1 Timothy 1:12–20 (NIV84)
The Lord’s Grace to Paul
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent
man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst
of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good
fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (v 15). This truth is the beating heart of all our hope and joy. God’s patience and mercy are at work to save all sinners,
whether they are blinded by ignorance (like Paul) or have actively rejected the faith (like Hymenaeus and Alexander). Our conscience may sometimes be plagued by doubts and regrets. But if God’s desire to save sinners could extend even to Paul, who actively
persecuted Jesus’ followers, and who is foremost among sinners, then it can certainly extend to us as well. God’s mercy and patience for us is demonstrated at the cross, where Jesus died as the substitute for all sinners and won eternal life for
all who believe.
I pray: “Almighty God, You turned the heart of him who persecuted the Church and by his preaching caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout
the world. Grant us ever to rejoice in the saving light of Your Gospel and, following the example of the apostle Paul, to spread it to the ends of the earth.” Amen.
A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia
Publishing House, 2009), 2069.