Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
Paul's salutation to Timothy, Ti1 1:1, Ti1 1:2. For what purpose he had left him at Ephesus, Ti1 1:3. What the false apostles taught in opposition to the truth, Ti1 1:4-7. The true use of the law, Ti1 1:8-11. He thanks God for his own conversion, and describes his former state, Ti1 1:12-17. Exhorts Timothy to hold fast faith and a good conscience, and speaks of Hymeneus and Alexander who had made shipwreck of their faith, Ti1 1:18-20.
1 Timothy 1:1
Paul an apostle - by the commandment of God - We have already seen that the term αποστολος, apostle, literally signifies a person sent from one to another, without implying any particular dignity in the person, or importance in the message. But it is differently used in the New Testament, being applied to those who were sent expressly from God Almighty, with the message of salvation to mankind. It is, therefore, the highest character any human being can have; and he message is the most important which even God himself can send to his intelligent creatures. It was by the express command of God that St. Paul went to the Gentiles preaching the doctrine of salvation by faith in Christ Jesus.
Jesus Christ - our hope - Without Jesus, the world was hopeless; the expectation of being saved can only come to mankind by his Gospel. He is called our hope, as he is called our life, our peace, our righteousness, etc., because from him hope, life, peace, righteousness, and all other blessings proceed.
1 Timothy 1:2
My own son in the faith - Brought to salvation through Christ by my ministry alone. Probably the apostle speaks here according to this Jewish maxim: כל המלמר בן תכירו תורה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאלו ילרו He who teaches the law to his neighbour's son is considered by the Scripture as if he had begotten him; Sanhedrin, fol. xix. 2. And they quote Num 3:1, as proving it: These are the generations of Aaron and Moses - and these are the names of the sons of Aaron. "Aaron," say they, "begot them, but Moses instructed them; therefore they are called by his name." See Schoettgen.
But γνησιῳ τεκνῳ may mean my beloved son; for in this sense το γνησιον is not unfrequently used.
In the faith - The word πιστις, faith, is taken here for the whole of the Christian religion, faith in Christ being its essential characteristic.
Grace, mercy, and peace -
Grace, the favor and approbation of God.
Mercy, springing from that grace, pardoning, purifying, and supporting.
Peace, the consequence of this manifested mercy, peace of conscience, and peace with God; producing internal happiness, quietness, and assurance.
1 Timothy 1:3
I besought thee - The apostle had seen that a bad seed had been sown in the Church; and, as he was obliged to go then into Macedonia, he wished Timothy, on whose prudence, piety, and soundness in the faith he could depend, to stay behind and prevent the spreading of a doctrine that would have been pernicious to the people's souls. I have already supposed that this epistle was written after Paul had been delivered from his first imprisonment at Rome, about the end of the year 64, or the beginning of 65. See the preface. When, therefore, the apostle came from Rome into Asia, he no doubt visited Ephesus, where, ten years before, he had planted a Christian Church, and, as he had not time to tarry then, he left Timothy to correct abuses.
That thou mightest charge some - He does not name any persons; the Judaizing teachers are generally supposed to be those intended; and the term τισι, some, certain persons, which he uses, is expressive of high disapprobation, and at the same time of delicacy: they were not apostles, nor apostolic men; but they were undoubtedly members of the Church at Ephesus, and might yet be reclaimed.
1 Timothy 1:4
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, Mal 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, Ezr 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, Tit 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.
1 Timothy 1:5
Now the end of the commandment is charity - These genealogical questions lead to strife and debate; and the dispensation of God leads to love both to God and man, through faith in Christ. These genealogical questions leave the heart under the influence of all its vile tempers and evil propensities; Faith in Jesus purifies the heart. No inquiry of this kind can add to any thing by which the guilt of sin can be taken away; but the Gospel proclaims pardon, through the blood of the Lamb, to every believing penitent. The end, aim, and design of God in giving this dispensation to the world is, that men may have an unfeigned faith, such as lays hold on Christ crucified, and produces a good conscience from a sense of the pardon received, and leads on to purity of heart; Love to God and man being the grand issue of the grace of Christ here below, and this fully preparing the soul for eternal glory. He whose soul is filled with love to God and man has a pure heart, a good conscience, and unfeigned faith. But these blessings no soul can ever acquire, but according to God's dispensation of faith.
The paraphrase and note of Dr. Macknight on this verse are very proper: "Now the scope of the charge to be given by thee to these teachers is, that, instead of inculcating fables and genealogies, they inculcate love to God and man, proceeding from a pure heart, and directed by a good conscience, and nourished by unfeigned faith in the Gospel doctrine. The word παραγγελια denotes a message or order, brought to one from another, and delivered by word of mouth. The charge here meant is that which the apostle ordered Timothy to deliver to the teachers in Ephesus; for he had said, Ti1 1:3 : I had besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, ἱνα παραγγειλῃς, that thou mightest charge some: here he tells him what the scope of this charge was to be."
Of faith unfeigned - Πιστεως ανυποκριτου· A faith not hypocritical. The apostle appears to allude to the Judaizing teachers, who pretended faith in the Gospel, merely that they might have the greater opportunity to bring back to the Mosaic system those who had embraced the doctrine of Christ crucified. This Is evident from the following verse.
1 Timothy 1:6
From which some having swerved - From which some, though they have pretended to aim at the τελος, scope, or mark, have missed that mark. This is the import of the original word αστοχησαντες.
Turned aside unto vain jangling - The original term, ματαιολογιαν, signifies empty or vain talking; discourses that turn to no profit; a great many words and little sense; and that sense not worth the pains of hearing. Such, indeed, is all preaching where Jesus Christ is not held forth.
1 Timothy 1:7
Teachers of the law - To be esteemed or celebrated as rabbins; to be reputed cunning in solving knotty questions and enigmas, which answered no end to true religion. Of such the rabbinical teaching was full.
Understanding neither what they say - This is evident from almost all the Jewish comments which yet remain. Things are asserted which are either false or dubious; words, the import of which they did not understand, were brought to illustrate them: so that it may be said, They understand not what they say, nor whereof they affirm. I will give one instance from the Jerusalem Targum, on Gen 1:15 : And God made two great lights, and they were equal in splendor twenty-one years, the six hundred and seventy-second part of an hour excepted: and afterwards the moon brought a false accusation against the sun, and therefore she was lessened; and God made the sun the greater light to superintend the day, etc. I could produce a thousand of a similar complexion.
1 Timothy 1:8
But we know that the law is good - The law as given by God, is both good in itself and has a good tendency. This is similar to what the apostle had asserted, Rom 7:12-16 : The law is holy; and the commandment is holy, just, and good; see the note on Rom 7:12, etc.
If a man use it lawfully - That is, interpret it according to its own spirit and design, and use it for the purpose for which God has given it; for the ceremonial law was a schoolmaster to lead us unto Christ, and Christ is the end of that law for justification to every one that believes. Now those who did not use the law in reference to these ends, did not use it lawfully - they did not construe it according to its original design and meaning.
1 Timothy 1:9
The law is not made for a righteous man - There is a moral law as well as a ceremonial law: as the object of the latter is to lead us to Christ; the object of the former is to restrain crimes, and inflict punishment on those that commit them. It was, therefore, not made for the righteous as a restrainer of crimes, and an inflicter of punishments; for the righteous avoid sin, and by living to the glory of God expose not themselves to its censures. This seems to be the mind of the apostle; he does not say that the law was not Made for a righteous man, but ου κειται, it does not Lie against a righteous man; because he does not transgress it: but it lies against the wicked; for such as the apostle mentions have broken it, and grievously too, and are condemned by it. The word κειται, lies, refers to the custom of writing laws on boards, and hanging them up in public places within reach of every man, that they might be read by all; thus all would see against whom the law lay.
The lawless - Ανομοις· Those who will not be bound by a law, and acknowledge none, therefore have no rule of moral conduct.
Disobedient - Ανυποτακτοις· Those who acknowledge no authority; from α, negative, and ὑποτασσω, to subject; they neither acknowledge law, nor executive authority, and consequently endeavor to live as they list; and from such dispositions all the crimes in the following catalogue may naturally spring.
For the ungodly - Ασεβεσι· The irreligious - those who do not worship God, or have no true worship; from α, negative, and σεβω, to worship. For sinners, ἁμαρτωλοις those who transgress the laws; from α, negative, and μαρπτω, to hit the mark. This has been elsewhere explained.
For unholy - Ανοσιοις· Persons totally polluted - unclean within, and unclean without; from α, negative, and ὁσιος, holy.
And profane - Βεβηλοις· Such who are so unholy and abominable as not to be fit to attend any public worship; from βε, denoting privation or separation, and βηλος, a threshold or pavement, particularly of a temple. Our word profane comes from procul a fano, "far from the temple." When the ancients, even heathens, were about to perform some very sacred rites, they were accustomed to command the irreligious to keep at a distance; hence that saying in a fragment of Orpheus: -
Φθεγξομαι οἱς θεμις εστι· θυρας δ' επιθεσθε βεβηλοις Πασιν ὁμως.
"I will speak to whom it is lawful; but these doors, O, shut against the profane."
And that of Virgil, Aen. vi. ver. 258.
Procul! O procul! este profani.
Far! ye profane! get hence.
Murderers of fathers - Πατραλῳαις. The murderer of a father or a mother, notwithstanding the deep fall of man, and the general profligacy of the world, has been so rare, and is a crime so totally opposite to nature, that few civilized nations have found it necessary to make laws against it. Yet, such monsters, like the most awful and infrequent portents, have sometimes terrified the world with their appearance. But I think the original does not necessarily imply the murder of a father or of a mother; πατραλῳας comes from πατερα, a father, and αλοιαω, to strike, and may mean simply beating or striking a father or mother: this is horrible enough; but to murder a parent out-herods Herod.
Manslayers - Ανδροφονοις· Murderers simply; all who take away the life of a human being contrary to law. For no crime, unless it be murder, should any man lose his life. If the law did not speak differently, I should not scruple to say that he whose life is taken away, except for murder, is murdered.
1 Timothy 1:10
For whoremongers - Πορνοις· Adulterers, fornicators, and prostitutes of all sorts.
Them that defile themselves with mankind - Αρσενοκοιταις· From αρσην, a male, and κοιτη, a bed; a word too bad to be explained. A sodomite.
Men-stealers - Ανδραποδισταις· Slave-dealers; whether those who carry on the traffic in human flesh and blood; or those who steal a person in order to sell him into bondage; or those who buy such stolen men or women, no matter of what color or what country; or those who sow dissensions among barbarous tribes in order that they who are taken in war may be sold into slavery; or the nations who legalize or connive at such traffic: all these are men-stealers, and God classes them with the most flagitious of mortals.
For liars - Ψευσταις· They who speak for truth what they know to be false; and even they who tell the truth in such a way as to lead others to draw a contrary meaning from it.
For perjured persons - Επιορκοις· From επι, against, and ὁρκος, an oath; such as do or leave undone any thing contrary to an oath or moral engagement, whether that engagement be made by what is called swearing, or by an affirmation or promise of any kind.
And if there be any other thing - Every species of vice and immorality, all must be necessarily included, that is contrary to sound doctrine - to the immutable moral law of God, as well as to the pure precepts of Christianity where that law is incorporated, explained, and rendered, if possible, more and more binding.
1 Timothy 1:11
According to the glorious Gospel - The sound doctrine mentioned above, which is here called ευαγγελιον της δοξης του μακαριου Θεου, the Gospel of the glory of the blessed or happy God - a dispensation which exhibits the glory of all his attributes; and, by saving man in such a way as is consistent with the glory of all the Divine perfections, while it brings peace and good will among men, brings glory to God in the highest. Sin has dishonored God, and robbed him of his glory; the Gospel provides for the total destruction of sin, even in this world, and thus brings back to God his glory.
1 Timothy 1:12
I thank Christ - I feel myself under infinite obligation to Christ who hath strengthened me, ενδυναμωσαντι, who hath endued me with various miraculous gifts of his Holy Spirit, and put me into the ministry, διακονιαν, the deaconship, the service of mankind, by preaching the Gospel, for that he counted me - he knew that I would be, faithful to the charge that was delivered to me.
1 Timothy 1:13
A blasphemer - Speaking impiously and unjustly of Jesus, his doctrine, his ways, and his followers.
And - persecutor - Endeavouring, to the uttermost of his power, to exterminate all who called on the name of the Lord Jesus.
And injurious - Και ὑβριστην· As full of insolence as I was of malevolence; and yet, all the while, thinking I did God service, while sacrificing men and women to my own prejudices and intolerance.
I did it ignorantly in unbelief - Not having considered the nature and evidences of Christianity, and not having believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, I acted wholly under the prejudices that influenced my countrymen in general. God therefore showed me mercy, because I acted under this influence, not knowing better. This extension of mercy, does not, however, excuse the infuriated conduct of Saul of Tarsus, for he says himself that he was exceedingly mad against them. Let us beware, lest we lose the man's former crimes in his after character.
1 Timothy 1:14
The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant - The original is very emphatic, that grace of our Lord, ὑπερεπλεονασε, hath superabounded - it manifested itself in a way of extraordinary mercy.
With faith and love - Not only pardoning such offenses, but leading me to the full experimental knowledge of Christianity; of that faith and love which are essential to it; and giving me authority to proclaim it to mankind.
1 Timothy 1:15
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - This is one of the most glorious truths in the book of God; the most important that ever reached the human ear, or can be entertained by the heart of man. All men are sinners; and as such condemned, justly condemned, to eternal death. Christ Jesus became incarnate, suffered, and died to redeem them; and, by his grace and Spirit, saves them from their sins. This saying or doctrine he calls, first, a faithful or true saying; πιστος ὁ λογος, it is a doctrine that may be credited, without the slightest doubt or hesitation; God himself has spoken it; and the death of Christ and the mission of the Holy Ghost, sealing pardon on the souls of all who believe, have confirmed and established the truth.
Secondly, it is worthy of all acceptation; as all need it, it is worthy of being received by all. It is designed for the whole human race, for all that are sinners is applicable to all, because all are sinners; and may be received by all, being put within every man's reach, and brought to every man's ear and bosom, either by the letter of the word, or, where that revelation is not yet come, by the power of the Divine Spirit, the true light from Christ that lightens every man that cometh into the world. From this also it is evident that the death of Christ, and all its eternally saving effects, were designed for every man.
Of whom I am chief - Ὡν πρωτος ειμι εγω. Confounding Paul the apostle, in the fullness of his faith and love, with Saul of Tarsus, in his ignorance, unbelief, and persecuting rage, we are in the habit of saying: "This is a hyperbolical expression, arguing the height of the apostle's modesty and humility and must not be taken according to the letter." I see it not in this light; I take it not with abatement; it is strictly and literally true: take the whole of the apostle's conduct, previously to his conversion, into consideration, and was there a greater sinner converted to God from the incarnation to his own time? Not one; he was the chief; and, keeping his blasphemy, persecution, and contumely in view, he asserts: Of all that the Lord Jesus came into the world to save, and of all that he had saved to that time, I am chief. And who, however humble now, and however flagitious before, could have contested the points with him? He was what he has said, and as he has said it. And it is very probable that the apostle refers to those in whom the grace and mercy of God were, at the first promulgation of the Gospel, manifested: and comparing himself with all these he could with propriety say, ὡν πρωτος ειμι, of whom I am the first; the first who, from a blasphemer, persecutor (and might we not add murderer? see the part he took in the martyrdom of Stephen), became a preacher of that Gospel which I had persecuted. And hence, keeping this idea strictly in view, he immediately adds: Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy; that in me First, πρωτῳ, Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern To Them which should Hereafter, των μελλοντων believe on him to life everlasting. And this great display of the pardoning mercy of God, granted in so singular a manner, at the very first promulgation of the Gospel, was most proper to be produced as a pattern for the encouragement of all penitent sinners to the end of time. If Jesus Christ, with whom there can be no respect of persons, saved Saul of Tarsus, no sinner need despair.
1 Timothy 1:17
Now unto the King eternal - This burst of thanksgiving and gratitude to God, naturally arose from the subject then under his pen and eye. God has most wondrously manifested his mercy, in this beginning of the Gospel, by saving me, and making me a pattern to all them that shall hereafter believe on Christ. He is βασιλευς των αιωνων, the king of eternities; the eternity a parte ante, and the eternity a parte post; the eternity that was before time was, and the eternity that shall be when time is no more. Therefore, ever living to justify and save sinners, to the end of the world.
Immortal - Αφθαρτῳ· Incorruptible - not liable to decay or corruption; a simple uncompounded essence, incapable, therefore, of decomposition, and consequently permanent and eternal. One MS., the later Syriac in the margin, the Vulgate, one copy of the Itala, and some of the Latin fathers, read αθανατῳ, immortal, which our translation follows; but it is not the original reading.
Invisible - Αορατῳ· One who fills all things, works everywhere, and yet is invisible to angels and men; the perfect reverse of false gods and idols, who are confined to one spot, work nowhere, and, being stocks and stones, are seen by every body.
The only wise God - The word σοφῳ wise, is omitted by AD*FG, Syriac, Erpen's Arabic, Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala. Some of the Greek fathers quote it sometimes, and omit it at others; which shows that it was an unsettled reading, probably borrowed from Rom 16:27 (note). Griesbach leaves it out of the text. Without it the reading is very strong and appropriate: To the only God; nothing visible or invisible being worthy of adoration but himself.
Be honor - All the respect and reverence that can be paid by intelligent beings, ascribing to him at the same time all the glory - excellences, and perfections, which can be possessed by an intelligent, unoriginated, independent, and eternal Being; and this for ever and ever-through eternity.
1 Timothy 1:18
This charge - See the note on Ti1 1:5. It was a charge that the Judaizing teachers should not teach differently from that doctrine which the apostle had delivered to him. See Ti1 1:3.
According to the prophecies - This may refer to some predictions by inspired men, relative to what Timothy should be: and he wishes him to act in all things conformably to those predictions. It was predicted that he should have this high and noble calling; but his behavior in that calling was a matter of contingency, as it respected the use he might make of the grace of his calling. The apostle therefore exhorts him to war a good warfare, etc. He was now called to that estate to which the prophecies referred; and now he is to act worthily or unworthily of that calling, according as he fought or did not fight the good warfare, and according as he held or did not hold faith and a good conscience.
Some think that the προαγουσας προφητειας, the foregoing prophecies, refer to revelations which the apostle himself had received concerning Timothy; while others think that the word is to be understood of advices, directions, and exhortations, which the apostle had previously delivered to him; we know that προφητευω signifies to speak to men to edification, to exhortation, and to comfort. See Co1 14:3. This is a very sober and good sense of the passage.
War a good warfare - The trials and afflictions of the followers of God are often represented as a warfare or campaign. See Isa 40:2; Co1 9:7; Co2 10:4; and see the reasons of this metaphorical form of speech, in the notes on Eph 6:13.
1 Timothy 1:19
Holding faith - All the truths of the Christian religion, firmly believing them, and fervently proclaiming them to others.
And a good conscience - So holding the truth as to live according to its dictates, that a good conscience may be ever preserved. As the apostle had just spoken of the Christian's warfare, so he here refers to the Christian armor, especially to the shield and breastplate; the shield of faith, and the breastplate of righteousness. See on Eph 6:13, etc., (note), and Th1 5:8 (note).
Which some having put away - Απωσαμενοι· Having thrust away; as a fool-hardy soldier might his shield and his breastplate, or a mad sailor his pilot, helm, and compass.
Concerning faith - The great truths of the Christian religion.
Have made shipwreck - Being without the faith, that only infallible system of truth; and a good conscience, that skillful pilot, that steady and commanding helm, that faithful and invariable loadstone; have been driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and, getting among shoals, quicksands, and rocks, have been shipwrecked and ingulfed.
1 Timothy 1:20
Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander - Who had the faith but thrust it away; who had a good conscience through believing, but made shipwreck of it. Hence we find that all this was not only possible, but did actually take place, though some have endeavored to maintain the contrary; who, confounding eternity with a state of probation, have supposed that if a man once enter into the grace of God in this life, he must necessarily continue in it to all eternity. Thousands of texts and thousands of facts refute this doctrine.
Delivered unto Satan - For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. See what is noted on Co1 5:5; what this sort of punishment was no man now living knows. There is nothing of the kind referred to in the Jewish writings. It seems to have been something done by mere apostolical authority, under the direction of the Spirit of God.
Hymeneus, it appears, denied the resurrection, see Ti2 2:17, Ti2 2:18; but whether this Alexander be the same with Alexander the coppersmith, Ti2 4:14, or the Alexander, Act 19:33, cannot be determined. Probably, he was the same with the coppersmith. Whether they were brought back to the acknowledgment of the truth does not appear. From what is said in the second epistle the case seems extremely doubtful. Let him who most assuredly standeth, take heed lest he fall.
He that is self-confident is already half fallen. He who professes to believe that God will absolutely keep him from falling finally, and neglects watching unto prayer, is not in a safer state. He who lives by the moment, walks in the light, and maintains his communion with God, is in no danger of apostasy.