1 Timothy 1

Paul says ‘Hello’ to Timothy

1 This letter is from me, Paul. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus. God, our Saviour, is the one who commanded that I should be an apostle. So did Christ Jesus, the one that we trust to help us.

2 I am writing to you, Timothy. I told you the message about Jesus and you believed in him. So you are like my own child.

I pray that God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord will continue to help you and be kind to you. I pray that they will give you peace in your mind.

Paul tells Timothy to stop the wrong teachers

3 When I was going to Macedonia, I asked you to stay in Ephesus. Please continue to stay there. Certain people in Ephesus are teaching wrong things about God. You must tell them to stop doing that. 4 Tell people not to listen to false stories. They should not always be studying long lists of their families' names from years ago. Those things do not help people. They only cause them to argue. Instead, they need to understand God's purpose for us. To do that, people must trust him.

5 We need to teach people to love one another with pure thoughts. They need to be sure in their minds that they are living in a good way. They need to trust God completely. 6 But certain people have failed to live in that way. They would rather talk about things that do not help anyone. 7 They want to be teachers of God's laws. They speak very strongly, but they do not really understand what they are talking about.

The purpose of God's laws

8 We know that God's laws are good, if people use them properly. 9 We also know that God did not make those laws for people who already live in a good way. He made them for people like this, to show them what is right:

  • people who refuse to obey any laws;
  • people who do not want anyone to rule them;
  • people who turn away from God;
  • people who do bad things;
  • people who do not respect God's holy things;
  • people who kill their father or their mother;
  • people who murder;
  • 10 people who have sex in a wrong way;
  • men who have sex with other men;
  • people who catch other people to sell them;
  • people who tell lies;
  • people who do not speak the truth in court;
  • people who do any wrong things that are against God's true message.
  • 11 That true message is the good news that comes from our great God. We praise him for it. He has chosen me to tell this good news to people.

    Paul thanks Christ Jesus

    12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has made me strong to serve him. He decided to trust me and he chose me to work on his behalf. 13 Before he chose me, I said bad things about him. I caused great trouble for his people. I was a cruel man, but God was very kind to me. He forgave me because I did not know what I was doing. That was because I did not believe in Jesus. 14 Our Lord continued to be very good and kind to me. He caused me to believe in Christ Jesus and to love him.

    15 Here is a true message that everyone should believe: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save people who do wrong things.’ I am the worst person like that! 16 But God was kind to me. Christ Jesus showed that he was completely patient with me, the worst person. That was an example to those people who would later believe in him. They would believe and receive life for ever with God.

    1:16Before Paul became a Christian, he caused a lot of trouble for Christians. He did not agree with what Christians believed. He did bad things to Christians. He thought that he was working in a way that made God happy, but he was wrong. See Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-2. When he became a Christian he knew that God was very kind to save him.

    17 Praise God, the King who rules for ever! He can never die. He lives where we cannot see him. He is the only God. So praise him and say how great he is! That is true always and for ever! Amen! This is true.

    Timothy should be a good leader in the church

    18 Timothy, you are like my own child. So now I am telling you to serve God well. Remember the words from God that people spoke about you, when you became a servant of God. Those words will help you to be strong, like a soldier who fights well. 19 You must continue to trust God. Always do what you know to be right. Some people have refused to do what is right, even when they know what they should do. As a result, they no longer believe God's true message. 20 Hymenaeus and Alexander are people like that. I have given them to Satan so that he may punish them. Then they will learn not to say bad things against God any more.

    1:18Some Christian leaders had prayed for Timothy before Paul wrote this letter. See 1 Timothy 4:14. They had spoken words from God to Timothy. Perhaps God had said that he would make Timothy strong. Timothy needed to be strong so that he could be a Christian leader.
    1:18Timothy did not have to fight anyone. Paul did not mean that. He meant that Timothy had to be strong and brave, like a soldier. Then he could teach the true Christian message.
    1:20Paul had told Hymenaeus and Alexander to leave the church. He wanted them to become ashamed of themselves. He hoped that they would learn to obey God.