First & Second Timothy
The Form of Pauline Epistle
Opening (sender, addressee, greeting/salutation)
Thanksgiving or Blessing (often with
intercession and/or eschatological climax)
Body (introductory formulae; often having an
eschatological conclusion and/or an indication of future plans)
Closing (formulaic benedictions and greetings;
sometimes mention of writing process)
The letter form which developed in the Pauline
letters was richer than either the brief private letters or the more developed
letter essays of Hellenism. Paul’s letter deal with complex relationships
between Christian church members in terms of their new understandings of
life/religion rather than primarily in terms of cultivating friendly relationships
or providing instructions. Paul sought to bring his addressees into richer
experiences of the new religion, to move them to new heights of action and
response, not merely to improve or maintain relationships to himself. The
letters incorporate elements of ongoing life of the churches such as liturgical
materials, sacred traditions, legal and moral guidelines, and sayings.
Paul and Timothy
A native of Lystra, Timothy was the son of a
mixed marriage between a Jewish, Eunice, and a heathen. Though young, he was
well spoken by brethren at Lystra and Iconium (Act 16:1-2; cf. II Tim 1:5; I
Timothy as Paul’s emissary
To Thessalonica to encourage the congregation
under persecution (I Th 3:1-6; Act 17:1-15; 18:5).
to confirm the members in faith (I Cor 4:17).
Timothy’s name appears joined with that of Paul
in the salutations of seven epistles (II Cor 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:1; I Th 1:1;
II Th 1:1; Philem 1:1; Rom 16:21).
Purpose: To provide guidance in the problems of
church administration and to oppose false teachings of a speculative and
apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God (Rm
1:1; I Cor 1:1; II Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Col 1:1; Ref: Phil 1:1).
Tripartite form of greeting.
The defense of the truth (1:3–20)
Combat the Heretics (1:3–7)
myths and genealogies (1:4)
Myths are used to denote false and foolish stories.
Genealogies not refer to the Jewish proof of
kinship of Abraham, nor to the demonstration of Israel’s historical continuity, but
rather of a gnosticizing Judaism (Ref: Tit 1:14; 3:9 on the one hand; I Tim
4:3, 6:20; II Tim 2:18; Tit 1:16 on the other). Its characteristics are:
speculation about the elements, but no systematic cosmology; a tendency
towards soteriological dualism and the observation of ascetic rules.
The purpose of the instruction is love (1:5;
Ref: Gal 5:6)
pure heart (I Tim 5:1-2; II Cor 13:11–12)
good conscience (Act 23:1; 24:16; I Cor 10:28,
31–33; II Cor 8:6–9)
sincere faith (I Pet 2:21–23; I Cor 13:7)
The Gospel Entrusted to Paul (1:8–11)
“Sound teaching” (I Tim 1:10; II Tim 4:3; Tit
1:9; 2:1); “sound words” (I Tim 6:3; II Tim 1:13); “to be sound in faith” (Tit
1:13; 2:2); “sound preaching” (Tit 2:8): the true faith, the true message about
Paul, example of God’s mercy (1:12–17)
Paul attributed everything to God.
saying is sure” (I Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; II Tim 2:11; Tit 3:8): It is typical for
Christian at that time to quote truths about salvation and to present them as
proven. The formula as an affirmation to combine the expressions of salvation
with an application to the present.
“I am the
foremost of sinners” that “in me Jesus Christ might display his perfect
patience for an example to those who believe.”
Exhortation regarding heretics (1:18–20)
The expression “the good fight” is clearly a common
one in the Church and was understood not mythically but parenetically (II Tim
and “conscience”: the opponents are being denounced not only as false teachers
but also as persons with bad consciences (I Tim 4:2).
Hymenaeus and Alexander are probably the same as
those mentioned in II Tim 2:17 and perhaps 4:14.
Church orders on worship and ministers
On prayers for all men (2:1–7)
Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
thanksgivings be placed in a universal perspective (2:1)
Prayer for the Pagan authority (2:2)
Concern with missionary practice.
Shift from an eschatological world view to an
ecclesiastical form of existence within an expanding world that provided more
room for a Christian life.
“Godly and respectful” refer to that behavior
which is well-pleasing to God and men. The components of the regulation on the
ideal of good Christian citizenship are: a good conscience, the idea that the
Christian life aims at good works, faith and love, piety and dignity (Ref: I
Tim 1:5; 2:10; 1:14; 2:2; Tit 2:12).
The extension of the intercessory prayer to
refer to all people is based on the universal plan of God’s salvation stated in
liturgical formula (2:4–6).
The mission of Paul’s calling (2:7; Eph 3:7).
On prayer by men and women (2:8–15)
Men’s prayer (Mt 6:14; Mk 11:25)
On women (2:9–15)
These regulations, here undoubtedly intended for
the worship service, originally referred to the behavior of women in general.
The accent in the scripture lies not in the idea
that women should (modestly) adorn themselves, but rather the true
ornamentation is not external at all. The true ornamentation consists in “good
The injunction to silence is a commandment
relating to the worship service. The parallelism of vs 11 and 12 is helpful in
explanation: “subordination” means that women should subordinate themselves to
what the men in the congregation teach (2:11–12).
On the conduct of bishops (3:1–7)
General virtues: above reproach
On the conduct of deacons (3:8–13)
Concluding personal word to Timothy concerning
the Church (3:14–16)
The household of god/The Church of the living
God/The pillar and bulwark of the truth (Ref: Eph 2:19–22; I Pet
1:22–2:10; Jude 3).
The mystery of our religion/faith: (in 3
rhythmically equal couplets from a hymn)
“world-glory”: intend to represent the contrast between the heavenly and the
“Vindicated” or “justified” does not refer to
the forgiveness of sins, but rather to the entrance into the divine realm, the
realm of “righteousness.” Therefore, the correspondence “in the flesh-in the
spirit” refers to the exaltation of Jesus into the sphere of the “spirit” (Ref:
angels’ (Ref: Phil 2:9–11; Eph 2:6; 3:9-19)
Church order concerning heretics (4:1–16)
Concerning the false teachings (4:1–5)
Passages in the Pastorals devoted to the controversy
with false teachers are as follow: I Tim 4:1–10; II Tim 3:1–9; Tit 1:10–16; I
Tim 1:3–11, 6:3–5,20; II Tim 2:14,23; 3:13; 4:3–4; Tit 3:9–11.
The prohibition of marriage (4:3)
Such continence—practiced in many religions for
the most diverse motives—was especially congenial for a man of the Hellenistic
age on anti-materialistic grounds. It is, therefore, no wonder that we meet
the prohibition of marriage in connection with Gnostic and Semi-Gnostic ideas.
Abstinence from foods (4:3–4)
In diverse forms: fasting, taking very little
food, abstention from wine, and vegetarianism.
Instructions for Timothy (4:6–10)
A good servant of Jesus Christ (4:6; Act
training—training in godliness” (4:7–9)
Timothy as example (4:11–16)
Young but exemplary (4:12)
Jesus, Joseph, Samuel, David, Daniel, etc.
In word, in conduct, in faith, in love, in
Minister's works (4:13):
Public reading of scripture, exhortation, and
Teach yourself before teaching others (4:16;
Ref: Rm 2:17–24)
Church orders on some specific classes within
the congregation (5:1–6:2)
On individual members (5:1–2) Church is “The
Family” (Rm 12:10,15; I Cor 12:26–27)
On widows (5:3–16)
True widows (5:3,5,9,10)
Set her hope on God (5:5a; 4:10; 6:17; Lk
Continue in supplications and prayers night and day
(5:5b; I Thess 3:10; Lk 2:36–37)
Having brought her children in the Lord
Having practiced hospitality
Having rendered her service (Jn 13:1–17)
Having relieved the afflicted
Having devoted herself to doing good in every
wife of one husband
Family responsibility to provide their own
On elders (5:17–20)
Elders’ work: governing, speaking, teaching
(5:17; I Pet 5:1–4)
Exhortation to Timothy (5:21–25)
The Triad God, Christ and angels (5:21; Mk 8:38;
The laying on of hands (5:22)
Laying hands serves as the means of transferring
power, be it upon the sick for healing, upon the young, the weak, or the
religiously impure for the purpose of blessing (Mk 10:13ff) or upon those who
did not have the Spirit for receiving the Spirit.
“To have part in the sins of others” may refer
to the possibility that Timothy would unknowingly make a sinner a elder or to the readmission of sinners or heretics.
On slaves (6:1–2; Eph 6:5–9; Col 4:22–24)
Final directions (6:3–21)
Warning against false doctrine (6:3–5)
Sound words of Jesus Christ/ teaching according
with godliness (6:3)
Pompous, knowing nothing’controversy, disputes
about words’envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions (16:4)
Warning against avarice (6:6–10)
Godliness with contentment (6:6–8; Mt 6:24–34)
The love of money is the root of all evil
(6:9–10; Ref: Jn 12:4–6; Mt 27:3–5)
Exhortation to Timothy to fight the battle of
Man of God: aim at righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (6:11)
Fight the good fight of the faith/take hold of
the eternal life/keep the commandment unstained/free from reproach
Rules for the wealthy (6:17–19; Lk 12:13–21; II
Conclusion: warning against false “knowledge”
This is an earnest pastoral from
a veteran missionary to a young colleague, urging endurance as the main quality
of a preacher of the gospel. Timothy is urged to rekindle the gift of God
within him; he is not to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord and is to take
his share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. As he encounters
false teaching, he must endeavor to be a sound workman, handling the word
rightly, to purify himself from what is ignoble, so as
to be a vessel fit for the Master’s use. In this he can be helped by the
example of Paul, who is now at the end of his career and awaits the crown of
righteousness. The farewell words are a moving testimony of a Christian
fortitude and hope in the face of certain martyrdom.
Paul’s apostleship: through the will of God,
with the promise of life in Christ Jesus.
Thanksgiving and Exhortation (1:3–8)
Serving God with a clear conscience (1:3; Act
24:16; 20:17–35; Rm 9:1–3)
Affection between Paul and Timothy (1:3–4)
Remembering Timothy in prayer
Eager to see him with joy
Faith in Timothy’s family (1:5; Deut 6:4–9; Ps
Rekindle the gift of God (1:6–7)
Throughout the letter Timothy is exhorted to
courage and endurance, which are possibilities, not because of native human
qualities, but through the Holy Spirit (Ref: I Kg 19:1–18).
The characteristics of the Holy Spirit: power,
love, self-control/temperance (Gal 5:22–23; Mt
12:18–21; Act 6:8–15, 7:59–60).
Christian tradition and apostolic suffering
The “gospel” in a kerygmatic style (1:9–10)
Salvation is made a present reality in the
liturgical recitation and preaching.
Holy calling: God’s purpose and its grace (ages
Salvation: appearing of Jesus Christ/abolished
death/brought life and immortality/manifested now
Apostolic suffering for the gospel (1:8,11–14)
Paul as the bearer of the gospel (1:11)
The cost/reward, suffering/hope of the discipleship
Follow the pattern of the sound words: in faith
and love (which are in Christ Jesus )
Guard the truth: by the Holy Spirit (who dwells
Personal references to apostasy and
authentication (1:15–18). Onesiphorus is set up as a good example for Timothy;
the case of Phygelus and Hermogenes is described as a warning.
Exhortation to suffering (2:1–13)
The introduction comprises an exhortation that
Timothy himself must become strong and he must begin to pass on the tradition
which he has received from Paul (2:1–2).
Exhortation on works (2:3–7)
Three metaphorical sayings (2:4–6; Ref: I Cor
Soldier—no entanglement with civilian pursuits
Athlete—compete according to the rules
Farmer—who has done the work
The common meaning: hard work brings its reward
Think and the Lord will grant understanding
The gospel and Paul’s suffering for it (2:8–10)
Kerygmatic (preaching style) formulation of the
gospel (2:8; Rm 1:3f)
Paul suffered for the gospel and endured everything
for the sake of the elect (2:9–10).
The word of God is not fettered (Act 8:1–4;
A hymn confirming the promise of salvation
(2:11–13; Rm 6:8)
If we have died—we shall live (Rm 6:8)
If we endure—we shall reign (Mt 24:13)
If we deny him—he will deny us (Mt 10:24–33)
If we are faithless—he remains faithful (to the
Personal authentication in view of heretics
An approved workman rightly handling the word of
Against disputing about words, godless chatter,
and spiritualization of resurrection
Stand firm for “the Lord knows those who are
Purify yourself from what is ignoble, be a
vessel for the use of the Master (2:19—23).
Purification’consecrated and useful’ready for
every good work (Rm 6:12–13; I Cor 12:22–23).
Shun youthful passions’aim at righteousness,
faith, love, and peace’with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart (I
An apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his
opponents with gentleness (2:24–26).
The sins of the last days and the heretics
The list of vices in the last days (3:1–5)
Heretics are specifically reproached as the ones
who “holding the form of religion but deny the power of it” (3:5–6).
According to Jewish tradition, Jannes and
Jambres are the names of the magicians who argued against Moses before Pharaoh
Summary of exhortation (3:10–4:8)
The sufferings of Paul as example (3:10–12)
The integrity and upright in Paul’s life (3:10)
The sufferings of Paul and the deliverance of
the Lord (3:11)
The scriptures—the foundation of Christian
Be a faithful minister in all circumstances
Solemn, yet triumphant, reflections of Paul’s
Description of Paul’s situation (4:9–12)
Instruction for Timothy (4:13–15)
Personal Information about Paul (4:16–18)
Greetings and valediction (4:19–22)