What does 1 Timothy 1:18 mean?
ESV: This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare,
NIV: Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well,
NASB: This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,
CSB: Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight,
NLT: Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles.
KJV: This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
NKJV: 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,
Verse Commentary:
This verse adds more urgency to the mission Paul gave to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:3. After the introduction (1 Timothy 1:2), Paul only states Timothy's name twice in this letter. Once is here, the other is in 1 Timothy 6:20. On both occasions, the focus is personal and meant to grab the young man's attention. Paul wants Timothy to live out his calling entrusted to him.

The reference to prophecies about Timothy is mysterious. This aspect of Timothy's past is also mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6. When, exactly, these events happened or what the details are, we do not know. More than likely, this was at the time described in Acts 16:1–5, in Lystra, when Paul first wanted to take Timothy with him on his missionary journey. As this is a personal letter from Paul to Timothy, there is clearly some information known between them which Paul does not explain.

The closing phrase "wage the good warfare" closely resembles Paul's other challenges to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:12 and 2 Timothy 4:7. However, this challenge uses the word picture of warfare, similar to Ephesians 6:10–18, written to the same city where Timothy now serves. The city of Ephesus had a large Roman soldier population during this time. Some of these soldiers may have been members of Timothy's house churches. At the very least, the word picture of warfare would have been appropriate to his cultural context.
Verse Context:
First Timothy 1:18–20 instills more urgency to the mission Timothy was given in 1 Timothy 1:3: to guard against the false teachings which Paul has described. The key to this effort is maintaining the same faith which has been passed along. As a counter-example, Paul refers to a pair of men who shoved aside a good conscience and found their faith destroyed.
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.
Accessed 5/18/2024 6:08:33 PM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com