John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 1:6 - 1:6

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 1:6 - 1:6


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6From which some having gone astray He continues to pursue the metaphor of an object or end; for the verb ἀστοχεῖν the participle of which is here given, signifies to err or go aside from a mark. (12)

Have turned aside to idle talking This is a remarkable passage, in which he condemns for “ talking” (13) all the doctrines which do not aim at this single end, and at the same time points out that the views and thoughts of all who aim at any other object vanish away. It is, indeed, possible that useless trifles may be regarded by many persons with admiration; but the statement of Paul remains unshaken, that everything that does not edify in godliness is ματαιολογία (14) “ talking.” We ought; therefore to take the greatest possible care not to seek anything in the holy and sacred word of God but solid edification, lest otherwise he inflict on us severe punishment for abusing it.



(12) “ he makes use of a metaphor taken from those who shoot with a bow; for they have their mark at which they aim, and do not shoot carelessly, or at random. Thus Paul shews that God, by giving us the law, has determined to give us a sure road, that we may not be liable to wander like vagabonds. And, indeed, it is not without reason that Moses exhorteth the people, ‘ is the way, walk ye in it,’ as if he had said that men do not know where they are, till God has declared to them his will; but then they have an infallible rule. — Let us carefully observe that God intends to address us in such a manner that it shall not be possible for us to go astray, provided that we take him for our guide, seeing that he is ready and willing to perform that office, when we do not refuse such a favor. This is what Paul meant by this metaphor; as we are told that all who have it not as their object to rely on the grace of God, in order that they may call on God as their Father, and may expect salvation from him, and who do not walk with a good conscience, and with a pure heart toward their neighborhood, are like persons who have wandered and gone astray.” — Fr. Ser.

(13) “De vanite et mesonge.” — “ vanity and falsehood.”

(14) Ματαιολογία has reference to the interminable and unprofitable ζητήσεις mentioned at 1Ti_1:4, and called κενοφωνίας at 1Ti_6:20; this vain and empty talk being, by implication, opposed to the performance of substantial duties.” — Bloomfield.