1 Timothy Chapter 1
1 Timothy 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, [which is] our hope;”
“Apostle of Christ Jesus” (see notes on 2 Cor. 12:11-12; Acts 1:2; 2:42; Rom. 1:1; Eph. 2:20).
“God our Savior”: A title unique to the Pastoral Epistles (1 & 2 Tim. and Titus), that has its roots in the Old Testament (Psalms 18:46; 25:5; 27:9; Mica 7:7; Hab. 3:18). God is by nature a saving God and the source of our salvation, which He planned from eternity past (see note on 4:10; 2 Thess. 2:13).
“Jesus Christ … our hope”: Christians have hope for the future because Christ purchased salvation for them on the cross in the past (Rom. 5:1-2), sanctifies them through His Spirit in the present (Gal. 5:16-25), and will lead them to glory in the future (Col. 1:27; 1 John 3:2-3).
“God” is described as “our Savior” because He is the author of man’s salvation. “Jesus” is called “our hope”, since He is the object and embodiment of our expectation.
Paul feels it necessary in this letter to Timothy to mention that he was commanded of the Lord Jesus Christ to be an apostle. Apostle is taken from a word which means delegate or ambassador of the gospel. It includes the meaning, with miraculous powers.
We are aware that these miraculous powers followed Paul. The Hope is of the resurrection. Because He rose, we will rise. We are not like the world that has no hope. We have hope of eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Timothy 1:2 “Unto Timothy, [my] own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“Timothy: True child in the faith”. Only Timothy (2 Tim. 1:2; 2:1), and Titus (1:4), received this special expression of Paul’s favor. “Child” emphasizes Paul’s role as spiritual father to Timothy. “True” speaks of the genuineness of Timothy’s faith (2 Tim. 1:5). Timothy was Paul’s most cherished pupil, and protégé (1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 2:19-22).
“Grace, mercy and peace: Paul’s familiar greeting that appears in all his epistles (see note on Rom. 1:7), but with the addition here of “mercy” (2 Tim. 1:2). Mercy frees believers from the misery that accompanies the consequences of sin.
“My own son” (“or genuine child”): Paul acknowledges Timothy to be a real believer, in contrast to some whose Christian claims are spurious.
Timothy was not the son of Paul in the flesh, but was his spiritual son. Timothy was really an extension of Paul’s teaching. Of all the people that worked with Paul, he was his favorite.
This letter, or epistle, is not addressed to a church, but to Timothy. (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus), are all known as the Pastoral Epistles.
The grace, mercy and peace, are blessings Paul spoke on Timothy. The statement of the Father, separate from the Lord Jesus Christ, shows that all of heaven was included in this.
Verses 3-11: In his opening charge to halt the spread of false teaching in the church at Ephesus, Paul characterizes the false teachers and their doctrine.
Verses 3-4: We may read (verses 3b and 4a), as follows: “That you might command certain people not to teach other doctrines, nor to give heed to myths and endless genealogies.” Timothy is to put an end to the teaching of false doctrines. “Which minister questions, rather than godly edifying” (i.e., they promote useless speculations rather than God’s work): Attention given to the circulating false doctrines, “fables and … genealogies,” does not assist believers in carrying out responsibilities divinely entrusted to them, but gives rise to idle queries.
1 Timothy 1:3 “As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,”
“My departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus”: Before Paul left Ephesus, he likely began the confrontation with the expulsion of Hymenaeus and Alexander (verse 20), then assigned Timothy to stay on and complete what he had begun.
“Instruct”: This refers to a military command, it demands that a subordinate obey an order from a superior (2 Tim. 4:1).
“Certain men”: The false teachers were few in number, yet had a wide influence. Several reasons point toward these men being elders in the church at Ephesus and in the churches in the surrounding region:
(1) They presumed to be teachers (verse 7), a role reserved for elders (3:2; 5:17).
(2) Paul himself had to excommunicate Hymenaeus and Alexander, which implies they occupied the highest pastoral positions.
(3) Paul detailed the qualifications of an overseer (3:1-7), implying that unqualified men, who needed to be replaced by qualified ones, were occupying those roles.
(4) Paul stressed that sinning overseers were to be publicly disciplined (5:19-22).
“Not to teach strange doctrines”: A compound word made up of two Greek words that mean “of a different kind” and “to teach.” The false teachers were teaching doctrine different that apostolic doctrine (6:3-4; Acts 2:42; Gal. 1:6-7). This had to do with the gospel of salvation. Apparently, they were teaching another gospel (see notes on Gal. 1:6-9), and not the “glorious gospel of the blessed God” (verse 1).
It seems from this that Paul was going to minister in Macedonia, and Timothy wanted to go with him. Paul asked Timothy to stay in Ephesus and teach. When Timothy taught, it was as if it were Paul teaching.
Paul was having trouble at this time, with the churches straying away from the doctrine that he had set down. The word, “charge”, shows that Paul was in authority over Timothy. We have said so many times, this was at the very beginning of the founding of the doctrine of the church.
1 Timothy 1:4 “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do].”
“Myths and endless genealogies”: Legends and fanciful stories manufactured from elements of Judaism (verse 7; Titus 1:14), which probably dealt with allegorical or fictitious interpretations of Old Testament genealogical lists. In reality, they were “doctrines of demons” (4:1), posing as God’s truth (4:7).
The Jews were very aware of genealogies and he could be speaking of this. The fables, spoken of here, came directly from the Talmud. The Talmud was in heavy use at this time, and much of it was fables.
We discussed (in 1 Corinthians), how some of the teaching in the Talmud had been quoted by Paul. Paul, as many of the other Jewish converts, had studied the Talmud right along with the Bible, and even though it was not the Bible, they had picked up customs from the Talmud that they were practicing in the church.
The “Talmud” was a commentary similar to the book of Josephus in our day. The customs of the Talmud were man-made laws. They were not divine in nature. The Jews were interested in being able to trace their ancestry back to Abraham in the flesh. That is what the genealogy is all about. All of these things cause trouble in the church.
The flesh connection to Abraham saved no one. It is the spiritual connection to the faith of Abraham that saves us.
Galatians 3:29 “And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Edifying means to build up.
Jude 1:20 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,”
1 Timothy 1:5 “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned:”
“Our instruction (see note on verse 3), where the verb form “instruct” is used. The purpose of the instruction (in verses 3-4), is the spiritual virtue defined (in verse 5). Timothy was to deliver this charge to the church.
The goal of preaching the truth and warning of error is to call men to true salvation in Christ, which produces a love for God from a purified heart (2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 1:22). A cleansed conscience (Heb. 9:22; 10:14). And genuine faith (Heb. 10:22).
“Love”: This is the love of choice and the will, characterized by self-denial and self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. And it is the mark of a true Christian (John 13:35; Rom. 13:10; 1 John 4:7-8; see notes on 1 Cor. 13:1-7). In contrast, false doctrine produces only conflict and “speculation” (verse 4; 6:3-5).
“Good conscience”: (verses 19; 3:9; 4:2; see note on 2 Cor. 1:12). The Greek word for “good”, refers to that which is perfect and produces pleasure and satisfaction. God created man with a “conscience”, as his self-judging faculty. Because God has written His law on man’s heart (see note on Rom. 2:15), man knows the basic standard of right and wrong.
When he violates that standard, his conscience produces guilt, which acts as the mind’s security system that produces fear, guilt, shame, and doubt. As warnings of threats to the soul’s well-being (John 8:9; 1 Cor. 8:7, 10, 12; Titus 1:15; Heb. 10:22).
On the other hand, when a believer does God’s will, he enjoys the affirmation, assurance, peace, and joy of a good conscience (Acts 23:1; 24:16; 2 Tim. 1:3; Heb. 13:18; 1 Peter 3:16, 21).
This verse could be translated as follows: “But the goal of this command is love from “a pure heart,” from a clear “conscience,” and from genuine “faith.” The “goal” of Timothy’s “command” of forbidding false teaching (verses 3-4), is not all negative. Its positive aim is to bring about true love in Christians.
Note the spiritual evolution here: “genuine faith” in Christ produces “a clear conscience,” that is, one cleared of offense before God by Jesus’ atonement. This in turn leads to “a pure heart,” that is, a life free of sin; and this brings about “love” for God and others.
The charity here, would have been better translated love. Jesus had told the disciples that love of God and love for their neighbor covered all the law. A pure heart is one that is stayed upon the Lord. The pure heart has been washed in the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).
If your heart is stayed upon God, then you will have a clear conscience, because the desire of your heart is to please God. “Unfeigned”, in the verse above, means sincere. This is the kind of faith that we read the patriarchs had. This sincere faith is spoken of (in Hebrews 11:1).
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
1 Timothy 1:6 “From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;”
“Fruitless discussion” (Titus 1:10), refers to speech that is aimless and has no logical end. It is essentially irrelevant and will not accomplish anything spiritual or edifying to believers. False doctrine leads nowhere, but to the deadening end of human speculation and demonic deception (6:3-5).
“From which” (refers to verse 5’s), “pure heart,” “clear conscience,” and “faith unfeigned.”
Because heretics have “swerved” (deviated), from these practical virtues of daily living, they “have turned aside unto vain jangling” (fruitless discussion). Such talk is profitless because it detracts from spiritual progress.
This is talk then, that has no connection with reality. This means, many times, they are talking about things they know nothing of.
Verses 7-8: The Mosaic law is in view here, not just law in general. These were Jewish would-be-teachers who wanted to impose circumcision and the keeping of Mosaic ceremonies on the church as necessary for salvation. They plagued the early church (see notes on Gal. chapters 3-5; Phil. 3:1-8).
1 Timothy 1:7 “Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”
We see that the trouble is coming from the Jews. They may profess Christianity, but they are still hanging on to the Law of Moses. Worse than that, they are teaching the Talmud as if it were the Word of God. The Lord Jesus rebuked the people doing this very thing.
Matthew 22:29 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.”
The word “affirm” means confidently, or strongly. Paul is saying with Jesus, they think they know and do not. They would be teachers of an untruth.
1 Timothy 1:8 “But we know that the law [is] good, if a man use it lawfully;”
“The Law is good”: The Greek word for “good” can be translated “useful.” The law is good or useful because it reflects God’s holy will and righteous standard (Psalm 19:7, Rom. 7:12), which accomplishes its purpose in showing sinners their sin (Rom. 3:19), and their need for a savior (Gal. 3:24).
The law forces people to recognize that they are guilty of disobeying God’s commands, and it thereby condemns every person and sentences them to hell (see notes on Rom. 3:19-20).
Jesus came, not to do away with the law, but to fulfill it.
Galatians 3:21 “[Is] the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
The law was not bad, but man’s ability to keep the law was lacking. Jesus took care of the obligation of the law for us.
Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”
Those who are hid in Jesus have the law already fulfilled for them. They are not under the law, but grace.
Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
1 Timothy Chapter 1 Questions
- Who is this letter addressed to?
- What 3 books are known as Pastoral Epistles?
- Why does Paul speak of Timothy as his son?
- Where was this letter written from?
- Approximately when was the letter written?
- What nationality were Timothy’s parents?
- Who would Timothy minister to primarily?
- Why did Paul circumcise Timothy?
- What is difficult to understand about this?
- Where were some of the places that Timothy went with Paul to minister?
- Who was Timothy taught in the Scriptures by?
- What does Paul call himself in verse 1?
- What does the word that “apostle” was translated from mean?
- What is the hope?
- What 3 things did Paul speak as blessings on Timothy?
- Who was Paul’s favorite of all that he had ministered with?
- While Paul went to Macedonia, what did he want Timothy to do?
- Why did Paul desire Timothy to do this?
- What was Timothy’s teaching like?
- What does the word “charge” show in verse 3?
- What are the fables in verse 4 referring to?
- What was the “Talmud”?
- How can you build up your most holy faith?
- What is the end of the commandment?
- What makes a pure heart?
- What does “unfeigned” mean?
- What does “jangling” mean?
- Why should they not be teachers of the law?
- The law is good, if a man use it ___________.
- If Jesus did not come to destroy the law and the prophets, what did He come to do?