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riod, 4770. Vulgar Æra,
1. 1 TIM. i. 1, 2.
1 Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the command
demonstrate the truth of the Gospel, See 2 Tim. i. 6, 7. Yet
Timothy, thus prepared to be the apostle's fellow-labourer in
The date of this epistle has been a subject of much controversy, some assigning it to the year 56, 57, or 58, which is the common opinion; and others to 64 or 65. I have adopted, with Dr. Doddridge, the hypothesis which seems to have prevailed most generally, that it was written about the year of our Lord
EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY.-CHAP. XIII.
Julian Pe- ment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which Macedonia. riod, 4770. is our hope; Vulgar Era,
57 or 58, when St. Paul had lately quitted Ephesus on account of
The Bishop further objects to the epistle's being written at
Julian Period, 4770. Vulgar Æra,
2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, Ephesus. Churches there and in Greece, which must necessarily take up a considerable time, whereas, in his Epistle to Timothy, he speaks of his intention to return very soon. (1 Tim. iii. 14. iv. 13.) But it is natural to suppose that some unforeseen accident might detain him longer than he designed, and being disappointed of some assistance he expected from Macedonia, he might afterwards send for Timothy to come to him, who, as the passage by sea might be dispatched in a few days, might arrive at Macedonia before the apostle wrote his Second Epistle to the Corinthians.
The Bishop further argues, that it appears from the Epistle to Titus, as well as from some passages in his Epistle to the Philippians and to Philemon, that St. Paul actually made another journey into those parts after his imprisonment at Rome, in which journey he left Titus behind him at Crete, which lay in his way from Rome, (Tit. i. 5.) Now it must be allowed the Bishop, that the supposition that Salmasius makes is not at all likely, that St. Paul touched at Crete when he was going from Achaia to Macedonia, for then he carried a collection with him, (1 Cor. xvi. 1.5. Acts xxiv. 17.) and therefore it was not probable he would go so much out of his way; and when he was about to sail into Syria, and heard that snares were laid for him, (Acts xx. 3.) it is not to be supposed he would go into the mouth of them, or that he would take up his time in preaching at Crete, when he was in haste to be at Jerusalem, (Acts xx. 6.) or that he would winter at Nicopolis, (Tit. iii. 12.) when winter was passed, and he desired to be at Jerusalem before the pas sover. But then it had been observed, that perhaps the Epistle to Titus might be among the first St. Paul wrote, and his voyage to Crete, one of the many events before his going up to the council at Jerusalem, which, in his history of the Acts, Luke not being in company with him when they occurred, had entirely passed over, and of which there are notwithstanding some traces in St. Paul's Epistle, particularly 2 Cor. xi. and Rom. xv. 19.; or if it be allowed that the Epistle to Titus was written by St. Paul after his first imprisonment, it will not follow from thence, that the first Epistle to Timothy must have been written at the same time. This is a brief account of the arguments for Bishop Pearson's hypothesis, that this Epistle was written about the year 65, with their respective answers.
In favour, however, of the later date assigned to this Epistle, it has been farther observed, that Timothy was left in Crete, to oppose the following errors.
1. Fables invented by the Jewish doctors, to recommend the observance of the law of Moses, as necessary to salvation.-2. Uncertain genealogies, by which individuals endeavoured to trace their descent from Abraham, in the persuasion that they would be saved, merely because they had Abraham for their father.-3. Intricate questions, and strifes about some words in the law; perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, who reckoned that which produced most gain, to be the best kind of godliness; and 4. Oppositions of knowledge, falsely so named. And these errors, it is said had not taken place in the Ephesian Church, before the apostle's departure; for, in his charge to the Ephesian elders at Miletus, he foretold that the false teachers were to enter in among them after his departing (Acts xx. 29, 30.) I know that after my departing, shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves, shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. The same thing, it is said,
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ST. PAUL'S SALUTATION-CHAP. XIII.
mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ Ephesus. our Lord.
appears from the two Epistles which the apostle wrote to the
Again, in the first Epistle it is said, the same persons, doc-
To the late date of this first Epistle there are three objections, which appear to me to be decisive.
1. It is thought that, if the first Epistle to Timothy was written after the apostle's release, he could not with any propriety have said to Timothy (chap. iv. 12.) "Let no man despise thy youth." In reply to which it is said, that Servius Tullius, in classing the Roman people, as Aulus Gellius relates, (lib. x. c. 28.) divided their age into three periods: childhood, he limited to the age of seventeen; youth, from that to forty-six; and old age, from that to the end of life. Now, supposing Timothy to have been eighteen years old, A.D. 50, when he became Paul's assistant, he would be no more than 32, A.D. 64, two years after the apostle's release, when it is supposed this Epistle was written. Wherefore, being then in the period of life which, by the Greeks, as well as the Romans, was considered as youth, the apostle with propriety might say to him, "Let no man despise thy youth."-It is not however probable, that St. Paul alluded to the artificial distinctions of the Roman law, instead of the actual age of Timothy.
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1 TIM. i. 3, 4.
3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I
2. When the apostle touched at Miletus, in his voyage to Jerusalem, with the collections, the Church at Ephesus had a number of elders, that is, of bishops and deacons, who came to him at Miletus, (Acts xx. 17.) what occasion was there, in an Epistle written after the apostle's release, to give Timothy directions concerning the ordination of bishops and deacons, in a Church where there were so many elders already?—It is answered, the elders who came to the apostle at Miletus, in the year 58, may have been too few for the Church at Ephesus, in her increased state, in the year 65. Besides, false teachers had then entered, to oppose whom more bishops and deacons might be needed than were necessary in the year 58, not to mention that some of the first elders having died, others were wanted to supply their places. Of this, however, there is no scriptural proof, and the positive assertion of the Epistle is needlessly set aside.
Dr. Paley defends the later date from the superscription of the second Epistle to the Corinthians, which is spurious-from the apparently short interval between St. Paul's leaving Ephesus, to go into Macedonia, and the writing the second Epistle to the Corinthians, in the beginning of which Timothy is joined with St. Paul; to which it may be answered, that Timothy might have left Ephesus for a short time only, and soon returned. He endeavours to overcome the insuperable difficulty in the opinion that the Epistle was written so late-that it necessarily implies that St. Paul visited Ephesus after his liberation at Rome, which appears so contrary to what he said to the Ephesian Church, that they should see his face no more. Dr. Paley finds only some presumptive evidences, that the apostle must have visited Ephesus-the Epistles to the Philippians and to Philemon were written while the apostle was a prisoner at Rome: to the former he says, "I trust in the Lord, that I also myself shall come shortly:" and to the latter, who was a Colossian, he gives this direction-" But withal, prepare me also a lodging, for I trust that, through your prayers, I thall be given unto you." An inspection of the map will shew us, that Colosse was a city of Asia Minor, lying eastward, and at no great distance from Ephesus; Philippi was on the other, i. e. the western side of the Egean Sea. Now, if the apostle executed his purpose, and came to Philemon at Colosse, soon after his liberation, it cannot be supposed, says Dr. Paley, that he would omit to visit Ephesus, which lay so near it, and where he had spent three years of his ministry. As he was also under a promise to visit the Church at Philippi shortly, if he passed from Colosse to Philippi he could hardly avoid taking Ephesus in his way. Arguments of this theoretical nature ought to weigh but little, when they defend a proposition which seems opposed to the plain and literal meaning of Scripture. When St. Paul told the elders of Ephesus that they should see his face no more, it was so solemnly announced, that it may be considered as spoken by the spirit of prophecy with which he was gifted.
Macknight has argued at great length that St. Paul spoke his strong persuasion only. Dr. Paley, in adopting the same by