The Epistles Outlined (2): 1 Timothy

The Author of the Epistle

The first verse of the epistle states that it is the apostle Paul. This is verified by Pauls divine appointment (1:1; 2:7 with Gal 1:1,), his description of himself as a persecutor (1:13 with Acts 22:4-5; 1 Cor 15:9), and his relationship to Timothy (1:2 with Acts 16:1-3; 1 Cor 4:17).

The Recipient of the Epistle

It is Timothy who is first mentioned in Acts 16 where he is called a certain disciple (Acts 16:1).

The Date of the Epistle

Although some suggest that the epistle was written prior to Acts 20, most believe it was written between Pauls first and second imprisonments at Rome, making 64 AD the probable date.

The Place Where it was Written

This is not easy to establish with certainty. Pauls three missionary journeys recorded in the Acts do not allow for the statement in 1:3. It seems evident that the event in 1:3 must have taken place after Acts 28. The possible place of writing this epistle is Philippi in Macedonia.

The Purpose of the Epistle

The main purpose is to give clear instructions to Timothy regarding the discharge of his stewardship (3:14-15), which involved charging some that they teach no other doctrine (1:3). In this epistle we have permanent and authoritative instruction concerning the true character of a divinely-planted assembly and concerning behavior in such an assembly. There are a number of indications in the letter that the saints in Ephesus were in danger from the false teachers. This teaching would not only undermine their faith, but would destroy true Christian character in the saints. The epistle was also written to encourage Timothy in the use of his gift (4:14-16).

Key Verses


Key Words

The key word is godliness which occurs nine times in the epistle. Although the same Greek word only occurs eight times (2:2; 3:16; 4:7, 8; 6:3, 5, 6, 11) a related word is used in 2:10 and its cognate verb in 4:5 (piety). Some have given the meaning of godliness as God-likeness. It is the NT equivalent of the OT expression, the fear of the Lord. Godliness is developed in the lives of believers by the truth, because the truth (doctrine) is according to godliness (6:3). The truth should affect our lives practically and develop true godliness after the likeness of Christ who is Himself the very essence of truth. Another keyword is charge.

Key Thought

Behaviour in the Assembly. Christian Character.

The Division and Outline of the Epistle

The epistle can to be divided into five sections:

1. Chapter 1 – The Gospel – The Administration of God

2. Chapter 2 – Godly Deportment essential to the Prayer Life of the Assembly

3. Chapter 3 – Government and Service in the Assembly

4. Chap 4:1-5 – The Growth of Apostasy

5. Chap 4:6-6:21 – The Governing Principles of Godly Activity