The church in Ephesus was very important to Paul. Paul had spent three years with this church, and now he has left it in the hands of his “true child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2), Timothy. Paul met Timothy in Lystra on his second missionary journey. Timothy had learned about Christ from his Jewish mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). Although his father was Greek, Timothy had become a Christian, and Paul was so impressed that he invited him to join him and the others as they continued their mission efforts (Acts 16:1-5). Timothy was a gifted preacher (1 Tim. 1:18; 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6), but like all of us, he struggled with weaknesses (1 Tim. 4:12; 5:23; 2 Tim. 1:7).
At the time of the writing of 1 Timothy, the church in Ephesus was struggling with a lack of focus. In 1 Timothy 1, Paul instructs his young friend on how to stay the course.