“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15).
Set in the context of teaching how to be successful in overcoming false teachers, Paul reminds this young preacher Timothy that he must use what he knows—that is, the truth of the scriptures. This truth he was taught by his mother and his grandmother.
Paul here highlights the importance of a godly mother teaching her child the scriptures even from birth. Actually, such is the most important job a mother has in regard to her children.
To be effective as a teacher of the scriptures, a mother must be an example—that is, she must practice the principles taught therein. She must have a solid faith and a firm and stable character so that she can gain the respect of her children.
Mothers are special people who have special qualities that allow them to function in their role as they should. Godly mothers please the Father, and they deserve our respect and our honor.
“So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, ‘What are you doing here?’ ” (1 Kings 19:13).
Elijah is in despair, hiding in a cave on Mt. Horeb in the wilderness of Judah when God appears to him and asks him the question, “What are you doing here?” Even after receiving God’s protection repeatedly, Elijah allows his faith to waiver after Jezebel threatens to take his life because he has killed the prophets of Baal.
Assuming God has deserted him and assuming his life is virtually over, Elijah wants to die; but God has different plans. Actually, the prophet has deserted God at a time when God needs him the most. God needs Elijah to stand up for Him and to help lead the Israelites in their return to Him.
The lesson comes through loud and clear: as God’s people today, we should never hide nor retreat—rather, we need to stand firmly in the place we find ourselves, be strong in our faith, be confident in whatever role we have in helping others spiritually, and use our talents to assist in moving the kingdom forward.
“For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).
Living in a complex, modern world has led our society to have great expectations of religion. No longer satisfied with the pure and simple gospel message, many are looking for God to be spectacular and to perform spectacular things in their lives to emphasize His presence with them.
Rather than listening to what God has said about the matter, some desire a religious experience that makes them “feel” religious rather than feeling religious because they have fulfilled the teaching found in His word.
Paul was not such a one. He says he didn’t come to them as a powerful orator or with a sensational display of human wisdom—he came to them with one message: Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Paul wanted this message to stir the hearts of men, causing them to realize it was God’s message and not man’s.
“…from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
Set in one of his most dynamic passages about unity in the church, Paul has just emphasized the necessity of speaking the truth in love and of maturing in Christ. And it is to Christ that the word “whom” points here.
The meaning of this metaphor is that Jesus Christ is the spiritual lubrication that causes all of the spiritual body to function properly. Just as physical body parts perform the function for which they were created, so it must be in the spiritual body, the church.
The result is that, when all members of the church do their part, the church grows and even sustains itself by “edifying … itself in love.” Without appropriate activity and continued learning of the word of God, the church will die of spiritual malnutrition.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
In every age of time, God has revealed all that His people need to know to please Him. Such revelation has omitted some information the people didn’t need to know and, in some cases, has omitted God’s purposes for making certain requirements. Those things not revealed are the “secret things.”
Such a premise should put to rest careless and doubtful questions and speculations about God’s plans, no matter under which law one lives. Rather than doing so, however, in many cases, it has only aroused doubt in the minds of some. Moses says here, in so many words, “Get over it.” “Go with what you know.”
So, what God has revealed became the absolute guide for worship and life under the Law of Moses just as what has been revealed to us becomes the absolute guide for us in the Christian Age. Failure to accept the premise laid down here and repeated in the New Testament has resulted in the confusing multiplicity of religious doctrines present in our world.
Thus, Jesus’ charge, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” becomes even more meaningful to us today. To please God and go to heaven, we must learn and follow His revealed truth without adding human ideas to it or ignoring the parts of it we don’t like.
Fifth and final in a series of studies in 1 Timothy 5
“I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy 5:21-22).
Paul concludes his instruction to Timothy about relationships by telling him about his relationship with himself, so to speak. He is to take seriously Paul’s teaching and carry it out with the realization that divine beings are watching him. Timothy himself is accountable.
Timothy is not to allow personal relationships nor preference for one person over another, not even one elder over another, to deter him from consistently following this teaching. If he does so, he then becomes a participant in the sins of the one he is preferring.
To “lay hands on anyone hastily” contextually refers to Timothy’s acting too quickly to unsupported accusations against an elder. To “share in other people’s sins” means to fail to act quickly enough in responding to situations of which he has become aware.
Timothy must be true to himself and to the calling he has accepted. His behavior must always be such that allows him to remain personally detached from any situation with which he must deal, thus retaining his credibility as an evangelist among the people he serves.
In all of the categories of people mentioned in this chapter, Paul has taught the young evangelist about appropriate relationships and appropriate treatment of others—older men, older women, younger men, younger women, widows, elders.
All are to be treated with love, care, and respect. Following such teaching, even in today’s chaotic world, will find us in good stead with divinity and with peaceful, harmonious relationships among ourselves.
Fourth in a series of studies in 1 Timothy 5
“Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:19-20).
Continuing his instruction to this young evangelist about relationships, Paul adds a second component about the treatment of one who serves in the office of elder, one who has become a “leading servant” in a congregation.
Paul knows that, human nature being what it is, not even an elder can please everyone all the time and that a person who becomes disgruntled with an elder might attempt to discredit him through public accusation.
The apostle’s instruction is that Timothy is not to give credence to such an accusation unless two or more others come forward supporting the charge. If the charges are supported and proved to be true, the elder is to be rebuked before “all,” referring to those in the congregation in which the elder serves.
This teaching is a clear, distinct example that extends down even to the church of today: elders are to lead exemplary lives—if they fail to do so, they are to be held accountable before the congregation they serve.
Even if such a situation occurs, we cannot ignore the context of this section of scripture: that is, that in all of these relationships, our treatment of others should display a spirit of love, care, and respect.
Third in a series of studies in 1 Timothy 5
“Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine” (1 Timothy 5:17).
The context shows clearly that the word “elders” here means those who have the oversight of a congregation in contrast to the use of “older men” in verse 1. The word “rule” does not imply that elders are to serve as dictators; rather, it means the elders are the ones who stand before a congregation as leaders.
Elders lead by example, provide edification, show concern for the souls of the members, and oversee the work in which a congregation is involved. Some have described them as “leading servants.”
Those who do their job well are “worthy of double honor.” The first honor is the honor and privilege of serving in such a position of leadership; the second honor is receiving financial assistance for those elders who are especially absorbed with the responsibilities of their position.
As with the categories of people designated earlier in this chapter, elders should receive love, care, and respect from those whom they serve.
First in a series of studies in 1 Timothy 5
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, the younger men as brothers,
“the older women as mothers, the younger as sisters, with all purity”
(1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Referring to age and not to an office in the church, Paul here begins a series of instructions about relationships, the first of which is about social relationships. He instructs the young evangelist about how he is to approach people in different age groups.
“Rebuke” means “to strike at” or “to smite.” Since Paul places no limitations or restrictions on the word, his teaching includes striking at physically and/or verbally. Paul says that in no situation is a younger man to attack an older man.
Rather, he is to approach an older man with respect, such as he would do if he were approaching his own father. The custom of the day was to show respect for fathers. As well, Paul continues his discussion about the treatment of older and younger women—he does so by, once again, using family relationships as a guide.
What Paul teaches here about relationships is no different from what Jesus teaches about our treatment of others nor from what other scriptures teach throughout the Bible: in all relationships, we are to show the utmost in love, care, and respect.
“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13).
Having clearly established that this discussion is a contrast between the son of the bondwoman and the son of the freewoman—between those who lived under the law of Moses and those who are living under the law of Christ—Paul speaks once again of the liberty in Christ.
This liberty, then, means freedom from the constraints of the law of Moses as well as freedom from the burden of past sins—in Christ, all who have obeyed Christ have been freely forgiven, something the Old Law could not provide.
The message is that the Galatians are not free to use this liberty as an excuse to indulge in the sins of the flesh—they are not free to do anything they want to do. Rather, they are to practice the law of love in caring for one another. Even those living under a law of liberty must submit to the conditions established within that law.
In establishing this principle contained in the law of Christ, Paul reinforces other passages and makes clear for all living in the Christian Age the idea that liberty is not a license to sin but a structure to be honored