What does 1 Timothy 1:1 mean?
ESV: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
NIV: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
NASB: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope,
CSB: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope:
NLT: This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope.
KJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
NKJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,
Verse Commentary:
Paul begins with his name, his spiritual title, and the authority behind that title. At this time, he was known as Paul, though his birth name was Saul. He would leave his birth name behind during his first missionary journey (Acts 13:9). Prior to his conversion, Paul (Saul) was a rabid opponent of the Christian church. First Timothy 1:13 will describe some of Paul's early attitude towards the gospel, which included persecuting believers (1 Corinthians 15:9).

As for his title, Paul calls himself "an apostle of Christ Jesus." Unlike many letters in which he calls himself a "bondservant," Paul here emphasizes his authority. This was likely due to his letter's focus: urging Timothy to stand strong against false teachers. He also did not use the title to brag—Paul acknowledges he is an apostle of Christ Jesus only by the will of Christ Jesus. He was both converted and made to serve according to God's will.

Further, Paul calls God "our" Savior, emphasizing the common faith between himself and Timothy. This statement also presumes that both God and Jesus are divine. This letter often mentions hope, saying their hope is "set on the living God" (1 Timothy 4:10), widows "hope on God" (1 Timothy 5:5), and not to set our hopes "on the uncertainty of riches" (1 Timothy 6:17).
Verse Context:
First Timothy 1:1–2 presents a greeting which is typical of the apostle Paul. This letter is written to Timothy, a younger man who has travelled and studied with Paul. In order to emphasize the importance of his words, Paul will focus on his role as an apostle in this introduction. At the same time, Paul is always aware of the role God's grace and mercy played in his conversion. Though he is an apostle of God, he and Timothy are still part of the same faith and serve the same Lord.
Chapter Summary:
Paul introduces himself and emphasizes the positive relationship he has with Timothy. The specific mission Timothy has in Ephesus is to oppose false teaching. Some of the Ephesians have rejected the importance of conscience and attempt to teach without having the required knowledge. As a result, they bicker over pointless issues and misuse the law given by God. Paul recognizes his own need for forgiveness and salvation, and encourages Timothy with a reminder that they share a common savior.
Chapter Context:
The first chapter of 1 Timothy frames the situation Paul is concerned about. In particular, he is worried about the false teachers plaguing the Ephesian church. These men are misusing the law, teaching false doctrines, and rejecting the importance of a clear conscience. Paul points out his own past sins and need for forgiveness, however. By anchoring his arguments in truth and in humility, Paul sets up the importance of the letter's instructions. These are not merely suggestions, they are vital strategies Timothy needs to understand.
Book Summary:
First Timothy is one of Paul's three ''Pastoral Epistles.'' Paul's other letters, such as Romans, Ephesians, and Colossians, are meant for a broader audience. First Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are written to specific people whom Paul is advising on how to best lead their local churches. These three letters present a close look at the form and function of church leadership. First Timothy, like 2 Timothy and Titus, is less formal and systematic, and more personal. This gives great insight into the way pastors, deacons, and elders ought to prioritize their time and energy.
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