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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

1 Timothy 1

Verses 1-20

  1. Intro:
    1. Mother’s Day: Read intro to gift/Book.
      1. Last week we finished up Galatians. Now we visit a Roman Province in the region of Galatia, called “Lystra”.
      2. Let’s visit a house there & meet a family that represents the strongest trio stemming from a maternal line.
        1. Read 2 Tim.1:5
        2. Grandmother – only once found in the bible “Lois”(Lane).
      3. Lois & Eunice step right of the pages of Scriptures here to remind us that there is nothing moms & grandmom’s that is more important in your calling than the early training of your children!
        1. Make your goal to be like Prov 4:11 “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths.”
        2. Read 2 Tim.3:15
      4. Pray for Mothers!
        1. Mother’s Day Card read: (Picture) Little boy w/untied sneakers, wagon, toys, cut on his face, smudges on card, in 1st grade printing. (Cover) “Mom, I remember that little prayer you used to say for me every day,” (inside) “God help you if you ever do that again!”
    2. Outline: Endure! Enabled! Equipped!
  2. Church Conduct! (1-20)
    1. INTRO! (1,2)
    2. Paul adds Timothy to his team when he meets him in Lystra(Acts 16).
      1. Timothy traveled with Paul & became his special assistant.
      2. Timothy eventually is sent to pastor the church in Ephesus.
      3. This is towards the end of Paul’s life, between his two Rome imprisonments.
      4. Paul as known his protégé “Pastor Timothy” about 20 years at this point.
    3. Q: Why is this epistle being written? – See 3:15.
      1. We today need to know how to conduct ourselves in the church.
        1. It exhorts the worker for God to be uncompromising in his loyalty & devotion to his duty!
        2. Here we have a guide book on How to do Church!
      2. I believe most stay away from Jesus not because of Jesus, but because of his church!
        1. Do this assignment! - Ask people if they have a problem with Jesus or the Church?
        2. Oh & when they mention sins & hypocrisy in the church, don’t disagree with them, agree along with them…God does!
    4. ENDURE! (3-11)
    5. (3) The work in Ephesus was not easy, & Timothy probably wanted a new assignment.
      1. Ephesus was the center for the goddess Artemis aka Diana.
      2. Paul’s first burden was to encourage him to stay on and finish the task.
      3. False teachers(Judaisers) were in the Ephesians’ church pews just as Paul predicted they would be.
        1. The pastor’s job was to stay, teach, & warn.
      4. Every Christian worker has wanted to quit at one time or another.
        1. Q: How about you lately?
        2. Don’t abandon your post! Remain! Don’t quit!
      5. Paul will use a word Progress in 4:15.
        1. It means “pioneer advance” its root mean to “cut forward”.
        2. It’s a challenge to move courageously forward. Day by day; step by step; or even inch by inch.
        3. Gal.6:9 “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
        4. It’s learning, as Isaiah said, to walk & not faint!
        5. Josh Billings(American humorist) said, “Consider the postage stamp, it’s usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.” J
      6. Lehman Strauss used to say, “The formula for blessing in ministry is to simply preach, & pray, & plug away!”
        1. Know this about ministry!!!
        2. It’s recognizing there is “seasons” to God’s work!
        3. Eccl.3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time”
        4. He uses different workers, at different times, to accomplish various purposes. (In Praise of Plodders; Warren Wiersbe; pg.23)
        5. He will not always allow you to measure the “results”!
        6. “God rarely permits His servants to see all the good the are doing.” (George Morrison)
        7. No one’s work will go unrecognized or unrewarded.
        8. Don’t be too quick to praise another persons ministry, nor put yours down! For 1 Cor.4:5 says,“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”
    6. (4) Fables/myths & endless genealogies – rabbinical fables.
      1. Attempts to find hidden meaning in the names of the genealogies of the OT.
      2. 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).
        1. Thus you have the gospel I one sentence “Man appointed, mortal sorrow. The blessed God, shall come down, teaching(&) his death shall bring(the) despairing, comfort.”
        2. Chuck Missler re-popularized this, but this has been around for many decades from the Mystic Rabbis.
          1. And you really have to do some Hebrew gymnasticsto make it work (root of some words, pick & choose from others)
      3. Q: Is godly edification your goal in all your conversations with your Christian friends? Or just disputes?
      4. Q: Do you promote controversy, or the work of God?
      5. 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. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.10)
    7. (4) Here is the 3-fold purpose your ministry, your home study, your discipling, or your Sunday School class should be producing!
      1. Love from a pure heart; from a good conscience; from sincere faith.
      2. “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!” (Ibid; pg.10,11)
    8. (8-11) The false teachers misunderstood the intent & the use of God’s law.
      1. They were using the law unlawfully & perverting its true function in God’s plan.
    9. (9) The law is not made for a righteous person – (i.e.) committed believers do not need the law to propel them to holy living.
      1. Their new heart takes pleasure in God’s law & they listen to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
    10. ENABLED! (12-17)
    11. Enabled = given me strength.
    12. The same God who empowered Paul, could empower Timothy, & can empower us today!
      1. Paul was “enabled” by what? mercy, grace, faith, love.
      2. Someone defined responsibility as “our response to God’s ability.”
      3. Paul’s life was a living trophy of Christ’s transforming power!
      4. Paul could say, “Look at me!” “I was a blasphemer & murderer before God saved me. If the grace of God can make a missionary out of a murderer then it can make a success out of you!” (www)
    13. (15) Here is what Luther called one of the “little bibles”, the gospel in a verse!
      1. We note the contrast between the complex arguments & speculations of the false teachers; & the simplicity of the gospel in 9 words!!!
    14. To save sinners – Note, no adjective in between save & sinners!
      1. Not “penitent sinners”, not “sensible sinners”, not “grieving sinners”, nor “alarmed sinners”…just “sinners! (Spurgeon)
      2. 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."
      3. But I’ve been a thief! A thief is a sinner! But I’ve been a drunkard! A drunkard is a sinner!But I’ve been sexually immoral! one sexually immoral is a sinner! But I’ve been unbelieving! Unbelieving is a sin too!You just have to be a real sinner!
    15. 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."
    16. Of whom I am chief – Paul presents himself as exhibit A of what the gospel can do in the life of a sinner!2.16.1. He saved me, He can save anyone!
    17. (16) As a pattern – Paul considered his salvation a pattern(example) of what God would do for lost sinners!
      1. Paul was not only an example in how he got saved, but also in his lifestyle!
      2. A young minister, when about to be ordained, stated, that, at one period of his life, he was nearly an infidel. "But," said he, "there was one argument in favor of Christianity which I could never refute -- the consistent conduct of my father!"
    18. We can say that Jesus died to save sinners, lives to equip & enable His servants to do the work of the ministry.
    19. (17) A Doxology of divine praise!
      1. The King eternal – His rule is universal & eternal.
      2. Immortal – he is immune from decay & corruption.
      3. Invisible - but believers can view the splendid glory of God residing in the person of Jesus.
    20. EQUIPPED! (18-20)
      (18) Timothy was equipped, called, & now given a solemn charge!
      1. There was a battle to fight, & he dare not run away.
      2. Timothy had been enlisted by God as a Christian soldier(2 Tim.2:3,4)
      3. If we flee the post of duty, we rob ourselves of opportunities to grow, to serve, & to glorify God. (www)
        1. Ps: I’m not talking about when God moves you on.
      4. Paul reminds Timothy of his ordination years ago.
      5. “When the winds of adversity blow, set your sails in the right direction, & let Christ handle the rudder.” (www)
        1. Otherwise you may be shipwrecked!
    21. (19) It is not enough to have correct doctrine, the Christian soldier must also have correct living(faith & a good conscience).
      1. [This is what he is armed with, faith & a good conscience]
      2. Conscience = “to know with”. That inward judge that bears witness of our actions.
      3. It is possible for a believer to maintain orthodox doctrine while living in hidden sin; & this is the way to spiritual shipwreck.
        1. To “thrust away” conscience is to open the door to sin & Satan.
        2. A pure conscience, becomes a defiled conscience, & ultimately could become a seared conscience, w/o spiritual sensitivity at all!
    22. 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.
    23. (20) Hymenaeus & Alexander – (See 2 Tim.2:17; 4:14)
      1. Delivered to Satan – A form of apostolic discipline w/a view to spiritual benefit.(?) (Stibbs, Search the Scripture)
        1. 2 Cor.5:5 “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
    24. End: Let’s go back to that lasting memorial in 2 Tim.3:15 that the great apostle bestowed upon a mother & grandmother.
      1. “No one is poor who had a godly mother.” Abraham Lincoln
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-timothy-1.html. 2017.