What does 1 Timothy 1:20 mean?
ESV: among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
NIV: Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
NASB: Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme.
CSB: Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
NLT: Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God.
KJV: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
NKJV: of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
Verse Commentary:
Two examples of those who had "shipwrecked" their faith are the focus of this verse: Hymenaeus and Alexander. According to the prior verse, these men did not merely wander from the faith. They made a purposeful choice to reject a clear conscience, and the result was a destruction of their spiritual lives. Based on other comments in the New Testament, it is doubtful either of these men were legitimate believers.

Hymenaeus is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:16–18: "But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some." Apparently, at that point, Hymenaeus will be claiming that the resurrection of the dead had already taken place, distressing believers through his false teaching and ungodly living.

Alexander was a common name from the period, and there are multiple people with that name in the New Testament. A Jew named Alexander is mentioned in Ephesus in Acts 19:33–34. It is unclear whether this is the same man Paul mentioned. Second Timothy 4:14–15, however, seems to indicate the same person referred to here: "Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message."

Both Hymenaeus and Alexander are presented as actively opposing believers and Christian teachings. Paul had "handed them over to Satan," meaning he had stayed away from them so God could deal with them. The point of Paul's action is not to punish, but to inspire repentance and reconciliation (as in 2 Thessalonians 3:14–15).
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 4/24/2024 5:29:42 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