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Survey of the New Testament - Pastoral Epistles Print E-mail
Survey of the New Testament

I.  Introduction:

 The three letters of Paul that we are looking at tonight are usually referred to collectively as the pastoral epistles.  Instead of addressing these letters to entire Churches, Paul specifically addresses two leaders, Timothy and Titus, who were involved in Paulís ongoing ministry.  Paul is writing to instruct these men in faithful under-shepherding.  The letters are called the pastoral epistles because in them we are taught much about the ministry and organization of the local Church, although these are not Paulís primary concerns.  As usual, Paulís primary goal is to encourage these men in the gospel and call them to faithfully live out their faith in the communities that they serve.  Letís look at these letters together..

II. 1 Timothy:

 A.  Author: Paul identifies himself as the author (see 1:1).

 B.  Time and Setting: As we discussed going through this book on Sunday mornings, Paul is writing to Timothy who is currently serving in the Church at Ephesus (see 1:3).  Some false teachers were leading the Church astray in Ephesus and Paul is writing to encourage Timothy in his correction of these teachers and his ministry in the city.  Of course, in his instructions to young Timothy, Paul gives us some clear teaching on women in ministry, elders and deacons, service to widows, and even financial responsibility within the community of faith.  At the center of all these instructions is the great hope of the gospel: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1:15).

 C.  Outline: 
  1.  1 Opening instructions for Timothy
  2.  2-4 Instructions for Leaders and Service
  3.  5-6 Instructions for Conduct

 D.  Theme: The theme of 1 Timothy is the call for leaders to be faithful in their service to the Church.  Whether Paul is addressing Timothy individually, elders, or deacons, he writes that they must be faithful in their ministries.  Look at 1:18, 6:11-12.  Paul wants Timothy to serve the Church at Ephesus faithfully.  Even today, the Bride of Christ needs faithful servants in her midst to meet the needs of the Body, while boldly proclaiming the gospel to lost and dying world.  Thus, the real call of 1 Timothy is to faithful service of the gospel in our local communities.

III.  2 Timothy:

 A.  Author: Paul again identifies himself as the author (see 1:1).

 B.  Time and Setting: This letter is obviously written after the first letter to Timothy.  It seems that Paul is writing this letter near the very end of his life.  In fact, this is probably Paulís last letter before his death.  It seems that Timothy is still in Ephesus and still facing difficult problems at the Church there.  Thus, Paul is writing again to encourage him in his faithful service in the difficult situation.

 C.  Outline:
  1.  1 Guard the Deposit
  2.  2 Be a Good Soldier
  3.  3-4 Preach the Word and Conclusion

 D.  Theme: If the theme in 1 Timothy is faithful ministry, then the theme in 2 Timothy is the necessity of persevering in faithful ministry.  In other words, you cannot be a faithful minister only part of the time, or only for a season.  No, all times and all seasons call for faithful ministry.  As we said in the outline, in the first two chapters Paul gives some important instructions for perseverance.  He tells Timothy to guard the good deposit entrusted to you (1:14).  Look at 1:8-14.  He goes on in chapter two to tell Timothy to be a good soldier of Christ Jesus, persevering even in the face of suffering.  How does one go about this?  Paul answers: by sticking close to the Word of God.  Look at 2:14-15, 3:14-4:2.  Paul knows that he is reaching the end of his ministry (see 4:6-8) and he wants Timothy to continue preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the deposit that has been entrusted to him.  He wants him to entrust this deposit to faithful men, who will in turn do the same thing (see 2:1-2).  We sit in a long line of men who have fought to be faithful to Paulís command here.  May we be faithful in our day.

IV.  Titus:

 A.  Author: Paul identifies himself as the author (see 1:1).

 B.  Time and Setting: As with Timothy, Titus was a faithful companion of Paul.  At the time of the letter, Titus is serving on the island of Crete, where apparently a number of Churches have been started (see 1:5).  Paul is writing to encourage Titus and give him instructions for these upstart Churches.  Like so many of the other early Churches, these Churches are also struggling with false teachers.  Paul addresses them in 1:10-16 and then instructs Titus as to what he should teach and how he should conduct himself in 2:1ff.

 C.  Outline:
  1.  1 Qualifications for Elders
  2.  2 Commands concerning doctrine
  3.  3 Commands concerning ethics

 D.  Theme: One of the major themes in the letter to Titus is the need for sound doctrine.  Paul, recognizing the errors of the false teachers, encourages Titus to maintain sound doctrine in his teaching.  Look at 2:1.  Continuing on from this verse, Paul gives instructions about the different groups of people in the Church (older/younger men, older/younger women, slaves) and how they are to support faithful teaching and obedience in the community.  Again, Paul connects obedient living with sound doctrine in this book as well.  Churches need men who teach and live faithfully, for the two go together.  This is the charge that Paul is writing to Titus.

V.  Conclusion:

 Paulís love for and service to the Church is again witnessed in these letters to Timothy and Titus.  He wants these Churches to continue in their belief and obedience to the gospel of Christ.  He knows that faithful leaders are necessary for this to actually happen.  Thus, he writes to these two men to encourage them in finding faithful leaders for the Church who know the gospel, teach the gospel, and live the gospel.  The need for such faithfulness has not changed over the years.  Our local Churches still need faithful leaders who are committed to the gospel.  We pray that God will continue to raise up leaders to do just that, for the health of our particular communities and for the glory of God.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Sunday, 29 October 2006 )

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