Cross-section: 1 Timothy (Part 1) – Alef

Now that we’ve looked at some overall themes of 1 Timothy, I want to do a systematic cross-section of the book to look at how every numerical theme is expressed through individual verses, starting with Alef.

For a much more in-depth reference on numerical themes and how they correspond to the twenty-two Hebrew letters and are expressed on every level throughout Scripture (even in the books written in Greek), please see the original Bible Wheel book and site. Note that not every verse will thematically carry its numerical theme, but overall, the patterns are clear. If a verse doesn’t thematically carry it, and sometimes even if it does, it tends to have a secondary numerical characteristic that connects, which will also be noted.

Alef – First letter of the Hebrew Alef-bet. Symbolizes strength, leadership, the ox and its yoke, first, Father, unity, light, truth, future tense (both first-person intent and second-person imperative)

In 1 Timothy, there are seven alef verses: the first verse of each of the six chapters, plus one secondary verse in chapter 5.

1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, [which is] our hope;

Paul begins the entire book with his own name first, as the tradition was for letter-writing at the time. He as an apostle and preacher is a spiritual leader and is teaching Timothy in this book how to be a leader also. We see the unity of God in the commandment for Paul to be an apostle being from God the Father and Christ both together. Most of the first chapter either illustrates the inverse of the ten commandments or gives Paul’s credentials for teaching and understanding the law.

Aleph/alpha words: apostolos (apostle)

2:1 – I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;

“First of all” – explicit reference to beginnings – these various types of prayers are one of the most important ways for people to serve each other, and the leadership especially.

Aleph/alpha words: anthropos (men)

3:1 – This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

Nearly all of chapter 3 is about requirements for bishops (elders) and deacons, but this verse in particular merges the theme of alef with the overall theme of 1 Timothy with the office of a bishop being described as a “good work”.

4:1 – Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

There aren’t any specific thematic alef connections in this verse. However, the full value of the verse calculated by adding up the values of all its letters, which comes to 12969, is the same value as Jude 1:1, which is a very strong alef verse, being the beginning of its book.

5:1 – Rebuke not an elder, but intreat [him] as a father; [and] the younger men as brethren;

This verse is very clearly thematic, mentioning both elders and fathers, as spiritual and familial leaders. The instruction is to avoid rebuking them because that would not be showing respect for their leadership.

Aleph/alpha words: adelphos (brethren)

5:23 – Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

This is the only secondary alef verse in the book, being verse 23 rather than verse 1. There’s no direct thematic reference in this verse aside from the form of the verse as a specific imperative to Timothy. There’s an inverse reference through the word “infirmities,” though, because of the theme of strength: the word can also mean “weakness,” and the verse is an instruction for Timothy on how to reduce this kind of physical weakness.

Aleph/alpha words: astheneia (infirmities)

6:1 – Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.

The phrase “under the yoke” links to the theme of alef for this verse; also, counting their masters worthy of honor displays the servants’ respect for the leadership of their masters and for the leadership of God. This verse in Greek has 111 letters, which matches the full value of the name of alef in Hebrew, and it is the only 1 Timothy verse to have that many letters.

Aleph/alpha words: axios (worthy)

For chapters 1, 2, and 6, the values of their first verses are unique, not matching any other verses. For chapters 3, 4, and 5, the values of their alef verses are not unique, but they match at most two other verses. The value of the secondary verse (5:23) is also unique.

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