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A True Son in the Faith: Introduction to 1 Timothy

Text: 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 3:14-15

Dr Alex Tang


 We are all called to make disciples. We make disciples by general disciplemaking

 or intentional disciplemaking (mentoring).


1 Timothy 1:1-2

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

I Timothy 3:14-16

 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Godís household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.


1.                  Introduction

We have lost the art of letter writing. In the past, where letters take days, weeks and months to get from the writer to the receipient, much thought were taken to compose the letter so that the content is full of meaning and the grammar, not to mention the handwriting is legible. Nowadays with email, SMS and chat room, the writing is faster than thought. You write something and the other party responds immediately. Sometimes before you have finished typing.  And we see the evolution of a new language. SMS language

14: a txt msg pom.
his is r bunsn brnr bl%,
his hair lyk fe filings
W/ac/dc going thru.
I sit by him in kemistry,
it splits my @oms
wen he :-)s @ me.

Julia Bird 30, Poetry Book Society




14: a text message poem
his eyes are bunsen burner blue,
his hair like iron filings
with ac/dc going through.
I sit by him in chemistry,
it splits my atoms
when he smiles at me



2.                  Paul (v.1)

Paul emphasized that his apostleship is by command of God and Jesus Christ. This is to deflect arguments from those who said Paul is not an apostle because he was not with Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry. Paul was a complex man. He was a Jewish Christian scholar, a Greek Christian theologian, a Christian mystic, a church planter, a Bible teacher and a disciplemaker. His life exemplify the Great Commission

Matt 28:18-20

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


3.                  Timothy (v.2)

Timothy (Gk.) means Ďhonoring Godí His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are mentioned as eminent for their piety (2 Tim. 1:5). We know nothing of his father but that he was a Greek (Acts 16:1).

q       He is first brought into notice at the time of Paulís second visit to Lystra (16:2), where he probably resided, and where it seems he was converted during Paulís first visit to that place (1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 3:11).

q       The apostle having formed a high opinion of his ďown son in the faith,Ē arranged that he should become his companion (Acts 16:3), and took and circumcised him, so that he might conciliate the Jews.

q       He was designated to the office of an evangelist (1 Tim. 4:14), and went with Paul in his journey through Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia; also to Troas and Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14).

q       Thence he followed Paul to Athens, and was sent by him with Silas on a mission to Thessalonica (17:15; 1 Thess. 3:2).

q       We next find him at Corinth (1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 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.

q       He accompanied Paul afterwards into Asia (20:4), where he was with him for some time.

q       When the apostle was a prisoner at Rome, Timothy joined him (Phil. 1:1), where it appears he also suffered imprisonment (Heb. 13:23).

q       During the apostleís 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 Tim. 4:13).

q       According to tradition, after the apostleís death he settled in Ephesus as his sphere of labour, and there found a martyrís grave.


4.                  Paul, Timothy and Discipleship (3:14-15)

The key verse in 1 Timothy is 3:14-15:

Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in Godís household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

Therefore, Paulís aim is to instruct Timothy so that he can instruct others (2 Tim.2:2)

2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.


Paul describes the process of making disciples through four generations. The degree in which Paul produces disciples is impressive. Among his spiritual offspring are Dionysius, Damaris, Gaius, Sopater, Tychicus, Trophimus, Stephanas, Clement, Epaphras, the Corinthians and possibly all those mentioned in Romans 16. Of all those who were saved before Paul met them, and those who were fruits of his teachings, only two he would call Ďtrue son in the faithí: Titus (1:4) and Timothy


Paulís disciplemaking can be described as two fold: General Disciplemaking which is spiritual formation by teaching, exhorting, disciplining and praying for the whole church and Intentional Disciplemaking which is identifying certain individuals and giving individual attention to their spiritual formation by personalized teaching, praying, guiding in ministry and personal life (take a little wine for your stomach 1Tim.5:23). The modern term for intentional disciplemaking is mentoring.


Each of us is called to be a disciple maker. The Great Commission applies to every one of us. There is no exception.


General Disciplemaking

q       Teaching in preaching, children church, Boys Brigade educational classes.

q       Sharing

q       CELLS

q       Uncles and aunties

q       Children

q       Young couples


Intentional Disciplemaking

q       One to one Ė structured (follow up) or unstructured (doing things together, doing ministry together)

q       Group-covenant groups where 2-3 persons meet regularly to share, pray and study certain topics.


Example of a covenant:

I will pray every day privately, and with my wife, family and friends whenever the opportunity arises.

I will pray for my wife and children everyday.

I will pray for each member of this Covenant Group every day.

I will read and study the Bible everyday.

I will make time to be alone in Godís presence every day.

I will worship each Sunday unless prevented.

I will receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion whenever possible.

I will heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit not to sin against God and my neighbours.

I will prayerfully care for my body and the world in which I live in.

I will prayerfully seek to help someone in need every day.

I will prayerfully plan the stewardship of my resources.

I will commit to attend every Covenant Group meeting unless prevented.

I will share truthfully during the Covenant Group meetings where I shall be held accountable for my Christian walk.


5.                  The First Epistle to Timothy

The books of 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus make up what we call the Pastoral Epistles. These three are unique because

q       these are the only Pauline epistles addressed to individuals,

q       Paulís last writings which may provide insights into what had bothered Paul in the last years of his ministry,

q       Provides information on discipleship, local church life, order and leadership.


5.1              Historical background

Nobody knows the exact time this letter written. Possible dates are between 62-66 AD. Most commentators agreed that this was written after Paulís first Roman imprisonment. When he was released, Paul traveled to Ephesus and Colosse where he left Timothy in Ephesus. Paul then traveled back to Rome and then to Macedonia. 1 Timothy was probably written in Macedonia to Timothy in Ephesus before Paul went onto Asia Minor and then to Spain. 

5.2              Outline of 1 Timothy

I.                   Greetings (1:1-2)

(1:1-2; 3:14-15)       Greetings and general introduction to the

   1 Timothy


II.                Instructions concerning false doctrines (1:3-20)

(1:3-20)     The false doctrines at Ephesus, the true doctrine of Paul

and the exhortation to Timothy.


III.             Instructions concerning the church (2:1-3:16)

(2:1-8)            The importance of prayer

(2:9-15)           The role of women

(3:1-13)           The qualifications for leaders


IV.              Instructions concerning false teachers (4:1-16)

(4:1-16)           Discerning false and true teachers.


V.                 Instructions concerning pastoral responsibilities (5:1-6:2)

(5:1-2)             Responsibility to sinning members

(5:3-16)           Responsibility to widows.

(5:17-6:2)         Responsibility to elders and slaves


VI.              Instructions concerning the man of God (6:3-21)

(6:3-5)             The peril of false teaching

(6:6-10)           The peril of loving money

(6:11-16)         The character and motivation of a man of God

(6:17-19)         The proper handling of  treasure

(6: 20-21)        The proper handling of the truth


6.                  Closing Remarks


We are all called to make disciples. We make disciples by general disciplemaking or intentional disciplemaking (mentoring). Paul gave details of both types of disciplemaking in his letter to Timothy.


                                                                                                                                                             Soli Deo Gloria


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