Series: Paul’s individual Letters
1 Timothy 1:2 ESV
1 Timothy 1:5 ESV
1 Timothy 1:14-19a ESV
1 Timothy 2:1-6 ESV
1 Timothy 3:16 ESV
1 Timothy 4:1-5 (Deceitful Spirits)
Genesis 3:4-5 (Serpents Whisper)
1 Timothy 4:12-16 ESV
1 Timothy 5 (Widows and Elders)
Proverbs 16:31 ESV
1 Timothy 5:3-6 ESV
1 Timothy 6:12-16 ESV
Reading Paul’s letters to his dear younger charges serve as a reminder of how Paul gave his all as a faithful mentor to many younger saints who served the early church. Paul loved his charges well.
While Paul mentored many younger saints, Timothy was like a son to him. In 1 Timothy 1:2, he addressed the letter, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith.”
So, while there were others who worked with Paul and relied on his wisdom, it seems like Timothy was always close to his heart. In 1 Timothy 1:5 we read that Paul wrote to him, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
1 Timothy 1:14-19a Paul wrote, “the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience.”
When I read Paul’s words to his adopted son Timothy I have to wonder if Paul realized there would come a time when Timothy would have to go on without him. I think it’s possible that because of that, Paul utilized every opportunity to teach and encourage and strengthen Timothy in the faith.
In 1 Timothy 2:1-6 Paul wrote to Timothy, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.”
What strikes me about Paul’s advise to Timothy about prayer and supplication is that he reminded Timothy that prayer for others, especially prayer for leaders and people in a position of power needs to be part of his regular daily faith journey. Paul knew that leadership is not easy and life for a leader can be very lonely. He knew that the very best church leaders would dig deep into God’s love and strength because there would be times when all else would fail.
Paul wanted young Timothy to connect to the power source in the days and years ahead. In 1 Timothy 3:16 Paul wrote of the great mystery of God proclaiming,
“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels,proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”
Paul warned Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 that a time would come when “deceitful spirits” would attempt to turn hearts away from God. He warned that some would turn away from the true message of the gospel (apostasy). Some would be deceived by other spirits not of God. And some would engage in false teaching. One example of false teaching can be found in Genesis 3:4-5 when the serpent whispered to Eve if she ate the forbidden fruit she would surely not die but her eyes would be opened and she would be like God.
In 1 Timothy 4:12-16 Paul advised Timothy to take command and teach truth even though he is young, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
In 1 Timothy 5 Paul addresses widows and elders giving instructions in conduct and and treating them with care and respect. He reminded Timothy to respect older men. We remember that Solomon wrote about it in Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”
Paul set clear perimeters that define a true widow the church should support. He wrote in 1 Timothy 5:3-6, “Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.”
Paul’s final words in his letter to Timothy encourage and challenge him. In 1 Timothy 6:12-16 he wrote, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.”
Church historians believe that Paul was beheaded by the Roman Emperor Nero, probably around 64 A.D. While other believers would have been crucified, because Paul was a Roman Citizen he could not have been put to death by crucifixion.
Today’s Spiritual Practice: Mentor
Who are or have been the mentors in your life? Consider how they helped you and thank God for them.
In God, Deborah