I Timothy Brief Study Notes
Verses 1-2: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Apostle Paul begins this letter to Timothy by expressing his authority, by pointing out that he is an apostle. He points out that he was made an apostle by the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:1-2 and Acts 9:1-20). Paul not only expressed his authority as an apostle to Timothy, but to others of whom he also sent letters to (Romans 1:1, I Corinthians 1:1, II Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, II Timothy 1:1, and Titus 1:1). The only times in which he did not open a letter indicating his authority as an apostle was to the brethren in Philippi and Thessalonica. In all three of those letters he was not alone in saluting those brethren.
In what we have as the second verse of this epistle, Paul addresses Timothy as his own son in the faith. The ASV 1901 and the NKJV differ in translation from the KJV by having this statement in verse 2 as: ASV 1901 “my true child in the faith” and the NKJV says “my true son in the faith”. Timothy, like Titus (Titus 1:4), were students under the guidance of the Apostle Paul. Paul, like a physical father in a physical family, was guiding these Gospel Preachers and raising them up in the faith. Paul is not negating the fact that God is their spiritual father as he recognizes at the end of this verse that God is “our Father”. Paul would instruct one to follow him to the point that he followed Christ and no further or less (I Corinthians 11:1).
Verses 3-4: “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, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” Paul shows us a past action in which he left Timothy in Ephesus to stand and charge some to teach no other doctrine. Teaching another doctrine separates false teachers from God and faithful brethren (II John 9-11). It was clear that other doctrines were being taught and false doctrine was spreading. Such occurred in Galatia (Galatians 1:6-9). Paul knew that after he left Ephesus false teachers would arise (Acts 20:28-31). Some congregations today feel a located preacher is not important. Well, here we see a case in Ephesus where elders were exhorted to protect, but an apostle also left a preacher to help.
Paul tells Timothy not to pay attention to false stories or endless genealogies. From these stories and endless genealogies, questions arise that lead to debate and division (II Timothy 2:23 and Titus 3:9). Doctrine should always be focused on and foolishness laid aside. This warning brings to mind those preachers who make most of their applications through stories instead of scriptures. What is their goal by application through stories instead of scriptures? It is very clear what Paul would instruct preachers he was bringing up in the faith to preach (II Timothy 4:2 and Titus 2:1). It is the word of God that edifies and builds us up in the faith (Acts 20:32).
Verses 5-7: “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” Paul comes to the end of the instruction in verses 3-4 by telling Timothy to have love with a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. It is from these things that some have left and began empty talking. They are teaching without understanding. James warned that everyone ought not to be teachers (James 3:1). The individuals Paul is speaking of must not have grown in the faith enough to teach (Hebrews 5:12-14).
Having a pure heart is necessary for anyone to obey the Lord. Here in this verse Paul points out that it is from our hearts that we have love [charity]. It is love that brings forth obedience (John 14:15 and I John 5:1-3). Notice some of the things that occur in our hearts:1. It is with the heart that man believes (Romans 10:10).
2. It is the heart of man that thinks [as Christ points out here] (Matthew 9:4).
3. It is from the heart man speaks (Matthew 12:34).
4. Forgiveness is from the heart (Matthew 18:35).
5. It is with our hearts that we reason (Mark 2:6).
6. It is with the heart that man purposes (II Corinthians 9:7).
7. It is with the heart we can condemn ourselves (I John 3:21).
8. It is with the heart that man desires (Psalms 10:3).
9. It is with the heart that man sorrows (Psalms 13:2).
10. It is in our heart that we have intentions and thoughts (Hebrews 4:12).
Verses 8-11: “But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 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, 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; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” The law is good (Romans 7:12). Just as in any law, man can abuse his usage of the law of the Lord. Men have long twisted and turned the scriptures to try and get them to do what man’s desire has been. This is a tactic of Satan (Matthew 4:6-7).
The law of the Lord is made for the lawless and disobedient. This comment is similar to that which Jesus made in Matthew 9:10-12. In light of the scriptures, no accountable person should claim that they do not have a need for the law of Christ (Romans 3:23 and James 1:25). The law of the Lord is to keep individuals from continuing in sin. Laws are not made to be broken, but good laws are made for the benefit of the people. The law of the Lord benefits mankind in many ways. For example: The law of the Lord condemns fornication (Galatians 5:19). Just think of how many marriages would be saved if fidelity were practiced. The same applications can be made to murder, lying, lasciviousness, etc. If man followed the law of the Lord on these things, life upon this earth would be much better for everyone.
Some think that grace alone will cover the sins of men and that law is not important. Paul refuted that idea clearly in his Epistle to the Roman saints (Romans 6:1-2). The glorious Gospel of Christ is that which brings men to God (James 1:21). When one transgresses the law of Christ they have sinned (I John 3:4). There is a price to pay for un-repented of sin (Luke 13:3 and Romans 6:23). Verse 8 concludes with Paul saying that the saving message of the Gospel has been given to him, in trust. He has taken that Gospel and done with it what the Lord requires (Mark 16:15-16 and Romans 1:16).
Verses 12-16: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 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. 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.” The Apostle Paul was one who stood by and partook in the murdering of saints (Acts 7:51-8:3, Acts 22:17-20, and Acts 26:9-11). Paul recognized, as he displays here, the great debt that was removed from his account. For this reason we see his humility and love for the Lord is great (Ephesians 3:7-8 and Galatians 2:20). Paul would have to pay a great physical price for his sins [a poetic type of justice] (Acts 9:16), but he would take those things and not allow them to deter him from being faithful (II Corinthians 11:24-31 and Philippians 3:8-11). We see in Paul that when someone is forgiven of a multitude of great sins they are more thankful recognizing the great debt that has been paid for them. Jesus taught that it was one who was forgiven most that would love most (Luke 7:36-50). This text is one which shows that Paul denied the Lord and committed his sins in ignorance. Paul in this text reminds us of the great power of the blood of Christ to remit sins (Matthew 26:28).
Verse 17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Paul was always willing to give glory to God as he understood that all glory should go to God for all things (I Corinthians 10:31). It is God, who is our King, who is Almighty and everlasting (Psalms 41:13, Isaiah 40:28, and Revelation 1:8).
Verses 18-20: “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; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Obviously, from what Paul indicates here, the work of Timothy or at least his calling and purpose was prophesied. Some forget that just as there were prophets in the Old Testament (Hebrews 1:1), there was also the spiritual gift of prophesy in the New Testament (I Corinthians 12:10). The charge was to war a good warfare. What is told to Timothy here should be resounded throughout the church today. We are in a spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:11-18, I Timothy 6:12, II Timothy 2:3-4, and Jude 3). The goal given to Timothy to hold the faith and a good conscience is the same as Paul told Timothy in verse 5 of this chapter. He then illustrates that many have put off these things. He then gets personal by marking Hymenaeus and Alexander (Romans 16:17-18). Discipline is something that brethren must do (I Corinthians 5, II Thessalonians 3:6; 14-15, and Ephesians 5:11). These verses serve as a conclusion to chapter 1.
2003 by Brian A. Yeager may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.
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