Establishing The Time Line: 1 Timothy 1:3
“3) As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines,” 1 Timothy‬ ‭1:3
Our first task is to lay out a basic time line leading up to this book. Timothy was recruited by Paul in Acts 16. He accompanied him on his second missionary journey as he was delivering the decree from the Jerusalem counsel. He accompanied Paul and Silas on this trip planting many churches even into Macedonia. This was believed to be between A.D. 49-52. It appears that Paul left Aquila and Priscilla behind in Ephesus during this journey. (See Acts 19:18-22) meanwhile, Paul headed back to Antioch.
On his third missionary journey, he was again visiting many churches and strengthening the disciples. There was much work to be done. This trip again brought him through Ephesus. (See Acts 18:23-20:1) A reading of this section of the book of Acts reveals how mightily God was working in Ephesus and the opposition that developed.
This time, as Paul, departed for Macedonia, he left Timothy in Ephesus to help organize the church and deal with numerous problematic issues, especially related to strange doctrines that were making inroads into the church. It is believed that the third missionary journey took place between A.D. 53-57.
To help fill in the time line, the Epistle to the church of Ephesus was written from Rome as one of his five prison Epistles. Paul was in prison in Rome between A.D. 60-64. This first Epistle to Timothy was also written from Rome.
Just to put things in perspective, the church at Ephesus was in existence nearly fifteen years prior receiving the book of Ephesians from Paul. Timothy spent significant time there helping set things in order.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global