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The Bible Study New Testament Bible Study NT
- 1 Timothy
by Rhoderick D. Ice
INTRODUCTION TO THE FIRST LETTER TO TIMOTHY
The Letters to Timothy and Titus deal more with church organization and church culture than any of the other Letters. These belong to the closing period of Paul’s life. Ramsay places First Timothy and Titus in the period between Paul’s release and his second imprisonment (63–66 A.D.). He places Paul’s second imprisonment in 67 A.D., and thinks Second Timothy was written during this time, with Paul’s execution coming shortly after this. (See introduction to Second Timothy.) As Paul writes this Letter to him, he would be in his early thirties (1 Timothy 4:12).
We meet Timothy in Acts 16:1 (see notes there). Timothy is a second generation Christian! The Jews called the child of a Jewish mother and a Greek father a MAMZER (bastard), and he would have had no access to the synagogue without being circumcised. As Malphurs points out, only the fact that his devout mother and grandmother were Christians could explain the unusual fact that they had not circumcised him. Malphurs thinks Timothy’s father was a “Gentile converted to Judaism,” and that he was in the crowd on Pentecost and was baptized into Christ at that time. Therefore, this young man grew up in a Christian home! Either Lystra or Derbe was his home town, and he probably was “buried with Christ in the liquid grave” during the time of Acts 14:6 (Johnson thinks so). He could not have been more than fifteen at that time, and some estimates would make him as young as ten years old.
Timothy had grown up with the Old Testament Scriptures (the Septuagint). Paul took him as a traveling assistant (Acts 16:3), and gave him (one of) the gifts from the spirit (2 Timothy 1:6; evidently the ability to direct others). In order to make it easier to work with the Jews, Paul had Timothy circumcised (Acts 16:3). Timothy worked hard to spread the Good News of Christ and to teach and train the new Christians and form them into communities (churches). MacKnight thinks that after Paul’s release from his first imprisonment, Timothy went with him to Judea (compare Hebrews 13:23), going through Crete on the way. Then visiting the Colossian and Ephesian churches, and Timothy was left at Ephesus, where he is when Paul writes these Letters to him. Some think Timothy was still at Ephesus when Revelation was written, and that he is the angel (preacher) of the church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1). Traditional history says he died a martyr’s death, killed by the mob during the festival of Artemis (compare Acts 19:28-34, for a similar mob), sometime in the last decade of the first century. See also the introduction to Second Timothy.