The important theme of 1 Timothy is producing good behavior in the church (1 Tim 3:15).
“These things write I unto thee … that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 3:15
The entire epistle is written to the young minister in Ephesus who already understands grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
This private epistle communicates to Timothy how to walk as the ordained workman as described in the next verse in Ephesians 2:
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
An Outline of Good Behavior
Chapter 1 emphasizes the need for protecting right doctrine. Good works are something that grace doctrine teaches us (Titus 2:12.), and it all begins with understanding the gospel dispensation of God’s grace. Good behavior follows right doctrine.
Chapter 2 explains that what we put on determines good behavior. Without first prayer, salvation, knowing God’s will, and who we are in Christ, good behavior never gets off the ground.
Chapter 3 explains the good work that should be desired and patterned by those in church office.
Chapter 4 informs the young minister that good behavior in the church begins with himself avoiding the erroneous and unprofitable.
Chapter 5 is a reminder to respect and honor elders and widows that have proven their profit in the church through their good work. Conversely, wrong doctrine and behavior need to be identified and corrected no matter where it is found.
Chapter 6 warns against the corruption of good behavior by those who teach error or who love anything more than the truth. Especially, where money and wealth is involved, it becomes easy to lose sight on what is good.
Good Works and Church
What do good works have to do with church, if salvation is not of works?
Good works do not merit our salvation, nor do they prove our position in Christ. Good works do not gain us a seat in the church, nor do they keep us there. However, being in a mature properly functioning assembly should result in good works being produced. Why?
In church you ought to be growing and knowing the truth.
Christ saved us to be peculiar people who are zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). Our zeal is not because of a law, fear, or demand of a religious leader, but the result of God’s grace in Christ working in us.
Good behavior is a result of believing the gospel of grace, reckoning our old man dead, and receiving a new identity in Christ as a member of His Body.
The pillar and ground of the truth ought to be teaching and exhibiting this truth (Eph 4:15).
If you want to learn how to operate a grace church that produces good works, or if you want to be a part of one, you will find profit in studying 1 Timothy.
Our verse by verse lessons through the book are found here.