First Timothy, Second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon – Overview

First Timothy – How to be a Bishop

Timothy became the bishop of the important city of Ephesus. Timothy was having a difficult time dealing with problems (some members needed discipline, widows and old people were being neglected, and false teachings) because he was young (4:12), sickly (5:23), and timid (2 Tim 1:7).

The qualifications for a bishop mentioned in this letter are not worldly administrative or organizational skills, but personal piety and spiritual strength (3:1-13).

Second Timothy – A Letter of Encouragement

Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy from prison, awaiting his execution.

Titus – A Letter of Advice

Titus was a young pastor with a difficult responsibility: the Church in Crete – the inhabitants of this Mediterranean island were famous for immorality.

Pauls advice: [1] As a bishop, Titus should appoint other bishops who are of strong moral character, who practice what they preach. [2] Titus should exercise his authority firmly, refuting false teachers and evil deeds.

Paul’s attitude to false teaching and practice is neither “burn the heretics” nor “anything goes”, but “what does Jesus say?”

Philemon – A Personal and Tender Letter to a Friend

This shortest of all Paul’s letters is to many readers the most personal, simple, direct, and appealing of all. There’s a dramatic and poignant story behind it.

Onesimus, a slave, had run away from his master, Philemon, who was a friend and convert of Paul’s. Onesimus had made his way to Rome and was converted by Paul’s influence. Now Paul sends him back to his master with this note, telling Philemon to forgive him and accept him back not as a slave but as a brother in Christ.

By Roman law, a runaway slave could be killed.

Paul promises to repay any debt Onesimus may owe.

Relationships are transformed by Christ from slavery to freedom, from bondage to brotherhood.

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