What does 1 Timothy 1:12 mean?
ESV: I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,
NIV: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
NASB: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
CSB: I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry--
NLT: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,
KJV: And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
NKJV: And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
Verse Commentary:
This verse begins a new section focusing on Paul's personal experiences: his testimony. He begins by thanking God for the spiritual power needed for his ministry. Paul fully embraced Christ's teaching that "… apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Paul's power came from Christ, not his own human ability. Paul used the specific title of "Christ Jesus our Lord" on seven occasions (Romans 6:23; 8:39; 1 Corinthians 15:31; Ephesians 3:11; 1 Timothy 1:2, 12; 2 Timothy 1:2), with two of these in this chapter. He seems to use the phrase in order to emphasize common faith in Jesus Christ with his readers.

The second half of this verse provides two important aspects of Paul's ministry. First, Paul notes that God declared him faithful—he does not say he was faithful and God recognized it, but rather that God "judged me faithful." Paul, formerly named Saul, and a hateful persecutor of the church (1 Timothy 1:13) was not good enough to serve God. And yet, God judged or decided Paul would be faithful in serving Him. In other words, God made Paul faithful, a defining characteristic of his ministry.

Second, Paul recognized God's role in selecting him for his role as an apostle. He did not deserve it nor earn it (Ephesians 2:8–10). The idea of "his service" was similar to that of a servant to a king or master. Paul saw himself as a "bondservant" of God, offering an example for Christians today.
Verse Context:
First Timothy 1:12–17 offers a glimpse into Paul's own personal background. In the prior passage, Paul explained how the Law is meant to convict people of their sin. He gave a list of immoral actions which parallel the Ten Commandments. Here, however, Paul proves his spiritual humility. He recognizes that his own sins were severe and that he can only credit the grace of God for saving him. Paul's change of life wasn't due to his own efforts, but was the result of Christ's miraculous work.
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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