1 Timothy Introduction

This is one of three letters known as "Pastoral Epistles" (1,2 Timothy and Titus). They are pastoral because they disciple two church leaders in how to pastor the church.

This particular letter was sent to Timothy, Paul's protege and spiritual son. Timothy grew up on the province of Galatia (present-day Turkey) and by nature was not brave or healthy. He was not only sent as an envoy for Paul, but also as a problem-solver in churches they had planted in various cities (such as Berea, Thessalonica, Corinth, and then the city where Timothy was when he received this letter, Ephesus).

After Paul was released from his Roman imprisonment in about 62 A.D., he and Timothy went on another missionary tour. Somewhere before his second Roman imprisonment under the Emperor Nero in 68 A.D., Paul penned this letter.

As you read this letter, you will assume Paul is giving advice to Timothy on how to lead a church or, even further, how a church should be structured and organized and should behave.

Actually, Paul wrote this letter to Timothy to clearly lay out the effect the Gospel should have on someone who is genuinely a follower.

The Gospel should produce a lifestyle of love (1:5), prayer, and worship (2:8); holding true to the faith (1:18-19; 4:6; 6:3-4,12, 20-21); leadership shaped by gospel character (3:1-16); godliness (4:7); not worshiping wealth but appreciating it (4:4-5; 6:17-18); evangelizing the world (4:10); being an example to others (4:12); honoring Scripture (4:13); activating spiritual gifts (4:14); bestowing honor (5:1); caring for the needy (5:4); providing for family (5:8); providing financially for those who teach (5:17); being content (6:6); and doing good works (6:18).

From beginning to end, 1 Timothy serves as a training manual for Timothy and any church leader on how to help followers turn faith in Christ into life that follows and imitates Christ's character.

The occasion of writing would seem to address some false teaching that was creeping into the church at Ephesus (1:3-4, 7-11; 4:1-5) and seeking not only to corrupt the faith of the church but ultimately corrupt the lifestyle that flowed from faith. Paul was training Timothy on how to navigate the treacheries of false teaching and its assault on the lifestyle the Gospel produces.