Background of the Letter
Written by Paul after his release from his first imprisonment as described in Acts 28. Primarily addressed to Timothy, by extension provided instruction to the Ephesian church.
Purpose of the Letter
The letter was written to Timothy to advise him on his teaching and ministry to the church. This letter includes instruction about doctrine (and opposing false teachings), behavior, organization, discipline, and relationships. The false teachings probably included a pride in knowledge which failed to address behavior and resulted both decadence and false asceticism. The purpose of the letter likely includes to encourage Timothy in his work and teaching at Ephesus (1:3-7), to guide the leadership and conduct of the church (3:14-15), and to instruct Timothy in his ministry (chapter 4, esp. 4:13-16) and his relationships in the church (5:21). A final charge to Timothy urges the practice of the principles outlined (6:11-16, 20-21).
Paul is concerned about ministry with relation to the gospel message, the church, the church leaders, and the minister (in this case, Timothy himself).
Content of the Letter
Chapter 1: Notes
1:2--True (gnesioi); from ginomai, but Pauline only in NT; see Phil 4:3; 2Cor 8:8; Tit 1:4. In Phil 2:20 the adverb gnesios occurs again with reference to Timothy.
1:3--Not to teach a different doctrine (me heterodidaskalein). Only other NT example in 1 Tim 6:3; see Gal 1:6; 2Cor 11:4; Rom 16:17.
1:4--Stewardship/giving over-out/dispensation (oikonomian); 1Cor 9:17; Col 1:25; Eph 1:9; 3:9; also Luke 16:2-4.
1:10--The sound doctrine (tei hugiainousei didaskaliai). Dative case after antikeitai, see verb in Gal 5:17, conflict between Spirit and the flesh. Healthful (hugiaino, being well, as Lk 5:31, 3 Jn 2; in figurative sense in NT only in Pastorals) teaching." See Tit 1:9; 2 Tim 4:3.
1:15--Faithful is the saying (pistos ho logos). Five times in Pastorals (1Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Tit 3:8; 2Tim 2:11). Same use of pistos (trustworthy) applied to logos in Tit 1:9; Rev 21:5; 22:6. This phrase (Christ coming into the world) occurs in Jn 9:37; 11:27; 16:28; 18:37. Such "sayings" were current among the disciples.
1:3-11. Encouragement to stay and minister in Ephesus, especially in combatting false teachers and false teaching. The warning mentions myths, genealogies, useless talk, and ignorance of the law and its principles. The context suggests an overemphasis on knowledge, perhaps used to justify a certain decadence. In chapter 4 one sees references to asceticism and false pride. Correct (sound, healthy) teaching conforms to the gospel of Christ.
1:12-17. Paul himself is an example of the power and product of the gospel properly protected and proclaimed. Note the doxology with which Paul concludes this brief autobiographical section.
1:18-20. Timothy will be an example of the power of the gospel as he holds the faith which some have rejected with tragic results.
Chapter 2: Notes
2:5--One God (heis theos). Pauline argument for a universal gospel (Gal 3:20; Rom 3:30; Eph 4:6).
One mediator (heis mesites), from mesos (middle), a middle man. In NT only here, Gal 3:20; Heb 8:6; 9:15; 12:24.
2:6--In its own times (kairois idiois). As in 1Tim 6:15; Tit 1:3. See Gal 6:9 for "due season."
2:8--The men (tous andras), in contrast to "women" (gunaikas) in 1Tim 2:9, "in every place" (en panti topoi) for public worship. Special conditions in Ephesus as in Corinth which called for strict regulations on the women?
Lifting up holy hands (epairontas hosious cheiras), standing to pray?; point is that only men should lead in public prayer who can lift up "clean hands" (morally and spiritually clean); see Lk 24:50. Without wrath and disputing (choris orges kai dialogismou), see Phil 2:14.
2:9--In like manner that women (hosautos gunaikas), clear reference and correlation to "holy hands without wrath and disputing."
2:13-15--Difficult passage: "Adam was formed first, then Eve. Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in transgression. She (sing.) will be saved through child-birth, if they (pl.) remain in faith and love and holiness with modesty."
Priority of Adam, deception of woman (Eve). She (Eve?) will be saved through child-birth (Gen. 3). Birth of Savior glorifies womanhood? Child-bearing, not public teaching, is function of woman with glory and dignity. "She will be saved" (sothesetai) in this function not by means of it.
Topic of Chapter 2
A conceptual framework for 2:1-7: The church's conduct should be informed by an attitude of global concern
2:8-15: The church's conduct must be characterized by activities consistent with Christianity
Hermeneutical questions about 2:8-15
For discussion: agree or disagree?
Interpreting 2:15: Possibilities
Chapter 3: Notes
3:1--First class condition, when, assumed to be true
3:5--First class condition
3:8--Technical sense words as in Phil 1:1 (two classes of church officers, bishops/elders, deacons).
3:15--Condition of third class, uncertain, possibility exists.
The pillar and ground of the truth (stulos kai hedraioma tes aletheias). Refers to ekklesia and oikos. On stulos, pillar, see Gal 2:9; Rev 3:12 (only other NT examples). Hedraioma (from hedraioo, to make stable); probably means stay or support rather than foundation or ground. See 1Cor 1:23; 2Tim 2:19 ; also Mt 16:18.
3:16--Mystery of godliness: appeared in body, authenticated by Spirit, seen by messengers, preached among nations, believed on in world, ascended out of this world. Note parallelism, resulting in three sets of two. Note also that this is the "center" of the book.
Chapter 4: Notes
4:10--Saviour of all men (soter panton anthropon). God gives life (1Tim 6:13) to all (Ac 17:28).
Especially of them that believe (malista piston). God is potentially Savior of all, He is actually Savior of the believers; Jesus is "Savior of the World" (Jn 4:42). Compare Gal 6:10.
Chapter 5: Notes
5:16--That believeth (piste), "Believing woman"; hath widows (echei cheras). The "any believing woman" is one of the household-rulers of 1Tim 5:14. The "widows" here are the widows dependent on her and who are considered as candidates to be enrolled in the list. 5:19--Accusation (kategorian, from kategoros), legal charge, not mere complaint, clearly dealing with sinful things as seen in following verse. 5:21-22--With reference to the preceding instructions, selection of leaders, be fair, do not be too quick, do not defend through friendship those who are undeserving or unqualified, maintain yourself above such things
5:24-25--Fitting conclusion to prior discussion
Chapter 6: Notes
6:1-2--Likely a continuation of the discussion of various groups in the church, connected to chapter 5.
6:3-10--Paul summarizes the teachings of the letter, first class condition (3).
Contentment (8) provides bridge to 9-10.
6:11-16--Paul summarizes instructions to Timothy
6:17-19--Brief return to thoughts of 6:3-10
6:20-21--Final summary, connect to 6:11-16, you (pl.) shows Paul's intent to instruct church at Ephesus as well as Timothy