ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 245



IMMERSED IN 1 TIMOTHY
T I M O T H Y W A S T H E young
associate Paul had counted on for years. It
was Timothy’s visit and report that prompted Paul’s first letter to the
church in Thessalonica; and when Paul wrote to the Corinthian church,
he sent Timothy to deliver the letter, affirming that Timothy was “doing
the Lord’s work, just as I am.” Timothy had traveled with Paul, stayed
with him during his imprisonment, and continued to fulfill assignments
for the apostle like visiting the believers in Philippi.
He was such a close and trusted colleague that five of Paul’s letters in
our New Testament are written in Timothy’s name as well. But now Paul
was writing to Timothy himself with instructions and encouragement for
his most difficult assignment yet.
As a missionary leader in the early church, Paul would travel, preach
the Good News, start churches, and then move on to new places.
­Unfortunately, others often came in behind him, disrupting the churches
he had started. While Paul was in prison, the church he had started in
the strategic city of Ephesus was infiltrated by certain self-appointed
“teachers.” Like the false teachers in Corinth, they were discouraging
believers from getting married and from eating certain foods. And
like the false teachers in Colosse, they were encouraging speculation
about myths and other so-called spiritual practices. Furthermore, these
“teachers” were also causing disruption in a number of other areas,
including leadership in the church.
Once Paul was released from prison, he investigated the situation in
Ephesus. But he wasn’t able to stay long because there were matters
to attend to in other places as well. So he continued on into Macedonia
but left Timothy in Ephesus with a clear and simple mandate: “Stop
those whose teaching is contrary to the truth.”
Shortly afterward, Paul sent Timothy a letter with more details, now
known as 1 Timothy. This letter alternates between giving instructions
on how to address specific situations in Ephesus and giving “charges”—
words of personal challenge—to Timothy himself.
It’s likely that Paul means for Timothy to read the instructions out
loud to the church but intends the personal charges for Timothy’s own
private encouragement. Timothy was probably no older than his mid-
­thirties. Someone this young would not ordinarily be promoted to a
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