Wednesday, April 14, 2004

1 Timothy -- Passing the Baton (14)

We're all mishpachah (mish-pah-khah'). Mishpachah is the Hebrew word for family and that is how the church leader is to relate to the people in the church:

Do not sharply rebuke an older man, but rather appeal to him as a father, to the younger men as brothers, the older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters, in all purity. (1 Timothy 5:1-2)

The leader is to show proper intimacy with boundaries and respect from which the authority to lead emerges. If Paul were to have verbose in this verse, he would have repeated the phrase "Do not rebuke ... but rather appeal ..." with each group. By appealing to Scripture and common sense while providing counsel, the leader is able to work a change of heart rather than a conformance of will. By the phrase "in all purity," Paul intends the leader to understand that sexuality among opposite sexes is a natural by-product of frequent and close contact and is to maintain a safe distance. 

On the other hand, a certain family style interest in the affairs of the people in the local body is warranted. This has a limited range, which is one of the reasons why a church needs to promote small groups and train enough leaders to meet such needs in the body.

Thursday: Widows

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

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