1 Timothy 1
The Work Assigned to Timothy.
Why Timothy was Left at Ephesus.
The True Object of the Commandment.
Whom the Law Affects.
Paul's Call to the Apostleship.
Hymenæus and Alexander.
1, 2. Paul, an apostle. As one object of this letter was to
strengthen Timothy's authority, Paul writes as an apostle.
By the commandment. See
As the Judaizing opposers tried to show that Paul was inferior to Peter
and the other apostles, he often recalls the fact that his appointment
came not from them, and that he was independent of them. The Lord sent
him to the Gentiles, as they were sent to the Jews
2. Timothy, my own son in the faith. One of his converts.
3, 4. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus. Paul, it is
presumed, seeing on the occasion of his last visit the need of a trusty
evangelist at Ephesus to counteract the errors which were arising, had
left Timothy behind. He was not left there as a bishop, as has been
sometimes claimed, for we find that a part of his business was to
appoint bishops; but as the representative of the apostle, an
evangelist. The office of Titus in Crete was similar.
That they teach no other doctrine. Than the gospel which they
had been taught. Some of the errors which he was to correct are stated
next verse 4.
4. Neither give heed to fables. In
the fables are called "Jewish." It is likely such fables as those of
the Talmud are meant, legends which have been added to the history of
the Old Testament, additions to the Scriptures. Though the Talmud was
committed to writing a little later, it aimed to collect the legends
and traditions which had been long in existence.
Endless genealogies. Philo, a learned Alexandrian Jew who wrote
a little before Paul's time, built up a whole system on genealogies.
The names in the genealogies with him represented the various
conditions of the soul. Some have supposed that Paul refers to some
foolish fancies of the Gnostics, but those were of later date.
Which minister questions. Raise discussions.
5-7. The end of the commandment. The purpose of the charge
(Revision) entrusted to you (see
is love. You must show these teachers that instead of teaching foolish
fables they must
Out of a pure heart. The three things essential to a pure and
holy love are: (1) A pure heart; (2) a good conscience; and (3) sincere
6. From which some having swerved. From love based on these
Unto vain jangling. Are engaging in idle disputes.
7. Desiring to be teachers. To be teachers of law; there is no
article. These aspire to a work for which they are totally unfitted.
Who has not met the class of men described?
8-11. The law is good, if a man use it lawfully. Its object was
not, however, to teach fables, and genealogies, and foolish fancies.
The men he opposes asserted that the law was good, but made a wrong use
9. The law is not made for a righteous man. Law (there is no
article) is not given to justify righteous men, but to restrain,
condemn, and punish the wicked. A long catalogue of sins, common in the
Gentile world, are given, which were all condemned by the law.
10. Men-stealers. Those who stole men and sold them into slavery.
Contrary to sound doctrine. Everything is forbidden which is
opposed to the gospel.
11. According to the glorious gospel. The sound doctrine taught
in the gospel, which was his trust.
12-14. Who hath enabled me. Hath given me power to preach this
glorious gospel, by counting me faithful, and appointing me to his
13. Who was before a blasphemer. Paul never could forget his old
life, before he was converted.
But I obtained mercy. The reason is that he was honest, sincere
in his opposition, being an unbeliever, and acting ignorantly. Had he
been a willful sinner, he would never have been chosen.
14. And the grace of our Lord abounded. In the mercy shown to
him, for his eyes were opened, he became a believer and was filled with
love of Christ.
15, 16. This is a faithful saying. That Christ came to save
sinners. He, a sinner saved, was a proof that the saying was faithful.
Of whom I am chief. Because he had sinned so grievously in
persecuting Christ. He was a great sinner saved.
16. Howbeit. One cause of his obtaining mercy was that in him
Christ might show how long-suffering he is. He forgave, saved and
blessed the bitter enemy.
A pattern. An example for all believers to follow.
17. Now unto the King. The remembrance of the great mercy to him
causes him to break forth in praise. Compare
and 1 Tim. 6:16.
Eternal. King of the ages.
18-20. This charge I commit unto thee. The charge referred to in
verses 3 and 5.
According to the prophecies. Timothy was selected for the
ministry by divine direction. One so chosen was chosen according to
prophecy, the ordinary meaning being simply a declaration of the divine
will. See notes on
1 Cor. 12:28.
That thou by them mightest war, etc. For this purpose the
prophetic will chose him.
19. Holding faith. Essential to every saint, and especially to a
minister. Some, however, had swerved from the faith, and
made shipwreck. Faith is an "anchor of the soul, both sure and
20. Of whom is Hymenæus. He is mentioned as a heretical
2 Tim. 2:17.
Of Alexander nothing is known.
Delivered unto Satan. Excommunicated. Compare
1 Cor. 5:5.