1 Timothy is clearly a letter written by Paul, an apostle, to Timothy, at the time probably the pastor at a local church in Ephesus. In many ways it is the letter of a mentor encouraging his follower in his role as the pastor of this church.
The main practical focus seems to be to help Timothy deal with the false teaching that was affecting the church although he also deals with a wide range of topics that face any local church in any age. And although set in a very definite context it is a letter that is immensely practical to all leaders and members of any local church today! As Jensen and Clarke write, “The Bible was written in a concrete situation and context, but it was written for Christians in all ages and every place, as we await the return of our Lord. If we ignore the concreteness of the Bible, we can easily end up reading it out of context. But if we ignore the universality of the Bible, we reject God’s word to is here and now.”
It seems to me that the main thrust of Timothy is found in 1 Timothy 2: 3 – 7. This passage seems to be the controlling idea in Paul’s mind as he writes this letter to Timothy.
We see God’s great passion (vs 3 – 4) that He wants “all men to be saved”.
We also see God’s only provision for that salvation (vs 5 – 6), “the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men”.
And we see God’s “appointed” preacher (vs 7) in the person of Paul. So beware Timothy, his church and us if we don’t agree with Paul because he happens to not espouse our pet theology.
And so Paul throughout this letter is telling Timothy in all circumstances to be passionate about the Gospel of salvation through Christ alone as taught to him by him Paul God’s spokesman – because that is what God is passionate about! Why else would God have sent Jesus as the only way, appointed Paul as His spokesman to the Gentiles and appointed Timothy to pastor this Gentile church?
And as you read 1 Timothy with that in mind you will see the amazing power of this letter to help us “keep the main thing the main thing” in life and doctrine.