These letters are written from a friend to a friend. But this relationship could better be characterized as a teacher/student relationship. Paul was Timothy’s mentor and coach. He writes respectfully but in no uncertain terms. He is a spiritual father to the younger, less experienced pastor. You can sense that relationship throughout the books.
Because of my particular calling, I have always been especially fond of the “pastoral epistles”, (the letters to Timothy and Titus).
In the early parts of the first letter, Paul instructs Timothy to stay in Ephesus for the purposes of structuring the church there on biblical principles. In the end of that chapter, he reminds the young leader about the words of prophecy that had been spoken over him at an earlier time. Chapter two is pretty controversial for our purposes. Most people aren’t really sure what to do with Paul’s teaching about women in the church. My suggestion would be, don’t ask me! Chapter three specifically lays out the qualifications of Elders and Deacons in the church. If there are any church leaders reading this post, review the qualifications and be reminded that our requirements are higher than those of others. Warnings of false teachers fills the first part of the next chapter and the section ends with a great encouragement for young people who find themselves in positions of leadership: 1 Timothy 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (NIV) Chapter 5 has much to say about relationships, communications and how we should reach out to widows. The final chapter is a killer for those of us who love money. Read it and weep.
II Timothy is a little more personal. Paul opens his heart to some issues he had faced. He reminds Timothy to follow his example: 2 Timothy 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. For many years, I have utilized the following verse as a theme for my ministry: 2 Timothy 2:2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Don’t you see the link of chains? – we continue to pass on what has been passed on to us. Over and over, we see Paul tell Timothy not to waste valuable ministry time arguing with people who just want to argue. I find these verses very helpful – I don’t like to spend time debating endless and meaningless topics. II Timothy 3 gives a stark picture of how people will behave in times like these. Timothy knows better than to fall prey to the traps of these times, Paul is simply reminding him. Now Paul concludes with more personal teaching: He charges Timothy with significant responsibilities. He also reminds the younger of his life and ministry and, in essence, says goodbye.
I hope you enjoyed reading through the “Timothys”. Tomorrow, we will read two brief books, Titus and Philemon.
Have a great day, or night, whatever the case may be!