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Paul’s Charge to Timothy August 31, 2013

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 1 Timothy 6:11-21.

Summary: Paul begins by exhorting Timothy to follow spiritual desires and absorb himself in carrying out what is essential. Indeed, Christ has called believers to wage a war, and so Timothy should not avoid it; he should not become weary in the middle of his struggle, but he should persevere – since he has made a good start. Moreover, he reminds Timothy that:

  • God brought the dead back to life – defeating the offense of the cross
  • Christ Jesus defended His teaching by remaining silent before Pilate

and so Timothy should prove himself to be a minister who is faithful to Christ and the church until the day of Christ. God – who alone rules by His own right, subjecting all of the powers of this world to His supreme dominion – has appointed a time for the day of Christ, and so Timothy should patiently await that time. Indeed, all believers should learn to look in faith to God, as:

  • the lives of all people are only on loan from Him
  • He is hidden from all people since they cannot understand Him with their minds.

Paul then tells Timothy to warn the rich about arrogance and false security, as riches are fleeting and soon pass away; instead, they should depend entirely on God’s kindness, as He supplies them with everything that they need. Thus, the rich should give generously to the poor – laying up spiritual riches for themselves in heaven that are permanently safe from all danger.

Now Paul exhorts Timothy to make proper use of the gifts that God has given to him; he should avoid everything that is ostentatious – including exhibitions of pomp aimed at winning people’s applause. He states that those who engage in these exhibitions of pomp lose the ability to make sound judgments, and they become involved in many absurd errors. Paul concludes by wishing God’s unmerited favor on Timothy.

Thoughts: In verses 13 and 14, Paul exhorts Timothy to faithfully carry out the duties of his ministry until the second coming of Christ. Calvin offers some insights on this point in his commentary on verse 13:

Christ chose not to speak before Pilate, instead of defending himself (for he arrived knowing that he would be condemned), his silence was a defense of his teaching, which was as eloquent as if he had pled his case aloud. For Christ ratified it with his own blood and with the sacrifice of his death, which was better than any words could have been.

If I have the opportunity to stroll through any of the Gospels at some point, I will delve into the account of the sham trial that Jesus endured before Pilate. One can certainly speculate as to His mindset while an angry mob clamored for His execution, as He knew that His fate was in the hands of a weak-willed ruler. Did He entertain any compassionate thoughts for Pilate, knowing that he 1) was utterly lost in his sinfulness and 2) only sought to maintain his political standing? As for Jesus not offering any words in His defense, He knew that His resurrection would serve as His best defense; how did Pilate respond to the news of that great event?

Now that I have completed my stroll through 1 Timothy, I must say that Paul furnished Timothy with a plethora of strong exhortations regarding the responsibilities of his ministry. One must wonder if Timothy was 1) somewhat overwhelmed by all of Paul’s commands or 2) able to process all of Paul’s commands without losing sight of his main point. Also, I believe that modern-day pastors should take this letter to heart, as it is evident that Paul establishes a connection between the spread of the Gospel and the faithfulness of ministers. Indeed, God has set a high bar for modern-day pastors; moreover, since the return of Christ will occur at a fixed future date, they need to be faithful, as He can return at any time.

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