Wednesday, October 10, 2012

1 Timothy 1

Listen to the podcast below (or right click this link for the mp3 file) 

Podcast Powered By Podbean

According to wikipedia, the Authorship of this was generally accepted as Paul until the last couple of centuries. Many modern scholars have analyzed the vocabulary and style and believe it was written by an early admirer of Paul. Those who think Paul wrote this think it was written at the end of Paul's ministry 62-67 AD, others think it could have been written up to a few hundred years after that.

Greeting (v. 1-2)

Paul is writing a letter to a young follower Timothy.

The previous books of the bible that were written by Paul were all sent out to various places, Paul was trying to reach a large group of people. This letter on the other hand is from Paul to Timothy, it seems a little more personal. It feels like I am reading someone else's mail, which makes me mildly uncomfortable. I guess Timothy is working for Paul in a sense, maybe it's more like reading an inner office memo. Not as bad, still weird though.

Warning Against False Teachers (v. 3-11)

Don't let people teach different doctrines.

This seems like a natural thing to say for them, they are trying to promote their religion after all, but this seems like the kind of thing that could start fights, and ultimately wars.

Don't let people devote themselves to myths and endless geneologies which promote speculation.

This I like, of course myth is in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't be surprised if this statement that I like and the previous one I didn't are actually intended to mean the same thing, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt here. Also, the genealogy thing here seems weird as the bible seems full of it, is Paul saying that the all genealogies are bad, including those in the bible which we shouldn't focus on, or is he targeting some other genealogy of another popular religion of the time?

Our focus should be that love comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.

This verse I am putting as both good and bad. Love coming from a pure heart and a good conscience I am completely on board with. I actually like it a lot. But faith is poison, it is one of the main problems I have with Christianity, is the idea that faith is a virtue. Faith is a bad thing.

Some people stray from these ideas and wind up teaching the law without really understanding it, and yet stating it with confidence.

I'm totally on board here, teaching things without understanding them is bad, and acting confident when you are actually pretty ignorant causes problems.

The law is not for the just, but for the lawless.

This is interesting, it sets the world into 2 groups, the just and the lawless. This is not reality. People live on a spectrum, doing some good things and some bad things. Seeing the world in this binary fashion is simplistic and I would argue ultimately damaging.

We end this section with a list of things that are bad, specifically it is a list of the types of people the law is for in addition to the lawless, these include: disobedient, ungodly, sinners, unholy, profane, those who strike their fathers and mothers, murderers, sexually immoral, homosexuals, enslavers, liars, perjurers.

I have a few comments here, first, are we equating all of these crimes? Second, having slaves isn't frowned upon, so what is up with enslavers? There was a footnote in my bible which says they are talking about people who capture people and sell them into slavery. So I guess it's not the slavery itself, but the capturing of people? Finally, there are a few things that I would argue shouldn't be on the list, sexual immorality and homosexuality, not that this is the first time we've seen this. Also, sometimes disobedience is warranted, and I clearly don't have a problem with being ungodly, sinning, or being unholy.

Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners (v. 12-20)

Paul says that Jesus came to save sinners, he holds himself up as an example, he was the worst among sinners, and "the grace of the lord overflowed" in him and he was converted. This is a message to believers that anyone is a potential convert and no one is a lost cause.

I think the idea is that God did some special thing to Paul to get him converted so he could be an example. If this is the case, why wouldn't God just do that same thing to everyone? If it is not the case, and even God doing the same thing he did to Paul wouldn't work on some people, then they are a lost cause and the message is BS. If God can't convert them what hope do his lowly followers have?

One final thing I will point out, Paul ends the chapter by pointing out that Hymenaeus and Alexander have been handed over to Satan so they can learn to not blaspheme. I don't know exactly what "handing over to satan" means, but it sounds bad. I would point out that Paul is punishing them for doing what he admitted to doing himself in verse 13.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation) [wow, there was a lot to talk about in this chapter]


1:4 myth, genealogies and speculation are bad

"nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith."

1:5 love comes from a pure heart and good conscience

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

1:6-7 don't confidently teach things you don't understand

"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."

1:9-10 those who strike their fathers and mothers, murderers, enslavers, liars, and perjurers are bad

"...those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers..."


1:3 Don't let people teach other religions

"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"

1:5 Love comes from sincere faith

"The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith."

1:9 people are either good or bad, no in between

"...the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless..."

1:10 sex and being gay are bad

"the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality..."


  1. This should be a good stretch for you. I think that Timothy 1 & 2 are full of some truly vile stuff.

    1. Yeah, it's off to a pretty bad start, this episode was my longest yet. I recorded tomorrow's episode this afternoon, pretty terrible stuff. Women aren't allowed to be teachers and other misogynist garbage.

  2. I think with the family lines, it's interesting the take that the author makes. We know that long ago, and in some cases today, that it was important for those in charge to establish their royal or divine lineage.

    Your section on faith was dead on, but the following made me chuckle since it actually touched on what I wanted to respond with. I remember when I was a Catholic, that the word "faith" had much different context than when I got older. I didn't really think about the meaning of the word or it's larger implications. I guess I just associated it as a synonym of my belief system and God etc. It wasn't until I was much older that I really thought about what faith was by definition, what it means in the larger context, and why it's needed among religious people. If you think something but have no real evidence for it, you have to take it on "faith." It really is a terrible way to live. One extreme example is suicide bombers.

    Verse 6 and 7 is a good message but cracks me up as well. I hear religious nutters say things like, "well if evolution is true, how did the first cell exist out of nothing?" or "My daddy didn't come from no monkey." They talk about evolution, but obviously don't even understand it.

    On the last verse I think their "blaspheming" was not listening to Paul?

    1. That's funny, Paul got forgiven for blaspheming the lord, but those other guys got in serious trouble for blaspheming Paul :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...