false teachers (3-7)
The purpose of
the law (8-11)
Thanksgiving and Testimony (1:12-17)
God our Savior,
doctrine, disputes, love from a pure heart, good conscience, sincere faith,
law, sound doctrine, gospel, commit, ministry, mercy, grace…exceedingly
abundant, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, a pattern to those
who are going to believe, charge, wage the good warfare.
testimony is about how God has chosen him by grace and committed the ministry
of the gospel to his trust (11). Because of the ministry that has been
entrusted to him, Paul has the responsibility to defend the sound doctrine.
Therefore, he charges Timothy, his assistant in the ministry, to carry out this
very task in Ephesus.
1. Paul is an
apostle, sent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. His apostleship is by the
commandment (literally “by order”) of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. His
ministry does not originate from himself or any other man. He understands that
he has received this divine order from God Himself, and he must faithfully
carry out this most noble and solemn commission.
2. He will come
again to transform our lowly bodies into glorious bodies and bring us to the
eternal heavenly home (Jn 14:3; Php
3:4; 1Thess 1:10; 4:16-17; Heb 9:27-28; 1Jn 3:2). This is our ultimate hope,
and this hope rests solely on Him because He is our only Savior.
3a. True son in
the faith (1Tim 1:2; cf. 1Cor 4:17; Php 2:22). Paul
also addresses Titus in the same way. Tit 1:4).
3b. This term may imply that Timothy was a convert of Paul’s
ministry. It also demonstrates the intimate relationship between Paul and the
young preacher that he helped to groom. Just as many things in the world can
bring people together (eg, common interests, common
race etc), a common faith and commission can be the basis of a strong
relationship as deep as that between father and son.
4a. See verses 3
4b. Paul is
concerned that the false teachers will mislead the believers and shake their
faith. Engagement in fables, endless genealogies, and idle talk cause disputes
rather than godly edification.
4c. When we study the Word of God, we must refrain from being
carried away by topics or issues that are irrelevant to our faith. We should
not promote debates on subject matters that are speculative and have no bearing
on the truth. Instead, we ought to encourage and exhort one another with love
in order to edify each other’s faith.
5a. In a narrow sense, this commandment may refer to the charge
mentioned in verse 3. But if we understand the word in a broader sense to refer
to the sum of all of God’s commandments, then the verse means that the purpose
of all Christian teachings is love.
5b. Paul wanted
people who teach others to do so out of love from a pure heart, from a good
conscience and from sincere faith. They should not have selfish motives but
teach out of genuine love that is based on the truth. Only such teachings can
bring true edification to the listeners.
6. The conscience
is the God-given ability to discern right and wrong (cf. Rom 2:15). It urges us
to do good and condemns us when we do wrong (cf. Jn 8:9; Acts 2:37). However, if we insist on doing wrong,
our conscience can become seared and defiled (cf. 1Tim 4:2; Tit 1:15). But a
good conscience is one that is without offense toward God and is quickened by
the word of God (Acts 24:16; cf. Heb 4:2-13; 1Jn 3:21-22).
7. They are
ignorant of what they say or affirm. Their motive for teaching is selfish (7).
They simply desire to be teachers but do not have love from a pure heart, a
good conscience, and sincere faith.
8a. The purpose of the law is to condemn sinners and their evil
deeds (9-10; Rom 3:20; 7:7).
8b. In an effort to place themselves in positions of authority,
these teachers impose unnecessary restrictions on believers (cf. 4:1-3).
Apparently, they are teaching believers that they need to obtain righteousness
through the law.
9. He thanks
Christ Jesus for His salvation and for putting him into the ministry even though
he was the chief of sinners.
10. A blasphemer,
a persecutor of Christians, an insolent man, the chief of sinners.
11. As he writes
about the ministry Christ has committed to him (11), he is reminded of the
immense grace he has received from the Lord, and his heart of gratitude is
stirred. He wants to highlight the exceedingly abundant grace of Christ
showered upon him, as he was no mere unbeliever, but a persecutor of Christ.
This is a classic illustration of grace, where a totally unworthy person, one reckoned
to be the chief of sinners, received not only salvation, but also the
entrusting of the ministry.
12. Paul, the
chief of sinner, received mercy so that in him first Jesus Christ might show
all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for
everlasting life (16).
13. Christ is
willing to accept and save sinners today, just as He had accepted Paul in the
past. No one is too sinful for the Lord’s acceptance. Paul’s example can be
used as an encouragement to those who remain doubtful that Christ will accept
them. Likewise, this is also a reminder to us not to judge anyone based on
their conduct and conclude that they would never receive the mercy and
salvation of God.
14. As Paul
recounts his sinful past and the Lord’s mercy, he is filled with thanksgiving
and praise. He is thus moved to offer a prayer to exalt God in the highest.
15. The false
teachers teach justification by keeping the law. But the gospel teaches that
sinners cannot possibly attain salvation by good works. While the law condemns
sinners, Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. The only way to
receive eternal life is to come to God for mercy and believe on the Lord Jesus
16. Paul never
forgets that he is a sinner saved by grace. In fact, he acknowledges that he is
the chief of sinners. Because he realizes how undeserving he is, he is always
deeply moved by the love and mercy of God. He also understands the necessity of
bringing the gospel of salvation to the world, for that is the very purpose that
he has obtained mercy. Therefore, he treasures the ministry that has been
committed to him and is continually motivated to carry out his commission.
In the same way, we would be constantly
inspired by God’s love if we realize how wretched we would be without Christ’s
salvation and how undeserving we are to obtain God’s mercy. If we truly value
God’s wonderful plan of salvation and understand that God has chosen us and
entrusted to us the ministry of the gospel, we will surely dedicate our lives
to the ministry.
17. Paul expects
Timothy to wage the good warfare. Timothy must fight the spiritual battle for
the truth, guarding the sound doctrine and combating all false doctrines.
18. Timothy was
equipped with faith and a good conscience whereas the false teachers such as Hymanaeus and Alexander had strayed away from a good
conscience. Hence, the false teachers propagated false teachings out of an
ulterior motive, for personal gain and not necessarily because they sincerely
understood or believed what they taught (1Tim 1:5-7 ;
2 Tim 2:16-18).
All of our
preaching and service must come from faith and a good conscience rather than
selfish ambition. As we search the truth sincerely and out of faith, seeking
the will of God rather than the praise of men, we will surely know the truth
and be deeply convicted. Only if we teach the truth from God with such a
genuine understanding and conviction can we be true ministers of God’s word.
19. Just as a
shipwreck destroys a ship and renders it useless, zeal without faith and a good
conscience is destructive to our faith and renders us worthless before God.