by Rev Joel Yong
1 Timothy 1:19-20
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.
Paul was likely referring to excommunication. Check out Matthew 18.17-18.
Jamieson Fausset Brown has this to say about the 2 men: “Alexander here is probably “the coppersmith” who did Paul “much evil” when the latter visited Ephesus. The “delivering him to Satan” was probably the consequence of his withstanding the apostle (2 Timothy 4:14-15); as the same sentence on Hymenæus was the consequence of “saying that the resurrection is past already” (2 Timothy 2:18)”
These men were at one point a part of the faith community and that is why the apostle writes that they shipwrecked their faith.
A shipwreck happens when the vessel strikes rocks and is torn apart and sinks- unable to travel any longer or be of any use.
In today’s world we assume that a person has to stop going to church and turn to another religion to be considered as ‘no longer a believer’.
But these 2 men – seem to have had a change of views about some faith essentials – in particular the resurrection of believers! My thoughts are – that the slide into unbelief is subtle and begins with false ideas about the faith here and there and it leads to the corruption of the believer’s perspective and subsequently those around them.
Such people may still have the outward observances and still gather with the rest of the faith community but they have ceased to believe the essentials of Christianity.
For example – it could be something the Bible explicitly says is a sin, but over time due to the influence of popular culture- people start to ‘reason’ that it was a sin only at a certain point of history when the masses were ‘uninformed’ and science ‘not advanced’.