Paul, To Timothy

1 Timothy 1:1-2

You’ve heard before, bears repeating: the Master of the house has provided his servants with clear instructions, doing his part to help them understand his expectations. The Master is, of course, Lord Jesus; his house, the household of God which is the church. Sad, but also true, those instructions come to us because of trouble in another part of the house.

Church in Ephesus in need of specific attention, Timothy there at Paul’s encouragement, to correct the problems. Ephesus a city of close to 1/2 million, where Paul spent short time on 2nd missionary journey, then 2 years during 3rd journey. A body of believers in which Paul had great investment, for whom he had great affection (Acts 20:16–38); same true also for their pastor, Timothy.

Few years earlier when Paul wrote letter to Ephesians, no apparent local circumstance / situation in need of attention. In fact, that letter probably a circular one, intended to be read in Ephesus church as well as others – the remaining 6 churches found at beginning of Revelation. Now difficulties have developed at Ephesus, Paul gave verbal instructions to Timothy and then followed up in writing, penning 1st letter to Timothy after he (Paul) arrived in Macedonia.

“If there were no epistle to Timothy extant, we should have particularly wished that there was one, in order that we might see what Paul would chiefly recommend to Timothy; now, since there are two, we ought the more earnestly to turn them to use.” Johann Bengel, NT Gnomon

A. author v.1

identity – Paul

structure of 1st century letter: author first, then recipient; followed by greeting, body, closing and, occasionally, name of secretary or courier

From Paul, to Timothy, greetings; here’s what I told you; let me summarize; farewell.

universally accepted as genuine composition of Paul until about 1805, Schleiermacher, et. al.

vocab list has bunch of new words – he’s a scholar, it’s a more personal letter

doesn’t fit chronology of Paul’s life from Acts – still alive at end of Acts, could easily have been written after that

things he wrote about in other letters not present – um, he didn’t need to repeat himself

if this is Word of God, 1 Timothy claims to be written by Paul, means was written by Paul, case closed; besides, no evidence either in or outside Bible to prove otherwise

office – apostle

means: one sent out with orders and authority

According to Paul the ἀπόστολοι (1 C. 12:28 f.) are not officials of the congregation, let alone the chief of such officials; they are officers of Christ by whom the Church is built. TDNT

their work is foundational – built on the foundation of apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20)

qualification: called / appointed to office

1 Cor. 1:1παυλος κλητος αποστολος, Paul a called apostle; not self-appointed

had adequate credentials humanly speaking: “If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more”, then lists his (Phil. 3:4-6)

Gal. 1:1 – began extended defense of genuineness of his call with “not from men or by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father”

authority – by commandment of God

appointed and sent out by command of God himself – commission which included his specific duties had God’s signature

means his instructions to recipients of his letter (and anybody else it applies to) aren’t simply suggestions

Paul as ambassador of Christ spoke with authority of Christ; remember, it is God’s Word

B. recipient v.2a

identity – Timothy

Acts 16:1-2 Paul’s 2nd missionary journey with Silas, returned to check on progress at churches established on 1st journey

Stopped in Lystra, south-central Turkey, about 125 miles west of Tarsus, Paul’s home-town

Paul not only found Timothy, found he had a good reputation in the church, both Lystra and Iconium (20 miles north)

Paul not interested in being lone ranger, either present or future

took Barnabas (peer), John Mark (young fellow to mentor) on first journey

took Silas (peer), acquired Timothy (young fellow to mentor) on second journey

description – true son

strong affection – genuine son, beloved and faithful son (1 Cor. 4:17); by this time, much invested in mentoring Timothy

shared faith – son in the faith, son in the Lord; bonds uniting two who labor together in Gospel ministry stronger at times than bonds of human families

….and… the church in Ephesus

is called a pastoral epistle, letter written to a specific pastor, but…

clear from introduction there’s more to it than that – simple “from Paul” would have been enough for Timothy

addition of Paul’s identity as an apostle means he expected entire church to hear letter

also, content of letter is something else; read it and ask “seriously? I’m supposed to do that, to be that?”

Alexander Whyte says, “Well might Timothy, and well may every living minister today, lay down these two terrible Epistles, and say over them – Who is sufficient for these things? For no mere man is sufficient for such things as these. No mortal man is sufficient for such a holy ministry as that. But then no mere and mortal man is expected to be sufficient. You must not go away and suppose that the arch-Apostle himself was sufficient for half of the charges he laid, almost with a curse, upon Timothy. Paul, you may be sure, threw down his pen again and again in the composition of these two pastoral Epistles, and betook himself to his knees and to the blood of Christ before he could finish what he had begun to write.

“And these two Epistles, so full of matter for ministerial remorse, are to this day put into our hands, not to drive us to despair and self-destruction, but rather to summon us out of our beds every returning Monday morning to give better and ever better attendance to our reading of the best books, and to our writing in connection with them, To our sick-visiting in the afternoon, and to our whole walk and conversation all the day, and all the week, and every week, till a Greater than Paul comes.

“And more than that, these pastoral Epistles are not written to us who are ministers only. But all you people are to read these Epistles and are to ponder them and pray over them continually, in order that you may have it always before you at what a cost a true minister of the New Testament is made. As also to teach you to value aright such a minister when he is intrusted to you, till he shall finish his ministry among you, both by saving himself and those among you who have ears to hear him.” (Alexander Whyte, “Bible Characters”, ‘Timothy as a Young Minister.’)

matters of faith have primary focus, particularly how “the faith” should be guarded and propagated

if household of God, church of living God, is mainstay of the truth, how should we then live

how should the church be the church as Christ intends her to be, as he builds her

biblical model of human family: dad, mom, children, minimum; each has role, purpose, relationship to the others that has been ordained by God

biblical model for church family: elders, deacons, members; each has role, purpose, relationship to the others that has been ordained by God

C. greeting v.2b

Gospel is essential to church, essential to life of apostle; that’s why Paul brings it up 2x in first two verses:

God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” — “Grace, mercy, and peace”

“Grace, mercy, and peace are the three sisters of salvation. In these three words we have the gospel in capsule form. They sum up our complete salvation in Jesus Christ.

Grace is the foundation of our redemption, mercy is the manifestation of our redemption, and peace is the consummation.” Our Daily Bread, April 29, 1996

these three summarize remaining text of Paul’s letter, Gospel realities that exist just as surely as anything you can hold in your hand

the church is where “Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” is on display

saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8); Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not (Lam. 3:22); having been justified by faith, we have peace with God (Rom. 5:1)

blessings of grace, mercy, peace form basis of fellowship and unity in household of God

have all experienced them, should be evident in daily life; God’s people more than any other know full meaning

when world looks at church, household of God, should see a people who

show grace to others because God has loved them while still sinners and died for them

show mercy to others because God mercifully poured out wrath they deserved on own Son

are at peace with others because are at peace with God

should be evident in church when gathered together, when in the community, in each home, wherever and whenever God’s people are present

world a place of false hope or no hope

false hope – human effort, reincarnation, existence ends at death

no hope – will never get any better, no point to life, stop the world and let me off

the church to be a place of hope

it is church of Christ Jesus our hope; Christ in us is hope of glory

genuine hope, confidence in future glory and blessing – desperately needed by world


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