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Bible Commentaries
1 Timothy 1

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

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Verse 1

1Ti 1:1. Thus far in the New Testament, according to the compilation in the King James 2 s Version, all of Paul's epistles have been addressed to congregations in cities that are named, or in other designated areas. He now changes his plan and will address some to individuals. He calls himself an apostle of Jesus Christ. The significance of the phrase will be appreciated more by considering the meaning of the word apostle. It is from APOSTOLOS which Thayer defines, "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders." Hence the italicized expression means Paul was sent forth with orders from Jesus Christ. The weight of authority behind his apostleship is increased by the fact that God commanded it to be so. God is called our Saviour because he is the one who provided a sacrifice that could save mankind. Our hope means that all hope of eternal life is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 2

1Ti 1:2. Son is from TEKNON, which occurs more than 75 times in ti.e Greek New Testament, and it is always rendered by child, with a few unimportant exceptions. Its various shades of meaning have to be determined by the connection in which it is used. Paul did not have any family of his own begetting, hence we know the word is used in a figurative sense in this verse. With reference to such a meaning, Thayer says of it historically, "With the possessive, it is used of a person who depends on another or is the follower; one who is connected with or belongs to a thing by any kind of close relationship; pupils or disciples are called children of their teachers." In the faith means the close connecticn between Paul and Timothy, just described by these historical statements of Thayer, which was brought about by their common faith in Christ. Paul had instructed Timothy in the faith of the Gospel, hence he is here called his son according to the phrase "pupils or disciples' as cited above. Grace, mercy and peace, etc., is the same kindly salutation by which Paul begins many of his epistles. (See the comments on such a salutation at 1Co 1:3).

Verse 3

1Ti 1:3. Timothy was selected by Paul to travel with him (Act 16:1-3), and he was in his company much of the time. However, at times the apostle appointed him to certain tasks, while he went on to other territories. Such special journeys were made by Paul on more than one occasion, hence we are not informed when the one occurred referred to in this verse. But this item is not essential to our study and conclusions upon the matters mentioned. When Paul was ready to depart from Timothy, lie requested him to remain at Ephesus for the purpose of defending the truth against false teachers. And now in this epistle he refers to the matter and repeats the program he expects the evangelist to follow. This repetition of the instructions constitutes them virtually as an order. Teach no other doctrine than what was taught by the apostles. The false doctrine- has special reference to that being circulated by the Judaizers, namely, that the law of Moses was binding on all Christians. There was also a mixture of traditions from the pretenders of learning that was injected into the ordinances of the law, and pressed upon disciples as items necessary to salvation.

Verse 4

1Ti 1:4. Fables has the same meal.-ing as myths, and the ones spoken of here are these put forth by the Juda-izers. They were a part of the commentaries that were composed with the claim that they were necessary to understand the law of Moses. It was easy to use such a notion as an opportunity for devising all sorts of speculative theories, and Paul's instruction is to pay no attention to them. Endless genealogies. The Jews laid much stress upon their descent from Abraham (Mat 3:9), yet many of them were not content with the literal line from that patriarch, but ran off into some vague notions of an immaterial or mystic ancestry. However, in their wild speculations upon such a line of genealogy, though still professing much interest in their relation to Abraham, such unreasonable mixtures of genealogies would cause persons to become unsettled. As a result, the patriarch! Abraham was left behind as the speculations went on and on into the dim past without any certain conclusion. That is why Paul calls them endless genealogies. It is evident why he says they minister questions, meaning they raise disputes among the people that will be of no edification since they are not in faith. So do. These words have no or;g nals at this place in the Greek text, but the King James translators thought they were justified by the repetition in the epistle of the exhortation Paul had given Timothy in person when he was with him. The idea is as if Paul said: "When I was with you in person I besought you to see after how certain ones taught. Now I am more particular about it, and insist on your doing as I requested."

Verse 5

1Ti 1:5. End is from TELOS, and Thayer defines it at this place as follows: "The end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose." The commandment refers to the charge that Paul had given Timothy regarding the kind of teaching he was to require among the people at Ephesus. The end or purpose of the charge was that it would produce charity or love. Out of a pure heart denotes that it was to be a sincere love and not a mere pretended one. Such a pure love would be in harmony with a good conscience; it could be professed conscientiously. Faith unfeigned means a genuine faith and not an empty pretense for personal advantage such as the evil Judaizers displayed.

Verse 6

1Ti 1:6. From which refers to the good things mentioned in the preceding verse. To swerve means to deviate from some established path or way of life. If a person gets off of the proper road, he generally gets mixed up in some uncertain situation. Hence if a disciple departs from the road marked out by an unfeigned faith, it is no wonder if he falls into vain jangling. This term means "idle talking" according to Thayer's lexicon, and certainly the fables and endless genealogies mentioned in verse 4 would fall into that class.

Verse 7

1Ti 1:7. Desiring to be teachers of the law could not of itself be wrong. However, these teachers were not motivated by the right principle, or they would not have swerved from the faith in search of an opportunity to do their teaching. Besides, they were not qualified to teach the law, because they did not understand it themselves. Affirm is a stronger word than say. The latter merely means to speak without any special emphasis; even that should not be done about something that one does not understand. The former denotes a strong utterance in which the speaker is positive about his declarations. It is the height of folly to behave in such a manner concerning something which the actor does not understand.

Verse 8

1Ti 1:8. The pretended teachers of the law would try to justify their activities by saying that law is a good thing. Paul does not deny that claim, but explains that in order for the law to bring good results, it must be used lawfully. One word in Thayer's definition of the original word is "properly." The correctness of the definition is evident, for we know that the best of things in any of life's relations will work harm if misused.

Verse 9

1Ti 1:9. The law is not made for a righteous man. 1Pe 2:14 says that, governors are not only for the punishment of evildoers, but also for the praise of them who do well. Also in Rom 13:3-4 it is clearly shown that the same ruler who is to punish them who do evil is also expected to praise the righteous. Hence we know that Paul is here speaking only of the penal section of law. Lawless and disobedient refers to the members of society who are disturbers of the peace. Ungodly and sinners could well be used interchangeably if taken separately, but when combined in one phrase there is some distinction. The Greek word for the former has special reference to the personal attitude toward God. Such a person practices a life of sin, but he does not even have any concern whether such a life is displeasing to God or not. The Greek word for the latter term has chief reference to the kind of life the man is living, without any consideration of his mental attitude about God; that idea is not in the word. Unholy is a general term applying to all people who are unrighteous, since holiness is another word for righteousness. Profane means those whose lives are such that they can scarcely be distinguished from men of the world who make no profession of righteousness. Murder is a capital crime no matter against whom it is committed, but when perpetrated against one's parents, it also violates all the laws of affection that are intended to keep families united. Man-slayers. The law of the land makes a distinction between manslaughter and other degrees of killing. Murder strictly consists of the unlawful taking of human life which is performed intentionally, while other instances of killing may be designated only as manslaughter. Yet if that is done as a result of carelessness, or in other ways that could have been avoided, it is also wrong and the law of God as well as of man provides some penalty for the act.

Verse 10

1Ti 1:10. Even one act of unlawful sexual intimacy constitutes fornication or adultery and is a grievous sin. But a whoremonger is a man who makes it a common practice; especially one who patronizes a woman who receives men for money. In some extreme cases the original word applies to a man who engages in the business for money (such as described in Eze 16:30-34). Some lexicons define the original word as "a male prostitute." Regardless of whichever phase of the crime is considered, it is one against God and man, surpassed perhaps only by that which is named by the words defile themselves with mankind. These italicized words are all from the one Greek w o r d ARSENOICOITES, which Thayer defines as follows: "One who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite." The wicked character that is described just preceding this one sometimes is defined "a sodomite." However, when that is the case it is a man who permits another to use him instead of a female. The one now being considered is the man who so uses this other man instead of a female. The reader should see the comments on these two characters at 1Co 6:9. Menstealers is from ANDRAPODISTES, and Thayer defines the word as follows: "a slave-dealer, kidnapper, man-stealer." He refers to the historical origin of the word and gives the following information: "As well one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery, as one who steals the slaves of others and sells them." Liars, perjured persons. All perjured persons are liars also, but they are those who falsify under oath, or other form of legal testifying. The last clause of the verse is a generalization of the subject introduced at verse 3. Hence anything that is contrary to the doctrine taught by the apostles would be contrary to sound doctrine.

Verse 11

1Ti 1:11. This is Paul's explanation of the term sound doctrine in the preceding verse. To be such, it must agree with the glorious Gospel. Blessed in the original is defined also as "happy," but when it is applied to God it means he is the source of true happiness. He is the giver of the glorious Gospel, and that is the reason He is credited with that which will make men happy. Committed to my trust denotes that Paul was entrusted with the preaching of this holy document.

Verse 12

1Ti 1:12. This verse is related in thought to the previous one concerning the trust that the Lord had in Paul. Christ counted the apostle as a faithful servant, hence was worthy of being put into the ministry or service of preaching the Gospel.

Verse 13

1Ti 1:13. One of the strongest evidences of Paul's sincerity was the radical change in his conduct toward the cause of Christ. A blasphemer is one who speaks with strong and bitter language against another, and a persecutor is a man who puts such bitterness into action against the object of his blasphemy. Injurious is from HUBRISTES which Thayer defines as follows: "An insolent [overbearing] man, one who, uplifted with pride, either heaps insulting language upon others or floes them some shameful act of wrong." We have no information that Paul ever saw- Christ personally, much less that he could have injured him directly. But in persecuting the disciples of Christ he was mistreating Him. (See Mat 25:44-45 and Act 9:4-5.) Obtained mercy does not say that he was excused for what he did. A jury may recommend mercy for a defendant, although it has found the man guilty, because there are circumstances that justify an easier punishment than strict application of the law might demand. This is the case in Paul's instance, so the Lord showed him mercy because he was an unbeliever --had made no profession toward Christ--and was ignorant of the facts in the matter.

Verse 14

1Ti 1:14. Grace is the unmerited favor of the Lord, which explains why Paul was accorded mercy after his opposition to His people as just stated in the preceding verse. With faith and love. Even the "unmerited favor" of Christ will not be given to a man unless he does his part in the transaction. Paul accepted the testimony of the divinity of Christ which produced faith. He then began at once to labor for the new-found religion, which showed his love for the cause.

Verse 15

1Ti 1:15. Faithful saying. The first word is defined "that can be relied on" by Thayer; it means that it is true. Of course if a saying is true, it is worthy of all acceptation. The saying Paul has in mind is that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. It could not be untrue, for He made the same declaration himself (Mat 18:11; Luk 19:10). Chief is from PROTOS, which means "principal" in the sense of being outstanding and noted. This again refers to his former activities against the cause of Christ.

Verse 16

1Ti 1:16. In verse 13 the apostle says he obtained mercy because of his misunderstanding of the case. In our present verse he repeats his statement and adds the Lord's other motive for extending the favor to him. It was that he could be used as a pattern for the encouragement of other believers. When they learn of the great long-suffering that Christ showed toward such a "chief" sinner as Paul, they will be induced to depend upon Him for grace to assist them toward a working belief that will bring them to eternal life.

Verse 17

1Ti 1:17. Eternal is from two Greek words at this place, which are TON AIONON. In the composition they are plural in number and in the possessive case, and the Englishman's Greek New Testament translates them "of the ages." There have been three ages or dispensations of religion given into the world, namely, the Patriarchal, the Jewish and the Christian. God has been and is the supreme ruler or K;ng over each of them, although the Son has been placed in charge of the third. Immortal means He is not subject to decay as were the idols that were worshiped as gods by some. Invisible is another distinction between the true God and those made of "gold or silver or stone," which could be seen literally with the eyes of man. Only wise God has the sense of saying: "He is the only God, and he is wise." Be honor and glory means these qualities should be attributed to this one true God. For ever and ever is an emphatic form of expression, meaning these virtues wil be possessed by Him endlessly. Amen is defined by Thayer, "so be it, so it is, may it be fulfilled."

Verse 18

1Ti 1:18. This charge refers to the one recorded in verses 3 and 5. The term son is explained by the comments on verse 2. Prophecies is from PROPHETEIA. Thayer does not define the word at this passage, but he does for chapter 4:14 where the same Greek word is used "on" Timothy, which means concerning him. His explanation of the word for that passage is as follows: "Snecifically of the prognostigation [prediction] of those achievements which one sets anart to teach the Gospel will accomplish for the kingdom of Christ." Robinson explains the word at our verse as fol lows: "'Refers to prophetic declarations respecting the labors and success of Timothy, made by those having the gift of prophecy, on occasion of his being sent forth." This verse means as if Paul said, "it was predicted at the time of your appointment to the work, that you would be able to 'war a good warfare,' now I repeat my charge already made, that you make good the prediction."

Verse 19

1Ti 1:19. Holding means to keep a firm grip on a thing because of its necessary use. Faith and a good conscience. This phrase involves the entire conduct of a Christian. Faith is the result of testimony, hence divine faith requires divine testimony (Rom 10:17). A subject, then, on which the word of God furnishes no information, is one on which a man cannot have any divine or scriptural faith. A man can have faith in anything that is authorized by the word of God, and such a matter is bound to be right. However, a man can be sure that a certain act is right if done at all; yet he might not be concerned about whether he did it or not, and there is where a good conscience comes in. Thayer's main definition of the Greek word for conscience is as follows: "The soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending the one, condemning the other." A good conscience is that part of a man that "prompts" him to do that which is right. However, a man's conscience might be mistaken as to what is right (as Paul's was when he was persecuting Christians). Because of this, it is necessary also that a man be guided by the word of God, then he will be acting by faith. To sum up; the conscience will prompt a man to do something, and his faith (produced by the word of God) will assure that what he does is right. Shinwreck is a figurative reference to what happens if the steering apparatus becomes defective; the ship will be misguided with the result of a wreck. If either faith or good conscience is lacking in a mans life, he will fail to be guided aright and will wreck his soul.

Verse 20

1Ti 1:20. According to 2Ti 2:17, Hymenaeus was a false teacher. We have no certain Information concerning Alexander, but he was a blasphemer according to Paul's statement in this verse. Delivered unto Satan means they were excluded, as the same thing Is said in 1Co 5:5 of the fornicator who was excluded.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/1-timothy-1.html. 1952.
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