What does 1 Timothy 1:3 mean?
ESV: As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,
NIV: As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer
NASB: Just as I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, to remain on at Ephesus so that you would instruct certain people not to teach strange doctrines,
CSB: As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine
NLT: When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.
KJV: As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
NKJV: As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
Verse Commentary:
Paul abruptly jumps into the content of his letter. This begins by repeating some earlier command to Timothy to stay in Ephesus. Both Paul and Timothy traveled to Ephesus at some point following Paul's house arrest. This imprisonment occurred in Rome around AD 60—62. Timothy had been in Rome with Paul and likely traveled with him from Rome to various locations, ultimately leading to Ephesus. Paul later left Timothy in leadership at Ephesus while traveling to Macedonia. There, he wrote this letter and a separate message to Titus. Paul would later be imprisoned again in Rome, where he wrote 2 Timothy before his death.

Timothy's specific motivation for staying was to maintain correct teaching in the Ephesian church. Paul's mention of "certain persons" as false teachers suggests a small group of people. Small or not, this group was influential enough to be a concern. Their error was teaching or instructing Christians in Ephesus to follow false doctrines. Since the truth had already been proclaimed, other ideas were both different and wrong. In 1 Timothy 6:3, Paul will define "different"—false—teaching as anything that "does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness." Truth is exclusive, so anything "different" from the truth is inaccurate and ungodly.
Verse Context:
First Timothy 1:3–11 explains the difference between a correct application of the law versus an ''illegal'' use of it. Paul's point is that the law is meant to make us aware of our sin, not to drive us into legalism. The false teachers of Ephesus are bickering over the law and missing the point. This is driven by their desire for prestige, even though they lack knowledge. Paul gives a list of sins parallel to the Ten Commandments showing how the law is meant to convict such people of sin as a means to explain the gospel of Christ.
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 7:28:46 PM
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