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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on First Timothy

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1, 1–2 :

For the Pauline use of the conventional epistolary form, see the note on Rom 1, 1–7 .

1, 3–7 :

Here Timothy's initial task in Ephesus (cf Acts 20, 17–35 ) is outlined: to suppress the idle religious speculations, probably about Old Testament figures ( 3–4 , but see the note on 6, 20–21 ), which do not contribute to the development of love within the community ( 5 ) but rather encourage similar useless conjectures ( 6–7 )

1, 4 :

The plan of God that is to be received by faith: the Greek may also possibly mean “God's trustworthy plan” or “the training in faith that God requires

1, 8–11 :

Those responsible for the speculations that are to be suppressed by Timothy do not present the Old Testament from the Christian viewpoint. The Christian values the Old Testament not as a system of law but as the first stage in God's revelation of his saving plan, which is brought to fulfillment in the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

1, 10 :

Sodomites: see 1 Cor 6, 9 and the note there.

1, 12–17 :

Present gratitude for the Christian apostleship leads Paul to recall an earlier time when he had been a fierce persecutor of the Christian communities (cf Acts 26, 9–11 )until his conversion by intervention of divine mercy through the appearance of Jesus. This and his subsequent apostolic experience testify to the saving purpose of Jesus’ incarnation. The fact of his former ignorance of the truth has not kept the apostle from regarding himself as having been the worst of sinners ( 15 ). Yet he was chosen to be an apostle, that God might manifest his firm will to save sinful humanity through Jesus Christ ( 16 ). The recounting of so great a mystery leads to a spontaneous outpouring of adoration ( 17 ).

1, 15 :

This saying is trustworthy: this phrase regularly introduces in the Pastorals a basic truth of early Christian faith; cf 3, 1; 4, 9; 2 Tm 2, 11; Ti 3, 8 .

1, 17 :

King of ages: through Semitic influence, the Greek expression could mean “everlasting king”; it could also mean “king of the universe.”

1, 18–20 :

Timothy is to be mindful of his calling, which is here compared to the way Barnabas and Saul were designated by Christ as prophets for missionary service; cf Acts 13, 1–3 . Such is probably the sense of the allusion to the prophetic words ( 18 ). His task is not to yield, whether in doctrine or in conduct, to erroneous opinions, taking warning from what has already happened at Ephesus in the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander ( 19–20 ).

1, 18 :

The prophetic words once spoken about you: the Greek may also be translated, “the prophecies that led (me) to you.” It probably refers to testimonies given by charismatic figures in the Christian communities. Fight a good fight: this translation preserves the play on words in Greek. The Greek terms imply a lengthy engagement in battle and might well be translated “wage a good campaign.”

1, 20 :

Hymenaeus: mentioned in 2 Tm 2, 17 as saying that the resurrection has already taken place (in baptism). Alexander: probably the Alexander mentioned in 2 Tm 4, 14 as the coppersmith who “did me a great deal of harm.” Whom I have handed over to Satan: the same terms are used in the condemnation of the incestuous man in 1 Cor 5, 5 .

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