And the things that you have heard me say among many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be qualified to teach others as well.
I. THE TRUST TIMOTHY IS TO DELIVER TO FAITHFUL MEN. "The things which thou heardest from me among many witnesses."
1. Timothy heard these things from the apostle at his ordination, but oftener still during his long missionary travels, when he would hear the apostle discourse to large and varied congregations of both Jews and Gentiles.
2. The substance of his Trenching would be the grand outlines of Pauline theology, as they are exhibited in the Epistles, Jesus Christ being the central theme.
3. There is nothing here to countenance the Roman idea of tradition, as if Timothy was to transmit a body of oral instruction to the latest generations, through successive generations of teachers. The instructions in question are actually contained in the Scriptures, and are no longer committed to the doubtful custody of human memory.
II. THE PERSONS TO WHOM THE TRUST WAS TO BE COMMITTED. "The same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
1. Timothy was to judge of their qualifications. They were not to judge of their own fitness; they were not to find their place as teachers by self-appointment.
2. Their ordination in itself was to be no qualification; for they might possibly have been wholly destitute of teaching gifts. There is nothing in the passage to justify the idea of apostolic succession.
3. Their qualifications were to be twofold.
(1) Faithfulness; for "a steward of the mysteries of God" must be faithful, not betraying the charge committed to him, declaring the whole counsel of God, and keeping back nothing that is profitable.
(2) Teaching power. "Who shall be able to teach others also." The bishop must be "apt to teach," with a true understanding of the Scriptures, a gift of explication, and a faculty of edifying speech. - T.C.
The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses commit to faithful men, able to teach others also.I. CARE IS TO BE HAD THAT THE CHURCH MAY BE CONTINUED. Art thou a ruler in Christendom, like Jehosaphat? Send Levites into the dark corners of the land. Rich? Found colleges, relieve the sons of the prophets, and repair the decayed walls of Jerusalem. Hast thou children? Nurse them up in the fear of God, teach them the principles in the holy letters, and, with Hannah, dedicate thy firstborn to the Lord. If thou be poor, yet pray for Jerusalem.
II. BY THE WORD PREACHED THE CHURCH IS CONTINUED.
III. THE MORE WITNESSES, THE GREATER ENCOURAGEMENT TO WELL-DOING.
IV. ALL MINISTERS ARE TO TEACH THE SAME THINGS. AS there is but one true God, one Saviour, Redeemer, Faith, Love, etc., so but one law, gospel, doctrine, baptism, which is to be preached for their glory and our salvation. Thrash thy corn out of God's barn, beat it forth of the apostolical rick of the holy letters; bring thy grain into the market of the Church, which prophetical spirits have in former ages set to sale; and it shall feed thee and thine to life eternal, for be thou assured that the soundest testimony is this, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
V. MINISTERS MUST BE FAITHFUL. And this faithfulness is in —
2. Life.Thou hast known, saith Paul to Timotheus, my doctrine, manner of living. To be faithful in doctrine, the matter what, and the manner how, to be delivered are both to be regarded. For matter, it must be what we have received from the Lord. For the manner, a double condition is to be observed. First, that the word of truth be divided aright; each person have his portion, according to his spiritual estate and disposition. And secondly, the doctrine must be intelligible, else how should the people be edified? Now, as faithfulness in doctrine, so in life is required of a minister. What they preach they are to practice, for the vulgar sort be more led by examples than rules, patterns than precepts. Should ministers be faithful? Then let such as have in their power ordination, and induction, lay hands rashly on no man; make choice of faithful, able persons.
VI. ABILITY TO TEACH IS NECESSARY FOR A MINISTER.
1. Some knowledge of the tongues and arts is necessary. For as the form lieth closely couched in the matter, the kernel in the shell, so doth the truth in the several languages.
2. To be an able man requires a sound memory. For the truth being invented, orderly disposed, is then firmly to be retained.
3. A door of utterance is also necessary. When we have invented, judged, and methodically disposed of Divine truths, then we must clothe them with the garment of apt words.
4. And to omit many; an able minister must have his whole carriage in the delivery of his doctrine, suitable and correspondent to it. His countenance, elevation, pronunciation, gesture, and action, are to vary and be altered as the matter in handling requireth. And let all men make mention of them in their prayers.
VII. THE SAME TRUTH SHALL BE CONTINUED UNTO THE END OF THE WORLD. For Christ received it from the Father, the Holy Ghost from Christ, the apostles from Him, faithful men from them; and so by a successive communication it shall continue for ever. As one sun shall enlighten the world, so one gospel the minds of men, until Jesus returns to judge all the posterity of Adam.
(J. Barlow, D. D.)
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
(H. O. Mackey.)
(H. Allon, D. D.)
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