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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 1: Yahshua [Jesus] Christ is God and His Gospel is for Israel
Now we are going to begin a presentation of Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, as we near the completion of a commentary on the epistles of Paul of Tarsus which we had begun with the epistle to the Romans in the Spring of 2014. This is now the 109th presentation in the series. It may be fitting that the pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus are presented last in order of Paul’s epistles, as they are in most Bibles. However one error that most Bibles make is not to count Hebrews amongst Paul’s other epistles. Furthermore, Philemon belongs with Colossians, and it is not really a pastoral epistle in the sense of those which were written to Timothy and Titus. Going one step further, we have decided to put both of the epistles to Timothy last in order here because we find it appropriate to present 2 Timothy at the very end of our presentation of Paul’s epistles, although 2 Timothy was not actually the last of Paul’s epistles chronologically. When we do finally present 2 Timothy, we hope to make a full explanation of our reasons for that. If we had chosen to make our entire presentation in the order in which Paul wrote his epistles, 1 Timothy would follow Titus, and it in turn would be followed by 2 Corinthians. 2 Timothy would come later, as Paul was under house arrest in Rome when it was written (see Ordering and chronology of the epistles of Paul).
Paul had apparently written his first epistle to the Corinthians not long before he left Ephesus, in what was most likely the Spring of 56 AD, which we had explained in part 3 of our presentation of that epistle. He had initially planned on going to Achaia by way of Makedonia, and spending the winter in Corinth, as he wrote in chapter 16 of that epistle. But some time during the initial stage of his travels Paul decided instead to winter in Nicopolis, which is in Epirus and northwest of Corinth. As we had explained earlier in this series, such as in the opening segment of our commentary on the epistle to Titus, Paul must have received a letter from Corinth in answer to the epistle which we know as 1 Corinthians, and he then decided to delay going to Corinth and spent the subsequent winter at Nicopolis instead. He gave his reasons for that decision in the opening chapters of 2 Corinthians, which was written as he wintered in Nicopolis, and both Titus and Timothy were with him.
Traveling to Makedonia from Ephesus, when Paul arrived in the Troad he had not found Titus, whom he had expected to find, but rather he found that Titus had gone to Crete to settle some problems there. So Paul wrote a letter which we now have as the epistle to Titus from the Troad to Titus in Crete, giving him advice and asking him to meet him for the winter in Nicopolis. But Titus caught up to Paul in Makedonia instead (2 Corinthians 7:5-6), and then he must have accompanied Paul to Nicopolis, as he is there with him when 2 Corinthians is written. Titus later takes that epistle ahead of Paul to deliver it to the Corinthians before Paul’s planned visit there in the early Spring of 57 AD.
In the meantime, Paul must have also written this first epistle to Timothy during the same journey, either upon arriving in the Troad where he wrote to Titus, or more likely as he passed through Makedonia shortly thereafter. In the opening verses of 1 Timothy, Paul states that “Just as I, traveling into Makedonia, had summoned you to remain in Ephesos…” Then, when Paul writes 2 Corinthians from Nicopolis the following winter, Timothy is there with both Paul and Titus. But Paul must not have planned this. Rather, here in 1 Timothy chapter 4, in verse 13 he wrote “Until I come, you attend to the reading, the exhortation, the teaching...”, meaning that Paul expected to visit Timothy in Ephesus before seeing him again, where he indicates that he shall return to Ephesus and that Timothy should continue teaching there until his arrival. So for some unknown reason, Timothy departed from Ephesus contrary to Paul’s instructions in this epistle, and met up with Paul in Nicopolis. However from what letters we now have available, Paul never asked Timothy to join him, like he had specifically asked Titus. Later, where Paul wrote an epistle to the Ephesians from Rome, Timothy was not yet with him, is not mentioned in that letter, and therefore we may never have the answer. We can only imagine that because Timothy was never criticized by Paul, and because he was later associated by Paul with his ministry, that he must have been compelled to leave Ephesus for some reason, rather than merely having abandoned his assignment there. In any event, in this epistle Paul asked him to remain in Ephesus, and he did not.
The account described in Acts chapter 20 indicates that Timothy, who was in Nicopolis with Paul for the winter of 56-57 AD, remained with Paul until he arrived in Jerusalem in time for the Pentecost of 57 AD, where we read: “1 And after the cessation of the tumult [in reference to the troubles with the silversmiths in Ephesus,] Paul sending after and encouraging the students, saluting them departed to go into Makedonia [and he stopped in the Troad looking for Titus]. 2 And passing through those parts [during which he must have written 1 Timothy], and encouraging them with many words he went into Greece. 3 And spending three months [which must count both the two-month winter in Nicopolis of Epirus and the last visit to Corinth, of which nothing is known], there being a plot against him by the Judaeans, being about to set sail for Suria he became knowledgeable, for which to return through Makedonia. 4 And there followed along with him Sopatros of Purros Beroia, and the Thessalonikeans Aristarchos and Sekoundos, and Gaios of Derbe and Timotheos, and the Asians Tuchikos and Trophimos. 5 And these going ahead waited for us in the Troad, 6 but we [meaning Luke and his companions] sailed out from Philippos after the days of unleavened bread and we came to them in the Troad after five days, where we spent seven days.”
After the seven days, Luke indicates that the entire group set sail together to Miletus and eventually to Caesareia, from which place they traveled to Jerusalem. As we saw while presenting Hebrews chapter 13 here recently, where Paul announced the release of Timothy he must have been arrested with Paul in Jerusalem, and set free some time before Paul was sent in bonds to Rome. Therefore we can only conclude that for some unknown reason, Timothy was forced to leave Ephesus early. So Paul, traveling to Jerusalem but wanting to address the Christians of Ephesus one last time, goes to nearby Miletus instead and sends for the elders of the Ephesians, which is described later in Acts chapter 20. Luke wrote only that “...we came into Miletos. For Paul decided to sail past Ephesos in order that it would not happen for him to waste time in Asia. For he hastened, if it would be possible for him, to be in Jerusalem at the day of the Pentecost.” Apparently, it was not the Christians in Ephesus for whom Paul would waste time, but the pagans and others who were seeking to cause trouble for him as they had in the past. Timothy must have remained with Paul throughout this entire time, until they were arrested together, and Timothy was later released.
The apostle Timothy is often referred to as Timotheus in the King James Version, and he first appears in Scripture in Acts chapter 16 where Paul is in Lycaonia. There we learn that he was the son of a Judaean mother and a Greek father, and it is described that Paul had taken him and circumcised him “on account of the Judaeans who were in those places”. All of Paul’s surviving epistles had been written some time later, beginning from when Paul was in Corinth as it is described in Acts chapter 18. Whether Paul had realized that for Judaeans circumcision was done away with along with the ceremonies and rituals of the law before he circumcised Timothy can be argued. The dispute of Acts chapter 15 did not include Judaeans, but only those from among the Nations who were coming to Christ. Later on, Paul certainly did teach that Judaean children born to Christian parents should not be circumcised or bound to the Mosaic law, which is especially clear in his epistle to the Galatians and in his final discourse with the apostle James in Acts chapter 21. In Acts 21:21 James and those who are with him are recorded as having said to Paul of the people of Jerusalem: “And they are informed concerning you, that you teach departure from Moses for the Judaeans throughout all the Nations, saying for them not to circumcise the children nor to walk in the customs.”
So we do not really know why Paul may have had Timothy circumcised, except that it being “on account of the Judaeans who were in those places,” perhaps it was so that like Paul had professed himself to be, Timothy could also be as a Judaean to the Judaeans, as Paul had latter written, in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, “20 And I became to the Judaeans as a Judaean, that I would gain Judaeans; to those subject to law as subject to law, (not being subject to law myself,) that I would gain those subject to law...” Being circumcised, Timothy would have more influence spreading the Gospel amongst the Judaeans of Anatolia. This is also the reason suggested by several of the early Christian writers, including Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Cyprian, that Paul’s act of circumcising Timothy was one of accommodation to the Judaeans. A couple of years later, Titus would not be compelled to be circumcised, as Paul explained in Galatians chapter 2. However Titus was a Greek on both sides of his genealogy, while Timothy had a Judaean mother.
Here we have called Timothy an apostle, and previously we called Titus an apostle, even though the title apostle was never used in Scripture of either Timothy or Titus. In our commentary on Titus we had at times considered him to be an apostle, in a secondary sense of the word, and we still do. Of course they were not apostles with Christ, but they were certainly apostles of the Gospel of Christ, standing in the place of Paul wherever Paul had sent them, which is fully evident from these epistles. In this same sense other men who were early converts, such as Barnabas, were also called apostles in early Christian writings. In Acts chapter 4 we see that Barnabas was from Cyprus, and later it is apparent that he is related by blood to the apostle Mark. While Mark seems to have been among the early disciples of Christ, he also was not one of the original twelve., but he was also considered an apostle
About the Greek text to 1 Timothy: at the time of the translation of the Christogenea New Testament, which relied on the 27th edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, the earliest manuscript evidence for the first epistle to Timothy was found in the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus (א); the 5th century Codices Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Freerianus (I 016) and Vaticanus 2061 (048); the 6th century Codices Claromontanus (D) and Coislinianus (H 015), and two unnamed 6th century manuscripts, which are 0241, which contains parts of chapters 3 and 4, and 0285, which has the first 13 verses of chapter 1. Now quite recently another papyrus has been discovered, which is designated as P133, from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri that have been found in Egypt. It is dated to the 3rd century and is said to contain verses from 1 Timothy 3:13 through 4:8. We do not yet have access to the actual text of papyrus P133. Additionally, Paul’s first epistle to Timothy is mentioned in the late 2nd century Muratorian Canon, and it was cited or mentioned by Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, who are also both of the late 2nd century, and by Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian, all of whom wrote in the early half of the 3rd century. But just like Titus and others who first followed the original apostles of Christ, so far as we have seen none of the early Christian writers add anything to our knowledge of Timothy beyond what we already have in the Book of Acts or in Paul’s epistles.
With this we shall begin our presentation and commentary on the text of 1 Timothy:
1 Paul, an ambassador of Christ Yahshua by a mandate of Yahweh our Savior, even Christ Yahshua our Hope,
The 4th century Codex Sinaiticus (א) has ἐπαγγελία, or promise, rather than ἐπιταγή, or mandate, which also may have been rendered as command. Reading command, according to the other manuscripts, is consistent with the context of the chapter as it proceeds, especially in verses 5 and 18.
Throughout these epistles of Paul, where he mentions both God and Christ, we see the construct as a Hebrew parallelism, even if it is not a grammatical Greek hendiadys. This is because Paul certainly believed that Yahweh God is Christ, and that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God. So Paul says here, in the Greek, “God our Savior”. But in the Gospel of Matthew we read of Mary in reference to the Christ child that “she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS [or Yahshua]: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Yet Yahweh had made repeated statements in the prophets that He was the Savior of Israel, and that He was the only Savior of Israel, for example in Isaiah chapter 49, where He said “that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” Earlier in Isaiah, in chapter 43, He said: “11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” Then in Hosea chapter 13 He spoke likewise and said: “4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.” Therefore, to translate καί in such instances we use even as a conjunction rather than and, and by doing so we show our belief, as Paul also did, that Yahshua Christ is God. The King James Version also translates the Greek conjunction καί as even on frequent occasions (four times in the Gospel of John, and nine times in Romans, for examples).
In Colossians chapter 2 Paul says of Christ that “in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”, as the King James Version reads the passage, and here in 1 Timothy chapter 3, in that same version, we read where Paul also speaks of Christ and says: “16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Paul continues his address:
2 to Timotheos, purely bred child in faith: favor, mercy, peace from Father Yahweh [the MT has “God our Father”; the text follows א, A, D and I] and Christ Yahshua our Prince.
In Titus 1:4 Paul had called the apostle “a purely bred child according to common belief”, and we explained that Titus, being a Greek, would not know whether he truly was a child of Abraham except by the common knowledge of Greek origins available from the historians of the time. Here Paul addresses Timothy in much the same way, and he was writing this epistle not long after he had written that epistle to Titus.
Quite like they did at Titus 1:4, here the translators of the King James Version have taken the phrase which literally means purely bred child, and has translated it as “my own son”. The Greek of either passage has no such pronoun as my, and no word which properly means own. The word which we express as purely bred is γνήσιος (Strong’s # 1103), which is defined by Liddell & Scott to mean “of or belonging to the race, i.e. lawfully begotten, legitimate, opposed to νόθος [or bastard]...”. The word γνήσιος is a derivative from the word γένος, which is primarily a “race, stock or family”, according to that same source. We may imagine a context whereby γνήσιος may mean own in relation to a particular race, or of children descending from a common parentage, such as “one of my own children” to mean “one of my actual descendants”, but this is not the case here since there is no pronoun which would be the least component necessary to create such a context.
We see that γνήσιος is an antonym for νόθος, which is a bastard. The Greeks would not have considered Titus a bastard, although the Hebrews, the true Israelites in Judaea, may have held all Greeks under such a suspicion, since they did not maintain their true genealogies. However Timothy, being of a Judaean mother and a Greek father, may have been considered a bastard by either side, in spite of the fact that the Roman law of the time ostensibly permitted intermarriage between Judaeans and Romans (several notable Romans of the period were married to Judaeans). So here we believe that, as in Titus, Paul is assuring Timothy that in spite of the worldly standards, he is a purely bred child according to the faith of Christ. This does not dismiss the fact of his race, rather it upholds the necessity of being a genuine member of the race, meaning the race of the ancient children of Israel. Being of both Judaean and Greek lineage, Timothy was most certainly an Israelite on each side of his family. The Danaan and Dorian Greeks, as well as some of the others, were descended from Israelites of the pre-captivity dispersions, mainly of the tribes of Dan and Manasseh, and many of the Judaeans were Israelites of the Babylonian captivity of Judah. In Romans chapter 4, Paul had explained that the promises were certain to all of the seed of Abraham, whether they were of the nations of those early dispersions, or Israelites from among the Judaeans.
Continuing with Paul, he gets to the purpose of this epistle:
3 Just as I, traveling into Makedonia, had summoned you to remain in Ephesos that you should command some not to teach errors 4 nor give heed to myths and endless genealogies, which afford disputes rather than management of the family of Yahweh which is by faith.
The word translated as to teach errors here is ἐτεροδιδασκαλέω (Strong’s # 2085), and it is literally to teach differently. It can be maintained that to teach differently from Scripture certainly is to teach errors; the concepts are one and the same. The reference to “myths and endless genealogies” is a reference to the pagan literature of the time. The pagan Greek writers produced endless fables describing their descent from the pagan gods and the dalliances which those gods were said to have had with earthly women.
According to Liddell & Scott, the word οἰκονομία is literally the management of a household or family. In certain contexts it can be used generically to mean administration, or of a plan or a dispensation. Paul used the term in a generic manner speaking of the οἰκονομία of times in Ephesians chapter 1. But it is primarily the stewardship of a household or family, and where the word is used by itself, we cannot imagine that it is simply used in the generic sense. Paul used this same word in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, where the King James Version has merely “dispensation”, and then it adds the words “of the gospel” into the text. But in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, just a few verses later, Paul identified his readers, who were Dorian Greeks, as having been among the descendants of the Israelites of the Exodus. In that same chapter Paul identified the pagan nations of Europe as “Israel according to the flesh”. He makes similar identifications in Romans chapters 1, 2 and 4, speaking of Romans, and in Galatians chapters 3 and 4, speaking of the Galatae, who are elsewhere called Kelts and Germans by the historians of the time.
In Galatians chapter 6 Paul spoke of “the family of the faith”, using the Greek word οἰκεῖος which means of the house. Later in that same chapter he spoke of the “Israel of God”, because the Israel in Palestine was not of God, as Christ had told them that they were not His sheep, and as Christ had warned us in His Revelation that they were pretending to be of Judah but they were not of Judah. In fact, ancient history and Scripture reveal for us that they were of Esau, and not of Judah. But ancient history and Scripture also reveal that the Israel of God was spread abroad from ancient times and up through the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. These are the people to whom the prophets inform us that the gospel was to be taken.
Yahshua Christ attested that He had come “but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel”, and in places in the Old Testament, such as Ezekiel chapter 34 for instance, those sheep are described as the ancient Israelites who had “wandered over every mountain”. In Jeremiah chapter 31 the promise of a new covenant is for the house, or family of Israel, and the house, or family, of Judah. In Amos 3:2 Yahweh declared to the children of Israel that “2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities”, and throughout the writings of the prophets that same family of Israel were promised salvation, redemption, mercy, grace and deliverance from that punishment. Paul quoted that same promise in Jeremiah chapter 31 in his epistle to the Hebrews, and he said in Acts chapter 26 that the hope of the Gospel belongs to the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, as he said in Romans that the promise is certain to all of the seed, the nations which had come from the loins of Abraham.
So where Paul used the term οἰκονομία in reference to people, or where the ancient children of Israel fit into the description Paul has made because they are the subject of the plan, or the dispensation of Yahweh God in all of His promises in the Old Testament prophets, the term must be translated in that manner as it refers to them. We cannot imagine that God made a set of promises for one family, and then where a term describing a family is used as the promises are fulfilled in Christ, that it refers to something other than that family. As it says in the Gospel of Luke, Christ came to fulfill the promises of mercy made unto the fathers, the fathers of that family, to keep “The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,” to deliver the true children of Israel from their enemies, enemies which included the Jews of the time, since they were actually Edomites and Canaanites and as Paul had said elsewhere, they were contrary to all men.
So in 1 Corinthians 9:17 Paul says that he “had been entrusted with the management of a family”, and that describes the purpose of his ministry. Then in Ephesians 3:2 he says that he had been given “management of the family of the favor of Yahweh”, and the children of Israel are promised that favor throughout the law and the prophets which Christ had come to fulfill. Later in that same chapter Paul says that his mission is “to enlighten all concerning the management of the household of the mystery which was concealed from the ages by Yahweh,” because in their punishment the scattered children of Israel were to be blind and sit in darkness, as it is written in the prophecies of Isaiah where Yahweh says of the children of Israel “who is blind, but My servant?” They were to be “not My people”, as Yahweh announced in Hosea, but then they were to be called “the sons of the living God” as He promised them reconciliation. In Colossians chapter 1 Paul described himself as “a servant in accordance with the administration of the household of Yahweh which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of Yahweh”, since the Gospel was being brought to the nations of scattered Israel in fulfillment of the same promises in the Old Testament prophets. Finally, here in 1 Timothy chapter 1 Paul speaks of the “management of the family of Yahweh which is by faith”, as it says of the children of Israel in Habakkuk chapter 2, that because the law had failed, “the just shall live by faith”, and as Paul wrote in Romans chapter 4, that the offspring of Abraham who were of the faith of Abraham would receive the promise of God, and not merely the offspring of Abraham which had kept the law. These are not offspring with a belief, but rather, these are the offspring in which Abraham believed, and Abraham believed that they would come from his own loins. In respect of all of this, Paul continues:
5 Now the result of that command is love from a clean heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned,
When Paul was troubled in Ephesus shortly before writing this epistle, the source of his problems were the pagans who profitted from the worship of Artemis. Likewise, when Paul wrote his epistle to the Ephesians a couple of years after this, he speaks to them as former pagans coming to Christ, where he speaks of their redemption and the departure from their former practices, informing them that they “are no longer strangers and sojourners, but fellow-citizens of the saints and of the household of Yahweh” upon their reconciliation. So here, also speaking of the management of the household of God, the myths and endless genealogies which he mentions cannot have anything to do with the genealogies of the Old Testament. Where Paul wrote in Ephesians assuring them that they were pre-ordained according to the purpose of the will of God, that they had redemption and the dismissal of sins in Christ, and that they were members of the household of God which was built on the prophets as well as the apostles, we have sufficient proof that Paul believed these people to be among the scattered Israelites who had been promised all of these things in the Old Testament prophets. With the knowledge of the fact that these Ephesians were truly children of Abraham, as Paul also informed them in chapter 2 of that epistle that they were the “nations in the flesh”, referring to the nations of the promise to Abraham that Paul describes in Romans chapter 4, the vain genealogies which he refers to here must be the pagan genealogies.
Here is one example of such a genealogy, from the Loeb Classical Library translation of Pausanius by William H. S. Jones, Book 2 (2.31.4), in a description of Troezen (Τροιζήν), a town in the north-eastern Peloponnesus:
Near the theater a temple of Artemis Lycea (Wolfish) was made by Hippolytus. About this surname I could learn nothing from the local guides, but I gathered that either Hippolytus destroyed wolves that were ravaging the land of Troezen, or else that Lycea is a surname of Artemis among the Amazons, from whom he was descended through his mother. Perhaps there may be another explanation that I am unaware of. The stone in front of the temple, called the Sacred Stone, they say is that on which nine men of Troezen once purified Orestes from the stain of matricide.
The reference to Orestes was from the accounts following the Trojan War, where his father Agamemnon, the leader of the Danaans, had been slain by his mother, Clytemnestra, after his return home to Greece. His only son, Orestes, avenging his father, had therefore killed his own mother. The tale was a subject of the Tragic Poets of the 5th century BC, and like Orestes, Hippolytus was also the title character of a play by the Tragic Poet Euripides. The tale of Hippolytus was set in Troezen, and one version of the story of his genealogy has it that Aethra, the daughter of the king of Troezen and a descendant of the fictional Amazons, had slept with both the king of Athens and the Greek god Poseidon on the same night. As a consequence of her whoring around, she became pregnant with Theseus, one of the legendary founder-heroes of ancient Athens. Other such founder heroes of the various tribes of the Greeks are Heracles, Danaus, Cadmus, and Perseus, all of whom were imagined to have various pagan gods in their lineage. We interpret this as a combination of ancestor worship and idol worship. All of these legendary founder-heroes were also imagined to have lived not very long before the Trojan War. The Greek poets literally had endless accounts of such genealogies, and the people of the various tribes of the Greeks held them in esteem, celebrating their origins in fables that were simply not true.
As we had discussed at length in our recent presentation of the epistle to Titus, Paul had called his companion “a purely bred child according to common belief” and told him to “avoid foolish inquiries and genealogies and strifes and quarrels relating to law, for they are unprofitable and vain.” Now here in relation to a very similar statement to Timothy, Paul assures that “the result of that command is love from a clean heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned.” We can imagine that in a different way, we face the same challenges today which Titus, a Greek, and Timothy, a half-Greek and half-Judaean, had faced. Each of these men, being Greek or partly Greek, were apparent descendants of the children of Israel who were being called to reconciliation in Christ, and that should be good enough for a Christian. Without debating over whether one branch of the race is better than any other branch, we must understand through the words of the prophets, the classical histories, and the teachings of the apostles that the Word of Yahweh our God is true, and that we are indeed the children of Israel, whether we be Judaean [not Jews] or Greek or Roman or Galatae or Scythian. While none of these people exist in their original form, today the same concept applies to Germans and Englishmen, Irish and Italians, Norwegians and Poles, etc. From this standpoint Christians can exhibit love for one another, so long as they are perceived to be of the race according to the common belief, as Paul said of Titus, rather than argue with and vex and exalt themselves over one another.
As Paul also wrote to Titus, “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” To a bastard, all men are bastards, but the children of Yahweh must judge their fellow men by their fruits. Paul continues by speaking of these things in relation to the law:
6 from which some having failed have turned to talking vainly, 7 wishing to be teachers of the law, understanding neither the things they speak nor concerning things which they strongly maintain.
At this early time, from the words of Paul it is evident that there were many who did not realize that the fulfillment of the Gospel was the announcement of reconciliation in Christ and the forgiveness of sins to the nations which had descended from the scattered Israelites of antiquity. So instead men set to quarrels and strivings about the law, not truly understanding the purpose and message of the gospel. We must consider these things when we see beliefs amongst the early Christian writers that are contrary to what Paul had written, that these errors were being spread among Christians at an early time. Universalism was one of those errors which crept in at an early time, as men did not understand the prophets or writings of Paul, as Peter had warned.
Paul’s words here do not mean that the Biblical genealogies and the promises to the twelve tribes of Israel become void. They maintain the importance of those things, as Paul also upheld them throughout his epistles. For instance, in Acts chapter 26, as many as three years after writing these epistles to Titus and Timothy, Paul proclaimed that the hope in Christ was for the twelve tribes of Israel, and tribes can only be reckoned by genealogy. In Romans chapter 4, a year after writing these epistles to Titus and Timothy, Paul maintained that the promises to Abraham were certain to all of the seed of Abraham, and the promise that his seed would become many nations had already been fulfilled in the manner in which it was spoken, “So shall thy seed be.” Paul’s ministry was fulfilled by bringing the Gospel of Christ to those very nations.
Neither does the law become void, as Christ Himself had said “if you love Me, keep My commandments”, and here Paul acknowledges that where he says:
8 Yet we know that the law is good, if one would use it lawfully.
The supposed teachers of the law were evidently not using it lawfully. We cannot know every aspect of error which Paul may have been referring to, but we do know a few things from the writings of both early Jews and early Greeks. For instance, Cyrus, the King of Persia, was considered a mule by the Greek historian Herodotus, because his mother was a Mede but his father a Persian. Yet in Isaiah, Yahweh referred to Cyrus as His shepherd, and His anointed, so he could hardly have been a bastard. In truth, both Medes and Persians were descended from Noah, and were also among the ancient children of God, so they could not be bastards. On the other hand, the Judaeans admitted all of the Edomites and Canaanites, circumcising and baptising them and considering them to be Israelites, as Josephus details in Antiquities Book 13. But the Edomites and Canaanites were considered bastards by the law of God, and could never be accepted into the body of Christ. So in these respects, the confusion of men would cause strivings over genealogy and corruptions in interpretations of the law.
As Christ said, “By their fruits you shall know them”, therefore Paul says that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, since the Pharisees and others had abused the law. Paul continues in this regard and says:
9 Knowing this, that law is not laid down for righteous, but for lawless and unruly, impious and wrongful, unholy and profane, patricidal and matricidal, murderous, 10 fornicating, homosexual, kidnapping, lying, falsely swearing men, along with anything else which is contrary to sound instruction 11 according to the good message of the honor of the Blessed Yahweh, which I have been entrusted with.
Paul had written in Galatians chapter 5 “18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law,” ostensibly because one led by the Spirit puts away the deeds of the flesh, which he says are “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like...”
Here Paul lists as three distinct items three items which we may perceive as being the same, where the King James Version reads verse 9 to say in part, “… for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for man-slayers,” and he seems to be repeating himself. But perhaps he means something else besides the actual killing of one’s parents where he speaks of patricide and matricide. For instance, in 1 Timothy chapter 5 Paul speaks of women who had raised obedient and faithful children, and he says: “4 And if any widow has child or grandchild, they must first learn piety at home and to return compensation to their ancestors. For this is acceptable before Yahweh.” We may say that perhaps when one refuses to learn piety, it is tantamount to the murder of one’s ancestors, since refusing to obey one’s God, one is denying one’s own ancestors. But raising faithful and obedient children, one compensates one’s ancestors who had done the same.
Saying profane here, which is the Greek word βέβηλος (Strong’s # 952), Paul refers to those who would make themselves common, as the fornicating Esau was called “a profane man” in Hebrews, not maintaining himself separately from the other races.
The word homosexual in our translation of verse 10 here is from the Greek word ἀρσενοκοίτης (Strong’s # 733), which describes men participating in the act of coitus with other men. There are modern-day sodomites who claim that ἀρσενοκοίτης referred to sexual acts between men and boys, but just the opposite is true. Even to the rather libertarian pagan Greeks, such acts between mature men were unacceptable, and ἀρσενοκοίτης is what the word was used to describe them while other terms, such as παιδεραστία, or pederasty, were used to describe sexual relationships between men and boys. In Euripides’ Cyclops, lines 583-584, the title character is portrayed as exclaiming that “With this Ganymede here I shall go off to bed with greater glory than with the Graces. And somehow I take more pleasure in boys than with women.” To the ancient Greeks, men with boy lovers were acceptable, but men with adult male lovers were not. Ganymede was a Trojan youth, the son of Tros and the daughter of the river-god Callirrhoe [in another vain genealogy], who was said to be taken up to Olympus, to serve as cup-bearer and boy lover to Zeus. It is not a coincidence that one of the moons of the planet Jupiter were named for Ganymede.
According to Liddell & Scott, citing the Anthologia Palatina, the later variant Greek form ἀρρενοκοίτης was used to designate a sodomite in a line that has been translated “you need fear neither barbarian nor men that share the bed of other males” (AP, 9.686). We would rather use the term sodomite, but in order that the meaning of the word as it was used by Paul is fully expressed in our own modern vernacular, we must translate ἀρσενοκοίτης as homosexual, and Christians should condemn any form of homosexuality, whether it include men or boys.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul used the term for fornication in the sense of race-mixing, where he used the verb πορνέω (Strong’s # 4203) in reference to the events of Numbers chapter 25, where the men of Israel were described as having begun “to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.” So here we see that two sins, fornication and homosexuality, or sodomy, are just as terrible as patricide, matricide, and murder. Race-mixing and sodomy are patricidal and matricidal, since one is destroying one’s own race rather than honoring one’s ancestors.
Kidnapping, ἀνδραποδιστής (Strong’s # 405), is literally men-stealing, or also slave-dealing as the word was used in the Classics. The children of Israel were chastised for doing such things by the prophets, and especially the Tyrians in Joel chapter 3. The Phoenicians were famous for such behaviour, from as early as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Herodotus’ Histories, which are both from a time not much later than Joel. Slavery, as we shall see even here in this epistle to Timothy, was an accepted fact of life in the ancient world, and also amongst Christians. However while there were many ways by which men became slaves, even voluntarily as we may see in the parable of the Prodigal Son, the act of stealing men into slavery is certainly sinful.
Where Paul says in verse 10 “along with anything else”, for which the King James Version has “if there be any other thing,” he could certainly have added to the list if he chose to do so, and therefore the literal meaning of the Greek phrase καὶ εἴ τι ἕτερον, which is “and if anything other”, is not necessarily the correct interpretation. With certainty, the translation here is idiomatically proper, and Paul made a similar statement in Romans 13:9, where after giving a list of commandments that Christians should not transgress he said “and any other commandment is summarized in this saying, to wit: ‘You shall love him near to you as yourself.’” It is not as though Paul did not know there were other commandments, but after giving a list of important ones, he also wanted to refer to all of the other commandments, whatever was left.
12 I have gratitude to Him strengthening me, to Christ Yahshua our Prince, because He has regarded me trustworthy, being ordained to a ministry, 13 that beforetime being a blasphemer and a persecutor and an insolent man, but I have been shown mercy, because being ignorant I acted in disbelief.
Here Paul displays his own humility, where he does not illustrate the sins of others from a position of self-righteous, but is rather quick to admit that he was also a sinner, and nevertheless had received the mercy of God. Paul does this, admitting his sin, in spite of the fact that when he was persecuting early Christians, he thought he was doing right by defending traditions against a new and heretical sect. Only later did he realize that he acted in ignorance, that Judaism was the heresy, and that Christ was the fulfillment of the law and the prophets, and with that he realized that he was the sinner.
The concept that Christ, in the essence of the Holy Spirit, strengthens Christians to face their challenges is mentioned frequently by Paul. He had closed his epistle to the Romans with that same concept where he said “24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began...” Likewise he wrote in 1 Thessalonians chapter 3: “11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you. 12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.” Saying these things, Paul is once again teaching the fulfillment of promises in Scripture which were made to the children of Israel.
This concept reflects the fulfillment of the Word of Yahweh in Deuteronomy chapter 30 where it says “1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee, 2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; 3 That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. 4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee: 5 And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers. 6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live. 7 And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.” These are the people to whom Paul had brought the Gospel of Christ.
14 Yet the favor of our Prince was exceedingly abundant, along with the faith and love of which is in Christ Yahshua.
Paul is describing the grace and mercy which he had received as a model for other sinners, that they can also repent and receive the favor of God, even if they were murderers, sodomites or fornicators. As the Word of Yahweh says in the closing verses of Micah chapter 7, “18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” And in this manner Paul continues:
15 Trustworthy is this saying, and worthy of all acceptance: that Christ Yahshua came into the society to deliver wrongdoers, of which I am first, 16 but for this reason have I been shown mercy: in order that first by me would Yahshua Christ exhibit all forbearance for a pattern of those who are going to believe in Him unto life eternal.
Paul uses the phrase πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, or “trustworthy is this saying”, three times in this epistle, once in 2 Timothy, and once in Titus, but nowhere else. In chapter 4 of this epistle he repeats the entire formula, “trustworthy is this saying, and worthy of all acceptance”.
There are some fools who believe that Christ only came to forgive past sins, and they are deceived by a poor translation in the King James Version of Romans 3:25 where it says in part that the propitiation of Yahweh in Christ is for “for the remission of sins that are past”. But we are rather certain that the word which is translated as “past” there, instead means forthcoming, as we had explained at length in our presentation of Romans chapter 3 given here just over three years ago. The context of Paul’s discourse is the plan of God from the beginning of the world, since Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. So we translate the passage to read: “21 But now apart from the law, the justice of Yahweh is made known, as attested by the law and the prophets; 22 but justice of Yahweh through the faith of Yahshua Christ, for all of those who are believing, for there is no distinction: 23 for all have done wrong and fall short of the honor of Yahweh; 24 being freely accepted by His favor, through the redemption that is at the hands of Christ Yahshua; 25 whom Yahweh set forth as a propitiation through faith in His blood, for a display of His justice by means of the pretermission of forthcoming errors, [sins foreseen from the foundation of the world] 26 by the tolerance of Yahweh; for the display of His justice in the present time; for He is just and is accepting of him that is from the faith of Yahshua.”
So here, where Paul says “that Christ Yahshua came into the society to deliver wrongdoers, of which I am first, 16 but for this reason have I been shown mercy: in order that first by me would Yahshua Christ exhibit all forbearance”, he does not say “I am first” because he feels that his sins are the worst of sins of all time, but because he was the first of those who sinned grievously against the Body of Christ as it began to form with the spread of the Gospel. But even with the magnitude of his sin, he was brought to an awakening and granted a greater magnitude of mercy, not only being forgiven upon his repentance, but then being assigned a significant role in its ministry. So Paul uses his own experience as a type, or model, of the degree to which a man can sin and be forgiven and granted the mercy of God.
17 Now to the king of the ages, the incorruptible [D has “immortal”], invisible, only God, dignity and honor for eternity. Truly.
Here the Majority Text, and therefore also the King James Version, has “only wise God” rather than “only God”. Our text follows the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus (א), the 5th century Codex Alexandrinus (A), and the 6th century Codices Claromontanus (D) and Coislinianus (H 015). Evidently the oldest manuscripts which originally contained the interpolation are those of the 9th century, the Codices Mosquensis and Angelicus.
We feel that the difference is significant. Paul is referring to Yahweh as the “only God”, and not merely the only wise God, as if there may have been others, or perhaps as if Yahweh were more than one God. There is only One God, and He is the Father, and He is the Holy Spirit, and He is also Yahshua Christ the Son, or whatever else He in times past may have chosen for Himself to be, such as the burning in the bush or the fire on the mountain or, as Paul also said in his first epistle to the Corinthians, the Rock in the Desert, which was Christ.
We have already illustrated that in 1 Timothy chapter 3, as the King James Version has it, Paul spoke of Christ and he said: “16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles [or Nations], believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Later, in chapter 6 of this epistle, Paul mentions “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords”. This phrase “king of kings” is used in reference to God or Christ on only two other occasions, both of which appear in the Revelation where Yahshua Christ claims the title for Himself. Therefore He must be the “king of the ages” to which Paul refers here, and He must be Yahweh manifest in the flesh as Paul explains later in this epistle. Yahshua, or Jesus, Christ is God. And Paul, calling Christ the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” over 30 years before the Revelation was given to John, it is also evident that he too was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
18 I commit this command to you, child Timotheos, in accordance with those prophecies which have led the way before you, that by them you may soldier a good battle, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which refusing to accept some have been shipwrecked in regard to the faith.
According to Liddell & Scott, the verb ναυαγέω (Strong’s # 3489), which is to suffer shipwreck, was used metaphorically of persons and lives from classical times. The command being committed to Timothy is the command which Paul began speaking of in verse 3 concerning the “management of the family of Yahweh”, and here Paul states that such management, passed on to Timothy as well, is passed on “in accordance with those prophecies which have led the way before” him. That must be a reference to the words of the prophets of the Old Testament and the many promises therein which describe the purpose of the Gospel as a call for reconciliation between Yahweh and the cast-off children of Israel. There is no place in the prophets where such a commission will be granted to or for any people other than the children of Israel. As it says in Isaiah chapter 52, a prophecy of the Gospel of Christ for the children of Israel: “7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”
Yahshua Christ is God, and the Gospel is for Israel. Yahshua Christ is that same God as Yahweh, the Old Testament God, the Only God, and the first understanding of the mystery of Godliness is that “God was manifest in the flesh”. The ministry of Paul, and therefore of Timothy, must be “in accordance with those prophecies which have led the way before you”, and therefore Yahweh is indeed the savior of Israel, since the prophecies only concern the children of Israel. There are no other truths in Scripture that can stand in contradiction to these.
Of those who have been shipwrecked regarding the faith, Paul says:
20 Of which are Humenaios and Alexandros, whom I have surrendered to the Adversary in order that they would be disciplined, not to blaspheme.
The word Adversary may have been rendered as Satan, where I have opted to translate the Hebrew word. As Paul demonstrates in 1 Corinthians chapter 5, Christians are commanded to deliver sinners to the Adversary by putting them out of the Christian assembly, leaving them to the devices of the world. They would be left to the mercy of the world, the whole world which lies under the power of the Evil One (1 John 5:19). There in 1 Corinthians, speaking of a fornicator whom he esteemed as an unrepentant sinner, Paul instructed the Corinthians to “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Telling them that Yahweh judges such sinners, he commands them to “put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” Christians should still think in these same terms, that those who reject Christ and remain in their sins should be put out of the Christian assembly and relegated to the world, where they shall await the judgement of God.
As for Humenaios and Alexandros, Paul would mean that same here in reference to these men, that they would be judged by Yahweh and punished in the world, so that they may take their lessons not to blaspheme with them in the spirit when they are saved in the Day of Christ.