1 Timothy i.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Of God, our Saviour. God the Father is here called our Saviour, as also to Titus, (iii. 4.) being author of our salvation, as are all the three divine persons. (Witham) — As this letter was to be read to the faithful, it was proper that St. Paul should speak with dignity and authority; and, as in the course of it he reproves false apostles who taught from themselves, he reminds them at the beginning of his letter, that he himself had entered the sacred ministry, and was an apostle by the command of God. (Calmet)

Ver. 2. To Timothy, beloved son[1] in faith: not that St. Paul first converted him, but that by his instructions he was settled in the principles of faith and of the Christian religion. (Witham)

Ver. 3. Not to teach otherwise;[2] i.e. than what I taught them. (Witham) — The distinctive mark of a heretic, is the teaching differently from that which they found generally taught and believed in the unity of the Catholic Church before their time. The Greek word admirably expresses this; eterodidaskalein. Had Luther and the other original reformers attended to this, the peace of the Church would not have been so disturbed.

Ver. 4. Nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies,[3] or disputes about pedigrees from Abraham and David, which furnish questions rather than the edification of God, or godly edification.[4] In some Greek manuscripts is read, dispensation, or economy; and so the sense may be, which contribute nothing to the explaining the dispensation of grace in the mystery of Christ’s incarnation. The construction of this and the former verse is imperfect, when it is said, as I desired thee, nothing being expressed corresponding to the word as. Some understand it, As I desired before, so now in this epistle I desire it of thee again. The same difficulty occurs in the Greek as in the Latin text. (Witham) — The Jews were accustomed to dispute and make endless questions concerning their origin from Abraham, Isaac, and other patriarchs, and concerning their different tribes, which their captivity had confounded together. Hence there was no end of their questions, how, when, why? which gave rise to many fables, to the great disturbance of the faithful. Whereas, they ought to have taken the shortest way to edification, which was to confine themselves to what was of faith. (St. Ambrose)

Ver. 5. The end of the commandment. By the precept many understand, as it were by way of a parenthesis, all that is here contained from the 3rd to the 18th verse, where precept is again repeated. We may understand by the commandment, the law of Moses in general, comprehending both the ceremonial part and the moral precepts, which are also the law of nature. The ceremonial part was designed to bring us to Christ by types and figures; and the moral precepts, which were also of the law of nature, or natural reason, were to bring men to observe them by punishments, and so were delivered against wicked criminals, ungodly, who worshipped[5] not God; against the unjust,[6] (in the Greek, lawless men) Sodomites, &c. (Witham)

Ver. 8. The law is good. Do not think I condemn the law of Moses, or those who observe it; it is good, if properly understood and rightly practised. I only blame those who make the law an occasion of disturbance; who, without understanding, pretend to be masters, and teach idle curiosities. (Theodoret)

Ver. 9. The law is not, &c. He means that the just man doth good, and avoideth evil, not as compelled by the law, and merely for fear of the punishment appointed for transgressors, but voluntarily, and for the love of God and virtue; and would do so, though there were no law. (Challoner) — If all men were just, the law would be unnecessary, as law are made against transgressors. (Calmet) — It is not the just, but the unjust, that the law threatens, binds, and chastises. The just man obeys it without violence or constraint; he fulfils it with pleasure. (St. Augustine, lib. de Spiritu. &c.)

Ver. 13. Because I did it ignorantly in unbelief, or in incredulity. Not that we can think it an invincible and altogether an inculpable ignorance, such as would have made St. Paul blameless in the sight of God. It was through his pure mercy that he called St. Paul, when his great sins and false zeal made him a greater object of the divine mercy: and God in him was pleased to make known to all men his wonderful patience, that no sinner might despair. The grace of God was superabounding, or exceedingly abundant in him. (Witham)

Ver. 15. Christ Jesus, the true son of God, came into the world to save sinners, of whom (says St. Paul) I am the chief, the first, the greatest. (Witham)

Ver. 18. This precept I commend to thee. Some understand it a precept of what follows, that he should wage a good warfare against the enemies of God and of his salvation. Others refer it to the precept mentioned before, ver. 5, to wit, that Timothy should charge all the new converts not to give ear to new teachers. — Prophecies. He seems to mean some particular predictions made by some who had the gift of prophecies, and who foretold that he should be a great minister of God. (Witham) — The apostle reminds his disciple that he did receive him in the number of his disciples, and ordained him a ruler of the Church, in consequence of a prophecy; that is, a particular inspiration and revelation of the divine will. (St. Chrysostom)

Ver. 19. An evil life is not unfrequently the leading principle of defection from the faith. The heart, not the mind, is generally the first corrupted.

Ver. 20. I have delivered to Satan; whom I have excommunicated, that they may learn not to blaspheme, or speak against the truth of the faith. (Theophylactus) — The devil frequently, at that time, took possession of, or afflicted the excommunicated with diseases and other temporal evils. (St. Chrysostom)


[1] Ver. 2. Dilecto, gnesio tekno. Some manuscripts, agapeto.

[2] Ver. 3. Ne aliter docerent, me eterodidaskalein, aliud docere.

[3] Ver. 4. Interminatis, aperantois, infinitis, sine fine.

[4] Ver. 4. Ædificationem Dei, oikodouian Theou; which, I think, might as well be translated, godly edification. Some few manuscripts, oikonomian.

[5] Ver. 5. Impiis, asebesi, indevotis, non colentibus Deum.

[6] Ver. 5. Injustis, anomoissine lege.

Bible Text & Cross-references:

He puts Timothy in mind of his charge: and blesses God for the mercy he himself had received.

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus our hope.

2 *To Timothy, beloved son in faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father, and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

3 As I desired thee to remain at Ephesus when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some not to teach otherwise,

4 *Nor to give heed to fables and endless genealogies: which furnish questions rather than the edification of God, which is in faith.

5 Now the end of the commandment is charity from a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an unfeigned faith.

6 From which things some going astray are turned aside to vain talk,

7 Desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither the things they say, nor whereof they affirm.

8 *But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully:

9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for the just man, but for the unjust and disobedient, for the ungodly, and for sinners, for the wicked, and defiled, for murderers of fathers, and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 For fornicators, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for men-stealers, for liars, for perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

11 Which is according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God, which hath been committed to my trust.

12 I give thanks to him who hath strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he deemed me faithful, putting me in the ministry:

13 Who before was a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and contumelious: but I obtained the mercy of God, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

14 Now the grace of our Lord hath abounded exceedingly with faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus.

15 A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation: *that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.

16 But for this cause have I obtained mercy: that in me first Christ Jesus might shew forth all patience, for the information of those who shall believe in him unto life everlasting.

17 Now to the king of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

18 This precept I commend to thee, son Timothy; according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou war in them a good warfare,

19 Having faith and a good conscience, which some rejecting have made shipwreck concerning the faith:

20 Of whom is Hymenæus and Alexander: whom I have delivered to Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.



2: Acts xvi. 1.

4: 1 Timothy iv. 7.; 2 Timothy ii. 13.; Titus iii. 9.

8: Romans vii. 12.

15: Matthew ix. 13.; Mark. ii. 17.