Lesson 130: 1 Timothy

“Lesson 130: 1 Timothy,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

“Lesson 130,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 130

1 Timothy


Paul wrote to Timothy, a priesthood leader in Ephesus, and counseled him to ensure that true doctrine was taught. He set forth the qualifications for bishops and deacons and counseled Timothy to be an example of the believers. Paul admonished the Saints to care for the poor and widows. He closed his epistle by teaching that “the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Timothy 6:10).

Suggestions for Teaching

1 Timothy 1–3

Paul instructs Timothy concerning his responsibilities in watching over the Church

Invite a student to read aloud the following account given by President Thomas S. Monson:

Monson, Thomas S.

“I’m reminded of an experience I had many years ago when I served as a bishop. During the opening exercises of our priesthood meeting one Sunday morning, we were preparing to ordain a young man to the office of priest. Visiting our ward that day was a high councilor who also served as a temple worker. As I prepared to have the young man sit down to face the congregation so that we could proceed with the ordination, the high councilor stopped me and said, ‘Bishop, I always have those being ordained turned to face the temple.’ He repositioned the chair so that the young man would be facing in the direction of the temple. I immediately recognized an unauthorized practice” (“Opening Remarks” [worldwide leadership training meeting, Nov. 2010],

Explain that as bishop, President Monson, rather than the high councilor, was authorized to preside over the Lord’s work in his ward.

  • What could be the potential danger of a bishop or branch president allowing such an unauthorized practice?

Explain that the Apostle Paul wrote an epistle to Timothy, a young priesthood leader in Ephesus. In the branch of the Church he presided over, Timothy faced challenges similar to those President Monson faced.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Timothy 1:3–7. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what responsibility Paul gave Timothy. Explain that the word fables (verse 4) refers to false teachings; heeding “endless genealogies” (verse 4) refers to the false tradition that salvation came only to those of the chosen seed of Abraham, who were often known by their lengthy or endless genealogies; and “vain jangling” (verse 6) refers to pointless discussion (see verse 6 footnote c).

  • According to verses 3–4, what responsibility did Paul give Timothy?

  • According to verses 6–7, why was it important for Timothy to fulfill this responsibility?

  • What is a truth we can learn from Paul’s counsel to Timothy about the responsibility of priesthood leaders? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify a truth similar to the following: Priesthood leaders have the responsibility to ensure that true doctrine and correct practices are taught. Write this truth on the board.)

Remind students of the situation President Monson encountered as a bishop. Invite a student to read aloud the rest of his account. Ask the class to listen for how President Monson responded to the high councilor:

Monson, Thomas S.

“I could see the potential for it to become more widespread in practice. Although much younger than the high councilor, I knew what needed to be done. I turned the chair back so that it was again facing the congregation and said to him, ‘In our ward, we face the congregation’” (“Opening Remarks,”

  • How are we blessed by priesthood leaders who work to ensure that true doctrine and correct practices are taught in the Church?

Summarize 1 Timothy 1:8–11 by explaining that Paul warned against those who desired to be teachers of God’s law but did not have a correct understanding of it.

Invite a student to read 1 Timothy 1:12–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for why Paul expressed gratitude toward Jesus Christ.

  • Why did Paul express gratitude toward Jesus Christ?

  • According to verses 15–16, how is Paul a “pattern” for all those who believe in Jesus Christ?

Summarize 1 Timothy 1:17–1 Timothy 3 by explaining that Paul counseled Timothy to hold to his faith. Paul taught that Jesus Christ is our mediator, and he counseled Church members regarding how to conduct themselves. He also set forth qualifications for bishops and deacons.

1 Timothy 4–5

Paul describes the characteristics of a faithful minister of Jesus Christ

Bring a paper clip, a piece of string, tape, and a magnet to class. Tie one end of the string to the paper clip, and then tape the other end of the string to a desk or table. Hold the magnet close to the paper clip without the magnet touching the paper clip. The magnetic force should cause the paper clip to move toward the magnet. Move the magnet around to show how it influences the movement of the paper clip.

  • If the paper clip represents a person, what might the magnet represent?

Ask students to consider how they have been like the magnet and influenced others. Invite students to look for a principle as they study 1 Timothy 4 that teaches us how we can be a positive influence in the lives of others.

Summarize 1 Timothy 4:1–11 by explaining that Paul prophesied that in the “latter times” (verse 1) some Church members would depart from the faith and follow false teachings and practices, such as “forbidding to marry” (verse 3). Paul exhorted Timothy to nourish the Saints with true doctrine.

Invite students to read 1 Timothy 4:12 silently, looking for what Paul counseled Timothy to be. Explain that the word conversation in this verse refers to conduct or behavior (see verse 12, footnote c). Ask students to report what they find.

  • What do you think it means to be an “example of the believers”? (You may want to suggest that students mark this phrase in their scriptures.)

  • In what ways did Paul counsel Timothy to be an example of the believers? (List students’ responses on the board.)

Invite a student to read 1 Timothy 4:13–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional advice Paul gave that would help Timothy be an example of the believers.

  • What additional counsel from Paul may have helped Timothy be an example of the believers?

  • According to verse 15, why did Paul tell Timothy to meditate upon the doctrines Paul taught and to give himself completely to living them? (So that others could see how doing so profited Timothy.)

  • Based on Paul’s teachings in verse 16, what can result as we strive to be examples of the believers of Jesus Christ? (Using students’ words, write a principle similar to the following on the board: If we are examples of the believers of Jesus Christ, we can help bring salvation to ourselves and others.)

  • How can being an example of one who believes in and follows Jesus Christ help bring salvation to others?

Invite students to review the list on the board and consider the ways in which Timothy was to be an “example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12). Ask the class to describe ways someone can be an example in each of these areas.

  • When has someone acted as an example of the believers for you in one of the ways Paul mentioned? (You may want to share an experience from your own life as well.)

Invite students to write a goal in their class notebooks or scripture study journals regarding how they can be examples of the believers of Jesus Christ and thereby help bring salvation to themselves and others.

Summarize 1 Timothy 5 by explaining that Paul instructed Timothy about how the Saints were to care for those in need, including widows.

1 Timothy 6

Paul exhorts Timothy to help others seek for eternal riches

Display a piece of money to the class.

  • Do you think money can lead to more evil or to more good? Why?

Explain that 1 Timothy 6 records that Paul counseled Timothy about money. Invite a student to read 1 Timothy 6:6–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul taught and warned about wealth.

  • What teaching or warning from Paul stands out to you? Why?

  • What do you think is meant by the phrase “the love of money is the root of all evil”? (1 Timothy 6:10).

  • According to verses 9–10, what does the love of money lead to? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: The love of money leads to unrighteousness and apostasy.)

  • Why do you think the love of money leads to unrighteousness and apostasy?

To help students understand that it is a “love” of money rather than money itself that leads to unrighteousness, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Oaks, Dallin H.

“There is nothing inherently evil about money. The Good Samaritan used the same coinage to serve his fellowman that Judas used to betray the Master. It is ‘the love of money [which] is the root of all evil.’(1 Tim. 6:10; italics added.) The critical difference is the degree of spirituality we exercise in viewing, evaluating, and managing the things of this world” (“Spirituality,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 63).

Write the following scripture references and questions on the board, or provide them as a handout:

1 Timothy 6:11–12, 17–19

What counsel did Paul give to Timothy and to those with riches?

How can this counsel help us have the right attitude toward seeking riches and using wealth?

Divide students into pairs. Invite students to read the references and discuss the questions with their partners. After sufficient time, invite several students to share what they discussed.

  • If the Saints trusted God and were rich in good works, what did Paul say they could lay hold on according to verse 19?

  • What principle can we learn from Paul’s teachings about what we can do to obtain eternal life? (Although students may use different words, make sure they identify a principle similar to the following: If we trust in the living God and are rich in good works, then we can lay hold on eternal life.)

  • If trusting in God and following after righteousness are our greatest priorities, how can that affect the way we view, seek, and use wealth?

Conclude by testifying that obtaining eternal life makes someone truly rich. Encourage students to make following after righteousness their greatest priority so that they can obtain the true riches of eternal life.

Commentary and Background Information

1 Timothy 1:1–7. “Charge some that they teach no other doctrine”

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught the importance of teaching correct doctrine in the Church:

“I have spoken before about the importance of keeping the doctrine of the Church pure, and seeing that it is taught in all of our meetings. … Small aberrations in doctrinal teaching can lead to large and evil falsehoods” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 620).

1 Timothy 1:4. “Endless genealogies”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the “genealogies” mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 referred to “the false Jewish tradition that salvation was for the chosen seed as such was known by genealogical recitations. In this dispensation, the Lord has commanded genealogical research as an essential requisite in making salvation available to those who do not have opportunity to receive the gospel in this life” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:127).

1 Timothy 2:9–10. Modest apparel

“Paul encouraged women to ‘adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety’ (1 Timothy 2:9), meaning with humility and reverence; he also taught that women should avoid costly clothing and jewelry and ornate grooming. Similar teachings are found in 1 Nephi 13:7–8; 4 Nephi 1:24; Mormon 8:36–39; and Doctrine and Covenants 42:40. Paul indicated that women should dress as those ‘professing godliness.’ The principle of wearing modest clothing applies to both male and female members of the Church today:

“‘Through your dress and appearance, you can show that … you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.

“‘Prophets of God have continually counseled His children to dress modestly. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and you can be a good influence on others’ (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 6)” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 458).