An Introduction to 1 Timothy

December 28, 2019

Church life is messy. Anyone who has worked in a church or served as a volunteer knows things don’t run smoothly.

One of Paul’s closest friends was Timothy. Later in Paul’s life he writes a brief “manual” about how this young church leader, Timothy, should conduct himself and lead the church. Let’s dive into this vibrant letter written to Timothy, to your church, and to my church.

An Introduction to 1 TimothyChart of 1 Timothy

BIG IDEA

Paul tells Timothy how rich and poor, leaders and slaves, and widows and couples should conduct themselves in the church community.

KEY VERSES

“But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:11-12, New Living Translation)

AUTHOR

Paul the apostle wrote 1 Timothy (see 1 Timothy 1:1, 12-14, 15-16; 2:7).

DATE

Paul wrote this letter to Timothy in the early A.D. 60s. 1 Timothy was written near the same time Titus.

AUDIENCE

Timothy had joined Paul and Silas on their second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-5). Timothy was in Ephesus (1:3) and is addressed directly in the letter (1:12, 18; 4:6, 6:11, 20).

OUTLINE

  • GENERAL TEACHING (chapter 1)
    • On God’s Call to Timothy (1)
  • SPECIFIC TEACHING (chapters 2-5)
    • On Women in the Church (2)
    • On Leaders in the Church (3)
    • On Conduct in the Church (4)
    • On Widows in the Church (5)
  • GENERAL TEACHING (chapter 6)
    • On God’s Command to Timothy (6)

THEMES

Faith

The word “faith” is mentioned in every chapter (1:2, 4, 5, 14, 19; 2:7, 15; 3:9, 13, 16; 4:1, 6, 12; 5:8; 6:10, 11, 12, 21).

The Trinity

This short letter mentions all three members of the trinity. God the father (1:2, 13, 16; 3:21; 6:13, 15), Jesus Christ the son (1:2, 12, 13, 15, 16, 19; 2:5; 3:16; 4:6; 5:11, 21; 6:3, 13, 14, 15), and the Holy Spirit (3:16; 4:1).

Teaching

Paul tells Timothy to stop false/poor teaching (1:3-4, 6-11) and gives him some “trustworthy sayings” (1:15; 3:1; 4:8-9). Paul tells Timothy there are certain things that Timothy needs to “teach” to others (4:11-16; 6:2-5, 17-19). Paul also gave Timothy direction on how women should act in church (2:9-15), counsel on church leaders (3:1-13; 5:17-20, 22), and on the conduct of old and young men (5:1), old and young women (5:2), widows (5:3-16), and slaves (6:1-2).

PERSONAL APPLICATIONS

Watch what you say.

Christians should say nice things and not argue over pointless things (1:3-4; 4:7; 6:3-5, 20).

Watch how you live.

Paul describes the proper conduct of Timothy (1:18-19; 4:12-16; 5:21-22; 6:11-12, 14, 18-19), women (2:9-15), church elders/leaders (3:1-7), deacons (3:8-13), widows (5:3-16), and slaves (6:1-2). 

Learn and teach Scripture.

Paul told Timothy that Timothy should be teaching Scripture (1:3-4, 18; 4:13; 6:2, 14, 17).

Care for widows.

Paul describes which widows should be cared for by the church (5:3-7, 9-10) and which ones should not be cared for by the church (5:11-16).

Here Are Some Books I Recommend for Further Study of 1 Timothy

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher L. Scott is a local church pastor and freelance writer. He begins as the Senior Pastor at Lakeview Missionary Church in Moses Lake, Washington on July 1, 2021. Learn more at https://www.lakeviewmissionarychurch.com/ His articles have appeared in Pacific Magazine, War Cry, The Lutheran Digest, New Identity Magazine, NET Results, The Christian Journal, and Bible Advocate. In 2020 more than 300,000 copies of his articles have been printed and distributed. Most articles are posted online and available to readers worldwide for free. He's a graduate of Fresno Pacific University and Dallas Theological Seminary.

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