Studies from Timothy:- 1
I. An introduction to the book of Timothy
By Nelson Thomas Mumbai
1. Three divisions of Pauline Epistles.
a. Evangelical epistles: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, 1& 2 Thessalonians.
b. Prison epistles: Colossians, Philippians, Ephesians, Philemon.
c. Pastoral Epistles: 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus.
Notice, that Timothy and Titus were not Pastors or Bishops of these local churches. They were sent as Paul’s special representatives to these assemblies to settle various issues on behalf of Apostle Paul.
These books are called Pastoral Epistles because the contents have to do with the pasturing of the local churches. Paul intended it to be read to all in the church. Cf. 6:21 “Grace be with you all.” Cf. 2Tim. 4:22; Tit 3:15. So, all need to study these letters, not just pastors or leaders.
2. The Background.
At the end of Acts we see Paul in prison, from there he wrote to Philippians, and Philemon that shortly he will be released and desires to visit them soon thereafter. Cf. Phili 2:24; Philemon. V. 22. Thus it seems after his release he took his 4th journey with Timothy and Titus. Visiting Crete left behind Titus to set in order certain things lacking in that assembly. Cf. Titus 1:5.
From Crete Paul and Timothy traveled to Ephesus and stayed there for some time. They were so dear to Paul. During his first visit to this place he had stayed for three years. His conversation with the Ephesian elders also proves his intimacy the assembly there. Cf. Act 20: 28 – 31. Now Paul could notice his earlier prediction to elders coming true.
a. Self – appointed experts teaching worthless things. Cf. 1Tim 1: 4 – 7.
b. False teachers teaching wrong doctrines. Cf. 1Tim 6: 3 – 5.
He could not keep quite – confronted them, even expelled two of them. Cf. 1:19, 20. Then he had to leave Ephesus may be to reach Colosse and Philippi as planned already. Cf. 1:3; Phil 2: 24; Philemon. V.22. So, left behind Timothy in Ephesus to settle the remaining matters. Cf. 1:3.
While traveling through Macedonia, Paul was still concerned about the Timothy and Titus who were in two different, difficult places – Ephesus and Crete. As both of them have to deal with various issues and complicated problems in the assemblies and Paul felt that they need his counsel. He also knew that he may be delayed to return to them, so wrote these two letters – one for Timothy explaining all the details and another similar letter but brief one for Titus. Cf. 1Timothhy 3:14, 15a. Letter to Timothy is longer and more personal.
3. The purpose - At least three main purposes are evident:-
a. To encourage Timothy. Cf. v. 2.
He was so dear to Paul. Cf. 1Cori 4:17 ‘Beloved and faithful son’. Paul had high regard for Timothy. Cf. Phil 2:17, 20, 22. He found ‘no one like-minded’ as this young man. Not only he traveled with him (Act 16:1), imprisoned along with Paul, went as a messenger or representative of Paul. We find him as co-sender of six letters. (2Cor, Philippians, Colossian, 1 & 2 Thessalonians and Philemon)
Paul also knew that he was young and timid. Cf. 1Cori 16:10; 1Timothy 4:12; 2Timothy 1:7. So he needed encouragement to deal with such complicated issues, it is not an easy job.
i. He must be confident. Cf. v. 3, 18 – wage a good warfare. As this letter is being read publicly, listeners will know that Paul authorizing Timothy for such tasks and they will accept his work.
ii. He must teach the truth. Cf. 4:11; 5:7; 6:2, 17. Repeatedly reminds to command and teach.
iii. He must establish order in the assembly. Cf. 3:1 – begins with leadership. Ob. If leadership is in confusion everything else too in the same way. Lack of proper leadership is something ‘lacking’. Cf. Titus 1:5
Even today as we read and study this book same purposes will be met. We will be confident, inspired to teach truth and establish and maintain order in the local church.
b. To warn against false teachers. 1: 3, 4.
Paul had predicted it earlier, found it’s fulfillment and dealt with it seriously. Cf. Act 20: 28 – 31; 1Timothy. 1: 19, 20. Now Timothy must keep a watch.
Three types of false teachers in Ephesus:
i. Legalists – from Jewish background. Cf. 1: 3 – 5 – teaching stories and genealogies or tradition.
ii. Hypocrites – wearing a mask of spirituality – they want to show as super spiritual. cf. 4:1—3 – prohibiting marriage, food etc.
iii. Philosophers. – They are after knowledge – proud of it. Cf. 6:20.
Three things to do:-
i. Deal with them. Cf. 1:19. Just as Paul did, expose them, if needed expel. Cf. Rev. 2: 2, 3. Notice, the Lord appreciates such an action. Sad, some today prefer to tolerate, forgetting tat such wrong teaching or practices if allowed, slowly influencing the whole assembly and destroy it’s distinctive feature.
ii. Avoid senseless arguments. 1:4; 4:7. Not to pay attention or discuss – it’s a waste of time!
iii. Withdraw from such. 6:5. we can not associate with all – even if they carry a Bible!
c. To present the right standard for the functioning of the local assembly. Cf. 1Timothy. 3:14, 15.
“You may know how you ought to behave” – It could be the most important aim of Paul in writing this letter. Not only Timothy, all should know how they ought to conduct themselves in the church of the living God. We are not supposed to behave in the local church in just any manner. A high standard is expected from us. Study of this book will help us to maintain the needed discipline – right behavior - in the assembly.
I. Ch. 1 – Warning against false teachers.
II. Ch. 2 – 4:- Leaders and right behavior in the Church.
III. Ch. 5, 6:- Various types of people in the Church – widows, slaves, teachers etc.
Study of the Pastoral Epistles is the need of the time. We ought to understand the value of the Church of the living God and how to conduct ourselves in the assembly. Need to know the value of the work of the Lord and confidently carry on it. Especially, as there are plenty of false believers and wrong teachings prevalent among Christians, many find it very difficult to deal with various issues arising in their congregations.
Infiltration of so many unconverted nominal Christians and even carnal Christians in to the local churches is a serious issue. Study of Timothy and Titus will enlighten and encourage us on our ministry in the local assembly.
Next:- Please note, once complete notes are ready, you can find in it's order.
So for now next is VIII Prayers in the Church
More:- An index for all studies