Monday, November 28, 2011

1 and 2 Timothy

Introduction to the Books of 1 and 2 Timothy

Written by George Goldman

Paul met Timothy in Lystra. Timothy was the offspring of a mixed marriage: a Greek father and a Jewish mother, Eunice (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim. 1:5). Racial descent was determined by the mother; therefore, Paul had Timothy circumcised upon his conversion. (Acts 16:3). None of Paul’s companions is mentioned as often as Timothy.

It is true that Paul’s travels as described in these books (2 Tim. 4:13, 20) do not fit into the Acts account. Yet there is ample evidence for a second Roman imprisonment. Acts has Paul in a Roman prison around 60 A.D. Luke’s detailed account of the trip is found in the latter chapters (Acts 27 – 28). Acts leaves the question of Paul’s release unanswered, but there is strong evidence that he was released after the two years (Acts 28:30). The attitude of the Roman government in the book of Acts favors it; the Prison Letters expect it (Phil. 1:19-26), the Pastorals demand it (2 Tim. 4:16); and tradition asserts it.

After his release, probably in the spring of 63 A.D., Paul went east (Rom. 15:22ff) and also planned to visit Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 3:14f; 4:13; Titus 3:12). First Timothy and Titus were evidently written before Nero blamed the burning of Rome on the Christians (July, 64 A.D.). During this persecution Paul was imprisoned a second time in Rome and there met his death in 66 or 67 A.D. (2 Tim. 4:6-8, 16-18). Tradition says he was beheaded.

These two letters to Timothy contain much rich and valuable material. All teachers of the gospel should be familiar with them. The minister of God is to see that his teaching is true to the gospel (1 Tim. 1:3); he is to be a man of prayer (1 Tim. 2:1f, 8); he is to instruct the women as to their place in the church (1 Tim. 2:9ff). This is unpopular in ERA circles today but it is still in the Bible (cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-7; Eph. 5:22ff; 1 Cor. 11:1-3); he is to influence both old and young, men and women (1 Tim. 5:1-2); he is to see that the widow is cared for (1 Tim. 5:3-16); he is to rebuke elders who sin (1 Tim. 5:20); and he is to be an example in personal conduct, purity, and holiness (1 Tim. 4:12; 5:21f; 6:11-14). Thus, what the minister says is only part of his job; what he does in the rest of it.

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