Note: if you are following the Explore the Bible Series, you will notice I have made a slight adjustment in assigned text so that we deal with one chapter each week during this study.
Paul, the aged and experienced apostle, writes to his young and inexperienced protégé, Timothy, who faces a heavy burden of responsibility as pastor of the church at Ephesus. Paul originally met Timothy during his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1–3), and shortly afterwards Timothy began working with him. Now the young man must deal with several formidable challenges: He must correct false doctrine, safeguard public worship, and develop mature leadership.
In addition to the conduct of the church, Paul talks pointedly about the conduct of the minister. Timothy must be on his guard, lest his youthfulness become a liability rather than an asset to the gospel. He must carefully avoid false teachers and greedy motives and instead pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and the gentleness that befits a man of God.
The apostle especially emphasizes the dangers of materialism. He decries the idea that “godliness is a means of gain” (6:5) and tells Timothy that he should feel content with “having food and clothing” (6:8). The apostle warns that “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction” (6:9). And then he writes what has become one of the most famous lines in history: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil .… ” Greed can cause men to stray from the faith, Paul warns, and before they know it, they have “pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (6:10).
This letter also features two of the most magnificent short descriptions of God anywhere in Scripture. Paul calls God, “the King eternal, immortal, invisible … God who alone is wise” (1:17) and “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power” (6:15, 16).
The Greek title for this letter is Pros Timotheon A, the “First to Timothy.” Timothy means “honoring God” or “honored by God.”
Theme: The exhortation of a young pastor by a man seasoned in the faith.
Author: The apostle Paul.
Date: Written probably between A.D. 62–67.
Structure: After a brief greeting (1:1, 2), Paul warns against false teachers (1:3–11), gives thanks for God’s grace (1:12–17), instructs Timothy in the administration of the church (1:18–6:2), offers some miscellaneous suggestions (6:3–19), and finally urges his young friend to guard the faith (6:20, 21).
Charles F. Stanley, The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles, 2005), 1 Ti.