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Timothy of the New Testament

The First Epistle to Timothy is part of Pastoral Epistles, which include three pastoral letters: First Timothy, Second Timothy and Titus. All three letters are traditionally considered to be written by Saint Paul to his disciples Timothy and Titus.
Before describing the importance of First Timothy and rendering its essence, it is necessary to describe the personality of Timothy and his relations with the apostle Paul. Everything that is known about Timothy is learned from the New Testament. Paul met him either in Derbe or Lystra, where he was born, and by that time Timothy had already been converted to the Christian faith and had learned the Scriptures. Besides, Timothy was well known among other Christians in the neighborhood. Therefore, we can see that when Timothy met St Paul, he was a promising young man, who displayed his ability to influence other people and to advocate Christianity. There were several reasons that persuaded the apostle to make Timothy his disciple and to introduce him to the ministry. They were his young age, his knowledge of the Scriptures, his reputation in the Church together with his talent and certainly, his good nature and benevolence. Timothy accompanied Paul in his numerous trips to different cities, such as Mysia, Troas, Berea in Macedonia, Athens. Thus, Timothy learned much and could follow his mentor in the converting other people to Christianity and in the establishment of order in the church. Therefore, after several common journeys, Paul could easily rely upon Timothy.
It is considered that First Timothy was written by St Paul on his way from Ephesus to Macedonia. The town of Ephesus meant a lot for the apostle Paul as he contributed much to the establishment of the church there. He still had much to improve there and there were some errors to be corrected. However, he had to leave Ephesus because of the tumult caused by Demetrius (Acts 19:1). Paul did not want to leave the church in an unstable condition. Therefore, being unable to return to Ephesus soon, he wanted Timothy to finish his work and control the proper organization of the church there. Certainly, there is no clear evidence that the epistle was written in this time. There are different arguments for and against this supposition. On the one hand, judging by the plot of the epistle, it is quite explicable that Paul might have given such advice in case he wanted Timothy to finish something uncompleted by himself and the case with Ephesus is appropriate here (Barnes, 126). Besides, analyzing other possible periods of time when the epistle might have been written, there appear certain contradictions with the history. On the other hand, if we consider the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, it is possible to suppose that at the time when 1 Timothy was written, Timothy himself was with St Paul in Macedonia and then the former supposition of the date of the epistle seems doubtful (Towner, 212). Of course, nowadays it is impossible to restore the course of events, we might only assume different possibilities. Still the most widespread opinion is that the epistle was written during the apostle’s trip from Ephesus to Macedonia.
The state of the church in Ephesus required proper control, so the apostle gave necessary instructions to Timothy. The epistle comprises six chapters, in which St Paul outlines the main problems and the ways of dealing with them. When the apostle lived in Ephesus he had much opposition with the Jews there and with their attempts to impose the Jewish law with the help of Christianity and to dispute too much about the law. In the first chapter of the epistle, the apostle Paul warns Timothy about the Jews wish to use Christianity in order to achieve their selfish aims and instructs him to be guided by faith and patience in all his actions (1 Tim 1:18, 1:19). In the second chapter, the apostle draws Timothy’s attention to the status of women in the church. “Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. But I don’t permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man, but to be in quietness.” (1 Tim 2:11, 2:12). Much attention is paid to the categories of people that might be admitted to the church. Paul told his own opinion of the problem in the third chapter. In the fourth chapter, Paul warns Timothy against heretics and tells him to devote as much as possible to teaching and exercising of piety. “Until I come, pay attention to reading, to exhortation, and to teaching. Don’t neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the elders.” (1 Tim 4:13, 4:14). The issue of proper treatment of widows is regarded in the fifth chapter, also here the apostle returns to the problem of clergy and Timothy’s attitude to them. The sixth chapter is devoted to the duties of servants and to the possible danger of their revolt. Thus, in six chapters of the epistle the apostle describes the problems, existing at that time in Ephesus, and instructs Timothy how to behave and how to solve them.
It is evident that this epistle was very important for the development of Christian religion in general and in Ephesus in particular. Guided by it, Timothy managed to correct many errors and to strengthen the role of religion in people’s life. While Christianity acquired more and more power, the influence of idolatry became less. Besides, Timothy manages to control the proper organization of the church and soon he became known as the Bishop of Ephesus.
The First Epistle to Timothy occupies a significant place in the New Testament. It is devoted not only to particular instructions to Timothy, but first of all it inspires others to be patient and to be guided by their faith. The epistle comprises many wise thoughts, which can be useful in any situation in our life. In every epoch and in every land the significance of religion and of pure and unshakeable faith as well as the proper organization of the church is obvious.


Works Cited
Barnes, A. Barnes' Notes on the New Testament. Kregel Classics, 1962.
Towner Ph. H., Osborne G. R. 1-2 Timothy & Titus. InterVarsity Press, 1994.

 

 
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