Cross-section: 1 Timothy (Part 7) – Zayin

The systematic cross-section of 1 Timothy continues with Zayin.

For a much more in-depth reference on numerical themes and how they correspond to the twenty-two Hebrew letters and are expressed on every level throughout Scripture (even in the books written in Greek), please see the original Bible Wheel book and site. Note that not every verse will thematically carry its numerical theme, but overall, the patterns are clear. If a verse doesn’t thematically carry it, and sometimes even if it does, it tends to have a secondary numerical characteristic that connects, which will also be noted.

Zayin – Seventh letter of the Hebrew Alef-bet. Symbolizes a weapon, judgment, perfection, completion, rest, remember, consider.

In 1 Timothy, there are six zayin verses: the seventh verse of each chapter. 1 Timothy’s numerical themes emphasize 6 and 10, which means some other numbers like 7 aren’t as strong. The chapter themes really color the way zayin is expressed in this book.

1:7 – Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

The word here for “desiring” is thelo, which is far more often used as “will” or “would”, such as in Phil 2:13 (“to will and to do…”) or even 1 Tim 2:4 (“who will have all men to be saved…”). In other words, for the people described in this passage, becoming teachers of the law is of their own will, not God’s. They are judging for themselves that they are suitable for this position, even though they are not, because they do not understand what they are talking about. This illustrates a common fallacy of ignorance, where one who does not understand something believes he understands far more than he does.

2:7 – Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.

In contrast to the previous zayin verse, here Paul is legitimately a teacher of the law to the Gentiles, ordained by Christ himself. He certainly did not desire this position for himself, although he may well have desired his original position as a Pharisee. But, as he makes very clear in the previous chapter, God was the one who set him in position. This verse also illustrates the difference between absolute and relative truth, as you can explore in the Heart of Truth post.

3:7 – Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

This verse expresses zayin through the word translated here as “report”: martyria, which is actually translated far more often as “testimony” or “witness”. This is a significant word with a value of 952 = 7x8x17. The context is describing the required conduct of a bishop or elder, whose words regarding others may be used to judge them, and also could be used as a weapon if spoken carelessly. So elders must speak carefully and consider what they say about others, because otherwise their own reputations may be at stake.

4:7 – But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness.

The numbers 4 and 7 are linked through the concept of the Sabbath rest: remembering the seventh-day Sabbath is the fourth commandment. A related connection in this verse is the word “profane”, which is also used in 1 Timothy 1:9 in the description of the lawbreaker corresponding to the fourth commandment. (For more on this, see the commandments described in 1 Timothy 1:9-10.)

The instruction to Timothy here is talking about avoiding foolish or ungodly stories, which implies considering and thinking about what kinds of stories or speech are beneficial and which aren’t. The complement to refusing worthless content is actively pursuing beneficial content in order to move closer to being perfected.

5:7 – And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

This is one of Paul’s secondary charges for Timothy to instruct the church so that they may be blameless, or again, being perfected. There is a lot of context packed into this short verse, but the zayin connection is very simple. This word for “blameless” here is only used in this letter, three times total: in this verse, in chapter 3 to describe bishops, and in chapter 6 for one of Timothy’s primary charges to keep the commandments and be “unrebukable” (same word).

6:7 – For we brought nothing into [this] world, [and it is] certain we can carry nothing out.

1 Timothy’s theme of six is particularly strong in chapter six, so it’s hard to see a zayin connection here. The verse is commenting on how we enter and leave the world without any possessions. All we will retain in the end is character, understanding, and memories. As a side note of interest, the word for “world” here is kosmos (root) or kosmon (inflected), both of which have a numerical root of six: 600 = 6x4x25 and 450 = 6x3x25. It doesn’t just mean the planet, though, which would connect better to four rather than six; it’s the fact of physical existence. We carry nothing physical with us when we die.

The values of none of the zayin verses are unique, actually. For chapter 5, the value matches ten verses; chapter 6’s value matches seven verses (its only direct connection to seven); the previous four match at most five verses each.


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