1 TIMOTHY First of two epistles Paul wrote to Timothy. See Letters; Paul; Timothy.
Date The letter was written in approximately A.D. 63, following Paul's first imprisonment in Rome. It is likely that Paul left Rome and traveled to Ephesus. There is some debate concerning the place of writing. Rome and Macedonia have been offered as possibilities. Perhaps, in light of 1 Timothy 1:3, Macedoia could be the better choice.
Recipient The letter was addressed to Timothy in Ephesus. Paul had urged Timothy to remain in Ephesus and lead this important church as its pastor (1 Timothy 1:3).
Purpose Paul had hoped to visit Timothy in Ephesus but was fearful of a delay. If he were delayed, he wanted Timothy to “know what is proper conduct in God's household” (1 Timothy 3:14-15 REB). The epistle contains instructions concerning order and structure in the church and practical advice for the young pastor.
One important theme in this and the other two Pastoral Epistles (2 Tim. and Titus) is “sound doctrine.” Paul urged Timothy and Titus to confront the false teaching by sound or healthy teaching. This word occurs eight times in these three letters (1 Timothy 1:10; 1 Timothy 6:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; 2 Timothy 4:3; Titus 1:9,Titus 1:13; Titus 2:1-2).
I. Salutation (1 Timothy 1:1-2)
II. Introductory Remarks (1 Timothy 1:3-20)
III. The Worship of the Church (1 Timothy 2:1-15)
IV. The Leadership of the Church (1 Timothy 3:1-13)
V. The Mission of the Church (1 Timothy 3:14-16)
VI. The Ministry of the Church (1 Timothy 4:1-6:10)
VII. Concluding Remarks (1 Timothy 6:11-21)
Overview, Chapter One: Paul wrote as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He was writing with the authority of Jesus Himself. The error described in 1 Timothy 6:3-4 was Jewish in nature. Some were falsely teaching a mythological treatment of Old Testament genealogies. This teaching was both meaningless and controversial. Timothy was urged to teach “sound doctrine” in its place (1 Timothy 1:10-11). Two leaders among the false teachers were Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom Paul “consigned to Satan, in the hope that through this discipline they might learn not to be taught, not to be blasphemous” (1 Timothy 1:20 REB; compare 1 Corinthians 5:5). The purpose of this and all Christian discipline was the eventual restoration of the offender.
Chapter Two: Prayer is given priority in the worship services in the church. Seven different Greek words appear in the New Testament for prayer, and four of them occur in 1 Timothy 2:1. One of the most significant statements in the entire New Testament is found in 1 Timothy 2:5. Paul wrote there is “one God” and “one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus, himself man” (REB). Monotheism is clearly taught as opposed to the polytheism of the first century religious world. Mediator is a word that means “go-between.” Jesus is humanity's “go-between” to God. He is also called our “ransom” in 1 Timothy 2:6. A ransom was paid to a slave owner to purchase the freedom of the slave. Jesus paid for our redemption with His death on the cross.
Chapter Three: Qualifications for church leadership are discussed in this chapter. Fifteen moral and ethical requirements are mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:2-7. See Offices.
Chapter Four: Paul affirmed that “everything God created is good” (1 Timothy 4:4 NIV). Some false teachers maintained that marriage and certain foods were wrong. Paul drew from the message of Genesis in which God affirmed everything He created was good! Mankind takes God's good creation and corrupts it. The apostle reminded Timothy to be a “good minister of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 4:6 NIV) and to “set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV).
Chapter Five: Paul gave practical instructions concerning the ministry of the church to various groups that comprise its membership.
Chapter Six: The teachers of false doctrine were motivated by “financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:5 NIV). Paul warned in light of this fact and others that “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10 NIV).
Mark E. Matheson
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.