Page images

and oppositions of science φωνιας, και αντιθεσεις την falsely so called : ψευδωνυμου γνωσεως *

21 Which some profes- 21 Hν τινες επαγγελλοsing, have erred concern

μενοι, περι την πιςιν ης οχηing the faith. Grace be

Η χαρις μετα σου. with thee. Amen.

Αμην. .


descent from Abraham and David, his birth of a virgin, his doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, and his return to the earth to raise the dead and judge the world. Now as these things, at the time the apostle wrote this epistle, were all faithfully recorded in the writings of the evangelists, and were foretold in the writings of Moses and the prophets, these inspired writings were without doubt a principal part of the deposite committed to Timothy, to be kept by him and delivered to faithful men able to teach others. Farther, as the apostle in his sermons and conversations had explained to Timothy many passages both of the ancient scriptures and of his own writings, these interpretations were to be kept by bim and followed, in all his discourses and exhortations to the Ephesians and others. This injunction to Timothy, is an injunction to the ministers of the gospel in every age, to keep the writings of Moses and the prophets, and of the evangelists and apostles uncorrupted, as containing the whole of the gospel doctrine : and implies that nothing is to be added to them nor taken from them, by any human authority whatever. Councils, therefore, whether general or particular, have no power to establish any new article of faith. The only thing such assemblies, however numerous or respectable, can do, is to express their opinion that such and such articles of faith are contained in the scriptures. And if they should happen to err, the inspired writings being preserved pure and entire, the errors of councils, as well as of individuals, are to be corrected hy these infallible standards.

2. Avoiding prophane vain babblings. The word xsyoqurids, signifies, the emptiness of words ; the noisy empty talking of the false teachers.—The Vulgate version has here vocum novitates ; the novelties of words ; the copy from which that version was made, reading, perhaps, xasvopartes; as some MSS. do at present.

and oppositions of know- gospel, founded on wrong interpreledge 3 falsely so named : tations of the Jewish scriptures,

which they dignify with the appellation of knowledge ; but it is falsely 80

named. 21 Which some pro- 21 Which knowledge of the scripfessing, have erred with tures, some teachers professing to respect to the faith. Grace have attained, 1 Tim. i. 6, 7. have be with thee. 1 Amen. erred with respect to the true Chris(Ephes. vi. 24. note 2.) tian faith. But, May the grace of

God be with thce to preserve thee from error. Amen.

3. And oppositions of knowledge. In the enumeration of the different kinds of inspiration, bestowed on the first preachers of the gospel, 1 Cor. xii. 8. we find the word of knowledge mentioned; by which is meant, that kind of inspiration which gave to the apostles and superior Christian prophets, the knowledge of the true meaning of the Jewish scriptures. This inspiration the false teachers pretending to possess, dignified their misinterpretations of the ancient scriptures, with the name of knowledge, that is inspired knowledge : for so the word knowledge signifies, 1 Cor. xiv. 6.-And, as by these interpretations, they endeavoured to establish the efficacy of the Levitical atonements, together with the perpetual and universal obligation of the rites of the law of Moses, the apostle very properly termed these interpretations, oppositions of knowledge, because they were framed to establish doctrines contrary to and subversive of the gospel.–Withal, to destroy their credit, he affirmed that the knowledge, from which they proceeded, was falsely called, inspired knowle:Ige. The Judaizers, who gave these interpretations, were not inspired with the knowledge of the true meaning of the scriptures, but falsely pretended to that gift.

Ver. 21.-1. Grace with thee. This epistle being chiefly designed for Timothy's own use, no salutations were sent to any of the brethren at Ephesus.







Of the Time when the second Epistle to Timothy was written. FROM various particulars, in the second epistle to Timothy, it appears that it was written while the apostle was in confinement at Rome. But whether that confinement was the one mentioned by Luke in his history of the Acts, or an after imprisonment, learned men are not agreed. Estius, Hammond, Lightsoot, and Lardner, think it was the confinement mentioned by Luke, for the two following reasons.

First, It is evident from 2 Tim. iv. 11. that when Paul wrote this letter, Luke was with him. Wherefore as Luke hath spoken of no imprisonment of Paul at Rome, but the one with which his history of the Acts concludes, the learned men above men. tioned infer, that that must be the imprisonment, during which the apostle wrote his second epistle to Timothy.—But the answer is, Luke did not propose in the Acts to give a history of the life of any of the apostles, but an account of the first preaching and propagation of the gospel. Wherefore, having related how the gospel was published, first in Judea by the apostles Peter, James, and John; and by the evangelists Stephen, Philip, and Barnabas; and after that, in many heathen countries, by Paul, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, and others; and by Paul in his own hired house during his two years confinement at Rome; he ended his history at that period, as having finished his design. It is evident therefore, that although Luke hath written nothing farther concerning Paul, it is no proof that Paul's ministry and life ended then, or that Luke was ignorant of his after transactions; any more than his silence concerning Peter after the council of Jerusalem, is a proof that his ministry and life ended then : Or than his silence concerning many particulars mentioned in Paul's epistles, is a proof that these things did not happen; or if they happened, that they were not known to Luke.

Secondly, It is said, that if this epistle was written during an after imprisonment of Paul in Rome, Timothy must have been so old, that the apostle could not, with propriety, have exhorted him to see youthful lusts, 2 Tim. ii. 22.—But, besides what is to be said in the note on that verse, it should be considered, that in the year 66, when the apostle is supposed to have been a pri soner at Rome the second time, Timothy may have been only 34 years' of age; which both by the Greeks and Romans was considered as youth. See Pref. to 1 Tim. Sect. 2. Object. 1.

These are the arguments on which the writers above men. tioned have founded their opinion, that Paul wrote his second epistle to Timothy during his confinement at Rome, of which Luke hath given an account in his history of the Acts.

Other learned men hold, that the apostle wrote this epistle during a second imprisonment at Rome; and support their opinion by the following arguments.

1. At the time the apostle wrote this epistle, he was closely imprisoned as one guilty of a capital crime, 2 Tim. ii. 9. I suffer evil, pexei derrat, unto bonds, as a malefactor. The heathen magistrates and priests considering Paul as an atheist, because he denied the gods of the empire; very probably also supposing him to be one of the Christians who, they said, had set fire to the city; they confined him in close prison, with his hands and feet in fetters, as a malefactor.—His situation was very different during his first confinement. For then, Acts xxviii. 30. He dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him; 31. preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus with all confidence, no man forbidding him. This mild treatment, probably, was owing to the favourable account which Festus gave of him to the Emperor, Acts xxv. 25. xxvi. 31. and to what Julius the centurion, who brought him to Rome, said of him, when he delivered him to the officer appointed to receive the prisoners from the provinces. The centurion's esteem of Paul is mentioned, Acts xxvii. 42, 43.

This ap

2. The Roman Governors of Judea, by whom Paul was tried for his life, declared, at his trials, that no crime was alleged against him, but only his holding opinions, which his accusers said were contrary to their religion, Acts xxv. 18, 19. They likewise declared, that he had been guilty of no crime against the State, Acts xxvi. 31. Heresy, therefore being the only charge laid to the apostle's charge, and that circumstance being made known, by the governor of Judea, to his judges at Rome, they must have had a favourable opinion of his cause. pears likewise from what the apostle himself wrote to the Phi-' lippians, chap. i. 12. I wish you to know, brethren, that the things, which have befallen me, have turned out rather to the advancement of the gospel. 13. For my bonds on account of Christ are become manifest in the whole palace, and in all other places. His being sent a prisoner to Rome, and his defending himself before his judges, either in person, or by writings presented to them, had made the cause of his bonds well known in the palace and in all other places, to be, not any crime, but his having preached salvation to the Gentiles through Christ, without requiring them to obey the law of Moses. He therefore was fully persuaded by the Lord, ihat even he himself should soon come to them, Philip. ii. 24. and abide some time with them, Phil. i. 25. and sent them the salutation of Cæsar's household, Philip. iv. 22. by whose good offices he hoped to be set at liberty. But, when he wrote his second epistle to Timothy, his judges, considering the things laid to his charge as crimes against the State, were so enraged against him, that he called his escaping condemnation, when he made his first answer, a being delivered out of the mouth of the lion, 2 Tim. iv. 17. And having no hope of being acquitted at his next hearing, he looked for nothing but immcdiate death, 2 Tim. iv. 6. I am already poured out, and the time of my departure hath come.-7. I have finished the race.

3. The boldness with which the apostle preached the gospel to all who came to him, during the confinement mentioned by Luke in the Acts, and the success with which he defended himself against his accusers, encouraged others to preach the gospel without fear; so that he had fellow-labourers then in abundance. Philip. i. 14. Many of the brethren in the Lord, being assured by my bonds, have become much more bold to speak the word without fear. At that time also he had tlic service of many affectionate friends; such as Mark, Timothy, Luke, Tychicus, Aristarchus, and others, mentioned, Col. iv. 7. 10, 11, 12. 14.

« PreviousContinue »