1 Timothy 1:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God's work--which is by faith.

King James Bible
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Darby Bible Translation
nor to turn their minds to fables and interminable genealogies, which bring questionings rather than [further] God's dispensation, which [is] in faith.

World English Bible
neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God's stewardship, which is in faith--

Young's Literal Translation
nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, that cause questions rather than the building up of God that is in faith: --

1 Timothy 1:4 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Neither give heed to fables - Idle fancies; things of no moment; doctrines and opinions unauthenticated; silly legends, of which no people ever possessed a greater stock than the Jews. Their Talmud abounds with them; and the English reader may find them in abundance in Stehlin's Jewish Traditions, 2 vols. 8vo.

Endless genealogies - I suppose the apostle to mean those genealogies which were uncertain - that never could be made out, either in the ascending or descending line; and, principally, such as referred to the great promise of the Messiah, and to the priesthood. The Jews had scrupulously preserved their genealogical tables till the advent of Christ and the evangelists had recourse to them, and appealed to them in reference to our Lord's descent from the house of David; Matthew taking this genealogy in the descending, Luke in the ascending, line. And whatever difficulties we may now find in these genealogies, they were certainly clear to the Jews; nor did the most determined enemies of the Gospel attempt to raise one objection to it from the appeal which the evangelists had made to their own public and accredited tables. All was then certain; but we are told that Herod destroyed the public registers; he, being an Idumean, was jealous of the noble origin of the Jews; and, that none might be able to reproach him with his descent, be ordered the genealogical tables, which were kept among the archives in the temple, to be burnt. See Euseb. H. E., lib. i. cap. 8. From this time the Jews could refer to their genealogies only from memory, or from those imperfect tables which had been preserved in private hands; and to make out any regular line from these must have been endless and uncertain. It is probably to this that the apostle refers; I mean the endless and useless labor which the attempts to make out these genealogies must produce, the authentic tables being destroyed. This, were all other proofs wanting, would be an irresistible argument against the Jews that the Messiah is come; for their own prophets had distinctly marked out the line by which he was to come; the genealogies are now all lost; nor is there a Jew in the universe that can show from what tribe he is descended. There can, therefore, be no Messiah to come, as none could show, let him have what other pretensions he might, that he sprang from the house of David. The Jews do not, at present, pretend to have any such tables; and, far from being able to prove the Messiah from his descent, they are now obliged to say that, when, the Messiah comes, he will restore the genealogies by the Holy Spirit that shall rest upon him. "For," says Maimonides, "in the days of the Messiah, when his kingdom shall be established, all the Israelites shall be gathered together unto him; and all shall be classed in their genealogies by his mouth, through the Holy Spirit that shall rest upon him; as it is written, Malachi 3:3 : He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi. First he will purify the Levites, and shall say: 'This man is a descendant from the priests; and this, of the stock of the Levites;' and he shall cast out those who are not of the stock of Israel; for behold it is said, Ezra 2:63 : And the Tirshatha said-they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim. Thus, by the Holy Spirit, the genealogies are to be revised." See Schoettgen.

Some learned men suppose that the apostle alludes here to the Aeons, among the Gnostics and Valentinians, of whom there were endless numbers to make up what was called their pleroma; or to the sephiroth, or splendours of the Cabalists. But it is certain that these heresies had not arrived to any formidable head in the apostle's time; and it has long been a doubt with me whether they even existed at that time: and I think it the most simple way, and most likely to be the intention of the apostle, to refer all to the Jewish genealogies, which he calls Jewish fables, Titus 1:14, to which we know they were strongly and even conscientiously attached and which, at this time, it must have been extremely difficult to make out.

Instead of γενεαλογιαις, genealogies, some learned men have conjectured that the original word was κενολογιαις, empty words, vain speeches; but this conjecture is not supported by any MS. or version.

Which minister questions - They are the foundation of endless altercations and disputes; for, being uncertain and not consecutive, every person had a right to call them in question; as we may naturally suppose, from the state in which the genealogical tables of the Jews then were, that many chasms must be supplied in different lines, and consequently much must be done by conjecture.

Rather than godly edifying - Such discussions as these had no tendency to promote piety. Many, no doubt, employed much of that time in inquiring who were their ancestors, which they should have spent in obtaining that grace by which, being born from above, they might have become the sons and daughters of God Almighty.

Instead of οικοδομιαν Θεου, godly edifying, or the edification of God, οικονομιαν Θεου, the economy or dispensation of God, is the reading of almost every MS. in which this part of the epistle is extant, (for some MSS. are here mutilated), and of almost all the versions, and the chief of the Greek fathers. Of the genuineness of this reading scarcely a doubt can be formed; and though the old reading, which is supported by the Latin fathers and the Vulgate, gives a good sense, yet the connection and spirit of the place show that the latter must be the true reading. Griesbach has received this reading into the text.

What had Jewish genealogies to do with the Gospel? Men were not to be saved by virtue of the privileges or piety of their ancestors. The Jews depended much on this. We have Abraham to our father imposed silence on every check of conscience, and every godly reproof which they received for their profligacy and unbelief. In the dispensation of God, Faith in Christ Jesus was the only means and way of salvation. These endless and uncertain genealogies produced no faith; indeed they were intended as a substitute for it; for those who were intent on making out their genealogical descent paid little attention to faith in Christ. They ministered questions rather than that economy of God which is by faith. This dispensation, says the apostle, is by faith, οικονομιαν Θεου την εν πιστει· It was not by natural descent, nor by works, but by faith in Christ; therefore it was necessary that the people who were seeking salvation in any other way should be strictly informed that all their toil and labor would be vain.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

to.

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself rather to godliness.

1 Timothy 6:4,20 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings...

2 Timothy 2:14,16-18 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit...

2 Timothy 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.

Titus 1:14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.

2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ...

endless.

Titus 3:9 But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

questions.

1 Timothy 6:4,5 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof comes envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings...

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

godly.

1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels...

1 Timothy 6:3,11 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ...

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom...

2 Corinthians 7:9,10 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner...

Ephesians 4:12-16 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...

Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect...

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats...

Library
'The Gospel of the Glory of the Happy God'
'The glorious gospel of the blessed God.'--1 TIM. i. 11. Two remarks of an expository character will prepare the way for our consideration of this text. The first is, that the proper rendering is that which is given in the Revised Version--'the gospel of the glory,' not the 'glorious gospel.' The Apostle is not telling us what kind of thing the Gospel is, but what it is about. He is dealing not with its quality, but with its contents. It is a Gospel which reveals, has to do with, is the manifestation
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Test Case
'Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe.'--1 TIM. i. 16. The smallest of God's creatures, if it were only a gnat dancing in a sunbeam, has a right to have its well-being considered as an end of God's dealings. But no creature is so isolated or great as that it has a right to have its well-being regarded as the sole end of God's dealings. That is true about all His blessings and
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Christian's Hope
Scripture references: 1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27; Psalm 130:5; 43:5; Proverbs 10:8; Acts 24:15; Psalm 71:5; Romans 5:1-5; 12:12; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 9:10; Galatians 5:5; Ephesians 1:18; Philippians 1:20; Colossians 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:19; Titus 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; Psalm 31:24; 71:14,15. HOPE IN THE PRESENT LIFE That which a man ardently hopes for he strives to realize. If he desires fame, office or wealth he will seek to set forces in motion, here and now, which will bring him that which
Henry T. Sell—Studies in the Life of the Christian

The Communion of Gifts.
"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."--1 Tim. i. 5. Communion of goods in Jerusalem was a symbol. It typified the communion of the spiritual goods which constituted the real treasure of Jerusalem's saints. The other inhabitants of that city possessed houses, fields, furniture, gold, and silver just as well as the saints, and perhaps in greater abundance. But the latter were to receive riches which neither Jew, Roman, nor
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Cross References
Ephesians 3:2
Surely you have heard about the administration of God's grace that was given to me for you,

1 Timothy 4:7
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

1 Timothy 6:4
they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

2 Timothy 2:23
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

2 Timothy 4:4
They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Titus 1:14
and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.

Titus 3:9
But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

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