The Divine Lamp

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:15-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2015

To help provide context this post opens with Fr. Callan’s summary of 1 Tim 1:1-20 followed by his comments on verses 15-17.

A Summary of 1 Timothy 1:1-20

St. Paul left Timothy in charge of affairs in the Church of Ephesus as he himself made a journey into Macedonia. Timothy was young, delicate in health, and naturally timid; and there was reason for apprehension as to how he might get on with the false teachers at Ephesus, if St. Paul was long delayed in returning to him. The Apostle, therefore, decided to send a letter to him. In the opening section he first greets his beloved son (1 Tim 1:1-2); then repeats the warning against false teachers he had given before leaving
him (1 Tim 1:3-11), citing his own conversion on the road to Damascus as an instance of the power of the Gospel to assist Timothy in his work and to correct the erring teachers (1 Tim 1:12-17); and terminates by reminding the youthful bishop of the charge that has been committed to him as a true teacher of the doctrines of Christ (1 Tim 1:18-20).

1 Tim 1:15. Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.

Faithful is the saying, i.e,, worthy of all belief. This is a formula peculiar to the Pastorals; it is found elsewhere in these letters in 1 Tim 3:1 and 1 Tim 4:9 below, in 2 Tim 2:11, and in Titus 3:8, It is used to introduce a truth of great importance.

And worthy of all acceptation, i,e, worthy to be accepted by everyone. The Greek for this expression is found again in the Bible only in 1 Tim 4:9 below.

That Christ Jesus came, etc. This is the great truth the Apostle
would teach, and it shows that the primary purpose of our Lord’s
coming to the earth in the Incarnation was to save sinners.

Of whom I am the chief, a characteristic expression of St. Paul (cf. 1 Cor 15:99; Eph. 3:8), and not so much hyperbolical as expressive of a vivid appreciation of the degradation of sin, on the one hand, and the awful holiness of God and the preciousness of grace, on the other hand; and the Apostle is not speaking in the
past but in the present tense. It is only the great Saints who can
rightly apprehend sin and appreciate grace.

1 Tim 1:16. But for this cause have I obtained mercy: that in me as first Christ Jesus might shew forth all patience, for an example to them that shall believe in him unto life everlasting.

The Apostle explains why God has shown him so great mercy in spite of his sins, namely, that he might be an example or illustration to others of the “patience,” i.e., the longsuffering and gracious mercy of Christ in bearing with all poor sinners who “believe in Him,” the consequence of whose faith in Christ Jesus will be “life everlasting.”

In me as first, i.e., as chief of sinners (ver. 15).

An example. Literally, “an outline sketch.” The Greek word is found only here and in 2 Tim. 1:13 in the whole Bible.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 timothy 1:15-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2015

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief summary analysis of 1 Tim 1, followed by his comments on verses 15-17. Text in purple represents his paraphrase of the Scripture he is commenting on.


In this chapter, the Apostle, after the usual Apostolical salutation (1 Tim 1:1-2), renews  instructions which he gave Timothy, on leaving Ephesus (1 Tim 1:3), to denounce certain false teachers, who had altogether mistaken the aim and object of the law, of which they constituted themselves the expounders (1 Tim 1:4-7). He guards against the calumny, with which he was often charged, of being the enemy of the law itself (1 Tim 1:8), and points out the end for which the law was given (1 Tim 1:9-11) He gives thanks to God for having called him to the sacred ministry, notwithstanding his unworthiness (1 Tim 1:12-17) And, finally, he recommends Timothy to attend to the precepts contained in the entire chapter (1 Tim 1:18-20).

1 Tim 1:15 A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.

It is a certain, undoubted truth, and worthy to be received with all thankfulness and gratitude, that Christ Jesus came into this world for the purpose of saving sinners, of whom I am the greatest and most unworthy.

He says, this mercy shown himself, should inspire all other sinners with hope, and hence he announces a general and important proposition on the subject. “Of whom I am the chief.” This he might say, looking to himself, and abstracting from the sins of others—or, by looking to his own nature without grace, there was no sin ever committed, that he too might not commit, if left to himself.—(See Philip. 2:3).

1 Tim 1:16 But for this cause have I obtained mercy: that in me first Christ Jesus might shew forth all patience, for the information of them that shall believe in him unto life everlasting.

But it was on account of this very excessive unworthiness and sinfulness, that Christ Jesus showed mercy to me, selecting me as a great object of mercy, for the purpose of displaying in me, the most unworthy of sinners, his great patience and compassion, and with a view of making me serve as a great exemplar and model for all future penitents who are to believe in him, and by this means, expect eternal life.

“For the information of them that shall believe,” &c. The Greek for “information,” ὑποτυπωσιν, means, to serve as a type or model, so that, after his example, all future sinners who are to believe in God, would have recourse to the divine clemency, and learn to hope in God, and thus gain eternal life. As a physician, for the purpose of rousing the drooping and desponding spirits of his patient, points to some instance of recovery from a similar and almost incurable disease; so, had God placed St. Paul, whose blindness and obstinacy were apparently incurable, as a model, an example to animate other sinners to hope for forgiveness in the depth of their miseries and sins.

1 Tim 1:17 Now to the king of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

For this, may eternal honour and glory be rendered to the one only true God, the immortal and invisible King of ages.

God is by nature “immortal,” and incorruptible, and “invisible,” he cannot be seen by the aids of nature,—even in the life to come the saints require the lumen gloriæ to see him as he is, “face to face.”—(See 1 Cor. 13:12). “Only God.” In Greek, only wise God. The epithet, wise, is, however, wanting in the oldest manuscripts and versions, and generally rejected by critics.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2013

The following is excerpted from St John Chrysostom’s 17th and 18th Homilies on St Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy. An online edition of the homilies can be found here.

Ver. 11. “But thou, O man of God.”

This is a title of great dignity. For we are all men of God, but the righteous peculiarly so, not by right of creation only, but by that of appropriation. If then thou art a “man of God,” seek not superfluous things, which lead thee not to God, but

“Flee these things, and follow after righteousness.” Both expressions are emphatic; he does not say turn from one, and approach the other, but “flee these things, pursue righteousness,” so as not to be covetous.

“Godliness,” that is, soundness in doctrines.

“Faith,” which is opposed to questionings.

“Love,” patience, meekness.

Ver. 12. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” Lo, there is thy reward, “whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession,” in hope of eternal life, “before many witnesses.”

That is, do not put that confidence to shame. Why dost thou labor to no profit? But what is the “temptation and snare,” which he says, those that would be rich fall into? It causes them to err from the faith, it involves them in dangers, it renders them less intrepid. “Foolish desires,” he says. And is it not a foolish desire, when men like to keep idiots and dwarfs, not from benevolent motives, but for their pleasure, when they have receptacles for fishes in their halls, when they bring up wild beasts, when they give their time to dogs, and dress up horses, and are as fond of them as of their children? All these things are foolish and superfluous, nowise necessary, nowise useful.

“Foolish and hurtful lusts!” What are hurtful lusts? When men live unlawfully, when they desire what is their neighbor’s, when they do their utmost in luxury, when they long for drunkenness, when they desire the murder and destruction of others. From these desires many have aimed at tyranny, and perished. Surely to labor with such views is both foolish and hurtful. And well has he said, “They have erred from the faith.” Covetousness attracting their eyes to herself, and gradually stealing away their minds, suffers them not to see their way. For as one walking on the straight road, with his mind intent on something else, proceeds on his way indeed, but, often without knowing it, passes by the very city to which he was hastening, his feet plying on at random and to no purpose: such like a thing is covetousness. “They have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Dost thou see what he means by that word “pierced”? What he means to express by the allusion is this. Desires are thorns, and as when one touches thorns, he gores his hand, and gets him wounds, so he that falls into these lusts will be wounded by them, and pierce his soul with griefs. And what cares and troubles attend those who are thus pierced, it is not possible to express. Therefore he says, “Flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” For meekness springs from love.

“Fight the good fight.” Here he commends his boldness and manliness, that before all he confidently “made profession,” and he reminds him of his early instruction.

“Lay hold on eternal life.” There is need not only of profession, but of patience also to persevere in that profession, and of vehement contention, and of numberless toils, that you be not overthrown. For many are the stumbling-blocks, and impediments, therefore the way is “strait and narrow.” (Matt. 7:14.) It is necessary therefore to be self-collected,3 and well girt on every side. All around appear pleasures attracting the eyes of the soul. Those of beauty, of wealth, of luxury, of indolence, of glory, of revenge, of power, of dominion, and these are all fair and lovely in appearance, and able to captivate those who are unsteady, and who do not love the truth. For truth has but a severe and uninviting countenance. And why? Because the pleasures that she promises are all future, whereas the others hold out present honors and delights, and repose; though all are false and counterfeit. To these therefore adhere gross, effeminate, unmanly minds, indisposed to the toils of virtue. As in the games of the heathens, he who does not earnestly covet the crown, may from the first give himself up to revellings and drunkenness, and so do in fact the cowardly and unmanly combatants, whilst those who look steadfastly to the crown sustain blows without number. For they are supported and roused to action by the hope of future reward.

MORAL. Let us then flee from this root of all evils, and we shall escape them all. “The love of money,” he says, “is the root;” thus says Paul, or rather Christ by Paul, and let us see how this is. The actual experience of the world testifies it. For what evil is not caused by wealth, or rather not by wealth, but by the wicked will of those who know not how to use it? For it is possible to use wealth in well doing, and even through means of it to inherit the kingdom. But now what was given us for the relief of the poor, to make amends for our past sins, to win a good report, and to please God, this we employ against the poor and wretched, or rather against our own souls, and to the high displeasure of God. For as for the other, a man robs him of his wealth, and reduces him to poverty, but himself to death; and him he causes to pine in penury here, but himself in that eternal punishment. Are they equal sufferers, think you?

What evils then does it not cause! what fraudulent practices, what robberies! what miseries, enmities, contentions, battles! Does it not stretch forth its hand even to the dead, nay, to fathers, and brethren? Do not they who are possessed by this passion violate the laws of nature, and the commandments of God? in short everything? Is it not this that renders our courts of justice necessary? Take away therefore the love of money, and you put an end to war, to battle, to enmity, to strife and contention. Such men ought therefore to be banished from the world, as wolves and pests. For as opposing and violent winds, sweeping over a calm sea, stir it up from its foundations, and mingle the sands of the deep with the waves above, so the lovers of wealth confound and unsettle everything. The covetous man never knows a friend: a friend, did I say? he knows not God Himself, driven mad, as he is, by the passion of avarice. Do ye not see the Titans going forth sword in hand? This is a representation of madness. But the lovers of money do not counterfeit, they are really mad, and beside themselves; and if you could lay bare their souls, you would find them armed in this way not with one or two swords, but with thousands, acknowledging no one, but turning their rage against all; flying and snarling at all, slaughtering not dogs,1 but the souls of men, and uttering blasphemies against heaven itself. By these men all things are subverted, and ruined by their madness after wealth.

For whom indeed, whom I should accuse, I know not! It is a plague that so seizes all, some more, some less, but all in a degree. Like a fire catching a wood, that desolates and destroys all around, this passion has laid waste the world. Kings, magistrates, private persons, the poor, women, men, children, are all alike affected by it. As if a gross darkness had overspread the earth, no one is in his sober senses. Yet we hear, both in public and private, many declamations against covetousness, but no one is mended by them.

What then is to be done? How shall we extinguish this flame? For though it has risen up to heaven itself, it is to be extinguished. We have only to be willing, and we shall be able to master the conflagration. For as by our will it has got head, so it may be brought under by our will. Did not our own choice cause it, and will not the same choice avail to extinguish it? Only let us be willing. But how shall that willingness be engendered? If we consider the vanity and the unprofitableness of wealth, that it cannot depart hence with us, that even here it forsakes us, and that whilst it remains behind, it inflicts upon us wounds that depart along with us. If we see that there are riches There, compared to which the wealth of this world is more despicable than dung. If we consider that it is attended with numberless dangers, with pleasure that is temporary, pleasure mingled with sorrow. If we contemplate aright the true riches of eternal life, we shall be able to despise worldly wealth. If we remember that it profits nothing either to glory, or health, or any other thing; but on the contrary drowns men in destruction and perdition. If thou consider that here thou art rich, and hast many under thee, but that when thou departest hence, thou wilt go naked and solitary. If we often represent these things to ourselves, and listen to them from others, there will perhaps be a return to a sound mind, and a deliverance from this dreadful punishment.

Is a pearl beautiful? yet consider, it is but sea water, and was once cast away in the bosom of the deep. Are gold and silver beautiful? yet they were and are but dust and ashes. Are silken vestments beautiful? yet they are nothing but the spinning of worms. This beauty is but in opinion, in human prejudice, not in the nature of the things. For that which possesses beauty from nature, need not any to point it out. If you see a coin of brass that is but gilded over, yon admire it at first, fancying that it is gold; but when the cheat is shown to you by one who understands it, your wonder vanishes with the deceit. The beauty therefore was not in the nature of the thing. Neither is it in silver; you may admire tin for silver, as you admired brass for gold, and you need some one to inform you what you should admire. Thus our eyes are not sufficient to discern the difference. It is not so with flowers, which are much more beautiful. If you see a rose, you need no one to inform you, you can of yourself distinguish an anemone, and a violet, or a lily, and every other flower. It is nothing therefore but prejudice. And to show, that this destructive passion is but a prejudice; tell me, if the Emperor were pleased to ordain that silver should be of more value than gold, would you not transfer your love and admiration to the former? Thus we are everywhere under the influence of covetousness and opinion.4 And that it is so, and that a thing is valued for its rarity, and not for its nature, appears hence. The fruits that are held cheap among us are in high esteem among the Cappadocians, and among the Serians5 even more valuable than the most precious among us, from which country these garments are brought; and many such instances might be given in Arabia and India, where spices are produced, and where precious stones are found. Such preference therefore is nothing but prejudice, and human opinion. We act not from judgment, but at random, and as accident determines. But let us recover from this intoxication, let us fix our view upon that which is truly beautiful, beautiful in its own nature, upon godliness and righteousness; that we may obtain the promised blessings, through the grace and lovingkindness of Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, &c.

1 Tim 6:13-16~“I give thee charge in the sight of God, Who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times He shall show, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”

AGAIN he calls God to witness, as he had done a little before, at once to increase his disciple’s awe, and to secure his safety, and to show that these were not human commandments, that receiving the commandment as from the Lord Himself, and ever bearing in mind the Witness1 before Whom he heard it, he may have it more fearfully impressed upon his mind

“I charge thee,” he says, “before God, Who quickeneth all things.” Here is at once consolation in the dangers which awaited him, and a remembrance of the resurrection awakened in him.

“And before Jesus Christ, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession.” The exhortation again is derived from the example of his Master, and what he means is this; as He had done, so ought ye to do, for for this cause He “witnessed” (1 Pet. 2:21), that we might tread in His steps.

“A good confession.” What he does in his Epistle to the Hebrews,—“Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Heb. 12:2, 3),—that he now does to his disciple Timothy. As if he had said, Fear not death, since thou art the servant of God, Who can give life to all things.

But to what “good confession” does he allude? To that which He made when Pilate asked, “Art thou a King?” “To this end,” He said, “was I born.” And again, “I came, that I might bear witness to the Truth. Behold, these have heard Me.” (John 18:37.) He may mean this, or that when asked, “Art thou the Son of God?” He answered, “Thou sayest, that I am (the Son of God).” (Luke 22:70.) And many other testimonies and confessions did He make.

Ver. 14. “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

That is, till thy end, thy departure hence, though he does not so express it, but that he may the more arouse him, says, “till His appearing.” But what is “to keep the commandment without spot”? To contract no defilement, either of doctrine or of life.

Ver. 15. “Which in His times He shall show, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords, Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.”

Of whom are these things said? Of the Father, or of the Son? Of the Son, undoubtedly: and it is said for the consolation of Timothy, that he may not fear nor stand in awe of the kings of the earth.

“In His times,” that is, the due and fitting times, that he may not be impatient, because it has not yet come. And whence is it manifest, that He will show it? Because He is the Potentate, the “only Potentate.” He then will show it, Who is “blessed,” nay blessedness itself; and this is said, to show that in that appearing there is nothing painful or uneasy.

But he says, “only,” either in contradistinction to men, or because He was unoriginated,3 or as we sometimes speak of a man whom we wish to extol.

“Who only hath immortality.” What then? hath not the Son immortality? Is He not immortality itself? How should not He, who is of the same substance with the Father, have immortality?

“Dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto.” Is He then Himself one Light, and is there another in which He dwells? is He then circumscribed by place? Think not of it. By this expression is represented the Incomprehensibleness of the Divine Nature. Thus he speaks of God, in the best way he is able. Observe, how when the tongue would utter something great, it fails in power.

“Whom no man hath seen nor can see.” As, indeed, no one hath seen the Son, nor can see Him.

“To whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.” Thus properly, and much to the purpose, has he spoken of God. For as he had called Him to witness, he speaks much of that Witness, that his disciple may be in the greater awe. In these terms he ascribes glory to Him, and this is all we can do, or say. We must not enquire too curiously, who He is. If power everlasting is His, fear not. Yea though now it take not place,1 to Him is honor, to Him is power evermore.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:11-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 23, 2013

Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

1 Tim 6:11 But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness.

But thou, O man of God, fly this vice of avarice, and all these other sins which follow in its train, and zealously cultivate Christian sanctity and its concomitant virtues, viz., piety, faith, love, patience, meekness.

“O man of God,” Every minister of religion is like Timothy, “a man of God,” wholly devoted to him, enlisted in his service, his representative before men, consequently, entitled to the utmost respect. But he should, at the same time, fly avarice and its attendant vices, so opposed to the exalted disinterestedness, which should distinguish the man who, at his first entrance into the sanctuary, had chosen God for his inheritance, and practise “justice,” i.e., Christian justice or sanctity, and its concomitant virtues of “piety” towards God; “faith,” which points out to us heavenly goods; “charity” towards our neighbour, which inspires us with liberality towards him, so opposed to cupidity; “patience,” in adversity, and when in want of temporal goods; “mildness,” even when offended and maltreated by those, whom we served on former occasions.

1 Tim 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith. Lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art called and be it confessed a good confession before many witnesses.

Engage bravely in the glorious struggle for the faith, grasp the prize of eternal life to which thou hast been invited, and in pursuit of which thou hadst made a glorious confession in presence of many witnesses.

In order to incite Timothy to labour with greater zeal in shunning vice, and practising virtue, the Apostle alludes to the Grecian exercises of the gymnasium, of which the people of Asia Minor were so fond, and particularly to the exercises of the racecourse, to which he so often assimilates the course of a Christian life (1 Cor. 9; Philip. 1:29; Hebrews 12:1), and compares the struggle in which Timothy is engaged for the faith, in which struggle faith alone can insure success, to these different bodily exercises. “Lay hold on eternal life.” This is the prize held out by God, as master of the course, to such as gain the victory. “And hast confessed a good confession before many witnesses,” and in pursuit of which Timothy made this public confession, which some understand of the profession of faith, which he publicly made at his baptism; others, of that which he made at Ephesus on the occasion of the tumult referred to (Acts, 19:25); and a third class, of the public promise, which he made at his Episcopal consecration, of faithfully discharging the duties of a bishop.

1 Tim 6:13 I charge thee before God who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession:

I command and conjure thee before God, who vivifies all things, and before Christ Jesus who rendered publicly under Pontius Pilate a glorious testimony to truth,

He conjures him in the presence of God, who gives life to every creature that lives, and of Christ, who sealed with his blood the testimony which he bore to truth, and gave him the example of declaring the truth at the risk of his life.

1 Tim 6:14 That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

To observe, in their full integrity, without any admixture of error, or without incurring any reprehension for their violation, all the precepts delivered to thee in this Epistle, until the final coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“The commandment,” is commonly understood of all the precepts given in this Epistle, “without spot,” “blameless,” can, according to the Greek, ἄσπιλον, ἀνεπιληπτον, affect either Timothy, or the commandment; “without spot,” is commonly understood of the precepts, which should be kept without the alloy of falsehood or error; “blameless,” of Timothy, who should not incur reprehension, by violating the commandments given him. “The coming (in the Greek, της ἔπιφανείας, unto the Epiphany or manifestation) of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Writing to Timothy, he wishes to instruct all bishops, that to the end of time these precepts are obligatory. And he also, by reference to the coming of Christ, which will virtually take place for all at the hour of death, wishes to remind Timothy and all bishops, that they will be judged for the observance of the precepts which he is after delivering.

1 Tim 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings and Lord of lords:

Which glorious coming of Christ, he shall display at the proper time, who alone is essentially happy, and alone enjoys of himself sovereign sway, the King of kings, and the Lord of those that rule.

“Which” i.e., apparition or coming, “in his time,” i.e., at the period he has destined and decreed. “He shall show,” i.e., openly and publicly reveal. “Who is the blessed and only Mighty,” i.e., who is alone essentially happy, and alone, of his own nature, possesses absolute sway. “The King of kings, and the Lord of lords,” who, of himself, enjoys absolute, independent authority, of which all created power is but a mere emanation and dependent participation.

1 Tim 6:16 Who only hath immortality and inhabiteth light inaccessible: whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and empire everlasting. Amen.

Who alone is, of his own nature, unchangeably immortal, and inhabits light inaccessible to mortals, whom no man ever saw in this life, or ever can see by the sole aids of nature, to whom belong honour and empire for endless ages. Amen.

“Who only hath immortality,” i.e., has life essentially of himself, with perfect incorruptibility and immutability. “And inhabiteth light inaccessible,” which light is God himself; for, God exists in himself. Hence, the words mean, that God is an uncreated, immense, infinite light, and so, “inaccessible” to mortals. “Whom no man hath seen or can see,” i.e., in this life, or ever can see, since this vision of God is reserved as the great reward of the life to come; and even there, the sole aids of nature will not suffice, nor the grace of this life; the light of glory must elevate created faculties, to the power of seeing God. What an idea of God, alone immortal and invisible, alone sovereignly powerful, alone supremely happy! To serve him is to reign. He alone is capable of satisfying the desires of our hearts; he has made us for himself, nor can our hearts find rest until they rest in him.—St. Augustine.



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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:2c-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 14, 2013

1 Tim 6:2c. These things teach and exhort.

These things, i.e., the things just written, or perhaps all the instructions so far given in this letter, Timothy is to “teach and exhort.”


A Summary of 1 Timothy 6:3-21~In the closing section of his letter (ver. 3-21) St. Paul utters renewed warnings against the false teachers (ver. 3-5), speaks of the vanity and perils of wealth (ver, 6-10), personally exhorts Timothy to the practice of virtue and the preservation of the teachings he has received (ver. 11-16), issues a charge to the rich of Ephesus (ver. 17-19), and terminates by recalling to Timothy the principal thought of the Epistle and imparting his blessing (ver. 20-21).

1 Tim 6:3. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to that doctrine which is according to goODness,
1 Tim 6:4. He is proud, knowing nothing, but sick about questions and strifes of words; from which arise envies, contentions, blasphemies, evil suspicions,
1 Tim 6:5. Conflicts of men corrupted in mind, and who are destitute of the truth, supposing godliness to be gain.

Teach otherwise, i.e., teach a different doctrine from that taught by St. Paul (see on i. 3).

And consent not to the sound words, etc., i.e., to the true teaching contained in our Lord’s words.

And to that doctrine which is according to godliness, i.e., which teaches the true way in which God is to be worshipped. The false teaching the Apostle has in mind, therefore, is out of harmony with that which Timothy is to “teach and exhort” (ver. 2). The false teacher himself and the practical results of his teaching are next described (ver, 4-5),

He is proud, knowing nothing, about that which he ought to know, and which constitutes the true doctrine; he is “sick” from feeding his mind on unwholesome speculations and disputes which consist only in words, and which resuh in envy of rivals, quarrels with opponents, suspicions of unworthy motives, and the like. Such men, “corrupted in mind,” pervert the Gospel and subordinate piety and the worship of God to material gains.

In the Vulgate of verse 5, quæstum esse pietatem (“supposing gain to be godliness”) should be reversed, pietatem esse quæstum (“supposing godliness to be gain“), as the position of the article and the order of the words in the Greek indicate.

1 Tim 6:6. But godliness with contentment is great gain.

While “godliness” or piety is not to be prostituted to material gain, there is, nevertheless, great gain in its possession, for it teaches one to be content with what one has, not desiring to have more (Phil. 4:11-13).

1 Tim 6:7. For we brought nothing into this world, and certainly we can carry
nothing out.

He now explains why man ought to be content with little in this world. Material goods serve only for the present life; we come into the world without them, and we must leave them behind when we die. It is only what a man is in himself—his spiritual attainments, his character, his good or bad habits—that he takes with him into the next world; all else he leaves behind at death.

1 Tim 6:8. But having food and wherewith to be covered, with these we are

Food and raiment are the chief necessities of our material existence, but we must remember that we are far more than these, and that we are not to be over-anxious about them (Matt. 6:25 ff.).

1 Tim 6:9. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into a snare,
and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction
and perdition.

It is the desire for wealth and an inordinate attachment to material things that St. Paul is here condemning, the disastrous consequences of which are clearly attested to by history and experience. Those whose minds are set on wealth are exposed and expose themselves to many perils.

Destruction, etc. See on Phil. i. 28, iii. 19 ; 2 Thess. i. 9.

The diaboli of the Vulgate is not in the best Greek. Some manuscripts read: For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into a snare of the devil (see 1 Tim 3:7).

1 Tim 6:10. For the desire of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting
have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows.

In rhetorical language the Apostle stresses the peril of a love of material wealth. It is “the root,” or, as in the Greek, “a root of all evils,” i.e., of all moral evils, inasmuch as it will induce a person to commit any evil or sin to attain it, when the passion becomes all-absorbing. At all times the love of money is fraught with very dangerous consequences, and if it does not go so far as to lead one away from the faith, it nevertheless chills the spirit of religion, and deadens a person to the appeal of the higher things of the mind and soul.

1 Tim 6:11. But thou, man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness,
faith, charity, patience, mildness.

St. Paul now exhorts Timothy to flee the love of money and its attendant evils, and to pursue virtue.

Man of God is the regular Old Testament expression for a prophet or ruler of God’s people (1 Sam 9:6; 1Kings 12:22, 13:1 ff.).

1 Tim 6:12. Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou
art called, and didst make the good confession before many witnesses.

Fight the good fight. The metaphor is taken from the athletic games, and is frequently employed by St. Paul (1 Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12, 14; 2 Tim. 4:7). “Fight” is in the present tense in Greek, showing the constant struggle; while “lay hold” is aorist, to indicate the single act.

Whereunto thou art called, etc., doubtless refers to Timothy’s baptism, and to the confession then made of the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Some think the confession referred to was at the time of Timothy’s ordination or consecration as bishop.


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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 4:12-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 12, 2013

Text in purple are the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.


The Apostle, having before established the unerring authority of the Church, in guarding the deposit of revealed truth against the encroachments and insidious attacks of error now asserts in this chapter, that certain destructive errors shall soon spring up (1–5), Against these he admonishes Timothy, to guard the flock confided to his charge, by instructing them in sound doctrine (6). He exhorts him to works of piety (8); by the gravity of his conduct to merit public respect (12); and by keeping in mind the exalted gift conferred on him (14), to live in such a way as to insure his own salvation and that of his people (16).

1Tim 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth: but be thou an example of the faithful, in word, in conversation, in charity, in faith, in chastity.

In order that no one shall despise thee on account of thy youth, be the model of the faithful in the gravity and prudence of your words, in the sweetness and amiability of your external intercourse with them, in the expression of ardent charity, of lively faith, and in the purity of morals, particularly in chastity.

Timothy was a young prelate; hence, to conciliate the respect due to his station, the Apostle tells him to supply, by the gravity of his manners and the maturity of Episcopal virtue, what was wanting to his years. “Be an example of the faithful in word.” Let your words be grave and prudent. The words, “in conversation,” refer to his conduct and external intercourse with the people, which should be marked by sweetness and amiability. “In charity.” In the manifestation of your love of God and your neighbour. In the Greek are added here, the words, in the spirit, expressive of the fervour of God’s spirit working in him. These words are not in the chief Manuscripts, nor in the Fathers generally. “In faith,” … “in chastity.” Hence, Timothy must have led a single life; otherwise, how could he be the model of chastity to others? and the Greek word, ἁγνείᾳ, expresses chastity of the highest order, virginal chastity.

1Tim 4:13  Till I come, attend unto reading, to exhortation and to doctrine.

Until I come to you, diligently attend to reading the SS. Scriptures, to exhorting the faithful to continue in the practice of the virtues which they already know, and to the instruction of the ignorant in the duties and truths of religion.

“Attend unto reading.” He refers to reading the SS. Scriptures, which St. Ambrose calls, Liber Sacerdotalis, and from which the Pastor of souls will derive matter for “exhortation and doctrine,” that is for private (“exhortation”) and public instruction. (“Doctrine.”)

1Tim 4:14  Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.

Do not suffer the grace to lie dormant, which had been conferred on thee, when, in accordance with the revelation of God, the priests (of the first order) imposed hands on thee.

“Neglect not the grace that is in thee,” &c. What this “grace” refers to is much controverted. Some, adhering to the meaning of the Greek word, γαρισμα, which means, a gratia gratis data, or a gratuitous gift, given for the benefit of others, and not necessarily supposing the sanctification of the subject on whom it is conferred, understand it of the Episcopal order conferred on him, and enabling him to exercise certain functions. Others understand it, of the gratuitous gift necessary for discharging the pastoral duties conferred on him at ordination, viz., the gift of teaching, exhorting, &c., which, although possessed by Timothy before his ordination, was still confirmed and increased at his consecration, when he also received sanctifying grace; and this is the gift which St. Paul tells Timothy to reduce to practice, by exhorting and teaching. It seems very likely, that “grace” means also, sanctifying grace of a specific kind, which, together with a right to actual graces, when necessary in due time, for the discharge of certain specific duties and the exercise of certain functions, is conferred in the sacraments. This sanctifying grace, joined to the actual graces referred to, is, what Divines call, sacramental grace, and to this St. Paul here refers; for, the Greek word in many places denotes, sanctifying grace, (v.g.) Rom. 5:15, 6:23. Sacramental grace, as it is called, is not, as a habit, really distinct from sanctifying grace in general. It is only a new intrinsic permanent modification, a special vigour superadded to sanctifying grace, which is also the principle of actual graces, to be conferred in due time and circumstances.—Billuart. “Which was given thee by prophecy, with the imposition,” &c., i.e., which was given thee, when, by divine revelation, the bishops, or priests of the first order, imposed hands on thee. That he refers to the bishops, is clear, because he says (2 Ep. 1:6), that he himself imposed hands on him, being the principal person employed in his consecration. The only ceremony which he refers to in the ordination of Timothy is the “imposition of hands;” because this was a ceremony common to many other things, and served to conceal the knowledge of the sacred mysteries and the arcana of the faith from the infidels.

1Tim 4:15  Meditate upon these things, be wholly in these things: that thy profiting may be manifest to all.
Make these things the subject of repeated meditation. Be constantly engaged in them, so that your advancement, both in piety and knowledge, may be clearly seen by all men.
1Tim 4:16  Take heed to thyself and to doctrine: be earnest in them. For in doing this thou shalt both save thyself and them that hear thee.
Attend to your own sanctification, and to the instruction of your flock; persevere in these two things: for, thus, you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

“Attend to thyself and to doctrine.” A most useful exhortation for such as are engaged in the exalted duties of saving the souls of their brethren. While ministering to others, they may neglect their own sanctification, and while saving thousands of others, they should take care to escape damnation by attending to themselves. This all important work of self-sanctification, the Pastor of souls will promote most effectually by constant meditation on the great truths of eternity. In such meditation, the fire of divine charity, and a burning thirst for his own perfection, will spring forth. In truth, it is not too much to say, that without a proper attention to this holy exercise of mental prayer in some form, the salvation of a Pastor of souls is morally impossible; in other words, he will scarcely be saved without it. He will also promote his sanctification by securing for himself, through a filial devotion to the glorious Queen of Heaven, the powerful protection of this Most Chaste Virgin and Mother, in whom no one ever confided and was confounded. Memorare, O piissima Virgo Maria, &c. A Pastor desirous of his own sanctification, and that of his people, should never fail to recommend himself and them to the powerful protection of St. Joseph also. In all his necessities, he should have recourse to St. Joseph. “Ite ad Joseph.”—(Genesis, 41:55).

“Be earnest in them.” This is the one thing necessary for a Pastor of souls—his own sanctification and that of his people. This alone will form the subject matter of his judgment when he shall stand before the tribunal of Jesus Christ. He shall have to render a most rigorous account of the means he employed for securing the faith and piety of his people. The more exalted his station, the heavier, the judgment of neglect, judicium durissimum his qui præsunt. Woe to the Pastor of souls, if embarking in affairs that do not concern either the temporal preservation, or, the sanctification and salvation of his people, he selfishly becomes wholly engrossed in personal, secular matters, at variance with the perfection of his state and opposed to his sublime calling!

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:14-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 12, 2013

14 These things I write to thee, hoping that I shall come to thee shortly.

These things I write to thee, hoping to come to thee shortly.

15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

But should any unforeseen accident retard me longer than I expect, I write in order that thou mayest learn from the instructions given, how to conduct thyself in managing and regulating the affairs of the house of God, which is the Church of the living God—the pillar and the ground of truth.

“The house of God,” in which, as in a well regulated household or family, all the members have their proper functions and duties, “which (house) is the Church of the living God,” to distinguish it from the churches, or rather temples of false gods, who, as such, i.e., as vested with divinity, have no existence whatever. This Church “is the pillar and ground of truth;” because, as the pillar supports the superstructure, so does the Church preserve and guard inviolate the deposit of faith left by God to the world. Hence, in matters of faith, the Church can never err, otherwise she could not be termed “the pillar of truth.” She must, therefore be gifted with infallibility, of which the promises of Christ are the guarantee; for, unless she were vested with this supernatural gift, she could never support or guard the faith against the insidious assaults of her manifold enemies; nor could she define points, the most minute and difficult, surpassing the human understanding (such as many points of faith are), with the accuracy required to furnish, in all cases, sufficient grounds or motives of credibility, for the firm assent of faith. How could it be expected that the learned and inquisitive portion of mankind would embrace truths incomprehensible to reason (as many of the truths of faith are), unless they had a sufficient security that the authority which propounded them was infallible in so doing? If the propounding authority were not infallible, the precise point of faith, which men would be called upon to believe unhesitatingly, might not really be revealed at all. The fact, therefore, of the Church being constituted “the pillar of truth,” proves her infallibility. Hence, it appears, that God would not have propounded sufficient motives of credibility for bringing all classes of men to faith, and consequently to salvation, unless he left some infallible means of arriving at the knowledge of his divine revelation. As, then, he has constituted the Church, “the pillar of truth,” of course, in reference to all classes of men, and all classes of revealed truth, he must have gifted her with infallibility—the only motive accommodated to the learned—otherwise, she might be the bulwark of error. This passage also proves the visibility of the Church; since the duties marked out for Timothy could not be performed in an invisible Church; and as the precepts given to Timothy apply to all bishops, at all times; hence, the Church must be, at all times, visible.

16 And evidently great is the mystery of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, was justified in the spirit, appeared unto angels, hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed in the world, is taken up in glory.

And confessedly, beyond all question, the truth of which I speak, and which is the foundation of all Christian faith, is a great mystery, hidden during all past ages from the world—a truth calculated to beget feelings of piety towards God; and it is this—viz., that God—or the Word of God—of his own nature, invisible, has been manifested and rendered visible in human flesh, has been justified from the calumnies of the Jews and proved, what He declared himself to be—viz., the natural Son of God—by the stupendous miracles which He performed, and by the gifts of the Holy Ghost visibly poured forth upon Him; was seen by angels, who ministered to Him repeatedly, adoring Him at his Nativity, Resurrection, &c.; was preached to the Gentiles, who were before permitted to walk in their own ways; was believed in the world, after He was preached there; and was assumed gloriously into heaven.

The truth, of which the Church is the guardian and depositary, has for its basis and foundation, the great fundamental article of Christ’s Incarnation, and the other mysteries of his life, death, and resurrection, which flow there from. These are the foundation of all Christian faith. The Apostle calls this Incarnation of the Son of God, a “great mystery,” because it was concealed during all past ages (Ephesians, 3), and was only revealed of late. It is a “mystery of godliness,” because calculated to promote the worship and glory of God. The Apostle refers to it particularly here, because it was a fundamental truth regarding which many of the early heretics had erred. The Greek reading of this verse runs thus: and, confessedly, it is a great mystery of piety, God has been manifested in the flesh, has been justified in the spirit, appeared to angels, &c. This reading is found in St. Chrysostom. The Vulgate reading of this verse is supported by the Syriac, Ethiopic, and Armenian versions, and by the Latin Fathers generally. The Greek reading more clearly and explicitly conveys the meaning which is commonly given to our Vulgate reading, as in the Paraphrase. The words are understood of the mystery of the Incarnation, and of the other mysteries of our blessed Saviour’s life and death, which flow from the Incarnation.

“Which was manifested in the flesh,” means, that God, as the Greek expressly has it, who was heretofore invisible, became visible in human flesh, which he assumed at his Incarnation. “Justified in the spirit;” “justified” has frequently, in the SS. Scriptures, the meaning given it here, viz., declared and proved to be just, &c.; “appeared unto angels,” who adored him at his Nativity, Resurrection, &c., and frequently ministered to him; he was seen by them now in a new form, and his multifarious wisdom, hitherto unknown, was now clearly seen by them.—Ephesians, 3



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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 3:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 11, 2013


On Timothy, as Archbishop of Ephesus, and Primate of Asia, devolved the duty of ordaining bishops and the other members of the hierarchy, and giving them charge over the several cities. Hence, the Apostle instructs him in this chapter, in the duties and qualities of bishops and others. And although, in the early ages, the bishops were the first victims marked out for persecution, and the Episcopal office, was the threshold to martyrdom, still, it would seem that many, dazzled by the exalted elevation, inordinately ambitioned the Episcopal dignity, even in the very midst of persecution. The Apostle had also, with a prophetic insight into futurity, clearly foreseen, that the Episcopacy would, in future ages, be an object of ambition, with many wholly unfit for its tremendous responsibilities and onerous duties, “too heavy even for the shoulders of angels to bear”—“Onus quippe angelicis humeris formidandum.”—(Council of Trent, SS. vi. c. 1). Hence, he dwells, in this chapter, in describing at full length the exalted virtues which should adorn a bishop (1–7). The same applies, to a certain extent, to the subordinate members of the hierarchy, charged with the care of souls (8–14). He, next, instructs Timothy regarding the manner in which he should govern the Church, “the pillar and ground of truth” (15); and, finally, he points out the leading truth, the foundation of all the others, of which the Church is the divinely appointed guardian, viz., the great mystery of the Incarnation (16).

1 A faithful saying: If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth good work.

It is a saying deserving of the most undoubted belief, that if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desires a distinguished work, an honourable employment.

 “A faithful saying.” This is a form of expression usually employed by the Apostle, when about to announce any truth of great importance, such as the following regarding the Episcopacy. “He desireth a good work.” He says, “work,” to show that in the Episcopacy, we should regard its onerous duties and responsibilities more than the eminence or dignity it confers. It is a post of labour, of vigilant superintendence and inspection, as the word “bishop” (ἐπίσκοπος) implies, rather than of ease and indulgence. “Good,” which some interpret, honourable, since its end is to bring men to salvation; others, by “good,” understand, arduous, difficult. He does not say, that whosoever desires the office of bishop, has a good WISH. Because, according to St. Augustine (de Civitate Dei, lib. 19, c. 19), and St. Thomas (2da dæ quæst. 185)—no one could, without the greatest presumption, wish for the Episcopal office, unless in case of great and rare necessities of the Church, inasmuch as no one could, without presumption, look upon himself as possessing the superiority required for a bishop, or encounter the responsibilities which such exalted superiority, aided by God’s grace, is alone competent to master. In this verse, then, the Apostle wishes us to know that in aspiring to the Episcopal office, it is its heavy duties and responsibilities, rather than its honours or emoluments, we should regard.

2 It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher,

A bishop, then, should be a man of irreproachable life; he should not be the husband of more than one wife; or, he should not be twice married. He should be a man of sobriety, and consequently vigilant, prudent, of composed, regular deportment, chaste, a lover of hospitality to strangers, capable of teaching and instructing;

The Apostle now proceeds to enumerate the virtuous qualities which should adorn a bishop. First, he should be “blameless,” free from all vice, and adorned with every virtue, like the great Bishop of bishops, whose representative he is, so that by being thus irreprehensible himself, he may enjoy greater liberty in discharging the duty of reprehending offenders. “The husband of one wife.” This does not regard simultaneous polygamy, since simultaneous polygamy, or the having of more than one wife at the same time, was never allowed among the Christians; it was abolished among the Jews, and prohibited by the law of Rome even among Pagans; there is no necessity, therefore, for the Apostle’s referring to it here. The same is clear, from a similar expression regarding widows (verse 9), “the wife of one husband,” which must evidently mean, successively. Hence, he prevents the consecration of a man, as bishop, who was twice married. Successive polygamy was thus early instituted as an irregularity, both for mystical causes and moral reasons, viz., the fears of incontinency.

This passage furnishes no argument against the Catholic discipline of clerical celibacy. The words merely convey a negative precept, or a prohibition to consecrate bigamists, as bishops; but, by no means, a precept for bishops to marry; otherwise, St. Paul himself would be the first to violate it (1 Cor. 7), so likewise would Timothy and Titus, who never married. It is not easy to define the precise period at which celibacy was made obligatory on those engaged in holy orders. The Apostles we are told by Tertullian (de Monogamia), were all unmarried, except St. Peter, And, that such was the general opinion in the third century, appears from the sect which then sprang up, called “Apostolici,” who renounced marriage, in order the more perfectly to imitate the Apostles. And that St. Peter left off marital relations his wife, is clear from the words, “behold we have left all,” &c. We have no instance on record in which persons already in Holy Orders were permitted afterwards to marry, and retain the exercise of their respective orders. There is but one exception wherein the contrary was allowed. In the Council of Ancyra (A.D. 315), it was allowed only to deacons, who, at their ordination, protested their unwillingness to abstain from marriage. However, even this exception was abrogated and annulled by a subsequent disposition of the Church. As to the law of celibacy, in reference to those who, before their ordination, had been married, it is the opinion of many, that in the Western Church, the law making it obligatory, on those engaged in holy orders, to abstain from all intercourse with the wives they had married, before ordination, was derived from St. Peter.—(See Perrone “De Celibatu Ecclesiastico”). Tertullian gave up his wife when he was ordained a priest, and he evidently insinuates that such was the custom throughout the African Church.—“Se dicaverunt filios illius ævi, i.e., primitivi status Paradisi” (lib. de Exhortatione Castit). Aurelius, primate of Africa, expresses the same in the second Council of Carthage, quod Apostoli docuerunt … nos quoque custodiamus. Hence it was, that Pope Siricius (A.D. 385) threatens with punishment, such as act otherwise. Innocent 1., Epistola 2da, ad Vitricium (A.D. 404), and Leo the Great, Ep. 167, ad Rusticum, suppose the same law to exist. And several early Councils enjoin the same.

As for the Eastern Church, St. Jerome and St. Epiphanius assure us that in the East as well as in the West, the ancient discipline was the same in this respect.

QUERY.—How reconcile this with the account left by Socrates and Sozomen, both of whom assure us, that when in the Council of Nice, it was proposed to render the discipline of the Eastern Church conformable to that of the Western, by making it imperative on those engaged in holy orders to separate from their wives, Paphnutius, an Egyptian bishop, who himself led a chaste life, opposed it, as too arduous and difficult?

ANSWER.—In the first place, many persons question this relation of Socrates, &c. (Vide Cabassutium, Notitia Ecclesiastica, Canon 3, Con. Niceni.) They say that St. Jerome and St. Epiphanius, who lived before Socrates, and spent a great part of their lives in the East, had a better right to know the state of discipline prevailing there than Socrates had. And even admitting that Paphnutius did oppose such a law, and that the Council came into his way of thinking, it might be reconciled with the account of St. Jerome, in this way: the discipline of the Western Church, in regard to celibacy, prevailed in the great Churches of the East; a few obscure Churches, in which persons could not be found to receive holy orders, with the obligation of future continency might have departed from this discipline, and in consideration for these, the Council did not enact a law on the subject. Moreover, such a law, emanating from the Council of Nice, might be distorted by the heretics, who denounced marriage as in se evil, to favour their own views.

Be the truth or falsity of this narration of Socrates what it may, it is now certain that since the Council of Quinisextum or Trullanum (so called from being held in one of the halls of the imperial palace at Constantinople, called “Trullus,” A.D. 692), the discipline of the Greek Church permits deacons and priests to cohabit with the wives they had married, before ordination; the same indulgence was denied to bishops. This discipline, although introduced by an uncanonical synod, was afterwards permitted by the universal Church.

“Sober,” a very necessary quality for him who, in virtue of his office, and as his name implies, is supposed to be a vigilant superintendent.

“Prudent,” the Greek word means, one who keeps his passions under thorough control. “Of good behaviour,” i.e., of composed, regular deportment. On clerics in general, the Council of Trent enjoins, “nihil nisi grave, moderatum et religione plenum præ se ferant.”—(SS. 22, cap. 1). “Chaste,” for which there is no corresponding word in the Greek. It must be, then, that the Vulgate interpreter gave the word for “prudent,” σωφρονα, a twofold translation, to mean both “prudent” and “chaste.” “Given to hospitality.” “Hospitality”—a term so often abused and perverted to serve the worst purposes of reckless dissipation and dishonest extravagance—means, a love for strangers, whom a bishop should entertain at his house. Owing to the want of accommodation, and the spirit of persecution, many of the early converts were thrown on the charity of others, and the bishop, as their spiritual father, was therefore bound to be the first in attending to their wants. “A teacher.” Teaching and preaching the divine word is the first duty of a bishop.—(Council of Trent, SS. 24, c. 4).

3 Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but

Not given to wine, not violent in temper, nor ready to strike, but meek and gentle; not quarrelsome, nor given to disputes and wrangling; not fond of money;

“Not given to wine,” a disgraceful vice in a pastor of souls; the Apostle refers to it here, because the Asiatics were not remarkable for their habits of temperance. A Pastor of souls should be a model of self-denial to his flock, especially in the matter of abstinence from intoxicating drinks. “No striker,” not ready of hand to strike. In the Greek copies are to be found the words, μὴ αἰχροκερδῇ, not greedy of filthy lucre. These are not found, however, in the works of St. Chrysostom, nor in any of the old Greek or Latin versions; hence, it is probable they were introduced into the present Greek reading from a corresponding passage (chap 1:8) of Titus, in which they are lead; for the last words of this verse, in our version “not covetous,” express the same thing. “But modest,” merciful, mild. “Not quarrelsome,” not fond of disputes. “Not covetous,” fond of money, “the root of all evils”—(chapter 6 of this Epistle.)

4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity.

But he should be a person who governs well his own household, keeping his sons subject and obedient to him, in all propriety of moral conduct, particularly in the practice of chastity.

From the proper management of his own household, is inferred the fitness of a bishop to govern the Church.

5 But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?

For, if he cannot properly manage his own family, how can it be expected that he will properly manage the Church of God, composed of so many families?

The inference is quite clear: if a man cannot manage his own domestic little Church, how can he manage the larger Church of God? If he cannot manage private affairs, how can he be trusted with public concerns?

6 Not a neophyte: lest, being puffed up with pride, he fall into the judgment of the devil.

Not a man lately converted to the faith and baptized, lest, dazzled by the dignity to which he is raised, he should grow proud, and thus incur the same condemnation, which a similar sin of pride brought on the devil.

“Not a neophyte.” The word νεόφυτον, literally means, one newly planted; in allusion to our being engrafted by baptism on the body of Christ, and incorporated with him.—(Romans, 6:5). Hence, the word “neophyte” means, one lately converted and baptized. Among the many reasons which might be adduced for the exclusion of such a person from the Episcopal office, the Apostle only adduces one, viz., lest, dazzled by his exalted position, and not sufficiently versed in the principles of faith, he would attribute all to his own merits, and thus incur the same judgment of condemnation which the devil, as yet “a neophyte” in heaven, had incurred for a similar sin of pride. As for cases of the ordination of neophytes, (v.g.) St. Ambrose, &c.; these were exceptive cases, in which the precept of the Apostle was dispensed with, because the reason lest, “being puffed up,” &c., was not apprehended; but, on the contrary, a great good was likely to result to the Church.

7 Moreover, he must have a good testimony of them who are without: lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

He ought, likewise, be a person to whose integrity even the infidels could bear testimony, lest otherwise he fall into disgrace, by being reproached with his own crimes, while correcting others, and so fall into the snare of the devil, by deserting the faith, in a fit of despair.

There are two reasons why he should be a man of good character, even among the Pagans: first, “lest he fall into reproach,” by being reproached with his former deeds of sin, and thus his authority necessarily diminished; and secondly, “fall into the snare of the devil,” i.e., into anger, hatred, impatience; or, finally, into despair, by being reproached with his former sins. Hence, the caution observed in all ages by the Church and by ecclesiastical superiors, in the advancement of men to Holy Orders, and to the awful responsibilities of the sacred ministry.—(See verse 22).

8 Deacons in like manner: chaste, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre:

Deacons, in like manner, should be distinguished for a becoming propriety of morals, particularly in the matter of chastity, not deceitfully saying one thing and thinking another, or saying one thing to one party, and a different thing to another; not addicted to indulge over much in wine; not avaricious in the pursuit of filthy lucre.

“Deacons in like manner should be chaste.” The Greek word for “chaste,” σεμνους, means grave, i.e., remarkable for moral propriety in general. The nature of his duties, viz., ministering at the altar, attending the bishop, dispensing the Holy Eucharist, &c., required in the deacon great purity of soul and body. “Not double-tongued,” a most disgraceful vice in a man, whose tongue should be the organ of the Holy Ghost. “Not given to much wine;” indulgence in wine weakens the faculties of the soul. “Not greedy of filthy lucre,” a virtue most necessary for deacons, to whom were given in charge the treasures of the Church.

The Apostle passes here at once from the bishops to the deacons. Hence, it is asked, what is become of the second order of the clergy? Some divines, and among the rest, St. Thomas and St. Anselm, say, that the term, Episcopus, or bishop includes “priests,” because priests, too, had to discharge the office of superintendent, or bishop, in a subordinate way. This opinion is rejected by others, who deny that Episcopus, or bishop, was ever used to designate a priest of the second order. They say, that in ecclesiastical usage, it always designated the chief pastor of a Church, and here the word “bishop” is used in the singular number (verse 1), while “deacons” is used (verse 8) in the plural, as if to show that, when speaking of bishops, the Apostle referred to that order of pastors, only one of whom can be found in any city; whereas, presbyteri or priests were many in one Church, “inducat presbyteros ecclesiæ.”—(James 5) St. Epiphanius says—the reason why he makes no mention of priests is, because in the primitive ages, the public functions of the Church were discharged by the bishop, assisted by the deacons: hence, the ministrations of priests in many instances were not required, because the number of the faithful in several cities was very small. Of this, the city of Neocesarea, of which St. Gregory Thaumaturgus was bishop, furnishes an example. It may be given as a general answer, that the very great similarity between the functions of the bishops and priests, (v.g.) conferring sacraments, consecrating the Eucharist, celebrating Mass, &c., made it quite unnecessary fur the Apostle to refer to the priests, as a distinct order; whereas, the functions of the deacons were quite distinct, under whom he includes the sub-deacons, on account of the similarity of functions also.—(See Philippians, 1:1; Titus, 1:5).

9 Holding the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.

Firmly adhering to and guarding Christian faith, or faith in the mysteries of the Christian religion, with a conscience pure and free from reproach.

“The mystery of faith,” may also mean: the obscure truths of faith unknown to the common faithful. Some understand by it, the Eucharist, the distribution of which was one of the principal functions of the deacons; according to them the meaning is, distributing the adorable Eucharist—which in the very words or consecration is termed “mysterium fidci,”—with a clean conscience.

10 And let these also first be proved: and so let them minister, having no crime.

And let these, too, be first proved and subjected to a rigorous trial for a long time, and after that, if no crime can be alleged against them, let them be admitted to the sacred ministry of serving.

11 The women in like manner: chaste, not slanderers, but sober, faithful in all things.

The woman should, in like manner, be distinguished for moral propriety, particularly in the matter of chastity; not given to calumny or detraction, and faithful in all things.

By “women,” some, with St. Chrysostom, understand deaconesses, or religious temales, who were deputed by the bishops to perform certain functions in the Church. (Vide Epistle to the Romans, 16) Others understand by them, the wives of the deacons, whose faults might be injurious to religion and chargeable on the deacons themselves, in the same way as the bishop would be charged with the irregularity of his own household (verse 5). Both meanings might be united, as, probably, the wives of the deacons might have discharged the functions of deaconesses.

“Not slanderers,” this is a vice to which women are very subject. “Faithful in all things;” if this regard deaconesses, it has reference to the dispensing of the contributions among persons of their own sex, to whom men had no access, according to the custom of the Greeks; if it regard the wives of the deacons, it means, that they should be faithful to the marriage contract (and not be adulteresses), and in the management of their domestic concerns.

12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife: who rule well their children and their own houses.

The deacons should be husbands of one wife, and also should have their sons and their entire household well regulated.

This verse is explained in the same way as the second.

13 For they that have ministered well shall purchase to themselves a good degree and much confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Those who will have well served in the office of deacon will merit for themselves an honourable post, and earn for themselves much confidence and freedom of speech in preaching the faith of Christ Jesus.

“A good degree,” according to some, means the office of presbyter or bishop; according to others, the highest grade of glory in eternal life, for their humble services in the functions of deacon. “Much confidence in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” i.e., much confidence in admonishing and correcting others relative to their Christian duties. This will be the result of their own personal irreprehensibility.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013


A Summary of 1 Tim 1:1-20~St. Paul left Timothy in charge of affairs in the Church of Ephesus as he himself made a journey into Macedonia. Timothy was young, delicate in health, and naturally timid; and there was reason for apprehension as to how he might get on with the false teachers at Ephesus, if St. Paul was long delayed in returning to him. The Apostle, therefore, decided to send a letter to him. In the opening section he first greets his beloved son (1 Tim 1:1-2); then repeats the warning against false teachers he had given before leaving him (1 Tim 1:3-1 1), citing his own conversion on the road to Damascus as an instance of the power of the Gospel to assist Timothy in his work and to correct the erring teachers (1 Tim 1:12-17); and terminates by reminding the youthful bishop of the charge that has been committed to him as a true teacher of the doctrines of Christ (1 Tim 1:18-20).

1 Tim 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and of Christ Jesus our hope:

Paul an apostle, etc. St. Paul thus asserts his apostolic authority at the beginning of nine of his letters—in all, therefore, except Phil., Phlm., 1 and 2 Thess., and Heb. This he does in order to give greater weight and solemnity to his words, not only with the faithful and to those to whom he is writing, but also and especially with the false teachers or enemies whom, as in the present Epistle, he is combating.

The commandment, i.e., the divine command by which the apostolic office has been laid upon him.

God our Saviour. The title “Saviour,” as attributed to God the father, is peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles, where it occurs six times, reminding us that the Eternal Father is the ultimate source and fountain of salvation, and that Jesus Christ, to whom St. Paul usually attributes this title, is the divine medium through which the Father’s salvation is conveyed to us.

Christ Jesus our hope, i.e., the object and foundation of our hope. It was not Moses or the Law of Moses, as the Judaizers taught, but Jesus Christ through whom we are to be saved.

1 Tim 1:2. To Timothy, his true son in faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God
the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

Timothy. See Introduction to i Tim., No. I.

Here is what Fr. Callan wrote concerning Timothy in the Introduction~Of St. Paul’s many faithful disciples Timothy seems to have been the one dearest to his heart and most according to his own mind. He wrote of him to the Philippians as follows: “I have no man so of the same mind, who with sincere affection is solicitous for you. For all seek the things that are their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s” (Phil. 2:20, 21). Timothy was born at Lystra in Lycaonia of a Greek father and a Jewish mother, named Unice (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim. 1:5). It seems that his father died young, and the child was reared and carefully trained in the Old Testament Scriptures by his devout mother and grandmother. It would appear also that these three embraced Christianity when St. Paul preached at Lystra on his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6 ff.). Timothy was about sixteen or seventeen years old at this time, and, when Paul revisited Lystra on his second journey, he chose the youthful and devoted convert as a special companion and helper in the work of the Gospel, having first circumcised him to facilitate his work among the Jews, and ordained him by the laying on of hands (Acts 16:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6, 7). Thereafter, from the frequent mention of his name in the Acts and in the Epistles, we see that he was almost constantly with the Apostle. Whether or not he was with his master during the latter’s imprisonment at Caesarea and on the voyage thence to Rome, we do not know; but it is certain that he was in the Eternal City while St. Paul was imprisoned there the first time, because his name appears in the opening verses of the Captivity Epistles—Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. He was also with the Apostle during the interval between the two Roman imprisonments; for it was at this time that St. Paul appointed him Bishop of Ephesus (Eusebius, Hist. Ecci, III, iv, 6; Apost. Constit., vii, 46), and left him in charge of that important see. When the Apostle was nearing his end during his second captivity in Rome, he wrote to Timothy to make haste to come to him before winter (2 Tim. 1:4, 4:8, 21). After this we know no more about him, save from tradition, according to which he was martyred at Ephesus in his old age for interfering with the celebration of a licentious heathen feast. St. Jerome tells us that his body was brought to Constantinople and buried there. His feast, as that of a Martyred Bishop, is celebrated in the Latin Church on January 24. He has been declared a Saint also by the Greek, Armenian, Coptic, and Maronite Churches.

We may get an idea of St. Timothy’s character from what is said of him in the Acts and especially in the Epistles, from the duties entrusted to him and the labors performed by him, and from the great love St. Paul bore him. He was intelligent, innocent, gentle, timid, and yet sufficiently strong, courageous, and fearless when virtue and religion were at stake. He could not so well brave the rough world and wicked opponents as did St. Paul, and yet by the grace of God, though trembling and naturally fearful, he could go when necessary into the thick of the battle. Paul could always depend upon him to do his best, in spite of his shrinking disposition and delicate health. He was ever the Apostle’s “beloved son,” tried and true, full of faith and hope and love. He had found the more excellent way, and by the grace of God he walked in it throughout his days. Cf. Heyes, Paul and His Epistles, pp. 465 flF. ; Pope, Student’s “Aids” to the Study of the Bible, vol. Ill, pp. 235 ff.

His true son in faith, seems to indicate that Timothy had been instructed in the faith and baptized by St. Paul; Timothy was St. Paul’s spiritual child, and such he always remained to the venerable Apostle.

Grace, mercy, and peace. See on Eph. 1:2. The word “mercy” is here added to the salutation, as in 2 Tim. 1:2, perhaps because the aged Apostle now felt the greater need of this most attractive and conspicuous attribute of God, and also in order to draw attention to the source of “grace” and “peace.”

The dilecto of the Vulgate ought to be vero or sincere, as in the Greek.

1 Tim 1:12. I give him thanks who hath strengthened me, even to Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he hath counted me faithful, putting me in the ministry;

The mention of the Gospel entrusted to him induces the Apostle to make a personal digression in 1 Tim 1:12-17, reflecting on his own life, and thanking God for the grace vouchsafed to him in spite of his unworthiness, while incidentally vindicating his authority against the Judaizers and proclaiming the saving mercy of Jesus Christ.

Who hath strengthened me, with His grace, not only at the time of my conversion, but throughout my ministry as an Apostle.

Christ Jesus. This is the order of these words everywhere in this Epistle, It is the Anointed of God (Christ) who is the Saviour (Jesus) of mankind.

Faithful, i.e., trustworthy, through the grace of Christ ( 1 Cor 7:25).

The ministry. The Greek word for “ministry” here in the time of St. Paul meant the apostolate, whereas in the second century it had come to designate the order of deaconship. Hence we have in the use of the word here an argument for the early date of this letter. St. Paul would hardly be speaking of himself as having been called to the deaconship.

1 Tim 1:13. Who before was a blasphemer and a persecutor and contumelious. But I obtained mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief:

Although he acted out of ignorance and misdirected zeal, St. Paul can never forget or cease to regret that he opposed the cause of Christ, persecuted the Church, and outraged the rights of men (Acts 7:58 ff., 9:1 ff., 26:9; 1 Cor. 15:9; Phil. 3:6). His sins were only material, but he will not excuse his blind conduct.

Contumelious means a wanton aggressor of men’s rights (Acts 22:4).

The Dei of the Vulgate is not in the Greek.

14. Now the grace of our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

Abounded exceedingly. The Greek for this expression is found only here in the Greek Bible, St. Paul means to say that the grace of God in him went beyond his conversion and made him
an Apostle besides (Rom 5:20), He mentions “faith,” as opposed to his former infidelity, and “love,” as opposed to his former hate and persecution of the Church of Christ.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of 1 Timothy 1, followed by his notes on 1 Tim 1:1-2, 12-14. Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions,


In this chapter, the Apostle, after the usual Apostolical salutation (1-2), renews  instructions which he gave Timothy (3), on leaving Ephesus, to denounce certain false teachers, who had altogether mistaken the aim and object of the law, of which they constituted themselves the expounders (5, 6, 7). He guards against the calumny, with which he was often charged, of being the enemy of the law itself (8), and points out the end for which the law was given (9 ff) He gives thanks to God for having called him to the sacred ministry, notwithstanding his unworthiness (12, 13, 14, &c.) And, finally, he recommends Timothy to attend to the precepts contained in the entire chapter (18 ff).

1 Tim 1:1 PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the commandment of God our Saviour and Christ Jesus our hope:

Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the authority and commission of God the Father, who has saved us through his son, whom he sent, and of Jesus Christ, who is both the meritorious cause and object of our hope.

“According to the commandment of God our Saviour,” i.e., God the Father, because the mission of an Apostle being, what is usually termed, an actus ad extra, is common to the Trinity. Hence the acts of the Holy Ghost, “Separate unto me Saul and Barnabas,” &c. (Acts, 13:2), as also of the Son, “For unto the Gentiles afar off will I send thee,” (Acts, 22:21), are the acts of God the Father also.

“And of Christ Jesus.” In Greek, and of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “Lord,” is rejected by critics generally.

1 Tim 1:2 To Timothy, his beloved son in faith. Grace, mercy and peace, from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Writes) to Timothy his genuine son in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God the Father, and from Jesus Christ our Lord.

“His beloved son.” In the Greek, it is, γνησίῳ τέκνω, his genuine son; he may be called the son of St. Paul in the faith; because, although Timothy had learned the faith from his infancy, and before the arrival of St. Paul at Lystra; still, the Apostle more fully developed the truths of faith; and confirmed him in it. Again, he might be called “his son,” from the assiduity and fidelity with which he served him in preaching the gospel (Philippians, 2:22); and because he so perfectly imitated the Apostle, as to reflect in himself most perfectly his life and morals. “Mercy;” the fountain of “grace” and “peace;” or, it may mean, merciful meekness and clemency—a gift so necessary for a young Prelate. “From God the Father.” In Greek, our father. The Vulgate reading is commonly preferred, although St. Chrysostom has the Greek reading.

1 Tim 1:12 I give him thanks who hath strengthened me, even to Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he hath counted me faithful, putting me in the ministry:

 I give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, for having strengthened me by his grace for so arduous an undertaking, and for having confided to me so important a ministry, one of the chief requisites of which is, fidelity.

The mention of the gospel ministry intrusted to him, puts the Apostle in mind of his former sins and unworthiness. He renders thanks to God for his special goodness towards him, which his former sinfulness and unworthiness render the more illustrious. “For he that had counted me faithful, putting me in the ministry,” is a phrase signifying, that God called him to his sacred ministry, wherein the chief requisite is fidelity, which must be secured by his own grace. It by no means signifies that God was moved by the provision of fidelity and of the good use of grace in St. Paul, as a motive for calling him to the ministry. This would savour of semi-Pelagianism.

1 Tim 1:13 Who before was a blasphemer and a persecutor and contumelious. But I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Who, before, had been a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and a contumelious enemy of God. But God took compassion on me, because I acted from ignorance, while I was yet in the darkness of unbelief

He recounts his former sinfulnes for the purpose of displaying in a stronger light, the infinite goodness of God towards him, and of exciting himself to more intense feelings of gratitude. He was a “blasphemer” by words, a “persecutor” by his deeds, and he was a “contumelious” enemy by the unjust violence to which he had resorted. But he “obtained mercy,” because his ignorance was an extenuation of his guilt, and he placed a lesser obstacle to grace, than if he had sinned knowingly, through malice. Others interpret the words, “because I did it ignorantly in unbelief,” thus: because the greatness of my misery and spiritual blindness was such as to render me a fit subject for the exercise of divine mercy; sins of ignorance constitute, above all others, the greatest misery. Of course, the Apostle by no means insinuates that his ignorance and spiritual misery was anything else than the occasional cause of his justification, the mercy of God being the real cause.

1 Tim 1:14 Now the grace of our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.

He not only pardoned me, but the grace of our Lord superabounded in me, so as to overcome my perversity in a signal degree, by conferring on me the fruits of Christian faith and love.

“Hath abounded exceedingly,” i.e., the grace of God far exceeded his iniquity. God not only pardoned him, and showed him mercy, but he also bestowed on him the gifts of his grace and its fruit—“faith,” which was opposed to his former incredulity, and “love,” to his former hatred of Christ.

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