1 Timothy 1

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1 Timothy 1
chapter 2 →
Uncial 015 (1 Tm 2.2-6).jpg
Fragments showing First Epistle to Timothy 2:2-6 on Codex Coislinianus, from ca. AD 550.
Book First Epistle to Timothy
Bible part New Testament
Order in the Bible part 15
Category Pauline epistles

1 Timothy 1 is the first chapter of the First Epistle to Timothy in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The author has been traditionally identified as Paul the Apostle as early as AD 180,[1][2][3] although most modern scholars consider the letter pseudepigraphical,[4] perhaps written as late as the first half of the second century AD.[5]



This chapter can be grouped (with cross references to other parts of the Bible):

  • 1 Timothy 1:1-2 = Greeting
  • 1 Timothy 1:3-11 = No Other Doctrine
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-17 = Glory to God for His Grace
  • 1 Timothy 1:18-20 = Fight the Good Fight

Verse 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope,[6]

Verse 2

Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.[7]
  • "my own son" or "my true son" (Greek: γνησίῳ τέκνῳ, gnēsiō teknō)

Vulgate Latin reads: "beloved son" (dilecto filio).

Verses 5 to 7

New Revised Standard Version

But the aim of such instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith. Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.[8]

Verse 8

But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,[9]
  • "law" (Greek: νόμος, nomos); "lawfully" (Greek: νομίμως, nomimos)

The "law" must be used "lawfully" or "legitimately", that is with the understanding of its purpose: the "function of the law in the lives of those who have been saved by grace".[10] In this passage, Paul describes the actions that are contrary to the law, but not in "personal debauchery" (as in Galatians 5:19-21) but "in opposition to God" (1 Timothy 1:9a) and "in hostility to human beings" (1 Timothy 1:9b-10a), which show love to "neither God nor neighbor".[10]

Verse 9

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,[11]
  • "the lawless" (Greek: ἀνόμοις, anomois)

The word anomois (from the Greek: a-, meaning "not" or "without", and nomos, meaning "law" or "custom") is generally translated into English as "lawless", although NIV renders it "lawbreakers", while Douay-Rheims uses "unjust". Vincent defines it as "recognizing no law" rather than "not having a law".[12]

  • "made" (Greek: κεῖται, keitai) has a legal sense, which can also be rendered "given, exist, be valid".[10]

This verse establishes that "the law has been made" not for the righteous but for "lawless/lawbreakers" and "disobedient/rebels"; the law is not applicable to the righteous as some heretics try to force it into "a doctrinal or ethical role it was not intended to have".[10] The law functions as a kind of "vice list" to "point out sin in whatever form it may take in a given culture", exposing the false teachers who are misusing it.[10] The "vice list" not only recalls the lists found in ancient moralistic writings, but follows the topics in the "Ten Commandments" (Deuteronomy 5:16-21),[13] as in the following table:[10]

1 Timothy 1:9-10 (NIV) 10 Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:6-21)
lawbreakers and rebels,
the ungodly and sinful,
the unholy and irreligious
You shall have no other gods before me
those who kill their fathers or mothers Honor your father and your mother
for murderers You shall not murder
for adulterers and perverts You shall not commit adultery
for slave traders You shall not steal
and liars and perjurers You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor

Verse 10

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;[14]
  • "whoremongers" (Greek: πόρνοις, pornois)

Also translated in various bible versions as "fornicators". "adulterers" or "sexually immoral people", was understood (as was the seventh commandment[15]) as applying to various acts of sexual immorality.[10] Nevertheless, the Hebrew na׳ap in Deuteronomy 5:18 specifically meant "adultery" (another word, zana, was used for fornication in general), and at the time of the New Testament is rendered as the Greek word porneia, which was broadly used for sexual immorality.[10]

  • "for them that defile themselves with mankind" or "sodomites" (Greek: ἀρσενοκοίτης, arsenokoites)

The Greek word arsenokoitais has been translated into English in different ways, among others, "abusers of themselves with men" (1901 American Standard Version), "them that defile themselves with mankind," (Authorized Version 1873), "sodomites" (RSV 1901), and "perverts" (NIV 1973). The word occurs only two times in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.[16]

  • "sound" (Greek: ὑγιαινούσῃ, hygiainousē)

This word is a medical term, related to "hygiene". Paul uses here as a "metaphor that contrasts healthy doctrine with the sickly, unhealthy teaching of the heretics."[16]

See also


  1. ^ See the arguments on composition of the epistle.
  2. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  3. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  4. ^ David E. Aune, ed., The Blackwell Companion to The New Testament (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), 9: "While seven of the letters attributed to Paul are almost universally accepted as authentic (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), four are just as widely judged to be pseudepigraphical, i.e. written by unknown authors under Paul's name: Ephesians and the Pastorals (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus)."
  5. ^ Stephen L. Harris, The New Testament: A Student's Introduction, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001), 366.
  6. ^ 1 Timothy 1:1
  7. ^ 1 Timothy 1:2
  8. ^ 1 Timothy 1:5-7.
  9. ^ 1 Timothy 1:8
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Liefeld, Walter L. The NIV Application Commentary: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 1999. ISBN 978-0-310-50110-7. pp. 63-67.
  11. ^ 1 Timothy 1:9
  12. ^ M. R. Vincent, Marvin R. Vincent. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament. 1985.
  13. ^ Young shows that this list reflects the Decalogue and also fits into the "Hellenistic-Jewish bridge culture" in the Pastorals (Theology of the Pastoral Letters", 24-28)
  14. ^ 1 Timothy 1:10
  15. ^ Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 20:10
  16. ^ a b Lea, Thomas D.; Griffin, Hayne P., Jr. 1, 2 Timothy, Titus. The New American Commentary; v. 34. B&H Publishing Group. 1992. ISBN 9780805401349. pp. 71-72.

External links

  • 1 Timothy 1 NIV
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