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.” (1 Timothy 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.
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.