2 Timothy 1:17

Thursday, 15 March 2018

…but when he arrived in Rome, he sought me out very zealously and found me. 2 Timothy 1:17

Still speaking of Onesiphorus of the previous verse, Paul continues to relay the remarkable nature of the faithful brother. He had come to Rome, an exceptionally large city, and he had searched out Paul. Unlike his first captivity, where he was kept in a house with a guard (see Acts 28:16), he was probably now confined in a prison. In order to find him, he would have had to go to each prison and ask if he was there. Paul also may have been kept in some other place related to state prisoners, rather than a common prison. No matter, there had to be a lot of asking around. As Paul says, “he sought me out very zealously.”

Paul knew the amount of trouble that Onesiphorus must have gone through in order to find him, and his heart must have been overjoyed when he came in and gave a brotherly Christian greeting. Imagine the questions! Imagine the joy! And for Onesiphorus, imagine the relief! The quality of Onesiphorus’ faithfulness is set in stark contrast to those who knew Paul, knew where he was, and yet abandoned him. Take normal life, add in a bit of trial or trouble, and what is the standard result? It is normally a parting of the ways and a, “Best wishes to you.” Onesiphorus was not such a person.

Life application: How caring are you about those who are down and out? Are you there for hospital visits? Are you there for the good times and the bad? How strong your ties are depends on how willing you are to expend yourself for them. And that takes advanced planning and conviction that you will stand fast and be true. God could have left us all captives, and it would not have changed His lot one little bit. But He didn’t just care and speak comforting words. Rather, He came to our prison and took our place in our deserved execution. Think about that as your fellow Christian sits alone and miserable.

Lord God, the world is one large prison, and its inmates are all under the sentence of death. It would not change who You are at all to allow us to receive our just due. But instead, You sent us letters of encouragement, promising to come visit. And then You came, visited, consoled, and even accepted our sentence of execution – in our place! You have set the captives free. How willing are we to act in a similar manner toward our fellow men when they are in their own place of trouble and trial? Give us compassionate hearts to empathize with those who still need freedom from the sentence they bear. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:21

Monday, 26 February 2018

by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.
Grace be with you. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:21

This is referring to the “idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” of the previous verse. People are so very easily misdirected. Some things which they are misdirected by will not cause them to stray from the faith, but they will put a wall up between other believers. And some things will cause them to completely stray from the faith of the pure gospel of Christ. The list of aberrant teachings that people hold to which have nothing to do with the gospel is long. And yet, these things are placed on an unhealthy level of importance. Most adherents of them have no idea why they even believe the doctrine. They were simply told it was true by an idle babbler, and they accepted it.

Others get caught up in strange doctrines which cause them to completely take their eyes off of Christ. This is especially so with people who watch too many YouTube videos on conspiracies. It becomes garbage in, garbage out. Instead of reading the Bible, they focus on that which is wholly unimportant, having nothing to do with a relationship with Christ, or adhering to the gospel. In effect, they have “strayed concerning the faith.”

This is Paul’s final warning before closing, and so it is an important point to remember. We are to hold to sound doctrine; not get caught up in aberrant teachings; and fix our eyes, our hearts, and our attention on Christ Jesus. Paul’s words would tell you to stand fast on the gospel, read your Bible constantly, and study to show yourself approved before God.

Paul then closes with, “Grace be with you. Amen.” Grace is unmerited favor. It cannot be earned. Paul would have Timothy, and indeed all who read this letter, understand that God is gracious and He indeed will bless His people with grace. In order for that to happen, they need to stand fast on that which is sound and reasonable. The entire letter has been given with this in mind. To depart from its precepts is to put up a wall between oneself and God. Allow God’s grace to be with you by adhering to His word. The word “Amen” means, “truth” or “so be it.” This is Paul’s petition for Timothy and for all of God’s people. May it be so.

Life application: It is so very easy to be misdirected by that which is unsound. May we focus our minds on God’s word, be reliable in pursuing it and applying it to our lives, and may we not allow people who have unhealthy agendas to sway us from a close and personal relationship with our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Lord God, help us to be attentive to Your word, and to not get distracted by things which are unsound. There are so many odd teachings in this world which have nothing to do with godliness, sanctification, and a pursuit of Your word. These things will only misdirect us, cause divisions between ourselves and other believers, and result in our walk being unstable. They may even cause us to stray from the faith completely. Keep us from such things, O God. Be with us and protect us as we live out our lives in a manner which is pleasing to You. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:20

Sunday, 25 February 2018

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 1 Timothy 6:20

What we probably have in this verse, and the next, are words penned personally by Paul. Normally, a scribe was used to write as he spoke out his thoughts. Although mere speculation, the very personal nature of this verse probably indicates that Paul has picked up the pen in order to show his personal love and care for Timothy.

Whether this is correct or not, the feeling is transmitted either way by the use of the injection and name, “O Timothy!” From there, Paul will introduce six words into the Bible in this one verse, two of which are found only here. He begins the thought with, “Guard what was committed to your trust.” This speaks of the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

This was committed to him by the laying on of hands. He is being implored to protect this message, teach it properly, continue in sound doctrine, speak against false gospels, and so on. Everything which will ensure that the proper message of Jesus Christ – His Person and His work which is relayed – is to be guarded. It has been entrusted to Him, and so even more than someone would guard the greatest chest of treasures, so Timothy is instructed to guard this sacred possession.

Paul then says, “avoiding the profane and idle babblings.” The word “profane” is bebélos. It is an adjective which describes a threshold to enter a building. Thus it signifies either improper or unauthorized access. It is then equated to anyone who is unfit to access God because they approach Him in a manner which is improper. They lack faith, and they speak of Him in this capacity. Paul would have Timothy shut the door on such perverse people so that they would have no access into the congregation of the saints.

The word translated as “idle babblings” signifies that which is called out, but has no merit. If a cock crows, in the middle of the night, it isn’t doing anyone any good. Instead, it is simply an annoyance. He is of better use in a meal than he is as a herald of the day’s dawning. Paul implores Timothy to avoid people that would proclaim a vain gospel. They are to be silenced rather than listened to.

Next he says, “and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge.” The word “contradictions” is the Greek is the word antithesis. It has since carried on directly into our English language. It is a proposition advanced by one party against another. In this case, there is the true gospel which Timothy possesses, and there is that which is false, and which is proposed against the truth of Christianity. Paul describes this using two words, the first indicating “under a false name,” and the second which describes knowledge, doctrine, or wisdom.

In other words, it is speaking of anything which opposes the message of Christ, and which would contradict it. Christianity has nothing to fear from science. For example, God is the author of all scientific principles, and therefore, any supposed science which opposes the Bible will be found incorrect, and it should be avoided. Doctrines such as evolution, big bang cosmology, gnosticism, religious pluralism, and on and on, are opposed to what the word of God proclaims. It is not wrong to understand these things, and in fact, one cannot argue against them unless they understand them. But they are to be avoided in application into our belief system. What we apply to our walk with the Lord is to be based on what the Lord proclaims in His word.

Life application: If we claim to be followers of the Lord, we are to seek out only the truth in the world around us, and then apply that truth to our lives. If the Bible is the word of God, then nothing that we encounter will ever contradict its precepts. And so we are to stand on the truth of Scripture, even when the rest of the world says otherwise. Our faith in what God proclaims must be above all else. Having said that, we cannot insert our own improper interpretation of what the Bible states into our beliefs. The sun does not revolve around the earth, and the Bible never proclaims this. We must rationally evaluate the evidence of the world around us, knowing that it, and the Bible, will always come to harmony in what it proclaims.

Heavenly Father, Your word says certain things which many supposed specialists today claim are not correct. We are told You created man; they say we evolved. There is a conflict between the two. Are we to believe You, or are we to believe those who claim Your word is wrong? Where is our faith? Help us to accept Your word and to search out the world from a biblical perspective first and foremost. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:19

Saturday, 24 February 2018

…storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:19

This continues verse 18 which is dealing with “those are rich in this present age.” Taken together they read, “ Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”

In doing those things prescribed in verse 18, the rich will then be “storing up for themselves a good foundation.” A foundation is the base of a structure. Jesus is called the foundation of the church in 1 Corinthians 3:11. Then in Ephesians the foundation is called “the apostles and prophets,” meaning the word which speaks of Jesus, and Jesus is the very cornerstone of the foundation. The importance of Christ to the church then is that He is the fundamental base of everything else. For the rich – when they do good, are rich in good works, are ready to give, and are willing to share – they then lay “a good foundation for the time to come.”

This is speaking of the life ahead, not a needy time in this life which may arise. It is a foundation for their eternal existence which begins with the judgment seat of Christ where “each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul specifically describes the works of this age and how they will be viewed in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. There he says –

“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

This is what Paul is referring to now in his letter to Timothy. The rich in this life have choices concerning what they will do with the money entrusted to them. Will it be used for this life, temporary and fleeting as it is, or will it be used for gaining true riches in heaven? Paul’s words implore the rich to think this through so that “they may lay hold on eternal life.”

The word “eternal” here is found in some manuscripts. In others it says “truly.” In other words, “lay hold on that which is truly life.” If “truly” is correct, the meaning is obvious. This life is only a preparation for what lies ahead. Thus, “worldly riches” would be contrasted with “true riches.” If “eternal” is correct, it doesn’t change the doctrine of salvation by grace apart from works, which is defined elsewhere. Rather, as John Gill states it, “not by way of merit, but as the free gift of God, which the riches of grace give a title to, and a fitness for; and which shall be laid hold upon, and enjoyed by all that seek the true riches.”

Life application: What are you storing up your riches for? The Bible asks you to stop and consider this now. Eternity is a really long time.

Lord God, help us to be good and kind to others as their needs arise. Though it is prudent to save our money in this life, and Your word even tells us to save for our children’s children, help us not to make this the only goal of our few years here. Rather, along the way, grant us opportunities to tend to others with our money, and then spur us on to do so with an open hand of grace, expecting nothing in return. May we thus be pleasing people in Your sight. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:18

Friday, 23 February 2018

Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share 1 Timothy 6:18

The final words of the previous verse said that it is God “who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” Paul’s words now follow directly on that with. The obvious intent is that because it is God who has given all things for us to enjoy, we should find pleasure in sharing the good we have been blessed with. In fact, it should be the greatest joy for those who have been so blessed, to then be willing to share what they have received. Paul does not directly say this now, but it is implied in how he is structuring his words. Further, as will be seen in a moment, it is something Jesus explicitly taught.

First, Paul says, “Let them do good.” Numerous verses support this notion of doing good, but Galatians 6:10 is a sufficient verse to support the idea –

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

There, Paul noted, “especially the household of faith.” By sharing one’s material blessings with other believers, a person will keep from being haughty, as he previously warned. He next explains what “doing good” means. First, he says “that they be rich in good works.” He uses the same word here that he used in verse 9 concerning “those who desire to be rich.” The contrast is obvious. One who is truly rich is one who is rich in good works. Instead of self-gratification, he is one who blesses others and stands approved before God.

Next he says, “ready to give.” This means that the person with wealth should have the ability to share his wealth at any time. He should be looking for opportunity to arise where he can suddenly reach out and assist. United with that is the next thought, “willing to share.” This is a similar, but stronger, word. It signifies that the person should actually receive enjoyment by sharing with others. In other words, he should rejoice at the chance to share, and in the opportunity to do so when it arises.

Life application: Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It is not always natural for those who have wealth to share it, but as one gives, it becomes natural and even enjoyable. Having said this, there is always the need to share properly. Giving away money, time, or ability takes discernment. Some people are leeches; some people ask but don’t need; some people will use what they are given inappropriately. The one who gives must use discernment, but must also not use that as an excuse to not give. There are ample opportunities to give, and there are many great needs when one looks around.

Lord God, as all things we possess came from You, help us to be willing to share what we can with others. And yet, help us to be discerning about those we give assistance to. Let us not be used by those who aren’t willing to tend to themselves, or to give to those who will waste what they receive, or even to give when no true need exists. As the things we have came from You, we should certainly consider that we are responsible to You for what we do with that which we possess. Give us wisdom and discernment in this, O God. Amen.