The first epistle to Timothy is one of the three writings of St. Paul which are known as the Pastoral Epistles. This title was first applied to these Epistles in the eighteenth century. The name is very appropriate, since the aim of the Epistles was to give advice on matters of church organization to those who were in positions of responsibility in the church, and to whom the pastoral care of the various classes in the Christian community was entrusted. In a very real sense we have in I Timothy a short minister’s manual which treats of the office, qualifications, and duties of the Christian pastor.
The historical situation to which I Timothy refers merits some attention. Paul and Timothy had been working together for some time in Ephesus. Paul left for Macedonia (1:3) but hoped to return soon (3:14). Timothy had been left at Ephesus to organize the church, to refute false teachers who had been busy there, and to care for the well-being of “the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (3:15). According to the Letter to Titus, Paul had been to Crete and had left Titus there to “set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city” (Titus 1:5); later on Titus had to come over to Paul at Nicopolis, where Paul had determined to stay for the winter (3:12). According to II Timothy, Paul was a prisoner in Rome (1:8, 16–17; 2:9). He had already answered before the tribunal once, being forsaken by his friends, but God had delivered him “out of the mouth of the lion” (4:16–17). Only Luke was with him now. Titus had departed from Rome to Dalmatia (4:10), and Tychicus had been sent to Ephesus. Trophimus had been left sick at Miletus (4:20). This, in ...1
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