One Timothy One

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

our hope. Our “hope” is not in this world; it is Christ, not some vague wish but a “confident expectation,” which is the meaning of the Greek word. It is a “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), a living hope (1 Peter 1:3), a saving hope (Romans 8:24), a glorious hope (Colossians 1:27), a joyful hope (Romans 5:2), a reasonable hope (1 Peter 3:15), a purifying hope (xTerm 3:3), a stabilizing hope (Hebrews 6:19), and an everlasting hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16).

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

Timothy. Timothy (meaning “honor to God”) was the son of a Greek father and a devout Jewish mother (Acts 16:1). His mother and grandmother had instructed him in the Scriptures in childhood. Apparently they had come to believe in Christ as a result of Paul's message and testimony at Lystra on his first missionary journey (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). On Paul's second trip to Lystra, he was so impressed with young Timothy and his Christian character that Paul urged Timothy to accompany him on the rest of his journey, first arranging for Timothy to be circumcised in order not to offend the Jews in the cities where they would be witnessing (Acts 16:3). From then on, Timothy worked closely with Paul right up to the end of Paul's life, though often being sent away on special assignments.

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,

abide still at Ephesus. 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.

doctrine. Doctrine (i.e., teaching) is often downgraded today in the church in favor of an emphasis on love. Nevertheless, sound doctrine must come first; true Christian love is the natural product of sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:5).

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.

fables and endless genealogies. These “fables and endless genealogies” are generally thought to be rabbinical traditions, since the Ephesian church where Timothy was pastoring (1 Timothy 1:3) had been plagued from the start by Jewish opponents of Paul (Acts 19:8-9). However, Gentile converts were also numerous (Acts 19:10), and these had come from a background of pagan evolutionary philosophy, featuring the worship of the nature goddess Diana (Acts 19:35). Like other forms of evolutionism, Greek paganism was a nest of fables and a great chain of genealogical relationships extending back into eternity. All such compromises with either legalism or evolutionism, ancient or modern, are utterly bereft of spiritual edification.

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:

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

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

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

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,

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;

defile themselves with mankind. In contrast to the modern rush to make homosexuality an approved life style, it is noteworthy that the Apostle Paul classifies homosexuals right along with murderers and pimps.

menstealers. These are “kidnappers” or “slave-catchers.”

1 Timothy 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

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;

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.

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

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.

a faithful saying. There are three other “faithful sayings” noted by the Apostle Paul (1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8), all in the pastoral epistles.

I am chief. Right near the end of a uniquely fruitful Christian life, Paul still considered himself chief of sinners. Earlier he had called himself “least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9), then later “less than the least of all saints” (Ephesians 3:8).

1 Timothy 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

only wise God. Some manuscripts do not include the word “wise” in this doxology, but it is clearly appropriate and certainly should be retained. God is not only eternal, incorruptible and omnipresent, but also omniscient.

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;

1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

good conscience. Note 1 Timothy 1:5. Holding the true faith is naturally compatible with a good conscience. If one lapses into moral sin, it is a short step to explaining away the faith, and vice versa.

1 Timothy 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Hymenaeus. The blasphemy of Hymenaeus, and presumably that of Alexander, was denial of the future bodily resurrection (2 Timothy 2:17-18), evidently holding that the resurrection was simply the spiritual change when a person is born again. This was called blasphemy, because it denied not only the teachings of Paul (e.g., 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), but also of Christ Himself (e.g., John 5:25-29).

delivered unto Satan. The action of “[delivering] unto Satan” probably includes more than excommunication from the church. The same action mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:5 speaks of “destruction of the flesh” as a possible chastisement, not carried out by the church, but by the Lord.