1 Timothy


The danger of false doctrine, 1:1-20

i] Salutation and opening commission


Paul opens with a typical greeting for a letter, identifying from whom (Paul, an apostle of Christ under divine authority) and to whom, followed by a particular three-part Christian blessing - the grace that flows from Christ, the mercy of God and the sure hope of eternity, v1-2. Then follows a charge to Timothy which runs through to v20. In this charge, Paul addresses the need for Timothy to confront the false teachers at work in the church, v3-7. The false teachers have failed to understand the function of the law and so Paul goes on to explain its proper use, v8-11


i] Context:

Paul's first letter to Timothy presents with an introduction explaining his reason for writing, 1:1-20, an extended body of instruction, 2:1-6:2a, and concluding instructions, 6:2b-21. The body of the letter rests on a central proposition / foundational, creedal truth, 3:16, which truth serves to guide the church, "God's household", 3:14-15, as against those who ignore it, 4:1-5. Paul seeks to instruct Timothy on how this truth applies for the building up of the church.

  Introduction, 1:1-20

A from whom, to whom, opens the letter, followed up with a greeting, 1:1-2. A direct instruction is then given to Timothy, 1:3, with reference to "teachers of the law" who are opposing his ministry, 1:4-7. Paul goes on to explain the true function of the law, 1:8-11, before offering a thanksgiving prayer for God's mercy in Jesus and the undeserved opportunity he has been given to serve his Lord, 1:12-17. Paul concludes the introductory section of his letter by renewing his charge to Timothy, 1:18-20.

  The first set of instructions, 2:15-3:13

These instructions concern public worship and the function of those who conduct it. First, Paul addresses the issue of liturgical prayer, providing reasons for its universal scope, 2:1-7. He then turns his attention on those who do the praying, giving appropriate cultural instructions for good order, 2:8-10. This leads to the leadership of married women in public worship which Paul limits, due to the culturally important issue of modesty and of a married woman's prior commitment to her husband and children (v15), 2:11-3:1a. Finally, the qualifications of those who minister in public worship are outlined, 3:1b-13. First, for the episkopoV, "elder / bishop", a list of positive virtues for the role are listed, along with failings that disqualify a person from the role, 3:1b-7. Then follows the diakonoV, "servant / deacon", again with a similar list, one particularly applying to female candidates, 3:8-13.

  Proposition, 3:14-4:5

At the centre of the letter lies a creedal proposition, 3:16, "the mystery from which true godliness springs", 3:14-15, as opposed to the hypocritical lifestyle prompted by the teachings of those who have abandoned the faith, 4:1-5.

  A second set of instructions, 4:6-6:2a

These instructions begin with a charge to Timothy to exercise a teaching ministry faithful to the apostolic Pauline gospel, and one exercised within the context of a godly lifestyle, 4:6-10, pure in lifestyle and doctrine, 4:11-16. Matters of congregational order are then outlined, 5:17-6:2a, first, that relationships between members need to be respectful. The behaviour and treatment of widows is then covered in some detail, followed by a number of practical matters concerning the role of elders. Finally, a number of minor issues are touched on: the laying on of hands, healthy living, godly living and slavery.

  Concluding instructions, 6:2b-21

Paul first reminds Timothy of the importance of the instructions detailed in the letter, denouncing those who would question its sound teaching, 6:2b-5. Paul then touches on the problem of wealth and power and how that impacts on members who are poor, 6:6-10. The impact on the minister is in mind when Paul presents what is virtually an ordinational charge, 6:11-16 - to flee from the corruption of wealth and power to "pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love endurance and gentleness," It is within this frame that a minister is able to guide the rich and powerful to lay up treasure for the coming age rather than for themselves, 6:17-19. The letter concludes with a final commission to Timothy.


ii] Background:

In much the same way as listening to a one sided telephone conversation leaves us somewhat confused, so we too are hamstrung when reading Paul's first letter to Timothy - we have very little information as to the actual situation Paul addresses. Yes, Timothy is troubled by false teachers in his church, but what is the heresy promoted by these troublemakers. Some form of Jewish gnosticism is suggested by a number of commentators, eg., Barrett, or more particularly a form of Hellenistic Judaism which is focused on the strict application of rules and regulations, so Fee.

These notes proceed on the assumption that the false teachers are law-bound believers, most being converted Jews, who regard the Law / Torah as a necessary accompaniment to the Christian life in that it progresses sanctification by controlling sin and shaping holiness. This heresy, known as sanctification by obedience / nomism, is addressed by Paul in Romans and Galatians. - See "The heresy of nomism" in the "Background" notes, Romans 1:8-15.


iii] Structure: Salutation and opening commission

The greeting, v1-2.

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.


iv] Interpretation:

Like the other Pauline letters, 1 Timothy begins with a salutation identifying the author and the recipients, along with a greeting, v1-2. The form of this greeting is similar to other Greek letters of the time, although Paul's Christian perspective has moulded the content of the greeting.

Paul moves immediately to the issue at hand, the influence of false teachers. First, Paul reminds Timothy of his assignment in Ephesus, namely to curtail the activities of certain false teachers who are more interested in advancing controversial speculations rather than God's work. God's work is advanced through the gospel, along with its fruit love, but the false teachers are bogged down in vain discussion. The false teachers' speculations focus on the law and so Paul goes on in v8-11 to explain the proper use of the law, and how the gospel shapes sound doctrine, not the law.


The Law in 1 Timothy: Most commentators agree that the law referred to in this letter is primarily the Law of Moses / the Torah, but given that the false teachers are probably believers it is very likely that the ethical teachings of Jesus play a prominent part in their understanding of the law. This may well explain the tendency of the false teachers to idealise the law, eg., "they forbid marriage."

Jesus' utopian ethic was never intended as a law to be done. Jesus' ethical ideals certainly give direction to the Christian life, but they do not serve as a practical set of rules. They primarily serve to remove any suggestion that it is possible to stand innocent before the law, ie., they serve to expose sin and thus the need for divine mercy. We may never have murdered anyone, but we all get angry, and for this reason we stand condemned before God. Who shall rescue us from our state of eternal loss? Divine mercy is ours in Christ by grace through faith apart from works of the law.

Text - 1:1

Salutation and opening commission, v1-20. i] The greeting, v1-2. The standard formula for letter writing is followed, namely, the writer's name and title, the addressee and some sort of blessing.

apostoloV (oV) "an apostle" - [paul] an apostle. Nominative absolute. Literally "sent ones "- with the authority of and on behalf of. Applying initially to the twelve, extended to certain missionaries, possibly missionaries in general, and of course, to Paul.

Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - of christ [jesus]. The genitive may be treated as possessive, "the one whose apostle he is", Knight, but also ablative, source / origin, "an apostle sent out from Jesus."

kat (kata) + acc. "by" - through, by / according to [a command]. Here adverbial, expressing means / basis, "by", as NIV, but standard may be intended, "according to the command." "By command / order of" extending to mean "under the authority of God."

qeou (oV) gen. "of God" - The genitive is usually classified as verbal, subjective, but possibly ablative, source / origin, "a command from God". Usually with the sense "God the Father."

hJmwn gen. pro. "our" - [saviour] of us. The genitive is usually viewed as verbal, objective. The plural is inclusive of the Christian community.

swthroV (hr hroV) gen. "Saviour" - Standing in apposition to "God", genitive in agreement; "the one who sets us free" = "our saviour God." "Saviour" is not a common designation of "God" in Paul's earlier letters, but it is true enough to say that God the Father is our saviour; "it is natural to name God the Father first as the ultimate origin of salvation", Marshall.

Cristou (oV) gen. "of Christ" - [and] of christ [jesus]. Genitive as with "of God." Paul's authority is from God and Jesus Christ. The order, "Christ Jesus", or "Jesus Christ", when used simply as a name / identifier, is probably without significance, although Knight suggests that "Christ Jesus" reflects union with Christ following the use of the preposition en, "in Christ Jesus." "Christ" by itself, usually with an article, refers to "the Christ" = "the messiah."

thV elpidoV (iV idoV) "[our] hope" - the hope [of us]. Standing in apposition to "Christ Jesus", genitive in agreement. The word "hope" in English has lost its power such that a "hope for the best" expresses anything but expectation. "Hope" in the NT is a sure expectation in the fulfilment of God's promises. Better expressed like "in whom our trust is confirmed." This trust / hope is for eternal life, ours in Christ, life now and life in the age to come / the hope of future glory.


Timoqew/ (oV) dat. "To Timothy" - Dative of recipient, "Written to Timothy" / interest, advantage, "for Timothy." We would simply address such a letter "Dear Timothy."

gnhsiw/ dat. adj. "my true [son]" - a legitimate = genuine, true, real [child]. Attributive adjective limiting "child", dative of agreement with "Timothy". Timothy is the legitimate and authorised successor of Paul to the church, so Calvin. "Child" is best expressed "son" and treated as a simile; "To dear Timothy, you who are like a real son to me." Marshal notes three possible metaphorical uses: a) of an older person to a younger; b) of someone brought to faith; c) of an intimate relationship between two people of different ages.

en + dat. "in" - in. The preposition may be taken as local, "in the sphere of", or reference / respect, "with respect to faith", even possibly instrumental; "by faith."

pistei (iV ewV) dat. "the faith" - faith. Cf. Tit.1:4, kata koinhn pistin. This is the first occurrence of a difficult word in the pastoral epistles. It seems likely that on most occasions "the faith" is intended, "the Christian faith", "the Christian religion", ie., the truths on which it rests, so here Barrett. None-the-less, the lack of an article may imply "faith" in the sense of "belief", so Marshall. Paul could be saying that Timothy is like a son to him because they share the same belief in Christ, or even that Paul led Timothy to believe in Christ.

cariV eleoV eirhnh "grace, mercy and peace" - Nominative subjects. "Peace" was a common greeting and meant something like "every blessing to you from God", Barclay. Of the two particularly Christian elements to the greeting, "grace" and "mercy", "mercy", in the sense of God's willing forgiveness, his hesed, his loving kindness, is for Paul, peculiar to the Pastoral epistles. "Grace" is commonly used by Paul in his greetings and refers to God's undeserved favour in Christ. "May grace mercy and peace be by your side", Cassirer.

apo + gen. "from" - from [god the father]. Expressing source / origin. The threefold blessing is from both the Father and the Son; "be brought to you by God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ", Cassirer.

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


ii] The charge, v3-20: a) The necessity to deal with the false teachers, v3-7. Paul now reinforces the charge / commission he gave Timothy on appointing him as his representative in Ephesus, namely, to teach pure and sound doctrine, while driving away false doctrine. Marshall notes three themes in this passage which repeat throughout the chapter: Timothy's commission; the "contrast between the introspection of the false teachers and sound teaching"; and "the right use of the law and the gospel."

kaqwV adv. "As" - even as, as [i urged you to remain in ephesus]. This comparative serves to introduce a conditional clause covering v3-4, but missing the apodosis; "even as I urged you .......... which causes useless speculation rather than stewardship of God in faith, so now I write", Lock / "so I now command you", Marshall. Here expressing basis rather than condition. "When I was setting out for Macedonia, I charged you to stay behind at Ephesus so that you might give warning to certain people to desist from propounding strange doctrine, paying no attention .....", Cassirer.

poreuomenoV (poreuomai) pres. mid. part. "when I went [into Macedonia]" - going [into macedonia]. The participle is adverbial, best understood as temporal.

prosmeinai (prosmenw) aor. inf. "stay there" - to remain, wait. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Paul urged / exhorted Timothy to do. The prefix proV gives the sense "to stay on with." In Acts 19 we learn that Paul ministered for two years in Ephesus and then left for Macedonia. We have no further record of Paul visiting Ephesus, but if he was released from prison in Rome he may have visited again and left again for Macedonia, on which occasion he may have asked Timothy to remain and minister to the church there.

en + dat. "in [Ephesus]" - Local; spacial.

iJna "so that [you may command, impress on]" - that [you may charge]. Here introducing a final clause expressing purpose / hypothetical result, as NIV.

tisin dat. pro. "certain people" - certain ones. The pronoun serves as a substantive, dative of direct object after the para prefix verb "to command."

mh eJterodidaskalein (eJterodidaskalew) pres. inf. "not to teach false doctrines any longer" - not to teach differently. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of the command to certain people, namely, do not "teach other doctrines", Zerwick = "to stop teaching doctrines which are a contradiction to the Christian faith", Barclay = "heretical teaching", Marshall, "heterodoxy", Knight = eJteron euangelion, "another gospel." The word "different doctrine" is used by Ignatius and Polycarp which may reflect currant usage, or evidence their knowledge of the word from Timothy.


Reflecting on the "certain people" who "teach false doctrines", Paul draws a contrast "between the authentic and bogus accounts of divine saving action", Houlden.

prosecein (prosecw) pres. inf. "to devote themselves to" - [neither] to pay attention to, give one's mind to. The infinitive introduces a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing the content of the command, namely, of not "teaching novelties and studying myths and interminable genealogies", Moffatt, "occupy themselves with ...", RSV. "Tell them to stop wasting their time", CEV.

muqoiV (oV) dat. "myths" - Dative of direct object after the proV prefix verb "to pay attention to." It is unclear what "myths" are being referred to, other than that they are Jewish, godless and fit only for women (Rather sexist!! The worst rubbish I have heard has come from men in pulpits. Still, the ladies are taking over the pulpits so maybe now its their turn to deliver some "myths". Lord forgive me; I've delivered some rubbish over the years!). "A term for speculative treatment of the Old Testament, referring specifically perhaps to stories of the creation, and other stories, respectively", Barrett.

genealogiaiV (a) dat. "[endless] genealogies" - [and endless, boundless] genealogies. Dative, as for "myths". Jewish ancestral lists may be intended, but probably the term "myths and genealogies" goes together to identify, in a disapproving way, stories around the generations in the OT books of the Law which were interpreted in minute detail, inc. numerology, etc, eg., The Book of Jubilees. "Myths and genealogies" may simply describe a fixation on the books of Moses / the Pentateuch and its instructions which supposedly guide a believer on the path to holiness.

aiJtineV pro. "such things" - which. Indefinite relative pronoun.

ekzhthsiV (iV ewV) "[promote] controversies / controversial speculations" - [promote, cause, give rise to, produce] speculation / controversy, disputes. Accusative direct object of the verb "to promote." A NT hapax legomenon, but also not found in Gk. literature of the time. So, as a guess, "such things only cause arguments", CEV.

mallon h] adv. + particle "rather than" - The comparative adverb + the disjunctive h] serve to introduce an alternative.

oikonomian (a) "advancing [God's] work" - a management, plan, dispensation, administration. Accusative direct object of the verb "to promote." Probably with the sense that the speculations / arguments promoted by the false teachers, hinders God's plan for the salvation of the lost; They hinder "God's scheme of salvation", Barclay, but possibly in a more general sense, "they don't help anyone to do God's work", CEV.

qeou (oV) gen. "God's" - of god. The genitive is adjectival, limiting work, usually classified as verbal, subjective, "the work performed by God", but possibly possessive, or attributive / idiomatic, "the dispensation which is administered by God."

thn "which is" - the. The article serves as an adjectivizer turning the prepositional phrase "in faith" into an attributive modifier limiting "God's work", ie., limiting God's way of ordering things for the salvation of the lost; "the stewardship from God that is by faith", ESV.

en + dat. "by [faith]" - in [faith]. Instrumental, expressing means, as NIV. Putting weight on the anarthrous (without a definite article) "faith", we don't end up with "the faith", the Christian religion / doctrine, but rather "faith / belief", or better, "faithfulness", particularly the faithfulness of Christ appropriated through faith. The way of salvation is through faith in the faithfulness of Christ, not faith in Christ + Law ("myths and genealogies").


The instructions provided by the false teachers (ie., their "myths and genealogies") "promote speculations rather than divine training", whereas Paul's instructions to Timothy lead to sincere brotherly love.

de "-" - but/and. Here slightly adversative / contrastive; "however", although more as a transitional connective, indicating a step in the argument; "leads to a fresh thought", Marshall.

to .. teloV (oV ouV) "the goal" - the end = goal, aim, purpose. Nominative subject of the verb to-be. "The reason why I am encouraging you to confront the false teachers is so that love will grow within your Christian community."

thV paraggeliaV (a) gen. "of this command" - of the command, instruction, charge. The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic / product, producer. "The command" likely refers to v3, namely Paul's command to Timothy to stay in Ephesus and confront the false teachers there.

agaph (h) "love" - [is] love. Predicate nominative. "The active exercise of love", Marshall" = compassion = brotherly love.

ek "which comes from" - out of, from. Expressing source / origin of love / compassion; "that issues from", RSV. It seems likely that "love" is the goal of the command and it has a threefold source, namely, a pure heart / self / mind, a good conscience and a sincere faith. Each of these qualities are inward. Barrett suggests that "it would be wrong to read a great depth of theological content into the terms used here." They are simply different ways of expressing sincerity. So, the goal of the command is sincere love. It is worth noting that the syntax can imply that the end / goal is not a singular "love", but threefold; "the aim and the object of the charge .... is the possession of a love coming from a pure heart, of a conscience free from guilt, and of a faith free from insincerity", Cassirer. A threefold purpose deals with the rather unpauline implication that love, in the sense of moral integrity, flows from an unclouded conscience rather than from divine grace through faith. None-the-less, such a conclusion goes beyond what are just simple descriptor's of inward sincerity.

kardiaV (a) "heart" - a [pure] heart. The word "heart" refers to the centre of a person's being. Love issues from a heart washed clean of sin - the forgiven forgive. "Freedom from mixed motives in the Christian profession", Barrett.

suneidhsewV agaqhV "a good conscience" - [and] a good conscience. A good conscience is an unclouded one. Houlden is inclined to think that our writer is referring to "a well-grounded moral integrity", but it would surely include a knowledge that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. "To have a good conscience does not mean to be totally unaware of sin", Barrett.

pistewV anupokritou "a sincere faith" - [and] faith sincere, irrevocable. The third inward quality / descriptor of sincerity is "trust in God and commitment to him", Marshall. The adjective anupokritou, "sincere", means free from pretence / devoid of deceit and dissembling, consequently a faith which is authentic.


Paul now caricatures the false teachers. They have moved into a world of meaningless theological debate, turning aside from sincere brotherly love and striving to be teachers of the law without even understanding the function of the law.

astochsanteV (astocew) aor. part. "have departed from" - [of which certain, some] losing one's way, missing, failing, missing the mark. Possibly an attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "to turn aside", as NIV, but better adverbial, instrumental, expressing means; "Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered into vain discussion", ESV. The "these things" are the three qualities referred to in v5.

w|n gen. pro. "these" - of which. The pronoun, serving as a substantive, "these things", is a genitive of direct object after the ek prefix verb "to depart from." The "these things" are probably the three qualities of sincere love, v5. "The false teachers, by turning away from these important Christian virtues, have got themselves tangled in senseless arguments."

exetraphsan (ektrepw) aor. pas. "have turned" - turned, turned aside, changed, wandered off. The passive takes a middle sense in that they have done the turning aside.

mataiologian (a) "meaningless talk" - [to] empty talk, senseless talk, idle talk, empty argument. "Empty, fruitless talk or discussion", Knight.


qelonteV (qelw) pres. part. "they want" - wanting, desiring. The participle is adverbial, probably causal. The false teachers have got themselves into this mess because they desire to be teachers of the law. "Certain individuals have lost their way in a wilderness of words .............. because they want to be teachers of the law, although without knowing ...." "The participial phrase closes this part of the caricature of the false teachers with an ironic jab", Marshall.

einai (eimi) pres. inf. "to be" - The infinitive of the verb to-be is usually classified as complementary, introducing an infinitival construction that completes the verbal aspect of the participle "willing, wanting"; "they would like to be teachers of the law." It may also be classified as introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what they want, namely, to be teachers of the law.

nomodidaskaloi (oV) "teachers of the law" - Predicate nominative. Barclay's "instructors in the Christian ethic" properly identifies the teachers as believers and their subject matter as ethics, but it is very unlikely that their ethical instruction is the practical application of brotherly love. If, as seems likely, they are nomists, their instruction is all about progressing sanctification by using God's law (the law of Moses, but most likely including NT ethics, the gospels and epistles) to curtail sin and shape holiness for the appropriation of divine blessings. As Paul will go on to explain, the law serves to expose sin rather than to sanctify, ie., it is "for lawbreakers and rebels." The law condemns sin and so drives the sinner to find holiness in the grace of God realised in Christ, rather than in obedience to the law.

mh noounteV (noew) pres. part. " they do not know" - but not knowing. The participle is adverbial, best taken as concessive; "although not knowing" = "although without understanding."

mhte ..... mhte "..... or" - either [what things are said] nor [about what things they affirm]. A negated correlative construction.

a} pro. "what" - which, what things [they say]. Shortened version of tauta a{, "although not knowing what things are said", ie., they do not understand "the things said", Knight = "they do not understand the meaning of the scriptures, or ......" Normally translated as NIV, ie., "they do not understand what they are talking about."

peri + gen. "[or]" - [nor] about, concerning. Expressing reference / respect; "or about all the things they assert."

tinwn int. pro. "what" - what things [they confidently affirm]. The interrogative pronoun is being used for a relative pronoun and as with a}, "what", tauta, "things", is assumed, "nor about what things they confidently affirm"; "nor their own confident doctrinal assertions about these thing, ie., about the laws", Knight. Barrett takes tinwn to be masculine, so "the persons about whom"; "They talk about the law, but apply it to the wrong persons", Barrett. We are best to follow Knight.


b) The true purpose of the law, v8-11. The law is an excellent thing when it is correctly used.

de "-" - but/and. Here serving as a transitional connective indicating a step in the argument and so left untranslated.

oidamen (oida) perf. "we know" - The perfect of this verb is used for the present tense, so "we know", not "we have known."

oJti "that" - Introducing a dependent statement of perception expressing what "we know." The we is virtually a royal plural, but possibly extending to Paul's team, or even "we apostles."

kaloV adj. "good" - [the law is] good, beautiful, useful, suitable. Predicate adjective. "The law is an excellent thing but it must be used correctly", cf., Barrett, p42.

ean + subj. "if" - if, as may be the case, [someone, anyone uses it lawfully then the law is good]. Introducing a conditional clause 3rd. class where the condition has the possibility of coming true.

autw/ dat. pro. "it" - Dative of direct object after the verb crhtai (craomai), "to use."

nomimwV adv. "properly" - lawfully, legitimately, properly. There is a play on words here; "the law is good if it is used lawfully."


Paul reminds Timothy that the law serves to condemn sinners, not saints. He goes on to list the sinners and their sins. To some degree, the list aligns with the ten commandment, cf., Marshall. The fact that Paul's list doesn't quite align to the ten commandments is because "the construction of the Decalogue was not considered normative ..... The order of the commandments is very loose", Dibelius / Conzelmann.

1. disobedient and insubordinate (introductory)

2. sinful (worshipping idols)

3. impious (not respecting God's name)

4. profane (not keeping the Sabbath holy)

5. dishonouring of parents

6. murders

7. adulterers, homosexuals

8. enslavers (stealing people)

9. liars, perjurers

10. (covetous - omitted)

eidwV (oida) perf. part. "we also know" - having known = knowing [this]. The opening phrase eidwV touto is awkward, even somewhat of an ellipsis / short-talk. The participle is adverbial, causal; "because we know this", but possibly adjectival, attributive, linked to the substantive pronoun tiV, "someone, anyone", v8, "someone who knows this." The "this", touto, is the whole of the dependent statement in v8, namely, oJti, "that the law is good if one (anyone, someone) uses it carefully." The oJti clause in v9, "[knowing this] that", introduces another dependent statement expressing a more detailed knowledge of what the "someone knows." This dependent statement serves as the object of an assumed "knows"; "Someone who knows this knows that ......"

oJti "that" - [knows] that. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement, as note above.

ou keitai (keimai) pres. "is made not" - [law] is not laid down = instituted, enacted, established. "We know very well that the law is not directed against ....", Barclay.

dikaiw/ dat. adj. "for the righteous" - to = for a righteous one. The adjective serves as a substantive, dative of interest, advantage, as NIV. If we follow those commentators who view the false teachers as believers influenced by Jewish gnosticism, immersed in the law from the perspective of myths and genealogies, trapped in an endless cycle of debate, then "the righteous" are those who "seek to conform to the law", Knight; such a person is an "upright, just" person. So, the point may simply be that endless speculation about the law is absurd because the law is not for law-abiding citizens. It would seem though that the word here carries its pauline sense: "the believer whom God alone has justified", Quinn & Wacker, the person "in whom the true love of God has been created", Kelly, "those who have been justified by faith and are living righteous lives", Mounce, "believers", Towner, "Christians", Marshall. Paul is in the process of reminding Timothy of a theological fact, one he knows very well. The prime function of the law is to expose sin and so drive the sinner to God for mercy.

de "but" - but/and [for lawless and rebellious / unruly, ungodly / impious / irreverent and sinner, unholy / irreligious and profane / godless / vile]. Here adversative / contrastive. The list of sins are all datives of interest, disadvantage.

patrolwaiV (aV ou) dat. "for those who kill their fathers" - to = for patricides [and matricides, murderers]. Dative of interest, disadvantage.


pornoiV (oV) dat. "adulterers / for the sexually immoral" - to = for adulterers, fornicators. Dative of interest, disadvantage.

arsenokoitaiV (hV ou) dat. "perverts / for those practicing homosexuality" - Dative of interest, disadvantage. The TNIV rightly identifies that homosexuality itself is not sinful, rather it is sodomy that is sinful, the act of sexual intercourse with a person of the same sex. cf., Rom.1:27, 1Cor.6:9-10. It is sometimes argued that the limited number of references to sodomy indicates that it is not an important sin, but the scant number of references probably indicates that its sinfulness is obvious. Even in ancient Greece, where sodomy and pedophilia were regarded as an acceptable pastime, sodomy was clearly differentiated from marriage. The charge of homophobia against the Christian church will increasingly test us, but it is not possible to contextualise away what is clearly unnatural and immoral. We are bound to recognise the sin, but be merciful toward the sinner. All "have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God", and so we have no right judging others from a position of moral superiority. All of us are flawed, and can only stand before God on the ground of his grace in Jesus. In the end, our business is the gospel, rather than the imposition of Biblical standards on a secular society.

andrapodistaiV (hV ou) dat. "for slave traders" - to kidnapers, slave dealers [liars, perjurers]. Dative of interest, disadvantage. Specifically of kidnapping for the purpose of selling a person into slavery.

kai ei ti eJteron "for whatever else" - and if a certain other thing. This construction is most likely a stock phrase for a catch-all, cf., Rom.13:9, also kai ei tiV eJtera entolh, 1Tim.6:3, Phil.3:15. Here a catch-all for the tenth commandment and everything else. So ei, "if", with the indefinite pronoun ti, "a certain", and the adjective eJteron, "other", expresses "a general indefiniteness", Knight; "whatever else", NIV, NRSV, ....

th/ uJgiainoush/ (uJgiainw) pres. part. "the sound [doctrine]" - [which is opposed to contrary to] the sound, wholesome, healthy [instruction, doctrine, teaching]. The participle is adjectival, attributive, limiting "doctrine", dative of direct object after the anti prefix verb "to oppose." The word is only found in the Pastorals: "sound teaching", 1Tim.1:10, 2Tim.4:3, Tit.1:9, 2:1; "sound in faith", Tit.1:13, 2:2; "sound words", 1Tim.6:3, 2Tim.1:13; "sound preaching", Tit.2:8. Those who give a late date to this letter argue that the author is referring to a set body of doctrine now present in the church, possibly Paul's letters. Those who support an early date, see this instruction as the gospel tradition, probably still in oral form at the time of Paul's house-arrest in Rome. This doctrine / tradition (either way, apostolic) is "true and reliable teaching", Marshall.


"Sound doctrine", particularly as it relates to teaching the law, is shaped by the gospel, the good news of salvation. This message was exegeted by Paul, so establishing that eternal right standing / holiness in the presence of God is appropriated by divine grace through the instrument of faith (faith in the faithfulness of Christ), and this apart from works of the law.

kata + acc. "that conforms to" - according to. Here establishing a standard; "in accordance with", ESV, "in conformity with", Barrett. It seems likely that the "sound teaching" conforms to / is in accordance with "the gospel ......", as NIV, so Knight. A wider linkage has been suggested, eg., 1:8-10, so Marshall, or "love based on a pure heart, a good conscience, and genuine faith, is in conformity with the gospel", so Barrett. The heresy of the false teachers is exposed by "the sound teaching based on the gospel", Knight.

to euaggelion (on) "the gospel" - the important news. Very early within the life of the Christian church this word came to encapsulate the divine message, "The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe." So, the gospel is "the good news of salvation", Marshall - although it is only good news for those who repent; for the rest, it is anything but good news. The gospel concerns the news of salvation (by grace through faith) revealed and realised in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ Jesus.

thV doxhV (a) gen. "[the] glorious [gospel] / concerning the glory" - of the glory. "Glory", when referring to God, expresses splendour and power. The NIV opts for a Semitic style, treating the genitive as adjectival, attributive, limiting "gospel". Of course it could serve to limit "God", "the gospel of the glorious God." The genitive construction, as a whole, would then modify / limit "gospel" adjectivally, serving as an attributive modifier / idiomatic, "the gospel which reveals and makes real the glory of God." "The gospel which tells of the glory of the ever-blessed God", REB.

tou ... qeou (oV) gen. "of the [blessed] God" - The genitive is adjectival, possessive; "the glory which God possesses / possessed by the God, who is blessed." Possibly ablative, source / origin; "the glory emanating from God."

makariou gen. adj. "blessed" - "Happy", in the sense of possessing an immortal relational happiness, a happiness which extends beyond the self. The article-adjective-noun arrangement indicates that the adjective is attributive, although probably an emphatic arrangement here. So, best treated as the predicate of God, asserting an attribute of God; "the gospel which reveals and makes real the glory of the God who is blessed." "The gospel which tells of the glory of God in his eternal felicity", NEB.

episteuqhn (pisteuw) aor. pas. "he entrusted" - [which] i was entrusted. "With", is assumed; "with which I have been entrusted", Berkeley. Possibly "which has been entrusted to me to proclaim", Cassirer. The addition of egw, "I", is emphatic.


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