Chapter 1:1–20

1:1 - Paul presents himself as an apostle of Christ according to the command of God. Perhaps, again his apostleship was put into question or perhaps, he wants to remind that the origin of his ministry is different from this of false teachers.

God, the Father is presented as Savior and Jesus Christ as our hope. That is unique. However, see 2 Tim 1:10, Titus 1:4; 2:13; 3:6) where Christ is also called Saviour. God, the Father as the Saviour acts through Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:19).

Christ our hope needs to be connected with Titus 3:4–7. Christ is our hope in this life and in the life to come. Outside of Christ, there is no hope for both Christians and Gentiles alike.

1:2 - Timothy - through baptism became Paul’s child (1 Cor 4:17).

To the usual “grace and peace” is added “mercy”. The grace of God is expressed in His mercy, and then it brings peace to the heart of sinners.

The source of these three gifts are God, the Father and Christ, our Lord (see 1 Cor 8:6).

Warning against false teachers 1:3–11

1:3 - the main reason for Timothy to stay in Ephesus was to care for the true teaching of the Gospel. Thus, he should forbid to teach those false teachers. (In Act 20:29–30, Paul predicted it). Timothy has an authority to do that - the verb “might charge” - has a sense of a military order. The authority of Timothy comes from the fact that is the successor of Paul.
Notice, that Timothy realizes his ministry by teaching the right doctrine.

1:4 - What constitutes a wrong teaching?

Fables - myths - stories that do not contain truths; speculations; Greeks loved them;

Unending genealogies - speculations on the names of the persons and their longevity. The Bible has few example of genealogies (see Gen 5:1–32; Matt 1:1–17). The Jews loved to expand on them, searching for hidden meaning.

The problem with such doctrine - it leads to speculation and not to faith. Such speculations have no end; they do not discover God’s plan of salvation.

1:5 - The aim of Christian proclamation is love (John 15:12; Rom 13:10; Gal 5:6). This love springs from three sources:

  1. Clean/pure heart (Matt 5:8);
  2. Good conscience - see the meaning of conscience in note (conscience in Paul)
  3. Sincere faith

The ultimate aim of a Bible teacher should not be to generate debate and controversy. It should be to cultivate the lives of his or her students so they manifest love in their daily living. This love should spring from a pure heart, a conscience void of shame, and a genuine trust in God. Faith and love often appear linked in the Pastoral Epistles (cf. 1:14; 2:15; 4:12; 6:11; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:22; 3:10; Titus 2:2).

1:6–7 - law-teachers

Christian kerygma should lead to love, not to speculations. Unfortunately, some preferred speculations - vain talking - to love.

Law-teachers see in Acts 5:34; Luke 5:17) - terms refers to Jewish rabbis - and rabbinic Judaism that has become so-called second branch of biblical faith (the first one is Christianity).

Paul quotes as an example the teaching of those law teachers in 1 Tim 4:3; Titus 1:14; 3:9. On the opposite side is Mk 7:13; Matt 15:7–9.

1:8–10 - the law is not for the just but for the un just.

Paul understood the Law as the Tora - given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai (Rom 7:12.14.16; 2 Tim 3:15–17). Thus, Tora is good. But, its time was limited, only up to the coming of Christ (Gal 3:24; Rom 10:4).

The law is for the unjust to show us that we are sinners (Rom 3:20, 7:7–8).

The list of sinners is similar to that in Romans (see Rom 1:29–31).

But, for those, who are in Christ and live by the Spirit there is no need for the Law (see Gal 5:22–23)!

1:11 - sound teaching - the gospel of Christ. Thus, everyone who commits sins mentioned above and others strays from the Gospel of Christ and is condemned by the law.

The Law and the Gospel - a beautiful pair. The law leads to the Gospel and the Gospel gives us the power to fulfill the requirements of the law.

The Gospel of the blessed God (2 Cor 4:4).

1:12–17 - thanksgiving for the grace of conversion

1:12 - “harin ego” - a constant feeling of thanksgiving. On the other hand, “eucharistoumen” is the word used by Paul in his authentic letters for one act of thanksgiving.

Paul is grateful to Christ for being empowered. Moreover, Christ considered Paul trustworthy/faithful, and thus chose - considered Paul worthy - the apostle to the ministry of the Gospel.

1:13 - the election of Paul by Christ is even more surprising in view of his past. Paul is not ashamed to speak about that past.

The call of Paul was an act of mercy, and his former action sprang from ignorance and lack of faith. Here, we see the echo of Jesus’ prayer: Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

1:14 - the abundance of grace, faith and love that are in Christ Jesus transformed Saul into Paul.

1:15–16 - Paul presents himself as an example for everyone. If Christ can transform Saul into Paul, then there is hope for everyone sinner (Luke 19:10; John 3:17).

A sinner whom God showed mercy preaches the Gospel of mercy. He himself first experience God’s boundless mercy, therefore he can assure others of God’s mercy. Paul’s life thus become a message in itself.

Paul stands at the beginning of the long line of sinners, who found salvation in Christ.

1:17 - Paul ends with doxology, praising God for his call, conversion, and the message that springs up from it.

God is called “the King of the ages”; immortal and invisible, and the only wise. Indeed, only such a God can create man, and then after man fell into sin, recreate him into holiness.


Timothy was chosen based on prophecy - see 1 Tim 4:14–15. It seems that the gift of prophecy can be related to a gift of discernment done by the elders of the community deciding whether someone is worthy to be ordained.

Fight the good fight - a warlike metaphor was often used by Paul - 1 Thess 5:8; 1 Cor 9:7; 2 Cor 10:3, for example. Here, to preserve a pure doctrine of faith is compared to a spiritual warfare.

But, Spiritual warfare is fought with the weapons of faith and good conscience (1:5). Both gives a leader power to proclaim the truth of the Gospel. A leader who has a wavering faith and hidden sins on his conscience cannot be effective.

Paul gives an example of two leaders who did not follow this advice. Paul apparently excommunicated them - strip them from the leadership and removed from the community (see 1 Cor 5:5).

Paul acts in this way to protect the community (1 Thess 2:7–8).

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