Sound Doctrine Settles Hearts.

Paul wrote the book of 1 Timothy as a mentor to his tutor. Pastor Timothy oversaw the largest of the first-century churches. This letter was a tool in Timothy's continued discipleship by Paul. No church is strengthened without disciple-making. It is a work of the church that every member must be involved in, not just the pastors.


All Paul's letters were written to Christians. He wrote truths and principles that only those who have been born again can understand. But he realized that there is a portion even in the church who do not know Christ.

No person is morally neutral. A person who knows Christ exerts a positive influence on others. Those who don't know Christ, even if they are viewed as good people, have a negative spiritual influence. Jesus described unbelievers who taught falsehood as wolves "in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15). Paul wrote to encourage believers who had been discouraged by the presence of unbelievers within the church in Ephesus.

The pastoral epistles, including 1 Timothy, are known for laying out the structure of the church. But the people's hearts needed to be settled before they could adopt a proper structure. Paul mentored rookie pastor Timothy so he could establish stability in the church. Then they would be able to make spiritual progress.

As we begin our detailed study of 1 Timothy, we must not gloss over how Paul begins the book. He makes three important points in just one verse.

Paul's Personal Testimony

Just Paul's name settled the hearts of his Ephesian audience. In one word, he reminded them that he was no longer Saul. Under his Jewish name, he had murdered Christians and terrorized the church (Acts 8:1-3). Just as we fear home intruders who come secretly, uninvited, to harm those we love and prey on the weak, Christians fear "faith intruders." Paul had been a faith intruder, but Christ had saved him (Acts 9:1-22).

The false teachers in Ephesus included both Greeks and Jews. Some preached that salvation was accomplished by human work; some taught that Jesus could not be divine and thus could not save. The mention of Paul's name showed that Jesus saves all people. He was no longer a Jewish Pharisee, trying to earn his own salvation (Philippians 3:4-7). He was the apostle to the Gentiles, who could be saved by the same faith as a Jewish person.

Paul's testimony also convicted honest unsaved people in the Ephesian church. Unbelievers among God's people are always welcome to be saved, but are not welcome to resist salvation and disrupt the body of Christ. Paul's personal story pointed unbelievers to Christ.

Even this common way to begin a letter was used for divine meaning when written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Next week, we will discuss two other aspects of the first verse Paul wrote to Timothy:

Paul's Divine Responsibility
Paul's Direction

Paul was an apostle appointed by God, and his purpose in writing 1 Timothy was to turn hurting hearts heavenward.

Application Points

  • What is your personal testimony? Does your story point others to Christ? Who have you shared it with lately?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Acts 20:17-35 - Paul had warned the Ephesian leaders that unbelievers would come among the flock.
  • Matthew 7:15, 2 Peter 2:1-22 - Descriptions of faith intruders or false teachers.
A Hymn to Encourage

I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”

I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noonday fair,
Nor if I walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

But “I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.”