1 Timothy 1:8-11

8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,

9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine,

11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

we know (v.8) — oida, to know, suggests intelligent perception, in contrast to ginosko which indicates progressive knowledge. The contrast between the two verbs is illustrated in John 8:55, “Ye have not known Him [ginosko, “you have not entered upon the knowledge”]: but I know Him (oida, that is, I have perfect knowledge of Him). Again, in 13:7, “What I do thou knowest not now [oida; Peter did not perceive its significance] but thou shalt understand hereafter (ginosko, thou shalt get to know). — Vine, page 146.

good (v.8) = intrinsically good, good morally, excellent in itself (different from good in the sense of beneficial)

if one uses it lawfully (v.8) — lawfully = lit. “agreeable to the law” — if one uses it not for justification before God, but to be made aware of sin.

This argument should be clear enough to any thoughtful person. A loving mother needs no law to compel her to care for her child. an honest businessman needs no law to compel him to pay his bills. The very function of the law is to convict and condemn the criminal, the violator of the law. If everyone spontaneously did what was right, there would be no need for law.

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become guilty before God.

… for by the law is the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:19-20).

The law was given to convict and condemn the sinner and to show him his need of a Savior, but those who are saved are not under the law, for God has declared them righteous in Christ who died for their sins. Indeed, in this same passage in Romans the Apostle goes on to say by divine inspiration:

BUT NOW the righteousness of God without the law is manifested …

Further, in verses 24 and 26 he declares that believes stand righteous before God.

Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

[We] declare I say, AT THIS TIME, His righteousness for the remission of sins, that He [God] might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

This was “the glorious gospel of the blessed God.” (Or “the gospel [good news] of the glory of the blessed God,” as seems the more natural reading.) — Stam, pages 42-43.

knowing this (v.9) — same sense of “know” as in v.8

law (v.9) — the Old Testament law, but the principle applies to any law

made (v.9) = laid down, enacted

righteous (v.9) — Several of my commentaries mention that Paul was referring to a morally good person and not a saved person here. But there is no morally good person in God’s eyes except for those who have trusted Christ, so I don’t see the point of the distinction.

lawless (v.9) — those who reject all law, those who refuse to acknowledge that there is law

insubordinate (v.9) — unruly, those who refuse to be subject to the law or authority

ungodly (v.9) — those without piety, irreverent

sinners (v.9) — those not free from sin, wicked — lit. “those who have missed the mark”

unholy (v.9) — the opposite of holy — one who does not walk with God or attempt to conform to His character

profane (v.9) = unhallowed, not set apart to God

The word “profane” is bebelos. The word is derived from belos, “a threshold,” and hence has the primary sense of  that which may be trodden. That which is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane, Thus, a profane person is one who has made himself accessible to evil influence. He has not kept himself for God. He is common, unhallowed territory. — Wuest, pages 31-32.

murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers (v.9) — This is the literal meaning, but the idea may be those who break the commandment to love and honor parents (Exodus 20:12).

kidnappers (v.10) — The word comes from aner and pous, a person taken in war and sold into slavery. It refers to a slave-dealer, a kidnapper, a man-stealer, as well as to one who unjustly reduces free men to slavery, also to one who steals the slaves of others and sells them. The word includes all who exploit men and women for their own selfish ends. — Wuest, page 32.

sound doctrine (v.10) = healthful teaching — “sound” is the translation of the Greek word from which we get “hygiene.” — free from error. It describes the character of the doctrine and also its effect upon the believer.

according to the glorious gospel (v.11) — Paul’s gospel points to God’s glory

blessed God (v.11) — God is called blessed in the New Testament only here and in 1 Timothy 6:15. He is blessed in His perfection and grace.

Wuest’s translation — But we know that the law is good if a person uses it properly, knowing this, that law is not enacted for a law-abiding person, but for lawless ones, and for unruly ones, for those who are destitute of reverential awe towards God, and for sinners, for unholy ones and for those who are non-religious, for those who ill-treat fathers and ill-treat mothers, for man-slayers, for whoremongers, for those who defile themselves with men, for menstealers, for liars, for perjurers, and if as is the case, there is anything of a different nature which is opposed to sound teaching, according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I was entrusted. — Wuest, pages 32-33.

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