1 Timothy - Introduction

The letter to Timothy belongs to three pastoral letters (1–2 Timothy and Titus). It was written by Paul around 65 or 66 CE in Macedonia (1 Tim 1:3) before Paul’s death. However, some scholars claim that it was written by Paul’s disciples after his death at the end of the first century.

Timothy was a faithful disciple of Paul (1 Tim 1:18; 2 Tim 1:2; 1 Cor 4:17). He is also mentioned as a co-author of four letters of Paul (Rom 16:21; 2 Cor 1:1; 1 Thess 1:1; Philemon 1:1). He is also mentioned in Acts 17:14; 18:5; 19:22; Col 1:1; Heb 13:23.

According to Acts 16:1 Timothy was born in Lystra, his mother was Jewish Christian but his father was a Greek.

Timothy apparently became a Christian as a result of Paul’s missionary work in Lystra (Acts 14:6–23). He joined Paul on the second missionary journey when the apostle’s evangelistic team passed through that area where Timothy lived (Acts 16:1–3). On the second journey Timothy helped Paul in Troas, Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, Athens, and Corinth. During the third journey he was with Paul in Ephesus. From there Paul sent him to Macedonia (Acts 19:22). Later he was with Paul in Macedonia (2 Cor. 1:1, 19) and apparently traveled with the apostle to Corinth (Rom. 16:21). On the return trip to Ephesus, Timothy accompanied Paul through Macedonia as far as Troas (Acts 20:3–6).

Paul appointed Timothy as a bishop of Ephesus when he left for Macedonia (1:3, Acts 20:1).

Perhaps the task was too heavy for a young disciple of Paul, so he was asking Paul for the permission to leave and join the apostle (1 Tim 1:3) and then he promises to visit him there (3:14; 4:13).

First Timothy is more a manual than a letter. It is a manual for a bishop to organize and manage a community of faithful.

We have here teaching against those who do not hold on to the truth (1:3–17; 4:1–7; 6:2B–10), and fragments regarding true wisdom, teaching, and faith that should shape the life of the faithful (1:18–3:16; 4:8–6:2a; 6:11–19).

The main theme is the teaching about salvation. It is understood as the work of God through Jesus Christ.

The false teachers (See Acts 20:29–30) had their own wrong ideas (1:3–20; 4:7; 6:11). They were mostly coming from Christians of Jewish origins, who insisted that all should uphold the Law of Moses (1:7). They also forbid marriages (4:3) and eating meat (4:3–5).

Regarding organization, we find here concrete requirements for bishops and deacons (3:1–13), teaching about prayer for all (2:1–4). Regarding doctrine we find such statements that:

  1. God is invisible (6:16), but that He wants that all people came to the knowledge of truth and be saved (2:4);
  2. There is only one God and one mediator between God and humanity - Jesus Christ (2:5);
  3. Jesus Christ came to save sinners (1:15);
  4. The Church (not Scripture) is the pillar of truth (3:15);
  5. That the love (greed) for money is the root of all evil (6:10).

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