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III. Historical Background And Purpose

III. Historical Background And Purpose

Paul seems to have three major purposes:

1. To encourage Timothy to guard/preserve the truth, the body of teachings about Christ (1:10, 18-19).

2. To exhort Timothy to instruct others in how to live as part of God's household (3:15).

3. To command Timothy to combat heresies that were attacking the faith. The false teaching cannot be identified with any one sect. Its characteristics include: (1) a preoccupation with tales and genealogies (1:4, 4:7); (2) a desire to teach the law, reflecting a Jewish influence (1:7); and (3) an overemphasis on asceticism (a deprivation of the body for purity) (4:1-4). Some, on the basis of 6:20, have identified the heresy with Gnosticism, but that would necessitate a later date, since Gnosticism per se did not exist until the second century.