This article is part of the Why Study the Book? series.
1–2 Timothy and Titus are among the most personal and practical books in the New Testament. The apostle Paul writes to instruct and encourage his faithful comrades Timothy and Titus, who are in the trenches of gospel ministry. These letters are often called the "Pastoral Epistles,” but they’re relevant for all Christians, not just pastors. They address numerous important topics, including:
- the difference between true and false teaching (1 Tim. 1:3–11)
- the stunning truth that Jesus came to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:12–16; Titus 3:4–7)
- the need for proper conduct and order in the church (1 Tim. 2:8–12; 3:14–15)
- the qualifications and responsibilities of church leaders (1 Tim. 3:1–13; Titus 1:5–9)
- the goodness of God’s creation (1 Tim. 4:4)
- the dangers of pride and the love of money (1 Tim. 6:4–10)
- the call to endure suffering by God’s power (2 Tim. 1:8)
- the strategic priority of biblical discipleship (2 Tim. 2:2)
- the divine quality and effectiveness of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:15–17)
- the vital importance of good works in the Christian life (Titus 2:14; 3:14)
The gospel is not an abstract proposition but a personal reality.
I invite you to study Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus so that you might celebrate gospel grace, demonstrate gospel fruit in godly living, and protect and pass on the gospel through intentional discipleship.
Gospel Grace through Jesus Christ
The gospel is not an abstract proposition but a personal reality for the apostle Paul: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Tim. 1:15). He remembers ardently persecuting Christians and opposing Jesus, yet God inexplicably showed him mercy and grace (1 Tim. 1:13–14). Paul celebrates his savior Jesus Christ, who came to rescue, redeem, and purify sinners from lawlessness and for his good purposes (1 Tim. 1:15; Titus 2:14). Christ has risen from the dead and will return to consummate his saving work (2 Tim. 2:8–10). These truths fuel our worship and serve as the standard for sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:10b–11; 6:3).
Gospel Fruit in Godly Living
We are saved by grace and for good works (Titus 2:13–14). Paul exhorts Timothy to “train yourself for godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). “Godliness” is not behavior modification or public spirituality; it is true Christian living that pleases God. God’s people are marked by godliness and good works, like caring for widows and relatives in need (1 Tim. 5:3–4), giving generously to those in need (1 Tim. 6:18), and encouraging those in distress (2 Tim. 1:16–18). Godly living is the fruit of the saving, transforming grace of God in our lives (Titus 2:11–12).
Gospel Preservation through Discipleship
These letters describe the gospel of Jesus Christ as the “good deposit” (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:14). A deposit is something valuable that the owner entrusts to another for safekeeping. God has “entrusted” Paul with the precious gospel (1 Tim. 1:11), and the apostle instructs Timothy to “entrust” what he has heard from him “to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Tim. 2:2). Faithful leaders protect the gospel against threats, proclaim and model its life-changing truth and power, and pass it to others through intentional discipleship.
Entrusting the gospel to others involves training and appointing godly overseers in the churches to serve as God’s stewards who will hold firmly to the trustworthy word, care for God’s people, and rebuke false teachers (Titus 1:5–9). The ongoing health of the church and its witness to Christ in the world depends on godly leaders modeling gospel truth and entrusting it to others, who will in turn continue this pattern of discipleship. But discipleship isn’t just the work of elders. Paul also highlights the vital calling of parents and grandparents to teach their children the holy Scriptures and model authentic Christian faith (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15).
Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus celebrate the glorious gospel message that Jesus saves sinners, stress the need for godly living as the fruit of gospel grace, and call us to preserve and pass on the good deposit of the gospel through deliberate discipleship.
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