The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tactical Communications for Life and Ministry:Communicating through Prayer and with People - 1 Timothy 2

I'm going to begin this teaching with reading a familiar nursery rhyme:

            Scintillate, scintillate, globule vivific, Fain would I fathom thy nature specific. Loftily       poised in the ether capacious, Strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous.

Sound familiar? Let me translate it for you: 

            Twinkle, twinkle, little star, How I wonder what you are, Up above the world so high,      Like a diamond in the sky.[1]

I read this for you to demonstrate that communication is important. That we communicate is important. But how we communicate can be just as important.

"Communication" is an English word taken from the Latin commūnicāre, which means "to share.") Wikepedia defines "communication" as "the purposeful activity of information exchange between two or more participants in order to convey or receive the intended meanings through a shared system of signs and semiotic rules."[2] Communication in its most general meaning is sharing information in a way that both parties communicating understand. In 1 Timothy 2 Paul is going to be speaking about two areas of communication.

Toward the end of chapter one Paul charged Timothy to "wage the good warfare" (1 Timothy 1:18). Paul used the imagery of being in a war or battle to illustrate what life and ministry are often like. In any military action communications is of utmost importance. A headquarters may be able to collect, assess, and direct a proper response based on information about an opposing force but without the ability to communicate such information to those in the battle the information becomes useless.


Communication is essential to those in combat. Communications between those at headquarters and those in the field determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the armed force; the boots on the ground. Without good communications a military force's battle plan and strategy would degenerate into chaos. Without good communication on the battlefield those in authority are unable to communicate tactics, strategy, important information about troop strength and whether retreat or advancement are called for. Communications enables the command structure to be followed. Communications direct where forces and resources are most strategically and effectively applied. Communications are not only essential to winning or losing a battle, they inform of outcome of the battle; victory or defeat. The ability to communicate is frequently the deciding factor in victory or defeat.


Communication must be clear. In a war communications from headquarters to the field are coded or made in language that only those who need to know are able to know what the command instructions are for the battle. If the enemy were to intercept communications from the ones they are fighting they could focus their forces and prepare a response more effectively. But sometimes the channels of communication are jammed or static and communication can't be made. When communications break down or can't be made for whatever reason then it is like fighting blind; the soldier is at a great disadvantage.  For communications to be clear they must be understandable and hearable. Clarity and understandability are essential to good communications.


Communication is an essential ingredient to everyday relationships. In marriage if love is never or seldom communicated in word or action the relationship breaks apart. If parents and children don't communicate love to each other their relationships break down. Friendships are built on and perpetuated with communication. Love holds relationships together and communication is the means by which we interact and grow in such relationships. If parents don't instruct their children and children don't listen to their parental instruction nurture and discipline falter and children can be put at risk of injury. Businesses without good communication fail. Jobs don't get done if they aren't adequately explained and communicated. Communication between people is essential the workings of society.


Communication is also essential to eternal life related things. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? . . . So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:14 and 17). God our Creator has taken the initiative to communicate to us as part of His creation. He communicated His love to us by giving His only Son Jesus for our redemption (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). He has given us His word as a revealing communication of truth (John 17:17). Jesus is the embodiment of God's word (John 1:1-18). God's word is His perfect communication and explanation about our existence, sin, death and life and eternal destiny (Deut. 29:29; Psalm 119; Isaiah 55; Heb. 1). When we take in God's word it works in us to make us as we should be (1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12).


We need the Holy Spirit's translation. When I read the nursery rhyme to open this teaching you probably didn't know it from the first version cited in unfamiliar form. But when I cited the rhyme in its well known form you easily understood it. It helped to have the rhyme translated into understandable form. Similarly, it's important to understand that on our own we can't decipher God's word. We need translation help from the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit helps us understand the word of God and He helps us understand God's communications to us in prayer. It is the Holy Spirit who illuminates and communicates God's truth from His word to us (John 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:9-14). And it is the Holy Spirit Who helps us communicate in prayer (cf. Romans 8:26-27). We can receive that help from the Spirit when we are born again and indwelled by the Holy Spirit (John 3; Romans 8:9-10). If you can't understand God's word or are having difficulty communicating in prayer maybe you should consider whether or not the Holy Spirit is in you. Have you been born again?


Communicating in prayer. God has communicated His love to us through Jesus. He has communicated His truth in His written word. The Holy Spirit is the great Agent of communication. He inspires God's word and helps us understand it. But there is another way the Holy Spirit communicates to us, prayer. Through prayer God speaks to us and we speak to God. Prayer as a means of communication with God is what Paul turns to now in this second chapter of 1 Timothy.


Communicating with people. Secondly, Paul speaks about communication between the boots on the ground; the people living life in this world and who are a part of His church. Paul speaks to Timothy about prayer; God's means of communicating with His children. Then Paul speaks to Timothy about how God's people communicate with each other in church. There are many ways that people communicate to each other. Paul gives inspired instruction to Timothy about such communication.


Communication with God through Prayer - 2:1-7


1 Timothy 2 (NKJV)

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

It is through prayer that we get our marching orders from God. It is in prayer that the Spirit guides us and communicates to us. It is when we take God's word and read it prrayerfully that God speaks to direct us in our life mission.

Whenever you see "Therefore" in a passage always ask, "What is 'therefore' there for?" this is a question of context. "Therefore" connects what precedes in some way with what follows. In 1 Timothy 1 Paul spoke of the mission objective of love (1:5). He spoke of the danger of straying from God's word and getting sidetracked into superficial arguments that end up being divisive (1:3-4, and 6-7). He spoke of how the law exposes sin (1:7-11). And then Paul referred to God's glorious solution to the damning sin problem, the gracious gospel of Jesus Christ. He used his own personal testimony as an example of how God's grace and gospel of Jesus could save a sinner (1:12-17). He gives a final charge to Timothy to "wage the good warfare" (1:18-19). And he closes with a mention of examples of people who had apparently shipwrecked their faith "Hymenaeus and Alexander" (1:20). That's the context for what follows in 1 Timothy 2. What precedes chapter two can be seen as somehow a causal link to what Paul goes on to say.

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men. . . ." Based on the context of chapter one it would appear that Paul's exhortation to Timothy for "supplications, prayers and intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" is based on the fact that communicating with God in prayer is the "first of all" response to those straying from faith and those who need to be saved. Maybe after Paul was saved he realized from interacting with those he once persecuted that they had been praying for him their persecutor. If their prayers for him were effectively used by God to save him, then prayers should be offered "for all men."

Prayer is a priority. Paul uses the phrase "first of all" to communicate that this is a priority in how respond to the issues mentioned in chapter one. He mentions a fourfold response and each of these responses is a part of the umbrella term of prayer.

Prayer is supplication. "Supplications" (Greek deesis) means ask, seek, beg. Supplication is a pouring out of your heart before God. It is throwing yourself before the Lord and surrendering your circumstances to Him. When Saul who had not yet become Paul was violently persecuting the church I'm sure there were many who were supplicating themselves before the Lord in full surrender begging Him for help. The result? It was Saul's conversion to Paul (Acts 9); the one through whom the Spirit inspired 14 of the 27 New Testament letters. God answers our supplications.

Prayer is communication with God. "Prayers" (Greek prosecuche) refers to communications with God. It also refers to a place set apart or suited for offering prayer like a synagogue. It could also refer to a river bank or some outdoor place where a person could get alone with God or a group could get together in the presence of God. Paul exhorted Timothy to lead in offering "prayers." That it is plural could refer to a gathering of more than one person together to pray. It could also refer to praying more than one prayer for a given situation.

Prayer is intercession. "Intercessions" (Greek enteuxis) refer to meetings, encounters, a falling in with, meeting with, a coming together, visit, converse with, or interview. The idea of intercession is meeting with God to discuss circumstances involving people. As an interview we come into the presence of God and submit our situation before Him and allow Him to interview us. We don't ever interview God as an interview is conducted by an authority of someone seeking assistance or a position. God interviews us. We need Him. He does not need us.

Prayer involves thanksgiving. "Thanksgiving" (Greek eucharistia) means gratitude, being grateful or thankful. Thanksgiving is an expression of faith and hope. It expresses faith in God to meet the need or be influential in solving the issue brought to Him in prayer. It expresses faith for the future or confident hope for the hand of God in our affairs in response to our prayer. We pray for God's will to be done (e.g. Mat. 26:36-46; Rom. 12:1-2). His will is always best. And we thank Him ahead of time that it will be done.

Prayer is to be offered "for all men." Paul says that such prayer is to be offered for all men. That would include the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Jesus said we should love our enemies (Luke 6:27-36). Prayer is an expression of love. We should not withhold our prayers from being offered for any person. We should bring all people before the Lord in prayer.

for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

Prayer is instrumental in peace. Paul specifically identifies "kings and all who are in authority" as those who we should pray for. We often criticize and complain about those in government or political position. But do we pray for them?! If we are praying for those in leadership we shouldn't be complaining about them. (Not that prayer gives us freedom to complain about them.) Paul says the consequence of praying for those in authority is "quiet" (Greek eremos) or tranquility, and "peaceable" (Greek hesychios) or stability, keeping one's seat, undistrubed, quiet, or peaceable life. He also says that such a life condition will be conducive to "godliness" (Greek eusebeia) or piety toward God and a good environment for the gospel. And it will be conducive to "reverence" (Greek semnotes) a state of honesty, sanctity, purity, dignity. These are all wonderful things Paul links to being products of prayer. If ever there was a time when we needed more of these things it is now. Let's get praying!

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,

Prayer is good an acceptable to Jesus. "Good" (Greek kalos) means good, morally good, valuable, virtuous, better, well, worthy. "Acceptable" (Greek apodektos) means accepted, acceptable, agreeable. Jesus is God our Savior and prayer for all people is something He sees as good and valuable. This verse alone should be incentive enough to prayer more.

who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Prayer is potently involved in the salvation of people. "God our Savior" Jesus "desires" (Greek thelo) delights in, loves, is pleased by the thought of  "all men" being saved from their sin and coming to a knowledge of the truth. The context here is Paul exhorting Timothy to pray. Prayer is integral and an important part of people being saved from sin and coming to know the truth of God.

God desires "all men to be saved." This verse contradicts those who claim that God only elects some for salvation and others for damnation. God desires "all men" to be saved. We are His ambassadors to the lost (cf. 2 Cor. 5:14-21). He pleads with the lost through us in love. How do you represent God? In love? Concerned that "all" people would be saved from sin and "come to the knowledge of the truth"?

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

Why pray?  "For" is a word that substantiates what is previously said by what is now said after "for." Why should we pray? Why should we pray in supplication, in places of prayer, intercession and with thanksgiving? Not only because of the peace it produces but BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS!

Prayer should focus on the "one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." Paul asserts that "there is one God." Christianity does not believe in a "three headed God" as Islam accuses. In these words the conjunction "and" connects Jesus to being a part of the "one God" as well as being the "one Mediator between God and men." The word "Mediator" (Greek mesites) means go between, an internunciator, a reconciler, mediator. As Mediator Jesus goes to God the Father on behalf of humanity and to humanity as God in the flesh. Did you know the Bible states Jesus is always praying for us? Jesus is praying for you and me right now. "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). Jesus is interceding right now for us. Thank You Jesus!

When we pray according to Jesus' instruction we direct our prayers to the Father (Matthew 6:1-15; Luke 11:1-4). We are to pray in the authority of Jesus' name (John 14:13; 15:16; 16:23). And in our prayers we are to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26-27; Jude 20).

who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Prayer should focus on what Jesus has done on the cross. Jesus is our Mediating Perfect Man.  Jesus gave Himself as a ransom not for only a select few but "for all." Because He was "testified in due time" through prophets, priests, kings, disciples, apostles and the Holy Scriptures. Prayer should launch from our relationship with God in Christ. PRAYER SHOULD FLOW FROM THE BLESSINGS WE HAVE IN JESUS.

Paul identifies Jesus as the One "who gave Himself a ransom for all." "Ransom" (Greek antilytron) means a payment, redemption price, what is given in exchange for another to redeem them. This is a compound word. It only occurs in this New Testament verse. The Greek preposition anti which means instead of  or in the place of is put in front of the word lutron which means price. Jesus Himself used this term to describe His mission of redemption (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). In the first century lutron was used to speak of the ransom price to free to a slave. A ransom is a price paid to secure someone's freedom. Jesus said that the person who sins is a slave of sin (John 8:34). Paul also spoke of the slavery of sin (Romans 6:6, 15). Jesus came to set those enslaved to sin free (John 8:31-34). The way Jesus frees us from sin is not by paying the devil to let us free. Jesus pays the just ransom price to free those from the just sentence of penalty for our sinful crimes against God. So in effect the imagery is that Jesus is paying the just penalty under the Law of God that is required to free sinners from the penalty of their sin.

Jesus said applying His truth to our lives would set us free from the talons of sin (John 8:31-34). Paul said that our only responsibility in this liberation from sin is to choose whether or not we will obey sin or Jesus. We are enslaved to whatever or Whomever we present ourselves (Romans 6:15-23). Our choices in life determine to what or who we will be enslaved or serve.

Jesus paid the ransom price to free those enslaved under the law because of the guilt of their sin. He did this "for all." Jesus' paid this ransom not merely for a select few but in a way that the benefits of His redemptive cross work could be accessible and available to "all" who would trust Him as Savior.

            In 1193, the English King Richard I, also known as Richard the Lionheart, was returning from leading a Crusade to the Holy Land. As he returned through Europe, Leopold V       captured him in Austria. The Holy Roman Emperor demanded a ransom for Richard's   release. The price was to be 150,000 marks, equal to three tons of silver. This was an enormous ransom demand. But the people of England so loved their king they submitted to extra taxation, and many nobles donated their fortunes for Richard's release. After            many months, the money was raised and King Richard returned to England. That's where      we get the expression, "a king's ransom."

            But to us, the term "a King's ransom" could better be applied to the tremendous price        Jesus, the King of Kings paid for our sins on the cross. This King wasn't being ransomed;       He paid the ransom so we can be set free. It is the most expensive ransom in the history            of mankind.

            In another story that came from the Crusades, Norman Lord Grimbald de Pauncefort was             captured by the [Muslim] Saracens. When asked the ransom price for his release the       Turkish prince demanded the severed right hand of de Pauncefort's young bride, Eleanor. In a tremendous act of courage and sacrifice, Lady Eleanor complied, and had her left      hand amputated and sent to ransom her husband.

            In a sense, that's what Jesus did for you, but He didn't just give His hand--He gave His     life.[3]

The message of Jesus as our Ransom Payer is what Paul was appointed by God to broadcast to the world as a preacher, apostle and teacher. This proclamation begins in prayer and flows from prayer to a lost world. That is our calling too for God desires "all" to be saved from their sin.

All of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross and made available to us all should be in view when we pray. We fall before God in supplication, prayer and intercession for others based on what Jesus has done for us and what we hope and pray others will come to experience too. Prayer helps us appreciate Jesus. Prayer helps us keep our focus where it needs to be, on Jesus. And prayer for others is where evangelism begins.

E.M. Bounds, a praying preacher of the past commented:


            “Defeat awaits a non-praying church. Success is sure to follow a church given to much      prayer. The supernatural element in the church, without which it must fail, comes only through prayer . . . . As often as God manifested His power in Scriptural times in working             wonders through prayer, He has not left Himself without witness in modern times. Prayer        brings the Holy Spirit upon men today in answer to importunate, continued prayer just as          it did before Pentecost. The wonders of prayer have not ceased.” [4]

Have these seven verses awakened you about the importance of prayer? It would not be wrong to look at our world and the too often prayerless church and see a correlation between the decadence and depravity in our world today and such prayerlessness. We need to pray. Pastor, we need to pray. Christian, we need to pray. God calls all Christians to pray for all people everywhere. So right now, pray!

Communicating with People in the Church

Now Paul moves from our communication with God in prayer to our communication with other believers in the church. Once we receive our mission directive from the Lord in prayer, we need to communicate that mission instruction to others on the battle lines with us. We share with others what God has relayed to us in prayer.

It should be mentioned that part of what follows is not a popular portion of scripture. Part of what follows runs against the grain of the spirit of the world today. This is in part due to a rebellion against roles in the sexes which are equated as prejudicial. And it is in part to misinterpretations of the passage which has indeed led to discrimination. But whatever the response or feelings toward the following passage we do not have the right or luxury to pick and choose or overlook and ignore some passages of scripture to proclaim. When Paul gave his farewell to the Ephesian elders he said in part, "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). That should be the objective mission statement of every pastor/teacher of God's church. We may not initially understand or agree with scripture because it cuts against and contradicts the trends of the world. But God's word is rooted in His eternal truth and wisdom. "Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven" (Psalm 119:89). Our job is to rightly interpret it (2 Tim. 2:15) and minister it to others (Acts 6:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17), all of it, and let the Holy Spirit direct us in the process.

I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting;

Paul again uses the word "therefore" and connects his word on prayer to how it should be implemented.  His "desire" (Greek boulomai) or willful intention is that "men pray everywhere." This is similar to Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17). Paul wants a proliferation of prayer among God's people.  He speaks of people "lifting up holy hands" as they pray everywhere. There is room for expression in our prayers. Are you embarrassed to lift your hands when you pray or worship? Don't be. Pray everywhere you go and don't be afraid to lift and hand when you're praying.

But Paul adds that this constant prayer should not include "wrath" (Greek orge) or outbursts of rage, violent passion, anger, or vengeance. And such prayer should not be infected with "doubting" (Greek dialogismos) or inner debating, disputing, or doubt. Jesus said, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:24). James was inspired to write that if we ask for wisdom and doubt we will be like a double minded person who is like a storm tossed ship adrift at sea (James 1:5-7).

in like manner also,

Paul includes the women in this call to prayer as he transitions to address them with the words "in like manner also." Paul has just spoken about his desire that men pray everywhere lifting up their holy hands to God in worship. He has exhorted them not to be uncontrolled and faithless. He is evidently speaking of the gathering of the church together. This is an important context to be aware of as we continue to consider his words to women. They are in church praying together and worshipping.

that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.

Communicating by attire. In the church, as the men and women of the congregation gather to pray and worship the focus should be on Jesus (2:5-6). While the presence of Jesus is manifested by the Holy Spirit, He is not seen and therefore the danger arises that what is seen become a form of distraction from Jesus as the congregation gathers. Don't let your dress distract from Jesus.

In the church women are to dress modestly. "Modest" (Greek kosmios) means well arranged, orderly as opposed to unkempt, respectable, virtuously, modest, not showy or drawing attention to yourself. "Propriety" (Greek aidos) means bashfulness towards men, as in the sight of God with reverence. "Moderation" (Greek sophrosyne) means soundness of mind, sanely, self-controlled, sober. These are the attire attitudes that women should have when they should keep in mind when dressing. Paul mentions "not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing." Some of this must be translated by the Spirit for us into today's culture. While the principles of modesty, propriety, and moderation are constant over time, the methods of fulfilling these in how we put ourselves together changes. In Paul's day braided hair was a fashion statement that apparently went beyond the three principles of dress he speaks of. Jewelry can be a fashion statement that communicates worldliness. But a gold ring can also communicate that one is married and not available. One commentator explains:

            The negatives are more explicit. They are (1) braided hair, (2) gold and pearls, and (3)        expensive clothes. All three of these relate to the customs of the first-century church. Some women spent hours preparing their long hair in highly fashionable styles, fastening     their plaits with ribbons and brightly colored bows. Rich women would interweave gold,         silver, and pearls in their hairstyles. It is very likely that expensive clothes were      outlandish in style and color, drawing undue attention to the wearer.[5]

We have to follow the leading of the Spirit in these areas. Those women who are mature in the Lord should counsel those who are new or less mature in the Lord (Titus 2:2-5).

The bottom line in this area is women should dress in a way that is "proper for women professing godliness, with good works." In other words, dress  and conduct yourself in a way that wouldn't cause you to blush in the presence of Jesus or one of His people.

11 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.

Communicating in an orderly way in church. It's important to keep the context of communication in the church in sight when considering these inspired words of Paul. And it's important to be able to picture in one's mind the church assembly in Paul's day as opposed to our day. Today men and women sit together in church. In Paul's day, because they came from a synagogue system that separated men from women in the congregation, and because in the early church this tradition was followed, it created some problems.

The gospel and Christianity brought a newfound sense of equality to women. The gospel of Jesus  was a great equalizer. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). Women were no longer second class citizens. Women now had access to Jesus and His word. They were hungry to grow in their relationship with Jesus.

But this led to an adjustment problem. Wives seated on the other side of the church from their husbands were standing and interrupting the services by asking their husbands explain something they did not understand.  This disrupted the necessary order of the church services (e.g. 1 Cor. 14:33 and 40). They were creating a situation where two conversations were competing; God to the people versus wives to their husbands. It created confusion and disruption in the church.

The word "silence" (Greek hesychia) means desistence from bustle. One commentator explains:

            The word, hēsychia, translated “quietness” in 1 Timothy 2:11 and silent in verse 12, does not mean complete silence or no talking. It is clearly used elsewhere (Acts 22:2; 2 Thess.          3:12) to mean “settled down, undisturbed, not unruly.” A different word (sigaō) means    “to be silent, to say nothing” (cf. Luke 18:39; 1 Cor. 14:34).[6]

Paul is speaking in regards to the orderliness of congregational meetings. Meetings should not be disruptive but peaceful; conducive to good communication between God and people.

"Submission" (Greek hypotage) means subordination, subject to. To the Ephesians Paul said we should be submitted to one another (Ephesians 5:21). Jesus submitted Himself to the Father even though He was equal with the Father. Submission to authority is a Christ-like attribute. Jesus was not less than the Father because He submitted to His authority. He submitted to model humility and if we are going to walk as He walked we all need to have a spirit of submission to authority.

Submission is not a welcomed word since the social revolution which began in the 1960s. But submission to authority is important when fighting a battle. Warren Wiersbe comments:

            "Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows that 'rank' has to do with order and    authority, not with value or ability. . . . Just as an army would be in confusion if there   were no levels of authority, so society would be in chaos without submission."[7]

Without submission to authority there is anarchy. Wars cannot be won without a chain of command which involves proper submission to authority.

Bible Teacher David Gudzik makes some observations and comments in terms of relating these verses to today's culture:

            The strength of Paul's wording here makes it challenging to obey this command in today's             society. Since the 1970's, our culture has rejected the idea that there may be different         roles for men and women in the home, in the professional world, or in the      church. In this             text (among others), the Holy Spirit clearly says there is a difference in roles.

            But the cultural challenge must be seen in its true context - not just a struggle between      men and women, but as a struggle with the issue of authority in general. Since the 1960's,      there has been a massive change in the way we see and accept authority.

            . . . . There are not many who would say that these changes have been good. Generally,     people do not feel safer and there is less confidence in the culture. Television and other           entertainment get worse and worse. In fact, our society is presently in, and rushing   towards, complete anarchy - the state where no authority is accepted, and the only thing       that matters is what one wants to do.

            It is fair to describe our present moral state as one of anarchy. There is no moral authority in our culture. When it comes to morality, the only thing that matters is what one wants to            do. And in a civil sense, many neighborhoods in our nation are given over to anarchy.         The government's authority is not accepted in gang-infested portions of our cities. The     only thing that matters is what one wants to do.

            We must see the broader attack on authority as a direct Satanic strategy to destroy our      society and millions of individual lives. He is accomplishing this with two main attacks.           First, the corruption of authority; second, the rejection of authority.

            This idea of authority and submission to authority are so important to God that they are    part of His very being. The First Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Father; the             Second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Son. Inherent in those titles is a      relationship of authority and submission to authority. The Father exercises authority over          the Son, and the Son submits to the Father's authority - and this is in the very nature and      being of God. Our failure to exercise Biblical authority, and our failure to submit to           Biblical authority, isn't just wrong and sad - it sins against the very nature of God. 1    Samuel 15:23 speaks to this same principle: For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. [8]


12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.

Communicating the teaching of God's word. Paul now addresses an aspect of the communication of the teaching of God's word in the church. Let us be reminded that Paul is speaking in particular of roles in the church and not roles is society. If we try to apply these words in society as a whole we will find very quickly, especially in our day, that they do not apply, (and we will likely be hit with an anti-gender-discrimination lawsuit!) In the secular world there are many situations where women teach and have authority over men. There is nothing wrong Biblically with having a women president, government official, doctor, teacher, etc. Women in the secular world are free to be in positions of authority over men and to teach men.

But there are roles in the church and they do involve restrictions as per gender. Paul speaks very clearly and unmistakably here that "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence." This is his word to those in the church. To "teach" (Greek  didasko) means  to teach, hold discourse with people to instruct them, deliver didactic discourses.   "Authority" (Greek authenteo)  means to usurp authority, taking authority not properly delegated, to domineer, abuse properly delegated authority, or to have authority of any sort.

This prohibition against women teaching or having authority specifically pertains to being "over a man." Therefore it is a limited not complete prohibition. Paul doesn't forbid women from any kind of teaching period, he prohibits them from teaching men. He doesn't prohibit women from having any authority period, he simply prohibits women from having authority "over a man,"

This prohibition of women teaching or having authority over men may be rooted in the curse sin incurred on women by Eve's sin. God pronounced to Eve the representative women that "your desire shall be for  your husband, and he shall rule over you" (Gen. 3:16). The "desire" of the curse has to do with mans "rule over you." "Desire" (Hebrew suqa)  means stretching out after, longing for; desire; craving.  "Rule" (Hebrew masal) means to rule, have dominion over, reign over, have power over, govern. This curse speaks of the consequence of sin perpetuated in the sinful nature of women that will have some specific focus on dealing with authority. This is an area that apparently women will have particular difficulty dealing with. Perhaps this is why Paul specifies wives are to submit to their own husbands in the home (Eph. 5:22). And it may be why Paul specifies in the church a woman is not to have authority over a man.

Going beyond this passage in the Bible we find that the overwhelming evidence of scripture supports Paul's prohibition for women as teachers and having authority over men. If we look at the Bible as a whole we find that of the 66 books only two are named for women, Ruth and Esther. There is no clear evidence that any of the inspired human authors were women (though it may be possible that Ruth and Esther were written by the hand of a woman). In the Old Testament while there are prominent women mentioned (e.g. Sarah, Rebecca, and Rachel, Rehab) there is only one female judge Deborah and Queen Esther who could be said to be in a position of authority righteously.

In the New Testament Jesus, who came to fulfill and more clearly explain the Law and denounce traditions that contradicted God's word (Mat. 15; Mark 7) allowed women to be among his support team but did not select any women to be an apostle. None of the 27 New Testament books are named by women or are written by women.

When we look at the New Testament we see that while Priscilla may have been involved in clarifying the gospel way to Apollos she is mentioned alongside Aquila her husband and would likely have been under his authority (Acts 18:24-28). Philip did have seven daughters who were prophetesses (Acts 21:8-9). And there is evidence of one deaconess in the New Testament (Romans 16:1). Paul refers to Euodia and Syntyche as co-laborers in the cause of Christ (Philippians 4:2-3). But these still do not clearly portray women as teaching or having authority over men.

 While there are tremendously used women of faith in the Bible (e.g. Sarah - Gen. 12:5ff.; Zipporah Moses' wife - Exodus 4:24-26; Deborah - Judges 4; Abigail - 1 Sam. 25; Mary the birth mother of Jesus - Luke 1 and 2; Mary and Martha - Luke 10; Mary Magdalene - Luke 8:2) there are a great host of women of a darker and less holy character (e.g. carnal Sarah - Gen. 16; Lot's wife - Gen. 19:26; Potiphar's wife - Gen. 37:7-20; Delilah - Judges 16:4-20; the witch of Endor - 1 Samuel 28; Jezebel - 1 Kings 16:31; 21:25; Athaliah - 2 Chron. 22:10; Gomer - Hosea 1-2; Herodias - Mat. 14:1-11; Jezebel of Thyatira - Rev. 2:20-21).

In society the trend for years is to eliminate the idea of roles for men and women and to minimize the differences between men and women in general. Society is moving toward a genderless society. We see this is the promotion of the feminizing of men and the masculinity of women.

The Bible does not teach a general submission of women to men. It speaks of women submitting to their own husband (Eph. 5:22). And it speaks of a women submitting to church authority. The Bible does not teach that every woman in the church is to be subject to every man in the church. Women and men are to submit to church authority and leadership.

The failure of men to lead in the home and in church has created an environment where women oftentimes feel compelled to take authority in order for family and church to function. But this situation should not be used to ignore a portion of God's word. Husbands at home and men in the church need to step up and serve as God ordains them to serve.

And it is possible for women to teach in the church, if they are willing to do so under the authority of the church leadership. Women can teach women and children. But since teaching is integral to being a pastor in the church and the church contains men Paul's statement would preclude the idea of women pastors.

13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Paul's words to women in the church about their attire should be translated into contemporary culture. He was speaking from his contemporary cultural context. But when it comes to a woman teaching or having authority over a man in the church Paul bases his position on scriptural fact. His basis for women not teaching or having authority over a man are twofold.

The first command was given to man. In Genesis 2:16-17 the first command from God was given to the man Adam. Eve was not formed yet when this command from God to Adam was given. Genesis 2:21-25 states Eve, a woman, was formed from man. Paul notes this and says this formation gives the man precedence in authority.

The first one deceived was a woman. While God's command was given to Adam and not Eve, and Adam was apparently delinquent in passing on God's prohibition effectively to Eve, it was Eve who was deceived. The serpent attacked humanity through the woman. The woman was the first sinner. Adam may have been with her and he may have failed to step up to prevent her taking the forbidden fruit, but it was Eve who "fell into transgression." This first sin of the woman Eve is what scripture emphasizes. We can speculate on blame, (Adam and Eve later did - Genesis 3:12 and 13), but the truth of the matter is that the woman is the one who transgressed first.

To conclude Bible teacher Jon Courson comments:

            “Eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and your eyes will be opened. You’ll be like God,” Satan promised Eve (see Genesis 3:5). Thus, Eve was deceived not by a     desire to do something illicit, but by a desire to be godly. I firmly believe women have an   innate desire to be spiritual. They want to extract all they can   from Scripture. They want      to know what it really means to worship. They want their eyes to be opened, to know             how to be lovers of God. Satan took advantage of this, and the woman was thereby          deceived. Therefore, it is men who are to instruct the church in doctrine.


15 Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.

What's a woman to do then? This verse is considered by many to be the most difficult of the Pastoral Epistles. The word "saved" (Greek sodzo) means saved, do well, be made whole. This is a word that is used in some contexts to refer to eternal salvation. But Paul, who is so clear in his presentation of the gospel of grace (e.g. Romans 1-8; Gal. 1-3; Eph. 2) is not likely doing a flip flop on how women can be saved. Childbearing is hard work and to make it a means of salvation is to reduce salvation to a work and that contradicts scripture. This cannot be the meaning of what Paul is saying here.

Instead it would appear that "saved" is being used by Paul in a more general be made whole sense. In other words, women will find their greatest joy and fulfillment in family. Jon Courson provides an insightful comment on this verse's meaning saying:


            The Greek word sozo, or “saved,” meaning “the full orb of God’s blessing”—that women             will be “saved in childbearing”—does not refer only to the fact that they won’t die           bearing children, but that they will experience the full orb of God’s blessing in raising         children. Although there are exceptions, although there are women who are uniquely called to separate themselves for service to the Lord, the rule of thumb for the church is          that women are to pour themselves into their kids, for there they will find their greatest     blessing.

            If a woman must work, she should carefully make her job selection in such a way that her             job does not in any way pull her emotions or her energy away from her family. You see,      Moms, by the time people come to me as a pastor, they’ve usually been beaten up by life.      Moms, on the other hand, have the opportunity to love and shape fresh, new lives that           haven’t been messed up by the world. This is not a popular position. But look at our   culture. We’re paying the price for turning away from these very simple and basic premises. Everyone is trying to figure out why our kids have gone so awry. But God has already told us: Men should lead the church. Women should lead the kids.

            So, too, as the bride of Christ, where will I also be saved? Where will I most fully             experience God’s blessing? In child-bearing. There is no joy like that of seeing someone         born again. That’s why Jesus said when one sinner comes into the kingdom, there’s a             party in heaven (Luke 15:10).

            Has it been a while since you shared the Lord with someone? If you haven’t led someone             to Jesus, you’re missing out, for all of us will discover that the full orb of salvation is,          indeed, found in seeing other folks born again.[9]


[1] Source Unknown -
[4] E.M. Bounds, Possibilities of Prayer (Grand Rapids: Mich.: Baker Book House)  pages 136,137.
[5] Complete Biblical Library Commentary - The Complete Biblical Library – Galatians-Philemon.
[6] Litfin, A. D. (1985). 1 Timothy. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 735). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[9] Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 1377). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tactical Foundations for Life and Ministry - 1 Timothy 1: Mission Problem, Purpose, Process, and Provision

As we mentioned in our introduction a “tactic” is an action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end. [1] Paul’s first letter to Timothy is his inspired battle plan for a successful life and ministry. Success from God’s perspective is faithfulness/loyalty, loving, servanthood,  living by faith, prayerfulness, and living a holy life. All of these aspects of success find their meaning and purpose and value in that they lead to glorifying God. 

Tactics are useless unless they flow from a clear identification of problems or obstacles to the mission, a clear mission purpose, an awareness and planned process of reaching the purpose and relying on the right resources and provisions for the task.  Paul lays out these tactical aspects in this opening chapter.  Let’s start our boot camp and laying the necessary foundation for our tactics.

 1 Timothy 1:1-20 (NKJV) - Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

Called  by command. Paul identifies himself as the author of this letter. He identifies himself as an “apostle of Jesus Christ.” “Apostle” (Greek apostolos) simply means a messenger. The first disciples who were specifically appointed apostles by Jesus (Mat. 10) were given power over demons and to perform miracles and authority in Jesus’ name to perpetuate the gospel and to disciple those who were born again. Apostles were itinerant and went out and established churches. Though Paul was not with Jesus and the other apostles in the beginning his apostleship was equal to that of the original twelve (2 Cor. 11:5). Jesus had personally called him into the ministry of apostleship and the road to Damascus (Acts 9:15).

Paul further emphasizes his apostolic authority with the words “by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.” This was a letter to a dear son in the Lord but Timothy was not to listen and obey based on sentimentality toward his spiritual father.  Timothy was to listen and obey because of the apostolic authority of Paul. Paul had been called to be an apostle “by the commandment of God.” “Commandment” (Greek epitage) means command, decree, injunction, ordinance, or order. This word is similar to a by the order of command of a king or other authoritative figure to enforce an assertion. No one puts themselves into ministry but they are put there by God (John 3:27). This is something Paul will continue to emphasize in his letter to Timothy (cf. 1 Tim. 1:12 below). Perhaps Paul was subtly communicating to Timothy that just like Paul, it was God who had put Timothy into the ministry. The ministry for Timothy or anyone is not an accident or act of mere human choice, it is decreed by God (or at least it should be).

 Paul was commanded to be an apostle by the Lord. It wasn’t as though he chose to be an apostle. God knocked him off his high horse to be an apostle (Acts 9). Jesus put him into the ministry.  That command was compelling to Paul who served His Lord. That command would bolster and support Paul through his various persecutions. Awareness of God’s hand in his calling would hopefully do the same for Timothy.

To Timothy, a true son in the faith:

Disciples: Authority and affection; a father-son spiritual connection. After opening in authority Paul perfectly balances his authority with an expression of affection. Authority and affection need not be diametrically opposed. But affection should never be taken in a way that lessons respect for authority.

To Paul Timothy was his “true son in the faith.” Timothy had a biological father who gave him physical life. But it was Paul who God had used to give Timothy spiritual eternal life. As such Timothy was a “true son” or the greatest level of being a son because this sonship was eternal (e.g. Romans 8:12-17). Its possible Paul had stayed in the household of Timothy’s family during his first missionary journey and at that time led the young man to the Lord.

When we lead someone to Christ or invest in someone through discipleship a relationship is formed like a father to son or mother to daughter, older brother to younger brother, or older sister to younger sister. Such relationships aren’t equated in terms of physical age but in spiritual maturity. Therefore someone who has known the Lord for years and matured in the faith can be a father even though their physical age is less. Spiritual maturity is the emphasis. Just because someone has been a Christian for years does not necessarily equate to spiritual maturity. Some have a stunted spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is measured in terms of the fruit of the Spirit and knowledge of the word of God.

The point here is that when a person is led to the Lord through the gospel it should include discipleship so that the new babe in Christ is trained in how to grow in their faith. That is what Paul did with Timothy. We see Paul’s interaction, instruction, encouragement and prayers for Timothy in his letters to him. Those who lead others to Christ should follow Paul’s example in this. Sometimes a person is used by the Lord to lead someone to Christ but someone else is the one used by the Lord to disciple them. If that is the case the person who leads the person to Christ should take responsibility that the baton of discipleship is passed on for the one led to Christ. Spiritual babies should not be birthed and left to fend for themselves.  

Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Mercy for the minister. Paul habitually opened his letters with mention of grace and peace. When he writes to Timothy he adds to his introduction saying, “Grace, mercy, and peace.” Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Peace is the inner assurance of being on God’s side and under His watchful loving care. Perhaps Paul added mercy to his introductory words since being in ministry puts one in the position of receiving “a stricter judgment” (James 3:1). Since those in ministry remain human and imperfect Paul may have been trying to communicate from the start that Timothy should remember and rely on God’s mercy.

The “Grace, mercy and peace,” Paul opens with is “from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul never missed an opportunity to point someone to Jesus. That’s a good holy habit of Paul’s that we should copy.

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus

This is the basis for the belief that Timothy was the Pastor at the church in Ephesus. At the very least we know from these words that at the time Paul wrote to Timothy, Timothy was in Ephesus.

The Mission Problem

Paul is writing Timothy because he is concerned of a problem that has evidently arisen at the church in Ephesus where Timothy is the pastor. Either Timothy has previously asked for counsel about this problem or Paul has heard about it from another source. Either way Paul addresses the problem that is presenting an obstacle to their ministry mission.

If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time. The only problem is without an identifiable target you can’t measure progress. Without identifying and narrowing down a problem, you can’t deal with it. Paul gets right to the point with Timothy and identifies the problem he has been made aware of.

that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

The mission problem is not sticking to God’s word. Paul delegated the responsibility to Timothy to command some of the people in the Ephesian church “that they teach no other doctrine” (Greek heterodidaskaleō) which in particular refers to heretical doctrine. Doctrine simply refers to Biblical based teaching. There were evidently some in the local church there who were teaching things that were contrary to scriptures or outside the parameters of scripture. Paul mentions “fables” (Greek mythos) which are legends, myths, fables or fictions. Fables are things based more on hearsay and imagination than fact or scripture. Paul also mentions “endless genealogies” which were used by some to trace people’s pedigree and heritage. There’s nothing wrong with knowing who your ancestors were but when that becomes a source of pride from “which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith” then they should be set aside. Research into such things is “endless” (Greek aparentos) or without limit and use up time that could be much more wisely invested.

The standard or measure of what Timothy and all believers should draw the line at in determining what to get involved with and what not to get involved with is “godly edification.” “Godly edification” (Greek oikonomia theou) means that which administers growth in godliness. The root of this word (Greek oikos) is a construction term which means building up.

Fables and things based on human imagination and myth are only going to sap your time and energy. Instead we should focus on those things which build us up in godliness. Rather than focusing on or being sucked up in stories or fables we should focus on the “faith” (Greek pistei) which are the things dealing with the gospel and word of God.

Simply stick with God’s word. It’s possible that those who had gotten off track began their efforts with good intentions. Perhaps they were trying to be creative in their presentation of God’s word. Perhaps they were trying to cushion the blow of it to sinners. The minister of God should always stay with the simplicity of the word of God. It’s when we try to get creative and embellish God’s word or present it in a way that is uniquely our style that we can get into trouble. We should simply present the word in the power of the Spirit simply. The power is in the word of God (Heb. 4:12). Ministry is powerful in proportion to the presence of God’s word in it. Remember that.

By speaking to Timothy of how “some” have gotten off track he is setting the tone for communicating a clear mission purpose. He has identified the problem being faced. Now comes the solution.

The Mission Purpose – Love

In contrast to those who have strayed into other doctrine, fables, and endless genealogies that don’t profit anyone spiritually, Paul is now going to clearly lay out the target and objective of the mission of ministry.

 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,

God’s mission purpose for us is to love. The words Paul chooses to use in this letter to Timothy are important. Timothy may have been given to timidity. But Paul seems to use military terms as a means to convey the thought to Timothy that there’s no time for cowardice or timidity, it’s time to take courage and fight like a good soldier.

The word “purpose” (Greek telos) literally means the turning point, a hinge, the point at which one stage ends and the next begins. The word “commandment” (Greek parangelia) is a military term which refers to orders, commands, or mission objective. What Paul is going to tell Timothy (and us) here is the purpose upon which the success of the mission hinges. It’s as though Paul is telling Timothy to listen up soldier! Here is your mission objective.

What is the mission objective on which Paul says everything hinges, everything depends on, and success is measured by? “Now the purpose of the commandment is love.” Love is our mission purpose. Jesus said His disciples were to be known by their Christ-like love (John 13:34-35). The love of Christ is to compel and motivate us in all we do (2 Cor. 5:14ff.).And here Paul tells Timothy the mission objective of God is love.

“Love” (Greek agape) here speaks of that Christ-like selfless servant-hearted sacrificial love. Such love is not something an unbeliever can generate. Such love is not something that can be experienced or attained or administered apart from the Holy Spirit who provides those born again with such love (Romans 5:5). Such love flows from a person who has experienced a threefold transformation from God.

First, such “love” comes “from a pure heart.” The word “pure” (Greek katheros) refers to something free of dirt, clean, unsoiled. “Heart” (Greek kardia) refers to our inner most being, the place where decisions of eternal destiny are made (e.g. Romans 8:9-10; 10:9-10). Our heart is deceitful, self-deceiving, desperately wicked before it is worked on by the Spirit (Jer. 17:9-10). It is only when we put our faith in Jesus as Savior and His redemptive atoning blood is applied to our heart that we can be cleansed from the filth of sin (Acts 15:8-9; 1 John 1:7, and 9). So thorough is God’s transformative work on out heart through the Gospel that it is like receiving a heart transplant (e.g. Ezekiel 36:26). The Holy Spirit cleans our heart from selfish and sinful motives so that the love of Christ can work undeterred. Paul is telling Timothy and us if we want such love we have to be open to the Spirit’s heart surgery. Arteries clogged by sin need to be cleared. Only the flowing blood of Jesus by the Spirit can do that.

Second, such “love” comes “from a good conscience.” “Good” (Greek agatheis) means good, perfect, complete, upright, kind, benevolent, useful, acceptable, or wholesome. “Conscience” (Greek suneidesis) refers to the place of knowledge, information, and communication. The idea here is that such “love” would come from a mind that is up to date and well informed about what it is and what such love entails. Such “love” comes from a spiritually educated mind. This is why it is so important to fill your mind with holy things like God’s word, worship, and holy prayerful thoughts. The love Paul speaks about as our mission objective flows from minds that are filled with scripturally sound thoughts. Paul is telling Timothy and us that if we want this mission objective love we need to saturate our minds with the things of God and His word.

Third, such “love” comes “from sincere faith.” “Sincere” (Greek anupokritos) actually means without hypocrisy, without insincerity, or genuine. “Faith” (Greek pistis) refers to trust, reliability, confidence, assurance, conviction. Such “love” flows from genuine faith produced by genuine conversion and being born again. Such love cannot and will not flow from those with fake faith or hypocrites with sinful motives. Such love doesn’t come from the pretentious. This love flows from the person who is all in in their relationship with God. Paul is telling Timothy if he wants such love and if we want such love we need to be all in – sincere in our faith.

from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

Paul comments further on the problem as it relates to the mission purpose of love. He states that some have “strayed”  (Greek astocheo – participle) missing the mark, swerving and missed the target of this “love.” Some have “turned aside” (Greek astrepo) willfully turned from or forsaken this “love.” How have they done this? They were “desiring” (Greek thelo) or wishing or wishful thinking. There is nothing wrong with having a desire. But these were wishing to be “teachers of the law” when to be a teacher in the church is the result of the Holy Spirit’s spiritual gifting (cf. Romans 12:1-8; Ephesians 4:11-12). They desire the position of a teacher of the law but they don’t understand what they are saying or affirm.

We can only deduce from this that those Paul is speaking about here are not people of the word of God. Instead of relying on and teaching God’s word they have strayed into “idle talk” (Greek mataiologia) or empty talk, vain talk, talk with no substance. These people step into the position of teaching and figure if they talk enough something of value will eventually come out. The only problem is that the power in ministry is derived in and through God’s word (Hebrews 4:12). Power in life and ministry is in proportion to the Spirit using us to apply God’s word in our words and deeds. They have drifted and swerved into empty inconsequential items that only cloud and confuse their listeners. These teachers don’t teach in a way that leads people into the love of God. They babble on in mediocrity and a mish mash of human platitudes. Paul’s is going to show the way.

The Mission Process – Use of the Law

Paul has identified the problem before them and the clear alternative purpose of love from a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith. Now he is going to lay out the process by which such a mission purpose can be reached.


But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,


The mission process is using the Law. When Paul speaks of “the law” we may understand it to refer to the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). It may entail laws beyond the first Ten. In principle we could apply the idea of “the law” to scripture as a whole. Paul says, “But we know,” and in so saying he is putting his arm around the shoulder of Timothy as though he were trying to communicate we’re in this together.


Paul didn’t want anything he’s said thus far to be construed as disparaging against “the law.” “The law is good if one uses it lawfully,” or if the law is used as it was meant and intended to be used. God’s word can be taken out of context and misused. This is what cults do; they pick and choose verses out of context to support their aberrant teachings.


The proper use of the law is very important to understand. The proper use of the law is to see it as a tutor or guardian that leads a person to Jesus (Galatians 3:24). The law is holy, just and good (Romans 7:12). In our own strength we cannot live by the law. Therefore the law serves to expose and clearly identify the sinfulness of the sinner (Romans 3:1-23). No one can attain righteousness before God by keeping the law for God’s standard is absolute perfect adherence to the law; the breaking of one law one time is enough to damn a person to hell (Galatians 3:10-13; James 2:10). That is how HOLY and PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS God’s standards are.


The wages or consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23a). But God doesn’t leave the convicted sinner wallowing in their sin and hopelessly doomed to an eternity in a tormenting place called hell. No, God sent His only Son Jesus to pay our death penalty on the cross. The punishment and sentence for sin is death. Jesus, the PERFECTLY SINLESS ONE and only One who is sinless took our place and paid the debt of death for sin we owed (Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 1:18-19). God did this as an expression of His own love (Romans 5:8). And as an expression of His grace He offers the benefits of Jesus substitutionary atonement to anyone who turns from their sin and in faith asks forgiveness based on accepting Jesus atoning work for themselves (Romans 6:23a; John 3:16).


The person who seeks and receives forgiveness for their sin through faith in Jesus is forgiven and given eternal spiritual life by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-10; 10:8-10; 1 Cor. 6:18-20). When the Holy Spirit indwells a person He pours God’s love into their heart (Romans 5:5). The evidence or fruit of the Holy Spirit in a person is love (Galatians 5:22-24). It is by only by the Holy Spirit that a person can love in a Christlike way. And what is important to understand is that the person who lives by the love of the Holy Spirit FULFILLS THE LAW (Romans 13:10). God uses the law to convict us of our sin and makes us aware we can’t in our own strength fulfill or live out the law. But then, with the help of the Holy Spirit and His love brings us full circle and through living in love helps us to fulfill that which once convicted us of sin. You can’t be loving and break God’s law. In the love of God you fulfill God’s law. The only way the Law can be fulfilled by us is through the love of the Holy Spirit poured into our heart by the Spirit when we are born again by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord (Romans 5:5).


The law is the beginning of this process as it brings conviction for sin and awareness of the sinner’s need for redemption. The Holy Spirit uses the law to convict the sinner of their sin (John 16:8-11). And as Paul is going to now explain, we God’s people are the ones to properly administer the law to the unrighteous.


knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person,


The law is for sinners; to convict them of sin. Paul speaks very clearly here; “knowing this: the law is not made for a righteous person.” A righteous person is a person who has sufficiently dealt with keeping the law. A righteous person is a person who is no longer condemned by the law. The law isn’t made for a righteous person.


Perhaps there were teachers misusing the law at the church in Ephesus where Timothy was pastor. Perhaps they were trying to get people to keep the law before they were saved. Perhaps they were swerving into a kind of loveless legalism or trying to obey the law without loving. Paul now dispels any such notion by clearly pointing out who the law is aimed at. He will not describe the proper use of the law and by the end of the chapter we will see how the law of God is involved in the process of fulfilling the mission of ministry.


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, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.


Paul, (in contrast to those who have swerved away from scripture into empty material), is now going to present a very clear teaching on how the use of God’s law is supposed to be ministered. It is to be used with people to convict them of their sin. Sin separates us from God (Psalm 66:18; Isaiah 59:1-2). We are created to be with God, with a need to have a relationship with God (Eccl. 3:11). Sin blinds the sinner to this need (e.g. 1 John 1:8 and 10; also 2 Cor. 4:4). The law exposes sin and reveals our need for God in our live and the solution provided by God to meet that need; the gospel; repentance and faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord (Gal. 3:24).


The catalogue of sins give by Paul here are pretty extensive. Paul lists fourteen sinful offenses that the law exposes as sin. They consist of:


1.      “But for the lawless” – (Greek anomos) one who does not subject themselves to God’s law. One without law. A wicked person who refuses to submit to God’s law.

2.      “and insubordinate” – (Greek anypotaktos) one who refuse to be under authority; disobedient; unruly.

3.      “for the ungodly” – (Greek asebis) irreverent, impious, not respecting of Holy God.

4.      “and for sinners,” – (Greek hamartolos) devoted to sin; full of sin; pre-eminently sinful.

5.      “for the unholy” – (Greek anosios) unholy, impious, profane. Anti-holy.

6.      “and profane,” – (Greek bebelos) heathenish, worldly oriented as opposed to interested in holy things. Living for common unconsecrated purposes.

7.      “for murderers of fathers” – (Greek patroloas) patricide; a murderer of one’s father.

8.      “and murderers of mothers,” – (Greek metroloas) matricide; a murderer of one’s mother.

9.      “for manslayers,” – (Greek androphonos) one who slays people; one who has little value for life and willingly murders people.

10.  “for fornicators,” – (Greek perneimi) one who has sex with a prostitute; engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage. 

11.  “for sodomites,” – (Greek arsenokoites) one who abuses themselves with mankind; one who lies with a male having sex with them as with a female; homosexual; sodomite.

12.  “for kidnappers,” – (Greek andrapodistes) an enslaver; one who brings men to their knees before him; slave-dealer; kidnapper; man-stealer; a human trafficker.

13.  “for liars,” – (Greek pseustes) falsifier; liar; one who breaks faith; false and faithless person.

14.  “for perjurers,” – (Greek epiorkos) one who breaks an oath; falsely testifies; perjurer.


Paul then gives the general statement that covers all sinners: “and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.” The purpose of the law is to expose and convict people who are sinning. This list of Paul is a good measure of the “all” who “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:21). 


The picture Paul paints here is a dire one for the person who does not know Jesus as Savior. But Paul, after clearly demonstrating the conviction for sin, now will go into the glorious provision of God’s grace that he and Timothy can both relate to.



The Mission Provision – Grace


Sin is pervasive and has saturated every person. Every person is lost in their sin. In our own strength and on our own terms there is absolutely no way to avoid judgment and a just sentence of eternal condemnation from God. But now Paul rejoices in the glorious gospel. He personally exults in God’s provision for himself and then for everyone else. This is a glorious passage of scripture.

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,

God uses reclamation project sinners. Who does God use to fulfill His plans? He uses those who have been redeemed and reclaimed from the junk heap of sin. No one deserves to be a part of God’s plans or purposes. All who are used should see it as an incredible privilege and opportunity. We are all a reclamation project. God takes the sinner off the junk heap of life and redeems us and repairs us and then puts us to use. We find our ultimate purpose and meaning in life in serving our Lord Jesus.

Paul thanks “Christ Jesus our Lord,” the “our” drawing Timothy into his expression of thanks. And then he expresses the reason for his thanks to Jesus is “who has enabled me.” “Enabled” (Greek endynamoo) means increased strength, made stronger, enabled. Paul is thankful that God’s callings are God’s enablings. Paul knew the change he experienced and the power in his ministry was from the empowerment of God in his life. Paul was thankful for that and as Paul expressed his thankfulness to Jesus for such an enabling he was encouraging Timothy too. Timothy, the power of my ministry is from God not myself; and it’s available for you too!

No one can put themselves into ministry (e.g. John 3:27). They can try, but the result will be empty like those Paul spoke of earlier. No, Jesus looks at and chooses those He desires to put into ministry. Jesus looked at Paul and “counted” (Greek hegeomai) or deemed, esteemed, judged, through Paul “faithful” (Greek pistis) or a man of faith. And seeing that Jesus “putting me into” (Greek tithemi) or willfully placed or set in place Paul into ministry. Paul was selected and put in ministry by Jesus. It was no accident that Paul was an apostle. It was no accident that Paul was used by God to pen 14 of the 27 New Testament letters. It was no accident that God used Paul to reach so far and wide with the Gospel. It was all the product of Jesus choosing him and empowering him for the mission. What mission are you on? What are you being used for by Jesus? Have you sensed His calling? His enabling?

13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Paul humbly mentions what he had been in contrast to what he now had become. He was “a blasphemer” (Greek blasphemos) one who speaks evil, slanders, reproaches, rail against and abuses others. And Paul was guilty of these things against God as he persecuted the church of Jesus. He was a “persecutor” (Greek dioktes) or one who actively sought out and pursued believers in Jesus. He was “an insolent man” (Greek hybristes) a proud, relentlessly cruel, and violent man. To mention these things that once were part of who he was must have been incredibly humbling for the one Jesus changed and inspired to write chapters on love (1 Cor. 13) and grace (Romans 5; Ephesians 2).

He then says, “but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” That Paul did this “ignorantly” (Greek agnoeo) or without knowing did not excuse him from what he did. Ignorance is no excuse for sin. Paul was not excusing himself in any way. What he does do is express thanks for the mercy of God who looked on him and saved him from his blinding faithless sin.

Sincerity doesn’t save us. The issue here was not one of sincerity. Paul was very sincere in his persecution of the church, but he was sincerely wrong! A person is not saved by their sincerity. It’s not as though God will look on the sincerely wrong person and overlook their sin because of their sincerity. We can sincerely climb to the roof of a building and sincerely jump off while sincerely flapping our arms because we sincerely think we can fly. But regardless of our sincerity, we will crash and burn because we were sincerely wrong.

No, we are saved by God’s grace. The Spirit reaches out to us in our sinful state with prevenient grace. With this reach to us He exposes and convicts us of our sin. He uses the Law to do this (e.g. Gal. 3:24). As we are convicted of our utter sinfulness and bowed down in the realization that we deserve God’s just eternal condemnation the Holy Spirit gently lifts our head to see Jesus on the cross as God’s solution to our sin problem. We then are given the offer of salvation and forgiveness of our sin as a gift of God’s grace through faith in Jesus. If we receive that offer and believe in Jesus we are forgiven our sin and the Holy Spirit indwells us giving us spiritual life; we are born again (John 3). Then, with our sincerity reconciled to the truth of God, we sincerely serve the Lord in love and joy unto eternal life. To that we say glory!

Imagine your worst and most regrettable sin. We can all look back and regret. But we, with Paul, can exult in the grace of God that is able to overcome our sin problems.

14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

The mission provision is grace; it’s all about God’s grace. God’s grace was super abundant along with faith for Paul and love which are all in Christ Jesus. Grace, faith and love, these are all superlatively abundant in Jesus. The only sin that is beyond the grace of God in Christ is the sin of refusing that grace. If we turn from our sin and ask God’s forgiveness through faith in Jesus we will be forgiven and given purpose in Christ. That’s God’s promise. We can all count on that.

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.

Paul’s testimony of God’s wonderful, wonderful grace! Have you ever asked the question “why?” “Why wasn’t I saved earlier in life? Why did I sin so severely? Why did my salvation happen the way it did?” All the answers to all such “shy?” questions are summed up in the words of Paul’s testimony, “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.” In other words, Paul and we are a “pattern” (Greek hypotyposis) a type, pattern, sketch, imitation, form or example. People can look at Paul and how far off he was from God and say, “Wow! If Jesus and his gospel can save and change someone like Paul, he can do the same for me.” And maybe the Lord wants to use you and me as a pattern to someone too. To such a glorious possibility all we can do is join Paul and sing, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” Yes, I will sing and shout that forever!

It’s interesting that Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ, greatly used by the Lord, refers to himself as the “chief” of sinners. “Chief” (Greek protos) can be translated first, foremost, leading, most or chief. How could Paul, an apostle, so greatly used of the Lord refer to himself as the foremost chief of sinners? Here is an important spiritual principle; a humbling one. The closer you come to Jesus the more clearly you see your sin. The closer you come to Jesus the clearly you will see yourself as a sinner.

Isaiah the prophet opens his book declaring the sins of Israel. But in chapter 6 as he encounters the LORD he exclaims, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5). The closer Isaiah came to the LORD the more clearly he saw his sin and that he was a sinner. It humbled him.

Paul pursued and persecuted Christians (Acts 8:3). He did so until Jesus knocked him off his high horse, saved him, and called him to be an apostle (Acts 9). This encounter with Jesus humbled Paul. As he walked with Jesus he referred to himself as the “least of the apostles” (I Cor. 15:9). As he continued with Jesus getting closer and closer to Him he would refer to himself as “less than the least of all the saints” (Eph. 3:8), and eventually as he refers to himself in this letter to Timothy, the “chief” or foremost of sinners (1:15). Paul exemplifies the humbling that takes place when we walk with the Lord drawing ever closer to Him. The Christian who is growing in their relationship to the Lord will become humbler not prouder. A “proud” spiritually maturing Christian is an oxymoron.

We should follow the example of Paul in sharing our testimony of God’s grace in our life. Think about God’s grace in your life. Meditate on God’s grace in your life. In your prayers thank God for His grace in your life. And like Paul, exult and worship the Lord for His grace in all our lives.

The Mission Charge

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.

A charge to fight on. Paul closes with a charge to his “son Timothy.” Timothy had apparently had a word of prophecy made concerning himself and the ministry Jesus would call him too. Paul exhorted and encouraged Timothy to remember those words of prophecy and to fight on “wage the good warfare.” Has someone uttered a word of prophecy about how Jesus might want to use you?

Paul encourages Timothy for his faith and good conscience. But he also mentions a sobering alternative of Hymenaeus and Alexander who shipwrecked their faith and who Paul had to delivered over to Satan “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” This was not a shunning by Paul. It’s not necessarily a terminal lose of salvation either. Shipwrecks can be salvaged. God’s grace can do that. But life lessons must be learned for that to happen.

There was purpose behind Paul’s discipline. He wanted these two to “learn not to blaspheme.” So in some way he prayerfully turned them over to Satan. Maybe these two were obstinate toward Paul’s warnings and so Paul said, “You want to blaspheme? Okay, go your sinful way and experience the evil consequences of your sin.” Love must be tough sometimes. But the objective of such discipline is to teach the offender in a redemptive manner.

The problem, the purpose, the process and God’s provision in Christ. These are the foundational aspects of the tactics for life and ministry that Paul opens this first letter to Timothy with.  Let’s receive conviction for our sin where appropriate and God’s gracious provision in Christ as he provides. In everything let us exult and glorify Jesus!Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”