Devotional # 192. 5/31/16. 1 Timothy 1:1-2.
Introduction to 1 Timothy. The first time Paul was released from prison, he went through some cities he had ministered in before. One of the cities was Ephesus where Paul, being a good leader, decided to place Timothy there to lead them. This is what discipleship looks like. Jesus calls us to do what He did. He trained 12 guys and 11 turned out really well! But Paul didn’t just put Timothy there to be a good example but also to direct them away from the bad stuff they were already doing. There was “false doctrine (1:3-7; 4:1-3; 6:3-5), disorder in worship (2:1-15), the need for qualified leaders (3:1-14), and materialism (6:6-19)” (Source 1).
But that’s not all we learn from this book. We’ll also talk about “pastoral instruction from Paul to Timothy (cf. 3:14,15)”, “the proper function of the law (1:5-11); salvation (1:14-16, 2:4-6); the attributes of God (1:17); the Fall (2:13,14); the person of Christ (3:16; 6:15,16); election (6:12); and the second coming of Christ (6:14,15)” (Source 1).
Introduction to this Devotional. Today we’ll talk about Paul and Timothy and who the letter is actually from (God). We’ll also discuss “grace, mercy and peace” and briefly touch on mentoring (discipleship).
v. 1. The custom at this time was to put who a letter was from at the beginning instead of at the end like we do now. Paul tells you he’s writing the letter and on what authority: as “an apostle of Jesus Christ.” In the same way as we talked about in Colossians 1:1-2 (Devotional # 142) Paul could have mentioned his other qualifications but all that matters is that Jesus chose him to lead and teach these things.
Paul notes that his being an “apostle” wasn’t just something he decided on and it wasn’t just a glorious title or a religious duty. Instead Paul had been “commanded” by “God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Although we’re not called to be “apostles”, since an “apostle” was verbally called by Jesus, we are still “commanded” to answer God’s calling in our lives.
I find it interesting that Paul calls “God” (meaning ‘the Father’) “our Savior” and then deliberately separates “the Lord Jesus Christ” calling Him, “our hope.” Wait a minute! Paul time and again calls Jesus the Savior (Ephesians 5:23, Philippians 3:20, 2 Timothy 1:10, Titus 1:4) and explained that the only way “to salvation is through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
) so how can the Father be the Savior? And furthermore, if that is the case, how can Jesus be “the hope”, wouldn’t it be the Father? As always our answer comes from the Scriptures. 1 John 4:14 says, “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world” (NIV). Lastly, what really bridges the gap is that it can be said of the Father that He is our Savior as well as the Son being our Savior, only since the Trinity is true.
v. 2. Paul clearly states who this letter is sent to: Timothy. Who was Timothy? Well, we’ve studied a bit about him here and here , for example. But in the text here, Paul calls him “a true son in the faith.” We can understand this as Paul thinking of Timothy fondly as his own son. Paul had worked with Timothy since he was young (Acts 16:1-5, Devotional # 56) and Paul loved and trusted him so much that he calls Timothy a “true” son.
What words does he give to his young protégé? Paul greets him with words from the Father and the Son: “grace, mercy and peace.” In the past we’ve said the difference between mercy and grace is that: mercy is not getting what we deserve (hell) and grace is getting what we don’t deserve (heaven) (Devotional # 98).
And now Paul adds “peace”. In the same way that the Father and Son greeted the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:1, 2 Thessalonians 1:2) “peace” is coupled with “grace.” As we mentioned above, Timothy is dealing with a lot of church stuff, he’s probably stressed out but God reminds Timothy that He will give “grace, mercy and peace” in these times. How often do we allow our cares to overwhelm us? Do you have a godly mentor like Paul to remind you that the first thing God greets you with every day is “grace, mercy and peace” ? If not, seek one out. Be discriminating, pray about who God is leading you towards asking to be your mentor.
Conclusion. We’ve talked about the reason Paul wrote this (to instruct and encourage Timothy), who greets Timothy (God the Father and the Son) and what God says to Timothy (“grace, mercy and peace”). One of the things we can take away from this is forgiveness. This morning I was reading in Leviticus where God tells the people what sacrifices to give Him for their sins. If they do these things “it shall be forgiven him” (Leviticus 5:10). The concepts of “grace” and “mercy” and “peace” all are concerned with the idea of forgiveness. God has forgiveness us first so it is only logical that we forgive others. This is how we show our maturity and transformed life – by forgiving others in proportion to how Jesus forgave us (Matthew 18:22).
I’ve made a few comparisons and applications for your life but the last one I want to give you today has to do with you being a mentor. Over the course of 1 & 2 Timothy we’ll probably talk about Paul’s mentoring example quite a few times. So I don’t have to belabor the point but suffice it to say that we should be mentoring. In the same way that you should have unconditional forgiveness you should be mentoring (“discipling”) unconditionally. You can’t say ‘nobody is mentoring me so I’m not going to mentor someone else.’ Maybe you feel like you don’t know enough, or you’ll do it once someone puts a little time into you first, but in your heart you know that’s not right, you know that’s not how Jesus has asked you to handle it. If every Christian sought out who God was leading them to mentor, every believer would be discipled and discipling!
Source 1: John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, p. 1858