1 Timothy 1:12
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me.—Better rendered, who hath given me strength within. The ancient authorities here are divided; the majority omit the first word of the verse, the connecting “and.” With or without this word, the sense is much the same; for on the words, “the gospel . . . committed to my trust,” the Apostle pauses, overwhelmed with the flood of grateful memories which such a thought let loose. “How I thank God,” wrote St. Paul, “who hath strengthened me within, with this power to bear witness to my Master!—me of all persons, who was once a blasphemer of His royal name! What an example I—your teacher, the founder of this Church of Ephesus—am of the transforming grace of the gospel—of its sweet, mighty power to forgive sins.” It was the thought of the great love, passing understanding, of the tender, pitiful mercy which suffered so wondrous a trust to be committed to the charge of such a sinner, that called forth the ejaculation of deep thankfulness we read in the twelfth and following verses.

If we ask more particularly respecting the exact way in which Jesus Christ “enabled,” or “strengthened St. Paul within,” we must think of his strange power of winning men to his Master’s side; we must remember his miraculous gifts over disease and even death; and last, but not least, that strength of endurance, that brave, sweet patience which made his life of suffering borne for Christ so beautiful, so touching, an example for men.

For that he counted me faithful.—The All. seeing, knowing from the beginning that St. Paul would continue steadfast and true, selected him as “His chosen vessel” to bear His name and the glad news of His salvation into many lands.

It is observable, however, that this very faithfulness, this unflinching steadfastness, which seems to have been the reason why the Lord chose him for his great work, St. Paul, in a well-known and remarkable passage, refers to as a gift of grace which he had obtained in mercy of the Lord (1Corinthians 7:25).

1 Timothy 1:12-14. And I thank Christ Jesus — Here thanksgiving, an important branch of divine worship, is addressed to the Lord Jesus; who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful — The meaning is, I thank him for putting me into the ministry, and enabling me to be faithful therein; who was before a blasphemer — Of Christ; a persecutor — Of his church; and injurious — In my behaviour toward it; or rather a reviler, as υβριστην may be properly rendered, namely, of his doctrine and people. But I obtained mercy — He does not say, because I was unconditionally elected, but, because I did it ignorantly — Because, though I acted in a very rash, savage, and criminal manner, yet I did not therein contradict the sentiments of my own conscience; in unbelief — Not knowing nor believing that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah, or that those whom I persecuted were his servants. Not that his ignorance took away his sin, but it left him capable of mercy, which he would hardly have been, had he acted as he did in contradiction to the conviction of his own mind: for had he knowingly opposed what he apprehended to be truth, (especially truth of such unspeakable importance to the glory of God and the salvation of mankind,) out of regard to his secular interest, he would doubtless have been left to perish under a judicial blindness and hardness of heart. It is probable, as Paul was “then a scholar at Gamaliel’s feet, he might not have been present when any of Christ’s miracles were performed, as Christ spent but little time at Jerusalem. The popular cry was strong against him, and the Pharisees and rulers treated him with so much contempt, and were so full of malignity toward him, and so ready to advance the most slanderous reports to the prejudice of his character, that it is the less to be wondered at that this rash, hot youth was borne down by the torrent. Yet we see how far Paul was from thinking all this, and whatever could be added to it, a sufficient excuse. Instead of insinuating, with some, that the miracle wrought for his conversion to Christianity was a reward for his extraordinary integrity and virtue while a Jewish zealot, he speaks of himself as one of the greatest sinners upon earth, and thereby shows, by the way, how much guilt a man may contract without acting directly contrary to the convictions of his mind, if he has neglected an impartial care in forming his principles of action.” — Doddridge. And the grace of our Lord — Whereby I obtain mercy; was exceeding abundant Υπερεπλεονασε, super-abounded; with faith — Opposite to my preceding unbelief; and love — Opposite to my blasphemy, persecution, and reviling; which is in Christ Jesus — Which, through his mediation and the influence of his Spirit, was implanted in my heart, thereby giving life and comfort to my profession.1:12-17 The apostle knew that he would justly have perished, if the Lord had been extreme to mark what was amiss; and also if his grace and mercy had not been abundant to him when dead in sin, working faith and love to Christ in his heart. This is a faithful saying; these are true and faithful words, which may be depended on, That the Son of God came into the world, willingly and purposely to save sinners. No man, with Paul's example before him, can question the love and power of Christ to save him, if he really desires to trust in him as the Son of God, who once died on the cross, and now reigns upon the throne of glory, to save all that come to God through him. Let us then admire and praise the grace of God our Saviour; and ascribe to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons in the unity of the Godhead, the glory of all done in, by, and for us.And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord - The mention of the gospel 1 Timothy 1:11, and of the fact that it was committed to him, leads the apostle to express his gratitude to him who had called him to the work of preaching it. The Lord Jesus had called him when he was a blasphemer and a persecutor. He had constrained him to leave his career of persecution and blasphemy, and to consecrate himself to the defense and the propagation of the gospel. For all this, though it had required him to give up his favorite projects in life, and all the flattering schemes of ambition, he now felt that praise was due to the Redeemer. If there is anything for which a good man will be thankful, and should be thankful, it is that he has been so directed by the Spirit and providence of God as to be put into the ministry. It is indeed a work of toil, and of self-denial, and demanding many sacrifices of personal ease and comfort. It requires a man to give up his splendid prospects of worldly distinction, and of wealth and ease. It is often identified with want, and poverty, and neglect, and persecution. But it is an office so honorable, so excellent, so noble, and ennobling; it is attended with so many precious comforts here, and is so useful to the world, and it has such promises of blessedness and happiness in the world to come, that no matter what a man is required to give up in order to become a minister of the gospel, he should be thankful to Christ for putting him into the office. A minister, when he comes to die, feels that the highest favor which Heaven has conferred on him has been in turning his feet away from the paths of ambition, and the pursuits of ease or gain, and leading him to that holy work to which he has been enabled to consecrate his life.

Who hath enabled me - Who has given me ability or strength for this service. The apostle traced to the Lord Jesus the fact that he was in the ministry at all, and all the ability which he had to perform the duties of that holy office. It is not necessary here to suppose, as many have done, that he refers to miraculous power conferred on him, but he makes the acknowledgment which any faithful minister would do, that all the strength which he has to perform the duties of his office is derived from Christ; compare John 15:5 note; 1 Corinthians 15:10 note.

For that he counted me faithful - This is equivalent to saying that he reposed confidence in me. It means that there was something in the character of Paul, and in his attachment to the Saviour, on which reliance could be placed, or that there was that which gave the assurance that he would be faithful. A sovereign, when he sends an ambassador to a foreign court, reposes confidence in him, and would not commission him unless he had reason to believe that he would be faithful. So it is in reference to all who are called by the Redeemer into the ministry. They are his ambassadors to a lost world. His putting them into the ministry is an act expressive of great confidence in them - for he commits to them great and important interests. Hence, learn:

(1) that no one ought to regard himself as called to the ministry who will not be "faithful" to his Master; and,

(2) that the office of the ministry is most honorable and responsible. Nowhere else are there so great interests entrusted to man.

12. The honor done him in having the Gospel ministry committed to him suggests the digression to what he once was, no better (1Ti 1:13) than those lawless ones described above (1Ti 1:9, 10), when the grace of our Lord (1Ti 1:14) visited him.

And—omitted in most (not all) of the oldest manuscripts.

I thank—Greek, "I have (that is, feel) gratitude."

enabled me—the same Greek verb as in Ac 9:22, "Saul increased the more in strength." An undesigned coincidence between Paul and Luke, his companion. Enabled me, namely, for the ministry. "It is not in my own strength that I bring this doctrine to men, but as strengthened and nerved by Him who saved me" [Theodoret]. Man is by nature "without strength" (Ro 5:6). True conversion and calling confer power [Bengel].

for that—the main ground of his "thanking Christ."

he counted me faithful—He foreordered and foresaw that I would be faithful to the trust committed to me. Paul's thanking God for this shows that the merit of his faithfulness was due solely to God's grace, not to his own natural strength (1Co 7:25). Faithfulness is the quality required in a steward (1Co 4:2).

putting me into—rather as in 1Th 5:9, "appointing me (in His sovereign purposes of grace) unto the ministry" (Ac 20:24).

Here St. Paul expresses his most humble and solemn thanks to Christ for his rich favour in calling him to the high office of all apostle, for by

the ministry that is to be understood; and it is so called by way of excellence, it being the most glorious and Divine ministry that ever was established in the church: and he ascribes to our Saviour the praise of all that he performed in the faithful discharge of it. He saith:

Christ enabled me, that is, endowed him with fidelity, zeal, courage, and all otber qualifications requisite for that honourable and difficult ministry, 2 Corinthians 3:5,6. The end of that sacred ministry was, to enlighten and reform the world from superstition, and that vicious and vain conversation that was so pleasing to carnal men, to abolish those corrupt customs that had taken such deep root, and to plant the truth that comes from above, and to publish a holy law so opposite to corrupt nature. This work was opposed by the craft and cruelty, the artifice and violence, of the powers of darkness, in conjunction with the perverted world; and the glory of the apostle’s resisting such enemies is entirely due to Christ. He adds, as a motive of his thankfulness, that Jesus Christ

counted him faithful, which is an evident proof that he intends that he made him faithful. His faithfulness was not the cause or motive, but the fruit and effect, of the grace of God in calling him to the ministry. This he expressly declares, 1 Corinthians 7:25, hath obtained mercy to be faithful. If our Saviour had only discovered his fidelity, without bestowing that grace upon him, there had not been a reason of such affectionate thanksgiving; for that always supposes some favour and benefit received. And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord, &c. l The subject matter of this thanksgiving being the apostle's call to the ministry of the word, and his furniture and fitness for it, shows, that while others were fond of being teachers, and called doctors of the law, he esteemed it an high honour and special favour bestowed upon him, that he was a preacher of the Gospel; and that all his gifts and abilities for it were not of himself, nor from men, but were owing to the free grace of God, and favour of Christ; wherefore he gloried not in them, as if he had not received them, but gives Christ the glory of them, and thanks to him for them,

who hath enabled me; who gave him all his abilities for the preaching of the Gospel, and all that strength to perform the various parts of labour and service he was called unto, and all that firmness, resolution, and fortitude of mind he was endued with, to bear and suffer what he did for the sake of Christ and his Gospel,

For that he counted me faithful; not that he was so antecedent to the grace and gifts bestowed on him by Christ, or that Christ foresaw that he would be so, and therefore chose him for his service; but he counted him faithful, having made him so by his grace, and thus he kept him; faithfulness being a necessary requisite and qualification for a Gospel minister, he having a great trust committed to him, being made a steward of the manifold grace and mysteries of God:

putting me into the ministry. The ministry of the word, the work of the ministry, or preaching of the Gospel, the dispensation or administration of it to the sons of men; this he did not thrust himself into, nor take this honour to, and of himself; nor was he put into it by men, but was chosen to it of God, and called unto it by the Spirit, and was placed in it by Christ himself, who in person appeared to him, and made a minister of him; see Romans 1:1 Acts 13:2. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "his ministry", the ministry of Christ.

{11} And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath {g} enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

(11) He maintains of necessity his apostleship against some that did find fault with his former life, debasing himself even to hell, to advance only Christ's only, with which he abolished all those his former doings.

(g) Who gave me strength, not only when I had no will to do well, but also when I was wholly given to evil.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Timothy 1:12. After pointing in these last words to his personal relation to the gospel, the apostle, down to 1 Timothy 1:17, describes the grace experienced by him, not merely “to let it be seen what assurance he had for his gospel” (Wiesinger), but also to prove by his own example (πρὸς ὑποτύπωσιν κ.τ.λ., 1 Timothy 1:16) the glory of the gospel entrusted to him as the εὐαγγ. τῆς δόξης τοῦ μακαρίου Θεοῦ. There is therefore no ground for de Wette’s criticism, “that the self-styled apostle lets fall here the thread of his meaning, that he may not have to take it up again.” This section is in the closest connection with the preceding one, since it shows how deep is the contrast between the heresy and the gospel. The heresy, on the one hand, takes up unfruitful speculations, and, whenever it wishes to become practical, it places the Christian in bondage to the law. The one thing which is all-important, the forgiveness of sins, it does not assure, and hence it does not know the compassion of the Lord. On the contrary, it is of the very essence of the gospel to reveal this compassion; and in proof of this, Paul appeals to his own experience.

χάριν ἔχω] We have the same expression in 2 Timothy 1:3 (comp. also Luke 17:9; Hebrews 12:28); and in the other Pauline Epistles we have instead: εὐχαριστῶ.

τῷ ἐνδυναμώσαντί με] must not be limited to the strength granted for enduring afflictions and sufferings; it is rather to be applied to his whole work as an apostle. The proper reason of thanksgiving is only furnished by the clause that follows ὅτι κ.τ.λ.; but an additional reason is given in this participle.[61]

Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ κ.τ.λ.] is not to be explained, according to some older expositors: “qui me potentem reddidit Christo,” for Christ, but as a dative closely belonging to the verb.

ὍΤΙ ΠΙΣΤΌΝ ΜΕ ἩΓΉΣΑΤΟ] ΠΙΣΤΌς corresponds with the following ΔΙΑΚΟΝΊΑ. The reason of his thanksgiving is Christ’s confidence in him that he would become a faithful ΔΙΆΚΟΝΟς.[62] This confidence the Lord has shown by committing to him the ministry of the gospel, hence he adds: θέμενος εἰς διακονίαν, which is either “placing me in the ministry” (Heydenreich, van Oosterzee, Hofmann), or “setting me apart for the ministry” (de Wette, Plitt, Winer). The latter seems to be more in accordance with the usage of the N. T.; comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:9. De Wette rightly remarks that the participle does not stand for ὡς τίθεσθαί με, nor is it to be taken as a pluperfect; it is simply the proof of πιστόν με ἡγ.; see also Winer, p. 326 [E. T. p. 365].

If the apostle’s thanks are due to the Lord on the general ground of His confidence, they are all the more due that he had been before an opponent of the gospel; to this the next verse points.

[61] According to the reading of א: ἐνδυναμοῦντι without με is to be taken as a simple attribute: “Christ Jesus who bestows strength.”

[62] Cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25 : γνώμην δὲ δίδωμι ὡς ἠλεημένος ὑπὸ χυρίου πιστὸς εἶνας. Paul gives the nature of this διακονία in Acts 20:24 : ἡ διαχονία ἣν ἔλαβον παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ, διαμαρτύρασθαι τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ.1 Timothy 1:12-14. I cannot mention my part in the furtherance of the gospel without expressing my gratitude to our Lord for His forgiveness of my errors and His confidence in my natural trustworthiness, and His grace which gave me strength to serve Him.12–17. Faithful Ministry. Timothy is further reminded of St Paul’s own Calling and Commission

12. This strong feeling quite accounts for the abruptness with which once again (after many other utterances of his own religious experiences) he claims ‘all the mercy’ and acknowledges ‘all the sin,’ and offers ‘all the service.’ We must omit ‘and,’ reading with R.V. I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord.

The whole paragraph which follows is the drawing out of all that came into his mind as he wrote the Gospel—entrusted—to me. The ego at the end of the verse, so emphatic, is ample connexion, especially when the first word of the new sentence is ‘Thanks’:—‘To me—even to me; Jesus Christ be praised; He gave me pardon, He gave me work, He gave me strength.’

At the same time this statement of his own case is well fitted to carry on the two thoughts that have been in his mind, (1) the encouragement of Timothy to faithful ministry, (2) the saving and cheering power of the true doctrine compared with the condemning, despairing character of the law.

who hath enabled me] The aorist tense has the balance of authority here, and refers to the strength given, with and at the time of the commission. I thank him that enabled me, rather than ‘hath enabled me.’

faithful] i.e. after the time of preparation that followed his Conversion, the years of retirement in Arabia and at Tarsus, a.d. 36–44, he was judged to be ‘trusty,’ ‘trustworthy’; Barnabas ‘brought him to Antioch’ to be a ‘prophet and teacher,’ Acts 11:26; Acts 13:1, and then the Holy Spirit of Jesus said, ‘Separate me Saul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have called them,’ Acts 13:2.

putting me into the ministry] Better appointing me for service. The present participle in English gives the exact force of the aorist here. ‘He shewed that He counted me faithful by giving me work.’

As to diakonia, ‘ministering,’ ‘service,’ ‘ministration,’ ‘ministry,’ are used by R.V. in different places; the other passage where ‘service’ is used being Hebrews 1:14, ‘ministering spirits sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation.’ We may at any rate say that the noun could not have had, if we go by N. T. usage, so soon the formal meaning ‘the ministry,’ whatever definiteness the word diakonos, ‘minister, deacon,’ may have now obtained; see note, 1 Timothy 3:1; Int. pp. 15, 16, 18; App. C.1 Timothy 1:12. Χάριν ἔχω, I thank) A modal expression. [See Append. on Sermo Modalis.] These are correlatives: Christ entrusted Paul with the Gospel: Paul, being “accounted faithful,” ‘thanks’ Christ. He thanks Him at 1 Timothy 1:17; and in all his epistles and in their introductions.—ἐνδυναμώσαντι, who hath endued me with power) True conversion and calling confer power, Romans 5:6.—πιστόν με ἡγήσατο, counted me faithful) A Metonymy of the antecedent for the consequent; i.e. He hath entrusted to me the office of the Gospel ministry: θέμενος, while he put (in that He put me), denotes the very act. The fact that He entrusted the ministry to me, is the moral aspect: the fact that He put me into it, is as it were the physical aspect of His act. In the phrase, He counted me faithful, we have an example of ἀνθρωποπάθεια (the actions of men attributed to God). For if I count any one faithful, and trust him, this is a kind of thing opposite of actual knowledge.[10] But the Divine judgment concerning Paul, that he would he faithful, is infallible. God sees and knows all things. Therefore, in the active sense, ΠΊΣΤΙς does not properly apply to Him. Faith and vision are things antithetic. I wished to convey all this idea by the expression Metonymy, which I used above.

[10] That is to say, Trust in the faithfulness of a man can only strictly exist on the part of man. God knows all that is in man, and what he is about to do. Therefore trust in a man’s faithfulness only applies to God by ἀνθοωποπάθεια.—ED.Verse 12. - I thank for and I thank, A.V. and T.R.; him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord for Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, A.V.; appointing me to his service for putting me into the ministry, A.V. I thank, etc. This outburst of praise for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, who had called him to the ministry of the Word, is caused by the thought, which immediately precedes, of his being entrusted with the gospel. He thus disclaims any notion of merit on his part. That enabled me (ἐνδυναμώσαντι). This verb occurs once in the Acts (Acts 9:22); three times in St. Paul's other Epistles (Romans 4:20; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:13); three times in the pastoral Epistles (here; 2 Timothy 2:1 and 2 Tim 4:17); and Hebrews 11:31. It denotes the giving that peculiar power which was the gift of the Holy Ghost, and which was necessary for the work of an apostle to enable him to bear witness to Christ in the face of an adverse world. This power (δύναμις) Christ promised to his apostles before his ascension (Acts 1:8). St Paul received it after his conversion (Acts 9:22). He continued to hold it throughout his apostleship (Philippians 4:13); he enjoyed it especially at the approach of his martyrdom (2 Timothy 4:17). It comprised strength of faith, strength to testify and to preach, strength to endure and suffer. St. Paul's whole course is the best illustration of the nature of the δύναμις which Christ gave him (see in Ephesians 3:6 the χάρις, the διακονία, and the δύναμις all brought together as here). Appointing me to his service. The A.V., putting me into the ministry, is a better rendering, because" the ministry" exactly expresses the particular kind of service to which the Lord appointed him (see the exactly parallel passage, Ephesians 3:7). The absence of the article is unimportant (Romans 12:7; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Timothy 4:11). (For the general phrase, comp. Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 12:28; or, still more exactly as regards the grammar, 1 Thessalonians 5:9.) Hath enabled (ἐνδυναμώσαντι)

An unclassical word, found in Paul and Acts. See Acts 9:22; Philippians 4:13. Three times in the Pastorals.

Counted (ἡγήσατο)

A common Pauline word.

Putting (θέμενος)

Better appointing. The participle defines counted me faithful. He counted me faithful in that he appointed, etc.

Into the ministry (εἰς διακονίαν)

Better, appointing me to his service. The conventional phrase "the ministry" gives a wrong impression. The term is general, covering every mode of service, either to God or to men. Διάκονοι ministers is used of the secular ruler, Romans 13:4. See also 1 Corinthians 12:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15; 2 Corinthians 3:7, 2 Corinthians 3:8; Ephesians 4:12, and on minister, Matthew 20:26.

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