20 September 2021

I Timothy 1:12-17

The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. (v. 15)

Psalm 76


It is widely accepted by scholars that the letters to Timothy and Titus are not from Paul’s hand, though they may well contain echoes of his teaching, adapted to a later situation. This does not detract, however, from the significance of our passage. By any analysis, the conversion of Paul from persecutor to Christian apostle was a world-changing event. Today’s reading emphasises what that event says to us about the character of God. If God can forgive someone like Paul then no one can be beyond acceptance.

It would be a misreading of the last part of verse 13 to think that Paul’s ignorance and unbelief qualified him for forgiveness. We may compare Jesus’ prayer in Luke 23:34, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing". All sin represents a failure to grasp how life is meant to be lived.

To Ponder:

  • Are there individuals or groups of people that you find it hard to believe are forgivable? Why?
  • If there are no limits to God’s mercy, what does it imply for society’s treatment of wrongdoers?

Bible notes author

The Revd Brian Beck

Brian Beck is a Methodist minister, now retired, and a former president and secretary of the Methodist Conference. A large part of his ministry has been spent in theological education, both in Limuru, Kenya, and in Cambridge, England.

Share this