Dec. 2. Paul’s First Letter to Timothy

I Tim. 1:1-20

Who was Timothy? His father was a Greek (Gentile) and his mother was a Jew. Paul commended his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice in another letter to him for their role in his spiritual development.

We were first introduced to Timothy as Paul and Silas traveled to Lystra on Paul’s second missionary journey. He was a young man at the time—possibly still a teenager. It is not known just when he was baptized, but it is very likely that it was during Paul’s first missionary journey while he and Barnabas were in Lystra.

When Paul and Silas left Lystra, Timothy went with them. He had become a part of their team, traveling and helping Paul until Paul’s death many years later in Rome.

At some point in Timothy’s ministry, he was in prison because the Hebrews writer mentioned that he had been set free. It is not known when nor where this occurred.

Timothy was a great leader and evangelist in the early church. Paul often referred to him as his son in the faith. He probably did more to help Paul than did any of the apostles or other workers mentioned in the New Testament.

It is likely that Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy in Ephesus from Philippi or Corinth as he was passing through Macedonia. The date was about A.D. 67. Soon after that, he was arrested and taken to prison in Rome for a second time.

Paul had two main purposes for writing this letter. He gave authority and instructions for dealing with false teachers at Ephesus. The other area of concern dealt with the organization of the church and with Christian living.

As in previous letters, Paul began by identifying himself and the letter’s recipient. He also called for blessings from God and Christ to be upon Timothy as he taught and strengthened the church in Ephesus.

Paul had warned the Ephesian elders several years earlier of the evils of false teachers and their destructive ways. His first instruction to Timothy was to remain in Ephesus and refute the error that had begun to be preached to the Ephesians.

A characteristic that Paul described among those false teachers was that through ignorance, they had strayed from the truth and did not even understand their own teaching. They were trying to incorporate various aspects of the law of Moses into the law of Christ.

The apostle pointed out that the law of Moses was given for various offences of the Old Testament era, but after being justified under the law of Christ there is no more need for the Mosaic law.

Paul suffered from the scars of his previous sins after becoming a Christian. Even though he had sinned through ignorance, he was still a sinner, but because of his desire to serve God, he received forgiveness after he had obeyed Christ. He was thankful for the grace and mercy that he had received in the forgiveness of those sins. All who will truly obey can receive that same grace, mercy and forgiveness of sins.

In concluding his introductory remarks, Paul restated the first charge of his instructions. He urged Timothy to engage in his work with faith and a good conscience as if going into a war, a war against sin—which is the Christian life.