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Summary of 1 Timothy

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Author: Paul

Audience: Timothy

Subjects: Sinning is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Women should dress modestly, Qualifications for leadership, Be godly, etc.

Chapters: 6

Summary of 1 Timothy 1

Paul introduces himself to Timothy, noting that Timothy is in Ephesus for the purpose of instructing believers the correct gospel.

Paul explains that the issues that have arisen in Ephesus are people sinning (1 Timothy 1:9-11), as well as people focusing on myths and speculations instead of focusing on obeying God (1 Timothy 1:4-8; Paul makes the connection between the speculators wanting to be teachers of the law and then he explains that they need to understand that they misunderstand the purpose of the law, which is for sinners, essentially saying that their sinning is contrary to the law).

Paul makes it very clear in 1 Timothy 1:9-11 that sinning is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and that anyone who teaches that sinning is acceptable is a false teacher who opposes Christianity and God's message of salvation through faith and "repentance."

As Paul says in Romans 2:4 "Do you not realize that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?"

Paul then recounts how he was disobedient in his ignorance, persecuting God. However, God was merciful on him, revealing to him the truth of God's salvation through Jesus Christ, so that he might have the option to repent of his evil and obey God (Recorded in Acts 9).

For this reason, Paul says, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost." (1 Timothy 1:15) Paul is not saying that he sins now, but that he was a major sinner by persecuting Christians.

Paul then says "among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have turned over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme." (1 Timothy 1:20)

Paul speaks of this subject elsewhere, in Romans 1:24 as well as 1 Corinthians 5:5. In context, Paul is speaking of excommunication and telling his audience not to try to prevent their sinful behavior so that they will experience the natural consequence of their sin, which may lead them to repent.

Summary of 1 Timothy 2

Paul says to pray for rulers, so that they might not persecute Christians. Paul also says how Christians should behave, saying that men should not be angry and that women should dress modestly.

Cultural Specific Recommendations on Modesty

Paul is dealing with a specific culture in a specific time in history. The specifics that Paul includes on modesty are culturally specific.

The main point that Paul is making is that women should dress modestly, which will depend on each culture: should women be completely clothed revealing only their eyes, or should they wear skirts, or should they wear pants, or should they wear shorts, etc.?

No one way is necessarily right or wrong; it just depends on the culture. Having your hair braided is considered modest in many cultures, whereas in Paul's culture it was not.

Paul also speaks of whether or not a woman can teach, which is also culture specific. In Paul's culture, a woman teaching would likely never happen under normal circumstances. In some cultures, it is perfectly acceptable for women to teach any number of subjects.

Even while Paul is giving these recommendations to Timothy, for the church in Ephesus, he also says in Galatians 3:28 "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

However, Paul still has to deal with the culture he is in, which is why he gives recommendations in his letters for women not teaching or for how masters should treat slaves (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1) even though he clearly opposes slavery (Philemon).

Also as evidence that this is just a recommendation for a specific cultural atmosphere, the letter of 2 John is addressed to a female elder, who was clearly in a leadership position (the letter was written to her and "her children" would be a reference to those under her spiritual care just as Paul refers to those who he taught as his children, example: 1 Corinthians 4:14-15).

Summary of 1 Timothy 3

Paul then speaks of leadership in the church, giving stipulations to follow in determining who is worthy of certain positions of leadership.

As also seen in the letter of 2 Peter, there were issues with people being in leadership positions who were clearly not Christians based on their behavior. Therefore, Paul is giving a list of behavior that a person must fulfill in order to fill certain positions of leadership in the church.

Summary of 1 Timothy 4

Paul then clarifies that those who teach the forbidding of marriage or abstaining from certain foods are teaching a false gospel. He tells Timothy to "Have nothing to do with profane myths and old wives' tales. Train yourself in godliness." (1 Timothy 4:7)

Paul gives Timothy some additional instructions as he is beginning to end his letter.

Summary of 1 Timothy 5

Paul continues with some instructions, saying how to respond to those who are older. He also gives qualifications for widows receiving aid from the church.

Paul then speaks of elders of the church who teach, saying that it is right for them to receive financial support from the church. He says that accusations should not be taken seriously unless at least two or three witnesses agree.

Speaking of those who are in leadership, Paul says, "As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest also may stand in fear." (1 Timothy 5:20) Paul's point in rebuking leadership in public is for the sake of the other Christians, so that they "may stand in fear" in order to not be caught up in sin themselves.

Paul plainly tells Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:22 to not sin and to stay pure. Paul also tells Timothy to drink alcohol for health reasons, which it appears he was not doing for the sake of others with a weak conscious.

Paul discusses this subject of food and drink in Romans 14; Paul says in Romans 14:17 "For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

Summary of 1 Timothy 6

Paul then teaches on how slaves should behave towards their masters, and he makes his point clear that the reason why he gives this teaching is "so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed." (1 Timothy 6:1)

Paul gives a similar teaching in Romans 13, essentially saying we should obey rulers so we are not perceived as wrongdoers, thus hindering the witness of the gospel. Peter likewise speaks of this subject in 1 Peter 2.

Paul then speaks of being content and warns against the dangers of greed.

He tells Timothy to shun greed and "pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness." (1 Timothy 6:11) Paul makes his stance very clear on the fact that Christians don't sin in 1 Timothy 6:13-14, when he says, "I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Concluding Summary of 1 Timothy

Paul writes this letter to Timothy, who used to travel with him during many of his journeys. Timothy is referenced in many of Paul's previous letters.

Now Timothy is in Ephesus in order to make sure they stay true to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to avoid them becoming confused and believing in false teachings.

The main subjects that Paul covers in 1 Timothy are: Sinning is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Women should dress modestly, Qualifications for Leadership, Be godly, etc.

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