1 Timothy

Authorship and Audience

This letter was written by the Apostle Paul (1:1) to Timothy (1:2) who had been left in Ephesus to correct false teaching in the Church (1:3-7).

Date and Context

The events described in this book do not overlap with any of those mentioned in the book of Acts which leads scholars to believe one of two things. Either Paul did not write the book (and the book was likely not written during Paul's lifetime), or Paul wrote this letter after the events recorded in the book of Acts. I believe the latter view is more likely as Paul himself hints that he will be released from prison in Philippians 1:25-26 and 2:24 as well as Philemon 22. Thus, this letter was likely written after Paul was released from his first, Roman imprisonment around 63-64 AD.


  • Instructions for leaders/teachers. As this book was written to a young leader/teacher in the early Church, this book is helpful in providing instructions for young leaders. While we must remember the author, audience, and context in which this book was written, it is appropriate to note that even teachers today can glean from this instructive and personal letter.
  • Right conduct in the church. As noted in point III of the outline below, Paul spends over two chapters (1 Timothy 2 - 4:5) discussing "how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God" (1 Timothy 3:15). This is a central theme that underlies most of the general teaching Paul provides and the specific instructions given to Timothy later in the book.


0. Greeting [1:1-2]

I. Introduction: God's Glory Shown Through His Mercy and Grace [1:3-17]

II. Timothy's Mission [1:18-20]

III. Right Conduct in the Church [2 - 4:5]

A. Quiet, Prayerful Lives [2]

B. Elders [3:1-7]

C. Deacons [3:8-13]

D. The Need to Teach These Things [3:14 - 4:5]

IV. Instructions for Timothy (as a Teacher) [4:6 - 6:19]

A. Be Disciplined [4:6-16]

B. Honor the Elderly/Widows [5:1-16]

C. Honor Elders [5:17-22]

D. Misc. Instructions [5:23-25]

E. Instructions for Slaves [6:1-2]

F. Things to Flee [6:3-10]

G. Things to Pursue [6:11-16]

H. Instructions for the Rich [6:17-19]

V. Closing [6:20-21]


  • 1 Timothy is one of three books that make up the "Pastoral Epistles" (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus) which were written by Paul to Timothy and Titus who were pastors at Ephesus and Crete respectively.
  • As noted by many critics of the book, the pastoral epistles contain different language from many of Paul's other letters. Some go so far as to say that this disproves Pauline authorship, but this is founded in the invalid assumption that an author must (and can only) use the same words and constructs throughout everything he/she writes regardless of the audience and genre of the written work. In other words, it is perfectly reasonable to that Paul would write differently in a personal letter later in his life than in a letter to an entire church early in his life (e.g. Galatians).
  • It is very evident from this letter how well Paul knew Timothy. Verses like 1:18, 5:23, and 6:20 are reminders of the close relationship they shared.
  • 1 Timothy 5:18 is particularly interesting as Paul quotes Luke 10:7 along side of Deuteronomy 25:4 as "scripture". In this way, Paul affirms that Luke's gospel account should be recognized as scripture and is worthy of being used with the Old Testament scriptures. Paul makes similar references to Luke's gospel in 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 (see the notes on 1 Corinthians for more details).

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