Monday, September 3, 2012

1 Timothy 1:1-2

Background on the book of 1Timothy:  This is a letter written from the Apostle Paul to Timothy.  Remember that Timothy was a young man from Lystra who was inspired enough by Paul to follow him throughout much of his religious journeying.  When Paul helped to found the church in Ephesus, he left Timothy in charge when he moved on in order to plant more churches and make more disciples of Jesus Christ.  Timothy’s job in Ephesus was to continue to teach the people in Ephesus, to guard against many of the false teachers who were following behind Paul and corrupting the work of the church, and be an example of the model life.

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul introduces himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  He reminds Timothy that he is an apostle at the command of God.  He also reminds Timothy that God is our savior and our hope.  Paul then addresses Timothy and calls him his genuine child in the faith.  As usual, he then opens his letter with a wish of grace, mercy, and peace from God. 

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul calls himself an apostle.  In other letters he has called himself a prisoner or a servant or even a slave.  Paul usually identifies himself in such a way as to make a connection with the person to whom he is writing.  Timothy is also an apostle of God and is going about God’s work in Ephesus.  In many ways, this way of identifying himself as an apostle is to help remind Timothy of the common connection that already exists between them.  Perhaps even more importantly, though, Paul is clear that their mission is from God.  They are apostles of God – at His command, even!  This means that God sets the agenda.

Is it important to feel like we have something in common with our spiritual mentors?  How does commonality help create genuine fellowship and a spiritual bond?  What do you have in common with your spiritual mentors?

Second Thought:
Paul calls Timothy a “true child.”  Another way of translating this phrase would be “genuine offspring.”  Now, of course Paul is not Timothy’s birth father.  We know Timothy’s birth father was a Greek who likely never accepted Christianity.  However, this does not mean that Paul and Timothy are not bonded together.  They have a spiritual connection.  In fact, it was at Paul’s feet that Timothy learned about Jesus Christ.  It was through Paul’s example that Timothy found Paul’s single-minded devotion to the work of God.  Paul may not have been Timothy’s birth father, but where it counts the most – the spiritual and eternal – Paul was very much Timothy’s mentor.  He was Timothy’s “spiritual father” if you will.  {Of course, remember a few days ago when we studied Philemon that we talked about how we are not to confuse this kind of relationship with the one true Father who is in heaven.  Perhaps the best thing to do would be to call Paul “Timothy’s Pater” so that we do not confuse the two.}

Do you think it comforted Timothy to know that Paul considered him as his own child?  Why might this bring comfort to Timothy?  Who are the people in your life who consider you their spiritual children?

Third Thought:
As always, Paul opens his letter with a brief expression of grace, mercy, and peace from God.  These are all three words that have pleasant thoughts connected to them.  The idea of grace brings about a reminder that we need not be perfect, simply willing to follow God.  Mercy brings about a feeling of knowing that even if we mess up, God will be there to forgive us and help us pick up the pieces.  Peace brings about a feeling that everything will eventually be okay.

Why might these three concepts bring comfort to Timothy – who is young and has been left in charge of the church in Ephesus?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 1:3-5
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