1 Timothy 1 “No Other Doctrine”
Apostasy was becoming more widespread and Paul was fulfilling his apostolic role in ministering to and strengthening church members. This epistle was written in about 65 A.D., between Paul’s first and second Roman imprisonments. Timothy, to whom the epistle is addressed, was a church leader at Ephesus (in western Turkey).
- How would you summarize Paul’s greeting and instructions to Timothy, in 1 Timothy 1:1-7?
- What do you see in verses 6-7, 9-10, 19-20 that evidences troubles within the church? (See also 2 Timothy 2:16-18; 4:10, 14-15; Titus 1:10-11, 16.)
- What are the solutions that Paul offers, in verses 3, 5-6, 15-16?
- What words and phrases did Paul use in referring to Jesus Christ, in verses 1-2, 11-12, 14, 17 (see also 1 Timothy 2:3, 5; 4:10; 6:15).
- What did Paul say about himself, in verses 12-16?
1 Timothy 2 The Fall
In verses 14-15 Paul offers a teaching regarding Adam and Eve, and the Joseph Smith Translation offers a small yet significant change in verse 15, teaching us that “they” (both Adam and Eve; not just Eve) “shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness.” In addition to faith, charity, and holiness, married couples can be “saved” as they bring children into this world and teach them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 3-5 Church Leadership
Read 2 Timothy 3:1-8; 4:4-6, 12-16; 5:3-4, 14, 17. Which of these items of counsel for church leaders do you think is most important? (See also 2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5; Titus 1:7-9.)
1 Timothy 4-6 Evil Prevails
List the things of wickedness that Paul pointed out in his day—and prophesied for our day—in 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 5:8; 6:4-5, 9-10. What are the solutions Paul proposed, in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, 11-12, 17-19? What do you learn from 6:5-11, 17-19 about money?
2 Timothy 1-2 “Hold Fast”
Read 2 Timothy 1:5. Is there a mother or grandmother in your life who has been a great example of faith? This epistle was written to Timothy in about 66 A.D., and is Paul’s last letter (chronologically), shortly before he was put to death in Rome, by Nero. Some consider this epistle to be a gospel masterpiece. Look for classic, model statements from Paul in:
- his words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:2-8; 2:1-3, 16, 22-24;
- his words about Jesus Christ in 1:9-10;
- and in Paul’s words about himself, in 1:11-12; 2:10.
2 Timothy 3-4 “Perilous Times Shall Come”
Adding to his prophecy of latter-day conditions in 1 Timothy 4:1-3, Paul adds a descriptive list in 2 Timothy 3-4 of things we are now witnessing in our world:
- Read the long, unholy list in 2 Timothy 3:1-8, 13 and 4:3-4. What are your best strategies to help you “turn away” (3:5) from these latter-day plagues?
- Study Paul’s items of personal example and counsel in 3:10-12.
- Summarize in your own words the counsel of Paul in relation to the scriptures, in 3:15-17. What testimony can you bear of the impact of the scriptures in your life?
If you were to write your own obituary, what would you say? Paul’s famous “last words” in 4:6-8, 18 have been quoted and treasured for two thousand years. What does it mean to you to “fight a good fight”? (verse 7). Were you to pass from mortality today, could you say with confidence, “I have kept the faith”? (verse 7). Paul’s statement in verse 8 makes it clear that the Lord had already promised him an eternal reward (see also Enos 1:27).
Titus 1-3 “Blessed Hope”
Paul’s epistle to Titus, a church leader, contains counsel on practical obedience. It was written about 65 A.D., between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments. Note the following:
- Titus 1:2 supports our belief and doctrine of a pre-mortal life and God’s plan which He presented to us.
- Titus 1:5, 13 is an example of the duties of church leaders—then and now—as they work to “set in order” the church (see also Alma 6:1-4).
- Note Paul’s items of practical, daily obedience and behavior, in Titus 2:1-7, 12.
- Read Titus 2:13. This “blessed hope” is what we too must look for and rely upon daily. This is only possible because of what Paul states about our Savior in Titus 2:14; 3:4-7.
Philemon From Slave to Brother
In Paul’s day it was common for some to have slaves, or what Paul calls “servants.” In several of his epistles, Paul counseled servants to be obedient to their masters, and masters to be kind to their servants. Philemon was a church leader in Colosse whose servant, Onesimus, evidently stole from Philemon and then ran away to Rome. Subsequently, Paul was instrumental in converting Onesimus to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This brief letter, sent via Onesimus, is Paul’s encouragement to Philemon to forgive Onesimus and accept him as a brother in Christ. It was written in about 62 A.D. from prison in Rome.
Consider the following:
- Verses 1, 4-5, 8-9 Paul’s greeting and expressions of friendship and affection; note in verses 8-9 that Paul points out that he could “enjoin” (instruct; urge; demand) that Philemon do what Paul is asking, but instead he says “I rather beseech thee” (implore or entreat; see also Alma 7:23).
- Verses 10-14 Paul refers to Onesimus, Philemon’s runaway slave, as “my son” (verse 10); again using entreating language to appeal to Philemon’s better side. Read verses 11-14, looking for other things Paul says to soften Philemon’s heart.
- Verses 15-19 What is in these verses that furthers Paul’s appeal to forgiveness and charity?
- Verses 20-21 After reading these ending verses, how do you think you would feel, if you were in Philemon’s place? What would you choose to do?
- In what ways are we like Onesimus, and Paul is like Jesus Christ?
Can you think of a time when you have been wronged, but were able to forgive? Has there been a time when someone overlooked and forgave you for an offense you caused?