Materials: Bible, scrap paper or spiral notebook, colored pencils (optional); [I also used The Bible Knowledge Commentary by Roy Zuck]
1) Please read 1 Timothy 1:18-2:15. 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) Paul writes Personal Advice and Pastoral Advice at the end of chapter 1.
What duty was Timothy to fulfill? And what two spiritual necessities must Timothy hold on to?
Read 1 Timothy 1:5 and 3:9. Having faith and a good conscience go together. When one is strong so is the other. Failure in one is correlated with failure in the other. (Zuck)
Who were the two false teachers? Also see 2 Timothy 2:16-18.
What action had Paul taken?
It seems that Paul had done an “excommunication” of sorts with the motive being remediation. Hopefully these men would see the error of their ways and return to the fellowship.
3) Christians must be good soldiers: Paul encouraged Timothy to “fight the good fight.” But how? Read Ephesians 6:10-13. “How can you hold on to a good conscience? Treasure your faith in Christ more than anything else and do what you know is right. Each time you deliberately ignore your conscience, you are hardening your heart. Over a period of time your capacity to tell right from wrong will diminish. As you walk with God, he will speak to you through your conscience, letting you know the difference between right and wrong. Be sure to act on those inner tugs so that you do what is right – then your conscience will remain clear.” ~ Bruce Barton Fight for your faith and fight for a good conscience!
4) Are you doing what you know is right? Read 1 John 1:9 and Psalm 139:23-24. Don’t be shipwrecked!
Background: During the time Paul is writing to Timothy, Nero is the ruler of the Roman Empire. Nero, or Brave, became emperor at 13 in AD57. He succeeded his stepfather who was probably murdered by his mother. As Nero grew older, he got rid of those who had advised and influenced him, including the death of a half brother and the murder of his mother. Nero wasn’t all bad. He was a poet, an actor, a musician, and an athlete. He tried to persuade people to not watch the gladiator matches and to, instead, appreciate the Olympic Games. In AD64 there was a fire that burned the royal palace and much of the city. Rumors were flying that Nero had started the fire so he could clear land to build a new palace. Infuriated by this, he went after the Christians by blaming them for the fire. Christians were persecuted mercilessly. However, Nero had neglected his own military and many were against him. Nero committed suicide in AD68.
5) What does Paul see as a primary responsibility of the church? (see verse 2:1) Who were to be the objects of prayer? Why should believers pray in such a manner? Read 1 John 5:14. Can you imagine being those persecuted Christians listening to Timothy read these words to them? Pray for Nero? When was the last time you prayed for the country’s leaders? God is a Saving God. That is his nature and this type of praying is in his will. How should knowing God desires the salvation of all men change your prayer life?
6) The attitude and behavior of women: Remember what life was like in Ephesus where Timothy was leading the church. What is and is not to be the focus of our dress? (verse 9) What is to be our “proper” clothing? (verse 10) The people Timothy was ministering to quite possibly were coming out of lives that were filled with idol worship, prostitution, and spiritual witchcraft. And with those old lives were ways of dress that promoted that evil lifestyle. So Paul is helping Timothy to guide these women from one lifestyle to a godly way of living. “Braided hair, gold, pearls, and expensive clothes are not wrong in themselves but become inappropriate when they indicate misplaced values. Christians must be careful about letting a pagan culture set their fashions.” (Zuck) A woman cannot claim to fear God and yet disregard what God says about her behavior, her appearance, and her ministry.
7) Be quiet: In verse 12, Paul states that women are to remain quiet. Many become all uppity over this verse, but the word used for “quiet” in this scripture is not the word for “not speaking.” The word used is hesychia, which means be in quietness, settled down, undisturbed, not unruly. In other words, women need to allow the men to lead as God directs them and not get unruly in behavior. I’ve known of a few Deacon’s wives who send their husbands to Deacon meetings with a list of “To Do’s” for how they think the church should be run. I try very hard not to do this and take my concerns to the proper person, usually after speaking with my husband about the situation first.
Conclusion: Readers, God has designed humanity and we as the created should willingly embrace the design. However, we fight against it all the time! Men, as leaders, are given great responsibilities in the church, our homes, and society. Women are no different. Our responsibilities are just different. I love this quote from John MacArthur, “For most women, their greatest impact on society is through raising godly children. If a woman is godly and if God chooses to give her children whom she raises in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, she will have a profound influence on a new generation. Men may have the outward, overt leadership, but women may have just as great an influence indirectly.”
Homework for next week: Read 1 Timothy 3:1-11 and mark any key words that you see.