What does God teach us in the first letter to Timothy?

Last updated on March 3, 2022

Around the years 66 – 67 AD, the apostle Paul wrote a first letter to Timothy so that he would know how to conduct himself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God. Sometime before, Paul had entrusted Timothy with the care of the church in Ephesus. He was to correct the problems that came up there, but these increased (1 Timothy 3:14-15).

The Church of Christ, pillar and buttress of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15-16)

Why is the Church of God important? Because it is a pillar and foundation of truth in society. It is based on Christ, who was manifested in the flesh and died for His Church, but was also resurrected and exalted at the right hand of the Father, and is now preached and believed throughout the world.

A serious problem: false leaders and false teachings (1 Timothy 1:3-7)

In the church, there were leaders who taught doctrines different from those of Jesus Christ and Paul; pretending to know the law, they distorted it. They listened to the doctrines of demons and were deceived, and wanting to get rich they fell into greed, turning away from the faith. This generated foolish disputes, envy, and constant friction that threatened the spiritual growth of the church. (Read 1 Timothy 1:19-20; 4:1-5; 6:3-10).

To deal with this problem, the church needed to keep in mind:

The law is part of the complete Gospel of Christ (1 Timothy 1:8-20)

Paul taught Timothy that God’s law is good as long as it is used correctly. The law reveals our sinfulness, and Christ came into the world to save sinners. That is the complete Gospel. Therefore, having a correct knowledge of the function of the law is healthy for the spiritual growth of the church.

Correct worship and public prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-15)

The public prayers of the Church were impacted by the false teachings. Therefore, Paul instructs Timothy in the correct public worship of God. Men should pray without anger or strife, praying for all people, including the authorities, so that the church might worship in peace and society would come to the knowledge of the truth. Likewise, women were to reflect the role they had in the church, praying without vanity and with all submissiveness.

Leadership with a good testimony (1 Timothy 3:1-13)

To combat false leaders, Paul mentions various qualities that should be present in people desiring to take up a leadership role (elders and deacons). They should show, through good testimony, that God called them to the ministry. Only males could serve as elders, and those who labor in preaching and teaching were to be considered worthy of double honor. In the diaconate, women could also serve (read 1 Timothy 5:17-21).

Let’s exercise ourselves in a life dedicated to God (1 Timothy 4:6-6:21)

In this part of the letter, the apostle becomes more personal, and advises Timothy to exercise piety. He should train for a life dedicated to God; in his speech, his conduct, his love, his faith and in purity. He should spend time reading, exhorting, and teaching the Word and abide by it. He should be respectful towards both the old and the young in church, and honor old and helpless widows. He should be impartial when making decisions. And he should cling to eternal life, fighting the battle of faith with his hope in the glorious return of Jesus Christ.

Paul, through Timothy, encourages young widows to marry, have children, and run their homes well. He urges servants to respect their masters. And he encourages the rich to use their money to do good, being generous. In this way he also exhorts the church to exercise godliness.

O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. Grace be with you.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

Get a good introduction about the Bible in What is the Bible?

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