《Coffman Commentaries on the Bible – 1 Timothy》(James B. Coffman) Commentator

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Coffman Commentaries on the Bible – 1 Timothy(James B. Coffman)
Commentator

James Burton Coffman was a prolific author, preacher, teacher and leader among churches of Christ in the 20th century.

He was born May 24, 1905, in Taylor County to pioneer West Texans "so far out in the country it took two days to go to town and back." He became a Christian in 1923.

In Texas, Coffman graduated from Abilene High School and enrolled in Abilene Christian College (now University), graduating in 1927 with a B.A. in history and music.

After earning his degree, Coffman served as a high school principal for two years in Callahan County, then taught history and English at Abilene High School.

In 1930, he was offered a position as associate minister and song leader in Wichita Falls, the beginning of his career as a minister. Then, he married Thelma "Sissy" Bradford in 1931. Coffman preached for congregations in Texas; Oklahoma; Washington, D.C.; and New York City. In his lifetime, Coffman received 3 honorary doctorates.

While in Washington, he was offered the opportunity to serve as guest chaplain for the U.S. Armed Forces in Japan and Korea and served 90 days, holding Gospel meetings throughout both countries.

Coffman conducted hundreds of gospel meetings throughout the U.S. and, at one count, baptized more than 3,000 souls.

Retiring in 1971, he returned to Houston. One of his most notable accomplishments was writing a 37-volume commentary of the entire Bible, verse by verse, which was finished in 1992. This commentary is being sold all over the world. Many people consider the Coffman series to be one of the finest modern, conservative commentary sets written.

Coffman's conservative interpretations affirm the inerrancy of the Bible and clearly point readers toward Scripture as the final basis for Christian belief and practice. This series was written with the thorough care of a research scholar, yet it is easy to read. The series includes every book of the Old and New Testaments.

After being married to Sissy for 64 years, she passed away. Coffman then married June Bristow Coffman. James Burton Coffman died on Friday, June 30, 2006, at the age of 101.

01 Chapter 1
Verse 1
PAUL'S FIRST LETTER TO TIMOTHY

White considered this chapter, aside from the salutation (1 Timothy 1:1,2), as regarding a crisis in the Christian faith (1 Timothy 1:3-20).[1] Historically, Paul was writing at some time subsequent to his release from the imprisonment of Acts 28, following his journey to Spain, and at some place when he was en route to Rome, following the great fire of July 19,64 A.D., and possibly with some purpose of aiding the Christians there who were threatened by the ominous change in the attitude of Nero, whose great persecution against the Christians was not yet in full progress. It cannot be stated whether or not Paul was journeying to Rome of his own accord, or if he had been summoned by Nero. The tradition that both apostles Peter and Paul were martyred by Nero rose at too early a time to be passed off as a fiction of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus being in all probability true. History has left us no clues as to the mechanics of how Paul in this letter was on the way to Rome, and how in 2Timothy, only a little later, he was anticipating execution. In any event, the atmosphere of crisis is plainly in 1Timothy; and Paul in this chapter began laying the groundwork for protecting and extending the beloved faith, no longer by his own prodigious efforts, but in this new situation, by his beloved converts such as Timothy and Titus.


Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Saviour, and Christ Jesus our hope; unto Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (1 Timothy 1:1-2)


An apostle of Christ Jesus ... Of all the slanders ever directed against the word of God, none is more ridiculous and unfounded than this assertion of Gealy:

"Christ Jesus our Lord" in the genuine Pauline letters is always "our Lord Jesus Christ ... In the pastorals, "Christ Jesus" is used twenty-three times, and "Jesus Christ" three times." In the other Pauline letters, "Jesus Christ" appears sixty-seven times, as against sixty-three times for "Christ Jesus." Thus the appearance of "Christ Jesus" three times in these three verses is not the Pauline proportion: it remains a mystery if it is assumed that Paul wrote these letters (the Pastorals).[2]SIZE>

What has been attempted by such a criticism as this is to make Paul's preference for the expression "Christ Jesus" as exhibited in the Pastorals an excuse for denying that he wrote them at all, despite the fact that he used the same expression exactly sixty-three times in his other letters, their denial being based upon the allegation that "this is not the Pauline proportion"! What kind of arrogance is this that affirms that a man scatters certain words in his vocabulary over his writings in any definite proportion, of so many to the page, or verse? Nothing any more unreasonable and erroneous than this was ever advocated in the name of scholarship. What is really behind it? As Hendriksen suggested, there are some who do not like the Scriptural teaching of these letters, and who will seize upon the flimsiest of pretexts in order to rationalize their denials. The reader will not be troubled by many other such insinuations against these epistles; not one of them is entitled to any credence or respect whatever, as more fully explained in the introduction to the Pastorals, the above example of them standing as a fair representation of all of them.

An apostle ... By this, "Paul claims to have been as truly sent by Christ as were those who were apostles before him."[3] The authority of Paul and the Twelve was plenary, nontransferable and perished from the earth in the death of those genuine apostles who, alone, held the office and exercised its authority. Why did Paul, at the outset of this letter, stress his apostolic office? As Hendriksen said:

Timothy needed to know that this letter was not just a friendly substitute for a confidential chat, a tete-a-tete; even though its tone is naturally cordial, for a friend is indeed writing a friend. The letter rises above the purely human level.[4]SIZE>

The so-called Pastorals are canonical Scripture binding upon the whole church of God on earth, and fittingly, they carry the apostolic seal.


Of Christ Jesus ... There is no difference in this expression from "Jesus Christ," Paul evidently using them synonymously and interchangeably. Such distinctions as making "Christ Jesus" to be indicative of Christian theology, and "Jesus Christ" to be an emphasis upon the historical Jesus, etc., have little or no value.

According to the commandment of God ... This has reference, not merely to the scene on Damascus road, but as Hervey believed, "to the command, Separate me Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:2)."[5]

God our Saviour ... While unusual in Paul's letters, the idea is certainly found elsewhere, as in 2 Corinthians 5:19; and, besides that, Paul's close personal friend Luke used the same expression in Luke 1:47.

Christ Jesus our hope ... The absolute unity between the Father and the Son, as in so many New Testament references, shines in this. As dark and evil crises gathered ominously over his head, and as Paul contemplated the threatening evils that would assail the beloved church, he loved to contemplate Jesus Christ as the one glorious hope that made all of the suffering and hardship, all of the trials and sorrows, both worthwhile and bearable.

Unto Timothy, my true child in faith ...

TIMOTHY

The name of Paul's friend Timothy had often been joined to that of the apostle in the salutations of 2 Corinthians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:1, and in Philemon 1:1:1, and also with Silvanus in the salutations of both the Thessalonians; but here he was accorded the high honor of having one of the New Testament books addressed to him personally. As Wesley said, "Of all whom Paul ever converted, Timothy seems to have been to Paul the disciple who was most beloved and most trusted."[6] From the scattered references to him in the New Testament, the following facts appear:

From Acts 14:6 and Acts 16:3, it is clear that Timothy was a native of Lystra, and that he was converted on Paul's first missionary tour. He, in all probability, saw Paul stoned and dragged out of Lystra for dead; and then, on the second missionary journey, in response to the promptings of prophetic utterances (1 Timothy 1:18), and upon the recommendation of the elders in Lystra and Iconium, Timothy was commissioned as the apostle's attendant and helper on the mission field. The letter before us testifies to the faithfulness of Timothy to that charge throughout the apostle's subsequent life.

Timothy's father was a Greek and his mother a devout Jewess, who, despite her marriage, had maintained her faith in the Scriptures. Due to the circumcision controversy, Paul circumcised Timothy, not as in any manner connected with salvation, but as an expedient foil of Jewish criticism (Acts 16:3). Titus who had no racial connection with Judaism, Paul absolutely refused to circumcise (Galatians 2:3).

Timothy was ordained by the eldership of Lystra and Derbe (1 Timothy 4:14) and by the laying on of the hands of the apostle himself.

Timothy followed and aided Paul extensively in all of the labors recorded in Acts; and once, when Paul was necessarily separated from him at Berea, he went on to Corinth alone, but did not rest until Timothy had rejoined him. There seems to have been a very beautiful and wholesome friendship between the two. From Ephesus, Paul sent Timothy on one, perhaps more, corrective missions to Corinth; and he seems to have acted as Paul's deputy whenever the occasion required it. Both during Paul's first imprisonment in Rome and afterward, Timothy continued his faithful attendance upon Paul. During the second imprisonment, including the time immediately prior to it, he once more appeared as the man Paul sent to Ephesus to bolster the Christians of Ephesus against the impending persecutions.

As for the tradition that Timothy became the first metropolitan bishop of Ephesus, there cannot possibly be any value to it. As Rutherford said, "The position which Timothy occupied at Ephesus cannot, without doing the greatest violence to history, be called that of a bishop (in the current sense of that word)."[7] In the New Testament, such terms as elder, bishop, overseer, presbyter, etc., are absolutely synonymous. No competent scholar in these times denies this.

Timothy was, in all probability, at Paul's side when the end came. As the threatening clouds became more and more ominous, and when Paul knew that his execution was at hand, he desired more than ever the companionship of his beloved Timothy; so he sent the somber appeal, "Give diligence to come shortly unto me" (2 Timothy 4:9).


My true child in faith ... As Ward said, "The word TRUE means "born in lawful wedlock,"[8] thus being the most emphatic affirmation of the genuineness of Timothy's conversion.

In faith ... No less a scholar than White affirmed that, as is so frequently the case, the KJV is correct in rendering this "in the faith."[9] In this entire series, the most vigorous protest has been raised against the perversion of "faith," which in the New Testament nearly always means "the faith," and the importation into the word the notion of "subjective trust." Even Hendriksen was diligent to assert, regarding this verse, that "It is best to take it here subjectively";[10] but as White said, " Titus 1:4 proves that FAITH here is THE FAITH as in KJV."[11] Dummelow agreed to this; and many scholars have pointed out that the inclusion of the article before FAITH and, in other cases, the omission of it, does not necessarily determine one meaning or another.

Grace, mercy and peace ... Paul usually concluded his letters with "Grace and peace"; but here the inclusion of "mercy" would seem to be best explained thus, "The nearness of death, the weakness of old age, the ever-increasing dangers which crowded around Paul, seem to have called forth from him deeper expressions of love and tender pity."[12]

From God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord ...

This bracketing of Christ Jesus with the Father twice in these opening verses is not without significance, especially in the light of subsequent teaching in the letter concerning Christ as mediator.[13]SIZE>


[1] Newport J. D. White, Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. IV (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), p. 83.

[2] Fred D. Gealy, The Interpreter's Bible, Vol. VI (New York: Abingdon Press, 1955), p. 376.

[3] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 89.

[4] William Hendriksen, Commentary on 1,2Timothy and Titus (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1957), p. 49.

[5] A. C. Hervey, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 21,1Timothy (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950), p. 61.

[6] John Wesley, One Volume New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1972), in loco.

[7] John Rutherford, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company, 1915), p. 2985.

[8] Ronald A. Ward, Commentary on 1,2Timothy and Titus (Waco: Word Books, Publisher, 1974), p. 23.

[9] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 91.

[10] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 54.

[11] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 91.

[12] H. D. M. Spence, Ellicott's Commentary, Vol. VIII, 1Timothy (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1959), p. 178.

[13] Alan G. Nute, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 507.

Verse 3

As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine.

It is not improbable that on his last trip to Rome, Paul covered as much ground as he could, warning and encouraging the many churches that he had planted concerning the looming persecutions in Rome. The thing that most concerned Paul was that the doctrine should be maintained absolutely in its purity and fidelity. The situation at Ephesus, where Paul had lately been, was compounded by the appearances of certain departures from the true faith, and this letter was Paul's charge to Timothy relative to making the necessary corrections. It appears that Paul was compelled, from whatever consideration we do not know, to proceed with all dispatch to Rome; hence the reason for his leaving Timothy behind at Ephesus.

Tarry at Ephesus ... In the Greek, this is "stay on,"[14] and, as Hendriksen said, this probably indicates that Paul and Timothy had gone to Ephesus together, Timothy being left behind when Paul could no longer stay.

Certain men ... The indication from this is that not a great number were involved, but that some false teachings were being advocated. Their importance, by these admonitions, is not indicated as a very big thing; but all false teaching should be cut off at the beginning wherever possible.

Not to teach a different doctrine ... The false doctrine in evidence here "seems to have arisen mainly, if not entirely, from Jewish sources."[15] Apparently, some new phases of Jewish error had surfaced at Ephesus, indicating the passage of some time, intervening between this and Paul's earlier letters; but there is absolutely no indication that some remote later period in the late first or early second centuries is in view. The only thing proved by this is that "Paul's forebodings for the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:29,30) were at that time being fulfilled."[16] Wesley's quaint interpretation here is, "Let them put nothing in the place of it (the gospel), and add nothing to it."[17]


[14] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 54.

[15] H. D. M. Spence, op. cit., p. 178.

[16] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 91.

[17] John Wesley, op. cit., in loco.

Verse 4
neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith; so do I now.

Of all historical peoples, the Jews, more than any other, were concerned with genealogies; and coupled with this, the sequential mention of the Ten Commandments, one at a time in order, a moment later, emphatically demands that the false teaching here be understood as Jewish improvisations upon the body of Christian truth. All efforts to make this passage a refutation of second-century philosophies should be rejected.

So do I now ... These four words were supplied by the translators, an addition which was made necessary by Paul's breaking off a sentence without finishing it. The particular type of grammatical structure here is called an anacoluthon. Most scholars believe that it would have been better to supply the words "so do," making them imperative for Timothy, rather than as in the ASV.

Verse 5
But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned:


End of the charge ... The meaning here, according to Wesley, is "the end of the whole Christian institution."[18] Thus, as so often in the New Testament, "faith" means "Christianity," not "subjective trust/faith." Wallis also perceived this, saying, "Faith (in this passage) is used in the sense of the faith, sound doctrine."[19]


Love ... good conscience ... faith ... As Hervey said:

These three phrases seem to rebuke by contrast the merely ceremonial cleanness and the defiled conscience and the merely nominal Christianity of those heretical Judaizers.[20]SIZE>



[18] Ibid.

[19] Wilbur B. Wallis, Wycliffe Bible Commentary, New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1971), p. 843.

[20] A. C. Hervey, op. cit., p. 3.

Verse 6
from which things some having swerved have turned aside unto vain talking;

Hendriksen's description of their teaching as evidenced by this verse is as follows:

It is like useless reasoning, argumentation that gets nowhere, dry as dust disputation, wrangling about fanciful tales anent pedigrees! It has finally landed them in the no-man's-land of ceremonial subtleties, in the dreary marsh of ridiculous hairsplitting. And the owner of that quagmire is Satan, who heads the welcoming committee.[21]SIZE>

It is much easier to talk, using religious phrases and words, than to teach the word of God to the end of converting souls and encouraging the life in Christ.

ENDNOTE:

[21] William Hendriksen, op. cit., p. 63.

Verse 7
desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.


Teachers of the law ... This is nothing but the law of Moses affording further indubitable proof that Judaizing heresies are the false doctrine in view here. Their "teaching" had no substance whatever; it was all rant, cant and nonsense.

Verse 8

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully,

It is an error to make this verse some kind of license for binding the Mosaic law upon Christians. Nothing could be clearer in the Pauline writings than the fact of the law of Moses having been "taken out of the way," "fulfilled," "abrogated," "nailed to the cross," etc. Paul flatly declared that Christians are "dead to the law by the body of Christ" (Romans 7:4), this having reference, of course, to all requirements of the law in their totality. Not even the moral code of the Decalogue is the law of Christ, for in the Magna Carta of the Christian Religion (the Sermon on the Mount), our Lord took up, one by one, the great commandments of the Decalogue, replacing each one of them with "but I say unto you," in each case imposing through his own supreme authority a higher and better standard than that of the Decalogue. For extensive discussion of this, see under Matthew 5-7 in my Commentary on Matthew.

However, Paul here said that "the law is good," indicating that there is a legitimate use of it. What are the legitimate uses, for Christians, of the law of Moses?


THE VALUE OF MOSES' LAW

1. Its great prophecies point to the coming of Christ, some 333 of these being the most convincing evidence on earth to the effect that Jesus our Lord is indeed the divine Messiah "whose goings forth are known from of old, even from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).

2. The old Israel is a type of the new; and the study of the history of the old Israel affords many glimpses of what is to be expected in the unfolding history of the new Israel which is the church of the living God. As there was an apostasy in the old Israel, so there is in the new; and there are doubtless many other similarities that shall in time be unfolded.

3. The love, mercy, forgiveness and patience of God in dealing with the saints of the Old Testament are valid and certain pledges of his same dealings with the children of God in the new dispensation. "The things which were written aforetime were written for our comfort" (Romans 15:4).

4. The only logical and intelligent account of the creation of all things is found in the books of Moses (the Pentateuch). Without the revelation of the Old Testament in this sector, people could not with confidence know the story of creation.

5. The course of hardening and rebellion among the pre-Christian Gentile nations is fully evident in the Old Testament, the same being a divinely inspired record, a test case, an authentic example of that which always happens when a nation turns away from God.

6. The psychology of both righteous and wicked minds is abundantly presented throughout the Old Testament, as seen in the compromises proposed by Pharaoh, the proposals to Nehemiah, etc.

7. The richest deposit of devotional material in existence is to be found in the Old Testament; and the things enumerated here are but samplings of the benefits to be derived from knowledge and study of the Old Testament.

Verse 9

as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

Lawless and unruly ... ungodly and sinners ... unholy and profane ... Hendriksen was correct in seeing the persons in view in these phrases as "those who flout the first four commandments of the Decalogue."[22] If there had been any doubt, the composition of the balance of this list would have revealed it unmistakably.

Murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers ... This relates to the fifth commandment, "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother"; but in the writing of the New Testament the more reprehensible nature of any dishonor of parents is plain in Paul's designation here.


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