FOURTH GROUP OF EPISTLES
FIRST TIMOTHY. TITUS. SECOND TIMOTHY.
THE PLACE OF THE EPISTLES
+When Written.+ -- It is generally agreed among scholars that no place can be found for the writing of First Timothy, Titus, and Second Timothy in the period covered by Luke in his narrative in Acts.
Agreeing with the tradition of the church, however, the opinion of many eminent scholars is that Paul was released from the first Roman imprisonment (Acts 28:16, 30), that he again took up his missionary work, and at the end of a few years of such work, he was a second time imprisoned and suffered martyrdom under the Roman Emperor Nero.
It was during this period between the first and second imprisonments that First Timothy and Titus were written. Second Timothy was written during the second imprisonment at Rome, and at the time when Paul was expecting his sentence of death. Eusebius (H. E.2:22-2) says, that |at the end of the two years of imprisonment, according to tradition, Paul went forth again upon the ministry of preaching; and in a second visit to the city ended his life by martyrdom under Nero, and that during his imprisonment he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy.|
PAUL'S FOURTH MISSIONARY JOURNEY
+Notices and Time.+ -- From the notices given in the Epistles and other sources the probable course of the missionary travels of Paul from 63-67 A.D. has been reconstructed.
+The First Trip Eastward.+ -- When Paul wrote to the church at Philippi (2:24) and to Philemon at Colossae (22 v.) he evidently expected to be released from his imprisonment very soon and to see his beloved Philippian church and Philemon. He was so sure of +The Trip Westward to Spain.+ -- In the Epistle to the Romans Paul declared his intention to visit Spain (Rom.15:24, 28). It is probable that he, upon his return from the visit to Asia Minor, remained for a very short time in Rome and then made a voyage t The tradition of the early church is very pronounced upon this voyage to Spain. Clement of Rome (Cor.5) speaks of Paul |having reached the furtherest bound of the west.| This could hardly mean anything but Spain. The Muratorian Fragment names |the departure of Paul from the city to Spain.|
+The Second Trip Eastward.+ -- We can now, from notices in First and Second Timothy and Titus, quite closely follow Paul in his travels. From Spain he probably went by various stages to Ephesus, where as he tells us (1 Tim.1:3) he left Timothy in charge when he went into Macedonia. From Macedonia he probably wrote his first letter to Timothy (1:3). From Macedonia he went to Troas and from Troas to Miletus (2 Tim.4:13). On account of sickness Trophimus was left at Miletus (2 Tim.4:20). He next probably visited Crete, where he left Titus (Titus 1:5). From Crete it is thought that Paul went to Corinth (2 Tim.4:20) where he left Erastus and in all probability wrote to Titus (1:5). In the letter to Titus Paul speaks of being at Nicopolis and of his intention to spend the winter in that city (Titus 3:12). But these notices of places are by no means exhaustive. They show, however, how wide were Paul's last travels.
+The Second Imprisonment of Paul.+ -- It is by no means unlikely that the enemies of Paul, of whom we hear so much in the first three missionary journeys, were stirred to renewed activity by again seeing him at liberty and conducting an active missionary campaign. But with a prisoner on parole from the Imperial Court the local magistrates could do nothing. But a new element came in. The great fire, which destroyed so large a part of the city of Rome on the 18th of July, 64 A.D., was used by the Emperor Nero as an excuse for starting a great persecution against the Christians. This was done to divert the odium of the starting of the fire from himself, for he had sung and danced the |Mime of the Burning of Troy| from a turret of his palace during this great conflagration. It was some time before this persecution was extended to the provinces and Paul's enemies saw their opportunity to accuse him to the Imperial Court, where under the circumstances they would then find a ready hearing. Paul was probably rearrested at Nicopolis where he intended to winter (Titus 3:12) and hurried off to Rome. This time he endured no light imprisonment. Onesiphorus had difficulty in finding him (2 Tim.1:16, 17) and he was closely confined in a common criminal dungeon (2 Tim.2:9). From this dungeon he wrote the Second Epistle to Timothy and from thence he went to his death.
THE QUESTIONS DISCUSSED
+The Personal Element+ in these epistles is quite large both in respect to Timothy and Titus and Paul himself, but it is quite evident that this element is not the chief cause for the writing.
+The Doctrinal Part.+ -- Paul is here as strenuous for the need of repentance, the atonement through Jesus Christ and His sole sufficiency as Mediator, Savior, and Lord of all (1 Tim.1:15-17; Titus 2:13; 3:4-7), as in his other Epistles. There are also enemies of the truth who are to be opposed (2 Tim.3). It is quite evident from what Paul says in the second chapter and elsewhere in Titus and Second Timothy that the Colossian heresy is already bearing its evil fruit and is likely in the future to do great injury to the churches.
+The Practical Teaching+ about the necessity of developing and conserving the Church's system of government occupies, however, the chief place. |The two notes which are struck again and again are: First, 'Hold fast the tradition, the deposit of faith.' Second, 'Preserve order in the church.' In short this group of Epistles constitutes Paul's last will and testament in which he gives his final instructions for the maintenance and continuity of the faith.|
The church of Jesus Christ must have form and order. The truth must have a proper shelter. Churches must have and observe certain regulations. There must be proper officers.
The gospel is applied to outward conduct. Great stress is laid upon the character of church officers (1 Tim.3:1-13; Titus 1:5-7). Pastors are directed how they should bear themselves toward church members and what they should teach (1 Tim.5; Titus 2). The conduct of the Church in the presence of the heathen world and its magistrates is set forth (Titus 3). Instruction is given in regard to public worship (1 Tim.2). The most effective barrier against all forms of evil, it is declared, is a diligent study of the Scriptures and a fervent preaching of the word (2 Tim.3:13-4:5).
+The Special Theme+ then is, |The constitution, methods, and conduct of the early churches.| (1 Tim.2:1, 2, 8, 9-12; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-14; 2:1-10; 3:1, 2, 8-11, 13, 14; 2 Tim.2:2, 14-18; 3:6-9).
PAUL'S LAST DECLARATION OF HIS FAITH
The famous passage in 2 Timothy (4:6-8) shows how the Great Apostle went triumphantly to his death. It is a declaration of the sustaining power of his faith in the Savior whom he had everywhere proclaimed.
|I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.|
THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY
+Timothy+ was one of the close companions of Paul. His father was a Greek and his mother a Jewess, by the name of Eunice, (2 Tim.1:5; Acts 16:1). He was a native of Lystra, Paul took him as his companion in travel and addressed two Epistles to him; he was sent on a number of important missions. Timothy is mentioned twenty-four times by name in the Acts and Epistles; from these notices we can construct his itinerary with Paul and see how beloved and how trusted he was by the Great Apostle. During Paul's last journey he left him in charge of the affairs of the church at Ephesus (1 Tim.1:3). When Paul was apprehended a second time and lying in a dungeon at Rome, in expectation of death, he wrote Timothy the last letter (2 Timothy) he ever penned, and besought him to come to him as speedily as possible (2 Tim.4:9).
+Time and Place of Writing.+ -- Paul in all probability wrote the First Epistle to Timothy from Macedonia (1 Tim.1:3) in the year 66 A.D.
+The Purpose+ |involved is through the instruction and exhortation of Timothy, to purify, strengthen, and elevate the Christian life of the church in Ephesus.| This teaching is put in such a way that it is applicable to every Christian minister and church.
+Principal Divisions and Chief Points.+
1. Greeting (1:1, 2).
2. The True teaching of the gospel (ch.1). Timothy is warned against false teachers and reminded of the aim and end of life in Christ.
3. The order and regulation of public worship (ch.2). (a) Prayer, for those in authority and for all men. (b) Instruction. There is one God and one Mediator (Christ) between God and man. (c) Conduct of men and women in the church assemblies.
4. Qualifications of the church officers (ch.3). (a) The ideal minister. (b) The ideal deacon and the ministering women. (c) Conclusion of chapter. Paul declares his intention to visit Timothy. An ascription of praise.
5. The government of the Christian church and community (ch.4-6). In these three chapters Timothy is charged by Paul to keep before him a high view of the church and its grand destiny. (a) Timothy, as a teacher, is reminded of his commission to put the church on guard against errors of doctrine and life (ch.4). (b) Timothy is shown how he should bear rule and conduct himself towards the elders and women of his congregation. Paul adds instructions in regard to a man's care for his family, support of the ministry, discipline of offenders, etc. (ch.5). (c) Relations of masters and servants. Right attitude of believers in Christ toward riches. The chief thing is to follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness, and to fight the good fight of faith (6:1-19). (d) Closing charge to Timothy with benediction (6:20, 21).
THE EPISTLE TO TITUS
+Titus+ was a beloved disciple of Paul. He was a Gentile and was taken by Paul to Jerusalem and was made a test case of the freedom of the gospel and was not compelled to be circumcised (Gal.2:1-5). He is mentioned by name, by Paul, twelve times in four of the Epistles (2 Cor.2:13; 7:6, 13, 14; 8:6, 16, 23; 12:18; Gal.2:1, 3; 2 Tim.4:10; Titus 1:4). The early church tradition is that Titus was descended from the royal family of Crete. He was an able and capable missionary. We have no account of his conversion. He might have come first in contact with Paul and been converted when the Great Apostle visited Crete on his way to Rome as a prisoner (Acts 27:7-13). Some time was spent at this island by Paul's company (Acts 27:9). Paul again visited Crete after his first Roman imprisonment and when he went away he left Titus in charge of affairs (Titus 1:5), |To set in order things that are wanting and to ordain elders in every city.| This message of Paul to Titus not only shows the confidence which Paul reposed in him, but also how widespread Christianity was in Crete. After Titus had completed his special work in Crete he was to rejoin Paul at Nicopolis (Titus 3:12).
+The Purpose+ of this letter is to show Titus what he is to do, in his work with the churches, and how to do it.
+Time and Place of Writing.+ -- It is thought that this Epistle was written from Corinth in 66 A.D.
+Principal Divisions and Chief Points.+
1. Greeting and subject of the Epistle (1:1-5). Titus is left in Crete to accomplish certain things (1:5) after which he is to rejoin Paul (3:12).
2. The kind of officers to be appointed in the Cretan churches (1:5-16). Special moral and spiritual fitness is set forth as necessary in view of the peculiar character of the Cretans and certain forms of doctrinal error.
3. The instruction to be given to the Cretans (2:1-3:11). (a) |The things which become sound doctrine.| (b) Practical teaching for the proper regulation of the conduct of all classes. (c) The foundation of the instruction rests upon Christ. (d) Proper attitude of the Christian community toward the Pagan world; magistrates and those who have not yet believed in Christ. Kindness and gentleness and the avoidance of foolish questions best reveal the spirit of Christ by those who profess His name. (e) Parting requests and benediction (3:12-15).
THE SECOND EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY
+The Last Words of Paul.+ -- This Epistle is of special interest as it contains the last recorded words of Paul to his faithful disciple, Timothy. The Great Apostle is writing from a strict prison confinement (1:16, 17; 2:9). He has had a first preliminary trial (4:16) and this was of such a dread nature that none of his friends dare to stand with him, yet he rejoices in his Lord that He stood by him and strengthened him. He feels however that his end is near and gives a magnificent testimony of his faith (4:6-8). He urges Timothy to come to him in Rome and bring Mark with him (4:9, 11).
+Time and Place of Writing.+ -- It was written by Paul in prison at Rome 67 A.D.
+The Purpose.+ -- Paul shows here his care for the churches, their upbuilding in the faith and their proper regulation of the things that pertain to worship and organization. Timothy, as a preacher of the Word, has his personal responsibility, for the upbuilding of the churches, presented to him.
+Principal Divisions and Chief Points.+
1. Greeting and thanksgiving (1:1-5).
2. The Christian conduct of Timothy (1:6-2:14). Paul exhorts Timothy not to allow himself to be daunted by fear of opposition or suffering in doing his work for Christ. He encourages him by, (a) The great revelation and power of the gospel. (b) His own work. (c) The sure hope of a great reward.
3. Timothy as a preacher of the Word (2:15-4:5). Paul exhorts Timothy, (a) To study to show himself a workman. (b) In the perilous times that are coming to feed on the Word of God and preach it in season and out of season.
4. Last words of Paul (4:6-22). The Apostle now turns to himself and speaks of his coming martyrdom. He is ready to be offered, he has fought a good fight. He beseeches Timothy to come and see him and bring Mark. He refers to his first hearing when every friend left him alone and only the Lord stood by him. He, after various messages, closes with the usual benediction.
What is the place of these Epistles in Paul's life? What can be said of Paul's fourth missionary journey; the first trip eastward, the trip westward to Spain, and the second trip eastward? How did Paul come to be imprisoned a second time? What are the questions discussed in these Epistles; the personal element, the doctrinal part, the practical teaching, and the special theme? What is Paul's last declaration of faith? What can be said of the First Epistle to Timothy; Timothy's life, time, and place of writing, the purpose, and the principal divisions and chief points? What can be said of the Epistle to Titus; the life of Titus, the purpose, time, and place of writing, and the principal divisions and chief points? What can be said of the Second Epistle to Timothy; the last words of Paul, time and place of writing, and the principal divisions and chief points?