Category Archives: 1 TIMOTHY 1

The apostle Paul gives seven charges to Timothy himself, and seven charges for him to pass on to the believers in Ephesus.

1 TIMOTHY 1

TIMING OF THE EPISTLE
The following is the record of the last years of the apostle Paul’s life:
AD 60 He is charged on three counts: (a) Disturbing Jewish worship, (“a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world), Acts 24:5. (b) Being ringleader of a sect that said Jesus was King, (“a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes”, verse 5; “saying there is another king, one Jesus”, Acts 17:7). (c) Desecrating the temple, (“who also hath gone about the profane the temple”, Acts 24:6).
He appeals to Caesar and is taken to Rome by sea, as recorded in Acts 27,28.
AD 61 Arrives at Rome.
AD 62 Writes Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians and Philippians from prison.
AD 63 Is acquitted of all charges and goes to Macedonia and Asia Minor.
AD 64 Possibly goes to Spain, something he wanted to do before, Romans 15:24. (?).
AD 66 Returns to Macedonia and writes 1 Timothy. Goes to Ephesus and writes Titus. Winters at Nicopolis. Arrested here, (probably in connection with the fire of Rome).
AD 68 In prison awaiting trial. Writes 2 Timothy. Paul asked Timothy to come to him, 2 Timothy 4:9, and he was probably able to, and was imprisoned also.
Paul was convicted and executed in either May or June. Nero died in mid-June. Timothy was released from prison, Hebrews 13:23.

REASON FOR THE EPISTLE
This is two-fold, firstly to be a charge to Timothy, giving him authority to act for the apostle in Ephesus, and then, instructions for the Ephesians. A charge is a personal word, giving authority to act, and encouragement to act. As a result of the personal charges to him, Timothy is helped to be “an example of the believers”, 4:12. He was also to function as a teacher, passing on the instructions given to him by Paul. “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ”, 4:6.

STRUCTURE OF THE EPISTLE
The charge to Timothy and the instructions for the assembly in Ephesus are interwoven in the epistle. There are seven passages where Timothy is the one addressed, and seven passages where the instruction for the Ephesians is set out. It is easy to see when Timothy is given a charge, because the apostle addresses him personally in some way.
The charges to the Ephesian believers come to them because they constitute the house of God, 3:15, and as such are to be conduct themselves in accordance with God, the Father of the household. God’s household consists of those who are born of Him, and have His life, eternal life, in their souls. This is true of all believers in this age, but is to be expressed in a locality as believers meet together in assembly fellowship.

First charge to Timothy:
“As I besought thee…”
1:1-4 Correct the wayward.
He is to deal with false teaching in the assembly at Ephesus on behalf of the apostle.

First charge to the Ephesians:
1:5-17 Love out of a pure heart.
The Father’s love is to be reproduced in the family because the Father’s will is known. That will is made known by the gospel, not law.

Second charge to Timothy:
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy”.
1:18-20 War a good warfare.
Timothy had been entrusted with a task, and was to be diligent in executing it.

Second charge to the Ephesians:
2:1-15 Prayer.
The Father’s resources are drawn upon. God supports His house so that they can function in peace in a hostile world.

Third charge to the Ephesians:
3:1-13 Elders and deacons.
The Father’s administration is known.
The house is to be an ordered place, where those whom God has appointed may “take care of the house of God”, 3:5.

Third charge to Timothy:
“These things I write unto thee”.
3:14-16 Bow in worship.
Timothy must remember the greatness of Christ, and behave in the house with reverence.

Fourth charge to the Ephesians:
4:1-5 Warning about demon-doctrines.
The Father’s protection is enjoyed.
The house is to be secure from the attacks of the enemy.

Fourth charge to Timothy:
“Let no man despise thy youth”.
4:6-16 Be a good workman.
Timothy needs spiritual food and spiritual exercise to maintain spiritual fitness for the task given to him.

Fifth charge to the Ephesians:
5:1-20 Provision for widows and elders.
The Father’s care is experienced.
There should be respect for older believers in the house of God.

Fifth charge to Timothy:
“I charge thee before God”. (“thee” is singular).
5:21-25 Act in wisdom.
Timothy needs to cultivate personal piety.

Sixth charge to the Ephesians:
6:1-10 Love of money.
The Father’s children are content.
Godliness with contentment is great gain.

Sixth charge to Timothy:
“But thou, O man of God”.
6:11-16 Bear a good witness.
The example of Christ before Pilate is set before him. Perhaps Timothy will soon face Nero.

Seventh charge to the Ephesians:
6:17-19 Ready to distribute.
The Father’s goodness is expressed.
We are granted resources so that we can give them away. “It is more blessed to give than to receive”, Acts 20:35.

Seventh charge to Timothy:
“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust”.
6:20-21 As to the truth, be watchful.
Timothy is to keep watch, so that his ministry is not spoiled.

RECIPIENT OF THE EPISTLE
It is interesting to notice the parallels between the relationship of Moses to Joshua, and Paul to Timothy.

1. Joshua and Timothy both come on the scene unannounced. They have been maturing in private.
2. Both are engaged in warfare, Joshua with Amalek, Exodus 17:8-16; Timothy to war good warfare, 1 Timothy 1:18.
3. Both are associated with a man receiving Divine revelation. Joshua with Moses on Mount Sinai, Exodus 24:13; Timothy with the apostle who received revelations from God, Ephesians 3:3, and who passed them on to Timothy- “the things thou hast heard of me”, 2 Timothy 2:2.
4. Both saw the rebellion of the people of God. Joshua at the foot of Sinai, when Israel made a golden calf, Exodus 32:15-18; Timothy at Ephesus, where “grievous wolves would enter in”, and men would arise “speaking perverse things”, Acts 20:29,30.
5. Both learned the truth of separation. Joshua went outside the camp, distancing himself from the idolatry at the foot of Sinai, Exodus 33:7-11; Timothy was instructed to “depart from iniquity”, 2 Timothy 2:22.
6. Both were content to abide where God’s honour dwelt. Joshua “departed not out of the tabernacle”, Exodus 33:11; Timothy was to “abide still at Ephesus”, 1:3.
7. Both saw some of those who professed to know God depart. Joshua saw the two and a half tribes refuse the land, Numbers 32:1-5, 28; Timothy saw all Asia turn from Paul, 2 Timothy 1:15.
8. Both were given a charge as the older man was about to die, Deuteronomy 31:14, 23; Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:1:5,18.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST PEISTLE TO TIMOTHY CHAPTER 1, VERSES 1 TO 4:
1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

1:1-4 First charge to Timothy: Correct the wayward.
“That thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine”.
He is to deal with false teaching in the assembly at Ephesus on behalf of the apostle.

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ- it is important for the apostle to stress his authority, for he is about to instruct Timothy, who will himself instruct the believers at Ephesus. The word of instruction is from one who has been sent out by Jesus Christ to further the cause of the truth. The word to Paul was, “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of His mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard”, Acts 22:14,15.
By the commandment of God our Saviour- it is appropriate that an epistle that contains charges to both Timothy and the assembly at Ephesus, should remind us at the outset that God is the Supreme Commander. The apostle is himself under orders, and so is Timothy. And so are the Ephesian believers, and so is every child of God.
He is the Saviour-God, so we can count on His help in difficult circumstances, for He has the answer. His saviour-hood is expressed in His commandments, which are all for our spiritual benefit.
And Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope- He is God and Saviour, too, but the emphasis here is on the hope that is vested in Him. Timothy need not despair if conditions are adverse and disappointing. Hope in the New Testament is confident expectation. Christian hope is not a mere possibility, or even a probability, but a certainty, for the hope is represented by, and is secured by, Christ.

1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

1:2 Unto Timothy, mine own son in the faith– this need not necessarily mean he was converted through Paul. There is a Jewish saying, “If one teaches the son of his neighbour the law, the scripture reckons this the same as if he had begotten him”. No doubt the scripture referred to is the reference to the sons of the prophets, those schooled in the law by prophets, see 2 Kings 2:3,5. Timothy had learnt the Holy Scriptures from his mother and grandmother, who were Jewesses, 2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15, but then he learnt at the feet of the apostle. Yet Paul very graciously linked his work of teaching Timothy with that of his mother and grandmother in the verses just referenced. His father was a Greek, and had not circumcised Timothy, Acts 16:1-3, perhaps indicating that he was not sympathetic to Christian things. In the goodness of God Timothy was provided with a spiritual father. It is significant that Paul should describe Timothy in this way in this epistle, for he is going to set out the way the Father orders His house, the assembly, and Paul is simply expressing that in a practical way, treating Timothy how God His Father treats him. The apostle lamented that the Corinthian assembly had many teachers, but not many fathers, those who could foster the growth of those young in the faith, 1 Corinthians 4:15. It is in this way that “little children” in the family of God are helped to become “young men”, and then themselves “fathers”, 1 John 2:13.
Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord- not only is Paul’s apostleship from both the Father and the Son, but the favours he desires for Timothy will come from them jointly. This is an indication of the equality of the Father and the Son. How can Divine favour come from one who is not Divine?
Grace is favour to those who do not deserve it and cannot fully repay it.
Mercy is pity for those who are in need.
Peace is the result of the former things, when the recipient of grace and mercy responds to these gifts in the right way, and his heart is calmly confident in God.
These favours come from God who is the Father, and governs and cares for His house, and from Jesus Christ our Lord, the one who is entrusted with overall responsibility in the house of God as His Son, see Hebrews 3:6.

1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus- it says much for the spirituality of Timothy that Paul can leave him at Ephesus, confident that he would act as he himself would. Can we be relied on to act according to the same principles as the apostles? The early believers “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship”, which means that their fellowship together was solely on the basis of the doctrine of the apostles.
When I went into Macedonia- this shows that the apostle is released from prison, and is able to travel about unhindered. He had written to the Philippians, (Philippi is in Macedonia), that he hoped to come and see them shortly, once he had seen “how it will go with me”, no doubt a reference to the outcome of his trial, Philippians 2:24. It seems from the verse we are considering that he did indeed go to Macedonia, which would include going to Philippi.
That thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine- wrong doctrine is not to be tolerated in the assembly. It must be made clear what the Father’s will is. He alone decides the conduct of the house. All who deviate must be dealt with. “Other doctrine” is that which is astray from right doctrine, and supposes that there is a standard, by which to judge. And indeed there is, even the doctrine of the apostles, written down and therefore settled and knowable. In Old Testament times, there was “the shekel of the sanctuary”, Exodus 30:24, which was God’s standard, by which every other weight was to be tested. So God has His standard for truth, and it is found in His word.
The apostle had warned the Ephesian elders of the danger of false doctrine creeping in amongst them, Acts 20:29,30, but he also indicated the antidote, for he said to them, “I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace”, verse 32.

1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Around the time of the birth of Christ, men were dissatisfied with mainstream religions, so there arose a system of thought that was basically pantheism. It devotees claimed higher knowledge than others, so they were called “gnostics”, those who know. They spurned written revelation, and relied on mystical means of communication with “god”. Their counterpart is the New Age Movement, an umbrella system taking in many sorts of ideas, but all of which are anti-Christian.
The problem of Gnosticism was addressed by the apostle in the Epistle to the Colossians, which emphasises the supremacy of Christ, and shows that in Him, and not in any lesser gods of the gnostics, dwells all the fulness of the Godhead. Completeness is found in Him, not in gnostic speculations.

Neither give heed to fables- having condemned deviations from apostolic doctrine, Paul now condemns false religions. Asia Minor was a hot-bed of heresies, as is the world today. Beware of New Age teachings, for they are the same as ancient gnosticism, the product of a revolt against God’s revealed will.
Fables are statements made without good authority, in contrast to scriptures. Christianity is revelatory, and fixed in writing.
And endless genealogies- the gnostics taught that there were intermediaries between man and God, each one nearer to God than the other. They taught this because to them God could not have dealings with anything material, (which is why they denied that the true God was the God of the Bible), and therefore if we humans, who are material, were to have dealings with Him, it must be through an endless succession of semi-gods, each one a little nearer to God than the previous one. Clearly they had no sense of nearness to God. The Ephesians needed to keep well away from such doctrines. We are told in Acts that some in Ephesus had been involved with the occult, showing that they had a tendency towards such evil and devilish things. See Acts 19:19,20.
Which minister questions- they have no real answers, but just raise doubts. This was Satan’s tactic in Eden, saying, “Hath God said”. Eve should have responded, “Yea, God has said”, but she did not, and left off obeying God, and went against His revealed will.
Rather than godly edifying which is in faith- the remedy for the inroads of evil doctrine is the careful and godly presentation of the truth of God’s word, which edifies the believers, and settles them in the truth of God, so that they refuse evil teachings. In the days of Elisha, the food for the sons of the prophets had been contaminated with wild gourds. They exclaimed, “O thou man of God, there is death in the pot”, 2 Kings 4:40. The remedy given by the prophet was to “bring meal”, and the food was no longer poisonous. The message is clear; the people of God need the pure meal of the word of God, so that the harmful poison of evil doctrine may be neutralised. Failure to hear the word of God preached, and to read it personally, is to be in danger.
So do- these words have been supplied to make the sense more readily perceived. The sentence began in verse 3 with the reminder of Paul’s wish that Timothy remain in Ephesus, and it is implied that he wishes him so to do. Really, Paul has only to remind Timothy of his wish that he stay at Ephesus, and he would be happy to comply. He did not need to be told again. In that sense the “so do” is redundant, because Timothy does not need a further command. He is a genuine son, and will respond to the wish of his father in the faith.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST PEISTLE TO TIMOTHY CHAPTER 1, VERSES 5 TO 17:

1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
1:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

First charge to the Ephesians:
1:5-17 Love out of a pure heart.
The Father’s love is to be reproduced in the family because the Father’s will is known. That will is made known by the gospel, not law.

1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

1:5 Now the end of the commandment- the result of Timothy complying with the apostle’s wish, and warning the Ephesian believers about evil teaching, is now detailed. This is not a reference to a commandment in the law of Moses, or even a reference to the law itself.
Is charity out of a pure heart- the Father’s love is to be shown to the other members of the house. It is to be love which is genuine, and free of false motives. The apostle John connected love to God, love to the children of God, and obedience to His commandments with the following words, “”Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments.”, 1 John 5:1,2. mSo here, to be side-tracked by that which is contrary to God is to be hindered as to love to God and fellow-believers. Love which is tainted with false doctrine is not pure love.
And of a good conscience- conscience is the faculty which enables us to assess spiritual things rightly. It is not infallible, so needs to be adjusted by the Scriptures. Hence those who take in false doctrine are not adjusting their conscience correctly.
And of faith unfeigned- the apostle warns against pretend-faith. The false teachers would have this sort of faith, because they did not believe the truth of God, yet pretended to do so that they might deceive the unwary.

1:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

From which some having swerved- the word “which” is plural, and would refer to the three desirable things listed in verse 5. Not wishing to cultivate these pure, good and genuine things, these have turned aside, or missed the mark. The target is set out in the previous verse, (“the end of the charge”), and these are missing it. The natural man is inclined towards error, and so is the carnal believer. Paul was resolved to “press toward the mark”, Philippians 3:14, single-mindedly fixing his eye on Christ.
Have turned aside unto vain jangling- not content with missing the true mark, these compound their error by going after false teaching of another sort. The false teachers spoke impressively, but in God’s view they were mere talkers, whose words were useless for the purpose of producing Christian graces..

1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

Desiring to be teachers of the law- it seems that when it became evident that fables did not produce spirituality, these men suggested the remedy of law-keeping, to see if that produced holiness. After all, the law was given by God, and the apostle himself described it as holy, Romans 7:12; should obeying it not yield results for God?
Understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm- the false teachers only desired to be teachers of the law, they had no competence in the matter, as the apostle now states. They did not understand what they were saying, for they had not a right appreciation of the meaning of the letter of the law. They did not understand whereof they affirmed, for they did not see the implication of the application of the law to Christians. They were wrong both as to the content of the law and its character, yet they still affirmed their doctrine, as if they were confident of its validity. There are still those who feel that holiness can only be produced in the believer when he keeps the law of Moses. Yet this is directly contrary to the teaching of Scripture, as the apostle now goes on to show.

The word “law” is used in at least four senses in the New Testament, and the context must decide which is meant.
1. We read of “the law of the Spirit of life”, Romans 7:2, where the word law means principle of acting. When Newton discovered various laws of physics, he entitled his treatise on the subject, “Principii”, meaning “Principles. So the Spirit of God acts according to fixed principles in His dealings with believers, hence this is known as the law of the Spirit.
2. There is the word law as it is used of the Law of God given at Sinai through Moses, and therefore sometimes called the law of Moses.
3. There is law in the sense of one of the ten commandments. For instance when Paul writes, “the law came, sin revived, and I died”, Romans 7:9, he is referring to the specific commandment which said “Thou shalt not covet”.
4. There is law as in the expression, “the law and the prophets”. This means the five books of Moses, otherwise known as the Pentateuch.

A covenant is an arrangement between two persons or groups. The covenant of the law which God made with Israel at Sinai was conditional; that is, the benefits of being in covenant relationship with God depended upon them keeping His law. This is why the New Testament is so insistent that believers are not under law, for if they were, their blessings would not be secure, being dependant on their own efforts. Christians are under grace, and their blessings are certain, because they depend on Christ and not on themselves. See Romans 6:14,15; Galatians 3:1-14; 5:1-5; Ephesians 1:3.

The New Testament says the following things about the Law given at Sinai:
1. It is holy, Romans 7:12.
2. It is spiritual, Romans 7:14.
3. It is weak through the flesh, Romans 8:3.
4. It works wrath, Romans 4:15.
5. It entered so that the offence might abound, Romans 5:20.
6. It cannot justify the sinner, Galatians 2:16.
7. It is the ministration of death, 2 Corinthians 3:7.
8. It is ended as a way of becoming righteous, by the death of Christ, Romans 10:4.
9. It is not the means of empowering a believer to please God. Paul found that the law that God had ordained unto life, became death to him. Instead of being the rule of a life pleasing to God, it simply slew the failing saint, because he could not live up to its demands by himself.

We now learn three reasons why it is not the mind of God that we should turn to the law for help:
(a) Verses 8-11
The law is not laid down for believers.
(b) Verses 12-14
The law did not prevent Saul of Tarsus persecuting the church.
(c) Verses 15-17
The law did not achieve his conversion.

1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

But we know that the law is good- this is necessarily the case, because it came from God, and set out His standard. The “we” in the first instance refers to Paul and Timothy, and then all well-taught believers.
If a man use it lawfully- there is a play on words here, “the lawful use of law”. The next verse will show what the lawful use of the law is, and it is not to use it to govern the Christian. That is an unlawful use. It is nonetheless one that is popular in some sections of Christendom. Earnest in their desire to please God, they set out to keep the law. The Epistle to the Galatians was written to correct this.

1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man- those who use the law lawfully know that it was not put on the statute book in Israel to guide righteous men. Rather, it exposed unrighteousness, and cast men upon God for His mercy. That mercy was expressed to them by the provision of a system of sacrifices, by which their sins could be forgiven. So this shows that to impose the law upon Christians is directly opposed to God’s intention for the law, for Christians are reckoned righteous by God, so the law is not designed for them at all. Of course, the believer will not wish to contravene any of the commands of the law, but keeping the law is not the rule of his life. Because he has the Spirit of God within, the believer is able to please God as he imitates the life of Christ. This is called fulfilling the law of Christ, Galatians 6:xxx. As he does this, the believer incidentally fulfils the righteous requirement of the law, Romans 8:4. But it is done by walking after the Spirit, not after the flesh.
First of all the apostle gives a six-fold description of the law breaker, consisting of two pairs of adjectives. This gives the general character of those who transgress the law. Then there follows a list of certain kinds of people, who break the law in specific ways.
But for the lawless and disobedient- the first word of these three pairs has to do with the nature of the person, and the second word has to do with the outcome of that nature. So the law is laid down for lawless people, not the law-abiding ones. Since no-one is able to keep the law, it can only condemn. The ideal response in that situation was for the Israelite to cast himself upon the mercy of God, and avail himself of the provision of a sin-offering whereby his sin could be forgiven.
As a result of being lawless in nature, man works out that nature by acting in disobedience to that law. As the writer to the Hebrews said, “every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward”, Hebrews 2:2.
For the ungodly and for sinners- ungodly people refuse to give God His due, and this being the case, they sin without any regard to the glory of God. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, Romans 3:23.
For unholy and profane- because men have an unholy nature, they have no ability to appreciate what is pleasing to God. Accordingly they act in a way that shows no regard for His holiness, and trample on Divine things.
For murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers- the apostle, having shown how sinners react to God, now makes his way down the ten commandments as they relate to behaviour towards others. The ten commandments could be divided into that which relates to love to God, and that which has to do with love for one’s neighbour. The Lord Jesus sanctioned that division in Luke 10:26-28. We are not told that there were five commandments on each of the two tables of the law. In fact, a measurement of the space taken up by the commandments in Hebrew will show that probably the first four were on the first table and the other six on the second. Certainly that is how Paul is looking at them here, for having spoken of man’s sinful attitude to God, he now turns to man’s attitude to his fellow-men.
He does not speak of murderers of fathers in connection with “Thou shalt not kill”, but in relation to “Honour thy father and mother”, the fifth commandment. Clearly, to slay one’s father and mother is an extreme form of failing to honour them.
For manslayers- this corresponds to the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”. Man was made in the image of God, and the reason why the death penalty was imposed on the one who takes a man’s life is that he has erased the image of God in a man. So capital punishment is not brought in at Sinai, but was God’s will from the time of Noah, since evil had been rampant before the flood, and God was not prepared to allow that to happen again. This shows that capital punishment was brought in as a deterrent, as well as a just punishment. We should distinguish between one who kills accidentally, and one who murders with premeditation.

1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind- these are they who transgress the seventh command, “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. A whoremonger is one who commits fornication, and is distinguished in the New Testament from one who commits adultery, as Hebrews 13:4 shows. A fornicator commits immoral acts, being unmarried. Adultery is committed by one who is married. Those who defile themselves with mankind are sodomites, otherwise known as homosexuals. God utterly abhors such perverted practices, for they represent an attack on the order He has set up as Creator. In the beginning He made them male and female, and a man leaves his father and mother and cleaves to his wife, not his “partner”. We know full well what God thinks of sodomy by his judgement of the Cities of the Plain, Genesis 19. It is only because of the nature of the age we live in that such are not removed from the scene.
There were converted sodomites in the assembly in Corinth, so it is not a question of being unable to live any other way because of one’s genetic makeup. The gospel does not alter genetic makeup, but it does alter sodomites when they repent and believe. Such are washed, showing they were unclean before; they are sanctified, showing they were unholy before; they are justified, showing they were unrighteous before, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Clearly, then, there is no such thing as a “homosexual Christian”, for a Christian is washed, sanctified and righteous, and a homosexual is not.
For menstealers- this is clearly an aggravated way of transgressing the command, “Thou shalt not steal”. One of the very worst kinds of stealing is the depriving of a man of his liberty. In a day soon to come, Babylon will trade in “slaves and souls of men”, Revelation 18:13.
For liars, for perjured persons- the ninth commandment said, “Thou shalt not bear false witness, and this is what liars do. Perjured persons go further, and bear false witness in a court of law, to the undermining of justice.
And if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine- the apostle does not make an application of the tenth command, “Thou shalt not covet”, but uses a phrase which encompasses any expression of lawlessness. Such things are contrary to sound doctrine, by which is meant, as the next verse shows, the gospel.
The people listed in verses 9 and 10 are all unbelievers, and it is for them, and for their sins, that the law of Moses was laid down. It was not laid down for righteous persons, even in the Old Testament, let alone in the New. To apply the law to believers, therefore, is to misunderstand the reason for the formal giving of the law. It was not given because before then it was permissible to murder, for instance. It is always wrong to murder, and the giving of the law did not make it wrong; it condemned the one committing the wrong, and exposed him as not fit for God’s kingdom. This why the apostle said that the law-teachers at Ephesus did not understand what they were saying, for they had not grasped the fundamental principles of the law.

1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God- this shows that the gospel is just as much against lawlessness as the law is, for the gospel condemns sin forthrightly. The law exposes the shame of man, and so does the gospel; the law shows somewhat of the glory of God, and so does the gospel, but in a far greater way, as 2 Corinthians 3:9 declares. “For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory”. One reason why the gospel exceeds in glory is because it provides the remedy for the lawlessness of men, which the law did not, for it could only condemn; the gospel makes righteous.
God is the Blessed God, One who is filled with joy when He saves men through the gospel. The law was given in circumstances that inspired terror; and this was designed, for God was making men fear, so that they did not sin, Exodus 20:18-20. Now, believers hesitate to sin because of the way Christ has manifested God in His fulness, not just as a God of wrath.
The features about God that were displayed in Paul’s conversion justify his use of the word “glorious” in connection with it. He speaks of mercy, in verses 13 and 16; grace in verse 14; salvation and longsuffering in verse 16; these are features of the God of the gospel, but they were not brought out by the law.
Which was committed to my trust- the word “my” is emphatic, which denotes at least two things. First, that the apostle had much more authority to speak on the relationship between the law and the gospel than the law-teachers did, and second, as he goes on to say, he is the example of true conversion to God, and his conversion owed nothing to the law. His training in the law of Moses at the feet of none less than Gamaliel, did not result in his conversion.
The features about God that were displayed in Paul’s conversion justify his use of the word “glorious” in connection with it. He speaks of mercy, in verses 13 and 16; grace in verse 14; salvation and longsuffering in verse 16; these are features of the God of the gospel, but they were not brought out by the law.

1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord- this title emphasises the fact that Christ is exalted and supreme, at God’s right hand. The gospel does not detract from the glory of God and His Son, but rather, makes it known in a fuller way. It was as a result of seeing Christ in glory that Paul was saved. He was not saved by going to Sinai, either physically or figuratively.
Who hath enabled me- to be entrusted with the gospel is a solemn responsibility, and it needs spiritual power to discharge that responsibility. That power is from Christ. The verb has the idea of power that is capable of producing great effects, and this the gospel does. Paul was not empowered by observance of the law, for the law was “weak through the flesh”, Romans 8:4; it has no ability to overcome the failings of even the saintliest of men, but can only condemn them. Paul could write to the Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me”, Philippians 4:13.
For that He counted me faithful- faithfulness is discernible almost immediately a person is saved, as we see from the case of Lydia, who said to Paul and his colleagues on the day she was saved, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there”. The fact that they did so shows they were able to discern that her faith was genuine. So it was with Saul of Tarsus, for as soon as he had said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”, he was told to go into the city and it would be told him. So it was evident immediately that his faith was genuine, from his desire to be obedient to the Lord, just as it was evident that Lydia was a true believer by her wish to give the apostle and his fellow-workers hospitality. The apostle John wrote, “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us”, 1 John 4:6. So the apostles, who were of God in the sense they were authorised by Him, were the test. Lydia clearly passed that test, for she desired the presence of those who were “of God”. We should be concerned if new converts show no interest in being with the saints, or under the sound of God’s word.
Putting me into the ministry- he was at pains to explain to the Galatians that his apostleship was not of man directly, not by man indirectly, Galatians 1:1. Those who had been with the Lord Jesus when He was here had nothing to add to what the apostle already knew, Galatians 2:6. As he conferred with the other apostles, it became clear to Paul that he was not in any way behind them in his knowledge of the gospel. His apostleship was entirely from heaven, where the law of Moses is not relevant.
Needless to say, this putting into the ministry has nothing to do with the practice of making “the ministry” a career. The notion of clergy and laity is foreign to the word of God, and is a practice imitating the system under the law, where certain people were reckoned to be “ministers”, namely the Levites, to the exclusion of the rest. Those who perpetuate that way of doing things have clearly not realised that the old things have been rendered obsolete by the coming of Christ, of whom it is said, “He taketh away the first, that He might establish the second”, Hebrews 10:9.

1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Who was before a blasphemer- the word blasphemer has the idea of speaking injuriously, whether about God or man. The law had no remedy for a blasphemer against God, for it condemned him to death, Leviticus 24:15,16. Yet here is one who denied the Deity of Christ, and consented to the death of Stephen, the one who claimed to see Jesus in heaven at God’s right hand. To deny the Deity of Christ is to dishonour God, for they are equal. The Lord Jesus said, “He that honoureth not the Son, honoureth not the Father which hath sent Him”, John 5:23. And again, “I honour My Father, and ye do dishonour Me”, John 8:49. He honoured His Father by declaring Him to men, and in so doing, necessarily asserted His own Deity. Yet men dishonoured Him by refusing His claims.
And a persecutor- because believers maintained the truth of the Deity of Christ, they became the object of persecution on the part of the Jews. Paul himself testified, “and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities”, Acts 26:10,11.
And injurious- this is derived from the noun “hubristes”, meaning a violent man. The word has been defined as, “one who, lifted up with pride, either heaps insulting language upon others, or does them some shameful act of wrong”. Saul of Tarsus did both, and he was quite open about it, as his statement quoted above shows. Only the grace of God can change such a man; the law will only condemn.
When Paul described the sins of men in Romans 3:10-18, he could very well have been writing his autobiography. He was a blasphemer, and it could be said of him that, “Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit,” “The poison of asps is under their lips;” “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:”
He was a persecutor, and so it was true of him, “Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known:” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” He was injurious, the result of sin, for “There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, They are together become unprofitable: There is none that doeth good, no, not one”.
But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief- of course, when he was persecuting believers, Saul of Tarsus thought he was doing God service. The Lord Jesus foretold that this would happen, John 16:2. But he was acting in unbelief, sure that it was God’s will that he exterminate those who claimed that Jesus Christ was God. He showed no mercy to believers, not realising that he needed mercy, and that is what God showed him.
The fact that he did these things ignorantly shows that the law did not reveal his folly to him. In fact, he thought he was keeping the law, for Israel were commanded to stone blasphemers, and that is what he thought Christ was when He claimed equality with God. Saul ignored the fact that He supported His claim with miracles and doctrine. And the most conclusive support was that God raised Him from the dead, for He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead”, Romans 1:4. That He was risen became clear to Saul of Tarsus when Jesus of Nazareth spoke to him from heaven.

1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant- so it was the grace of the Lord that saved him, not the law. And it was the grace of the one he was denying, the Lord.
The grace needed to be exceeding abundant in view of the exceeding abundant crimes he was guilty of. Yet there was enough grace to deal with all his sins. As there is to deal with all the sins of any other. As the apostle wrote, “Moreover the law entered, that the sin might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord”, Romans 5:20,21.
With faith and love which is in Christ Jesus- this must refer to Paul’s response to the Lord’s abundant grace, or else there would be no need for the repetition of His name. It is a separate thought, and not a continuation of the idea of the grace of the Lord. Faith cannot be given, even by God, for it is the personal and willing response of a man’s heart, Romans 10:10. It is true, however, that God graciously allows men to believe, Philippians 1:29.
Having spoken of his unbelief in verse 13, we now read of his faith. He believed in the God of Israel before, but now he has realised that Jesus of Nazareth is equal with God, and therefore is deserving of faith.
He is also deserving of his love, too, for Paul now realises the debt he owes Him. That debt is measured by the truth of the next verse. So the grace of the Lord Jesus was accompanied by the faith and love of Paul; he mixed the word with faith, c.f. Hebrews 4:2.

1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

This is a faithful saying- there are five instances of the use of this expression. Here, the saying is about the purpose for Christ’s coming. The other references are in 1 Timothy 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:2; 2:11; Titus 3:8.
Probably the saying refers to commonly used expressions amongst the saints, which because they were based on Scriptural truth could be described as faithful, or dependable. Needless to say, just because an expression is current amongst believers does not make it reliable. Luke makes a distinction between the earnest and sincere attempts of some believers to write an account of the life of Christ, and his inspired account, Luke 1:1-4.
And worthy of all acceptation- it merits the whole-hearted acceptance by all men.
That Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners- the law demanded that we do something, but Christ has done the work. The apostle spoke of Christ coming down from heaven in contrast to men striving to reach heaven by their own works. He wrote, “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That “the man which doeth those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, “Say not in thine heart, ‘Who shall ascend into heaven?”‘ (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, “‘Who shall descend into the deep?'” (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)” But what saith it? “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart:” that is, the word of faith which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved”, Romans 10:5-9. The law demanded that men strive for themselves, the gospel demands that they believe in the one who worked for them.
The expression “came into the world” includes the idea of His conception by the Holy Spirit and His birth of the virgin Mary. This is the way that God was manifest in flesh. He did not come into the world in the way angels visit men; rather, He took part of the same flesh and blood as we do, Hebrews 2:14, yet He did so in such a way as to preserve the integrity of His person, Luke 1:35. He did not merely visit men, but dwelt amongst them, John 1:14.
It is interesting that it is Christ Jesus who came. For Christ Jesus is a title reserved for Him when He had gone back to heaven. It is almost as if the success of His coming to save sinners is guaranteed by the nature of the one who came. He was fitted to save when He came, and nothing He did when here disqualified Him.
Notice that He came personally. John says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”, John 1:17. Moses simply handed over tables of stone, and saw to it that the commands were enforced. Jesus Christ came personally, and displayed the conduct that God was pleased with. He did not simply teach, but Luke writes of what Jesus began to do and teach”, Acts 1:1.
The law could only condemn sinners, but Christ came to save them. But His perfect life could not save, so just as “came into the world” implies incarnation, so “save sinners” implies His death on the cross, (accepting the consequences of a broken law by being hanged on a tree, Galatians 3:13). This is the only means whereby sinners could be saved; they could not be saved by law-keeping, for “by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified”, Galatians 2:16.
Of whom I am chief- the apostle needs to impress upon us his personal indebtedness to Christ, for he has begun the section with the emphatic “my” of verse 11. It is to a one-time blasphemer that the gospel is entrusted, and Paul highlights here the wickedness of his life, even as a zealous law-keeper, as he thought. Notice it is “I am chief”, not “I was chief”. No-one has displaced him as the chief of sinners. This gives hope to all others, for the worst of sinners has been saved.

We are given seven accounts of the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and they are as follows:

1. The historical account by Luke in Acts 9:1-22. He writes as a Christian historian, setting out the true facts of the case under the inspiration of the Spirit of God.

2. Paul’s account before the gathered crowds in the temple, Acts 22:1-21. Here he emphasises that he was a true Jew, and did nothing against the God of Israel. He speaks in the Hebrew tongue, verse 2, showing reverence for Jewish ways. He was a Jew, verse 3, (the Roman captain thought he was an Egyptian, 21:38). He was born in Tarsus, it was true, “yet”, despite that, he was brought up in Jerusalem at the feet of Gamaliel, verse 3. Gamaliel was one of the most respected rabbis Israel ever had. He was “taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers”, verse 3, so was not a member of some strange Jewish sect. He was zealous toward God, as his listeners were, verse 3. He persecuted Christians to the death, showing his zeal for what he believed to be right, and to defend the honour of God. He was trusted by the chief priests and elders, verse 5. But then he was converted, and having been blinded, God sent to him a man named Ananias, who was “a devout man according to the law”, and “having good report of all the Jews” living in Damascus, verse 12. He came to him with a message from “the God of our fathers”, verse 14. He prayed in the temple at Jerusalem, verse 17. All these facts were presented to his Jewish listeners, to show that Paul was not against them, but they still sought his death.

3. By Paul himself again before Agrippa, Acts 26:1-23. Because he preached that Jesus was alive, as his accusers said, 25:19, he emphasised that he was brought up a Pharisee, for these, in contrast to the Sadducees, believed in the resurrection of the dead. He stresses that he is waiting for the fulfilment of the hope that God made to the patriarchs, that they would live in the kingdom under the Messiah. This implied that they would rise from the dead. Yet it was for this hope’s sake that he was accused of the Jews, verse 7, such was their inconsistency. So it was that he preached nothing that the law and the prophets had not foretold, for they said that “Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise from the dead”, verse 23.

4. In Galatians 1:15,16, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen…” Here the emphasis is on grace, for the epistle is a defence of the gospel in view of the men who were seeking to impose the law of Moses upon believers. Paul does not speak of God revealing His Son to him, but in him. The epistle shows that Israel were in infancy under the law, (see 4:1-5), whereas true sonship comes in through Christ as God’s Son, and by the Spirit of His Son. So it is the Son of God that is going to be revealed through the son-character of Paul.

5. In 1 Corinthians 9:1, where he writes, “Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord?” This is a reference to the fact that he had actually seen the Lord Jesus, and was thus qualified to be an apostle, and because of that was not behind those who had been with Christ on earth. He needs to assert this because there were some who cast doubt on the genuineness of Paul’s apostleship because he was not one of “the twelve”.

6. In Philippians 3:12 he expresses the desire to know the Lord better. “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus”. Christ had laid hold on him on the Damascus Road, and now Paul longs to lay hold of Divine things more strongly.

7. This passage, where, as chief of sinners he obtained mercy and was shown grace. The law contributed nothing to his salvation.

1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy- despite the fact he was chief of sinners, he was the object of mercy, not only for his sake, but for others too.
That in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering- the word translated “first” is the same as the word translated “chief” in the previous verse. So he is chief of sinners, as to the degree of his guilt, but also chief as to the example and encouragement he is to others subsequent to his conversion. He has been shown the full extent of the longsuffering of Christ. (“All longsuffering” is longsuffering of every kind, whether as a sinner or a saint). Christ bore with him patiently even though by persecuting the saints he was persecuting Him, Acts 9:4. If Christ can suffer long with Saul of Tarsus, He can suffer long with any sinner.
For a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting- the Greek word for “first” is “protos”, and the Greek word for “pattern” is “hupo-tupos”. Combining the two ideas, we may say that Paul is a proto-type believer. The principles at work in his conversion are the same for everyone. The circumstances may vary greatly, but the principles are exactly the same. Those principles are as follows:

1. That mere religion does not save.
2. That man is opposed to God.
3. That God is longsuffering.
4. That the worst of sinners can be saved.
5. That Jesus Christ must be recognised as Lord.
6. That the Lord Jesus is in heaven, the sure sign that God has been well-pleased with His life and His death.
7. That His death on Calvary was sacrificial, so that sins might be forgiven.
8. That the grace of God is available to all for salvation and preservation.
9. That eternal life is granted immediately to all those who believe.

These principles were all at work in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and they provide the pattern for all other subsequent conversions.

Not only is Paul a pattern for those who believe in this age, he speaks of hereafter, meaning in the age after the current church age. For those of the nation of Israel who will be converted to God after the church is gone, will acknowledge, like Paul did, that the right hand of God is a fitting place for the Messiah to be, and they will receive eternal life as they believe in Him in that character. Just as Paul looked heavenwards, and saw the one glorified whom his nation had pierced, so Israel will look heavenwards when Christ comes in glory, and will “look on Him whom they pierced”, John 19:37; Revelation 1:7.

1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Now unto the King eternal- Paul now expresses his deep sense of gratitude for the movements of Divine grace towards him. He traces them all to the sovereign workings of the King of eternity, to whom all things are known beforehand, and who is never taken by surprise, or thwarted in His designs. He does not limit himself to the kingship of God expressed in the future reign of Christ over the earth. Rather, he thinks of God’s eternal reign, and rejoices that nothing can frustrate it. Even his own rebellion and hardness of hard were not too difficult for God to deal with.
He has a sense of involvement in God’s eternal purpose. He realises that he, like all other believers of this age, was chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4; that works had been prepared in eternity for him to do, Ephesians 2:10; that as an apostle he was entrusted with truth that was according to eternal purpose, Ephesians 3:11. When he contemplates these things, and remembers the grace that was shown him so that he could be in the good of them, he is constrained to worship God.
Immortal- there are two similar words, one which means “not capable of dying”, and this one, which means “not capable of being corrupted”. This tells us that in the salvation of sinners God is not compromised. He does not have to change His character in order to bless men. As Paul wrote to the Romans, “that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”, Romans 3:26. Far from diminishing in glory through having dealings with sinners, God is glorified, as is shown by Paul’s doxology here.
Invisible- this emphasises the fact that God is not like us at all. He is not constrained by physical limitations, nor can He be seen by the natural eye. But we should remember the words of the Lord Jesus to His disciples, “he that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father”, John 14:9. This is not a reference to physical sight, as if those who did not see Him when He was here cannot ever know God. The point is that He has manifested the character of God. Every attribute of God was fully displayed in His Son, for “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”, Colossians 2:9. He it is, who, coming into manhood, expounded God in words and deeds. In Him “God was manifest in flesh”, 1 Timothy 3:16. It was this one, who had made God visible, that appeared to him on the Damascus Road. And it was in grace that He did so.
The only wise God- He is the only one who can be said to be wise intrinsically. Lucifer was “full of wisdom” in the day he was created, Ezekiel 28:12, yet he fell, and corrupted himself, so that his wisdom is now used for evil ends. He is constantly frustrated, however, by the only truly wise being, who is the fount of all wisdom.
In His wisdom God allowed men to discover that they had no way of saving themselves, and then, at just the right moment made His wisdom known further by the work of Christ at Calvary, 1 Corinthians 1:20-24. This wisdom is made known at the cross, and is shown when He saves and preserves His people.
Be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen-  Paul ends his expression of worship with the desire that God might be honoured and glorified eternally. It is the glorious gospel that is going to secure that result. The law could not bring it in, but the grace of God in Christ can, and will. Far from being an inferior thing, the gospel is the most glorious message there ever could be.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE FIRST PEISTLE TO TIMOTHY CHAPTER 1, VERSES 18 TO 20:

1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Second charge to Timothy:
“This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy”.
1:18-20 War a good warfare.

1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy- this second charge is to encourage Timothy, for he has difficult things to do, and he is alone in the doing of them, humanly speaking. He may be encouraged, however, by the confidence Paul has in him as his faithful spiritual son.
According to the prophecies which went before on thee- in verse 3 the charge related to a particular course of action, but now it is in the context of the beginning of Timothy’s ministry as a helper of the apostle. That ministry was in line with the unfolding of the mind of God by the prophets of the apostolic era. It was not that they foretold what Timothy would do, but rather that they forthtold what he should do. This reminder would be a great incentive to Timothy to labour on, for he had been the subject of the Spirit’s ministry through the prophets.
That thou by them mightest war a good warfare- the sense is that by means of the encouragement he derived from the prophecies spoken in connection with his ministry, Timothy was fortified to wage a good spiritual warfare. There was much opposition to face, and its origin was Satan himself, so Timothy needs to be strong and courageous. For every believer, there is hardship and danger, such as when soldiers go to battle.
It was said of the Levites that “they should go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation”, Numbers 8:23. This could be translated, “to war the warfare of the tabernacle of the congregation”. So just as the Levites were active in the literal building, so Timothy is to be active in the spiritual building, the house of God. The assembly at Ephesus had, sadly, become a battleground between truth and error, and Timothy must be valiant as he maintains the truth of God amongst them.

1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Holding faith- the opposite of faith in this context is unbelief. Timothy is to keep a hold on his reliance on the Scriptures, (which are able to make him “wise unto salvation”, even as a believer, 2 Timothy 3:15), so that the doubts the enemy will seek to suggest to him may be quickly rejected. He must not become like some in the assembly, who were wavering as to Divine things.
And a good conscience- the conscience is that faculty which warns us when we are tending to evil, and straying from the good. The word for “good” used here emphasises that a good conscience is one that is beneficial and helpful to us. The Scriptures speak of a convicted conscience, John 8:9; a conscience void of offence, Acts 24:16; a weak conscience, 1 Corinthians 8:7; a pure conscience, 1 Timothy 3:9, and now a good conscience. The strong belief and a good conscience go together, for the conscience must be informed and adjusted by Scripture if it is to be of benefit to us. As soon as we stop adjusting it by the truth, it becomes defiled, and ineffective.
Which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck- the word “which” refers to the good conscience. They had thrown away the compass of conscience, and had wrecked their spiritual lives on the sunken rocks of infidelity.

1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander- the apostle names these two men so that Timothy, and those he is teaching, might have negative examples before them, a warning of the consequences of not keeping the conscience pure.
Whom I have delivered unto Satan- the severe action of excommunicating these men had been undertaken by the apostle, since they were a danger to whatever assembly they were in, and to the Christians generally. The Corinthians assembly needed to take action against one of its members, and they were commanded to do so by the apostle without waiting for him to come to them “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus”, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5. We see from this that the Christian assembly has the power, and the duty, to act in the name, and with the power, of the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to exclude from the company those who are, by their conduct, not suitable.
That they may learn not to blaspheme- once a person is put out of an assembly, they are in the only other place there is, namely, the world. And that is the sphere where Satan operates. Such must learn the hard way, (the word for learn here is “learn by being disciplined and punished”) that the conduct they have manifested is only suited to the world, it is not suited to the assembly. Hopefully, having learnt the error of their ways, they will repent, and thus become fit candidates for restoration to the assembly.
To blaspheme may mean either to speak evil of God, or of men. Whichever is the case with these men, they must be placed in the sphere where such conduct is the norm, and thereby learn that it not appropriate in the assembly of believers.