Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
February 8, 2004
2 unto Timothy, my true child in faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
The textual differences...
If the "our" of the Textus Receptus (Textus Receptus; Greek text behind the KJV translation) is legitimate, there is somewhat of a parallelism in the text so that "God" is "our Father" and Christ Jesus is "our Lord". This parallelism, as given by the Textus Receptus, is not complete by reason of the omission of the definite article "the" before the word "Father". A true parallelism would read the way the translators render the text ("God the Father" and "Christ Jesus the Lord") but it does not actually exist in the Greek; it is simply a creation by the translators because "God Father" is an uneasy translation. If a true parallelism existed, it would establish a balanced focus upon the relationship that exists between "us" and God and Christ Jesus. However, since the "our" that follows the word "lord" in the Greek text (precedes "lord" in the translations) can grammatically be taken to refer to both "Father" and "the Lord", the only thing the omission by the Nestle/Aland 26 text does is replace the "unbalanced parallelism" with a "comprehensive inclusion". There is no significant change of meaning; there is only a small change in the nuance of meaning: God's "fatherhood" is emphatic by reason of the omission of the definite article ("the") and the "lordship" of Christ is made exclusive by the inclusion of the definite article. In the sense of the text, God is "our Father" and Christ Jesus is "our one and only Lord".
The Progression of Paul's thoughts...
- 1. The word "our" before "Father" in the Textus Receptus is omitted by the Nestle/Aland 26.
- 2. No other textual variants exist between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26.
- 3. There is no word for "my" in either Greek textual tradition. There is no "the" before "Father" either. Both texts literally read "Christ Jesus, the Lord of us".
Observations regarding Paul's expressions...
- 1. Paul identifies his reader.
- 2. The identification includes his name and his identity.
- 3. Then Paul expresses a three-fold desire for his reader: grace, mercy, peace.
- 4. He then identifies the "sources" of these three benefits: God as Father and Christ Jesus as the Lord.
- 5. And, finally, he puts the word "our/of us" on the end of his sentence so that there is a clear focus upon the relationship he and Timothy possess with these "Sources" of these benefits.
What is Paul talking about?
The "subject" in this part of Paul's words is: Timothy's need...
What is he saying about what he is talking about?
The "predicate" in this part of Paul's words is: ...is to be assured of his relationships to God/Christ and to experience the on-going flow of benefits those relationships were designed to generate.
to Timothy, a true child by faith: [May] grace, mercy, peace [be yours] from God [as] our Father and Christ Jesus [as] the Lord of us.
- 1. Perhaps the most misleading issue in the translations is the inclusion of the word "my" as if Paul was trying to identify Timothy in respect to himself (Paul). This throws the issue of the text into a realm that Paul apparently never intended: his burden was to identify Timothy as a true child of the Real Father, not as his (Paul's) true child. This observation is fundamentally important because Paul's desire is for Timothy to properly relate to God and Christ, not to dwell on the goodness of the relationship he (Timothy) had with him (Paul). At the bottom of the heap of "faith" is not the human relationships we enjoy (as great as they can often be), but the relationships we have with God and His Christ...because it is those relationships which both make our human relationships as good as they sometimes are and sustain us when those human relationships turn sour for whatever reasons.
- 2. Timothy's "need" to experience "grace, mercy, peace" is going to surface in the rest of the letter as a need that arises because of the "turning sour" of certain human relationships in which Timothy was enmeshed. For Timothy to be able to respond properly to the "sourness" of these relationships, he was going to need both a proper confidence in his own relationship to God/Christ and an on-going experience of "grace, mercy, peace".
- 3. The words "in faith" is a translation of "en" and "pistei". It is more likely that Paul was identifying the means by which Timothy became "a true child" than the realm in which Timothy's "childhood" was being expressed. The linguistic form "en pistei" is elastic and, consequently, can be translated in more than one way...making Paul's meaning somewhat ambiguous unless we grasp the reality that Paul is attempting to reinforce Timothy's "faith" so that he will have the ability to follow the instructions that are coming in the body of Paul's letter to him. If that is, indeed, Paul's attempt, it makes greater sense to understand Paul's focus on "means" than it does to focus on "realm" for the reason that a focus on "means" pulls on Timothy "to continue to exercise the faith by which he became a true child." He is one of God's 'born ones' ("a true child"). He got to be such 'by faith'. He will continue to experience the available grace, mercy, and peace that God and Christ communicate to their 'born ones' as he continues to exercise that 'faith'.
- 1. Paul apparently considers grace, mercy, and peace to be a three-fold foundation for a faithful life.
- 2. In the Old Testament exhortation ("do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God") we actually have the same three-fold foundation [grace enables us to "do" justly; mercy generates a "love" of mercy; and peace arises from walking in humility with God].