Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 1 Timothy 1:12-20

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His service - 1 Timothy 1:12

his service. A common short-hand summary of his commission, Paul used this term (Gk. diakonia) to highlight that his message and authority were not self-generated. Nor was Paul some sort of secondary emissary of the other apostles. Rather, Paul's message and authority came directly from Christ to authorize him as an emissary alongside the other apostles

A blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man - 1 Timothy 1:13

a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man. Along with Luke (cf. Acts 9:1-19; 22:3-16; 26:9-20), Paul narrated the story of his encounter with Christ (see note 1:12-17) as a demonstration of the gospel's transformative power. Paul's pre-conversion persecution of the church was rooted in his readings and practice of the Law. His experience of mercy and forgiveness apart from the Law revolutionized his readings and practice. I received mercy. Paul's testimony about the grace and mercy he received from Christ stood in stark contrast to the false teachers of Ephesus, who placed confidence for character reform in law-keeping, which conformed to their readings and practice (see also 1:16).

Pauline summary of the gospel - 1 Timothy 1:14

This sentence is a classic Pauline summary of the gospel containing two of his signature phrases, the grace of our Lord and in Christ Jesus. Grace, gift or favor was a common term in the Roman economy which described a material exchange or a service provided to someone worthy of honor or someone who could repay. The scandal of Paul's gospel summary is that Christ's gift of salvation is given to the unworthy, the dishonorable, to those incapable of repay-ment. The classic Pauline prepositional phrase "in Christ" is rooted in Israel's Scriptures. Abraham and David, in particular, stand as covenant mediators for "the nations" in relation to Israel's God. It is only "in Abraham" (Gen 12:3), "in David" (Ps 72:11, 17) and "in Christ" (Rom 8:1, 38; 1 Cor 1:2; 15:58; 2 Cor 5:2, 17; 12:2; Gal 2:4; Eph 2:13; 4:32; Phil 1:1; 3:14, etc.) that the nations can experience covenantal intimacy with Israel's God.

This message is reliable and worthy of all acceptance. - 1 Timothy 1:15

This message is reliable and worthy of all acceptance. In the New Testament, this expression is found exclusively and repeatedly in the Pastoral Epistles to underscore the reliability of known, traditional sayings used in Christian worship (1 Tim 1:15; 2 Tim 2:11-13) or training (1 Tim 3:1; 4:8-9; Titus 3:4-8)

I was given mercy - 1 Timothy 1:16

I was given mercy. See 1:13 above. Because of his violent persecution of the church before he submitted to Jesus as both Christ and Lord, Paul viewed himself as the worst of sinners (cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13, 23). His vision of the risen Christ illuminated his actions against Christ's followers as against Christ himself. The lavish extremity of Christ's mercy towards Paul demonstrated God's grace and love asan example for all who believe.

Now, to the King - 1 Timothy 1:17

Now, to the King of the ages . . . be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. Paul's confession of sin and testimony about Christ's mercy led him to praise and worship God. This doxology echoes Paul's opening benediction that "grace, mercy and peace come from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord" (see note on 1:1-2).

Timothy's commission to confront false teachers with this gospel - 1 Timothy 1:18-20

Timothy's commission to confront false teachers with this gospel. Having described the merciful circumstances of his own commission from Christ, Paul passed on "this charge" to Timothy on the basis of "prophecies once made" about him, and Paul's own assessment that Timothy's fidelity was like that of a "genuine child." Timothy would need to draw strength from these confirmations of his calling which meant confronting false teachers at Ephesus.

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