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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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Theme: GODLINESS -- The Outworking of The Spiritual Mind






Throughout the Epistle are found a number of recurring themes and key phrases. These are set out below to assist the reader to grasp the main ideas which permeate the Epistle.


Throughout the epistle constant reference is made to a "charge" and to a "commandment" which Paul delivered to Timothy. Both words are the translation of the Greek word "paraggelia." As in the Revised Version, the word should be more correctly and consistently translated as "charge". it is a proclamation or command and is strictly used of commands received from a superior (officer) and transmitted to others, as in an army. The purpose of these instructions was that Timothy may know how he should conduct himself in the Ecclesia of God, which is the house of God (ch. 3:15-16), and that he may thus be an example to all of the believers (ch. 4:12) therefore assisting others to manifest in their life the character of God.

The various aspects of the "charge" are that the Truth may be taught in purity of doctrine (ch. 1:3), the final outcome of which would be love out of a pure heart and a good conscience (ch. 1:5), and that one may be encouraged to war the good warfare of faith (ch. 1:18). In chapter 4 the apostle focuses on the main purpose of the charge, namely, that Timothy and his associates should manifest Godliness in their lives. He thus expounds the benefits of Godliness in verses 7-11. The relief of the widows is seen as a manifestation of Godliness and is a continuation of the charge (ch. 5:3-7). Impartiality in judgment is essential in ecclesial life and thus the charge also encompasses this (ch. 5:21). Timothy is finally encouraged to see the great value of the Truth and thus to faithfully manifest the Truth in his life (ch. 6:1-13). The rich who trusted in riches were to be taught the uncertainty of their foundation. The only sure foundation is a trust in Yahweh the living God who will provide richly for all those who put their trust in Him (ch. 6:17-19).


The term "godliness" frequently occurs throughout the epistle and has reference to God manifestation. This is the overriding theme of the epistle, i.e. that the moral characteristics of the Deity may be manifested in the lives of believers today as the result of a transformed disposition (Rom. 12:2; 2:14-15). The term is to be found in chapters 2:2; 3:16; 4:7, 8; 5:4 (piety); 6:3, 5, 6, 11. A very similar Greek word also translated "godliness" appears in chapter 2:10.

The believer is one who so conducts himself in the house of God (i.e. the ecclesia), that he reveals in his life the character and attributes of the Deity. These characteristics are reflected by him when, and only when, he perceives those characteristics, which God has revealed to him. He shows mercy to others as God has given unbounded mercy to him: the peace and unity which he finds with the Father is reflected in his relationship with his brethren; and the unmerited favour of grace which God has revealed to mankind is seen in his own associations in the household of God. These characteristics of the man of God flow from the renewal of the mind (Rom. 8:1-12) and not just by conformity with external regulations.


This statement occurs in chapter 1:15, 3:1 and 4:9. The sayings that follow are like proverbs; pithy condensations of the Truth and thus summarise the apostle's message. Some have thought them to be extracts from a first century statement of faith of the believers. The sayings are designated "faithful" as they were clearly from collected known sayings which were trustworthy and reliable.


This expression occurs in chapter 4:11 and a similar one in ch. 6:2 outlining a specific instruction which Paul would have Timothy pass on to the ecclesia at Ephesus.



Timothy was a constant companion of the great apostle Paul (Rom. 16:21). Although his natural characteristics included timidity and physical ailments, he is an excellent example of the strengthening and impelling nature of the Word of God. His early training by his mother and grandmother helped him to absorb God's word, and this reveals the value of early training of children in the Truth (2 Tim. 3:15).

Timothy's mother and grandmother, both spiritually-minded Jewish women, assisted him in his early years to develop that fruit of the Spirit which Paul refers to in Galatians 5. His father was a Greek (Acts 16:1) and the only source of spirituality in the family was his mother and grandmother (2 Tim. 1:5).

It is possible that Timothy was converted by Paul on his first visit to Lystra (Acts 14:6) and on his second visit, hearing of the development in the truth of this young man, he caused him to be circumcised and then took him as his assistant on his journey (Acts 16:2-3). After travelling with Paul and Silas through Asia Minor and Macedonia he was left at Berea (Acts 17:14) when Paul went to Athens. When Timothy and Silas later joined Paul in Athens (Acts 18:5) "Paul was pressed in the spirit and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ". Those today who would emulate the spiritual characteristics of Timothy will likewise stimulate their associates to continue in the work of the Truth (cp. Prov. 27:17). Timothy was then dispatched to Thessalonica (1 Thess. 1:1; 3:2; 3:6).

Paul later intended to send Timothy to Corinth (1 Cor. 4:17; 16:10; cp. Acts 19:22). It is not certain whether he actually arrived in Corinth although it is most likely that he did. The reference in 1 Cor. 16:10-11 is very revealing of Timothy's characteristics -- "Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do." The Twentieth Century New Testament renders this "... take care that ye have no cause for feeling anxious while he is with you." Knox continues, "... he is not to be treated with disrespect" and Phillips translates, "there is no reason to look down on him". These statements suggest that Timothy was of such a physical nature as not to automatically command the respect of those whom he met for the first time. He is portrayed as one of a retiring, timid disposition. His spiritual qualities, however, over-shadowed his natural disabilities so that Paul could say of him that he had taught the Truth to those in Corinth (2 Cor. 1:19) and that he had such a spiritual outlook that he could say in Phil. 2:19-23, "I have no man like-minded."

During the apostles' imprisonment in Rome, Timothy was with him and is mentioned in the epistles written from Rome at that period in his life (Philemon 1; Phil. 1:1; Col. 1:1). It is difficult to place the context of the final reference to Timothy, in Heb. 13:2,3.

"Timothy" is short for Timotheus and means, "honoured of God" (Young's Concordance), or "dear to God" (Strong's Concordance). His life and example well illustrate these principles. In him we have a young brother of mature spiritual qualities, hampered by physical infirmities, but a man whose faith and courage lifted him above his natural disabilities, which became incidental to him, so that he rendered outstanding service to the cause of Truth and to Paul personally.


Paul wrote to Timothy, while away from Ephesus on a visit to Macedonia to advise him of how he should conduct himself as the spiritual leader in Ephesus -- the "pioneer" ecclesia of Asia (1 Tim. 1:3). It appears that Paul was delayed for some time in Macedonia and so wrote to him concerning many matters of ecclesial life, hoping that he would soon return to help him.

The essence of his reason for writing is contained in these words, "that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God (3:14-16). These verses should be considered carefully within their context in the centre of the epistle. It is sufficient to point out at this stage that Timothy was to behave himself in such a manner as to give witness to his teaching and to remind the ecclesia that it was the "house of God", a community of people who reflect the characteristics of the Deity in their life. The ecclesia is, therefore, the foundation and support of that Truth which must be revealed in the lives of the individuals in the ecclesia. (It is a great secret accepted by common consent that God was revealed in human flesh when His Son lived on the earth; "we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father" (John 1:14). Jesus revealed a way of life and conduct, which is a pattern for all to follow and, Paul therefore, urges the ecclesia to implement his example as the correct basis of behaviour in their walk to the Kingdom.)


It is difficult to precisely place the time at which the epistle was written. It appears, however, that it was probably during Paul's three-year stay at Ephesus (Acts 19), during which he took a journey to Macedonia (1 Tim. 1:3; 3:14) which is not recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. It must have been written at a time when the ecclesia was large enough to require a formal organization of elders, bishops and deacons (ch. 3). It also must have been written prior to his last meeting with the elders of the Ephesian ecclesia when he said that he would see their faces no more (Acts 20:25). He infers in the epistle (3:14) that he would return to Ephesus. As he makes no reference to his difficulties or his suffering and imprisonment (as in his second epistle [2:9], which was written in prison) it must have been written during his period of stay at Ephesus. Some have suggested the date of writing to be A.D. 56





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