1 Timothy 1:1-4 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
This letter to Timothy begins with a grand introduction. Several things are immediately clear in this greeting. First, Paul identifies himself as an Apostle. Many people unwittingly confuse Apostles and disciples – they treat the words as though they are interchangeable, but they are not. All of us who follow, serve and learn from Jesus are disciples. A disciple is simply a student. An Apostle, however, is a special title. There are some specific qualifications for the Apostle. To be an Apostle, one had to be specifically, personally called by Jesus and one had to be endowed with several supernatural gifts, such as the gift of healing. In this opening, Paul asserts his Apostleship. Second, Paul asserts his calling. Paul was an Apostle by the direct appointment of Jesus. In this greeting, Paul leaves no doubt of his authority to speak on behalf of Jesus. This last point of Paul’s self-introduction is a point which is crucially important. Paul was certainly not the last one to be personally called to the ministry by the Lord. Though no one bodily sees Jesus, today, as Paul did, Jesus certainly calls the preacher. However, it is unfortunate that many people occupy a pulpit without a call. They use their own charisma to draw a crowd, but they are certainly not a God-called Pastor. That, however, is a topic for another day.
Second, we see the salutation to this letter. Paul is writing to Timothy. Paul views Timothy as his “son in the faith.” Paul almost seems to have a relationship with Timothy similar to that of an adoptive father and his son. Paul is certainly taking a personal interest in Timothy’s development and walk with God.
We also see the location of both Paul and Timothy. Paul had left Timothy at Ephesus as he traveled to Macedonia. Paul realized a problem in Ephesus and charged Timothy to address that problem. The passage indicates that the people of Ephesus were wandering from the foundations of the faith and teaching fables and other doctrines – causing the people to question their faith. As Timothy would teach, we must remember that the Word of God is our final and ultimate authority.