Dear 5x5x5 readers, Welcome to 1 Timothy, a letter from the apostle Paul to his long-time friend and fellow laborer Timothy. Timothy was younger than Paul, converted on Paul’s first missionary journey, and had become Paul’s most trusted disciple and co-laborer. When new churches in the region experienced challenges, Timothy was often the pastor dispatched to help resolve issues and prevent a major meltdown. Timothy was serving as the pastor to the church in Ephesus when Paul wrote these instructions (approximately ten years after Paul’s letter to the Ephesians).
A pastor’s job is not an easy one! In any given week, a pastor may serve as a psychologist, priest, social worker, hospital chaplain, administrator, personnel supervisor, philosopher, teacher, and communicator. Paul was very aware of the vital nature of such a job – churches sprouted up wherever Paul visited, but whether they survived or failed depended largely on what kind of local leadership developed. 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are considered the “pastoral letters”, written by Paul to encourage and direct young leaders. I often write the major themes of each Biblical book across the top of the introductory page in my Bible – on 1 Timothy I have written “church leadership and administration”.
Although this letter addresses a historical situation, many problems of the early church persist today – controversies, disorder, a generation gap, an integrity shortage, abuse of social aid, and a love of money. As you read, look for problems Paul alludes to and ask yourself if they have any modern equivalents. What role does he expect different groups to play in local church leadership? What example are they expected to provide?
Keep reading! It’s September and we are going to finish the New Testament this year!