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The Blue Letter Bible

Dr. J. Vernon McGee :: Outline for 1 Timothy

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I. Faith of the church, Chapter 1

A. Introduction, vv. 1, 2

B. Warning against unsound doctrine, vv. 3-10

C. Personal testimony of Paul, vv. 11-17

D. Charge to Timothy, vv. 18-20

II. Public prayer and woman’s place in the churches, Chapter 2

A. Public prayer for the public and public officials, vv. 1-7

B. How men are to pray, v. 8

C. How women are to pray, vv. 9-15

III. Officers in the churches, Chapter 3

A. Requirements for elders, vv. 1-7

B. Requirements for deacons, vv. 8-13

C. Report of Paul to Timothy, vv. 14-16

IV. Apostasy in the churches, Chapter 4

A. How to recognize the apostates, vv. 1-5

B. What the “good minister” can do in times of apostasy, vv. 6-16

V. Duties of officers of the churches, Chapters 5, 6

A. Relationship of ministers to different groups in the local church, Chapter 5

B. Relationship of believers to others, Chapter 6


I. Faith of the church, Chapter 1

This is not a doctrinal statement but is a warning against false teachers. The gospel of the grace of God is central in doctrine. It concerns the person of Christ.

A. Introduction, vv. 1, 2

v. 1 — Paul declares that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ by commandment of God. “Our Savior” occurs six times in the Pastoral Epistles — used of both God and Christ. (Will of God and the work of Christ — it is the will of God to save sinners; it is the work of Christ that saves sinners.) “Our hope” looks to the future.

v. 2 — “My own son” would be better translated “my true child.” Both Timothy and Titus were brought to Christ through the ministry of Paul. “Mercy” occurs in 2 Timothy and Titus and is peculiar to the Pastoral Epistles.

B. Warning against unsound doctrine, vv. 3-10

v. 3 — “Teach no other doctrine” should be “not to teach a different doctrine.”

v. 4 — “Fables” are myths. “Endless genealogies” refer to the demiurge basic to Gnosticism, which believed in emanations from the divine center. It could also refer to Old Testament genealogies.

v. 5 — The purpose of sound doctrine is to produce love in Christian living.

v. 6 — “Vain jangling” is empty chatter.

v. 7 — “About which they affirm” means that they teach error with assurance.

v. 8 — “The law is good” means that it is morally excellent. It is good for moral conduct but not for salvation. Law cannot save a sinner — it should correct a sinner.

v. 9 — “Disobedient” is to be unruly.

v. 10 — The local church should teach sound doctrine to insure correct conduct. Man must think right to act right.

C. Personal testimony of Paul, vv. 11-17

v. 11 — “Glorious gospel” is the gospel of glory. “Was committed to my trust” means with which I was entrusted.

v. 12 — “He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry” should read “He counted me faithful in that He appointed me to His service.”

v. 13 — This is Paul’s statement of his life before the Damascus road experience. “Mercy” is what a sinner needs — not justice.

v. 14 — Faith, love, grace, and mercy are the great realities of the Christian faith.

v. 15 — Paul is not being academic or forensic when he states that he was the chief of sinners. He was just that. This is not hyperbole.

v. 16 — Paul would be an example and encouragement to sinners of how God saved him and of the fact that He does save sinners. “Pattern” is an example.

v. 17 — “King eternal” means King of the ages. Christ is Lord of the church, not King. This is a doxology.

D. Charge to Timothy, vv. 18-20

v. 18 — This is Paul’s personal charge to Timothy.

v. 19 — Apostates had already appeared among the believers in the local churches.

v. 20 — Paul calls by name two of them who had blasphemed (see 2 Timothy 2:17). “Delivered unto Satan” was evidently an apostolic ministry. “May learn not to blaspheme” means being disciplined not to blaspheme.

II. Public prayer and woman’s place in the churches, Chapter 2

A. Public prayer for the public and public officials, vv. 1-7

v. 1 — “Supplications” are petitions. “Intercession” is to intercede on their behalf as if they did not pray.

v. 2 — “All that are in authority” means those in an office who could affect or influence the spread of the gospel. Pray that there might be freedom to live as believers should and freedom to witness to the lost.

v. 3 — This is the will of God.

v. 4 — God’s desire is the salvation of all. Praying for rulers so that the gospel can be preached is in the will of God. Also, He wants all believers to advance to full maturation by studying the Word of God.

v. 5 — Prayer is made only through Christ, for no man can come immediately into the presence of God — only mediately through Christ. He is the mediator because He is both man (Jesus) and God (Christ).

v. 6 — Christ is a propitiation (mercy seat) for the whole world. Mercy must be appropriated to be effective (just as a gift must be accepted).

v. 7 — “I am ordained” is to be appointed.

B. How men are to pray, v. 8

“I will” is desire. “Everywhere” means in every place where believers meet. “Lifting up holy hands” was a custom in that day, practiced by the early church. It revealed the dedication and lives of those praying. “Without wrath” means that sins have been confessed.
“Without…doubting” (see Hebrews 11:6).

C. How women are to pray, vv. 9-15

v. 9, 10 — As in v. 8, “I desire” is understood. Women are not to dress with the idea of attracting the opposite sex when they pray to God (see 1 Corinthians 11:5).

v. 11 — Women were leaders in the mystery religions of Paul’s day (see notes on Ephesians), which were largely sex orgies. Here Paul cautions that women are not to speak in tongues publicly (see 1 Corinthians 14:34).

v. 12 — The woman is not to be over the man in spiritual matters — for the sake of order and headship. This should be an incentive to a man to be the spiritual leader rather than asserting authority as a dictator.

vv. 13-15 — It was the sin of Eve that brought sin into the world, and only sinners are produced through the childbearing. It was the birth of Jesus to Mary that brought the Savior into the world. No man provided a Savior — a woman did. However, a woman is saved by faith the same as a man is saved by faith, and she is to grow in love and holiness the same as a man.

III. Officers in the churches, Chapter 3

A. Requirements for elders, vv. 1-7

v. 1 — “True saying” is better translated “faithful saying.” “Desire” — a better word is “seeks.” “Bishop” is an overseer or superintendent. Elder and bishop are the same person (some good men disagree with this position). “Elder” (Greek presbuteros) is the word applied to the person; “bishop” (Greek episkopos) is applied to the office.

v. 2 — Positive qualifications: “one wife” — not guilty of immorality, polygamy, or an un-scriptural divorce; “temperate” (in KJV, “vigilant”) — a better translation would be “cool, calm or not credulous”; “sober-minded” — a better word is “serious”; “of good behavior” — a better word is “orderly”; “apt to teach” means an ability and love of teaching.

v. 3 — Negative qualifications: “not given to wine” means no drunken conduct; “not violent” (in KJV, “no striker” ) is not pugnacious; “not greedy of filthy lucre, but patient” means “not covetous, but reasonable”; “not a brawler” — a better translation is “not contentious”; “not covetous” means to not be a money lover.

v. 4 — In his own home, an elder should be the authority without being the dictator.

v. 5 — He will be the same man in the church that he is in his home. No dictator nor Mr. Milquetoast need apply.

v. 6 — “Novice” is better translated as “new convert.” “Lifted up with pride” is blinded with pride. “Condemnation” is judgment. Satan will be his accuser.

v. 7 — “Good report” is a good testimony.

B. Requirements for deacons, vv. 8-13

v. 8 — Paul and Apollos are called deacons; in 1 Corinthians 3:5 they are called ministers. Others who are called ministers:

Christ (Galatians 2:17),
Government officials (Romans 13:4), and
Ministers of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:15).

“Minister” is a general term for a servant and worker. “Grave” is calm and cool. “Double-tongued” in our idiom is to be two-faced. “Not given to much wine” — the Bible teaches temperance, not total abstinence. “Greedy of filthy lucre” means having an insatiable love of money, obtained by any means.

v. 9 — “Mystery of the faith” means the revelation of the gospel in Christ. “The faith” is the content of the gospel. “In a pure conscience” is a vessel that holds the gospel.

v. 10 — A deacon should be tested before he is placed in office. “Blameless” means they are not to be guilty if accused.

v. 11 — Wives of deacons must measure up to certain standards. “Slanderers” are gossips.

v. 12 — Same as elders.

v. 13 — A deacon who serves well will become a man to be trusted. “Boldness” is confidence and courage in witnessing.

C. Report of Paul to Timothy, vv. 14-16

v. 14 — Paul sent this letter ahead to Timothy to guide him until he himself could come.

v. 15 — This letter would be the book of church order for the local church in the absence of Paul.

v. 16 — “Mystery of godliness” — the purpose of God is to make a man with God-likeness (1 John 3:2). “God was manifest in the flesh” — the flesh that revealed God to man at the same time concealed Him, for God is Spirit. “Justified in the Spirit” is better read as “vindicated in the Spirit.” “Seen of angels” is better translated “appeared unto angels.” “Gentiles” (KJV) is more accurately “nations.” “Received up into glory” is more accurately “taken up in glory.”
This was probably one of the primitive creeds of the early church. It is in contrast to what follows in the next chapter.

IV. Apostasy in the churches, Chapter 4

A. How to recognize the apostates, vv. 1-5

v. 1 — “Now” should be “but” and should be joined to the brief primitive creed in 1Ti 3:16. It is in contrast to it. “Latter times” refers to the last days of the church on earth. “Depart” (Greek apostesontai) means to stand away from. Apostates are those who once believed the Scriptures and the great truths of the Scriptures but have come to the place where they reject them entirely. “The faith” is the body of truth in the Scriptures. “Seducing” is wandering. “Doctrines of demons” is teachings of demons. Evidently the evil spirits lead the false teachers in giving satanic error.

v. 2 — “Speaking lies in hypocrisy” would be better translated “through the hypocrisy of men who speak lies.” “Having their conscience seared with a hot iron” is more accurately “branded in their own consciences with a hot iron.”

v. 3 — These errors were taught by the Essenes, an ascetic group down by the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. They were not Christian but were in existence during the lifetime of our Lord.

vv. 4, 5 — This should settle the question about diet and especially about meats. “By the word of God” means to return thanks.

B. What the “good minister” can do in times of apostasy, vv. 6-16

v. 6 — The minister should warn believers about the apostasy and false teachers by teaching the words of the faith.

v. 7 — Avoid old women’s myths. Practice godliness.

v. 8 — “Bodily exercise” means bodily gymnastics. Obviously, Paul exercised physically, for he walked over most of the Roman Empire. (He did not need to jog.) He is saying here that physical exercise is only for this life.

v. 10 — Christ is the Savior of all men, but only those who believe are saved (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2).

v. 12 — Timothy was young, probably in his 30s.

v. 13 — The minister is to read the Scriptures publicly, to comfort and to teach.

v. 14 — Timothy had a gift of the Spirit to do this, as every minister should have. Timothy was an ordained teacher by the laying on of the hands of the elders.

v. 15 — “Meditate” means to be diligent in study.

v. 16 — Timothy is warned to be faithful in his teaching.

V. Duties of officers of the churches, Chapters 5, 6

A. Relationship of ministers to different groups in the local church, Chapter 5

v. 1 — An elder is not to be rebuked publicly but is to be entreated privately.

v. 2 — He is to have a chaste relationship with the opposite sex.

vv. 3-13 — This is a section given over to instruction about widows. Evidently widows were supported by the local church (v. 3). Family responsibility comes first in a Christian’s life (v. 8). A widow could occupy an official place in the church — evidently this has to do with the office of deaconess (vv. 9, 10). Idleness and gossip are condemned (v. 13).

v. 14 — Woman is the homemaker.

v. 15 — Some had gone into mystery religions.

v. 16 — Each family is to support its own widows.

vv. 17-19 — Elders are to be honored. A man who brings a charge against an elder must do it before witnesses.

v. 20 — Does this mean to call the offending elder by name? Probably so.

v. 21 — The minister must not show partiality.

v. 22 — “Lay hands suddenly on no man” is a caution not to be hasty in returning a sinning elder to office.

v. 23 — Wine here is a medicine. Timothy, though young, had a physical infirmity.

vv. 24, 25 — God does not always judge a believer’s sins here in this life. Sometimes judgment does not come until a believer stands before the judgment seat of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 11:31, 32).

B. Relationship of believers to others, Chapter 6

vv. 1, 2 — This is capital and labor relations.

vv. 3-5 — Have nothing to do with proud men who want to argue.

vv. 6-16 — This is a list of precious gems for the believer. A believer should find satisfaction with his position in life (v. 6). A true axiom (v. 7). Riches do not bring satisfaction (v. 9). Money is not evil in itself (v. 10); it is amoral. “The love of money” is a root of all kinds of evil. The man of God should pursue these virtues (v. 11). This fight (v. 12) may be outward or inward, physical or spiritual. Jesus is the only One who has been raised from the dead in a glorified body (v. 16).

v. 17 — This is a warning to the rich.

v. 18 — “Distribute” is to sympathize.

v. 19 — “Lay hold on eternal life” is the life which is life indeed.

v. 20 — “That which is committed to thy trust” (see 2 Timothy 1:12). “Knowledge falsely so called” should be “the falsely-named knowledge.” Paul is speaking of the Gnostic heresy.

Notes for 1 Timothy ← Prior Section
Notes for 2 Timothy Next Section →
Notes for 2 Thessalonians ← Prior Book
Notes for 2 Timothy Next Book →
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