The Heresy Paul Opposed in 1 Timothy -- By: David A. Mappes

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 156:624 (Oct 1999)
Article: The Heresy Paul Opposed in 1 Timothy
Author: David A. Mappes

The Heresy Paul Opposed in 1 Timothy

David A. Mappes

Bible students differ in their views on the purpose of 1 Timothy. Many look to 3:15 as a statement of the epistle’s purpose: “I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God.”1 Thus the epistle has been understood as the earliest manual on church order and administration.2

More recently, however, other scholars have argued that the letter’s purpose and occasion are restricted to Paul’s injunction in 1:3 to correct false teachers: “Remain on at Ephesus, in order that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines.” Fee, for example, says, “Everything in the letter has to do with 1:3.”3 Paul also addressed the matter of false doctrines in 6:3 (“if anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words. .. and with the doctrine conforming to godliness”) and 6:20–21 (“O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called ‘knowledge’-which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith”).

Yet Paul’s letter seems to address a wide variety of topics. He told Timothy to keep the faith (1 Tim. 1:19), to show himself as an example (4:6–12), not to neglect his spiritual gift, to pay attention

* David A. Mappes is Assistant Professor of Bible, Cedarville College, Cedarville, Ohio.

to his teaching (4:14–16), and to avoid the love of money while seeking contentment with godliness (6:6–20). Paul also discussed ecclesiological issues of church function and administration, including prayer (2:1–8), the roles of women (2:9–15), qualifications of church officers (3:1–13), regulations for widows (5:3–16), slave regulations (6:1–2), and the discipline and remuneration of elders (You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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