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1 Timothy Lesson Two

Background and purpose

During his fourth missionary journey Paul had instructed Timothy to care for the church at Ephesus 1st Timothy 1:3 while he went on to Macedonia. As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines. Since the incident is not recorded in Acts, it probably occurred after Acts 28 between Paul’s first and second Roman imprisonment.

When he realized that he might not return to Ephesus 1st Timothy 3:14-15, he wrote this first letter to Timothy to develop this charge he had given his young assistant (1:3, 18) to refute false teachings 1:3-7,:4:1-8, 5:20,21 and to supervise the affairs of the growing Ephesian church (Church worship Ch2; the appointment of Elders and Deacons 3:1-13, 5:17-25

Stay there in Ephesus and do the Lord’s work in the Ephesian church – which was well established by this time. Paul had had an extensive ministry there in his third missionary journey about eight years earlier. Acts 19:11-20:1

1st Timothy 1:18,19 This command I entrust to you, Timothy my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, Keeping faith and a good conscience, which Some have rejected their faith. The NIV says shipwrecked.
Prophecies once made about you. In the early church God revealed his will in various matters through prophets. Acts 13:1-3 Now there were at Antioch in the church that was there prophets and teachers: Barnabas and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the Tetrach and Saul. While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. Then when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on then they sent them away.

Where the prophets had an active role in sending Paul and Barnabas in their mission to the Gentiles In Timothy’s case a prophecy may have occurred at the time of or before his ordination 1st Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.
Acts 7:1-6, Heb 6: 1,2

To refute false teaching

1st Timothy 1:3-7; 4: 1-8, 5:20,21

To supervise the affairs of the growing Ephesian church

1st Timothy chapter 2

The appointment of Elders and Deacons

1st Timothy 3:1-13. 5:17-25
A major problem in the Ephesian church was a heresy that combined Gnosticism, decadent Judaism (1st Timothy 1:3-7) and false asceticism ( 4:1-5)


One of the most dangerous heresies of the first two centuries of the church was Gnosticism. Its central teaching was the Spirit is entirely good and matter is entirely evil. From this unbiblical dualism flowed five important errors.

The Human Body

Which is matter is therefore evil. It is to be contrasted with God who is wholly Spirit and therefore good.
Salvation is the escape from the body, achieved not by faith in Christ but by a special knowledge (the Greek word for knowledge is gnosis hence Gnosticism)

Christ’s true humanity was denied in two ways

1. Some said that Christ only seem to have a body.
2. Others said that the divine Christ jointed the man Jesus at baptism and left him before he died.
Since the body was considered evil it was to be treated harshly.
Paradoxically this dualism also led to licentiousness. The reasoning was that, since matter- and not the breaking of God’s law (1 John 3:4) was considered evil, breaking the law was of no moral consequence.

Decadent Judaism

1st Timothy 1:3-7

False asceticism

1st Timothy 4:1-5
The young preacher Timothy was not to happy in his church in Ephesus. Paul writes to encourage him in three pastoral epistles (1st and 2nd Timothy & Titus) Paul used the Greek word pistos (faithful) at least seventy times. The theme runs through each chapter: Be faithful to the word, be faithful to your task, be faithful to the people whom you minister.
1st Timothy has both a negative and a positive goal. Negatively it encourages the opposition of false doctrine and false teachers. Positively it encourages capable leadership for the church which will guide it to the fulfillment of its mission. In general we may say this letter gives counsel for the conduct of a local church’s life.

Lesson One | Lesson Two | Lesson Three | Lesson Four | Lesson Five

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