1 Timothy 1
Overview of 1 & 2 Timothy for New Testament Reading
We can all look back to mentors and teachers in our lives and the impact that they had on our values and world-view. Timothy was a young man who had the benefit of a believing mom and grandmother, plus he was discipled by the Apostle Paul in the Christian faith. These two letters, along with Titus, are known as the pastoral epistles because of their instruction for young men in the ministry of Jesus Christ. It gives us a look into the intense training system in the 1st century as the fledging church of the Living Savior got under way. Paul’s tone changes between the first and second letter as he become acutely aware of his impending earthly death for the cause of Christ. He writes the first letter probably around AD 64 right before his final imprisonment in Rome. The second letter was written from a Roman prison somewhere around AD 67, shortly before his martyrdom. These letters provide much valuable information for leaders in the church and the qualifications of being a man of God in management. As you read 2 Timothy remember that you are reading the final earthly words of a great man of God who sacrificed everything to promote the Kingdom of the Lord. Remember that you, just like Timothy, have a responsibility to commit yourself to stand courageously for the truth, knowing the Word and being empowered by His Holy Spirit to do what He has gifted you to do.
Mentors- Paul provided instruction to this young leader of the church as an example for us today. We are to train up the next generation in the truths of Christian leadership so that the work will continue to grow and prosper in Christ Jesus.
Sound Doctrine, Faith and Teaching- Paul was not writing this text strictly on church administration; instead, he was primarily preparing young Timothy to deal wisely with false teachers who were threatening the vitality and accomplishments of the true body of Christ in the Ephesian church.
Godliness and Personal Discipline- (1 Tim. 2:2) There is much practical instruction about how leaders in the church of the Living God are to act and demonstrate their walk with Christ. Holy living as examples to the brothers and sisters in the Lord is a main point in Paul’s writing in these pastoral letters. This implies a deep reverence for God and the things of God. It stresses a disciplined life that will persevere through difficulty.
Handling Controversies- We are not to devote ourselves to myths or endless genealogies, which produce controversies (1 Tim. 1:4). Controversies and quarrels about words result only in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of corrupt minds (1 Tim. 6:4, 2 Tim. 2:23-24). The way we handle conflict is important to the Lord and to His church. 1 & 2 Timothy focus on this theme.
Trustworthy Sayings- This phrase is used five times in the pastoral epistles, but found nowhere else in the New Testament (1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9, 2 Tim. 2:11, Titus 3:8). These are words we can count on from the Lord, which necessitates our obedience in practical ways as we go through life. Research these “trustworthy sayings” and make them a part of who you are.
Boldness- In the face of opposition and persecution, Timothy was to carry out his ministry without fear or shame. Paul urged him to utilize to his fullest the gifts of preaching and teaching that the Holy Spirit had given him. We, through the power of God, can be wise and strong. God honors our confident testimony even when we suffer. We must get over our fear of what people might say or do, keep your eyes on Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy- Paul affirms his relationship with the young Timothy (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).
2 Timothy-Paul provides expressions of love and tenderness for Timothy (1:1-5). Then Timothy is reminded of the qualifications and qualities necessary for a faithful minister of Jesus Christ (1:6-2:12). Timothy should remember his call and use his gifts with boldness (1:6-12), keep to the truth (1:13-18), prepare others to follow him in the ministry (2:1-2), be disciplined and ready to endure suffering (2:3-7), and keep his eyes and mind focused on Christ (2:8-13). Paul challenges Timothy to hold to sound doctrine, reject error and avoid godless chatter, correctly handle the word of truth (2:14-19), and keep his life pure (2:20-26).
Next, Paul warns Timothy of the opposition that he and other believers would face in the last days from self-centered people who use the church for their own gain and teach false doctrines (3:1-9). Paul warns Timothy that there will be unfaithful people, and that he is to follow Paul’s example (3:10-11), understanding the real source of the opposition (3:12-13), and finding strength and power in the Word of God (3:14-17). Then Paul gives Timothy a stirring charge: to preach the Word (4:1-4) and to fulfill his ministry until the end (4:5-8).
Paul concludes with personal requests and items of information. In these final words, he reveals his loneliness and his strong love for his brothers and sisters in Christ (4:9-22).
1 Timothy 4:12- “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
2 Timothy 2:15- “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”
*Notes from this overview were aided by:
New American Standard Bible: Life Application Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mich.: 1995, pgs. 2126-2127, 2138-2139.
-There is much that the Apostle Paul wants to share with his young spiritual son in the faith as he sees his time on earth is growing short and the Kingdom must be advanced through the younger generation in the body of Christ. Paul calls Timothy his “true child in the faith (1 Timothy 1:2).” He pronounces not just the useful grace and peace upon him, but also adds mercy in this letter. There is a constant thread of God’s mercy as Paul writes recognizing the gift God has given him to humbly serve the King after being truly converted from his old ways which he calls himself, the foremost sinner (1 Timothy 1:15). The new life is different by the mercies of Christ Jesus given through His work on the cross and appropriated by our faith in Him. Out of this “rule of faith” comes correct doctrine for the church, which Paul wants to impart to young Timothy in this pastoral epistle. No longer is the church to be guided by false doctrines as traditions of men, myths, or endless genealogies, which promote speculations, intrigue, vain discussions, and pride in confident man-made assertions rather than stewardship from God (1 Timothy 1:3-4, 6-7). The aim of the genuine charge in the faith is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith with great understanding spiritually from the Holy Spirit of God. *Application* Our ministry in the Lord Jesus Christ should be characterized by these three traits continually. A pure heart is wholly God’s and without deceit. This is the heart that will see God in His Spirit and His Truth (Psalm 73:1, Matthew 5:8, John 4:23-24, Hebrews 10:22). A good conscience means that you have taken the righteousness of Christ and desire nothing else but His best for your life not turning to the right or to the left. It is the straight and narrow way to life (Deuteronomy 5:32; 17:11, 20; 28:14, Joshua 1:7; 23:6, 2 Kings 22:2, 2 Chronicles 34:2, Isaiah 30:21, Matthew 7:13-19). A sincere faith is one that lasts in truth and does not turn away to falsehood at any point. It is genuine without reproach (Philippians 2:15, 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:7, Titus 1:6-7).
-Paul recounts what he was saved from as he reminisces to the young Timothy concerning the mercies of God in his life. God entrusts His stewardship to the faithful and obedient. God is patient and waits for us to come to Him for deliverance and eternal life. He is the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God deserving of honor and glory forever truly (1 Timothy 1:8-17). *Application* It is good practice for us all to recount the grace and mercy of God often in our lives. He is worthy of all our praise every single day and every moment of those days. This is what life in His Presence is all about. His goodness is astounding!
-Paul now charges Timothy with great encouragement and exhortation as he entrusts Timothy to the work of the Lord according to the prophecies previously made about him (1 Timothy 1:18). Timothy is charged to wage the good warfare holding faith and a good conscience avoiding the destruction of some like Hymenaeus and Alexander, who rejected the right way and made shipwreck of their faith being handed over to Satan so that they may learn not to blaspheme. *Application* Here we see the perseverance of the believer extended as one of the greatest virtues in the Christian faith. Shrinking back draws no pleasure from the Lord (Hebrews 10:38-39). A steadfast spirit is what the Lord requires (Psalm 51:10). This is only attained by having His Holy Spirit within you and complete life change as a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). People like Hymenaeus and Alexander here in the text can pretend for a while tasting and partaking of the Holy Spirit, but until you completely receive Him and His permanent salvation you are blaspheming God because of unbelief and waywardness off the path of truth (Hebrews 6:1-6). I don’t believe in this particular situation Paul is totally giving up on these two men. I believe he is still hopeful they will recognize their error and turn back to Christ. Whatever the case with these two, the situation is not good and they need a cleansing and regenerating by the Lord.
Verse to Memorize- 1 Timothy 1:5