The objective of all Bible study is personal transformation.
The ideal of this transformation is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The written Word conforms to the likeness of the Living Word.
This transformation is a process of growth, not a single event.
We cannot be transformed by what we do not utilize in life.
You cannot apply what you do not remember.
You will not remember what you cannot comprehend, define, or explain.
Sooner or later, all of life is reduced down to its essence. And the essence of learning and living is summed up in the 16th Century Samurai maxim, “Advanced techniques are the basics mastered.”
The Bible is a Book of books. To understand it, we must learn it one book at a time.
Every book has a theme capable of being reduced to an outline. The best outline is one you can remember, define, explain, and apply.
Introduction to First Timothy
Timothy was one of the Apostle Paul’s most trusted and constant companions. He is mentioned over 25 times in the New Testament.
We first meet him in ACT 16:1-3, where his training begins.
The first epistle to Timothy is an extended exhortation to him to “fight the good fight of faith.”
Since every believer is called to engage in spiritual warfare (EPH 6:12-18), the instruction of this epistle is vitally important.
Our approach will be to develop Paul’s theme, working within our chapter divisions (never perfect), around a key verse within each chapter.
Each chapter reminds us that a spiritual battle rages all around us. To be engaged as a soldier of Christ is a “good fight,” one we cannot lose, providing we utilize spiritual strategy and tactics. Our studies will lead us in a steady progression from salvation to spiritual victory.
About the Theme
Our theme is found both at the beginning and at the end of the book (1:18, 6:12). In each reference, different words and phrases are used. In the first, Paul speaks of the good fight of faith as an ongoing campaign, thus reminding us that we are part of a vast and great spiritual army. In the last, his words focus on our own personal struggle, a good reminder that no one can fight our battle for us. This scope and intensity will be captured as we follow Paul’s thought through the book.
Study Outline/Key Verses
Salvation, Chapter 1 (1:15)
Priesthood, Chapter 2 (2:5)
Leadership, Chapter 3 (3:15)
Conformity, Chapter 4 (4:8)
Teamwork, Chapter 5 (5:17)
Victory, Chapter 6 (6:11)
The above outline is not perfect. However, for me it has the advantage of being easily remembered. The theme stays in view with each succeeding chapter, and the flow of Paul’s argument is gradually developed along a systematic and logical progression.
I encourage you to work on your own outline, using others and mine as a stimulus. Ultimately, the best outline is one you have either adopted or developed which helps to grasp the book in your mind, explain the book to others, and apply it in your own daily life. Always remember, you do not know what you cannot apply; you cannot apply what you are unable to explain; and you cannot explain what you cannot define. Thus the age-old adage, “Keep it simple, stupid,” or, as Paul paraphrased it, “unless you utter by the tongue words easy to understand, how will it be known what is spoken?” (1CO 14:9).