1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus have been referred to as the “Pastoral Epistles.” The Pastoral Epistles deal with church structure issues, unlike Paul’s other letters, that were addressed to men serving in pastoral roles.
Paul may have been out of prison at the time of this letter because he and Timothy had revisited the church’s in Asia and Macedonia after they had been established. When Paul and Timothy returned to Ephesus, they found widespread false teachers in the church. When Paul moved on to Macedonia, he sent Timothy to lead the Ephesian church. From Macedonia, Paul wrote this letter of encouragement and instruction to help Timothy deal with the difficult situation in the Ephesian church.
Later Paul was arrested again and brought back to Rome and put in prison.
Verse 1 – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,
Verse 2 – To Timothy, my true son in faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Verse 3 – As I urged you when I went into Macedonia – remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
Verse 4 – nor heed to fables and endless genealogies, which causes disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
Fables here might refer to superstitions and conceits of the Jewish rabbis. Fables are fiction, which were composed of frivolous and unfounded stories, which were incorporated into the teachings with Christianity. Paul, who had been brought up amidst these superstitions, saw at once how they would tend to draw off the mind from truth, and would corrupt the true gospel.
“Endless genealogies,” refers to Jewish teachings. The Jews attached great importance to them. There was a sense of pride in their birth right.
Verse 5 – Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
Verse 6 – from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,
Verse 7 – desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
Arguing about certain details of the Bible can cause us to miss the intent of God’s message. These false teachers were engaging in philosophical speculation based on the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses.
verse 8 – But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,
Verse 9 – knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
Verse 10 – for fornicator’s, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing contrary to sound doctrine,
Verse 11 – according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
The false teachers wanted to become famous for teaching the law, but they didn’t understand the purpose of the law. The law was not to give the believer a list of commands for every occasion, but to show unbelievers their sin and bring them to God.
Bottom line: Unless a person repents and is born-again, they live under the law and will be judged by this law. Meaning, unless a person can perform the law perfectly without sin, they will be condemned. The bad news is, no one can do this perfectly. Only Christ is perfect and that is why we needed a Savior to take our punishment, ad receive forgiveness, through the washing of His blood!
If there is no repentance, there can be no forgiveness of all these sins that Paul mentioned, plus many more.
Verse 12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
Verse 13 – although I was formally a blasphemer, and persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
Before Paul’s faith in Christ, he thought that he was doing what was right, and he called that “blasphemy.” What Paul had done in ignorance was in no way an excuse, for what he had done to the Christians and was done with a violent and wicked spirit. Therefore he obtained mercy.
Let me clarify something: We are all considered in a state of ignorance until we are exposed to the truth of Jesus Christ. Why? Because what Jesus did for us in order to be forgiven is not known until we are told through the gospel of truth.
Verse 14 – And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
We all have a past life before Christ. Some may have done the things Paul did in his past, but sin is sin and deserves punishment. And I thank Christ that when I believed on Him, He showed mercy, forgave and washed my sins away, and gave me a new life in Him!
Verse 17 – Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Verse 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,
Verse 19 – having faith and good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
Verse 20 – of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
When we get to 2 Timothy chapter 2, we will see what Hymenaeus was teaching that got him excommunicated from the church. He had been teaching that the resurrection of believers had already taken place. “Turning him over to Satan” meant that, by being put outside of the fellowship, he became more vulnerable to Satan.
Who knows how Hymenaeus was explaining that, because if they were believers that he was teaching, wouldn’t they already have been resurrected also?