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Timothy, Epistles to

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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These epistles are generally believed to have been written by Paul after his two years' imprisonment at Rome, recorded at the end of the Acts: the First Epistle during the time he was at liberty, and the Second Epistle when he was a prisoner a second time, and was looking for a speedy martyrdom. The First Epistle was probably written from Macedonia about A.D. 64, and the Second Epistle two years later.

THE FIRST EPISTLEhas the character of a charge to an apostolic delegate as to the maintenance of sound doctrine in the assembly, and as to the provision for the due care of saints. Hence we find the character of the men suitable for bishops and deacons. They must be such as maintained faith and piety. The epistle recognises the church in its normal condition — the church of God in order — differing from the Second Epistle, in which the house is regarded as in disorder. The house of God stands in contrast to the Jewish temple, and God is presented in the character of a Saviour-God with regard to man.

After the benediction Paul states that Timothy had been besought to remain at Ephesus to enjoin some not to teach strange doctrine, nor give heed to fables and useless genealogies, which ministered questions rather than the dispensation of God, which was in faith. The end of what was enjoined was love out of 1, a pure heart; 2, a good conscience; and 3, unfeigned faith. Instead of this some were seeking to be law-teachers. The law had its use, but applied, not to the righteous, but to the lawless and to the wicked of every kind, and to anything opposed to sound teaching, according to the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which Paul had been entrusted, he who had formerly been the chief of sinners. His salvation was a delineation of the Lord's long-suffering to all others. The mention of it calls forth a burst of praise from Paul. The charge in 1 Timothy 1:3,4 was committed to Timothy that he might carry on the work in Paul's absence. Some had made shipwreck of faith, two of whom are named, and these had been delivered unto Satan (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:5 ), that they might learn not to blaspheme.

1 Timothy 2 . Prayers were to be made for all men, that the saints might lead quiet and tranquil lives in all piety, in view of liberty for God's testimony. God desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Here it is no question of God's counsels, but of His attitude toward men in grace as the Saviour-God: cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20 . Christ is the one Mediator between God and men, and He gave His life a ransom for all , to be testified of in these days of grace. Paul had been appointed a herald, an apostle, and a teacher o f the Gentiles. Hence he willed that men should pray, holding up holy hands; that women should adorn themselves modestly and with good works; they were to learn in silence, and not to teach or usurp authority over man. The original order in creation and the history of the fall are cited in support of these injunctions.

1 Timothy 3 . The qualification of a bishop, or overseer, and of a deacon, or minister, are shown to be, not so much those of specific gift as of piety and good moral character. Paul hoped to go shortly to Timothy, but wrote these things that Timothy might know how one ought to behave himself in the house of God, which is 1, the assembly of the living God, and 2, the pillar and base of the truth — namely, that which is established to maintain the truth on the earth. Confessedly the mystery of piety is great. God has been manifested in flesh; justified in the Spirit (in the power of Christ by the Holy Spirit: cf. Romans 1:4 ); has appeared to angels (they saw God in Christ); has been preached among the nations; has been believed on in the world; and has been received up into glory — an epitome of God's ways in grace outside of all connected with promises to Israel, and in contrast to law.

1 Timothy 4 . The Spirit foretells that in the latter times there would be apostasy, and that people would give their mind to the teaching of demons; practising asceticism and false holiness. Timothy was to be a good minister of Jesus Christ in teaching the right use of things which God in His beneficence has given to man. The word is faithful and of all acceptation. The living God is the Saviour (preserver, Matthew 5:45 ) of all men, and especially of those that believe. Timothy was to teach these things and to live them; and not to neglect the gift that was given him by prophecy (cf. 1 Timothy 1:18 ) and with (not by here, cf. 2 Timothy 1:6 ) the imposition of the hands of the elderhood.

1 Timothy 5 . Paul gives personal instruction to Timothy as to carrying out his mission, especially as regards the treatment of elders and widows. He was to take a little wine because of his frequent ill-health.

1 Timothy 6 . Instruction is given as to those under servitude (slaves), and their behaviour towards their masters. The dangers of independence coming in in connection with those who desire to be rich, are pointed out; and Timothy, as a man of God, is exhorted to flee these things; to strive earnestly in the good conflict of faith; to lay hold on eternal life. He is again charged before God and before Jesus Christ, that he keep the command spotless until the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ: which the blessed and only ruler shall show in its owntime, the King of kings and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality; dwellingin unapproachable light; whom no man hath seen or cansee: to whom be honour and eternal might. Amen. We have here the inaccessible majesty of God in His essential being. In Revelation 19 the Lord Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords: here He, who will manifest the Lord Jesus as such, is so designated. Exhortations are added. A final word to Timothy and a benediction close the epistle.

THE SECOND EPISTLE. The fact that the apostle when writing this epistle was at the close of his ministry, gives it a peculiar interest. He reviews his service, and has to lament that all in Asia (that is, Asia Minor including Ephesus) had turned away from him. The house of God as a profession was in disorder, past recovery as a whole, and the apostle could but leave instructions to the servant how to act in such a state of things. This characterises the epistle.

After a salutation in which he desires mercy for Timothy, as well as grace and peace, Paul thanks God, whom he had served from his forefathers with pure (not always enlightened) conscience, having Timothy in unceasing remembrance in prayer, calling to mind his unfeigned faith and that of his maternal ancestors; and he desires that Timothy would rekindle the gift that he had received by the imposition of Paul's hands, for God had given, not a spirit of cowardice, but of power, of love, and of a wise discretion. Timothy is exhorted not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, nor of Paul His prisoner.

God's salvation and calling according to His purposeand grace in Christ Jesus before the ages of time, has been made manifest by the appearing of the Saviour, who has annulled death, and brought life and incorruptibility to light by the gospel — a revelation which puts the soul beyond death and its power. Timothy is exhorted to hold fast the outline of sound words heard from Paul, and to keep by the Holy Spiritthat deposit (of divine truth) committed to him. All Asia had turned away fromPaul — not necessarily from profession of Christ, but from the practicalbearing of His death and resurrection: cf. 1 Timothy 1:3,4; Revelation 2 and Revelation 3 .

1 Timothy 2 . Timothy was to commit to faithful men what he had heard from Paul — provision is thus made for the transmission of the truth . Timothy was exhorted to endure hardness as a good soldier, illustration being given by the conduct pursued by those called to war, of such too as contend for mastery in the games, and of husbandmen. He is charged to remember Christ Jesus raised from the dead according to Paul's gospel; the application of which truth called forth the opposition of man after the flesh. False doctrine, which would eat as a gangrene into the very vitals of Christianity, was abroad as to the resurrection, but the foundation of God stood sure, having this seal (God's side) "The Lord knoweth them that are his;" and (man's side) "Let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord [as the Editors read here] depart from iniquity." Evil alas! had arisen in the scene of christian profession, which is compared to a great house, in which are vessels to honour and to dishonour, and the path for the servant in such case is marked out, namely, to purge himself from the latter, to be a vessel fit for the Master's use. Exhortations follow.

2 Timothy 3 . It is foretold that in the last days there would be perilous or difficult times, arising from the introduction of counterfeits of the truth allied with priestcraft. Such wicked workings would be met only by the power of divine life in souls, and hence Paul alludes to his doctrine, his godly walk, and his sufferings, and adds, All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. Evil men and seducers would advance in evil. Timothy was to abide in the things which he had learned, and been assured of, knowing of whom he had learned them (cf. 2 Timothy 3:10 ); he had known the holy scriptures from a child. The important testimony is added that every scripture is divinely inspired, and is profitable for teaching, conviction, correction, instruction in righteousness (supplying what is needed for every time), that the man of God may be complete, fully fitted to every good work.

2 Timothy 4 . Paul charges Timothy before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom, to fulfil his mission. (It is not here the coming of the Lord for His own, but His appearing and kingdom that are spoken of, in view of the responsibility of the saints.) It was the more needful for Timothy to fill up the measure of his ministry, for Paul was about to depart. He had finished his course, had fought the good fight, and kept the faith. The crown of righteousness was laid up for him, and for all them that love the appearing of Christ. (To love the appearing of Christ, the time of His glory, is characteristic of Christianity.)

Various details follow. Mark had been restored to the apostle's confidence: cf. Acts 13:13; Acts 15:36-40 . Paul requests Timothy to bring his cloak (before winter, 2 Timothy 4:21; the body is the Lord's), the papyrus rolls, and especially the parchments. Paul had made his first defence before Nero, and all had forsaken him (he prays for them), but the Lord stood by and strengthened him. Thus far he had been delivered out of the mouth of the lion, and was able still to make known the gospel. The Lord would preserve him from every evil work for His heavenly kingdom, to whom he gives glory. Salutations and the benediction close the epistle.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Timothy, Epistles to'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​t/timothy-epistles-to.html. 1897.
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