I TIMOTHY 1
I Timothy 1
INTRODUCTION TO I TIMOTHY
As we begin this series on the letters of Paul to Timothy, we need to be reminded that these letters are different from the other letters of Paul. This is a personal letter
to a beloved one whom he calls his son in the faith. It is not a general letter to a group. Instead it contains careful instructions having to do with the personal
responsibilities which anyone has when dealing with the family of God.
The word “church” usually makes people think in terms of an organization. However, Paul is always conscious of the group and its functions, but he still feels that each
group is only a part of the whole family of God. In these letters, Paul will refer to doctrine, but he always is talking about the principles of truth which reflect the life of
Jesus, and which characterize those who have a personal relationship with Him. They are never intended to form a creed for the church organization as became the pattern of the
various organizations, called churches, as the history of Christianity progressed. That very “creedal” concept has been the cause of most of the division which has characterized
the history of those who wear the name Christian.
I think it is significant that Paul gives his credentials at the beginning of most of his letters. Always he points out that his authority comes from God Himself, and Jesus
Christ His Son. I note that he does not list the Holy Spirit among those that give him his authority. This is because the Holy Spirit, which he often refers to as his guide, is
the Spirit of God and of Jesus Christ dwelling in him. It is God’s Spirit, as he said in II Cor 3:17, “God is the Spirit”.
In his first few words Paul gives God a title found in the Old Testament but not often used in the New. He called God “Our Savior”. I have heard preachers say that the
sacrifice of Jesus was to appease an angry God. As if God was mad at us and Jesus turned away His wrath. Nothing could be further from the truth. “God so loved the world that
He gave His Son”. The pagans thought of their Gods as needing appeasement or they would harm them. God was never like this. The entire Bible is the story of God’s efforts to
restore man to the Garden of Eden, where he could have a personal relationship with his God.
Paul gives to Jesus the title “Hope”. Jesus came in an age of chaos and despair. He gave to mankind a hope of living a moral life in an immoral age, and a hope of a life of
peace and love after death. William Barclay says that this should still be the “battle-cry” of the church. It will only be that when each individual adopts Jesus Christ as his
personal hope both in life and in death. As I look back over the years, I think how short it has been since the days of my youth. Life is really very short, and, as the years
waste away, it is filled with despair, except for those who have “hope”. The name of it is Jesus Christ.
Timothy was born in the out-of-the-way Roman province of Lystra. On his first missionary journey there, Paul does not mention Timothy, but the young man evidently was
excited by the preaching of Christ, and Paul became his hero. On the second missionary journey, Timothy was a fixture of the church there and well spoken of by everyone. Paul
circumcised him, not because he was still a slave of the law, but because Timothy would always have a prejudice against him by the Jews otherwise. From that time on he was a
constant companion of Paul. He was his always loyal Lieutenant.
Paul begins his introduction to this lovely letter with the beautiful words: “Grace, mercy and peace be to you from our Lord Jesus Christ”. We will examine these words in
our next essay.