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Welcome to our new study, 1 & 2 Timothy: The Structure and Spirit of the Church!
What is God’s plan for the church? How did He intend for it to be structured and run, and what is His vision for us, His people, as we worship Him and love and care for one another? For the next several weeks we’ll work our way through the books of 1 & 2 Timothy, one of God’s “policy and procedure manuals” for the church, to learn about its organizational skeleton as well as the spirit of its people.
Many thanks to those who worked so hard on their entries for our title pic contest. You ladies were very creative and did some beautiful work!
Cheryl Toepfer Becky McGraw
Patti Green Terri Mobley
In the end, I had such a hard time figuring out how to capture the theme I had in mind for the study – bouncing from one thought to another and discontent with every idea that popped into my mind – that I decided to design the title pic myself. (If there’s a chance I might end up dissatisfied, I’d rather be dissatisfied with my own work than the work of one of you lovely ladies!)
My thought is that the sunrise in this photo conveys the idea of the dawn of the church in history, when 1 & 2 Timothy were written. As the light of God’s instruction “rises” upon the church as they read through these epistles, it clears away the surrounding fog of uncertainty about God’s will and His ways for His people. Also, I really like the colors. :0)
If you’re new to using my Bible studies, just a few housekeeping items and helpful hints:
The studies I’ve written (you can find all of them at the Bible Studies tab at the top of this page) are like “training wheels”. They’re designed to teach you how to study the Bible for yourself and what kinds of questions to ask of the text so that, when you get the hang of it, you won’t have to depend on other people’s books and materials – even mine – any more. To that end, I do not provide answers for the study questions in the studies I’ve written.
My studies are meant to be extremely flexible and self-paced so that you can use them in the way that works best for you. You can do an entire lesson in one day or work on the questions over the course of the week (or longer). You do not need to feel obligated to answer all (or any) of the questions. If the Holy Spirit parks you on one question for several days, enjoy digging deep into that one aspect of the lesson. If He shows you something I haven’t written a question about that captures your attention, dive in and study it! Those are ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us through His Word. This is your time to commune with the Lord, not a school assignment or work project you are beholden to complete in a certain way by a certain deadline.
I will post a new lesson on the blog every Wednesday, so there is nothing to sign up for or commit to. Simply stop by the blog each week, or subscribe to the blog via e-mail to have the lessons delivered to your inbox.
With our last study (Imperishable Beauty) I “beta tested” a Facebook discussion group specific to that study. It was enthusiastically received, but after the first couple of weeks, there was virtually no participation. So with this study, I’ve decided not to put in the extra work of admin-ing a discussion group. You are welcome to form and admin your own discussion group if you like. I will also post the lessons on my own Facebook page each week, and anyone who would like to discuss the lesson can do so in the comments section of those posts.
I use hyperlinks liberally. The Scriptures for each lesson will be linked either at the beginning of the lesson or in the lesson questions. Whenever you see a word in red, click on it, and it will take you to a Scripture, article, or other resource that will help as you study.
All of the studies I’ve written are suitable for groups or individuals. You are welcome to use them as a Sunday school or Bible study class curriculum (for free) with proper attribution.
You are also welcome to print out any of my Bible studies (or any article I’ve written) for free and make as many copies as you’d like, again, with proper attribution. I’ve explained more about that in this article (3rd section).
Introduction to 1 Timothy
Before we begin studying a book of the Bible, it’s very important that we understand some things about that book. We need to know…
Who the author was and anything we might be able to find out about him or his background.
Who the audience of the book is: Jews or Gentiles? Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians? This will help us understand the author’s purpose and approach to what he’s writing.
What kind of biblical literature we’re looking at. We approach books of history differently than books of wisdom, books of wisdom differently than books of prophecy, etc.
What the purpose of the book is. Was it written to encourage? Rebuke? Warn?
What the historical backdrop is for the book. Is Israel at war? At peace? In exile? Under a bad king? Good king? Understanding the historical events surrounding a piece of writing help us understand what was written and why it was written.
When the book was written. Where does the book fall on the timeline of biblical history? This is especially important for Old Testament books which are not always arranged in chronological order.
So this week, before we start studying the actual text of the book of 1 Timothy, we need to lay the foundation to understanding the book by finding the answers to these questions.
Read the following overviews of the book of 1 Timothy, taking notes on anything that might aid your understanding of the book, and answer the questions below:
Bible Introductions: 1 Timothy at Grace to You
Overview of the Book of 1 Timothy at Reformed Answers
Book of 1 Timothy at Got Questions
1. Who wrote the book of 1 Timothy? How do we know this?
2. Approximately when was 1 Timothy written? What is the geographical setting of the book of 1 Timothy? Here are some maps (scroll down to “1 Timothy”) that may be helpful as you study through the book of 1 Timothy.
3. Who is the original, intended audience of the book of 1 Timothy? Describe the historical setting (historic events, politics, sociology of the time, etc.) of 1 Timothy.
4. Which genre of biblical literature is the book of 1 Timothy: law, history, wisdom, poetry, narrative, epistles, or prophecy/apocalyptic? What does this tell us about the approach we should take when studying this book versus our approach to books of other genres?
5. What is the theme or purpose of the book of 1 Timothy?
6. What are some of the major topics of instruction in the book of 1 Timothy? How do these topics relate to the theme of 1 Timothy?
7. What are some ways 1 Timothy points to and connects to Jesus?
8. What else did you learn about 1 Timothy or the setting of this book that might help you understand the text of the book better?
Take some time in prayer this week to begin preparing your heart for this study. What are some ways your pastor and church could be encouraged by the instruction of 1 Timothy? What might you learn that could make you a healthier church member? Do you have any areas that need improvement when it comes to the way you serve God or your brothers and sisters in Christ? Ask God to grow you in those areas as we study together 1 & 2 Timothy: The Structure and Spirit of the Church.