Bible Study Christian Character Traits Christian Living Pastoral

1 Timothy 1:12-20

Paul continues in his instructions to pastor Timothy and to all pastors. These instructions are the standard.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is beneficial for doctrine, convincing, correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 So that God’s people may be complete, fully equipped for all good works.

See also Luke 12:47-48, John 8:12 (Jesus is THE standard), and John 14:6.

Let us beware, alert, and a little skeptical always for So that we would no longer be children tossed back and forth and carried off by every wind of doctrine by the cunning deception and sneaky craftiness of people lying in ambush so as to deceive. (Ephesians 4:14)

My translation and notes on 1 Timothy 1:12-20

Paul’s Testimony and Thankfulness

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, in that he considered me faithful, appointing me to [his] service.

13 Previously I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent, but I obtained mercy because I did [these things] ignorantly in unbelief.

[Paul admits he did these things and was guilty even when done in ignorance and unbelief. All need to be as humble and call on the name of the Lord for salvation. See Romans 10:12, 1 Corinthians 1:2, and Isaiah 55:6].

14 But the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant along with faith and love that is in Christ Jesus.

[Paul is testifying, “Even though I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent, God’s grace was exceedingly abundant. And, if that isn’t enough so were the faith and love of Jesus towards me.” Truly this is the amazing grace of God. God’s grace was given because and along with the love and faith of Jesus. Compare Romans 5:20. Barclay (beware) writes (DAILY STUDY BIBLE): He thanked him because he trusted him. It was to Paul an amazing thing, that he, the arch-persecutor, had been chosen as the missionary of Christ. It was not only that Jesus Christ had forgiven him; it was that Christ trusted him. Sometimes we forgive a man who has committed some mistake or 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 entrusted him with work to do. The man who had been Christ’s persecutor had been made his ambassador].

15 This is a trustworthy saying and worthy of full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

[When Paul writes this, we understand he is speaking of his feelings. It would see reasonable that Paul did not teach that he was the worst sinner in the course of humanity from beginning to end. See Trapp (JOHN Trapp’s COMPLETE COMMENTARY, OT AND NT): Of whom I am chief] Primus, quo nullus prior, as Gerson expounds it; Imo quo nullus peior, as Augustine, more worse than the worst. The true penitentiary doth not elevate but aggravate his sins against himself, is ever full in the mouth this way, as Daniel 9:5. Paul veils all his top sails, we see, and sits down in the dust; vilifying and nullifying himself to the utmost. Others understand Paul to be speaking literally; compare Adam Clarke and Lange commentary on this passage. How could God give grace to someone who is so sinful? God can and did for Paul].

16 Yet for this reason I obtained mercy, so that in me, the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might demonstrate all his longsuffering, as an example to those who later would believe in him for everlasting life.

[If God could have mercy on Paul, He can have mercy on us as well. See 2 Peter 3:9].

17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

[We are taught some theology in this passage. There are six character traits of God. He is King—King of the Universe. He is eternal—self-existent and having no beginning or end. He is immortal—unable to die or have any corruption. He is invisible—for He is a spirit being. Adam Clarke writes: One who fills all things, works everywhere, and yet is invisible to angels and men; the perfect reverse of false gods and idols, who are confined to one spot, work nowhere, and, being stocks and stones, are seen by every body. Compare John 1:18, Romans 1:20, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 11:27, and 1 John 4:12. He is omniscient and omnisapient—the highest and greatest of any being. He has honor that no one else can have. He has glory that no other being can offer. He has all this forever without end. Concerning the text, Wilbur Pickering PhD writes: Most modern versions, following 2% of the Greek manuscripts (of dubious quality), omit ‘wise’, leaving ‘the only God’].

Stand true

18 I commit this command to yous, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning yous, so that by them yous may wage the good warfare,

[Paul encourages Timothy to follow through on the prophecies spoken about him and the commitment to fulfill them. Our Christian life is a warfare. See 1 Timothy 6:12 and Ephesians 6:12].

19 Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some having shoved aside have shipwrecked their faith.

20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are among these, whom I have delivered to Satan, so they may learn not to blaspheme.

[The GOT QUESTIONS site concerning these individuals notes these things:

  1. 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.

  2. Paul then provides the names of Hymaneaus [sic] and Alexander as examples of what can happen when someone does not fight the good fight and keep the faith and a clear conscience.

  3. Timothy obviously knew who they were and knew their situation well. Second Timothy 2:18 gives a little more detail, saying that Hymanaeus [sic] 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 (verse 17).

  4. 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].

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