1 Timothy chp 1 vs 1 - God our Saviour - JS Gillespie 

1 Timothy: 

Chp 1 – Sin and the Law 
Chps 1 +2 – Saviour and Salvation (1:13-16; 2:3-6) 
Chp 3 – Sanctuary (3:16) 
Chp 4 – 6 – Service 

Secret and sacred service of the sanctuary includes:

  1. Spirit (4:1) 
  2. Prayer (4:5) 
  3. Word of God (4:6, 11ff) 

Spiritual service 
Secular service 

After Paul's standard introduction: 

From Paul 
to Timothy 
Greeting (v2) 

he progresses quickly into the: 

body of the epistle and the 
burden of his heart 

Pastoral epistles – a phrase coined by D N Berdot (1703) and Paul Anton (1726) 

Much in the epistle pertaining to the care of the saints and the administration of the church! 

Everyone has something to: 


Everyone is contributing to the local church here! 

  1. Timothy (chp 1) 
  2. Overseers and deacons (chp 3) 
  3. Widows (chp 4) 
  4. Women (chp 2 +4) 
  5. Teachers (chp 4) 

Timothy not a pastor! 

To see this epistle as a mandate for one man ministry is to completely miss the point of this epistle! 

Everyone has something to give and everyone has something to gain! 

Timothy is an apostolic ambassador / legate 

He is present temporarily to deal with the problems at Ephesus and then he will leave (2 Tim 4:9) and he will not be replaced per se. 

No one man ministry at Ephesus (Acts 20:17,28) 

'Paul an Apostle' (v1) 

  1. His Calling 
  2. His Commission 
  3. His conviction 

From his experience on the Damascus road, all contributed to the 

Clarity of His call and ministry 

A clear call produces consistency and stamina in service 

Paul remained true to that calling (Acts 9:15-16) 

'to bear my name before the gentiles' 

There were easier tasks perhaps: 

stay with the Jews 
stay with the Jerusalem church 
move amongst those already evangelised 

Here is the clarity of Paul's call 

This re-echoed all of his life in the: 

conviction of ministry 
consistency of service 

Sometimes we hear of a call and then within a short time it appears laid to the side and off at a tangent. 

Which gave to His mission: 


We considered the experience that Paul had of Christ 

'Christ Jesus' (v1 & v2) 

This is the order in the UBS and newer critical NT texts. 

We noted the significance of the order: 

first the dignity and authority and sovereignty and then the humility and humanity 
unlike other apostles, Paul's first experience of Christ was in resurrection power and dignity, not the meek and lowly Jesus of Nazareth! 

Paul's personal experience of Jesus Christ is the air freshener in the fridge of cold Theology / mechanical church going. 

The solution to our problems is not more of the same! 

On the road to Damascus Paul asks a question: 

'who are you Lord?' 

'κύριος' – Lord – Jehovah in the Septuagint and synagogue 

The Lord answers : 'I AM Jesus' 

'I AM' would be enough – that was as far as Moses got but Paul had one more word; one more word that would transform: 

Saul of Tarsus 

'I AM Jesus' 

  • The whole of European history for 2000 years 
  • The history of the church 
  • The salvation of the world 

Hung on 3 words 

I am Jesus 

The OT h/o redemption hung on: 

'I AM' – Moses and the Exodus 

The NT h/o redemption hangs on: 

'I AM Jesus' 

Like all of God's servants, the fulcrum of service turned on his experience of Christ, the commission of Paul by God! 

The call of God brought Abraham out of Ur and made of him a great nation – God called him out 
The commission of God would send Moses back into Egypt! 
The voice of God in the temple would commission Samuel for a life of service. 
The angel of the Lord would commission Gideon; 'go in this thy strength' 
Call of Christ to Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John drew them from their fishing to following Christ. This commissioned them as disciples and fishers of men. This was a watershed experience in their life and service. 
The call and commission of God. 

Without it: 

could Abraham ever have become a great nation? 
Could Moses ever have delivered the nation out of bondage? 
David ever have been king? 
Samuel ever have led and guided the nation? 
Gideon ever have judged the people? 

Great things are achieved when God calls His servants 

Without such a call; 'unless the Lord build the house they labour in vain who build it.' 

'God our Saviour' 

5 X this precise phrase is used in the pastoral epistles 

8 X in total this or a similar phrase appears in the pastoral epistles 

1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Titus 1:3,4; 2:10; 2:13; 3:4 

Paul never uses it outwith the pastoral epistles 

Paul does not use the phrase elsewhere 

Luke 1:47; Jude 1:25 

The gospel is primarily good news 

Not the gospel that condemns men 

It is sin that condemns men (John 3:17) 

The gospel of Jesus Christ saves men and women 

Illust: sinking ship and the life boat, the coming of the life boat is not the means of loss or perishing! The fact of the sinking ship and the drowning souls is the reason for the perishing! The life boat is the means of salvation! Clearly the rejection of the life boat would seal the fate of perishing soul! A soul is perishing because of sin, not primarily because they have had opportunity to make their mind up as to the merits of getting in the life boat! 

Timothy (v2): 

Note the significance of Timothy's presence at: 

Philippi (Acts 16) 
Corinth (Acts 18:5) 
Ephesus (Acts 19:22) 

He is very much in the background of events 

We do not need to be prominent in circumstances for circumstances to be prominent and significant in our life. 

Events take on a significance way beyond our prominence in them! 


Henry Tandey, private in the Yorkshire Regiment, awarded the Victoria Cross in WW1, the most decorated private of WW1, fought in Ypres, wounded at the Somme and Paschendale, 

On 28th September 1918 in Marcoing in France, a German soldier stumbled dazed into his sites, unable to defend himself, Henry Tandey showed mercy and pity and let him go. 

As a consequence of the man he spared recognising his picture in a newspaper article many years later, a painting of Tandey hung in the Berghof. 

The man he spared was Adolf Hitler 

Don't confuse prominence with significance. 

Timothy may not have had a prominent part to play at Corinth, Ephesus and Philippi, but the part he played was very significant, these events were very significant for Him. 

But what I do know; when problems arose at: 

Philippi – Timothy was sent (Phil 2:19) 
Corinth – Timothy was sent (1 Co 4:17) 
Epesus – Timothy was sent (1 + 2 Timothy) 

Prepared in the background for greatness, as was: 

Joseph in the prison cell 
Joshua to replace Moses 
David in the pasture, the shepherd who would become sovereign 
Elisha to replace Elijah 

Timothy was sent to deal with problems at Ephesus (1:4ff) 

If you want to destroy a church, this is how to do it! 

Poison the water supply! 

Poison the teaching! 

Acts 20:28ff 

Despite the warning wolves had come in – wolves in 'sheep's clothing' ? (Matt 7:15) – the garb of the prophet! Looked the part!  

'fables' : 3454: muthos: myths  - the fabulous 

'genealogies' – they take you far removed from where you originally started! Off at a tangent – the far fetched. 

Possibly a form of gnosticism 

Certainly a strong Jewish influence: 

'teachers of the law' (1:7) 
food laws (4:4) 
'Jannes, Jambres and Moses' (2 Tim3:8) 
Titus 1:14 'Jewish fables' 

The influence of Jewish teachers, re-echoes of the: Midrash, Haggadic Midrash – the Jewish commentary on the law of Moses. 

A paricular way of interpretig scripture 

Maybe not a million miles from som of the things you might hear 

Fanciful biblical interpretations, ideas that arose not from the pages of Bible but from the imagination of the reader / writer. 

'wonderful things in the Bible I see...' 

eg Midrash: 

God divided the Red Sea for Moses because Abraham divided the wood on Mt Moriah 
Sarah died of shock after hearing that Isaac had been sacrificed on Mt Moriah 
A family tree for Bilhah 

Principles of interpretation: 


context (immediate) 
literal reading of the text unless compelling reasons not to take it literally 


immediate context 
wider context in the book 
context of the Bible as a whole 


The scriptures do not mean whatever I say they mean

Outline preaching notes from our series of Bible teaching messages in 1 Timothy chapter 1, available for free audio download or to listen online,     

Yours by God's grace in Christ     

Dr J Stewart Gillespie