It doesn’t take long reading into 1 Timothy to realize that Paul had left Timothy with a massive task. One of the most “established” churches of the first century was in trouble. And he was left to “charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” (1:3). Certain men had crept in (2 Timothy 3:6). They were relying on fables and endless genealogies. They disrupted not only whole households but the House of God.
Have you ever considered who these false teachers were that young Timothy had to contend with. Of course you have - they are false teachers. But I think there may be more clues as to their specific DNA.
Who were these certain men? The text lets us in on more. There is more written to the church at Ephesus than any other congregation in the first Century. You’ve got John’s writings, there would have been the book of Ephesians, 1 & 2 Timothy, some of Acts, and the book of Revelation for starters. Ephesus also was the home at one time or another of Paul, Aquilla, Priscilla, Apollos, John (so probably Mary), and Timothy. What influence that church must have had. But how did this church with so much going for it go wrong? And who are these “certain men” reeking such havoc?
Acts 20 pulls back the curtain, roughly 5-10 years before Paul wrote of the disruptive forces there the Apostle warns the elders of the church that from their own number men would arise speaking “twisted things” and drawing away disciples after themselves.
So Paul leaves a younger Timothy to contend with the false teachers, who it is quite possible had mentored him and served as his elders. If I read Acts 20 correctly it was the elders - the shepherds - his elders - the same elders known for standing against false teachers some of whom had become false teachers themselves. Imagine that. Timothy may have been young but don’t sell him short and the words of encouragement to stand, to not be contentious, to stir up the gift he had, to be constant “in season and out of season” - each is magnified in light of that. No wonder his stomach was in knots!
Timothy had grown there - he had been taught to respect his elders and his Elders, he had no doubt revered them, and now he has to rebuke them. I do not know the challenges you face this week. I do not know what or who you will have to face. I do not know how big the matter is or how fearful you might be of the outcome. But I do know that you do not stand in that alone. God knows and understands. He will be with you just as he was with Timothy. Others have been where you are and the road is not easy but the reward is sure. Be strong and faithful this week in every setting. Do not quarrel, lean into God’s Word, seek wisdom from others, love deeply (especially your “first love”) - but stand strong.