Day 329 – Thru the Bible
Today we start First Timothy. Here’s the overview video.
Video – Read Scripture: First Timothy
How does this video help you understand First Timothy better?
1 Timothy 1 – Three times Paul invokes the title “Christ [Messiah] Jesus” in his greeting to Timothy. Paul’s placing of a reference to God the Father as “God our Savior” between the opening references to “Christ Jesus” is especially significant because the Messiah’s work was the good work of the Father from eternity ( ; Philippians ; Hebrews ). Here in , Jesus’ fulfillment of messianic prophecies is tellingly recurrent—the title appears 12 more times, for a total of 15 occurrences ( Timothy , ; ; ; ; ; , ). The godly conduct that Paul will discuss is possible only through trust in, dependence upon, and strength from the atoning death and resurrection of Messiah Jesus.
After urging Timothy to withstand the false teachers of the law and their vain speculations, Paul lays the groundwork for a glorious assertion of the Gospel in verse 11 by first presenting a litany of the sins which the law exposed.
The list begins by naming six general sins, and then specifically refers to dark sins that break the fifth through ninth commandments—which have to do with the ways ungodly people sin against each other. But Paul caps the list with a summary reference that not only is intended to capture the nature of all unmentioned sins but that also is worded in terms that set up by contrast the bright hope of the Gospel: “and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.” “Sound doctrine” that is “in accordance with the gospel” is literally “healthy doctrine”—that is, life-giving doctrine.
The Gospel, entrusted to Paul and to us, is the only answer to the dark, impossible, sin-sick pathology of the human heart. All healthy, life-giving theology aligns with this glorious Gospel of grace.
Paul’s mention of “the gospel of the glory of the blessed God” has paved the way to one of the greatest Gospel texts in all of Scripture, an awesome expression of the magnitude of the Gospel of grace.
This section is replete with Gospel terminology: “Christ,” four times; and “grace,” bracketed by two occurrences of “mercy.” The very center of the text reads, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (v. 15). Paul (then named Saul) appeared to be impossibly lost. He was a religious predator whose hands were stained with the blood of Christians—a callous, self-righteous, bigoted murderer hell-bent on a full-scale inquisition (Acts 9:1–2; 26:9–11). But on the Damascus road, he met the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Acts 9:3–6). There, while he did not deserve mercy, he was shown mercy—he “received mercy” (1 Timothy 1:13, 16). Literally, he “was mercied.”
The result? In Paul’s own words, “and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” The words portray an overwhelming supply of mercy. This same Paul expressed it with careful precision at the conclusion of Romans 5: “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20–21). Oh, the magnitude of the overflowing, superabundant grace of the Gospel! No one is beyond saving grace—this is the “glory of the blessed God.”
How does the glory of the Gospel of grace continue to expand in you mind and life?
1 Timothy 2 – Here Paul instructs Timothy and his church on how to pray and how to live so that the Gospel would go out to the lost world. Their prayers were to be expansive—“for all people”—including kings and all those in high positions. Why the mention of kings and rulers? So that their rule might create a peaceful context conducive to these Believers living “godly and dignified” lives, thus preparing the unbelieving world to hear the claims of the Gospel.
Paul asserts that the church’s prayers for all people are consistent with God’s evangelistic desire. “God our Savior . . . desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
The term “God our Savior” locates the source of the Gospel in the very heart of God the Father. This is who God is. He does not delight in the destruction of the wicked. By articulating this, Paul was assaulting the exclusivism that was being taught by some of the false teachers in Ephesus (the city where Timothy ministered).
In the divine mysteries of salvation in which a sovereign God does no violence to the will of His creatures, there remains a merciful inclination toward all even as God allows the unrepentant to have their way (Romans 1:24).
We have here in 1 Timothy an expression of the expansiveness of the divine desire that brought about Jesus’ incarnation and death on the cross—which was to be preached to the whole world (Matthew 24:14). “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Paul follows his teaching that God desires “all people to be saved” with the declaration that the saving Gospel is all the work of God. There is one God, says Paul, and one Mediator, who sacrificed Himself to ransom sinners.
Because He is the “one God,” He is the God of every nation, tongue, and tribe—every soul. All must come to Him for salvation. On top of this, the one God has one Mediator—“there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus is the only go-between. Because He is both God and man, He fully represents both sides. The apex of God’s saving work is the blood ransom paid by the God-man Christ Jesus, “who gave Himself as a ransom for all.” So we see that everything in the Gospel is of God; and the Gospel can save any soul, anywhere, anytime. That is why Paul exultingly proclaims at the beginning of Romans, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
For us, as we follow the flow of thought here in 1 Timothy 2, it means that we are: (1) to pray for the Gospel’s outreach to all people, and (2) to live godly lives that promote the preaching of the Gospel.
From 2:8 to the end of the letter, Paul will now turn his attention to calling Timothy and his church to godly conduct for the sake of the Gospel. He begins by addressing four groups in sequence: men, women, overseers, and deacons.
Paul assumes that men will pray with upraised hands. His concern is not, however, about bodily posture but about the attitude with which they will pray. Godly prayer comes from godly hearts—all rooted in the Gospel.
As to the conduct of women, they should dress modestly—“with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” Paul was concerned that the way women dressed and deported themselves would not detract from but would enhance the Gospel mission.
Further, Paul is dealing with the pagan worship of the goddess Diana that taught that Eve preceded Adam. Paul reminds them of the biblical creation order to refute that teaching. This is not a demeaning nor demoting women within the church, but correcting a false teaching that was common in Ephesus.
Scholarly interpretations vary regarding the meaning of “she will be saved through childbearing” (v. 15). The more theologically sensitive interpretations see these words either (1) as indicating the opportunity for women who focus on family to counter the effects of Eve’s sin by multiplying faithful Believers in the home, or (2) as an oblique reference to the Edenic promise that from Eve would ultimately come a child who would rescue the world from sin (Genesis 3:15). What is undisputable, however, is that Paul is not saying that the spiritual salvation of any particular woman depends on her bearing children. Rather he is affirming that the witness of the Gospel is best maintained as men and women live and worship together as God intends.
Have you believed the Gospel? If so, celebrate all that is yours in Jesus!
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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