The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
December 16, 2012
1) 1 Timothy: Introduction and 1:1-2 (Tom Edwards)
2) News & Notes
1 Timothy: Introduction and 1:1-2
by Tom Edwards
We have seen that during his 2-year imprisonment in Rome, from about
A.D. 60 to 62, Paul wrote 4 epistles of the New Testament: Philemon,
Colossians, Philippians, and Ephesians. In addition, during
his release -- and prior to his second Roman imprisonment -- Paul
then wrote two other New Testament epistles: 1 Timothy and then
Titus at a later time, but both of these written about A.D. 64 or
Since the book of Acts ends with Paul in that 2-year confinement, it
doesn't give the history of where he went after he was
released. But even while imprisoned that first time in Rome,
Paul had appeared hopeful of being set free. Consider, for
example, Philippians 2:23,24: "Therefore I hope to send him
[Timothy] immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me; and I
trust in the Lord that I myself also will be coming shortly." In
addition, Philemon 1:22: "At the same time also prepare me a
lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to
After being released, Paul had only 2 or 3 years before being
re-imprisoned in Rome -- and that time, according to tradition, in
the Mamertine dungeon, rather than merely under house-arrest as
before, which eventually culminated in his death by
decapitation. But even prior to that execution, the
circumstances for Paul had been much worse than in his first
incarceration in that city.
Though most of Paul's epistles in the gospel are to various
churches, 1 Timothy is one of the four personal letters that we have
of Paul -- with the others being Philemon (written about A.D. 60 or
61), Titus (c. A.D. 64 or 65), and 2 Timothy (c. A.D. 66 to 68).
We can also observe that the way Paul's letters have been arranged
in the New Testament, which are not all in chronological order,
begins with his letters to the churches, followed by these last four
As we had recently considered, it must have been a close
relationship Paul and Timothy had, as they shared their common faith
and their genuine concern for each other. To the Corinthians,
Paul writes, "For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my
beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my
ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every
church" (1 Cor. 4:17). Though Timothy was young, Paul still regarded
him highly as having "proven worth" (Phil. 2:19-22) and speaks of
him as his "true child in the faith" (1 Tim. 1:2).
Paul had known Timothy for about 14 or 15 years at the writing of
this letter. Mention of him is first made in Acts 16, where he
began accompanying Paul in his second missionary journey (Acts
16:1-3). This was about A.D. 50. But as seen in verse 1, it
might be that Timothy was already a Christian when Paul arrived this
time. For Timothy is spoken of as having been a "disciple";
and if he were a true disciple, then he would be one who continued
in the word of the Lord and was set free by that truth, as Jesus
teaches in John 8:31,32.
We can also point out that this wasn't the first time Paul had been
to Lystra. For he had also been there twice during his first
missionary journey. Notice, for example, Acts
14:5-7. Attempts toward persecuting and stoning the
brethren caused Paul and Barnabas to flee "to the cities of
Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there
they continued to preach the gospel." In the phrase "the
cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region,"
Lycaonia is not one of the cities. Rather, it is a region that
Lystra and Derbe are in.
It was here in Lystra where Paul healed a man who had been lame from
birth (vv. 8-10). On seeing this, the people began treating
Paul and Barnabas as gods. They called Paul "Hermes" ("Mercury" to
the Romans) because he was the chief speaker, and Barnabas they
called "Zeus" ("Jupiter" to the Romans). In mythology, the
Greek god Hermes was the son of Zeus (the greatest of the gods) and
said to have constantly accompanied his father in wandering the
earth. Due to the wings on his sandals, Hermes was the
speediest of the gods, which also contributed toward his being a
"messenger" for them -- and an eloquent one at that. He was
also viewed as being a god of commerce. Paul and Barnabas
expressed their grief, over this action of being reverenced as gods,
by tearing their robes and declaring that they were just men and,
thus, indicating that they were not to be worshiped (vv.
11-18). Since the Bible says that there were multitudes that
saw what Paul had done in healing the lame man (v. 11), we are made
to wonder if Timothy was also in that crowd. For with that
great number raising their voices and crying out, "The gods have
become like men and have come down to us," it would seem that that
would draw out many more -- if not virtually everyone -- at least
out of curiosity to see what was going on.
But it was also here that some Jews had come from Antioch and
Iconium to stir up some trouble for Paul. As a result, Paul
was stoned in Lystra and then dragged out of the city and left for
dead. But while the disciples were standing around him, Paul
arose and went back into the city. I wonder if Timothy also
From Lystra, Paul next went to Derbe; but then he returned to Lystra
again. Notice Acts 14:21-23: "After they had preached the
gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to
Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the
disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying,
'Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.'
When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having
prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they
had believed." So it probably was during Paul's first
missionary journey that Timothy was converted to Christ.
Again, as we think about the close association of Paul and Timothy,
consider 2 Timothy 1:1-4. Phrases such as "my beloved son,"
and "my true child in the faith," which Paul uses in referring to
Timothy, also indicate to us of Paul's involvement in Timothy's
conversion and being an instructor to him. For the term "son"
was also used figuratively to refer to one who had been a disciple
of another, such as in the phrase "sons of the prophets" (2 Kings
2:3), which rather than necessarily meaning their fathers were
prophets, simply indicates that they were disciples of the
So Timothy was from Lystra in Lycaonia, which was a part of Asia
Minor. His father was Greek and his mother was Jewish.
His mother and grandmother appear to have also been very influential
in his life, as they began instilling God's word in him at a very
early age. As Paul declares, "and that from childhood you have
known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that
leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim.
3:15). Also 2 Timothy 1:5: "For I am mindful of the sincere
faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and
your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well."
As we have seen, not only did Timothy join Paul in some of his
missionary journey; but had also been with him in Rome, during
Paul's 2-year imprisonment. For he is mentioned in the opening
salutation of three of Paul's prison epistles -- Philippians,
Colossians, and Philemon. And at the end of Paul's life,
during his second imprisonment in Rome, he writes to Timothy to come
to him in 2 Timothy 4:11-21.
At the time of the writing of 1 Timothy, Timothy was in Ephesus; and
he had the responsibility of holding fast to the truth and teaching
against the false doctrines of his day -- such as Gnosticism, for
example, which was prevalent at that time. We recall that Paul
had warned the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29-31 that "...savage
wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among
your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw
away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the
alert...." Paul, therefore, commended these elders to the word
of God's grace, which could build them up and give them an
inheritance among all those who are sanctified (v. 32). For
knowing the truth, and living according to that truth, is the only
remedy for overcoming false teaching.
So, in view of that, Paul's main reason for writing 1 Timothy is set
forth in 1 Timothy 3:14,15: "I am writing these things to you,
hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write
so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the
household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar
and support of the truth."
Paul begins this letter to Timothy by saying, "Paul, an apostle of
Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of
Christ Jesus, who is our hope, To Timothy, my true child in
the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ
Jesus our Lord" (1 Tim. 1:1,2).
Paul cites his apostleship, as he also does in all of his other
epistles with the exceptions of 1 and 2 Thessalonians and
Philippians -- though he does include himself with the other
apostles in 1 Thessalonians 2:6.
Here, in 1 Timothy 1:1, Paul says he is an apostle by the
"commandment of God." In 1 Corinthians 1:1, Paul refers to his
apostleship as being by the "will of God." Hence, God's
commandments are His will.
In Romans 1:1, Paul points out that he was "called as an apostle,
set apart for the gospel of God." In Galatians 1:1, Paul
defines his apostleship by stating that he was "not sent from men,
nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the
Father...." This makes it even clearer. For the term
"apostle" is sometimes used in a secondary sense in the Scriptures
in referring to one who was sent by a church, such as Barnabas (Acts
14:14). James, the Lord's half-brother, who was a prominent
member of the church in Jerusalem, is also called an "apostle" in
Galatians 1:19, though he wasn't one of "the twelve." But Paul
is emphasizing in Galatians 1:1 that his apostleship was received
from Jesus Himself. It was the Lord who was doing the
"sending" in the case of Paul. As he states in Acts 22:21,
"And He said to me, 'Go! For I will send you far away to the
Gentiles.'" Consider also Acts 22:15,16 and Acts 26:15-18.
Paul speaks of "...Christ Jesus, who is our hope." People
today have hope in many different things -- and hope that sometimes
crumbles like sand-castles by the sea, such as those, whom Paul
speaks of in 1 Timothy 6:17 who "fix their hope on the uncertainty
of riches...." But when Jesus is one's hope, no other hope
could be more sure and dependable. As a matter of fact, hope
in Jesus, which comes through the Scriptures, is a combination of
"desire plus expectation." So not only does it fill us with a
longing for the Lord and heavenly things, but it also gives us a
certainty toward receiving that, which can truly make our hearts
glad. As Paul declares in Romans 5:5, "...hope [which would be
based on God's word] does not disappoint...." Hope can be like
the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Or when
difficult times seem to overwhelm us, hope helps us look ahead to a
better time -- and when that hope is Jesus, one can have the best of
all outlooks. Notice in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 what Paul did
when he had undergone a very low period in his life -- He set his
hope on God! In Colossians 1:27, Paul refers to Jesus in the heart
of the Christian as being the "hope of glory." And in 1
Thessalonians 5:8, "the hope of salvation" is seen as part of the
Christian's spiritual armor, which is very needful in our battle
against sin and temptation.
Hope not only helps to set us free from pressing times, but can also
change us for the better, giving us a very positive outlook.
In 2 Corinthians 3:12, for example, Paul acknowledges that "Having
therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech."
This hope is vibrant: For Peter speaks of it as being a
"living hope" (1 Pet. 1:3); and he exhorts the brethren to
"Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix
your hope on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of
Jesus Christ" (v. 13).
When the Hebrew writer speaks of hope, in Hebrews 6:19, being "an
anchor for the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which
enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for
us," it indicates the stability this kind of hope can give us; and
to keep us from drifting away from the gospel. Having this
kind of hope can make a great deal of difference in one's life.
In pointing out how it had been for the Ephesians, prior to their
conversion, Paul wants them to "remember that you were at that time
separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and
strangers to the covenants of promise, having NO HOPE, and without
God in the world" (Eph. 2:12, emphasis mine) -- and that's a very
sad state to be in.
In addition, just as a plant needs to be continually nourished to
thrive, we also need to continually maintain our hope in the Lord,
if we want it to be effectual in our lives. Compare this, for
instance, with Colossians 1:21-23: "And although you were formerly
alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now
reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to
present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach -- if
indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast,
and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard,
which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I,
Paul, was made a minister." Having a true hope in Jesus can
motivate us toward maintaining a righteous life: "And everyone who
has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure" (1
Jn. 3:3). In the context, John is indicating the glorified
state Christians will be transformed to when Jesus returns. So
a hope in that should certainly prompt us to keep ourselves ready
for that great change by continuing in the light of God's truth.
Hope is just one of the needful things that God's word
provides. The gospel has all we need to be saved eternally, if
we will simply accept it by our faith and obedience. May this
be what we each will always do. For then we will truly be the
recipients of God's grace, of His mercy, and of His forgiveness, and
have that hope of eternal life while on earth, which will lead to
the actuality of an eternity in heaven.
News & Notes
Let those of us who are Christians continue praying for the
Scott Moon (Jackson Moon's grandfather) who has lung cancer,
which also metastasized to a couple places in the brain.
James Smith (an elder for the McRaven church of Christ in
Jackson, Mississippi) who has been battling re-occurring cancer for
the last several years, and now also has pneumonia. (His son
Alan had died of cancer about a year and a half ago.)
Joe Koczrowski IV, who recently underwent major
surgery for some serious intestinal problems. He is only about
three and a half years old.
Another young one to be praying for is Thad, a 3-year old
who was accidentally run over by a truck in the driveway. A
cracked rib punctured his lung, and his liver was also damaged (but
which they hope to heal on its own).
Let us also be remembering in prayer...
Ken Robertson who is not yet completely over his recent
sickness, but is on some more antibiotics.
Cheryl Crews who has chronic health issues and now also a
concern about her heart which she will have some tests for near the
beginning of January.
Shirley Young who has continual fibromyalgia.
Pam MacDonald who has serious back trouble.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in
Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
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