John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 4:14 - 4:14

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John Calvin Complete Commentary - 1 Timothy 4:14 - 4:14


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14Neglect not the gift that is in thee The Apostle exhorts Timothy to employ, for the edification of the Church, that grace with which he was endued. God does not wish that talents — which he has bestowed on any one, that they may bring gain — should either be lost, or be hidden in the earth without advantage. (Mat_25:18.) To neglect a gift is carelessly to keep it unemployed through slothfulness, so that, having contracted rust it is worn away without yielding any profit. Let each of us, therefore, consider what gift he possesses, that he may diligently apply it to use.

He says that grace was given to him by prophecy. How was this? It was because, as we have already said, the Holy Spirit marked out Timothy by revelation, that he might be admitted into the rank of pastors; for he had not only been chosen by the judgment of men, in the ordinary way, but had previously been named by the Spirit.

With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery He says that it was conferred “ the laying on of hands;” by which he means, that, along with the ministry, he was also adorned with the necessary gifts. It was the custom and ordinary practice of the Apostles to ordain ministers “ the laying on of hands.” As to this ceremony, and its origin and meaning, I have formerly given a brief explanation of them, and the rest may be learned from the Institutes (Book 4: chap. 3.)

They who think that presbytery is here used as a collective noun, for “ college of presbyters or elders,” (80) are, I think, correct in their opinion; although, after weighing the whole matter, I acknowledge that a different meaning is not inapplicable, that is, that presbytery or eldership — is the name of an office. He put the ceremony for the very act of ordination; and therefore the meaning is, that Timothy — having been called to the ministry by the voice of the prophets, and having afterwards been solemnly ordained was, at the same time, endued with the grace of the Holy Spirit for the discharge of his office. Hence we infer that it was not a useless ceremony, because God by his Spirit, accomplished that consecration which men expressed symbolically “ the laying on of hands.”



(80) “Pour l’ des prestres, c’ a dire, des pasteurs et anciens de l’.” — “ the assembly of presbyters, that is, of the pastors and elders of the Church.”