1 Timothy 1:20
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
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(20) Of whom is Hymenæus and Alexander.—Here the Apostle names two, as examples of the utter shipwreck of all true faith—persons evidently well known to Timothy and the members of the Church at Ephesus. Hymenæus is probably identical with the heretic of that name, charged, in the Second Epistle to Timothy, with teaching that the resurrection was already passed, thus undermining the great hope which Christian faith so firmly laid hold of. In the second letter to the Presbyter presiding over the Ephesian congregations the fundamental error was specified on account of which this Hymenæus was excommunicated.

Alexander.—It would be unsafe positively to identify this person with the personal adversary of St. Paul alluded to in the Second Epistle, 2Timothy 4:14, there spoken of as “Alexander the coppersmith,” or with the Alexander mentioned in Acts 19:33. The name was a very common one. Of the Alexander of Acts 19:33 we know nothing; from the circumstances in connection with which he is there mentioned, which took place some ten years before this Epistle was written, he seems to have been a Jew.

Whom I have delivered unto Satan.—In this fearful formula the offender is delivered over to Satan, the evil one. It is a solemn excommunication or expulsion from the Church, accompanied with the infliction of bodily disease or death. In ordinary cases, the offender was quietly expelled from the Christian society. But an Apostle, and only an Apostle, seems to have possessed the awful powers of inflicting bodily suffering in the forms of disease and death. Certain special instances of the exercise of these tremendous powers are recorded in the cases of Ananias and Sapphira, Elymas, the incestuous person at Corinth, and the men here alluded to. The fear of Simon Magus, related in Acts 8:24, seems to have been aroused by his evident expectation that this well-known apostolic power would be put in force in his case. It is, however, noticeable that this punishment was not necessarily, in the case of disease, an irrevocable sentence. The true end and purpose of this, as of all divine punishments, was not revenge for the sin, but the ultimate recovery of the sinner.

1:18-20 The ministry is a warfare against sin and Satan; carried on under the Lord Jesus, who is the Captain of our salvation. The good hopes others have had of us, should stir us up to duty. And let us be upright in our conduct in all things. The design of the highest censures in the primitive church, was, to prevent further sin, and to reclaim the sinner. May all who are tempted to put away a good conscience, and to abuse the gospel, remember that this is the way to make shipwreck of faith also.Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander - Hymeneus is nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament, except in 2 Timothy 2:17, where he is mentioned in connection with Philetus as a very dangerous man. An Alexander is mentioned in Acts 19:33, which some have supposed to be the same as the one referred to here. It is not certain, however, that the same person is intended; see the notes on that verse. In 2 Timothy 4:14, Alexander the coppersmith is mentioned as one who had done the apostle "much evil," and there can be little doubt that he is the same person who is referred to here. One of the doctrines which Hymeneus held was, that the "resurrection was past already" 2 Timothy 2:18; but what doctrine Alexander held is unknown, It is not improbable, as he is mentioned here in connection with Hymeneus, that he maintained the same opinion, and in addition to that he appears to have been guilty of some personal injury to the apostle. Both also were guilty of blasphemy.

Whom I have delivered unto Satan - On the meaning of this expression, see the notes on 1 Corinthians 5:5.

That they may learn not to blaspheme - It cannot be supposed that Satan would undertake to teach them not to blaspheme, or that Paul put them under him as an instructor on that subject. The instructions of Satan tend rather to teach his followers to blaspheme, and none in his school fail to be apt scholars. The meaning here is, that Paul excommunicated them, and not improbably brought upon them, by giving them over to Satan, some physical maladies, that they might be reformed; compare notes on 1 Corinthians 5:5. It is not entirely clear what is meant by blaspheme in this place; compare notes on 1 Timothy 1:13. It cannot be supposed that they were open and bold blasphemers, for such could not have maintained a place in the church, but rather that they held doctrines which the apostle regarded as amounting to blasphemy; that is, doctrines which were in fact a reproach on the divine character. There are many doctrines held by people which are in fact a reflection on the divine character, and which amount to the same thing as blasphemy. A blasphemer openly expresses views of the divine character which are a reproach to God; an errorist expresses the same thing in another way - by teaching as true about God that which represents him in a false light, and, to suppose which, in fact, is a reproach. The spirit with which this is done in the two cases may be different; the thing itself may be the same. Let us be careful that we hold no views about God which are reproachful to him, and which, though we do not express it in words, may lead us to blaspheme him in our hearts.

20. Hymenaeus—There is no difficulty in supposing him to be the Hymenæus of 2Ti 2:17. Though "delivered over to Satan" (the lord of all outside the Church, Ac 26:18, and the executor of wrath, when judicially allowed by God, on the disobedient, 1Co 5:5; 2Co 12:7), he probably was restored to the Church subsequently, and again troubled it. Paul, as an apostle, though distant at Rome pronounced the sentence to be executed at Ephesus, involving, probably, the excommunication of the offenders (Mt 18:17, 18). The sentence operated not only spiritually, but also physically, sickness, or some such visitation of God, falling on the person excommunicated, in order to bring him to repentance and salvation. Alexander here is probably "the coppersmith" who did Paul "much evil" when the latter visited Ephesus. The "delivering him to Satan" was probably the consequence of his withstanding the apostle (2Ti 4:14, 15); as the same sentence on Hymenæus was the consequence of "saying that the resurrection is past already" (2Ti 2:18; his putting away good conscience, naturally producing shipwreck concerning FAITH, 1Ti 1:19. If one's religion better not his morals, his moral deficiencies will corrupt his religion. The rain which falls pure from heaven will not continue pure if it be received in an unclean vessel [Archbishop Whately]). It is possible that he is the Alexander, then a Jew, put forward by the Jews, doubtless against Paul, at the riot in Ephesus (Ac 19:33).

that they may—not "might"; implying that the effect still continues—the sentence is as yet unremoved.

learn—Greek, "be disciplined," namely, by chastisement and suffering.

blaspheme—the name of God and Christ, by doings and teachings unworthy of their Christian profession (Ro 2:23, 24; Jas 2:7). Though the apostles had the power of excommunication, accompanied with bodily inflictions, miraculously sent (2Co 10:8), it does not follow that fallible ministers now have any power, save that of excluding from church fellowship notorious bad livers.

Of which men who have made shipwreck of a good conscience and concerning faith,

Hymenaeus and Alexander are two persons. Of Hymenaeus we read, 2 Timothy 2:17,18; he affirmed the resurrection was past, and overthrew the faith of many. Of Alexander we read, 2 Timothy 4:14; he was a great enemy to Paul, the same person, as some judge, mentioned Acts 19:33, then a friend to Paul, but afterwards one who did him much harm.

Whom I have delivered unto Satan: we meet with the same phrase, 1 Corinthians 5:5: see the notes there. Some think by it is signified a peculiar power granted the apostles, God in those primitive times confirming regular excommunications, by letting Satan loose upon persons excommunicated to torture them; but we find nothing of this in Scripture. I rather think the sense is no more than, whom I excommunicated and cast out of the church, making them of the world again, (as the world is opposed to the church, and kingdom of Christ), which, for the greater terror, the apostle expresseth by this notion of being delivered to Satan, who is called the god of this world, & c.

That they may learn not to blaspheme: not that I might ruin and undo them, but that I might amend them by this exercise of discipline, teaching them to take heed of spreading damnable and pernicious errors to the reproach of God. Or, perhaps, with their perverse opinions (which is very ordinary) they mingled reproachful speeches concerning God.

Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander,.... The former of these is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:17 and that part of faith he made shipwreck of, or erred in, was the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, whereby the faith of some nominal believers was overthrown; and this was attended with the putting away of a good conscience, he seemingly before had; for his profane and vain babblings increased to more ungodliness: the latter seems to be the same with Alexander the coppersmith, who did the apostle much evil, 2 Timothy 4:14 and it may be is the same with him who was at Ephesus when the apostle was, there, Acts 19:33 and where he might be now with Hymenaeus, with whom he might agree in his erroneous opinions, and therefore are particularly mentioned, Ephesus being the place where Timothy now was. It seems by their names that they were both Greeks; Alexander is a known name among the Greeks, since the times of Alexander the great, and even became common among the Jews; see Gill on Acts 4:6, and Hymenaeus was a name among the Grecians, from Hymen, the Heathen god of marriage: one of this name is mentioned among those said to be raised from the dead by Aesculapius (q); there was also a bishop of Jerusalem of this name (r),

Whom I have delivered to Satan; not by excommunication, which is the act of a church, and not of a single person; but by an apostolical power he had of delivering the bodies of men into the hands of Satan, by him to be tortured and afflicted, in order to bring them to a sense of their sins, and as a chastisement and correction for them, and a token of God's displeasure at them; See Gill on 1 Corinthians 5:5.

That they may learn not to blaspheme; or "that being chastised", corrected, or disciplined, "they might not blaspheme", as they had before done; either by words, contradicting, reviling, and scoffing at the doctrine of the resurrection; or by their unbecoming lives and conversations, giving themselves great liberty in sinning, supposing there was no truth in that doctrine; whereby they not only blasphemed the Christian religion themselves, but caused it to be evil spoken of by others,

(q) Apollodorus de Orig. Deor. l. 3. p. 172. (r) Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 7. c. 14. 30.

Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; {17} whom I have {n} delivered unto Satan, that they may {o} learn not to blaspheme.

(17) Those who fall from God, and his religion, are not to be endured in the Church, but rather ought to be excommunicated.

(n) Cast out of the Church, and so delivered them to Satan.

(o) That by their pain they might learn how serious it is to blaspheme.

1 Timothy 1:20. Ὧν ἐστὶν Ὑμέναιος καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος] In 2 Timothy 2:17, the apostle names two false teachers whose words eat like a cancer

Hymenaeus and Philetus. There is no ground for distinguishing between the Hymenaeus there and the one here mentioned. No difficulty is caused even by the fact that “the one here is mentioned as a man cast out from the church, and the other merely as an example of error” (de Wette); for Hymenaeus and Philetus are not so tenderly dealt with in the other passages as de Wette seems to think. As to Alexander, we must leave it unsettled whether he is the same as the one mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:14. The reasons are not decisive which seem to tell against the identity, viz. that in the other passage the surname ὁ χαλκεύς is added, and that “he is mentioned there not as excommunicated, but rather as still coming in contact with the apostle; not as a heretic, but as an opponent” (de Wette). It is, however, quite arbitrary to regard the Alexander (Acts 19:33) who took part in the uproar at Ephesus as identical with the one mentioned here (see Meyer on the passage).[80]

ΟὛς ΠΑΡΈΔΩΚΑ Τῷ ΣΑΤΑΝᾷ] the same excommunication of which the apostle speaks in 1 Corinthians 5:5 (comp. Meyer on the passage). It is not simply excommunication from the church, but with the purpose of ensuring, through Satan’s means, ὌΛΕΘΡΟς Τῆς ΣΑΡΚΌς to the one excommunicated. This is shown not only by the formula itself, but also by the solemnity with which Paul there expresses himself. The added clause, ἽΝΑ ΠΑΙΔΕΥΘῶΣΙΝ Κ.Τ.Λ., makes it clear that here also the apostle had in mind ΕἸς ὌΛΕΘΡΟΝ Τ. ΣΑΡΚ., for that clause at the same time gives the purpose of the ΠΑΡΈΔΩΚΑ, which is the reformation (ἽΝΑ ΤῸ ΠΝΕῦΜΑ ΣΩΘῇ, 1 Corinthians 5:5), or at least the preservation, of the excommunicated man from ΒΛΑΣΦΗΜΕῖΝ.[81]

ΠΑΙΔΕΎΕΙΝ] in classical Greek equivalent to “educate, especially by instruction,” so also Acts 7:22; Acts 22:3, has elsewhere in the N. T. the meaning of “punish in order to reform,” i.e. chastise; comp. 2 Timothy 2:25; 1 Corinthians 11:32; 2 Corinthians 6:9, especially Hebrews 12:5-11. In Revelation 3:19 it stands connected with ἐλέγχειν (in Luke 23:16; Luke 23:22, the purpose of reformation falls quite into the background).

The ὌΛΕΘΡΟς Τῆς ΣΑΡΚΌς is intended by the apostle to be a chastisement to the one named, that he may be kept from further reviling. The expression ΒΛΑΣΦΗΜΕῖΝ shows that they had not only suffered shipwreck in faith, but in their unbelief were on the point of proceeding actually to revile the Lord.

[80] Otto (pp. 98–112) gives a very vivid and detailed picture of the tumult at Ephesus in which a certain Alexander took part, in order to prove the identity of the two Alexanders, and confirm his view regarding the date of the composition of this epistle. But even if the course of that tumult was as Otto describes it, with the aid of many arbitrary suppositions, still we can by no means infer the identity he maintains. In order to prove it, Otto does not despise many strange assumptions, such as, that the designation χαλκεύς (2 Timothy 4:14) was given to Alexander because he was one of those who manufactured the miniature silver temples; further, that he, deceived by the soothsayers, had made no objection to the union of the worship of Jehovah with heathen idolatry.

[81] In opposition to Hofmann’s opinion, that neither here nor in the passage of Corinthians we are to think of an excommunication from the church, comp. Meyer on 1 Corinthians 5:5.

1 Timothy 1:20. οὓς παρέδωκα τῷ Σατανᾷ: I have delivered (A.V.) expresses more accurately than I delivered (R.V.) the force of the aorist followed by the subjunctive: they were still under sentence of excommunication (see Field in loc.). The theory of the relation of the Church to non-Christians which underlies this phrase is expressed in 1 John 5:19, ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐσμεν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται. The ἐξουσία τοῦ Σατανᾶ was “the darkness” over against “the light” of the Kingdom of God (Acts 26:18). The conception is not popular among modern Christians. The two kingdoms, if there are two, have interpenetrated each other. The phraseology, here and in the parallel, 1 Corinthians 5:5, is based on Job 2:6, ἰδοὺ παραδίδωμί σοι σὐτόν. The name Σατανᾶς also occurs in chap. 1 Timothy 5:15 and in eight other places in the Pauline Epistles.

ἵνα παιδευθῶσι: The apostolic severity was not merely punitive; it was also corrective. The intention, at least, of excommunication was ἵνα τὸ πνεῦμα σωθῇ, 1 Corinthians 5:5. So Chrys. We must not therefore render here, sarcastically, that they may learn, A.V., but that they might be taught or instructed. At the same time, it is unnatural to assume with Bengel that the ταιδεία was intended to keep them from blaspheming at all; St. Paul hoped that it might prevent a repetition of the sin. The term has more of the association of discipline here and in 1 Corinthians 11:32, 2 Corinthians 6:9, than in the other references.

βλασφημεῖν: It is absurd to suppose that St. Paul here refers to a railing disparagement of his own apostolic claims.

20. Hymeneus and Alexander] The name Hymenæus occurs again in 2 Timothy 2:17, and being uncommon and used in both places of an heretical person in the same locality may fairly be taken as referring to the same person; the heresy condemned is practically the same; ‘the profane babblings’ there representing the ‘vain talking’ of 1 Timothy 1:6 here, which is plainly echoed in 1 Timothy 1:19—the test of orthodoxy being ‘faith and a good conscience.’

The name Alexander also occurs again in 2 Timothy 4:14; but being common, and having a distinguishing addition there ‘the coppersmith,’ and referring rather to a personal enemy of St Paul than to a heretic, may more probably refer to a different person, possibly the Alexander of Acts 19:33. Fairbairn adds reasonably ‘in the 2nd Epistle Philetus not Alexander is associated with Hymenæus, and Alexander is mentioned alone and apparently as a worker of evil, not at Ephesus but in Rome, though it is possible enough he may have belonged to the region of Asia.’

whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn] The exact force of the tense is whom I delivered; of the mood, that they might be disciplined. In the N. T. the later usage holds of the subjunctive following the past tense instead of the optative and our idiom requires ‘might.’ A definite time and act of ‘delivering’ is thus seen to be referred to, explained by some ancient and modern commentators as being excommunication; e.g. Theod. Mops., Latin Version, “ecclesiae alienationem ‘traditionem Satanae’ vocans”; by others as the judicial infliction of bodily sickness or calamity, such as the blindness inflicted upon Elymas by St Paul, Acts 13:11; by Ellicott and Fairbairn, as both combined. “The term” says Wordsworth (on 1 Corinthians 5:5, where the phrase is the same) “appears to have had its origin from consideration of the fact that physical evil is due to the agency of the Evil Spirit; cf. Job 2:6; Luke 13:16 : Matthew 8:30-32 (add 2 Corinthians 12:7 ‘a messenger of Satan’). But St Paul states the aim and end of the sentence of excommunication against the incestuous Corinthian to be that by the punishment of the flesh, and consequent mortification of the fleshly lusts and appetites, ‘his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord’; so in the case of Hymenæus and Alexander; and generally his spiritual weapons are given him for edification and not for destruction. Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:8.”

may learn] might be disciplined; the verb, meaning properly ‘to train,’ ‘educate,’ as in Acts 7:22, is generally used of ‘training by chastisement,’ ‘correcting’; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:32, ‘when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord,’ where the reference is to the sickness and death sent as chastisement for the desecration of the Lord’s Table. Compare the old English use of ‘teach’ in Jdg 8:16, ‘he took the thorns of the wilderness and briars, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.’ Cf. the striking use in Luke 23:16, ‘I will therefore chastise him and let him go.’

1 Timothy 1:20. Ὑμέναιος καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος, Hymenœus and Alexander) A reproof, with the names expressed: comp. on Hymenæus and Alexander, 2 Timothy 2:16-17; 2 Timothy 4:14-15.—οὓς, whom) though absent. They were at Ephesus; Paul was at Rome. This was the part of an apostle; it was the part of Timothy merely to avoid them and to be on his guard.—παρέδωκα, I have delivered) for [or to] the destruction of the flesh [1 Corinthians 5:5].—μὴ βλασφημεῖν) lest they should fall into blasphemy, and wholly complete their guilt by becoming more hurtful to themselves and others. [The danger of blasphemy is near at hand to the man who has made shipwreck of his faith. Satan might harass them: he could not force them to blaspheme.—V. g.]


Verse 20. - Delivered for have delivered, A.V.; might be taught for may learn, A.V. Hymenaeus; probably the same as is mentioned 2 Timothy 2:17, 18, as holding heretical doctrine concerning the resurrection, and overthrowing the faith of some. It is an uncommon name, though borne by a Bishop of Alexandria in the second century, and by a Bishop of Jerusalem in the third. Alexander; doubtless the same as "Alexander the coppersmith" of 2 Timothy 4:14. I delivered unto Satan. The passages in Scripture which throw light on this difficult phrase are, chiefly, the following: the almost identical passage, 1 Corinthians 5:5; Job 1:12; Job 2:6, 7; Luke 13:10; Acts 5:5, 10; Acts 10:38; Acts 13:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30; 2 Corinthians 12:7; and Hebrews 2:14. Putting these together, it appears that sickness and bodily infirmity and death are, within certain limits, in the power of Satan to inflict. And that the apostles were able, on fitting occasions, to hand over peccant members of the Church to this power of Satan, that by such discipline "the spirit might be saved." In the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander (as in that of the incestuous person at Corinth), the punishment incident on this delivery to Satan would appear to have been short or' death, but in the case of the two first not to have had the effect of bringing them to a true repentance. Might be taught (παιδευθῶσι); viz. by correction and punishment, as children are taught (Hebrews 12:6-8). The metaphor in the word κολαφίζειν (2 Corinthians 12:7) is similar.

1 Timothy 1:20Hymenaeus and Alexander

Comp. 2 Timothy 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:14.

Have delivered unto Satan (παρέδωκα τῷ Σατανᾷ)

See on 1 Corinthians 5:5.

They may learn (παιδευθῶσι)

Neither A.V. nor Rev. gives the true force of the word, which is, may be taught by punishment or disciplined. See on Ephesians 6:4.

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