Thursday, 13 May 2021

Prayers for All

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-7, ESV).

When Paul says, “First of all, then,” he is transitioning into the main body of the letter concerning various aspects of church organization and conduct (cf. 3:15), no doubt relevant to the doctrinal disruptions about which the letter opens (1:3ff.). This section begins with emphasis on prayer, particularly the content of prayer, with special focus in v. 8 on the ones praying. “It is essential, at the outset, to ensure the noblest approach to public worship.”1

Paul’s entreaty, “I urge” (parakaléō, “I exhort,” NKJV), here stated in general terms, presumably has the same force as the appeal directed to Timothy (1:3a) and extended through Timothy (5:1; 6:2; 2 Tim. 4:2). Communication to God is described with four interrelated expressions: “supplications” (déēsis, cf. 5:5), or “entreaties” (NASB), “petitions” (NIV), “requests” (NET); the more generic “prayers (proseuchē, cf. 5:5); “intercessions(énteuxis, cf. 4:5);2 and thanksgivings” (eucharistía, cf. 4:3, 4). Rather than trying to atomize each of these and make clear distinctions, the grouping together of comparable terms simply covers all the bases and emphasizes how important it is to be praying in every way.

The object of these prayers is “all people,” seeing that God desires the salvation of “all people” (vv. 4, 6), which is “good” and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior” (v. 3; cf. 1:1). This includes the secular ruling powers (v. 2).3 The term “kings” (plural of basileús) is applicable to both the Roman emperor (1 Pet. 2:13, 17) and local monarchs (Matt. 2:1-9; 10:18; 14:1, 9; 17:25; Acts 12:1; 2 Cor. 11:32), while “all who are in high positions” relates to other governing authorities like the asiarchs in Ephesus (Acts 19:31), the magistrates in Philippi (Acts 16:20-38), the politarchs in Thessalonica (Acts 17:6), the proconsuls in Cyprus and Achaia (Acts 13:7; 18:12), and the legates of Judea (Luke 20:20; Acts 23:24). Many of these Paul had faced in the course of his ministry, including the emperor Nero (Acts 25:12; 27:24). The brief digression between v. 1 and v. 4 that specifically targets civic leaders is explained, “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Contextually this is not merely for self-benefitting liberties and comforts but especially for freer evangelistic opportunities (vv. 3-7; cp. 1 Thess. 4:9-12). The fact that God “desires all people to be saved” patently counters the Calvinistic notion of unconditional election, while salvation is inextricably linked to “the knowledge of the truth” (cf. 1:7; 4:3).

Prayers of all kinds for all people are enjoined because “there is one God” (cf. 1:17), as opposed to polytheism, i.e., “one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Eph. 4:6; cf. 1 Cor. 8:4); and “one mediator between God and men,” the sinner’s only access to the heavenly throne (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Rom. 5:6-11; Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25–10:22), viz. “the man Christ Jesus.” While “Christ” is essentially a title, equivalent to the OT term mašíaḥ (“messiah,” meaning “anointed [one]”), “Jesus” (meaning “savioris his human name given at birth (Matt. 1:21-25). Between the Lord’s ascension and return he is still regarded as “man” (ánthrōpos, “human,” cf. Acts 17:31). In fact, he is explicitly referred to as “man” no less than thirty-six times in the NT, and as “the son of man” an impressive eighty-two times (almost entirely as a self-description). While the importance of Christ’s deity must never be downplayed,4 his incarnation (taking on human flesh) is also a fundamental tenet of the Christian faith (Matt. 1:16-25; Luke 1:31–2:7; 24:39; John 1:14; Heb. 2:9-18; 4:15; 5:7; 1 John 3:2; 4:2; 2 John 7).

Rather than unwilling victimization, Christ “gave himself” (cf. Mark 10:45; John 10:18; Gal. 1:4; 2:20; Eph. 5:2, 25; Tit. 2:14).5 The Calvinistic doctrine of limited atonement is also discounted by the simple truth that he gave himself “for all (cf. John 3:16-17; Rom. 5:18; 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; 1 John 2:2; 4:14). The noun “ransom” [antílutron], its only occurrence in the NT, basically means to exchange one thing for another. It is comparable to the less emphatic lútron (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45), as well as the noun apolútrōsis (“redemption”), a release effected by payment (Luke 21:28; Rom. 3:24; 8:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. 1:7, 14; 4:30; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:15; 11:35).6

This truth is the “testimony” [martúrion], declared by the life, teachings, and sacrifice of Christ Jesus and preached by his authorized emissaries like Paul (v. 7), “given at the proper time.” According to God’s eternal plan and centuries of messianic prophecies, when the time was right the Christ fulfilled his purpose (Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10). From the completion of his work on earth until his future return is the designated period for propagating this extraordinary and powerful testimony (1 Tim. 6:15; Tit. 1:2-3; cf. Acts 17:26; Gal. 6:9).

For this I [emphatic!] was appointed a preacher [kērux, “herald,” “proclaimer”] and an apostle [apóstolos, cf. 1:1] … a teacher [didáskalosof the Gentiles …” This reminder of Paul’s commission (also 1:1, 11-16; 2 Tim. 1:11; cf. Tit. 1:3) and the parenthetical, “I am telling the truth, I am not lying” (cp. Rom. 9:1; 2 Cor. 11:31; Gal. 1:20), were almost certainly not for Timothy’s benefit but for those who might be opposing Timothy’s delegated authority and the doctrine he defended along with his mentor. Paul’s commission to “the Gentiles [ethnōn] (Acts 9:15; 22:21; 26:17; Rom. 1:5; 11:13; Gal. 1:16; 2:9; Eph. 3:1-8; 2 Tim. 4:17) surely did not exclude ethnic Jews (e.g. Acts 9:20; 13:14 ff.; 14:1; Rom. 1:16; etc.) but highlighted the main focus and providential successes of his ministry. The modifying phrase “in faith and truth” could refer to the faithful and honest manner with which Paul’s labors were carried out, or the faith (1:19) and the truth (2:4) he objectively taught, although neither possibility would exclude the other.

Paul was a divinely “appointed … teacher” (of the gospel, 1:11) in contrast to those who had a self-interest-desire to be “teachers of the law” (1:7; cp. Tit. 1:11). The corresponding verbal “teach” [didáskō] is a duty with which Timothy has been entrusted (4:11; 6:2) and directed to delegate to other faithful men (2 Tim. 2:2). While women in the church are to be “teachers of good” [kalodidáskalos] (Tit. 2:3), Paul reminds the ladies at Ephesus of certain qualifying restrictions (vv. 8-15).

--Kevin L. Moore

     1 Donald Guthrie, The Pastoral Epistles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990): 69.
     2 The NASB rendering “petitions” has some support in extrabiblical sources (see BAGD 268), but the word itself simply conveys the idea of approaching the heavenly throne and meeting with God, thus synonymous with “prayer.”
     3 On the Christian’s responsibility to civil government, see Matt. 22:17-21; Acts 5:29; Rom. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17.
     4 See K. L. Moore, “The Deity of Christ,” Moore Perspective (11 Jan. 2017), <Link>.
     5 That he “gave himself” is not necessarily limited to his death on the cross but inclusive of the entirety of his self-sacrifice, i.e., incarnation, earthly life, suffering and death, perpetual oneness with humanity and subordination to the Father (cf. v. 5; Phil. 2:5-11; 1 Cor. 15:28; Heb. 2:9-18).
     6 Consider also the noun lútrōsis (Luke 1:68; 2:38; Heb. 9:12), and the verbs lutróō (Luke 24:21; Tit. 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18) and exagorázō (Gal. 3:13; 4:5; Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5).
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Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Wage the Good Warfare

“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:18-20, ESV).

As Paul has been entrusted with his own commission from the Lord (1:1, 11-16), he commits to Timothy, his beloved “child” (or “son” in the faith), a “charge” (noun paraggelía, cf. v. 5), linked to the verbal paraggéllō (to “charge” or “command”), of which Timothy was not only on the receiving end (6:13-14, 20) but also on the giving end (1:3; 4:11; 5:7; 6:17) as Christ’s delegated and authoritative ambassador.

Timothy’s active role in the Lord’s work was somehow initiated by “the prophecies previously made …” Prior to the completion of the NT, prophets were positioned in the local congregations (Acts 13:1-3; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; 3:5). As a fairly young Christian, Timothy’s potential in God’s service was recognized by the brethren in Lystra and Iconium (Acts 16:1-2; note elders in each church, Acts 14:23). Paul invited the young man to join his mission team (Acts 16:3-5), and Timothy was entrusted with a gift [chárisma] through or by means of [diá] prophecy (1 Tim. 4:14a), implemented through or by means of [diá] the laying on of Paul’s hands (2 Tim. 1:6; cp. Acts 19:6). This was along “with” [metá] (in addition to) the laying on of the eldership’s hands (1 Tim. 4:14b) as a customary endorsement and confirmation appointing Timothy to this ministry (cp. Acts 6:6; 13:2-3; 1 Tim. 5:22).

Using military language (cf. 6:12; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; 4:7),1 the charge is to “wage the good warfare.” Confronting false teachers is an unpleasant but necessary duty of the Christian soldier’s engagement against opposing spiritual forces (cf. Eph. 6:10-12), while “holding [‘having,’ NKJV; ‘keeping,’ NASB] faith and a good conscience,” which, in the context of “love,” is the “aim” of the charge (cf. v. 5). Sadly some, “rejecting” [apōthéō], repudiating or throwing away both faith and a good conscience (cp. v. 6) “have made shipwreck” (a change of metaphor),2 not necessarily “their faith” (ESV) but tēn pístin – “the faith.” By essentially abandoning their own subjective and foundational “faith” (incl. trust, reliance, obedience toward God), the instigators are also subverting the entire system of faith (gospel) itself.3

Now Paul starts naming names and particularly has in mind “Hymenaeus and Alexander.” The name Hymenaeus is mentioned again in 2 Tim. 2:14-18 with Philetus, men who were advancing empty, unprofitable, irreverent teachings, including the assertion that the resurrection [of the dead] (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12-19) had already occurred, which Paul regarded as cancerous, a deviation from the truth, subverting the faith of some.4 The name Alexander recurs in 2 Tim. 4:14-15, a metalworker who had done great harm to Paul and strongly opposed his teaching, thus Timothy is warned to beware of him. A man named Alexander is also included in Luke’s report of the uprising in Ephesus near the end of Paul’s three-year ministry there (Acts 19:33-34), one who attempted to defend the local Jews but was drowned out by the hysteric idolaters. Whether any, all, or none of these references apply to the same persons cannot be confirmed. 

The expression “handed over to Satan” occurs only twice in the NT: here and in 1 Cor. 5:5a. Christians who carelessly return to their former sinful lifestyle have walked into “the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:26; cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Pet. 2:19-21). Those who are defiantly impenitent are to be turned back over to Satan’s realm (cf. John 8:44, 47; Rom. 1:28), i.e., let them experience the world of Satan in the hopes they will want to return to God. This is a disciplinary measure involving dissociation. The main purpose is “for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:5b). The intention is to produce recognition of sin, shame, and godly sorrow leading to repentance, restoration, and salvation (cf. 2 Thess. 3:14; Jas. 5:19-20). Another aim is to keep the church morally pure (1 Cor. 5:6-8).

The expressed intention of Paul’s disciplinary action toward these men is “that they may learn [paideúō, ‘be disciplined’] not to blaspheme,” the verbal form [blasphēméō, cf. 6:1] of the adjectival blásphēmos of which Paul himself had been guilty prior to his conversion (v. 13). The verbal sense means to speak against or use slanderous or abusive speech.Contextually Hymenaeus and Alexander would have been among those espousing deviant doctrines, devoted to myths, endless genealogies, speculations, vain discussion, along with misunderstanding the law they desired to teach (vv. 3-7). In so doing they were ultimately speaking against the sound doctrine of the glorious gospel (inclusive of grace, faith, and love) taught by Paul, Timothy, and other faithful disciples (vv. 4, 5, 10b-11, 14, 19).  

--Kevin L. Moore

     1 As a Roman citizen writing to churches in Roman provinces, military imagery is not uncommon in Paul’s letters (see also 1 Cor. 9:7; 2 Cor. 10:3-6; Eph. 6:10-18; 1 Thess. 5:8; Philem. 2), although “fighting” can also be understood as an athletic metaphor (cp. 1 Cor. 9:24-27). Note that waging a good warfare often involves running away from certain impediments while pursuing reinforcements (1 Tim. 6:11-12).
     2 This is imagery with which Paul is particularly familiar (Acts 27:41–28:1; 2 Cor. 11:25).
     3 The articular expression “the faith” typically alludes to the system of faith, the comprehensive message of the gospel (cf. Acts 6:7; 13:7-12; 14:21-22; Rom. 1:5; 16:26; Gal. 1:23; Col. 1:23; Jude 3). The noun pístis is employed in a variety of ways in the NT, including allusions to faithfulness, reliability, solemn promise, proof, pledge, trust, confidence, faith, and the body of faith or doctrine (BAGD 662-64). While context is the primary determining factor in ascertaining the sense, biblical faith cannot be divorced from assurance, conviction, certainty, and associated action (cf. Mark 2:5; Heb. 11:1, 6, 8 [cf. 5:8-9]; Jas. 2:14-26). A mere intellectual belief that is inactively confined to one’s heart is not the kind of “faith” advanced by Paul, as demonstrated by his recurring emphasis on “obedience” (Rom. 1:5; 5:19; 6:16, 17; 15:18; 16:19, 26; 2 Cor. 7:15; 10:5, 6; Philem. 21; cf. Rom. 10:16; Phil. 2:12; 2 Thess. 1:8; 3:14).
     4 Preterism (from the Latin praeter, “past”) is the belief that all biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled, including Christ’s return, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment (cf. 2 Thess. 2:1-3). Modern-day preterism focuses on the Roman ransacking of Jerusalem in the summer of AD 70, a.k.a. the AD 70 Doctrine. See K. L. Moore, “Preterism: What’s the Big Deal (Part 1),” Moore Perspective (3 June 2020), <Link>.
     5 Jesus was repeatedly accused (falsely) of doing this (Matt. 9:3; 26:65; Mark 2:7; John 10:33-36), and was also on the receiving end (Matt. 27:39; Mark 15:29; Luke 12:10a; 22:65; 23:39). Paul had been guilty of this himself and compelled others to do it (Acts 26:11; 1 Tim. 1:13), then was on the receiving end (Acts 13:45; 18:6; 1 Cor. 10:30). See also Mark 3:28, 29; Luke 12:10b; Acts 13:45; 18:6; 19:37; Rom. 2:24; 3:8; 14:6; 1 Cor. 10:30; 1 Tim. 1:20; 6:1; Tit. 2:5; 3:2; Jas. 2:7; 1 Pet. 4:4.

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Wednesday, 28 April 2021

The Law is Good if Used Lawfully

“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted” (1 Timothy 1:8-11, ESV).  

The section of 1 Timothy chap. 1 marked at vv. 8-17 is an explanatory digression, as the discussion of vv. 3-7 resumes at vv. 18-20. In contrast to the mishandling of the law by certain ones just noted, Paul explains its rightful purpose and proper use.1 While the word law” [nómosis applied with some flexibility in the NT, it normally relates to the old-covenant law of Moses. Notwithstanding the occasional exception to this general observation (e.g. Rom. 2:13, 14; Gal. 3:21b), the context normally clarifies the usage.

The Goodness of the Law

Since the term “law” in v. 9 is without the article in the Greek text (cf. ASV, NASB, NET), it has been suggested that the reference here may be to law in general, not strictly the Mosaic law. However, the article is appended in v. 8 (“the law”), and God’s law, as law, is generally true of all just laws. It is “good” [kalós] but only if used “lawfully” [nomímōs]. Its goodness is “because it truly does reflect God’s will…. related to its being used properly, that is, treated as law (intended for the lawless, v. 9) and not used ‘illegitimately’ as a source for myths and endless genealogies, or for ascetic practices.”2

During the fifteen centuries the Mosaic law was in force, provisions were made for atonement and forgiveness (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:13, 16, 18), salvation was attainable (1 Sam. 2:1; 2 Sam. 22:51; 1 Chron. 16:23; Psa. 3:8; etc.), and one could even be counted “blameless” (Luke 1:6; Phil. 3:6). Faith, love, and mercy were essential components (Deut. 6:4-9; 10:12-21; Mic. 6:8; Hab. 2:4; Matt. 23:23; etc.), and it was beneficial to all who submitted to it (Deut. 6:24; 10:13; cf. Psa. 78:1-7; etc.).3

Foreshadowing the atoning sacrifice of Jesus (Rom. 3:25-26; Gal. 4:4-5; Heb. 9:15, 26), persons were saved under the old Jewish covenantal law by God’s grace through faith (Rom. 4:3-16; cf. 3:25; 9:31-32), i.e., a faith that submitted to the divine will in humble obedience. Despite the fact that a number of 1st-century legalistic Jews misconstrued the law’s intended purpose (Luke 11:37-42; Rom. 2:23; 10:3), it was never meant to be a cold-hearted structure of meritorious works. While the old-covenant system was not faultless (Heb. 8:7), it successfully functioned as a temporary measure to keep faith alive until the advent of the promised Messiah and the establishment of his superior new-covenant system (cf. Gal. 3:16–4:7; Heb. 8:6-13).

The Necessity of the Law

The necessity of the law is explained with three pairs of descriptors. While they could be regarded as synonymous, the expression “lawless” [ánomos], lit. “without law,” applies here to “those who know the laws of right and wrong and break them open-eyed.”4 The “disobedient” [anupótaktos], more precisely “undisciplined,” “insubordinate,” or “rebellious,” refers to “those who will not come into subjection.”5 The word “ungodly” [asebēs] describes one who is “destitute of reverential awe towards God, impious,”6 while “sinners” [adj. hamartōlós], i.e., not free from sin or preeminently sinful, basically applies to “one who deviates from the path of virtue”;7 cp. vv. 6, 19. The ungodly are inwardly irreverent, whereas the sinful are outwardly disobedient. The terms “unholy” [anósios, cf. 2 Tim. 3:2], or “wicked” (BAGD 72), and “profane” [bébēlos, cf. 4:7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16], “godless” or “irreligious” (BAGD 138), are descriptive of persons who reject sacred things. All these generically portray human rebellion against God.

The Prohibitions of the Law

More specifically, the designated sins that follow correspond to the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth commandments of the Decalogue (Ex. 20:12-16). God did not give his law for frivolous conjecture and pointless dialogue, but as “law” it prohibits the types of transgressions now listed. Such a vice list is not uncommon and stands in stark contrast to the virtue lists of 3:1-13; 5:9-10. Similar vice lists occur in Rom. 1:26-31; 1 Cor. 5:10-11; 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Tim. 3:2-4, none of which is intended to be exhaustive.

Regarding “those who strike their fathers and mothers,” two descriptive terms are employed here, patrolōas (“patricide,” or “father killer”) and mētralōas (“matricide,” or “mother killer”). Seeing that the literal sense would be included in the next expression, “murderers” (androphónos, lit. “manslayer”), parallel to the Decalogue’s sixth commandment (Ex. 20:13), it seems allusion to the fifth commandment (Ex. 20:12) is intended here, thus the unnatural treatment of mothers and fathers, applicable to those “who refuse all reverence, even all kindly treatment, to their parents”8 (cf. 5:3-16). “The words describe sons or daughters who are lost to gratitude, lost to respect and lost to shame. And it must ever be remembered that this most cruel of blows can be one, not upon the body, but upon the heart.”9 See also Prov. 28:24; Mark 7:10-13; Rom. 1:30; Eph. 6:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:2.

The “sexually immoral,” from the Greek pórnos (lit. a male prostitute), refers to anyone engaging in illicit sexual intercourse, i.e., a fornicator. The noun porneía applies to any type of illicit sexual intercourse or fornication, namely sex that is not within the context of a divinely approved marriage (cf. 1 Cor. 7:2; Heb. 13:4). More particularly, “men who practice homosexuality.” The expression here is arsenokoítai (see also 1 Cor. 6:9), a combination of arsēn (“male”) and koitē (“bed”).9 This is a sexual term descriptive of homosexual behavior (ASV, ESV, ERV, HCSB, ISB, NASB, NIV, N/KJV, NRSV, etc.), pertaining to women as well (Rom. 1:26-27).

Next is “enslavers” [andrapodistēs]. Christianity entered a world where slavery was already an established element of society and regarded as an economic necessity, though not necessarily comparable to harsher forms in other times and societies (cf. 6:1-2). The condition of slavery was typically the result of prisoners of war, criminal conviction, debt, abandoned children, or birth to a slave mother. What Paul mentions here is a more sinister means, i.e., slave-dealers, kidnappers, or those who steal and sell another’s slaves. In principle this would include all who exploit fellow humans for selfish gain. 

The itemizing concludes with “liars” (from pseústēs) and “perjurers” (from epíorkos), those who intentionally twist the truth and affirm falsehoods for their own perceived advantage (cf. John 8:44; 1 John 1:6; 2:4, 22; 4:20; Rom. 1:25; Col. 3:9; Rev. 3:9). Although a comprehensive list is not necessary to make the point, the concluding statement is all encompassing: “and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (cf. Rom. 1:32; Gal. 5:21; 6:1; 2 Tim. 3:5). 

The Divine Standard

The divine standard is “doctrine” (didaskalía, “teaching,” “instruction”) being “sound” [hugiaínō], a verbal for being in good health (Luke 5:31; 7:10; 3 John 2) or safe and sound (Luke 15:27), used by Paul only in his letters to Timothy and Titus with reference to what is taught and the accompanying faith (1 Tim. 1:10; 6:3; 2 Tim. 1:13; 4:3; Tit. 1:9, 13; 2:1, 2). In contrast to “the law” (vv. 7-9), misappropriated and misunderstood by the disruptors, the message advanced by the apostle and his associates is “the gospel” [tó euaggélion], lit. “the good news” or “the glad tidings.” Anything different is unsound and spiritually unhealthy (v. 3; 6:3; 2 Cor. 11:4; Gal. 1:6, 7). 

The gospel message with which Paul has been “entrusted” (verbal pisteúō, cf. vv. 1, 12; 1 Cor. 9:17; Gal. 2:7; 1 Thess. 2:4) reflects God’s “glory” [dóxa], a revelation of himself in which recipients of the message are invited to share (Rom. 5:2; 9:23; 2 Cor. 4:4, 6). “Both the Law and the gospel are against sin. Both reveal the glory of God. The gospel does not tolerate sin any more than the Law.”11 The difference is, the law condemns but cannot save, while the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16-17; 7:1–8:8; Gal. 2:16; 3:10-29).

--Kevin L. Moore


     1 Contrary to what is commonly assumed, Paul was not anti-law. He concedes faith’s reinforcement of the law (Rom. 3:31), the holiness and righteousness of the law (Rom. 7:7, 12), the spirituality of the law (Rom. 7:14), and the advantages of Judaism (Rom. 3:1-2; 9:4). Paul does not contradict himself in passages like Rom. 3:20; Gal. 2:16 and 3:11. His emphasis is consistently on the importance of understanding the law in terms of faith rather than dependence on meritorious observances (cf. Rom. 3:27-31; 9:30-32).

     2 Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus NIBC (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988): 45.

     3 Paul continued to be in favor of the law and its precepts with respect to those for whom it was an important part of their cultural heritage (i.e., within the context of ethnic Judaism), as long as it was not at variance with the Christian faith (cf. Acts 16:1-3; 18:18; 21:20-26; 1 Cor. 9:20; also Rom. 15:4). On the other hand, he was vehemently opposed to the enforcement of the law’s ritualistic ordinances on those for whom these practices had no relevance (i.e., non-Jewish Christians), especially if the imposition of such created division in the church and supplanted the “faith of Christ.”

     4 William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians DBSS (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1975): 37.

     5 Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the NT (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1985): 4:207.

     6 Kenneth S. Wuest, Word Studies: The Pastoral Epistles in the Greek NT for the English Reader (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980): 31.

     7 Harold K. Moulton, ed. The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised (Grand Rapids: Regency, 1978): 17.

     8 H. D. M. Spence, “The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to Timothy,” in NT Commentary for English Readers, ed. C. J. Ellicott (London: Cassell Petter and Galpin, 1884): 3:180.

     9 W. Barclay, Timothy, Titus, and Philemon 38.

     10 The words arsēn (“male”) and koitē (“bed”) appear together six times in the LXX (Greek translation of the OT), four times referring to men lying with women (Num. 31:17, 18; Judg. 21:11, 12) and twice in reference to men lying with men (Lev. 18:22; 20:13).

     11 W. E. Vine, Exposition of the Epistles to Timothy (London: Pickering & Inglis, 1925): 14.


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