“Paul” (1:1), which means small, changed his name from “Saul” (Acts 13:9), which means desired. When Israel de-sired a king, God gave them Saul (ISam.9:17-21). So why would a man change his name from desired to small? After he got saved, he no longer wanted to be desired of men, he wanted to look small in their eyes so they would desire Him instead. And that’s a good goal to have in life.
King Saul took the opposite route. He started out small in his own eyes and got too big for his britches (ISam.15:17-19). We know Paul started out wanting to be desired of men because he said “if I yet pleased men” (Gal.1:10), indicating he used to try to please men as Saul in order to get them to desire him. But he ended up considering himself “less than the least of all saints” (Eph.3:8), wanting only that the Lord would be “magnified” in his life (Phil.1:20). And that’s another good goal to have in life.
The word “apostle” (1:1) means sent one (Mark 3:14; Acts 22:21;26:16,17).Men today claim to be apostles, but God’s apostles could prove they were apostles (IICor.12:12).
Paul claimed to be an apostle “by the will of God” (1:1) because men in his day were saying his apostleship was by the will of men. If they weren’t, he wouldn’t have had to say that he was “an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ.” The men who were saying this were probably saying Paul was “sent” by “certain prophets and teachers” at Antioch (Acts 13:1-3), i.e., certain men. Men who made a mistake in sending Paul forth as an apostle, similar to how men think the 11 made a mistake in picking Matthias, thinking they should have waited for God to call Paul. But Paul couldn’t have been the 12th apostle, for he didn’t company with the 11 during the Lord’s sojourn here on earth (Acts 1:21,22). We know Paul didn’t consider himself one of the twelve for he mentions them separately from himself (I Corinthians 15:5-8).
But the Spirit showed He approved the choice of the 11 by filling them right afterward (Acts 1:26;2:4), and He showed He approved Paul’s apostleship when we read of he and Barnabas “being sent forth by the Holy Ghost” (Acts 13:4).
The “promise of life” (1:1) was made before the world be-gan (Tit.1:1,2). It was first given to Abraham’s seed (Gen. 17:8), and to us through Christ (Gal.3:29). Both are based on His resurrection. That’s why we read that He rose “according to the Scriptures” (ICor.15:3,4) and according to Paul’s gospel (IITim.2:8). It is touching that a man on death row (IITim.4:6) is talking about the promise of life.
This life is not found in a book, it is found in a person. The Jews thought it was found in their book (John 5:39), but it is found in the Christ of whom the Book speaks.
Paul calls Timothy his “son” (1:2) because he led him to the Lord on his first visit to his home town (Acts 14:6,7). We know this because he is called a “disciple” when Paul returned (15:36;16:1). Paul uses the words “dearly beloved” (1:2) when he is asking the saints to do something (Rom.12:19; ICor.10:14; Phil.4:1,2; Philemon 1:1). And since Paul wrote by inspire-ation of God, we know they were “dearly beloved” of God as well (cf.Jer.12:7).
Assuring the saints that God loves them in asking them to do something is called grace motivation, and it is different than law motivation. Under the Law, God told His people He would love them if they obeyed Him (Dt.7:12,13). Paul uses “dearly beloved” to say that we have the promise of the Father’s love and beg us to cleanse our lives because of it (IICor.7:1). Paul may have threatened the Corinthians with a rod during the transition from law to grace, but even then it was “the love of Christ” that constrained them to love Him (IICor.5:14). Paul gets around to asking his “dearly beloved” Timothy to do something in 1:6,8.
Paul offers “grace” in every epistle he wrote because it is the answer to all our needs. He offers “peace” because God’s peace can make us satisfied with His grace. The “mercy” he added when writing pastors (1:2) was probably the “mercy” to remain single as he was (ICor.7:25).