Thursday, February 21, 2008

Fourth, Commentaries

In the continuation of posts regarding Sermon Preparation, we have diagrammed a passage, outlined it, and completed some word studies. We have spend significant time with the passage so far and have gain quite a bit understanding from our study. We now can begin to consult commentaries about the passage. This will firm up any areas that we still do not understand about the passage or correct any areas we may have gotten off track.

Click here to see the commentary entries (in blue) I found important or at least interesting to 1 Timothy 1:3-11. Here are the sources I used for this study. I used only these because they were in my library:

New American Commentary, 1 Timothy, Thomas Lea
New International Biblcial Commentary, 1 Timothy, Gordon Fee
Expositor's Biblical Commentary, 1 Timothy, Ralph Earle
Garman-Howes Commentary, 1 Timothy, Garman and Howes
The Daily Bible Study Series, 1 Timothy, William Barclay
The Bible Exposition Commentary, 1 Timothy, Warren Wiersbe

If there was a passage which these did not answer to my satisfaction, I would have attempted to find more sources to check out (bible college library, public library, church's library, etc.).

Here is some of the impact these commentaries had on my understanding of this passage (click here to reference the outline with commentary).

1). In verse 4, one of the commentaries indicated that the main concern of Paul was that the church would spend so much time on debating new doctrines that they would forget their objective given by God. Thus, as indicated in the previous post, point B. in the outline could be changed to something like "He is not swayed from God's task" or "not swayed from our responsibility"

2). In verse 5, Paul said the goal of their instruction is love. I thought the commentary entry for this verse was a good contrast between the false teachers and a godly teacher (see link above).

3). The word pictures given in one of the commentaries of what a pure heart means was helpful to me. Corn free of chaff, an army free of cowards and the undisciplined. A pure heart is one that is not mixed with anything from the world.

4). One of the more difficult passages in this text is verse 9, which says the law is not for righteous but it IS for the unrighteous. As New Testament believers, this may be hard to get. The commentaries helped me greatly in this area. See the outline for the comments there.

5). Another interesting aspect I gathered from the commentaries is found in verse 9, as well. In the pairs of labels Paul gives the unrighteous, he mentions "ungodly and sinners," to which one of the commentaries said "Ungodly is inwardly irreverent and sinners is outwardly irreverent." This made me think of the next pair, "Unholy and profane", which perhaps may be an issue concerning inward impurity (unholy) and outward impurity (profane). This made me look at the first pair, "Lawless and rebellious" to see if this is an "inward-outward" issue. I am not sure about this but I will do some more search on it. This could be three pairings Paul used to describe the inward and outward approach the ungodly have for the law, reverence, and purity.

6). Finally, in verse 11, a commentary suggested that perhaps instead of outlining the last verse into two sections "1. the glorious gospel and 2. entrusted to Pau" I may want to think about outlining it in three sections: "1. glorious gospel, 2. comes from God, and 3. comes through men." This is a possibility that I will pray and think about.

Note that nothing radically changed in the meaning of the sermon nor did the commentaries add much to my understanding except in a couple of areas which will help me communicate that particular section better.

Our sermon is shaping up but now we need a lot of refinement. We want to be able to present this information in a way that will not be just information but will be principles by which people can live. This will be address in an upcoming post.

Diagram -> Outlining -> Excursus -> Word Studies -> Commentaries -> Excursus -> Refining -> Illustrations -> Practice -> Preaching


Steve said...

I'd also add that word studies should really be done in the original languages. And even there, relying solely on lexicons and the like is not enough. A person really wanting to go deep here should go to the primary sources.

Rolland said...


You are exactly correct. I would encourage the same thing. I mentioned this when I posted on diagramming the passage (, but did not reiterate that concept here. I appreciate the reminder.

Several of the regular readers of this post are students who are working on their Bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies so I am really trying to help them at their level while trying to move them on toward indepth study and to develop a love for the original languages.

Again, I appreciate your comments.