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An Exposition Of the Epistles Of Saint Paul And Of The Catholic Epistles Volumes 1&2

Introduction

THIS Epistle embraces subjects almost the same as those treated of in the preceding It is principally devoted to instructing Timothy—and in his person, all the Pastors of the Church, to the end of time—in the nature of his pastoral duties, the virtues he should practise, and the faults he should avoid. The Apostle puts him on his guard against the errors which, even in his lifetime, were to assail the purity of Christian faith and morals. He particularly charges him to manifest great zeal in instructing the faithful, of every grade and order of life, in the truths of faith, and the duties of their respective calling; and this, at all times, both “in season and out of season.”

WHEN AND WHERE WRITTEN.—It is quite certain that this Epistle was written by St. Paul while imprisoned at Rome. This is agreed upon by all, and it is quite clear from chap. 1:16, 17; 2:9. But, it is much controverted, whether this occurred during his first or second imprisonment. Almost all the ancient writers, and among the rest, Eusebius, St. Jerome, and St. Chrysostom, assert that it was written during the Apostle’s second imprisonment. The same is asserted by the subscriptions of the Greek copies. The principal ground of this opinion are the words of the Apostle:—“I am now ready to be sacrificed, and the time of my dissolution is at hand” (4:6). Mauduit has written a lengthened and learned Dissertation in support of this opinion. In the Dissertation referred to, he shows, on very probable grounds, that Timothy had been a fellow-prisoner of the Apostle’s, and had been brought to Rome with him on the occasion of his first imprisonment. It appears from the Epistles to the Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon—all written during his first imprisonment—that Timothy had been at Rome when they were written, for he is united with the Apostle in his concluding salutation in each of these Epistles; and, from this, Mauduit infers, that it could not have been written during this imprisonment; because St. Paul informs Timothy of many things which occurred during his voyage (4:20, 21, &c.), things with which Timothy himself must have been fully acquainted already, if the Apostle referred to the first voyage. Hence, he infers that the Apostle must refer to his second voyage, and that, consequently, this Epistle was written during his second imprisonment, which followed. The arguments adduced by the supporters of the other opinion, are refuted by him in the second part of the Dissertation.

Baronius, and others, assert, that it was written during his first imprisonment. Their principal argument is founded on the words:—“But the Lord stood by me, … and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion” (4:18). However, it will be shown in the Commentary, how easily these words can be reconciled with the former opinion. The question, as to the precise year in which it was written, will altogether depend or the determination of the preceding.








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