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Introduction to 1 Timothy

  • Writer: Paul

  • Place Written: Macedonia

  • Writing Completed: c. 61-64 C.E.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • This letter makes it obvious that the apostle Paul has real affection for Timothy. Paul offers fatherly advice to his loyal friend and coworker, showing that he is interested in how Timothy is doing, both in his conduct and in his service to the congregation. (1Ti 1:2, 18, 19; 4:7, 11-16; 6:11-14) Timothy may have been somewhat shy or hesitant about asserting his authority. (1Co 16:10, 11; 1Ti 4:12) He also had to deal with “frequent cases of sickness.”​—1Ti 5:23.

  • Paul urges Timothy to be on guard against false teachings. About 56 C.E., Paul had warned the elders of the congregation in Ephesus about those who would teach false doctrines. (Ac 20:29, 30) In just a few years, apostate teachings seem to have spread. That is why Paul now instructs Timothy​—who is in Ephesus at the time​—to wage spiritual warfare inside the congregation to preserve its purity and to help fellow believers remain in the faith.​—1Ti 1:3-7, 18-20; 4:6, 7; 6:3-5, 20.

  • The letter discusses various important themes.

  • Paul makes numerous references to faith (1Ti 1:14; 4:6, 12; 6:11) and prayer (1Ti 2:1, 2, 8; 4:5; 5:5).

  • The letter contains quotations from or allusions to other portions of the inspired Scriptures.​—Compare 1Ti 5:18, 19 with De 19:15; 25:4; 1Ti 5:18 with Mt 10:10; Lu 10:7.

  • Paul’s comment at 1Ti 1:3 suggests that the letter was written about 61-64 C.E. He had arranged for Timothy to stay in Ephesus to handle certain matters in the congregation there while Paul himself departed for Macedonia. These events are not mentioned in the book of Acts, which covers the period from 33 C.E. to the end of the second year of Paul’s house arrest in Rome, about 61 C.E. Therefore, it seems that Paul wrote this letter sometime after he was released from house arrest but before his final imprisonment in Rome (c. 65 C.E.).​—See Media Gallery, “Paul’s Journeys After c. 61 C.E.

  • Such early writers as Clement of Rome, Ignatius, and Polycarp agree that Paul was the writer of 1 Timothy. In addition, ancient catalogs of the books of the Christian Greek Scriptures list this letter as one of Paul’s writings. For example, it is included in the Muratorian Fragment (late second century C.E.). The letter is also included in such important Bible manuscripts as Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus.