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First Timothy Commentary

First Timothy Commentary

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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FIRST TIMOTHY COMMETARYBY THE REV. ALFRED PLUMMER, M. A., D. D.TIMOTHY THE BELOVED DISCIPLE OFST. PAUL— HIS LIFE AD CHARACTER.I Timothy i. 2; 2 Timothy i. 2.In the relation of St. Paul to Timothy we haveone of those beautiful friendships between anolder and a younger man which are commonlyso helpful to both. It is in such cases, ratherthan where the friends are equals in age, thateach can be the real complement of the other.Each by his abundance can supply the other'swants, whereas men of equal age would havecommon wants and common supplies. In thisrespect the friendship between St. Paul andTimothy reminds us of that between St. Peterand St. John. In each case the friend who took the lead was much older than the other; and(what is less in harmony with ordinary expe-rience) in each case it was the older friend whohad the impulse and the enthusiasm, the youngerwho had the reflectiveness and the reserve.These latter qualities are perhaps less marked inSt. Timothy than in St. John, but neverthelessthey are there, and they are among the leadingtraits of his character. St. Paul leans on himwhile he guides him, and relies upon his thought-fulness and circumspection in cases requiringfirmness, delicacy, and tact. Of the affectionwith which he regarded Timothy we have evi-dence in the whole tone of the two letters tohim. In the sphere of faith Timothy is his " own
true child " (not merely adopted, still less sup-posititious), and his " beloved child." St. Paultells the Corinthians that as the best means of making them imitators of himself he has sentunto them " Timothy, who is my beloved andfaithful child in the Lord, who shall put youin remembrance of my ways which be in Christ,even as I teach everywhere in every Church "(i Cor. iv. 17). And a few years later he tellsthe Philippians that he hopes to send Timothyshortly unto them, that he may know how theyfare. For he has no one like him, who will havea genuine anxiety about their welfare. Therest care only for their own interests. " Butthe proof of him ye know, that, as a childa father, so he slaved with me for the Gos-pel " (ii. 22). Of all whom he ever con-verted to the faith Timothy seems to have beento St. Paul the disciple who was most belovedand most trusted. Following the example of thefourth Evangelist, Timothy might have calledhimself '' The disciple whom Paul loved." Heshared his spiritual father's outward labours andmost intimate thoughts. He was with him whenthe Apostle could not or would not have thecompanionship of others. He was sent on themost delicate and confidential missions. He hadcharge of the most important congregations.When the Apostle was in his last and almostlonely imprisonment it was Timothy whom hesummoned to console him and receive his lastinjunctions.There is another point in which the beloveddisciple of the Pastoral Epistles resembles thebeloved disciple of the Fourth Gospel. We areapt to think of both of them as always young.Christian art nearly invariably represents St.John as a man of youthful and almost feminineappearance. And, although in Timothy's case,painters and sculptors have not done much toinfluence our imagination, yet the picture which
we form for ourselves of him is very similar tothat which we commonly receive of St. John.With strange logic this has actually laeen madean argument against the authenticity of thePastoral Epistles. Myth, we are told, has givento this Christian Achilles the attributes of eternalyouth. Timothy was a lad of about fifteen whenSt. Paul converted him at Lystra, in or near a.D. 45; and he was probably not yet thirty-fivewhen St. Paul wrote the first Epistle to him.Even if he had been much older there would benothing surprising in the tone of St. Paul's let-ters to him. It is one of the commonest ex-periences to find elderly parents speaking of theirmiddle-aged children as if they were still boysand girls. This trait, as being so entirely natural,ought to count as a touch beyond the reach of aforger rather than as a circumstance that oughtto rouse our su.spicions, in the letters of " Paulthe aged " to a friend who was thirty yearsyounger than himself.Once more, the notices of Timothy which1 Timothy i. 2. JFIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.393have come down to us, like those which we haverespecting the beloved disciple are very frag-mentary; but they form a beautiful and consist-ent sketch of one whose full portrait we long to

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