1 Timothy

1 Timothy

1 Είδος χόρτου

Reading 0,16 - 6 Chapters - 113 verses - 2,269 words

Vital Statistics

Author

Both early tradition and the salutations of the Pastoral Letter (1, 2 Timothy; Titus) themselves claim Paul as their author (1:1; 2 Ti 1:1; Tit 1:1). Some objections have been raised in recent years on the basis of an alleged uncharacteristic vocabulary and style, but other evidence still convincingly supports Paul's authorship.

Background and Purpose

During his fourth missionary journey, Paul had instructed Timothy to care for the church at Ephesus (1:3) while he went on to Macedonia. When he realized that he might not return to Ephesus in the near future (3:14-15), he wrote this first letter to Timothy to develop the charge he had given his young assistant (1:3,18), to refuge false teachings (1:3-7; 4:1-8; 6:3-5,20-21) and to supervise the affairs of the growing Ephesian church (church worship, ch. 2; the appointment of qualified church leaders, 3:1-13; 5:17-25).

A major problem in the Ephesian church was a heresy that combined Gnosticism, decadent Judaism (1:3-7) and false asceticism (4:1-5).

Date

1 Timothy was written sometime after the events of Ac 28 (c. 63-65), at least eight years after Paul's three-year stay in Ephesus.

Recipient

As the salutation indicates (1:2), Paul is writing to Timothy, a native of Lystra (in modern Turkey). Timothy's father was Greek, while his mother was a Jewish Christian (Ac 16:1). From childhood he had been taught the OT ( 2Ti 1:5; 3:15). Paul called him "my true son in the faith" (1:2), perhaps having led him to faith in Christ during his first visit to Lystra. At the time of his second visit Paul invited Timothy to join him on his missionary travels, circumcising him so that his Greek ancestry would not be a liability in working with the Jews (Ac 16:3). Timothy helped Paul evangelize Macedonia and Achaia (Ac 17:14-15; 18:5) and was with him during much of his long preaching ministry at Ephesus (Ac 19:22). He traveled with him from Ephesus to Macedonia, to Corinth (Ac 20:3), back to Macedonia, and Asia Minor (Ac 20:1-6). He may even have accompanied him all the way to Jerusalem. He was with Paul during the apostle's first imprisonment (Php 1:1; Col 1:1; Phm 1).

Following Paul's release (after Ac 28), Timothy again traveled with him but eventually stayed at Ephesus to deal with the problems there, while Paul went on to Macedonia. Paul's closeness to and admiration of Timothy are seen in Paul's naming him as the co-sender of six of his letters (2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, 1,2 Thessalonians and Philemon) and in his speaking highly of him to the Philippians (Php 2:19-22). At the end of Paul's life he requested Timothy to join him at Rome (2Ti 4:9,21). According to Heb 13:23, Timothy himself was imprisoned and subsequently released - whether at Rome or elsewhere, we do not know.

Timothy was not an apostle. It may be best to regard him as an apostolic representative, delegated to carry out special work (Tit 1:5)

How to read 1 Timothy

While a solo performance can be amazing, there’s a unique richness expressed by a symphony of many artists and instruments flowing together under a master conductor. Each of us has an instrument to play. Together in the church we create an incredible expression of who God is when we play in harmony with one another! What you’re about to read is like a conductor’s handbook. It summarizes guidelines for running a church, offering practical help to believers in their relationships with each other, with church leaders, and with the world around them.

Paul is writing to a beloved friend who has accompanied him on many missionary ventures. His instructions for the church are interspersed with personal directives and encouragement to his protege Timothy. This combination results in a fabulous manual for corporate and personal discipleship.

This practical, nitty-gritty wisdom must be understood within the specific situation Paul was addressing. You might repeatedly ask yourself, “I wonder what conditions in Ephesus prompted Paul to write that?” Look for the underlying principles. It might help to imagine you are eavesdropping on the conversation between an older minister and his younger colleague. Although the specific problems and answers might never be exactly duplicated, the principles of the gospel never change.

1 Timothy Interpretive Challenges

There is disagreement over the identity of the false teachers (1:3) and the genealogies (1:4) involved in their teaching. What it means to be “handed over to Satan” (1:20) has also been a source of debate. The letter contains key passages in the debate over the extent of the atonement (2:4-6; 4:10). Paul’s teaching on the role of women (2:9-15) has generated much discussion, particularly his declaration that they are not to assume leadership roles in the church (2:11, 12).

How women can be saved by bearing children (2:15) has also confused many. Whether the fact that an elder must be “faithful to [one] wife” (3:2) excludes divorced or unmarried men has been disputed, as well as whether Paul refers to deacons’ wives or deaconesses (3:11). Those who believe Christians can lose their salvation cite 4:1 as support for their view. There is a question about the identity of the widows in 5:3-16 — are they needy women ministered to by the church, or an order of older women ministering to the church?. Does “double honor” accorded to elders who rule well (5:17, 18) refer to respect or money?

Outline

1 Timothy Horizontal

God's character in 1 Timothy

  1. God is eternal - 1:17

  2. God is immortal - 1:17; 6:16

  3. God is invisible - 1:17

  4. God is long-suffering - 1:16

  5. God is merciful - 1:2, 13

  6. God is promise keeper - 4:8

  7. God is unified - 2:5

  8. God is wise - 1:17

Christ in 1 Timothy

Paul's letter to Timothy describes the person of Christ as "manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory" (3:16). Paul also speaks of the actions of Christ as the ransom and Savior of humanity (2:6; 4:10). Paul reminds Timothy to keep faith in Christ (1:14) and to "fight the good fight of faith" (6:12).

Notes