Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: Satan

Hymenaeus and Alexander (the not so great)

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Wage the good warfare

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book.

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse eighteen of the first chapter of First Timothy.

18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

These last three verses is an encouragement to Timothy, remembering Paul’s praise he charges Timothy to remain in Ephesus and Paul again uses the same word for “charge” that he did in verse three. One of a command to stay put as it were, and he addresses Timothy as “my child” it implies certain seniority, but also reminds us that Paul was like a spiritual father to him. Paul writes with love but at the same time writes with a guidance and advice that is similar to what a father would give to his son.

Paul cites prophecies made about Timothy, Paul and Timothy spend some real time together and people would have spoken about the plan that God had for Timothy’s life through words of encouragement and prophecy, what these words are I can only guess, however based on Paul’s writings they appear to be positive, (waging the good warfare) regardless Paul wanted Timothy to glean strength from those words.

Part one orders

Timothy was going to war for the Christ, it wasn’t always going to be easy, it wasn’t always going to be non-problematic, and he had to approach his mission in the same way a soldier takes his “Part one orders”. This put the responsibility back on Timothy to not desert his post; he is encouraged to “fight the good fight of faith”. (This thought is continued in chapter 6)

Every soldier has to have weapons for battle and Paul charges Timothy to use the weapons of “faith” and “good conscience” because Timothy, much like anyone who is service for God will be under intense spiritual attack.

Faith – He has to know that God had this, that God was in full control and was guiding his mission.

Good Conscience – He had to be of proper conduct, he would be under attack from those who sought to attack him. Both good conscience and good conduct go hand in hand, Paul was urging Timothy to be as pure in conduct as possible so those who sought to bring him down would have little argument about him.

Shipwrecking their faith

Paul advises that some are guilty of “rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith” and Paul had Timothy’s back and wanted to advise him against pitfalls that may befall a man of his youth. If he was to reject, it would be like a soldier who was to throw away his gun in favor of a feather duster, it may look nice but won’t be much use to him in the art of warfare.

Paul likens it to a shipwreck, something he had a lot of experience of! The shipwreck analogy tells us that because of what they had abandoned (faith and good conscience) would lead to a situation where they would lose everything, like a literal shipwreck. The everything they would lose is of course referring to their faith. The only way to resolve this would be to grab the life preserver that is Jesus Christ, to repent and to again “re-arm themselves” as soldiers of the faith.

Learn from the example of Hymenaeus and Alexander

Paul tells us of two people who did just that…

V20 “among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Paul mentions these two by name who have done just that. Alexander is only ever mentioned in this passage and nowhere else in Scripture, (but Hymenaeus is mentioned also in 2nd Timothy and again not i a positive light!) but we can be assured that they were known locally. Paul writes about them as if he had some dealings with them personally and had expelled them for their heretic practices. Paul shows great courage by naming those as an example to not follow and to steer clear from.

He states that they were “handed over to Satan” which tells me of the depths of their conduct, that they could not even be counselled in the community of believers. He handed them over to the world, a step not taken lightly and I am sure that Paul confronted them using a Matthew 18 standard for dealing with sin (Matthew 18:15-17) These people refused to listen so they were handed to the world.

Let us not be like Hymenaeus and Alexander!

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

Christ Jesus came to save sinners

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Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse twelve of the first chapter of First Timothy.

He has judged me faithful

Paul goes on to write…

V12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul makes it personal; he talks about his own testimony. Revelation 12 advises that the accuser will be thrown down by “The blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony” see below for full counsel of God…

Revelation 12:9 (ESV) And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death

Do not underestimate the power of your testimony! In sales people buy from people, if you can show in your life the reason for your faith, if you can show that your testimony does not end at conversion but there is a daily, life changing work being done in your life, that will cause people to question this faith and see that it is real. Paul speaks honestly who he was and what he did and where he was in that day.

Paul thanks Jesus because he has judged him faithful, he could see right into Saul’s heart that day on the road to Damascus, he knew who he was picking. Jesus hand-picked Paul for that mission, to reach the gentiles for Jesus Christ. He was counted, he was called as faithful, and he was one who was able to be used of God.

Correct attitude towards service

Paul has the right attitude towards his service; he often called himself a slave, a bondservant or Jesus Christ. One who volunteered himself into a life bound by service unto God’s will for our lives, Paul demonstrates a faithfulness that shows that he was completely compliant to his mission on earth. He was completely sold out on his main priority, furthering the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Paul shows that regardless of where God has planted us, we can be faithful where we are at. We have to be faithful in the small things first and then as we grow God will test us and stretch us into further works for him. This is why it is vital we don’t beg for deliverance every time we are tested or tried, how are we meant to learn and grow in God if we never learn or grow in God?

Paul was in ministry (or service) he made tents during the working hours and spread the Gospel at every opportunity, he was not only in ministry when he spoke in the Synagogues. He was in ministry when he was sewing a tent, when he was chained to a Roman, wherever God had him.

This is a phenomenal lesson to us all as some of us will not serve unless we are a position to be noticed. Jesus spoke about those types of servants and advised the ones who sought the praises of man “had their reward already” and that is a real danger to us all as many good ministries have been damaged or torched by individual pride.

Useable > talented

We have to be useable, not necessarily talented but most certainly useable. I am no great theologian, but God has put a desire in my heart to research and write about his holy word. I am no great teacher, but God has given me people willing to come with a thirst to hear the word of God (not me) I am not really talented in many areas but I want to be used for his glory as opposed to mine.

I am not at all good with public kudos I am sure I have shared that before; when a pastor or leader shouts my name from the front of the church I do get a wee bit embarrassed and tend not to enjoy it. I am a behind the scenes guy who is just as happy stacking chairs as I am teaching a bible study. I am not saying this because it is one of the few things that I have right however we should try to bloom in God where we are planted for his glory first.

God’s choice = Glory to God

God knows how to pick them doesn’t he? Paul describes himself as a “former blasphemer and persecutor” but this is what I love about the bible, God picks the unlikely candidate to show that it was him that did it. He picked the leading thorn in the side to people of “the Way” the one that if there had been a Billboard Chart of top 100 feared Pharisees Paul would have been “Top of the Pops” every time.

He took this man and gave him a place in the front line, he knew Paul’s heart, knew how faithful he was and how faithful he would be and rather than let his past be a hindrance, he put him to work as a front line missionary in one of the most dangerous territories in the world. His conversion was not the end, but merely the first step in a new life as Paul the apostle rather than Saul the persecutor.

He was given an audience with the LORD and he states that he was “formerly” Paul shows that the grace of God was enough not just to get him into heaven but to wipe away the wrongs of the past and qualified him for service in Christian service. Paul shows Timothy that his past didn’t disqualify him; he states that he did it in “ignorance” God used Paul in spite of Paul, his greeting here to Timothy was that he should remain despite how inadequate he felt.

Who is worthy of service?

This is a common occurrence in Christian ministry, that people will try to disqualify themselves because they deem themselves unworthy. Truth is, none of us are actually worthy however in spite of us, and God will still find a way to use us. As imperfect as we are, as incapable as we may think we are God knows who we really are and that is why he has called us. We are called not because of who we are, but by God’s grace. We should take heart from Paul’s experience that he received mercy as opposed to judgment.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE