Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bible Study 1 Timothy 2 Praying & Roles of Men & Women in Church

Q1 What is the most important thing for men do and why?
  1. Praying - First of All (1Tim 2:1)
  2. For Who? 
    1. All People, everyone.
    2. In particular, for Kings (i.e. Government) and those in high positions (e.g. our leaders and bosses).
  3. Why?
    1. We may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly, and with dignity;v2:2
    2. so that the Gospel may be preached and all be saved.v2:4
    3. It is pleasing to God v2:3
note: there is no need to differentiate supplications, prayers, intercessions because in the original Greeks, there is no 'and' and the original meaning is essentially presenting the needs of the people/kings to and in the presence of God and with thank givings that our requests are heard and answered by God.

Q2 What is the Gospel? Is Christ the only way?

The Gospel is God saving all human beings through one mediator, the man Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom, appearing at the proper time.v2:4-6

There is only One God and One Mediator - Jesus Christ. There was no other mediator between God and men. John 14:6. New International Version (NIV). 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". 

Q3  What is the mission of Paul?
Paul was appointed a preacher, apostle, a teacher to the Gentiles(non-Jews) for the faith in Jesus Christ. v2:7

Q4  What is the main difficulty in the interpretation of the roles of man and woman in the New Testament?

In the Greek, the word for man can be used as the male-man and as husband. The word for woman can be used as the female and as wife. Hence, we must look at the context to see whether 'male or husband' and 'female or wife'. Here are the additional details:

1Ti 2:5  For there is one God,and one mediator between God and menG444, the man(G444) Christ Jesus

Thayer Definition:
Man G444 anthrōpos 1) a human being, whether male or female

1Ti 2:8  I will therefore that men(G435) pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.

Man G435 anēr
1) with reference to sex
    1a) of a male
    1b) of a husband
    1c) of a betrothed or future husband
2) with reference to age, and to distinguish an adult man from a boy

Woman G1135 gunē
1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow
2) a wife 2a) of a betrothed woman

I personally think that in this context, husband and wive are the better terms to use.

Q5  What should men/husbands do?
Paul was addressing man's tendency to fight by v2:8 telling us that husbands should pray by:
  1. lifting holy hands
    • dedicate the hands for good use rather than fighting with one another
  2. without anger or quarreling
Q6 What should women/wives do?
In the same way, Paul was addressing ladies' tendency towards outward beauty and ignoring inward beauty.
  1. pray too (likewsie in v2:9)
  2. adorn themselves respectably that reflect their godliness and not going for costly attire and jewelries. (But don't go to the other extreme of not even taking care of good appearance). The warning is not to overdo it externally.
  3. attitudes should be modesty, self-control, holiness, faith, love and submissive to their own husbands (i.e. not to any other men. Other men has no say over others' wives). v9,15.
  4. Women tend to be impressed and hence easily deceived by outward appearance as exemplified by Eve who saw the fruit was desirous.
  5. v15 could have many interpretations. Jesus was born through woman (Mary) to save the world is one interpretation. For me, it tells me that a wife becoming a mother will have greater wisdom and not be easily deceived. Mother has a different view and priority of life than a unmarried and a wife. However, no matter what the role and age, faith, love, holiness and self-control remain the good virtues.
Lim Liat copyrighted 30 July 2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bible Study 1 Timothy 1 The Charge of Work for Timothy

Q1  What background information can you share about this letter?
But checking out some commentaries and from the content of this letter, we know that 1&2 Timothy and Titus are the two pastoral epistles where Paul teaches his proteges Tim and Titus about how to run a church. For a study on Titus see  Building Great Church and Business.

For an organization to continue, we must raise up leaders to take over our responsibilities as we grow old and move on. That was what Paul was doing - training successors to continue the good work started.

Q2 What is the purpose of the letter?
The purpose can be seen in 1Tim1:3 to take charge of the work at Ephesus as Paul move on to other places. 1Tim 3:14-15 tells us more about how one ought to behave in the household of God.

Q3 What is the charge or job of Timothy? What to do and what not to do?
The key is to preserve the true gospel of grace (1Tim 1:11-12).
  1. The Positive Method: Hold on to (1:5,19)
    1. love from a pure heart
      1. Pure: no other motives like greed for money, self interests. 
    2. good conscience: no guilty conscience or accusations.
    3. sincere faith: not mere mental assent but living stewardship of faith and truth (1:4).
  2. The Things to Stop 
    1. Speculations, Myths and Genealogies - things not taught or explicit revealed by the Bible.
    2. Abuse and Misuse of Laws
      1. The purpose of Laws (1:8) is to reveal sin and trigger the need for the salvation by grace of God.
      2. The Abuse and Mis-use of Laws
        1. Legalism - using Laws to restrain and bind the just (1:9). For a specific example see 1Tim 4:1-3 abstain of foods and marriages. Using Sabbath Laws to stop Jesus from healing sick people.
        2. Antinomianism: Using grace as a license to sin.
  3. Disciplining the Rebellious. 1Tim 1:20. 
    • We don't know what Paul mean by handling them over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. Some said it could be sickness. But I can at least say it is not death else there is no need for them to learn. May be it could just be the consequences of their actions, and the withdrawal of God's protection, that brought them to repentance. (refer to Book of Job where Satan stole, kill and destroy Job's family and properties). 
    • Our job is to warm them if we detect wrong doings and if they refused to listen, we should hand them over to God for the right punishment and to sever our relationship with them.
Q4 What is the testimony of Paul? How does it relate to the present?
Paul was telling us that if he, the biggest sinners(a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent) against God and His people, can be saved, then anyone, no matter how big the sins, can be saved by God. (1Tim 1:12-16).
There is no excuse for us not to be saved by the love of God. Our badness could not be the reason for us to reject His salvation. It is only our unbelief and our pride. This rejection of the saving work of the Holy Spirit is the blaspheme against Him that could not be forgiven!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bible Study 2Peter 3 Discussion

Continuing from  Bible Study 2 Peter 3 Living in End-Times , the discussion is: 

a. watch out fro scoffers who would laugh at our teaching
b. God's delay of judgment is due to His love to have more people saved.
c. There is surely a judgment by fire coming to punish and remove the evils.
d. In the mean time, we are to prepare well for His coming.

Peter's world view on the creation and ending did not have the millennium of Revelation. Paul did not see that either. The key message of Peter is not about the absolute certainty of God's judgment on the evil, the wiping out and the establishment of a New Heaven and New Earth where only righteousness dwells. This is an answer and a warning to the false teachers and scoffers who claimed there is no God or God is not interested. 

Most people argued that if there were to be a God then He must be asleep or blind or cruel to allow the evil at the present. Peter told us that God will definitely punish the evil (he did with flood in the last time of Noah and will do with fire in future) and is not slow in coming. It is just that God wants as many to be saved as possible, there seems to be a threshold that will trigger the 2nd coming. God timing could be long 1 day as thousand years or could be sudden 1000 years as one day.

Some asked why the wait. Isn't there more people being borne and going to hell than going to heaven. Perhaps, we can say that God only count those that are saved. Or may be if you take the view that children before age of accountability will go to heaven. 

Nevertheless, we just have to trust God and do our part in the mean time. 

We are in fact to hasten the coming of God. Christ 2nd coming could be  hastened by us in the work of bringing more souls into heaven. Jesus did shared that a sign of of His coming will be the gospels being preached to the rest of the world. 

Preparation for His Coming
The mind map below summarized how we should prepare: