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1 Timothy 1

1 Timothy 1:1-20 . ADDRESS: PAUL'S DESIGN IN HAVING LEFT TIMOTHY AT EPHESUS, NAMELY, TO CHECK FALSE TEACHERS; TRUE USE OF THE LAW; HARMONIZING WITH THE GOSPEL; GOD'S GRACE IN CALLING PAUL, ONCE A BLASPHEMER, TO EXPERIENCE AND TO PREACH IT; CHARGES TO TIMOTHY.

11. According to the glorious gospel--The Christian's freedom from the law as a sanctifier, as well as a justifier, implied in the previous, 1 Timothy 1:9 1 Timothy 1:10 , is what this 1 Timothy 1:11 is connected with. This exemption of the righteous from the law, and assignment of it to the lawless as its true object, is "according to the Gospel of the glory (so the Greek, compare Note, glory ( Ephesians 1:17 , 3:16 ) in accounting "righteous" the believer, through the righteousness of Christ, without "the law" ( 1 Timothy 1:9 ); and in imparting that righteousness whereby he loathes all those sins against which ( 1 Timothy 1:9 1 Timothy 1:10 ) the law is directed. The term, "blessed," indicates at once immortality and supreme happiness. The supremely blessed One is He from whom all blessedness flows. This term, as applied to GOD, occurs only here and in 1 Timothy 6:15 : appropriate in speaking here of the Gospel blessedness, in contrast to the curse on those under the law ( 1 Timothy 1:9 , Galatians 3:10 ).
committed to my trust--Translate as in the Greek order, which brings into prominent emphasis Paul, "committed in trust to me"; in contrast to the kind of law-teaching which they (who had no Gospel commission), the false teachers, assumed to themselves ( 1 Timothy 1:8 , Titus 1:3 ).

12. The honor done him in having the Gospel ministry committed to him suggests the digression to what he once was, no better ( 1 Timothy 1:13 ) than those lawless ones described above ( 1 Timothy 1:9 1 Timothy 1:10 ), when the grace of our Lord ( 1 Timothy 1:14 ) visited him.
And--omitted in most (not all) of the oldest manuscripts.
I thank--Greek, "I have (that is, feel) gratitude."
enabled me--the same Greek verb as in Acts 9:22 , "Saul increased the more in strength." An undesigned coincidence between Paul and Luke, his companion. Enabled me, namely, for the ministry. "It is not in my own strength that I bring this doctrine to men, but as strengthened and nerved by Him who saved me" [THEODORET]. Man is by nature "without strength" ( Romans 5:6 ). True conversion and calling confer power [BENGEL].
for that--the main ground of his "thanking Christ."
he counted me faithful--He foreordered and foresaw that I would be faithful to the trust committed to me. Paul's thanking God for this shows that the merit of his faithfulness was due solely to God's grace, not to his own natural strength ( 1 Corinthians 7:25 ). Faithfulness is the quality required in a steward ( 1 Corinthians 4:2 ).
putting me into--rather as in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 , "appointing me (in His sovereign purposes of grace) unto the ministry" ( Acts 20:24 ).

13. Who was before--Greek, "Formerly being a blasphemer." "Notwithstanding that I was before a blasphemer," &c. ( Acts 26:9 Acts 26:11 ).
persecutor--( Galatians 1:13 ).
injurious--Greek, "insulter"; one who acts injuriously from arrogant contempt of others. Translate, Romans 1:30 , "despiteful." One who added insult to injury. BENGEL translates, "a despiser." I prefer the idea, contumelious to others [WAHL]. Still I agree with BENGEL that "blasphemer" is against God, "persecutor," against holy men, and "insolently injurious" includes, with the idea of injuring others, that of insolent "uppishness" [DONALDSON] in relation to one's self. This threefold relation to God, to one's neighbor, and to one's self, occurs often in this Epistle ( 1 Timothy 1:5 1 Timothy 1:9 1 Timothy 1:14 , Titus 2:12 ).
I obtained mercy--God's mercy, and Paul's want of it, stand in sharp contrast [ELLICOTT]; Greek, "I was made the object of mercy." The sense of mercy was perpetual in the mind of the apostle (compare Note, on those out of the way ( Hebrews 5:2 Hebrews 5:3 ).
because I did it ignorantly--Ignorance does not in itself deserve pardon; but it is a less culpable cause of unbelief than pride and wilful hardening of one's self against the truth ( John 9:41 , Acts 26:9 ). Hence it is Christ's plea of intercession for His murderers ( Luke 23:34 ); and it is made by the apostles a mitigating circumstance in the Jews' sin, and one giving a hope of a door of repentance ( Acts 3:17 , Romans 10:2 ). The "because," &c. does not imply that ignorance was a sufficient reason for mercy being bestowed; but shows how it was possible that such a sinner could obtain mercy. The positive ground of mercy being shown to him, lies solely in the compassion of God ( Titus 3:5 ). The ground of the ignorance lies in the unbelief, which implies that this ignorance is not unaccompanied with guilt. But there is a great difference between his honest zeal for the law, and a wilful striving against the Spirit of God ( Matthew 12:24-32 Luke 11:52 ) [WIESINGER].

14. And--Greek, "But." Not only so (was mercy shown me), but
the grace--by which "I obtained mercy" ( 1 Timothy 1:13 ).
was exceeding abundant--Greek, "superabounded." Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" ( Romans 5:20 ).
with faith--accompanied with faith, the opposite of "unbelief" ( 1 Timothy 1:13 ).
love--in contrast to "a blasphemer, persecutor, and injurious."
which is in Christ--as its element and home [ALFORD]: here as its source whence it flows to us.

15. faithful--worthy of credit, because "God" who says it "is faithful" to His word ( 1 Corinthians 1:9 , 1 Thessalonians 5:24 , 2 Thessalonians 3:3 , Revelation 21:5 , 22:6 ). This seems to have become an axiomatic saying among Christians the phrase, "faithful saying," is peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles ( 1 Timothy 2:11 , 4:9 , Titus 3:8 ). Translate as Greek, "Faithful is the saying."
all--all possible; full; to be received by all, and with all the faculties of the soul, mind, and heart. Paul, unlike the false teachers ( 1 Timothy 1:7 ), understands what he is saying, and whereof he affirms; and by his simplicity of style and subject, setting forth the grand fundamental truth of salvation through Christ, confutes the false teachers' abstruse and unpractical speculations ( 1 Corinthians 1:18-28 , Titus 2:1 ).
acceptation--reception (as of a boon) into the heart, as well as the understanding, with all gladness; this is faith acting on the Gospel offer, and welcoming and appropriating it ( Acts 2:41 ).
Christ--as promised.
Jesus--as manifested [BENGEL].
came into the world--which was full of sin ( John 1:29 , Romans 5:12 , 1 John 2:2 ). This implies His pre-existence. John 1:9 , Greek, "the true Light that, coming into the world, lighteth every man."
to save sinners--even notable sinners like Saul of Tarsus. His instance was without a rival since the ascension, in point of the greatness of the sin and the greatness of the mercy: that the consenter to Stephen, the proto-martyr's death, should be the successor of the same!
I am--not merely, "I was chief" ( 1 Corinthians 15:9 , Ephesians 3:8 ; compare Luke 18:13 ). To each believer his own sins must always appear, as long as he lives, greater than those of others, which he never can know as he can know his own.
chief--the same Greek as in 1 Timothy 1:16 , "first," which alludes to this fifteenth verse, Translate in both verses, "foremost." Well might he infer where there was mercy for him, there is mercy for all who will come to Christ ( Matthew 18:11 , Luke 19:10 ).

16. Howbeit--Greek, "But"; contrasting his own conscious sinfulness with God's gracious visitation of him in mercy.
for this cause--for this very purpose.
that in me--in my case.
first--"foremost." As I was "foremost" (Greek for chief, 1 Timothy 1:15 ) in sin, so God has made me the "foremost" sample of mercy.
show--to His own glory (the middle Greek, voice), Ephesians 2:7 .
all long-suffering--Greek, "the whole (of His) long-suffering," namely, in bearing so long with me while I was a persecutor.
a pattern--a sample ( 1 Corinthians 10:6 1 Corinthians 10:11 ) to assure the greatest sinners of the certainty that they shall not be rejected in coming to Christ, since even Saul found mercy. So David made his own case of pardon, notwithstanding the greatness of his sin, a sample to encourage other sinners to seek pardon ( Psalms 32:5 Psalms 32:6 ). The Greek for "pattern" is sometimes used for a "sketch" or outline--the filling up to take place in each man's own case.
believe on him--Belief rests ON Him as the only foundation on which faith relies.
to life everlasting--the ultimate aim which faith always keeps in view ( Titus 1:2 ).

17. A suitable conclusion to the beautifully simple enunciation of the Gospel, of which his own history is a living sample or pattern. It is from the experimental sense of grace that the doxology flows [BENGEL].
the King, eternal--literally, "King of the (eternal) ages." The Septuagint translates Exodus 15:18 , "The Lord shall reign for ages and beyond them." Psalms 145:13 , Margin, "Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom," literally, "a kingdom of all ages." The "life everlasting" ( 1 Timothy 1:16 ) suggested here "the King eternal," or everlasting. It answers also to "for ever and ever" at the close, literally, "to the ages of the ages" (the countless succession of ages made up of ages).
immortal--The oldest manuscripts read, "incorruptible." The Vulgate, however, and one very old manuscript read as English Version ( Romans 1:23 ).
invisible--( 1 Timothy 6:16 , Exodus 33:20 , John 1:18 , Colossians 1:15 , Hebrews 11:27 ).
the only wise God--The oldest manuscripts omit "wise," which probably crept in from Romans 16:27 , where it is more appropriate to the context than here (compare Jude 1:25 ). "The only Potentate" ( 1 Timothy 6:15 , Psalms 86:10 , John 5:44 ).
for ever, &c.--See note, above. The thought of eternity (terrible as it is to unbelievers) is delightful to those assured of grace ( 1 Timothy 1:16 ) [BENGEL].

18. He resumes the subject begun at 1 Timothy 1:3 . The conclusion (apodosis) to the foregoing, "as I besought thee . . . charge" ( 1 Timothy 1:3 ), is here given, if not formally, at least substantially.
This charge--namely, "that thou in them (so the Greek) mightest war," that is, fulfil thy high calling, not only as a Christian, but as a minister officially, one function of which is, to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine" ( 1 Timothy 1:3 ).
I commit--as a sacred deposit ( 1 Timothy 6:20 , 2 Timothy 2:2 ) to be laid before thy hearers.
according to--in pursuance of; in consonance with.
the prophecies which went before on thee--the intimations given by prophets respecting thee at thy ordination, 1 Timothy 4:14 (as, probably, by Silas, a companion of Paul, and "a prophet," Acts 15:32 ). Such prophetical intimation, as well as the good report given of Timothy by the brethren ( Acts 16:2 ), may have induced Paul to take him as his companion. Compare similar prophecies as to others: Acts 13:1-3 , in connection with laying on of hands; Acts 11:28 , Acts 21:10 Acts 21:11 ; compare 1 Corinthians 12:10 , 14:1 , Ephesians 4:11 . In Acts 20:28 , it is expressly said that "the Holy Ghost had made them (the Ephesian presbyters) overseers." CLEMENT OF ROME [Epistle to the Corinthians], states it was the custom of the apostles "to make trial by the Spirit," that is, by the "power of discerning," in order to determine who were to be overseers and deacons in the several churches planted. So CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA says as to the churches near Ephesus, that the overseers were marked out for ordination by a revelation of the Holy Ghost to St. John.
by them--Greek, "in them"; arrayed as it were in them; armed with them.
warfare--not the mere "fight" ( 1 Timothy 6:12 , 2 Timothy 4:7 ), but the whole campaign; the military service. Translate as Greek, not "a," but "the good warfare."

19. 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].
which--Greek singular, namely, "good conscience," not "faith" also; however, the result of putting away good conscience is, one loses faith also.
put away--a wilful 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."

20. Hymenaeus--There is no difficulty in supposing him to be the Hymenæus of 2 Timothy 2:17 . Though "delivered over to Satan" (the lord of all outside the Church, Acts 26:18 , and the executor of wrath, when judicially allowed by God, on the disobedient, 1 Corinthians 5:5 , 2 Corinthians 12:7 ), he probably was restored to the Church subsequently, and again troubled it. Paul, as an apostle, though distant at Rome pronounced the sentence to be executed at Ephesus, involving, probably, the excommunication of the offenders ( Matthew 18:17 Matthew 18:18 ). The sentence operated not only spiritually, but also physically, sickness, or some such visitation of God, falling on the person excommunicated, in order to bring him to repentance and salvation. Alexander here is probably "the coppersmith" who did Paul "much evil" when the latter visited Ephesus. The "delivering him to Satan" was probably the consequence of his withstanding the apostle ( 2 Timothy 4:14 2 Timothy 4:15 ); as the same sentence on Hymenæus was the consequence of "saying that the resurrection is past already" ( 2 Timothy 2:18 ; his putting away good conscience, naturally producing shipwreck concerning FAITH, 1 Timothy 1:19 . If one's religion better not his morals, his moral deficiencies will corrupt his religion. The rain which falls pure from heaven will not continue pure if it be received in an unclean vessel [ARCHBISHOP WHATELY]). It is possible that he is the Alexander, then a Jew, put forward by the Jews, doubtless against Paul, at the riot in Ephesus ( Acts 19:33 ).
that they may--not "might"; implying that the effect still continues--the sentence is as yet unremoved.
learn--Greek, "be disciplined," namely, by chastisement and suffering.
blaspheme--the name of God and Christ, by doings and teachings unworthy of their Christian profession ( Romans 2:23 Romans 2:24 , 2:7 ). Though the apostles had the power of excommunication, accompanied with bodily inflictions, miraculously sent ( 2 Corinthians 10:8 ), it does not follow that fallible ministers now have any power, save that of excluding from church fellowship notorious bad livers.

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