Timothy’s Ministry

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

1 Timothy 1:1-11, Psalm 119:1-7, Acts 16:1-5

During a recent visit with my parents, I climbed into their attic and brought down a few boxes of old photos. They’d been up there for at least 20 years, maybe more. In one box, I found pictures of my parents in their early twenties. Every time I see pictures of them from before I was born, I wonder who they were. What did they love? How did they spend their time? What kept them up a night? What made them laugh? How did they get from there to here?

Time is a funny thing. We tend to think of people in terms of who they are to us now. But everyone has a story, and none of them are simple. Those stories shape us into who we are. They shape what we care about. The Apostle Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus bear this out.

First and 2 Timothy and Titus are Paul’s last letters—his swansong. He writes to his young protégés with the maturity and resolve of a man who knows his end is near. But within Paul’s Spirit-led words, we see reminders of the apostle when he was young—little literary snapshots that take us back to the days when he opposed Christianity and persecuted the Church. We read about his calling to follow Christ and his fight to preserve doctrine that is pure and true. We see a web of relationships forged over the years—some broken, some thriving.

The words we read in these letters have a tremendous amount of history and context behind them. Though they are addressed to individuals, they were written for the sake of all Christians everywhere. For the young believers who will one day become old, these letters exist to guide them along a journey that is faithful and true to the heritage of the gospel of Christ.

Paul says “the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). Here at the end of his life, Paul is seasoned in such a way that he knows what it takes to develop this sort of character. He is writing to a young pastor and congregation knowing what sort of training and trials most likely lie ahead for these Christians. Some of what lies ahead for them will be filled with joy; other parts will carry a lot of sorrow. But Paul’s primary concern in these letters is spiritual growth.

One goal of the Christian life is that we would grow and change—that we would become more like Jesus. As you read these letters, I pray the Lord would call to mind ways He has worked to make you more like Jesus. And may this time you spend in His Word add to that ongoing work.

Written by Russ Ramsey

Post Comments (8)

8 thoughts on "Timothy’s Ministry"

  1. Ken Fuller says:

    I received instruction in the church I grew up in according to a Lutheran catechism. I know that we owe Martin Luther a great deal in the regrounding of the Christian way in “faith alone”. But for some reason, I didn’t retain that part of the teaching and lived more under the Law to satisfy the longing I had to be right with God. That is until I heard a message of faith in Christ’s death for my forgiveness rather than keeping the Ten Commandments. The Law has helped me since then to maintain the “good conscience” Paul tells Timothy about (knowing wrong from right) but obtaining it through God’s love in my heart. How thankful I am today for that change in me!

  2. Stephen says:

    The chief aim of love is LOVE. Love for God and love for others. That love comes from a true heart satisfied in God. If i am so focused on loving myself then i will not be able to love God and love others the way i should. How am i loving myself in ways where i can’t love God and others fully?

  3. Tetsuo Takahara says:

    What I truly truly want, would be a burning desire for God, to understand the distinction between needing and wanting Him, and choosing the former but also to know what that means and what that feels like, whilst still allowing myself to want certain things, that I hope I can discern are what God wants for me also.

  4. Brendan Decker says:

    God may be keeping us in certain places, sometimes places that we don’t want to be, in order for him to achieve his purpose, such as using us to teach the correct doctrines etc. I pray that I would love and that God would grant me a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith. Don’t forget that these are important, not meaningless words. We must walk in the Gods word and his law , we must seek him with all our heart, not just wait for him to come to us. We must spend time to learn and remind ourselves of Gods law in order to not break it. You have lay down your laws and we should obey them unwaveringly. May we have an upright heart and praise you in that. May people speak well of us not so that we get praise but that your glory would be shown through our ways.

  5. Ray says:

    Am I the only one who marvels at the wisdom of the Godly men around them or how it’s possible to become like them?

  6. Kevin says:

    Good morning! I’m starting the 1&2 Timothy & Titus study today for anyone who would like to join!

    Day 1: Being expectant on God is a good thing. Especially when it comes down to your time with him. I don’t think I’ve done a real job of expecting God to work in my heart during my daily studies with him. This time is beautiful and sacred and should be taken seriously, and sometimes I come in way distracted. I will begin praying well before I start my devo for God to start the work in my heart. Prepare my heart for your truth. Just as if I’m driving to church, I should be praying for the lord to work in me, and to allow me to have a heart that is capable of being molded.

  7. Darin Knicely says:

    I feel somewhat lost on Paul’s whole story but he was given this voice for a reason. When I’m reading this I try to visualize the context and what it feels/looks like to be leading in uncertain times. Paul points exact examples of how to lead and that leadership relies on steadfast hearts and minds. I used to feel like I had a steadfast heart and mind but between vices, failures, greed and being lost God has broken me in a way to rebuild me. That rebuild process is a struggle for me but I have faith in God to return my steadfast heart and mind. The greatest reflection of this passage is the the devil lays many snares on our road to living in God’s name in prosperity. I’ve fallen again and again into these snares whether it is alcohol, relationships, sex, slothfulness, pride, food, fear, doubt and anger. These are all snares that exist for the devil to pull me away from God and a pure heart. I pray for God’s strength and guidance to overcome the snares of the devil. May me health and behavior be a shining light rather than a force of darkness.

  8. Dalton Sweaney says:

    My ministry is my family. This was a good reminder and great passage to put more emphasis on their love through making sure I’m leading them towards a pure heart, sincere faith and good conscience.

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