John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Verse 1. Paul an apostle-Familiarity is to be set aside where the things of God are concerned. According to the commandment of God - The authoritative appointment of God the Father. Our Saviour - So styled in many other places likewise, as being the grand orderer of the whole scheme of our salvation. And Christ our hope - That is, the author, object, and ground, of all our hope.
Verse 2. Grace, mercy, peace - St. Paul wishes grace and peace in his epistles to the churches. To Timotheus he adds mercy, the most tender grace towards those who stand in need of it. The experience of this prepares a man to be a minister of the gospel.
Verse 3. Charge some to teach no other doctrine - Than I have taught. Let them put nothing in the place of it, add nothing to it.
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Verse 4. Neither give heed - So as either to teach or regard them. To fables - Fabulous Jewish traditions. And endless genealogies - Nor those delivered in scripture, but the long intricate pedigrees whereby they strove to prove their descent from such or such a person. Which afford questions - Which lead only to useless and endless controversies.
Verse 5. Whereas the end of the commandment - of the whole Christian institution. Is love - And this was particularly the end of the commandment which Timotheus was to enforce at Ephesus, 1 Timothy 1:3,18. The foundation is faith; the end, love. But this can only subsist in an heart purified by faith, and is always attended with a good conscience.
Verse 6. From which - Love and a good conscience. Some are turned aside - An affectation of high and extensive knowledge sets a man at the greatest distance from faith, and all sense of divine things. To vain jangling - And of all vanities, none are more vain than dry, empty disputes on the things of God.
Verse 7. Understanding neither the very things they speak, nor the subject they speak of.
Verse 8. We grant the whole Mosaic law is good, answers excellent purposes, if a man use it in a proper manner. Even the ceremonial is good, as it points to Christ; and the moral law is holy, just, and good, on its own nature; and of admirable use both to convince unbelievers, and to guide believers in all holiness.
Verse 9. The law doth not lie against a righteous man - Doth not strike or condemn him. But against the lawless and disobedient - They who despise the authority of the lawgiver violate the first commandment, which is the foundation of the law, and the ground of all obedience. Against the ungodly and sinners - Who break the second commandment, worshipping idols, or not worshipping the true God. The unholy and profane - Who break the third commandment by taking his name in vain.
Verse 10. Manstealers - The worst of all thieves, in comparison of whom, highwaymen and housebreakers are innocent. What then are most traders in negroes, procurers of servants for America, and all who list soldiers by lies, tricks, or enticements?
Verse 11. According to the glorious gospel - Which, far from "making void," does effectually "establish, the law."
Verse 12. I thank Christ, who hath enabled me, in that he accounted me faithful, having put me into the ministry - The meaning is, I thank him for putting me into the ministry, and enabling me to be faithful therein.
Verse 13. A blasphemer - Of Christ. A persecutor - Of his church. A reviler - Of his doctrine and people. But I obtained mercy - He does not say, because I was unconditionally elected; but because I did it in ignorance. Not that his ignorance took away his sin; but it left him capable of mercy; which he would hardly have been, had he acted thus contrary to his own conviction.
Verse 14. And the grace - Whereby I obtained mercy. Was exceeding abundant with faith - Opposite to my preceding unbelief. And love - Opposite to my blasphemy, persecution, and oppression.
Verse 15. This is a faithful saying - A most solemn preface. And worthy of all acceptation - Well deserving to be accepted, received, embraced, with all the faculties of our whole soul. That Christ - Promised. Jesus - Exhibited. Came into the world to save sinners - All sinners, without exception.
Verse 16. For this cause God showed me mercy, that all his longsuffering might be shown, and that none might hereafter despair.
Verse 17. The King of eternity - A phrase frequent with the Hebrews. How unspeakably sweet is the thought of eternity to believers!
Verse 18. This charge I commit to thee - That thou mayest deliver it to the church. According to the prophecies concerning thee -Uttered when thou wast received as an evangelist, 1 Timothy 4:14; probably by many persons, 1 Timothy 6:12; that, being encouraged by them, thou mightest war the good warfare.
Verse 19. Holding fast faith - Which is as a most precious liquor. And a good conscience - Which is as a clean glass. Which - Namely, a good conscience. Some having thrust away -It goes away unwillingly it always says, "Do not hurt me." And they who retain this do not make shipwreck of their faith. Indeed, none can make shipwreck of faith who never had it. These, therefore, were once true believers: yet they fell not only foully, but finally; for ships once wrecked cannot be afterwards saved.
Verse 20. Whom - Though absent. I have delivered to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme - That by what they suffer they may be in some measure restrained, if they will not repent.