A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
Chapter 4 of this letter is filled with advice for Paul’s protege. The presence of people who spread deceptive teaching and a legalistic spirit should be expected because it will be a characteristic of the later times. The teaching appears to be similar to what would later be called Gnosticism and includes the idea that the material world is evil and to be shunned. In opposition to this Paul points out the everything God created is good and nothing is to be rejected.
True godliness is found in a focus on Christ and the rejection of myths superstitions. Such a focus requires exercise and effort but is worth it given the eternal nature of the life to which God calls us. We are to put our hope in the living God and nowhere else.
Paul also encourages Timothy not to be self-conscious of his young age. The concern is not that Timothy assert himself but that he see himself as an example of godly life and live accordingly. His gift of leadership has been confirmed by the elders of the church and is to be faithfully used in Christ’s service. The requirement for effectiveness is always the same: diligence and commitment.
Chapter 4 contains advice regarding relationships and the role of widows and elders in the church. Any correction needed should be given in a spirit of humility and love with a desire to encourage not judge. Widows have a special role to play in the on-going work of the church – particularly as they support and encourage younger women with less experience. The elders who lead in the church should be both honored and financially supported. They should also be protected from slander because in the case of their rebuke it must be public.
Additional advice includes a caution against ordaining anyone too quickly to office, an encouragement to use available remedies to avoid illness, and an encouragement to good deeds.
Chapter 6 deals with slaves, controversy, the love of many & a final charge to Timothy. Slaves are not encouraged to revolt against their masters but to see them as in need of salvation and to live in such a way as to give them opportunity to see and respond to it. Malicious, quarrelsome talk and attraction to controversy are to be avoided.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain!” It is better to be satisfied with what we have than to seek to have more. The desire for wealth and the focus on it can damage our lives in many ways and should be avoided. Wealth itself is not condemned: it is the love of money which is the root of all evil.
As you consider your own life, what motivates you? Is it the love you have for God? Is it a desire to get ahead? Are you driven by a need to impress others? As human beings who know God’s love we can (and do) experience all of these motivations. Paul’s encouragement to us is that we make every effort to mostly focus on our relationship with God, it’s ultimate value in our lives and the opportunity it gives to share His love with the world.
How might you do that today? Think about it . . . then DO SOMETHING about it!
A. Eugene Pearson 2013