The letter presents the church as a Christian household, similar to the households of the ancient world. Those households were larger than immediate biological families, and the various individuals had various responsibilities and levels of influence based on their age, their gender, their relationship to the head of the household, and their legal status. The head of the church is Jesus, but there are also positions of responsibility and influence that need to be filled.
The challenge, though, is that the church is different from the ancient household in one key way -- in the church, everyone is equal. However, there are still positions of leadership that need to be filled. In some ways, this is Timothy's key responsibility as the minister of the congregation -- to identify the right leaders while helping Christians to live out their equality.
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