I Charge You

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.” (1 Timothy 1:5)

The Greek noun parangelia and its corresponding verb paranello appear six times in the book of 1 Timothy, translated as either “charge” or “commandment.” Paul was quite concerned for his young disciple Timothy and went to great effort to remind him of the truth and charge him to keep it and encourage its keeping in the lives of those in his care. Let us briefly look at these charges.

First, Paul wanted to charge Timothy to remain strong in his personal faith. “This charge I commit unto thee . . . that thou . . . mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience” (1:18-19). “I give thee charge in the sight of God . . . . That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (6:13-14).

In a similar vein, Paul knew the dangers of false doctrine. “I besought thee . . . that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1:3). Following a discussion of specific false teachings (4:1-10) and their refutations, Paul concludes, “These things command and teach” (4:11).

Even those who nominally adhere to proper teaching need direction. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God” (6:17).

Living up to these charges (commandments) brings real benefit in this life as well as in eternity, as we see in our text a pure heart full of agape love, a conscience unfettered by sin and false doctrine, and a strong faith not weakened by hypocrisy. If we would be disciples, we should mind the charges given to Timothy. JDM

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