1-2: This is Paul's first letter to his disciple Timothy, who cared for the church in Ephesus during Paul's trip to Macedonia.
3-7: Timothy's primary purpose for staying in Ephesus was to counter false teachers who brought gnostic heresies into the church. Their ignorant theological claims caused speculative discussion, leading many to stray from the truth.
8-11: False teachers misused God's law as a tool to burden others. However, this doesn't take away from it's proper use, which is to convict sinners that they might seek forgiveness through Christ. This is what Paul meant when he said that the law is for the unjust in accordance with the Gospel. Conviction, followed by the Gospel of grace, leads to salvation.
12-14: God graciously forgave Paul and used him to reach others, despite his sinful past.
15-17: The primary purpose of Jesus' first coming was to save sinners from God's judgement. He did this by absorbing the wrath of God that we deserved, and gave us His own righteousness. Paul was exceptionally sinful as a persecutor of the church, so his salvation brings God glory whenever his story is told. God was gracious, loving, and patient enough to forgive a murderer and persecutor of the church.
18: There were prophecies made about Timothy serving in the ministry.
19-20: Hymenaeus and Alexander were apostates who rejected "holding faith and a good conscience". They rejected the Gospel, likely in favor of the heresies mentioned in 1 Timothy 8-11. Paul practiced church discipline by "handing them over to Satan" (Matthew 18:15–20). This means Paul treated these false teachers as unbelievers rather than brothers in Christ, allowing them to face the negative consequences of their sin. The end goal was that they would hit rock bottom and truly turn to Christ for the first time (1 Corinthians 5:4-5).
1-4: We should pray for our political leaders, that their leadership wouldn't hinder us from living a peaceful Christian life. God is pleased when the Gospel can be freely preached in societies, allowing people to hear the truth and be saved.
5-7: Jesus is the only qualified mediator between God and man, because he is both fully God and fully man. His divinity made him the perfect, sinless sacrifice and his humanity allowed him to represent the human race. He lived a perfect life, laid our sins upon himself, and absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf. Those of us who trust in Jesus receive his sinless record. We can then stand before God on judgement day as if we lived Jesus' perfect life. This happened at the proper time in history according to God's sovereign plan.
8: "Holy hands" seems to indicate that the men praying should be living morally upright lives: "Holy", meaning pure/righteous, and "hands" representing the work of the hands. It's unlikely that this is talking about a physical praying posture since the parallel verse for women uses figurative language as well: "adorn yourself with good works"
9-10: Women in the church were dressing in a way that flaunted their wealth and drew attention to themselves. Paul commanded them instead to dress modestly and "adorn themselves with good works”. In other words, their focus should be on building a strong moral character rather than superficial, external appearances. There's nothing inherently sinful about braided hair, jewelry, or dressing nicely—the passage simply addresses their sinful motives.
11-12: This is the beginning of Paul’s instructions for how the church should operate. His use of the words “silence” and “submissiveness” are explained in the next verse: Women shouldn’t teach men (silence) or exercise authority over them (submissiveness), in the context of the church service. The restriction only disqualifies them from pastoral and elder roles. Although many gifted women are capable of teaching men, and are allowed to do so in other contexts, God has chosen men to shepherd his churches. This doesn't make women inferior to men any more than childbirth makes men inferior to women. God chose to create both sexes equal in value, yet gave them different roles in the church.
13-14: The reason given for male leadership in the church is the idea of ”headship” and the order of creation. God created man first, making him the spiritual leader of his wife, Eve. She was deceived in the garden and became a transgressor along with Adam because he failed to protect her as her spiritual leader. This is not a generalization to say women are more easily deceived, it’s simply discussing the fall of mankind in order to set up the next verse,.
15: This passage is difficult to interpret because the wording is awkward. It switches tenses from past (verse 14) to future (verse 15), to present (verse 15). The object of the sentence switches from ‘Eve’, to the ‘woman’, to she, to ‘they’. But whatever this verse means, We can be certain that Paul didn’t mean women are saved from God’s judgment by having children. The previous verses, along with his other letters, make it clear that Jesus is the source of salvation for all people (1 Timothy 2:5-6,1 Timothy 1:15-16 , John 3:16-18, Romans 3:23-26, Romans 5:1-2, Colossians 2:13-15).
To understand this passage, we have to start with verse 11. Paul was saying that, although women are limited in authority (1 Timothy 2:11-12), and the first woman was deceived into sin, (1 Timothy 2:13-14), God used the uniquely female role of childbearing to bring about the very Messiah who would save them. From Eve to Mary, generations were born, culminating in the arrival of Jesus. We are saved by Jesus’ sacrifice, but we are saved throughchildbearing, in the sense that Jesus was born of a woman, so he could become a human and die for our sins (Galatians 4:4-5). The second half of verse 15 is a disclaimer that this “salvation through childbearing” only applies to true converts: those who continue in the fruits of the Spirit (faith, love, holiness, self-control Galatians 5:22-23).
1-7: Overseers are pastors and elders who lead and teach in the church. In order to be an overseer you must live a mature convert, living a morally upright life, have a well managed household, and must be well thought of by outsiders. They are held to a high standard since they publicly represent Christ and His church.
8-13: Deacons are those who serve the needs of the church community. This includes ushers, administrators, greeters, etc.. To say they must "hold to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience" is another way of saying they must accept Jesus' death on the cross to atone for their sins. By receiving Christ in this way, we gain a clear conscience because all of our sins have been forgiven. Deacons should be tested to ensure that they are true believers and live morally upright lives.
14-15: Paul gave these instructions to the Ephesian church so they would know how to conduct themselves when gathering for church services.
16: The "mystery of godliness" is the Gospel, which brings righteousness to believers through Christ's death and resurrection.
1-5: Many people depart from true Christianity and devote themselves to demonic teachings peddled by false teachers. The arbitrary rules they follow are dangerous because they add to God's word and set up a works-based system contrary to the Gospel. Both food and marriage are good things that God created and shouldn't be used to enslave people.
6-8: A good servant of Jesus is trained in God's word and understands the doctrines it teaches. This allows us to spot the type of myths mentioned in the previous verses. We must also "train ourselves in godliness" because sanctification is God's will for our lives (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8). While physical training benefits us in this life, training ourselves in godliness benefits us both now and throughout eternity. It's immediate benefits are many: the ability to avoid sin's destruction, redeemed time for useful purposes, being in alignment with God's will, and effectiveness in ministry (2 Timothy 2:2).
9: The saying referred to is the previous sentence about striving for godliness.
10: Our hope is in God because he saved us from sin's dire consequences. His loving sacrifice is what prompts us to strive for godliness. The phrase "savior of all people, especially those who believe", means that his sacrifice was for all people, but only those who believe will have it applied to them.
11-16: Paul gave Timothy instructions on how to lead the church until he returned. Although Timothy was young, he was responsible for conducting church services and setting an example for his congregation by living a pure life.
1-2: Because of our unity in Christ, we should treat fellow church members with love, as if they were our own family.
3-4: In both Old and New testaments (Psalm 68:5,146:9, Exodus 22:22-24), God emphasized caring for orphans and widows. When a widow loses the support of her husband, it's her children and grand children's responsibility to care for her. She brought them into the world and cared for them, so it’s right for them to care for her.
5-6: Paul contrasts the genuine godly widow, who can’t support herself, with the self indulgent widow who is alive physically but dead spiritually.
7-8: Those who refuse to provide for members of their own family deny the faith by their actions. They are worse than unbelievers since most unbelievers are willing make provisions for their family, even though they haven't experienced God's grace. As Christians we are called to follow Jesus' example and love not only our families, but our enemies.
9-16: Some women took advantage of the church's generosity toward widows. They were able to work and had family to support them, but wanted extra money so they exploited the charity system. These rules for qualification were put in place to stop these opportunists from taking money that some widows genuinely needed.
17-18: Elders who serve well should be honored by the congregation. Just as the ox deserves to eat from the field it plows and the worker deserves his wages, faithful elders deserve respect from their congregation.
19-21: This protects elders from the frivolous accusations of ill intentioned people. Elders deserve a fair hearing as the rest of the church does. The elder who refuses to repent after being rebuked privately should have his sin addressed before the congregation (Matthew 18:15-20). This isn't to humiliate him, but to demonstrate that the church takes sin seriously and practices discipline.
22: "The laying on of hands" is likely referring to the act of ordination of elders, where the church lays hands on the person and prays over them. Elders should be carefully selected so the church isn't mislead by false teachers or immature believers.
23: Timothy was abstaining from wine, but Paul recommended that he should use it for his stomach ailments. In doing so, Timothy wouldn’t be sinning. While drunkenness is sinful, the act of drinking alcohol is not.
24-25: When choosing elders, it's important to remember this truth. It often takes time before we can really know the moral character of someone. Sometimes their sins are visible immediately, and sometimes it takes awhile. Likewise, even if the person is playing down their good works out of modesty, it will eventually become clear that they’re qualified to be an elder.
1-2: Slaves were not supposed to disrespect their employers simply because they were brothers in Christ. Rather, it should've had the opposite effect and make them want to serve even better. This concept certainly applies to our modern day employer/employee relationships.
This raises a really good question: “Does the Bible promote slavery?” No. Because slavery was a significant part of their economy, there would have been many slaves and masters in the early church. The Bible never promotes slavery, but allows for a heavily restricted version of servitude that opposes forced labor, abuse, racism, and the idea of owning another human. It must be voluntary, fair, and masters must treat their slaves as if they were Jesus himself. The dehumanizing slavery trade in the American south could have never happened if Biblical rules for slavery were followed accurately.
3-5: False teachers usually either reject Jesus' words about atonement, or teach and approve of certain sins. They are enemies of the Gospel who see religion as a means of personal gain, seeking wealth, power, and prestige.
6-10: Living a godly life and being content with the bare essentials is "great gain" because we avoid the pain and inevitable sins that follow from a love of material things.
11-12: We should avoid the love of material things and pursue the fruits of the spirit. It can feel like a fight, but it's a good fight in which every Christian must engage.
13-16: Paul charged Timothy to keep "the commandment", which refers to the entire revealed word from God that Paul gave to Timothy. This sentence is filled with parenthetical phrases that display Jesus' grace, sovereignty, immortality, and holiness. The 'unapproachable light' metaphor illustrates God's holiness and our unworthiness to approach him (Isaiah 6:1-5).
17-19: Wealthy people shouldn't have a haughty attitude or trust in their unstable fortunes. All that they have is from God, and can be taken away at any moment. We should be willing to share our wealth with those in need. In doing so, we not only help others, we store up treasures for ourselves in heaven. It's also worth noting that wealth is relative. We may not think of ourselves as wealthy, but if we have a job, food, clothes, and shelter, we are far wealthier than most people in the world. This passage applies to everyone, not just the people who exceed our own level of wealth.
20: Paul closed with a warning to guard the truths in this letter that he entrusted to Timothy. False doctrines have caused many to adopt a false version of Christianity and leave the faith.