1 Timothy 1
I’m going to unpack 1 and 2 Timothy over the next couple of weeks. I have not worked ahead so we will be learning these books together if you care to read along and join me.
This a letter that Paul wrote to Timothy, whom he was leaving behind in Ephesus while Paul went to Macedonia. The commentaries state that Paul meant for the letter to encourage Timothy to lead the church at Ephesus but it was also written to the church, it was not just for Timothy’s ears. Paul is urging Timothy to remain at Ephesus and to make sure proper doctrine is being taught. Have you ever wanted to run from the task that you felt God had put before you. As I read the commentary and I tend to read the same chapter in different versions that is the sense that I got. Timothy may have really wanted to go with Paul. Paul, after all looked on Timothy as a son so Timothy may have felt that he really wanted to stay under Paul’s wings and be taught rather than to be left in charge. Paul is encouraging him to stay but he is also telling him that to teach these people he must do it with love.
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Tim 1:5)
I think it is duly noted that while Paul is issuing this charge to Timothy to stay behind and teach and direct the church he also tells him to do it with love. However, Paul does not negate the law.
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully. (1 Tim. 1:8)
The law is there to direct us, but mostly it is there to point out the unlawful. We are not to live in the law. We allow it to point out what is unlawful. But then we know that Christ came to save us from the law. If we are living in relationship with Christ, the law tends to take care of itself because the Holy Spirit does the convicting.
In verses 12-17 Paul is thanking Jesus who saved him, and who has given him the strength to serve him. Paul recognizes here that he was a sinner, he actually lists some of his sins.
“though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (1 Tim. 1:13-14)
Paul is recognizing his deep need for Christ. In verse 15 he said “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” You know for years I would read some of the words of Paul and I put him way way up on a pedestal as the chief christian like he had some power or walk with Christ that I could not obtain. However, when you read and dig into what Paul was saying, he truly recognizes his own sin and his need for Christ and is trying to point us to him because of his past not just because of his state of mind when he wrote his letters.
In the last paragraph of this chapter Paul gives his charge to Timothy.
This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, (1 Tim. 1:18-19 ESV)
Wage the good warfare, hmm, the NIV says “you may fight the battle well”, the CSB says “fight the good fight”. I think this charge was meant to be given to all of us. I know I can personalize it for sure. The prophecies made about us when we become a child of God are the same that were given to Timothy. God made us for service to him. And because of the strength, He gives and the direction and the Holy Spirit working through us we can “wage the good warfare”, “fight the good fight” and fight the battle that is put before us, whatever it is, well.
What battle is before you today? Is it sickness of you or a loved one? Is it finances? Is it a wayward child or just parenting in general? Whatever it is:
This charge I entrust to you, (insert your name here), in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you (if you are a child of God you have prophecies over you), that by them you may wage the good warfare, (fight the good fight and fight that battle well) holding faith and a good conscience (hold tight to that faith child). By rejecting this, (don’t you dare ‘reject’ the faith) some have made a shipwreck of their faith.
Keep holding on, keep fighting well and the best way to go to battle with the enemy is ON YOUR KNEES!
Pray for our President and our government leaders today.