Friday, April 09, 2004

1 Timothy -- Passing the Baton (12)

Paul now has some personal words for Timothy:

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. 

Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. 

Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all. Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:12-16)

"Let no one look down on your youthfulness." Let me do some math here. This letter to Timothy is dated 62 AD. It was during Paul's second missionary journey that he brought Timothy into his ministry (Acts 16:1). The date for this would have been as early as 49 AD and as late as 51 AD. If Timothy were about 17 or 18 when Paul circumcised him, Timothy would now be between 28 and 31 years old. This is not exactly what I would call youthful. On the other hand, Paul's letter assumes Timothy to be a leader of leaders in Ephesus and for such a task and position being 30 is quite young. And so, young Timothy must demonstrate his capacity to lead by maturity in character and example. In doing so, the 30 year old can have authority over the 45 year old elder that he has just appointed.

As the leader in Ephesus, Timothy is to conduct the meetings of the church in Ephesus and pay attention to:

  • The public reading of Scripture -- Unlike the USA, which last I heard has an average of 6.7 Bibles per household, personal copies of the Scriptures were not common in Paul's day. Therefore, people had their One Year Bible, if you will, through hearing it read. I should also note that the Scriptures that Timothy would be reading to the congregation would have constituted the Old Testament only.
  • Exhortation -- Using the Scriptures to appeal for change in hearts and behavior. Once again, this would be based on the Old Testament and would have drawn from the Torah (Law), Prophets, and Writings of Wisdom. As Paul wrote earlier, "We know the Law is good if one uses it lawfully."
  • Teaching -- General knowledge: history, prophecy, organization of the books, background information, etc. These are the foundations by which we perceive the plans of God and understand the Scriptures.

I will cover the rest of what Paul says in this section on Monday. 

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>


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