Selecting one memory passage from 1 Timothy proves itself to be difficult not because of any lack of great teaching, but due to the many statements that are made which give direction, admonishment, practical advice, and comfort. Notice a partial list of some of the great statements found in 1 Timothy below.
- 1:5, 6, “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk.”
- 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
- 1:17, “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
- 1:18, “This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.”
- 2:1, 2, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”
- 2:5, 6, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”
- 2:8-10, “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
- 3:1, “This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work.”
- 3:5, “(for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)”
- 3:13, “For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
- 3:15, “but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
- 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”
- 4:6, “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.”
- 4:8, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.”
- 4:12, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
- 4:13, “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”
- 4:15, “Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.”
- 4:16, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
- 5:1, “Honor widows who are really widows.”
- 5:17, “Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.”
- 5:20, “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.”
- 6:6, 7, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”
- 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
- 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
- 6:20, 21, “O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.”
Rather than assigning the entire book of 1 Timothy, I want to highlight two verses that are not on this list. It’s meaning and intent surfaces frequently from Paul’s pen to Timothy and Titus and compliments the thoughts expressed by Paul to be delivered from unreasonable (amiss, out of place) men (2 Thess. 3:2, 3). Where Paul ended the book of 1 Timothy is essentially where he began this letter.
I fear, too many preachers do not give long and sober consideration to this warning and chase after things that are unprofitable and out of place. How many preacher-training programs spend time with young men in warning them not to strive over words and engage in profitless pursuits akin to fables, endless genealogies, idle babblings and contradictions of false knowledge? Our classes need to be “Bible Classes” where we guard against thinking beyond what is written (1 Cor. 4:6). We must strive to have Bible classes that actually study the Bible and are not transformed into “idle babble studies.” Pursue lessons that explain doctrine, edify godly living, apply and expound on words of the Holy Spirit giving the sense (Neh. 8:8). Let us refuse the urge to decorate our discussions and discourses with opinions and vain speculations of men. Other than discouragement and deception, the devil seeks to distract us away from the truth and our solemn duty to it. Let us, therefore, commit to memory:
“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith” (1 Tim. 3:3, 4).
IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 1:3-11
THEMATIC WARNING: 1, 2 Timothy and Titus (1 Tim. 4:6, 7; 6:4, 20; 2 Tim. 2:14-16; 4:2-5; Titus 1:10-14; 2:1, 8, 3:9-11).
--Steven J. Wallace
Bible Recall Verse:
2 Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”
IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-5
EXTENDED CONTEXT: 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:18
1. Pray for us and the success of the word (3:1).
2. Pray for our deliverance from unreasonable men (3:2).
3. The Lord is faithful toward you (3:3).
4. Our confidence in the Lord and in these brethren to keep the commandments (3:4).
5. The Lord is your direction to love and patience (3:5).
What a great section of Scripture this is. Sadly, it is a text often overlooked or ignored. When read, does it not bolster and complement the following teaching? Think of how it connects to the command to withdraw from disorderly brethren (3:6), to be diligent workers (3:7-10), to shun meddling in the affairs of others (3:11, 12), to persist in what is good while shunning and admonishing those who are disobedient (3:13-15).
Let us never forget the faithfulness of the Lord despite how unfaithful men may become. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it” (1 Thess. 5:24).
--Steven J. Wallace
While our previous passage was long, I could not resist the temptation to submit the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament for our current consideration.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Rejoice always.” The shortest verse in the English Bible is John 11:35, “Jesus wept.” However, in the Greek, John 11:35 has sixteen letters where 1 Thessalonians 5:16 has fourteen.
Bible Recall does not entertain the verses which are “empty” or mutilated by the suspect Nestle-Aland text. For example, it omits most of Luke 20:30, reducing it from “And the second took her as wife, and he died childless” to simply “And the second,” with only twelve characters in the Greek. If the fictional Master Yoda from Star Wars would comment, he would likely say, “Ironic, it is, considering the translation, making ‘the second’ the first.” Nestle-Aland would have shorter verses still. By eliminating whole passages from the Bible, they would make these verses the shortest with zero Greek characters!
- Matthew 17:21; 18:11; 23:14
- Mark 7:16; 9:44; 9:46; 11:26; 15:28
- Luke 17:36; 23:17
- John 5:4
- Acts 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29
- Romans 16:24
Sometimes great lessons can be from succinct statements. “Rejoice always” is such a statement. Lasting joy is not found in things external, but in Christ Jesus who is eternal (Phil. 4:4). Paul links this joy with fervent prayer and finding reasons to be thankful “in everything” (1 Thess. 5:17, 18). When he suffered the loss of all things, he counted them rubbish for what he gained in Christ (Phil. 3:8). Joy, prayer, and thanksgiving are all decisions we choose on a daily basis. Happiness is a choice even as prayer and thanksgiving are.
--Steven J. Wallace
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”
Both verses should be familiar to most on this list, rather than segregate the two; I think they go well tied together.
IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 3:12-17.
INTERMEDIATE CONTEXT: 3:1-17.
EXTENDED CONTEXT: 3:1-4:6.
Paul addresses practical Christianity and defines what it looks like when found in one’s life. The apostle addressed those who named the name of Christ and were born again through the obedient step of baptism, “If then you were raised with Christ…” (3:1, cf. 2:12). Christians are to center their minds on things above (3:1, 2). A mind set on heaven is living a life that is dead to sin with a view toward the life given when Christ comes again. This requires:
- The mortification of sinful ambitions (3:5-9).
- Living as a new man. It is not only refraining from sinful vices, but employing positive change. A Christian replaces the traits of the old man with tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forbearance, forgiveness, love, and thanksgiving (3:10-15).
- Generous hospitality toward the word dwelling in us richly. His word is our honored guest to teach and admonish us. Christians should be the most teachable and compliable of all people (3:16).
- Singing songs which honor God and admonishes one another (3:16).
- Willful and thankful submission to His name (word or law; Jn. 16:6, 8). We remain thankful to God through Christ (3:17). Rather than being lawless, the Christian is grateful and law abiding.
Domestic applications are made from the points mentioned above (3:18-4:1).
- The wife and her relationship with the husband.
- The husband and his relationship with the wife.
- The children and their relationship with the parents.
- The father and his relationship with his children
- The slave and his relationship to the master and vice-versa.
- The religion of Christ demands a complete makeover. God does not desire that we turn over a new leaf, but rather that we grow into a completely different tree (Col. 2:7; 3:3, 10ff). The Christian’s conversion has a marked death to one lifestyle and a marked birth of a completely new one.
- The indwelling guest? The Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:11; 2 Tim. 1:14). The Spirit dwells in us through the medium of His Word (Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:18, 19). The indwelling of the Word and Spirit is having the faith dwell in us (2 Tim. 1:5).
- Can one be thankful for unscriptural worship? Can one be thankful in praising God with instrumental music? How can he, if he cannot prove such to be of the word/name of Christ (Col. 3:16, 17)?
- Parenting: do not be your child’s buddy, but the parent (Col. 3:20, 21).
- Work ethic: work in a way with the Lord in view and not men (Col. 3:23).
- How do you think and speak of God’s ministers? Where the old man slanders, speaks evil, and lies about, the new man earnestly prays for and expresses thanksgiving of (4:2-4; contrast Col. 3:9; Eph. 4:31; 2 Cor. 6:8). The Christian who slanders is a Christian who died in sin and raised up the old man.
- God’s dividing line: outside/inside. God has a dividing line for all humanity. One is either “inside” or “outside” the church (Col. 4:5; 1 Thess. 4:15; 1 Cor. 5:12, 13; Acts 2:47; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23). Have deep consideration of one’s example before outsiders (4:5, 6).
- “Be thankful” (Col. 3:15, 17; 4:2). The open display of the attitude of gratitude is consistent with the mind of Christ (Lk. 10:21; Jn. 11:41).
Our newest memory verse is Philippians 1:21:
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
IMMEDIATE CONTEXT: 1:19-26.
A small memory verse with a big message! For the Christian who is faithful, this is defining. To continue in the flesh “is Christ.” That is, to continue to live is to continue to bear fruit from labor. On the other hand, to no longer live in the flesh but die, (as he was awaiting his judgment in prison), is to experience gain! For Paul, it is a win-win situation and at the same time one which is hard pressed to answer. He wanted to remain so as to continue his labor and encourage his brethren, but his “departure” was to be with Christ and is “far better.” How many of us can view life with this perspective, this confidence, this attitude?
Steven J. Wallace