Just a simple mistake changes my question into an affirmation. You may have actually read it as a statement of assertion. It is easy to make mistakes in just about everything. We all know are own mistakes all too well, even though we generally hide them from others. So here's the question: Does the exception merely prove the rule, as is so often stated, or does the exception actually prove the exception?
I was reading in 1 Timothy, and it became apparently clear that Paul held faith and love, as well as faith and a good conscience as highly desirable for Timothy, and by extension for all.
The mention of the two individuals named Hymenaeus and Alexander are singled out as having ship-wrecked according to the faith, and this comes near the end of chapter one. The treatment of such, who have evidently failed in both faith, love, and a good conscience is rather telling: they are turned over to Satan so that they will learn not to blaspheme! Some loving things are rather harsh, one could conclude. As I continued my reading I realized that I was emerging on the famous text that has become a battlefield concerning God's desire for the salvation of men & women. Paul asks for prayers for all people, namely for the people in authority so we can live peaceable lives, and this in turn makes sense of his plea that we pray for all men in relation to God's desire of salvation. However, in context Paul has urged to the pastor Timothy and all the church under his care that intercession, prayer, supplication and thanksgiving be made for all men, for those in authority: kings and rulers, so we may live peaceable lives. Now of course some interpreters zero in on the terms "all men" and from this deduce that we are to pray for all without exception. If you haven't figured out my dilemma yet, let me make it plain: Are we to offer prayers of thanks for Hymenaeus & Alexander? Hmm! Moreover if one reads through all of 1 and 2 Timothy, one will encounter some other figures who will trigger questions: widows who live in pleasure and are dead while they live (5:6); widows who grow wanton against Christ (5:11); bondservants who blaspheme the name of God and His doctrine (6:1); teachers with corrupt minds destitute of the truth with whom Timothy should not fellowship (6:5); those desirous of riches piercing themselves through with many sorrows (6:10); Phygellius and Hermogenes, who have strayed from the pattern of sound words (2 Tim. 1:15); purveyors of a cancerous doctrine, such as Hymenaeus & Philetus (2:17); various lovers of themselves rather than lovers of God (3:1-4); and most infamous of all, Alexander the coppersmith (4:14). Are prayers of thanks to be offered for all these? Of the last one in particular, Paul asks God to repay him for his evil works. So are these exceptions that prove the rule? Or are they really exceptions?
These were questions that came to me while I was reading. Maybe I made a simple mistake reading it otherwise all these years. How about you?