I Timothy 1:8 The Law is Good
“And we know that the law is good....” Then following verse eight Paul instructs Timothy concerning the right use of the law (particularly the ten commandments). Because we are conscientiously wary of its wrong use, we may react negatively with regard to the moral law. As meateaters we know that salvation is al of grace and works will justify no-one (Gal.2:16). We, who are no longer under the law nor its tutelage (3:25), we who have been justified by faith, may have a tendency to forget that it has a purpose to serve.
Here is a good test. As one of our Bible school-masters used to say at the beginning of every class, “take a small piece of paper” and then he would proceed to give us a quiz. Now, write, in order, the ten commandments. You can check your work from Exodus chapter twenty....but no peeking beforehand! Those who got less than 70% right must go to the board and write them out in in order 50 times! (Aren’t you glad that you are no longer in school! I am!)
Probably when we look at the verses following our text we will think of a bunch of hardened criminals behind bars in some penitentiary, but not necessarily. Among these more obviously crimes against humanity are some crimes, less conspicuous but which also are “contrary to sound doctrine” (v.10) and yet are very important in light of James 2:10, (please check this our). How about “disobedience” and being “liars”?
Finally, one very important use of the law is in the training of children. Parents must not teach their children to obey because they say so, but because God says so! Let us point to God’s law as the standard that shows us we are sinners in great need of His saving grace.
I Timothy 2:8 Exhortation to Men
Being the .... I was going to say coward but instead I will say diplomat, that I am, I will not choose to sally forth in commentating on verses nine to fifteen where Paul exhorts Timothy regarding the women in his congregation, but, perhaps saving that til a later time, and to the pleasure of the ladies in our audience, we will speak to the men today.
Verse eight is addressed to the males since in the Greek the definite article is used. This is important first of all because, it is feared, men too often leave the business of prayer to the females of the congregation.
Paul is here addressing the need for men to be leading the public worship ( in keeping with verse 12). Wuest in the “Greek New Testament” says that the lifting of hands in prayer is not spoken to “enjoin a particular gesture appropriate to prayer.” He says that the raising of hands was more of an Oriental gesture and that the words were used here in place of repeating the word pray. Certainly, however, as we have expressed in the past, there is nothing wrong with following that inclination as long as it is a sincere expression of the heart.
The most important thing, I believe, to be said here is to encourage men to be leaders in their assemblies with regard to prayer. Men, if you find this to be difficult, ask the Lord (and even your pastor) for help. To neglect this duty is to obviously disobey the clear teaching of Scripture, to say, nothing of missing the blessing involved. Of course, to avoid hypocrisy and other pharisaical errors a man must have a regular personal prayer life as a preparation to leading publically. Let it be so.
I Timothy 3:1 Bishops
All pastors are bishops but not all bishops are pastors of a church as we generally
conceive of them. A bishop is the same as an elder and all local churches need as many of them as the Lord makes available. The word elder in Greek is different from the word bishop but we see them being used interchangeably, for example in this epistle (5:17) elders are spoken of as ruling in assembly and Titus (1:5) speaks of ordaining them. These terms are usually found in the plural forms and would seem to indicate that there are always more than one in any assembly. (Example: James 5:14).
Make no mistake, bishops are never seen in Scripture as exercising an office over other pastors as is commonly seen in some denominations. In the New Testament each local assembly is seen to be independent.
What is on my heart when I read this passage is the concern that men in our local assemblies “desire” this office. Every church needs men in addition to the pastor who will lead in teaching the word and in prayer (Acts 6:4) and it should be the desire of every pastor to gather such men around him to help him with the care of the flock. Let pastors seek to train such men as qualify for this office and let good men prioritize their time to become students of the Scripture in order that they might be prepared for the task. Also, let churches that are structured to have one pastor and a board of deacons ( and sometimes trustees) study this subject and if found wanting be courageous enough to restructure to conform to the Scriptures.
Men, if there is no provision in your church for your filling this role, pray about it and in the meantime be a bishop unofficially.
I Timothy 4: 6 Good Doctrine
You may note that a key word in this epistle is the word doctrine. It is found eight times translated by this English word, three of them in this chapter. The word is a basic one coming from the verb to learn and it simply refers to the teaching necessary to learning. The doctrines of the church are its teachings and without them there can be no learning of the truths it represents. Let us, therefore, not be afraid of the word but rather be concerned that the teachings which we adhere to are indeed sound (1:10). How may we be sure?
The answer to that question is found in Acts 17:11 where we read of the believers at Berea who, it is said, “received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” In other words, we are obliged to measure what we are taught by the standard of what the Bible teaches. The problem is that there is a great deal of teaching in the Bible and how are we to know what it teaches unless we make it our business to study it that we might be classed with the noble Bereans? We probably will not and may find ourselves as immature believers “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14).
Unfortunately, there are brothers and sisters who maintain that doctrine isn’t important. What really matters is that we love the Lord. To such we say, if you really love the Lord you will study His word to know what He thinks and you will seek to obey what you read. We should compare Scripture with Scripture and formulate our doctrine after carefully determining that it is supported by the whole counsel of God in His Word (II Tim. 2:15). It goes without saying that we should belong to a church that is sound in doctrine.
I Timothy 5 Responsibilities in the Assembly
I believe we would have to say that the injunctions regarding widows given in this
chapter relate to conditions that existed in the church in apostolic times and would not have a bearing on our assemblies today. It is obvious that under those early conditions the church had taken it upon themselves to support financially the widows of men in the assembly who had probably been martyred for their faith. The widows indeed were distinguished from those who had relatives that could care for them and from those who did not meet certain spiritual qualifications. Some of the younger widows by their actions may not have been saved.
On the other hand, the instructions by Paul to Timothy concerning elders seem appropriate. That the honoring of elders who “rule well” involved financial considerations is evident from verse eighteen.
Because of the fact that we have an enemy who would like nothing better than to destroy the leadership of a local assembly through gossip or other types of false accusation, the prohibition in verse nineteen is well taken as being appropriate for the churches today. The story of the campaign against Moses by Miriam and Aaron comes to mind (Numbers 12) and we are reminded that God counted it as worthy of His immediate personal intervention. I like the words also in 11:1 where, when the people complained, it says “the Lord heard it.” I’m certain that He especially has His ear cocked for any words we speak against elders, so beware!
The “fathers,” “mothers” “sisters” and “brothers” of verse one and two go to make up the hundreds of such relatives we gain as we become members of the Body of Christ (Mark 10:30).
I Timothy 6:6 Contentment
There is perhaps no more important subject to consider from this chapter than that having to do with money. I am certain that we who live in the present materialistic age have no idea how much our thinking is governed by money. Compared with the average Christian of Timothy’s day we as modern believers are so encompassed with a wealth that would, as they say, completely blow the mind of any believer who might be beamed forward to the present. Computers, televisions, cellular phones, automobiles, power equipment, digital devices, all possessions of just about every Christian I know testify to the affluence of our society today, and these are the things we think we can’t live without to say nothing of campers, snowmobiles, four- wheelers, boats, ice augers, metal detectors, etc. etc. The interesting thing is that when we read verse nine we are certain that the “rich” refers to those who have far more than we do.
I guess that what we have to say is that it is not riches in themselves that are wrong, but the constant desire to have more. It is the love of money and the things that it buys that is forbidden here (I hope). Each of us must decide the difference between what we need to exist comfortably in our society and what is extravagance above and beyond our needs. Certainly the admonition to contentment is to be taken literally by us all. Too, we should pray to be kept from the temptation and snare that desiring more than we really need might bring upon us.