Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Greetings and Salutations Timothy, my true child in the faith

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Greetings and Salutations Timothy, my true child in the faith

This bible study is part of a series on the book of 1st Timothy, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of 1st Timothy for other studies in this book. 

When I set this blog up my intention was to explore the epistles and do the occasional bible study based on what I had studied and learned, what you are reading below is notes I have made. I have to confess that this bible study is basic in its content and is not prepared by a pastor and I have to admit I have no theological training; my hope in prayer is that someone will be blessed by the notes below.

Let’s start in verse one of the first chapter of First Timothy.

1st Timothy 1:1 (ESV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

My True Child in the faith

Paul writes this letter to Timothy at Ephesus during his missionary journey, Macedonia is mentioned and it is widely believed that the letter was penned whilst Paul was there. His opening benediction is typical of a Pauline epistle and describes Paul and gives an edited highlight of how he went from being Saul, the Pharisee persecutor of the people of “The Way”, the man who held the coats as Stephen was stoned and the man who was on his way to the modern Syrian city of Damascus with written permission to torture and persecute Christians in that region when Jesus literally stopped him in his tracks.

Blinded by the light

In Acts 9 Paul is blinded by the light. He is scrambling beneath a light that sent him into blindness and then asks the best question he possibly could ask, (being a theological man and zealous for the truth of God he asks “Who are you LORD?”) Jesus introduces himself and reveals himself as the messiah and Saul becomes Paul, the zeal he had to persecute Christians, he also had to spread the good news as a dynamic missionary all throughout the greater Mediterranean area.

Apostle literally by Christ Jesus

Paul was literally a man who was an apostle (messenger) literally sent by Christ Jesus. he had a literal command from heaven to use his skills as an orator and his theological knowledge to show to an audience that was made up of Jewish converts and Gentile new believers. To the Jews he showed how the law pointed to Jesus, to the Gentiles he emphasized the grace we have in Jesus Christ.

Paul gives his credentials in the same way that we would in modern times hand over a credit card, passport, ID card or driving license to prove who he was. His credentials were rich both in the heavenly realm and also on earth. The use of the word “Savior” would have been politically sensitive as the people who were in charge of Rome, the one who was called Caesar was often worshipped as a God and dependent of his political record could be seen as a type of Savior. Paul goes to great lengths to not conform to the standards that the world would like to place on him; he reiterates that Jesus was the one and only real “Savior”.

We can learn from this, we are called to be in the world not of the world. When we start to change our doctrine away from biblical principles in order to make it more palatable to an unforgiving audience, it is time to check where we are going. It is far better for a man’s soul to reveal an uncomfortable truth as opposed to a lie that will send someone to eternal damnation.

The hope we have in Christ

Paul speaks of “the hope we have in Jesus Christ” he talks about his own life and how a relationship with Jesus was a “game changer” he was still looking for the messiah when friends of his were crucifying the chosen one. God chose, in his own time to reveal the truth to Paul and to show him who Jesus was, gave him hope in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus and a mission to spread that same hope.

Family that is not blood

Paul greets Timothy as “a true son in the faith” he saw him as family. Recently I saw on Facebook a graphic which had the following text…

“I have family that is not blood and I have blood that is not family”

And as tragic as that is to read, I believe that we as Christians should be the former to those who need us. Recently my wife and I have been blessed to facilitate a bible study in the town we live in and I see these people as family, they are my new brothers and sisters, I would do for them what I would do for my own family and I believe that in our “church family” life we would do well to remember this.

Bear others burdens

I have failed in this area so I am not “throwing stones” there are times I could have helped others but I have taken the more convenient route, there are times where I haven’t been willing to “bear others burdens” (Galatians 6:2) there are times when I wanted help and didn’t get it and held it against my brothers. This stuff is real folks and I lay it bare here to show that I am as guilty as any man and say this under this realization. I do this as to not seem “morally superior” as trust me I am not.

Who was Timothy?

Timothy is first introduced to us in Acts 16:1-5 as someone who “was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium.” (Acts 16:2) His family is listed as a mother called “Eunice” (2 Timothy 2:5) he was taught the scriptures by his mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5: 3:15) and had a good foundational knowledge of the word of God.

Timothy was someone who was trusted as Paul left him there, despite his young age to deal with heresies that came up. The timeline of Paul’s journeys tell us that Paul himself would have dealt with these theological issues and then left “his man” Timothy to ensure that sound doctrine was preached and that they did not fall into error.

Paul was sure about who Timothy was and that Timothy was equipped, called and strong enough in the faith to carry out the mission that the LORD had told Paul to give him. This is important to read if you are a leader in the church or in charge of assignments in a ministry as an encouragement to look at a person’s “full package” (most externally and spiritually) and not go for a “popular choice”. I am a great believer in that if you honor God in private, he will honor you in public. I am talking about devotions, private worship time, taking the relationship with Christ Jesus seriously, growing in God, loving your spouse, family and whomever God blesses you come in contact with. Love more, show more grace and forgive the little because of the great amount that you have been forgiven.

I know that Timothy was called and sent to the church and this letter, although addressed to Timothy would have carried the same weight as if Paul was there himself and was intended to be used for proof, reproof and correction of doctrines that were not sound. I would imagine that the letter would either have been circulated or at the very least read out loud. It was by no means a private letter, but one that was useful and God inspired for public teaching.

Grace, peace and mercy

As said previously, Paul uses the typical Pauline greeting using the words “grace, peace and mercy” and this shows the heart of Paul, this letter is not a flowery “how are you doing Timothy? Hope the weather is nice” type of letter, there will be some real tough topics discussed in these six chapters of a letter. Let’s look at why? This was Ephesus, a church that Paul founded on his missionary journey, he had personal interaction and knew many of those who were causing problems and some who were helping heal them. He had spent actual time there, lived there, worked there, preached there and knew who he was talking about.

If you look at Paul’s letters we see that grace and peace are a common greeting, Paul also adds mercy to the letters to Timothy and Titus. These “Pastoral Epistles” involve a lot of correction and establishment of doctrine that may cause contention. Mercy would have to be allowed and given as some of these words may be a bitter pill to swallow for some. Timothy had a tough job and no mistake.

This is a timely reminder to us as we are required to have grace, peace and mercy on others (as stated prior in this article) I believe that the best way to do so is to earnestly pray for those who are in ministry, pray for your Pastors, for their families, for those who are contentious with you, those who have spoken evil of you, those who need your prayer the most. Often times it is the ones who you may not want to pray for are the ones that God moves you to pray for the hardest.

Timothy had a job

Timothy had a job as we will see to find, identify and train other men for the work of the ministry. (Paul goes into great detail of the type of man that he wanted to see in those roles.) Many of us have similar roles today; this book is a great resource for any man who wishes to be used by God in Christian service and ministry.

Thank you again for finding this article and I pray these bible studies are a blessing. Please feel free to comment, like or share as the LORD leads you to.
TGBTG
TTE

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