The word ‘godliness’, as used by both Paul and Peter, does not mean holiness but devotion or reverence. Knowing this brings all the exhortations to godliness to life. Here we see what constant devotion is, how it is to be exercised and maintained, and the blessings it brings.
1 Timothy is the first of three instructional letters on pastoral and church matters. Timothy was saved during the course of Paul’s first missionary journey. He came from Lystra, in the Roman province of Galatia, now modern Turkey. And on Paul’s second missionary journey, some while later, Timothy (who by this time had matured greatly in the faith and obviously preached a good deal) was commended by the people from all the churches in that region.
Timothy became one of Paul’s closest assistants and is mentioned as being specifically with him at various different points of his journeys. He was commissioned by the apostle to be an initial pastor in different places – indeed, as this letter is written, Timothy is at Ephesus. And there he has a charge to pastor the church, and particularly to deal with certain people. It was a very difficult commission.
But Timothy was not just a representative, a delegate, sent to straighten out certain things and to preach the word to people. More than that: Paul sent somebody who was to be imitated – as a prototype pastor.
And so this first epistle gives us rules for church government and standards for office-bearers in the church – but it’s not just about procedures and conduct in the Church of Christ. It’s also full of tremendous doctrinal statements for our help as ordinary believers. Do we, for example, see God the Father as our Saviour? Do we see Him as remote? Do we reflect on the hope – the solid anticipation – that is in Christ?
There are vast treasures in 1 Timothy for all believers – whatever our role or place in the local church.
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