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Read Introduction to 1 Timothy

 

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

 

In verses 1-20, Paul contrasts false and true teachings about Jesus Christ.

The first two verses of First Timothy comprise the greeting. First, he announces who the letter is from and presents his credentials to write a book of the Bible.

Paul,

The apostle Paul authored 13 epistles in the New Testament. He wrote nine of his epistles to churches and four to individuals.

an apostle of Jesus Christ,

The idea of an “apostle” is an ambassador, a sent one. Christ Jesus officially dispatched Paul to write Scripture and found the church.

Apostle, in the special sense, rather than the idea of a missionary, gave him the right to establish the church at its beginning. God gave them extraordinary capacities for signs and wonders (2 Co 12:12). By claiming apostleship, Paul indicates that First Timothy falls under apostolic authority.

Paul’s authority for writing First Timothy was his apostleship. Apostleship here is not the general usage of a missionary (Php 2:25), but of someone with special credentials, one personally commissioned by the risen Christ (1 Co 9:1-2; 2 Co 8:23). The title “an apostle of Jesus Christ” is formal for an apostle with special privileges. His apostleship gave him the right to write New Testament epistles.

Paul states his authority for writing this book at the beginning of the salutation (1:1-2). Apostles of Christ personally saw the resurrected Christ and were commissioned personally by Christ Himself (Acts 1:21-22). Paul saw the resurrected Christ on the Damascus Road. These special apostles were the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20); they established the doctrine of the church (Acts 2:42).

by the commandment

The word “commandment” carries the idea of an authoritative command. Jesus personally commanded the apostleship of Paul (Ro 1:1; 1 Co 1:1; Ga 1:15-16). His apostleship did not come from his pursuit of it; it was a calling and commission from Christ Jesus personally (Acts 9:3-6; Ro 1:1; 1 Co 1:1; Ga 1:15-16). The apostle viewed himself as under orders from God. It was not Paul’s idea that he become an apostle, but God’s; it was His initiative.

of God our Savior

God is the source of Paul’s authority to write First Timothy. The name “God our Savior” only occurs in the three epistles written to pastors. Paul calls God “Savior” three times in this epistle (1 Tim 2:3; 4:10). God is the architect of salvation.

and the Lord Jesus Christ [better text: Christ Jesus],

This verse links “God our Savior” and “the Lord Jesus Christ,” alluding to the deity of Christ (Mt 11:27; Jn 5:17-18; 10:30; 17:1-5, 11, 21-22). The Father is the source, and the Son is the agent for Paul’s authority; they act in unison.

our hope,

“Hope” describes the believer’s confidence about his future (Tit 1:2; 3:7). Hope is not a wish. Jesus is more than the object of our hope. He is its very foundation. The Greek idea of “hope” is that it is something sure. The believer does not look to a dreadful future but rather a confident anticipation of what God has in store for him. The word is not subjective but objective (Ro 5:2, 5; 8:24, 25; 15:4, 13).

PRINCIPLE:

Christians have confidence that they will live for eternity because of Jesus Christ, our hope.

APPLICATION:

Christians will live forever. Jesus Christ is our hope of glory (Co 1:27; Ro 8:23,24; 1 Jn 3:2-3; He 6:19). The Bible describes non-Christians as having “no hope” (Eph 2:12; 1 Th 4:13). The Christian has a hope laid up for him in glory (Eph 1:3, 5). There is hope beyond the grave. Death is not the end for the believer (Co 1:23, 27). The reason we have assurance of an eternal future is what Christ did on the cross for us (Tit 3:7). Christians abound in hope because of their salvation (Ro 15:13).

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