Bible Query from 1 Timothy
November 2012 version. Copyright (c) Christian Debater(tm) 1997-2012. All rights reserved except as given in the copyright notice.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:2, why does Paul call Timothy his son?
A: Timothy was not Paulís biological son, but this affectionate metaphor expressed the close relationship between the younger and older co-laborers for Christ.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:3, when was Timothy staying at Ephesus, and Paul was hoping to come to Timothy shortly in 1 Tim 3:14? (Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.1141-1143 mentions this.)
A: The two letters to Timothy and the letter to Titus are commonly called Paulís "pastoral epistles". The pastoral epistles were written after the events of Acts. This means that they were either written after Paulís house arrest in Rome or else possibly during his house arrest in Rome. Paul was very likely not executed immediately at the end of his house arrest in Rome, or else Luke, who was Paulís traveling companion, would have mentioned it.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.727-729 mentions these things and says 1 Timothy was probably written 63-66 A.D., and 2 Timothy was probably written about 67 A.D..
Q: In 1 Tim 1:4 and Tt 3:9, can we ignore what the Bible says about genealogies?
A: It does not say not to read or to ignore genealogies, but do not devote your time to them. Concentrate on putting into practice what the Bible says about living in worship of God, serving Him and helping others.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:4, what myths is Paul talking about?
A: This verse applies in myths in general. These probably included Jewish fables Paul instructed Titus to avoid having people pay attention to in Titus 1:14. Also, even in Paulís time there were false religions, including some very fanciful Gnostic myths, and perhaps Paul also had those in mind.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:4 (KJV), should the word after "godly/Godís" having an "ing" such as working or be a noun, such as "work"?
A: The NASB, NIV, NKJV, and Greenís Literal Translation all have a noun there. The NRSV translates this as "training" with a footnote saying it could be "plan". The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.731 says "plan". The Expositorís Bible Dictionary volume 11 p.351 says that the KJV is based on an inferior reading.
Williams translation is the most unusual here. It says, "never-ending pedigrees, for such things lead to controversies rather than stimulate our trusteeship to God through faith."
Q: In 1 Tim 1:5, why did Paul not talk about Timothyís fatherís faith as well as his motherís?
A: Acts 16:1 says Timothyís mother was a Jewess and a believer, and his father was a Greek.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:6 (KJV), what is "jangling"?
A: This is an old King James Version word for "chatter". See The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.883 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:8-10, what purpose does the law serve for these people?
A: The law serves to point out how far they, and we, are from meeting all of Godís requirements on our own. The law drives us to Godís grace.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:11 and 1 Tim 6:15 what is unusual about this word "blessed"?
A: In the New Testament God is frequently called blessed with a Greek word that includes being worshipped. People are frequently called "blessed" with this Greek word, makarios, which simply means happy. Only in 1 Timothy 1:11 and 6:15 is God called makarios. God is praised and worshipped yes, but apart from that, in and of Himself, God is a happy being. See Everymanís Bible Commentary First Timothy p.38 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:13, does God only forgive people for bad things they did in ignorance?
A: No. Paul received mercy for what he did in ignorance, but people who received mercy for intentional sins include David and Peter.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:14 (NIV) does the Greek say "faith and love which are in Christ Jesus?
A: To be picky, not exactly. Both in 1 Tim 1:14 and 2 Tim 1:13 Paul says "faith and love which is in Christ Jesus", where the verb is singular. The Expositorís Greek New Testament p.97 says that perhaps this is a common grammatical mistake Paul makes. Alternately, Paul is not thinking of faith and love as two separate things, but simply two aspects of godly character.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:16, how was Paul "first" in Godís grace?
A: The Greek word protos can mean chief, foremost, or former as well as first. The Greek word protostates means ringleader.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:17, is there is only one "wise" God, are there other gods that are not very intelligent?
A: -Of course. In 1 Corinthians 8:1-7, Paul talks about the many unintelligent, and lifeless, idols.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:18, why should Timothy obey Paul, since Christians are supposed to obey God?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. Christians are supposed to obey their leaders as Hebrews 13:7 says. Obey your elders as 1 Pet 5:5 says.
2. The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets as Ephesians 2:20 states.
3. All obedience is to be "in the Lord". In other words, if parents, teachers, government leaders, church leaders, of anyone else we are supposed to obey, commands something contrary to what God said in Scripture, we are to obey God rather than men, as Peter showed in Acts 4:19-21.
Q: In 1 Tim 1:20, how are people such as Hymenaeus and Alexander delivered to Satan?
A: This expression can refer to believers and nonbelievers. For believers, it can mean they were kicked out of the church to be "disciplined" not to blaspheme. For non-believers, it can mean they prayed that since they fought against the truth they heard, that God would use Satan to discipline them so that they might repent and later believe the truth they have rejected.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:1, why do we pray for all people, since God already knows who is going to Heaven?
A: While we should pray for each person because we do not know who will go to Heaven, there is also a greater reason. God commands, and Godís certain knowledge of who will go to Heaven does not mean they have no opportunity or responsibility. See also the discussion on 1 Timothy 4:10.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:2, should we pray for all political leaders, even evil ones? Should we pray for their good?
A: Yes. When Paul wrote this, the Roman Empire, from the Emperor on down, was filled with corruption. We pray for all political leaders, regardless of how bad they might be, for at least three reasons.
1. That there would not be stumbling blocks for Christians to "live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" as 1 Timothy 2:2 says.
2. Pray that God would continue to work through both the good and evil the political leaders do, that God would bring people into His kingdom.
3. Pray for all people, even evil political leaders themselves, that the best thing possible could happen to them, that they would repent of their ways, turn to Christ, and share with us the joys of heaven forever.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:4-6, if Jesus died for all, why are all not saved, as the heresy of universalism teaches?
A: What they heard was not combined with faith, as Hebrews 4:2 states. God has the power to save all men, and God offers the Gospel freely. No verse says that some go to Hell with no opportunity. However, people can be like the Pharisees and scribes in Luke 7:30, who "rejected Godís purpose for themselves." There were times when Jesus was heartbroken at their unbelief (Matthew 24:37-39), but God permits their ultimate choice to be their ultimate destiny. Of course, universalism is a heresy genuine Christians are not to believe.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:4-6, what are the non-Calvinist and Calvinist understandings of this passage?
A: Apologies for the long quote, but I wanted to ensure there was no loss of context.
Calvinist: Lorraine Boettner in The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (p.294-296) says, "If the words of 1 Tim 2:4, that God Ďwould have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth,í be taken in the Arminian sense it follows either that God is disappointed in His wishes, or that all men without exception are saved. Furthermore, the doctrine which imputes disappointment to Deity contradicts that class of Scripture passages which teach the sovereignty of God.... It is true that some verses taken in themselves do seem to imply the Arminian [non-Calvinist] position. This, however, would reduce the Bible to a mass of contradictions; for there are other verses which teach Predestination, Inability, Election, Perseverance, etc., and which cannot by any legitimate means be interpreted in harmony with Arminianism. ... Consequently if we find a passage which in itself is capable of two interpretations, one of which harmonizes with the rest of the Scriptures while the other does not, we are duty bound to accept the former." Boettner (p.294-296)
Non-Calvinist: Both non-Calvinists and Amyraldian Calvinists can quote Boettnerís exact same words after the three dots, simply switching the words Arminian and Predestination and changing the order of the sentences. Note what Boettner says about a sovereign God cannot be disappointed, and that other verses clearly show that all would have to be saved if salvation were offered to all. Now read the following:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longer to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her winds, but you were not willing." (Matthew 23:37)
"But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected Godís purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) (Luke 7:30)
"He (Jesus) is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
Conclusion: We should all agree with Boettnerís words: "It is a recognized principle of interpretation that the more obscure passages are to be interpreted in the light of clearer passages, and not vice versa."
Q: In 1 Tim 2:9, why do Christian women sometimes have hairdos and costly jewelry?
A: It is good to care reasonable care of your hair, but expensive and extravagant hairdos are not what God wants.
Most Christian women do not have costly jewelry. If a Christian woman is ostentatious, and wears expensive jewelry and spends inordinate amount of time on her hair, she may still be a genuine Christian, but she should stop this practice. In Greek times, some women wore very extravagant clothes. According to John Chrysostomís Homilies on 1 Timothy (before 392 A.D.), this verse contrasts with the imitation of actors and prostitutes.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:11-14 and 1 Tim 3:1-7, why did the Bible teach that women then (and probably now too) could not teach or have authority?
A: While different churches disagree on the role of women in the church, here are eight points on which all Biblical Christians should agree.
1. Paul accepted that women could still have prominent positions in the church. Some important women he mentioned were Phoebe (Romans 16:1,2), Priscilla who with her husband corrected Apollos (Acts 18:26), Euodia and Syntyche who contended at Paulís side for the gospel (Philippians 4:2-3), and possibly Chloe (1 Corinthians 1:11).
2. Women can and should teach women and children, and women can have authority over women and children in the church.
3. Outside the church, women have been obedient to God in being leaders. Deborah was in Judges 4:4-5. Deborah was not in a temporary position: she was already a prophetess and judge, prior to using her authority to tell Barak that God commanded him to defeat Sisera.
4. Women still could speak Godís word in prophesy. In Old Testament times, not only was Deborah a prophetess, but Miriam (Exodus 15:21), Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22-28), were too. In the New Testament, Anna (Luke 2:36-38), Philipís four daughters (Acts 21:9), and women in general in 1 Corinthians 11:5.
5. The Bible never gives any reasons suggesting women are physically weaker, less intelligent, more emotionally frail, or inferior to men. In fact, some of the male leaders of Israel, such as Abimelech (Judges 9:52-53) and Rehoboam (1 Kings 12:3-16), were neither godly nor very intelligent
6. The only reason the Bible gives is that is the way God prefers it. Godís reasons have to do with Eve being the first deceived in the Garden of Eden, not with all women.
7. Hypothetically, if God said he desired women, or even children, to have authority over men in church, we should obey. However, if God wanted only men to have authority, we who obey God must do what He wants.
8. On all issues, not just this one, we should obey God whether or not we are given all of the reasons.
For a good book on women in the Bible, see A Woman for all Seasons by Jeanne Hendricks. See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.411-415 and When Critics Ask p.497-499 for more info. Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.371-377 gives a contrary view, by a conservative Christian, that today women can be ordained as ministers.
Q: How do 1 Tim 2:11-14 and 1 Tim 3:1-7 compare with Islam?
A: The Qurían says in Sura 4:34 to "beat" or "scourge" your wife, if she is disobedient. The Arabic word "beat" or "scourge" is the same word used to beat a violent criminal or a camel. Mohammed himself once deliberately struck Aisha "on the chest which caused me pain", according to Sahih Muslim vol.2 2127. If a wife is good, but a husband is remiss, the Qurían never says the wife is to either beat her husband or find her father, brother, or another man to beat her husband.
Does this command relate to the following words of the Prophet in the Bukhari Hadith 2:161; 1:301, and quoting from 1:28; "The Prophet said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women.í" (Most of these women were ungrateful to their husbands.)
Why do you think there are more women in Hell. Is it because there is not as much incentive for them to be in heaven? Bukhari Hadith 6:402 and prior says, "The statement of Allah, Beautiful fair females restrained [i.e. chained] in pavilions. Narrated Qaisi, Allahís Apostle said, "In Paradise there is a pavilion made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them."
"Narrated Abu Huraira: Allahís Apostle said, ĎTreat women nicely, for a woman is created from a rib, and the most curved portion of the rib is its upper portion so, if you should try to straighten it, it will break; but if you leave it as it is, it will remain crooked. So treat women nicely.í" Bukhari Hadith vol.4 no.548 p.346.
"Narrated Abu Saiíid Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, ĎIsnít the witness of a woman equal half of that of a man?í The women said, ĎYes.í He said, ĎThis is because of the deficiency of the womanís mind." Bukhari Hadith vol.3 no.826 p.502.
"he [Mohammed] said, ĎNever will succeed such a nation as makes a woman their ruler.í" Bukhari Hadith vol.9 no.220 p.171. So when Muslims try to bring up 1 Tim 2:11-14 and 1 Tim 3:1-77 saying that women cannot be elders in the Bible means they are less valuable, you can say, tongue-in-cheek, that you would like to discuss it with their female imam.
Q: Does 1 Tim 2:13-14 teach that women have inferior judgment, as an atheist (Capella) asserts?
A: No. You need to have good judgment to be a good judge. In the Old Testament, which Paul knew very well, Deborah was a good judge of Israel.
As far as the value of a woman versus a man is concerned, the same author, Paul, in Galatians 3:28 says there is not male or female in Christ, but we all are sons of God. In Greek culture daughters were not valued as highly as sons, so if Paul had said here that we all are "children" of God, there might be doubt in that culture that men and women are really equal. However, Paul removed all doubt by saying both are "sons" of God.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:15, I have a question on the Catholic doctrine of Mary and the Saints being a 'mediator' for us. A Catholic argument to support this theory is that Moses has done this to protect the people of Israel from God's wrath when the people didn't believe in God. Moses asked God to forgive the Israelites, and God accepted (Numbers 14: 1-20). Catholics can use this to support their theory that we can use others such as Mary or certain Saints to intercede or mediate through God for us. But In 1 Timothy 2:5, Paul clearly states that there is 'One' mediator, which is Jesus. So my confusion is that both these passages can support both theories, so how can we choose one over the other?
A: Usually any argument that you can imagine will have some counter-argument. So let me first expand you question to not just deal with Mary, but with Biblical determination of competing views in general. Then I will apply the general principles to what you asked about.
First of all, a command, statement, or other clear expression in Scripture has precedence over our interpretation or our own analogies we ourselves create from scripture. Since 1 Timothy 2:5 says there is One Mediator, if there are now really two mediators then 1 Timothy 2:5 would be a lie. One the other hand, if there is really just one mediator, this would not make the Old Testament statements a lie because a) Moses was not specifically said to be a Mediator, Moses standing the gap for the people related to their physical punishment only, not the complete person, and though Moses was a type of Christ, the kind of role Moses did have was superseded by Christ, and Moses is not even standing in the gap anymore.
Second, it is good to see if you get the same answer if you reverse the question. For example, instead of asking "who in the Old Testament would be closest to having the kind of mediatorship that Catholics assert Mary had", ask instead, "who in the New Testament is most logically the fulfillment of the role Moses had in the Old Testament." The answer is quite clear: Jesus and not Mary.
Third, we should ask "are we inventing some brand new doctrine" and also "how did the early Christians understand these verses". Not that early Christians were perfect, but many of them spoke Biblical Greek from the time there were three years old, dreamed in Greek, and we would be ridiculous trying to tell them the Greek meant something, when they all concurred that it meant something quite different. There are absolutely no pre-Nicene Christian writers who taught that Mary was a co-mediator, co-redeemer, mediatrix, redemptrix, or any other word the Catholic church made up. But the following early church writers all affirmed that Jesus was our mediator. None of them heard of mentioning Mary as a mediator.
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) (partial) "This is the way, beloved, in which we find our Saviour, even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven. Ö By Him the Lord has willed that we should taste of immortal knowledge, 1 Clement ch.36 vol.1 p.14-15 (also vol.9 p.240)
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) (partial) quoting Isaiah 53 says of Jesus "by his stripes we are healed. He was an offering for sin. Jesus Himself will carry our sins. 1 Clement ch.16 vol.1 p.9 (also vol.9 p.234)
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) "Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood [of Jesus] is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world." 1 Clement ch.7 vol.1 p.7 also vol.9 p.231
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) "On account of the Love he bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls." 1 Clement ch.49 p.18
Clement of Rome (96-98 A.D.) (partial) commends the Corinthian church for not being a respecter of persons. 1 Clement ch.1 p.5
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) discusses why Christ had to be fully man as well as God to take on the role of "Mediator" Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.18.7 p.448
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) mentions the seed [Jesus] being a mediator. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.7.2 p.420
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D) says that Jesus "united man through Himself to God" Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 ch.4.2 p.417
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) calls Jesus the Mediator who executes the Fatherís will, the Son of God, and Savior of men. The Instructor book 3 ch.1 p.271
Tertullian (c.213 A.D.) says the apostle calls Christ "the Mediator between God and man." Against Praxeas ch.27 p.624
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) calls Jesus "the Mediator between God and man," On the Resurrection of the Flesh ch.51 p.584
Hippolytus bishop of Portus (222-235/6 A.D.) speaks of Christ being the mediator between God and man in his Commentary on Numbers p.169.
Origen (225-254 A.D.) mentions that Jesus the Mediator and High-Priest and Paraclete and the door. Origenís Commentary on John book 2 ch.28 p.343
Novatian (250/254-256/7 A.D. ) "If Christ is only man, why is a man invoked in prayers as a Mediator" (Concerning the Trinity ch.14 p.623) He also discusses the incarnation in Treatise Concerning the Trinity ch.10 p.619.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "He is endued with flesh; God is mingled with man. This is our God, this is Christ, who, as the mediator of the two, puts on man that He may lead them to the Father." (Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 6 ch.11 p.468)
Peter of Alexandria (306,285-311 A.D.) says that Jesus is our Advocate with the Father. The Canonical Epistle Canon 11 p.276
Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.) "a mediator came-that is, God in the flesh-that the flesh might be able to follow Him, and that He might rescue man from death, which has dominion over the flesh." The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.25 p.126.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:15, since women shall be "saved in child-bearing", what about godly but childless women?
A: Paul obviously did not think women go to heaven by having children, or he would not have recommended celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7:8,25-28. Paul knew of Philipís four unmarried daughters who prophesied in Acts 21:9. For evidence that the church historically has interpreted this verse to mean childless women are fine, read John Chrysostomís Homilies on Timothy (c.392 A.D.). See also the next question for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 2:15, what does "she will be saved in child-bearing", mean?
A: God can physically preserve women through the difficult period of childbirth. Tongue-in-cheek, I have told my wife, that having a baby is such an expensive, painful, troublesome and dangerous procedure, that before modern medicine, women just must not have had any babies!
Seriously, this is a complex verse, because Paul is using the specific case of Eve as a representation, to simultaneously correct and encourage all women. Christians have many different views. Here is an interpretation taken loosely from the Greek-speaking exegetical preacher John Chrysostom (c.397 A.D.) homily 9 on Timothy (p.436).
1. Though Eve was the one who deceived Adam, she still had a subsequent role in Godís plan as "the mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20). Eveís offspring included Christ, who saved her. [Genesis 3:15, not Chrysostom]
2. Because of reasons relating to Eve, God does not want women teaching or having authority over men (1 Timothy 2:11-14).
3. Women have a special and unique role in bearing children (1 Timothy 2:15a). According to John Chrysostom, being "saved" does not refer to Eve or any individual woman, but the role of womankind in general.
4. Not just physically bearing children, but women should live a faithful, loving, and holy life, with all propriety. As Chrysostom points out, Ephesians 6:4 mentions that it is a great responsibility for the parents to bring up their children in the Lord.
5. While some could mistakenly interpret this verse to mean that all women incurred the transgression of Eve, John Chrysostom pointed out that this is false reasoning.
See The NIV Study Bible, the New Geneva Study Bible, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.736 for more discussion.
Q: Does 1 Tim 2:12 mean women were not supposed to teach at all, or that they were not supposed to teach men?
A: Paul only said women were not supposed to teach men, because earlier in the chapter in 1 Timothy 2:3 Paul told the older women to teach good things to the younger women, as well as children.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:1, should men desire to be "bishops", since bishops teach, and James 3:1 says not many should desire to be teachers?
A: The Greek word in 1 Timothy 3:1 is "overseer". 1 Timothy 3:1 does not say unqualified men should desire to be overseers, but that if a man desires to be an overseer, he desires a worthy goal. While some might look down on full-time Christian work, the Bible shows we should hold it in high honor.
Q: Does 1 Tim 3:1-7 forbid women to be overseers?
A: Genuine Christians have differing views.
Yes) While male elders, wives, children were all discussed, the concept of female elders was absent in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. This concept was not absent from Paulís mind, however, because 1 Timothy 2:11-14 explicitly teaches that women could not teach men or have authority over men.
Only at this time) Some genuine Christians think this was only for this time.
No) Some view Galatians 3:28, concerning the value of men and women, also applies to their roles in the church. 1 Timothy 3:11 could refer to the wives of deacons, or else female deacons. OíBrien in Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.374-375 also mentions that Priscilla as well as Aquila instructed Apollos in Acts 18:26.
Yes again) However, there is no reason of time or culture, given to show why 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and not other commands can be ignored in our time. The reason that was given, concerning Adam and Eve, is as valid now as then. See also the question on 1 Timothy 2:11-14, and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.411-415 and When Critics Ask p.497-499 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:2,12 and Tt 1:6, should elders and deacons be the husband of at least one, one, or no more than one wife (counting or not counting previous marriages)?
A: The Greek phrase is a "one-woman man". All agree that promiscuous, divorced and remarried, and polygamous men were disqualified from being elders (sorry Mormons). Remarriage is not a sin, as the book of Ruth shows. Christians generally agree with John Chrysostomís Homilies on Timothy (before 392 A.D.) and the Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 3:17 (c.4th century), that unmarried elders and deacons are OK. Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.54 also says this refers to a monogamous relationship.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:3 (KJV), what should it say?
A: Here are different translations.
"Önot greedy of filthy lucre [money]; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous" (KJV)
"Önot greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;" (NKJV)
"Öbut gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money." (NET Bible)
"Önot greedy of ill gain - but gentle, not quarrelsome, not loving money" (Greenís Literal Translation)
"Öbut gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money" (NIV)
"Öbut gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money" (uNASB)
"gentle and not contentious, not avaricious" (Williams)
The Greek New Testament of Aland et al. shows no manuscript variation among the early Greek manuscripts. See The Expositorís Bible Dictionary volume 11 p.366 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:4, must a man have children before becoming an overseer?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
1. No, one can be childless like Paul and Timothy.
2. If an overseer has kids, they should be raised well.
3. Raising children can provide valuable experience for managing a church of men, women, and children. Read John Chrysostomís Homilies on Timothy for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:8 and Titus 2:1 (KJV), what does it mean that deacons and older men should be "grave"?
A: Today, people do not use the word "grave" as often as they did in the times the King James was written. The Greek word semnos means venerable, honorable, grave, honest, or sincere. Read John Chrysostomís Homilies on Timothy, for a three-page discussion of 1 Timothy 3:8-13.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:12-13, can women be deacons?
A: The term can be translated either as "deaconesses" or "deaconís wives". There are three views among genuine Christians.
a) Deaconesses: It does not just mean deaconís wives, because then deaconís wives would have a special role and elderís wives have no role. By the time of the Council of Chalcedon, 451 A.D., deaconesses were an office in the church. Deaconesses had to be at least 40 years old and celibate, according to The First Seven Ecumenical Councils (325-787) p.189.
b) Deaconís wives: It does not mean deaconesses, or the structure of the passage would be unusual.
3:1-7 Elders, and their kids and wives
3:8-10 Likewise deacons, with no male-specific info
3:11 Likewise deaconesses
3:12-13 Deacons again, including male-specific info
c) Both: John Chrysostom (c.397 A.D.) in homily 11 on Timothy, says "He is speaking of those who hold the rank of Deaconesses. ĎLet the deacons be husbands of one wife.í This must be understood therefore to related to deaconesses." Thus deaconsí wives had a special office of deaconess.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:13 (KJV), how can good deacons "purchase to themselves a good degree?
A: In Greek, this King James expression means they will receive a good reward for themselves, in Heaven.
Q: What does 1 Tim 3:14-15 teach us?
A: In 1 Timothy 3:14-15, Paul is saying that he is writing Timothy so that if Paul is delayed, people (not just Timothy) will know how to conduct themselves in the church. There are a number of points here:
These are authoritative instructions for the church from Paul. They are not just suggestions for life, but commands from God.
A household usually has a parent or parents and children. The church is God's household, as we are children of God, and God is our Father.
The church does not belong to either the elders or other believers. The church is the property of the living God.
The phrase "pillar and foundation of the truth" refers to the church in this verse, not to God. However, the source of truth is ultimately not the church, nor the Bible, but God Himself. It is somewhat grating that some Catholics falsely say that we should be grateful to the Catholic Church for giving us the Bible. We owe a debt to the early church (not the Catholic Church) for recognizing Godís Word, but it is God who gave us the Bible, not the church. The core problem is trusting the church for salvation, and not trusting God and His Word.
The church still has an important role though. What exactly does a pillar do? It both holds up the rest of the building, and it is also a place one can post messages. Foundation stones are supposed to sit immovable supporting all the weight of what is on top of them. Believers have functioned this way throughout the ages, from the early Christian martyrs, to the early church writers we can learn from, to the quiet Waldenses in Italy, to the later great missionary movements, and so on. But, if a particular church is no longer a pillar and foundation of truth anymore, then what good is it as a church? Perhaps that is why Jesus threatened to remove some lampstands in Revelation 2-3. Paul's building metaphor is an echo of Ephesians 2:19b-22 (NIV) "...but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." 2 Corinthians 6:16 also affirms that we (Christians) are the temple of the living God. This metaphor is not only taught by Paul though. 1 Peter 2:5 (NIV) says, "you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." These verses make clear that a church is not a building, nor a human organization, but a community of fellowship of believers.
However, who are the priests? 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God." So we all are the priests. Priests represent God to other people, and we are Christ's ambassadors in 2 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Q: In 1 Tim 3:16, does Jesus being "manifested in the flesh and justified in the spirit" mean He was not raised physically from the dead?
A: -Of course not, or Paul would not have written 1 Corinthians 15. In 1 Timothy 3:16, Paul emphasized that Jesus did not just appear to come, as a Ghost, but was actually here in flesh and blood, despite the errors that heretical Gnostics and Docetists taught. Jesusí justification was through Jesusí resurrection by the Holy Spirit.
Q: In 1 Tim 4:1-2, does this prove that true Christianity was lost from the earth, as some cults claim?
A: No. it says that many will be deceived, but without saying all will be deceived. For example, even from 1000-1500 A.D. on, when the official Catholic church was extremely corrupt, in northern Italy, south France, and northern Spain were a group called the Waldenses, who followed Godís scripture above human tradition.
Q: In 1 Tim 4:3, since Christians should not forbid marriage, why does Paul advocate singleness in 1 Cor 7:1,25-28?
A: Paul recommends singleness but does not command it. Right after recommending it, Paul re-emphasizes that marriage is permitted for all in 1 Corinthians 7:28.
Q: 1 Tim 4:8 says "bodily exercise profits little", so should we neglect physical exercise?
A: No, that is not what Paul means. The Greeks emphasized physical exercise and athletics to Olympic proportions. How strange it must seem to the angels, that some emphasize physical exercise with its benefits for 70 years or so, and completely fail in the exercise of godliness, with its benefits for the millions of years of eternity.
Q: In 1 Tim 4:10, since Jesus is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe, why do not all believe and go to Heaven, as universalism teaches?
A: Most believe Godís choices in predestination are intertwined with Godís foreknowledge. The only two times both words are used together in Scripture, foreknowledge is first. Since God did some things before the beginning of time in Titus 1:2, then God can do things outside of time. If Godís predestination is a timeless act, then it is an over-simplification to try to argue whether God chose everything before He knew anything, or knew everything before He chose anything.
Godís choice and foreknowledge does not eliminate our ability to make choices. For example, if I read in a history book about Pompey, my near-certain knowledge did not force him to take his actions. If I could go back in a time machine, before his time, and take the history book with me, then too I would not be restricting Pompeyís choices. In a similar way, Godís knowledge does not limit our choices.
In early church history, Origen (225-254 A.D.) in Against Celsus book 3 ch.49 p.484 applied 1 Timothy 4:10 and 1 John 2:1-2 to include not just slaves, women, and children, but all men, whether intelligent or simple.
Q: In 1 Tim 4:11, how does God let people depart from the faith?
A: -In two ways.
1) Christians can fall into sin and error, and later return, as James 4:19-20 and Jude 23 show.
2) People can be among Christians, fall away, and perish in Hell, as 1 John 2:18-19; Matthew 7:21-23 show.
As to why God allows this, see the answer for John 5:4; Acts 14:12, etc.
Q: Since 1 Tim 4:15 and many Psalms say to "meditate", should Christians practice meditations, such as transcendental meditation?
A: 1 Timothy 4:15 really says, "meditate upon these things", that Paul discussed previously. It does not say to meditate upon worthless frauds and ungodly things.
A hilarious article in Omni Magazine p.129 (approximately 1985), tells how in Transcendental Meditation (TM), it is claimed that there are thousands of individualized mantras. The truth, according to ex-TM trainers, is that there are only 16 or so mantras, and they are assigned by the age at which a person joined TM. For example, the mantra for people who joined in the 55-59 year range is "SHAM". The article concludes: "What is all this secrecy for? Any fifty-five to fifty-nine-year-old who took TM got a very good hint."
Other verses describing how Christians are to meditate on God and His law are: Joshua 1:8; Psalms 1:2; 63:6; 77:12; 119:15,23,48,78,148; 143:5.
Q: In 1 Tim 4:16, how can Timothy save others?
A: Timothy cannot save others, but he can bring the good news of salvation to his hearers. See the discussion on Colossians 1:24.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:1, who are the elders here: church leaders, or older people?
A: While the Greek word episcopos means overseer, that is not the word used here. It is the word presbytero which could mean elderly man or else a leader in the church. In this context it most likely means elderly men.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:1-2, since Jesus said to call no man father in Mt 23:9, why does Paul say to treat older men as fathers?
A: Paul said treat them as fathers, not call them fathers. For that matter, Paul immediately adds to treat older women as mothers. In other words, you do not obey older men as a child should his parent, but you treat older men and women as you would your own father and mother.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:3, Ex 22:22, and James 1:27, how should we especially help widows?
A: Scripture does not explicitly answer, but one can see two applications.
1. Back then, widows often were very poor if they had no man to support them financially. Like orphans in James 1:27, widows needed help with their material needs.
2. Now as much as then, it is important that we show our love to widows and orphans for difficulties they may encounter. As Paul shows in 2 Corinthians 1:4-11, we can be strong in great distress with the comfort of God. Sometimes we can be the instruments God uses to help care for and comfort others.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:8, why is not helping our own family acting worse than an unbeliever?
A: Even pagans help out their own families. If a Christian refused to help his or her own family in need, they would be showing less love inside them than even pagans have. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.671-673 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:10 and Jn 13:1-8, is it important today to wash each otherís feet today?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this.
a) Some, such as Mennonites, believe it is a special expression and important practice that others unfortunately neglect.
b) Others believe that was a special expression of caring in those times, as they wore sandals and walked on dirt roads. We should adapt this teaching to our time, and the point is that special expressions of caring are just as important in our time.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:9-13, what does it mean to enroll widows "into the rolls?"
A: It means to put them on the list of widows. This was a list of widows who were provided for by the church and devoted themselves to God. However, this does not either endorse or criticize the concept of nuns, as these women were "on the list of widows", not never-have-been-married nuns.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:14 and 1 Cor 7:39, is remarriage OK after a spouse has died?
A: The Bible is clear that remarriage is fine after the death of a husband or wife. See 1 Timothy 5:14 and Romans 7:3; 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, and 1 Corinthians 7:39. In the Old Testament Abigail married David after her husband died, and it was the wifeís duty to remarry if her husband died without leaving children. The entire book of Ruth shows that remarriage after death of a spouse is not just "permitted", but can really please God. Some cultures might disapprove and give "second-class status" to remarriage, perhaps questioning the love for the dead spouse. Contrary to that, in the Bible there is no sin, shame, or embarrassment about remarrying as 1 Timothy 5:14 not only permitted, but recommended. Tertullian told his wife that remarriage after the death of a spouse is OK, though he requested that she would not, in his letter to his wife.
Unfortunately Christians are not always clear on this. The early church writer Athenagoras, in A Plea for Christians, ch.33 (177 A.D.) disagreed and wrote against remarriage of anyone after death or divorce. (Athenagoras was probably not aware he was contradicting 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, Romans 7:3, and 1 Timothy 5:14).
Q: In 1 Timothy 5:17 Paul says elders who rule are to be considered worthy of double honour. In this context what does "double honour" mean?
A: There are two complementary answers; a brief answer, and some parts to ponder.
Briefly: The Greek word for honor (time) means both respect and money paid, such as an honorarium in English. One can interpret this as double the respect or double the money given to widows. In addition to the Greek word having two meanings, the verses around this discuss both monetary support (2 Timothy 5:16,18) and trust and honor (2 Timothy 5:19).
Five commentaries and two Study Bibles all say the same: this verse includes both meanings. See The Expositorís Bible Commentary p.380; The Believerís Bible Commentary 2096-2097, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.1108, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.744, New International Bible Commentary p.1482-1483, The NIV Study Bible p.1840, and The New Geneva Study Bible p.1914.
Three Parts to Ponder: Elder here refers not to voluntary leaders, but those who have forsaken their own career to lead full-time.
1. Responsibility to pay elders: Though some Christian workers, like Paul, chose not to be paid, this establishes that it was not only proper to pay church elders, but a responsibility of the church to pay elders. Worthy of double honor shows that paying them was at least as important as giving money to the widows. If you are not worried about if you will get your paycheck every pay period for your labor, they should not be worried either for their labor.
2. Elders received modest pay: If widows were paid what was needed to survive OK, elders would be paid more, but nothing indicates they were paid large salaries. Paying exorbitant sums can encourage non-spiritual people to seek a career for the money. I personally know a man who became a pastor in a liberal church solely because the money was OK and he said he did not have to work too hard.
3. Elders should be highly honored: Many widows were widows because their husbands were martyred for Christ. Elders in the church were honored even more than them. Today, do we show godly leaders of the church the honor we should? We are to judge what they say by scripture, and elders who fall into sin are to be rebuked publicly, but godly elders should be held in honor, and spoken of in honor. Do not criticize an elder for their preferences, or style, or things that are not sinful.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:17, should our church overseers "rule us"?
A: Yes in one way, and no in three other ways.
1. Yes, we are to accept the leadership of those who oversee the church. The are, in part, accountable for our spiritual life, and we are to make their job easier, as Hebrews 13:17 says. They have authority to rebuke us (Titus 2:15) We are not to be those who despise authority (2 Peter 2:10).
2. No, we are not to have leaders "lord over us" in 1 Peter 5:2-3. They are not to add to Godís word (Proverbs 30:5-6) or go beyond what is written in 1 Corinthians 4:6.
3. No, we are not to accept the authority of just anybody. We are not to follow false teachers or put up with anybody who
3a) Anyone who claims to be a Christian but is immoral, greedy, an idolator, slanderer, drunkard, or swindler. (1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Jude 3-4)
3b) Denies Jesus coming in the flesh or does not have Christ. (1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7-11)
3c) Does not believe Paulís writings on women or in general is the Lordís command. (1 Corinthians 14:37-38)
3d) Leaders who "have the form of godliness but deny its power", or do not obey Christ in various ways. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
3e) Is a wolf in sheepís clothing for one of the preceding reasons (Matthew 7:16, Acts 20:29-31) [If we have to watch out for them, it stands to reason that it is not right for us to support them as leaders.]
4. No, not for women to have authority over men in church, as 1 Timothy 2:12-3:7 teaches. (We are to submit to women in authority in other positions, such as government in Romans 13:1-7 and Judges 4:4-6).
Q: In 1 Tim 5:18, what is unusual about Paulís statement here?
A: Paul first quotes from an Old Testament passage (Deuteronomy 25:4), and then from a teaching of Jesus (Luke 10:7), and simply calls them both scripture. Paul did not see "two scriptures", but only one unified scripture. See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.27-30 for more on this passage and the canon of scripture.
Paul wrote 1 Timothy between 62 and 65 A.D., and it is thought Luke wrote his gospel around 63 A.D. (New Geneva Study Bible), 59-60 A.D. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.199), or either 59-63 A.D. or the 70ís to 80ís (The NIV Study Bible). Luke was Paulís traveling companion, so either:
1) Paul claimed what Luke wrote as scripture within a couple of years after Luke wrote it down.
2) Paul referred to this teaching of Jesus prior to Luke writing it down.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:22, since each is judged for his own sins as Ezek 18:4,20 and Dt 24:16 show, how can someone be a partaker of another manís sins?
A: -Easily. Each is judged only for his own sins. However, if you approve of anotherís sins, and teach people that a sin is OK with God, then it is your own sin to choose to be a partaker of another personís sin.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:22, is drinking alcohol OK?
A: A few Christians think drinking all alcohol is sinful. Other genuine Christians disagree. Here are five points outlining the second view.
1. Drinking wine is not a sin, as Jesus drank it in Luke 7:34 and turned water into it in John 2:1-11. Wine was to gladden the heart of man in Psalm 104:15. John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.) in Concerning the Statues 1:1-7, mentions this and also says that drinking wine is OK.
2. It was alcoholic wine, not just grape juice.
2a) John 2:10 "when the guests have had too much to drink..."
2b) Unrefrigerated grape juice stored for six months or a year has alcoholic content.
2c) In 1 Timothy 5:22, grape juice is no help for stomach problems. Paul gave good advice: alcohol does greatly slow the growth of bacteria.
2d) In 1 Corinthians 11:21, when the Corinthians were taking the Lordís supper improperly, how could they get drunk unless it was alcoholic?
2e) In Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37-39; would Jesus have given the illustration of the wine in the wineskins, if he wanted to set the example of not drinking?
However, Difficulties in the Bible p.147-149, points out it does not say the miraculous wine was intoxicating.
3. We should never get drunk, as Ephesians 5:18, 1 Thessalonians 5:7; Proverbs 20:1; 23:20-21; and Isaiah 28:3,7 make clear. The only exception is that being high or intoxicated can be permissible for those who are near death or in great anguish, as Proverbs 31:6 indicates.
4. We should not cause others to stumble,
5. Many Christians (including myself) drink no alcohol, viewing drinking as allowed, but not recommended. (Christians often do things for the love of God, even when there is no rigid command.) In our society, drinking can be a temptation to ourselves and others to get drunk, and we do not see the need for this distraction. However, it does not bother us to see other Christians drink alcohol.
6. Deciding not to drink, for the glory of God, was done by others, such as Nazirites (Numbers 6:1-21), the Recabites (Jeremiah 35), and John the Baptist (Luke 7:33)
See When Critics Ask p.500 and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.673-674 for more info. The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.359-360 says that wine was often drunk with one part of wine to twenty parts water, and sometimes one part of wine to one part water. The Greeks looked upon people who drank unmixed wine as barbarians.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:23, why did Paul tell Timothy to drink a little wine to cure his stomach ailment instead of just healing him?
A: John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.) gave an entire sermon on this issue. He knew New Testament (koine) Greek better than anyone today, and in his sermon on 1 Timothy 5:21-23 he says "He [Paul] does not however allow him [Timothy] to indulge freely in wine, but as much as was for health and not for luxury. For a summary, and for more info on the issue of why the godly get sick, see the discussion on Galatians 4:13.
Q: In 1 Tim 5:23, why doesnít God just heal everyone?
A: First of all, you cannot say sickness is simply lack of faith. God did not heal Timothy of having frequent stomach illnesses (1 Timothy 5:23), Epaphroditus almost died in Philippians 2:26-27, Paul was ill while preaching in Galatians 4:14, and the great Elishah died of an illness in 2 Kings 13:14. Jesus said the a manís blindness in John 9:1-3 was not due to his sin or his parentís sin.
Illness can be discipline from God for disobedience and rebellion (Acts 13:11; Revelation 2:22), but even when it is not, it is a time to reflect on our obedience to God. Pain can be "Godís megaphone" (as C.S. Lewis said) to get our attention. So illness and other sufferings can be good discipline for us.
However, that is not the case for all illness and suffering. Even after Paul prayed earnestly three times, God refused to take away Paulís thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul learned that, whatever his thorn was, it would keep him from becoming conceited. Also for all of us, Paul learned that when we are weak, then God is strong in us.
Sometimes we do not know the specific reason why we are ill. When we read the book of Job, it is easy to forget that while we can always peek at the ending, Job had no idea why, when he was going through suffering. Like Job though, we can trust that our steadfastness in suffering, even unjust suffering, can glorify God. We can also remember Romans 8:28, which says that all things [even bad things] work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
In general, we fallen people live in the decayed former perfection of creation (Romans 8:20-22). However, this is just temporary, for Revelation 21:4 says that in the new heaven and new earth there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain when the old order of things passes away.
See Todayís Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.337-342 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.459 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:1-2, why does the Bible allow slavery?
A: Some things in the Bible, such as drinking, polygamy, permanent slavery, and divorce in Old Testament times, were allowed but not recommended.
Parents often prohibit their children from doing certain things, like drugs. However, they permit, yet advise against, other things, like spending money foolishly. Many see God in a similar way. As Christians, we should not be striving to stay barely inside Godís limits, but be trying to hit the center of the target of Godís will for us. See also the discussion on Ephesians 6:5-8 and Ephesians 6:9.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:7, why do some Christians have expensive burials and memorials?
A: As a Christian once said, you never see a U-Haul trailer behind a funeral hearse. Having a small celebration of the personís life and joy in Heaven is fine. However, an extravagant burial is a waste of money on someone who is not there.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:9 and Jms 5:1-6, should Christians [not be adverse to / want / crave] getting rich?
A: Riches themselves are not evil, and Abraham, whom both Paul and James gave as an example of a godly man, was very wealthy. There are three points of caution, though.
1. The craving after wealth is both evil and a source of evil. We should be perfectly content to be a Christian of modest means. If a Christian is wealthy, and God changed the situation where he or she lost the wealth, they should still be content in all circumstances (Philippians 4:12).
2. Every Christian who has wealth should be wary of the temptation of wanting to hold on to that wealth tightly, and valuing it as much as he or she values God and other people. By the way, compared to the average economic standard of the world, most people in North America, Singapore, Japan, and Western Europe have wealth.
3. People who do not have wealth are not exempt from greed either. Sometimes people think they can only be happy, and they will be happy, if they are wealthy.
See Now Thatís a Good Question p.434-436 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:10, how can the love of money be the root of all evil?
A: First, note it does not say money, but the love of money. Second, nobody really thinks Paul actually believed the love of money caused Satanís fall, Adamís fall, or sins of cowardice, pride, and lust. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. The Greek literally says "root of all evil is the love of money", and so there can be other roots of evil too. As Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, whoever loves money never has enough. Jesus said in Luke 16:13, that no one can serve both God and money. Hebrews 13:5-6 also tells us to keep free from the love of money.
It is interesting that the Greek language has a number of words for evil, and the word Paul used here for evil emphasizes worthlessness.
For many western Christians, who are not addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography and sex, the top two temptations are materialism and compromise on the essentials of the faith. See Now Thatís a Good Question p.432-434 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:10, how did the early Christians interpret this verse?
A: The early church writers must have thought the truth behind this verse was especially important, because they quoted or paraphrased this verse frequently. Here is an incomplete list of some of the people who spoke on this verse.
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) simply quotes the first half of this verse in his letter to the Philippians. Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians ch.4 p.34
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes this verse mentioning that the love of money is the root of all evils, and relates this to covetousness. The Instructor book 2 ch.3, p.248
Tertullian (192-220 A.D.) "covetousness, "a root of all evils," wherewith, indeed, some having been ensnared, "have suffered shipwreck about faith."" On Idolatry ch.11 p.67. See also Of Patience ch.7 p.711.
Novatian (250-258 A.D.) has a very interesting interpretation in On Jewish Meats ch.6 p.649. What evil takes away, money allows to be restored, so that the path of sin may be re-trodden. For example, if drinking or using prostitutes takes away a personís money, but more money enables the man to keep on sinning.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes this verse, substituting "covetousness" for "money". He mentions that when you are fearing your wealth might be diminished, you do not realize that you yourself are being diminished when you love mammon more than your own soul. Treatise 8 ch.10 p.479
Q: In 1 Tim 6:11, why are we to flee greed (and other temptations), since we are to resist the devil in James 4:7 and stand against evil in Eph 6:13-14? Even 1 Tim 6:12 says we are to fight, which implies not fleeing.
A: We are to resist the devil, but we are to flee temptation. A good analogy would be the way the Roman infantry fought. They fought in small, rectangular groups called maniples, arranged in a checkerboard pattern of men and space. There were three lines of maniples. When one maniple was getting tired or sustaining heavy losses, they would retreat slightly, and another maniple would advance. As we fight in spiritual warfare, we are to fight together, advancing and regrouping in harmony to help our brothers and be helped by them.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:16 and Rom 2:7, since only God is immortal, how can we be immortal?
A: Only God is intrinsically immortal from the beginning. Our derived immortal life is an everlasting life that is initiated and maintained by God. John 15:1-8 illustrates the concept of derived life by showing we are branches and Jesus is the vine. See also Colossians 1:17, Colossians 3:3-4, and When Critics Ask p.439-440, 501.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:16, does God dwell in unapproachable light, or does He dwell in darkness as 1 Ki 8:12 says?
A: Light and dark can be literal, but in some passages they are metaphors for light being holiness and darkness being mystery.
God is light, and there is no darkness in Him. (1 John 1:15). However, compared to God, everywhere else seems like darkness. God can cause surroundings to have light, and God can cause surroundings to have darkness. God spoke out of darkness in Deuteronomy 4:11; 5:23 and Hebrews 12:18 at Mt. Sinai.
If this is a problem for you, you might want to read 2 Samuel 22:10-13 and Psalm 18:11-12, where light and dark are in the same passage. David sings that darkness was Godís canopy and under His feet, yet lightning blazed forth out of the brightness of Godís presence. Psalm 97:2 is another example of both dark and light around God. See When Critics Ask p.501 for more info.
Q: In 1 Tim 6:17-18, is it OK for Christians to make (and keep) lots of money?
A: Money is a neutral thing, that can become good to us or evil to us. Three points to ponder.
1. Keep yourself free from the love of money, and be content with what you have is commanded in Hebrews 13:5. Other verses on the love of money are:
1 Timothy 6:17-18. 2 Timothy 3:2 says we are not to be lovers of pleasure. We are not to serve money are wear ourselves out to get rich (Matthew 6:24-34; Proverbs 23:4; 1 Timothy 6:9-10). We are not to covet what others have (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21; and Romans 7:7-12). We are not to trust in wealth, but truth in God (Proverbs 11:4,28; 18:10-11; and Luke 12:15-21). Hold your wealth "lightly" and do not be afraid to lose it (Hebrews 10:34; Acts 4:32-37).
2. Yet God gives us some material things to enjoy according to 1 Timothy 6:17. Abraham and Job were both very wealthy men, by modern standards as well as ancient ones. God gives wealth, according to Proverbs 10:22 and Deuteronomy 8:18.
3. Give generously to others:
3a. We are to be kind and compassionate to others (Colossians 3:12; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 4:32; Proverbs 11:16-17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15). This does not just mean with words, but materially, too (James 2:14-17; Acts 4:34-35; Matthew 19:21).
3b. We are to honor God with our wealth (Proverbs 3:9-10) and work hard to be able to give to others (Proverbs 31:11-27).
3c. Many verses emphasize we are to help the poor (Isaiah 1:17; 58:6-10; Jeremiah 5:28; 22:16; Galatians 2:10; Psalm 41:1; Proverbs 14:21; 24:11-12; 29:7; Ephesians 4:28).
3d. We are responsible to provide for our own families (1 Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 31:15) and repay our debts and obligations (Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:8; James 5:4).
3e. We are to give generously for Godís work (Proverbs 3:9,10; 11:24; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-8; 9:6-11).
3f. We should especially help widows and orphans (James 1:27; Deuteronomy 15:11;Psalm 68:5), and the sick, hungry, naked, and imprisoned (Matthew 25:34-46; Zechariah 7:9-10).
3g. The only exception is that we are not to give to people who refuse to work (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15).
Summary: As When Critics Ask p.502 says, "There is nothing wrong with possessing riches - there is something wrong with being possessed by riches."
Q: In 1 Tim, how do we know Paul wrote 1 Timothy?
A: 1 Timothy 1:1 says it was written by Paul, and the early church never questioned this. It was probably written after the events mentioned in Acts.
Tertullian said Paul wrote to the Romans, Galatians, Philippians, Thessalonians, and Ephesians in Tertullian Against Marcion book 4 ch.5 p.350 (207 A.D.). He says the New Testament was a book "that comes down from the apostles, which has been kept as a sacred deposit in the churches of the apostles." Tertullian (198-220 A.D.) in de Corona ch.8 p.97-98 alludes to 1 Timothy 5:23, saying that "Paul, too, knows that a little wine does the stomach good." In the same chapter of de Corona, Tertullian also reminds his audience of what they read of Paulís cloak, mentioned in 1 Timothy 4:13.
Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage from c.248 to his martyrdom in 258 A.D.. He quotes from "the first epistle of Paul to Timothy" in Treatise 12 the third book 74,75,76,77.
John Chrysostom (c.396 A.D.) wrote down 18 sermons he preached on 1 Timothy. He frequently mentions that this was written by Paul.
We still have copies of all of these today.
Q: In 1 Tim, are there stylistic differences between the rest of Paulís letters versus 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus? (from Asimovís Guide to the Bible p.1143)
A: There are actually many similarities. Any stylistic differences can be accounted for by Paul writing
a) A personal letter, not a letter to a church,
b) At a later time in his life,
c) Discussing different issues (personal issues of pastoring vs. common church-wide issues)
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.728 mentions that the method of "word-counting" to see similar words is not statistically valid unless the size is large enough. If you use the same technique on other books, you could supposedly "prove" with as much validity that Paul did not write any of his other books, either.
Q: In 1 Tim, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Here are a few of the writers who referred to verses in 1 Timothy.
Clement of Rome alludes to 1 Timothy 5:21 1 Clement vol.1 p.11
Ignatius (c.110-117 A.D.) quotes one-fourth of 1 Timothy 1:1 "Jesus Christ who is our hope" Ignatiusí Letter to the Magnesians ch.1 p.64
Letter of Barnabas (100-150 A.D.) ch.12 p.145 alludes to 1 Timothy 3:16
To Diognetus (c.130 A.D.) ch.11 p.29 alludes to 1 Timothy 3:16
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 6:7 "Knowing, therefore, that Ďas we brought nothing into the world, so we can carry nothing out,í (11 out of 12 words) Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians ch.4 p.34
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes the first half of 1 Timothy 6:10. "But the love of money is the root of all evils." (8 out of 21 words) Polycarpís Letter to the Philippians ch.4 p.34
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) alludes to 1 Timothy 6:4,5 as by Paul. Irenaeus Fragment 36 p.574
The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.) ANF vol.5 p.603 mentions Paulís two letters to Timothy, as well as Paulís other 11 letters.
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:8, saying it was by Paul in Exhortation to the Heathen ch.9 p.196
Clement of Alexandria (193-217/220 A.D.) says 1 Timothy 6:16 is by Paul. Clement of Alexandria Fragment 3 p.575
Hippolytus (222-235/6 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:1-5 as by Paul p.124
Origen (225-254 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 6:20 as from the Epistle of Paul. de Principiis book 3 ch.11 p.469
Origen (225-254 A.D.) mentions the Epistle to Timothy (1 Timothy) Origen Against Celsus book 1 ch.64 p.425
Novatian (250-257 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 1:17 as by the Apostle Paul. On the Trinity ch.3 p.614
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions Paul writing Ephesians, First Letter to Timothy, and Titus in Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 the third book - Testimonies ch.70-78 p.552.
Letter of Hymenaeus (268 A.D.)
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:1-4 Disputation with Manes ch.35 p.209
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) quotes part of 1 Timothy 1:19 as "it is written" Disputation with Manes ch.31 p.204
Adamantius (c.300 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 1:13 as by the Apostle Paul.
Victorinus of Petau (martyred 304 A.D.) lists the letters of Paul as Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, Timothy and quotes 1 Timothy 3:15 in Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John ch.16 p.345
Eusebiusí Ecclesiastical History (323-326 A.D.)
Victorinus of Rome (after 363 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 4:16
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.)
Zeno (4th century) refers to 1 Timothy 1:4
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paulís two letters to Timothy as part of the New Testament. It quotes 1 Timothy 1:1-2a.
The schismatic Lucifer of Cagliari (370/371 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 2:1; 6:5
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 6:7,9
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.)
Apollinaris of Laodicea (c.390 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 5:22 as by the Apostle Paul. Letter 3 ch.19.2 p.61
Diodore (before 394 A.D.)
Gregory Nyssa (c.356-396 A.D.) says 1 Timothy 4:4 is by Paul in Against Eunomius book 37 p.86
John Chrysostom 396 A.D. wrote down 18 sermons on 1 Timothy which we still have today. He said it was written by Paul the apostle in homily 1.
Didymus the blind (398 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:1-2 as by Paul. Commentary on Zechariah 13 p.309
Evagrius of Pontus (c.399 A.D.)
Asterius of Emesa (c.400 A.D.)
Hyperechius (4th/5th century) refers to 1 Timothy 6:9
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.)
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.)
Gaudentius (after 406 A.D.)
John Chrysostom (died 407 A.D.)
Chromatius (407 A.D.)
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420) A.D.)
Niceta of Remesianus (366-c.415 A.D.)
Sozomen (370/380-425 A.D.) alludes to 1 Timothy 5:9 saying it is by Paul. Sozomenís Ecclesiastical History book 7 ch.16 p.387
Augustine of Hippo (388-8/28/430 A.D.) mentions the apostle writing 1 Timothy 2:2 in The City of God book 19 ch.26 p.419
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 as "To Timothy" in The Third Conference of the Abbot Chaeremon ch.12 p.429
Paulinus of Nola (431 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 6:9
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Hesychius of Jerusalem (-450 A.D.) (Pronounced HESS-us) refers to 1 Timothy 6:7,9
Speculum (fifth century) refers to 1 Timothy 6:9
Quodvultdeus (c.453 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 6:17
Varimadum (445/480 A.D.)
Among heretics and spurious books
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 1:4,15,17; 3:16; 4:10; 6:7,9,13,17,19,21
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.)
Apostolic Constitutions (uncertain date, about 380 A.D.) refers to 1 Timothy 5:18
Apostolic Canons (4th century) refers to 1 Timothy 5:18
Julian of Eclanum (c.454 A.D.)
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of 1 Timothy show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
1 Timothy was not preserved in Vaticanus [B]
Alexandrinus [A] c.450 A.D.
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
Claromontanus [D] 5th/6th century
I Washington, D.C. 5th century
Italic [Ital] 4th to 13th centuries
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Latin Vulgate [Vg] 4th and 5th centuries
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 400-450 A.D.
Philoxenian Syriac [Syr Ph] 507/508 A.D.
Harclean Syriac [Syr H] 616 A.D.
Gothic 493-555 A.D.
Carston Thiede claims 1 Timothy 3:16-4:3 is preserved among the Dead Sea scrolls as MSS 7Q4. This would make it prior to 68 A.D. http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7547/ntmss.html has more info on this. However, most experts disagree with him on this.
See www.BibleQuery.org/1timMss.htm for more on early manuscripts of 1 Timothy.