1 Timothy

Introduction to the Book of 1 Timothy

Book of 1 Timothy
Design Pics / Don Hammond

The book of 1 Timothy provides a unique yardstick for churches to measure their conduct, as well as identifying traits of committed Christians.

The Apostle Paul, an experienced preacher, gave guidelines in this pastoral letter to his young protege Timothy for the church in Ephesus.  While Paul had complete trust in Timothy ("my true son in the faith," 1 Timothy 1:2, NIV), he warned against sinister developments in the Ephesian church that had to be dealt with.

One problem was false teachers.  Paul commanded proper understanding of the law and also warned against false asceticism, perhaps an influence of early Gnosticism.

Another problem at Ephesus was the behavior of church leaders and members. Paul taught that salvation was not earned by good works, but rather that godly character and good works were the fruits of a grace-saved Christian.

Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy are especially relevant to today's churches, in which size is often among the factors used to determine a church's success. Paul cautioned all pastors and church leaders to behave with humility, high morals, and indifference to riches. He spelled out requirements for overseers and deacons in 1 Timothy 3:2-12.

Further, Paul repeated that churches must teach the true gospel of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from human effort. He closed the letter with personal encouragement to Timothy to "fight the good fight of the faith." (1 Timothy 6:12, NIV)  

Author of 1 Timothy

The Apostle Paul.

Date Written:

About 64 A.D.

Written To:

The church leader Timothy, all future pastors and believers.

Landscape of 1 Timothy


Themes in the Book of 1 Timothy

Two scholarly camps exist on the major theme of 1 Timothy. The first says instructions on church order and pastoral responsibilities is the message of the letter. The second camp insists the book's true aim is to prove that the authentic gospel produces godly results in the lives of those who follow it.

Key Characters in 1 Timothy

Paul and Timothy.

Key Verses

1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. (NIV)

1 Timothy 4:12
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (NIV)

1 Timothy 6:10-11
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. (NIV)

Outline of the Book of 1 Timothy

  • The importance of believing right (1:1-20)
  • How church members should worship and behave (2:1-3:16)
  • How church leaders should behave (4:1-6:21)

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for About.com, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.