THE NEW TESTAMENT
PAUL WRITES 1 TIMOTHY
The following INTRODUCTION is taken from the New KJV Personal
Study Bible: Thomas Nelson Publishing: 1990, 1995.
The letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus constitute a subgroup
among the letters of Paul. They are addressed not to churches,
but to pastors. Paul's younger colleagues in ministry. Therefore,
since the eighteenth century, they have been called the Pastoral
These three letters share similar characteristics and contents.
They presume a time after the end of Paul's life.
AUTHOR AND DATE
The first verse of each letter identifies Paul as the author.
Some scholars dispute this claim, but there is strong external
and internal evidence under girding the authenticity of these
Paul was released from his imprisonment, recorded at the end of
Acts, in late A.D.62 or early A.D.63. First Timothy was probably
written about A.D.65. The only specific historical reference (1
Tim.1:3) hints at a period of further travel and ministry. Titus
was probably written shortly after 1 Timothy but before the
apostle's rearrest and imprisonment in A.D.66. In 2 Timothy,
probably written in A.D.67, Paul had been rearrested and was
expecting execution (2 Tim.4:6).
Timothy, a native of Lystra in Asia Minor, was the son of a
Jewish mother and Gentile father (Acts 16:1-3). He was a convert
of the apostle Paul, who had evangelized Lystra on his first
missionary journey. Timothy joined Paul and Silas on the second
missionary journey and travelled with them to Greece. Paul sent
him to visit the Thessalonian and Corinthian churches (see I
Cor.4:17; 1 Thess.3:2). His close associate with the apostle
is shown by Timothy's name being joined with Paul's at the
opening of six epistles (2 Cor.1:1; Phil.1:1; Col.1:1; 1
Thess.1:1; 2 Thess.1:1; and Philem. Timothy is also
mentioned in 1 Cor.4:17; 16:10; 2 Cor.1:19; Phil.2:19; 1
FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY
The books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus form the section of
the New Testament referred to as the Pastoral Epistles. For
author, date, and additional background see Introduction to the
At the time of writing I Timothy, Paid had stationed his
associate at Ephesus (1:3) to oversee the work there and
possibly throughout Asia Minor. Comparatively young (4:12),
Timothy needed instruction in supervising the affairs of the
church and counsel in matters of personal ministerial conduct. In
1 Timothy Paul is particularly concerned that the false teachers
in Ephesus be refuted.
Paul warns Timothy against false teaching and gives him guidance
on how to handle it. He lists qualifications for bishops,
deacons, and widows; gives instructions on prayer and ministry;
and compares earthly wealth with spiritual riches. Paul also
offers Timothy directives for his personal life.
This letter was written to provide pastoral care and guidance to
a young church leader. Its words are intended to encourage him
and to help him refute false teaching.
OUTLINE of 1 Timothy
1. Salutations from Paul to Timothy 1:1,2
2. Sound doctrine contrasted with false 1:3-11
3. Paul's testimony and charge to Timothy 1:12-20
4. Prayer in the Christian life 2:1-8
5. Women in the Christian community 2:9-15
6. Qualifications for church leaders 3:1-13
A. Bishops 3:1-7
B. Deacons 3:8-13
7. The character of the church 3:14-16
8. False teaching in the last days 4:1-5
9. Timothy's task 4:6-5:2
A. Instructing others 4:6-11
B. Nurturing himself 4:12-16
C. Rebuking others 5:1,2
10. The widow's role and ministry 5:3-16
11. Selecting and nurturing leaders 5:17-25
12. Spiritual riches versus wealth 6:1-10
A. Exhortation to bondservants 6:1,2
B. Dangers of carnal teachers 6:3-5
C. Exhortation on godliness 6:6-8
D. Warning against greed 6:9,10
13. Final commands to Timothy 6:11-21
A. Pursue godliness 6:11-16
B. Command the rich 6:17-19
C. Guard the truth 6:20,21
Paul immediately claims he is an APOSTLE (one sent forth),
and was appointed not by men but by the command of God and
Christ. We have seen in the book of Acts how Jesus appeared to
Saul or Paul on the road to Damascus. He addresses Timothy
as a true child in the faith. We can gather from all of his
writings that he had a special spiritual bond with Timothy, and
was no doubt very instrumental in leading and teaching
Timothy the true way of the work of the Lord.
He asks that God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give
Timothy grace, mercy, and peace. We notice once more no such
greeting is from the person of the Holy Spirit, which would
amount to a snub of sorts IF the Holy Spirit was a person
separate from the Father and Jesus. As we have stated before, it
was not a snub on Paul's part because the Holy Spirit is NOT a
separate person of the Godhead (verses 1-2).
WARNING AGAINST FALSE TEACHERS
When Paul was in Macedonia he urged Timothy to stay in
Ephesus and stop those who were teaching false doctrines. We are
not told HOW Timothy was to do this, we can only surmise it was
by boldly teaching and possibly writing about the errors of the
false teachers. Timothy was to guide people away from endless
speculations over myths and genealogies, which can cause so many
arguments, which in turn distract away from living a life of
faith and godliness. Paul desired to see all people filled with
love, from a goof pure heart,a clear conscience, and sincere
faith. Many he say have turned away from the foundation of
Christianity, and have turned to this arguing over myths and
endless pedigrees, as if your ancestral genealogy was crucial to
Paul gets pretty blunt here, as he tells us that those false
teachers were wanting to be teachers of the law (found in the
books of Moses) but in reality he says they did not
have a clue what they were talking about, though they came across
in speech as if they were experts on the law (as one funny
explanation says about the word "expert" - "ex" is an unknown
quantity; and "spert" is a drip under pressure).
Paul declares that God's laws are GOOD, when used for the
purpose they were created for. And the bottom line is that the
laws were brought into being by God, not for the righteous but
for the sinner. He proceeds to name some of the common sins.
Probably many of those sins he lists were common practice in his
day, and as we read them, many are common practice even to this
very day. The laws design was mainly towards those who were
disobedient and rebellious, ungodly and sinful, who consider
nothing sacred, and trample on what is holy, who hate and despise
their fathers and mothers. The laws are for the sexually immoral,
for homosexuals, lesbians, slave traders, for liars and breakers
of oaths, and for just anything that is contrary to right
teaching, that he says came to him through the glorious GOOD NEWS
of the Gospel, entrusted to him by our blessed God (verses 3-11).
Paul gives thanks to Jesus Christ for putting him into His
ministry. Paul remembers he was a blasphemer and a persecutor of
the Church of God, yet he obtained mercy as he did the former
through ignorance and unbelief in the Gospel of Christ. He is
reminded of the great mercy of Jesus, and the fact that He came
into the world to save sinner, whom Paul says he was up at the
head of the class as being. Yet Paul obtaining mercy was a figure
or pattern for other sinners who would also obtain mercy long
after Paul was not on this earth (verses 12-16).
In verse 17 we have theses words: "And unto the King
eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and
glory for ever and ever. Amen."
The CONTEXT is the thought of Jesus Christ, note verses 12,
14, 15, 16. So from the context, the "King eternal" - "immortal"
- "invisible" - "the only wise God" IS REFERRING TO Jesus
Christ. Jesus is then GOD!!
Yes, God the Father is God, and the Son of the Father is
God, BOTH have the name of God. Often in the New Testament the
word "God" is used as a last name, just as Hunt is my last name
and all in my family have the name "Hunt" attached to their first
name. So it is with the "Godhead" - all in that family are God.
The Father is God, and Jesus His Son is God. One God, or Godhead,
but two personal individual Beings make up that ONE God, using
the word "God" here as a surname.
It would seem that there were certain prophetic utterances
made about Timothy at an earlier point in his life and ministry,
and those utterances were of a positive nature, by which he could
wage a good spiritual warfare. We are not told what those
specific prophecies were in the life of Timothy, but we can be
sure Timothy knew what Paul was referring to.
Such applications by Timothy would make sure he held the
faith with a good conscience, which some Paul says, concerning
the faith, have made shipwreck. He names two individuals who have
broken the faith and have turned away from the narrow pathway
that leads to life eternal. Those two individuals were men by the
names of Hymeneus and Alexander. We know nothing more of them
from the New Testament than what is said about them here in
Paul had been willing to let them go, to have them delivered
over to Satan and his world, hoping that in so doing they would
learn to be disciplined back to the straight and narrow way of
righteousness and salvation, and to stop living a blasphemous
life (verse 20).
PRAYERS AND THE ONE MEDIATOR
Paul teaches in verses 1-3 that prayers should be made for
"all men" - for kings and all that be in authority. does this
mean that we should pray for "dictators" and people in authority
like Hitler was in authority over Germany before and during the
great Second World War? Well, we may include them in our prayers
that they would REPENT of their horrific SINS and madness against
other humans made in the image of God. It is hardly a Christian
thought to be "giving in thanks" for such people.
The answer to such verses (there are a few more in the New
Testament; such as 1 Peter 2:13,14) is two fold. First, the
second half of verse two shows we are praying that we should lead
a quiet and peaceable life in godliness - under all men. It is
like Daniel leading such a life in captivity to the Babylon
armies and king Nebuchadnezzar, as well as his friends, Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego. They served God FIRST, under all
situations, and of course prayed they would be granted to live in
godliness even if those in authority were evil. If there was a
conflicts between serving God and the dictates and commandments
of men, they obeyed God first, even if it meant dying for their
As Paul says in verse 3, "This is good and acceptable in the
sight of God our Savior."
Second, the Bible uses many many times "general statements"
- the example of "all the world should be taxed" (Luke 2:1) is
one of dozens of "general statements" in the Bible. Obviously the
people in South America or Australia, did not come up to
Palestine to be taxed. We then obviously do not "give thanks" to
all men. It is not a thankful situation to have people like
Hitler walking this earth and bringing all the evil they may
bring upon other people and nations.
Paul continues to tell us in verse 4 that God would desire
that all people be saved and to come to the knowledge of the
truth. That is God's desire, but it does not mean ALL WILL repent
and be saved. God cannot force anyone against their will to
repent and acknowledge Him as Savior. Yet we are to remember that
even such evil men as Hitler, God wishes would repent and be
saved. So we could certainly pray that all people would come to
acknowledge God, repent of sins, accept Jesus as their Savior,
and so find salvation.
Verse 5 gives an important truth. There is ONLY ONE mediator
between God the Father and mankind, and that is the man Christ
Jesus. There can be NO OTHER, not the mother of Jesus, Mary, not
any "apostle" or religious leader. Only Christ Jesus is the
mediator. As the book of Hebrews shows over and over again, only
Jesus is our High Priest in heaven pleading our case before the
Some take the word "man" in this verse for Jesus as proof
that Christ was not God in the flesh, not divine, but mealy a
human man with "more of the Spirit" than any other man ever born
on earth. But again such ideas come from not reading the entire
Bible. We see in Daniel 9:21 that the angel Gabriel is called a
"man." An angelic being called a "man" - Gabriel is hardly a
"man" as we think of a human person.
The Bible uses many "figures of speech" - words and phrases
that put things into more human language for us to "get the
picture" so to speak. When we then read of Gabriel being a "man"
it is showing us that this mighty angelic being can be, in form
and shape, like a human person. But it is not trying to prove to
us that this spirit angelic being IS LITERALLY a man. So Jesus in
heaven, as our mediator, is not a literal flesh and blood human
man somehow able to exist on the right hand of the Father. But it
is showing us that Jesus does have the form and shape of human
kind. His form and shape in His glorious resurrection is
described in Revelation chapter one, and human like shape is
given, but it can hardly be said that He is literally a physical
Paul's mind is again on Jesus the Christ, and he cannot pass
up the opportunity to mention that the Messiah gave Himself in
death to buy back (a ransom) and free all mankind. This was
foretold in the Old Testament, and in due time it all came to
pass within the time frame which God the Father had desired upon
Paul then ties in with Jesus the fact that he Paul was
called by Him to be a preacher and an apostle, and a teacher to
the Gentiles. He claims this is very truth and part of the faith
Verse 8 is an interesting verse. The phrase "I will
therefore" is in the Greek more specific, being, "It is my
direction." The Greek word used for "men" is "aner" and means
the male sex only. It is never used for the female sex. "Lifting
up holy hands" - many times in the Old Testament we see men
literally lifting up their arms and hands to pray. It is
certainly not wrong to follow such examples. Some men in various
"churches" of Christianity, at the end of the service, giving
what some call the "benediction" - raise their arms up while
blessing the congregation as they finish their worship service.
Paul wants the "men" everywhere to pray. What and when can
this be? Paul must have something specific in mind, as he chose
the Greek word "aner" which means ONLY the male sex, and never
the female sex. As the next verses (9-15) have to do with
"official" worship service context, I believe Paul is addressing
the same context, and is directing Timothy as a church leader to
only have the "men" pray aloud in the official teaching/worship
service. This was the understanding and practice in most
"churches" for the last number of centuries, until the last
decades of the 20th century. Many churches today have adopted an
"anything goes" mentality, and so would also completely
ignore the next number of verse to do with "women" learning in
silence during the worship service.
THE FUNCTION AND DRESS OF WOMEN
AND THE CHURCH WORSHIP SERVICE
Verses 9 and 10 are often given by some religious
organizations as a proof text that God wants Christian women NOT
to have elaborate hair styles, or wear jewelry, or clothes that
are costly (and how do we determine "cost" for what is costly to
one person is inexpensive to another). Are churches to have an
"apparel committee" to decide what the cost of buying clothes
should be for its members?
Again, as we read the entire Bible, we soon come to the
realization that some of God's people (men and women) did wear
costly clothes and did adorn themselves with jewelry. Jesus had a
cloak that was seamless (you might remember some cast lots over
it at Jesus' crucifixion). such a garment was looked upon as
"rare" and indeed "costly."
So, with ALL the Bible in view, we understand these verses
not as saying God's women should not have pretty hair styles,
jewelry, and expensive clothes, from time to time, but that the
MAIN attitude of mind is that women have INNER beauty,
complimented with good works. You may want to read about the
virtuous woman as found in Proverbs 31.
How these verses in 1 Timothy should be read is like this:
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves NOT ONLY in
modest apparel, with humility and decorum; NOT ONLY with
elaborate hair at times, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; BUT
MORE IMPORTANT (which becomes women professing godliness) with
Verses 11-14 and the subject of women learning in silence,
must have only one context, and that is the subject of "official
church worship service." It can hardly have anything to do with
women teaching their children, or being a teacher in a school
system. Paul was writing to Timothy concerning things within "the
church" (see chapter 3:14,15). Paul was not writing about public
school systems or the role of women in their families as wife and
mother. These verses here must be of the same nature and context
as that found in 1 Cor.14:34-35.
It is not the purpose of this Bible Story to go into an
in-depth study on the role of women in the official church
worship service. Yet, it should be very clear from the two
passages above referred to, that Paul taught that in the Church
of God worship service, women were not to take a "teaching" role,
as found be expected from a male minister such as Timothy. They
were to be in "silence with all subjection" - the word
"subjection" in the Greek is a military term, which means "to
rank under." Paul appeals to the very beginning of human
creation in the book of Genesis. He does not go into all the
details of HOW he understood that creation of man and women, was
God's design for a woman to NOT take a "teaching" role in an
official way within the "church of God."
We must remember that Paul was very plain in telling us in
the book of Galatians, he was NOT taught the mysteries and Gospel
of God by any human man but by the Lord Himself.
In these verses Paul is quite up front in telling Timothy
that this IS the WAY it should be. He was at times in his letters
to people and churches, very bold with "authority" - and I guess
if you or I were taught directly from the Lord, we would also at
times be bold with authority in some of our statements,
especially concerning how things should be conducted within the
church congregation, if we had been personally instructed
by the Lord on how it was to be conducted.
This does NOT mean women are inferior to men, or lack
something in the brain which men have and women do not have. This
is not the case at all, just as children are not less perfect in
the brain than their mother. It all simply has to do with "roles"
or "functions" that certain ones are to fulfil within a certain
context of life and relation to others.
And Paul would clearly argue that God had certain "roles"
for men and women to function within, when it came to the church
It all has to do with "role function" and has nothing to do
with personal salvation, or in private (such as we find in the
example of Acts 18:24-28 with a man and his wife giving better
instruction to Apollos in the way of God and the Gospel) teaching
and instructing people in Scriptural matters.
The woman is on equal footing with men for salvation. Paul
finishes his thoughts by saying the woman shall be saved "in THE
childbearing" - the Greek containing the definite article "the" -
which would be a reference to Jesus Christ (verse 15). It was
after all through a woman that the Son of God became flesh and
blood, to die for the sins of both men and women. Women shall
indeed be saved as men are, through Jesus, IF they continue in
faith and love and holiness and modesty (self-control). And is
not this the heart of salvation, be it for women and for men?
Yes, it is. There maybe different roles that men and women
function in at times, but the bottom line for salvation is
exactly the same for both sexes.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR CHURCH LEADERS
Paul opens with a true saying, in saying, that if a man
desires the function of an Elder or Bishop (Greek is "episkopos"
and means "overlooker") he does indeed desire a noble work. But
desiring such a work does not automatically mean he is qualified
for such a work. For the apostle goes on to tell us what are the
basic requirements for a man holding the function of a church
leader or shepherd of the flock of God.
He must be living a basically blameless Christian life. This
does not mean he may not make certain mistakes or errors at times
(Peter obviously did as the apostle Paul had to correct him as we
read in Galatians chapter two). Yet his overall life will be one
that can be held up for others to follow and be inspired by.
He must be the husband of one wife. This phrase may seem
hard to understand today, but when we note that polygamy, or have
more than one wife at the same time, was ALLOWED by God under the
Old Covenant, we see here that Paul was inspired to set a new
standard. Having a number of wives at the same time was no more
allowed under the New Covenant or Testament, especially for an
Elder or shepherd of the church.
He needed to be of a sober or sound mind, not one that would
think and act like a man who had too much alcohol to drink. And
so it would follow that he would also be a man of good common
behaviour, knowing how to act in many different situations and
circumstances that life can put us in. Hence he would have good
respectable manners and language when dealing with people (and
children) of all ages.
A spiritual leader would have an outgoing hospitable
disposition. He would enjoy being hospitable to people, sharing
his time, his home, his life, with others. He would not
be someone who was a loner, preferring to be by himself and away
from other individuals. Jesus was not a loner, except when He
needed time to be with the heavenly Father in prayer. Otherwise
Christ was a people person, wanting to serve them, teach them, be
with them. So a leader in the congregation was to be also, for
Paul instructed he was to be a "teacher" - not necessarily a
great "preacher" but he was to be a "skilful teacher" as the
original Greek reads. Teaching the truth of God's word is a large
part of the work of any man who is chosen to be a spiritual
leader in the Church of God.
He is also a person who is not to be hot tempered, or quick
tempered, not to be a quarrel-some person, saying and doing
wrong, as one that is drunk with wine. Or "not given to wine"
could mean, he is not given to drinking too much wine or alcohol
as one who becomes an alcoholic. He is to always have
self-control over alcoholic drinks.
He is not to be a "striker" - not someone who is ready to
get into hot arguments over "religion" and even get so worked up
that he looses physical control of himself. It is a sad
commentary to learn that many physical wars in history have been
waged among people who thought they were doing the will of God,
by literally battling it out with others.
A leader in the church must not be doing the work of a
spiritual guide for the sake of a pay-check, or to try and get
more and more physical goods or money, thinking that he is
rightly entitled to living a high and splendid material life.
That kind of mental thought and ambition is not for the man who
desires the work of the ministry.
Paul again goes back to give emphasis on the fundamental
nature that must be evident in a spiritual leader - a nature that
is NOT of the "brawler" type personality. A brawler person is
anything but patient, they tend to be loud, abrasive, crude,
ready to fight with words and/or actions, at the drop of a hat. A
church leader must be patient, longsuffering, and certainly not
having the brawler type personality.
Because he is not to desire the work of spiritual leader for
the end result of obtaining material wealth, such a leader must
then not be a covetous person, according to Paul.
He is to rule his own household well, his children being in
good subjection with a sensible mindset that makes them serious
in knowing the rightness of listening to their father, and being
in subjection to his guidance in the way they should conduct
themselves in school and out of school. This was important a
qualification to Paul because if a man could not guide and rule
his own family, the apostle could not see it possible for him to
guide and take care of the church of God.
I personally have only known one man in my personal dealings
with other ministers, who willfully stepped down from the
ministry because he had lost control of his teenage sons. His
sons were indeed into big time bad things that no sons of a
minister should ever be in. I had great respect for that
minister for being humble enough to admit this qualification, to
see somewhere along the way he had lost control of his children,
and for then resigning from the ministry. He did not wait for
other spiritual leaders to ask him to step down from active
service in the ministry, he himself withdrew and stepped down.
I suppose the apostle Paul would have no arguments with such
a leader being reinstated into the Eldership after his children
were of adult age and out from under their father's domain. All
adults are on their own before God and other people. What the
apostle here is saying is that when a spiritual leader's children
are still children, and under their father's domain, then that
leader must have normal respectable control over them, where the
children are in control and not out-of-control with the society
or the laws of the land. If they are in trouble with the police
and courts of the land, and cannot be ruled well, then that
church leader is to step away from the ministry, during that time
when his children are still children under his care.
And of course no man should be brought into the spiritual
leadership who is not having good rule over his household and
A church leader is not to be a novice, or one "newly
planted" as the Greek reads. As Paul says, such a one coming
into leadership when a relatively new Christian, will often be
lifted up with pride and vanity, which will give Satan am
opportunity to enter and lead that man into paths of
unrighteousness, that vanity and pride have often led men in
the ministry who were not novices. I have seen long time church
men who became leaders fall under pride and vanity, how much more
so for those that would be novices in Christianity and godliness,
if given such a high responsibility as spiritual leader way
before their time to mature in righteousness and the skill of
understanding the word of
Finally the church leader must have a "good report of them
which are without" - those outside the Christian community and/or
those outside the local church that he is to help lead. He must
have lived and be living a life of conduct in word and deed and
reputation, that is respected by those who know him and have
social and business dealings with him. Those people may not know
what church he belongs to, they may not go to the same church,
they may not know he is being chosen as a church leader by the
church he attends. But they sure will know about how he conducts
himself in business and in community social events. He must be
respected as being kind, patient, fair, honest, trustworthy,
skilled in his work or trade, a "nice person to know" as we say,
and a moral upright person.
It is true that few can ever win all people, some will just
not like a certain person, and it may simply be because of
"personality clashes" and nothing else. Some people are
hard to win no matter how nice and "good" you are to them and
others, but by and large, in the main, the spiritual leader must
have the love and confidence of those outside his church
congregation, and with whom he must meet and "rub shoulders with"
in the day to day world.
As Paul says, appointing any man to church leadership who
does not qualify on this point, is bound to give room for the
Devil to work his snares, and to also bring reproach on himself,
his church, and the name of Christianity (verses 1-7).
Written November 2005