A Guide to the Book of 1 Timothy
DRIVING AND SOMNAMBULIZING
A Guide to the Book of 1 Timothy
Driving and Somnambulizing
Watertown, NY 13601
[+ 1 Timothy Chapter 1- Talkers and Law Abiders +]
[+ 1 Timothy Chapter 2- The Great Modern Controversy +]
[+ 1 Timothy Chapter 3- Leaders of the Church +]
[+ 1 Timothy Chapter 4- Worry Warts and Brainiacs +]
[+ 1 Timothy Chapter 5- Grooming a Leader +]
[+ 1 Timothy Chapter 6- Let Us Be Content +]
“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble…”
The Free Bible eBook Series is a simple and definitely fallible (and possibly wrong at times) interpretation of the different books of the Bible. When deciding to share this series it was because of one vision and idea, that average Christians (denomination irrelevant) can share their thoughts about the Bible and like Ecclesiastes states, “they can help each other succeed.” The content of these eBooks should not be taken at face value but compared with your own understanding of the scriptures discussed.
One of the great common day ironies of Christianity is that although our faith may be the most important thing of our lives, it is also the thing we are most hesitant to share. It makes me sad when my few Christian friends and I spend time together with no mention of Christ. It makes me cringe to think that strangers who are Christians will talk about everything under the sun but will hesitate to share the joys of their faith.
This series is crafted with untrained hands but with a hearth full of Christ’s love. It may be informative, it may be revealing, and with God’s Grace, it may be enlightening. The goal though is for it to be a conversation piece, a common ground Christians can relate to and share, and a way to ensure no one falls alone.
The book of 1 Timothy is a book of the New Testament of the Bible which originated as a letter from Paul to a man named Timothy in the city of Ephesus, Turkey. Timothy was a relatively young but passionate leader in the Church of Ephesus, but he was facing some challenges with which Paul wanted to help.
I like to consider 1 Timothy a book on New Testament doctrine. That may sound a bit boring, but trust me it isn’t! To the contrary it is quite fascinating seeing the struggles of the young church in learning how to deal with its new relationship with God and its independence from the strictures and formality of the Law.
The principle lesson I take away from 1 Timothy is this: God is immensely more intelligent and complicated than we can fathom. We can argue endlessly about the details of his reign and our servitude, but in the end it doesn’t matter and can actually be destructive. Love God with all of your heart, don’t stress the details, leave those to God, and shine your light to the world.
“Nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.”
-1 Timothy 1:4
Timothy 1 sets the stage for the book and what I like to call its defining characteristic, which is “doctrine” of New Testament Philosophy. As we work through the chapters, this characteristic will become clearer. This particular chapter has a few golden nuggets and I’d say some pretty fundamental “doctrine” of New Testament Philosophy.
The first discussion of philosophy is found starting with vs 4 where we are told to not waste our time in endless discussion of religious matters and spiritual pedigrees. This is a great point that I feel can be interpreted as “God’s love is designed to be simple.” Our spiritual lives are a relationship with Him, not one of complex and mindboggling theories or tasks and milestones we have to complete. His love is simple so that we can all love enjoying and understanding it. I think it is important to keep this in mind with our interaction with both believers and non-believers. We simply love them and show them God’s love. We don’t win others to Christ with endless discussions and our spiritual pedigrees but with the shocking power of His unconditional love.
In vs 5 Paul explains to Timothy that the point of his teachings is that all believers should be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. I love how Paul puts this, and really it is a very condensed and efficient way to explain the morality aspect of the much bigger religious experience called Christianity. By living moral lives, we can have a love that is pure of heart and conscious clearing, which in turn puts us in a love filled, stable environment that is conducive to the building and practice of our faith. The practice of our faith is our act of joining God where he is working. I feel like if you consider these three aspects, analyze them in your life, they are indicative of where you are standing morally with God. If you feel you are loving with a pure heart (unselfishly) and you have a clear conscience, then I think you can likely say you are living morally as God asked you to.
In vs 9, we get this possibly controversial nugget, “For the law was not intended for those who do what is right.” This just makes me chuckle a little bit, because I think of how the fundamental moral benchmarks of Sunday morning Christianity are the Ten Commandments, which at a certain time were meant for God’s people but now they are meant for the lawless! This makes sense though I think. I mean God’s law I think can be seen as a moral compass for the whole world. Even if you don’t believe, you’ve still heard of the Ten Commandments and other moral principles. It’s like God saying “please, at least do these very basic moral things.” They are also a benchmark to which the lawless can be compared to. Anyways, for Christians this means that since God’s laws are for the lawless, then those laws are the very, very basics of how we should be living our lives. We should move well beyond that.
Last idea I would like to point out comes from vs 19, where Paul says that some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. I feel like I’ve argued quite often that morality is a tiny part of our relationship with God, which I feel strongly that it is, but from what I’ve said it may be misconstrued as not being important. To the contrary, it does have a significant effect. Our faith is directly tied into our moral standing with God. Your faith cannot stand strong if you are sinning knowingly against God and you will never be able to move beyond the baby teachings and relationship with God. You will always be sitting there in your highchair eating baby food from a spoon. As more mature Christians, it is almost as if the morality aspect of our faith is behind us because it should be so ingrained and so basic that it takes almost no effort or thought. When we reach this point, we can do what God really wants us to do, which is impact the world and show it His light.
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
-1 Timothy 2:5
When I started reading 1 Timothy, I had no clue it contained one of the most hotly debated passages in all of the bible. And honestly as I was bee bopping along in my reading, it blindsided me like plaaaaowwww! I’m sure feminists around the world have risen up in arms against this particular chapter, and I honestly can see why. I would say in the context of modern social progression, vs 2:11-15 may be the most controversial and feather ruffling in the Bible. And honestly, I can’t say I understand these sections of verses either. But hey what the heck, let’s take a gander at it.
So the culprit scripture is this, “Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.”
When I read this I was like “whoa what the, how is this explained.” I prayed about it, Googled around about it, and there were very many interesting conversations and explanations out there. I will discuss two explanations from others I found to be possible explanations, then two of my own.
The first explanation that makes the word fit nicely into our current social scheme is the Typology explanation. Basically, it is a common practice in the Bible to teach lessons using archetypes, or general examples, or in another sense, using allegories. In this particular section of verses, it is thought that Paul is speaking in an allegory, where women represent the church, and men represent Christ. As the church, we are to be totally submissive to Christ, we learn from him quietly and patiently. We have nothing we can teach him, we are sinners who are saved by Him, and if we live in faith, love, etc, we will bear the fruit of His kingdom (childbearing). This all seems, extremely reasonable and fits snuggly into our current social contexts.
The second explanation is that here Paul is addressing a very specific local problem in Ephesus. We’ve already read about false prophets and teachers within Ephesus, a problem Paul addresses sternly as he does here. Elsewhere in Paul’s writings, he explains about how the old law does not hold us anymore, that men and woman are partners, etc. Some believe that from Paul’s other teachings, women in Ephesus are becoming unruly, not dressing appropriately, causing problems in the church, and teaching while shooting from the hip, not speaking from what God is telling them, but just out of their own knowledge. This also seems like a very good explanation. The combination of this and the previous explanation are a very convincing composite.
However, I feel this may be a slippery slope, where in we squirm in discomfort at the social stigma of Paul’s statements, we explain the discomfort away. Paul teaches in other writings that he speaks plainly, so as to not interfere with what Christ says. In this section of scripture, he is speaking very clearly, for all to understand. So yea, my first personal explanation is that this is a literal teaching, and that we should be weary of the dangers of interpreting the word to fit our lives, and not fitting our lives to the word.
My second explanation is that here Paul seems literal, but what he meant was to give us a general idea of relationships. The implication of this section is that men need to step up and be the spiritual heads of their families, though wives are capable and more than able, a family does not function well when the father is not a leader. Women should encourage the man to be that leader, not just take lead, because in doing so it usurps the family structure.
Even after studying it so much, I still find it difficult to understand the exact lesson here, but there is one thing I am certain of. There is no way that it is coincidence that possibly the most controversial scripture immediately follows the first chapter which instructs us to not get hung up on the endless theological discussions of religion! WHAT! You tell us this in the first chapter Paul, then immediately drop this social bomb on us which causes endless controversy. Perhaps that is the actual lesson to be learned here, “I said this specifically to see if you listened to what I just said!” Maybe this chapter is to shake us awake in the event we were daydreaming while reading up to now.
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The book of 1 Timothy is a book of the New Testament of the Bible which originated as a letter from Paul to a man named Timothy in the city of Ephesus, Turkey. Timothy was a relatively young but passionate leader in the Church of Ephesus, but he was facing some challenges with which Paul wanted to help. I like to consider 1 Timothy a book on New Testament doctrine. That may sound a bit boring, but trust me it isn’t! To the contrary it is quite fascinating seeing the struggles of the young church in learning how to deal with its new relationship with God and its independence from the strictures and formality of the Law. The principle lesson I take away from 1 Timothy is this: God is immensely more intelligent and complicated than we can fathom. We can argue endlessly about the details of his reign and our servitude, but in the end it doesn’t matter and can actually be destructive. Love God with all of your heart, don’t stress the details, leave those to God, and shine your light to the world.