Lesson 5 of 5
In Progress

Theological Themes in 1 Timothy


Four major christological titles appear in the Pastoral Epistles: “Christ,” “Lord,” “Savior,” and “Mediator.” The title “Son of God,” used often in the seven undisputed letters of Paul, does not appear. Among the Pastoral Epistles, the term “mediator” appears as a christological title only in 1 Timothy 2:5. It refers not so much to Christ’s nature as to his function in giving himself as a “ransom” for the salvation of humanity. There is an implicit affirmation of Christ’s preexistence and incarnation (1 Timothy 3:16; see also 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 2:11), his true humanity is maintained (1 Timothy 2:5; 6:13; see also 2 Timothy 2:8), and his death is acknowledged (1 Timothy 2:6; see also 2 Timothy 2:11; Titus 2:14). He has been exalted to heaven and reigns in the present era (1 Timothy 3:16; see also 2 Timothy 1:10; 2:12). Finally, he will appear at the end of time (1 Timothy 6:14; see also 2 Timothy 4:8), when he will judge both the living and the dead (see 2 Timothy 1:18; 4:1, 8).


While there are special expectations for office holders in the church, there are general ethical teachings that apply to all believers. These include good works in general (1 Timothy 2:10; see also 2 Timothy 2:21; 3:17; Titus 3:1), moderation (1 Timothy 6:8), generosity (6:17-18), and care of the elderly (5:4). The love of wealth is to be avoided (6:9-10; see also 2 Timothy 3:2).

God and creation

The author affirms that God the Father is one, and that God has not only created all things but has created them good (1:2; 2:5; 4:3-4; see also 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4-5), that God “gives life to all things” (1 Timothy 6:13) and “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (6:17). Stress is placed on the goodness of marriage and having children (1 Timothy 3:2-5; 5:10, 14; see also Titus 2:4) and the legitimacy of secular authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2; see also Titus 3:1-2).