A note from our Pastor:

“Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: // Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

1 Timothy 1:19-20

Good Morning Dearly Beloved,

This week for our study we take two verses to finish out the first chapter of 1 Timothy. These two verses cannot easily be separated as the Apostle gives one final thought to Timothy as part of his charge. These verses contain a dire warning and in so doing provide a glimpse into the zeal the Apostle held for the truth and for God’s people.

The Apostle first tells Timothy to hold the faith and have a good conscience. Being interpreted, the Apostle was telling Timothy to continue to believe firmly in the doctrine of Jesus Christ (hold the faith) and to actively teach the doctrine to others around him (have a good conscience towards God). Keep in mind, the Apostle was charging Timothy to instruct young ministers in the truth so that they could minister in Ephesus and in other places in the region. Therefore, it was necessary for Timothy to be strong in both the doctrine and the way in which he mentored these young ministers.

The Apostle then reminds Timothy how some ministers around him had not held to the faith. The first he mentions is Hymenaeus who we learn in 2 Timothy was preaching untruth about the lack of a resurrection of these bodies. This was a fundamental departure from the core doctrine of Jesus Christ. Of Alexander, it is less clear who this reference is to but we learn of an Alexander in 2 Timothy who did much harm to the Apostle. Either way, these were preachers of the gospel who Timothy knew well and had watched them abandon the truth of Jesus Christ.

Of these two the Apostle says they made a shipwreck of their faith and unfortunately, at least with Hymenaeus, also made a shipwreck of the faith of others. As a result of this, the Apostle says he delivered them over to Satan. Some have interpreted this to be a bold way of saying they were excommunicated from the community of believers, but the language of the verse does not support this. Rather, it would appear from scripture, the Apostles including Paul were given the ability to actually turn the bodies of some over to Satan and as a result they would experience pain and disease. This was a unique ability of the Apostles that has not existed since their death, but seems to be the reference in this verse.

However, the last phrase of the two verses is important. The Apostle says he turned them over to Satan “that they might learn.” In other words, this was not a writing of these two men, but rather an opportunity for them to see the error of their ways and correct their walk. Though the Apostle has no tolerance for their behavior and the destruction it has caused, their case is not lost and if they should turn away from false teaching the Apostle would forgive and welcome them back into the community of believers.

All of this was to remind Timothy of the seriousness of his charge and the great importance of the truth of Jesus Christ. Let us as a community of believers value this truth with the same regard.

Our Prayers are with you daily,

Brother Jeremiah

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