In this summer study, we read through Paul’s Pastoral Epistles – 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. These letters contain Paul’s advice and encouragement to a younger apostle. For background on this study, I have used N.T. Wright’s Paul for Everyone, 1 &2 Timothy and Titus, Luke Timothy Johnson’s The Writings of the New Testament, and Abraham Malherbe’s Paul and the Popular Philosophers. This summer study covers thirteen weeks.
The antidote to meaningless discussions and legalistic morality is a love that comes from “a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” (v.5).
The essence of the Christian life is that we stand together in this confession that “I am the chief sinner.” It is only in my recognition that I should be leading the goats into everlasting perdition that I can “humbly count others better than myself” and model Christ (Phil. 2:3).
When we pray for the President, we pray for his well-being for he too is a child of God and we pray for his leadership that will seek the common good. When we pray for our President we are praying for our nation, our society, and ourselves.
These verses should challenge us. Too often, we in the church seek to explain away Biblical teachings we do not like while loudly proclaiming those verses with which we agree.
Jesus Christ “has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and delivered me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.” – Martin Luther
Paul’s concern is that congregational leadership must represent Christ to his flock and also must be a good witness for Christ in the larger community.
He was revealed in the flesh, and justified in the spirit, He appeared to the angels, and was announced to the nations, He was believed in the world, and elevated into glory.
God’s creation is good, and that God has given us every plant for food. (Gen 1:29-31). . . . for “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out the mouth.” Matt 15:10-20.
From athletes to musicians to soldiers, people train themselves so that they can perform at the highest level when required. The spiritual life is no different. We should always press on towards the goal which is to be like Jesus Christ. Phil. 3:14.
As we have discussed before, what happens when people take advantage of the church’s sacred duty?
The question is how to separate out the practical teachings which are given to a specific people at a specific time in a specific place from the underlying universals which are applicable to all people, at all times, in all places.
How are we to handle these verses supporting slavery?
Like slavery in Roman society, the very basis of our economic system is wealth accumulation. Although no other economic system has brought more people out of poverty, how do we reconcile our American capitalist system with the teachings of Scripture?
From our perspective, 1 Timothy is written to a vestry member or any church leader. 2 Timothy is written to someone whose faith has lagged, who is burned out on church and God, and who is spiritually tired. 2 Timothy is written for most every one of us.
Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God.
The three analogies of Christian service – solider, athlete, sharecropper.
Ultimately, Paul instructs Timothy to correct these false teachers with kindness and with gentleness.
These verses should compel us to only speak of such godless people in the first person singular.
For Paul, the Scriptures aren’t merely God’s dictation to the respective author or editor, but are alive with truly inspired – being filled with the very spirit and breath of God that we first meet hovering over the waters at Creation (Gen 1:2).
Like Timothy, there are those times in life when we just don’t feel like it and Paul is saying continue on anyway.
The laborers in the vineyard are seldom remembered, but their work continues to bear fruit after they have gone.
To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
To the pure all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted.
Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.
For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.
He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,