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Read Introduction to 1 Timothy


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,


In verses 18-20, Paul warns and encourages Timothy about his task at hand. There is a peril attending those who teach false doctrine.

18 This charge [command] I commit [entrust] to you, son Timothy,

Coming back from the digression of verses 12-17, Paul returns to the main issue before Timothy in Ephesus.

The “charge” to which the apostle refers is Timothy’s addressing false teaching in the church (1 Tim 1:3). The word “charge” is from a Greek word meaning to place before. It was a banking term referring to making a deposit in the bank. Paul was in the process of entrusting Timothy to deal with the church at Ephesus. Timothy was to deposit the Word of God in the Ephesian church. Paul entrusted Timothy with the gospel and the Word. The young pastor was to deposit them in his church.

according to the prophecies

“Prophecies” are propositional pronouncements given by inspiration. The Holy Spirit administered these immediate prophetic utterances in churches until the finish of the apostolic period. They were direct revelations from God (not available to today’s church) given to the church before there was a New Testament. These pronouncements were made to Timothy to guide him on taking on the problem at the Ephesian church with Hymenaeus and Alexander. There were prophecies given to Timothy when elders laid their hands on him for ministry; his ordination acknowledged that he had a special spiritual gift (1 Tim 4:14).

previously made concerning you,

Timothy received pronouncements from God and prophets regarding his call to ministry. The prophets confirmed that his calling was genuine (1 Tim 4:14).

that by them you may wage the good [noble] warfare,

Timothy was to enter spiritual warfare with the issue (1 Tim 6:12). He was to enter that warfare “by them,” that is, by entering the sphere of prophecies made about him. By appropriating and recalling them, he could wage a noble spiritual war (2 Co 10:4; 2 Tim 2:3, 4; 4:7). Ministry involves war, among other things. There was war in the Ephesian church, where some attempted to undermine biblical truth (next verse).


Every church is in a spiritual battle against the forces of Satan.


Faithfulness is part of Christian living. Paul obeyed the heavenly vision (Acts 20:24; 26:19; 1 Co 9:16-17). Paul charged Timothy to wage a spiritual war against false teaching in our verse. He gave him another charge in 2 Timothy 4:1-2 to preach the Word. Christians are to both proclaim and enter combat for their faith.