In this letter to Timothy Paul is providing his protégé with the guidance he needs to fulfill his role as a church leader and the prophecy that has been spoken over him.
Notes on the First Book of Timothy
- Stay away from myths that promote speculations. (1 Timothy 1:4)
- "The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." (1 Timothy 1:5 English Standard Version)
- We should pray for all people, in particular those in high positions, for the sake of promoting peace and quiet in society. (1 Timothy 2:1-2). My read of Paul's epistle is that there should no limit to the type of prayers we make, these can even include being thankful to God on that other person or persons' behalf. I sometimes practice this when I am in a restaurant by thanking the Lord on behalf of all of the people there for providing them with food and also thanking the Lord on behalf of the people working there for providing them with employment.
- Men should pray lifting up their hands and women should dress modestly and conduct themselves with submissiveness. (1 Timothy 2:8-14)
- Paul mentions the woman will be saved through childbearing and this has created some confusion, if my survey of online commentary is any indication. (1 Timothy 2:15). I like "option 3" of this article which says that a woman will be "saved" (that is will not be in sin) if she does not step outside of the role that the Lord gave her in her life, as Eve did when she rebelled against God and ate of the forbidden fruit.
- Paul continues with his recommendations for the qualifications of an overseer (1 Timothy 3:1-7) and deacon (1 Timothy 3:8-13). Both positions must not be susceptible to corruption by money and must have good order in their families (because these are "public" positions, in particular that of overseer, their reputations are important) (id).
- There will come false doctrines relating to chastity and unnecessarily restrictive asceticisms; these are demonic. (1 Timothy 4:1-3)
- We can eat whatever we want so long as we do it with thanksgiving. (1 Timothy 4:4-5)
- Like Timothy we should set examples "in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1 Timothy 4:12 ESV)
- We should make sure that we are not neglecting the spiritual gifts that the Lord has given us. (1 Timothy 4:14)
- We must keep watch over ourselves and the things we have been taught. (1 Timothy 4:16)
- Paul goes on to speak about the care for widows "who are truly widows." (1 Timothy 5:3). This discussion (1 Timothy 5:3-16) is interesting because it restricts hospitality of the Church to those who by their actions and sincerity of conduct show themselves to be truly "widows," which from Paul's discussion has a much more restricted meaning than what we would think of as a widow. Paul places emphasis in this and other epistles on the importance of "earning your keep" and does not appear to reward indolence with hospitality or fellowship. I think it is reasonable to believe that Paul is not in favor of free riders.
- Paul supports the use of public shaming by leaders to correct wicked behavior: "As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear." (1 Timothy 5:20 ESV)
- "Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands." (1 Timothy 5:22 ESV). This is apparently in reference to ordination, the promotion of people to a position of leadership in the church should not be done hastily.
- "The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden." (1 Timothy 5:24-25 ESV). Suffice to say much sin is hidden now and those who appear to be pillars of the community may at the judgment be shown to be anything but.
- Servants should respect their masters for the name and honor of Christ. (1 Timothy 6:1-2)
- Beware of those who seek to use the gospel for their own material gain. (1 Timothy 6:5)
- "[T]he love of money is a root of all kinds of evils." (1 Timothy 6:10)
- "But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith." (1 Timothy 6:11-12)
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