Apparently, those teaching false doctrine were marring Timothy's efforts in Ephesus. So often in today's churches we find the same issues that Paul points out: focusing on minor points of doctrine that draw attention away from the basic truths of Christ. The primary focus tends to be on rules and regulations, which gives the impression of a works-based salvation. Paul emphasizes in verses 7-11 that laws are in place to make people aware that they are doing wrong by God's standards. In verses 12-17, Paul uses his own testimony as a prime example of the grace afforded to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. This grace is a gift given to those who show faith and love to Him and is not won by adhering to the law. Verse 15 was an especially poignant verse for me. "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst." How often do we feel like saying that very thing?
Chapter 2 outlines the importance of prayer and worship in a church body. He reminds Timothy that prayer and worship are pleasing to God. Here again he repeats that the cornerstone of our faith is Jesus Christ and only through our belief in Him can He be the Mediator between God and man. Paul concludes this chapter with some of the most controversial words in the Bible about women in the church. In my experience, I've known verses 8-14 to ruffle the feathers of many women and I can understand why. My position on this is not well formed or clearly defined due to issues of growing up in a home with a single mother as the head of my family. Therefore, I will leave interpretations up to a reader more scholarly than myself.
Paul begins in chapter 3 verses 1-12 listing the qualities that a potential church leader must possess. In essence I believe what Paul is trying to convey in these passages is that a man who desires to be a church leader must show self-control, honesty and good management in the other aspects of his life. This is especially true in matters concerning his family. Verse 5 sums up why a man's management of his own family is of paramount importance to the church. "If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?" In other words, our family is our true test of whether or not we would be able to be a good church leader.
Spiritual discipline is the focus of Chapter 4. Paul urges Timothy to train himself to be godly. This " spiritual fitness" Paul refers to leads to wisdom of the Good News and an increased ability to lead by example. Because of Timothy's age, I believe Paul points out that he must work harder to train his mind and heart to more emulate Christ to those he was teaching. Even in our world today, older generations have a tendency to pass off what someone of a younger generation may try to teach because they believe the younger person to be inexperienced and lacking depth on the particular topic. For this reason, Paul stresses the importance of Timothy's actions reinforcing his teaching.
Chapter 5 seems to me to be best summed up in James 1:27. "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." For older widows, Paul lists the questions to be asked of a widow's life before she can be put on the list to be supported by the church. For younger widows, he advises them to marry again stating that when their "sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ," they will want to marry. I believe this means that if a younger widow was supported by the church and chose to remarry, she would be violating her first vow to Christ. I find this interesting as Paul goes on to state that if she is supported by the church, she will become idle and be prone to the sins of gossiping and meddling in other's affairs. It makes me wonder how many churches are being torn apart to still today over similar circumstances. While the support now comes from pensions, social security and other sources, I believe that this type of idleness in anyone male or female makes them prone to the sins Paul mentions.
Finally, Paul exhorts Timothy to give proper respect to church elders by paying them well for their service. In addition, Paul explains the procedure for confronting an elder with a complaint against him. He states that after an elder has been confronted in the proper way, he "should be rebuked in front of the whole church so that others will have the proper fear of God." Timothy is reminded to stay unbiased in these dealings and Paul once again urges him to keep himself pure. The confrontation of anyone in a church body is always a touchy subject. I believe that in many present day churches, sin tends to be rarely mentioned or overlooked completely. Thus, this practice is rarely exercised. However, if a church chooses to take the steps outlined by Paul to Timothy, I believe that it would be blessed rather than torn apart (at least in the long run) for following the practices put forth in 1 Timothy.
Copyright © 2004 by Recovering Outlaw
Pursuing and Preaching the Promise - 1 Timothy 6
What about people whose "service" is to spread false teaching, even in Jesus' name? Paul said their interest was more in controversies and quarrrels about words than in the sound instruction Jesus and later Paul had taught. The fruit of their spirit is envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions, and constant friction. Such teachers think that godliness is a means to financial gain. Don't be fooled. There is great gain to be had in godliness, but it's in contentment rather than finances, and in basics over excesses. Paul told Timothy to command rich believers not to be arrogant, but to do good, and to put their hope in God, not in wealth. If they want to be rich, let them be rich in good deeds and generosity. Such actions fill up their "bank accounts" for their true life to come.
When Paul tells Timothy to flee economic temptation, and calls him "man of God", I was reminded of how an angel called the young Gideon a "mighty warrior" to convince him that the LORD had chosen to work through him. (Judges) You can do it! Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. You once acknowledged before others that you believed in eternal life. Hold on to that, right up to the time Jesus returns. And when will that be? In God's own time.
Just keep on guarding what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called "knowledge" that leads away from the faith.
Asking for the Promise (1 Kings 1)
Nathan the prophet quickly heard what Adonijah was doing, and started networking. David had made an oath commitment that his and Bathsehba's young son Solomon would be next king of Israel. So first he contacted Bathsheba, instructing her to go to David and what to say to him. While she was speaking with David, Nathan himself came to confirm what Bathsheba was saying. So those still faithful to David were called to proclaim and celebrate King Solomon as David's successor. Part of the ceremony was when Zadok the priest anointed Solomon with oil from the sacred tent.
As soon as they heard about Solomon, Adonijah's guests left quickly and Adonijah himself fled to the horns of the altar for his life. Solomon found out where his older half-brother was, and promised that Adonijah would be safe so long as he displayed no more evil, no more plotting to take the throne. Adonijah paid his respects to the new king, who sent him home.
|1 Timothy | 1 Kings | 2 TIMOTHY | 2 Kings | Titus, Philemon|
Telling The Truth About Godly Living
May 12 reading
2 Timothy 1-4
|Bible Study Aids and
2 Timothy Commentary
| * David Guzik on 2nd Timothy|
|FACT: "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner." (1:7-8a)|
PROMISE: "In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (3:12-13)
| The fact that Paul really cared about Timothy is apparent in his greeting. What else is visable through Paul's words is the vast difference between them. Timothy was sincere about his faith in the Lord, but not bold and daring the way Paul was. Paul was in prison because of the faith, and he wanted Timothy to know and share in this part of the faith, too. Paul encouraged the younger man to use his faith to fan his spiritual gift into flame, and not to be ashamed of Paul, but to suffer with him. Holy life may not be what believers first expect, because it is lived by God's power and grace, not our own. God's plan reaches farther than we can imagine - even back before the beginning of time - and so does his power within us. Paul had personally instructed Timothy, and so had his mother and grandmother before. So Timothy was to mix Paul's pattern of sound teaching with his own faith, grace, and spiritual gift, then stand fast with Paul, even though many miles separated them and very few other men were that faithful.
Timothy could understand that young men are often called off to war or to participate sports events. Paul encouraged him to look at the hardships of the faith as being a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Likewise, compete, train, and learn the rules as an athlete, except we are in training for the Lord. Think about these examples - how do they apply to a life for Christ? When the truth of Jesus Christ brings suffering and embarrasment to us, remember that God's word isn't chained. Having a different perspective on life and the Lord, we see beyond chains.
What we say, and do, and endure is vital in our relationship with the Lord. Pastors like Timothy need to bravely tell their people what Jesus Christ's perspective is, and remind them as often as necessary not to quarrel about words. Learn to correctly handle the word of truth, and avoid godless chatter. Focus on the truth. "The Lord knows those who are his." And remember: "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." Useful items are sometimes gold and silver, and sometimes wood and clay depending upon their use. To be used for noble purposes, clean yourself from anything ignoble so you become holy and useful to the Master. That's how you prepare to do whatever He gives you to do. Young people are tempted with evil desires but they can choose to turn away and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. Choose your friends from those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. You don't have to participate in arguments, because your job is to be kind to everyone as you teach, and not be resentful. Gently instruct those who oppose you. The Lord's servant's hope is that God will grant such people repentance and a hunger for the truth to escape the trap of the devil.
Things will get even worse than this in the last days. Paul lists many characteristics of people who have the form of godliness but deny its power, and warns Timothy not to have anything to do with them. Such people not only are ungodly but they are always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. When you encounter people like this, just remember Paul's teaching, his way of life, his "purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings." And remember that the Lord rescued him from all the persecutions, in one way or another. If you want to live a godly life count on it - you WILL be persecuted. Timothy could see the results of godliness in the lives of all those who had taught him the holy scriptures. Studying and learning scriptures makes one wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (3:16-17)
Timothy knew he and Paul together were in the presence of God and Jesus Christ who will judge the living and the dead. Timothy knew that Jesus Christ will appear and establish his kingdom. Because of this and in the meantime, Timothy was to focus on preaching the word patiently, carefully, and even sometimes spontaneously. In this section, Paul advises Timothy how to stay focused, and encourages him to do the work of an evangelist along with his teaching and correcting ministry. Knowing that he was nearing the end of his life, Paul was ready to pass the ministry on to younger men like Timothy. Many men had abandoned Paul. And when Paul acknowledged that the Lord would rescue him Paul knew that that rescue would some day include his death. In the meantime, Paul wanted to see Timothy again in person - before winter - and sent his greetings to other faithful followers of the Lord.
|May 13 reading: 2 Kings 1-3 with Devotions|
Today's Bible commentaries, mostly by Don and Nancy Sween, were first posted daily on the Today's Bible Commentary Blog from November 2003