|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:1-7 If a man desired the pastoral office, and from love to Christ, and the souls of men, was ready to deny himself, and undergo hardships by devoting himself to that service, he sought to be employed in a good work, and his desire should be approved, provided he was qualified for the office. A minister must give as little occasion for blame as can be, lest he bring reproach upon his office. He must be sober, temperate, moderate in all his actions, and in the use of all creature-comforts. Sobriety and watchfulness are put together in Scripture, they assist one the other. The families of ministers ought to be examples of good to all other families. We should take heed of pride; it is a sin that turned angels into devils. He must be of good repute among his neighbours, and under no reproach from his former life. To encourage all faithful ministers, we have Christ's gracious word of promise, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, Mt 28:20. And he will fit his ministers for their work, and carry them through difficulties with comfort, and reward their faithfulness.
Verse 6. Puffed up for lifted up with pride, A.V. A novice (νεόφυτον); only here in the New Testament, but found repeatedly in the LXX. in its literal sense of "a tree" or "plantation" newly planted (Psalm 127:3 (Psalms 128:3, A.V.); 144:12; Isaiah 5:7). Here the novice or neophyte is one recently converted and received into the Church (comp. 1 Corinthians 3:6; Isaiah 61:3). As such he is not yet fit to be a ruler and a teacher of the brethren. The reason follows. Lest being puffed up he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Τυφωθεις, puffed up, is peculiar in the New Testament to the pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:4), from τυφός, smoke (comp. λίνον τυφόμενον, "smoking flax," Matthew 12:10). The idea seems to be "lightness," "emptiness," and "elation." Some add that of "obscuration" as by smoke; τυφόω, to wrap in smoke; τετύφωμαι, to be wrapt in clouds of conceit and folly (Liddell and Scott). The condemnation of the devil. A somewhat obscure phrase. It means either
(1) the same condemnation as that into which the devil fell through pride, - and so Chrysostom, Olshausen, Bishop Ellicott, Wordsworth, Alford, etc., take it; or
(2) the condemnation or accusation of the devil. In the latter case κρῖμα would be used in the same sense as κρίσις in Jude 1:9, and would mean the charge preferred against him by "the accuser of the brethren" (comp. Job 1:9; Job 2:4, 5). One of the senses of κρίνω is "to accuse" - like κατηγορεῖν (Liddell and Scott). And this view agrees with ὀνειδισμὸν καὶ παγίδα τοῦ διαβόλου in ver. 7, which means, not the trap into which the devil fell, but the trap laid by the devil. It remains doubtful which is the true sense, but
(2) seems, on the whole, the most probable. The devil (τοῦ διαβόλου) can only mean Satan (Matthew 4:1; Matthew 13:39, etc.), though possibly conceived of as speaking by the mouth of traducers and vilifiers of the Church, as in ver. 7.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Not a novice,.... Or one newly planted, the Arabic version adds, "in the faith"; meaning not a young man, for so was Timothy himself; but a young professor and church member; one that is lately come to the knowledge of the truth, and has just embraced and professed it, and become a member of a church, a new plant there: so the Hebrew word "a plant", is by the Septuagint in Job 14:9 rendered by this very word. The reason why such a person should not be a bishop, elder, or pastor of a church, is,
lest being lifted up with pride; through the dignity of the office he is advanced to, and the high opinion of men he stands in, and the great gifts qualifying him for such a place, he is supposed to have: for pride on account of these is apt to creep in, and swell and elate the minds of young professors especially; so that there is danger
that he fall into the condemnation of the devil; or "of the slanderer", as the word is rendered in 1 Timothy 3:11 and the sense then is, lest he should be censured and condemned by such who are given to calumny and detraction, and are glad of any opportunity to reproach and vilify the ministers of the word: but it is better to understand it of Satan; and then the meaning is, either lest such an one fall under the censure and condemnation of the accuser of the brethren; or rather lest he fall into the same condemnation and punishment the devil is fallen into, their crimes being alike. For it seems from hence, that pride was the first sin of the devil, and the cause of his apostasy from God; being elated with his own knowledge, strength, and dignity; and not being able to bear it, that the human nature should be advanced above that of angels.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. not a novice—one just converted. This proves the Church of Ephesus was established now for some time. The absence of this rule in the Epistle to Titus, accords with the recent planting of the Church at Crete. Greek, "neophyte," literally, "a young plant"; luxuriantly verdant (Ro 6:5; 11:17; 1Co 3:6). The young convert has not yet been disciplined and matured by afflictions and temptations. Contrast Ac 21:16, "an old disciple."
lifted up with pride—Greek, literally, "wrapt in smoke," so that, inflated with self-conceit and exaggerated ideas of his own importance, he cannot see himself or others in the true light (1Ti 6:4; 2Ti 3:4).
condemnation of the devil—into the same condemnation as Satan fell into (1Ti 3:7; 2Ti 2:26). Pride was the cause of Satan's condemnation (Job 38:15; Isa 14:12-15; Joh 12:31; 16:11; 2Pe 2:4; Jude 6). It cannot mean condemnation or accusation on the part of the devil. The devil may bring a reproach on men (1Ti 3:7), but he cannot bring them into condemnation, for he does not judge, but is judged [Bengel].
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