1 TIMOTHY (day 1120-1125)
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Here are all the references to Timothy in the New Testament outside the two letters addressed to him:
Acts 16:1: “Paul went on also to Derbe and to Lystra, where there was a disciple named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek.”
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Acts 16:3: “Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and had him circumcised because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.”
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Acts 17:14: “Then the believers immediately sent Paul away to the coast, but Silas and Timothy remained behind.”Top of Form
Acts 17:15: “Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and after receiving instructions to have Silas and Timothy join him as soon as possible, they left him.”
Top of FBottom of FormÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Acts 18:5: “When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus.”
Acts 19:22: “So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia.”Top of Form
Acts 20:4: “He was accompanied by Sopater son of Pyrrhus from Beroea, by Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, by Gaius from Derbe, and by Timothy, as well as by Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia.”Bottom of Form
Romans 16:21: “Timothy, my co-worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my relatives.”
1 Corinthians 4:17: “For this reason I sent you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ Jesus, as I teach them everywhere in every church.”
1 Corinthians 16:10: “If Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord just as I am;”
2 Corinthians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God that is in Corinth, including all the saints throughout Achaia:”
2 Corinthians 1:19: “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not ‘Yes and No’; but in him it is always ‘Yes.'”
Philippians 1:1: “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:”
Philippians 2:19: “I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you.”
Philippians 2:22: “But Timothy’s worth you know, how like a son with a father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.”
Colossians 1:1: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,”
1 Thessalonians 1:1: “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.”
1 Thessalonians 3:2: “…and we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith.”
1 Thessalonians 3:6: “But Timothy has just now come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love. He has told us also that you always remember us kindly and long to see us—just as we long to see you.”
2 Thessalonians 1:1: “Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:”
Philemon 1:1: “Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our dear friend and co-worker,”Bottom of Form
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Hebrews 13:23: “I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been set free; and if he comes in time, he will be with me when I see you.”
1 Timothy 1 (day 1120) 24 January 2013
1-2: It would appear that Timothy, along with Silas (Silvanus), was Paul’s most frequent companion. The two letters that follow purport to be from Paul to him while Timothy was working on his behalf in Ephesus. The letters show that the church began to be organized as an institution very early on, with rules for various levels of leadership.
3-7: First up, he urges Timothy to refrain from the kind of pseudo spiritual activities that occupied much of Greek culture and by which many Jews and, later, Christians, were led into inefficacious practices.
8-11: Paul has maintained that the purpose of the law is not to save but rather to convict (see Romans 3:28, 10:4; Galatians 3:10); here he gives another list of things which the law forbids.
12-17: He believes that Christ has made an example of him because he was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence.” In spite of this he received mercy, which he says proves that Christ came into the world to save sinners — himself being the foremost because he persecuted the followers of Christ.
18-20: He doesn’t want Timothy to wind up like Hymenaeus and Alexander. The sin of Hymenaeus was that he claimed the resurrection of the dead had already taken place (see 2 Timothy 2:17-18). Paul fleshed out his teachings about the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. Here he seems to be saying that anyone who doesn’t hold to that teaching is headed for a spiritual shipwreck.
1 Timothy 2 (day 1121) 25 January 2013
1-7: A few verses back (1:18) Paul hinted at instructions he would give. Here we have the beginning of his “training manual.” Rule #1: pray for everybody, even kings. He envisions a world of peace in which they can live in “godliness and dignity,” but such a world in his day and time depended on the well-being first of all of those who were in power. God wants everyone to be saved, he says, with which we Methodists agree. He quotes a portion of an early Christian hymn or creed, acknowledging one God and asserting that Christ is the mediator between God and humanity; then adds that he, Paul, is the herald to the Gentiles.
8-15: What he describes here is a traditional Jewish synagogue prayer service, with the men and women separated. His insistence that women should not teach men is consistent with prevailing Jewish mores, of course — remember that Paul had been a Pharisee — but we note that both Aquila and his wife Priscilla instructed Apollos (see Acts 18:24-26) in Ephesus. This happened while Paul was away, however, so maybe this is his way of telling Timothy not to let such a thing happen again. In any case, this passage reflects traditional Jewish understandings of gender roles, an understanding which created some conflict within the broader Greek culture.
1 Timothy 3 (day 1122) 26 January 2013
1-7: In this growing movement an organizational structure has become necessary. Who is in charge? Who has the authority to make decisions? We can see that by the time of this letter the church has established the offices of bishop and deacons. There is much discussion among scholarly circles about whether this arrangement is more reflective of Jewish or Greek community organization. The titles used are Greek. The bishop, or overseer, must be blameless, monogamous and respectable among other things. It is interesting that Paul, who never married, should picture bishops as married men with children. As such, their family is the church in microcosm, and their ability to manage the family is a good measure of their ability to manage a congregation. Some mellowing in the faith is a good thing, too, recognizing that rapid advancement contributes to vanity.
8-13: Deacons were given special duties in the congregation. An example is Stephen and the other 7 Greeks who were given responsibilities for the distribution of food to the widows in the church in Jerusalem (Acts 6:3-6). They, too, must lead exemplary lives. It would seem from verse 11 that women are allowed to serve in this office.
14-16: The reason Paul is giving these instructions is so that Timothy can keep things running in proper order until Paul is able to return to Ephesus. In verse 16 he quotes from another early hymn or creed.
1 Timothy 4 (day 1123) 27 January 2013
1-5: It seems Paul was constantly warning against false teachings of one kind or another. The particular aberration he’s writing about in verse 3 is typical of the kind of religious fads that were sweeping through the Mediterranean world of the time. I know of no cult that forbade marriage, though many religious groups, including Judaism, promoted fasting. The main thing Paul is saying is in verse 1: “some will renounce the faith.” He is telling Timothy to beware of every fad and every quack that finds its way to Ephesus. He is to protect his congregation from everything that threatens the pure faith in Christ crucified and risen.
6-10: He is to hold strong to the faith that has been passed on to him and instruct others in the Way, rejecting other ways. The goal is godliness, for that is the way to God, and the way to salvation. The last phrase, “especially of those who believe,” deserves some thought. The implication is that those who don’t believe will also enjoy a measure of God’s salvation because the whole world will benefit from the faith and godliness of believers.
11-16: Timothy will have to be especially diligent in his work to overcome the tendency some will have to take him lightly because of his youth. Reading scripture, preaching and teaching are the three tasks in which he is especially gifted. Paul encourages him by reminding him that he was especially commissioned by leaders in the church through the ceremony of the laying on of hands. Early Christians and other people of the time believed in the power of touch (see, for example, Exodus 30:29 and Leviticus 5:2).
1 Timothy 5 (day 1124) 28 January 2013
1-2: In other words, Timothy, treat your elders and your peers with respect. Don’t engage in inappropriate conduct with the young ladies.
3-8: Paul distinguishes between widows who have children or grandchildren and those who do not. The idea is that children and grandchildren have a responsibility toward their widowed mother or grandmother, and the church should not be burdened with their welfare. “Real” widows, those who are bereft of husband and children, should be honored, that is, taken care of. He has some harsh words to say about widows who “live for pleasure,” and for those family members who do not provide for their own relatives.
9-10: Within Greek culture, apparently, widowhood often precipitated behavior that was scandalous, a situation that was closely related to the fact that in that culture a single woman’s choices for gainful employment aside from prostitution were nearly nonexistent. It is likely that, very early on, congregations had official lists of widows (see Acts 6:1) for two reasons: first, they were a welcome source of workers within the church; second, since in that culture there few opportunities by which a woman could provide for herself, widows comprised a specific area of concern for the church to provide some welfare. Timothy, as the lead pastor of the church in Ephesus, would have the responsibility for maintaining the “widows’ roll.”
11-16: But the desire to care for widows also presented an opportunity for some to abuse the system, and Paul therefore separates widows into four categories: 1) those over the age of sixty, whose prospects for remarriage would have been almost nonexistent; 2) those under sixty who upon entering widowhood behaved in a way that brought shame to the church, “gadding about” and such; 3) those under sixty who upon entering widowhood pledged themselves to Christ and his service; and 4) those under sixty who upon entering widowhood pledged themselves to Christ and his service but later violated that pledge by remarrying. There is much confusion around verse 12, which speaks of “young” widows wishing to marry and thus violating their “first pledge.” But the “first pledge” is not a reference to their first marriage. It is a reference to those younger widows who decided to be placed on the “widows’ roll” of the church. Such a designation was considered in the early church to be a lifetime pledge equivalent to marriage. Verses 12 and 13 therefore refer to that fourth category. Paul’s advise is that young widows should not be placed on the “widows’ roll” in the first place, but instead be encouraged to remarry and start a family.
It does seem to me that women who were widowed between menopause and age sixty are by this rule kind of left in the lurch.
17-22: This paragraph is packed with lots of advice. First, elders (mature members of the faith publicly set aside for specific duties) are to receive a “double honor:” there is the honor of being given the responsibility, and then there is the honor of being compensated for their labors, particularly preaching and teaching. Second, without at least two witnesses any charge against an elder must be ignored. Third, where misconduct is proven a public denouncement against that elder must be made so that others will understand that such behavior is not to be tolerated. Fourth, he tells Timothy not to allow himself to be swayed or influenced by his personal relationships. Fifth, don’t be hasty to lift individuals up to positions of leadership; make sure they have a maturity of faith that can be trusted. Finally, make sure you yourself are a good example to everybody else.
24-25: Sooner or later everything, good and bad, will be brought to light.
1 Timothy 6 (day 1125) 29 January 2013
1-5: Slavery was a simple reality in those days, and it is really an extraordinary thing that Paul, in seeking some human situation to use as a metaphor for his relationship to Christ, would declare that he was a slave of Jesus Christ (see, for example, Romans 1:1), and would often refer to other Christians in the same way. It is also typical of the mindset prevalent in the first century that, rather than view slavery as an evil social institution, Paul would be more concerned for the state of the soul of the individual slave. It is not that he approved of slavery or disapproved of it; it is simply that it wouldn’t have occurred to him that he could approve or disapprove of it. That is what is being expressed here. Paul’s advice is that, if a slave treats his or her master with respect, the master will not have cause to put down Christ or the teachings of the church. He is also concerned that Christian slaves of Christian masters might expect special treatment. He tells them instead that their master’s faith is all the more reason for them to serve diligently. Furthermore, he believes that to teach otherwise is ignorant and conceited, and will lead to a host of other maladies culminating in the slave’s thinking that “godliness is a means of gain.”
6-10: A couple of statements in this passage are often cited in popular literature. “We brought nothing into this world, so that we can take nothing out of it,” follows a reminder that we should strive to be content with what we have, as long as what we have is enough. Godliness is not a means of gain, but godliness with contentment is itself great gain. The other recognizable quote is in verse 10: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Paul obviously believes that seeking wealth is the road to perdition that carries many an unsuspecting soul away from the faith.
But at what point has Paul stopped talking about slaves? Verse 2, Verse 5, or verse 10?
11-16: Always, though, Paul wants to point his friends to Christ. “Fight the good fight,” another oft-quoted bit of advice, sums up Paul’s idea of what living the faith means. It is a pursuit, a pursuit of righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness, all of which are gathered up in the person of Jesus who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
17-19: On the other hand, if you happen to be rich, don’t despair! Guard against haughtiness and hope only in God because riches are fickle and fleeting, as too many have discovered to their despair. Paul’s point to Timothy is that those who have great riches should also be great in good works and in sharing. That is the only way they can “take hold of the life that really is life.”
20-21: Final words of encouragement and advice. The “profane chatter and contradictions” is probably a reference to sophistry, a popular debating technique of the day that relied on clever dialogue that twisted the facts.