Lesson 1: Introduction
Acts 15:1-20--20:38, Galatians 1:2, I Timothy 1, II Timothy 1, Titus 1
Paul's Letters To Preachers. My name is Bernard Horsley. This is our 5th study in this series. You should have taken the courses, covering the 14 books that are placed before I-Tim. in the N.T. plus the book of Philemon before enrolling in this course. That is the natural order and you will find this course far more meaningful to follow that order. If you have questions, or if you would like to change the order of your study, write to us.
This present series, our 5th study together, consisting of 28 correspondence lessons, I have entitled Paul's Letters To Preachers. It covers three books: I & II Timothy and Titus. These three books contain a sum total of 13 short chapters that were divided, for us many years ago, into 242 verses. This study contains only about 60% as much text as we covered in Paul's Prison Epistles that we just completed. The three books we plan to cover here, make up less than 3% of the N.T.'s volume, making this the shortest study, thus far. We will use the KJV as we have before. We will follow the same study routine as we have used before. I'll read, you read, we'll both read every verse. Are you ready? Lord willing, we shall cover these books one at a time. We'll start with First Timothy; but, we're going to tuck in the book of Titus between I-Tim. and II-Timothy. Because, that is apparently the order in which they were written. So, fasten your seat-belt and we'll start the checklist. We need to know first of all: where we are on that spiritual road map, called the New Testament. Who wrote these books, who were they written to? Why, when and where were these books written?. There's no use to start the engine until we know where we're going. What are the facts surrounding these books? Have you developed the pencil and paper habit? Here we go! All three books, First Timothy, Second Timothy and Titus were written by the apostle Paul. From whose hand, we have already covered ten books: Romans, I & II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thessalonians and Philemon. That means we're in familiar territory. You know a lot about this writer. He was a Jew, a Pharisee by religion, he held the garments of those who stoned Stephen to death. He sincerely believed he was doing God's will by persecuting Christians. Back then, he did not believe in Jesus. He thought Jesus was an impostor. But, that all changed one day on his way to Damascus. I trust you know that story. Luke told Paul's story first (in Acts ch. 9) and then Luke recorded the way Paul himself told of his conversion (in Acts ch. 22) and as he told the story again before king Agrippa (in Acts ch. 26). We read (Acts ch. 13) about the Holy Spirit sending Paul and Barnabas on what we commonly call the first missionary journey. That was followed by two more missionary journeys. Each of these journeys started from Antioch of Syria. At the close of his third missionary journey as Paul visited the temple in Jerusalem, he was put in prison, first at Jerusalem then transferred to Caesarea for two years where he finally appealed to Nero, the Roman emperor for justice. His appeal was granted. He was sent to Rome. He spent a winter on a ship that got swept out to sea by uncontrollable winds. This episode ended by the ship breaking up on the rocks off a small island called: Melita or Malta in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The Roman centurion in charge of Paul finally made arrangements for prisoner Paul to be escorted on into that big capital city called Rome where he spent two years fastened to a chain apparently waiting for a hearing before Nero, the emperor, and you know that story too, I trust. By way of review, it was while he was thus chained to a soldier in Rome about AD 61-62 that Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, the four books we covered in our last series that we so fittingly called Paul's Prison Epistles. We have said before, it would appear as the apostle wrote those letters in that Roman jail, he anticipated being released shortly. He promised his brethren at Philippi "to send Timotheus shortly...so soon as I shall see how it will go with me." In the next verse (Phil. 2:24), the apostle went on to say: "But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly." From that prison cell, Paul said to Philemon: "prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you." (v.22). Thus, Paul was expecting to be released. It is generally believed, Paul WAS released, this was after Luke wrote Acts and therefore we find no record there. It would appear that the books of Timothy and Titus were written possibly within two to five years after Paul's release on that occasion. It is evident, the book of II-Timothy was written after Paul was imprisoned again or what we shall designate as Paul's second Roman imprisonment. We know almost nothing surrounding this second imprisonment other than that which we learn in the book of II-Timothy.
Now, who was Timothy and who was Titus? They were both preachers, they were younger men than Paul and both men had served with Paul and under Paul's guidance for many years at the time of these writings. We do not know their age; but, I envision them as being 30-ish or possibly 40-ish at the time of these writings. Timothy (or Timotheus, as some translations spell it...the same man), was from the city of Derbe located in the southeastern corner of that Roman province called: Galatia. Let's talk about Timothy first. It would appear that Paul and Barnabas baptized Timothy on that first missionary journey. In the second verse of First Timothy, Paul referred to this preacher as "my own son in the faith," meaning of course that Paul was instrumental in his conversion. Derbe, Timothy's hometown, was the city where Paul and Barnabas fled after Paul was stoned and left for dead at Lystra. Derbe is city # 21 on your old Acts-Map-Worksheet. Timothy's mother was a Jewish lady named Eunice; but, Timothy's father was a Greek, i.e. a non-Jew, and we do not know his name. Timothy's Jewish grandmother was named: Lois (we learn this in II Tim. 1:5). Paul said further over (II-Tim. 3:15), "that from a child thou [i.e. Timothy] hast known the holy scriptures." In other words, Timothy had been taught the Jewish law (or what we refer to as the O.T.) by his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois. At the time Paul and Barnabas baptized this lad, he was perhaps in his upper teenage years. At that time, Timothy had NOT been circumcised. On Paul's second missionary journey, accompanied by Silas, perhaps a year or two later, they came to Derbe and Lystra to revisit the churches which Paul had earlier helped to plant in that region. Paul was impressed with this young man, Timothy. A very bright young man I'm sure, although I envision him as perhaps a little timid. "Him would Paul have to go forth with him," i.e. Paul invited Timothy to travel with he and Silas (Acts 16:3). That verse says, Paul "took and circumcised him [i.e. Timothy] because of the Jews which were in those quarters." It's very interesting that Paul there circumcised Timothy, since at an earlier time in Antioch of Syria, he had refused to circumcise Titus, the other preacher we are considering here. We won't take time to discuss the circumcision issue (here) as it was covered back in Acts ch. 15-16 of the ACTS course. You might want to review that, there's a lot of insight to be gained in that study. So, Timothy began to travel with Paul. From Derbe, on the second missionary journey, Paul and Silas (accompanied by Timothy) went over the regions of Phrygia and Galatia, "so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily." (Acts 16:5). Timothy was with Paul at Troas at the time of the Macedonian call which led them to the city of Philippi, you will remember. From then until the time of THESE WRITINGS (a span of perhaps more than 20 years), it would appear Timothy was always either with Paul or associated with Paul in some way. When Paul wrote to the Philippians, promising to send Timothy to them shortly, Paul said concerning Timothy: "I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state." Paul and Timothy were always very close. He traveled for Paul, or at Paul's request many times. You might re-read Acts 19:22 and I Cor. 4:17 as examples on this point. Timothy was left with the Philippian church when Paul and Silas were requested by the magistrates to leave town (at the end of Acts ch. 16). Timothy was sent back to work with the Thessalonian church after Paul and Silas were sent away by night to Berea. Later when Paul was forced to move on to Athens, Timothy stayed at Berea with Silas for a time (Acts 17:14); but was ultimately sent back to work with the Thessalonians (I Thess. 3:2). Timothy was with Paul and Silas at Corinth when the I-Thess. letter was written (I Thess. 1:1). He was with Paul in Corinth when the Second Thess. letter was written (as mentioned in II Thess. 1:1) and Timothy undoubtedly carried those letters back to Thessalonica. Timothy was with Paul at Ephesus. Timothy was with Paul in Corinth many years later, that winter when the Roman letter was written (Rom. 16:21). Timothy was with Paul at the writing of the Il-Cor., Paul included Timothy's name in the first verse. And you will remember Timothy's name was appended to the Philippian letter, the Colossian letter and the letter to Philemon. Timothy may very well have been closer to the apostle Paul than any other person associated with Paul. We don't know the details; but, Timothy himself spent some time in prison (we learn this in Heb. 13:23).
Now, tune-in on this other preacher named: Titus, just a moment. Titus was a Greek (we learn this in Gal. 2:3). Although, Luke did not mention Titus by name, Luke made reference to this young man first at Antioch of Syria (in Acts 15:2). When the Judiazers came to Antioch teaching, "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved," Paul and Barnabas disputed and strongly renounced that false doctrine. The dissension evidently became so great the brethren at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to confer with the original twelve apostles on this point. Titus, evidently a young man, went along as a test case, so-to-speak. By the same H.S., of course (Gal. 2:8), the apostles at Jerusalem agreed that Paul and Barnabas were right, circumcision is not required of Christians. The apostles and elders at Jerusalem wrote a letter to the brethren at Antioch confirming that Paul and Barnabas were teaching the truth on this matter and that the Judiazing teachers were in error on that point and that, their teaching did not come from the Holy Spirit. Titus, thus, was not circumcised (we learn in Gal. 2:3,4,5). It is evident that Titus continued to work with Paul over the years; however, he is mentioned by name for the first time in the book of Il-Cor. (2:13), where it is said that Paul was expecting Titus to meet him at Troas; but, Titus did not show up. Paul's anxiety got the best of him. Paul said: "I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother..." Paul admitted his concern for Titus caused him to cut his stay short at Troas, and he hurried on into Macedonia where he was comforted by the coming of Titus from Corinth to Macedonia (that's II Cor. 7:6). Paul then sent Titus back to Corinth from Macedonia, probably from Philippi, with what we call the letter of Second Corinthians. Conditions had improved at Corinth. Paul encouraged the Corinthians to carry through with a financial pledge they had made a year or more before concerning the poor saints in Judea. Titus worked with the Corinthians on this project (I infer from II Cor. ch. 8-9), and the brethren in Achaia (i.e. Corinth) did make that contribution (we learn in Rom. 15:26). Concerning Titus on that occasion, Paul told the Corinthians: "Whether .any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow helper concerning you..." (II Cor. 8:23). Thus, Titus was Paul's partner and fellow helper. Paul described Timothy as "my workfellow" (in Rom. 16:21). So, you and I might more accurately think of Titus and Timothy as Paul's fellow preachers and helpers all working together to save as many souls as possible.
The setting, or the time of writing I-Tim. and Tit. (we have said) was evidently some two or three years after Paul was released in Rome. Paul was traveling again, preaching and strengthening the churches. His fellow workers, Timothy and Titus were evidently doing the same thing, WHAT ever they could, WHERE ever they could. When Paul wrote this letter (we call I-Tim.), this preacher, Timothy, was with the congregation at Ephesus. AND, Timothy was still at Ephesus when Paul wrote II-Timothy. That big cosmopolitan city in the province of Asia, on the western shore of Asia Minor where Paul had spent three years establishing a congregation, teaching in the school of one Tyrannus, burning books, and battling the Diana makers which themselves said: "Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands." (Acts 19:26). This had even brought on a riot by the silversmith's union. That was when Paul left Ephesus (Acts 20:1). Later, as Paul sailed by on his way to Jerusalem, he called the Ephesian elders down to Miletus (Acts 20:17). Tychicus came to Paul in prison, you will remember and Paul had written to this congregation, what we call the book of Ephesians. In Paul's first letter to Timothy (1:3), he gave this comment: "I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia" [i.e. Philippi, I would assume, as Paul had promised the Philippians he would, when released, in Phil. 2:24]. Paul continued (I Tim. 1:3), to give the reason for beseeching Timothy to go to Ephesus. He said, "that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine..." And just as Paul had sent Timothy to Ephesus for this purpose, Paul had left Titus in Crete (we fine in Tit. 1:5), "that thou [i.e. Titus] should set in order the things that are wanting..." Down in v.10, Paul got more specific: "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: whose mouth must be stopped..." Thus, Paul in I & II Timothy and Titus, wrote to these preachers for the purpose of encouraging them and for effecting doctrinal corrections in those churches. Some (incorrectly) refer to these letters as Pastoral Epistles. The word "pastor" means an elder, not a preacher. Paul discussed the duties of elders in these letters, yes; but, from the view point of a preacher or evangelist (a missionary, we would say). These are letters to preachers, not elders. Second Timothy was written after Paul had been put in prison, what we have called Paul's second Roman imprisonment. Paul urgently requested Timothy to come to him before winter. One of Paul's co-workers, a man named: Demas, had forsaken Paul apparently at the time of Paul's second imprisonment ordeal and others of Paul's fellow helpers had been sent to other areas for the purpose of assisting churches in those areas. We'll get down to more specific details here as we get into each book. It is only as you get to know these preachers, their mission and the problems in these churches that it helps us to understand our own duties better. Therefore, learn the setting. Take the time to get these letters in perspective. Learn the context. Until our next lesson, have a good day.