1 TIMOTHY
by Paul, the apostle
1 Timothy, Cross Reference Bible
1 Timothy Commentary, Today's Bible
1 Timothy Outline, NIV | Books on 1 Timothy from Amazon.com
1 Timothy, Chronological Bible


Timothy, the person [EBD]

Honouring God, a young disciple who was Paul's companion in many of his journeyings. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are mentioned as eminent for their piety (2 Timothy 1:5). We know nothing of his father but that he was a Greek (Acts 16:1).

He is first brought into notice at the time of Paul's second visit to Lystra (16:2), where he probably resided, and where it seems he was converted during Paul's first visit to that place (1 Timothy 1:2; 2Tim 3:11). The apostle having formed a high opinion of his "own son in the faith," arranged that he should become his companion (Acts 16:3), and took and circumcised him, so that he might conciliate the Jews.

He was designated to the office of an evangelist (1 Timothy 4:14), and went with Paul in his journey through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia; also to Troas and Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14). Thence he followed Paul to Athens, and was sent by him with Silas on a mission to Thessalonica (17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:2). We next find him at Corinth (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2th 1:1) with Paul. He passes now out of sight for a few years, and is again noticed as with the apostle at Ephesus (Acts 19:22), whence he is sent on a mission into Macedonia. He accompanied Paul afterwards into Asia (20:4), where he was with him for some time.

When the apostle was a prisoner at Rome, Timothy joined him (Phil 1:1), where it appears he also suffered imprisonment (Hebrews 13:23). During the apostle's second imprisonment he wrote to Timothy, asking him to rejoin him as soon as possible, and to bring with him certain things which he had left at Troas, his cloak and parchments (2 Timothy 4:13).

According to tradition, after the apostle's death he settled in Ephesus as his sphere of labour, and there found a martyr's grave.


1 Timothy [EBD]

Paul in this epistle speaks of himself as having left Ephesus for Macedonia (1:3), and hence not Laodicea, as mentioned in the subscription; but probably Philippi, or some other city in that region, was the place where this epistle was written. During the interval between his first and second imprisonments he probably visited the scenes of his former labours in Greece and Asia, and then found his way into Macedonia, whence he wrote this letter to Timothy, whom he had left behind in Ephesus.

It was probably written about A.D. 66 or 67.

The epistle consists mainly,

  • (1) of counsels to Timothy regarding the worship and organization of the Church, and the responsibilities resting on its several members; and
  • (2) of exhortation to faithfulness in maintaining the truth amid surrounding errors.


Timothy, the person [SBD]

The disciple thus named was the son of one of those mixed marriages which, though condemned by stricter Jewish opinion were yet not uncommon in the later periods of Jewish history. The fatherís name is unknown; he was a Greek, i.e. a Gentile, by descent. (Acts 16:1,3) The absence of any personal allusion to the father in the Acts or Epistles suggests the inference that he must have died or disappeared during his sonís infancy. The care of the boy thus devolved upon his mother Eunice and her mother Lois. (2 Timothy 1:5) Under their training his education was emphatically Jewish. "From a child" he learned to "know the Holy Scriptures" daily.

The language of the Acts leaves it uncertain whether Lystra or Derbe was the residence of the devout family. The arrival of Paul and Barnabas in Lycaonia, A.D. 44, (Acts 14:6) brought the message of glad tidings to Timothy and his mother, and they received it with "unfeigned faith." (2 Timothy 1:5)

During the interval of seven years between the apostleís first and second journeys the boy grew up to manhood. Those who had the deepest insight into character, and spoke with a prophetic utterance, pointed to him, (1 Timothy 1:18; 4:14) as others had pointed before to Paul and Barnabas, (Acts 13:2) as specially fit for the missionary work in which the apostle was engaged. Personal feeling led St. Paul to the same conclusion, (Acts 16:3) and he was solemnly set apart to do the work and possibly to bear the title of evangelist. (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; 4:5)

A great obstacle, however, presented itself. Timothy, though reckoned as one of the seed of Abraham, had been allowed to grow up to the age of manhood without the sign of circumcision. With a special view to the feelings of the Jews making no sacrifice of principle, the apostle, who had refused to permit the circumcision of Titus, "took and circumcised" Timothy. (Acts 16:3) Henceforth Timothy was one of his most constant companions. They and Silvanus, and probably Luke also, journeyed to Philippi, (Acts 16:12) and there the young evangelist was conspicuous at once for his filial devotion and his zeal. (Philemon 2:22)

His name does not appear in the account of St. Paulís work at Thessalonica, and it is possible that he remained some time at Philippi. He appears, however, at Berea, and remains there when Paul and Silas are obliged to leave, (Acts 17:14) going afterward to join his master at Athens. (1 Thessalonians 3:2) From Athens he is sent back to Thessalonica, ibid., as having special gifts for comforting and teaching. He returns from Thessalonica, not to Athens, but to Corinth, and his name appears united with St. Paulís in the opening words of both the letters written from that city to the Thessalonians, (1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1)

Of the next five years of his life we have no record. When we next meet with him, it is as being sent on in advance when the apostle was contemplating the long journey which was to include Macedonia, Achaia, Jerusalem and Rome. (Acts 19:22) It is probable that he returned by the same route and met St. Paul according to a previous arrangement, (1 Corinthians 16:11) and was thus with him when the Second Epistle was written to the church of Corinth. (2 Corinthians 1:1) He returns with the apostle to that city, and joins in messages of greeting to the disciples whom he had known personally at Corinth, and who had since found their way to Rome. (Romans 16:21) He forms one of the company of friends who go with St. Paul to Philippi, and then sail by themselves, waiting for his arrival by a different ship. (Acts 20:3-6)

The absence of his name from (Acts 27:1) ... leads to the conclusion that he did not share in the perilous voyage to Italy. He must have joined the apostle, however, apparently soon after his arrival at Rome, and was with him when the Epistles to the Philippians, to the Colossians and to Philemon were written. (Philemon 1:1; 2:19; Colossians 1:1) Phil. ver. 1. All the indications of this period point to incessant missionary activity.

From the two Epistles addressed to Timothy we are able to put together a few notices as to his later from (1 Timothy 1:3) that he and his master after the release of the latter from his imprisonment, A.D. 63, revisited proconsular Asia; that the apostle then continued his Journey to Macedonia, while the disciple remained, half reluctantly, even weeping at the separation, (2 Timothy 1:4) at Ephesus, to check, if possible, the outgrowth of heresy and licentiousness which had sprung up there.

The position in which he found himself might well make him anxious. He used to rule presbyters most of whom were older than himself (1 Timothy 4:12) Leaders of rival sects were there. The name of his beloved teacher was no longer honored as it had been. We cannot wonder that the apostle, knowing these trials should be full of anxiety and fear for his discipleís steadfastness. In the Second Epistle to him, A.D. 67 or 68, this deep personal feeling utters itself yet more fully. The last recorded words of the apostle express the earnest hope, repented [repeated?] yet more earnestly, that he might see him once again. (2 Timothy 4:9,21) We may hazard the conjecture that he reached him in time, and that the last hours of the teacher were soothed by the presence of the disciple whom he loved so truly. Some writers have seen in (Hebrews 13:23) an indication that he even shared St. Paulís imprisonment, and was released from it by the death of Nero.

Beyond this all is apocryphal and uncertain. He continued, according to the old traditions, to act as bishop of Ephesus, and died a martyrís death under Domitian or Nerva. A somewhat startling theory as to the intervening period of his life has found favor with some. If he continued, according to the received tradition, to be bishop of Ephesus, then he, and no other, must have been the "angel" of the church of Ephesus to whom the message of (Revelation 2:1-7) was addressed.


1 & 2 Timothy, Epistles by Paul to [SBD]

The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are called the Pastoral Epistles, because they are principally devoted to directions about the work of the pastor of a church.

The First Epistle was probably written from Macedonia, A.D. 65, in the interval between St. Paulís first and second imprisonments at Rome. The absence of any local reference but that in (1 Timothy 1:3) suggests Macedonia or some neighboring district. In some MSS. and versions Laodicea is named in the inscription as the place from which it was sent.

The Second Epistle appears to have been written A.D. 67 or 68, and in all probability at Rome.

The following are the characteristic features of these epistles:--

  • (1) The ever-deepening sense in St. Paulís heart of the divine mercy of which he was the object, as shown in the insertion of the "mercy" in the salutations of both epistles, and in the "obtained mercy" of (1 Timothy 1:13)
  • (2) The greater abruptness of the Second Epistle. From first to last there is no plan, no treatment of subjects carefully thought out. All speaks of strong overflowing emotion memories of the past, anxieties about the future.
  • (3) The absence, as compared with St. Paul other epistles, of Old Testament references. This may connect itself with the fact just noticed, that these epistles are not argumentative, possibly also with the request for the "books and parchments" which had been left behind. (2 Timothy 4:13)
  • (4) The conspicuous position of the "faithful sayings" as taking the place occupied in other epistles by the Old Testament Scriptures. The way in which these are cited as authoritative, the variety of subjects which they cover, suggests the thought that in them we have specimens of the prophecies of the apostolic Church which had most impressed themselves on the mind of the apostle and of the disciples generally. (1 Corinthians 14:1) ... shows how deep a reverence he was likely to feel for spiritual utterances. In (1 Timothy 4:1) we have a distinct reference to them.
  • (5) The tendency of the apostleís mind to dwell more on the universality of the redemptive work of Christ, (1 Timothy 2:3-6; 4:10) and his strong desire that all the teaching of his disciples should be "sound."
  • (6) The importance attached by him to the practical details of administration. The gathered experience of a long life had taught him that the life and well being of the Church required these for its safeguards.
  • (7) The recurrence of doxologies, (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15,16; 2 Timothy 4:18) as from one living perpetually in the presence of God, to whom the language of adoration was as his natural speech.


Timothy, the person [ISBE]


1 Timothy [ISBE]

See Pastoral Epistles article


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