The NASB says:

“keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.” ‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭1:19‬ ‭NASB1995‬‬

The NKJV says:

“having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,” ‭‭I Timothy‬ ‭1:19‬ ‭NKJV

‬‬The NKJV makes it sound like they rejected “the faith” as a body of doctrine/truth. Then the NASB makes it sound like they rejected “their own faith”.

Q: Which translation is most accurate from the Greek?

For more clarity, Jude used the word “faith” differently than “personal faith”:

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I’ve heard pastors & teachers say Jude 1:3 mainly pertains to the “faith” of what believers believe in, rather than their own personal faith in Christ. (Correct me if I am wrong) {Jude 1:3 is for clarity of why I am confused with 1 Timothy 1:19}. Example: “The Christian Faith says we believe in ___”.

3 Answers 3


As noted by others, "the faith" is the most direct translation of the phrase.

However, what others seem to overlook is the preposition that connects causing a shipwreck with "the faith."

This preposition is περὶ, which essentially means, in this context, "with regard to" or "concerning." It's not that they have caused a shipwreck of the faith, but that they have caused a shipwreck with regard to "the faith."

They are not known to be shipwrecked in any other regard. It is only with regard to "the faith" that their spiritual shipwreck is meaningfully assessed. It's irrelevant whether or not they are shipwrecked with regard to their own faith since their own personal faith is no meaningful standard of measure. Indeed, according to their own personal faith, they may well be straight sailing.

One possible way to flesh out the analogy Paul is using is to envision "the faith" as a waterway leading to eternal life. The ship in the analogy would be the inner self or the heart/mind. Eternal life is guaranteed as long as they stay within "the faith". But, instead of remaining in the waterway of life, they veered from it to the side and crashed against the rocks.

  • So if I understand you correctly, they may have rejected “the faith” in terms of a corpus of particular truths as opposed to their “faith in Christ”?
    – Cork88
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 7:04
  • 2
    @Cork88 yes, I suppose you can think of "the faith" as water way leading to eternal life from which they veered to the side and crashed into the rocks instead of remaining on course.
    – Austin
    Commented Mar 9, 2022 at 8:40

1 Tim 1:19 reads, in the Greek -

ἔχων πίστιν καὶ ἀγαθὴν συνείδησιν, ἥν τινες ἀπωσάμενοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν ἐναυάγησαν·

The BLB gives a good literal rendering of this verse:

holding faith and a good conscience, which some, having cast away, have caused a shipwreck concerning the faith

Note that we have in the Greek, "the faith", as highlighted above. Thus, several versions render this literally such as NIV, NKJV, CSB, DRB, LSV, NET, NRSV, NHEB, WEB, YLT, etc.

Now it is also clear that numerous modern versions have interpretively rendered this verse as "their faith" such as, TLV, ESV, BSB, NASB, HCSB, CEV, GNT, NAB, etc.

The difference, I presume, is in the understanding of the use of the article, "the" which works a little differently in Greek from English. Daniel B Wallace in "Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics" devotes an entire (and large) chapter to this extensive subject.

In the chapter of 1 Tim 1, the word "faith" occurs six times; none has the article except the last instance in V19.

Grammatically, we have a classic construction involving the word "faith" in this verse: the first instance has no article and the second does. This suggests that the second instance in V19 is anaphoric to the first. If this is true, then "the faith" being discussed is the personal faith that goes with a good conscience as referenced earlier in the same sentence.

Thus, while "the faith" is literally true, it does not convey the grammatical meaning of the sentence; thus, many versions attempt to do this by translating "their faith".

[Note: an unfaithful person cannot shipwreck the entire "faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3), ie, the "one faith" (Eph 4:5). It is this that prevents "the faith" in V19 being, as Wallace describes it in GGBB, "monadic".]

By contrast, the instance of "the faith" in 1 Tim 4:1 and 6 is clearly monadic.

  • Gotcha, thx +1 I laughed at your note cause if true that would be devastating! (Polite Humor here). Good insight.
    – Cork88
    Commented Mar 7, 2022 at 22:30

The literal translation of "τὴν πίστιν" as used in (nearly?) all Greek texts for 1 Timothy 1:19, appears to be unambiguously, "the faith". The issue then is whether rejecting "the faith" is equivalent to rejecting or losing my faith ("their own faith") as per the NASB. To suggest otherwise, to dispute the equivalence, would appear to be a case of "splitting hairs".

In context, "the faith" as used by the apostles, can only be short hand for "the one true faith in Jesus Christ". It makes no sense otherwise. To reject such a faith must of necessity be to reject one's own faith. Again in context, distinctions in doctrine or beliefs in other "faiths" cannot be brought to bear.

The metaphor of the shipwreck is chillingly obvious. It speaks of total devastation and non-recoverable loss for the individual. As noted in a previous answer, it is not possible to shipwreck "the faith", only one's own faith.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.