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1 Timothy 1

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Verse 1

Book Comments

1 Timothy 1:1

Walking Thru The Bible



In addition to all the letters in the New Testament that Paul wrote to various churches he wrote four to individuals. Two of these were written to Timothy, one to Titus, and one to Philemon.

First and Second Timothy and Titus are often referred to by denominational scholars as the Pastoral Epistles due to a common misconception of what a Pastor is. The denominational concept is that a Pastor is the preacher "in charge of the affairs of the local church." The New Testament does not teach this. In Acts 20:17-28 we learn that bishops, elders, and pastors are three different terms referring to the same group of men in the local church doing the same work. The preacher is not the pastor or shepherd of the flock, but the bishops (or elders) are. In New Testament days that was no distinction between bishops, elders and pastors.

Timothy and Titus were fellow-laborers with Paul in the work of preaching. Paul is now an aged, mature, experienced, apostle of Jesus Christ and he writes to these two young preachers to encourage and instruct them for the work they would need to continue to do.


First Timothy was written after the events recorded in Acts took place. Following Paul’s two year imprisonment at Rome mentioned in the last chapter of Acts it is believed that Paul was set free and enjoyed liberty for two or three years before being reimprisoned and finally executed about 66 or 67 AD.

The facts of these personal epistles of Paul indicate that Paul traveled to Crete and left Titus there (Titus 1:3), and left Timothy in Ephesus to carry on the work there. Paul traveled on to Miletus and Troas and into Macedonia.

In the course of this travel Paul wrote First Timothy from some place in Macedonia. He is subsequently arrested again, probably in Nicopolis. Conditions were changing rapidly. The Jews in Palestine were rebelling against Rome; Nero was laying the blame for the burning of Rome on the Christians; and persecution under Nero grew more sever each day.

During his imprisonment Paul was not allowed the freedom of a "house arrest" like his first imprisonment described in Acts 28. This time he was confined to the Maritime dungeon, according to tradition, and after spending a lonely winter suffering from the cold he was beheaded upon the order of Nero. It was during this imprisonment he wrote 2 Timothy.


Timothy was born in Lystra of a Greek father and a Jewish mother. He was reared in the Jewish faith and was taught the Scriptures by his mother and grandmother from early childhood (2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 1:5). Paul discovered him at Lystra (Acts 16:1-3). At this point in Paul’s second missionary journey Timothy joined Paul and shared in his labors throughout the rest of his life.

Timothy was with Paul in his first imprisonment at Rome (Colossians 1:1; Philemon 1:1). After Paul’s release he evidently traveled with Paul as far as Ephesus and was left there to administer to the needs of the Church. While there, he received these two epistles from Paul that bear his name. Although Timothy is referred to as a young men, he is probably about 30 years old at the time he receives this epistle.

Whether Timothy was able to reach Rome in time to see Paul before his death is unknown. But in Paul’s second letter to him he requests him to come and to bring his cloak and parchments (2 Timothy 4:11-21).


Paul had left Timothy at Ephesus. The church was faced with threat from various false doctrines. Paul had warned the elders of Ephesus of coming problems in Acts 20 several years earlier.

1. Paul warns Timothy and the church of a failure of faith and charges the young preacher to instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines (1 Timothy 1:3). Some had made shipwreck of the faith, such as "Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan" says Paul (1 Timothy 1:18-20).

2. How Christians ought to conduct themselves in the work and worship of the church is a second underlying thought in Second Timothy. He deals with congregational prayer and worship and how Christian women are to dress and behave themselves.

3. The earliest elders and deacons in the church had been appointed directly by men inspired by the Holy Spirit (Acts 14:23; Acts 6:3, Acts 6:6; Acts 20:28) but now by inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul gives written guidelines for the appointment of elders and deacons in chapter three.

4. Another general theme of the book is especially applicable to all who preach the Gospel and is found in 1 Timothy 3:16: "Take heed to thyself and to thy teaching." Paul exhorts Timothy concerning his attitude toward his work and his personal example. He was charged to "rebuke them that sin..." and flee any desire to be rich and "keep that which is committed to thy trust" (1 Timothy 4:6 -16; 1 Timothy 5:20-22; 1 Timothy 6:6 -11,1 Timothy 6:20).

An Outline of First Timothy

Introduction - 1 Timothy 1:1-2

I. SOUND DOCTRINE - 1 Timothy 1:3 -20

1. Danger to sound doctrine - 1:3-11

2. Example of sound doctrine - 1:12-17

3. The preacher and sound doctrine - 1:18-20

II. PUBLIC WORSHIP - 1 Timothy 2:1 -15

1. Prayer - 2:1-7

2. Men and women in worship - 2:8-15

III. CHURCH OFFICERS - 1 Timothy 3:1 -16

1. The elder - 3:1-7

2. The deacon - 3:8-13

3. Importance of instructions - 3:14-16

IV. FALSE TEACHERS - 1 Timothy 4:1 -16

1. Their coming - 4:1-5

2. The preacher and false teachers - 4:6-10

3. The true service of God - 4:11-16


1. Care of young and old - 5:1-2

2. Care of widows - 5:3-16

3. Care of elders - 5:17-25

4. Care of slaves - 6:1-2

VI. THE MINISTER HIMSELF - 1 Timothy 6:3 -21a

1. Motives - 6:3-10

2. Proper walk - 6:11-16

3. Faithful ministry - 6:17-21a

Conclusion - 6:21b

- - - -

DATE: Shortly after the imprisonment of Acts 28 - probably @ AD 63.

Verse Comments


1. Dangers to Sound Doctrine 1Tim. 1:3-11

a) False Teachers - vv. 3-7

[WHG Sermons: The Apostle’s Authority; The Apostle’s Greeting.]

Verse 2

1 Timothy 1:2

1:2 To Timothy -- Though this letter was clearly intended to be read aloud to the congregations in Ephesus and beyond, Timothy was identified as its immediate recipient.

A half-Gentile, half-Jewish disciple Paul met in Lystra (Acts 16:1; ). Timothy assisted Paul in his missionary efforts (Acts 16:3; Acts 20:4-5; 2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 Timothy 1:3), becoming like a son to Paul.

True = ASV - means "legitimately born" As Paul’s genuine or true son in the faith, none could mistake Timothy’s special place in Paul’s heart.

grace, mercy, and peace -- Timothy was issued Paul’s fairly standard greeting. This greeting captures the essence of the gospel message—God’s grace shown in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ brings peace with God. The insertion of “mercy” alters Paul’s typical greeting: “grace to you and peace” (Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Colossians 1:2).

Faith = Titus 1:4; used objectively for the Gospel.

Verse 3

1 Timothy 1:3

Besought -- urged, appealed to

1:3 Macedonia A Roman province on the Balkan Peninsula (modern Greece). Thessalonica , Berea and Philippi were located in Macedonia. The occasion that Paul mentions in this verse is not recorded in Acts but apparently happened after Paul’s release from two years imprisonment at Rome.

Abide -- abide still, implication that Paul had been there.

Ephesus -- A harbor city located in Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Paul went to Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 19:1) and spent three years there @ AD 52-54) teaching in the school of Tyrannus and enabling Jews and Greeks throughout Asia to hear the word.

In a speech in Acts 20:29-31 toward the end of Paul’s third missionary journey (AD 56) he warned the Ephesian elders about the threat of false teachers. For this reason, Paul urges Timothy and the believers to hold on to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13).

Now about AD 63 Timothy is working there to appoint new or additional presbyters, and about four or five years later we have Jesus’ letter penned by John in the Revelation to Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7).

Charge -- instruct, with note of urgency

Other doctrine -- a different doctrine, or gospel, cf. Galatians 1:6-9

Verse 4

1 Timothy 1:4

Fables -- (Gk. mythos) Jewish fables, cf. Titus 1:14; 2 Timothy 4:4, the Talmud is full of such. Myths were often used to excuse immoral behavior.

Genealogies -- Jewish Gnostics used genealogies for their allegorical and legendary interpretation of the Scriptures. [Modern Mormons?]

Questions -- occasioned unnecessary disputes.

godly edification -- (ESV 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 (1) to God’s orderly outworking of his plan of salvation in all human history, or most likely (2) 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.

Verse 5

1 Timothy 1:5

End -- purpose, goal

Commandment -- "charge" same as vs. 3.

The purpose of the charge given in vs. 3, to produce:

1) Love out of a pure heart

2) A good conscience

3) A sincere faith

1:5 love The goal of instruction. Love stands in contrast to envy and strife, which are the by-products of controversy and disputes about words (1 Timothy 6:4)

Good conscience -- what to do with practice of what we know is right.

Faith unfeigned -- sincere faith

1:5. Unlike such aimless speculations, the intended result of Paul’s instruction to Timothy was love, and the purest kind of love at that. It is that love which pours naturally from a cleansed heart (cf. 2 Timothy 2:22), untainted conscience, and a sincere (anypokritou, “unhypocritical”; cf. 2 Timothy 1:5) faith.

Verse 6

1 Timothy 1:6

Swerved -- / wandered away -- some had missed the mark.

Jangling -- idle talk; vain discussion, idle disputes 1:6 fruitless discussion -- meaningless talk -- The word mataiologia refers to talk that does not benefit anyone.

Some teachers in the Ephesian congregation had lost sight of this lofty purpose and had wandered away (lit., “missed the aim”; cf. 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18) and turned aside to meaningless talk. Their teaching was mataiologian, that is, idle, useless, futile, empty verbiage that benefited no one.

Verse 7

1 Timothy 1:7

They missed the point and purpose of the Law.

Such should lead to Christ.

They were probably converted Jewish Pharisees and Scribes who relished the law of Moses but did not understand how the Law prepared the way and led to Christ. Galatians 3:19; Galatians 3:24.

[See chart in ESV Study Bible 1Tim 1.5]

Not enough information is given to determine exactly what the false teaching was. The concern here is not so much the identity of the false teachers but their effect, which was in direct contrast to the goal of apostolic instruction. The results of false teaching were “speculations” (v. 4) and “vain discussion” (v. 6) while the result of true teaching is “love” coming from “a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (v. 5). The focus of false teaching led to “swerving” and wandering (v. 6) while the focus of true teaching was a steadfast “aim” or goal.(v. 5).

Verse 8

1 Timothy 1:8

b) Misuse of the Law -- vs. 8-11.

[See WHG Sermon: Nature and Design of the Law]

Law -- Reference here is to the Law of Moses and the Jewish system it ushered in.

The Law is good -- Romans 7:12 Paul was not disparaging the Law for it had a place and when properly used it pointed to Christ. Salvation is in Christ, and not in the Law of Moses.

Use it lawfully -- when used according to God’s purpose. The Law is misused today also by many.

Verse 9

1 Timothy 1:9

Law -- Law is for the wicked. *general law, no definite article.

Verses 9 & 10 provide a general listing of the ten commandments of Exodus 20 Two tables of stone - the Second tablet covered more precisely.

1) lawless and disobedient

2) for the ungodly and for sinners

3) for profane

4) for murderers of fathers and mothers

5) for manslayers

6) for whoremongers ... (1 Timothy 1:10)

7) for men stealers

8) for liars

9) for perjured persons

10) contrary to sound doctrine

Verse 10

1 Timothy 1:10

See the NKJV for modern terminology for these sins.

1:10 Fornicators -- Gk. pornos. In some instances it seems to refer to one who practices any sexual conduct contrary to God’s moral law. In some cases to seems to refer to sexual union between unmarried in a context where "adultery" moicheia is also used Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Galatians 5:19; Hebrews 13:4.

1:10 those practicing homosexuality. Greek arsenokoites. The same Greek word is used in 1 Corinthians 6:9, where it is translated “men who have sex with men” NLT.

Sodomites -- / perverts -- / defile themselves with mankind / men who practice homosexuality. The Greek noun arsenokoites refers to males who engage in homosexual acts and echoes the Septuagint wording of Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13.

Though some have argued that only certain kinds of homosexual conduct are in view (such as homosexual prostitution or pedophilia or unfaithful relationships or conduct by people who do not naturally have homosexual desires), there is no evidence in the words of the text, the context, or in evidence from the ancient world to prove that Paul was referring to anything other than all kinds of homosexual conduct. See notes on Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

Menstealers -- kidnappers -- slave dealers who kidnapped people. The Greek andrapodistes (see ESV footnote) shows that Paul considered forcible enslavement to be sinful and a violation of Exodus 20:15.

Liars and perjurers -- clearly pertain to the ninth commandment Exodus 20:16.

Sound doctrine -- i.e. healthy (sounds like Dr. Luke influence on Paul here.) The participle of the Greek verb hygiaino (found also at 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9, Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1-2), here translated “sound,” includes the idea of “health” (in the sense of “healthy” or “health giving” doctrine), and in 2 Timothy it contributes to an extended metaphor in which false doctrine spreads poison insidiously through the body (“like gangrene,” 2 Timothy 2:17) while true doctrine makes the body healthy.

1:10 sound teaching Refers to instruction that is consistent with the gospel message and teaching of the apostles—a theme of the Pastoral Letters (1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; Titus 1:9).

See Romans 1:27 note on GAYS (Homosexuals, Sodomites) and Lesbians In The Bible

Verse 11

1 Timothy 1:11

Vs. 11 -- a comment on verse 8. 1 Timothy 1:8

[Sermon: The Glory of the Gospel ]

1:11 gospel -- The good news (euangelion) about the Lord’s victory over sin and death on behalf of a sinful humanity. Gk. = "according to the gospel the glorious", worthy of the highest dignity, praise, honor, and reverence.

Committed to my trust -- Paul an apostle -- commanded by Christ and given strength to perform his mission.

The reference to being “entrusted” with the “gospel” leads Paul to give thanks to God for this manifestation of grace to him (v.12-17).

Verse 12

1 Timothy 1:12


2. Example of Sound Doctrine -- vs. 12-17

1:12–17 This expression of gratitude is a parenthesis from Paul’s charge to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:1-11, 1 Timothy 1:18-20). Triggered by the mention of Paul’s role (1 Timothy 1:11), it gives perspective on the source of Paul’s thankfulness and provides a model for its readers. When talking about his own work, Paul directs glory to God and makes it plain that he is doing God’s work (see also 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; 2 Corinthians 2:14-17; 2 Corinthians 3:4-6; 2 Corinthians 4:7; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Enabled -- gives strength.

1:12 strength. Paul attributes his strength and vigor solely and emphatically to the one who died and rose and appeared to him on the Damascus road (Acts 9; Galatians 2:20).

Faithful -- trustworthy; 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul marvels that God graciously considered him worthy of trust (Gk. pistos, translated here as faithful).

Verse 13

1 Timothy 1:13

1:13 blasphemer.. A person who speaks disrespectfully about God in order to damage His reputation.

persecutor -- Before his conversion, Paul sought to persecute followers of Christ by arresting and imprisoning them (Acts 9:1-2; Acts 22:4-5; Acts 22:19-20; Acts 26:9-11 ). Paul was not exaggerating for the sake of effect.

a violent man.. Paul not only sought to arrest followers of Christ, he also approved the murder of Stephen (Acts 8:1). In contrast, those who watch over God’s people must not be violent (1 Timothy 3:2-3).

Paul lists his sins in an ascending order: (arrogant - haughty - imprudent).

Injurious -- violent, insolent. Acts 26:10

Ignorantly -- His countrymen had access to knowledge about Jesus, but he was ignorant.


Paul was- Acts 23:1 & Acts 26:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:12-16, Acts 7:58-60 & Acts 8:1.

Cornelius was--- Acts 10:1-2 & Acts 11:13-14.

See also Proverbs 14:12, Luke 16:15, Isaiah 55:8-9.

Verse 14

1 Timothy 1:14

[WG Sermon: The Super Abounding Grace of God]

1:14 grace of our Lord -- God’s grace rescued Paul from his rebelliousness (see Titus 2:11)

Exceeding abundant -- Super-abound; "overflowing". Christ’s faith and love for Paul overflowed and was received in faithful gratitude. Romans 5:20

With -- Gk meta

faith and love -- Paul had God’s trust and God’s love.

God showed his love to us in Christ, John 3:16

Verse 15

1 Timothy 1:15

There are five such "faithful sayings" and they recur only in the letters to Timothy and Titus (1 Timothy 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:8-9; 2 Timothy 2:11-13; Titus 3:8). These were truths widely affirmed in the early churches.

All -- key word in the phrase.

Christ Jesus came … to save sinners.. Paul echoes Jesus’ explicit teaching that he came to call sinners, not the righteous (Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32; Luke 15:7; Luke 19:10).

came into the world -- Implicitly affirms the incarnation.

to save sinners.. Confirms what the angel told Joseph about Jesus’ destiny and the reason for (meaning of) his name (Matt 1:21).

I am the worst -- Means not that Paul continues to live rebelliously but that due to his close walk with God, he is conscious of divine holiness (cf. Isaiah 6:5) despite his former evil deeds (v. 13).

Chief -- "first in order" Matthew 9:12; Luke 19:10 . Paul cannot mean that he now sins more than anyone in the world, for he elsewhere says that he has lived before God with a clear conscience (Acts 23:1; Acts 24:16), and he asks other believers to follow his example (see note on Philippians 3:17).

Apparently he means that his previous persecution of the church (1 Timothy 1:13; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10) made him the foremost sinner, for it did the most to hinder others from coming to faith (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:15-16). One wonders if Paul’s part in the death of Stephen lingered on his mind and heart. Yet it also allowed God to save Paul as an “example” of grace (1 Timothy 1:16)

Summary of the Gospel

1) Implies his pre-existence

2) Reveals his willful coming

3) Reveals his purpose for coming

a) God’s will to save

b) Accept God’s will or be lost

Verse 16

1 Timothy 1:16

1:16. Paul’s conversion demonstrates God’s plan to save all sinners. As the worst of sinners (cf. Paul’s other descriptions of himself in 1 Corinthians 15:9; Ephesians 3:8), Paul represents the extreme example. If God was patient and gracious enough to save Paul, He is patient and gracious enough to save anyone.

The ultimate sinner became the ultimate saint; God’s greatest enemy became His finest servant. Somewhere between these extremes fall all the rest.

to life everlasting -- Gk εἰς (eis) for the purpose of, toward, into.

Verse 17

1 Timothy 1:17

[Sermon: The Nature of God]

Eternal -- Savior of all men of all ages. (Lit., "King of the Ages")

King eternal.. (lit., “King of the Ages”) emphasizes God’s sovereignty over all the ebb and flow of human history.

King -- therefore able to save, acquitted; ruler of all men.

Immortal -- not subject to corruption, eternal, and will share that with man

Invisible -- spiritual essence, (not of this material world).

The only God emphasizes His uniqueness in a typical Jewish monotheistic fashion. To this God alone must all honor and glory be ascribed, eternally.

1:17 forever and ever -- Expresses the conviction that God is worthy of endless worship and adoration.

Amen -- Expresses agreement or endorsement of what is said about God (Psalms 72:19; Psalms 89:52).

Verse 18

1 Timothy 1:18

Charge ..command, instruction, 1 Timothy 1:3; 1 Timothy 1:5

This instruction (the same word parangelian is translated “command” in v. 5)

According -- kata, "in accordance with"

Prophecies -- 1 Timothy 4:14; A prophecy of a spiritual gift (probably a gift for preaching and evangelizing) was given when Timothy was ordained by presbyters, and the gift itself was given through the laying on of the apostle’s hands 2 Timothy 1:6.

the prophecies … made earlier concerning Timothy’s call and fitness for service in Ephesus. When and by whom these prophecies were made can only be guessed. Paul uses military metaphors repeatedly in appealing to Timothy (see also 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3; 2 Timothy 4:7) These prophecies reinforced Paul’s conviction that Timothy was a fit soldier to conduct the battle against error in the Ephesian church (cf. 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7 for an athletic rather than military metaphor). Timothy was to remember these prophecies and be inspired by them in the struggle against error at Ephesus.

War -- strateue Remember the game Stratego! 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Warfare -- strateia 2 Timothy 4:7

Lesson: vs. 18-19

1) Ministers need reminding

2) Ministers need encouragement

3) Ministers need to know their purpose

4) Ministers need their weapons - v. 19a

Verse 19

1 Timothy 1:19

Conscience is viewed as a kind of gyroscope; keeping it clear (or good) means ensuring that it is not destroyed (see note on 1 Timothy 4:2 about a seared or dead conscience).

faith and a good conscience. ..These two always seem to travel together (cf. 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 3:9). Strength in the one is always combined with strength in the other. So also is failure in the one correlated with failure in the other.

some who have rejected -- (apotheo, “a strong, deliberate thrusting away”; used elsewhere in the NT only in Acts 7:27; Romans 11:1-2).

Shipwreck -- Must be not only good soldiers, but good sailors! Paul has suffered many literal shipwrecks, so he knew what he was saying.

Verse 20

1 Timothy 1:20

Hymenaeus (cf. 2 Timothy 2:17) and Alexander. Whether this is the same Alexander mentioned in Acts 19:33 and 2 Timothy 4:14 is not clear. Probably it is not. They illustrate the principle of wrecking their faith mentioned in verse 19 1 Timothy 1:19

Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2Tim were identified as false teachers -- see their chief error. 2 Timothy 2:17-18

was saying the resurrection was past already.

Delivered unto Satan ..1 Corinthians 5:5. Usually understood as having disfellowshiped them by putting them out of the church. see 1 Corinthians 5:5. The purpose of such discipline is restoration, not condemnation; seeing the alternative, perhaps they will turn back to Christ.

Some think they were delivered over to Satan for bodily punishment and affliction ( cf. Acts 19:13-17.)

Learn -- Discipline is designed to teach; It proved successful at Corinth, 2 Corinthians 2:5-8. Church discipline is motivated by love and with the hope that the one disciplined will turn back to the Lord.

may learn not to blaspheme. There is no explicit indication that these false teachers directly uttered evil statements about God (“blasphemed”). However, to misrepresent God’s truth is to speak ill of him.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/1-timothy-1.html. 2021.
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