“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.” (1 Timothy 1:1–7, ESV)
After preaching in Ephesus, Paul traveled to Macedonia and left Timothy with the task of leadership. Timothy faced many challenges as he undertook this task. False teaching had been brought into the church by some of the elders. These unorthodox teachings led people astray and divided the church. There were also problems with the financial support of widows because the church was distracted. Paul writes this letter to encourage Timothy to remain in Ephesus, address the false teaching, and recall the church to spreading the good news. Paul begins with a standard address, but includes an affectionate tone toward his "true child in the faith."
Confrontation is never easy, but Paul directs Timothy to confront the teaching and those who advocate it because it was necessary and loving. These concepts that were brought into the church created division and bitterness. The aim of the teaching that Paul had entrusted to Timothy was love that found its source in a pure heart which had been cleansed from sin. It was accompanied by a good conscience that is sensitive to the direction that comes from God and discerns between right and wrong. A sincere faith describes a humble trust in God. The certain persons had abandoned the truth but continued to make confident assertions about things they did not understand. Timothy would need to take a firm stand and bring the church back to the truth.