1 Timothy 1

Note: 1 Timothy probably was written around A.D. 63 following Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. Paul’s letter is filled with practical advice on how to lead a church.


1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

1:2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1:3 As I urged [may indicate Timothy was reluctant to stay] you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command [refers to stern orders] certain men [included Hymenaeus and Alexander (cf. 1:20)] not to teach false [another of a different kind] doctrines [contradicted true teachings of the apostles] any longer

1:4 nor to devote themselves to [note elements promoted by false teachers] myths [cf. Titus 1:4; 2 Tim. 4:4] and endless genealogies. These promote controversies [or empty speculations] rather [fruitless discussions distracted from the important work of leading people to faith in Christ] than God’s work—which is by faith.

1:5 The goal of this command is love [of God and others], which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience [center of moral and rational behavior; helps believer distinguish true from false teaching] and a sincere [in contrast to false or hypocritical] faith.

1:6 Some have wandered away [to deviate or go astray] from these [from acceptable teaching] and turned to meaningless talk.

1:7 They [the false teachers] want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

1:8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.

1:9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

1:10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine

1:11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord [three reasons why Paul was grateful], [1: because Christ gave him strength] who has given me strength [to empower, enable], [2: because Christ trusted him] that he considered [reckoned, counted] me faithful, [3: because Christ put him into service] appointing [placing] me to his service [ministry; Gr. diakonia, which basically means service].

1:13 Even though I was once [formerly] a blasphemer [one who slanders God; probably means that in his opposition to the Christian movement Paul cursed the name of Jesus] and a persecutor [one who pursues as a hunter; cf. Acts 9:1; 22:4; Paul zealously tried to destroy Christianity] and a violent [“treatment which is calculated publicly to insult and openly to humiliate the person who suffers it” (Rienecker/Rogers)] man, I was shown mercy [pity; God does not choose us on the basis of anything good in us (cf. Isa. 64:6); God uses us because He is good not because we are good] because I acted in ignorance and unbelief [Paul sincerely believed he was serving God by trying to destroy the emerging Christian movement].

1:14 The grace [provided salvation] of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly [“above its usual measure”], along with the faith [appropriated salvation] and love that are in Christ Jesus.

1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to [purpose] save [rescue] sinners — of whom I am [“The sinner remains a sinner even if forgiven; the past is always there as a stimulus to deeper penitence and service.” (Rienecker/Rogers)] the worst [first, chief].

1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience [longsuffering] as an example [Gr. hupotuposis: an outline, a sketch-plan, a first-draft, a preliminary model, a prototype / “This is what a life looks like when it’s shaped by the grace of God … and it could be your life.” (Swindoll)] for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

1:17 Now [recipients of God’s mercy and grace should respond with praise; in this case, spontaneous praise] to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen [so be it].

1:18 Timothy [pastor of the church at Ephesus; sent by Paul to deal with false teachings (1 Tim. 1:30)], my son [indicates a mentoring relationship], I [still concerned about Timothy] give [to lay upon or command] you this instruction [urgent charge or command] in keeping with the prophecies [see 1 Tim. 4:14 and Acts 16:2] once made about you, so that by following [living according to] them you may [daily] fight the good fight [Christian life can be tough],

1:19 holding on to faith [personal commitment to follow Christ; right beliefs] and a good [Christian] conscience [enlightened by the study of Scripture and developed by living in obedience to Christ]. Some [e.g., see v. 20 re: Hymenaeus (see 2 Tim. 2:17-18) and Alexander (see 2 Tim. 4:14)] have rejected [thrown away] these and so have shipwrecked [through doctrinal and/or moral compromise] their faith.

1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus [cf. 2 Tim. 2:17-18] and Alexander [possibly the coppersmith mentioned in 2 Tim. 4:14], whom I have handed over [indicates that they probably were members of the church; Paul’s actions were redemptive in regard to these men and protective in regard to the church] to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

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