In our last visit I noted that periodically in the midst of his teaching very practical things in 1st Timothy Paul would spontaneously break out in a song of praise. I would like to look at these expressions of praise that probably were or became hymns in first century churches.
The first one is found in 1st Timothy 1:17: “Now to the king eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” It is as though he couldn’t finish his testimony of how he was saved, transformed and commissioned without acknowledging who it was who made that all possible.
God is the king or absolute ruler of all time and beyond throughout eternity past and future. He rules over everything that takes place during the ages. He is immortal, meaning, “not liable to corruption or decay, imperishable.” He will never go away. Being a Spirit being He is invisible, though very present everywhere.
Expositors translates the phrase, “the only God” as “the unique God.” The word “honor” communicates the idea that having considered all you know about God you value Him as deserving of worship and praise. He is worthy of receiving all the glory due Him, and it is unthinkable to try sharing in that glory in any way. This will be the song in heaven throughout eternity.
Paul was so caught up with the unbelievable blessing of having been touched by this Glorious One, and then commissioned by Him to represent Him in the world as His ambassador, that it seemed natural to include this affirmation of praise as a significant part of his testimony.