|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:5-11 Whatever tends to weaken love to God, or love to the brethren, tends to defeat the end of the commandment. The design of the gospel is answered, when sinners, through repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, are brought to exercise Christian love. And as believers were righteous persons in God's appointed way, the law was not against them. But unless we are made righteous by faith in Christ, really repenting and forsaking sin, we are yet under the curse of the law, even according to the gospel of the blessed God, and are unfit to share the holy happiness of heaven.
Verse 7. - Though they understand for understanding. A.V.; confidently affirm for affirm, A.V. Teachers of the Law (νομοδιδάσκαλοι. as Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34). This, again, distinctly marks the Jewish origin of these heretics. Though they understand, etc. So our Lord rebuke,1 the scribes and teachers of the Law in his day: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God;" "Ye do greatly err" (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:27; Matthew 12:7, etc.; compare, too, Romans 2:17-24). They confidently affirm (διαβεβαιοῦνται). Elsewhere in the New Testament only in Titus 3:8, "I will that thou affirm confidently." So in classical Greek, "to maintain strongly," "to be positive." This was right in the minister of Christ declaring Divine truth, but very wrong in these vain janglers. The nature of their confident assertions is apparent from what follows - they spoke of the Law, but not lawfully.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Desiring to be teachers of the law,.... They were very fond of being called Rabbi, Rabbi, and styled doctors of the law, and of being thought to have skill in interpreting the law, and good talents in expounding it, and preaching upon it; which was now most in vogue, and gained the greatest applause, when the preaching of the Gospel was treated with contempt, not only by the unbelieving Jews, but by judaizing Christians, and carnal professors,
Understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm: they did not understand the law, the nature and end, the purity and spirituality, and perfection of it, which they were so fond of teaching, and went into many foolish and unlearned questions about it; see 2 Timothy 2:23, and which they as foolishly answered: these are the ignorant and unlearned men, who, notwithstanding their vain show of learning, and pretence to skill in interpreting the law, wrested the Scriptures to their own destruction, and that of others; they were ignorant of the things they talked of, and knew not by what arguments to confirm them, and yet were very bold and confident in their assertions: and generally speaking so it is, that those who can prove least assert most, and that with the greatest assurance.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Sample of their "vain talk" (1Ti 1:6).
Desiring—They are would-be teachers, not really so.
the law—the Jewish law (Tit 1:14; 3:9). The Judaizers here meant seem to be distinct from those impugned in the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans, who made the works of the law necessary to justification in opposition to Gospel grace. The Judaizers here meant corrupted the law with "fables," which they pretended to found on it, subversive of morals as well as of truth. Their error was not in maintaining the obligation of the law, but in abusing it by fabulous and immoral interpretations of, and additions to, it.
neither what they say, nor whereof—neither understanding their own assertions, nor the object itself about which they make them. They understand as little about the one as the other [Alford].
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