“I have been sent to bring faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know God’s truth—the kind of truth that changes lives—so that they can have eternal life, which God promised them before the world began—and He cannot lie. And now in His own good time He has revealed this Good News and permits me to tell it to everyone. By command of God our Savior, I have been trusted to do this work for Him.” Titus 1:1-3 NLT
What’s Going On? When and Where Are We? / Who’s Who?
1 Thessalonians – About 51 AD – In Acts 17 we read about Paul’s visit to Thessalonica during his second missionary journey after leaving Philippi. Apparently, the unbelieving Jews in Philippi caused the Gentiles to question their beliefs and stirred up some trouble, causing Paul to leave suddenly during the night. This letter was then written to the new believers/converts after Paul had sent Timothy to check on things in Thessalonica before meeting back up with him in Corinth. Timothy has delivered a good report and Paul is thankful to hear it and reminds the new pagan converts that their old ways of idol worship can’t compare to the love of God and encourages them to be steadfast in their new Christian faith. He also answers some specific questions concerning death.
2 Thessalonians – Also written by Paul from Corinth about 51-52 AD, this second letter to the Thessalonians offers encouragement and instruction for the new Christian converts. In both of the letters, we are introduced to “eschatology” which is the study of end times. Apparently there were many questions about what happens to believers after death that Paul is trying to answer and refers back to conversations they had when he was with them about the tribulation and the rapture. He tells them that God will give rest to the faithful believers and bring judgment on those who make the CHOICE not to follow Christ.
The next three books are often called “The Pastoral Letters” because they are giving specific instruction to both Timothy and Titus about their role as pastors of their churches.
1 Timothy – Timothy had been Paul’s travel companion and assistant for many years as we saw in Acts 16-20 and was apparently able to visit him during Paul’s time under house arrest in Rome as he is mentioned in Paul’s letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and to Philemon. Paul had sent Timothy to be the pastor of the church in Ephesus. He probably wrote this letter after his imprisonment in Rome about 61 AD, during his fourth missionary journey while in Philippi. This first letter addresses church organization, behaviors appropriate for the times, and warnings against false doctrine.
2 Timothy – It appears that Paul has been sent back to prison but this time he is not just under house arrest as he had been earlier. He writes this letter about 67 AD from what seems to be a cold and dreary dungeon where he is in chains. He asks Timothy to bring him his coat and we don’t know if the two men actually ever saw each other again but we do know that Luke is with him. As far as we know, this was Paul’s last letter.
Titus – Titus is leading the church in Crete when Paul sends this letter, likely between 1-2 Timothy, about 66 AD. While Titus isn’t mentioned in the book of Acts, he has apparently been working with Paul for some time because he is mentioned 13 times in Paul’s letters. The two men had been preaching the Gospel together in Crete shortly after Paul’s house arrest. Paul asks him to stay and lead the church there while Paul continues on his way.
“May the Master of Peace Himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the Master be truly among you!” 2 Thessalonians 3:16 (The Message)
Weekly Reading Assignment:
- Monday: 1 Thessalonians 1-5
- Tuesday: 2 Thessalonians 1-3
- Wednesday: 1 Timothy 1-3
- Thursday: 1 Timothy 4-6
- Friday: 2 Timothy 1-4
- Saturday: Titus 1-3