In order to get the most from Bishop Charles Ellicott’s commentary on the Pastoral Epistles you will need a good grasp of Greek. Despite its age, this commentary still seems to be in demand, so I was very pleased to find one at Book Aid recently. This title is in the public domain.
The date and general circumstances under which this and the accompanying Epistles were written have long been the subjects of discussion and controversy.
As our opinion on these points must first be stated, it may be said briefly,-(a) that when we duly consider that close connexion in thought, subject, expressions, and style, which exists between the First Epistle to Timothy and the other two Pastoral Epistles, it seems in the highest degree incredible that they could have been composed at intervals of time widely separated from each other. When we further consider (b) the almost insuperable difficulty in assigning any period for the composition of this group of Epistles in that portion of the Apostle’s life and labours included in the Acts; (c) the equally great or even greater difficulty in harmonizing the notes of time and place in these Epistles with those specified in the Apostle’s journeys as recorded by St Luke…
The following Pastoral Epistles commentary is now available for free download in PDF:
E.K. Simpson, M.A., The Pastoral Epistles. The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary. London: The Tyndale Press, 1954. Hbk. pp.174.
This book is still in copyright. I have attempted the following to locate the current copyright holder:
1) Contacted the publisher of the book – no record of current copyright holder.
2) Contacted American publisher of another book by the same author – records out-of-date.
3) Wrote to author’s former College – no reply.
4) Wrote to author’s former church – no reply.
5) Posted a resquest for contact information on-line – no response.
6) Have had other works by this author online for several years and have had no contact from copyright holder.
As these searches have failed, I am posting the book and inviting the copyright holder to get in touch with me.
Pastoral Epistles Commentary
I. The Author
The spell cast by Saul of Tarsus over minds of any moral earnestness admits of no question. Unlike his namesake, the first king of Israel, he was shortish of stature. Chrysostom styles him ho tripechus anthropos, and Augustine, playing on his Roman cognomen, paullum modicum quid; but the extent of the shadow he has spread over posterity bears witness to the hulk of his spiritual build. Indeed, his most ardent admirers do not pay him more signal homage in this respect than those detractors from his just fame who ascribe to his influence an age-long perversion of primitive Christianity so entire as to set him at cross purposes with his Master. Such a man’s career throbs with interest to all serious thinkers.
That career, as we all know, bisects itself into two wholly discrepant halves. To explain how the hunting leopard of Pharisaism came to he transformed into one of the Good Shepherd’s most docile lambs has always baffled sceptical ingenuity. The change of front is so utter, and pregnant with such far-reaching issues, that it positively demands the supernatural cause which he himself assigns for it to render the phenomenon intelligible.
But our theme restricts us to those closing days of this marvellous biography about which, strange to say, we know less than about the rest. Whatever he the verdict we pass on the Pastoral Epistles, it cannot be denied that they form a group by themselves, detached from the residue of Paul’s writings and attached to one another by links of their own. Some of the older commentators, in common with Wieseler, a German theologian of the last century, have sought to isolate Titus and the first Epistle to Timothy from its twin brother, and affix on them a date prior to what are known as the ‘Prison Epistles’. They seem to have thought that on any other supposition the apparent references to a revisit of Paul to Ephesus clashed with his declaration in Acts xx to the elders at Miletus that they should ‘see his face no more’. But there are two or three ways of parrying this over-hasty conclusion.
The following commentaries by John Calvin are now available on-line in PDF:
John Calvin, (Translated from the Original Latin by the Rev. William Pringle). Commentaries on the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Philemon. Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1856. Hbk. pp.398.
John Calvin’s Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon
The Argument of the First Epistle of Timothy
This Epistle appears to me to have been written more for the sake of others than for the sake of Timothy, and that opinion will receive the assent of those who shall carefully consider the whole matter. I do not, indeed, deny that Paul intended also to teach and admonish him but my view of the Epistle is, that it contains many things which it would have been superfluous to write, if he had had to deal with Timothy alone. He was a young man, not yet clothed with that authority which would have been, sufficient for restraining the headstrong men that rose up against him. It is manifest, from the words used by Paul, that there were at that time some who were prodigiously inclined o ostentation, and for that reason would not willingly yield to any person, and who likewise burned with such ardent ambition, that they would never have ceased to disturb the Church, had not a greater than Timothy interposed. It is likewise manifest, that there were many things to be adjusted at Ephesus, and that needed the approbation of Paul, and the sanction of his name. Raving therefore intended to give advice to Timothy on many subjects, he resolved at the same time to advise others under the name of Timothy. In the first chapter, he attacks some ambitious persons who made their boast of discussing idle questions. It may readily be concluded that they were Jews, who, while they pretended to have zeal for the law, disregarded edification, and attended only to frivolous disputes.