Friday, 30 May 2014
For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church. 1 Corinthians 4:17
“For this reason” here will explain Paul’s previous statement which said, “Therefore I urge you, imitate me.” As it was noted, Paul wasn’t trying to cause a greater division by having those at Corinth imitate him over some other apostle. Rather, he was asking them to imitate him because he was an imitator of Christ, something they lacked and wouldn’t get right unless they had a proper example.
In support of that reason, he told them he has “sent Timothy to you.” Timothy was Paul’s protégé and would fill the need of the Corinthians on Paul’s behalf. This Timothy, Paul states, “is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord.” Like those in Corinth whom Paul called his “beloved children” in verse 14, Timothy was also. Because Paul looked at all of them as sons, he felt that Timothy would be a great help in understanding what he was conveying. However, later in this letter, it still seems unsure if Timothy would actually make it to Corinth or not because he uses the word “if” concerning his travels –
“And if Timothy comes, see that he may be with you without fear; for he does the work of the Lord, as I also do. Therefore let no one despise him. But send him on his journey in peace, that he may come to me; for I am waiting for him with the brethren.” 1 Corinthians 16:10, 11
Should he make it as planned, Paul says that he “will remind you of my ways in Christ.” In other words, we can look at his petition to “imitate me” from verse 16 as a sound request because of his “ways in Christ.” Paul wasn’t trying to misdirect the Corinthians, he was trying to properly direct them. With Timothy confirming this, they could be certain that they were imitating that which was proper and their faith wouldn’t be misdirected.
In fact, their doctrine and practice would be in a manner harmonious with all of the churches which had been established because Paul claimed that his teaching was the same “as I teach everywhere in every church.” He was consistent in his proclamation of Christ, consistent in his doctrine, and determined to follow up to ensure that these things continued properly.
How nice it would be today if all seminaries taught a proper message of Christ and then occasionally stopped by to check up on the doctrine of their graduates! What we fail to do, Paul carefully and meticulously accomplished.
Life application. Discipleship is an immensely important aspect of the faith. Leading people to Christ is only the beginning of a life-long journey of discovery. If you have the necessary training to teach others what is right and sound about Christ, make an effort to impart that to those who are less informed. Paul deemed this immensely important and so should we.
My Precious Lord, You have led me all the days of my life, even when I didn’t know You were there. You’ve tended to my needs, cared for my heart, and directed my every step toward a good end. Those times I’ve erred have been used to mold me. They were times I can learn from and teach to others so they can avoid the same pitfalls. Help me to use my time wisely, assisting in this manner, correcting those who need support, and continuing to grow in You as I go. Thank You for hearing my prayer. Amen.