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First & Second Timothy

First & Second Timothy

I.       Introduction

A.     The Form of Pauline Epistle

1.        Opening (sender, addressee, greeting/salutation)

2.        Thanksgiving or Blessing (often with intercession and/or eschatological climax)

3.        Body (introductory formulae; often having an eschatologi­cal conclusion and/or an indication of future plans)

4.        Paraenesis/Exhortations

5.        Closing (formulaic benedictions and greetings; sometimes mention of writing process)

6.        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.

B.     Paul and Timothy

1.        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 Tim 4:12-16)

2.        Timothy as Paul’s emissary

 a.      To Thessalonica to encourage the congregation under persecution (I Th 3:1-6; Act 17:1-15; 18:5).

 b.      To Corinth to confirm the members in faith (I Cor 4:17).

 c.      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).

II.     First Timothy

A.     Purpose: To provide guidance in the problems of church administration and to oppose false teachings of a speculative and moralistic type.

B.     Content

1.        Greeting (1:1-2)

 a.      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).

 b.      Tripartite form of greeting.

2.        The defense of the truth (1:3–20)

 a.      Combat the Heretics (1:3–7)

(a)     myths and genealogies (1:4)

(i)       Myths are used to denote false and foolish sto­ries.

(ii)     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.

(b)     The purpose of the instruction is love (1:5; Ref: Gal 5:6)

(i)       pure heart (I Tim 5:1-2; II Cor 13:11–12)

(ii)     good conscience (Act 23:1; 24:16; I Cor 10:28, 31–33; II Cor 8:6–9)

(iii)    sincere faith (I Pet 2:21–23; I Cor 13:7)

 b.      The Gospel Entrusted to Paul (1:8–11)

(a)     “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 faith.

 c.      Paul, example of God’s mercy (1:12–17)

(a)     Paul attributed everything to God.

(b)      “The 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.

(c)      “I am the foremost of sinners” that “in me Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who believe.”

 d.      Exhortation regarding heretics (1:18–20)

(a)     The expression “the good fight” is clearly a com­mon one in the Church and was understood not mythically but parenetically (II Tim 2:3; 4:7).

(b)      “Faith” and “conscience”: the opponents are being denounced not only as false teachers but also as persons with bad consciences (I Tim 4:2).

(c)     Hymenaeus and Alexander are probably the same as those mentioned in II Tim 2:17 and perhaps 4:14.

3.        Church orders on worship and ministers (2:1–3:16)

 a.      On prayers for all men (2:1–7)

(a)     Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanks­givings be placed in a universal perspective (2:1)

(b)     Prayer for the Pagan authority (2:2)

(i)       Concern with missionary practice.

(ii)     Shift from an eschatological world view to an ecclesiastical form of existence within an ex­panding world that provided more room for a Christian life.

(iii)    “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).

(c)     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).

(d)     The mission of Paul’s calling (2:7; Eph 3:7).

 b.      On prayer by men and women (2:8–15)

(a)     Men’s prayer (Mt 6:14; Mk 11:25)

(b)     On women (2:9–15)

(c)     These regulations, here undoubtedly intended for the worship service, originally referred to the be­havior of women in general.

(i)       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 works” (2:9–10).

(ii)     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).

 c.      On the conduct of bishops (3:1–7)

(a)     General virtues: above reproach

(b)     In family

(c)     In church

(d)     In society

 d.      On the conduct of deacons (3:8–13)

(a)     General virtues

(b)     In family

(c)     In Church

 e.      Concluding personal word to Timothy concerning the Church (3:14–16)

(a)     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).

(b)     The mystery of our religion/faith: (in 3 rhythmically equal couplets from a hymn)

(i)        “Flesh-spirit”; “angels-nations/man”; “world-glory”: intend to represent the contrast be­tween the heavenly and the earthly world.

(ii)      “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: Rm 1:4).

(iii)     “Seen by angels’ (Ref: Phil 2:9–11; Eph 2:6; 3:9-19)

4.        Church order concerning heretics (4:1–16)

 a.      Concerning the false teachings (4:1–5)

(a)     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.

(b)     The prohibition of marriage (4:3)

(c)     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.

(d)     Abstinence from foods (4:3–4)

(e)     In diverse forms: fasting, taking very little food, abstention from wine, and vegetarianism.

 b.      Instructions for Timothy (4:6–10)

(a)     A good servant of Jesus Christ (4:6; Act 20:17–24)

(b)      “Bodily training—training in godliness” (4:7–9)

 c.      Timothy as example (4:11–16)

(a)     Young but exemplary (4:12)

(i)       Jesus, Joseph, Samuel, David, Daniel, etc.

(ii)     In word, in conduct, in faith, in love, in purity

(b)     Minister's works (4:13):

(c)     Public reading of scripture, exhortation, and teaching.

(d)     Teach yourself before teaching others (4:16; Ref: Rm 2:17–24)

5.        Church orders on some specific classes within the con­gregation (5:1–6:2)

 a.      On individual members (5:1–2) Church is “The Family” (Rm 12:10,15; I Cor 12:26–27)

 b.      On widows (5:3–16)

(a)     True widows (5:3,5,9,10)

(i)       Set her hope on God (5:5a; 4:10; 6:17; Lk 2:36-37)

(ii)     Continue in supplications and prayers night and day (5:5b; I Thess 3:10; Lk 2:36–37)

(iii)    Having brought her children in the Lord

(iv)   Having practiced hospitality

(v)     Having rendered her service (Jn 13:1–17)

(vi)   Having relieved the afflicted

(vii)  Having devoted herself to doing good in every way

(viii)The wife of one husband

(b)     Family responsibility to provide their own widows (5:4,8,16)

 c.      On elders (5:17–20)

(a)     Elders’ work: governing, speaking, teaching (5:17; I Pet 5:1–4)

 d.      Exhortation to Timothy (5:21–25)

(a)     The Triad God, Christ and angels (5:21; Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26)

(b)     The laying on of hands (5:22)

(i)       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.

(ii)     “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.

 e.      On slaves (6:1–2; Eph 6:5–9; Col 4:22–24)

6.        Final directions (6:3–21)

 a.      Warning against false doctrine (6:3–5)

(a)     Sound words of Jesus Christ/ teaching according with godliness (6:3)

(b)     Pompous, knowing nothing’controversy, disputes about words’envy, dissension, slander, base suspi­cions (16:4)

 b.      Warning against avarice (6:6–10)

(a)     Godliness with contentment (6:6–8; Mt 6:24–34)

(b)     The love of money is the root of all evil (6:9–10; Ref: Jn 12:4–6; Mt 27:3–5)

 c.      Exhortation to Timothy to fight the battle of faith (6:11–16)

(a)     Man of God: aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness (6:11)

(b)     Fight the good fight of the faith/take hold of the eternal life/keep the commandment un­stained/free from reproach

 d.      Rules for the wealthy (6:17–19; Lk 12:13–21; II Cor 9:6–15)

 e.      Conclusion: warning against false “knowledge” (6:20–21)

III.  Second Timothy

A.     Purpose:

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.

B.     Content

1.        Salvation (1:1–2)

2.        Paul’s apostleship: through the will of God, with the promise of life in Christ Jesus.

3.        Thanksgiving and Exhortation (1:3–8)

 a.      Serving God with a clear conscience (1:3; Act 24:16; 20:17–35; Rm 9:1–3)

 b.      Affection between Paul and Timothy (1:3–4)

 c.      Remembering Timothy in prayer

 d.      Eager to see him with joy

 e.      Faith in Timothy’s family (1:5; Deut 6:4–9; Ps 78:1–7)

 f.       Rekindle the gift of God (1:6–7)

(a)     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).

(b)     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).

4.        Christian tradition and apostolic suffering (1:8–2:14)

 a.      The “gospel” in a kerygmatic style (1:9–10)

(a)     Salvation is made a present reality in the liturgical recitation and preaching.

(b)     The “gospel”:

(i)       Holy calling: God’s purpose and its grace (ages ago)

(ii)     Salvation: appearing of Jesus Christ/abolished death/brought life and immortality/manifested now

 b.      Apostolic suffering for the gospel (1:8,11–14)

(a)     Paul as the bearer of the gospel (1:11)

(b)     The cost/reward, suffering/hope of the disciple­ship (1:12)

(c)     Follow the pattern of the sound words: in faith and love (which are in Christ Jesus )

(d)     Guard the truth: by the Holy Spirit (who dwells within you)

5.        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.

6.        Exhortation to suffering (2:1–13)

 a.      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).

 b.      Exhortation on works (2:3–7)

(a)     Three metaphorical sayings (2:4–6; Ref: I Cor 9:7)

(i)       Soldier—no entanglement with civilian pursuits

(ii)     Athlete—compete according to the rules

(iii)    Farmer—who has done the work

(iv)   The common meaning: hard work brings its reward

(b)     Think and the Lord will grant understanding (2:7)

 c.      The gospel and Paul’s suffering for it (2:8–10)

(a)     Kerygmatic (preaching style) formulation of the gospel (2:8; Rm 1:3f)

(b)     Paul suffered for the gospel and endured every­thing for the sake of the elect (2:9–10).

(c)     The word of God is not fettered (Act 8:1–4; 9:31).

 d.      A hymn confirming the promise of salvation (2:11–13; Rm 6:8)

(a)     If we have died—we shall live (Rm 6:8)

(b)     If we endure—we shall reign (Mt 24:13)

(c)     If we deny him—he will deny us (Mt 10:24–33)

(d)     If we are faithless—he remains faithful (to the covenant)

7.        Personal authentication in view of heretics (2:14–26)

 a.      An approved workman rightly handling the word of truth (2:14–19)

(a)     Against disputing about words, godless chatter, and spiritualization of resurrection

(b)     Stand firm for “the Lord knows those who are his”

 b.      Purify yourself from what is ignoble, be a vessel for the use of the Master (2:19—23).

(a)     Purification’consecrated and useful’ready for every good work (Rm 6:12–13; I Cor 12:22–23).

(b)     Shun youthful passions’aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace’with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart (I Tim 4:12–16).

 c.      An apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness (2:24–26).

8.        The sins of the last days and the heretics (3:1–9)

 a.      The list of vices in the last days (3:1–5)

 b.      Heretics are specifically reproached as the ones who “holding the form of religion but deny the power of it” (3:5–6).

 c.      According to Jewish tradition, Jannes and Jambres are the names of the magicians who argued against Moses before Pharaoh (Ex 7:8ff).

9.        Summary of exhortation (3:10–4:8)

 a.      The sufferings of Paul as example (3:10–12)

(a)     The integrity and upright in Paul’s life (3:10)

(b)     The sufferings of Paul and the deliverance of the Lord (3:11)

 b.      The scriptures—the foundation of Christian tradition (3:13–17)

 c.      Be a faithful minister in all circumstances (4:1–5)

 d.      Solemn, yet triumphant, reflections of Paul’s life (4:6–8)

10.     Description of Paul’s situation (4:9–12)

11.     Instruction for Timothy (4:13–15)

12.     Personal Information about Paul (4:16–18)

13.     Greetings and valediction (4:19–22)