1 Timothy 5:25
Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(25) Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.—In his difficult post Timothy might fear lest, especially in his selection of men for the Lord’s service, true nobility of character might not unfrequently escape his notice and be overlooked, and that thus the best and truest might never be enrolled on the register of church officers. St. Paul bids him take courage in the thought that in many a case self-sacrifice, generosity, stern principle, will be sufficiently manifest to guide him in his choice of fit persons for the holy calling; and in those rarer cases where the higher and sweeter virtues are hidden, he may be sure that in God’s good season these too will become known to him, in ample time for him to call them also into his Master’s service.

EXCURSUS ON NOTES TO I. TIMOTHY.

ON A SUGGESTED INTERPRETATION OF CHAPTER 5:25.

IT has been suggested, with considerable ingenuity, that 1Timothy 5:25 belongs to, and is an introduction of, a new division of the Epistle, where the Apostle gives Timothy instructions respecting certain teachings to be addressed to different ranks in the Christian society of Ephesus. The connection with 1Timothy 5:24 then would be—as it is in the case of sins, so, too, it is in the case of good works. These latter are not always on the surface distinguishable. Some, of course, are manifest, but there is many a noble life the secrets of which will only come to light at the last day—“they cannot be hid” THEN. And this is too often the case with that unhappy class (the slaves), “those under the yoke,” of whom the Apostle was about to speak (1Timothy 6:1-2). It is possible that St. Paul meant here to turn Timothy’s attention especially to those in slavery, that he might diligently search out the noblest and most devoted, and ordain (see 1Timothy 5:22) them to perform sacred duties, so that each class—the slaves as well as the rich and well-born—should possess representatives among the ordained ministers. This is at least possible when we consider the vast number of slaves—not a few of them, too, possessing high culture—in the world known by St. Paul and Timothy.

In connection with, but not necessarily linked with, this thought is an interpretation of the general subject matter of the sixth chapter, which views the whole as instructions to the three broad divisions into which Christian society of the first century may be said to have been roughly divided:—

(1) SLAVES . . .

1Timothy 5:25 to 1Timothy 6:3. Instructions respecting slaves, who possessed nothing of their own.

1Timothy 6:4-5. The allusion to the false teachers, whose teaching respecting slavery was very different from his.

(2) MIDDLE CLASS.

1Timothy 6:6-16. St. Paul introduces the warning against covetousness and the wish to be rich, the special danger of the middle class—the free, but who were the reverse of wealthy—to which order Timothy belonged. Then followed

(3) THE RICH

1Timothy 6:17-19. Special instructions to the rich and the highly horn.

5:17-25 Care must be taken that ministers are maintained. And those who are laborious in this work are worthy of double honour and esteem. It is their just due, as much as the reward of the labourer. The apostle charges Timothy solemnly to guard against partiality. We have great need to watch at all times, that we do not partake of other men's sins. Keep thyself pure, not only from doing the like thyself, but from countenancing it, or any way helping to it in others. The apostle also charges Timothy to take care of his health. As we are not to make our bodies masters, so neither slaves; but to use them so that they may be most helpful to us in the service of God. There are secret, and there are open sins: some men's sins are open before-hand, and going before unto judgment; some they follow after. God will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make known the counsels of all hearts. Looking forward to the judgment-day, let us all attend to our proper offices, whether in higher or lower stations, studying that the name and doctrine of God may never be blasphemed on our account.Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand - The character of some people is clear, and accurately understood. There can be no doubt, from their works, that they are good people. We need not wait for the day of judgment to determine that, but may treat them here as good men, and introduce them to offices which only good men can fill. The idea here is that their character may be so certain and undoubted that there need be no hesitation in setting them apart to the office of the ministry.

And they that are otherwise cannot be hid - That is, they cannot be ultimately concealed or misunderstood. There are arrangements in the divine government for bringing out the character of every man so that it may be clearly understood. The expression here refers to good men. The idea is, that there are some good men whose character is known to all. Their deeds spread a glory around them, so that no one can mistake what they are. They correspond, in respect to the publicity of their character with those mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:24, whose "sins are open beforehand;" for the good deeds of the one are as manifest as the sins of the other. But there are those who are "otherwise." They are modest, retiring, unobtrusive, unknown. They may live in obscurity; may have slender means for doing good; may be constitutionally so diffident that they never appear on the stage of public action. What they do is concealed from the world. These correspond in respect to publicity with those mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:24, "whose deeds follow after them." Yet, says the apostle, these cannot always be hid. There are arrangements for developing every man's character, and it will be ultimately known what he is. The connection here, seems to be this. As Timothy 1 Timothy 5:24 was to be on his guard in introducing men into the ministry, against those whose character for evil was not developed, but who might be concealing their plans and practicing secret sins, so he was to endeavor to search out the modest, the unobtrusive, and those who, though now unknown, were among the excellent of the earth, and bring them forward to a station of usefulness where their virtues might shine on the world.

Apart from the reference of this beautiful passage 1 Timothy 5:24-25 to the ministry, it contains truth important to all:

(1) The character of many wicked people is now clearly known. No one has any doubt of it. Their deeds have gone before them, and are recorded in the books that will be open at the judgment. They might even now be judged without the formality of appearing there, and the universe would acquiesce in the sentence of condemnation.

(2) the character of many wicked people is concealed. They hide their plans. They are practicing secret iniquity. They do not mean that the world shall know what they are. More than half the real depravity of the world is thus concealed from human view, and in regard to more than half the race who are going up to the judgment there is an entire mistake as to their real character. If all the secret wickedness of the earth were disclosed, no one would have any doubt about the doctrine of human depravity.

(3) there is a process steadily going forward for bringing out the real character of people, and showing what they are. This process consists, first, in the arrangements of Providence for developing their character here. Many a man, who was supposed to be virtuous, is shown, by some sudden trial, to have been all along a villain at heart. Many a minister of the gospel, a lawyer, a physician, an officer in a bank, a merchant, whose character was supposed to stand fair, has been suffered to fall into open sin, that he might develope the long-cherished secret depravity of his soul. Secondly, the process will be completed on the final trial. Then nothing will be concealed. Every man will been seen as he is. All they whose characters were understood to be wicked here, will be seen then also to be wicked, and many who were supposed on earth to have a good character, will be seen there to have been hollow-hearted and base hypocrites.

(4) every man in the last day will be judged according to his real character. No one, however successful he may have been here, can hope to practice a deception on his final Judge.

(5) there is a fitness and propriety in the fact that there will be a final judgment. Indeed, there must be such a judgment, in order that God may be just. The characters of people are not fully developed here. The process is not completed. Many are taken away before their schemes of iniquity are accomplished, and before their real characters are understood. If they were to live long enough on the earth, their characters would be ultimately developed here, but the divine arrangement is, that man shall not live long here, and the development, therefore, must be in the future world.

(6) the modest, the retiring, the humble, and those here unknown, will not be overlooked in the last great day. There is much good, as there is much evil in the world, that is now concealed. There are many plans of benevolence formed which they who formed them are not permitted to complete; many desires of benefiting others are cherished which there are no means of gratifying; many a deed of kindness is performed which is not blazoned abroad to the world; and many a wish is entertained for the progress of virtue, the freedom of the enslaved, the relief of the oppressed, and the salvation of the world, which can find expression only in prayer. We are not to suppose then that all that is concealed and unknown in the world is evil.

(7) there will be amazing developments in the last great day; and as it will then be seen in the revelations of the secret deeds of evil that human nature is corrupt, so it will be seen that there was much more good in the world than was commonly supposed. As a large portion of the wickedness of the earth is concealed, so, from the necessity of the case, it is true that no small portion of the goodness on earth is hidden. Wickedness conceals itself from shame, from a desire better to effect its purposes, from the dread of punishment; goodness, from its modesty, its retiring nature, and from the want of an opportunity of acting out its desires; but whatever may have been the cause of the concealment, in all cases all will be made known on the final trial - to the shame and confusion of the one class; to the joy and triumph of the other.

24. Two kinds of sins are specified: those palpably manifest (so the Greek for "open beforehand" ought to be translated; so in Heb 7:14, it is translated "evident"; literally, "before" the eyes, that is, notorious), further explained as "going before to judgment"; and those which follow after the men ("some men they, that is, their sins, follow after"), namely, not going beforehand, loudly accusing, but hidden till they come to the judgment: so 1Ti 5:25, the good works are of two classes: those palpably manifest (translate so, instead of "manifest beforehand") and "those that are otherwise," that is, not palpably manifest. Both alike "cannot be hid"; the former class in the case of bad and good are manifest already; the latter class in the case of both are not manifest now, but shall be so at the final judgment.

going before to judgment—as heralds; crying sins which accuse their perpetrator. The connection seems to me this: He had enjoined Timothy, 1Ti 5:20, "Rebuke them that sin before all": and in 1Ti 5:22, "Neither be partaker of other men's sins," by ordaining ungodly men; having then by a digression at the clause, "keep thyself pure," guarded against an ascetical error of Timothy in fancying purity consisted in asceticism, and having exhorted him to use wine for strengthening him in his work, he returns to the subject of his being vigorous as an overseer in rebuking sin, whether in presbyters or people, and in avoiding participation in men's sins by ordaining ungodly candidates. He says, therefore, there are two classes of sins, as there are two classes of good works: those palpably manifest, and those not so; the former are those on which thou shouldest act decidedly at once when called on, whether to rebuke in general, or to ordain ministers in particular; as to the latter, the final judgment alone can decide; however hidden now they "cannot be hid" then. This could only be said of the final judgment (1Co 4:5; therefore, Alford's reference of this verse to Timothy's judgment in choosing elders must be wrong); all judgments before then are fallible. Thus he implies that Timothy can only be responsible if he connive at manifest, or evident sins; not that those that are otherwise shall escape judgment at last: just as in the case of good works, he can only be responsible for taking into account in his judgments those which are patent to all, not those secret good works which nevertheless will not remain hidden at the final judgment.

In like manner some men’s holy life and conversation hath been so evident, that there needs little judgment concerning them; and for others, under a due government they cannot be long concealed, but by thy due management of and vigilance in thy office they will soon be discovered, by their publishing their erroneous principles, and the breaking out of their lusts into enormous acts, so as they will soon fall under thy censure. Or else thus: The good works of some whose life hath not been so exemplary, but yet such as in charity thou mayst judge them to have the root of the matter in them, (if thou be not mistaken), cannot be long hid, so as thou shalt soon see what they are, and accordingly know how to behave thyself to them. Thus I should choose rather to interpret this text than concerning the judgment of God, who sometimes rewards good works presently, and always rewards them certainly, either in this life or that which is come. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest before hand,.... The characters of some men, on the other hand, are so fair and bright; and it is so clear a point, that they have received the grace of God in truth; and have a rich furniture for the ministry; and are sound in the doctrine of faith; and are men of such godly lives and conversations, that they prevent any formal inquiry, examination, and judgment; and there can be no difficulty in admitting them at once: and therefore the above rule is not designed for such persons, but to guard against those with whom things do not appear so very clear and manifest:

and they that are otherwise cannot be hid; if they are men of bad principles or practices, they will be discovered in time; for there is nothing hid that shall not be revealed; time will make all things manifest; their errors and sins will break out, and be exposed: and therefore it is right to wait a while, and not to be quick in the reception of them into the Gospel ministry; for otherwise, much mischief may be done to the souls of men, and much dishonour brought on the ways and doctrines of Christ.

{21} Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

(21) Another comfort belonging to them, who are sometimes slandered and misreported.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 5:25 supplements 1 Timothy 5:24, the distinction between manifest and hidden being applied to good works.

ὡσαύτως καὶ τὰ ἔργα τὰ καλὰ πρόδηλα] It may be supposed from what precedes that τινῶν ἀνθρώπων is to be supplied here. But it is improbable that Paul was thinking definitely of this, otherwise the clause following would have received another form. Hofmann maintains that the Rec. πρόδηλά ἐστιν is the original reading, taking the words ὡσαύτωςκαλά as a complete clause, and explaining πρόδηλά ἐστιν by: “there are manifest (ones).” This purely arbitrary view needs no refutation. The assertion that the apostle could not say that the good works were manifest, is contradicted by the addition of the necessary restriction in the next words.

καὶ τὰ ἄλλως ἔχοντα is not to be referred to καλά, but to πρόδηλα: the good works with which it is different, i.e. which are not πρόδηλα.

κρυβῆναι οὐ δύνανται] “can, however, not remain continually hidden;” they will likewise become manifest on a careful κρίσις. 1 Timothy 5:24 was a warning against showing favour too hastily; this verse is a warning against condemning too hastily.1 Timothy 5:25. ὡσαύτως here, as in chap. 1 Timothy 2:9, naturally introduces an antithesis to what has gone before; and this determines the meaning of τὰ ἄλλως ἔχοντα; not as ἔργα which are not καλά, but as ἔργα καλά which are not πρόδηλα; and justifies the R.V. rendering, There are good works that are evident. The next clause is parallel to the corresponding part of 1 Timothy 5:24 : Sins and good works alike cannot be successfully and indefinitely concealed; they follow—are disclosed some time or other in justification of—the κρίσις of men. The literal rendering in R.V. [289]., The works that are good are evident, could only be defended by laying emphasis on καλά, “good in appearance as well as in reality”; but καλὰ ἔργα is of frequent occurrence in these epistles without any such special signification; see on 1 Timothy 3:1; and this rendering deprives ὡσαύτως of any force. Von Soden thinks that we have here a reference to the sayings in Matthew 5:14-16.

[289] Speculum25. Likewise also the good works of some] R.V. excellently, drawing out the double article with substantive and adjective which has the best authority of mss., in like manner also there are good works that are evident. See the interpretation on the previous verse, according to which the more obvious departments in ‘the ruling well,’ the ‘labouring devotedly in speech and teaching,’ are here meant.

they that are otherwise] The such as are otherwise of R.V. renders the generalness of the phrase and makes it clear that ‘works’ not ‘men are meant; such part—often the best part—of the pastor’s work of ‘ruling well,’ and of ‘labouring devotedly in speech and teaching,’ as does not come before the world.1 Timothy 5:25. Τὰ ἄλλως ἔχοντα, the works that are otherwise) Those which are not beforehand manifest. The saying, which is found at Ecclesiastes 8:14, is remarkable, and should in the present day be especially attended to.—κρυβῆναι be hid) long.—οὐ δύναται, cannot) although they who do them may often wish to keep them concealed.

—————Verse 25. - In like maturer for likewise, A.V.; there are good works that are evident for the good works of some are manifest beforehand, A.V.; such as for they that, A.V. There are good works, etc. It is much best to understand πινῶν, as the A.V. does, and render the good works of some, answering to τινῶν αἱ ἁμαρτίαι of ver. 24. Such as are otherwise - i.e., not manifest beforehand - cannot be hid. "They will be seen and recognized some time or other" (Ellicott). Alford seems to catch the true spirit of the passage when he says, "The tendency of this verse is to warn Timothy against hasty condemnation, as the former had done against hasty approval. Sometimes thou wilt find a man's good character go before him.... but where this is not so.... be not rash to condemn: thou mayest on examination discover it there be any good deeds accompanying him: for they... cannot be hidden."



Otherwise (ἅλλως)

N.T.o. Not, otherwise than good, but otherwise than manifest.

Be hid (κρυβῆναι)

In Paul only Colossians 3:3. The good works, although not conspicuous (πρόδηλα), cannot be entirely concealed. Comp. Matthew 5:14-16. It has been suggested that these words may have been intended to comfort Timothy in his possible discouragement from his "often infirmities." von Soden thinks they were meant to encourage him against the suspicion awakened by his use of wine. By persevering in his temperate habits (οἴνῳ ὀλίγῳ) it will become manifest that he is no wine-bibber.

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