1 Timothy 1 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart - 1 Timothy - Charles Swindoll

1 Timothy 1 1 Timothy 2-3 1 Timothy 4 1 Timothy 5 1 Timothy 6
& Church
Last Days
& Elders
Conflict &
Danger of
False Doctrine
Public Worship
Church Officers
for Apostasy
Pastoral Duties
Toward Others
Instructions for
the Man of God
Warning Worship Wisdom Widows Wealth
Written in Macedonia
Circa 62-64AD

(Source: Swindoll's Insights on 1 Timothy)

Possible Route of Paul's "Farewell Tour" after release
from his first Roman imprisonment. (see notes below)

1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, [who is] our hope, 

Greek: Paulos apostolos Christou Iesou kat epitagen Theou soteros hemon kai Christou Iesou tes elpidos hemon kai Christou Iesou tes elpidos hemon

Amplified: PAUL, AN apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus by appointment and command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), our Hope, 2 To Timothy, my true son in the faith: Grace (spiritual blessing and favor), mercy, and [heart] peace [be yours] from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)

ESV: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

KJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; 2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord..

NET: From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!

NIV: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

NLT: This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. 2 I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. (NLT - Tyndale House)

Phillips: Paul, Jesus Christ's messenger by command of God our saviour and Christ our hope, to Timothy my true son in the faith: grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our Father and Jesus Christ our master. (Phillips: Touchstone)

TLB: From: Paul, a missionary of Jesus Christ, sent out by the direct command of God our Savior and by Jesus Christ our Lord—our only hope. 2To: Timothy. Timothy, you are like a son to me in the things of the Lord. May God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord show you his kindness and mercy and give you great peace of heart and mind.

Weymouth: Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God our Saviour and Christ Jesus our hope: 2 To Timothy, my own true son in the faith. May grace, mercy and peace be granted to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wuest: Paul, an ambassador of Christ Jesus by command of God our Saviour and Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my genuine child in the Faith. [Sanctifying] grace, mercy, [tranquilizing] peace, from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Young's Literal: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to a command of God our Saviour, and of the Lord Jesus Christ our hope,2 to Timotheus—genuine child in faith: Grace, kindness, peace, from God our Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord,

PAUL AN APOSTLE OF CHRIST JESUS: Paulos apostolos Christou Iesou:

I. Greeting (1 Timothy 1:1, 2)

II. Instructions Concerning False Doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3–20)

A. The False Doctrine at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3–11) (Layout of city of Ephesus)

B. The True Doctrine of Paul (1 Timothy 1:12–17)

C. The Exhortation to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18–20)
(Outline from John MacArthur


Paul, an apostle (apostolosof Jesus (IesousChrist (Christos) - Paul saw himself as a "man possessed" with a mission, a "sent one," who was not his own but belonged to His Sender, Christ Jesus. Note that Paul claimed that he is the author of this letter, despite what liberal critics might say. 

Paul (3972) is from Latin, Paulos meaning "little, small". Before his Damascus Road experience he was known by his Hebrew name Saul (Greek Saulos) which means "desired" or "ask" (derived from Hebrew word for "ask") Paul is always referred to as Saul in Acts until his clash with Bar Jesus at Paphos, when Luke suddenly writes,

But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze upon him (Acts 13:9+).

From this point in the Book of Acts (and in the epistles) the apostle is always referred to as Paul. Do not miss the descriptive phrase in Acts 13:9+ "filled with the Holy Spirit" (cp Eph 5:18+) for this description explains the "power" source of Paul's dynamic ministry and this supernatural confrontation (with "Elymas the magician...full of all deceit and fraud" Acts 13:8, 10+). Remember that what fills a person is what "controls" a person. (See Lk 4:28+ = "rage" and Lk 4:29 describes the resulting "effect" or action! Cf Lk 6:11+, Acts 2:4+, Acts 4:8+, 4:31+, Acts 5:17, 18+, Acts 13:45+, Acts 19:28+). Paul did not depend on his strength, his knowledge, his religious pedigree, etc, but solely upon the power (dunamis = supernatural power to accomplish a task) of the Spirit, the very "formula" Jesus had given to the disciples in His parting words in Acts 1:8+. Remember last words are always vitally important, especially if they are followed by ascension of the One speaking them!

Remember that Paul used the title apostle because it would convey three important truths to Timothy and all who would read this letters: (1) the fact that he belongs to the king or country who sends him out, (2) that he has been specially commissioned to be sent out (from the king) and (3) that he possesses all the authority and power of one who sent him out, that one being of course Christ Jesus. 

Apostle (652) (apostolos from apo = from + stello = send forth) (Click another discussion of apostle) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him. The Biblical apostles had special authority and power given by God and when they died that was the end of the special office of an apostle. In other words, contrary to what some men teach there is no Biblical mandate for "apostolic succession."

Apostle is used in two ways in the Scripture - (1) to designate an official office as in this passage (2) Generically to refer to anyone who is one sent with a message.

In secular Greek apostolos referred to someone who was officially commissioned to a position or task, such as an envoy. Cargo ships were sometimes called apostolic, because they were dispatched with a specific shipment for a specific destination. In secular Greek apostolos was used of an admiral of a fleet sent out by the king on special assignment. In the ancient world a apostle was the personal representatives of the king, functioning as an ambassador with the king’s authority and provided with credentials to prove he was the king's envoy. As an aside, just as Paul could not have made himself an apostle, no man can truly make himself a minister today. A man may go into the ministry but he may never have received a clear call from God, and thus it is not surprising today to read of so many men quitting the ministry! The Preacher's Homiletical Commentary adds that...

The responsibilities of the preacher are so great, and the difficulties of his work so perplexing and oppressive, that nothing short of a profound consciousness of his Divine commission can sustain him. (The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary)

A parallel of apostle is our English word ambassador defined by Webster as

a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government as the resident representative of his own government for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment. (cp Eph 6:20+)

Paul was a man with a mission having been commissioned by Christ Himself, Whose will was made known in several passages....

Acts 9:15+  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel;

Acts 22:14-15, 21+  “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 15 ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 21 “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’” 

Acts 26:16-18+  But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

In Galatians 1:1+ Paul explained that he was" an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, Who raised Him from the dead

Paul was commissioned as Christ's chosen instrument (Acts 9:15+) and ambassador to the Gentiles with a message of reconciliation (Ro 5:11+, 2Co 5:18,19+), a message that he "neither received...from man, nor was... taught, but ... through a revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal 1:12+).

In his salutation (introductory address) to the Romans Paul added that

through (Jesus Christ our Lord) we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake. (Ro 1:5+)

In short Paul was endued with the apostolic authority and accompanying power necessary to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul was not "his own" but understood that he belonged to Christ, His Master and that he had received a commission to be His authorized representative with His message, the Gospel.

Christ (5547Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) describes one who has been anointed with oil, one who has been consecrated. The majority of the NT uses refer to Jesus (exceptions = "false Christs" - Mt 24:24, Mk 13:22). Christos describes one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. It is used here as the title "Anointed One" and is the Greek synonym for "Messiah." Christos is used in the Septuagint describing everyone anointed with the holy oil, especially the priesthood (Lev. 4:5+, Lev 4:16+) and it is also a name applied to those who were acting as redeemers like Cyrus. "Hamilton suggests a fourfold significance to such anointing (“māshach,” Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 1:530): (1) separation unto God, (2) authorization by God, (3) divine enablement, and (4) the coming Deliverer.

Jesus (2424Iesous is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua).

Below is a possible itinerary after Paul's first release from prison in Rome (a presumptive truth with which most conservative commentators agree) (See Map above for possible itinerary route)

After Release from His First Roman Imprisonment, Paul wrote:

  • 1 Ti 1:3+ = At some point, Timothy was in Ephesus as Paul set out for Macedonia.
  • 1 Ti 3:14+ =Paul intended to join Timothy in Ephesus.
  • 1 Ti 4:13+ = “For this reason I left you [Titus] in Crete”
  • Titus 1:5+ =  At some point, Paul ministered on Crete with Titus, and then left him there.
  • Titus 3:12+ = After leaving Titus on Crete, Paul’s itinerary would take him to Nicopolis.

During His Second Roman Imprisonment, Paul wrote:

  • 2 Ti 4:13+  = During his second imprisonment, Paul indicates that he spent time in Troas after his first release.
  • 2 Ti 4:20+ = Paul’s itinerary between imprisonments took him through Corinth and Miletus.
  • (Adapted from Swindoll's Insights on 1 Timothy)

Hiebert proposes the following itinerary - Apparently upon his release at Rome, Paul sailed for Ephesus, visited Colossae as he had promised Philemon (v. 22), and returned to Ephesus, where he met Timothy coming from Philippi. A survey of the situation in and around Ephesus revealed the need to check the false teachers there. Paul urged Timothy to remain to deal with the situation while he went to Macedonia in accord with his promise to visit the Philippians (Phil. 2:24). Paul turned the work over to Timothy as his representative. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

R Kent Hughes has a good word to help understand the background for Paul's letter to Timothy - Apostasy’s speed. The threat of wholesale apostasy in Ephesus drove Paul at the time he wrote this letter. His concern was well-founded because of the speed with which apostasy had come to some of the elder-led congregations in Ephesus. It had only been four years since his famous farewell address to the Ephesian elders in which he had warned them saying, “After I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29, 30+). And now it was dreadfully true. Unbelievable! The Ephesian church had drunk from the pure stream of apostolic teaching. There could be no better water than that! God’s Word from a writer of God’s Word! In today’s terms they did not drink merely from the tap but from the apostolic fire hose—for three years. They had even had the grandest ecclesiastical letter of the New Testament written personally to them. But within forty-eight months of Paul’s farewell, apostasy had come.  the sobering reality that gospel ministries nourished from the well of God’s Word can become apostate with amazing speed. This reality is a plaintive refrain in 1 Timothy: “Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith” (1Ti 1:19). “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1Ti 4:1). “Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan” (1Ti 5:15). “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1Ti 6:10). And the final verse of the book bemoans those who “have wandered from the faith” (1T 6:21). Should our concern be any less today? Absolutely not! If anything, given Paul’s experience, the repeated record of church history, and recent events in the evangelical church, our vigilance must be even greater. It is a solemn fact that any given church can depart from the faith in less than a generation. To imagine otherwise is to be so inflated with the helium of naive pride that we imagine we are above the human condition and that of the church itself, impervious to what happens in life and history. The truth is, apostasy can easily happen to any of us if we do not guard against it and stay close to Christ. (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus )

1 Timothy 1:1 Did you hear about the little boy who returned home after his first Sunday School class? His mother asked, "Who was your teacher?' and the little boy answered, "I don't remember her name, but she must have been Jesus' grandmother because she didn't talk about anyone else." Does our conversation reflect our love of Jesus? Would our words give away our relationship with him? (Leadership Magazine) 

1 Timothy 1:1,12-17 Business Card

In some cultures, the title below your name on your business card is very important. It identifies your rank. The way you are treated depends on your title as compared with others around you.

If Paul had a business card, it would have identified him as an “apostle”

(1 Tim. 1:1), meaning “sent one.” He used this title not out of pride but out of wonder. He didn’t earn that position; it was “by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, his was not a human but a divine appointment.

Paul had formerly been a “blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (v.13). He said that he considered himself to be the “chief” of sinners (v.15). But because of God’s mercy, he was now an apostle, one to whom “the King eternal” (v.17) had committed the glorious gospel and whom He had sent out to share that gospel.

What is more amazing is that like the apostle Paul we are all sent out by the King of kings to the world (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Let’s recognize with humility that we don’t deserve such a commission either. It is our privilege to represent Him and His eternal truth in word and in deed each day to all around us. By C. P. Hia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Let us go forth, as called of God,
Redeemed by Jesus’ precious blood;
His love to show, His life to live,
His message speak, His mercy give.

God gave you a message to share. Don’t keep it to yourself!

QUESTION - What is an apostle?

ANSWER - The word apostle means “one who is sent out.” In the New Testament, there are two primary usages of the word apostle. The first is in specifically referring to the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. The second is in generically referring to other individuals who are sent out to be messengers/ambassadors of Jesus Christ.

The twelve apostles held a unique position. In referring to the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:14 states, “The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The twelve apostles are also referred to in Matthew 10:2; Mark 3:14; 4:10; 6:7; 9:35; 14:10, 17, 20; Luke 6:13; 9:1; 22:14; John 6:71; Acts 6:2; and 1 Corinthians 15:5. It was these twelve apostles who were the first messengers of the gospel after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was these twelve apostles who were the foundation of the church—with Jesus being the cornerstone (Ephesians 2:20).

This specific type of apostle is not present in the church today. The qualifications of this type of apostle were: (1) to have been a witness of the resurrected Christ (1 Corinthians 9:1), (2) to have been explicitly chosen by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:15), and (3) to have the ability to perform signs and wonders (Acts 2:43; 2 Corinthians 12:12). The responsibility of the twelve apostles, laying the foundation of the church, would also argue for their uniqueness. Two thousand years later, we are not still working on the foundation.

Beyond the unique twelve apostles of Jesus Christ, there were also apostles in a generic sense. Barnabas is referred to as an “apostle” in Acts 13:2 and 14:4. Andronicus and Junias are possibly identified as apostles in Romans 16:7. The same Greek word usually translated “apostle” is used to refer to Titus in 2 Corinthians 8:23 and Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25. So, there definitely seems to be room for the term apostle being used to refer to someone besides the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. Anyone who was “sent” could be called an apostle.

What exactly would be the role of an apostle outside that of the twelve apostles? That is not entirely clear. From the definition of the word, the closest thing today to an apostle, in the general sense, is a missionary. A missionary is a follower of Christ who is sent out with the specific mission of proclaiming the gospel. A missionary is an ambassador of Christ to people who have not heard the good news. However, to prevent confusion, it is likely best to not use the term apostle to refer to any position in the church today. The vast majority of occurrences of the word apostle or apostles in the New Testament refer to the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ.

There are some today who are seeking to restore the position of apostle. This is a dangerous movement. Frequently, those claiming the office of apostle seek authority equal to, or at least rivaling, the authority of the original twelve apostles. There is absolutely no biblical evidence to support such an understanding of the role of apostle today. This would fit with the New Testament’s warning against false apostles (2 Corinthians 11:13).

In a sense, all followers of Jesus Christ are called to be apostles. We are all to be His ambassadors (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). We are all to be “ones who are sent out” (Acts 1:8). We are all to be preachers of the good news (Romans 10:15).

Note – for a discussion on whether Matthias or Paul was the twelfth apostle, please read the following article: Was Matthias or Paul God’s choice to replace Judas as the 12th apostle? (| GotQuestions.org)

Related Resources:

Summary of the Book of 1 Timothy - Bible Survey | GotQuestions.org

Author: The Book of 1 Timothy was written by the apostle Paul (1 Timothy 1:1).

Date of Writing: The Book of 1 Timothy was written in A.D. 62-66.

Purpose of Writing: Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him in his responsibility for overseeing the work of the Ephesian church and possibly the other churches in the province of Asia (1 Timothy 1:3). This letter lays the foundation for ordaining elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7), and provides guidance for ordaining people into offices of the church (1 Timothy 3:8-13). In essence, 1 Timothy is a leadership manual for church organization and administration.

Key Verses:

1 Timothy 2:5, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."

1 Timothy 2:12, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent."

1 Timothy 3:1-3, "Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money."

1 Timothy 4:9-10, "This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe."

1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses."

Brief Summary: This is the first letter Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor who had been a help to Paul in his work. Timothy was a Greek. His mother was a Jewess and his father was Greek. Paul was more than just a mentor and leader to Timothy, he was like a father to him, and Timothy was like a son to Paul (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul begins the letter by urging Timothy to be on guard for false teachers and false doctrine. However, much of the letter deals with pastoral conduct. Paul instructs Timothy in worship (chapter 2) and developing mature leaders for the church (chapter 3). Most of the letter deals with pastoral conduct, warnings about false teachers, and the church’s responsibility toward single members, widows, elders, and slaves. All throughout the letter, Paul encourages Timothy to stand firm, to persevere, and to remain true to his calling.

Connections: An interesting link to the Old Testament in the book of 1 Timothy is Paul’s citation of the basis for considering church elders to be worthy of “double honor,” and deserving of respect when it comes to being accused of wrongdoing (1 Timothy 5:17-19). Deuteronomy 24:15; 25:4; and Leviticus 19:13 all speak of the necessity to pay a worker what he has earned and to do it in a timely manner. Part of the Mosaic Law demanded that two or three witnesses were necessary to bring an accusation against a man (Deuteronomy 19:15). The Jewish Christians in the churches Timothy pastored would have been well aware of these Old Testament connections.

Practical Application: Jesus Christ is presented by Paul as the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Savior to all who believe in Him. He is Lord of the church, and Timothy serves Him by pastoring His church. Thus, we find the main application of Paul’s first letter to his “son in the faith.” Paul instructs Timothy on matters of church doctrine, church leadership, and church administration. We can use those same instructions in governing our local assembly today. Likewise, the work and ministry of a pastor, the qualifications for an elder, and the qualifications of a deacon are just as important and pertinent today as they were in Timothy’s day. Paul’s first letter to Timothy amounts to an instruction book on leading, administrating, and pastoring the local church. The instructions in this letter apply to any leader or prospective leader of Christ’s church and are equally relevant today as they were in Paul’s day. For those not called into leadership roles in their church, the book is still practical. Every follower must contend for the faith and avoid false teaching. Every follower must stand firm and persevere.

Related Resources:

ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT OF GOD OUR SAVIOR: kat epitagen Theou soteros hemon:

  • According to: 1Ti 2:7 Ac 9:15 26:16-18 1Co 9:17 Ga 1:1,11 2Ti 1:11 Titus 1:3
  • God: 1Ti 2:3 4:10 Ps 106:21 Isa 12:2 Isa 43:3,11 Isa 45:15,21 Isa 49:26 Isa 60:16 Isa 63:8 Hos 13:4 Lk 1:47 2:11 2Ti 1:10 Titus 1:3 Titus 2:10,13 Titus 3:4,6 2Pe 1:1 1Jn 4:14 Jude 1:25
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


According to the commandment (epitage) - This is not a suggestion, but a clear command. It indicates the recipient (Paul) was "under orders" (under compulsion, necessity) to carry out the task Jesus had given him. Paul did not chose this ministry, nor had he been ordained by men, but "was appointed (BY JESUS AS) a preacher and an apostle and a teacher." (2Ti 1:11+) In other passages Paul states he is an apostle "by the will of God". God's command was His will for Paul's life as he testified before King Agrippa "I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision." (Acts 26:19+). God's will for our life is found in His commands in Scripture (there are over 1500 in the NT). Clearly in establishing his apostolic ministry, Paul wanted to make sure that the recipients of the letter understood that it was not his will, but God's will. So what? Since it is God's will, the implication is that all Paul spoke in this letter is God's Word and carries His authoritative stamp. And so it is not surprising that Paul began five of his Epistles with a similar "signature" (will of God) authenticating his divinely ordained apostleship: ,

Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother (1Co 1:1+).

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth with all the saints who are throughout Achaia: (2Co 1:1+).

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: (Eph 1:1+)

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother (Col 1:1+)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus (2Timothy 1:1+)

God (theos) our Savior (soter) - This phrase would seem to refer to God the Father as the Savior. Normally we think of the Son as the Savior, which of course He is. However since God is a Trinity with unity, it is not surprising to think of all members of the Trinity in some way participating in the divine works of God, even though the role of One Member of the Trinity plays a dominant role in a specific action. Indeed, God the Father planned salvation in eternity past, God the Son purchased our redemption and God the Spirit applies the salvation to our hearts in regeneration. Or more succinctly - The Father planned it, the Son purchased it and the Spirit applies it, "it" of course is our salvation. And so the phrase God our Savior (Titus 3:4) refers not only to the Son (2Pe 1:1), but the Father (cf Jude 1:25) and the Spirit. The highly respected Puritan writer John Owen helps us understand the interrelationship of the Trinity writing that "Everything God does He does as the triune God. Each Person of the Trinity is involved in every action of God. Yet at the same time each Person has a special role to fulfill in that work.... There is no good that we receive from God but it is brought to us and wrought in us by the Holy Spirit. Nor is there in us any good towards God, any faith, love, obedience to His will, but what we are enabled to do so by the Holy Spirit."

God our Savior - exact phrase - 1 Tim 1:1 1 Tim 2:3 Titus 1:3 Titus 2:10 Titus 3:4 Jude 1:25

The Father planned our salvation,
the Son purchased it
and the Spirit applied it.

Barclay says "Life can never be dull again When once we've thrown our windows open wide And seen the mighty world that lies outside, And whispered to ourselves this wondrous thing, 'We're wanted for the business of the King!'"

THOUGHT - Dear follower of Christ, are you obeying the call of God upon your life? Remember He has given you a spiritual gift and one day you will have to give an account as steward to your Master for how you used His gift (1Pe 4:10-11+, cf 1Co 4:1-2+) Only one life, twill soon pass! Only what's done for Christ will last! Don't miss your once in a lifetime opportunity beloved. Life is too short and eternity too long to miss out! Peter writes "If (since) you address as Father the One Who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct (aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) yourselves in fear (solemn, sober, holy reverence) during the (VERY SHORT) time of your stay on earth." (1Pe 1:17+) James says "Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." (He does not even say like or as a vapor, but you are a vapor! A "vanishing vapor!" - Jas 4:14+) And so we need to heed Paul's charge to be "making the most of (exagorazoyour time (kairos), because the days are evil." (Eph 5:16+).

Steven Cole on God our Savior - Paul uses an unusual phrase in this verse: “God our Savior.” This description occurs six times in the pastoral epistles (here, 1Ti 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4) and nowhere else in Paul’s writings. It occurs elsewhere only in Jude 25, with a similar expression, “God my Savior” in Luke 1:47. In fact, the word “Savior” (soter) is only used 24 times in the New Testament, including 10 times in the pastoral epistles and five in 2 Peter. The designation of God as our Savior is rooted in the Old Testament. But, significantly, when you come to the New Testament, Jesus is designated as the Savior (Luke 2:11), which shows that Jesus is God. His very name means “Yahweh saves.” The angel explained to Joseph that the reason for naming the child in Mary’s womb “Jesus” is that He would save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). One reason Paul may have emphasized this term for God in the pastoral epistles is that the corrupt emperor Nero had assumed the title, “Savior of the world,” for himself. Paul is countering that by stating, “No, Nero, you are not the Savior; only God can save!” This is a truth that constantly needs to be reaffirmed because the proud human heart constantly does what Nero did--if not to claim to be the Savior of the world, at least to claim to be my own Savior. Proud people think that because they are worthy, or by their own efforts or good deeds or will power, they can save themselves from God’s wrath against their sin. But the message of the cross of Jesus Christ humbles human pride by stating, “No flesh shall boast before God” (1 Cor. 1:29). We need to proclaim clearly the message that people are lost and need a Savior, not just that they need a little improvement or help. The gospel message is not, “If your life lacks fulfillment or if you’re having a few problems, try Jesus.” The gospel message is, “Apart from Christ, you are lost, perishing, under God’s judgment! You cannot save yourself. God does not save any who are worthy, because none are worthy. But in His grace, God does save unworthy sinners who take refuge in Jesus and His shed blood on the cross. So trust in Him!”

Savior (4990)(soter from sozo = rescue from peril > from saos = safe; delivered) refers to the Agent of salvation or deliverance, the One Who rescues, delivers, saves and preserves. Anyone who saves or delivers can be called a deliverer or rescuer (a soter), but only God can effects our supernatural rescue from bondage to the power of indwelling Sin and the dread fate of eternal death and separation from His presence. Hallelujah! If you have time, take a moment to worship God our Savior with this song by Laura Story What A Savior or this modern rendition by Aaron Ivey - Hallelujah, What a Savior.

Soter is used 10x out of 24 in the pastoral epistles - Lk. 1:47; Lk. 2:11; Jn. 4:42; Acts 5:31; Acts 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 1:1; 1 Tim. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:10; 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 1:3; Titus 1:4; Titus 2:10; Titus 2:13; Titus 3:4; Titus . 3:6; 2 Pet. 1:1; 2 Pet. 1:11; 2 Pet. 2:20; 2 Pet. 3:2; 2 Pet. 3:18; 1 Jn. 4:14; Jude 1:25

God is called “Savior” 19 times (1Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Lk. 1:47; Tit. 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jude 1:25; 2Sam. 22:3; Ps. 106:21; Isa. 43:3, 11; 45:15, 21; 49:26; 60:16; 63:8; Jer. 14:8; Hos. 13:4);

Jesus Christ is called “Savior” 16 times (Lk. 2:11; Jn. 4:42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Eph. 5:23; Php. 3:20; 2Tim. 1:10; Tit. 1:4; 2:13; 3:6; 1Pet. 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 1Jn. 4:14).

Commandment (2003epitage  from epitasso = appoint over, put in charge in turn from epí = upon or over + tasso = arrange, appoint, order, set in place) means literally one appointed over and came to refer to something that is in its proper order or place. Figuratively epitage was used of an authoritative directive, an order, an official command, a directive or an injunction.

Epitage - 7v - Ro 16:26; 1Co. 7:6; 1 Co. 7:25; 2 Co. 8:8; 1Ti 1:1; Titus 1:3; Titus 2:15

Jon Courson on the commandment of God - Paul often referred to himself as ‘an apostle by the will of God’ (1Corinthians 1:1, 2Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, see note Colossians 1:1). In this case, however, he says, ‘It’s not just His will for me, it’s His command that I am to be an apostle—one who is sent out, one who shares truth.’

The things that we have been commanded to do can sometimes become wearying when we find ourselves in situations we weren’t anticipating—like prison. After all, it was from a Roman prison cell that Paul wrote to Timothy. And in this, I am reminded of another who found himself a prisoner...

‘Oh, Lord, I cannot speak. I am but a child,’ Jeremiah protested when called to minister.

‘Before you were born, I knew you and ordained you to be a prophet,’ the Lord replied. ‘I will put My words on your lips—and you shall go.’

So Jeremiah did. And what happened? He eventually ended up in a dungeon.

‘OK, Lord,’ he said. ‘Yes, You commanded me. Yes, You anointed me. But people aren’t responding. No one is getting saved.’

So Jeremiah decided to quit prophesying, to quit sharing—until he realized that the Word of God was like fire in his bones and that he could not keep quiet (Jeremiah 20:9).

Maybe like Jeremiah, or perhaps like Paul, you feel imprisoned and are tempted to throw in the towel, to quit sharing the Gospel with people since none seem to respond. But if you do, the Word of God will burn in your heart as surely as it did in Jeremiah’s, and, like Paul, you will realize you have no choice in the matter, for you are under the command of God. (Courson, J. A Day's Journey: 365 Daily Meditations from the Word October 13. Santa Ana, CA: Calvary Chapel Publishing)

AND OF CHRIST JESUS, [WHO IS] OUR HOPE : kai Christou Iesou tes elpidos hemon:

Related Passages:

Psalm 43:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Romans 15:12-13+ Again Isaiah says, “THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE, AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES, IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE.”  13Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

Colossians 1:27+   to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

2 Thessalonians 2:16+ Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,

1 Peter 1:3+  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

1 John 3:2-3+ Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (cf "pure heart" in 1Ti 1:5)


And of Christ (Christos) Jesus (IesousWho is our hope (elpis) - The Greek literally reads our hope, the NAS adding "Who is" to smooth out the sentence in English. The literal rendering that describes "Christ Jesus our hope" is a beautiful truth, for what Paul is saying is that hope is not a vague, abstract concept but ultimately finds its very essence and fulfillment in the Person, Christ Jesus.Jesus Christ is the basis of our hope of all things. Indeed "As God is the Author of our salvation, so Christ is the embodiment of our Hope." (G B Wilson) In using the personal pronoun "our" Paul is emphasizing that this hope is our very own possession. This is a simple truth, but take a moment and meditate on this truth and allow the Spirit to overwhelm you with the reality that such a great hope is really ours. We did not deserve it nor could we ever have merited it, but because of God's great salvation and our eternally secure position in Christ, we can cling confidently to the great doctrine of the believer's hope as "our hope!" Our hope is secure because the foundation is firm. Indeed, "from Christ's death flow all our hopes." (Ryle) "Our hope lies not in the man we put on the moon, but in the Man we put on the Cross." (Basham) Jesus is our "Spes unica," which is Latin for "Our only hope." (See Excursus on Hope)

Steven Cole on Christ Jesus our hope - Biblical hope is not an uncertain wish for a better tomorrow. Biblical hope is certain, but not yet realized. It is certain because our hope rests on the resurrected Christ, whose bodily resurrection from the grave is an attested fact of history. Our hope believes in the reigning Christ, seated at the right hand of God, far above all rule and authority (Eph. 1:20-23). Our hope waits for the returning Christ, who has given us His sure word that He will return bodily to rule the nations with a rod of iron (Acts 1:11; Rev. 19:15). Hallelujah! Because such a Savior is our hope, we can serve Him and know that our labor is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58+).

C H Spurgeon - Christ is our hope. We have not a shadow of a hope apart from Him. I remember, when on the Continent, seeing on a cross the words “Spes unica,” (Ed: Latin = "Our Only Hope") the unique, the only hope of man; and that is true of the Cross of Christ, and of Christ Who suffered on it, He is our hope. (Ed: Our Only Hope, and also Our Sufficient Hope)

Spurgeon also said “look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the Source of thy hope...It is by His life that we live; He is in us, the hope of glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought....The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian’s hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

William Barclay on Christ our hope.- In the early Church this was to become one of the most precious titles of Christ. Ignatius of Antioch, when on his way to execution in Rome, writes to the Church in Ephesus: “Be of good cheer in God the Father and in Jesus Christ our common hope” (Ignatius: To the Ephesians 21:2). Polycarp writes: “Let us therefore persevere in our hope and the earnest of our righteousness, who is Jesus Christ” (Epistle of Polycarp 8)....(i) Men found in Christ the hope of moral victory and of self-conquest....(ii) Men found in Christ the hope of victory over circumstances.... (iii) Men found in Christ the hope of victory over death. (See 1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Hiebert observes: What a blessed realization is the truth that Christ Jesus is "our hope." Not only that He gives us hope, but He is our hope. He is the hope of the individual and of the world; personally, nationally, and internationally. He is our hope in every sense of the term, the object, the author, the foundation, the substance of our hope. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Hendriksen observes: Amid circumstances which to man might seem hopeless, Christ Jesus is pictured as "our Hope," that is, the very foundation for our earnest yearning, our confident expectation, and our patient waiting for the manifestation of salvation in all its fullness. It is he who made this hope possible and actual. It is he who revitalizes it from day to day. The Source as well as the Object of this hope is he. (The Pastoral Epistles)

Pulpit Commentary - The object of the Christian's hope is the Savior — our "Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our Hope" (1Ti 1:1) We hope for Him — for His gracious presence revealed in fuller measure now, for the blissful vision of His glorious beauty hereafter (Titus 2:13, 14, 15+). That hope is patient. The husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth (James 5:7); the Christian waits patiently for Christ. It works patience in the soul. He can endure the troubles of life who is blessed with the lively hope of the inheritance reserved in heaven (1Pe 1:3,4+). (Pulpit Commentary)

W. H. G. Thomas - No Christian life is complete which does not include in it a forward look of joyous certitude toward a bright future, for hope as a grace is not a mere spirit of what we call hopefulness, or a natural buoyancy of temperament. It is a distinctly Christian virtue, the result of union with God in Christ; and it has for its immediate object the Lord Jesus at His glorious appearing, and for its ultimate, eternal and exhaustless substance the glories of heaven and God as our All in All.

MacArthur - Christians have hope for the future because Christ purchased salvation for them on the cross in the past (Ro 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; 1Jn 3:2, 3).

Geoffrey B. Wilson - Our risen and glorified Lord is Himself our Hope, because His triumph over sin and death provides the objective pledge of our final redemption.

John Trapp - The law is a super-introduction to Christ our hope, Who is the end of the law to every believer, Ro 10:4.

Ron Mattoon - Christ is our hope. This is where our joy comes from. Some Christians repeat a common slogan, "Keep hope alive." I've got news for you. Hope is alive because our hope is in a living, resurrected Savior and His promises are found in a living book, the Bible. We don't have to keep it alive because He will never die! Amen!

David echoes Paul's description of Jesus as our Hope writing...

And now, Lord (Adonai), for what do I wait ("hope" = Ps 39:7NLT)? My hope is in Thee. (Ps 39:7)

Spurgeon: The Lord is self existent and true, and therefore worthy of the confidence of men; He will live when all the creatures die, and His fulness will abide when all second causes are exhausted; to Him, therefore, let us direct our expectation, and on Him let us rest our confidence. Away from sand to Rock (Ps 95:1) let all wise builders turn themselves, for if not today, yet surely ere long, a storm will rise before which nothing will be able to stand but that which has the lasting element of faith in God to cement it. David had but one hope, and that Hope (the Person of Jesus) entered within the veil (Ed: Heb 10:20+, cf Heb 6:18-20+), hence he brought his vessel to safe anchorage, and after a little drifting all was peace.

Dave Branon - Corrie ten Boom lived through the hellish life of Nazi concentration camps—a place where hope was lost for most people. She survived to tell her story of unfaltering faith and tight-fisted hope in God. She saw the face of evil up close and personal. She saw some of the most inhumane acts man can do to man. And when she came out of it all, she said this: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ, you’ll be at rest.” Where are you looking? Are you focusing on the world and its dangers? Are you gazing at yourself, hoping to find your own answers? Or are you looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith? (Hebrews 12:1-2). (Ed: Are you looking to "Christ Jesus our Hope"? 1Ti 1:1) In an uncertain world, we must keep looking to Him.

The hope we have in Jesus Christ
Replaces all despair;
He fills us with His joy and peace
And shows His love and care.

Hope (1680)(elpis) is a simple but fascinating word because the definition one arrives at is directly dependent on one's worldview, specifically non-Biblical or Biblical. And so we shall see that hope in Scripture is (with few exceptions) not the world's definition of hope.

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

BGT  1 Timothy 1:2 Τιμοθέῳ γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει, χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.

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

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

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

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

GWN  1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, a genuine child in faith. Good will, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord are yours!

KJV  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.

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

MIT  1 Timothy 1:2 to Timothy, a loyal son in the faith. May grace, compassion, and peace from Father God and Christ Jesus our Lord be yours.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:2 to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

NET  1 Timothy 1:2 to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!

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

NJB  1 Timothy 1:2 to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:2 I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith.May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.

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

Wuest  to Timothy, my genuine child in the Faith. [Sanctifying] grace, mercy, [tranquilizing] peace, from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

YLT  1 Timothy 1:2 to Timotheus -- genuine child in faith: Grace, kindness, peace, from God our Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord,

  • Timothy: Ac 16:1-3 1Th 3:2
  • my: 1Ti 1:18 1Co 4:17 Php 2:19-22 2Ti 1:2 2Ti 2:1 Titus 1:4
  • Grace: Ro 1:7 Ga 1:3 2Ti 1:2 Titus 1:4 1Pe 1:2
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Real deal describes a person who is a genuine, one who is absolutely authentic, the real thing, and in context a genuine believer, not just a professor of Christ but a possessor of Christ. Words of profession without a change of heart and associated behavior can deceive a person into thinking they are truly born again when they are sadly still dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1). Jesus sternly warned that this deadly deception will take a person straight to eternal punishment! Read Mt 7:21-23+ (What is a profession of faith? | GotQuestions.org)

To Timothy, my true (gnesios) child (teknon) in the faith (pistis) - To Timothy clearly marks Timothy as the recipient of this epistle, the same young man Paul refers to later as "my son" (1Ti 1:18, 2Ti 2:1), his son (teknon) in the gospel (Acts 16:1–3). The word true (gnesios) points to the genuineness of Timothy’s conversion as attested by his faithful service in the Lord (note "in" not "for" - "in" the sphere of and power of the Lord's Spirit). Timothy's "spiritual orchard" or "fruit" served to authenticate his "root," which had been firmly planted by grace through faith in Christ.

Cole points out that Paul had "said to the Galatians (Gal 4:19+), “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” They had professed Christ, but Paul was not yet certain if they were true children or not. Paul urged the Corinthians, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). Peter exhorts his readers, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you” (2 Pet. 1:10). John wrote his first epistle to give his readers a number of tests by which they could know that they had eternal life (see the entire book of 1 John, but esp. 1Jn 5:13)."

In other epistles Paul calls Timothy "my beloved son" (2Ti 1:2), "my true child in the common faith" (not the act of believing but the truth that is believed) (Titus 1:4) and "my beloved and faithful child in the Lord" (1Cor 4:17+) Paul reminds the saints at Philippi that they knew of Timothy's "proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the Gospel like a child serving his father." (Php 2:22) Careful observation of these passages indicates that Paul was not Timothy's natural father, but his "spiritual father". Paul had no natural child, but here he describes his supernatural child. (THOUGHT - This begs the question - do you have any "supernatural" children? If so they will be your hope and joy and crown when we all see Jesus! See 1Th 2:19-20+) It was through Paul's faithful proclamation that Timothy heard and (enabled by the Spirit - Jn 3:3-7+) received the Gospel and was born again as a child of God (Jn 1:12+). Paul viewed Timothy even as a father would his natural son, so close was their friendship and intimate their bond in Christ. Paul was the teacher and Timothy was his disciple (2Ti 2:2+), and ultimately was a disciple (mathetes) of Christ Jesus.

THOUGHT - Are you obedient to the last command of Jesus in Mt 28:19+? Make disciples (aorist imperative = "JUST DO IT!" - see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey). If you are not making disciples, you are disobeying Jesus! 

Luke gives us Timothy's natural lineage writing...

And he (Paul) came also to Derbe and to Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple (mathetes) was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek, and he was well spoken of by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted this man to go with him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those parts, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.(Acts 16:1-3+)

Lenski - When Timothy is addressed as "genuine child in the faith," word "child" carries with it the idea of tenderness and endearment. "Son" would touch upon Timothy's standing. Paul wants the former idea.

Hiebert on genuine child in the faith -  As a “genuine child” Timothy is running true to his spiritual parentage, showing real and marked resemblance to his father. Their relationship existed not in the physical but in the spiritual realm. Paul had begotten him in the realm of “faith.” The absence of the article with “faith” in the Greek leaves it an open question as to whether we should render it “the faith,” thus denoting the objective content of the Christian revelation, or simply “faith,” meaning the subjective principle of personal faith. Either view is possible from the standpoint of Pauline usage. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Steven Cole writes "God has saved us and conscripted us into service so that we might bring forth true children in the faith. Verse 2, which addresses Timothy as Paul’s true child in the faith shows us that the goal of our service is to reproduce ourselves spiritually, as Paul had done with Timothy.

Grace (charis), mercy (eleos) and peace (eirene) from God the Father (pater) and Christ (Christos) Jesus (Iesous) our Lord (kurios) - This same divine "triad" is found in 2 Tim 1:2 and 2 John 1:3.  Grace (charis) is God’s free, unmerited favor toward sinners, which grants those who believe the Gospel complete forgiveness forever through the Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 3:24; Ep 1:7) Grace precedes peace, because it the grace of God which makes it possible for us to experience peace with God (Ro 5:1-2+). Note that the source of the grace, mercy and peace is God the Father and God the Son, a clear indication that Paul considered Jesus to be fully divine and co-equal with the Father. Note verse one ends with "our hope" and verse 2 with "our Lord." Is He your Lord, such that you obey His authority in daily life? As someone has said: If you do not crown Him Lord of all, You do not really crown Him Lord at all.

God extends His grace to men as guilty;
His mercy to them as miserable.
-- Jamieson

Hendriksen says: The usual way of distinguishing between grace and mercy is to say that grace pardons while mercy commiserates; grace is God's love toward the guilty, mercy His love toward the wretched or pitiable; grace concerns the state, mercy the condition. To a considerable extent this distinction is correct. The term "mercy" frequently occurs in a context of extending help to those in misery. (The Pastoral Epistles)

William Barclay - PAUL always began his letter with a blessing (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Philemon 3). In all these other letters only Grace and Peace occur. It is only in the letters to Timothy that Mercy is used (2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4). (See 1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Hiebert - This threefold invocation comprehends all the blessings which come to us now through the Gospel. "Grace" is the undeserved favor of God toward the guilty sinner, removing the guilt of his past sins and relieving him of deserved punishment. "Mercy" is the self-moved, spontaneous compassion of God for the miserable and distressed, freeing the sinner from the consequent misery of his sins. The believer stands in constant need of the continued experience of both. "Grace is multiplied for God's children in a constant shower of undeserved gifts (John 1:16, 'grace for grace'), and so mercy continues in ever new deliverance out of trouble" (Lenski). "Peace" is the state of salvation which results from God's grace and mercy. It speaks of the harmony which results from the removal of the discord which sin has produced. A feeling of well-being and tranquility follow. What richer blessings could one desire for another than these? "'Grace, mercy and peace' are the triple blessings of the Christian life, as faith, hope and charity are the triple fruit of the Christian character" (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Spurgeon - Notice the apostle’s triple salutation, “Grace, mercy, and peace.” Whenever Paul writes to a church, he wishes “grace and peace”; but to a minister he wishes “grace, mercy, and peace.” Ah! we want mercy more than the average of Christians; we have greater responsibilities; and, consequently, might more readily fall into greater sin, so to a minister Paul’s salutation is, “grace, mercy, and peace.”

Wuest on peace (eirene) - One is reminded of the words of Hamlet, “The times are out of joint. Oh, cursed spite that I was ever born to set them right.” That is, when things become disjointed, separated, there is no feeling of tranquility, comfort, well-being. The latter come as a result of binding together things that have become separated. When the sanctifying grace and remedial mercy of God are operative in the life and ministry of Timothy, then that pleasant, satisfying feeling of tranquility, comfort, and well-being obtains. (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

MacArthur - Peace with God and from Him in all life’s circumstances is the effect of grace (Ep 2:14–15; Col. 1:20), flowing out of the forgiveness God has given to all the elect (cf. Ps 85:8; Isa. 26:12; 2Th 3:16). “Grace upon grace” (Jn 1:16) is an expression that defines the boundless flow of divine favor, while peace comes with such fullness that it is divine and beyond human understanding (Jn 14:27; Php 4:7). Believers receive surpassing grace for every sin (Ps. 84:11; Acts 4:33; 2Cor 9:8; 12:9; Heb. 4:16) and abundant peace for every trial (Jn 14:27; Jn 16:33). (See 1 & 2 Peter and Jude MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Mercy for past sins; grace for future work, trial, and resistance to temptation.

J. Vernon McGee says: These three words--love, mercy and grace--are a little trinity. Love is that in God which existed before He could care to exercise mercy or grace. God is love; it is His nature, His attribute. Mercy is that in God which provided for the need of sinful man. Grace then is that in Him which acts freely to save because all the demands of His holiness have been satisfied. Therefore, because God is merciful, you can come to Him, and by His grace He'll save you. You don't have to bring anything, you cannot bring anything, because it would only be filthy rags to God.

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring;
Augustus M. Toplady
(Click to play his hymn)

Warren Wiersbe - Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success."That advertisement appeared in a London newspaper and thousands of men responded! It was signed by the noted Arctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and that was what made the difference. If Jesus Christ had advertised for workers, the announcement might have read something like this: "Men and women wanted for difficult task of helping to build My church. You will often be misunderstood, even by those working with you. You will face constant attack from an invisible enemy. You may not see the results of your labor, and your full reward will not come till after all your work is completed. It may cost you your home, your ambitions, even your life." In spite of the demands that He makes, Jesus Christ receives the "applications" of many who gladly give their all for Him. He is certainly the greatest Master for whom anyone could work, and the task of building His church is certainly the greatest challenge to which a believer could give his life. Timothy was one young man who responded to Christ's call to help build His church. He was one of the Apostle Paul's special assistants. Along with Titus, Timothy tackled some of the tough assignments in the churches that Paul had founded. Timothy was brought up in a religious home (2 Tim. 1:5) and had been led to faith in Christ by Paul himself. This explains why Paul called Timothy "my own [genuine] son in the faith" (1Tim. 1:2). (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

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True (1103) gnesios from ginomai = to become, come into being) means legitimately born, and thus legitimate not spurious. It was used literally, of children legitimate, ‘born in lawful wedlock’, lawful; figuratively, of spiritual relationship true, genuine (1Ti 1.2). In 2Co 8:8 the idea is as a commendable quality of integrity and thus genuine, sincere. BDAG - 1. one who is considered a valid member of a family, legitimate, true. In the Hellenic world ancestral connections were highly prized; hence this term referred orig. to having connection with the ge,noj by birth: ‘belonging to the race.’ Hence lit. of children born in wedlock, legitimate; 2. pert. to possession of apparent or reputed good character or quality, genuine of things (of ‘genuine’ writings:Used 4x in NT - sincerity(1), true(3). 2 Co. 8:8; Phil. 4:3 = "true companion"; 1 Ti 1:2 = " my true child in the faith"; Titus 1:4 = "Titus, my true child in a common faith" Not found in the Septuagint. 

Child (5043teknon from  tikto = bring forth, bear children, be born) is strictly a child produced, male or female, son or daughter. Teknon naturally includes learning from mentors – which is very positive as it exalts depending on the Lord Himself. (See 1 Ti 1:18; 2 Ti 1:2; Philemon 10). The greater our dependence on the Lord, the greater we develop in knowing Him.  Jesus Himself set the model for us when saying, "I do nothing unless I see My Father doing it first" (Jn 5:19). Teknon is thus a child as viewed in relation to his or her parents or family. In the plural, teknon is used generically of descendants, posterity or children. Teknon is "a child living in willing dependence" which illustrates how believers must live in utter dependence upon the Lord moment-by-moment.  They draw guidance (care, nurture) from their heavenly Father as Christ speaks His rhēma-word within to impart faith (cf. Ro 8:16,17 with Ro 10:17, Gk text). Ironically we only grow up, by growing in dependence on our heavenly Father!  Doing this always brings eternal transformation ("spiritual formation" in Christ) – i.e. more conformity to Him as we are transformed from "glory to glory" (2 Cor 3:18).  Teknon emphasizes the childlike (not childish) attitude of heart that willingly (gladly) submits to the Father. Note that another  Living in faith transforms the believer from child to Bride (cf. Eph 5:27)!  We successfully make this "journey" by discerning what pleases the Lord by hearing His voice and doing what we hear. The goal of life is growing from child to the glorified bride of Christ (cf. Rev 19:7-9)! While the Lord is Creator of all people, He is only the Father of His born-again children.  Salvation means a believer is spiritually begotten of God (re-born, adopted by the Lord).  This brings the new status of being in Christ, i.e. belonging to the Lord as His true child (téknon).

Faith (4102pistis is synonymous with trust or belief and is the conviction of the truth of anything, but in Scripture usually speaks of belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor born of faith and joined with it. Pistis "denotes confidence in the reliability of a person or thing and can describe one’s trust in a person’s word, a compact or treaty, or a deity (or deities). The term implies both knowledge and action. One may receive knowledge of a certain truth and may even offer verbal agreement, but “trust” or “confidence” is not said to be present until one’s behavior reflects that truth." (Swindoll) It has well been said that faith is not believing in spite of evidence—that’s superstition—but obeying in spite of circumstances and consequences. Wayne Grudem defines faith that saves one's soul as "trust in Jesus Christ as a living person for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. This definition emphasizes that saving faith is not just a belief in facts but personal trust in Jesus to save me... The definition emphasizes personal trust in Christ, not just belief in facts about Christ. Because saving faith in Scripture involves this personal trust, the word "trust" is a better word to use in contemporary culture than the word "faith" or "belief." The reason is that we can "believe" something to be true with no personal commitment or dependence involved in it. (Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine - see page 616 for "Conversion" - resource Online

Pistis in Pastoral Epistles  (19x in First Timothy) - 1 Tim. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:4; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Tim. 1:14; 1 Tim. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:7; 1 Tim. 2:15; 1 Tim. 3:9; 1 Tim. 3:13; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Tim. 5:8; 1 Tim. 5:12; 1 Tim. 6:10; 1 Tim. 6:11; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 Tim. 6:21; 2 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2 Tim. 2:18; 2 Tim. 2:22; 2 Tim. 3:8; 2 Tim. 3:10; 2 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 4:7; Titus 1:1; Titus 1:4; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:2; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:15;

Grace (favor) (5485) charis from from chairo = to rejoice. English = charity. Beggars need "charity" even as sinners need grace, for we are all spiritual paupers outside of Christ, but "God gives where he finds empty hands"-Augustine [cp Mt 5:3-note]) is a word which defies a simple definition but at its core conveys the sense of favor while the specific nuances of charis depend on the context in which it is used. Someone has written that the word grace is probably the greatest word in the Scriptures, even greater even than “love,” because grace is love in action, and therefore includes it. It is hardly too much to say that God has in no word uttered Himself and all that was in His heart more distinctly than in this word grace (charis)! See William Barclay's lengthy discussion of grace in his 1 Timothy 1 Commentary

Adrian Rogers says the best definition of grace that he has ever heard is that God's grace is "both the desire and the ability to do the will of God." It is striking that almost the same words occur in Php 2:13NLT+ "For (term of explanation - explains how it is possible to Work out our salvation - Php 2:12+) God is working in you, giving you the DESIRE and the POWER to do what pleases Him." When you have a godly desire, that desire is from God, because no good thing can come out of our old vile heart! And only God the Spirit in us can give the supernatural power necessary to accomplish that godly desire! So we could paraphrase Php 2:13, in simple words, by saying that God's Spirit is continually giving us the grace (desire and power) to do what pleases Him! This practical definition of grace ought to free many of us who are "trying to clean ourselves up!" It can't be done! We need His grace to give us the desire to "clean up" and the power to "clean up!" Are you resisting His grace? You can either receive it or resist it! The first way leaves us filled, while the second way leaves us empty, dry, and spiritually barren. O beloved, tell God you desperately need and want Him to pour out His grace on the situation you find yourself entwined. Do you have a root of bitterness? Then confess it (even that act is a reflection of His grace) and cry out for His grace to give you the desire and the ability to eradicate that deadly root and its caustic fruit. And keep crying out until He removes the root, for it is in His will that no child of His should ever have a root of bitterness! And when He removes it, celebrate with a praise and worship service!

Mercy (1656eleos  is the outward manifestation of pity and assumes need on the part of those who are recipients of the mercy and sufficient resources to meet the need on the part of those who show it. The idea of mercy is to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need or to give help to the wretched, to relieve the miserable. Here the essential thought is that mercy gives attention to those in misery. Wuest writes that eleos is "God’s “kindness and goodwill toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them” (Vincent). Grace meets man’s need in respect to his guilt and lost condition; mercy, with reference to his suffering as a result of that sin. (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)  See William Barclay's lengthy discussion of mercy in his 1 Timothy 1 Commentary

Trench compares mercy (eleos) to grace; “While charis (χαρις) (grace) has reference to the sins of men, and is that glorious attribute of God which these sins call out and display, His free gift in their forgiveness, eleos (ἐλεος) (mercy) has special and immediate regard to the misery which is the consequence of these sins, being the tender sense of this misery displaying itself in the effort, which only the continued perverseness of man can hinder or defeat, to assuage and entirely remove it.… In the divine Mind, and in the order of our salvation, as conceived therein, the mercy precedes the grace: God so loved the world with a pitying love (herein was the mercy), that He gave His only begotten Son (herein is the grace), that the world through Him might be saved. But in the order of the manifestation of God’s purposes in salvation, the grace must go before, and make way for the mercy.” The word “mercy” is not found in the apostolic salutations of any of Paul’s letters except those to Timothy. The Nestle text of the letter to Titus does not include it. Expositors says concerning this: “If one may hazard a guess as to what prompted St. Paul to wish mercy to Timothy rather than Titus, it may be a subtle indication of the apostle’s anxiety as to Timothy’s administrative capacity.”

ILLUSTRATION - A do-gooder is one who thinks he does not need the mercy of God, that his own good works will save him. H.A. Ironside tells a story about a man he once knew who, although he was on his deathbed, said to him: "‘Preacher, you don't need to tell me that I need Christ as a Savior and that I need the mercy and the grace of God. I don't need it: I'm willing to stand before Him just like I am.’ Then he went on to tell me all that he had done in his life. He had been deeply involved with the Community Chest and with an orphans' home and on and on. Oh, he was a do-gooder, and he was going to stand before God on that! My friend, a do-good salvation will not do you any good when you really need it. The salvation God provides will enable you to do good, the kind of good which is acceptable to Him (GOOD DEEDS). The righteousness of man is filthy rags in His sight (Isa 64:6KJV).”

Peace (1515eirene from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together." It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". See William Barclay's lengthy discussion of peace in his 1 Timothy 1 Commentary

Lord (master, owner)(2962)(kurios from kuros = might or power, related to kuroo = to give authority) primarily means the possessor, owner, master, the supreme one, one who is sovereign (e.g., Roman emperors - Acts 25:26+) and possesses absolute authority, absolute ownership rights and uncontested power. Kurios is used of the one to whom a person or thing belonged, over which he has the power of deciding, the one who is the master or disposer of a thing (Mk 7:28+)  "The title “Lord,” in its full significance, as applied to Christ, is based upon the fact of His Resurrection, Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:36; Romans 10:9; 14:9. Confession of Jesus as Lord is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of believers, 1 Corinthians 12:3. Hereafter, every tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”"

Kurios in 1st and 2nd Timothy - 1 Tim. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:12; 1 Tim. 1:14; 1 Tim. 6:3; 1 Tim. 6:14; 1 Tim. 6:15; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 2:19; 2 Tim. 2:22; 2 Tim. 2:24; 2 Tim. 3:11; 2 Tim. 4:8; 2 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 4:17; 2 Tim. 4:18; 2 Tim. 4:22;

1 Timothy 1:2 Safe Climbing - AMONG the safety rules mountain climbers must remember as they scale rocky cliffs is this: Keep three points on the rock. In other words, before you move a foot, make sure the other foot and both hands are firmly positioned on solid rock. And if you are going to move a hand, make sure your other hand and both feet are securely placed.

That's a good safety tip for our spiritual lives as well. To keep from falling, we need to keep a grip on three rock-solid truths: grace, mercy, and peace, the words the apostle Paul often used to begin or conclude his letters.

The first message I heard Dr. M. R. DeHaan preach was part of a series of lessons called "Three Sisters of Salvation," which were about these three words. I made up my mind then that I would make these three qualities part of my life.

We are given our salvation as a gift of God's grace. His wrath is withheld from us because of His abundant mercy. And His peace enables us to stand in quiet confidence when the howling gales of adversity swirl around us. They will give us security dur­ing our spiritual mountain climbing experience.

We can appropriate these gifts through prayer and obedience. In the storms of temptation we will not fall if we always keep three points on the Rock. —D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Three Sisters

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

Today's Scripture: Romans 4:1-11

Grace, mercy, and peace are the three sisters of salvation. In these three words we have the gospel in capsule form. They sum up our complete salvation in Jesus Christ.

Grace is the foundation of our redemption, mercy is the manifestation of our redemption, and peace is the consummation.

Grace points to the past—our salvation goes back “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Mercy speaks of the present—it is manifested to us day by day. And peace is the consummation because it makes our future secure.

Grace is receiving what we do not deserve. Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. We deserve to go to hell, but by His mercy we shall never go there. We do not deserve to go to heaven, but by grace we’ll spend eternity there. Grace justifies. Mercy pardons. Grace admits us to heaven. Mercy saves us from hell. The death of Christ was enough to pardon us in mercy, but it took the resurrection to effect our justification. He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Ro 4:25).

And now, by faith, we have “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro 5:1).  By:  M.R. DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

[Our Lord] took death upon Himself
On that cruel cross of pain,
And those who look in faith to Him
Eternal life shall gain!

None live so serenely, so pleasantly,
and so triumphantly as those who walk by faith.

1 Timothy 1:1, 2; Acts 16:1-5 Good Counsel - But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel. - Philippians 2:22

The first seven chapters of Proverbs are believed to have been written by King David for his son Solomon. David was about to hand over the kingdom to his son, and he wanted to take the opportunity to share wise advice and counsel, exhorting his son to pursue wisdom and to live righteously.

This month we will study the books of 1 and 2 Timothy, letters written by the apostle Paul to his spiritual son, Timothy. In a similar way to Proverbs 1-7, Paul wants to pass along wise advice, helping to prepare Timothy for the ministry that he had been given.

It's likely that Timothy became a believer when Paul first passed through Timothy's hometown of Lystra on his first missionary journey (cf. Acts. 14:8-20), meaning that Paul was Timothy's spiritual father since he introduced Timothy to Christ. Although Timothy and his mother were believers, his father was not (Acts 16:1). Paul was a Christian mentor, entrusting ministry responsibilities to Timothy and viewing him as the successor to his own legacy of ministry. Paul and Timothy exemplified a father-son relationship through Christ that still provides a model for believers today.

Understanding this relationship provides the lens through which we can read and understand Paul's letter. First Timothy provides important and urgent instruction for the church, but it isn't a formal church document. Rather, it's a personal letter meant to cheer, instruct, and strengthen a young pastor-missionary. Although Timothy was certainly a man held in high esteem both by Paul and the churches in which they had ministered together (Acts 16:2-3), he was altogether “ordinary,” just as we are. Young and timid, he needed Paul's encouragement (cf. 2Tim. 1:7). Raised by an unbelieving father, he didn't have the perfect Christian heritage we might expect. We learn how God often delights to work powerfully through the most unlikely candidates.

1 Timothy 1:3  As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,

BGT  1 Timothy 1:3 Καθὼς παρεκάλεσά σε προσμεῖναι ἐν Ἐφέσῳ πορευόμενος εἰς Μακεδονίαν, ἵνα παραγγείλῃς τισὶν μὴ ἑτεροδιδασκαλεῖν

Anderson - Even as I urged you to remain longer in Ephesus when I was going to Macedonia, in order that you might instruct certain ones not to teach a different (heretical) doctrine,

Barclay - when I urged you to stay in Ephesus while I went to Macedonia, that you might pass on the order to some of the people there, not to teach erroneous novelties,

BBE  1 Timothy 1:3 It was my desire, when I went on into Macedonia, that you might make a stop at Ephesus, to give orders to certain men not to put forward a different teaching,

CSB  1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach different doctrine

ERV  1 Timothy 1:3 As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine,

ESV  1 Timothy 1:3 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,

Grundy  Just as when traveling on to Macedonia [north of Greece] I exhorted you to stay in Ephesus [near the west coast of Asia Minor] that you might order some not to teach aberrantly 

GWN  1 Timothy 1:3 When I was going to the province of Macedonia, I encouraged you to stay in the city of Ephesus. That way you could order certain people to stop teaching false doctrine

Hiebert “As I exhorted thee to tarry at Ephesus, when I was going into Macedonia that thou mightest charge certain men not to teach a different doctrine.”

KJV  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,

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia-- remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:3 I previously requested you to remain in Ephesus while I am traveling to Macedonia. Your task is as follows: Command those responsible not to teach heresies,

NAB  1 Timothy 1:3 I repeat the request I made of you when I was on my way to Macedonia, that you stay in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to teach false doctrines

NET  1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread false teachings,

NIV  1 Timothy 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer

NJB  1 Timothy 1:3 When I was setting out for Macedonia I urged you to stay on in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to spread wrong teaching

NLT  1 Timothy 1:3 When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:3 I urge you, as I did when I was on my way to Macedonia, to remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach any different doctrine,

Phillips I am repeating in this letter the advice I gave you just before I went to Macedonia and urged you to stay at Ephesus. I wanted you to do this so that you could order certain persons to stop inventing new doctrines 

WNT and the attention they bestow on mere fables and endless pedigrees, such as lead to controversy rather than to a true stewardship for God, which only exists where there is faith. And I make the same request now.

NLT Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God.

MNT or trouble their heads with fables and endless genealogies, which rather promote disputes than the gospel-dispensation:

Wuest  Just as I begged you to continue on in Ephesus when I was going into Macedonia in order that you might charge certain ones not to be teaching things contrary to sound doctrine, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:2 to Timotheus -- genuine child in faith: Grace, kindness, peace, from God our Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord,

YLT  1 Timothy 1:3 according as I did exhort thee to remain in Ephesus -- I going on to Macedonia -- that thou mightest charge certain not to teach any other thing,

  • the law (KJV): De 4:6-8 Ne 9:13 Ps 19:7-10 119:96-105,127,128 Ro 7:12,13,16 Ro 7:18,22 12:2 Ga 3:21 
  • lawfully (KJV): 2Ti 2:5 

Related Passages:

Galatians 1:6+ I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (heteron euangelion)

2 Corinthians 11:4+ For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

Romans 16:17+ Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.

Acts 6:3-4+  (ANTIDOTE FOR FALSE TEACHING) “Therefore, brethren, select from among you even men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN APOSTOLIC TEACHING)

1 Timothy 4:3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

1 Timothy 6:3-4 If anyone advocates a different doctrine (heterodidaskaleo) and does not agree with sound (hugiaino) words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine (didaskalia) conforming (kata) to godliness (eusebeia), he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,


John Stott gives a summary noting that "What Paul does in this first chapter is to refer successively to three teachers or groups of teachers. First, he describes the false teachers and their misguided use of the law (1Ti 1:3–11). Secondly, he alludes to himself, previously a persecutor of Christ but now an apostle of Christ, and to the gospel he preached (1Ti 1:12–17). Thirdly, he addresses Timothy and urges him to fight the good fight of the truth (1Ti 1:18–20). Moreover, the whole passage is extremely personal. Paul begins each paragraph with a verb in the first person singular: ‘I urged you …’ (1Ti 1:3), ‘I thank Christ Jesus our Lord’ (1Ti 1:12), and ‘I give you this instruction’ (1Ti 1:18). (See The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus)

Paul immediately states the purpose for his letter. Kent Hughes says it this way "Paul, sans thanksgiving, went right to the point with a ringing prohibition" (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

Warren Wiersbe suggests "Timothy wanted to resign, and Paul's first burden was to encourage him to stay on and finish the task. Almost every Christian worker has wanted to quit at one time or another, but, as Dr. V. Raymond Edman, former president of Wheaton College, used to say, "It is always too soon to quit!" Paul encourages young Timothy in this chapter by reminding him of his position before God and of the fact that God would see him through to victory.  Timothy was not at Ephesus because Paul put him there. It was God who entrusted him with ministry in that important city. (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Many commentators think Paul evidently went right to EPHESUS from ROME after he was released from house arrest (Acts 28:30-31+). While the details are not absolutely clear Don Anderson suggests this background - Upon release, the apostle evidently goes to Ephesus where he and Timothy have some continuing ministry. Now Paul is feeling the tug to MACEDONIA where he can once again visit the saints in PHILIPPI, THESSALONICA and BEREA. Yet he feels there are some strong needs that must be taken care of in Ephesus. It is his strategy to leave Timothy there while he goes on to Macedonia.

Swindoll has an additional note - The Bible’s silence on the ultimate fate of Paul has engendered a great deal of debate in modern times. The book of Acts ends with Paul sitting in a Roman prison awaiting his hearing before the Roman emperor, a privilege of appeal that all Roman citizens possessed (Acts 28:30-31+). However, the writing of the Pastoral Epistles clearly dates to a time after the events of Acts. So where was Paul when he wrote 1 Timothy? Paul had expected the Romans to release him from prison, something that likely happened near the end of AD 62 (Philippians 2:24). His release allowed him the opportunity to travel to Ephesus and eventually place Timothy in ministry at that church. Paul then went on to preach in Macedonia, where he heard reports of Timothy’s work at Ephesus that prompted him to write 1 Timothy, probably in AD 63. (See also MacArthur's discussion of 1 Timothy - Author and Date)

As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia remain (prosmeno in present tenseon at Ephesus - As I urged you refers to some prior time when they had discussed the matter and the charge had been given orally. “Paul repeats in writing what he had orally outlined for Timothy, both in order that Timothy might have it black on white, and that he might present it as written evidence to those who objected to Timothy’s activities” (See LenskiUrged is parakaleo indicating with some of Paul's parting words there was an entreaty for Timothy to stay at Ephesus. Urged can even convey the sense of to beg, thus Wuest has "Just as I begged you to continue on in Ephesus." This firm exhortation suggests Timothy was desirous to journey with Paul. Alternatively, some suggest he may have been slightly timid and knew that confrontation with false teachers was inevitable (cf 2Ti 1:7+).   Remain (prosmeno in present tense) in the context of false teachings coming into the Body conveys the sense of "don't desert your post" Timothy! Don't go AWOL! Keep standing guard at the gate of Christ's church!

THOUGHT - Dear pastor/elder, are you guarding the pulpit God has given you? Are you guarding the teaching in the Sunday School classes? Are you guarding the teaching in the small groups (these are especially vulnerable to aberrant doctrine because they are too often led by either the immature or those without a teaching gift! If you have small groups, you must make disciples of those who lead, so that they might be able to make disciples - 2Ti 2:2+, Mt 28:19+) Dear pastor/elder, you will be held accountable for guarding the flock against intruding interlopers! (cf Jesus' warning to graze, guard and guide the sheep - John 21:15-17+)

Warren Wiersbe says Paul was conveying this idea: "Timothy, you are not only a pastor of the church in a difficult city. You are also a Christian soldier under orders from the King. Now pass these orders along to the soldiers in your church!"...God had committed the truth of the Word to Paul (1Ti 1:11), and Paul had committed it to Timothy (1Ti 6:20). It was Timothy’s responsibility to guard the faith (2Ti 1:14) and to pass it along to faithful people (2Ti 2:2). (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

THOUGHT- Timothy was to remain, to "stay put!" Are you content to serve, where God might put you? Are you content to serve, even though the post you are assigned might involve difficulties? Are you willing to suffer hardship for your Lord and His life giving Gospel (cf 2Ti 2:3-4+)? 

Expositors: “The motive of this letter is to provide Timothy with a written memorandum of previous verbal instructions, especially with a view to novel speculations about the laws which sap the vitality of the gospel, the root of which is sincerity and love.”

The task of Timothy was to check and suppress
the strange teaching being propagated in the territory. 
-- Hiebert

So that (hina - purpose clause) you may instruct (paraggello) certain men not to teach strange doctrines (heterodidaskaleo) - Paul's purpose for his choice disciple remaining behind at Ephesus was that he might instruct other teachers. Instruct is a bit "soft" for this verb conveys the sense of giving a directive from an authoritative source. Instruct (paraggello) was a strong word, often of military orders and depicts Paul as commanding general charging Timothy to "pass on the order." It is a military term meaning to give strict orders and emphasizes that the commanding was to be done authoritatively and with a strong stand against the false teaching. The implication is that false teaching was going on and must be "stopped dead in its tracks," so to speak! Part of Timothy's job of assuring pure teaching, was to eradicate the false teaching. "Aristotle uses it of a physician: to prescribe." (Vincent) Prescribe is an interesting meaning  because strange doctrines ("teach another of a different kind" - contrary to sound doctrine) could potentially produce "sick (spiritually) saints" for which the best preventative is "sound (hugiaino ~ hygienic) doctrine." Teach strange doctrines is in the present tense with a negative suggesting the aberrant doctrines are already being spread and must be stopped forthwith! Think of false teaching as like leaven, because a little can leaven the entire loaf (1Co 5:6-7+)! Paul does not give any specific names (certain men cf  his favorite term "some" in 1Ti 1:6, 19; 4:1; 5:15, 24; 6:3, 10, 21). 

THOUGHT - Note that what you believe does influence how you behave! Be sure you are "eating" healthy spiritual food, the pure milk of God's Word if you desire to be spiritually healthy and vigorous. Doctrine not based on Scripture will always result in an unholy life. Instead of godliness, false teachers will be marked by sin. Would you recognize heresy if you saw it? Do you think you would be able to recognize false biblical teaching? 

It is notable that Paul had issued a warning (in a sense, a prophetic warning) some 5 years earlier declaring that "I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves men will arise (AN "INSIDE JOB" IS EVEN MORE DANGEROUS AND DECEPTIVE - YOU THINK YOU KNOW THESE TEACHERS), speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31 “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears." (Acts 20:29-31+)

Chafer - Bible doctrines are the bones of revelation, and the attentive Bible student must be impressed with the NT emphasis on sound doctrine. 

John MacArthur - False teachers are not to be taken lightly, but as Paul said to Titus, their mouths “must be silenced” (Titus 1:11). They are to be commanded to stop teaching error. Timothy was to use the full weight of Paul’s apostolic authority in dealing with them....These “doctrines of demons” (1Ti 4:1) were being passed off as God’s truth. Paul ridicules them as “worldly fables fit only for old women” (1Ti 4:7). (See 1 & 2 Timothy MacArthur New Testament Commentary) MacArthur thinks these certain men were actually elders in the church and gives reasons in his sermon on 1 Timothy 1:3-6 How to Treat False Teachers-1

John Stott - The verb heterodidaskaleo, which Paul uses both in 1Ti 1:3 and in 1Ti 6:3, clearly indicates that there is a norm of doctrine from which the false teachers had deviated. It is variously designated in the Pastorals. It is called ‘the faith’ (1Ti 1:3, 19; 3:9; 4:1, 6:21; 2Ti 3:8; 4:7; 6:10, 12, 21; Titus. 3:15), ‘the truth’ (1Ti 2:4, 7; 3:15; 4:3; 6:3, 5; 2Ti 2:18, 25; 3:7–8; 4:4; Titus 1:1, 14), ‘the sound doctrine’ (1Ti 1:10; 6:3; 2Ti 1:13; 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1), ‘the teaching’ (Titus 1:9; 1Ti 6:1) and ‘the good deposit’ (1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 1:4 = literally). In nearly every one of these expressions the noun is preceded by the definite article (ED: "the" in Greek), indicating that already a body of doctrine existed which was an agreed standard by which all teaching could be tested and judged. It was the teaching of Christ and of his apostles. (See The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus)

Wuest on not to teach strange doctrines -  The idea is not merely that those exhorted are not to teach any other doctrine, but they are not to teach a different doctrine, a doctrine which is contrary to the true doctrine. Our word, “heterodoxy,” namely, false doctrine, refers, not to doctrines of false religions, but to doctrine which poses as true Christian doctrine, but which is diametrically opposed to the true teachings of Christianity. This is what Paul is referring to. (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Hiebert on not to teach strange doctrines -  These men were mingling strange and incongruous elements with their teaching of the Gospel. Because of their irrelevance and variance from the Gospel these elements might easily become hostile to it. By mingling with it elements that were foreign to its essential nature they were in reality changing the whole character of the Christian teaching. Doctrine inconsistent with the nature of the Gospel becomes false doctrine. Such teachings must be resisted. The apostolic teaching was the norm by which all teaching must be measured. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

John Phillips - By the time he wrote his second epistle to Timothy, Paul was able to list by name at least five people who had abandoned the faith: Hymenaeus and Alexander (1Ti 1:20), Phygellus and Hermogenes (2Ti 1:15), and Philetus (2 Tim. 2:17). Speaking more generally, Paul added, “All they which are in Asia (and presumably all in Ephesus) be turned away from me” (2 Tim. 1:15).It always comes back to doctrine. The early church cut its teeth on doctrine (Acts 2:42). What we believe is vital. We must not be misinformed regarding the truth. (See Exploring the Pastoral Epistles: An Expository Commentary)

Henry Morris points out that "There is no record of this assignment in the book of Acts, and the same is true of other personal references in this epistle. This is one of the reasons most New Testament scholars believe that Paul was released after his first incarceration at Rome, although the book of Acts closes with his imprisonment. He then, presumably, continued to travel and preach at many places throughout the Roman empire. Eventually, he was again arrested, this time under the severe waves of persecution by the emperor Nero, and was finally executed. 1 Timothy, it is believed, was written between the two imprisonments. 2 Timothy was written from prison shortly before he was put to death by Nero's order." (abide still at Ephesus)

J Vernon McGee - We have said that this epistle deals with the creed and the conduct of the local church. Your creed must be right before your conduct can be right. It is almost an impossibility to think wrong and act right. One time a man complained to me: "When a woman driver puts her hand out the window at an intersection it means nothing but that the window is open! You never know what she is going to do, because sometimes she signals left and turns right, and sometimes she signals right and turns left!" It is sad that man often tries to act right even though his thinking is very wrong. It is impossible to keep that up for very long, my friend....."Doctrine" refers to the teaching of the church. What should be the teaching of the local church? It should be what it was from the very beginning. Following the Day of Pentecost it is recorded that "they continued in the apostles' doctrine." This was one of the four things which characterized that church: (1) The apostles' doctrine; (2) fellowship; (3) prayers; and (4) the breaking of bread, or the Lord's Supper. These are the four "fingerprints" of the visible church. A church is not a true church of Christ if its doctrine is not the apostles' doctrine. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Morris points out that "Doctrine (teaching) is often downgraded today in the church in favor of an emphasis on love. Nevertheless, sound (hugiaino ~ hygienic) doctrine must come first; true Christian love is the natural product of sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:5)." (doctrine)

If the teaching of the church is not right, it is not a church.
-- J Vernon McGee

Steven Cole gives an ILLUSTRATION "In our day, as in every age, there are men who tamper with the apostolic message by all sorts of cultural myths to make it more palatable to people. One flagrant example is Robert Schuller, whose book, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation [Word, 1982], carries endorsements by two well-known, supposedly evangelical theologians, one of whom was the president of a major evangelical seminary. The book purports to be based on the Lord’s Prayer, but it is an utter perversion of the gospel, in which Schuller states, “To be born again means that we must be changed from a negative to a positive self-image--from inferiority to self-esteem ...” (p. 68). He goes on to say that this happens when we meet “the Ideal One” (Jesus) who receives us as his peer and treats us as an equal! As a result, the core of our life changes from shame to self-esteem and we can pray, “Our Father in heaven, honorable is our name” (p. 69, emphasis his). What awful blasphemy! The book is full of statements that twist Scripture into conformity with worldly ideas. Yet a prominent evangelical pastor gushes on the book jacket that Schuller is “a communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ” and that his “theology is traditional”! So you’ve got to be on guard so that you aren’t led astray by those who claim to be evangelical and who claim to base their message on Scripture, but they’re merely using the Bible as a springboard to make up their own message. Biblical teachers must be faithful to the biblical text.

False Teaching and Teachers in First Timothy (from ESV Study Bible)

  • 1Ti 1:3 teaching a different doctrine
  • 1Ti 1:6 swerving from a pure heart, good conscience, and sincere faith
  • 1Ti 1:6 wandering away into vain discussions
  • 1Ti 1:7 lacking understanding
  • 1Ti 1:10 practicing something contrary to sound doctrine
  • 1Ti 1:19 making shipwreck of their faith
  • 1Ti 1:20 blaspheming
  • 1Ti 4:1 departing from the faith
  • 1Ti 4:1 devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons
  • 1Ti 4:2 insincere, lying, having a seared conscience
  • 1Ti 4:7 perpetuating irreverent, silly myths
  • 1Ti 5:15 straying after Satan
  • 1Ti 5:20 persisting in sin
  • 1Ti 6:10 wandering away from the faith
  • 1Ti 6:20 irreverent babble and contradictions
  • 1Ti 6:21 swerving from the faith

ILLUSTRATION - The story is told of a woman and her child who were traveling by train across the prairies in subzero weather. The woman kept on anxiously looking about her, worried about missing her stop. The conductor assured her that he would see her off the train at the right stop. A fellow traveler, a salesman, also tried to reassure her. “I travel this line frequently, lady,” he said. “I know every station and whistle-stop. If the conductor forgets, I’ll make sure you get off at the right place.”

Soon the salesman said, “Yours will be the next stop.” After a while the train came to a halt. There was no sign of the conductor. “This is where you get off, lady. I’ll help you out with your bags.”

It was dark and snowing hard, and there was no one in sight. The fellow passenger assured the frightened woman, “They’ll have heard the train. They’ll be along in a minute. This has to be your stop.” He climbed back on board as the train pulled away.

Several minutes later, the conductor came through the car. “Where’s the lady with the child?” he asked.

“I helped her off at the last stop,” said the salesman. “That was her stop and you weren’t here.”

“That was not a station!” cried the conductor. “We were held up by a signal. There are no houses for miles around.” The engineer stopped the train and backed it up. They found the woman and her child frozen to death. They were victims of false information.

People who teach false doctrine are as dangerous as that salesman. And people who listen to such teachers are in dire peril. So it was important for Timothy to put a stop to the propagation of false doctrine. (See Exploring the Pastoral Epistles: An Expository Commentary)

1 Timothy 1:3-11 What The Law Can't Do

Evangelist Fred Brown used three illustrations to explain the proper use of God’s law. First, he likened the law to a dentist’s mirror. With that little mirror he can spot cavities. But the dentist doesn’t drill with the mirror. The mirror can reveal a cavity, but it can never repair it.

Brown then compared the law to a flashlight. If the lights in your home suddenly go out, you use a flashlight to guide you through the darkness to the electrical box. The flashlight enables you to see the blown fuse or tripped circuit-breaker, but you don’t insert the flashlight in its place.

In his third image, Brown likened the law to a plumb line. A builder uses a weighted string to see if his work is properly aligned. If he discovers a mistake, he doesn’t use the plumb line to correct it. He uses his hammer and saw.

The apostle Paul said, “We know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Ti 1:8). The law of God reveals the problem of sin, but it doesn’t provide a solution. The answer is found in Jesus Christ. He bore our guilt on the cross and now offers us new life. When we put our faith in Him as our personal Savior, He forgives us and enables us to live by His strength in ways that please Him. What the law can’t do, Christ can. Have you asked Him to be your Savior? By Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

For Further Study

  • What does Galatians 3 say about our relationship to the law? (Gal 3:11-14,24-25+).
  • What can we learn about the law in Romans 8:1-4+?

God's law pinpoints our problem; God's grace provides the solution.

1 Timothy 1:3-7 False Advertising

Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer. - 1 Timothy 1:3

Someone has reinterpreted lines from employment ads. When the ad reads, “Join our fast-paced company,” it really means, “We won't have the time to train you.” If the ad boasts of a casual work atmosphere, perhaps it's because they don't pay enough for their employees to wear something nicer! And if the ad announces you need problem-solving skills, prepare to join some chaos!

Verse three from today's reading outlines Timothy's job description, but Paul doesn't use deceptive language. Paul left Timothy in Ephesus for an important mission. The problems in Ephesus were urgent and required a great deal of authority. Paul made the chain of command clear, invoking his apostolic authority at the beginning of the letter (v. 1) and conferring authority to Timothy over the elders of the Ephesian church. Paul doesn't give Timothy the job of suggesting solutions or collaborating towards agreement. Rather, Timothy had the task of “command[ing] certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Ti 1:3).

This first half of chapter one reveals the heart of the crisis in Ephesus. Certain men, presumably elders of the church, were teaching false doctrines. The content of their teaching had been both misleading and false (1 Ti 1:4, 6), with drastic results. They were undermining the essence of true Christian faith, which is first love for God and then love for others (1 Ti 1:5, cf. Matt. 22:34-40). Because of this false teaching and the controversies it had produced, the members of the church spent more time arguing than loving God and loving each other.

The fact that they had lost sight of the goal of faith, especially of love for God, is proved by their abandonment of “a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Ti 1:5). Without a proper love for God, we abandon our desire to obey Him. Our conscience quickly suffers from our betrayal. And without love for God, we no longer protect the revelation of God. We idolize our interpretations about God rather than pursue the truth of God.

Instruct  (direct, order, prescribe) (3853paraggello from para = beside, alongside, near by, at the side of + aggelos = messenger, angello/aggello = to announce) means to hand on or pass on an announcement from one to another who is at one's side, such as to what must be done, usually with the idea of a command or charge. Paraggello often was used in the context of a military command and demanded that the subordinate obey the order from the superior and required unhesitating and unqualified obedience. (cf Lk 5:14, Lk 8:29, Lk 9:21KJV, Acts 1:4, Acts 4:18; Acts 5:28KJV; Acts 15:5KJV; 1Th 4:11). It is like a mandate (an authoritative command) or a call to obedience from one in authority.  Paraggello in some contexts was like our modern subpoena, and to disregard it made a person liable to severe punishment. It was used for a doctor’s prescription or instruction to their patient. Every use of paraggello includes the inherent idea of binding the hearer or recipient in a way that they make the proper response to the charge or instruction. Paraggello was used by persons in various positions of authority, and thus could represent military commands or instructions of the philosophers (Epictetus), doctor (giving a prescription or instructions - for the patient's good!), judge (issuing a "subpoena" - to disregard it made a person liable to severe punishment), etc. The essential element was that someone was placed under an obligation.

Paraggello is a keyword in 1 Timothy - 5 times out of 30 times in NT -  1Ti 1:3; 1Ti 4:11 = prescribe; 1Ti 5:7 = prescribe; 1Ti 6:13 = charge; 1Ti 6:17 = instruct

Remain (continue)(4357)(prosmeno from pros = + meno = abide, remain) means to stay on, remain, "to stay on at a place beyond some point of time" (BDAG) (Acts 18:18, 1 Ti 1:3), to stay with someone, " to be steadfast in association" (BDAG) (Mt 15:32, Mk 8;2), figuratively to remain loyal to (Acts 11:23), to continue in, persevere in, keep on doing (1 Ti 5:5). 

Teach strange doctrines (heterodidaskaleo from heteros = another of a different kind + didaskaleo = to teach) literally to teach other (in essence heretical) doctrine and in context clearly alludes to false teachers (English - heterodoxy).  Equal to the phrase hétera didáskō to teach differently. To teach something other than or deviating from the truth of God's Word, teach error as if it were the truth. Divergent (i.e. sectarian) instruction. To teach contrary to standard instruction. 

Heterodidaskaleo - 2v - 1Ti 1:3; 1Ti 6:3 = "advocates a different doctrine"

1 Timothy 1:4  nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:4 μηδὲ προσέχειν μύθοις καὶ γενεαλογίαις ἀπεράντοις, αἵτινες ἐκζητήσεις παρέχουσιν μᾶλλον ἢ οἰκονομίαν θεοῦ τὴν ἐν πίστει.

Amplified Nor to give importance to or occupy themselves with legends (fables, myths) and endless genealogies, which foster and promote useless speculations and questionings rather than acceptance in faith of God’s administration and the divine training that is in faith (in that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence)—

Don Anderson - nor to pay attention to legends and endless genealogies, which give rise to endless speculations rather than (acceptance in faith of God's administration) the divine training that is in faith.

Barclay  not to teach erroneous novelties, nor to give their attention to idle tales and endless genealogies, which only succeed in producing empty speculations rather than the effective administration of God’s people, which should be based on faith. 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:4 Or to give attention to stories and long lists of generations, from which come questionings and doubts, in place of God's ordered way of life which is in faith;

CSB  1 Timothy 1:4 or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God's plan, which operates by faith.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:4 neither to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, the which minister questionings, rather than a dispensation of God which is in faith; so do I now.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

Grundy and not to be paying attention to myths and endless genealogies, which as such give rise to speculations rather than to God’s house-law in faith—. [Paul leaves the foregoing sentence incomplete.]

GWN  1 Timothy 1:4 and occupying themselves with myths and endless genealogies. These myths and genealogies raise a lot of questions rather than promoting God's plan, which centers in faith.

ICB (and NCV)  Tell them not to spend their time on stories that are not true and on long lists of names in family histories. These things only bring arguments; they do not help God's work. God's work is done by faith.

KJV  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.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:4 nor to have anything to do with myths and interminable genealogies that induce speculative quests rather than present God's master plan that is based on faith.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:4 or to concern themselves with myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the plan of God that is to be received by faith.

NEB and studying those interminable myths and genealogies, which issue in mere speculation and cannot make known God’s plan for us, which works through faith.

NET  1 Timothy 1:4 nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies. Such things promote useless speculations rather than God's redemptive plan that operates by faith.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work--which is by faith.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:4 or to give attention to myths and unending genealogies; these things only foster doubts instead of furthering God's plan which is founded on faith.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:4 Don't let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don't help people live a life of faith in God.

NLT (non-revised)  Don't let people waste time in endless speculation over myths and spiritual pedigrees. For these things only cause arguments; they don't help people live a life of faith in God.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:4 and not to occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies that promote speculations rather than the divine training that is known by faith.

Phillips  to leave hoary old myths and interminable genealogies alone. Such things lead men to speculation rather than to the ordered living which results from faith in God. 

REB and devoting themselves to interminable myths and genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation, and do not further God’s plan for us, which works through faith. 

Thayer “which furnish matter for disputes rather than the (knowledge of the) dispensation of the things by which God has provided for and prepared salvation, which salvation must be embraced by faith.”

Wuest  nor to be giving assent to fables and useless genealogies which are of such a character as to provide occasion for exhaustive investigations rather than a [knowledge of the] administration of the things by which God has provided for and prepared salvation, which salvation must be embraced by faith. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:4 nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, that cause questions rather than the building up of God that is in faith: --

  • Nor to pay attention to myths: 1Ti 4:7 1Ti 6:4,20 2Ti 2:14,16-18 4:4 Titus 1:14 2Pe 1:16 
  • and endless genealogies: Titus 3:9 
  • Which give rise to mere speculation: 1Ti 6:4-5 2Ti 2:22 
  • rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith: 1Ti 3:16 6:3,11 2Co 1:12 7:9,10 Eph 4:12-16 Titus 1:1 Heb 13:9 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Timothy 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

1 Timothy 6:4  he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”–

2 Timothy 2:14 Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.

2 Timothy 2:16-18 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

2 Timothy 4:4  and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Titus 1:14  not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth.

2 Peter 1:16  For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Titus 3:9   But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.

Nor to pay attention (prosecho) to myths (muthos) and endless (aperantos) genealogies (genealogia) - Paul continues to explain why it was important for Timothy to remain in Ephesus. Timothy was neither to "give importance to or occupy themselves with legends" (Amplified) nor give assent to such specious teachings. To review, the first "job description" was instruct not to teach different doctrine (1Ti 1:3) and second not to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. Pay attention means also not to attach oneself or adhere to these doctrines and the present tense indicates they were ongoing and must be terminated. Endless means without limit or terminus.  Vincent suggests that the word may be taken in the sense of “object” or “aim,” and thus, it would describe the study and teaching regarding these genealogies as without object, useless. Paul is not referring to the genealogies found in Scripture, for these are critical for determining the lineage of the Messiah, as noted in the opening of Matthew 1:1ff ("The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.") and in Luke 3:23-38. Paul is referring to fanciful interpretations of genealogies contrary to the truth and which could easily degenerate into controversial speculation and strife.

As Don Anderson says "It is so easy to begin spinning your wheels in the realm of trivia and ultimately fail in your mission to present divine truth in the gospel of Jesus Christ." 

J. N. D. Kelly suggests that the myths and endless genealogies "must have had to do with allegorical or legendary interpretations of the O.T. centering on the pedigrees of the patriarchs. Much of the rabbinical Haggadah consisted of just such a fanciful rewriting of Scripture; the Book of Jubilees and Pseudo-Philo’s Liber antiquitatum biblicarum, with its mania for family trees, are apt examples. It has also been shown that in post-exilic Judaism there was a keen interest in family trees, and that these played a part in controversies between Jews and Jewish Christians. (See Pastoral Epistles)

Titus faced the same kind of false teaching in Crete (Titus 1:14; 3:9).
-- Warren Wiersbe

Hendriksen - Not only must they desist from wrong teaching but also from wrong thinking, for the former is the result of the latter. The individuals in question were occupying their minds with a dangerous fad. (The Pastoral Epistles)

Teed adds that the myths and endless genealogies "refers to making up all kinds of stories using made-up fictional characters, or made-up stories about real historical figures and events in an attempt to legitimize their false teaching. One of their favorite themes involved making up stories about the family history of the patriarchs. Their false teaching was a deliberate attempt to draw potential converts away from the truth of Christ’s Gospel. Timothy is told to ignore them." Now in Matthew 13:33–34 Jesus gives us a good example and an accurate explanation regarding how He taught by using parables (short fictitious stories of real life situations that illustrate a moral attitude or a religious principle) Such stories would provide verbal pictures of a point Jesus was trying to help the people to understand. I hope you can now see how parables differ from myths and genealogies.

Hiebert says myths "means an invention, a fiction, a falsehood; it denotes something without historical reality. They were fanciful tales such as abound in the rabbinical writings. They were apparently bound up with their fictitious amplifications of the Old Testament genealogies. These genealogies were expanded, the names of wives invented, additional stories woven into them, and given wild allegorical interpretations. Paul calls them “endless” because these inventions led to no certain conclusions. Such things (“which”—literally, “things of this character”) are to be avoided because of what they do and what they fail to do. Their positive effect is to “minister questionings.” Occupation with them furnishes occasion for arguments and disputes. The negative reason for avoiding them is that they do not further “a dispensation of God which is in faith.” They are not practical. By being occupied with them the Gospel is relegated to the rear and the saving purpose of God is not furthered. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe "Just as God had committed a ministry to Paul's trust (1Ti 1:11), He had given Timothy a special stewardship, and He expected him to be faithful."Godly edifying" in 1Ti 1:4KJV should read "a stewardship of God." The false teachers at Ephesus were ministering their own program, not a stewardship that God had given them. A steward's first responsibility is to be faithful to his master (1 Cor. 4:1-7+). There were false teachers at Ephesus who were trying to make a name for themselves as teachers of the Law but who did not know what they were talking about. They had turned away from the truth of the Word and were listening to fables (myths, 1Ti 1:4) and endless genealogies, raising more questions than they could answer. What a picture of some teachers today! Their "ministries" do not build up Christians or the local church, but instead foster arguments and divisions. (Wiersbe's Expository Outlines on the New Testament)

Lilley characterizes the false teachers as follows "Some tried to dazzle the minds of the people with matters that lay outside the sphere of revelation altogether. Others did indeed handle a Biblical theme, but in their ignorance and presumption were unable to expound it in its true relations and proportions. The one class took up fables and genealogies (v. 4): the other professed to teach the Mosaic law (v. 6)." (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

NET Note - Myths and interminable genealogies. These myths were legendary tales characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus and Crete. See parallels in 1Ti 4:7; 2Ti 4:4; and Titus 1:14. They were perhaps built by speculation from the patriarchal narratives in the OT; hence the connection with genealogies and with wanting to be teachers of the law (1Ti 1:7). (1 Timothy 1)

Rogers on genealogies - genealogy, the tracing of one’s ancestors or family tree. In postexilic Judaism there was a keen interest in family trees, and this played a part in controversies between Jews and Jewish Christians 

W E Vine on myths and endless genealogies - The pagan Greek historian Polybius uses both these words with reference to the legends surrounding the origin of the founders of states. In the same way the false teachers in Ephesus were representing the value of legendary stories relating to the ancestors of the Jewish people. There are genealogies in the Old Testament which have their own value, being divinely provided, a value, indeed, greater than what is generally realized. But to these were added a number of fabricated lists and speculative genealogical traditions and allegories, the extensive nature of which is indicated by the word “endless.”....Similar dangers exist today from fanciful interpretations and imaginative applications of the historical facts recorded in Scripture, and unfounded deductions from its truths. (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

One reason Christian workers must stay on the job is that false teachers are busy trying to capture Christians
-- Warren Wiersbe

Anderson explains endless speculation - The word means, “out-of-the-way researches.” It’s like trying to, track down a needle in a haystack!

Wuest on myths - The word in its widest sense means “word, speech, conversation.” Hence it has reference to the talk of men, a rumor, report, a story, false or true. Later it came to mean a fiction as opposed to an historic tale. In Attic prose it referred to a legend of prehistoric Greek times. Vincent says: “As to its reference here, it is impossible to speak with certainty. Expositors are hopelessly disagreed, some referring it to Jewish, others to Gnostic fancies. It is explained as meaning traditional supplements to the law, allegorical interpretations, Jewish stories of miracles, Rabbinical fabrications, whether in history or doctrine, false doctrines generally, etc. It is to be observed that muthoi (μυθοι) (fables) are called Jewish in Titus 1:14. In I Timothy 4:7, they are described as profane and characteristic of old wives.”

Vincent on genealogies says that “by some the genealogies are referred to the Gnostic aeons or series of emanations from the divine unity; by others to the O.T., genealogies as interpreted allegorically by Philo, and made the basis of a psychological system, or O.T., genealogies adorned with fables: by others to genealogical registers proper, used to foster the religious and national pride of the Jews against the Gentiles, or to ascertain the descent of the Messiah.”

William Barclayidle tales. One of the characteristics of the ancient world was that the poets and even the historians loved to work out romantic and fictitious tales about the foundation of cities and of families. They would tell how some god came to earth and founded the city or took in marriage some mortal maid and founded a family. The ancient world was full of stories like that. Second, the endless genealogies. The ancient world had a passion for genealogies. We can see that even in the Old Testament with its chapters of names and in the New Testament with the genealogies of Jesus with which Matthew and Luke begin their gospels. (ILLUSTRATION) A man like Alexander the Great had a completely artificial pedigree constructed in which he traced his lineage back on the one side to Achilles and Andromache and on the other to Perseus and Hercules. It would be the easiest thing in the world for Christianity to get lost in endless and fabulous stories about origins and in elaborate and imaginary genealogies. That was a danger which was inherent in the situation in which Christian thought was developing. (See 1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Bell - Attempts to find hidden meaning in the names of the genealogies of the OT. Example from Gen.4,5: Adam(man); Seth(appointed); Enosh(mortal); Cainan(sorrow); Mahalel(the blessed God); Jared(shall come down); Enoch(teaching); Methuselah(his death shall bring); Lamech (desparing); Noah(comfort).  Thus you have the gospel one sentence “Man appointed, mortal sorrow. The blessed God, shall come down, teaching(&) his death shall bring(the) despairing, comfort.”  Chuck Missler re-popularized this, but this has been around for many decades from the Mystic Rabbis. And you really have to do some Hebrew gymnastics to make it work (root of some words, pick & choose from others)....How often we get people side tracked in speculation & argument rather than focusing on the work of proclaiming the gospel & nurturing believers in the Christian life.

Which give rise (parecho - present tense - continually) to mere speculation (ekzetesis) rather than furthering the administration (oikonomia) of God which is by faith (pistis) - Which of course in context refers to the myths and genealogies, not the solid rock foundation of the Word of Truth. Give rise to means to furnish an occasion for exhaustive investigations or labor intensive inquiry. Speculation (ekzetesis in plural) is found only here and refers to senseless, useless speculation, aimless arguing and controversy. The administration of God refers to the plan of salvation which He devised and administered, "the method of operation of God’s salvation in the life of the believing sinner" (Wuest) The phrase by faith is literally "in faith" and so describes faith as the sphere (see locative of sphere) in which salvation operates (we were saved by faith in the past and are daily saved daily [sanctified] by the same faith). NET has "God's redemptive plan that operates by faith." So whatever the specifics of the myths and genealogies, the ultimate effect was to strike a damaging blow at the Gospel. 

In his final letter to Timothy, Paul again addressed speculations writing "refuse (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) foolish and ignorant speculations (zetesis), knowing that they produce quarrels (mache)." (2Ti 2:23+)

R Kent Hughes on mere speculationArcane, novel interpretations serve only to promote questionings and controversies. They naturally spawn elitism and snobbery. Those who “buy in” think all others are simple or unspiritual or even downright sinful. The ultimate tragedy of false doctrine is that “God’s work—which is by faith” is not promoted. (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

THOUGHT - Stay away from religious speculation and pointless theological arguments. Such exercises may seem harmless at first, but they have a way of sidetracking us from the central message of the Good News—the person and work of Jesus Christ. They expend time we should use to share the Good News with others, and they don't help people grow in the faith. Avoid anything that keeps you from doing God's work. (See Life Application Study Bible)

NET Note on the administration (oikonomia) of God -  God’s redemptive plan. The basic word (οἰκονομία, oikonomia) denotes the work of a household steward or manager or the arrangement under which he works: “household management.” As a theological term it is used of the order or arrangement by which God brings redemption through Christ (God’s “dispensation, plan of salvation” [Eph 1:10; Eph 3:9]) or of human responsibility to pass on the message of that salvation (“stewardship, commission” [1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25]). Here the former is in view (see the summary of God’s plan in 1Ti 2:3–6; 2Ti 1:9–10; Titus 3:4–7), and Paul notes the response people must make to God’s arrangement: It is “in faith” or “by faith.”  (1 Timothy 1)

Paul uses the same word oikonomia in Ephesians 3:2+ describing "the stewardship (oikonomia) of God’s grace which was given to me for you (GENTILE BELIEVERS AT EPHESUS)" (cf Col 1:25+) and in Ephesians 3:9+ referring to "the administration (oikonomia) of the mystery." Hughes points out that "in both places meaning the responsibility of administering or managing. Here in 1 Timothy 1:4 it refers to the administration of God which is by faith. The church and especially its leaders have been given the responsibility (the stewardship) of administering or managing the truth that salvation and Christian living are by faith." 

Wuest adds "That is, if those to whom Timothy gives the charge, follow his instructions, they will exercise a careful stewardship of the gospel message, in other words, preach it in a way in which sinners will be saved. This working of God through His Word is further seen as to its nature, to be productive of charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned." (Wuest Word Studies - Eerdman Publishing Company Volume 1Volume 2Volume 3 - used by permission)

Hiebert on administration of God - The expression “dispensation of God” has been differently understood. If taken objectively it means God’s method or plan of administering salvation to the world. These fables and genealogies do not help that work of grace which God is carrying on but rather hinder it. It seems better to interpret it subjectively as denoting “the work of man as a steward of God.” Teachers of the Gospel are stewards of God, entrusted with the duty of administering God’s grace and salvation to mankind through a clear proclamation of the Gospel. The added phrase, “which is in faith,” means that this trust committed to God’s stewards is exercised in the sphere of faith. The teaching of these men did not further saving faith since they dealt with their pet fancies and speculations rather than the Word of God. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

ESV Study Bible on administration of God - Stewardship from God translates a phrase (Gk. oikonomian theou) that is difficult to capture in translation (Gk. oikonomia can mean “orderly plan” or “household management, stewardship”). In this context it either refers to God’s orderly outworking of his plan of salvation in all human history, or to human responsibility (“stewardship”) in advancing that plan. In either case, the false teachers produce speculation rather than the advance of the kingdom by faith in Christ. (See ESV Study Bible)

Vine explains administration (dispensation) of God...by (in) faith this way -  A dispensation is something that is dispensed, and a dispensation of God is that which is ministered by God and which consists of teaching relative to God’s dealings with the world and with His people; such a dispensation involves a stewardship on the part of one who handles these truths. In faith defines the character of the dispensation in its application to those who receive the truth and pass it on. Both the reception and the teaching were to be matters of faith in God (Jesus), faith which takes God at His word, in contrast to an effort to be “wise above that which is written.” The handling of the Scriptures is ever to be a matter of simple dependence upon God, in the humble spirit that receives the teaching from Him, and realizes the solemn responsibility of ministering the word of truth for the instruction of others. (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

Lange - Christ came not into the world to fill our heads with mere speculations, to kindle a fire of wrangling and contentious disputes, whilst, in the meantime, our hearts remain all ire within toward God. Christ was vitae magister, not scholae; and he is the best Christian whose heart beats with the purest pulse toward heaven; not he, whose head spinneth out the finest cobwebs. Ink and paper can never make us Christians--can never beget a new nature, a living principle in us--can never form Christ, or any true notions of spiritual things, in our hearts. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Related Resources:

Pay attention (Beware) (4337prosecho  from pros = before, toward + echo = hold) means literally to hold to, toward or before. Originally it was followed by the word "the mind" (nous) but at times "the mind" was omitted but still the idea of "the mind" was implied. To apply one’s self to, to turn one’s mind to, to pay attention to, to give heed to, to be concerned about, to occupy oneself with. In secular writings Prosecho meant to moor a ship, to tie it up and also meant “to remain on course”. Figuratively the idea is to hold one's mind before then to take heed, to pay attention, to give heed, be in a state of alert, to watch out for or to be on guard. The word implies the giving one’s consent, as well as one’s attention. When used in this manner prosecho always warns of some type of danger (usually spiritual danger but occasionally physical)! Prosecho is not a call simply to notice or sense something, but to be on guard against it because it is so harmful (eg, the danger of practicing your righteousness before others, the danger of false prophets, false teachers and false teaching, the danger of the Pharisees and Sadducees). 

Prosecho - 5/24 uses are in the Pastoral epistles - Matt. 6:1; Matt. 7:15; Matt. 10:17; Matt. 16:6; Matt. 16:11; Matt. 16:12; Lk. 12:1; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 20:46; Lk. 21:34; Acts 5:35; Acts 8:6; Acts 8:10; Acts 8:11; Acts 16:14; Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 1:4; 1 Tim. 3:8; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Tim. 4:13; Tit. 1:14; Heb. 2:1; Heb. 7:13; 2 Pet. 1:19

Myths (3454muthos  from mueo = to initiate into the mysteries from muô = close eyes or mouth. mu- = to close, keep secret, be dumb. English = myth, mythic, mythology) refers to a speech, a story or an account, anything delivered by word of mouth. Every NT use of muthos is in a negative sense and refers to legend, fable, fiction (in contrast to historical truth/accounts), improbable stories. Thayer notes that "the fictions of the Jewish theosophists and Gnostics, especially concerning the emanations and orders of the aeons, are called mythoi (muthos)." Muthos refers to tales (a tale is a usually imaginative narrative of an event that often contains imagined or exaggerated elements) or fables (a fable can refer to a short fictitious story which teaches a moral lesson but in the NT fable is used only in a negative sense as something to be avoided because it is false and unreal) fabricated by the mind in contrast to reality. Muthos therefore refers to fictional tales in contrast to true accounts and represents manufactured stories that have no basis in fact. The Greek and Roman world abounded in stories about so-called "gods" which were nothing more than human speculations that in vain (and in error) tried to explain the world's origin and life's purpose and end! It is notable that Kittel’s TDNT devotes no less than 34 pages to this word alone!

Muthos - 5x - 1 Tim 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet 1:16

Endless  (562)(aperantos from a = negative prefix + peraino = to complete, finish, bring to an end <> peras = a boundary, end, limit) (only here = Hapax legomenon) means unfinished, limitless, by implication interminable, unrestrained. Something that cannot be passed through (so to speak) or settled. Endless speculations ~ "out-of-the-way researches". In classical Greek aperantos is used of “boundless space, endless time, countless number, impassable terrain, inconclusive logic, or imperfection of persons.” The Septuagint translators used it of God’s countless (infinite) years (Job 36:26 = "The number of His years is unsearchable."). And in the apocryphal book of 3 Maccabees, Simon the high priest prayed to God as the King who “created the boundless (aperantos) and immeasurable (amētreton) earth” (2:9). Aperantos occurs only a single time in the New Testament: it refers to the study of “endless” genealogies which only produced controversies and disputes in the congregation (1 Timothy 1:4). (Complete Biblical Library)

International Standard Bible EncyclopediaENDLESS [Gk. apérantos] (1 Tim. 1:4); NEB “interminable.” “Endless” can refer to “myths” as well as to “genealogies.” Whether the myths and genealogies be interpreted as gnostic, Jewish, or a combination of Judaism and Gnosticism, the use of apérantos here seems to imply that they are tiresome, a waste of time 

Theological Lexicon of the NT - The heterodox Ephesians are fond of “fables and endless genealogies,” i.e., never completed and inconsequential (1 Tim 1:4). The adjective aperantos (only here = Hapax legomenon), unknown in the papyri (cf. P.Tebt. 847, 21, apēramenou) has these two connotations. But in the first century it took on a technical rhetorical significance in the Stoic vocabulary, qualifying “reasonings that do not result in proof, arguments that do not conclude,”2 sterile conversations (Josephus, Ant. 17.131). Cicero complains to the son of Amyntas, an intolerable babbler (aperantologias aēdous, Att. 12.9; cf. Strabo 13.1.41). One of the best parallels is in the satirical poet Timon of Phlius: the philosophers “dispute endlessly [and vainly] (apeirita dērioōntes) in the aviary of the muses [meaning the Museum of Alexandria] … until these table speakers are unburdened of their flow of words [literally, logodiarrheἀ” (Athenaeus 1.22d). The other is in Philo: the happiness of the skeptics rides entirely upon the endless and fruitless (aperantō kai anēnytō) criticism of names and words (Prelim. Stud. 53). Minds of this sort know neither measure nor limit in their discourse, they speak indiscriminately, bringing chaos and confusion in all matters, mixing the true and the false, the sacred and the profane. Prattlers of this type, already exposed at Alexandria, have taken up exegesis and theology at Ephesus and pose a threat to the faith (cf. Titus 3:9).

Give rise (present tense - continually)(3930parecho from para = near, beside + echo = hold) basically (literally) means to hold beside, To hold out toward someone, to present, offer. to cause someone to experience something, with the possible implication of a duration - 'to cause to, to cause to experience, to give.' 'let no one give me trouble' or '... cause me trouble' Galatians 6:17. To cause something to happen to someone - 'to cause to happen.' 'why do you cause the woman trouble?' Matthew 26:10; To maintain a state or condition - 'to continue to be, to keep on being.' παρέσχον ἡσυχίαν 'they kept silent' Acts 22:2. (from Louw-Nida) 

In the present context it means to furnish, and was used regularly by Demosthenes for bringing forward evidence.

Speculation (plural in this verse) (1076)(ekzetesis from ekzeteo = to seek out, demand, inquire from ek = out + zeteo = seek) (only here = Hapax legomenon) means a questioning, aimless arguing, controversy, useless speculation, senseless speculation, out-of-the-way researches. It refers to disputing that can result in strife, divisions or parties (sects). 

Genealogies (1076genealogia from genealogeo = recount a family's origin and lineage, trace ancestry in turn from genea = generation + légo = reckon) literally refers to accounts of an ancestry, such as seen in a "genealogical tree". Only other NT use Titus 3:9+ "avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless."

Among the heathen were endless tales of offspring of numberless gods. Jews and Samaritans took great pride in ancestors (Mt. 3:9; Jn. 4:12; 8:39). Paul warned against this (2Cor. 5:16; 11:22; Php. 3:4–6) and charged Timothy to be occupied with essentials of Christian faith. Emphasis on natural descent is foreign to Christianity, for in Christ there is no difference (1Cor. 12:13; Col. 3:11).

Administration (stewardship) (3622oikonomia from oíkos = house + némo = manage, distribute) (Click study of related word oikonomos) in secular Greek referred literally to the management of a household by the oikonomos, the steward manages a house and is accountable to the owner (which even involved a presentation and examination of records, receipts, disbursements, cash on hand and the settlement of accounts). Oikonomia also relates to general provision or arrangement. 

1 Timothy 1:5  But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

BGT 1 Timothy 1:5 τὸ δὲ τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας ἐστὶν ἀγάπη ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας καὶ συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς καὶ πίστεως ἀνυποκρίτου,

Amplified  Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good (clear) conscience and sincere (unfeigned) faith.

Barclay The instruction which I gave you is designed to produce love which issues from a pure heart, a good conscience and an undissembling faith.

BBE  1 Timothy 1:5 But the effect of the order is love coming from a clean heart, and a knowledge of what is right, and true faith:

CSB  1 Timothy 1:5 Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:5 But the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned:

ESV  1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

Grundy  But the goal of the order [you’re to issue] is love [originating] out of a pure heart and a good conscience and an unhypocritical faith,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:5 My goal in giving you this order is for love to flow from a pure heart, from a clear conscience, and from a sincere faith.

KJV  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:

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:5 The objectives of the command are love flowing from a pure heart, a good conscience, and genuine faith.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:5 The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

NET  1 Timothy 1:5 But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:5 The final goal at which this instruction aims is love, issuing from a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:5 The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.

NLT (non-revised)  The purpose of my instruction is that all the Christians there would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and sincere faith.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:5 But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.

Phillips  The ultimate aim of the Christian ministry, after all, is to produce the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience and a genuine faith. 

REB  This instruction has love as its goal, the love which springs from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a genuine faith. 

The Living Bible  What I am eager for is that all the Christians there will be filled with love that comes from pure hearts, and that their minds will be clean and their faith strong.

Wuest    Now, the objective which is the aim of the aforementioned charge is divine and self-sacrificial love out of a heart which is pure, and a conscience which is good, and a faith which is not assumed but real, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:5 And the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned,

  • But the goal of our instruction: Ro 10:4 Ro 13:8-10 Ga 5:13-14, 22 1Jn 4:7-14 
  • love: Mk 12:28-34 Ro 14:15 1Co 8:1-3 13:1-13 14:1 1Pe 4:8 2Pe 1:7 
  • from a pure heart: Ps 24:4 Ps 51:10 Jer 4:14 Mt 5:8 12:35 Ac 15:9 2Ti 2:22 Jas 4:8 1Pe 1:22 1Jn 3:3 
  • good conscience: 1Ti 1:19 1Ti 3:9 Ac 23:1 Acts 24:16 Ro 9:1 2Co 1:12 2Ti 1:3 Titus 1:15 Heb 9:14 Heb 10:22 13:18 1Pe 3:16,21 
  • sincere faith: Ga 5:6 2Ti 1:5 Heb 11:5,6 1Jn 3:23 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 13:8-10 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. 9 For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 

Galatians 5:13-14 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”

1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Mark 12:28-34 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31“The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 

Psalm 24:3-4 Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. 

Psalm 51:10   Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Ps 73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart

2 Chronicles 16:9  “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.”

1 Samuel 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Mt 5:8 “Blessed are the pure (katharos) in heart (kardia), for they shall see God. 

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. 

Psalm 86:11 Teach me Your way, O LORD; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart (GIVE ME AN UNDIVIDED HEART) to fear Your name. 

Proverbs 22:11 He who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend. 

1 Timothy 3:9  but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) from youthful lusts and pursue (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

Play this old song by Craig Smith - Pure Heart (listen carefully to the words! Then make it the prayer from your heart! God will answer this prayer beloved! 1Jn 5:14-15+


But the goal (telos) of our instruction (paraggelia) - NKJV = "Now the purpose of the commandment (ED: Not reference to the Mosaic commandment)." But is a term of contrast (always try to discern what is being contrasted) and in context is contrasting the rotten fruit of false teaching (1Ti 1:4) with Timothy's true message which yields the fruit of divine love. Paul is not just telling Timothy to oppose error but promote truth, which is always the most effective antidote for error! The instruction is a military term and carries a tone of authority and thus designated "a word of command" as from a superior officer. The instruction/charge refers to what Timothy is to pass on to the false teachers that produces a "John 3:16+ like" love that comes from a supernatural work in triplicate (heart, conscience, faith). It is the "love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Ro 5:5+, cf Gal 5:22+). It is love descriptively defined by Paul in 1Co 13:4-8+

(The) goal is love rather than a vain show of speculative learning
-- William Hendriksen

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - “the instruction,” referring to orthodox Christian teaching and ministry in general, in contrast to that of the false teachers mentioned in 1Tii 1:3–4.

Is love (agape) from (ek - out of, springing from) a pure (katharos) heart (kardia) and a good (agathos) conscience (suneidesis - 1Ti 1:19) and a sincere (anuopkritos) faith (pistis) - Our instruction refers to Paul's and Timothy's message which was given to produce true love (see related passages) from a three-fold origin -- a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith (without pretense). Love is the fruit of the Spirit, Who governs the conscience and energizes unfeigned faith. A good (beneficial) conscience is one which gives an honest, accurate, reliable "self-judgment" of one's character (see Ro 2:14-15+) and such a conscience provides fertile soil for growth of godly love, a love uncontaminated by false or mixed motives.

In a sense this ("love...") is also the goal, or one could also say purpose, of this entire epistle.
-- Robert Yarbrough

Martin Luther calls this “a beautiful text. ‘The aim’ is not to increase questions and to leave consciences unsure after all their difficulties but to bring consciences to the point that they know this for sure.”

Scripture values a pure heart (Ps 24:4; 51:10; 73:1; Pr 22:11); Greek sources value a good conscience.
-- Craig Keener (Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible)

Vine says the heart is "the hidden seat of the human will, its thoughts, affections, and emotions in general. The pure heart is that which is free from the admixture of everything that is corrupt and false. The love thus described is not merely an impulse from natural feelings (cf phileo), it is not simply a sentimental emotion, exercised toward those with whom it finds a natural affinity; it is governed by the will of God, and stands in direct and complete antithesis to self-seeking (cf 1Co 13:4-8; Phil 2:4, 5; Co 3:12–14)....The conscience is that faculty which distinguishes between what is morally good and bad, commending the former and prompting to do it, condemning the latter and prompting to shun it. A good conscience involves a consciousness of right conduct, of the fulfillment of that which is pleasing to God, Acts 23:1; 1Ti 1:19; 1Pe 3:16, 21....A good conscience is that which has been cleansed from guilt, through the blood of Christ, and as a result of this, responds to the claims of the Lord to exercise love, (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

A sincere faith is a faith where lips and life match! One's belief is validated by one's behavior. There is a one-to-one correlation so to speak Such a faith marks the absence of everything that is contrary to what is genuine and true. In Paul's last letter, he wrote to Timothy "I am mindful of the sincere (anuopkritos) faith (pistis) within you." (2Ti 1:5). Timothy’s faith was completely genuine, without pretense or deceit (cf Jn 1:47+). This quality of faith germinates and generates supernatural agape love. Love linked with faith is found 11 times in the Pastoral epistles - 1Ti 1:5, 1Ti 1:14; 1Ti 2:15; 1Ti 4:12; 1Ti 6:10, 11; 2Ti 1:13; 2Ti 2:22; 2Ti 3:10; Titus 2:2, Titus 3:15 and only 15 times in the rest of the New Testament! Clearly, this "divine duet" is of vital importance to Paul in these closing Pastoral epistles!

Here are all the other uses of faith and love - 1Co 13:2 1Co 13:13 2Co 8:7 Gal 5:6 Eph 1:15 Eph 3:17 Eph 6:23 Col 1:4 1Th 1:3 1Th 3:6 1Th 5:8 2Th 1:3 Phile 1:5 James 2:5 Rev 2:19. 

As Lenski succinctly says "An unclean heart cannot have a conscience that is good and a faith that is unhypocritical." 

Yarbrough adds that "Attention to myths and genealogies, in contrast, is not apt to minister redemptively to the conscience, however much mastery of esoteric knowledge may satisfy the intellect or fortify one’s sense of religious readiness. Optimal exercise of love would therefore be hampered." (The Letters to Timothy and Titus )

MacArthur explains that "A heart washed by regeneration (Titus 3:5), an obedient heart (Ro 6:17), is a pure heart." (See 1 Timothy Commentary)

Hiebert explains that "When the whole moral and spiritual nature is thus purified by the Gospel it becomes a fertile soil that bears an abundant harvest of love. But their occupation with their fables and genealogies and their pretensions as interpreters of the law choked the harvest in the lives of these men."  (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

This verse is central for the whole letter.

ESV Study Bible on love says that "that love must come from internal, Spirit-worked changes that have produced a pure heart (rather than one filled with sinful desires), a good conscience (rather than one laden with guilt), and a sincere faith (rather than pretense and hypocrisy). This verse is central for the whole letter. (ESV Study Bible)

Hendriksen on conscience - Conscience is man’s moral intuition, his moral self in the act of passing judgment upon his own state, emotions, and thoughts, also upon his own words and actions whether these be viewed as past, present, or future. It is both positive and negative. It both approves and condemns (Rom. 2:14, 15).....It is in the believer that conscience attains its highest goal. For the regenerated individual God’s will, as expressed in his Word, becomes “the Lord of conscience, its Guide and Director” (1 Peter 2:19). The “conscience good” of which the apostle speaks here in 1Ti 1:5 is more than merely a “clear conscience.” Rather, it is the conscience which  is guided by God’s special revelation as its norm; pronounces judgments that are accepted, and issues directives that are obeyed (The Pastoral Epistles)

To have a good conscience is to be able to look in the face the knowledge
which one shares with no one but oneself and not be ashamed.
-- William Barclay

WiersbeConscience is the inner judge that accuses us when we have done wrong and approves us when we have done right. It is possible to sin against the conscience so that it becomes "defiled." Repeated sinning hardens the conscience so that it becomes "seared" like scar tissue (SEE seared conscience). (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

Barnes on love - The love which is genuine must proceed from a holy heart. The commandment was not designed to secure merely the outward expressions of love, but that which had its seat in the heart." 

Wuest says this love is " the word used in John 3:16 of God’s love for the lost, in Romans 5:5 of the love which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in the heart of the yielded believer, and of the love defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:4ff....The faith spoken of here is a genuine, as contrasted to a spurious, assumed, pretended faith, a mere intellectual assent that poses for a heart acceptance.

Donald Guthrie on a pure heart - A Pure Heart is a fundamental requisite. Taken over from the Old Testament, the word heart stands for the totality of man's moral affections, and without purity there, nobility of character is clearly impossible. Jesus reserved a special promise for the pure in heart (Mt. 5:8) and spoke of the pruning of the vine as an illustration of the cleansing of believers through the word (Jn. 15:3). (The Pastoral Epistles)

Lenski - We leave Paul's order as he has it: a clean heart produces both a good conscience and an honest faith; an unclean heart cannot have a conscience that is good and a faith that is unhypocritical. The fact that this is the meaning is indicated by the position of the adjectives: clean heart--conscience good, faith unhypocritical. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

MacArthur unleashes a barrage of derogatives writing "False teachers have dirty hearts, uncleansed by the gospel. They have guilty condemning consciences triggered by their impure hearts. Finally, they have hypocritical, false faith. That kind of life will never produce love for God." (See 1 Timothy MacArthur Commentary)

W E Vine has this note on the related root word of sincere explaining that a hypocrite (hupokrites) was "a stage–actor; it was a custom for Greek and Roman actors to speak in large masks with mechanical devices for augmenting the force of the voice; hence the word became used metaphorically of a dissembler, a hypocrite." The "a" (negative) in front of hupokrinomai defines this faith as undissembling!....The three phrases in this verse intimate the opposite characteristics to those of the false teachers; in contrast to “a pure heart,” they were corrupted in mind, 1Ti 6:5; in contrast to “a good conscience,” theirs was seared conscience, 1Ti 4:2, marg.; in contrast to “faith unfeigned,” they were reprobate concerning the faith, 2Ti 3:8. In putting faith last the apostle leads up to the inward power which produces these qualities; for faith purifies the heart, produces a good conscience and so works by love (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

Bell - Here is the 3-fold purpose your ministry, your home study, your discipling, or your Sunday School class should be producing!  Love from a pure heart; from a good conscience; from sincere faith. . “Christian instruction or preaching is to lead us to grow in both a love for God & other humans. Mature love flows from hearts being purified, consciences which are cleansed, & faith that is w/o pretense!”

R Kent Hughes has some comments that should sober all of us who think we stand (1Co 10:12+)! - The battle for orthodoxy is lost not only in the head but in the heart. Apostasy begins at the very deepest level, when we trample our conscience. There is no doubt that some of us have inner places where we have ridden roughshod over our hearts, indulging ourselves at the expense of God’s work within us. In time, our love for God will fade, our heart and conscience will give in, and we will be shells of hypocrisy. Maintaining “a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” is the primary battle for those who want to live for God. (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

Steven Cole on love from a Pure Heart, good conscience, sincere faith...

BIBLICAL LOVE STEMS FROM A PURE HEART. God, who alone can see what is in every heart, weighs motives. If we act in an outwardly loving way toward someone, but our inner motive is to get something back for ourselves or to use the person for our own selfish pleasure or fulfillment, or to manipulate the person for our own ultimate gain, we’re not loving from a pure heart. Love from a pure heart is love that has been cleansed from all self-centeredness, love that truly seeks the glory of God by seeking His highest good for the person, even if it means personal sacrifice and loss for us.

The only way we can be freed from our innate selfishness to love in that manner is to be inwardly cleansed by God through the cross of Christ, where God’s sacrificial love was supremely demonstrated; and, then, to die to self daily by denying self and walking continually in light of the cross (Luke 9:23). To love from a pure heart requires that we deal with our sin, especially our selfishness and pride, on the thought level. When God’s Spirit through His Word confronts our sinful, selfish motives, we must confess and turn from our sin rather than deny or excuse it by blaming others. We call out to Him for the selfless, pure love that truly seeks the highest good of the other person.

BIBLICAL LOVE STEMS FROM A GOOD CONSCIENCE. The Greek word for “conscience” comes from two words meaning “knowing together” and refers to that knowledge of ourselves that we share together with God alone. Apart from ourselves, only God knows our thoughts and the things we do when no one else is looking. Everyone stands guilty before God because every person, whether religious or pagan, has violated his own conscience (Rom. 2:14-16). The only way we can have a good conscience is to ask God to cleanse us, based on faith in Jesus Christ who died for our sins and was raised so that we might be right before God (1 Pet. 3:21; Heb. 9:14; 10:22).

Then, having been made right with God through faith in Christ, we live each day by maintaining a clear conscience both before God and before people (Acts 24:16). We do this by confessing all sin, even sins of thought, to God; and by asking forgiveness of those we have wronged. If there is anyone you have sinned against and have not sought his (or her) forgiveness, then you aren’t able sincerely to love that person as God commands. Even if the other person started the problem by sinning against you, and even if he or she has continued to sin against you and has never sought your forgiveness, you cannot be obedient to God’s command to love until you go to this person and clear your conscience by asking his or her forgiveness. Love must stem from a pure heart and a good conscience.

BIBLICAL LOVE STEMS FROM A SINCERE FAITH. The original phrase means faith without hypocrisy or play-acting. Again, this term goes below the outward appearance and looks at the heart. Sincere faith is directed toward Jesus Christ and results in loving others because you want to please Christ. Hypocritical faith plays to the audience, ignoring or forgetting that God is watching. You can put on an outward show of faith that looks pious to everyone, but your heart is self-serving. You can act loving to a person’s face, but then run him down behind his back.

(ILLUSTRATIONS) My roommate once was watching a children’s TV program. The host was outwardly kind and sweet toward all the kids. The program ended and the host thought he was off the air, but he wasn’t. He turned to a person off camera and muttered, “That ought to fix the little brats for another day!” His “love” was not sincere.

I read about a couple that was expecting a baby. At the office where the husband worked, his fellow workers seemed so caring and concerned about his wife and the expected child. As the time drew near, they would ask, “How’s your wife doing? Any news? Is she feeling all right?” It all sounded so sincere, so caring. But then the man found out that there was an office pool betting on the exact date of her delivery. They didn’t care about the couple or their baby. They only cared about winning the pool! That’s not love from a sincere faith.

Thus biblical love stems from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. That means that at its core, biblical love stems from a right relationship with God and the motive of seeking to please and glorify Him. It means that biblical love has the courage to confront someone who is in error or sin, because such a person is not pleasing God and is not helping others to please God. Thus biblical love, which is the proper goal of biblical teaching, does not mean being sweet and nice to everyone. It means doing whatever you can to help people get right with God through genuine faith in Jesus Christ. Biblical love stems from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.

Love” that is not in line with God’s truth is not love. False teachers often emphasize love and unity at the expense of truth because invariably false teachers don’t want their own sin confronted by God’s Word. They will say, “We need to love everyone and not divide over anything.” They’re tolerant of everyone except the man who confronts sin and serious theological error. They accuse such men of being judgmental and unloving. But sound doctrine always confronts sin because God is holy and He calls His people to holiness. So-called “love” that tolerates sin that God’s Word plainly confronts is not biblical love, no matter how nice it is, because it is not in line with God’s truth (see 2 & 3 John).

Goal (outcome) (5056) telos means an end, a completion, a consummation. The word termination is close but misses the essence of the meaning, because a process can be terminated without reaching completion or consummation, which is the essence of the meaning of telos. The idea of telos is that the various stages that are reached to go on to full development - a goal achieved, a result attained, a realization, an end-goal, a purpose fulfilled.. Accordingly "Christ is the end (consummation or telos) of the Law" (Ro 10:4), for Christ brought all the components of the OT to their complete fulfillment by His perfect life and death, and yet the law was not terminated (e.g., it is written on the hearts of believers (Heb 8:10+, Heb 10:16+) and God's Spirit still uses the Law to bring souls to Christ Who is the consummation of the Law! 

Instruction (commandment, orders) (3852paraggelia from para = beside, alongside + aggello = announce, tell, declare) literally describes the handing on of an announcement from one person to the side of another or the passing along of a message from one to another such as to what must be done. Paraggelia represents a directive from an authoritative source and was used of commands received from a superior and transmitted to others. In secular usage paraggelia had a technical meaning of a “summons” to appear in court. Xenophon notes the secular use of paraggelia in a military order. Paraggelia is the verb used by the high priest addressing the apostles declaring "we gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this Name." (Acts 5:28+)

Paraggelia - 5x - Acts 5:28; Acts 16:24; 1 Thess. 4:2; 1 Tim. 1:5; 1 Tim. 1:18

Love (26agape (see in depth discussion) is unconditional, sacrificial love and Biblically refers to a love that God is (1Jn 4:8,16), that God shows (Jn 3:16, 1Jn 4:9) and that God enables in His children (fruit of the Spirit - Gal 5:22+). Agape love does not depend on the world’s criteria for love, such as attractiveness, emotions, or sentimentality.  Agape is a love that impels one to sacrifice one’s self for the benefit of the object loved...(it) speaks of a love which is awakened by a sense of value in the object loved, an apprehension of its preciousness."

Pure (innocent ) (2513katharos literally describes that which is free of dirt and thus clean. It describes that which is free from admixture or adulteration and thus is pure, blameless, innocent, unstained . Katharos was used of soiled clothing which had been washed clean, grain from which all chaff had been removed, metal without any trace of alloy, or a man with all his bills and taxes paid." Originally, katharos meant "clean" as opposed to "soiled" or "dirty." Later it was used of something void of debasing admixture. A pure heart has motives that are absolutely pure and unmixed.

Heart (2588kardia does not refer to the physical organ but is always used figuratively in Scripture to refer to the seat and center of human life. The “heart” in Scripture denotes the inward center of human life as the seat of spiritual emotions and desires. The heart is the center of the personality, and it controls the intellect, emotions, and will. No outward obedience is of the slightest value unless the heart turns to God. Kardia mentioned over 800 times and none refer to the physical organ! Kardia is always used figuratively to center of our personality, to so to speak to our "control center" (to make a play on the "air traffic control center" at the airport which carefully guards and guides what flies in and what flies out. How applicable to our "hearts" which are so prone to wander!). In short kardia refers to the the affective center of our being wherein lies the capacity of moral preference and volitional desire. The kardia generates thoughts that make the decisions which the mind works out. In other words, our logic flows out of our heart-decisions and not vice versa. Gleason Archer called the kardia, the "desire-producer that makes us tick" for it is the place where our "desire-decisions" occur, and which establish who we really are. WHO ARE YOU? HAVE YOU HAD A HEART CHECK UP RECENTLY? We are assiduous to do this medically, but woefully lax in doing it spiritually (beloved, I speak from experience!). At regeneration God reverses the spiritual atherosclerosis of our old sinful heart by giving us a total heart transplant! Daily confession and repentance are thereafter necessary to avoid "spiritual atherosclerosis" and gradual, subtle hardening (and becoming cold to the things of God) of our heart! (Read and practice daily "preventative maintenance" = 1 Jn 1:9+, Pr 28:13+).

Good (18agathos means intrinsically good, inherently good in quality but with the idea of good which is also profitable, useful, benefiting others, benevolent (marked by or disposed to doing good). Agathos is one whose goodness and works of goodness are transferred to others. Good and doing good is the idea. Agathos describes that which is beneficial in addition to being good. Agathos is that which is good in its character, beneficial in its effects and/or useful in its action. Agathos is used in the New Testament primarily of spiritual and moral excellence.

Agathos in Pastoral epistles - 1Ti 1:5; 1Ti 1:19; 1Ti 2:10; 1Ti 5:10; 2Ti 2:21; 2Ti 3:17; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:5; Titus 2:10; Titus 3:1. 

Conscience (4893suneidesis is derived from sun/syn = with + eido = know) literally means a "knowing with", knowledge along with, joint-knowledge, co-knowledge with oneself or a being of one's own witness in the sense that one's own conscience "takes the stand" as the chief witness, testifying either to one's innocence or guilt. A good conscience reflects one’s inner awareness of the quality of one’s own actions (cf. Ro 2:15; 9:1; 2Co 1:12). It “represents the self sitting in judgment on self; it stands for the self-conscious and rational element in the man” (Bernard). It describes the witness borne to one's conduct by that faculty by which we apprehend the will of God. In Classic Greek suneidesis occurs in legal contexts of witnesses who share testimony.  Often the conscience becomes the “court of appeal” where the believer makes moral decisions. The believer’s conscience controlled by the Spirit (Ro 9:1; cf. 2 Co 1:12) is important in helping the Christian make right decisions. Since the conscience is a legitimate point of the appeal of the gospel (2 Co 4:2; cf. 2Cor 5:11), it is only natural to expect that the believer’s life is to be marked with a conscience that has been “cleared” by the transforming power of the Gospel. A clear conscience signals faithfulness, especially among those in leadership (cf. 1 Ti 1:5, 19; 3:9; cf. 1 Pe 3:16). One trademark of the opponents of the faith is a “seared conscience” (1 Ti 4:2; Titus 1:15). They resist sound teaching and their behavior reflects their stubbornness (cf. Titus 1:16).  Kinds of Conscience:  awakened (Jn. 8:9), seared (1Ti 4:2), purged (Heb 9:9, 14; 10:2), pure (Acts 24:16; 1Ti 3:9; 2Ti 1:3), weak (1Co 8:7, 12, 13), defiled (Titus 1:15), witnessing (Ro 2:12–15; 9:1; 2Co 1:12), good (Acts 23:1; 1Ti 1:5, 19; 1Pe 2:19; 3:16, 21; Heb. 13:18), convicting or healthy (Mt. 27:3), satisfied (1Co 10:25–29), evil (Heb 10:22), perfect (Heb 9:9). 

Suneidesis - 6 uses in Pastoral Epistles - 1Ti 1:5; 1Ti 1:19 = "good conscience"; 1Ti 3:9 = "a clear conscience"; 1Ti 4:2 = "seared in their own conscience" 2Ti 1:3 = "a clear conscience"; Titus 1:15 = "their conscience are defiled" 

Sincere (genuine) (505anuopkritos from a = negative prefix meaning without + hupokrinomai = to pretend, this Greek verb being a combination of hupó = under, indicating secrecy + krino = to judge) is literally without play acting, without playing the part or without hypocrisy. Anupokritos describes that which is unhypocritical, genuine (faith, love and wisdom in Scripture) and without show or pretense (pretense = a claim made or implied and especially one not supported by fact). Anupokritos is used in the NT to modify "love" three times! Clearly the implication that there can be an outward show of love which is really only a facade or mask!

Anupokritos - 5v - Ro 12:9; 2Co. 6:6; 1Ti 1:5; 2Ti 1:5; Jas. 3:17; 1Pe 1:22

1 Timothy 1:5 Gutters And Windows

While we were out for a family drive, a spotless white sign with perfect red lettering caught my attention: “Gutters and Windows—Quality Work Guaranteed.” The sign was pristine, but I feared the house and barn directly behind it might collapse at any moment. The paint was peeling, the windows were cracked, and the gutters were nonexistent!

Many of us “advertise” for Jesus, but our spiritual houses are in disrepair. We may attend church, speak in “Christianese,” and mingle nicely with others. But when our conduct does not align with our hearts, our first-class behavior is just a performance of piety. When Jesus confronted the Pharisees, He said, “You … outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matt. 23:28).

Jesus had a different but equally direct message for His followers: “Do not be like the hypocrites” (1Ti 6:16). The Bible encourages us to “love from a pure heart … and from sincere faith” (1Ti 1:5). These inner attitudes should pour out through our words and actions (Luke 6:45).

Today, consider the state of your spiritual house. If people look beyond the beautiful outward display, will they discover an authentic heart? By Jennifer Benson Schuldt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Hypocrisy is a common sin
That grieves the Lord above;
He longs for those who’ll worship Him
In faith and truth and love.

God desires that our actions be a reflection of a pure heart.

1 Timothy 1:6  For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,

BGT  1 Timothy 1:6 ὧν τινες ἀστοχήσαντες ἐξετράπησαν εἰς ματαιολογίαν

Amplified But certain individuals have missed the mark on this very matter [and] have wandered away into vain arguments and discussions and purposeless talk.

Barclay But some of these people of whom I am talking have never even tried to find the right road, and have turned aside out of it to empty and useless discussions,

BBE  1 Timothy 1:6 From which some have been turned away, giving themselves to foolish talking;

CSB  1 Timothy 1:6 Some have deviated from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:6 from which things some having swerved have turned aside unto vain talking;

ESV  1 Timothy 1:6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:6 Some people have left these qualities behind and have turned to useless discussions.

Grundy  from which some, by going amiss, have veered out of [faith] into pointless talk, 

KJV  1 Timothy 1:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:6 Having lost their way, certain ones wandered away into worthless patter,

NAB  1 Timothy 1:6 Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk,

NET  1 Timothy 1:6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:6 Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:6 Some people have missed the way to these things and turned to empty speculation,

NLT  1 Timothy 1:6 But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.

NLT (non-revised) But some teachers have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time arguing and talking foolishness.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:6 Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk,

Phillips  Some seem to have forgotten this and to have lost themselves in endless words.

REB Through lack of these some people have gone astray into a wilderness of words.

Wuest  from which things certain having deviated, have turned off into talk which is futile,  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:6 from which certain, having swerved, did turn aside to vain discourse,

  • For some men, straying from these things 1Ti 6:21 2Ti 2:18  1Ti 4:10 
  • have turned aside to fruitless discussion: 1Ti 5:15 6:4,5,20 2Ti 2:23,24 Tit 1:10 3:9 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

2 Timothy 2:18  men who have gone astray (astocheofrom the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

1 Timothy 5:15  for some have already turned aside (ektrepo) to follow Satan.

1 Timothy 6:20  O Timothy, guard (phulasso - aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) what has been entrusted (paratheke) to you, avoiding (ektrepo in present tense) worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”–

1 Timothy 6:21 which some have professed and thus gone astray (astocheofrom the faith. Grace be with you.


In 1Ti 1:6-11 Paul gives the reason for his charge to Timothy in the preceding passages. 

For some men (see them in 1Ti 1:3+), straying (astocheo) from these things, have turned aside (ektrepo) to fruitless discussion (mataiologia)(KJV - "vain jangling") - Straying means some men (doubtless including the purveyors of myths and genealogies) have missed the mark (the true end of the Gospel) and ultimately deviated from the truth and practice of these things (the goal = "love from a pure heart" and the three qualities - 1Ti 1:5). The false teachers and followers had demonstrated by their deviation from Apostolic truth that they had left the straight path of sound doctrine, gone astray from  the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). REB paraphrases fruitless discussion as "gone astray into a wilderness of words" Fruitless discussion is discussion which is devoid of results (of any eternal significance), useless (as regards eternity) and of no (eternal) purpose! It was fruitless in that it failed to produce the fruit of the Spirit which is love! 

Hiebert on straying ("having swerved") from these things - Having swerved” is literally “having missed the mark” and graphically sets forth the change of aim which has come into their spiritual career. They once professed to follow the Gospel aim, but there came a day when they swerved away from it and “turned aside” on a different path. So instead of reaching the true goal, they turned off to “vain talking.” The word translated “vain” is mataios which means vain in the sense that it does not lead to the goal; it is futile and ineffectual for its intended purpose. There was some content in what these teachers said, but it contributed nothing to the furtherance of the Christian life. Their vain talking, arising out of their occupation with their fables and genealogies and their views of the law, was antagonistic to evangelical results. The experience of these men is instructive. It was their failure in the moral realm which led to their perversion of the Gospel. “The heart is the real source of error in religion. Sin blinds the spiritual perceptions and perverts the spiritual judgment. All false religious tendencies originate in a perverted heart” (Harvey). (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

TECHNICAL NOTE - Note that straying is in the active voice indicating they made a decision of their will (volitional choice) to stray so their straying was not an "accident." The verb turned aside on the other hand is passive voice, indicating that they have been turned aside by an "external" force. The point is that just as nature abhors a vacuum, so too does the "spiritual" aspect of man abhor a vacuum. Be careful when you reject the truth, because you will reap a "spiritual boomerang" of lies and falsehood and futile, fruitless, worthless talk. This same pattern (active voice/passive voice) is seen in 2Ti 4:4+ where Paul tells Timothy that people "will turn away (active voice) their ears from the truth and will turn aside (passive voice = will be turned aside!) to myths." If they do not want God's truth, God will give them over to the power of the lie! Look out when you begin to stray from sound doctrine because you are on "spiritually thin ice" so to speak! 

Paul is referring here to a significant doctrinal "dislocation" from the true position. This was no slight misinterpretation of the Word, but a serious change of position doctrinally. Later Paul describes some ("younger women" - widows) who "have already turned aside (ektrepho) to follow Satan." (1Ti 5:5) Both of these uses clearly illustrate that one does not blithely turn away from spiritual truth and enter a spiritually neutral dimension but in fact clearly enter into the kingdom of darkness whose master is Satan himself. Just retribution (recompense or pay back) dictates that when men turn away from God's truth, they are turned over to the lies they desire and the consequences associated with those lies.

Donald Guthrie says "By losing their Christian bearings they drifted into a trackless waste, for life without this triad of virtues not only lacks love, but produces no more than meaningless chatter." (The Pastoral Epistles:)

Lenski - Like bad marksmen, they either never aimed at this right mark or shot so as to miss it altogether (on ὧν see R. 518). So, instead of reaching the “goal” (telos), they turned off (ektrepo) into vain talk. Mataios in the compound (mataiologia) = what does not lead to the goal; the word used is not kenos which means empty, without content. There is some content in what these people say, but it does not get anyone to the goal. The three terms match beautifully: wrong aimstraying offlanding in vain talk. No wonder Paul charges Timothy to stop this sort of thing, this is motive enough for anybody. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

Jeremiah's warning to Israel illustrates the principle -- "Your own wickedness will correct you and your apostasies will reprove you. Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the LORD your God, and the dread of Me is not in you," declares the Lord GOD of Sabaoth." (Jer 2:19)

In Romans Paul taught that when individuals "exchanged the truth of God for a (the) lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator", the consequence of "turning away "their ears from the truth" was that "God gave them over to (paradidomi = to the power of) degrading passions" (Ro 1:26+) and when "they did not see fit to acknowledge God (Who is the essence of Truth) any longer, God gave them over to (paradidomi = to the power of) to a depraved (adokimos) mind, to do those things which are not proper (Ro 1:28+).

BEWARE! Look out when you reject God's Gospel truth!

MacArthur - The goal of the false teachers was not to create an environment of love, but to fulfill their egos (cf. 1:7), and to fill their pockets. (See 1 Timothy MacArthur Commentary)

J N D Kelly says they "have swerved aside from the right track, and have landed themselves in what amounts to nothing more than a mass of futile verbiage."

Albert Barnes on fruitless discussion -  Vain talk, empty declamation, discourses without sense. The word here used does not mean contention or strife, but that kind of discourse which is not founded in good sense. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

J Vernon McGee quips ""Vain jangling" means empty chatter, beautiful words, flowery language. There are people who will butter you up and pat you on the back, but it means nothing. It's all just talk." (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Hendriksen has a great comment on their destination at the "inn of fruitless discussion" - Naturally, they also missed the true, destination, the final goal, namely love. They are like marksmen who miss their target, like travelers who never reach their destination because they have taken the wrong turn and have failed to look for the familiar signs along the road. The path which these people have taken is not even a detour. It is more like a dead-end street beyond which lies a swamp, in their case the swamp of "futile talk," useless reasoning, argumentation that gets nowhere, dry as dust disputation, a wrangling about fanciful tales anent pedigrees! Yes, their vaunted learning has finally landed them in the no-man's land of ceremonious subtleties, in the dreary marsh of ridiculous hair-splitting. And the owner of that quagmire is...Satan, who heads the welcoming-committee (1Ti 5:15)! (The Pastoral Epistles)

Warren Wiersbe has an interesting comment regarding on fruitless discussion - It is unfortunate today that we not only have "vain jangling" ("meaningless talk," niv) in teaching and preaching, but also in music. Far too many songs not only teach no doctrine, but many even teach false doctrines. A singer has no more right to sing a lie than a teacher has to teach a lie. (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

Straying (795astocheo from ástochos = one who misses his aim <> in turn from stóchos = aim, target <> which is from a = negative particle + stoichos (an aim) or stochos - mark) means to miss the mark, deviate from truth: swerve. To err, deviate in a figurative and spiritual sense. Literally Paul is saying these men "concerning the truth, missed the mark or deviated from the truth." Astocheo does not mean to miss achieving the aim that one has set, but not to set the proper aim at which one ought to aim. The word suggests taking no pains to aim at the right path. It is not focusing on the right goal instead of not achieving one’s set aim. Naturally if one specializes in the proclamation of something that is not essential and central, he will inevitably neglect that which is central and important.  Used 3x only in the Pastoral epistles - 1 Tim. 1:6; 1Ti 6:21; 2Ti 2:18

Turn aside (1624ektrepo  from ek = out + trope = a turning) means literally to turn out (of the course) and so to turn aside (so as to avoid being involved). To turn away from, to swerve, to shun, to avoid meeting or associating with one. To turn a person off the road. It can literally mean to twist out (Hebrews 12:13+). In secular Greek medical literature ektrepo described a dislocated joint, one that is sprained or wrenched! This meaning gives one a picture of the hearts of all who chose to reject God’s Truth for they will  end up spiritually "dislocated", knocked out of joint spiritually, a far worse state than a physical dislocation! The KJV is accurate in picking up the passive sense in 2Ti 4:3 -- "shall be turned unto fables" (KJV) In essence men will turn away from sound doctrine to satanic doctrine! When a man rejects God’s truth, it isn’t that he believes in nothing. In fact then he will believe in anything! Woe! The human mind naturally craves for something (spiritual) to feed upon and, in abandoning the truth, is ready to receive any and every false notion that may be advanced.

Ektrepo - 5x - 1Ti 1:6; 1Ti 5:15; 1Ti 6:20; 2Ti 4:4; Heb. 12:13

Fruitless discussion (3150)(mataiologia from mataios = vain, useless + lego = to say)  empty arguments; empty prattle, vain speaking, foolish talk, many words with little sense, and that sense not worth hearing, vain or useless talk, idle chatter. (only here = Hapax legomenon) The related adjective mataiologos is used in Titus 1:10, describing those "of the circumcision," idle talkers, foolish prattlers who speak only worthless nonsense, babblers with nothing to say. 

1 Timothy 1:7  wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:7 θέλοντες εἶναι νομοδιδάσκαλοι, μὴ νοοῦντες μήτε ἃ λέγουσιν μήτε περὶ τίνων διαβεβαιοῦνται.

Amplified  They are ambitious to be doctors of the Law (teachers of the Mosaic ritual), but they have no understanding either of the words and terms they use or of the subjects about which they make [such] dogmatic assertions.

Barclay  in their claim to become teachers of the law, although they do not know what they are talking about, nor do they realize the real meaning of the things about which they dogmatize.

BBE  1 Timothy 1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law, though they have no knowledge of what they say or of the statements which they make so certainly.

CSB  1 Timothy 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, although they don't understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, though they understand neither what they say, nor whereof they confidently affirm.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Grundy  wanting to be teachers of the Law though not understanding either the things that they’re saying or [the things] about which they’re speaking confidently.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:7 They want to be experts in Moses' Teachings. However, they don't understand what they're talking about or the things about which they speak so confidently.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:7 hankering to be teachers of legalism, neither understanding what they enunciate, nor those subjects about which they pontificate.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:7 wanting to be teachers of the law, but without understanding either what they are saying or what they assert with such assurance.

NET  1 Timothy 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently.

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

NJB  1 Timothy 1:7 trying to be teachers of the Law; but they understand neither the words they use nor the matters about which they make such strong assertions.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:7 They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don't know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.

NLT (non-revised)  They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don't know what they are talking about, even though they seem so confident.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.

Phillips  They want a reputation as teachers of the Law, yet they fail to realise the meaning of their own words, still less of the subject they are so dogmatic about. 

REB  They set out to be teachers of the law, although they do not understand either the words they use or the subjects about which they are so dogmatic.

Wuest  desiring to be law teachers, though they neither understand the things they are saying nor what kind of things they are concerning which they speak so confidently.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:7 willing to be teachers of law, not understanding either the things they say, nor concerning what they asseverate,

  • wanting to be teachers of the Law: Ac 15:1 Ro 2:19-21 Ga 3:2,5 4:21 5:3,4 Tit 1:10,11 
  • even though they do not understand either what they are saying: 1Ti 6:4 Isa 29:13,14 Jer 8:8,9 Mt 15:14 Mt 21:27 Mt 23:16-24 Joh 3:9,10 Jn 9:40,41 Ro 1:22 2Ti 3:7 2Pe 2:12 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Jeremiah 8:8; 9 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie. 9 “The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, And what kind of wisdom do they have? 

1 Timothy 6:4  he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions,

Matthew 15:14 “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

Matthew 23:5-7 “But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. 6 “They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

Matthew 23:16, 24 “Woe to you, blind guides, (James 3:1) who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’....24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel! 

Romans 2:19-21 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth, 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?

James 3:1+  Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

2 Timothy 3:7  always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed,


They were "Derelict dogmatizers" and "Egocentric Errorists!" 

Hendriksen - And why have these men turned aside to futile talk? Because they want to shine!  (The Pastoral Epistles)

“Ignorance is bold.”
--Quoted by Calvin

Wanting (thelo) to be teachers of the Law (nomodidaskalos), even though they do not understand (noieo) either (mete) what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions (diabebaioomai) - Lenski's comment - "Pitiful indeed!" Paul gives a scathing indictment against these men as those who did not even know what they were talking about! Their ignorance was not bliss, but a blight on the church! MIT = "hankering to be teachers of legalism, neither understanding what they enunciate, nor those subjects about which they pontificate." Amplified = "They are ambitious to be doctors of the Law (teachers of the Mosaic ritual)." Paul reveals their motive and wanting (desiring) in the present tense indicates this was continually their motive. Their confidence belies their gross ignorance of the Law. They were nothing but a sham.  They were like our English word shyster, an unethical, unscrupulous practitioners, especially of law! These men loved to have a following of "admirers." They coveted the honor of being a respected teacher of the Mosaic law. They sought knowledge to puff themselves up by being professional interpreters of the law (cf 1Co 8:1+). And note that the Jewish character of the false teaching is evident from the fact that they wanted to be teachers of the Law. 

The false teachers announce their errors with assurance.
-- Marvin Vincent

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - The Greek reinforces the negation: “understand neither what they are saying nor the things they insist on”

R C H Lenski - they declare certain things without understanding “what” they declare, and pronounce with great confidence on what this and what that signifies without even understanding what these things are on which they make such sure pronouncements. Do you know people like this?....They spun their myths from the Old Testament and played pranks with genealogies found in the Pentateuch. A mere reference to these silly things is enough. Then they also found the law in the Pentateuch and went at that with silly ignorance, made useless assertions about this and that and even offered proof regarding what they did not as much as understand. It is bad enough to assert (λέγουσι) vain things that one does not comprehend; it is worse to add strong affirmations (διαβεβαιοῦνται) regarding questions that one does not even understand." Lenski goes on to suggest that "they (the teachers of the law) were former Jews or pupils of such Jews (Titus 1:10, 14). Yet they did not belong to the type of Judaizers found in Galatia, nor to the type of those found in Colosse. They were an ignorant, fantastic lot, and Paul’s polemics are according and not like those employed in his letters to the Galatians and to the Colossians. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

Wiersbe has a slightly different interpretation than Lenski writing that "These false teachers did not understand the content or the purpose of God’s Law. They were leading believers out of the liberty of grace (Gal. 5:1ff) into the bondage of legalism, a tragedy that still occurs today. The flesh (our old nature) loves religious legalism because rules and regulations enable a person to appear holy without really having to change his heart." (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

Johnny Sanders- I have been in the ministry for over forty years and during that time I have discovered that with some people not knowing what some people were talking about has never stopped people from talking.  (1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Hiebert - That they wanted to be “teachers of the law” plainly shows that the false teaching had its roots in Judaism, but it does not thereby follow that these were the Judaizers whom Paul combatted in Galatians. Their desire to be exponents of the law was good but they failed because they lacked the necessary qualifications....They were insincere and misguided and did not speak from inner conviction but made up for its lack by the strenuousness with which they set forth their assertions. They failed clearly to apprehend the real significance of the law in its relations to the Gospel, nor did they truly understand the implications of the subjects concerning which they dogmatized. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

MacArthur - They were not concerned about truly learning the law, or knowing the God of the law, or serving people in love by the law. They desired the kind of prestige accorded rabbis in Judaism, only they sought that within the church. Like the Pharisees denounced by our Lord, “they do all their deeds to be noticed by men … and they love the place of honor at banquets, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called by men, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:5–7). They were proud and sought the applause of men (1 Tim. 6:4). (See The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Hendriksen - And why have these men turned aside to futile talk? Because they want to shine!  With relish these would-be law-doctors flourished their highfaluting words, their ponderous phrases. But all this was pure bombast, rant and cant. Whenever they would hear a jaw-breaker, they would be sure to commit it to memory and to use it in spinning their tedious tales; but they themselves did not know the meaning of the latest addition to their vocabulary. Worse even, they failed to understand the very subjects on which they lectured with such cock-sureness (cf. Titus 3:8).(The Pastoral Epistles)

Yarbrough on even though they do not understand -  The image is almost amusing: here are people presenting themselves as learned expositors of holy writ who, however, are actually clueless. “They do not know” the law but apparently do not know that they do not know. (The Letters to Timothy and Titus )

W E Vine - They failed to apprehend the true bearing of the Law of Moses in relation to the gospel, missing the distinction between the two. To regard the Law as part of the divine revelation was right enough, but to endeavor to teach it as if it was something superior to the gospel, and to imitate the Judaizing teachers, as if salvation was conditional upon the fulfillment of its precepts, rightly brought them under the stern denunciation expressed in this verse. These teachers were not necessarily Judaists themselves, though the evil doctrines they taught were much along the same lines. Ministry of the Scriptures without the personal knowledge of Christ and without the experience of the power of the Holy Spirit, consists entirely of unprofitable and ineffective talking. (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

Donald Guthrie makes a great point that "The profundities of Christian truth must never become muffled in meaningless subtleties, a fault which those who indulge in allegorical interpretations do not always succeed in avoiding." (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

Spurgeon - There were some who put the law into its wrong place. They made it a way of salvation, which it never was meant to be, and never can be. It is a way of conviction. It is an instrument of humbling. It shows us the evil of sin; but it never takes sin away. 

Vincent says desiring "is explanatory and confirmatory of the preceding statement." The idea is “They have turned aside unto vain jangling since they desire to be teachers of the law.” Vincent adds the "law is apparently the Mosaic law, and that these teachers may have been arbitrary teachers of the law, but in what way, cannot be shown."

As Cole says "that knowledge of God’s truth must always result in a change in our thinking and behavior. But false teachers often have an air of pride and they appeal to the pride of their followers: “If you learn from me, you’ll be in the know!”" 

Keener - Although segments of Palestinian Judaism had standards for accredited teachers of the law, there was nothing legally to keep anyone from claiming to be a teacher of the Bible, any more than there is in many Christian circles today. A perusal of the Gospels indicates that Jesus had conflicts even with those who were publicly recognized as teachers of the law. (See The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament.)

ILLUSTRATION -  These men making confident assertions are like the local businessman, who put a big sign, in the front of his store: “For sale. One set of encyclopedias—never used. Teenage son knows everything.” That’s the kind of feeling when you are dealing with these men. 

ILLUSTRATION of the attitude these men should have had (and which every teacher/preacher should have) - John Knox, the Scottish Reformer, understood the seriousness of preaching. When he was called forth to preach the gospel, he “burst forth in most abundant tears, and withdrew himself to his chamber. His countenance and behaviour, from that day till the day that he was compelled to present himself to the public place of preaching, did sufficiently declare the grief and trouble of his heart” (William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, rev. ed. [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1977], 50). The thought of preaching the gospel was so sobering that Knox was overwhelmed. (See The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

John Stott - I  cannot help wondering if this may not be why there are so few preachers whom God is using today. There are plenty of popular preachers, but not many powerful ones, who preach in the power of the Spirit. Is it because the cost of such preaching is too great? It seems that the only preaching God honours, through which His wisdom and power are expressed, is the preaching of a man who is willing in himself to be both a weakling and a fool. God not only chooses weak and foolish people to save, but weak and foolish preachers through whom to save them, or at least preachers who are content to be weak and seem foolish in the eyes of the world. We are not always willing to pay this price. We are constantly tempted to covet a reputation as men of learning or men of influence; to seek honour in academic circles and compromise our old-fashioned message in order to do so; and to cultivate personal charm or forcefulness so as to sway the people committed to our care. (See The Preacher’s Portrait: Five New Testament Word Studies)

Wanting (2309thelo is a very common NT verb (208x) which primarily refers to exercising of one's will with the underlying sense of to be willing, to desire, to want or to wish (in Jn 15:7 in context of prayer). To apply oneself to something (or to will). Thelo "expresses not simply a desire, but a determined and constant exercise of the will." (W E Vine) In secular Greek use thelo as used by Homer spoke of “readiness,” “inclination,” and “desire," so that when one was ready for an event or inclined to undertake a course of action, thelo was the Greek word used. Plato used thelo of intention or desire.  Used in Pastorals - 1Ti 1:7, 2:4, 5:11, 2Ti 3:12. Thelo is the emotional element that leads to consequent action, and in which the natural impulse is stronger than the reasoned resolve.

Teachers of the Law (3547nomodidaskalos from nomos = law + didaskalos = teacher) literally meant a teacher of the Jewish law. The nomodidaskalos is equal to lawyers (nomikós 3544), and scribes (grammateús), the very term Luke uses to describe these men in Lk 5:21 indicating they were interchangeable terms. Used 3 times in Scripture -  Lk. 5:17Acts 5:34 ("Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law"). Paul's use  of nomodidaskalos in 1 Ti 1:7 describes men who were not concerned about truly learning the law, or knowing God but were corrupting the doctrine of the church by illegitimately using the Law of Moses. In other words they desired the kind of prestige accorded rabbis in Judaism, only they sought this prestige within the church. They were like the Pharisees denounced by Jesus, describing those who desired to be "called Rabbi by men."(Mt 23:7). Bock adds that "They functioned like religious parliamentarians for the sect and were Pharisees themselves. The Pharisees were a strict movement that had little popular appeal, but they held much influence in key places."

Understand (3539noieo from nous = mind, the seat of moral reflection) has the basic meaning of direct one's mind to something and thus means more than just take a glance at. It means to perceive with the mind, to apprehend, to ponder (= weigh in one's mind, think especially quietly, soberly and deeply). It means to consider well, to reflect on with insight, or to think over a matter carefully. The idea is to grasp or comprehend something on the basis of careful thought. Essentially it involves the intellectual perception resulting from sight; it does not simply refer to someone’s physical sight. Gradually it lost this association with visual perception altogether and came to mean “to understand.” this ability “to perceive” especially involves understanding the nature of Jesus’ ministry (Matthew 16:9,11; Mark 8:17). Both Matthew and Mark include the curious explanatory remark, “Let the reader understand (noeō)” (Matthew 24:15; Mark 13:14). Here some measure of end-time insight may be expected. A figurative location of spiritual understanding is the “heart” (John 12:40; cf. the Old Testament concept of 1 Samuel 4:20; Job 33:23; Isaiah 32:6; 44:18; 47:7). Paul argued that even the spiritual reality of “God’s invisible qualities...have been clearly seen, being understood (noeō) from what has been made...” (Romans 1:20, NIV; cf. Hebrew 11:3, NIV, “by faith we understand”). Paul desired that his readers “understand” his knowledge by revelation of the “mystery of Christ”; that is, the Gentiles can become coheirs in the kingdom of God by faith (Ephesians 3:4). Paul also instructed Timothy to give consideration to all Paul said and wrote to him so that the Lord might give him “understanding in all things” (2 Timothy 2:7). Paul used noeō (I grasp, perceive, understand) five times in all (see also Rom 1:20; Eph 3:4, 20; 2 Tim 2:7), always referring to insight into divine matters.

Either (neither)...or (nor) (3383) mete  from = not  + te = and - denotes addition or connection) is a negative conjunction that frequently occurs in sequences or doubled (mēte...mēte, “neither...nor”; cf. Liddell-Scott). Mete is a coordinating conjunction used to join negative ideas; (1) adding to a me, clause not...(and) not, neither...nor ( Mt 5.34); (2) as a disjunctive mete. . . . mete =  neither . . . nor ( Acts 23.12). And not, also not, neither, not even, referring usually to a part of a proposition or clause. It is used in continued negation, at the beginning of a subsequent clause, after mé, "neither / nor" Consider Mt 11:18, “For John came neither eating nor drinking” (cf. Lk 7:33; Acts 23:8,12,21; 27:20; Hebrews 7:3; Revelation 7:1,3). Mete is also used in sequences that amplify a negated thought as in 1Ti 1:7. (cf Mt 5:34-36, Lk 9:3; 2Th 2:2; Jas 5:12). In Mk 3:20 (only in Textus Receptus) the term means “not even.”

Mete - 16v - either(4), neither(2), neither...nor(3), no(1), nor(7), or(12). Matt. 5:34; Matt. 5:35; Matt. 5:36; Matt. 11:18; Lk. 7:33; Lk. 9:3; Acts 23:8; Acts 23:12; Acts 23:21; Acts 27:20; 2 Thess. 2:2; 1 Tim. 1:7; Heb. 7:3; Jas. 5:12; Rev. 7:1; Rev. 7:3. Twice in the Septuagint - 1 Ki. 3:26; Hos. 4:4

Make confident assertions (1226)(diabebaioomai from dia = through, denoting the channel of an act + bebaioo = to confirm, Insist, strongly maintain, assure firmly, make firm, confidently assert, give special emphasis.  Only other use is Titus 3:8 = " concerning these things I want you to speak confidently". REB of 1Ti 1:7 has "the subjects about which they are so dogmatic."

1 Timothy 1:8  But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

BGT  1 Timothy 1:8 Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι καλὸς ὁ νόμος, ἐάν τις αὐτῷ νομίμως χρῆται,

Amplified  Now we recognize and know that the Law is good if anyone uses it lawfully [for the purpose for which it was designed],

Barclay We know that the law is good, if a man uses it legitimately,

BBE  1 Timothy 1:8 We are conscious that the law is good, if a man makes a right use of it,

CSB  1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully,

ESV  1 Timothy 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:8 We know that Moses' Teachings are good if they are used as they were intended to be used.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:8 We know the law is good if used the way it was meant to be used.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:8 We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law,

NET  1 Timothy 1:8 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately,

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

NJB  1 Timothy 1:8 We are well aware that the Law is good, but only provided it is used legitimately,

NLT  1 Timothy 1:8 We know that the law is good when used correctly.

NLT (non-revised)  We know these laws are good when they are used as God intended.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it legitimately.

Phillips  We know, of course, that the Law is good in itself and has a legitimate function. 

REB We all know that the law is an admirable thing, provided we treat it as law, 

Wuest  But we know that the law is good if a person uses it properly (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:8 and we have known that the law is good, if any one may use it lawfully;

  • we know that the Law is good: Dt 4:6-8 Ne 9:13 Ps 19:7-10 Ps 119:96-105,127,128 Ro 7:12-16 Ro 7:18-22 12:2 Ga 3:21 
  • if one uses it lawfully: 2Ti 2:5 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: (See also the "Related Passages" below) 

Deuteronomy 4:6-8+ So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7“For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? 8“Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today? 

Nehemiah 9:13 “Then You came down on Mount Sinai, And spoke with them from heaven; You gave them just ordinances and true laws, Good statutes and commandments. 

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Romans 7:7+ What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”

Romans 7:12-16+ So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.  13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that (NOTE PURPOSE) through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. 14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.

Galatians 3:19-25+ Why the Law then?  It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 (ONE) But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  23 (TWO) But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 (THREE) Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.


Once Paul mentions the law in a negative context in 1Ti 1:7, an objection might arise like "Paul, don’t you appreciate the law?" To address the potential objection, Paul responds that it in fact is good if used properly. The problem is not with the law but with the bad teachers who pervert the law. 

But we know (eido/oida) that the Law is good (kalos), if one uses it lawfully (nomimos - "legitimately") - But is a term of contrast, here contrasting the confident but ignorant declarations of the shysters regarding the Law in verse 7 with the truth about the proper use of the Law in 1Ti 1:8-11 (all one sentence in the Greek). The contrast is the false teacher's ignorance of the law versus Paul's knowledge of the law. Paul says "we" (which seems to include Timothy as well as all believers) know beyond a shadow of a doubt. He is not guessing! We are able to filter the O.T. Law through Grace Age truth and give a proper interpretation and application of it to both the believer and the unbeliever. The Law is good (kalos), that is useful, because it accomplishes a good purpose (see pictures below) and comes from a good God (James 1:17+). The Law was good when it was used properly or according to the way it was intended to be used. "By “lawfully” he means not that which the law permits but that it must be used according to its original spirit and intention." (Hiebert) And what was the good purpose of the Law? The law used lawfully drives sinners to see their need for Christ and salvation. This is why the law of God is good. It convicts and convinces bad men of their need for God's good news. The law is good because it is the means not of salvation but of bringing conviction of sin. That is using the law lawfully! The teachers of the law were not using it to accomplish this good result. While we do not know exactly how they were using the law unlawfully, it is very likely they were teaching that doing or keeping the law was the way of salvation (which is the modus operandi of every religion since the Garden of Eden!) 

Van Oosterzee on know (eido/oida) - “The Apostle places the declaration of his knowledge, which he has learned in the school of the Holy Ghost, against the arrogant view of the false Gnosis” (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Lenski - Teaching the law of God is not wrong, but it is wrong to want to teach it and not to know how but to abuse it in pitiful ignorance by saying things about it which one does not himself comprehend, etc....The opposite of this statement is thus not that the law is base when it is not used lawfully but that the law is abused when it is used in an unlawful way. In itself and aside from any use, whether lawful or unlawful, it remains what it is, what God made it. The play on “the law” and “lawfully” is keen; the law itself, because it is law, dictates its lawful use and condemns every abuse as being unlawful. All pretending law teachers stand condemned by the very law they pretend to teach. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

Spurgeon - There were some who put the law into its wrong place. They made it a way of salvation, which it never was meant to be, and never can be. It is a way of conviction. It is an instrument of humbling. It shows us the evil of sin (see Purpose of the Law); but it never takes sin away.

Vine on the Law is good - The word kalos signifies that which is good morally, that which is excellent in itself. The Law stands here for the whole Mosaic Law, of which the false teachers made wrong use...The Law is good because it is an expression of the character of God Himself. 

MacArthur - The law is good or useful because it reflects God's holy will and righteous standard (Ps 19:7; Ro 7:12) which accomplishes its purpose in showing sinners their sin (Ro 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 Ro 3:19, 20). (See The MacArthur Study Bible)

Hendriksen on not using the law lawfully - When the law is buried under a load of “traditions” which nullify its very purpose (Matt. 15:3, 6; Mark 7:9; then Matt. 5:43) or when it is used as a “take-off” point for spell-binders about ancestors, it loses its power. Just as in the public games only that man received the wreath of victory who played according to the rules (cf. 2Ti 2:5), so also only that person can expect to receive a blessing from the law who uses it as it should be used. (The Pastoral Epistles)

Guthrie on good - it is significant that the Greek word used is kalos rather than agathos, since the former draws attention, not only to excellence of intrinsic quality, but also to beauty of outward form. (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

As R Kent Hughes says "the false teachers in Ephesus were not making proper use of the law. Evidently they were abusing the law by making it out to be a means of righteousness. They represented the law’s standards as humanly attainable as they mixed the law with “genealogies” and “myths” (cf. 1Ti 1:4). This caused believers in Ephesus to misunderstand and ignore God’s moral demands and, tragically, to abandon the gospel of grace."  (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

Stott says 'the law’s three functions according to Calvin are punitive (to condemn sinners and drive them to Christ), deterrent (to restrain evildoers) and specially educative (to teach and exhort believers)." (See The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: Guard the Truth)

 If the law is taught as a means of justification by works it is being used wrongfully.

Steven Cole on using the law lawfully - "The proper use of God’s Law is to bring conviction of sin so that people are driven to the gospel for salvation. When sinful men and women learn the righteous demands of God’s Law, they should be driven to despair because of their guilt before God. In this desperate state, the good news that Jesus Christ bore the curse of the Law on our behalf and offers pardon and eternal life freely to any who will believe in Him should impel them to flee to Christ that they might be saved. Thus we who have been entrusted with this great news need to know how to use God’s Law properly. We must never fall into the error of marketing Jesus as the way to a happier life.

Duane Litfin - "The Law is designed to show people their sinfulness. Thus the Law is not for one who had already recognized his sin and turned to Christ. That person is no longer under the Law (ED: Ro 6:14+) but should now walk in the Spirit (Gal 5:13–26+). The Law is intended for those who remain unconvinced of their sin (ED: THUS THE REASON FOR THE "VICE LIST" IN THE FOLLOWING VERSES). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

David Thompson - All false religions have some distorted concept of the Law. Most say you can be right with God by keeping the Law. Most even invent more laws.

Don Anderson - What was the Law given for? It was to convict us, of the holiness of God! And drive us to the righteousness, which is ours, in Jesus Christ, when by faith we receive Him, we’re accepted not on the performance of the Law, but by grace through faith

J. Dwight Pentecost does an excellent job of connecting the Mosaic Law to Israel. He says the Mosaic Law did several things for Israel:  (1) It unified the nation; 2) It separated the nation; 3) It made it possible for the nation to have fellowship with God; 4) It made it possible for the nation to worship God; 5) It provided a test for the nation as to whether or not it really wanted God to reign; 6) It prompted the nation to look for and to Jesus Christ, her Messiah (See full 7 page article J. Dwight Pentecost, The Purpose of the Law, The Bib Sac Reader, pp. 107-114). 

David Thompson adds this on the purpose of the law...

Purpose #1 - To show God’s holiness and our badness. Rom. 7:16 The Law of God is as holy as God. It is holy, it is righteous, and it is good (Rom. 7:12). There is no problem with the Law; the problem is with sin.

Purpose #2 - To shut every mouth concerning one’s own righteousness. Rom. 3:19a The Law of God is designed to shut the mouths of those who think they are good enough for God. There is none righteous, there is none good and we have all gone astray; and if one says otherwise, the Law of God will shut the mouth.

Purpose #3 - To substantiate that the whole world is guilty before God. Rom. 3:19b God has a legitimate court case against every human being who has ever lived in this world. The Law of God cries out “guilty, guilty, guilty!”

Purpose #4 - To secure personal knowledge of sin. Rom. 3:20 The Law of God will make every person come to terms with the reality that he is a sinner.

Purpose #5 - To show God has a legitimate right to pour out His wrath. Rom. 4:15 When we see the Law of God and take an honest look at ourselves and this world, the main question will never be how can a loving God take vengeance and wrath out on this world; the question will be why hasn’t He done it yet?

Purpose #6 - To send everyone to Jesus Christ. Gal. 3:19, 24 The Law of God boxes every human being in as a sinner. It forces every person to realize they are hopeless and helpless. That forces us to look for someone who can help us out of our dilemma. That one is Jesus Christ. A wonderful purpose of the Law is to point us to Jesus Christ.

ILLUSTRATION OF THE PURPOSE OF THE LAW - Let me illustrate, let’s just suppose that I should have on this little pulpit desk before me a glass of water. Let’s suppose it contained some very deadly germs, but they were very difficult to see. Let’s suppose that they have, by virtue of being left here for some time, they have sunk down to the bottom of the glass and really you cannot see them at all. Now suppose I should take a spoon and stir the water in that glass. Then looking you could see that there was some foreign element in the water. Now, let’s suppose that the spoon was absolutely clean. Now, is the spoon then responsible for the dirt and the germs that are in the glass? No, the spoon has simply enabled us to see what was there all the time. (I would recommend reading his excellent discussion of the Law in his sermon Should We Preach the Mosaic Law?)

See Purpose of the Law - 4 purposes of the law in picture form (click pictures to enlarge):

Galatians 3:19-24+ Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made. 20 Now a mediator is not for one party only; whereas God is only one. 21 Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. 22 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  23 But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Ro 3:20+ because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.

Romans 7:7-9+ What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;

Law reveals sin
(Gal 3:19+, Ro 3:20+, Ro 7:7-9+)

Law shuts up under sin 
(Gal 3:22+)
Law keeps in custody
(Gal 3:23+
Law serves as a tutor 
 (Gal 3:24+)

Know (1492eido  is used only in the perfect tense = oida) means in general to know by perception. Vine adds that "Oida, to know, suggests intelligent perception, in contrast to ginōskō which indicates progressive knowledge. The contrast between the two verbs is illustrated in John 8:55, “Ye have not known Him [ginōskō, “you have not entered upon the knowledge”]: but I know Him” (oida, that is, I have perfect knowledge of Him). Again, in 13:7, “What I do thou knowest not now [oida; Peter did not perceive its significance] but thou shalt understand hereafter” (ginōskō, thou shalt get to know). In 2 Timothy 2:19, ginōskō is used of the knowledge of the Lord in regard to His own, but there the verb is used, not in the same sense as just mentioned, but in the sense of an approving knowledge, as effective acquaintance.

Good (2570kalos describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. In classical Greek kalos was originally used to describe that which outwardly beautiful. Other uses of kalos refer to the usefulness of something, as that which is well adapted to its purpose, such as salt ("salt is good" Mk 9:50+Vine says "kalos signifies that which is intrinsically good, as distinct from agathos, that which is good or beneficial in its effects. The words occur together in Luke 8:15+, where the word translated “honest” is kalos (the same word as in the preceding clause), that is, a heart that is genuinely good in the sight of God, whereas the next word, “good,” agathos, indicates the heart of one who acts in a beneficial way."

Kalos in Pastoral Epistles - 1 Tim. 1:8; 1 Tim. 1:18; 1 Tim. 2:3; 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Tim. 3:7; 1 Tim. 3:13; 1 Tim. 4:4; 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Tim. 5:10; 1 Tim. 5:25; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 Tim. 6:13; 1 Tim. 6:18; 1 Tim. 6:19; 2 Tim. 1:14; 2 Tim. 2:3; 2 Tim. 4:7; Tit. 2:7; Tit. 2:14; Tit. 3:8; Tit. 3:14; 

Lawfully (3545)(nomimōs) means in agreement with law, correctly, lawfully, legally, according to the law, legitimately, properly, rightly; of athletic contests in agreement with rules, fairly,  in accordance with rules (2Ti 2:5. ). The adverb form of the adjective nomimos, “lawful,” is nomimōs, “lawfully.”

1 Timothy 1:9  realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers

BGT  1 Timothy 1:9 εἰδὼς τοῦτο, ὅτι δικαίῳ νόμος οὐ κεῖται, ἀνόμοις δὲ καὶ ἀνυποτάκτοις, ἀσεβέσι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοῖς, ἀνοσίοις καὶ βεβήλοις, πατρολῴαις καὶ μητρολῴαις, ἀνδροφόνοις

Amplified Knowing and understanding this: that the Law is not enacted for the righteous (the upright and just, who are in right standing with God), but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinful, for the irreverent and profane, for those who strike and beat and [even] murder fathers and strike and beat and [even] murder mothers, for manslayers,

Barclay in the awareness that the law was not instituted to deal with good men, but with the lawless and the undisciplined, the irreverent and the sinners, the impious and the polluted, those who have sunk so low that they strike their fathers and their mothers, murderers, 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:9 With the knowledge that the law is made, not for the upright man, but for those who have no respect for law and order, for evil men and sinners, for the unholy and those who have no religion, for those who put their fathers or mothers to death, for takers of life,

CSB  1 Timothy 1:9 We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers,

ERV  1 Timothy 1:9 as knowing this, that law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and unruly, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

ESV  1 Timothy 1:9 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,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:9 For example, a person must realize that laws are not intended for people who have God's approval. Laws are intended for lawbreakers and rebels, for ungodly people and sinners, for those who think nothing is holy or sacred, for those who kill their fathers, their mothers, or other people.

KJV  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,

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:9 Comprehend this: Law is not laid down for righteous people, but for lawless ones—rebels, godless people and sinners, unholy and profane people, those who mortally strike down their father and who do away with their mother, murderers,

NAB  1 Timothy 1:9 with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers,

NET  1 Timothy 1:9 realizing that law is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

NIV  1 Timothy 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,

NJB  1 Timothy 1:9 on the understanding that laws are not framed for people who are upright. On the contrary, they are for criminals and the insubordinate, for the irreligious and the wicked, for the sacrilegious and the godless; they are for people who kill their fathers or mothers and for murderers,

NLT  1 Timothy 1:9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.

NLT (non-revised) But they were not made for people who do what is right. They are for people who are disobedient and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who murder their father or mother or other people.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:9 This means understanding that the law is laid down not for the innocent but for the lawless and disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their father or mother, for murderers,

Phillips  Yet we also know that the Law is not really meant for the good man, but for the man who has neither principles nor self-control, for the man who is really wicked, who has neither scruples nor reverence. Yes, the Law is directed against the sort of people who attack their own parents, who kill their fellows, 

REB recognizing that it is designed not for good citizens, but for the lawless and unruly, the impious and sinful, the irreligious and worldly, for parricides and matricides, murderers 

Wuest  knowing this, that law is not enacted for a law-abiding person, but for lawless ones and for unruly ones, for those who are destitute of reverential awe towards God and for sinners, for unholy ones and for those who are irreligious, for those who ill-treat fathers and ill-treat mothers, for manslayers, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:9 having known this, that for a righteous man law is not set, but for lawless and insubordinate persons, ungodly and sinners, impious and profane, parricides and matricides, men-slayers,

  • Realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person: Ro 4:13 Ro 5:20 Ro 6:14 Ga 3:10-14,19 5:23 
  • But for those who are lawless: 2Th 2:8 *Gr:
  • rebellious: Ro 1:30 Tit 1:16 3:3 Heb 11:31 1Pe 2:7 3:20 
  • for the ungodly and sinners: 1Pe 4:18 
  • for the unholy and profane: Jer 23:11 Eze 21:25 Heb 12:16 
  • for those who kill their fathers or mothers Lev 20:9 Dt 27:16 2Sa 16:11 2Sa 17:1-4 2Ki 19:37 2Ch 32:21 Pr 20:20 Pr 28:24 Pr 30:11,17 Mt 10:21 
  • murderers: Ge 9:5-6 Ex 20:13 Ex 21:14 Nu 35:30-33 Dt 21:6-9 Pr 28:17 Gal 5:21 Rev 21:8 Rev 22:15 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: (See also the Related Passages above) 

Romans 4:13+ For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Romans 5:20+ The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

Romans 6:14+ For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (Why are believers not under the law?)

Romans 7:4-6+  Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. 

Romans 8:3-4+ For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Luke 5:32+ “I have not come to call the (SELF) righteous but sinners to repentance.” (cf Lk 18:9-14+) (See What does the Bible say about self-righteousness? | GotQuestions.org)


Realizing (eido/oida cf use in Ep 5:5+) the fact that law is not made (keimai or "laid down," "enacted") for a righteous (dikaios) person - In context a righteous person refers to one who is just and thus one justified (declared righteous) by grace, having received and believed the Gospel "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith" (Ro 1:16-17+). The righteous person is now and forever considered positionally righteous before God because he is in covenant with the Righteous One, Christ Jesus (Isa 53:11+, cf 1Co 1:30+). The law is not directed to saved sinners but to the unrighteous to restrain their sin and lead them to seek the Gospel (see purpose of law). Some writers interpret righteous as those who are "self-righteous" but frankly those people would have many of the character traits in the following list (albeit they are just "camouflaged" under a veneer of external righteousness like the Pharisees in Jesus' day! Internally they are full of "dead men's bones and all uncleanness" Mt 23:27.) And so here Paul refers to those who  are "not under law but under grace." (Ro 6:1+; cf Gal. 5:23+).

The purpose of the law is not to police good men, but bad men.
-- Ralph Earle

David Thompson - According to the Word of God, the believer in Christ is dead to the Law (Gal. 2:19-20) because the Law was nailed to the cross with Christ (Col. 2:14). The purpose of the Law is not to approve the character of the righteous; it is to expose the character of the unrighteous. Dr. Ralph Earle said it this way: “the purpose of the law is not to police good men, but bad men.” The Law is given to those who are unconvinced of their sin. One who has already recognized his sinfulness and has believed on Christ is exempt from God’s law.

ESV Study Bible has an excellent note on the law - Paul is not denying that the law has a use in teaching Christians how to live, for he has said it is “good” (1Ti 1:8) and in 1Ti 1:9-10 he echoes several of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17), in their OT order. Exactly how the law applies to the NT believer is a matter of some debate. Some argue that the Mosaic law has been entirely superseded, and what remains is the “Law of Christ” (see  1Co 9:21). Others argue for an abiding authority of certain aspects of the Mosaic code. Paul elsewhere affirms that Christians are no longer under the Mosaic law (see Ro 7:6; Gal. 2:16; Gal 3:19-26), and that fits well with what he writes here. As in those other passages, these verses indicate that one purpose of the law is to expose sin. In addition, though believers are no longer under the Law of Moses, they are, as noted, under the Law of Christ and are governed by the Spirit (Ro 7:6). All interpreters agree that the Mosaic laws, rightly understood, still give Christians wisdom about the kind of conduct that pleases or displeases God. See notes on 1Co 9:21; Gal. 4:10; Gal 5:14; Gal 6:2. (See ESV Study Bible - see related resources)

Cole adds that Paul's statement about the righteous person "does not mean that they are lawless; they are under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Ro 8:2+), also called the law of Christ (1Co 9:21+). Nor does Paul mean that the Law has no benefit for believers. It reveals God’s righteous character and how we must live to please Him. But since “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Ro 10:4+), we who are in Christ are not subject to the Law’s condemnation. The primary function of the Law is to bring conviction of sin to those who are still in rebellion against God." In each case except the last (a catch all term), Paul takes a flagrant violation of the Ten Commandments (SEE BELOW), perhaps to make the contrast between the righteous (for whom the Law is not intended) and the unrighteous (for whom it is intended) more vivid. At first glance, the person of average morals might look at Paul’s list and think, “He’s not talking about me. I’ve never done these things.” But a more careful look will convict even the most moral person. Who has never been lawless or rebellious against God? Who has not been ungodly and missed the mark of God’s righteousness (a sinner)?

Bell - Committed believers do not need the law to propel them to holy living.  Their new heart takes pleasure (OR SHOULD) in God’s law and they listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings (AND depend on the Holy Spirit to obey).

Köstenberger writes "If the law is given to restrain sin and Christians have been set free from sin, the law’s purpose has in their case already been fulfilled. (Expositor's Bible Commentary

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - Law. There is no definite article (“the”) with this word in Greek and so the inherent quality of the OT law as such is in view. But the OT law is still in mind, since the types of sinful people surveyed in 1Ti 19b–11a follow the general outline of sins prohibited in the Decalogue (See chart below)

But - This term of contrast unleashes a barrage of negative descriptions of the heart of wicked men, those in desperate need of the law to drive them to the Cross! This list describes for whom the law is made, for whom the Ten Commandments were given (see chart below)! 

The purpose of the law is to CONVINCE and CONVICT of SIN
-- Don Anderson

S Lewis Johnson adds that "the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai God gave into the hand of Moses an instrument by which he would be able to bring men to the conviction of their sin, which would prepare them for the coming of the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus. So the Law was necessary because God deemed it necessary for us to be taught how sinful we really are (ED: THUS THE HORRIBLE SIN LIST IN 1Ti 1:9-10)....So the Mosaic Law was never intended to bring salvation to men. It was intended primarily to bring conviction of sin. (I would recommend reading his excellent discussion of the Law in his sermon Should We Preach the Mosaic Law?)

Wiersbe observes that "Paul listed fourteen kinds of people who were condemned by the Law (1Ti 1:9-10). This is one of several such lists in the New Testament (see Mark 7:20-23; Rom. 1:18-32; Gal. 5:19-21). The lawful use of the old Law is to expose, restrain, and convict the lawless. (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary) After the 14 Paul includes an all inclusive statement "and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching," (1Ti 1:10)

For those who are lawless (anomos) and rebellious (anupotaktos), for the ungodly (asebes) and sinners (hamartolos), for the unholy (anosios) and profane (bebelos), for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers (literally "manslayers") - This is a horrible vice list, but sadly Paul is not finished! Lawless does not mean they were ignorant of the law, but that they were errant from the law, living without regard for the law, living for self, not Savior, rejecting the law! And since lawless people have no desire to adhere to the law, the natural (rotten) fruit is that they are rebellious. Rebellious means they were unwilling to subordinate themselves or submit to  rule and authority (especially of God), and so are refractory to control. The ungodly are those who do not revere and honor God and so live as if He did not exist! This person does not want anyone telling him what to do, even Almighty God! They adopt standards and philosophies that are in opposition to God. America used to be one nation under God, but one political party recently even refused to acknowledge God! (Woe!) Sinners are those who are constantly, willfully missing the mark (like an archer misses the bull's eye) of God's standard for holy living (Ro 3:23+). Unholy describes those who consider nothing sacred and have no devotion to or for God. They are apathetic and indifferent to that which is right (and righteous) which leads them to behave in a profane way. They oppose all that God stands for and does! Profane describes those who figuratively "trample" on and show contempt for what is holy, and by default are worldly (cf "trample under foot the Son of God" - Heb 10:29+). 

Johnny Sanders- David, in confessing his sin with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, used three words: sin, transgression, and iniquity. Sin means to miss the mark, as an archer misses the bull’s eye (we all do that). Transgression means to cross the line with your eyes wide open. Iniquity denotes crooked, or warped. You keep on sinning and committing transgressions and your life is going to end up warped by that sin. The OT distinguishes between sins committed without premeditation and planning and sins committed with your eyes wide open (presumptuous sins). ILLUSTRATION. When my younger brother, Mike, returned from military duty in West Germany a number of years ago he told me about standing guard duty on the border between Czechoslovakia and West Germany. He was standing guard at the Iron Curtain - at times he stood on the Iron Curtain. Once, he stepped over the line (with his eyes wide open). He transgressed. If he had been captured there would have been a price to pay. However, it was common for those on either side to step over the line for a moment and then return to their own side. Sinners often do not consider the consequences of their action. At times, however, they are keenly aware of the nature of the sin, and possibly the consequences, but they go on and do it any way. People who continue to do that will eventually end up deep in iniquity. There is no relief from it, and no escape. There is only forgiveness. (1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Pether uses several of the same Greek words as Paul...


Donald Guthrie points out that "There is significance in the order: first offences against God, then crimes against fellow-men as listed in the ten commandments." (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

Hendriksen comments that "The law, then, was laid down for lawless and insubordinate, for ungodly and sinful persons, in order that it might shake them to the very depths of their being, might frighten them out of whatever self-complacency remained in them.   (The Pastoral Epistles)

Barclay on lawless (anomos) - The lawless are those who know the laws of right and wrong, and who break them deliberately and open-eyed. (ED: WOE! BEEN THERE! DONE THAT!)  No one can blame a man for breaking a law he does not know exists; but the lawless are those who deliberately violate the laws in order to satisfy their own ambitions and desires. (See 1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Hiebert on lawless and rebellious (unruly) - “The lawless” refuse to recognize law, while the “unruly” refuse to be subject to law. They mean to act as they please, thus putting self before God. They are characterized by disobedience. (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Barclay on rebellious (anupotaktos) - They are the unruly and the insubordinate. These are those who refuse to accept and to obey any authority. They are like soldiers who mutinously disobey the word of command. They are either too proud or too unbridled to accept any control. (Ibid)

Vincent on rebellious -  “Better unruly. Disobedient is too specific. It means those who will not come into subjection. It is closely allied with lawless. In the one case no legal obligation is recognized; in the other, subjection to law is refused.”

Barclay on the ungodly (asebes) - Asebēs is a terrible word. It describes not indifference nor the lapse into sin. It describes “positive and active irreligion,” the spirit which defiantly withholds from God that which is his right. It describes human nature “in battle array against God.” (Ibid)  This is the kind of man who goes his own way and defies God to do His worst!

Hiebert on the ungodly - The ungodly” are people without inner reverence for God, who willfully ignore God and His commands. They are not necessarily professed atheists, but all who disregard God and His will for their lives (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Paul describes what God does for the ungodly...

Romans 4:5+  But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly (asebes), his faith is credited as righteousness,

Romans 5:6+  For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (asebes).

Barclay on sinners (hamartolos) "in its commonest usage this is a word which describes character. It can be used, for instance, of a slave who is of lax and useless character. It describes the person who has no moral standards left. (Ibid)

ILLUSTRATION. When my younger brother, Mike, returned from military duty in West Germany a number of years ago he told me about standing guard duty on the border between Czechoslovakia and West Germany. He was standing guard at the Iron Curtain - at times he stood on the Iron Curtain. Once, he stepped over the line (with his eyes wide open). He transgressed. If he had been captured there would have been a price to pay. However, it was common for those on either side to step over the line for a moment and then return to their own side. Sinners often do not consider the consequences of their action. At times, however, they are keenly aware of the nature of the sin, and possibly the consequences, but they go on and do it any way. People who continue to do that will eventually end up deep in iniquity. There is no relief from it, and no escape. There is only forgiveness. (Johnny Sanders 1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Barclay on unholy (anosios) - Hósios  is a noble word; it describes, as Trench puts it, “the everlasting ordinances of right, which no law or custom of man has constituted, for they are anterior to all law and custom.” The things which are hosios are part of the very constitution of the universe, the everlasting sanctities. The Greek, for instance, shudderingly declared that the Egyptian custom where brother could marry sister and the Persian custom where son could marry mother, were anosia, unholy. The man who is anosios is worse than a mere lawbreaker. He is the man who violates the ultimate decencies of life. (Ibid)

Unholy people conform to the fallen word, whose prince is called Satan.
-- Johnny Sanders

Barclay on profane (bebelos) - Bebēlos is an ugly word with a queer history. It originally meant simply that which can be trodden upon, in contradistinction to that which is sacred to some god and therefore inviolable. It then came to mean profane in opposition to sacred, then the man who profanes the sacred things, who desecrates God’s day, disobeys his laws and belittles his worship. The man who is bebelos soils everything he touches. (Ibid)

Johnny Sanders-  We live in a profane world and it is getting more profane all the time. I remember when the entertainment industry spent a lot of time talking about Clarke Gable’s four letter word in GONE WITH THE WIND. What was the feminists’ mantra of the eighties, “We’ve come a long way, Baby!” Don’t you love it when some foul-mouthed Hollywood star comes on TV and lectures us about keeping the air and streams clean when they are polluting the airwaves with profanity and vulgarity? Children are surprised when they are called down for their language at school because they talk that way at home. (1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Paul uses bebelos in 1 Ti 4:7+ 

But have nothing to do with worldly (bebelos) fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) yourself for the purpose of godliness;

Hiebert on profane - The word “profane” comes from a word meaning a “threshold,” hence that which is trodden. The profane are those “who walk over everything and make it as common as dirt” (Lenski). (See First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Barclay on those who kill (more literally to smite) their fathers or mothers - Under Roman law a son who struck his parents was liable to death. The words describe a son or daughter who is lost to gratitude, lost to respect and lost to shame. And it must ever be remembered that this most cruel of blows can be a blow, not upon the body, but upon the heart (ED: "AMEN! OR "O MY!")(Ibid)

Many children are "killing" their parents hearts with their drug addictions, and sadly too often end up killing themselves! 

This last sin of killing parents (having lost all natural affection and reverence) recalls the words of Moses...

Exodus 20:12+  “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 

Exodus 21:15+ “He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 

Regarding murder (which violates Ex 20:13+) we do well to remember that Jesus lowered the bar so to speak declaring "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.'  "But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell." (Mt 5:21-22+)

Johnny Sanders- The Ten Commandments pose such a serious threat to America today that the ACLU (the great defender of our liberties) feel compelled to try have them removed from all public facilities. One of those commandments tells us that we should do no murder. God gave the Law to forbid murder and to define punishment for it.

The law should have crushed (with an overwhelming sense of conviction) those who had the vices listed in Paul's "vice list" even as Paul himself was "crushed" in 1Ti 1:15 declaring "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all!" Sadly, these false teachers saw themselves as a good person (talk about the power of self-deception! See deceitfulness of sin.) When one is righteous in his own eyes, he is spiritually blinded and unable to see himself in the vice list! They did not have ears to hear the profound words of Jesus Who declared  I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mt 9:13+). 


1 Timothy 1:9-10

Ten Commandments

Lawless and rebellious

1. No other gods

Ungodly and sinners

2. No idols

Unholy and profane

3. Not take Lord’s name in vain


4. Keep Sabbath

Kill fathers & mothers

5. Honor parents


6. No murder

Immoral men, homosexuals

7. No adultery

Kidnappers/slave stealers

8. No stealing

Liars and perjurers

9. No false witness

Whatever else is contrary

10. No coveting

Related Resources:

Made (2749keimai  means literally to be in a recumbent position, to lie down, to be laid down. The root meaning refers to lying down or reclining and came to be used of an official appointment and sometimes of destiny. In the military keimai was used of a special assignment, such as guard duty or defense of a strategic position - the soldier was placed (set) on duty. Figuratively it means to exist, be there for something, be appointed, be given, be valid (as here in 1Ti 1:9 where it is  used for the introduction or enactment of a law ~ “to establish”). 

Righteous (1342dikaios  from dike = right, just) defines that which is in accordance with high standards of rectitude. The meaning of the root word dike is based on the assumption that men expect a certain standard of behavior and if this is not attained judgment may result. It follows that the basic meaning of the adjective dikaios describes that which is proper, right, fitting, fair, righteous, just (acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good). From a forensic or legal viewpoint dikaios refers to one who is law-abiding (doing all that law or justice requires), honest and good in behavior and from a religious viewpoint one who is rightly related to God. Those who are truly righteous have God’s verdict in their favor (i.e., He has declared them righteous by grace through their faith in His Gospel). Luke describes Zacharias and Elizabeth (John the Baptist's parents) as "both righteous (dikaios) in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. (Lk 1:6+, see Luke 2:25+ "Simeon… was righteous") They were rightly related to God and because of that right relationship, they walked accordingly.  Righteous character is associated with righteous conduct.John gives us a Scriptural "definition" of dikaios writing "Little children, let no one deceive (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) you; the one who practices (present tense = habitually, as a lifestyle) righteousness is righteous (dikaios), just as He is righteous (dikaios). (1Jn 3:7+) Dikaios in Pastoral Epistles - 1Ti 1:9; 2Ti 4:8; Titus 1:8;

Lawless (459) anomos from a = without + nomos = law; see study of related word anomia) means literally without law and thus lawless. TDNT says anomos "has the objective sense of “having no law” and the subjective sense of “paying no heed to law.” Anomos describes the consequence of having no fear of God and therefore feeling completely free to live without constraining laws, indulging our sinful desires.  Richards says anomos refers to "actions that are not outside the governance of law but are in active violation of either divine or innate moral principles." Recognizing no law in 1Ti 1:8. Lawless = Not subject to law; unrestrained by law, disobedient to the law, contrary to or heedless of the law, uncontrolled; unbridled. In 1Co 9:21 anomos refers to not so much to those who transgress the law but those who either do not have, know or acknowledge the law (i.e., Gentiles). It describes transgressors, those who step across the the line (law), thus passing over or beyond a limit. They live without regard to law, in the sense of refusing to obey laws. Anomos - 7v - Mk 15:28; Lk 22:37; Acts 2:23; 1Co 9:21; 2Th 2:8; 1Ti 1:9; 2 Pet. 2:8

Rebellious (506anupotaktos from a = negates what follows + hupotasso = be subject to or sit under in an orderly manner, to subject or arrange [troops] in a military fashion under the command of a leader, sit under in an orderly manner) literally means not subject (to rule or control, one who is not submissive) and thus disobedient to authority, insubordinate, disorderly, unruly, refractory (resistant to treatment or cure, unresponsive to stimulus), refusing submission to authority, undisciplined, rebellious, outside of one’s control, disregarding restraint, unwilling to submit, headstrong, independent, undisciplined, intractable, refusing to "fall in line with" (fit in with) God's plan; uncooperative, having a defiant attitude towards duly-appointed authority; uncontrollable, refractory (unsubjected); anti-authoritarian (ED: SOME OF US HAVE CHILDREN THAT WOULD FIT THIS DESCRIPTION!). They are ungovernable for they refuse to be subject to any control. Anupotaktos - 4v - 1Ti 1:9; Titus 1:6; Titus 1:10 = "there are many rebellious men"; Heb. 2:8

Ungodly (765asebes from a = w/o +  sebomai = worship, venerate) means lack of interest in the things of God and a behavior and lifestyle consistent with such an irreverent attitude. See the study of ungodliness (asebeia). It pertains to violating norms for a proper relation to deity, and in short means irreverent (lacking proper respect of God) or impious. Living as if God does not exist and with no regard for Him. Asebes - 8v - Rom. 4:5; Rom. 5:6; 1 Tim. 1:9; 1 Pet. 4:18; 2 Pet. 2:5; 2 Pet. 3:7; Jude 1:4; Jude 1:15

Sinners (268hamartolos rom hamartano = deviate, miss the mark which some lexicons say is from a = negative + meiromai = attain -- not to attain, not to arrive at the goal). BDAG says hamartolos pertains "to behavior or activity that does not measure up to standard moral or cultic expectations." Hamartolos is an adjective (e.g., "that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful" - see Ro 7:13+) that is often used as a noun (as in this verse and Ro 5:19+) to describe those who are continually erring from the way, constantly missing God's mark, living in opposition to His good and acceptable and perfect will. Thus a sinner is one who lives in opposition to the divine will. In a more selective use, in the view of the Pharisees a sinner was a Jew who is one not careful in the observance of ceremonial duties (Mt 9:10ff, Lk 15:1ff, Mk 2.16). Finally,the Jews called the Gentiles sinners or despisers of God and considered them heathen or pagan, tá éthne = the nations (Mt 26:45). Jesus' purpose for coming into the world was to save sinners (Mt 9:13 1Ti 1:15)

Unholy (462anosios from a = without + hósios = consecrated, hallowed, holy, righteous, unpolluted with wickedness) pertains to that that which is in opposition to God or what is sacred. It speaks of one’s lack of inner purity (ED: CONTRAST "Pure Heart" IN 1Ti 1:5+). It means ungodly and without regard of duty toward God or toward man and carries the idea not so much of irreligion as of gross indecency. In other words this man not only breaks the laws of God and society, but even breaks the unwritten laws of common decency. To the Greek it was anosios to refuse to bury a corpse. It was anosios for a brother to commit incest by marrying a sister or a son a mother. The man who is anosios offends the fundamental decencies of life. The unholy person is driven by self-love to gratify his lusts and passions of whatever sort, as fully as possible with no thought to propriety, decency, or personal reputation. Anosios is the opposite of hósios , holy or devout, which describes one's attitude toward, and walk with God, which conforms to His character, being the outcome of inward purity (and inward power of the Spirit). Only used twice - 1Ti 1:9, 2Ti 3:2.

Profane (952)(bebelos from basis = a stepping or walking from baíno = to go + belos = threshold, particularly of a temple) refers properly to one who either was or ought to have been debarred from going over the threshold or entrance of the temple. The picture is that which is trodden under foot and which thus describes that which is the antithesis of that which is holy or set apart. In short it means to "trample" the holy! (See profaneBebelos also describes that which is accessible to everyone and therefore devoid of real significance. Bebelos can thus describe that which is worldly as opposed to having an interest in transcendent (existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe) matters. The meaning of this adjective is nicely conveyed by our English word profane which describes that which disregards what is to be kept sacred or holy. The English word "profane" is derived from the Latin profanus which means "outside the temple, not sacred" and in turn is derived from pro- ‘before’ + fanum = ‘temple’. What is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. That which is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. Thus, a profane person is one who has made himself accessible to evil influence. He has not kept himself for God. He is common, unhallowed territory. He is secular, as contrasted to religious, so far as his relation to God is concerned. He is a non-religious person.  Luke uses the related verb bebeloo in Acts 24:6+ in describing a false accusation against Paul that “he even tried to desecrate (bebeloo) the temple; and then we arrested him." 

Hendriksen adds "That which is “profane” can be trodden. It is, as our English word implies, “in front of the temple,” that is, “outside the temple” (pro = before or in front of; fane = temple, sanctuary). A profane person is one who does not refrain or hesitate to trample on that which is holy."  (The Pastoral Epistles)

Bebelos - 5v - godless person(1), profane(1), worldly(3). - 1 Tim. 1:9; 1 Tim. 4:7; 1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16; Heb. 12:16 = "that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal." (He did not regard his birthright as sacred, but as something to be sold in order to supply a common need.)

1 Timothy 1:10  and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,

BGT  1 Timothy 1:10 πόρνοις ἀρσενοκοίταις ἀνδραποδισταῖς ψεύσταις ἐπιόρκοις, καὶ εἴ τι ἕτερον τῇ ὑγιαινούσῃ διδασκαλίᾳ ἀντίκειται

Amplified  [For] impure and immoral persons, those who abuse themselves with men, kidnapers, liars, perjurers—and whatever else is opposed to wholesome teaching and sound doctrine

Barclay fornicators, homosexuals, slave-dealers and kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and all those who are guilty of anything which is the reverse of sound teaching,

BBE  1 Timothy 1:10 For those who go after loose women, for those with unnatural desires, for those who take men prisoners, who make false statements and false oaths, and those who do any other things against the right teaching,

CSB  1 Timothy 1:10 for the sexually immoral and homosexuals, for kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching

ERV  1 Timothy 1:10 for fornicators, for abusers of themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for false swearers, and if there be any other thing contrary to the sound doctrine;

ESV  1 Timothy 1:10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:10 Laws are intended for people involved in sexual sins, for homosexuals, for kidnappers, for liars, for those who lie when they take an oath, and for whatever else is against accurate teachings.

KJV  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;

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:10 sexually immoral people, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, those who break their oath—and those who practice whatever else is contrary to wholesome teaching

NAB  1 Timothy 1:10 the unchaste, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching,

NET  1 Timothy 1:10 sexually immoral people, practicing homosexuals, kidnappers, liars, perjurers– in fact, for any who live contrary to sound teaching.

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

NJB  1 Timothy 1:10 for the promiscuous, homosexuals, kidnappers, for liars and for perjurers -- and for everything else that is contrary to the sound teaching

NLT  1 Timothy 1:10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching

NLT (non-revised) These laws are for people who are sexually immoral, for homosexuals and slave traders, for liars and oath breakers, and for those who do anything else that contradicts the right teaching

NRS  1 Timothy 1:10 fornicators, sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching

Phillips   who are sexually uncontrolled or perverted, or who traffic in the bodies of others. It is against liars and perjurers—in fact it is against any and every action which contradicts the wholesome teaching 

REB and fornicators, perverts, kidnappers, liars, perjurers—in fact all whose behaviour flouts the sound teaching 

Wuest  for whoremongers, for sodomites, for slave dealers and kidnapers, for liars, for perjurers, and if, as is the case, there is anything of a different nature which is opposed to sound teaching, (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:10 whoremongers, sodomites, men-stealers, liars, perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that to sound doctrine is adverse,

  • immoral men: Mk 7:21-22 1Co 6:9-10 Ga 5:19-21 Eph 5:3-6 Heb 13:4 
  • homosexuals: Ge 19:5 Lev 18:22 20:13 Ro 1:26 Jude 1:7 
  • kidnappers: Ge 37:27 40:15 Ex 21:16 De 24:7 Rev 18:13 
  • liars: John 8:44 Rev 21:8,27 Rev 22:15 
  • perjurers: Ex 20:7 Eze 17:16-19 Ho 4:1,2 10:4 Zec 5:4 8:17 Mal 3:5 Mt 5:33-37 
  • whatever else is contrary to sound teaching: 1Ti 6:3 2Ti 1:13 2Ti 4:3 Titus 1:9 Titus 2:1 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21   Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5+ For this you know with certainty, that no immoral  (pornos) or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God

John 8:44  “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. 


And immoral men (pornos) and homosexuals (arsenokoitesand kidnappers (andrapodistes) and liars (pseustes) and perjurers (epiorkos) and whatever else is contrary (antikeimai - present tense) to sound (hugiaino ~ "hygienic") teaching (didaskalia) - Paul lists 5 more reasons for which the law was given and as noted above these vices correspond roughly to the Ten Commandments. Ephesus became known for homosexuality in last half of the first century! Kidnappers reminds one of the horrible last days of the whore of Babylon in which there are cargoes of "slaves and human lives" (Rev 18:13+). Liars and perjurers break the commandment in Ex 20:16+. As Paul often does (cf Ro 13:9+, Gal 5:21+), he adds a "catch all" phrase, which includes any and all kinds of sins which one might name. All sins stand opposed to sound teaching. Sound (hugiaino ~ "hygienic") teaching is health giving doctrine that produces a "healthy" mind and the fruit of a healthy mind is holy behavior. Conversely unhealthy doctrine spreads like gangrene (2Ti 2:17+) In sum, Paul's list gives us a guide for identifying the unjustified person, for as Jesus said "by their fruits you shall know them." (Mt 7:16, 20+).

Similar "vice lists" - 1Co 5:11; 1Co 6:9-10; Gal 5:19-20; Ro 1:28-31; Ro 13:13; Col. 3:5; Ep 5:5; 1Ti 6:4-5, 2Ti 3:2-4, Titus 3:3.

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - on immoral men - On this term BDAG 135 s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης states, “a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1 Cor 6:9 … of one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity, opp. μαλακός … 1 Ti 1:10; Pol 5:3. Cp. Ro 1:27.” L&N 88.280 states, “a male partner in homosexual intercourse—‘homosexual.’ … It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner” (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). Since there is a distinction in contemporary usage between sexual orientation and actual behavior, the qualification “practicing” was supplied in the translation, following the emphasis in BDAG.

Barclay on the sins of immorality in the ancient world - It is difficult for us to realize the state of the ancient world in matters of sexual morality. It was riddled with unnatural vice. One of the extraordinary things was the actual connection of immorality and religion. The Temple of Aphrodite, goddess of love, at Corinth had attached to it a thousand priestesses who were sacred prostitutes and who at evening came down to the city streets and plied their trade. It is said that Solon was the first law-maker in Athens to legalize prostitution and that with the profits of the public brothels he instituted a new temple was built to Aphrodite, the goddess of love....It has often been said and said truly that chastity was the one completely new virtue which Christianity brought into this world. It was no easy thing in the early days to endeavour to live according to the Christian ethic in a world like that. (Ibid)

Bob Utley on homosexuality - There is much modern cultural pressure to accept homosexuality as an appropriate alternate lifestyle. The Bible condemns it as a destructive lifestyle, out of the will of God for His creation. (1) it violates the command of Gen. 1 to be fruitful and multiply (2) it characterizes pagan worship and culture (cf. Lev. 18:22; Lev 20:13; Ro 1:26–27; and Jude 7) (3) it reveals a self-centered independence from God (cf. 1Co 6:9–10) However, before I leave this topic let me assert God’s love and forgiveness to all rebellious human beings. Christians have no right to act hatefully and arrogantly towards this particular sin, especially when it is obvious that all of us sin. Prayer, concern, testimony, and compassion do far more in this area than vehement condemnation. God’s Word and His Spirit will do the condemning if we let them. All sexual sins, not just this one, are an abomination to God and lead to judgment. Sexuality is a gift from God for mankind’s well-being, joy, and a stable society. But this powerful, God-given urge is often turned into rebellious, self-centered, pleasure-seeking, “more-for-me-at-any-cost” living (cf. Rom. 8:1–8; Gal. 6:7–8). (1 Timothy 1)

Craig Keener on homosexuality -  Although the ancient world knew of sexual preferences, it thought in terms of same-sex actions rather than orientation; Greek men often slept with other males as well as with women (see the article “Homosexual Activity in Antiquity,” p. 1950) (see related article). (See NKJV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: )

Johnny Sanders on homosexuality - This includes all expressions of homosexuality as well as all those things that would promote the homosexual lifestyle. There are few things that testify to the moral decline in America than the sin of homosexuality. Let us understand this before we go on: homosexuality is a sin, and it is a serious sin. We need to tell the world that. Sadly, we even need to tell the church that it is a sin. God loves the sinner; He sent His Son to die for all sinners, but He hates sin. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that an anti-sodomy law in Texas was unconstitutional. The Episcopal church has upset many of its members as well as others denominations by electing an open homosexual as a bishop. Spokesmen for the church went before the nation to explain that they had led in a number of changes and their member accepted them. They believed their members would accept this decision. Sean Hannity asked about what the Bible had to say and one of the priests replied, “We do not look to the Bible as our authority.” If you reject the Bible as your authority you open yourself to anything. (1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Barclay says kidnappers (violates Ex 20:15+) could be "slave-kidnappers": Slaves were valuable property....The kidnapping of specially beautiful or specially valuable and accomplished slaves was a common feature of ancient life.  (Ibid)

Utley has an interesting comment on kidnappers - This may be further evidence that the entire list parallels the Ten Commandments. This is a rabbinical interpretation of “thou shalt not steal” (cf. Ex 20:15; Dt. 5:19). The rabbis assert that it refers to kidnaping of slaves (cf. Ex 21:16; Dt. 24:7); however, the immediate context seems related to perverse sexuality (i.e. the sexual use of a slave girl, cf. Amos 2:7, or the use of young boys for homosexual perversity). (1 Timothy 1)

Hiebert on kidnappers - The crime of stealing children to be sold into slavery was common in Paul’s day. It is the worst form of thieving and is a violation of the eighth commandment.  (Everyman's Bible Commentary: First Timothy)

Johnny Sanders - Kidnapping is a serious crime. President George Bush addressed the nation to discuss the peace keeping efforts in Iraq and to challenge the nations of the world to do everything within their power to stop the slave traffic that is now a world wide problem. Young girls, and sometimes boys, are kidnapped and sold as sex slaves. In some Islamic countries, the children of Christians are taken and sold into slavery. Kidnapers have taken babies and children, and on occasion adults, and held them for ransom. We need to teach children from an early age that kidnaping is a sin. How often today do we hear that the kidnaper of a child is his/ her own parent? (1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Vine - For the crime of man stealing, for which the death penalty was inflicted.

Exodus 21:16+ “He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death. 

Deuteronomy 24:7+  “If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you. 

Barclay on liars...perjurers - men who did not hesitate to lie and to twist the truth to gain dishonourable ends  (Ibid)

Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD,
But those who deal faithfully are His delight. 
-- Proverbs 12:22

Lying is a serious sin (cf Jn 8:44) as indicated by the following passages...

Revelation 21:8+  “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” 

Revelation 22:15+ Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying

Vine on sound teaching - “The sound doctrine” is, more literally, “the healthful teaching.” The verb hugiainō, from which the English word “hygiene” is derived, signifies to be in good health, whether physically, as in Luke 5:31; 7:10; 15:27; 3 John 2, or, metaphorically, of one whose views are free from admixture of error, Titus 1:13; or sound also in Christian grace, Titus 2:2. Elsewhere, as here, it describes the incorruptness of the words and teaching of the faith, 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; 4:3, Titus 1:9; 2:1. It will be seen that this verb in its metaphorical use is confined to these three pastoral epistles. While it signifies the essential character of the doctrines of the faith and of the words of God, it also intimates their healthful effect upon the believer in maintaining his soul in holiness and purity.

MacArthur says that sound teaching "is the kind of teaching that produces spiritual life and growth, which implies that false doctrine produces spiritual disease and debilitation." (See MacArthur Study Bible )

Hiebert on sound teaching - The expression “sound doctrine” (here, 2 Tim. 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1) has reference not to its correctness or accuracy but rather describes its nature as healthy and wholesome. It carries an implied contrast to the diseased teaching of the ignorant law-teachers, to partake of which is to make one sick (6:4). But the Gospel teaching is healthy and is productive of spiritual health. (Everyman's Bible Commentary: First Timothy)

Sound Doctrine only used by Paul in the Pastoral Epistles - 1Ti 4:6 2Ti 4:3 Titus 1:9 Titus 2:1 (cf 1Ti 6:3)

1 Timothy 4:6 In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

Titus 1:9  holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. 

Titus 2:1  But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

1 Timothy 6:3 If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness,

Immoral (4205pornos from pernáo = sell in turn from peráō = to pass thru, as a merchant would do, passing thru and then coming to mean to sell) (see also study of related word porneia) means a fornicator, one who is sexually immoral or who commits sexual immorality. Pornos originally meant a "male prostitute" but came to be used in the universal meaning of "fornicator" or one who engages in sexual immorality, whether a man or a woman. A pornos in secular Greece was a person who prostituted themselves for gain.  Thayer = a man who prostitutes his body to another's lust for hire, a male prostitute, (Aristophanes), Xenophon, Demosthenes, Aeschines, Lucian); universally, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator (Vulgate fornicator, fornicarius (Rev. 22:15 impudicus).  10v - 1 Co. 5:9; 1 Co. 5:10; 1 Co. 5:11; 1 Co. 6:9; Eph. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 12:16; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8; Rev. 22:15

Homosexuals (733)(arsenokoites from arsen = male + koite = a bed) describes one who engages in same-sex activity, an adult male who practices sexual intercourse with another male. Only in 1Co 6:9 and 1Ti 1:10. Not in LXX. Wikipedia - sodomy

  • What does the Bible say about homosexuality? | GotQuestions.org
  • Is it possible to be a gay Christian? | GotQuestions.org
  • Can a person be born gay? | GotQuestions.org
  • Is it biblically allowable for a pastor to be gay? | GotQuestions.org
  • My spouse came out as gay. What should I do? | GotQuestions.org
  • How should Christian parents respond if one of their children comes out as gay? | GotQuestions.org
  • QUESTION - Does the Greek word arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (1Ti 1:10) really mean ‘homosexuals’ or something else?
    In 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 Paul lists some sinful lifestyles that give evidence that a person is not saved: “Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men . . . will inherit the kingdom of God.” In other words, a practicing, unrepentant idolater, adulterer, or homosexual is fooling himself if he thinks he is going to heaven. Christians are saved from such sins.

    There are some interpreters today who object to lumping homosexuals in with the other sinners listed in this passage. The wording “men who have sex with men” is unclear, they say, and should not be construed as a condemnation of all same-sex activity. In an attempt to make homosexual behavior compatible with Christianity, they attempt to redefine the Greek word.

    The phrase “men who have sex with men” (translated “homosexuals” in the NASB) is a translation of the Greek word arsenokoitai. Those who object to this translation say that arsenokoitai does not refer to all homosexual relationships but only to those involving abuse, coercion, or unfaithfulness. They say the word does not refer to “loving, faithful” same-sex relationships.

    Arsenokoitai is a compound word: arseno is the word for “a male,” and koitai is the word for “mat” or “bed.” Put the two halves together, and the word means “a male bed”—that is, a person who makes use of a “male-only bed” or a “bed for males.” And, truthfully, that’s all the information we need to understand the intent of 1 Corinthians 6:9.

    As in English, the Greek word for “bed” can have both sexual and non-sexual meanings. The statement “I bought a new bed” has no sexual connotation; however, “I went to bed with her” does. In the context of 1 Corinthians 6:9, koitai connotes an illicit sexual connotation—the apostle is clearly speaking of “wrongdoers” here. The conclusion is that the word arsenokoitai refers to homosexuals—men who are in bed with other men, engaging in same-gender sexual activity.

    The notion that some homosexual relationships are accepted is not even hinted at in this passage. The men’s commitment level or the presence of “love” is not addressed. The idea that the condemned same-sex activity is linked to economic exploitation or abuse is also a forced reading with no textual basis.

    Paul’s reference to “homosexuals,” together with a reference to “effeminate” men in the same verse (in the NASB), effectively covers both active and passive homosexual behavior. God’s Word is not open to personal interpretation in this matter. Homosexuality is wrong; it always has been, and it always will be.

    Just two verses later, 1 Corinthians 6:11 says, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (emphasis added). This statement negates the idea of “homosexual Christianity” being acceptable to God. Paul tells the Corinthian believers that practices such as homosexuality were evidences of their former life before Christ. Now they have been born again, and they have a new nature and new desires. The old nature remains, and the temptations continue, but child of God has been called to fight against sin, not live in it any longer. By the life-changing grace of God, the Corinthians’ new life stands in opposition to the way they used to live.

Kidnappers (405)(andrapodistes from andrapodon = a slave - from aner = man + pous = foot) one caught by the foot and then one enslaved.  It is related to andrapodon, used of slaves captured in war, and a derogatory term that distinguished slaves from cattle (tetrapoda) only by the number of their legs. Andrapodistēs is used of those who trafficked in human beings whether by enslaving free men or stealing the slaves of others for resale.  Hapax legomenon = only in 1Ti 1:10.

Perjurers (1965)(epiorkos from epi = upon + horkos = an oath akin to erkos = a fence, enclosure) sworn falsely, a perjurer,  of one who violates his oath.  Hapax legomenon = only in 1Ti 1:10. "Though the word is an adjective, it is more often used as a substantive meaning “a false oath” or “one who swears a false oath.” In the Iliad it is used to describe a vow made with good intentions but not kept because of interference from the gods (see Liddell-Scott). In general it means failing to tell the truth, even when testimony was backed by an oath, or failing to keep a promise that had been made with an oath. Its only Septuagintal use is found in Zechariah 5:3. The only use of the word in the New Testament is in 1 Timothy 1:10 where Paul included “perjurers” in a list of extreme examples of sinners who fell under the condemnation of the Old Testament law. The context suggests that epiorkos was a particularly flagrant violation of the Law’s provisions such as the command against taking God’s name in vain."  (Complete Biblical Library)

Liars (5583pseustes from pseudomai = to lie) is one who speaks falsehood, untruth, and so attempts to deceive. Thayer adds that pseustes describes "one who breaks faith, a false or faithless man." Webster's 1828 Dictionary - A person who knowingly utters falsehood; one who declares to another as a fact what he knows to be not true, and with an intention to deceive him. The uttering of falsehood by mistake, and without an intention to deceive, does not constitute one a liar.

Pseustes - 10v - Jn. 8:44; Jn. 8:55; Rom. 3:4; 1 Tim. 1:10; Tit. 1:12; 1 Jn. 1:10; 1 Jn. 2:4; 1 Jn. 2:22; 1 Jn. 4:20; 1 Jn. 5:10

Contrary (480antikeimai from antí = against, opposite + keimai = to be placed, to lie or be laid down) means literally to line up against or to lie opposite to, both ideas giving us a vivid picture of the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit in Galatians 5:17! Antikeimai - 8v - adversaries(1), contrary(1), enemy(1), opponents(3), opposes(1), opposition(1). Lk. 13:17; Lk. 21:15; 1 Co. 16:9; Gal. 5:17; Phil. 1:28; 2 Thess. 2:4; 1 Tim. 1:10; 1 Tim. 5:14

Sound (safe) (5198hugiaino verb from noun hugies = whole, healthy; English = hygiene, hygienic = making sick folk whole; figuratively right or accurate) means to be in good health, to be healthy and wholesome, referring to literal, physical health as in (Luke 7:10) Most of the NT uses of hugiaino are figurative, describing that which is free from admixture of error and generally referring to Christian teaching or doctrine which is to accurately or correctly reflect the Bible and God's will and way. True, incorrupt and unadulterated doctrine. Hugiaino speaks of teaching which is diametrically opposed to to the sickly, morbid, unpractical teaching of those who speak against the gospel. Isn't it sad that in our society, so many (even in the church) are health conscious and scrupulous about "soundness" of the food they eat, and yet they exhibit little concern for the integrity of the spiritual food they eat! The validity and power of the overseer's exhortation lies in its conformity to the great doctrines of divine revelation, not in his eloquence or charisma. Hugiaino is used more often in the NT in the figurative sense referring to various things (teaching, sound doctrine, words, the faith). When referring to doctrine hugiaino means doctrine that is sound (free from flaw, defect, decay, error, fallacy), correct, true, pure, free of error, uncorrupted. Hugiaino denotes the wholesomeness or healthiness of true Christian teaching which is “health-producing.”

Hugiaino - 12v with most uses in the Pastoral Epistles - Lk. 5:31; Lk. 7:10; Lk. 15:27; 1Ti 1:10; 1Ti 6:3; 2Ti 1:13; 2Ti 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1; Titus 2:2; 3Jn 1:2

Teaching (doctrine, instruction) (1319didaskalia from didasko from dáo = to know or teach) is either the act of teaching or the thing taught and in this use denotes doctrine or what is taught. (See lengthy discussion on the importance of doctrine) Didaskalia occurs 15x in the Pastorals and only 6x elsewhere. Matt. 15:9; Mk. 7:7; Rom. 12:7; Rom. 15:4; Eph. 4:14; Col. 2:22; 1 Tim. 1:10; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Tim. 4:6; 1 Tim. 4:13; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Tim. 6:1; 1 Tim. 6:3; 2 Tim. 3:10; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Tim. 4:3; Titus 1:9; Titus 2:1; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:10

QUESTION - Why is sound doctrine so important? See also associated video

ANSWER - Paul charges Titus, “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Such a mandate makes it obvious that sound doctrine is important. But why is it important? Does it really make a difference what we believe?Sound doctrine is important because our faith is based on a specific message. The overall teaching of the church contains many elements, but the primary message is explicitly defined: “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures [and] . . . he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is the unambiguous good news, and it is “of first importance.” Change that message, and the basis of faith shifts from Christ to something else. Our eternal destiny depends upon hearing “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Ephesians 1:13; see also 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

Sound doctrine is important because the gospel is a sacred trust, and we dare not tamper with God’s communication to the world. Our duty is to deliver the message, not to change it. Jude conveys an urgency in guarding the trust: “I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3; see also Philippians 1:27). To “contend” carries the idea of strenuously fighting for something, to give it everything you’ve got. The Bible includes a warning neither to add to nor subtract from God’s Word (Revelation 22:18-19). Rather than alter the apostles’ doctrine, we receive what has been passed down to us and keep it “as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13).

Sound doctrine is important because what we believe affects what we do. Behavior is an extension of theology, and there is a direct correlation between what we think and how we act. For example, two people stand on top of a bridge; one believes he can fly, and the other believes he cannot fly. Their next actions will be quite dissimilar. In the same way, a man who believes that there is no such thing as right and wrong will naturally behave differently from a man who believes in well-defined moral standards. In one of the Bible’s lists of sins, things like rebellion, murder, lying, and slave trading are mentioned. The list concludes with “whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:9-10). In other words, true teaching promotes righteousness; sin flourishes where “the sound doctrine” is opposed.

Sound doctrine is important because we must ascertain truth in a world of falsehood. “Many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). There are tares among the wheat and wolves among the flock (Matthew 13:25; Acts 20:29). The best way to distinguish truth from falsehood is to know what the truth is.

Sound doctrine is important because the end of sound doctrine is life. “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16). Conversely, the end of unsound doctrine is destruction. “Certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 1:4). Changing God’s message of grace is a “godless” thing to do, and the condemnation for such a deed is severe. Preaching another gospel (“which is really no gospel at all”) carries an anathema: “let him be eternally condemned!” (see Galatians 1:6-9).

Sound doctrine is important because it encourages believers. A love of God’s Word brings “great peace” (Psalm 119:165), and those “who proclaim peace . . . who proclaim salvation” are truly “beautiful” (Isaiah 52:7). A pastor “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).

The word of wisdom is “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28, NKJV). If we can apply this to sound doctrine, the lesson is that we must preserve it intact. May we never stray from “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).  GotQuestions.org

1 Timothy 1:11  according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:11 κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς δόξης τοῦ μακαρίου θεοῦ, ὃ ἐπιστεύθην ἐγώ.

Amplified  As laid down by the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

Barclay  that teaching which is in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God, that gospel which has been entrusted to me.

BBE  1 Timothy 1:11 Which may be seen in the good news of the glory of the great God, which was given into my care.

CSB  1 Timothy 1:11 based on the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was entrusted to me.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:11 according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:11 Moses' Teachings were intended to be used in agreement with the Good News that contains the glory of the blessed God. I was entrusted with that Good News.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:11 as ascertained by the gospel of the glory of the praiseworthy God, the gospel entrusted to me.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

NET  1 Timothy 1:11 This accords with the glorious gospel of the blessed God that was entrusted to me.

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

NJB  1 Timothy 1:11 that accords with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, the gospel that was entrusted to me.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

NLT (non-revised)  that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

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

Phillips  of the glorious gospel which the blessed God has given and entrusted to me.

REB  which conforms with the gospel entrusted to me, the gospel which tells of the glory of the ever-blessed God.

Wuest  according to the good news of the glory of the blessed God with which I was entrusted. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:11 according to the good news of the glory of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted.

  • According: Ro 2:16 
  • the glorious gospel : Ps 138:2 Lu 2:10,11,14 2Co 3:8-11 4:4,6 Eph 1:6,12 2:7 3:10 1Pe 1:11,12 
  • of the blessed God: 1Ti 6:15 
  • with which I have been entrusted: 1Ti 2:7 1Ti 6:20 1Co 4:1,2 1Co 9:17 2Co 5:18-20 Ga 2:7 Col 1:25 1Th 2:4 2Ti 1:11,14 2Ti 2:2 Titus 1:3 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

1 Timothy 6:15+ which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed (makarios) and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

2 Corinthians 4:4+ in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.


According to the glorious (doxa) gospel (euaggelion) of the blessed (makarios) God, with which I have been entrusted (pisteuo) - Literally - "the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.” One version paraphrases it "Moses' Teachings were intended to be used in agreement with the Good News" (GWT) In context (always the best guide to accurate interpretation) Paul had just described sound teaching and here relates it to the glorious Gospel. "Sound doctrine by definition is that which flows out of the gospel." (ESVSB) And so sound teaching is that which conforms to the Gospel (see other interpretation below). It is glorious because it is the supernatural power (dunamis) of God for salvation (soteria) (Ro 1:16+), for rescuing men and women from the evils described in 1Ti 1:9-10 and making them brand new creations in Christ (2Co 5:17+). The glorious Gospel prepares sinners for a glorious future because it alone has the power to rescue and deliver them from danger, destruction, peril and slavery to sin and the consequences of sin and to transfer them to a state of safety, health, well being and eternal preservation. This is the only passage that refers to God as the blessed God (but see Jesus "the Blessed Hope" - Titus 2:13+, cf 1Ti 6:15+), the One Who is forever the Sole Source of all blessings to men, all of whom deserve hell! It is difficult to describe how the Source of all blessing is Himself blessed, but one thought is that He possesses a perfect, eternal contentedness, a fullness of bliss, which is unaffected by circumstances of His creation. Regarding the verb entrusted, one does not usually entrust something of no value to another person. So imagine Paul as like a bank in whom God entrusted His glorious, priceless Gospel, expecting and knowing that His divine investment would yield eternal dividends in the form of countless human souls saved and sanctified bringing Him great glory! 

THOUGHT - God has entrusted every believer with the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. We are responsible for what we do with this Gospel treasure. Do we hoard it and hide it or hail it and "holler" it? Our job description as redeemed sinners is to be ambassadors of Christ taking His message of reconciliation to lost sinners (2Cor 5:18-21+). Will you (I) be found faithful?

Sharing the gospel is like one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.
-- Steven Cole

John MacArthur comments on the glorious gospel - "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 of punishment for violations of His law) and grace (forgiveness of sin). Those particular attributes are key to any effective gospel presentation. (See MacArthur Study Bible:)

The Gospel is glorious because it is from the “blessed God.”

Paul alluded to his being entrusted with the Gospel in other letters (note all of these uses of pisteuo are in the passive voice)

1 Corinthians 9:17+  For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship (oikonomia) entrusted (pisteuo  - perfect tense, passive voice)  to me.

Galatians 2:7+  But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted (pisteuo - perfect tense, passive voice) with the gospel (euaggelion) to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised

1 Thessalonians 2:4+ but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted (pisteuo - aorist tense, passive voice) with the gospel (euaggelion), so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.

Titus 1:3+  but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted (pisteuo - aorist tense, passive voice) according to the commandment of God our Savior, 

Other similar uses of pisteuo to mean entrust  - Lk 16:11 - who will entrust the true riches to you?; Ro. 3:2 - they were entrusted with the oracles of god

Paul was keenly aware of the treasure that had been entrusted to him and he passed this same sense of responsibility and accountability on to Timothy 

O Timothy, guard (phulasso in aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) what has been entrusted (paratheke) to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” (1Ti 6:20+

In his last communication Paul instructed Timothy "Guard (phulasso in aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey), through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted (paratheke)  to you." (2Ti 1:14+)

THOUGHT - Beloved, are you aware that you hold in your Bible a precious treasure, especially the Gospel? Will you be trustworthy? Will you pass it on to men and women who are otherwise destined for eternal fires of Gehenna (See Jonathan Edward's description To Help Your Conception of  Hell, if you dare - I found it difficult to read! See also eternal punishment.

Duane Litfin - Paul's yardstick of what is and what isn't sound teaching was the message of God's good news. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

W E Vine on glorious Gospel - the gospel and the Law are contrary to the same thing. Both pronounce condemnation upon sin, and what the apostle has just mentioned in verses 9 and 10 is confirmed by gospel testimony. In other words the phrase “according to the gospel” refers not simply to “the sound doctrine” at the end of verse 10, but to all that the apostle has stated. That the Law is not a means of eternal life, whereas the gospel is the appointed means, as in view here. (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

Wiersbe on glorious Gospel - It is the "glorious Gospel" that saves lost sinners. Paul had experienced the power of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16), and he had been entrusted with the ministry of the Gospel (1Th 2:4). Law and Gospel go together, for the Law without the Gospel is diagnosis without remedy; but the Gospel without Law is only the Good News of salvation for people who don't believe they need it because they have never heard the bad news of judgment. The Law is not Gospel, but the Gospel is not lawless (Ro 3:20-31). (See Be Faithful: It's Always Too Soon to Quit!)

R C H Lenski on glorious Gospel - God's [glory] is the sum of his attributes as they shine forth in effulgence. Here those attributes are especially to be thought of in which we see God's blessedness, the blessedness which he intends to have us share, for which the Gospel is the one means since it alone has the power to cleanse and renew such sinners as have just been named in a list of fourteen groups. In accord, then, with this gospel and in no other way may the law be lawfully used. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

William MacDonald has a third consideration - It is difficult to decide how this verse is connected with what has gone before. It may mean that the sound doctrine mentioned in verse 10 is according to the … gospel. Or it may mean that all that Paul has been saying about the law in verses 8–10 is in perfect agreement with the gospel which he preached. Or again, it may mean that all that Paul has been saying about false teachers in verses 3–10 is in accord with the gospel message. (Believer's Bible Commentary)

S Lewis Johnson on according to the glorious Gospel- He’s saying, for this is added to everything that proceeds in this little paragraph. He’s saying that everything that I have said is according to the gospel that was given me by divine revelation. That’s what he’s saying. He’s saying, “Everything that I have told you has come from God. It’s according to the gospel of the glory of God, which was committed to my trust.” And incidentally, do you notice that it was the gospel of the blessed God. He says the gospel tells us of God’s glory. It tells us of his power, of his majesty, of his compassion in the person and work of Jesus Christ. What does the Law tell us? Why, the Law tells us of man’s sinfulness. But the gospel tells us of the remedy in the compassion and saving ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Hiebert on glorious Gospel - It means the Gospel which manifests the glory of God, since it is the highest revelation of His nature and attributes. It sets forth and proclaims God’s glory....Paul was keenly conscious that his position as a commissioned messenger of the Gospel was not due to any personal merit or choice; it was a divine trust to him. This concluding reference to that fact is appropriate in a passage where he is opposing his own teaching to that of the false teachers and vouches for its wholesomeness. (First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Steven Cole on glorious Gospel -  Literally “according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, ...” God’s glory is the splendor of His attributes. The gospel reveals God’s glory--His love, righteousness, mercy, grace, wisdom, and power. God is described as “the blessed God” (1Ti 6:15 is the only other time this phrase occurs in the Bible). This does not refer to men blessing God, but rather to the fact that God is in and of Himself blessed (or truly happy). He is perfect in Himself. The source of all true happiness and joy is found in God through the gospel.

Marvin Vincent - The appearing of the glory of God in Jesus Christ is the contents of the gospel. Comp. Titus 2:13....The ἐγώ (ego) "I" emphatically asserts the authority of Paul against the "teachers of the law" (1Ti 1:7).(1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe makes an excellent point that "Law and Gospel go together, for the Law without the Gospel is diagnosis without remedy; but the Gospel without Law is only the Good News of salvation for people who don’t believe they need it because they have never heard the bad news of judgment. The Law is not Gospel, but the Gospel is not lawless (Ro 3:20–31). (See The Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

MacArthur adds "To use the law lawfully is to use it according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God. The law, since it shows men their sin, is a necessary part of the gospel. If there were no bad news that men were lost sinners, there could be no good news of Christ’s redemption. The gospel is glorious because it reveals God’s glory, His attributes. One of those attributes is holiness, which involves hatred of sin. Another is justice, which demands punishment when His law is violated. Any gospel that ignores the law and sin is not the true gospel, since it does not reflect God’s attributes. (See 1 & 2 Timothy Commentary)

Expositors says: “Inasmuch as unsound teaching had claimed to be a gospel (Gal. 1:6), St. Paul finds it necessary to recharge the word with its old force by distinguishing epithets. The gospel had become impoverished by heterodox associations. The gospel with which St. Paul had been entrusted, was the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.… And this glory, although primarily an attribute of God, is here and elsewhere treated as a blessed state to which those who obey the gospel may attain, and which it is possible to miss (Ro 3:23, 5:2, 15:7).”

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - According to or "this" (as in 1Ti 1:11NET) A continuation of the preceding idea: Grk “teaching, according to the gospel.” This use of the law is in accord with the gospel entrusted to Paul (cf. Ro 7:7–16; Gal 3:23–26). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.

H. A. Ironside begins his discussion of 1Ti 1:12-17: “There is tremendous power in Christian testimony. All who are saved are not called to be preachers; all do not have the gift of teaching. But all who have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ ought to have something to say about the great change that comes into the life when Christ is received as Saviour and owned as Lord”

The writers of the New Testament adapted the term Gospel as God's glorious message of salvation for lost otherwise hopeless, helpless sinners. Euaggelion is found in several combination phrases, each describing the gospel like a multifaceted jewel in various terms from a different viewpoint (from the NASB, 1977):

  1. the gospel of the kingdom (Mt 4:23+, Mt 9:35+, Mt 24:14+)
  2. the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mk 1:1+) because it centers in Christ
  3. the gospel of God (Mk 1:14+, Ro 15:16+, 2Co 11:7+, 1Th 2:2+, 1Th 2:8,9+, 1Pe 4:17+) because it originates with God and was not invented by man
  4. the gospel of the kingdom of God (Lu 16:16+)
  5. the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24+, Ro 1:1+),
  6. the gospel of His Son (Ro 1:9+)
  7. the gospel of Christ (Ro 15:19+, 2Co 2:12+, 2Co 9:13+, 2Co 10:14+, Gal 1:7+, Phil 1:27+, 1Th 3:2+)
  8. the gospel of the glory of Christ (2Co 4:4+)
  9. the gospel of your salvation (Eph 1:14+)
  10. the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15+)
  11. the gospel of our Lord Jesus (2Th 1:8+)
  12. the glorious gospel of the blessed God (1Ti 1:11+)
  13. In Ro 16:25, 26+ Paul called it “my Gospel” indicating that the special emphasis he gave the gospel in his ministry.
  14. An eternal gospel - Rev 14:6+ (Some writers such as C I Scofield interpret this as a "different gospel" than the other "gospels" mentioned above but I think such a distinction is incorrect and is poorly substantiated).

For a rewarding study, study the preceding references in context making notation of the truth you observe about the gospel. If you would like a special blessing, take an afternoon to go through all 76 uses of euaggelion in context making a list of what you learn about the gospel. The Spirit of God will enlighten your heart and encourage your spirit in a very special way...and you'll want to share the "good news" with someone because of your "discoveries"!

Euaggelion - Matt. 4:23; Matt. 9:35; Matt. 24:14; Matt. 26:13; Mk. 1:1; Mk. 1:14; Mk. 1:15; Mk. 8:35; Mk. 10:29; Mk. 13:10; Mk. 14:9; Mk. 16:15; Acts 15:7; Acts 20:24; Rom. 1:1; Rom. 1:9; Rom. 1:16; Rom. 2:16; Rom. 10:16; Rom. 11:28; Rom. 15:16; Rom. 15:19; Rom. 16:25; 1 Co. 4:15; 1 Co. 9:12; 1 Co. 9:14; 1 Co. 9:18; 1 Co. 9:23; 1 Co. 15:1; 2 Co. 2:12; 2 Co. 4:3; 2 Co. 4:4; 2 Co. 8:18; 2 Co. 9:13; 2 Co. 10:14; 2 Co. 11:4; 2 Co. 11:7; Gal. 1:6; Gal. 1:7; Gal. 1:11; Gal. 2:2; Gal. 2:5; Gal. 2:7; Gal. 2:14; Eph. 1:13; Eph. 3:6; Eph. 6:15; Eph. 6:19; Phil. 1:5; Phil. 1:7; Phil. 1:12; Phil. 1:16; Phil. 1:27; Phil. 2:22; Phil. 4:3; Phil. 4:15; Col. 1:5; Col. 1:23; 1 Thess. 1:5; 1 Thess. 2:2; 1 Thess. 2:4; 1 Thess. 2:8; 1 Thess. 2:9; 1 Thess. 3:2; 2 Thess. 1:8; 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 2:8; Phlm. 1:13; 1 Pet. 4:17; Rev. 14:6

Glorious (1391doxa from dokeo = to think) in simple terms means to give a proper opinion or estimate of something. Glory is something that is a source of honor, fame, or admiration. It describes renown, a thing that is beautiful, impressive, or worthy of praise. It follows that the glory of God expresses all that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts. He is glorified when He is allowed to be seen as He really is. To be where God is will be glory. To be what God intended will be glory. To do what God purposed will be glory. Doxa in the Pastoral Epistles - 1Ti 1:11, 1Ti 1:17, 1Ti 3:16, 2Ti 2:10, 2Ti 4:18, Titus 2:13.

Gospel (2098euaggelion from  = good + aggéllo = proclaim, tell) is literally good news or glad tidings. In the NT euaggelion is used only of God's message of salvation in three senses (1) act of proclamation (preaching the gospel) (1Cor 4:15), (2) the work of evangelization (spread of the gospel) (Phil 4:3), (3) the content of the message as an offer of salvation (good news) (Ro 1:16) (Adapted from Friberg - Analytical Lexicon). BDAG sums it up as (1) God’s good news to humans, good news as proclamation (2) details relating to the life and ministry of Jesus = good news of Jesus (Mk 1:1) (3) details relating to the life and ministry of Jesus = good news of Jesus (Mt 1:1) In secular Greek it originally referred to a reward for good news and later became the good news itself. The word euaggelion was commonly used in the first century as our words "good news" today. The idea is something like this - “Have you any good news (euaggelion) for me today?” This was a common question in the ancient world. In ancient secular Greek euaggelion described good news of any kind and prior to the writing of the New Testament, had no definite religious connotation in the ancient world until it was taken over by the "Cult of Caesar" which was the state religion and in which the emperor was worshipped as a god (see more discussion of this use below). Our English word Gospel is from the Old English or Saxon word gōdspell (gōd = good + spell = message) which is literally "good tale, message". When I was a young man Godspell was actually the name of a popular musical play (See description). I doubt if they really understood the meaning of this word they were attempting to portray. Euaggelion in the Pastoral Epistles - 1 Tim. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 2:8

Euaggelion is found in several combination phrases, each describing the Gospel like a multifaceted jewel in various terms from a different viewpoint (from NASB77):

  • the Gospel of the kingdom (Mt 4:23+)
  • the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mk 1:1+) - it centers in Christ
  • the Gospel of God (Mk 1:14+) - it originates with God and was not invented by man
  • the Gospel of the kingdom of God (Lk 16:16+)
  • the Gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24+),
  • the Gospel of His Son (Ro 1:9+)
  • the Gospel of Christ (Ro 15:19+)
  • the Gospel of the glory of Christ (2Co 4:4+)
  • the Gospel of your salvation (Ep 1:13+)
  • the Gospel of peace (Ep 6:15+)
  • the Gospel of our Lord Jesus (2Th 1:8+)
  • the glorious Gospel of the blessed God (1Ti 1:11)
  • In Ro 16:25, 26+ Paul called it “my Gospel” indicating that the special emphasis he gave the Gospel in his ministry.

Blessed (3107makarios from root makar, but others say from mak = large or lengthy) means to be happy, but not in the usual sense of happiness based on positive circumstances. It normally refers to the privileged recipient of divine favor, those characterized by transcendent happiness and joy. It describes being fully satisfied no matter circumstances. Differs from ''happy'' = person with good ''luck'' from the root hap = luck as a favorable circumstance. From the Biblical perspective Makarios describes the person who is free from daily cares and worries because his every breath and circumstance is in the hands of His Maker Who gives him such an assurance (such a "blessing"). Blessed describes the state or condition of the believer it refers to the spiritually prosperous state of that person who is the recipient of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, Who ministers/dispenses these blessings as the believer yields to Him and fully depends on Him (i.e., walks in the Spirit, controlled by the Spirit).

Entrusted (4100pisteuo means means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. Here in 1Ti 1:11, pisteuo is in the passive voice and refers to committing something to someone, to entrust  (see above). It means to give over something to another for care, protection, or performance, to invest or charge with a duty, responsibility. 

1 Timothy 1:12  I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,

BGT  1 Timothy 1:12 Χάριν ἔχω τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν, ὅτι πιστόν με ἡγήσατο θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν

Amplified  I give thanks to Him Who has granted me [the needed] strength and made me able [for this], Christ Jesus our Lord, because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy, appointing me to [this stewardship of] the ministry.

Barclay I give thanks to Jesus Christ, our Lord, who has filled me with his power, that he showed that he believed that he could trust me, by appointing me to his service, 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:12 I give praise to him who gave me power, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he took me to be true, making me his servant,

CSB  1 Timothy 1:12 I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry--

ERV  1 Timothy 1:12 I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, appointing me to his service;

ESV  1 Timothy 1:12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord that he has trusted me and has appointed me to do his work with the strength he has given me.

KJV  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;

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,

Lenski   Grateful am I to him that enabled me, to Christ Jesus, our Lord, that he considered me faithful, appointing me for service, 

MIT  1 Timothy 1:12 I have received grace in the one who empowered me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy, putting me into ministry.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:12 I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.

NET  1 Timothy 1:12 I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful in putting me into ministry,

NIV  1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength. By calling me into his service he has judged me trustworthy,

NLT  1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,

NLT (non-revised)  How thankful I am to Christ Jesus our Lord for considering me trustworthy and appointing me to serve him, 

Phillips I am deeply grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord (to whom I owe all that I have accomplished) for trusting me enough to appoint me his minister, 

Wuest - I am constantly grateful to the One who endued me with the necessary strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because He deemed me trustworthy, having placed me in service,(Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:12 And I give thanks to him who enabled me -- Christ Jesus our Lord -- that he did reckon me stedfast, having put me to the ministration,

  • I thank Christ Jesus our Lord: John 5:23 Php 2:11 Rev 5:9-14 Rev 7:10-12 
  • Who has strengthened me: 1Co 15:10 2Co 3:5-6 4:1 2Co 12:9-10 Php 4:13 2Ti 4:17 
  • because He considered me faithful: Ac 16:15 1Co 7:25 
  • putting me into service: 1Ti 1:11 Ac 9:15 Col 1:25 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 9:15,22+ But the Lord said to him (ANANIAS), “Go, for he (SAUL/PAUL) is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel....But Saul kept increasing in strength (endunamoo - imperfect tense, passive voice) and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 

1 Cor 7:25 Now concerning virgins I have no command of the Lord, but I give an opinion as one who by the mercy of the Lord is trustworthy.

Colossians 1:23+ if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister (diakonos). 

Colossians 1:25+ Of this church I was made a minister (diakonos) according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,

Acts 20:24+  “But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry (diakonia) which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. 

1 Corinthians 3:5+  What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants (diakonos) through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one.

2 Corinthians 4:1+ Therefore, since we have this ministry (diakonia), as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,

Ephesians 3:7  of which I was made a minister (diakonos), according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.


Paul had just mentioned being entrusted with the glorious Gospel, a thought that evoked a chorus of thanksgiving and praise as he goes on to describe his relationship to the glorious Gospel, giving his own testimony which serves to illustrate the life transforming effect of the Gospel, in contrast to the vanity and futility of the false teaching. 

Hiebert explains Paul's purpose in this next section (1Ti 1:12-17) - "This outburst of praise for the mercy shown him and his appointment to God’s service is an elaboration of the concluding expression of the preceding paragraph. “The glory of the message of Christianity shone ever so brightly before him that he could hardly think of his position as a divinely appointed herald of it, as compared with his former attitude of antagonism (v. 13), without magnifying anew the mercy shown to him (vv. 14–17)” (Lilley)."  This development of his relation to the Gospel is characteristic of Paul (cf. 1Co 15:9–10; Eph. 3:8; Col. 1:23–25). But this is not simply an unrelated digression, the writer going off on a tangent at a favorite thought. Amid apparent digression he is building up his case for the Gospel against the false teachers. His own case is the best illustration of the true relation of the law to the Gospel and clearly shows how deep is the contrast between the Gospel and the speculations of these false teachers. His soul is stirred to its depth as he thinks of the folly of these men and their perversion of the Gospel which has done so much for him. Failure on his part to oppose them would have been a practical denial of his own experience and apostolic commission. This personal testimony will strengthen Timothy in the execution of his task in regard to these false teachers."

I thank (charis)  Christ (ChristosJesus (Iesous) our (Paul and Timothy's) Lord (kurios) - "This is one of the rare occasions when Paul directs his prayer to Christ instead of the Father" (Utley) It is most likely he specifically thanks Christ because it was Christ Who met him on the Damascus road and called him into his service (cf Acts 9:1-16+). The word order is thanks before grace = "Thanks I have (echo in the present tense)" or "Thanks I continually possess" (only possible in a Spirit filled person which Paul was!). In short, Paul continually had an attitude of gratitude.  Keep the context in mind that Christ was willing to use him for ministry in spite of his prior persecution of believers. Amazing grace indeed! (THOUGHT - How often do I thank God for His showing me mercy and grace in my sinful state?)

Utley - This type of doxology that seems to break into the context is characteristic of Paul’s writing. Expressing his theology often caused him to burst into praise and thanksgiving.  (1 Timothy 1)

Never Get Over the Privilege of Your Position in Serving Him.
-- Don Anderson

Who has strengthened (endunamoo) me - KJV = "enabled" (see following note). The Lord Jesus Christ strengthened or empowered  Paul with His Spirit and His grace (cf 2Co 12:9+, 2Ti 2:1+) when He called him into service (cf Acts 9:15,22+). Note he did not give Paul a little "help," as if Paul just needed a little push to serve Christ. The truth is that none of us are "able" unless He enables us (cf the difference between enable and help). To the Corinthians Paul wrote "by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." (1Co 15:10+). He was saved by grace and continued to minister by grace. He was saved by the power of the Spirit and ministered by the power of the Spirit. He daily depended on divine enablement. Paul understood that the service he carried out for the Lord was supernaturally enabled writing "Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (Jn 6:63, Ro 8:6)." (2Cor 3:5-6+). Paul came to learn the supreme truth that "I (present tense - continually) can do all things through Him Who (endunamoo in present tense - continually) strengthens me." (Php 4:13+). Note - Paul is 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible) Paul's responsibility was to respond to God’s ability.

THOUGHT - We have all been given a spiritual gift (1Pe 4:10-11+) and so all have been called into the Lord's service in some capacity (cf 1Co 12:18+). This begs at least two questions "Are we fulfilling His ministry through us? Are we ministering in His strength or our strength?" The former will be fruitful, the latter is guaranteed to be futile! Jesus made it clear that we must continually abide in Him, for apart from His strength we can do absolutely nothing of eternal value (Jn 15:5, 16). How are you doing beloved? Are you tired (doing it in your strength) or are you triumphing (doing it in His strength)? Are you complaining about the place of service to which He has appointed you?

God never calls a person without enabling him or her. 

Because He considered (hegeomai) me faithful (pistos) putting me into service (diakonia) - Amplified = "because He has judged and counted me faithful and trustworthy," Wuest = "because he deemed me trustworthy." Because (term of explanation) explains why Paul is continually grateful. Faithful speaks of steadfast fidelity. So in spite of Paul's prior unbelief (apistia in 1Ti 1:13) Jesus graciously counted him faithful (pistos)! Paul was not chosen because he was already trustworthy. He was chosen because Jesus knows "the beginning and the end" (Rev 22:13+) and therefore knew Paul could be entrusted with the treasure of His glorious Gospel (1Ti 1:11) and be His chosen instrument to bear His Name before the Gentiles (Acts 9:15+, cf Ro 11:13). Jesus saw that Paul's heart would be completely His (see 2Chr 16:9). In fact God "had set (Paul) apart even from (his) mother’s womb and called (him) through His grace." (Gal 1:15+) Note that Paul did not say He gave him an apostleship but appointed him (cf  "I was appointed..." in both 1Ti 2:7+; 2Ti 1:11+) to service, which often speaks of lowly, humble service (cf waiting on tables - Acts 6:2+). Paul was in a sense "inducted" into the "armed services," into the army of the Lord (cf 2Ti 2:3-4+) to carry the banner of the Gospel of Christ far and wide (Ro 15:19+). A servant receives orders from the master and obeys from the heart without hesitation or complaint (cf Eph 6:6+). So the primary qualification of ministry/service for the Lord is not eloquence, intelligence or charisma, but faithfulness, trustworthiness and dependability (cf 1Cor 4:1+, Lk 16:10+). This qualification for service to the Lord has not changed in the last 2000 years.

THOUGHT - Are you faithful to the calling to which you have been called by the Lord? If so, be sure He will use you mightily for His glory and honor. If you are not being used by the Lord, you might want to examine your heart (Ps 139:23-24), your level of commitment (cf 2Cor 13:5+).

Remember also that God is more interested in your availability, than He is in your ability. In fact the enigmatic, paradoxical principle is that He wants our weakness, not our strength! (cf 1Cor 2:3+, 2Co 11:30+, 2Cor 12:9-10+, Heb 11:34+)

Bell - God made a missionary out of a murderer -- Paul’s life was a living trophy of Christ’s transforming power! (COROLLARY - His desire for each of our lives is to make us trophies of His amazing grace, for then, He Alone can receive the glory while at the same time we have have the surpassing privilege of bringing honor to His Name. See 1Pe 1:17+, Eph 5:16+, James 4:14+, Ps 102:11, Ps 144:4, Ps 39:5) 

Barclay on service - It was to Paul an amazing thing, that he, the arch-persecutor, had been chosen as the missionary and the pioneer of Christ. It was not only that Jesus Christ had forgiven him; it was that Christ had trusted him. Sometimes in human affairs we forgive a man who has committed some mistake or who has been guilty of some sin, but we make it very clear that his past makes it impossible for us to trust him again with any responsibility. But Christ had not only forgiven Paul, He had entrusted him with His work to do. The man who had been the persecutor of Christ had been made the ambassador of Christ.....Plutarch tells that when a Spartan won a victory in the games, his reward was that he might stand beside his king in battle. A Spartan wrestler at the Olympic games was offered a very considerable bribe to abandon the struggle; but he refused. Finally, after a terrific effort, he won his victory. Someone said to him: “Well, Spartan, what have you got out of this costly victory you have won?” He answered: “I have won the privilege of standing in front of my king in battle.” His reward was to serve and, if need be, to die for his king (cf Acts 20:24+). It was for service, not honour, that Paul knew himself to be chosen. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

R Kent Hughes - Paul, an untamable tiger, met the Lion of the tribe of Judah at the Damascus off-ramp! He renounced persecuting the church to become a major player in the drama of world evangelization. (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

W E Vine - The fact that the ministry of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” was committed to his trust leads the apostle immediately to burst out in praise to God, especially in view of his former antagonism to Christ and His saints. Both the intrinsic worth of the gospel and the grace bestowed upon him form the inspiration of this doxology. (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

MacDonald -  1Ti 1:12–17 seem to illustrate the lawful use of the law from Paul’s own experience. The law was not to him a way of salvation, but rather a means of conviction of sin....The emphasis is not on what Saul of Tarsus did for the Lord but what the Lord did for him. The apostle could never get over the wonder that the Lord Jesus not only saved him but counted him faithful, appointing him to His service. The law could never have shown such grace. Rather, its inflexible terms would have condemned the sinner Saul to death.  (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Steven Cole on service -  Do you view yourself every bit as much a minister as I am? Do you view your job as a means of supporting yourself so that you can serve Jesus? You say, “But I’m not sure that I can do that!” But notice (1:12), the Lord strengthened Paul, and He will strengthen you to serve Him. He wants you to be faithful.  The aim of the gospel is not to get a bunch of people to be churchgoers for an hour and a half on Sundays. It’s aim is to transform sinners into servants of Jesus, who live 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so that they might serve Him.

Hendriksen - Paul acknowledges his gratitude to Christ for three closely related benefits: a. for having imparted strength to him (he calls Christ his Enabler or Qualifier), b. for having judged him to be trustworthy or reliable, and c. for having "appointed" - this combines destination and duty (cf. N.T.C. on 1Th 5:9) - him to the "ministry" (of the apostleship), a service rendered to the Lord in the spirit of love and personal devotion (for that is the meaning of the word diakonia; see Eph. 4:12; Col. 4:17; Heb. 1:14; on 1Th 3:2. For the technical sense see on 1Ti 3:10). Of course, these three ideas blend into one. It may be paraphrased as follows, "I thank him, Christ Jesus our Lord, my Strength-Imparter (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9; Phil. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:17), who in His sovereign mercy considered me trustworthy - looking not at what I was in myself but at what His grace was doing within me (cf. 1Co 4:7; Ep 2:8), and accordingly for His own purpose appointed me to the ministry of the apostolic office." The enabling, the favorable judging, and the appointing were simultaneous. They all occurred when Paul was converted on the way to Damascus. See his own vivid accounts in Acts 9:15, 16; Acts 22:1-21; Acts 26:16-18; cf. Acts 13:1-4; 1Th. 2:4.  (The Pastoral Epistles)

Not Ashamed (Faithful)
Philip Henry, calling one day upon a tanner, found him so absorbed in tanning a hide, that he did not notice his pastor's approach until he tapped him on the shoulder. The man in confusion said, "Sir, I am ashamed you found me thus."

"Nay," replied Philip Henry. "May the Lord Jesus, when He comes, find me discharging with the same faithfulness, the duties of my calling."

A Missionary's Equipment.
By J. Hudson Taylor Missionary to China.
    A life yielded to God and controlled by His Spirit
    A restful trust in God for the supply of all needs
    A sympathetic spirit
    A willingness to take a lowly place
    Tact in dealing with people
    Adaptability toward circumstances
    Zeal in service
    Steadfastness in discouragement
    Love for communion with God and for the study of His word
    Some experience and blessing in the Lord's work at home
    A healthy body and vigorous mind 

Oswald Chambers - The Base 1 Timothy 1:12

The Real Thanks of the Worker
    And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord . . .

Everything that God has created is like an orchestra praising Him. “All Thy works shall praise Thee.” In the ear of God everything He created makes exquisite music, and man joined in the paean of praise until he fell, then there came in the frantic discord of sin. The realisation of Redemption brings man by way of the minor note of repentance back into tune with praise again. The angels are only too glad to hear that note, because it blends man into harmony again (see Luke 15:10).
Praising God is the ultimate end and aim of all we go through. “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth Me.” What does it matter whether you are well or ill! whether you have money or none! It is all a matter of indifference, but one thing is not a matter of indifference, and that is that we are pleasing to the ears of God.
Paul had got back again by way of repentance into tune with God (cf. 1 Timothy 1:13), and now he has his base as a worker in thanksgiving to Christ Jesus; his whole life has been brought into perfect relation to God.

The Realised Test of the Worker
    who hath enabled me . . .

The test of the worker is that he knows he has been enabled by the Lord Jesus, therefore he works and learns to do it better all the time. The realisation that my Lord has enabled me to be a worker keeps me strong enough never to be weak. Conscious obtrusive weakness is natural unthankful strength; it means I refuse to be made strong by Him. When I say I am too weak it means I am too strong; and when ever I say “I can’t” it means “I won’t.” When Jesus Christ enables me, I am omnipotently strong all the time. Paul talks in paradoxes, “for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

The Recognised Truth by the Worker
    for that He counted me faithful . . .

To recognise that my Lord counts us faithful removes the last snare of idealising natural pluck. If we have the idea that we must face the difficulties with pluck, we have never recognised the truth that He has counted us faithful; it is His work in me He is counting worthy, not my work for Him. The truth is we have nothing to fear and nothing to overcome because He is all in all and we are more than conquerors through Him. The recognition of this truth is not flattering to the worker’s sense of heroics, but it is amazingly glorifying to the work of Christ. He counts us worthy because He has done everything for us. It is a shameful thing for Christians to talk about “getting the victory”; by this time the Victor ought to have got us so completely that it is His victory all the time, not ours. The overcoming referred to in the Book of the Revelation is not the personal overcoming of difficulties but the overcoming of the very life of God in us while we stand resolutely true to Him.

The Responsible Trust of the Worker
    . . . putting me into the ministry.
The ministry is, the “glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” If I am going to be loyal to that trust, it will mean I must never allow any impertinent sensitiveness to hinder my keeping the trust. My trust is the glorious gospel for myself and through me to others, and it is realised in two ways: in the perfect certainty that God has redeemed the world, and in the imperative necessity of working on that basis with everyone with whom I come in contact (cf. Colossians 1:28-29). (Approved Unto God)

Thankful For A Place In Service

I 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" 

When I graduated from college I remember one of my classmates being thrilled that he was called to pastor a church. He had a place of service and rejoiced in it. I assume, knowing the classmate, that he also thanked God for the place of service just as Paul was doing in our text. Paul thanks God for three aspects of His Service.

"Hath enabled me." God never calls a person without enabling him or her. If you lack the enabling, you are not in His calling. As an example, if you think God has called you to the field of music and you haven't the slightest ability in any area of music, forget it. God is not calling you. God enables by experience, ability, and desire. Some are in the ministry because they were impressed with the glamour (to them) of the position. That is not the basis for assuming a call. Some like to use the pulpit to 'bully' people and tell them their shortcomings. They can holler and stomp and wave their arms in public speaking, but that is no call to the ministry. There is more to the ministry than that and those that are called are enabled. Paul thanks God for his enabling. All are not enabled the same for all are not called to the same task. Do not complain about your enabling or lack thereof for that is being critical of God. Thank God for your enabling and use it to serve Him.

"Counted me faithful." This is something to really be thankful for. If God says you are faithful, you are faithful. Covet to be esteemed by God and when He approves thank Him for it. Faithfulness is so essential to serving the Lord. You may be of service to man and not be faithful, but God will not use you if you are not faithful. "It is required in steward, that a man be found faithful" (I Corinthians 4:2). And faithfulness begins in small matters first. (Luke 16:10). If you are not serving the Lord in the capacity that you would like maybe the problem is your lack of faithfulness.

"Having put me into the ministry." We need to thank God for our placement rather than complain about it. The word "ministry" involves in its meaning, 'labor.' God will put you in a place to labor for Him. Wherever God places you, it is to labor, to work. It may not be a famous place, rather it may be a lowly place. But labor faithfully there and thank God for the place of service. Everyone is not put into the ministry, some are put elsewhere. God decides and enables, not man. But wherever God puts you thank Him for it and serve earnestly and faithfully. "Many be called but few chosen" (Matthew 20:16; 22:14). Many go out for football but only a few make the team. Paul made the team, and thanked God for it. Don't fuss about your position. Thank Him that you made the tea (Sermon Starters)

Thank (grace) (5485charis [see also note above on charis] is used sometimes (as in 1Ti 1:12) as a verbal thank offering to God, an attitude of gratitude, response to generosity or beneficence, thanks (similar uses of charis meaning thanks = Lk 17:9, 1Cor 15.57; 2Co 9.15, 2Ti 1:3, Heb 12:28,  Ro 6:17; Ro 7:25; 1Cor 10:30). The word charis, first means favor, and then that which is the effect of grace, whether the spiritual condition resulting (Ro 5:2, 7), a special gift of grace (1Pe 1:10, 13) or as in this passage thanks for a favor or benefit received. 

Strengthened (1743endunamoo from en = in + dunamoo = strengthen) in simple terms means to put power in (like a car needs gas for power) and thus to make strong or vigorous, to strengthen (active voice) or to be (passive voice) strengthened, enabled or empowered. It most often refers to spiritual or moral strengthening Acts 9:22; Ro 4:20; Eph. 6:10; Phil. 4:13; 1Ti 1:12; 2Ti 2:1; 2Ti 4:17

Ephesians 6:10+  Finally, be strong (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in the Lord and in the strength of His might.

2 Timothy 2:1+ You therefore, my son, be strong (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:17+ But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.

Considered (regarded) (2233hegeomai from ago = to lead, carry, bring) has two basic meanings in the NT. One is to lead as one would do in a supervisory capacity as when describing men in any leading position - ruler, leader, governor (Acts 7:10+) and stands opposite of a diakonos or servant in (Lk 22:26+). In the apocryphal writings hegeomai was used of military commanders. It was also used to describe leaders of religious bodies, both pagan and Christian (latter in Heb 13:7, 17, 24, "leading men" in Acts 15:22+, "chief speaker" in Acts 14:12+). In secular Greek hegeomai was used to describe the pagan god Hermes as "the leader of the word." The other sense (used here in 1Ti 1:12) is  to think, deem, consider, regard, especially making a decision after weighing the facts or circumstances (Acts 26:2; 2Cor 9:5; Phil 2:3; Phil 3:8; Heb 10:29; Jas 1:2)

Faithful (4103pistos from peitho = to persuade - induce one by words to believe, have confidence) is something or someone who is worthy of faith or keeps promises and is applied to God, humans, His Word, etc Pistos means dependable (worthy of reliance or trust), trustworthy, steadfast, unswerving.  Pistos is one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Mt 24:45). Hence, trustworthy (2Ti 2:2). Of things that can be relied upon (2Ti 2:11). 

Service (1248diakonia is probably derived from dioko = to pursue, "to be a follower of a person, to attach one's self to him:" - note on origin is from Vincent.) means the rendering or assistance or help by performing certain duties, often of a humble or menial nature serve, including such mundane activities as waiting on tables or caring for household needs—activities without apparent dignity. Diakonia is related to diakonos, a servant, not in his relation (like doulos) but more in regard to his activity. The term covers both slaves and hired servants. The basic idea has to do with humble, submissive, personal service, not simply with an office or a particular function. Diakonia - 1Ti 1:12, 2Ti 4:5, 2Ti 4:11.

God's Delight

When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them. — Matthew 9:36

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

A Scottish preacher spoke of evangelism as a fellowship of reconciled, forgiven sinners who don’t simply preach but live out their faith. They also offer to others the same reconciliation and forgiveness they have received from God.

The apostle Paul expressed the same conviction: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). Once a blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, Paul believed that God’s mercy was shown to him, the worst of sinners, as an example to other sinners who would later believe on Christ (1Ti 1:16).

Whenever we testify that God has forgiven us and provided eternal life through faith in Christ, we’re declaring that God is a saving God. Yet, when we observe destructive lifestyles among people, it’s easy to write them off. Instead, we should look at them as Christ does. “When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them” (Matthew 9:36).

Jesus said He came not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). Rather than condemning people, we should say, “Who am I to condemn others, when God has forgiven me so generously?” God delights to use forgiven sinners to reach other sinners. By:  Joanie Yoder  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Love is giving for the world's needs,
Love is sharing as the Lord leads,
Love is caring when the world cries,
Love is compassion with Christlike eyes.

To love sinners is to be like Jesus.

Not Good Enough

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. — Isaiah 1:18

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

A friend told me recently of a young mother who was trying to explain her father’s death to her 4-year-old. The girl wondered where Grandpa was. “I’m sure he’s in heaven,” the mother answered, “because he was very good.” The girl replied sadly, “I guess I won’t be in heaven.” “Why not?” her mother asked in surprise. “’Cause I’m not very good.”

The story saddened me, as I’m saddened when I hear of others who believe they must be very good to get into heaven, especially since we all know deep down in our hearts that we’re not very good at all.

Perhaps like this little girl you’re thinking about your sins and asking, “What must I do to get to heaven?” The answer has already been given: Jesus, by His death, has paid in full the price of your sins, no matter how sordid, tawdry, or shameful they may be. Your salvation is free.

God promises, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18). John Donne writes:

Or wash thee in Christ’s blood, which hath this might,
That being red, it dyes red souls to white.

No one is good enough to get into heaven. Eternal life is a gift. Receive Jesus by faith. By:  David H. Roper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The perfect righteousness of Christ
Is free to everyone,
But we by faith must take that gift
And trust God’s precious Son.
—D. De Haan

No one is good enough to save himself;
no one is so bad that God cannot save him.

Tell Your Story

Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue; I will proclaim Your greatness. — Psalm 145:6NLT

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Timothy 1:12-20

Michael Dinsmore, a former prisoner and relatively new Christian, was asked to give his testimony in a prison. After he spoke, some inmates came to him and said, “This is the most exciting meeting we’ve ever been to!” Michael was amazed that God could use his simple story.

In 1 Timothy, after Paul had charged Timothy to stay the course preaching the gospel (1:1-11), he shared his personal testimony to encourage the young man (vv.12-16). He told about God’s mercy in his own life. Paul said that he had mocked the Lord, but He changed him. In His mercy, God not only counted him faithful and gave him a job to do, but He also enabled him to do His work (v.12). Paul considered himself the worst of sinners, but God saved him (v.15).

The Lord is able! That is what Paul wanted Timothy to see, and what we need to see too. Through Paul’s testimony, we see God’s mercy. If God could use someone like Paul, He can use us. If God could save the worst of sinners, then no one is beyond His reach.

Our story of God’s work in our lives can encourage others. Let those around you know that the God of the Bible is still at work today! By:  Poh Fang Chia  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Father, thank You for the salvation You offer and that no one, including me, is beyond the reach of Your mercy, grace, and transforming power. Help me share my story with others so that people can see Your love.

No one is beyond the reach of God’s love.

My Real Face

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.1 Timothy 1:12

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Timothy 1:12–17

For years, feelings of unworthiness and shame over my less-than-godly past had an adverse impact on every aspect of my life. What if others discovered the extent of my blemished reputation? Though God helped me muster up courage to invite a ministry leader to lunch, I strived to seem perfect. I scrubbed my house spotless, whipped up a three-course meal, and donned my best jeans and blouse.

I rushed to turn off the front-yard sprinklers. Twisting the leaking nozzle, I screamed when a gush of water drenched me. With towel-dried hair and smeared makeup, I changed into dry sweat pants and a T-shirt . . . just in time to hear the doorbell. Frustrated, I confessed my morning’s antics and motives. My new friend shared her own battles with fear and insecurity stemming from guilt over past failings. After we prayed, she welcomed me to her team of God’s imperfect servants.

The apostle Paul accepted his new life in Christ, refusing to deny his past or let it stop him from serving the Lord (1 Timothy 1:12­–14). Because Paul knew Jesus’s work on the cross saved and changed him—the worst of sinners—he praised God and encouraged others to honor and obey Him (vv. 15–17).

When we accept God’s grace and forgiveness, we’re freed from our past. Flawed but fiercely loved, we have no reason to be ashamed of our real faces as we serve others with our God-given gifts. By:  Xochitl Dixon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, thanks for eliminating our shame and insecurities as You use us to serve You, no matter what our life looked like before You saved us.

God accepts us as we are,
and changes us as we serve Him in love.

1 Timothy 1:13  even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;

BGT  1 Timothy 1:13 τὸ πρότερον ὄντα βλάσφημον καὶ διώκτην καὶ ὑβριστήν, ἀλλὰ ἠλεήθην, ὅτι ἀγνοῶν ἐποίησα ἐν ἀπιστίᾳ·

Amplified Though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and was shamefully and outrageously and aggressively insulting [to Him], nevertheless, I obtained mercy because I had acted out of ignorance in unbelief.

Barclay although I was formerly an insulter, a persecutor and a man of insolent and brutal violence. But I received mercy from him, because it was in ignorance that I acted thus, in the days when I did not believe. 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:13 Though I had said violent words against God, and done cruel acts, causing great trouble: but I was given mercy, because I did it without knowledge, not having faith;

CSB  1 Timothy 1:13 one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:13 though I was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: howbeit I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief;

ESV  1 Timothy 1:13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:13 In the past I cursed him, persecuted him, and acted arrogantly toward him. However, I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in my unbelief.

KJV  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.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:13 In an earlier stage of my life, I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, an arrogant man, but I was accorded mercy because what I did was done in ignorance resultant from unbelief.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:13 I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.

NET  1 Timothy 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief,

NIV  1 Timothy 1:13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:13 even though I used to be a blasphemer and a persecutor and contemptuous. Mercy, however, was shown me, because while I lacked faith I acted in ignorance;

NLT  1 Timothy 1:13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.

NLT (non-revised)   even though I used to scoff at the name of Christ. I hunted down his people, harming them in every way I could. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,

Phillips despite the fact that I had previously blasphemed his name, persecuted his Church and insulted him. I believe he was merciful to me because what I did was done in the ignorance of a man without faith. 

REB  although in the past I had met him with abuse and persecution and outrage. But because I acted in the ignorance of unbelief I was dealt with mercifully;

Wuest  though I was the very one who heretofore was a reviler and a persecutor and an insolent, destructive person. But I was shown mercy because, being ignorant, I acted in unbelief. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:13 who before was speaking evil, and persecuting, and insulting, but I found kindness, because, being ignorant, I did it in unbelief,

  • even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor: Ac 8:3 Acts 9:1,5,13 Acts 22:4 Acts 26:9-11 1Co 15:9 Ga 1:13 Php 3:6 
  • Yet I was shown mercy: 1Ti 1:16 Ho 2:23 Ro 5:20,21 Ro 11:30,31 Heb 4:16 1Pe 2:10 
  • because I acted ignorantly in unbelief: Nu 15:30 Lu 12:47 Lk 23:34 Jn 9:39-41 Ac 3:17 Acts 26:9 Heb 6:4-8 Heb 10:26-29 2Pe 2:21,22 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 8:3+ But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

Acts 9:1; 5; 13+ Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, (9:5) And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,...(9:13) But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;

Acts 22:4+  “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons,

Acts 26:9-11+ “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 “And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 “And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to foreign cities

1 Corinthians 15:9+  For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

Galatians 1:13+  For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it;

Philippians 3:6+ as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. 

Numbers 15:30+ ‘But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off from among his people.

Luke 12:47+ “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,

Luke 23:34+  But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

John 9:39-41 And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.” 40 Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.

Acts 3:17+ “And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also.


Even though I was formerly (proteros) a blasphemer (blasphemosand a persecutor (dioktes) and a violent aggressor (hubristes - "bully") - Don't miss the opening words even though which illustrates the principle that where Paul's sin abounded, God's grace abounded even more. (Ro 5:20+) When the jeweler shows off the precious diamond, he places it against a black velvet cloth, so that the beauty and luster is accentuated. In the same way, Paul now (even though) describes his dark past to highlight the beauty of the abundant grace that was bestowed on him. A blasphemer (blasphemos) is one who slanders God and here presumably refers to his denying the deity of Jesus and even attempting to force others to deny Christ. Paul's pre-conversion "curriculum vitae" should make any sinner (regardless of their sin) hopeful that they too can be rescued from darkness and transferred to the kingdom of light (Col 1:12-13+) as was Saul/Paul. Recall Saul/Paul was even a willing witness to the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts 7:58+ and Acts 8:1+. But Saul/Paul did not stop there but "began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison." (Acts 8:3+). And in Acts 9:1-2+ Luke describes that "Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem." 

Barclay on violent aggressor (hubristes) - It indicates a kind of arrogant sadism; it describes the man who is out to inflict pain for the sheer joy of inflicting it. The corresponding abstract noun is hubris which Aristotle defines: “Hubris means to hurt and to grieve people, in such a way that shame comes to the man who is hurt and grieved, and that not that the person who inflicts the hurt and injury may gain anything else in addition to what he already possesses, but simply that he may find delight in his own cruelty and in the suffering of the other person.”

A. T. Robertson explained that “Threatening and slaughter had come to be the very breath that Saul breathed, like a warhorse who sniffed the smell of battle.”

Yarbrough on persecutor - The resurrected Jesus accused Paul of persecuting him (Acts 9:5), and Paul recounts the stinging accusation and its basis repeatedly thereafter (Acts 22:4, 7–8; 26:11, 14–15; cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13, 23; Phil 3:6). His blasphemous character was matched by an activist commitment to bring physical force to bear against what he perceived as violation of God’s commands and will....Paul could have said more, but he has written enough to confirm how thoroughly unworthy he was of anything but the law’s penalty, since he had broken it so flagrantly precisely in his religious zealotry. He exceeded the false teachers who were twisting the law at Ephesus in his violation of it. But something happened to him, which he now moves to underscore to Timothy. He is not a better man than the false teachers (nor is Timothy). But they have met the one who delivers from the potentially destructive effects of humans enforcing religious tradition and morality by their own best lights. (The Letters to Timothy and Titus)

Spurgeon - He was a down-right, thorough-going blasphemer, who also caused others to blaspheme. From blasphemy, which is a sin of the lips, Saul proceeded to persecution, which is a sin of the hands. Hating Christ, he hated his people too. He was also injurious, which I think Bengel considers to mean that he was a despiser; that eminent critic says “blasphemy was his sin towards God, persecution was his sin towards the church, and despising was his sin in his own heart.” He was injurious—that is, he did all he could to damage the cause of Christ, and thereby injured himself. He kicked against the pricks, and by doing so injured his own conscience. Having sinned thus grievously Paul makes a full record of his guilt in order that he may magnify the grace which saved even the chief of sinners.  Note here, before we come to the special purpose we have in view, that godly men never think or speak lightly of their sins. When they know that they are forgiven, they repent of their iniquities even more heartily than before. They never infer from the freeness of grace, the lightness of sin, but quite the contrary; and you shall find it as one trait in the character of every true penitent that he is rather inclined to blacken himself than to whitewash his transgressions. He sometimes speaks of himself in terms which others think must be exaggerated, though to him, and indeed to God, they are simply true. You have probably read biographies of John Bunyan in which the biographer says that Bunyan laboured under a morbid conscientiousness, and accused himself of a degree of sin of which he was not guilty. Exactly so, in the view of the biographer, but not so in the view of John Bunyan, who, startled into sensitiveness of conscience, could not find words strong enough to express all his reprobation of himself. Job said once, “I abhor myself.” That is a very strong expression, but, when he saw his own sin in the presence of God, the man of whom the Lord said unto Satan, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil,” the man against whom the devil himself could not bring an accusation, yet says that when he saw God, the brightness of the divine holiness made him so conscious of his sin that he exclaimed, “Now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Those who have seen the exceeding sinfulness of sin by the light of the Holy Spirit, and who have been made truly penitent, are the last persons to speak lightly of evil. They dwell upon their own criminality with many terms to set forth how greatly they have felt it. (1 Timothy 1:13 I Was Before)

Yet I was shown mercy (eleeo in divine passive) because I acted (poieo) ignorantly (agnoeo) in unbelief (apistia) -  Yet is one of those great terms of contrast (change of direction) in Scripture (cf But God in Eph 2:4+), for when he was advancing toward catastrophe, God's Spirit stepped in and threw him a "rope of mercy!" Literally it could be read "I was mercied!" Mercy is God's "sovereign benevolence" (Yarbrough). Paul is not saying that his ignorance and unbelief were the grounds of God's mercy, but that God graciously granted him what he needed, not what he deserved (TRUE OF ALL OF US!)(cf. Acts 3:17-20+). Paul again mentions that he found mercy in speaking of his conversion below (1Ti 1:16). It is good for all of us to keep mercy in our remembrance because we sin every day and thus are in need of and benefactors of His mercy daily (yea, in my case, continually)! And the Lord's Supper gives us a perfect opportunity to ponder the wonder of our salvation for as our Lord commanded of both the bread and the wine "Do (present imperative) this in remembrance of Me." (1Cor 11:24, 25+). As an aside, Paul frequently alludes to mercy in his writings - Ro 9:15 (2x), Ro 9:18; 11:30, 31, 32; 1Co 7:25; 2Co 4:1; Phil 2:27; 1Ti 1:16.

MacArthur Mercy differs from grace in that grace removes guilt, while mercy takes away the misery caused by sin. Paul received the undeserved relief of misery that accompanies saving grace. (See The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Hiebert on acted ignorantly - His ignorance did not excuse him. Ignorance is itself part of the result of sin and is itself sinful. But he had not deliberately acted against better convictions, stubbornly hardened his heart, or willfully resisted the Holy Spirit. He had acted in blind unreasoning prejudice, mistakenly thinking he was thereby doing God a service (Acts 26:9). (First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Duane Litfin: “Willful disobedience triggers God’s wrath (Num. 15:22-31; Heb. 10:26). But God deals gently with the ignorant and misguided (Heb. 5:2) (Bible Knowledge, p. 732). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Wiersbe - What did Paul’s “ignorance” have to do with his salvation? Is ignorance an excuse before God? Of course not! The fact of his ignorance is related to a special Jewish law (Lev. 5:15–19+; Num. 15:22–31+). If a person sinned knowingly “with a high hand” in Israel, he was cut off from the people. But if he sinned in ignorance, he was permitted to bring the proper sacrifices to atone for his sins. Jesus recognized this principle when He prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Their ignorance did not save them, nor did Christ’s prayer save them; but the combination of the two postponed God’s judgment, giving them an opportunity to be saved. (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary:)

John Piper - Jesus totally took over on the Damascus road. He was not responding to anything Paul had done to win God’s grace. It was utterly sovereign—that means it was utterly free and unmerited and that it came with overwhelming authority and power. Whatever resistance Paul might have been able to put up against this sovereign grace gave way before the triumphant love of God. (Overflowing Grace for All Who Believe)

Utley on ignorantly - In the OT, sins of ignorance could be forgiven by sacrifice (cf. Lev. 16). In Romans Paul clearly asserts that God holds humans responsible for the light they have. An example of this truth is that before the Mosaic Law, God did not hold humans responsible for violating its precepts (cf. Acts 17:30; Rom. 3:20, 25; 4:15; 5:13, 20; 7:5, 7–8; 1 Cor. 15:56). This same truth is also seen in those who have never heard the gospel (cf. Rom. 1:18–2:29). They are responsible for the light they have (from creation, Rom. 1:18–23 and an inner moral witness, Rom. 2:14–15). This is called “natural revelation” as opposed to “special revelation” (i.e. the gospel). (1 Timothy 1)

S Lewis Johnson ignorantly  -  He is not saying in this statement that his ignorance gave him claim on God’s mercy, but simply that his ignorance put him within the pail of the operation of God’s mercy. What he is saying is that it was not willful sin against light that I was committing, though of course I was sinning. I thought that I was doing God’s service in my fighting against the Christian faith, but I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And by virtue of the fact that I was not willfully disobedient to light that had been given to me, I obtained mercy. I think immediately of the statement made by the Lord Jesus, when he was hanging upon the cross, in which he, speaking with reference to the people who were about the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them,” or let them go,” because they do not know what they are doing.” Now, we’ve talked about that before, and what the Lord Jesus meant by that was not that ignorance is an excuse, but simply that ignorance is reason for the delay of the execution of judgment. And so, his prayer was “Father, let them go.” Release them. Give them opportunity to respond, because they do not know what they are doing. Paul is saying much the same thing here. “I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

Steven Cole on ignorantly - God does not save us because of any worthiness on our part. It is all of His mercy and grace. When Paul says (1:13) that he was shown mercy because he “acted ignorantly in unbelief,” he does not mean that he somehow deserved it. He means that he had not willfully rejected the light he had been shown. Scripture draws a distinction between a person who sins in ignorance and one who willfully rejects the light God has revealed to him. The former may be shown mercy, but the latter is in danger of losing the light he has been shown and may be hardened beyond repentance (Num. 15:22-31; 2 Chron. 36:15-16; Prov. 29:1; Heb. 10:26-27; 12:15-17). Thus Paul does not in any way suggest that he merited God’s favor. Rather, it was quite the opposite. 

Craig Keener has an interesting note on ignorantly  -  Ancient thinkers usually regarded ignorance as mitigating guilt, though not eliminating it. (See Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible)

Note that even though Paul acted ignorantly, he was still guilty of sin and thus (like all of us) a "debtor to mercy alone!" Paul would have enjoyed Augustus Toplady's hymn (with slight changes by Bob Kauflin) A Debtor to Mercy Alone...

A debtor to mercy alone,
Of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
My person and offering to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
With me can have nothing to do;
My Savior's obedience and blood
Hide all my transgressions from view

The work which His goodness began,
The arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is yea and amen,
And never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
Not all things below nor above
Can make Him His purpose forego,
Or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains
In marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the earnest is given
More happy, but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven.

I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy.

The great glory of the story of the apostle Paul is knowing what he had been before seeing what he became. The greatest enemy of the Lord Jesus Christ in the first century became His greatest servant, most trusted apostle, and a faithful friend. The same hand that wrote out indictments of heresy against the early church was the hand that wrote the letters upon which the early church was based and ultimately spread. The heart that rejoiced when Stephen was stoned to death became a heart that rejoiced at the privilege of suffering for Christ’s sake. The noble statements of theology in Romans, the sweet lyrics of Christian love in 1 Corinthians 13, and the desire to reach the regions beyond with the gospel all came from the former persecutor of Christ and His church.
If ever there was any evidence of the transforming power of the gospel, it is seen in the life of Saul the persecutor who became Paul the apostle. Hopefully that same gospel has transformed you as well. If so, like Paul, may you ask the Lord today, “What do You want me to do?” (Sanctuary)

John MacArthur - History abounds with stories of dramatic conversions that testify to that fact. One such story is about a nineteenth-century South African named Afrikaner, a chief of the Hottentot tribe. He was a hardened, vicious warrior. He and his men were the terror of South Africa. He was so dangerous that the governor of Cape Town offered a large reward for him—dead or alive. Into the scene stepped Robert Moffat, a young Scottish missionary. Believing that God had called him to preach the gospel to the Hottentots, he sought them out. The first person converted under Moffat’s ministry was Afrikaner. His was a remarkable testimony to God’s saving grace. Billy Sunday was a hard-drinking professional baseball player in the early days of the sport. Walking down the street one day in Chicago with several of his teammates, he came across a man preaching on a street corner. They stopped to mock the preacher, but something he said struck a responsive chord in Billy Sunday’s heart. He embraced Jesus Christ as his savior and went on to become a noted evangelist. The list is endless. It includes Martin Luther, a former Roman Catholic monk, John Newton, a former slave trader, and Charles Colson, a former White House aide to President Richard Nixon. It even includes former skeptics such as Lew Wallace, Frank Morison, and C. S. Lewis. In my own church I have seen alcoholics, drug addicts, murderers, adulterers, thieves, fornicators, homosexuals, and even a former motorcycle gang leader give their lives to Christ. The Bible records the conversions of the maniac at Gadara, the despised tax collector and traitor to his people Matthew, blind Bartimaeus and his friend, the adulterous Samaritan woman, Zacchaeus, the Roman centurion at the crucifixion, Cornelius, the Ethiopian eunuch, the Philippian jailer, and Lydia, among others. But of all the conversions ever recorded none was more remarkable than that of Saul of Tarsus. (See 1 Timothy Commentary)

Formerly (first) (4387proteros from pró = forth, before) means prior (earlier in time or order), previous (going before in time, implying existing or occurring earlier), of an earlier time, all pertaining to a point of time earlier in a sequence. Proteros refers to a period of time preceding another period of time. Before (at an earlier time), formerly; first, first of all; at first, the first time, originally.

Blasphemer (989blasphemos from bláx = sluggish, slow, stupid + phémē = rumor, fame; see related blasphemeo) is an adjective which means speech that is insulting, slanderous, scurrilous, blasphemous, abusive, reproachful, defaming, denigrating, demeaning. As a noun in 1 Ti 1:13 = blasphemer. To revile means to spread negative information about someone. Blasphemos describes those who rail and reproach with harsh, denigrating, demeaning insults directed against God and man alike. 

Persecutor (1376)(dioktes from dioko - to put to flight, pursue, by impl. to persecute) persecutor, one who is preoccupied with causing others to suffer. Only 1Ti 1:13 = Hapax legomenon. In secular writing dioktes was used of a foreman at a quarry who is a virtual slave driver. "Murderous threats were the very breath of his life (Acts 9:1NIV)" (Wiersbe) The root verb dioko is used by Paul in 1Cor 15:9+ "For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted (dioko) the church of God.." 

Violent aggressor (5197hubristes from hubrizo = act with insolence, including physical mistreatment [Mt 22:6; Lk 18:32; Acts 14:5; 1Th 2:2] + hubris = arrogance, primarily denotes wantonness, insolence; then, an act of wanton violence, an outrage, injury) refers to an insolent persecutor of others. It is the man who is violent, insolent (insultingly contemptuous in speech or conduct) and who mistreats from the pleasure which affliction of wrong brings him. It is like a bully who "throws his weight around," intimidating others. Only in Ro 1:30 and 1Ti 1:13 

Shown mercy  (1653eleeo from eleos) means “to feel sympathy with the misery of another, especially such sympathy which manifests itself in action, less frequently in word.” Describes the general sense of one who has compassion or person on someone in need. It indicates being moved to pity and compassion by tragedy and includes the fear that this could happen to me. To see someone in dire need (including one who may not deserve the misfortune), to have compassion on them, and to give help to remove the need.

Acted (4160poieo primarily translated with the idea of to DO (to bring to pass, to carry out, to bring about, to accomplish), to MAKE (to construct or fashion something out of existing material) to PERFORM.

Ignorantly (50agnoeo from a = not + noéo = perceive, understand) not have information about, to not know, to not understand (Mk 9:32, Lk 9:45), to be unaware of, to not recognize (Ac 13:27), to be ignorant of (to lack information concerning something). Agnoeo conveys the nuance of lacking the ability to understand in He 5:2 and of inexcusable moral/ethical ignorance (even disregard) in Ro 10:3).

Unbelief (570apistia from a = without + pistós = believing, faithful) means literally not believing = faithlessness, distrust, lack of belief. It describes an unwillingness to commit oneself to another or respond positively to the other’s words or actions. Apistia - 11v - Matt. 13:58; Mk. 6:6; Mk. 9:24; Mk. 16:14; Rom. 3:3; Rom. 4:20; Rom. 11:20; Rom. 11:23; 1 Tim. 1:13; Heb. 3:12; Heb. 3:19

My Heart Condemns Me

If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. — 1 John 3:20

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Do you sometimes feel guilty and unworthy because of something you did years ago? You have confessed it and asked God to forgive you, but the memory of it still haunts you.

I empathize with you. Feelings of guilt still sweep over me when I recall how I failed an elderly, childless woman while I was training for the ministry. She was a regular customer in a store where I worked part-time. After a while, I became a friend and spiritual counselor to her and her husband. I even conducted his funeral.

When I moved to a nearby town to become a student pastor, I lost touch with her. I intended to contact her but kept procrastinating. One day I saw her obituary notice. I was overwhelmed with grief and confessed my sin to God.

More than 30 years after Paul’s conversion, he referred to the time when he had been “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Tim. 1:13). He even called himself the “chief” of sinners (v.15). Yet he repeatedly exulted in the certainty that he was a forgiven sinner.

God, who is greater than our heart and knows us thoroughly (1 John 3:20), has forgiven us for the sins we’ve confessed (1:9). We can believe Him! By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Come now to the fountain of cleansing,
Plunge deep in its life giving flow.
His mercy and grace are sufficient,
His pardon He longs to bestow.

Confession to God always brings His cleansing.

1 Timothy 1:14  and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:14 ὑπερεπλεόνασεν δὲ ἡ χάρις τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν μετὰ πίστεως καὶ ἀγάπης τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ.

Amplified And the grace (unmerited favor and blessing) of our Lord [actually] flowed out superabundantly and beyond measure for me, accompanied by faith and love that are [to be realized] in Christ Jesus.

Barclay But the grace of our Lord rose higher than my sin, and I found it in the faith and love of those whose lives are lived in Jesus Christ. 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was very great, with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

CSB  1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:14 Our Lord was very kind to me. Through his kindness he brought me to faith and gave me the love that Christ Jesus shows people.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:14 But the grace of our Lord superabounded, along with faithfulness, and love in Christ Jesus.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:14 Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

NET  1 Timothy 1:14 and our Lord's grace was abundant, bringing faith and love in Christ Jesus.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:14 but the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:14 Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus.

NLT (non-revised)  Oh, how kind and gracious the Lord was! He filled me completely with faith and the love of Christ Jesus.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Phillips Our Lord poured out his grace upon me, giving me tremendous faith in, and love for, himself. 

REB  the grace of our Lord was lavished upon me, along with the faith and love which are ours in Christ Jesus.

Wuest  Moreover, the grace of our Lord superabounded together with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:14 and exceedingly abound did the grace of our Lord, with faith and love that is in Christ Jesus:

  • And the grace  of our Lord: Ac 15:11 Ro 16:20 2Co 8:9 13:14 Rev 22:21 
  • was more than abundant: Ex 34:6 Isa 55:6-7 Ro 5:15-20 1Co 15:10 Eph 1:7,8 1Pe 1:3 
  • with the faith and love: Lu 7:47-50 1Th 5:8 2Ti 1:13 1Jn 4:10 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 5:15-20  But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.  18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

1 Thessalonians 5:8  But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

And the grace (charis) of our Lord (kurios) was more than abundant (huperpleonazo, with the faith (pistis) and love (agape) which are found in Christ (ChristosJesus (Iesous) -  Note he begins and the grace which connects with the bestowal of mercy in 1Ti 1:13, implying that the Lord acted in grace when He demonstrated mercy. Yarbrough adds "He had acted faithlessly and indeed culpably (1Ti 1:13). But as the result of God’s mercy, grace abounded."  But to be accurate, notice that the first word in the Greek text is huperpleonazo (abundant) which places emphasis of the overflowing plentitude of the grace of Christ. Paul deserved justice but received mercy and undeserved grace even though he was a guilty sinner. "Grace gushed across Paul’s blasphemy and violence like water scouring offal from a polluted floor, cleansing him from those and all other transgressions." (Yarbrough) Indeed, God's undeserved favor superabounded or overflowed in more than sufficient quantity to cover all his many sins (and mine! cf 2Cor 12:9+). Grace is God’s saving power which produces an entirely new life marked by faith and love in Christ (paraphrased from Marshall) Faith and love overflow from the Lord's abundant grace and are found in the sphere of (locative of sphere) Christ Jesus. As Hiebert phrases it "In Christ Jesus is the sphere in which they live, move, and have their being." This faith and love stand in striking contrast to the unbelief and hatred found in Paul's prior life. Another way to look at faith and love is that when Paul received mercy (1Ti 1:13), that act was brought about by the Lord’s superabounding grace, and that experience of grace produced a life marked by faith and love so that faith and love were abundant as well as grace. In sum, when grace abounds, faith and love likewise abound. Faith and love are also found in Christ Jesus in 2Ti 1:13+ (cf "the breastplate" in 1Th 5:8+).

R Kent Hughes on more than abundant - The words suggest an overflowing supply. This is, in fact, the verse from which John Bunyan titled his book Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners.(See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)

Steven Cole on more than abundant  - God’s grace flooded over Paul like ocean waves that keep coming and coming without end.

W E Vine on faith and love - These qualities of faith and love are “in Christ Jesus”; while exercised by the believer they find their center in Him, and their exercise is possible only through union with Him....Faith is the inward, and love the outward, expression of the bestowment of grace and its realization.

Wiersbe - God in His mercy did not give Paul what he did deserve; instead God in His grace gave Paul what he did not deserve. Grace and mercy are God’s love in action, God’s love paying a price to save lost sinners. It is not God’s love alone that saves us, for God loves the whole world (John 3:16). It is by grace that we are saved (Eph. 2:8–9) because God is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4) and grace (Eph. 2:7). (See Wiersbe Bible Commentary)

I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why unworthy, Christ in love,
Redeemed me for His own.

John MacArthur has an excellent "descriptive definition" of grace - Grace may be defined as God’s loving forgiveness, by which He grants exemption from judgment, and the promise of temporal and eternal blessing to guilty and condemned sinners freely, without any worthiness on their part, and based on nothing they have done or failed to do.... Paul loved to add huper (abundant huperpleonazo) to words to intensify them. He gives us insight into the surpassing measure of God’s grace, which is greater than man’s sin (Ro 5:20+), and sufficient to meet all our needs (2Co 9:8+).....Faith and love are frequently linked with salvation in the New Testament (cf. Eph. 1:15; 3:17; Col. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:3; 3:6; 5:8; 2 Thess. 1:3; Philem. 5), since they are part of the salvation package. A true Christian is marked by continuing faith (Col. 1:23) and love (1 John 3:14). God’s grace is so abundant that it includes not only salvation, but the faith and love that accompany it. (See 1 Timothy MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

    Great God of Wonders
In wonder lost, with trembling joy,
    We take the pardon of our God;
    Pardon for crimes of deepest dye,
    A pardon bought with Jesus’ blood:

    Who is a pardoning God like Thee?
    Or who has grace so rich and free?
-- Samuel Davies

More than abundant (5250)(huperpleonazo from huper = above + pleonazo  = superabound as in Ro 5:20, Ro 6:1) means to abound exceedingly. Only 1Ti 1:13 = Hapax legomenon. Gilbrant - This verb rarely occurs in the classical Greek literature or papyri. It is not found in the Septuagint. Huperpleonozō is a strengthened form of pleonazō, “abound.” Huperpleonazō occurs once in the New Testament, in 1 Timothy 1:14. In this verse the apostle said that the Lord’s grace superabounded toward him. Ordinary words could not express how great that grace was and is. Thus the apostle added a preposition to an already strong verb to lay greater emphasis on the exceedingly abundant grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Complete Biblical Library)


“The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:14).

The apostle has just been speaking of his guilty past as a blaspheming persecutor, and in using the above words he proves conclusively that he was saved only by the GRACE of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. In this short but most suggestive account of Saul’s salvation we note the—

1. Means. “GRACE.” “Where sin abounded grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). It is the nature of Divine grace to flood all the depths and to overflow all the heights of a sinner’s need. “By grace are ye saved” (Eph. 2:8).

2. Source. “The grace of OUR LORD.” “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). He loved us, and gave Himself for us.

3. Fulness. “It was EXCEEDING ABUNDANT.” Far above what we ask or think. In this ocean fulness of infinite mercy there is room enough for the chief of sinners. “Exceeding abundant.” Who can fathom it? “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9).

4. Channel. “IN CHRIST JESUS.” It is through Him that the renewing of the Holy Ghost is shed on us abundantly (Titus 3:5, 6). There is but one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. By Him also He made the worlds.

5. Accompaniments. “WITH FAITH AND LOVE.” The grace of God which bringeth salvation, bringeth with it faith and love, without which salvation could not be received and enjoyed. The begetting of faith and love in the heart is part of that grace which is exceeding abundant (Eph. 2:7–9). Faith lays hold on, and love constrains to serve and adore.

ILLUSTRATION - An artist once submitted a painting of Niagara Falls to an exhibition but neglected to give it a title. The gallery came up with the whimsical words, “More to Follow.” Niagara Falls, which has been spilling over billions of gallons per year for thousands of years and has more than met the needs of those below, is a fit emblem for the floods of God’s grace. There always is more to follow, or as James so beautifully says, “he gives us more grace” (James 4:6a+). There always is more grace. Martin Luther wrote:

Just as the sun is not darkened by the whole world enjoying its light, and could, indeed, light up ten worlds; just as 100,000 lights might be lit from one light and not detract from it; just as a learned man is able to make a thousand others learned, and the more he gives, the more he has—so is Christ, our Lord, an infinite source of all grace, so that if the whole world would draw enough grace and truth from it to make the world all angels, yet it would not lose a drop; the fountain always runs over, full of grace.

There is no hyperbole here. Paul expressed the facts with careful precision at the end of Romans 5 when he said, “But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20, 21). There is no conceivable accumulation of sin that grace cannot overflow. Grace increases the more we need it, and there is always “more to follow”! (See R Kent Hughes 1–2 Timothy and Titus )

The Heart Of Christmas

The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. — 1 Timothy 1:14

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol was released on December 19, 1843, and has never been out of print. It tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a wealthy, sour, stingy man who says, “Every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas,’ on his lips, should be boiled with his own pudding!” Yet, one Christmas Eve, Scrooge is radically changed into a generous and happy man. With great humor and insight, Dickens’ book captures the universal longing for inner peace.

As a young man, the apostle Paul opposed Jesus and His followers with a vengeful spirit. He “made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). But one day he encountered the risen Christ, and his life became a different story (Acts 9:1-16).

In a letter to Timothy, his son in the faith, Paul described that life-changing event by saying, even though he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man . . . the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 1:13-14).

Jesus was born into our world and gave His life so that we can be forgiven and transformed through faith in Him. This is the heart of Christmas! By:  David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
That hath made heaven and earth of naught,
And with His blood mankind hath bought.
—English carol

A change in behavior begins with Jesus changing our heart.

Guilty Of Plenty

The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant. — 1 Timothy 1:14

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

A man was filling out a job application when he came to the question “Have you ever been arrested?” He wrote, “No.” The next question, intended for people who had answered “Yes” to the previous question, was “Why?” The applicant answered it anyway: “I never got caught.” He evidently knew he was guilty of plenty!

So was the apostle Paul. He knew he had personally done wrong and sinned against God. He wrote, “I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (1 Tim. 1:13). He even called himself the “chief ” of sinners (1Ti 1:15).

We too were once separated from the Lord because of our sin and were considered His enemies (Rom. 5:10; Col. 1:21). But when we confessed our sin and acknowledged our need for His forgiveness, He cleansed us and made us new.

Those of us who have known the Lord for many years may have the tendency to forget what we’ve been rescued from and forgiven of. Sharing about our past and current failures and giving praise to God for forgiveness will help us not to come across as “holier-than-thou” to people who don’t yet know the Lord.

The truth is we’ve all been guilty of plenty, and God deserves the glory for His mercy toward us. By:  Anne Cetas (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

All that we were—our sins, our guilt,
Our death—was all our own;
All that we are we owe to Thee,
Thou God of grace, alone.

Grace is everything for those who deserve nothing.

1 Timothy 1:15  It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:15 πιστὸς ὁ λόγος καὶ πάσης ἀποδοχῆς ἄξιος, ὅτι Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς ἦλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἁμαρτωλοὺς σῶσαι, ὧν πρῶτός εἰμι ἐγώ.

Amplified The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.

Barclay This is a saying on which we can rely, and which we are completely bound to accept, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am chief. 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:15 It is a true saying, in which all may put their faith, that Christ Jesus came into the world to give salvation to sinners, of whom I am the chief:

CSB  1 Timothy 1:15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"-- and I am the worst of them.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:15 Faithful is the saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief:

ESV  1 Timothy 1:15 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.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:15 This is a statement that can be trusted and deserves complete acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the foremost sinner.

KJV  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.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:15 Trustworthy is this statement and deserving of complete allegiance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I was the worst.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:15 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.

NET  1 Timothy 1:15 This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"– and I am the worst of them!

NIV  1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them;

NLT  1 Timothy 1:15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"-- and I am the worst of them all.

NLT (non-revised) This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--and I was the worst of them all.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-- of whom I am the foremost.

Phillips  This statement is completely reliable and should be universally accepted:— “Christ Jesus entered the world to rescue sinners”. I realise that I was the worst of them all, 

REB  Here is a saying you may trust, one that merits full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; and among them I stand first. 

Wuest   Trustworthy is the word and worthy of unqualified acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I in contradistinction to anyone else am foremost. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:15 stedfast is the word, and of all acceptation worthy, that Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners -- first of whom I am;

  • It is a trustworthy statement: 1Ti 1:19 3:1 4:9 2Ti 2:11 Tit 3:8 Rev 21:5 22:6 
  • deserving full acceptance: John 1:12 Jn 3:16,17,36 Ac 11:1,18 1Jn 5:11 
  • That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners Mt 1:21 9:13 18:11 20:28 Mk 2:17 Lu 5:32 19:10 Joh 1:29 12:47 Ac 3:26 Ro 3:24-26 5:6,8-10 Heb 7:25 1Jn 3:5,8 4:9,10 Rev 5:9 
  • among whom I am foremost of all: 1Ti 1:13 Job 42:6 Eze 16:63 36:31,32 1Co 15:9 Eph 3:8 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

1 Timothy 3:1 It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do.

1 Timothy 4:9  It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.

2 Timothy 2:11  It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 

Titus 3:8  This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.


Matthew 1:21+ “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 9:13+  “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS NOT "SAINTS!")

Mark 10:45+  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

Luke 19:10+  “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

John 8:24  “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

John 3:16-17+ “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 12:47-48 “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

Acts 5:31+  “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Hebrews 7:25+ Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 


It is a trustworthy (pistos) statement (logos), deserving (áxios) full acceptance (apodoche) - Literally "faithful is the word." The trustworthy statement follows. Wuest has "Trustworthy is the word and worthy of unqualified acceptance." Amplified = "The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance." This trustworthy statement has been called "the Gospel in miniature." There were 5 trustworthy statements (see above) that would have been familiar as summaries of key doctrines. You can stake your life (in time and eternity) on this trustworthy statementTrustworthy means this is worthy of belief and can be fully relied upon. Paul had just used the same word pistos in stating that Christ considered him faithful or trustworthy (1Ti 1:12). Deserving full acceptance (exact phrase only in 1Ti 4:9) adds emphasis and means the following statement can be accepted without any shred of doubt that it is true and can be relied on with complete confidence. In fact to not belief this statement in unwise (which is an understatement). 

Hendriksen points out "Simple and great, like a granite rock, stands the word reliable (pistos TRUSTWORTY), at the head of the sentence, without any connecting particle."

Lenski  - “Worthy of all acceptance” = complete acceptation in every way, without reservation, without hesitation, without the least doubt. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

Vincent on on full (pas - all) - "All or every describes the reception of which the saying is worthy as complete and excluding all doubt.

Vine adds "The phrase “all acceptation” signifies not simply acceptation by everyone, but complete, wholehearted acceptation.


That Christ (ChristosJesus (Iesous) came into the world (kosmos) to save (sozo) sinners (hamartolos), among whom I am foremost ("first") of all - This trustworthy statement is the heart of the Gospel. Christ Jesus came speaks of Christ taking the form of a man (Php 2:7+) and save sinners speaks of His taking the sins of men upon Himself as their Substitutionary sacrifice (Php 2:8+, 1Pe 2:24+, 2Co 5:21+).  Some see the phrase came into the world as an allusion to Christ's preexistence (cf "I came forth from the Father and have come into the world" - Jn 16:28, cf also Jn 1:9; Jn 3:19, Jn 6:14, Jn 11:27, Jn 12:46; Jn 18:37,1Jn 4:9). Christ Jesus came to earth in order that He might be our Goel or Kinsman Redeemer, the OT type He fulfilled perfectly by (1) becoming our "Kinsman", (2) possessing the means or price of redemption and (3) manifesting a willingness to redeem. (See chart and explanation of Christ as our Goel or Kinsman-Redeemer)

The Gospel is for sinners!
None others need apply!

Steven Cole reminds us that "If you’re a basically good, churchgoing person, Christ did not come to save you. He came to save sinners only. If you’re a person with a few faults and shortcomings, Christ did not come to save you. He came to save sinners only. If you’re a person with too much dignity and self-worth to call yourself a sinner, Christ did not come to save you. He came to save sinners only. The “gospel” we hear preached in our day is a positive message that will help you achieve your full potential or feel good about yourself. It will help you succeed in your family or business. It will solve your problems and give you peace of mind. 

Notice Paul does not say "I was foremost," but I am (present tense - continually) foremost of all indicating that he never got over the fact that he was a sinner saved by grace. He is not being super pious and expressing a false humility. "True, he could never forget that he was a forgiven sinner; but neither could he ever forget that he was a sinner." (Barclay)

World (kosmos) in this context refers to the planet earth, the physical world (the majority of the inhabitants who are spiritually dead - Eph 2:1+), not the world system opposed to God. Paul cites himself as proof that that statement is trustworthy that Christ will save any sinner who receives the Gospel. Jesus Himself declares

"God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." (Jn 3:17+)

Sinners (hamartolos) was mentioned earlier in 1Ti 1:9 and this passage along with 1Ti 1:10 give an excellent summary of who Christ came to save (Mt 9:13b+). The hymn of Joseph Hart (1759) in essence put 1 Ti 1:15 to words and music (Why do we not sing these old hymns? To fail to sing them is to miss the rich theology they often teach!)

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.

I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
Oh, there are ten thousand charms."
-- Joseph Hart (1759)

Spurgeon indicates not all sinners of equally sinful - “All men are truly sinners, but all men are not equally sinners. They are all in the mire; but they have not all sunk to an equal depth in it.” 

MacDonald points out that even "The calendar testifies to the fact that He came; we speak of this as A.D. 19—, the year of our Lord 19— (OR 20__).

The idea of save (sozo) implies God took the initiative in this process and that the sinners were "lost," and spiritually dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1+). All sinners are in desperate need of rescue from the penalty of sin, the power of the devil, the fallen flesh and the fallen world, for if they are not saved, they will suffer the eternal wrath of God. It is absolutely critical for unsaved souls to come to the realization that they are "spiritually sick" sinners, because otherwise they will never see their need for the Savior. The paradox is that sinners are not disqualified, but are the only ones who are qualified for salvation! 

Jesus affirmed this critical need to recognize one is a sinner, declaring "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous (SELF-RIGHTEOUS), but sinners.”  (Mark 2:17+, cf Mt 9:12-13+)

Maclaren - I take it that this saying of the Apostle’s, ‘Of whom I am chief,’ paradoxical and exaggerated as it seems to many men, is in spirit that which all who know themselves ought to re-echo; and without which there is little strength in Christian life. (From sermon "Chief of Sinners" on 1 Timothy 1:15)

John Calvin spoke to this point - “Even those who recognize that Christ’s work is to save admit that it is more difficult to believe that this salvation belongs to sinners. Our mind is always prone to dwell on our own worthiness and, as soon as our unworthiness becomes apparent, our confidence fails. Thus the more a man feels the burden of his sins, he ought with greater courage to betake himself to Christ, relying on what is here taught, that He came to bring salvation not to the righteous but to sinners.” (Quoted by David Guzik - Enduring Word Bible Commentary 1 Timothy Chapter 1)

THOUGHT - Have you come to see yourself as a sinner before God? Or are you deceived by what I hear so many say "I'm basically a good person!" No, you are not! You are basically a bad person and a great sinner in need of a greater Savior! 

Hughes on I am (not I was) foremost - This is the thinking of a healthy regenerate heart. Saving Christianity never endows one with a sense of superiority. Paul knew what he had been and what he was and what he continued to be in himself. This knowledge even increased with the years, as he understood his heart even better than at first. (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus )

Gregory Brown -  Obviously, Paul was not the worst sinner on the planet. His sins were certainly heinous and evil, as he persecuted Christians and blasphemed Christ. His statement appears to reflect genuine conviction and humility coming from his receiving of God’s abundant grace. This is common for people who are graced to encounter God. When Isaiah saw God in Isaiah 6:5+, he declared, “Woe is me. I have unclean lips and I come from a people of unclean lips” (paraphrase). Similarly, Peter cried out, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”, when he recognized Christ as Lord (Lk 5:8+). God’s abundant grace creates genuine conviction of sin and humility in its recipient. (Marks of God’s Abounding Grace 1 Timothy 1:12-17)

Lenski  - Those who think that Paul is humbling himself too severely may look at ektroma in 1Co 15:8, where he calls himself “an abortion,” a vile, dead thing that ought hurriedly be buried from sight (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

Sinner, take a moment from your study and praise God by singing William McComb's great words (another hymn with good theology!)...

"Chief of sinners though I be,
Jesus shed his blood for me;
Died that I might live on high;
Lives that I may never die."
As the branch is to the vine,
I am his and he is mine!

Oh, the height of Jesus' love,
higher than the heav'ns above,
deeper than the depths of sea,
lasting as eternity,
love that found me— wondrous thought—
found me when I sought him not.

Only Jesus can impart
comfort to a wounded heart,
peace that flows from sin forgiv'n,
joy that lifts the soul to heav'n,
faith and hope to walk with God
in the way that Enoch trod.

Chief of sinners though I be,
Christ is all in all to me;
all my wants to him are known,
all my sorrows are his own.
Safe with him in earthly strife,
I await the heav'nly life.

Strengthen me, O gracious Lord,
by your Spirit and your Word.
When my wayward heart would stray,
keep me in the narrow way;
grace in time of need supply
while I live and when I die.

Spurgeon on foremost of sinners - “Despair’s head is cut off and stuck on a pole by the salvation of ‘the chief of sinners.’ No man can now say that he is too great a sinner to be saved, because the chief of sinners was saved eighteen hundred years ago. If the ringleader, the chief of the gang, has been washed in the precious blood, and is now in heaven, why not I? Why not you?” (Quoted by David Guzik - Enduring Word Bible Commentary 1 Timothy 1)

Donald Guthrie points out that "Paul never got away from the fact that Christian salvation was intended for sinners, and the more he increased his grasp of the magnitude of God's grace, the more he deepened the consciousness of his own naturally sinful state, until he could write of whom I am chief." (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

W E Vine on foremost - Though the word prōtos, first, sometimes applied to time, here it applies to degree. There was no mock modesty with the apostle in making this statement, nor was he making a comparison between himself and his unbelieving fellow nationals; nor, again, was he indulging in mere rhetoric. The contemplation of his sins and the extent to which, before his conversion, he had missed the true purpose of his being, leads him to make this statement in all sincerity and humility. Paul was a man of high ideals, and the higher the ideal a man sets before him, the more deeply will he feel the extent of his failure to attain to it. There is always a gulf between the character of Christ Himself and that of His most devoted followers. So fully did the apostle appreciate this, that he does not say “of whom I was chief,” but uses the present tense. Noticeable in this respect is the special stress upon the personal pronoun “I”; both its very insertion as well as its position, last in the sentence, make it peculiarly emphatic  (Collected Writings of W.E. Vine)

THOUGHT - Are you growing in your awareness of your sin and the offense it is to the holiness of God? Or are you growing complacent in your attitude toward sin, especially those little "secret sins" that keep coming up like weeds in the garden of your heart? Dear follower of Christ. Look out! Backsliding can occur subtly and seductively!  Gregory Brown adds a couple of good application questions - How can we protect ourselves from becoming desensitized to sin? How have you experienced both a progression and a decrease of sensitivity to sin and why?

MacDonald "Notice that the title “chief of sinners” is not given to a man steeped in idolatry or immorality, but rather to a deeply religious man, one who had been brought up in an orthodox Jewish home! His sin was doctrinal; he did not accept the word of God concerning the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rejection of the Son of God is the greatest of sins.

When one compares the chronology of similar statements by Paul, it is clear that as Christ increased, Paul decreased (cf Jn 3:30+), as he grew in the grace and knowledge of his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, (2Pe 3:18+), the depth of the sin he had been completely forgiven became more apparent (and this should be the pattern in our lives beloved) (dates below are approximate). For context most date Paul's conversion at 34-35AD, so when he refers to himself as the foremost of sinners he has been following Christ for almost 30 years! Below we have the progression of humility as one grows in grace...

  • 55AD 1 Corinthians 15:9+ For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
  • 61AD  Ephesians 3:8+   To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
  • 63-66AD 1 Timothy 1:15   It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

    The longer and closer a person walks with Jesus Christ, the more he or she becomes aware of the depths of their sinful nature, which in turn drives them to a greater sense of horror when they do sin against Him (because we are sinning against light), which in turn gives a deeper appreciation of the amazing mercy and grace of God! I speak from personal experience of walking with Jesus 35 years! 

    Alexander Maclaren said, “The sign of growing perfection is the growing consciousness of imperfection.... The more you become like Christ the more you will find out your unlikeness to Him” (From sermon "Chief of Sinners" on 1 Timothy 1:15)

    C S Lewis - “When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less” (Quoted by Nathan Hatch in Christianity Today , Vol 23, No 11, page 15 - article entitled "Purging the Poisoned Well Within" - Blunting the Gospel. The Gospel demands humility -- it brings us to our knees.)

    And can it be that I should gain
    An interest in the Savior’s blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain?
    For me, who Him to death pursued?

Bell - Here is what Luther called one of the “little bibles”, the gospel in a verse! We note the contrast between the complex arguments & speculations of the false teachers; & the simplicity of the gospel in 9 words!!!

Spurgeon on to save sinners - Not “penitent sinners”, not “sensible sinners”, not “grieving sinners”, nor “alarmed sinners”…just “sinners!

Wiersbe -  If Jesus could save Saul of Tarsus, the chief of sinners, then He can save anybody...The grace of God turned the persecutor into a preacher, and the murderer into a minister and a missionary! (The Wiersbe Bible Commentary:)

C. S. Lewis describes his experience: "You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the trinity term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore the Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words compelle intrare, compel them to come in, have been so abused by wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation."

The memory of (Paul's) sin was the surest way to keep his gratitude aflame.
To remember what we have been forgiven is the surest way to keep awake our love to Jesus Christ
-- William Barclay

ILLUSTRATION - A man was asked "How did you get saved?" His answer was, "God did His part, and I did my part." "What was God's part, and what was your part?" He said, "God's part was the saving, and my part was the sinning. - I ran from Him as fast as my sinful heart and rebellious legs could take me. He took out after me till He ran me down."

ILLUSTRATION OF THE "DRIFT" OF THE MODERN GOSPEL - Even our hymn book has changed the words of Isaac Watts’ great hymn, “Alas, and did my Savior bleed? And did my Sovereign die? Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?” One version has it, “for sinners such as I?” (#274, Hymns for the Family of God [Paragon Associates, Inc., 1976). But the other version has softened it to, “for someone such as I?” (# 95, same book).

A woman who was in full-time Christian work said in a class I was leading, “I’m not going to call myself a worm!” I gently asked her if she realized that Isaac Watts took that description directly from Psalm 22, which is a prophetic look at Christ bearing our sins on the cross. I said, “If Jesus called Himself a worm when He bore our sins, who are we to say that we’re better than that?” (Steven Cole) (See Psalm 22:6 - I Am a Worm )

ILLUSTRATION - There is embedded in the heart of the present passage one of the great gospel texts of the apostolic church and of the Reformation (What was the Protestant Reformation? | GotQuestions.org). The words of that text are familiar to many: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1:15). This single sentence has been used to encourage countless souls on their way to Christ. It stands as a frontispiece to the English Reformation because of its effect upon Thomas Bilney, the early Reformation martyr. Thomas Bilney, known as “little Bilney” due to his diminutive stature, was born in 1495. Because he had a scholarly bent, he studied law at Cambridge, becoming a fellow of Trinity Hall in 1520. But neither study nor ordination brought him peace. Then he began to read the Latin translation of Erasmus’s Greek New Testament, and as Bilney described it:

I chanced upon this sentence of St. Paul (O most sweet and comfortable sentence to my soul!) in 1 Timothy 1. “It is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be embraced, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am the chief and principal.” This one sentence, through God’s instruction and inward working … did so exhilarate my heart, being before wounded with the guilt of my sins, and being almost in despair, that even immediately I seemed unto myself inwardly to feel a marvellous comfort and quietness, insomuch that “my bruised bones leaped for joy” (Psalm 51+). After this, the Scripture began to be more pleasant unto me than the honey or the honey-comb (Ps 19:10+).…

Bilney immediately became a central figure in a group of theologians who met at the famous White Horse Inn, which stood on what is now the corner of King’s Parade and Rose Crescent in Cambridge. And there this group prepared for the Reformation in England. Bilney was arrested in 1527 and was forced to recant. But little Bilney couldn’t contain himself and set off preaching again in 1531. He was again arrested, then tried and burned at the stake. His most famous convert, Hugh Latimer, who became the most prominent preacher of the English Reformation, was inspired by Bilney’s courage and reverently referred to him in his sermons as “St. Bilney.” Latimer, too, died at the stake, in Oxford in 1555. (See 1–2 Timothy and Titus)(What should we learn from Christian martyrs? | GotQuestions.org)

ILLUSTRATION OF JOHN NEWTON - John Newton was one of the great preachers and the supreme hymn-writers of the Church; but he had sunk to the lowest depths to which a man can sink, in the days when he sailed the seas in a slave-trader’s ship. So when he became a converted man and a preacher of the gospel, he wrote a text in great letters, and fastened it above the mantlepiece of his study where he could not fail to see it: “Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord thy God redeemed thee.” He also composed his own epitaph: “John Newton, Clerk, once an Infidel and Libertine, a Servant of Slaves in Africa, was by the Mercy of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Preserved, Restored, Pardoned, and Appointed to Preach the Faith he had so long laboured to destroy.” John Newton never forgot that he was a forgiven sinner; neither did Paul. Neither must we. It does a man good to remember his sins; it saves him from spiritual pride. (Barclay)

Steven Cole adds the following on Newton - John Newton, was a wild, drunken sailor. His language was so foul that the captain, hardly a model of piety, rebuked him! He was often put in irons and whipped for his rebellion. He became a slave-trader, falling even further into sin. He narrowly escaped death a number of times. Finally, after nearly perishing in a severe storm at sea, he turned to God and was saved. Even so, he remained in slave-trading for a few years. Eventually, by God’s grace, he became a pastor. You probably know him for writing the hymn, “Amazing Grace.” He wrote Deuteronomy 15:15+ in bold letters and put it over the mantle of his study, where he could not fail to see it: “Thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt and the Lord thy God redeemed thee.” (The above taken from Newton’s autobiography, Out of the Depths [Moody Press]) John Newton never forgot that he was a great sinner who had found even greater mercy and grace in Christ. Neither did Paul forget. Neither should we.

F. W. Boreham tells of a letter which the old Puritan, Thomas Goodwin, wrote to his son.

“When I was threatening to become cold in my ministry, and when I felt Sabbath morning coming and my heart not filled with amazement at the grace of God, or when I was making ready to dispense the Lord’s Supper, do you know what I used to do? I used to take a turn up and down among the sins of my past life, and I always came down again with a broken and a contrite heart (cf Isa 57:15, Ps 51:16, 17), ready to preach, as it was preached in the beginning, the forgiveness of sins.” “I do not think, I ever went up the pulpit stair that I did not stop for a moment at the foot of it and take a turn up and down among the sins of my past years. I do not think that I ever planned a sermon that I did not take a turn round my study table and look back at the sins of my youth and of all my life down to the present; and many a Sabbath morning, when my soul had been cold and dry, for the lack of prayer during the week, a turn up and down in my past life before I went into the pulpit always broke my hard heart and made me close with the gospel for my own soul before I began to preach.”

When we remember how we have hurt God (cf Ezek 6:9, Eph 4:30) and hurt those who love us and hurt our fellow-men and when we remember how God and men have forgiven us, that memory must awake the flame of gratitude within our hearts. (Barclay)

THOUGHT- Do you want a heart of gratitude? Pause frequently to remember your own experience of the gospel. (Cole)

In Pilgrim's Progress, Greatheart said to Christian’s boys: “You must know that Forgetful Green is the most dangerous place in all these parts.” Paul’s sin was something which he refused to forget, for every time he remembered the greatness of his sin, he remembered the still greater greatness of Jesus Christ. It was not that he brooded unhealthily over his sin; it was that he remembered it to rejoice in the wonder of the grace of Jesus Christ. This is one reason we are to observe the Lord’s Supper frequently: We all tend to forget His great salvation, so He says, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” 

Mr. Great-Heart: Your father had the battle with Apollyon at a place yonder before us, in a narrow passage, just beyond Forgetful Green. And indeed that place is the most dangerous place in all these parts. For if at any time pilgrims meet with any brunt, it is when they forget what favours they have received, and how unworthy they are of them. This is the place also where others have been hard put to it. But more of the place when we are come to it; for I persuade myself that to this day there remains either some sign of the battle, or some monument to testify that such a battle there was fought. (Pilgrim's Progress)

"Memory loss" is what happened to Israel in the Old Testament. Just before the second generation entered the Promised Land, Moses issues multiple warnings against falling prey to forgetfulness. Read these warnings which could be applied to every believer today - Deut. 4:9; Deut. 4:23; Deut. 6:12; Deut. 8:11; Deut. 8:14; Deut. 8:19; Deut. 9:7; Deut. 25:19

QUESTION - What does it mean that Paul was the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)?

ANSWER - In 1 Timothy 1:15, the apostle Paul summed up the gospel of God’s grace: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (NKJV). The magnitude of the gift he had gained in Christ was best understood by Paul when set before the dismal backdrop of his own deep depravity. And so, with humble gratitude, Paul accepted the title “chief of sinners.”

One Bible commentator describes the grace of salvation as “the gift of God. He gives it ‘without money and without price.’ It is His munificent, magnificent gift in Christ Jesus, to the very chiefest of sinners” (Exell, J., ed., Biblical Illustrator, Vol. 5, entry for Acts 28:28, Baker Book House, 1975).

The word “chief” in 1 Timothy 1:15 (NKJV, KJV) is a translation of the Greek term protos, meaning “first, leading, or ranking above all others.” It is also rendered “foremost” (ESV), “worst” (NIV), “worst of them” (CSB), and “worst of them all” (NLT). Paul saw himself as the chiefest, highest-ranking, worst of all sinners. A sinner is someone whose life and actions are contrary or in rebellion to the will and laws of God. Just before his conversion, “Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers” (Acts 9:1NLT).

Paul said, “I am chief,” not “I was chief of sinners.” As an apostle, he never strayed from the heart of the gospel—that “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8NLT). God’s salvation was always intended for sinners (Matthew 1:21; Mark 2:17). Paul kept his past depravity and ongoing corruption at the forefront of his mind because he saw it as an essential companion to the full apprehension of grace.

Paul testified to the church in Corinth, “For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9–10). To the Ephesians, he said, “Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). The more we comprehend the weight and extent of our sinfulness, the better we can grasp the magnitude and scope of God’s forgiveness and grace at work in our lives.

When we recognize and remember the truth about ourselves—our old way of life with our weaknesses and failures, our lack of hope and purpose, and our utter helplessness apart from God—we remain exceedingly humble and grateful for what Christ has done for us. Like Paul, we rejoice and “thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. . . . But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12–14NLT).

We don’t beat ourselves up in self-defeating condemnation (Romans 8:1); rather, we give praise, glory, and honor to God for His generous gifts of mercy (1 Timothy 1:16), grace (Ephesians 3:7; 4:7), peace with God (Romans 5:1), membership in the family of God (Ephesians 2:19), and eternal life in His presence (1 John 2:25).

Some of us may have started out like the Pharisee in Jesus’ parable, so profoundly unaware of our sinfulness and need of salvation that we prayed, “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers” (Luke 18:11NLT). But, eventually, we ended up like the humble tax collector who “would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’” (Luke 18:13ESV).

Paul called himself “chief of sinners” because he, like the tax collector, was acutely aware of his sinfulness and understood how much that sinfulness had cost his Savior. This self-identification is the discovery of every person whose eyes have been opened, whose conscience has been awakened, and whose heart has been pricked by the Holy Spirit. It is the humble posture of every believer who acknowledges he is utterly helpless and dependent on God for salvation (Romans 5:6). It is the admission we all must make: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the chief.” GotQuestions.org

F B Meyer - 1 Timothy 1:15   Sinners, of whom I am chief.

If the elephant can go safely over the swaying bridge, the horse and mule can; and the apostle seems to glory that in the very beginning of the progress of the Gospel through the world it had laid hold of and converted himself, because if he had been saved, any one might be. As men have been brought under conviction, in successive ages, it has been a profound consolation to learn that the chief of sinners has been in heaven for eighteen hundred years. In him first Jesus Christ showed forth “all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe.”

Without doubt Paul never forgot the excess of his hatred and persecutions towards the infant Church. But probably he alludes here also to the deepening consciousness of unworthiness and sinfulness which accompanies all progress towards the knowledge and love of God. This phase of experience may be accounted for thus. The true saint of God, though certain of forgiveness, reviews his past sins in the light of that purity of which he is ever obtaining truer perceptions, and thus recognizes shades of evil in them which a slighter knowledge of God had failed to reveal. He also feels himself a greater sinner than others, because he supposes that God cannot have treated another with the same forbearance and mercy as have been extended to himself; and the greater the love the more heinous the transgression. And in addition, as subtler forms of temptation are suggested to him, and to every one, he knows that there are kindred susceptibilities within him, even though they are abhorred and resisted. It is beneath the pressure of such thoughts that he recognizes his uttermost indebtedness to the grace of God. 


This is the Apostle’s own testimony, a declaration of his own experience (vv. 12–15). The “saying” is not his own, he got it from others. It is of world-wide significance.

I. It Reveals the Love of God. Nature may seem “red, tooth and claw.” God is love.
II. It Reveals the Grace of Christ. “Christ Jesus came into the world.” Where from? What to do? (1 Cor. 8:9).
III. It Reveals the Need of Man. “Came into the world to save sinners.” He came not as a capitalist to assist in case of failure, but as a Saviour to save.
IV. It is a Faithful Saying. It is in perfect accord with the character of God and the condition of men. It has come from the lips of Him who is the Truth (John 7:17).
V. It is Worthy of all Acceptation. Worthy of being accepted by all, and worthy of being altogether accepted by all classes and conditions of men.

ILLUSTRATION - A few years ago a T.V. commercial showed a car in which a jeweler in the back seat made a precise cut in a diamond as the car was being driven along a rough road. What was to be our reaction to the commercial? We were supposed to think, “Since I will never need to cut a diamond in my car, this car will be more than sufficient.” In the same way, Paul in this passage is an advertisement for the grace of God. When Paul says he is the worst of sinners, we are supposed to think, “I am not as sinful as he is, so the grace of God will be more than sufficient for me.”1567

Spurgeon's Sermon Notes -  1 Tim. 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.”

Paul had described his ordination in verse 12.

He then went on to speak of the grace manifested in the call of such a person to the ministry (verse 13), and of the further grace by which he was sustained in that ministry.

Incidentally he was led to mention the message of his ministry.

We may profitably use the text on this occasion.*

            1.      As a certainty. It is a “faithful saying.” We do not doubt the truth of our message, or how could we expect you to believe it? We believe, and are sure, because
         It is a revelation of God.
         It is attested by miracles.
         It bears its witness within itself.
         It has proved its power upon our hearts.
            2.      As an everyday truth. It is to us a “saying” or proverb.
         The gospel affects us at home, in business, in sickness, in health, in life, in youth and age, in death, &c.
            3.      As having a common bearing. Therefore a “saying” to be heard by all kinds of people, especially the most sinful.
         All have sinned, and need a Saviour.
         All who believe in Jesus have a Saviour.
         All believers show by their lives that Jesus has saved them.
            4.      As claiming your attention. “Worthy of all acceptation.”
         You must believe it to be true.
         You must appropriate it to yourself.
         You ought to do so, for it is worthy of your acceptance.

            1.      The gospel of a person: “Christ Jesus.”
         He is the Anointed of God: “Christ.”
         He is the Saviour of men: “Jesus.”
         He is God and man in one person.
         He died, and yet he lives for ever.
            2.      The gospel of divine visitation. Jesus came into the world—
         By his birth as a man.
         By his mingling with men.
         By his bearing our sorrows and our sins for us.
            3.      The gospel for sinners.
         For such Jesus lived and laboured.
         For such he died and made atonement.
         For such he has sent the gospel of pardon.
         For such he pleads in heaven.
            4.      The gospel of a finished work.
         He finished the work of salvation before he left the world.
         That work continues complete to this day.
         He is ready to apply it to all who come to him.
            5.      The gospel of effectual deliverance. “To save sinners.”
         Not to half save them.
         Nor to make them salvable.
         Nor help them to save themselves.
         Nor to save them as righteous.
         But to save them wholly and effectually from their sins.

            1.      Because we have been saved by it.
            2.      Because we are now in sympathy with Jesus, and wish to save sinners, even the chief of them.
            3.      Because we believe it will be a blessing to all of you who hear it.
         If you are saved by it, you will be happy, and so shall we.
            4.      Because we cannot help it, for an inward impulse compels us to tell of the miracle of mercy wrought upon us.

Will you not believe a saying so sure?
Will you not accept a truth so gladsome?
Will you not come to a Saviour so suitable?


A visitor to Rome says, “I was struck with the frequency with which the priests, and other exhibitors of church curiosities, use the phrase, “It is said”—on dit—when describing relics and rarities. They do not vouch for their being what they are reputed to be. “It is said.” Are they ashamed of their curiosities? Do they thus try to satisfy their consciences? They do not express their personal belief; but—it is said. Not thus do gospel preachers speak. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you.”
There’s a nice word in the text—it is the word “acceptation.” It’s all provided for you. It’s very much like a supper. You’ll find the table laid, and everything all ready. You’re not expected to bring anything at all. I was once invited out to tea by a poor widow, and I took something in my pocket. But I’ll never do it again. It was two cakes; and, when I brought them out, and laid them on the table, she picked them up and flung them out into the street, and said, “I asked you to tea; I didn’t ask you to provide tea for me.” And so with Christ; he asks, he provides, and he wants nothing but ourselves; and if we take aught else, he’ll reject it. We can only sup with him when we come as we are. Who will accept salvation? Who’ll say,

         “I take the blessing from above,
         And wonder at thy boundless love”?
John Wold Ackrill, in “The Sword and the Trowel.”

Mr. Moody said, “I remember preaching on this subject—Christ as a Deliverer—and walking away, I said to a Scotchman, ‘I didn’t finish the subject.’ ‘Ah, man! you didn’t expect to finish, did ye? It’ll take all eternity to finish telling what Christ has done for man.’ ”
Luther says, “Once upon a time the devil said to me, ‘Martin Luther, you are a great sinner, and you will be damned!’ ‘Stop! Stop!’ said I; ‘one thing at a time; I am a great sinner, it is true, though you have no right to tell me of it. I confess it. What next?’ ‘Therefore you will be damned.’ ‘That is not good reasoning. It is true I am a great sinner, but it is written, “Jesus Christ came to save sinners;” therefore I shall be saved! Now go your way.’ So I cut the devil off with his own sword, and he went away mourning because he could not cast me down by calling me a sinner.”

The Jews have a saying that the manna tasted to each one precisely like that which he liked best. The gospel is suited to every man, whatever his needs or desires may be.

One of William Carey’s last visitors was the Rev. Alexander Duff, who talked with him of his past life, and then knelt down and prayed by his bedside. Leaving the room Mr. Duff thought he heard himself recalled. He turned back, and the dying man addressed him in a whisper, “Mr. Duff, you have been talking about Doctor Carey, Doctor Carey; when I am gone, say nothing about Doctor Carey—speak about Doctor Carey’s Saviour.”

Statement (3056logos from légō = to speak with words; English = logic, logical) means something said and describes a communication whereby the mind finds expression in words. Although Lógos is most often translated word which Webster defines as "something that is said, a statement, an utterance", the Greek understanding of lógos is somewhat more complex. In the Greek mind and as used by secular and philosophical Greek writers, lógos did not mean merely the name of an object but was an expression of the thought behind that object's name. Let me illustrate this somewhat subtle nuance in the meaning of lógos with an example from the Septuagint (LXX) (Greek of the Hebrew OT) in which lógos is used in the well known phrase the Ten Commandments.

Deserving (514áxios from ágō = to weigh) strictly speaking means bringing up the other beam of the scales. Having the weight of another thing of like value, worth as much. Counterbalancing - weighing as much (of like value, worth as much).Bringing into balance and hence equivalent or equal value/similar worth (Ro 8:18, see use in Lxx of Pr 3:15, 8:11). 

Acceptance (594) (apodoche from apodechomai = take fully, welcome, from dechomai) defines that which receives a favorable reception and includes a sense of approval and appreciation. The idea is "to come to believe something to be true and to respond accordingly, with some emphasis upon the source." (Louw & Nida)

World (2889kosmos related to the verb kosmeo = to order or adorn, to put in order [Mt 25:7 = "trimmed"], to adorn literally [1Ti 2:9], to adorn figuratively [Titus 2:9+]) means essentially something that is well-arranged, that which has order or something arranged harmoniously. Kosmos refers to an ordered system or a system where order prevails. As explained below however, kosmos as used here in James 4:4 and many places in the NT, takes on a considerably more negative shade of meaning. In this sense kosmos is much like the Greek word for flesh (sarx), which can be a neutral word, but which many times in the NT takes on an evil connotation. The world, which has in turn a variety of nuances which must be determined by examining the context in which it is used.

Save (4982sozo, has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril. Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve life, deliver, heal, be made whole. Sozo is sometimes used of physical deliverance from danger of perishing (see Mt 8:25; Mt 14:30; Lk 23:35; Acts 27:20, 27:31), physical healing from sickness (Mt 9:21, 22; Mk 5:23, Acts 4:9), and deliverance from demonic possession (Lk 8:36). More often sozo refers to salvation in a spiritual sense to rescue or preserve from eternal death, from judgment, sin, bring salvation, bring to salvation (active sense = Mt 18:11; Lk 7:50; Jn 12:47; Ro 11:14; 1 Cor 1:21; 7:16; Titus 3:5; Hb 7:25; Jas 4:12; 5:20; 1 Pet 3:21 or passive sense =  be rescued or saved, attain salvation = Mt 24:13; Mk 10:26; Lk 13:23; 18:26; Jn 3:17; Jn 5:34; Acts 11:14; 15:1, 11; Ro 8:24; 11:26; 1 Cor. 3:15; 5:5; Eph 2:5, 8; 1 Ti 2:4). Jesus' very Name speaks of His primary purpose to save men from their sin - "She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save (sozo) His people from their sins." (Mt 1:21+)  In Mt 1:21 sozo is equated with deliverance from sins (guilt and power of) with Jesus' Name being a transliteration of Joshua meaning "Jehovah is salvation".

A Real Savior

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. —1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Some Christians become deeply troubled when they think about their sinfulness. They long for purity, yet they see only evil within their heart. Guilt torments their minds and they may even doubt their salvation.

Martin Luther struggled with this problem. When he entered the monastery at Erfurt, Germany, he devoted himself to prayer, fasting, and service in an effort to gain relief from the weight of his sins. But the burden remained.

It was the simple testimony of John Staupitz, the dean of the theological faculty, that brought light to his troubled soul. He urged Luther to look away from his dark thoughts and cast himself completely in the Redeemer’s arms. “Trust the righteousness of His life and the atonement of His death,” he said.

Luther did that and found peace. But a short time later he began doubting. “Oh, my sin, my sin, my sin!” he lamented. With utmost kindness, the dean told him that his great sorrow for his sin was his greatest hope. He said, “Know that Jesus Christ is Savior even of those who are great, real sinners, and deserving of utter condemnation.”

Each day let’s thank Jesus for dying for us. He is a real Savior for real sinners. By:  Dennis J. DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Alas and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Christ crossed out our sins at Calvary.

Heaven's Surprises

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. —1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture: Revelation 22:1-5

Scripture gives us only a glimpse of the glory we will share in heaven with our crucified and risen Savior. Just think—no more sorrow, no more death, no more crying, no more pain, for the former things will have passed away! (Rev. 21:4).

These brief glimpses make us eager to know more of what will flood us with awe when we get there. No doubt the dwelling place of the Lord will be infinitely more beautiful and breathtaking than we are capable of imagining.

Among the surprises that await us in heaven will be three astonishing ones that John Newton pointed out. The converted slave-dealer, who wrote the universally loved hymn “Amazing Grace,” perceptively foresaw what every sinner will feel who has been redeemed by Christ’s atoning sacrifice. He wrote, “If I ever reach heaven, I expect to find three wonders there: First, to meet some I had not thought to see there; second, to miss some I had thought to meet there; and third, the greatest wonder of all, to find myself there!” And that greatest wonder will cause John Newton and all of God’s children to fall on their knees in gratitude for God’s amazing grace. But let’s not wait. Now is the time to begin expressing our gratitude. By:  Vernon Grounds  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Someday the silver cord will break,
And I no more as now shall sing;
But oh, the joy when I shall wake
Within the palace of the King.

Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people.

The Answers Can Wait

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. — 1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture: Luke 4:14-22

David Herwaldt, a thoughtful, reflective pastor friend of mine, was slowly dying after 50 years of faithful ministry. He often talked with me about the nature of God and the eternity he would soon enter. We realized that we had only a superficial grasp of these mysteries, but we were not distressed. We knew that God had rescued us from our sin and guilt, and we rejoiced in our salvation. We had all we needed to obey the Lord gladly, live confidently, and serve Him gratefully.

When we are distressed by our inability to answer life’s most vexing questions, we must remember that Christ did not come to satisfy our curiosity. Rather, He saw us as fallen and hurt, and He came to lift and heal.

When Jesus read Isaiah 61:1-2 to the people in the synagogue (Luke 4:16-21), He presented Himself as the promised Messiah, whose primary purpose for coming was spiritual. He came to deliver us from the helplessness of our spiritual poverty, to release us from the shackles of our guilt, to heal our sin-caused blindness, and to set us free from sin’s enslaving power.

Let us therefore trust Him and make obeying Him our highest goal. This is the path to a grateful, joyous, and hope-filled life. The answers can wait. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When trouble seeks to rob your very breath,
When tragedy hits hard and steals your days,
Recall that Christ endured the sting of death;
He gives us hope, and merits all our praise.

Christ came not to satisfy our curiosity but to save our souls.

“I Did That Too”

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. —1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture: Matthew 18:23-33

Our friend Barbara Leavitt loved flowers. Her home was a garden of rare beauty and sweet fragrance, and so was her life. Her presence was like a delightful bouquet.

Barbara went to be with the Lord in 2005, but something happened a few days before she died that I will never forget. My wife and I were sitting at her bedside with other friends telling stories about our childhood when I mentioned that I had once stolen some flowers. There was a park between the elementary school I attended and our home. One day, while walking through the park, I saw a row of irises in bloom and cut several to take to my mother. Some older boys saw me and threatened to call the police. I lived in terror for weeks thinking they would come and take me away.

Barbara placed her hand over mine and murmured softly, “I did that too.” I thought, That should be my response when I see the sins of others or hear about them—“I did that too.” Perhaps I’ve not committed their particular sin, but all sin is blameworthy and requires God’s forgiveness.

Awareness of our own depravity is what John Newton called “the root of perpetual tenderness.” I don’t want to be like the ungrateful servant in Matthew 18. I want to be gracious and show mercy, for “I did that too.” By:  David H. Roper  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Teach me to feel another’s woe,
To hide the fault I see;
The mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me. 

We can show mercy to others because God has shown mercy to us.

What’s Wrong with the World?

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Timothy 1:12–17

There is an oft-heard story that The London Times posed a question to readers at the turn of the twentieth century. What’s wrong with the world?

That’s quite the question, isn’t it? Someone might quickly respond, “Well, how much time do you have for me to tell you?” And that would be fair, as there seems to be so much that’s wrong with our world. As the story goes, The Times received a number of responses, but one in particular has endured in its brief brilliance. The English writer, poet, and philosopher G. K. Chesterton penned this four-word response, a refreshing surprise to the usual passing-of-the-buck: “Dear Sirs, I am.”

Whether the story is factual or not is up for debate. But that response? It’s nothing but true. Long before Chesterton came along, there was an apostle named Paul. Far from a lifelong model citizen, Paul confessed his past shortcomings: “I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man” (v. 13). After naming who Jesus came to save (“sinners”), he goes on to make a very Chesterton-like qualification: “of whom I am the worst” (v. 15). Paul knew exactly what was and is wrong with the world. And he further knew the only hope of making things right—“the grace of our Lord” (v. 14). What an amazing reality! This enduring truth lifts our eyes to the light of Christ’s saving love.   By:  John Blase (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

What is wrong with the world? Can you own the answer Paul and Chesterton gave? What is one way you can accept that without sliding into self-hatred?  

God, thank You for Your immense patience with me, a sinner. To You be honor and glory forever and ever.

To learn about answering questions related to the Christian faith, visit ChristianUniversity.org/CA101.

Mercy And Reward

This is a faithful saying . . . , that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. — 1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

When the great Puritan preacher Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) was on his deathbed, a friend tried to console him by saying, “Brother Hooker, you are going to receive your reward.” “No, no!” he breathed. “I go to receive mercy!”

In sharp contrast, A. W. Tozer recalled the prayer of a man who had the idea that he could earn heaven as a reward for trying to keep the Ten Commandments. It went something like this: “Now, God, I admit I have not kept number 1 and number 3 and number 7 and number 9. But remember, Father, that I have kept all the others.”

How foolish! This man failed to see that if he had broken one commandment, he was guilty of breaking them all (Jas. 2:10). His works were earning him condemnation, not salvation.

As the apostle Paul reviewed his 30-plus years of sacrificial service, he saw himself as the “chief” of sinners and totally dependent on God’s mercy. Although he undoubtedly anticipated the rewards he would receive, he gloried only in the cross (Gal. 6:14). There Jesus paid the price for sin so that everyone who trusts in Him will receive mercy.

The wonder of God’s mercy and grace! Someday I will “go to receive mercy.” I hope you will too. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

'Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me;
Amazing love! How can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me.

Grace is getting what we do not deserve.
Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve.

God's Delight

When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them. — Matthew 9:36

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

A Scottish preacher spoke of evangelism as a fellowship of reconciled, forgiven sinners who don’t simply preach but live out their faith. They also offer to others the same reconciliation and forgiveness they have received from God.

The apostle Paul expressed the same conviction: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). Once a blasphemer and persecutor of Christians, Paul believed that God’s mercy was shown to him, the worst of sinners, as an example to other sinners who would later believe on Christ (v.16).

Whenever we testify that God has forgiven us and provided eternal life through faith in Christ, we’re declaring that God is a saving God. Yet, when we observe destructive lifestyles among people, it’s easy to write them off. Instead, we should look at them as Christ does. “When He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them” (Matthew 9:36).

Jesus said He came not to condemn the world but to save it (John 3:17). Rather than condemning people, we should say, “Who am I to condemn others, when God has forgiven me so generously?” God delights to use forgiven sinners to reach other sinners. By:  Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Love is giving for the world's needs,
Love is sharing as the Lord leads,
Love is caring when the world cries,
Love is compassion with Christlike eyes.

To love sinners is to be like Jesus.

Good News

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. — 1 Timothy 1:15

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

A Christian counselor was troubled by this line in her church’s statement of faith: “We deserve God’s condemnation.” She said she often talks with clients who are so beaten down with self-condemnation that they need to hear, “You deserve God’s love.”

I commend that therapist for her empathy, but I’m afraid her thinking is subtly flawed. The good news of the gospel is not that we deserve God’s love. The good news is that God sees us in all our sin and unworthiness, yet He loves us so much that He has provided for our complete forgiveness and acceptance.

The apostle Paul said that he had persecuted believers “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). Yet this was not an excuse. He accepted responsibility for his unbelief, referring to himself as “formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.” Although he saw himself as the “chief” of sinners (v.15), he wasn’t shackled by the guilt of past sins. His primary emphasis was on the Lord’s marvelous grace that freed him from a debilitating sense of unworthiness.

It’s true that “we deserve God’s condemnation,” but it’s also true that “Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (v.15). That’s good news for all of us, no matter what we have done! By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

No condemnation now I dread,
I am my Lord's and He is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine.

The one who receives Christ will never receive God's condemnation.

1 Timothy 1:16  Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:16 ἀλλὰ διὰ τοῦτο ἠλεήθην, ἵνα ἐν ἐμοὶ πρώτῳ ἐνδείξηται Χριστὸς Ἰησοῦς τὴν ἅπασαν μακροθυμίαν πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν τῶν μελλόντων πιστεύειν ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

Amplified  But I obtained mercy for the reason that in me, as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might show forth and display all His perfect long-suffering and patience for an example to [encourage] those who would thereafter believe on Him for [the gaining of] eternal life.

Barclay  This was why I received mercy—so that in me Jesus Christ might display all that patience of his, so that I might be the first outline sketch of those who would one day come to believe in him, that they might find eternal life. 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:16 But for this reason I was given mercy, so that in me, the chief of sinners, Jesus Christ might make clear all his mercy, as an example to those who in the future would have faith in him to eternal life.

CSB  1 Timothy 1:16 But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:16 howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me as chief might Jesus Christ shew forth all his longsuffering, for an ensample of them which should hereafter believe on him unto eternal life.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:16 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.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:16 However, I was treated with mercy so that Christ Jesus could use me, the foremost sinner, to demonstrate his patience. This patience serves as an example for those who would believe in him and live forever.

KJV  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.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:16 But for this reason I received mercy that Christ Jesus might demonstrate his comprehensive patience first in me, making me a prototype of those who in the future would believe in him to obtain eternal life.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:16 But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life.

NET  1 Timothy 1:16 But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that in me as the worst, Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life.

NIV  1 Timothy 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 as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:16 and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the leading example of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who were later to trust in him for eternal life.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

NLT (non-revised)  But that is why God had mercy on me, so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.

Phillips   and that because of this very fact God was particularly merciful to me. It was a kind of demonstration of the extent of Christ's patience towards the worst of men, to serve as an example to all who in the future should trust him for eternal life. 

REB  But I was mercifully dealt with for this very purpose, that Jesus Christ might find in me the first occasion for displaying his inexhaustible patience, and that I might be typical of all who were in future to have faith in him and gain eternal life. 

Wuest  Moreover, on this account I was shown mercy, in order that in me first Jesus Christ might demonstrate all the long-suffering [which He has] as an example to those who were to be believing on Him for life eternal. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:16 but because of this I found kindness, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern of those about to believe on him to life age-during:

  • Yet for this reason: Nu 23:3 Ps 25:11 Isa 1:18 43:25 Eph 1:6,12 2:7 2Th 1:10 
  • I found mercy: 1Ti 1:13 2Co 4:1 
  • Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience: Ex 34:8 Ro 2:4,5 1Pe 3:20 2Pe 3:9,15 
  • as an example: 2Chr 33:9-13,19 Isa 55:7 Lu 7:47 15:10 18:13,14 19:7-9 23:43 Joh 6:37 Ac 13:39 Ro 5:20 15:4 Heb 7:25 
  • for those who would believe in Him for eternal life: John 3:15,16,Jn 3:36 Jn 5:24 Jn 6:40,54 Jn 20:31 Ro 5:21 6:23 1Jn 5:11,12 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Romans 2:4-5+   Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God

John 3:36  “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

John 6:40; 54  “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” 54 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

Mark 5:19  (ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GOD'S SAVING POWER - THE GADARENE DEMONIAC) And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”

Psalms 107:2  (WE SHOULD FOLLOW PAUL'S PATTERN OF TESTIMONY) Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary 


Lenski  prefaces this next section writing "In 1Ti 1:12–14 Paul states what God did for him; in 1Ti 1:15, 16 what God thereby did for others." (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

S Lewis Johnson has an interesting interpretation of example (pattern in KJV) - (Pattern) is a very interesting word. It is not the same as the word translated “type.” It rather means an active display, a kind of pattern in which we see something going on, and the reference is to the longsuffering of the Lord Jesus and it is not a reference to the apostle at all, but to the longsuffering of Jesus Christ in connecting with the apostle. (The Unforgotten Shame and the Overflowing Mercy) Johnson's interpretation certainly has merit, but note that others interpret the pattern or example as Paul's salvation (see below, here, and even Spurgeon).

Yet for this reason (NIV - But for that very reason) - Paul had just stated he was the foremost of sinners, and here he is explaining why he received this mercy, why he was saved. "The reason is not Paul or anything in Paul; the reason is Jesus, something in Jesus, namely “all his longsuffering,” holding out long under provocation." (Lenski) He further shows that if one as great a sinner as he was had the door of mercy and salvation flung wide open by grace, than that door was opened to all who acknowledge their sin and need for a Savior. 

Duane Litfin - In fact it was just for this purpose—that is, to demonstrate God’s plan to save sinners—that Paul himself was saved. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

I don't like the NAS rendering "I found mercy," because the implication of found is that we were searching for something. Paul was not searching for mercy. He obtained or received mercy from God as a gift of His grace. Salvation is all of God from beginning to end! Ours is but to receive it by grace through faith. As S Lewis Johnson says "in all of the salvation texts of the New Testament, the great stress rests upon what has been done for us, not what we do for the Lord." (Sermon)

I found mercy (eleeo), so that (hina) in me as the foremost (in me first)  Jesus (IesousChrist (Christos) might demonstrate (endeíknumi) His perfect (HCSB - extraordinary; NIV - unlimited; NET - utmost) patience (makrothumia - "long suffering") as an example (hupotuposis - outline sketch) for those who would believe  (pisteuo) in Him for eternal (aionios) life (zoe) - Paul's receipt of mercy reiterates 1Ti 1:13 (Paul did not forget this divine attribute). In 1Ti 1:15 he had just declared that among sinners, he was the foremost. So that (hina) expresses the purpose of Paul finding mercy. The purpose was to serve as visible proof (see sense of endeíknumi below) of Christ's perfect (Gk = hapas - expresses the totality of) patience, makrothumia signifying patience with people. The idea of makrothumia is that of a long fuse before the emotion of anger "blows up" or is expressed. "It indicates also what patience Christ had exercised during Paul’s persistent resistance while he was “kicking against the ox-goads.” Longsuffering is the quality of self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish." (Vine) In the case of Christ this glorious attribute was perfectly developed (for which we all praise God!). Christ's holding back the display of righteous justice and punishment on such a "chief sinner" like Paul is a beautiful example (see SLJ' interpretation above) of what the perfect patience of Christ would do for all other sinners who would believe in Him for eternal life! (See Mt 25:46 for Jesus' description of the only 2 alternatives - both are eternal!)

Eternal life is right now for every believer! Therefore it behooves us to "invest" and redeem the time (kairos - "opportunities") NOW (Eph 5:16+), for this temporal investment will yield spiritual dividends beyond your wildest imagination (cf Eph 3:20+) forever in eternity future (cf Jn 15:16).  Paul was the proof that God could save eternally ANY sinner who would repent and believe! He was a model of the marvelous grace of God! And such a display of amazing grace is meant to glorify our amazing God. 

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!

THOUGHT - If you are not saved (or know someone), for you think you are too vile, too far gone, etc, for Christ to save you, then you need to ponder the pattern of Christ's perfect patience in Paul's life, one who was the foremost of sinners! No one is too unworthy to be saved. And in fact it is those who realize they are unworthy who Christ saves, not those who have some degree of worthiness or respectability! 

Phrase eternal life - 41x in 41v - Matt. 19:16; Matt. 19:29; Matt. 25:46; Mk. 10:17; Mk. 10:30; Lk. 10:25; Lk. 18:18; Lk. 18:30; Jn. 3:15; Jn. 3:16; Jn. 3:36; Jn. 4:14; Jn. 5:24; Jn. 5:39; Jn. 6:27; Jn. 6:40; Jn. 6:47; Jn. 6:54; Jn. 6:68; Jn. 10:28; Jn. 12:50; Jn. 17:2; Jn. 17:3; Acts 13:46; Acts 13:48; Rom. 2:7; Rom. 5:21; Rom. 6:22; Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:8; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 Tim. 6:12; Tit. 1:2; Tit. 3:7; 1 Jn. 1:2; 1 Jn. 2:25; 1 Jn. 3:15; 1 Jn. 5:11; 1 Jn. 5:13; 1 Jn. 5:20; Jude 1:21

White expresses the idea the "Pauline pattern" writing “Christ’s longsuffering will never undergo a more severe test than it did in my case, so that no sinner need ever despair. Let us glorify God therefore.” (Expositor's Greek Testament)

Paul is a sample of the kind of sinners that Jesus came to save
-- A T Robertson

Donald Guthrie adds that "Mercy shown to what Paul conceives as the worst of sinners must provide a superlative example for subsequent centuries, especially as Paul’s case had shown what he calls Christ’s unlimited patience. That patience has never ceased towards sinners. The Greek word rendered example (hypotypōsis) may be understood either as an outline sketch of an artist, or as a word-illustration expressing an author’s burning purpose (cf. Simpson). In a sublime sense Paul’s experience was to serve as a compelling example to countless numbers who would believe on him (i.e. Christ). (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

THOUGHT - In light of example, we should be strongly encouraged to NEVER cease praying for the salvation of those in our sphere of influence who seem so (too) far away from God's strong arm. God rhetorically asks "Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver?" (Isa 50:2) God in effect answers "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not so short That it cannot save." (Isa 59:1) My father prayed for me for 25 years before I was saved and I prayed for my youngest son 25 years before he was saved! It is always too soon to quit! 

ESV has "Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience" which alludes to the primary goal of Paul's (and our) salvation which is God's glory as Paul explains in Ephesians 1:11-12+

Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ (IN CONTEXT MOST FEEL THIS REFERS SPECIFICALLY TO JEWISH BELIEVERS LIKE PAUL) would be to the praise of His glory.

And in Ephesians 3:10 Paul adds that our salvation (in context especially Jew and Gentile now one in Christ) is also for the angelic hosts to look upon in amazement...

so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

As Gregory Brown says "When God lavishes grace on people, he does it in such a way that it brings glory to himself. How should we apply the fact that God distributes grace and mercy in salvation to glorify and magnify himself? If we truly understand that our lives and our salvation are meant to display his glory, then it should encourage us to daily live for God’s glory. Paul said, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31+). God’s super-abundant grace saves us for his glory and therefore we should seek to honor and glorify him in all we do. We do this by cultivating both right hearts and actions in how we live. Are you living to glorify God? Is that the motive behind your eating, drinking, working, and playing?" Paul’s salvation not only reflected God’s glory but also became a model for others. (Marks of God’s Abounding Grace 1 Timothy 1:12-17)

MacArthur writes that "God didn’t save him merely to get him out of hell or into heaven. Nor did He save him to preach the gospel or write the epistles; God could have had others do that. The purpose of salvation, whether Paul’s or ours, is to display God’s grace, power, and patience and produce a true worshiper of God (John 4:21–24). It is for His glory primarily, our benefit is secondary."

Duane Litfin - If God was patient and gracious enough to save Paul, He is patient and gracious enough to save anyone. All who follow can look back at Paul as a prototype or pattern (“example,” hypotypōsin; cf. 2Ti 1:13). The ultimate sinner became the ultimate saint; God’s greatest enemy became His finest servant. Somewhere between these extremes fall all the rest. In studying Paul’s pattern, Christians can therefore learn about themselves. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Spurgeon - The case of Paul is not a singular one; it is the pattern one. If there are any here who feel that they have sinned like Saul of Tarsus, they may be forgiven like Paul the apostle. He is a pattern to all who should thereafter believe in Christ to life everlasting. Just as we often see things cut out in brown paper, and sold as patterns, so is the apostle Paul the "pattern convert." What God did for him, he can do for thousands of others.

Demonstrate (1731) endeíknumi from preposition en = in, to + deíknumi = to show) means to point out, to demonstrate, to put on display, to prove, to show proof, to show forth, to show oneself, to give visible proof, to show in anything and implies an appeal to facts. The preposition (in) in the compound suggests more than the simplest demonstration. It is like laying the index finger, as it were, on the object. It means to to show something in someone. It can mean to do something to someone, as Alexander the coppersmith did (endeíknumi) Paul much harm (see 2 Timothy 4:14- note). In the papyri it could have a quasi-legal sense of proving a petition or charge or of proving that a charge was wrong. Josephus used endeíknumi to describe Herod Agrippa’s display of generosity to those of other nations (Josephus, Antiquities, 19:330).

Longsuffering (3115) makrothumia from makros = long, distant, far off, large + thumos = temper, passion, emotion or thumoomai = to be furious or burn with intense anger) is literally long-temper (as opposed to "short tempered), a long holding out of the mind before it gives room to action or passion ("a long fuse!"). It describes a state of emotional calm or quietness in the face of provocation, misfortune or unfavorable circumstances. Makrothumia is the capacity to be wronged and not retaliate. It is the ability to hold one's feeling in restraint or bear up under the oversights and wrongs afflicted by others without retaliating. It is manifest by the quality of forbearance under provocation. It is used of God's patience toward sinful men (see note Romans 2:4) and of the attitude which Christians are to display.

Example (5296hupotuposis  from hupotupóo = to draw a sketch or first draft as painters when they begin a picture) is literally an "undertype" and means a model for imitation, an outline, a sketch or model used by an artist. In literature it described the rough draft forming the basis of a fuller exposition. "In NT times, hypotyposis was used of a floor plan to guide a builder or of a first draft of written material used to guide fuller development. Paul's point is that life is to be founded on Scripture's revelation of reality. But each person and culture must move on to construction, not violating the principles laid down, but constantly seeking to flesh out the divine vision. (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)

Believe (4100pisteuo  from pistispistos; related studies the faith, the obedience of faith) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. To accept as true, genuine, or real. To have a firm conviction as to the goodness, efficacy, or ability of something or someone. To consider to be true. To accept the word or evidence of. Vincent notes that pisteuo "means to persuade, to cause belief, to induce one to do something by persuading, and so runs into the meaning of to obey, properly as the result of persuasion

POSB note on believe (pisteuo)…

Believe— Commit: the word "commit" (Pisteuo) is the same word "believe" (cp. John 2:23). This gives an excellent picture of saving faith, of what genuine faith is—of the kind of faith that really saves a person.

1. Saving faith is not head knowledge, not just a mental conviction and intellectual assent. It is not just believing the fact that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. It is not just believing history, that Jesus Christ lived upon earth as the Savior just as George Washington lived upon earth as the President of America. It is not just believing the words and claims of Jesus in the same way that a person would believe the words of George Washington.

2. Saving faith is believing in Jesus, who and what He is, that He is the Savior and Lord of life. It is a man giving and turning his life over to Jesus. It is a man casting himself upon Jesus as Savior and Lord.

3. Saving faith is commitment—the commitment of a man's total being and life to Jesus Christ. It is a man's commitment of all he is and has to Jesus. It gives Jesus everything; therefore, it involves all of a man's affairs. The man trusts Jesus to take care of his past (sins), his present (welfare), and his future (destiny). He entrusts his whole life, being and possessions into Jesus' hands. He lays himself upon Jesus' keeping, confiding in Him about his daily necessities and acknowledging Him in all the ways of life. He follows Jesus in every area and in every detail of life, seeking His instructions and leaving his welfare up to Him. It is simply commitment of a man's whole being, all he is and has, to Jesus. (John 4:50Hebrews 5:5-10.)

There are three steps involved in faith, steps that are clearly seen in this passage. ( Romans 10:16-17.)

1. There is the step of seeing (John 2:23or hearing (Romans 10:16). A man must be willing to listen to the message of Christ, the revelation of truth.

2. There is the step of mental assent. A man must agree that the message is true, that the facts of the case are thus and so. But this is not enough. Mere agreement does not lead to action. Many a person knows that something is true, but he does not change his behavior to match his knowledge. For example, a man knows that eating too much harms his body, but he may continue to eat too much. He agrees to the truth and knows the truth, but he does nothing about it. A person may believe and know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and yet do nothing about it, never make a decision to follow Christ. This man still does not have faith, not the kind of faith that the Bible talks about.

3. There is the step of commitment. When the New Testament speaks of faith, it speaks of commitment, a personal commitment to the truth. A man hears the truth and agrees that it is true and does something about it. He commits and yields his life to the truth. The truth becomes a part of his very being, a part of his behavior and life. (Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible).

Eternal (166aionios from aion) means existing at all times, perpetual, pertaining to an unlimited duration of time (Ro 1:20 - God's power, Mt 18:8 - God's place of judgment, Ro 16:26+ - God's attribute). Aionios (eternal) is the exact antithesis of proskairos (temporal). See additional discussion of aionios in study of eternal punishment, specifically the importance of an accurate understanding of aionios as a refutation of the false teaching of universalism (everyone will be saved). 

Life (2222) zoe  in Scripture is used (1) to refer to physical life (Ro 8:38+, 1Co 3:22, Php 1:20+, Jas 4:14, etc) but more often to (2) to supernatural life in contrast to a life subject to eternal death (Jn 3:36, see all 43 uses of "eternal life" below). This quality of life speaks of fullness of life which alone belongs to God the Giver of life and is available to His children now (Ro 6:4+, Ep 4:18+) as well as in eternity future (Mk 10:30+, Titus 1:2+ on Eternal Life). It is used of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God. The ethical and spiritual qualities of this life which God is, are communicated to the sinner when the latter places his faith in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, and this becomes the new, animating, energizing, motivating principle which transforms the experience of that individual, and the saint thus lives a Christian life.

James Smith -  “I OBTAINED MERCY.” 1 TIMOTHY 1:16

I. He needed mercy. According to his own confession, he was the “chief of sinners” (v. 15). He was a ringleader among the enemies of Christ. Nothing but mercy could meet his need. He did not need more worldly wisdom or a better man-pleasing life; he needed the mercy of God to forgive his sin and save his soul from death. Divine mercy covered all his deep, dire need.

II. He obtained mercy. He did not obtain it by any work or merit of his own. He obtained it just because God in His infinite grace gave it to him. He obtained it because he readily accepted the gift when offered to him. There is no other way for us to obtain mercy than by receiving it.

III. He obtained mercy through Christ Jesus (v. 15). There is none other name under Heaven, none other channel between Heaven and earth, through which the stream of God’s forgiving and saving mercy can flow. The only price by which we can obtain the mercy of God is the precious Blood of Christ. When the Lord said to Saul, “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks,” it was His merciful call to surrender. The mercy and the victory came when Saul answered, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” God is rich in mercy through Jesus Christ His Son.

IV. He obtained mercy that Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering in him. Not only that he might be saved from a life of rebellion and coming wrath, but that he may become a lantern through which the longsuffering goodness and patience of Christ might shine forth. The longsuffering Christ was revealed to him and in him, that He might be revealed through him. The obtaining of mercy has to do with the honour and glory of God, as well as with our own salvation.

V. He obtained mercy, that he might be a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him. In obtaining mercy, he not only became an exhibition of the grace of God, but an example to encourage all those who desired to trust Jesus Christ, with the view of obtaining that mercy which means “life everlasting.” Seeing, then, that the conversion of Saul is to be taken as a sample of the saving mercy of God, what great encouragement there is for sinners of every age to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is said that Abraham Lincoln gave orders to his doorkeepers never to turn away anyone petitioning for life. All the doorkeepers of the House of God have the same instructions. If you are seeking life, eternal life, here is mercy for you. Have you obtained it?

The Day My Dad Met Jesus

I obtained mercy . . . as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. — 1 Timothy 1:16

Today's Scripture & Insight: 1 Timothy 1:15-17

My grandfather, my father, and his brothers were all tough men who, understandably, didn’t appreciate people who “got up in their faces about faith.” When my father, Howard, was diagnosed with a rapid and deadly cancer, I was so concerned that I took every opportunity to talk to him about Jesus’ love. Inevitably he would end the discussion with a polite but firm: “I know what I need to know.”

I promised not to raise the issue again and gave him a set of cards that shared the forgiveness God offers, which he could read when he wanted. I entrusted Dad to God and prayed. A friend also asked God to keep my dad alive long enough to know Jesus.

One afternoon the call came telling me Dad was gone. When my brother met me at the airport, he said, “Dad told me to tell you he asked Jesus to forgive his sin.” “When?” “The morning he passed,” Mark replied. God had shown him “mercy” as He had shown us (1 Tim. 1:16).

Sometimes we talk about the gospel, other times we share our story, still other times we just show a silent Christlike example, and always we pray. We know that salvation is ultimately a work of God and not something we can do for another. God is a gracious God, and no matter what the outcome of our prayers, He can be trusted. By:  Randy Kilgore (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling—
Calling for you and for me;
Patiently Jesus is waiting and watching—
Watching for you and for me!

We plant and water, but God gives the increase.

1 Timothy 1:17  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, [be] honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:17 Τῷ δὲ βασιλεῖ τῶν αἰώνων, ἀφθάρτῳ ἀοράτῳ μόνῳ θεῷ, τιμὴ καὶ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, ἀμήν.

Amplified  Now to the King of eternity, incorruptible and immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever (to the ages of ages). Amen (so be it).

Barclay  To the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, to the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

BBE  1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, ever-living, unseen, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. So be it.

CSB  1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:17 Worship and glory belong forever to the eternal king, the immortal, invisible, and only God. Amen.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:17 To the sovereign of the ages who is imperishable, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory into the infinite future. Amen!

NAB  1 Timothy 1:17 To the king of ages, incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

NET  1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the eternal king, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever! Amen.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:17 To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

NLT (non-revised)  Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Phillips  So to the king of all the ages, the immortal, invisible, and only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, amen! 

REB  To the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever! Amen.

Wuest  Now, to the King of the Ages, the incorruptible, invisible, unique God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:17 and to the King of the ages, the incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, is honour and glory -- to the ages of the ages! Amen.

  • Now to the King eternal: 1Ti 6:15,16 Ps 10:16 45:1,6 47:6-8 90:2 145:13 Jer 10:10 Da 2:44 Da 7:14 Mic 5:2 Mal 1:14 Mt 6:13 25:34 Ro 1:23 Heb 1:8-13 Rev 17:14 19:16 
  • invisible: John 1:18 Ro 1:20 Col 1:15 Heb 11:27 1Jn 4:12 
  • the only God: Ro 16:27 Jude 1:25 
  • be honor and glory forever  and ever: 1Ch 29:11 Ne 9:5 Ps 41:13 57:11 72:18,19 106:48 Da 4:34,37 Eph 3:20,21 1Pe 5:11 2Pe 3:18 Rev 4:8-11 5:9-14 7:12 19:1,6 
  • Amen: Mt 6:13 28:20 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Hebrews 11:27  By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.

1 John 4:12  No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

1Timothy 6:15-16 which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, Whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. 

Revelation 19:16+  And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” 

Isaiah 45:18 For thus says the LORD, who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it and did not create it a waste place, but formed it to be inhabited), “I am the LORD, and there is none else


“Even in pastoral correspondence, the heart of this theologian beats with the pulse of the psalmist” (Lilley).

Note how this section began with thanksgiving (gratitude) in 1Ti 1:12 and now ends with exultant praise (doxology).

Now to the King (basileuseternal (of the ages), immortal (aphthartos), invisible (aoratos), the only God - Literally "King of the Ages!" As King, His sovereign rule is  over every person, over every thing, in every place, and over every time, now and forever. Amen. "What a conception; God, the absolute Ruler of the Ages of time and of all that goes on in those ages" (Wuest)

MacArthur on eternal - God had no beginning and will have no end. He exists outside of time, though He acts in it.

He is immortal and thus not subject to decay or corruption, in contrast to the state of all things in His creation (And to think one day we will be like Him!!! - read it in 1Cor 15:52+).

Utley on immortal - This is literally “incorruptible.” It refers metaphorically to the ever-living, only-living One (YHWH from the Hebrew verb “to be”; cf. Exod. 3:14+). Only God has life in Himself (cf. Rom. 1:23; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16). All other life is a derived gift and a stewardship. It comes only through the grace of the Father, the work of Christ (cf. 2 Tim. 1:10), and the ministry of the Spirit.

Vine on immortal - The word is used also of the future reward of the believer (1 Cor. 9:25), of the resurrection bodies of the saints (1 Cor. 15:52), of the inheritance of the saints (1 Pet. 1:4), of the Word of God (1 Pet. 1:23), and of spiritual adornment (1 Pet. 3:4).

While God is invisible, Jesus "is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature." (Heb 1:3+), "the image of the invisible God." (Col 1:15+) As John said "No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." (John 1:18+) While it is not clear if we will be able to see God the Father (see below), it is clear that believers can view the splendid glory of God residing in the person of Jesus (1Jn 3:2+). 

The only God ("sole God") emphasizes His uniqueness. There is none like Him! (Play There is None Like You) The truth of His monotheistic nature is repeatedly emphasized in Scripture - Dt. 4:35, 39; Dt 6:4; Isa. 43:10; Isa 44:6; Isa 45:5–6, 21–22; 46:9; 1Co 8:4, 6; 1Ti 2:5.

Vine - This doxology ascribes to God (1) His sovereignty—He is King; (2) His unoriginated, unending existence—He is eternal, (3) His essential purity—He is incorruptible; (4) His imperceptibility to sight—He is invisible; (5) the absoluteness of His Deity—He is the only God.

be honor (timeand glory (doxa) forever  (aion) and ever. Amen (amen - Let it be so/said) - Forever and ever is literally “unto the ages of the ages,” which is the way to the describe eternity, literally the strongest term in the Greek for eternity. Ponder that mysterious phrase a moment - does it not suggest an infinity of ages following ages, stretching on forever and ever. O my, what a glorious future God has in store for those who are His children (cf 1Jn 3:1+) Let this amazing, incomprehensible truth prompt in your heart a loud "Amen!" as you join in chorus with Paul! 

Only those who have struck the deepest note of penitence can reach the highest note of praise.
-- A. J. Gordon

Lenski Honor is the esteem and reverence, and glory is the ascription of our praise as we see and adore all his excellencies....Eternity is really timelessness and not in any sense duration, but human language has no words to express that idea since the human mind is able to form no adequate conception because in its finiteness it is bound to ideas of time.

Vine on glory - “Glory” (doxa, whence the English “doxology”) had primarily to do with an estimate concerning a person; conspicuous among its various meanings is that of the visible manifestation of the divine excellences of character and power which are inward and essential. Hence to ascribe glory to God is to recognize and acknowledge to Him the excellences which are His essentially in His nature, character, and operations. Nothing can be added to Him in giving glory; to do so is but to acknowledge what He is and what He has done.

It is most fitting that honor and glory are used together repeatedly in the book of final victory, the Revelation of Jesus Christ...

Revelation 4:9, 11+ And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”

Revelation 5:12; 13+ saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”  13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” 

Revelation 7:12+  saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” 

Wuest on honor - The word “honor” is timē, “a valuing by which the price is fixed.” Hence, it comes to mean “honor” in the sense that a person accords veneration, reverence, deference, to some one in the measure that he values that person.

Spurgeon - Paul could not help this outburst of praise. He must put in a doxology. When he remembered his own conversion and pardon, and his being entrusted with the ministry of the gospel, be was obliged to put down his pen, and lift up his voice in grateful thanksgiving to God. So may it be with us, as we remember what great things the Lord hath done for us!

Hiebert - The word “wise” in the King James Version is omitted by most ancient manuscripts and is perhaps inserted here from Ro 16:27. (First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all life thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish but naught changeth Thee.

Great Father of glory, pure Father of light,
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All praise we would render, O help us to see
'Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee.

QUESTION - Will we be able to see all three members of the Trinity in Heaven?

ANSWER - Before considering if we will actually be able to see God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we need to establish that they are three Persons. Without delving too deeply into the doctrine of the Trinity, we need to understand that the Father is not the same Person as the Son, the Son is not the same Person as the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit is not the same Person as the Father. They are not three Gods. They are three distinct Persons, yet they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal and co-powerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God.

So in heaven, there are three Persons. But will we be able to actually see them? Revelation 4:3-6 gives us a description of heaven and the throne that is occupied by God and by the Lamb: “the one sitting there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian… a rainbow resembling an emerald encircled the throne. Before the throne… a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” Since God dwells in “unapproachable light” and is one “whom no one has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16), God is described in terms of the reflected brilliance of precious stones. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” Because of God’s holiness, it may be that we will never be able to look upon His face, but again, this is speculation.

Revelation 5:6 tells us that in heaven, the Lamb stands in the center of the throne and there are descriptions of Him clothed in brilliant white. Since the Lamb represents Christ Jesus, and we know that human eyes have beheld Him after His resurrection and glorification, it seems reasonable to conclude that in heaven, we will be able to look upon our Lord and Savior.

The Holy Spirit, by the very nature of His being, is able to move at will and take various forms. When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove (Matthew 3:13-17). At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was accompanied by a loud rushing noise and was seen as tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-4). It may not be possible to see the Holy Spirit unless He chooses to manifest Himself in some form, but that is speculation.

Mere mortals do not have the ability to grasp the wonders of heaven—it is entirely beyond our comprehension. Whatever heaven is like, it will far exceed our wildest imaginings! All we know is that we will be worshiping our great God and full of wonder that He died to save sinners.GotQuestions.org

Edwards’ Great Awakening 

Despite his staunch Puritan background, Jonathan Edwards struggled spiritually during his years at Yale. My convictions wore off; and I returned like a dog to his vomit, and went on in the ways of sin. Indeed, I was at times very uneasy, especially toward the latter part of my time at college; when it pleased God to seize me with pleurisy; in which He brought me nigh to the grave, and shook me over the pit of hell. And yet, it was not long after my recovery, before I fell again into my old ways of sin.

The turning point came while  … reading 1 Timothy 1:17. As I read the words, there came into my soul a sense of the glory of the Divine Being, quite different from anything I ever experienced before. Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought to myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to Him in heaven, and be, as it were, swallowed up in Him forever! I kept saying and singing over these words of Scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy Him, and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do. From about that time, I began to have a new idea of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him.

Jonathan shared his experience with his father, and was pretty much affected by the discourse we had together; and when the discourse was ended, I walked alone in a solitary place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation. And as I was looking up on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God that I do not know how to express.
Edwards spent the rest of his life trying to express it, and his sermons sparked the greatest revival in American church history. (From This Verse)

The one true God

       "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen."—1 Timothy 1:17

One is struck by the limitations of the Greek gods. The god Zeus was considered the most powerful of the gods. But Zeus was not eternal; he was born. In Greek mythology some of the gods died. The scope of their power was limited. Zeus was lord of the sky and was the rain god, but he did not exercise power at sea. That realm was under his brother Poseidon's power. Another god, Apollo, was forced into servitude. Morally the Greek gods lacked integrity. Zeus had many affairs and other gods committed murder, adultery, and displayed treachery.

Hermes, the illegitimate son of Zeus, was a cattle thief. He was a messenger god and had the appearance of either an old man or a young man. Hermes was limited because he was invisible only when wearing a special helmet.

The God of our Lord Jesus Christ is unlimited—eternal, immortal, invisible, with no contradiction. Jesus Christ is the rock when all else fails. In Christ we have the one true God. Today in prayer praise the Lord who is like no other.

"We impoverish God's ministry to us the moment we forget he is Almighty; the impoverishment is in us, not in him."—Oswald Chamber  (Kennedy, P - From Generation to Generation)



Honoring God is an important part of living out His glory in our lives. He clearly deserves it. It’s just that often we aren’t quite sure how to extend it. Or, worse yet, we would rather live to honor ourselves.

One night, Martie and the children came home from the mall bearing new clothes for the summer. A style show ensued, and excitement ran high. I began to feel good about how I had earned the money to provide for my family. I’m a pretty good dad! crossed my mind as I wondered if anyone in the room who was sporting the new clothes would recognize it! While I was patting myself on the back, the Lord reminded me that all I was able to provide was really because of His gracious provision in my life. Suddenly I felt small for basking in the honor that was His. As I tucked the kids into bed, I asked them if they knew where their new clothes had come from. My youngest said, “God gave you the job that gave us the money to buy our clothes.” Good answer! God got the credit He deserved (1 Timothy 1:12–17).

Honoring Him is giving Him the credit for what He does in and through our lives. God takes it seriously when we take credit for His glory. Moses was denied entrance to the Promised Land because he claimed that he and Aaron would provide water from a rock. In reality, the water was God’s provision (Numbers 20:1–12). Nebuchadnezzar was banished to the field to roam as a wild beast because he claimed the glory for his kingdom (Daniel 4:30–37). Herod was struck dead for accepting praise as a god (Acts 12:21–23).

President Reagan kept a sign on his desk that read, “There is no limit to what a man can do if he doesn’t care who gets the credit.” Biblically, there is no limit to what God can do through us if we are willing to give Him the credit. Which is exactly what it means to honor Him.

Look for God’s hand in your achievements. Let your world know!

King (935) (basileus) occurs throughout Greek literature, including the Septuagint (e.g., Genesis 14:1; Exodus 1:8; Judges 3:8; et al.), with the same meaning, i.e., “a king.” It is used 118 times in the New Testament. It refers to secular rulers such as kings and emperors: Herod (Matthew 2:1), David (Matthew 1:6), Agrippa (Acts 25:13), Melchizedek (Hebrews 7:1), and kings in general (1 Timothy 2:2). Basileus refers to divine rulers: God (Matthew 5:35); Christ, as King in general (Luke 23:2), as King of kings (1 Timothy 6:15), as King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2), as King of Israel (Matthew 27:42), and as King of saints (Revelation 15:3). Among the church fathers, Christ was also referred to as King of all creation, and King of the Church; and the Holy Spirit was referred to as King. Among the secular writers basileus was used to refer to pagan deities such as Zeus. Basileus also is used in the New Testament to refer to the saints who will rule and reign with Christ (Revelation 5:10), and to evil powers such as Abaddon (Revelation 9:11; cf. Abaddōn [3]). See further comments under basileuō.

Basileus - 105v - Matt. 1:6; Matt. 2:1; Matt. 2:2; Matt. 2:3; Matt. 2:9; Matt. 5:35; Matt. 10:18; Matt. 11:8; Matt. 14:9; Matt. 17:25; Matt. 18:23; Matt. 21:5; Matt. 22:2; Matt. 22:7; Matt. 22:11; Matt. 22:13; Matt. 25:34; Matt. 25:40; Matt. 27:11; Matt. 27:29; Matt. 27:37; Matt. 27:42; Mk. 6:14; Mk. 6:22; Mk. 6:25; Mk. 6:26; Mk. 6:27; Mk. 13:9; Mk. 15:2; Mk. 15:9; Mk. 15:12; Mk. 15:18; Mk. 15:26; Mk. 15:32; Lk. 1:5; Lk. 10:24; Lk. 14:31; Lk. 19:38; Lk. 21:12; Lk. 22:25; Lk. 23:2; Lk. 23:3; Lk. 23:37; Lk. 23:38; Jn. 1:49; Jn. 6:15; Jn. 12:13; Jn. 12:15; Jn. 18:33; Jn. 18:37; Jn. 18:39; Jn. 19:3; Jn. 19:12; Jn. 19:14; Jn. 19:15; Jn. 19:19; Jn. 19:21; Acts 4:26; Acts 7:10; Acts 7:18; Acts 9:15; Acts 12:1; Acts 12:20; Acts 13:21; Acts 13:22; Acts 17:7; Acts 25:13; Acts 25:14; Acts 25:24; Acts 25:26; Acts 26:2; Acts 26:7; Acts 26:13; Acts 26:19; Acts 26:26; Acts 26:27; Acts 26:30; 2 Co. 11:32; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Tim. 2:2; 1 Tim. 6:15; Heb. 7:1; Heb. 7:2; Heb. 11:23; Heb. 11:27; 1 Pet. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:17; Rev. 1:5; Rev. 6:15; Rev. 9:11; Rev. 10:11; Rev. 15:3; Rev. 16:12; Rev. 16:14; Rev. 17:2; Rev. 17:10; Rev. 17:12; Rev. 17:14; Rev. 17:18; Rev. 18:3; Rev. 18:9; Rev. 19:16; Rev. 19:18; Rev. 19:19; Rev. 21:24

There are over 2000 uses in the Septuagint.

Immortal (862aphthartos  from a = negates what follows + phtheiro = to corrupt) means nothing can corrupt or ruin, not liable to pass away, not subject to corruption, decay or dissolution and so imperishable. Absolutely nothing can ruin your eternal inheritance beloved. The root verb phtheiro was sometimes used of the ravaging of a country by hostile armies! In secular Greek aphthartos described something that had not been ravaged by an invading army.

Invisible (517aoratos from a = without + horáo = see) is that which cannot be seen with physical eyes. That which cannot be seen or is imperceptible by the sight. ISBE article on Invisible - This term is used as an attribute of God in every biblical occurrence except Col. 1:16, where it refers to ranks of unseen angels and other spiritual powers. That no one had seen God at Sinai is stated in the OT (Ex 34:20; Deut. 4:12), and, in spite of God’s special self-disclosure to Moses (Ex. 33:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23; Nu. 14:14), it became axiomatic in Judaism that no one had seen or could see God in this present age (SB, II, 362f; cf. Mt. 5:8). The influence of this concept is reflected in the Johannine writings, with their emphasis that “no one has seen God” (Jn 1:18; 5:37; 6:46; 14:9; 1Jn. 4:12), and in the Pauline tradition as well (Rom. 1:20; Col. 1:15, 16; 1Ti 1:17; 3:16). The use of aóratos in the context of a doxology (1Ti 1:17) and in an adjectival clause with the pronoun “who” (“who is invisible”; Heb 11:27) shows that “invisible” was one of the ascriptions to God used in early Christian liturgy (Bromiley, G. W. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Wm. B. Eerdmans)

Honor (5092)(time) basically is the worth ascribed to a person or the value ascribed to a thing. Nuances include (1) The amount at which something is valued, the price, value Mt 27:6, 9; Ac 5:2f; 7:16; 19:19. times -  for a price 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23. (2) manifestation of esteem, honor, reverence, respect Jn 4:44; Ac 28:10; Ro 2:7,10; 12:10; 13:7; 1 Ti 6:1; 2 Ti 2:20f; 1 Pe 3:7; Rev 4:9; 5:13; 21:26. A right that is specially conferred, a privilege 1Pe 2:7. Respectability 1 Th 4:4. Place of honor, office Heb 5:4.  The honor conferred through compensation = Honorarium, compensation may be the sense in 1 Ti 5:17, though honor and respect are also possible.—The expression ouk en time tini Col 2:23 is probably they are of no value in

Gilbrant -  Classical Greek Throughout the classical period the noun timē reflected three general meanings. First, there was the idea of “worth” being ascribed to an individual. (The etymological roots of the English word worship, i.e., “worth-ship,” maintain this sense.) This ascribed worth or “honor” was given to Roman senators, kings, and those considered superior (socially or materially). In addition, heathen gods were honored or “esteemed” through hymns of praise and worship. In return, they supposedly “honored” men with wealth, gifts, and a variety of material rewards. This latter aspect of material wealth conveys the second meaning of timē which relates to the concept of “worth, value, price.” It also parallels a third, almost synonymous meaning which has to do with “commendations, awards, rewards.” Some, in fact, believe that the original sense of timē was “compensation” (Schneider, “timē,” Kittel, 8:169). Concerning the early Greek concepts of timē Schneider reports, “Gradually timē detaches itself from real possessions and becomes an abstract concept of honour. That the original elements in the meaning of the word were never wholly lost can be seen in the fact that in the Koine timē can mean both ‘honour’ and ‘price’ ” (ibid., p.171). Plato, Aristotle, and later Stoic philosophers refined the concept of honor and applied it more strictly to inward morality. Aristotle, for example, concluded that the “high-minded man must be virtuous, for there is no honour without virtue” (idem). The fullest development of honor as an inward virtue was set forth by the Stoics who believed that a wise person is one who is free from passion, unmoved by grief, pain, or pleasure, and who is submissive to the natural laws. They viewed timē, “inward honor,” as the sense of one’s own worth and therefore of primary importance. As in classical Greek literature, the Septuagint use of timē shows a variety of meanings. This can be seen in that 11 different Hebrew terms are translated by this Greek word. Among the range of possible meanings are examples in Ezekiel 22:25 where timē refers to “treasure” or valuable things, and in Job 31:39 where it is translated as “payment” in the New International Version. (See also Exodus 34:20, where timē refers to the ransom paid for the firstborn, and Numbers 20:19 where it denotes the price offered to the Edomites by Israel as they neared their borders en route to the Promised Land [see Septuagint research section above for other examples].) The more significant use of timē in the Septuagint can be seen in passages where it refers to honor in the sense of affording due regard or esteem. Of course, God is honored and given glory (Psalms 29:1 [LXX 28:1]; 96:7 [95:7]), but the Scriptures teach that God has also crowned man with “glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-9). In other words, man has “value, honor,” or “worth” because the Creator has “crowned” (Hebrew ‛āṯar, “to surround or encircle”; Greek stephanoō [4588], “to crown, honor, reward”) him with value, honor, and worth. A man’s or woman’s self-worth, therefore, exists not as a result of achievement, power, wealth, class, appearance, etc., but because God has attributed or imputed worth. The sacrifice of the only begotten Son reflects the price the Father was willing to pay in order to redeem fallen man. The Old Testament records that honor (i.e., reverence, respect, esteem) must be given to various individuals not only because of their God-given worth but because of their social position in the culture. Kings, for example, are to be honored (Job 34:19; Proverbs 24:21; 25:6), as are the elderly (Leviticus 19:32) and one’s parents (Exodus 20:12). Others who receive honor include wealthy individuals (Genesis 31:1) and people of influence (Job 29:20).

New Testament - As in classical Greek, the word timē conveys several meanings in the New Testament. First and foremost, God is to be honored and given glory (see 1 Timothy 6:16; Revelation 4:11). Christ too is crowned with “glory and honor” (Hebrews 2:7,9). Next, the New Testament teaches that all people—regardless of position, sex, race, social status, etc.—are to be honored (1 Peter 2:17). Again this is true because God has crowned man with “glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4-9) and because the image of God remains as an element of man’s basic nature even though this image is warped and perverted due to sin. Beyond the basic honor given to all, the New Testament requires that special honor be given to certain individuals such as rulers (Romans 13:7), wives (1 Peter 3:7), slave owners (1 Timothy 6:1), church elders (1 Timothy 5:17), widows (1 Timothy 5:3), and “responsible leaders of the congregation in general (Philippians 2:29)” (Aalen, “Glory, Honour,” Colin Brown, 2:50f.). In a unique contrast to the above standards (and to standards of the world) 1 Corinthians 12 teaches that the “parts of the body (of Christ) that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we (should) treat with special honor” (verses 22,23, NIV). Each of the above examples employs an aspect of the word timē which relates to “worth, honor, respect,” or “esteem.” As noted earlier, however, the Koine Greek (including that of the New Testament) did not altogether lose the aspect of timē’s meaning which relates to “price.” First Corinthians 6:20 and 7:23, for example, state that the believer has been bought with a timē, “price,” i.e., the blood of Jesus. Contrary to a popular but erroneous doctrine, this “price” was not paid to the devil but served as a “propitiation” to God for the sin of man (see hilasmos [2410]). The idea of “price” is seen also in Acts 4:34 and 5:2,3 where Ananias and Sapphira claimed to be presenting the “price” that a certain possession brought when sold. Similarly, Acts 19 records that, having been seized by conviction, Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus burned scrolls that were used in the practice of sorcery. The “value” (timas) came to 50,000 drachmas—a drachma being the equivalent of a day’s wage. (See the Concordance above for other such uses of the word.) (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Time - 40v - honor(28), honorable use(1), marks of respect(1), precious value(1), price(7), proceeds(1), sum(1), value(1).  Matt. 27:6; Matt. 27:9; Jn. 4:44; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:2; Acts 5:3; Acts 7:16; Acts 19:19; Acts 28:10; Rom. 2:7; Rom. 2:10; Rom. 9:21; Rom. 12:10; Rom. 13:7; 1 Co. 6:20; 1 Co. 7:23; 1 Co. 12:23; 1 Co. 12:24; Col. 2:23; 1 Thess. 4:4; 1 Tim. 1:17; 1 Tim. 5:17; 1 Tim. 6:1; 1 Tim. 6:16; 2 Tim. 2:20; 2 Tim. 2:21; Heb. 2:7; Heb. 2:9; Heb. 3:3; Heb. 5:4; 1 Pet. 1:7; 1 Pet. 2:7; 1 Pet. 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 4:9; Rev. 4:11; Rev. 5:12; Rev. 5:13; Rev. 7:12; Rev. 21:26

Time in the Septuagint - Gen. 20:16; Gen. 44:2; Exod. 28:2; Exod. 28:40; Exod. 34:20; Lev. 5:15; Lev. 5:18; Lev. 6:6; Lev. 27:2; Lev. 27:3; Lev. 27:5; Lev. 27:6; Lev. 27:7; Lev. 27:8; Lev. 27:13; Lev. 27:15; Lev. 27:16; Lev. 27:17; Lev. 27:19; Lev. 27:23; Lev. 27:25; Lev. 27:27; Num. 20:19; 2 Chr. 1:16; 2 Chr. 32:33; Est. 1:20; Job 31:39; Job 34:19; Job 37:22; Job 40:10; Ps. 8:5; Ps. 29:1; Ps. 44:12; Ps. 45:9; Ps. 49:8; Ps. 49:12; Ps. 49:20; Ps. 62:4; Ps. 96:7; Ps. 99:4; Prov. 6:26; Prov. 12:9; Prov. 22:9; Prov. 26:1; Isa. 10:16; Isa. 11:10; Isa. 14:18; Isa. 35:2; Isa. 55:1; Ezek. 22:25; Dan. 1:9; Dan. 2:37; Dan. 4:30

Forever (165aion  generally means an extended period of time and has various meanings depending on the context. Age, referring to an age or time in contrast to kósmos, referring to people or space. Denotes duration or continuance of time, but with great variety.

Friberg on aion - era, time, age; (1) as a segment of contemporary time lifetime, era, present age (Lk 16.8); (2) of time gone by past, earliest times (Lk 1.70); (3) of prolonged and unlimited time = eternity (1Ti 1.17); (4) of time to come = eternity, age to come (Lk 20.35); idiomatically eis ton aiona literally into the age, i.e. forever, eternally (Jn 6.51); eis tous aionas ton aionas literally into the ages of the ages, i.e. forever and ever, forevermore (Heb 1.8); (5) plural, as a spatial concept, of the creation as having a beginning and moving forward through long but limited time universe, world (Heb 1.2; 9.26; 11.3) (Analytical Lexicon)

Amen (281amen  is a transliteration from the Hebrew word amen which in turn is from the Hebrew verb aman = to be firm, to believe, this word conveying the idea of certainty) Amen is transliterated into Latin and English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. In fact amen has been called the best-known word in human speech. To say “Amen” confirms a statement by someone else.  In Revelation 3:14 Amen is used as a title of Christ, through whom the divine purposes are established.

1 Timothy 1:18  This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,

BGT  1 Timothy 1:18 Ταύτην τὴν παραγγελίαν παρατίθεμαί σοι, τέκνον Τιμόθεε, κατὰ τὰς προαγούσας ἐπὶ σὲ προφητείας, ἵνα στρατεύῃ ἐν αὐταῖς τὴν καλὴν στρατείαν

Amplified  This charge and admonition I commit in trust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with prophetic intimations which I formerly received concerning you, so that inspired and aided by them you may wage the good warfare,

Barclay I entrust this charge to you, Timothy lad, because it is the natural consequence of the messages which came to the prophets from God, and which marked you out as the very man for this work, so that, in obedience to these messages, you may wage a fine campaign, 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:18 This order I give to you, Timothy my son, in harmony with the words of the prophets about you, so that by them you may be strong, fighting the good fight,

CSB  1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by them you may strongly engage in battle,

ERV  1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, my child Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that by them thou mayest war the good warfare;

ESV  1 Timothy 1:18 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,

Grundy I’m entrusting this order to you, Timothy [my] child, in accordance with foregoing prophecies [spoken] about you, in order that by them [the prophecies] you may be fighting the good fight

GWN  1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my child, I'm giving you this order about the prophecies that are still coming to you: Use these prophecies in faith and with a clear conscience to fight this noble war.

KJV  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;

Lock paraphrase  This charge, then, I now in my absence place in your care, my own son Timothy; recalling to mind the words of the Christian prophets which led me to choose you to help me in my work, that in the strength of these words you may carry on God's true campaign, 

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:18 To you, my protégé, Timothy, I am personally issuing this strict order in conformity with the initial prophecies pertaining to you. Strive to implement them, fight the virtuous battle,

NAB  1 Timothy 1:18 I entrust this charge to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophetic words once spoken about you. Through them may you fight a good fight

NET  1 Timothy 1:18 I put this charge before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, in order that with such encouragement you may fight the good fight.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,

NJB  1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, these are the instructions that I am giving you, in accordance with the words once spoken over you by the prophets, so that in their light you may fight like a good soldier

NLT  1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord's battles.

NLT (non-revised) Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they give you the confidence to fight well in the Lord's battles.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:18 I am giving you these instructions, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies made earlier about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight,

Phillips  Timothy my son, I give you the following charge. (And may I say, before I give it to you, that it is in full accord with those prophecies made at your ordination, which sent you out to battle for the right

REB  In laying this charge upon you, Timothy my son, I am guided by those prophetic utterances which first directed me to you. Encouraged by them, fight the good fight 

Wuest This charge I am entrusting to you, son Timothy, in accordance with the prophetic intimations which were made long ago concerning you, to the effect that in their sphere you are to wage the good warfare  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:18 This charge I commit to thee, child Timotheus, according to the prophesies that went before upon thee, that thou mayest war in them the good warfare,

  • This command I entrust to you: 1Ti 1:11,12 4:14 6:13,14,20 2Ti 2:2 4:1-3 
  • Timothy, my son: 1Ti 1:2 Php 2:22 2Ti 1:2 2:1 Tit 1:4 Phm 1:10 
  • in accordance with the prophecies: 1Ti 4:4 
  • that by them you fight the good fight: 1Ti 6:12 2Co 10:3,4 Eph 6:12-18 2Ti 2:3-5 4:7 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Acts 16:2+/acts-16-commentary#16:2 And he (TIMOTHY) was well spoken of (martureo = Timothy "was testified to") by the brethren who were in Lystra and Iconium.

Exodus 14:13, 14 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

1 Samuel 17:47 (DAVID) and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” 

2 Chronicles 20:17 ‘You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you

2 Chronicles 32:8   “With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people relied on the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.

Nehemiah 4:20  “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 

2 Corinthians 7:5 For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;


In 1Ti 1:18-20 Paul describes a warfare, one that is not fictional but very real, and one in which not everyone comes out as more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. He warns that some will be "shipwrecked," as were Hymenaeus and Alexander. We all do well to recall our enemies = the world, the flesh and the devil (see MacArthur's sermon discussing Satan's activity)<> Sin = Principle <> hamartia <> flesh. The war is for the souls of men. The battleground is the mind. The battle is over truth versus error. 

And tho this world, with devils filled
    Should threaten to undo us,
    We will not fear, for God hath willed
      His truth to triumph through us:
    The Prince of Darkness grim,
    We tremble not for him;
    His rage we can endure,
    For lo, his doom is sure;
    One little word shall fell him.
-- Martin Luther, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

This command (paraggelia) I entrust (paratithemi) to you, Timothy, my son (teknon) - In giving this command Paul is exercising his apostolic authority by way of command. The Greek verb entrust speaks of entrusting something of great value to another's safe keeping (as in making a deposit in a bank). Why would Timothy need to be guarding the treasure so to speak? In context (especially 1Ti 1:3-4+ and the goal in 1Ti 1:5+), Paul has described false teachers who have begun to sneak into the church at Ephesus and teach what amounts to "another gospel" which is really not a gospel at all!  On the phrase Timothy, my son see comments on my true child in the faith in 1Ti 1:2.

Barclay adds that the verb entrust "always implies that a trust has been reposed in someone for which he will be called to account." (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Paul used the word entrust again in his last letter writing

"The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses (BASICALLY HE HAD HEARD THE GOSPEL), entrust (paratithemi in present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2Ti 2:2+)

Comment - What is the pattern Paul presents? Clearly this is the pattern for making disciples, for fulfilling the last command by Jesus to "make disciples' (matheteuo in the aorist imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) (Mt 28:19+). Are you obeying your Commanding Officer? Are you making disciples? (If not that is sin or "missing the mark!") Are you doing this actively, zealously, intentionally and focusing solely on the "things which you have heard from" Paul (the Gospel, the Word of Truth, for there is simply no other way to make disciples, learners, except by teaching them the truths of God's Word.) Sadly, there are very few older (and mature in the faith) men and women who are obeying Jesus' command and the Body of Christ is spiritually anemic because of their failure to pass the baton on to the next generation. Over and over, I hear young men say to me, "I could not find any older man in my church who would use the Word of God to disciple me!" That was my story 35 years ago (even at a well known Bible Church!)  Beloved, these things ought not to be so! Pray about who you might disciple. You do not need to pray to see if you need to disciple, because it has already been commanded by our Lord. Now, like the old Nike Commercial says "JUST DO IT!" Is this not even what we see Paul doing in 1Ti 1:18? 

Command (paraggelia) was used earlier in 1Ti 1:5 ("instruction") and the related verb paraggello is used in 1Ti 1:3 ("may instruct"), these uses congenering up the military metaphor that Paul brings out in this verse. As noted earlier this word group speaks of passing an order from a superior to a subordinate. In context Paul received his orders from the Lord and passed them on to Timothy, his young "field officer" on the battlefield in Ephesus (so to speak). In using these words Paul conveys to Timothy the seriousness and urgency of the spiritual battle.

Donald Guthrie adds that in using these "military metaphors" “Timothy is solemnly reminded that the ministry is not a matter to be trifled with, but an order from the commander-in-chief” (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

Hendriksen - It is the "mandate" or "instruction" that Timothy stay on at Ephesus in order that he may teach certain individuals not to make misuse of the law but to use it lawfully, unto conversion to Christ, the sinners' Savior.

Steven Cole minces no words in describing what Paul's charge to Timothy means to us today as believers in Jesus Christ - The lesson for us is this: The ministry is not an optional choice for the more dedicated. God doesn’t call for volunteers. The ministry is a sacred trust from God to each individual which each person must obey and for which that person must give an account. If God has called you to Himself, then He has called you to serve. His particular orders to you as to how and where He wants you to serve must be seen as a sacred deposit entrusted to you by the commander-in-chief. You’re under orders. And you do your ministry to please Him, not for strokes from others or for self-gratification. (Faithful Christian Service)

in accordance with the prophecies (propheteia) previously made (proago) concerning you - In accordance with means in harmony with or in keeping with the prophecies spoken over Timothy. This statement would refer to his previous ordination. This was clearly evidence that God had called Timothy to the ministry (see story of John Knox's call).  That by them refers to the prophecies and these previously uttered truths would (or at least should) serve to encourage and strengthen his resolve for the good works in Ephesus. Why? Because predictive prophecies by God's Spirit always come to pass and this would be truth Timothy could count on to fortify him for the spiritual warfare he would encounter with the false teachers in Ephesus.

W E Vine on prophecies - Prophetic utterances were among the gifts ministered by the Holy Spirit in the churches in apostolic times until the Scriptures were completed. What was uttered in those times came by immediate revelation from God. See, e.g., Acts 11:27, 28; 13:1, 2; 21:8–11; 1 Corinthians 14.....The prophecies referred to were designed not only to lead the way to Timothy, but to provide abiding strength in his experiences and activities. How often special dealings of God with us upon certain occasions in our past circumstances, afford strength and confidence to us in our spiritual conflicts and difficulties!

Paul presumably alludes to these prophecies again commanding Timothy "Do not neglect (present imperative with a negative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance (propheteia) with the laying on of hands by the presbytery." (1Ti 4:14+, cf 2Ti 1:6+)

Hiebert on the prophecies - The reference doubtless takes us into the assembly of the believers where the Holy Spirit, speaking through His prophets, singled out Timothy for special duty. These prophecies, previous to his ordination, marked him out for his office and sanctioned the laying on of hands. Thus in Acts 13:2-4+ the Spirit’s message, marking out Barnabas and Saul, came before they were publicly set aside for the work. So doubtless it was also in the case of Timothy.  (First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Duane Litfin - These prophecies were Timothy's call and fitness for service in Ephesus. They reinforce Paul's conviction that Timothy was a fit soldier to conduct the battle against error in the Ephesian church. Timothy was to remember these prophecies and be inspired by them in the struggle. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

R C H Lenski says: Like troops, these prophecies and true teachings come to Timothy in advance so as to enable him to make a good campaign in his new field. He is Paul's lieutenant-general who is re-enforced by his general-in-chief. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon)

Steven Cole on the prophecies - This probably refers to God’s confirmation of Timothy’s spiritual gifts through the elders in the church. If this is the sense, it means that Timothy was ministering at Ephesus because of his divinely indicated spiritual gifts, confirmed through these church leaders. (Faithful Christian Service)

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - in accordance with the prophecies - were apparently spoken at Timothy’s ordination (cf. 1 Tim 4:14) and perhaps spoke of what God would do through him. Thus they can encourage him in his work, as the next clause says.

That (hina) - Introduces a purpose clause, specifying the purpose of the prior prophecies. 

By them you fight (strateuomai) the good (kalos) fight (strateia) - By them refers to the prophecies spoken about Timothy, and as noted above would be a reminder by Paul which would have the effect of strengthening Timothy to motivate him to fight the good fight. Fight is in the present tense, implying this is not just one battle, but a "military campaign" and this is a call to Timothy to continually fight against the adversaries. It is notable that Timothy’s fight was against men who were in the church which is usually where the spiritual war takes place (even as Paul had forewarned - Acts 20:29-30+ = note repetition of the word "among")

Paul doesn’t say, “Play the good Sunday School picnic,” but “fight the good fight.”
-- Steven Cole

Barclay suggests why Paul mentions the name Timothy again - So Paul says to Timothy: “You have been chosen; you cannot let down God and man.” To every one of us there comes God’s choosing; and when we are summoned to some work for him, we dare not refuse it. It may be that Paul was saying to Timothy: “Be true to your name.” Timothy—its full form is Timotheos—is composed of two Greek words, time which means honour and theos which means God, and so means honour to God. If we are called by the name Christian, one of Christ’s folk, to that name we must be true. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

While preoccupation with the enemy can lead to despair,
to ignore the enemy is to invite disaster.
-- Gary W Demarest

Warren Wiersbe -  It was not easy to serve God in pagan Ephesus, but Timothy was a man under orders, and he had to obey. The soldier's task is to "please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (2Ti 2:4+), and not to please himself. Furthermore, Timothy was there by divine appointment: God has chosen him and sent him. It was this fact that could give him assurance in difficult days. If you are God's servant, called by the Spirit, obeying His will, then you can "stay with it" and finish the work. These assurances enabled Timothy to war the good warfare. (See Be Faithful 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon)

one of the commonest dangers in life that we proceed in a series of spasms.
We have a period of real effort and of real campaign, and then a period when we let things slide
-- William Barclay

Albert Barnes on fight the good fight - The meaning here is, that he should contend with earnestness as a Christian and a minister in that holy service in which he was engaged, and endeavour to secure the victory. He "wars a good warfare" who is engaged in a righteous cause; who is faithful to his commander and to his post; who is unslumbering in observing the motions of the enemy, and fearless in courage in meeting them; who never forsakes his standard, and who continues thus faithful till the period of his enlistment has expired, or till death. Such a soldier the Christian minister should be. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Soldiers of Christ, arise,
And put your armor on,
Strong in the strength which God supplies
Thru His eternal Son;
Strong in the Lord of Hosts,
And in His mighty pow'r
Who in the strength of Jesus trusts
Is more than conqueror.

Stand then in his great might,
with all his strength endued;
but take, to arm you for the fight,
the panoply of God.
Leave no unguarded place,
no weakness of the soul;
take ev'ry virtue, ev'ry grace,
and fortify the whole.

 To keep your armor bright,
attend with constant care;
still walking in your Captain's sight,
and watching unto prayer.
From strength to strength go on;
wrestle and fight and pray;
tread all the pow'rs of darkness down,
and win the well-fought day.
-- Charles Wesley

William Barclay -  It is not to a battle that we are summoned; it is to a campaign. Life (THE CHRISTIAN LIFE) is one long campaign; life is a service from which there is no release. Life is not a short, sharp struggle after which a man can lay aside his arms and rest in peace; to the end of the day life is an unceasing campaign. To change the metaphor, life is not a sprint; it is a marathon race. It is there that the danger of life enters in. It is necessary to be for ever on guard and on the watch. "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." The temptations of life, the wrong things of life, never cease their attack and their search for a chink in the armour of the Christian. There are no periods of relaxation in the Christian life. It is one of the commonest dangers in life that we proceed in a series of spasms. We have a period of real effort and of real campaign, and then a period when we let things slide. We must remember that we are summoned to a campaign which goes on as long as life goes on.  (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Johnny Sanders - We would charge the young minister today that by the Word of God he might fight the good fight. There is no other way to fight the good fight than by the Word of God, in the power of the One Who inspired every word of it.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus
ye soldiers of the cross;
lift high his royal banner,
it must not suffer loss.
From vict'ry unto vict'ry
his army he shall lead
till ev'ry foe is vanquished
and Christ is Lord indeed.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the trumpet call obey;
forth to the mighty conflict
in this his glorious day.
Ye that are men now serve him
against unnumbered foes;
let courage rise with danger
and strength to strength oppose.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
stand in his strength alone;
the arm of flesh will fail you,
ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the gospel armor,
each piece put on with prayer;
where duty calls or danger,
be never wanting there.

Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
the strife will not be long;
this day the noise of battle,
the next, the victor's song.
To him that overcometh
a crown of life shall be;
he with the King of glory
shall reign eternally.
-- George Duffield (1858)

Scottish Reformer John Knox’s call to the ministry - 

[John Knox] had been teaching in St. Andrews. His teaching was supposed to be private but many came to it, for he was obviously a man with a message. So the people urged him “that he would take the preaching place upon him. But he utterly refused, alleging that he would not run where God had not called him.…Whereupon they privily among themselves advising, having with them in council Sir David Lindsay of the Mount, they concluded that they would give a charge to the said John, and that publicly by the mouth of their preacher.”

So Sunday came and Knox was in Church and John Rough was preaching. “The said John Rough, preacher, directed his words to the said John Knox, saying: ‘Brother, ye shall not be offended, albeit that I speak unto you that which I have in charge, even from all those that are here present, which is this: In the name of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and in the name of these that presently call you by my mouth, I charge you that you refuse not this holy vocation, but … that you take upon you the public office and charge of preaching, even as you look to avoid God’s displeasure, and desire that he shall multiply his graces with you.’ And in the end he said to those that were present: ‘Was not this your charge to me? And do ye not approve this vocation?’ They answered: ‘It was: and we approve it.’ Whereat the said John, abashed, burst forth in most abundant tears, and withdrew himself to his chamber. His countenance and behaviour, from that day till the day that he was compelled to present himself to the public place of preaching, did sufficiently declare the grief and trouble of his heart; for no man saw any sign of mirth in him, neither yet had he pleasure to accompany any man, many days together.”

John Knox was chosen; he did not want to answer the call; but he had to, for the choice had been made by God. Years afterwards, the Regent Morton uttered his famous epitaph by Knox’s grave-side: “In respect that he bore God’s message, to whom he must make account for the same, he (albeit he was weak and an unworthy creature, and a fearful man) feared not the faces of men.” The consciousness of being chosen gave him courage. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

Entrust (3908paratithemi  from para = beside + tithemi = place) (see also study of related noun paratheke) literally means to place something beside, to set alongside or place before someone. It was used in Greek meaning to give someone something in trust and so to "deposit" with another. It conveys the picture of a precious treasure being deposited as a trust into the hands of other persons.(Lk 12:48 = "to whom they entrusted much"; 1 Ti 1:18 = "This command I entrust to you, Timothy"; 2 Ti 2:2; 1 Pe 4:19 = "shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator"). Those to be entrusted with the message in 2 Ti 2:2 must be faithful, reliable and trustworthy men “who will not swerve aside because of fear or favor, who will not compromise with the spirit of the age through which they are passing.” Luke uses paratithemi in describing Jesus on the Cross "And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I paratithemi(paratithemi) MY SPIRIT.” Having said this, He breathed His last.." (Lk 23:46+)

Prophecies (4394propheteia from pró = before or forth + phemí = to tell, to speak) has the literal meaning of speaking forth, with no connotation of prediction or other supernatural or mystical significance. Propheteia can refer to either spoken or written words.

Previously made (4254proago from pro = before + ago = go) means to go before. Transitively (BDAG = to take or lead from one position to another by taking charge) = to lead forward, lead or bring out (Ac 12:6; 16:30; 17:5; 25:26)  Intransitively (BDAG =  to move ahead or in front of) = to go before, lead the way, precede either (a) in space Mt 2:9; Mk 11:9; walk ahead of Mk 10:32 or (b) in time go or come before (Mt 14:22; Mk 6:45; 14:28; 1 Ti 1:18; 5:24; Hb 7:18; get in before Mt 21:31)

Fight (4754strateuomai from strategos = army, stratos = an encamped army) means literally to perform military service, serve as a soldier in the army, go to fight, carry on a military campaign, make a military expedition, lead soldiers to war or to battle.

Strateuomai - 7v - Lk. 3:14; 1 Co. 9:7; 2 Co. 10:3; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:4; Jas. 4:1; 1 Pet. 2:11

Strateuomai is used figuratively in this verse (and James 4:1) of spiritual battle, thus meaning to carry on a campaign of spiritual warfare, in both the NT uses planned and orchestrated by the indwelling flesh, the evil disposition all mankind inherited from Adam and which is still "latent" even in believers. Note the use of strateuomai in the present tense which indicates that the spiritual campaign spearheaded by fleshly lusts against our souls is a continual struggle we can expect to engage in until the day we see our Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Vincent remarks that "The thought of wars and fightings is carried into the figurative description of the sensuality which arrays its forces and carries on its campaign in the members. The verb does not imply mere fighting, but all that is included in military service. A remarkable parallel occurs in Plato, “Phaedo,” 66: “For whence come wars and fightings and factions? Whence but from the body and the lusts of the body?”

Fight (4752)(strateia) literally, as the activity of an army and thus a campaign, expedition, hence metaphorically resistance against evil, spiritual warfare (2Co 10.4), struggle, fight (1Ti 1.18) 

Gilbrant - In classical Greek strateia is related to strateuō, “to war, serve as soldier,” and denotes a “campaign, expedition,” especially in a military sense. It only rarely describes the “army” itself (Liddell-Scott, cf. stratia [4607]). A more general definition of “military service” is also widely attested. Furthermore, a metaphoric application of strateia to “life” (either bios  or zōē)  is known (Moulton-Milligan). By the time of the Septuagint there was little difference in usage between strateia and stratia. The Hebrew term chayil (e.g., Exodus 14:4,9) along with memshālāh (only 2 Chronicles 32:9) and mas̱s̱a‛ (Numbers 10:28) infrequently become strateia in the Septuagint. Ordinarily tsāvā’, “military forces, campaigns, troops,” stands behind strateia. Figuratively, the “starry host” (NIV) of the heavens may speak of the immense number of the stars; however, this is more likely an allusion to the “cosmic forces” (either “good” or “bad”; 1 Kings 22:19) which are not to be worshiped (2 Chronicles 33:3,5; Jeremiah 7:18 [no Hebrew]; 8:2; 19:13; Zephaniah 1:5). But it is God who has made these powers, and He rules over them (Nehemiah 9:6; Hosea 13:4, Septuagint). (Cf. the cosmic imagery of 4 Maccabees 4:10.)

New Testament The connection between strateia and stratia continues into the New Testament (see e.g., 2 Corinthians 10:4). Probably there are two readings of strateia (2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Timothy 1:18) and two of stratia (Luke 2:13; Acts 7:42). Although the terms are formally different, they tend to share the same definition under many circumstances (see Bauerfeind, “strateia,” Kittel, 7:702). Paul’s usage in 2 Corinthians 10:4 is in keeping with the primary definition of “campaign”: “the weapons of our campaign are not earthly” (author’s translation) but the divine power of God. Since the context is not cosmic (cf. Ephesians 6:12), it is unnecessary to read into strateia any cosmic sense. The same holds true for 1 Timothy 1:18. As he elsewhere used military imagery (e.g., 2 Timothy 2:3), Paul was merely reminding Timothy to “wage the good campaign” (not “fight the good fight,” a more athletic-sounding image [NIV]). (Complete Biblical Library)

The “Pistol” And The Lord

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. —3 John 4.

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:12-19

That’s okay with me. Children need good role models and examples. And Maravich was a Christian. But I would be disappointed if my children didn’t see Jesus Christ modeled in my life also and want to be like Him. That’s why when Stevie tells me that Jesus is his best friend, I’m a happy dad.

As parents, we must tell our children about Jesus and be role models who live for Christ. That was the case with Paul, who counted Timothy as his son in the Spirit (1 Tim. 1:18), and with John, who rejoiced over those whom he called his children (3 Jn. 4).

Like them, let’s live, talk, and love in a way that points everyone—especially our children—to Jesus. By:  Dave Branon  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Whatever you write on the heart of a child
Is written indelibly there;
Each action and word makes an impact, you know,
Like a kindness or beautiful prayer.

The greatest gift a parent can give is a worthy example.

A Significant Impact

We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against . . . the rulers of the darkness of this age. — Ephesians 6:12

Today's Scripture: Daniel 10

John Wesley was convinced that the prayers of God’s people rather than his preaching accounted for the thousands who came to Christ through his ministry. That’s why he said, “God will do nothing except in answer to prayer.” An overstatement? Yes. But the fact is that our praying is a powerful weapon in the war between God and Satan.

In today’s Scripture reading, Daniel was so disturbed by a revelation about Israel’s future that he could do nothing except fast and pray. Three weeks later a heavenly messenger appeared, saying that God had sent him when Daniel prayed, but that the prince of Persia had detained him (10:13). This “prince” was an evil spirit who sought to influence the rulers of Persia to oppose God’s plan. He had detained God’s messenger, until the archangel Michael came to his aid.

A cosmic conflict between good and evil is continually being fought in the invisible spirit world. Paul reminded us that it involves Christians. He listed the spiritual armor and weaponry we need for these battles (Ephesians 6:13-17), and then he added “praying always” (v.18).

Our prayers can have a significant impact on the outcome of those spiritual battles. May we, therefore, faithfully pray as we fight the good fight (1 Timothy 1:18). By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Something happens when we pray,
Powers of evil lose their sway,
We gain strength and fear gives way—
Therefore, let us pray.

Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.

1 Timothy 1:19  keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:19 ἔχων πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν, ἥν τινες ἀπωσάμενοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν,

Amplified  Holding fast to faith (that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence) and having a good (clear) conscience. By rejecting and thrusting from them [their conscience], some individuals have made shipwreck of their faith.

Barclay  maintaining your faith and a good conscience all the time; and there are some who, in matters of the faith, have repelled the guidance of conscience, and have come to shipwreck. 

BBE  1 Timothy 1:19 Keeping faith, and being conscious of well-doing; for some, by not doing these things, have gone wrong in relation to the faith:

CSB  1 Timothy 1:19 having faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and have suffered the shipwreck of their faith.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:19 holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith:

ESV  1 Timothy 1:19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,

GWN  1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my child, I'm giving you this order about the prophecies that are still coming to you: Use these prophecies in faith and with a clear conscience to fight this noble war. 19 Some have refused to let their faith guide their conscience and their faith has been destroyed like a wrecked ship.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Lock paraphrase  holding fast yourself faith and a good conscience, for remember how some refused to listen to their conscience and so made shipwreck of their faith: 

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,

MIT  1 Timothy 1:19 hold on to faith and a good conscience. When some men jettisoned faith, they experienced shipwreck.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:19 by having faith and a good conscience. Some, by rejecting conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith,

NET  1 Timothy 1:19 To do this you must hold firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:19 with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:19 Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

NLT (non-revised)  Cling tightly to your faith in Christ, and always keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:19 having faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have suffered shipwreck in the faith;

Phillips armed only with your faith and a clear conscience. Some, alas, have laid these simple weapons contemptuously aside and, as far as their faith is concerned, have run their ships on the rocks. 

REB with faith and a clear conscience. It was through spurning conscience that certain persons made shipwreck of their faith, 

Wuest  holding faith and a good conscience, which [latter] certain having thrust from themselves concerning the Faith, have suffered shipwreck  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:19 having faith and a good conscience, which certain having thrust away, concerning the faith did make shipwreck,

  • keeping faith and a good conscience: 1Ti 1:5 1Ti 3:9 Titus 1:9 Heb 3:14 1Pe 3:15,16 Rev 3:3,8,10 
  • which some have rejected: Php 3:18,19 2Ti 3:1-6 2Pe 2:1-3,12-22 Jude 1:10-13 
  • In regard to their faith: 1Ti 4:1,2 1Co 11:19 Ga 1:6-8 5:4 2Ti 4:4 Heb 6:4-6 1Jn 2:19 
  • and suffered shipwreck: 1Ti 6:9 Mt 6:27 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 7:24-27 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell–and great was its fall.” 

Keeping (holding) faith (pistis) and a good (agathos) conscience (suneidesis) -  NLT has an excellent paraphrase = “Cling to your faith in Christ and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” This serves to show that Timothy was to fight the good fight of faith by "leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence." (Amplified) Keeping or holding on to faith, so that it holds you steady when the tests and adversity come (which they will!). Keeping is in the present tense (continually) and the active voice (decision of one's will, one's choice - watch what you choose!) In context faith could be Timothy's personal belief or the doctrine he believed, and it might be slightly ambiguous because both doctrine and belief in doctrine are necessary to wage spiritual warfare (cf Eph 6:14+ = truth, Eph 6:16+ = shield of faithKeeping a good conscience alludes to obedient (correct) living. Correct believing (sound doctrine) leads to correct behaving (a good conscience). 

John Stott feels faith in this context refers more to the objective aspect (that is, the truth that is believed) rather than subjective (the personal belief in the truth) writing - Timothy must keep holding on to faith and a good conscience (19a). Although here ‘faith’ does not have the definite article in the original, it does at the end of the verse (literally, ‘suffered shipwreck concerning the faith’). So surely we must assume it at the beginning of the verse as well. Timothy possesses two valuable things which he must carefully guard, an objective treasure called ‘the faith’, meaning the apostolic faith, and a subjective one called ‘a good conscience’. Moreover, they need to be preserved together (as in 1Ti 1:5 and 1Ti 3:9), which is exactly what Hymenaeus and Alexander have failed to do. (See The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus: Guard the Truth)

John MacArthur agrees with Stott's interpretation of faith as that which is believed -  Keeping the faith means holding fast to that revealed truth. Timothy’s first responsibility to the Lord was to remain loyal to the objective body of revealed Scripture. Unlike those who turned away from the faith (1Ti 1:6; 6:10, 21), Timothy was to remain unwaveringly devoted to the Word of God. In fact, he was to guard it (1Ti 6:20), nourish himself on it (1Ti 4:6), and preach it (1Ti 4:13; 2Ti 4:2). (See 1 Timothy MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

A T Robertson on holding faith and a good conscience - Possibly as a shield (Eph. 6:16) or at any rate possessing (Romans 2:20) faith as trust and a good conscience. A leader expects them of his followers and must show them himself.

Holman New Testament Commentary - Faith is the complete gospel, the pure doctrine and knowledge of Jesus Christ and God. In dealing with false teachers, Timothy must be certain of truth and hold on to it and not be pulled into error. Satan deals in deception, and truth is the response which defeats such arrogance. A good conscience is a life lived blameless before God and others. It is not perfection. But it is a life against which no one can bring a legitimate charge. Such a person is free of guilt before God and before the community of believers. Paul wanted Timothy to maintain what he believed and to act on it.

THOUGHT - Timothy had huge responsibilities ahead of him. Paul was handing the torch of ministry to this young son of the faith. But in many ways our responsibilities are exactly the same. We also have the faith delivered to us through the Scriptures. We also carry a conscience that scolds us when we sin and affirms us when we believe and live the faith. The command to fight the good fight, to hold on to faith and a good conscience is continuous, stretching down through the centuries to all believers. (HNTC)

Steven Cole laments that "We live in a day that has gone crazy over methods. Hardly a week goes by without my receiving a flyer promising me proven techniques to increase attendance in this church. While there may be some helpful methods, I tend to avoid such techniques like the plague. The best method for any ministry is to hold on to faith and a good conscience. If you have reality with God, He will use you in fruitful ministry in the lives of others. If you do not, methods will avail you nothing, and you will suffer shipwreck in the faith."  (Faithful Christian Service)

Paul gave similar instructions to Titus for warfare against false teachers writing to be "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict (antilego - continually speak against sound doctrine)." (Titus 1:9+)

Sadly a good (clear) conscience can become a defiled conscience which can eventually result in a seared conscience! Many a man in ministry can attest to this truth (and it often comes in the seductive form of a femme fatale!) Look out when you start "playing around" with "little sins" As Solomon writes "Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.” (Song 2:15+) "Little foxes" can ruin your spiritual vineyard! 

Van Oosterzee - “Our spiritual strife does not cease, but lasts as long as we live, for our spiritual enemies never die.--What the eye is to the head, and the heart to the body, the conscience is to faith and to a complete Christianity.--It is very tender, and must therefore be well guarded....In the conflict which we wage outwardly against the enemy, our chief concern is with the inner state and disposition of the heart” (1 Timothy 1 Commentary).

Guthrie rightly observes that "Faith and a good conscience are three times conjoined in this Epistle (1Ti 1:5, 1Ti 1:19, 1Ti 3:9), showing the inseparable connection between faith and morals." (See The Pastoral Epistles: An Introduction and Commentary)

ILLUSTRATION - The Indians use to say the conscience is shaped like a triangle with three sharp points next to your heart that turns around and around. When you do wrong, a sharp point hurts your heart. But if you continue to do wrong, the sharp point will wear down until you can hardly feel it.

A good conscience serves as the rudder
that steers the believer through the rocks and reefs of sin and error.

Demarest - And how is the battle waged? Not with physical might, but with "faith and a good conscience." Had Paul not previously written Ephesians 6:10-20, he probably would have inscribed it here. Ours is a spiritual battle and the weapons are spiritual. We go forth with faith in God. Faith in His grace, his goodness, His redemptive love for the world. Living by that faith sets us free from the guilt of a cluttered conscience, for by His grace we are forgiven, and nothing need be hidden. (Preacher's Commentary)

“A bad conscience is the mother of all heresies.”
--John Calvin

Wiersbe A good conscience is important to a good warfare and a good ministry. The magazine editor H.L. Mencken defined conscience as "the inner voice which warns us that somebody may be looking." But a man with a good conscience will do the will of God in spite of who is watching or what people may say. Like Martin Luther, he will say, "Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God!" (See Be Faithful (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon)

Conscience is a God-given device in every human mind that reacts to that person’s behavior.
-- John MacArthur

MacArthur has some practical thoughts on the value of conscience - A good conscience is the result of a pure life. Like Paul (cf.. Acts 24:16), Timothy was to maintain a blameless conscience. Conscience is a God-given device in every human mind that reacts to that person’s behavior. It either accuses or excuses (Ro 2:14–15). It produces feelings of well-being, peace, contentment, and calm when behavior is good. When behavior is evil, it activates guilt, shame, remorse, fear, doubt, insecurity, and despair. Its purpose is to warn the person of the fact that he is sinning. What a blessing to have such a warning device. It is to the soul what pain is to the body. Pain warns that something threatens the body’s well-being. Guilt warns that something threatens the well-being of the soul. Paul was always anxious to have a clean, clear, pure, good conscience (cf. 2Co 1:12) and desired the same for Timothy. He calls for holiness in this charge to Timothy. (See 1 Timothy MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

“When morals slip, doctrine ebbs, and the fight is soon lost."
-- Kent Hughes

MacArthur on whether these men whose faith was shipwrecked were believers or non-believers (something many commentators don't specifically address for some reason) - A good conscience serves as the rudder that steers the believer through the rocks and reefs of 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 (see Ro 8:31-39), but likely indicates the tragic loss that comes to the apostate (ED: NOT A TRUE BELIEVER - SEE BELOW). They had been in the church, heard the gospel and rejected it in favor of the false doctrine defined in vv. 3-7. Apostasy is a turning away from the gospel, having once known it. (SeeThe MacArthur Study Bible)

ESV Study Bible adds a similar comment - The false teachers, rejecting their consciences, plowed ahead in their sin. shipwreck of their faith. This most likely refers to the false teachers who claimed to be believers but had fallen away from the faith they initially professed, thereby showing they were never truly converted (cf. 1 John 2:19+). (ESV Study Bible)

Related Resources: 

Guy King says: Two things will help "son Timothy " in this spiritual soldiering--a taking firm hold of "faith", an unshakable trust in his Commanding Officer; and of "a good conscience", a seeing that he has no consciousness of having played fast and loose with King's Regulations.

Paul changes his illustration from the ARMY to the NAVY!
The Christian teacher must be good soldier and good sailor!

Which some (certain men) have rejected (apotheo/apotheomai) and suffered shipwreck (nauageo) in regard to their faith (pistis) - Which refers to faith and good conscience indicating that these men (some or certain men) in effect "pushed away from" (have rejected) their heart, and which opened wide the door to the "triple S" effect - Sin and Satan (1Ti 1:20) and Shipwreck! Their faith has the definite article and so most likely refers to the objective aspect of faith, that is, the sound doctrines to be believed or in this case which they rejected. Have rejected is in the middle voice which Vincent says "implies willful violence against conscience." These men were not just careless but could actually  care less about a pure conscience! It is worthy noting that literal shipwreck can result in loss of life (as can persistent sin even in genuine believers 1Co 11:30+), but in this case the rejectors did not lose their life, just their status as leaders in the congregation. 

THOUGHT - There is a message here for all of us -- Look out when you begin to ignore your conscience. Rough seas are in the future forecast! 

Don Anderson - "SHIPWRECK" can come through: DOCTRINAL means, DECEPTION, DISQUALIFICATION, DEEDS that are done, DESIRES that get out of hand, a lack of DISCIPLINE. Thinking through the biblical characters, you think of men like MOSES who struck the rock instead of speaking to it as the Lord had said. You think of: PETER, JOHN MARK, DEMAS, DIOTREPHES, DAVID, SOLOMON, SAMSON, GIDEON, SAUL, and the list goes on.

Steven Cole rightly points out regarding the idea of rejected that "Quite often, doctrinal errors are the result of moral problems rather than intellectual problems. Men who teach false doctrine often do so to avoid the moral implications of God’s truth in their own lives. (Faithful Christian Service)

Don Anderson - What they have "REJECTED" or "REPUDIATED" is their own conscience as it is pricked by things that are happening. They have ceased to be sensitive to the still, small voice.

Brian Bell - It is possible for a believer to maintain orthodox doctrine while living in hidden sin and this is the way to spiritual shipwreck!

John MacArthur on shipwreck in regard to faith - A good conscience is the rudder that steers the Christian life. Because they rejected the pangs of conscience and the truth, it is no wonder that the errorists suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Professing to be Christians and teachers of God’s law (1Ti 1:7), they were devoid of the truth. It is possible for a believer to have his faith “upset” (2Ti 2:18). Maybe that is another way to express the disaster of shipwrecked faith. It is all too common for Christians to wreck their usefulness, virtue, and sanctification by believing error. (See MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Guy King says: Let us all take warning, that we treat the dictates of conscience with uttermost care, lest we sear it, and stultify it, and eventually Silence it. It is a very delicate instrument--not itself the voice of GOD, but one of His chief means of guiding His children; it is, as Milton puts it, "the umpire of the soul", giving the "yea" or "nay" to this or that. And, that this inner voice shall give right decisions, it needs to be assiduously trained and educated by constant assimilating of the Word.

Wiersbe - Professed Christians who "make shipwreck" of their faith do so by sinning against their consciences. Bad doctrine usually starts with bad conduct, and usually with secret sin. (See Be Faithful - 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon)

Hendriksen says: A Christian must be both a good soldier and a good sailor. Now a good sailor does not thrust away or discard the rudder of the ship. The good conscience--one that obeys the dictates of the Word as applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit--is the rudder, guiding the believer's vessel into the safe harbor of everlasting rest.

Lenski says: When they thrust aside their conscience which tried to hold them to the prophecies they had learned from faithful teachers they made shipwreck of their very faith. One cannot keep his faith while he plays fast and loose with the prophecies (Word). He will have to silence his conscience, make it cease crying out against such practice, and then his faith is wrecked whether he admits it or not. A new, graphic figure is added, but it agrees with the other figure. The one is the disturbance of war during a campaign, the other is the disturbance of a storm at sea. In both our one reliance is prophecy, the Word. It is a sad campaign, a sad wreck, if conscience is thrust aside and reliance is sought in something aside from or contrary to the prophecies or Word. (See Interpretation of St Paul's Epistles)

Albert Barnes -  The truth thus taught is, that men make shipwreck of their faith by not keeping a good conscience. They love sin. They follow the leadings of passion. They choose to indulge in carnal propensities. As a matter of course, they must, if they will do this, reject and renounce the gospel. Men become infidels because they wish to indulge in sin. No man can be a sensualist, and yet love that gospel which enjoins purity of life. If men would keep a good conscience, the way to a steady belief in the gospel would be easy. If men will not, they must expect sooner or later to be landed in infidelity.

The writer of Hebrews gives a warning that relates to the shipwreck of one's faith -

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3 how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. (Hebrews 2:1-4+)

The picture of a shipwreck implies severe and unrecoverable loss.
-- Hiebert

Hiebert - These false teachers treated the matter of maintaining their spiritual integrity as a minor matter as they played fast and loose with the Scriptures. When their conscience goaded them they “thrust” from them their good conscience. The word implies the violence of the act required. The result was that they “made shipwreck concerning the faith.” “The faith” may mean that their own personal faith was wrecked. “The Christian teacher who does not practice what he preaches will find his faith fail him” (Lock). But more probably “the faith” is objective and means the true doctrine of the Gospel. “The yielding to sin dulls the perception of truth, and opens the way for the influx of error” (Harvey). In reality both things actually occur. “Disaster falls alike on ‘faith’ and ‘the faith,’ when a good conscience is rejected, or rather ejected” (Pope). Paul switches from the picture of a military campaign to that of a shipwreck. The picture of a shipwreck implies severe and unrecoverable loss. These “certain ones” (some) seem to be the worst representatives of the false teachers mentioned in 1Ti 1:3, 6, 7. (First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

Barclay says: Paul has three complaints against these men. (i) They had rejected the guidance of conscience. They had allowed their own wishes and desires to speak with more power and persuasiveness than the voice of God. They had made their will, not God's will, the dictator of their lives. (ii) Inevitably they had relapsed into evil practices. Once they had abandoned God, life had become soiled and debased and unworthy. When God went from life, beauty went from life along with Him. (iii) They had taken to false teaching. Again it is almost inevitable. When a man takes the wrong way, his first instinct is to find justifications and excuses for himself. He takes the Christian teaching and twists and distorts it to suit himself. Out of the right he finds subtle and perverted arguments to justify the wrong. He finds arguments in the words of Christ to justify the ways of the devil. The moment a man disobeys the voice of conscience, his conduct becomes debased and his thinking becomes twisted. (1 Timothy 1 Commentary)

ILLUSTRATION - Shipwrecked faith - "Our heart, reason, history, and the work of Christ convince us that without Him we cannot achieve our goal, that without Him we are doomed by God, and only Christ can save us." These were deep and sensitive thoughts for a 17-year-old, revealing spiritual wisdom that few attain. He had been baptized into the Lutheran church in 1824, at age six, and was confirmed at 16. Now, to graduate from high school, he had been required to write an essay on a religious subject. He chose to explore "The union of believers with Christ, according to St. John's Gospel (John 15), an exposition on its basic essence, its absolute necessity and its consequences." The fruit of our union with Christ, he continued, is our willingness "to sacrifice ourselves for our fellow man." And the "joy which the Epicureans in their superficial philosophy sought in vain... is a joy known only to the innocent heart united with Christ, and through Christ to God." So wrote Karl Marx, but by 1844, nine years later, he had abandoned any Christian devotion he may have once felt. In fact, his militant atheism and philosophical ideas of man's struggle for a classless utopia free from the numbing effects of religion, established him as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century. -- From Moody Monthly, June 1988.

ILLUSTRATION - TEND THE FIRE! On one occasion General Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, called together a few of his fellow workers and said to them, "Young men, take heed to the fire in your own hearts, for it has a tendency to go out." Reflecting on these words, one of them said later, "Yes, fire will go out unless the drafts are open, the ashes are shaken out, and more fuel is put on."

ILLUSTRATION - A shipwrecked faith is a serious thing. If one does not keep the faith he will suffer such a shipwreck. I knew a man when I was young in the ministry. I visited in his home, worshiped with him and his family, worked with his children, and benefited from his wisdom and experience. I thought he really loved the Lord. Thirty-five years later when I began reading and hearing about some ungodly things he had done I could hardly believe this was the man I had known. I mentioned it to two men who had had more recent experience with him and they painted a picture of a man I did not know, a picture of greed, avarice, deception, lies, and arrogance. What had happened to my friend? Is it possible that he had suffered a shipwreck in regards to his faith? It is also possible that he had no real faith in Jesus Christ. (Johnny Hunt - 1 Timothy - A Charge To Keep)

Gregory Brown - How should we respond to the reality that a holy life affects our understanding of Scripture?

1. We must be aware of the danger of even little compromises.

Shipwreck doesn’t typically start with big compromises. The Christian sailor who eventually shipwrecks his faith always begins with little compromises. What type of compromises?

It could be things like illegal downloading, telling little white lies or sexual jokes, cursing, stealing supplies from work, cheating on tests or taxes. No matter how much these practices are accepted in our society (and sometimes even the church), we must rebel by keeping a clean conscience. We are in a war, and we can’t afford to lose our ability to clearly hear our Commander and Chief. Only those who keep a clean conscience can clearly discern the King’s voice and protect their lives and others.

2. We must be quick to confess and repent of any moral failures.

Have we sinned against God? Let us repent—turn away from our sin and restore our relationship with God. Have we sinned against others? Jesus said if we go to the temple to offer a gift to God and yet realize somebody is angry with us, we should go and make that relationship right and then offer our gift (Matt 5:23-24). We must be quick to confess and repent of sins before God or others.

Temptations Men Face by Tom L. Eisenman - Somerset Maugham has written a fascinating short story entitled "Rain." In it a ship is forced by continual driving rain to remain docked in a small native village for about two weeks. The passengers take lodging at a boarding house. One of the men, Pastor Davidson, a missionary, takes it upon himself to convert the local prostitute who has a room at the house. At the end of the story there is a shocking twist. When the boat is finally ready to leave, Pastor Davidson cannot be found. Even his wife has no idea where he might be. Then they hear the report that a local native has found a body on the beach. It was Davidson. He had cut his own throat with a razor. It is clear what has happened. The prostitute converted the minister.

Rejected (683) apotheo/apotheomai from apó = from + othéo = push away, thrust, drive) means literally to push aside, thrust way (from) or push off. Figuratively as used here it means to reject, repudiate, refuse to listen to, to cast away or to put away (from). Used from Homer onward meaning “to repel,” “to reject,”

Suffered shipwreck (3489)(nauageo from naus = ship + agnumi = to break)  - Shipwreck literally in 2 Co. 11:25; Figuratively, experience a great loss or disaster, as failing to continue to live with a clear conscience and thus be spiritually ruined, give up believing, no longer believe,  to fail, to be put to shame. (1Ti 1:19). No uses in Septuagint. Gilbrant - The verb nauageō is probably a compound of naus, “ship,” and anonumi, “to break,” and is a common Greek word in non-biblical writings describing shipwrecks. In the New Testament the word is used twice by Paul, once literally and once figuratively. The literal use is in 2 Corinthians 11:25 where he included in the description of his sufferings as an apostle the fact that he “suffered shipwreck” three times. Of these three occasions we know nothing, since the shipwreck of Acts 27 took place after the writing of 2 Corinthians. Paul used the term figuratively in 1 Timothy 1:19 when he wrote that some men, including Hymeneus and Alexander (verse 20), had “put away” their good consciences and were, as a result, “made shipwreck” concerning the Faith. By doing what their consciences told them was wrong, they had been wrecked, or destroyed, as far as the Christian faith was concerned. (Complete Biblical Library)

Charles Stanley - Shipwrecked Saints


1 Timothy 1:19  Having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck.

On his way to Rome, Paul and his Roman captors were shipwrecked. God had warned the apostle that if they continued the journey, their ship would be torn apart by the pounding seas. However, the captain sailed on.

Many Christians have faced similar circumstances in their walks with God. For whatever reason, they have turned aside to temptation, complacency, or some other sin. Deep inside they know they are no longer living the life God has for them, yet they have become driven by their actions and are blind to the impending consequences.

Paul remembered what it felt like to be shipwrecked. He could recall the sensation of the ship coming apart beneath him and the screams of the frightened crew. So clear was this one event in his mind that he drew an analogy from it to warn others who were on their way to becoming spiritually shipwrecked in their faith (1 Tim. 1:19).

When you compromise God’s principles, you risk running aground spiritually. If you feel as though you’ve already sailed onto a rocky shore, ask Him to forgive and cleanse you. Forgiveness and restoration are always God’s way. Whatever your need, He is willing to meet it if you will turn to Him. (Seeking His Face)

Enter His GatesCharles Stanley - Shipwrecked Saints

Not long ago, the Titanic was discovered where it sank in the North Atlantic in 1912. The encrusted remains bore little resemblance to its former acclaim as the world’s most luxurious ocean liner.

There are Christians who likewise demonstrate little of the vibrant faith they once possessed, having gone aground on the shoals of lukewarmness and compromise. Joy is passing; growth is stagnant; peace is transient.

Worst of all, they seldom express love for the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they rarely experience His love. What happened?
The apostle Paul wrote that a shipwrecked faith can occur when people reject a solid faith and a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:19). The teachings of God’s Word are slowly and subtly replaced with counterfeit philosophies, such as humanism, materialism, and/or secularism. The authority of the Scriptures is rejected regarding personal behavior. Obedience is subjective and conditional. The quiet voice of the Holy Spirit is ignored repeatedly as they allow their conduct to be guided by reason or instinct, not God.
Is your personal faith in Christ at a low ebb? Has the adventure of faith turned sour? If you are willing, restoration is but a heartbeat away.

    Father, even as Your servant Paul, I don’t want to preach to others and become a castaway—a shipwrecked saint. Make me increasingly sensitive to Your Spirit, Lord.

H A Ironside -     “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck—1 Tim. 1:19.

The faith which we are here commanded to hold is not merely confidence in God but rather that faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. In other words, it is the form of doctrine which has been committed to us. This faith and a good conscience are intimately linked together. He who becomes careless as to his behavior and puts away a good conscience will soon become recreant concerning the faith. We hold the truth only as we walk in subjection to that truth; if we trifle with it we lose it. We can hold the mystery of the faith only as we maintain a pure conscience (3:9).

    “My soul, be on thy guard,
      Ten thousand foes arise;
    And hosts of sin are pressing hard
      To draw thee from the skies.

    Oh, watch, and fight, and pray!
      The battle ne’er give o’er;
    Renew it boldly every day,
      And help divine implore.

    Ne’er think the victory won,
      Nor once at ease sit down;
    Thy arduous work will not be done,
      Till thou obtain thy crown.—Heath.

William MacDonald - Truths to Live By Daily Devotional

“Holding faith, and a good conscience.” (1Ti 1:19)

The conscience is a monitoring mechanism which God has given to man to approve right conduct and to protest against what is wrong. When Adam and Eve sinned, their consciences condemned them and they knew they were naked.

Like all other parts of man’s nature, the conscience was affected by the entrance of sin so that it is not always completely reliable. The old maxim “Let your conscience be your guide” is not an invariable rule. However, even in the most depraved, the conscience still flashes its red and green signals.

At the time of conversion a person’s conscience is purged from dead works by the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14). This means that he no longer depends on his own works to give him a favorable standing before God. His heart is sprinkled from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22) because he knows that the sin question has been settled once for all by the work of Christ. Conscience does not condemn him any more as far as the guilt and condemnation of sin are concerned.

Henceforth the believer desires to have a conscience void of offense toward God and man (Acts 24:16). He desires to have a good conscience (1 Tim. 1:5,19; Heb. 13:18; 1 Pet. 3:16). And he desires to have a pure conscience (1 Tim. 3:9).

The believer’s conscience needs to be educated by the Spirit of God through the Word of God. In this way he develops an increasing sensitivity toward questionable areas of Christian conduct.

Believers who are excessively scrupulous over matters that are not right or wrong in themselves have a weak conscience. If they go ahead and do something that their conscience condemns, they sin (Rom. 14:23) and defile their conscience (1 Cor. 8:7).

The conscience is something like an elastic band. The more it is stretched, the more it loses its elasticity. Also the conscience can be stifled. A man can so rationalize his wrong behavior that he can make the conscience say anything he wants it to say.

Unbelievers can have a seared conscience (1 Tim. 4:2), as if cauterized by a hot iron. By the continual rejection of the voice of conscience, they finally reach the stage where they are past feelings. It no longer hurts them to sin (Eph. 4:19).

God holds men responsible for what they do with their consciences. No divinely-given faculty can be abused with impunity. 

Caught By The Current

Some have strayed from the faith. — 1 Timothy 6:10

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:1-20

In the early part of this century, a ship was wrecked off the Scilly Isles near the coast of England. The sea had been calm and the weather clear, but the vessel was caught in a treacherous current that slowly lured it off its course. Before the captain and the crew realized what had happened, the ship had crashed onto the rocks.

In life too, powerful currents of compromise can catch the soul and carry it to shipwreck. Spiritual drifting is usually a slow and imperceptible process. (ED: READ THAT AGAIN DEAR BROTHER OR SISTER!) We know it has occurred (ED: OR IS IN PROCESS OF OCCURRING!) when we have lost the strong resistance to evil and the passionate desire for truth that we once knew.

The apostle Paul wanted to make sure this wouldn’t happen to those to whom Timothy ministered. He encouraged him to be faithful in telling others what they needed to know, so they wouldn’t stray from their devotion to Christ and cause their faith to be shipwrecked.

In our day, for every professing believer who succumbs to a sudden and savage assault of evil, a hundred more slowly drift away from God’s truth, regular worship, and a life of faith. (ED: IF THEY ARE PROFESSING BELIEVERS" THE QUESTION ARISES WERE THEY TRULY POSSESSING BELIEVERS, GENUINE BELIEVERS? THIS IS A FRIGHTENING THOUGHT! JESUS MADE IT CLEAR THAT THE ONE WHO ENDURES TO THE END SHALL BE SAVED." Mt 24:13+, cf Heb 3:6+, Heb 3:14+ - see  Perseverance of the Saints)

We must give careful attention to what we know about Christ so that we don’t drift away.  —  Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, help us from Your blessed Word
All error to discern,
And by Your Spirit's truth and light
From Satan's snares to turn. 

The compass of God's Word will keep you from spiritual shipwreck.

A Winning Combination

. . . having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck. —1 Timothy 1:19

Today's Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:18-20

A new believer slipped into his old ways by attending a party and getting drunk. When he arrived home, his wife would not let him in. Instead, she called their pastor, who found the man sleeping in his car.

The pastor took him to a motel to sleep off his drunkenness. He knew him well and was confident that a strong rebuke would not be needed. Instead, he asked God to convict the man and bring him to repentance. In this case the pastor chose the right course. The young man later said that he had learned a valuable lesson through this experience and that the Lord had “taken all the fun out of sin.”

A “good conscience” will disturb us when we do something we know is wrong. We keep it “good” by heeding it and turning away from sin. Paul said the faith of Hymenaeus and Alexander “suffered shipwreck” because they rejected the voice of their good conscience (1 Timothy 1:19-20). By doing so, they had deadened their conscience and then apparently twisted the truth to justify their conduct.

True faith and a sensitive conscience will take all the fun out of sinning and remove the desire to twist the truth to justify what is wrong. Faith and a good conscience are a winning combination. Let’s keep them strong. By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our conscience is a gift from God,
It is a guiding light;
And when aligned with faith and truth,
It tells us wrong from right.

Conscience is a safe guide when guided by God's Word.

1 Timothy 1:20  Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.

BGT  1 Timothy 1:20 ὧν ἐστιν Ὑμέναιος καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος, οὓς παρέδωκα τῷ σατανᾷ, ἵνα παιδευθῶσιν μὴ βλασφημεῖν.

Amplified  Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan in order that they may be disciplined [by punishment and learn] not to blaspheme.

Barclay Amongst them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, that they may be disciplined out of their insults to God and his Church.

BBE  1 Timothy 1:20 Such are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have given up to Satan, so that they may say no more evil words against God.

CSB  1 Timothy 1:20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are among them, and I have delivered them to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

ERV  1 Timothy 1:20 of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme.

ESV  1 Timothy 1:20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

GWN  1 Timothy 1:20 Among these people are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan in order to teach them not to dishonor God.

KJV  1 Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Lock paraphrase  of such are Hymenaeus and Alexander on whom I formally passed sentence, that they may learn under discipline not to speak against the truth.

NKJ  1 Timothy 1:20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

MIT  1 Timothy 1:20 In particular, I refer to Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I handed over to the opponent that consequently they might be disciplined so as not to blaspheme.

NAB  1 Timothy 1:20 among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

NET  1 Timothy 1:20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

NIV  1 Timothy 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

NJB  1 Timothy 1:20 I mean men like Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan so that they may learn not to be blasphemous.

NLT  1 Timothy 1:20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.

NLT (non-revised) Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples of this. I turned them over to Satan so they would learn not to blaspheme God.

NRS  1 Timothy 1:20 among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Phillips  Hymenaeus and Alexander are men of this sort, and as a matter of fact I had to expel them from the Church to teach them not to blaspheme.) 

REB  among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I consigned to Satan, in the hope that through this discipline they might learn not to be blasphemous.

Wuest among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan in order that they may be taught not to be blaspheming.  (Eerdmans Publishing - used by permission

YLT  1 Timothy 1:20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I did deliver to the Adversary, that they might be instructed not to speak evil.

  • Hymenaeus: 2Ti 2:17 
  • Alexander: Ac 19:33 2Ti 2:14 2Ti 4:14-15 
  • I have handed over to Satan: Mt 18:17 1Co 5:4-5 2Co 10:6 2Co 13:10 
  • so that they will be taught : 1Co 11:32 2Th 3:15 Rev 3:19 
  • not to blaspheme: Ac 13:45 2Ti 3:2 Rev 13:1,5,6 
  • 1 Timothy 1 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Resources:

Luke 22:31; 32  “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Galatians 1:6; 7   I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (1:7) which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

Matthew 18:17  “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

1 Corinthians 5:4-5 In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

2 Timothy 2:17; and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 

Revelation 3:19 ‘Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.


Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over (paradidomi) to Satan (satanas) - Among these (the "some" of 1Ti 1:18) Paul names two, the word "among" indicating there were others. Presumably these two were "leaders of the pack" (of wolves - Acts 20:29+) so to speak. Hymenaeus is probably the same as the false teacher in 2Ti 2:17-18 ("gone astray from the truth"), and if so the effect of giving him over to Satan resulted in him acting more like Satan (Jn 8:44 = "there is no truth in him")! Regarding Alexander, since this name was so common, we cannot definitively identify him with either the Alexander in 2Ti 4:14 or the one in Acts 19:33+. First their faith suffered shipwreck and then Satan was allowed to wreak havoc! 

The interpretation of handed over to Satan is difficult. Clearly, these men were removed from the church (ex-communicated) and were given over to the authority and power of Satan. How Paul accomplished this discipline is not clear. The same phrase is used in 1Cor 5:5+ where Paul stated " I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Notice there is a difference in results - in 1Ti 1:20 they would be taught not to blaspheme, but in 1Cor 5:5+ the hoped for result was that his spirit might be saved.

MacArthur explains "In some instances God has turned believers over to Satan for positive purposes, such as revealing the genuineness of saving faith, keeping them humble and dependent on Him, enabling them to strengthen others, or offering God praise (cf. Job. 1:1-22; Mt 4:1-11; Lk 22:31-33; 2Co 12:1-10; Rev 7:9-15). God hands some people over to Satan for judgment, such as King Saul (1Sa 16:12-16; 28:4-20), Judas (Jn 13:27), and the sinning member in the Corinthian church (see 1Co 5:1-5). (See MacArthur Study Bible, 2nd Edition)

See more in depth discussion by John MacArthur on what handed over to Satan means in his 2 messages...

Hiebert - In the light of 1 Corinthians 5:5 it seems also to include the judicial infliction of bodily sickness or calamity by apostolic authority. That the expression includes more than simple exclusion from the fellowship of the church is plain. (First Timothy- Everyman's Bible Commentary)

NET Note 1 Timothy 1 - The expression handed over to Satan refers to an act of discipline mentioned by Paul here and in 1 Cor 5:5, with a remedial goal, not a punitive one. The Greek word translated taught in this verse is used of “discipline, training of children” to lead them to correct behavior.

Believer's Study Bible - Being delivered to Satan could mean one of two things: (1) Discipline: It could refer to an act of the church excluding the offenders from membership and returning them to the world over which Satan is prince (John 14:30). No judgment concerning the eternal salvation of the offender is involved. He is merely excluded from the fellowship of the church. The basis for such action is found in Matt. 18:15-18 (cf. note). (2) Punishment: It could refer to an action similar to that in Acts 5:1-11, in which physical judgment came to Ananias and Sapphira (cf. 1 Cor. 5:5, note).

Duane Litfin - Excommunication from a congregation like 1 Cor. 5:1-5 meant abandonment to realms controlled by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4). The congregation is a haven and protection for believers without which they would suffer painful disadvantage. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe adds that "Paul viewed the world as Satan’s domain. To be in the church, under the authority of the elders, provides a person with a certain amount of protection from the devil and his attacks through the world. What Paul probably means is that these two men were delivered over to Satan’s domain, the world, by being excommunicated from the protective covering of the church and from the fellowship of its members

Steven Cole on handed over to Satan - What Paul probably means is that these two men were delivered over to Satan’s domain, the world, by being excommunicated from the protective covering of the church and from the fellowship of its members. Beyond this, there may be the further idea that those in the church were to pray for some bodily ailment to come upon these men to humble them, so that they might repent and be restored to fellowship. The Lord sometimes must strike a person with some severe physical problem to cause the person to turn to Him. The goal of any discipline is to restore, not to punish. Paul’s desire was not to get rid of these men, but to see them “taught not to blaspheme.” Sometimes ministering to people involves the unpleasant task of confrontation. On rare occasions, it may have to go before the church and result in formal excommunication, with the prayer and aim of restoration. That is never pleasant, especially for leaders with timid personalities, like Timothy. But it must be done if people are going to grow in Christ and if the body of Christ is going to reflect His holiness and love. (Faithful Christian Service)

So that (hina) they will be taught (paideuo) not to blaspheme (blasphemeo) -  So that introduces the purpose of the handing over. This statement indicates that the purpose of handing over to Satan was not just for punishment but was also to have a remedial effect (not to blaspheme). Taught is the verb paideuo which describes disciplining or chastising, as when one disciplines a disobedient child. This would indicate that the hope was that these men would be led to repentance, come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil having been held captive by him to do his will (cf 2Ti 2:25-26+).  Blaspheme is in the present tense implying that both men were continually slandering the Name of God presumably by propagating myths and endless genealogies (1Ti 1:4+) that contradicted the truth about God.

Saul/Paul was a blasphemer (1Ti 1:13) who was taught not to blaspheme when he met Jesus on the Damascus Road. These men would be taught not by being "turned over" to Jesus like Saul/Paul but to the archrival of Jesus, Satan! The goal was still the same.

Hendriksen - The apostle is earnestly desirous that the discipline--the divine pedagogy--imposed may have a salutary effect on Hymenaeus and Alexander. He is hoping and praying that by means of this dire affliction these false teachers may come to see themselves as grievous sinners and may be brought to genuine repentance, so that they will no longer rail at the truth and thereby revile its Author.

William Kelly makes the point that "Even Satan’s power in dealing with the outer man, and perhaps in the infliction of anguish of mind, may be used under the hand of God to bring down the haughty spirit and make past blasphemy to be seen in all its offensive pride and opposition to God” (Commentary)

ILLUSTRATION - Steven Cole  - A little boy went to his first day at first grade. When the clock hands reached 12 noon, he got ready to go home as he was used to doing in kindergarten. The teacher decided to take a positive approach, so she said to him, “In kindergarten you only got to stay here ‘til noon, but this year you get to stay all day!” He looked at her with shock on his face and blurted out, “Who signed me up for this, anyway?” Timothy probably felt like that as he faced the task of confronting the false teachers in Ephesus. That’s how you will often feel in ministry! “Who signed me up for this, anyway?” The Lord did! He’s the commander-in-chief; we are drafted to serve faithfully in His army.

A pastor had a son who felt God’s calling to follow in his dad’s footsteps. When the pastor heard it, he said to his son, “Keep close to God, keep close to men, and bring the two together.” Wise counsel for faithful Christian service!

If you’re not involved in serving the Lord--remember, I’m defining service as being full of Christ and out of your fulness seeking to build others--if you’re not doing that, I’d ask you to evaluate whether you are walking closely with Christ. You can’t give out what you don’t possess. The Lord always calls us to be with Him before He sends us out to serve Him (Mark 3:14). The other area you need to evaluate is, are you too self-focused? If you’re so busy doing your own thing that you don’t have time to serve the Lord, you’re too self-focused. If you’re focused on yourself, you won’t be looking for opportunities to minister to others.

I heard of a successful Southern California doctor who met Jesus Christ and left his lucrative practice to serve in a primitive country. His non-Christian partner couldn’t believe that he would do this. On one of his trips around the world, the unbelieving doctor stopped in to see his former partner. The Christian doctor was performing surgery on a poor woman in extremely primitive conditions. The non-Christian doctor said, “Don’t you remember how much you would have made doing this surgery in Southern California?” “Yes,” replied the Christian, “many thousands.” “Then why are you doing it?” “Several reasons. See her clenched fist? In it there are a few coins she will give to our mission. See those kids over there? They will be forever grateful if I can save their mother’s life. But there’s one more thing--I hope to hear from my Lord someday the words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”

God may not direct you to go to a foreign country. But He does want each of us to live in reality with Him and then to get involved in the lives of others in this church and with those who do not yet know Christ, with the goal of seeing every person know Christ as you do and grow to maturity in Christ as you’re growing. That’s your job as His minister. (Faithful Christian Service)

QUESTION - Who were Hymenaeus and Alexander, and what does it mean that their faith was shipwrecked?

ANSWER - Hymenaeus and Alexander were men in the early church in Ephesus who had “suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith” and so were “handed over to Satan” by the apostle Paul (1 Timothy 1:19–20). Hymenaeus and Alexander are thus examples of those who reject the true doctrine and follow the false. Later, Hymenaeus is mentioned with Philetus, another false teacher (2 Timothy 2:17). An opponent of Paul named Alexander the metalworker is mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:15–16, but whether or not this is the same Alexander mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:19 is unknown.

Paul writes to his apprentice, Timothy, for the express purpose of exhorting him to “fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:18–19) while pastoring a church. Paul begins his epistle with a warning against false doctrine and myths (1Ti 1:3–4) and a charge to remain true to “sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel” (1Ti 1:10–11). Paul then provides the names of Hymaneaus and Alexander as examples of what can happen when someone does not fight the good fight and keep the faith and a clear conscience.

Here is the passage that mentions Hymenaeus and Alexander:

“Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:18–20).

Paul does not expound on the error of Hymenaeus and Alexander. Timothy obviously knew who they were and knew their situation well. 2Timothy 2:18 gives a little more detail, saying that Hymanaeus and his new partner in sin, Philetus, “have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.” Paul likens their false doctrine to a gangrene that spreads corruption and destroys life (2Ti 2:17).

The idea of the “shipwrecked” faith of Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:19 is that they had veered off course, away from good teaching, and drifted into the dangerous rocks of false teaching. They had wrecked their faith. Paul clearly links faith with a good conscience (and the righteous behavior that comes with good conscience) in 1Ti 1:5 and 1Ti 1:19. Interestingly, the word translated “rejected” in 1Ti 1:19 is a nautical term meaning “thrown overboard.” Hymenaeus and Alexander had tossed out the good conscience that comes with proper belief—in other words, they loved sin. The “ship” of their faith, not having the ballast it needed, went out of control and wrecked. So those who accept false teachings and ignore their conscience will suffer spiritual damage, like a ship that hits the rocks and is broken up.

It seems that Hymenaeus and Alexander must have professed faith in Christ at one point, since it is their “faith” that was shipwrecked. But they refused to follow the dictates of their conscience. They walked according to the flesh and not the Spirit (see Romans 8:5–9), claiming the name of Christ while behaving like unbelievers. As commentator Albert Barnes wrote, “People become infidels because they wish to indulge in sin. No man can be a sensualist, and yet love that gospel which enjoins purity of life. If people would keep a good conscience, the way to a steady belief in the gospel would be easy. If people will not, they must expect sooner or later to be landed in infidelity” (Notes on the Bible, commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19).

Hymenaeus and Alexander did not lose their salvation; either they were pretenders exposed for what they were or they were straying believers disciplined by a loving God (see Hebrews 12:6).

Paul says that he had delivered Hymenaeus and Alexander “to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:19). There is one other time when Paul had delivered a person to Satan: a man who professed to believe in Jesus but simultaneously living an immoral lifestyle was delivered “over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 5:5). Note that the reason Paul metes out such a harsh apostolic judgment is the benefit of all those involved. The church would be purified, and the erring individuals would be brought to repentance. The goal for the man in Corinth was that he would submit to God and be saved from spiritual ruin. The goal for Hymenaeus and Alexander was that they “be taught not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:20).

Paul himself had been a blasphemer at one time (1 Timothy 1:13), but, praise God, he testified that “the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (verse 14). Paul’s desire for the shipwrecked Hymenaeus and Alexander is that they would also learn not to blaspheme and come to know the grace and mercy of the Lord.GotQuestions.org

Handed over (3860paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. Only use in Pastoral Epistles. 

Satan (4567satanas transliterated from Hebrew Satan - see 07854 and Aramaic sātānâ) literally means Adversary, the evil antagonist who offers opposition, hostility, resentment, etc. An enemy who that contends with, opposes, resists. An adversary is one who hates or opposes another person and tries to harm them or stop them from doing something because of hatred and malice. Satan is the inveterateimplacable, relentless, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, pitiless, cruel, hard, harsh, hardened, incorrigible, dedicated enemy of God and man.  Satan is not a myth or a fable, but a created, fallen angel who is a real, supernatural evil being (Mt 16.23; 1 Th 2.18+). Satan is not divine but is subject to the divine Creator Jesus (John 1:3, Col 1:16+). He was the tempter of Jesus and sifter of men like Peter  (Mt 4.1, Lk 4:2+, Mk 1:13+, Lk 22:31+). 

Taught (3811paideuo from país = child) refers primarily to the training or discipline of children (whether in the schools of men - Acts 7:22, Acts 22:3 or in the school of God, Titus 2:12, et al), at one end of the spectrum training by teaching, instructing, educating or nurturing and at the other end of the spectrum utilizing correction and punishment if necessary (which it usually is for children) as a part of the training or child rearing process bringing them to maturity (this end of the spectrum conveyed by English words like chastise or chasten - see below - as morally disciplining an adult, correcting them and giving them guidance). In that regard we will briefly look at some of the most common English words used to translate paideuo and will attempt to draw out the sometimes subtle differences in meaning. From this introduction, you can see that the meaning of paideuo is dependent on the context.

Blaspheme (987blasphemeo derived from bláx = sluggish, slow, stupid + phémē = rumor, fame) OR MORE LIKELY (derived from bláptō = to hurt, injure, harm + phémē from phēmí = to speak) means literally to speak to harm and in general therefore means to bring into ill repute and so to slander, to defame (to harm the reputation of by libel or slander), speak evil of, to rail at (revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language and rail stresses an unrestrained berating), to speak calumny (noun form = a misrepresentation intended to blacken another’s reputation = the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to damage another’s reputation), to calumniate (verb form = to utter maliciously false statements, charges, or imputations about - calumniate imputes malice to the speaker and falsity to the assertions)

Blasphemeo in Pastoral Epistles -1 Tim. 1:20; 1 Tim. 6:1; Titus 2:5; Titus 3:2; 



The unregenerate, godless world says "I hope so" with a few rare exceptions (e.g., Acts 27:20). Hope, as the world typically defines it, is a desire for some future thing which we are uncertain of attaining. Worldly "hope" is pessimistically defined by the little boy who quipped “Hope is wishing for something you know ain’t gonna happen.” The world says "I hope...this or that will happen" and it is this type of "hope" which explains why the lottery system is thriving in many states! Hope identified as cultural hope is merely an optimistic desire that something will be fulfilled. This hope is not a guaranteed hope because it is subject to changeable people and unforeseen circumstances. And so often when we use the word "hope" in casual conversation, it has a wavering, uncertain sound. (cf Lk 23:8, Acts 24:26 - neither Herod's nor Felix's hope materialized!). Most people live in hope that things will improve for them and that they will finally be satisfied, fully content, but such a hope is ill founded and destined to disappoint in the end.

One of the frightening observations of our day is that there are so many, particularly young people, who have no hope. Suicides are on the increase annually, and a recent poll observed that the majority of teens in our day say they have little or no hope for the future. It is not surprising then in view of such a negative sense of hope in the future, that so many young people choose to live so recklessly hoping to find satisfaction and contentment in the moment. As of September, 2012, the American dream is rapidly fading because of accelerating moral decay and continued bureaucratic mismanagement of taxpayer funds, with the result that many in our society are beginning to be gripped with a pervading sense of hopelessness. Unfortunately the Church is not immune to this hopeless feeling. Many who claim to be born again believers in Jesus Christ are searching for fulfillment in life in every place except Christ Jesus our Hope (1Ti 1:1)! The truth of Scripture is that human beings we were not made solely for the present, and the present was never intended to fully satisfy us. "If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied" (1Co 15:19). True fulfillment and contentment comes only when one places their faith wholly in the Holy One, Christ Jesus our Hope. Are you feeling hopeless? Hope in God. Hope in Christ Jesus your only sure hope! You will not be disappointed in this life (Ro 10:11+) or the life to come when hope becomes reality.


On the other hand, Biblical hope is defined as a desire for future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is the Christian’s attitude toward the future. Hope is an absolute assurance of future good (Heb 6:11+). Hope is a strong confidence that God will do good to me and for me in the future! Hope is always an expectation of something good as well as descriptive of something for which we must wait, which in turn depends on faith or trust that it is going to happen just as God said it would!


Biblical hope means confidence in the future, a confidence born of faith. Faith, hope and love go together (1Cor 13:13). Hope relates to love, for Paul writes "hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who was given to us." (Ro 5:5+) Hope relates to faith for when we have faith in God, we claim His promises, and His promises energize our hope in the future. Hope for the Christian is not a feeling of "I hope it's going to happen" but is an exciting expectancy and certainty it will happen because God controls the future. The tragedy for many saints is that their hope has dwindled, causing them to lose joy in their present life because they have no sure confidence in the promises to be fulfilled in their future life.

Biblical hope is not hope so
but hope sure!

Wiersbe adds that "Biblical hope means confidence in the future. It's a confidence born of faith....When Jesus Christ is your Savior and your Lord, the future is your friend. You don't have to worry. Why is this hope so important? When we lose hope, we lose joy in the present because we have no confidence for the future....(Hope) is a confidence that God is in control, and we have nothing to fear. What is the basis for our hope? It is the character of God. We've been born again unto a living hope (I Pet. 1:3+). It's not a dead hope that rots and falls apart but a living hope whose roots go deeper and whose fruits grow more wonderful. You can have joy, confidence, encouragement and excitement today if you will remember that you have a living hope. Your hope for the future is founded in the promises of God's Word. Do you have confidence in the future? Make a mental list of His provision on your behalf during the past year--answered prayers, met needs and other blessings. God's faithfulness in keeping His promises in the past gives you confident hope for the future. (See Prayer, Praise & Promises: A Daily Walk Through the Psalms)


John Piper says of the believer's hope that...Peter calls it "living hope." What does that mean? The opposite of a "living hope" would be a "dead hope," and that calls to mind a similar phrase in James 2, namely, "dead faith." "Faith without works is dead" (Jas 2:26+), James says. That is, faith is barren, fruitless, unproductive (Jas 2:20+). So "living faith" and, by analogy, "living hope" would be fertile, fruitful, productive hope. Living hope is hope that has power and produces changes in life. This is what "living' means in Hebrews 4:12+, where it says, "The word of God is living and effective." So Christian hope is a strong confidence in God which has power to produce changes in how we live. (The Power of Hope)


MacArthur explains the close relation of Biblical hope and faith...In its essence, hope is equivalent to faith (Ro 5:1-2+; Gal. 5:5; Heb 11:1+); it is trusting God (1Pe 1:21+). The major difference between the two attitudes is that faith involves trusting God in the present (Ro 1:17+; Ro 3:28+; 2Cor. 5:7+; Gal. 2:20+; 1Ti. 6:12+; Jas 1:6+), whereas hope is future faith, trusting God for what is to come (Heb 3:6+). trusting God for what is to come (Heb 3:6). Faith appropriates what God has already said and done in His revealed Word, and hope anticipates what He will yet do, as promised in Scripture. (See 1 Peter MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

Richard Sibbes has an interesting description of hope noting that "The nature of hope is to expect that which faith believes."

J W White "The world hopes for the best, but Jesus Christ offers the best hope." 

Christ Jesus our hope is the only hope for sinful men.

Hope focuses on the future and fuels present perseverance. Paul wrote to the saints at Thessalonica that he was

constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. (1Th 1:3+)

MacArthur comments that "Hope transcends mere human, wishful anticipation and rests confidently in the consummation of redemption that Scripture says will certainly occur when Christ returns. Such hope will inevitably cause believers to triumph over the struggles of life because it derives from the type of true faith the Thessalonians received from God. (See The MacArthur New Testament Commentary)

The NET Bible Note summarizes Paul's "staccato-like" sentence in 1Th 1:3 describing "the work produced by faith, labor motivated by love, and endurance that stems from hope in Christ." Biblical hope is every believer's firm foundation for perseverance, for remaining steadfast in face of continual, even ever increasing opposition from the world, the flesh and the devil. What makes this foundation so firm according to Paul? It is the certainty of the Source on which that hope is fixed. It is not fixed on a concept nor an idea but on a person, the Person of Christ even as reiterated here in 1Ti 1:1! It follows that the more intimately and experientially we know Christ and the power of His resurrection (cf Php 3:10+), the more robust will be our hope, our confidence, our certainty regarding our future, a future which is as bright as the promises of God in Christ Jesus! The godly writer Thomas Manton adds that...

What an excellent ground of hope and confidence we have when we reflect upon these three things in prayer—the Father's love, the Son's merit and the Spirit's power!

While the believer's hope is future focused, it is not without merit in the present for it (hope) "is not a matter for tickling our minds but for changing our lives and for influencing society." (Stephen Travis)

Titus 2:13+ describes the Blessed Hope which is synonymous with the Lord's appearing or return. Our hope is that Christ is coming back! God clearly considers the truth of the Second Coming as a very important doctrine, for it is alluded to (directly or indirectly) in about one of every 20 NT verses! Why so often? One reason is that what you are looking for will (should) determine what you are living for! For example, the hope (certainty) of Christ's Second Coming is living hope (1Pet 1:3+), a joyful hope (1Th 2:19+), a comforting hope (1Th 4:13+, 1Th 4:18+), a hope of glory (Col 1:27+), an anchoring hope (Heb 6:19+) and a purifying hope (1Jn 3:3+).

John Piper summarizes Biblical hope with a series of questions and answers...

1. What is the definition of Christian hope?


a confident expectation of good things to come (Hebrews 6:11+).

2. What is the ground of Christian hope?


• the sovereign grace of God (2Th 2:16), and

• the good news that Christ died for sinners (Col 1:23+).

3. What is the cause of Christian hope in the human heart? What brings it about and sustains it?


• the work of God in regeneration (1Pe 1:3+), and

• the promises of God in his Word (Ro 15:4+).

4. What is the content of Christian hope? What are we hoping for?


• the appearing of Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13+),

• the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23+),

• the consummation of our righteousness (Galatians 5:5),

• sharing the glory of God (Romans 5:2+), and

• inheriting eternal life (Titus 1:2+; Titus 3:7+).

Ray Stedman discusses the practical import of this doctrine (hope) to the integrity and vitality of the Church, the Bride of Christ who should be living in light of her Bridegroom's soon appearing...

One of the great reasons the Church is so confused in this day, one of the reasons the Church says so little of true significance to the world, is that it has neglected and abandoned, by and large, the hope of the coming of the Lord. There are very few sermons preached on it. There is very little said about it. There is no time given to a consideration of what this hope means and why it is set forth so frequently and so clearly in the Scriptures. Great sections of the Scriptures that deal with the hope of our Lord's return are simply ignored by Christians. (Defense Against Defeat, Part 3 Ephesians 6:17) (Ed: Stedman's analysis begs the question - When was the last time you preached a series or even a single sermon devoted to the doctrine of the Second Coming?)


Christ Jesus our Hope is our righteousness (Gal 5:5), our source of glory (Ro 5:1-2+), our promise of redemption (Ro 8:18-25+), our full assurance until the end (Heb 6:11+), our power for steadfastness (1Th 1:3+), our means and motivation for boldness (2Cor 3:12).

Hope is possible because of Grace, because God Who gives us the grace so that we might even be able to hope and set our minds on the certainty of God's promises He will fulfill in the future!

2Th 2:16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace

Hope is possible because of the Gospel.

Col 1:23+ if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.

Hope is possible because of the New Birth which gives us a new life and spiritual eyes to see and understand our living (not dead) hope...

1Pet 1:3+ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Hope is sustained by the Scriptures...

Ro 15:4+ For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Hope is "the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:13+)

Hope of His appearing engenders and energizes eager, expectant looking for that glorious day when He returns to take us all home forever and ever. (Titus 2:13)

Hope is the certainty of the final redemption of our bodies and the full and final deliverance from sin, suffering, disease, and death (Hallelujah!)

Ro 8:23-24+ And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope (of redemption of our body) we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees?

Hope will not disappoint us since the believer's hope is based on God's promise and the completion of His salvation in us is more certain by far than anything we see with our eyes!

Ro 5:5+ and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Hope is a truth which is like a helmet covering our head, protecting our prone to wander minds, stabilizing our sin tempted souls as we look forward to the consummation of the glorious coming of Christ, seeing Him face to face, hearing "Well done, good and faithful servant" and even receiving a grace-based reward from Him! That deserves an "Amen!"

1Th 5:8+ But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. (Have you put your helmet on?)

Hope of future good stimulates present joy! Calvin wrote that Paul warned us to not be content with temporal earthly "joys" (that wax and wane), counseling us to “raise our minds to heaven (cf Col 3:1+, Col 3:2+, 1Pe 1:13+, Php 3:20-21+), that we may enjoy full and solid joy.” This truth that Biblically based hope brings joy is described in Ro 12:12+ - "Be joyful in hope". In other words in the sphere of (or "atmosphere" of a mind and heart filled with Biblical hope) the fruit produced by the Spirit is joy (Ro 14:17+, Gal 5:22+). Remember that Biblical Hope is founded on faith, faith, trusting in the promises of the trustworthy God. He said it, I believe it, regardless of how I "feel". His promises are "yea and amen in Jesus." This truth sets us apart. This truth renews our mind. This truth transforms us. This truth sets us free. This truth stirs up in our hearts a vibrant hope and that hope restores the joy of our salvation, a joy independent of circumstances, because it is supernatural joy, a joy birthed by the Spirit of Christ Jesus our Hope. Hallelujah! Amen!

Hope (laid up or kept safe for us in heaven where Christ our Hope is present!) generates faith in Christ and love for the saints. (Col 1:4-5NIV+). Col 1:5NIV describes "the faith and love that spring from the hope." In other words hope is the root of faith (the plant) and of love (the fruit). Hope is anchored in the glories of heaven and in the heavenly One, and therefore inspires faith and love for "meantime living." John Piper writes that "Hope and faith are overlapping convictions. Faith is trusting a person, and when you trust that person for something they promise to do in the future, it is indistinguishable from hope." (Faith in Hope, Against Hope, for the Glory of God) And I would add that if you trust them, you are willing to wait patiently for the culmination/consummation of the hope which they promise! Therefore it is not surprising that in the OT Scriptures, the Hebrew word for "wait" is translated in some versions as "hope." (eg, Ps 25:5, 21 in NAS <> Ps 25:5NIV, Ps 25:21NIV, Ps 37:9 <> Ps 37:9NIV, Ps 39:7 <> Ps 39:7NIV, Ps 52:9 <> Ps 52:9NIV; Ps 69:6 <> Ps 69:6NIV, Ps 119:43 <> Ps 119:43NIV, Ps 119:74 <> Ps 119:74NIV; Ps 119:81 <> Ps 119:81NIV, Ps 119:114 <> Ps 119:114NIV, etc)

Hope is a powerful motivation for a passionate pursuit of personal holiness (1Jn 3:3+) and diligent disciplining of one's self for godliness (compare 1Ti 4:7+ and 1Ti 4:10+). Living in the light of the reality of Christ’s future return (our Blessed Hope) makes (or at least should make) a daily difference in our present conduct. Since we someday will be like Him, a desire should be kindled within our hearts by His Spirit to become like Him now, growing in respect to salvation (1Pe 2:2+), growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus (2Pe 3:18+), being transformed into His image (2Cor 3:18+, Ro 8:29+). Similarly, the hope of Jesus' last words "Surely (Yes) I am coming quickly" (Rev 22:20+) (our Blessed Hope) should motivate us to lives of daily, moment by moment submission and surrender to His Spirit Who progressively makes us more like Him. In short, the hope of glorification keeps before us the motivation to passionately pursue purification and His predetermined plan for our life (cp Eph 2:10+). The great preacher F. B. Meyer once asked D. L. Moody, "What is the secret of your success?" Moody replied, "For many years I have never given an address without the consciousness that the Lord may come before I have finished." This may well explain the intensity of his service and the zeal of his ministry for Christ.

Hope is the foundation and "inspiration" for our development of endurance (not a passive acceptance but a Spirit enabled fortitude in the face of opposition or difficulty) when circumstances are difficult (1Th 1:3-4, 5, 6 - NIV = "your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ", NLT = "your continual anticipation of the return of our Lord")

Comment: Steadfastness of hope describes the steadfastness as being characterized by hope, inspired by hope (NIV) and sustained by hope in spite of set-backs and difficulties (Compare David's prayer to wait quietly which was based on his hope that came from God = Ps 62:5). In the context of First Thessalonians, where is the hope derived from? From the good news, the Gospel, the truth which turns an upside down world right side up and provides the assurance that true life is far more that this world calls "life". This hope includes the assurance that we one day will be saved from even the presence of sin and receive perfect glorified bodies ("future tense salvation") enabling us to have eternal unbroken fellowship with our Lord and His children. This is the hope that supernaturally inspires the believer to not just hold on in desperation but to press on with resignation, fully assured that the victory has already been won at Calvary. Indeed, this supernatural Spirit enabled steadfastness is not characterized by grim waiting but joyful hoping. Hupomone does not simply accept and endure but always has a forward looking aspect. For example, while the word "hope" is not used, even Jesus had a future hope which inspired present living (and dying). What was His "hope" in the following passage? Jesus "for the joy that was set before Him, endured (hupomeno) the Cross, despising the shame." (He 12:2+).

Hope buoys up our souls when we are downcast, disturbed, in despair - Next time you are down, preach Ps 42:5 to your soul and follow through on the exhortation to hope in God. Indeed, hope is the antonym of and the antidote for despair.

Charles R Swindoll tells a somewhat humorous story about hope and despair: a missionary was sitting at her second-story window when she was handed a letter from home. As she opened the letter, a crisp, new, ten-dollar bill fell out. She was pleasantly surprised, but as she read the letter her eyes were distracted by the movement of a shabbily dressed stranger down below, leaning against a post in front of the building. She couldn’t get him off her mind. Thinking that he might be in greater financial stress than she, she slipped the bill into an envelope on which she quickly penned “Don’t despair.” She threw it out the window. The stranger below picked it up, read it, looked up, and smiled as he tipped his hat and went his way. The next day she was about to leave the house when a knock came at the door. She found the same shabbily dressed man smiling as he handed her a roll of bills. When she asked what they were for, he replied: “That’s the sixty bucks you won, lady. Don’t Despair paid five to one.” (Growing Strong in the Seasons of Life)

Hope enables us to praise God continually and in progressively increasing "increments" ("more and more"). The more we meditate on and "marinate" our heart and mind with the truth of our hope, the more the Spirit will enable our heart to praise our great King!

But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise Thee yet more and more. (Ps 71:14)

Spurgeon: The holy faith of the persecuted saint comes to the front in these three verses. But I will hope continually. When I cannot rejoice in what I have, I will look forward to what shall be mine ("our hope"), and will still rejoice. Hope will live on a barren tract of ground, and sing on a branch laden down with snow. No date and no place are unsuitable for hope. Hell alone excepted, hope is a dweller in all regions. We may always hope, for we always have grounds for it: we will always hope, for it is a never failing consolation....(Re: praise...more and more Spurgeon says) "Superior" cries the eagle, as he mounts towards the sun: higher and yet higher is also our aim, as we soar aloft in duty and devotion. It is our continual hope that we shall be able more and more to magnify the Lord.

Hope of future grace (not just "hope" but "hope fully", be intensely desirous and fully confident that Jesus is coming again which) motivates present girding of your mind for action and living life soberly in the power of the Spirit and His present grace - (1Pe 1:13+)

Hope which is living, "lively", equips beleaguered saints with power to follow Christ in the costly way of love, with strong confidence that if we lose our life doing his will, we will find it again and be richly rewarded. (1Pe 1:3+)

Piper - We live in hope (a living hope). We wait to see our Lord face to face. We wait to have whole and healthy bodies which don't get sick any more. And we wait to have whole and healthy souls which don't sin any more.

Hope firmly and securely anchors our soul in the midst of the storms of life - (Heb 6:19+) Hope is like an anchor, because our hope in Christ stabilizes us in the storms, but unlike an anchor, it does not hold us back. In other words what you’re going through isn’t the end of the story, but for hope teaches us that it is simply the journey (which may be rough) leading to the right destination, heaven (Php 3:20-21+).

Hope gives us boldness - “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” (2Cor 3:12+)

Hope helps us to grow in patience - “If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Ro 8:25+)

Hope gives us confidence in God (Ps 78:7) which in turn is the spiritual fruit of teaching Scriptural truth. (See "teaching" in Ps 78:5, 6)

THOUGHT - Are you teaching your disciples the Scriptures dealing with Biblical hope that they might have confidence in God's promises? (God gave Israel the Law to be taught from generation to generation so) that they might set their hope (NAS = put their confidence) in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments. (Ps 78:7) Note the importance of teaching the next generation about Biblical hope that they might have confidence in God.

Demarest says: In our weakness and failure, we need not despair. Christ is our hope! In the worst of times and circumstances, we need not despair. Christ is our hope! In the final moment of death, we need not despair. Christ is our hope!

Spurgeon: Faith cometh by hearing (Ro 10:17+). Those who know the Name of the LORD will set their hope in Him, and that they may be led to do so is the main end of all spiritual teaching. "Their hope was to be set not in the law which punishes, but in grace freely given which redeems; therefore is it added and not forget the works of God." Johannes De Turrecremata


Hope gives us a reason to exult or to feel joy or great delight. In short hope gives us joyful confidence in our glorious future, this truth enabling us to even "exult in our (present) tribulations" and to wait in patience, not wondering if our life will end well, but that it will end with us forever sharing in Christ's glory! That's a truth to boast about!

Through Whom (Christ) also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and we exult (boast, feel great joy) in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance (Ro 5:2-3+)

John Piper: The chief cause of joy in the Christian life is the eager expectation that we will see and share in the glory of God. Hope for God's glory is the heart of our gladness. (Called to Suffer and Rejoice For Holiness and Hope)

Vance Havner: A seasick man was leaning in agony over the rail when a friend said, "Cheer up! Seasickness never killed anybody." "Don't tell me that," groaned the suffering voyager, "it's the hope of dying that has kept me alive!" The Christian's hope of dying does help keep us alive through the trials and tribulations of this present time, for it speaks of heaven and seeing our Lord and reunion with dear ones gone before. The hope, not the dread, of dying can be a tonic, an elixir to the tired traveler in these lowlands. The best is yet to be and we can't lose for winning!

Now pause a moment and sing joyful praise to God for your glorious hope is sure (Play "Rejoice, the Lord Is King" 

Rejoice in glorious hope!
Our Lord the judge shall come
And take His servants up
to their eternal home.
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!
-Charles Wesley

Hope establishes our security and safety - (Job 11:18)

Pulpit Commentary comment: Job, entering on this second period of prosperity, would be and feel secure; safe, i.e., from any return of calamity, because hope would once more animate him and be his predominant feeling. No doubt “hope springs eternal in the human breast;” and when Job’s prosperity was actually restored (Job 42:12-16), these anticipations had their fulfilment.

Hope guarantees our eternal life (Titus 3:7+)

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:5–7+)

Hope as the world typically defines it is a desire for some future occurrence of which one is not assured of attaining. The ancient world did not generally regard hope as a virtue, but merely as a temporary illusion. Historians tell us that a great cloud of hopelessness covered the ancient world. Philosophies were empty; traditions were disappearing; religions were powerless to help men face either life or death. People longed to pierce the veil and get some message of hope from the other side, but there is none outside of Christ.

From Hebrews 3:6+ we learn that while holding fast to one's Biblical hope does not save a person, it is one evidence that an individual is truly saved.

Gabriel Marcel said "Hope is for the soul what breathing is for the living organism." Indeed, a study of concentration camp survivors found that those prisoners who were able to hold onto their sense of hope (‘things are going to get better’ or ‘we’re going to get out of here one day’) were much more likely to survive. Hope then is not optional but for these prisoners proved to be a matter of life and death.

Biblical hope is not "finger crossing", but is alive and certain because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Life without Christ is a hopeless end whereas life in Christ is an endless hope. Biblical hope is confident expectancy. Someone has put it this way "Hope is faith in the future tense." John Blanchard rightly says that "'Hope' is biblical shorthand for unconditional certainty." The Puritan writer Thomas Brooks says that "Hope can (allow us to) see heaven through the thickest clouds."

Make us thy mountaineers
We would not linger on the lower slope,
Fill us afresh with hope,
O God of hope.
Amy Carmichael

John Bunyan author of Pilgrim's Progress wrote that "Hope has a thick skin and will endure many a blow; it will put on patience as a vestment, it will wade through a sea of blood, it will endure all things if it be of the right kind, for the joy that is set before it. Hence patience is called "patience of hope" (steadfastness of hope 1Th 1:3) because it is hope that makes (enables) the soul (to) exercise patience and long-suffering under the cross, until the time comes to enjoy the crown.

Hope is never ill when faith is well.

F F Bruce gives this description of Christian hope...We are refugees from the sinking ship of this present world order, so soon to disappear; our hope is fixed in the eternal order, where the promises of God are made good to His people in perpetuity.

J. Gresham Machen writes that...The Christian hope is the hope of a time when even the possibility of our sinning will be over. It is not the hope then of a return to the condition of Adam before the Fall but the hope of an entrance into a far higher condition.

John Piper: Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God. For he is a God of matchless grace. He elects by grace. He calls by grace. He sanctifies by grace. He sustains faith by grace. And he will glorify you by grace. You cannot earn it or deserve it or merit it. It is free. Believe it. Rest in it. Delight in it. And it is yours. (Why Hope? Grace!)

Unbelievers have no hope of a future resurrection to eternal life (1Th 4:13). Dr. Victor Frankl, an Austrian psychiatrist, observed that a prisoner did not continue to live very long after hope was lost. But even the slightest ray of hope—the rumor of better food; a whisper about an escape—helped some of the camp inmates to continue living even under systematic horror (Man's Search for Meaning).

The atheist Jean-Paul Sartre declared shortly before death that he so strongly resisted feelings of despair that he would tried to convince himself by saying “I know I shall die in hope.” His self deceptive maneuvers however left him hopeless and so in profound sadness, he would add “But hope needs a foundation.” (devotional) The irony is that Sartre was actually half correct - hope does need a foundation and here in First Timothy Paul says that the foundation is the Solid Rock, Christ Jesus our hope! The atheist Sartre was hopeless for he had refused to believe in Jesus Christ, the only source of genuine, eternal hope. Friedrich Nietzsche (surely in the spirit of antichrist 1Jn 2:18) made the foolish declaration that "Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man." Wrong! Hope has just the opposite effect of stabilizing and encouraging the life of the Christ follower! "The foolishness of God is wiser than men!" 1Cor 1:25

A HOPELESS DECEPTION - When Alexander the Great was setting out on his campaigns, he divided all his possessions among his friends. Someone said, "But you are keeping nothing for yourself." "O yes, I am," he said. "I have kept my hopes." A man can endure anything so long as he has hope, for then he is walking not to the night, but to the dawn. (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible) Comment: Alexander's reasoning sounds plausible but it did not prove true for he suffered an ignominious end, dying at the young age of 33 without hope, without God!

Seneca Rome's leading intellectual figure, tutor of the nefarious emperor Nero and contemporary of Paul defined hope as “an uncertain good” the antithesis of the believer's blessed hope! What a difference the new birth makes in one's perspective. Hopelessness is characterized by absolute despair with no expectation of good. The Bible refers to those who have only a hope that perishes...Bildad the Shuhite, one of Job's "friends" declaring "So are the paths of all who forget God and the hope of the godless will perish." (Job 8:13 cf Job 27:8, Pr 10:28) Bildad gives an accurate description of the hope of those without God and without Christ...in the end they will "perish", where the Hebrew word is "abad" which means be lost and in a state of ruin and destruction. It refers not so much to annihilation as to that which is ruined and is no longer usable for its intended purpose. The upshot is that unbelieving men and women who were created in the image of God for the express purpose of glorifying Him, will "perish" and lose all hope of ever achieving their purpose (see Eph 2:12-13+), cp the similar fate of those who "set their hope" on works to achieve salvation - Jn 5:45). Their end is tragic! No wonder cynics like H. L. Mencken were forced to quip that "hope is a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible."


In 1965, naval aviator James B. Stockdale became one of the first American pilots to be shot down during the Vietnam War. As a prisoner of the Vietcong, he spent seven years as a P.O.W., during which he was frequently tortured in an attempt to break him and get him to denounce the U.S. involvement in the war. He was chained for days at a time with his hands above his head so that he could not even swat the mosquitoes. Today, he still cannot bend his left knee and walks with a severe limp from having his leg broken by his captors and never reset. One of the worst things done to him was that he was held in isolation away from the other American P.O.W.s and allowed to see only his guards and interrogators. How could anyone survive seven years of such treatment? As he looks back on that time, Stockdale says that it was his hope that kept him alive. Hope of one day going home, that each day could be the day of his release. Without hope, he knew that he would die in hopelessness, as others had done. Such is the power of hope that it can keep one alive when nothing else can. (1500 Illustrations for Biblical Preaching - arranged by topic and indexed exhaustively - Michael P. Green)

Comment: Clearly hope is essential to our survival. If such is the power of human hope, how much greater is the potential for Biblical hope! When we don't feel like we can survive our current "prison like" circumstances, what effect can a vibrant Biblical hope potentially have on our outlook? If Stockdale's hope of going home, of one day being released from prison gave him the wherewithal to keep on living, beloved, but our great God promises that one day we too will be going home, and that one day we too will be set free, released from every struggle with sin (even released from the presence and pleasure of sin!), released from, every heartache, released from every pain and even released from every tear we've shed. Beloved, if that is our hope, can we not endure the "prison" of this present world, holding fast to that hope, firm until the end? Yes, but not by our might, not by our power but by the enabling power of the Spirit of Christ, through Whom we are more than conquerors in this life and the one to come! Amen!

G. Campbell Morgan tells the story of a man whose shop had been burned in the great Chicago fire. He arrived at the ruins the next morning carrying a table which he set up in the charred remains of his store and upon which he placed the sign,

"Everything lost except wife, children, and hope.
Business will be resumed as usual tomorrow morning."

Spurgeon - It is reported that in the Tamul language there is no word for hope. Alas! poor men, if we were all as destitute of the blessed comfort itself as these Tamul speakers are of the word! What must be the misery of souls in hell where they remember the word, but can never know hope itself!

June Hunt has an interesting note on the use the anchor to symbolize hope...

For centuries, anchors have been a symbol of hope. This emblem was especially significant to the early persecuted church. Many etchings of anchors were discovered in the catacombs of Rome, where Christians held their meetings in hiding. Threatened with death because of their faith, these committed Christians used the anchor as a disguised cross and as a marker to guide the way to their secret meetings. Located beneath the ancient city, 600 miles of these tomb-like burial chambers served as a place of refuge during perilous times of persecution. Thus, the anchor—found even on some tombstones today—has become the symbol of guaranteed hope for the eternal security of true Christians. (Biblical Counseling Keys on Hope: The Anchor of Your Soul)

Chuck Swindoll writes in one of the few books in the last 100 years to specifically address the subject of Biblical "Hope"

(Hope) is something as important to us as water is to a fish, as vital as electricity is to a light bulb, as essential as air is to a jumbo jet. Hope is basic to life....Without that needed spark of hope, we are doomed to a dark, grim existence. How often the word "hopeless" appears in suicide notes. And even if it isn't actually written, we can read it between the lines. Take away our hope, and our world is reduced to something between depression and despair....hope is more than wishful thinking.

Hope is a vital necessity of life--a gift that God wants to give to you. And in a world that regularly writes dreams off as foolish and drains the hope from the heart with dark pessimism" (Biblical hope) "is a voice crying in the wilderness...a word of enthusiasm for life in the midst of any difficult situation you are in....If you want to smile through your tears, if you want to rejoice through times of suffering, just keep reminding yourself that what you're going through isn't the end of the story...it's simply the rough journey that leads to the right destination...Solid, stable, sure hope. Hope to press on. Hope to endure. Hope to stay focused. Hope to see new dreams fulfilled" Charles R. Swindoll in his book Laugh Again Hope Again

A W Tozer - Hope is a word which has taken on a new and deeper meaning for us because the Savior took it into His mouth. Loving Him and obeying Him, we suddenly discover that hope is really the direction taken by the whole Bible. Hope is the music of the whole Bible, the heartbeat, the pulse and the atmosphere of the whole Bible...Hope means a desirable expectation, a pleasurable anticipation. As men know this word, it often blows up in our faces and often cruelly disappoints us as human beings. Hope that is only human will throw us down and wound us just as pleasurable anticipation often turns to discouragement or sorrow.

Do You Have Hope? - Several years ago, millionaire Eugene Lang was asked to speak to a class of sixth-graders from East Harlem, New York. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. “Stay in school,” he admonished, “and I’ll help pay the college tuitions for every one of you.” That was a turning point. For the first time in their lives, these students had hope. One said, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.

People without hope are people without a future. But when hope is restored, life is restored. This is especially true for those who come to know Christ. He gives a sure basis for hope. He has promised to return to earth to take us to our eternal home (Jn 14:3; 1 Th. 4:17). Till then, there is help through the power of the Holy Spirit (1Th. 1:5). The believer experiences a new kind of life now and anticipates its fulfillment when Jesus returns.

Is that hope alive in your heart? If not, admit that you are a sinner. Trust Christ as your Savior. And He’ll give you a hope that makes life worth living.

A strong defense to guard the soul
Is ours from heaven above;
God fills our hearts with steadfast hope
And gives us faith and love.
— D J De Haan

If Christ lives in your heart,
You have a living hope.

Related Resources:


The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary describes JOY as “the passion or emotion excited by the expectation of good (this latter phrase is an excellent description of Biblical HOPE!).” Why is frequent...meditation on BIBLICAL HOPE so important? Because “the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT (joy produced by the Spirit as we meditate on Biblical HOPE).” (Romans 14:17) Biblical HOPE is vital because when we LOSE HOPE (we call this “despair”) in the future, we LOSE JOY (we call this “grief” or “sorrow”) in the PRESENT because we have no firm foundation for confidence in the FUTURE. In short, the soothing balm of Biblical “HOPE (allows us to) see heaven through the thickest clouds.” (Puritan Thomas Brooks) Spurgeon has a pertinent question about hope: “The JOY OF HOPE—who shall measure it? Those who are strangers to it are certainly strangers to the SWEETEST MATTER in spiritual life. With the exception of present communion with Christ, the JOY of a believer in this present state must be mainly the JOY OF HOPE. “It does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He is (OUR HOPE).” (1John 3:2) We thank God that we shall be satisfied when we wake up (from the sleep of death) in the likeness of Jesus! This ANTICIPATION (HOPE) of Heaven makes (the hurt of) earth become endurable! And the sorrows of time lose their weight when we think of the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of Glory (Our future HOPE).” (2Corinthians 4:17) And so Spurgeon encourages us to continually focus our “TELESCOPE OF HOPE to the starry promises of heaven” because HOPE of our future time in heaven serves to stir up a lively JOY during our present sojourn on earth! Is your JOY at low ebb? Then drink deeply from the springs of BIBLICAL HOPE and the Holy Spirit will empower you to “REJOICE in the Lord (Our “Best HOPE” and JOY of our Desire) always and again I say REJOICE” (Philippians 4:4) because “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY (OUR HOPE) that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:18). Dearly beloved of God, “Do not be grieved (joyless), for the JOY OF JEHOVAH is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b) and that JOY grows well when watered by the good HOPE found in God’s Word of Truth. (See below for link to study on Hope).

In Romans Paul links JOY with HOPE writing “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand and we REJOICE IN HOPE of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2) “Peace with God” takes care of the PAST: God will no longer hold our sins against us. “Access to God” takes care of the PRESENT: we can come to our Father at any time for the supernatural enablement we continually need. “REJOICING IN THE HOPE of the glory of God” takes care of the FUTURE: the promise that one day we shall share in His glory! Notice again that it is the certainty of our bright FUTURE HOPE that is the grounds for our PRESENT REJOICING, and this hope fueled joy enables us to live as lights "in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation" (Php 2:15), as God's ambassadors of reconciliation (2Cor 5:18-20), "filled with JOY and with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 13:52) Who enables us to radiate His JOY which is not natural (like happiness which depends on what happens) but is supernatural, independent of circumstances, be they benevolent or bad! This great truth begs the question dear child of the Most High God, "Are you rejoicing in hope today?" If not take a moment to meditate on Romans 5:1-2 (memorize it!), asking God’s Spirit to renew your thinking and enable you to set your mind on the things above and not on the things that are on the earth (Col 3:2). Spurgeon would agree for he observes that Ro 5:1-2 “is a golden staircase (Ed: A “Staircase” which transports the eyes of our heart “heavenward”, focusing them on our Great God and His glorious plan of redemption!)—justification brings peace and peace brings access into this Grace wherein we are established! And then comes the JOY OF HOPE—and that HOPE fixes its eyes on nothing less than the GLORY OF GOD. GRACE is the stepping-stone to GLORY—and they who are JUSTIFIED BY FAITH shall in due time be GLORIFIED BY LOVE!” Hallelujah!

In Romans 12:12 Paul writes that we are to be “REJOICING in HOPE, persevering in tribulation” or as Piper paraphrases it we are to “Let our joy be the JOY that comes from HOPE.” In other words “hope is the soil in which joy is rooted—the ground where joy grows.” Like a fish needs the environment of water to thrive, JOY needs HOPE to be alive in our heart. When a believer's HOPE is fresh and full and focused on CHRIST JESUS our HOPE (1Ti 1:1) and the glorious FUTURE He promises us, this great HOPE functions like “spiritual rain” falling on our heart, bringing forth the fragrant fruit of JOY, birthed by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Piper adds “for the Christian things may go really bad right now and yet not rob him of his JOY. The JOY is the JOY OF HOPE. Christians set their hearts on how good it will be in the age to come and in the presence of Christ after death. This is why Christians can REJOICE in tribulation and not just in health and peace and security. Tribulation drives the roots of JOY down into HOPE. The future JOY streams back into the presence and lightens every load.” As someone has said, when we are filled "With the JOY OF HOPE we can sing as we suffer!" Matthew Henry wrote that our "JOY and peace as believers arises chiefly from our HOPES. What is laid out UPON us is but little, compared with what is laid UP FOR us (in glory); therefore the more HOPE we have the more JOY and peace we have. We do then abound in HOPE when we HOPE for great things from God and are greatly established and confirmed in these HOPES. Christians should desire and labor after an abundance of HOPE, such HOPE as will not be ashamed!"

Spurgeon adds “To be with Christ in Glory is the JOY OF HOPE, the HOPE which makes not ashamed. Our HOPE is no dream—as sure as we are here today, we who are trusting in Christ will be in Heaven before long—for He prays that we may be with Him where He is and may behold His Glory! (John 17:24) Let us not wish to postpone the happy day! Shall our bridal day be kept back? No, let the Bridegroom speedily come and take us to Himself. WHAT A JOY to know that this head shall wear a crown of glory and these hands shall wave the palm branch of victory! I speak not of myself alone, my brothers and sisters, but of you also and of all who love His appearing (2Ti 4:8). There is a crown of life (James 1:12, Rev 2:10) laid up for you which the righteous Judge will give you. Therefore, have patience a little while. Bear, still, your cross. Put up with the difficulties of the way, for the end is almost within sight!” And so undergirded by God's grace, enabled by His Spirit and for the glory of the Lamb we declare with C H Spurgeon "Away dark thoughts! UP, faith and HOPE!" Not gloom but gladness, not dreariness but delight, for Jesus Himself declares "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Rev 22:20)

Annie Johnson Flint writes...
I look up -- into the face of Jesus
For there my heart can rest, my fears are stilled;
And there is JOY, and love, and light for darkness,
And perfect peace, and every HOPE fulfilled.