40 Days of study

A human being lives, but he is given life.

1 Timothy 1:12-20

1 timothy -1

(1 Timothy 1:12-20)

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

18 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, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.


My Thoughts:

It is exciting for me to hear how Christ is willing to step in and tell us that we are on the wrong track and help us to come to a place that we can be the type of person He needs us to be. But even as we rejoice, I know what some of us are thinking, “I don’t have a story like that, a dramatic story about how Christ got a hold of my life.” Even as we rejoice in hearing stories like Paul’s, sometimes we can feel inferior if our story isn’t a dramatic one like we had just read. Well, let me tell you that it’s not how you start out in your Christian walk but how you finish it.

You see, every journey has to begin somewhere, and the spiritual journey begins with conversion, with a decision to turn to God and trust in Christ. Now not everyone’s story of conversion is the same, I will guaranty that everyone’s is unique.

Paul’s story is a very dramatic story but his story is no better than a person that comes to church every Sabbath or Sunday and hears that small voice of God telling them “it’s time, time to stand up and follow me”.  Now the thing is not every one will answer the call, but Christ will never stop trying. But here we see Paul marveling at how Christ could have confidence in Paul in light of his former way of life. Just look at the way Paul describes Himself in (v. 13) “…I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man…” How many of us can understand where he is coming from? But here is the most amazing part and we find it in the last part of (vv.13 -15) …but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. I find it very instructing that Paul characterized himself as the chief of all sinners, think about it, he persecuted the Christians. His entire goal in life was to hurt as many Christians as possible.

The conversion of Paul is an example of how no one, is out of God’s reach. The thing is, each of us must choose to accept the call or not. And one more thing before we move on; Paul is also showing us here, that Christ loves taking the lowest of the lowest and making them the strongest of his servants.

(v. 17) We see that Paul gives credit to God alone for his conversion. “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” He tells us that there is only one true God, and He has the power to change anyone’s life that is willing to answer the call.

As for Timothy, I read somewhere that his conversion was just an “ordinary” conversion but the thing is, every conversion is an amazing miracle and cause for rejoicing in heaven.

But let’s move on (v. 18)“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,”

You may ask what prophecies? Well I believe that Paul is speaking of Timothy’s ordination, at some point Paul and maybe other elders in the early church placed their hands on Timothy and ask the Lord to make him strong in his faith and told others that he would be a fine leader in the church. If you think about it they were prophesying about Timothy.

The gift of prophecy was an important gift in the New Testament church, so Paul doesn’t remind Timothy of his conversion experience, but instead he reminds Timothy of the time when these prophecies were made about him.

In (vv. 19-20) we see the tone of the letter change again we read of a tragic story.

1having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

These are stories about people who started out strong in the Christian faith but for some reason these people, they have seemed to have lost their faith and Paul, names two of them in his letter. These two people may have been the false teachers in the church in Ephesus who once seemed to have faith but who have lost their way.

He is telling us that these are the people which have pushed aside their doctrinal and moral integrity, and as a result they have shipwrecked their faith to the point that Paul says “whom I delivered to Satan”. This seems to be a harsh thing to say to someone, but maybe it is a technical term in the New Testament for excommunicating people from the Christian community. The idea is that the church is the domain of Jesus Christ, but outside the church in the world is the domain of Satan. This doesn’t mean the church stops loving them or praying for them, but it means that the church treats them as if they are an unbeliever because they are living like unbelievers.


Ellen White statement:

But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee. Acts 26:16.

The solemn charge that had been given Paul on the occasion of his interview with Ananias rested with increasing weight upon his heart. When, in response to the invitation “Brother Saul, receive thy sight,” Paul had for the first time looked upon the face of this devout man, Ananias under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said to him: “The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:13-16).

These words were in harmony with the words of Jesus Himself, who, when He arrested Saul on the journey to Damascus, declared: “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:16-18).

As he pondered these things in his heart, Paul understood more and more the meaning of his call to be “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (Ephesians 1:1). His call had come “not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father” (Galatians 1:1). The greatness of the work before him led him to give much study to the Holy Scriptures, in order that he might preach the gospel “not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect” (1 Corinthians 1:17), “but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,” that the faith of all who heard “should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4, 5).–Review and Herald, March 30, 1911. {YRP 279.4}


Last thoughts:

So, why does Paul tell us these stories? I believe that he what’s us to understand that not all stories have a tragic ending and he what’s us to know that if we accept to answer the door when Christ calls us, our life stories can have a happy ending, he is telling us that Christ can change anyone. Whether you have a dramatic story or an ordinary story or something in between, God changed you.

About bobh6

I am Seventh-day Adventist pastor in the Texas Panhandle

4 comments on “1 Timothy 1:12-20

  1. Rosi
    January 22, 2013

    I think Paul tells us these things to show us that everyone has a chance to be saved. If Jesus can save one like Paul used to be then he can save anyone as long as we listen to His call. I pray daily for the Holy Spirit to help me and those I pray for since it is a daily battle for our souls. I pray we won’t be like the two who Paul had to “deliver to Satan”.

    • bobh6
      January 22, 2013

      I pray for the same thing Rosi, Even as a pastor Satan is always looking for a path that make me stumble. It is only through the love of Christ can we stand against him and stand strong.

  2. Amalia
    January 25, 2013

    I’m reminded of a saying God gave me: Be sure of your calling; Be sure of your mission; and Be sure you know who your God is. To me it reminds us that no matter how we got there we do have a job to do, even if it may seem as small as Timothy (which implys small). I always wanted to be a missionary, but I am in the community the Lord has sent me to. And like Paul we know that big or small, the job we do is not because of ourselves (we tend to miss the mark entirely on our own) but through the grace of God that we’re even called and lead to good works; so glory be to God in the highest when we and others see the work God is doing through us.

    • bobh6
      January 25, 2013

      I feel the same way; I cannot tell you how many times I wished for something just to stop and apologize to God for not allowing His will to be done. Nice post Amalia it is nice to see you back.

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This entry was posted on January 21, 2013 by in 1 Timothy, 40 days, Paul's letters and tagged , , , , , , , .

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