Encouragement to Love Boldly
Welcome to the 1 Timothy study: Developing a Life of Love & Faith! Over the next 10 weeks, author Jennifer Slattery and I will be digging into this book of the Bible and sharing nuggets of truth to encourage you along life’s journey. But we don’t want to go solo on this adventure! We want YOU to be an active participant.
We’ve created a Facebook page just for this group. It’s a place where we can interact on a more personal level and you can share what the Lord is teaching you. It’s the perfect forum to ask questions. You can even share examples of how you’re applying what you’ve learned.
It’s always good to start at the beginning, so today we’ll take a look at 1 Timothy’s vital statistics:
who wrote it
who it was written to
when it was written
why it was written
how it applies to us today
On Thursday, head over to Jennifer’s site for a practical tie-in to today’s lesson!
Stick to the Truth (1 Timothy 1)
Encouragement is huge. If you’ve had someone come alongside you to help you finish a project, or support you during a difficult time, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Encouragement can be just the thing that keeps you going when you’re tempted to quit. Timothy, the young pastor of a church in Ephesus, had just such an encourager in the apostle Paul.
Paul was no stranger to difficulties. He had survived physical hardships: shipwrecks, beatings, and intense persecution at the hand of his own countrymen. And he was familiar with spiritual battles: dealing with sin among believers, and disunity in the churches.
Paul knew the strain and potential discouragement each trial could bring. He wasn’t perfect. But he allowed his struggles to press him closer to Christ. His life was all about serving the Lord no matter what – and he encouraged Timothy to do the same.
We can learn a lot from Paul’s missionary journeys. He initially visited Ephesus on his second mission trip and stayed there for three years preaching and teaching. Before leaving the area, Paul warned the elders of the church to watch out for those who might join the church and try to teach things contrary to the gospel. When Paul set out for Macedonia, he sent Timothy to be the pastor of the church at Ephesus. He was confident Timothy was God’s man for the job.
Paul and Timothy had spent a lot of time together, and Paul referred to Timothy as “my own son in the faith.” (1 Timothy 1:2) Not only had Paul mentored Timothy, but the two had also shared the gospel in other countries. Now as the pastor of the Ephesian church, Timothy had run into some problems. Things had gotten challenging.
Right to the point
This letter was sent by Paul to Timothy around A.D. 64 or 65. After an affectionate greeting, Paul wasted no time addressing the problem, and offering the encouragement and instruction Timothy needed to continue.
Paul’s concern had been realized – men had come into the church and were spreading false teaching. They wanted to be recognized as teachers of the law. Instead of being motivated out of love for the Lord, they were trying to build a name for themselves. I can only imagine the confusion of the church members. Who was preaching the truth?
The struggle & some encouragement
Timothy’s job was to support and defend the gospel of Christ and to correct those in his church who were teaching things that didn’t align with the truth. An uncomfortable position – especially considering that some of these false teachers were probably older than Pastor Timothy.
I can almost hear the argument going on in Timothy’s head: I know we, as a church, need to focus on preaching the gospel – the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. But these false teachers are so much older than me, I’m not sure they’ll accept my correction. Maybe I should just resign as pastor…
When Paul’s letter arrived, it had to be like a much-needed cool drink of water for Timothy. His spiritual mentor believed in him. His letter contained the confirmation that Timothy needed to continue teaching God’s truth, and the encouragement to stand up to the false teachers.
Questions to consider & application
The false teachers in Timothy’s day wanted to build a following and a name for themselves. They were self-focused rather than God-focused. How does your focus need to change today?
Timothy had a difficult job as a young pastor – confronting and correcting the false teachers, and standing up for the truth. Timothy was blessed to have a mentor like Paul who believed in and encouraged him.
Let’s talk about it
Tell about a time you stood up for the truth in spite of opposition. Who can you be an encouragement to today? Is there someone the Lord would have you mentor?
*Share your answers in the comment below and then hop over to the Facebook page and join in on the discussion!
*Remember to visit Jennifer’s site on Thursday for a practical tie-in to today’s lesson!
Can I pray for you?
Heavenly Father, thank You for the lessons from this chapter in 1 Timothy. Help us search our motives and do things out of a pure heart of love for You. Give us the strength and conviction to stand up for Your Word when it comes under attack. And give us grace to be the encouragers we need to be. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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