Today we begin the book of 1 Timothy. 1 Timothy is a letter written by Paul in approximately 63-66 AD to one of his disciples, Timothy. At the time, Timothy was leading a large church that Paul helped to start in the city of Ephesus. Today’s passage is 1 Timothy 1:1-11. Let’s go!
1 Timothy 1:1-2 (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
On verses 1-2: In these two verses we see the 3 friends you can’t live without, 3 friends that every Christian needs. First and foremost, we all need Jesus Christ as “our hope” (v1) and “our Lord”) (v2). Second, we all need a Paul, a pastor and spiritual father in our lives who teaches us God’s Word and models what it means to follow Jesus. Third, we all need a Timothy, someone younger in the faith than we are and whom we’re teaching, mentoring and investing in. Do you have a Timothy in your life? If not, it’s time to find one to invest in.
1 Timothy 1:3-4 (NIV)
3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer
4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work–which is by faith.
On verses 3-7: Here Paul urges Timothy to exercise his authority as pastor of his church and to command certain people in his congregation to stop teaching false doctrine and unproductive talk. Paul was concerned about these false teachers for two reasons: (1) these false teachers were teaching things that were either untrue or unhelpful; and (2) whereas teaching God’s Word should always come out of “a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (v5), Paul discerned that these false teachers had wandered away from these things and ere instead focused on elevating themselves, being seen as teachers, and turning to meaningless talk (v6).
What can we learn from this? When teaching others, we need to check both our content and our motives. We must check that the content of what we are teaching is true and helpful. We must also check our motives to ensure that our teaching is motivated by love for our hearers, to build them up.
1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NIV)
8 We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.
9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,
10 for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers–and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine
11 that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.
On verses 8-11: It appears that some people in the church of Ephesus were teaching that God’s law is bad or evil. But Paul affirms that God’s law is good if used properly. God’s law was given to make us aware of where we go wrong or where our behaviour deviates from God’s best for our lives. Ultimately, God’s law was given to lead us to Jesus Christ, to help us see our need for Him as our Saviour (see Galatians 3:24). What’s the lesson here? Don’t despise God’s laws, but thank God that He used His law to ultimately lead us to Jesus.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus, my greatest friend. Thank You also for the Paul’s and the Timothy’s in my life. May I never take these friends for granted. Thank You also for Your laws, without which I wouldn’t have known that I am a sinner in need of a Saviour. Thank You that Your laws ultimately led me to Jesus. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!