How to Behave in the Local Church
Introductory Greetings to Timothy – (1:1-5)
1:1 Paul introduces himself at the outset of the Letter as an apostle of Christ Jesus. He had been commissioned to special service by the glorified Lord. This appointment was not by men or through men, but directly through the will of God. Also, Paul speaks of his apostleship as being according to the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus. God has made a promise that all who believe in Christ Jesus will receive eternal life. Paul’s call to be an apostle was in harmony with this promise. In fact, if there had been no such promise, there would have been no need of an apostle like Paul.
1:2 Timothy is addressed as my dear son. It cannot be definitely proved that Timothy was actually converted through the ministry of Paul. Their first recorded meeting is found in Acts 16:1 where Timothy is described as already being a disciple before Paul came to Lystra. At any rate, the apostle looked on him as a dear son in the Christian faith. As in 1 Timothy, Paul’s greeting consists of grace, mercy and peace. These blessings flow from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Here is another instance where Paul honours the Son just as he honours the Father.
1:3 In his characteristic style, Paul once again breaks into thanksgiving. As we read this, we should remember that he was writing from a Roman dungeon. He had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel and was now treated as a common criminal. The Christian faith was being actively suppressed by the Roman government, and many believers had already been put to death.
In spite of all these adverse circumstances, Paul can begin his letter to Timothy with the words, “I thank God!” The apostle was serving God with a clear (pure) conscience, as his forefathers had done. Although his forefathers were not Christian, they were believers in the living God. They worshipped Him and sought to serve Him. They held “the hope and resurrection of the dead”, as Paul pointed out in Acts 23:6. That is why he could say, in Acts 26:6,7a:
6. And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today.
7. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.
Next Paul speaks of his constant remembrance of Timothy in his prayers, night and day.
Paul knew that his own time of service was rapidly coming to a close. He knew that Timothy would be left alone, humanly speaking, to carry on his witness for Christ. He knew of difficulties that would face him and so he prayed continually for this young warrior of the faith.
1:4 How it must have touched Timothy’s heart to read these words! The apostle Paul was longing to see him. This was certainly a mark of special love and esteem and it speaks eloquently of the graciousness, tenderness, and humility of Paul. Perhaps it was the last time they parted that Timothy broke down, His tears had made a deep impression on his elder co-worker, and now he longed to be with Timothy again so that he may be filled with joy.
J.H. Jowett used to say: “Tearless hearts can never be heralds of the passion. When our sympathy loses its peng, we can no longer be the servants of the passion.”
1:5 In some way or other, Paul had been reminded of Timothy’s sincere faith. His faith was genuine, true, and did not wear a mask.
But Timothy was not the first in his family to be saved. Apparently, his Jewish grandmother Lois had heard the good news of salvation and accepted the Lord Jesus as Messiah. And her daughter Eunice, also a Jewess (Acts 16:1), had become a Christian. In this way, Timothy had come to learn the great truths of the Christian faith, and he represented the third generation in the family to trust the Saviour.
Notice that faith is said to have lived in Lois. It was not there as an occasional visitor, but as an abiding presence with them. Paul was persuaded that that was the case with Timothy also. It was a genuine faith that Timothy would maintain in spite of all the trials which he might have to face in connection with it.