Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts ends with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.
We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including
Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.
This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct
the problems in Ephesus.
Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and die a martyr in AD 97.
1:3-11 Correct Doctrine
Last week we saw Paul reminded Timothy of what Paul had instructed him when
he put him in charge in Ephesus.
(1 Timothy 1:3–5
NKJV) —3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that
you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give
heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly
edification which is in faith. 5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from
a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
The last verse is a reminder of Paul’s motives in his charge to Timothy, as
well as what all true, godly teaching is all about.
(1 Timothy 1:5 NLT)
purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that
comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
:6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk,
:6 from which some, having strayed
having strayed – astocheo (“not”
+ “to aim”) – to deviate from, miss (the mark); to have bad aim
Some of these bad teachers in Ephesus have stopped aiming at the right
:6 have turned aside to idle talk
idle talk – mataiologia –
vain talking, empty talk
from mataios – devoid of force,
truth, success, result; useless, of no purpose
What’s your point?
They say that if you aim at “nothing”, you’ll
surely hit it.
Nobody was better at hitting a target than Robin
These bad teachers were not aiming at anything,
and ended up talking about useless things.
When you are a “teacher”, you have to ask yourself, “What am I trying to
Is there a point to your teaching?
I think as a teacher you also need to be asking, “What is the passage
trying to say?”
Are you talking about what the passage is talking
about? Or are you just going to jump off
and talk about what you want to talk about?
Just a reminder – Paul had told Timothy that the goal of his instruction
was to produce “love”.
:7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say
nor the things which they affirm.
:7 desiring to be teachers of the law
Paul is specifically talking about the Law of Moses here, the first five
books of the Bible.
These bad teachers were focusing their teaching in the church on the Law of
Moses, perhaps coming up with goofy things based upon their interpretation of
the genealogies (like Genesis 5, 10).
Paul had said in verse 4 that some of their teachings had to do with “endless
:7 understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm
they affirm – diabebaioomai – to affirm strongly,
When these guys spoke, the spoke very strongly about their ideas.
But Paul says they don’t even know what they’re talking about.
I know that when I listen to some teachers, I don’t know what they’re
talking about. I’m not sure they know
either. But they’re confident.
The idea is that when these bad teachers spoke, they not only didn’t know
what they were talking about, the spoke very strongly and confidently as if
they did understand.
Confident vs. Correct
Sometimes we can confuse what we hear as “confidence” in a person’s
presentation, with the truth.
What’s hard on our part is when that person is talking about something that
we don’t know all that much about.
I find that sometimes I can get pretty confused by the nice young men who
show up on my doorstep to talk to me about Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day
I remember once being confused about Ezekiel 37, when they read to me,
37:19 NKJV) say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God:
“Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of
Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with
it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in
My hand.” ’
They went on to explain that the “stick of Joseph” had
something to do with Joseph Smith, and I just gulped and didn’t know what to
It wasn’t until years later when I started to read through
my Bible every year that I realized that what Ezekiel was talking about was the
future unification of the northern and southern kingdoms. The northern kingdom was called “Joseph” or
A person may be sincere, but they may be sincerely wrong.
:8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,
:8 the law is good
Paul was often misunderstood by people, and Paul doesn’t want people to
think that he’s opposed to the Law of Moses, or that he thinks there is
something wrong about the Law of Moses.
When Paul went to Jerusalem for Pentecost, one of the reasons a riot broke
out was because some of the Jews from Asia (likely Ephesus) misunderstood and
NKJV) —27 Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia,
seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out,
“Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere
against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought
Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 (For they
had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they
supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
Paul hadn’t done what he was accused of, but had been misunderstood.
Jesus’ position on the Law of Moses was also misunderstood, yet He said,
NKJV) –17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did
not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one
jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Some people will take the whole “Old Testament vs. New Testament” thing so
far as to say that since we are no longer “under the Law”, that they won’t even
read the Old Testament.
The problem is that you will hamper your understanding of the New Testament
because the New Testament is built upon the foundation of the Old Testament.
:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the
lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners
:9 but for the lawless and insubordinate
The Law’s purpose
Sitting on the side of the highway waiting to catch speeding drivers, a
State police officer sees a car puttering along at 22 MPH. He thinks to
himself, “This driver is just as dangerous as a speeder!” So he turns on his
lights and pulls the driver over. Approaching the car, he notices that there
are five old ladies-two in the front seat and three in the back-wide-eyed and
white as ghosts. The driver, obviously confused, says to him, “Officer, I don’t
understand, I was doing exactly the speed limit! What seems to be the problem?”
“Ma’am,” the officer replies, “you weren’t speeding, but you should know that
driving slower than the speed limit can also be a danger to other drivers.”
“Slower than the speed limit? No sir, I was doing the speed limit exactly 22
miles an hour!” the old woman says a bit proudly. The officer, trying to
contain a chuckle explains to her that “22” was the highway number, not the
speed limit. A bit embarrassed, the woman grinned and thanked the officer for
pointing out her error. “But before I let you go, ma’am, I have to ask, is
everyone in this car okay? These women seem awfully shaken and they haven’t
muttered a single peep this whole time,” the officer asks. “Oh, they’ll be all
right in a minute officer. We just got off Highway 119.”
We may not like particular traffic laws when we get pulled
over for a ticket, but the laws are there for a purpose.
The value of God’s Law is in its “purpose”.
Its purpose is not to save people.
You aren’t saved because you “keep” the Law. That’s impossible to do.
The Law’s purpose is to expose sin.
It’s whole goal is to show mankind that we are fallen and in need of a
Without the Law, we would have no need for Jesus.
Paul will state in a few verses:
Timothy 1:15 NKJV) 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.
If people claim they are not “sinners”, then we have a
tool to show them the truth.
The Law shows us how far short we fall.
We are all sinners.
2:10 NKJV) For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point,
he is guilty of all.
Jesus would say,
5:20 NKJV) For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the
kingdom of heaven.
The Pharisees based their righteousness upon following
every minute detail of the Law.
Jesus said you had to do better than that.
Then Jesus would teach on the true spirit of the Law.
It wasn’t just putting a knife in someone that counted as
“murder”, but even hating someone was “murder”.
It wasn’t just having sex with someone not your spouse
that counted as “adultery”, but even lusting in your heart was counted
5:48 NKJV) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is
When dealing with the false legalism that the Galatians were struggling
with, Paul wrote,
3:24 NKJV) Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that
we might be justified by faith.
The Law shows us our sin.
That shows us we need a Savior, Jesus.
Paul is now going to give a sample list of the kinds of people the law was
Before we look at Paul’s list, I’d like to remind you of the essence of the
Law, the Ten Commandments.
8 9 10
The first “table” of the Law (written on the first stone tablet) all had to
do with man’s relationship with God –
1. No other gods.
2. No carved images.
3. Don’t take God’s name in vain.
4. Honor God on the Sabbath.
The second stone tablet, all having to do with man’s relationship with man.
5. Honor parents
6. Don’t murder
7. Don’t commit adultery
8. Don’t steal
9. Don’t lie
10. Don’t covet
Jesus said the entire Law could be summed up with:
1) Love God (first table).
2) Love others (second table).
Now look at the loose list of things Paul pulls together and see if you see
anything connecting to the Ten Commandments:
:9 …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,
:9 for the unholy and profane
This seems to be a summary of the entire first table of the Law – the laws
regarding man’s relationship towards God.
The Law is meant for those who aren’t right with God.
:9 murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers,
This sounds like breaking the “honor your father and mother”.
:9 for manslayers
This sounds like the “Don’t commit murder” law.
:10 for fornicators, for sodomites
Fornication is sex outside of marriage.
sodomites – arsenokoites (“man”
+ “intercourse”) – one who lies with a male as with a female, homosexual
This sounds like not committing adultery – the sexual laws.
:10 for kidnappers
kidnappers – andrapodistes –
a slave-dealer, kidnapper, man-stealer
Kidnapping isn’t specifically in the Ten Commandments, but it’s certainly
dealt with later in the Law.
Yet this does seem to violate “thou shalt not steal”
:10 for liars, for perjurers
This is “bearing false witness”.
:10 any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine
Coveting isn’t mentioned specifically, but this sounds like a catch all for
This is who the Law was intended to for – to show man his sinfulness and
his need for a Savior.
This is why God gave us the Law, to show us our sin.
:11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed
to my trust.
:11 the glorious gospel of the blessed God
gospel – euaggelion (“good”
+ “message”) – good tidings
Paul told the Corinthians what that “gospel” was that was entrusted to him.
(1 Corinthians 15:3
NKJV) For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received:
that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
Good news isn’t good unless there’s bad news too.
The Law gives us the bad news, that we are all sinners.
The Gospel gives us the good news that Jesus died for sinners. He died to take our place. He died to pay for our sins.
You can have your sins forgiven and be right with God if
you will turn to Jesus.
1:12-17 Grace for Sinners
:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He
counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
:12 He counted me faithful
God didn’t put Paul into ministry because Paul had already “proved”
himself, because Paul had been a very bad man.
God saw that Paul was worthy of God’s trust.
:13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent
man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
:13 a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man
This is a sample of who Paul was.
Blasphemy would be Paul’s attitude toward Jesus before he believed. Paul hated Jesus and the church.
Persecutor – Paul even had people put to death for following Jesus.
“Insolent” means that Paul was a prideful man.
:13 I did it ignorantly in unbelief
When Paul persecuted the church, he didn’t realize who Jesus was or the
fact that he was actually fighting against God.
:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus.
As horrible as Paul’s sins were, God’s grace and forgiveness was even
: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.
:15 This is a faithful saying
Learn these things
Paul will use this or similar phrasing five times in these Pastoral
He’s saying he wants Timothy and the church to learn these things.
(1 Timothy 1:15
NKJV) 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.
Jesus came for us sinners.
(1 Timothy 3:1
NKJV) This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of
a bishop, he desires a good work.
It’s not a bad thing to sense a call to being a pastor.
(1 Timothy 4:8–9 NKJV)
—8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable
for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to
come. 9 This is
a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.
Exercising your body has some benefit, but exercising your spiritual life
is way more important.
(Titus 3:8 NKJV) This is a
faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those
who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things
are good and profitable to men.
Believers ought to be known for their good works, and not just “believing”.
(2 Timothy 2:11–13
NKJV) —11 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we
endure, We shall
also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
We’ll talk more about this when we get there, but this is thought to be the
text of an ancient “hymn” the church would sing.
These were sayings that were to be taught the early church.
The early church didn’t have the luxury of having Bibles, much of what they
were taught was through word of mouth.
:15 Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners
This is the faithful saying that should be repeated in all the churches.
Let’s repeat this phrase…
Jesus came to save sinners.
This is the gospel. This is why
:15 of whom I am chief.
Peeling the Onion
Some preach the gospel with an emphasis that YOU are all sinners.
Paul didn’t have any problem putting himself in the place of the sinner
that Jesus had saved.
Notice that he doesn’t say, “I was chief”, but “I AM chief”.
Paul uses a present tense.
We are all still sinners.
Sometimes as Christians we try to pretend to be something we’re not. We pretend to be better than we really are.
Paul was not embarrassed to say that he was a sinner. Even the “chief” of sinners.
When you first become a Christian, you are aware of a couple of sins in
your life that you need to turn from.
Sometimes it’s a hard battle to get free from some of
those “big ones”.
Yet even after you find freedom from those particular
sins, you will find that there is another layer of sin in your life waiting for
you to deal with.
Maybe your first sins were things like adultery, or drugs.
When you deal with those things, you found there are other
things, like greed – living to get more “stuff” in this world.
Then there’s another deeper level, where you start
realizing that you’ve still got lust in your heart.
You want things that don’t belong to you.
Or perhaps it’s anger.
Our sin nature is like an onion.
You peel off one layer, and you find there’s another layer under the
surface. And another layer, and another,
We won’t be finished dealing with our sin nature until we are with Jesus.
: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.
(1 Timothy 1:16
NLT) But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a
prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others
will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
In other words, if God could save and then use someone like Paul, then God
can do the same for you and me.
:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise,
be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
:17 the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise
God is the “eternal King”, the King of eternity. He is always King.
He is “immortal”, or “incorruptible”.
He doesn’t perish, grow old, or decay.
He is “invisible” or “unseen”.
Though you can’t see Him, He is there.
“God who alone is wise” might be better rendered, “the only God”, or the
“One God”, with “wise” being a separate characteristic.
It reminds me of the great “Shema”, the declaration of Israel:
NKJV) “Hear, O Israel: The Lord
our God, the Lord is one!
He is “one” God who manifests Himself in three persons.
And lastly, He is “wise”
:17 be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
This is called a “doxology”, a word of praise and glory toward God.
How do you express praise God?
With simple words like Praise God?
Try going deeper like Paul and think about who God is when you praise Him.