1st Timothy: Leadership Manual

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1st Timothy
Leadership Manual

False doctrine, Proper worship, Leader's Instructions, False teachers, Duties to others, Proper motives.

Background: Paul wrote to Timothy (in Ephesus) from Macedonia around 62-63 AD
Theme: A leadership manual for Timothy
Outline: False Doctrine, Proper Worship, Instructions to Leaders, False Teachers, Duties to Others, and Proper Motives
Key Verse: "If I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Tim 3:15, NIV)

First Timothy Chapter Index


Chapter 1: False Doctrine

Chapter 1 - Summary

Chapter 1 - Notes

1:2 "To Timothy my true son in the faith," provides an example of discipleship. Paul considers Timothy his spiritual son, and the two letters to Timothy provide guidance for a young man in the ministry. The letters will deal with Timothy maturing as a servant of the Lord and the particular problems in Ephesus. These topics are very relevant today.

Chapter 1 - Questions

Chapter 2: Proper Worship

2:1-4 "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- (2) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (3) This is good, and pleases God our Savior, (4) who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." We are clearly told what to pray for. Even if we disagree with our government on particular issues, of if we voted for the losing candidate, we are to pray for those in power. The purpose of these prayers is not for our own enrichment, but for the sake a peace which allows us to live godly and holy lives, spreading the truth of the Gospel. God's desire for all men to be saved is also clear. God does permit people to go their own way and reject Jesus, but God wants all people to receive Jesus and be saved! His way of carrying this out is by Christians praying, rulers maintaining a peace which allows the truth to be proclaimed, and Christians proclaiming the message.

2:8 Fighting is done with the hands used for grappling, as fists, or to hold and manipulate weapons. It is difficult to imagine men fighting without using their hands in either ancient or modern times. It is a fitting picture of peace that we are told to lift our hands up to the Lord without anger or disputing.

2:15 One common, but wrong, interpretation is that a woman is saved by means of (by) bearing children. This is taught among certain cults, and I only mention it to alert you to the possible misinterpretation. To correctly understand this verse, we must remember the sin in Genesis, where pain in childbirth is part of the curse on the woman resulting from sin. So ... the faithful woman is kept and assisted through childbirth, she is not saved by having children, but the curse on this childbearing is mitigated.

Chapter 3: Instructions to Leaders

3:2  It is best to emphasize the clear and agreed upon aspects of this qualification, that the man is faithful and loyal to his wife. In other words, he is neither polygamous nor promiscuous. My personal opinion is that divorce, by itself, does not permanently disqualify a man from serving. But if a man is divorced, I would look for evidence that his current marriage or state of singleness is stable and mature. For instance, has he demonstrated loyalty and devotion to his current wife? Do they have a healthy marriage (with some amount of time having passed to demonstrate this)? If single, has he demonstrated a healthy and celibate lifestyle? Do matters from his divorce remain unsettled, such as problems with children or attitudes of resentment? I believe the current character of the man is what is to be examined.

Chapter 4: False Teachers

Chapter 5: Duties to Others

5:17 BKC: I disagree with the commentary here. The text does not specify that all elders received a stipend and I would expect more evidence to be cited to support this view. Honor is taken as being remuneration, but that limitation is not justified. I do agree that some (5:18) were paid and that we should not hesitate to take care of our leaders financially. Likewise, we do need to honor those who serve as elders (some of whom may be pastors and some are not).

5:4-5 BKC: It is one thing to be mistaken and in error. Many laymen perhaps have shallow understanding of deep doctrines. It is something else entirely to be in error (even through ignorance) when one claims to be a teacher. Taking on the role of a teacher brings higher responsibility along with the trust that goes with it.

Chapter 6: Proper Motives


New Testament Survey by Merrill Tenney: Highly recommend this book for a good background to the life of Jesus and the New Testament. The first half covers background, what the world was like under Roman rule and what the conditions of the Jews were. The second half gives background, outline, and introductions to each of the New Testament books (including Acts).

Bible Background Commentary (New Testament) by Craig S. Keener: Printed by InterVarsity Press, this is an excellent one-volume resource for understanding the customs and background (history, language, and geography) behind the verses of the New Testament. It is not an interpretation of the New Testament as are most commentaries, its purpose is to give background information. I highly recommend this to the serious student of Scripture, who already has a good grasp of the meaning and application of the New Testament.

Bible Knowledge Commentary (New Testament, Volume II) by the Staff of Dallas Theological Seminary: Admittedly a 'dispensational' interpretation, meaning that the authors take the book of Revelation very literally and teach that Jesus will take the Church out of the world before the 'Tribulation Period'. Although I do not agree totally with their opinions, I have found this to be a fair commentary, also explaining the views of others which the authors do not hold. If you use my notes you will receive some insight as to where the points of disagreement are. Highly recommended as the best short commentary on the market. I am easily in agreement with 98% of what this commentary teaches, and perhaps only our Lord knows if I am right about the other 2%.

1, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon by J. Vernon McGee : A popular paperback set written in a conversational tone. Explains and applys Acts in a devotional manner. Level of reading is High School and Adult.

I Timothy by John MacArthur : A balance between the devotional and conversational commentaries by McGee above and the more scholarly and academic Expositior's following. Appropriate for a mature reader at College reading level.

"1 Timothy", Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol 11, pp 341-390, by Ralph Earle: A scholarly commentary for advanced students and trained pastors, College and Graduate reading level. Deals with all major views of each passage of Scripture, along with notes on any textual and translation problems (notes on Greek text are perhaps useable by those without knowledge of that language, but intended for those with at least some familiarity with the language.)

Updated March 2012
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