THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO TIMOTHY
The letter is addressed to Timothy in Ephesus, from which the Apostle
Paul has departed for Macedonia. Paul plans to return, but he may be
delayed, so he sends instructions to Timothy and expects him to carry
them out while he is away. Much of the letter contrasts true and false
teachers and prescribes a specific church order. Although the letter is
addressed to Timothy, the author sometimes "talks past" him to a larger
community that is to hear certain exhortations. For example, all are to
honor elders who rule well, preach, and teach; and slaves are to obey
The First Letter to Timothy is significant for its emphases on the
goodness of God, the goodness of the creation, and living in the world
(rather than fleeing from it). It is strongly anti-gnostic (even if
Gnosticism was not fully developed when it was written). Its information
on the ordering of the church in its time and place, as well as its
teaching on order, have had major importance throughout church history.
The First Letter to Timothy is the fifteenth book in the New Testament.
Clustered with 2 Timothy and Titus (the other two "Pastoral Epistles"),
it stands near the end of the "Pauline corpus," the collection of
letters attributed to the Apostle Paul (the books of Romans through
According to the first three verses of the letter, it was written by the
Apostle Paul, apparently located in Macedonia, to Timothy in Ephesus.
Yet, this letter is generally regarded as pseudonymous, written after
the death of Paul by an anonymous writer who sought to impersonate Paul
in a post-Pauline situation.
The First Letter to Timothy is widely considered to be pseudonymous,
written after the death of the Apostle Paul. Paul likely died during the
reign of the emperor Nero, somewhere between 62 and 65 C.E. Since the
letter has terminology that is found generally in certain Christian
writings of the second century, it is considered to have been written
late in the first century or even early in the second.
The First Letter to Timothy is primarily about leadership in the early
church: it exhorts its readers to resist false teaching, hold on to the
faith as delivered, exhibit good conduct, and order the church in such a
way that all of this can be accomplished.
Read the letter as one written to impersonate Paul in a situation that
the author faced in his own time and place. Seeking to represent Paul in
order to give authority to what he has to say, the author calls upon
his readers to respect "the faith" that has been transmitted to them and
to reject false alternatives that claim to convey a higher knowledge
than that which has been received. In order to do this letter justice,
one should read it (as well as the other Pastoral Epistles) in light of
the seven undisputed letters of Paul, where one finds quite different
emphases and teachings. As a canonical text, it has importance, but it
does not necessarily express the last word on matters (such as teachings
concerning the role of women) that are treated differently in other
parts of Scripture.
AUTHOR: Arland J. Hultgren, Professor Emeritus and former Asher O. and Carrie Nasby Chair of New Testament
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
3 As I
besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia,
that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions,
rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless
and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and
profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for
whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for
menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other
thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might
shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should
hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies
which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ,
and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
9 In like
manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with
shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls,
or costly array;
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober,
of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a
good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
15 But if
I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself
in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar
and ground of the truth.
without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest
in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the
Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
1 Now the
Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart
from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created
to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou
put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good
minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good
doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
7 But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all
things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the
living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that
11 These things command and teach.
12 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.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing
this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;
2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.
3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.
4 But if
any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety
at home, and to requite their parents: for that is good and acceptable
5 Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.
6 But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.
7 And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.
8 But if
any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house,
he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
9 Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man.
reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have
lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have
relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.
11 But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry;
12 Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.
withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and
not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which
they ought not.
14 I will
therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house,
give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
15 For some are already turned aside after Satan.
16 If any
man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let
not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows
17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels,
that thou observe these things without preferring one before another,
doing nothing by partiality.
22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.
23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.
25 Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.
1 Let as
many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of
all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed.
they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because
they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful
and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
3 If any
man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words
of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to
4 He is
proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words,
whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth,
supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many
foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted
after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through
with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art
also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
13 I give
thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before
Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;
14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach
unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power
them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor
trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly
all things to enjoy;
18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;
19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and
vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.