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Getting to Know the Bible: 1 Timothy Overview

Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.

Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on 1 Timothy. But before we get to 1 Timothy 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of 1 Timothy. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.

And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of 1 Timothy, as we prepare to behold and discern 1 Timothy, beginning with 1 Timothy 1 in our next installment of this series.

Book Type: Pastoral Epistle, 15th book of the New Testament

Authors: Paul

Date of Writing: ~A.D. 63—66

Audience: Timothy, Ephesian Church

Theme: Consistent Faith, Conscience, & Diligence

Original Language: Greek

Genre: Letter

Title: Instructions for the Church Body

Purpose of Writing: Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him in his responsibility for overseeing the work of the Ephesian church and possibly the other churches in the province of Asia (1 Timothy 1:3). This letter lays the foundation for ordaining elders (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and provides guidance for ordaining people into offices of the church (1 Timothy 3:8-13). In essence, 1 Timothy is a leadership manual for church organization and administration.

Summary: First Timothy is one of three pastoral letters (including 2 Timothy and Titus) that the aging apostle Paul sent to those who would continue his work. Timothy was, in every way, Paul's spiritual son. Young but gifted, Timothy had been assigned to lead the church at Ephesus-a church needing order in worship as well as doctrinal correction, plagued as it was by false teachers. Paul's letter, likely written about A.D. 63-66, counseled the young man on matters of church leadership-from proper worship, to qualifications for overseers (elders) and deacons, to advice on confronting false teaching and how to treat various individuals within a congregation. Paul charged Timothy to live a life beyond reproach, giving believers a standard to emulate.

Overview: This six-chapter letter focuses both on Timothy and his work among the church members of Ephesus. The book of Ephesians discusses this congregation in more detail, and was written a few years earlier.

Chapter 1 includes a greeting followed by three areas of emphasis: a warning against false teachings (1 Timothy 1:3–11), Paul’s testimony (1 Timothy 1:12–17), and words of encouragement to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:18–20).

Chapter 2 discusses two areas of importance to the Ephesian Christians under Timothy’s care: the role of prayer in the church, and teachings regarding the role of women in the church.

Chapter 3 focuses on three areas: qualifications of elders (1 Timothy 3:1–7), qualifications of deacons or servant leaders (1 Timothy 3:8–13), and emphasis on the importance of the church (1 Timothy 3:14–16).

Chapter 4 highlights various dangers in the local church, while chapters 5—6 highlight duties among various groups of people. These include older and younger people (1 Timothy 5:1–2), widows (1 Timothy 5:3–16), elders (1 Timothy 5:17–25), masters and servants (1 Timothy 6:1–2), and false teachers (1 Timothy 6:3–5). First Timothy 6:6–19 addresses the relationship between godliness and finances, with a concluding word for Timothy to guard himself (1 Timothy 6:20–21).

Application: Jesus Christ is presented by Paul as the mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5), the Savior to all who believe in Him. He is Lord of the church, and Timothy serves Him by pastoring His church. Paul instructs Timothy on matters of church doctrine, church leadership, and church administration. We can use those same instructions in governing our local assembly today.

Key Verses (ESV):

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

1 Timothy 3:1–3 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

1 Timothy 4:9–10 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

*Note: First Timothy was one of only four letters in the New Testament written by Paul to individuals. The others are 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Timothy was the only person to receive two individual letters from Paul in the New Testament. Timothy was from Lystra, in modern-day Turkey, the son of a Greek father and Jewish mother. Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, were also believers (2 Timothy 1:5). They had raised him to know the Old Testament (2 Timothy 3:15). He was converted to Christianity by Paul (1 Timothy 1:2). In Acts 16:1–5, we learn that believers in Lystra and Iconium spoke well of Timothy. Paul wanted to take him on his missionary journey, but Timothy was not circumcised. Paul circumcised him and they traveled together on Paul’s second missionary journey.

Timothy would be with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment. When 1 Timothy was written, however, Timothy was in Ephesus, serving as a leader among the various house churches that existed then. His work included evangelism, teaching, reading Scripture, appointing elders and deacons, and standing against false teachings. Paul wrote to him, likely from Macedonia, to encourage his faithful service to Christ. Timothy served some time in jail for his faith, and was later released (Hebrews 13:23).

I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.

May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.

Love you much.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!

-Humble Servant

P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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