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1 Timothy

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Calling Men To Pray

1 Timothy 2:8

God wants everybody to pray. But there is a special responsibility placed 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 are mature and have the responsibility of leading a family. Although the believing husband/father bears the responsibility for the family before God, it is too great a burden to bear without His help.

Godly Womanhood

1 Timothy 2:9-15

Ephesus, where Timothy led a growing church, was the centre of the pagan cult of Diana (or 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 ungodly sexual practices were considered normal.

Godly Leadership

1 Timothy 3:1

Timothy was chosen by the Apostle Paul to train the next generation of church leaders in Ephesus. Those men would have the responsibility of having ‘headship’ over the congregation. 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 and direct God’s family like a wise father should watch over his own family. The word translated here as ‘overseer’ is also used for ‘bishop’, ‘elder’ or ‘presbyter’.

Leadership Characteristics

1 Timothy 3:2-7

Paul wanted Timothy to choose church leaders whose lifestyles had godly integrity. Even the non-believers could be able to see that these people are well disciplined and are able to live in such a way that others are encouraged to godly lives. Godliness should start at home. A faithful husband who is able to bring out the best in his wife and children is the sort of person who may be considered for church leadership.

Servants Of God

1 Timothy 3:8-11

Deacons differ from elders whose first role is to teach. Deacons are the servants of the church, ensuring that the elders are set aside to lead and teach without the added responsibility of practical administration. Although these two roles often overlap, the deacons must also be spiritual men with a good grasp of the gospel and practised in discipleship.

Family Values

1 Timothy 3:12-13

Deacons are servants. They serve Christ by serving His church. Their task is to enable God’s family to receive what He wants to give them, and give 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. Faithfulness is a primary qualification for this role. Polygamy, either in parallel (where a man may have intimate relationships with more than one woman at the same time), or in series (where a sequence of women find the favour of one man), is not a biblical model of family life.

Behaviour Must Match Belief

1 Timothy 3:14-16

Paul’s 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 His family; so they needed to learn how to live a new life which matched their new faith.

Evil Teaching Seduces The Church

1 Timothy 4:1-3

The Holy Spirit taught Paul that Christians can be lured away from Christ by false teachers. These people mislead believers; they are hypocrites themselves and are not telling the truth. They have not followed Christ although they pretend to be part of the church, but really they are being manipulated by demonic spirits. They appear devout because of their strict way of life but they demand that their followers behave in ways that are not part of the essential Christian lifestyle.

Give Thanks For Everything

1 Timothy 4:4-5

Food is good; it is created by God. But in the Ephesian church, some believers objected to eating certain kinds of produce: some from a Jewish background had never eaten some things, and some others from a pagan background did not want to eat food which had been offered to idols. You can imagine the tensions, especially as false teachers wanted to define God’s people by what they did or did not eat.

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.