1 Timothy 1:2
To Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) My own son in the faith.—Timothy was St. Paul’s very own son. No fleshly relationship existed between the two, but a closer and far dearer connection. St. Paul had taken him while yet a very young man to be his companion and fellow-labourer (Acts 16:3). He told the Philippian Church he had no one like-minded (with Timothy) who would care for their affairs. He wrote to the Corinthians how Timothy was his beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who would put them in remembrance of his ways in Christ.

Mercy.—Between the usual salutation “grace and peace,” in these Pastoral Epistles, he introduces “mercy.” The nearness of death, the weakness of old age, the dangers, ever increasing, which crowded round Paul, seem to have called forth from him deeper expressions of love and tender pity. Jesus Christ, his “hope,” burned before him, a guiding star her brighter and clearer; and the “mercy” of God, which the old man felt he had obtained, he longed to share with others.

1:1-4 Jesus Christ is a Christian's hope; all our hopes of eternal life are built upon him; and Christ is in us the hope of glory. The apostle seems to have been the means of Timothy's conversion; who served with him in his ministry, as a dutiful son with a loving father. That which raises questions, is not for edifying; that which gives occasion for doubtful disputes, pulls down the church rather than builds it up. Godliness of heart and life can only be kept up and increased, by the exercise of faith in the truths and promises of God, through Jesus Christ.Unto Timothy - For an account of Timothy, see Intro. Section 1.

My own son in the faith - Converted to the Christian faith by my instrumentality, and regarded by me with the affection of a father; see notes, 1 Corinthians 4:15. Paul had no children of his own, and he adopted Timothy as a son, and uniformly regarded and treated him as such. He had the same feeling also toward Titus; Titus 1:4; compare Galatians 4:19 note; 1 Thessalonians 2:7, 1 Thessalonians 2:11 notes; and Plm 1:10 note.

Grace, mercy, and peace, ... - See the notes, Romans 1:7.

2. my own son—literally, "a genuine son" (compare Ac 16:1; 1Co 4:14-17). See [2460]Introduction.

mercy—added here, in addressing Timothy, to the ordinary salutation, "Grace unto you (Ro 1:7; 1Co 1:3, &c.), and peace." In Ga 6:16, "peace and mercy" occur. There are many similarities of style between the Epistle to the Galatians and the Pastoral Epistles (see [2461]Introduction); perhaps owing to his there, as here, having, as a leading object in writing, the correction of false teachers, especially as to the right and wrong use of the law (1Ti 1:9). If the earlier date be assigned to First Timothy, it will fall not long after, or before (according as the Epistle to the Galatians was written at Ephesus or at Corinth) the writing of the Epistle to the Galatians, which also would account for some similarity of style. "Mercy" is grace of a more tender kind, exercised towards the miserable, the experience of which in one's own case especially fits for the Gospel MINISTRY. Compare as to Paul himself (1Ti 1:14, 16; 1Co 7:25; 2Co 4:1; Heb 2:17) [Bengel]. He did not use "mercy" as to the churches, because "mercy" in all its fulness already existed towards them; but in the case of an individual minister, fresh measures of it were continually needed. "Grace" has reference to the sins of men; "mercy" to their misery. God extends His grace to men as they are guilty; His "mercy" to them as they are miserable [Trench].

Jesus Christ—The oldest manuscripts read the order, "Christ Jesus." In the Pastoral Epistles "Christ" is often put before "Jesus," to give prominence to the fact that the Messianic promises of the Old Testament, well known to Timothy (2Ti 3:15), were fulfilled in Jesus.

He dignifies Timothy with the title of his Song of Solomon in the faith; that is, being converted by him to Christianity, and begat to the Divine life: and by styling Timothy his

own son, he signifies his piety and virtue, that rendered him a worthy son of such a father, whom he imitated and honoured, and with whom he corresponded in a grateful, obedient affection. Having thus designated the person to whom he writes, he expresses his ardent desires of his complete felicity; which is included in

grace, mercy, and peace. By grace he means the free favour and good will of God, with all the spiritual gifts that proceed from it, either requisite for salvation, or the great work of the evangelical ministry. By mercy, his compassionate tender love, pardoning, relieving, supporting, and assisting us in our Christian course. By peace he signifies, principally, the peace of God, that divine calm of conscience, that tranquillity and rest of soul, which proceeds from the assurance that God is reconciled to us in Christ, and our freedom by the sanctifying Spirit from the tyranny of carnal lusts: this peace can never be to the wicked. And besides this principal peace, we may understand peace with man, that is, a quiet state, exempt from hatred and persecutions, that Timothy might more comfortably and successfully perform the work of his ministry. He prays for these blessings from God, who is the original Fountain of all good: and from Jesus Christ as the channel, by which all the gifts of God are conveyed to us; for without his mediation the Deity is as a sealed fountain, no grace would flow to us. He styles God our Father, because he has adopted us in his Son, and in that quality he communicates his grace, mercy, and peace to us: he styles Christ our Lord, who hath supreme power over us, as well by the right of creation as of redemption. Unto Timothy my own son in the faith,.... Not in the flesh, or by natural descent, but in a spiritual sense, in the faith of Christ; for Timothy was not related to the apostle according to the flesh, as some have thought, but the relation was spiritual; though the apostle was not properly his spiritual father, or the instrument of his conversion; for Timothy was a converted person, and a disciple of Christ, and well reported of by the brethren, when the apostle first met with him, Acts 16:1 but he calls him his son, either because of his age, being a young man; or because of his affection for him, so the Vulgate Latin version reads, "a beloved son"; or rather, because he was instructed more largely by the apostle into the doctrine of faith; and as a son, with a father, served with him in the Gospel of Christ. It may be rendered "a true or genuine son in the faith", in distinction from nominal Christians, formal professors and hypocrites. Timothy was a real Christian, a true believer, and an hearty and upright professor and preacher of the faith of Christ, as well as truly regenerated by the Spirit of God,

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Lord; the Arabic version reads, "and Lord Jesus Christ our Lord". The form of salutation is the same as in all the epistles of the apostle, only that "mercy" is here inserted; and when he wishes "grace" to Timothy, he may mean a fresh discovery of the love and free favour of God unto him, and an increase of grace in him, and of the gifts of the Spirit upon him; and by "mercy" he may intend a fresh application of the pardoning mercy of God, through Christ, and all assistance, and success in his work as a minister, and all succour and support under every trial and exercise, and mercy at the last day, or the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life; and by "peace" he may design peace of conscience through the blood of Christ, and all prosperity, temporal, spiritual, and eternal. And all this being wished for equally from Christ, as from God the Father, is a proof of the proper deity of our Lord.

Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, {a} mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

(a) There is as much difference between mercy and grace, as is between the effect and the cause: for grace is that free good will of God, by which he chose us in Christ, and mercy is that free justification which follows it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 1:2. γνησίῳ qualifies the compound τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει, just as in Titus 1:4 it qualifies τέκνῳ κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν. As in the relation of the heavenly Father to those who are His children by adoption and grace, some are “led by the Spirit of God,” and so are genuine sons of God, so in the filial relationships of earth—physical, spiritual, or intellectual—some sons realise their vocation, others fail to do so. γνήσιος (and γνησίως, Php 2:20) is only found in the N.T. in Paul. See reff. It might be rendered lawful, legitimate, as γυνή γνησία means “lawful wife” (Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vi. 382). Dean Bernard (comm. in loc.) cites an interesting parallel from Philo (de Vit. Cont. p. 482, ed. Mangey), where “the young men among the Therapeutae are described as ministering to their elders καθάπερ υἱοὶ γνήσιοι.” τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει: The parallel from Titus 1:4 quoted above proves that πίστις here is the faith, as A.V. Absence of the article before familiar Christian terms is a characteristic of the Pastorals. Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:15, “In Christ Jesus I begat you through the gospel”. See also Galatians 4:19, Philemon 1:10; and, for the term τέκνον as applied to Timothy, see reff. St. Paul “begat him through the gospel” on the first missionary journey. He was already a disciple in Acts 16:1. Nothing can be safely inferred from the variation ἀγαπητῷ in 2 Timothy 1:2 for γνησίῳ. The selection from among these semi-conventional terms of address is influenced by passing moods of which the writer is not wholly conscious; but a pseudepigraphic author would be careful to observe uniformity.

ἔλεος as an element in the salutation in addition to χάρις and εἰρήνη is only found, in the Pauline Epistles, in 1 and 2 Timothy. See reff. “Mercy” is used in an informal benediction, Galatians 6:16, “Peace be upon them, and mercy”. Bengel notes that personal experience of the mercy of God makes a man a more efficient minister of the Gospel. See 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:16, 1 Corinthians 7:25, 2 Corinthians 4:1, Hebrews 2:17. See also Tob 7:12 ([252]) ὁ κύριοςποιήσαι ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς ἔλεος κ. εἰρήνην and Wis 3:9; Wis 4:15, χάρις κ. ἔλεος τοῖς ἐκλεκτοῖς αὐτοῦ. If one may hazard a conjecture as to what prompted St. Paul to wish mercy to Timothy rather than to Titus, it may be a subtle indication of the apostle’s anxiety as to Timothy’s administrative capacity. Another variation in the salutation in Titus is the substitution of Saviour for Lord. This calls for no comment.

[252] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

Note the anarthrous θεὸς πατήρ as in all the Pauline salutations, with the exception of 1 Thess., where we have simply χάρις ὑμῖν κ. εἰρήνη. In Colossians the blessing is only from God the Father. ἡμῶν is added to πατρὸς except in 2 Thess. and the Pastorals.2. my own son in the faith] Better, my true child in faith with R.V.; child, because the word is used, as the Greek teknon is, (1) of specially tender affectionateness, (2) of the spiritual relationship of a disciple to a teacher; true, that is, shewing a real and marked resemblance in character to your ‘father in God’; in faith, or as we should say, spiritually; apparently by this time a recognised adverbial or adjectival phrase, as in Titus 3:15, ‘salute them that love us in faith,’ or, as we should say, ‘our Christian friends.’ The same argument from the growth of this abstract applies here; the earlier and more concrete ‘in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 4:17), and ‘in the Gospel’ (1 Thessalonians 3:2) gives place to ‘in faith,’ or as in Titus 1:4 ‘in communion of faith.’

Compare 2 John 1:1, ‘whom I love in truth,’ St John’s corresponding word for spiritual Christianity, and the combination in ch. 1 Timothy 2:7.

Grace, mercy, and peace] ‘Mercy’ here and in 2 Timothy 1:2; while in Titus 1:4 according to the best mss. it is ‘grace and peace,’ as in the salutations of St Paul’s other epistles. ‘Why,’ asks Fairbairn, ‘is “mercy” specially needed for St Paul’s dear child of faith? The nearer he was in character to St Paul the more would he too feel himself “the chief of sinners,” and so appreciate a prayer so truly faithful and sympathising; a lesson,’ he adds, ‘for all future ministers of the Gospel which it well becomes them to ponder.’ St John’s private letter to the ‘Elect lady’ has the same salutation.

God our Father] Read God the Father, as in 2 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4; ‘our Father’ was the usual form in the earlier epistles.1 Timothy 1:2. Τιμοθέῳ, to Timothy) The epistles sent to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, as being addressed to individuals, have some things which are rather sealed, than explicitly set forth, for example 1 Timothy 1:18. If there were no epistle to Timothy extant, we should have particularly wished that there was one, in order that we might see what Paul would chiefly recommend to Timothy; now, since there are two, we ought the more earnestly to turn them to use.—τέκνῳ son) Acts 16:12.—χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη, grace, mercy, peace) Paul, when addressing the churches, writes, grace to you and peace. When writing to Timothy, he adds mercy in this passage, and many years after, in 2 Timothy 1:2 : comp. Jeremiah 16:5; Galatians 6:16. Mercy implies grace, as it were, of a more tender kind towards the miserable, and the experience of this divine mercy produces fitness for the Gospel ministry; 1 Timothy 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:25 : comp. Hebrews 2:17.—Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ, Christ Jesus[1]) Paul often, especially when writing to Timothy, puts the surname Christ before the name Jesus, in respect of [as having a view to] the promises of the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, which were fulfilled in Jesus and were well known to Timothy, 2 Timothy 3:15.

[1] So the order of Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ stands in AD(Δ)Gfg Vulg. But other MSS. of Vulg., Orig. 2, 739b, and Rec. Text, read Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ.—ED.Verse 2. - My true child in faith for my own son in the faith, A.V.; peace for and peace, A.V.; the Father for our Father, A.V. and T.R.; Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. My true child in faith. A most awkward phrase, which can only mean that Timothy was St. Paul's true child because his faith was equal to St. Paul's, which is not St. Paul's meaning. Timothy was St. Paul's own son, because he had begotten him in the gospel (1 Corinthians 4:14-16; Philemon 1:10) - his spiritual son. This is best expressed as in the A.V. by "in the faith" (comp. Titus 1:4, where the same idea is expressed by κατὰ κοινὴν πίστιν). Grace, mercy, and peace. This varies from the blessing at the beginning of the Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, by the addition of the word "mercy," as in 2 Timothy 1:2 and Titus 1:4 in the T.R., and also in 2 John 3 and Jude 1:2. It seems in St. Paul to connect itself with that deeper sense of the need and of the enjoyment of mercy which went with his deepening sense of sin as he drew towards his end, and harmonizes beautifully with what he says in vers. 12-16. The analogy of the other forms of blessing quoted above strongly favors the sense our Father rather than the Father. Whether we read ἡμῶν with the T.R. or omit it with the R.T., the idea of Father is contrasted, not with that of Son, but with that of Lord; the two words express the relation of the Persons of the Godhead, not to each other, but to the Church. My own son in the faith (γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει)

More correctly, "my true child in faith." Comp. Titus 1:4. With these two exceptions, τέκνον or υἱός ἐν πίστει does not occur in N.T. Ἑν πίστει or τῇ πίστει is not come on Paul; see 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Corinthians 8:7; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:13. In the Pastorals, nine times. In Paul joined with ζῇν to live, εἶναι to be, στήκειν to stand, βεβαιοῦσθαι to be established. For γνήσιος true, see 2 Corinthians 8:8; Philippians 2:20; Philippians 4:3. It means natural by birth-relation, therefore true or genuine.

Mercy (ἔλεος)

This addition to the usual form of salutation is peculiar to the Pastorals.

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