Scripture Notes.


Luke 24:29.

Only twice is the word here translated "constrained" found in the New Testament. In the other scripture it is used in exactly the same way. Lydia "constrained" Paul and Silas to abide with her (Acts 16:15), just as the two disciples "constrained" our blessed Lord, saying, "Abide with us." It is a strong word, sometimes in classical Greek going so far as to do violence to anyone; and thus it may he understood, in the scriptures referred to, as constraining in the sense of taking no denial. Hence the disciples, as also Lydia, might be said to have compelled compliance with their request from their very urgency. How such a constraint must have delighted the Lord's heart; and with what joy He would respond to a petition so presented. Three other times "constrained" is met with in our English version. (Matt. 14:22; Acts 28:19; 2 Cor. 5:14.) In the first two the word means to force or compel. The Lord "forced" the disciples to get into a ship, using His authority to compel them to do as He commanded; and Paul was "forced" by the circumstances, as he thought, seeing no other way out of the difficulty, to appeal unto Caesar. Peter uses the same word in another form when he exhorts the elders to take the oversight of the flock of God, not by constraint, not as being "forced" to do it, but willingly. The last example is where the apostle Paul says, "The love of Christ constraineth us." Here the word is quite different, and is translated in Luke 22:63 "held" "the men that held Jesus." And this is exactly the meaning; and consequently the apostle sets forth that the love of Christ "held" or possessed him in such a way as to leave no other option than that of entire devotedness to Christ. It will be seen, therefore, that while the word means to hold, the moral idea is well conveyed by "constrain." Blessed state for any of us to be in, it may be added, when the love of Christ so dominates our souls as to constrain us to live for Him and for Him alone, unto Him who has died for us and risen again! E. D.


1 Timothy 3:16.

There is a very remarkable passage in Timothy, the force of which is very frequently overlooked. The apostle would teach Timothy how he ought to behave himself "in the house of God;" and he then presents the formative power of all true godliness in the words, "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory." This is often quoted and interpreted as if it spoke of the mystery of the Godhead, or the mystery of Christ's person. But it is the mystery of godliness, or the secret by which all real godliness is produced - the divine spring of all that can be called piety in man. "God manifest in the flesh" is the example and the power of godliness, its measure and its spring. Godliness is not now produced, as under the law, by divine enactments; nor is it the result in the spirit of bondage in those (however godly) who only know God as worshipped behind a veil. Godliness now springs from the knowledge of the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes its spring and character from the knowledge of His person as "God manifest in the flesh;" the perfectness of His obedience, "as justified in the Spirit;" the Object of angelic contemplation, and the Subject of testimony and faith in the world; and His present position as received up into glory. This is how God is known, and from abiding in this flows godliness.

J. N. D.