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!

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