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1 Timothy

Church order


Salutation autumn 55ce

APOSTLE of Christ Jesus by command of God our Saviour and Christ Jesus our hope,
2to Timothy his true-born son in the faith.

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Warning against False Doctrine

3When I was starting for Macedonia, I urged you to stay on at Ephesus. You were to command certain persons to give up teaching erroneous doctrines 4and studying those interminable myths and genealogies, which issue in mere speculation and cannot make known God's plan for us, which works through faith. [Or: cannot promote the faithful discharge of God's stewardship.]
5The aim and object of this command is the love which springs from a clean heart, from a good conscience, and from faith that is genuine. 6Through falling short of these, some people have gone astray into a wilderness of words. 7They set out to be teachers of the moral law, without understanding either the words they use or the subjects about which they are so dogmatic.

8We all know that the law is an excellent thing, provided we treat it as law, 9recognizing that it is not aimed at good citizens, but at the lawless and unruly, the impious and sinful, the irreligious and worldly; at parricides and matricides, murderers 10and fornicators, perverts, kidnappers, liars, perjurers—in fact all whose behaviour flouts the wholesome teaching 11which conforms with the gospel entrusted to me, the gospel which tells of the glory of God in his eternal felicity.

Thankfulness for mercy

12I thank him who has made me equal to the task, Christ Jesus our Lord; I thank him for judging me worthy of this trust and appointing me to his service— 13although in the past I had met him with abuse and persecution and outrage. But because I acted ignorantly in unbelief I was dealt with mercifully; 14the grace of our Lord was lavished upon me, with the faith and love which are ours in Christ Jesus.

15Here are words you may trust, words that merit full acceptance: 'Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners'; and among them I stand first. 16But I was mercifully dealt with for this very purpose, that Jesus Christ might find in me the first occasion for displaying all his patience, and that I might be typical of all who were in future to have faith in him and gain eternal life. 17Now to the King of all worlds, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever! Amen.

18This charge, son Timothy, I lay upon you, following that prophetic utterance which first pointed you out to me. 19So fight gallantly, armed with faith and a good conscience. It was through spurning conscience that certain persons made shipwreck of their faith, 20among them Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I consigned to Satan, in the hope that through this discipline they might learn not to be blasphemous.


Instructions concerning Prayer

1FIRST OF ALL, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be offered for all men; 2for sovereigns and all in high office, that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in full observance of religion and high standards of morality. 3Such prayer is right, and approved by God our Saviour, 4whose will it is that all men should find salvation and come to know the truth. 5For there is one God, and also one mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus, himself man, 6who sacrificed himself to win freedom for all mankind, so providing, at the fitting time, proof of the divine purpose; 7of this I was appointed herald and apostle (this is no lie, but the truth), to instruct the nations in the true faith.

8It is my desire, therefore, that everywhere prayers be said by the men of the congregation, who shall lift up their hands with a pure intention, excluding angry or quarrelsome thoughts. 9Women again must dress in becoming manner, modestly and soberly, not with elaborate hair-styles, not decked out with gold or pearls, or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, as befits women who claim to be religious. 11A woman must be a learner, listening quietly and with due submission. 12I do not permit a woman to be a teacher, nor must woman domineer over man; she should be quiet. 13For Adam was created first, and Eve afterwards; 14and it was not Adam who was deceived; it was the woman who, yielding to deception, fell into sin. 15Yet she will be saved through motherhood [Or: saved through the Birth of the Child; Or: brought safely through childbirth.] —if only women continue in faith, [Or: if only husband and wife continue in mutual fidelity ...] love, and holiness, with a sober mind.


Qualifications of Bishops

1There is a popular saying: [Some witnesses read: Here are words you may trust. Which some interpreters attach to the end of the preceding paragraph.] 'To aspire to leadership is an honourable ambition.' 2Our leader, therefore, or bishop, must be above reproach, faithful to his one wife, [Or: married to one wife; Or: married only once.] sober, temperate, courteous, hospitable, and a good teacher; 3he must not be given to drink, or a brawler, but of a forbearing disposition, avoiding quarrels, and no lover of money. 4He must be one who manages his own household well and wins obedience from his children, and a man of the highest principles. 5If a man does not know how to control his own family, how can he look after a congregation of God's people? 6He must not be a convert newly baptized, for fear the sin of conceit should bring upon him a judgement contrived by the devil. [Or: the judgement once passed on the devil.] 7He must moreover have a good reputation with the non-Christian public, so that he may not be exposed to scandal and get caught in the devil's snare.

Qualifications of Deacons

8Deacons, likewise, must be men of high principle, not indulging in double talk, given neither to excessive drinking nor to money-grubbing. 9They must be men who combine a clear conscience with a firm hold on the deep truths of our faith. 10No less than bishops, they must first undergo a scrutiny, and if there is no mark against them, they may serve. 11Their wives, [Or: ... serve. Deaconesses ...] equally, must be women of high principle, who will not talk scandal, sober and trustworthy in every way. 12A deacon must be faithful to his one wife, [Or: married to one wife; Or: married only once.] and good at managing his children and his own household. 13For deacons with a good record of service may claim a high standing and the right to speak openly on matters of the Christian faith.

The Mystery of Our Religion

14I am hoping to come to you before long, but I write this 15in case I am delayed, to let you know how men ought to conduct themselves in God's household, that is, the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. 16And great beyond all question is the mystery of our religion:


Prediction of Apostasy

1THE SPIRIT SAYS EXPRESSLY that in after times some will desert from the faith and give their minds to subversive doctrines inspired by devils, 2through the specious falsehoods of men whose own conscience is branded with the devil's sign. 3They forbid marriage and inculcate abstinence from certain foods, though God created them to be enjoyed with thanksgiving by believers who have inward knowledge of the truth. 4For everything that God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected when it is taken with thanksgiving, 5since it is hallowed by God's own word and by prayer.

A Good Minister of Jesus Christ

6By offering such advice as this to the brotherhood you will prove a good servant of Christ Jesus, bred in the precepts of our faith and of the sound instruction which you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with those godless myths, fit only for old women. Keep yourself in training for the practice of religion. 8The training of the body does bring limited benefit, but the benefits of religion are without limit, since it holds promise not only for this life but for the life to come. 9Here are words you may trust, words that merit full acceptance: 10'With this before us we labour and struggle, [Some witnesses read: suffer reproach.] because [Or: since 'It holds promise ... to come.' These are words ... acceptance. For this is the aim of all our labour and struggle, since ...] we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men'—the Saviour, above all, of believers.

11Pass on these orders and these teachings. 12Let no one slight you because you are young, but make yourself an example to believers in speech and behaviour, in love, fidelity, and purity. 13Until I arrive devote your attention to the public reading of the scriptures, to exhortation, and to teaching. 14Do not neglect the spiritual endowment you possess, which was given you, under the guidance of prophecy, through the laying on of the hands of the elders as a body. [Or: through your ordination as an elder.]

15Make these matters your business and your absorbing interest, so that your progress may be plain to all. 16Persevere in them, keeping close watch on yourself and your teaching; by doing so you will further the salvation of yourself and your hearers.


Duties toward Others

1Never be harsh with an elder; appeal to him as if he were your father. Treat the younger men as brothers, 2the older women as mothers, and the younger as your sisters, in all purity.

3The status of widow is to be granted only to widows who are such in the full sense. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, then they should learn as their first duty to show loyalty to the family and to repay what they owe to their parents and grandparents; for this God approves. 5A widow, however, in the full sense, one who is alone in the world, has all her hope set on God, and regularly attends the meetings for prayer and worship night and day. 6But a widow given over to self-indulgence is as good as dead. 7Add these orders to the rest, so that the widows may be above reproach. 8But if anyone does not make provision for his relations, and especially for members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

9A widow should not be put on the roll under sixty years of age. She must have been faithful in marriage to one man, 10and must produce evidence of good deeds performed, showing whether she has had the care of children, or given hospitality, or washed the feet of God's people, or supported those in distress—in short, whether she has taken every opportunity of doing good.

11Younger widows may not be placed on the roll. For when their passions draw them away from Christ, they hanker after marriage 12and stand condemned for breaking their troth with him. 13Moreover, in going round from house to house they learn to be idle, and worse than idle, gossips and busybodies, speaking of things better left unspoken. 14It is my wish, therefore, that young widows shall marry again, have children, and preside over a home; then they will give no opponent occasion for slander. 15For there have in fact been some who have taken the wrong turning and gone to the devil.

16If a Christian man or woman has widows in the family, he must support them himself; [Some witnesses read: If a Christian woman has widows in her family, she must support them herself.] the congregation must be relieved of the burden, so that it may be free to support those who are widows in the full sense of the term.

17Elders who do well as leaders should be reckoned worthy of a double stipend, in particular those who labour at preaching and teaching. 18 [ Dt.25.4. ] For Scripture says, 'You shall not muzzle a threshing ox'; and besides, 'the worker earns his pay'.

19 [ Dt.17.6, Dt.19.15. ] Do not entertain a charge against an elder unless it is supported by two or three witnesses. 20Those who commit sins you must expose publicly, to put fear into the others. 21Before God and Christ Jesus and the angels who are his chosen, I solemnly charge you, maintain these rules, and never pre-judge the issue, but act with strict impartiality. 22Do not be over-hasty in laying on hands in ordination, [Or: in restoring an offender by the laying on of hands.] or you may find yourself responsible for other people's misdeeds; keep your own hands clean.

23Stop drinking nothing but water; take a little wine for your digestion, for your frequent ailments.

24While there are people whose offences are so obvious that they run before them into court, there are others whose offences have not yet overtaken them. 25Similarly, good deeds are obvious, or even if they are not, they cannot be concealed for ever.


1All who wear the yoke of slavery must count their own masters worthy of all respect, so that the name of God and the Christian teaching are not brought into disrepute.

2If the masters are believers, the slaves must not respect them any less for being their Christian brothers. Quite the contrary; they must be all the better servants because those who receive the benefit of their service are one with them in faith and love.

False Teaching and True Wealth

3THIS IS WHAT you are to teach and preach. If anyone is teaching otherwise, and will not give his mind to wholesome precepts—I mean those of our Lord Jesus Christ—and to good religious teaching, 4I call him a pompous ignoramus. He is morbidly keen on mere verbal questions and quibbles, which give rise to jealousy, quarrelling, slander, base suspicions, 5and endless wrangles: all typical of men who have let their reasoning powers become atrophied and have lost grip of the truth. They think religion should yield dividends; 6and of course religion does yield high dividends, but only to the man whose resources are within him. 7We brought nothing into the world; for that matter we cannot take anything with us when we leave, 8but if we have food and covering we may rest content. 9Those who want to be rich fall into temptations and snares and many foolish harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and perdition. 10The love of money is the root of all evil things, and there are some who in reaching for it have wandered from the faith and spiked themselves on many thorny griefs.

The Good Fight of Faith

11But you, man of God, must shun all this, and pursue justice, piety, fidelity, love, fortitude, and gentleness. 12Run the great race of faith and take hold of eternal life. For to this you were called; and you confessed your faith nobly before many witnesses. 13Now in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Jesus Christ, who himself made the same noble confession and gave his testimony to it before Pontius Pilate, 14I charge you to obey your orders irreproachably and without fault until our Lord Jesus Christ appears. 15That appearance God will bring to pass in his own good time—God who in eternal felicity alone holds sway. He is King of kings and Lord of lords; 16he alone possesses immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light. No man has ever seen or ever can see him. To him be honour and might for ever! Amen.

17Instruct those who are rich in this world's goods not to be proud, and not to fix their hopes on so uncertain a thing as money, but upon God, who endows us richly with all things to enjoy. 18Tell them to do good and to grow rich in noble actions, to be ready to give away and to share, 19and so acquire a treasure which will form a good foundation for the future. Thus they will grasp the life which is life indeed.

20Timothy, keep safe that which has been entrusted to you. Turn a deaf ear to empty and worldly chatter, and the contradictions of so-called 'knowledge', 21for many who lay claim to it have shot far wide of the faith.

Grace be with you all!

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