Elective presented at the 2023 Priscilla & Aquila Centre research conference.
Speaker: Claire Smith.
Most scholars agree “the household” is an important theme in 1 Timothy, but beyond that, differ wildly regarding what the theme is and how it functions in the letter. Claire Smith seeks to show that the theme of household is central to the purpose of the letter such that while the opening purpose statement of 1 Timothy 1:3-4 (which is picked up again in 1:18-20) is directed towards the false teachings that’s besetting the church in Ephesus (which would mean that the letter would have limited application in other contexts, unless they were confronting the same form of false teaching), that purpose is subsidiary to the main purpose, which Paul mentions in 3:14-15—namely, that he writes to Timothy and, beyond him, to the Ephesian Christians, so that they might know how to conduct themselves in and as God’s household.
If this is the case, the letter is not just addressing ad hoc concerns, limited to the particular circumstances of the Ephesian church, but speaks to the nature and function of the church for all believers in all places in all times.