1 Timothy

Of Paul’s epistles there can be made two divisions. These two divisions make up the prison epistles and the pastoral epistles. The prison epistles consist of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, while the pastoral epistles include 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. These are the latest of Paul’s writings and are dated towards the end of his life.

1 Timothy was a personal letter from Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith. Let us look at Timothy’s biography for a moment. Timothy was of mixed Jewish and Gentile parentage. His mother and grandmother were devout Jewesses, women of faith, who taught him the Word from his childhood (see 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15). He lived in Lystra and was probably converted there during Paul’s first visit, which is described in Acts 14. When Paul revisited Lystra (see Acts 16), Timothy is described as a “disciple.” His spiritual progress was so pronounced that Paul invited him to accompany him on his missionary journey.

Timothy’s character is revealed in Paul’s writings to him:

He was timid (2 Timothy 6:7).

He was subject to stomach trouble (1 Timothy 5:23).

He was affectionate (2 Timothy 1:4).

He was warned not to give way to youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22) and not be ashamed of the Gospel (2 Timothy 1:8).

He was commended for his loyalty more than any of Paul’s other companions (1 Corinthians 16:10, Philippians 2:19, 2 Timothy 3:10).

Paul entrusted him with some of the more difficult tasks at Thessalonica, Corinth, and Ephesus, despite his comparative youth.


The Purpose of Writing

Paul had predicted some years before that heresies would arise in the church at Ephesus (see Acts 20:28-32). This had taken place (see 1 Thessalonians 1:3). The errors were “fables,” endless genealogies, (see 1 Timothy 1:4) and vain jangling (see 1 Timothy 1:6). False teachers were refuting the truth that Paul had taught in Ephesus for three years. There were the Judaizers and the Gnostics. The Judaizers taught that law and grace had to be mixed for salvation. The Gnostics had their endless genealogies [describe these] and Paul regarded their doctrine as fables, being nothing more than the fruit of man’s imagination.


The Theme

The theme of the epistle centers around the words of 1 Thessalonians 3:15, “That thou may know how men ought to behave themselves in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth.” The church is God’s instrument for the display of His truth, the truth of which the church is the pillar and ground, which is stated in 1 Thessalonians 3:16.

The phrase, “without controversy” is such a contrast to the phrases “vain janglings” and “fables” that Paul uses to describe Gnosticism. God was manifest in the flesh. Then note the phrases, “preached unto the Gentiles” and “believed on in the world.” This goes far beyond the boundaries of Judaism with its narrow, national limits. This verse proclaims the voluntary humiliation and ultimate exaltation of Christ. Let the church proclaim this, as this is her function. She is the pillar and ground of truth concerning Jesus, from His incarnation to His glorification. 



The Charge to Timothy: 

1. Regarding the faith - 1 Timothy 1

A. The nature of the gospel (1 Timothy 1:1-11)

B. Paul’s commission (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

C. Timothy’s charge (1 Timothy 1:18-20) 


2. Regarding Prayer - 1 Timothy 2

A. The subjects of prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

B. The reasons for prayer (1 Timothy 2:3-7)

C. The manner of prayer (1 Timothy 2:8)

D. Respective places of men and women in the church (1 Timothy 2:9-15) 


3. Regarding Elders & Deacons - 1 Timothy 3

A. Qualifications of elders/bishops (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

B. Qualifications of deacons (1 Timothy 3:8-13)

C. Behavior in the house of God (1 Timothy 3:14-16) 


4. Regarding Timothy’s own ministry - 1 Timothy 4-6

A. Toward the whole church (1 Timothy 4)

B. Towards widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16)

C. Towards elders (1 Timothy 5:1, 17-22)

D. Towards servants (1 Timothy 6:1-2)

E. Towards the covetous (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

F. Towards the wealthy (1 Timothy 6:17-19)