Commentary On First Timothy
By Jonathan Mitchell

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Chapter One

1. Paul, one sent away with a commission pertaining to [the] Anointed Jesus (or: Jesus Christ's representative and envoy), down from (or: in line and accord with) an imposed arrangement from (an injunction of; a decree and charge set upon [me] pertaining to) God our Savior, even (or: and) from Christ Jesus, our Expectation (or: Hope),

Instead of following the tradition of transliterating the Greek "apostolos" to read "apostle," I translated the word, giving its meaning in English: one sent away (or: off) with a commission; or: a representative; an envoy. I question the tradition that this word was a title, or that it signified a church "office." It seems logical that it describes a function.

Paul makes it clear that God has given him the authority to speak His word concerning "an imposed arrangement" which pertains to Him as our Savior. He goes on to identify this one as Christ Jesus, and points out that He is our Expectation. In Rom. 8:24 he tells us that we are saved by, in, to, for and with expectation, and here he identifies this expectation as Christ Jesus, Himself. It is significant that our salvation, which brings a present change in us and in our situation, with our relation to God and to humanity, also points us to a future that has an expectation, one that is filled with Christ.

2. to Timothy, a genuine child (a legitimate born one) within the midst of faith (or: in union with trust): Grace and favor, mercy and compassion [together with] peace and harmony [= shalom], from God, our Father, even (and) Christ Jesus, our Lord (Owner; Master).

In describing Timothy as a "genuine child; a legitimate born one," I suggest that he is making reference to John 1:13, that Timothy is one that has been "born from out of the midst of God," as it is stated there, as opposed to one that was "born" into Christianity by human persuasion, or a child by natural or racial lineage. His birth came by and was within the midst of faith, or, in union with trust.

Paul clearly states his central message right at the start: grace and favor, mercy and compassion, together with peace and harmony all come from God. He again goes on to identify the God of Whom he speaks: our Father. Here we see that this is the One Who gave birth to Timothy. Paul proceeds with the identification of this God: "even Christ Jesus, our Lord, Master and Owner." Now as in vs. 1, I have given the other main meaning of the Greek conjunction, "kai," rendering it also "and." May the Holy Spirit (not mentioned by these words in this verse) illumine you as to which reading is correct, or if both are, as we consider this divine mystery.

3. Just as I called you alongside – while traveling into Macedonia – to encourage you to remain focused in Ephesus, to the end that you should pass on an announcement (should notify; would bring along a message) to certain folks (or: for some) not to continue teaching different things,

4. nor yet to constantly hold toward myths (or: stories; fictions) and unbounded (= endless) genealogies, which things habitually hold investigations and inquiries alongside which involve speculations and disputes, rather than God's house-administration (management; stewardship) – the one within trust and in union with faith.

Paul is recalling a previously given admonition to Timothy. He reminds him to keep his focus on the community in Ephesus, and to tell them not to continue with the teaching of different things which were outside the message of the good news in Christ. Whether it be Jewish myths, or stories from pagan religions, or fictitious ideas, none of these were to be held on to or embraced or mixed into the Word of Truth. Our humanity always wants to add thoughts to what God has revealed. The study of genealogies is also to be abandoned.

These "different things" which Paul identifies in vs. 4 are a distraction and waste time with investigations and inquiries which result only in speculations and disputes. Their focus should be on the house-administration and stewardship of God's house – His people within the called-out community. He then qualifies the characteristics of this house and this administering: "the one within trust, and in union with faith."

5. Yet the goal of the notification (the announcement which is passed along) continues being love, forth from out of the midst of a clean heart and a good conscience (virtuous knowing-together) and of unhypocritical faith (or: unfeigned trust; or: loyalty that is not overly critical; or: belief that lacks the qualities of being overly concerned with small details or hyper-evaluations),

Here he gives the central focus of the message of goodness which has been passed on to them: love. This is the goal for which Christ came: the Love which is God. Then he sets a clear view of the type of love and the environment from which it is to flow: a heart (core of our being) that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7), and a conscience that has been transformed by the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2), along with "unhypocritical faith."

On this last phrase, I have given a broader semantic range of meaning. Dr. Ann Nyland, in her "The Source New Testament," has pointed out that the normal understanding of the transliterated word "hypocrite," and its cognates, did not come to have this meaning until much later than when the New Testament letters were written. Wilckens, in an article in the Theological Dictionary of the NT, supports this, saying that not until the Byzantine period did this word group come to have the direct negative sense now associated with it. However, it was used throughout most of the literature of Dispersion Judaism to describe wrongdoing, or the "evildoer," so suggesting that this was "acting" or "pretending" does not fit the contexts. Thus, along with the more widely accepted meaning of this word, I have given meanings based upon the elements of the Greek word which is composed of "krisis" (separation and evaluation so as to make a decision) and the prefix "huper" (as an intensifier: hyper-; overly-; or: under – whether from a low position, or, to take under close examination).

6. of which things some (or: certain folks), being without a mark or target (or: deviating and swerving from the goal), were turned aside from out of [them] into vain (fruitless; profitless) talking and idle disputation,

7. wanting to be teachers of Law and custom, [yet] by habit not mentally apprehending either what things they are saying or about what things they are constantly insisting (thoroughly asserting and maintaining).

Paul now points out that certain people lacked this goal of love, and so were "turned aside from out of" the clean heart, the good conscience and now their faith was tainted by being hyper-critical, etc. Now all they have is fruitless talking, and idle disputes. They consider themselves to be teachers, since they have nit-picked the fine points of the letter, but not understanding the spirit of grace, they return to legalism, and preach principles from the old covenant Law, bringing death as they go. They simply parrot what others say because they don't really understand the issues, or simply speak from personal prejudice. They don't know what they are talking about, but to make their point they speak loudly, bullying the conversation.

8. Now we have seen and thus know that the Law [= Torah] is beautiful (ideal and of good quality; useful; fine), if ever anyone could be continuously making use in it (employing and behaving with it, by it and to it) lawfully,

But the fact is, no one can. Thus there was distortion, and we have seen the response from Jesus, especially to the Pharisees. For those then under the Law He told them to do what they say, but not what they do. They nit-picked and emphasized minor points – being hyper-critical about folks who did on a Sabbath what ought not to be done then – while neglecting justice and mercy.

9. having seen and knowing this, that a law is not continually being laid down for one in accord with the Way pointed out (a just one; one who lives in right relationship with fair and equitable dealings), but for lawless people and for insubordinate (non-self-subjecting; out of rank) folks; for irreverent ones (folks devoid of awe) and for failures (folks shooting off-line and missing the target; people making mistakes); for those without regard for divine or natural laws (impious, maligning, disloyal ones lacking loving-kindness) and for profane folks (people without connection to the set-apart and holy, who live in what is accessible to all); for those who strike (or: thrash) fathers and for people who strike (or: thrash) mothers; for those murdering men;

10. for men who use prostitutes (or: who are male prostitutes; fornicators; or: = those who “worship” in pagan temples); for men who lie with males (sodomites); for kidnappers (those catching men by the foot; = slave dealers); for liars; for ones who violate their oaths (perjurers); and whatever different thing which is continually occupying an opposite position (lying in opposition or in replacement) to the sound and healthful teaching,

I think that Paul's list speaks for itself, and needs no specific comments. A law is codified because of the estranged, alienated and distorted human nature. It addresses the demonic within our being, the snake in our garden. This all applies to the old age, the old order of the "earthly and fleshly" realm within which people live their lives, until they enter God's reign through being born from above.

Sadly, we observe many who carry the title "Christian" but who "occupy an opposite position to the sound and healthful teaching" which corresponds to the message of goodness.

11. [which is] in accord with (or: down from; in line with and on the level of) the good news of (or: the message of goodness and ease pertaining to) the glory and reputation of The Happy God, which I, myself, was persuaded to believe (or: upon Whom I am made to trust).

Paul's message brought glory to God, and a good reputation about Him being "The Happy God." Something persuaded Paul and caused him to believe – made him trust this message of the goodness of God. That "something" was Jesus Himself, who confronted Paul on the road to Damascus. It was the Spirit of God that transformed Paul, and transferred him from the authority of the darkness (Judaism, the old covenant, the old creation), into the reign of God's Son (Col. 1:13).

12. I continue holding (or: having) grace and favor by and in the One enabling me (putting ability within me; empowering me): Christ Jesus, our Lord, because He considers me full of faith (or: deems me loyal and faithful), Himself placing [me] into a position of giving attending service,

Paul was persuaded, and now he continues possessing grace and favor, in and by Christ Jesus who is enabling him and empowering him. Christ has transformed Paul and now deems him to be loyal and faithful, even full of faith. Now the Lord had placed him into a position of giving attending service to the called-out communities.

13. – one being formerly a blasphemer (a slanderer; one using abusive speech) and a persecutor and a violent, insolent aggressor (an overbearing, insolent, riotous and outrageous person), but to the contrary, I was mercied (or: given mercy), because, being continuously ignorant (without intimate, experiential knowledge or personal insight), I acted (or: did it) within unbelief (or: in distrust).

Paul was mercied and received grace. He had acted in distrust of this new message, and was ignorant of its reality – he had not yet experienced the Lord, to receive insight. He does not spare himself in sharing the kind of person that he formerly was.

14. Yet our Lord's grace and favor overwhelms (is above more than enough; is overabounding) with faith and trust, as well as love, which are resident within Christ Jesus.

This is a powerful statement. What we need but don't have is all resident with Christ Jesus, and in His appointed time His grace, favor, faith, trust and love simply overwhelm us. They are more than enough for us and are overabounding to us and drag us to Him. Picture in your mind a tsunami wave. This is what Paul is saying here, and he speaks from personal experience (the Damascus road event). God overwhelms us and draws us to Himself.

15. The Word [is] full of faith, and [is] deserving of every welcome reception of equal value, because (or: Faithful and trustworthy, even worthy of all and complete acceptance, [is] the message and saying that) Christ Jesus came into the ordered System (the world of secular culture, religion, government and economy; or: the cosmos) to rescue failures (to deliver those missing the target; to save and make sinners healthy and whole; to restore outcasts to their rightful position), of whom I myself exist being first (or: am foremost).

The conjunction that joins the first clause to the second can be rendered either "because," or "that." So I translated the clauses to accommodate each of these renderings of the conjunction. Each way makes sense, but has a different emphasis. I really liked "The Word [is] full of faith," because this makes a strong statement about the source of our faith: it comes to us during the proclaiming of the Word. But the third clause "Christ Jesus came into the ordered System to rescue failures" is also a "faithful and trustworthy" message.

Again, Paul does not spare himself. He takes first place among those who miss the target – at least that is how he views himself. We can take comfort in this, for look at what God made of the foremost failure.

16. But nonetheless, through this I was mercied (or: I am given mercy), to the end that within me first (= as the foremost case) Jesus Christ may point out so as to publicly display every emotion which is long in arriving (all long-suffering patience) with a view to being an underline (toward [being] a subtype; as facing a sketch or outline; for a pattern) of those about to be habitually believing (or: progressively trusting; one-after-another placing faith) upon Him, [leading] into the midst of eonian life (into Life which pertains to and has the qualities and characteristics of the Age; into life of, and which lasts through, the ages).

The verb tense of "mercy" is aorist passive, so it can read as a simple past, or of a present reality – both are true, for this is the tense of simple fact. Paul was in his day "the foremost case" of receiving mercy. God used him as a canvas upon which to paint His own "long-suffering patience," or literally, His "every emotion which is long in arriving." God does not mind waiting, but He always has a purpose in mind. Here Paul was going to be a subtype, a pattern that would "underline" a display of God's mercy, and publicly show others that were in his day (and now, our day) about to one-after-another make it a habit to trust, believe and place faith upon Christ. This, of course, leads directly into the midst of eonian life.

This leads us to the last phrase of the verse. The expressed preposition (eis) indicates motion from outside something, leading on to piercing it and entering into the midst of it. Thus have I supplied the verb [leading]. I could have said [piercing]. God's faith, trust and belief – which He implants into us – have power and lead into life. The term "eonian life" is only one possible rendering, as I indicate in my parenthetical expansion. Eonian is the adjective form of the noun eon, our English word for an age – an unspecified but usually long period of time. I chose this word "eonian" because it seemed a better alternative than Rotherham's and other's "age-lasting," or Young's "age-during."

But the critical issue is that there is no certainty as to what is meant by the term "age" when used in its adjective form. Those who choose the term "eternal" simply break the rules of language. An adjective cannot have greater force than the noun to which it is related. The Jews had a concept of two ages: the present, and the coming Age of Messiah. Now this brings in the aspect of quality, rather than quantity. The term age was historically used of the lifetime of an individual. Ages have beginnings and endings. There are a plurality of ages in Scripture. The terms "eternal" or "everlasting" have no place here.

Heb. 9:26 speaks of the middle of the 1st century as being "a conjunction of the ages." The old covenant Jewish age was coming to an end, and the "beginning end" (as of one end of a rope) of the next age was being birthed in God. Those were "eonian times." But mostly, they were times where God's presence impacted history with an age-lasting effect. We are not told how long this present age will last, but Paul speaks of "the ages to come" in Eph. 2:7.

Finally, I give you another option of the adjectival phrase, "Life which pertains to and has the qualities and characteristics of the Age." This, again, speaks of quality – the quality of life in God through union with Christ. Time is not under consideration here – it is a type of life: Christ's life.

17. So, to [the] King of The Ages (or: eons; indefinite time periods), to [the] incorruptible (undecayable; unspoilable), invisible (unseen; not-able-to be seen) One, to [the] only God [some MSS add: wise; so: only wise God], [be] honor (value; worth) and glory (reputation which calls forth praise), on into the ages (or: indefinite time periods) of the ages. It is so (Amen)! (or: Now in and by the King to Whom belongs the ages – in and by the imperishable, invisible [and] only One – in and by God [is] honor and glory, [leading] into the [most important] eons of the eons. So it is!)

So my above discussion leads to this verse. He is the King of all the ages, for they were created through His Son (Heb. 1:2), and to Him belongs honor and glory – "on into the ages (or: indefinite time periods) of the ages." Note the alternative translation. Here we see that honor and glory have their source and residence in God. The last phrase expresses a Hebrew idiom of using a noun (either singular or plural) followed by a prepositional phrase using the plural of the same noun, e.g., like "the holy of holies." May I just say this: There is a lot of time out ahead of us, in the future of mankind and all of creation. There are ages yet to come.

18. I am presently placing this passed-on message (notification; announcement) to your side, child Timothy, down from the preceding prophecies upon you (or: in accord with the prophecies habitually leading forth upon you), to the end that you may constantly perform military service (or: do battle; perform warfare) within them (or: in union with them) – the beautiful (fine; ideal) military service (or: battle; warfare),

19. while constantly holding (or: having) faith (and: trust) and a good conscience (a profitable knowing-together) – which some (or: certain ones), thrusting away (or: pushing and driving away), experienced shipwreck about the faith (or: concerning [their] trust, confidence and loyalty):

20. of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I gave (or: hand) over to the adversary (or: satan) to the end that they would be child-trained, educated and disciplined with a view toward maturity, [so as] not to constantly blaspheme (speak abusively or slanderously).

Vs. 18 tells us that this message (letter) which he is writing is so that Timothy can constantly perform "beautiful military service." I suggest that this phrase is but a metaphor, not a reference to the so-called "spiritual warfare" (which phrase is non-existent in Scripture). In Eph. 6 he uses the metaphor of a soldier's equipment, but all these things are qualities and characteristics of God: faith, fairness and equity (or: the rightwised life in the Way pointed out), truth, deliverance or health and wholeness, His Word. Paul is telling Timothy to have the discipline and commitment like a Roman soldier has, but here it is the realm of beauty, the fine, the ideal, all of which is Christ. Live Christ's life as He lives in you.

In vs. 19 he makes this clear by saying, "while constantly holding faith and trust, as well as a good conscience." Some folks thrust these things away, and find their life in the kingdom like a boat that is "shipwrecked."

Vs. 20 gives us an example: Hymenaeus and Alexander. Now note what he next says, "whom I gave (or: hand) over to the adversary (or: satan)." Why? "to the end that they would be child-trained, educated and disciplined with a view toward maturity, [so as] not to constantly blaspheme (speak abusively or slanderously)." Paul is using satan to child-train (Greek: paideuo) and educate these men! God used satan to test Job. God gave Paul an agent of the adversary (satan) to strike him in the face, so that he would not be exalted above measure (2 Cor. 12:7). Does this sound like satan has a kingdom that is opposed to God? No, that sounds like the dualism of paganism, but this sounds like satan is God's tool, His "waster" that He created as "an instrument for His work," whose purpose is "to destroy" (Isa. 54:16), I suggest: that which is contrary to God. But this instrument has its end in our lives, just as Paul said to the called-out folks in Rome, "Now the God Who is The Peace (the God of harmony Who is the source of shalom) will rub together, trample and crush the adversary (the opponent; the satan) under your feet swiftly!" (Rom. 16:20).

In Lu. 9:1, even before He had gone to the cross, Jesus "after calling the twelve together unto Himself, He gave to them power and ability, as well as authority, upon all the demons (Hellenistic concept and term: = animistic influences) and thus to be habitually giving care for, treating or curing sicknesses and diseases." This does not sound like satan was in command of horde of demons, as pagan Christianity proclaims today.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Chapter Two

1. Consequently I am habitually calling you alongside to encourage, counsel and exhort you to first of all be constantly making petitions for needs, prayers (speaking, thinking and doing toward things being well), encounters (or: intercessions; meetings within situations to converse or hit and obtain the objective), [and] expressions of gratitude (or: of the goodness of grace and favor) over (or: on behalf of; for) all mankind (humanity) –

Paul is completely inclusive in his exhortation. We should take on the concerns of all humanity, make requests regarding them, project goodness and well being to them, intercede on their behalf by doing something or having encounter with them, and express gratitude over their very existence, as well as expressing the goodness of God's grace over their situations.

2. over (or: for) kings and all those being folks within a position of holding control over (or: above) [others] (or: being in superiority or high station), to the end that we may continuously lead (or: carry through) a course of life that is still – at rest (free from all agitation or disturbance with tranquility arising from without), and also quiet – peaceable (gentle, exciting no disturbance in others, with tranquility arising from within) in all reverence (pious and devout relations with everything) and majestic seriousness (dignity and gravity which inspire awe).

Political prayers are encouraged, so that we may continuously lead a course of life that is still – with no upheavals or turmoils. That our lives would also be at rest, quiet, and peaceable – "with tranquility arising from within." Now this sounds nice. This is a good goal to have, especially considering his letters to those that are in the midst of persecutions. Reverence and "majestic seriousness" sounds a little stuffy, but in reality if you create in your mind a beautiful quiet scene out in nature, I think we can see what he means. Reverence towards life and seriousness about our environment are good things.

3. This [is] beautiful (fine; ideal) and welcomingly received from the presence of, and in the sight of, God, our Deliverer (our Savior; the One Who heals us and makes us whole, restoring us to our original state and condition),

So vs. 2 describes the "beautiful life." And there is no mention of material goods. This fine and ideal situation comes about from having God's presence with us, and having His "eye" turned on us (speaking metaphorically). We receive this from Him, the One Who heals us, make us whole and restores us.

4. Who is constantly willing (continuously intending and purposing) all mankind (all humanity) to be saved (delivered; rescued; made healthy and whole), and (or: even) to come into a full, accurate, experiential and intimate knowledge and insight of Truth (or: into a realization of reality),

What an intent and purpose – and He wills it to be so, so it will come to pass, for He always does according to the counsel of His will. This is a beautiful and ideal plan that He has for humanity. Can we imagine all humanity with a " full, accurate, experiential and intimate knowledge and insight of Truth [and] a realization of reality"? That will be "heaven," my friends. All mankind delivered and made whole. It indeed takes faith in this word from Paul, to really believe it.

5. for God [is] One, and One [is the] Mediator of God and mankind, a Man, Christ Jesus (or: for [there is] one God, and one medium between God and humans, [the] human, Anointed Jesus),

We know from John 3:16 that God loves the whole world, and vs. 4 above confirms this. So when we think of a mediator, we must think of humans that are the hostile ones, while God is full of love and conciliation (2 Cor. 5:19). So our Brother, the Man Christ Jesus mediates this love and conciliation to humanity. And according to my second rendering, the Anointed Jesus is the only medium through with this goodness can come. There is no other name in heaven or in earth by which we must be saved. The Christ event was/is the turning point of all of human history.

6. the One giving Himself a correspondent ransom (a ransom in the place of and directed toward the situation) over [the situation of and] on behalf of (or: for) all (everyone; all humanity and all things) – the witness [note: “the witness” is omitted by A; other MSS: the evidence of which] [will come] in its own fitting situations (or: the Witness for their own seasons; the Testimony to and for His own particular occasions; the evidence [appears] in its own fertile moments) –

Here we see inclusiveness again. The ransom fully faced and corresponded to the situation of all humanity, and of the whole creation. The word "correspondent ransom" is the Greek "lutron" (a price paid for release from slavery or captivity) with the prefix "anti-" (in an opposite position, facing toward in order to assist in a manner equivalent to the need). He gave Himself as a payment to redeem mankind, placing Himself "over" our situation – a picture of Love covering the multitude of sins and mistakes.

The evidence of this will be witnessed in its own fitting situations or fertile moments. This is equivalent to what he said in 1 Cor. 15:23, "each person within his or her own class or division (or: ordered rank; place or appointed position [in line]; arranged [time] or order of succession)."

7. into the midst of which I, a preacher (or: herald) and one sent with a mission (an envoy and representative), was placed (or: am set) – I am speaking truth, I am not lying – a teacher of multitudes (nations; the multiplied ethnic groups; non-Jews), within faith and Truth (or: in union with trust and reality).

Paul was placed into this "correspondent ransom" and was sent by Jesus to be a teacher of multitudes (Greek: ethnos; used of a swarm of bees, thus, a multitude of ethnic groups; often used to refer to the pagan societies that are non-Jewish). He was also "placed" into the environment of God's reign, which is "faith and Truth; trust and Reality." I capitalized Truth and Reality to indicate that this is really referring to Christ, into Whom we have been placed – within both His death and His resurrection life.

8. I am wanting and intending, then, the men (adult males) within every place to habitually pray (constantly think, speak and act toward having ease, goodness and well-being), continually lifting up loyal and dutiful hands that are pure from all crime, apart from impulse of intrinsic fervor (or: passion and swelling desire; or: anger, indignation or wrath) and reasonings (debates; divisions in thinking; dialogues; computations).

He is speaking to the adult men of that time and culture, and he was referring to a way of life: constant or habitual prayer (which literally means: think, speak and act toward having ease, goodness and well-being). This corresponds to 1 Thes. 5:17, "Continuously think, speak and act with a view toward well-being and goodness – unceasingly (or: By habit be praying unintermittingly)." He is not just talking about in an assembly of the community, but within all of life.

Lifting up "loyal and dutiful hands" is a metaphor from the religious practice of that day and culture, but the hand is a figure of what a person does – his work or activities. Just as he is to "continuously pray," Paul is here speaking to his way of life and his activities: he is to constantly lift up (= offer to God) a loyal and dutiful life that is pure from all crime, and apart form impulsive fervor or negative expressions of such, and apart from divisions in thinking, debates and reasoned dialogues that have a negative flavor.

9. Likewise, women to habitually adorn and arrange themselves in an ordered and arranged system of proper behavior and clothing: with modesty and soundness of mind (sanity and sensibility), not in braids (or: inter-weavings) and in golden ornaments, or in pearls or expensive garments,

In using the word "likewise," we should see that he is speaking to the same level: on the sphere of the spiritual that also is lived out in the practical. The women are to do the same as the men, but instead of using the metaphor of lifting hands, he says "in an ordered and arranged system of proper behavior and clothing: with modesty and soundness of mind (sanity and sensibility)." Here is another cultural metaphor, speaking of an attitude and way of life. As with the men, here he follows with a negative metaphor, this time regarding ostentatious living or personal vanity. In each case the metaphors can also be followed, if the Spirit so leads the individual, but these are not the point, and should not become a religious law.

10. but rather – what is suitable (proper; fitting; becoming) in (or: for; to) women giving instruction on reverence for God [note: refers to women who taught “God-fearers” in synagogues, to prepare these folks for conversion] – through good works and virtuous actions.

Here is the general category to which he is leading: good works and virtuous action. This is like what Jacob (or: James) said, that for faith to have life it must be joined to works and thus bear the fruit of love. It is interesting that he parenthetically refers to a specific situation: women giving instruction on reverence for God. The subject concerned a way of life that was being taught – reverence for God. So like the other cultural examples, he is referring to our inner lives which bear fruit in our outer lives.

11. A woman (or: wife) must be habitually learning – within calm quietness (without making a fuss; in peaceableness and gentleness, exciting no disturbance in others, and with tranquility arising from within) – in union with every humble alignment while giving support (or: within every subordinate arrangement).

Once again, we need to be aware of the cultural environment. What he is saying is contrary to how he was raised in Judaism: a woman was not to be taught Torah. But we are now in the new creation – all has changed, and these folks needed to know that culture, class and gender prohibitions no longer applied. But it was not a revolution, for what he says here regarding women and wives also applied equally to men: humble alignment to Christ, while giving support to one another.

12. Now I am not turning upon a woman, so as to direct her to be habitually teaching (or: Yet I do not habitually turn on a wife, to regularly teach [her]) – neither to continually act in self-authority to use arms for murdering an adult male (or: = habitually to be a self-appointed master to domineer over a man [note: this may have been an exhortation against Gnosticism, and a possible rendering could be: And I am not permitting a woman to teach that she is the originator of a man]) – but rather to exist (or: be) within quietness (gentleness, exciting no disturbance, with tranquility arising from within) –

Paul is not now putting a burden upon women to do things that they don't feel ready to do – he is not "turning upon" them. And he is not promoting a gender revolution to symbolically "murder a man." He is instead calling them to the same thing to which he called all, in vs. 2, above: a quiet, tranquil life of gentleness.

13. for you see, Adam was molded and formed first, thereafter (or: next), Eve.

14. Also, Adam was not seduced and deceived, but the woman being completely cheated out by seduction (or: thoroughly deluded) has come to be and exists within deviation (transgression; a stepping by the side),

15. yet she will be delivered (rescued; saved; made whole and restored to her original state and condition) through the Birth (or: birthing) of the Child – should they dwell (abide) within faith (and: trust) and love and the results of being set-apart (holiness), with soundness of mind (sanity; sensibility). The Word [is] full of faith! (or: Trustworthy [is] this message.)

As above, I suggest that Paul is speaking with metaphors in 13-15. He is speaking to the human condition. The female aspect of the nature of every human is the deceived, estranged soul which listened to the carnal wisdom within us (figured by the serpent in the Garden, which Garden was a figure for our internal life). To be carnally minded is death (Rom. 8:6), just as to partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (to have a legalistic mindset; to live from the Law which tells us what is right and what is wrong, and that we must do works to be right) within us brings death.

Adam is a figure of Christ (Rom. 5:14), and Eve a figure of His body. We all, His body, were "cheated out by seduction" and had come to "exist within deviation" (we side-stepped away from the Way pointed out, the tree of Life, the Christ). But Christ, like Adam, took on our transgressions, and we are delivered when the man-child (Rev. 12:5) was given birth within us. That birth comes from living with Christ, dwelling in the faith which He is, and in the love which He is, and the state of being set-apart, which He is, with the "soundness of mind" which He gives, which is the mind of Christ. His Word is crammed full of His faith. And this is a trustworthy message!

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Chapter Three

1. If anyone is habitually stretching himself in reaching out toward a distant object upon which the eye is fixed, he is by habit craving a beautiful deed (or: If anyone continues reaching after visitation for inspection and tender guardianship, he fully desires a virtuous action; If anyone stretches out in reaching for the duties of looking around upon things {duties of one who watches upon, or oversees}, he completely desires ideal work).

Of the three renderings which I have given here, I chose for my first option the most literal as it would have the widest application. It is beautiful to stretch oneself toward something that is not close at hand. It is ideal to fix ones eyes upon a distant object. This can take us beyond our present environment and circumstances, and give us hope. It can set a goal for us. It can challenge us into action. Taking action which stretches us toward a goal is a fine thing.

As for the second option, this is a practical outworking of love for others. It qualifies us as His sheep, rather than His kids (immature goats) – Matt. 25:34-40, and is a vital function within any community.

The third option describes the function of a supervisor or overseer – and this, too is an ideal work in which to be involved, in any area of life, but especially in the life of the community.

2. It is therefore binding upon (necessary for) the person fixing his eye upon a distant object (or: the one doing visitation for inspection and tender guardianship; the one watching upon or overseeing) to be someone not to be laid hold of (thus: one in whom is no just cause for blame), a husband of one wife (or: an adult male in relationship to one woman), sober (unintoxicated; clear-headed; moderate in habits), sound in mind (sensible), have his world ordered and arranged (or: systematic and decorous), be fond of strangers (or: hospitable), skillful and qualified to teach,

3. not addicted to wine (or: one who keeps wine at his side), not quarrelsome and apt to strike another, but rather, yielding (lenient; gently equitable), not disposed to fight nor belligerent, not fond of silver (= money),

4, habitually putting himself at the head of (= lead, provide for and protect) his own household so as to beautifully (ideally; finely) stand before and lead them, having children in the midst of humble alignment for support (or: within subjection) with all majestic seriousness (dignity and gravity which inspire awe) –

Verses 2-4 are normally considered to be "qualifications" for the third rendering of vs. 1, above. But these characteristics apply to all three. If any of the things on this list are not present in the individual, it would be a deterrent to performance of any of the three renderings. They are qualities that are advantageous for everyone and for any function – not just for a position of "leadership."

5. now if anyone does not know (has not seen and is not aware) to put himself/herself at the head of (= lead, provide for and protect) her/his own household so as to stand before and lead them, how will s/he be thoughtful of, take an interest in, and take care of, God's called-out community? –

6. not a novice (neophyte; a newly placed member of the body), lest, being inflated with the fumes of conceit, s/he may fall into the adversary's judgment (the result of sifting, separation and decision made in regard to someone who thrusts or throws something through another; or: a judgment which comes from the adversary).

Here Paul speaks to the situation of a family and the function of a parent, and relates this to similar functioning in the called-out community. There are often orphans that need parenting; children in dysfunctional or abusive homes that need a paraclete to guide them; young folks away from home who need pro-tem oversight and admonition; economic or natural disasters where organizational or triage skills are greatly needed. Furthermore, the same skills that are needed in raising and leading a family are also needed in teaching the spiritually young who may still need the "milk" of the Word. In none of these situations should a novice or a young person with no experience take on these functions.

7. Yet it is also necessary and binding to continuously hold (or: have) a beautiful witness and testimony (= a fine reputation) from those outside, so that s/he would not fall into reproach (lest s/he may fall into a censorious report regarding character) and [into] a trick (snare; gin; device; stratagem) belonging to or devised by the adversary (or: whose source is the one who, or [that spirit and attitude] which, thrusts things through folks and causes injury or division; or: which is the adversary).

The witness and testimony from folks outside the community of faith will come from their observation of the fruit in our lives. If they see the fruit of the Spirit, or the life of Christ, then it will be a beautiful testimony that they give on behalf of the called-out folks. Lack of this will mean that the fruit is not there, only leaves (our works), and if our functioning is without the Spirit of Christ, we will fall into the snares that our own carnal/estranged nature sets for us (see Jacob {James} 1:14-15).

8. Attending servants, similarly, [should be] serious (dignified with gravity) – not double-talking (or: speaking with double meanings; or: divided in thought or reason), neither [being] folks having a propensity toward much wine, nor people eager for dishonorable (deformed or ugly; = dishonest) gain –

9. continuously holding (or: having) the secret (or: mystery) of the faith (trust; loyalty) within (or: in union with) a clean conscience.

This advice would apply to households, or to functions in the community at large. Those who serve are the backbone on the community, and their having a living and honest relationship with Christ is essential for the growth and health of the entire community.

10. And so, let these folks also be first put through a process of examination, testing and proving. Thereafter, let them be regularly giving supporting service [to the community], being folks that have not been called up before a judge (or: free from accusation; unimpeachable).

Here Paul gives wise guidance concerning choosing those who will have the honor of providing service to the community. It is the same wisdom that a person would use in choosing employees for one's business.

11. Women (or: Wives) [of the community], similarly, [should be] serious (dignified with majestic gravity, inspiring awe), not devils (or: adversaries; women who thrust things through folks), sober (unintoxicated; clear-headed; moderate in habits), full of faith and trust (or: faithful; trustworthy; loyal) in all things.

We should remember that Paul is instructing Timothy concerning the makeup of what were then newly birthed communities of called-out folks – groups within the secular towns. These are expressions of the new creation: people living under the new covenant with Christ as their head. This was a new concept, a new world for these folks, so cultural and social characteristic – as well as the spiritual aspects of their lives – were in need of being addressed. As we all have experienced, being birthed into His reign begins a journey of transformation. So Paul is giving a description of how the wives and women of this new community should seek to become. This was a new way of life for everyone.

12. Let those giving supporting service be adult males having a relationship with one woman (or: husbands of one wife), habitually placing themselves in front of their children, as well as their own households, to beautifully (or: finely; ideally) lead, protect and provide [for them].

Again, recall the cultural aspect of those to whom Timothy would take these instructions. Today we would not use the term "adult males," but would more likely say, "Let them be ladies and gentlemen having a relationship with one spouse, in accord with our custom..." Note that a core quality of the lives of these communities was "beauty," or, "what is fine and ideal." This is a call to excellence, which comes with the life of Christ.

13. You see, those giving supporting service in a beautiful and ideal manner continue in (or: by; for; among) themselves building around themselves a beautiful (fine; excellent; ideal) circular staircase (that which enables folks to step up to a higher place) and much freedom of speech (confident outspokenness and boldness which is the right of citizens) resident within faith, trust and loyalty – that which is resident within, and in union with, Christ Jesus.

Here Paul uses a picturesque metaphor of a carpenter, mason or builder to describe those folks who provide supporting service to the called-out community – or to the community at large – and do it in a beautiful and ideal manner. He says that "they progressively build a fine and beautiful circular staircase" around themselves (both within and without) which enables both themselves and others to ascend in God.

Such service to the body also comes with outspoken freedom of speech, which is the right of citizens of God's kingdom. This freedom and boldness is resident with the faith which He gives us because of our union with Him. Within Him is also trust and confidence, and through our supporting service we can pass this on to others.

14. I am writing these things to you, expecting to come toward you swiftly (in quickness; or: = soon),

15. but if ever I should be slow (or: delay), [I am writing this] to the end that you may see and thus know how it is necessary and binding to be twisted and turned back up again within God's household (or: to be treated, conducted or caused to behave in God's house), which is (or: exists being) a called-out community of [the] Living God (or: whose source is a living God; which has the qualities and character of [the] living God; or: which is a living god), a pillar and foundational seat of The Truth (or: a base and settled basis of reality),

I have given the literal rendering "twisted and turned back up again" go give a graphic picture of what must happen in our lives when we become a part of God's household. The Spirit of God seizes us, twists us around to face back up again. Note that the voice of the verb is passive – God acts upon us. Most versions treat this as though it were a middle voice, as though this is something we must do, rendering this expressive verb something like "conduct yourself" or, "behave," but these fall short of the meaning. Paul is speaking of being apprehended, or grasped, by God. He had experienced this (Phil. 3:12-13). Our prior behavior was to the most part the opposite of what he has been instructing in this chapter. We have needed to be twisted back up (rightwised, turned in the right direction) to be a part of His house, a called-out community of the Living God.

You might wonder about the last parenthetical option, "which is a living god." This rendering is giving the genitive case the function of apposition. Note that I did not capitalize "god," for it is referring to the community, in this construction. Recall that Yahweh said to Moses,

"I have made you a god to Pharaoh..." (Ex. 7:1).

We are the temple of God, and as Moses presented God to Pharaoh, so we present God to the world.

The last phrase, which also refers to the called-out community, makes another astounding statement – that we are "a pillar and foundational seat of The Truth (or: a base and settled basis of reality)." The term "pillar" calls to mind what the Lord called an overcomer in Rev. 3:12, "a pillar in the temple." That we are also a "foundational seat" shows that The Truth (Christ: the new Reality) dwells and is stationed within this community of believers. We are "a base and settled basis of reality." What a concept. We are the new creation – which is the new reality.

16. and so confessedly (admittedly; with common consent and sameness of speech) great is the secret (or: mystery) of the reverence (the standing in awe of goodness, with adoration; the healthful devotion in true relation to God): which is made visible (manifested) within flesh (= a physical body), is rightwised (set in equity and right relationship in the Way pointed out) in spirit (in union with Breath-effect),
is seen by agents (or: messengers),
is heralded (preached) within multitudes (among nations and ethnic groups),
is trusted and believed within [the] world (an ordered system; secular culture),
is received back in good opinion and reputation. (or: Who [some MSS read: God; others: He] was brought to clear light within flesh (= the natural realm); was shown righteous and just within spirit and attitude;
was seen by agents; was proclaimed among Gentiles {non-Jews};
was believed within [the] world of society, religion, and government;
was taken back up again, within glory – a manifestation which calls forth praise!)

Taking the first rendering, we see that the secret of the true reverence was made visible within flesh (i.e., a physical body). This, of course, refers to Jesus Christ. But it also can refer to His corporate body. The verbs are all in the aorist tense, thus I give the two renderings, first "is," second "was," as this is a fact tense, independent of time or type of action.

Rendering the verb "is" points to Christ within His called-out community. Rendering it "was" points to Jesus in particular.

Now consider the parenthetical rendering. Here the Greek particle "hos" is translated "Who" instead of "which" – either is correct. Note also the variant readings of other MSS. Jesus is clearly the subject of all that follows, in this rendering.

Looking at the following clauses, in each option, above, we see that if it is speaking of His corporate body, then this community was one that was "rightwised (turned in the right direction) in spirit." But if it is speaking of Him, then He was "shown [to be] righteous and just in spirit and attitude."

It is interesting to note that agents (messengers) both saw Him and see us. Christ is heralded within and among the ethnic multitudes – but so is His present manifestation on earth, His body of believers. This latter was a new phenomenon – "Christ in us." And both are believed and trusted (the true called-out are) within the ordered System, called the world.

The final verb means either to be received or taken. In the first rendering, it is speaking of the sent-off folks (missionaries) being received back into the community attended by good opinions and a positive reputation (two meanings of the Greek "doxa"). In the parenthetical translation it refers to Jesus being taken back up into the atmosphere (or: heaven) again, "within glory – a manifestation which calls forth praise!" (two other meanings of "doxa"). This verb is prefixed with the Greek particle "ana," which can simply mean "back," in a reflexive sense, or "back up again," in all its possible meanings.

Don Luther writes:

"The whole of Paul's Epistle to Timothy has to do with the House of God, and how you behave in it. It's true that the meaning here in vs. 16 is concerning the Christ, but how much more relevant to see it as the corporate Christ! ....

"[T]he 'and' of verse 16 seems to connect it more with the preceding verse. It would seem that if there were punctuation marks in Greek, that following the end of verse 15 there should be a colon or comma. Verse 16 seems to be an appositive to verse 15, or maybe an expansion of "the Church of the living God." Amazing what a different light can come from just the appreciation of the aorist tense.

Also, put this together with:

Eph 5:32. 'This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.' The great mystery is not just Jesus (according to Paul) but Christ AND the church.

"Cf: Eph 3:3 'how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words,

3:4 whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ;

3:5 which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;

3:6 to wit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,'

"And in later vss.,

Eph 3:10 'to the intent that now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God,

3:11 according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:'

"This manifestation of Christ by the Church is the answer to Jesus' prayer in Jn 17, ergo that the world would not only see, but also BELIEVE!"

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Chapter Four

1. Now the Spirit (or: Breath-effect) is explicitly saying that within subsequent seasons (in fitting situations and on appropriate occasions which will be afterwards) some of the faith (or: certain folks belonging to this trust) will stand off and away [from the Path, or from the Community] (or: some people will withdraw from this conviction and loyalty), habitually holding toward (having a propensity to) wandering and deceptive spirits (or: straying and seducing breath-effects and attitudes) and to teachings of demons (to teachings about and pertaining to, or which are, demons [note: a Hellenistic concept and term: = animistic influences]; or: to instructions and training which come from animistic influences [= pagan religions]),[comment: this prophesied about the future institutionalization of the called-out community, and the introduction of pagan teachings, all of which later came to be called "orthodox"]

Paul was not talking about far-off times, but to the night and darkness that was soon to follow the day and light of the 1st century called-out groups. There would come a departing from the Path which is Christ, and from the sense of being an organic community, to a structured and stratified organization that mirrored the old covenant, with grace being replaced by ritual and works, with freedom (Gal. 5:1) being replaced by control, with joy being replaced by fear – and for a period of time, the Judaizers would win. Even today, following the light shed by the Reformation, we see a recurrence of the same, even to bringing back the celebration of the feast of the old covenant, in some circles, with as much emphasis upon what the believer must do to be saved, as upon the work of Christ.

Such things are the result of deceptive spirits that come from a religious mind-set. They come from a fear of loss of control. They come from our alienated desires to be famous and to even be worshiped. They are the demons which are created by the thinking of estranged humanity, and this distorted, self-worshiping paradigm creates the teachings which both create and support Jezebel among us (Rev. 2:20-23).

Instead of recognizing the demonic in our fallen nature, a whole system of spirit beings, based upon ancient Greek, Persian and Egyptian mythology, has been created to where much of Christianity sees the realm of spirit from a dualistic viewpoint: God versus the devil. They have forgotten that there is only One God. So they teach about demons and imaginary spiritual principalities, making satan a king of his own kingdom, when all the time Scripture has pointed out that satan dwells in and among the churches (Rev. 2:9, 13, 24; 3:9) and power over satan has been given to the called-out (e.g. Lu. 10:17-19; Rom. 16:20; Mat. 28:18).

2. within perverse scholarship of false words (or: in association with overly critical hairsplitting of false messages; in the midst of gradually separated interpretations of false expressions; or: in union with deceptive decisions by speakers of lies), from folks havingtheir own consciences cauterized (seared; branded) as with a hot iron,

Note that the "teaching of demons" comes within "perverse scholarship of false words," as well as what is given in the parenthetical expansion. Consider also that these "wandering spirits" and teachings about demons also come from people with defective consciences – not from some exterior spirit world.

3. coming from people habitually forbidding (preventing; hindering) [folks] to be marrying [and to be] constantly abstaining from [certain] foods – which things God creates (or: created; reduced from a state of wildness and disorder) into something to be shared and partaken of with thanksgiving by those full of faith (by the faithful and loyal folks) and by those having experienced full, intimate knowledge and realization of the Truth (or: of Reality)!

Here Paul again asserts that these things come from people with distorted mind-sets and alienated ideas that are usually religious in nature. Note that marrying and eating are simply natural things that are meant to be enjoyed, shared and partaken of with gratitude – and that our "faith" applies to these things, too. The Reality in Christ has set us free from superstition and religion!

4. Because all God's creation (or: every creature of God) [is] beautiful (fine; ideal), and not one thing is to be thrown away – being habitually received with thanksgiving –

5. for it is continuously (or: progressively) being set-apart (made holy; rendered sacred) through God's Word (or: by means of a word which is God; through a message and an idea from God) and an encounter (or: a meeting and falling in with someone; or: conversation; or: hitting on target within a matter to assist; thus: intercession).

Wow! Can you hear it? All God's creation is beautiful and sacred and to be habitually received with a grateful heart. God's Word continually sets all creation apart and makes it holy. God's Word has encountered the earth realm; He has fallen in with us, hitting the target for us, and is in fact our intercession. It is no longer just the temple that is the holy place. He split the curtain and has brought His holiness into all of life – if we can perceive this, and see Him in all things.

There is no longer any law concerning diet or marriage, except the law of, and which is, the spirit of The Life within Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:2). We are simply to live our lives in His sacredness and freedom – in love,

"if able (if capable; if possible), regarding that which has its source in you folks (or: as to that which proceeds from yourselves corporately) [live] being folks continuously at peace with all mankind (in the midst of all people)" – Rom. 12:18.
6. Placing these things under as a base or foundation, to give advice or make suggestions to and for the brothers (= fellow believers), you will be a beautiful (fine; ideal; excellent) supportive servant of Christ Jesus, habitually being inwardly nourished by the words of the faith (or: in the arranged expressions, utterances and messages of trust; or: with ideas of loyalty; or: for thoughts from trust), and of the beautiful (fine; ideal; excellent; good quality) teaching in which you follow alongside closely (or: to which you nearly accompany and attend).

The "these things" of the first clause refers to what Paul has just been saying. So Timothy is to found new believers upon this base, and in so doing he will be an ideal, fine and beautiful supportive servant of Christ. At the same time, he himself will be "inwardly nourished" by this same message of faith, and ideas of trust, that he shares to and for God's family. Paul characterizes the teaching which he shares with Timothy as being BEAUTIFUL. This should be a measuring rod for critiquing what is coming from the "Christian community."

7. Now you must constantly refuse and avoid (excuse yourself from) profane and old-womanish myths, yet habitually be training and exercising yourself, as in gymnastic discipline, toward reverence (standing in awe of wellness, with adoration; healthful devotion in true relation to God),

8. for gymnastic discipline for bodily exercise is beneficial toward a few things and with a view to a few people (or: for a little while), yet reverence (devoutness; standing well in awe) is beneficial toward all things and with a view to all people, continuously holding (having) a promise of life – of the one now (at the present time), and of the impending one (the one being about to be).

Stay away from profane myths and folk traditions. Make it a disciplined way of life to be reverent toward all life, for all life comes from God. Gymnastic discipline is good for body and soul, but reverence "is beneficial toward all things and is with a view to all people" – or, as Peter said, "Value, prize and honor all people" (1 Pet. 2:17). At the same time, be continuously holding (for yourself, and for others) a promise of life – both of the present one, and of the impending one. Eonian life is both in this age, and the next; both in this present life, and in the next. It is the life of Christ.

It is not clear to which Paul was referring here, when he used the phrase "the impending one." Perhaps, being in the midst of the close of one age and the beginning of the next (the conjunction of two ages: Matt. 13:39-49; 24:3; 28:20; Heb. 9:26), he meant the first. Perhaps he left it unspecified so that we could all apply it to our own lives.

9. The Word [is] full of faith (or: Faithful and Trustworthy [is] this message) and worthy of all welcomed reception,

My first rendering speaks of the Logos being full of faith – trust is its DNA. My alternate rendering connects the first phrase with vs. 10, below. The definite article was sometimes used to mean "this."

10. for into this [end] are we constantly working hard unto weariness, and are continuously struggling in the contest (contending for the prize; other MSS: being reproached), because we have placed our expectation (or: set our hope) and thus rely upon a living God (or: upon [the] living God), Who is (exists being) [the] Savior (Deliverer; Rescuer; Restorer to health and wholeness) of all human beings (all mankind) – especially of believers (of folks full of faith and trust; of faithful ones)!

Likewise, he is either saying that they are working hard to have folks accept the Word, because it is loaded with faith, or he is saying that because it is a trustworthy message, and thus worthy of acceptance, that they are constantly working unto weariness and struggling against opposition. Either way, it is because they have placed their expectation upon, and thus rely upon, a, or [the], living God.

But here is the punch line: [He] exists being [the] Savior of all human beings! Now THAT is a faithful and trustworthy message, and everyone should receive this message, but sadly, most in the pagan Christian religion do not. However, this is also true because the Word, Christ, is full of faith – and it is His faith that saved every human being, e.g., Gal. 2:16,

"having seen and thus knowing that humanity (or: mankind; or: a person) is not normally being put in right relationship (made fair and quitable; made free from guilt and set into the Way pointed out; rightwised and made to be a just one) from out of works of Law (or: forth from a law's deeds or actions from custom), but instead through Jesus Christ's faith (or: faith that belongs to and originates in Christ Jesus)."

And in Gal. 2:20 Paul tells us,

"I am constantly living within faith – in and by that [faith] which is the Son of God (or: in union with trust and confidence that is from God’s Son [with other MSS: in the confidence belonging to God and Christ])."

Now it should be noted that this does NOT say that He is "a potential" Savior, for if He does not save everyone, then He is NOT the Savior of all human beings. This, of course, especially includes believers, for these have already been made alive in Christ. The rest will be made alive in their own groups (1 Cor. 15:22-23).

11. Be constantly announcing these things to those at your side, passing them along from one to another, and keep on teaching them!

Please note that he did not say that this is for "the back rooms" or for only the "elite" to know. This is the message that is to be passed along from one to another, and they are to keep on teaching them. But if you teach this today, institutional Christianity will call you a heretic. The good news is not for those who want to be popular with the world – the Christian world, that is. Those in the secular culture will love this news, just as the outcasts of Jesus' day loved Him.

12. Let no one be despising (thinking down on; having a negative opinion of) your youth. On the contrary, continue coming to be a model (pattern; example) of (or: pertaining to) those full of faith (of the faithful ones; for believers): in word, in conduct (behavior), in love, in faith (or: trust), in purity (or: propriety).

Here is wise and practical counsel. Timothy is to BE the message, as well as proclaim and teach it. Chronological age is now insignificant, for it is the Spirit of Christ that empowers him and speaks through him. Truth, faith and teaching are no longer the possession of the "elders," but of the Anointing. It is a new creation.

13. While I am coming, continue holding toward a propensity for the reading (in the means of knowing again), for the calling alongside to give relief, aid, exhortation, comfort and encouragement (in the work of a paraclete), for the teaching (to the instruction and in the training).

These three things are central: reading the Scriptures; performing as a paraclete; and teaching the message, instructing folks in the Scriptures so that they will have a firm foundation, and training them in the things of the kingdom life.

14. Do not make it a habit to neglect the care of or disregard this gift of grace (or: the effect of favor; or: this gracious gift) residing within you, which was given to you through a prophecy (a coming or manifestation of light ahead of time), accompanied by a laying on of the hands of the body of elder folks.

Taking the definite article as demonstrative (which is considered to be its first use), I have rendered the phrase above (Greek: tou charis-matos) as "this gift of grace," or using a simple definite article, "the effect of favor." Rather than seeing this as a specific "gift" that was imparted to Timothy by a prophecy and with a laying on of hands, I see Paul referring to "this gift of grace" which is the message of goodness and well-being, and the work of the cross of Christ. It resides with all of us, and has been given to us through a spoken word of Light that comes to us ahead of time, imparting life to us through the called-out community – in this case, a body of the older folks. The laying on of their hands was an expression of love and solidarity. It may have been a symbol of the prayers that they were projecting into him, but the gift was the life within the Word that was spoken into him, and now resided within him as the Living Word, the Christ. It is this Christ-life that we are called to give care to, and watch over – as in 1 John 5:21, where he says,

"Little children (born ones) keep yourselves in custody (or: guarded)! – away from the idols (the external appearances; the forms; or: = false concepts)!"
15. Continually meditate on and give attention to these things; be absorbed in them (exist within them), to the end that your cutting a passage forward (your progress and advancement) may be visibly apparent to all (for everyone).

Here he refers back to all that he has been saying. It is like the need to sharpen a saw if your cutting will be effective: meditate on the good news of the Christ, give attention to the messages that has been given, be absorbed in Him and in His brothers (all humanity). In this way a person's life will cut a clean and clear passage forward that will be apparent to all.

16. Habitually have a hold upon yourself and the teaching (or: Constantly attend to yourself and to the instruction and training). Continue abiding on and remaining (or: Constantly dwell on, while staying; Be progressively and fully persisting) in them, for, continuously doing this, you will rescue (deliver; save; restore to health and wholeness) both yourself and those regularly hearing you.

It is like the old advice given by the airline attendant: if you need oxygen, put the mask on yourself first, then you can be breathing so as to help others. Care of our own garden, the sharpening of our saw, giving attention to our own condition and to "the teaching," and then "abiding on and remaining in them" – these are the things that keep us going for the long run, and give us the ability and resources to rescue other, and sometimes deliver ourselves.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Chapter Five

1. You should not inflict blows upon (or: = verbally attack; severely criticize; give reproofs to) an older man. To the contrary, habitually call [him] alongside, as a father, to aid, give relief and assist, to encourage and exhort (= be a paraclete to him). [Treat] younger men as brothers,

2. older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, within all purity and propriety.

Again, as Peter said,

"Honor and value all people" (1 Pet. 2:17).

Paul is here pointing out the practical living out of the life of Christ. He is not making laws, but pointing out the Way of Life. He is portraying solidarity and showing us that we are all family. He is saying, "Love."

3. Be constantly honoring (valuing; thus: = assisting and supporting) widows – those actually being widows.

4. But if any widow currently has children or grandchildren (descendants), let these keep on learning to first show reverence, devotion and pious care for their own household, and to keep paying a due compensation to their parents and grandparents (progenitors), for this is welcomely received in God's sight.

5. Now the one actually being a widow, and having been left alone (= without a dowry and destitute), has placed expectation upon, and now relies on God, and constantly remains focused in requests regarding needs, and in prayers (thoughts and words aimed toward goodness and well- being) during night and during day,

6. yet the woman continuously indulging herself in riotous luxury (excessive comfort; sensual gratification), continuing being alive (or: [though] living), she is dead (or: she has died).

Paul addresses an important aspect of living as a community, as did the called-out group in Jerusalem, reported in Acts, ch. 6. Apparently in the culture to which Timothy was sent, older folks and widows were either neglected or abused. In vs. 3, I suggest a practical meaning of honor and value be "assisting and supporting" – actually doing something for them. As with the teaching of Jesus in the parable of the sheep and the kids (Matt. 25), having actions and works as a fruit of our faith was central to the message of the kingdom.

At the same time, he is recognizing that within these communities there will still be manifestations of the estranged human nature, so vs. 4-6 speak to some potential situations which could negatively affect themselves or others. He speaks wisdom into such cases. Vs. 4 tells us that these communities still lived with the core of there being households, and pious care is admonished. The widow (vs. 5) that "has placed expectation upon, and now relies on God, and constantly remains focused in requests regarding needs, and in prayers (thoughts, words and deeds aimed toward goodness and well-being)" obviously has an important function to play – both night and day. We see in vs. 6 the common metaphorical use of the word "dead" (as with the prodigal son of Lu. 15). A person that behaved in a manner such as he described would be of little functional use to the life of the community, so would be considered as one dead.

7. So keep on announcing these things along the way (telling them to the one at your side), to the end that they may be folks not to be laid hold of for being reprehensible (thus: people in whom is no just cause for blame).

The living out of the reign of God within the community is a practical, sensible life, and the Spirit-led discipline of the members is a useful fruit to be enjoyed by all. Lack of this can bring negative reactions and cause problems.

8. Now if anyone is not habitually having forethought or perceiving beforehand in order to provide for those who are his or her own (= relatives), and especially ones of the household (family or domestics) s/he has disowned (turned her or his back on; denied; renounced; refused) the Faith and is worse than an unbeliever (or: has disregarded and declined their trust and exists being worse than one without faith).

Paul makes a direct correlation between living with ethical behavior – taking on one's responsibilities – and "the Faith," or living in trust. If one does not live in accord with the Way pointed out (fairness, equity, rightwised relationships), this person's situation and life is worse than that of the folks yet outside the called-out community. A person with faith in Christ, yet denying Him in his way of life, is worse than someone in the secular world that has no faith in Christ. This is a strong statement by Paul.

9. Let a widow be put on the list, and continue enrolled, who has become no younger than sixty years old, a wife of one man (= not married a second time?),

10. having a continuing reputation founded in beautiful acts (ideal works; fine deeds): if she nourishes children (or: reared a family), if she is (or: was) hospitable to strangers and foreigners, if she washes (or: bathed) the feet of the set-apart folks (the holy ones; the saints), if she successfully wards off distress for those being constantly pressured (or: relieves those consistently being in tribulation and affliction), if she follows up on every good work (attends to every virtuous deed).

This is more practical advice for communal living. It is evident that special care was to be given to widows of 60 years or more, but it was still expected that they would continue offering support to the community by being productive in a variety of ways. She would in this way provide needed services in return for her daily sustenance.

She would be like a flower in a garden, performing beautiful acts which adorn the community. Hospitality to strangers, doing what Jesus did for His disciples, warding off distress, doing follow-up on community good works! What an asset to the community – as well as ending one's life being the greatest within the community (Matt. 23:11).

11. On the other hand, turn aside requests of (or: refuse) younger widows [from being on the list], for you see, whenever they may develop headstrong pride (live strenuously or rudely) against Christ (or: may come down to the level of sexual impulse, be in the sphere of sensual desire, feel licentious or become wanton in relation to or in regard to the Anointed [body]) they are continually wanting to be marrying [note: it was a Gnostic belief that a person could gain knowledge (gnosis) by having sex with someone],

12. habitually holding a decision: that they set-aside the first faith (or: continuing to possess the result of a judgment, because they displace their first trust).

13. Yet at the same time, they also are constantly learning inactiveness (idleness; unemployment), wandering around the houses (= going from home to home), and not only [are they] inactive (ineffective; unemployed; idle), but further [they are] also gossips (babblers; ones bubbling over with prattle) and meddlers (or: gaining knowledge by supernatural means or practicing magic), women constantly saying unnecessary things (or: continuously speaking the things they should not speak).

For Paul to go into such detail in vs. 11-13 there must have been numerous situations like what he describes. His concern is for a healthy community, and here he gives examples of unloving behavior, unproductiveness and worthless communications. I suggest that his reference to "wanting to be marrying" may refer to casual sexual encounters (the basic meaning of marriage is sexual union, e.g. Mk 10:7-8, not the ceremony of the custom of later generations, and some Gnostic sects encouraged having sex to gain spiritual insight). Note the alternate parenthetical rendering "may come down to the level of sexual impulse... in regard to the Anointed [body]..." I do not think that he would have been opposed to young widows entering into a respectable marriage, for unless they did they would in that culture have had no means of honest support. Many who were widowed, or their husbands had divorced them and sent them away, found it necessary to resort to prostitution to survive. Jesus spoke against the practice in the Jewish culture of His day where a man could divorce his wife "for any reason."

Vs. 12 seems to indicate that Paul is referring to a person who has in some way broken faith with the community, or "set-aside" the faith from Christ, as vs. 15 suggests, and is experiencing the result of a judgment upon her. Some have suggested that he is referring to one who had made a pledge to dedicate her life in service to the community (the body of Christ), and as it were be married to Christ, but now had displaced this trust. The intent of this verse is uncertain.

14. I am wanting and intending, therefore, younger women to be marrying: to be bearing children; to continuously rule and manage a household; to be by habit giving not even one starting point (base of operation; opportunity; incentive; inducement) favoring verbal abuse (slander; reviling) to the person occupying an opposing position (or: in the one lying in opposition; for the opposer or the opposing counterpart),

So we see that Paul did in fact want younger women to marry and continue in the norms of the community, so as not to give folks outside the community a reason for slandering the community. The Jews, especially, of that day were still actively opposing the called-out communities with verbal abuse. In the culture and economic situation of that time and place, being married, having children and managing a household was the best position and way of life for a woman. But I do not think that Paul was establishing a spiritual law that would apply for all time. He was writing into specific situations of his day.

15. for you see, already some (or: certain folks) were turned out [of the path] (or: were turned aside [from the goal]), behind the adversary (= to follow after satan; or: = some were by their opponents turned out of the midst of the community to the adversarial counterpart [religion] which lay behind them).

My last suggested interpretive paraphrase, above, states what I see as the point of his subject matter in the previous verses. Some of these folks may have been offended by the behavior that they were seeing within the community, so they were leaving the Path of Christ and returning to the more regulated life of the Jewish religion, which was the active adversary to the called-out folks. Others may have followed the adversarial spirit within themselves, and turned to the Hellenistic or Roman cultures, becoming completely secular in their way of life.

16. If any woman of faith (or: faithful, trusting and believing woman) continues having widows [in her circle of influence or in her family], let her continue warding off [disaster] for them (or: relieving and being sufficient for them [= by paying their expenses]), and then the called-out community [will] not be continuously burdened (weighed down), to the end that it may continually ward off [disaster] (or: bring relief and be sufficient [by paying expenses]) for those actually being widows.

I think that his point is clear here – if an individual has the means to help a widow in her sphere of influence, then this will relieve the community as a whole, in the area of welfare. Again, Paul's foremost concern is the soundness of the community, for this is the representative of Christ in the area.

17. Let the older men – ones having beautifully (ideally; finely) placed [themselves] at the head so as to stand before, to lead and to provide – be considered worthy of double value, worth and honor, especially those being continually wearied and spent with labor in [the] Word (or: in the midst of the message) and by teaching (or: instruction and training),

18. for the Scripture is saying, "You shall not muzzle a bull (or: ox) when it is threshing out grain," [Deut. 25:4] and, "The worker [is] worthy (of equal value) of his wages." [Luke 10:7]

And again, the context is the community and its relationship to those older men who are providing leadership through "labor" in the message. They are to be valued, honored and provided for, since they are providing spiritual food for the community, supporting its life and health through teaching and training. That he specifies "older men," we might surmise that these are those who have the wisdom of years and also are beyond the age of physical productivity. Laboring in the Word and instructing would not seem to be the recommended position for younger men, who had household for which to provide, and children to raise.

19. Do not normally accept (or: receive; entertain) [from the] outside (= from outside the community) an accusation down on (or: charge against) an older man, except “upon two or three witnesses,” [Deut. 17:6]

20. yet habitually put to the proof, test or expose (or: lay bare and reprove) the [older men] habitually missing the target or constantly being in error (or: the [older men] repeatedly sinning; those continuously failing) before all onlookers (or: in the sight of all), to the end that the rest, also, may continue holding reverence (or: having respectful fear).

There was to be a maintaining of "the Way pointed out" and rightwised behavior, but they were not to judge these older men who were serving them by the standards of the Jewish, or the secular, communities. If it applied to their personal behavior, the fairness of "two or three witnesses" would be needed, for the equity that is in Christ called for this.

Likewise, the community was to be evaluating those who were found to be habitually missing the goal or constantly being in error, and bring this to the light in the sight of all. The health of the community required this.

21. I continue bearing complete and thorough witness (or: I habitually give evidence and testimony throughout) in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus and of the selected, picked out and chosen agents (or: messengers), to the end that you may keep watch on so as to guard these things apart from fore-decisions (prejudgment; prejudice), continually doing nothing (constructing not one thing) down from (in accord with; on the level of) inclination (or: a leaning toward [something]) or bias.

Paul is calling for fairness and lack of prejudice concerning the things which he has just been advising. He is reminding them that God – even Jesus Christ – and those of the body of Christ at large, and in other communities (His chosen agents), were present and had the communities in view, observing their behavior, so that they should keep watch and guard what he has told them. Personal inclinations, desire or bias should not influence their decisions.

22. In practice, place (or: lay) your hands quickly upon no one, neither be habitually partnering with, participating in or sharing in common in the failures (errors; sins; misses of the target; deviations from the goal) belonging to other folks. Constantly keep yourself pure (or: Make it a habit to watch over and guard so as to preserve yourself with propriety).

The call, here, is to purity and not participating in the failures of other folks. So I suggest that "place your hands" is a metaphor of symbolic act of making such folks a partner or common participant in community endeavors, and this is not something that should be done "quickly," i.e., before knowing the person, lest inadvertently the community then would be joined to his deviations from the goal.

23. No longer continue being a water-drinker, but rather, habitually make use of a little wine because of your throat (or: orifice of the stomach; neck of the bladder) and your thick (or: close together, firm, solid) or frequent weaknesses (deficiencies in strength; infirmities; sicknesses [note: this may have been a bladder ailment cause by the local water, causing frequent urination]).

This is no doubt a specific admonition for Timothy's specific case and situation, but it also makes clear that Paul was not opposed to drinking a little wine.

24. The failures (shortfalls; errors; mistakes; deviations; sins) of some people are obvious (portrayed before the public), continually proceeding into a separation and then a decision which leads into judging, yet also, for certain (or: with some) folks, they are normally following upon (or: after; = they have not yet caught up with them; or: they habitually accompanying [them]).

25. Similarly, the beautiful acts (the excellent deeds; the fine and ideal works) are obvious (portrayed before the public), and yet the ones habitually holding otherwise (having [acts or deeds] in a different way) are not able to be continuously hidden.

Here Paul makes some general statements about both folks who make mistakes and about folks who perform beautiful acts and excellent deeds. In both cases, their works and actions are at some point seen and observed. The former normally come into eventual judgment, and I think that he is implying that the latter come into praise and recognition. When you sow seeds, in time the crop comes into view.

Jump to Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six

Chapter Six

1. Let as many as are (or: exist being) slaves, joined under a yoke, constantly regard (consider; esteem) their own masters (or: owners) worthy of all honor, to the end that God's Name and the teaching may not be repeatedly blasphemed (spoken of injuriously; slandered).

It was not yet time for slavery to be ended, but the slaves were set free from the bondage to the will, the slavery to their alienated humanity, their estranged condition with regard to their Father in the atmosphere – and liberated into a spiritual relationship to others who have been made alive in Him, and into union with God in Christ Jesus. So now they can truly honor and value their masters in the physical realm – and this will bring a good reputation to the called-out community.

2. Further, let not those having believing masters (or: trusting and loyal owners who are full of faith) be in the habit of despising (having a condescending attitude about; be thinking down upon) [them], because they are brothers (= fellow believers). But rather, let them consistently perform as slaves to a greater extent, because those being continual recipients of their good service (receiving the well-doing in return; those being supported by the benefits) are believers and beloved (or: are folks full of faith and love). Keep on teaching these things, and keep on encouraging by calling others alongside to aid and exhort them (or: continually perform as a paraclete).

It is a new reality in a new creation – Christ brings excellence and the ability to love the boss, valuing him or her all the more because they are now family. As we are slaves to Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:1), we can also serve others. And we, like Timothy, are to be paracletes to others.

3. If anyone continues teaching something different, and is not approaching by sound words (or: in healthful messages; with sound thoughts or ideas) – in or by those of our Lord, Jesus Christ – even in the teaching which accords with reverence (or: by instruction which is down from a standing in awe of wellness, with adoration, and with training that is in line with a healthful devotion in true relation to God),

Paul gives four criteria for teaching the message of the Christ:
1) it must be the same message that he taught, not something different;
2) it must come by sound words, in a healthful expression and with sound thoughts and ideas;
3) it must come in and by our Lord, the Anointed Jesus;
4) it must come in teaching which accords with reverence, etc.

Something different would be adding elements of the Law into the message of grace, or saying something that contradicts the teachings of Paul. Unsound words would be bringing in new concepts from Greek philosophy or pagan religions. The teaching and message must be freighted with the Lord; in must come in His Spirit and by Him giving the thoughts, ideas and message to the teacher. It must be in line with a true relation to God, and correspond to reverence and respectful awe. If these criteria are not met by the teacher or the teaching, then it would be wise to shun them.

4. he has smoldered and has been puffed up with the fumes of conceit, continues versed in nothing (capable of nothing; unskilled and able to fix upon nothing; understanding nothing of how to know), but rather, continues being sick with a morbid craving concerning investigations (or: seekings; questionings; inquiries) and debates (word fights; disputes; controversies), forth from out of which things continually come to be (or: are birthed) envy, strife (discord; contention), blasphemies (abusive speeches), bad (labor-inducing; unprofitable; malicious) suspicions and intrigues,

5. altercations and mutual irritations from throughout rubbing against (= friction with) people being folks having been utterly spoiled, ruined, corrupted or perished in the mind (= lost their wits), and having been deprived from the Truth (or: defrauded of reality), folks continually prescribing it a customary law, inferring providing (or: procuring; acquiring; furnishing and supplying to one's self; capital; financial gain) to be the Reverence (the standing in awe of wellness, with adoration; the healthful devotion in true relation to God; or: devoutness).

Vs. 4 describes such a teacher, and points out his self-centered character, lack of qualifications and the resulting bad fruit from his or her instruction: morbid cravings about investigations and questionings; debates that bring strife, envy, abusive talk, along with bad suspicions and intrigues. Not very good results.

Vs. 5 continues the list: altercations and irritations from mixing with people who have been spoiled, ruined and corrupted in their mind – or who have lost their wits. The reason for their condition is that they have been deprived from the Truth (Christ), or they have been defrauded of reality. They are not living in the New Reality (Christ), yet they claim that what they have and preach is the real teaching, the true "Reverence" toward God, and "present truth."

6. Now the Reverence (or: devoutness and standing in awe of the ease and well-being associated with God) is a great providing of supply (or: means of acquiring; furnishing and supplying to one's self; or: capital) along with a contented self-sufficiency from independent means, (or: Yet is great financial gain accompanied with independent means this Reverence?)

The term "the Reverence," or, "this Reverence is a code word for living a godly life, being in right relationship with God and humanity. In vs. 6 Paul is either making a statement about true Reverence – that it is a great providing of supply for our needs, making us contented and self-sufficient from independent means – or, he is questioning that the kind of "Reverence" referred to in vs. 5 – which is "inferring providing (or: procuring; acquiring; furnishing and supplying to one's self; capital; financial gain)" – is the true Reverence.

I suggest that true Reverence does bring a great supply and provision – in the realm of our spirits and God's reign. Material financial gain and capital is incidental, with no direct correlation. See Heb. 11:36-38. But acquiring great financial gain and independent means is not the true "devoutness and standing in awe of the ease and well-being associated with God," as we see suggested in vs. 7 as Paul continues his thought.

7. for we carried (or: You see we brought) nothing into the world (the ordered system; secular society) [and] it is evident that neither are we able to carry anything out.

You don't get to take it with you, so material gain is most short-termed.

8. So, continuously holding (or: having) nourishments (foods; sustenance) and coverings (clothing or shelter) we will be defended, made a match for, and warded off by these things (or: we shall be contentedly satisfied with and sufficed in these things).

Here is the path of true peace. Having the basic necessities for living, we will be defended by God and be made to be a match for our situations. This is ease and goodness. The parenthetical rendering of the last clause makes a statement about the attitude of the follower of Jesus Christ.

9. Yet those wanting and determining to be rich are continually falling in – into a trial and a trap and many senseless and hurtful strong passions (many over-desires void of understanding and bringing weakness; disadvantageous wants and needs), which things habitually swamp those people, sinking them to the bottom, into ruinous corruption (or: destruction) and loss,

This paints a woeful picture for folks who are determined to be rich. Jesus said that it is with difficulty that such people will enter into the kingdom of God. The last clause is quite a picture – who would want to go this route?

10. for a root of all the bad things (the worthless qualities; the injurious situations; the poor craftsmanship; the ugly personalities; the malicious desires) is the fondness of silver (= love of money; = covetousness) of which some, habitually extending and stretching themselves out to reach, are caused to wander off (or: were led astray) away from the faith and they pierce themselves through with a rod and put themselves on a spit (or: they run themselves through, stabbing themselves all around) for (or: in; to; with; by) many pains.

The problem is our over-desires: our determination to be rich; our love for money. Not only does it sink our boat, it leads us astray and ends up putting us on a slow roast over some fire (the corrective dealings of God, through our circumstances or through other people). Who really wants this pain?

11. However you, O human from God (or: O person whose source and origin is God), be constantly fleeing (taking flight from) these things. But continuously pursue (or: rapidly follow and chase) fair and equitable dealings in right relationships in the Way pointed out (rightwisedness; justice), faith (trust; trustworthiness; loyalty), love, persistent remaining under in patient yet relentless endurance to give support, meek and gentle sensitivity (mildness of temper).

Yes, Timothy, turn and run from the desire for wealth, and take a stand against the spirit of covetousness that dwells in our estranged humanity. Instead, focus on the goal (Christ), and pursue the Way pointed out, etc., as well as faith/trust, love, giving persistent support (in patience) with meek and gentle sensitivity. In other words, abide in the Vine and let Him produce His fruit.

12. Constantly contend (as in the public games in the stadium or on the racecourse) the beautiful (ideal; fine) struggling contest of the faith (or: whose source and character are trust). Take hold of (or: Get a firm grip upon) the eonian life (the Life that has the quality and characteristic of the Age, and pertains to the eons, continuing on into the ages) into which you were called – even [when] you agreed (or: confessed; said the same thing with another) the beautiful (fine; ideal) like-message of agreement in the sight and presence of many witnesses.

As elsewhere, Paul uses the stadium games, the racecourse, as an example of disciplined, purposeful living – which is indeed a struggle at times, yet is also beautiful. As you would take hold of the person you are wrestling, take a firm grip on the life of Christ – the life that has the character of this Age of Christ, this life in the Spirit of God. We have all been called into this Life. Paul reminds Timothy that he had agreed with and confessed this beautiful "like-message" of agreement in the midst of the called-out community.

13. In the sight and presence of God – the One continuously bringing forth all things as living creatures (the One habitually or repeatedly generating all things alive, keeping The Whole alive) – and of Christ Jesus, the One who was testifying the beautiful like-message (or: fine confession; making the ideal and excellent public declaration) on [the occasion with] Pontius Pilate, I am announcing to you (bringing this message to your side) and passing on this notification,

Paul states his position: in the sight and presence of God. He is standing before the One that is continuously bringing forth all things as living creatures. In other words, he is being as honest and truthful in speaking to Timothy as he is in speaking to God.

There are a couple things to note here: 1) Paul recognizes that he lives in God's presence, and that God is viewing His behavior. We should live with this same awareness; 2) God is habitually or repeatedly generating all things alive, and is keeping the whole universe alive. What an insight that he, by the Spirit reveals this fact to us. This is another reason to have reverence toward all of creation: God's life is within it all.

Paul also lives in the presence of Jesus Christ, and reminds Timothy that as he had done, so also did Jesus before Pilate, "testifying the beautiful like-message (or: fine confession; making the ideal and excellent public declaration)." Jesus gave witness to the truth, as had Timothy, and now so is Paul in making this announcement and passing on this notification to him.

14. [that] you yourself keep watch on, so as to guard and preserve, the spotless, not-to-be-laid-hold-of-for-blame implanted goal (impartation of the finished product within; inward directive; or: irreprehensible commandment), until the shining upon from (or: the display in clear light of) our Lord, Jesus Christ (or: the manifestation pertaining to, and which is, our Owner, Jesus [the] Anointed [= Messiah]),

Paul, and the other writers of the NT, frequently advise people to keep watch on their lives, so as to guard what has been given to them – in this case the implanted goal, the impartation of the finished product within, which, by the way, is a spotless one which can have no accusation of blame. There is no fault in this covenant (Heb. 8:7). This is the Christ life which has come to him, and to us, by the implanted Word of Life. As one would tend a garden, or a special plant that he has planted, so are we to watch over and guard this life and the directive which is in fact the interior goal itself. It is Christ within us. This can be a tender plant until it is displayed in clear light.

This "shining upon from our Lord" is both like the sun shining upon the plant, giving it its life, and also the manifestation which is our Lord, Jesus Christ, and calls to mind 2 Cor. 4:6,

"the God suddenly saying (or: the God Who once was saying), "Light will shine forth (give light as from a torch; gleam) from out of the midst of darkness," [is] the One who shines forth within the midst of our hearts, with a view to illumination of the intimate and experiential knowledge of God's glory – in a face of Christ (or: [is] He Who gives light in union with our hearts, [while] facing toward an effulgence and a shining forth which is an intimate knowing of the praise-inducing manifestation whose source and origin is God, and which is God, [while] in union with face to face presence of Christ)."

I have given the construction of the Greek in this final phrase of verse 14 first as an ablative, which shows the source of the "shining upon," and then with two functions as a genitive: that of association and reference, and then of apposition.

So this shining upon and manifestation comes from our Lord, pertains to our Lord, and in fact IS our Lord shining both upon us and out from within our hearts. I suggest that this is not an eschatological event at the end of the age, but an occurrence which can happen from time to time in our lives, as He manifests Himself through us and to us.

15. which, in its own fitting situations (appropriate seasons; appointed occasions; fertile moments), will exhibit and point out The Happy and Only Able One (only Powerful One; alone Potent One): The King of those reigning as kings, and Lord (Master; Owner) of those ruling as lords,

Note the plural "situations," this is not a one-time event, but happens periodically in accord with His plans. When God sees that it is a fertile moment for us, or an appropriate situation, He will exhibit and point out "The HAPPY and Only Powerful One" to us and to others. He is the King of those reigning as kings, and the Lord, Owner and Master of every one who is ruling as an owner or a lord. The situation in Rev. 11:15 & 17 has happened! He is in charge of all.

16. the Only One continuously holding and having possession of immortality (deathlessness), the One continuously making inaccessible (or: unapproachable) light His home (or: dwelling), Whom not one of mankind sees, saw or perceived, nor is able or has power to see or perceive, in Whom [is] honor (value; worth), and eonian strength (might having the qualities and characteristics of the Age; strength enduring through and pertaining to the eons). It is so (Amen)!

What a glorious proclamation! The first statement has been the basis of much theological talk, as this is taken as an ontological statement of inference about humanity. Since God alone has immortality, therefore humanity does not. That people have and do die makes this claim obvious. The Scripture clearly states,

"The soul that sins shall die" (Ezk. 18:4).

This use of the Heb. "nephesh" means "a person." So from this perspective, people are not immortal. Now in Matt. 16:25 Jesus says

"You see, whoever may intend (or: should purpose; might set his will; happens to want) to keep his soul-life safe (to rescue himself; to preserve the interior life that he is living) will loose-it-away and destroy it. Yet whoever can loose-away and even destroy his soul-life (the interior self) on My account, he will be finding it!"

This seems to be a different use of the word "soul," which here I have rendered "soul-life," even though it (Greek "psuche") corresponds to the Heb. "nephesh."

So in both senses, the soul is not immortal. This second use may be from the introduction of Greek thought into the Hellenized Jewish culture, but we find our Lord here using it in this way, and so we need to accept this use. Now as to whether or not we are "a spirit that has a soul" is a topic for another discussion.

It is interesting that He makes "inaccessible light" His home, yet we are called His temple, which means His dwelling place, from whence He shines forth, as in 2 Cor. 4:6, above. Furthermore, no human has or can see Him, yet Jesus said to Philip,

"The one having seen Me has seen, and now perceives, the Father!" (John 14:9),

so Jesus and Paul are using the word "see" in two different ways. Paul then says that honor/value/worth and eonian strength exists within Him: He is our source for these things.

17. Pass along the notice (or: be announcing) to those rich (or: wealthy) within the present age (the current eon) to not be habitually high-minded (proud; arrogant; or: to ponder high things), neither to have put expectation upon, and thus rely on, the uncertainty (insecurity; non-evidence) of riches (or: wealth), but rather, upon God, the One continuously holding all things alongside for us (or: the One constantly offering and providing all thing to us) richly, unto [our] enjoyment (or: into beneficial participation; unto the obtaining of a portion to enjoy; [leading] into pleasure),

Here is more practical instruction: rely upon God for your sustenance, enjoyment and pleasure. Material wealth has a way of disappearing, but God "continuously hold[s] all things alongside for us." What a promise!

18. to be habitually energizing goodness and working at virtue (or: working profitably), to continue being rich in beautiful deeds (to continue wealthy in ideal actions and in union with fine works), to be liberal contributors (folks good with giving) – folks having the qualities of community (people who partner and are ready to share; folks who are fellow participants),

19. constantly securing and laying away in store for themselves (or: in themselves) a beautiful (fine; ideal) foundation, into the thing being about to be (or: unto [that which is] impending; = for the future), to the end that they can from Being (or: pertaining to essential existence) receive upon themselves things pertaining to the Life (or: so that in themselves they could lay hold upon the existing life; or: in order to lay claim to a way of being that is really life).

This list of admonitions in vs. 18-19 are to be experienced and done from out of Him as the source, provision and ability (vs. 17) to do these things. It is He who energizes us; He who works virtue through us and is rich in beautiful deeds through us, etc. His love causes us to contribute liberally and make us to be people who have the qualities of "community," etc. This kind of life secures a beautiful foundation for our future. The goal is to be receiving upon ourselves the things pertaining to the Life – from Being (or, God). The alternate renderings present two other understandings of what Paul was saying in the last clause:
1) to be able to lay hold of the life that is within us;
2) to lay claim to a way of being that is really life.
All three of these readings are a good end and aim in life.

20. O Timothy, guard and protect that which is placed beside [you] (or: = the deposit laid up in trust), constantly turning yourself out of the profane, empty voices (vacuous sounds; fruitless discussions) and oppositions (or: standings against in an opposing position; disputes; antitheses; opposing technical or theoretical arguments) of the falsely named "knowledge" or “insight” (or: even contradictions of the lie termed “Gnosis”),

Again we see the admonition to "guard and protect" what has been given us. i.e., do not let some other care of this world or some philosophy lead us off the Path. There are profane, empty voices, along with oppositions which come across as knowledge, understanding, insight or new revelations, but they are false.

21. which some are continuously professing and making announcements upon. They miss the mark (or: are without a mark), swerving (deviating) around The Faith and trust.

Here Paul expands what he said in vs. 20: they either miss the goal, or they have no goal; they deviate from the Path, and miss out on having the Faith of God, and the trust that He gives. But pray for them, their time will come, because: Grace [is] with you folks! (or: The unearned Favor [is] together with you!) This is a fact. Be aware of it, enjoy it, drink from it – it is your source and your life.

[This was written circa A.D. 55 – Based on the critical analysis of John A.T. Robinson]

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