All the Bible, Every Book: 1 Timothy
Stewards of God’s Word
O Timothy, protect what has been entrusted to you.
(1 Timothy 6:20)
The thirteen Pauline Epistles develop the foundational truths of Christianity introduced in the Gospels. Paul wrote nine letters to churches and four to individuals. He writes from the perspective of the Apostle to the Gentiles, church-planter, pastor, and friend. His letters contain instructions, exhortations, and corrections that were real-time—messages to real people, gathered in real churches, with real problems as they endeavored to follow Christ and make a difference in their world. One consistent theme undergirds all of Paul’s teaching—the reality of every believer’s position in Christ.
Like His Master before him, Paul gathered a group of men to be with him as he ministered the gospel. Timothy and Titus were especially close to Paul (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4), and he mentored them through challenging assignments. Timothy trusted Christ while Paul was ministering in Lystra (Acts 14:6-23). He then joined Paul on his 2nd missionary journey when the apostle traveled through Timothy’s homeland (Acts 16:1-3). Timothy helped Paul on this 2nd missionary journey and Paul began to view him as a faithful partner in the gospel. During the 3rd missionary journey he was with Paul in Ephesus, and then Paul began sending him on extended assignments—to Macedonia (Acts 19:22) and Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3), as he was accompanying the apostle.
It seems Timothy asked to be relieved of his leadership duties in Ephesus and the province of Asia so that he could return to Paul. In 1 Timothy Paul instructs him to remain in Ephesus because his ministry was vital, and assures him he would come to him there (3:14; 4:13). Until he arrives, this letter gives Timothy insights into church leadership.
Though this is a personal letter to Timothy, it provides some of the clearest guidance for the order of a local church. First Timothy addresses two sides to the order of the local church—what the life of the church should look like, and who should lead the church:
1 Timothy: The local church should proclaim and live Christ’s truth in the world!
The letter is a challenge to every local church and every local church leader to teach Christ’s truth accurately and to live it out authentically. …