1 Timothy 1
New English Translation
1 From Paul,[a] an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior[b] and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord!
Timothy’s Task in Ephesus
3 As I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus to instruct[c] certain people not to spread false teachings,[d] 4 nor to occupy themselves with myths and interminable genealogies.[e] Such things promote useless speculations rather than God’s redemptive plan[f] that operates by faith. 5 But the aim of our instruction[g] is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.[h] 6 Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion. 7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not understand what they are saying or the things they insist on so confidently.[i]
8 But we know that the law is good if someone uses it legitimately, 9 realizing that law[j] is not intended for a righteous person, but for lawless and rebellious people, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 sexually immoral people, practicing homosexuals,[k] kidnappers, liars, perjurers—in fact, for any who live contrary to sound teaching. 11 This[l] accords with the glorious gospel of the blessed God[m] that was entrusted to me.[n]
12 I am grateful to the one who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me faithful in putting me into ministry, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor, and an arrogant[o] man. But I was treated with mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and our Lord’s grace was abundant, bringing faith and love in Christ Jesus.[p] 15 This saying[q] is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them![r] 16 But here is why I was treated with mercy: so that[s] in me as the worst,[t] Christ Jesus could demonstrate his utmost patience, as an example for those who are going to believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the eternal king,[u] immortal, invisible, the only[v] God, be honor and glory forever and ever![w] Amen.
18 I put this charge[x] before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you,[y] in order that with such encouragement[z] you may fight the good fight. 19 To do this[aa] you must hold firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck in regard to the faith. 20 Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I handed over to Satan[ab] to be taught not to blaspheme.
- 1 Timothy 1:1 tn Grk “Paul.” The word “from” is not in the Greek text, but has been supplied to indicate the sender of the letter.
- 1 Timothy 1:1 sn God our Savior. Use of the title “Savior” for God the Father is characteristic of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. It occurs six times in these letters, but only twice elsewhere in the NT. However, it occurs commonly in the OT, especially in Isaiah. It emphasizes the Father as the initiator and source of salvation.
- 1 Timothy 1:3 tn This word implies authoritative instruction: “direct, command, give orders” (cf. 1 Tim 4:11; 5:7; 6:13, 17). See BDAG 760 s.v. παραγγέλλω.
- 1 Timothy 1:3 tn Grk “to teach other doctrines,” different from apostolic teaching (cf. 1 Tim 6:3).
- 1 Timothy 1:4 sn Myths and interminable genealogies. These myths were legendary tales characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus and Crete. See parallels in 1 Tim 4:7; 2 Tim 4:4; and Titus 1:14. They were perhaps built by speculation from the patriarchal narratives in the OT; hence the connection with genealogies and with wanting to be teachers of the law (v. 7).
- 1 Timothy 1:4 tc A few Western mss (D* latt Ir) read οἰκοδομήν (oikodomēn, “[God’s] edification”) rather than οἰκονομίαν (oikonomian, “[God’s] redemptive plan”), which is read by the earliest and best witnesses.tn More literally, “the administration of God that is by faith.”sn God’s redemptive plan. The basic word (οἰκονομία, oikonomia) denotes the work of a household steward or manager or the arrangement under which he works: “household management.” As a theological term it is used of the order or arrangement by which God brings redemption through Christ (God’s “dispensation, plan of salvation” [Eph 1:10; 3:9]) or of human responsibility to pass on the message of that salvation (“stewardship, commission” [1 Cor 9:17; Eph 3:2; Col 1:25]). Here the former is in view (see the summary of God’s plan in 1 Tim 2:3-6; 2 Tim 1:9-10; Titus 3:4-7), and Paul notes the response people must make to God’s arrangement: It is “in faith” or “by faith.”
- 1 Timothy 1:5 tn Grk “the instruction,” referring to orthodox Christian teaching and ministry in general, in contrast to that of the false teachers mentioned in 1:3-4.
- 1 Timothy 1:5 tn Grk “love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
- 1 Timothy 1:7 tn The Greek reinforces this negation: “understand neither what they are saying nor the things they insist on…”
- 1 Timothy 1:9 sn Law. There is no definite article (“the”) with this word in Greek and so the inherent quality of the OT law as such is in view. But the OT law is still in mind, since the types of sinful people surveyed in vv. 9b-11a follow the general outline of sins prohibited in the Decalogue.
- 1 Timothy 1:10 tn On this term BDAG 135 s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης states, “a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1 Cor 6:9…of one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity, opp. μαλακός…1 Ti 1:10; Pol 5:3. Cp. Ro 1:27.” L&N 88.280 states, “a male partner in homosexual intercourse—‘homosexual.’…It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner” (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). Since there is a distinction in contemporary usage between sexual orientation and actual behavior, the qualification “practicing” was supplied in the translation, following the emphasis in BDAG.
- 1 Timothy 1:11 tn A continuation of the preceding idea: Grk “teaching, according to the gospel.” This use of the law is in accord with the gospel entrusted to Paul (cf. Rom 7:7-16; Gal 3:23-26). Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, a new sentence was started here in the translation.
- 1 Timothy 1:11 tn Grk “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.”
- 1 Timothy 1:11 tn Grk “with which I was entrusted.” The translation is more in line with contemporary English style.
- 1 Timothy 1:13 tn Or “violent,” “cruel.”
- 1 Timothy 1:14 tn Grk “with faith and love in Christ Jesus.”
- 1 Timothy 1:15 tn Grk “the saying,” referring to the following citation (see 1 Tim 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 3:8 for other occurrences of this phrase).
- 1 Timothy 1:15 tn Grk “of whom I am the first.”
- 1 Timothy 1:16 tn Grk “but because of this I was treated with mercy, so that…”
- 1 Timothy 1:16 tn Grk “in me first,” making the connection with the last phrase of v. 15.
- 1 Timothy 1:17 tn Or more literally, “king of the ages.”
- 1 Timothy 1:17 tc Most later witnesses (א2 D1 Hc Ψ 1175 1241 1881 M al) have “wise” (σόφῳ, sophō) here (thus, “the only wise God”), while the earlier and better witnesses (א* A D* F G H* 33 1739 lat co) lack this adjective. Although it could be argued that the longer reading is harder since it does not as emphatically affirm monotheism, it is more likely that scribes borrowed σόφῳ from Rom 16:27 (Rom 14:26 in M) where μόνῳ σόφῳ θεῷ (monō sophō theō, “the only wise God”) is textually solid. It is difficult to explain why Alexandrian and Western scribes would omit “wise” in 1 Tim 1:17 while keeping it in Rom 16:27 for a similar benedition.
- 1 Timothy 1:17 tn Grk “unto the ages of the ages,” an emphatic way of speaking about eternity in Greek.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 sn This charge refers to the task Paul described to Timothy in vv. 3-7 above.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 sn The prophecies once spoken about you were apparently spoken at Timothy’s ordination (cf. 1 Tim 4:14) and perhaps spoke of what God would do through him. Thus they can encourage him in his work, as the next clause says.
- 1 Timothy 1:18 tn Grk “that by them you might fight…” (a reference to the prophecies which can encourage him in his work).
- 1 Timothy 1:19 tn In Greek this continues the same sentence from v. 18, a participle showing the means by which Timothy will accomplish his task: Grk “fight the good fight, holding firmly…”
- 1 Timothy 1:20 sn The expression handed over to Satan refers to an act of discipline mentioned by Paul here and in 1 Cor 5:5, with a remedial goal, not a punitive one. The Greek word translated taught in this verse is used of “discipline, training of children” to lead them to correct behavior.
1 Timothy 1
New International Version
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.(F)
Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia,(G) stay there in Ephesus(H) so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines(I) any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths(J) and endless genealogies.(K) Such things promote controversial speculations(L) rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. 5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart(M) and a good conscience(N) and a sincere faith.(O) 6 Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers(P) of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.(Q)
8 We know that the law is good(R) if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous(S) but for lawbreakers and rebels,(T) the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine(U) 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.(V)
The Lord’s Grace to Paul
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength,(W) that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.(X) 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor(Y) and a violent man, I was shown mercy(Z) because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.(AA) 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly,(AB) along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.(AC)
15 Here is a trustworthy saying(AD) that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners(AE)—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy(AF) so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience(AG) as an example for those who would believe(AH) in him and receive eternal life.(AI) 17 Now to the King(AJ) eternal, immortal,(AK) invisible,(AL) the only God,(AM) be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.(AN)
The Charge to Timothy Renewed
18 Timothy, my son,(AO) I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you,(AP) so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,(AQ) 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience,(AR) which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.(AS) 20 Among them are Hymenaeus(AT) and Alexander,(AU) whom I have handed over to Satan(AV) to be taught not to blaspheme.