1 Timothy


Timotheus, or Timothy, was a young man from Derbe whom Paul calls "my own son in the faith" (1 Tim. 1:2) and to whom Paul addressed two pastoral epistles. He was a companion of the apostle Paul from a young age, accompanying him on many journeys. As a delegate of the apostle, Timothy was either left by Paul in, or dispatched to: Berea (Acts 17:14), Thessalonica (1 Thess. 3:2), Macedonia (Acts 19:22), Corinth (1 Cor. 4:17), Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3), and finally to Rome (2 Tim. 4:9). Timothy served with Paul until his martyrdom around AD 67. He was a servant of Christ much used by the Lord in the early church. Even toward the end of Paul's life, he referred to Timothy's "youth" (1 Tim. 4:12), making Timothy a remarkable example for young Christians.

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Historical Note.

It would appear that Paul, after being placed under house-arrest for two years in Rome (Acts 28), was later allowed to make another missionary journey under some level of supervision. This journey would have taken place between AD 63 and 65. We gather that this journey took place because of the persons and places mentioned in Titus and 2 Timothy, and also from statements as in Philemon v.22, where Paul, writing from prison in Rome, tells Philemon, "prepare me also a lodging". We know from the greetings of Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians that Timothy was with Paul when those epistles were written from Rome. At some point Timothy himself was imprisoned, and Paul mentions his release in Heb. 13:23, and indicated that he would make a journey with Timothy; "if he should come soon, I will see you". Nevertheless, God chose that the book of Acts should conclude where it did, and if Luke wrote a third letter to Theophilus it is unknown. A detailed description of one or more subsequent missionary journeys was not included in the canon of holy scripture.

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It would seem that this journey took Paul and Timothy through or near to Ephesus. Evidently Paul was not able to visit the saints there, as he had previously warned them; “And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more” (Acts 20:25). Yet there was a need in Ephesus that Paul wanted to be addressed. There were teachers in Ephesus that were teaching contrary to Paul’s doctrine, and it was having a derogatory effect on the conduct of God’s people. Paul was heading into Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica area), but begged Timothy to remain in Ephesus and “that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3). Timothy had been with Paul on the second and third missionary journeys up to Ephesus, but then was sent by Paul to Macedonia before the uproar in Ephesus took place, while Paul stayed behind. But on the fourth journey Timothy would be left in Ephesus alone while Paul continued to Macedonia. This was quite a heavy charge for Timothy to carry, and so when Paul got to Macedonia (or perhaps when he stopped in Corinth), he wrote to Timothy this first epistle to formally give him his apostolic charge, to encourage him, and provided specific instructions that he was to teach.
This epistle was probably written around AD 64. Likely this was around the same time that the epistle to Titus was written, who was left at Crete on the same journey, for a similar purpose.
Pastoral Epistles. We now come to a new type of epistle in the New Testament. From Romans through 2 Thessalonians we have epistles of Paul written to the Church, whether it be circular epistles like Ephesians, or epistles addressed to a particular assembly. But now we come to a number of epistles written by Paul to individuals: Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. John also wrote two pastoral epistles as well, to “the elect lady” and then to Gaius. In these epistles we have Divine instruction to individuals in various circumstances. They could be instructions from an apostle to an apostolic delegate, outlining an apostolic mission (Timothy, Titus), or it could be a personal matter (Philemon). These epistles tend to be more personal than the previous, and more practical as well. They are written usually much later, after the doctrine of the Church has already been laid down.
Overview of the Epistle. The first epistle deals with the proper order and behavior of the house of God; “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” (1 Tim. 3:15). Timothy was left in Ephesus by the apostle Paul on one of his journeys, and instructed to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:3). Nevertheless, in the first epistle, things were generally as they should be, although Timothy is given warnings that decline would come in. In the second epistle, things are in ruin; “this thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me” (2 Tim. 1:15). The pathway for the believer is given in both. Timothy’s charge was to keep things in order. Now, it is important to distinguish something: Timothy was directly commissioned by the apostle Paul, and he had apostolic authority to do what he did. None of us can say we have this same charge. Nevertheless, from this epistle and others, we gather that it is God’s mind to seek to maintain the order of God’s house here in this world. The epistle is broadly divided into two parts: first the introduction, which presents the charge committed to Timothy (ch.1), followed by the various instructions for the maintenance of order in God’s house (ch.2-6). These chapters cover the issues of priesthood, office, gift, assembly relationships, and wealth. In all of these things God has an order, and He expects those of us who are associated with the name of Christ to abide by the order of His house.

The House of God. The term ‘House of God’ basically means the "dwelling-place" of God. In a greater sense, the universe is the house of God (Heb. 3:4; Acts 7:48-50; Isa. 66:1). But on earth, God had a physical house in the Old Testament, and He has a spiritual house in the New Testament where He does "in very deed dwell with men on the earth" (2 Chron. 6:18). In the Old Testament, the house of God was first the Tabernacle, then the Temple. When Israel rejected their Messiah, the presence of Jehovah departed from that Temple, and has not returned. That house is "desolate" to this day (Matt. 23:38). In the Millennium, a new Temple will be built, and the glory cloud will return; once again, the presence of God will be on earth in a physical temple (Ezek. 43:4-7). Today there is no physical house, but instead God dwells on earth in His heavenly people, the Church; "the house of God, which is the church of the living God" (1 Tim. 3:15). The house is composed of individual believers ("living stones"; 1 Pet. 2:7) who are built up together into a "spiritual house". God actually indwells the House, "through the Spirit" (Eph. 2:22). The House of God is a figure of the Church that carries the thoughts of internal order, conduct suited to the character of God, and testimony before this world.

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The Pattern of the House. The rules and guidelines for God’s House are outlined in His Word. There was a pattern for the physical House of God in Moses’ day (Exodus 25:9), in David and Solomon’s day (1 Chron. 28:12), and there will be for the temple in a millennial day (Ezek. 43:10). What about today? Yes, there is a pattern for God's house today. We have this pattern in the epistles of 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy. The first takes up the order of the local assembly, and the second deals with the behavior of believers in the house of God at large. The pattern of God's House is implemented through His administration. The leading feature of the house of God is holiness"This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house" (Ezek. 43:12). “Holiness becometh thine house O Lord forever” (Psa. 93:5). We do well to remember this as those who are in God's house today.



  1. Kelly, W. The First Epistle to Timothy.
  2. Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
  3. Anstey, B. The First Epistle to Timothy: The Order of God’s House. Canada, 2011.