Category Archives: Bible Reflection

Gratitude for the Gospel (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

READ

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 
13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 
14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 
16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 
17 To the King of the ages,immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

STUDY
Every Christian ought to be filled with a sense of gratitude for the salvation they enjoy in the Lord Jesus Christ. The former slave trader John Newton expressed his gratitude with these famous words, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found, 
was blind but now I see”. In this passage Paul reveals his gratitude for salvation by means of two powerful truths concerning the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ – the transformation of the gospel (1:12-14) and the trustworthiness of the gospel (1:15-17).

The Transformation of the Gospel ()
Paul begins by expressing his gratitude to the Lord for the transforming power of the gospel. He does this by thanking the Lord for a triad of blessings and for the transformation from a triad of depravity. The three blessings that Christ has granted him came as a result of believing in the glorious gospel – strength, faithfulness and appointment to service (1:12). It was the same gospel that transformed him who was formerly “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” (1:13a). Unlike the religious hypocrite, Paul “acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1:13b). Like all sinners, his salvation came by God’s mercy and the Lord’s grace was abundant (1:14).

The Trustworthiness of the Gospel ()
After thanking the Lord for the transforming power of the gospel, he affirms the trustworthiness of the gospel. He declares that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is “trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance” (1:15). This faithful saying (cf. 3:1; 4:9; ; and ) reveals three essential elements to the gospel, namely the Saviour (“Christ Jesus“), the sinners (“the world“), and the salvation (“save sinners“). The super-abounding grace of God in the life of Paul serves as an example of others who are going to be saved (1:16). After considering such glorious truths of the gospel, Paul concludes with a hymn of praise (doxology) declaring, “to the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1:17). The deeper one goes into the deep truths of the gospel, the higher and loftier our worship will be.

Like Paul, we ought to display gratitude for God’s grace in the gospel. Remember your transformation and the trustworthiness of the gospel, and respond by praising God with your walk and words. In closing, consider the wonderful words of Isaac Watt’s hymn, “Alas! And Did my Saviour Bleed?”

 At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
and the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

APPLY
1. Read the following passages and make some observations concerning Paul’s conversion and testimony (; ; ).

2. Who is the source of spiritual service (1:12)? See also and .

3. Paul received mercy and was transformed (1:13a). Discuss the meaning of “I had acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1:13b). See also .

4. The trustworthy saying (cf. 3:1; 4:9; ; and ) in 1:15 contains the gospel in a “nutshell”. Discuss the essential elements of the gospel found in this verse.

5. After thanking the Lord for the transforming power of the gospel Paul concludes with a doxology (short hymn of praise). How does thanksgiving and remembrance of God’s grace influence our worship?

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

9:1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

22 “But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses, 23 all that the Lord has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the Lord gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, 24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, all the congregation shall offer one bull from the herd for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the rule, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25 And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord for their mistake. 26 And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake.

27 “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. 30 But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.”

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

Guarding Sound Doctrine (1 Timothy 1:1-11)

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Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

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, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion,desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. ()

STUDY

We need to remember that a church’s doctrine is not to be limited to its current situation. We are to recognize that we stand in line with centuries of historical truth. Every church potentially is less than a generation away from compromise. In this passage, Paul calls for Timothy to guard against departure of doctrine (1:3-7) and to guard the gospel of glory (1:8-11).

Guard Against Departure of Doctrine ()
After his opening greeting (1:1-2), Paul provides Timothy with a serious charge, which reveals the occasion for the writing of this letter (1:3-5). Timothy may have had plans to move on from his role in Ephesus but Paul urges him to “remain at Ephesus” with the view to guarding against a departure from sound doctrine (1:3). Those who have departed from sound doctrine “devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies” (1:4a). It is possible they still teach truth, but they add to it things “which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1:4b). The goal of this charge is genuine love. This love has a threefold source, it “issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith“(1:5).

After giving this charge, Paul reveals the conduct of the problematic teachers in Ephesus (1:6-7). They have strayed from the source of biblical love. This has led them to wandering “away into vain discussion” (1:6). This departure from sound doctrine has resulted in their pride (“desiring to be teachers of the law“) and ignorance (“without understanding“). False teachers ignore biblical love (1:5, cf. ), they don’t source their teachings from the sufficient Scripture and a transformed life (1:4, 6), and they are prideful (1:7). Beware of false teachers!

Guard the Gospel of Glory (1 Timothy 1:8-11)
In addition to guarding against departure from doctrine, Paul calls for Timothy to guard the gospel of glory. This is achieved by rightly using the law of God. Though the false teachers desired to become teachers of the law, they were using it unlawfully. God’s “law is good, if one uses it lawfully” (1:8). Though the law has many uses (refer to study question 5), Paul reveals that one purpose of the law is that it is for sinners to come to an understanding of their horrible condition before the Lord and to find grace in the gospel of Christ. He provides a list of conditions and sins that the law condemns (1:9-10). The lawful use of the law is “in accordance with the gospel of the glory” (1:11). The false teachers use the law for their purposes (promotion of pride), whereas the law is to be used as a means to display the power of the gospel.

APPLY

1. Is doctrine important? Consider the following references and discuss the place doctrine   has in the church: .

2. Discuss the importance of the church having biblical, historical and clear doctrine.

3. It is the duty of God’s people to love (cf. ). Where does biblical love come from? See 1:5.

4. Throughout Scripture we are warned about false prophets and teachers (;). Jesus taught that we would know them by their fruits (). From our passage (and others) what are some of the characteristics of false teachers?

5. What is the purpose of God’s law (1:8-10)? See also  and .

6. Pray that the Lord will enable your church to guard sound doctrine and that He would protect from error and pride.

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

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, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

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, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.

For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,

10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,

1 Timothy 4:6

If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed.

1 Timothy 4:13

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

1 Timothy 4:16

16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

1 Timothy 5:17

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

1 Timothy 6:1

6:1 Let all who are under a yoke as slaves regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

1 Timothy 6:3-4

If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

2:1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.

Titus 2:10

10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Matthew 22:39

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 24:4

And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray.

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.

16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?

19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God.

Romans 7:7

What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.”

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.

Bible Devotion Series: Read, Study and Apply

Read and Study the Bible

Reading and studying the Bible is a rewarding experience. The Psalmist declared, “I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes” (). By means of this consistent activity, we come face to face with what God has spoken. This is a true delight!

On the HBC blog, in addition to the various topics and issues we will write about, once a week we will be posting an instalment from our new Bible Devotion Series.

The plan is for you to READ, STUDY, and APPLY a passage of Scripture. The approach will be for you to work your way through a book of the Bible. In the post you will have the passage of Scripture, a brief commentary and then some study questions (this could even be used in a Bible study group context).

These posts are designed to be brief so they won’t answer every question you may have from the passage. We would encourage to to dig deeper in the text as a result of these devotions.

The first Bible Devotion Series will be 1 Timothy.

You can have these sent to your email by signing up on the right hand side of this page.

48 I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love,
and I will meditate on your statutes.