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New Testament Survey: The Book Of First Timothy

Written By: Steve Shirley

The Book Of First Timothy


  • Paul (1 Tim 1:1)(Paul’s life alluded to in 1 Tim 1:12-16 and 1 Tim 2:7)
    (For more on Paul see: Survey: Biography Of Paul)
  • Several key words and phrases found in 1st Timothy are the same as what are found in Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians:
“gave Himself” (1 Tim 2:6) / (Gal 1:4)(Gal 2:20)
“glory for ever and ever” (1 Tim 1:17) / (Gal 1:5)
“pillar” (Gr: “stulos“) (1 Tim 3:15) / (Gal 2:9)
“mediator” (Gr: “mesites“) (1 Tim 2:5) / (Gal 3:19-20[2x])
  • A few in recent times have questioned the Pauline authorship of this Epistle because of such things as:

#1. There is a difference in vocabulary and language from Paul’s other Epistles.

#2. It (as well as 2nd Timothy and Titus) does not fit into Acts as do other Pauline letters.

#3. Deacons and elders were not that organized in the time Paul wrote this letter, etc…

However, most scholars easily refute these claims, and do not give them much credibility.

  • The early church fathers (Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Eusebius) agreed that Paul authored this book.
  • After Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment, he wrote his final 3 Epistles (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus), and addressed them to individuals. These have been called the “Pastoral Epistles” since the 18th century. They are called this because they deal more intensely with church organization, church culture, and the work of the pastor of a church than any of the other Epistles.
  • A majority of scholars believe that this was the 11th of the 13 Epistles that Paul wrote.

The Stats:

  • Chapters: 6
  • Verses: 113

Date Written:

  • Likely 62-64 A.D. (Shortly after his release from his first Roman imprisonment, as described in Acts 28.)

Place Written:

  • Macedonia

Written To:

  • Timothy in Ephesus

About Timothy:

  • Timothy (Gr. “Timotheos“) means “honoring God” or “revering God.”
  • Hometown: Lystra (Acts 16:1-3), in the province of Galatia (modern Turkey)
  • Timothy was born to a Greek father (name unknown and probably died early in Timothy’s life), and a Jewish mother (Acts 16:1), named Eunice (2 Tim 1:5). His grandmother was named Lois (2 Tim 1:5).
  • We are told in (2 Tim 3:15) that his mother and grandmother instructed him in the Scriptures from childhood.
  • It is quite likely that Timothy, as well as Eunice and Lois, were converted to Christianity during Paul’s 1st missionary journey when he visited Lystra (Acts 14:6-23).
  • That Paul converted Timothy to Christ is quite apparent. He calls Timothy:
    • his “son in the faith” (1 Tim 1:2)
    • “son” (1 Tim 1:18)
    • “my dearly beloved son” (2 Tim 1:2)
    • “my beloved son” (1 Cor 4:17)
  • Between Paul’s first visit and second visit (during his 2nd missionary journey) to Lystra (about 7 years between visits), Timothy had reached his late teens or early 20’s (1 Tim 4:12). Paul chose him to be his assistant at this time, and had him circumcised to enable him to reach the Jews (Acts 16:3). (Indicating that his Greek father certainly prevented it when he was an infant.)
  • He was ordained to the office of an evangelist by the “presbytery” (a board of elders) (1 Tim 4:14)(2 Tim 1:6)(2 Tim 4:5).
  • Timothy then accompanied Paul on his 2nd missionary journey, going to Phrygia and Galatia to Troas, Samothrace, Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. From Athens, Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica (1 Th 3:1-5). He later rejoined him at Corinth (Acts 18:5)(1 Th 3:6).
  • After these events, Timothy passes out of sight for about 5 years, at which time we find him “ministering to” Paul at Ephesus (Acts 19:22). From there, Paul sent him ahead to Macedonia and Corinth (1 Cor 4:17)(1 Cor 16:10). He was with Paul when he wrote 2nd Corinthians and Romans from Corinth at this time (2 Cor 1:1)(Rom 16:21). He then accompanied Paul to Asia (Acts 20:4).
  • When Paul was a prisoner at Rome, Timothy joined him. We can see that he was with Paul when he wrote the “Prison Epistles” from prison in Rome (Col 1:1)(Phil 1:1)(Phile 1:1). It is also possible he may have suffered imprisonment for a time as well (Heb 13:23). Some time after Paul’s release from prison, it is believed that he and Timothy revisited Ephesus, with Paul leaving a weeping Timothy behind (2 Tim 1:4), and going on to Macedonia where he sent this letter to him.
  • We last hear of Timothy when, during Paul’s second and final imprisonment in Rome, he wrote (2nd Timothy), asking Timothy to rejoin him as soon as possible (2 Tim 4:9-13). Paul was martyred soon after this letter.
  • Eusebius (writing in about 325 A.D.) reported that Timothy later became the first bishop of the church at Ephesus. Early versions of the King James Bible also stated this in their footnotes. However, a number of scholars today do not believe this to be so.
  • Tradition holds that Timothy died a martyr’s death under Domitian or Nerva. Foxe, on the other hand, states that “as pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later.”
  • Due to his youth, it appears that Timothy may have struggled with people looking down on him (1 Tim 4:12), and also possibly with “youthful lusts” (2 Tim 2:22). He may also have had problems with being fearful (2 Tim 1:7)(1 Cor 16:10-11), and being strong (2 Tim 2:1).
  • However, Paul considered Timothy more “like-minded” and compassionate than anyone (Phil 2:19-20). He had “proven character” (Phil 2:22). Submitting to circumcision as an adult certainly showed his commitment and dedication. He continued serving the Lord in spite of many physical ailments (1 Tim 5:23). In addition, Paul trusted Timothy enough to send him as his personal representative on several key missions (1 Th 3:1-5)(Acts 19:22).

Key Verses:

(1 Tim 1:15-16)(1 Tim 2:1-15)(1 Tim 3:15-16)(1 Tim 4:1-5,9-10)(1 Tim 5:3-8,17-18,22)(1 Tim 6:7-12)


  • To encourage Timothy, and instruct him on how to carry out his ministry to the church at Ephesus.
  • (1 Tim 3:14-15)(NASB) “I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; (15) but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”

Special Emphasis:

  • The words “doctrine” (Gr: “didaskalia“) (1 Tim 1:3,10)(1 Tim 4:6,13,16)(1 Tim 5:17)(1 Tim 6:1,3), and “godliness” (Gr: “eusebeia“) (1 Tim 2:2)(1 Tim 3:16)(1 Tim 4:7,8)(1 Tim 6:3,5,6,11) are used more in 1st Timothy than any other book in the New Testament.
  • The words “faithful saying” are found only in the pastoral Epistles (1 Tim 1:15)(1 Tim 4:9)(2 Tim 2:11)(Titus 3:8).
  • In just 113 verses, the word “faith” (Gr: “pistis“) is used 19 times, and the word “good” (Gr: “kalos“) is used 17 times.


  • The divisions are five:

1. Legality and unsound doctrine rebuked, 1:1-20.

2. Prayer and the divine order of the sexes enjoined, 2:1-15.

3. The qualifications of elders and deacons, 3:1-16.

4. The walk of the “good minister,” 4:1-16.

5. The work of the “good minister,” 5:1-6:21.

(Survey from Scofield Reference Notes [1917 ed.]: Public Domain)

Copyright: © Steve Shirley