“…I am writing these instructions to you in case I am delayed, to let you know how people ought to conduct themselves in the household of God, because it is the church of the living God, the support and bulwark of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:14-15 NIV)
Where do we begin? Have you ever heard the saying: “You can’t see the forest for the trees”? The best way to study books of the Bible is to begin with the “forest” – survey the whole – and then proceed to the “trees” – the individual parts. We are going to take the first lesson to acquaint ourselves with both letters.
In our survey, we can identify four major themes that are woven throughout both letters. Together, these will fashion a pattern for the rest of our study to help interpret each lesson in context with Paul’s general design. This lesson will take more time than the rest, as you will be reading through both letters. So, let’s begin…
Read 1 Timothy and Titus to get the feel and atmosphere of each letter and to gain Paul’s perspective on everything that he shares. Identify key words and phrases as well as anything of interest to you. Pay attention to the similarities between the two letters.
Major Theme #1: Truth vs. Error
The first theme really breaks down into positive versus negative.
1. The POSITIVE: Read all of the verses in each set once or twice, looking for a common word or message, then summarize each set with a short phrase. What does Paul keep emphasizing?
· 1 Timothy 2:7; 4:6, 10-11, 13; 6:2 (end of verse only); Titus 2:1, 15—
· 1 Timothy 5:21; 6:20a (first part); Titus 1:9—
2. Read Romans 1:1-5a, 1 Timothy 1:11-12; 2:4-6; 6:3, 15-16; Titus 1:1-3. What specifically is the truth or sound doctrine?
3. Now, summarize your notes in the two questions above to come up with one common message.
4. The NEGATIVE: Read 1 Timothy 1:3-4, 10 (end of verse) and Titus 1:10-11, 13-16. What is true about those who teach error?
5. Read 1 Timothy 4:7a; 6:20b-21 and Titus 3:9-10. What are we supposed to do when we encounter error?
6. Read 1 Timothy 1:6-7; 4:1-3; 6:3-5; Titus 1:11. Where does error lead?
7. Once again, Paul emphasizes over and over a common message. In your own words, what is Paul teaching them to guard against and why?
8. Read 1 Timothy 1:11-12 carefully. Why is Paul so concerned about his message and his teaching?
9. Certainly you can agree that if Paul made this many comments on the same subject, it should be taken seriously and seen as a pattern woven throughout each letter. What could happen to the local church…therefore you…therefore the world…if we do not seriously and energetically apply Paul’s emphatic message to Timothy, Titus and the church?
10. Adorning Yourself: What specific actions can you or do you take in your daily life to ensure that you don’t wander away from God’s truth or sound doctrine?
Major Theme #2: Identification of Leadership
11. Theme #2 works hand-in-hand with Theme #1. Read 1 Timothy 1:7; 4:12 and Titus 1:15. Why would Paul give so much instruction to Timothy and Titus about the selection of church leadership?
The next two themes summarize Paul’s interest for Christians to live lives that properly adorn or display the doctrine or belief they claim to profess.
Major Theme #3: Concern for the Reputation of the Church
12. Read 1 Timothy 3:15. Who does “the church” represent, and what is its purpose?
13. Read Titus 2:5b, 8-10. Why is Paul so concerned about the church being “above reproach”, having a “good conscience”?
Major Theme #4: “Do Good Deeds Demonstrating What You Believe”
14. Read 1 Timothy 5:10; 6:18 and Titus 1:8. What are some examples of good deeds?
15. Read 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 4:10; Titus 2:11-14. What should be our motivation for doing good deeds?
16. Read 1 Timothy 6:6, 18-19 and Matthew 6:20. What is the long-term result of doing good deeds?
17. Read 1 Timothy 2:2; 3:16; 4:7-8; 6:3-6; and Titus 1:1. Did you notice how many times the word “godliness” or “godly” appears? In Titus 1:1, what are the key accessories that can help you adorn yourself with godliness?
18. Adorning Yourself: Compare 1 Timothy 1:5 with Titus 1:16. Which “fashion statement” are you pursuing and modeling?
Think About It: “The church, which is invisible, made up of all believers who are in the body of Christ, manifests itself down here upon the earth in local assemblies, in the local churches. Now, just to put a steeple on a building and a bell in the steeple and a pulpit down front and a choir in the loft singing the doxology doesn’t mean it is a local church in the New Testament sense of the word. There must be certain identifying features…In all three epistles Paul is dealing with two things: the creed of the church and the conduct of the church. For the church within, the worship must be right. For the church outside, good works must be manifested. Worship is inside; works are outside. That’s the way the church is to manifest itself.” (J. Vernon McGee, Thru-the-Bible Commentary Series)