1 Timothy


(1 Timothy 1:1) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

(1 Timothy 1:2) Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Timothy was sent off by Paul and so Paul wrote him letters.

I wonder whether the contents of the letters to Timothy are things Paul forgot to tell Timothy in person? If so this undermines Sola Scriptura. The usual claim is that the Bible has all we need, but if Paul's letters are merely the afterthoughts he wished he had remembered to tell them, this changes everything.

Paul considers Timothy to be a son (and himself to be a spiritual father).

(1 Timothy 1:3) As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

Timothy is a high ranking bishop who directs and admonishes other bishops at Paul's request. He is often portrayed as a weak man who Paul bosses around but who is generally ineffective. This is, I think, a consequence of ignoring the conditions of the early church to deny that it is Catholic. But we simply cannot deny that the early church had strong leaders and this structure was apostolic, that is to say, the apostles taught this.

It is hard to understand why some in the early church would wish to teach false, non-apostolic teaching. Perhaps in converting to Christianity they did not fully give up their philosophical and pagan views. Just so, it is hard to understand why Christians today would wish to paint the early church as being different than it really was.

There is probably pressure on Timothy to leave Ephesus so Paul encourages him to stay on anyway. The apostles and bishops of the early church had a difficult time proclaiming the gospel; they were harshly opposed at every turn.

In verse 15 Paul mentions the gospel message that these were rejecting; it is that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. They were probably were teaching that Jesus did not come into the world in bodily form but, rather, as an apparition. Perhaps they were early Docetists.

(1 Timothy 1:4) Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Probably referring to Judaizers; those Christians teaching that Christians, including Gentiles, must follow Old Testament law.

(1 Timothy 1:5) Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

(1 Timothy 1:6) From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling [meaningless talk];

(1 Timothy 1:7) Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

Probably referring to Judaizers; those Christians teaching that Christians, including Gentiles, must follow Old Testament law.

(1 Timothy 1:8) But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully [properly];

Paul spends quite a few verses explaining true doctrine. Presumably, Timothy already knows all this. I wonder if Paul is writing it for Christians at large (even though the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy)?

Paul also writes a lot about his trials and calling, perhaps to encourage and remind Timothy that he has the same role and calling. There is no evidence that Timothy became a Paul replacement in the church. Perhaps Paul was hoping Timothy would but he didn't have the aptitude or calling to do so. Not everyone can be a Paul or Augustine.

I think Paul is continuing his thought regarding those who teach false doctrine, false law. But for those who teach correctly, their teaching has good benefits.

(1 Timothy 1:9) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient [rebellious], for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane [irreverent], for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers [murderers],

Law is only needed in the presence of wickedness; for example, there will be no law in the new heavens and new earth.

These are all mortal sins, not little white lies or shortcomings done out of weakness of character. I'm surprised Paul mentions such things so often.

The Greek has a separate word for these three kinds of murderers.

(1 Timothy 1:10) For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers [kidnappers or slave traders], for liars, for perjured persons [perjurers], and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

(1 Timothy 1:11) According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

(1 Timothy 1:12) And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

(1 Timothy 1:13) Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

(1 Timothy 1:14) And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

(1 Timothy 1:15) This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Paul admits to being a bad sinner. Perhaps he is referring to his persecution of Christians before his conversion. I doubt if he is intending to say that he is still a bad sinner; rather, he is referring to his condition when Jesus plucked him out for redemption, when he was knocked on the ground on his way to Damascus.

The Jewish religious leaders objected to Jesus spending time with the common people, with sinners, but he came into the world for those sinners who would repent.

(1 Timothy 1:16) Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

(1 Timothy 1:17) Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Timothy 1:18) This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;

(1 Timothy 1:19) Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:

Just as Paul sometimes writes about his own hope that he remains true to the faith, he writes this also to Timothy. Perhaps this is not because of any weakness on Timothy's part but Paul's concern in general for everyone.

(1 Timothy 1:20) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

(1 Timothy 2:1) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

It appears that Timothy leads public services and trains others how to do so.

(1 Timothy 2:2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

(1 Timothy 2:3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

(1 Timothy 2:4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

God desires that everyone be redeemed. Critics of Christianity will say God failed in his mission. But God truly gave us free will and he will honor this forever. For example, God gave Lucifer domination over this physical universe and Lucifer turned it into a place of pain and suffering as animals eat each other and tree branches fall and crush living creatures. In like manner, God will allow those who reject his offer of redemption to spend eternity in hell. But in every age God offers redemption for those who believe and receive.

We might wonder how exactly God offers this in cultures with no revealed knowledge? I have come to accept the view that Jesus appears to everyone at their death and proclaims the gospel. The view of Calvinism seems to me too harsh and places God in the predicament of judging people who are ignorant of his law.

(1 Timothy 2:5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

(1 Timothy 2:6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

This verse seems to support the ransom theory of atonement because it uses the word "ransom". I reject this view.

(1 Timothy 2:7) Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity [truth].

If Paul is the apostle of the Gentiles, why does he spend so much time writing about Jewish topics? Probably his target audience is the God-fearers; Hellenized Romans or non-Jews who partially converted to Judaism and attended synagogue — but who were not circumcised.

(1 Timothy 2:8) I will [desire] therefore that men pray every where [place], lifting up holy hands, without wrath [anger] and doubting [disputing].

You can't have Christian love and unity with people you are angry with and arguing with. You can't effectively pray with others without a spirit of love and unity.

Apparently they lifted up their hands during prayer.

This letter contains instructions for Timothy as he ministers to various churches on Paul's behalf. Presumably Timothy would read this letter to these churches to confirm that what he was telling them was from Paul. This verse refers to conduct during public prayer. Apparently it was all-too-common for the Christian (men) to be in heated conflict with one another, but this needs to be resolved before praying.

Refers to men — women are mentioned later. This was clearly a male-dominated society and the Christian leaders did nothing to change it; rather, they encouraged it, demanded it, and enforced it. Sadly, many fundamentalist evangelical Protestants still follow rules such as these that discriminate against women. These kinds of verses should be considered cultural and rejected as not applying to us today.


Woman's Proper Role in the Church

(1 Timothy 2:9) In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness [decency] and sobriety; not with broided [braided] hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array [clothes];

Women are to dress modestly and simply.

(1 Timothy 2:10) But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

(1 Timothy 2:11) Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

(1 Timothy 2:12) But I suffer [allow] not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

Women are not to have authority over men in the church, nor to teach in the Church. As I demonstrate, it is hard to interpret this as merely cultural without undermining the apostles' infallibility.

(1 Timothy 2:13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

A terrible argument for why women are to be discriminated against.

(1 Timothy 2:14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

Paul uses this in his argument that women should not teach or talk in church, not should they have spiritual authority over men. The argument seems to be that men aren't prone to evil suggestions from evil spirits, but this doesn't make sense. Perhaps evil spirits are more likely to attempt to deceive women, thinking them to be better targets for their deception — after all, Satan singled-out Eve.

Paul seems to be using the idea of "first" to support his teaching. Men are to be teachers in the church because...

  1. Adam was created by God first (therefore, he leads by his very nature)
  2. Eve was the first to sin (therefore, she should not lead because, by her very nature, she led us into sin)

When viewed this way, it does not imply that Adam is somehow superior to Eve but, rather, that by the mere accidental circumstances of their situations, Adam was called by God to teach.

If we wish to deny Paul's conclusion that only men are to teach and to have spiritual authority in the Church, then we must also invalidate his supporting arguments (about the nature of men vs. women, each being first at something). Therefore, it is hard to find a way to make this passage merely cultural, and the early church certainly didn't view it as cultural either (but, of course, they were still in the same culture).

(1 Timothy 2:15) Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness [sanctification] with sobriety.

This verse does not fit Protestant theology at all.

The woman is not saved by teaching in church as the men are, but by childbearing. We each have our proper roles.

Perhaps a better way to state this is that we are each working out our salvation in the role to which we are called.


Bishops

(1 Timothy 3:1) This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

Paul mentions bishops (elders) and deacons — there is no third category. Yet some churches insist on three: bishop, priest, deacon; or pastor, elder, deacon.

Notice only 2 kinds of Church leaders: bishops and deacons. Bishops (overseers) are probably the same as elders and pastors. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Timothy 3:2) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Notice only 2 kinds of Church leaders: bishops and deacons. Bishops (overseers) are probably the same as elders and pastors. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Timothy 3:3) Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

(1 Timothy 3:4) One that ruleth [manages] well his own house [family], having his children in subjection [under control] with all gravity [integrity];

(1 Timothy 3:5) (For if a man know not how to rule [manage] his own house [family], how shall he take care of the church of God?)

It is not enough that church leaders are ordained, they must also fulfill their mission. They can't perform their duties as ministers of the church if they can't take care of their own household.

(1 Timothy 3:6) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

(1 Timothy 3:7) Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


Deacons

(1 Timothy 3:8) Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;

Paul mentions bishops (elders) and deacons — there is no third category. Yet some churches insist on three: bishop, priest, deacon; or pastor, elder, deacon.

(1 Timothy 3:9) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

(1 Timothy 3:10) And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.

(1 Timothy 3:11) Even so must their wives [women] be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.

This verse is likely not referring to the wife of a deacon but, rather, to a woman deacon.

(1 Timothy 3:12) Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.

(1 Timothy 3:13) For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.


(1 Timothy 3:14) These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:

(1 Timothy 3:15) But if I tarry [delay] long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground [foundation] of the truth.

The Church is pillar and foundation of truth. In other words, without the Church, there is no knowledge of truth, no gospel message of salvation. A corollary of this is that if untruth is being taught, that is not the Church. This is a key component of my system: find contradictions and incorrect statements and reject these as sources of truth. Whatever remains is the Church.

The Church is the house of God. I suspect Paul is equating the Old Testament house of God, the temple, with the New Testament Church; certainly Jesus referred to the temple as the house of God. Just as the Old Testament temple was the place of sacrifice, teaching, and worship; so also is the Church to be these things.

Paul is concerned with their behavior and he instructs them about correct behavior in this letter. I suspect Paul is writing to the other people who will also hear this letter read; why would he exhort Timothy to behave himself? Probably, in every letter Paul writes, his audience is Christians at large.

To me it seems condescending that Paul spends so many words telling Timothy how to behave. Perhaps he is instructing Christians at large.

(1 Timothy 3:16) And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

The gospel summarized; it's all about Jesus and his life while on earth...

  1. God took on human form (and deified it). This refers to Jesus, second person of the Trinity.
  2. Jesus was shown to be innocent and sinless.
  3. Angels saw him from the spiritual realm. The apostles emphasized the angels and that Jesus was superior.
  4. Jesus was preached in the world; he sent the 12 and the 70 to do this.
  5. People believed in him in faith.
  6. He was resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father.

The gospel is called a mystery because it can't be discerned except through revelation by God.

(1 Timothy 4:1) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly [clearly], that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing [deceiving] spirits, and doctrines [teaching] of devils [wicked spirits];

The "later times" is the church age. Paul is specifically talking about false teachers who were already on the scene and he warns Timothy to beware of them. This event is not the Great Tribulation ala premillennialism.

People who teach false doctrines are prompted to do so by wicked spirits in the spiritual realm. Paul mentions the spirits working behind the scene within the soul but of course he is really referring to false teachers, to heretics.

Teachings and ideas originate from the spiritual realm. This is a key aspect of Christian philosophy — that activities of souls and spirits in the spiritual realm control events in the physical realm. There is a clear distinction between the physical universe and the spiritual realm. The list of kinds of people who miss this point is vast: almost all philosophers, secular scientists, and surprisingly, many fundamentalist evangelical Protestants who think the body is the source of sin, that the body is bad. It is not the body which is the source of sin but, rather, the soul.

(1 Timothy 4:2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

(1 Timothy 4:3) Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

(1 Timothy 4:4) For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

There is never any mention of whether or not slaughtering animals is cruel, or whether we should prefer vegetarianism if we wish. This is a big oversight.

(1 Timothy 4:5) For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

Christians do not become ceremonially unclean by eating animals. We are not bound by the Old Testament laws.

(1 Timothy 4:6) If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

The role of a bishop is to instruct and rule.

(1 Timothy 4:7) But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

(1 Timothy 4:8) For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Referring to the new heavens and new earth.

(1 Timothy 4:9) This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.

(1 Timothy 4:10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Universalists are happy this verse is in the Bible using it as the basis for their view that ultimately, everyone will be redeemed. Several ways of reading this...

  1. Jesus saves everyone, especially Christians. (Do Christians get some kind of special benefits for having come to salvation via faith? A weird way to read this.)
  2. Jesus saves believers because he is the savior; there is no other savior. (Therefore, people who try to find redemption some other way will fail.)
  3. Jesus desires to save everyone and actually does save believers.
  4. Those who Paul preaches to and who believe are saved (if they don't abandon the faith and if they endure reproaches as Paul has).

If this were the only verse about this topic we might be tempted to adopt option #1 but we must reject it because there are so many verses refuting it.

Paul's sufferings and hardship are a direct result of his preaching the gospel. His call as apostle compels him to strive as he does to reach the lost.

God is living, the source of life, the creator of our soul. Thus, in our conscious experience of the various aspects of life such as love, emotion, self-awareness, etc. we experience the essence of God himself. God created our body but he is our consciousness. In this sense the eastern religions are correct in saying we are divine, we are God. The error is in saying that consciousness is God — pantheism. The correct view is stated in this verse; God is living and he redeems those who believe the gospel.

Many non-Catholic Christians are uncomfortable with this kind of experiential, mystical relationship with God. They therefore reject prayers such as the Rosary and symbolic interactions with God via liturgy, rites, and rituals.

(1 Timothy 4:11) These things command and teach.

The role of a bishop is to instruct and rule. He must command priests, deacons, and lay people as well as other bishops. Timothy is a high-ranking bishop. I wonder if his stature decreased significantly after Paul died; whether it was Paul's influence behind Timothy that made him able to function in his role. Perhaps that's why Paul writes letters to Timothy intending that they be read in public, to increase Timothy's effectiveness. Timothy's power derived from Paul propping him up.

(1 Timothy 4:12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation [way of life, behavior], in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Timothy was young. Likely, older leaders would give him little consideration.

(1 Timothy 4:13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

The word "until" doesn't imply there was a change of condition afterwards. In this case, they are to do these things even after Paul comes.

(1 Timothy 4:14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

The laying on of hands was probably his ordination. Someone likely noticed that he was a good teacher and prophesied over him at that time. It says that Timothy was given this gift by virtue of his ordination. He had a natural aptitude to teach but could only exercise that aptitude in the Church once ordained.

Notice that Timothy was ordained by elders, not bishops. This is likely because bishops and elders were the same thing. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Timothy 4:15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Timothy is to ponder his ordination and the prophecy about his being a teacher of bishops, priests, deacons, and Christians at large.

(1 Timothy 4:16) Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

The implication is that if Timothy doesn't continue living the faith, he will lose his salvation.

People who were dying in their sins, after hearing Timothy's preaching and coming to faith, these will become saved. Thus, preaching the gospel is supremely important.

Notice the two aspects to a life of faith: (1) proper behavior (works), and (2) faith in true doctrine. True doctrine includes moral theology and devotional practices.

Paul often stresses that Christians need to continue firm in the faith. Apparently he observed many fall away.

Notice it is Timothy's works that save him.

(1 Timothy 5:1) Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

This word "elder" for an older man is the same word as the Church leadership role of elder. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Timothy 5:2) The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.

(1 Timothy 5:3) Honour widows that are widows indeed.

The Church is to care for widows who have no one else to care for them. This implies the Church has money, which requires Christians to give money to the local church. In Roman times there was no social safety net, no welfare programs, and needy people would simply starve. (This happened in the great depression too.) Nowadays, in America, the government provides various welfare programs so you could say that no one is in this category anymore (or at least very few are.) Notice that the Church is to fill the gap and help people who really need it. Most churches can't provide these services directly so they give money to organizations that do.

I doubt if Paul intended to limit this to only widows; that just happened to be the group of people who became derelict in that male-dominated society.

Notice that Paul limits helping people to those in the Church, to Christians. At the time he wrote this letter, Christians were a small minority of the population and he singles out needy Christians for aid. But the Church is to help only those who absolutely need it; the families are supposed to do this for their fellow family members.

(1 Timothy 5:4) But if any widow have children or nephews [grandchildren], let them learn first to shew [show] piety at home, and to requite [repay] their parents: for that is good and acceptable before God.

We are to pay back our parents for caring for us as children by caring for them when they are older. Notice that taking care of your parents is one ingredient of the practice of Christianity, of the Christian religion.

(1 Timothy 5:5) Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day.

Paul is instructing Timothy how to determine whether someone qualifies for Church aid, whether they are a "widow indeed". One of the criteria is that they live holy, prayerful lives; that they serve the Church in some way. Thus, the financial assistance is not really free, it requires that they earn it according to their ability, and especially in living a life of devotion and service. This should be the model for any welfare program, that the recipients be expected to work.

(1 Timothy 5:6) But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.

Those who live a life of pleasure-seeking are not qualified to receive aid from the Church. I suppose this would include drugs and alcohol, partying, entertainment of all sorts. We have no obligation to help people in this predicament, in fact, often their destitute condition was caused by their lifestyle. How many of the happy-go-lucky drug-using hippies of the 60's are now homeless on the street. People often assume Christians have a moral obligation to help everyone but the Bible doesn't teach this. When I publicly read the Bible on the streets, people come up to me expecting a handout (a "helping hand" as they prefer to call it) and they are indignant when I graciously say no, as if, by choosing to represent Christ in public I am morally obligated to give them a handout. (Giving money to them all would ruin my ability to perform this ministry.) No wonder they are on the street with that kind of attitude.

(1 Timothy 5:7) And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless.

(1 Timothy 5:8) But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

Paul has some pretty strong words for those who won't help their family members in need (again with the condition that they are living holy lives of devotion and service to the Church and to their family).

(1 Timothy 5:9) Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore [60] years old, having been the wife of one man,

What stress this must create for widows under 60 years old who might starve before they reach that age.

I wonder how many people converted to Christianity noticing how the Christians helped one another. But it likely would be hard to fake that you were devout and, so, perhaps they would apostatize when they learned they were not holy enough to receive benefits.

(1 Timothy 5:10) Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints' feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

(1 Timothy 5:11) But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax [become] wanton [indulging in sensual pleasures] against Christ, they will marry;

This verse is one of those that makes it seem the Church teaches sex is bad. Notice the implication: young widows will desire to remarry and this desire is called "wantoness" — an ugly word today. This desire to remarry is "against Christ" (and similar words in other translations). You can't win trying to understand this verse in a neutral way.

We might conclude that widows should not remarry, but elsewhere Paul says they should remarry if they have a strong desire to be married.

I think the answer is that Paul is speaking specifically in the context of whether or not the Church should provide assistance for certain widows. If a younger widow is going to remarry anyway rather than remain unmarried and serve the Church, they should be excluded. I suppose if there were young widows who were very devout and faithful in serving the Church even before their husband died, these would qualify for assistance since they would have proven their devotion is real and persevering.

(1 Timothy 5:12) Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.

This seems to refer to widows who abandon the faith, who abandon a life of holiness altogether. Paul seems to imply that these widows have taken some sort of vow to remain unmarried and to live a life of holiness and devotion and service, but have broken this vow to live a life of wanton pleasure. This kind of vow is similar to the Catholic orders of monks, nuns, religious brothers and sisters; those who have consecrated themselves to a life of prayer and devotion and service to the Church.

(1 Timothy 5:13) And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.

(1 Timothy 5:14) I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

This command from Paul is just plain wrong and sets the tone of the Church as overly-controlling and domineering over people's lives. Some widows may strongly wish not to remarry to honor their husband or to make things less confusing for their children or even so it will be clear who the husband of their youth is when in the new heavens and new earth. Just because society of that day didn't have a good way to provide for the welfare of widows outside of remarriage is no reason for the Church to insist on this. They should have provided convents or some such for those desiring it.

(1 Timothy 5:15) For some are already turned aside after Satan.

(1 Timothy 5:16) If any man [ignore the word man; bad translation] or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve [assist] them, and let not the church be charged [burdened]; that it may relieve [assist] them that are widows indeed.

This refers to an institutional aspect of the Church — collecting money and caring for those Christians who are in need. But who decides which widows are truly in need and whether their family has the means to care for them? I can imagine a lot of abuse in this regard depending on who decides and whether they exclude people based on factors other than their material need, such as their social standing or political views or whether they are well liked. In some Churches today the task of managing these kinds of programs falls to uninspired and cranky administrators who make you feel small when you request assistance.

Notice the Church has limited resources which must be managed wisely. Only those having no one else to care for them are to be assisted by the Church.

Notice the bad translation in the King James Version. It's hard to understand how the "King James Only" advocates can claim this translation to be nearly inspired with errors such as this.

This verse concerns the topic of redistribution, important even in our modern societies. Should government help the poor and needy and disadvantaged? Or should private institutions and charities help them? Or should they be left on their own to suffer? Sadly, many fundamentalist evangelical Protestants are political conservatives and choose the last option thinking that if their local Church does a little bit they have done their moral duty. They may justify this with platitudes such as, "the poor you will always have with you".

(1 Timothy 5:17) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

Notice the reference to elders but not bishops; surely bishops should also be paid for their Church service. This implies that the words "elder" and "bishop" refer to the same Church leadership role. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

(1 Timothy 5:18) For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

(1 Timothy 5:19) Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before [from] two or three witnesses.

Notice the reference to elders but not bishops; surely bishops should enjoy the same protection as elders. This implies that the words "elder" and "bishop" refer to the same Church leadership role. Other verses about elders, bishops, and overseers:

A disturbing edict of requiring extreme measures to address abuses by church leaders. It might not sound like much to get a couple of Christians to present a case before their elders and bishops, but I can imagine the intimidation they would receive. Usually in cases of abuse there are no witnesses; the abusers are careful of this. Church history even into modern times has proved this topic to be problematic.

(1 Timothy 5:20) Them that sin rebuke before [in the presence] all, that others also may fear.

Is Paul talking about elders and bishops who sin or about Christians at large? The flow of the context doesn't indicate a shift from church leaders to Christians. But Timothy is not to rebuke an elder and his role appears to be limited to: (1) ordaining elders and bishops, (2) teaching about charity and disciplining Christians at large, and (3) correcting false teaching. There is no mention he is to discipline wayward Church leaders. Perhaps the sin Paul refers to is false teaching. Other church leaders would be disinclined to teach false teaching if others were getting rebuked publicly for it.

(1 Timothy 5:21) I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

In all these duties, Timothy was to be fair and just.

(1 Timothy 5:22) Lay hands suddenly [hastily] on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.

People must prove themselves over time before being ordained as deacons, elders, or bishops. Perhaps in ordaining someone who is unfit for the job, Timothy would himself be guilty of that man's sins. But instead, he is to remain pure and holy, free from the side-effects of ordaining men unqualified for church leadership.

Perhaps the two phrases referring to sins and purity refer back to verse 20. If you tolerate a church leader's sins you are in a sense sinning yourself because you have relaxed your standards; this will surely have an effect on your own behavior.

(1 Timothy 5:23) Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities [illnesses].

Likely they had all kinds of herbal and other treatments back then; this was one of them. It may not have been the best, but probably was all they had. Perhaps the water was bad and the wine sanitized it. Perhaps he had parasites in his digestive system.

It appears Timothy didn't consume alcohol; this is a good thing.

(1 Timothy 5:24) Some men's sins are open [evident] beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.

We can see the sins of some people; the sins of other people are hidden from us. Sins visible to others are judged by them; hidden sins are only judged by God. Perhaps Paul is referring back to verse 20 which mentioned sins.

(1 Timothy 5:25) Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.

(1 Timothy 6:1) Let as many servants as are under the yoke count [regard] their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed [spoken against].

Probably referring to household servants, some who were previously or still slaves. Certainly if these were to endure indignities by their employer, so should we. This does not mean we should not try to improve working conditions, only that early Christianity did not do so; the burden was on Christians to endure exploitation so as to not imperil the spread of Christianity. Today, Christians do the opposite, demanding freedom to practice their faith and insisting on changing society in the most minute of details.

Slavery is unjust, but it is not our duty as Christians to fix this situation. Yet today, Christians want to change all kinds of issues in society that are surely less significant.

Paul expects Christians to endure exploitation to avoid giving unbelievers cause to reject the gospel message. They are to treat their masters as if they are worthy of being their master even if it is not true. Paul only seems to care about drawing people into the church at any cost even if they be neglected after this. This seems to be the basic mindset of the fundamentalist evangelical Protestant churches as well who insist believers endure weekly altar calls and listen to sermon after sermon directed to the unsaved.

(1 Timothy 6:2) And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.

Christian slaves of Christians masters might despise their masters for not giving them freedom, after all, how could a Christian keep a fellow Christian as a slave?

Notice that slaves have enough freedom to be Christians and probably go to church often. Notice no hint of Paul thinking that slaves who convert to Christianity would be freed from their slavery.

(1 Timothy 6:3) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome [sound] words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

We must wait until verse 5 to learn what to do with such men as these — we are to stay away from them.

Paul mentions the characteristics of these enemies of the faith...

  1. Teach things not taught by the apostles.
  2. Teachings are unsound, untrue, false.
  3. Teachings are not those of Jesus Christ.
  4. Doctrines are not based on God's teaching and God's word.

We should reject any Church leader from church history and into the present day having these same characteristics.

(1 Timothy 6:4) He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,

The character flaws and spiritual poison of these...

  1. proud, conceited
  2. don't understand anything, small minded, can't see the truth because they are blinded by their wrong views
  3. morbid interest in controversial questions
  4. disputes about words. These result it...
  5. envy
  6. strife
  7. malicious talk, abusive language, slander
  8. evil suspicions

(1 Timothy 6:5) Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

We are to stay away from certain people and from certain interactions with them. The list continues from verse 3...

  1. perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds
  2. without the truth
  3. supposing that gain is godliness. This sounds like the word-faith, health-wealth teaching.

We should reject any Church leader from church history and into the present day having these same characteristics.

(1 Timothy 6:6) But godliness with contentment is great gain.

(1 Timothy 6:7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

(1 Timothy 6:8) And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

(1 Timothy 6:9) But they that will [want to] be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful [harmful] lusts [desires], which drown [plunge] men in [into] destruction [ruin] and perdition [destruction].

It's OK to be rich or work towards it, but not to obsess over it. Craving more than what we need for a good life has bad effects. Our modern materialistic consumerism culture is unhealthy; people desire the most extravagant items that do not in the least promote a spiritual life pleasing to God. Shame on the unscrupulous marketing and advertising people who prey on human psychological weakness to exploit us to buy more products and services!

(1 Timothy 6:10) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

We should think of money as a tool, not as an end in itself. We should seek only to possess what is needed in living a life pleasing to God. It's hard to get rid of stuff we own once we no longer need it and we may think we should keep it all in case we need it some day. In order to pass the long hours we need something to do and usually possessions are needed for this, even if only some Rosary beads, a prayer book, and a prayer shawl. I don't think this verse is talking about any of this but, rather, those who derive their sense of self-worth from money and possessions.

Presumably Paul has some particular people in mind as he writes this. These people are probably rich and rather than practice holiness and virtue, spend their time and money indulging in all kinds on sinful activities. Perhaps some of these converted to Christianity but their faith remained shallow; these have erred in the faith, they have gone astray, they are off-course. Sin brings its own sorrow; there is no need for God to judge sin, the sin itself judges.

(1 Timothy 6:11) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

(1 Timothy 6:12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Perhaps Paul is referring to Timothy's profession of faith during his baptism; when he recited a creed. This was the common practice for joining the Church; there was no separate membership aside from baptism. Or, it might be when he was ordained as a bishop.

(1 Timothy 6:13) I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth [gives life to] all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

Jesus professed in the presence of Pilate that he was king of the Jews and that his kingdom was not of this world.

(1 Timothy 6:14) That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Paul wants Timothy to never fall from grace.

(1 Timothy 6:15) Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;

(1 Timothy 6:16) Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

(1 Timothy 6:17) Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

In the new heavens and new earth we will finally have all things to enjoy. Until then, it is uncertain: sometimes we have enough; sometimes not. Some more than others.

Perhaps by riches Paul is referring to things in excess of what is needed to live a happy, prosperous life. God gives us things to enjoy, not desiring that we endure abject poverty or persecution.

(1 Timothy 6:18) That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

A person wins salvation by doing good works.

(1 Timothy 6:19) Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

(1 Timothy 6:20) O Timothy, keep [guard] that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane [irreverent] and vain babblings, and oppositions of science [knowledge] falsely so called:

Paul finally exhorts Timothy to keep up with his duties and responsibilities, to not fall from grace.

Paul sets down the principles of the mission of Church leaders. Any Church leader who does not do these things should be rejected. They are to guard the faith passed-on to them from the apostles. The Catholic Church claims to be guarding this but, sadly, they are also guarding things the apostles never taught. Church leaders are to avoid 3 things...

  1. ungodly and irreverent discussion
  2. empty, pointless discussion
  3. opposition by false knowledge

Paul uses a style of writing in which he seems to be directing his statements to Timothy but is actually directing them to everyone, sometimes Church leaders, sometimes Christians at large. It can be difficult at times to know who the audience is for particular statements.

(1 Timothy 6:21) Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.


King James Version