1Ti 1:1-4 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.”
Paul is quick to point out in his letters that this is not something he has just decided to do on his own. He is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God. Today, if we truly minister to His children, we do so for the same cause that Paul did. We do it by the commandment of God.
When we speak of our salvation, we usually think about Jesus. Here Paul recognizes again the unity of the Godhead when he speaks of God our Savior. Remember that Jesus said He came to do the Father’s will. Our salvation is according to the Father’s will and carried out by His only begotten Son.
It should bring great joy to our hearts to consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is our hope. Remember that the definition of hope is not some sort of wishful thinking. The word translated as “hope” means “to anticipate, (usually with pleasure); expectation (abstract or concrete) or confidence. How wonderful that our confidence and expectation rests in Jesus Christ!
This letter is specifically addressed to a young minister named Timothy. Paul obviously has a deep connection with Timothy, and refers to him as his son in the faith. We might wonder why this letter is important to the rest of us, since we are not Timothy or perhaps not even called to be a preacher. However, if we have been commanded by God to bear witness to the truth of the gospel, then there is instruction and comfort for us in this letter.
As servants of God, we may have the blessed experience of being a friend and counselor to a young servant of Jesus Christ. We need to always remember to greet them with encouragement and admonishment from God. I know of no greater encouragement than to greet His people in grace, mercy, and peace. We should always make it a point to direct their attention to “God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” and never let them think that we can bring these things on our own.
Notice that Paul does not say that he commanded Timothy to remain at Ephesus. Rather, he besought (earnestly implored) him to remain. He was careful to lay out a reason for his request. He made sure that Timothy understood that this was not just whimsy on Paul’s part or that he was just trying to get a break from Timothy. We need to always be careful with those who are young in the faith that we never give them reason to think they are burdensome to us.
Paul assured Timothy that there was a vital reason for him to remain in Ephesus while he (Paul) journeyed on to Macedonia. Paul’s confidence that Timothy would be able to admonish and instruct those in Ephesus was firmly grounded in his understanding that the same God that had called him had also called Timothy. There are many doctrines still today that only minister questions. These are not the doctrine of Jesus Christ, which is edifying to the Lord’s people.
May we be blessed to serve the unchangeable God who has given to us His immutable truth according to His commandment!