1 Timothy Jewish New Testament and comment David H. Stern
1. From: Sha’ul, an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua by command of God our deliverer and the Messiah Yeshua our hope,
Sha'ul is Paul (Ac 13:9&N). Emissary or "apostle" (see Mt 10:2-*N). The Greek word "soter" may be rendered "deliverer" (Hebrew go'el) or "savior" (Hebrew moshia'). God as "deliverer" appears in the seventh blessing of the 'Amidah:
"Look on our affliction, plead our cause and deliver us quickly for your name's sake; for you are a mighty deliverer. Blessed are you, Adonai, deliverer of Israel."
In the first blessing of the Amidah, God is spoken of as bringing a "deliverer" (go 'el) in the future, but being himself "savior" (moshia'): "Blessed are you, ...God, ...who remembers the pious deeds of the Patriarchs, and who in love will bring a redeemer [go 'el] to their children's children for your name's sake. King, helper, savior [moshia'] and shield! Blessed are you, Adonai, shield of Abraham."
Except for Lk 1:47 and Yd 25, where God is praised in the language of the Tanakh, only in this book (here, 2:3, 4:10) and sometimes in Titus is the word "soter" applied to God the Father. Elsewhere in the New Testament it refers to Yeshua, the redeemer whom God has brought to the Patriarchs' children's children. For more on "soter" see Lk 2:11N.
2. To: Timothy, a true son because of your trust:
Grace, mercy and shalom from God the Father and the Messiah Yeshua our Lord.
Timothy. See Pp 1:1N.
3. As I counseled you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus, so that you may order certain people who are teaching a different doctrine to stop.
When I was leaving for Macedonia. This trip of Sha'ul's is not recorded in the book of Acts. Perhaps after being imprisoned in Rome (Acts 28) he was released and able to travel to the congregations he had started in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 16-17).
4. Have them stop devoting their attention to myths and never-ending genealogies; these divert people to speculating instead of doing God’s work, which requires trust.
Timothy was to order certain people to stop teaching a different doctrine, probably one with both Jewish and pre-Gnostic components (on the Gnostics see Ep 1:23N, Co 1:19N; on one way pagans misused Jewish practices see Co 2:16-23&NN). It did not focus on circumcision, as in Galatia, or on a wrong conception of the Messiah, as in Colossae, but on myths (called "Godless bubbe-meises" at 4:7 and "babblings" at 6:20) and never-ending genealogies. The exact content of the heresy is not altogether clear, but its result is clear: people end up "majoring in minors," diverted to speculating about secondary matters and irrelevancies (compare 6:4) instead of doing God's work, which requires not useless information but ongoing trust in God and his Messiah, Yeshua.
Usually "myths and never-ending genealogies" is thought to refer to midrashic elaboration of the genealogies of the Patriarchs, such as can be found, for example, in the Book of Jubilees, written by a Pharisee around 125 B.C.E. But I propose that the error may also have included a variation of the Galatian heresy which, in lieu of requiring circumcision for Gentiles, attributed spiritual value to having blood ties with the Jewish people.
If those leading the movement were misguided Jewish believers, they were following the pattern of unjustifiable pride seen earlier in the antagonists of Yochanan the Immerser (Mt 3:9), Yeshua (Yn 8:39) and Sha'ul (2C 11:22, Pp 3:5-6). Also they were rejecting Sha'ul's teaching that Gentile believers are already children of Abraham through trusting (2:4; Ro 4:11-12, 16; Ga 3:29) and therefore have no need to produce a family tree with Jews in it.
But Gentiles could also spark such a movement, although their motivation would be a bit different. I have met quite a number of Gentile Chrislians who seem to be obsessed with discovering and proving that they have a Jewish family connection. I am not speaking of those who, by telling me about their Jewish great-grandfather, merely want to let me know that we have something in common, but those who have managed to convince themselves — lacking any hard evidence but sometimes claiming special revelation from God — that they really are Jewish. The most extreme instance of which I have personal knowledge was a church with nearly a thousand Gentiles whose pastor and many leaders claimed to have "heard from God" that they were Jewish, complete with knowledge of which tribe they belonged to (for more, see Rv 2:9N).
As a modern phenomenon, 1 think most of this can be explained either as an odd form of compensation for guilt at the Church's antisemitism, as the outworking of an individual's inner conflict with his own antisemitism, or as envy of the supposed spiritual benefit of being Jewish. In Sha'ul's time the motivation would have been a Gentile's feeling that he was not a full-fledged member of God's chosen people unless he could prove that he had some "Jewish blood."
The modern version of giving attention to myths and speculating instead of doing God's work is excessive concentration on God's plan for the future, so that people foolishly focus on doomsday and neglect good deeds here and now.
5. The purpose of this order is to promote love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and from sincere trust.
6. Some, by aiming amiss, have wandered off into fruitless discussion.
7. They want to be teachers of Torah, but they understand neither their own words nor the matters about which they make such emphatic pronouncements.
Sha'ul expands on what he said in vv. 3b-4. The purpose of this order to Timothy is to promote love (the chief commandment, Mk 12:28-32, Ro 13:8-10, 1 Corinthians 13), which has three components: a clean heart, a good conscience and sincere trust. The would-be teachers of Torah have not aimed at love; by aiming amiss, they have wandered off into fruitless discussion, they are "in over their heads" and simply don't understand what they're talking about. Messianic Jews should carefully heed v. 7. A Messianic Jew attending a predominantly Gentile church may be singled out for special attention, either because he is considered "living proof that God is not finished with Israel" (Romans 11) or simply as the "token Jew." But one honor he should be cautious about accepting is an offer to teach the church about Judaism, unless he is both Jewishly knowledgeable and well acquainted with the history of the relationship between the Church and the Jewish people. "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, since you know that we" teachers "will be judged more severely" (Ya 3:1).
On the other hand, non-Messianic Jewish teachers are themselves often ignorant of the most important Jew in history, Yeshua the Messiah, and of his effect on Torah. Think how deficient would be the lectures of a psychology professor ignorant of Freud, or a physics professor ignorant of Einstein. One day there will be a supply of knowledgeable Messianic Jewish teachers of Torah.
A question that may occur to some: why, when dealing with a predominantly Gentile congregation, should we understand Sha'ul's use of the Greek word nomos to mean "Torah" specifically, rather than "law" in general? My answer is that Sha'ul's whole way of thinking was Jewish, and he considered Torah, at least in its broad sense as God's teaching and his way of ordering the universe (see Mt 5:17N), an integral element of the Gospel for Gentiles as well as for Jews.
What Torah requires of Gentiles is not the same as what it requires of Jews (Acts 15&NN), but Sha'ul taught Gentile believers to understand and operate with the Jewish concept of Torah, just as he taught them to understand and operate with the Jewish concept of Messiah and the Jewish concept of God. Later Church teaching has obscured the importance of the Torah concept, but the New Testament does not. For more, see my Messianic Jewish Manifesto, Chapter V ("Torah").
8. We know that the Torah is good, provided one uses it in the way the Torah itself intends.
Misuses of the Torah include:
(1) Requiring Gentiles to observe aspects of the Torah that were meant only for Jews (Acts 15, 21; Ga 2:11-6:16; Co 2:16-23)
(2) Supposing that mere possession of the Torah guarantees personal salvation (Ro 2:17-3:31, 8:3; MJ 7:11-19)
(3) Regarding humanly determined traditions as Torah more authoritative than God's Word itself (Mt 15:1-20, Mk 7:1-23)
(4) Ignoring the New Testament's contribution to the understanding of the Torah (Mt 5:17-20, MJ 8:6)
(5) Using the Torah to lead people away from Yeshua instead of toward him, which is its purpose (Ro 10:4)
(6) Using the Torah as ground for boasting (Ro 3:27-31)
(7) Perverting the Torah into a legalistic system (Ro 3:19-26; Ga 2:16, 3:23)
(See notes to all these passages.) Proper uses, which the Torah itself intends, include building up Jewish peoplehood, trusting in Yeshua and living a holy life.
In the way the Torah itself intends. This phrase translates Greek nomimos, "lawfully, according to law, legally." Since "nomos" here means "Torah" (v. 7N), the sense of "lawfully" is to be defined by the Torah itself, hence my rendering.
9. We are aware that Torah is not for a person who is righteous, but for those who are heedless of Torah and rebellious, ungodly and sinful, wicked and worldly, for people who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers,
KJV renders the first part of this verse, "knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless"; compare New English Bible: "it fthe Law] is not aimed at good citizens." From this one might infer that good people don't need to study the Torah or observe its precepts, which is neither true nor Sha'ul's point. On the other hand, the Jerusalem Bible's "laws are not framed for people who are good" (similarly New International Version, Today's English Version) is also off-target, because Greek nomos here does not mean "law" in a general sense, but Torah (v. 7N). For even though Sha'ul does switch sometimes from one meaning of "nomos" to another (as at Ro 7:21 and at several points in Galatians), in the present verse the sense is governed by Sha' ul' s use of the Greek word "dikaios" which is for him a technical term, rendered here by the phrase, "a person whom God has declared righteous."
"Dikaios" does not mean merely someone who is good, but someone who has committed himself to Yeshua and whom God therefore regards as innocent (see Ga 2:16aN; alsoRo 1:17,5:19, 8:1-4; Ga 3:11;MJ 12:23).
Psalm 37:30-31 says,
"The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue discourses justice. The Torah of God is in his heart."
So only in some of its aspects is the Torah not for a person whom God has declared righteous. In its role as that which prescribes punishment and condemnation for offenses, shows people their sinfulness and guilt before God, and guides them away from trying to prove how good they are and toward trusting in Yeshua the Messiah (Ro 2:12, 7:7-25,9:30-10:4; Ga 3:17-25 and notes to these passages) the Torah is for those who are heedless of Torah in its role for the righteous.
The word for "those who are heedless of Torah" is Greek anomois (see 2 Th 2:3N). Sha'ul enjoys harping on a word, using it over and over in a short passage. Here he uses "nomos" or a derivative five times in vv. 7-9. As with "nomimds" in v. 8, the specific sense of this word is controlled by the context, in which "nomos" means "Torah" so that the rendering "lawless" captures only some of the sense. At 1С 9:21, "anomois" is translated, "those outside the framework of Torah" meaning a category of Gentiles (see note there). Here "anomois" seems to include Jews who live lives as if there were no Torah.
Those who are heedless of Torah, Gentiles outside its framework or Jews who put themselves there, are, because they do not yet trust God and are still controlled by their old nature, rebellious, ungodly and sinful, wicked and worldly (compare Ro 7:7-8:13, Ga 5:13-26). From such a disposition flow all manner of vices, such as those listed; compare Mk 7:20-22; Ro 1:28-32; 1С 5:9-11,6:9-10; 2C 12:20-21; Ga 5:19-21.
10. the sexually immoral — both heterosexual and homosexual — slave dealers, liars, perjurers, and anyone who acts contrary to the sound teaching
Sexual immorality — whether heterosexual or homosexual. See Ro 1:24 28N.
11. that accords with the Good News of the glorious and blessed God. This Good News was entrusted to me;
12. and I thank the one who has given me strength, the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord, that he considered me trustworthy enough to put me in his service,
13. even though I used to be a man who blasphemed and persecuted and was arrogant! But I received mercy because I had acted in unbelief, not understanding what I was doing.
13 For documentation of Sha'ul's former life as a persecutor of God's Messianic Community, see Ac 7:58; 8:1-3; 9:1-2, 13-14; 22:4-5,19-20; 26:9-12; 1С 15:9; Ga 1:13,23; Pp 3:6.
14. Our Lord’s grace overflowed to me with trust and love that come through the Messiah Yeshua.
15. So here is a statement you can trust, one that fully deserves to be accepted: the Messiah came into the world to save sinners, and I’m the number one sinner!
16. But this is precisely why I received mercy — so that in me, as the number one sinner, Yeshua the Messiah might demonstrate how very patient he is, as an example to those who would later come to trust in him and thereby have eternal life.
I received mercy because I acted in unbelief and thus did not understand what 1 was doing. Compare Lk 23:34, "Yeshua said, 'Father, forgive them; they don't understand what they are doing'"; likewise Kefa addressing his fellow-Jews at Ac 3:17. While some non-Messianic Jews are tolerant of Messianic Jews, others act against them in unbelief, not understanding what they are doing. They think that in opposing Messianic Judaism they are serving God (compare Yn 16:2). They ignore Yeshua as an option for themselves. Bui God is very merciful; he can reach through all the sound and fury to the still, quiet place in every soul. Just as our Lord's grace overflowed to Sha'ul. who called himself the number one sinner, his forgiveness and mercy can overflow to anyone; indeed, Sha'ul knew that he would be an example to those who would later come to trust in Yeshua.
17. So to the King — eternal, imperishable and invisible, the only God there is — let there be honor and glory for ever and ever! Amen.
18. This charge, son Timothy, I put to you, in keeping with the prophecies already made about you, so that by these prophecies you may fight the good fight,
19. armed with trust and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, some have made shipwreck of their trust;
Prophecies. See 1С 12:10, 14:1-6. These prophecies were made about Timothy (see 4:14), and he should take courage from them to flght the good flght, as Sha'ul himself did (2 Ti 4:7), against wrong leaching. But essential weapons for the fight are trust and a good conscience; they are even more important than sound doctrine because they have to do with heart and spirit, not mind only.
20. among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander. I have turned them over to the Adversary, so that they will learn not to insult God.
Hymenaeus thought the resurrection had already come (2 Ti 2:17-18; compare 2 Th 2:3); Alexander was more likely to have been the metalworker who harmed and opposed Sha'ul (2 Ti 4:14-15) than the Ephesian Messianic Jew of Ac 19:33.
Sha'ul has turned them over to the Adversary (that is, to Satan; see Mt 4:1N), not for punishment alone but so that they will learn not to blaspheme. Satan is seen, then, not as an independent opponent of God but as a servant of God whose harsh methods can serve to train God's people, as at 1С 5:5&N. (Greek paideuthdsin "conveys the idea of stern punishment rather than instruction," J. N. D. Kelly, The Pastoral Epistles, p. 59; compare "paidagogos" at Ga 3:24&N.)
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