This is another one of Paul’s epistles. The time when it was written seems rather obscure. With the growth of the Lord’s work it was necessary to impose some form of discipline that the churches might be guided in such matters. This epistle contains helpful instruction along this line. The key phrase is, “that thou mightest know how thou ought to behave thyself in the house of God.”
The divisions of the epistle are four:
1. Chapter 1. Unsound teaching rebuked.
2. Chapter 2. Prayer and humility.
3. Chapter 3. The qualifications of elders and deacons.
4. Chapters 4 to 6. The walk and work of a good minister.
UNSOUND TEACHING REBUKED.
Timothy was especially loved of Paul. He found him as a young man and by taking him out into his own active service, did much to mold his life in the ministry. In this epistle the apostle by the written word, makes possible that Timothy by frequent reference to same may obtain helpful instruction in the days to come. False doctrine has always been the assailant of the church of Christ. Legalism is admired by some, but the apostle Paul saw in it a subtle effort to establish ones self-righteousness, when all that God will accept is the righteousness of His Son. The law was not made for the righteous man, but to condemn the sinner, Ch. 1:9-11.
Paul rejoiced because of the grace of God which made possible his own conversion, and he knew how powerless legalistic practices were, vs.12-15. Two men named Hymanaeus and Alexander, who were guilty of false teaching, were judged by the apostle, who delivered them over to Satan.
PRAYER AND HUMILITY.
Systematic prayer was something Paul strongly believed in. Kings and those in authority should be remembered that peace may prevail in the land. Men are exhorted to pray with raised hands, showing victory over man and devil, so that their prayers be not hindered, Ch.2:1-2,8. Women are urged to dress in such a manner that a humble spirit be manifested thereby, and a special promise is granted to such, in the lifting of the curse which came on woman through the fall, vs.9-10,15.
THE QUALIFICATIONS OF ELDERS AND DEACONS.
For the care of the church it was necessary to appoint elders and deacons. They must be men above reproach, not guilty of bad habits, able to rule their own households, and an elder must not be too young in years in the faith, Ch.3:1-9. Deacon’s wives, or deaconesses, must be grave not guilty of slander, and faithful in all things, v.11. The apostle describes godliness in v.16. When examined, it is found to be the experience enjoyed by Christ and shared by all who become children of God through Him. Those who study this verse will find in it a wealth of meaning.
THE WALK AND WORK OF A GOOD MINISTER.
The latter times of this age are foretold by the Spirit through the apostle Paul. Some shall depart from the faith and embrace such teachings as” forbidding to marry”, and “abstaining from meats”, Ch.4:1-3. God does not favor such doctrines of devils. Every creature may be eaten when sanctified by the Word and prayer, v.4. Timothy is told to refuse such old wives fables. He is also exhorted to minister boldly in spite of his youth, and to depend on the divine gift which was imparted to him through the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Those to whom we minister see as well as hear, and we do well to heed another injunction given to Timothy, see v.16.
As a minister the young man was told to cultivate respect for the older people in the church, and to treat the younger women as sisters, will all purity, Ch.5:1-2. Proper care and attention was to be given to the widows that they be wisely provided for, vs.3-14. Anyone who sinned was to be rebuked openly that others may fear, v.20. Servants and masters must be properly adjusted to one another in the faith, Ch.6 1-2, and everyone was to be taught that godliness with contentment is great gain.
The faith walk is a fight which must be bravely carried on, v.12. Satan would like to defeat all God’s children, but we must not yield our God-given inheritance to him. Rich people were exhorted to not trust in their riches, but to do good works and obtain the reward at a later date, vs.17-19. Finally, Timothy is exhorted to avoid profane and vain babbling, and opposition of science falsely so called, and not become ensnared as was the sad experience of some.