The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to Timothy, written by the apostle to his friend Timothy at Lystra, tell of the conditions in the church and describe the qualifications and duties of church officers. Second Timothy contains Paul’s request that Timothy come to Rome to see him.
Two key passages to look at:
I Timothy 3:15-16 – “But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.”
I Timothy 6:11-12 – “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
Key Chapter: I Timothy 3
Observations about I Timothy:
– Paul, the aged and experienced apostle, writes to the young evangelist Timothy who is facing a heavy burden of responsibility in the church at Ephesus.
– The task is challenging. False doctrine must be erased, public worship must be safeguarded, and mature leadership must be developed.
– Timothy must be on his guard lest his youthfulness become a liability, rather than an asset, to the gospel.
– There are two major things he must be careful to avoid: false teachers and greedy motives.
– There are things he must pursue: righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness that befits a man of God.
– He returned to Greece and Asia — Corinth, Miletus, and Troas (2 Timothy 4:13-15) — and may have been arrested in Troas where he left his valuable books and
parchments that are mentioned in II Timothy 4:13-15.
– By this time Christianity had become an illegal religion in the empire (the burning of Rome took place in 64 A.D.
— Paul’s enemies were now able to successfully accuse him.
— He was imprisoned in 67 A.D. and wrote 2 Timothy from his Roman cell after his first defense before the imperial court. =
– He was delivered from condemnation, but he had no hope of release and expected to be executed (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
– He urged Timothy to come before that happened (2 Timothy 4:9, 21).
– According to tradition, the apostle Paul was beheaded west of Rome on the Ostain Way.
– Timothy was to:
a. Appoint elders.
b. Combat false doctrines.
c. Be an example to others.
d. Exercise his spiritual gifts.
e. “Fight the good fight of faith.”
– Timothy was to be ready to deal with matters of:
a. False teaching
d. Proclamation of the Scriptures
g. The roles of various groups
– Negatively, he was to refute error (1:7-11: 6:3-5). Positively, he was to teach truth (4:13-16; 6:2; 17-18).
Paul’s last three recorded letters, written near the end of his full and fruitful life, were addressed to his authorized representatives Timothy and Titus.
These were the only letters Paul wrote exclusively to individuals (Philemon was addressed primarily to its namesake, but also to others), and they were designed to exhort and encourage Timothy and Titus in their ministry of solidifying the churches in Ephesus and Crete.
In the eighteenth century these epistles became known as the Pastoral Epistles. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul seeks to guide his younger and less experienced assistant in his weighty responsibility as the overseer of the work at Ephesus and other Asian cities.
He writes, in effect, a challenge to Timothy to fulfill the task before him:
a. Combating false teaching with sound doctrine.
b. Developing qualified leadership.
c. Teaching God’s Word.
d. Encouraging proper Christian conduct.
There are five major sections in the book:
After his greetings (1:1-2), Paul warns Timothy about the growing problem of false doctrines, particularly as they relate to the misuse of the Mosaic Law (1:3-11). The aging apostle then recounts his radical conversion to Christ and subsequent calling to the ministry (1:12-17). Timothy, too, has received a divine calling, and Paul charges him to fulfill it without wavering in doctrine or conduct. (1:18-20)
Turning his attention to the church at large, Paul addresses the issues of church worship and leadership. Public prayer should be a part of worship, and Paul associates this with the role of men in the church (2:1-8) He then turns to the role of women (2:9-15) wherein he emphasizes the importance of
the inner quality of godliness. In 3:1-7 Paul list the qualifications of elders. In 3:8-13 Paul lists the qualification of deacons.
Timothy obviously had difficulties with some of the older men (5:1) who had left the faith. Paul carefully advises on the issues of marriage. food, and exercise. The closing charge exhorts Timothy not to neglect the spiritual gift given to him.
One of the most difficult duties for the young minister is to lead in the exercise of discipline. Commencing with the general advice of treating all members of the church as family (5:2), Paul concentrates on the two special areas of widows and elders, focusing on Timothy’s responsibility and providing practical instruction.
In addition, the insidious doctrine was being taught that godliness will eventually result in material blessing.
Paul, in no uncertain terms, states, “from such withdraw yourself” (6:5).
The book closes with an extended charge (6;11-21), which is supplemented by an additional charge that Timothy is to give to the wealthy of this age (6:17-19).