Paul, formerly a despiser of Christians, came face to face with Jesus on the road to Damascus and was radically changed. And this change led him to plant churches, go on missionary journeys, and write much of the New Testament. Two of the books he penned were letters written to a young man named Timothy.
Paul refers to Timothy as “my beloved child,” indicating the possibility that Paul led this young man to Christ or played an important role in his spiritual growth. Paul had fatherly affection for young Timothy and Timothy accompanied Paul on a number of his travels, ministering with him. After Paul was released from prison (Acts 28:30), he began a journey with Timothy revisiting a number of cities where he had preached. And when they arrived in Ephesus, Paul left Timothy behind in order for him to pastor a struggling church. These letters, I & II Timothy, were written to help Timothy lead the church in practical and theologically sound ways.
In I Timothy we’ll find Paul charging Timothy to help sort out some issues this congregation was having, such a false teaching (1:3-7; 4:1-3; 6:3-5), materialism (6:6-19), the need for godly leadership (3:1-14), and disorderly worship (2:1-15).
II Timothy finds Paul back in a Roman prison for the second time (1:16; 2:9); however, he is not deterred from his mission. As Paul nears martyrdom, he passes the ministry torch to Timothy and exhorts him to continue the work by guarding the treasure of sound doctrine (1:14), remaining faithful in hardship (2:3-4; 3:10-12), and by standing firm and preaching the Word in the last days (3:15-4:5).
But these letters are also written to us, the followers of Christ today. Our study of I & II Timothy will teach us about the importance of healthy, functional church that, according to God’s standards, promotes gospel-centered teaching. A healthy church raises healthy believers, while churches weak in doctrinal preaching are theologically immature and apathetic to others’ needs. These letters that Paul wrote to Timothy are meant for our instruction and growth in the knowledge of God’s ways, as well as encouragement as we try to live godly lives and stand firm on His Truth in an ungodly world.
I & II Timothy are letters from one pastor to another, and yet these books remind us that all Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, correction, and training in righteousness.
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