Father, thank You for loving me and for saving me though I, too, am a great sinner. Help me to love deeply those around me. Help us as a church to bless our neighbors and to lay down our lives so they might be saved. Please help our leaders and rulers work for justice and peace so the gospel can spread. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 1 Timothy 1-2
1 Timothy is an intimate letter between close friends. Timothy traveled extensively with Paul when churches were established and strengthened throughout Asia Minor. Timothy learned about Paul’s burden for healthy churches. When a church needed help, Paul trusted Timothy to serve in his place.
The need to remain faithful to the gospel is one of the greatest needs of every church. All church activity should teach and display the gospel so that every church member grows in expressions of love—for God and for others. Sometimes, learning about the Bible and God results in arguments and unending speculations. Paul called these “useless discussions” (1:4). Instead, increased knowledge about God should help purify our hearts, cleanse our consciences, and remove hypocrisy so that God’s love for us can overflow to those around us. Love is always the mature growth of the gospel in the lives of men and women.
God wants even difficult parts of the Bible, like the Law, to result in acts of love that display the gospel. In fact, Paul said that he was saved to prove a great truth: Christ Jesus is more than capable to save even the worst of sinners!
The gospel that transformed Paul also transforms entire communities. Christian communities are orderly, submissive assemblies who gather not to complain against oppressive governments, but to pray for the peace, blessing, and salvation of their neighbors. They pursue godly living and are well-ordered before God.
Paul sent Timothy so that he would challenge others, even the entire church, to gospel living. What challenges might Timothy have faced? If you were Timothy, what would be your biggest fear?
Here’s the big question Paul addressed in 1 Timothy 2: What does a church ordered around the gospel look like? A gospel-centered church includes praying on behalf of all, holiness, submitting to God’s rule, and living peacefully with others.
What keeps churches from looking like this? How can you help Christians around you live like this?
1 Timothy 1:5
5 The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
- What area of your life is most keeping you from praying with “holy” hands (2:8)?
- Have you ever thought about why you study the Bible? Why do you want to know more about God? What are some good reasons to study the Bible? What are bad reasons to study the Bible?
- Gospel living is love on display (1:5). Answer these questions: “Who can I love right now? How can I love them?” It is always appropriate to ask and answer these questions.
- What roles of service has God specifically established for you (1:18–19)? How can you pursue these roles with greater conviction? God Himself has called you to these! You can trust that He will help you.
- Pray for the welfare of your city (2:1–2). Pray for the salvation of the leaders of your community.
- Think back to your own salvation and thank God for His mercy to you (1:16). Tell an unbelieving friend about God’s mercy.
- Continue meeting regularly with your accountability partner and assess progress in your growth plans. [Being a Disciple]
- Research and learn more about the faith of your cross-cultural friend. Here are some places to start: Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Hinduism Resources and witnessing to Muslims (a 5-minute video). [All Peoples]