1 Timothy Chapter One
I. Content of the Chapter
The Knowledge that God’s Workers should Have
I. The energy of service------God’s grace, mercy and peace (v.1-2).
II. The alertness of service (v.3-11):
A. Teach no other doctrine (v.3).
B. Do not give heed to fables and endless genealogies (v.4).
C. Do not stray from love or turn aside to idle talk (v.5-6).
D. Do not teach others as one pleases (v.7).
E. Do not be self-righteous or misuse the law (v.8-10).
F. Do not disobey the principle of God’s gospel (v.11).
III. The example of service (v.12-16):
A. Because Christ put him into ministry and enabled him------God counted him faithful (v.12).
B. Because of Christ’s exceedingly abundant grace------God made him have faith and love (v.13-14).
C. Paul obtained mercy------God made a chief of sinners an example to believers (v.15-16).
IV. The aim of service------giving honor and glory to God (v.17).
V. The mission of service (v.18-20):
A. Waging the good fight for the faith (v.18).
B. Equipping for the warfare------having faith and a good conscience (v.19a).
C. The warning example of those who have rejected conscience (v.19b-20).
II. Verse by Verse commentary
1Tim. 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,”
YLT: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to a command of God our Saviour, and of the Lord Jesus Christ our hope,”
Meaning of Words: “apostle”: he that is sent, ambassador, a special envoy, delegate.
Literal Meaning: “God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” “God our Savior” is from the appellation in the Old Testament (Deut. 32:15; Ps. 24:5, 106:21; Is. 43:5, 45:15, 21; 63:8). It is only used six times in Paul’s epistles, centered on the so-called “pastoral epistles” (1Tim. 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Tit. 1:3; 2:10; 3:4), showing that God is the source of salvation and the terminal purpose of the salvation is to accomplish His will.
“The Lord Jesus Christ” refers to Jesus who became a man, i.e. God’s Christ (the Messiah). “The Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” means that the salvation that the Lord Jesus had accomplished made us partake in God’s salvation which gives us believers “hope of eternal life” (Tit. 1:2). And therefore Jesus Christ Himself becomes our hope (See Col. 1:27).
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of” “The commandment” refers to command. In other epistles, Paul declared himself that he was an apostle by the will of God (See 1Cor. 1:1; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:1) and here it was changed into “the commandment” and the meaning was clearer and more definite. Here he seemed to emphasize that his teachings had the authority from God and were totally different from the heretical teachings from men.
“An apostle of Jesus Christ” is “an ambassador of Jesus Christ” in the
original, the one who presented Christ in the world. To Timothy the recipient,
it seemed unnecessary to Paul declared his apostleship because Timothy was
deeply convinced that Paul was Christ’s apostle. However, from the plural word
“you” (See 6:21) in the greeting at the end of the epistle, Paul intended to
let Timothy read aloud the epistle to the church in
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Not only Christ who carried out the great work of redemption is our Savior (2Tim. 1:10) but also God who has planed the great work of redemption is also our Savior.
2) God is our “Savior” because God loves us and gives His only-begotten Son to us, making Him bear our sins on the cross and deliver us from sins.
3) Christ Jesus is our hope and therefore we are glad to accept His commandments, be sent by Him to various places (the original meaning of “apostle”) to serve Him.
4) This verse expresses the five main items of the gospel: a) “God” who has created all men and shall judge them; b) “the Savior” who has planed and prepared the salvation; c) “Christ Jesus” who came into the world and accomplished the redemption; d) He is the “hope” of all human beings; e) believers preach the gospel by His “commandment”.
5) Christians are those who walk according to the commandment of God and Christ. And therefore we should walk with the aim of accomplishing the mission that has been entrusted to us and pay price for it willingly.
6) Many preachers themselves do not obey the commandment of God, however, they like to emphasize that they have the spiritual authority from God and want others to obey them. Such spiritual authority only leads men into error.
1Tim. 1:2 “To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
YLT: “to Timotheus -- genuine child in faith: Grace, kindness, peace, from God our Father, and Christ Jesus our Lord,”
Meaning of Words: “Timothy”: honoring God, glorifying God; “son”: child, infant.
Literal Meaning: “To Timothy, a true son in the faith” “In the faith” means that in the realm of faith, they, surpassing the natural difference of the flesh, had the union in the spiritual life. The word “true” shows that their relation was not of a form of adoption but of the propagation of the spiritual life. In the original “son” is not the common one and it refers to a child or an infant, showing Paul’s care to him.
From this sentence, Timothy should be the fruit of the gospel that Paul bore (See 1Cor. 4:15).
“Grace, mercy, and peace from God our
Father and Jesus Christ our Lord”
Paul only mentioned grace and peace in his habitual greetings (
“Mercy” is the source of “grace” and “peace” is from “grace”. Here mercy is put between grace and peace, showing that mercy is not only the beginning of grace and peace but also the element of one’s receiving grace and peace continuously.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The relation among believers that is brought in by the like precious faith (2Pet. 1:1) is far closer than the relation according to the flesh and it lasts unto the eternity.
2) Those who “honor God” (the meaning of Timothy in the original) shall be esteemed by God and be given much grace, mercy and peace.
3) We are unworthy of all the spiritual blessings that we enjoy today in Christ and all of them are given to us through mercy.
4) But for God’s mercy, we should not have become servers who receive commission and are faithful to the end, no matter what conditions we have.
5) Paul juxtaposed Christ Jesus with God again and again (See v.1-2) and he called Jesus “Lord” in this verse, showing that Christ Jesus is equal with God (Pill. 2:6).
6) Christians not only have peace with God through
1Tim. 1:3 “As I urged you when I
YLT: “according as I did
exhort thee to remain in
Meaning of Words: “teach other doctrine”: other doctrine, different doctrine, any other thing.
Literal Meaning: “when I went into
“As I urged you--remain in
“That you may charge some that they
teach no other doctrine” The word “charge”
is the military term and it means conveying the commandment. “Some” though Paul
did not clearly show who they were, Timothy and believers in
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Paul did not mention some by name, showing that he was of a kindly disposition and still gave them the chance of repentance. We should also think for others and still give them room before the point of necessity.
2) The main task of God’s workers is to fight for the truth. When there are improper opinions that are against the truth in the church, they must stand up and point out the wrongness and forbid their continual expansion.
3) “Other” means that it does not refer to other religions or heresies but the impure and inaccurate words and messages that do not center on Christ.
4) He whoever preaches the doctrine that is different from the truth of the gospel in the Bible, he indeed preaches the heresies and preaches a different gospel, he shall be cursed (Gal. 1:6-9)
5) Some conceited leaders in the church quote this sentence to accuse others of preaching other doctrine and forbid them from speaking in the church. They indeed garble the Bible and they are not examples to be followed because the so-called “teach other doctrine” refers to the words that are harmful to faith (See v.4).
1Tim. 1:4 “nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”
YLT: “nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies, that cause questions rather than the building up of God that is in faith: --”
Meaning of Words: “dispute”: refutation, question; “edification”: stewardship, administration, dispensation, distribution.
Literal Meaning: “nor give heed to fables” “fables” refer to various stories and hearsays that are unreal or cannot be confirmed, including the groundless teachings with the sentiment of Judaism and various tales with Gnostic ideas.
“And endless genealogies” “Genealogy” formerly refers to the
pedigree of a clan which dates back to names of ancestors in every generation.
And therefore some Bible exegetes held that it referred to discoveries and
explanations to the genealogies of the Jewish ancestors through which men could
establish their status. However, the majority of the members in the church at
“Which cause disputes” in the original means “which cause profitless speculation”. Preaching the above-mentioned things which are irrelevant to the gospel only causes utopian discusses: men may insist on two points and argue with each other endlessly.
“Rather than godly edification which is in faith” “edification” refers to the operation and arrangement in the realm of faith in the house of God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christians should pursue more and more in knowledge and experiences of faith (See Phil. 1:9-10; Col. 3:10). However, we should not fall into the far-fetched arguments which lack evidence because they are useless to the faith of Christians.
2) Today in the heresies and extreme movements of Christianity, men probably like making up mysterious stories and phenomena, adding fabulous witness to them and enclosing them with some several words and phrases of the Bible. They trick many believers: making them think that they do God service and provide their money, time, intelligence and even their bodies willingly.
3) In the generation of the New Testament, the relation between God and us does not lie in races or births but lies in our works and hearts (See Rom. 2:6, 28-29). All the differences in the flesh cannot be brought in the church.
4) “Endless genealogies” refers to both the family status and births and the traditional ideas and ways followed from generation to generation which would become our veil that blinds our minds (See 2Cor. 3:14-15) so that we cannot see the fresh revelation and guidance that God would give us.
5) What matters is not how “men” say but how “God” judges. It is not of men’s knowledge but of God’s Bible. We should not accept all doctrines that are not recorded or revealed in the Bible rashly.
1Tim. 1:5 “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,”
YLT: “And the end of the charge is love out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned,”
Meaning of Words: “purpose”: ultimate, end, the final purpose; “love”: divine love, selfless love, complete love (agape).
Literal Meaning: “Now the purpose of the commandment is love” “commandment” and “urge” in v.3 are the same word in the original. However, it is the noun here and it is the verb there. Paul forbade men from preaching other doctrine (See v.3) and the final purpose of this commandment is love, just as God’s motive for giving men various commandments is that He loves men and the result is to let men have His love.
“Love from a pure heart, from a good conscience” “heart” is the place where one’s soul is and the expressions of one’s soul are out of the heart. And therefore thoughts, feelings and will are all called words related to hearts in Chinese. “A pure heart” is “the pure in heart” (Matt. 5:8) and it indicates that one has pure motives and does not have distractions in his heart and there is none he desires besides God (Ps. 42:1-2; 73:25).
“Conscience” (Rom. 2:15) is a function that God specially creates for men to regulate their words and deeds. When men’s words and deed overstep the rules, the conscience would send out the felling of condemnation and uneasiness. When men’s words and deeds are disciplined, there will be peace in their conscience.
“Good” has two meanings: 1) without lessening and deficit; 2) keen and good. “A good conscience” indicates that one’s words and deeds pass the normal judgment of conscience and does not have the feeling of uneasiness and condemnation.
“And from sincere faith” “sincere”: without falseness; “sincere faith” refers to the true faith which is not pretended by men or man-made because only the Lord Jesus is the leader and completer of our faith (Heb. 12:2).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The essential principle of all God’s commandments in the Bible to us is love: on one hand they show us the love of God and on the other they make us love God more.
2) If any doctrine can neither make us know the love of God more clearly nor lead us to love and contrarily causes disputes, enmities and even hatred, it mustn’t be of God or according to the Bible.
3) The “purpose” of the word of God is Christ who is “love” and the spiritual reality of Him upon men------“a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith”.
4) “Love” is the outer testimony of Christians’ inner life. If a man has “a pure heart” inwardly, he shall put the will of God in the first place; if a man has “a good conscience”, he shall determine to let his moralities and integrities be regulated by Him according to His standards; if a man has “sincere faith”, he shall rely on Him only and trust upon Him sincerely.
5) The way to know God lies in the pure heart because the pure in heart shall see God (Matt. 5:8); if our hearts are not pure, we shall fall into darkness (Matt. 7:23) and not see the way of life and certainly we won’t meet God who is the source of love and we won’t have love.
6) Satan always utilizes many doctrines and things to lure our hearts so that our minds shall be corrupted from simplicity as to the Christ (2Cor. 11:3) and additionally our love to men shall grow cold.
7) The world always boasts before men that they walk according to their conscience. Actually the conscience that they rely on is not good, or they indeed have lost the feeling of conscience.
8) Since the conscience of Christians has been cleaned by the precious blood of the Lord, we should have the living, fresh and keen feelings. If we are able to live by the conscience in everything, we shall bear good witness of the Lord.
9) We believers should form a habit that the moment we find out our fault, we deal with it immediately so that we won’t have the feeling of owing others and condemnation in our conscience.
10) Whenever the conscience is not good, we cannot be confident because “if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1John. 3:21).
11) Once we do not have confidence toward God, there will be gap in our fellowship with God immediately. Whenever the conscience is not good, the fellowship will not be good. God communicates with us according to the degree of our conscience.
12) The badness of conscience hinders us from communicating with God most because “if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart” (1John. 3:20). God must condemn what our conscience condemns.
13) Conscience is the institution of our faith. A good conscience and sincere faith are inseparable. Whenever the conscience is not good, the faith shall weaken (See v.19).
14) The keenness of our conscience increases by the same degree of our spiritual increase. Concerning the true communion of conscience, the more the better. Conscience is God’s brake. It tells us something is wrong and we have to repair it and continue walking. We should be wiling to listen to the conscience, lest there be greater destruction later.
15) When a Christian’s spiritual life has grown up
to a certain degree, the witness that his conscience bears agrees with that the
Holy Spirit bears. Because when the conscience is fully controlled by the Holy
Spirit, the keenness of conscience grows day by day to harmonize with the sound
of the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the Holy Spirit speaks to believers through the
conscience------“my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost” (
16) If we want to have good consciences toward men, we must have good consciences toward God first. Because once we owe God in the conscience, naturally we owe men. And therefore all believers who pursue the spiritual life should seek good consciences toward God (1Pet. 3:21).
17) We should not only pursue good consciences toward God but also pursue good consciences toward men. We could do many things before God, however, we cannot do them before men. Only when one has a good conscience to men shall he have good testimony before men.
18) Lacking a good conscience, it is useless even if one’s good outer conducts. Having a good conscience, it does not matter even though some people may misunderstand or slander one. Because “having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1Pet. 3:16).
19) Christians may deceive themselves in faith: they do not have faith, however, they think that they have faith or make others think that they have faith. It is called the false faith.
20) Faith is the ground of all spiritual virtues. Faith works through love (Gal. 5:6). When Christ dwells in our hearts through faith, we shall be rooted and grounded in love (Eph. 3:17).
21) The one who has true faith shall have works of faith and the expression of faith lies in one’s love to brothers (See James. 2:14-16).
1Tim. 1:6 “from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,”
YLT: “from which certain, having swerved, did turn aside to vain discourse,”
Meaning of Words: “stray”: not line up, miss the mark, swerve; “idle talk”: vain discourse, empty talking.
Literal Meaning: “from which some, having strayed” “some” refers to the above-mentioned “some” (See v.3). “Which” refers to the indispensable qualities which constitute love------a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith (See v.5).
“Have turned aside to idle talk” “Idle talk” refers to “fables and endless genealogies” (See v.4).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The doctrines that miss the correct aim are heresies.
2) If men fall away from the spiritual principle------the excellent way of building up in love and preach the doctrines that seem to be profound but make listeners perplexed, they indeed say idle talk.
3) All teachings that lack revelation and specialize in letters will lead men to stray from the way------“Christ is the center and reality”, enter into the realm of vain and illusion and be carried about with every wind of doctrine (See Eph. 4:14).
4) Today the general mood of Christianity becomes superficial gradually: preachers preach for the sake of preaching and believers listen for the sake of listening; they only pay attention to whether the words are agreeable and ignore the practicality of the doctrines.
1Tim. 1:7 “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.”
YLT: “willing to be teachers of law, not understanding either the things they say, nor concerning what they asseverate,”
Meaning of Words: “say”: speak, talk; “affirm”: asseverate, affirm constantly, confirm thoroughly.
Literal Meaning: “desiring to be teachers of the law” “teachers of the law” are equal to the scribes and rabbis in Judaism (See Rom. 2:17-20). They specialize in teaching the law of the Old Testament and the explanations to the law handed down from generation to generation. They specially stress on what they can do and what they cannot do.
“Understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” It indicates that the speaker scarcely knows what he has said, however, he seems to clearly know what he has said with the firm tone.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) In the church, we would rather be ministers of the New Testament who serve by the Spirit than teachers of the law according to letters because the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life (2Cor. 3:6).
2) If one does not have sturdy foundation in the truth and is unwilling to make effort at studying the word of God intensively and contrarily likes talking volubly or bombastically before all in order to gain others’ respect, the result shall be that the blind leads the blind and they both shall fall into the ditch (Matt. 15:14).
3) The prerequisite of a preacher is that one has to understand what he says and affirms. It is a common phenomenon that one who has superficial knowledge of the Bible interprets the Bible according to his own will.
4) The unknowable things are stressed on in the teachings of error, however, the clear and knowable truth is ignored (See v.11).
1Tim. 1:8 “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,”
YLT: “and we have known that the law good, if any one may use it lawfully;”
Meaning of Words: “lawfully”: legitimately, agreeably to the rules.
Literal Meaning: “But we know that the law is good” “We” not merely refer to Paul and his fellow-workers but also generally refer to all normal believers. “The law” refers to the law of the Old Testament. Formerly God gave men the law with the aim of regulating His people in their walkings so that they would be separate from the common world. And therefore the law is good (See Rom. 7:12).
“If one uses it lawfully” “use it lawfully” means “use it according to the rules”, i.e. using it in the correct occasions according to the original intentions of the law.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24) and therefore the law is good.
2) A correct and good thing must be used rightly and reasonably, otherwise, it cannot achieve the expected effect and contrarily turns to be harmful. In like manner, the words in the Bible are spiritual and good, however, if they are misused, there will be harmful effect.
3) Today in many extreme and heretical teachings of Christianity, only several words of the Bible are used and the balanced words in other places of the Bible are not considered; or even the original idea of the Bible is ignored and some absurd doctrines are made.
1Tim. 1:9 “knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,”
YLT: “having known this, that for a righteous man law is not set, but for lawless and insubordinate persons, ungodly and sinners, impious and profane, parricides and matricides, men-slayers,”
Meaning of Words: “the lawless”: without law and are beyond the law; “insubordinate”: that is not put under, disobedient, unruly; “the ungodly”: impious, not esteem God as God; “sinners”: miss the mark; “the unholy”: not holy, not separate to God; “profane”: unsanctified, walk in the common way, easy to be attracted; “murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers”: father-slayers and mother-slayers; “manslayers”: murderers.
Literal Meaning: “that the law is not made for a righteous person” “A righteous man” refers to one who follows rules and keeps the law. On one hand, there is none righteous in the world (Rom. 3:10), however, on the other hand, Paul confessed that “concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Pill. 3:6). And therefore this sentence means that the law is not made for those who keep the law.
“But for the lawless and insubordinate” “the lawless” refer to those who disregard all laws, including those who do not know the law; “insubordinate” refer to those who knowingly violate the law and are unwilling to receive the control of the law.
“For the ungodly and for sinners” “the ungodly” refer to those who do not believe in or respect God. “Sinners” refer to those who stray from the will of God.
“For the unholy and profane” “the unholy” refer to those who are not separate to God. “Profane” refer to those who follow the bad examples of the world.
“For murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers” “murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers” refer to those who hit and aggressively disobey their parents and hurt their hearts, including those who actually kill their parents. “Manslayers” refer to those who murder others.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If we have confessed our sins to the Lord, received the cleansing of His precious blood and been made the righteousness of God in Him (See 2Cor. 5:21), we shall no longer be afraid of being condemned by the law because the law is not made for a righteous person. We could be free from worry.
2) Since the law is not made for us------Christians who have been justified by faith, we have been set free from the letters of the law and we should never be entangled again with the yoke of them (Gal. 5:1). All teachings that demand believers to keep the law of the Old Testament are made because men do not understand the real meaning of the law.
3) Christians should be impelled by the love of God (See v.5) rather than be urged merely by the law of God.
4) The law demands men to establish the right relation with God first and then the relation to fathers and mothers and others. If men’s intentions and attitudes to God are wrong, naturally they will have problems with others.
1Tim. 1:10 “for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,”
YLT: “whoremongers, sodomites, men-stealers, liars, perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that to sound doctrine is adverse,”
Meaning of Words: “fornicators”: prostitution, a (male) prostitute, whore; “sodomites”: homosexuals; “kidnappers”: men-stealers, slave-traders; “liars”: falsifiers, those who bear false witness; “perjurers”: foreswearers; “sound doctrines”: sound teachings, healthy teachings, pure teachings.
Literal Meaning: “for fornicators, for sodomites” “fornicators” refer to male and female prostitutes; “sodomites” refers to homosexuals.
“For kidnappers, for liars” “kidnappers” refer to those who sell men and force them to be salves or prostitutes; “liars” refer to those bear false witness to incriminate others falsely.
“For perjurers” refer to those who swear in order to show their innocence (actually they are not innocent).
“And if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” “that is contrary to sound doctrine” refers to all that are inconsistent with the sound and healthy doctrines, i.e. all that are against the truth. The law is made for sinners and those who are against the truth to manifest the rights and wrongs and make them under God’s condemnation.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The law is made for avoiding the things that are contrary to sound doctrine, however, if it is used unlawfully (See v.8), it could easily make men stray from the sound doctrine and pay attention to the insignificant details, i.e. they concentrate on details but forget the main purpose and they have an exactly opposite effect.
2) Concerning every doctrine, if it attracts men’s attention and makes men stray from sound doctrine, it is unhealthy teaching, i.e. the heresy (See v.3).
3) The differences between sound doctrine and heresy lie in: the former is sound doctrines and teachings and the latter is not sound; the former could nourish, heal and correct believers and the latter would inject the poison of death into believers; the former profits the healthy growth of the spiritual life and the latter harms the spiritual life.
1Tim. 1:11 “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”
YLT: “according to the good news of the glory of the blessed God, with which I was entrusted.”
Meaning of Words: “commit”: entrust, trust.
Literal Meaning: “the blessed God” indicates that what He is and what He has done are worthy of our praise. “The glorious gospel” indicates that the nature of the gospel is that God is manifested in the flesh (See 3:16), i.e. the gospel manifests the glory of God. And therefore it is called “the glorious gospel”.
This verse shows that Paul’s interpretation to the law (See v.8-10) is the conclusion based on the essence of the gospel that God had committed to him instead of his own random definition.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) When we believers interpret an item of the truth in the Bible, we should not rely on our own opinions merely but seek confirmation carefully according to the connotation of the truth of the gospel that God has revealed.
2) The connotation of the gospel------Christ Jesus, He is the brightness of God’s glory (Heb. 1:3); the objects of the gospel------all believers, we are vessels that manifest His glory (Rom. 9:23). What the riches of the glory that is manifested by the gospel (Eph. 1:18).
1Tim. 1:12 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,”
YLT: “And I give thanks to him who enabled me -- Christ Jesus our Lord -- that he did reckon me steadfast, having put to the ministration,”
Literal Meaning: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me” “Who has enabled me” is in the past tense in the original, showing that after he had been saved, the one who enabled him in all the past circumstances is “Christ Jesus our Lord”.
“Because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” “Faithful” refers to trustful, reliable and trustworthy. Faithfulness is the most essential qualification for serving the Lord (1Cor. 4:2; Matt. 25:21, 23). Faithfulness means that one does not act on his own and fully obeys the word of the Lord: we do as what the Lord has said.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) In other religions, there are only requests to believers and there aren’t provisions. However, in Christianity, provisions are before requests. This is the greatest difference between Christianity and other religions.
2) The Lord not only puts us into works so that we could serve Him outside but also enables us inside so that we could fulfill the duty. He entrusts works to us and He also helps us accomplishing works.
3) When the Lord Jesus deals with us, He does not remove “thorn”------tough experiences for us, but enables us------“the power of Christ may rest upon us” (2Cor. 12:8-10).
4) God’s requirements for His servants are not their abilities or power but their faithfulness. Abilities and power are what He gives us and faithfulness is what we should pay.
5) The true service should be of Christ’s “putting into” instead of ourselves.
1Tim. 1:13 “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
YLT: “who before was speaking evil, and persecuting, and insulting, but I found kindness, because, being ignorant, I did in unbelief,”
Literal Meaning: “although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” “a blasphemer” indicates that he sins against the Lord in words; “a persecutor” indicates that his actions are against the Lord; “an insolent man” indicates that he is insolent and humiliates the Lord. This sentence shows that when Paul did not believe in the Lord, he was in the position against Christians and he persecuted Christians in many ways in words, actions and attitudes because he misunderstood the real meaning of the law (Acts. 22:4). In the sight of the Lord Jesus, he indeed blasphemed, persecuted and insulted Him (Acts. 22:8).
According to the Greek, the word “a blasphemer” is always used towards God and “a persecutor, and an insolent man” towards men. Here Paul called the actions that he slandered the Lord Jesus as “blasphemy”, showing that he had believed in the divinity of Christ Jesus.
“But I obtained mercy” “but” shows that it surpasses the normal causal relationship and one does not obtain what he deserves for his past bad behavior. “Mercy” indicates that one deals with another kindly when he is unworthy of the kindness. This sentence shows that Paul confessed that he deserved the punishment for his past sins and should be punished by God. However, he even served Him unexpectedly (See v.12). And the reason is that he obtained mercy.
“Because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” “unbelief” in the original means disobedience. “Ignorantly” refers to unknown. “Unbelief” is related to “ignorantly”: one on hand men do not believe because of their ignorance; on the other, men behave ignorantly because of their unbelief.
This sentence explains why Paul did that in the past, however, it does not mean that God does not look into what men “do ignorantly in unbelief”. What matters is that the Lord Jesus had bore the past sins of believers for us on the cross, however, unbelievers shall bear their own sins.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) In the sight of God, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). There is not the difference between good ones and bad ones and we all sinned against God in the past.
2) None of us is worthy of the grace of God and we are all who have obtained His mercy because God is rich in goodness and God desires all men to be saved and is not willing that any should perish (Rom. 2:4; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9).
3) The more one is willing to confess his dirtiness of sins, the more he shall experience the Lord’s grace (See v.14).
4) On one hand, faith comes by hearing, i.e. faith comes by hearing and understanding the word of Christ. However, on the other hand, if men are insolent and disobedient intentionally (the meaning of unbelief in the original), they cannot understand the word even if they have heard (Rom. 10:17-21).
1Tim. 1:14 “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
YLT: “and exceedingly abound did the grace of our Lord, with faith and love that in Christ Jesus:”
Literal Meaning: “And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant” “Exceedingly abundant” is a compound word in the original and it is constituted of over and more and it describes that the grace of the Lord is superabundant and overwhelm. “Abundant” implies more than enough, showing that the grace of the Lord is not like the river that is almost dried but like the flowing torrent. This sentence explains that his completely different behavior today was due to the Lord’s unlimited grace.
“With faith and love which are in Christ Jesus” “In Christ Jesus” describes the realm of the cultivation and activities of faith and love. “Faith” is opposite to “ignorantly in unbelief” (See v.13) and “love” is opposite to “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man” (See v.13).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God’s mercy (See v.13) brings in the Lord’s grace and the Lord’s grace makes us have faith and love. Mercy and grace are the Lord’s gifts; faith and love are believers’ response. Through these the Lord has the spiritual communion with believers.
2) The faith and love of Christians are not of our advantages or progress but of the Lord’s special kindness (See Heb. 12:2; Eph. 3:17). What we are and what we have are all from the Lord.
3) How to measure the degree that believers receive the Lord’s grace is not according to the outer physical blessings that they receive or the peace and smoothness of circumstances but the amount of faith and love.
4) Only in Christ Jesus there is faith and love. Whenever we depart from the Lord, faith and love are all gone.
5) Faith makes us receive the Lord (John. 1:12) and love makes us enjoy the Lord. More faith will make the Lord who has been received by us constituted in us (Eph. 3:17) and more love will make Christ who has been enjoyed by us manifested upon us (John. 13:35).
1Tim. 1:15 “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
YLT: “stedfast the word, and of all acceptation worthy, that Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners -- first of whom I am;”
Literal Meaning: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” The word “Christ Jesus” emphasizes that Christ (“God”) became Jesus (“man”). “Christ Jesus came into the world” indicates that the word became flesh (John. 1:14). “To” refers to the purpose of His coming into the world. “Save sinners” is to save His people from their sins (Matt. 1:21).
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance” “This” includes two aspects: 1) the Son of God humbled Himself and was made in the likeness of men (Pill. 2:6-8); 2) the aim of His coming into the world is to save sinners (Matt. 9:13; Luke. 19:10). “Faithful” indicates that the genuineness of this is trustworthy and it specially refers to the divinity of Jesus; “worthy of all acceptance” indicates that the motive and wisdom of this are admirable and it specially refers to the salvation of the cross.
“Of whom I am chief” “I am chief” has two aspects of meanings: 1) the worst sinner; 2) in the leading position among sinners. Here Paul did not pretend to be humble like the common ones who mean contrary to what is spoken. He indeed deeply realized his past sins and repented and confessed that he was unworthy of such bountiful grace.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord Jesus who is God became a man and He has the full divinity. It is the core of the faith of Christianity and the unchangeable truth. Every depreciation or denial to His divinity is of the evil heart of unbelief.
2) To the insignificant truth, Christians could tolerate others’ different opinions. Only concerning the divinity of the Lord Jesus, Christians should never make a concession.
3) God even sacrificed His beloved only-begotten Son to save sinners (John. 3:16) and has designed the excellent plan. He is worthy of all acceptance and admiration.
4) Anyone who does not feel his past corruption keenly and deeply may probably regard the salvation ordinary and show light appreciation to the Savior and lack the positive motive power in running on the way of Christians.
1Tim. 1:16 “However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.”
YLT: “but because of this I found kindness, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all long-suffering, for a pattern of those about to believe on him to life age-during:”
Meaning of Words: “pattern”: norm, form, precedent; “everlasting life”: eternal life, incorruptible life.
Literal Meaning: “However, for this reason I obtained mercy” It retells the words in v.13 and it aims at what he “did” in the past there and here it aims at what he “was” in the past.
“That in me first Jesus Christ might
show all longsuffering” In v.13 it is said
that he obtained mercy because he “did” evil things ignorantly in unbelief and
here it is said that he obtained mercy because Christ might show all
longsuffering in him who was a chief of sinners. “Longsuffering” refers to
bearing men’s obedience and contradiction and not raging easily or executing
the judgment (See
“As a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” “are going to” refers to the time from Paul’s believing in the Lord to the second coming of the Lord. “Those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” refer to all believers. “As a pattern” refers to setting a precedent that a chief of sinners could obtain mercy and be saved.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God has changed Paul who is chief of sinners, in like manner, He is able to change all sinners as long as we receive His mercy.
2) The Lord shows His all longsuffering in Paul and saves him, in like manner, He shall show His all longsuffering in men of later generations and save us as long as we are willing to repent and believe like Paul.
3) The chief of sinners could be the example of being saved, showing that God’s mercy makes Him take care of sinners. The Lord’s all longsuffering gives us chance to obtain grace by faith.
4) Receiving the “everlasting life”------the uncreated life of God is the greatest gift and highest blessing that God gives to all that believe in the Lord Jesus.
1Tim. 1:17 “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
YLT: “and to the King of the ages, the incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, honour and glory -- to the ages of the ages! Amen.”
Literal Meaning: “Now to…be honor and glory” “honor” refers to the esteem equivalent to one’s status and position. “Glory” refers to the beauty worthy of one’s life and disposition.
“The King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise” “Immortal” refers to the incorruptible and changeless feature of God. “Invisible” refers to the features of God that He surpasses everything and cannot be completely known by the creature. “The King eternal” indicates that God reigns from generation to generation and forever. “God who alone is wise” indicates that there is not any true God beside Him.
“Forever and ever. Amen” “Amen” refers to surely and verily.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Only God and the Lord Jesus are worthy of honor and glory (Rev. 4:11; 5:12-13). The actions and words that men lift up themselves or others in the church more or less usurp the worship that God deserves.
2) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). All things change and He is the same (Heb. 1:12; James. 1:17).
3) No one has seen God according to his eyes (John. 1:18). However, we Christians could experience and enjoy God by faith (2Cor. 5:7; 1Pet. 1:8).
4) When Christians live in the orderless situation, we should still see that God sits as King (Ps. 29:10). Someone could proclaim himself king superficially for a short while. However, our God is the King eternal and He is worthy of our obedience and worship forever.
5) He is the only wise God. We should never worship anyone or anything else besides Him------Mary, the spiritual giants, their books and etc.
1Tim. 1:18 “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,”
YLT: “This charge I commit to thee, child Timotheus, according to the prophesies that went before upon thee, that thou mayest war in them the good warfare,”
Literal Meaning: “son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you” “the prophecies” refers to the things that would happen in future said by the prophets in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (See Acts. 11:28; 21:11). From the scriptures in this place and other places, we could not know what the prophecies that Paul made to Timothy were. Probably when Timothy began joining Paul’s work of preaching (Acts. 16:1-3), Paul passed on gifts and made prophecies in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through praying and the laying on of the hands of eldership (See 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6) and the contents of the prophecies perhaps were related to waging the good warfare mentioned in this book.
“This charge I commit to you” According to the context, “this charge” should indicate that Paul ordered Timothy to forbid men from preaching the heresies in the church (See v.3-5).
“That by them you may wage the good warfare” “The good warfare” refers to fighting for the truth with those who preach the heresies and such warfare is called “the good warfare” because it accords with the will of God and profits believers (please see the spiritual outline of “the good wage” at the back).
1Tim. 1:19 “having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,”
YLT: “having faith and a good conscience, which certain having thrust away, concerning the faith did make shipwreck,”
Meaning of Words: “reject”: thrust away, abandon.
Literal Meaning: “having faith and a good conscience” “having” refers to never lacking them all the time. “Faith” refers to our subjective faith which is the basic equipment for the spiritual warfare. All actions of the warfare are of faith. “A good conscience” indicates that one’s walkings are not accused by his conscience and it is the required condition of keeping faith. Whenever the conscience is not good, faith shall leave out.
“Which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck” “having rejected” is more serious than a bad conscience. It indicates that one ignores the conscience or walks against the conscience intentionally. “Faith” refers to the objective faith. “Have suffered shipwreck” its result shall lead to the destruction of a ship at sea, i.e. the bankruptcy of faith.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Faith and a good conscience are the indispensible equipment to wage a good warfare. And they are closely linked: the strong faith helps the exquisiteness of conscience and a good conscience helps one to hold faith.
2) Christians walk in the world just as the ship sails in the sea and they depend on the guardianship of faith and a good conscience. Otherwise, the faith of Christians shall leave out and in the result, we shall be the same as the world.
3) The faith of Christians is inseparable from our moral behavior: though we are not saved by our works, our progress and spiritual states after we have been saved are closely related to our works (See Eph. 2:8-10).
4) Once Christians are infected with sins, their function of conscience shall be abnormal and their faith shall not be strong on one hand. On the other, the conscience with normal function that performs well will help us deal with sins and make our faith strong to wage the good warfare.
1Tim. 1:20 “of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”
YLT: “of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I did deliver to the Adversary, that they might be instructed not to speak evil.”
Literal Meaning: “of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander” “Hymenaeus” was the heretical teacher who said that the resurrection was already past (2Tim. 2:17). “Alexander” probably was Alexander the coppersmith who resisted faith and did Paul much harm (2Tim. 4:14-15).
“Whom I delivered to Satan” “Delivering to Satan” means that Paul used his spiritual authority of apostleship to regard them as heathen men (Matt. 18:17), make them under the power of the evil one (1John. 5:19) and let Satan destruct their flesh at its convenience (1Cor. 5:5).
“That they may learn not to blaspheme” “Learn” refers to being punished or disciplined. “Not to blaspheme” shows that the aim of delivering them to Satan is not only to punish them but also to let them know their wrongness and repent and no longer blaspheme and slander.
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
The Comparison between Preaching the Truth and Preaching Heresies
II. Preaching the truth helps men know God’s godly edification which is in faith (v.4c)------preaching heresies only causes disputes (v.4b).
III. Preaching the truth leads men to love (v.5a)------preaching heresies makes men keep enmity in mind because of “disputes” (v.4b).
IV. Preaching the truth is of a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith (v.5b)------preaching heresies is abandoning conscience and the conscience leaves out (v.19b).
V. Preaching the truth is according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to their trust (v.11)------those who preach heresies preach fables and endless genealogies (v.4a) and idle talk (v.6).
VI. The words that they use in preaching the truth are faithful and worthy of all acceptance (v.15)------those who preach heresies understand neither what they say nor the things which they affirm (v.7).
How the Elder Fellow-workers Cultivate and Tutor the Younger Fellow-workers
I. Dealing with them with the friendly sentiments between the spiritual fathers and sons (v.2).
II. With the appropriate attitude: “urging” (v.3) or “committing” (v.18).
III. Pointing out the core and focal points of works (v.3-4).
IV. Explaining the reasons for doing so (v.5a).
V. Explaining how to bring in the right work (v.5b).
VI. Pointing out the failure of the wrong workers (v.6-10).
VII. Explaining the bases of right doctrines (v.11).
VIII. Setting good examples (v.12-16).
IX. Committing and warning with the attitude of handing over the ministry to them (v.18-20).
The Wrongness of Teachers of the Law (Those Who Preaching Heresies)
II. They paid attention to fables more than the edification of men (v.4).
III. They caused profitless words instead of love (v.5-6).
IV. They stressed on their ambitions more than the truth (v.7).
V. They did not treasure the gospel of God because of their self-righteousness (v.8-11).
VI. They rejected conscience (v.19).
The Reasons Why Men Are Forbidden to Preach Heresies
I. Because their teachings only caused disputes (v.4b).
II. Because their teachings can not edify believers or make them be rooted in faith (v.4c).
III. Because their teachings were not of the right intention and cannot build up the communion of love (v.5).
IV. Because their teachings were only the impractical idle talk (v.6).
V. Because they only liked teaching others and did not have the qualifications and the knowledge of the Bible (v.7).
The Reasons Why It Is Called “the Good Warfare”
I. The result of the warfare helps the faith that God has entrusted (v.4b).
II. The motive of the warfare is of the love to God and believers (v.5a).
III. The defensive weapons of the warfare are a pure heart, a good conscience and sincere faith (v.5b).
IV. The assault weapons of the warfare are the “sound doctrine”------healthy teachings (v.10).
V. The aim of the warfare is to guard the purity of the glorious gospel of God (v.11).
VI. The task of the warfare is what the Lord has appointed (v.12b).
VII. The supplies of the warfare are the Lord’s enabling (v.12a) and the exceedingly abundant grace of the Lord (v.14).
VIII. The purpose of the warfare is to give honor and glory to God (v.17).
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Sharon Ren