1 Timothy 1:5

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 1 Timothy 1:5

Paul now gives a contrasting thought to what was given starting in verse 3. It may, therefore, be better translated as “But the purpose…” The word translated as “purpose” telos, signifies an end goal. He relates now what the purpose, or “end goal,” of the commandment is. Because of the word, “commandment,” some have taken this to mean “the Law of Moses.” In essence, “The purpose of the law of Moses is as follows…” This is held to by scholars such as John Calvin. The claim is that the false teachers mentioned in verse 3 & 4 were improperly using the Law of Moses to come to erroneous conclusions, when in fact its purpose is what Paul will next describe. This is not the intent.

The false teachers may have been misusing the law, but he was as much focused on the “fables” they were introducing; things with no true relation at all to the law. Instead, Paul’s words concerning “the commandment” are referring to verse 3 where he said, “that you may charge some.” In verse 3, he used the verb form of the noun found in this verse. In the Greek, there is an article in front of “commandment” as is in the English. It is “the commandment.”

Understanding this, the word “commandment” signifies a practical teaching. It is “’something announced from close-beside.’ and therefore fully authorized” (HELPS Word Studies). This is what Paul is instructing Timothy to now accomplish, and it is this charge Timothy is to pursue that has a purpose of “love from a pure heart.” This indicates a heart of holiness, not one which was self-centered, or which exalted one over another. It is comparable to Jesus’ words of Luke 10:27, where He cited the substance of man’s duty given from the law itself –

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’

Paul continues that the purpose of the commandment is to be “from a good conscience.” This is contrasted to the “other doctrine” of verse 3 which led to “disputes” in verse 4. Only a defiled conscience would submit such heretical and outlandish things. What Timothy was to charge was to be of a sound mind, and in accord with the truth of the gospel; a gospel which is “from sincere faith.”

The word “sincere” is used by Paul in connection with “love” in Romans 12 and in 2 Corinthians 6. It will be used it in connection to wisdom in James 3. The word indicates, “without hypocrisy.” The false doctrines of the Judaizers were introduced with false motives. They were intended not to honor Christ, but to bring honor to themselves. This is the polar opposite of what should be the case.

In his charge, a complete contrast to the workings of the false teachers was to be made. Paul expected Timothy to handle this matter in a way which would be sincere and honoring of Christ. Anything else would be unsuitable to the calling in which he stood.

Life application: For the pastor, preacher, or teacher of the word, he is to conduct his duties with sincerity of faith, displaying an attitude which reflects a good and undefiled conscience, and put forth teachings which demonstrate a pure heart towards God, towards the word, and towards those whom he is instructing. Anything less would be contradictory to the calling of the office.

Heavenly Father – great, gracious, and glorious God. Help us to be aware of those who would present their biblical teachings and instruction in a manner which is contrary to what is expected of a man of God. Keep us from being swayed by false teachers and hypocrites who look for self-gain and self-aggrandizement. It is often hard to tell where a person stands, and so may our prayers to You be heard and responded to. Guide us so that we are kept from such people, and lead us to proper teachers of Your word. This is our desire in Christ. Amen.

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