1 Timothy 1

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Getting Started

Welcome to the Bible Reading Plan! We are so glad you are joining us for this journey through 1 Timothy, a New Testament letter written by the Apostle Paul. Each day, you will read one chapter of the Bible followed by a short devotional, answer a few questions, and if you want, record any observations or insights using the interactive notes section. We believe God will use this resource to grow our knowledge and affection for Him. We know God’s Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11). Sign up with a friend, your Life Group, or your family, and let’s dig in!

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Let’s Go, Church!

1 Timothy Preview

On his missionary journeys, the Apostle Paul would go from city to city, preaching the Gospel message and establishing churches in each new place. Over the years, he made many close friends but one in particular stuck out: Timothy. Timothy became Paul’s apprentice along the way. He learned from Paul, co-labored alongside him, and then eventually took over the church at Ephesus. 

This is one of Paul’s three pastoral epistles (or letters), with 2 Timothy and Titus being the other two. It’s more personal than a letter like Romans or Philippians, which were written for entire congregations to read. This letter from Paul to Timothy gives us a glimpse not only into their relationship, but also into what was happening in the church at Ephesus at this time. This first letter from Paul to Timothy primarily focuses on the local church. In it, Paul explains the functions of the church, leadership within the church, and some threats to the church. He concludes the letter with a sober warning for Timothy to guard what has been entrusted to him and to stay focused on what truly matters.

There is so for us to learn from Paul’s letter to Timothy. Each of these chapters are loaded with theological truths and practical applications for us. Pay attention to every word on the page–you don’t want to miss anything. Thanks for journeying along with us!

Read 1 Timothy 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy my true son in the faith:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Timothy Charged to Oppose False Teachers

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the 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 the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Charge to Timothy Renewed

18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

Go Deeper

This letter, like many others from Paul, opens with a fairly-typical Pauline greeting to his friend Timothy, who is leading the church Paul started in Ephesus. The overarching theme of this first chapter is that false teachers are plaguing the Ephesian church. False doctrines had creeped in. Some of the Ephesians were absorbed in myths (i.e. stories that weren’t found in the Scriptures and contradict what Scripture taught) and meaningless talk that was distracting them from the gospel. Others were consumed by the Mosaic Law and were teaching a distorted version of it. Paul correctly understood that the Law had a proper place and could be of great benefit when taught properly.

This warning from Paul is just as applicable to us today. What we consume (books we read, songs we sing along with, and sermons we listen to) shapes us and can impact our understanding and perception of God. As long as those things are based on Scripture and what God’s Word teaches, we should use them as tools to help us love Jesus more. We need to be careful when we fill our minds with extra-biblical ideas or content that doesn’t fully line up with Scripture. 

In the same way the Ephesian Christians needed to be careful, we too need to be discerning when it comes to what we take in. Just because something is sold in a Christian bookstore or played on a Christian radio station doesn’t mean it’s full of biblical truth. The Enemy loves to distract us with ideas that sound or look like truth, but may not actually be truth. How can we know? By holding up everything we consume next to the Word of God. Does it line up with what Scripture says? Does it line up with what we know to be true about the character of God? Let us use the Ephesian church as a helpful warning to learn from. 

Questions

  1. What sticks out to you about this opening chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy? 
  2. How can you develop a filter so you are not led astray by false teaching? What tools do you use to dig deeper?
  3. How have you been impacted by what you consume (positive or negative)? 

Watch This

For a helpful overview of 1 Timothy, check out this video from The Bible Project.

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2 thoughts on “1 Timothy 1”

  1. What could be worse than the shipwreck of our faith? I’ve found it to be a subtle, slow drift that happens when I get lazy or distracted by the things going on around me. 3 hallmarks are mentioned of mature believers in v5, a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. The way this happens is to stay under the authority of scripture and the Holy Spirit who counsels and instructs perfectly. Asking God to reveal any wayward/rebellious tendencies in my heart, and determined to surrender them to His correction.

  2. I read this and am almost overcome by how hard this might have been for Timothy to hear…. He probably feels incredibly lonely & exhausted. It seems as though he is one of the few that still believes and preaches the True Gospel. He might’ve hoped Paul was sending reinforcement or backup. Or maybe he wished for Paul to send him somewhere else. But instead he got this letter- full of encouragement to stay & fight the good fight of faith. To not just keep himself from going wayward in beliefs, but to speak up and out against others who are! We know Timothy was younger & yet, Paul is reminding him here that he has a role to play. He is to live out a sincere faith full of love AND truth exactly where God has placed him, even if he’s the only one doing it.

    No matter how we feel about the place God has us- no matter if we like our calling or not, as Christ followers we are to wage war in the fight for faith wherever God has us. We are to lead ourselves spiritually AND also turn around and help those around us who are following false gospels. God wants to use anyone who is available and open for His plan. May we have a sincere faith and clear conscience and pure heart to do just that wherever He has us, even if we feel alone as we do it… May we remember that it is God who gives us strength to do it (v 12). And of course, He is with us. And if God is for us who can be against us?!

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