Thursday 16 February 2012

Bible Book:
1 Timothy

"For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving, for it is sanctified by God's word and by prayer. If you put these instructions before the brothers and sisters, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound teaching that you have followed." (vv. 4-6)

1 Timothy 4:1-16 Thursday 16 February 2012


Timothy was young to be in a position of leadership, but wastrusted as a son by Paul who had employed him on several of hismissionary journeys. It was Paul who had circumcised the youngTimothy, child of a mixed marriage so that he would be moreacceptable to the Jews with whom he would have contact (Acts16:3).

Now Timothy finds himself in a church where there are thebeginnings of division, with the teaching of some contradicting thetruth which both Paul and Timothy held so dear. We can look backand see this as a form of Gnosticism, which taught that all matterwas essentially evil and spirit alone was good. This had severetheological implications but also led to the spreading of myths,the laying down of food laws and a worrying trend towardsimmorality.

These false teachers seemed to have forgotten that God created allthings and then declared pleasure with all had been made (Genesis1:31). If God had given the produce of the earth to humankindas food, who were they to say it should not be eaten?

How to deal with these people was the problem that Timothy faced.One solution could have been to have thrown them out of the church,to insist on orthodoxy and allow no room for discussion. No, saysPaul, he should take a gentler and more humble position, advisingthese false teachers that they ought to remind themselves of thetruth they were taught and know deep in their hearts.

A gentle guidance will always be more effective thanbullying.

Paul's advice to his friend is to live the life - speak the truththrough his words and actions, and remember that it was God whocalled him to this position and God who will uphold him and bringall who hear him to the truth.

To Ponder

Christian denominations are often subject todivisions on matters of conscience and doctrine. How well do youthink they (and we) follow Paul's advice to Timothy?

Within every congregation there will be a varietyof views on some deeply held beliefs of the Church. How strong isyour faith when challenged, and how could your church spend moretime building up the faith of its members?

Is there a natural human tendency to give greaterrespect to an older minister than one fresh out of college? How canthis be avoided?

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