Some commentators have stated that Timothy was a young man of fifteen in Lystra when he was converted by Paul, and was probably about 35 years of age when this epistle was written to him. I have not been able to corroborate those statements as true.
At any rate, the letters to Timothy illustrate a wonderful relationship of an older believing man with a much younger Believer, and the manner in which their friendship revolves on the higher values of spirituality in every way.
There are signs that Timothy, although strongly dedicated to the ways of Christ, may have had a streak of timidity. The apostle attempted to help his younger friend to a more positive level of dedication and boldness.
As is often the case, Paul’s opening words establish his own certitude as an appointed vessel in the service of Christ, being “commanded” of God our Savior, and the Lord Jesus Christ, upon Whom our own optimism is also based.
At once, Paul’s deep affection for Timothy is evident, as he addresses Timothy as “my own son in the faith.” It is not known whether Paul had children of his own; but in any case, Timothy was a surrogate son of his deepest affection.
And, once again, Paul’s “formula” of address is expressed in these opening words of his letter: “Grace, mercy, and peace (be unto you) from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
1Ti 1:2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
Warning against False Teachers
First we learn that Paul had commissioned Timothy to remain at Ephesus while he journeyed on into Macedonia and Thrace, probably during his second missionary journey – his first visit to Ephesus, which was experienced a short time after passing through Lystra, which lay further east from Ephesus.
This letter, then, presumably had been written during his third missionary journey while at Lystra.
Timothy had been charged with monitoring and countering the false teachings which Paul had perceived to be a challenge to those at Ephesus. Some have conjectured that in this letter to Timothy, Paul’s chief concern was with the doctrines of the Gnostics (the knowing ones) – a Greek school of philosophy that concerned itself with the mysteries of the angels and their role in our profession as well as their conviction that the bridge back to God was facilitated by many strange and mysterious beings. Considering themselves intellectually superior to others, their challenge was primarily that man is a sensual being in every way and must bear that burden (rather than overcome it?). All these strange heresies led the simpler folk away from Christ toward denying the redemptive work of Jesus and pleasing themselves rather than Him...
1Ti 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
1Ti 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
The apostle’s concern was that the brethren with Timothy were wasting their hours of discourse on useless and vapid matters of no real value – drawing their attention away from the deeper things of their high calling.
Instead, their attention should be riveted upon the deeper aspects of brotherly kindness, and purity of heart toward one another – without defilement of conscience ... with genuine affection in the faith.
1Ti 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity (in Greek, agape, benevolence) out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
1Ti 1:6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling (i.e., babbling);
This activity was akin to gossip and expressions of pride, both far below the standard which Paul had taught them. They evidently were also entangled with preoccupation with the details of the Law of Moses – also at this time a profitless exercise, and irrelevant to their spiritual health.
1Ti 1:7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
One cannot deny that the Law was a statement of the highest ideals of personal conduct from the mouth of God, and, as such, good in every legitimate sense. But it was not useful in the achievement of salvation, and must not be regarded as such.
1Ti 1:8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
1Ti 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
1Ti 1:10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
1Ti 1:11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
He was supporting the Law’s condemnation of all those heinous sins – with none of which the dear brethren of Ephesus should be involved. Ephesians 5: 3 – 6 (q.v.) is a nearly identical list of abominations about which Paul had warned the Ephesians.
Paul seems in all his writings to be acutely conscious and deeply remorseful of his past life of spiritual debauchery – of persecutor of the righteous, as a vilifier of the principles of godliness, as hurtful to his future brethren.
From those shadows he reasserts his gratitude to the Lord Jesus, Who has seen the inherent values of Paul as desirable when expressed in the deep spirituality which was latent in him, to be realized only after his conversion – his submissive answer to the “call” of the Lord Jesus, Who willingly received him into His ministry.
Christ Jesus Came to Save Sinners
1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
His purposeful reference to doing those deeds ignorantly is a subtle way of reassuring other souls who were seeking salvation a reason for hope that their unworthy lives could likewise be turned about to the Lord’s service by His grace. In this example, every acolyte should be able to visualize the love that is abundantly available in the Lord Jesus Christ.
1Ti 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
The inevitable conclusion of such reasoning is incontrovertible.
The most basic truth is that Jesus’ overriding purpose was to save sinners – and Paul cannot resist another statement of self-deprecation: that of all men, he was the chief sinner...
1Ti 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
In his next statement, Paul illustrates the profound depth of his own understanding: that in Paul’s own conversion Jesus had illustrated His willingness and ability to take one of the worst offenders of godliness and, with patience, tender unto him His merciful forgiveness as an example to all others who would believe on His name.
If Saul could be converted into Paul, then it was possible with all comers!
1Ti 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
Paul now utters one of the shortest and most spontaneous prayers recorded in scripture – a deeply-thankful expression of his gratitude to His Father for electing Paul as a willing ambassador to the Gentiles primarily, but also to the Jews who could readily identify with their kinsman’s former life if they could humble themselves to the task...
1Ti 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The apostle draws this first portion of his parchment to a close with an heartfelt commission to his beloved son in the Spirit, Timothy.
1Ti 1:18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
What were these “prophecies?” We read of them possibly in Timothy’s charge as recorded by Paul in II Timothy 2:3 – “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.”
Timothy’s recorded life of faithful assistance to the apostle shows no later flaws in his practice of these principles; he did indeed, present himself a mature, sage counselor in the affairs of the Spirit, as Paul himself would later attest: “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
Part of that “example” would be Timothy’s conscientious service of faith to his Master...
1Ti 1:19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
1Ti 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
We know little of Hymenaeus except that his deportment in the faith seems never to have been conducted on a high plane (II Timothy 2: 17, q.v.). But Alexander began his career in solidarity with Paul, sharing some of Paul’s tribulations as in Acts 19: 33, but later seems to have had suffered a reversal of his convictions if the “Alexander” of II Timothy 4: 14, 15, is referring to the same individual...
<HEL> I Timothy Chaper One
Pray for All People
Note that prayer is always on the apostle’s mind – intercessory prayer especially, and that he uses four separate words for prayer in this first verse, as underlined. A frequent rehearsal of one’s personal loving concern for one’s brethren has much benefit for oneself also – being an effective reminder of our own frailties and inadequacies and our own critical need for God’s love in every aspect of our lives.
One other aspect of his admonition stands out: prayer should be made “for all men,” not just our brothers and sisters. We plant, water and fertilize – but God gives the increase; and all that increase comes from the general community about every believer. That is the fallow ground that each of us cultivates.
But why pray for kings ... and persons of authority? For the simple reason given: that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives in our dedicated lives to Christ...
1Ti 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
1Ti 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
I often think we sometimes disregard our own need for a quiet and peaceable life, but we should not. After all, that precise condition is considered by each of us as an ideal goal – a perfect description of the lives we hope to lead in the coming Kingdom.
But that expectation does not deny that much labor shall also be expended on our Master’s behalf in that future day. The difference will be that our labor in that time will become much more fruitful, and will generate genuine honor to our Father and His Son as routine matters. And the labor in His service will not be either tiring or boring as our jobs are so often today.
His next words seek to reinforce that conviction in each of us!
1Ti 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1Ti 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We possibly are unable to conceive of that concept – that God is willing that all men be saved (the precise goal of one’s prayer for “all men” as already stated); it must be our goal, also, regardless of any fleshly reasoning to the contrary. The intriguing factor is that we never know in advance just who will respond to the loving teaching of the Way of God and make his own covenant with the Father by baptism into Christ.
1Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
1Ti 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
The creator and sustainer of all things is God. It is He who offers salvation as seed scattered abroad – available to all seekers. But there is also a mediator Who stands between God and men – “the man Christ Jesus.” Through His name and mediation, the reward is open to all mentally competent men and women who seek His name.
The important truth is that God is no respecter of persons as Peter made known in Acts 10: 34, which please see. His act of ransom from sin is effective for all comers, as will be manifested in “due time.”
Paul is an integral cog in that machine that produces salvation, both in his own time by his speech and ever after through his inspired letters by which the proclaimed Gospel of Jesus Christ is so well interpreted.
He is a preacher and an apostle by ordination, not by being self-appointed to the task. The earlier events of his life attest to that fact. His certification lies in his personal contact with the LORD Himself, by word of mouth, by visions, and by dreams – all inspired of God.
1Ti 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity (or truth).
Paul’s preaching initiated many into lives of faith and service. Their conjoined, prayerful voices are able to move mountains and all barriers (I Corinthians 13: 2) effecting the shedding of His grace and mercy upon all, giving support to every one’s faith and determination to serve Him without wavering. There truly is strength in numbers.
1Ti 2:8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
Paul seems here to be addressing the men, specifically those who are charged with public prayer, because he complements their station with his reference to “women” also in the next verse, advising that a kind of enacted state of prayer be exhibited by them in their appearance and demeanor: modest apparel, shamefacedness, sobriety – not with outward adorning of their bodies, but with good works – which may be observed (and certainly are observed) being their badge of reverence and piety.
1Ti 2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
1Ti 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
Further admonition to women follows: a quiet demeanor in learning, and always ready to serve.
1Ti 2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
The apostle was not a misogynist by any means. His advice was that the women were not appointed to be “teachers” in the general sense – with authority over men. The divine order of authority was established: God over Christ over brothers over sisters as to their respective authority. The role of the sisters in Christ therefore is self-imposed subjection in humility and modesty.
1Ti 2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
There is reason for this hierarchy of station; it follows immediately.
1Ti 2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
In this sense, Adam had been given the highest priority by God. He was the prototype of the entire race. Upon his shoulders lay the widespread decisions of conduct and propriety.
Another factor was that Eve allowed herself to be deceived by sin. Adam probably realized that his only alternative was to join her in that state so that together they might as one person work through the drawback and gain God’s favor. We cannot know Adam’s motivation, but that seems reasonable if indeed he was intellectually capable of constructing such a fabric of progress...
1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
Yes, Eve was certainly “in the transgression,” and was sentenced to bear children in pain and travail. But at the same time she was promised deliverance from all such painful experiences if she maintained a demeanor of sober faith, charity and holiness.
1Ti 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
Qualifications for Overseers
1Ti 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop (Greek, episcope, superintendent), he desireth a good work.
First, note that a bishop is to be a man – not a woman.
Our Ecclesias today do not appoint “bishops” in the sense of an absolute manager. Instead we elect a board of several brethren to manage the affairs of each congregation and call them “the managing board.” In the writer’s experience, every Ecclesia strives to elect brethren who meet the criteria outlined here by Paul.
Sometimes the managing board elects a chairman who conducts the board’s deliberations, but no single brother is endowed with more “power” than the others.
His qualifications for office are straightforward. He is to be an honest and diligent servant of his brethren – hospitable and able to teach the Gospel. He must meet the following criteria. They appear to be those that we would expect to find in every dedicated Believer in The Way of Christ and are largely self-explanatory.
1Ti 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1Ti 3:3 Not given to wine, no striker (not pugnacious, or quarrelsome), not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
1Ti 3:4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
1Ti 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Ti 3:6 Not a novice (i.e., not a young convert, he must be seasoned), lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
1Ti 3:7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without (a good reputation in his community); lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
Qualifications for Deacons
The qualifications for the other official designation of a serving brother – a
“deacon,” are similar to those of a bishop but seemingly of a more limited gravity. In a sense a deacon would probably be a bishop in training. “Deacons” are more menial managers with lighter duties than “bishops.” This position could reasonably be held by the novices – the younger brethren in the faith. But his qualifications are also standardized...
1Ti 3:8 Likewise must the deacons (Greek, diadonos, a menial servant) be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
1Ti 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
1Ti 3:10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
This is the provision that the office is a stepping-stone to higher duties.
1Ti 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
Note that deacons are also intended to be men, not women,
1Ti 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
1Ti 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
The Mystery of Godliness
1Ti 3:14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly (as far as we know, Timothy is still in Ephesus):
Paul’s instructions in this letter are specifically for Timothy’s measurement of himself – his spiritual evaluation of acceptable service in Ephesus. They are guidelines for the younger yokefellow of Paul. These will serve Timothy well as he goes forward in his career as bishop of Ephesus.
The apostle is not hesitant to define the congregation there as being the Ecclesia of the living God – a pillar and ground of the faith of Christ, and therefore to be tended carefully, cultivated and nourished...
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
As such, the Ecclesia is the dwelling place of God among men. In it reside His sons and daughters among the people surrounding them. They must faithfully maintain their dedication without wavering that the name of God be glorified.
Paul’s next words have always struck this writer as words of the greatest sanctification. The six clauses of the apostle’s statement sum up the entirety of the true path of salvation trodden by the Firstborn of the Dead, the Lord Jesus Christ, Head of His own Household, and pioneer in the facilitation of the Kingdom of God.
But first the apostle speaks of godliness – the process of becoming like God in every way – as a “mystery.” Typically a mystery is understood by only a few persons. It is a body of principles not easily arrived at (impossible, really, to be arrived at) through fleshly means. But it is made known through His Spirit. And its pursuit is spiritual in every way.
His following six clauses are classic in their simple statement of eternal principles not known or practiced widely among men – and accepted by even lesser numbers – and are the most vital bullet-points of which men and women may be appraised!
1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifest in the flesh (as Jesus),
justified in the Spirit (as Christ),
seen of angels (as the resurrected and immortalized Christ),
preached unto the Gentiles (as Savior),
believed on in the world (as the Redeemer),
received up into glory (as Firstborn of the Dead).
It is a brief compendium of the pathway that is now, in Christ Jesus, available to every man in his quest for eternal service to his God in immortality, all fully illustrated by the divine pathway pioneered by the LORD Jesus Christ, adequately defined by the Apostle John as “... Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Revelation 1:5 <HEL> I Timothy Three. May 22, 2021.
Some Will Depart from the Faith
As the age draws toward its termination, the apostle brings to our attention the deceit that shall enter into the body of Christ, causing many to stray from the Way of Truth. It is a sad picture of gross departure from the faith by some, reflecting the question of Jesus in Luke 18:8: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
That failure is not a fault of scripture; it is a result of the deficit of preachers of righteousness and the extreme duress of individuals following The Way through all the sin and deception of those latter days.
The sad truth is that of the hundreds of “denominations of Christians,” there are few that teach the Truth as expounded by Christ and the apostles and teachers of the first century. The deception of hypocrites has become pervasive...
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing (impostors: misleading, deceiving) spirits, and doctrines of devils (deceivers; demonic persons)
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy (feigned lies); having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
The instruction of such is useless – even less than useless – destructive to future life and happiness.
His next references have widespread prevalence. We know of one group of “Christians” who are forbidden to marry, and that is the Roman Catholic priesthood and its vast network of nuns. Yet the prevalence of child molestation among this specific group is remarkably prevalent and has been the subject of numerous lawsuits by disappointed parents of that “faith.”
Other groups avoid certain food groups on supposedly religious grounds. Still others refuse blood transfusions, assuming that procedure being equivalent to “eating blood.”
All these are distractions; they are not forbidden by scriptural authority.
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
1Ti 4:5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
By these words the servant of Christ is free to consume whatever foods are pleasing to him. There is no scriptural prohibition of any that we can perceive.
A Good Servant of Christ Jesus
An effective minister to his brethren, therefore, will teach the foregoing principles and not deviate from them.
1Ti 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
1Ti 4:7 But refuse profane (in the sense of wicked) and old wives' fables (silly and inane tales of superstition), and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
1Ti 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness (spiritual exercise) is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
We are often struck by the people we see out walking or jogging on Sunday mornings – striving to maintain or improve their physical health when their better choice would be to enter into serious Bible study on this one day in the week when such is recommended by all thoughtful teachers, because the former’s effect is only temporal while the latter’s effect is eternally beneficial.
1Ti 4:9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
The apostle’s experience has been that the labor so expended, and the opposition that is experienced, are a small inconvenience when the noble objective is to express trust in our God and His Plan and Purpose with the earth. By these activities alone may “all men” be saved, potentially; but belief (faith) is necessary – active adoption and practice of the godly principles contained in them...
1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe (those who place their active faith in these vital principles).
1Ti 4:11 These things command and teach.
Timothy was not a novice at this time in his life (about 35 years old?), but had not reached the hoary-headed seniority of the venerated sages; but, keep in mind, these words are intended to apply to Believers of all the succeeding eras until the Second Advent.
It is obvious that Paul is encouraging every younger brother to deport himself as a mature, dependable, and seasoned disciple in order more effectively to have his message received. Such an approach is to be AN EXAMPLE to others in conduct (expressed here as “conversation”), in agape (affection), in spirit, in faith, and in purity of character...
1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation (i.e., conduct), in charity (in gratuitous love for others), in spirit (one’s rational disposition), in faith (constancy), in purity (in chastity).
There is a proven pathway that leads to these goals – that is scriptural study (not merely “reading”), and to both giving and absorbing others’ exhortations, and attention to the basic principles of the faith – every thought and action based upon these vital principles in conscious execution of them in one’s life.
1Ti 4:13 Till I come, give attendance to reading (study), to exhortation, to doctrine.
The apostle’s next words may not be strictly applicable to today’s Believers, as in our understanding, we are not currently in possession of the overt gifts of the Spirit.
We are not enabled to heal diseases by the laying on of hands or anointing with oil. We are not apt to prophesy. The nearest that we are able to approach “the laying on of hands by the presbytery” is the extension of the “right hand of fellowship” in special cases such as at one’s baptism – welcoming the new Believer into the congregation of his fellows.
1Ti 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery (elders).
In these early days of the Ecclesia of Christ the gifts of the Holy Spirit were prevalent, although they were to “pass away” as the writings of the New Testament became available as testimony of that Covenant. These gifts were conferred by the elders of each congregation who had the authority to lay hands upon a member and in effect consecrate him to a higher level of service, and presumably to confer one or more of the gifts of the Spirit upon him to enable and to prove the godly validity of his teachings and works of service. Please refer to further discussion notes on this practice in chapter 5: 22.
1Ti 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
By these words the apostle does not recommend that any Believer make a special show of “righteousness” in any overt way. He simply means that every acolyte should earnestly pay close attention to his conduct and his teachings – that they are a valid continuation of the teachings and principles that led him to this position, having called him out of the darkness which lies round about every Believer.
1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
This final comment illustrates the value of faithfulness in all things spiritual and carnal, for continuation in them leads to the desired outcome hereafter as well as being a vivid example of those who hear one’s present teachings (including their observation of one’s conduct in daily matters). <HEL> I Timothy Chapter Four
The apostle here continues his insinuation of family life principles into the Ecclesia. He counsels that the younger members consider the elders of a congregation as being their parent. Likewise, that they consider the other young men as their brothers.
The same principle holds for the women members as well – his recommended view of elderly women as mothers, and younger women as sisters to each other. The orderly continuation of family principles thus continues to be prevalent in binding the members together in an Ecclesial life conducive to godliness.
Instructions for the Congregation
Reproval of an “elder” should be done with care, with love, and with gentleness. A respectful, gentle request is more in order.
1Ti 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
1Ti 5:2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
1Ti 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
The phrase “widows indeed” seems at first an enigma; just who IS a “widow indeed?” What does that mean? After some consideration, we believe it is the term for a widow who, having lost her husband, stands alone without children of her own – or nephews and nieces. If she does have such living relatives the apostle’s advice is that these should provide for their mothers or aunts within their own family and not place them upon the charge of the Ecclesia.
His next words are in recognition that in that day a woman hadn’t the opportunity to “go out and get a job” in order to provide for her own needs as no such jobs (such as in today’s society) were available. Therefore the Ecclesia was charged with her maintenance.
His next words state that principle clearly.
1Ti 5:4 But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety (that is, respectful responsibility) at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.
The principle of “requiting” one’s parents involves payment for or support of a parent. It is fulfillment of the principle voiced in verse 8, in which those who refuse to support their own desolate kinsfolk are said to have denied the faith – a serious charge that equates the failure to infidelity.
At the same time, a dedicated level of devotion is required of one in order to be adjudged “a widow indeed.” If a widow has been left “desolate,” that is, completely alone and without the support of a kinsman, she is expected to accept the provision of the Ecclesia, and to live her life in a dedicated trust in God, praying continuously for His assistance day and night...
1Ti 5:5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
Such an one, being widowed, has a grave responsibility – to live a life dedicated to good works and prayer. Otherwise, her fate of being shunned and turned aside is certain and justified.
In those times it would have been next to impossible for a widow to sustain herself by outside employment for there was no availability of such. Her best option is remarriage to a suitable bachelor or widower who should then provide for her as was proper for a man supporting a family. Otherwise she would have been left entirely dependent upon the Ecclesia and its members. But an upright, godly life is expected of every such widow.
1Ti 5:6 But she that liveth in pleasure (i.e., wantonly) is dead while she liveth.
We see this drastic failure at righteous living as that described by Paul to the Ephesians – a reversion to life outside of the pale of redemption, among those whom he described as ... ”Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” Ephesians 2:3
1Ti 5:7 And these things give in charge (i.e., advise), that they may be blameless.
These principles are necessary to be taught in the congregation so that all may be properly informed and not chargeable with misconduct.
To fail in these basic obligations brings terrible retribution.
1Ti 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
A customary practice is therefore necessary to be established. A widow who is accepted as a ward or a charge of the Ecclesia is eligible upon reaching the age of sixty, given a past record of fidelity to a spiritual life.
Those virtues include good works, rearing children, lodging strangers – and even menial tasks such as washing the trail-weary feet of her fellow saints.
1Ti 5:9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man (only once married – Moffat),
1Ti 5:10 Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
At the same time, younger widows carry a far greater risk for the reasons Paul gives. Left on their own they are likely to become reckless with their lives
1Ti 5:11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton (that word in Greek indicates voluptuousness or recklessness) against Christ, they will marry;
We get the impression that the apostle means that they will often remarry outside the faith, taking as marriage partners men whose interest is not in spiritual things – worldly, self-serving, and not of good report.
This practice was forbidden by Paul’s teachings in II Corinthians 7:39: The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. Thus she sets for herself an ungodly course of life – a betrayal of her initial course of life in Christ – a denial of her faith. Again, see Ephesians 2:3.
1Ti 5:12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
The resultant picture is that of an irresponsible woman living a life of the flesh and not of the spirit.
1Ti 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.
Paul’s next words of advice are compatible with all other scriptural admonitions with which we are familiar. It would even include the advice that a young widow should place her emphasis on remarriage to another brother similar to her first husband – a diligent follower of Christ – which would enable her to resume her faithful life of active and loyal service in Christ.
1Ti 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry , bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
Paul’s recommendation here is one of the chief ways by which the Ecclesia grows – by the acceptance of the children of young families allowing themselves to be called to the ways of Christ and becoming baptized followers of Him.
1Ti 5:15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
The apostle is diligent in bringing this possibility into view. A younger woman who marries in the faith is far more likely to have a good outcome in her life.
1Ti 5:16 If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.
This is practical advice. If a widow indeed does have near kinsmen who can provide for her, that provision allows the Ecclesia to provide support for widows who have no sustaining family members.
Those who have moved on into their advanced elder years are the next group to be considered. Paul is diligent to advise “double honor” for elders who can no longer provide for themselves and those who depend upon them. Recall that in those days there was no social support system in place for the elderly or infirm; they were “on their own” entirely.
He seems to recommend preferential treatment of elders who have diligently supplied “labor” to their brethren in declaring the teachings of Christ. These are workers who he deems worthy of the support of the Ecclesia in their elder years.
1Ti 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
1Ti 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
In a sense such benefits are themselves an “insurance” policy against poverty among this venerated group of servants.
It appears that some unscrupulous folk might make false accusations of impropriety of some kind against an innocent elder in such a case, in order, perhaps, to avoid being obligated to contribute to his or her support. So Paul repeats the ancient principle that “two or three” reliable witnesses against such an one be brought forth and proven. See Deuteronomy 17:6 and 19: 15.
1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
But there are likely also among their number elders who “sin” in one of many ways – that is, ones who consistently practice sin in their lives. These are justly due the congregation’s rebuke – a practice that sets an high standard for all others.
Over and above all these admonitions, utter fairness is to be exercised without prejudice against any such folk. This neglect of objective equity toward all was one of the most prevalent failures of ancient Israel’s society and brought the retribution of God’s wrath upon them many times. See Isaiah 9: 17 and 10:2.
1Ti 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
There is just reason for exposure of sinful acts in the public forum as a deterrent to others who may be tempted to sin.
1Ti 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.
Fairness is always in the mind of Paul – even treatment of all one’s brethren in all matters of the Spirit as well as the flesh.
1Ti 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.
We believe that Paul is here advising caution in the practice of laying hands on any man prematurely – that is conferring special privileges to such an one, including gifts of the Spirit. See the discussion note above on chapter 4: 14. His advice is that they give every such recipient time to prove himself worthy of such treatment thus reducing his prospect of turning to sin. Purity in all things is the watchword...
The next words of the apostle are not a prescription to drink wine as one would drink water – that is, for hydration throughout the day. Sobriety should suffer greatly in such cases and there would be utter chaos of drunkenness.
Since water purification in those days was unknown, Paul was advising adding a little wine to one’s daily liquid intake. That concoction seems to have been the daily practice of soldiers and civilians alike and may have seemed to them to make water more palatable by adding a modicum of flavor to it, perhaps masking any unpleasant taste that might be present in the water supply; but it also adds a degree of sterilization to it due to its alcoholic content – though they would not have used that term (sterilization was unknown for thousands of years!).
They must have suspected plain water on occasion to have contained some element that resulted in stomach (gastrointestinal) illness and that the addition of “a little wine” to their daily liquid intake would benefit their health.
We know today that the bacterium Escherichia coli is often spread by human waste and often contaminates ground water, causing moderate to extreme gastrointestinal illness. Perhaps this concoction of a watered-down wine was the first use of prophylaxis (prevention) of gastric illness.
1Ti 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
The stilted phrases of the A.V. of the next two verses are readily clarified by reference to the Moffat translation of these verses: please note the translation that he offers:
24. “Some people's sins are notorious and call for judgment, but in some cases sin only comes out afterwards.
25. Good works are equally conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot escape notice for ever.”
Therefore the verses are glossed here for better understanding...
1Ti 5:24 Some men's sins are open beforehand (notorious – Moffat), going before to judgment (and call for judgment – Moffat); and some men they follow after (their sin becomes obvious afterward – Moffat).
1Ti 5:25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand (that is, equally conspicuous – Moffat); and they that are otherwise cannot be hid (cannot escape notice – Moffat). <HEL> I Timothy Chapter Five
Paul visits again the role of slaves – those under bondage of servitude. He counsels honor of all who master slaves, treating them with kindness and a good response regardless of their characteristics – all to the honor of God. Whether or not that kindness exists, the slave is still compelled to treat his master with the greatest degree of honor ... for to do so is to respect the name of God and the teachings that emanate from Him...
1Ti 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
False Teachers and True Contentment
His instructions continue here to those in servitude, advising no despite of any because they are brethren both of Christ and of the slave; they are both bound under service to Him in all faithfulness. In the end, both will inherit blessings that are common to each other and all differences between them will be erased...
1Ti 6:2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the (common) benefit. These things teach and exhort.
1Ti 6:3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
Repeatedly the apostle stresses the importance of doctrine – basic teaching of the principles of truth – for it is this asset that marks the separation of Believers from the world. Each one’s position in Christ presupposes an unique responsibility upon each – even in this relationship of master to servant there is inherent equality.
Infractions are a serious matter, indicating even hidden motivations of pride, and self-elevation as to perhaps a deeper knowledge of spiritual things on the part of the slave as opposed to his master.
1Ti 6:4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
In this regard, we would caution contemporary brethren from holding crotchets about the finite meaning of “words” or concepts that they sometimes seem to ride to oblivion. Such an hard line on minor points of difference always ends in strife and discontent. If someone else’s “take” on a word or phrase is different from one’s own, Paul’s admonition is just to forget it and not discuss it at every opportunity, for such is perversity, as he now states clearly, even positing that such are “destitute” of the Truth!
That accusation seems to have some ground in the need of some always to prove their view the “only” correct one to the exclusion of all others, which is purely and simply, human pride.
1Ti 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain (procuring money) is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
Such a pursuit (of lucre) is not “gainful,” but is destructive of godliness; the real “gain” is now defined as “godliness with contentment.”
1Ti 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
The saying is popular even today: “You can’t take it with you!”
The apostle’s next words paraphrase that cliché nicely... We came into the world with nothing, and so shall we leave it – without the worrisome baggage of the flesh.
Indeed, it would be ideal if we ended this life having dispensed all our worldly goods and possessed down to the clothes we were wearing at the time of death. In the life to come there will presumably be few possessions of the faithful, but they will be clothed in white raiment (Revelation 3: 5, 18).
1Ti 6:7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
1Ti 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
The impoverished apostle observes a truth all too well known by many who are affluent – that riches bring concern of retaining such mammon, and often distract from their godly pursuits (we speak not from experience!).
1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
On that basis, Paul’s expressed opinion is, therefore, to avoid the love of money for it is the “root of all evil.” Such pursuits often bring one down from the lofty satisfaction that comes from deep faith in our Father to provide our needs. Sometimes we are reminded of that principle on a small scale that the enlarged challenges may be avoided (?).
1Ti 6:10 For the love of money (Greek, philarguria, translating to exactly that definition) is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred (have been led astray) from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (leading to dejection, despondency).
We note that Paul does not say that having money or wealth is the source of all evil – but that one’s deep affection for wealth is the disruptor of his life, the derailleur of it – it is his demise.
Fight the Good Fight of Faith
We wonder just what reaction was felt by Timothy as he read the next lines, referring to him by the exalted title – a “man of God.” Had he really thought of himself in such lofty terms, or was this a new concept to him?
We recall similar words spoken to another commoner in Hebrew history. Gideon apparently was a farmer, but in Judges six we read these words as applied to him from the Father Himself: “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.” Judges 6:12
We can be almost certain that Gideon had never been addressed as such or that he had ever considered himself in those terms. But God knew what his capabilities were, and how readily Gideon would apply them in His service!
The same insight was apparent in the apostle. Timothy was a bona fide “man of God.”
As such, he had a grave responsibility, as do we.
Our conviction is that every called, chosen and elected Believer is likewise a “man (or woman) of God,” and possesses enduring, faithful qualities perhaps unknown to him or her as yet. Such an one shall surely realize those abilities if he pursues faithfully the course that the apostle outlines here ... based upon the six qualities underlined in the next verse.
1Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
These are the germinal qualities of one who is forcefully dedicated to the service of Christ and His Father, and are the foundation of all the abilities overlaying these values, driving the possessor of these traits forward in a good fight of faith, of dedication to the profession of “laying hold on eternal life” – his original “calling” – having proclaimed his original intentions in the presence of all his brethren, openly and freely embarking faithfully upon his or her future life-obligations and privileges of service to our God.
1Ti 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
The conclusion that we draw from these encouraging words is that our response must be deeply resolute to follow that “profession” – that life’s work that we have accepted – for it is God Who has called us.
Our entry into the race for the great prize of immortality was a response to God’s CALL ... not a decision made on one’s own volition and entered upon tendentiously or provisionally.
The apostle’s subtle suggestion now is that if his profession is built on those foundation stones, each believer is doubtless capable of the same high level of witness to the Truth as was seen in our LORD, who appeared before the highest local authority in the arena of His activities – Pontius Pilatus. Let us therefore emulate Him.
As his “confession” was entirely satisfactory, so must ours be; and so shall it be if we adhere closely to those core principles listed in verse 11 above. For these are the foundation stones of fidelity which every saint employs in his daily struggles with the flesh.
1Ti 6:13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
1Ti 6:14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
That “commandment” is stated in the collective words of verses 11-13 above. It is our commission – to maintain it faithfully until the coming of the Lord Jesus...
But faith is required in the steadfast maintenance of faithful service, because the manifestation of its final result is the materialization of the reality that is to come in His Kingdom – which in turn is a guide to the ultimate Redeemer, JHVH of Israel, the Creator and Sustainer of this mighty universe and all that in it is.
1Ti 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, (He, Jesus) who is the blessed and only Potentate (in which Paul surely indicates as Jesus’ Father), the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
The apostle returns once more to the factor of riches in the life of a Believer – those rich in the material things of this world. Any heady sense of self-importance by such is to be avoided; instead trust in the living God, Whose gifts are more valuable than fine gold – for how may immortality (the reward of the righteous) be compared to any physical or carnal commodity?
1Ti 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;
Instead of their utilization of mammon, the apostle commends them to be “rich in good works,” generously dispensing their physical wealth where most useful ... with generosity and freewill.
1Ti 6:18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
1Ti 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come (in contrast to a store of riches), that they may lay hold on eternal life.
1Ti 6:20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
1Ti 6:21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. The first to Timothy was written from Laodicea, which is the chiefest city of Phrygia Pacatiana.
<HEL> ~9,250 words. I Timothy, a Study in. June 3, 2021.