Gospel Living by Grace
Teach and Live the truth in the context of love.
Each member of this beautiful trio speaks of a purity and integrity which produces the most exquisite kind of selfless love, seen in its ultimate form in God’s love itself. Whereas the false teachers were motivated by worthless curiosity, Paul’s instruction was designed to promote the most magnificent of virtues by maintaining the purity of the church’s teaching. God’s truth always purifies the human spirit, while error putrifies it.
Paul provided a striking list of examples which seem to be intentionally based on the Ten Commandments (cf. Ex. 20:3–17). The list begins with three pairs corresponding to the first table of the Decalogue dealing with offenses against God: (1) lawbreakers and rebels, (2) the ungodly and sinful, (3) the unholy (anosiois, “not devout”; cf. hosious in 1 Tim. 2:8) and irreligious (bebēlois, “profane”; cf. 4:7; 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16). Paul then listed violators of the first five commandments of the second table of the Decalogue: those who kill their fathers or mothers represent the ultimate violation of the fifth commandment, and murderers the sixth. Adulterers and perverts pertain to the seventh commandment, which was generally broadly interpreted to include all forms of sexual sin. Slave traders may correspond to the eighth commandment since kidnapping was viewed as the ultimate act of stealing (Ex. 21:16; Deut. 24:7). Liars and perjurers clearly pertain to the ninth commandment. Only the 10th commandment (“You shall not covet”) is not included (but cf. Rom. 7:7). Paul concluded this inventory of sinners with an all-inclusive reference to any behavior which is contrary to sound doctrine (lit., to “healthy teaching”; cf. 2 Tim. 1:13), including no doubt the very behavior of the false teachers themselves. “Doctrine” here is didaskalia, “teaching” or “the content taught,” used seven times in this epistle: 1 Timothy 1:10; 4:1, 6, 13, 16; 5:17; 6:1.