Expectant Mother's Bible Companion

1 Timothy

Author: Paul

Audience: Timothy, a young leader of the church in Ephesus.

Significance:

This very personal letter of encouragement and instruction for Timothy gives us a glimpse of the problems that plagued the church in Ephesus. Through Paul's recommendations, we see practical application of Christian Principles, both for running churches and our individual lives.

As Paul lists the qualifications for leaders in chapter three, it becomes very clear the way a person conducts themselves with their family is an indicator of who they really are. How wise of Paul to have this measure of character. Many families have two "faces," much as they have two sets of dishes or two gathering areas of the home. One is for the people who live here and the other is for the guests we want to impress. Paul told Timothy not to look just to how impressed the guests were (although being well respected by those in and out of the church is important), but to look also at how well the family works together. Paul knew the dynamics of the family would reveal the truth about the individual's heart, who they were in private.

Specific Applications:

Saved through childbearing (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Paul gives some advice that can be difficult to take for the modern woman. The idea of learning in silence and submission, and having no authority in the church seems unfair. As we try to sort out Paul's true meaning, a few points must not be overlooked. First, Paul did recognize women as having authority to teach and evangelize in other writings. Secondly, Paul was recommending that women learn, something not allowed in either the Jewish or Greek culture that surrounded them.

However you read the advice for learning, there is still the odd statement that women will be saved through childbearing. As you study this passage, keep in mind that you can be "saved" in the long term soul going to heaven sense; and you can also be "saved" in the immediate temporal sense of having been safely brought through a trying event. For this verse to mean long term salvation is earned or received by having given birth devalues Jesus' death, which is the only thing needed for eternal salvation.

Additional References:
Ephesians 2:8-9 We are saved by grace, not by works
Romans 5:19 Through one man sin entered, through one man righteousness entered
Romans 16:1-3 Women in the church
Philippians 4:2-3 Women in the church

Youth and Experience (1 Timothy 4:12)

When you are expecting your first child, it can seem everyone has advice for you. When you are raising your child, it can feel that everyone is criticizing you. Paul told Timothy not to let his youth be a reason to let people intimidate him out of his faith. Instead, by standing up for what he knows is right, Paul tells Timothy he can be an example for other believers.

What is even more exciting about Paul's comment is that Timothy was far from the perfect example of a Christian leader you would expect. Paul had sent Timothy to Corinth to help settle a dispute there, but Timothy apparently was ineffective at resolving the conflict. Timothy's own church in Ephesus was having problems, part of the reason Paul wrote this letter. From the descriptions of Timothy in scripture, many leaders believe Timothy was a timid man. Yet even though Timothy may look at himself as a failure, Paul calls him to be an example.

Paul knew Timothy had what he needed to be a leader not because of his natural leadership skills or talent, but because Paul knew Timothy's heart was to serve God. As you prepare to parent your child, I encourage you to use the same scale when you judge yourself. Not basing your worth on natural mothering skills or talent, but on a heart that longs to serve God. Seek advice, Timothy did. But don't let your inexperience or youth keep you from being available to be the parent God chose for your child.

Additional References:
1 Corinthians 4:14-17 Paul sent Timothy to the church at Corinth
1 Samuel 14:1-14 Young Jonathan attacks the Philistines alone
Esther Young Esther devises a plan that saves the Jewish People
Story of Joshua and Caleb being the only who said go into promised land

Questions for Reflection:

1. Verse 2:15 what aspects of faith, love, holiness and propriety are useful in childbearing?

2. Verse 4:7 gives a warning to have nothing to do with myths and old wives' tales. How have myths and old wives' tales about pregnancy, giving birth and parenting affected you?