This charge I give to you Timothy, my son, according to the prophecies that have been delivered concerning you, that you fight the good fight; holding your trust, and with a good conscience; which some, launching themselves from the trust [as given] have made shipwreck [for themselves], as in the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have handed over to Satan, the prosecutor, in order that they may be taught never to indulge blasphemous utterances.
     I therefore firstly call upon you [in your life together and when you worship] that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be given on behalf of all men, for their rulers and those with supervisory responsibilities in order that we may live with all devotion and integrity in a peaceful and quiet life. For this is the worthy and much welcomed consequence [of our faith] before the face of God our Saviour whose will it [surely] is that all men be redeemed and come to a full knowledge of the truth. For there is [but] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; the one having given Himself as a ransom on behalf of all, the testimony given when the time was [exactly] right to do so. Of this I was put in my place as the herald and commissioned messenger - I am telling the truth, this is no lie – I am a teacher of Gentiles [the nations] in faith and truth. - I Timothy 1:18-2:7/transliteration by Bruce C Wearne

Bible reading2

Paul's first letter to Timothy encourages him to "fight the good fight" and provides instructions for him to live a "peaceful anf quiet life". PICTURE: Jeremy McKnight/Unsplash.

Timothy seems to have been “put on the spot”. He is faced with those who are destabilising the teaching about Christ Jesus with esoteric nonsense. So have these “law teachers” weaseled their way into the domain where Timothy was working? Had they presumed that since Timothy was associated with Paul, the former Pharisee, his work would need to be supplemented by the “myths and genealogies” that these “law teachers” had purveyed?

Moreover, we now read that Hymanaeus and Alexander have violated Paul's trust. Yes, Timothy is “on the spot”. But Paul reassures him: “I have handed them over to Satan!” There is hopefulness in this formulation "that they may be taught to never indulge in blasphemy".

Now Paul has just suggested that such sin just like these were his own before Jesus laid hold of him. Paul was guilty of the very same sin. He had been "an arrogant blaspheming, persecutor of the Messiah", ruthlessly violating God's trust, His covenant with His people.

So in “handing him over”, Paul is reminding Timothy that the law has been given for the likes of Hymanaeus and Alexander and that indeed the purpose of the proclamation of the Good News is to announce: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners".

It looks like Paul now moves on to instructions of a “housekeeping” nature and, indeed, he does move on to describe the kind of quiet public worship Timothy is to convene "in order that the quiet and peacable life we live may be lived with true devotion and integrity".

So maintain the teaching Timothy, quietly and firmly - resist the destabilisers; do not get distracted by those who have violated God's covenant - it is in that way, with that modus operandi, that you will deepen your understanding of the Good News.

Paul emphasises that he is telling Timothy this because of his charge - from Jesus Himself - to be a teacher of the nations, the Gentiles, rather than a teacher of the law.