1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope; 2 to Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace be with you, from God our Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
A Charge to Restrain False Teachers
3 Just as I urged you when I was leaving for Macedonia, stay on in Ephesus so as to command1 certain men not to teach false doctrines 4 or occupy themselves with myths and endless genealogies. Such things merely promote controversy,2 and not the implementation of God’s redemptive plans,3 which is by faith. 5 Now the goal of our instruction4 is love flowing from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. 6 But certain men, straying from these things, have turned aside to meaningless talk; 7 they desire to be teachers of the Law, but understand neither the words they are using5 nor the subjects about which they make such confident assertions. 8 Now we know that the Law is good if a person uses it lawfully; 9 for we also know6 that law7 is not put in place for the righteous, but for those who are lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 fornicators, homosexuals,8 kidnappers, liars, perjurers, and anything else that is contrary to sound teaching 11 as laid out in9 the glorious gospel of the blessed God, who entrusted it10 to me.
Gratitude for God’s Grace
12 I give thanks to him who has empowered me—to Christ Jesus our Lord—for he found me faithful and placed me in his service, 13 even though in former times I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a proud and hurtful man. But I found mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord poured forth in abundance, together with11 the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and I am the worst of all.12 16 Yet for this very reason I obtained mercy, so that in me, as the worst, Christ Jesus might display the full measure of his patience and forbearance, and so provide an example13 for those who would believe in him for eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal,14 immortal, invisible—the one and only God—be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Fight the Good Fight
18 Timothy, my son, I set this charge before you in accordance with the prophecies previously spoken over you,15 so you that through16 them both you may fight the good fight, 19 holding firmly to faith and a good conscience, which some have discarded, thereby suffering shipwreck in regard to the faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they may learn not to blaspheme.
- Or direct, instruct
- Or senseless speculation
- Lit. the administration of God
- Lit. the proclamation, command
- Lit. the things they say
- Lit. knowing this
- Or (the) Law
- Lit. sodomites
- Lit. according to
- Lit. which was entrusted
- Or possibly bringing with it
- Lit. of whom I am the first
- Lit. for an example, illustration
- Lit. king of (the) ages
- Lit. brought forth upon you
- Lit. by
Church Order: The Priority of Prayer
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and the giving of thanks be made on behalf of all men— 2 and in particular on behalf of kings and all who hold high office, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all reverence and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony to be borne in its own appointed times; 7 and to this end I myself was appointed a herald and an apostle (I am telling the truth, and not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in matters of faith and spiritual truth. 8 So I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger and disputes.
Church Order: Women
9 Similarly, I want women to adorn themselves with proper apparel, modestly and discretely; not with braided hair and gold, or with pearls or costly clothing, 10 but with good deeds, as is fitting for women who profess godliness. 11 A woman is to learn in silence,1 with entire submissiveness. 12 Moreoever,2 I do not permit a woman to teach or hold authority over a man, but rather to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, and then Eve. 14 Also, Adam was not deceived, whereas the woman—being completely deceived—fell into transgression.3 15 Nevertheless, she will be saved through childbearing, if she4 continues in faith, love, and holiness, together with sound judgment and self-control.
- The Greek connotes both silence and a quiet demeanor
- Or But
- Lit. has come to be in transgression
- Lit. they
Church Order: Overseers
3 This is a trustworthy saying: If any man aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work. 2 For this reason an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drinking, and not pugnacious, but instead gentle, uncontentious, and free from the love of money. 4 He must govern his own household well, keeping his children in submission with all dignity; 5 for if a man doesn’t know how to govern his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, lest he be swollen with pride and fall into the same judgment as the devil.1 7 And he must also have a good reputation among outsiders,2 lest he fall into reproach and the trap of the devil.
Church Order: Deacons and Their Wives
8 Similarly, deacons must be men of dignity and respect, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not eager for sordid gain, 9 but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And these too must first be tested; then, when they’ve been found to be above reproach, they may serve as deacons. 11 In the same way, their wives must also be dignified; not malicious gossips,3 but temperate and sober-minded, faithful and trustworthy in all things. 12 Deacons must be husbands of one wife, governing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a high4 standing and great confidence in their faith in Christ Jesus.5
Our Common Confession
14 I am hoping to come to you speedily. 15 But in case I am delayed, I am writing these things to you so that you may know how we are to conduct ourselves6 in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support7 of the truth. 16 And by common confession, great is the mystery of true piety:8
He9 was manifested in the flesh,
Vindicated by the Spirit,
Beheld by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory.
- Lit. into the judgment (condemnation) of the devil
- Lit. a good testimony from those outside
- Lit. slanderers
- Lit. good
- Lit. in (the) faith that is in Christ Jesus
- Lit. how it is necessary to behave
- Or foundation
- Lit. godliness, religion
- Lit. Who; many later mss, God
Beware of Apostates
4 Now the Spirit explicitly states that in later times some will depart from the faith, turning their attention to deceiving spirits and to doctrines of demons 2 purveyed by hypocritical liars1 seared in their own conscience as if by a hot branding iron. 3 Such men will forbid people to marry, and will command them to abstain from various foods created by God so that those who believe and know the truth may partake of them with gratitude. 4 For every creation of God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
The Good Servant of Christ
6 In setting these matters before the brothers you will be an approved2 servant of Christ Jesus, nourished by the truths3 of the faith and the sound teaching you have been following. 7 But have nothing to do with myths fit only for the profane and the gullible.4 Instead, you must train yourself, having godliness as your goal. 8 For physical exercise is of little profit, whereas godliness is profitable for all things, offering5 promise both for the present life and the life to come. 9 That is a trustworthy saying, and worthy of full acceptance. 10 For to this same end we both toil and struggle,6 having placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
11 Prescribe these things, and teach them all. 12 Let no one look down on you because of your youth, but instead be an example to the believers in your speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. 13 Until I come, pay close attention to the public reading of Scripture, exhortation, and teaching. 14 And don’t neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was given to you through prophetic utterance when the elders laid hands on you. 15 Cultivate these things with diligence. Be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. 16 Keep close watch over yourself and your teaching. Persevere in all these areas,7 for in so doing you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.
- Lit. the hypocrisy of liars
- Or choice, useful, praiseworthy; lit. good
- Lit. words
- Lit. with profane and old-womanish myths
- Or holding; lit. having
- Some mss suffer reproach
- Lit. them
Etiquette for Young Leaders
5 Do not reprove an older man with severity, but instead appeal to him as a father. Relate to younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, in all purity.
The Care of Widows
3 Respect and support widows who are truly in need.1 4 But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to practice their religion at home by making an appropriate return2 to their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God. 5 As for the widow who is truly in need and left on her own, she has fixed her hope on God, and so continues night and day in supplications and prayers. 6 But the woman who gives herself to wanton pleasure is dead even as she lives. 7 So then: Instruct the people on all these matters, so that everyone involved3 may remain blameless. 8 But if anyone refuses to provide for his relatives,4 and especially for the members of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9 No widow should be placed on the list5 unless she is over sixty, unless she has been the wife of one husband, 10 and unless she has a reputation for good works; that is, if she has raised children, practiced hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, helped people in distress, and devoted herself to all kinds of good works. 11 But refuse to enroll the younger widows, for when their sexual desire draws them away from Christ, they want to marry, 12 thereby incurring condemnation, since now they have abandoned their previous pledge. 13 At the same time they learn to be idle, wandering from house to house; and not only are they idle, but they also become gossips and busybodies, speaking of things that are none of their business.6 14 Consequently, I want the younger widows to marry, raise7 children, and attend to the management their homes, giving the enemy no opportunity whatsoever to bring us into reproach—15 for already some have turned aside to follow after Satan. 16 Now if any believing woman has widows in her family, she herself should assist them, rather than let the church be burdened. In this way the church can assist widows who are truly in need.8
17 Let the elders who govern well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching9 and teaching. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”10 and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”11 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder unless it is based on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 20 Those elders who continue to sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so the rest may fear as well. 21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God, Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without prejudice, doing nothing at all out of personal favoritism. 22 Do not lay hands on anyone too quickly, and thus12 participate in the sins of other men. Keep yourself pure. (23 No longer drink water alone, but take a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) 24 The sins of some men are altogether evident, going before them to judgment; but in the case of others, their sins follow after them. 25 Likewise, works that are good are also evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be concealed.
- Lit. who are truly widows
- Lit. and give back a recompense
- Lit. they
- Lit. his own
- I.e. a list of widows qualified for support, or possibly of older widows chosen to serve the younger. Enrollment may have involved a formal pledge to continue as such.
- Or saying things they ought not to; lit. speaking things that are not necessary
- Lit. bear
- Lit. so that it (the church) may assist (true) widows
- Or speaking; lit. in word
- Deut. 25:4
- Luke 10:7
- Lit. and do not (nor)
Concerning Slaves and Their Owners
6 Let all who are under the yoke as bondservants1 regard their own masters as worthy of complete respect, so that the name of God and the teachings of our faith will not fall into disrepute. 2 Moreover, servants of believing masters must not show them less respect because they are brothers; on the contrary, they should serve them all the more, since those who benefit from their service are believers and dearly loved. Teach these principles, and impress them on our people.
Concerning Error and Greed
3 If anyone promotes a different teaching and refuses to consent to sound words (which are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ) and to the teaching that accords with godliness, 4 he is puffed up with pride and understands nothing at all, but has a morbid preoccupation with controversies and petty disputes,2 from which arise envy, strife, slanders, evil suspicions, 5 and constant friction between men debased in mind and destitute of the truth, who think of piety as a source of personal gain.
6 Now piety combined with contentment is indeed great gain; 7 for we brought nothing into this world, so clearly we can carry nothing out. 8 Therefore, if we have food and covering, with these we should be content.3 9 But those who desire to get rich fall into temptation, a trap, and many foolish and harmful lusts that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil,4 and some, by constantly grasping after it, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains and sorrows.
11 But you, O man of God, flee these things, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and then confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 I charge you in the presence of God who gives life to all things, and in the presence of Christ Jesus, who confessed the good confession when he testified before Pontius Pilate: 14 Keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God5 will display at its proper time.6 For he is7 the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells8 in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To him be honor9 and eternal dominion.10 Amen.
Instructions for the Rich
17 Instruct those who are rich in this present age not to be high-minded or to set their hopes on uncertain riches, but to set them on God, who richly provides us with all things for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, generous and eager to share with others, 19 thereby storing up for themselves a good foundation for the age11 to come, so that they may take hold of the life that is life indeed.12
20 O Timothy! Guard carefully the sacred trust,13 turning away from the profane babblings and arguments14 of what is falsely called “knowledge”— 21 knowledge that some have openly professed, thereby wandering away from the faith.
Grace be with you all.
- I.e. as one who sells himself into slavery; or slaves
- Lit. wranglings over mere words (small matters)
- Or will have enough; lit. will be content
- Lit. is a root of all the evils
- Lit. he
- Or in his own good time
- Lit. time, who is
- Lit. immortality, dwelling
- Or to whom belong honor
- Lit. power
- Or world, time
- Lit. of that which is life
- Or all that was entrusted (to you); lit. the trust (deposit)
- Or contradictions; lit. antitheses