What does 1 Timothy 1:19 mean?
ESV: holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
NIV: holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.
NASB: keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.
CSB: having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and have shipwrecked the faith.
NLT: Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.
KJV: Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
NKJV: having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,
Verse Commentary:
This verse continues Paul's charge to Timothy from the previous verse. The phrase "holding faith and a good conscience" includes the idea of clinging to and not letting go of his faith. Timothy was to do so with a "good conscience." The pairing of faith and conscience is also seen in 1 Timothy 1:5 and 3:9. A person's faith and their thoughts are closely connected.

Faith begins and ends this verse. The second half warns about the danger of turning from a good conscience. Paul uses the Greek word apōsamenoi, which implies a strong, personal, deliberate refusal. This is not a casual or accidental error—Paul is referring to those who purposefully reject keeping a clear conscience. Paul himself survived a serious shipwreck on his way to Rome, so he knew intimately what a danger it could be. Paul uses this analogy to highlight the deadly nature of rejecting a good conscience. Since Ephesus was also a location where many ships stopped, the idea of a shipwreck was likely very personal to Timothy.

In the next verse, Paul offers two specific examples of men who ruined their faith by turning up their noses at a clear conscience.
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.
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