“We Know That the Law is Good”

9Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:9-10, King James Version)

Some people love to quote the only the first part of v 9 above, as though that means the Law has been done away once you’ve “accepted Jesus into your heart” or some other vague notion of conversion. However, they don’t seem to really read the rest of vv 9-10 for some reason. They just seem to gloss over it.

Who are the “ungodly”? Who are the “sinners”? Are they not the ones who break the Law?

Who are the “righteous”? Are they not the ones “in the right”? Who defines what is right? God! That’s the lesson of the Garden of Eden. How does God express what is right? Through His Law!

Has the Law been “done away”? No. In fact, if you read the verse immediately preceding what we’ve just read, we see:

8But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; (1 Timothy 1:8, King James Version)

Almost every English translation I could find has those same exact words that are bolded (see http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Ti&c=1&v=11&t=KJV#vrsn/8).

And, if you want to know what Paul means by “use it lawfully”, then back up some more and we see that it is good to avoid “vain jangling” and that the desired result of the Law is “charity out of a pure heart” (cf v 5 in NIV).

So, using 1Ti 1 to try to promote antinomianism, it actually argues against it when you read the entire chapter. Furthermore, Paul promotes the idea that grace and forgiveness of sins go hand in hand (vv 13-14).


  1. The law is good — but the Lawgiver is better.

    "Consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…. He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses…." (Heb. 3:1-3, NASB)

    Many COG members (not necessarily all) think knowing "the truth" consists of the Torah — O.T. law in full. Sadly, I fear many overlook "the way, the truth and the life" which Jesus said He was. (John 14:6)

  2. @Richard: My focus was on the opposite end of the spectrum, as I recently read another article on "grace". However, your point is valid.

    I look at it like this: The greater creates the lesser. Therefore, the One Who creates the Law is greater than the Law. Even at that, though, some would take that argument and twist it into antinomianism as well.