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;
Christ is our hope; we have not a shadow of a hope apart from him. I remember, when on the Continent, seeing on a cross the words “Spes unica,” the unique, the only hope of man; and that is true of the cross of Christ, and of Christ who suffered on it, he is our hope.
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.
Notice the apostle’s triple salutation, “Grace, mercy, and peace.” Whenever Paul writes to a church, he wishes “grace and peace”; but to a minister he wishes “grace, mercy, and peace.” Ah! we want mercy more than the average of Christians; we have greater responsibilities; and, consequently, might more readily fall into greater sin, so to a minister Paul’s salutation is, “grace, mercy, and peace.”
1 Timothy 1:3-4. 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.
You see, the apostle, in his day, had to contend against those who ran away from the simplicity of the gospel into all manner of fables and inventions. Such, in our day, are the doctrine of evolution, the doctrine of the universal fatherhood of God, the doctrine of post-mortem salvation, the doctrine of the final restitution of all men, and all sorts of fables and falsehoods which men have invented.
1 Timothy 1:5-7. 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.
There were some who put the law into its wrong place. They made it a way of salvation, which it never was meant to be, and never can be. It is a way of conviction. It is an instrument of humbling. It shows us the evil of sin; but it never takes sin away.
1 Timothy 1:8. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
In its own place it has its own uses, and these are most important.
1 Timothy 1:9-13. 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. 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,
Paul must have written this verse with many tears. What a wonder of grace it was that he should be put into the sacred ministry, to bear testimony for Christ, when he had been before a blasphemer!
1 Timothy 1:13. And a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
He almost thought that, if he had done all this wilfully, be might not have been forgiven; but he felt that here God spied out the only extenuating circumstance, namely, that he was mistaken: “I did it ignorantly, in unbelief.”
1 Timothy 1:14-15. 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.
He spoke from his heart, from deep experience. This indeed was to him the glorious gospel of the blessed God, that had saved him, the very chief of sinners. He could therefore with confidence commend it to others as worthy of all acceptation.
1 Timothy 1:16. 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 case of Paul is not a singular one; it is the pattern one. If there are any here who feel that they have sinned like Saul of Tarsus, they may be forgiven like Paul the apostle. He is a pattern to all who should thereafter believe in Christ to life everlasting. Just as we often see things cut out in brown paper, and sold as patterns, so is the apostle Paul the pattern convert. What God did for him, he can do for thousands of others.
1 Timothy 1:17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Paul could not help this outburst of praise. He must put in a doxology. When he remembered his own conversion and pardon, and his being entrusted with the ministry of the gospel, be was obliged to put down his pen, and lift up his voice in grateful thanksgiving to God. So may it be with us, as we remember what great things the Lord hath done for us!
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany