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1 Timothy

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Easy And Hard Choices

1 Timothy 5:11-15 

Widowhood in youth is a dreadful experience and very hard to bear.  Alas, through wars, disease, and famine, it is still a common experience all over the world, as many of our international readers may know personally.  Its grief is savage.  But the heartache is fully understood by God whose Son’s death was so dreadful.  The sense of abandonment, which Jesus expressed, used the first words of Psalm 22:1-2, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?  My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find

Godly Lifestyle Choice

1 Timothy 5:16

Jesus said that poverty is everywhere (John 12:8).  The pressure on the Ephesian church to meet the needs of bereaved people who had no family support was enormous.  There was a strong apostolic teaching to care for widows and orphans (Galatians 2:10; James 1:27) as an expression of God’s compassion for the poor (Deuteronomy 15:11).  

Responsible Support

1 Timothy 5:17-18

Paul had been writing about how the Ephesian church should make decisions about supporting people who had no income, and especially widows (1 Timothy 5:3-16).  He then turned to church elders who were unable to earn a living because of the demands of church leadership and especially the work of explaining God’s Word.  As the church expanded throughout the Roman Empire they encountered travelling sophists (philosophers who spoke well in public) who commanded a good income.  By contrast, Paul and his apostolic team did not ask for money; instead they worked as tent-menders in local markets (A

Protect Leaders And The Truth

1 Timothy 5:19-20

The church has always been under attack.  One of the most effective ways to weaken God’s work is to demolish its leadership, as Nehemiah’s enemies attempted to do (Nehemiah 6:1-9).  In the same way, Paul said that elders in the church need protection.  It is very easy for accusations to be made against them, especially when the leader stands in the way of somebody’s personal or spiritual agenda.  The most obvious example was when Jesus was falsely accused and put to death.  Likewise Stephen, who told the truth but angered the judges who then murdered him (Acts 7:51-60).

No Favourites

1 Timothy 5:21

Every culture has its ways of ‘getting round the system’.  Favouritism is displayed in many ways: arranging jobs and housing, direct and indirect bribery and supporting things which are wrong for the sake of family or other honour.  That was certainly true in 1st century Ephesus, despite all the efforts of the Roman Empire to ensure fair and just systems of taxation and personal rights.  Corruption was normal but those who followed Jesus should march to a different drumbeat.  James, the half-brother of Jesus, condemned favouritism which covered up spiritually corrupt practices in the church

Wisdom Does Not Hurry

1 Timothy 5:22-25

In the New Testament, “laying on of hands” is the expression used for appointing people to spiritual office in the church and for mission.  The ‘hands’ were those of the apostles or existing elders who prayerfully agreed that a person had been selected by God for a particular work of ministry.  Paul and Barnabas were publicly recognised as missionaries in this way (Acts 13:1-3), and Timothy was recognised as a future church leader (1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6).  The physical act physically signified God’s anointing and empowering for service.  It was an act of commissioning.   As the chur

Godliness In The Workplace

1 Timothy 6:1-2

Slavery was common in Ephesus; it was part of the social framework.  But the apostles were not commissioned to condemn the slave trade, any more than they were to criticise the Roman occupation.  Their work was to preach the crucified and resurrected Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:23).   This does not mean that Christians today are wrong to campaign against slavery, but the apostles' priority then was to advertise Jesus.  

False Hearts Produce False Teaching

1 Timothy 6:3-5

False teaching is everywhere.  It is easily produced and absorbed by ungodly hearts; it is easily available online, in social media and even in churches.  Some people are misguided, others are malicious.  Apart from the obvious link between belief and behaviour, teaching is false … if it does not agree with the teaching of Jesus and the apostles.  Paul wanted Timothy to look out for false teachers and keep them away from God’s flock.  He said that false hearts would exhibit false motives, which is often evident even before the person starts to teach.

Contentment Is Godly

1 Timothy 6:6-8

God is never restless or frustrated.  On the other hand, sinful human beings are inclined either to strive for what they have not got or be dissatisfied with what they have.  After having exposed false teachers whose godless beliefs matched their callous, greedy and self-centred behaviour (1 Timothy 6:3-5), Paul draws a pen-picture of the attitude of the godly teacher.  The closer people get to God, the more content they are.  Like weaned children who are content near to their mother, true believers feel most at home with their heavenly Father (Psalm 131:1-2).  Their contentment is not the

The Trap Of Loving Money

1 Timothy 6:9-10

Many people believe that if they have more money, they will be happy and free from problems.  That is a lie!  The lust for money traps some people into a way of living which converts their dangerous desires into the destruction of their integrity, family, friends, career, reputation and even their lives.  Money itself is not the root of all evil (as some have misquoted); but the love of money propels people into an infinite variety of wicked thoughts, words and actions in order to achieve their desire and they trust themselves and despise the Lord.