Timothy was a young man from the city of Lystra. His mother was Jewish but his father was Greek (Acts 16:1). The disciples at Lystra spoke well of Him, and so Paul desired for Timothy to join him as he traveled preaching the gospel (Acts 16:2-3). Paul spoke of Timothy as “a true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul took Timothy under his wing and mentored him, serving as a father-figure to him in spiritual things.
Timothy journeyed with Paul on his second and third missionary trips, and during this trips was either left at or sent to various places as the need arose (Acts 17:14-15; 18:5; 19:22; etc.). Timothy was listed as a companion and co-worker of Paul in his letters to the Romans, Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, as well as in a private letter to Paul’s friend, Philemon. Timothy was with Paul when he was in prison in Rome (Philippians 1:1; 2:19) and was commended by his mentor for his devotion and care to him (Philippians 2:20-22). Eventually, Timothy was sent by Paul to work with the church at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3).
The purpose of the two books is to address the work of an evangelist. In 1 Timothy 3:15, we read, “…I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” 2 Timothy 4:5 urges Timothy to “…be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” These two letters, along with Titus are personal letters from Paul to young men whom he had mentioned in the faith and in the work of preaching.
Here is a summary of 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy:
- Warning to hold to sound doctrine (ch. 1)
- Roles of men and women within the church (ch. 2)
- Qualifications for elders and deacons (ch. 3)
- Caution about apostates and their doctrines (ch. 4)
- Relationships within the body of Christ (ch. 5)
- Caution against greed (ch. 6)
- Hold fast to the Lord in doctrine and service (ch. 1)
- Endure hardship and exercise diligence (ch. 2)
- Perilous times are coming (ch. 3)
- Preach the word, endure to the end (ch. 4)
Some of the key statements in these two books include:
- “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
- “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” (1 Timothy 4:12-13)
- “…godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” (1 Timothy 6:6-7)
- “…the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)
- “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
- “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Next time, we’ll look at Titus.