1 Timothy 1:6
From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) From which some having swerved have turned aside.—This sentence is rendered more accurately: From which some, having gone wide in aim, have turned themselves aside. These words seem to tell us that these teachers had once been in the right direction, but had not kept in it; indeed, from the whole tenor of St. Paul’s directions to Timothy it is clear that these persons not only had been, but were still, reckoned among the Christian congregations of the Ephesian Church. The presiding presbyter appointed by St. Paul could have exercised no possible authority over any not reckoned in the Church’s pale.

Unto vain jangling.—These men, having missed the true aim of the commandment, have now turned themselves to vain, empty talking, which could lead to nothing except wranglings and angry disputations.

1 Timothy

THE END OF THE COMMANDMENT

1 Timothy 1:6.

The Apostle has just said that he left Timothy in Ephesus, in order to check some tendencies there which were giving anxiety. Certain teachers had appeared, the effect of whose activity was to create parties, to foster useless speculations, and to turn the minds of the Ephesian Christians away from the practical and moral side of Christianity. In opposition to these, the Apostle here lays down the broad principle that God has spoken, not in order to make acute theologians, or to provide materials for controversy, but in order to help us to love. The whole of these latest letters of the Apostle breathe the mellow wisdom of old age, which has learned to rate brilliant intellectualism, agility, incontroversial fence and the like, far lower than homely goodness. And so, says Paul, ‘the end of the commandment is love.’

Now he here states, not only the purpose of the divine revelation, but gives us a summary, but yet sufficient, outline of the method by which God works towards that purpose. The commandment is the beginning, love is the end or aim. And between these two there are inserted three things, a ‘pure heart,’ a ‘good conscience,’ ‘faith unfeigned.’ Now of these three the two former are closely connected, and the third is the cause, or condition, of both of them. It is, therefore, properly named last as being first in order, and therefore last reached in analysis. When you track a stream from its mouth to its source, the fountain-head is the last thing that you come to. And here we have, as in these great lakes in Central Africa--out of which finally the Nile issues--the stages of the flow. There are the twin lakes, a ‘good conscience’ and a ‘pure heart.’ These come from ‘unfeigned faith,’ which lies higher up in the hills of God; and they run down into the love which is the ‘end of the commandment.’ The faith lays hold on the commandment, and so the process is complete. Or, if you begin at the top, instead of at the bottom, God gives the word; faith grasps the word, and thereby nourishes a ‘pure heart’ and a ‘good conscience,’ and thereby produces a universal love. So, then, we have three steps to look at here.

I. First of all, what God speaks to us for.

‘The end of the commandment is love.’

Now, I take it that the word ‘commandment’ here means, not this or that specific precept, but the whole body of Christian revelation, considered as containing laws for life. And to begin with, and only to mention, it is something to get that point of view, that all which God says, be it promise, be it self-manifestation, be it threatening, or be it anything else, has a preceptive bearing, and is meant to influence life and conduct. I shall have a word or two more to say about that presently, but note, just as we go on, how remarkable it is, and how full of lessons, if we will ponder it, that one name for the Gospel on the lips of the man who had most to say about the contrast between Gospel and Law is ‘commandment.’ Try to feel the stringency of that aspect of evangelical truth and of Christian revelation.

Then I need not remind you how here the indefinite expression ‘love’ must be taken, as I think is generally the case in the New Testament, when the object on which the love rests is not defined, as including both of the twin commandments, of which the second, our Master says, is like unto the first, love to God and love to man. In the Christian idea these two are one. They are shoots from the one root. The only difference is that the one climbs and the other grows along the levels of earth. There is no gulf set in the New Testament teaching, and there ought to be none in the practice and life of a Christian man, between the love of God and the love of man. They are two aspects of one thing.

Then, if so, mark how, according to the Apostle’s teaching here, in this one thought of a dual-sided love, one turned upwards, one turned earthwards, there lies the whole perfection of a human soul. You want nothing more if you are ‘rooted and grounded in love.’ That will secure all goodness, all morality, all religion, everything that is beautiful, and everything that is noble. And all this is meant to be the result of God’s speech to us.

So, then, two very plain practical principles may be deduced and enforced from this first thought. First, the purpose of all revelation and the test of all religion is--character and conduct.

It is all very well to know about God, to have our minds filled with true thoughts about Him, His nature, and dealings with us. Orthodoxy is good, but orthodoxy is a means to an end. There should be nothing in a man’s creed which does not act upon his life. Or, if I may put it into technical words, all a man’s credenda should be his agenda ; and whatsoever he believes should come straight into his life to influence it, and to shape character. Here, then, is the warning against a mere notional orthodoxy, and against regarding Christian truth as being intended mainly to illuminate the understanding, or to be a subject of speculation and discussion. There are people in all generations, and there are plenty of them to-day, who seem to think that the great verities of the Gospel are mainly meant to provide material for controversy--

As if religion were intended For nothing else but to be mended’;

and that they have done all that can be expected when they have tried to apprehend the true bearing of this revelation, and to contend against misinterpretations. This is the curse of religious controversy, that it blinds men to the practical importance of the truths for which they are fighting. It is as if one were to take some fertile wheat-land, and sand it all over, and roll it down, and make it smooth for a gymnasium, where nothing would grow. So the temper which finds in Christian truth simply a ‘ministration of questions,’ as my text says, mars its purpose, and robs itself of all the power and nourishment that it might find there.

No less to be guarded against is the other misconception which the clear grasp of our text would dismiss at once, that the great purpose for which God speaks to us men, in the revelation of Jesus Christ, is that we may, as we say, be ‘forgiven,’ and escape any of the temporal or eternal consequences of our wrongdoing. That is a purpose, no doubt, and men will never rise to the apprehension of the loftiest purposes, nor penetrate to a sympathetic perception of the inmost sweetness of the Gospel, unless they begin with its redemptive aspect, even in the narrowest sense of that word. But there are a miserable number of so-called and of real Christians in this world, and in our churches to-day, who have little conception that God has spoken to them for anything else than to deliver them from the fear of death, and from the incidence on them of future condemnation. He has spoken for this purpose, but the ultimate end of all is that we may be helped to love Him, and so to be like Him. The aim of the commandment is love, and if you ever are tempted to rest in intellectual apprehensions, or to pervert the truth of God into a mere arena on which you can display your skill of fence and your intellectual agility, or if ever you are tempted to think that all is done when the sweet message of forgiveness is sealed upon a man’s heart, remember the solemn and plain words of my text--the final purpose of all is that we may love God and man.

But then, on the other side, note that no less distinctly is the sole foundation of this love laid in God’s speech. My text, in its elevation of sentiment and character and conduct above doctrine, falls in with the prevailing tendencies of this day; but it provides the safeguards which these tendencies neglect. Notice that this favourite saying of the most advanced school of broad thinkers, who are always talking about the decay of dogma, and the unimportance of doctrine as compared with love, is here uttered by a man who was no sentimentalist, but to whom the Christian system was a most distinct and definite thing, bristling all over with the obnoxious doctrines which are by some of us so summarily dismissed as of no importance. My very text protests against the modern attempt to wrench away the sentiments and emotions produced in men, by the reception of Christian truth, from the truth which it recognises as the only basis on which they can be produced. It declares that the ‘commandment’ must come first, before love can follow; and the rest of the letter, although, as I say, it decisively places the end of revelation as being the moral and religious perfecting of men into assimilation with the divine love, no less decisively demands that for such a perfecting there shall be laid the foundation of the truth as it is revealed in Jesus Christ.

And that is what we want to-day in order to make breadth wholesome, and if only we will carry with us the two thoughts, the commandment and love, we shall not go far wrong. But what would you think of a man that said, ‘I do not want any foundations. I want a house to live in’? And pray how are you going to get your house without the foundations? Or would he be a wise man who said, ‘Oh, never mind about putting grapes into the vine vat, and producing fermentation; give me the wine!’ Yes! But you must have the fermentation first. The process is not the result, of course, but there is no result without the process. And according to New Testament teaching, which, I am bold to say, is verified by experience, there is no deep, all-swaying, sovereign, heart-uniting love to God which is not drawn from the acceptance of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ.

II. And so I come, secondly, to note the purifying which is needed prior to such love.

Our text, as I said, divides the process into stages; or, if I may go back to a former illustration, into levels. And on the level immediately above the love, down into which the waters of the twin lakes glide, are a pure heart and a good conscience. These are the requisites for all real and operative love. Now they are closely connected, as it seems to me, more closely so than with either the stage which precedes or that which follows. They are, in fact, two twin thoughts, very closely identified, though not quite identical.

A pure heart is one that has been defecated and cleansed from the impurities which naturally attach to human affections. A ‘good conscience’ is one which is void of offence towards God and man, and registers the emotions of a pure heart. It is like a sheet of sensitive paper that, with a broken line, indicates how many hours of sunshine in the day there have been. We need not discuss the question as to which of these two great gifts and blessings which sweeten a whole life come first. In the initial stages of the Christian life I suppose the good conscience precedes the pure heart. For forgiveness which calms the conscience and purges it of the perilous stuff which has been injected into it by our corruptions--forgiveness comes before cleansing, and the conscience is calm before the heart is purified. But in the later stages of the Christian life the order seems to be reversed, and there cannot be in a man a conscience that is good unless there is a heart that is pure.

But however that may be--and it does not affect the general question before us--mark how distinctly Paul lays down here the principle that you will get no real love of God or man out of men whose hearts are foul, and whose consciences are either torpid or stinging them. I need not dwell upon that, for it is plain to anybody that will think for a moment that all sin separates between a man and God; and that from a heart all seething and bubbling, like the crater of a volcano, with foul liquids, and giving forth foul odours, there can come no love worth calling so to God, nor any benevolence worth calling so to man. Wherever there is sin, unrecognised, unconfessed, unpardoned, there there is a black barrier built up between a man’s heart and the yearning heart of God on the other side. And until that barrier is swept away, until the whole nature receives a new set, until it is delivered from the love of evil, and from its self-centred absorption, and until conscience has taken into grateful hands, if I might so say, the greatest of all gifts, the assurance of the divine forgiveness, I, for one, do not believe that deep, vital, and life-transforming love to God is possible. I know that it is very unfashionable, I know it is exceedingly narrow teaching, but it seems to me that it is Scriptural teaching; and it seems to me that if we will strip it of the exaggerations with which it has often been surrounded, and recognise that there may be a kind of instinctive and occasional recognition of a divine love, there may be a yearning after a clear light, and fuller knowledge of it, and yet all the while no real love to God, rooted in and lording over and moulding the life, we shall not find much in the history of the world, or in the experience of ourselves or of others, to contradict the affirmation that you need the cleansing of forgiveness, and the recognition of God’s love in Jesus Christ, before you can get love worth calling so in return to Him in men’s hearts.

Brethren, there is much to-day to shame Christian men in the singular fact which is becoming more obvious daily, of a divorce between human benevolence and godliness. It is a scandal that there should be so many men in the world who make no pretensions to any sympathy with your Christianity, and who set you an example of benevolence, self-sacrifice, enthusiasm for humanity, as it is called. I believe that the one basis upon which there can be solidly built benevolence to men is devotion to God, because of God’s great love to us in Jesus Christ. But I want to stir, if I might not say sting, you and myself into a recognition of our obligations to mankind, more stringent and compelling than we have ever felt it, by this phenomenon of modern life, that a divorce has been proclaimed between philanthropy and religion. The end of the commandment is love, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience.

III. Lastly, notice the condition of such purifying.

To recur to my former illustration, we have to go up country to a still higher level. What feeds the two reservoirs that feed the love? What makes the heart pure and the conscience good? Paul answers, ‘faith unfeigned’; not mere intellectual apprehension, not mere superficial or professed, but deep, genuine, and complete faith which has in it the element of reliance as well as the element of credence. Belief is not all that goes to make faith. Trust is not all that goes to make faith. Belief and trust are indissolubly wedded in the conception of it. Such a faith, which knows what it lays hold of--for it lays hold upon definite truth, and lays hold on what it knows, for it trusts in Him whom the truth reveals--such a faith makes the heart pure and the conscience good.

And how does it do so? By nothing in itself. There is no power in my faith to make me one bit better than I am. There is no power in it to still one accusation of conscience. It is only the condition on which the one power that purges and that calms enters into my heart and works there. The power of faith is the power of that which faith admits to operate in my life. If we open our hearts the fire will come in, and it will thaw the ice, and melt out the foulness from my heart. It is important for practice that we should clearly understand that the great things which the Bible says of faith it says of it only because it is the channel, the medium, the condition, by and on which the real power, which is Jesus Christ Himself, acts upon us. It is not the window, but the sunshine, that floods this building with light. It is not the opened hand, but the gift laid in it, that enriches the pauper. It is not the poor leaden pipe, but the water that flows through it, that fills the cistern, and cleanses it, whilst it fills. It is not your faith, but the Christ whom your faith brings into your heart and conscience, that purges the one, and makes the other void of offence towards God and man.

So, brethren, let us learn the secret of all nobility, of all power, of all righteousness of character and conduct. Put your foot on the lowest round of the ladder, and then aspire and climb, and you will reach the summit. Take the first step, and be true to it after you have taken it, and the last will surely come. He that can say, ‘We have known and believed the love that God hath to us,’ will also be able to say, ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’ ‘And this commandment have we of God, that he who loves God loves his brother also.’

1:5-11 Whatever tends to weaken love to God, or love to the brethren, tends to defeat the end of the commandment. The design of the gospel is answered, when sinners, through repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, are brought to exercise Christian love. And as believers were righteous persons in God's appointed way, the law was not against them. But unless we are made righteous by faith in Christ, really repenting and forsaking sin, we are yet under the curse of the law, even according to the gospel of the blessed God, and are unfit to share the holy happiness of heaven.From which some having swerved - Margin, "not aiming at." The word here used - ἀστοχέω astocheō - means properly, to miss the mark; to err; and then, to swerve from compare 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18. It does not mean that they had ever had that from which they are said to have swerved - for it does not follow that a man who misses a mark had ever hit it - but merely that they failed of the things referred to, and had turned to vain talk. The word "which" ὧν hōn, in the plural, refers not to the law, but to the things enumerated - a pure heart, a good conscience, and unfeigned faith.

Have turned aside unto vain jangling - Vain talk, empty declamation, discourses without sense. The word here used does not mean contention or strife, but that kind of discourse which is not founded in good sense. They were discourses on their pretended distinctions in the law; on their traditions and ceremonies; on their useless genealogies, and on the fabulous statements which they had appended to the law of Moses.

6. From which—namely, from a pure heart, good conscience, and faith unfeigned, the well-spring of love.

having swerved—literally, "having missed the mark (the 'end') to be aimed at." It is translated, "erred," 1Ti 6:21; 2Ti 2:18. Instead of aiming at and attaining the graces above named, they "have turned aside (1Ti 5:15; 2Ti 4:4; Heb 12:13) unto vain jangling"; literally, "vain talk," about the law and genealogies of angels (1Ti 1:7; Tit 3:9; 1:10); 1Ti 6:20, "vain babblings and oppositions." It is the greatest vanity when divine things are not truthfully discussed (Ro 1:21) [Bengel].

See Poole on "1 Timothy 1:6"

From which some having swerved,.... The apostle, in this verse and the next, describes the persons he suspected of teaching other doctrines, and of introducing fables and endless genealogies; they were such who departed from the above things; they erred from the commandment, or law, notwithstanding their great pretensions to a regard unto it; at least they missed the mark, the end and design of it; they went astray from that, and instead of promoting charity or love, created feuds, contentions, and divisions in the churches; and were far from having a pure heart, being filthy dreamers, and sensual persons, destitute of the Spirit of God, and were such who put away a good conscience, and made shipwreck of faith: such were Hymenaeus, Philetus, Alexander, and others, of whom he also says, they

have turned aside to vain jangling; which he elsewhere calls empty talk, and vain babblings, 1 Timothy 6:20, from the solid doctrines of the Gospel, and a solid way of handling them, they turned to vain, idle, useless, and unprofitable subjects of discourse, and to treating upon subjects in a vain, jejune, and empty manner; entertaining their hearers with foolish and trifling questions and answers to them about the law, and with strifes about words, which were unserviceable and unedifying; they were unruly and vain talkers, Titus 1:10.

{5} From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

(5) That which he spoke before generally of vain and curious controversies, he applies to those who, pretending a zeal of the Law, dwelled upon outward things, and never made an end of babbling of foolish trifles.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 1:6-7. At 1 Timothy 1:6 the apostle passes to the heretics.

ων] refers to the ideas immediately preceding: ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας κ.τ.λ., not—as Wiesinger rightly remarks—to ἀγάπη direct, “since εἰς ματαιολογίαν manifestly denotes a false goal in contrast with the true goal, which is ἀγάπη.”[52]

ἀστοχήσαντες] This verb occurs only in the Pastoral Epistles, in this passage and also in 1 Timothy 6:21 and 2 Timothy 2:18 (where it is joined with περί and the accusative). Here it stands in its original sense: a scopo sive meta aberrare (comp. Plut. de Defect. Oracul. chap. 10), which corresponds to the τέλος mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:5, and gives us to understand that the heretics had at first been on the way which leads to the goal, but had not remained in it. In this way Schleiermacher’s criticism (p. 90), that the word here is far from clear, loses its force.

ἐξετράπησαν] ἐξ has its full force (Josephus, Antiq. xiii. 18: ἐκτρέπεσθαι τῆς ὁδοῦ δικαίας) in this verb, which, except in Hebrews 12:13, only occurs in the Epistles to Timothy. The goal to which they have come after turning from the τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας is ματαιολογία. This word (only found here; Titus 1:10 : ματαιολόγοι) characterizes the heresy as empty in nature, contributing nothing to the furtherance of the Christian life. It consists on the one hand of μύθοις καὶ γενεαλογίαις, on the other of such definitions regarding the law as were opposed to evangelic doctrine. This latter reference is proved by the close connection of the verse with what follows.

θέλοντες] The participle does not express contrast: “although;” it gives rather a more precise definition of the previous verb ἐξετράπησαν. Some expositors (de Wette: wish to be, without being so in reality; Bengel has temere; so also Plitt) rightly urge that θέλειν expresses an allegation of their own; Hofmann, on the other hand, wrongly takes it in the sense of “arbitrary assumption.”[53]

νομοδιδάσκαλοι] Luther’s translation is, “masters of the Scripture” (and similar explanations are given; Heinrichs has “teachers”); but this does not give the full force of νόμος. By νόμος we must of course understand the Mosaic law, though it does not follow that the heretics here were Judaizers such as those against whom Paul contends in the Epistles to the Romans and to the Galatians: they might rather be men who acquired the name by laying down arbitrary commands in their interpretations of the law, and calling these the right knowledge of the law. Baur’s theory, that Paul gave this name to the heretics because of their antinomianism, is quite arbitrary, and contrary to the natural meaning of the words. De Wette rightly disproves this by referring to Titus 1:14, from which it is abundantly clear that the heretics made it their business to lay down arbitrary commands. Baur’s appeal to 1 Timothy 1:8, according to which he thinks the heretics must have declared that the law was not good, must decidedly be rejected, since the idea is only an arbitrary importation into 1 Timothy 1:8.[54]

μὴ νοοῦντες] This participle expresses contrast (Leo: quamquam ignorant), “without, however, understanding.” The object of νοοῦντες is given in a sentence of two clauses: μήτεμήτε. The first: μήτε ἃ λέγουσι, is clear in itself; the second: μήτε περὶ τίνων διαβεβαιοῦνται, has been variously explained. Most find the difference between the clauses to lie in this, that the one refers to the utterances themselves, the other to things of which the utterance was made, i.e. to the subject-matter of the doctrine (so Raphelius, Leo, Matthies, Wiesinger, Plitt, Oosterzee, Hofmann). De Wette, again, thinks that this explanation rests on a grammatical error, and that “περὶ τίνων does not refer to the things of which corroboratory assertions were made, but to these assertions themselves” (Luther: what they say or what they suppose). In support of this opinion de Wette wrongly appeals to Titus 3:8.[55] He is wrong, too, in translating διαβεβ. by “corroborate;” it means rather: “give full assurance.” Hofmann says, “to express oneself with confidence regarding anything.” The expression is quite general, and Mack seems to be arbitrary in limiting the thought by explaining how ἃ λεγ. refers to expressions in the law brought forward as proofs of assertions with which they had no real connection, and περὶ τίν. βεβ. to those assertions for which proofs out of the law were given, and which in themselves had no meaning. Paul merely says that the νομοδιδάσκαλοι possessed no insight into the nature of the law, and hence they made assertions regarding it which were not understood even by themselves.[56]

[52] Hofmann is wrong in disputing the reason given by Wiesinger, and maintaining that παραγγελία and not τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας is opposed to ματαιολογία. There is no ground also for his assertion that ἀστοχεῖν has here the general sense of “to leave uncared for.” The ἐξετράπησαν clearly shows that ἀστοχεῖν is to be taken in its own proper sense.

[53] Hofmann’s reason for this explanation is, that “νομοδιδάσκαλοι, who make the law of Israel the subject of their instruction, have no business in the church of the gospel.” This is altogether wrong, as may be seen when, further on, Paul appears as a νομοδιδάσκαλος.

[54] Contrary to the train of thought, van Oosterzee remarks on νομοδιδάσκαλοι: “not in a good, rather in a bad, non-evangelical meaning of this word; men who mixed up law and gospel.” In this explanation he overlooks the θέλοντες εἶναι.

[55] The classical usage is against de Wette’s explanation; comp. Plutarch, Fabii Vita, chap. 14: διαβεβαιούμενος περὶ τῶν πραγμάτων; Polyb. xii. 12. 6 : διοριζόμενος καὶ διαβεβαιούμενος περὶ τούτων.

[56] On the conjunction of the relative and interrogative pronouns τίνων, see Winer, p. 159 [E. T. p. 211].

1 Timothy 1:6. ὧν: i.e., the disposition, conscience, and faith as qualified. τινὲς: see note on 1 Timothy 1:3. ἀστοχήσαντες: (aberrantes, Vulg.; recedentes, [254]7; excedentes, [255]50). In the other passages where this word occurs the A.V. and R.V. have erred; here swerved. They missed the mark in point of fact. It may be questioned whether they really had aimed at a pure heart, etc. But having missed, being in fact “corrupted in mind” 1 Timothy 6:5; “branded in their conscience,” 1 Timothy 4:2; and “reprobate concerning the faith,” 2 Timothy 3:8, they did not secure as their own love, practical beneficence, but its exact opposite, empty talking, vaniloquium, Titus 1:10. The content of this empty talking is analysed in Titus 3:9.

[254] Speculum

[255]
Speculum

It is more natural to suppose that ὧν is governed by ἀστοχήσαντες (Huther, Grimm, Alf.) than by ἐξετράπησαν (Ellicott). ἀστοχεῖν is used absolutely with περί elsewhere in the Pastorals; but in Ecclus. it governs a genitive directly. ἐκτρέπεσθαι governs both gen. and acc.; the latter in 1 Timothy 6:20.

Moulton and Milligan, Expositor, vii., vii. 373, quote examples of ἀστοχέω from papyri (ii. B.C. ii. A.D.) in the sense “fail” or “forget,” e.g., ἀστοχήσαντες τοῦ καλῶς ἔχοντος. ἐξετράπησαν introduces a new metaphor: they had turned aside out of the right path.—ματαιολογία: Here only; but ματαιολόγοι occurs, Titus 1:10. See 1 Timothy 6:20 : “Vanitas maxima, ubi de rebus divinis non vere disseritur, Romans 1:21” (Bengel).

6. from which] Plural from which things, that is the love and its threefold helpers, in the grace, the life, and the creed.

having swerved] Lit. ‘having missed the mark,’ another of the words peculiar to these epistles, occurring only ch. 1 Timothy 6:21 and 2 Timothy 2:18.

vain jangling] empty talking; the word occurs in the adjective form once again, in the still stronger warning against the same class of teachers in Titus 1:10, where they are said to be mostly ‘of the Circumcision,’ and to give heed to ‘Jewish fables.’ The law of which they are setting themselves up to be teachers is of course the law of Moses, but corrupted by allegorical interpretations and philosophisings which whittled away the keen edge of its moral precepts and blunted all sense of the paramount necessity of holy living.

1 Timothy 1:6. Ὧν, from which) a pure heart, etc.—ἀστοχήσαντες) The same word is found at ch. 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18. ἀστοχεῖν is said of him who misses the point at which he aimed, who does not obtain his end.—ἐξετράπησαν, have turned away) Not only did they not become better, but worse. A false and preposterous elevation and extent of knowledge renders its possessor more estranged from the faith, and from the sense of good and evil, etc., than is any illiterate person.—εἰς ματαιολογίαν, unto vain jangling) Titus 1:10; Titus 3:9. He comprehends in this one term the empty (vain) babblings and oppositions, ch. 1 Timothy 6:20. It is the greatest vanity where Divine things are not truthfully discussed; Romans 1:21.

Verse 6. - Which things for which, A.V.; talking for jangling, A.V. Having swerved (ἀστοχήσαντες); literally, having missed the mark, as in the margin. It is found in the New Testament only here and 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18. In Ecclesiastes 7:19 (Ecclesiastes 7:21, A.V.) and 8:9 (Ecclesiastes 8:11, A.V.) it is used in a slightly different sense, "forego" and "miss." In Polybius and Plutarch repeatedly, "to miss the mark.... to fail," with the kindred ἄστοχος ἀστοχία αστόχημα, These men missed the true end of the gospel - purity of heart and conscience and life - and only reached vain and boastful talking. Have turned aside (ἐξετράπησαν); 1 Timothy 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 4:4; Hebrews 12:13; but not elsewhere in the New Testament. It is found in the active voice in the LXX., and is common in all voices in classical Greek. Vain talking (ματαιολογία); here only in the New Testament, and not feared in the LXX., but used by Strabo, Plutarch, and Porphyry. The adjective ματαιολόγος is used in Titus 1:10, and applied especially to those "of the circumcision." The Latin equivalents are vaniloquus and vaniloquium. Livy's description of a vaniloquus is "Maria terrasque inani sonitu verborum complevit" (lib. 35:48; comp. Jude 1:16). 1 Timothy 1:6Having swerved (ἀστοχήσαντες)

Pasto. In lxx, Sir. 7:19; 8:9. It means to miss the mark.

Have turned aside (ἐξετράπησαν)

oP. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:15; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 4:4; Hebrews 12:13.

Vain jangling (ματαιολογίαν)

N.T.o. olxx. oClass. The word illustrates the writer's fondness for unusual compounds. Jangling is an early English word from the old French jangler, comp. jongleur a teller of tales. Hence jangling is empty chatter. So Chaucer,

"Them that jangle of love."

Troil. and Cress ii.800.

And Piers Ploughman,

"And al day to drynken

At diverse tavernes

And there to jangle and jape."

Vision, Pass. ii.continued...

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