Pursuing Godliness – 1 Timothy 1:1-17

Materials: Bible, scrap paper or spiral notebook, colored pencils (optional)

All of the Pursuing Godliness quotes from Elizabeth George come from this study.

Background: 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus are called the Pastoral Epistles. Paul wrote them toward the end of his ministry. These letters were not written to entire church congregations, although they would be read to the congregations. Instead they were addressed to specific pastors and were, therefore, more personal and practical. Paul’s first imprisonment took place from AD 61-62. He then had a period of freedom from around AD 62-67. It was during this time period Paul wrote 1 Timothy and Titus. 2 Timothy was written during Paul’s second imprisonment during AD 67 before his execution.

1) Please read 1 Timothy 1:1-17. If you would like to mark the key words and phrases in your Bible here is a list: teach, faith, doctrine, godliness, money/riches, all references to the devil, all references to prayer.

2) Make some lists:
* What do you learn about Paul?
* What do you learn about God?
* What do you learn about Jesus?
* What do you learn about Timothy? (Also see Acts 16:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:5, 3:15)

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem's depiction of Paul...

Berchem’s depiction of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

Let’s learn a little bit more about the story of Timothy. Timothy is from the town of Lystra, which Paul traveled to on his first missionary journey. Crazy things happened to Paul there! On Paul’s second missionary journey, he returned to Lystra and wanted Timothy to begin traveling with him. Timothy did travel with Paul and eventually he had Timothy stay in Ephesus to minister to the churches there. To understand the letter to Timothy, make sure you know what it was like in Ephesus and what lives these new Christians were giving up.

English: Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, Turkey

Temple of Artemis, Ephesus, Turkey

3) Let’s compare and contrast:
* Describe false teachings and their outcomes.
* Describe true teachings and their outcomes.

4) What do you learn about Paul’s testimony in these verses? And how does he describe himself? (Also look at 1 Corinthians 15:9, Ephesians 3:8, 1 Timothy 1:15)
* How does he describe himself before salvation? How does Paul describe all believers before salvation? (Read Ephesians 2:1-3 and Titus 3:3)
* How does Paul describe grace in these verses? (Also see Ephesians 2:8-9)

5) Paul gives God all the praise for saving him. What are the four attributes that Paul mentions in his doxology?

Conclusion: Readers, we need to know when we hear false teaching or true teaching. Our TVs and bookstores are filled with “Christian” teachings that do not measure up to the gospel. We have to know how to tell the difference. Elizabeth George uses this acronym to help us:

W – ant to be with God’s people.
A – sk God for discernment.
T – ake in God’s word.
C – arefully select a Bible-teaching church.
H – eed the warnings of scripture.

The other lesson we need to get from these verses is for us to never “get over” our salvation! Paul didn’t and neither should we! Paul burst forth in a doxology giving God the praise for His grace and salvation. Is your heart overflowing with gratitude to God and Christ Jesus for His “exceedingly abundant” grace?

Homework for next week: Read 1 Timothy 1:18-2:15 and mark any key words that you see.

What hymn or praise song helps to remind you of God’s grace and salvation? Please put some of your favorite lyrics in the comment section.

Thoughts? Feel free to share.

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