Meditations on I Timothy
“Now to the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17, NIV
Words are important. Using the right words in the correct context to accurately convey meaning illuminates understanding, intent, and heart. Paul uses very specific words to describe God. They are rich with significance. We do not want to miss any inferences that will deepen our insight of God’s character. Let us delve into defining these attributes of God that we might discover more about who He is.
The first word Paul uses to describe God is “King.” A King is a male ruler over a land or country, whose right to rule is typically inherited by birthright. Strong’s Dictionary defines King as, “one invested with authority.” Some synonyms used for King is ruler, sovereign monarch, supreme ruler, and majesty.
Eternal is the second adjective Paul uses to describe God. Defined as “lasting or existing forever,” eternal connotes existence with neither an end nor beginning. The Free Dictionary defines eternity as, “unchanged by time…being true or valid for all time” whereas the Lexicographers Dictionary defines it as, “lasting or existing forever; without end.” Words like everlasting, ageless, continuous, endless, or without dying possess similar meanings.
Merriam-Webster defines Paul’s next adjective, immortal, as, “exempt from oblivion: imperishable; connected with or related to immortality…” Essentially, immortal refers to never dying and living forever. Dictionary.com defines immortal as, “not mortal; not liable or subject to death; undying…”
As the 4th adjective, Paul refers to God as invisible. The English dictionary defines it as, “impossible to see; not visible…not accessible to view.” Other words with similar connotations are, unseen, imperceptible, intangible, obscure, and veiled.
Finally, Paul ends the list with “only God.” Interestingly, the 1599 Geneva translation which is arguably one of the most accurate Bible translations, interprets this last attribute as, “only wise God.” Regardless, the word “only” denotes an exclusive or sole reference. In fact, Merriam Webster says, “alone in a class or category…” If we add “wise” to this attribute, which Dictionary.com defines as, “having the power of discerning and judging properly as to what is true or right,” then Paul is referring to God as the sole one who possesses true discernment and right judgement.
With these definitions as the backdrop, we are able to more fully grasp and gain a greater picture of the God whom Paul serves. It invites us to foster a deeper appreciation of who God is. If you are like me, as I meditate upon these definitions and words, my mind becomes filled with reverent awe that we serve an everlasting God who rules over all Creation and who is Alpha and Omega and Ancient of Days all rolled into one. This incomprehensible aspect of God whom we cannot see with our earthly eyes yet who simultaneously encompasses us about with His love, mercy, and sound judgement, overwhelms me with gratitude and thanksgiving for His goodness and grace.
How about you? Does the full weight of God’s greatness bring you to your knees in worship? Does it elevate Him to an even greater place of admiration and awe in your heart? I encourage you to pause and meditate on the matchless qualities of God for there is truly, no one like Him. This in itself should be enough for us to give Him glory and praise forever and ever. Oh dear brothers and sisters in the Lord, may we devote ourselves to the praise and honor of God for as long as we have breath. Amen.