1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
To Timothy, my true child in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Warning Against False Teachers
As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1 Timothy 1 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”1 Timothy 1:5
Timothy became as a son to Paul. His mother and grandmother were Jewish believers who shaped his life as a young man. In time he met Paul who took him under his wing and ultimately mentored him toward leadership. He would become the pastor of the church in Ephesus. In an age when church was a new thing, he relied heavily upon Paul for his instruction and fatherly affirmation.
He faced many pressures though from conflicts to challenges the church faced in their pagan culture to dealing with false teachings that already were being taught by others. There were some who simply thrived on controversies. Others loved to hear themselves talk as they spoke of philosophies that simply stunted action beyond their words. Timothy had his hands full.
And so this first letter penned to Timothy after Paul had been released from his first round of prison would have been timely. It truly is a letter of encouragement but also instruction for his working within the church as a leader. Paul gave a lot of specifics from choosing leaders and elders to dealing with controversies to confronting those within who had lost their footing.
On many levels, we as Believers hold some form of leadership. Whether it is within your family unit or within a local Body to even the workplace – godly leadership is essential to make a difference. We are faced with many challenges wherever we may be or whatever role we hold. Paul’s encouragement is to love others with a pure heart – no hidden motivation.
It’s a common thing within our human nature to want to impress others and look for the accolades found by man. These can lead us toward pride if we are not careful. Our faith in Jesus Christ, our reliance upon Him is essential through all the obstacles that come our way. It is imperative we operate with a clear conscience in every decision we make and continue to grow in our faith each day no matter what comes our way.
Leadership is no easy task. It is an assignment that can often bring more headaches and complaints than reward. Love must guide our actions and decisions. Faith must drive our intentions. Decisions and follow-through must be with a clear conscience. In the pagan culture of which we live today, words make little to no difference. Our actions and follow through motivated by the love of Christ He has for us and we have for Him is what speaks profoundly.
1 Timothy 1 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The Same Old False Doctrine
Paul comes out swinging against false teachers. We find out in 2 Timothy that they were teaching a Gospel contrary to the early apostles. Specifically, they were teaching that the resurrection of believers had already occurred, meaning, believers could experience all the benefits of a spiritually resurrected life. Today, we might call this doctrine the prosperity gospel, which promises a believer health, wealth, and material blessings.
Their insight came from their so-called secret wisdom. Their teaching didn’t produce fruit, but rather, controversy. Their conclusions produced useless chatter that caused division within the body. Paul was concerned with genuine faith, not fancy interpretations of the Word.
His advice to Timothy: confront them!
“I don’t lie, steal, curse, smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. I’m a pretty good person.” Ever heard that before?
In the book of Romans, Paul argues that the law is good, but its purpose is to reveal the depravity of man. Here in Timothy, Paul expands on that teaching by enhancing its purpose. The standard of the law far exceeds our abilities. Therefore, the law wasn’t given in order to validate the conduct of “good people,” but rather, to convict and expose the conduct of sinners – of which Paul classifies himself as the worst.
It must be remembered, of course, that laws are made, not for good people, but for lawbreakers and criminals, for the godless and sinful, for those who are not religious or spiritual, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the immoral, for sexual perverts, for kidnappers, for those who lie and give false testimony or who do anything else contrary to sound doctrine. 11 That teaching is found in the gospel that was entrusted to me to announce, the Good News from the glorious and blessed God.1 Timothy 1:9-11 GNB
Bring It Back To Jesus
Paul had a unique ability to gracefully challenge his critics while always bringing the discussion back to what really mattered. The most effective way to communicate the foundational principles of Jesus Christ was through Paul’s personal testimony. He would go back to it time and time again in order to persuade his readers to place their faith in Jesus like he did.
He contrasts the arrogance of the false teachers with the raw reality of his own experiences. Though he was chief among sinners, Christ extended grace to him. His thankfulness shines in the second half of this chapter.
As I read 1 Timothy, I am left wondering if our churches are more focused on new discoveries, new enlightenment and new revelations instead of the basic testimony of God’s grace and mercy. Paul makes it clear he is saved and sustained by Christ alone. He has dedicated his entire existence to this simple truth.
“For all the vigor of his polemic, St. Paul does not content himself with the denunciation of error, but finds the best defense against its insidious approaches in a closer adherence to the love of God and faith in Christ.”F.F. Bruce