1 & 2 Timothy - Lesson 8

By John Harrison

Review of the major themes in 1st Timothy

Objectives: By the end of this session the learner will be able to:1. Identify three major lessons taught in 1st Timothy.2. Explain how these lessons can be exemplified in his or her own life.

Teaching Aids and Materials:

  1. Easy to understand Bibles for every student (CEV, RSV, NAV, NIV, NRSV, etc.).
  2. A marker board and/or chalkboard.Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5-8 minutes)

  1. Begin class by welcoming members and any visitors; make all necessary class announcements.
  2. Have the class led in prayer. The prayer should include a request that God lead the class into a better understanding of the truth within his Word and for class members to have the courage to stand up against false teachings whenever it arises.
  3. Explain to the class in today's lesson they will learn the following three items:
    1. The best way to combat false teaching is to have a thorough knowledge ofGod's truth.
    2. We, and especially our leaders, should exemplify ethical qualities that will be respected by non-Christians.
    3. We must be prepared to endure hardship for the sake of the gospel.

Learning Experiences: (35 minutes)

Part I: False teachers must be stopped

Q: In lesson two we looked at the three things Paul accuses the false teachers of teaching. What are they?

A: They are 1) "myths"; 2) "endless genealogies"; and 3) the lawRead 1 Timothy 1:4-7

Q: Can anyone explain what Paul meant by these terms?

A: Students may have some difficulty recalling what they were told about these terms in lesson two. Here is what you should have communicated to them:

What Paul most likely meant by "myths and endless genealogies" are the accounts that circulated at this time that retold patriarchal stories recorded in Genesis. The word"genealogy" here does not mean a list of descendant names but accounts of people living in earlier times. Many of these speculative stories, some of which may be found in the JewishPseudepigrapha, were used to promote the origin of God's people and how God wanted his people to obey specific Jews laws.

When Paul mentions the "law" (vss. 7ff.), he is talking specifically here about prohibitions in the Pentateuch which outline how people should not treat one another.

His list of vices is reminiscent of at least four of the ten commands, specifically those which prohibit dishonoring one's parents, murder, adultery and perjury (false oaths).

Explain to the class that what Paul has listed are very serious immoral actions, which in many cases would have been seen as crimes. Paul is not saying that Christians in Ephesus are actually committing these sins. He merely lists these to demonstrate that the law is necessary for those who are bent on behaving immorally. Paul believes that Christians ought to be guided by other elements than laws of prohibition. Note also that Paul says that the law is good (i.e. knowing which behaviors are specifically prohibited is good), but these prohibitions should be used in the way in which God intended it to be used: to curb the appetite of lawless people to do immoral things.

Q: In chapter one, what do we learn about how to fight against false teaching?

A: Paul tells Timothy to instruct the church in three things: 1. love that comes from a pure heart; 2. good conscience; and 3. sincere faith (1:5). He also tells them to hold firmly to faith and a good conscience (1:19).

Q: In lesson five on 1st Timothy 4 we looked at being nourished on godly teaching and two specific teachings taught by the false teachers. Can anyone name those two specific teachings?

A: They are 1. abstaining from marriage and 2. forbidding the eating of certain foods.

Read 1st Timothy 4:1-3

Q: Can anyone explain why these two things might have been taught by the false teachers?

A: Students may have trouble remembering what was taught in lesson five.Here is what they should have been told:

The most likely reason a false teacher taught Christians to abstain from marriage and certain foods was because they believed they were already living in the saved world and that ascetic practices like these did one of two things. It either:1. comforted them since their belief in living in a saved world was not being validated by their experience with the world.


  1. help them to implement their belief in order to actually change the world (i.e. by abstaining from marriage and certain foods the saved world would become realized).

Q: In the last lesson, Paul claimed that many false teachers were teaching false doctrines for what purpose?

A: Financial profit.

Read 1st Timothy 6:3-5

Q: In contrast to the false teachers, what attitude should Timothy have that will help him to focus on enduring virtues?

A: Contentment.

Part II: Christians must behave in ways that non-Christians can respect

Q: In lesson three we examined the controversial text of 1st Timothy 2. What Paul is insisting is that the church behaves how when they assemble?

A: Peacefully.

Q: What are some things we be sure to do in worship and in classes that will keep a peaceful environment?

A: Allow time for two or three suggestions to be made. Be kind when we differ,listening carefully to the views of others to be sure we understand them.

Q: In lesson four we examined the instructive text of 1st Timothy 3 on the characteristics of elders and deacons. Which word in the list of characteristics is key for interpreting Paul's major concern?

A: "Blameless" or "Above reproach," because these words imply that Paul's major concern is that elders and deacons have characteristics that would be respected as godly among non-Christians.

Q: In lesson five we looked at Paul's instructions to Timothy in chapter 4 to set an example for believers in five areas of his life. How many of those areas can you name?

A: Speech, conduct, love, faithfulness, and purity.

Read 1st Timothy 4:12

Q: How might we set a good example in each of these?

A: Allow enough time for several responses.

Part III: Christians must endure hardship for the sake of the gospel

Q: Several times in 1st Timothy, Paul mentions the importance of endurance.Can you recall any of the metaphors Paul used to motivate Timothy to have endurance?

A: The class may offer different answers, but here are three. Paul told Timothy to "fight the good fight" (1:18-19). He told him to work hard as one does in exercise(4:10). Finally, he told him to "compete for the faith" (6:12).

Q: In what ways do you think we can show endurance for the gospel today?

A: Allow enough time for several responses. Some possibilities are: 1. hold firmly to what is taught in Scripture, 2. both parents and those who teach our youth should be sure our youth are well grounded in the faith. 3. We must share our faith with others to help the church to be more evangelistic.

Lesson Wrap Up: (5 minutes)

In this lesson we are reminded that false teachers are best confronted by teaching those things from Scripture that promote love, a good conscience and faith.

We also learned that we and our leaders must be vigilant to behave in ways that non-Christians will respect as godly behavior.

Finally, we learned that just as Timothy would be required to show endurance to stand up against false teachers, we too will need to show endurance to stand up for God's truth.

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