1 Timothy


The danger of false doctrine, 1:1-20

iii] Renewal of the commission to Timothy


Paul returns to the issue of his charge to Timothy that he take action against the false teachers at Ephesus. The charge becomes specific with the mention of two particular heretics Paul has "handed over to Satan."


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


ii] Background: See 1:1-11.


iii] Structure: The renewal of Paul's commission to Timothy

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;

Fight the good fight, v18-20.


The three verses consist of one verse in the Greek shaped by the preposition kata, "according to", the conjunction iJna, "in order that", the participle exwn, "having" and three relative pronouns.


iv] Interpretation:

Paul's reminder to Timothy of the charge given him, quickly widened out to a word on the problem at hand, namely the activities of the false teachers, then the right use of the law as against the heretics misuse of the law, then Paul's own gospel-centred life as a worthy example for Timothy to follow. Paul now renews his charge to Timothy. As Marshall notes, the charge emphasises "the responsibility which lies upon Timothy to act as Paul's agent in executing it himself." To this end Paul encourages Timothy to press on with his appointment to the church at Ephesus, to fight the good fight with a good conscience.

Text - 1:18

Paul's charge to Timothy, fight the good fight, v18-20. "I am giving you this charge (ie., to confront the false teachers in Ephesus) so that the prophecies (leadings of the Spirit regarding Timothy's calling) might be fulfilled."

paratiqemai (paratiqhmi) pres. "I am giving" - [timothy, child,] i commit, set before, commend, entrust, deposit [this charge to you]. Used of committing someone or something into the care of another. Barrett suggests "the responsibility laid upon Timothy by his participation in the Christian faith."

soi dat. pro. "you" - Dative of indirect object.

tauthn dem. pro. "this [command]" - Most likely referring back, particularly to Paul's instruction to deal with the false teachers.

kata + acc. "in keeping with" - according to. Expressing a standard, "in conformity with"; "in accordance with", RSV.

taV .... profhteiaV (a) "the prophecies" - Presumably referring to Timothy's stay in Ephesus - a leading of the Spirit! Possibly referring to "the instruction or charge passed on from Paul to Timothy to oppose and correct the heretics", Marshall. Phillips has a stab with "those prophecies made at your ordination" at the hand of Paul; possibly even Paul's choice of Timothy, so NEB, "that prophetic utterance which first pointed you out to me." Rather than a spiritual endowment, guided by prophecy, through the laying on of Paul's hands, Marshall's approach is to be preferred. "The prophetic utterances", RSV.

progousaV (paragw) pres. part. "once made" - being made previously / going before. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "prophecies"; "the prophecies which were previously made about you."

epi + acc. "about" - upon [you]. Reference / respect; "about, concerning."

iJna + subj. "so that" - that [you may war, fight the good warfare, campaign]. Introducing a purpose clause, "in order that", or hypothetical result, "so that." The phrase is likely to be an idiomatic play on words, "that you may war the war." The sense is probably "that you might fight well", TH, as NIV11, "battle well", rather than the NIV "fight the good fight."

en + dat. "by recalling [them]" - by [them]. Instrumental, expressing means, as NIV. "Inspired by them", RSV; "by following them", NRSV.


For Timothy to "battle well", realising / fulfilling the prophecy / charge, requires a firm faith and a good conscience, something not found in the false teachers.

ecwn (ecw) pres. part. "holding on to" - holding. The participle is probably adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of fighting a spiritual battle well, or even instrumental, expressing the means of fighting that battle, even causal, expressing cause; "how the fight is carried out", Knight. Presumably the kai agaqhn suneidhsin, "and a good conscience", adds a second element for an effective engagement. The first element entails a "holding fast / possessing / maintaining" of "faith".

pistin (iV ewV) "faith" - Accusative direct object of the participle "holding". "Faith", in the Pastorals, often seems to take the sense, "the Christian faith / the Christian religion / Christianity", the truths of the Christian faith, ie., the objective content of the faith, so "keeping the faith." "Faith", in the sense of faithful may be the intended sense, so "remaining faithful", Barrett. Marshall is inclined to the sense "belief"; "the whole attitude of the Christian which is determined by trust in God", so Knight, Towner, .. This seems the likely sense.

agaqhn adj. "good" - [and a] good [conscience]. Accusative direct object of the participle "holding". It seems likely that the "good conscience" is independent of "faith"; it is not an outworking of faith, a fruit of faith as love is a fruit of faith. At the same time it partners with faith as an essential spiritual attribute for Christian living. A good conscience is consequent on a response to the gospel and the subsequent spiritual renewal that takes place through the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Knight states that "a good conscience is a state in which one's moral self-evaluation accurately registers that one has been obedient to God." Seeing we are rarely obedient, it is more likely that a "good conscience" accurately registers our failures. In my church, the old CofE, the second item in the service of Holy Communion involves a recitation of the Ten Commandments. The response after each commandment, hopefully prompted by a good conscience, is "Lord, have mercy on us; and incline our hearts to keep this law." The response to the tenth commandment changes to "Lord, have mercy on us: and write your law in our hearts by your Holy Spirit." Towner provides a better definition when he asserts "the good conscience is the origin of decision by which the Christian may move from knowledge of the faith (considered from the standpoint of objective content) and sound teaching to appropriate conduct."

h{n rel. pro. "which" - which [some]. Referencing "good conscience"; "which good conscience some have rejected ..."

apwsamenoi (apwqew) aor. mid. part. "have rejected" - having put away, thrust away, turned one's back on [have caused a shipwreck]. Attendant circumstance participle; the prefix apo probably intensifies; "and have deliberately rejected."

peri + acc. "with regard to" - about, concerning. Reference / respect; "with respect to the faith / their faith / faith."

thn pistin (iV ewV) "the faith" - the faith / their faith. The presence of the article this time may indicate that "Christianity / the faith" is intended, or more particularly the doctrinal content of. Yet, an article is often used in Greek for a personal pronoun. It seems likely that "belief" is again intended, as above, with the article serving as a pronoun; "their faith", ESV. The "faith / belief" of the false teachers is now made shipwreck and this because they have undermined their conscience with the heresy they have adopted. The heresy of nomism / sanctification by obedience / pietism / pharisaism / .... inevitably undermines the conscience. If, for a believer, divine blessing is dependent on a faithful adherence to God's law, then it is necessary to deny sin by the practice of reductionism (the tithing of mint and cumin - a lessoning of God's requirements) and guilt dissipation (speck removal - exposing the sins of others). The faith of the false teachers is shipwreck because they forgot that grace is through faith apart from works of the law. It is simply not true that "there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey." Obedience is the fruit of faith, not the partner of faith.


Paul now specifies two of the heretics whose faith is shipwreck and the action he has taken against them.

w|n gen. pro. "among whom" - of whom [are hymanaeus and alexander. The genitive is adjectival, partitive. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples of those whose faith is shipwreck. Little is known of these two characters. A Hymanaeus appears in 2 Timothy 2:17; it is stated that he denies the resurrection. An Alexander, a very common name, is mentioned in 2 Timothy - a person who has done Paul great harm, 2Tim.4:14. A number of commentators regard the names as fictional, although there is no reason why they may not be two of the leading heretics.

tw/ satana/ (as a) dat. "[I have handed over to] Satan" - [whom i delivered to] satan. Dative of direct object of the para prefix verb "to deliver over to." Usually viewed as a descriptor of excommunication / breaking fellowship. Most commentators hold that the purpose of this act is to trigger repentance rather than impose punishment.

iJna + pas. subj. "to [be taught]" - that [they might be instructed, taught]. Introducing a purpose clause; "in order that." The passive "to teach" = "that they may learn not to blaspheme", ESV. The purpose of the handing of to Satan is "to correct by discipline", Marshall. The heresy of the false teachers blasphemes God and so carries with it divine punishment. By breaking fellowship (handing over to Satan) it is hoped that the false teacher may repent and so avoid the consequences of their sin.

mh blasfhmein (blasfhmew) pres. inf. "not to blaspheme" - The infinitive may be classified as epexegetic, specifying the intent of the teaching, or serving to introduce a dependent statement specifying the content of the teaching. The word here is not being used of slander, malicious talk, but in the sense of "the misrepresentation of the true and divine faith", Marshall.


1 Timothy Introduction


[Pumpkin Cottage]