on 1-timothy 1 :17
Now unto the King eternal - This burst of thanksgiving and gratitude to God, naturally arose from the subject then under his pen and eye. God has most wondrously manifested his mercy, in this beginning of the Gospel, by saving me, and making me a pattern to all them that shall hereafter believe on Christ. He is βασιλευς των αιωνων, the king of eternities; the eternity a parte ante, and the eternity a parte post; the eternity that was before time was, and the eternity that shall be when time is no more. Therefore, ever living to justify and save sinners, to the end of the world.
Immortal - Αφθαρτῳ· Incorruptible - not liable to decay or corruption; a simple uncompounded essence, incapable, therefore, of decomposition, and consequently permanent and eternal. One MS., the later Syriac in the margin, the Vulgate, one copy of the Itala, and some of the Latin fathers, read αθανατῳ, immortal, which our translation follows; but it is not the original reading.
Invisible - Αορατῳ· One who fills all things, works everywhere, and yet is invisible to angels and men; the perfect reverse of false gods and idols, who are confined to one spot, work nowhere, and, being stocks and stones, are seen by every body.
The only wise God - The word σοφῳ wise, is omitted by AD*FG, Syriac, Erpen's Arabic, Coptic, Sahidic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala. Some of the Greek fathers quote it sometimes, and omit it at others; which shows that it was an unsettled reading, probably borrowed from Romans 16:27 (note). Griesbach leaves it out of the text. Without it the reading is very strong and appropriate: To the only God; nothing visible or invisible being worthy of adoration but himself.
Be honor - All the respect and reverence that can be paid by intelligent beings, ascribing to him at the same time all the glory - excellences, and perfections, which can be possessed by an intelligent, unoriginated, independent, and eternal Being; and this for ever and ever-through eternity.
on 1-timothy 1 :17
Now unto the king eternal - This ascription of praise is offered to God in view of the mercy which he had shown to so great a sinner. It is the outbreak of that grateful emotion which swelled his bosom, and which would not be denied expression, when Paul recalled his former life and the mercy of God to his soul. It somewhat interrupts indeed the train of his remarks, but the heart was so full that it demanded utterance. It is just an instance of the joy and gratitude which fill the soul of a Christian when he is led along in a train of reflections which conduct him to the recollections of his former sin and danger, and to the fact that he has obtained mercy and has now the hope of heaven. The apostle Paul not unfrequently, in accordance with a mode of writing that was common among the Hebrews, interposes an expression of praise in the midst of his reasonings; compare Romans 1:25; 2 Corinthians 11:31. God is called King here, as he is often in the Scriptures, to denote that he rules over the universe. A literal translation of the passage would be, "To the King of ages, who is immortal," etc. The meaning of this expression - "the King of ages" - βασιλει τὼν αἰώνων basilei tōn aiōnōn - is, that he is a king who rules throughout all ages. This does not mean that he himself lives for ever, but that his dominion extends over all ages or generations. The rule of earthly monarchs does not extend into successive ages; his does. Their reign is temporary; his is enduring, and continues as one generation after another passes on, and thus embraces them all.
Immortal - This refers to God himself, not to his reign. It means that he does not die, and it is given to him to distinguish him from other sovereigns. All other monarchs but God expire - and are just as liable to die at any moment as any other people.
Invisible - 1 Timothy 6:16; see the notes on John 1:18.
The only wise God - notes, Romans 16:27. The word "wise" is missing in many mss., and in some editions of the New Testament. It is omitted by Griesbach; marked as doubtful by Tittman, and rejected in the valuable edition of Hahn. Erasmus conjectures that it was added against the Arians, who maintained that the Father only was God, and that as he is here mentioned as such, the word wise was interpolated to denote merely that the attribute of perfect wisdom belonged only to him. Wetstein regards the reading as genuine, and suspects that in some of the early manuscripts where it is missing it was omitted by the transcriber, because it was regarded as inelegant for two adjectives to be united in this manner. It is not easy to determine as to the genuineness of the reading. The sense is not materially affected, whichever view be adopted. It is true that Yahweh is the only God; it is also true that he is the only wise God. The gods of the pagan are "vanity and a lie," and they are wholly destitute of wisdom; see Psalm 115:3-8; Psalm 135:15-18; Isaiah 40:18-20; Isaiah 44:10-17.
Be honour - Let there be all the respect and veneration shown to him which is his due.
And glory - Praise. Let him be praised by all for ever.
Amen - So be it; an expression of strong affirmation; John 3:3. Here it is used to denote the solemn assent of the heart to the sentiment conveyed by the words used; see the Matthew 6:13 note; 1 Corinthians 14:16 note.
on 1-timothy 1 :17
1:17 The King of eternity - A phrase frequent with the Hebrews. How unspeakably sweet is the thought of eternity to believers!