1 Timothy

Overview
WITHOUT trying, we model our values. Parents in particular demonstrate to their children what they consider important and valuable. “Like father, like son” is not just a well-worn clich‚; it is a truth repeated in our homes. And experience proves that children often follow the life-styles of their parents, repeating their successes and mistakes. Timothy is a prime example of one who was influenced by godly relatives. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother Lois were Jewish believers who helped shape his life and promote his spiritual growth (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). The first “second generation” Christian mentioned in the New Testament, Timothy became Paul’s protégé and pastor of the church at Ephesus. As a young minister, Timothy faced all sorts of pressures, conflicts, and challenges from the church and his surrounding culture. To counsel and encourage Timothy, Paul sent this very personal letter. Paul wrote 1 Timothy in about A.D. 64, probably just prior to his final Roman imprisonment. Because he had appealed to Caesar, Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome (see Acts 25–28). Most scholars believe that Paul was released in about A.D. 62 (possibly because the “statute of limitations” had expired), and that during the next few years he was able to travel. During this time, he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. Soon, however, Emperor Nero began his campaign to eliminate Christianity. It is believed that during this time Paul was imprisoned again and eventually executed. During this second Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote 2 Timothy. Titus and the two letters to Timothy comprise what are called the “Pastoral Letters.”  Paul’s first letter to Timothy affirms their relationship (1:2). Paul begins his fatherly advice, warning Timothy about false teachers (1:3-11) and urging him to hold on to his faith in Christ (1:12-20). Next, Paul considers public worship, emphasizing the importance of prayer (2:1-7) and order in church meetings (2:8-15). This leads to a discussion of the qualifications of church leaders—elders and deacons. Here Paul lists specific criteria for each office (3:1-16). Paul speaks again about false teachers, telling Timothy how to recognize them and respond to them (4:1-16). Next, he gives practical advice on pastoral care to the young and old (5:1-2), widows (5:3-16), elders (5:17-25), and slaves (6:1-2). Paul concludes by exhorting Timothy to guard his motives (6:3-10), to stand firm in his faith (6:11-12), to live above reproach (6:13-16), and to minister faithfully (6:17-21). First Timothy holds many lessons. If you are a church leader, take note of Paul’s relationship with this young disciple—his careful counsel and guidance. Measure yourself against the qualifications that Paul gives for overseers and deacons. If you are young in the faith, follow the example of godly Christian leaders like Timothy, who imitated Paul’s life. If you are a parent, remind yourself of the profound effect a Christian home can have on family members. A faithful mother and grandmother led Timothy to Christ, and Timothy’s ministry helped change the world.

Purpose
To give encouragement and instruction to Timothy a young leader

Date Written
Approximately A.D 64 from Rome or Macedonia

Key Verses
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.”—1 Timothy 4:12–13

 

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