Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
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But showing all good fidelity - In laboring, and in taking care of the property intrusted to them.
That they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things - That they may show the fair influence of religion on them, in all respects, making them industrious, honest, kind, and obedient. They were to show that the effect of the religion which they professed was to make them better fitted to discharge the duties of their station in life, however humble; or that its influence on them was desirable in every respect. In this way, they might hope also that the minds of their masters might be reached, and that they might be brought to respect and love the gospel. Hence, learn:
(1) that one in the most humble walk of life may so live as to be an ornament to religion, as well as one favored with more advantages.
(2) that servants may do much good, by so living as to show to all around them that there is a reality in the gospel, and to lead others to love it.
(3) if in this situation of life, it is a duty so to live as to adorn religion, it cannot be less so in more elevated situations. A master should feel the obligation not to be surpassed in religious character by his servant.Acts 5:2, we translate it, to keep back part of the price; the crime of which Ananias and Sapphira were guilty. It has been remarked that among the heathens this species of fraud was very frequent; and servants were so noted for purloining and embezzling their master's property that fur, which signifies a thief, was commonly used to signify a servant; hence that verse in Virgil, Eclog. iii.:16: -
Quid domini faciant, audent cum talia Fures?
"What may not masters do, when servants (thieves) are so bold?"
On which Servius remarks: Pro Servo Furem posuit, furta enim specialiter servorum sunt. Sic Plautus de servo, Homo es trium literarum, i.e. fur. "He puts fur, a thief, to signify a servant, because servants are commonly thieves. Thus Plautus, speaking of a servant, says: Thou art a man of three letters, i.e. f-u-r, a thief." And Terence denominates a number of servants, munipulus furum, "a bundle of thieves." Eun. 4, 7, 6. The place in Plautus to which Servius refers is in Aulul., act ii. scene iv. in fine: -
- Tun', trium literarum homo,
Me vituperas? F-u-r, etiam fur trifurcifer.
"Dost thou blame me, thou man of three letters?
Thou art a thief, and the most notorious of all knaves."Acts 5:2,
but showing all good fidelity; approving themselves to be faithful servants in everything they are intrusted with:
that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things; Christ is our alone Saviour, and he is truly and properly God, and so fit and able to be a Saviour; and the Gospel is his doctrine, not only what he himself preached, when on earth, but it is a doctrine concerning him; concerning his deity, and the dignity of his person, and concerning his office as Mediator, and the great salvation by him; and which are so many reasons why it should be adorned by a suitable life and conversation; for this is what becomes the Gospel of Christ, throws a beauty upon it, and is ornamental to it; and in this way the doctrine of Christ may be, and ought to be, adorned by servants, as well as others: to adorn the Gospel, is first to believe and receive it, then to profess it, and hold fast that profession, and walk worthy of it. Two of Stephens's copies read, "in", or "among all men".Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.
showing—manifesting in acts.
good—really good; not so in mere appearance (Eph 6:5, 6; Col 3:22-24). "The heathen do not judge of the Christian's doctrines from the doctrine, but from his actions and life" [Chrysostom]. Men will write, fight, and even die for their religion; but how few live for it! Translate, "That they may adorn the doctrine of our Saviour God," that is, God the Father, the originating author of salvation (compare Note, see on 1Ti 1:1). God deigns to have His Gospel-doctrine adorned even by slaves, who are regarded by the world as no better than beasts of burden. "Though the service be rendered to an earthly master, the honor redounds to God, as the servant's goodwill flows from the fear of God" [Theophylact]. Even slaves, low as is their status, should not think the influence of their example a matter of no consequence to religion: how much more those in a high position. His love in being "our Saviour" is the strongest ground for our adorning His doctrine by our lives. This is the force of "For" in Tit 2:11.Not purloining. Men robbed of liberty and labor have always been under temptation to steal.
Good fidelity. Faithfulness in duty which will secure the master's confidence.Verse 10. - Purloining (νοσφιζομένους); literally, separating for their own use what does not belong to them. So Acts 5:2, 3, "to keep back part." It is used in the same sense by the LXX. Joshua 7:1 of Achan, and 2 Macc. 4:32 of Menelaus, and occasionally in classical Greek (Xenophon, Polybius, etc.). Showing (ἐνδεικνυμένους). It occurs eleven times in the New Testament, viz. twice in Hebrews, and nine times in St. Paul's acknowledged Epistles. All good fidelity. All fidelity means fidelity in everything where fidelity is required in a faithful servant - care of his master's property, conscientious labor, keeping of time, acting behind his master's back the same as before his face. The singular addition ἀγαθήν, coming after ἐνδεικνυμένους, must mean, as Bengel says, "in all good things." The duty of fidelity does not extend to crime or wrong-doing. The word "good" is like the addition in the oath of canonical obedience, "in all honest things," and is a necessary limitation to the preceding "all" (see Titus 3:1, and note). The doctrine (τὴν διδασκαλίον) as in ver. 1 (where see note). In Titus 1:9 (where see note) ἡ διδαχή is used in the same way. This use of διδασκαλία is confirmed by the reading of the R.T., which inserts a second τήν before τοῦ σωτῆρος. Adorn the doctrine. The sentiment is the same as that in 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:11. Christians are exhorted to give glory to God, and support and honor to the gospel of God's grace, by their good works and holy lives. God our Savior (see 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:3; 1 Timothy 4:10; and above, Titus 1:3, note). In all things (ἐν πᾶσιν); as 1 Peter 4:11.
Only here and Acts 5:2, Acts 5:3. lxx, Joshua 7:1; 2 Macc. 4:32. Often in Class. From νόσφι apart. The fundamental idea of the word is to put far away from another; to set apart for one's self; hence to purloin and appropriate to one's own use. Purloin is akin to prolong: prolongyn or purlongyn "to put fer awey." Old French porloignier or purloignier.
Shewing all good fidelity (πᾶσαν πίστιν ἐνδεικνομένος ἀγαθήν)
The phrase N.T.o. This is the only instance in N.T. of ἀγαθός with πίστις.
Adorn the doctrine (τὴν διδασκαλίαν κοσμῶσιν)
The phrase N.T.o. For κοσμῶσιν adorn, see on 1 Timothy 2:9.
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