Evening Bible Study
The Pastoral Epistles
The letters of 1Timothy, 2Timothy, and Titus are called the “Pastoral
This comes from the fact that they are written to Timothy and Titus, men
who were the “pastors” of their local churches.
They not only contain exhortations to these specific men, but the
instructions on “how to do church”.
Paul is aware that his time on earth is coming to a close, and he wants to
make sure that he instructs these younger men on the best ways of leading their
We believe the pastoral epistles were written around the years AD 63-66.
These will be the last three letters that Paul will write, with 2Timothy
being Paul’s final letter.
The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul being
under house arrest in Rome.
Church tradition has it that Paul was soon afterwards released from arrest
and allowed to travel.
It was in AD 64 that Caesar Nero burned Rome and later blamed it on the
We can piece together some of the history of Paul’s later years based on
some of the snippets he records in these last three letters.
(1 Timothy 1:3
NKJV) As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that
you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
In other words, Paul had been in Ephesus with Timothy, and when he left to
go to Macedonia, he left Timothy there to run the work.
It’s while Paul is in Macedonia (northern Greece – cities like Philippi,
Thessalonica, and Berea) that Paul writes this first letter to Timothy.
At some point, Paul travels to the island of Crete, where he leaves Titus
in charge of the church (Tit. 1:5)
Paul would then travel to Nicopolis in Achaia (southern Greece) and wrote
to Titus either from Nicopolis, or on his way to Nicopolis (Tit. 3:12)
(Titus 3:12 NKJV) When I send
Artemas to you, or Tychicus, be diligent to come to me at Nicopolis, for I have
decided to spend the winter there.
It’s somewhere around this time that Paul will write his first letter to
Timothy and his letter to Titus.
At some point Paul traveled to Troas (ancient Troy), where he had left his
coat (and asked Timothy to bring it)
(2 Timothy 4:13
NKJV) Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and
the books, especially the parchments.
Then at some point Paul was rearrested, sent to Rome, and imprisoned.
It’s from prison in Rome that Paul writes his second letter to
Paul would then be tried and beheaded, somewhere around AD 66.
Paul may have first met Timothy on his first missionary journey when Paul
and Barnabas were travelling through the region of Galatia, establishing
churches in cities like Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium.
Timothy may have been sixteen years old or so at that time.
The real connection took place on Paul’s second missionary trip, when Paul
and Silas returned to the area of Galatia.
(Acts 16:1–5 NKJV)
—1 Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple
was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who
believed, but his father was Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the
brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and
circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew
that his father was Greek. 4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered to them the
decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem.
5 So the
churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.
Timothy’s name means “honored of God”.
He was part Jew (from his mom) and part Gentile (from his dad).
At this point, Timothy is probably around 18 years old.
Though it would seem that Timothy was greatly influenced by the faith of
his Jewish mother and grandmother (2Ti. 1:5), at this point in Timothy’s life
he had not been circumcised as a Jew, but was uncircumcised.
Part of their ministry will be to go to the churches that have already been
established, and give them the “decrees”, or the decision of the Jerusalem
Church Council (Acts 15), which was to clarify that salvation is only by faith
in Jesus, not in circumcision or keeping the law.
Paul has him circumcised so that he will be able to more effectively
minister to the Jews they will encounter on their travels.
Paul’s ministry was predominantly to Gentiles, but he would always enter a
city and first preach the gospel in the local synagogue to any Jews who would
listen to him.
Even though salvation isn’t through circumcision or the keeping of the law,
Paul didn’t want Timothy’s uncircumcision to close doors to Paul’s preaching to
Timothy would travel with Paul and Silas into the area of Macedonia, where
they would plant new churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea (Acts 17)
When Paul moved on to Athens, he sent Silas and Timothy back to the
Macedonian churches to encourage them.
We read about some of this when we studied 1&2 Thessalonians, which
were written after Timothy reported back on how things were going.
Timothy would join Paul in Corinth where a church was planted, and the
apostles stayed for a year and a half to build up the church. (Acts 18)
On Paul’s third missionary journey, Timothy was there when Paul established
the church in Ephesus. (Acts 19)
Paul would stay in Ephesus for three years.
At one point, Timothy was sent on a quick mission to Macedonia to once
again check on the churches. (Acts 19:22)
When Paul would leave Ephesus for Macedonia, look who is with him:
(Acts 20:4 NKJV) And Sopater
of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the
Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of
When Paul wrote his letters to the Romans (from Corinth) and the
Corinthians (from Ephesus), Timothy was with him.
(Romans 16:21 NKJV)
my fellow worker, and Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my countrymen, greet you.
(2 Corinthians 1:1
NKJV) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our
brother, To the
church of God which is at Corinth…
During one of his imprisonments in Rome (probably the first), Timothy was
with Paul, as Paul wrote to the Philippians (1:1) and the Colossians (1:1):
It was after this imprisonment that Paul was released, went to Ephesus, and
left Timothy in charge of the church there.
Church tradition holds that in the year AD 97, while still the pastor at
Ephesus, the 80 year old Timothy tried to stop a procession to honor the
goddess Diana by preaching the gospel.
The angry mob beat him, dragged him through the streets, and stoned him to
:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior
and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,
:2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from
God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
:2 a true son in the faith
true – gnesios –
legitimately born, not spurious; true, genuine, sincere
Timothy had Paul’s spiritual “DNA” in him.
He wasn’t “illegitimate”. He was
a “true” son.
son – teknon – offspring;
in the NT, pupils or disciples are called children of their teachers, because
the latter by their instruction nourish the minds of their pupils and mold
Timothy was like a spiritual “son” to Paul. Paul told the Macedonian church
2:19–22 NKJV) —19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that
I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like-minded, who
will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know
his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in
Time spent with
Some of Jesus’ last words before ascending into heaven were:
NKJV) —19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching
them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you
always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We call this the “Great Commission”, something that every
Christian ought to take seriously.
We usually think of the Great Commission being about
reaching lost people with the gospel, but it’s actually way more than that.
Jesus didn’t say to “evangelize” the world, but to “make
Though discipleship involves teaching and learning, there’s another
important ingredient that we see not only in Jesus and His disciples, but in
Paul and Timothy.
It’s about spending time with people.
Let someone else into your life so they can observe your walk with Jesus up
Timothy served “with” Paul.
Over the years I’ve had several “discipleship” groups – guys I’ve met with
on a regular basis, guys I’ve shared life with.
One of the ones that’s been with me the longest is Caleb Beller.
Another is Daniel Grant. Greg
Bird. David Cathers.
These are some of the men who are my true “sons” in the faith.
Who has your spiritual “DNA”? Are
you purposely spending time with others to share Jesus and life together?
1:3-11 Correct Doctrine
:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may
charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
:3 remain in Ephesus
As we’ve seen, when Paul was released from his first imprisonment in Rome,
he went to Ephesus, and then left Timothy there to be the pastor over the church.
:3 charge some … teach no other doctrine
charge – paraggello – to
transmit a message along from one to another, to declare, announce; to command
teach no other doctrine – heterodidaskaleo
– to teach other or different doctrine; deviating from the truth
Before Paul’s arrest, he had passed near Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem,
and had this warning for the elders of the church:
NKJV) —28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which
the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He
purchased with His own blood. 29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in
among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse
things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
It seems that now several years later, this was beginning to take place.
Some teachers had risen in the Ephesian church who were teaching “other”
doctrines, which we’ll get hints at in the next verses.
:4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes
rather than godly edification which is in faith.
:4 fables and endless genealogies
fables – muthos (“myth”) –
a narrative, story; a fiction, a fable; an invention, a falsehood
Some of the goofy teaching happening in Ephesus was about certain “myths”,
or going into great detail in genealogies.
We don’t have the specifics as to what these things were, though some have
suggested that early forms of “gnosticism” were beginning to form.
“Gnosticism” was an early heresy that twisted the truth about Jesus and
made salvation based upon whether you knew the “secret” knowledge that could be
passed on to you for a price.
:4 disputes rather than godly edification
I think things like this go on today.
Some people want to try and argue over minute things that really don’t
matter in the bigger picture.
Some people are continually looking for some new thing to latch on to, and
then make a big deal out of it.
For example – do you remember when Dan Brown’s book “The DaVinci Code” came
out? He based this fictional book on myths
that Jesus was married and had kids. Much
of the book was rooted in this “gnosticism”, which most people don’t realize
was soundly refuted 2,000 years ago. Yet people latched on to it as if it was
I’m afraid that sometimes our discussions on the End Times can get a bit
close to this as well.
There seem to be some of us Bible teachers who are looking
for some new “sign” that Jesus is coming back, when the truth is, He IS coming
:4 which is in faith
Some people in their many “disputes” want to make salvation to be something
Jesus died for our sins.
We are saved by faith in His death for us.
(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in
Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from
a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
:5 the purpose of the commandment is love
commandment – paraggelia –
announcement, a proclaiming or giving a message to; a charge, a command
What “commandment” is Paul talking about?
Could Paul be talking about the Law of Moses? No.
Paul will be talking about God’s commandments, God’s
“Law”. (see vs. 7-11), yet in the Greek, the word translated “law” is different
than this word. There the word is nomos.
Paul is talking about his “charge” (v.3) to Timothy to stop these bad
teachers from abusing the church in Ephesus.
The word Paul uses in vs. 3 (“that you may charge
some that they teach no other doctrine”) is based on the same root word as
Paul is saying that the goal or “purpose” of his command to Timothy to stop
these bad teachers, was to produce “love”.
What’s your goal?
There are lots of reasons for people to be doing ministry.
Your definition of “success” depends on how you define your goals.
Some people want lots of people to follow them.
Some want to make sure their people know lots of facts.
They measure the success of their church by whether their
people can excel at Bible Trivia.
Some people want attention. They
want to be the center of attention.
Some people want to be able to exercise control over others.
Some people are always measuring others to show their imperfections, and of
course they usually come out looking pretty good in the process…
Video: Mary Poppins – Practically
Paul’s goal was all about his audience, to produce “love” (agape) in people.
(1 Timothy 1:5 NLT)
purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that
comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.
Jesus said that love was pretty high on His priorities for His disciples:
NKJV) —34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I
have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are
My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Paul gave the Corinthians a great sketch of what this “love” looked like:
13:1–7 NLT) —1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but
didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the
gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed
all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t
love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my
body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained
nothing. 4 Love is
patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It
does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of
being wronged. 6
does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never
gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every
If we want to be successful in our ministries and our
relationships, this is what we ought to be aiming at – both in how we love
others, as well as what we want to see coming out of others’ lives.
The writer to the Hebrews said,
NKJV) And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good
But wait! There’s more!
Paul tells us where this “love” comes from.
:5 from a pure heart
pure – katharos – clean,
pure; free from every admixture of what is false, sincere, genuine; blameless,
innocent; unstained with the guilt of anything
Not all “love” comes from a clean, pure heart.
In Greek, the opposite of “pure” (katharos)
is “unclean” (akatharos).
Here’s a taste of what uncleanness is like – see the other words used in
parallel with it:
5:3–5 NKJV) —3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not
even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; 4 neither
filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but
rather giving of thanks. 5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous
man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
There are going to be people in your life who will claim
to “love” you, but whose lives will be characterized by these kinds of things.
Paul will tell Timothy about the importance of being “cleansed” (similar
word) from these things:
Timothy 2:20–22 NKJV) —20 But in a great house there are not only vessels
of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.
21 Therefore if
anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor,
sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Flee also
youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call
on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Learning to have our hearts cleansed, and staying clean is
important in being “useful” to our Master.
Because we are sinners and we will continue to have a sin nature until be
are with Jesus, there is always a bit of “impurity” in our hearts.
But the issue is to what extent?
If the water you are drinking is making you sick, you ought to check the
source of the water.
If you’re drinking from a river, head upstream to see where the water is
Is there a dead animal upstream polluting things?
NKJV) —23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; 24 And see if there
is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.
:5 from a good conscience
Just like the “pure heart”, a good conscience is a source of true agape.
I think the issue is motives.
Why am I doing things that seem to look and sound like “love”?
Am I wanting something from the other person, or am I wanting to serve
Just like the “heart”, I’m not sure our “conscience” is ever going to be
completely “good” until Jesus comes back.
If I am holding back in doing good for someone because I am examining every
single motive I might have, I might not ever do anything for anyone.
Yet sometimes I’m doing things because 90% of my motives are wrong, while
sometimes I’m doing things because 90% are right.
:5 and from sincere faith
sincere – anupokritos –
unfeigned, undisguised, sincere
This is based on the word for “hypocrite”, the Greek word used for an
“actor”, one who plays a part, one who hides behind a mask.
This is the opposite of an hypocrite.
This isn’t the person who simply “says” they believe, but someone who
actually does believe in God.
There are plenty of people in this world who simply play at being a
I think one of the great tests of whether or not our faith is genuine comes
when we go through difficult times.
A fake faith will just crumble and give up when times get
A genuine faith might struggle, but will continue to cling
Corinthians 4:16–18 NLT) —16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies
are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our
present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a
glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t
look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that
cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we
cannot see will last forever.
Real faith produces real love.
Are you wanting to grow in your relationships with others?
Look at the streams that are combining to form the River of Love.
The Jordan River has four tributaries that flow into it north of the Sea of
When you visit Israel, you see two of those tributaries – the Banias and
If the Dan were polluted, the whole river would be polluted.
Real love comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.