SOURCE FOR QUESTIONS
1 Timothy 1:1 through 6:21
KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1Timothy 4:12)
Paul’s first epistle to Timothy is thought to have been written about A.D. 64, during the last few years of Paul’s life. It is referred to as a “pastoral epistle,” as are 2 Timothy and Titus. Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father, and wrote to encourage and instruct him in practical subjects such as doctrine, public worship, qualifications for Church officials, and confrontation of false teaching in the Church. He also instructed Timothy concerning the treatment of widows, elders, and servants.
Timothy was the youngest member of the only three-generation family of believers mentioned in the New Testament. He was a young man when he joined Paul in the city of Lystra in Galatia (Acts 16:1-4), on the Apostle’s second missionary journey. His father was a Greek and his mother, Eunice, was a Jew. Paul took Timothy with him on his third missionary trip, spending three years with him in Ephesus and the surrounding areas (Acts 18:23 — 21:14). After Paul’s trip to Jerusalem for the Passover, he was sent to prison in Rome (Acts 21:18 — 28:31). Timothy was present with Paul in Rome when Paul wrote three of his prison letters: Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
After Paul’s release from his first imprisonment, he and Timothy visited the churches in Ephesus. Paul eventually left for Macedonia while Timothy stayed to minister in Ephesus. It was during this time that Paul wrote this letter to Timothy.
Ephesus was a strategic center of travel and commerce. Situated on the Aegean Sea at the mouth of the Cayster River, the city was one of the greatest seaports of the ancient world. It was distinguished by the Temple of Diana and a theatre that could hold fifty thousand spectators. Many Jews lived there and the seeds of the Gospel are thought to have been sown in Ephesus immediately after Pentecost.
SUGGESTED RESPONSES TO QUESTIONS
- Paul had a spiritual father/son relationship with Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2, 18). How can we benefit from the example that Paul demonstrated?
The relationship between Paul and Timothy offers us an example of Christian mentorship. Mentorship is a source of blessing and encouragement to both the student and the teacher. Have the class make a list of how both sides benefit from the process. By heeding his mentor’s advice, the mentored has the opportunity to deepen his relationship with the Lord and avoid some “tough” lessons. The mentor is blessed to watch the spiritual growth and maturing of a less-experienced Christian.
- Why did Paul consider himself to have been “chief” among sinners? 1 Timothy 1:13-15
In some respects, Paul had been a terrible sinner. He had been a blasphemer and had persecuted the Church. Paul did not try to excuse his past. Even though he had extraordinary credentials as a missionary to the Gentiles, he was always mindful of the mercy God had shown him. He clearly felt that if God could save him, He could save anyone.
Ask your students to identify the three sinful areas that Paul mentioned regarding his past (blasphemer, persecutor, and injurious). Lead the class to understand that ignorance does not excuse sinful practice.
- In Chapter 2, verses 1 and 2, Paul exhorted Timothy to pray for all men, including government officials. What is our responsibility today concerning our government officials?
Our responsibility is the same. It should be noted that Paul was being persecuted by the Roman government and would eventually be executed in Rome during Nero’s reign. Still, Paul did not seek to undermine government authority. He submitted himself to it and trusted that God was ultimately in control.
Ask the class to identify ways to avoid becoming bitter or critical of governmental officials and authorities, and ways to show respect for them and the office they represent. Point out our responsibility to do our part by voting and by praying.
- In Chapter 3, Paul listed qualifications for two church “offices,” or leadership roles. What were these roles? Why do you think Paul felt it necessary to list the qualifications for those who held these roles?
The two offices were bishops and deacons. The Greek word for bishop is episkopế, which means “one who oversees a Christian church.” In our day, this would be similar to a pastor or district leader. The Greek word for deacon is diákonos, which means “one who serves or ministers.” This could be similar to a lay minister, or one who serves as a key Gospel worker.
Paul emphasized the importance of godly qualifications for those who served in the church because he understood the necessity of having a “good report” in order to maintain the integrity of the Gospel. Have your class identify spiritual qualifications for serving in the Gospel work today. Lead them to recognize that the true qualifications have never changed. All Christians should have these characteristics, so they can be lights in a darkened world and effectively participate in the work of the Lord.
- Paul stated in chapter 4 verse 8 that “bodily exercise profiteth little.” What point do you think he was making with this phrase? What did he say profits in all things? 1 Timothy 4:7-16
Your class should understand that Paul was not belittling physical well-being. Certainly, a healthy and vigorous physical body is an asset in service to God. Paul said that godliness is profitable in all things. He was pointing out that one’s greatest concern in life ought to be the health and well-being of the inner man.
Ask your students to list the benefits of physical exercise. Does it guarantee a better life? Perfect health? Longevity? Lead the class to understand that while there may be some benefits, there are no guarantees. The most a person could hope to receive would be good health and a long life.
Contrast this by asking your students to list the benefits of exercising godliness. Thoughts brought out could include: the blessing of God on our lives here, the promise of His presence continually with us, and most important of all, the guarantee of Heaven.
Your students should conclude that eternal life outweighs any consideration of the present life. However, you could bring out that some studies indicate that people who attend church on a regular basis live longer, healthier lives.(1),(2)
- How are we to treat the “elders,” or senior members, of the church? 1 Timothy 5:1-3, 17-19
They are to be treated with honor and respect. Have your students list ways that younger church members can demonstrate these attitudes. This may be an opportunity to develop ideas for future events and visitation activities. Challenge the students to develop a list of ideas and how they can be implemented both individually and as an organized group. As an activity, you could bring notecards for the class to sign and mail to shut-in members.
- Paraphrase 1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” What does “contentment” add to this inspired verse?
Ask students for their paraphrases of this Scripture. Clearly, godliness alone would be great gain. Help the class to recognize the importance of being content with the circumstances and life that God gives us. The gain is peace of mind and confidence in our relationship with God.
Have the class consider the possible consequences of not being content as we attempt to live godly lives. They should conclude that a lack of contentment would expose worldly ambitions and/or wrong motives for our Christian service, or a lack of trust that God knows what is best for us.
- What is the root of all evil? 1 Timothy 6:10
The love of money is the root of all evil. You may want to emphasize to your class that it is not money that is evil, but the love of it. Ask the students to list how evil is manifested in the world today. Some suggestions may be crime, drugs, terrorism, and ungodly living. Then have them explain how the love of money, or greed, is the root of many of these activities.
Ask your class if the love of money can affect Christians. What might be some indicators of this? How can we guard against being caught in the trap of a love for money?
- Paul reiterated the “good profession” and godly witness, or testimony, that Timothy had demonstrated and lived before his fellow man. Then he encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight of faith.” How can we do this today? 1 Timothy 6:11-14
Ask your students to give examples of how they can demonstrate their faith on a daily basis. Some responses may be: praying over their meals at school or on the job, sharing their testimonies with other students or co-workers, and showing a pattern of godliness in their actions and conversations.
Paul’s first letter to Timothy was a charge to all Christians to be living testimonies of God’s life-changing power in the world today.
1. Elizabeth Day, “The Secret of Long Life . . . Go to Church,” Telegraph, December 26, 2004, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/12/26/nchurch26.xml> 7 April 2008.
2. <http://www.healthandage.com/html/min/gentle_endings/web/churchgoers.htm> 7 April 2008.