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Introduction to 1st Timothy. 1 Timothy 1:1-3

23/01/2015

Paul Writes to Timothy

Text: 1 Timothy 1:1-7, 6:20-21
There is so much in 1st Timothy that will will be profitable to us, for Paul is writing to a young pastor and telling him, in modern terms, to “hang in there”. To persevere, even when the going gets tough. It’s a message we all will benefit from. So we commence with a short introduction to the author and recipient.

1. Paul! v1 & 2
How does Paul introduce himself in this letter?
* His Apostleship.
An apostle. That makes him unique for there are no apostles alive nowadays, for that was one of the foundation offices of the early church. In Ephesians 2:19f Paul likens the church to a building, with a ‘corner-stone, and with a foundation, and with walls… So anyone in modern times who claims that office is generally found to be a charlatan of some sort.
Of Jesus Christ. Paul’s apostolic credentials were gives to Him when he met the risen Lord, in a personal encounter on the road to Damascus. But you ask, is it not possible then, for one to have a similar experience today, and so be brought within that band of apostles for this age? NO! Read 1 Corinthians 1:8 Paul was the very last person to see Jesus, post resurrection. The next time we see the Lord, will be when we meet him in the clouds, or when we open our eyes in heaven and behold him face to face
By God’s Command. He was commanded by God to be an apostle, to be part of the foundation ministry of the church. We have a different command, for right now, than to the work of those foundation apostles, we have God’s will, revealed to us in His Word, and our command is the same as Timothy’s, – to PREACH THE WORD! 2nd Timothy 4:2,
* His Faith in God. So, Paul is an Apostle, a unique office, commanded by God, and so carrying that divine authority. Note the distinctive manner in which Paul speaks of the Lord God here.

God Our Saviour! Psalm 27:1. We often think of God our Father and Jesus as our Saviour. But we must be careful not to make too sharp a distinction in the actions and roles of the Godhead, the Trinity, in the work of redemption, for God planned and purposes our redemption from before the foundation of the world. 2 Corinthians 5:19
Jesus Christ our Hope.

* His Greeting.  For Timothy, Paul desires Grace. Mercy. Peace. The source of these blessings is from God, and from an awareness of the kind of God we serve. All three of these blessings are important in equal measures, but for Timothy, – he especially needs mercy, – to continue the work, to persevere, to know that The Lord is with him in difficult times. So Paul introduces himself, and we are, of course, well familiar with him. But what of his correspondent? Who was Timothy, and what was he like, and why did Paul write such an important letter to him?

2. Timothy! v2
Paul writes, ‘My true son in the faith.’ That statement actually tells us quite a lot about Timothy for Paul regards him very highly indeed. The word ‘true’ is γνήσιο, and it it is used in a family situation to describe a natural-born son, as opposed to an adopted son. Paul very much regarded Timothy as his own spiritual son, his convert. For Timothy, whose parentage would have made his hearers suspicious – that statement was a comfort, an endorsement and an approbation. Throughout most of his later ministry, Timothy was working alongside Paul, working at his side, sorting out problems in churches, carrying letters of encouragement and exhortation, going to Jerusalem with Paul with the offerings for the widows there… Philippians 2:19-24:19 Timothy was:

  1. Young. John Stott the commentator estimates his age at around his mid-thirties. Afraid that his youth might be a hindrance to him, Paul reminds him not to be carried away with youthful lusts. 2 Tim 2:22.
  2. Shy. Perhaps of a nervous disposition, for Paul urges the Corinthian church to treat him gently and with respect, 1 Corinthians 16:10 cf 2 Tim 1:6. Note that his exhortation that God has not given us a spirit of fear is given in the context of ministry in the local church.
  3. In poor health. Perhaps a contributing factor to Timothy’s shyness and timidity was his poor health. He was not a robust figure, like Paul. In fact the apostle has to remind him to be considerate of his own physical wellbeing. 1 Timothy 5:23
  4. Of mixed parentage. Born in the town of Lystra in Galatia, visited by Paul in Acts 14, with great blessing, – His mother was Jewish, his father Greek. Acts16:1
  5. Loved by Paul. After all Paul met him on his first missionary journey, and it is reasonable to suppose that he was one of Paul’s converts, for we know that he brought him in to his own missionary team. Acts 16:3 Note the purpose of his circumcision, – not to obtain salvation, or to make him more Jewish, but to stop the local Jews from harassing him!
  6. Called and ordained. Timothy had been uniquely called by God, and had been regularly ordained, and was serving The Lord as a pastor, – and had been given a very specific task by Paul to remain with the church at Ephesus, to regulate their doctrine and practices of worship. 1 Tim 1:18 1 Tim 4:14.
  7. A fervent witness. Timothy had, at some time, been imprisoned for his faith. Paul warns him not to be ashamed of the gospel, in 2 Tim 1:8, and he must have paid attention to this for Hebrews 13:23 tells us that he has been set free from his imprisonment.

So, young, fearful Timothy, a man with a mission to serve God, has been left in a church with great difficulties, with the task of bringing some regulation, some order, and Paul is now writing to help him in that task. Next study, we will see what those difficulties may have been.

Get the CHILDREN’S NOTES – click this link:

Kids Ink – 1 Tim 1v1

© Bob McEvoy

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