Scripture reading – 1 Timothy 1-6
Of all Paul’s epistles, his letter to 1 Timothy is my favorite.
When I was a young man, and aspiring to ministry, 1 Timothy was instructive in the manner of man God calls to serve as the pastor\shepherd of His people. As I began in those early years, I found Paul’s counsel to Timothy invaluable as I consciously framed each phase of my ministry philosophy after Paul’s example from youth pastor to senior pastor. Now that I am an elder pastor, I reflect on Paul’s manner and rapport with Timothy, and desire the same with those who serve with me.
We first met Timothy when he was a young believer, and privileged to be a part of Paul’s missions’ team. He was, according to Acts 16:1, “the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek.” The implication was that Timothy’s home was a spiritually divided home; his father was apparently a Gentile unbeliever, but his mother was a woman of Jewish heritage and a follower of Christ.
In spite of the divisive nature of his family, his mother and grandmother were godly women of faith and had a profound influence on Timothy. Paul wrote, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned [sincere] faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also” (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s passion for spiritual truth was inflamed from his early childhood. In his last epistle to Timothy, Paul reminded him of his spiritual privilege and godly heritage, writing, “And that from a child [very young child] thou hast known [growing knowledge of] the holy scriptures [instructed in the Old Testament Scriptures], which are able to make thee wise [understanding] unto salvation through faith [assurance; belief] which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).
While Paul mentored many, his relationship with Timothy was that of a spiritual father. His affection as Timothy’s spiritual mentor is evidenced throughout the letter in both affirmations and admonitions (1 Timothy 1:2, 18; 4:6-16; 6:11-13, 20-21). Timothy became a devoted companion on Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 16:3), a co-worker in the churches, and finally the pastor of the church in Ephesus (1:3a).
Paul commissioned Timothy, and charged him to continue ministering in Ephesus after his departure by ship for Macedonia (1:3a). He was mindful of the need to encourage Timothy to be bold in his ministry (1:3b), and give no tolerance to false teachers and their heresies (1:4).
Time and space do not allow me to continue an exposition of this wonderful book, but I will take liberty to close with Paul’s charge and instruction to Timothy found in 1 Timothy 1:5.
1 Timothy 1:5 – “Now the end of the commandment [charge; mandate] is charity [“agape”; self-sacrificing love]out of a pure [unsoiled; free of sin] heart, and of a good [clear; morally honorable] conscience, and of faith unfeigned [sincere faith; without hypocrisy].”
Paul’s challenge to Timothy should be the aspiration of every believer. To have and to cultivate a loving heart, unspoiled by envy and strife; a moral conscience that is good, and honorable before God; and faith that is sincere, without hypocrisy.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith