The Pastoral Epistles of Paul

By Charles R Erdman

Chapter 1 - The First Epistle of Paul to Timothy


It is distinction and honor enough for Timothy that he enjoyed the friendship and won the affection of the Apostle Paul. The character of the great apostle rises above the mists of the receding centuries in ever-increasing glory and grandeur, and only a man of unusual qualities would have been granted the privilege of being his chosen companion and the recipient of his love.

The acquaintance between them was formed when Paul, on his first missionary journey, visited Lystra where Timothy was living. This city lay on the great Roman road between Antioch and Derbe in what is now known as southern Asia Minor. It was a Roman colony. The exact race to which its population belonged is not definitely known. The father of Timothy, however, is called "a Greek," and it is therefore probable that Timothy enjoyed the culture which this term implies. What is more certain and more important, he was brought up under strong religious influences; his mother, Eunice, like his grandmother Lois, was a devout Jewess, and Timothy from his earliest years was instructed carefully in the Holy Scriptures.

It was during the impressionable days of Timothy's boyhood that Paul made that memorable visit to Lystra when the populace first wished to worship the apostle and later sought to take his life. Timothy seems to have listened with eagerness to the good news preached by Paul. He saw him heal a helpless cripple, heard him appeal to the great crowds, looked on in horror when he was stoned and left as dead, and in wonder when he rose and reentered the city. The next day the apostle started on his journey; and in the company of earnest converts whom he left behind him in Lystra were Eunice and her son Timothy.

On his second missionary journey Paul revisited Lystra and chose Timothy as a companion in travel. This choice was determined in part by the high esteem in which the

is young disciple was held by the Christians both of Lystra and of Iconium, and further by certain prophetic utterances which intimated the fitness of Timothy for his task. Accordingly, to avoid the prejudice of Jews among whom he might labor, Timothy submitted to the rite of circumcision, and then was ordained by the presbytery, or local council of elders, and in this solemn service Paul himself took part. Henceforth, until the death of the apostle, Timothy was his associate, his helper, his loyal friend.

Together they crossed from Asia to Europe, carrying the gospel message. Together they visited Philippi and Thessalonica and Berea. For a time Timothy was left behind, but he rejoined Paul at Athens, from which city he carried back a message to the Thessalonians and again met Paul at Corinth. Subsequently they traveled eastward together to complete the missionary journey at Jerusalem and Antioch.

Again on his third great evangelistic tour Paul was accompanied by Timothy and with him spent more than two years in Ephesus. During this time Timothy was sent on a difficult mission to Corinth. Later, on his return, he visited Greece with Paul and was one of the company who went with him on his last journey to Jerusalem, where the apostle was arrested.

During the years of imprisonment Timothy was found with Paul in Rome, and after the release of the apostle he journeyed with him to Asia and was left in charge of the church at Ephesus. Not long after, he received from Paul this First Epistle, which was designed to guide and assist him in his work. Some time later he received the Second Epistle, the content of which shows that Paul had been imprisoned again, that he was soon to be executed, and that he longed for the companionship and comfort of the young friend whom in this his last letter he summoned to his side.

That mission to the Ephesian church was the most difficult task to which Timothy ever had been appointed. The city was one of the most important capitals of the ancient world; through it surged great tides of travel and of commerce; in it were found influential representatives of all the schools of Greek and Oriental philosophy, as well as all forms of pagan religion. In particular, it was the seat of worship of the great goddess Diana whose temple, just outside the city, attracted vast multitudes of pilgrims, and brought to the city both fame and wealth. In addition to these heathen influences, the Ephesian Christians were subjected to strong currents of Jewish thought and teaching.

That Timothy, after long years of acquaintance with Paul, was accounted capable of filling such a difficult post, is an eloquent testimony to his ability and his worth. It is evident that Timothy was timid and retiring, but this disposition was due in large measure to his youth and to his lack of physical strength. It is a mistake to argue from the serious exhortations found in Paul's Epistles that Timothy was lacking in vigor, in moral courage, or in spiritual power. The deep affection felt for him by the apostle and expressed repeatedly in these letters must argue for a character of peculiar beauty and depth and charm.

Nevertheless, the work to which Timothy had been assigned was full of serious problems, and while Paul did not hesitate to entrust him with the task, he did feel it wise to write to him this letter of instruction which not only served for the guidance of Timothy but has also been a handbook for Christian pastors in all succeeding years. It was necessary for Timothy to rebuke false teachers, to direct the public worship, to aid in the choice of church officers, to deal wisely with many different classes in the Christian community, and to lead a life which would be an example and an inspiration to all the flock.

The letter contains, first, directions intended for the entire church, and then such as applied more directly to Timothy himself. These injunctions are full of meaning and of easy application to pastors and people of the present day. The letter is so far informal as to admit no very exact analysis. It is possible, however, that the following outline may be of service to readers as indicating the general contents of the epistle:

I. Introductory. I Tim. 1:1-20.

A. The Salutation. Ch. 1:1, 2.

B. The Charge Concerning Doctrine. Ch. 1:3-20.

1. The Law and the Gospel. Ch. 1:3-11.

2. The Thanksgiving of Paul. Ch. 1:12-17.

3. The Encouragement and Warning. Ch. 1:18-20.

II. General Instruction for the Church. Chs. 2:1 to 3:16.

A. Public Worship. Ch. 2.

1. The Scope of Public Prayer. Ch. 2:1-7.

2. The Demeanor of Men and Women. Ch. 2:8-15.

B. The Qualifications of Officers. Ch. 3.

1. Bishops. Ch. 3:1-7.

2. Deacons. Ch. 3:8-13.

3. The Importance of the Church. Ch. 3:14-16.

III. Advice to Timothy. Chs. 4:1 to 6:2

A. Personal Life and Duties. Ch. 4.

1. Warning Against False Doctrine. Ch. 4:1-5.

2. Exhortation to Godly Living. Ch. 4:6-10.

3. Encouragement to Faithful Service. Ch. 4:11-16.

B. Pastoral Oversight. Chs. 5:1 to 6:2.

1. The Old and the Young. Ch. 5:1, 2

2. Widows. Ch. 5:3-16.

3. Elders. Ch. 5:17-25

4. Slaves. Ch. 6:1, 2.

IV. Conclusion. Ch. 6:3-21.

A. False Teachers Denounced for Vanity and Avarice. Ch. 6:3-10.

B. Timothy Solemnly Exhorted. Ch. 6:11-16.

C. Postscript. Ch. 6:17-21.

1. An Admonition to the Rich. Ch. 6:17-19.

2. Final Charge to Timothy. Ch. 6:20, 21a.

3. Benediction. Ch. 6:21b.

I. INTRODUCTORY I Timothy 1:1-20


1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and Christ Jesus our hope; 2 unto Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

The first question which seriously concerns a Christian pastor is that of his call to the sacred office. Mistaken notions of this call are responsible for keeping many worthy men out of the ministry, as well as for alluring some to attempt its tasks who are unqualified and who could serve God more effectively in other spheres.

This call consists in a conviction wrought in the heart of a man by the Spirit of God that it is his duty and privilege to devote himself to the preaching of the gospel and to the care of souls. This conviction is usually produced by natural means and can be vindicated on reasonable grounds. In its essence it does not differ from the experience of any follower of Christ who, however humble and obscure his task, if wholly submissive to the will of his Master, may have the comfort and peace of believing that he is in the place appointed him by the Lord.

Paul had no doubt as to his call. He believed that it came to him directly from God; it had been voiced by Ananias in the hour of his conversion; it had been confirmed by the church at Antioch when he was ordained to his life work; and now on his last missionary journey as he writes to Timothy, he declares himself to be "an apostle of Christ Jesus" in obedience to "the commandment of God."

The very word "apostle" used by Paul to describe his office embodies the idea of divine vocation, for it means "one who has been sent." It applies specifically to that little group of men who were appointed by Christ in person and who were given supernatural endowments as witnesses of his resurrection and as the founders of his Church.

This term thus used by Paul in the opening sentences of the epistle sounds out a note of authority, and intimates that he is writing not a merely personal letter, but is sending a message to the pastor and through him to the members of the Ephesian church. Thus it became of priceless value for the guidance not only of that congregation, but for every church of Christ through the following years.

Paul calls himself "an apostle of Christ Jesus," not of "Jesus Christ." This is according to his usual custom. While both phrases denote the same Lord, the former fixes the thought upon the glorified divine Being who had been known among men as "Jesus"; the latter makes more prominent the human aspect of the One who had become "the Christ." This was natural for Paul who had not companied with the Master in the days of his flesh, who after his conversion always regarded Christ as his ascended and glorified Lord.

As Paul speaks of his divine call, he employs two phrases not found previously in his epistles. He describes God as "our Saviour," and Jesus Christ as "our hope." These are beautiful expressions: one pointing backward to a great redeeming work; one looking forward to the fulfillment of glorious promises. In the Old Testament, God is represented as a "Saviour," but the salvation secured by him is usually that of deliverance from physical peril; but here the fuller meaning is intended, as one who has set us free from the guilt and power of sin. Christ is called elsewhere "our peace " and "our life;" here he is represented as the ground and object of that confident expectation of glory which is to be ours when finally we are delivered from the very presence of sin and of all its consequences, when Christ himself again shall appear.

While Paul describes himself here with this note of authority, as he turns to address Timothy, he employs a tone of true tenderness: "Unto Timothy, my true child in faith." He thus refers to the fact that years ago, when he was on his First Missionary Journey, his preaching had resulted in the rebirth of Timothy, so that the latter was in reality his spiritual child, and to the further facts that on his Second Missionary Journey Timothy had become his companion and during all the long years had rendered service to him "like a son to a father;" and now, as for a time they have been separated from each other, Paul sends this tender greeting to one he truly loves.

Upon Timothy he invokes "grace, mercy, peace." There is something peculiar in this petition. In all previous letters his salutations have included "grace and peace"; never before has Paul added the word "mercy." "Grace" denotes the divine favor in its fullest form; it is the source of all spiritual life and enjoyment. " Peace" is the experience of a soul in harmony with God, which knows that tranquillity and blessedness God alone can give. " Mercy," however, turns the thoughts specially upon the ill desert of the recipient and upon the compassion of God. It is just possible that it was used by the apostle as a delicate suggestion to the young pastor of his continual need of humility.

Surely it is a message to all modern ministers. It reminds them that while God will grant all needed grace and while they can expect to enjoy a peace which passes all understanding, still in their most sacred offices they will fall so far short of perfection and of the requirements of their spiritual tasks that they continually will need to cast themselves upon the mercy of God.

The close relation in which Paul here unites Christ Jesus with "God the Father" as the source of these blessings, as well as the previous phrases in this salutation, where "Christ Jesus our hope" is united with "God our Saviour" in the appointment of Paul to his service, indicates almost beyond question that, to the mind of the apostle, Christ Jesus is no less than divine.

This divine Saviour he calls "our Lord." Only those who really submit their wills to Christ as Master and Lord will know what it is to find in him their "hope" and to receive from him "grace, mercy, peace."


1. The Law and the Gospel. Ch. 1:3-11

3 As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine, 4 neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith; so do I now. 5 But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned:6 from which things some having swerved have turned aside unto vain talking; 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully, 9 as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and shiners, for the unholy and profane, for: murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine; 1 1 according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

The second great question which concerns a minister of Christ is that of the message he is to proclaim. Exhortations to sound doctrine constitute the main burden of all the Pastoral Letters taken as a whole, and the introductory chapter of this First Epistle to Timothy has this as its chief theme.

In its form, however, this chapter is a reminder to Timothy of the charge given to him by the apostle when the church at Ephesus was entrusted to his pastoral care. This charge was to proclaim the pure gospel, vs. 3-11, as Paul himself rejoiced to do, vs. 12-17, and to which service Timothy had been ordained, vs. 18-20.

To the mind of Paul there was no uncertainty as to the content of the Christian message. He designates it here as "the gospel of the glory of the blessed God," v. 11; he summarizes it in the familiar saying, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners," v. 15. He declares its supreme end to be "love" for God and men. V. 5.

He therefore begins the letter by recalling to Timothy the fact that he had been left in Ephesus for the very purpose of restraining certain men who were teaching "a different doctrine" and not the divine message delivered by Paul. This new teaching was described as heterodoxy, "another teaching," that is, divergent from the message of the apostle, which he himself considered to be an inspired standard and norm of truth.

This false teaching, however, did not consist so much in such a denial of essential truths as we commonly designate "heresy," but rather in an attempt to add to the gospel certain fruitless speculations upon the Jewish law, which Paul defines as mere "fables" and "endless genealogies." By these terms he does not refer to the stories of the Old Testament, but to the rabbinical subtleties and the allegorical interpretations connected with the Hebrew Scriptures, and particularly with their "pedigrees," which resulted only in controversy and not in what Paul describes as the discharge of a stewardship entrusted by God in the sphere of Christian faith. Paul seems to intimate that religious teachers to whom has been committed the divine message should make available to others those blessings of God which accompany Christian faith. The true purpose of such teachers should be to secure, not the dissension and bitterness which issue from the fruitless discussion of subtle mysteries, but rather "love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned."

Paul reminds Timothy that certain leaders in the Ephesian church had been indifferent to these moral qualities, and had "turned aside unto vain talking," desiring to be known as "teachers of the law," although, indeed, they understood neither the force of their own assertions nor the real nature of the themes they debated. Paul does not deny that the law is admirable when used in accordance with its right meaning and intention, and when one remembers that it was "not made for a righteous man" who fulfills the will of God in free obedience, but that it was intended to rebuke and restrain those who are guilty of rebellion against God and of acts contrary to his Commandments and to that wholesome instruction contained in the gospel.

Evidently, then, Paul does not regard the message which a Christian minister is to deliver as a matter of human speculation, but rather as a divine revelation. All teaching, whether in reference to duty or doctrine, must be according to that message of which Paul says that, as a sacred treasure, it "was committed to my trust." This message may be stated in different terms; it must be given ever wider applications; but in its essence it cannot be changed. It is the good news "of the glory of the blessed God," the glad tidings of his redeeming grace in Christ Jesus.

Preaching which departs from this gospel is either unsound or unprofitable; sometimes it is both. Here the rebuke is directed against vain and futile speculations, and against certain refinements and interpretations which derived from Scripture rules of living to be accepted in place of that vital principle of love, which is in itself the fulfilling of all law.

Ministers need to be reminded that the gospel is not good advice, but good news. It is not a code of laws, nor is it merely a system of ethics, but the proclamation of the redeeming work of God, our Saviour. It is a message of the infinite grace offered in Christ who is "our hope."

There is surely a place and a time for preaching the law. It must be set forth not as a matter of idle debate, nor to arouse curious questions of casuistry, but in all its solemn grandeur as a rebuke to sinners and as a means of awakening in human hearts the conscious need of salvation.

However, the supreme end of preaching ever will be so to present the grace of God in Christ as to call forth a responsive love. Yet this love as described by Paul is no mere passing emotion. Paul never identifies religion with shallow sentiment. The love of which he speaks must have its source and its spring " in a pure heart," that is, one free from all unholy desires and evil motives; it must come from "a good conscience," that is one which has been delivered from the sense of guilt, from the consciousness of weakness and from all unwillingness to respond to the claims of moral obligation; above all, it must have its origin in "faith unfeigned," a faith which is no empty profession, no simple, easy assent to formulas, but a vital principle uniting one to a living Christ, and manifested in a life "according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God."

2. The Thanksgiving of Paul. Ch. 1:12-17

12 I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, appointing me to his service; 13 though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: howbeit I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief: 16 howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ show forth all his longsuffering, for an ensample of them that should thereafter believe on him unto eternal life. 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

In addition to the conviction of a divine call and to the possession of a divine message, a true minister of Christ needs a personal experience of divine grace. This is the most necessary of all his qualifications. No man ever had that experience more truly or more deeply than did Paul himself. When urging Timothy to be faithful to his task, Paul turns aside to express the gratitude which he himself feels for the divine grace which has called him into the ministry and equipped him for his work in spite of his conscious unworthiness and the grievousness of his previous sin. This thanksgiving is not wholly a digression. It really enforces his charge to Timothy, for Paul so voices his gratitude as to give a true conception of the gospel which Timothy has been charged to keep pure; and as Paul expresses his own joy in being privileged to proclaim that gospel, his words cannot fail to encourage the young pastor who shares with him that privilege which is so unique.

Paul expresses his thanks to a living and divine Christ who showed such infinite grace in counting him faithful and in appointing him to public service, even though previously he had been "a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious." Paul does not mean that he had blasphemed the name of God, but the name of Christ, whom he now regards as a divine Master. As a persecutor he had been guilty of surpassing cruelty; he had been "injurious," but. he here describes the malice and the deadly hate which he had shown towards the followers of Christ. There had been on his part a certain demonic fierceness. He had been heartless in his treatment of women and of men. He had shut them in prison. He had compelled them to blaspheme the name they loved. As a ruler he had given his vote to have them put to death with bitter torture. In spite of all this, Christ had shown him mercy. Paul's ignorance extenuated his fault. It did not excuse it, for his unbelief had been stubborn and sinful. Nevertheless the grace of the Lord had "abounded exceedingly" toward Paul, so that there was awakened an answering faith and love toward Christ. Thus Paul found the experience which he calls "salvation," and with this in mind he quotes a notable saying, which seems to have been current among the early believers, namely, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Such a salvation as Paul had found was the very purpose and end of the incarnation, and the "saying" which Paul uses in this connection forms a comprehensive and noble summary of Christian truth. The connection of the phrases is significant. Paul is returning thanks for being entrusted with the gospel. In effect he is saying, "This is the gospel." In contrast with the false teachers and to encourage Timothy to fidelity, he sounds forth this mighty message: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

He "came into the world." This phrase speaks to us majestically of preexistence, of Deity, of incarnation, of voluntary humility, of grace and mercy and love; for he came into the world for the sake of "sinners" and to solve for them the supreme problem of the world. He came "to save sinners." Therefore, salvation refers chiefly to sin, and sin finds its essence in the selfishness of the human soul. Christ came to bring salvation from the guilt and power and ultimately from the presence of sin. He came to bring men to a life of service and of holiness and of fellowship with God.

This salvation can be expressed, as Paul further declares, by faith and love, and these will be preceded by true repentance; for Paul immediately refers to himself as the chief of sinners. As he recalls his life of cruelty and hatred and ignorant unbelief, he regards himself as truly unworthy of the salvation which has been granted to him, still more of the high service to which he has been called as a minister of Christ. He states, however, the special reason which Christ had in showing him such abounding grace. It was that Paul might serve as a supreme example of one who had been saved by grace. It was to give encouragement to all other men that, in view of the "longsuffering" of Christ shown toward Paul, they might expect similar mercy to be granted to them, no matter how grievous their sin. Paul declares that to them, if only they believe, will be granted "eternal life," by which phrase he does not mean to indicate mere continuance of existence, but a kind and quality of life, a life of moral excellence and of blessed fellowship with God through Jesus Christ.

No wonder that Paul breaks out in a doxology of praise, "unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God." To him he ascribes "honor and glory for ever and ever."

Probably no truer preparation can come to a minister of Christ than that of realizing his own absolute unworthiness and of believing that it is the infinite mercy of his Lord which has called him from sin to holiness and from the service of self to the ministry of the gospel. When one appreciates this infinite grace, he knows something of the exultation and the joy voiced by the apostle, and he is encouraged, as Timothy must have been when he read these words, to share with Paul the blessed experience of proclaiming the message of divine grace.

3. The Encouragement and Warning. Ch. 1:18-20

18 This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which led the way to thee, that by them thou mayest war the good warfare; 19 holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith:20 of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme.

Even when convinced of a call to the ministry, instructed in the gospel message, and conscious of a personal experience of divine grace, one is not justified in assuming the sacred duties of a Christian pastor unless he has received the public sanction of the Church. Paul ever regarded the organized society of believers as a divine institution, and he defended its right to determine who could be enrolled as its members and who could serve as its officers.

Thus when further enforcing his charge to Timothy and urging him to guard the purity of the gospel, he reminds him of the inspired predictions uttered at the time when Timothy was ordained and encourages him in accordance with these prophecies to "war the good warfare" as a soldier of Christ, "holding faith and a good conscience."

Paul seems to indicate that ordination, as received by Timothy at the hands of the presbytery, is an appointment to office in recognition of appropriate gifts. Often a Christian minister has been in the position of the young pastor in charge of the church at Ephesus. In times of discouragement, in the face of crushing obligations, when fearful of failure and defeat, he has recalled the scene in which he was set apart for his sacred task by the representatives of the Church. He has remembered the favorable testimonies to his ability and promise which were presented by those who had investigated his qualifications for the high task to which he was being appointed, and his heart has been strengthened. Girded about as with armor by those predictions of usefulness and by those cherished expressions of confidence, he has gone forth with new courage to serve faithfully as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, Timothy is warned of the peril which attends false teaching and is assured that as the Church has a right to determine what men it may properly ordain, so, too, at times it is obliged to exclude from its ministry and even from its membership those who are corrupting its pure doctrine.

Paul refers to Hymenaeus and Alexander. The latter is difficult to identify; but Hymenaeus is probably the same person who is mentioned in a later letter as one who was denying a bodily resurrection, on the ground, probably, that for a believer, resurrection, in a spiritual sense, has taken place already. Whatever the exact nature of their dangerous doctrine, Paul traces the cause of their defection from the faith to a previous lapse in morals. They had thrust away from themselves "a good conscience," and consequently had "made shipwreck concerning the faith." It is pitifully true, that to those who are guilty of moral weakness and failure, things divine become less and less real, and finally when one is blinded by sin, he no longer sees with the eyes of faith the realities of the gospel.

In reference to these offenders, Paul declares that they have been "delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme." It is probable that by this expression "delivered unto Satan," Paul means more than excommunication. It surely means that; but it is also possible that, in the early days of the Church, as with the imposition of apostolic hands miraculous powers were conferred, so excommunication from the Church in some cases may have been followed by bodily suffering. However, when a person was thus "remanded to Satan for punishment," it was with a view to his reformation and restoration to Christian fellowship. Paul hopes that these men will learn by their experience not to desecrate sacred things, nor to use their influence in undermining the faith of believers.

These solemn words both of encouragement and of warning must impress upon all readers the sanctity of the Christian Church. They cannot fail to remind us of the solemn responsibilities which rest upon its ordained officers, and also of the holy privileges which result from its fellowship and its communion, and of the duty which rests upon all to maintain its ordinances and to guard carefully its sacred deposit of revealed truth.



1. The Scope of Public Prayer. Ch. 2:1-7

I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; 2 for kings and all that are in high place; that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, one mediator also between God and men, himself man, Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times; 7 whereunto I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I speak the truth, I lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

When one has been called to the ministry, when he has been instructed in Christian truth, when he has had an experience of divine grace, and when, finally, he has been ordained by the action of the Church, the first great task which confronts him is that of conducting public worship. It is a supremely difficult task. It demands tact and wisdom and discipline, and it taxes all the powers of the mind and heart. Upon its rightful discharge depends in large measure the spiritual life and development of Christian congregations and the value of their appointed services.

Thus after his introductory chapter, when Paul comes to the very substance of his letter and gives to the young pastor instructions intended for the guidance of the whole church, he first lays stress upon the conduct of public worship. In the days of the apostles this worship was very simple in character, yet it was composed of those elements which are essential in most church services to-day, namely, prayer and praise and preaching. Paul insists that the scope of this prayer and thanksgiving should be universal, and that the task of public preaching should be entrusted not to women but to men.

"I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men." It is possible to trace shades of distinction between "supplications," "prayers," and "intercessions"; but Paul is not so much concerned with these as with impressing the fact that this prayer and praise should have in view all classes and conditions cf men. There is always danger that public intercession and thanksgiving may voice the desires and aspirations of only fractions of worshiping congregations, or may confine the sympathy and thought of these worshipers to narrow and bounded horizons.

For one class in particular prayer is urged: "for kings and all that are in high place." Paul might have gone on to specify other classes, but he not unnaturally gives as examples of proper objects for universal prayer those men upon whom rest the greatest obligations and those who possess the widest power for evil and for good. It is the more significant that these commands were written in the days when Nero was emperor. If Paul commanded Christians to pray for such a "king," surely no man is to be regarded as beyond the realm in which Christian intercessors must feel a sympathy and concern.

Nor are we to forget that these prayers are to be united with "thanksgivings." These, in public worship, are most commonly expressed in the form of hymns, and it is evident from history that the singing of such hymns formed an element in public worship from the earliest days of the Church. Our hymns well may be prayers in their substance, and our prayers properly may be voiced in the form of hymns.

The reason which Paul assigns for such universal prayer and praise may appear to savor somewhat of selfishness, "that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity." However, Paul does not mean that this is the only end which such prayers have in view. There are many other results which follow; and in any case, it is right for us to desire such tranquillity and peace as may worthily express, in life and conduct, our Christian faith, such tranquillity and peace as are only possible when public order is being properly preserved.

While these desirable results may be expected by Christians, yet the whole exhortation indicates that prayer on their part is to be unselfish. It is never to be limited to personal interests; it reaches out in its sympathies toward the whole human race.

Of such universal scope in prayer Paul declares, "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;" for his love and sympathy are boundless. He "would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth." All are included in his love. He is the Saviour of all, even though his salvation can be experienced only by those who accept his gracious provision. Salvation is not limited by his willingness, but by the reluctance and unbelief of men. This salvation is inseparable from faith, and therefore from "knowledge," as Paul indicates that "to be saved" involves coming "to the knowledge of the truth."

Paul further demonstrates that all men come within the saving purpose of God, and therefore should be remembered in prayer by the people of God, as he makes the great affirmation that "there is one God." The unity of the divine Being indicates that God stands in the same relation to all his creatures and that all mankind must be embraced alike in his mercy and his love.

This same truth is still further established by a reference to the incarnation, as Paul states that there is "one mediator also between God and men." There is no place, then, for the mediation of saints or of angels. Jesus Christ is the one and only Being through whom we have access to God. He truly represents God to man and man to God; and as there is only one such Being, and as he is " himself man" while at the same time God, the way to God must be open to all men alike.

A third proof that God would have all to be saved, and therefore that prayers are to be made for all, is found in the universal purpose of the atonement of Christ, "who gave himself a ransom for all." This voluntary giving of himself in life, and particularly in his atoning death, provided for all a way of deliverance from the guilt and power of sin; and inasmuch as this redeeming act was in place of all and in behalf of all, therefore salvation must have been divinely intended for all.

It is the duty of the Church to proclaim to all this universal salvation and to further this work by continual petition. Now that redemption has been accomplished, and until all have heard its message, these are the "times" for this "testimony to be borne."

The ministry of Paul is a final argument for the universality of this salvation, for he has been sent to aid in this universal proclamation which was enjoined upon the Church. His ministry is not self-chosen. He has been appointed by God as a herald of the gospel; this is his work. He is an "apostle," that is, he is "one sent" on a divine mission, as he solemnly affirms. He has been delegated particularly as "a teacher of the Gentiles," that is, he is to bring the good news to the most distant and godless nations with a view to reaching the peoples of the whole world. He is to instruct these Gentiles as to the nature of saving truth and of the Christian faith. All this shows how wide is the gracious purpose of God. Shall the sympathies of his people be more restricted? Shall they not also yearn for the salvation of all men? And shall they not express this yearning in ceaseless sympathetic prayer?

It is true that public prayer for all men seems to us at times vague and unmeaning and unreal. Let us remember, however, that while unlimited in its scope, such prayer may be specific in its content. Paul by way of illustration designates "kings" and those in authority. He might have continued indefinitely his enumeration of the different classes who are the proper objects of petition. Even the prayer of public assemblies may be specific and pointed; and it never should be narrowed by selfishness or circumscribed by provincialism, or enfeebled by unbelief. Prayer always involves mysteries, but we should be encouraged to believe that its exercise is related to the salvation of human souls, and is therefore "good and acceptable in the sight of God."

2. The Demeanor of Men and Women. Ch. 2:8-15

8 I desire therefore that the men pray in every place, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing. 9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness and sobriety; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; 10 but (which becometh women professing godliness) through good works. 1 1 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. 12 But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve; 14 and Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression:15 but she shall be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith and love and sanctification with sobriety.

In giving instruction to Timothy as to the public worship of the Christian congregation, Paul first emphasized the universal scope of public prayer; he now dwells upon the spirit in which this prayer is to be offered and upon the behavior of the worshipers.

It will be remembered that in apostolic days the manner of public worship was extremely informal. No one order of service was followed and the duty of offering prayer or of giving spiritual instruction was limited to no one person. Here, however, Paul enjoins that men rather than women should lead in these acts of worship, " in every place " where congregations of believers assemble for public religious services. "I desire therefore that the men pray in every place." The force of the command, however, is not upon this restriction as to the persons who are to lead in worship but upon the spirit in which they are to pray. They are to do so "lifting up holy hands, without wrath and disputing." The lifting up of the hands was a familiar and significant attitude in prayer; but Paul here is not insisting upon a posture of the body, but upon a state of the heart. Those who pray are to be free from sin and yielded to the service of God. Furthermore, they are to pray "without wrath and disputing." Some prefer to render these words, "without anger and doubting," and it is true that the conditions of effectual prayer are love toward man and faith in God.

However, as the apostle has in mind the whole period of public worship, he may refer to the acrimonious disputes and heated discussions which sometimes arose in those assemblies of the primitive Church. Those who were to offer prayer must be free from "wrath and disputing." Christians can worship God acceptably only in an atmosphere of love.

As to the women worshipers, they are to conduct themselves with becoming modesty. They are not to attract attention to themselves by excessive ornaments and by striking costume, but rather to be conspicuous for their goodness and grace. In describing this conduct Paul uses one word which since the days of Wyclif has been rendered into English by "shamefastness," and has been misunderstood usually because of the corrupt spelling "shamefacedness." The word has nothing to do with the "face" nor with "shame" as we use that word. "Shamefastness" is that conduct which is "held fast" by proper self-respect. It denotes demeanor which is restrained by true womanly reserve.

Accordingly, Paul advises, "Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I permit not a woman to teach, nor to have dominion over a man, but to be in quietness." The reference here is probably to "wives" in contrast to "husbands" and specifically to their conduct in public worship. Paul elsewhere indicates how helpful women may be as teachers, particularly in guiding the young. II Tim. 3:14; Titus 2:3. Then, too, later on in this epistle, Paul indicates that certain specified officers are expected to exercise the function of teaching the congregation. He here is urging women to be careful neither to interrupt the worship nor to assume the place of public official teachers in the Christian Church.

Paul gives two reasons for insisting upon choosing a man rather than his wife for this position of public teacher. The first is taken from the story of the creation: "Adam was first formed, then Eve." This to the apostle's mind intimated a certain independence or priority or responsibility which places upon a husband some duties from which a wife should be relieved.

The second is from the story of the Fall: "Adam was not beguiled, but the woman being beguiled hath fallen into transgression." Adam acted in accordance with his own choice and with his eyes open. On the other hand, Eve was deceived. In his act Adam was by no means morally superior to his wife, even if it is granted that his mind was more clear; and all that Paul intimates is that a woman, because of her greater trustfulness, is more easily misled into false beliefs and so is less qualified to be a public teacher of Christian truth. Paul does not mean that a woman is mentally or morally or spiritually inferior to a man. Both men and women have the defects of their qualities. However, both are on the same plane before God and are heirs to his eternal salvation. Therefore, Paul adds that, while a woman need not assume the official duties of a Christian pastor, nevertheless she may enjoy all the benefits of salvation, in her own more natural sphere of wife and mother, if she continues to be faithful and loving and holy, as well as modest and womanly in her demeanor.

It is not difficult to understand why such statements by Paul have made him unpopular with certain elect ladies of the present day. Yet it should be said in defense of the apostle that his writings, taken as a whole, have done more for the emancipation of woman, more to secure her social and civil and political rights, than the productions of any other author who could be named; and her highest happiness is enjoyed only in those countries where the Christian principles set forth by the great apostle are accepted and obeyed. If he does, however, in passages like this, distinguish between the respective duties of men and of women, it appears to many that this distinction "lies deep down in the facts of human nature as originally constituted." Let us be on our guard against drawing wide inferences from this particular chapter, even as to these respective duties. Paul is giving advice to Timothy as to the conduct of public worship, and his main message is this, namely, that whatever the parts assigned to men or to women, the Christian pastor should secure for the congregation a dignified, a reverent, a spiritual service, with a view to the edification of believers, and the salvation of all men.


1. Bishops. Ch. 3:1-7

1 Faithful is the saying, If a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 The bishop therefore must be without reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, orderly, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 no brawler, no striker; but gentle, not contentious, no lover of money; 4 one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have good testimony from them that are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

Every Christian pastor is personally concerned with the matter of church organization. Whatever theory he may hold as to ecclesiastical polity, whether Episcopal, Presbyterian, or Congregational, he should seek to know the teachings of the New Testament and the practice of the primitive Church in matters of government and order. Such knowledge will give him assurance of the divine sanction for the high office he holds; it will prevent him from becoming autocratic as he understands the duties of his fellow officers, and his right relation to the congregation; it will protect him from being crushed by burdens he should share with others, and it will prepare him to plan and conduct with more of wisdom and efficiency the work entrusted to his care.

Therefore, when Paul has instructed Timothy as to the public worship of the church, he turns next to give directions as to its permanent organization. He specifies two classes of officers, "bishops" and "deacons," but makes here no mention of their respective duties or of their respective numbers. The whole stress is laid upon their qualifications.

With reference to the "bishop," however, it is stated that he shall have ability as a public teacher, and the very word indicates further that he is to exercise oversight of the congregation. The term used is "episkopos," or "overseer," and seems to refer to the same officer elsewhere designated as "presbyter" or "elder." The office itself was derived possibly from the usage among the Jews whose synagogues were ruled by groups of "elders."

The duties of the "bishop" in the early Church, therefore, appear to have been those of spiritual oversight and of religious instruction. The nearest parallel in modern days to this office is that of the "pastor," and it is for this reason that these letters of the Apostle Paul are known as his Pastoral Epistles.

In referring to the office of bishop, Paul begins by quoting with approval a popular saying to the effect that "if a man seeketh the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work." The currency of this saying indicates the high estimate in which the office was held. The saying indicates that the position was one not merely of honor or of ease, but involved "work" of the highest and most beneficent sort. It further intimates that there were those who really aspired to the office. Such aspirations Paul does not rebuke. They need to be aroused and encouraged in the present day. When one receives a "call to the ministry," this desire is simply deepened into a sacred conviction of duty.

For this important office Paul enumerates certain strict requirements. It is to be noted that most of these are moral and only one is mental. They should not be regarded as ground for undervaluing the intellectual qualifications for the Christian ministry, but they do call attention to the equally important spiritual qualifications which are demanded, and they indicate that an attractive personality is the supreme condition of success in ministerial service.

Paul, first of all, demands that an "overseer" of the Christian congregation must be "without reproach," not a man who merely has committed no offense, but one whose conduct gives "no handle" which could be laid hold of to injure his reputation.

He must be "the husband of one wife," that is, a faithful husband, or literally, "a man of one woman." The meaning of this phrase has been the occasion of endless controversy and is open to a number of interpretations. It can hardly refer to polygamy, for this would be tolerated in no Church member, and need not be specified in the case of an officer; nor does it refer, probably, to remarriage after the death of a wife, as Paul encouraged second marriages, and a man whose first wife was dead might be in all reality, after a second marriage, "the husband of one wife." It is quite possible that the reference is to remarriage after divorce. Such an act might involve misunderstandings and suspicions from which a church officer should be free.

A Christian pastor must be "temperate." This no more means to encourage moderate drinkers than the former phrase was intended to disqualify bachelors. It rather denotes sobriety in judgment as well as in act.

It is somewhat akin to the following term, "soberminded." This last does not denote solemnity, nor gloom, although the appearance of some ministers may have given support to such a conclusion. It indicates seriousness, but more exactly, "self-control," and that perfect self-mastery which keeps one from the indulgence of the sensualist and from the austerity of the ascetic.

"Orderly" is an adjective which with propriety might be pressed upon the notice of many ministers, in their domestic habits as well as in their pastoral activities. The term refers, however, not to the physical but to the moral sphere, and denotes that outward conduct which is exhibited by one who is "temperate" and "sober-minded"; it denotes the demeanor of one who is not disorderly, who is "well-behaved," who is neither immodest nor shy, who is indeed a "true Christian gentleman."

The next virtue which Paul enjoins is that of "hospitality." In his day this was possibly even more important than it is in our day. Then proper places of public entertainment were difficult to find. Ancient inns were usually of ill repute. Then, too, Christian travelers were often poor, and hesitated to place themselves under obligation to unbelievers. Thus, by entertaining such travelers, particularly such as were missionaries of the cross, the influence of the Church could be extended, while at the same time the spirit of love and sympathy could be shown. While the modern minister need not impoverish himself or overburden his wife, he will find many ways of manifesting this grace, or at least of revealing the generous spirit which is its soul. How perfectly this grace is being shown by workers on the "foreign field," only those who have accepted its bounties can testify. Paul was the first great missionary and his words are understood best by those who have sojourned in mission lands.

The next requirement was one which in the days of the apostle began to assume a new seriousness. It was from some points of view the most important of all the qualifications he suggested. The Church was being deprived by death of the personal followers of Christ and of the inspired prophets who had first proclaimed the gospel and instructed believers in Christian truth. It was necessary, therefore, that those officers who were given oversight of the larger congregations should be "apt to teach." Only thus, by placing upon these leaders responsibility for doctrine as well as for discipline, could the rising heresies be rebuked and the purity of the gospel preserved. Nor is there less need to-day for a teaching ministry. One who presides over the spiritual interests of a modern congregation should possess not merely the moral and spiritual qualifications Paul here enumerates, but should also be "apt to teach." A shepherd must feed his flock; a pastor must break the bread of life for his people and must rightly divide the word of truth. Ability for this sacred task is the supreme requirement for those to whom is entrusted the care of souls.

Referring again to moral equipment, one who is a "brawler" or "quarrelsome over wine," or violent in a similar manner for any other cause, is disqualified for the ministry as is one who is a "striker," that is one who in anger resorts to physical force. A Christian minister must be " gentle," sweetly reasonable, eager to show forbearance and kindly consideration; he must not be "contentious" or quarrelsome, even as to matters of doctrine; nor must he be a "lover of money," a passion from which, in spite of their poverty, even Christian ministers are not always free. He must be "one that ruleth well his own house," able to keep his children submissive and respectful, for this will prove his capacity for government, obviously a necessary qualification for a pastor; "but if a man knoweth not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church," which is in reality the household of God.

Moreover, one is not to be appointed to the oversight of a congregation who is himself a recent convert to Christianity, "a novice." Such appointment might be necessary in a very young church like that in Crete. Therefore, Paul does not include this warning in writing to Titus; but at Ephesus, where twelve or more years had passed since the church was formed, it would be possible to secure as officers men of some maturity and spiritual experience. The particular peril of a young convert who is placed in a position of prominence and power is that of pride. As Paul intimates, a " novice " might be puffed up with self-conceit and vanity, and so fall under the doom incurred by the Devil, and ceasing to be a minister of light, he might become an instrument of darkness.

On the other hand, and as a last requirement, a person chosen as pastor "must have good testimony from them that are without"; that is, he must not only be favorably known by his fellow Christians, but he must also have a good reputation in the community where the church is located; otherwise his ill repute may bring obloquy upon the church, and the very fact that he is under suspicion and reproach may prove a temptation to recklessness and sin; this latter seems to be what Paul means by "the snare of the devil."

Such then is the list of qualifications for the pastoral office enumerated by the Apostle Paul. It is not to be regarded as exhaustive. These qualifications demand moral rather than mental excellence. They refer more to temperament, tact, experience, and reputation than to intellectual gifts. The latter certainly are not to be regarded as unnecessary. Nevertheless, however exacting the conditions which the church at any time may impose upon candidates for the ministry, none will be more essential, more supremely important than that of a high Christian character.

2. Deacons. Ch, 3:8-13

8 Deacons in like manner must be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them serve as deacons, if they be blameless. 11 Women in like manner must be grave, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons be husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have served well as deacons gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

After specifying the qualifications of pastors, or "bishops," or "overseers," Paul passes to the enumeration of somewhat similar requirements for those who are to be chosen as "deacons." The exact nature of this secondary office in the Christian church is nowhere set forth in the New Testament. The origin of the office and its main functions are supposed to be described in the sixth chapter of The Acts, when seven men were chosen and ordained to administer the finances and, more specifically, to care for the poor of the congregation. These functions are, therefore, quite commonly assigned to this office, although in this matter there is no wide agreement among the different denominations of Christians. Some churches assign to deacons spiritual duties, while by others the office is wholly disregarded.

It would seem to be wise, and in accordance with the practice of the primitive Church, to have in every congregation the service of such authorized officers to aid the pastor in his work and to relieve him from the burden of many administrative duties, particularly in the care of the more needy members of the flock.

The first qualification for such officers is that they should be "dignified," or as the word is also translated, "grave," for even though their position is subordinate to that of the pastor, it is a place of honor, and their work is done in the name of the whole congregation of believers. Therefore, their tasks, however humble, are to be performed seriously and with becoming gravity.

Deacons are not to be "double-tongued," that is, saying one thing to one person and another to another, and so giving rise to misunderstandings and discord and forfeiting the confidence of the churches they serve.

They are not to be addicted to wine, nor "greedy of filthy lucre." This last phrase of the apostle does not indicate that he regarded money as evil in itself. Possibly the translation "base gain" may be preferable. The reference here is not merely to the love of money, but to the dishonest acquiring of money; and the warning here is particularly pertinent for deacons, as they are expected to administer the finances of the church and to be the custodians of its trust funds. Judas was not the last treasurer who betrayed his Lord for a few pieces of silver.

On the contrary, the deacons were to be men whose consciences were clear, or as Paul says, men "holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience." A "mystery," in the New Testament, means a truth once concealed but now revealed. "The mystery of the faith," therefore, means the knowledge of Christ and his salvation. This was to be regarded as a sacred treasure and those who held it in their hearts were to keep their consciences clean from any stain.

Nor were these deacons to be appointed hastily to their office. They should "first be proved," or tested, either by a period of probationary training, or by a careful examination of their past, and only when found "blameless," or free from accusation, could they be allowed to serve the church.

Their "wives," too, must meet the same requirements as themselves, for they would often find it necessary to share with their husbands the performance of delicate duties. It is true, many feel that the reference here is not to the "wives" of deacons, as indicated by the Authorized Version, but to an order of "deaconesses." The Revised Version leaves the matter undetermined by translating the word, "women." It is surely safe to say that the requirements here mentioned are such as may well be regarded proper for all women workers in the church, whether deaconesses, the wives of deacons, or other women performing similar tasks.

These women must be "grave," that is, comporting themselves with the same dignity as the deacons. They must not be "slanderers," for it would be very easy to make a wrong use of the many details which they would learn in reference to the private lives of the members of the congregation and of their families.

They must be "temperate" and sane, and not governed merely by their emotions. They must be absolutely reliable and trustworthy and "faithful in all things."

This reference is made to the wives of deacons, probably because Paul is proceeding to refer, as a climax of his requirements, to the family life of these church officers. They are to be " faithful husbands, "or, as the words are commonly rendered, "husbands of one wife"; they are to be men who are "ruling their children and their own houses well."

These latter requirements are made also of bishops, but on different grounds. Bishops are thus to shoAV their qualification to be spiritual rulers and "overseers "; deacons are thus to win and preserve the esteem and confidence of their fellow Christians.

Therefore Paul concludes by saying that those who meet these requirements, both as to private life and as to official conduct, ' 'gain to themselves a good standing, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus." The exact meaning of these phrases is not quite clear; but from what he has just written, he seems to indicate that such fidelity in office, however humble may be the duties of the deacons, will not fail to secure for them high respect and enviable positions of wholesome influence in the church. They will experience also great "boldness," or "assurance," in their service, not only because they consciously enjoy the confidence of the congregations they serve, but because of their continual faith in Christ Jesus, their Master and their Lord.

3. The Importance of the Church. Ch. 3:14-16

14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly; 15 but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church -of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness;

He who was manifested in the flesh,
     Justified in the spirit,
          Seen of angels,
Preached among the nations,
     Believed on in the world,
          Received up in glory.

Nothing can be of more encouragement to a Christian minister in his important work, nothing can make him more careful in conducting the public service of the congregation and in securing the appointment of duly qualified officers, than his realizing the divine origin of the Church and its sacred function of supporting and transmitting the glorious truth which centers in Christ.

Thus, when Paul has -given Timothy instructions as to public worship and as to the qualification of church officers, he explains his motives in writing and here emphasizes his exhortations by reminding Timothy of the important place which the Church occupies, and by giving a brief popular summary of its most important teachings.

He states that he expects soon to visit Timothy in Ephesus: "These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly." He realizes, however, the uncertainty of his plans and the possibility of delay, "but if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God." He feels, therefore, that in any case these general directions will indicate how men and women, pastors and deacons, are to conduct themselves in the Church, which is in reality the family or household of God, which as such should be carefully directed. He further designates this divine household as "the church of the living God," indicating that it is not a human but a divine institution, and that it must be ordered according to the will of God.

Further still, Paul designates the Church as "the pillar and ground of the truth," for just as a pillar supports a roof, or as a foundation sustains a building, so this society of believers has been divinely appointed to sustain and uphold in the world the truth which God has revealed to man.

That the whole system of Christian belief is thus a divine revelation and not a human invention, Paul indicates by describing it as "the mystery of godliness." According to New Testament usage, a " mystery " k does not signify something concealed or baffling or obscure, but it denotes a secret which has been made known; thus the counsels of grace for the salvation of mankind have been revealed through Jesus Christ and are summarized in the gospel, which is called thus specifically "the mystery of godliness," for its great purpose and its result is to produce godliness, or to persuade and enable men to do the holy will of God.

This mystery Paul declares to be "great," not in its obscurity, but in its importance; it is weighty, significant, sublime. It is such "without controversy," that is, beyond all question or doubt. That its greatness is admitted and acknowledged, Paul intimates as he summarizes its main contents by quoting a primitive creed or confession of the Christian faith. Because of the balanced and rhythmic structure of the phrases, many believe it to be the fragment of an ancient hymn. Therefore it is printed in the Revised Version as a stanza of six lines, or as two stanzas with three lines each. Possibly better still, it may be regarded as composed of three couplets, for this grouping of the phrases brings out more forcibly the contrasts of the successive lines:

"Manifested in the flesh,
     Justified in the spirit,

"Seen of angels,
     Preached among the nations,

"Believed on in the world,
     Received up in glory."

The Person who is the subject of each one of these statements is Jesus Christ our Lord. It matters little whether the first line reads "God was manifested in the flesh," or " He who was manifested in the flesh." The latter is probably more correct, but in either case we have a clear and definite statement of the Deity and incarnation of Christ. It would be impossible to make such a statement of a being who was only man. " He who was manifested in the flesh " previously must have been higher and greater than man. This statement of Paul is like that of John: "The Word became flesh." He who had existed from all eternity in the form of God was manifest in mortal flesh as the God Man, Christ Jesus.

He was "justified in the spirit"; here the first contrast is drawn: it is between "flesh" and "spirit," but these words are not used in the sense in which they are commonly placed in contrast by the apostle when he wishes to distinguish that which is evil in Christians from that which is good. By "spirit" he here means the inmost being of Christ his heart, his soul, the spring of all his motives and desires; even in this realm he was shown or declared or proved to be just and sinless and faultless and perfect. The first line speaks of his real humanity, the second of his complete holiness; the former of his actual manhood, the latter of his spiritual perfection.

He was "seen of angels." They sang at his birth, they ministered in the hour of his temptation. They attended his teaching in Galilee. They strengthened him in his agony. They guarded his tomb. They proclaimed his resurrection. They witnessed his ascension and predicted his return. Of their presence he was ever conscious, and now in countless array they stand about his throne.

In contrast with the angels, Gentiles are next mentioned. He was "preached among the nations." He has not been seen by them, but what may be even better, he has been so proclaimed that by accepting the message, men of all nations are being transformed into his likeness and fitted for his service.

Thus the last couplet contains this contrast: "Believed on in the world, received up in glory." There is, then, a sphere brighter and better than the world in which we live. Into it our Lord has entered, and to it he will bring all who accept the salvation he has prepared. He calls them to be heirs of his glory.

Whether these six lines were borrowed from an early Christian hymn, or whether they here were first written by Paul, they contain such a majesty of meaning that the apostle is justified in declaring that such realities are of supreme importance, and that the Church which maintains and supports them is "the pillar and ground of the truth "; and it is not strange that he was deeply concerned about the public services and the appointed officers of this divine society which was ordained to convey these glad tidings to all the world.



1. Warning Against False Doctrine. Ch. 4:1-5

1 But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving:5 for it is sanctified through the word of God and prayer.

No pastor can hope to escape the pain of having false teachers appear among the members of his flock. Against this peril, however, he must be on his guard. At times it will be necessary to discipline even church officers whose influence is subversive of the peace and faith of the congregation, as Paul indicates in the next chapter. Here, however, in the chapter now opening, he dwells upon the first and fundamental duty of a pastor, under such circumstances, which is to counteract such evil influences by right living and sound teaching.

Such personal advice to Timothy seems to form the substance of the remaining portion of the letter and to constitute its second great division. The line of separation between the parts, however, is not to be emphasized too strongly. As a matter of fact, the course of thought is rather continuous. Paul has just given a summary of Christian doctrine in order to emphasize the need of properly organizing the Church which is "the pillar and ground of the truth." He now turns to warn Timothy of the attacks certain to be made upon the faith of which the Church is the appointed support and stay. The very fact of such false teaching further emphasizes what Paul has said in the first part of the letter in reference to the necessity of allowing only properly qualified persons to conduct the public worship and to serve as officers of the Church.

Paul here declares that in spite of all that the Church can do to guard the sacred deposit of truth, defections from the faith would surely take place. Such had been predicted already and with great definiteness by men who were divinely inspired:"But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith." Years before, when bidding farewell to the Ephesian elders, the apostle himself had said, " I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them." Acts 20:29,30. So, too, in an earlier letter to the Thessalonians, he pictured a great apostasy which is immediately to precede the close of the present age. To these and to similar predictions of other apostles and of our Lord himself, Paul may here refer. However, it is evident that he is not fixing his thought upon a distant future. Although he speaks of "later times," he proceeds to warn Timothy against perils already prevalent. Indeed, the frequent references in the New Testament to the dark days of doubt and apostasy which precede the return of Christ are so phrased that the reader may be warned by them of dangers from which no age is free, and may be on guard against forms of unbelief and against corrupting practices which are prevalent in every age.

The cause of the falling away which Paul here describes is traced by him to the influence of "seducing spirits and doctrines of demons." Thus, in contrast to the Spirit of truth, he intimates that the false teachings prevalent in the Ephesian church are to be ultimately attributed to the Spirit of error. These doctrines taught by demons, however, are voiced through human agents, by men who in " hypocrisy " and under the guise of being spiritual leaders, "speak lies." They have grown so accustomed to sin, they are such willing and obedient servants of error, as to be "branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron."

The two particular errors of which they are guilty, as specified here, are their "forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats." The heresy, therefore, was in the nature of a false asceticism. It taught self-denial for its own sake, rather than with a view to accomplishing some great good.

Paul often is supposed to have opposed marriage. This passage, on the contrary, shows that, to his mind, compulsory celibacy, as a rule of life, was of demonic rather than of divine origin. Paul advised marriage; he regarded it as a divine ordinance. Even for a "bishop" or a "deacon" he declared it to be proper for one to be "the husband of one wife," and to be the head of a godly household. It is true, however, that Paul elsewhere admits that exceptions to this rule might be allowable and even admirable. He declares that occasionally one may have the gift of celibacy and that, at a special crisis in history and to perform a particular task for the Church, he might remain unmarried. He never indicates, however, that this is a ground for praise or an indication of any higher degree of spiritual life. The latter was the essence of the false teaching which he here rebukes. This departure from the faith was led by men who regarded marriage as degrading and who forbade those to marry who wished to be well-pleasing to God and to attain the greater heights of spiritual experience.

Thus, too, in reference to the command given by the false teachers, "to abstain from meats," that is, from food of various kinds, and not simply from flesh; although it is true that the latter was usually prohibited by the leaders of the early heretical sects. Paul, of course, agreed with his Master in admitting that fasting might be a means to a worthy end. It might be endured for the sake of physical health, or to express real sorrow, or to share food with others, or to make some spiritual exercise more profitable; but what he condemned was the teaching that fasting is in itself praiseworthy or that refraining from certain kinds of proper foods is meritorious or wins the special favor of God. On the contrary, he insists that food has been "created to be received with thanksgiving by them that believe and know the truth"; not by these alone, but by these as well as by others. Paul would teach that the fact of being a Christian does not place one in a different position from his fellow men in relation to the things which God has created for the good of the human race. Those who "believe and know the truth" are not for that reason to abstain from any kind of healthful food; as Paul adds, "for every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it be received with thanksgiving." The word "creature" might suggest only animate things, but the reference here is more wide and refers to everything made by God. Everything is "good" and is to be gratefully accepted and used in accordance with its divine intent and purpose. To make distinctions between various kinds of wholesome food on the ground that the use of one and the rejection of the other is a sign or means of spiritual grace, is not only absurd; it is also the mark and proof of a spurious asceticism, even of demonic unbelief.

True faith accepts all the beneficent creations of God with thanksgiving, and even the most common food "is sanctified through the word of God and prayer." This latter seems rightly to refer to the custom of thanksgiving before meals. This was in accordance with the example of our Lord, who blessed the bread before he broke it. It seems to have been a universal custom in the early Church. These thanksgivings included phrases from Scripture and these are possibly indicated by "the word of God." They were solemn but joyful recognitions of the goodness and mercy and grace of God. They designated him as the Giver of every good and perfect gift. No food of which believers partake in such a spirit of gratitude can be regarded as evil; even the simplest repast thus becomes almost a sacrament.

2. Exhortation to Godly Living. Ch. 4:6-10

6 If thou put the brethren in mind of these things, them shalt be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished in the words of the faith, and of the good doctrine which thou hast followed until now: 7 but refuse profane and old wives' fables. And exercise thyself unto godliness: 8 for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come. 9 Faithful is the saying and worthy of all acceptation. 10 For to this end we labor and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe.

In the previous paragraph Paul has been warning Timothy against the false doctrines which taught that Christians would attain to higher holiness if they refrained from marriage and abstained from certain foods. Timothy is here exhorted to withstand such false doctrine by sound teaching and by personal piety. In his teaching he is to present to his fellow Christians the truths which Paul has just set forth as to the proper use of food, which God had created for the use of man, which was to be received with thanksgiving and sanctified by prayer. He is to rebuke asceticism and to show the right relation which Christians are to sustain to the good gifts God has granted for the well-being of men: "If thou put the brethren in mind of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Christ Jesus."

The last phrase is one of peculiar beauty if used to describe a faithful pastor of a Christian church; it is a high honor to be called in that sense "a good minister of Christ Jesus." Paul, however, does not use the phrase with this meaning. By the word "minister" he does not refer to a church officer; he uses the term in its original meaning of a "servant," and he declares that by such true teaching Timothy will show himself to be a faithful servant of his Lord, he will render a real service to Jesus Christ. He will show that he is "nourished in the words of the faith," and indeed he must continue to be so nourished by the sound teaching of the gospel as to practical life, if his service is to be faithful. Such teaching Timothy had accepted always, as Paul intimates in the phrase, "which thou hast followed until now."

On the other hand, Timothy must be careful to resist and to shun the wicked and silly myths of the false teachers: "But refuse profane and old wives' fables." Instead of following the foolish and evil practices of the false ascetics, Timothy must train himself in spirituality and discipline himself in true piety. " Exercise thyself unto godliness," Paul significantly says. The severity to the body advocated by false teachers was worse than useless; however, there is a kind of bodily discipline which may be a help to holiness, namely, the refusal to allow the appetites to rule the will, the restraint and control exercised over the body by a sound mind and a pure heart.

Such discipline, like all physical training, does have its benefits; but there is even a higher discipline of the spirit itself, which brings to man unlimited and abiding good:"for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come." A consistent Christian walk does not necessarily forfeit the best things which the present life has to promise, and it is certain to issue in the higher joys of the life that is to come. In a certain real sense the Christian "makes the best of both worlds." Piety is consistent with worldly advancement; under certain conditions it secures it; however, to practice piety for the sake of such advancement is impious. The Christian may enjoy prosperity, but if he follows Christ only for the sake of gain, he does not understand his Master. The "promise," however, assured to piety is of the truest blessedness, and of glorious well-being both here and hereafter. Such blessedness may be accompanied by present discomfort and self-denial and distress; but, for those who really trust in God, it will issue in the highest possible life and in eternal joy: "godliness is profitable," in this sense; and Paul declares the "saying " to be " faithful " and "worthy of all acceptation;" but he at once adds that it may lie accompanied by present pain and discipline: "for to ibis end we labor and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God." He will at last vindicate his claims to justice. He gives grace needed for the present, and promises glory in the world to come. He is the "Saviour of all men," for them he has provided life in all its fullness, he has made possible, for all, the highest well-being; yet he conditions this blessedness upon faith in Christ, so that while God is the Saviour of all, Paul can add, "specially of them that believe."

In contrast with spurious asceticism, true piety is "profitable for all things"; in contrast with the bodily training which may secure "a corruptible crown," those who exercise themselves unto godliness will receive a crown of life that will never fade away.

3. Encouragement to Faithful Service. Ch. 4:11-16

11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no man despise thy [youth; but be thou an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Be diligent hi these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all. 16 Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching. Continue in these things; for in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee.

It would be difficult to imagine six verses more weighted with wise counsel for a young minister than these. Nor are they lacking in significance to the members of the flock, who need to know the nature of the cares and duties and temptations and trials which press upon the Christian pastor, who thus may be the better prepared to extend to him their sympathy, and to profit by his ministry.

First of all, Paul enjoins Timothy to command and to commend the conduct and the principles he has just been outlining, in view of the false teaching at Ephesus. Such errors of practice can be met in part by the godly life which Timothy has been encouraged to lead. However, the silent influence of a holy example may not always suffice to correct evil conduct. Sometimes it is necessary for a minister of Christ to speak out with that authority granted him by the whole Church at the time of his ordination. Therefore Paul urges, "These things command and teach"; Timothy is to enjoin certain behavior and he is to " teach " the moral principles involved. Some Christian truths are so fundamental and some forms of duty so obvious that a minister can often speak with authority even though he is not dictatorial or dogmatic.

One thing which might have tempted Timothy to keep silent, even in the face of obvious errors of teaching and practice, was his youth. Therefore Paul encourages him to "let no man despise" him or set him aside on this account. After all, age is a relative matter. Timothy, in point of fact, was no child. He had been traveling as a companion of Paul for some sixteen years, and must have been surely as old as sixteen when he left his home. However, here at Ephesus were teachers and leaders who may have been twice his age, men who held positions of influence in the church and community, men who were the more powerful because of the false asceticism which gave them a reputation for saintliness, and who were revered because of their advancing years, yet who must be rebuked and publicly admonished by the young pastor whom Paul had sent to represent him and to order aright the affairs of the church. It is not strange that he uses the words, "Let no man despise thy youth." Nor was Timothy the last youthful pastor to need the comfort of these words. To act as the public mentor and guide of those who are more mature and more experienced is a task which throws one back upon his Master, and makes him depend upon divine grace, and seek more earnestly to understand the inspired Word that he may speak with the authority which becomes an ambassador of Christ, however many or few his years.

Two things, at least, a young minister can do; first, he can be careful as to his life and service, and secondly he can remember his divine commission. Both of these courses of action Paul points out to Timothy. Instead of showing timidity, because conscious of his youth or other limitations, Timothy was urged to be "an ensample to them that believe, in word, in manner of life, in love, in faith, in purity." Possibly the "word" and "manner of life" may refer to Timothy's public activity, and the "love" and "faith" and "purity" may define the virtues which were to mold more particularly his private conduct. In any event, these terms describe for us conduct of such beauty and charm as would disarm any criticism based upon the mere fact that Timothy was young. It is often true to-day that even a youthful pastor so commends himself by his life and service that his comparative immaturity and his lack of experience are forgotten or overlooked. Advanced years usually bring a ripeness which qualifies for the highest service, yet much of the work of the pastorate can be done successfully by one who, whatever his age, is an example to his flock in the character of his public utterance, in his social life, and by his manifest love and faith and purity.

As to the public service which Timothy is to render, Paul specifies the three elements which have always constituted the main task of the preacher. He is to "give heed to reading, to exhortation, to teaching." By the first of these three, Paul means the public reading of the Scripture. It is probably not unkind to say that a very large proportion of those who have succeeded Timothy in the work of the Christian ministry have not given very careful attention to the solemn responsibility and to the great privilege of such public reading. Too frequently it is done listlessly, thoughtlessly, and badly. A Christian minister should "give heed" to this difficult art.

The second of these terms, "exhortation," implies what we commonly understand by preaching. It, too, requires preparation and thought and care. It is associated by Paul with "teaching." Possibly the two are closely allied in meaning, but surely there is a definite message, in the last word, for the pastor of the present day. He is really to be a teacher, and this task is not to be confined simply to the pulpit, although it is to begin there. It includes all those methods whereby the members of the flock, both old and young, are not merely exhorted to the performance of certain duties, but are wisely instructed in all the truths of the Christian faith and are led out into various forms of unselfish service.

Timothy is further warned and encouraged by being reminded of his ordination. In spite of his comparative youth, he is to speak out boldly as Paul has already urged, and he is to remember that if he fails so to do, it will become more and more difficult for him to perform his obvious task. Therefore Paul adds, "Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery." Here Paul reminds his young friend of the experience which had been his when he had been solemnly set aside as a minister of Christ. At that time the elders, as they laid upon him their hands in the solemn service of ordination, had recognized the gracious gift for teaching and for administering to the church which the Holy Spirit had bestowed upon Timothy, and which was in accordance with the inspired predictions which had led Paul to choose him as a companion in the ministry. This gracious gift Timothy must exercise. Therefore Paul continues, "Be diligent in these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy progress may be manifest unto all." Inactivity, even laziness, has been said to be a besetting sin of the ministry. If so, it is a sin against which ministers are usually on their guard. It is a temptation which is most commonly overcome. Nevertheless, it may at times be necessary for young pastors to be urged to show diligence in their task and not to be held back either by timidity or slothfulness or fear. In the ministry one must show continual growth. He will either progress or fall back. Ceaseless vigilance is here, as elsewhere, the price of continued and increasing usefulness, and progress is possible only along the path of diligence in the performance of daily tasks.

Thus Paul gives as a closing exhortation, "Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching." The pastor needs to prepare not only his sermons, but also himself. One who is giving constant heed to his own character, to his mental growth, and to his spiritual development, will be certain to make his progress manifest to all.

If this is his habit of life, as Paul says, if he is found to "continue in these things," he will then have the experience which Paul intimates to Timothy "in doing this thou shalt save both thyself and them that hear thee" for it is true that by fidelity to duty one does further secure his own salvation and also that of those who are committed to his guidance and care.

B. PASTORAL OVERSIGHT. Chs. 5:1 to 6:2

1. The Old and the Young. Ch. 5:1,2

1 Rebuke not an elder, but exhort him as a father; the younger men as brethren:2 the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, in all purity.

There are many duties which devolve upon a Christian minister in his capacity of pastor as distinct from that of preacher. He must deal with the members of his flock as individuals, in addition to addressing them at public gatherings. To him is given the care or the " cure " of souls, and this difficult task can be accomplished only by personal contacts. It requires sympathy and patience, and wisdom and skill. It makes one a more helpful preacher, but it secures results which cannot be attained by preaching. Each age, each condition, each separate soul needs special treatment.

Therefore, when Paul, in earlier portions of his letter, has instructed Timothy in the conduct of congregational worship, when he has urged him to be careful and faithful in this public reading of the Scripture, in exhortation and instruction, he now turns to urge him to accord to the persons under his care the consideration and treatment appropriate to the age, the position, the need, and the dignity of each.

When he says, first of all, " Rebuke not an elder, but exhort him as a father," he does not refer to a church officer, an "elder" or presbyter or bishop, but to one of the older men of his congregation. These are not to be treated harshly or censured unkindly, but even when they are at fault, respect for age must temper the form of rebuke.

Nor should the young men be sharply reprimanded. At times severity might be necessary, but the spirit of the admonition should be loving and never vindictive or bitter; in fact, Timothy was to treat "the younger men as brethren."

The same kindly, courteous consideration was to be shown to the women of the congregation; to "the elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters;" and here the apostle adds significantly, "in all purity," for any breach of strict propriety may injure or destroy the reputation and influence of even the most eloquent preacher or the most energetic pastor.

2. Widows. Ch. 5:3-16

3 Honor widows that are widows indeed. 4 But if any widow hath children or grandchildren, let them learn first to show piety towards their own family, and to requite their parents: for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, hath her hope set on God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. 6 But she that giveth herself to pleasure is dead while she liveth. 7 These things also command, that they may be without reproach. 8 But if any provideth not for his own, and specially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever. 9 Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, 10 well reported of for good works; if she hath brought up children, if she hath used hospitality to strangers, if she hath washed the saints' feet, if she hath relieved the afflicted, if she hath diligently followed every good work. 11 But younger widows refuse: for when they have waxed wanton against Christ, they desire to marry; 12 having condemnation, because they have rejected their first pledge. 13 And withal they learn also to be idle, going about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14 I desire therefore that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, give no occasion to the adversary for reviling:15 for already some are turned aside after Satan. 16 If any woman that believeth hath widows, let her relieve them, and let not the church be burdened; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

Church finance offers problems which every Christian pastor must face. No matter how faithful and efficient the officers appointed to administer the temporal affairs of a congregation, the pastor, under ordinary circumstances, must aid in the adoption of wise measures both for raising and for dispensing the money necessary to further the work of the church. This is particularly true in reference to the funds employed in relief of the poor.

Upon this phase of pastoral oversight Paul casts no little light as he instructs Timothy in reference to the care of widows who were dependent upon the church. He does not give all the directions needed by a minister to-day, and he includes certain references which may not apply directly to finance; but he does illustrate certain abiding principles which are as important as they are obvious.

First, the administration of finances is as truly a matter which concerns the welfare of a church as the conduct of public services or the appointment of qualified officers. It received the same careful consideration by an inspired apostle as he wrote to a young pastor at Ephesus.

Second, the burden of church support should be fairly distributed, and those best able should assume the largest share.

Third, every church should care for the poor among its own numbers. Usually, no Church member should be a care to the community or dependent upon public charity.

Fourth, the poor funds should be distributed with great care and wisdom. No persons should be supported who are able to care for themselves, or who have relatives upon whom they may depend. Only those who are worthy as well as needy should be aided regularly. Every effort should be made to encourage independence, to share responsibility, and to maintain the good name of the church and its members.

In introducing the discussion Paul urges Timothy to "honor widows that are widows indeed." He has been speaking of the courteous consideration which should be given to all the various classes in the congregation, to men and women, to young and old. Thus by the word "honor" he meant to denote regard and sympathy, but also such respect as would manifest itself in material comforts and in financial aid when such were needed.

By "widows indeed" were meant those who were truly bereft and helpless, and who also conducted themselves with becoming dignity and propriety.

Those who had "children or grandchildren" were hardly to be regarded as helpless. These members of their own households should assume the burden of cheering their loneliness and of supplying their wants. These children should "learn" from Timothy to regard this as a "first" duty, even taking precedence to any form of church or charitable work. They must be taught that "charity begins at home." This care for widowed parents is a true way "to show piety," for it is required by the Fifth Commandment, and in immediate connection with duties owed to God; further, it is an act of proper gratitude in return for similar care already received in years of helplessness; it is merely what might be expected of children, namely, "to requite their parents"; it "is acceptable in the sight of God" and regarded as a service rendered to him.

If, however, the support of a widow is to fall upon the church, great care must be exercised to determine that she is worthy of this care. In some large measure she must be otherwise helpless; she must also be one who has "her hope set on God," and who lives a life characterized by devotion and prayer.

On the other hand, a woman who has private means, or who gives herself wholly to pleasure and indulgence, one indeed who is spiritually "dead," should on no account receive financial support from the church.

Timothy is urged to impress these principles upon believers not only upon widows, but also upon those to whom the latter might rightfully look for support. Paul adds that if any one of the latter fails in his obvious duty to provide for his relatives "and especially his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." This truth applies to others besides widows. It refers to the proper care for children and kindred. This, even the dictates of reason and natural affection would demand. Even an unconverted pagan would show such consideration for his own relatives.

It is pitiful to note how often this precept of the apostle is abused as a cloak for the niggardly support of Christian work by men who are heaping up fortunes to be squandered by their children. They declare that they are caring for their own. It is possible to do this worthy thing in such a selfish way as to be no better than "an unbeliever."

As to those who are enrolled as regular recipients of aid from the church, Paul specifies that "none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old." As this is an absolute requirement, it is rather difficult to agree with the many who hold that Paul is here describing an order of deaconesses, or of church widows, to whom were entrusted certain official duties in connection with the life and work of the congregation. It would rather appear that the comparatively advanced age of all these widows who were to be supported by the church indicates that they were supposed to be beyond the years of active toil and were intended by the apostle to be freed from care in their declining years.

Yet age was not the sole requirement. High Christian character was insisted upon by the apostle quite as definitely. One who was enrolled must have been " the wife of one man." This can hardly mean that a widow who had been married twice was ineligible to such church support, for Paul proceeds at once to urge young widows to marry. It is represented as being altogether in accordance with the divine will that such second marriages should take place. It is difficult to suppose, therefore, that one who in her youth, after the death of her husband, marries again should therefore be thus penalized so that if again bereaved, and if utterly helpless and friendless, she could not be supported by the church. Probably the expression means a woman whose married life had been blameless and unblemished.

She must also have been a good mother, in case she had been granted children; and further, she must have been a generous hostess as far as means and opportunities had permitted; she must have "used hospitality to strangers." She must have "washed the saints' feet," not literally, but as the phrase must indicate, she must have been ready to render humble ministries to her fellow Christians; and further, she must have "relieved the afflicted," giving sympathy to all who were in distress; and in short, she must have lived a life of loving service, having "diligently followed every good work."

On the other hand, young widows were not to be placed on the roll of those dependent upon the church for support, for such a practice would be dangerous both for them and for the good name of the church. Because of their very youth, they might feel the restraints of a life of such sanctity and seriousness as widows supported by the church were apparently supposed to lead, and they might incur the charge of unfaithfulness to Christ, or at least, as these words of Paul are more commonly understood, they would by their marriage break the pledge made when they were placed upon the roll of dependent widows. Further, even though unmarried, the fact that they were being supported without working while young and full of vigor, would place them in danger of becoming idle gossipers, meddlesome and reckless in speech. Paul therefore earnestly advises "that the younger widows marry, bear children, rule the household, give no occasion to the adversary for reviling." By the "adversary" Paul probably means the unbeliever who might be eager to spread an evil report of a professing Christian; but Paul warns young widows of a similar and more terrible Adversary, and shows that his fears are not unfounded and his advice not unnecessary, when he adds that some have already left the Christian life and "turned aside after Satan."

In conclusion Paul refers again to the necessity of relieving the church from the care of those who have relatives on whom they might depend. He widens the principle, however, and relieves it from possible misunderstanding. Not only are men to care for widowed mothers and grandmothers, as an earlier sentence has required, but women, also, must do everything in their power to support needy relatives that the burden may not fall upon the church. " If any woman that believeth hath widows, let her relieve them, and let not the church be burdened." There will always be a great demand upon the church for relief and aid; this must be given gladly and liberally. Yet for this very reason it must be given carefully and wisely, in order that the funds may suffice to aid those who are most truly in need. Thus can the good name of the church be maintained; thus can Christ be served in the persons of those who belong to him and whose hope is in him.

3. Elders. Ch. 5:17-25

17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching. 18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his hire. 19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, except at the mouth of two or three witnesses. 20 Them that sin reprove in the sight of all, that the rest also may be in fear. 21 I charge thee in the sight of God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by partiality. 22 Lay hands hastily on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. 23 Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities. 24 Some men's sins are evident, going before unto judgment; and some men also they follow after. 25 In like manner also there are good works that are evident; and such as are otherwise cannot be hid.

Much of the success or failure attending the work of a pastor will be due to the officers of the particular church he serves. These men can make or mar his ministry. The high qualifications for such official positions were set forth in the third chapter of this epistle. Paul here turns to consider the relation which Timothy sustains to the chief order of these officers, namely the "elders"; and he refers specifically to their remuneration, their discipline, and the necessity of carefully ascertaining their worthy character before setting them aside for their sacred tasks.

It is true that wide differences of opinion exist as to the exact nature of the "elders" or "presbyters," just as there is even wider divergence in practice among modern churches as to the duties assigned to those officers who more or less exactly correspond to these ministers of the primitive Church. It is commonly supposed, however, that they were the spiritual rulers of the local church, and that while the duties of oversight were common to all, some of them served in addition as preachers and teachers, and that is the meaning of Paul as he here directs Timothy, "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and in teaching." That is, there was one office but two functions; all elders ruled, that was their essential duty; some also exercised the gift of public instruction. All who ruled faithfully and well, particularly if they rendered the additional service of preaching, were to be "counted worthy of double honor." The last word indicates not merely the high respect and deference to be shown them, but also the stipend which they were to receive. This financial remuneration was to be proportioned to fidelity and the amount of time devoted to official duties.

The principle was enforced by a quotation from the Old Testament: "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he tread eth out the corn"; that is, the ox, when engaged in threshing grain, should be left free to take necessary food; so, by way of analogy, a minister who was devoting his time and energies to Christian work should receive support from the Christian church.

Paul further quotes what is commonly regarded as a popular proverb: "The laborer is worthy of his hire." As used by our Lord, this saying now forms a part of inspired Scripture, and expresses the common belief of the Church, as sanctioned by Paul, that one who is engaged in preaching the gospel, and in similar sacred ministry, should receive proper remuneration from the community of believers.

The pastor is further concerned with the discipline of these officers. In fact, church finance, as illustrated in the matter of administering the poor fund and securing the salaries of ministers, seems to be of no greater importance to the apostle than the maintenance of the good name of the Church, which can be secured only by the rebuke and punishment of offenders, particularly of such as hold high positions of responsibility as spiritual rulers.

However, Timothy is cautioned to proceed with extreme care. He is not to act upon mere rumor. " Against an elder receive not an accusation, except at the mouth of two or three witnesses." It is unwise to begin a legal process involving serious charges unless there is in hand sufficient evidence to make conviction practically certain.

On the other hand, when the sin is open or confessed, or when guilt has been established, then the rebuke is to be publicly administered, or at least in the presence of all the church officers, that others may be warned of their peril and may fear to commit similar offenses.

Most solemnly does Paul charge Timothy to carry out these injuctions, and in every case to act without prejudice or partiality, as one who is standing in the presence of the eternal Judge, whose conduct is known to his Master, who is observed by the holy angels, whom Paul calls "elect" not as specifying an angelic order, but as referring to those supernatural agents of God who have kept true to him and have been sent to minister to the heirs of salvation.

Great caution is to be exercised by Timothy as to the men who are candidates for this sacred office. They are not to be ordained unless Timothy is certain as to their qualifications and character: "Lay hands hastily on no man."

The special reason assigned for such caution is the fact that one who has a part in appointing to the ministry unworthy men, must be regarded as sharing in the wrong such men subsequently commit. Against such partnership in evil Timothy must be on his guard. "Keep thyself pure," writes the apostle, with a strong accent on "thyself," for in dealing with the sins of others, and in acting as a judge of the moral character of others, there is special reason that Timothy should keep himself honorable, and upright and blameless.

However, he is to be on his guard against a false asceticism. Either as an act of self-denial or a protest against prevailing excess, Timothy had been refraining from all use of wine; therefore Paul advises him as follows:" Be no longer a drinker of water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."

In view of the injurious character of alcoholic drinks, Paul has been criticized frequently for his advice. It should be noticed, however, that it is the medicinal use of wine that Paul proposes, and, that he regards the kind of wine which Timothy could secure as calculated to relieve him from the ailments by which he was distressed. It would seem obvious that the weak stomach of Timothy should not be used as an argument that modern liquor is needed as a beverage.

However, if wine was recommended by Paul as a remedy for sickness, it is a fair question whether any Christians are right in teaching that "the prayer of faith" should be the only recourse for the cure of disease, and that medicines or other "means" should not be employed.

The very advice which Paul gives to Timothy seems to caution him against any false extremes, and to urge him to use his sanctified common sense.

Above all, these words of the apostle bear on their very surface a principle upon which all will probably agree, namely, that a Christian minister needs to have a due regard to maintaining his bodily health. A pale, weak, emaciated ascetic is not the ideal pastor proposed by Paul, and while the Pastoral Epistles are full of exhortations to spiritual attainments and excellencies, it is to the credit of the great apostle that he does not feel it is beneath his dignity to advise a young minister as to his diet, and concerning the recovery or maintenance of physical health.

This, however, is by way of parenthesis. Timothy is being instructed as to the need of disciplining men for their sins and of carefully judging the moral character of candidates for the office of elder; and Paul adds a 'final word of encouragement to assure him that there is usually no need of haste, and that he must not be timid.

In the same way, "there are good works that are evident," so that in their light it is easy to form correct impressions as to the character of the men who perform them; "and such as are otherwise," that is, are for a time concealed, "cannot be hid" permanently; they are certain to be revealed some day. Thus, in the case of worthy men, our high estimate of their characters will ultimately be confirmed. With such facts in mind, it should not be regarded impossible either to administer discipline or to choose men who are worthy to fill the positions of spiritual oversight.

4. Slaves. Ch. 6:1, 2

1 Let as many as are servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed. 2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but let them serve them the rather, because they that partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. These things teach and exhort.

In the days of the early Christians the institution of slavery was universal throughout the Roman Empire, and was recognized and established by law. It gave rise to questions of the most delicate and difficult character within the membership of the Church.

Should a master who became a Christian set his slaves free? Should a slave who accepted Christ demand his liberty? How should Christian masters and slaves be related to one another?

Not unnaturally, therefore, when Paul has instructed Timothy as to the duty of the pastor toward the various classes in his congregation, he turns last of all to tell him of the conduct which he is to enjoin upon Christian slaves.

He deals first with those who have unbelieving masters. Such are not to be insolent or unruly. They are not to insist upon social equality or political freedom. They are not to foment strife and revolution. Such lawlessness and violence on the part of Christians would bring disgrace upon the name of God and upon his gospel: "Let as many as am servants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine be not blasphemed."

An equally great temptation would confront slaves when their masters became Christians. They would be assured of their equality before God, and of their common brotherhood in Christ. Presuming upon these relationships they might be inclined to show toward their masters unbecoming familiarity and contempt. Therefore Paul urges Timothy to warn such as "have believing masters" not to "despise them, because they are brethren," but on the other hand to labor even more faithfully just because the masters who would profit by this improved service were believers and beloved and as such were worthy of fidelity and kindly regard.

Thus wisely did Paul deal with the problems which rose out of slavery, the monster evil of his day; and his teachings are invaluable to the Christian pastor who seeks light upon the most pressing problems of the present, namely, upon those questions which rise out of our modern social and industrial and political order. What are the right relations between the white and the colored races, between labor and capital, between rulers and subjects? Surely gigantic evils exist, and cruel injustice seems to be wrought into the very fabric of our social order. What course shall the Christian follow?

We may note that Paul neither denounced slavery nor incited revolution. He taught great principles which worked slowly and surely, which abolished slavery and made for political liberty and social justice. The modern minister must proclaim human brotherhood and equality, and must seek to apply the teachings of the gospel to all human relationship; however, he is neither to incite nor to countenance violence; he is not to array class against class, nor to imagine that human welfare will be advanced by the disregard of social conventions or by the sudden overthrow of political institutions.

The social ethics of Christianity need to be widely advocated; but just how far their logical conclusions are to be pressed in any case must be determined by wisdom and common sense, and by a due regard for the rights of all parties concerned. Mutual love and consideration between man and man will make life happier and more secure under even the present social order, and no order can possibly be satisfactory or enduring unless there exists that spirit of Christian brotherhood which Paul advocated when he urged even slaves to show toward their masters fidelity and respect.

IV. CONCLUSION. Ch. 6:3-21


3 If any man teacheth a different doctrine, and consenteth not to sound words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 he is puffed up, knowing nothing, but doting about questionings and disputes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, 5 wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain:7 for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; 8 but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. 9 But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

In the remaining portion of the epistle, Paul reverts to two themes on which he has laid great stress in the earlier chapters, namely, the necessity of sound doctrine and of right living. While the main portion of the letter has dealt with a third topic, namely, that of church organization and its related pastoral duties, Paul dwells in this letter, as in all the Pastoral Epistles, upon the duty of a Christian minister to be sound in his teaching and to furnish in his own life an example which his congregation can safely follow.

In a real sense these closing paragraphs form a climax and a logical conclusion for all the teaching which precedes, for they emphasize the great motives by which a Christian minister should be inspired. In contrast with the false teachers who are moved by vanity and love of money, Timothy is to seek for holiness and to be inspired by the hope of his Lord's return.

In referring to the false teachers, who were causing such trouble to the church at Ephesus, Paul describes them as teaching "a different doctrine." He thus again suggests that there is a divine standard of truth, even the gospel which has been revealed through Christ. It is this gospel which Paul further defines as consisting of "sound words," and further describes as being "the words of our Lord Jesus Christ," and further still, as "the doctrine which is according to godliness," that is, the doctrine which teaches and develops and results in true piety.

The first motive which Paul ascribes to one who teaches such a "different doctrine" is that of vanity. Paul describes such a teacher as both proud and ignorant:"he is puffed up, knowing nothing." He has a morbid appetite for idle discussions and quarrels about words, "doting about questionings and disputes of words." These heretics are thus described as wasting time in mere academic disputes. Unfortunately this disease has never been confined to heretics, and even the most orthodox teachers have been tempted to wage such wars of words. It should be remembered, however, that by the ignorant the discussion of even vital questions is frequently regarded as a mere battle about words, as the consideration of essential Christian truths seemed to the mind of Greek philosophers to be of this futile nature.

As to such really empty and vain disputes, Paul states that their only result will be "envy, strife, railings." He declares that these feuds characterize "men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth." The last phrase indicates that the truth was once theirs, but it has been lost. They "have disinherited themselves." Their chief error consists in regarding the profession of Christianity as a means of financial profit, "supposing that godliness is a way of gain." Paul at once adds, "But godliness with contentment is great gain," and here he lifts the word "gain" even as he does the word "godliness" to a higher sense. He means that true piety, and not an empty profession of faith, is a way of securing the very highest good and not mere earthly treasure; but he adds a very significant clause, the "godliness" which "is great gain" must be accompanied "with contentment." The last is a word of large meaning. It denotes independence of any lot, and the ability of finding resources in oneself, and in being indifferent to everything else besides. It does not indicate mere satisfaction with what one possesses, but a satisfaction wholly disconnected with all outward circumstances. Paul gives a reason for this statement in the phrase which follows: "for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out"; that is, nothing the world can give makes any real addition to the man himself; his real good consists in his moral and spiritual being, not in any wealth or possessions he may gather about him. Paul further adds, "Having food and covering we shall be therewith content"; whatever else may be granted may be received with thanks; it may be useful and add comfort. It is not, however, absolutely necessary, and the true Christian will be satisfied when his needs are supplied.

Paul, however, is not praising poverty, nor declaring it a crime to possess property; he is only rebuking avarice, and showing that real contentment is independent of either poverty or wealth.

It is against the peril of avarice that he proceeds to warn Timothy, and through him all religious teachers, and, indeed, all the followers of Christ. "They that are minded to be rich," that is, those who place before them wealth as the chief goal in life, "fall into a temptation," namely, that of using wrong means for accomplishing their ends, "and a snare," so that they find themselves enmeshed in a net of circumstances from which they cannot extricate themselves without the loss either of honor or of money. Then, as riches increase, they tend to develop many "foolish and hurtful lusts," that is, the desire for unreasonable and injurious pleasures and gratifications which overwhelm men in moral ruin, or, as Paul declares, "drown men in destruction and perdition."

Such a downward course of those who have yielded to avarice has been observed only too frequently, in the case of men within as well as outside the Church. Paul emphasizes his warning, however, by the statement that "the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil." He does not speak disparagingly of money, for it may be an instrument of all kinds of good, but of the "love of money," the lust of gold, the passion for gain, out of which evil of every kind may spring. Nor does he mean that avarice is the only passion out of which such deadly fruit may grow, but that it is a motive, which, if allowed to take root in the heart, will be prolific of evils of every kind.

Then Paul adds that there are some persons, even within the number of professing Christians, who because of their "reaching after" money have made shipwreck both of their faith and of their happiness, they "have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Just what these sorrows are, Paul leaves the reader to conclude. Evidently he intends to suggest the poignant griefs of one whom conscience torments for disgraceful efforts to secure wordly gain, or the final disillusionment of one who has made gold his god.


11 But them, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, \v hereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. 13 I charge thee in the sight of God, who giveth life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession; 14 that thou keep the commandment, without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:15 which in its own times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16 who only hath immortality, dwelling in light unapproachable; whom no man hath seen, nor can see:to whom be honor and power eternal. Amen.

The supreme concern of the Christian pastor must ever be that of the purity and sanctity of his own motives. Thus when Paul has warned Timothy against the vanity and avarice which controlled the false teachers in Ephesus, he brings his epistle to a climax in a solemn charge to shun these evils and earnestly to seek the things of the highest good, not to set his heart upon selfish and worldly gain, but to be looking for " the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul appeals to Timothy as a "man of God," using a phrase commonly employed in the Old Testament to designate a prophet; but he does not mean to describe Timothy technically as a Christian minister, but possibly to remind him that he has been entrusted with a divine message; and the exhortation which follows is surely applicable to all who are true servants of God.

"Flee these things," that is, the pride, the vanity, and the avarice of the false teachers. Instead of their use of religion as a means of gain, Timothy is to strive earnestly for a character pleasing to God and for that true piety by which alone such a character can be produced.

If the false teachers "have been led astray from the faith " by their love of money, Timothy is to maintain that devotion to Christ which manifests itself in deeds of love. If they have been led into bitterness and wrangling, Timothy must manifest patience and meekness.

He is exhorted to "fight the good fight of the faith." Here Paul uses words which refer to the ancient Greek games, and he pictures the Christian life as a "contest," noble, indeed, in contrast with the physical struggles of the arena, a contest in which victory can be secured only by faith in Christ, and in which the prize is nothing less than life eternal.

To the enjoyment of this life here and hereafter, Timothy was "called" at the time he accepted Christ, and when he confessed "the good confession in the sight of many witnesses." From the reference to this "good confession" which Timothy made in earlier days, Paul passes naturally to exhort Timothy to continue steadfast in the present trials through which he is passing and in which he is surrounded by witnesses whose real but unseen presence will strengthen him to be faithful and true.

Paul charges Timothy "in the sight of God, who giveth life to all things," that is, in the sight of the One who is the Source or Preserver of all beings, and who will therefore protect and deliver Timothy, however great the perils which may surround him.

He charges him further in the presence of " Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed the good confession," that Timothy, also, may be fearless and uncompromising in his witness to the truth. The exact "charge," however, Paul now specifies: "That thou keep the commandment without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ." By " the commandment" Paul means the whole moral content of the gospel. This Timothy must keep "without spot, without reproach," by his own observance of it in his life and conduct, quite as much as by his open proclamation of its truth.

I n a strict sense nothing can affect the ' ' commandment' '; it will always be "without spot, without reproach"; yet, practically, the divine message may surfer and be brought into disrepute by the faulty lives of Christian ministers. Those who preach the gospel must adorn the doctrine by their lives. Thus, while the terms "spotless" and "blameless" literally define "the commandment," in reality it is Timothy who is to be "unspotted" and "free from reproach," lest the message he delivers may be disregarded and despised.

This unblemished life is to be lived, "the commandment" is to be kept, "until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ." This is a clear reference to the return of Christ, or the Second Advent, by which is meant no mere spiritual influence upon men, nor the moral development of society, but an actual, visible, personal manifestation, the glorious "appearing of our Lord."

Paul does not mean, however, that Timothy of necessity will live until that day; but this event is to be regarded as one which might occur in his lifetime, and is ever to be regarded as an inspiring hope. Paul never affirms that the event is near. In his earliest letters he specifically taught that an apostasy would first develop and a "man of sin" appear. II Thess. 2:3. How long the delay may be is never foretold. As stated here, this return of Christ was to be "in its own times," known to God alone.

It was for Timothy, as it is the privilege of every subsequent generation of believers, to find in the hope of "the appearing of our Lord" an incentive to fidelity in service and to purity of life.

The solemn exhortation now melts into the music of a glorious doxology. He who in due season is to bring to pass the return of Christ is described as "the blessed and only Potentate," the One who enjoys perfect bliss and absolute sovereignty, "King of kings and Lord of lords." He "only hath immortality," essential and underived, "dwelling in light unapproachable" because of its brilliance and splendor, "whom no man hath seen nor can see," as his glory is revealed to men only in the face of Jesus Christ. To this blessed, sovereign, majestic, everlasting, invisible God, is ascribed "honor and power eternal."

Amidst all the dark and abounding idolatries of earth, the Christian Church should sound out more widely the glad, good news embodied in this majestic hymn of praise to the one true and living God.

C. POSTSCRIPT. Ch. 6:17-19

1. An Admonition to the Rich. Ch. 6:17-19

17 Charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not high-minded, nor have their hope set on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed.

The modern minister needs to be on his guard lest he may deal unwisely with the problems related to wealth. The present social and industrial order does involve injustice and distressing inequalities. Nevertheless, a Christian leader must be careful not to deny the right of private property or to intimate that a man is sinful or dangerous because he is rich.

Neither Christ nor Paul ever condemned rich men because they were rich, but only because they put their trust in wealth or failed to use it aright. Thus, when Paul is writing the closing paragraphs of this letter, he pauses to give an admonition to the rich. He has, in this very chapter, given a solemn warning against avarice, and particularly against the avarice of religious teachers; here he is making an advance upon his thought, for he is addressing wealthy Christians, and is warning them against putting a false confidence in their riches, and is urging them to make a wise use of their wealth.

When he tells Timothy to "charge them that are rich in this present world, that they be not high-minded," he is referring to members of the Church. Evidently there were among them men of wealth, owners of slaves, v. 2. possessors of large means. This is the sense of the phrase, "rich in this present world"; the contrast is not between spiritual and material riches, but between the rich and the poor in worldly goods. Those who are possessors of material goods are not urged to sell them or to give them up, but are charged not to be "high-minded," that is, proud, for pride of purse is "not merely vulgar, it is sinful " . nor are they to trust in riches, or to set their hopes upon them, for these so often take wings and fly away, as Paul implies by his expression, "the uncertainty of riches," which is a strong way of saying "riches, which are uncertain."

In contrast to such an insecure foundation for our hopes and confidence, Paul declares that our trust is to be in God "who giveth us richly all things to enjoy." Riches are therefore a real good, if rightly used. For they are given by God, who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and they are intended not only to be possessed but to be enjoyed.

However, rightful ownership and real enjoyment must be united with a proper use of wealth. Therefore, Timothy is to charge his wealthy parishioners to "do good," to be "rich in good works," which, after all, constitute the truest wealth, "ready to distribute," that is, to share their blessings with others. The result of such a generous, unselfish, helpful use of wealth will be the "laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come," that is, this true garnering of the wealth of good deeds will supply for them a solid foundation for the future, and will enable them to grasp and enjoy the prize of eternal life, or to "lay hold on the life which is life indeed." While some of these phrases are so condensed and figurative as to allow some latitude of interpretation, nevertheless the main meaning is plain and accords perfectly with the teaching of our Master as to the stewardship of wealth, its uncertain tenure, and its possible use to "lay up. . . . treasures in heaven."

2. A Final Charge to Timothy. Ch. 6:20, 21a

20 O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee, turning away from the profane babblings and oppositions of the knowledge which is falsely so called:21 which some professing have erred concerning the faith.

It has been noted properly that this last charge to Timothy is in large measure a summary of the whole epistle.

It is a solemn reminder that the gospel must be guarded against the assaults of false teachers. It intimates to the Christian minister that the truth committed to his trust, while continually in peril of being corrupted by proud advocates of heresy, must ever be preserved with fidelity and boldness, even as it must be proclaimed with love.

This last mention of Timothy, by name, gives a solemn tone to the warning, and makes it more emphatic, as a personal address. "O Timothy, guard that which is committed unto thee." This "deposit," to quote the exact word employed by Paul, this "which is committed" to Timothy, can be nothing else than the Christian creed, the faith of the Church, the gospel of Christ. It is likened to a treasure entrusted to a bank for safe-keeping.

As an ancient writer maintained, this gospel message is one which has been "committed" to the ministers of the Church, not invented by them; which they have received, not which they have devised; a thing not of wit but of learning; not of private assumption but of public tradition; a thing brought to them, not brought forth of them, wherein they must be not authors but keepers, not founders but observers, not leaders but followers. "Wherefore," he concludes, as he addresses a particular pastor, "in such sort deliver the same things which thou has learnt, that albeit thou teachest after a new manner, yet thou never teach new things."

Therefore Timothy is to "guard" the apostolic gospel as a sacred trust which he has received from Paul, which he must keep safe and intact, and which he must transmit to the church at Ephesus, and through these believers to those who shall come after.

In order that he may succeed in this difficult task, he must turn away from the irreverent and empty babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called "knowledge." Paul refers to the heresies already rife in the Ephesian church, which consisted largely of puerile and profitless intellectual subtleties and allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament law, and were definitely contrasted with the practical morality of the gospel as proclaimed by Paul. He is insisting here that a professed knowledge of God, on the part of those who do not love him and submit to his will, is really no "knowledge" at ail. Such mere idle speculation has no real power; and therefore Paul adds that some who professed such knowledge "have erred," or "missed the mark," "concerning the faith." They have been aiming in the wrong direction. Real religion is not a matter of logical subtleties but the application of truth to life.

3. Benediction. Ch. 6:21b

Grace be with you.

The benediction, "Grace be with you," is a characteristic ending for the letters of Paul. The "grace" he invokes is elsewhere expressed as "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ"; it is that unmerited favor upon which all believers need to rely, and especially those who are serving as pastors of the flock.

The word "you" is plural, and, while in Greek correspondence this was of ten used in reference to an individual, it is commonly supposed that Paul had in mind here the whole church at Ephesus, and thus indicates that these Pastoral Epistles were not intended to bear merely personal instructions to the pastor addressed, but guidance for the whole society of believers. Thus, to-day, while the first message of these letters may come to Christian pastors, no member of the flock can read them thoughtfully and prayerfully without finding guidance and strength, and a new share in the grace of Christ.