For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach.—And for this end—to obtain this glorious promise, this highest blessedness here, that endless life with God hereafter, to win this glorious promise—we Christian missionaries and teachers care for no toil, however painful—shrink from no shame, however agonising.
Because we trust in the living God.—More accurately translated, because we have our hope in the living God. And this is why we toil and endure shame. We know that the promise made will be fulfilled, because the God on whom—as on a sure foundation—our hopes rest, is a living God. “Living,” in strong contrast to those dumb and lifeless idols shrined in the well-known Ephesian temples.
Who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.—These words, like the assertion of 1Timothy 2:4, have been often pressed into the service of that school of kindly, but mistaken, interpreters, who ignore, or explain away, the plain doctrine of Holy Scripture which tells us there are those whose destruction from the presence of the Lord shall be everlasting, whose portion shall be the “second death” (2Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 21:8). These interpreters prefer to substitute in place of this terrible, but repeated declaration, their own perilous theories of universalism. Here the gracious words seem to affix a seal to the statement immediately preceding, which speaks of “the hope in the living God” as the source of all the labour and brave patience of the Lord’s true servants. The living God is also a loving God, the Saviour of all, if they would receive Him, and, undoubtedly, the Redeemer of those who accept His love and are faithful to His holy cause.
It must be borne in mind that there were many Hebrews still in every Christian congregation, many in every church, who still clung with passionate zeal to the old loved Hebrew thought, that Messiah’s work of salvation was limited to the chosen race. This and similar sayings were specially meant to set aside for ever these narrow and selfish conceptions of the Redeemer’s will; were intended to show these exclusive children of Israel that Christ’s work would stretch over a greater and a grander platform than ever Israel could fill; were designed to tell out to all the churches how indeed “it was a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel.” Still, with all these guarded considerations, which serve to warn us from entertaining any hopes of a universal redemption, such a saying as this seems to point to the blessed Atonement mystery as performing a work whose consequences reach far beyond the limits of human thought, or even of sober speculation.
Because we trust in the living God - This does not mean, as our translation would seem to imply, that he labored and suffered "because" he confided in God, or that this was the "reason" of his sufferings, but rather that this trust in the living God was his "support" in these labors and trials. "We labor and suffer reproach, for we have hope in God. Through him we look for salvation. We believe that he has made this known to people, and believing this, we labor earnestly to make it known, even though it be attended with reproaches." The sentiment is, that the belief that God has revealed a plan of salvation for all people, and invites all people to be saved, will make his friends willing to "labor" to make this known, though it be attended with reproaches.
Who is the Saviour of all men - This must be understood as denoting that he is the Saviour of all people in some sense which differs from what is immediately affirmed - "especially of those that believe." There is something pertaining to "them" in regard to salvation which does not pertain to "all men." It cannot mean that he brings all people to heaven, "especially" those who believe - for this would be nonsense. And if he brings all people actually to heaven, how can it be "especially" true that he does this in regard to those who believe? Does it mean that he saves others "without" believing? But this would be contrary to the uniform doctrine of the Scriptures; see Mark 16:16. When, therefore, it is said that he "is the Saviour of 'all' people, 'especially' of those who believe," it must mean that there is a sense in which it is true that he may be called the Saviour of all people, while, at the same time, it is "actually" true that those only are saved who believe. This may be true in two respects:
(2) as he has "provided" salvation for all people. He is thus their Saviour - and may be called the common Saviour of all; that is, he has confined the offer of salvation to no one class of people; he has not limited the atonement to one division of the human race; and he actually saves all who are willing to be saved by him.
(See supplementary note on 2 Corinthians 5:21. This passage however is not regarded a proof text now on the extent of the atonement, as the fair rendering of σωτήρ sōtēr is "Preserver." Dr. Wardlaw has accordingly excluded it in his recent work.)
Specially of those that believe - This is evidently designed to limit the previous remark. If it had been left there, it might have been inferred that he would "actually save" all people. But the apostle held no such doctrine, and he here teaches that salvation is "actually" limited to those who believe. This is the speciality or the uniqueness in the salvation of those who actually reach heaven, that they are "believers;" see the notes on Mark 16:16. All people, therefore, do not enter heaven, unless all people have faith. But is this so? What evidence is there that the great mass of mankind die believing on the Son of God?
Saviour—even in this life (1Ti 4:8).
specially of those that believe—Their "labor and reproach" are not inconsistent with their having from the living God, their Saviour, even the present life (Mr 10:30, "a hundred fold now in this time … with persecutions"), much more the life to come. If God is in a sense "Saviour" of unbelievers (1Ti 2:4, that is, is willing to be so everlastingly, and is temporally here their Preserver and Benefactor), much more of believers. He is the Saviour of all men potentially (1Ti 1:15); of believers alone effectually.a faithful saying, that godliness is profitable for all things, and trust in God, who liveth for ever, to see to the fulfilling of it, to what purpose should
we labour and suffer reproach as we do; labouring in the work of God, suffering reproach in the cause of God, and for living godly lives, worshipping God according to his will, and denying ourselves in sensual satisfactions and sensible enjoyments, that we might fulfil the law of Christ?
Objection. But, will some say: how then is godliness profitable for all things, how doth the faithfulness of the promises for this life annexed to godliness appear, if those that profess it must labour and suffer reproach?
Solution. Labour for God is a reward to itself, our honour, not our burden, his service is perfect freedom: the promises of this life, annexed to godliness, are not promises of sensual rest and ease, but of inward peace, satisfaction, and support of other things, only with a reserve to the Divine wisdom and judgment, so far forth as our heavenly Father shall see it fit for his glory and our good; yet they are not vain, for God,
who is the Saviour, that is, the Preserver,
of all men, the Preserver of man and beast, as the psalmist speaketh, is in a more especial manner the Saviour
of those that believe, Psalm 33:18,19. This seemeth rather to be the sense of the text, than to understand it of eternal salvation, for so God is not the actual Saviour of all; besides that the text seemeth to speak of a work proper to the Father, rather than to the Son. 2 Corinthians 11:23.
And suffer reproach; with patience and cheerfulness. The Alexandrian copy, and another manuscript, read, "we strive"; or contend even to an agony, combating with sin, Satan, and the world, with profane men, and with false teachers; and to all this they were animated by the promises made to godliness; and therefore they showed it by their practices, or rather by their sufferings, that they believed it to be a true and faithful saying; and which is further conferred by what follows:
because we trust in the living God; for the accomplishment of the said promises, who has power, and therefore can, and is faithful, and therefore will, make good what he has promised; and since it is life he has promised, faith is the more encouraged to trust in him, since he is the living God, in opposition to, and distinction from, lifeless idols; he has life in himself, essentially, originally, and independently, and is the author and giver of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal, unto others. Wherefore there is good reason to trust in him for the fulfilling of the promises of the present and future life, made unto godliness.
Who is the Saviour of all men; in a providential way, giving them being and breath, upholding them in their beings, preserving their lives, and indulging them with the blessings and mercies of life; for that he is the Saviour of all men, with a spiritual and everlasting salvation, is not true in fact.
Specially of those that believe; whom though he saves with an eternal salvation; yet not of this, but of a temporal salvation, are the words to be understood: or as there is a general providence, which attends all mankind, there is a special one which relates to the elect of God; these are regarded in Providence, and are particularly saved and preserved before conversion, in order to be called; and after conversion, after they are brought to believe in Christ, they are preserved from many enemies, and are delivered out of many afflictions and temptations; and are the peculiar care and darlings of providence, being to God as the apple of his eye: and there is a great deal of reason to believe this, for if he is the Saviour of all men, then much more of them who are of more worth, value, and esteem with him, than all the world beside; and if they are saved by him with the greater salvation, then much more with the less; and if he the common Saviour of all men, and especially of saints, whom he saves both ways, then there is great reason to trust in him for the fulfilment of the promises of life, temporal and eternal, made to godliness, and godly persons. This epithet of God seems to be taken out of Psalm 17:7 where he is called , "the Saviour of them that trust", or believe.For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1 Timothy 4:10. Εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὀνειδιζόμεθα κ.τ.λ.] The particle γάρ shows that this verse is to serve as a reason or confirmation of the preceding thought that godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of this and the future life. Εἰς τοῦτο is by expositors either referred directly to this thought (de Wette, van Oosterzee), or is joined with the ὅτι following (Wiesinger); in the latter case the ἠλπίκαμεν points only to the thought in 1 Timothy 4:8. The former construction deserves the preference, not only because it is more natural to refer the τοῦτο to the thought of 1 Timothy 4:8 so purposely confirmed by 1 Timothy 4:9; and also because εἰς τοῦτο cannot be taken as equivalent to διὰ τοῦτο (by which Theodoret paraphrases it), id circo (Beza). Εἰς always points to a goal (and not to the reason of something). Ἠλπικέναι, however, as an already existing condition, cannot be regarded as the goal to which the κοπιᾶν is directed; hence Luther’s translation: “to this end we labour also … that we … have hoped,” cannot be justified. The meaning therefore is: In regard to this, that godliness has promise, viz. in order that this promise may be fulfilled in us, we labour.
With the Rec. καὶ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὀνειδιζόμεθα, καὶ … καί is either equivalent to “both … and,” or the first καί is equivalent to “yea also,” and the second καί is simply “and.” In the former case the two ideas κοπιᾶν and ὀνειδίζεσθαι are more widely separated; in the latter, they are more closely connected. The second view seems to be more natural. There is very weighty authority for the reading: κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα, which also gives a thoroughly appropriate meaning; but still the Rec., for which, too, almost all expositors (de Wette, Wiesinger, Reiche, van Oosterzee, Hofmann, and others) have decided, might be preferred. The change of ὀνειδιζόμεθα into ἀγωνιζόμεθα may be easily explained from the following facts, that in Colossians 1:29 κοπιᾶν is joined with ἀγωνίζεσθαι, that ὀνειδίζειν does not occur elsewhere in Paul (except at Romans 15:3 in an O. T. quotation), that the passive ὀνειδιζόμεθα does not seem suitable, whereas ἀγωνιζόμεθα agrees well with the figure in 1 Timothy 4:8. On the other hand, the change of ἀγωνιζόμεθα into ὀνειδιζόμεθα is scarcely explicable. The plural κοπιῶμεν is not to be limited to the apostle, or to him and Timothy; it expresses the general Christian consciousness. The verb, often joined with another verb which has in it the idea of active exertion (1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28; Colossians 1:29), does not denote simple labour, but labour with trouble and suffering: “to toil and moil” (Heydenreich); καὶ ὀνειδιζόμεθα again points to the reproach which the Christian bears from the world. Ὀνειδιζόμεθα is a “concise expression for we endure to be slandered” (Wiesinger).
ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ Θεῷ ζῶντι] If εἰς τοῦτο refers to what precedes, ὅτι is equivalent to “because;” the meaning in that case is: in regard to the promise given to εὐσέβεια, we take trouble and reproach upon ourselves, because we have set our hope on the living God, and are certain, therefore, that that promise does not remain unfulfilled. Ὅτι refers to both the preceding verbs, and does not merely stand “in close connection with the latter,” as van Oosterzee without reason thinks. The perfect ἠλπίκαμεν as here: 1 Corinthians 15:19; 2 Corinthians 1:10.
God is here called the living God, inasmuch as He fulfils what He has promised.
Ἐλπίζειν is construed with ἐπί and the dative, because the living God is regarded as the ground on which the hope rests. The construction is only found here at 1 Timothy 6:17, and at Romans 15:12 in an O. T. quotation. Elsewhere ἐλπίζειν is construed with ἐν, or εἰς, or ἐπί and the accusative.
The relative clause ὅς ἐστι σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων, μάλιστα πιστῶν serves as a seal of the hope grounded in God. Since God is the σωτήρ, this hope, too, cannot be vain; de Wette is wrong, therefore, in asserting that this clause is “out of all keeping.”
The first words are explained by 1 Timothy 2:4 : ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι. By μάλιστα πιστῶν it is indicated that the will of God unto salvation is realized only in the case of believers. Μάλιστα does not stand here “unsuitably” (de Wette); it rather gives suitable expression to the thought that God is and continues to be the σωτήρ for all, whether they desire σωτηρία or not; but in the proper and special sense the σωτηρία is only for believers who really desire it.1 Timothy 4:10. γὰρ, as in the parallel 2 Timothy 2:11, introduces a statement in support of the judgment, πιστὸς ὁ λόγος.
εἰς τοῦτο: i.e., with a view to the obtaining the promised blessings of life. The best commentary on this is what St. Paul said in an earlier epistle, “As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:10).
κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα express St. Paul’s personal experience of what the profession of Christianity involved. It was then an almost universal experience, see Acts 14:22; but is not of necessity a concomitant of the exercising of oneself to godliness. The two words are similarly combined Colossians 1:29, εἰς ὃ καὶ κοπιῶ ἀγωνιζόμενος. κοπιᾶν is usually used by St. Paul of ministerial labours: his own, 1 Corinthians 15:10, Galatians 4:11, and those of others, Romans 16:12, 1 Corinthians 16:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 1 Timothy 5:17; but this restriction is not necessary, nor would it be suitable here. See reff.
For ὀνειδιζόμεθα (var. lect.) cf. Matthew 5:11 = Luke 6:22; 1 Peter 4:14.
ὅτι ἠλπίκαμεν, κ.τ.λ.: This was at once an incentive to exertion, and thus correlative to ἐπαγγελία ζωῆς, and in itself a part of the thing promised, the ἐπαγγελία. A consciousness that we are in an harmonious personal relation with the living God lifts us into a sphere in which labour and striving have no power to distress us.
ἠλπίκαμεν: we have our hope set on (R.V.). The same use of the perfect of this verb, “expressing the continuance and permanence of the ἐλπίς” (Ell.), is found in the reff. In addition, ἐλπίζω is also followed by ἐπί with the dat. in Romans 15:12 (Isaiah 11:10) and 1 Timothy 6:17; by ἐπί with the acc. in 1 Timothy 5:5, 1 Peter 1:13; by εἰς with an acc. in John 5:45, 2 Corinthians 1:10, 1 Peter 3:5; and by ἐν followed by the dat. in 1 Corinthians 15:19.
θεῷ ζῶντι: As indicated above, this is said in relation to ἐπαγγελίαν ζωῆς. To know the living God is life eternal (John 17:3).
ὅς ἐστιν σωτὴρ πάντων, κ.τ.λ.: Saviour of all (τὸν πάντων σωτῆρα) occurs in Wis 16:7. Cf. Saviour of the world, John 4:42.
The prima facie force of μάλιστα certainly is that all men share in some degree in that salvation which the πιστοί enjoy in the highest degree. Compare the force of μάλιστα in Acts 25:26, Galatians 6:10, Php 4:22, 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 5:17, 2 Timothy 4:13; Titus 1:10.
The statement is more unreservedly universalist in tone than chap. 1 Timothy 2:4 and Titus 2:11; and perhaps must be qualified by saying that while God is potentially Saviour of all, He is actually Saviour of the πιστοί. It is an argument a minori ad majus (as Bengel says); and the unqualified assertion is suitable. If all men can be saved, surely the πιστοί are saved, in whose number we are included. It is better to qualify the statement thus than, with Chrys. and Bengel, to give to σωτήρ a material sense of God’s relation to all men, as the God of nature; but a spiritual sense of His relation to them that believe, as the God of grace. See notes on ch. 1 Timothy 1:1; 1 Timothy 2:4.10. therefore we both labour] In view of this, namely, our hope fixed on the fulness of the blessing of life from the living God, a present and a future salvation, ‘goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men, creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life,’ enjoyed to the full only by the faithful, and above all ‘the redemption of the world, the means of grace, and the hope of glory’ realised with ‘a due sense of the inestimable love’ only by the faithful; in view of such a glorifying of our being, of all being, any amount of ‘toil and moil,’ any strain of keenest contest is worth while. We may render the whole ‘faithful saying’ thus:
‘Right well for such a wage and prize
We toil, we wrestle on
Till hope’s far goal be won,
Love’s full salvation, Life that lies
In God the Living One
For each created son—
Full Life, where Faith to Love replies.’
we both labour and suffer reproach] The balance of ms. authority is for the omission of ‘both’ and the substitution of ‘strive,’ ‘wrestle,’ for ‘suffer reproach.’ The internal appropriateness which has been thought to require the latter seems altogether from the foregoing paraphrase to suit the change: a superficial adaptation of this passage to the somewhat similar ‘faithful saying’ of 2 Timothy 2:11-12 may have caused the reading ‘suffer reproach.’ But the tone here and in Ep. to Titus is ‘work,’—the buoyant tone of one who has been set free to ‘labour in the Lord:’ in 2 Tim. the deeper shade of ‘suffering’ has settled on the prison cell. Accordingly in his peroration in ch. 1 Timothy 6:12 St Paul takes up the word and metaphor, ‘Fight the good fight of the faith;’ while in 2 Timothy 4:7 he looks back from the prison cell on his own strife as finished, ‘I have fought the good fight.’ The metaphor had long been a favourite with him, e.g. 1 Corinthians 9:25, where the word is translated in full by R.V., ‘Every man that striveth in the games is temperate in all things.’ See Appendix, E, and K.
we trust] More correctly ‘we have hoped and still hope’ the ‘larger hope,’ that God is
And love Creation’s final law.’
The perfect expresses a ‘Hope that never lost her youth.’ The aorist has less ms. authority.
the Saviour of all men] In a lower sense; (1) for the body, in the supply of a present earthly care, and in the blessing of all earth’s good gifts, through His living love, the curse being removed through Christ’s coming; (2) for the soul, in the supply of the light of Christ to the conscience, such that where revelation has not come, the soul can still live, if it will, the life of God here through Christ unrecognised and hereafter through Christ revealed. ‘I am the light of the world,’ John 8:12; ‘That was the true light, even the light which lighteth every man, coming into the world,’ John 1:9.
specially of those that believe] In a higher sense; (1) through the Christian’s quickened enjoyment of all earth’s beauties and happinesses, and the transmuting of earthly losses into gains; (2) through the Christian’s response of Faith to Love. ‘That life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me,’ Galatians 2:20; ‘He that followeth Me shall not walk in the darkness but shall have the light of life,’ John 8:12. In both cases it is a present salvation that is chiefly in view, both of body and of soul; but in both cases the life that now is, of body and of soul, is only part of the whole life of which the living God is Saviour.
See Lange’s and Bp Westcott’s notes above. This one last word ‘the faithful,’ ‘baptized believers,’ ‘holders of the Christian faith,’ gathers up the great mystery of Creation, Incarnation, Redemption, From 1 Timothy 3:15 to 1 Timothy 4:11, and sets the great revelation of God in Christ the living Saviour against the ‘lies’ and ‘fables’ of men and devils.
‘Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we that have not seen Thy Face
By faith and faith alone embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove,—
Thine are these orbs of light and shade,
Thou madest Life in man and brute.’
The more usual interpretation of the verse may be given in Bp Woodford’s words: ‘God is the Saviour of all, because He willeth the salvation of all and delivered up His Son for us all (Romans 8:32). He is in a more complete sense the Saviour of His faithful, because in them His gracious will takes effect through the cooperation of their own freewill with His divine will.’ For extracts from Bp Barrow’s famous sermons on the text, and for Prof. Birks’s view of the passage giving a special aspect of the ‘larger hope,’ see Appendix, F.1 Timothy 4:10. Εἰς τοῦτο, it is with a view to this, that) on this account, for this end, with this hope.—καὶ κοπιῶμεν καὶ ὁνειδιζόμεθα, we both labour and suffer reproach) despising the advantages and aids (safeguards against suffering) of this life: ὀνειδιζόμεθα, in the Middle voice [we suffer ourselves to be reproached].—ἠλπίκαμεν, we have hoped) we have placed (rested) our hope, viz. for the future, despising present things.—ζῶντι, living) who will also give life to us, 1 Timothy 4:8; 2 Timothy 2:18.—πάντων ἀνθρώπων, μάλιστα πιστῶν, of all men, especially of those that believe) Paul shows that he, and men like him, hope for a double salvation from God: salvation [or safety] in this life, for God saves [or else preserves] all men (nay, even He wishes all men to have salvation for ever): as also, what is of greater consequence, in the life that is to come, for He especially saves [or preserves] them that believe, who even in this life also experience greater protection, on account of their greater temptation.—μάλιστα, most of all) There lies hid beneath this word the strength of the argument from the less to the greater.
 If God saves, in a sense, even the ungodly; a fortiori, the godly.—ED.Verse 10. - To this end for therefore, A.V.; labor and strive for both labor and suffer reproach, A.V. and T.R.; have our hope set on for trust in, A.V.; them for those, A.V. For to this end; or, with this in view. He thus justifies his assertion that the saying he had quoted is a faithful one, by showing that the promise and all that it contained was the ground of all his labors and those of his fellow-laborers in the gospel. Strive (ἀγωνιζόμεθα); so many good manuscripts, instead of T.R. ὀνειδιζόμεθα; but the reading is doubtful. The sense of the T.R., "suffer reproach," seems preferable, and the expression more forcible, as conveying something more than mere labor - the bitter reproaches and persecutions which he endured (2 Timothy 3:11; 1 Corinthians 4:9-13; 2 Corinthians 11:23-27); and all because of his firm trust in the promises of the living God. Our hope set on. Rather a clumsy phrase, though it expresses accurately the ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ Θεῷ ζῶντι; but it was hardly worth altering the A.V., "we trust in the living God." In 1 Timothy 5:5 we have ἤλπικεν ἐπὶ Θεόν, with no appreciable difference of sense. Specially of them that believe; and therefore we who believe have special cause to hope in him, and to trust his promises.
More correctly, to this end; or with a view to this.
We labor and strive (κοπιῶμεν καὶ ἀγωνιζόμεθα)
Both Pauline words. See on Colossians 1:29, where the two are found together as here. Also on κόπου labor, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, and κοπιῶντας, and laboring 1 Thessalonians 5:12. Comp. 1 Timothy 5:17, and 2 Timothy 2:6. Both words denote strenuous and painful effort. The καὶ; has an ascensive force: "we labor, yea struggle."
We trust in (ἠλπίκαμεν ἐπὶ)
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