First Epistle to Timothy

First Epistle to Timothy

The First Epistle to Timothy is one of three letters in New Testament of the Bible often grouped together as the Pastoral Epistles. (The others are Second Timothy and Titus.) The letter, traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, consists mainly of counsels to his younger colleague and delegate Timothy regarding his ministry in Ephesus (1:3). These include instructions on the forms of worship and organization of the Church, the responsibilities resting on its several members, including "episcopi" (overseers or bishops) and "diaconi" ("deacons"); and secondly of exhortation to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors (iv.iff), presented as a prophecy of erring teachers "to come".
*"What is most baffling in the letters is that they do not adequtely define either the orthodoxy which they champion or the heterodoxy which they combat." TIB 1955 XI p. 383


The author of 1 Timothy has been traditionally identified as the Apostle Paul. He is named as the author of the letter in the text (1:1). In modern times, scholars have become divided over the issue of authenticity, with many suggesting that 1 Timothy, along with 2 Timothy and Titus, are not original to Paul, but rather an unknown Christian writing some time in the late-first-to-mid-second century. [Ehrman, Bart. "The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings". Oxford University Press. 2003. p. 393 ISBN: 0195154622
"when we come to the Pastoral epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, there is greater scholarly unanimity. These three letters are widely regarded by scholars as non-Pauline."
] Despite the challenge to Pauline authorship, the traditional view is still held by many New Testament scholars.

Historical views

The genuineness of Pauline authorship was accepted by Church orthodoxy as early as c. 180 AD, as evidenced by the surviving testimony of Irenaeus and the author of the Muratorian fragment. Possible allusions are found in the letters from Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (c. 95), Ignatius of Antioch to the Ephesians (c. 110) and Polycarp to the Philippians (c. 130)Holmes, MW, "Polycarp's 'Letter to the Philippians' and the Writings that later formed the NT," in Gregory & Tuckett, (2005), "The Reception of the NT in the Apostolic Fathers" OUP, p.226 ISBN 978-0199267828] Berding, K, (1999), Polycarp of Smyrna's View of the Authorship of 1 and 2 Timothy,Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 53, No. 4. (Nov., 1999), pp. 349-360.] , though it is difficult to determine the nature of any such literary relationships. Modern scholars who support Pauline authorship nevertheless stress their importance regarding the question of authenticity: I.H. Marshall and P.H. Towner wrote that 'the key witness is Polycarp, where there is a high probability that 1 and 2 Tim were known to him' [Marshall, IH and Towner, PH (1999), 'The Pastoral Epistles', T&T Clark, ISBN 0567086615, p.3] . Similarly M.W. Holmes argued that it is 'virtually certain or highly probable' that Polycarp used 1 and 2 Timothy.

Late in the second century there are a number of quotations from all three Pastoral Epistles in Irenaeus' work "Against Heresies". The "Muratorian Canon" (c. 170-180) lists the books of the NT and ascribes all three Pastoral Epistles to Paul. Eusebius (c. 330) calls it, along with the other thirteen canonical Pauline Epistles, "undisputed" [Eusebius, "Ecclesiastical History" 3.3.5] . Exceptions to this positive witness include Tatian, [Moffatt, James. An Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament. 1911: p. 420.] a disciple of Justin Martyr turned heretic, as well as the Gnostic BasilidesKnight, George William, (1992), The Pastoral Epistles: A Commentary On the Greek Text, ISBN 0802823955] .

Marcion, an orthodox Bishop later excommunicated for heresy, formed a Gnostic canon of Scripture c. 140 around ten of the canonical Pauline epistles, excluding 1-2 Timothy, Titus and Hebrews. The reasons for these exclusions are unknown, and so speculation abounds, including the hypotheses that they were not written until after Marcion's time, or that he knew of them, but regarded them as inauthentic. Proponents of Pauline authorship argue that he had theological grounds for rejecting the Pastorals, namely their teaching about the goodness of creation (cf. 1 Tim 4:1 "ff".) [John Stott, "The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus" (Leicester: IVP, 1996), 23.] . The question is indeed curious whether Marcion knew these three letters and rejected them as Tertullian says, since in 1 Timothy 6:20 "false opposing arguments" are referred to, with the word for "opposing arguments" being "antithesis", the name of Marcion's work, and so whether it is a subtle hint of Marcion's heresy. However, the structure of the Church presupposed which is less developed than the one Ignatius presupposes (who wrote c.110), as well as the fact that not only is "antithesis" itself a Greek word which simply means "opposing arguments" but as it has been noted, the attack on the heretics is not central to the three letters. [W. Marxsen, "Introduction to the New Testament", ET 1968, p.207: "Can we find, nevertheless, in the light of the contents of the letters, a common key to the understanding of all three? One common factor is to be found in the attack upon heretics, but this does not really stand in the forefront of any of the letters. I Tim. and Tit. are concerned rather with codified 'rules' or 'rules' required to be codified, for the ministry among other things. 2 Tim. also deals with the ministry, not in the sense of laying down rules, but rather that Timothy in fulfilling his ministry should follow the example of Paul."]

The challenge to Pauline authorship

The modern challenge to Pauline authorship began with the work of German theologians F.D.E. Schleiermacher in 1807 and J.G Eichorn in 1812. (Eichorn extended Schleirmacher's attack on 1 Timothy to all three Pastoral letters.) This was argued in further detail by F.C. Baur in 1835. [Luke Timothy Johnson, The First and Second Letters of Timothy (The Anchor Bible Commentary; New York: Doubleday, 2001), 42-44. ] . Following these arguments, a large number of modern scholars continue to reject Pauline authorship, citing various and serious problems in associating it therewith. For example, Norman Perrin analyzed the Greek used by the author or authors of the Pastoral Epistles, finding that over 1/3 of their vocabulary is not used anywhere else in the Pauline epistles; more than 1/5 is not used anywhere else in the New Testament, while 2/3 of the non-Pauline vocabulary are used by second century Christian writers [Perrin, Norman. "The New Testament, an Introduction: Proclamation and Parenesis, Myth and History". 264-5. Harcourt College Pub: 1974. ISBN 0-15-565725-9.] . Richard Heard, in 1950, had this to say: "The evidence of teaching as of style and vocabulary is strongly against Paul’s authorship, nor are these arguments seriously weakened by any supposition that the epistles were written late in Paul’s lifetime and to meet a new type of situation. The three epistles show such a unity of thought and expression that they must be the work of one man, but for the author we must look rather to one of Paul’s admirers than to Paul himself." [ [ Heard, Richard (1950), "An Introduction to the New Testament by Richard Heard", chap. 18] ] Robert Grant noted the afore-mentioned parallels to Polycarp's Epistles and suggested he might be the author [ [ Grant, Robert. "A Historical Introduction to the New Testament", chap. 14] ] .

If “… the author of the Pastorals is seen as a separate individual, and not as a depleted or altered Paul, he assumes a new position of importance in the New Testament and in the history of the ancient church. The New Testament thereby becomes enriched with an important type of personality distinct and different from any of the other great figures delineated therein, a type without which the origin of the catholic church is inexplicable.” TIB 1955 XI pp. 363-364

The defence of Pauline authorship

Scholars who hold to the minority position of Pauline authenticity of the epistle include Wallace,Wallace, Daniel B. 1 Timothy: Introduction, Argument, Outline.] Knight, Fee [Fee, GD, (1995), "1 and 2 Timothy, Titus", New International Biblical Commentary, Paternoster Press, ISBN=978-0853646679] , Witherington III [Witherington, Ben, III (2006), 'A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy and 1-3 John: 1 (Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians Set)', IVP Academic, ISBN 978-0830829316] , Johnson [Johnson, Luke Timothy, (2001), 'The First and Second Letters to Timothy: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary', Anchor Bible, ISBN 978-0385484220] , StottJohn Stott, "The Message of 1 Timothy and Titus" (Leicester: IVP, 1996), 23.] and TownerTowner, Philip H., (2006), "The Letters to Timothy and Titus", New International Commentary on the New Testament, ISBN 978-0802825131 ] . Wallace, for example, writes that, "although the evidence against the authenticity of the pastorals is as strong as any evidence against the authenticity of any NT book (save 2 Peter), it still cannot overthrow the traditional view"

In addition, a number of computer studies, though they must be treated with cautionThomson, N, "How to read an article which depends on statistics", Literary and Linguistic Computing, Vol. 4, No. 1, 1989] , have indicated that the seven universally-accepted Pauline letters and 1-2 Timothy have a closer "affinity" than is often assumed. Thus:
* Alivar has shown that the 'Timothy's' have greater 'affinity' to Romans, Ephesians and Colosians than do Romans,Ephesians and Colosians to other Pauline epistles eg 1 Corinthians or Galatians [Alviar,JJ, (2008), "Recent Advances in Computational Linguistics and their Application to Biblical Studies", New Test. Stud. 54, pp. 151-52, Fig.4] .
* SmithSmith, MWA, (1987), "Hapax Legomena in Prescribed Positions: An Investigation of Recent Proposals to Resolve Problems of Authorship",Literary and Linguistic Computing, Vol. 2, No. 3, 1987] corrected Morton, and showed that on his criteria 'the most likely interpretation is that St. Paul wrote all the Epistles'.
* Barr Barr, GK (2002), "The Impact of Scalometry on New Testament Letters",The Expository Times, 2002; 114; 3, DOI: 10.1177/001452460211400102] writes 'In view of the distinctive patterns found in these corpora it cannot be held, ... that the Pastorals are pseudonymous writings ...'.


The dating of 1 Timothy depends very much on the question of authorship. Those who accept the epistle's authenticity believe it was most likely written toward the end of Paul's ministry, c.62-67 AD. Other historians generally place its composition some time in the late first century or first half of the second century AD, with a wide margin of uncertainty. The text seems to be contending against nascent Gnosticism(1 Tim 1:4, 1 Tim 4:3) [ [ Gnostics, Gnostic Gospels, & Gnosticism] ] (see Encratism), which would suggest a later date due to Gnosticism developing primarily in the latter 1st century. The term Gnosis("knowledge") itself occurs in 1 Timothy 6:20. [ [] ] If the parallels between 1 Timothy and Polycarp's epistle are understood as a literary dependence by the latter on the former, as is generally acceptedBerding, K, (1999), Polycarp of Smyrna's View of the Authorship of 1 and 2 Timothy,Vigiliae Christianae, Vol. 53, No. 4. (Nov., 1999), pp. 349-360.] , this would constitute a "terminus ante quem" of 130-155 AD. However, Irenaeus (writing c. 180 AD) is the earliest author to clearly and unequivocally describe the Pastorals.

Historical background

This historical relationship between Paul and Timothy is one of mentorship. Timothy is first mentioned in ; ) and continued on to do even more work in Athens, and Thessalonica for the church (, ) and that this is why he clearly excludes them from the roles of Elder/Bishop and Deacon in chapter three. People who hold to this stance point out that Paul’s use of the phrase “Husband of one wife” is gender specific and excludes women from that role. They would point out that in the Greek text it literally reads "Man of one woman".Fact|date=February 2007 "μιασ γυναικοσ ανδρα"(bibleverse|1|Timothy|3:2|NT-G&L) [Nestel-Aland novum Testamentum, Graece et Latine, United Bible Societies, London, printed in Germany, 1969] However, more liberal scholars debate this, arguing that this is a product of the time in which Paul lived and it is a cultural reference not meant to be eternally binding on the church.Fact|date=August 2007 Many churches have now embraced the ordination of women based on this modern scholarly outlook.Fact|date=February 2007 The treatment of this issue has also been pointed to as evidence that I Timothy is not Pauline, noting "the freedom granted [women] in the aspostolic age to exercise the gifts of the Spirit, [and] Paul's insistence that in Christ there is neither male nor female, [which] had brought them into quick and widespread public activity." TIB 1955 XI p. 349. TNJBC also points out that the reasoning in I Timothy (the fall was Eve's fault) is non-Pauline: “Paul himself prefers to assign blame to Adam (as a counterpart to Christ – see Rom [Romans] 5:12-21; I Cor [Corinthians] 15: 45-49…)” TNJBC [The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Edited by Raymond E. Brown, S.S., Union Theological Seminary, New York; NY, Raymond f. Collins [First Thessalonians] ; Roland E. Murphy, O. Carm. (emeritus) The Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, NC, with a foreword by His Eminence Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, S.J.; Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1990] 1990 p. 897

The treatment of widows, elders, masters, youth, and church members are spelled out; as well as a healthy warning against greed being given to the rich.

Key words and phrases in this book include; “fight the good fight”, “This is a faithful saying”,” let no one despise your youth”, doctrine, elder/bishop, deacon, fables, guard.


I. Salutation (1:1-2)

II. Negative Instructions: Stop the False Teachers (1:3-20)

:A. Warning against False Teachers (1:3-11)

::1. The Charge to Timothy Stated (1:3)

::2. Their Wrong Use of the Law (1:4-7)

::3. The Right Use of the Law (1:8-11)

:B. Paul’s Experience of Grace (1:12-17)

:C. The Charge to Timothy Repeated (1:18-20)

III. Positive Instructions: Repair the Church (2:1–6:10)

:A. Restoring the Conduct of the Church (2:1–3:16)

::1. Instructions on Public Worship (2:1-15)

:::a. Concerning Prayer (2:1-7)

:::b. Concerning the Role of Men and Women (2:8-15)

::::1) Men: Pray in a Holy Manner (2:8)

::::2) Women: Quiet Conduct (2:9-15)

::2. Instructions on Church Leadership (3:1-13)

:::a. Qualifications of Overseers (3:1-7)

:::b. Qualifications of Deacons (3:8-13)

::3. Summary (3:14-16)

:::a. Conduct of the Church (3:14-15)

:::b. Hymn to Christ (3:16)

:B. Guarding the Truth in the Church (4:1-16)

::1. In the Face of Apostasy (4:1-5)

::2. Timothy’s Personal Responsibilities (4:6-16)

::3. Spiritual Exercises (4:7-9)

:C. Dealing with Groups in the Church (5:1–6:10)

::1. Men and Women, Young and Old (5:1-2)

::2. Widows (5:3-16)

:::a. Older Widows (5:3-10)

:::b. Younger Widows (5:11-16)

::3. Elders (5:17-25)

:::a. The Reward of Elders (5:17-18)

:::b. The Reputation of Elders (5:19-20)

::::1) The Reputation of Elders Protected (5:19)

::::2) The Sins of Elders Publicly Rebuked (5:20)

:::c. The Recognition of Prospective Elders (5:21-25)

::4. Slaves (6:1-2)

::5. False Teachers (6:3-10)

IV. Personal Instructions: Pursue Godliness (6:11-21)

:A. Fight the Good Fight (6:11-16)

:B. A Final Word to the Wealthy (6:17-19)

:C. Guard What has been Entrusted (6:20-21)

Abbreviated Exegesis

Chapter One

“2. to Timothy, my true son in faith…”

*“Probably, the apostle speaks here according to this Jewish maxim כל המלמד בן הבירו תורה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאלו ילדו [KhoL HaMeLaMeD BeN HaBiYRaV TORaH M`aLaH `aLaYV HaKaTOoB Ke’iLOo YeLDO] He who teaches the law to his neighbour’s son, is considered by the Scripture as if he had begotten him. Sanhedrim, fol. Xix. 2. And they quote Numb.” [Numbers] “iii. 1. as proving it; These are the generations of Aaron and Moses – and these are the names of the sons of Aaron. – ‘Aaron, say they, begot them, but Moses instructed them; therefore they are called by his name.’ See Shoetgen.” A.C. 1831 ["The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ". The text carefully printed from the most correct copies of the present Authorized Version. Including the marginal readings and parallel texts. With a Commentary and Critical Notes. Designed as a help to a better understanding of the sacred writings. By Adam Clarke, LL.D. F.S.A. M.R.I.A. With a complete alphabetical index. Royal Octavo Stereotype Edition. New York, Published by J. Emory and B. Waugh, for the Methodist Episcopal Church, at the conference office, 13 Crosby-Street. J. Collord, Printer. 1831.] VI p. 554

*“A somewhat subtle interpretation points out that since Timothy’s mother Eunice, although a Christian, had been a Jewess, and since his father was a Greek, the marriage was illegal according to Jewish law, and Timothy an illegitimate child. The text, then, may wish to suggest that Timothy’s illegitimacy of birth has been put aside by the legitimacy of his spiritual rebirth.” TIB 1955 XI p. 379

“3. When I went to Macedonia, I asked you to stay in Ephesus and to take charge of several men, that they not teach a different law

4. and not give their hearts over to legends and stories without end about the traditions of the genealogies, things that lend themselves more to squabbling and dispute than to the plan of God, which is founded on faith.”

*“The Jews had scrupulously preserved their genealogical tables, till the advent of Christ; and the evangelists had recourse to them, and appealed to them in reference to our Lord’s descent from the house of David… but we are told that Herod destroyed the public registers: he, being an Idumean, was jealous of the noble origin of the Jews: and that none might be able to reproach him with his descent, he ordered the genealogical tables which were kept among the archives in the temple to be burnt. See Euseb. H, E. lib. i. cap. 8." A. C. 1830 VI 555

“8. We know that the Law is good for those who live according to her rules.”

*“In both synagogue and church the law had the status of revelation and therefore a priori had to be had to be held to as “holy and just and good” (Rom. 7:12, 16). In the Christian experience of redemption, however, ‘the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law … the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 3:21-22). This problem of dualism the church wisely did not solve by rejecting the old revelation outright, nor yet by insisting on full literal obedience to it. It labored rather with principles of discrimination and reinterpretation. The rejection of the food laws and circumcision by liberal or Gentile Christians constituted virtual abandonment of the law in the eyes of Jews and of many Jewish Christians. This, together with insistence that no man could be saved by works of the law, could only make the church appear to be acting in cavalier fashion with regard to the divine revelation, to be picking and choosing, and professing only a hypocritical faith in scripture…” TIB 1955 XI p. 386

"9. This we know, that law is not designated for the righteous man, but is intended for the licentious and the rebellious, for the wicked and sinning, for the filthy and abominable , for patricides and matricides and for murderers,

10. for fornicators and for men bedders [‘Αρσενοχοιταις’ [arsenokhoitais] ‘from αρσην’ [arsen] ‘and χοιτη’ [khoite] ‘a bed’ , for kidnappers and liars and false swearers, for all who oppose sound doctrine.”

*“Christianity is not here a spirit religion; it is a settled established body of teaching. Christianity has become for the writer a new law and a religion of obedience. Nothing could be more un-Pauline.” TIB 1955 XI p. 38

“15. The word is trustworthy and deserving of complete agreement that the anointed Jesus came to the world to save sinners, of whom I was chief.”

*“The language is certainly not that of Paul, who nowhere speaks of Jesus as ‘coming into the world’. Nor does the expression to save sinners occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The general idea is common enough on the lips of Jesus (Mar 2:17, Luke 5:32, 19:10), although Jesus does not say he came to save sinners, but to call sinners to repentance. That Jesus came into the world is the language of John (5:43; 7:28; 8:20; 9:39; 10:10; etc.) TIB 1955 XI p. 391

“16. And because of that I was pitied, so that in me Jesus the Anointed showed the whole breadth of his spirit, like a model for those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17. To the King of ages, whose existence is unending and unseen, who alone is God; to him is the honor and glory for the ages of ages. Amen.”

*“The idea of the ages goes back ultimately to the Babylonian idea of world periods of thousand year cycles, which in the heavenly order corresponded to our earthly year” TIB 1955 XI p. 392

“19. … There are those who have put away these things from themselves; their ship of belief is broken.

20. Of these are Hymaneous and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan, that they be taught not to blaspheme.”

*“… what this sort of punishment was, no man now living knows. There is nothing of the kind referred to in the Jewish writings. It seems to have been something done by mere apostolical authority, under the direction of the Spirit of God.

:“Hymeneus, it appears denied the resurrection; see 2 Tim. ii. 17, 18. But whether this Alexander be the same with Alexander the coppersmith, 2 Tim. iv. 13 or the Alexander, Acts xix. 33. cannot be determined.” A.C. 1830 VI p. 560

Chapter Two

“1. First of all I ask that you carry supplications and prayers and requests and praises on behalf of all men - 2. for kings and all heads of government - that we live serenely and quietly in full piety and good behavior.”

* “We should not suppose that the continuation of the Jewish practice of prayer and sacrifice for heathen rulers (see Jer. [Jeremiah] 36:7; Baruch 1:10-13; I Macc. [Maccabes] 7:33) would be maintained by the church as a matter of course. Christianity had come into widespread conflict with the emperor cult. The book of Revelation shows with what horror the empire and its rulers were viewed in some circles in the church.” TIB 1955 XI p. 397

“3. This word is good and acceptable in the eyes of God our savior,

4. who desires that all men be saved and arrive at knowledge of the truth.”

* The gospel is the word of the Lord and, as is the case with any sovereign proclamation, is to be obeyed upon being heard.

“5. Just as there is one God, there is one mediator between God and men – the Αnointed man Jesus” [ανθρωπος Χριστος Ιησους – anthropos Khristos Iesous] .”

*“In ascribing this function” [mediator] “solely to him,” [Jesus] “the text excludes Jewish and Gnostic mediators, whether Moses or the law, high priest or angel, or any ‘aeon’ …” TIB 1955 XI p. 400

“9. … women, cover yourselves with appropriate clothing, in modesty and restraint; not with coquettish hair, not with gold and pearls, and not with expensive clothes.”

*“A more modest and becoming dress than the Grecian, was never invented: it was, in a great measure, revived in England, about the year 1805; and in it, simplicity, decency, and elegance, were united; but it soon gave place to another mode, in which frippery and nonsense once more prevailed. It was too rational to last long; and too much like religious simplicity to be suffered in a land of shadows, and a world of painted outsides…." A.C. 1830 VI p. 563

“11. Woman, learn in silence, in complete submission.”

* What provoked this reversion from Paul’s revelation, in Galatians, that in Christ Jesus there is no male or female, to this banal legalism? Had the women, having been led to expect an imminent end of the world, begun to abandon their “wifely duties”?

“12. I do not permit a woman to teach, nor to reign over a man, but to remain in silence.”

*“This was prohibited by the Roman laws

**‘In our laws, the condition of women is, in many respects, worse than that of men.’ (l. 9. Pap. Lib. 31. Quæst.): ‘women are precluded from all public offices; therefore, they cannot be judges, nor execute the function of magistrates; they cannot sue, plead, nor act in any case as proxies.’ l. 2. De Reg. Juris. Ulp. Lib. I. Ad. Sab. Vid Poth. Pand. Justin. vol. i. p. 13

*“It was lawful for men in public assemblies, to ask questions, or even interrupt the speaker, when there was any matter in his speech which they did not understand; but this liberty was not grated to women.” A. C. 1830 VI p. 564

*“But the author is clearly concerned about the conduct of women, for some of them seem to have exercised a teaching and preaching role (see I Tim 5:13). Women in the Pauline churches held responsible positions (e.g., Phoebe [Rom 16:1-2] , Prisca [Rom 16:3; I Cor 16:19] Junis [? Rom 16:7] ) and are depicted as preaching (ICor 11:5) and teaching (Acts 18:26…)” TNJBC 1990 p. 897

“14. Adam was not deceived; the woman listened to the voice of the seducer, and came into the hands of transgression.”

*“Paul himself prefers to assign blame to Adam (as a counterpart to Christ – see Rom [Romans] 5:12-21; I Cor [Corinthians] 15: 45-49…)” TNJBC 1990 p. 897

Chapter Three

“2. … the leader must be a blameless man, the husband of one wife …

*“It does not appear to have been any part of the apostle’s design to prohibit second marriages, of which some have made such a serious business. But it is natural for some men to tithe mint and cumin in religion, while they neglect the weightier matters of the law.” A. C. 1830 VI p. 566

“3. … not a master of fisticuffs …”

*“… not prone, as one wittily said, ‘To prove his doctrine orthodox By apostolic blows and knocks.’” A.C. 1830 VI p. 567

“8. So also the servants [διαχονος – diakhonos – deacons] need to be serious men, not fickle in their word, not given to wine, and not chasers after ill gotten gains,

9. rather men who hold the mystery of belief in pure conscience.

10. Test these first, and after it is found that that they are blameless they may serve as servants.

11. Likewise the women, they must be serious, refraining from gossip [Μη διαβολους, Me diabolous, literally, not devils] , sober, and faithful in everything.”

*“Whatever is spoken here becomes women in general; but if the apostle had those termed deaconesses in his eye, which is quite possible, the words are peculiarly suitable to them. That there was such an order in the apostolic and primitive church, and that they were appointed to their office by the imposition of hands, has already been noticed on Rom. xvi. 1. Possibly, therefore, the apostle may have had this order of deaconesses in view, to whom it was necessary to give counsels and cautions, as to the deacons themselves: and to prescribe their qualifications, lest improper persons should insinuate themselves into that office.” A.C. 1830 VI pp. 568-569

Chapter Four

“10. …our hope is in the living God who is the savior of all men, especially of the believers.”

*“One of the strongest biblical affirmations of God’s universal salvic will. Believers enjoy a special, but not unique, claim. See Titus 2:11, 3:2, 8; I Tim 2:1, 4.” TNJBC 1990 p. 898

“12. Let no one despise your youth, and always be an example to believers in word, in behavior, in love, in faith, and in purity.”

*“‘Converse sparingly with women, and especially with young women’, was the advice of a very holy and experienced minister of Christ.” A.C. 1830 VI p. 575

“14. Do not neglect the gift [χαρισμα – kharisma] that is in you, that was given you by prophecy, by the elders of the assembly laying on hands.”

*“The use of gift (charisma) to apply to an office shows a virtual displacement of the ecstatic element in the word … in the Pastorals the spirit is virtually ‘quenched.’” TIB 1955 XI p. 433

:But the mystery remains.

Chapter Five

“1. Do not rebuke an elder, rather beseech him as a son turns to his father. Turn to the young as to brothers,

2. to the older women as to mothers, and to the young women as to sisters, in complete purity.”

*“The parallel with Plato is striking: ‘He (the Guardian) must regard everyone who he meets as brother or sister, or father or mother, son or daughter, grandchild or grandparent.’ (Republic V. 463c).” TIB 1955 XI p. 434

“14. … it is my desire that the … young women marry, have children, manage the household, and not give the adversary any argument for reproach.”

*Whatever conventions were to be observed outside the household, within it the woman was mistress.

*“The position here adopted is different from that of Paul in I Cor. vii. 25 f. Although Paul does not forbid marriage, he holds that it is better for the unmarried to remain so, in view of the great crisis which is imminent. When the Pastorals were written, the hope of the Parousia had failed; Christians are now advised to adapt themselves to ordinary conditions and to provide for the continuance of the Church as part of the present order.” TIB 1955 XI p. 439

Chapter Six

“1. All found under the yoke of slavery, think your lords worthy of all honor, that neither the name of God nor our doctrine be rebuked.

2. And those whose lords are believers, do not disrespect them because they are brothers in faith, rather worship them because the beneficiaries of your good service are believers and beloved.”

*“‘In the church there are only brothers; in the world there are masters and slaves, rich and poor’ … Gabalda, 1927” TIB XI p. 498

“3. There is a man who teaches a different law, and does not agree to the wholesome words of our lord Jesus the Anointed and to law that is conformable to piety,

4. so pride overcomes his thinking and he doesn’t know anything, and he becomes mastered by morbid curiosity and disputes that produce envy, quarreling, blasphemies, wicked suspicions …

*“Most controversialists have succeeded in getting their own tempers soured, and in irritating their opponents. Indeed, truth seems rarely to be the object of their pursuit; they labour to accredit their own party by abusing and defaming others; from generals, they often descend to particulars; and then, personal abuse is the order of the day.” A.C. VI pp. 584-585

5. … in their eyes the purpose of the pious life is to acquire profit.”

*“It appears that there were teachers of a different kind in the church, a sort of religious levelers, who preached that the converted servant had as much right to the master’s service, as the master had to his.” A.C. VI p. 584

“6. And truly, fully pious lives, self contentment, are great gain.”

*“The risks to the soul involved in its [material wealth] accumulation are too great to warrant the venture. This point of view is that of Jesus, is broadly Christian and Stoic, and indeed is widespread in the history of religion…

*“What religion does at its best is to create within man self-mastery or self–sufficiency which is incongruous with the desire for wealth. To the godly man wealth is unnecessary; he has no desire for it; he is content with what he has.” TIB 1955 XI p. 450

“7. Behold, we brought nothing with us into the world, and it is known that we cannot anything away from it.

8. And when we have food and clothes, let us be satisfied with them.”

*“There are some sayings in Seneca, which are almost verbatim with this of St. Paul. Nemo nascitur dives; quispuis exit in lucem jussus est acte et panno esse contetus, Epist. xx. ‘No man is born rich; everyone that comes into the world is commanded to be content with food and raiment.’ … ‘Nature, in returning, shakes off all incumbrances as in entering; thou canst not carry back more than thou broughtest in.’ Seneca and St. Paul were contemporary; but all the Greek and Latin poets, and especially the stoic philosophers, are full of such sentiments.” A.C. 1830 VI p. 585

"9. But those who aspire to be rich are taken into temptation and snares and in many foolish and harmful lusts which reduce the man to destruction and ruin.”

*“‘In itself “desire” is morally neutral and becomes good or evil only because of the motive (usually discernible in the object desired) … But in Stoicism, with its ideal of “apathy” and complete self-sufficiency, the four emotions “desire, pleasure, grief, fear” became cardinal faults against which relentless war must be waged.’ (Easton, Pastoral Epistles, pp. 186-187).” TIB 1955 XI p. 451

“10. Is not the love of money the root of all the evils?” …

*“… it cannot be true that the love of money is the root of all evil: it certainly was not the root whence the transgression of Adam sprang…” A.C. 1830 VI p. 586

“13. … I command you

14. to observe the commandment in purity and without blemish until the appearance of our lord Jesus the Anointed,

15. who in his time will be revealed, the blessed, the ony soverign, king of kings, and lord of lords.”

*“The commandment which Timothy shall keep unstained and free from reproach … [and] ‘The faith’ … here are synonymous. In the Pastorals, the chief duty of the minister is to maintain the received (Pauline) Christian faith intact and to transmit it unaltered. …

*“When Christ appears, there will be a reckoning: ‘Timothy’ will then be judged as to his faithfulness. The assumption is that he will live until Christ returns, although the immediacy of the appearing is not emphasized. The word appearing (επιφανεια – epifaneia) occurs in II Thess. 2:8 but otherwise only in the Pastorals… The older Jewish-Christian word for the apocalyptic appearing, ‘parousia,’ ‘presence,’ occurs in the N.T. with an apocalyptic meaning seven times in Paul, ten times elsewhere; in a nonapocalyptic sense, seven times in Paul, but nowhere else in the N.T. That our writer should have replaced it with επιφανεια indicates how far he has moved from the apocalyptic point of view. …

*“Although the church generally continued to maintain belief in the (re-)appearing of “Christ, as the years passed it became quietly adjusted to the delay. The ‘appearing’ will surely happen; yet there is no need to get excited about it. It will take place at the proper time, i.e., in God’s own time. The author’s mind is essentially nonapocalyptic. For him the church is being organized and established, not to wait, but to work.” TIB 1955 XI pp. 454-455

ee also

* Second Epistle to Timothy


External links

* [ First Timothy texts and resources]

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