1 Corinthians 4:17
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
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(17) For this cause.—When St. Paul contemplated a visit to the churches in Macedonia and Achaia he sent Timothy and Erastus in advance (Acts 19:21-22). It is to this fact allusion is here made—from 1Corinthians 16:10, we see that the Apostle did not calculate on Timothy’s arrival in Corinth until after this letter had reached them. The rumours of the existence of factions in Corinth had reached St. Paul before Timothy had departed, and were the cause of his desire that before himself visiting Corinth Timothy should do so, and bring the Corinthians to a better frame of mind before the Apostle’s arrival. After Timothy’s departure from Ephesus the Apostle heard from the household of Chloe how very much worse than he had imagined from the previous rumours was the state of affairs at Corinth. It would not do to let such a condition of things continue to grow and intensify until Timothy should arrive there, delayed as he would be in visiting other places in Macedonia and Achaia en route. Nor, indeed, would it be safe to leave one of Timothy’s nervous (1Corinthians 16:10) and gentle temperament (perhaps the result of his having been brought up and educated entirely by women, 2Timothy 1:5) to deal with such a state of anarchy as the Apostle now knew to exist in Corinth. Further, the letter from Corinth had arrived since Timothy had left, and it required an immediate answer. Such reason, doubtless, influenced St. Paul in sending this letter to Corinth at once so as to anticipate the arrival of Timothy there. That you might return to the dutiful position of sons, I sent you one who is a son—a beloved and a faithful spiritual child—who will not be an addition to the too numerous instructors already at Corinth, but will, by what he says, and by his own example, remind you of my teaching (see 2Timothy 3:10), which he fully understands, and which never varies, being the same to every church. The emphatic use of the word “my son” here in reference to Timothy, taken in connection with the clear expression in 1Corinthians 4:15 of what was involved in that spiritual relationship, shows that St. Paul had converted Timothy to the faith (Acts 16:1). In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians St. Paul speaks of Timothy as his “brother” (2Corinthians 1:1).

1 Corinthians 4:17. For this cause — That you may be better able to trace my steps, and may be animated to do it with the greater care; I have sent unto you Timotheus, my beloved son — One whom I love with an entire fatherly affection, as if he were my son, 2 Timothy 1:2. Elsewhere he styles him brother, but here paternal affection takes place. And faithful in the Lord — In the Lord’s work, (Php 2:20,) and by his assistance; who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways — My Christian course of life for your imitation, 1 Corinthians 4:16. As I teach everywhere — According to the constant tenor of my preaching. With regard to Paul’s sending Timothy to Corinth, the case seems to have been this: the great success with which the apostle preached at Ephesus having induced him to remain a while longer there, after he heard of the dissensions in Corinth, he judged it proper to send Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, (of which mention is made Acts 19:22,) to learn how matters stood at Corinth. And if, on the information they received, they should judge their presence would be of use in composing the disagreements among the Corinthians, they were to go forward and attempt it, by putting them in remembrance of the apostle’s doctrine and practice. Yet it appears from 1 Corinthians 16:10, where he says, if Timothy come, that he was uncertain whether he went to Corinth or not.

4:14-21 In reproving for sin, we should distinguish between sinners and their sins. Reproofs that kindly and affectionately warn, are likely to reform. Though the apostle spoke with authority as a parent, he would rather beseech them in love. And as ministers are to set an example, others must follow them, as far as they follow Christ in faith and practice. Christians may mistake and differ in their views, but Christ and Christian truth are the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Whenever the gospel is effectual, it comes not in word only, but also in power, by the Holy Spirit, quickening dead sinners, delivering persons from the slavery of sin and Satan, renewing them both inwardly and outwardly, and comforting, strengthening, and establishing the saints, which cannot be done by the persuasive language of men, but by the power of God. And it is a happy temper, to have the spirit of love and meekness bear the rule, yet to maintain just authority.For this cause - In order to remind you of my doctrines and my manner of life. Since I am hindered from coming myself, I have sent a fellow laborer as my messenger, well acquainted with my views and feelings, that he might do what I would do if I were present.

Have I sent unto you Timotheus - Timothy, the companion and fellow laborer of Paul. This was probably when Paul was at Ephesus. He sent Timothy and Erastus into Macedonia, probably with instruction to go to Corinth if convenient. Yet it was not quite certain that Timothy would come to them, for in 1 Corinthians 16:10, he expresses a doubt whether he would. Paul was probably deeply engaged in Asia, and did not think it proper then for him to leave his field of labor. He probably supposed also, that Timothy, as his ambassador, would be able to settle the difficulties in Corinth as well as if he were himself present.

My beloved son - In the gospel. See Acts 16:1-3; 1 Timothy 1:2. He supposed, therefore, that they would listen to him with great respect.

And faithful in the Lord - A true Christian and a faithful servant of Christ; and who is, therefore, worthy of your confidence.

Of my ways - My doctrine, my teaching, my mode of life.

Which be in Christ - That is, my Christian life; my ministry; or my conduct as a Christian and a follower of the Saviour.

As I teach everywhere ... - This was designed probably to show them that he taught them no new or special doctrines; he wished them simply to conform to the common rules of the churches, and to be like their Christian brethren everywhere. The Christian church is founded every where on the same doctrines; is bound to obey the same laws; and is suited to produce and cherish the same spirit. The same spirit that was required in Ephesus or Antioch, was required at Corinth; the same spirit that was required at Corinth, at Ephesus, or at Antioch, is required now.

17. For this came—that ye may the better "be followers of me" (1Co 4:16), through his admonitions.

sent … Timotheus—(1Co 16:10; Ac 19:21, 22). "Paul purposed … when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem. So he sent into Macedonia Timotheus and Erastus." Here it is not expressly said that he sent Timothy into Achaia (of which Corinth was the capital), but it is implied, for he sent him with Erastus before him. As he therefore purposed to go into Achaia himself, there is every probability they were to go thither also. They are said only to have been sent into Macedonia, because it was the country to which they went immediately from Ephesus. The undesignedness of the coincidence establishes the genuineness of both the Epistle and the history. In both, Timothy's journey is closely connected with Paul's own (compare 1Co 4:19). Erastus is not specified in the Epistle, probably because it was Timothy who was charged with Paul's orders, and possibly Erastus was a Corinthian, who, in accompanying Timothy, was only returning home. The seeming discrepancy at least shows that the passages were not taken from one another [Paley, Horæ Paulinæ].

son—that is, converted by me (compare 1Co 4:14, 15; Ac 14:6, 7; with Ac 16:1, 2; 1Ti 1:2, 18; 2Ti 1:2). Translate, "My son, beloved and faithful in the Lord."

bring you into remembrance—Timothy, from his spiritual connection with Paul, as converted by him, was best suited to remind them of the apostle's walk and teaching (2Ti 3:10), which they in some respects, though not altogether (1Co 11:2), had forgotten.

as I teach … in every church—an argument implying that what the Spirit directed Paul to teach "everywhere" else, must be necessary at Corinth also (1Co 7:17).

This Timothy Paul found at Lystra, Acts 16:1. His father was a Greek, his mother a Jewess, therefore Paul circumcised him; her name was Eunice, the daughter of Lois, 2 Timothy 1:5. Paul took him along with him in his travels. He was ordained by the imposition of the hands of the presbytery, 1 Timothy 4:14 2 Timothy 1:6. Paul calls him his beloved son, either because he was his spiritual son, or because he was by him instructed in the gospel: he calls him his own son in the faith, 1 Timothy 1:2.

Faithful in the Lord, because he was faithful in the work of the Lord, in the business of the ministry.

Who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church; he (saith the apostle) shall bring to your remembrance my ways in the Lord, he shall acquaint you with both what doctrine I have preached and what course of life I have lived; how I have preached to every church, what rules I have given for the ordering of every church, and how I have walked before and toward them.

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus,.... This is an instance of his care of them, concern for them and respect unto them; that he not only writes unto them, giving his best advice and counsel, promising to come unto them; but in the mean while sends Timothy to them, whose character is here given as one dear to him, and in all things trusty and faithful:

who is my beloved son; so, in his epistles to him, he often styles him his son, his own son in the faith, his dearly beloved son; not that he was the instrument of his conversion, for he was a disciple of Christ before the apostle was acquainted with him; see Acts 16:1 but either because of his age, he being younger than he; or because of his great affection for him; and chiefly because, as a son with a father, he served him in the Gospel, Philippians 2:22 and since he was so familiar with him, and so much loved by him, it might reasonably be thought he full well knew his ways and methods of doctrine and practice.

And faithful in the Lord; a faithful steward of the mysteries of grace; faithful in the Gospel of Christ, and to the souls of men; a faithful minister of the Lord's; one who had been tried, proved, and found faithful, and therefore might be trusted to, and depended upon:

who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways; his way of preaching, and the doctrines he taught; and what should be the manner of life and conversation agreeably thereunto, and to his own; and all those rules and orders he gave for the discipline and management of the affairs of churches; all which he had formerly delivered to them, though they, through length of time, and the ministry of the false teachers among them, had greatly forgotten them: wherefore Timothy is sent, not to teach them new ways, nor, indeed, to teach at all, whose youth they might be tempted to despise; but only to put them in mind of what the apostle had formerly taught them: and which are recommended by their being such ways,

which be in Christ; the doctrines he had preached among them, the sum and substance of them were Christ, and him crucified; the ordinances he had delivered to them were what he had received from Christ; and all the rules and methods he had proposed to them for the regulation of their conduct, and the management of their ecclesiastical affairs, were such as were agreeably to the mind of Christ, and tended to his glory; he took no step, nor proposed any to be taken, but in Christ, and for the good of his interest: and he adds,

as I teach everywhere, in every church; the faith he delivered everywhere was one and the same; the Son of God, preached by him, was not yea and nay; the trumpet he blew always gave a certain sound; the rules prescribed by him, and orders he laid down, for the conduct of life, and government of churches, were exactly alike in all places; he taught no doctrines at Corinth, nor enjoined the observance of any rule, but what all other churches were taught and directed to; his plan of doctrine and discipline was the same everywhere.

For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my {i} ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

(i) What way and rule I follow everywhere in teaching the churches.

1 Corinthians 4:17. Διὰ τοῦτο] namely, in order to further among you this state of things meant by μιμ. μ. γίν. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Piscator, Rückert, Maier, make it refer to 1 Corinthians 4:15 : “on this ground, because I am your father.” But that would convert 1 Corinthians 4:16, quite arbitrarily, into a strange parenthetical interpolation.

ἔπεμψα ὑμ. Τιμ.] See Introd. § 2. He had already started upon his journey, but was not to arrive until after this Epistle had reached Corinth, 1 Corinthians 16:10; hence he must not be regarded as the bearer of it (Bleek).

τέκνον μου] comp 1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2. The father sends to his children (1 Corinthians 4:14 f.) their brother, specially dear and faithful to himself, in whom, therefore, they too may have full trust. From the quite definite reference of ΤΈΚΝΑ in 1 Corinthians 4:14, comp 1 Corinthians 4:15, we are warranted in assuming with confidence that Timothy had been converted by Paul; his conversion, since in all likelihood he was from Lystra (see on Acts 16:1), being probably comprised in the statement in Acts 14:6-7; for in Acts 16:1 he is already a Christian.

ἐν Κυρίῳ] specifies the characteristic relation in which Timothy is his beloved and faithful child (comp Ephesians 6:21); for apart from the fellowship in faith and life with Christ, there is no relationship of father and son subsisting between Paul and Timothy at all. The expression is therefore not essentially different from ἘΝ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ, 1 Timothy 1:2. Comp 1 Corinthians 1:3.

ἈΝΑΜΝΉΣΕΙ] for the Corinthians seemed to have forgotten it.[719]

ΤᾺς ὉΔΟΎς ΜΟΥ ΤᾺς ἘΝ Χ.] i.e. the paths, which I tread in Christ (as my sphere of activity), i.e. in the service of Christ. The aim in view (διὰ τοῦτο) is to lead them to imitate the apostle by reminding them of the whole way and manner, in which he conducted himself in his calling alike personally and relatively; for must not the recalling of that conduct vindicate his character, so much misunderstood and depreciated in Corinth, and place it in such a light as would show it to be worthy of imitation? more especially in respect of his self-denial and humility, so far removed from the arrogance and self-seeking of the Corinthians.

καθώς] is commonly taken as defining more precisely what has been already stated in a general way, as ὡς does in Romans 11:2, Luke 24:20, Thuc. i. 1, and frequently elsewhere. See Bornemann in Luc. p. 141. But καθώς means sicut (Vulgate), like the classical καθά or ΚΑΘΆΠΕΡ: even as, in such fashion as.[720] We must therefore abide by the meaning of the word, and interpret: he will recall to your memories my official conduct in such fashion, as I teach in all places; i.e. he will represent it to you not otherwise than as it is everywhere exemplified in me by my capacity as a teacher, not otherwise therefore than in correspondence with the invariable method in which I discharge the vocation of my life, not otherwise, in short, than as it actually is everywhere. In this way καθώς refers not to the contents of ΔΙΔΆΣΚΩ, nor to the mode of preaching (neither of which would stand in a relation of practical significance to ΜΙΜ. Μ. ΓΊΝ.), but to the peculiarity of character as a whole, which distinguished Paul in his work as a teacher.

παντ. ἐν π. ἐκκλ.] This emphatic statement, with its double description, gives additional weight to the example to be imitated. Comp Acts 17:30; Acts 21:28.

[719] That Paul does not use διδάξει, to avoid giving offence, because Timothy was still young (Chrysostom, Theophylact), is an imagination pure and simple. Theodoret says aptly: λήθην δὲ αὐτῶν ὁ λόγος κατηγορεῖ· αὐτόπται γὰρ ἐγεγόνεισαν τῆς ἀποστολικῆς ἀρετῆς.

[720] Billroth renders it rightly: eodem modo, quo, but inserts quite unwarrantably an ipse after the quo.

1 Corinthians 4:17. “For this reason”—viz., to help you to imitate me as your father—“I sent to you Timothy, who is a beloved child of mine, and faithful in the Lord”. Timothy had left P. before this letter was written, having been sent forward along with Erastus (possibly a Cor[767], Romans 16:23) to Macedonia (Acts 19:22), but with instructions, as it now appears, to go forward to Cor[768]; respecting his visit, see notes to 1 Corinthians 16:10 f. The Cor[769] had heard already (through Erastus?) of Timothy’s coming; P. does not announce the fact, he explains it: “This is why I have sent . to you”; to the τέκνα ἀγαπητά (1 Corinthians 4:14) P. sends a τέκνον ἀγαπητόν (see Php 2:19-22), adding καὶ πιστὸν ἐν Κυρ., since it was a trusty agent, one “faithful in the Lord”—in the sphere of Christian duty—that the commission required. For ἐν Κυρίῳ, see parls., esp. Ephesians 6:21, Colossians 4:7; πιστὸς τῷ Κυρίῳ (Acts 16:15) denotes a right relationship to Christ, πιστὸς ἐν Κυρίῳ includes responsibility for others.—“Who will remind you of my ways, that are in Christ” (τὰς ὁδούς μου τὰς ἐν Χριστῷ); the adjunct is made a definition by the repeated art[770] ἀναμιμνήσκω with double acc[771], like ὑπομιμν. in John 14:26, combines our remind (a person) and recall (a thing). Paul’s “ways” had been familiar in Cor[772] (cf. Acts 20:31-35; also 2 Corinthians 1:12 ff.), but seemed forgotten; the παιδαγωγοὶ had crowded out of mind the πατήρ. He means by ὁδοί μου habits of life to be copied (1 Corinthians 4:16)—the ἀγωγὴ of 2 Timothy 3:10 f.—not doctrines to be learnt; see further 1 Corinthians 9:19-27, 1 Corinthians 10:33 to 1 Corinthians 11:1, 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 2 Corinthians 10:1. For ἐν Χριστῷ, see note on ἐν Χ. ., 1 Corinthians 1:2. In Paul’s gentler qualities Tim. would strongly recall him to the Cor[773], by conduct even more than words.—“According as” (not how) “I teach”—in accordance with my teaching. Paul’s ways and teaching are not the same thing; but the former are regulated by the latter; they will find the same consistency in Tim. “(As I teach) everywhere, in every Church:” the “ways” P. and Tim. observe, and to which the Cor[774] must be recalled, are those inculcated uniformly in the Gentile mission; see 1 Corinthians 1:2 (σὺν πᾶσιἐν παντὶ τόπῳ, and notes), also 1 Corinthians 11:16, 1 Corinthians 14:33.

[767] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[768] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[769] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[770] grammatical article.

[771] accusative case.

[772] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[773] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

[774] Corinth, Corinthian or Corinthians.

17–21. Mission of Timothy, to be followed, if ineffectual, by strong measures on the part of St Paul himself

17. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus] Literally, I sent, i.e. before this epistle was written, see note on ch. 1 Corinthians 16:10. St Paul’s affection for the gentle and somewhat timid Timothy is a remarkable trait in his character. From almost the beginning to the end of his ministry he had, not even excepting St Luke, no more trustworthy, affectionate, and faithful friend, nor one who more thoroughly understood his mind. Cf. Php 2:19-20; Php 2:22; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:10. It may be also valuable to remark how the common life of the believer and his Lord is ever present with St Paul. If Timothy is ‘faithful and beloved,’ it is ‘in the Lord;’ if St Paul has ‘ways,’ they are ‘in Christ.’ For Timothy’s parentage and connexion with the Apostle, see 2 Timothy 1:5, and Acts 16:1. It will be observed that the statement here undesignedly made is in precise agreement with Acts 19:22. See Paley, Horae Paulinae, in loc.

my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord] rather, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, implying that Timothy owed his conversion to the Apostle, cf. 1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 1:2; where the same word is used which is here translated ‘son.’

who shall bring you into remembrance] A delicate hint that they had forgotten them.

my ways which be in Christ] An equally delicate hint that they are not St Paul’s ways only.

as I teach every where in every church] An additional reason why they should not be set aside at Corinth.

1 Corinthians 4:17. Τιμόθεον, Timotheus) 1 Corinthians 16:10.—τέκνον μου, my son) and therefore imitator. Paul calls Timothy his brother; see 2 Corinthians 1:1, note; but in this passage the affection of the father is uppermost in his thought.—ἀγαπητὸν, beloved) to whom I have willingly committed the business.—πιστὸν, faithful) to whom I could safely commit the business.—ἀναμνήσει, will remind you) He does not say will teach. The Corinthians had knowledge; they had need of admonition.—τὰς ὁδούς μου, my ways) in which I walked whilst with you.—καθὼς, even as) as διάκονος, a minister.—ἐκκλησίᾳ, in the church) emphatically in the singular number.

Verse 17. - For this cause. Because, as your spiritual father, I naturally take the deepest interest in your well being. Have I sent; rather, I sent. Timothy had started before this letter was despatched (Acts 19:22), but he did not reach Corinth till after its arrival, because he had been unable to go by sea, and had to travel round by Macedonia. St. Paul, on hearing the grave news from Corinth, seems to have countermanded him (1 Corinthians 16:10, "If Timotheus come"), but was uncertain whether the messenger would reach him in time. The necessity for despatching Titus had been more immediate. My beloved son, and faithful in the Lord; rather, who is my beloved and faithful child (teknon) in the Lord. St. Paul had converted him, and felt towards him all the love of a father (1 Timothy 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 3:2; Philippians 2:20-22). Shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ. The expression shows all St. Paul's delicacy. He is not sending the youthful Timothy as an authoritative teacher, since the Corinthians, fond of high pretension and soaring oratory, might scorn to show any submission to a shy and shrinking youth; but he is only sending him because, as his closest companion, Timothy would be best able to explain to them his plans and wishes in the organization of Churches. 1 Corinthians 4:17
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