God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18 - 1 Timothy: Paul Warns Timothy of Troublesome Times

Today’s Reading: 1 Timothy

The Message

English Standard Version

We are down to two weeks! Only 14 days left before we finish reading the Bible in a year!

Thought to Guide Your Reading

Paul tells Timothy to prepare for a battle against people teaching religion instead of God setting all things right.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Paul to Timothy:
Defend against people who teach religiosity.
I want people to pray to God, not fight enemies; humble, not fashionable.
Men and women have different roles.
Leaders and servants must live holy lives to lead God's Household well.
Some will give up faith for rules.
You were given a ministry by your leaders. Mind your character and teaching and your maturity will shine.
Show respect. Take care of widows without family so they can pray.
Treat leaders well—monetarily and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Confront sin without favoritism. Appoint leaders slowly.
God's Grace keep you.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Timothy would soon be challenged with people preaching different gospels.

Timothy’s youth caused his confidence to wane. Paul wants to make sure he knows that his faith and trust in God are about to be tested. People will come with gospels of rules, “spiritual” tales, and caste systems. Some will come and prohibit eating certain foods and marriage. People who prohibit holy things are the problem. Timothy’s job is to defend the Message of Jesus’ Love.

Paul is an example of the Message of Jesus the Messiah.

Paul serves as an example of the Message of Jesus the Messiah because God’s Love and Jesus’ Grace called him to rekindle their relationship. They trusted him with the Message for the purpose of sharing it with the Gentiles. God did not ask him to teach the Law of Moses. God did not want him to replace the Law of Moses with another rule-based law. God wanted him to teach that He sets relationships right and we should respond by setting things right. Moral guidance is important but not in “thou shall” and “thou shall not” formats. They lead to more sin and more death. Paul had his relationship with God set right by love and grace, not law and ritual.

Men and women have different leadership roles.

Similar to the last two times we read Paul's thoughts on women and men, these words are quite controversial today. Like I wrote before, Paul does not mean women have no intelligence or voice. He means women should have a default state of submission. Men should not lord over women. Women should neither be forced into leadership roles (either by women or men) nor should they be silenced even when their gifts are to teach. Each congregation should look at their women and find the appropriate way to use their gifting.

Leaders and servants should be holy managers, not good managers.

Paul suggests that the leaders and servants of the congregation be wholly for God. They should be good managers, yes, but their most important traits are their character. A leader who is not holy is a ticking time bomb, waiting to blow up a congregation.

Maturity comes through making good choices over time.

Timothy's age prevents him from receiving full faith from the congregation. Paul wants him to know that although he should not let anyone bully him because of his youth, his maturity will shine if he continues growing in Jesus. When we grow in maturity, people will eventually see.

Widows without families of their own can dedicate themselves to prayer with the church's help.

In our constant need to debate the roles and qualifications of elders and deacons we completely neglect widows. There is only one congregation, the North Boulevard Church of Christ in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that I know of that has any form of a widows ministry where they will support widows so they can dedicate themselves to prayer. This is a largely untapped resource for churches. Widows have the time and ability to pray. Churches should help widows without a family spend their time in prayer. How much better could our congregations be when the widows spend their time praying for each member of the group instead of reminiscing over the old times?

How has your maturity shown during the years?

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