1 Timothy 1


1From Paul,
Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior
God our Savior. Use of the title “Savior” for God the Father is characteristic of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. It occurs six times in these letters, but only twice elsewhere in the NT. However, it occurs commonly in the OT, especially in Isaiah. It emphasizes the Father as the initiator and source of salvation.
and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!

Timothy’s Task in Ephesus

3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct
This word implies authoritative instruction: “direct, command, give orders” (cf. 1 Tim 4:11; 5:7; 6:13, 17). See BDAG 760 s.v. παραγγέλλω.
certain people not to spread false teachings,
Grk “to teach other doctrines,” different from apostolic teaching (cf. 1 Tim 6:3).
4nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies.
Myths and interminable genealogies. These myths were legendary tales characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus and Crete. See parallels in 1 Tim 4:7; 2 Tim 4:4; and Titus 1:14. They were perhaps built by speculation from the patriarchal narratives in the OT; hence the connection with genealogies and with wanting to be teachers of the law (v. 7).
Such things promote useless speculations rather than God’s redemptive plan
A few Western mss (D* latt Ir) read οἰκοδομήν (oikodomēn, “[God’s] edification”) rather than οἰκονομίαν (oikonomian, “[God’s] redemptive plan”), which is read by the earliest and best witnesses.
More literally, “the administration of God that is by faith.”
God’s redemptive plan. The basic word (οἰκονομία, oikonomia) denotes the work of a household steward or manager or the arrangement under which he works: “household management.” As a theological term it is used of the order or arrangement by which God brings redemption through Christ (God’s “dispensation, plan of salvation” [Eph 1:10; 3:9]) or of human responsibility to pass on the message of that salvation (“stewardship, commission” [1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25]). Here the former is in view (see the summary of God’s plan in 1 Tim 2:3–6; 2 Tim 1:9–10; Titus 3:4–7), and Paul notes the response people must make to God’s arrangement: It is “in faith” or “by faith.”
that operates by faith.
5But the aim of our instruction
Grk “the instruction,” referring to orthodox Christian teaching and ministry in general, in contrast to that of the false teachers mentioned in 1:3–4.
is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Grk “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
6Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion. 7They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently.
The Greek reinforces this negation: “understand neither what they are saying nor the things they insist on…”

8 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately, 9realizing that law
Law. There is no definite article (“the”) with this word in Greek and so the inherent quality of the OT law as such is in view. But the OT law is still in mind, since the types of sinful people surveyed in vv. 9b–11a follow the general outline of sins prohibited in the Decalogue.
is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
10sexually immoral people, practicing homosexuals,
On this term BDAG 135 s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης states, “a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1 Cor 6:9…of one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity, opp. μαλακός…1 Ti 1:10; Pol 5:3. Cp. Ro 1:27.” L&N 88.280 states, “a male partner in homosexual intercourse - ‘homosexual.’…It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner” (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). Since there is a distinction in contemporary usage between sexual orientation and actual behavior, the qualification “practicing” was supplied in the translation, following the emphasis in BDAG.
kidnappers, liars, perjurers – in fact, for any who live contrary to sound teaching.
A continuation of the preceding idea: Grk “teaching, according to the gospel.” This use of the law is in accord with the gospel entrusted to Paul (cf. Rom 7:7–16; Gal 3:23–26). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
accords with the glorious gospel of the blessed God
Grk “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.”
that was entrusted to me.
Grk “with which I was entrusted.” The translation is more in line with contemporary English style.

12 I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful in putting me into ministry, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an arrogant
Or “violent,” “cruel.”
man. But I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief,
14and our Lord’s grace was abundant, bringing faith and love in Christ Jesus.
Grk “with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
15This saying
Grk “the saying,” referring to the following citation (see 1 Tim 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 3:8 for other occurrences of this phrase).
is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them!
Grk “of whom I am the first.”
16But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that
Grk “but because of this I was treated with mercy, so that…”
in me as the worst,
Grk “in me first,” making the connection with the last phrase of v. 15.
Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life.
17Now to the eternal king,
Or more literally, “king of the ages.”
immortal, invisible, the only
Most later witnesses (א2 D1 Hc Ψ 1881 Maj.) have “wise” (σόφῳ, sōfō) here (thus, “the only wise God”), while the earlier and better witnesses (א* A D* F G H* 33 1739 lat co) lack this adjective. Although it could be argued that the longer reading is harder since it does not as emphatically affirm monotheism, it is more likely that scribes borrowed σόφῳ from Rom 16:27 where μόνῳ σόφῳ θεῷ (monō sofō qeō, “the only wise God”) is textually solid.
God, be honor and glory forever and ever!
Grk “unto the ages of the ages,” an emphatic way of speaking about eternity in Greek.

18 I put this charge
This charge refers to the task Paul described to Timothy in vv. 3–7 above.
before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you,
The prophecies once spoken about you were apparently spoken at Timothy’s ordination (cf. 1 Tim 4:14) and perhaps spoke of what God would do through him. Thus they can encourage him in his work, as the next clause says.
in order that with such encouragement
Grk “that by them you might fight…” (a reference to the prophecies which can encourage him in his work).
you may fight the good fight.
19To do this
In Greek this continues the same sentence from v. 18, a participle showing the means by which Timothy will accomplish his task: Grk “fight the good fight, holding firmly…”
you must hold firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith.
20Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I handed over to Satan
The expression handed over to Satan refers to an act of discipline mentioned by Paul here and in 1 Cor 5:5, with a remedial goal, not a punitive one. The Greek word translated taught in this verse is used of “discipline, training of children” to lead them to correct behavior.
to be taught not to blaspheme.

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