COMMENTARY

1 Timothy 1:11-20


11 According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

[According to the glorious Gospel] The sound doctrine mentioned above - a dispensation which exhibits the glory of all his attributes; and, by saving man in such a way as is consistent with the glory of all the Devine perfections, while it brings peace and good will among men, brings glory to God in the highest. Sin has dishonored God and robbed him of his glory. The Gospel provides for the total destruction of sin and thus brings back to God his glory.

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

[I thank Christ] I feel myself under infinite obligation to Christ who has strengthened me, who has endued me with various miraculous gifts of his Holy Spirit, and put me into the ministry, the deaconship, the service of mankind, by preaching the Gospel, for that he counted me - he knew that I would be - faithful to the charge that was delivered to me.

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

[A blasphemer] Speaking impiously and unjustly of Jesus, his doctrine, his ways and his followers.

[and ... persecutor] Endeavoring, to the utmost of his power, to exterminate all who called on the name of the Lord Jesus.

[and injurious] As full of insolence as I was of malevolence; and yet, all the while, thinking I did God service, while sacrificing men and women to my own prejudices and intolerance.

[I did it ignorantly in unbelief] Not having considered the nature and evidences of Christianity, and not having believed that Jesus was the promised Messiah, I acted wholly under the prejudices that influenced my countrymen in general. God therefore showed me mercy, because I acted under this influence, not knowing better. This extension of mercy, does not, however, excuse the infuriated conduct of Saul of Tarsus, for he says himself that he was exceedingly mad against them. Let us beware, lest we lose the man's former crimes in his after character.

14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

[The grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant] The original is very emphatic, that grace of our Lord has superabounded - it manifested itself in a way of extraordinary mercy.

[with faith and love] Not only pardoning such offences, but leading me to the full experimental knowledge of Christianity; of that faith and love which are essential to it; and giving me authority to proclaim it to mankind.

15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

[Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners] This is one of the most glorious truths in the book of God; the most important that ever reached the human ear, or can be entertained by the heart of man. All men are sinners; and as such condemned, justly condemned, to eternal death. Christ Jesus became incarnate, suffered and died to redeem them; and, by his grace and Spirit, saves them from their sins. This saying or doctrine he calls, first, a faithful or true saying; it is a doctrine that may be credited, without the slightest doubt or hesitation; God himself has spoken it; and the death of Christ and the mission of the Holy Ghost, sealing pardon on the souls of all who believe, have confirmed and established the truth.

Secondly, it is worthy of all acceptation; as all need it, it is worthy of being received by all. It is designed for the whole human race. It is applicable to all, because all are sinners; and may be received by all, being put within every man's reach, and brought to every man's ear and heart, either by the letter of the word, or, where that revelation is not yet come, by the power of the Divine Spirit, the true light from Christ that lightens every man that cometh into the world. From this also it is evident that the death of Christ, and all its eternally saving effects, were designed for every man.

[Of whom I am chief.] Contrasting Paul the apostle, in the fullness of his faith and love, with Saul of Tarsus, in his ignorance, unbelief and persecuting rage, we are in the habit of saying: "This is a hyperbolical expression, arguing the height of the apostle's modesty and humility. However, taking the whole of the apostle's conduct, previous to his conversion, into consideration, was there a greater sinner converted to God from the incarnation to his own time? He was the chief; and, keeping his blasphemy and persecution in view, he asserts: Of all that the Lord Jesus came into the world to save, and of all that he had saved to that time, I am chief. And who, however humble now, and however wicked before, could have contested the point with him?

If Jesus Christ, with whom there can be no respect of persons, saved Saul of Tarsus, no sinner need despair.

17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This burst of thanksgiving and gratitude to God naturally arose from the subject then under his pen and eye. He [God] is the king of the eternities; the eternity that was before time was, and the eternity that shall be when time is no more.

18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare.
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away, concerning faith, have made shipwreck.;
20 Of whom is Hymeneus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

The teachers should not be permitted to teach a doctrine which was different from the doctrine which the apostle had delivered to them.


Historical information drawn from Adam Clarke's Commentary, 2nd edition published in New York by Lane and Scott, 1850. More recent editions may be purchased from Amazon.com

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