1 Timothy Chapter 1 Continued
1 Timothy 1:8 “But we know that the law [is] good if a man use it lawfully;”
If everyone lived a righteous life, there would be no need for laws. The law is actually given to protect the righteous from the ungodly. The law, known as the Law of Moses, is possibly spoken of here.
Verses 9-10: “Murderers of fathers … perjured persons”: These sins are violations of the second half of the Ten Commandments, those dealing with relationships among people.
These specific sins undoubtedly characterized the false teachers, since they are characteristic behaviors related to false doctrine (verse 10). Killing of “fathers” and “mothers” is a violation of the fifth commandment (Exodus 20:12; 21:15-17), which forbids everything from dishonor to murder. Murder is in violation of the sixth commandment (Exodus 20:13).
“Immoral men” and “homosexuals” violate the seventh commandment (Exodus 20:14), which prohibits sexual activity outside the marriage bed.
Because the theft of children was commonplace in Paul’s day, he mentions “kidnappers”, in connection with the eighth commandment (Exodus 20:15), which prohibits stealing. Finally, “liars” and “perjurers” are violators of the ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16).
“The law is not made for a righteous man” (or “the law is not valid for a righteous person”), implies that the heretics (of verses 6 and 7) are misusing the law, trying to impose it on the Christian. Properly used, the law benefits unbelievers in pointing out their sin (Romans 7:7-9) and leading them to Christ (Galatians 3:24).
The “lawless” are criminals. The “disobedient” are the rebellious. The “ungodly” are the godless, that is, showing no reverence for God. “Sinners” are those failing to measure up to divine standards. The “unholy” are impure. “Profane” means defiling sacred things. “Whoremongers” are fornicators. “Them that defile themselves with mankind” are homosexuals.
“Menstealers” are kidnapers. “Sound doctrine” (literally, “healthy teaching”): The Bible properly taught is a sort of spiritual medicine that heals man’s diseased moral nature, making him spiritually and ethically sound and healthy.
1 Timothy 1:9 “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,”
“Not made for a righteous man”: Those who think they are righteous will never be saved (Luke 5:32) because they do not understand the true purpose of the law. The false teachers, with their works system of personally achieved self-righteousness (in their own minds), had shown clearly that they misunderstood the law completely.
It was not a means to self-righteousness, but a means to self-condemnation, sin, conviction, repentance, and pleading to God for mercy (verse 15; see notes on Luke 18:9-14; Romans 5:20; Galatians 3:10-13, 19).
“Lawless … profane”: These first 6 characteristics, expressed in 3 couplets, delineate sins from the first half of the Ten Commandments, which deal with a person’s relationship to God.
“Lawless” describes those who have no commitment to any law or standard, which makes such people “rebellious.” Those who are “ungodly” have no regard for anything sacred, which means they are “sinners” because they disregard God’s law. “Unholy” people are indifferent to what is right, which leads them to be the “profane,” who steps on or trample what is sacred (Hebrews 10:29).
If all mankind knew God and conformed to His will, there would be no need for laws. Laws are to convict those who have transgressed the will of God. The righteous man lives within the will of God, and there is no law against that. The sad thing is that while we are in the flesh, we cannot live totally without sin.
All mankind has sinned and come short of the glory of God. The penalty for sin is death. The difference is that the righteous have been made righteous in Jesus; our sin is done away with on the cross of Jesus. All who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior are still living in their sin.
1 Timothy 1:10 “For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;”
“Sound doctrine”: A familiar emphasis in the Pastoral Epistles (2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1). “Sound” refers to that which is healthy and wholesome. It is the kind of teaching that produces spiritual life and growth, which implies that false doctrine produces spiritual disease and debilitation.
In (verses 9 and 10), we see a list of things that are displeasing to God. People who commit these sins are breaking the law. The penalty for this type sin is death. The only way to avoid paying the penalty of death for these sins is to accept Jesus Christ as your substitute for your sin, and accept His righteousness in exchange.
“Menstealers” are kidnappers.
I could go into the meaning of these sins, but really all things displeasing to God are sin. “Sound doctrine” would be doing things the way God intended in the first place. People who remain in the sins listed above are headed for eternal damnation.
1 Timothy 1:11 “According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”
“The glorious gospel of the blessed God”: The gospel reveals God’s glory; that is, the perfections of His person or His attributes. Including His holiness (hatred of sin), and justice (demand for punishment for violations of His law), and grace (forgiveness of sin). Those attributes are key to any effective gospel presentation.
“Committed”: This Greek word refers to committing something of value to another. God entrusted Paul with the communication and guardianship of His revealed truth (2:7; 6:20-21: Romans 15:15-16; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2; 9:17; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20; Galatians 2:7; Colossians 1:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:4).
The glorious gospel of the blessed God means the gospel about the character of the blessed God. The law reveals man’s sinful character (verses 9 and 10), but the gospel discloses God’s salvation from sin and from the law’s curse.
“The blessed God:” All blessings and happiness are in God, and He bestows them upon those embracing His gospel.
The “glorious gospel” (good news), is that we can obtain forgiveness for one, or all, of these sins, by accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. This message had been entrusted to Paul to give to the Gentile world. Paul is trying to say, that the message he brought was not his message, but the message God had entrusted him with.
Verses 12-17: Paul’s testimony of his own salvation in these verses provides a contrast between his proper understanding of the law and the misconceptions of the false teachers, and between the glory of the true gospel and the emptiness of false doctrine.
1 Timothy 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;”
“Christ” provided all the enablement required, so that Paul could fulfill his apostolic duties.
“Counted me faithful”: God’s sovereign purpose for Paul and for all believers works through personal faith. Until Paul was turned by the Holy Spirit from self-righteous works (see Philippians 3:4-7), to faith alone in Christ, he could not be used by God. He was in the same condition as the useless false teachers (verses 6-7).
Paul feels so greatly privileged, because Jesus sought him out for salvation. I personally believe that Paul really thought himself to be doing the right thing when he was persecuting the Christians. Jesus knew the heart of Paul. He turned Paul around on the road to Damascus and made Paul a believer in Christ. Paul did not go into the ministry; Jesus put him in the ministry.
1 Timothy 1:13 “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did [it] ignorantly in unbelief.”
“A blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious”: This verse indicates that experience of Paul when he saw himself, in the light of God’s law, for who he really was (see notes on Romans 7:7-12). A “blasphemer” speaks evil of and slanders God. Paul violated the first half of the Ten Commandments through his overt attacks against Christ (Acts. 9:4-5; 22:7-8; 26:9, 14-15).
As a “persecutor” and a “violent aggressor”: Paul violated the second half through his attacks on believers (see note on verse 20).
“Injurious” means violent.
“I did it ignorantly in unbelief”: Paul was neither a Jewish apostate nor a Pharisee who clearly understood Jesus’ teaching and still rejected Him. He was a zealous, fastidious Jew trying to earn his salvation, thus lost and damned (see notes on Philippians 3:4-7). His plea of ignorance was not a claim to innocence nor an excuse denying his guilt.
It was simply a statement indicating that he did not understand the truth of Christ’s gospel and was honestly trying to protect his religion. His willing repentance when confronted by Christ (Romans 7:9; Philippians 3:8-9), is evidence that he had not understood the ramifications of his actions, he truly thought he was doing God a service (Acts 26:9).
Paul did not do these things after his eyes were opened to who Jesus was. He did them before he realized who Jesus was. We are all like Paul before we come to the knowledge of who Jesus is and accept Him as our Savior.
We may not have committed the same sin, but we are guilty of sin. The main thing that Paul is saying here, and that we must do as well, is our life should be transformed when we are saved. We must become a new creature in Christ. Those sins must be part of our past, and not of our future.
1 Timothy 1:14 “And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
“Grace”: God’s loving forgiveness, by which He grants salvation apart from any merit on the part of those He saves (see notes on Rom. 3:24; Galatians 1:6).
“Faith and love”: Attitudes frequently linked with salvation in the New Testament (Ephesians 1:15; 3:17; Colossians 1:4, 23). They are gifts of God’s grace in Christ.
“Grace” … was exceeding abundant” (or, “grace … was more abundant”): Christ’s undeserved favor far outweighed Paul’s previous sinful life. “With faith and love:” God’s grace brought about faith in Paul, in contrast to his former “unbelief” and it also produced love in him, in contrast to his previous blasphemy, persecution, and violence to the church (verse 13).
“Which” refers to faith: Paul’s faith or trust “is in Christ Jesus.”
None of us deserve to be saved. The only reason we are saved, is because Jesus loved us enough to die as our substitute for our sins. The only thing we have to do with being saved, and the only thing Paul had to do with being saved, was to believe.
Ephesians 2:5 “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”
Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:”
All of this faith and love was wrapped up in Jesus on the cross.
1 Timothy 1:15 “This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
“This is a faithful saying”: A phrase unique to the Pastoral Epistle (3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11; Titus 3:8), which announces a statement summarizing key doctrines. The phrase “deserving full acceptance” gives the statement added emphasis. Apparently, these sayings were well known in the churches, as concise expressions of cardinal gospel truth.
“To save sinners”: This faithful saying was based on the statements of Jesus recorded (in Matthew 9:13; Luke 19:10).
“I am chief”: Literally “first,” in rank. Few could be considered a worse sinner than someone who blasphemed God and persecuted His church (see note on Ephesians 3:8). Paul’s attitude toward himself dramatically changed (Philippians 3:7-9; see notes on Romans 7:7-12).
Paul views himself as the foremost of “sinners; of whom I am chief” (the worst).
The word, that acceptation was translated from, means acceptance. Then this means, the message is worth us accepting it. We must receive this message. He gives us the gift of salvation, but we must accept it for it to be ours. The purpose of the Word of God taking on the form of flesh and living among us as Christ Jesus was to save our soul.
1 Timothy 4:10 “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.”
The name Jesus means Jehovah Savior. Jesus did not come for those who were not sinners. He came to save the lost. Paul felt that he was chief among sinners because he had persecuted the Christians. Jesus forgave him of that and sent him forth to win the lost.
1 Timothy 1:16 “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
“For this cause”: Paul was saved so that God could display to all His gracious and merciful patience with the most wretched sinners.
“A pattern”: Paul was living proof that God could save any sinner, no matter how great a one he might be. The account of Paul’s conversion has been instrumental in the salvation of many. Paul’s testimony is repeated 6 other times in the New Testament (in Acts 9, 22, 26; Galatians 1, 2; Philippians 3:1-14).
We could read the verse thus: “But I obtained mercy for this reason: that in my case as the worst (sinner), Christ Jesus might demonstrate the fullest of patience, as an example for those about to believe on Him for eternal life.” Paul’s conversion encourages other sinners; since Christ has already saved the worst sinner, He can save those less sinful.
Paul is saying, if Christ can forgive me of that, you know he will forgive you of your sin. Paul thinks that others will be more apt to receive their forgiveness from Jesus, if they realize what Jesus has forgiven Paul. The love of God endures forever. He is not willing that even one would be lost. The only requirement to receive life eternal is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 1:17 “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
God receives all the praise for sovereignly saving Paul. This is one of the many doxologies Paul wrote (Romans 11:33-36).
Jesus is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is the Eternal One. He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. The true meaning of immortal is un-decaying. Immortal is always the same forever. Invisible here means something not seen with mortal eyes.
He is Wisdom to the utmost. This is praise from Paul to God the Father and Jesus for all that they are, as well as what they have done for him. This glory and honour will never be diminished. Amen means, so be it.
1 Timothy 1:18 “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;”
“Prophecies which went before on thee”: The Greek word literally means “leading the way to,” implying that a series of prophecies had been given about Timothy in connection with his receiving his spiritual gift (see note on 4:14). These prophecies specifically and supernaturally called Timothy into God’s service.
“War a good warfare”: Paul urged Timothy to fight the battle against the enemies of Christ and the gospel (2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:3-4; 4:7).
“This charge” (or, “this command”): This refers to the command to forbid the teaching of false doctrine (verse 3). “The prophecies which went before on thee” (or, “the prophecies that pointed to you”): These were divine revelations given through New Testament prophets, which pointed out to Paul that Timothy was to be his coworker.
Paul has told Timothy all of this to encourage him in his ministry. He is giving to Timothy the care of the church at Ephesus. Paul felt that Timothy was called of God for this very purpose. He is actually putting Timothy as an overseer of the church at Ephesus so that they will not stray into false doctrine.
Paul had tutored Timothy and he felt sure of his ability to minister. He felt sure that Timothy was a capable soldier for the Lord Jesus Christ. It seems that there had been prophecies in the church about the ministry Timothy has been called to.
Paul knows that Timothy will prevail over the false teaching. He will be fully ready for spiritual warfare, because of his training from Paul and by the Holy Spirit.
1 Timothy 1:19 “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:”
“Faith” is used in two different ways in this verse. The first “faith” is subjective, referring to Timothy’s own personal trust or faith in God; “holding faith” means that he is to maintain his confidence in God. The second faith is objective, referring to the body of revealed truth believed by the church, that is, “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
The last half of (verse 19), may be translated: “which [a good conscience] some, having repudiated, have become shipwrecked concerning the faith.” Because some rejected their inner moral voice of conscience, they have strayed far from the truth of God into theological heresy. Often religious error has its roots in moral rather than intellectual causes (see note on verse 5).
“Shipwreck”: A good conscience serves as the rudder that steers the believer through the rocks and reefs on sin and error. The false teachers ignored their consciences and the truth, and as a result, suffered shipwreck of the Christian faith (the true doctrine of the gospel), which implies severe spiritual catastrophe.
This does not imply loss of salvation of a true believer (Romans 8:31-39), but likely indicates the tragic loss that comes to the apostate. They had been in the church, heard the gospel and rejected it in favor of the false doctrine defined (in verses 3-7). Apostasy is a turning away from the gospel, having once known it (see notes on Hebrews 2:3-4; 3:12-19; 6:1-8; 10:26-31).
Paul knew that Timothy had been well trained in the Scriptures, and that he was baptized in the Holy Spirit of God. He believed Timothy would fight the good fight of faith. Faith and a good conscience go hand in hand. Fear does not please God, and does not bring a clear conscience.
To doubt brings disaster. Paul knew Timothy would remain faithful. His conscience would be clear, knowing that he had done his best.
1 Timothy 1:20 “Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
“Hymenaeus and Alexander”: Hymenaeus is mentioned (in 2 Timothy 2:17), in connection with Philetus, another false teacher. Alexander may be the opponent of the faith referred to (in 2 Timothy 4:14-15). Nothing else is known about these two men (verse 3).
“I have delivered unto Satan” may signify
(1) That the two heretics mentioned were excommunicated from the church;
(2) “Prayers” is a general word embracing various kinds of prayer, confession, adoration, and so on;
(3) “Intercessions” denote prayers to God on behalf of others;
(4) “Giving of Thanks” refers to prayers of praise.
Hymenaeus and Alexander were the ones who were shipwrecked. They had doubted and even blasphemed God. They were possibly, the two who had brought in a false doctrine concerning the resurrection of Jesus.
Perhaps, they had set a day, and when it did not occur on that day, they started to doubt and even blasphemed. Paul means by turning them over to Satan, that he could do all sorts of evil things to them short of death. The problems that came to them as a result of that, could cause them to repent and save their souls.