“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1 Timothy 1:18–20, ESV)
Sometimes people who start well end up going astray. This passage offers two people that have fallen into this trap in verses 19–20. We do not have any background or details about Hymenaeus and Alexander, but what we do get serves as a sober warning to keep on the right course. They may have been leaders in the church who abandoned the truth taught in God’s Word. They shipwrecked their faith. Disaster is the result of wandering from the truth. Their actions were so serious that Paul had no other choice but to hand them over to Satan. Given over to Satan may describe a type of discipline similar to what is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:4-5. The church is the domain of Jesus, but humanity in its defiance of God is in the realm of the enemy. A person walking in an ongoing pattern of willful disobedience is under Satan’s area of influence. If after repeated warnings, the person does not respond in repentance, they are no longer to be part of the church until they turn from the sin.
Paul reminds Timothy of some prophecies that were made about him. Timothy was instructed to use faith and a good conscience as weapons to stay on track. Faith in the truth revealed by God. A good conscience will help Timothy keep his life in line with God's word. You may have made a great start to your Christian life, but you must not allow this to make you complacent. Sometimes unexpected people make a shipwreck of their faith. Every day disciples need to fight to keep their lives on course by knowing and living God’s Word.