Day 68: 1 Timothy 4-6 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Timothy 4-6 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

The Apostle Paul writes, in chapter four, about those who will depart from the faith and follow deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (4:1). This is a stern warning to us today to test the spirits and keep our doctrine pure. Indeed Paul charges Timothy to make sure that he continues to teach sound doctrine (4:13) and continue in the doctrine that Paul taught (4:16).

When I was studying for the ministry at a Christian college, some of the students wanted to steer clear of any sort of doctrinal discussion.  They would say something like, “we have no creed but Jesus.” The problem I had with them is that is seemed like they wanted to avoid ALL doctrine. Don’t get me wrong, there are SOME doctrinal debates that are worthless (one only needs to read yesterday’s post for more on that point). But when we avoid all doctrine together, we really create our own doctrine or set of beliefs, a false doctrine. The doctrine or teaching that Paul shared with Timothy was good, sound doctrine and it was profitable for Timothy’s growth and the growth of the local church.

The first few verses of Chapter five are instrumental in figuring out how we should treat one another. Because of age and generational differences it can be easy to perceive things differently than others in the church. As a pastor it is crucial that I communicate in ways that are respectful and appropriate. Recognizing these differences and approaching members, who may be in error, in the way that I would approach respected members of my own family, can be a helpful. 

Paul writes, that believers are to take care of their own household (5:3). The burden for caring for elderly relatives, who cannot care for themselves,  should fall back to the family, not to the church (or the government).  The church had an elaborate system of taking care of widows, but only those who had legitimate need. There is wisdom in placing the care of our loved ones back in our hands and there is grace in taking care of the needs of those who have no other means.

FATHER, I pray that you would keep us from error and that we would be intent upon studying and teaching your word. I pray that our lives would exhibit the doctrine we hold to in your word. Keep us from idle chatter, but focused on the truth of the gospel. Give us grace in relating to one another who are of differing ages. Help us to treat one another with respect, even when a difficult discussion is in order. Thank you for the privilege we have of caring for one another and being united in caring for those who have no one else to care for them. We are grateful for your Word. Thank you for the great grace you have given me in shepherding your flock. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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Day 67: 1 Timothy 1-3 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 Timothy 1-3 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

1 Timothy is a pastoral epistle, meaning that Paul wrote it to another young pastor. When I first started at Little Escambia, I found it extremely helpful to read all the pastoral epistles over and over again during my first summer here. Paul shares keen spiritual truth as an apostle to a young man just beginning in ministry.

One of the things that jumps out at me when I read 1 Timothy is Paul’s warning about fables and endless genealogies (1:3-4).  Truth matters, but the things mentioned here tend to divide. Sometimes it is more important to know that the Lord is coming back (truth) than it is to worry and debate if some of the critters unleashed in Revelation 9 might actually be helicopters (I see how they would look that way to a generation returning from Vietnam… but in this generation, CRISPR kits are being sold to any adolescent with $450 who wants to learn how to “bio-hack” and so it is more and more conceivable that someone could bio-engineer those suckers into existence). The truth is, we don’t know exactly what those critters are and we could speculate for hours upon hours, but it wouldn’t get us any closer to Jesus, help us share our faith, or really encourage us in any real way and so it’s worth leaving those discussions behind to have a real one that will edify us in our faith.

Paul always remembered where he came from (1:15) and we would do well to follow his example of humility. Having faith and a good conscience are critical to ministering to people and Paul echoes this advice to Timothy (1:5 &19).  He solemnly states this in contradiction to those who have shipwrecked their faith (1:19-20).

In chapter two and three, Paul turns his attention to praying for those in governmental leadership and those who are qualified to be a pastor or deacon in the church. Different churches have different takes on these passages, but the reality is that these passages are there and they mean something. It is worth asking the question how do we honor the Lord in our churches according to these passages.

FATHER, thank you for your word that is truth and the sound doctrine that leads us to life everlasting in you through the blood of Jesus. We ask that you would guard us from being sidetracked by petty little side issues and that we would be focused on you. We pray for our leaders and ask for you to guide those who are an authority over us. We thank you for pastors and deacons. We pray that you would continue to call faithful individuals to the leadership of your church. Thank you for the grace of calling me to pastor at Little Escambia. I pray that you are glorified by your church. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

 

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

Find out about New Testament 90 – Here

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