Numerical Patterns in 1 Timothy (Part 5) – Charges

1 Timothy contains six “charges” or commands from Paul to Timothy. Examining these will involve a different pattern than previously, but some of the same concepts will apply. We’ll find that they can be paired up to reveal more themes as well.

Actually, there are eight occurrences of the three words involved, first because the word for “charge” after the first doxology in chapter 1 is the same as “commandment” in 1 Timothy 1:5, “Now the end of the commandment…” and because the word for “charge” four other times is the same as “command” in 1 Timothy 4:11: “These things command and teach.” These two words are really the same; the usage is just the difference between the noun and verb form of the word. On the other hand, in 1 Timothy 6:14, “That thou keep this commandment…” uses a completely different word (G1785 – entole), which is used many times to refer to the commandments of God, rather than a command from one person to another.

Only one of the eight has a different word. This word (G1263 – diamartyromai) is actually more often translated “testify,” but the way it’s used is still a command to Timothy. It’s different than the word in 1 Timothy 2:5, “…to be testified (G3142 – martyrion) in due time,” but it uses the same root, which is actually the root of our modern word “martyr.” A martyr testifies of his beliefs with his own death. There’s also a completely unrelated word that’s translated as “charged” in 1 Timothy 5:16 (“let not the church be charged”), but it actually means more like “burdened” and doesn’t have anything to do with this sense of commanding that’s meant with all these other verses.

Ref Verse Strong’s # Word Type
1:3-4 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do].
G3853 paraggello Secondary
1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned G3852 paraggelia Other
1:18-19a This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
Holding faith, and a good conscience…
G3852 paraggelia Primary
4:11 These things command and teach. G3853 paraggello Other
5:7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. G3853 paraggello Secondary
5:21 I charge [thee] before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. G1263 diamartyromai Primary
6:13-14 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and [before] Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
That thou keep [this] commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
G3853 paraggello Primary
6:17-18 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
G3853 paraggello Secondary

The first thing to notice as a result of summarizing them all in table form is that of the six charges, three are primary charges to Timothy himself, and three are secondary charges for him to give to others. The first primary charge is distinguished by being the only one of the six that is in noun form; the other five are all in verb form, which is sometimes translated as “give charge” or “give in charge”. This is actually an example on a higher level of the original pattern at the beginning of this series, which described lists of six items that each illustrate a form of good works, which is representative of the numerical theme of ten. “Charging” someone to do something essentially means expecting them to take action. The final charge is the most explicit about this theme, literally expecting the people involved to “be rich in good works…”

The primary charges instruct Timothy to “war a good warfare,” “do nothing with partiality,” and “keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable…” The secondary charges tell Timothy to instruct others in the church to “teach no other doctrine,” “be blameless,” and “be rich in good works…” They use different words, but that first charge, “war a good warfare,” might bring to mind also 1 Timothy 6:12: “Fight the good fight of faith…” and the whole section starting in Ephesians 6:11-12 about “Put on the whole armor of God…” and wrestling with powers, etc. In other words, there are two related verses with numeric identifiers of 6:12.

This fact, along with the fact that there is one primary and one secondary charge each in chapters 1, 5, and 6, show that we have a second interlocked pattern with a base of twelve that’s both doubled and halved. The very first charge starts out with the theme of twelve, which is teaching and pointing. It goes on to require avoiding “fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions…” That last word, which implies divisive controversies, is used again in 1 Timothy 6:4, which describes the proud dwelling on “questions, and strifes of words…” Division is doubled in this theme when people teach false doctrine.

The first two charges have another interesting parallel if we include verse 5 in with the first charge. Following from the concept of avoiding divisiveness, verse 5 goes on to describe the end, or the point, of the commandment, which is love/charity that is generated from three things: a pure heart, a good conscience, and true faith, which the whole congregation needs to have. Comparing that to the second charge, we find that Timothy in particular is instructed to hold on to faith and a good conscience as well. The verse goes on to vividly describe the bad end that results for those that fail to keep the faith as a “shipwreck.”

Another connection is in the fourth charge, which commands Timothy to “do nothing by partiality,” where partiality or “preferring one before another” is another quick route to divisiveness. The antidote to partiality is generosity, encouraged in the sixth charge, which is particularly aimed at the rich, who tend to be particularly prone to partiality, but who should be “ready to distribute” and “willing to communicate” instead. This is illustrated well in James 2:1-4, which gives an example of partiality between a rich man and a poor man. The fourth and sixth charges, one a primary instruction to Timothy, and one a secondary instruction to the congregation, are linked through this concept.

The third charge, which is the shortest, is the one that simply says, “…that they may be blameless.” 1 Timothy earlier requires that both bishops and deacons must be blameless, but what does that actually mean? One example can be found in Luke 1:6, describing Zacharias and Elisabeth, the parents of John the Baptizer: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” By this, blameless means following the commandments of God. Actually, the word for blameless in the third charge is the same as the one for unrebukeable in the fifth charge, which mentions keeping the commandment! Therefore those two charges, again one primary and one secondary, are also strongly linked. So each primary charge has its secondary counterpart, because ultimately everyone in the church should be following the same commandments.

The next set of posts are going to begin a series that will systematically examine each set of 1 Timothy verses by verse number to document mnemonic and numeric features.


One thought on “Numerical Patterns in 1 Timothy (Part 5) – Charges

  1. Pingback: Cross-section: 1 Timothy (Part 7) – Zayin | The Perfect Law of Liberty

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