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NOTE. For more details see, McGee, 1 Timothy. This study is taken from that book with significant modifications mainly dealing with organization and method aligned to Bible principle and teaching. The study is also available online in audio at: 1 Timothy
DATE. One commentator notes: “The date of 1 Timothy turns upon the question of the two imprisonments of Paul. If there were two, then it is clear that 1 Timothy was written during the interval. If Paul endured but one Roman imprisonment, the Epistle was written shortly before Paul’s last journeyed to Jerusalem.”
1 Timothy is a book about church order.
1 and 2 Timothy and Titus belong together. They are called “The Pastoral Epistles” because they have to do with local churches. These pastoral epistles are in contrast to, for example, the epistle to the Ephesians. There, Paul speaks of the church as a body of believers who are in Christ and the glorious, wonderful position that the church has. The institution of the church is made up down here on earth in local assemblies, in the local churches.
For a church to be a New Testament church, there must be certain identifying features. A local church must manifest itself in a certain way in order to meet the requirements of a church of the Lord Jesus. For one thing, she must be under the Lord Jesus only.
The three epistles were written to two young preachers who worked with Paul—Timothy and Titus. They were part of his fruit. They were led to the Lord through his ministry. He had these men with him as helpers, and he instructed them as to the local church.
In these epistles Paul deals with (1) the creed of a church and (2) the conduct of a church. For the church within, the worship must be right. For the church outside, good works must be manifested. Worship is inside; works are outside.
In 1 Timothy, chapter 1 deals with faith, the faith of a church, its doctrine. Chapter 2 is the order of a church. Chapter 3 concerns the officers of a church. Chapter 4 describes the coming apostasy. Chapters 5 and 6 tell of the duties of the officers.
In 2 Timothy, Paul deals with the afflictions of a church in chapter 1 and the activity of a church in chapter 2. Then the apostasy of the church and the allegiance of the church in chapters 3 and 4.
So there is creed on the inside of a church and conduct on the outside. Within is worship and without is good works.
In Paul’s day a church, the local assembly, did not have a building. They generally met in homes and probably in public buildings. In Ephesus Paul used—probably rented—the school of Tyrannus.
In order to be a local assembly, a church must have certain things that characterize it. It must have a creed, and its doctrine must be accurate. Two verses summarize Paul’s message in these epistles:
“As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (1 Ti. 1.3).
A church must also have correct doctrine:
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Ti. 3.15).
A local church is made of believers who are members of the body of Christ. They need leadership and they need someone to sweep the building and turn on the heat and cooling. There must be officers who must meet certain requirements. The church should function in an orderly manner and manifest itself in the community by its good works.
Paul tries to convey in these epistles that the men who are officers must be spiritual. No system will function unless the men who are in the place and position of authority are right. If they are wrong, the system will not work.
Paul emphasizes 2 aspects of the spiritual officer: he must be a man of faith, and he must be motivated by love. Without those two, the officer can’t function no matter how much ability he has.
What this means is that the authority of officers is no authority at all. He means that Christ is the Head of the church, and the Holy Spirit is the One to give the leading and guiding in the direction. The officer is never to assert his will in anything. He is to find out what the will of God is. That means he will have to be a man of faith.
He will also have to be motivated by love. That does not mean he is to be a man-pleaser. That means he is to carry through the will of Christ in the church. It is his job to make sure Christ is the Head of the church. How many officers of churches think they are spiritual but have no idea that they are to carry out the will of Christ, probably because they never sought the will of Christ. Such men attempt to serve their own wills because they think their wills are right.
Christ is the head of a local church. In the first verse, Pauls says, “the Lord Jesus Christ.” He is the Lord. That means He is Number One. He said, “You call me Lord, Lord, and you do not the things I command.” A lot of people call him “Lord” today in churches, and they are not following Him at all. Church officers are to carry through the will of Christ, His Commandments, His desires, and His principles.
Dr. McGee did not think organization of a church mattered as long as the men were right. However, the men cannot be totally right if church method and organization violate Bible principles. For example, a spiritual man cannot operate totally spiritually in a church which is organized according to man’s, not God’s, principles. And departure from God’s principles starts a downhill slide toward apostasy. A church organized as a legal entity (corporation, 501c3, 508, unincorporated association, etc.) does not have the Lord Jesus Christ as the head of the church and cannot be a New Testament church.
I. THE FAITH of a Church, Chapter 1
A. Introduction vv. 1, 2
B. Warning Against Unsound Doctrine, vv. 3-10
C. Personal Testimony of Paul, vv. 11-17
D. Charge to Timothy, vv. 18-20
II. PUBLIC PRAYER and WOMAN’S PLACE in the Churches, Chapter 2
A. Public Prayer for the Public and Public Officials, vv. 1-7
B. How Men Are to Pray, v. 8
C. How Women Are to Pray, vv. 9-15
III. OFFICERS in a Church, Chapter 3
A.Requirements for Elders, vv. 1-7
B. Requirements for Deacons, vv. 8-13
C. Report of Paul to Timothy, vv. 14-16
IV. APOSTASY in the Church, Chapter 4
A. How to Recognize Apostates, vv. 1-5
B. What the “good Minister” Can Do in times of Apostasy, vv. 6-16
V. DUTIES of OFFICERS of the Churches, Chapters 5, 6
A. Relationship of Ministers to Different Groups in the Local Church, Chapter 5
B. Relationship of Believers to Others, Chapter 6
(The faith of a church)
The emphasis here is a warning against false teachers in the local church. the gospel of the grace of God is central in doctrine and concerns the person of Christ. At first, the apostles regulated church order, soundness of faith, and discipline. The approaching of the end of the apostolic period made necessary that a clear revelation should be made for guidance of the churches. In chapter 1, legalism and unsound teaching are rebuked.
INTRODUCTION (vv1, 2)
vv1, 2 Paul asserts his apostleship “by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” In Ep. 1.1 he says, “Paul, and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” The commandment and will of God are the same, but not exactly synonymous. All the commandments in the Bible reveal the will of God. [E.g., pray (1 Thess. 5.17, 18; etc.]. However, since we don’t have the sum total of the commandments in Scripture, the will of God is a much broader term than the commandment of God. Remember, man is not saved by obedience to the will of God.
God found a way that HE might be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Acts 13:38-39 “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” The law of Moses was a ministration of death; the law condemned them. The law wasn’t given to save us, but to reveal that God is holy and that you and I are not holy. The way God saves us in the way of the cross. Christ is the way.
God commanded Paul to be an apostle. He was a soldier under orders—not by commission, but by commandment. No one laid hands on Paul and made him and apostle. The Lord Jesus personally gave him the authority. Jeremiah had this same kind of authority.
Any man who is going to speak for God today needs to do it with authority or he ought to keep quiet. Paul spoke with the authority of God.
“And the Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” The only other time the Bible says Christ is our hope is in Colossians 1:27 “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus died to save you. He lives to keep you saved. Some day his will take you to be with Himself and consummate the salvation. He is our faith when we look backwards; He is love when we look around us today; and He is our hope as we look ahead. But it is hope all the way through life.
Timothy (the Greek means “dear to God.”) was dear to God and to the apostle Paul. We read of Timothy in Acts, Ephesians, and Philippians. He had a good reputation. Acts 16:2-5 “Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.” As he worked with Paul, he became one in whom Paul had the utmost confidence, while others in the churches proved to be false brethren who deceived him.
Pastors need loyal, faithful friends in the churches they pastor. Paul had those he did not trust, but he trusted Timothy. Philippians 2:19-23 “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.”
Paul led Timothy to the Lord and they were very close.
“Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.” Paul has used grace and peace before in his intros. but we have another word here: mercy. It was the Old Testament sacrifice that made the holy and righteous and just throne of God into a mercy seat.
When one comes to God, he does not want justice—justice condemns a man before God. He needs mercy. God is rich in mercy, but He saves you by His grace. God is merciful to everyone, but one must come to Him by faith. Then God will save you by His Grace.
Grace, mercy, and peace is a little trinity. Love is that in God which existed before He could care to exercise mercy or grace. God is love; Mercy is that in God which provided for the need of sinful man. Grace then is that in Him which acts freely to save because all the demands of holiness have been satisfied. Therefore, because God is merciful, you can come to Him, and by His grace He’ll save you. You cannot bring anything, because it would only be filthy rags to God.
A do-gooder things he does not need the mercy of God, that his own good works will save him. A do-good salvation will do you no good when you need it. The salvation God provides will enable you to do good, the kind of good which is acceptable to Him.
So 1 Timothy is intimate and personal, but it also has to do with the affairs of the local church, the body of believers as it manifests itself in the community. Every believer should be a member of a local New Testament church.
“God our Father.” God is Paul’s, Timothy’s, every believer’s Father. Believers are all part of the family of God.
“Jesus Christ our Lord..” Anything that is done in the local church needs to be done in the name of Christ and at His command. He is the head of the church; He’s the Lord.
WARNING AGAINST UNSOUND DOCTRINE vv 3-11
Your creed must be right before your conduct can be right. It is almost an impossibility to think wrong and act right.
v3 Paul wrote the Galatians that there was no other gospel. The Judaizers there were preaching another gospel. Paul said there was one gospel and that there is one doctrine. How does that fit your postmodern Christianity, your Catholicism, your Protestantism, your Mormonism, your JWism, etc.?
Doctrine means the teaching of the local church. Following the Day of Pentecost, it is recorded that “they continued in the apostles’ doctrine. (1) The apostles’ doctrine, (2) fellowship, (3) prayers, and (4) the breaking of bread, or the Lord’s Supper are four fingerprints of a New Testament church. A church is not a true church of Christ if its doctrine is not the apostles’ doctrine. By the way, the apostles’ doctrine covers many things to the church.
There are non-essentials which believers and churches can disagree on without losing fellowship. However, we must hold to the apostles’ doctrine, basic truths of the faith such as the doctrines of the church, separation of church and state, the deity of Christ (Paul was absolutely clear on this; for example, see verse 1), repentance, faith, believer’s baptism
Paul explains he has left Timothy in Ephesus as he is in Macedonia. If the teaching of a church is not right, it is not a church. Timothy was to remind the Ephesians to teach no other doctrine.
v4 “Neither give heed to fables” (myths). Ephesus was heartland to the mystery religions of that day, all based on myths. This could possibly mean the philosophy of Philo, an outstanding and brilliant Israelite who spiritualized the Old Testament; e.g., he taught that the book of Genesis is a myth. Religious modernism is not new.
“Endless geneologies” could refer to the false teaching that the church is just a continuation of Judaism, that it is just one genealogy following another and not a matter of God dealing with man in different dispensations.
Also, the Greeks at that time were teaching demiurge, a teaching which became a part of the first heresy within churches which was gnosticism. They taught that there are emanations from a divine center. The original created a creature, and the creature created another creature below him, and he created another, and then another, and so on down the line. They wanted to fit Jesus somewhere along that line as one of the created creatures. (Is this similar to Mormonism?)
“Which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith.”
v5 “Charity out of a pure heart.” Paul again uses intimate expressions in writing to this young preacher that you will not find in his epistles to the churches. He tells Timothy that what is taught in a church should produce love out of a pure heart. A “pure heart” is in contrast to our old nature.
Three things should manifest in a church: (1) Faith (in God and in His Word). (2) Love (active concern for others which means you won’t gossip about them or in any way bring harm to them. Faith and love should be lived out in the life of a church. Love for the Lord Jesus is utmost, followed by love for others. A church who organizes ever partially under another head (incorporation, 501c3, etc.) does not love the Lord Jesus. Don’t talk about love if you betray the Lord. Love is action. (3) “A good conscience.” Don’t disregard you conscience when it tells you you have wronged another. These three wonderful graces should be manifested by believers in a local church.
v6 “Vain jangling” means empty chatter, beautiful words, flowery language. Some people will butter you up and pat you on the back, but it means nothing. It is all just talk, and sometimes may be the result of ulterior and impure motives.
v7 There are those who teach error, and they do it with assurance. They reject the Word of God and do not know what they are talking about.
v8 Now Paul warns against legalists who taught that the law is a means of salvation and sanctification after salvation.
The law condemns us. It reveals to man that he is a sinner in need of a Saviour. Under it, the best man in the world is absolutely condemned, but under the gospel, the worst man can be justified if he will believe in Christ. The sinner cannot please God (is unable to do good works): “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Ro. 8.8). No man can meet God’s standard.
Good works cannot produce salvation, but salvation can produce good works. One is saved unto good works. See Ep. 2.8-10.
“we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully.” The law reveals the will of God–it is morally excellent.
vv9, 10 The law was not given to the righteous man, the one who has been made righteous because of his faith in Christ. “Thou shalt not kill” is given to the lost, the murderer at heart. The law is for “whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons….” God brings those who have repented toward God and turned to Christ in faith for salvation from their sins into the family of God and to a plane of living higher even than that given in the law. Those who are saved are above and beyond the law. The law is given to control the old nature, the flesh. Under law, man never kept it, he couldn’t measure up to it, and he broke it continually. Under grace, a man is brought into the family of God, and he is not going to murder or lie. If he does, he is out of fellowship with God; the Holy Spirit within him is grieved.
“Any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.” Paul adds this in case he had left out something. It covers any and all sin he may have omitted in his list.
PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF PAUL
v11 The gospel of the blessed God was committed to Paul’s trust.
v12 Paul emphasizes the Lordship of Christ. “He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.” All believers are in the ministry. Every believer has some service to perform for the Lord.
v13 Paul before was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious. But he “obtained mercy, because [he] did it ignorantly in unbelief.”
v14 “Christ came into the world to save sinners.” When you give your testimony, don’t tell people how wonderful you are or all you have accomplished. “Of whom I am chief.”
v15 He needed mercy to become a minister. “That in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pettern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
v17 This is a tremendous doxology “King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God.” To Him, “be honour and glory for ever and ever.” Again, Paul teaches the deity of Christ, the “King eternal” is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the “only wise God.”
CHARGE TO TIMOTHY
v18 This charge to “son Timothy” is not only practical, but also reveals a wonderful personal relationship. Timothy was Paul’s spiritual son. “According to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare. You should never fight a warfare if your heart is not in it, unless you are fighting for a real cause and intend to get the victory. Paul did not want Timothy to make a shipwreck of the faith as others were doing.
v19 “Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck.” There is a real danger for us in our human inconsistencies and failures. We are not living in an ivory tower, as some Christians think they are. But for those who are walking the sidewalks and rubbing shoulders with rough humanity and the problems of the world, we find that there are inconsistencies and failures in our lives. The danger we face is accomodating our faith to the world. When we fail, when there is an inconsistency in our lives, we ought to go to Him and tell Him that we have fallen short and haven’t measured up.
v20 2 Examples of apostates (Hymenaeus and Alexander) whom Paul mentions elsewhere and doesn’t have much good to say about either one of them. 2 Timothy 4:14: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works.”
“Whom I have delivered unto Satan.” Paul was exercising what was his prerogative and position as an apostle. This is an authority the apostles had which we do not have. See 1 Co. 5.3-5; see also, for the authority of an apostle, Ac. 5.1-11 (Ananias and Sapphira).
(Public prayer and woman’s place in the churches)
Public prayer is prayer for the public and for public officials. This prayer is to be made in the assembly, within the homes and/or privacy of believers. See vv1, 2. Many years ago, a famous Senate chaplin was asked “Do you pray for the senators?” He replied, “No, I look at the senators, and then I pray for the public.” That is what Paul says we should do.
“That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Any government is better than no government. An evil, corrupt government, if it really governs, is better than anarchy. Even today in America, there remains a semblance of law and order. Civil government was ordained by God to control evil men. We ought to give thanks for it. Many of us fall short of praying for our government in order that we might continue to live quietly and peaceably. For more on this, see The Biblical Doctrine of Government.
vv3, 4 A second reason we should pray for government is in order that the gospel might continue to go out to the lost. Paul was beginning to suffer persecution by civil government leaders, and he said they were to pray for them. It was “good and acceptable in the sight of God” for them to pray for them. Why? Because it was God’s will that all men be saved.
Dr. McGee does not believe that any true pastor is called to recommend a candidate for office. He believes we are to pray for those in office. He wants, as I do, a man in office who is going to make it possible for the Word of God to continue to be given to the lost.
v5 “For there is one God.” The Romans worshipped many gods. Today people worship many gods. For some, their gods are pleasure, entertainment, etc.
“And one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” In the Old Testament, Israelites went to the temple and could go to God through many priests. Now, there is only one mediator, and He is not a human being down here.
We need a mediator, and we have one, the great High Priest. He is God and is able to save to the uttermost. He has also become man and can hold my hand. He understands me. He is a daysman, a Mediator. He puts His hand in mine. He also holds on to God because He is God. Christ is the only way. He will bring you right through to God if you will turn to Him.
v6 You and I were lost sinners and Christ was the ransom, the “redemption price.”
v7 Paul says he was “ordained a preacher, and an apostle.” He is also the one to teach the Gentiles.
HOW MEN ARE TO PRAY”
v8 “Pray everywhere, holding up holy hands.” This was practiced in the early church. It revealed the dedication in the lives of those praying. “Without wrath”–all sins have been confessed. Don’t come in prayer with anger in your heart, or a bitter spirit, but with all your sins confessed. “Without doubting.” Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” We are to come to God in prayer in faith.
HOW WOMEN ARE TO PRAY (DRESS AND THEIR PLACE IN THE LOCAL CHURCH)
vv 9-16 One note on this: A woman, brought sin into the world, but a woman also brought the Lord Jesus, the Saviour into the world. No man provided a Saviour, a woman did. However, each individual woman is saved by faith, the same as for a man. A woman is to grow in love and holiness just as a man is.
(Officers in the churches)
REQUIREMENTS OF ELDERS (vv1-7)
v1 In the early church, the pastor was never called “reverend.” He was called (1) a presbyter or elder; (2) pastor or shepherd; (3) bishop, or an overseer; (4) a minister. “Reverend” means terrible, or that which incites terror. It is a name which applies only to God. Dr. McGee’s position is that elder and bishop refer to the same person; that elder refers to the person who holds the office and that bishop refers to the office that is held. A bishop in the early churches never had authority over other bishops or elders or over churches. Even Paul never referred to himself as the bishop of a church. Therefore, according to Dr. McGee, the minister is one who is to serve the church, not rule over it.
In v2 we are given the positive requirements of an elder. An elder must be blameless in that he will not be guilty of anything that he might be accused of. Dr. McGee says he was accused of many things, but was guilty of none; and he did not answer the false accusers and accusations. Dr. McGee believes “husband of one wife” means that the pastor is to be married. He believes Paul’s wife had died. Dr. McGee believes that the primary meaning of this verse is that the bishop or elder is not to have 2 wives. Polygamy was common in Paul’s day. “Vigilant” means temperate. “Sober” means sober minded or serious. He means business. This does not mean that he cannot have a sense of humor. “Of good behavior”: orderly in conduct; not doing questionable things. “Given to hospitality”: the type of fellow who invites others out to lunch. “Apt to teach.”
v3 negative qualifications.
v4 has the authority over his own home, without being a dictator.
v6 Not a (novice) recent convert lest lifted up with pride he falls into the condemnation of the devil.
v7 Good report of those who are without (lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. If he has a bad reputation outside the church (does not pay his bills, is untrustworthy, or is a liar) he is not a candidate to be an officer in the church; he is really a candidate of the devil.
REQUIREMENTS OF DEACONS (VV8-13)
Deacon or minister is a general term for servant or worker. In v9 “the mystery of the faith” means the revelation of the gospel of Christ. The early church “continued in the apostles’ doctrine.” The apostles’ doctrine was “the faith” of the early churches, as it should be for all churches since. v10: “Let these also first be proved.”
v11 deals with wives of deacons.
REPORT OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY (VV14-16)
v15 is the key verse of the epistle: 1 Timothy 3:15 “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” If the officers of a church do not represent the truth, the church has no foundation, no prop, and it cannot hold up the truth of God.
v16 probably constitutes on of the earliest creeds of the church. 1 Timothy 3:16: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” Jesus was God in the flesh. He was manifest in the flesh, but justified or vindicated in the Spirit in His resurrection (“sown a natural body; raised a spiritual body.”).
(Apostasy in the churches)
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE APOSTATES (vv1-5)
v1 “That in the latter times.” Dr. McGee feels that this refers to the days of the churches beginning immediately after the life of Paul. The apostasy had begun even at that time. While Paul was at Ephesus, he had warned them that there would come wolves in sheep’s clothing that would deceive the believers. The first great church was the Coptic church in Africa. That church went off into heresy and departed from the faith. The “latter times” here does not have the 2nd coming of Christ in view; Paul was speaking of what lay just ahead for the church in his day.
“Some shall depart from the faith.” Heretical teachers will mislead a great company of people. Apostasy has grown and will continue to grow.
“Depart” means to stand away from. Those who apostatize are ones who have professed at one time to hold to the faith, but now they have departed from it. Thus, there cannot be an apostasy in paganism, since pagans never professed to hold to the faith. The apostasy comes from within organized churches among those who profess to the faith and then depart from it.
“Giving heed to seducing spirits.” “Seducing” means wandering, roving and it comes from the word vagabond or deceiver or seducer. Satan is all those things. They give heed to satanic spirits.
“Doctrines of devils.” Christians are told to “try the spirits whether they are of God” because there have gone out into the world these seducing spirits (1 Jn. 4.1). The test that we should apply is the creed in 1 Ti. 3.16: “God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit.” The only way of salvation is through the death of Christ, and it is by this truth we can test the doctrines of demons today.
There is a small segment of those who claim to be believers who are placing a great emphasis on demonism. They are very interested in the subject and are reading everything they can about it. I think that we are seeing a real manifestation of the spirit world today, but the best thing you and I can do regarding the devil is show him a clean pair of heels. We should not be a bunch of heels, sticking around and getting ourselves involved in all of this. Paul warns us against being seduced by the doctrines of demons. We should stay clear of them, testing each spirit by its acknowledgment that God was manifest in the flesh and that we are justified by the redemption he wrought for us on the cross.
v 2“Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” The apostate will pretend to be very pious and very religious. Dr. McGee says he has come to be very suspicious of this pious position taken by super-duper saints who claim to have something special. The truth will make you humble, because the first thing you will find out is how little you know.
“Having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” Believers should be tenderhearted. There is far too much talk about sex in many churches today. Some things happening in churches, says Dr. McGee who passed away in 1988, that made his hair curl; things are being said and done, he says, that could be done unless your conscience has been seared with a hot iron and you have gotten away from the Word of God. [Note. We saw that with Jack Schaap at the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana and many other churches, past and present.] It is important in the plan and purpose of God that a church have a tender conscience and not stoop to such low levels.
WHAT THE GOOD MINISTER CAN DO IN TIMES OF APOSTASY
v6 “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things.” Timothy is to warn believers about the apostasy and false teachings that were to come into the church. “Thous shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ.” Paul has in mind Timothy, a teacher of the Word of God. All believers are ministers. “Nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine.” This is how a believer grows. “Whereunto thou has attained.” Paul said Timothy had attained unto the things he mentioned and commended him for it.
Paul will not mention more things Timothy should avoid: v7 “But refuse profane and old wives’ fables.” “And exercise thyself unto godliness.” v8. “For bodily exercise profiteth little.” It took a rugged individual to do all the walking Paul did. He is not downgrading physical exercise. His emphasis on physical exercise is because the Ephesians were a people given over to games and athletics. America is that kind of nation. Put things in the right perspective. “But godliness is profitable unto all things.” Once we get our new body, it won’t matter whether you’ve exercised this earthly body or not. Godliness pays off in eternity. A Christian who lives a careless rather than a godly one will pay for it even in eternity. The physical ends with the end of this life, but godliness is carried over to the next.
v9 emphasizes the polint Paul just made.
v10 “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach.” It will cost you something to stand for Jesus. “Who is the Saviour of all men.” “Specially of those that believe.” You can turn Him down if you want to. Christ is the Saviour of all men, but only those who believe will be saved (See Jn. 3.16, 1 Jn. 2.2).
v11 “These things command and teach. v12 “Let no man despise thy youth.” Timothy was young. “But be thou an example of the believers.” Timothy could keep people from despising his youth by not acting like a young fool. The important thing is not your age but whether you are an example “in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
v12 “Til I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” One can grow only by reading the Word of God. A growing minister will make a growing church. We are to grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ. The only way to do so is by reading the Word.
v14 “Neglect not the gift that is in thee.” The Spirit of God gives every believer a gift. “Which was given thee by prophecy.” Paul had predicted what this young man would do. “With the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” Laying on of hands never communicates anything; it indicates partnership in the ministry. Every minister who is ordained should have hands put on him. by those who are partners with him; this is quite meaningful.
v15 “Meditate on these things.” Be diligent in your study. There is no excuse for a Christian not to study the Word of God. “Give thyself wholly to them.” Reading and studying the Word of God means more than reading a chapter with one eye closed and one both feet in bed or in the morning when you are half awake. You would not study mathematics, science or some other secular subject like that. The Word of God is worth of all you can give it, and we can never give it as much as we should have. “That thy profiting may appear to all.”
v16 1 “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” God have mercy on the minister who is not giving out the Word of God. That is a frightful sin. It would be better to be a gangster that to be a man who is supposed to give out the Word of God and does not.
(Duties of the officers in the churches-Chapter 6 also deals with this matter)
v1 “An elder.” In the early church the “elder” was an office, but the word used here refers to the individual. Dr. McGee believes he has both aspects in mind: the mature child of God, and a man who occupied a certain office. Paul means both for the simple fact that an elder was an elder–an older man.
“Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father.” Timothy was not to rebuke and elder puclicly, but he was to entreat him privately. Timothy, a young man, was to be very tactful in his relationship to these older men. He was not to take the position of a know-it-all or of a dictator over these older men. He was to encourage them and have a world privately with them if he though it was necessary.
“And the younger men as brethren.”
v2 “With all purity.” A minister of a church should be very careful with his relationships with the opposite sex. Nothing can destroy the spiritual life of a church more than this kind of experience. The new morality cannot and will not work in a church.
v3 Paul now speaks to the Pastor’s relationship with widows. “Honour.” The thought is of value being attached to something. The early churches were very careful to take care of their widows. “Honour widows that are widows indeed.” The churches were not to honour widows haphazardly or sentimentally. The deacons were to investigate to see who were truly widows, where the need was, and how much need there was.
Paul now goes into this in specific detail in vv4-16. v8 The widow is to be taken care of by his own flesh and blood. v9 Widows under 60 could still work. v10 Before helping a widow, check out her past to make sure she meets these standards. Don’t help everyone who comes along. v16 Each family should support their own widows, so the church can concentrate on widows who are without family and are in real need.
v17 The early church took financial care of their teachers, the good teachers a little more.
v18 Paul quotes from De. 25.4 and Luke 10.7.
v19. The pastor and every member of the church should refuse to let anyone whisper into his ear any gossip about the pastor or a church officer. People should prove their accusations by at least 2 witnesses. You should have the facts before you talk. When you have the facts, you should seek to correct the problem by going to the proper authorities.
v20 “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” Dr. McGee believes that if a church member sins and it does not concern the church body, it should never be brought out into the open, nor should it be confessed publicly. However, when a leader of the church, an officer in the church, sins, and it has hurt the church, then it is time to call names. It may also be time to drop his name from the roll of membership. Great harm can be done to a church by sin in the life of its leaders, and this is the way it should be dealt with.
v21 Timothy is to treat everyone in the church alike. Even if the man has given him money or gifts.
v22 “Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” Officers are to be installed by the laying on of hands (1 Ti. 4.14). Laying on of hands indicates partnership in the ministry. “Suddenly”: not to be done to a neophyte, someone recently converted. If we exalt a young Christian to the position of a teacher before he is thoroughly grounded in the Word, the theology he teaches is apt to be weird theology. The Word is to be taught by men who are built up in the faith. Our mistake is that we often interpret some sort of experience as being the test of spiritual maturity. An experience that contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible is not from God at all. There were many young converts in the Ephesus area and it was serious business for Timothy to select the teachers and appoint them to teach the Word of God.
“Neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.” In other words, “Don’t compromise, Timothy. Don’t let someone talk you into letting a young convert teach. You will be a partner in sin if you do. Make sure the teachers are anchored in the Word of God.
v23 Use wine as a medicine for your stomach’s sake and other infirmities.
v24 Some men’s sins are judged here and now. But if God doesn’t judge him immediately it doesn’t mean he is not going to judge. Paul wrote to the Corinthians where there were some who were not commemorating the Lord’s Supper in the proper manner. He said, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep” (1 co. 11.30). Paul went on to say, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” (1 Co. 11.31). When a Christian sins, he should judge himself. Not just feel sorry for his sin but deal with it. If he has hurt somebody, he is to make it right, and turn from that sin. “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Co. 11.32). God judges the world. A believer will judge himself, or God will judge him. If you judge yourself, it is settled. If not, He will judge, either in the here and now or before the judgment seat of Christ.
v25 The same principle applies to good works.
(Duties of officers in the churches concluded)
RELATIONSHIPS OF BELIEVERS TO OTHERS
vv1-2 “Servants.” Paul deals with the relationship of capital and labor. The Christian should render a full day’s work for whomever he is working. If he has a Christian boss, it brings the relationship to a new level above any kind of contract. They are brethren. Yes, Christianity gets out into the workshop.
vv3-5 There are some proud men in the ministry, and they cause trouble. Pride always causes trouble. Pride is a constant danger–pride of place, pride of race, pride of face, pride of grace. Some people are even proud they have been saved by the grace of God. But Christians have plenty to be humble about–we have a very sordid and sorry background. We are saved by the grace of God.
v6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
v7 A rich man died. The heirs asked how much he left. The answer, “He left it all.”
vv8-9 Riches will not bring satisfaction.
v10 The love of money [not money] is the root of all evil.
v11 This lists the virtues a man of God should pursue.
v12 “Fight the good fight of faith., lay hold on eternal life,…” Make sure it is clear you are a child of God.