Greeting.* 1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,a 2to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.b
II. Sound Teaching
Warning against False Doctrine. 3* I repeat the request I made of you when I was on my way to Macedonia,c that you stay in Ephesus to instruct certain people not to teach false doctrines 4* or to concern themselves with myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the plan of God that is to be received by faith.d 5The aim of this instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.e 6Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk,f 7wanting to be teachers of the law, but without understanding either what they are saying or what they assert with such assurance.
8* We know that the law is good, provided that one uses it as law,g 9with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, 10the unchaste, sodomites,* kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching,h 11according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.i
Gratitude for God’s Mercy.* 12I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry.j 13I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief.k 14Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.l 15This saying is trustworthy* and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Of these I am the foremost.m 16But for that reason I was mercifully treated, so that in me, as the foremost, Christ Jesus might display all his patience as an example for those who would come to believe in him for everlasting life. 17To the king of ages,* incorruptible, invisible, the only God, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.n
Responsibility of Timothy.* 18I entrust this charge to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophetic words once spoken about you.* Through them may you fight a good fighto 19by having faith and a good conscience. Some, by rejecting conscience, have made a shipwreck of their faith,p 20among them Hymenaeus* and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.q
* [1:3–7] Here Timothy’s initial task in Ephesus (cf. Acts 20:17–35) is outlined: to suppress the idle religious speculations, probably about Old Testament figures (1 Tm 1:3–4, but see note on 1 Tm 6:20–21), which do not contribute to the development of love within the community (1 Tm 1:5) but rather encourage similar useless conjectures (1 Tm 1:6–7).
* [1:4] The plan of God that is to be received by faith: the Greek may also possibly mean “God’s trustworthy plan” or “the training in faith that God requires.”
* [1:8–11] Those responsible for the speculations that are to be suppressed by Timothy do not present the Old Testament from the Christian viewpoint. The Christian values the Old Testament not as a system of law but as the first stage in God’s revelation of his saving plan, which is brought to fulfillment in the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
* [1:12–17] Present gratitude for the Christian apostleship leads Paul to recall an earlier time when he had been a fierce persecutor of the Christian communities (cf. Acts 26:9–11) until his conversion by intervention of divine mercy through the appearance of Jesus. This and his subsequent apostolic experience testify to the saving purpose of Jesus’ incarnation. The fact of his former ignorance of the truth has not kept the apostle from regarding himself as having been the worst of sinners (1 Tm 1:15). Yet he was chosen to be an apostle, that God might manifest his firm will to save sinful humanity through Jesus Christ (1 Tm 1:16). The recounting of so great a mystery leads to a spontaneous outpouring of adoration (1 Tm 1:17).
* [1:17] King of ages: through Semitic influence, the Greek expression could mean “everlasting king”; it could also mean “king of the universe.”
* [1:18–20] Timothy is to be mindful of his calling, which is here compared to the way Barnabas and Saul were designated by Christ as prophets for missionary service; cf. Acts 13:1–3. Such is probably the sense of the allusion to the prophetic words (1 Tm 1:18). His task is not to yield, whether in doctrine or in conduct, to erroneous opinions, taking warning from what has already happened at Ephesus in the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tm 1:19–20).
* [1:18] The prophetic words once spoken about you: the Greek may also be translated, “the prophecies that led (me) to you.” It probably refers to testimonies given by charismatic figures in the Christian communities. Fight a good fight: this translation preserves the play on words in Greek. The Greek terms imply a lengthy engagement in battle and might well be translated “wage a good campaign.”
* [1:20] Hymenaeus: mentioned in 2 Tm 2:17 as saying that the resurrection has already taken place (in baptism). Alexander: probably the Alexander mentioned in 2 Tm 4:14 as the coppersmith who “did me a great deal of harm.” Whom I have handed over to Satan: the same terms are used in the condemnation of the incestuous man in 1 Cor 5:5.