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1st Timothy
Chapter 1

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1st Timothy Chapter One
Commentary by Ron Beckham

Audio Bible Study - 1 Timothy 1:1-5

Verse 1. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,”

A “disciple” is a pupil, a learner, like a student in school. An “apostle” is a “sent one,” much like an ambassador is sent by the king of one nation to another country as the representative of his native land. First we are called to become disciples and then, at the time of God’s choosing, He will deem that we are sufficiently equipped and then we will subsequently be sent out to serve our Lord. Paul, the author of this Book called First Timothy, was an “apostle,” sent by God as an ambassador from Paul’s true home in the Kingdom of God, to the people of this world, especially to non-Jews, to Gentiles. This Book was in the form of a letter by Paul to a younger man, a pastor named Timothy, who he called, “my true son in the faith,” in Verse 2. Paul had led Timothy to Christ and he cared for the younger man as he would delight in his own son.

Paul was sent by “Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior…” It’s important for us, if we act for God, that we be led BY Him. When He calls someone to His service, He not only sends them, but He also empowers, instructs and strengthens them for His work. That’s why Jesus was able to say, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” because the hardest part of the work is done by Him (Matthew 11:30). And “Christ Jesus” is our true “hope.” This is much more than, “I hope…” such-and-such a thing will happen. In the original language, the word “hope” is the CONFIDENT expectation about someone or something, that it actually IS who or what we expect it or them to be. True “hope” is the gift of God in Christ, placed inside the person who has placed their trust in the Lord.

Verse 2. “To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

As He was preparing for death, preparing His followers for what was to come, Jesus gave them (and us today) a very clear command. He said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34). And then He continued, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). That’s the kind of love Paul had for Timothy. Pure, innocent and holy, but with a depth of concern and care which is exactly what Jesus was teaching His disciples about.

Paul had led Timothy to the Lord, which is what he meant by the statement, “my true child in the faith.” The words “my true child” also meant that he had observed that Timothy was true to the Lord. And when you think about it, to extend “grace, mercy and peace” to someone is to give them something wonderful. “Grace” is the unmerited favor of God. “Mercy” is to be really CARED for during suffering - others will act on their behalf. “Peace” means to have harmonious relationships with people and with God. And this is Paul’s prayer for his “child,” that he would receive all these blessings which are actually from “God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord,” even when they seem to come merely from people.

Verse 3. “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,”

Paul wrote this first known letter to the younger pastor, Timothy from Macedonia, in 62-63 AD. The Apostle Paul had left the younger man behind in Ephesus in Asia, when he was led by the Lord to cross the Aegean Sea and minister in Macedonia, where he would meet Dr. Luke, who was to be his physician and companion for many years. The direct purpose in writing was to encourage the younger pastor, Timothy, to appoint elders, fight false teachings, and properly supervise the church. Timothy was encouraged in this letter to pastor the flock at Ephesus.

Paul was reasonably concerned about “strange doctrines” that were being taught by some purported followers of Christ Jesus in the area of Ephesus. Timothy was charged by Paul to directly confront such men, telling them “not to teach” such things; to STOP such men. It’s amazing, when you think about it, that so many conflicting doctrines have been presented in and through the branches of the visible church, and they have often created so many problems; so much strife. Paul would tell Timothy in Verse 5 that “the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” It’s so simple and yet so many have insisted on making everything unnecessarily complicated, spending their lives in “fruitless discussion” (Verse 6), which tends to actually push people AWAY from the church, away from the Lord.

Verse 4. “nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith.”

The word for “myth” in this verse is a Greek word that means to keep something secret, to close ones eyes to the truth; to create a fictional story, a “myth” that is told in its place. Timothy was in the predominantly Greek city of Ephesus at the moment, as seen in Verse 3, a culture devoted to heroes, where mythological stories gradually were attached to Olympic Games winners, military conquerors and other notable people. These stories wove themselves into fabrications surrounding the birth and “genealogies” of heroes, until ordinary people became like “gods” in the minds of the people who heard and read about them.

Other groups were also fascinated by “genealogies,” including the Jews of Paul’s time, who considered it essential to be descended from the patriarchs of Israel. Many of them joined one church or another, became leaders and went on the road as evangelists. Some were good men, but others became “Gnostics” who were more interested in knowledge than in having simple “faith” in the Lord. Knowledge can be good, but faith is better. We don’t know everything; actually far from it, but God does know everything and He saves those who trust in Him.

Verse 5. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”

What is life all about? What does God want from us? What is so IMPORTANT that everything else in life is secondary to its accomplishment? The key is found in Verse 4, where Paul urged the younger man Timothy to not only have faith in the Lord on a personal basis, but also to encourage others to do the same. We will be CHANGED for the good when we truly place our faith in God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. He enters right into our hearts and we will LIKE the work He does in us. One important change is that instead of seeing everything filtered merely through our own experiences and limitations, we will begin to gain God’s perspective on the people around us.

The needs of others will gradually become as important to you as your own, for God brings His very nature into the persons who give their hearts and lives to Him. The word “instruction” is actually, “to pass on an announcement.” God revealed much to Paul, who in turn instructed those around him, and those words have come down through the centuries to you and me. God intends we will have agape (selfless) "love" for people, acting toward others out of pure and clean motives. Doing these things, your conscience will become clear as you discover the forgiveness given in Christ Jesus, and your faith in the Lord will grow.

Father, lead us in truth and in love.  Impart to us the "pure heart" and "sincere faith" that Paul spoke about.  We give ourselves to You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Audio Bible Study - 1 Tim. 1:6-10

Verse 6. “For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,”

We saw in Verse 5 what God wants from us all, which is: “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” But “some,” as it says here, actually many in the world, are “straying” from the good things of God. That process is accelerating in our generation.  In some translations we find they have “swerved” from the truth, or “wandered away” from the way life should be. Actually, the word for “straying” in the original Greek language of the time was to miss the mark, to fail to aim at what is important in life.  All you have to do is read the newspaper or turn on the news to see the truth of this verse.

Those in the group described as “some men” in this verse, are also described in Verse 3 as those “certain men (who) teach strange doctrines.” In this verse, we see the words of such people described as “fruitless discussion,” a phrase that is found in other translations as “vain” words. In the Greek, it is “to turn or twist aside, to turn away.” It was also a medical phrase of the time and it meant “to be dislocated.” There is, as there always has been much “fruitless discussion” in theology, which strangely occurs in many seminaries and some pulpits. Instead of teaching young people to have faith in the Lord, fault is found with Scripture, which is often brushed aside as “myth.” But God knows His Word is true. It is essential that simple “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” should be the goal for us all.

Verse 7. “wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

At the time Paul the Apostle wrote these words to the younger man, Timothy, most of the religious leaders in Israel, whether, Priest, Pharisee, Sadducee, Scribe, or as they tended to be called, the Doctors of the Law, had missed the point. As the Holy Spirit through Paul revealed in another place, “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in (God’s) sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). And he continued, a man or a woman “is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). But there were a number of these “teachers of the Law” traveling around the edges of the Mediterranean Sea, not unlike the journeys of Paul, but they presented a message opposite to the freedom given us in the Gospel of Christ.

And that’s true today. There are many who make their living from the Bible, writing books, giving lectures, presenting seminars, teaching classes or whatever; giving forth the idea that we can somehow be made right with God through our own efforts in keeping some kind of doctrinal law. Noble as these works may seem, as “confident” and assertive as these teachers may appear to be, the truth remains that “by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified.” It is the Lord Himself who has done the work, and we “are justified by faith” in Him alone. We really have nothing to give, except what we “hear” from God’s Holy Spirit, whether directly or through the written Word. Our prayer must be, “Let our teaching be in You, O Lord, and not something from ourselves.”

Verse 8. “But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully,”

To “know” in this verse translates as to KNOW from OBSERVATION. We know because God has shown it to us. Continuing Paul’s thought from the previous verse, “the law is good” and it has a good purpose in our lives. It is suitable to our needs and useful if we are to grow in Christ, for there is much in us that calls out to be changed. The written law, as expressed in God’s Word, has the power to bring us to our knees in repentance before the Throne of God. And note that the law is even more personal than just reading it – “the law (is) written in (our) hearts… (stimulating our) conscience… (our) thoughts accusing or else excusing (us)” (Romans 2:15). Even those who deny to themselves that they have a “conscience,” have the Law of God stamped on their very soul.

To use God’s Law “lawfully” as it says in this verse is to respond as Paul did in Romans Chapter 7. He loved the Law, but in attempting to keep it he found, “I would not have known sin except through the law." He stumbled over the tenth commandment, “You shall not covet” (to want what other people have - Romans 7:7). He resolved to change, but he could not, crying out, “The good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19). In using the Law “lawfully,” as in this verse, he was drawn to call out, “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24). And the answer for him, as it is for you and me is to live our lives “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25). Jesus has paid the price for our sinful nature, and through Him, we become free.

Verse 9. “realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers”

Realizing,” as in this translation, or “knowing” as in others, was used in the Greek language to describe knowledge that is grasped by the mind. In other words, these facts of the law that Paul is discussing should be obvious to everyone, whether we know the Lord or not. “Righteous” denotes justice without prejudice or partiality. The truly “righteous” person will be a fair person and the law of God was not designed for such people. “Lawless” in this place means unholy; lacking inner purity. “Rebellious” in this verse is disobedience; refusing to respond to the needs and hopes of others, the very nature of selfishness.

The “ungodly” here in Verse 9, are those who defy the Person, the very nature of God. “Sinners” are those who “miss the mark” by failing to live up to standards known to all. “Unholy” means just what you would expect, but it also contains the extra element of – profane. The word listed in English as “profane” in this verse is the opposite of sacred, referring to contemptuous behavior toward the name of God. “Those who kill their fathers or mothers” are in shameful violation of the law, including not honoring their parents in violation of the Fifth and Sixth Commandments. “Murderers” are men-killers who hate others to the extent of plotting to kill them. The same word in the Greek is used in 1 John 3:15, where it says, “No murderer has eternal life.”

Verse 10. “and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,”

This man who had been Saul the Pharisee had been wondrously shocked and changed by the love of God in Christ Jesus. He was changed into Paul the Apostle of God to the Gentiles. He now realized what the Law of God was all about. Formerly he had insisted on outward compliance to that Law, even murdering and imprisoning others who disagreed with him. Now he saw that the Law “is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious” (Verse 9) and he is giving us a glimpse here of ways we might identify “lawless” people.

One example of lawlessness, which began in Verse 9, is what Paul called “Immoral men.” In the original Greek language of this letter to Timothy, it meant fornication, which is sexual intercourse outside of marriage. “Homosexuals” means just what it says, a word that can be translated, “an abuser of self with mankind” (Strong’s Greek Dictionary). “Kidnappers” is literally “men-stealers,” a word used for slave traders in the ancient Greek world. “Liars” are those who deceive by lies, and “perjurers” give false testimony in a court of law. Note that Paul does not close the list with the examples given in Verses 9 and 10. The sad reality is that all of us know right from wrong, but wrongdoers usually choose to deny the truth about their thoughts and actions; opting to live a lie rather than trust in the Lord and be healed.

Dear Lord, help us look to the good Law of God and see our need.  Forgive us and heal us from our sins.  Let our teaching be in You, O Lord, and not something from ourselves.  We trust in You.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Audio Bible Study - 1 Timothy 1:11-15

Verse 11. “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”

In the preceding two verses, Paul, the writer of this letter to Timothy, has given us a brief description of what “lawless and rebellious” behavior is all about. In a list of such actions he included the profane, disobedient, murderers, the immoral, homosexuals, kidnappers, liars and perjurers. He then concluded, “and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching” (Verses 9-10). Each of us can add to that list because down deep inside, everyone knows what behavior is good and what is not. Note, by the way, that all of the activities on this list are about choices – people can choose to do such things or not, and the ability to not act in such a manner is done through the power, will and love of God.

Receiving the “gospel” changes our lives. The “gospel” is the “good news” that we can be forgiven through Christ Jesus, the One who became our Substitute and died in our place. Suddenly and/or gradually, we find ourselves drawn out of the thoughts and behavior seen in the two preceding verses; for such things are not “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God” that we are to serve. When frustration draws you to profanity, when your willfulness leads you into disobedience; when you are so angry you could murder someone; when you have thoughts of immorality and then feel you must lie to protect yourself, look to the Lord. Do it “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which those who trust in Him have been entrusted.” Take your thoughts and actions to Him. You'll find forgiveness and He will make you clean inside and out (1 John 1:9).

Verse 12. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,”

What is called “the Lord’s Prayer,” begins with “Hallowed be Thy name” (Matthew 5:9), and that is the attitude, the response to the Lord that should fill our lives – gratitude and praise. Paul suffered a lot in life, as Timothy, the young man who would receive this letter, well knew. Yet the gift of teaching that marked and filled Paul’s life, brought him into conflict with the false “teachers of the Law” seen in verse 7 and created problems for him from Roman authorities. But he said, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord.” Praise and thanksgiving had become his first and deepest response to – everything.

And what was he thankful for, most of all? As we will see in the next verse, Paul did not deserve to be in “service” to his Lord, and yet God used him. He knew that this was the work of God, not done in his own strength, for as he said, it was the “Lord who has strengthened me.” It was the Lord who put “me into service.” God “considered (him) faithful.” It was not that he somehow understood everything perfectly or got it right in everything he did, but that he was “faithful.” God called him “into service” and Paul was “faithful” to that call. Do we have to be perfect in what God calls us to do? There is truth in that, for just as Paul did, we should honor the perfect will, the call of God in our lives. But if we do well, it is God who has done it. He has “strengthened” us and if we do any perfect thing, it is God who brings it to pass.

Verse 13. “even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;”

During the years that Paul was known as Saul the Pharisee, he dedicated himself to the destruction of the people later known as “Christians,” who at that time were called followers of “the Way” (Acts 9:2). We catch a glimpse of Saul in Acts 7:58, where the men who stoned Stephen the Christian deacon, “laid down their (outer) clothes” at Saul’s feet. He was the leader at the murder of the good man, Stephen, one of the first seven Christian deacons of the Early Church.

Saul was described as “breathing threats and murder against the disciples” and his intention was to go to “Damascus” to “bring (Christians) bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1-2). He did not understand what he really was doing, for he thought he was serving God. In reality he was “a blasphemer (against God) and a “persecutor and a violent aggressor” of God’s people. Paul later understood the grace, the unmerited favor of God better than any of us because this man had done terrible, despicable acts, and “yet (he) was shown mercy.” As it says here, he “acted ignorantly in unbelief.” He learned that the work of Christ is greater than anything done in obedience to some kind of mere "law" and what Jesus has done will wipe out any and every sin.

Verse 14. “and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”

The original word in this verse for “grace” in the Greek of the time meant “that which causes pleasure, delight or causes favorable regard” (W. E. Vine). It also was used for “beauty or gracefulness.” The word was considered to be the opposite of debt and it was the free gift of God. It costs us nothing, but it was costly to the Son of God. The word “abundant” here was really “super-abundant,” and it originally meant a “throwing beyond.” Paul had been “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” (Verse 13), but the grace of God in Christ Jesus was a “throwing beyond” any failure, any sin he committed or sin we might commit. That’s a good reason to trust in the Lord and that’s why we should forgive others. If God has made them clean, we should accept His work in them.

Two elements are clearly involved in “faith” as it is revealed in Scripture: 1) We discover that we KNOW the Lord is true. Something deeper than merely wanting to believe is revealed in faith, and 2) We are enabled to personally surrender to Him and Scripture will facilitate that process. Romans Chapter 10 contains an excellent discussion on faith: It is revealed, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). It says about Christ, “He who believes in Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11). Faith is something of God planted into the depths of our being. As Hebrews 12:2 says, “Jesus Christ is the Author and Finisher of our faith." And all of this is done in the deep, rich (agape) “love” of God “in Christ Jesus.” We who are undeserving can safely have our “faith” in Him.

Verse 15. “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”

In Scripture we can clearly see that God is holy, just and true. We find that He is willing and able to judge sinners, individually and also judges nations that have gone astray. But we can miss the point if the judgment of God is all we are willing to see in relation to Him. People are complex and as we get to know them, we discover there is more to them than we first thought. That’s true of God as well, for He is infinitely more complex and wonderful than anyone really understands. Historically, men and women have made up “gods,” often fashioning them into little statues and pretending they are something, but they’re not. God sees right into us, understanding that we are like little children, pretending things are true when they aren’t.

He sees what we often do not see. The human race consists of individuals who are so hopelessly marred by sin that many choose to pretend God does not exist because they are ashamed. That’s why “Christ Jesus came into the world” – “to save sinners” like you and me. As Jesus Himself said, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). Saul the Pharisee became Paul the Apostle because even though he was “foremost” among “sinners,” he was willing to be changed when he was confronted by the Lord, as it is shown in Acts Chapter 9. The words in this letter to Timothy confront us all. We are all “foremost” as “sinners” because “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Will you trust in the Lord?

Lord, it's true.  You see right in us and through us.  We have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  Forgive us, save us and heal us from the sin that fills our lives.  We trust in You now.  Thank You, Lord.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Bible Study - 1 Timothy 1:16-20

Verse 16. “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”

Everything in life happens for a good purpose because God makes it so. Paul would later write, “we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Continuing the commentary on Verse 15, people have said, “I can’t believe in a God who would forgive…” and then they recite some terrible wrong that in their own eyes could never be forgiven or forgotten. But we are all sinners and we should actually praise God, for He is full of "mercy." Paul, also known as Saul, initially did great harm to the Early Church, but the Lord forgave him.  Scripture says, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Hosea 6:6), words quoted by Jesus, who also said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:13).

The great truth about the “righteous” is that “there is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10) and there is great purpose in bringing someone like Saul also known as Paul to the Lord. “For God so loved the WORLD…” (Jesus said in John 3:16), and that word “world” includes everyone who has ever lived. There is nothing you have ever done that is greater than the “mercy,” the "perfect patience" of God. He loves us all and “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). In “His perfect patience,” He waits for each one, “as an example” of the changed lives of those who “believe in Him for eternal life.” He is waiting for just the right time, for each one of us who will trust in Him.

Verse 17. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

A form of the word “eternal” in this verse was also used as “everlasting” in many translations of places like John 3:16, and in that verse the Lord said about those who have “everlasting” or “eternal” life, “they shall never perish.” The “King” we worship, always was, is, and always will be, as the Lord intimated to Moses when He said to him from the bush that burned but was not consumed, “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14 & context). “Immortal” here is from the Greek word, “thanatos,” which meant “death,” but here it is “athanasia,” the opposite of death, and it literally meant “deathlessness.”  Our "King" is "immortal" and He shares "eternal" life with us.

Invisible” is actually “unseen” – He is there, but we do not see Him, which is troubling for some, but note the words of Jesus: “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). And our “King” is “the only God.” The “Schema” of Israel, recited on the Sabbath, is Deuteronomy 6:4 –“The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” “God” is the Hebrew “Elohim,” which is plural, actually “Gods.” “One” is “Echad,” which translates as “One that is a Plurality with parts,” as one egg has a yolk, white and shell. Our God is “the only God,” who is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Considering that He is wonderful, we reasonably give Him “honor and glory forever and ever,” just as Paul did.

Verse 18. “This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,”

The King James Bible is the better translation for this verse, because it accurately translates the word “fight” as “warfare.” Yes, our walk with the Lord is like a “fight” in which the enemy attacks and we defend, though sometimes we are led to attack and it’s the enemy who defends. This is more like “warfare,” however, because in every major conflict there are soldiers who carry out orders, but there is also a General who tells the soldiers what to do. We are those soldiers and our King, our General, is directing us through “faith and a good conscience,” as prompted by the Holy Spirit, and through the written Word of God, which is like a book of maps that keep us from “shipwreck,” as we will see in Verse 19.

Timothy was a young pastor, “gifted” by God, and called into His service. There were “prophecies previously made concerning” him, which are not specified in this place. Mention of this is also made in 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6, where the younger man was encouraged to "use the gift God had given him through the laying on of (Paul’s) hands.” Note that we are all to receive “gifts” from God to be used in His service. It’s much like a soldier in the field. First they are trained to become soldiers and then they receive specialized training. Some of them are given rifles, some receive radio equipment and others medical kits. It is the same with those who have faith in the Lord. We are gifted as God chooses, and then we are to “fight the good fight” as He directs.

Verse 19. “keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”

Faith” in the Lord includes the idea that we will look to Him for leadership and understanding. We don’t know what is best, but He does know, and also we can’t do what needs to be done, but He can do it in and through us. He will show us what to pray, what to say, and what should be done next. How we should live will be revealed to us through our “conscience,” by which we understand the will of God. Through "faith" we are made alive to a realization of what is morally good or bad, and we will be drawn to the good through the Holy Spirit of God who is in those who have faith in God through Jesus Christ.

As Paul states in this verse, “some have rejected” faith in the Lord and a God-given conscience, made active for those in humanity, whether saved or not. This happens through the Holy Spirit, who leads us away from sin and toward the healing touch of God. But some, many actually, “have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” It’s like we are sailing ships at sea. We should be looking at navigation guides like the compass and maps to show us the way, but instead we go in a direction of our own choosing, which leads us to crash on the rocks of life. Paul will go on in the next verse to name two men of his own time who were leading others to “shipwreck.”

Verse 20. “Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.”

Are we to “love one another” as Jesus commanded in John 13:34? Oh yes, definitely we are to love one another with sincere hearts. Jesus continued, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). But do we blindly accept others who claim to be “Christians,” but teach a message that is contrary to the love of God which is in Christ Jesus? The answer in these words written first to Timothy and now to us, is: No.” This verse is a continuation of Verse 7, referring to those who are “wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.”

In other words, these men, “Hymenaeus and Alexander,” were going to places like Ephesus, Corinth, Rome, Antioch, and Thessalonica, presenting themselves as “teachers of the Law,” but leading converts to Christ astray. In order to “love one another” effectively, we must to some extent look for wolves among the sheep and be willing to intervene, to warn the sheep that they are in danger. And Paul does exactly that. He provided the names of two men, “Hymenaeus and Alexander,” men he prayerfully had “handed over to Satan, so that they (would) be taught not to blaspheme.” He did not consign them to the fires of hell or anything like that. He prayed that God would intervene with whatever it took to bring these two men to the truth, so that others might be protected, and so that they might be saved from their own error-filled teachings.

Father, enable us to love, but also open our eyes to the truth.  Fill us with the Holy Spirit and with the good words that come from God.  Give us faith in the Lord and a good conscience.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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