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1 Timothy

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Calling Men To Pray

1 Timothy 2:8

God wants everybody to pray (1 Peter 4:7).  Instructing his assistant, Timothy, the Apostle Paul placed a special responsibility on men, especially those who are husbands and fathers.  The word for ‘men’ in this verse does not mean ‘mankind’ in general but ‘males’; particularly those who were mature and had the responsibility of leading a family or the church in public worship (1 Timothy 2:1-15).  Paul told the Early Church to continue the Jewish pattern of family and public prayer as men lifted up their hands, symbolising the submission and sacrifice of their hearts to God (Psalm 141:2).

Godly Womanhood

1 Timothy 2:9-15

Ephesus, where Timothy led a growing church, was the centre of the pagan cult of Diana (also known as Artemis).  The magnificent temple in Ephesus was one of the ‘seven wonders of the world’ containing an ebony statue of the goddess.  It was a culture in which women strove for dominance, and where some behaviours forbidden in God’s Law were considered normal.  The church, however, needed to reflect the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Godly Leadership

1 Timothy 3:1

Timothy was chosen by the Apostle Paul to train the next generation of church leaders in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3-7).  They were to lead the congregation but not exercise ungodly power over the church; neither should they be passive officials who could be bribed or manipulated by the congregation.  Instead, they were to watch over (oversee) and direct God’s family like a wise father should watch over his own family (1 Timothy 3:4).  The word translated here as ‘overseer’ is also used for ‘bishop’, ‘elder’ or ‘presbyter’.

Leadership Characteristics

1 Timothy 3:2-7

Ephesus was a vibrant trading port at the end of the Silk Road, a short sea journey away from what is now Europe.  So many different cultures, ideologies and languages mixed in the city - which was physically dominated by the magnificent Temple to the goddess Diana/Artemis.  Acts chapter 19 describes the challenges the Apostle Paul experienced as he preached the gospel in the city … from inadequate Christian teaching in the church, to occultism, commercialised pagan worship, and an organised riot to support businesses who traded silver images of their goddess.

Servants Of God

1 Timothy 3:8-11

Deacons differ from elders, whose first role is to teach and pastor God’s flock.  The Greek word diakonos was used of a house servant who did whatever was necessary including running errands.  Deacons enable the practical functions of the church family, enabling the elders to lead and teach without the added responsibility of practical administration.  In Acts 6:1-7, seven such men were appointed to oversee the distribution of food to poor families.  They were ‘hands on’ helpers and organisers.  But the practical and spiritual work of the church are not separate.  Deacons and elder

Family Values

1 Timothy 3:12-13

Deacons are servants – the word ‘diakonos’ was used for a low-paid slave who does whatever is requested by the master of the house, including running errands and serving at table (Acts 6:1-7).  They serve Christ by serving His church in practical ways, and with spiritual motives (1 Timothy 3:9).  Their task is to enable God’s family to receive what He wants to give them, giving to others what God wants to pass on in blessing.  In one sense they are trustees who enable divine resources to be available where they can be best used.  Humility is the essential quality for being a deacon; those w

Behaviour Must Match Belief

1 Timothy 3:14-16

Paul’s first letter to Timothy is full of instructions about how Christians should relate with each other and behave in the world.  The people in the Ephesian church had multi-cultural and multi-faith backgrounds.  When they came to Christ they also came into a new family of which God is the Father (Ephesians 3:14-15).  That is why they needed to learn how to live a new life which matched their new faith.  This was so important that Paul felt the teaching could not be delayed until his next visit, because faith which is not expressed in right behaviour is useless (James 2:14-26).

Evil Teaching Seduces The Church

1 Timothy 4:1-3

The Holy Spirit taught Paul that some Christians would be lured away from Christ by false teachers and stop following Jesus (Acts 20:29-30).  These false teachers misled believers, but they were hypocrites themselves, and did not tell the truth.  Although they pretended to be part of Christ’s church, and may even have been honoured as godly teachers, they did not follow Christ and could not lead other people to Him.  

Give Thanks For Everything

1 Timothy 4:4-5

All food is good; it is created by God for human consumption (Genesis 9:1-3).  However, in the Ephesian church, some believers objected to eating certain kinds of produce … but for different reasons.  Some from a Jewish background had never eaten food which God prohibited to His people for public health reasons.  The Apostle Peter had the same problem until the Lord told him that those rules, in Leviticus 11:1-47, no longer applied to believers in Jesus (Acts 10:9-16).  Others, from a pagan background, did not want to eat food which had been offered to idols.  For some, it became not only a

Transmit The Truth

1 Timothy 4:6

Sometimes, followers of Christ suffer from an excess of individualism.  Increasingly, people do not want to be instructed because they believe that they are competent to follow Jesus in their own way.  But we can only come to God through His way, and we can only please Him as we obey His Word.  At any point the church is one generation away from extinction unless God’s truth is passed on to those who have become entangled by the lies of their own flesh, the world and the devil (2 Timothy 4:1-5).