Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy.—Here the Apostle reminds his representative in the Ephesian congregation of his special gift of teaching and exhortation—that divine gift which had been conferred on Timothy at his solemn ordination long ago, when the young son of Eunice was designated for the post which John Mark had once held with the Apostle. It was in many respects a similar office, that which Timothy held about St. Paul, to that which in old days Elisha had held with Elijah; and, as in the case of the Hebrew prophet of the old dispensation, so here, the choice of St. Paul had been divinely guided. The very titles of the old covenant dispensation seem to have been revived in this instance of the divine selection of Timothy; for in 1Timothy 6:11 the older Apostle addresses his representative at Ephesus with the old prophetic title when he writes: “Thou, O man of God, flee these things.” Now he solemnly calls attention to that strange, miraculous “grace” which some inspired prophet at his ordination declared was to be conferred on Timothy. The “gift” was said to be conferred, as to its certainty in the divine counsels, by such prophecy—the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of one or more of His prophets, declaring His will and intention to confer this special grace on the young companion of St. Paul.
With the laying on of the hands.—This was a symbolic action—the outward sign of an inward communication of the Holy Spirit for some spiritual office or undertaking—and was derived from the old solemn Hebrew custom. (See Numbers 8:10 in the case of the consecration of the Levites, and Numbers 27:18, Deuteronomy 34:9 in the ceremony of the dedication of Joshua.)
Of the presbytery.—The brotherhood of presbyters connected with the place where the ordination of Timothy took place is here alluded to. There appears to have been such a body of elders in each particular city or district. The presbytery in this instance would seem in all probability to have belonged to the district of Lystra, Timothy’s native city; but an old ecclesiastical tradition speaks of Ephesus as the place of this ordination.1 Timothy 4:14. Neglect not — Through omitting to exercise it to the full; the gift that is in thee — The word χαρισμα, here used, commonly denotes some spiritual gift conferred on believers in the first age, whether by an immediate effusion of the Holy Spirit, or by means of the imposition of the apostle’s hands. See Romans 1:10. By this it appears, that even the miraculous gifts might be improved; and that the continuance of them with individuals depended in a great measure upon the right temper of their minds, and upon their making a proper use of their gifts. Which was given thee by prophecy — By immediate direction from God, or in consequence of predictions uttered by those who had the gift of prophecy, pointing thee out as a person fit to be invested with the office of an evangelist, and called of God to it. As it appears, from 2 Timothy 1:6, that the gift here referred to was given to Timothy by the laying on of the apostle’s hands, we learn from hence, that in conferring the spiritual gifts, as well as in working miracles, the apostles were not left to their own prudence, but were directed by revelations from God, communicated to themselves or others. With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery — Whose hands, with those of Paul, were laid on Timothy at the time when he was set apart solemnly by prayer to the office of the ministry, and received the spiritual gift here spoken of. Probably the apostle first conferred on Timothy the gift by the laying on of his own hands, and then set him apart to his office by prayer, the elders joining with him, and laying on their hands to show their concurrence with him in the solemn work.2 Corinthians 1:11; a gift or quality of the mind, 1 Corinthians 7:7; gifts of Christian knowledge or consolation, Romans 1:11; 1 Corinthians 1:7; redemption or salvation through Christ, Romans 5:15-16; Romans 6:23; Romans 11:29; the miraculous endowments conferred by the Holy Spirit, Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 1 Corinthians 12:9,1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:30-31, and the special gift or endowment for the work of the ministry, 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 1 Peter 4:10. The "gift" then referred to here was that by which Timothy was qualified for the work of the ministry. It relates to his office and qualifications - to "every thing" that entered into his fitness for the work. It does not refer "exclusively" to any influence that came upon him in virtue of his ordination, or to any new grace that was infused into him by that act, making him either officially or personally more holy than other people, or than he was before - or to any efficacy in the mere act of ordination - but it comprised "the whole train of circumstances" by which he had been qualified for the sacred office and recognized as a minister of religion. All this was regarded as a "gift," a "benefit," or a "favor" - χαρισμα charisma - and he was not to neglect or disregard the responsibilities and advantages growing out of it. In regard to the manner in which this gift or favor was bestowed, the following things are specified:
(1) It was the gift of God; 2 Timothy 1:6. He was to be recognized as its source; and it was not therefore conferred merely by human hands. The call to the ministry, the qualifications for the office, and the whole arrangement by which one is endowed for the work, are primarily to be traced to him as the source.
(2) it was given to Timothy in accordance with certain predictions which had existed in regard to him - the expectations of those who had observed his qualifications for such an office, and who had expressed the hope that he would one day be permitted to serve the Lord in it.
(3) it was sanctioned by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. The call of God to the work thus recognized by the church, and the approbation of the Presbytery expressed by setting him apart to the office, should be regarded by Timothy as a part of the "gift" or "benefit" (charisma) which had been conferred on him, and which he was not to neglect.
(4) an additional circumstance which might serve to impress the mind of Timothy with the value of this endowment, and the responsibility of this office, was, that Paul himself had been concerned in his ordination; 2 Timothy 1:6. He who was so much more aged (Plm 1:9; compare 2 Timothy 4:6-7); he who had been a father to him, and who had adopted him and treated him as a son had been concerned in his ordination; and this fact imposed a higher obligation to perform aright the functions of an office which had been conferred on him in this manner. We are not to suppose, therefore, that there was any mysterious influence - any "virus" - conveyed by the act of ordination, or that that act imparted any additional degree of holiness. The endowment for the ministry; the previous anticipations and hopes of friends; and the manner in which he had been inducted into the sacred office, should all be regarded as a "benefit" or "favor" of a high order, and as a reason why the gift thus bestowed should not be neglected - and the same things now should make a man who is in the ministry deeply feel the solemn obligations resting on him to cultivate his powers in the highest degree, and to make the most of his talents.
Which was given thee by prophecy - That is, the prophetic declarations and the hopes of pious friends in regard to your future usefulness, have been among the means by which you have been introduced to the ministry, and should be a reason why you should cultivate your powers, and perform faithfully the duties of your office; see the notes on 1 Timothy 1:18.
With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery - it was common to lay on the hands in imparting a blessing, or in setting apart to any office; see Matthew 19:15; Mark 6:5; Luke 4:40; Luke 12:13; Leviticus 8:14; Numbers 27:23; Acts 28:8; Acts 6:6; Acts 8:17; Acts 13:3. The reference here is undoubtedly to the act by which Timothy was set apart to the office of the ministry. The word rendered "presbytery" - πρεσβυτέριον presbuterion - occurs only in two other places in the New Testament - Luke 22:66, where it is rendered "elders;" and Acts 22:5, where it is rendered "estate of the elders." It properly means an "assembly of aged men; council of elders." In Luke 22:66, and Acts 22:5, it refers to the Jewish "sanhedrin;" see the notes on Matthew 5:22. In the passage before us, it cannot refer to that body - for they did not ordain men to the Christian ministry - but to some association, or council, or body of elders of the Christian church. It is clear from the passage:
(1) that there was more than "one person" engaged in this service, and taking part in it when Timothy was ordained, and therefore it could not have been by a "prelate" or "bishop" alone.
(2) that the power conferred, whatever it was, was conferred by the whole body constituting the presbytery - since the apostle says that the "gift" was imparted, not in virtue of any particular power or eminence in anyone individual, but by the "laying on of the hands of the presbytery."
(3) the statement here is just such a one as would be made now respecting a Presbyterian ordination; it is not one which would be made of an Episcopal ordination. A Presbyterian would choose "these very words" in giving an account of an ordination to the work of the ministry; an Episcopalian "would not." The former speaks of an ordination by a "presbytery;" the latter of ordination by a "bishop." The former can use the account of the apostle Paul here as applicable to an ordination, without explanations, comments, new versions or criticisms; the latter cannot. The passage, therefore, is full proof that, in one of the most important ordinations mentioned in the New Testament, it was performed by an association of men, and not by a prelate, and therefore, that this was the primitive mode of ordination. Indeed, there is not a single instance of ordination to an office mentioned in the New Testament which was performed by one man alone. See this passage examined at greater length in my" Enquiry into the organization and government of the apostolic church," pp. 208-221.
given thee—by God (1Co 12:4, 6).
by prophecy—that is, by the Holy Spirit, at his general ordination, or else consecration, to the special see of Ephesus, speaking through the prophets God's will to give him the graces needed to qualify him for his work (1Ti 1:18; Ac 13:1-3).
with … laying on of … hands—So in Joshua's case (Nu 27:18-20; De 34:9). The gift was connected with the symbolical act of laying on hands. But the Greek "with" implies that the presbyter's laying on hands was the mere accompaniment of the conferring of the gift. "By" (2Ti 1:6) implies that Paul's laying on his hands was the actual instrument of its being conferred.
of the presbytery—In 2Ti 1:6 the apostle mentions only his own laying on of hands. But there his aim is to remind Timothy specially of the part he himself took in imparting to him the gift. Here he mentions the fact, quite consistent with the other, that the neighboring presbyters took part in the ordination or consecration, he, however, taking the foremost part. Paul, though having the general oversight of the elders everywhere, was an elder himself (1Pe 5:1; 2Jo 1). The Jewish council was composed of the elders of the Church (the presbytery, Lu 22:66; Ac 22:5), and a presiding rabbi; so the Christian Church was composed of apostles, elders, and a president (Ac 15:16). As the president of the synagogue was of the same order as his presbyters, so the bishop was of the same order as his presbyters. At the ordination of the president of the synagogue there were always three presbyters present to lay on hands, so the early Church canons required three bishops to be present at the consecration of a bishop. As the president of the synagogue, so the bishop of the Church alone could ordain, he acting as the representative, and in the name of the whole presbytery [Vitringa]. So, in the Anglican Church, the bishop ordains, the presbyters or priests present joining with him in laying on hands.Neglect not the gift that is in thee; neglect neither the ability which God hath given time for the discharge of the office of the ministry, nor the office to which God hath called thee; neither the improvement of them, nor the use, exercise, and discharge of them or it.
Which was given thee by prophecy; remember that they were given thee by the revelation of the Divine will, or by the extraordinary influence of the Spirit of God; and
the laying on of the hands of the presbytery was a declaration of it; God also (as usually when he calls any to any special work) calling thee to the work of the ministry then also, fitting and enabling thee for the discharge of it.
which was given thee by prophecy; that is, it was prophesied of before hand, by some of the prophets in the church, that a very extraordinary gift should be bestowed upon this young man, which would make him a very useful person in the church of God; see 1 Timothy 1:18 and since it was now given, he ought not therefore to neglect it: or it was given him, as some read it, with prophecy, that he should use it, and it should be of great advantage to many souls; or, together with this gift of preaching, he had also a gift of foretelling things to come; or it may be, the words may be better rendered, "for prophecy": that is, for preaching, for prophesying is frequently used for preaching; see 1 Corinthians 13:2 and then the sense is, that this gift was given him to qualify him for the interpreting of the Scriptures, the explaining of the prophecies of the Old Testament, and for the preaching of the Gospel; and therefore he should not neglect it, but use it for this purpose: and he adds, that it was given him
with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery; or "of the eldership", or elders. So "eldership", is used by the Septuagint on Exodus 3:16 for the elders of Israel. Now of these elders Paul was one, 2 Timothy 1:6 nor is it unusual to call the apostles elders; see 1 Peter 5:1. Who joined with the apostle, in the imposition of hands on Timothy, is not certain; I should think only apostles, since here was a gift of the Holy Ghost came along with it; and it was only through the laying on of the hands of the apostles that the Holy Ghost was given. Philip, an evangelist, laid not hands on the believing Samaritans; but Peter and John, apostles, were sent down from Jerusalem to Samaria to do it, whereby many received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, fitting them to take the care of those new converts, and to spread the Gospel further in those parts, Acts 8:5. And since gifts have ceased being conveyed this way, the rite of laying on of hands in ordinations seems useless, and of no avail. The apostle in calling those that joined with him, in putting hands on Timothy, the "presbytery or eldership", may have some reference to , "the elders of the congregation", which laid hands on the bullock for a sin offering, Leviticus 4:15 by whom some understand the great sanhedrim (m); others (n), not all the elders, but some particular persons, in number three; and so the ordination of a Rabbi was by three (o); hence we read of , "imposition of hands by the elders" (p).Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Timothy 4:14. Μὴ ἀμέλει τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος] Timothy is not to let the χάρισμα lie unused; he is to apply it diligently and faithfully to the purpose for which it was imparted to him. This exhortation does not imply blame, nor does that given in 2 Timothy 1:6.
The word χάρισμα may be applied to every gift of God bestowed on man by God’s χάρις. In the N. T. it denotes both generally the new spiritual life wrought in the believer by the Holy Spirit, and also specially every faculty imparted for special Christian work (ἱκανότης, comp. 2 Corinthians 3:5). Here, where he is speaking of Timothy’s official work, it can only mean the faculty given him for the office (not simply “the gift of teaching,” as Hofmann thinks), in regard both to the κυβέρνησις and specially to the παράκλησις and διδασκαλία (not, however, as Chrysostom explains it, the διδασκαλία itself). It is not to be taken as denoting the office itself; the ἐν σοί is against this, and nowhere in the N. T. has the word this meaning.
Ὃ ἘΔΌΘΗ ΣΟΙ] not as Heinrichs says: a me, Apostolo, but, as a matter of course, by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4).
διὰ προφητείας μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου] διά is here “by means of,” so that the ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΊΑ is to be regarded as the means through which the ΧΆΡΙΣΜΑ was given to Timothy (by the Holy Spirit). It is arbitrary to weaken this, the proper meaning of the preposition, as Beza does when he explains it: per prophetiam i. e. ita jubente per os prophetarum spiritu sancto; and as Otto also does, when he finds here the thought that the ordination was occasioned by the προφητεία. Though Hofmann in his Schriftbeweis (II. 2, pp. 278 f.) had explained it: “The word of prophecy pointed out Timothy as the one to be appointed the apostle’s colleague,” he now says: “διὰ προφητείας does not mean by means of prophecy, but in consequence of prophecies.” This latter explanation, however, agrees with the one which he disputes, since the expression “in consequence of” gives not merely the relation of time, but also the relation of cause. We must reject even the qualification of the meaning which Matthies demands: “The fundamental meaning of the preposition διά, which may be shortly defined as means, may be so modified in many cases as to give the manner in which something is done, or the intermediating form under which something comes into life.” We must reject this, because, as de Wette rightly remarks, there would otherwise be no indication of a relation of cause. Besides, such passages as Acts 8:17-18; Acts 9:17; Acts 19:6, 2 Timothy 1:6, prove that we must keep by the proper meaning of ΔΙΆ. The ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΊΑ is mentioned as the means, but in close connection with ἘΠΊΘΕΣΙς ΤῶΝ ΧΕΙΡῶΝ. ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΊΑ (1 Timothy 1:18) is not equivalent to “foretelling,” but is more generally the word proceeding immediately from the Holy Spirit—whether the word of promise, or of exhortation, or of prayer. This word was spoken at the time (ΜΕΤΆ) when the presbytery laid their hands on Timothy and appointed him to his ministry. ΜΕΤᾺ ἘΠΙΘΈΣΕΩς Τ. Χ. is to be taken in close connection with ΔΙᾺ ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΊΑς; the laying on of hands is to be regarded as part of the means; comp. 2 Timothy 1:6. Otto wrongly says: “The laying on of hands is not a coefficient of the ordination, but an act connected with the ceremony of ordination; the ΧΆΡΙΣΜΑ was imparted to Timothy along with the laying on of hands, not by means of the laying on of hands.” Wherein, then, did the ceremony of ordination consist? It is curious that Hofmann, influenced by 2 Timothy 1:6, says regarding μετά, that “it was of course the apostle’s business to impart the gift to Timothy by laying on of hands,” but then grants that “the presbytery of Timothy’s home-church took part in the laying on of hands,” without telling us what then signified the presbytery’s laying on of hands. The hands were imposed by the presbytery, but Paul does not say who uttered the προφητεία. Leo remarks: “adfuerunt fortassis, quum manus imponebantur Timotheo, prophetae Christiani, qui praesagiebant faustissima quaevis, et dignum eum fore dicebant ecclesiae doctorem” (similarly Wiesinger, van Oosterzee, and others). It is, however, most probable to assume that they who uttered the ΠΡΟΦΗΤΕΊΑ were the same as they who laid their hands on Timothy, so that we cannot think here of prophets, in the narrower sense of the word, as present at the ordination.
The ἘΠΊΘΕΣΙς ΤῶΝ ΧΕΙΡῶΝ is well known as a symbolic action of the early Christians; it was the symbol and means not only of imparting the Holy Spirit in general (Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6; Hebrews 6:2), but also of bestowing the inward equipment for a special Christian ministry (Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3; comp. also Acts 14:23). By the presbytery, we must understand the college of presbyters belonging to the church in which the hands were imposed. What church this was, we are not told. Ecclesiastical tradition, followed by Mack, makes it the church at Ephesus; Matthies, Leo, de Wette, Wiesinger, and others think it more probable that the ordination took place at Lystra, where Paul assumed Timothy as his companion, and that the ordination was held for this very purpose. To this latter view we must object, that there is no passage in the N. T. to prove that the reception into the number of the colleagues of the apostles was made with such a solemn ceremony. It is more natural to suppose that such a reception took a freer form, and that a regular ordination was only held after a more independent position had been assigned to the colleague, a position not merely of carrying out certain instructions, but of representing the apostle in a more complete way, viz. in a particular church, such as Timothy now held. Perhaps, therefore, this ordination of Timothy had taken place when Paul on his departure for Macedonia left Timothy behind him in Ephesus as his substitute (1 Timothy 1:3); still it is also possible that it had been done on some earlier occasion.
It is strange that in 2 Timothy 1:6 the laying on of hands is mentioned only as the act of the apostle. Paul might certainly be speaking there of some other occasion than here, for the consecration by laying on of hands might be imparted on different occasions to the same man. It is more probable, however, that he is speaking of the same occasion in both passages, and “that Paul imposed hands along with the elders, but as the first” (de Wette).
It is further to be remarked that the word πρεσβυτέριον occurs elsewhere in the N. T. only as a name for the Jewish Sanhedrim (Luke 22:66; Acts 22:5), and that it is used here only of the college of the Christian presbyters of a church.
 Otto grants, indeed, that χάρισμα never stands exactly for office, but thinks that χάρισμα may be used, as a predicate of the idea, office, which is certainly right. Otto, however, does not wish to take χάρισμα here as the office generally speaking, but (distinguishing in the office—(1) the rights of office; (2) the occupations of office) as the rights of office: “A position of power working out from within.” To ἐν he assigns the meaning “resting upon some one;” but, whatever Otto may say against it, the ἀναζωπυρεῖν (2 Timothy 1:6) does not accord with that idea. So long as any one holds the office, the rights of office remain to him undiminished; for these lie not in the person, but in the office, in the person only as holding the office. For such a meaning of ἐν, Otto has produced some passages from classic Greek, but none from the N. T.
 Beza goes still farther wrong when he continues: “Potest tamen etiam sic accipi, ut idem valeat εἰς προφητείαν, i. e. ad prophetandum; vel ἐν προφητείᾳ, ita ut quod sit hoc donum exprimat apostolus.”
 De Wette rightly: “The προφ. is only named as a part of the whole act of consecration by which the χαρ. was imparted, and the preposition διά is not to be referred in strictness only to προφ., but also to the next words.”
 Bengel is wrong: “Constr. prophetiam presbyterii, nam manus imposuit Paulus Timotheo; impositio manus proprie fit per unam personam et quidem digniorem; prophetia vero fiebat etiam per aequales, per plures.”
 So also Hofmann, in whose opinion the “precedent” here alluded to (which, however, he is not willing to recognise as an ordination) must have taken place in Timothy’s “home-church.”
 Otto, in accordance with his whole view, places Timothy’s ordination in the last period of Paul’s three years at Ephesus. The reasons by which he seeks to establish this period as the one most exactly corresponding in Timothy’s life, are anything but sufficient.1 Timothy 4:14. μὴ ἀμέλει: J. H. Moulton (Grammar, vol. i. p. 122 sqq.), distinguishes (a) μή with the pres. imperat, “Do not go on doing so and so,” e.g., 1 Timothy 5:22-23, from (b) μή with the aor. subjunctive, “Do not begin to do it” (1 Timothy 5:1; 2 Timothy 1:8). In this case, μὴ ἀμέλει is equivalent to πάντοτε μελέτα. Timothy’s χάρισμα lay in his commission to rule and in his powers as a preacher. The χάρισμα was given by God; in this particular case the formal and solemn assumption of its use was accompanied by the indication of prophecy addressed to the ear, and by the laying on of hands addressed to the eye. See Acts 13:1-3.
Winer-Moulton notes, p. 471, that the instrument, as such, is never expressed by μετά in good prose. Here, with, amid imposition of hands (conjointly with the act of imposition). μετά is here equivalent to διά in the sense given above, i.e., of accompanying circumstances.
2 Timothy 1:6 is usually reconciled with this passage by saying that the body of presbyters was associated with St. Paul in the laying on of hands. But there is no reason to suppose that the same transaction is referred to in both places. Here the charismata refer to preaching and teaching; but in 2 Tim., to the administrative duties committed to Timothy, as it is reasonable to suppose, by St. Paul alone, when he appointed him his representative. Note that διά is used of St. Paul’s imposition of hands (2 Timothy 1:6), μετά of that of the presbyters, here. This suggests that it was the imposition of hands by St. Paul that was the instrument used by God in the communication of the charisma to Timothy.
πρεσβυτέριον: elsewhere in N.T. (Luke 22:66; Acts 22:5) means the Jewish Sanhedrin; but Ignatius uses the term, as here, to indicate the presbyters in a local Church (Trall. 7, 13; Philadelph. 7, etc.).14. the gift that is in thee] The connexion here and round the parallel 1 Timothy 4 :2 Timothy 1:6 implies a gift for ruling and teaching, distinct from the gift conferred through ‘the laying on’ of St Paul’s hands at Ephesus, Acts 19:6, the extraordinary gifts of speaking with tongues, &c., from the Holy Spirit; gifts still imparted at this time, as we learn from 1 Peter 4:10, ‘according as each hath received a gift;’ and continued (with change of outward manifestation) uninterruptedly since, as the ‘grace of Confirmation or Laying on of Hands.’ The gift here is connected with ‘prophecy,’ and ‘the laying on of the hands of the presbyters,’ and follows immediately upon the public ‘ministry of the word.’ The ‘prophecy’ will naturally be the same as ‘the prophecies which went before,’ 1 Timothy 1:18 : and the preposition rendered ‘by’ in A.V. and R.V. should have the same force as it has in Galatians 3:19, ‘the law ordained through (A.V. ‘by’) angels,’—a force seen from the synonymous phrase Acts 7:53, ‘who received the law, as it was ordained by angels,’ lit. ‘unto ordinances of angels’. As angels were the ministrants and attendants of the Great Lawgiver, so the surrounding ratifying witnesses of the bestowal on Timothy of the ‘Grace of Orders’ were the ‘prophecies,’ ‘going before,’ and ‘attending,’ ‘heralds and pursuivants.’ Compare the use in 2 Timothy 2:2, and see note. See Introduction, p. 58.
the presbytery] The word occurs in Luke 22:66 for the body of rulers of the synagogue; and again in Acts 22:5, side by side with the use of the word ‘presbyters’ in connexion with the Christian community, Acts 11:30; Acts 15:2; Acts 21:18. In the synagogue it included the ‘chief priest’ as we see from both the passages above; so surely its earliest Christian use here, drawn from that older use still living side by side, must include St Paul himself as the chief ruler.1 Timothy 4:14. Μὴ ἀμέλει, do not neglect) They neglect, who do not exercise the gift, and who think that they cannot fall away.—χαρίσματος, the gift) 2 Timothy 1:6.—διὰ προφητείας μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου, by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands [viz. by prophecy] of the presbytery) Construe the prophecy of the presbytery. For Paul laid his hands on Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:6; i.e. the presbytery consisted of Paul himself (comp. 2 John 1:1; 1 Peter 5:1) and Silas, or others also. Many Latin copies have presbyteri, “of the presbyter.” The imposition of the hand is properly done by one person, and that, too, a person more dignified. But prophecy was also exercised by equals, viz. by more than one, who, while Paul was laying his hands on Timothy, were offering congratulations, and augured every good thing; perhaps even in the absence of Timothy. This is an energetic young man, they said; God will do much good by him.Verse 14. - The gift (χάρισμα). The verb χαρίζομαι means "to give anything freely," gratuitously, of mere good will, without any payment or return (Luke 7:42; Acts 27:24; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 2:12, etc.). Hence χάρισμα came to be especially applied to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are preeminently "free gifts" (see Acts 8:20). It is so applied in Romans 1:11; Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 12:4, 9, 28, 30, 31; 1 Peter 4:10. Here, then, as in the similar passage, 2 Timothy 1:6, the "gift" spoken of is the special grace given by the Holy Ghost to those who are separated for "the office and work of a priest in the Church of God by the imposition of hands" (Ordering of Priests). This gift St. Paul bids him not neglect (μὴ ἀμέλει). The word contains the idea of contemptuous neglect - neglect as of an unimportant thing. In Matthew 22:5 the persons invited to the feast made light of it, and went away to other things which they cared mere about. In Hebrews 2:3, τηλικαύτης ἀμελήσαντες σωτηρίας, and Hebrews 8:9, imply a contemptuous disregard. So here Timothy is reminded that in his ordination he received a great χάρισμα, and that he must value it duly, and use it diligently. It must not be let lie slumbering and smoldering, but must be stirred up into a flame. The lesson here and in 2 Timothy 1:6 seems to be that we must look back to our ordination, and to the spiritual grace given in it, as things not exhausted. The grace is there, but it must not be lightly thought cf. Which was given thee by prophecy. This seems to be explained by Acts 13:1-3, where Barnabas and Saul were separated for their work by the laying on of the hands apparently of the prophets and teachers, at the express command of the Holy Ghost, speaking doubtless by the mouth of one of the prophets. Timothy, it appears, was designated for his work by a like command of the Holy Ghost, speaking by one of the Church prophets, and received his commission by a like "laying on of hands" by the elders of the Church. If St. Paul refers, as he appears to do, to the same occasion in 2 Timothy 1:6, then it appears that he laid his hands on Timothy, together with the presbyters, as is done by the bishop in the ordination of priests. The presbytery (τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου). The word is borrowed from the Jewish nomenclature (see Luke 22:6; Acts 22:5). In a slightly different sense for "the office of a presbyter," Sus., 5:50 (Cod. Alex.).
The gift that is in thee (τοῦ ἐν σοὶ χαρίσματος)
Comp. 2 Timothy 1:6. Χάρισμα gift is a distinctively Pauline word, being found only three times outside of Paul's Epistles, and olxx, oClass. See on Romans 1:11. That is in thee, comp. τῆς ἐν σοὶ πίστεως the faith that is in thee, 2 Timothy 1:5. The meaning is the special inward endowment which qualified Timothy for exhortation and teaching, and which was directly imparted by the Holy Spirit.
By prophecy (διὰ προφητείας)
See on 1 Timothy 1:18. Προφητείας genitive, not accusative. The meaning is by the medium of prophecy. The reference is to prophetic intimation given to Paul concerning the selection of Timothy for the ministerial office. These prophecies were given by the Holy Spirit who bestowed the "gift", so that the gift itself and the prophecy concurred in attesting the candidate for ordination.
With the laying on of the hands (μετὰ ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν)
Μετὰ implies that the prophetic intimations were in some way repeated or emphasized in connection with the ceremony of ordination. We note the association of prophecy with ordination in the setting apart of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:9, Acts 13:3); so that the case of Timothy has an analogue in that of Paul himself. Ἑπίθεσις laying on, imposition, also Acts 8:18; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:2, in each case with of hands. "The custom," says Lange, "is as old as the race." The Biblical custom rests on the conception of the hand as the organ of mediation and transference. The priest laid his hand on the head of the bullock or goat (Leviticus 1:4) to show that the guilt of the people was transferred. The hand was laid on the head of a son, to indicate the transmission of the hereditary blessing (Genesis 48:14); upon one appointed to a position of authority, as Joshua (Numbers 27:18-23); upon the sick or dead in token of miraculous power to heal or to restore to life (2 Kings 4:34). So Christ (Mark 6:5; Luke 4:40). In the primitive Christian church the laying on of hands signified the imparting of the Holy Spirit to the newly-baptized (Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6; comp. Hebrews 6:2). Hands were laid upon the seven (Acts 6:6). But the form of consecration in ordination varied. No one mode has been universal in the church, and no authoritative written formula exists. In the Alexandrian and Abyssinian churches it was by breathing: in the Eastern church generally, by lifting up the hands in benediction: in the Armenian church, by touching the dead hand of the predecessor: in the early Celtic church, by the transmission of relics or pastoral staff: in the Latin church, by touching the head.
Of the presbytery (τοῦ πρεσβυτερίου)
The word is found in Luke 22:66, where it denotes the body of representative elders of the people in the Sanhedrim, as distinguished from the two other constituents of that body - the chief priests and scribes. Similarly Acts 22:5. Here of the college or fraternity of Christian elders in the place where Timothy was ordained. The word is frequent in the Epistles of Ignatius. According to this, Timothy was not ordained by a Bishop. Bishop and Presbyter are not identical. In 2 Timothy 1:6 we read, "by the laying on of my hands." The inconsistency is usually explained by saying that Paul was associated with the Presbyters in the laying on of hands.
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