himself turned the water into true wine at the Wedding in Cana (John 2). Reasons for abstaining from alcoholic beverages relate more to one’s love for others than to a biblical prohibition (Romans 12:10;14; 1 Cor. 8). Nevertheless, one is not to be addicted to strong drink, or to be drunk (cf. M. & M. p. 496).
92 These three qualities may well go together in order to contrast the church leader’s treatment of others with that of the false teachers’ (cf. 6:3-5; 2 Tim. 2:22-26; Titus 3:9). One is not to be bully (BAGD, p. 699) a violent, or fierce man (cf. L. & S. p. 1418), but gentle (or kind) and peaceful (“not quarrelsome”).
93 Greed is one severe sin of the false teachers (6:5-10).
94 The term for manage (προῖστημι) has the sense of “directing,” “conducting,” “guiding,” or “ruling” (as with church elders in 5:17; 1 Thess. 5:12), and “being concerned about,” “caring for,” “giving aid” (as with Titus 3:8; Rom. 12:8). Insight in to the sense here is with the verb for taking care of the church in 3:5 (ἐπιμελέομαι). This latter term implies both leadership (guidance) and caring concern. This is how one is to “manage” the home and the church--with guidance and concern.
95 Literally it reads, “τέκνα ε῎χοντα ἐν ὑποταγῇ, μετὰ πάσης σεμνότητος). It does not say that he is to make his children obey him but that he has children in submissiveness (cf. 2:11). The phrase, “with all dignity” may not be descriptive of the way in which they will express their submissiveness. The sense of submissiveness is in itself descriptive of a voluntary act by the one doing the submission. Rather, it probably describes their generally good behavior for which they would be known.
As Fee writes, “There is a fine line between demanding obedience and gaining it. The church leader, who must indeed exhort people to obedience, does not thereby ‘rule’ God’s family. He takes care of it in such a way that its ‘children’ will be known for their obedience and good behavior” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 44).
96 He is not to be “newly planted” (μὴ νεόφυτον; cf. 5:22).
97 This is the exact description of the false teachers in 6:4 (cf. 2 Tim. 3:4). Perhaps they were recent converts whose “sins followed them” (5:4). It was through arrogance that the Devil also fell in to condemnation.
98 Fee writes, “this concern is what puts the foregoing list into perspective. That list has to do with observable behavior of a kind that will be a witness to the people outside the church” (1 and 2 Timoty, Titus, p. 46).
99 For the church leaders to fall into a bad reputation with those outside of the church would be for their gospel message to also become closed to the world. This fits all to well with the schemes of the devil. When the character of church leaders becomes a scandal, the enemy has laid a trap to prevent the progress of the gospel.
100 Although “elders” and “deacons” are certainly distinguished from one another through two lists of qualifications, it is difficult to clearly identify the differences. In the list for deacons the qualification of “able to teach” is not included. But if one looks to Acts 6:1-6 where some where chosen to assist the Apostles with the serving of tables (διακονεῖν ; 6:2), their “serving” was no less ministry than that of the apostles whose ministry was also described as “serving” (τῇ διακονίᾳ λόγου προσκαρτερήσομεν). Actually those chosen in Acts 6 included significant ministers such as Stephen (Acts 7) and Philip (Acts 8), and they became known as the “Seven” (Acts 21:8; cf. also Paul’s usage of the term in 1 Cor. 3:5-2; Rom. 16:1; Col. 1:23; 4:7; 1 Tim. 4:6). Both elders and deacons were involved in significant ministry in the church. The elders may have been responsible for the broader oversight of the church, and the deacons the more specific care of the church, but their responsibilities may have at times overlapped. Likewise, many of their qualifications are similar.
Although the term for deacons may at times refer to the function of certain people (cf. Rom. 16:1; Acts 6), it may at times also refer to the position as in Philippians 1:1. Here it probably refers to those who are in the position of deacon.
101 This is also probably a summary description for what follows with the sense of proper conduct and respect (cf. 2:2; 3:4).
102 The sense is that one does not have two sets of words, or truth, or accounts--one for one group, and another for the other group--a kind of “double-talk.” One is not to “say something twice” or in “two ways” (BAGD, p. 198). One is to be genuine, truthful, sincere (e.g., not full of wax).
103 More literally it means, not “paying attention to” or “giving heed to,” “caring for” much wine (BAGD, p. 714). Again this does not demand abstinence, but focuses upon abuse, addiction, obsession (cf. 3:3).
104 For the mystery as revealed truth about the church see 1 Cor. 2:1,7; 4:1; Eph. 3:3-9). This is a truth which was once hidden in God, but is now revealed by the Holy Spirit. The mystery does not seem to be the existence of the church so much as the nature of the church (e.g., equality of Jews and Gentiles). Perhaps this was an issue with the false teachers in their wrangling over the Law (1:4,7; cf. Titus 1:14).
105 See the descriptions of the false teachers in view of their “conscience” (1:5-6, 19-20). These men were to be those who were “approved” (cf. 1 Cor. 16:3; 2 Cor. 13:5. This is similar to 3:6. As Fee writes, “Paul is saying, therefore, that when you find men ‘who hold to the revealed truth of the faith with a clear conscience,” that is, people whose behavior is above reproach, then let such ‘approved’ men serve ....” (1 and 2 Timoty, Titus, p. 50).
106 There is some question as to whether this is a description of the wives of deacons or of women who assist deacons in the ministry of the church. The latter seems to be the better choice: (1) If this is to be “wives” of deacons, one wonders why there is no mention of ‘wives of elders’, (2) γυναῖκας does not just mean “wives”; it can mean widow, bride, or any adult woman, (3) ὡσαύτως usually displays a distinction from one class to another, (4) there is no possessive linking γυναῖκαις with διακόνους; (5) it would limit those who could help deacons to deacons wives, (6) if it is a deacon’s wife, then they are to “both” be elected to office, and (7) Romans 16:2 describes Phoebe as one who has served the church [διάκονον] and specifically as a “helper” [προστάτις]. Therefore, these women are probably unmarried women who assist the deacons in the functions of the church (see Robert M. Lewis, “The ‘Women’ of 1 Timothy 3:11,” Bib Sac 136 (April-June 1979): 167-170).
107 The term is σεμνάς, the feminine form of the same term which heads up the description of deacons in 3:8 σεμνούς.
108 See 3:2 above.
109 See 3:4 above for specifics.
110 After Paul has exhorted Timothy to remain in Ephesus in order to combat false teachers, and given some specific prescriptions for dealing with the infiltration of false teachers, he then concludes this section of the letter with a further statement of its purpose.
111 As in 3:4-5 this image suggests the family of God where the Lord is Father, believers are brothers and sisters, and the apostles were “stewards” or house managers.
112 This description suggests the image of the church as a temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 2 Cor. 6:6; Eph. 2:21).
113 The false teachers have abandoned the truth (cf. 6:5; 2 Tim. 2:18; 3:8; 4:4). As Fee writes, “It is extremely important that Timothy not only stop the false teachers (1:3-11) but get people back in touch with the truth” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 54).
114 This probably refers to Jesus incarnation; cf. John 1:14; Rom. 1:3. The verb “manifested” implies pre-existence (ἐφανερώθη).
115 See Romans 1:3-4; cf. 1 Peter 3:18.
116 This may well refer to the worship which angels gave to Jesus at his resurrection (cf. 1 Peter 1:12).
117 This probably refers to the early apostolic preaching (Acts).
118 Although Fee understands this to be a reference to be descriptive of Jesus’ exaltation (e.g., glorious, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 56), Barrett seems to offer a better suggestion that this refers to Christ’s final enthronement when all his foes have been defeated (1 Cor. 15:23). This is eschatological of the final victory of Christ which will come after this time of preaching is concluded (The Pastoral Epistles, p. 66). Nevertheless, the past tense may argue against a future orientation.
119 One does not know how the Spirit has said this. Was it a revelation spoken in the church (Barrett, The Pastoral Epistles, pp. 66-67), or one spoken to Paul as in Acts 20? Fee affirms that this formula was never used by Paul to refer to the OT (1 Timothy and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 60). It is difficult to be certain how this was known.
120 This time period (ἐν ὑστέροις καιροῖς ) seems to refer to the time from the advent of Christ and especially the Holy Spirit onward. It was, and is, inclusive of the present time of the church (2 Tim. 3:1; Matt. 24:12 (?); Jude 17-18; 2 Pet. 3:3-7). It not only speaks of imminence, but of the now aspect of the end times (e.g., the inauguration of the Kingdom through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The consummation of the Kingdom is yet to occur.
121 These are probably believers--those who are presently part of the “household of faith.”
122 See 2 Corinthians 4:4; 11:3,13-14.
123 The term is ψευδολόγων --false words.
124 This may mean that they have the seat of their moral judgments seared (δεδαυστησιασμένων), or it may describe the false teachers as having been branded in their conscience with Satan’s brand (e.g., “to burn in as with a branding iron” [Thayer, s.v., “καυστηριάζω” , p. 342]).
125 This may have been a form of Jewish or Gentile asceticism wherein there was a dim view of sex (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:1-7; Matt. 22:30; cf. Col. 2:16-20). In terms of Jewish asceticism this may be related to the mergabah mysticism which consisted of “religious exercises designed to facilitate entry into the vision of the heavenly chariot ( מֶרְכָּבָה) with God visibly enthroned above it--the vision granted to Ezekiel when he was called to his prophetic ministry (Ezek. 1:15-28)” [F. F. Bruce, “The Colossian Heresy,” Bib.Sac. 141 (1984): 201-202]. See my introductory notes on Colossians p. 9.
126 Romans 14:14.
127 See Mark 7:19; Acts 10; 1 Corinthians 10:23-33; Romans 14:1-23; Colossians 2:16,21.
128 The truth of the Gospel message which affirms that there are not food laws, or perhaps an allusion to Genesis 1 where all of God’s creation is declared to be “good.”
129 As Fee rightly says, “Implied in this is not that the prayer in itself makes it acceptable to God, but that the prayer of thanksgiving has inherent in it the recognition of God’s prior creative action. It is thus the believer’s response to God as Creator, and the work of God and the prayer together make it acceptable (lit, ‘sanctify it,’ keeping the ritual imagery)” [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 62].
130 Fee writes, “The instructions in the first paragraph are clearly given vis-à-vis the false teachers. In contrast to these false teachers, who have been deceived by Satan and in turn are deceiving others, Timothy must guard his own life and teaching of the truth with great care” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 64). Therefore, in the second paragraph Timothy is urged to function as a model for both godly living and ministry for the sake of his hearers.
131 The term is διὰκονος as in 3:8. Here it is descriptive of the act rather than the office.
132 This is probably inclusive of a larger section from 2:1--4:5.
133 This is probably the community as a whole (cf. Phil. 4:1). Paul’s concern is for the church in Ephesus!
134 If he will feed himself (ἐντρεφόμενος) spiritually. This is the image of child rearing.
135 This is a contrast to excellent teaching in 4:6b (e.g., the false kind of teaching). The contrast is emphasized because the imperative comes last. Literally, these are “godless and old womanish myths or legends” (τοὺς δὲ βεβήλους καὶ γραώδεις μύθους)--”wives’ tales.” Fee affirms that this terminology (old wives’ legends) is, “a sarcastic expression often used in philosophical polemic comparing an opponent’s position to the tales perpetuated by the old women of those cultures as they would sit around weaving and the like” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 65).
136 Paul now moves to the image of athletics--”keep yourself in training” (Γύμναζε).
137 This is “truth and its visible expression in correct behavior” (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, p. 66). See 2:2 and 3:16).
138 The term is γυμνασία.
139 It his helpful for the present age.
140 See Colossians 1:29.
141 This is a continuation of the athletic metaphor--e.g., to struggle--”contest.”
142 This is very similar to Paul’s affirmations in 2:4-6. Christ is the savior of all men (σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων)--”especially,” “above all,” “chiefly,” “most of all”) of the believing (μάλιστα πιστῶν) (see Thayer, s.v. “μάλιστα,” p. 387). As Fee writes, “Our hope rests in him, because he is the Savior of all, that is, he would save (give life to) all people (see disc. on 2:4-6), but his salvation is in fact effective only for those who believe. The latter addition makes it clear that the universal scope of salvation argued for so strongly in 2:4-6 is not as the same time an expression of universalism” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 67).
143 In addition to a personal encouragement to Timothy who may have been age 30-35 among older elders, Paul is also affirming Timothy’s authority as Paul’s authority.
144 These are all in contrast to the false teachers, e.g., not involved in arguments (speech), good behavior (conduct), love and faith (cf. 1:5-6), and purity (in contrast to false asceticism; cf. 4:3; 5:22-23).
145 Fee affirms, “Rather than providing an example of the pastor’s specific duties in worship, these three items basically refer to the same thing--reading, exhortation, and exposition of Scripture--and such are to be Timothy’s positive way of counteracting the erroneous teachings (cf. 2 Tim. 3:14-17)” [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 69].
146 His gift as pastor-teacher (?) through which he is to overcome the false teachers.
147 Paul is emphasizing the authority of Timothy’s teaching against the false teachers. Timothy has been confirmed by God (prophecies) and men (elders).
148 Fee writes, “The evidence from 2 Timothy 2:16 and 3:9 suggests that progress was one of the slogans of the false teachers, perhaps as a kind of elitist appeal to those who wanted to ‘advance’ into ‘deeper truths’ by engaging in their speculative nonsense .... If so, then this is a bold counterstatement to kind of progress, which in 2 Timothy 2:16 is ironically labeled ‘progress in ungodliness [asebeia].’ by Timothy’s being a faithful minister of the word of the gospel, the people will be able to see the real thing” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 70).
149 Fee understands Paul to have a future salvation in hand (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 70). It need not be either/or. Salvation could well be a present preservation as in 2:15 above with a view to future reward.
150 The placement of this very specific unit into the argument of the book is as follows: (1) this flows out of the specific exhortations which Paul has been giving to Timothy in 4:6-16--especially in view of his youthfulness, (2) here, however, Paul writes 5:1-2 as an introduction to what follows concerning widows, elders, and servants.
151 Leaders are to appeal to those in the congregation as they would to family (assuming the ideal of difference and respect in the home).
152 The term is Πρεσβυτέρῳ which no doubt includes the leaders as in 4:14 and 5:17-25, but may be more general describing all older men.
153 See Romans 16:13.
154 Perhaps this was an area of special concern with some in the community (cf, 5:11; 2 Tim. 3:6-7).
155 This is probably one of the two primary issues in the church. Here Paul is more specific with “men and women” as he deals with the younger widows and then in the next unit with the elders in the church.
Although older widows are addressed in this unit, it is the activity of the younger ones that Paul has specifically in focus. The descriptions of the “real widows” (5:5-7,9-10) are to stand in contrast with the activities of the younger ones (5:11-15). Probably, the difficulty with these younger widows lies with the influence which they are receiving from the false teachers. 2 Timothy 3:6-7 specifically says, “For among them are those who enter in to households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Therefore, this unit on widows makes prefect sense in view of the infectious activity of the false teachers throughout the rest of the letter.
156 Literally the exhortation is to “honor” (τίμα) which not only implies respect, but also remuneration (cf. 5:17; Mark 7:10-16).
157 Literally it reads, “Honor widows who are being widows” (Χήρας τίμα τὰς ο῎ντως χήρας). This is a major theme in the OT (Ex. 22:22; Deut. 24:17, 19-21; Job 29:13; Ps. 68:5; Isa. 1:17) and in the NT (Acts 6:1-6; 9:36,39,41; James 1:27).
It seems that one who is really a widow is one who is all alone (without family to care for her as in 5:4-8, 16), sixty years of age or older (5:9), and one who is godly and given to prayer (5:5,10).
158 There may be some true insight by Fee (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 79) when he identifies a chiastic structure (ab ba) in 5:4-6:
a words to relatives (v. 4)
b words to the widows (v.5)
b judgment on disobedient widows (vv. 6-7)
a judgment on disobedient relatives (v.8)
159 This probably is an allusion to the fifth commandment, “Honor your father and your mother ....” (Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16).
160 The order reflects a Jewish concept of a day (Gen. 1; cf. 1 Thess. 2:9). This sounds much like Anna in Luke 2:36-38.
161 The term is σπαταλάω describing one who lives luxuriously or voluptuously, in indulgence (cf. James 5:5).
162 See 3:2.
163 The “but” probably goes back to verse 4.
164 This may be those living under his own roof. Perhaps some were neglecting or turning over to the church a widowed mother or grandmother.
165 Again, Paul seems to be concerned with how those outside of the faith are evaluating the church through its members. He is saying that Christian behavior is to be, “circumspect before the outsider and therefore at least be ethically equal to theirs--although obviously more is expected as well. Paul is not condemning unbelievers; on the contrary, he is saying that they do in fact take care of their own widows. To do less is therefore to be less than an unbeliever; it equals a denial of the faith, since it is to act worse than a person who makes no profession of faith (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 79).
166 The exhortation to add a widow to a list (Χήρα καταλεγέσθω) is to literally “write down” with the sense of “counting among” or “enrolling” in some kind of official list for the church’s care of widows.
167 This may have been the cultural norm for old age as will as an age beyond which one would not expect her to be remarried.
168 See the discussion of this phrase above in 3:2.
169 This list is probably representative and not descriptive of all of her good works.
170 See John 13.
171 The order of events in this verse may well be the clue to its meaning. It does not seem that their desire to remarry is tantamount to abandoning their faith, but that their desire to remarry overshadows their devotion to Christ to the point that they will allow their sensual desire to supersede their devotion to Christ. Therefore, this may well be descriptive of a remarriage fueled out of a passion which abandons one’s faith (πίστιν) because it is a remarriage to an unbeliever (cf. 1 Cor. 7:39).
Therefore, “commitment” and “previous pledge” are terms which describe a widow’s faith, rather than (1) a specific vow of “celibacy” that a widow would make to the church as a widow, or (2) her “faithfulness” to her first husband concerning which remarriage would have been abandoning the ideal of being married only once (5:9).
The latter two options see remarriage as the difficulty rather than the widow’s move away from her faith. Paul understands proper remarriage as being the means of redemption for these widows (5:14), and is thus concerned about redeeming them for the “faith”, rather than getting them to see the fault of remarriage (Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 82.
172 The Greek reads, “α῞μα δὲ καὶ” (“along with that they also”).
173 They are not doing what they should be doing (prayer [v. 5], and the good works of verse 9-10). Rather than investing themselves in their own houses as above, they go from house to house. Fee suggests that this could be descriptive of the disruption of the different house churches as they go from house to house (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p.82). He supports this through the term used for “gossips” (φλύαροι) which is not so descriptive of “idle talk about the affairs of others” as of “nonsense” or “foolishness” in regards to the truth (cf. the verb φλυαρέω with the sense of “making empty charges” or to accuse one falsely” [Thayer, p. 655]). Therefore, he writes, “Thus, the young widows are described in terms very much like the false teachers whose talk is foolish (1:6) and empty (6:20), and who are also talking about things they should not (cf. 1:6-7; 4:7; 6:3-4). It is probably as the ‘idle’ purveyors of the false teachings that they are busybodies, and thus this becomes one of the reasons they are to be in all submissiveness and not to teach (2:11-12) [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 83].
174 See 4:1-2 above. Some of the younger widows have turned away under the influence of the false teachers who speak for Satan.
175 Perhaps these were women like Lydia (Acts 16:14-15) or Cloe (1 Cor. 1:11).
176 Fee offers a fine discussion of the argument in the following discussion: “The structure of the argument has some interesting similarities to the foregoing section on widows. Just as the concern there was twofold (genuine care for widows, in the context of some who have rejected faith), so here Paul begins with a genuine concern for the care of the elders (vv.17-19) but then moves on to the greater urgency--the impartial reproof of those who are sinning (vv. 20-21). Replacements for the sinning elders are to be selected with great care (v. 22), because some people’s sins, unfortunately, are not always immediately evident (v. 24). But never one to leave a matter on such a negative note, Paul adds that the same is often true of good deeds as well. Verse 23, the great puzzler, is a slight digression, prompted by what is said in verse 22 but expressed in light of both the asceticism of the false teachers (4:3) and Timothy’s personal health.
But why is all of this said here, and not after chapter 3, for example, or 4:1-5? The answer to that probably lies in the overall argument of the letter. After the charge in chapter 1, Paul began with the conduct in the community vis-à-vis the false teachers (chaps. 2-3) then moved to an exposure of the false teaching itself--and its source (4:1-4). After a renewed charge to Timothy and his own responsibilities in the situation (4:6-5:2), Paul gives instructions about how to deal with the two specific groups who are the problem element--some young widows (5:3-16) and their ‘captors,’ the straying elders (this section). Thus its location in the argument is related in part to the relationship of the false teachers to the younger widows and in part to the need finally to deal with the elders specifically (good and bad, but prompted by the bad)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. 87-88).
177 This term (Πρεσβύτεροι) does not seem to be a reference to older men so much (cf. 5:1) as to those who are leaders in the church (cf. 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 14:23; 15:4; 20:17,28).
178 Honor (τιμῆς) probably refers to pay (at least; cf. 5:18). It is difficult to identify what “double” has reference to--twice that of other elders, twice that of widows? Perhaps it refers to honor and remuneration. These leaders are to be well cared for by the community (see also 1 Cor. 9:7-14; 1 Thess. 2:7; 2 Cor. 11:8-9).
179 This Scripture is located in Deuteronomy 25:4. It is interesting that this placement of the verse in Deuteronomy is between two other discussions: (1) resolving disputes in Deuteronomy 25:1-3, and (2) levirate marriage in Deuteronomy 25:5-10. Clearly, the verse is to be illustrative of care for those who are a part of the community. Paul uses it in a similar way in this passage. Here the care is to be for those who work among them--the elders. It is also interesting that Paul places this verse between two issues: (1) financial remuneration, and (2) protection against false accusations. The overall point is that the community is to care for its own (cf. 1 Cor. 9:9,14; Lk. 10:7).
180 See Deuteronomy 19:5; Matthew 18:16.
181 The phrase literally reads, “before (the face of) all” (ἐνώπιον πάντων).
182 The present, active participle emphasizes that these elders are in sin (Τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας). Church discipline is not for those who have been caught in a sin and have thus repented. When that occurs, restoration is the issue at hand (Gal. 6:1). Here they are still sinning, therefore, church discipline is in view.
183 his could have reference to the remaining elders or the rest of the congregation.
184 Fee calls this a “heavenly tribunal” (1 and 2 Timothy, p. 91).
185 The Greek reads, “drink water only” (Μηκέτι ὑδροπότει).
186 Perhaps the logical connection with verses 22 and 23 is that in verse 22 Timothy is urged to keep himself free from sin, but in verse 23 Paul reminds Timothy that it is not sin for him to care for himself with a little wine as is needed. Such limitations are really tied to the asceticism of the false teachers as in 4:3 where it reads, “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth” (NASB). As Fee says, “If he does not want Timothy sharing in their sins, neither does he want him to get caught up in the false teachers’ view of purity, namely abstaining from certain foods (4:3), which apparently included wine” (1 and 2 Timothy, p. 92).
187 Fee writes, “That is, when judgment finally comes on some people, it will be no surprise because of their evident sins” (1 and 2 Timothy, p. 92).
188 Perhaps these “hidden” sins are given in 6:5-10, namely, pride, arguing, jealousy, and covetousness.
189 The place of this paragraph in the argument of the book is somewhat problematic. Fee offers a plausible reconstruction which aids the interpreter here: “One wonders, therefore, whether the false teachings being propagated in this part of the world were putting considerable tension on the master/slave relationship in the church.
One cannot be sure that such was the case here, but it is altogether likely in view of the position of this section in the argument. Furthermore, as with the two preceding sections, the concern seems to be with the second item taken up, namely, the attitudes among believers. If so, then perhaps problems have arisen among some Christian slaves and their attitudes toward Christian masters similar to those among the younger widows. Has an over-realized eschatology or an elitist spirituality caused them to disdain the old relationships that belong to the age that is passing away?” (1 and 2 Timothy, p. 96).
190 Fee offers a helpful discussion on the nature of slavery in the first century. He emphasizes that it was not like American slavery in that it was not enforced on the basis of race, but on the basis of financial and political expedience (e.g., economic necessity, overtaking other nations, birth). Although a slave was at the bottom of the social ladder, some would stay there because of the security (1 and 2 Timothy, pp. 93-94).
This is not to approve of slavery. Scripture never promotes men becoming slaves to men (especially for indebtedness--e.g., the year of Jubilee in Leviticus 25). Nevertheless, Paul does unfold the significance of Christianity as one must walk though a fallen reality. Even though these slaves may be free in their relationship with Christ, they are still under the yoke in their earthly society.
191 Fee writes, “What if their orders violated conscience? Why not speak out against slavery? But Paul’s instruction is quite in keeping with the entire NT understanding of Christian behavior as essentially reflecting servanthood (cf. Mark 10:43-45; 1 Cor. 9:19; Gal. 5:13; Eph. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:16-17) and of Christian existence as basically eschatological--the form of this world is passing away; as an eschatological people, or present status is irrelevant (1 Cor. 7:17-24, 29-31). Therefore, precisely because it is essentially irrelevant, one may live one’s present status in loving obedience” (1 and 2 Timothy, pp. 96-97).
192 See 2:2; 3:7; 5:14; cf. also “blaspheme” in Romans 2:24; Isa. 52:5.
193 This may well be where the problem of the church lies.
194 See 4:12.
195 As in chapter one, Paul once again exposes and indicts the false teachers in this unit. Here Paul completes the portrait which he began in chapter one. These teachers are the reason for the difficulties in the church, and thus the presence of Timothy in Ephesus and the writing of this letter. It seems that they are driven by pride and ultimately greed (cf. Acts 19:23-41). Paul will finally pronounce their sentence of destruction!
196 This is through a first class condition which assumes the premise to be true.
197 See the warnings in Galatians 5:21 and Romans 1:29.
198 See 1 Thessalonians 2:4-9; Galatians 1:10. It seems that the false teachers were trying to receive people’s favor through their teaching and thus also their money. Many of the counterparts to these verses are found in the qualifications for elders.
199 As Fee puts it, “The point is clear enough. godliness is not something to make material gain in or from (v. 5); rather, it is itself the greatest gain (v. 6) [1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 103].
200 The term is αὐταρκείας describing contentment whether one is in want or in abundance (cf. Phil. 4:13).
201 See Job 1:21.
202 See Jesus’ discussion of this very thing in Luke 12:22-32 and Matthew 6:25-34.
203 Just as the other exposures of the false teachers led to an exhortation to Timothy (cf. 1:3-7, 18-20; 4:1-5) so does the pattern follow here. As Fee writes, “Even though Paul has yet a further word on riches, to the already wealthy (vv. 17-19), the final exposure and indictment of the false teachers calls forth an immediate final exhortation to Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy,Titus, p. 107).
In the context of an eschatological future Paul urges Timothy through four imperatives (6:11-12), proclaims a solemn charge (6:13-14), and then expresses a final doxology (6:15-16).
204 See Moses (Deut. 33:1; Josh. 14:6), David (Neh. 12:24), and the prophets (1 Sam. 9:6; 1 Kings 17:18; 2 Kings 4:7). Timothy is probably being placed in contrast to the false teachers with this title.
205 This would include their greed (6:6-10), their different doctrines (6:3; cf. 1:4; 4:3,7) and their divisive and destructive controversies (6:4-5).
206 This exhortation, ἀγονίζου τόν καλὸν ἀγῶνα τῆς πίστεως, speaks of perseverance whether its referent is that of running (cf. 2 Tim. 4:7, “finishing the course”) or with boxing/wrestling (cf. 1 Cor. 9:25-27) is not certain. But there is the sense of remaining in the event, the game, the competition.
207 Although it is difficult to be certain about the specific event which Paul has in mind here, this may have reference to Timothy’s baptism rather than to his call into ministry.
This “eternal life” (τῆς αἰωνίου ζωῆς) seems to be eschatological is likened in the athletic metaphor as the prize. Therefore, it may well have reference to reward in the future kingdom. This eternal life, nevertheless, is the life unto which God called Timothy. Therefore, there is a sense of certainty in the event, which he is to now also run for. It is within his grasp to do so (4:8).
208 There are many views as to the meaning of this term: (1) the exhortations given in 6:11-12, (2) an alleged baptismal charge from the allusion in 6:12, (3) the whole Christian faith, (4) Timothy’s own faith and ministry. Number four may be the best choice in view of 4:16 (“Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers”), 6:20 (“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you.”) and Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:7 (“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”).
209 Just as was the case with Jesus’ first coming (Galatians 4).
210 The term is δυνάστης (cf. Ecclus. 46:5; 2 Macc. 12:15) describing God as sovereign Ruler.
211 This title was used of Persian emperors (Ezek. 26:7; Dan. 2:37; Ezra 7:12) and of God (2 Maccabees 13:4). Lord of lords emphasizes God’s sovereignty over all other “deities” (Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:2-3). God is sovereign over all powers be they human or divine (cf. 1 Enoch 9:4; Rev. 17:14; 19:16).
212 The term is ἀθανασίαν. He is not-dying.
213 This has reference to His blinding glory (cf. Ps. 104:2; Ex. 14:15-17; 34:29-35; 1 Ki. 8:11; Jn. 1:7-9; 3:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-7).
214 Literally it reads, “whom no one has ever seen nor is able to see” (ο῞ν ει῎δεν οὐδεὶς ἀνθρώπων οὐδὲ ἰδεῖν δύναται)
215 See Revelation 5:13; 1 Peter 4:11; Revelation 1:6.
216 The placement of this unit into the argument of the book is somewhat problematic at first glance, but need not be. Fee’s excellent discussion is worth citing in full: “Paul was bringing the letter to its close with a final word against the false teachers, a word that turned out to be such a strong judgment against their greed that it included a warning to “all those who want to get rich” (v. 9). But there would have been some in the church who were already rich in the things of this life (v. 17), especially those in whose homes the church met (cf. also 5:16). However, since Paul’s first concern was with the false teachers and Timothy’s own role in combating them, he followed his words about them with an immediate final exhortation to Timothy--to keep contending in the noble contest until the End. Now, having given that noble charge to Timothy, he returns to say a few words for the already rich, lest they feel condemned by verses 6-10” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 114).
217 As Fee writes, “This paragraph is actually a single sentence in Greek that makes a considerable play on the word ‘riches’ and related ideas. The word itself occurs four times in four different forms.... Thus ‘the rich’ are not to trust in riches, but in God who ‘richly’ gives all things, and therefore are to be rich in good deeds, which then, to extend the metaphor, is their way to store up ... a treasure for the future” (Ibid., p. 117).
218 See Proverbs 23:4-5.
219 This statement demonstrates that Paul is not borrowing from Stoic ideas (cf. Phil. 4:10-13).
Although Paul often champions the poor, here he affirms that God also blesses those who are well-off financially (cf. Philemon 1-2, 5-7, 22). Nevertheless, he expects those who have to be generous with those who do not have (cf. Rom. 12:8, 13:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-15). He does not affirm greedy, self-indulgent living. He affirms that one can enjoy one’s wealth as a gift from God, but one must also be responsible with one’s wealth. Life is more than now.
220 Perhaps contextually this has reference to good works related to giving.
221 For similar New Testament discussions see Matthew 6 and Luke 16. See also Ecclesiastes 5:8-20. That which is “won” will most probably be reward in the Millennial kingdom. This will express itself in terms of ruling with Christ during the Millennium.
222 After completing Paul’s thoughts concerning riches in 6:6-19, Paul now brings his letter to a conclusion. This could have occurred after the charge and doxology in 6:16, but Paul wanted to be sure that the rich in the community did not misinterpret his words to the false teachers as a rebuke of them.
Paul will now conclude by repeating his charge to Timothy in view of the false teachers. As with Galatians, Paul does not offer any greetings at the conclusion of this letter. He has been dealing with serious business, therefore, he simply summarizes it and closes.
223 Keep the deposit! Fee writes, “The imperative ... is a metaphor, drawn from common life, reflecting the highest kind of sacred obligation in ancient society, namely, being entrusted with some treasured possession for safe-keeping while another is away” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. 118). In specific this deposit was probably Timothy’s ministry against the false teachers in Ephesus (cf. 4:11-14; 5:22-23; 6:2, 11-12, 20-21).
224 See 4:7.
225 See also 1:6 and 2 Timothy 2:22.
226 The term is ἡστόχησαν from ἀστοχέω meaning to miss the mark, deviate or depart from something (cf. 2 Tim. 2:18; BAGD, s.v. “ἀστοχέω,” p. 118).
227 Has this concern been Paul’s driving issue throughout the letter (1:3-7, 19-20, 4:1-2; 5:15, 20; 6:10; cf. 2:14; 3:6-7; 5:5-6, 24-25)?
228 The “you” is plural (ὑμῶν). This is evidence that Paul probably intended for this letter to be read aloud to the church(es).
Concerning the term “grace” Fee writes, “The grace itself is a typically Pauline feature. The standard ‘good-bye’ in ancient letters was errosthe (lit., ‘be strong’), found in the letter of James (Acts 15:29) and the letters of Ignatius (cf. 2 Macc. 11:21, 33; Jos. Life 227, 365). But as with the salutation ..., Paul ‘Christianizes’ all the formal elements of the ancient letter” (Ibid., p. 120).
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Introduction To The Pastoral Epistles (1-2 Timothy and Titus)Related Media
I. AUTHOR: THE APOSTLE PAUL
1. External evidence is as strong as that which is present for most of the other Pauline epistles with the exception of 1 Corinthians and Romans3
a. 1 Timothy:
1) Individual Attestation:
a) Cited by Clement of Rome (c. 95-95)4
b) Cited by Polycarp (c. 110-150)5
c) Cited by Hermas (c. 115-140)6
d) Cited by Didache (c. 120-150)7
e) Cited by Irenaeus (c. 130-202)8
f) Named as authentic by Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
g) Cited by Tertullian (c. 150-220)
h) Cited by Origen (c. 185-284)
i) Named as authentic by Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
j) Named as authentic by Eusebius (c. 325-340)
k) Named as authentic by Augustine (c. 400)
2) The Canons (see “d” below)
b. 2 Timothy:
1) Individual Attestation:
a) Cited by Pseudo-Barnabas (c. 70-130)9
b) Cited by Hermas (c. 115-140)10
c) Cited by Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
d) Cited by Tertullian (c. 150-220)
e) Cited by Origen (c. 185-284)
f) Named as authentic by Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
g) Named as authentic by Eusebius (c. 325-340)
h) Named as authentic by Augustine (c. 400)
2) The Canons (see “d” below)
1) Individual Attestation:
a) Cited by Pseudo-Barnabas (c. 70-130)11
b) Cited by Clement of Rome (c. 95-97)12
c) Cited by Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
d) Cited by Diogenetus (c. 150)13
e) Named as authentic by Tertullian (c. 150-220)
f) Cited by Tertullian (c. 150-220)
g) Cited by Origen (c. 185-284)
h) Named as authentic by Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
i) Named as authentic by Eusebius (c. 325-340)
j) Named as authentic by Augustine (c. 400)
2) The Canons (see “d” below)
d. The Canons--All of the Pastorals Are Named as Authentic in the Following:14
1) The Muratorian Fragment (c. 170-200)15
2) Barococcio (c. 206)
3) Apostolic (c. 300)
4) Cheltenham (c. 360)
5) Athanasus (c. 367)
B. Internal Evidence: Although there is considerable debate concerning the authenticity of Pauline authorship due to historical, ecclesiastical, instructional, doctrinal and linguistic questions, none of it is sufficient to overturn the external evidence of Pauline authorship:
1. Opening Statements: The opening statements in each letter which ascribe authorship to Paul support authenticity (1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1; Titus 1:1)16
2. Historical Allusions: The Problem of Historical Allusions in the Pastorals can be explained well outside of the history recorded by Luke in Acts
a. The Problem Stated: The problem is whether the historical allusions of Paul in the Pastoral Epistles17 can be fitted into Paul’s life as recorded in Acts
b. Possible Solutions:
1) The events can be placed into Paul’s life in Acts through the Caesarean, (Ephesian), or Roman imprisonments:
a) The Caesarean Imprisonment is not probable for the following reasons:
(1) Timothy 1:17 clearly argues against a Caesarean imprisonment since Rome is mentioned
(2) Trophimus’ illness at Miletus (2 Tim. 4:20) also argues against a Caesarean imprisonment since he was with Paul in Jerusalem and was an indirect cause of his arrest (Acts 21:29)
(3) Timothy was also not left behind in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3) since he accompanied Paul to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4)
b) The Ephesian Hypothesis is not probable for the following reasons:
(1) While an Ephesian imprisonment is possible (Acts 19:23-41), there is no conclusive proof that one actually occurred
(2) Timothy 1:17 clearly argues against an Ephesian imprisonment since Rome is mentioned18
(3) More time would be needed for the ecclesiastical directions affecting Ephesus to be reasonable than immediately following Paul’s own ministry there
(4) Acts does not seem to allow for Paul to have had a ministry to Crete (Titus 1:5; cf. Acts 20:31)
(5) Although Paul’s journey from Ephesus to Macedonia (1 Tim. 1:3) could relate to Acts 20:1, Timothy soon accompanied Paul to Jerusalem to deliver the collection for the poor there (Acts 20:4); therefore, it is difficult to harmonize Paul’s exhortation for Timothy to stay in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3).
c) The (first) Roman Imprisonment is not probable because all three letters cannot really belong to this period of confinement
2) The “Fiction” Hypothesis--which affirms that the mentioning of all of the personalities is a fictitious device to provide an appearance of authenticity, but this fails to account for the obvious realism of the personal allusions
3) The “Fragment” Hypothesis--which regards the references to personalities as being separate fragments by Paul which may be fitted into differing situations in the Acts history
4) The “Second Imprisonment” Hypothesis--which assumes that Paul had a period of further activity subsequent to the history recorded in Acts19
3. Ecclesiastical Situation: Although some argue that the ecclesiastical situation reflected in the Pastorals is too developed to belong to the age of Paul, an examination of the data overturns this thesis20
a. Not Manuals: The Pastoral Epistles are not manuals of Church order like those which were later developed for the following reasons:
1) Only about 10% of the letters comprise ecclesiastical teaching21
2) Many subjects of later manuals are almost completely not included in the Pastorals (e.g., administration, civil relationships or conduct of worship)
b. Offices Mentioned: The offices mentioned are those of bishop (ἐπισκοπῆς) and elder (πρεσβύτερος), and deacon (διακόνος)
1) The qualities are wholly comprised of character traits rather than tasks
2) The terms for “elder” and “bishop” seem to be used interchangeably (cf. 1 Tim. 3; Titus 1:5-7) rather than of more developed church structure including a monarchical episcopate
3) Timothy 5:3-16 affirms that widows are to be cared for, but this does not support a distinct order within the church
c. Church Government: Although some claim that the historical Paul had no interest in church government, but there is evidence to the contrary:
1) Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in all of the south Galatian churches on their first missionary (Acts 14:23)
2) Paul acknowledged the established orders within the church when he wrote to the “bishops and deacons in the Philippian church (Philippians 1:1)
3) Paul acknowledged that the Holy Spirit made some of the Ephesians to be elders22 over their flock (Acts 20:28
d. Rule-Elder System: Although some claim that the Pastorals assume a rule-elder system which could not function in the apostolic age until the faith had been “once and for all delivered to the saints”, this may be too rigid of a definition of elders, and the elders did have “tradition” over which to guard even if it was not all of the tradition.
e. Church Organization is Established: Although some claim that there were not enough years for Paul’s command to be viable, namely, that a “bishop not be a new convert” (1 Tim. 3:6), the command does not require that a bishop be “x” amount of years in the faith, but that promotion not be too rapid in a church that has been established for at least three plus years23
f. An Ignatian Type of Bishop: Although it is argued that the functions of Timothy and Titus are akin to those of an Ignatian type of bishop in that they rank over elders, appoint elders, and are responsible for instruction and discipline, they need not be defined in terms of a monarchical episcopate; they may well be apostolic delegates
1) Also the writer would surely have noted in his qualification for bishops that only one man was intended to hold office in each church
2) Also the author would not have used the term for “bishop” interchangeably with “elder”
4. Heresies: Although some argue that the heresies reflected in the Pauline Epistles are more closely related to second century gnosticism rather than those of Paul’s time, the evidence does not demand this conclusion; the most that could be said is that the heresies are close to what might be an incipient gnosticism24
5. Doctrinal: Although some argue that the theological differences between the Pastorals and Paul’s other letters are against Pauline authorship, there is clearly a Pauline basis to the Pastorals’ theology, and the other differences concerning Paul’s conception of God, a believer’s mystical union with Christ, the Holy Spirit, the use of “faith”, et cetera have reasonable responses25
6. Linguistic: Although some argue that the difference in language between the Pauline Epistles and the Pastorals is too great (see below), the linguistic peculiarities of the Pastorals can be explained in view of “dissimilarity of subject matter, variations due to advancing age, enlargement of vocabulary due to changing environment and the difference in the recipients as compared with the earlier letters”;26 also all but a small group of Paul’s words in the Pastorals were known in the Greek literature before AD 5027
a. Unique words to the Pastorals (175 Hapaxes)
b. The large number of words in common with other NT writings but unknown in the other ten Pauline letters
c. Grammatical and stylistic differences which supposedly support a second century composition
C. Various Solutions: Although various solutions to authorship have been advanced, Paul still seems to be the best choice among them:
1. Timothy & Titus: The suggestion is that they edited the Pauline material in their possession and then published it in its present form after Paul’s death, but there seems to be no adequate motive for such a procedure
2. An Editor: This is a modification of the above suggestion with the editor being some other person, but the question of arrangement is not a particular issue in the letters, and if the editor rewrote the material, there would be an insufficient motive for publishing it
3. A Later Paulinist: This theory affirms that a later Paulinist (Pseudo-Paul) desired to represent Paul in his day with some genuine Pauline fragments, but this falls against many obstacles28
4. The Apostle Paul: This view affirms that the Apostle Paul is the author of the Pastorals supported by the salutation in each letter and by the strong external evidence of the church; some consider the possibility that the differences between Paul’s other letters and the Pastorals may be explained by an amanuensis such Luke, due to the similarities with the Pastorals and Luke-Acts, but it is questionable whether Paul would have allowed such freedom
II. DATE: Although it is difficult to be exact, it seems that the Pastoral epistles were written some time between AD 62-68: 1 Timothy AD 62/63; Titus AD 63/66; 2 Timothy AD 67/68
A. Difficult to Be Specific: It difficult to determine the chronology at the end of the life of Paul not to mention a definite date for the Pastoral Epistles:
1. Paul’s Death: Many different dates have been proposed for the time between Paul’s first arrival in Rome and his subsequent execution
2. Paul’s Journeys: Under the second imprisonment theory a longer period is demanded if Paul journeyed both to the East (Macedonia, Asia), and West (Rome)
B. Dates Suggested:
2. Timothy seems to have been written when Paul’s death was imminent
3. In accordance with Hoehner’s chronology31 this would place the Pastorals with the following dates:
a. Timothy in the fall of AD 62 or 6332
b. Titus in the summer of 63/6633
c. Timothy in fall of 6734
III. The Recipients:35
1. Timothy was the personification of the mystery to the church in that he was the son of a Gentile father and a Jewish mother (Acts 16:1)
2. Timothy lived in Lystra and no doubt first heard the gospel message during Paul’s first missionary journey there (Acts 14:6; 16:1)
3. Paul took on Timothy as a promising protégé, and became like a spiritual father to him (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; Phil. 2:22)
4. Timothy became one of Paul’s fellow-labors (Rom. 16:21; 1 Cor. 16:10; Phil. 2:19-22; 1 Thess. 3:2) and faithful representative and messenger (Acts 19:22; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Cor. 1:19; Phil. 2:19; 1 Thess. 3:2,6)
1. Titus was one of Paul’s converts, or at least one of his protégés (Titus 1:4)
2. Nothing is known about his conversion or his family other than that he was a Gentile whom Paul refused to allow to be circumcised by those in Jerusalem as an expression of the freedom of the gospel (Gal. 2:3)
3. Titus represented Paul in Corinth (2 Cor. 2:13; 7:6-7,13-15; 8:6,16-17)
4. Between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments Paul visited Crete with Titus and left Titus behind to continue the work which they had begun (Titus 1:5)
5. Sometime during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment Titus left Crete and traveled to Dalmatia37 for what were probably evangelistic purposes (2 Tim. 4:10)
6. Titus 2:6-7 may imply that Titus was still a comparatively young man when Paul wrote to him
C. The Churches
1. Many recognize that these letters to individuals were also read in public to the churches38
2. Specifically Fee writes, “The purpose of 1 Timothy, then arises out of these complexities. The letter betrays evidences everywhere that it was intended for the church itself, not just Timothy. But because of defections in the leadership, Paul does not, as before, write directly to the church, but to the church through Timothy. The reason for this would have been twofold: to encourage Timothy himself to carry out this most difficult task of stopping the erring elders, who had become thoroughly disputatious, and to authorize Timothy before the church to carry out his task. At the same time, of course, the church would be having the false teachers/teachings exposed before them, plus Paul’s instruction to Timothy about what he was to do. Thus the letter, though addressed to Timothy, turns out to be all business”39
IV. Purposes for the Pastoral Epistles:
A. Overall Purposes:
1. Guthrie strongly contends that the Pastoral Epistles were not designed to be manuals of pastoral theology40
2. To reflect on Paul’s concerns toward the end of his life with respect to ecclesiastical and pastoral subjects
3. To provide for Timothy (in 1 Timothy) and Titus written instructions about methods of procedure in their respective churches for which they are temporarily responsible41
4. To encourage Timothy and Titus to maintain sound doctrine and discipline in the churches
B. 1 Timothy:
1. To warn Timothy against false teachers (1 Tim. 1:3)
2. To inform Timothy that Paul intends to visit him in Ephesus at some time (1 Tim. 4:13)
3. To encourage Timothy to grow in his spiritual life42
4. To exhort Timothy concerning proper church conduct (3:14-15)
5. To provide a proper antidote to the false teachers (1:3ff)43
1. To encourage Titus to meet Paul at Nicopolis (3:12) and to assist Zenas and Apollos on their journey (3:13)
2. To strengthen the hand of Titus as his personal representative in Crete as he carried out a difficult assignment of organizing the church through the appointment of morally and doctrinally qualified elders in the various churches in view of the false teachers present (1:6-16, 11; 2:15; 3:9=11)44
3. To encourage Titus to insist upon a high level of moral and social conduct by the churches in Crete who are God’s people in the world (2:1-10; 3:1-3)45
D. 2 Timothy:
1. To express Paul’s longing to see his son, Timothy (2 Tim. 1:4)
2. To urge Timothy to come to Paul before winter (2 Tim. 4:9, 11, 21) with the warm coat which he left at Troas, with his books and with his parchments because he wants to study (2 Tim. 4:13).
3. To express once again Paul’s concerns about false teachers as in 1 Timothy, but in a more personal and urgent way (2:14--3:9)
4. To express a “last will and testament”; to almost “pass on the mantle” to Timothy (3:10-11; cf. 1:3-5; 1:6-14; 2:1-13; 3:10--4:5)
5. To exhort Timothy to entrust his ministry to others in the church whom he has found to be faithful (2:2)
6. To exhort Timothy to continue the Gospel and its ministry (1:6-8, 13, 14, 16; 2:3; 3:12; 4:5; 4:2)
7. To express a note of confidence in the face of hardships, opposition and defection (1:5, 8-10, 14; 2:3-7, 9, 11-13 19; 3:14; 4:5, 8)
1 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus.
2 Guthrie, NTI, p. 584, 588.
3 See Guthrie, NTI, p. 585; Geisler and Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, pp. 188, 193; Gordon D. Fee, 1 And 2 Timothy, Titus, xxxiv-xxxvii. Homer A. Kent Jr. actually cites the comments by the church Fathers in his commentary The Pastoral Epistles: Studies in I and II Timothy and Titus, pp. 24-38. Also Kent’s defense of Pauline authorship is extensive (Ibid., pp. 11-71).
4 Clement’s Epistle to the Corinthians.
5 Philippians 4.1..
6 The Shepherd, Similitude 8:29, cites 1 Timothy 2:4.
7 Didache, 13:1-2, quotes 1 Timothy 5:17-18.
8 Against Heresies 2.14.7; 3.3.3.
9 5:6 (cf. 2 Timothy 1:10).
10 The Shepherd, Mandate 3:2 (2 Tim. 1:14).
11 Pseudo-Barnabas 1:4-6 and 14:5 cite Titus 1:1-3,7 and 2:14.
12 1 Corinthians.
13 Epistle to Diognetus 9:1-2 (Titus 3:3-5).
14 Marcion’s Canon did not include the Pastoral Epistles. Only ten of Paul’s letters are included. Some have thus argued that Marcion did not know of the Pastorals. However, Marcion was known to reject any book which did not agree with his contentions (e.g., Matthew, Mark, John; cf. Tertullian Adversus Marcionem, 5:21). Also, he mutilated Luke to fit his notions. Marcion may have rejected them because of statements like, “the Law is good” (1 Tim. 1:8) since he rejected the OT altogether, “oppositions of falsely called science” (1 Tim. 6:20) since he used this very term to describe his own writings (cf. also 1 Tim. 4:1-5). Therefore, the absence of the letters from Marcion’s canon is not conclusive for their non-existence, or their non-acceptance in his time. It does not out weigh the early attestations in their favor (see Guthrie, NTI, p. 586-587).
The Chester Beatty Papyri (P46) which dates from about the year 200 does not include the pastoral epistles. Metzger writes, “The Pastoral Epistles were probably never included in the codex, for there does not appear to be room for them on the leaves missing at the end. (since it is a single-quire codex, the number of leaves lacking at both ends can be computed more or less accurately.)” (The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, pp. 37-38). But this too may not be determinative for the following reasons: (1) the scribe could have written smaller in the latter part of the codex when he saw that his space was getting limited, (2) the scribe could have added sheets at both the beginning and ending to accommodate the additional epistles, and (3) one cannot conclude that P46 is a true indication of the state of the Canon in Egypt in the third century since other books of the NT would also become suspect in their absence (e.g., portions of Romans and 1 Thessalonians, and 2 Thessalonians in its entirety are lacking, etc.). Also early patristic evidence shows widespread use of the Pastorals earlier than the date of P46 (see above).
15 The Muratorian Canon linked the Pastorals with Philemon as valuable for ecclesiastical use (Guthrie, NTI, p. 632, n. 585). Earle writes, “After mentioning Paul’s letter to seven different churches, it says, ‘But he wrote one letter to Philemon, and one to Titus, and two to Timothy from affection and love’” (“1 Timothy” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 11:346).
16 Guthrie argues that the slight evidence of pseudonymous Pauline epistles (The Epistle to the Laodiceans, and the third Epistle to the Corinthians) is not enough to support the assertion that the Pastoral epistles were pseudonymous in their greeting (NTI, pp. 584-585).
17 “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus” (1 Timothy 1:3), “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might set in order what remains” (Titus 1:5), “The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me” (2 Timothy 1:16,17); “When you come bring the cloak which at Troas” (2 Timothy 4:13), “Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). For a discussion of these passages see Guthrie, NTI, pp. 589ff; The Pastoral Epistles, pp. 16-17).
18 There is no textual evidence for Ephesus or any other emendation in this verse.
19 See Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, pp. 20-22 for a further discussion of the last two theories. Perhaps Paul was released, abandoned his Spanish mission (Rom. 15:24,28), and then entered into more missionary activity in the east.
20 Guthrie, NTI, pp. 591-593; The Pastoral Letters, pp. 24-32.
21 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 5:3-22; Titus 1:5-9.
22 The actual term is ἐπισκόπους or “bishops”. This again argues against a monarchical bishop.
23 Note that no such command is given to Titus in Crete. Perhaps the Cretan church was so new, compared to Ephesus, that such a prohibition would have been inapplicable.
24 See the discussion by Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, pp. 32-38. Paul does clearly have Judaizers in view when he calls the false teachers “teachers of the Law” (1 Tim. 1:7) and describes them as “paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth” (Titus 1:14). See also Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. xx-xxiv.
25 See Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, pp. 38-46.
26 Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 47.
27 Ibid., pp. 57-58.
28 See Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles, pp. 49-52.
29 Guthrie, NTI, p. 623.
30 Duane Litfin, “1 Timothy,” in BKC, p. 729.
31 Hoehner, Harold W. “Chronology of the Apostolic Age,” Th.D. dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1965.
32 At the beginning of Paul’s period of travel to the East wherein he left Timothy in Ephesus.
1 Timothy 1:3 may indicate that Paul wrote 1 Timothy from Macedonia after he left Timothy off in Ephesus.
33 Hoehner places this during his postulation of Paul’s second journey to the East after his release from Rome (AD 66); see also Kent, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 53.
Hiebert argues that since Titus makes not mention of the Neronian persecution which began in October AD 64, that it seems best to date the letter between the time of Paul’s release and the beginning of the persecution--c. AD 63 (“Titus”, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 11:423).
In any case the book was probably written from some place before Paul reached Nicopolis (on the western coast of Achea) since he does not seem to be there yet at the time of his writing (Titus 3:12). Corinth could be a good suggestion.
34 Just before Paul’s death in AD 67 or 68. Earle writes, “The early church unanimously testifies that Paul was put to death by Emperor Nero, who committed suicide in June of A. D. 68. Since Paul asked Timothy to come to him ‘before winter’ (2 Tim 4:21), it is obvious that the second Epistle to Timothy was written not later than A.D. 67” (“1 Timothy” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, pp. 343-344).
2 Timothy seems to have been written from Rome shortly before the apostles death (1:16-17; 2:9). He has already undergone a preliminary trial, and now is awaiting his final trial from which he expects death (4:6-8).
35 For a Reconstruction of Timothy’s and Titus’ lives see Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Tutus, A Good New Commentary, edited by Ward Gasque, pp. xv-xvii
36 For a reconstruction of Titus’ life see D. Edmond Hiebert, “Titus” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, ed. by Frank E. Baebelein, v. 11, pp. 421-422.
37 This is the area above Macedonia and across the Mediterranean Sea from Italia which is also known as Illyricum (Aharoni and Avi-Yonah, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, p. 167, # 264).
38 Calvin writes, “This Epistle appears to me to have been written more for the sake of others than for the sake of Timothy, and that opinion will receive the assent of those who shall carefully consider the whole matter” (Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, translated by William Pringle, p. 13); see also Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, xxiii; D. Edmond Hiebert, “Titus” in Expositors, 11:423; A. Duane Litfin, “1 Timothy,” BKC, p. 727.
39 Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. xxiii.
40 Guthrie, NTI, p. 284; The Pastoral Epistles, p. 25.
41 Guthrie, NTI, p. 622.
42 Fee offers a unique perspective on this material in view of his thesis that false teachers are the pervasive issue in 1 Timothy when he writes, “Such an occasion and purpose also helps to explain another phenomenon of the letter, namely, that Paul is forever calling on Timothy to teach “sound” or “healthy” doctrine, but without spelling out the nature or content of such teaching. The reason now becomes obvious. The letter was written to a lifelong companion, who wouldn’t have needed such instruction. But the church needed to hear that the deviations were a disease among them and that what Timothy would have to teach would be the words of health ...” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. xxiii).
43 Fee understands 1 Timothy to have been written completely around the issue of false teachers (1 Timothy, p. xx-xxiv).
44 Hiebert, “Titus”, p. 423. The letter from Paul would serve as a written authorization to the churches in Crete. Evidently these Pastoral Epistles were read by the churches.
Fee understands Titus’ situation to be different from that of Timothy’s in Ephesus in that Timothy had to deal with reform in an established church, while Titus was being left behind to do what had not yet been accomplished in newly formed churches. Therefore, there is little urgency in Titus (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, pp. xxiii-xxiv).
45 As Fee writes, “The dominant theme in Titus is good works (1:8, 16; 2:7, 14; 3:1, 8, 14), that is, exemplary Christian behavior, and that for the sake of outsiders (2:5, 7, 8, 10, 11; 3:1, 8). Christ died precisely to create such a people, who would be zealous for good works (2:14; cf. 3:3-7). Even relationships and attitudes among believes (2:1-10) are to be such that outsiders will not only not reject the gospel (2:5), but might even be attracted to it (2:10)” (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, p. xxiv).
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Argument Of Second ThessaloniansRelated Media
In View Of The Corrupting Influence Of The False Teachers Paul Exhorts Timothy To Fulfill His Designated Ministry To The Church At Ephesus By Correcting False Teachers, Protecting The Church From Their Influence, Appealing To Those Who Are In Sin, And Pursuing Godliness With An Attitude Of Contentment Rather Than With A Desire For Personal Gain
I. Upon greeting and praying for God's peace and grace for this His church, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy give thanksgiving, honor and continued prayer as the Thessalonians continue to grow during extreme persecution (1:1-12)
A. Upon greeting the Thessalonian church, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy pray that God the Father and Son would provide peace and grace to His dear church (1:1-2)
1. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy greet the Thessalonian church which is in a close relationship with the Father and Jesus (1:1)
2. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy pray that the Father and Son would provide grace and peace to the Thessalonians (1:2)
B. Thanksgiving, honor and continued prayer are given on behalf of the Thessalonians as they continue to grow during extreme persecution (1:3-12)
1. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy feel a need to always give thanks for the Thessalonians who are increasing in faith and love (1:3)
a. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy feel a need to always give thanks to God for the Thessalonians (1:3a)
b. The reason thanks is to be given is because the Thessalonians are increasing in faith and love (1:3b)
2. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy speak proudly of the growth which is continuing in the lives of the Thessalonians recognizing that God is working for their future good and praying that it will be fulfilled (1:4-12)
a. Because the Thessalonians are growing in faith and love, Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy speak of them proudly among the other churches, especially in view of the persecutions and afflictions which they endure (1:4)
b. The continued growth of the Thessalonians under such adverse conditions is an indication of God's working for good resulting in reward in the kingdom (1:5)
1) Statement (1:5)
2) Support: It is just and a part of Jesus' return to judge those who do evil and to bless those who believe (1:6-10)
a) Out of justice God will repay those who afflict with affliction and will also repay those who are afflicted with relief (1:6)
b) This just compensation will occur when Jesus returns to judge those who do evil and to be glorified by those who believe (1:7-10)
c. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy pray that God may be able to be pleased with the Thessalonians and to complete in them with power their desires for good and faith so that Jesus may be glorified when he comes (1:11-12)
II. In contrast to distressing reports that the day of the Lord has already come, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to be encouraged as they trust in the apostolic teaching that the day of the Lord must be preceded by the apostasy and the coming of the man of lawlessness (2:1-17)
A. Paul now addresses the Thessalonians concerning their relationship to the coming of the Lord that they need not be upset by any reports that the day of the Lord has come (2:1-2)
B. The Thessalonians are not to be mislead about the day of the Lord but are to be encouraged as they trust in the apostolic teaching that the day of the Lord must be preceded by the apostasy and the man of lawlessness who will be judged along with those who are deceived by him at the Lord's coming (2:3-17)
1. Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to not be misled about the Day of the Lord because it must be preceded by The apostasy and the coming of the man of lawlessness as he previously told them (2:3-5)
a. The Thessalonians should not be deceived about the Day of the Lord because it must be preceded by The Apostasy (2:3a)
b. The Thessalonians should not be deceived about the Day of the Lord because it must be preceded by the man of lawlessness who brings destruction and sets himself up as God in the Temple of Israel (2:3b-4)
c. Paul told the Thessalonians about this when he was among them (2:5)
2. The truth, which the Thessalonians must be steadfast in and which Paul prays that God will comfort and strengthen them in, is that the Spirit of God now restrains the man of lawlessness until His appointed time of appearance and judgment along those who, unlike the Thessalonians, are deluded by him (2:6-17)
a. The Spirit of God now restrains the man of lawlessness until His appointed time of appearance and judgment along those who, unlike the Thessalonians, are deluded by him (2:6-15)
1) Even though lawlessness is presently working, the man of lawlessness is restrained until the Spirit allows him to be revealed (2:6-7)
2) The man of lawlessness who will do miraculous and deceptive works of Satan -- which God allows to delude those who reject the truth so that they, in contrast to the Thessalonians, may be judged -- will be destroyed by the Lord at his coming (2:8-14)
a) The man of lawlessness will be destroyed by the Lord at His coming (2:8)
b) The man of lawlessness will come with the miraculous powers and deceptions of Satan which God will allow to deceive those who did not believe the truth so that they might be judged (2:9-12)
c) Unlike those deluded to judgment, Paul gives thanksgiving for the Thessalonians whom God has chosen for salvation and who will gain the glory of Jesus Christ (2:13-14)
b. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy encourage the Thessalonians to be steadfast in the truth and pray that the Lord will comfort and strengthen the Thessalonians in their present ministries (2:15-17)
1) In view of what has just been taught about the day of the Lord, Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to be steadfast in the truth they have been taught (2:15)
2) Paul prays that the Lord who has given hope for the future will comfort and strengthen the Thessalonians in the present as they seek to serve Him (2:16-17)
II. Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy urge the Thessalonians to be involved in prayer for their difficult ministries and to be involved in the work of their own difficult ministry: church discipline (3:1-15)
A. In a reciprocal way Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy urge the Thessalonians to pray for their ministry as well as themselves, and proclaim the Lord's faithfulness to the Thessalonians (3:1-3)
1. The Thessalonians are urged to pray that the word of the Lord may spread in a great way and that Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy may be preserved from perverse, evil, faithless men (3:1-2)
2. The Lord is proclaimed to be faithful and willing to strengthen and protect the Thessalonians from the evil one (3:3)
B. Because Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy have confidence in the Thessalonians' willingness to obey God's word both now and in the future, he exhorts them to deal with the present problem of undisciplined living now occurring within the church (3:4-15)
1. The topic shifts to obedience in the Thessalonian church as Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy express their confidence in the church's present and future obedience as well as pray for the Lord's direction to the heart of the church to be like the Lord's in its love and steadfastness (3:4-5)
2. In an exhortation concerning those who are leading undisciplined lives in direct defiance of apostolic instruction, those in sin are exhorted to provide for their physical needs through working and the church is urged to sensitively administer corrective discipline when necessary as a motivation to upright living (3:6-15)
a. The Thessalonians are commanded to exercise church discipline against those in their midst who are rebelling against apostolic instruction by leading undisciplined lives (3:6-11)
1) Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy command the Thessalonians to separate themselves from other believers who live unruly lives in rebellion against apostolic instruction (3:6-10)
a) Statement (3:6)
b) The instruction which Paul is referring to is the example of their disciplined lives which manifested itself in their hard work for their needs rather than the expectation of financial support from the Thessalonian church and their order: "If anyone will not work, let him neither eat." (3:7-10)
2) The reason they are making this command is because of the reports of those in the church who are living undisciplined lives by not working and using their time gossiping (3:11)
b. Those who are living undisciplined lives are commanded to provide for their physical needs by working (3:12)
c. The church as a whole is exhorted to not grow weary of doing good, especially when it comes to the difficult task of church discipline (3:13-15)
1) The Thessalonians are exhorted to not grow weary with doing good (3:13)
2) The Thessalonians are exhorted to note those who do not obey this letter's instruction and to exercise church discipline for the sake of good upon this brother (3:14-15)
a) The church is to note and not associate with a brother who refuses to obey this letter's instruction about undisciplined living (3:14)
b) The church is urged in this discipline to not regard this person in sin as an enemy but as a brother to be helped (3:16)
IV. Paul concludes his letter by praying for the Lord's provisions for the Thessalonians and demonstrating that these words may be trusted as coming from him by his distinguishing sign (3:16-18)
A. Prayer is given for the Lord of peace to manifest peace and be with the Thessalonians in all situations (3:16)
B. Paul places his distinguishing mark upon the letter to confirm that it is being sent from him and no one else (3:17)
C. Paul prays that the grace of the Lord Jesus would be with the Thessalonians (3:18)
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Introduction To Second ThessaloniansRelated Media
I. AUTHOR: The Apostle Paul (with Silvanus [Silas] and Timothy)
A. More than 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians has been disputed by some (starting with the Tübingen School) with respect to Pauline authorship
B. Nevertheless, many in modern scholarship hold to the authenticity of Pauline authorship for 2 Thessalonians1
C. The Account of Paul’s founding of the church at Thessalonica is reported in Acts 17:1-9 (see below)
D. Silas and Timothy may well have shared in the authorship of 2 Thessalonians (first person plural) or were Paul’s amanuensis2
E. External Evidence, though not as strong as for 1 Thessalonians, still supports Pauline authorship:3
1. Ignatius, Philadelphians 4:3 [2 Thess. 3:5] (c. 110)
2. Polycarp, Philippians, 4:3 [2 Thess. 1:4]; 11:14 [2 Thess. 3:15] (c. 110-150)
3. Irenaeus (c. 130-202)
4. Justin Martyr (c. 150-155)
5. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215)
6. Tertullian (c. 150-220)
7. Origen (c. 185-254)
8. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386)
9. Eusebius (c. 325-340)
10. Jerome (c. 340-420)
11. Augustine (c. 400)
F. Internal Evidence
1. It is on the level of internal evidence that the authenticity of 2 Thessalonians is often questioned
a. Eschatology has been argued to not be Pauline because of its distinction with that in 1 Thessalonians, but 2 Thessalonians is discussing different aspects of end-time events than is 1 Thessalonians
b. The teaching of a two-fold judgment of the righteous and the unrighteous is affirmed to be post-Pauline, but it exists in Jesus’ words (24:15-22; 25:31-46), and agrees with later Pauline letters (Romans 2:5-10)
c. 2 Thessalonians is considered to have too harsh of a tone as compared with 1 Thessalonians, but the difficult situation which Paul is dealing with explains the change
d. Thessalonians is considered to have too great of an emphasis upon the Old Testament for its new Gentile converts, but the usages are all in areas which Gentiles would have been interested, and Luke includes an OT flavor among Paul’s messages to Gentiles (see also Mark’s use of apocalyptic material to his “Roman”/Gentile audience)
e. Some argue that 1 and 2 Thessalonians are too soon on the same subject to be Pauline, but there are also differences, and when they are combined with the similarities, Pauline authorship is the most reasonable
Coming for Saints
Coming with Saints
Coming of Christ
Coming of Antichrist
Day of Christ
Day of The Lord
Speaks of Comfort
Speaks of Correction
2. Pauline authorship is asserted in a customary manner at the opening of the epistle (2 Thessalonians 1:1)
3. While it is true that Silvanus and Timothy are included in the salutation, and that Paul does use the first person plural in the letter (1:3,4,11; 2:1; 3:1,2,4,6,7,8,9,10,11), he also uses the first person singular (2:5; 3:17). As Guthrie says, “Paul would not have signed anything that he did not assent to, ...”4
II. The Founding of the Church
A. The historical context is Acts 16--18, especially Acts 17:1-9 (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:3--3:8)
1. Paul, Silas, and Timothy ministered on their second missionary journey in Philippi and left after their imprisonment and subsequent release (Acts 16:11-40)
2. When Paul and Silas arrived in Thessalonica they proclaimed Jesus as Messiah in the synagogue for three weeks causing some Jews, many devout Greeks, and leading woman to believe, but raising jealousy in the Jews to the point that the new disciples were severely persecuted before the authorities 17:1-9
a. Setting: When Paul and Silas had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia they came to Thessalonica where there was a Jewish synagogue 17:1
Perhaps Luke and Timothy were left in Philippi to take care of the new church there
b. When Paul entered the synagogue and argued for Jesus as Messiah, some Jews, many devout Greeks, and leading woman believed and joined Paul and Silas, but the Jews were jealous 17:2-5a
1) Paul went in, as was his custom, and argued with them from the Scriptures for three weeks 17:2
2) Paul explained and proved from the Scriptures the death, resurrection and Messiahship of Jesus 17:3
3) Some Jews, many devout Greeks, and leading women believed and joined Paul and Silas 17:4
4) The Jews were jealous of Paul and Silas 17:5a
Paul may have stayed more than three weeks if he also turned to Gentiles for a ministry as he often did when the Jews rebelled
c. In an uproar the Jews sought Paul and Silas, but could not find them so they took Jason and some brethren before the authorities and accused them of disturbing the peace and of proclaiming another king against Rome, whereupon the leaders exacted a bond from them before releasing them 17:5b-9
1) Using some wicked men, the Jews gathered a crowd and set the city in an uproar 17:5b
2) The Jews attacked the house of Jason looking for Paul and Silas, but when they could not find them, they brought Jason and some of the brethren before the authorities 17:5c-6a
3) The Jews accused Jason and the brethren of harboring disrupters, and proclaiming Jesus as King against Rome (subversion as with Jesus) 17:6b-7
4) The people and city authorities were disturbed when they heard the accusations, so they took from the hostages a bond and released them 17:8-9
3. Paul and Silas went at night to Berea 17:10
B. Somehow Paul learned of the continuing struggle of the Thessalonians. Perhaps, he received a report from whoever delivered the first letter
C. The book is clearly written to a group of very new believers who were quickly brought into the faith and then immediately thrown into the “grasp of Satan” as persecutions broke out upon them (Acts 17; 1 Thess. 2:14-16; 2 Thess. 3:3); therefore, questions would immediately arise:
1. Were Paul’s words true?
2. If they were from God, why are they being hindered so by persecution?
3. Now what should they do?
a. Their faith was weak (1 Thess. 3:2)
b. They needed perspective on the disturbances which they were facing (1 Thess 3:3-4)
c. They needed to know how love worded its way out towards others--especially those who persecute them (1 Thess. 3:12)
d. They needed to know how “now” related to the future return of Jesus (1 Thess. 3:13)
e. They needed to know how far to take Paul’s exhortations toward godly living (1 Thess. 4:1-5)
f. They needed to know how to act within the church (1 Thess. 5)
While there is some question about the order of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians 2:15 seems to presuppose the existence of 1 Thessalonians (“...hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth, or by letter from us....”)
IV. DATE AND ORIGIN: A.D. 51 from Corinth:
A. Paul was in Corinth a year and six months (Acts 18:11)
B. Paul’s visit to Corinth probably terminated shortly after Gallio became proconsul in Corinth (Acts 18:12-18) c. A.D. 51
1. The Delphi inscription (Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum or SIG II3, 801) makes reference to Gallio as proconsul of Achaia
2. This inscription can be dated to the first seven months of A.D. 52 (Claudius’ twenty-sixth acclamation as imperator)
3. Since proconsuls usually entered their office on July 1, Gallio probably arrived in Achaia as proconsul on July 1 A.D. 51
4. Paul’s eighteen months in Corinth (Acts 18:11-17) probably lasted from late summer of A.D. 50 to spring of A.D. 52
C. 1 Thessalonians may well have been written earlier in his time at Corinth when he received word from the return of Timothy and Silas about the church (Acts 18:5; 1 Thess 3:6).
D. Therefore, Paul probably wrote 1 Thessalonians in A.D. 50
E. After Paul learned of the news about the Thessalonians’ progress following the first letter, Paul probably wrote 2 Thessalonians
F. If Paul sent 1 Thessalonians at the beginning of his stay in Corinth, he may well have sent 2 Thessalonians within eighteen months of the first letter (or towards the end of his stay at Corinth) c. A.D. 51 (or 52)
G. Corinth is the last place where Acts places Paul, Timothy, and Silas together (though they may have been together afterward); Silas is not mentioned at Ephesus, and Timothy is associated with Erastus at Ephesus (Acts 19:22); therefore, Corinth is a natural candidate for the origin of the letter
V. PURPOSES OF 2 THESSALONIANS
1 Thessalonians was not as effective as Paul had hoped in dealing with the problem of idleness, and the παρουσία, therefore, 2 Thessalonians was written to continue the discussion
A. Paul wishes to correct false teaching that the Thessalonians are presently in the Day of the Lord (2:1-2) because they are already undergoing persecution (2:14-16)
B. Paul wishes to correct disorderliness in the church (e.g., not working because the Lord’s coming was so near) (3:6-16)
1 Bruce, Marshall, Thomas, Morris.
2 See Bruce, 1&2 Thess. Word., p. xxxii-xxxiii.
3 Geisler, A General Introduction to the Bible, pp. 188,193.
4 Guthrie, NTI, p. 574.
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Argument Of First ThessaloniansRelated Media
The Missionary Team Of Paul, Silvanus, And Timothy Urge The Thessalonians On The Basis Of Their Former Walk Of Faith, And God’s Faithfulness To Them To Endure Persecution With A Vital Love For One Another And For God
I. Introduction: Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy open their letter to the Thessalonians affirming their position in God, and praying for God’s grace and peace in their lives 1:1
A. Paul, Silvanus (Silas), and Timothy are those who send the letter (“the team”, henceforth) 1:1a
B. The team has sent the letter to the Thessalonians who are in relationship with the Father and Son, praying for their experience of grace and peace 1:1b-d
1. The letter is sent to the Thessalonians 1:1b
2. The Thessalonians are in a relationship with God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ 1:1c
3. The team prays for the Thessalonians to experience grace and peace 1:1d
II. The Paste Work of Faith*Encouragement in their Faith: Paul reminds the Thessalonians of their walk of faith with God and his ministry with them in order to defend the Gospel he taught them and in order to encourage them to persevere despite persecution 1:2--3:13
A. Thanksgiving for the Effect of the Gospel: The missionary team constantly thank God for the Thessalonians through prayer as they remember the perseverance of the Thessalonians, and the evidences of their election 1:2-10
1. Thanks Through Prayer: The team constantly gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians by praying for them 1:2
2. Thanks Remembering Perseverance: The team gives thanksgiving to God as they remember the persevering nature of the believing Thessalonians 1:3
a. Work of Faith: In their thanksgiving the team constantly remembers the Thessalonians’ work of faith 1:3a
b. Labor of Love: In their thanksgiving the team constantly remembers the Thessalonians’ work of love 1:3b
c. Hope of Tomorrow: In their thanksgiving the team constantly remembers the Thessalonians’ steady hope in the Lord Jesus who is presently with the Father 1:3c
3. Thanks Because Of Evident Election: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through the divinely enabled presentation of the Gospel among them, and through their imitation of both the team and the Lord during persecution resulting in a witness to others throughout Macedonia, Achaia, and beyond 1:5-10
a. Election: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through the divinely enabled presentation of the Gospel among them 1:4-5
1) Chosen: The team gives thanks to God knowing that the Thessalonians are chosen of God 1:4
2) Power of Gospel: The reason the team knows of the election of the Thessalonians is because their Gospel came to the Thessalonians in more than empty words, but in power from God through them 1:5
b. Imitation: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through their imitation of both the team and the Lord during persecution resulting in a witness to others throughout Macedonia, Achaia, and beyond 1:6-10
1) Imitators of the Team: The Thessalonians became imitators of the team and of the Lord 1:6a
2) Imitators of the Lord: The Thessalonians imitated the team and the Lord by willfully, and under divine enablement experiencing persecution for receiving the word of the Gospel 1:6b
3) Examples: The result of being imitators of the suffering team and the Lord was that the Thessalonians became examples to other believers in Macedonia and Achaia 1:7
4) Thanks Because of the Spread of the Gospel: The team gives thanks to God for the Thessalonians because they know of God’s election of them through their spread of the gospel to other peoples 1:8-10
a) Missionary Church: The Thessalonians have been a missionary church not only to Macedonia and Achaia, but beyond so as to precede the team’s appearance 1:8
b) Reports from Others: The reason the team speaks of the missionary nature of the Thessalonians is because when they go to a new people, they hear back from this new people reports about God’s work in Thessalonica 1:9-10
(1) Team Hears of Ministry: The reason the team speaks of the missionary nature of the Thessalonians is because the team hears back about their ministry among the Thessalonians from those they go to 1:9a
(2) Repentance from Idolatry: The team specifically hears back about the Thessalonians' repentance from idolatry to serve the living and true God 1:9b
(3) Expectation of Christ's Return: The team specifically hears back about the Thessalonians' expectation of the return of the risen Christ to deliver them from the coming judgment of the wicked (the tribulation) 1:10
B. The Proclaimers of the Gospel: In view of what the Thessalonians are themselves proclaiming about the missionary team (1:9), they are reminded that the team spoke with a bold witness in spite of persecution, and that their motives in that presentation were good, as parents desiring the best for their children 2:1-12
1. Their Bold Witness: Picking up on what the Thessalonians proclaim about the team’s effect upon them (1:9, cf. 2:1 “γὰρ”), the missionary team reminds the Thessalonians of the effectiveness of their bold presentation of the gospel despite persecution 2:1-2
a. Not Without Result: The Thessalonians know that the coming of the missionary team was not without result 2:1
b. Bold Witness: The missionary team boldly witnessed to the Thessalonians in spite of past persecution in Philippi (Acts 16:19-40), and present resistance (by the Jews; cf. Acts 17:5) in Thessalonica 2:2
2. Their Pure Motives: The missionary team’s motives in appealing to the Thessalonians are not hurtful, but God pleasing just as their past conduct among the Thessalonians was to enable them, much like parents, toward a better walk with God 2:3-12
a. Not Covert Motives: The missionary team’s appeal to the Thessalonians does not come from covert motives of error, impurity, or trickery 2:3
b. Seeking to Please God: The missionary team appeals to the Thessalonians as those approved by God seeking to please God, rather than men 2:4
c. Support: Paul supports his affirmations about the missionary team’s good motives by their conduct among the Thessalonians as loving parents rather than self-serving tricksters 2:5-9
1) Negatively: As the Thessalonians and God both know, the missionary team did not come with speech which flattered men, or so that they might materially gain from them, or so that they might receive honor from anyone even though they had that right as sent ones of Christ 2:5-6
2) Positively: The Thessalonians know that the missionary team came to them as loving parents with the gospel and themselves so as to encourage them toward an appropriate walk with God 2:7-12
a) As a Gentile Mother: The missionary team was gentile among the Thessalonians as a mother who would care for her children 2:7
b) Giving of Lives: The missionary team’s affection for the Thessalonians was so great that they not only wished to give them the gospel, but they were willing to give of their innermost selves (ἐαυτῶν ψυζάς) for them 2:8-9
c) Integrity: The Thessalonians are witnesses that the missionary team acted in integrity before them only speaking to them so as to encourage them to walk in a more acceptable manner as of the God who called them 2:10-12
(1) Upright Behavior: The Thessalonians are witnesses of the missionary team's holy, upright, and unreproachable behavior towards them 2:10
(2) As a Father: The missionary team acted like a father toward children encouraging, comforting, and urging the Thessalonians 2:11
(3) Improve Their Walk: The purpose of the missionary team was to raise the Thessalonians' walk to a level which was worthy (ἀξίως) of God's high calling of the Thessalonians into the Kingdom and greatness 2:12
C. The Effect of the Gospel: The missionary team affirms the effect of the Gospel upon the Thessalonians in that they not only accepted it, but it has worked in them by enabling them to endure the persecution of the Jews 2:13-16
1. Thanks for Reception of Word: The missionary team thanks God for the way in which the Thessalonians received their gospel as God’s word which works within them 2:13
2. Endured Persecution: The reason Paul affirms that the Thessalonians received God’s word which works in them is because they, just like the Judean church, they have endured persecution from the Jews who are increasing their sin toward judgment 2:14-16
a. Endured Like Judean Church: The reason God’s word is seen to be working in the Thessalonians is because they have endured persecution like the churches of Judea 2:14a
b. Reason*Persecution from Jews: The reason Paul compares the Thessalonians with the churches of Judea is because they have endured persecution from the Jews just as they persecuted Jesus, the prophets, and the apostles being unpleasing to God as they heap sin upon sin for judgment 2:14b-16
1) Similar Persecution: The reason Paul compares the Thessalonians with the churches of Judea is because they have endured similar persecution from the Jews 2:14b
2) History of Persecution: The Jews not only persecuted the Judean churches but also killed Jesus and the prophets, and drove the apostles out of Jerusalem 2:15a
3) Sin towards Judgment: The persecuting Jews are not pleasing to God, but are increasing their sin toward judgment as they hinder the missionary team from speaking the gospel to the Gentiles 2:15b-16
D. The Concern and Confirmation of the Missionary Team: Being unable to come as a team to the Thessalonians because of Satan’s hindering of them, the missionary team sent Timothy to them to aid their thinking about the persecution, and were encouraged when he returned with good news about their spiritual state and about their love for them all 2:17--3:10
1. Their Concern: The missionary team wished to come to the Thessalonians more than once because they valued them so highly, but Satan held them, especially Paul, back 2:17-20
a. Eager to Come: The missionary team has missed the Thessalonians and was eager to come to them again 2:17
b. Held Back by Satan: The missionary team wanted to come, especially Paul more than once, but was held back by the working of Satan 2:18
c. Importance of Thessalonians: The reason the missionary team wanted to come to the Thessalonians was because they are the most important part of life to them for which God will one day honor them 2:19-20
2. Their Confirmation: Out of concern for the state of the Thessalonians after the persecution, Timothy was sent to them, and returned with a good report that greatly encouraged the missionary team about the continuance of their work in Thessalonica 3:1-10
a. The Sending of Timothy: Out of concern for the Thessalonians, Paul sent Timothy in order to encourage them about the persecution, and in order to learn about the state of their faith because of the persecution 3:1-5
1) Decision to Send Timothy: When the missionary team could endure their separation from the Thessalonians no longer, they decided to send Timothy from where they were in Athens in order to strengthen and encourage the Thessalonians in their faith 3:1-2
2) Purpose in Sending Timothy: The purpose behind the sending of Timothy was so that the Thessalonians would not loose their balance (go back and forth, τὸ σαίνεσθαι) due to the persecutions 3:3a
3) Design of Suffering: The reason the Thessalonians were not to loose their spiritual balance was because they understood that this was part of God’s design for the missionary team (Acts 9:15-16) just as they said it would come to pass 3:3-4
4) Risk of Satan: Because of the risk that Satan could have upset the faith of the Thessalonians through the persecutions, Paul sent Timothy to find out about their welfare 3:5
b. The Report from Timothy: When Timothy returned with a good report concerning the spiritual state of the Thessalonians, and about their love for the missionary team, the team was very encouraged, and could not thank God enough 3:6-10
1) Timothy’s Return with Good News: Timothy returned with good news about the spiritual state of the Thessalonians, and about their love for the missionary team 3:6
2) Comfort for Team: Because of the good report from Timothy about the Thessalonians, the missionary team was comforted in the midst of their continuing persecution because their work among the Thessalonians lives on 3:7-8
3) Thanks to God: The missionary team can hardly thank God enough for His good work among them when they were not able to return to complete their work 3:9-10
E. Prayer for the Thessalonians’ Endurance: The missionary team prays that God might grant them the ability to come to the Thessalonians, but also that God would increase their love for men so that they might not sin due to the persecution, but receive reward for holy living when Jesus returns 3:11-13
1. Enablement to Return: The missionary team prays that God the Father and Son may enable the missionary team to come to the Thessalonians 3:11
2. Increase in Love: The missionary team prays that the Thessalonians may increase to an overflowing state in their love for each other and all men just as the missionary team loves them 3:12
3. Reason for The Prayer*Reward: reason the missionary team prays that the Thessalonians would abound in love is so that they will be honored by the Lord at His coming for them (at the rapture with the dead saints to receive their bodies; cf. 4:14), rather than lose it (due to sinful responses to persecution) 3:13
III. The Present*Exhortations to Live Their Faith: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to exceed in their sanctification, have a patient hope for the future, remain spiritually alert, honor their leaders, and to keep a vital walk with God knowing that God will enable them 4:1--5:24
A. With Respect to Love: Paul exhorts the Thessalonians to exceed in what he taught them in order that they might be sanctified in their relationship with God and love men 4:1-12
1. Concerning Their Love for God: Beginning the final section of the letter, the missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to continue in their walk with God by abstaining from all sexual immorality by controlling their bodies because this is a sin against God 4:1-8
a. Introduction: Paul introduces the final, paraenetic division of this letter with the phrase, “Finally then” (Λοιπὸν οὖν); cf. Phil. 3:1) 4:1a
b. Excel Even More: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to excel even more in their God-pleasing Christian life (walk) 4:1b
c. Reminder of Commandments: The missionary team reminds the Thessalonians of the commandments which they gave to them in accordance with God’s will for their sanctification (ἁγιασμὸς) unto God which include abstaining from all sexual immorality 4:2-6
1) Sanctification: The missionary team gave the Thessalonians commandments from the Lord for their sanctification 4:2-3a
2) Abstain from Sexual Immorality: The commandments which the missionary team gave to the Thessalonians were that they should abstain from sexual immorality with temple prostitutes, or through adultery by controlling their own bodies because God will avenge these things 4:3b-6
a) Generally: The Thessalonians are warned to abstain from sexual immorality (προνείας) 4:3b
b) Specifically (Love God): Each one of the Thessalonians should know how to gain control of (κτᾶσθαι) his own body (ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος, cf. 2 Cor. 4:7; 1 Pet. 3:7) in a way which is holy (ἁγιασμῷ; cf. 4:3), and honorable (Τιμῇ; cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; Rom. 1:24), rather than in lustful passions as the Gentiles do (perhaps through temple prostitution) 4:4-5
c) Specifically (Love Your Neighbor): The Thessalonians were instructed to abstain from sexual immorality through adultery with one’s neighbor because the Lord will avenge these things 4:6
d. Reason for God’s Calling: The reason the Thessalonians should abstain from sexual immorality is because God has not called them to be impure, but to be set apart (ἁγιασμῷ) to Him 4:7
e. Rejection of Teaching: Therefore (τοιγαροῦν, emphatic), the missionary team affirms that to reject this teaching about immorality is not to reject man, but to reject God who gives the Holy Spirit to you (cf. 1 Cor. 6:9; it is a sin against God!) 4:8
2. Concerning (περὶ δὲ) their Love for the Brethren: Even though the Thessalonians already know the instruction from the Lord and are practicing brotherly love toward all in Macedonia, the missionary team exhorts them to excel even more in their brotherly love 4:9-10
a. Love for the Brethren: The missionary team now writes concerning (περὶ δὲ) love for the brethren (φιλαδελφίας) 4:9a
b. Already Taught: The missionary team does not consider this topic of brotherly love as necessary to write about since God has already taught them (through he commandments of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) to love one another 4:9b
c. Increase in Love: The missionary team acknowledges that the Thessalonians are already loving those in Macedonia, but urges them to increase in their brotherly love 4:10
3. Concerning their Love for the Lost: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to live in a moral and industrious way toward those outside of the community so that they might continue in their jobs 4:11-12
a. Live in a Peaceful Way: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to be energetic about living in a morally, and ethically peaceful way1 4:11a
b. Continue at Work: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to continue at their work as they were commanded to 4:11b
c. Reason for Testimony: The reason the moral and industrial charges are given to the Thessalonians is so that they may conduct themselves well with those outside of the church and not be in need (because they had lost their jobs) 4:12
B. With Respect to the Future: Paul instructs the Thessalonians about the Future so that they might presently have a patient hope 4:13-18
1. The Resurrection of Sleeping Saints2: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to not grieve over the dead as unbelievers do, but to be comforted by a revelation from the Lord that the dead in Christ will be raised first at the Lord’s return, and then the living church will be caught up together with them to meet and be with the Lord in the air 4:13-18
a. Resurrection of the Dead: The missionary team writes about the resurrection of sleeping (κοιμωμὲνων; cf. 1 Ki. 2:10) saints because they do not want the Thessalonians to be uninformed (ἀγνοωεῖν), and thus excessively grieving like unbelievers, about those believers who had died before the Lord returned 4:13
b. Assurance through Christ: The first reason Christians should not grieve as unbelievers is because Jesus’ death and resurrection is assurance that God will bring believing Christians who have died with Jesus when he returns 4:14
c. The second reason Christians should not grieve as unbelievers is because of a revelation which Paul (and the team?) received from the Lord about what will occur when the Lord returns 4:15-17
1) Word from the Lord: The missionary team has a word from the Lord about what will occur when the Lord returns 4:15a
2) Those Alive: Those who are alive and are on earth until the Lord comes (παρουσίαν) will not possibly (οὐ μὴ) precede those who have died 4:15b
3) First the Dead, Then the Living: The reason the living will not precede the dead in Christ is because (ὅτι) the Lord will descend with a significant life-quickening command, and the dead in Christ shall rise first (πρῶτον) and then (ἕπειτα) those who are alive and remain on earth will be caught up3 together with the dead in Christ in the Clouds to meet the Lord in the air and to remain forever with the Lord 4:16-17
Reason: The reason the living will not precede the dead in Christ is because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a life-quickening command4 4:16
d. Exhortation To Comfort One Another: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to comfort one another about the dead with this immediately preceding revelation from the Lord Himself (cf. 4:15) 4:18
C. The Coming Day of the Lord: Knowing that the coming day of wrath is not designed for the Thessalonians, the missionary team urges them to be spiritually alert 5:1-11
1. There is a Coming Day of Wrath: Paul affirms that the Thessalonians already know that a future time of wrath will come in a hostile, unexpected way upon the sons of darkness, but the Thessalonians will not be included in that judgment because they are sons of light 5:1-5
a. New Topic: A new topic is addressed concerning (περὶ δὲ) the coming events (times and seasons) of which the Thessalonians have already been informed (cf. 4:9) 5:1
b. Wrath Like a Thief: The Thessalonians know well that the Day of the Lord (a time of judging wrath; cf. Acts 2:20; 2 Pet. 3:10; 2 Thess. 2:2) will come in a hostile, unexpected way (like a thief) 5:2
c. Support of Coming Wrath: Support that the coming wrath will be hostile and unexpected is given through the future image of people proclaiming a time of security (Dan. 9:27) when sudden, unavoidable destruction will inescapably come upon them (αὐτοῖς, not “you”) 5:3
d. Thessalonians Will Not Be Overtaken: In contrast to those who will be overtaken by the coming day of wrath, Paul affirms that the Thessalonians will not be overtaken by the day of wrath because they are sons of light rather than sons of night and darkness 5:4-5
1) Not in Darkness: In contrast (δέ) to “those” who will experience the coming Day of the Lord, Paul affirms that the Thessalonians are not in darkness to be overtaken by the Day 5:4
2) Sons of Day: The reason the Thessalonians will not be overtaken by the day is because they are sons of the day (God) rather than night and darkness 5:5
2. Application of the Day of the Lord to Readers: Paul now applies the doctrine of the Day of the Lord to the conduct his readers by urging them to encourage one another to be spiritually alert, unlike the children of darkness, because Jesus died to deliver them from wrath to salvation 5:6-11
a. Don’t Be Careless, Be Alert: In view of the above doctrine on the Day of the Lord Paul concludes (ἄρα οὗν) that the Thessalonians should not be careless about their lives (“sleep”) as those who are sons of the darkness do, but rather be alert and sober as those expecting the Lord’s coming 5:6
b. Reason for Being Alert*Christ’s Death: Paul urges the Thessalonians to be spiritually alert, unlike the unsuspecting sons of darkness, because Christ has died for them so that they might not be subject to wrath, but to salvation 5:7-10
1) Reason for Imagery of Sleep: The reason Paul used the imagery of sleeping is because those who are not of God (the sons of darkness) are not spiritually alert: they sleep, and are under the influence of alcohol at night 5:7
2) Be Sober: In contrast (δὲ) to those who are not spiritually alert, the Thessalonians are urged to be spiritually prepared (sober) by having their spiritual armor on: their faith in God who loves them, and their hope of future salvation from wrath 5:8
3) Not Destined for Wrath: The reason the Thessalonians should, and can be spiritually prepared is because of the fact that God has not destined Christians for wrath, but for Salvation through the death of Jesus Christ regardless of our spiritual preparedness 5:9-10
a) Reason: The reason (ὅτι) the Thessalonians should be spiritually prepared is because God has not destined Christians for wrath (εἰς ὀργὴν), but (ἀλλὰ) to obtain salvation 5:9a
b) Salvation through Christ: The salvation which God has destined Christians for it through (διὰ) the Lord Jesus Christ 5:9b
c) Death Is to Live: The death of the Lord Jesus Christ was in order that (ἵνα) all believers could live with Him whether they were spiritually alert or lethargic (“awake or asleep”, cf. 5:6-8) 5:10
c. Build Up One Another: As a consequence to the above discussion Paul urges the Thessalonians to build up (οἰκοδομεῖτε, encourage) one another 5:11
D. With Respect to the Church:5 The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to honor their leaders and keep their walk vital with God knowing that God will enable them in their sanctification 5:12-24
1. To the Congregation: The missionary team urges the congregation to not be a body in unrest, but to appreciate, highly esteem, and love their leaders because of their labor among them 5:12-13
a. Appreciate Church Leaders: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to appreciate the church leaders who labor among them, have charge over them, and instruct them 5:12
b. Hold Leaders in High Regard: The missionary team exhorts the Thessalonians to hold the church leaders in the highest possible regard and to love them because of their work 5:13a-b
c. Be at Peace: The missionary team exhorts the congregation to be at peace among themselves (ἐν ἑαυτοῖς) [rather than anarchy] 5:13c
2. To the Congregation and It’s Leaders Concerning Personal Relationships: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to relate to one another, and to all men in sensitive love 5:14-15
a. Correct: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to correct (instruct) those who are loafing, and neglecting their daily duty (the disorderly) 5:14a
b. Encourage: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to comfort (encourage) those who are easily discouraged (the fainthearted) 5:14b
c. Support: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to help (support) the weak (in faith) 5:14c
d. Be Patient: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to be patient with all men (implying that some are not as strong as others) 5:14d
e. Seek after What Is Good: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians as brethren to not seek retribution upon one another, but to seek after that which is good for one another and for all men 5:15
3. To the Congregation Concerning Personal Living: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to keep their walk with God vital 5:16-24
a. Rejoice: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to rejoice at all times 5:16
b. Pray Continually: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to pray continually (in perseverance) 5:17
c. Give Thanks: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to give thanksgiving to God in every situation because (γὰρ) this is God’s will 5:18
d. Do Not Quench the Spirit: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to not quench (σβέννυτε) the Spirit (who is working in you, or in others) 5:19
e. Do Not Despise Prophecies: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to not despise (depreciate) prophecies (this may be the area in which they were quenching the Spirit), but to examine everything (prophecy) carefully, and to hold fast to that which is good, while they abstain from that which is evil 5:20-22
4. To the Congregation Concerning God’s Enablement: The missionary team prays for God’s work of sanctification among the Thessalonians, and reminds them that He will be faithful to complete that work of sanctification 5:23-24
a. God May Sanctify the Thessalonians: The missionary team prays that the God who is characterized by peace may Himself set the Thessalonians entirely apart unto Himself in blamelessness until the Lord’s coming (cf. 3:11-13) 5:23
b. Trustworthiness of God: The missionary team reminds the Thessalonians that just as God’s calling of them was trustworthy, so will his completion of his call (their sanctification) be trustworthy 5:24
IV. Conclusion: The missionary team, and especially Paul, close their letter by requesting prayer, urging personal expressions of unity, exhorting the Thessalonians to read this letter to all the brethren, and praying that they would experience God’s grace 5:25-28
A. Pray for the Team: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to also pray for them, as they pray for the Thessalonians 5:25
B. Greet with Affection: The missionary team urges the Thessalonians to greet one another with personal affection demonstrating their unity (a holy kiss) 5:26
C. Have This Letter Read: Paul exhorts the Thessalonians in a responsible oath before the Lord to have this letter read to all of the brethren 5:27
D. Prayer for Grace: Paul closes the letter praying that they might have (enjoy, experience) the grace (1:1) of their Lord Jesus Christ with them 5:28
1 The term is ἡσυχάξειν; cf. Louw and Nida, II:742,754.
2 This unit may well be a response to concern among the Thessalonians that the dead would not be raised until the end of the Tribulation with Jewish saints and thus would not be present at the rapture of living saints (Dan. 12:1-2). Perhaps they thought the rapture would happen before anybody died. Now they wonder -- will the dead be left out? They knew about the rapture, but not how it related to the resurrection of dead Christians.
3 The term is ἁρπαγησόμεθα; “rapture” comes from the Latin, “rapere.”
4 This may not be three different commands but one with significance for different people because of the ascensive use of καὶ (even). A “shout” (ἐν κελεύσματι, command) may have reference to the church. The voice of an archangel (ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου) may have reference to Israel (cf. Jude 9; 1 Enoch 20:1-7). And the Trumpet of God may have reference to Old Testament Gentile saints (1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 11:15).
5 The anticipation of the rapture seemd to lead people to live un-orderly lives.
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Argument Of The Book Of ColossiansRelated Media
The Supremacy Of Christ Jesus Over The Old And New Creations Provides A Basis For Not Being Led Astray By False Teachers Who Propose Mysterious Ways Of Becoming Closer To God, And Provides A Basis For How One Enters Into Relationships With Other Believers As Well As Those Outside Of The Faith
I. Introduction: After introducing himself and Timothy to the Colossians, Paul gives thanks to the Lord for their faith in Him and love for the brethren in accordance with their certain hope of future glory, and intercedes in prayer on behalf of the Colossians that they might increase in their knowledge of the Lord so that they might live their lives in a way which pleases Him 1:1-14
A. Introductory Greeting: Paul introduces himself as an apostle and Timothy as their brother to the believers at Colossae who are faithful in Christ 1:1-2
1. Paul: Paul introduces himself as an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will2 1:1a
2. Timothy: Paul introduces Timothy as the Colossians’ brother 1:1b
3. Brethren at Colossae: Paul writes to the brethren at Colossae whom he identifies as being faithful and in Christ3 1:2a
4. Prayer: Paul prays that the Colossians might experience both grace and peace from God their Father 1:2b
B. Thanksgiving--Faith-Love-Hope and the Gospel: Paul gives thanksgiving for the Colossians’ faith in God and love for other believers in accordance with their certain hope of glory which they received through Epaphras’ proclamation of the true gospel message 1:3-8
1. Faith and Love: Paul gives thanksgiving to God for the Colossians’ faith in God and love for other believers 1:3-4
2. Hope: The Colossians’ acts of faith and love are based on their certain hope (of glory through Christ himself)4 that is kept safe for them in heaven 1:5a
3. Gospel: The hope which motivates the Colossians’ faith and love came through the true gospel message which Epaphras first taught them on behalf of the apostolic team 1:5-8
a. The hope (of glory) which motivates the Colossians’ faith and love came through the true gospel message which came to them and is likewise bearing fruit (of Christian life and testimony) wherever else it has gone5 (in all the world) 1:5b-6
b. The gospel message came to the Colossians through Epaphras, Paul’s fellow servant, who ministers Christ to the Colossians on the apostolic team’s behalf6 and has made known to Paul their love in the Spirit 1:7-8
C. Prayer--An Intercession for Knowledge and Godly Conduct: In view of Epaphras’ report, Paul continually prays that the Colossians may be filled with knowledge of God so that they might walk in a way which pleases Him 1:9-14
1. Content of Prayer--Knowledge of God’s Will: In view of Epaphras’ report, Paul continually prays that the Colossians may be filled7 with knowledge8 of God’s will so that they might possess true spiritual insight (in all spiritual wisdom and understanding)9 1:9
2. Purpose of Prayer--Walk Worthily:10 Paul prays that the Colossians may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in order that they might live in a way which is pleasing to Him by doing good works, increasing in their knowledge of Him, being strengthened in his might, and giving thanks to him for his redemptive work 1:10-12a
a. Statement: Paul prays that the Colossians may be filled with knowledge of God’s will in order that they might walk (or live their lives) in a manner which is worthy of the Lord in that it is pleasing to Him 1:10a
b. Specific Examples:11 Ways in which believers may live their lives in a way which is pleasing to the Lord are by doing good works, increasing in knowledge of him, being strengthened in the Lord’s might, and giving thinks for His redeeming work which has led to their future inheritance 1:9b-14
1) Bearing Fruit:12 One way to lead a life which is pleasing to the Lord is by doing good works 1:10b
2) Increasing in Knowledge: Another way to lead a life which is pleasing to the Lord is by increasing in one’s knowledge of Him 1:10c
3) Being Strengthened in Spiritual Power:13 Another way to lead a life which is pleasing to the Lord is by being strengthened in all (spiritual) power in accordance with His great strength resulting in endurance, patience and joy 1:11
4) Giving Thanks for God’s Work with Believers:14 Another way to lead a life which is pleasing to the Lord is by giving thanks to the Father who has qualified believers to share in the inheritance of the saints by the redemptive work of his Son through whom he has transferred believers from the rule of darkness to the rule of light in the Son 1:12-14
a) Statement: One way to lead a life which is pleasing to the Lord is by giving thanks to the father 1:12a
b) Reasons: One should give thanks to the Lord because of his work to bring about the believer’s inheritance in the spiritual realm of light by the Lord’s deliverance of them from darkness and transferal of them to the Son’s domain 1:12b-14
(1) Inheritance: One should give thanks to the Father because he has enabled believers to share in the inheritance of the saints in the spiritual realm of light 1:12b
(2) Deliverance from Darkness' Domain: One should give thanks to the Father because he has delivered believers from the realm of spiritual darkness 1:13a
(3) Transference to the Son's Domain: One should give thanks to the Father because he has transferred believers to the spiritual rule of his Son through whom believers have redemption and forgiveness of sins 1:13b-14
II. Doctrinal/Theological Instruction: In view of Christ as the preeminent One over the present and new creations who has reconciled the hostile Colossians to himself, Paul labors and suffers in order to encourage all men, and especially the Colossians to be mature in Christ rather than being derailed in their faith by the persuasive speech of the false teachers 1:15--2:5
A. The Person of Christ:15 Paul affirms the uniqueness of Christ as the preeminent One over the present creation as well as the new creation because he is the exact expression of God, the unique heir of creation, and the head of the Church 1:15-20
1. In Relation to God: Christ is the image16 of the invisible God 1:15a
2. In Relation to Creation: Christ is the unique heir of creation because he is separate from it: all things were created in His sphere, through Him, for Him; He existed before all things and; He sustains all things 1:15b-17
a. Heir: Christ is the first-born17 (heir) of all creation 1:15b
c. Before: The reason Christ has a unique position in creation (first-born) is because He is before22 all things 1:17a
d. Sustains: The reason Christ has a unique position in creation (first-born) is because all things hold together in Him23 1:17b
3. In Relation to the Church: Jesus is supreme in the church because he is the head of the metaphorical body by being the first-born of the dead in order that he might be premier in all things since God revealed Himself in Christ and reconciled all things through Christ 1:18-21
a. Head: Jesus is supreme in the church because he is the head of the metaphorical body (of Christ) 1:18a
b. Premier: Jesus is the beginning of the church by being the first-born of the dead in order that he might become premier in all things because God choose to have the fullness of who He is dwell in Christ, and because God choose to reconcile all things to Himself through Christ 1:18b-20
1) Founder: Jesus is the beginning (of the church) by being the first-born of those who have died24 1:18b
2) Purpose: Jesus is the first-born in creation and in resurrection in order that he might become preeminent in all things because God choose to have the fullness of who He is dwell in Christ and because God choose to reconcile all things to Himself through Christ 1:18c-20
b) Reason Stated: The reason Christ is preeminent is because (ο῞τι) God choose to have the fullness of who He is dwell in Christ, and because God reconciled all of the universe to Himself through the death of Christ on the Cross 1:19-20
(1) Fullness: All of the fullness27 of God was pleased to dwell in Christ 1:19
(2) Reconciliation: God reconciled all things28 to Himself through Christ by making peace through the blood of His cross 1:20
B. The Exhortations for Steadfastness: Jesus has reconciled the Colossians who were once His enemies in order to present them as mature in the faith, and Paul constantly proclaims God’s mysterious work of unification of Jews and Gentiles in order for all men and especially the Colossians to remain steadfast in their good Christian conduct and faith in Christ against the persuasive speech of the false teachers 1:21--2:5
1. The Work Applied:29 Jesus reconciled the Colossians who were once His enemies in order to present them as holy, blameless and irreproachable by remaining steadfast in their faith in Him 1:21-23
a. Reconciliation Applied: Jesus has reconciled through His bodily death on the cross the Colossians who once were estranged and hostile in mind towards God doing evil deeds 1:21-22a
b. Purpose of Reconciliation: God reconciled the hostile Colossians to Himself in order to present (παραστῆσαι) them holy, blameless, and irreproachable30 before Him 1:22b
c. Condition31--Orthodoxy to the Apostolic Gospel: The condition to being “holy, blameless, and irreproachable before Christ” is that the Colossians continue in a stable, steadfast way in the faith which has been preached to mankind and of which Paul is a minister 1:23
2. The Work Proclaimed--Paul’s Ministry to Present Believers Morally and Doctrinally Pure: Paul suffers in his body and labors intently on behalf of all men and particularly the Colossians in order to present them morally and doctrinally mature in Christ against the persuasive speech of the false teachers 1:24--2:5
a. Paul’s Sufferings: Paul rejoices during this present time in his sufferings for the Colossians as one who fulfills the messianic woes that usher in the end times for the sake of His Body--the Church 1:24
1) Rejoices: Paul rejoices during this present time when the gospel is being proclaimed (now) in his sufferings32 for the sake of the Colossians 1:24a
2) Fills Up: Paul fills up in his body what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions33 for the sake of His body which is the Church 1:24b
b. Paul’s Task: Paul is a minister of the church to proclaim God’s revealed mystery which united Jews and Gentiles into one body through Christ, not only earnestly proclaiming this to all men so that they might be mature in Christ, but particularly proclaiming this to the Colossians and the churches of the Lycus valley in order that they might continue in their orderly Christian life and stability of faith against the persuasive words of the false teachers 1:25--2:4
1) Minister of the Word: Paul became a minister of the church according to the divine commission given to him, namely, to make the word of God fully known34 1:25
2) Content of the Word--The Mystery: The content of the word of God which Paul is making completely known is the mystery35 which was hidden,36 but now is revealed to His saints,37 namely, God’s glorious work among the Gentiles38 1:26-27
3) The Goal in General--Maturity for All Men: Paul, and those with him/like him,39 proclaim Christ with all of his God-given energy in ways which wisely warn and instruct every man40 in order that (ι῞να) they may present every man mature (τέλειον) in Christ 1:28-29
4) The Goal in Particular--Maturity for the Colossians:41 In particular Paul affirms that he is striving for the Colossians and all of the churches of the Lycus valley in order that they might know through their unity that they do understand the riches of Christ, rather than being derailed from their orderly Christian life and stable faith by the persuasive speech of the false teachers 2:1-5
a) Paul’s Striving Stated: Paul affirms that he greatly strives for the Colossians, those at Laodicea, and for all the churches who have not personally seen him 2:1
b) Purpose of Paul’s Striving: Paul strives for the Colossians, Laodiceans, and all of the churches in order that (ι῞να) their hearts may be encouraged (as they find unity in love) to have all of the riches of assured understanding and knowledge of God’s uniting of the body (mystery of Christ) in Christ who has all wisdom and knowledge42 2:2-3
c) Paul’s Concern of the Colossians: Paul expresses his desire for all of the churches of the Lycus valley in order that (ι῞να) they might not be deluded by false teachers (those with beguiling speech) because in his physical absence Paul is still with them in spirit rejoicing over the news of their orderly Christian life and their stability of faith in Christ (cf. 1:7-8) 2:4-5
III. Polemical--Warnings Against Error: With an interchange between positive and negative exhortations Paul exhorts the Colossians to live their lives in relationship to Christ with a focus upon their lives with Him in heaven to be revealed when He returns rather than upon earthly matters which the false teachers propose to experience a closer relationship with Him through legalism, mysticism and aestheticism 2:6--3:4
A. Positive Exhortation:43 Paul concludes his above discussion by urging the Colossians to live in Christ just as they received Him by being rooted, built up in Him, established in the faith which they were taught, and abounding in thanksgiving 2:6-7
1. Exhortation: Paul concludes from the above discussion of Christ and Paul’s ministry on behalf of the churches that the Colossians live in Christ the Lord just as they received Him44 2:6
2. Explanation:45 Paul explains that living in Christ is a faith-walk (περιπατεῖτε ) characterized by being rooted and built up in Him,46 being established in the faith just as they were taught, and abounding in thanksgiving47 2:7
B. Negative Exhortations: Paul exhorts the Colossians to beware of the deceptive philosophy of the false teachers because the Colossians have already attained to fullness of life through Christ; therefore, they should not allow the false teachers to judge them for not keeping the code of the Mosaic Law, condemn them for not entering into mystic experiences, or urge them to submit to regulations which they are no longer under so that they might become closer to God 2:8-23
1. Negative Exhortation to Beware of Deceptive Philosophy: Paul exhorts the Colossians to beware of the deceptive philosophy of the false teachers because the Colossians have already attained to fullness of life through Christ by their death (true circumcision), burial (true identification), and resurrection (true life from the dead) with Christ 2:8-15
a. Beware of Philosophy: Paul exhorts the Colossians to beware of being taken captive by the deceptive philosophy of the false teachers which is dependent upon human tradition, derived from the elemental powers of the world and not from Christ 2:8
2) Philosophy described: Paul describes the philosophy of the false teachers as depending on mere human tradition,50 being derived from the elemental powers of the world,51 and not being from Christ 2:8b
b. The Work of Christ as a Contrast to the False Philosophy: The reason the Philosophy of the false teachers is not of Christ is because the Colossians have already fully attained of the benefits which the false teachers are proposing through their teaching: fullness of life, by means of their own death (true circumcision), burial (true identification),and (resurrection) true life 2:9-15
1) Fullness of Life: Paul argues that the philosophy of the false teachers is not from Christ because (ο῞τι) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily in Christ52 and thus the Colossians have come to a fullness of life in Him who is the head of all rule and authority53 2:9-10
2) Incorporation with Christ: Paul argues that the philosophy of the false teachers is not from Christ because (ο῞τι) the Colossians have already attained oneness with God through their death (true circumcision), burial (true identification with God), and resurrection (true life through Christ)54 2:11-15
a) True Circumcision--Death: The Philosophy of the false teachers is not from Christ because the Colossians have been spiritually circumcised by the gruesome death of Christ55 2:11
b) True Identification-Burial: The philosophy of the false teachers is not from Christ because the Colossians have been fully identified with Christ through a spiritual baptism into his death and resurrection 2:12
c) True Life--Resurrection: The philosophy of the false teachers is not from Christ because the Colossians have been truly made alive (as dead Gentiles)56 by being forgiven of all of their trespasses through the death of Christ which canceled our legal debt and disarmed the angelic (demonic) realms which kept the Colossians in their grip through the possession of the legal document57 2:13-15
2. Negative Exhortation to Separate from Legalism: In view of the above affirmation that the Colossians experience the fullness of the Godhead in Christ, Paul urges them not to let anyone pass judgment upon them for not keeping the code of the Mosaic Law because the Law was transitory to the real relationship with God that was to come through Christ 2:16-17
a. Do Not Be Judged: As a conclusion from the above affirmation that the Colossians experience the fullness of the Godhead in Christ (ου῟ν) Paul exhorts them not to let anyone pass judgment upon them for not keeping the code of the Mosaic Law (a religious festival, a new moon celebration, or a sabbath day) 2:16
b. Reason--A Transitory Order Fulfilled in Christ: The reason Paul exhorts the Colossians not to allow anyone to pass judgment upon them for not keeping the code of the Mosaic Law is because those observances were shadows58 of things that were to come whose reality is found in Christ59 2:17
3. Negative Exhortation to Separate from Mysticism: As a conclusion from the above affirmation that the Colossians experience the fullness of the Godhead in Christ Paul exhorts them not to let anyone condemn them for not entering into mystic experiences in order to be close to God because those who do such things are arrogant and are not holding fast to Christ as the Head of the Body 2:18-19
a. Do Not Be Condemned: As a conclusion from the above affirmation that the Colossians experience the fullness of the Godhead in Christ (ου῟ν) Paul exhorts them not to let anyone condemn (καταβραβεύω) them for not entering into mystic experiences in order to be close to God60 2:18
b. Reasons--Arrogance and Abandonment of Christ: The reasons Paul exhorts the Colossians not to let any one condemn them for not entering into mystic experiences in order to be close to God is because those who do such are puffed up with idle notions from an unspiritual mind,61 and because they are not holding fast to Christ who is the Head who causes the body to grow in unity (from whom the whole body, nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God)62 2:19
4. Negative Exhortation to Separate from Asceticism: In view of the death which the Colossians died with Christ to the control of the elemental things of the world, Paul questions their submission to regulations regarding things like food since these things will perish, are man made, and lead to self-gratification 2:20-23
a. A Question of Submission to Regulations: In view of the Colossians death with Christ to the control of the elemental things of the world,63 Paul inquires about how the Colossians can voluntarily place themselves under the regulations as if they still lived in a worldly way 2:20
b. Examples of Submission to Regulations: Paul describes the regulations to which the Colossians are submitting themselves: (1) Do not handle!, (2) Do not taste!, (3) Do not even touch!”64 2:21
c. Reasons One Should Not Submit to Regulations: Paul explains that one should not submit to regulations because they are transitory, human inventions, and lead to self-gratification 2:22-23
1) They Will Perish: One should not submit to regulations because physical things (food?) are destined to perish with use 2:22a
2) They are Human Inventions:65 One should not submit to regulations because they are based on human commands and teachings 2:22b
3) They Lead to Self-Gratification: One should not submit to regulations because they lead to the gratification of the flesh through one gaining a reputation for wisdom in the valueless spheres of voluntary worship,66 humility and severe treatment of the body 2:23
C. Positive Exhortation--Seek Heavenly Things:67 Paul concludes his polemic against the false teaching by urging the Colossians as those who have positionally died and been raised with Jesus to focus upon Christ and His heavenly rule rather than upon the earthly things of the false teachers because their lives are presently secure with Christ in heaven to be revealed in glory when He returns 3:1-4
1. Seek the Things Above: Paul concludes his polemic against the false teaching by urging the Colossians as those who have been positionally raised with Christ68 to seek the heavenly realm (things above)69 where Christ rules at its center (is seated a God’s right hand)70 3:1
2. Think on the Things Above: Paul urges the Colossians to have a mindset towards the things above rather than earthly things because their lives are presently hidden with Christ in God, but will be revealed with Christ in greatness at His coming 3:2-4
a. Statement: Paul exhorts the Colossians to set their minds on the things above rather than upon earthly things71 3:2
b. The Reasons: The reason Paul exhorts the Colossians to set their minds on the things above is because (γὰρ) their lives are presently hidden with Christ in God as those who have died with Him, and will be revealed with Christ in greatness at His return 3:3-4
1) First Reason: The reason Paul exhorts the Colossians to set their minds on the things above is because (γὰρ) they have positionally died with Christ (to the old order of the false teachers)72 and their life is now hidden with Christ73 in God 3:3
2) Second Reason: The reason Paul exhorts the Colossians to set their minds on the things above is because the Colossians’ life will be fully revealed with Christ in greatness when Christ, who is our life, is revealed at His coming (parousia) 3:4
IV. Lifestyle Exhortations--The Practice of the Life of Christ:74 Paul urges the Colossians as a new people in Christ to put off all sorts of evil and to put on the graces of Christ in relationships--especially within household life as they express reciprocal responsibilities toward one another and towards outsiders as they pray for the gospel ministry among them and act wisely towards them 3:5--4:6
A. Personal and Church Life--Put Off and Put On: Through the imagery of clothing Paul urges the Colossians as a new people in Christ to “put off” all sorts of evil in relationships and to put on the graces of Christ which lead to unity and harmony through love 3:5-17
1. Negative Paraenesis—“Put to Death” Sins of the Past: Paul exhorts the Colossians to cease doing all sorts of evil in relationships (sexual and verbal) because God will come to judge just such evil, because they have undergone a personal change in their lives from and old self (in Adam) to a new self (in Christ), and because Christ’s unifying work has broken down all barriers to relationships 3:5-11
a. Put to Death: Paul exhorts the Colossians to cease doing sexual evil in relationships as they used to do in their old life because God will come in judgment upon those who do such things 3:5-6
2) Examples of Earthy Nature: Examples of one’s earthly nature are as follows:78 3:5b
a) Sexual immorality (πορνείαν)79
b) Impurity (ἀκαθαρσίαν)80
c) Lust (πάθος)81
d) evil desire (ἐπιθυμίαν κακήν)82
e) Covetousness which is idolatry (καί τήν πλεονεξίαν, η῞τις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρία)83
3) A Reason--The Wrath of God: Because God’s wrath is coming upon people who do the sinful expressions noted above, believers should put them to death 3:6
b. Put Off: Paul exhorts the Colossians through the imagery of clothing to take off their former sinful conduct which includes attitudes and words which divide the body 3:7-8
1) Imperatival Statement: Although the Colossians used to conduct their lives (walk) in sinful ways which will receive wrath, they are now to put them all away (off)84 3:7-8a
2) Examples of Former Life: Examples of the sinful ways which the Colossians are to put off are as follows: 3:8b
a) Anger (ὀργή)85
b) Rage (θυμός)
c) Malice (κακία)86
d) Slander (βλασφημία)87
e) Filthy language from your Lips (αἰσχρολογίαν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν)88
c. Stop Lying: Paul exhorts the Colossians to stop speaking falsely to one another because of the personal change which has occurred in their lives, and because the former barriers have been removed through the unifying work of Christ 3:9-11
1) Imperatival Statement: Paul exhorts the Colossians to stop lying to one another89 3:9a
2) Reasons: The reasons the Colossians ought to stop lying to one another is because each of them has undergone a personal change from who they were (in Adam) to who they are (in Christ) and because the former barriers of relationship have been removed through the unifying work of Christ 3:9b-11
(1) Having Put Off: The reason the Colossian ought to stop lying to one another is because they have put off the old man with his practices92 3:9b
(2) Having Put On: The reason the Colossians ought to stop lying to one another is because they have put on the new man which is being renewed in knowledge according to the creator's image 3:10
b) No More Barriers: The reason the Colossians ought to stop lying to one another is because the social barriers have been broken and they are now unified through Christ:93 3:11
(1) National Barriers: There is no longer Greek and Jew; there is no longer circumcised and uncircumcised
(2) Cultural Barriers: There is no longer barbarian and Scythian94
(3) Social Barriers: There is no longer slave and free
2. Positive Paraenesis--”Put On” Christ: As God’s very special people, Paul urges the Colossians to cloth themselves with the graces that are characteristic of Christ and thus to live their lives as Christ would by interacting with one another in a manner which promotes peace and unity through love 3:12-17
a. Clothe Yourselves: As God’s very special people, Paul urges the Colossians to clothe themselves in relationships with the graces that are characteristic of the Lord resulting in love and harmony in the body 3:12-14
1) Imperatival Statement: As God’s holy, chosen, and loved one’s97 who have already put on the new man (3:10), the Colossians are to clothe themselves in relationships with the graces which are characteristic of the Lord 3:12a
a) Heartfelt Compassion (σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ)
b) Kindness (χρηστότητα)100
c) Lowliness (ταπεινοφροσύνην)101
d) Gentleness (πραῦτητα)102
e) Longsuffering (μακροθυμίαν)103
3) Means of Putting on The Godly Characteristics: The Colossians are to put on the graces of God by forbearing with one another, forgiving one another, and most of all loving one another 3:13-14
a) Forbearing: The Colossians are to put on the graces of God by forbearing104 with one another 3:13a
b) Forgiving: The Colossians are to put on the graces of God by forgiving105 each other when one has a complaint against another just as Christ forgave them 3:13b-c
(1) Statement: The Colossians are to put on the graces of God by forgiving each other when one has a complaint against another 3:13b
(2) The Model of Motivation is Christ: The Colossians must forgive one another just as the Lord has forgiven them 3:13c
b. Live as Christ: Paul urges the Colossians to live their lives as Christ would by letting the peace which Christ brought to the body rule in the body, by becoming a thankful people to God, by teaching and admonishing one another in accordance with Christ’s instruction, and by doing all things in their lives in accordance with the character (name) of Christ 3:15-17
1) Let Christ’s Peace Rule: Paul urges the Colossians to let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts because they were called to be one body in peace 3:15a-b
b) Reason: The reason the Colossians should let Christ’s peace rule in their hearts is because they were called to be one body in peace 3:15b
2) Become Thankful: Paul exhorts the Colossians to become110 a thankful people to God 3:15c
3) Let Christ’s Word Dwell: Paul urges the Colossians to let the word of Christ richly dwell in them as they teach and admonish one another in harmony 3:16
a) Statement: Paul urges the Colossians to let the word of Christ111 richly dwell in them as they teach and admonish one another 3:16a
b) Means: Paul urges the Colossians to let the word of Christ richly dwell in them as they wisely teach and admonish one another in harmony with one another (e.g., with Spirit-inspired psalms, hymns, and songs, and by singing thankfully to God with their whole being)112 3:16b
4) Do All Things in the Name of Jesus: Paul urges the Colossians to do all things in their lives (word and deed) in a way which is consistent with the character (the name) of the Lord Jesus Christ giving thanks to God the Father through Him 3:17
B. “Be Subject” in Household Life--Christ’s Rule Should be Evidenced within Households:113 Paul urges a reciprocal responsibility to one another in households in view of Christ as their Lord:114 wives & husbands, children & parents/fathers, and slaves & masters 3:18--4:1
1. Wives & Husbands:115 Paul exhorts wives to submit themselves to their husbands, and counters with the obligation for husbands to love their wives and not to become embittered against them 3:18-19
a. Wives: Wives are exhorted to submit themselves to their husbands within the new fellowship of those who own Christ as Lord (as is fitting in the Lord)116 3:18
b. Husbands: Paul exhorts husbands to love their wives and not to become embittered against them 3:19
1) Love: Husbands are exhorted to love117 their wives 3:19a
2) Do Not Be Harsh: Husbands are exhorted to not be harsh118 with their wives 3:19b
2. Children & Parents/Fathers: Paul exhorts children to obey their parents in all that they do as that which is acceptable to the Lord and counters with an exhortation to fathers to stop stirring up their children with the result that they may become discouraged 3:20-21
a. Children and Parents: Paul exhorts children to obey their parents in all that they do because this is acceptable to the Lord 3:20
2) Reason--Acceptable: The reason (γὰρ) Paul exhorts Children to obey their parents in all things is because this obedience is pleasing (acceptable)121 to the Lord 3:20a
b. Fathers and Children: Paul urges fathers to stop provoking their children with the result that they may become discouraged 3:21
2) Not Discouraged: Fathers are not to provoke their children with the result that they may become discouraged124 3:21b
3. Servants & Masters: Paul urges slaves to completely obey their earthly masters from the heart knowing that they will be judge by the Lord, and counters by urging masters to treat their slaves justly and fairly knowing that they too will be accountable to the Lord as their judged and Master 3:22--4:1
a. Servants:125 Paul urges servants to completely obey their earthly masters from their hearts doing their work as for the Lord with the knowledge that He will reward them for their service, and deal with their evil 3:22-25
1) Entire Obedience: Paul urges slaves to give entire obedience126 to their earthly masters 3:22a
2) From the Heart: Paul urges slaves not to give their obedience only from an external viewpoint, but from their heart as they reverence (fear) the Lord127 3:22b
3) Work for the Lord: Paul urges slaves to do their work from the heart (soul) as for the Lord Christ and not just for men knowing that the Lord will reward them for their service 3:23-24
4) Warning: Paul also warns slaves that the Lord will not overlook their evil, but will repay them for wrong that they do128 4:25
b. Masters: Paul urges masters to treat their slaves justly and fairly knowing that they too will be accountable to the Lord as their Master and judge 4:1
1) Exhortation--Treat Justly and Fairly: Paul exhorts masters (οἱ κύριοι) to treat their slaves justly and fairly129 4:1a
2) Motivation--Their Lord: The reason masters are to treat their slaves justly and fairly is because they know that they too have a master in heaven130 4:1b
C. “Watch and Pray” in Earthly Life--Persistence in Prayer and Right Behavior Toward Outsiders:131 Paul urges the Colossians to persist in prayer for the Lord’s return as well as for Paul’s gospel ministry and to be wise in their behavior toward unbelievers taking every opportunity with gracious, yet appealing words in response to their questions 4:2-6
1. Intercession--Watching in Prayer for Themselves and Paul: Paul urges the Colossians to persevere in prayer for the Lord’s return as well as intercede for the gospel ministry through Paul and those with him 4:2-4
b. Intercede: Paul urges the Colossians to intercede in prayer for him and those with him134, namely, that God might open up a door135 for the gospel message136 and that he might make it known as he should 4:3-4
2. Missionary Responsibility--Walking with Unbelievers: Paul urges the Colossians to be wise in their behavior with unbelievers by snapping up every opportunity that comes with a gracious, yet appealing word in response to their questions 4:5-6
a. Walking in Wisdom: Paul urges the Colossians to be wise in their behavior towards unbelievers (outsiders)137 by snapping up every opportunity that comes with them 4:5
V. Conclusion--Personal Greetings, Instructions, and Benediction:140 Paul concludes his letter to the Colossians by commending their own Tychicus and Onesimus, by sending greetings from his Jewish and Gentile co-workers as well as to the church of Laodicea and Nympha along with the church in her house, by giving various instructions, and by praying for God’s grace to be upon the Colossians 4:7-18
A. Commendations: Paul commends Tychicus as a significant partner in the ministry and Onesimus as a faithful and loved brother 4:7-9
1. Tychicus:141 Paul commends Tychicus as a significant partner in the ministry and reports that he will inform them of all of the news concerning Paul and the team so as to encourage them 4:7-8
a. Commendation: Paul commends Tychicus as his beloved brother, a faithful minister and a fellow-servant in the Lord 4:7a
2. Onesimus:144 Paul commends Onesimus as being one of the Colossians’ own whom he regards as faithful and loved, and who will report everything concerning Paul to them along with Tychicus 4:9
a. Commendation: Paul commends Onesimus who is coming with Tychicus as being faithful, a beloved brother, and one of the Colossians 4:9a
b. Report: Paul again reports that Onesimus and Tychicus will tell them all that is happening with them in Paul’s imprisonment (Rome) 4:9b
B. Greetings: Paul sends greetings from the Jewish and Gentile co-workers among him as well as to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house 4:10-15
1. Jewish Greetings: Paul sends greetings from the few Jewish-Christian co-workers among him who provide him comfort--Aristarchus, Mark, and Justus 4:10-11
a. Aristarchus:145 Aristarchus, Paul’s fellow-prisoner, sends the Colossians greetings 4:10a
b. Mark:146 Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, sends the Colossians greetings and the Colossians are to welcome him in accordance with the instructions which they have already received if he comes to them 4:10b-c
1) Greeting: Mark, the cousin of Barnabas sends the Colossians greetings 4:10b
2) Welcome Mark: The Colossians are to welcome Mark if he comes to them in accordance with the instructions which they have already received 4:10c
c. Jesus/Justus: Jesus who is called Justice sends the Colossians greetings 4:11a
d. Jewish Summary: Aristarchus, Mark, and Justice are the only Jewish Christians among his fellow-workers for God’s kingdom, and they have been a comfort to Paul 4:11b
2. Gentile Greetings: Paul sends greetings from his Gentile co-workers among him--Epaphras, Dr. Luke, and Demas 4:12-14b
a. Epaphras: Paul sends greetings from Epaphras who is one of the Colossians and commends him as a servant of Christ who ministers on behalf of those in Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis 4:12-13
1) Greeting: Paul sends Greetings from Epaphras who is one of the Colossians and a servant of Christ Jesus 4:12a
2) Commendation: Paul commends Epaphras as always being in prayer for the Colossians that they may stand perfect in God’s will and that he works tirelessly for them as well as for the Laodiceans and those at Hierapolis 4:12b-13
a) Prayer: Paul commends Epaphras as one who is always striving in prayer for the Colossians that they may stand perfect and be filled with all that is God’s will 4:12b
b) Work: Paul vouches for Epaphras that he works tirelessly for the Colossians and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis 4:13
b. Dr. Luke: Paul sends greetings from their mutual friend Luke, the doctor 4:14a
c. Demas: Paul sends greetings from Demas 4:14b
3. Paul’s Greetings: Paul sends his greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, as well as to Nympha and the church in her house 4:15
C. Instructions: Paul instructs the Colossians to switch letters with the church at Laodicea, to urge Archippus to complete the ministry which he received in the Lord and to remember Paul’s bonds 4:16-17
1. Exchange Letters: After the Colossians have read this letter among them that are to give it to the church in Laodicea to read and are to read the letter sent by Paul to Laodicea147 4:16
2. Tell Archippus: Paul urges the Colossians to tell Archippus to complete the ministry which he received in the Lord 4:17
3. Remember Bonds: As Paul writes the greeting in his own hand he urges the Colossians to remember his bonds148 4:18a
D. Benediction: Paul prays that God’s grace might be with the Colossians 4:18b
1 This outline is a composite adaptation of several outlines by Stanley D. Toussaint, “Colossians” (unpublished class notes in 308 Pauline Epistles and Revelation, Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983), pp. 5-6; Curtis Vaughan, “Colossians,” in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, pp. 170-171, Herb Bateman, “Introductory Matters for Colossians” an unpublished paper, Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, p. liv, and my own work in the book of Colossians.
2 Paul seems to be establishing his credentials with a congregation who did not know him personally.
3 This would be significant in light of the attacks by the false teachers who were bringing the Colossians’ relationship with God into question as the false teachers sought a closer one through their religious activities.
4 See Colossians 1:27. This hope was part of the gospel which was preached to them (1:23).
5 Paul is foreshadowing his arguments against the heresy. This gospel is “true” and has spread world wide as opposed to the limited circle of the Colossian heresy!
6 The gospel probably came from Ephesus through Epaphras (Acts 19:10). Epaphras then reported about the welfare of the church to Paul.
7 The term is πληρωθῆτε.
8 The term is ἐπίγνωσιν.
9 Again, the content of this prayer should be seen in view of what the false teachers are promoting through their religious exercises. Paul is praying for a more intense knowledge (ἐπιγνωσις) than the false teachers’ knowledge (γνωσις). Paul’s prayer is for a knowledge which leads to godly living in accordance with wisdom and the Spirit, rather than the theoretical knowledge of the false teachers.
10 An infinitival construction indicates the purpose for which the readers are to be filled with knowledge (to walk worthily), and four participles define more precisely what is involved with walking worthily.
11 Though not developed at this point in the letter, all of these are in contrast to the effects of the false teachers’ “wisdom”.
12 This is in contrast with the works (religious asceticism and false humility) of the false teachers
13 These descriptions (endurance, joy, patience) hint at the enabling of the Holy Spirit who indwells believes and enables them to be obedient (cf. Galatians 5).
14 Many understand verses 12-14 to be in the style of a confession with its first person plurals (“we” and “us”).
15 Most NT scholars consider Colossians 1:15-20 to be a pre-Pauline “hymn” (or creed) which he incorporated into his letter.
It is true that the verses are in hymnic style. This is especially seen when the exalted language of 1:15-20 (without personal references) is compared against the direct speech of 1:21-23 (with personal references).
But it is not necessarily true that the verses are pre-Pauline. It could be that Paul was using a hymn which he had earlier composed with interpretative additions or expansions in view of his audience, or that Paul is expressing his beliefs about Christ in a hymnic style making use of a method which his readers would appreciate (cf. O’Brien, Colossians, pp. 40-42).
16 The phrase is εἰκων τοῦ θεοῦ. In Jesus the very nature and character of God have been perfectly revealed (cf. John 1:18; 2 Cor. 4:4,6; cf. 3:18; Heb. 1:3)
O’Brien understands image to include the Hellenistic-Jewish background of “wisdom” as the expression of divine revelation (“The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way before His works of old [Proverbs 8:22, NASB];”For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty [Wisdom 7:25, RSV; cf. John 1:4; Heb. 1:3]; Colossians, pp. 43-44).
The term describes a derived likeness like a photograph--not an accidental likeness. It is an image derived from God. It is an image like on the coins of Caesar (cf. John 1:18; 14:9; 2 Cor. 4:4,6). Jesus is (ἐστιν) the eternal image!
17 The term is πρωτότοκος. Contextually this term cannot include Christ among created things as the “eldest” of creation (cf. Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18 where προτότοκος is used of a person in a class [“brethren”, “dead”] and the class is plural) since in the next verse He is the one through whom the whole creation came into being (Col. 1:16).
Here the term is used with creation (πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως) making Jesus distinct. Also, if Jesus is the “first born of creation” as one of many, then how can he be unique (μονογονη). Therefore, it looks at temporal priority and sovereignty of rank as a title which emphasizes that Jesus is the heir of creation--like the first-born of a family (cf. Heb. 1:2; LXX Ps. 89:27 [“I also shall make him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth”]; cf. also Ex. 4:22; TDNT 6:873-876). As O’Brien writes, He is both prior to and supreme over that creation since he is its Lord” (Colossians, p. 45).
18 Paul expresses an exhaustive sense for “all things” when he writes in merisims which are in Hebrew parallelism:
“In heaven and on the earth,”
“visible and invisible,”
Now Paul emphasizes that even the cosmic-angelic powers (whether good or evil) were also created by Christ (cf. Rom. 8:38; 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21): “thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities.” This would have specific allusion to the Colossian heresy.
This verse is a fatal blow to any theory of emunations.
19 The aorist passive tense communicates that God was the Creator and that this occurred as a historical fact (ἐκτίσθη τὰ πάντα). The perfect tense of this verb in its next occurrence (ε῞κτισται) focuses upon creation’s continuing existence.
The phrase “in Him” (ἐν αὐτῷ) could have an instrumental sense (through Him and thus = to δι᾿ αὐτοῦ, but this is employed below), or perhaps the sense of “sphere” (in his sphere or realm, cf. Eph. 1:4).
In the sense of “wisdom” Christ is the master workman of Creation (cf. Prov. 8:30).
20 The Greek is δι᾿ αὐτοῦ --Jesus is the instrumental cause of creation (cf. Jn. 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6).
21 The Greek is εἰς αὐτὸν with the sense of unto him or for him.
22 The Greek is πρὸ πάντων communicating Jesus’ temporal priority to the universe. There was never a time when he was not!
23 The Greek is καὶ τὰ πάντα ἐν αὐτῷ συνέστηκεν affirming that Jesus is the sustainer of the universe and the unifying principle of life. The verb is in the perfect tense emphasizing that Jesus’ sustaining work has occurred and is on-going (cf. Heb. 1:2-3).
24 See 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23.
25 The clause is a purpose clause (ι῞να).
26 O’Brien writes, “The hymn had previously asserted Christ’s primacy in creation; it now mentions his primacy in resurrection. In both new creation and old the first place belongs to him alone” (Colossians, p. 51).
27 The fullness, πλήρωμα, most probably refers to God in all of his fullness and is the subject of the verb “to dwell.” God in all of His divine essence and power chose (was pleased) to take up residence in Christ.
28 The Greek term is ἀποκαταλλάξαι. Although God is the one who initiated the reconciliation, it is all things that need to be reconciled to Him (and not Him to all things).
That “all things” have been reconciled does not mean that nothing in creation will be lost. The “all things” refers to everything in its scope. The sense is that the universe has been brought back into its divinely created and determined order (O’Brien, Colossians, p. 56). Much has received that reconciliation voluntarily but some (evil angels, and unredeemed men) receive it in an imposed, compulsorily manner. They will submit to Christ as Ruler! They were defeated at the cross.
29 Through the resumption of the language of direct speech, the Apostle Paul interprets and applies statements of the hymn to the readers.
30 These three terms may be cultic in nature contributing to the image of the Colossians as unblemished sacrifices. However, it is also possible that the point is a judicial one--especially in view of the last term (irreproachable, ἀνέγκλητος). Paul’s point is that he desires to present the Colossians in a perfect state.
31 This is a conditional statement (ει῎ γε ...). While it is a “simple condition” assuming that reality of the premise--that they will continue (Dana and Mantey ¶ 275, p. 289), the use of the particle γέ emphasizes the conditional aspect of ει῎ (Ibid., ¶ 229, p. 260).
Therefore, Paul assumes that they will continue in the faith, but offers a true warning that they will not be blameless if they do not continue. While this may seem at first to fly in the face of reconciliation (see O’Brien, Colossians, p. 69), it does agree with the doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3; Luke 19). Here however, Paul is encouraging the Colossians to not be led astray in their faith, and is assuming that they will respond well to this exhortation. In the following verse Paul will emphasize that his ministry is to present believers morally and doctrinally pure.
32 The term is πάθημα meaning “suffering,” “affliction,” or misfortune” (cf. Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 1:5-7; Phil 3:10; 2 Tim. 3:11; Heb. 2:9; 10:32; 1 Pet. 1:11; 4:13; 5:1-9). Paul uses the term to describe the afflictions in which all Christians participate as part of the sufferings of Christ (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 1:5-7; cf. Phil. 3:10).
33 This verse has been interpreted in several ways: (1) there is still some lacking in the vicarious sufferings of Christ which must be supplied by the apostle; but see 2:13,14; cf. 1:12-14, 19-22; Heb. 9:27-28; 1 Pet. 3:19, (2) the genitive is objective meaning suffering for the sake of Christ; but this does not explain the phrase “what is lacking”, (3) the genitive is a genitive of quality referring to sufferings which resemble those of Christ; but this again does not explain “what is lacking, (4) Paul’s suffering is a mystical union with Christ, but how does this leave some lacking, (5) the sense is apocalyptic identifying the sufferings with the “woes of the Messiah” which were inaugurated with the death of Christ but will continue until messiah returns (cf. Acts 14:22; 1 Thess. 3:3,7; Rom. 8:17,38-39). As O’Brien writes, “Though presently exalted in heaven Christ continues to suffer in his members, and not least in Paul himself” (Colossians, p. 80; cf. Acts 9:16; 13:47; Isa. 49:6).
Christ has left the church to suffer, but this is not atoning, redemptive: (1) Sufferings--afflictions (θλιψεων) is never used of Christ’s sufferings on the cross, (2) Christ’s vicarious sufferings were completed (Heb. 9:27-28; 1 Pet. 3:18), (3) This concept is elsewhere in the NT (2 Cor. 1:5-7; 4:10; Phil. 3:10; Acts 9). We are those who continually experience the push of evil against us as Christ’s representatives (the body), just as He (the Head) felt it. This will occur until the return of Christ in the outworking of victory over evil.
34 Acts 9; cf. Romans 15:19. As O’Brien writes, “Paul’s comission [sic] to make the Word of God fully known has led to the ministry of that Word, through his associate Epaphras, at Colossae and thus make the Colossians beneficiaries of his apostolic commission, even though he had not visited them in person” (Colossians, p. 83)
35 The term is μυστήριον describing a secret, or something which was previously hidden, but now is made known. It is not the existence of the church so much as the nature of the church (e.g., one body comprised of Jews and Gentiles). Here it is expressed as God indwelling both Jews and Gentiles indiscriminately which is an assurance of our future hope.
36 Paul is not arguing that the mystery was only partially revealed in the OT, but that it was not revealed at all in the OT (cf. Col. 1:26; Eph. 3:5). Its foundation is with the NT prophets and apostles, not the OT. See Hoehner, “Ephesians” in BKC for a further discussion (p. 629).
37 See also Romans 16:25-27; 1 Corinthians 2:6-10; Ephesians 3:4-11.
38 The mystery was not that Gentiles would be saved since the OT spoke of that, but that believing Jews and Gentiles would be joined together (cf. Ephesians 3:6).
Christ in them is the center of the mystery. It is Christ’s indwelling which makes the disparate bodies into one!
39 Paul uses the pronoun “we” to describe the work of himself and his colleagues--especially those coworkers like Epaphras who brought the gospel to Colossae (1:7-8).
40 Paul’s ministry was evangelistic and discipleship oriented.
41 These following verses express the goal of this letter, and thus explain the applicational section which Paul picks up in chapters 3--4. The false teachers are threatening unified living under the work of Christ (in the home and toward outsiders). Paul is correcting the erroneous instruction which could lead the church astray, and then reaffirming their orderly Christian life and stable faith under the proper view of Christ.
42 No doubt the false teachers are producing a disunity as they seek this deeper knowledge of Jesus. Paul is affirming that the knowledge of Jesus comes through the experience of his work of unification through love.
43 Verses 6-7 are pivotal summarizing much of what has preceded and setting forth the positive instruction which serves as the basis for the attack on the heresy. In these verses the apostle instructs the readers about true Christian behavior before dealing with the false teaching. It seems that one must first know the truth before one can deal with error.
44 One’s method of justification determines one’s method of sanctification. As the Colossians began the Christian life by submitting to Christ as Lord they were now to go on living under that lordship as those incorporated into him (in Him [Christ]).
45 Paul uses the image of a tree and thanksgiving as in 1:10. The first three verbs are all passive emphasizing that God is the one who is at work in them.
46 The first two verbs come from a comparison with a tree. One is to conduct one’s life according to their foundational beginning in Christ which can be built upon.
47 See Paul’s prayer in 1:10-12. This thanksgiving probably relates to all of the things that God has done in their past. If there is not a clear understanding of God’s great deliverance, then it is unlikely that there will be joy and thanksgiving by a believer.
48 The term is συλαγωγέω (only here in the NT) meaning “to carry off as booty,” or “as a captive”
49 The term is φιλοσοφίαι. Perhaps Paul uses this term because it was used by the false teachers themselves in a positive way. Paul clarifies their philosophy as being full of “empty deceit” (καί κενῆς ἀπάτης). He is not against all philosophy, but a certain kind of philosophy which is empty as opposed to the “riches” and “treasures” of wisdom and knowledge in Christ (1:27; 2:3).
50 This was a teaching which was passed onward from teacher to teacher and may have included “sacred initiation rites”. This may have specific reference to the Jewish traditions (Mishnah/Talmud) which were to be a “fence around the Law”.
51 The Greek is στοιχεῖα τοῦ κόσμου which may have reference to the “ABCs” fundamentals of the world including spirits of the universe, all basic teachings, or the Law (cf. Gal. 4:3,9).
52 See 1:19.
53 “It is in union with Christ alone that they posses this fullness already” (O’Brien, Colossians, p. 113). Therefore, they need not pay respect to the angelic beings since Christ is their head.
54 See the Pauline parallel in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5.
55 The phrase “by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ” may have two possible meanings: (1) it refers to the Pauline teaching of “putting off the old nature (cf. Col. 3:9; Rom. 6:6; 7:24) affirming that baptism has replaced circumcision, or (2) it refers to the death of Christ affirming that the circumcision is metaphorical of Christ’s death which then divested the principalities and powers. As O’Brien writes, “Assuming the two phrases, ‘in the stripping away of the body of flesh’ and ‘in the circumcision of Christ,’ are constructed alike (by regarding the two genitives as objective), then the meaning is that the body of flesh was stripped off when Christ was circumcised, that is, when he died; the whole statement is ‘a gruesome figure for death’ (Beasley-Murray, Baptism, 152). Here is a circumcision which entailed not the stripping off of a small portion of flesh but the violent removal of the whole body in death” (Colossians, p. 117).
56 “In the uncircumcision of your flesh.”
57 O’Brien writes, “But these spiritual powers had not been annihilated. In that triumphal procession they were visible. They continue to exist, inimical to man and his interests (Rom 8:38, 39). Nevertheless they are powerless figures unable to harm the Christian who lives under the lordship of Christ. How foolish is it then for the Colossians to think, as the false teachers want them to, that they needed to grovel before these weak and beggarly elements as though they controlled the lines of communication between God and man” (Colossians, p. 133).
58 An outline or a sketch in contrast to reality (cf. Heb. 4:9) where the sabbath is a picture of God’s Millennial rest (cf. also John 5).
59 Paul is affirming that the adherence to the code of the Mosaic Law was transitory until the coming of Christ and His new order. It is through a relationship with Christ that one finds full closeness with God now, not through cultic observances.
60 It seems that through the practice of “self-abasement” (as a prelude to receiving heavenly visions) and the “worship of angels” (which may not be an objective genitive, but a subjective one, e.g., worship which angels perform) was to have visions (“entering”) which gave one a close experience with God (cf. F. F. Bruce, “Colossian Problems Part 3: The Colossian Heresy”: Bibliotheca Sacra 141 (1984): 194-208). The above terms were probably “catch-words” of the deceptive philosophy of the false teachers.
61 See 2 Corinthians 12:4.
62 O’Brien writes, “The application to the Colossian situation is clear: The false teacher who does not depend on the head has no contact with the source of life and nourishment, and does not belong to the body. The community must realize that they must remain in living union with Christ as the head. Let them not be drawn off or enticed away by the appeal of the false teachers to their heavenly experiences” (Colossians, p. 148).
63 The believer’s death was already discussed above (2:11). Now Paul develops the false-teachers approach to this doctrine.
The phrase is στοιχείων τοῦ κόσμου again. It is difficult to be sure what Paul has in view. Perhaps the code of the Law above, or the provision of spiritual beings to bring one close to God, or more broadly, any foundational system to bring one closer to God--”regulations” here (ABCs, cf. Gal. 4:9; Heb. 5:12; Col. 2:8)..
64 These seem to have reference to food regulations. Could this not be the Jewish code of the Law again which is used in an ascetic manner?
65 See Isaiah 29:13 (LXX).
66 The false teachers affirm that they have freely chosen this form of worship, but they are wrong is Paul’s point.
67 This is a pivotal paragraph which rounds off what has been said concluding Paul’s polemic and presents the correct way for believers to walk.
68 See Colossians 2:12.
69 They are to participate in their resurrection life through Christ. Also there is an eschatological sense involved. They are to seek their future position with Him in the age to come which has been inaugurated.
70 See Psalm 110:1. It seems that the rule of Messiah has been inaugurated. Since Jesus is in a place of supreme authority, no principality or power can prevent a believer’s access to Him. Therefore, Paul urges the Colossians to continue to aim at their resurrection life with Christ.
71 Paul desires for the Colossians to be focused in their will upon Christ and His instruction (sober consideration and firm purpose) rather than upon visionary experiences of heavenly mysteries through the false teachers.
72 See Colossians 2:11,12,20; Romans 6.
73 The phrase is κέκυπται σὺν Χριστῷ. While this may mean that the new life of Christians is a secret to be uncovered, another more probable sense is that the new life of Christians is already in heaven stored up with Christ (2:3; cf. Eph. 2:6 ). As O’Brien writes, “our life is hidden with Christ because we died with him and have been raised with him to new life; ‘in God’ because Christ himself has his being in God and those who belong to Christ have their being there too .... Centered in God means that the hidden life is secure, unable to be touched by anyone” (Colossians, p. 166).
74 This begins a lengthy paraenetic section of the epistle. With insight O’Brien writes, “Four distinctive catchwords of early Christian catechesis are found at the head of their respective paragraphs: ‘put to death’ (3:5-11; cf. also ‘put off,’ v 8); ‘put on’ (3:12-17); ‘be subject’ (3:18-4:1) and ‘watch and pray’ (4:2-6).” (Colossians, p. 174).
The exhortations of 3:1-4 (“Seek the things above” and Set the mind on the things above”) have their specific expression in the imperatives which follow. To seek the things above, one must be involved in spiritual warfare below; one must put to death sinful propensities and pursuits, and allow the new nature to find outward expression in a godly life (Ibid., pp. 175-176).
75 “Therefore,” refers back to the context of 2:20--3:4 and 3:3-4 in particular.
76 This recalls the union with Christ in his death above (2:20; 3:3; cf. 2:11-12).
77 More literally “the things on earth” picks up the language of 3:2. Also “members” (τὰ μέλη) is best understood against the background of “the body of sin” in 2:11 which has been stripped off in the circumcision of Christ (O’Brien, Colossians, p. 176).
By talking about the “things on the earth” Paul is referring to a believer’s old life. His “members” refer to refer to the sins which his members committed (e.g., a metonomy of the cause for the effect).
Therefore, to put to death the members which are upon the earth is to cease doing evil in relationships by a changing of the will, or attitude of mind (cf. Rom. 6:11). It is a dying to self when self stands to do evil to others (see the list which follows). It is not a mortification of the flesh” in a traditional ascetic manner (e.g., not enjoying oneself so as to gain control over the body or to acquire merit).
78 There is a progression in this vice-list from outward manifestations of sin to inward cravings of the heart (the inner springs of evil).
79 This term can describe a broad range of sexual misbehavior including fornication, incest, temple prostitution, etc. (cf. Lev. 17--18).
80 Although the term generally means moral uncleanness, it denotes moral sexual conduct when used with πορνεία. The meaning of πορνεία is developed through this term and the next two.
81 This is descriptive of shameful passion which leads to sexual excess (cf. 1 Thess. 4:5; Rom. 1:26).
82 When desire is modified by “evil” one has evil desire which may than be extended toward its object (cf. Matt. 5:28; Mk. 4:19). This is an expression of sin which dwells within.
83 While it is very possible that the coveting here has its reference to a desire to lay one’s hands on material things, it is also possible in view of the context that the focus is upon sexual overtones (cf. the cognate in 1 Thess. 4:6). If it is descriptive of the sexual, than this is a strong statement that God considers such activity to be idolatry--an honor of that which leads one away from God. Could this be related to people being in the image of God?
84 The term is ἀποτίθημι meaning to “put off” or “put away” as in clothing (Acts 7:58) Paul is urging the Colossians to discard their old repulsive habits like a set of worn-out clothes.
85 Anger and rage go together. Perhaps the former is a more settled feeling of hatred and the latter is more of an outburst of passion, but they are in essence the same thing, and are destructive of harmony in the body (Eph. 4:31).
86 This term is also descriptive of an evil force which destroys fellowship. It seems to include evil speech (cf., Rom. 1:29; Eph. 4:31). It may be an intention to harm through slander and abusive language.
87 This term means “slander,” “defamation,” “blasphemy,” (BAG, 143). This is an attempt to vilify either man or God by lies or gossip (cf. Titus 3:2).
88 This may well be obscene speech or abusive language. Such language ought to be stopped before it comes out.
89 This may well come out of the above discussion on slander and filthy language.
90 Here Paul is addressing their position (cf. Col. 2:6-7, 16--3:4). These participles are expressed as infinitival imperatives in Ephesians 4:22-24.
91 This is not only an individual reference discussing the Christian’s nature, but is also a corporate reference discussing his placement in humanity (e.g., in Adam” or “in Christ).
92 The Old man is the whole personality of a man ruled by sin (see Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22).
93 See 1 Corinthians 12:13; cf. Galatians 3:28
94 For the Greeks those who could not speak Greek were considered barbarian (cf. Rom. 1:14). The “Scythian” seems to represent the lowest kind of barbarian who was probably a slave from a wretched class of people possibly from the Black Sea area.
95 Or more paraphrastically “absolutely everything” or “all that matters.”
96 Christ indwells all members of the new man regardless of race, class, or background (cf. Col. 1:27; Gal. 2:20; 4:19).
97 These descriptions are used of Israel and of Christ emphasizing the Colossians’ identification with God.
98 This five-fold list of grace characteristics is in balance with the vice-lists above (3:5,8).
99 These are in fact characteristics or graces and actions used of God Himself. This may explain Paul’s exhortation to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” in Romans 13:14.
100 Goodness, kindness, generosity.
101 This term was used earlier in the letter to describe “self-denial” in accordance with the false teaching. Here it has the sense of lowliness or humility (cf. Eph. 4:2; Phil. 2:3; 1 Pet. 5:5; Matt. 11:29).
102 The term means “gentleness,” “humility,” or “meekness”--not out of weakness, but out of a consideration for others and a willingness to waive one’s rights.
103 As O’Brien writes, “It denotes that ‘long suffering’ which endures wrong and puts up with the exasperating conduct of others rather than flying into a rage or desiring vengeance” (Colossians, p. 201).
104 The term means “to endure,” “put up with,” “bear with.”
105 The term expresses a show of grace, χαριζόμενοι, and the participle is in the present tense with the sense of unceasing, unwearying forgiveness (Matt. 18; Luke 17).
106 The term is ἀγάπην and it is another object of the imperative “to put on” in 3:12.
107 The term is one for perfections (τελειότητος). Paul is not interested so much in a personal perfection as in the maturity of a body who shows love to one another.
108 The term is βραβεύω having in its field of meaning the sense of a judge, or umpire, who presides over and presents prizes at games. Paul is urging the Colossians to allow the peace which Christ has brought upon the body to be the judging factor in their hearts as they deal with disputes in the body.
109 This is not an exhortation toward an existential relationship with Christ (e.g., a peaceful disposition, or an inward peace of the soul). Rather it is an exhortation for one to allow Christ to be present and to rule in one’s heart (the center of one’s will, thoughts, and/or emotions) during disputes.
110 The exhortation reads, εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε, rather than εὐχάριστοι ἐστε. The imperative draws attention to the constant striving after this exalted goal as something not yet attained. Although the content of thanksgiving is not provided explicitly, it is quite possible contextually that the context is the peace which Christ has brought about in such a diverse body. Paul is exhorting the Colossians to not fight in such a way which destroys the body, but to become thankful for the unity of such a diverse body.
111 This is probably an objective genitive with the sense of the message that centers on Christ--e.g., the gospel. It is the sacrificial work of Christ in the Gospel that is to live within them as they teach and admonish one another. They are to remember that all find their measure of worth at the foot of the cross.
112 See also Ephesians 5:19.
113 This unit includes three pairs of exhortations. The issue at hand is attitudes of one person in the body to another. This type of unit is called a “house-table” in the literature (haustafel in German, meaning a list of rules for the household). The movement is from the closest relationships to the more distant ones (i.e., couples to slaves & masters).
Each unit states the party, has a reciprocal exhortation in the imperative, and the reason or motivation for the behavior (except for those to husbands and fathers). The exhortation to slaves (22-25) is expanded breaking the sequence somewhat (O’Brien, Colossians, p. 219-220). For parallels see 1 Timothy 2:8-15; 6:1-2; Titus 2:1-10; 1 Peter 2:18--3:7; Ephesians 5:22--6:9.
As O’Brien writes, “Perhaps the devotees of the false teaching at Colossae were indifferent to mundane and domestic affairs. If so, then Paul has to indicate to the congregation that this teaching is pernicious, and that the Colossians are to be recalled to the simple duties of family life. The apostle has already summoned his readers to ‘set their minds on things that are above’ (3:2), for a life ruled from above where Christ is reigning is precisely a life in marriage, parenthood and everyday work. Right behavior in these areas is the proper outworking of seeking the things above (Ibid., p. 233).
114 See 3:18,20,24,25; 4:1.
115 O’Brien writes, “In each case the subordinate member is mentioned first and is exhorted to be subject (ὑποτάσσομαι) or to obey (ὑπακούω). Wives, children and slaves are addressed equally with their husbands, fathers and masters. They too are ethically responsible partners who are expected to do ‘what is fitting in the Lord’ just as the male, the father and the free man. But the exhortations to subordination do not stand alone; immediately the second member of each pair is addressed and reminded of his responsibilities. The twin admonitions stand together and the first ought not to be interpreted apart from the second ...” (Colossians, p. 220).
116 The verb is in the middle voice: ὑποτάσσεσθε. Wives are being exhorted to continue to place themselves under the influence of their husbands in accordance with Christ’s design.
117 The obligation of the wife finds its counterpart in this charge to her husband. The verb for love is ἀγαπᾶτε. This term speaks of more than affection ( φιλὲω) or even sexual attraction (ἐράω) but of unceasing care and loving service for her entire well being. This love is exemplified in Ephesians 5:25-33.
118 The Greek καὶ μὴ πικράινεσθε πρὸς αὐτάς. This is the negative form of the positive injunction (antithetical parallelism?). The sense is to become embittered, incensed, or angry.
119 These are children (Τὰ τέκνα) who are probably still growing up and under the care of their parents (cf. Eph. 6:4)
120 This injunction is not in the middle voice as above with wives, but in the active imperative (ὑπακούετε) meaning absolute obedience. This is strengthened by the phrase “in all things.”
121 See Titus 2:9; Romans 12:1,2; 14:18; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Ephesians 5:10; Philippians 4:18; cf. Col. 1:10.
122 While the term is one for fathers (οἰ πατέρες) is could also have the sense of parents (cf. Heb. 11:23). There is, however, probably an emphasis upon fathers.
123 The the verb is a present imperative prohibition demanding that the action then in progress be stopped (μὴ ἐρεθίζετε). The verb is employed positively in 2 Corinthians 9:2 “your zeal has stirred up most of them.” Here is a “stirring up” so as to irritate perhaps by nagging, deriding, or even ignoring them.
124 The term is ἀθυμῶσιν denoting the loss of heart, or a becoming timid. Paul does not wish for the children to become discouraged as they try to please their parents--especially fathers. The positive counterpart is in Ephesians 6:4.
125 “Paul is addressing the tension between the freedom given in Christ (cf. 3:11) and the ‘slavery’ in which Christian slaves are to continue to serve their earthly masters (cf. 1 Cor. 7:21-24)” (O’Brien, Colossians, p. 226).
126 The Greek is like that with children (ὑπακούετε κατὰ πάντα).
127 Again, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom (Prov. 1:7; 23:17).
128 This will be at the judgment seat of Christ when evil works will result in a loss of reward (cf. Luke 19:11-27; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10-12; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 4:4,5).
129 Although Paul does not command the masters to free their slaves he does exhorts them to do that which is just and fair (τὸ κίκαιον καὶ τὴν ἰσότητα). They were to treat them in accordance with what was right, and to treat in an even-handed, impartial, fair way--perhaps even as equals.
130 The motivation for slaves and masters is really the same at this point. Both will be judged by The Judge--Christ Jesus. Therefore, both have the same standard of conduct toward one another.
131 This unit in Colossians is parallel to the close of paraenetic sections in other Pauline letters (cf. 1 Thess. 5:12-22; Gal. 5:25--6:6; Phil. 4:8-9). Unlike the above household exhortations, these are for the entire congregation.
132 Perhaps the prayer itself was to be for the coming of the Lord’s kingdom (Matt. 5:9-10; 1 Cor. 16:22; cf. Rev. 22:20).
133 Perhaps this is again a thankfulness for the deliverance which the Lord has already brought to pass in their lives through redemption (cf. 3:15,16).
134 Probably Timothy (1:1), Epaphras (4:12,13) are included in this.
135 This is a pray that God would make a provision of opportunity by giving him a field in which to work (cf. 1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Acts 14:27).
136 The mystery of Jews and Gentiles in one body (cf. 1:26; 2:2) for which he is imprisoned by the hostility of the Jews (Acts 22--28).
137 The term is ε῎ξω. Perhaps these “outsiders” are actually the false teachers.
138 Seasoned with salt could well have the Jewish sense of wisdom involved (e.g., the Torah was like salt). In this case Paul would be saying that one should speak in wisdom. One is to speak the right word when one asks a question.
139 It seems that this is how Paul desires for them to address the false teachers.
140 Notice this same form in 1 Corinthians 16:19-24; Romans 16:1-23; Philemon 23-25; Philippians 4:21-23; and Ephesians 6:21-24).
141 See also Acts 20:4; 2 Timothy 4:12; Titus 3:12.
142 Much communication was done by word of mouth in the ancient world. While this letter contained more of the urgent and doctrinal matters, personal remarks would be passed on orally.
143 This strengthening would have probably been through admonishing the congregation with Paul’s teaching.
144 This is probably the same Onesimus as in Philemon 10.
145 He was a Macedonian of Thessalonica (see Acts 19:29; 20:4; 27:2).
146 This is John Mark of Acts 12:12,25; 13:13; 15:36-41; Philemon 24; 2 Tim. 4:11; 1 Pet. 5:13.
147 There are several views about this letter: (1) it was a letter written from Laodicea to Paul but this is improbable, (2) it was the epistle to the Ephesians (this is very possible even through O’Brien discounts it since he understands Ephesians to have been written after Colossians, but there is not agreement on this, and it is difficult to tell), (3) it was Philemon, but Philemon lived at Colossae, (4) it was a letter which did not survive (see O’Brien, Colossians, pp. 257-259).
148 This may well mean to make mention of him in prayer, to call him to God’s remembrance (LXX 2 Sam. 14:11; Ps. 62:6; cf. 6:5).
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines
An Introduction To The Book Of ColossiansRelated Media
I. AUTHOR: THE APOSTLE PAUL2
A. External Evidence: Paul is strongly affirmed to be the author of Colossians
1. Colossians was undisputedly Pauline until the nineteenth century
a. The Later Church Fathers accepted it3
b. It was not disputed in the later decades:
1) It was probably used as early Justin4
2) It was included in Marcion’s canonical list (c. 140) and in the Muratorian canon (c. 170)
2. This letter is included in the Chester Beatty papyri (P46)5
B. Internal Evidence:6 Even though there are concerns by modern, critical scholars about Pauline authorship, the evidence for Pauline authorship is not overturned:
1. The primary objections to Pauline authorship are the divergence in literary style, vocabulary, and syntax from Paul’s other writings.7 Also it was believed that Paul was combating the heresy of second-century Gnosticism
But literary differences can be explained by appealing to the new content of the letter, the heresy which he is addressing, and Paul’s adaptation of traditional material. Also, there is no need to understand the heresy as a second-century Gnosticism (see below)
2. There are close links between Colossians and Philemon (the latter of which is generally unquestioned as a genuine work of Paul):
a. Both include Paul and Timothy’s name in the opening greeting (Col. 1:1; Phm. 1)
b. Both include greetings from those with Paul at this time, namely, Aristarchus, Mark, Epaphras, Luke, and Demas (Col. 4:10-14; Phm. 23,24)
c. Archippus is called a “fellow-soldier” in Philemon 2 and directed to fulfill his ministry in Colossians 4:17
d. Onesimus, concerning whom Philemon is written, is mentioned in Colossians 4:9 as being sent with Tychicus and as bring “one of you”
3. Paul is specifically identified in the letter to the Colossians:
a. The mention of Timothy along with Paul in the prescript is customary in the undisputed letters of Paul8
b. The author follows the Pauline practice of conveying his personal greetings from his fellow workers to the congregation by means of a dispatched message (4:8)
c. The author follows the Pauline practice of closing the letter with his personal signature, as well as, making mention of his own situation as prisoner9
d. Paul is identified in the body of the letter (1:23ff)
e. Paul ties his apostleship to the same tradition of Jesus Christ (1:23ff; 2:6)
f. The expression, “I, Paul” is typical in the Pauline corpus to render his persona10
II. LOCATION AND DATE: FROM ROME IN AD 60-61.
A. Location:11 Paul’s (first) Roman Imprisonment:
1. Until recently, Rome was considered by most to be the location from which Paul wrote12
2. Caesarea: Some13 understand Caesarea to be the location of writing, but this is unlikely for the following reasons:
a. It is unlikely that a runaway slave (Philemon) would have fled to Caesarea to escape detection and would have found access to Paul like he would have in Rome (where Paul was under house-arrest)
b. Paul expects to be released in the near future since he requests Philemon to prepare him lodging (Phm. 22) and this probably would not have been the case at Caesarea where Paul knew that his only hope was to appeal to Caesar
c. It is unlikely that Caesarea was the home of active missionary work requiring such a large staff of Paul’s co-workers of Gentile origin for Philemon to seek refuge, and it does not seem that this small harbor city was the center of vigorous propaganda suggested in Colossians 4:3,414
a. No evidence exists to affirm that Paul was imprisoned in Ephesus (Acts 19)17
b. It is unlikely that a runaway slave (Philemon) would have fled to Ephesus and remained there long enough to know Paul since it was no more than 100 miles away from Colossae
c. The “we” sections of Acts do not allow for Luke to have been with Paul while he was in Ephesus (Acts 16:10ff; 20:6,13ff; cf. Col. 4:14)
4. Rome:18 The most probably location of writing was probably Rome for the following reasons
a. This is a known imprisonment of Paul’s which allows for the events reflected in Colossians and Philemon
b. Acts supports Luke’s presence in Rome with Paul (the “we” sections; Acts 27:2ff)
c. Paul was under house-arrest in Rome which would have allowed him visitors such as co-workers and Onesimus
d. The imperial capital would have allowed the run-away slave Onesimus to seek anonymity and then asylum in Paul’s presence there
e. No other imprisonment in Acts seems to be a real alternative (Philippi in Acts 16:23-40; Caesarea in Acts 24:27)
f. Travel between Rome and the east was frequent and not too formidable a task to make the communications between the prison epistles possible
g. Although not determinative, the doctrinal outlook of Colossians seems to belong to a later rather than to an earlier period supporting a Roman origin over one in Ephesus19
h. It is very probable that Aristarchus accompanied Paul to Rome (Acts 27:2; cf. Col. 4:10) and thus shared in his imprisonment
i. Even though Paul intended to go on to Spain from Rome (Rom. 1:10ff; 15:19ff) it is not possible to know with certainty what he did upon his release. He could have changed his mind, or at least changed his immediate plans and thus gone to Colossae
B. Date: If the Roman hypothesis is accepted, then it is likely that Paul wrote Colossians early20 in his (first) Roman imprisonment (i.e., AD 60-61)
III. THE COLOSSIAN HERESY21
A. The Nature of the Heresy--Explicit and Implicit Indications about the Colossian Problem:22
1. Explicit Teaching of the Opponents:
a. It emphasized abstinence from certain foods and some types of drink 2:16,22
b. It required the observance of Jewish feasts and sabbaths at different intervals 2:16
c. It stressed “self-abasement” and visions 2:18,23
d. It involved angelic worship--either as the object of worship or as the subject of worship (i.e., doing worship) 2:18
e. It taught the need for some kind of worship which was human in origin, a “self-made religion-worship 2:23
f. It praised the value of treating the body severely 2:2323
g. It was depicted by Paul as “Philosophy and empty deceit” espousing the “elementary principles of the world” (2:8)
2. Implicit References in the Book:
a. It demoted Christ from his supreme place 1:13-20; 2:9ff
b. It seems to have as a catchword the term/phrase “fullness” [of deity] 1:19; 2:9
c. It claimed to promote higher spirituality. Paul counters with the argument that they are spiritually complete in Christ (2:10) and warns that the rules and regulations of this religious system only promote the indulgence of the flesh 2:23
d. It probably required circumcision of adherents 2:11; cf. 3:11
e. It may have misconstrued the death-burial-resurrection motif 2:12,13,20; 3:1-5
f. It cast doubt on the completeness of forgiveness in Christ 1:14; 2:13-14; 3:13
B. Possible Sources of the Heresy:24
a. B. Lightfoot was the major proponent of this position affirming many parallels between the Heresy and the asceticism of this Jewish group25
b. Even though there are some parallels, there is no evidence that they lived in the western portions of Asia Minor
c. While this explains the emphasis on higher knowledge and special revelation, it fails to explain the mystical experiences which are apparent in the epistle
2. Greek Pagan Cults:
a. There are many theories along this line of thinking: Neopythagoreanism, mystery religions, pre-Christian Gnosticism, the Iranian Redemption myth, the initiation into the Isis mysteries
b. This is an attempt to emphasize the Hellenism on the church at the time
c. While some of these “cults” actually fight against one another, there is no doubt that the Heresy in Colossae was influenced by the Hellenism of their day; it is difficult to be even more specific
a. Gnosticism was a “religious movement that proclaimed a mystical esotericism for the elect based on illumination and the acquisition of a higher knowledge of things heavenly and divine”26
b. However, there was not a pre-Christian Gnosticism and it is doubtful that the biblical writers were fighting a known foe called Gnosticism
c. There may well have be roots of a Christian Gnosticism (incipient Gnosticism) which later became the Gnosticism of the second and third centuries AD
4. Syncretistic Religion:
a. The heresy contains a combination of parts of many of the above views wherein Jews and Gentiles are attempting to advance beyond apostolic Christianity
b. This view is very possible and perhaps even diplomatic
5. Jewish Mysticism--the Merkabah Mysticism27
a. The merkabah mysticism consisted of “religious exercises designed to facilitate entry into the vision of the heavenly chariot (hb*K*r+m#) with God visibly enthroned above it--the vision granted to Ezekiel when he was called to his prophetic ministry (Ezek. 1:15-28)”28
b. In order to obtain such a vision it was necessary to observe:
1) The Mosaic Law concerning purification
2) A period of asceticism of 12 to 40 days
3) The mediatorial role of angels when the heavenly ascent was attempted
c. There are possible parallels to this concept in rabbinic experience, Paul’s experience (2 Cor. 12), other Jewish writings like 1 Enoch 14:8-23, Daniel 7:9-10, and later Gnostocism29
a. A definitive conclusion about the source of the heresy is not possible since so many possibilities exist
b. It is very possible, however, that the view of Jewish mysticism is more closely tied to the heresy in view of the Jewish elements which are certainly involved
c. Perhaps this Jewish mysticism became a later expression of Gnosticism
IV. ORIGIN OF THE CHURCH:
A. The City of Colossae:
1. Was in the Lycus valley
2. Was about 100 miles east (inland) of Ephesus
3. Had the important cities of Laodicea and Hierapolis as its neighbors where Christian churches had been established (Col. 4:13)
B. The Founding of the Church:
1. It seems that Paul had never visited the church (Col. 1:4; 2:1)
2. It seems that Epaphras acquainted Paul with the Colossians’ ‘love in the Spirit’ (Col. 1:8; 4:12-13)
3. It seems reasonable to assume that the church originated as a result of Paul’s ministry among those at Ephesus (Acts 19:10)
a. Perhaps this was actually accomplished through Ephahras who instructed those in Colossae (Col. 1:12-13)
b. Therefore, perhaps Ephahras was converted through Paul’s ministry in Ephesus
V. PURPOSES FOR COLOSSIANS:
A. To provide advice about the dangerous heresy which had arisen in Colossae and was threatening the security of the church in all of the Lycus valley (cf. 4:16)
B. To answer the heretical issues by asserting the absolute, direct, and continuing supremacy of Christ over all of creation (1:15--3:4)
C. To encourage his readers to live life (personally, within the church, in the home, and in their relationships) in view of Christ as supreme over all of creation (3:5--4:6)
D. To encourage the churches in the Lycus valley to maintain their orderly Christian lives as well as their stability in the faith in the face of the threat of the false teachers 2:2-530
VI. A COMPARISON OF EPHESIANS AND COLOSSIANS:31
Emphasizes the Body (Church)
Emphasizes the Head (Christ)
The spirit is pastoral
The spirit is polemical
The emphasis is on oneness in Christ
The emphesis is on completeness in Christ
1 Much of what follows is adapted from: T. K. Abbott, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, ICC, pp. xivii-lx1v; F. F. Bruce, “Colossian Problems Part 3: The Colossian Heresy”: Bibliotheca Sacra 141 (1984): 194-208; Carson, Herbert M. The Epistles of Paul to the Colossians and Philemon. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 11-25; Brevard S. Childs, The New Testament as Canon: An Introduction, pp. 346-350; Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, pp. 454-563; Geisler, Norman L. “Colossians,” in Bible Knowledge Commentary, pp. 667-669; Everett F. Harrison, Colossians: Christ All-Sufficient, Everyman’s Bible Commentary, 7-16; H. Wayne House, “Doctrinal Issues in Colossians: Heresies in the Colossian Church.” Bibliotheca Sacra, 149 (1992): 45-59; Ralph P. Martin, Colossians and Philemon, The New Century Bible Commentary, pp. 1-41; Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Word Biblical Commentary, pp. xxvi-liv; Curtis Vaughan, “Colossians,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 11, pp. 163-171.
2 This is not to deny that Paul may have used other materials (e.g., 1:15-20).
3 Polycarp (c. 110-150) Philippians 10:1 [cf. Col. 1:23]; 11:2 [Col. 3:5]; Ignatius (c. 110), Ephesians 10:2 [Col. 1:23]; Iranaeus (c. 130-202), Adv. Haer. 3.14.1; Turtullian (c. 150-220), De Praescr Haer 7; Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-215), Storm 1.1; ; Trallians 5:2 [Col. 1:16]; Epistle to Diognetus 10:7 [Col. 4:1]. See Geisler, A General Introduction to the Bible, pp. 188, 193.
4 C. 150-155, Dialogue, 85.2; 138.2.
5 The second Chester Beatty Biblical papyrus contains ten Epistles which are considered to be of Paul in the following order: Romans, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and dates from about the year AD 200 (Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, p. 37).
6 Even though Childs does not hold to Paul himself as the author due to “stylistic and philological evidence,” he must link it with Paul canonically and affirms with Schweizer that it “is not post-Pauline” (The NT as Canon , pp. 345-349).
7 The first one to seriously question the authorship of Colossians was E. T. Mayerhoff in 1838, and his theory was developed by F. S. Baur and the Tübingen school.
8 See 2 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon.
9 See 1 Corinthians 16:21; Philemon 19; 2 Thessalonians 3:17.
10 See Philemon 19; 2 Corinthians 10:1; Galatians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; Ephesians 3:1.
11 The only textual clues in Colossians that Paul is in prison are: 4:3,10,18. But none of these cite the location of the imprisonment.
12 Although the Marcionite Prologue had the opinion that the Epistle was written from Ephesus [“The apostle already in fetters writes to them from Ephesus”] even though the Prologue to Philemon claimed that that letter was written from Rome (Guthrie, NTI, p. 555).
The “subscript” which was added at a later date asserts: “written from Rome by Tychicus and Onesimus.” Also Eusebius reports that Paul was brought to Rome and that Aristarchus was with him (History, 2.22.1; see O’Brien, Colossians. p. l.).
13 Lohmeyer, Dibelius-Greeven, Reicke, J. J. Gunther, Goguel, deZwaan.
14 O’Brien, Colossians, p. lii.
15 For a more thorough discussion see Guthrie, NTI, pp. 472-478.
16 Deissmann, Michaelis, Duncan.
17 Even though Aristarchus was seized by mob-violence in Ephesus (Acts 19:29), there is no specific mention of arrest for him or for Paul.
18 See O’Brien for counter view (Colossians, p. li).
19 See O’Brien, Colossians, p. liii; Guthrie, NTI, p. 557; Childs, The NT as Canon, 346-349; Bruce, Paul, The Apostle of the Heart Set Free, pp. 411-412.
20 Philemon 9 suggests that Colossians-Philemon may have been written early in the imprisonment, “yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you--I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus--.” The term for “now” (nuniv) is more emphatic than nu'n and suggests that Paul’s imprisonment had only just begun at the time he wrote (O’Brien, Philemon, p. 290).
21 Some good reading on this subject may be found in the survey article by H. Wayne House, “Heresies in the Colossian Church,” Bib. Sac. 149 (January-March, 1992): 45-59. Although Bruce once held to an “early and simple form of gnosticism” (Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, p. 413), he later changed to a defense of a form of Jewish Mysticism which he identifies as “Merkabah Mysticism” in “Colossian Problems Part 3: The Colossian Heresy,” Bib. Sac 141 (July-September 1984): 195-208.
22 Adapted from a paper by Herb Bateman, “Introductory Matters for Colossians”.
23 This may only be a development of points a and b above.
24 There is no way in which one can be certain about the historical origin of this heresy. Morna Hooker even disputed the existence of a heresy in the Colossian church in her paper, “Were There False Teachers in Colossae?” in Christ and Spirit in the New Testament, edited by B. Lindars and S. S. Smalley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), pp. 315-331. However, Bruce seems to be correct when he affirms that “Yes, there were false teachers in Colossae” (“The Colossian Heresy,” Bib Sac 141 : 195; see also Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, p. 413).
25 J. B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon (1879; reprinted, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1959), 73-113.
26 Gershom G. Scholem, Jewish Gnosticism, Merkabah Mysticism, and Talmudic Tradition (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1960), p. 1.
27 F. F. Bruce, “The Colossian Heresy,” Bib.Sac. 141 (1984): 201-204.
28 Ibid., pp. 201-202.
29 Ibid., pp. 202-203.
30 These verses express the goal of this letter, and thus explain the applicational section which Paul picks up in chapters 3--4. The false teachers were threatening unified living under the work of Christ (in the home and toward outsiders). Paul is correcting the erroneous instruction which could lead the church astray, and then reaffirming their orderly Christian life and stable faith under the proper view of Christ.
31 Adapted from Stanley D. Toussaint, “Colossians” (unpublished class notes in 308 Pauline Epistles and Revelation, Dallas Theological Seminary, Fall 1983), p. 2.
Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines