First Epistle to Timothy

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The First Epistle to Timothy is one of three letters in New Testament of the Bible often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles. (The others are Second Timothy and Titus.) The letter, traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, consists mainly of counsels to his younger colleague and delegate Timothy regarding his ministry in Ephesus (1:3). These include instructions on the forms of worship and organization of the Church, the responsibilities resting on its several members, including episcopi (overseers or bishops) and diaconi ("deacons"); and secondly of exhortation to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors (iv.iff), presented as a prophecy of erring teachers to come.

This historical relationship between Paul and Timothy is one of mentorship. Timothy is first mentioned in Acts 16:1. His mother Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are mentioned in 2 Tim. 1:5. All that we know of his father is that he was a Greek not a Jew (Acts 16:1). Paul's second visit to Lystra is when Timothy first connected with Paul (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 3:11). Paul not only brought Timothy into the faith but he was Timothy’s main mentor in Christian leadership (Acts 16:3), having done church planting and missionary journeys together. Timothy would have received his authority to preach in churches directly from Paul who of course was the greater known and accepted of the two and an apostle. Timothy’s official position in the church was one of an evangelist (1 Timothy 4:14) and he worked with Paul in Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia, Troa, Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14) and continued on to do even more work in Athens, and Thessalonica for the church (Acts 17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:2) not to mention his work in Corinth, Macedonia, Ephesus and greater Asia. Timothy was also noted for coming to Paul’s aid when Paul fell into prison (Philippians 1:1, 2 Timothy 4:13). It is noteworthy that despite not being required due the ruling of the Jerusalem council; Timothy took circumcision himself to be a better witness among the Jews. According to church tradition he was loyal to Paul’s wishes and stayed and worked in Ephesus until he finally suffered the Martyr's death himself.

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