Written by Michael G. Brown |
Saturday, November 4, 2023
Timothy must guard the gospel against false teachers so that it would be brought to the next generation (1 Tim. 1:3–11; 2 Tim. 1:13–14; 2:16–18), entrust the gospel “to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2; see also 1 Tim. 3:1–7), and be willing to suffer for the gospel like his mentor (2 Tim. 1:8, 12; 2:3, 9; 3:12; 4:5). Above all, however, he must preach the gospel.
First and 2 Timothy, as well as Titus, are known as Paul’s “Pastoral Epistles.” This simply means that unlike the Apostle’s other letters—which, except for Philemon, were written to congregations—these letters were written to pastors of local churches concerning their duties in the ministry. Timothy was the pastor of the church at Ephesus when Paul wrote these letters to him. Yet, by the superintendence of the Holy Spirit, Paul also writes to us. These letters are full of encouragement and exhortation to pastors and parishioners alike. Here are three things we should know about 1 and 2 Timothy.
1. Sound doctrine matters.
Ephesus was a wealthy and worldly city known for its practice of sorcery and worship of the goddess Artemis. Pagan religion and materialism, however, were not the only threats to the Ephesian church. When Paul penned these epistles, false teaching about Christianity was advancing aggressively in the city.
Today, things aren’t much different. Like Timothy, we too live in “the last days” (2 Tim. 3:1; see also 1 Tim. 4:1), when people are “lovers of self, lovers of money” (2 Tim. 3:2; see also 1 Tim. 6:10) and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Tim. 3:4). We live in a time when people do “not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they . . . accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Tim. 4:3; see also 1 Tim. 1:10). We need leaders in the church who will “follow the pattern of sound words” given by the Apostles and codified in the church’s creeds and confessions (2 Tim. 1:13). We need ministers who will “preach the word . . . in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2; see also 1 Tim. 4:13), who will “always be sober-minded, endure suffering,” and “do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim. 4:5). These letters describe the world in which the church now lives, a world full of apostasy and godlessness. If the gospel and sound doctrine are to advance into the next generation, the church—especially ministers of the Word and church leaders—must heed the exhortations and warnings found in 1 and 2 Timothy.