Usually referred to simply as First Timothy and often written 1 Timothy, is one of three letters in the New Testament of the Bible often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles, along with Second Timothy and Titus. The letter, traditionally attributed to the Apostle Paul, consists mainly of counsels to his younger colleague and delegate Timothy regarding his ministry in Ephesus (1:3). These counsels include instructions on the organization of the Church and the responsibilities resting on certain groups of leaders therein as well as exhortations to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors. Most modern scholars consider the letter pseudepigraphical, perhaps written as late as the first half of the second century CE.
This historical relationship between Paul and Timothy is one of mentorship. Timothy is first mentioned in Acts 16:1. His mother Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5. All that we know of his father is that he was a Greek not a Jew (Acts 16:1).
Paul's second visit to Lystra is when Timothy first connected with Paul (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 3:11). Paul not only brought Timothy into the faith but he was Timothy’s main mentor in Christian leadership (Acts 16:3), having done church planting and missionary journeys together. Timothy would have received his authority to preach in churches directly from Paul who of course was the greater known and accepted of the two and an apostle. Timothy’s official position in the church was one of an evangelist (1 Timothy 4:14) and he worked with Paul in Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia, Troa, Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14) and continued on to do even more work in Athens, and Thessalonica for the church (Acts 17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:2) not to mention his work in Corinth, Macedonia, Ephesus and greater Asia. Timothy was also noted for coming to Paul’s aid when Paul fell into prison (Philippians 1:1, 2 Timothy 4:13). It is noteworthy that, despite not being required due the ruling of the Jerusalem council, Timothy took circumcision himself in order to be a better witness among the Jews. According to church tradition he was loyal to Paul’s wishes and stayed and worked in Ephesus until he finally suffered a martyr's death himself.
If, however, "… the pastorals are best understood against the background of the second century, the evidence in the letters relative to church order ... clearly reflect a time when apostle and prophet have been succeeded by bishop (and archbishop?) and/or elder in a stabilized church organization fully committed to an authorized succession of ordained ministers. The local churches are no longer lay churches, nor are their needs now taken care of simply by itinerant missionaries. There is obviously hierarchical organization both in the local and ecumenical church. The chief function of the bishop (or archbishop?) is to transmit and maintain the true faith"
This epistle was written while Timothy was pastor at Ephesus, probably between A. D. 64 and 66. Its purpose was to instruct Timothy with regard to his pastoral duties. It, therefore, reflects the condition of the church and especially the errors which he would correct or against which he wished to warn his "true child in the faith."
I. The True Teachings of the Gospel, 1:3 end.
1. Gnostic teachings and the true purpose of the law, 3-11.
2. Paul's salvation. 12-17.
3. Further warnings against false teachers, 18 end.
II. Public Worship. Ch. 2.
1. Prayer, 1-7.
2. Conduct of men and women in church assemblies, 8 end.
III. Church Officers. Ch. 3.
1. A bishop or pastor, 1-7.
2. Deacons and deaconesses. 8-13.
3. A personal word, 14 end.
IV. Pastoral Duties, 4:1-6:2.
1. As to the true doctrine, Ch. 4.
2. Toward the various classes of the church, 5:1-20.
3. Concerning himself, 5:21 end.
4. In teaching slaves and their masters, 6:1-2.
V. Final Warnings and Exhortations, 6:3 end.
1. Against false teachers, 3-10.
2. To be truly godly, 11-16.
3. To teach the rich aright, 17-19.
4. To be true to his charge, 20 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) False teachings, 1:3-11; 4:1-8; 6:20-21. (2) The kind of man a pastor should be, 4:12-5:2. (3) The kind of men to select for church officers, 3:1-13. (Fifteen qualifications of a pastor and seven of a deacon). (4) Church government and services of worship, 2:1, 2, 8; 3:14, 15. (5) The word's doctrine or teaching, godliness and faith meaning doctrine.
This letter was written from Rome just before his martyrdom A. D. 67. It was written to further instruct Timothy and to explain his own personal affairs. It is the last letter written by Paul, a sort of last will and testimony and is of great importance as it tells as how he fared just before his death. It is more personal in tone than First Timothy and shows us how very pitiable was his plight in these last days.
I. Exhortations to Timothy. 1:6-2 end.
1. To steadfastness in the gospel. 1:6 end.
2. To patient endurance of suffering, 2:1-13.
3. To faithfulness as a pastor, 2:14-26 end.
II. Warnings to Timothy. 3:1-4:5.
1. Concerning the perilous, 3:1-13.
2. Concerning his duties in such times, 3:14-4:5.
III. Paul's View of Death, 4:6-18.
1. His satisfaction and hope at its approach, 6-8.
2. His hope during this loneliness and need, 9-18. Conclusion, 4:19 end.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Paul's condition when he wrote,1:17; 4:7, 13-16; 6:20. (2) The desire or appeal of 1:4; 3:8; 4:5, 9, 13, 21. (3) The exhortations to Timothy, 1:6, 7, 13, 14; 2:1-6, 15, 23; 3:14; 4:5. (4) perilous times to come, Ch. 3. (5) Paul's view of death, 4:5-22.