Scripture Notes.

1 Timothy 5:20.

There are three questions to be answered in regard to this scripture if we would apprehend its precise meaning. The first is, Who are indicated by "them that sin" (tous hamartanontas)? It has been thought by some, from the connection, that they might be elders. Thus "against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin," etc.; i.e. as has been contended, if any of the elders were proved to have sinned, they were to be rebuked before all. A careful examination, however, of the exact form of the apostle's language leads to the conclusion that it is more general that, to speak accurately, it is a class; viz., those who sin, whether elders or otherwise, that all in the assembly who sin are to be dealt with in the way specified. The second question is, What is meant by the words "rebuke before all"? The word "rebuke" is the same as found, for example, in John 16:8, where it is translated "reprove." "And when He" (the Comforter) "is come, He will reprove the world of sin," etc. In both cases the more exact rendering would be "convict." The very fact of the presence of the Comforter on earth "convicts" the world of sin - in the rejection and crucifixion of Christ. So in our passage, those that sin are to be "convicted" before all. To enter into the meaning of this, it must be remembered that this scripture in nowise militates against other passages which afford guidance for dealing privately with believers who fall into sin. These divinely-given directions always retain their force; and here the apostle is furnishing Timothy with instruction as to the treatment of "those that sin" when other means have failed; as, for example, in Matthew 18, where the Lord teaches us how to act in respect of a brother who trespasses against us. First, we are to speak to him alone. If this does not succeed, we are to take one or two more with us. If he will not hear them, we are to "tell it unto the church," etc. In like manner those that sin are to be convicted before all after other means for their restoration have been adopted. The question then returns - What is it to convict them before all? It is to demonstrate their sin before all in such a way as to bring it home to their consciences, with the object of leading them to confession and restoration. It is thus a work of power in the Spirit to convict them that sin before the assembly - it may be by facts - to convict them in their conscience before God, by showing out the character of their sin, and thus producing real humiliation, contrition, and self-judgment. The third question is, On whom does this blessed work devolve? It is not a precept for the assembly any more than the appointment of bishops and deacons. It is rather an apostolic charge to Timothy himself; so that it was Timothy who was to act in the way described. What then would answer to this now? If a brother, on whose heart the Lord has laid a true pastoral care for His people, and one who had sought in every possible way to reach the conscience of any who had sinned but had failed, were to rise, as led of the Holy Spirit in time assembly, and convict them in the presence of all, he would be acting on the principle of this scripture. From the very nature of the precept it could not be a collective responsibility nor a delegated duty, but wholly and entirely an individual act; and an individual act only when done in the power of the Holy Ghost.

2 Corinthians 12:9.

The first sentence of this verse is sometimes overlooked - "He said unto me." Paul got it from Christ. You may tell me that Christ is sufficient, but I must get it myself personally from Christ in heaven, and that will assure my heart. If we want to be delivered from ourselves, or from whatever difficulties may be in our pathway, He is sufficient. The result is, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities." He besought the Lord thrice to take away the thorn before, but now a communication from Christ has altered everything; the voice of Christ alters everything. There is no third party here; it is not He and us, but He and me. I do not mean anything imaginative, only the simplicity of intercourse with Christ about everything in our pathway. "That the power of Christ may overshadow me, tabernacle over me." For the saint of God who walks in conscious weakness and powerlessness there is an invisible power overshadowing him all the pathway through. I believe we often want to get up power like getting up steam. It must be perpetual weakness, but perpetual power. Christ says I can do anything I like there; that is the state He wants in us. E. P. C.

1 John 5:8.

There seems to be here (in the witness that eternal life is in the Son, not in Adam) a double testimony: the water and the blood, which tell of death, the breach with all of the first man, that not till Christ was dead, or otherwise than by death, was there cleansing; the Spirit, witness of life according to the glory of the second Adam. Life is in the Son; but the Son, as man on the cross, has come in the midst of the whole thing, has been rejected, and has died, and died for atonement and cleansing. But the Son is also glorified Man, and as such Head of the new thing in power. J. N. Darby.