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12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, (see ch. iii. 2. note 1.) ruling well THEIR children and their own houses.1
13 For they who have performed the office of a deacon well, procure to themselves an excellent degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things I write to thee (w, 16.) although I hope to come to thee soon.
15 (Af, 108.) OR, if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thy self in the house 1 of God, which is the church of the living God, 2 the pillar and support 3 of the truth.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife only at a time, having shewed their temperance, by avoiding polygamy and causeless divorce. They must likewise rule with prudence and firmness their children and every one in their families.
13 For they who have performed the office of a deacon with ability and assiduity, secure to themselves an honourable rank in the church, and great courage in teaching the Christian faith. For even the wicked must respect persons who shew so much benevolence and activity, in relieving the poor, the afflicted, and the persecuted.
14 These things (See the illustration.) I write to thee, although I hope to come to thee soon, to give thee more complete instruction concerning thy behaviour.
15 Or, if by any accident I am obliged to tarry long, I have written these things, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is neither the temple at Jerusalem, nor the temple of Diana at Ephesus, but the church of the living God, consisting of all believers, and which is the pillar and support of the truth.
there the symbol of the divine presence resided, 1 Sam. i. 7.-Matth. xxi. 13. My house shall be called the house of prayer.-Matth. xxiii. 38. Behola your house is left to you desolate.-2 Kings v. 18. The house of Rimmon, or his temple.
2. Which is the church of the living God. Under the gospel dispensation, no material building or temple is called the house of God. That appellation is given only to the church of God; or to those societies of men who profess to believe in Christ, and join together in worshipping God according to the gospel form. See 2 Thess. ii. 4. note 3.
3. The pillar, na ispasμa, and support of the truth. The word ipacoma, coming from idparow, to establish, is fitly translated firmamentum, a support.
16 And without contro
versy, great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the
16 Και ὁμολογουμένως uɛya ε51 TO της ευσεβειας μυςηριον Θεος εφανερωθη εν σαρκί, εδικαιωθη εν πνευμααγγελοις, εκηρυχ T, won aɣyɛ2015,
-Some commentators think Timothy is called in this passage, The pillar and support of the truth, for the same reason that Peter, James, and John are called pillars, Gal ii. 9. and that the particle 'ws, as, should be supplied before ςυλος και έδραιωμα; and that the clause should be construed and translated thus: That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself, as the pillar and support of the truth, in the church of the living God. But not to insist on the harshness and singularity of this construction, I observe, that in regard the interpretation of the passage hath been much contested, a word, which entirely changes the apostle's meaning, should by no means be inserted in the text on mere conjecture; because in that manner, the scriptures may be made to speak any thing which bold critics please.-The two clauses of the sentence, ήτις εςι εκκλησία το θεο ζωντος, σύλος και έδραιω μa ons anndelas, wanting something to couple them, the substantive verb with the relative pronoun, either in the masculine or in the feminine gender, must be supplied. If the relative masculine, is 51, is supplied, God will be the pillar and support of the truth; or of that scheme of true religion which hath been discovered to mankind by revelation, and which is called in the next verse, the mystery of godliness. Of this scheme of truth, God may justly be denominated the pillar and support, because he hath supported it from the beginning, and will support it to the end.—But if the relative feminine, ¿tis 151, is adopted, the church of the living God, will be the pillar and support of the truth; which I take to be the apostle's meaning; because, as the Logicians speak, the subject of his proposition, is, not God, but the church of the living God. This I gather from the omission of the verb and the relative For on supposition that the apostle meant to tell Timothy, that the church of the living God is the pillar and support of the truth, he could not write is 151, as that would have made God the pillar and support of the truth, contrary to his intention. Neither could he write TIS 251, because being a repetition of the verb and the relative expressed in the clause immediately preceding, it would have been grating to the reader's ear; and besides it is unnecessary, as its 851, relates, both to muλncia 78 OEX (WVTOS, and to ςυλος και εδραίωμα της αλήθειας.--I have no doubt myself concerning the meaning of the passage: Yet because it is appealed to in proof of a controverted doctrine (See Pref. Sect. 5.) I have in the translation left it as ambiguous as it is in the original, by not supplying the relative, either in the one gender or in the other.
The church of the living God, as the pillar and support of the truth, is here contrasted with the house or temple of the lifeless image of Diana, at Ephesus, which was the pillar and support of falsehood, idolatry, and vice.— In the opinion of some, the church of the living God is termed the pillar and
16 (Kal, 207.) For confessedly great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifested in the flesh, was justified (ev, 167.) through the Spirit, 3
16 Thou oughtest to behave properly in the church of God; for confessedly most important is the doctrine of the gospel which is kept therein; namely, that to save sinners by his death, the Son of God was manifested
support of the truth, in allusion to the two pillars which Solomon placed in the porch of the temple, and to which, it is said, the prophets affixed their prophecies in writing, that they might be read by the people who came into the temple to worship. Others think the allusion is to the pillars in the heathen temples, on which tables were hung up, containing laws, and other matters of importance, which were designed to be published. But to settle this is of no importance; because to whichever of the customs the apostle alluded, his meaning is the same.—That the church of the living God which is the pillar and support of the truth, is not the church of Rome, nor any particular church, but the Catholic Christian church, consisting of all the churches of Christ throughout the world, see proved Pref. sect. 5.
Ver. 16-1. Great is the mystery of godliness. See ver. 9. where the incorrupt doctrine of the gospel is called, The mystery of the faith, for the reasons mentioned, 1 Cor. ii. 7. note 1.-Here the mystery of godliness is called Meya, Great, in allusion to the Eleusinian mysteries, which were distinguished into Minga and Mɛyana, the lesser and the greater. Wherefore, by calling the articles mentioned in this verse, Meya μusngiov, A great mystery, the apostle hath intimated, that they are the most important doctrines of our religion.
2. God was manifested in the flesh. The Clermont MS. with the Vulgate, and some other ancient versions, read here, 'O, which, instead of God. —The Syriac version, as translated by Tremellius, hath, Quod Deus revelatus est in carné; That God was revealed in the flesh.-The Colbertine MS. hath is, who. But Mill saith, it is the only Greek MS. which hath that reading. All the others, with one consent, have eos; which is followed by Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact, as appears by their commentaries. Mill saith is and ☀ were substituted in place of the true reading not however by the Arians, nor by the other heretics, as neither they, nor the orthodox fathers, have cited this text.—See Mill in loc. where he treats as fabulous what Liberatus and Hinemarus tell us concerning Macedonius being expelled by Anastasius for changing 'OΣ in this text into EZ: Where also he delivers his opinion concerning the alteration made on this word in the Alexandrian MS.-See also Pearson on the Creed, p. 128. who has very well defended the common reading.-The thing asserted in this verse, according to the common reading, is precisely the same with what John hath told us in his gospel, chap. i. 14. The word (who is called God, ver. 1.) was made flesh, and dwelt among us.—' -The other reading, not very intelligibly, represents the gospel as manifested in the flesh, and taken up in glory. See note 7.
3. Was justified through the Spirit. Jesus having been publicly put to death as a blasphemer for calling himself the Son of God, he was justified,
Gentiles, believed on in 2η εν εθνεσιν, επιςεύθη εν the world, received up κοσμῳ, ανεληφθη εν δόξῃ.
or acquitted from the crime of blasphemy, which was imputed to him by the chief priests and elders, and demonstrated to be the Son of God through the operation of the Spirit, who raised him from the dead, (See 1 Pet. iii. 18. note 2.) and who, agreeably to Christ's promise, by descending on his apostle's, enabled them to speak foreign languages and to work miracles. Likewise at his baptism, the Spirit, by descending on him, pointed him out as the person whom the voice from heaven declared to be God's beloved Son.
4. Was seen of angels, that is, of the apostles, and of the other witnesses, who were appointed to publish and testify his resurrection to the world; and who are here called (añol angels) messengers, for the same reason that John Baptist is so salled, Luke vii. 27. This is he of whom it is written, Behold I send (aggenov μr, my angel) my messenger before thy face. See also Luke ix. 52. where the messengers, whom Jesus sent before him into a village of the Samaritans, are called ayyeλ85, angels, without the article, as in this passage. Yet I have not ventured to alter the common translation, because I cannot tell whether the apostle may not have had in his eye, those angels, who, during his ministry, saw the Son of God manifested in the flesh; those also who, after his resurrection, saw him manifested in the same manner.
5. Was preached to the Gentiles. It is with great propriety mentioned by the apostle as a part of the mystery of godliness, formerly kept secret, that the Son of God manifested in the flesh, was preached to the Gentiles as their Saviour, as well as the Saviour of the Jews. For, on the one hand, this was a thing which the Jews were persuaded would never happen; and on the other, it was a favour which the Gentiles had no reason to expect.
6. Was believed on in the world. This undeniable fact, of which the evidence remains at this day, is mentioned as a part of the mystery of godli ness, because it is a strong proof of the truth of Christ's resurrection, and of the spiritual gifts and miraculous powers, by which the apostles and their assistants, are said, in the Christian records, to have spread the gospel through the world. For, to believe that the multitudes, not only among the the barbarous nations, but among the learned Greeks and Romans, who forsook their native religion and embraced the gospel, were persuaded to do so, merely by the force of words, without the aid of miracles and spiritual gifts, is to believe a greater miracle than any recorded in the gospel history. See this argument illustrated, 2 Cor. iv. 7. notes 2, 3.
7. Was taken up in glory. Avexnon. This is the word used to signify our Lord's ascension, Mark xvi. 19. Acts i. 2. 11. 22. See also Luke ix. 51.— But, because in the order of time, Christ's ascension preceded his being preached to the Gentiles and his being believed on in the world, a critic, mentioned by Benson, interprets this clause of the glorious reception which the mystery of godliness, or gospel, met with from mankind. To this interpretation, however, there are two objections. 1. It supposeth
was seen of angels, 4 was preached to the Gentiles, 5 was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.
in the flesh; was justified through the Spirit, who raised him from the dead; was after his resurrection, seen of the apostles his messengers; was preached to the Gentiles as their Saviour; was believed on in many parts of the world; was taken up into heaven in a glorious manner.
(O) to be the true reading in the beginning of the verse, whereby the mys tery of godliness, or the gospel will, as before observed, he said, not very intelligibly, to have been manifested in the flesh.-2. The glorious reception of the gospel, is the same with its being believed in the world, a tautology by no means to be imputed to so accurate a writer as St. Paul.-The supposed difficulty, arising from the order in which the events mentioned in this verse are placed, is in reality no difficulty at all; as, in other passages of scripture, things are related, neither in the order of time in which they happened, nor according to their dignity. Thus, Heb. xi. 27. Moses's leav ing Egypt with the Israelites, is mentioned before the institution of the passover, ver. 28. Thus also, Heb. xii. 23. The spirits of just men made perfect, are mentioned next to God, and before Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, because something was to be added concerning him. For the same reason, the seven spirits are put before Jesus Christ, Rev. i. 4, 5.—As the taking of Christ up in glory, implies that he sat down on the right band of God in the human nature, and is to continue there till all his enemies are subdued, it is a principal part of the mystery of godliness, and affords the greatest consolation to believers. It was therefore with much propriety placed last in this enumeration, that it might make the stronger impression on the reader's mind. It was placed last for this reason also, that it was appealed to by Christ himself, John vi. 62. as a proof of his having come down from heaven; that is, of his being the Son of God manifested in the flesh.