Paul’s First Letter to Timothy
Audience: This is the first letter Paul wrote to Timothy, a young pastor who had been a help to Paul in his work. Paul was more than just a mentor and leader to Timothy, he was like a father to him, and Timothy was like a son to Paul. Timothy was a constant companion of Paul, accompanying him on his second and third journeys.
Paul begins by restating why he’s left Timothy in Ephesus. He defends his own apostleship in the process.
Paul gives advice to Timothy, a young preacher, on proper leadership and dealings with false teachers, the role of women, prayer, and requirements of elders and deacons.
Paul states his purpose for the letter in 1 Timothy 3:15: “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.”
Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him in his responsibility for overseeing the work of the Ephesian church and possibly the other churches in the province of Asia.
This letter lays the foundation for ordaining elders and provides guidance for ordaining people into offices of the church. Paul’s first letter to Timothy amounts to an instruction book on leading, administrating, and pastoring the local church.
However, much of the letter deals with pastoral conduct. Paul instructs Timothy in worship and developing mature leaders for the church. He also deals the church’s responsibility toward single members, widows, elders, and slaves. All throughout the letter, Paul encourages Timothy to stand firm, to persevere, and to remain true to his calling.
Paul instructs Timothy on matters of church doctrine, church leadership, and church administration.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy begins with a very strong charge concerning some things that others were teaching the brethren. False doctrine was creeping into the Church, and arguments were developing. Paul showed that the basis for sound doctrine and the emphasis in teaching should be on good and proper use of the law of God.
Paul begins the letter by urging Timothy to be on guard for false teachers and false doctrine.
Paul explained that teaching in the Church should be done in the right way and from the right motive. The teacher must have a pure heart and a good conscience, and not be hypocritical or motivated by the desire for power over people.
Some of the false teachers were twisting the law, but Paul taught that the law was good. “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (1 Timothy 1:8).
Paul charged Timothy in very strong words to guard the truth that had been committed to him as a servant of God. “You hold onto it, and faithfully pass it on to those you are serving.”