1 Timothy 1:14
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
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(14) And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant.—The thought of his Master’s great love to one who once reviled Him so bitterly, and who had spent his strength in trying to undo His servants’ work, seems to have pressed with overwhelming force on St. Paul, who struggled to find words which should express how deeply he felt the loving tenderness which had transformed the cruel persecutor into the favoured Apostle. The Greek word translated “was exceeding abundant” is very rare, and possesses a superlative force.

With faith and love.—He sums up the divine mercy showed to him in the three words: grace, faith, and love. Grace, the unspeakable gift of God to him; faith and love, the results of the exceeding abundant gift of grace.

Faith: not merely a childlike trust in Christ, but a belief which accepted Christ as the hope of an otherwise hopeless world; and love, which includes love to man as well as love to God, a strange contrast to his former cruelty and hatred; for, instead of blaspheming, now he believed on Him whom he once reviled, and instead of persecuting the followers of Jesus, now, in his great love for them, he spent himself. Then, overwhelmed with joy and thankfulness that he, the enemy of God, had obtained the mercy and love of God, and conscious, from his own sweet and bitter experiences, what that mercy of God bestowed on a sinner signified, he gave utterance to one of those bright watchwords of the faith, with which the Christians of the first days used to comfort and encourage one another, and which, perhaps, better than any other words, gave expression to the burning thoughts which rose up from his grateful heart.

1:12-17 The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul's example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant - That is, in his conversion under these circumstances and in the aid which was afterward imparted to him in his work.

With faith and love which is in Christ Jesus - Accompanied with the exercise of faith and love; or producing faith and love. The grace which was imparted to him was seen in the faith and love which it produced; see the notes, 1 Corinthians 15:10.

14. And—Greek, "But." Not only so (was mercy shown me), but

the grace—by which "I obtained mercy" (1Ti 1:13).

was exceeding abundant—Greek, "superabounded." Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Ro 5:20).

with faith—accompanied with faith, the opposite of "unbelief" (1Ti 1:13).

love—in contrast to "a blasphemer, persecutor, and injurious."

which is in Christ—as its element and home [Alford]: here as its source whence it flows to us.

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant; the free love of God towards me, in justifying such a guilty creature, and sanctifying such an unholy creature, and afterwards calling me to the office of an apostle, fitting me for it, and trusting me with that great work and employment, abounded beyond all measure and possibility of expression.

With faith and love which is in Christ Jesus: Christ working faith in me, enabling me to receive him as the Son of God, and my Lord and Saviour; and to love him, whom I formerly thought I ought to do much against, and his disciples, whom I formerly haled to death, of whom I made havoc, persecuting them to death. He mentions

faith and love, the two principal graces, in opposition to the reigning sins in his unconverted state: faith in the doctrine of the gospel, in opposition to his former ignorance and infidelity; and love to Christ and believers, in opposition to his former rage and cruelty against them. And these graces were from Christ, the fruits of his merit, and Holy Spirit.

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant,.... That is, the love of Jehovah the Father; so the Ethiopic version reads, "the grace of God"; of God the Father, since he is distinguished in the text from Jesus Christ. God is abundant in grace and goodness; he is rich and plenteous in mercy; there is an overflow of love in his heart to his chosen people, and in conversion it flows out, and abounds and superabounds; see Romans 5:20.

with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus; these are the effects of the love and favour of God displayed in conversion, or which the grace of God brings along with it, and implants in the soul at that time, as it did in the apostle; for by "faith" is not meant the faithfulness of God to his Son, and to his covenant, oath, and promise, which now began visibly to be made good; nor the faith of the Gospel committed to the apostle's trust, which was an high favour; but the grace of faith, which is a pure gift of God, and a distinguishing instance of his grace; for all men have it not, only his elect; and is a most precious and excellent grace, and of great use and importance: it receives every blessing from Christ, and gives him all the glory; through it much peace, joy, and comfort are enjoyed here, and with it is connected eternal life and salvation hereafter: and by "love" also is meant, not the love with which God loves his people, for that is designed by the grace of our Lord, though there is a very great display of that in conversion, which is a time of love; but the internal grace of love, even love to God, to Christ, and to his people, which the apostle was before destitute of; but now instead of unbelief he had faith, and instead of rage and madness against Christ, and the saints, his soul was filled with love to both. The Arabic version reads, "with my faith, and my love". The phrase, "which is in Christ Jesus", denotes either that the spring of these graces is in Christ, and that they come from him, in whom all fulness dwells; or that he is the object of them, in which they centre, and on whom they are exercised, and particularly that love to the saints was shown for his sake.

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant {12} with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

(12) He proves this change by the effects, because he who was a profane man, has become a believer: and he that did most outrageously persecute Christ, burns now in love towards him.

1 Timothy 1:14. The last words might be so explained as to weaken seemingly the divine grace; and therefore the apostle feels bound to set forth its abundant riches.

ὑπερεπλεόνασε δὲ ἡ χάρις κ.τ.λ.] The verb ὑπερπλεονάζειν only occurs here in the N. T., and is not current in classical Greek. The simple πλεονάζειν, with the classic writers, means: “to be more, i.e. than the measure demands, therefore to go beyond the measure;” but in several passages of the N. T. it has clearly the meaning: “become more, therefore increase, grow larger.” Comp. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (synon. with ὑπεραυξάνειν); Romans 5:20; Romans 6:1 (Meyer: accumulate); so also Php 4:17 and 2 Corinthians 4:15 (Meyer has there: “become abundant … increase,” and here: “be increased”). The prefix ὑπερ serves, with Paul, to strengthen the idea with which it is joined; thus ὑπεραυξάνει, 2 Thessalonians 1:3; ὑπερεκπερισσοῦ, Ephesians 3:20; ὑπερλίαν, 2 Corinthians 11:5, al. In Romans 5:20, ὑπερεπερίσσευσεν seems to mean that the ἐπλεόνασεν ἡ ἁμαρτία was surpassed by the χάρις (so Meyer; Hofmann differs). If we assume here this reference of surpassing, we cannot regard ἠλεήθην as the thing surpassed. For χάρις cannot be regarded as something surpassing ἔλεος;[66] but ὑπερ in that case would have to be referred to τὸ πρότερον ὄντα βλάσφημον κ.τ.λ. Hence the apostle’s meaning in ὑπερεπλεόνασεν would be that grace was manifested to him in abundant measure, far surpassing his enmity (so in a former edition of this commentary); but in that case ἀλλὰ ἠλεήθην κ.τ.λ. would be parenthetical. It is more correct not to assume such a reference here, but to explain ὑπερπλεονάζειν: “to go (abundantly) beyond the measure” (Plitt, van Oosterzee, Hofmann). The apostle added ὑπερεπλ. ἡ χάρις to ἠλεήθην, because the latter expression did not seem enough to his mind, which was penetrated by the unbounded greatness of the grace he had experienced. “It is as though he wrestles with speech in order to find some sufficient expression for the feeling which quite overpowers him” (van Oosterzee). The particle δέ belongs to the relation of climax existing between the two clauses, as in Hebrews 12:6; it corresponds to the English yea or aye in a climax.[67]

ΜΕΤᾺ ΠΊΣΤΕΩς ΚΑῚ ἈΓΆΠΗς] The preposition ΜΕΤΆ with the genitive serves to connect the fact with the points that accompany it. ΠΊΣΤΙς and ἈΓΆΠΗ therefore are, properly speaking, not mentioned as results of the ΧΆΡΙς, but as blessings immediately connected with ΧΆΡΙς. They form, as de Wette says, the subjective side of the condition of grace. Leo is right, therefore, in saying: “verbis ΜΕΤᾺ Κ.Τ.Λ. indicatur, Π. Κ. ἈΓ. quasi comites fuisse illius ΧΆΡΙΤΟς” (so also Plitt and van Oosterzee); but he is wrong, if he means that Paul added these words to tell in what the grace was manifested as ὙΠΕΡΠΛΕΟΝΆΖΟΥΣΑ.

By ΠΊΣΤΙς Κ. ἈΓ. Ἡ ἘΝ ΧΡ. . we are not to understand God’s faithfulness and love in Christ, nor the apostle’s endeavour to bring others to faith and love; nor, again, is ἘΝ to be explained by ΔΙΆ or by ΕἸς. The words Τῆς ἘΝ ΧΡ. . are added to Τῆς ἈΓΆΠΗς, and mark the love as one “that has its ground and middle-point in Christ” (Matthies); cf. 2 Timothy 1:13. It is doubtful whether the addition is to be referred also to ΠΊΣΤΕΩς (for this Matthies, Plitt, van Oosterzee; against it, Hofmann); since ΠΊΣΤΕΩς does not properly require it, it might be better to limit the reference to ἈΓΆΠΗς.[68] “In contrasting his former ἈΠΙΣΤΊΑ with his present increasing ΠΊΣΤΙς Κ. ἈΓ.” (Heydenreich), Paul does not lose sight of the heresy which did not effect ΟἸΚΟΝΟΜΊΑ ΘΕΟῦ ἘΝ ΠΊΣΤΕΙ (1 Timothy 1:4), and had not the ἈΓΆΠΗ (1 Timothy 1:5) as its goal.

[66] Chrysostom: οὐκ ἐτιμωρήθην· ἠλεήθην γὰρ, ἀρʼ οὖν τοῦτο μόνον, καὶ μέχρι τούτου ὁ ἔλεος, τοῦ μὴ δοῦναι τιμωρίαν; οὐδαμῶς· ἀλλὰ καὶ ἕτερα πολλὰ καὶ μεγάλα, διὰ τοῦτο φησίν· ὑπερεπλ. ἡ χάρις, δηλῶν, ὅτι ὑπερέβη καὶ τὸν ἔλεον τὰ δῶρα· ταῦτα γὰρ οὐκ ἐλεοῦντός ἐστιν, ἀλλὰ φιλοῦντος καὶ σφόδρα ἀγαπῶντος. Similarly Leo. In this view the force of ἠλεήθην is arbitrarily weakened.

[67] Hofmann explains δέ as ranking another fact with the one already mentioned; but in ἠλεήθην and ὑπερεπλ. ἡ χάρις we have not two different facts, but one and the same fact—though expressed in two different ways.

[68] Hofmann alleges against the connection with πίστεως, that “ἐν would have a different meaning when joined with πίστεως; according to Ephesians 1:15; Colossians 1:4;” but his reason is without force, as this other reference is here cut off by the intervening ἀγάπης.

1 Timothy 1:14. ὑπερπλεονάζειν only occurs here in N.T.; but St. Paul constantly uses compounds with ὑπέρ. The comparative force of the ὑπέρ—grace outweighing sin—is brought out in Romans 5:15 sqq. In these passages at least it is not true, as Ellicott maintains, that ὑπέρ has a superlative (abound exceedingly) force.

τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν: The expression our Lord (without the addition of Jesus or Jesus Christ), common in modern times, is rare in N.T. See reff. In 2 Peter 3:15 it is not certain if the reference is to Christ, the Judge, or to the Father who determines the moment of His coming. In Revelation 11:15 God the Father is meant.

Faith and love which is in Christ Jesus occurs again in 2 Timothy 1:13. In both places the singular relative is improperly used for the plural. It is one of the writer’s habitual phrases; and therefore we cannot suppose any special relevance to the context in either of its constituent parts, though here Bengel contrasts faith with the unbelief; and love with the blasphemer, etc., of 1 Timothy 1:13. Faith and love, are the inward and outward manifestations respectively of the bestowal and realisation of grace.

πίστις ἐν χρ. Ἰησ. occurs Galatians 3:26, 1 Timothy 3:13, 2 Timothy 3:15. πίστις and ἀγάπη are also associated (in this order) in the first six reff.

14. the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant] ‘Overflowed its wonted channels,’ and a stream of faith and love in me, having Jesus Christ for its source and life, flowed side by side with this full flood of grace and mercy. The removal of the comma by R.V. after ‘abundant’ leaves the force of the ‘with’ ambiguous, as though the grace abounded with faith. See St Matthew 27:34, ‘wine mingled with gall,’ 1 Timothy 6:6, ‘godliness with contentment,’ for this full force of the preposition.

1 Timothy 1:14. Ὑπερεπλεόνασε δὲ, and was exceeding abundant) He explains how he obtained mercy, namely, with faith, etc. The epistles to Timothy, in a peculiar degree, breathe this ‘abundance.’—ἡ χάρις, grace) by which I obtained mercy, 1 Timothy 1:13.—Κυρίου, of the Lord) Jesus.—μετὰ πίστεως, with faith) Its opposite is, in unbelief, 1 Timothy 1:13.—καὶ ἀγάπης, and love) Its opposite, as we have said, are the three, a blasphemer, a persecutor, a despiser. The words, mercy and grace (in 1 Timothy 1:13-14), correspond to each other. Unbelief and faith are opposed.

Verse 14. - Abounded exceedingly for was exceeding abundant, A.V. Abounded exceedingly (ὑπερεπλεόνασε); only here in the New Testament or elsewhere except "in Psalterio Salomonis Psalm 5:19, et in fragmento Hermae ap. Fabricium Bibl. Graec., lib. 5. cap. 1" (Schleusuer). But the word is thoroughly Pauline (comp. ὑπεραίρομαι ὑπεραυξάνωὑπερβάλλω ὑπερεκτείνω ὑπερπερισσεύω ὑπεροψόω, and other compounds with ὑπέρ. It is further remarkable, as regards ὑπέρ itself, that of the hundred and fifty-eight times (or thereabouts) that it occurs in the New Testament, one hundred and six are in St. Paul's Epistles, and twelve in the Epistle to the Hebrews, and only forty in all the other books. With faith and love, etc. The grace bestowed upon St. Paul at and after his conversion showed itself in the wonderful faith and love toward Jesus Christ, whom he had previously disbelieved in and reviled, which accompanied that grace (μετὰ) and was the fruit of it, and characterized his whole after-life. 1 Timothy 1:14Was exceeding abundant (ὑπερεπλεόνασεν)

Or abounded exceedingly. N.T.o. olxx. oClass. Paul is fond of compounds with ὑπὲρ, which, with a few exceptions, are found only in his writings. In the pastorals there are only three. See 1 Timothy 2:2; 2 Timothy 3:2.

With faith

For faith as treated in the Pastorals, see Introduction, and sound doctrine, 1 Timothy 1:10.

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