1, 2 Timothy
1 Timothy 1: Stay True
The apostle Paul addresses Timothy as his “true child in the faith” (1:1). He has some very particular instructions for Timothy, as Timothy was working among the Christians in Ephesus. There was an immediate danger of certain teachers in error who would “promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith” (v. 4). Christ came to provide salvation, and any doctrine that would prevent this truth was to be opposed. Timothy was being charged by Paul to deal with these matters, to use what had been entrusted to him in order to “wage the good warfare,” and to hold fast the faith and a good conscience. There is always a danger of being led astray by those who do not share those same concerns.
1 Timothy 2: Desire for All
Timothy is told that he needed to devote time to prayer so that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (vv. 1-2). God desires all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, and He provided Jesus as the perfect Mediator to make this possible. Paul also provides instructions relative to the roles of men and women and includes instructions about displaying Christ through modest apparel. This is all grounded in creation as well as what happened with Adam and Eve.
1 Timothy 3: Godly Servants
The significance of having qualified shepherds in a congregation is highlighted by Paul. This coincides with the previous chapters because where godly leaders and shepherds are active, error will not go unchecked. Deacons, special servants appointed to do particular tasks, are also important in a congregation that is growing and working. The character qualities given for those who would serve, whether shepherds, deacons, or wives, are important because they are then able to maintain good influence and purity both within and without the local church. Godly leaders must be intentional, and those who wish to serve the Lord must purpose to grow and follow the given standard.
1 Timothy 4: Pay Attention
The Holy Spirit warns that some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines. Failure to be diligent can result in seared consciences and the acceptance of ideas that are contrary to God’s will and purposes. Timothy was to be diligent in presenting the truth to God’s people. He was to avoid the irreverent, silly teachings. Instead, he was to be trained in godliness, placing the greatest values on what matters for eternal life. He was to pay attention so that he could avoid discouragement that may come from others who despised his youth. Instead, he should be the example to others on how to behave. He was to pay special attention to the public reading of Scripture, persisting in truth so that he would save both himself and those who heard him.
1 Timothy 5: Be Responsible
Individual responsibility is stressed by Paul. Older men and women were to be honored and respected. Particularly, true widows (i.e., those who were truly destitute, with none to care for them) were to be honored and cared for. If a widow has children or grandchildren, then they need to be caring for their widowed mother and grandmother so that the church may focus on other work (v. 16). The church may help the true widows among its members if necessary. Paul then points back to the elders, indicating that those who serve well should be considered with honor, and noted especially if they labor in preaching and teaching. Even so, such leaders are still amenable to God’s word, so that if they are doing what is not right, they should be dealt with appropriately.
1 Timothy 6: Take Hold
Paul once again stresses truth. The standard has been given, and Timothy was to be vigilant in maintaining this standard through his own teaching. Paul then tells Timothy that those who do not agree with sound words and the teaching of Jesus Christ are puffed up, conceited, and understand nothing. Godliness was always to be sought after, and the rich should be taught not to trust in their riches, but in God. Timothy was always to “fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called…” The glory belongs to the Lord in all of this, but God’s servants should always stay motivated to do what is right, teach what is right, and be ready for the Lord’s return.
2 Timothy 1: Guard the Trust
Paul indicates in 2 Timothy that his own death was coming shortly, so he urges Timothy to stay faithful and wants Timothy to come see him in prison. Paul reminds Timothy of his upbringing by his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, who had instilled in Timothy a sincere faith. Timothy had also been given a gift that he was to nourish and use with love and self-control. He was not to be ashamed of the testimony of Jesus, but to be willing to share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God. Because of what Christ did, believers may have hope. God was able to guard what had been entrusted to Paul, so Paul entreats Timothy to follow the pattern of sound words and guard the trust given to him by the Holy Spirit.
2 Timothy 2: Pass it On
As Timothy was to be faithful to what he had heard and learned from Paul, so he was to teach others to do the same. Then these others can teach others. That is how evangelism works. Timothy was again told to be ready to suffer for Christ, knowing that, as a good solider of Jesus Christ, his aim should always be to please the Lord. Though Paul was bound as a prisoner for the gospel of Jesus, the word of God is never so bound. Paul had endured what he did “for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (v. 10). Timothy was also to charge others not to be quarrelsome, but to be diligent to be approved of God, workers who handle God’s word accurately. Though some had gone astray, the Lord knows those who are His. Timothy needed to take care to flee lusts and ignorant controversies so that he could properly teach others to escape the snares of the devil.
2 Timothy 3: God-Breathed
Paul warns Timothy of the various evils that would come in the last days. There would be many who deny the Lord and His power, even if they have an appearance of godliness. Timothy was to stay away from such, knowing that their error would become obvious. Instead, Timothy needed to focus on Scripture because it is inspired by God and “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (3:16-17). What gives Scripture its power is the fact that it ultimately comes from God. This is why, we, too, need to be diligent and faithful to that same message the apostle Paul taught.
2 Timothy 4: Preach the Word
Timothy’s charge was clear: “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (v. 2). There will be people who deny truth and demand to hear only what makes them feel good, but this is not what will save their souls. Timothy needed to remain faithful to truth. As for Paul, he knew he was about to be put to death. Yet he was confident that the Lord had laid up for him the crown of righteousness, as He has done for all the faithful. Paul finishes by asking Timothy to come see him, to bring the cloak he had left in Troas, and the books and parchments he had also left. Though Paul would soon face death, he still knew that God would deliver him “from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom” (v. 18). This is the hope for all of God’s people.