1 Timothy

A Note On Law And Grace

My Christian Space

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

World Bible Challenge

In our study of 1 Timothy chapter one, we look at Paul's letter to the pastor of the local church in Ephesus. It is an instructional letter that was written to his dear friend that had traveled with him and was now a pastor. This chapter is a reminder to keep purity in the faith.

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1 Timothy 1:1

From: Sha'ul, an emissary of the Messiah Yeshua by command of God our deliverer and the Messiah Yeshua our hope,

Paul opens with a unique introduction as he usually introduces himself as an apostle by the will of God but here he says by the "command of God". This is much stronger as it lets us know that Paul didn't have much to do with the decision of God other than accepting it and doing what he was told. Just as Paul did not play a part in the decision, the same is true today for those that are called into full time ministry. If you can do anything else, then you are not called (commanded by God) to that ministry. There are many today who are "in the ministry" because of a career decision and not a "command of God". Paul had a career (tentmaker) but it was not his calling.

1 Timothy 1:2

To: Timothy, a true son because of your trust: Grace, mercy and shalom from God the Father and the Messiah Yeshua our Lord.

Paul addresses the letter to Timothy and lets us see their relationship as he calls him "my true son in the faith". This speaks about the fact that he came to salvation and was raised in the faith through the ministry of Paul. Because of that, Paul felt a responsibility to watch over and nurture him in his walk with the Lord even as he became the pastor of this local church. The greeting begins with grace and, as we shall see, this first chapter is a reminder of the fact that salvation (mercy & peace with God) only comes through his grace.

1 Timothy 1:3 & 4

As I counseled you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus, so that you may order certain people who are teaching a different doctrine to stop. Have them stop devoting their attention to myths and never-ending genealogies; these divert people to speculating instead of doing God's work, which requires trust.

Paul reminds us here of the events that led to him leaving Ephesus and leaving Timothy in charge of the local body of believers. We see this in Acts chapter 19 where there was a riot because of the effectiveness of the preaching of the gospel. We see here that Paul left Timothy there to combat the false teachings of the Judaiziers. He reminds Timothy (and us as well) that all these traditions do not promote unity in the faith but instead promote controversy and division which is contrary to the work of God. We also see that there was a conflict between sound doctrine and myths or legends about the supernatural and this speaks of experiences that are not based on sound interpretation of the scripture. There is much more of this type of conflict in the world today as there are all sorts of so-called testimonies of supernatural things that have happened to people but they are often contrary to the word of God.

1 Timothy 1:5

The purpose of this order is to promote love from a clean heart, from a good conscience and from sincere trust.

Paul is telling Timothy that the reason for him dealing with the false teachers is love. Love for those that are being led astray in their faith and those that are leading them astray. This love comes from a genuine faith in the finished work of Yeshua Messiah.

1 Timothy 1:6 & 7

Some, by aiming amiss, have wandered off into fruitless discussion. They want to be teachers of Torah, but they understand neither their own words nor the matters about which they make such emphatic pronouncements.

These false teachers have walked away from grace by trying to add works (the law) to it. They are confident of what they believe but they are ignorant of the purpose and application of the law. The same is true of many false teachers today as many sincerely believe what they teach but they are trying to teach without having the understanding that comes from God through the Holy Spirit.

1 Timothy 1:8

We know that the Torah is good, provided one uses it in the way the Torah itself intends.

How does one use the law properly? You have to understand the purpose of the law which is that it is a framework for expressing love to God as well as to those around us.

1 Timothy 1:9 & 10

We are aware that Torah is not for a person who is righteous, but for those who are heedless of Torah and rebellious, ungodly and sinful, wicked and worldly, for people who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral - both heterosexual and homosexual - slave dealers, liars, perjurers, and anyone who acts contrary to the sound teaching

While the Torah is a pattern for us to demonstrate love, for sinners the purpose is to bring them to the point of understanding that they are wicked and in need of a savior.

1 Timothy 1:11

that accords with the Good News of the glorious and blessed God. This Good News was entrusted to me;

Paul completes this list of who the law applies to with the fact that it applies to anyone that opposes the gospel that was given to him. So, we might ask ourselves what gospel is he talking about. Paul is talking about grace and the fact that salvation is a gift of God to all who will accept his son.

1 Timothy 1:12-14

and I thank the one who has given me strength, the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord, that he considered me trustworthy enough to put me in his service, even though I used to be a man who blasphemed and persecuted and was arrogant! But I received mercy because I had acted in unbelief, not understanding what I was doing. Our Lord's grace overflowed to me with trust and love that come through the Messiah Yeshua.

Paul continues by reminding Timothy that he was chosen by God for the ministry not because of his knowledge of the law but because of God's mercy and grace. Paul was a good example of humility as he never forgot where he had been and how God had brought him to where he was in the ministry. Today, there are far too many in the ministry that have grown up too pious and do not remember that they were miserable sinners that have been saved by grace. Once you forget that, you can not effectively relate to us common folks and you end up with a religious system.

1 Timothy 1:15 & 16

So here is a statement you can trust, one that fully deserves to be accepted: the Messiah came into the world to save sinners, and I'm the number one sinner! But this is precisely why I received mercy - so that in me, as the number one sinner, Yeshua the Messiah might demonstrate how very patient he is, as an example to those who would later come to trust in him and thereby have eternal life.

One of the greatest qualities of Paul was that he never forgot what God had done and where he had come from. Here, he explains to Timothy that the reason that God brought him out of his murderous past was to display God's mercy and patience to even the worst of sinners. We are reminded from this that God tends to use the lowly things (and people) to display his power.

1 Timothy 1:17

So to the King - eternal, imperishable and invisible, the only God there is - let there be honor and glory for ever and ever! Amen.

How could God save the worst of sinners? The simple answer is that he is the King of Kings and a king has the authority to do whatever he wishes. We may often not understand what God is doing or why but, like Paul, we have to understand that he is the King and has the authority. We can hold fast to the knowledge that God always takes care of his people.

1 Timothy 1:18 & 19a

This charge, son Timothy, I put to you, in keeping with the prophecies already made about you, so that by these prophecies you may fight the good fight, armed with trust and a good conscience.

Once again, Paul refers to Timothy as his spiritual son and reminds him that God had led Paul to him. He also reminds him that God has a purpose for him and that is as an example of standing firm in his faith. The same type of thing happens in our lives, today, if we slow down and pay attention to the people that God brings into our lives. God will bring people into your life to build you up and he will bring others for you to build up in their faith.

1 Timothy 1:19b & 20

By rejecting conscience, some have made shipwreck of their trust; among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander. I have turned them over to the Adversary, so that they will learn not to insult God.

It seems that there were some that were rejecting the spiritual authority of Timothy and therefore that of Paul as well. Although it may seem harsh, we see that Paul has "handed them over to Satan" and this speaks of the fact that Satan is the father of lies. The purpose of this was so that those people would come to know who they were serving in hopes of bringing them to repentance.

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