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Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

A Personal Testimony From Paul

Submitted by on Friday, 11 September 20092 Comments



NAB HomepageToday’s Readings

Today we begin a lectio cursiva of Paul’s first letter to Timothy. Below are links to articles on the web relevant to the letter. Following it is an outline of the chapter where today’s selection is taken.

Articles on the Web

Outline of 1 Timothy 1

  1. Salutation and Opening Address (1,1-2)
  2. The Charge to tell certain people not to teach false doctrines
    1. myths and genealogies promote controversies, not progress in the faith (4)
    2. the aim of the command: love (5)
    3. some have turned away from love and turned to meaningless talk (6-7)
      • wrong teaching about the law (8-11)
    4. a personal testimony
      • I may have been a blasphemer but thanks be to the Lord I was converted and entrusted with the task (12-14)
      • A worthy saying from Paul’s experience (15-16)
      • Doxology (17)
  3. Section Ender: I remind you of the charge that you may persevere in the faith (18-20)

Notice that the day’s selection covers the Salutation and Opening Address (vv. 1-2) and a personal testimony by Paul about his former life and the grace he received in conversion and in having been entrusted with the Gospel. This personal testimony comes within the context of a reminder to Timothy about the original charge given to him when he was told to stay in Ephesus.

The theme about wrong teachings begin taught is common among the pastorals. Here, two persons are mentioned: Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom Paul says have been “handed over to Satan”, that is excommunicated (v.20).


Paul thanks the Lord because although he was a former “blasphemer” — a Jewish term for one who teaches false doctrines but now applied with a Christian nuance — and a persecutor of the Church, God’s mercy was shown him because he acted out of ignorance. From this experience Paul draws a saying that is worth memorizing and taken to heart (“a sure and worthy saying”):

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners

Paul confesses that he is the worst of sinners, but he was pardoned as an example of the extent of the mercy of God, “a pattern for all those who will believe in Christ”.

The liturgical selection was chosen because it sets the tone for the spirit in which the first letter to Timothy is to be understood: it is about about a father telling his “true child” about the Lord and about the tasks to be carried out for Him and His Church, not out of a sense of duty but out of a sense of gratitude and love. 

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