Author and Audience: The book of 1 Timothy was addressed by Paul to his former missionary companion, whom he refers to as “my own son in the faith“ (1 Timothy 1:2). This letter, together with 2 Timothy and Titus, are known as the pastoral letters because they provide significant counsel to those serving as pastors or leaders in the Church.
Historical Background: Timothy was born in Lystra (see Acts 16:1–3; see also Bible map 13). His father was Greek. He grew up under the watchful care of his righteous Jewish mother and grandmother (see 2 Timothy 1:5). They taught him the scriptures from his youth (see 2 Timothy 3:15). Paul invited Timothy to serve with him during his second missionary journey (see Acts 16:3). From that time on, Timothy served faithfully as a missionary and Church leader (see Acts 19:22; Philippians 2:19). Paul wrote this letter while he was between his first and second Roman imprisonments, probably about A.D. 64 (see Bible Dictionary, (“Pauline Epistles,” p. 743). During this time Paul traveled to the regions where he had established branches of the Church, strengthening them in the faith. At some point Paul assigned Timothy to watch over the Church in Ephesus, with the specific assignment to stop the growth of false doctrine (see 1 Timothy 1:3–7).
Theme: In this letter, Paul counseled Timothy regarding how the Church should function and how members should interact with one another (see 1 Timothy 6:11–16). He insisted that Church leaders should set an appropriate example for members to follow (see 1 Timothy 4:6–10).