What does 1 Timothy 1:7 mean?
ESV: desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.
NIV: They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.
NASB: wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.
CSB: They want to be teachers of the law, although they don't understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on.
NLT: They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently.
KJV: Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
NKJV: desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.
Verse Commentary:
This verse continues a thought which began in verse 6 and refers to those who want to be honored as teachers or experts. Apparently, some in Ephesus wanted to be respected rabbis. These were likely Jews or possibly Gentile converts to Judaism who sought to study the Torah and live by it. They may have even dressed as rabbis or sought privileged positions in the local synagogues or in Christian house church gatherings, though it is uncertain in this context.

These false teachers had two problems. First, they lacked true knowledge. They had controversy, enthusiasm, and speculation, but none of the required understanding expected of a teacher. Second, they were not only misinformed, but arrogant and prone to speaking when they should have listened. This is a sign not only of inaccurate understanding, but also of pride.

Paul will soon share his own testimony, highlighting that this pride and lack of understanding was not limited to certain false teachers. It marked his entire life prior to coming to faith in Jesus (1 Timothy 1:12–17).
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 5/20/2024 9:11:56 PM
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