1 Timothy


The danger of false doctrine, 1:1-20

ii] The source of Paul's power and commission


Following the salutation and commission to Timothy, Paul sets out to express his "thanks that he was appointed to act as a steward of the gospel despite his previous opposition", Marshall.


i] Context: See 1:1-11. This passage falls within the opening section of Paul's letter to Timothy where he discusses matters of concern between himself and his young colleague.


ii] Background: See 1:1-11.


iii] Structure: The source of Paul's power and commission.

Paul's charge to Timothy, v3-20:

The need to confront false teachers, v3-7;

Their improper understanding of the law, v8-11;

The need to focus on the gospel, v12-17;

Paul thanks God for blessings received, v12-14;

The divine purpose in saving Paul, v15-16;

Doxology of praise, v17.

Fight the good fight, v18-20.


This thanksgiving by Paul can be viewed as a digression, but it is likely that his words of deep appreciation for his conversion and appointment are designed to encourage Timothy, someone similarly appointed by divine authority - "the prophecies once made about you", v18. So, the passage is best viewed as part of Paul's charge to Timothy.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul continues his charge to Timothy with a word of encouragement. This word rests on a "trustworthy saying", namely, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The focus of Timothy's ministry is to stand with Christ for the salvation of sinners. The world is flooded with the lost, but Paul probably has in mind the members of Timothy's own congregation, those "certain people" who "teach false doctrines." Paul was just such a person, driven by his law-bound theological speculations to persecute the church, and yet now he serves as an example of what can happen to a person who, through the power of God's grace, finds himself under the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Timothy is well able to find encouragement in the powerful operation of the gospel in Paul's life.


The trustworthy sayings. In the Pastoral Epistles, we have 5 sayings which are introduced by the formula "the saying is trustworthy", 1Tim.3:1, 2Tim.2:11, and Titus 3:8. An expanded version of the the formula is used in 1Tim.1:15 and 4:9, "the saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance (poss. "worthy to be accepted by all")." The formula is used in secular circles to affirm a reference, and Paul seems to use it with similar intent in these letters, ie., to mark an important doctrine of Christian belief, as against the teachings of the false teachers. Other than in Titus, the formula precedes the doctrinal statement. The extent of the doctrinal statement is not always clear, eg., Titus, is it v4-7, v5-7, or v5-6. Not all these doctrinal statement, concern salvation, although they tend to focus on the life to come.

Paul uses the word logoV, "word", for the sayings; "the word is faithful / sure"; "words you may trust", NEB. It's as if Paul is using the word logoV for a piece of creedal / doctrinal truth. In fact, Paul views the whole apostolic tradition, founded as it is on the teachings of Jesus, as "the trustworthy logoV", Titus 1:9.

The source of these sayings is long disputed. Some argue for the existence of a creedal document that Paul quotes from; some even suggest they are taken from hymns (some of the sayings do reflect Greek poetic form). Yet, it seems more likely that Paul is simply quoting from the apostolic oral tradition of the early Church and uses the formula pistoV oJ logoV to emphasise its significance.


v] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 1:12

The need for Timothy to focus on the gospel, v12-17: i] Paul thanks God for blessings received, v12-14. Timothy needs to follow the example of Paul whose ministry is mirrored in his life. "Paul's appointment as an apostle was a single instance of the grace of Christ, which is shown to have unique and permanent value as an example", Barrett. "Paul does not present himself as a model of moral behaviour to be imitated. He is, instead, the paradigm of how God's gift of empowering mercy through Christ can transform a despicable character into one considered faithful and placed into service", Johnson.

carin exw "I thank" - i have grace, gratitude [to the one having empowered me]. Possibly in the sense of actively thank, "I render thanks", Moffatt, or feel thankful, "my gratitude goes out to him", Barclay.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - [christ jesus, lord] of us. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "Lord over us."

tw/ kuriw/ (oV) dat. "Lord" - Standing in apposition to "Christ Jesus", dative in agreement.

tw/ endunamwsanti (endunamow) dat. aor. part. "who has given me strength" - the one having empowered, enabled, strengthened [me]. The participle serves as a substantive standing in apposition to "Christ", dative in agreement with "Christ", indirect object of "I have [gratitude]." "Enabled" for service, the aorist possibly indicating Paul's initial strengthening in the Spirit, rather than ongoing strengthening, although most translators opt for a perfect sense. "Has made me equal to the task", REB.

oJti "that" - because, since. Serving to introduce a causal clause explaining why Paul thanks the Lord; "for he deemed me worthy and appointed me for service", Berkeley.

hJghsato (hJgeomai) aor. + acc. "he considered" - he considered, counted, regarded, reckoned, deemed. Again, the aorist indicating a punctiliar action, best understood as past. "He judged me faithful", NRSV.

piston adj. "faithful" - [me] reliable, faithful, trustworthy, dependable. Complement of the direct object "me" standing in a double accusative construction. "He considered that I was someone who could be depended on", TH.

qemenoV (tiqhmi) aor. part. "appointing" - having put me. The participle can be treated as attendant circumstance, expressing action accompanying the verb "he considered"; "he considered me trustworthy and appointed me ...", Moffatt. It can also be taken as adverbial, possibly temporal, "when he assigned / gave responsibility to me", or modal expressing the manner by which God judged Paul faithful.

eiV + acc. "to" - into. Here expressing purpose; "for his service" = "in order to serve him."

diakonian (a) "[his] service" - [his] service, ministry. Paul commonly uses this word for Christian ministry, so "appoint me his minister", Phillips.


Paul is extremely thankful toward Jesus for counting him worthy to undertake gospel ministry. Paul blasphemed by heaping reproach on Jesus' name. Paul persecuted the faithful, scorned the faith, and yet in all this, Jesus showed him mercy.

onta (eimi) pres. part. "Even though I was" - being. The participle is adverbial, possibly temporal, "before", but best treated as concessive, "even though", as NIV; "Though I had formerly been ...", Moffatt.

to proteron adv. "once" - formerly, former, previously. The article serves as a nominalizer, turning the adverb "formerly" into a temporal substantive, "the former time"; "before I became a Christian", TH.

blasfhmon (oV) "a blasphemer" - Predicate accusative. A person who speaks ill of God or others, here probably of defaming the things of God, but also used of a person who claims divine standing.

diwkthn (hV ou) "a persecutor" - [and] persecutor. Predicate accusative. A hapax legomenon, once only use in the NT. A person who treats others badly, here probably of Paul's persecution of the church.

uJbristhn (hV ou) "a violent man" - [and] an insolent person. Predicate accusative. Probably here, Paul's violence toward the church is in mind, as NIV.

alla "but" - Adversative.

hlehqhn (eleew) aor. pas. "I was shown mercy" - i was shown kindness. The agent of the action is obviously Christ; "the Lord Jesus took pity on me."

oJti "because" - Usually taken to introduce a causal clause explaining why the Lord was merciful, "because", as NIV. None-the-less, it may introduce an epexegetic clause which serves to explain / specify why the Lord did not regard his sin as beyond redemption.

agnown (agnoew) pres. part. "in ignorance" - being ignorant. An adverbial participle of manner, so Robertson; "I acted ignorantly", ESV. "I didn't know what I was doing", CEV.

en apistia/ (a) "unbelief" - [i did it] in unbelief. The prepositional phrase is probably adverbial; "I acted ........ as a man without faith", but it is possible for the preposition en to be classified as local, "in a state or condition marked by unbelief." Perkins. Paul obviously believed in God, but not Jesus; "I had not yet put my faith in him (Jesus as the Christ)", CEV.


It was God's unmerited favour ("grace") which secured Paul's forgiveness and freed him to serve God.

de "-" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument to a coordinate point; "and the grace of the Lord overflowed for me", ESV.

hJ cariV (iV ewV) "the grace" - the mercy, kindness, grace. Nominative subject of the verb "was present in great abundance." Particularly used of God's undeserved kindness and love toward sinners, as here.

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - [of the lord] of us. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / subordination; "over us." Paul is being inclusive.

tou kuriou (oV)gen. "Lord" - of the lord. The genitive is usually taken as verbal, subjective. Probably still referring to Jesus.

uJperepleonasen (uJperleonazw) aor. "was poured out on me abundantly" - was present in great abundance. A hapax legomenon. The prefix extends the meaning of "overflow" by adding the sense "above its usual measure." "He has greatly blessed my life", CEV.

meta + gen. "with / along with [faith and love]" - with [faith and love]. Expressing association / accompaniment. Possibly grace comes with divine faithfulness and love, or even grace may be described as divine faithfulness and love. It is more likely that grace prompts in the believer faith and love, in that these qualities are found in those who are "in Christ." "My sin was great, but the grace of our Lord was still greater, and with it there came (flourished!) the faith and love which are to be found in Christ Jesus", Barclay.

thV gen. "that are" - the. The article serves as an adjectivizer, turning the prepositional phrase "in Christ Jesus" into an attributive modifier limiting "faith and love", as NIV.

en + dat. "in [Christ Jesus]" - Paul's oft used local sense expressing incorporative union is possible here; "faith and love which is realised for those who are in union with Christ Jesus." A general local sense is possible, something like "founded in Christ Jesus", or instrumental, "shaped by Christ Jesus."


ii] The divine purpose is saving Paul, v15-16. Paul goes on to quote a commonly accepted statement of belief. There are five "faithful sayings" in the Pastorals; see above. This first saying announces Jesus' role of saving sinners, and links it with his incarnation rather than his death and resurrection.

pistoV "here is a trustworthy [saying]" - faithful is the word. Predicate adjective. The first of 5 "faithful sayings."

apodochV (h) gen. "acceptance" - [and worthy] of [all] approval, acceptance, reception. Deserving of recognition; Genitive complement of the adjective axioV, "worthy"; "to be completely accepted and believed", TEV.

oJti "-" - that. Introducing a dependent statement, direct quote, expressing the content of the trustworthy saying.

eiV + acc. "[came] into" - [christ Jesus came] into. Spacial. Although the incarnation is not spelled out, it is surely implied in the terms of Jesus coming from the Father to be with us.

ton kosmon (oV) "the world" - the sphere of human habitation.

swsai (swzw) aor. inf. "to save" - to save, rescue, restore to a state of wellbeing [sinners]. The infinitive is final, expressing purpose; "in order to save sinners."

w|n gen. "of whom" - The genitive is adjectival, partitive.

egw pro. "I" - i [i am]. Emphatic by use.

prwtoV adj. "the worst" - foremost, first, prominent, former. Predicate adjective. "I am the greatest."


Having admitted his sinful state, Paul goes on to say how his own salvation can be seen as a pattern for all arch-offenders.

alla "but" - but, rather. This conjunction here may establish continuity in the argument leading to a reason why God showed mercy toward Paul, namely that he may be an example. This seems a questionable purpose, so probably a contrast is being expressed: Paul's opinion of himself as compared to, "rather than", God's opinion, namely, that Paul was worth saving.

dia touto + acc. "for that very reason" - because of. This causal construction is likely to introduce a proposition, "therefore / for this reason, ie., inferential rather than causal.

touto "that" - this. Either what precedes, God's grace or Paul's sinfulness, or what follows, God's intention to use Paul as a display of his patience. Surely it is what precedes.

hlehqhn (eleew) aor. pas. "I was shown [mercy]" - i received [mercy]. The agent being God, or Christ. "I was mercifully treated", NAB.

iJna + subj. "so that" - that. Probably introducing a purpose clause, although a consecutive clause, expressing result, is possible given that "that very reason" points back. "I realise that I was the worst of them all, and that because of this very fact God was particularly merciful to me. I was a kind of demonstration of the extent of Christ's patience towards the worst of men, to serve (which serves) as an example to all who in the future should trust him for eternal life", Phillips.

en + dat. "in" - in [me]. Local, expressing space / sphere, "in my life", or reference / respect, "with respect to me."

prwtw/ dat. adj. "the worst of sinners" - the first. Standing in apposition to emoi, "me", dative in agreement.

endeixhtai (endeixnumi) aor. subj. "might display" - [christ jesus] might display, point out, demonstrate / prove. The prefix emphasising completeness. Here "show" or "demonstrate".

thn apasan makroqumian (a) "his unlimited patience" - the all long-suffering, forbearance, patience. Accusative direct object of the verb "might display." "The endless patience of Christ Jesus", CEV.

proV "as" - to, toward = for. Here expressing purpose; "for an example."

uJpotupwsin (iV ewV) "an example" - a pattern, model. Paul's situation, his state of rebellion and then his salvation, is "a perfect example."

twn mellontwn (mellw) gen. pres. part. + inf. "for those who would" - of the ones being about [to believe]. The genitive is probably verbal, objective, while the participle itself, with its complementary infinitive, is periphrastic, expressing a durative future; "for those who were going to believe in him", Barclay, "for those who, in the future, were to repose their faith in him", Cassirer.

ep (epi) + dat. "on" - upon, on [him]. Spacial, as of putting ones weight upon, but possibly expressing result. An uncommon way of expressing faith in Christ.

eiV + acc. "-" - toward, to [life eternal]. Possibly expressing purpose here, "for eternal life", NJB, although it makes more sense to say "gain eternal life", Moffatt. Possibly consecutive, expressing result; "resulting in eternal life."


iii] Doxology of praise, v17. This focus on salvation leads Paul to burst into praise and adoration. His words are in the form of a doxology - a hymn of praise to God. God is the eternal imperishable king who rules forever, cf. Rev.15:3.

de "now" - but/and. Transitional, indicating a step in the argument to a concluding point; as NIV. .

tw/ basilei (euV ewV) dat. "to the King" - There is no verb in the doxology and so it must be assumed - NIV "be [honour and glory ..]." The dative may be classified as a dative of respect / reference, or possession, and is a common feature of doxologies, so with respect "to the King." If we assume an optative we may classify the dative as a dative of indirect object, "May there be honour and glory for eternity to the king of the ages, the incorruptible, invisible only God."

twn aiwnwn (wn wnoV) gen. "eternal" - of the ages. The genitive is adjectival, attributive, probably the common Semitic form, "the ever-living God", but possibly idiomatic / subordination, "the God who rules over all the ages of time", cf. Wallace p88. "Who rules forever", TH.

afqartw/ adj. "immortal" - not perishable, not able to be destroyed [invisible, only god].

timh (h) "honour" - Nominative subject of an implied verb to-be. "Respect."

doxa (a) "glory" - [and] glory [be into the ages of the ages, amen]. Nominative subject of an implied verb to-be. "Glory", when referring to God, expresses his splendour and power. Here in the sense of giving praise to.


1 Timothy Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]