Episode #191. Today we’ll read 1 Timothy chapter 1 together. Paul is forthright about false doctrine and misuse of the Law, he takes the opportunity to share his testimony, and challenges Timothy to fight the good fight.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #191. Today we’ll read 1 Timothy chapter 1 together: Paul is forthright about false doctrine and the misuse of the Law; he takes the opportunity to share his testimony; and challenges Timothy to fight the good fight.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
Today we’ll begin the first of two letters written by Paul to his coworker and protégé Timothy.
Timothy was a disciple of Paul’s, but he was more than that. In the opening of this chapter, Paul describes him as “…my true son in the faith.” He was a constant companion of Paul and worked side by side with him in many places such as Macedonia, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens and Corinth. Timothy eventually became the leader of the church at Ephesus and is believed to have been martyred in the year AD 97.
The contents of this letter are at times very personal and likely intended for Timothy only. However, it may also have been that Paul intended the letter to be read to the entire congregation at Ephesus. In this way, Paul could deal with two matters at once. He could use his authority to install Timothy as pastor over the church in Ephesus and at the same time, deal with the infiltration of false teachers in the church.
The book is full of practical, pastoral instruction for Timothy on subjects such as prayer, men and women in the church, qualifications for overseers and deacons, and instructions on ministry. As such, it is an excellent guide for new ministers and the establishment of a new church body.
It should be pointed out that 2 Timothy – which we will read next – is believed to be Paul’s last letter from prison before being executed. There is argument about how much time passed between the two letters. Some say they were written very close together while others say that 1 Timothy must have been written much earlier because there is no hint that Paul was in prison.
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1 Timothy Chapter 1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.
To Timothy, my true son in the faith.
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
False Doctrine and Misuse of the Law
As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach false doctrine or to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies. These promote empty speculations rather than God’s plan, which operates by faith. Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Some have departed from these and turned aside to fruitless discussion. They want to be teachers of the law, although they don’t understand what they are saying or what they are insisting on. But we know that the law is good, provided one uses it legitimately. We know that the law is not meant for a righteous person, but for the lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinful, for the unholy and irreverent, for those who kill their fathers and mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral and males who have sex with males, for slave traders, liars, perjurers, and for whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which was entrusted to me.
I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry — even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” — and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Engage in Battle
Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight, having faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and have shipwrecked the faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
“’Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’…and I am the worst of them.” Paul’s confession of his hopeless state before coming to Christ should be an encouragement to us all! But what does this tell us about the mercy and grace of God? After all, Paul was a Pharisee – he knew and kept the law to the best of his ability. But after his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul learned that trying to keep the law was not enough. In order to be saved, he needed to put 100% of his faith in the work of Christ on the cross.
Christ and Christ Alone
So it is easy to understand his dismay when he learned that false teachers were infiltrating the church at Ephesus. They were insisting the church body there needed to follow the law and to be circumcised, in addition to believing in Christ. Paul points out that the law is good so long as it is legitimately used, such as for identifying unrighteous behavior. But for salvation, our hope must rely on Christ and Christ alone.
False teachers have been a constant theme throughout the New Testament epistles. Some false teachers have introduced heresies into the gospel for personal gain. Others, having difficulty letting go of their old ways, have sought to blend Christianity with paganism. It is not so different today, is it? Have you ever met a person who confesses faith in Christ and who also reads their horoscope every day or knocks on wood? Insert face-palm here. Let’s pray.
Dear Lord, thank you for Paul and Timothy. Thank you for the example Timothy provides us of a good and godly follower of Christ. Help us to follow Paul’s example of training up youth in ways that give us confidence in their ability to carry on in the church after we are gone. And help us to keep false teaching away from the true message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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