1 Timothy 1:8-10 a contradiction?


We know that Christ freed us from the law of the Old Testament. How then is one to understand 1 Timothy 1:8-10 in light of multiple New Testament references that we are no longer bound by the law?

8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.


We were freed from the Mosaic Law but only the dietary and customs prescriptions, we are still required to keep the core 10 commandments of GOD.

Therefore we do not need to eat kosher foods and we have greater freedoms on our Holy days of obbligations, we can go watch a movie for example while many observant jews cannot even drive a car, however we are required to keep all 10 commandments…


Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. His words, not mine.


Yes, RedFox, I am familiar with Matthew 5:17. Thank you. But this verse seems to contradict so many others that “the law” useless now that it has been fulfilled by Jesus.

Jerry Z: So Paul is referring to only the 10 Commandments when he says “the law” is “good”? How do we know that?


Ive wondered about this as well, seems kind of strange we would suddenly be free from all of that, except for the 10 commandments…IDK, seems like the secular societies/ mans courtrooms, benefit from this interpretation a bit too much.


Could you give some references? I wonder if those references are being taken out of context.

For example, in Paul’s letter to the Romans, he writes about justification through faith (chapters 3-4), but he still says that we have to do good works (chapter 6). He writes often about the new law as an interior law (written in our hearts), and we are still bound by that law.


What do you mean by the law? In the old Testament, scribes and others took a leaf from Moses and drew up their laws, convienently forgetting the ten commandments. Jesus did not change laws, he perfected them. Thus adultery was, is and always shall be a sin, but no one should be killed for sinning. The same with Sunday (or Sabbath) obligations. We are not bound by restrictions, but are we not to go to church and adore God? And to pray extra on such Holy days?
If you read the Bible just for what it says out of context, you are bound to find contradictions. The Bible is meant to teach and pray.


We are to keep the moral laws which are the 10 Commandments. How do we know? Because Jesus said that.


“you are not under law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14)
“we have been discharged from the law” (Rom. 7:6)
“Christ is the end of the law” (Rom. 10:4)
“23 Before the coming of this faith,j] we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24 So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.” (Gal 3)

Among others, including Acts 3.

Why then, I ask, is there an apparent change when Paul says the law is good?


What do I mean by the law? As I understand it, there were 613 laws the Jews lived under. Jesus freed us from Jewish law. Paul says so in several places, but in this one place he seems to imply the law is still a good thing to have. I’m a little confused by it. I need someone to explain to me what Paul was talking about in the verse from 1 Timothy.


Are you referring to when Jesus described the greatest commandment?

If so, how do we know that is the law Paul is referring to?


I suggest you read the whole chapter in context.Paul begins the letter without pleasantries ,and reminds tim why he is there…verse 3. There are those out there spreading false doctrines.verse4 is the clue that these will be teachings contradicting Paul’s work.he mentions these teachers as being concerned with genealogical material. Toledotes were a huge concern among Jewish people. Meaningless to those in Christ.
So v.6 suggests Paul taught equality of believers.These itinerant “teachers” come along-who Paul insinuates they are phony know nothings. So this group comes in with no right given them by the apostles and start promoting the use of Jewish Law.Paul tells Tim.That’s not what was passed over to them. Paul wants his people to recall is God’s plan revealed in
Jesus. Faith and love are what are needed.to teach his people contradicting ideas only disrupts and confuses the faithful.


Here are collected commentaries from a website that I find very useful for Bible study:
Bible Hub — commentaries on 1 Timothy 1:9
and from there you can navigate to adjacent verses.

Here is an excerpt that I found helpful toward understanding this passage:

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

1:5-11 Whatever tends to weaken love to God, or love to the brethren, tends to defeat the end of the commandment. The design of the gospel is answered when sinners, through repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, are brought to exercise Christian love. And as believers were righteous persons in God’s appointed way, the law was not against them. But unless we are made righteous by faith in Christ, really repenting and forsaking sin, we are yet under the curse of the law, even according to the gospel of the blessed God, and are unfit to share the holy happiness of heaven.

and read or skim the other commentaries, if you please, for additional insights.


Context people, always keep it in context. I never had my students just use the one verse and forget those surrounding it .
John 6 is a perfect example. If you just concentrate on the breAd of life discourse you will not get the full understanding of what Jesus is saying in its entirety. Go from verse 1 till the end.
Look for a unity of themes and pick up on what Jesus is saying in each pericope.


I’ve been to Bible Hub and read the entire chapter.
From Bible Hub: “He admitted that the law was good. He was never disposed for one moment to call it in question. He only asked that it should be rightly understood and properly explained. Paul was never disposed to call in question the excellency and the utility of the law…”
Is Paul saying in 1 Timothy 1 that while the law was/is good, it no longer applies to Christians, just Jews?


Sorry, been to the biblehub. Would never use a Protestant commentaries. They see everything as either/ or, in a reading or a verse not reliable. Pick up a Catholic commentaries.They are widely available.usually very well researched and in many cases will contradict or completely ignore protestant takes on scripture. The verses are not taken in context,which is a very uncatholic way of studying scripture.the beginning talks about a conflict that Paul sent Timothy to correct.that is the first clue that most of the chapter is about this conflict.Again , like many non Catholics every verse is taken individually,removed from it 's surrounding verses and taken literally without trying to find out really what is going on behind the words.


Matthew Henry , for some reason , is the gold standard. Problem is that is not catholic, it is archaic , and at times, seems just silly.he seems to take leaps and bounds to make scripture conform to the literal .


I think I understand what the chapter is about. But this single verse about the law being good had me scratching my head. Paul writes “They want to be teachers of the law…” The “old” (Jewish) law or the “new” (Christian) law? If the former, why is Paul even concerned with it?


The old law.Paul had gone through brought the population to Christ through the revelation of Christ himself on the road to Damascus and authorized by the apostles in Jerusalem, in the first council ever ,Paul went forth teaching a new thing. All are welcome and a pagan did not have to become a Jew in order to become a Christian . There was a group in the early church known as the judaizers(sp) who went up against the apostles and Paul and tried to reconvert
them back to The Law . They had no authority they were renegades and gave Paul and apostles a hard time for a very long time. Such behaviour had to be confusing Christians who were former pagans and Paul was not going to have his hard work undone by a self satisfied bunch with no authority.So he sends Timothy,who has authority to correct the situation.


From Bible Hub: “He admitted that the law was good. He was never disposed for one moment to call it in question. He only asked that it should be rightly understood and properly explained. Paul was never disposed to call in question the excellency and the utility of the law…”

The Gentile converts would initially not be predisposed to try to follow the arduous rigors of Mosaic Law. Rather, Paul and the earliest evangelists sought to convert the Gentiles to the main, primary tenets of Judaism as Christ interpreted the Law, with the idea that if they wanted more knowledge, they could eventually become more fluent in Torah (wherein we find the “Law” explained in all its detail).

I also seriously contest the notion, whether biblical, Catholic, or otherwise, that Christ somehow came to abolish the Creator’s commandments. He came to bring them to the proper interpretation, as explained in the quote above, and to bring people back to the Creator. Christ brought a higher, more spiritual understanding of the Creator’s commandments, in addition to being the living, breathing example of a “living Torah” (Pope Benedict’s description) as the Messiah.

Even now, the Jews admonish the Gentiles that they do not have to follow the Torah, that they are only bound only by the “Noahide” laws, which are along the lines of the Ten Commandments. Certainly, as one progresses in their spiritual understanding, they may decide to pursue a more rigorous adherence to the Creator’s commandments. We see this in our monasteries and convents, where monks and nuns take extraordinary steps to live a more spiritual life dedicated to prayer and good works.

Centuries later, we now have the core moral tenets of Judaism spread throughout the entire world, far from the land of Israel. Christ’s message has been spread to every country. If Peter and Paul had insisted on strict adherence to Mosaic Law, the early growth and development of the Church might have been shortened. What Gentile could or would want to follow 613 commandments or “mitzvot”? It would be too daunting a task. Instead, the core moral tenets were spread far and wide, and now, today, we have practically the entire world knowledgeable about Christ, the Bible, and the Creator’s commandments.

So, despite the complete destruction and utter devastation of the Temple in Jerusalem, the spiritual essence of Judaism still lives on – certainly in Jewish communities and synagogues, but also in our Christian churches. The Roman Empire could destroy the Temple, but not the spiritual essence of the faith.

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