Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Railroad tracks near our place in Bannalec

Friday, December 16, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for Dec 17, 1 Tim 1-6

Today's readings are 1 Tim 1-6. Tomorrow's are Tit 1-3.

1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are known as the Pastoral Epistles. They were written very near the end of Paul's life as guides to his young protégés. As such, they are rich in wisdom and experience. These letters are Paul’s last words telling his successors what is of primary importance in life and ministry.

1 Tim, like the other two Pastoral Epistles, deals with false teaching. It becomes clear the churches were in far more danger from threats within than from without. Timothy is in Ephesus, Paul writes from Macedonia.

1 Tim 1 warns against false teachers, a theme that becomes increasingly emphasized as the new church grows and spreads. Notice that errant teaching has been a major factor in the development of the new church. As the Epistles mature in their theology and doctrine, so does the nature of error begin to mature. It becomes increasingly important for believers to become familiar with the Scriptures and those who teach them. The only defense against being led astray is a deep and abiding knowledge of the whole of the Scriptures. All errant and false teaching we see in the Scriptures arises from an incomplete or casual awareness of what the Bible really says.

1 Tim 2 gives instructions for worship services and provides guidelines for the structure of the church. The leaders are to be men, following the created order.

1 Tim 3 lists the guidelines for selecting elders and deacons. They are to be examples of godly living, older men of integrity who have demonstrated a track record of living in the faith.

1 Tim 4 brings the charge to guard the truth and refute the heretics. Paul tells Timothy to do this by preaching and teaching sound doctrine (1 Tim 4:6-7). This will be a theme that is repeated in the Pastoral Epistles.  Timothy, as a leader in the church, is to be an example of godly living and solid teaching.

1 Tim 5 is a list of various guidelines for the church. It is to take care of widows. The overseers are to teach and provide guidance and direction to the church. They are to be honored and respected. Any criticism of leadership should be rejected unless unequivocally proven to be true. They are to be examined thoroughly prior to being installed. Discipline toward them is to be exercised with great care and caution (1 Tim 5:19-21).

1 Tim 6 exhorts Timothy to "fight the good fight". This implies that there will actually be a fight! Paul’s intention is to prepare Timothy for the rigors of ministry. The church will require constant teaching. The world will not always receive the gospel in a friendly manner. Paul’s life is a testimony to the way the world rejects the message of the gospel. Timothy should not be surprised or blindsided by any of this. He is not enrolling in a popularity contest, he is becoming a messenger for God. Historically, the world has tried to kill God’s messengers.

1 Tim is intended to help clarify and reiterate the theology and structure of the church, both of them necessary if the church is to function as it should. Ephesus was a huge city filled with temples and a vast variety of philosophies and religions. It was difficult to get people to understand the message of one true God and salvation through His only Son alone. In an environment where people were regaled with philosophical platitudes, fascinating stories and world-class orators, doctrine and order were not what many were looking for. Timothy was being given a tough assignment. Understanding God's design for His church and the message that church was to carry was vital to the spread of the gospel. Paul's message is no less important today. 

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