Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter Ninety-one: Paul writes 1 Timothy - Part three   Restitution of All Things
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Chapter Ninety-one:

Paul writes 1 Timothy - Part three

                      THE NEW TESTAMENT

                         BIBLE STORY

                     Chapter ninety-one


                    PAUL WRITES 1 TIMOTHY

                         Part Three



CHAPTER FIVE

REWARDS FOR ELDERS

     We have come to verses 17-25. Paul says that the Elders or
those in functions of spiritual leadership and guidance in the
church, are to be given double respect. He has already outlived
to Timothy the basic qualifications for a man to be chosen as an
Elder or Overseer, and that we discussed when we studied chapter
three of this first epistle to Timothy.
     It could also well be that Paul here refers more than to
just "respect" as the Greek word can be understood, to physical
substance as well. It was not uncommon as we read the New
Testament to see that some Elders were supported by the members
of the church in the daily needs of this physical life. Most of
those full-time ministers probably did not get all that much in
the way of money and food to live on, hence Paul could say they
really should have double the amount. 
     Today, very few full-time ministers are in that situation.
Most churches who do pay for spiritual leaders to be employed
full time, give them a fair living for their service, in the
way of money, food, and lodging. The too often reality today is
that many of those full time men in the ministry, get paid WAY
MORE than they probably should, as some  live a physical life
style far beyond the average working man or family.

     Paul no doubt is, within the context, including the physical
pay for Elders as we see in verse 18 he gives the example of the
ox when it works, it was not to be muzzled so it could eat of the
physical crop, as it performed its work on the farm. He also
quotes from Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:14 (which Jesus
also taught was correct - see Matthew 10:10) that those who work
(in any trade or job) are worthy of a physical reward. The
laborer is indeed worthy of his reward (verses 17,18), or his
hire.

ELDERS THAT ARE TO BLAME

     Elders or spiritual leaders  who may have fallen into a
SERIOUS sin, are to have MORE than just one person bringing the
accusation. Such serious sins will no doubt be recognized by more
than one person, so Paul gives instruction that there be at least
two or three people bringing the accusation of the serious sins
of an Elder to other Elders. Paul also gives the overall general
position he takes, that such Elders correctly accused of serious
sins, be corrected and rebuked before ALL, the whole
congregation. 
     Such is the importance of the function of an Elder in the
church. The seriousness of the sin committed and rebuke before
all, would uphold the importance of those in the spiritual
oversight of a church, and also be a sobering reminder to other
Elders that they cannot practice serious sins, as if they are
beyond and above being openly corrected. Paul himself had to
openly rebuke Peter before all for a serious sin, as we have seen
when we went through the epistle to the Galatians.
     It is also a sad fact that some in the 20th century have
thought themselves above the law, and thought they were divinely
given the freedom to practice serious sins, while they held the
function of spiritual leader in their church organization.

     By ministers being rebuked before all for serious sins,
there would be a certain correct, and godly "fear" brought upon
all members of the church.

     Could there be a situation where an Elder is dismissed from
the ministry while his serious sins are not made public? Yes, I
suppose there could be that situation. Yet, as we know, human
nature is such that the sins of a man dismissed from the
ministry, can hardly ever be kept secret. They have a way of
being revealed to most if not all. I suppose the fact of not
being rebuked before all, would safe the Elder some public
embarrassment.

     It is also true that some sins of an Elder, while serious
enough to have given open rebuke before all, would not
automatically dismiss him from the function of church
minister. When Paul needed to rebuke Peter before all (as we read
in Galatians) it is obvious Peter repented of his sin and error,
and was able to continue in the ministry of Jesus Christ. There
is needed to be may factors taken into the whole situation and
context in dismissing an Elder from the ministry, which must take
into account the very nature of the sin. Peter's sin was a
"judgment" sin - a sin of partiality - agreeing with the
"theology" of an issue then not carrying through with it in
practice. Peter's sin was not a sin of "morality" per se. Hence
after being openly corrected and Peter seeing his error
and repenting, the church did not see his sin as one that
warranted his dismissal from the church ministry.

     Paul ends his thought and teaching reminding Timothy that
there was not to be any favoritism given to this or that man in
the ministry. Nothing was to be done with partiality. Just
because a man had been used mightily by God, such as Peter indeed
was, did not make that man above the overall and general just
practices of the church towards Elders who sin in one form or
another. The guidelines of correcting Elders were to apply to men
who had served for a long time or a short time. That was the
correct way of it all as far as Paul saw it, and we must remember
Paul was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit. His writings have
become part of the God breathed inspired text of the New
Testament (verses 19-21).

ELDERS CHOSEN

     Within the previous context, verse 22 and the laying on of
hands, would be in connection with choosing or ordaining Elders.
     Elders have to meet demanding qualifications as outlined by
Paul in the third chapter of this epistle to Timothy. Men who are
married and with children, have to prove through time they are
able to wisely and righteously lead and guide their family. They
can not be new converts to the Christian faith. They have to
prove they can teach correctly God's word to others. They have to
be well respected in their local community in their work and
interaction with their community. All this takes time to prove a
man is above a bad report. 
     In the Jewish society of Paul's time a man could not be in
the Priesthood until at least the age of 30. And we must remember
the Jewish society of that first century A.D. was in many ways
not at all like our modern society. Jewish boys were considered
adults at age 12, yes that is age 12. For young men and women NOT
to be married by the age of 18 was considered a family disgrace.
     So in that context the age of 30 was pretty old in Paul's
time. The word "elder" back then carried not only a spiritual
maturity with it, but also literal age.
     Paul did not believe in spiritual leaders of a congregation
being young by the standards of his age. Timothy may well have
been much younger than Paul, but he was probably over the age of
30, which was somewhat old in their society when young men
and women were commonly married before age 18.

     The words "neither be partakers of other men's sins" could
be connected with the previous instruction of not having young
men leading churches. If time is given for men to prove
themselves worthy of spiritual Eldership, it is likely they will
not fall into serious sins. Looking for spiritual leaders to lay
hands upon and have enter the ministry of Jesus Christ, is very
serious work, and surely no man or men want to make a mistake and
have great sinners turn up in the ministry. We all have sins but
the thought here of Paul is sins that bring scandal and shame of
the Church of Christ. Men brought into the ministry who have been
proved and tested over time, will go a long way in preventing
shameful scandal. It may not prevent it completely, but having
young men in the ministry who have not been given time to mature
in many different parts of their lives, will give Satan the
adversary much more ammunition to work his dark and deceivable
ways.
     If we are to take this last half of verse 22, by itself and
separate from the first half, then Paul was instructing Timothy
to be careful as he worked with and communicated with people. He
was not to allow himself to be taken in and end up being a part
of the sins of others. He was to keep himself pure in this
respect. Anything that gives the hint of being wrong that others
are doing we should stay clear away from. It is very important
that a minister of God be careful, watchful, circumspect, in all
his doings as he works with other people. He should give all
diligence to be NOT found tainted with the sins of other people,
and certainly not the scandalous sins of other ministers. Some
scandalous immoral sins of famous TV evangelists in the 20th
century, have brought shame on the Church of God. It ruined the
lives of those TV personalities, and other ministers could have
also been disgraced if they were in some way connected with those
sins of others.

WINE NOT GRAPE JUICE

     Verse 23 is interesting in a few ways. First, Timothy had a
stomach problem of some kind (which is not detailed), which
obviously Paul could not heal. The great apostle could do at
times many mighty miracles, but not all the time. Paul could not
heal in some miraculous way the problem with Timothy's stomach.
So, being able to do some miraculous miracles at some times, does
not guarantee you can do them all the time, or all kinds of
miracles. Paul could not, for whatever reason, heal Timothy of
his stomach sickness. He could though tell him that some wine
would help the problem. I guess we could say this knowledge was a
kind of miracle, God inspiring Paul to know that wine was
the answer for Timothy. Then again Paul knowing the specific
problem, he may have had experience with it all, from his past
years of life, and just knew the answer to the stomach
problem was a little wine.
     I can not see that "grape juice" would have done anything
for Timothy, as those opposed to wine or alcohol drinking would
have us understand it. 
     The truth of the matter is that the Jews in the first
century drank wine and other fermented beverages. It was a part
of their natural diet, as it was for many peoples from the lands
of the East. 
     It could be that Paul knew Timothy was not a wine drinker,
for whatever reasons, which we are not told, and that he had to
give him specific instructions to drink some wine for his often
stomach problem and infirmities.

SINS - GOOD WORKS - OPEN OR COVERED

     Paul in verses 24 and 25, is probably reminding Timothy, of
things that are  pretty common knowledge to anyone who has lived
for any length of time, and is rubbing shoulders with other
people in their daily lives. Some sins from some people are just
plain open for all to see and view, they  seem to be not bothered
by showing them in an open way. Then there are some people who
"put on a front" a very pretty picture to show to the world, and
so others just do not see any sin in them, small all large. Yet,
they may have sins hidden away so to speak, large sins, but well
covered over with the lovely picture they paint on themselves to
present to others. Often those sins do eventually come to the
surface, and people begin to find they were not the pretty
picture they presented to the world. If they do not come to light
in this life time, they certainly will in the day of judgment,
when the rewards are handed out. They may well be saved and be
given eternal life, their hidden sins not being unto eternal
death, but their reward from the Lord may not be as great as most
would have expected. Our sins will not be plastered all over the
universe, but our reward will tell somewhat of a story.  
     Likewise, the good work of some are very evident, open, for
all to behold. They are serving in this or that charity, helping
here and there, always doing some kind deed for those less
fortunate. You have no doubt met many of those kinds of
individuals, perhaps you are one of them. Nothing wrong with all
that good work stuff, not at all wrong. We need more people with
"good works" that are open for all to see, maybe then it would
catch fire in many other people to do the same. Paul is not
against "open good works" - not at all, he often commended people
in his epistles for their good works. He is just stating a fact
and then contrasting it for us to remember that some have good
works, but done in more private a way, yet, eventually even this
comes to surface. If not during the life of such people with
"hidden good works" then probably at their death or shortly
after. And if not then, at the judgment it will be evident, when
the Lord gives them a BIG reward, for all their good works, that
were mainly hidden form the eye of mankind, but not from the eyes
of God.
     
CHAPTER SIX

SERVANTS

     Those who are hired servants in one form or another are to
respect those they work for,  showing no respect would in Paul's
mind bring discredit on the very name of God, that the servants
were claiming as being their Father, and their God, in their
religious faith.
     Those servants who had believing employers, they were
certainly not to hold in any disrespect, for they were then all
brethren in the Lord, all partakers of God. Servants with
believing masters should then have an even deeper respect for
them, and give them more service if and when the opportunity
would warrant (verses 1-2).

     Paul told Timothy to teach and even exhort the instructions
he was giving him. Did Paul know that what he was instructing
Timothy was the oracles of God, the words of Christ? Yes, he did!
I suppose that being taught directly from Christ Himself (as we
have seen Paul said he was - see Galatians 1), would give you
full confidence that your instructions on the matters Paul
presented to Timothy, was the word of the Lord. So, Paul said
that if any man taught otherwise, and not to wholesome words and
the doctrines of Christ which was according to godliness, then
such a person was PROUD, KNOWING NOTHING. Such would be those who
would be arguing the semantics of words, always questioning this
and that, and such an attitude would yield only envy, strife,
arguing, and evil surmising, speculations and conclusions (verses
3-4).
     Paul pulled no punches here, he finishes his thoughts about
those who would argue that he was not inspired to bring these
instructions on how the Church of God should be governed, with
these words, "Perverse disputings of corrupt minds, and destitute
of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness, from such
withdraw yourself" (verse 5).
     Men who are only out to seek a following and perhaps
physical material gain, would be those with the mind-set that
Paul lays out in these verses. They will be willing go with the
flow of what the people desire, even of what other ministers (who
would be like themselves) want and are willing to compromise the
truth of God, for the gain and favor of men.
     On the other hand Paul thinking about what is true gain,
says that godliness with CONTENTMENT is great gain. If you are
doing and teaching the truth of the word of God, you will be
content, the appraise of men will mean nothing, what people can
give you in the way of physical goods, will not entice you to
compromise with the truth of God.
     The apostle reminds us that we entered this world with
nothing, and we shall carry nothing out of this world with us,
when we die. So he admonishes us to be content with food and
raiment, the basic needs of physical life. If we are living and
teaching the true word of the Lord, we can know God is on our
side, we are living this physical life the way the Father in
heaven wants His children to live, and that is indeed
contentment. And the end result, when glorified into the very
family of God, will be riches beyond our imagination (verses
6-8).

     Paul also reminds us that those who have a mind-set to
acquire the riches of this world, will fall into a snare and
temptations, into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which only
drown people into destruction, certainly spiritual destruction,
and in some cases physical ill-health.
     I once talked to a man who was caught up in "get rich"
schemes. He went off to a seminar and there they worked at how to
get rich for three full days, day and night, no sleep, just
worked through the whole three days without sleep, at how to "get
rich." He told me that that was nothing, as he once went on a
seminar for SEVEN DAYS, no sleep, just continuous seminar
meetings, day and night, on how to build a business to "get
rich." He looked at me quite seriously and said, "I want to be a
millionaire."
     Such a mind-set as the man above is NOT what the child of
God is to have. Such a goal and attitude of mind will destroy you
spiritually and can harm you physically as well. Think about
going for a whole seven days without sleep, and what it would do
to your body, which as Paul said in another epistle of his, is
the very Temple of God.

     Money is not evil of itself. Some of God's people down
through the centuries have been wealthy individuals, like Abraham
and Job, David and Solomon, but physical goods and money did not
consume their minds. But a mind having the wrong kind of love for
money is ONE (as the Greek reads) of the roots of all that is
evil. Some in Paul's day had become consumed with the love of
money and had erred from the faith, had fallen from the faith and
from the grace of God. They had pierced themselves through with
many arrows of sorrow. Many a materially rich person have found
that if they do not have God in their lives, with a correct
perspective on physical wealth, they end up with many sorrows.
     Wealth is not wrong or evil per se. It can be a great
blessing to use to serve and help others. If we find ourselves
physically wealthy, and we are God child, and we can keep the
correct attitude towards material wealth, then praise the Lord.
What a wonderful opportunity and gift we have been given, to use
our wealth to give and to serve others with it, to help proclaim
the Gospel of grace, salvation, and the Kingdom of God (verses
9-10).

PASTORAL AIMS

     Looking at all the wrong attitude of mind, Paul admonishes
Timothy to, "...flee these things; and follow after
righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,
whereunto you are called, and have professed a good profession
before many witnesses" (verses 11-12).
     Paul said he gave charge  for him on all the matters
discussed, before the sight of God and Christ Jesus, who did
witness before Pontius Pilate that He had a good profession of
doing what was righteous. Timothy was to keep the directions Paul
had instructed him on, without spot of corruption, unrebukeable
in conduct, right up to the very end, to the coming of Christ, if
He should come in Timothy's life time. God the Father would show
Him, Christ Jesus to the world once more, in His time plan, the
one who is Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who
only had immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can
approach.
     It makes little or no difference as to whether you think the
phrase "who only has immortality" refers to God the Father or to
Jesus Christ. The fact is as Jesus stated in the Gospels, He and
the Father are ONE!!  There is ONE God but that one God, or
Godhead, is made up of TWO Spirit Individual Beings, both with
immortality, dwelling in the light no man can approach. Both God
the Father and Jesus His Son, have immortality. No man has
immortality, only God. People are not born with an immortal soul.
     The light the Godhead dwells in no man can approach, no man
has seen, nor can see (verses 13-16).

     No man can approach the light of God's face and live (so God
Himself told Moses - Exodus 33:20), and this is probably what
Paul is referring to.  Because as we continue to see in Exodus
33, God did allow Moses to see His back parts, to see the glory
of His back parts, the light of glory as God is in the "spirit"
dimension. It was the glory of God's back parts that Moses was
allowed to see and NOT the glory of His face, for God had
indeed told him that no man can see the glory of His face and
live.

CONCERN FOR THE MATERIALLY  WEALTHY PEOPLE 

     Paul once more returns to admonish those in the church who
are materially wealthy. They were not to be high-minded, proud
and vain in their wealth. They were not to TRUST in uncertain
riches (that can be here today and disappear tomorrow for various
economic reasons, as those in the 1929 Stock Crash found out).
They were to TRUST in the Living God, who gives us so many riches
to enjoy, that are better than material wealth. Think about the
riches of being able to see and hear, walk and talk, smell and
taste and touch. To have good health is worth more than all
physical riches, as people with wealth but no health have often
found out.
     The wealthy in this world's goods were to do good, be rich
in good works, ready to give and distribute their wealth, willing
to be sociable and not snobbish or aloof with those not in their
wealth class. Certainly the rich in material goods have a
wonderful opportunity to use their wealth in helping others less
fortunate than themselves. There are so many good "charities" of
work out there to give to, the wealthy can help so many in
true need. 
     By so giving they would lay up for themselves a good
foundation against the time to come, when love and good works
would be the bottom line,  the main accountability as to what a
person has done with what they were given. Using wealth correctly
by those who have it, would also more importantly, be a good way
to lay hold on eternal life.
     As children of God we are all expected to use what we have
been given to work with to serve others. Our talents, abilities,
wealth of any kind,  God expects us to use. If we do not, we may
end up like the "unprofitable servant" of Matthew 25:30 and not
even obtain eternal life, but be cast out into outer darkness,
which is another way of saying, cast away from the light of God,
His presence, and eternal life (verses 17-19).

FINAL CHARGE

     Timothy was to KEEP that which he had been intrusted with.
He was to avoid profane and vain babblings, and the false
oppositions of a science, which was falsely called "science."
Some had already fallen victim to the false science of Paul's day
and had erred concerning THE faith (verses 20-21).

     There can be many types of vain babblings that the child of
God needs to avoid, as they walk through this unconverted world.
Some talk and discussions we need to walk if not run away from,
as they are not worthy to be entertained by the mind of the
Christian.
     There is a false science out there. The world puts forth the
teaching of evolution, the science behind it, being a false
so-called "science." And so it goes, with some other types of
that which is called "science" by those who ignore God and His
Word the Bible.
     We have the false science of the false ideas on how to rear
children, which one famous man (now dead) had a whole generation
of parents following. After 20 years he did have the courage to
tell the world he was wrong, and that his teachings had helped
rear a generation of rebellious, dysfunctional, disrespectful,
ill-mannered, young people. There have been the false "science of
foods and nutrition" over the past 30 years, which has led to a
generation of over-weight children and adults, and many other
physical health problems. Some have now openly condemned and
proved that particular "science" was false in many ways. The
science of cigarette smoking, once thought to be of no harm, has
been fully blow to bits as a false science. 
     Yes, you need to be aware that a lot of science maybe and
often is, a science falsely called so. Do not let that false
science cause you to wander and stray from THE faith which is in
God and His Word.

     The first epistle of Paul to Timothy - what a wealth of
instruction it is for every Christian and every Christian
minister and for all the Churches of God everywhere.

                  ........................

Written January 2006  


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