1 Timothy

THIS IS THE FIRST of the three ‘Pastoral Epistles’—1 and 2 Timothy and Titus—in which the Apostle Paul gives guidance on how affairs should be run in a congregation of believers and of the need for sound Bible teaching.

Paul met the young man Timothy at Lystra (Acts 16:1). Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). He became a faithful helper in the work of preaching the Gospel. Paul treated him as a son (1 Timothy 1:2), training him for the ongoing work of ‘shepherding the flock’. Timothy had been entrusted with the work of guiding the believers at Ephesus, and needed advice on holding fast to the faith, and countering the influence of false teachers (1:3; 6:3).

The Importance of Correct Belief

Paul had previously warned the elders in Ephesus, ‘I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock’ (Acts 20:29), and this was already starting to happen. The vital need for them to keep to the original teachings of Christ and the apostles is stressed (1:3, 19; 4:6, 13, 16; 6:3, 20).

Drawing on the images and language of his times, Paul uses many military, athletic and medical metaphors. He says that teaching should be ‘sound’ (1:10), using a Greek word which has come down to us in the word ‘hygiene’ – referring to what is ‘wholesome’ or ‘healthy’.

Five times in the Pastoral Epistles, Paul emphasises the truth and importance of what he is writing by calling it a ‘trustworthy saying’ (1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 3:8). Another powerful expression, this time taken from the world of banking, is the ‘deposit entrusted to you’ (6:20, 1 Timothy 1:14). Paul tells Timothy, and us, that the Gospel is a precious ‘deposit’ which we are to guard safely.

Those who taught false ideas would ‘miss the mark’. This is the literal meaning of the original words used in 1:6, 6:21 and 2 Timothy 2:18 (translated ‘swerved’).

Norman Owen

By kind permission of ‘The Christadelphian’

Some interesting links with other parts of the Bible:

  • 1 Timothy 2:5; 6:15—see 1 Corinthians 8:6; Isaiah 45:5.
  • 1 Timothy 6:10—see Matthew 6:24, 25, 33.
  • 1 Timothy 6:16 – see Psalm 49:12; Ecclesiastes 9:5.

Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge”, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith.

Grace be with you.

1 Timothy 6:2–21
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