Once we understand the second great turning point in the New Testament and the truth of the Acts 28:28 dividing line, we can understand and appreciate the importance when studying any book of the New Testament of figuring out whether or not that book was written before or after that pivotal event took place. This is of somewhat less importance regarding the history books of the New Testament, which take on the character of the time they are written about rather than the time when they were written. But when it comes to the epistles, understanding whether or not a book was written on one side or the other of that dividing line is crucial for understanding the book, why the Lord has given it to us, and what we should learn from it.

Although it is generally believed that the books of Paul written to Timothy were written after Paul had completed his two years in Rome as recorded in Acts 28:31, there are some who question this assertion. They would suggest that the internal character of the books written to Timothy is such that it would indicate that these books were written before the dividing line of Acts 28:28 had taken place, and before God had shifted His work from centering in Israel to His work today which treats all nations equally. Therefore, let us examine the books written to Timothy in order. First, in this message, we will examine I Timothy, and seek to determine its dispensational place in the plans of God.

In I Timothy 1:2, we read:

2. To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thus we understand that this book was written to the man Timothy. This will be reflected in the character of the book. Timothy was from the region of Derbe and Lystra, and we read in Acts 16:1 that his mother was a Jewess, but his father was a Greek. Since the responsibility for circumcising children fell upon the father, Timothy’s circumcision had been neglected. However, growing up, he learned the Scriptures and was taught in the ways of the Lord by his mother and grandmother. When Paul chose him to take him along on his mission for God, he had Timothy circumcised.

Thus, Timothy was a man who was Jewish, who had come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ during the Acts period, and who had traveled with Paul and done the Lord’s work during the Acts period of the kingdom of God. This will color the book written to him, even though I believe it is written after the dispensational line. This book is not written to a believer who came to the Lord in our dispensation, but one who came to the Lord prior to God’s current work. It is not written to a Gentile believer, but to a Jewish one. This will be reflected in what is written in it.

In I Timothy 1:3, we read:

3. As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

What Paul describes here does not match up with anything that happened during the Acts period. First of all, Paul visited Ephesus in Acts 18:19-21. However, he did not have time to really complete his work with them, for he had to keep a feast in Jerusalem. After he left, we read of Apollos coming there. He was instructed by Aquila and Priscilla, but no mention is made of Timothy. Thus it seems unlikely that this book was written between Paul’s first and second visits to Ephesus.

Paul visited Ephesus again in Acts 19:1-20:1. However, in this case, Paul actually remained himself in Ephesus, and sent Timothy ahead of him to Macedonia to prepare for his arrival there. This is the exact opposite of what we read in I Timothy 1:3, where Paul has gone into Macedonia and Timothy has remained in Ephesus. This situation matches with nothing we know of from the book of Acts. Thus, it would seem reasonable to guess that this might have taken place after the book of Acts was completed, and at a time about which we have no record that occurred after the events of Acts 28:31.

In verses 4-7, Paul admonishes against wrong teaching regarding the Old Testament and the law. This points neither to the Acts period nor the present day. Certainly the law could be taught wrongly in our day, and it was just as certainly taught wrongly in the Acts period, as should be clear from studying the book of Galatians. This points us neither one way nor the other.

Let us move on to examine I Timothy 1:16.

16. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

Paul here calls himself a pattern to the believers. This was certainly true in the Acts period, for Paul urges the believers the same thing in I Corinthians 11:1, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Yet this was also true in the time after the Acts period, for Paul declares in Philippians 3:17. “Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.” So this idea of following Paul as a pattern crosses both sides of the dispensational divide. This is not something that was unique to the Acts period.

In I Timothy 1:20, we have a strange statement indeed.

20. of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

We do not know what exactly is meant by delivering someone to Satan. We only have one other reference to such a thing in the Bible, where in I Corinthians 5:5, Paul instructs the ekklesia in Corinth, “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” It seems clear from this verse that delivering someone to Satan was a judicial decree. In I Corinthians, it was meant to bring about this man’s death, for nothing else could be meant by “the destruction of the flesh.” He tells them that if Satan destroys this man now, it will result in his spirit (meaning his very self) being saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

In I Timothy, Hymenaeus and Alexander are said to be delivered, not to be destroyed, but so that “they may learn not to blaspheme.” How being turned over to Satan would accomplish this, Paul does not say. However, it is interesting that these two places are the only ones where such a thing is mentioned. However, there are a few facts that must be kept in mind.

First of all, Paul does not say that he is just now delivering these men to Satan. From his words, we can deduce that he had delivered these men to Satan at some point in the past. We do not know how long ago this was, so we do not know if it was before or after Acts 28:28.

Secondly, these were apparently men in Ephesus, and Paul had been in Ephesus during the Acts period. We do not know that Paul ever went to Ephesus after the Acts period. In fact, he had told the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:25 that “you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more.” In the light of this statement, it seems highly unlikely that he ever returned to Ephesus after Acts 28:28, though he may have sent Timothy there. Thus, if these men were in Ephesus, then it seems likely that Paul had delivered them to Satan sometime during the Acts period.

Though delivering someone to Satan may not seem like something that would ever be done in the dispensation of grace, I do not think it likely that this event happened in the dispensation of grace. More than likely, it was something that had occurred before this dispensation began. Even if it did occur after Acts 28:28, however, remember that Paul was God’s representative even then, and therefore had powers that we do not have. Just because he could do this does not mean that anyone else could do this, or that this would be possible for anyone but Paul.

In I Timothy 2:5, we have what I consider to be the most defining statement in the book for revealing to us which side of the Acts 28:28 dividing line the book belongs to.

5. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

To understand the true impact of this statement, we must understand what a mediator is, and what one is doing when he acts as a mediator. Our English word “mediator” means “One that mediates, especially one that reconciles differences between disputants,” according to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. The translation “mediator” comes from the Greek word mesites, which means, according to the Blue Letter Bible:
“1) one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant
2) a medium of communication, arbitrator”
See http://cf.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=3316

A mediator is one who stands between two parties. There is no such thing as a mediator of one, as Galatians 3:20 makes clear. “Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.” In Galatians 3:19, the word “mediator” is used of Moses, as he arbitrated the law to Israel. “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator.” Now if Moses was a mediator, then we can be certain that the truth of I Timothy 2:5 was not yet in effect. That is, there was not yet only one mediator.

In fact, as we study the Scriptures out, we will see that there were many, many mediators throughout the history of the Scriptures. For example, God made Abraham a mediator between Himself and Abimelech in Genesis 20:7, when He told Abimelech, “Now therefore, restore the man’s wife; for he is a prophet, and he will pray for you and you shall live. But if you do not restore her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” Abraham was to pray for Abimelech, and when he did so, that would save the life of Abimelech and his people. This gave Abraham the task of mediating between Abimelech and God. Abraham was a mediator. In fact, the Scriptures are full of mediators from beginning to end. Every prophet, for example, was a mediator, for the prophets spoke the words of God to people, rather than God speaking to them directly. Everyone who performed any healing work in the Bible was a mediator, for they brought God’s power to bear upon the sick. Everyone who was a king or other ruler appointed by God was a mediator, for he was placed in a position to execute God’s law over the people.

Now if anything should be clear, it is that the book of Acts is teeming with mediators. From chapter 2, when Peter proclaims God’s words to the people of Israel gathered at Pentecost, to God’s judgment upon Ananias and Sapphira mediated by Peter in Acts 5, to every act of miraculous healing recorded in the book of Acts, to those who were prophets like Agabus in Acts 11:28 and 21:10, there were a plethora of people in the Acts period who were mediators between God and men. Paul himself, of course, was one of the chiefest of these, as he spoke God’s inspired words, pronounced God’s judgments, provided God’s healing, and did one hundred and one other tasks that were given him by God to do on His behalf. If ever it was not true that there was only one mediator between God and men, it was in the book of Acts. The very purpose of the book is to set forth the activities of those who most definitely were mediators.

In light of the fact that from the time of Abraham there had always been mediators in Israel, the statement of Paul that there was now only one Mediator between God and men must have been a shocking one to Timothy. The Spirit knew this when He inspired Paul to write this, and I believe that is why Paul followed up this statement with what he says in verses 6-7.

6. who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 7. for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Paul makes the most solemn assertion to Timothy that “I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying.” When we remember that this was spoken to Timothy, Paul’s “true son in the faith” and companion and co-worker of many years, it is clear that whatever Paul is asserting to be true must be something that Timothy will find to be most shocking and almost unbelievable. Therefore, Paul cannot be talking about his being a preacher and apostle. Imagine if, after Timothy had known and worked with Paul for years, Paul still had to assert emphatically, “I know you are going to find this unbelievable, Timothy, but I am speaking the truth, and not lying. Guess what…I am a preacher and an apostle.” No, that cannot be. Paul would not need to assert such a thing so solemnly to Timothy, one of his right-hand men. That would have been foolish, and insulting to Timothy. Timothy had seen Paul teach the Gentiles in faith and truth. He would not have needed Paul’s solemn assertion that this was true. Nor would Paul have had to assert that Christ gave Himself a random for all, to be testified in due time, for if Timothy did not already believe that, he would not have been a believer at all. There is only one statement in the context to which Paul could be referring his solemn attestation of truth. That is clearly his statement that there is only one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. When we understand that this was a major, sweeping change, one that would redefine the way things had been for thousands of years, then we can understand why Timothy would be so shocked by this that he might even question the truth of Paul’s statement. Yet Paul by this solemn affirmation assures Timothy of the truth of his statement, and of the truth that he has now declared to be in effect.

Now if there should be one thing clear to anyone who has studied the Acts period with a dispensational understanding, or who has really come into a knowledge of God’s secret work in the dispensation of grace today, it should be that the truth of one Mediator is one that is only and uniquely true of this current dispensation. If Paul had spoken this statement in I Timothy 2:5 in the Acts period, he could not have solemnly asserted that he was speaking the truth in Christ and not lying, for this would have been a most obvious and ridiculous lie. There were mediators between God and men on every hand during the Acts period, and Paul was perhaps the most prominent one himself. This statement could never have been made before the dispensational change. This statement can only fit into the current dispensation of grace.

Therefore, I believe that I Timothy 2:5 is not only a defining statement to confirm the dispensational place of I Timothy, but that it is also one of the defining features of our current dispensation. In our day, there is only one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. There are no God-appointed leaders, God-appointed prophets, God-appointed healers, or anyone else who acts in the middle between God and other men. There is only One Who fills that role, and that is Jesus Christ. Anyone else who claims to be a Mediator, or who attempts to mediate, or who claims the power to mediate, is a liar, and usurps the place of Christ. This is truth for today, and one to which we must most carefully hold fast. This was not truth for the Acts period. This will not be truth in the coming works of God. This is only truth for today. And this truth is stated for us and taught in I Timothy. This book, then, cannot be an Acts period book. This book must belong to this dispensation of grace. No other conclusion is possible.

Now as I pointed out above, Paul declares himself to be an apostle in I Timothy 2:7.

7. for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Some might argue that this points the opposite way, and that Paul could not be said to be an apostle in this, the dispensation of grace. Yet to argue this would be to show a lack of knowledge of the facts. Paul calls himself an apostle in the very first verse of Ephesians, the book of God’s present purpose, when he calls himself “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” Anyone who argues that Ephesians is not a book for this present dispensation surely does not understand the issues involved, for if this book is not to us today, then what book is?

The truth of the word “apostle” should clear up any misunderstanding for us. This word was not an office that you held, but a job that you did. To be “apostled” meant to be sent with authority or commissioned. Paul certainly did have a general commission to go out as God’s messenger in the Acts period. Yet even after Acts 28:28, every time Paul was commissioned by God to write a new book of the Bible, Paul became an “apostle” as far as writing that book was concerned. Thus, the writing of Scripture after Acts 28:28 made Paul an apostle just as much as anything he did in the Acts period.

Now to continue, we come upon the statement in I Timothy 3:14-15 which may seem entirely incongruous with the current dispensation of grace.

14. These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 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.

Now when we examine the so-called churches around us today, and consider all the disagreements, all the disunity, all the un-Biblical practices, all the worldly corruptions, and all the empty religious practices that go on within them, there can be nothing more clear to us than that the organizations that are called “churches” are in no way the pillar and ground of the truth. Moreover, we would question most strongly any assertion that these organizations of men are, in fact, “the house of God, which is the church of the living God.” Such a grand designation and title, made by God Himself in His holy Word, must be most meaningful. Yet though the churches of today continually identify themselves with God, it is clear that God does not return the favor. We reject entirely the claim that these churches have anything to do with God, save that some of His people may take part in them.

Now if we reject the churches of today as having anything to do with Paul’s words here, we are left in rather a quandary. What, then, as we examine our world today, could possibly qualify as being “the house of God, which is the church of the living God”? What could be this thing that was so important that God wanted Timothy to know how he should conduct himself in it? For if we reject the churches of today as being this thing, then we really have nothing to suggest as an alternative. Some try to make the “church” to be just the collection of all believers that are alive at any one time, or as the believers from all ages past and future. Yet this does not really fit either. Believers today are generally a sadly ignorant lot when it comes to the truths taught in God’s Word. They are more expert in upholding tradition than they are in upholding the truth. At best, even if we credit ourselves (among all the rest) with understanding the truth, the fact of the matter is that it would be much more accurate to say that the truth upholds us, not that we uphold it. How, then, can we be the pillar and ground of the truth? Then try to apply this idea to the average, worldly Christian we see on every hand, and it just becomes impossible to claim that such are even remotely a pillar or ground of truth.

This is indeed a most serious question, and it is quite understandable that this statement has led some to conclude that this book must, in fact, be an Acts period book. Yet, as I pointed out above, Paul’s statement in I Timothy 2:5 makes this utterly impossible. So what, then, can we offer as an explanation for this verse?

In order to answer this question, we have to remember that this book, though it may have been written after the dispensational dividing line, was still written to a certain man, Timothy, in a certain situation in which he found himself. This situation, as we saw it in I Timothy 1:3, was that Timothy was in Ephesus, seeing to it that those there did not start teaching false doctrine. Now if we consider the city of Ephesus and the believers that were there, we will soon learn that there was a very large company of these that had believed during the Acts period. In Acts 19:8-10, we learn of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. There, we read:

“8. And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. 10. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

This is a truly amazing statement. It tells us that, in the course of two years and three months, Paul did a work that was so far-reaching in character that every Jew and every Greek who lived in Asia minor, of which Ephesus was a part, heard the word of the Lord Jesus. Now I do not believe that this means all people in this area (for I do not believe that a “Greek” is the same thing as a “Gentile.” See my message on “What is a Greek?”) I do believe that this means all those who were of Israelite ancestry who lived in this area. Moreover, we can see how successful this preaching was in verse 20 of the same chapter.

20. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.

Now the word of the Lord could not be said to have “grown mightily” or to have “prevailed” if the majority of those in Asia were rejecting it. In fact, it could not be said to have done this if half of those who heard it were rejecting it. The only possible conclusion we can come to from this statement is that the majority both of Jews and Greeks who were in Asia Minor and who heard the word of the Lord believed it. This resulted in a huge company of descendents of Abraham who were believers in and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ in this region.

Now there can be no doubt but that the believers of the Acts period were the church, or more accurately the ekklesia, of the living God. For one thing, by reason of the fact that they were believers in Jesus Christ, they had become part of the ekklesia of Jesus Christ that He had built on the apostles He chose, as we read in Matthew 16:18.

18. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

But also, the vast majority of these believers were part of the family of Israel, which was God’s out-called family. (The word ekklesia means “out-called.”) This made them part of that very special company of people that God had chosen long before. This family that became the nation of Israel were God’s out-called nation. Moreover, God had used them to reveal Himself all down through the ages since Abraham, for it was through Israel that the Bible had been written, and that the revelation of God that we benefit from today was given. Even this book we are now studying, the book of I Timothy, came to us through Paul, a man of the family of Israel. Thus, if there was anything on earth that could be called the pillar and ground of the truth, it would be the nation of Israel. Even more during the time of Acts the ekklesia of God that He was calling out of Israel was the pillar and ground of the truth at that time. I believe that this is what the Lord is referring to here.

Now the group of believers that existed in Ephesus at the end of the Acts period were in large part people of the family of Israel. While it is true that some might have believed since the great pronouncement made at Acts 28:28, since this book was written maybe only three to five years after that point, the majority of believers there were probably believers from the previous administration. Think about the believers you know, and how many of them believed within the last three to five years versus those who have believed in the Lord longer than that. The majority of those Timothy was working with were probably those who had believed during the Acts period, and who were Israelites who believed. He was there with those who, in Acts, had been ordained by God as leaders, with those who had been prophets, healers, teachers, and so forth. He was among men of the family of Israel, and of the ekklesia of the Acts period. This was the ekklesia that he needed to know how to conduct himself among.

Now we must not get the idea that this ekklesia was greater than Timothy, and that he needed to know how to conduct himself among men with a much higher standing before God than he had. This is not what God was telling him here. Timothy was sent to Ephesus by Paul, who was God’s direct spokesman, and so no one in Ephesus had a higher standing than he did.

We need to put ourselves into the situation that Timothy, a faithful Israelite since childhood, would have been facing at this time. Ever since the time of Moses around 1,500 years before this, Israel had had a code of conduct and a set of rules and standards for how they were to live and relate to each other. This was the law, given by God through Moses to Israel. This had been the standard all throughout Israel’s history, up through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and continuing throughout the Acts period. Now, however, the dispensation of grace had come in, and had changed all that. No longer were men, even faithful Israelites, to be circumcised. No longer were they to keep the law. Imagine what this would have felt like to an Israelite who had grown up keeping the law, following the tradition of dozens of generations of his forefathers. In many ways, he would have felt like he had had the foundation cut out from under him. If he believed God, and truly accepted that he was no longer to attempt to keep the law, there would be one burning question he would want answered. That would be, “How do I behave now? How do I conduct myself as a true and faithful Israelite, now that I am no longer to keep the law of Moses. How shall I then live?” These were good questions, they were important questions, and they were questions that needed an answer. Thus, God is writing to Timothy and letting him know the answer to these questions. He is writing so that Timothy will know how to conduct himself as an Israelite who no longer keeps the law, and who is living in the dispensation of grace.

Moving on, in I Timothy 4:1, some would question whether or not a prediction of what is going to happen in the future is consistent with the time in which we live. They might argue that prophecy regarding the future is incongruous with our dispensation. This deserves an answer, but the same issue arises in II Timothy 3:1, and so we will delay commenting on this argument until the message when we examine the dispensational place of II Timothy.

In I Timothy 4:3-5, we find a very interesting passage. The Lord is listing the doctrines of demons.

3. forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5. for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

There were foods that the believers did abstain from in the Acts period. That is because these foods were called “unclean” in the law. It would not have been a doctrine of demons to abstain from certain foods at that time. Yet now, once the law had been set aside, only the demons, not the Spirit of God, would teach men to abstain from certain foods. What God wants is for us to receive all foods, and particularly all meats, with thankfulness to God. Nothing should be refused, at least not based on any religious reason. This is truth that is only true for today, and was not true in the Acts period.

In I Timothy 4:12, Paul comments on Timothy’s age.

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.

Some might argue that Timothy was no longer young when the dispensation changed. He was most likely a teenager when he joined Paul, so he was very young. However, the dispensational change was more than ten years later than this, and by the time Paul was released from Rome, it would have been several years later. Timothy would have been around 30 years old by this time, if not more. Would Paul have called him a “youth” by this time?

Remember that what one calls “young” is relative. To someone who is 25 years old, 20 might seem young, while 40 would seem old. To one who is over 60 years old, however, either 20 or 40 might seem young, and Paul was probably in his mid-60s at this time. Particularly when it comes to taking leadership over a large group of people, especially relating to the things of God, someone in his thirties might seem very young, particularly to those who are much older than that. Some of these older people might have despised Timothy’s attempts at leadership based on his youth compared to them. Yet Timothy was God’s choice as leader over them, and thus in many ways he was far more qualified to be their leader than any of these older believers ever could have been. Thus, Timothy did have to deal with some who despised his youth. However, this does not prove that this book was written earlier during the Acts period.

In I Timothy 4:14, Paul mentions Timothy’s gift. We believe that spiritual gifts were given by God in the Acts period, and that He does not give such gifts miraculously today. Thus, some would point to this as proof that this book was written during the Acts period. Again, this same issue arises in II Timothy 1:6-7, and so we will delay our study of this issue until then.

In I Timothy 5:14, the Lord gives some very interesting advice to young widows.

14. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

This seems to make sense, yet we need to realize that this is the exact opposite advice as that God gave the Corinthians in the book of I Corinthians. Paul gives here the opposite advice he did in I Corinthians 7. “1. Now concerning the things of which you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman…8. But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It is good for them if they remain even as I am; 9. but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”

I have only quoted three verses. The entire passage should be read in this connection. But at any rate, it is clear that Paul is advising widows here not to marry, but to remain as he was, which I believe was as an unmarried widower. Only if they cannot control their emotions and desires are they to marry. Again, this is exactly opposed to I Timothy 5:15, where Paul suggests that younger widows not marrying had actually caused them to turn aside after Satan!

I believe that this difference is explained quite well by the change in dispensation. All throughout history, God’s will for men in general was for them to marry. However, during that critical time period at the end of the Acts period, a unique situation existed wherein it was better not to marry. Once the dividing line of Acts 28:28 was passed, however, this situation came to an end, and things returned to how they had always been, with marriage as God’s general will for all. This is easily explained by the dispensational division. There is really no good way to explain it if I Timothy is an Acts period book. Again, I believe this verse points to the fact that I Timothy was written during our dispensation.

Finally, Paul speaks of Timothy’s health in I Timothy 5:23.

23. No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

Paul advises Timothy to use a little (literally the idea is a swallow) of wine for medicinal purposes. Apparently, there was bad water in Ephesus, and this was giving Timothy much trouble with his stomach, and causing him frequent infirmities. Perhaps Timothy had taken God’s advice in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,” and had stopped drinking any wine whatsoever, but only drank water. While his enthusiasm for obeying God’s directive is commendable, it turned out to be somewhat unfortunate in this case, as the water in Ephesus was bad. God’s advice to him is to no longer drink water exclusively, but to use a little wine with it as medicine. A swallow of wine would not cause him to get drunk, and yet would kill the bad bacteria in the water he was drinking. Certainly, we cannot argue with His diagnosis.

Now this all makes sense if Timothy was living in the dispensation of grace, when no provision is made for miraculous health and healing. Yet during the Acts period, such a command would have been most confusing. Timothy could have asked why Paul didn’t send a handkerchief along with his letter to him, as he did in Acts 19:12, so Timothy could touch it and be healed. Indeed, there would have been no reason at all for Timothy to suffer from frequent illnesses in the Acts period, for he should have been healed when he first became a believer, and, unless he was guilty of some sin that brought him under an adverse judgment, he should not have had to worry about illnesses after that time. No, Timothy’s frequent infirmities fit only with the dispensation of grace, not with the Acts period. This, too, points to the fact that I Timothy was written after the Acts 28:28 dividing line.

So to conclude, we must remember that I Timothy was written to a man who had believed and been one of Paul’s company during the Acts period. It was written to him at a time when he was ministering in Ephesus among a group of believers largely composed of Israelites. Once we understand this, some of the difficult passage in the book will start to make sense. But ultimately the book of I Timothy was clearly written to Timothy after Acts 28:28, and during the current dispensation of grace. Many passages within it, particularly 2:5, cannot fit into the Acts period. Thus, we must conclude that I Timothy was written after the dispensational change. That is the dispensational place of I Timothy.

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