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The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:8-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 22, 2017

“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began; but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

THERE is nothing worse than that man should measure and judge of divine things by human reasonings. For thus he will fall from that rock3 a vast distance, and be deprived of the light. For if he who wishes with human eyes to apprehend the rays of the sun will not only not apprehend them, but, besides this failure, will sustain great injury; so, but in a higher degree, is he in a way to suffer this, and abusing the gift of God, who would by human reasonings gaze intently on that Light. Observe accordingly how Marcion, and Manes, and Valentinus, and others who introduced their heresies and pernicious doctrines4 into the Church of God, measuring divine things by human reasonings, became ashamed of the Divine economy. Yet it was not a subject for shame, but rather for glorying; I speak of the Cross of Christ. For there is not so great a sign of the love of God for mankind, not heaven, nor sea, nor earth, nor the creation of all things out of nothing, nor all else beside, as the Cross. Hence it is the boast of Paul, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 6:14.) But natural men, and those who attribute to God no more than to human beings, stumble, and become ashamed. Wherefore Paul from the first exhorts his disciple, and through him all others, in these words: “Be not thou ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,” that is,5 “Be not ashamed, that thou preachest One that was crucified, but rather glory in it.” For in themselves death and imprisonment and chains are matters of shame and reproach. But when the cause is added before us, and the mystery viewed aright, they will appear full of dignity, and matter for boasting. For it was that death which saved the world, when it was perishing. That death connected earth with heaven, that death destroyed the power of the devil, and made men angels, and sons of God: that death raised our nature to the kingly throne. Those chains were the conversion of many. “Be not” therefore “ashamed,” he says, “of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel”; that is, though thou shouldest suffer the same things, be not thou ashamed. For that this is implied appears from what he said above; “God hath given us a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”; and by what follows, “Be thou partaker of the sufferings of the Gospel”: not merely be not ashamed of them, but be not ashamed even to experience them.

And he does not say, “Do not fear,” but, the more to encourage him, “be not ashamed,” as if there were no further danger, if he could overcome the shame. For shame is only then oppressive, when one is overcome by it. Be not therefore ashamed, if I, who raised the dead, who wrought miracles, who traversed the world, am now a prisoner. For I am imprisoned, not as a malefactor, but for the sake of Him who was crucified. If my Lord was not ashamed of the Cross, neither am I of chains. And with great propriety, when he exhorts him not to be ashamed, he reminds him of the Cross. If thou art not ashamed of the Cross, he means, neither be thou of chains; if our Lord and Master endured the Cross, much more should we chains. For he who is ashamed of what He endured, is ashamed of Him that was crucified. Now it is not on my own account that I bear these chains; therefore do not give way to human feelings, but bear thy part in these sufferings. “Be partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel.” He says not this, as if the Gospel could suffer injury, but to excite his disciple to suffer for it.

“According to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”
More especially because it was a hard thing to say, “Be partakers of afflictions,” he again consoles him.1 Reckon that thou sustainest these things, not by thine own power, but by the power of God. For it is thy part to choose and to be zealous, but God’s to alleviate sufferings and bid them cease.2 He then shows him the proofs of His power. Consider how thou wast saved, how thou wast called. As he elsewhere says, “According to His power that worketh in us.” (Eph. 3:20.) So much was it a greater exercise of power to persuade the world to believe, than to make the Heavens. But how was he “called with a holy calling”?3 This means, He made them saints, who were sinners and enemies. “And this not of ourselves, it was the gift of God.” If then He is mighty in calling us, and good, in that He hath done it of grace and not of debt, we ought not to fear. For He Who, when we should have perished,4 saved us, though enemies, by grace, will He not much more cooperate with us, when He sees us working? “Not according to our own works,” he says, “but according to his own purpose and grace,” that is, no one compelling, no one counseling Him, but of His own purpose, from the impulse of His own goodness, He saved us; for this is the meaning of “according to His own purpose.” “Which was given us before the world began.” That is, it was determined without beginning that these things should be done in Christ Jesus. This is no light consideration, that from the first He willed it. It was not an after-thought. How then is not the Son eternal? for He also willed it from the beginning.

Ver. 10. “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel.”

Thou seest the power, thou seest the gift bestowed not by works, but through the Gospel. These are objects of hope: for both were wrought in His Body. And how will they be wrought in ours? “By the Gospel.”

Ver. 11. “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher and an Apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”

Why does he so constantly repeat this, and call himself a teacher of the Gentiles? Because he wishes to persuade them that they also ought to draw close to the Gentiles. Be not therefore dismayed at my sufferings. The sinews of death are unstrung. It is not as a malefactor that I suffer, but because I am “a teacher of the Gentiles.” At the same time he makes his discourse worthy of credit.

Ver. 12. “For the which cause I also suffer these things, nevertheless I am not ashamed. For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

“I am not ashamed,” he says. For are chains, are sufferings, a matter for shame? Be not then ashamed! Thou seest how he illustrates his teaching by his works. “These things,” he says, “I suffer”: I am cast into prison, I am banished; “For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him1 against That Day.” What is2 “that which is committed”?3 The faith, the preaching of the Gospel. He, who committed this to him, he says, will preserve it unimpaired. I suffer everything, that I may not be despoiled of this treasure, and I am not ashamed at these things, so long as it is preserved uninjured. Or he calls the Faithful the charge which God committed to him, or which he committed to God. For he says, “Now I commit you to the Lord.” (Acts 20:32.) That is, these things will not be unprofitable to me. And in Timothy is seen the fruit of the charge thus “committed.” You see that he is insensible to sufferings, from the hope that he entertains of his disciples.

MORAL. Such ought a Teacher to be, so to regard his disciples, to think them everything. “Now we live,” he says, “if ye stand fast in the Lord.” And again, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ?” (1 Thess. 3:8, and 2:19.) You see his anxiety in this matter, his regard for the good of his disciples, not less than for his own.4 For teachers ought to surpass natural parents, to be more zealous than they. And it becomes their children to be kindly affectioned towards them. For he says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls as they that must give account.” (Heb. 13:17.) For say, is he subject to so dangerous a responsibility, and art thou not willing to obey him, and that too, for thy own benefit? For though his own state should be good, yet as long as thou art in a bad condition his anxiety continues, he has a double account to render. And consider what it is to be responsible and anxious for each of those who are under his rule. What honor wouldest thou have reckoned equal, what service, in requital of such dangers? Thou canst not offer an equivalent. For thou hast not yet devoted thy soul for him, but he lays down his life for thee, and if he lays it not down here, when the occasion requires it, he loses it There. But thou art not willing to submit even in words. This is the prime cause of all these evils, that the authority of rulers is neglected, that there is no reverence, no fear. He says, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.” But now all is turned upside down and confounded. And this I say not for the sake of the rulers; (for what benefit will they have of the honor they receive from us,5 except so far as we are rendered obedient;) but I say it for your advantage. For with respect to the future, they will not be benefited by the honor done them, but receive the greater condemnation, neither will they be injured as to the future by ill treatment, but will have the more excuse. But all this I desire to be done for your own sakes. For when rulers are honored by their people, this too is reckoned against them; as in the case of Eli it is said, “Did I not choose him out of his father’s house?” (1 Sam. 2:27.) But when they are insulted, as in the instance of Samuel, God said, “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me.” (1 Sam. 8:7.) Therefore insult is their gain, honor their burden. What I say, therefore, is for your sakes, not for theirs. He that honors the Priest, will honor God also; and he who has learnt to despise the Priest, will in process of time insult God. “He that receiveth you,” He saith, “receiveth Me.” (Matt. 10:40.) “Hold my priests in honor” (Ecclus. 7:31?), He says. The Jews learned to despise God, because they despised Moses, and would have stoned him. For when a man is piously disposed towards the Priest, he is much more so towards God. And even if the Priest be wicked, God seeing that thou respectest him, though unworthy of honor, through reverence to Him, will Himself reward thee. For if “he that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward” (Matt. 10:41); then he who honoreth and submitteth and giveth way to the Priest shall certainly be rewarded. For if in the case of hospitality, when thou knowest not the guest, thou receivest so high a recompense, much more wilt thou be requited, if thou obeyest him whom He requires thee to obey. “The Scribes and Pharisees,” He says, “sit in Moses’ seat; all therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do, but do not ye after their works.” (Matt. 23:2, 3.) Knowest thou not what the Priest is? He is an Angel6 of the Lord. Are they his own words that he speaks? If thou despisest him, thou despisest not him, but God that ordained him. But how does it appear, thou askest, that he is ordained of God? Nay, if thou suppose it otherwise, thy hope is rendered vain. For if God worketh nothing through his means, thou neither hast any Laver, nor art partaker of the Mysteries, nor of the benefit of Blessings; thou art therefore not a Christian. What then, you say, does God ordain all, even the unworthy? God indeed doth not ordain all, but He worketh through all, though they be themselves unworthy, that the people may be saved. For if He spoke, for the sake of the people, by an ass, and by Balaam, a most wicked man, much more will He speak by the mouth of the Priest. What indeed will not God do or say for our salvation? By whom doth He not act? For if He wrought through Judas and those other that “prophesied,” to whom He will say, “I never knew you; depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity” (Matt. 7:22, 23); and if others “cast out devils” (Ps. 6:8); will He not much more work through the Priests? Since if we were to make inquisition into the lives of our rulers, we should then become the ordainers1 of our own teachers, and all would be confusion; the feet would be uppermost, the head below. Hear Paul saying, “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment.” (1 Cor. 4:3.) And again, “Why dost thou judge thy brother?” (Rom. 14:10.) For if we may not judge our brother, much less our teacher. If God commands this indeed, thou doest well, and sinnest if thou do it not; but if the contrary, dare not do it, nor attempt to go beyond the lines that are marked out. After Aaron had made the golden calf, Corah, Dathan, and Abiram raised an insurrection against him. And did they not perish? Let each attend to his own department. For if he teach perverted doctrine, though he be an Angel, obey him not; but if he teach the truth, take heed not to his life, but to his words. Thou hast Paul to instruct thee in what is right both by words and works. But thou sayest, “He gives not to the poor, he does not govern well.” Whence knowest thou this? Blame not, before thou art informed. Be afraid of the great account. Many judgments are formed upon mere opinion. Imitate thy Lord, who said, “I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, and if not, I will know.” (Gen. 18:21.) But if thou hast enquired, and informed thyself, and seen; yet await the Judge, and usurp not the office of Christ. To Him it belongs, and not to thee, to make this inquisition. Thou art an inferior servant, not a master. Thou art a sheep, be not curious concerning the shepherd, lest thou have to give account of thy accusations against him. But you say, How does he teach me that which he does not practice himself? It is not he that speaks to thee. If it be he whom thou obeyest, thou hast no reward. It is Christ that thus admonishes thee. And what do I say? Thou oughtest not to obey even Paul, if he speaks of himself, or anything human, but the Apostle, that has Christ speaking in him. Let not us judge one another’s conduct, but each his own. Examine thine own life.

But thou sayest, “He ought to be better than I.” Wherefore? “Because he is a Priest.” And is he not superior to thee in his labors, his dangers, his anxious conflicts and troubles? But if he is not better, oughtest thou therefore to destroy thyself? These are the words of arrogance.2 For how is he not better than thyself? He steals, thou sayest, and commits sacrilege! How knowest thou this? Why dost thou cast thyself down a precipice? If thou shouldest hear it said that such an one hath a purple robe,3 though thou knewest it to be true, and couldest convict him, thou declinest to do it, and pretendest ignorance, not being willing to run into unnecessary danger. But in this case thou art so far from being backward, that even without cause thou exposest thyself to the danger. Nor think thou art not responsible for these words. Hear what Christ says, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matt. 12:36.) And dost thou think thyself better than another, and dost thou not groan, and beat thy breast, and bow down thy head, and imitate the Publican?

And then thou destroyest thyself, though thou be better. Be silent, that thou cease not to be better. If thou speak of it, thou hast done away the merit; if thou thinkest it, I do not say so; if thou dost not think it, thou hast added much. For if a notorious sinner, when he confessed, “went home justified,” he who is a sinner in a less degree, and is conscious of it, how will he not be rewarded? Examine thy own life. Thou dost not steal; but thou art rapacious, and overbearing, and guilty of many other such things. I say not this to defend theft; God forbid! deeply lament if there is any one really guilty of it, but I do not believe it. How great an evil is sacrilege, it is impossible to say. But I spare you. For I would not that our virtue should be rendered vain by accusing others. What was worse than the Publican? For it is true that he was a publican, and guilty of many offenses, yet because the Pharisee only said, “I am not as this publican,” he destroyed all his merit. I am not, thou sayest, like this sacrilegious Priest. And dost not thou make all in vain?

This I am compelled to say, and to enlarge upon in my discourse, not so much because I am concerned for them, but because I fear for you, lest you should render your virtue vain by this boasting of yourselves, and condemnation of others. For hear the exhortation of Paul, “Let every one prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Gal. 6:4.)

If you had a wound, tell me, and should go to a physician, would you stay him from salving and dressing your own wound, and be curious to enquire whether the physician had a wound, or not? and if he had, would you mind it? Or because he had it, would you forbear dressing your own, and say, A physician ought to be in sound health, and since he is not so, I shall let my wound go uncured? For will it be any palliation1 for him that is under rule, that his Priest is wicked? By no means. He will suffer the destined punishment, and you too will meet with that which is your due. For the Teacher now only fills a place. For “it is written, They shall all be taught of God.” (John 6:54; Isa. 54:13.) “Neither shall they say, Know the Lord. For all shall know Me from the least to the greatest.” (Jer. 31:34.) Why then, you will say, does he preside? Why is he set over us? I beseech you, let us not speak ill of our teachers, nor call them to so strict an account, lest we bring evil upon ourselves. Let us examine ourselves, and we shall not speak ill of others. Let us reverence that day, on which he enlightened2 us. He who has a father, whatever faults he has, conceals them all. For it is said, “Glory not in the dishonor of thy father; for thy father’s dishonor is no glory unto thee. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him.” (Ecclus. 3:10–12) And if this be said of our natural fathers, much more of our spiritual fathers. Reverence him, in that he every day ministers to thee, causes the Scriptures to be read, sets the house in order for thee, watches for thee, prays for thee, stands imploring God on thy behalf, offers supplications for thee, for thee is all his worship. Reverence all this, think of this, and approach him with pious respect. Say not, he is wicked. What of that? He that is not wicked,3 doth he of himself bestow upon thee these great benefits? By no means. Everything worketh according to thy faith. Not even the righteous man can benefit thee, if thou art unfaithful, nor the unrighteous harm thee, if thou art faithful. God, when He would save His people, wrought for the ark by Oxen.4 Is it the good life or the virtue of the Priest that confers so much on thee? The gifts which God bestows are not such as to be effects of the virtue of the Priest. All is of grace. His part is but to open his mouth, while God worketh all: the Priest only performs a symbol.5 Consider how wide was the distance between John and Jesus. Hear John saying, “I have need to be baptized of Thee” (Matt. 3:14.), and, “Whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” (John 1:27.) Yet notwithstanding this difference, the Spirit descended. Which John had not. For “of His fullness,” it is said, “we all have received.” (John 1:16.) Yet nevertheless, It descended not till He was baptized. But neither was it John who caused It to descend. Why then is this done? That thou mayest learn that the Priest performs a symbol.6 No man differs so widely from another man, as John from Jesus, and yet with him7 the Spirit descended, that we may learn, that it is God who worketh all, that all is God’s doing. I am about to say what may appear strange, but be not astonished nor startled at it. The Offering is the same, whether a common man, or Paul or Peter offer it. It is the same which Christ gave to His disciples, and which the Priests now minister. This is nowise inferior to that, because it is not men that sanctify even this, but the Same who sanctified the one sanctifies the other also. For as the words which God spake are the same which the Priest now utters, so is the Offering the same, and the Baptism, that which He gave. Thus the whole is of faith. The Spirit immediately fell upon Cornelius, because he had previously fulfilled his part, and contributed his faith. And this is His Body, as well as that. And he who thinks the one inferior to the other, knows not that Christ even now is present, even now operates. Knowing therefore these things, which we have not said without reason, but that we may conform your minds in what is right, and render you more secure for the future, keep carefully in mind what has been spoken. For if we are always hearers, and never doers, we shall reap no advantage from what is said. Let us therefore attend diligently to the things spoken. Let us imprint them upon our minds. Let us have them ever engraved upon our consciences, and let us continually ascribe glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 Timothy 1:8-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 22, 2017

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of chapter 1, followed by his comments on today’s reading. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF 2 TIMOTHY CHAPTER ONE

In this chapter, the Apostle, after the usual Apostolical salutation, expresses his great affection for Timothy of which he gives a proof in his unceasing remembrance of him (1–3); and he shows how deserving Timothy was of this affection (4, 5). He, next, exhorts him to re-enkindle within him the grace which he received at his ordination. To preach the gospel with fortitude, and not to be ashamed of Christ crucified (8).

After having adduced several engaging motives for enduring sufferings and labour in the cause of the Gospel, he points out the manner of preaching, and the doctrine to be preached (9–14). He notes the defection of certain parties from the faith, and commends the charity of Onesiphorus towards himself in chains, for which he prays that he may be amply remunerated by God (15–18).

2 Tim 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but labour with the gospel, according to the power of God.

Be not, therefore, ashamed to bear testimony to our Lord Jesus Christ crucified, by preaching his Gospel; nor be ashamed of me, a prisoner on his account; but labour along with me in bearing the afflictions to which all the ministers of the Gospel are subjected, according to the strength given thee by God.

The “testimony of Christ,” may mean the gospel, which means a testimony handed down by witnesses, or rather the preaching of Christ crucified. “But labour with the gospel.” The Greek, συγκακοπαθησον = synkakopatheson, means, suffer together with the gospel. This he ought to do, in virtue of that spirit of love and equanimity which he received. “According to the power of God;” distrusting himself, he should repose all his hopes in God.

2 Tim 1:9 Who hath delivered us and called us by his holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the times of the world:

Who has saved us from sin and eternal death and has, for this end, called us to a state of sanctity, not certainly in consideration of our works; (for, they were evil), but out of his own liberal bounty, and gratuitous mercy, which was decreed from eternity to be given to us, in consideration of the merits of Jesus Christ.

“Who has delivered us.” (In the Greek, τοῦ σώσαντος ἡμᾶς, = tou sosantos hemas =  saved us), from sin and its consequences, temporal and eternal, “and called us by his holy calling.” He saved us, by calling us to a state of sanctification. “According to his own purpose and grace, which was given,” i.e., given from eternity on the part of God, in virtue of his unchangeable decree, though it is only in time we could enjoy its effects.

2 Tim 1:10 But is now made manifest by the illumination of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath destroyed death and hath brought to light life and incorruption by the gospel.

But this gratuitous and merciful will of God in our regard, though hidden from eternity in God, has now been manifested by the advent and apparition of Jesus Christ our Saviour, who, indeed, by his passion destroyed the dominion of death, and brought into open light, immortal and incorruptible life, and afforded us a sure hope of enjoying it, by the preaching of his Gospel throughout the world.

“By the illumination,” i.e., the apparition and coming, as appears from the Greek, which literally is, Epiphany. “Who hath destroyed death,” or, according to the Greek, καταργῆσαντος μεν τὸν θάνατον = katargesantos men ton thnaton = rendered void death, by depriving it of its dominion over man, “and hath brought to light, life and incorruption, by the gospel.” Christ did this in two ways—first, he showed incorruptible life in himself, for forty days after his Resurrection; secondly, by the preaching of the gospel, throughout the world, he gave us a certain hope of one day enjoying the same incorruptible life.

 

 

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Father Callan’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:13-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 5, 2015

To help provide context this post opens with Fr. Callan’s summary of 1 Tim 6:3-21 followed by his comments on verses 13-16.

CLOSING INSTRUCTIONS TO TIMOTHY
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 6:13. I charge thee before God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who gave testimony under Pontius Pilate, a good confession:
1 Tim 6:14. That thou keep the commandment without spot, blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,

St. Paul now charges Timothy before God, the Creator, “who quickeneth all things” (better, “who preserveth all things in life”) and before His Son Jesus Christ, “who gave testimony, etc.” (i.e., who made the good confession of His divine Kingship and Sonship in the presence or at the time of Pontius Pilate, Matt 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33 ff.), to practice, profess, and defend the faith; it is this divine example of our Lord that will enable Timothy to “keep the commandment without spot,” i.e., the commands and precepts, implied or expressed, which were laid on him at the time of his baptism or ordination (ver. 12).

Unto the coming, etc., i.e., till the Second Coming of the Lord in glory. The Greek word for “coming” here is found again in the New Testament only in 2 Thess. 2:8; but it occurs often in the LXX. On the other hand, St. Paul uses a great variety of expressions to describe the Second Advent (cf. 1 Thess. 2:2; 1 Cor. 1:8, 5:5; Phil. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:12, etc.).

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

The Second Coming or final manifestation of Jesus Christ will occur “in his times,” i.e., in the season known only to him.

Who is the Blessed and only Mighty, etc. It is probable that these words and those of verse 16, which constitute a magnificent doxology, belonged to a primitive hymn. The phrase “King of kings and Lord Lord of lords” is found also in Dan. 4:34 (cf. Deut. 10:17; Ps. 136:3). God alone has essential and underived immortality; He dwells in light because He is light; and He cannot be seen as He is in Himself by mortal man in this life, nor in the life to come save as the human soul is elevated and strengthened by the light of glory.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on 1 Timothy 6:13-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 5, 2015

This post opens with a summary analysis of all of 1 Tim 6, followed by commentary on verses 13-16. Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrase of the verses he is commenting on.

A SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF 1 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 6

As a Bishop is charged with the superintendence of his entire flock. Hence, in this chapter the Apostle instructs Timothy in the duties he owes even the most destitute and lowly among his people, viz., the Christian slaves. He should instruct them in the duty of obedience, as well to their unbelieving, as to their Christian masters (1, 2). He denounces the men who taught a different doctrine (3); these he declares to be corrupt in heart, making piety the means for obtaining gain (5). He treats of the dangers of avarice (8, 9), and cautions Timothy, and through him, all the ministers of the Gospel, against this damning vice, and implores them to observe the precepts delivered in this Epistle (13, 14–16). He points out the duties of the rich (17–19), and finally, through Timothy, exhorts all Bishops to guard the deposit of faith, and fly foolish novelties originating in the vain opinion of false science.

‎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 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.

GREETINGS AND INSTRUCTIONS TO TIMOTHY
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.

A SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF 1 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 1

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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Father 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.”

CLOSING INSTRUCTIONS TO TIMOTHY

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
content.

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.

ANALYSIS OF 1 TIMOTHY CHAPTER 4

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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