John Calvin on the Pastorals and Philemon

John Calvin, author of Commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon
John Calvin [1509-1564]
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.

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St Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen

The following public domain book is now available for free download in PDF:

William M. Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1895. Hbk. pp.394.

St Paul

Chapter I.

The Acts of the Apostles

I. Trustworthiness. The aim of our work is to treat its subject as a department of history and of literature. Christianity was not merely a religion, but also a system of life and action; and its introduction by Paul amid the society of the Roman Empire produced changes of momentous consequence, which the historian must study. What does the student of Roman history find in the subject of our investigation? How would an observant, educated, and unprejudiced citizen of the Roman Empire have regarded that new social force, that new philosophical system, if he had studied it with the eyes and the temper of a nineteenth century investigator?
As a preliminary the historian of Rome must make up his mind about the trustworthiness of the authorities. Those which we shall use are: (1) a work of history commonly entitled the Acts of the Apostles (the title does not originate from the author), (2) certain Epistles purporting to be written by Paul. Of the latter we make only slight and incidental use; and probably even those who dispute their authenticity would admit that the facts we use are trustworthy, as being the settled belief of the Church at a very early period. It is, therefore, unnecessary to touch on the authenticity of the Epistles; but the question as to the date the composition, and the author of the Acts must be discussed. If the main position of this book is admitted, it will furnish a secure basis for the Epistles to rest on.

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Davidson’s Commentary on Ezekiel

A.B. Davidson's Commentary on Ezekiel
Andrew Bruce Davidson (1831 – January 26, 1902)

The following public domain book is now available for free download in PDF:

A.B. Davidson [1831-1902], The Book of the Prophet Ezekiel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1892. Hbk. pp.368.

Chapter 1. The Book of Ezekiel

The Book of Ezekiel is simpler and more perspicuous in its arrangement than any other of the great prophetical books. It was probably committed to writing late in the prophet’s life, and, unlike the prophecies of Isaiah, which were given out piecemeal, was issued in its complete form at once. The prophecies are disposed upon the whole in chronological order, though the book may contain much that was never actually spoken, and even the prophecies that were orally delivered may have undergone considerable modification under the pen of the prophet when reproducing them. None of the prophets shews any anxiety to record his discourses in the precise form in which he delivered them. The aim of the prophets in their writings was not literary but practical, as it was in their speeches. It was their purpose to influence the minds of the people when they spoke, and this was equally their purpose when they wrote, and, if in the interval the circumstances of the people had to some extent changed, they did not hesitate to accommodate their former discourses to the new situation. The book of Ezekiel is occupied with two great themes: the destruction of the city and nation; and the reconstitution of the people and their eternal peace. The book thus falls into two equal divisions of 24 chapters each:-
First Division, ch. i.-xxiv., Prophecies of the destruction of the city and nation, its certainty and necessity.
Second Division, ch. xxv.-xlviii., Prophecies of the restoration of the people, their regeneration .and eternal peace as the people of the Lord.
These prophecies are for the most part symbolical actions, of which the explanation is added; or allegories and riddles, the meaning of which is read to the people. Though a good many actual events are referred to, the book contains little that is historical. It is rather a book of general principles. These principles are all but deductions from the prophet’s conception of Jehovah, God of Israel and God over all. In this respect Ezekiel resembles the author of Is. xl-lxvi, though he has neither the breadth of sympathy nor the glow of emotion that distinguish the Evangelist of the Old Testament.

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