How to be a Leader in the Church
An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paulís First Letter to Timothy
The translated Bible text and commentary have been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
The record in the book of Acts ends with the *apostle Paul in prison in *Rome. That was about AD 60 and he was there for two years. It seems that after that he was free for a time.
After he came out of prison, he asked Timothy to stay in *Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). He then went to *Macedonia. While he was there, he wrote this first letter to Timothy. We do not know whether Paul visited *Ephesus at this time.
Timothy was the son of a *Gentile father and a *Jewish mother. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, both believed the *gospel of Christ (2 Timothy 1:5). They and Timothy probably became Christians when Paul first went to the town called Lystra (Acts 14). All the Christians in Lystra and in the church in the town called Iconium spoke well about Timothy.
When Paul came the second time to Lystra, he asked Timothy to join his team (Acts 16:1-3). Timothy became a close friend and helper of Paul. He went with Paul as he travelled to many places. Paul spoke about him as his own son in the *faith.
Now he was the leader of the church in *Ephesus. Paul writes this letter to him to encourage him in the task of leading that church. He gives Timothy a lot of advice both for the Christians in the church and for himself.
There were some problems there, with some people who were teaching wrong things. Paul told Timothy to sort out that problem (1 Timothy 1:3). He must stop these people from doing it.
Paul tells Timothy how to select the *elders and *deacons. He writes about the roles of men and women. He speaks about the care of widows. He tells Timothy how slaves ought to serve. He speaks to the rich persons. And he warns them about the dangers that come with wealth. He tells Timothy how he should take care of himself. And he tells him how to be a good leader.
Greetings from Paul to Timothy
False teachers at *Ephesus
The purpose of the law
Paul and the *gospel
*Faith and conscience
Prayer for all people
One God and one way to him
Instructions to men and women
What an *elder must be like
What a *deacon must be like
The church of the God who lives
Warning against false teachers
How to guard against what is false
About personal attitudes and relations
Care of widows
Honour and responsibility of *elders
Servants and masters
More about false teachers
Dangers of wealth
Instructions to Timothy
Advice to wealthy persons
Final appeal to Timothy
Verse 1 Paul was a *Jew but from birth he was also a citizen of *Rome (Acts 22:27-28). His *Jewish name was Saul. But, because God sent him to work with the *Gentiles, he used his *Roman name of Paul (Acts 13:9). Paul was an *apostle of Christ Jesus. That is, the *Lord Jesus had sent him to do his work. Paul did not choose to be an *apostle but it was a command from God.
Paul speaks here about his role as an *apostle. This is to show that he has authority from the *Lord for what he is writing. Timothy did not need Paul to write that he was an *apostle. He knew Paul well and had worked with him for some time. Rather, it was to help Timothy, as he had to deal with the arguments of false teachers. It may be that Paul intended Timothy to read this letter to the Christians.
It is not usual in the *New Testament to speak about God who saves. It is more normal to speak about the *Lord Jesus as the one who saves. But God as well as Christ is the source of *salvation. Our hope is in Christ Jesus. This clearly links the *Lord Jesus with God in the process of our *salvation. We have the hope of *salvation in Christ Jesus. This hope is not something about which there is a doubt. Hope means to be sure that something will happen at a future date.
Verse 2 The letter is from Paul to Timothy. Paul thinks about him as his own child in the *faith. This shows that they had a love and trust for each other. Timothy probably came to trust in the *Lord Jesus through Paul. Paul refers to him as Ďmy son whom I loveí (1 Corinthians 4:17). He says, ĎTimothy has proved himself. He has served with me in the work of the *gospel as a son with his fatherí (Philippians 2:22).
In this greeting, Paul asks God the Father and Christ Jesus our *Lord to bless Timothy. He asks for three things for him from God. They are *grace, *mercy and *peace. In all of his earlier letters Paul asks the *Lord to bless with *grace and *peace. Here and in the second letter to Timothy he adds *mercy.
Grace is a favourite word with Paul. He uses it almost 100 times in those letters of his that we have. It means the benefits that God gives to those whom he loves. No one deserves them. So, grace is God blessing those who do not deserve it.
Mercy is to give help to those who are in need. As with *grace, it has nothing to do with what a person deserves. It comes from the love and kindness of the person who gives help. Paul could see that Timothy was in need of help from God. Perhaps he asked for help because Timothy was often ill (1 Timothy 5:23). Or perhaps it was because of the problems that Timothy was having in *Ephesus.
In all the problems that troubled Timothy, Paul asks God to give him *peace. This *peace was to be in the heart and mind rather than the removal of the problems. This *peace will keep Timothy. Then all the difficulties that he has will not upset his trust in the *Lord.
Verse 3 We believe that Paul wrote this some time after the close of the book of Acts. Paul had been in prison for a couple of years in *Rome. Then he may have visited *Ephesus and left Timothy there. Timothy could have been in *Ephesus already or Paul may have sent him there. Paul knew that there were problems in that church. While he went on to visit *Macedonia, he asked Timothy to stay in *Ephesus as the leader of the church.
There were people in *Ephesus who taught different things. What they said did not agree with the truth. They confused the Christians with their strange ideas.
Timothy should be in control of this church. By nature, he is a shy and quiet man. So, Paul tells him to exercise that control. He must not let the false teachers continue to teach. He must order them to stop.
Verse 4 The trouble with the false teachers was not that they were teaching against the truth. They told stories that had nothing to do with the truth. They taught as fact theories that came from these stories. They argued about claims based on who their *ancestors were. They made long lists of their *ancestors to prove that they were important. Such stories and claims create a lot of talking but no good results. They are of no use and are just a waste of time. They cause arguments that have no purpose. They do nothing for the work of God. They are a problem rather than a help to those who serve the *Lord.
Timothy had to tell them to stop paying attention to these stories and claims. Instead of these vain things, they should learn the truth. The truth would lead them to greater *faith in God. They should put their trust in the *Lord and do what he wants.
Verse 5 The purpose of the order or command is to cause love to grow. This is why the false teachers had to stop. What they were doing caused confusion rather than love. The command in this verse means more than to stop the false teachers. The command is the truth that Timothy has to teach. This should lead to an increase in love among those who believe. They should love God and each other more. This agrees with what the *Lord Jesus taught (Matthew 22:37-40). He said that the first command is that we should love the *Lord our God. We should do this with all of our mind, heart and *soul. The next command is that we should love other people.
The *apostle makes clear the source of this love. It comes out of a clean heart, a good conscience and sincere *faith.
In the Bible, the heart is the centre of our being. It is from the heart that we have good or bad thoughts. These cause us to perform good or bad actions. The heart must be clean for love to flow from it. It has to be pure with good thoughts and actions. Only God can make the heart clean and put real love in it. He will take away all that is wrong in our hearts. He will do this as we confess our *sins.
Conscience is the knowledge of what is right or wrong in our actions and attitudes. The consciences of some people can be hard and damaged. Their consciences can be dead as if burnt with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2). For these, the knowledge of good or evil is not sure. A good conscience is one that accepts the truth as its standard. It informs the mind as to what is false or evil. We need to keep our consciences good. We do this as we accept the truth of Godís word. And we ask the *Lord to take away all that is wrong. To have a good conscience is to know that God accepts us as clean from all *sin.
*Faith has to be sincere. That means that it must be real and genuine. We can fool people into thinking that we have *faith but we cannot fool God. As we trust God, he puts his love in us. And then we can love him.
Verse 6 Some people at *Ephesus had turned away from the truth of Godís word. They had followed their own ideas. And so, they did not do what the Bible teaches. They failed to have that love which comes from a clean heart, a good conscience and real *faith. They talked a lot, but said nothing of real value. Their teaching was just vain words that were of no use at all.
Verse 7 These false teachers had wanted to be teachers of the law. The law here means the laws that God gave to Moses. They are in the first five books of the *Old Testament. The teacher was very important in those days. They wanted to be important and they wanted the Christians to respect them. But they did not know what the law said. They did not understand the principles of the law that they claimed to teach. What they taught with such confidence was in error. What they said was not correct and it produced no good results.
Verse 8 The problem was not that there was anything wrong with the law. The law itself is good because God gave it. The problem was with the false teachers who used it wrongly. They were using it to support their own ideas. The use of the law must be for its proper purpose. This purpose is to teach people how they should live. It shows them where they have gone wrong.
Verses 9-10 The purpose of all law is to show us when we do wrong things. So law is not for good persons but for those who are bad. We need the law to give us the rules of behaviour by which we must live. By the law, the judge decides whether a person is good or bad. The law gives the rules for punishing those whom it finds to be guilty.
Paul then gives a list of the kinds of persons for whom we have the law. He follows the pattern of the ten commands that God gave to Moses (Exodus 20:1-17). He starts with three pairs of wrong doing which are against the first four commands. These are *sins against God. We should love God. But these people do not obey him or respect him. Some do not believe in him while other people speak against him. The rest of these two verses list the kinds of *sins that are against other people. The list does not describe all that is wrong. But the final sentence does cover all that is not good. All those acts that are against a right understanding of the Bible and of the law are *sin.
Verse 11 The right use of the law and of the Bible is part of the *gospel. The *gospel shows us some of the *glory of God. The law can only show that people are *sinners. But the *gospel shows us the power, goodness and love of God. By the *Lord Jesus, God can make us clean from our *sins. By the *Lord Jesus, we can know God.
God and the *Lord Jesus sent Paul to declare this *gospel. This *gospel is good news because it gives us a way of escape from *sin.
Verse 12 The task that the *Lord had given to Paul was a big one. He could not do it on his own. He thanked the *Lord for the support that he had received from him. He had to depend on the strength that the *Lord Jesus gave to him.
Paul is looking back to his experience on the road to Damascus city (Acts 9). He was on his way to attack the Christians there. Up to that time, Paul denied that Jesus could be either *Messiah or the *Lord. But the *Lord Jesus Christ met him and so Paul believed in him. From that time, the *Lord Jesus trusted Paul and sent him to declare the *gospel. Paul was astonished at this and he was so grateful to the *Lord for it.
Verse 13 Saul (Paul) was a *Jew. He was eager to be the best one in the religion of the *Jews. He saw those who trusted in Jesus as a danger to his religion. He spoke against Jesus. And he denied that he was the Christ. Paul was convinced about something: He had to destroy all who confessed Jesus. That means Ďsaid that he was the Christ (*Messiah). (See Acts 8:3; 9:1-2.) He was a cruel man. He dragged them from their homes and sent them to prison.
Paul was sincere. He believed that he served God by doing this. He did not know that what he was doing was wrong. He thought that it was his duty to oppose Jesus. He did not believe that Jesus was the *Lord and the Christ. But when Jesus met him, Paul was convinced. Then the *Lord Jesus Christ showed *mercy to him. And he forgave Paul for all that he had done.
Verse 14 It was more than *mercy that Paul received from God. The kindness of the *Lord was like a flood of water poured over him. He received *faith to believe and trust in the *Lord Jesus. As he received the love of God into his life, so he was able to love the *Lord as well. He once hated the Christians but now he loved them.
Verse 15 Here is the heart of the *gospel of Christ Jesus. He came into the world to save *sinners. Jesus himself said, ĎThe Son of Man came to find and to save what was lostí (Luke 19:10). This is the essential base on which all of the Christian life rests. We must believe it and accept it. We must trust in Jesus and what he has done for us.
Jesus was God but he came as a human being into this world. He came for a purpose. That purpose was to rescue us from our *sins. He took all our *sins to himself. He paid the price for them when he died. He was so great that God raised him from the dead. Now all who trust him and confess their *sins are free from their *sins. The *Lord will give them life with him. This is the life that will never die.
Paul felt that of all *sinners he was the worst. This was because he had attacked the Christians with such cruelty. The *Lord forgave Paul for all his *sins. But Paul still says that he is a *sinner. He is a *sinner whom God, in his *grace, has saved. God has saved him because of his trust in Christ.
Verse 16 Paul was so bad but the *Lord still had pity on him. The *Lord did not punish Paul, as he deserved. But he was patient with him. He met Paul on the road. And he showed him what he ought to do. Then Paul believed in the *Lord Jesus.
Paul was not the first to believe in Christ but his was the most astonishing change. He had been the worst of *sinners. But now he was a leader in the church and an *apostle. Such a change was all due to the patience of the *Lord. All who believe in Christ have a new kind of life. They change as Paul did. Paulís life was now a powerful example of the *grace of God. He sees his own experience as the pattern of what Christ can do. He does it in the lives of all who believe in him. They will be what God wants them to be. And so they will be truly alive.
Verse 17 As Paul thinks about what he has written, he praises the *Lord.
God is the great king above all other kings. He governs all the ages from the *creation of the world to the end of time. He is in absolute control of all things.
God is always the same because he never changes. As he was, he is and always will be. He is not human as we are. And he can never decrease or die. He is the source of all life and he is the living one.
We cannot see him. This is because he is so far above what we can understand. He lives in a light to which we cannot approach. No human person has seen or can see him. We can only know him to the extent to which he shows himself to us. He has done this by sending the *Lord Jesus Christ. He sent him to show us what he is like.
All honour and *glory is due to him who is the only God. There are many gods but only one true God. Through all the ages to come, praise is due to him.
Verse 18 Paul, as the older man, is telling his Ďsoní what he must do. ĎSoní here means that Paul told Timothy about Jesus. This refers back to verses 3-5, where he told Timothy to stop the false teachers and to teach the truth. It also looks forward to what Paul is about to write.
When Timothy first went with Paul (Acts 16:3), the leaders of his church prayed for him. As they prayed the *Lord gave them words to speak to Timothy. These words were the *prophecies. They showed what God wanted Timothy to be and to do. What Paul is now telling Timothy to do agrees with those prophecies.
Both the *prophecies and what Paul told him were to encourage Timothy to be strong. The Christian life is like a war. There are battles to be won and fights to be fought. By doing what the *prophecies and Paul said, Timothy would fight well.
Verse 19 Paul is eager that Timothy should continue to trust God. He wants Timothy to have a good conscience. That conscience will help to keep Timothy from doing bad things. To fight a good fight these two, trust and a clear conscience, are essential.
Some people have refused to act as their consciences showed them. They have done what they know to be wrong. This has had a damaging effect on their trust in God. It is like a ship that hits the rock. The ship sinks. So they have ruined their *faith.
Verse 20 As a warning, Paul names two men who have done bad things. They had ruined their *faith. These are Hymenaeus and Alexander. Hymenaeus had become a false teacher (2 Timothy 2:17). Alexander could be the man who made things from copper in *Ephesus. If so, he caused Paul a lot of trouble (2 Timothy 4:14).
Both of these men had spoken against the *Lord and against the truth of the *gospel. Paul handed these two men to *Satan. This was an act of discipline for a person who would not *repent of *sin. Paul and the leaders put them out of the church.
The purpose of this severe act was that they might *repent. By this, they might learn not to speak against God or against the truth.
Verse 1 When Christians meet together as a church, they should pray. This is most important. Paul urges them to pray for all people. He uses four different words in this verse. These words help to show what this prayer means.
The first of these words means to make requests to God to meet needs. This is when we desire God to do something to help. We see the needs of people. Then we desire that God will meet their needs. We should pray for them.
Then there is the usual word that is prayer to God. We bring to God all the things that trouble us. And then we ask him to guide us. We think about other people. Then we ask God to help us to know what is right. And we ask him to help us to know what we should do. We ask God for his general blessing and care for the people. We talk to God about them.
The third word means to have a conversation with God and to make an appeal to him. The *Lord Jesus gives us the confidence to come to God and to talk with him. We can be like the agents for other people and come to God with an appeal on their behalf. We ask God to help and bless them.
The last word means to thank God. We must always thank God. We thank him for all people. We thank him for all that he has done. Thank him for each of those for whom we have prayed.
They should pray in this manner for all people. He is not asking them to pray for everyone in the world. That would not be possible for them to do. He means that they should pray for all kinds of people. They should pray for the people that they know. And they should pray for the people about whom they know.
Verse 2 They should pray for all who lead in their society. At that time, it would have been for the *emperor in *Rome and all the minor rulers. The *emperor was Nero, who was a very cruel man. Christians should pray for all those who govern them. They should pray for them, whether they are good or bad.
What the rulers do and say will affect the lives of all the people. The purpose in praying for them is that they will rule well. The prayer is that all that they do will be for the good of the people.
The Christians should pray that the rulers would allow them to live in *peace. The reason for this desire is so that they can be free to *worship and serve God. They want to be able to live good and honest lives. They want to be at *peace with all the people. They want to be able to share what they believe with other people.
Verses 3-4 It is a good thing to pray for the people and for the rulers. It is right for Christians to care enough to pray to God for them. More than that, such prayers are pleasing to God. God saves from *sin all those who have come to him through the *Lord Jesus. He desires that all people should come to him. So, as Christians want the same thing, it will please the *Lord.
God wants to save all sorts of people, including those who lead, from the effects of their *sin. He desires that they would come to know the truth. The truth of God will deliver them from all error.
Verse 5 People may believe in many gods but there is only one real God. Many believe that there is only one God. But they do not know him. People can only know God by coming to him through the *Lord Jesus Christ.
The *Lord Jesus is the only one who can bring people and God together. To do this he had to be the agent for both God and people. Jesus Christ is God. And he came to show us what God was like. He became a man so that he could take us to God. The *Lord Jesus had to deal with all that separated us from God. He took the *sins of all people and died on their behalf. By this, he made *peace and is now able to bring people to God.
Verse 6 All people have done what is wrong. There is no person who has not *sinned. The effect of this was to make all people to become like slaves to *sin. The *Lord Jesus gave himself as the price to free people from *sin. He alone was perfect and has not *sinned. But he took the punishment of all our *sins when he died. He suffered instead of and on behalf of us all. Those who accept that he died for them are set free from their *sins.
God sent his Son Jesus Christ at the time that he appointed. In the plan of God, the *Lord Jesus died for all people. This is what he has shown us. And this is the true *gospel.
Verse 7 God called Paul to be an *apostle of the *Lord Jesus. God sent him to declare this *gospel to all people, both *Jews and *Gentiles. It seems that some of those in *Ephesus had doubted the authority of Paul. Therefore, he insists that he is not lying. It is true that God has appointed him an *apostle.
He did not only *preach the *gospel. God also sent him to teach the *Gentiles. He explained to them what is true. And he tried to lead them to the *Lord. He taught them what Christians believe. And he taught them how they should live.
Verse 8 Paul writes here about prayer in the public *worship of the Christians. The women had to keep quiet in the church meetings. So he urges the men to pray. In every place where the Christians meet, the men should pray.
When they pray in the church meeting, they should lift up their hands. They lift them up to God. But this act and their prayers have no value if they are not clean (morally good) in their minds. They cannot really pray unless their lives are good.
There must be a unity in the church. There can be no anger between the members. They must settle all such problems before they pray. They must not argue among themselves. And they must believe that God will hear their prayers.
Verse 9 Paul now talks about how the women should behave in the church meetings. They come together to meet with and *worship the *Lord. They too should pray but they should not pray aloud.
Women should be modest in both their attitude and in their dress. They should not dress or wear things to attract attention to them. The centre of attention should be the *Lord. So they should be modest in their appearance. This does not mean that the women should be dull and not attractive. But they should not display their wealth or beauty. Paul is writing about the excess and the effect of these things.
Verse 10 The women should make themselves attractive by what they do. Not by what they wear. Their lives are more important than the clothes that they put on. Christian women should do good things because they trust in God.
Verse 11 When the *Jews came for *worship, the women had to be silent. Among the *Gentiles, this was not always so. Paul ruled that the women should be quiet. When they came to the meetings, they should be under the authority of the men who taught. They had to listen to them and learn from them.
Verse 12 Paul would not permit a woman to teach in the public meetings of the church. He is not saying that there is no place for a woman to teach. But the task of teaching in the church belonged to the men. For a woman to teach men would be to take the authority from them. The women should keep quiet in the church meetings.
Verses 13-14 The reason why the man should be the leader over the woman is that God made the man first. After this, he made the woman to be a helper for the man (Genesis 2:20-23). It is not that men are superior to women. They are equal before God. But they are not the same and they have different roles in society. Men and women are equal partners but one must take the lead. The man should take that role for the benefit of both of them.
Paul then looks at the story of the first *sin (Genesis 3:1-7). The woman listened to the lies that *Satan told her. She believed what he said. And so she did not obey God. She took and ate of the fruit. But God had said they must not eat that fruit. She gave some of it to the man and he ate it. The man did not accept the lies of *Satan. He decided to *sin when the woman offered the fruit to him.
This is an example of Eve taking the role that Adam had. He was wrong because he listened to the voice of his wife (Genesis 3:17). There is a danger when men or women take on the wrong roles.
Verse 15 Women should not try to take the role that God has given to men. The role that he talks about here is to teach in the church meeting. They have other roles that men cannot have. One of those roles is to have children.
After the fall into *sin, God told Eve that she would be in pain as she gave birth to children. Eve is the subject of the first part of this verse. She had *sinned but God gave the promise of *salvation. He would send the Christ (*Messiah) to be born of a woman. So, through the birth of Jesus to Mary, God kept his promise. God will save women if they continue to trust in him and love him. They should be pure, holy and modest.
Some people take this verse as a promise that women will be safe as they give birth. But they must have the right attitude toward God. They must trust him and love him. They must be pure, holy and modest.
This verse does not mean that having children is the method by which God will save women. That would make their *salvation to depend on their works. But *salvation comes by the gift of God and we receive it by *faith. God will not save women because they give birth to children. He saves them as they *repent and believe the *gospel.
Verse 1 The task of the leaders is to look after the affairs of the church. It is their job to take care of all the members, to teach them and to lead them. It is not an easy task but it is a noble one. The desire must be for the good of the church and not for selfish reasons.
Verse 2 In verses 2 to 7, Paul lists the qualities that a man must have to be a church leader. Paul taught here that the work of a leader in the church was for men rather than women. When Paul was writing, the leaders were always men.
The local churches each had a group of men who were the leaders. These were the *elders or *bishops. The word *elder did not mean that they were old. It was a title for a leader. The word *bishop here is not the same function as *bishops have now in some churches. It just meant one of the leaders.
A leader must be a good man. No one should be able to accuse him of doing wrong things. His life must be a good model for the church members to follow.
If he is a married man, he must have only one wife. He must be a loyal husband to his wife.
He needs to be able to think clearly so that he can make wise decisions. He must always be in control of himself. Those who drink too much tend to lose that control. He should earn the respect of both Christians and those who are not Christians.
When strangers come to the church or to his home, he should greet them. He will make sure that they are looked after and helped. If they need it, he will invite them to stay with him or with one of the Christians.
The leaders should be ready and able to teach. What they and other teachers teach to the Christians must be true. The leaders must make sure that it is. They must be able to argue for the truth against all that is false.
Verse 3 A leader must not be a man who drinks a lot. He must never suffer the effects of too much strong drink. Some of these effects can be to argue and to fight. An *elder must never get to that state. He must not quarrel or fight.
He must try to understand people and be kind to them. He should not be too severe with them. His task is to encourage the Christians to be at *peace and to love each other.
He should not be a leader for what he can get from it. His desire should be to serve and give himself for the church members. His aim must not be to gain money or goods for himself. The love of money is the cause of much evil.
Verses 4-5 To be a leader of the church a man must lead his own family well. This means that his children must have a good attitude. Their parents will have taught them how to behave. So, they respect and obey those who look after them.
It is easier for a man to control his own family than to lead the church. So, if he does not control his family, he will not be able to take care of the church. It is the church of God. And those who lead it should be qualified to do so.
Verse 6 A person who has just become a Christian should not be a leader in the church. He should first prove that he has the right qualities for the task. It would take some time and experience to show that he is ready for this work.
There is a danger that a new Christian in this job would be proud. Those who are proud will fall as the devil did. The devil was once good but because of his pride, he became evil. God opposes the devil and all who are proud. One day God will destroy the devil (Revelation 20:10). The proud will share the same punishment as the devil.
Verse 7 A leader must have a very good character. Then those who do not come to the church will respect him. He will not have success if the people do not trust him. Where the people do not respect the church leaders, it will spoil the work of the church. It may stop people from believing the *gospel of the *Lord Jesus Christ. It could be a cause and a reason for them to oppose the church.
The devil is always trying to stop the spread of the *gospel. He will use anything that he can to do this. If there is anything in a leader of the church that he can attack, he will. As a hunter makes a trap to catch an animal, so he tries to catch the church leaders. He tempts them to do what he wants. If they do this, it will have a bad effect on the church.
Verse 8 The word *deacon means a servant. But it became a job in the church. While the *elders led, the *deacons did much of the practical work in the church. There would be a group of *deacons in each local church. In the time of Paul, these would usually be men. Like the *elders, they had to have the right qualities for this work. These were similar to but a little less than those of the *elders.
*Deacons must live good lives so that people can respect them. They must always speak the truth. They will not vary what they say. And people will be able to depend on their word. They must be careful how they live. And they must not drink too much strong drink. They must be honest in all that they do. The desire for gain for themselves must not be their aim or the reason for what they do. Their purpose in this work must be to serve God and the church members.
Verse 9 From the beginning of time, God planned to send Jesus. When Jesus Christ came, he died to take away the *sins of us all. God spoke about the coming of Jesus all through the *Old Testament. But none of the people seemed to understand what he said. They expected the Christ (*Messiah) to come as a strong king like the kings of the nations. But he was humble like a servant and died on a cross. Now God showed to the people what they could not know. God has shown the truth about the *Lord Jesus Christ to those who believe. This is the centre of the Christian *faith. God will save from their *sins all those who believe and trust in the *Lord Jesus. The *deacons must be firm in their belief in this *gospel.
As they maintain this truth, they must have clean consciences. They must not allow any *sin to spoil their life with God. If they do *sin, they must *repent. And they must ask God to forgive them. What they believe must show in how they live.
Verse 10 Those who want to be *deacons must pass these tests. They must show that they possess these qualities. There must be no reason why they may not be *deacons. The other people need to be sure about that. Then the church members or the leaders can appoint them to do this work.
Verse 11 In the church at that time, *deacons were usually men. There were women in the church who did the work of a *deacon. For example, there was Phoebe who was a *deacon in the church at Cenchrea (Romans 16:1). So the women here are those who take part in the work of the *deacons. Some of them may have been the wives of *deacons. Some of them could have been women that the church members had appointed to do this work.
Just as the *deacons had to live good lives, so must these women. They must not gossip or find fault with other people. They will know about things that should be kept private. They must not talk about these things. People must be able to trust them. They must not drink too much strong drink. They must be steady and honest in all their work.
Verse 12 If a *deacon is married, he must be the husband of one wife. This is the same as for the *elders. He must be in control of his own family. It is not that he manages the church. But it shows the character that any who work in the church must have. Poor control at home would show a weakness that is not good in a *deacon.
Verse 13 Those who serve well in their duties in the church gain honour for themselves. Such good service pleases the *Lord. The members of the church will also respect the *deacons who do their job well. These good *deacons can grow in confidence and in their trust in the *Lord Jesus Christ. They can be bolder as they speak about what they believe to other people.
Verses 14-15 Paul was hoping to visit Timothy soon. But he wrote this letter just in case there was a delay in his plans. He wanted the church members to know how they should live. So, he gave these rules for the leaders and for the members. He wanted them to behave well when they came together as the church.
The church is not the building in which they meet. It is all the *believers when they meet to *worship and serve God. They are the house of God. God is with them. They are the church of the living God. The strength and the foundation of that church are in God.
God has trusted Christians with his truth. Each local church of Christians has a duty to protect that truth from all that is false. There were some people in *Ephesus who opposed the truth. And those people taught wrong things. Timothy had to tell them to stop doing so. The church members must not accept what these people taught. They must hold on to and spread the truth that is from God.
Verse 16 The secret of true religion that God has shown to us is great. All must agree with this because there can be no doubt about it. The secret that he has shown to us is about the *Lord Jesus Christ. And it is about what he has done. It was a secret because people did not know Godís plan. He had promised that the Christ would come to save us from our *sins. All through the *Old Testament, God speaks about the future when Christ would come. When he came, the Christ had to suffer and die for us. But nobody understood that. Now we know that the *Lord Jesus has come. He has done all that God had said that he would do.
The rest of the verse seems to be from a statement of belief in the church. It may have been part of a Christian song. There are six lines, each of which is about Christ or his work on the earth.
1. God, in the person of Christ, came to us as a man. Christ was always God. But he came to us as a human being so that we may know him.
2. The *Lord Jesus claimed to be the Christ (*Messiah) that God had promised to send. He said that he was the Son of God. He said that he was one with and equal to the Father. He was God. The Spirit agrees that these claims are true. He declares that Jesus is the Son of God and that he is perfect. Jesus did not *sin at all. But he took our *sins when he died on the cross.
The Spirit declared Christ to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). He proved it in that Jesus Christ rose again from the dead.
3. *Angels were involved at times while Jesus lived on the earth. One of them came to those who looked after the sheep to tell them about his birth (Luke 2:9). They came to Jesus after the devil had tempted him (Matthew 4:11). An *angel helped him as he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43). An *angel rolled back the stone from the entrance to the grave when Jesus rose from the dead (Matthew 28:2-7). The *angel sat on that stone. Some women had come. And the *angel told the women that Jesus was alive again. Two *angels who were inside the grave spoke to Mary (John 20:11-13). Later, Jesus left the earth and went up to heaven. Two *angels were there. And they told the friends of Jesus that he would come again (Acts 1:10-11).
Therefore, the *angels see him. They are Godís servants. He sends them to help those who believe in Jesus (Hebrews 1:14). They see what the *Lord Jesus has done. They look to him as the ruler in heaven. They praise and *worship him (Hebrews 1:6).
4. As he was leaving the earth, the *Lord Jesus told his friends to tell the people in all the nations of the world about him. From that day, Christians have gone to the nations with the good news of Christ.
5. Where the Christians have told people the good news of Christ, some have believed it. They have put their trust in him and become Christians too.
6. The *Lord Jesus went up from this earth. He entered into the bright light of heaven where God lives. There he enjoys honour and praise. God has given to him all power to rule in heaven and over the earth.
Verse 1 Paul turns from instructions to Timothy and the church members, to give a warning. He talks about a time when many will turn away from the *Lord. These people said that they trusted in God. But then they changed their minds. They gave up their *faith and turned their backs on the *Lord. The Holy Spirit had said that this would happen in future times.
The last days here means some time after the Spirit had spoken. It is not just the final period, which is still to come. The last days here refer to the present, which began with the coming of Christ. Since the church started, there have been those who said that they believed. But later, they turned away from the *Lord. The Bible does say that there will be a time when a large number will turn away. That will be in the period just before the *Lord Jesus comes again (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
These people stop believing in the *Lord. This is because they act on lies. They turn away from the truth and believe lies. They listen to what false teachers say. These lies come from evil *spirits that lead them away from the truth. They start to accept what *demons teach.
These *spirits and *demons are enemies of God and of the *Lord Jesus Christ. Their aim is to make of no effect the work that the *Lord has done for us. They will do all that they can to stop people from trusting in Christ. They also try to turn Christians from their belief in him.
Verse 2 The false teachers whom the *demons use seem to be good. But they speak lies. They teach things that do not agree with the truth from God. It may sound good but it is false.
These teachers should have known the truth but they chose to deny it. They have allowed the *demons to persuade them that the truth is not right. They have decided to follow and to teach what is false. This has damaged their consciences. It is as if they have burned them with a hot iron. They can no longer know what is right or what is wrong.
Verse 3 Paul mentions two of the wrong things that these people taught. They forbade people to marry. And they told them that they must not eat certain foods.
The Bible teaches that marriage is a good thing. And it is from God. As for the foods, God created them for us to eat. Christians should know that they can eat all kinds of food. But they should always thank God for what they eat. They should be grateful to God for all that he has given to them.
Verses 4-5 God is good and therefore all that he does is good. He created all things. In the story of the *creation, at each stage, it says that God saw that it was good (Genesis 1). He gave all kinds of plants and fruit for food (Genesis 1:29). He told Noah that every moving thing that lives should be food for him (Genesis 9:3). So, we should not forbid any kind of food. God is not pleased with us just because we do not eat certain foods.
We should receive all things as from God and thank him for them. What God has said and our prayer of thanks to him make all food fit for us to eat. This teaches us that Christians should pray before they eat.
Verse 6 Timothy should remind the Christians of the things about which Paul writes. There was nothing new in what Paul wrote. They should all have been aware of these things. Timothy should continue to teach the truth that they have received. Then he will be a good leader.
He will be a good servant of Christ Jesus. The *Lord appoints leaders as his servants to serve the church members. The task of the leaders is not to be bosses as are leaders in the world. Rather, they should see themselves as those who serve the church members. The *Lord Jesus said about himself that he was among them as one who serves (Luke 22:27). They and all who believe in Christ should have that same attitude.
Those whom he teaches are the brothers and sisters. These are the Christians in that place. All who believe in the *Lord Jesus are children of God. They are members with Paul and Timothy in the family of God. They should be to each other as brothers and sisters.
Timothy needs to look after himself by learning all that the *Lord Jesus and the *apostles taught. They are the words of the *faith. This is because their aim is to bring people to believe and trust in the *Lord. Food makes the body strong. In the same way, as Timothy studies these words, he will be stronger in his own belief. He will be more able to lead and help other Christians.
Timothy has known the truth since he was a child. He has followed it from his youth. He should continue to live and grow in that truth.
Verse 7 A good leader must refuse all that is not true. So many of the stories that people believe in are a waste of time. They are often not correct and some come from an evil source. Paul advises Timothy to have nothing to do with such things. They would cause damage to, rather than help, the work of God.
A person who runs races will train hard to be as fit as possible. He or she will take off all clothing that is not needed for the race. In the same way, Paul tells Timothy to work hard and avoid what he does not need. The aim is not a race but to be ready for the work of God. He, and all Christians, should aim to become more like the *Lord Jesus.
Verse 8 It is a good thing to exercise the body. It helps to keep the body in good health. But its benefits are only for the short time that we live here on earth. Paul does not say that we should not exercise the body. But he says that there is much more benefit if we train to be like the *Lord Jesus. This has benefit for all time and for the life that is to come.
What God gives has the promise of life. This is the life that is to come. He gives that life to all who believe and trust in the *Lord Jesus Christ. So, that life is far more important than the health of the body. Christ has promised us a different quality of life now. And it goes on when our body dies. Therefore, it should be the aim of all Christians to be like Christ. They cannot achieve it now, but they should work hard towards it. Such effort is well worthwhile because God will bless it.
Verses 9 The words and the message that Paul gives are true. This could apply to verse 8 or verse 10 or to both of them. He urges Timothy to accept what he writes and to believe it.
Verse 10 To be like Christ has the promise of life. So, Christians work hard and struggle to be like him. This is not to earn that life because it is a gift from God. They continue to hope in the God who lives. That is why they work hard. There is no doubt in this hope. They are sure of that life by their belief and trust in Christ. This hope gives them the confidence to go on and not to give up.
God, by what the *Lord Jesus has done, has made it possible for all people to receive the new life. That is life with him both now and after the death of the body. But they have to receive it from him. God has given that *salvation to all who trust in Christ.
Verse 11 Timothy should order and teach these things. Timothy was a shy and quiet man. But Paul tells him to use his authority as the leader of this church. He must be strong. And he must order people to do what the *Lord has said. He must teach them the things about which Paul writes.
Verse 12 As Timothy does give commands and teach, there may be some who would oppose him. They may claim that he is still young. He does not have the experience that they would respect. Timothy must not let this happen. He can overcome this by being mature in all that he does.
The word young here means a young man of up to 30 or 40 years of age. Timothy must have been 30 years old or even a bit older. Many of the *believers at *Ephesus would have been much older than he was.
Paul urges Timothy to be a pattern to them of how a Christian should live. He should be careful how he speaks. And he should be careful about what he says. In all that he does, he must show true Christian character. What he says and does should show that he has the basic qualities of the Christian life. The first of these is love. This is the kind of love that the *Lord has for us. Timothy should speak and act with love for God and for the Christians whom he leads. Then his words and works should always show that he believes and trusts in the *Lord. His life should be morally good before God and the people.
Timothy should live like this. Then all will see that he is fit to lead. He will prove that his age is not important. He has the authority to do as Paul urges him to do. He can order and teach the church members. And he can expect them to accept what he says.
Verse 13 Paul said Ďuntil I comeí. But he did not want Timothy to stop doing these things when he came. While Paul was absent from *Ephesus, Timothy should continue to do these things. He writes about the meetings of the church. They should read the *scriptures. The leader should urge them to obey the *scriptures. A teacher should teach them about the truth. When the members come together, there should be those three things.
Timothy should make sure that he or someone else reads the *scriptures aloud. There would be those there who could not or did not read the Bible for themselves. All who believe in Christ should know what the Bible says. That is important. The Bible is Godís word to his people and through it he speaks to them.
James tells us to do what the word says. We should not be just those who hear it (James 1:22). As the church members hear the *scriptures, they should obey them. Timothy, as the leader, should urge them to obey what God says in the Bible.
The church members need to understand and know the truth. Timothy has to teach them all that he has learnt about the word of God and about the Christian *faith.
Verse 14 Timothy had received a gift from God when the *elders laid their hands on him. This gift was to help him do the work to which God appointed him. God gave him the gift through *prophecy. The Holy Spirit had shown one or more persons that he was giving the gift to Timothy. The *elders who were there agreed that the *prophecy was true.
Paul tells Timothy that he must not neglect that gift. God gave it for him to use. There are many gifts of the Holy Spirit. He gives them as he chooses. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11.) We do not know what this gift was. But it was to help Timothy in his life and work.
The laying on of hands was to appoint a person to a task. It was to show that the *elders agreed with the decision to chose him or her. It showed that they believed that the call to do it was from God. It was to bless and show that they supported that person. The *elders of the church laid their hands on Timothy.
Verse 15 Timothy must be careful to do all the things that Paul has written. He must give himself to the work to which God has called him. Then all will see how he is progressing. They will see how he grows in his trust in God. And grows in the authority that God has given to him.
Verse 16 Timothy must give attention to two things. They are himself and what he teaches.
He needs to be careful about his own life with the *Lord. He needs to grow in his trust in God and in his knowledge of God. It is important that he lives a good life. He must continue to live as Paul has shown him.
He must teach the truth of God. What he teaches must be true to Godís word. He must always continue to do and teach what Paul had taught him.
As Timothy does all this, he will achieve two aims. God will be pleased with what he has done. Also, the *Lord will rescue from punishment those who believe in what he teaches.
Verses 1-2 Timothy has a duty to teach the local church members what is true and right. He has to show them how they should live as Christians. He has to order the false teachers and those who gossip to stop doing it. He has to correct those who do not obey. And he has to correct those who do not live in a good way. In all of this, it is important that he has the right attitude. He must be gentle and kind but firm with them all.
Where he needs to correct an older man, he should respect him like a father. He must not be strict and severe with him. Rather, he should appeal to him. And he should urge him to change and to do what is right.
Timothy must think of the younger men as his own brothers. He must not think of himself as better than them. But he should see them as brothers in the family of God. He should talk to them and encourage them to trust in the *Lord. And he should encourage them to live as they should.
He should be as gentle to the older women as he would be to his own mother. The younger women should be as his sisters. He must be most careful when he deals with these. He must be sure that his thoughts and actions are morally good.
Verse 3 Widows need help and care. Someone has to decide what care should be given. And they must decide who should give it. The church members must respect those who are widows. Paul makes a distinction between those who have no one to help them and those who have. The church should provide for those who have no support.
Verse 4 Children should learn that they have a duty to look after their parents. This is part of their Christian *faith. The same applies to grandchildren and to all in the family. These should supply all that the widow needs. They are responsible for this care and they should not expect the church to do it.
They have a debt that they owe to their parents. The support that they give is only what is due to the widow. Parents give a lot when they bring up children. The support of the widow is some payment for what she has given in the past.
God wants them to support their widows. It pleases God when they do it.
Verse 5 A widow who is alone has no family to look after her. Her only hope for this life and the next is in God. She trusts God to take care of her and to provide all that she needs. As a Christian, she has always prayed to the *Lord. She has trusted him in the past and she still does. Now she continues to pray to him. Every night and morning, she asks God to help her.
Verse 6 In contrast with the widow who trusts in God, Paul speaks about another one. This one does not trust in God or help other people in their need. She lives only to please herself in the present. She has no thought for the future. She thinks that this is real life. But she is dead to the life that God gives. The church has no duty to support her.
Verses 7 Paul now returns to the subject of those who should look after their widows. Timothy should tell the relatives to look after their widows. If they do this, no one can blame them. They are doing what is good and right.
Verse 8 If they do not provide what their widows need, they fail in their duty. This is more so if the widow is their mother or their grandmother. The Christian *faith teaches that they have a duty to care. But they have not obeyed. They are guilty of the *sin of neglect. It is like turning away from the *Lord. Christians who fail in this are worse than those who do not trust in God. Even those who do not believe in the *Lord look after their widows.
Verse 9 Paul has shown what the families should do for their widows. Now he turns to what the church members should do. They may provide for those who have no family to support them.
The church at that time used to give a promise of support to those who passed some tests. These they put on an official list. Once they were on the list, the church members would provide for them for the rest of their lives.
To qualify for the list the widow must be at least 60 years old. In those days people thought that at that age, she was an old woman. She would not get married again. She must have no family. Or, if she had, they did not support her. That could only be if the family were not Christians. She must have been living with and loyal to her husband while he was alive.
Verse 10 She must have a good character and have done good works. Paul lists some of the good works that she might have done.
It could be that she looked after children. These may have been her own or other peopleís. Maybe they were children whose parents had died.
When travellers came to the church or to her house she made them welcome. She took them into her home and provided for them.
The roads were dusty. And as the Christians walked, their feet got dirty. When they came into a home, they needed to wash them. A good hostess would wash the feet of her guests. She was willing to do this humble task for them.
When anybody was in trouble, she was there to give what help she could. She would try to meet their needs and look after them.
She must have done all kinds of good works. This was how she lived, always doing good things to help other people. This was the kind of life that she should have lived. Then the church members could support her.
Verse 11 Paul does not say that the church should not look after the younger widows. He says that the church should not add them to the list for which there is the promise of continued support. These widows do not qualify for the list because of their age. They are not yet 60 years old.
To be on the list carries with it a promise to serve Christ in the church in some way. This means that those on the list are not free to marry. It is quite likely that at some time a young widow will want to marry again. If she were on the list, her marriage would break the promise that she had made to Christ. She would not then be loyal to him because she had promised to give herself to serve him.
Verse 12 If a widow is not on the list she can get married. Paul says that it would be a good thing if they did get married (verse 14). But being on the list involves a promise to God. That means that they would not get married. If they do get married, they break that promise. They are guilty of turning away from the *Lord.
Verse 13 In the time when Paul wrote, most of the women had no education. They did not have jobs by which they could keep themselves. Women should marry. They should have children and keep the home. When the husband died and the children had left home, they did not have much to do. There was the danger that these women would be lazy. Worse still, they might waste their time and that of other women. They would go from house to house. They would spend their time talking to each other. They would gossip about other people. And they would talk about things that they should not talk about. They would get involved in affairs that had nothing to do with them.
Verse 14 A widow is free to marry again if she wants to. It would be better for them and the church if they did marry. They would then be busy again with the tasks of family life. They might have children and they would look after a husband and a home. They would not have the time to gossip from house to house.
Those who are against the church look for reasons to attack it. What the young widows did could give them an excuse to say bad things about the church. But when they marry there is no longer a problem.
Paulís chief aim is to protect the good name of the church.
Verse 15 Paul shows the reason for the worry that he has. Some widows had turned aside from the *Lord. He does not say how many of them were involved. But some of them had left the church to follow *Satan. They may not have been aware that it was *Satan that they followed. But that was the truth of the matter.
Verse 16 If there are widows in their family, the Christians should take care of them. Paul here says that this is the duty of the women. They may themselves be widows but have the means to give support. They may be daughters or daughters in law of the widows. They could be sisters or mothers to the widows. It does not matter what the relationship is. They should look after them.
It would be wrong to leave the support of these widows to the church members. No doubt, the church members would do it if it were necessary. But the church should not have this duty. It would take time and money. That time and money could be used for those who have no one to help them.
Verse 17 The local churches each had a group of men who were the leaders. The job of these officials was to direct the affairs of the church. They were responsible for the work and growth of the church. These were the *elders.
The members should respect those who do this job well. They should give to them the honour that they deserve.
All of the *elders must be able to teach. But some of them would be more able to do it. The highest honour should go to those who *preach and teach. To do this well requires a lot of hard work and study. Those whom they teach should appreciate this.
The church members should reward the *elders for the work that they do. They should reward them for how well they do it. This may be in money if the church pays its *elders. Or it may be in the honour that they give to them.
Verse 18 Then, as they still do in some countries, the farmer used an *ox to separate the grain from the crop. They spread the crop over the ground and made the *ox walk on it. As the *ox walked on the crop the farmer should not stop it from eating some of the grain. He should not tie up its mouth. It should be free to eat while it worked.
This was a rule that God gave to the *Jews in the *Old Testament (Deuteronomy 25:4). This teaches that the *ox should be able to benefit from its work. So the *elder who does his task well should benefit from his work.
The *Lord Jesus said that the person who works deserves to be paid (Luke 10:7; Matthew 10:10). He sent his *disciples to tell the people the *gospel and to heal the sick. He told them not to take money or food with them. They should expect those whom they taught to provide for them. As the *elders work in the church, so the church members should provide for them. The *elder who works well deserves to live from his work.
Verse 19 When one person accuses an *elder, Paul warns Timothy not to act on it. He should not accept it as true. But if two or three persons say that it is true, he must think about it. Timothy must decide whether they are right or not.
Verse 20 If the bad report is true, Timothy must act on it. He must bring the *sin of the *elders to the whole church. Paul is eager that the *sins of *elders are not hidden. They should be dealt with in public. The purpose of this is to act as a warning to the other *elders. The result should be that they and the members would be more careful not to *sin. They would be afraid of such shame in public.
Verse 21 Paul urges Timothy to obey what he has said in the last two verses. These things are very important. And Timothy must do what is right. Paul warns him in a most serious manner. He says that God, the *Lord Jesus and the *angels are there to see that Timothy does obey. There might be two or three people who accuse an *elder. Then Timothy must look at the facts. He must not act on his own opinions. He must search for what is true. He must not act from prejudice.
Verse 22 To appoint a new *elder, Timothy and the *elders would put their hands on him. They would lay hands as they appoint people to any office or task in the church. To lay hands on them shows that they have the authority to do the task. The leaders put their hands on a person. This shows that they approve of him or her.
Paul tells Timothy not to be too quick in laying hands on anyone. He ought first to be sure that the person is fit for the office. He needs to see that the person has the right qualities. The person has to prove that he or she is the right person. He has to prove that he is ready for the task.
Those who lay their hands on a person are to some extent responsible for them. They are responsible for what he or she does. If they have made a bad choice, they share in the faults of that person. They share the blame for the *sins of that person. They take part in the *sins of other people.
Paul tells Timothy to take care when he lays hands on other people. If he does it without due care he may be sharing in their *sin. Timothy must keep himself from *sins, both his own and other peopleís.
Verse 23 Timothy did not have good health. He was often sick and had a weak stomach. He only drank water but Paul now tells him to also drink some wine. It may be that poor water was partly the cause of the stomach problems. Wine would act against the bad effects of the water. So a little wine would be like a good medicine for the stomach.
Verse 24 It can be quite difficult to know whom to appoint to a task in the church. With some people, it is clear that they are not the right choice. The decision to refuse them is easy as one can see their *sins. With other people, it is not that simple. They hide their *sins and they appear to be good persons. It is only later that they show their true nature. This is why Timothy must not be quick to lay hands on any person. He must wait until he is sure that they are right.
With some people, we can see that they are guilty. God will be their judge. With other people, we will not know that they are guilty. We cannot know what they have done. We cannot know it until the day when they stand before God.
Verse 25 We can see the *sins of some people. In the same way, we can see the good that some people do. So, the choice of some persons for a task in the church can be easy. With other persons, we may not be able to see how good they are. But in time, we will see the good that they have done. To delay in the laying on of hands will allow time to prove who is the right person for the task.
Timothy should not act on first impressions because these can be false. He should take care. And he should take the time to be sure about the persons that he appoints.
Verse 1 In the time of Paul there were many slaves. Many of the first Christians were slaves. Paul teaches them how they should serve the *Lord and their masters.
Some masters did not believe in God. To a master like that, the slave was something that he owned. Slaves were there to do what the master wanted. They had no rights of their own. They were just tools of the master. Not all masters were bad but many were.
The slaves had to do what their masters told them. But Christians who were slaves should respect their masters. And they should give them honour. The masters may not be good but the slaves should serve them. Their attitude as they do their work should be that of respect. They should try to do well for their masters.
The reason why the slaves must serve like this is that they belong to God. What they do shows what they believe. Their masters will not speak evil about God if the slaves have the right attitude. But if the slaves do not show their God by their actions, the masters will not turn to God. They will refuse to accept what the Christians teach. They will blame the *gospel for the poor performance of their slaves.
Verse 2 Not all Christian slaves had masters who believed in the *Lord. But those who did were not to respect them any less because of that. Rather, these slaves should respect their masters more because they serve the same *Lord. They may know them as equal persons in the family of God and in the church. But they must perform the duties of slaves and give the honour due to them as masters.
They must not make the beliefs that they hold in common an excuse for poor service. Instead, they should work harder and serve better. In this way, they would benefit those who were their brothers and sisters in Christ.
The love of God for both slaves and masters has made them as one in his family. They must then love each other. So, the slaves should love their Christian masters and do their best for them.
Timothy must teach these things to the church members. He must urge all who are slaves to give good service to their masters. They should see this as a duty given to them by the *Lord.
Verse 3 Paul comes back to the subject of false teachers. These teachers do not agree with what Paul taught. They teach their own ideas as the truth. But what they teach is different from what the *Lord Jesus taught. They do not agree with what is correct. What they say does not lead people to obey and serve God.
Verses 4-5 The false teachers are vain. They think that they are superior. And they think that they can know the truth by using their own minds. But it is the *Lord who shows us what is true. So, by their own efforts, they are not able to understand the truth. They claim to know what is right. But they have no knowledge of the truth.
They always want to discuss things that do not help people to believe in the *Lord. They ask questions. And they cause doubts about what the *Lord and the *apostles have taught as the truth. They like to argue about the meaning of words. They waste time on things that do not really matter. They do nothing to spread the good news of the *gospel.
Paul lists five things that result from their arguments. These are *envy, spite, bad words, doubts and quarrels.
What they say and do leads people to *envy each other. They want to have what someone else has. When they cannot have it, they are jealous.
By their arguments, they destroy the unity that there should be in the church. Instead of *peace there was spite among the members.
Those who accepted what was false said wicked things. They said wicked things about those who did not agree with them.
Where there should be trust between the members there were evil doubts.
Then there were constant quarrels.
They have ruined their minds because they refused the truth. They think that they will gain by their religion. But they are wrong. They may get money or fame but there is no real gain in false religion.
Verse 6 True religion brings much gain. This may not be in this life but certainly will be in the life to come. We should please God and be content with what we have. Then we will receive a rich reward.
Verses 7-8 When a child is born, it brings nothing with it. Neither can we take anything out of the world with us when we die. We will have to leave behind all that we possess. All the wealth that a person can get will be of no benefit, in the end. Nothing that we own can add anything to us. Death will strip all those things from us and leave us naked. Then only that which God gives will be of value. He gives it to those who believe in him
So then, we should be content with the things that are necessary for life. We should only want to have the food and the clothes that we need. That should be enough for us.
Verse 9 There are many dangers for those who want to be rich. When they want to gain wealth, their desires tempt them to do wrong things. Once they start doing those things, it is like falling into a trap. It is easier to do worse things than to break free from this trap. It is as if the devil has caught that person. And he will not let go. This trap consists of strong desires that seem to force that person to do more evil.
Those who want to be rich and make that their purpose in life will never be content. They will never have enough. And what they get will not satisfy them. Such desires are foolish and they will cause hurt and ruin in the end.
Paul speaks about ruin as if it were like the sea or a river. These desires drag people down beneath the surface and there they drown. The desire to be rich will ruin and destroy them.
Verse 10 The love of money is the strong desire to get wealth. It is greater than the desire to love and serve God. It becomes the main purpose in life. That love is like a root. It is like the root from which plants grow. From that source, there come all kinds of evil.
There are people who, because of their desire to get money, have gone away from the *faith. It is not possible to serve both God and money. One or other of them must be the more important. Those who reach out to grasp money will lose their grip on the *Lord.
These who had loved money did themselves much damage. It is as if they had pushed a sword through their own hearts and minds. As a result, they will suffer much trouble and pain. They will suffer when they realise what they have done.
Verse 11 In contrast to the false teachers, Timothy is a man of God. God chose him to be his agent in that church. He is Godís man for the task to which God had appointed him. As a man of God, he must avoid all the evil things about which Paul has just been writing. He does not just warn Timothy against these *sins. Timothy must pursue what is good and right. Paul insists on that. What he says to Timothy applies to all Christians.
Paul lists six good qualities that Christians should try to have. These are:
∑†††††††††† They must always do what is good and right.
∑†††††††††† They should live to please God.
∑†††††††††† They should believe in and trust the *Lord at all times.
∑†††††††††† They ought to love God and other people.
∑†††††††††† They must be patient and strong. And they must have a good attitude through all the problems that come to them.
∑†††††††††† They should be gentle. When people do bad things to them, they must never do bad things in return. Some people may accuse them wrongly. And some people may insult them but they must not reply in the same way. They should try to do good things even to those who hate them.
Verse 12 To live for Christ in this world can be a struggle. And it often is. Timothy must be willing to suffer for the *gospel of Christ. Many opposed him. And they were doing all that they could to stop the spread of the *gospel. The man or woman of God must fight, not with swords or guns but by trusting in the *Lord and with prayer. This is because the real enemies are not men and women. They are the devils and the evil things that *Satan sends against us.
Paul tells Timothy to fight a good fight. The struggle is good because it is for God and the *gospel. The good news will spread in this evil world by this means. It is by trust in God that Timothy can continue in the struggle. So it is a fight of *faith.
God had appointed him to this task. He had given to him that life which has no end. Timothy must take a firm hold on that life. He must make it a present reality and not just a hope for the future. (See 1:16.)
God has promised to give the life that has no end. He has promised to give it to those who believe in the *Lord Jesus. Timothy claimed that promise when he first trusted in the *Lord. Now Paul reminds him about this. There were many there when Timothy confessed that he trusted in the *Lord.
Verse 13 As an *apostle of the *Lord, Paul has told Timothy how he should live. Paul is conscious that God and the *Lord Jesus are here with us. Timothy should obey what Paul orders him to do. But God and the *Lord Jesus will be the judges of what he does. Timothy is responsible to them and he must give an account of his life to them. The same is true of all Christians.
God gives life to all things. He is the source of all life. He gives the life that has no end. He gives it to those who believe in the *Lord Jesus. All living things will have to give an account of their lives to him.
Pontius Pilate was the *Roman ruler in the city of Jerusalem. When he asked the *Lord Jesus questions, he gave a good answer. Pilate asked him if he was the king of the *Jews (Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2; Luke 23:3; John 18:33-37). Jesus agreed that he was a king. But he said that his *kingdom was not of this world. Pilate could find nothing wrong in Jesus and wanted to set him free. He did not do it but he wrote over the cross ĎJesus of Nazareth the king of the *Jewsí (John 19:19).
Jesus did all that God had sent him to do. And, because of that, he suffered and died on the cross. Timothy should obey God as he did. And so should all who believe in the *Lord Jesus. They may have to suffer and even die for this. But they must be true to the *faith that they confess. One day, they will have to give an account to the *Lord Jesus. God has made him to be the judge of all people.
Verse 14 Timothy has to obey a command. The command is all that the *Lord has told him to do. This has come in the instructions that Paul and the *elders gave to him. Paul has shown him in this letter what the command means. It is to keep and obey all that Jesus and the *apostles taught. It is to be and to do all that the *Lord requires. This is not just for Timothy but it should be the aim of all Christians.
The *Lord Jesus will one day come again. Then he will take up those Christians who are alive on the earth to be with him. And he will take up those Christians who have died. Until then, Timothy must do what the *Lord orders. And so must all who believe in the *Lord. We all fail. But as we ask the *Lord to forgive us he will do it. He will clear us from all wrong-doing and blame. When he comes we must all give an account to him. We must all give an account of all that we have done.
Verse 15 God has planned the moment when his son, Jesus, will return. And he will control that moment. The *Lord Jesus will come as the champion for all who believe in him. He will defeat all that is against us. All the struggles of this life will be over.
God has in himself all blessing. He blesses his people who in turn bless and praise him.
God is the real and absolute ruler of all. He is the king of all those who rule as kings. He is the *Lord of all who rule as *lords.
Verse 16 God alone has that life which is better than all other kinds of life. His life has no beginning and will have no end. It can never die. His life is the source from which all other life comes.
Where God lives is so pure, clean and holy that it is like a bright light. That light is so bright that no one can come near to it. It is not possible for anyone to see through that light. No one has ever seen God. God allowed Moses to see a part of him but he did not see Godís face (Exodus 33:18-23). No one has ever seen God. But the *Lord Jesus came to show us what God is like (John 1:18). We can know God by the *Lord Jesus but we cannot see him.
The *Lord Jesus will come. And then, he will change all those who belong to him. They will see him as he is. So he will make them to be like him (1 John 3:2). Those who believe shall see God in Christ. And they will live and not die. They will share the same quality of life as God has.
All honour, power and strength belong to God. These things are part of the character of God. They are also, what Christians declare about God as part of their praise to him. In this they respect God as their *Lord and themselves as his servants.
*Amen means 'let it be so'. What comes before it is true. We use *amen to show that we agree with it and accept it. All honour, power and strength do belong to God.
Verse 17 There is a danger for those who are rich. The danger is to think that they are better than other people. They may have more wealth and a higher rank in this world. But that does not make them better persons. Such rich persons should not be proud because of what they possess.
They must not depend on what they own. All that they have could vanish in a very short time. They cannot be certain that they will always be rich. When they die, these *riches will have no value for them. They will go to someone else. All the money in the world cannot buy life after death. It is foolish to trust in *riches for this life and for the future life.
Instead, they should trust in God. He is rich because he owns all things. And all things belong to him. God is great and he is generous to us. He gives to us all that we need for this life. The blessings of God are true *riches. He blesses us so that we can enjoy his life. That means the life that he gives.
Verse 18 Rich persons are responsible to God for how they use their wealth. The more they have the greater their duty to use it to do what is good. So, Timothy should tell those who are rich that they should use their resources. Rather than to be rich in money, they should do many good works. This is how to have real *riches.
Rich persons have more than enough for their own needs. There is no benefit to them in owning an excess of wealth. They should be generous. And they should share what they have. They should use their wealth for the benefit of those who are in need of their help.
Verse 19 They should share what they have. In that way, they will bless those whom they help. But, as they give help to other people, they will benefit as well. By doing good works the rich Christians will reduce their wealth on earth. But they will be building up *riches for the future life. These *riches will then be like a firm foundation for them. The *Lord Jesus said that we should not store up *riches on earth. But rather we should store up *riches in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).
The purpose of this is so that they can grasp hold of the life to come. That life is the true life that will have no end.
Verse 20 Paul ends his letter with some final advice for Timothy. God has given him that life which comes through *faith in the *Lord Jesus Christ. God has called Timothy and given him the task of being a leader in the church. God has trusted him to teach the truth and to spread the *gospel. Timothy must keep and guard all that God has given to him. He must take care to live as God would want him to live. He must lead the church in the ways of truth. What he says and does must point people to the *Lord.
In order to keep the truth, Timothy should avoid empty talk. Such talk wastes time and does not advance the cause of Christ. It may even be against God.
He also should not waste time with what the false teachers say. They oppose the truth. They claim that their ideas are knowledge. But they do not know the truth. And what they teach is wrong.
Verse 21 Some had believed what the false teachers taught. They claimed to have this knowledge. This has caused them to turn from the truth of what the *Lord Jesus and the *apostles taught. As a result, they no longer believe in the true *gospel of Christ.
Paul closes the letter with a blessing for them all. He asks for the kindness of God to be with them. This is something that they do not deserve. But they can be sure that God will continue to love them.
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy but here he gives the blessing to them all. He intended the church members to read what he had written. All that he taught Timothy is also for the church there. And it is also for all who believe in the *Lord.
amen ~ a word from the Hebrew (*Old Testament) language; it means we agree, or it is true, or let it be so.
ancestors ~ any persons in the past from whom the families of your father or mother came.
angel ~ a *spirit person that God made; he made them to serve him and take his messages. There are *angels who *sinned. They now serve the devil.
apostle ~ one whom God sends; especially one of the 12 that Jesus chose to be his helpers.
believers ~ those who know and accept Christ.
bishops ~ the leaders in the church, [see *elders].
creation ~ the act of God when he made the world and everything there is; everything that God has made.
deacons ~ deacons are a group of persons whose task is to serve in the church.
demons ~ bad or evil *spirits that work for the devil.
disciples ~ the 12 helpers that Jesus chose to be with him and to learn from him.
elders ~ older men, respected men, or leaders in the church.
emperor ~ a king. The ruler of *Rome was its emperor.
envy ~ to be jealous of someone else; or to want what that person has.
Ephesus ~ the name of a city.
faith ~ trust in someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son. The faith is the Christian religion. It is what Christians believe.
Gentiles ~ people who are not *Jews.
glory ~ great honour and beauty.
gospel ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin by Jesus Christ.
grace ~ help that God gives to us. He gives us this help as a free gift. We cannot buy it. God gives it to us because he loves us.
Jewish ~ people or things that are from the *Jews.
Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. It is also a name for the *Jewish people.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules. The kingdom of God is the people over whom God rules.
Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to show that he is over all people and things.
lord ~ a title for someone who rules.
Macedonia ~ the northern part of modern Greece.
mercy ~ kindness and help to a person who does wrong; to show love to that person.
Messiah ~ a special servant of God; a name for Jesus Christ; it means the person whom God sent; he sent him to save people from the anger of God because of our bad ways; the only one who can put people right with God; the one who will come again to rule over Godís *kingdom.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the holy things that the writers wrote before Christís birth.
ox ~ a large animal that farmers used.
peace ~ when there is no fighting with God; when we have no trouble in our minds; when a person is not afraid or angry.
preach ~ to speak out the message from God and to teach his word.
prophecy ~ a message from God; a gift of the Holy Spirit.
repent ~ to change oneís mind and heart; to turn away from *sin and turn to God. To turn oneís mind and heart away from *sin is to repent.
riches ~ the wealth that rich people have.
Roman ~ *Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. That which belonged to *Rome was Roman.
Rome ~ the capital city of the rulers at that time. They were the Romans.
salvation ~ the result of God saving us from *sin and punishment; the new life that God gives to those who believe in the *Lord Jesus.
Satan ~ the name of the devil.
scriptures ~ the books of the Bible.
sin ~ to sin is to do wrong, bad or evil; not to obey God; sins are the wrong things that we do.
sinner ~ a person who does *sins.
soul ~ the part of a person that we cannot see; it is in us during our life; and it lives after we die; it is our inner life (not the body).
spirit ~ spirits are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually called *angels. Bad spirits (also called evil spirits, or demons) live in the air round us. *Satan is their leader.
worship ~ the act of showing honour to God with praise, thanks and respect.
George W. Knight ~ The Pastoral Epistles ~ The New International Greek Testament Commentary
J. N. D. Kelly ~ The Pastoral Epistles ~ Blackís New Testament Commentaries
A. M. Stibbs ~ The New Bible Commentary ~ Inter-varsity Fellowship
Donald Guthrie ~ The Pastoral Epistles ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Ralph Earle ~ in The Expositorís Bible Commentary
W. Barclay ~ The Letters to Timothy ~ The Daily Study Bible
W. E. Vine ~ Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Bibles ~NIV, RSV, NRSV, TEV, CEV & AV
© 1997-2003, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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