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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 1:19

keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Holding faith - All the truths of the Christian religion, firmly believing them, and fervently proclaiming them to others.

And a good conscience - So holding the truth as to live according to its dictates, that a good conscience may be ever preserved. As the apostle had just spoken of the Christian's warfare, so he here refers to the Christian armor, especially to the shield and breastplate; the shield of faith, and the breastplate of righteousness. See on Ephesians 6:13, etc., (note), and 1 Thessalonians 5:8; (note).

Which some having put away - Απωσαμενοι· Having thrust away; as a fool-hardy soldier might his shield and his breastplate, or a mad sailor his pilot, helm, and compass.

Concerning faith - The great truths of the Christian religion.

Have made shipwreck - Being without the faith, that only infallible system of truth; and a good conscience, that skillful pilot, that steady and commanding helm, that faithful and invariable loadstone; have been driven to and fro by every wind of doctrine, and, getting among shoals, quicksands, and rocks, have been shipwrecked and ingulfed.

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These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https: 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Holding faith - Fidelity to the cause in which you are enlisted - as a good soldier should do. This does not mean, as it seems to me, that Timothy should hold to the system of doctrines revealed in the gospel, but that he should have that fidelity which a good soldier should have. He should not betray his trust. He should adhere to the cause of his master with unwavering steadfastness. This would include, of course, a belief of the truth, but this is not the leading idea in the phrase.

And a good conscience - see the notes, Acts 23:1. A good conscience, as well as fidelity, is necessary in the service of the Redeemer. A good conscience is that which is well informed in regard to what is right, and where its dictates are honestly followed.

Which some having put away - That is, which good conscience some have put from them, or in other words, have not followed its dictates. The truth thus taught is, that people make shipwreck of their faith by not keeping a good conscience. They love sin. They follow the leadings of passion. They choose to indulge in carnal propensities. As a matter of course, they must, if they will do this, reject and renounce the gospel. People become infidels because they wish to indulge in sin. No man can be a sensualist, and yet love that gospel which enjoins purity of life. If people would keep a good conscience, the way to a steady belief in the gospel would be easy. If people will not, they must expect sooner or later to be landed in infidelity.

Concerning faith - In respect to the whole subject of faith. They are unfaithful to God, and they reject the whole system of the gospel. “Faith” is sometimes used to denote the gospel - as faith is the principal thing in the gospel.

Have made shipwreck - There is an entire destruction of faith - as a ship is wholly ruined that strikes on a rock and sinks.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Timothy 1:19

Holding faith, and a good conscience.

Faith and a good conscience

I. What they are:--

1. Faith. The term is in the Scriptures applied both to the revealed truth which a disciple believes, and to his act in believing it. Faith is objective, or subjective. It is at one time the truth which you grasp, and at another time your grasp of the truth. Both in the Scriptures and in their own nature these two are closely interwoven together. It is impossible everywhere to preserve and mark the distinction between the light that I look on, and my looking on that light. True, my looking on it does not create the light, but it makes the light mine. Unless I look on it, the light is nothing to me. If I am blind, it is the same to me as if there had not been light. In some such way are faith and the faith connected and combined. It is quite true that the gospel remains, although I should reject it: my unbelief cannot make God’s promise of none effect. Yet my unbelief makes the gospel nothing to me--the same to me as if it had not been. The faith stands in heaven, although faith be wanting on earth; but if faith is wanting, the faith does not save the lost: as the sun continues his course through the sky although I were blind; but my blindness blots out the sun for me.

2. A good conscience. It is not necessary to explain what conscience is: my readers know what it is better than I can tell. Here the principal question is, Whether does the epithet “good” refer to the conscience that gives the testimony, or to the testimony that the conscience gives. The term “good” here belongs net to the testifier, but to the testimony. In one sense that might be called a good conscience, that tells the truth even though the truth torment you. When the conscience, like an ambassador from God in a man’s breast, refuses to be silent in the presence of sin, and disturbs the pleasure of the guilty by uttering warnings of doom, that conscience is good, in the sense of being watchful and useful; but it is not the good conscience of this text, and of ordinary language. Both here, and in common conversation, a good conscience is a conscience that does not accuse and disturb. It is the same as peace of conscience. It is no doubt true that in an evil world, and through the deceitfulness of an evil heart, the conscience may sometimes be so drugged or seared that it may leave the soul undisturbed, although the soul is steeped in sin. It sometimes says “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked”; but the conscience sometimes contradicts God, and says that there is peace to the wicked. This is, however, an abnormal state of things; as when an ambassador at a foreign court turns traitor to the king who commissioned him, and refuses to deliver his lord’s commands to the court where he has been accredited. The conscience in man is intended to be God’s witness, and to speak to the man all the truth. Taking conscience, not as twisted and seared by sin, but as constituted by God in the conception and creation of humanity, then a good conscience is peace of conscience. You have and hold a good conscience when that present representative of God in your bosom does not charge you with sin. By the light of Scripture we know that, as matters go among the fallen, a good conscience, if real and lawfully attained, implies these two things:--

II. Their relations:--The text consists of two parts. The first is a command, the second is an example. The example, as is usual both in human teaching and Divine, is adduced for the purpose of enforcing the precept. Doubtless, Paul could have called up from his own experience many examples to show how good it is to hold both faith and a good conscience; but it suited his purpose better, in this instance, to adduce an example which shows the dread consequence of attempting to separate them. In point of fact, an example of these two rent asunder is more effective in proving the necessity of their union than a hundred examples in which the union remains intact. Thus, if proof were necessary, to divide a living child in two with Solomon’s sword would constitute more vivid evidence that in a human being the left side is necessary to the life of the right, and the right to the life of the left, than the sight of a hundred unharmed children. When one side is wrenched off, the other side also dies: this is shorter and surer proof that the two are mutually necessary to each other’s existence than a hundred examples of positive, perfect life. Besides, it is easier to find a foundation for a negative than for a positive example. In buoying a channel, they cannot well set up a mark where the ship ought to go; they set up a beacon on the sunken rock which the ship ought to avoid. Here a question of the deepest interest crosses our path and claims our regard. Granted that faith and a good conscience are linked so intimately together that the one cannot live without its consort, what is the specific character of the relation? Whether of these two is first in nature as cause, and whether follows as effect? Looking to the form of expression in the text, which is exact and definite, we find that in the case adduced it was not the dissolution of faith that destroyed the good conscience, but the failing of the good conscience that destroyed faith. These men put away the good conscience; then and therefore, they lost the faith. What then? As the continued possession of the faith depended on maintaining the good conscience, is it through prior possession of a good conscience that one may attain faith? No. The converse is the truth, fully and clearly taught in the Scriptures. You do not reach faith through a good conscience, but a good conscience through faith. A good conscience grows on faith, like fruit on a tree, not faith on a good conscience. A good conscience in both its aspects, as already explained, is the fruit of faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God, either by the righteousness of Christ in justifying, or the new obedience in sanctifying. Now this specific relation is not reciprocal. The good conscience does not produce faith, as faith produces a good conscience. What then? If faith goes first as the cause, and a good conscience follows as the fruit, the good conscience obviously cannot subsist without faith; but may faith subsist without a good conscience? No. As to production at first, the relation is not reciprocal; but as to maintenance it is. We cannot say, as a good conscience springs from faith, faith also springs from a good conscience; but we can say, as the want of faith makes a good conscience impossible, so, also, the loss of a good conscience is fatal to faith. Some species of trees retain life in the roots although the head and stem are cut away. A young tree may spring from the old stump, and grow to maturity. But other species, such as the pine, will not thus spring a second time. When the mature tree is cut off, although the root, with a portion of the stem, is left, the tree does not revive. The root dies when the head is severed. There is an interesting analogy between a pine-tree and the pair which are joined in the text. It is not the tree’s towering head that produces the root; the root produces the towering head. We can, therefore, safely say, If the root is killed, the head cannot live; but we may also say, If the head is severed, the root will die. Precisely such is the relation between faith and a good conscience. Faith is the producing, sustaining root, and a good conscience the stem that it sustains. Consequently, cut off faith, and a good conscience falls to the ground. Yes, this is the truth; but it is not the whole truth. We can also say, Destroy the good conscience, and faith cannot stand. Thus in one way only may the good conscience be obtained; but in either of two ways both may be lost. Let faith fail, and the good conscience goes with it; let the good conscience be polluted, and the faith itself gives way. In the first place, then, speculative error undermines practical righteousness. As belief of the truth purifies the heart and rectifies the conduct, so a false belief leads the life astray. The backsliding begins more frequently on the side of conduct than on the side of opinion: the good conscience is lost in most cases, not by adopting a heretical creed, but by indulging in the pleasures of sin. The conscience is more exposed in the battle of life than the intellect. And it is on the weak point that a skilful adversary will concentrate his attack. While the calamity is substantially in all cases the same, the faith may be shipwrecked in any of three distinct forms,--a dead faith, an erroneous faith, and no faith. In the first a form of sound words remains, but they are a dead letter; in the second, false views of Christ and His work are entertained; and in the third, the backslider sits down in the chair of the scorner, and says, No God, with his lips as well as in his heart. Among ourselves, perhaps a dead faith is the most common form of soul shipwreck. Faith and covetousness, faith and any impurity, cannot dwell together in the same breast. These cannot be in the same room with living faith. As well might you expect fire and water to agree. I knew a young man once who became what was called a Socialist. He attained a great degree of boldness in the profession of ungodliness. No God, or no God that cares for me, was his short, cold creed.:But I knew him and his communications before he had made shipwreck concerning faith. The second table of the law had, by indulgence of sinful pleasure, been rusted cut of his heart before the first table was discarded from his creed. He had cruelly dishonoured his father and his mother before he learned to blaspheme God. It cannot be comfortable to a young man in his strength to come day by day to open his heart to God, if day by day he is deliberately disowning and dishonouring his parents in the weakness of their age. The dishonourer of his parents finds it necessary to his own comfort to cast off God. This man put away his good conscience, and therefore his faith was wrecked. I knew another, who had in youth made higher attainments, and who, on that account, made a more terrible fall. He had experienced religious impressions, and taken a side with the disciples of Christ. I lost sight of him for some years. When I met him again, I was surprised to find that he had neither modesty before men nor reverence before God. He was free and easy. He announced plainly that he did not now believe in the terrors spiritual that had frightened him in his youth. I made another discovery at the same time regarding him. He had deceived, ruined, and deserted one whom he falsely pretended to love. Through vile and cruel affections he had put his good conscience away; and, to pacify an evil conscience, he had denied the faith. The belief of the truth and the practice of wickedness could not dwell together in the same breast. The torment caused by their conflict could not be endured. He must be rid of one of the two. Unwilling to part with his sin at the command of his faith, he parted with his faith at the command of his sin. But though the shipwreck of faith is often, it is not always, the issue of the struggle. When the conscience of one who tried to be Christ’s disciple is defiled by admitted, indulged sin, the struggle inevitably, immediately begins. The Spirit striveth against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit. The sin often casts out the faith; but the faith also often casts out the sin. The outcome is often, through grace, the discomfiture of the adversary. “Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory.” “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand.” (W. Arnot.)

A good conscience

I. A good conscience. This expression may be used in more ways than one.

1. A clean or pure conscience is a “good conscience.” Keep your conscience pure. Do not sully it. Every wrong thing you say or do leaves a stain on your conscience--just like a black mark on a white piece of cloth or a sheet; of paper, and your great concern should be, not to have your conscience thus made black and foul. This applies alike to those who are Christians, and to those who are not. The best conscience has stains enough, and, as we shall see, needs to be cleansed. But in so far as your decision as to any action or course of conduct is concerned, it is of the last importance to keep your conscience clean. I need not say that this is not easy. It requires a constant effort--ay, a constant fight. Paul knew what this was. Good man as he was, he required to be ever on the watch to keep his conscience pure.

2. A cleansed and pacified conscience is a “good conscience.” Perhaps some of you say, “Alas, what you have said about the pure conscience is of little concern to me. At least, it can only be a thing of the future to me. What about the past? My conscience troubles me. It is defiled.” Now it is here that the gospel comes in, with the good news of cleansing for the conscience. It not only tells of provision of grace and strength in the Lord Jesus, to enable us keep the conscience clean, and do what it bids. It does more. It tells of pardon for sin, through the blood of Christ, who, by taking the guilt of sin upon Himself, and dying in the sinner’s stead, removes the guilt, washes out the stains, and so brings back peace to the conscience. There is no conscience that does not need this cleansing, that does not need it again and again, whether the conscience is troubled about the sin or not. I have heard of an Indian having a dollar which did not belong to him. Pointing to his breast, he said, “I got a good man and bad man here, and the good man say, the dollar is not mine; I must return it to the owner”; and so he did. He could not have got the “good conscience” otherwise,

3. A tender conscience is a good conscience. This comes pretty near my first gremark, instead of second, because it seems to come in most suitably after speaking of the cleansed and pacified conscience. If I can get peace for my conscience by going to the blood of Christ, does it matter very much my sinning again? Ah, yes. I heard the other day of a man having a “strong conscience.” That is to say, he could go a great length and do very questionable things without his conscience being troubled. Perhaps in order to create a laugh, or to be thought clever, and make himself “good company,” as it is called, he might exaggerate or go beyond the exact and literal truth, without it disturbing his conscience much. Now, that is not a tender conscience. Old Humphrey, speaking of such a one, says that he puts too much red in the brush! All such things should be avoided. It is very important to cultivate tenderness of conscience. Even if a thing is not altogether wrong or bad, if it has a doubtful look about it, it should not be done. There are some pieces of machinery which the smallest pin would damage or stop. Take a watch and let a grain of sand get into it, and all would go wrong. Let a grain of sand get into your eye, and you know what comes of it. Now, your conscience should, in this respect, just be like the watch--should just be like your eye--the least thing of wrong should be feared, and felt, and avoided; and if it does get in, there should be no rest till it is out.

II. What it leads to. What is the effect of having a good or evil conscience?

1. A good conscience leads to happiness and peace; an evil conscience to misery and despair.

2. A good conscience inspires with courage, independence, and fearlessness; an evil conscience fills with cowardice and shame. (J. H. Wilson, M. A.)

Wrecked through losing a good conscience

I had a friend who started in commercial life, and as a book merchant, with a high resolve. He said, “In my store there shall be no books that I would not have my family read.” Time passed on, and one day I went into his store and found some iniquitous books on the shelf, and I said to him, “How is it possible that you can consent to sell such books as these?” “Oh,” he replied, “I have got over those puritanical notions. A man cannot do business in this day unless he does it in the way other people do it.” To make a long story short, he lost his hope of heaven, and in a little while he lost his morality, and then he went into a mad-house. In ether words, when a man casts off God, God casts him off. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

Faith the cabinet of conscience

If faith be a precious pearl, a good conscience is the cabinet that contains it. This heavenly manna must be laid up in a heavenly pot. (T. Seeker.)

A good conscience

We have compared conscience to the eye of the soul. We may also compare it to the window of the soul A window is of use for letting light into a room; and also for looking through that you may see what is outside of the window. But if you want a good, correct view of the things that you are looking at through a window, what sort of glass is it necessary to have in the window? Clear glass. Suppose that the glass in the window, instead of being clear glass, is stained glass; one pane red, another blue, another yellow, and another green. When you look through the red glass, what colour will the things be that you are looking at? Red. And so when you look through the blue glass, all things will be blue. They will be yellow when you look through yellow glass, and green when you look through the pane of that colour. But suppose you have thick heavy shutters to the window, and keep them closed, can you see anything through the window then? No. And can you see anything in the room when the shutters are closed? No. It will be all dark. And conscience is just like a window in this respect. You must keep the shutters open, and the windows clean, so that plenty of pure light can get in, if you want to see things properly. God’s blessed Word, the Bible, gives just the kind of light we need to have a good conscience. (J. H. Wilson, M. A.)

Good conscience a man’s longest friend

It is a witty parable which one of the fathers hath of a man who had three friends, two whereof he loved entirely, the third but indifferently. This man, being called in question for his life, sought help of his friends. The first would bear him company some part of his way; the second would lend him some money for his journey; and that was all they would or could do for him; but the third, whom he least respected, and from whom he least expected, would go all the way, and abide all the while with him--yea, he would appear with him, and plead for him. This man is every one of us, and our three friends are the flesh and the world and our own conscience. Now, when death shall summon us to judgment, what can our friends after the flesh do for us? They will bring us some part of the way, to the grave, and further they cannot. And of all the worldly goods which we possess, what shall we have? What will they afford us? Only a shroud and a coffin, or a tomb at the most. But maintain a good conscience, that will live and die with us, or rather, live when we are dead; and when we rise again, it will appear with us at God’s tribunal; and when neither friends nor a full purse can do us any good, then a good conscience will stick close to us. (J. Spencer.)

Have made shipwreck.


I. The nature of such shipwrecks. We shall confine our meditations to the special aspects of this subject as they are here presented; “concerning faith have made shipwreck.” But when has a man made shipwreck concerning faith?

1. When he has lost his hold of spiritual truth. We know but little of these men, Hymenaeus and Alexander, but what we do know shows us that they had lost their grasp of Divine and apostolic teaching. Hence we read respecting Hymenaeus in the second chapter of the Second Epistle to Timothy, “And their word will eat as doth a canker; of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some.” Here we see then departure from “the truth”; also that such departure, in Paul’s conception, was shipwreck. We read of Alexander in the fourth chapter of the Second Epistle. “Alexander, the copper-smith, did me much evil; of whom be thou aware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words,” or the gospel which Paul preached. These men then had made “shipwreck concerning faith.” They had lost their faith in the truth as embodied in Christ: and in the resurrection as taught by Him and His apostles. But such “shipwrecks concerning faith” occur in the quieter and less keenly intellectual spheres of human life. The freshness of spiritual life is lost amidst life’s cares, temptations, and prosperity, and with the freshness of the spiritual life there goes the beautiful and childlike grasp of faith. Let me ask you, what scepticism has to give you better than the truth, which you have already received from the lips of Christ.

2. Ship wreck is made concerning faith when men and women lose their faith in the nobleness of human destiny, and in the importance and possibility of attaining it.

3. A man has made shipwreck concerning faith when he loses those elements of character which are the results of faith. “They that will be rich fall into temptation and snares; for the love of money is the root of all evil.”

II. The causes of such moral shipwrecks,

1. Trifling with conscience, or the severing of a good conscience from faith. This is clearly the thought of the apostle in these words. “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which, some having put away concerning faith, have made shipwreck.” “A good conscience,” says Dr. Fairbairn, “is here faith’s necessary handmaid,” and is as essential as a living faith; indeed, is its necessary fruit. But there are men who sever the two. They imagine that a mere intellectual holding of the truth is enough; that it is not essential that it should influence the life. Such were the views of Hymenaeus and Alexander. They made shipwreck by trifling at first with the instincts and enforcements of conscience. It was this trifling with sin which led to the overthrow of faith. Sometimes faith goes first, and the obligation to morality is subsequently relaxed. But the converse of this is also true.

2. Another cause of moral shipwrecks is, according to the apostle, “hurtful lusts.” There is, for instance, the lust after money. There is special reference to this here. “They that will be rich,” rich at any cost, social, mental, or spiritual. “Which some coveted after.” There is the lust after sinful pleasure. Pure pleasure is right enough but any pleasure indulged at the expense of conscience, any pleasure which soils the spiritual nature is altogether wrong. The pleasures of sinful gratification, of reading and amusements which appeal to the lowest passions, the bewitchment of drinking, are daily drowning men in destruction; leading to shipwrecks.

III. The consequences of these moral shipwrecks.

1. There is the shipwreck of happiness. “Pierced themselves through with many sorrows”--with pangs of remorse. And what hell can be worse than that?

2. This is consummated in final retribution and overthrow. “Drown men in destruction and perdition.” What these terrible words mean I cannot say. (R. A. Davies.)

Making shipwreck of the soul

I do not wonder that such an illustration should readily occur to the mind of Paul. He had not forgotten his terrible experience in the autumn of 62, just three years before. For fourteen weary days--the fierce Euroclydon blowing, and neither sun nor stars appearing--he had been tossed up and down on the angry sea of Adria, the vessel a mere plaything to the gale. Nor was this by any means his sole experience of the dangers of the deep. In writing two years earlier to the church at Corinth, he made mention of “perils of the sea” he had already encountered, and stated that “thrice he had suffered shipwreck.” As the first Christian missionary, he had made repeated voyages from Caesarea to Tarsus, and Antioch, and Cyprus, and various parts of Asia Minor, and had probably been eyewitness of many a sad maritime disaster. The records of Trinity House may inform us how many ships have been wrecked in one year, but, ah! where is the record that shall tell us how many souls have been lost? How many young men, for example, who left their peaceful, pious homes, perhaps a few years ago, and have been launched upon the open sea of city life with all its dangers and temptations, have, within the past few months, been caught by some fierce blast of vice or error, and hurled to moral and spiritual rain?

I. A FAIR START. This thought is suggested by St. Paul’s reference to the early promise which Timothy gave of a pious and useful life. When he speaks of “the prophecies that went before on him,” I understand him to allude not to inspired predictions, in the usual sense of the term, but to the hopes which had been cherished, and the anticipations which had been expressed, regarding him, even from his childhood. People who knew the lad, his character, his training, his environments, augured for him a bright and honourable career. They said, “That boy will turn out well. He will be a good man. He will make a mark on society. He will live to purpose.” And those “prophecies” were justified.

1. By the fact that he came of a good stock. What language can express the blessing that comes of a wise and godly upbringing! Many of us owe more than ever we can tell to the holy influences that gathered around us in our early days. Oh, with what tender and delightful associations is that paternal dwelling linked! Ay, and old grannie Lois, too, we remember how she would take down her spectacles from the chimney corner, and show us Bible-pictures that delighted our young minds, and then would urge us to give our lives to God. You came out of an admirable nest. The ship was launched from a first-rate building yard.

2. Those “prophecies” were justified in the case of young Timothy, by his thorough acquaintance with Holy Scripture. What is that we read in Paul’s Epistle to him (1 Timothy 3:15, Revised Version)? From a babe. It is the same Greek word which Luke uses when he says, “And they brought unto Jesus infants, that He would touch them.” As soon as he was capable of learning anything he was taught the Word of God. The first impressions his mind received were of religious truth. His mother, as a pious Hebrewess, regarded it as her main duty to her child, to make him acquainted with Holy Scripture. Such instruction may be expected to have a salutary influence on the whole future life. A boy who knows his Bible, and is well up in Scripture studies, starts life with great advantage. He gives promise of keeping on the right rails.

3. There was yet another thing that justified those early “prophecies” of a good career for Timothy. And this was the personal character of the lad. He was a well-disposed, quiet, thoughtful, serious youth. He never gave his mother any trouble. We read as much in the Acts of the Apostles, for it is there stated that “he was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium.” It is a good sign of a young fellow, when, in the town or village where he was born and bred, every one is ready to speak well of him. Thus we have seen what is meant by a fair start in life. It is like a vessel gliding down the slip on the launching day, when, all the hammering ended, and gay bunting flying everywhere, and loud huzzas rending the air, she softly glides out on to the open main! Who, on such a day, would augur her lying a pitiful wreck on some foreign reef?

II. Now for the good equipment. It is thus described: “Holding faith and a good conscience.” Two very excellent and necessary things. Shall we call conscience the compass to direct the ship’s course, and faith the sails that are to impel her on her way? Well, no vessel that wants either of these things is fit to go to sea. Without the one, her path through the deep will be uncertain, and therefore dangerous; without the other, she will have no force to carry her forward. A man has a poor chance of a happy and successful voyage over the sea of life, if, in entering upon it, he lacks either a good conscience or a sound faith.

1. “A good conscience.” I take them in this order, because, generally, the whisper of conscience is heard even prior to the adoption of a definite faith. In matters of spiritual navigation, the compass is fixed before the canvas is set. Yours, sir, is a bad conscience, when, without upbraiding and making you miserable, it allows you to go into bad company, to frequent the haunts of dissipation, to profane the Lord’s day, to neglect His ordinances, to read unclean literature, and to satisfy yourself with all sorts of vain excuses. Yours is a drugged and evil conscience, William, when you can lie down to rest at night and sleep soundly, though you have offered no prayer to God, and have no reason to know that He is at peace with you. “A good conscience “is one that is tender, sensitive, and pure; like a sound compass, whose magnetism has not been injured, it will guide you aright. To be altogether safe and good, it must be under the direction of God’s truth; for the mere moralist may be scrupulously conscientious, and yet far from the standard which the gospel requires. But--

2. You want something more. If you are to be fully equipped, you must also have a sound and living faith. You will not come to much good without this. A compass is an admirable thing, but you will not secure much speed if that is all the ship is provided with; there must also be the unfurled canvas, which, filled with the breath of heaven, will give it energy and motion. A living faith must be based on a definite creed. You cannot be a believer unless there is something that you believe. There is an affectation very popular at the present day, to believe nothing. No, no. Take away a young man’s religion, and he is the easy prey of all manner of evil. If you want to destroy a man’s morals, rob him of his Bible. A brig fifteen hundred miles out from land, without one square yard of canvas, is better off than a young man who has no religion and no faith. A man’s very accomplishments have proved his ruin. Who will deny that decided genius has shipwrecked many a promising life? I have not a doubt that Burns, and Byron, and Shelley, and Goethe, and Paine, and Voltaire, that each of them, in the absence of a sustaining faith, suffered moral disaster just in proportion to his genius. If a ship is heavily freighted with costly treasures, all the more does it need to have its sails wellspread to the wind. Thus furnished with a good conscience and a true faith, you will sail the voyage of life in safety, and at last reach the everlasting haven. But stay, our text tells us--

III. Of a fatal disaster--a spiritual shipwreck. The apostle says that some persons--and he goes on to mention two instances, “Hymeneus and Alexander”--having put away a good conscience, and lost their faith, had become morally shipwrecked. Paul does not for a moment hint that Timothy would do so. Nay, as he indicates in his Second Epistle, he was sure he would not do so. He who had begun the good work in him, would carry it forward to perfection. The compass is thrown overboard; the sails are carried away; the vessel is shattered on the rocks. Nearly every man who goes wrong begins by tampering with conscience. So long as a young Christian keeps a good conscience, I am not much afraid of his lapsing into scepticism. Foolish men! they hoisted their mutinous flags, and thought to draw away after them the whole Christian fleet: and, lo! there they are, lying two pitiful wrecks, over which the wind moans its eternal dirge. This has been the history of hundreds and thousands since. (J. T. Davidson, D. D.)

The great shipwreck

I. The sum of the Christian life. That is the whole, the union of all the parts. It has two chief parts: “faith and a good conscience.” Faith is an outgoing, grasping, clinging, leaning mood of the soul. The Christian is always “holding faith and a good conscience.” The word conscience means a fellow-knowledge--from con together, and science knowledge. And who is your fellow in this knowledge? The answer is--God. Conscience is the knowledge I have along with God. It makes me perfectly sure that its voice is the voice of God. God is thus in the conscience, judging all my actions. The heathen has his household god: yours is conscience. Conscience is very strong in the young. We knew perfectly what it was to hold a good conscience. And so did an Irish boy, whose master wished to lengthen a web that was short measure. He gave the boy the one end and took hold of the other himself. He then said, “Pull, Adam, pull!” But the boy stood still. “Pull, Adam!” he shouted again; but the boy said, “I can’t, sir.” “Why not?” the master asked. “My conscience will not allow me.” “You will never do for a linen manufacturer,” the master replied. That boy became the famous Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke, and persuaded many to hold faith and a good conscience. You must not think that it is easy to keep a good conscience. You do yourself the greatest injury when in youth you disobey conscience. When men put away a good conscience, oh what tortures they often endure, day and night, in after years! I wish now to show you how faith and a good conscience always go together. They are like the right and left sides of a living man; there can be no health or power when either is palsied. Or they are like the sisters Martha and Mary in the home Christ condescends to visit, only they unite their gifts without blaming each other. The Christian is thus kept right towards God and man, and does equal justice to both worlds. The old fathers used to say that the Book and the Breast agree, and that conscience is naturally Christian. Perhaps you would be pleased with an illustration of this truth from the old world. About five hundred years before Christ, a Greek poet showed the workings of an evil conscience. Agamemnon, prince of men, just returned from the wars of Troy, was murdered by his own wife. His son, Orestes, must avenge his death, and so slew his own mother. After that deed of blood all joy forsook the lighthearted, dashing prince. Guilt lay heavy upon his soul, and he felt that he was hated of the immortals. The Furies, with their snaky hair and cruel scourges, were upon him, and chased him night and day. But who are the Furies? You know them well: they are self-accusing thoughts, which the poet describes as heaven-sent avengers of sin. Byron knew them well, for he says--

“My solitude is solitude no more,

But peopled with the Furies.”

Orestes fled to the temple of Apollo, god of light, and kneeled at his altar, seeking guidance. While he knelt, the Furies slept on the altar steps. Is not that a beautiful idea? It is a sort of sermon teaching that the accusing conscience finds rest only in prayer to God. Apollo bid him go and give himself up to Divine justice, as represented by the sacred judges at Mars Hill in Athens. He did so, the Furies following him all the way. He owned his guilt before the judges, and declared himself ready to do whatever they recommended. In well-nigh such words as a Christian uses, they told him that he must have an atonement, and be cleansed by water and blood. Even they believed, in their own dim way, that “without shedding of blood is no remission.” He was so cleansed, and then even the Furies were satisfied, and ceased from troubling. And the smile of heaven again came to Orestes, and he walked in the land of the living, a forgiven and joyous man. Oh, how perfectly Christ meets all the felt needs of such an awakened conscience! Thus the Christian is a man of faith and of a good conscience; not of faith without conscience, nor of conscience without faith. He is no spiritual paralytic, powerless on the one side: he is no miserable, limping cripple, whose doing is shamefully shorter than his believing; but his soul moves like the successful runner, on equal feet. Our text likens the soul to a ship. Now, a ship sails best when it is kept even by not being overloaded on one side. And thus balanced between faith and a good conscience--between a deep sense of sin and a thorough trust in the Saviour--the good ship of heaven, with swelling sails, catches the favouring breeze, and heads for the “Fair Havens” above.

II. The ruin of the soul. The history of this ruin has three stages; for it begins with the conscience, then reaches faith, and ends in shipwreck--“which (good conscience) some having put away, concerning faith have made shipwreck.” Now your soul is an immortal ship in a dangerous sea. Conscience is the captain, reason the steersman, the Bible your chart, and your natural, appetites are the sturdy crew--good servants they, but the worst of masters. Only conscience can guide the vessel safely through the rocks and quicksands of temptation. But the crew sometimes mutiny and put conscience overboard, and then passion becomes the master and owner of the ship, and seizes the helm. “Conscience,” our text says, “which some having put away”--that is a phrase of violence. Only after a fierce struggle can conscience be put away. Unless the command be given again to the rightful captain, the ship drifts among the rocks, and the sea rushes in through the yawning bows, and ruin claims the whole for its own. The ruin of the soul begins with conscience, and usually with littles. Conscience is like the outer dyke in Holland, which the flood first assails. Little lies, hid under the cloak of outward decency, are like the little fox the Spartan boy hid under his dress till it gnawed into his very heart. Oppose the little beginnings of evil. When the conscience is wounded, faith decays and dies. A bad life is a marsh from which poisonous mists arise to becloud the mind. A bad heart forges notions to suit itself. Evidently Paul believes that our faith is shaken not so much by wrong arguing as by wrong living--Hymeneus and Alexander. Perhaps they grew too fond of wine, and fell upon mean tricks for hiding it; or they were very fond of money, and told lies to get it. And so they put overboard the troublesome captain, good conscience. Then they began to find fault with Paul’s preaching; this sermon was not plain, and that did them no good; he was too hard on people, and pushed matters too far. Very likely they gave some fine name to their doubting, and protested that they could not endure bigotry, and that they wished more sweetness and light. But their falling away went from bad to worse, till they became stark blasphemers, and had publicly to be cut off from the Church. When Paul was shipwrecked, the crew lightened the ship by casting overboard the tackle and the cargo. Should you be caught in any hurricane of temptation, part with everything rather than lose a good conscience. All the money in the world, all the honours and pleasures on earth, cannot make up for the loss of that. Pray that to the Christian faith you may add Christian honour. The putting away of a good conscience, unless repented of, ends in shipwreck. A shipwrecked soul--what a thought! But this dark passage is not so dark as it seems. Hymeneus and Alexander had been cut off from the Church that they might “learn not to blaspheme” (verse 20). The apostle would not despair even of these two blaspheming backsliders. He had a great hope that they would lay this warning to heart, and come again as penitents to the feet of Christ. Ours is a religion of hope, which teaches us not to despair of the greatest sinner, but to pray that even shipwrecked souls may be saved. (J. Wells.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Timothy 1:19". The Biblical Illustrator. https: 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

holding faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them made shipwreck concerning the faith:

Faith and a good conscience ... The obedience of faith is meant by this as in this quotation from Wallis:

The whole gospel message embraces both doctrine and obedience. The faith is what we believe about Christ; good conscience is not allowing the conscience to be defiled by sinful practices contrary to the doctrine.[40]SIZE>

Made shipwreck ... Scholars are very tender with regard to interpretations of this, as in the following:

We are not justified in interpreting "suffered shipwreck" as though it meant they were lost beyond hope of recovery. St. Paul himself had suffered shipwreck at least four times when he wrote this, and had on each occasion lost everything except himself.[41]SIZE>

While true enough that Paul did survive four shipwrecks, the fact is that shipwrecks are usually fatal to some and frequently to all who may be aboard; and there is certainly nothing in the passage that denies shipwrecks as equivalent to "spiritual death" in a passage like this. To be sure, this does not deny hope to any who might DESIRE to recover themselves out of the snare of the evil one. See under 2 Timothy 2:24f.

[40] Wilbur B. Wallis, op. cit., p. 846.

[41] Newport J. D. White, op. cit., p. 101.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https: Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Holding faith, and a good conscience..... By "faith" is meant, not the grace of faith, but the doctrine of faith, a sense in which it is often used in this epistle; see 1 Timothy 3:9 and the "holding" of it does not intend a mere profession of it, and a retaining of that without wavering, which is to be done by all believers; but a holding it forth in the ministry of the word, in opposition to a concealing or dropping it, or any part of it; and a holding it fast, without wavering, and in opposition to a departure from it or any cowardice about it and against all posers: to which must be added, a good conscience; the conscience is not naturally good, but is defiled by sin; and that is only good, which is sprinkled by the blood of Christ, and thereby purged from dead works; the effect of which is an holy, upright, and becoming conversation; and which seems to be chiefly intended here, and particularly the upright conduct and behaviour of the ministers of the Gospel, in the faithful discharge of their work and office: see 2 Corinthians 1:12.

Which some having put away; that is, a good conscience; and which does not suppose that they once had one, since that may be put away which was never had: the Jews, who blasphemed and contradicted, and never received the word of God, are said to put it from them, Acts 13:46 where the same word is used as here; and signifies to refuse or reject anything with detestation and contempt: these men always had an abhorrence to a good conscience among men, and to a good life and conversation, the evidence of it; and at length threw off the mask, and dropped the faith they professed, as being contrary to their evil conscience: though admitting it does suppose they once had a good conscience, it must be understood not of a conscience cleansed by the blood of Christ, but of a good conscience in external show only, or in comparison of what they afterwards appeared to have: and, besides, some men, destitute of the grace of God, may have a good conscience in some sense, or with respect to some particular facts, or to their general conduct and behaviour among men, as the Apostle Paul had while unregenerate, Acts 23:1 and which being acted against, or lost, is no instance of falling from the true grace of God, which this passage is sometimes produced in proof of:

concerning faith have made shipwreck; which designs not the grace, but the doctrine of faith, as before observed, which men may profess, and fall off from, and entirely drop and lose. Though supposing faith as a grace is meant, the phrase, "have made shipwreck of it", is not strong enough to prove the total and final falling away of true believers, could such be thought to be here meant; since persons may be shipwrecked, and not lost, the Apostle Paul was thrice shipwrecked, and each time saved; besides, as there is a true and unfeigned, so there is a feigned and counterfeit faith, which may be in persons who have no true grace, and may be shipwrecked, so as to be lost.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https: 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Holding m faith, and a good conscience; 16 which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

(m) Wholesome and sound doctrine.

(16) Whoever does not keep a good conscience, loses also by little and little, the gift of understanding. And this he proves by two most lamentable examples.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https: 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Holding — Keeping hold of “faith” and “good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:5); not “putting the latter away” as “some.” Faith is like a very precious liquor; a good conscience is the clean, pure glass that contains it [Bengel]. The loss of good conscience entails the shipwreck of faith. Consciousness of sin (unrepented of and forgiven) kills the germ of faith in man [Wiesinger].

whichGreek singular, namely, “good conscience,” not “faith” also; however, the result of putting away good conscience is, one loses faith also.

put away — a willful act. They thrust it from them as a troublesome monitor. It reluctantly withdraws, extruded by force, when its owner is tired of its importunity, and is resolved to retain his sin at the cost of losing it. One cannot be on friendly terms with it and with sin at one and the same time.

made shipwreck — “with respect to THE faith.” Faith is the vessel in which they had professedly embarked, of which “good conscience” is the anchor. The ancient Church often used this image, comparing the course of faith to navigation. The Greek does not imply that one having once had faith makes shipwreck of it, but that they who put away good conscience “make shipwreck with respect to THE faith.”

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https: 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Holding faith and a good conscience (εχων πιστιν και αγατην συνειδησινechōn pistin kai agathēn suneidēsin). Possibly as a shield (Ephesians 6:16) or at any rate possessing (Romans 2:20) faith as trust and a good conscience. A leader expects them of his followers and must show them himself.

Having thrust from them (απωσαμενοιapōsamenoi). First aorist indirect middle participle of απωτεωapōtheō to push away from one. Old verb (see note on Romans 11:1.).

Made shipwreck (εναυαγησανenauagēsan). First aorist active indicative of ναυαγεωnauageō old verb from ναυαγοςnauagos (shipwrecked, ναυςnaus ship, αγνυμιagnumi to break), to break a ship to pieces. In N.T. only here and 2 Corinthians 11:25.

Concerning the faith (περι την πιστινperi tēn pistin). Rather, “concerning their faith” (the article here used as a possessive pronoun, a common Greek idiom).

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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https: Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Holding ( ἔχων )

Not merely having, but holding fast, as in 2 Timothy 1:13.

Faith and a good conscience ( πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν )

The phrase good conscience is not in Paul, although συνείδησις is a Pauline word. The phrase appears once in Acts (Acts 23:1), and twice in 1Peter (1 Peter 2:16, 1 Peter 2:21). In Hebrews evil ( πονηρᾶς ) conscience and fair ( καλὴν ) conscience; Hebrews 10:22; Hebrews 13:18. The combination faith and good conscience is peculiar to the Pastorals. Comp. 1 Timothy 3:9.

Which ( ἥν )

Referring to God conscience.

Having put away ( ἀπωσάμενοι )

The A.V. is not strong enough. Better, having thrust from them. It implies willful violence against conscience. Twice in Paul, Romans 11:1, Romans 11:2, and three times in Acts.

Concerning faith have made shipwreck ( περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν )

Better, “concerning the faith made shipwreck.” For a similar use of περὶ concerningsee Acts 19:25; Luke 10:40; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18; 2 Timothy 3:8. It is noteworthy that περὶ with the accusative occurs only once in Paul (Philemon 2:23). Ναυαγεῖν tomake shipwreck only here and 2 Corinthians 11:25. Nautical metaphors are rare in Paul's writings.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https: Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Holding fast faith — Which is as a most precious liquor.

And a good conscience — Which is as a clean glass.

Which — Namely, a good conscience.

Some having thrust away — It goes away unwillingly it always says, "Do not hurt me." And they who retain this do not make shipwreck of their faith. Indeed, none can make shipwreck of faith who never had it. These, therefore, were once true believers: yet they fell not only foully, but finally; for ships once wrecked cannot be afterwards saved.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https: 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Holding; holding fast.--Concerning faith have made shipwreck; that is, have made shipwreck of their faith.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https: 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

19Having faith and a good conscience I understand the word faith to be a general term, denoting sound doctrine. In the same sense he afterwards speaks of “the mystery of faith.” (1 Timothy 3:9.) And, indeed, the chief things demanded from a teacher are these two: — that he shall hold by the pure truth of the gospel; and next, that he shall administer it with a good conscience and holiest zeal. Where these are found, all the others will follow of their own accord.

From which some having turned aside concerning faith He shows how necessary it is that faith be accompanied by a good conscience; because, on the other hand, the punishment of a bad conscience is turning aside from the path of duty. They who do not serve God with a sincere and a perfect heart, but give a loose rein to wicked dispositions, even though at first they had a sound understanding, come to lose it altogether.

This passage ought to be carefully observed. We know that the treasure of sound doctrine is invaluable, and therefore there is nothing that we ought to dread more than to have it taken from us. But Paul here informs us, that there is only one way of keeping it safe; and that is, to secure it by the locks and bars of a good conscience. This is what we experience every day; for how comes it that there are so many who, laying aside the gospel, rush into wicked sects, or become involved in monstrous errors? It is because, by this kind of blindness, God punishes hypocrisy; as, on the other hand, a genuine fear of God gives strength for perseverance.

Hence we may learn two lessons. First, Teachers and ministers of the gospel, and, through them all the churches are taught with what horror they ought to regard a hypocritical and deceitful profession of true doctrine, when they learn that it is so severely punished. Secondly, this passage removes the offense by which so many persons are greatly distressed, when they perceive that some, who formerly professed their attachment to Christ and to the gospel, not only fall back into their former superstitions but (which is far worse) are bewildered and captivated by monstrous errors. For by such examples, God openly supports the majesty of the gospel, and openly shows that he cannot at all endure the profanation of it. And this is what experience has taught us in every age. All the errors that have existed in the Christian Church from the beginning, proceeded from this source, that in some persons, ambition, and in others, covetousness, extinguished the true fear of God. A bad conscience is, therefore, the mother of all heresies; and we see that a vast number of persons, who had not sincerely and honestly embraced the faith, are hurried along, like brute beasts, into the reveries of the Epicureans, so that their hypocrisy is exposed. And not only so, but contempt of God is universally prevalent, and the licentious and disgraceful lives of almost all ranks show that there is either none at all, or the smallest possible potion of integrity in the world; so that there is very great reason to fear lest the light which had been kindled may be speedily extinguished, and God may leave the pure understanding of the gospel to be possessed by very few.

Have made shipwreck: The metaphor taken from shipwreck is highly appropriate; for it suggests to us, that, if we wish to arrive safely at the harbor, our course must be guided by a good conscience, otherwise there is danger of “shipwreck;” that is, there is danger lest faith be sunk by a bad conscience, as by a whirlpool in a stormy sea. (30)

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1840-57.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary


‘Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.’

1 Timothy 1:19

St. Paul explains to Timothy his object in writing to him—to encourage and stimulate him in the battle of life. In the responsibilities cast upon him; in the difficulties he will have to meet, let him be true to the high hopes formed of him. He points out—

I. Two conditions of mind and heart which must underlie all true and useful conduct.

(a) Faith. St. Paul speaks of faith in its widest sense, including faith towards God, and faith towards man and in man as made in God’s image and under His moral government.

(b) Conscience obeyed. Conscience is the voice of God within.

II. He states that these conditions may be given up.

(a) One may put away faith in God, doubt His love, give up belief in the perfection and holiness of His government. Men charge God with being partial, unkind, unjust. As a consequence they lose faith in humanity, in the possibilities of life, etc. Such a state leads to despair, antinomianism, rebellion.

(b) Conscience may be stifled, seared with a hot iron, but in the worst and most hardened criminal conscience remains, if as nothing else, as an accuser. But a good conscience may be put away. Oh, what a loss! It involves loss of self-respect, loss of faith in self, loss of power, loss of peace. Rejecting faith in God and disloyal to the voice within. How hard it is to sink so low! St. Paul uses a strong word—‘faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust from them’ (R.V.).

III. He speaks of the result which must inevitably follow.

(a) Shipwreck. In God’s moral government and in His revealed Word He has given us the rules for the voyage of life. But if one gives up faith in the Teacher, the chart is disregarded.

(b) Shipwreck concerning the faith. Though there be outward profession of Christianity, in heart and life it is shipwreck concerning Christ.

Let us be true to God and true to self.


‘Ah, if our souls but poise and swing

Like the compass in its brazen ring,

Ever level and ever true

To the toil and the task we have to do,

We shall sail securely, and safely reach

The Fortunate Isles.’—Longfellow.



In these words St. Paul is warning not only Timothy, but all clergymen after him; and not only these, but through them all Christian people, of a great truth, which was too much forgotten in those days, as it is too much forgotten in these days—that a correct faith and a good and holy life must go together in order to our salvation. ‘Holding faith’; there he speaks of having and keeping the right and true belief. ‘A good conscience’; and there he points to the need of holiness, without which we can have not a good but a bad conscience, because it will accuse us of our bad actions which we have done.

I. Many people see the need of one of these two things, and neglect the other.—There are many persons who approve of honesty and goodness in life, but do not think much of a right faith. They see it is good that a person should not steal, or commit murder, or live impurely. They would have every one live honestly and respectably; but (say they) that is all that is needed. What a man believes doesn’t much matter:

‘He can’t be wrong whose life is in the right.’

And there is a great deal that is very enticing and plausible about such teaching. But there is a mistake in it; and the mistake lies in making a right faith of small account. A true faith always tends to bring about good actions; and believing what is false inclines people somehow to do what is wrong. That is why St. Paul was so careful to teach Timothy, and through Timothy, the church over which he was set as a bishop, that they wanted both right faith and good life to keep their souls in the path to heaven.

II. Faith is the root of action.—What we do follows from what we believe, just as surely as a tree springs from its root. You could not get the fruit without the tree; you could not get the right fruit without its coming from the right tree; ‘a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.’ And this people do not always see.

III. There is also a danger in the other direction; and therefore with faith he mentions ‘a good conscience.’ The danger is that, while holding fast the faith, we should be tempted to suppose that to believe is enough; that a holy life is not necessary, or at all events not essential, to salvation. This would be just as bad a mistake as the other, and as dangerous. The Catholic faith is intended to show you God in Christ; to reveal to you the Divine Saviour; and if you do not see Him in the Catholic faith, if your heart does not grow wise by its teaching, you may hold it indeed, but it will do you no good; it is useless through your own fault; and the mere holding it will not save you.

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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Church Pulpit Commentary. https: 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Ver. 19. Holding faith and a good conscience] A good conscience, saith one, is as it were a chest wherein the doctrine of faith is to be kept safe, which will quickly be lost if this chest be once broken. For God will give over to errors and heresies such as cast away conscience of walking after God’s word. What a blind buzzard then was that Popish inquisitor, who said of the Waldenses, You may know the heretics by their words and manners: Sunt enim in moribus compositi et modesti; superbiam in. vestibus non habent: They are neither immodest in their carriage, nor proud in their apparel. (Dr Ussher de Christ. Eccles. success.) Like unto this was the speech of the bishop of Aliff in a sermon preached at the Council of Trent; that as the faith of the Catholics was better, so the heretics exceeded them in good life. (Hist. of Council of Trent.) But can they live well if heretics? how can the treasure be safe, if the ship wherein it is laid be split and broken? Surely a corrupt opinion will soon corrupt a man’s life, as rheum falling from the head doth putrefy the lungs and other vital parts.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https: 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

1 Timothy 1:19

Shipwreck of Faith.

I. Observe, there are two things which St. Paul tells Timothy, he must hold fast, "faith" and "a good conscience." By faith he means the articles of Christian doctrine, especially belief in the Lord Jesus Christ; and by a good conscience I suppose him to mean purity of life; so that to hold faith and a good conscience, to be steady in maintaining the faith once delivered to the saints from all errors and encroachments, and to adorn the doctrine by a life of piety and Christian love, may be said to be the course marked out for Timothy by his teacher, St. Paul, as the course worthy of a Christian bishop. So far all is clear. Now comes the difficulty—"Which some, having put away concerning faith, have made shipwreck." The word which applies only to the good conscience, "some, having put away a good conscience, have made shipwreck concerning faith."

II. You have a Christian faith to hold and a Christian life to lead; do not look at them one apart from the other; your faith is the support of your life, but also your faith will dwindle and decay if you try to let it stand alone; some have tried the experiment of divorcing these from one another, they have pretended to hold the faith, but they have been careless concerning a pure conscience, and a terrible experiment it has proved: their faith has perished, they have been shipwrecked and ruined. The kind of shipwreck of faith which I should fear is the loss of faith in Christ as a living and active principle, the loss of the distinct feeling of love to Christ, the loss of that feeling of allegiance to Him as our personal living Lord and Master, which is of the very essence of Christian faith. The grand secret of Christian life and health is to hold together those things which God has joined, to hold faith and a good conscience, and to remember that carelessness about the one may probably lead to shipwreck concerning the other.

Harvey Goodwin, Parish Sermons, vol. ill., p. 289.

References: 1 Timothy 1:19.—J. Thain Davidson, The City Youth, p. 53; R. C. Trench, Shipwrecks of Faith, p. 3; A. Davies, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 245. 1 Timothy 2:1-2,—H. W. Beecher, Ibid., vol. iii., p. 156; W. M. Statham, Ibid., p. 217; Ibid., vol. iv., p. 332. 1 Timothy 2:3.—F. W. Farrar, Ibid., vol. xv., p. 145. 1 Timothy 2:3, 1 Timothy 2:4.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1516. 1 Timothy 2:3-5.—E. White, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxiv., p. 145. 1 Timothy 2:4.—J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 9th series, p. 205.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https:

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Timothy 1:19. Holding faith and a good conscience; "Retaining the great principles of the Christian faith in power, and with it the exercise of a good conscience."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https: 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

St. Paul had exhorted Timothy in the foregoing verse to war a good warfare; here he directs him to two weapons which he would have him use in that warfare, namely, faith, and a good conscience; neither will do alone: not faith without a good conscience, nor a good conscience without faith; hold both faith in thy teaching, and a good conscience in thy practice: hold them fast; for faith stands with a good conscience, and falls with a bad one.

Learn hence, That in the most perilous times, when some lose their graces and comforts, their present peace and future hopes, that we may not lose what we have on earth, and what we look for in heaven, one continual care must be, to get and keep, to have and hold, faith and a good conscience.

And mark the encouragement given to exercise this care; some, through the neglect of it, concerning faith have made shipwreck. Our life is a sea-faring condition; a good conscience is the ark in which we are secure, made by God's own direction, (as was that of Noah,) and pitched within and without, as was his: a window it had in the top to let in the light of heaven, but not the least crack or crevice below, to let in a drop of guilt, or endanger its own safety: it shoots off all the showers that fall downwards, and all the floods that rage upwards. Such a security is an innocent mind and a clear conscience; but if we do not hold fast a good conscience, but let it go, we have seen the last of faith; it sinks, it shipwrecks presently. Concerning faith have made shipwreck.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Timothy 1:19. The manner in which Timothy is to discharge his office, is given still more precisely in the words ἔχων πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν. It is difficult to bring ἔχων into direct connection with the preceding figure στρατεία (Matthies: “hold fast the faith which elsewhere, in Ephesians 6:16, is called a shield, a weapon of defence in our warfare;” Otto thinks that Paul conceives πίστις and ἀγ. συνείδησις as “the contending power which the general commands, i.e. as his troops!”). It is simply “holding, maintaining” (de Wette), i.e. not denying. The reason for the collocation peculiar to this epistle of πίστις and ἀγαθὴ συνείδησις, and for the strong emphasis laid on the latter idea (comp. 1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Timothy 4:2, etc.), is, that the apostle regards the denial of the ἀγ. συνείδ. as the source of the heresy. This is proved by the words that follow, in which Paul returns to the mention of the heretics: ἥν (viz. ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν) τινες (comp. 1 Timothy 1:6).

ἀπωσάμενοι] This expression, not strange (de Wette) but suitable, denotes the “wantonness” (de Wette) with which the heretics sacrificed the good conscience to their selfish purposes.(79)

περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν] ναυαγεῖν occurs only here in a figurative sense. περί gives the matter in which they had made shipwreck, i.e. suffered loss. περί with the accusative, equivalent to quod attinet ad, is found in the N. T. only in the Pastoral Epistles; comp. 1 Timothy 6:4; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 2:18; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:7; see Winer, p. 379 [E. T. p. 506].

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https: 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Timothy 1:19. ἔχων, having) Whilst the warfare has to be maintained.— πίστιν, faith) Faith is like a very precious liquor; a good conscience is like clean or pure glass.— ἣν, which) good conscience.— ἀπωσάμενοι, having thrust away) It withdraws unwillingly; it always says, Do not injure me. He who retains it, does not easily make shipwreck of his faith.— ἐναυάγησαν, have made shipwreck) Therefore they had entered on the voyage of faith. Hesychius explains ἐναυάγησαν as ἐκινδύνευσαν.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https: 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

By faith here is meant, the doctrine of faith, and the holding of it signifies a steadiness of the mind’s assent unto it, without wavering or fluctuation, much less deserting or denying it. By

a good conscience is here to be understood what the Scripture elsewhere calls a conscience void of of offence toward God, and toward men, Acts 24:16, opposed to the evil conscience, mentioned Hebrews 10:22; so as a good conscience here signifies a pure conscience, which necessarily implieth a holy life; for our actions are presently copied out into our consciences, and make either blots or good copies there.

Which some having put away; which some taking no care in, viz. to live holily, so keeping a good conscience;

concerning faith have made shipwreck; have made shipwreck concerning faith, suffered loss as to it, falling from the truths of the gospel. Error seldom goes along with a holy life. The truths of the gospel have such an influence upon men’s conversation, that ordinarily men’s holiness is proportioned to their soundness in the faith, and usually the love of some lust is what betrayeth men into erroneous judgments and opinions.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https: 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Holding faith; holding fast the faith of the gospel, which has for its natural companion a good conscience.

Which; which good conscience.

Having put away; literally, having thrust away. They have willfully cast away a good conscience, and, as a natural consequence, concerning faith have made shipwreck; for he who allows his conscience to be defiled by sinful practices is prepared to reject the faith of the gospel, which opposes itself to every form of ungodliness.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Family Bible New Testament". https: American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

19. ἔχων πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν. Cp. 1 Timothy 1:5, where faith and a ‘good conscience’ are named as sources of that love which is the τέλος τῆς παραγγελίας.

ἤν τινες ἀπωσάμενοι. Which [sc. the good conscience] some having thrust from them. The verb is expressive of a wilful and violent act. For τινες see on 1 Timothy 1:3 above.

περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν. Have made shipwreck in the matter of the faith. ναυαγεῖν only occurs in the N.T. here and in 2 Corinthians 11:25; and so far may be called a ‘Pauline’ word, but it is not uncommon in late Greek.

ἡ πίστις here (though the presence of the article would not by itself determine this) is to be taken objectively, as equivalent to ‘the Christian faith,’ not subjectively, of the faith of individuals. The words πιστός, πίστις have an interesting history, which cannot be here discussed at length[518]; but a few references must be given. πίστις, which in Philo is used quite vaguely of belief and trust in God, became to the early Christians gradually equivalent to faith in Christ as the supreme revelation of God. This faith grew by degrees in clearness and distinctness, until it embraced the Incarnation, the Atonement, and all the great dogmas of the Gospel; from this the transition was easy to the word being used objectively to signify the content, as it were, of a Christian’s belief, to signify, in short, the Christian Creed, the Gospel. Among the more conspicuous instances of this use of the word in the N.T. outside the Pastorals may be noted Acts 6:7; Acts 13:8; Acts 16:5; Galatians 1:23; Galatians 3:23; Philippians 1:27. In the Pastorals, which give us a more developed form of Christianity, we find as is natural a proportionately larger number of examples of this usage; and out of 33 occurrences of πίστις in these Epistles the objective sense seems to be required in 1 Timothy 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:6; 1 Timothy 5:8; 1 Timothy 6:10; 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 3:8; 2 Timothy 4:7; Titus 1:13. See notes in loc. in each case.

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"Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". https: 1896.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

19. Holding—Emphatic, in no case surrendering.

Faith, and a good conscience—Which at start (1 Timothy 1:5) Paul had declared to be the end of the charge, the test of the true doctrine; and, therefore, the detection of the errorists against whom his warfare was to be waged.

Some—The some of 1 Timothy 1:3.

Put away—After having once possessed.

Shipwreck—They were in the ship and wrecked it, by putting away faith and taking up falsehood.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https: 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Timothy 1:19. Faith. The personal subjective trust in God, as coupled with the ‘good conscience.’

Having put away. The Greek implies violence, ‘thrusting from them.’

Concerning faith have made shipwreck. The article in the Greek before ‘faith’ implies that (as in 1 Timothy 3:9, 1 Timothy 4:6, 1 Timothy 5:8, 1 Timothy 6:21; 2 Timothy 3:8; Jude 1:3) it is taken in the objective sense as ‘the faith which men believe.’ Casting from them the protection of a good conscience, without which real trust or belief was impossible, they drifted on the sea of error, and made shipwreck concerning the faith. The metaphor was common enough, yet we may think of St. Paul’s fourfold experience of shipwreck (2 Corinthians 11:25; Acts 27) as giving it a new vividness and power.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https: 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Timothy 1:19. ἔχων: It is best perhaps to suppose that the metaphor of warfare is not continued beyond στρατείαν; else we might render, holding faith as a shield, cf. Ephesians 6:16. But ἐν αὐταῖς implies that the prophecies included every piece of defensive armour. So ἔχων here simply means possessing, as in 1 Timothy 3:9, 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 3:5, Romans 2:20, 1 Corinthians 15:34, 1 Peter 3:16. συνείδησιν: see note on 1 Timothy 1:5.

τινες: see note on 1 Timothy 1:3.

ἀπωσάμενοι: The indictment against the moral standard of the false teachers is here expressed more severely than above in 1 Timothy 1:6. There they are said to have “missed” or “neglected” faith, etc.; but here that they thrust it from them (R.V., cf. Acts 13:46) when it importuned for admittance into their hearts. “Recedit invita. Semper dicit, Noli me laedere” (Bengel).

περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν: Another change of metaphor: they suffered moral shipwreck, so far as the faith is concerned. “When the life is corrupt, it engenders a doctrine congenial to it” (Chrys.). We are not justified in interpreting suffered shipwreck as though it meant that they were lost beyond hope of recovery. St. Paul himself had suffered shipwreck at least four times (2 Corinthians 11:25) when he wrote this epistle. He had on each occasion lost everything except himself. For the construction, cf. περὶ τὴν πίστιν [ ἀλήθειαν] ἠστόχησαν, 1 Timothy 6:21, 2 Timothy 2:18; ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν, 2 Timothy 3:8. περί with acc. is used in a somewhat similar sense in Mark 4:19, Luke 10:40-41, Acts 19:25, Philippians 2:23 (the only instance in Paul outside the Pastorals) 1 Timothy 6:4, Titus 2:7.

Hymenaeus and Alexander were the ringleaders of those who had suffered shipwreck. There is no sufficient reason to suppose that this Hymenaeus is different from the heretic of the same name in 2 Timothy 2:17, where his error is more precisely defined. The identification of Alexander with Alexander the smith of 2 Timothy 4:14 is more precarious.

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

evil life is not unfrequently the leading principle of defection from the faith. The heart, not the mind, is generally the first corrupted.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https: 1859.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

“Keeping faith and a good conscience”: Fighting the good fight includes continuing to trust in God and His revelation. “The evangelist must be uncompromising on the matter of sound doctrine” (Kent p. 96). “Keeping”: Steadfast adherence, holding fast. In fighting error the preacher must make sure that he does not lose his own faith. Faith is our shield (Ephesians 6:16) and it guards us (1 Peter 1:5).

“Good conscience”: Deviations from the true faith are preceded by violations of the conscience (1 Timothy 4:2; Titus 1:15). “The teacher who knows the truth but teaches falsehood, or allows it to be taught under his jurisdiction, will not have a good conscience” (Reese p. 39). In addition, in fighting error Timothy is not allowed to violate his conscience and fight error in a way that would be sinful and underhanded. When we fight the enemy without, we must always take good care of our inner man.

“Which some have rejected”: Rejecting the faith and violating one’s conscience is a choice. The term “rejected” means “to thrust it away” and implies a willful resistance to the faith and the voice of conscience. “Failing to heed the conscience, when it was prompting guilty feelings because one has failed to ‘keep the faith’ is what these ‘some’ have done” (Reese p. 40).

“And suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith”: The expression “their faith” may mean either their own personal faith, or “the faith”, the body of faith or belief. There is a “the” in the Greek before the word “faith”. In seeking to pervert the gospel message the result was that their own personal faith was destroyed in the process. “The Christian teacher who does not practice what he preaches will find his faith failing him” (Hiebert p. 46).

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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https: 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

put away = thrust away. Greek. apdtheemai. See Acts 7:27.

concerning. App-104.

faith = the faith (1 Timothy 1:2).

have. Omit,

made shipwreck. Greek. nauageo. Only here and 2 Corinthians 11:25.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https: 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Holding - Keeping hold of "faith;" and "good conscience" (1 Timothy 1:5); not 'putting this away' as "some." The faith is the precious liquor; good conscience, the clean glass that contains it (Bengel). The loss of good conscience entails shipwreck of the faith. Consciousness of sin (not repented of and forgiven) kills the germ of faith (Wiesinger).

Which , [ hen (Greek #1520)] - singular; namely, "good conscience;" not "faith" also.

Put away - a willful act [ apoosamenoi (Greek #683), 'thrust away.'] They thrust it from them as a troublesome monitor (Acts 13:46, Greek). It reluctantly withdraws, extruded by force, when its owner is tired of its importunity, and is resolved to retain his sin at the cost of losing it. One cannot be at once on friendly terms with it and with sin.

Made ship-wreck. The faith is the vessel in which they had professedly embarked, of which "good conscience" is the anchor. The ancient church often compared the course of faith to navigation. The Greek does not imply that they having once had faith, made shipwreck of it, but that they who put away good conscience 'made shipwreck with respect to THE [ teen (Greek #3588)] faith.'

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https: 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(19) Holding faith, and a good conscience.—Again, as in 1 Timothy 1:5, the Apostle joins “faith” and “the conscience undefiled.” In the mind of St. Paul, “want of faith” was no mere refusal to accept a definite religions dogma, but was ever closely connected with impurity and the love of sin. If a man dares to do wilful violence to his better nature he must not presume to dream of faith saving him. The thought expressed by another inspired teacher seems to run constantly in the mind of St. Paul: “The devils also believe and tremble.”

Which some.—“Some.” A quiet reference here is made to those false teachers who seem to have been doing such evil work at Ephesus among the Christian believers, and against whom Timothy is so urgently warned to be on his guard in the 6th and following verses of the chapter.

Having put away.—The simile in St. Paul’s mind is a nautical one. The “good conscience” represents the ballast, or cargo, of the ship. When this is put away—tossed overboard—the vessel becomes unmanageable and is tossed about, the plaything of the waves, and in the end is wrecked.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https: 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
5; 3:9; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 3:14; 1 Peter 3:15,16; Revelation 3:3,8,10
Philippians 3:18,19; 2 Timothy 3:1-6; 2 Peter 2:1-3,12-22; Jude 1:10-13
4:1,2; 1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 1:6-8; 5:4; 2 Timothy 4:4; Hebrews 6:4-6; 1 John 2:19
6:9; Matthew 6:27

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:

The Bible Study New Testament

And clear conscience. "To fight the good fight, you must keep your faith, but also a clear conscience. You can do this by refusing to use the unethical methods of the false teachers." Have not listened. "Faith is a ship, and conscience is the pilot. Some men have not listened to their pilot, and have wrecked their ship of faith on the rocks of sin." See Paul's strong impeachment of false teachers in Galatians 1:6-9.

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "The Bible Study New Testament". https: College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible

1 Timothy 1:19

"Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck." 1 Timothy 1:19

We find that, in the Apostle"s time, there were people who held faith, or rather what they called faith, and put away "good conscience." He mentions by name, "Hymeneus and Alexander, whom he had delivered unto Satan," that Isaiah , excommunicated them out of the Church, as heretics and blasphemers. But if to have put good conscience away, stamps a man as unfit for the visible Church of God, it behooves us to search whether we have this weapon at our side, and in our hand.

What does the Apostle, then, mean by "a good conscience?" I believe he means a conscience alive in God"s fear, a spiritual conscience, a tender conscience, what he calls, in another part, "a pure conscience;" "holding faith in a pure conscience," that Isaiah , purified from ignorance, from guilt, from the power of sin, "a conscience void of offence toward God and men." Wherever, then, there is living faith in the soul, there will be united with it "a good conscience." The Lord never sends forth a soldier to fight his battles with the weapon of faith only; he puts faith in one hand and "a good conscience" in the other. And he that goes forth with what he thinks to be faith, and casts aside "a good conscience," will manifest himself to be one of those characters, who, "concerning faith make shipwreck."

But why is it called "a good conscience?" Because it comes down from God, who is the Author of all good, the Giver of "every good gift, and every perfect gift." There is none good but Hebrews , and there is nothing good but what he himself implants and communicates. This weapon of a good conscience, that the Lord arms his soldiers with, works with faith, as well as proves the sincerity of faith, and tests its genuineness and reality. Faith, without a good conscience, is dead. It bears upon it the mark of nature, and however high it may rise in confidence, or however it may seem to abound in good works, it is not the faith of God"s elect, of which the end is the salvation of the soul.

But it may be asked, How does a good conscience work with faith? What is the connection between these two weapons, and how do they mutually support and strengthen each other? In this way. What faith believes, good conscience feels; what faith receives, good conscience holds; what faith embraces, good conscience rivets fast; when faith is weak, good conscience is feeble; and when faith is strong, good conscience is active. They grow and they wane together, and like two stems from one root together do they flourish and fade.

He then alone wars the good warfare, who goes forth with faith in the one hand, and "good conscience" in the other; faith strengthening conscience, and conscience strengthening faith; each doing their separate office, but still tending to one end; each accomplishing the work which the Lord has appointed, and yet each fighting the Lord"s battles, and bringing the soldier safe and victorious over his enemy.

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Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". Commentary by J.C.Philpot on select texts of the Bible. https:

1 Timothy 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Might we say that if we do not have faith and a good conscience that we are leaving ourselves open for shipwreck?

When I was in the Navy the crew of our ship was confronted with shipwreck. We went through the eye of typhoon Nancy. We were battered by 65-foot seas and winds well more than one hundred miles an hour. There was tremendous damage to the ship. Landing craft were torn from their mounts - 3/4 inch steel cables were snapped like string. A huge winch secured by one-inch bolts was ripped from its mounting and was sliding around the deck causing its own damage. Antennas that were sealed at the factory and mounted on the top of the masts were full of salt water when we finally went in for repairs.

Most of us feared that the ship would capsize and sink. I was hanging onto a radar repeater with my legs spread as wide as I could and I still lost my footing on a couple of the worst rolls. There were several times in the night that if we had tipped one more degree, we would have capsized. The thought of shipwreck was very definite and was not very pleasant. Many of us really doubted that we were going to make it through the night.

A few months after the typhoon we sailed into a harbor in Formosa and as we entered the harbor we saw two Merchant ships that had been forced onto the coast by the storm. Neither was in any shape to ever sail again.

Usually when a ship is wrecked they are never used again.

Those of us in the Northwest in 1999 know well of shipwrecks and their usefulness. The New Karrisa was one big pain in the neck and totally worthless the moment she ran aground. This was a large cargo ship that arrived off the coast of Oregon in a storm. The crew anchored off the coast, but something happened and she ran aground. They invested millions in getting the hulk removed from the coast.

This thought of worthlessness is often true of believers that become sidetracked, though not necessarily! There is always a possibility of restoration.

Faith and a good conscience. The faith I think that we can understand, but do we really understand the importance of a "good conscience?"

What are some of the problems of an unclear conscience?

a. Guilt feelings.

b. Inferiority complex or at least feelings of.

c. Unworthy feeling.

d. Depression which often leads to unclear thinking.

If the above are in place or even a few of them, just how comfortable is a person when the Word is discussed or preached? Normally people are uncomfortable plus. The usual result of these comes in lack of attendance to the things of the Lord, be they devotional life, walk, services or whatever.

Holding faith! It is to be an integrated part of our life. Faith may be "the faith" or "belief" since the context is false teaching etc. however the primary thought to me would be faith in living and more specifically faith for salvation.

HOLDING FAITH AND A GOOD CONSCIENCE is the key to this passage. Timothy was one that was accomplishing this in a proper manner but on the other hand Hymenaeus and Alexander were not.

Here we are nearly into the year 2000 and we are still talking about these two men that Paul named as having been shipwrecked in the faith. What a claim to fame!

It seems to me that these putting aside faith, may well be the false teachers Paul has been talking about all the way through the letter. They have put away faith as a means of salvation and taken the law as a means to salvation. This is the only reason that I can think of that putting away faith would be classified in verse twenty as "blaspheme."


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Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on 1 Timothy 1:19". "Stanley Derickson - Notes on Selected Books". https:

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