From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 1:1-2, ESV).
It would be amazing if the Apostle Paul, arguably the second most influential person in history, wrote you and me a personal letter.
He did, and he didn’t. What am I saying?
Paul says that he writes 1 Timothy to his true son in the faith … Timothy. However, his voice comes down through the centuries in this letter to all of his children, which would be you and me.
Sit down soon and read this letter by first thinking, “This is the Apostle Paul’s personal letter to me.” The epistle will come alive with Paul’s words empowered by the Spirit to challenge, convict, confirm, and change your life.
When I read 1 Timothy as Paul’s First Epistle to Pastor Grant, I quickly had several favorite verses …
But the aim of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Some have strayed from these and turned away to empty discussion (1:5-6).
I’m always instructing through preaching, teaching, and writing. This verse allows me to review my motives.
First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanks be offered on behalf of all people, even for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and dignity (2:1-2).
I pray for government officials often.
What is most unusual today is the concerted and often subtle attack by the government on the Bible and those of active faith in Jesus. Paul wrote this sentence in the midst of Neronian persecution of the church. He understood that so goes Nero, so goes the peaceful and quiet life of believers.
We must pray for those in authority. And while we are praying for government leaders, let’s pray for the church …
So I want the believers in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or dispute (2:8).
I took 1 Timothy 4:12-13 personally …
Let no one look down on you because you are an old guy, but set an example for the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity. Until I come, give attention to the public reading of scripture, to exhortation, to teaching (4:12-13).
Since I’m reading 1 Timothy as Paul’s letter to me, I did an OGV (Old Guy Version) translation of this passage. It initially said, “because you are young.” I replaced it with “old guy,” but this exhortation still stands for you and me (whatever our ages).
Until Jesus comes back, all of us should pay attention to Scripture and teaching!
One final standout passage for me …
Now godliness combined with contentment brings great profit. For we have brought nothing into this world, and so we cannot take a single thing out either (6:6-7).
As I continue in my old guy status, in spite of God abundantly blessing me in every area of my life, I still struggle with contentment. I’m glad Paul reviewed with me the secret of peace as godliness.
I was just in an exclusive neighborhood in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Homes approaching a million dollars were being purchased by retirees from around the country. As I drove through this neighborhood, a friend pointed out current divorces (of those married for decades) and other problems people were having.
Evidently, money, a nice home, and retirement in a dream area of the country did not equate with happiness for many.
Paul concludes this letter to Timothy, you, and me …
Command those who are rich in this world’s goods not to be haughty or to set their hope on riches, which are uncertain, but on God who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous givers, sharing with others (6:17-18).
Great words in 1 Timothy written over 2,000 years ago for me and you today.