The book of 1 Timothy (1 Timothy 1)

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Paul wrote this letter to his disciple Timothy, whom he had left in Ephesus to oversee the works there. Today many scholars deny Pauline authorship of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, but much evidence supports the traditional view that Paul did indeed write these letters (se The authorship of the Pastoral epistles, also under 1 Timothy 1).

1 Timothy was written after Paul’s release from the Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:16-31), in about 63-65 and possibly from Macedonia.

Paul wrote to Timothy. whom he had sent to the church in Ephesus to combat the false teaching that had arisen there. Timothy occupied a special place in Paul’s heart as his co-worker, emissary, travelling companion and “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2).

1 Timothy is essentially a letter of encouragement to Paul’s aide, Timothy. This is not to say, however, that it is entirely personal. Paul seems to have used the occasion to construct a letter on the nature of Christian ministry in the face of opposition and heresy. Paul viewed the opposition his younger protégé was enduring from a prophetic perspective, pointing out that the Spirit had foretold such apostasy (4:1). Paul instructed Timothy to refute false teachers and to promote good order and godliness in the church.

As you read, note the types of problems about which Paul alerted Timothy. Are there modern correlations? Identify Paul’s advice for dealing with leadership responsibilities and combating heresy.

Did you know that in the Greek culture the word “overseer” was used of a presiding official in a civic or religious organization (3:1-7)? Did you know that in ancient Rome life expectancy was much lower than it is today? We may assume that there were more unmarried women than available men in the Ephesian congregation and that some of these women had become financially destitute (5:3-5). Did you know that Paul gave instructions to Timothy about the care of widows by the church? The only widows included were those who were at least sixty years of age, had been married only once and had a reputation for good works (5:4).


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