March 4, 2017
1 Timothy 1
1 Timothy 1
Shawn Bumpers / General
Introduction to 1 Timothy and beginning of chapter 1
This first letter to Timothy was not written after 2 Thessalonians, which we just studied.
As I have explained before, the order of the books in the New Testament are not arranged by the date written … they’re not in sequential order.
Of the 27 books of the New Testament, Paul wrote 13 (maybe 14).
• The 4 Gospels come first in the New Testament.
• This is followed by The Acts of the Apostles.
• And then we have Paul’s letters, with Romans, the longest letter, through to Philemon, the shortest of Paul’s letters.
• The letter to the Hebrews is a bit of a strange bird as the authorship is not certain, but might be Paul or maybe even Barnabas.
• Then after Hebrews the rest of the letters, James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude follow that same pattern … Author then longest to shortest … except for Revelation, the last letter of the New Testament.
This is why I like to take some time for us to consider the setting into which a letter was written whenever we start a new one.
I want to remind you that the Bible tells us that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3).
2 Timothy 3:16–17 NKJV
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
And so, when we are talking about Paul’s writings we need to keep in mind that Paul’s writings are the inspired word of God.
Every book of the New Testament is important in it’s own way and each letter affirms and upholds the others.
1 Timothy is one of Paul’s later letters and was written in 65 AD.
As the name implies, it was written to Timothy, Paul’s faithful companion in ministering the Gospel.
In 65 AD, Jewish Christians were leaving Israel, knowing that the Romans would soon go from repressing Israel to crushing the nation because of her uprisings.
But let’s back up a little.
In 64 AD, Rome burned and Christians were blamed.
The fire started around the Circus Maximus (the largest stadium in Rome) and rumors spread that soldiers were seen setting fires.
Nero, the Emperor at that time, blamed the tiny group of Christians who were meeting in Priscilla’s home in Rome.
Early church tradition says that one of those believers was Aristarchus of Thessalonica, one of Paul’s inner circle.
Romans 8:35–39 NKJV
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
At this same time in Jerusalem, a kidnapping took place involving Roman soldiers, temple guards, the High Priest, and a group known as the Sicarii, Jewish zealots who used violence to oppose Rome.
This highlighted how the situation in Jerusalem was getting out of control.
Of this new Governor, the historian Josephus wrote: Israel was on the brink of war, and everyone knew it. Florus went into Judea expecting to gain personal wealth.
The High Priest at this time was Matthias Ben Theophilus.
It was a hard year for Rome.
But 65 AD would also be a hard year for Jewish Christians living in Judea.
And it was a busy year for a couple of Apostles who would be writing letters, one to Jewish Christians and the other to Gentile Christians.
But we do know that Jewish Christians were fleeing Israel because they knew that Rome was out of patience with the constant uprisings in Israel.
Each of these three letters dealt with a particular problem … the need for leadership in the churches.
1 Peter 1:1–2 NKJV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
And by late 65 AD, the first of 3 major Jewish revolts against Rome was beginning and there was infighting among the Jews.
Now, this letter to Timothy is a bit of a mystery.
We know from our study of the Thessalonian letters that Paul tended to be quite thorough in teaching.
It is interesting how God orchestrated things here … and I believe He did.
In the early 1900’s Arctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton published an advertisement looking for crew members.
Timothy responded to Christ’s call to help build His church.
He was one of Paul’s special inner circle of helpers.
We know from Acts and from 2nd Timothy that Timothy was brought up in a household of faith.
2 Timothy 1:5 NKJV
when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
1 Timothy 1:2 NKJV
To Timothy, a true son in the faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
The last time Paul had been with Timothy, he had encouraged him to stay on at Ephesus and finish his work (1 Tim. 1:3).
It would seem that Timothy had some kind of physical problems as Paul will reference in this letter.
Acts 19:10 NKJV
And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
It was not easy for Timothy to pastor that congregation following after Paul!
In this first chapter, Paul gives Timothy some marching orders.
• He reminds Timothy that God has entrusted him with a ministry.
It was God who entrusted him with ministry.
1 Timothy 1:4 NKJV
nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
There are many people who gladly seize any opportunity to push a legalistic agenda.
Some harp on the Sabbath, others on food regulations … there are 613 Torah laws to choose from.
James 2:10 NKJV
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
But in teaching law, they are in scriptural error, actually rejecting the Word of God and not understanding what they are talking about.
Galatians 3:24–25 NKJV
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
Romans 10:4 NKJV
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
• He reminds Timothy that God will enable him to do his work.
• He reminds Timothy that God has equipped him for the battle.
Paul introduces himself as an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the ἐπιταγή epitagē (epi-TIE-yay) or authority of “God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope.”
Paul doesn’t introduce himself as our hope, but as a minister of hope, and so he points to Jesus Christ, who is our hope (expectation).
Immediately Paul begins to minister to Timothy.
First, our hope is not the perfect church filled with the perfect people.
Our hope is Jesus Christ.
And, Paul also reminds Timothy of where Grace, mercy, and peace are from.
There are those in the church that want to lead others to believe otherwise.
One reason Christian workers must stay faithful to the job is that false teachers are busy snaring Christians.
There were teachers of false doctrines in Paul’s day just as there are today, and we must take them seriously.
“Feel good” Christianity has become a “legalistic extreme” of Biblical Christianity just as one might say that “feel bad” Christianity is a legalistic extreme.
When someone tells you that “true believers” do this or that, you need to go directly to God’s Word and test it against scripture.
Yes, there are things that “true believers” do … and the Bible is never shy in declaring those things to us.
Romans 5:20–21 NKJV
Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:1–2 NKJV
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?
Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Yet, we are not saved to continue in sin.
Ephesians 2:10 NKJV
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Romans 6:16 NKJV
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
1 John 1:8–9 NKJV
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
God does not excuse sin, but God does offer continual, ongoing grace for those who confess Jesus.
The idea of accepting sin as not being sinful is a direct rejection of grace because it robs a person of repentance.
Numbers 23:19 NKJV
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Of course there are also “feel bad” legalists that want to make sure that everyone but them are doing it wrong.
God had entrusted Timothy with ministry to the Ephesian believers.
And Paul wrote to Timothy to guide him in that ministry.
2 Thessalonians 3:6 NKJV
But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us.
In the original text there are 32 references to “doctrine,” “teach,” “teacher,” “teaches,” and “teaching” in the 3 Pastoral Epistles (that is 1, 2, Timothy and Titus).
You see, in the early church, the believers were taught the Word of God and the meanings of basic Christian doctrines.
Those things appeal to our flesh and sometimes we start paying attention to the desires of our flesh, so this is good for us to hear.
So when people came around saying they had new insight, they were ready to hear it.
Now, look with me to verse 5.
There, the commandment he refers to IS NOT the commandments of the law.
Instead, it is his commandment through Timothy that the Ephesians teach no other doctrine.
He says they were “fables and endless genealogies” (1 Tim. 1:4).
You see, there were those who were teaching fables and allegory mixed with gnostic teaching.
Here, it’s the Greek word μῦθος Mythos, meaning, well, myth.
Genealogies is γενεαλογία, genealogia (yeenee-ahlo-YEE-ah) and it means just that, Genealogy, a record or study of descent.
Titus 1:14 NKJV
not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth.
• There was a man named Philo, a Hellenistic Jewish Philosopher who took the Old Testament and spiritualized it … introducing into it myths.
• Also, the Greeks at this time were teaching what is known as the demiurge, from another Greek word for “craftsman.”
• Religious literature from that period of time shows that many people treated the Old Testament simply as, “A source of symbolic truth.”
So, to boil it down, in that time, extra-biblical embellishments of the scriptures were becoming quite common … they are still common today.
1 John 5:14 NKJV
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
It’s that simple … as Christians, we can pray and God hears us.
Paul probably has this kind of thing in view here.
2 Peter 1:16 NKJV
For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
In Ephesus where Timothy was and in Crete, where Titus was, and we also know Thessalonica … false teachers were not promoting “God’s saving plan,” but were leading people away from the truth.
Instead of producing love, purity, a good conscience, and sincere faith, (as Paul notes in verse 5) these false doctrines were causing division, hypocrisy, and all sorts of problems.
The word “conscience” means, “To know together.”
Titus 1:15 NKJV
To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
1 Timothy 4:2 NKJV
speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,
It is tragic when professed Christians get off course because they choose what they “feel” over “Healthy Doctrine.”
Paul calls this healthy doctrine, “The doctrine which accords to godliness” in chapter 6.