According to the salutation we find in 1 Timoty 1:1, the author of 1 Timothy is the apostle Paul. Paul attests to the fact that he used to be “a blasphemer, and a persecutor” (1 Tim. 1:13), but that the grace of God “was exceeding abundant” (1 Tim. 1:4) and that Christ Jesus placed him “in the ministry” (1 Tim. 1:12)—all things we know of Paul’s life. The early church unanimously held to Pauline authorship for this epistle.
The addressee is Timothy. Since it is addressed to an individual and not a whole church, and deals with issues relating to the character and conduct of a minister, it has become known as a pastoral epistle (along with 2 Timothy and Titus). Timothy was one of the best known of Paul’s companions and fellow-laborers (Acts 16:1-3; 19:22; 1 Cor. 4:17; 2 Cor. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; etc.). We know from the biblical record that Timothy was much younger than Paul (1 Tim. 4:12). He had been an elder in Ephesus continuing the work of Paul throughout Asia Minor of building up the church (cf. Rom. 15:19). Timothy’s mother was Jewish and his father was a Greek—which meant that Timothy was both raised in the Scriptures and had a high status in society (Acts 16:1). He was one of Paul’s converts, as Paul called him his “own son in the faith” (1 Tim. 1:2).
Timothy was a resident and probably a native of Lystra, one of the cities Paul visited during his first missionary journey (Acts 14:6). Later Paul refers to the things he suffered in Lystra, saying that Timothy is fully aware of what he endured (2 Tim. 3:10-11). Apparently Timothy’s mother, Eunice, and his grandmother Lois had first come to faith and subsequently Timothy did also.
At the time of Paul’s second missionary journey, and upon revisiting Lystra (Acts 16:1), Paul requested Timothy to become one of his associates. Since Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman, and realizing the need for him to gain access to the Jews, Paul circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:3). Timothy was sent on assignments to organize churches and preach the gospel. To the very end of his life Paul was greatly comforted by Timothy (2 Tim. 4:9,21).
Scholars agree that the circumstances mentioned in the two epistles of Paul to Timothy do not fit any scenario in the book of Acts. This leads us to conclude that these two epistles were written at a later date, after Paul had been released from his two-year imprisonment at Rome. The book of Acts ends with Paul undergoing house arrest. During that time he was free to do his work, receive visitors, and preach the gospel.
The personal circumstances of Paul, as reflected in 1 Timothy, were different. He was in Macedonia and had requested Timothy to remain in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3). In 2 Timothy, Paul was back in prison and had been forsaken. Only Luke was with him (2 Tim. 4:11). Paul felt, at that time, as though death was staring him in the face.
All this suggests that Paul was released from his first imprisonment at Rome, allowing him to conduct missionary travels. After being arrested a second time and brought to Rome, he was, according to church history, put on trial and finally executed (AD 67). The conclusion is drawn that 1 Timothy was written some time after his first imprisonment and probably from Macedonia (perhaps Philippi).
Contending for the Christian faith and establishing the Christian church.
Paul wrote to encourage Timothy to remain faithful to the gospel and to organize the church according to the apostolic pattern for the church.
The Contribution of 1 Timothy to Redemptive Revelation
Paul encourages Timothy, young and timid as he appears to have been at this time, to fulfill his ministry with boldness and perseverance. Timothy must stand fast in the face of difficulties. There are dangers from within the church as well as from without. A dangerous group of Judaizers were attempting to impose Jewish legalism upon the newly founded church (1 Tim. 1:9), militating against the doctrine of free grace. There were heretics who were promoting “doctrines of devils,” that espoused a philosophical dualism (1 Tim. 4:1). This dualism apparently taught that there were two supreme beings, one working for the good and the other working for evil. Paul instructs Timothy to lift up the one, only, and supreme Creator God. Satan is a mere fallen creature who, though bent on ruin and deformed by pride (1 Tim. 3:6), is subject to God.
Timothy must likewise resist those who teach doctrines underestimating the value of the body and denying the physical resurrection of the dead. Such forbid marriage and emphasize abstention from certain foods (1 Tim. 4:3). As a minister in Ephesus, Timothy must oppose all these different heresies and promote the “sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:10).
Paul also shows Timothy how the church ought to be properly organized. Some of the apostles were already being taken away by death. Paul explains here to Timothy directions for public worship (1 Timoty 2) and how the churches should be organized (1 Timothy 3) after the oversight of the apostles was no longer available other than in their divinely written testimony.
- Salutation (1:1-2)
- The Purity of the Gospel (1 Tim. 1:3-20)
- Warning against Heretics Promoting Jewish Legalism (1 Tim. 1:3-11)
- The Proclamation of the Gospel Entrusted to Paul (1 Tim. 1:12-17)
- Timothy Encouraged to Be Faithful to the Gospel (1 Tim. 1:18-20)
- Ordinances and Worship (1 Tim. 2:1-3:16)
- Direction for Prayer by Men in Worship Services (1 Tim. 2:1-8)
- Women Are to Pray Along Silently (1 Tim. 2:9-15)
- Qualifications for Elders (1 Tim. 3:1-7)
- Qualifications for Deacons (1 Tim. 3:8-13)
- Calling of the Church to Uphold Truth (1 Tim. 3:14-16)
- Practical Encouragements for Ministers (1 Tim. 4:1-6:16)
- Warning against Heresies Still to Come (1 Tim. 4:1-5)
- Timothy Called to Be a Godly Example (1 Tim. 4:6-16)
- How to Admonish Church Members (1 Tim. 5:1-2)
- How to Counsel Widows (1 Tim. 5:3-16)
- How to Counsel Elders (1 Tim. 5:17-25)
- How to Counsel Slaves (1 Tim. 6:1-2)
- Godliness Is Great Gain (1 Tim. 6:3-10)
- Encouragement to Timothy to Be Faithful (1 Tim. 6:11-16)
- Final Exhortations (1 Tim. 6:17-21)
- How to Counsel the Rich (1 Tim. 6:17-19)
- Final Encouragement to Timothy to Be Faithful (1 Tim. 6:20-21)
Extracted from: Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible Notes(Beeke, Joel R. 2015. Reformation Heritage Books).