The Way - Day 161 (1 Timothy 1)

Daily Reading:
1 Timothy 1
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Review Paul's testimony in verses 12-17.  We should all be able to share our testimony, "being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks us for a reason for the hope that is in you".  Share your testimony with the group or write it out if you are alone.  If you need help, work with the group or get help from church leadership this week.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 68:5
OPTION 2: Proverbs 20:19
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:22-24
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 1 Timothy 1 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Paul writes this letter around AD 62-64 to the young pastor, Timothy, who was his son in the faith (2 Timothy 1:2). Timothy was raised by Eunice (his mother) and Lois (his grandmother) who passed on their faith in Jesus Christ to him. Paul writes concerning Timothy's upbringing in 2 Timothy 1:5: "when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also." It can be assumed from 2 Timothy 3:15 that they also faithfully taught him the Holy Scriptures because they knew it was "able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." We cannot be certain as to why his father is not mentioned by Paul, but it is possible that he had died early in Timothy's life (see Acts 16:1).

Timothy's mother was a Jew and his father was Greek making him a perfect candidate to minister as a missionary with Paul to both cultures. Timothy came to salvation under Paul's ministry in Lystra during his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6-23) and when he returned to Lystra he chose Timothy to go with him because the people of Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him (Acts 16:1-3). At this time, Timothy was very young (probably a teenager or young adult). He began ministering in many churches in the place of Paul and this letter was penned while Timothy was pastoring the church at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). Having written this letter after his release from imprisonment in Rome, Paul had ministered in many cities including Ephesus but had left Timothy there in order to provide some stability and guidance to the struggling church. Issues such as false doctrine, weak leadership in the church, misconduct in worship, and apathy had crept into the church and Paul wanted Timothy to confront it head on. Sprinkled throughout the letter, Paul writes practical instructions for pastoring as well as important doctrinal truths for Timothy to grasp. This letter is meant to assist Timothy in being an effective pastor who instructs and teaches the church to mature in their faith.

1 TIMOTHY 1:1-11
False doctrine has a habit of making it's way into the church and destroying the foundation of scripture; in fact, compromising the inerrancy of scripture has led more churches down the wrong path than blatant sin. At the root of false teaching is the belief that man's opinions and ideals are superior to God's and ultimately leads to dependence on self. Eve experienced this in the garden when Satan tempted her saying "Has God indeed said...." (Genesis 3:1) Satan wanted Eve to question the very words of God causing her to choose between her own reasoning and the word of God. Not much has changed over the centuries and one of the greatest tools Satan uses inside (and outside) the church is to make people question the validity and accuracy of God's word. Such was the case with young Timothy who was pastoring the church at Ephesus. Paul writes "charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith." (1:3-4) At the core of this false teaching was the nature of salvation - did it come through the law or through faith in Jesus Christ? The teachers of the law created their own system of rules by which a person needed to follow in order to be saved (1:7). Paul declares that these teachers understand "neither what they say nor the things which they affirm." This type of teaching only leads to disagreement and fighting because it is man-made tradition; however, the gospel of Jesus Christ produces "love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith." (1:5) Paul does go on to say that the law does serve an important purpose, but does not have the power to bring salvation. The law teaches God's holy standard and exposes our sinfulness. The law was not intended for a person who thinks they are righteous, but rather an individual who recognizes their sinfulness before God. These so-called religious teachers believed that obedience to the law made them holy, but God intended for the law to reveal our true sinfulness. When a person's sin is exposed by understanding the law it should result in conviction of sin, repentance, and asking God for forgiveness not arrogant self-righteousness. From the very beginning of this letter to Timothy, Paul wanted him to unapologetically guard the gospel of Jesus Christ and instruct the church in rejecting any teaching which would compromise the very words of God.

1 TIMOTHY 1:12-17
Having just condemned any doctrine which teaches anything contrary to salvation through Jesus Christ, Paul now shares a little about his experience in coming to faith in Jesus Christ (the true gospel). "I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and and insolent man...." Paul was formerly a persecutor of Christians who manifested violence against the church because of his belief in salvation through the law rather than faith in Jesus Christ. He was a zealous Jew who was only defending what he thought to be the true way to salvation. Paul makes it clear, however, that he did not fully understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and was ignorant. He did not reject the person of Jesus Christ with full knowledge as to who He was and why He came, unlike those who were now spreading a false gospel (1:13). Now Paul was a follower of Jesus Christ and was thankful to God "who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry...and the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." (1:12, 14) Paul recognized that God was gracious in allowing him to convert from the empty rules of Judaism to become a devoted follower of Christ. There was nothing within him which deserved God's mercy, but he believed "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." (1:15) If God could be patient with a sinner such as Paul, he knew that through him could come an example of longsuffering to those who had not accepted salvation in Jesus Christ (1:16). Maybe you are reading this and wondering if God could bring salvation into a life which is a mess with sin and rebellion. The answer is "yes." Paul was a blasphemer and rejector of God, yet God brought salvation into his life. Those who willingly admit their sin and humble themselves before God will be granted mercy.

1 TIMOTHY 1:18-20
Paul has spent most of chapter 1 communicating the importance of one gospel. In a society where false teachers and so-called religious groups sought to deceive the faithful, Paul warned Timothy about accepting any other gospel than that which is of Jesus Christ. Paul gave personal testimony about his failure to believe in Jesus Christ and his propagation of the law. Thankfully, God was gracious to Paul and allowed him to be exposed to the truth about Jesus to which he responded in faith. Turning his full attention to Timothy (Paul's son in the faith), Paul writes "this charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare." (1:18) Prior to this writing, prophecies had been made about Timothy being called into the ministry. 1 Timothy 4:14 commands him not to "neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership." There was no doubt in Paul's mind that Timothy had been called by God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of his calling, Timothy was like a soldier...not a physical one but a spiritual one. This is why Paul commanded him to "wage the good warfare" meaning that he would be in battle against those who were the enemies of God and compromised the one, true gospel. Paul continues to write that Timothy have "faith and a good conscience" (1:19) which is a challenge for him to keep the faith and gain assurance from obedience to God. What would happen if Timothy got off track and taught his own ideals? Paul reminded Timothy of Hymenaeus and Alexander who "concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck" and "whom I [Paul] delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme." (1:20) Timothy must have known these two men who had heard the gospel of Jesus Christ, but had chosen to reject it and believe a lie. When Paul mentions that they "suffered shipwreck" he was not referring to a literal incident but a spiritual shipwreck. Their failure to believe in salvation provided by Jesus Christ had left them in ruins and without hope. For this reason, Paul removed them from the church where they were spreading a false gospel and gave them over to judgment by Satan. Even though Paul is writing to the young pastor, Timothy, those who read his letter should carefully guard the gospel of Jesus Christ and commit to keep it pure. Compromising of the gospel brings severe punishment and God's judgment upon those who take it lightly.

Dear God, protect the gospel of Jesus Christ and may I never allow it to be compromised!