Paul's First Letter to Timothy
During his fourth missionary journey, Paul had instructed Timothy to care for the church at Ephesus while he went on to Macedonia. When Paul realized he might not return to Ephesus in the near future, he wrote the first letter to Timothy in about A.D. 64. He repeatedly states his desire and determination to visit Timothy, which shows he was not in prison when he wrote the letter.
The letter was written to Timothy to give him instructions regarding the church. Paul wrote to develop the charge he had given his young assistant: to refute false teachings and to supervise the affairs of the growing Ephesian church. A major problem in this church was a heresy that combined Gnosticism (whose central teaching was that spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil), decadent Judaism and the false asceticism (with its belief that the body should be treated harshly).
I. Warning Against False Teachers (1:1-11)
II. The Lord's Grace to Paul (1:12-17)
III. The Purpose of Paul's Instructions (1:18-20)
IV. Instructions for the Church (2:1-3:16)
V. Dealing With False Teachers (4:1-16)
VI. Dealing With Different Groups (5:1-6:2)
VII. Miscellaneous Matters (6:3-21)
Chapter 1 begins with a greeting to Timothy then quickly turns to a warning against false teachings and an emphasis on correct beliefs. Paul encourages him to, "fight the good fight of faith..." (1:18) and again in (6:12).
In chapters 2-4, Paul declares that God desires salvation for everyone, "Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2:4). Paul then teaches that, "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (2:5). Next, Paul lays some important guidelines and principles for church leadership. He taught the controversial subject of women in the church. He even taught some of the practices that should be carried out in the church such as, "give attention to public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching" (4:13).
Chapters 5-6, Paul gives guidelines for relationships within the church as he explains how to deal with discipline and care for widows. He gives advice of how to minister and lays more guidelines for the wealthy instructing them to be generous. "Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with al things to enjoy" (6:17).
continue to 2 Timothy...
continue to 2 Timothy...