1 Timothy 1:12 NASB I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
This is the Greek word endunamoō and means to empower, enable, to be (made) strong.
Paul felt the need to tell Timothy that God had empowered, enabled, and made him strong. Whatever, Timothy, or anyone else might have thought of Paul and his knowledge of the Mosaic law, he felt the need to point to God as the source of any truth Paul espoused. He took this conversation to the next level when, according to the NLT he said, “He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him.”
1 Timothy 1:13 NASB 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;
Paul is effectively giving his testimony, as he says, I was formerly a blasphemer. To give you a feel for who Saul the pharisee was, I give you the definitions of some of these words he uses to describe himself. Keep in mind that we previously talked about how Paul, in 1 Corinthians said that he was meek in person. Meek and humble are two different things, as humble comes as someone else puts you into a subservient position.
BLASPHE’MER, n. One who blasphemes; one who speaks of God in impious and irreverent terms. Webster’s Dictionary
Many of us have heard people say, I cannot be a Christian as I have blasphemed against God. Many of us have. Fortunately, Christ paid the price for all of our sins, and we are, therefore, forgiven. Jesus, in speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, told them that they had, at that time, crossed the line, as they had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit, saying that Jesus had released a young man from his demonic oppression through the power of Satan. This then seems to be the critical departure from truth.
The Greek word for blasphemer is blasphēmos and means scurrilous, calumnious, impious, railing.
Scurrilous – Using the low and indecent language of the meaner sort of people, or such as only the license of buffoons can warrant.
Calumnious – Slanderous; injurious to reputation.
Impious – Irreverent towards the Supreme Being; wanting in veneration for God and his authority; irreligious; profane.
Railing – Clamoring with insulting language; uttering reproachful words.
This describes most of the rioters taking over our streets. The next also describes Saul, quite well.
PER’SECUTOR, n. One that persecutes; one that pursues another unjustly and vexatiously, particularly on account of religious principles.
Persecutor is the Greek word diōktēs and means a persecutor.
A violent aggressor – is the Greek word hubristēs and it is used twice to convey being a violent aggressor. The word means an insulter, a maltreater: despiteful, injurious.
Note this part of the paragraph. 1 Timothy 1:13b.
“Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;”
Did Paul say anything about a lack of knowledge?
He better not have, as he spoke highly of his skill and knowledge of the Mosaic law.
But, did he believe what those words said?
Apparently not. Were you aware of these passages?
‘Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one-year-old female goat for a sin offering. (Numbers 15:27 NASB)
Look at the Hebrew word shegâgâh a mistake or inadvertent transgression: – error, ignorance, at unawares, unwittingly.
To be honest, Saul’s actions seemed very deliberate, but then I am aware that I am acting in error by unwittingly judging the man when I make a statement like that.
“then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, that the man-slayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there. ‘The cities shall be to you as a refuge from the avenger so that the manslayer will not die until he stands before the congregation for trial.” (Numbers 35:11-12 NASB)
Now, wait a minute. Doesn’t this passage apply to the person who inadvertently had the head of the ax fly off, strike another person, and kill them? In other words, an unintentional act – manslaughter. If we apply this protocol to Saul, it is difficult to see his actions, in the death of Stephen, as unintentional. The only thing that I can apply to Saul’s situation, is that by his actions, though not a direct participant in the action, he approved of Stephen’s death.
Jesus, by his death, approved of Saul’s forgiveness. And the worst part of it is that those Jews, under the constraints of the “Mosaic law,” were fully justified, in their minds, in stoning Stephen.
Because of God’s grace and mercy!
1 Timothy 1:14 NASB and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
Picking himself up off the dusty trail, and there is no doubt that there were others there to assist this learned scholar of the Mosaic law to get up, Saul was now aware that it was only the grace of God that allowed him to be standing there, with another chance at life. Let’s recap Acts 9.
“As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.” (Acts 9:3-8 NASB)
What do you suppose they said, considering that they heard the voice also?
Perhaps something along the line of, whatever you say, sir.
Pay attention to the statement, that Saul, as a new follower of Christ Jesus, made.
“and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
There is no doubt that Saul immediately perceived the grace, faith, and love that is found in Christ Jesus. Being of a religious mindset, my mind goes back to things that I heard over the years; things that imply that you can never realize the grace, faith, and love of Christ, without accepting Christ Jesus as your Lord and Abba.
Funny, Saul seemed to understand the Lordship of God, but it was not a personal relationship; that is until he got knocked on his butt on the road to Damascus. Surely, with an instantaneous acceptance of the faith and love, Saul could then understand that he had been given grace. The moment does not follow my religious standard; and yet, it does. Isn’t God amazing how He does that! Saul found the grace, faith, and love of Christ Jesus, and it happened in the most unusual way.
Even for Paul, the moment evokes this statement.
1 Timothy 1:15 NASB 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.
“It is a trustworthy statement,
deserving (of) full acceptance,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
And a line that fits us all.
among whom I am foremost of all”
Look at the word save for a moment.
Saved is the Greek word sōzō and means to save, that is, deliver or protect, heal, preserve, and make whole.
I find those words to be overwhelming at the moment. There is not an aspect of this sōzō that does not cover all that I was and am.
Sinners? We have covered this word many times. In its simplest form, it is merely missing the mark. That mark can be large or small, deadly important or so non-significant in our minds; and yet, to miss the mark, whether intentionally, habitually, or forgetfully is still SIN.
Be honest, is there a day that goes by in which you don’t miss one of your marks?
Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Finally having come to the understanding that he, Saul, was the chiefest of sinners, he is able to say:
1 Timothy 1:16 NASB 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.
- 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.
So the Apostle, now named Paul, tells us, that he is an example for all who would believe in Christ.
What an amazing conveyance and Paul ends it with a prayer and an admonition.
1 Timothy 1:17 NASB Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
He ends with this admonition to Timothy, and us.
1 Timothy 1:18 NASB 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,
This is one of those passages where inserting your own name would be appropriate.
“This command I entrust to you ____________ (insert name here), my son or daughter, in accordance with prophecies previously made concerning you,
Stop here for a moment. Many of you would say, but no one has ever prophesied over me, and therefore I have no motivation, direction, or drive over my life. Ah, but you do, you have the prophecy of God’s word to speak over your life. Let me explain.
Revelation 19:10 tells us that the testimony of Jesus – this is the Word of God, which conveys God’s hopes, dreams, and wishes for your life. All these things might seem like a variable that might not be available to you. You are right to say they are variables, but not on God’s part. He has dealt this way with humanity since the garden of Eden. We see it when He says, to people like Abram, as for Me. God is saying, is that He will carry out His plan regardless of whether you participate or not. The religious side of me would tell you that you have to be a believer to receive the prophecy of God, but the fact that Jesus shows up in the dreams of the Iranian people, and He leads them into a knowledge of Himself.
Revelation 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
that by them (the words of God) you ______________ (insert your name here) fight the good fight,
You fight the good fight by doing what you see in 1 Timothy 1:19
1 Timothy 1:19 NASB keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
The word keeping is the Greek word echō and means to hold.
The Greek word for Faith is pistis and means persuasion.
So 1 Timothy 1:19 he is asking/telling you, to hold to that which you have been persuaded, in a good conscience,
Rejected is the word apōtheomai and means to shove away, push off, reject or cast away.
To suffer shipwreck is the Greek word nauageō and it is used twice in order to obtain the phrase we see. The words involved are shipwrecked, stranded, made to suffer shipwreck.
Paul ends this passage with this,
“which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”
Substituting the alternate words we get this: some have cast away, and been made to suffer shipwreck.
To make his point, a bit more personal, he names off some names they would know.
1 Timothy 1:20 NASB Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.
In the litigious world, we live in, people will sue you if you publicly out them.
To be handed over, according to the Greek concordance, is the word paradidōmi and means to surrender.
So Paul surrendered these two over to Satan so that they will be taught.
Taught is the Greek word paideuō and means to train up – as you would a rebellious child (this presumes that you still know what capital punishment is,) educate, discipline (by punishment).
So that they would be taught NOT to blaspheme. We covered this word blaspheme, earlier in the study. In short, the word blaspheme means to vilify; specifically to speak impiously.
For those who think that they have crossed God’s unforgivable boundaries, I suppose that another way to understand this is that God has the option of turning you over to Satan so that you will be taught NOT to blaspheme. If you have been fortunate enough to not be turned over to Satan, then perhaps you have not, as you thought, crossed God’s line of demarcation.
By the way, I do not see this as being turned over to a judgment of hell’s flames, but merely a painful education meant to motivate you toward Christ.
My advice to you, run to Him quickly as time is growing short.