Paul later wrote two letters to Timothy that became part of the Bible’s New Testament. In the first, written sometime between 64 and 66 AD, Paul encouraged Timothy in his leadership role at the church of Ephesus. That letter instructed Timothy on church doctrine, church leadership, and church administration. Basically, it was an instruction manual on how to run a Christian congregation. While some of the church issues were brand new at the time, they still apply today. What are the qualifications and responsibilities of a bishop? An elder? A deacon? What does it mean to be a member of a church?
For Christians who aren’t called to a leadership role in the church, Paul’s first letter to Timothy is still important. It calls followers of Jesus to contend for the faith and avoid false teaching. The letter also urges Christians to stand firm and persevere through tough times. All throughout the letter, Paul encourages his friend and protégé Timothy to be strong and remain true to his calling.
But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:6-12)
Paul wrote a second letter to Timothy shortly before his death in about 67 AD. Imprisoned in Rome, Paul recognized that his life was nearing its end, so he drafted his “last words” to Timothy. Paul didn’t focus on his own circumstances; rather, he focused his concern on all the churches he had planted over the years. In the end, Paul used this last letter to encourage Timothy — and all believers — to persevere in their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.