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1 Timothy 1:3 April 15, 2009

Posted by Tim in Uncategorized.
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As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine,

I have never noticed something about this verse before: Paul is not seeking to remove these mistaken teachers, merely to adjust them, train them up. With that in mind, this verse fits perfectly well at the start of this letter, which is to the young and inexperienced Timothy, who is now out on a limb, leraning how to teach and lead the hard way.

That is not to say that all wrong teachings and leadership were the same. Paul will in short order address two men he has “handed over to Satan”. But here he is speaking of teachers who are swerving into differenct doctrines, and rather than expel or sideline them, he wants them corrected.

I feel a key element here is “certain persons”. Paul – and Timothy – knows these teachers personally. This is less about protecting the doctrine of Christ and the health of the Church as it is about the personal edification of those who have been appointed to teach. Teachers have a natural inclination toward exploring curiousities in their field, both to snag the attention of the audience and for their personal engagement. But Paul warns about that here, and soon will lay down the goal, the measure by which we judge teachers and their doctrine.

Another interesting aspect, related to this, is the indication that Paul already had urged Timothy to act on this matter. Either Timothy had failed to obey, had tried and failed, or maybe had not had a chance to begin and Paul recognized his need for encouragement. The occasion for this letter is the personal encouragement of a leader so that the local Body might benefit. It admits triply upfront, twice here and subtly in “mercy” in vs 2, that Church leadership is frail and prone to mistakes – both lifestyle and in their teaching. Neither automatically disqualifies them. Rather, it qualifies them for encouragement and growth, the provision of God’s mercy and grace.

1 Timothy 1:2 April 15, 2009

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To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul always greeted with ‘grace and peace’  – except in his letters to Timothy where he adds mercy. Why?

Later in the chapter he explains that he was shown mercy to demonstrate to other the patience of God.

So often I view God’s personal working as for my benefit – both for my personal growth and so that I would see more of his glory. But God does not intend that. His activity in our lives is intended to testify to all who believe and will believe. He works toward and in us as the Body, as well. Timothy’s church, it seemed, needed to see that God was indeed merciful.

1 Timothy 1:1 April 14, 2009

Posted by Tim in Life in Christ.
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I’ve been crawling through the book of 1 Timothy lately, taking a verse and journaling. Then yesterday I was reading some old blogs from college and was encouraged by what I had written then. So I’m going to try to put down my thoughts here, too. Pomp over. Let’s begin.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

Christ Jesus, our hope.

I see two things in Christ Jesus to find hope in. Perhaps they are best summed up as “Christ” and “Jesus”.

Christ – he is God, and our deliverance. In this world of temptation, attack, and despair, he is Lord and the provider of ways out. And in the ultimate, he will deliver us from our enemies with finality, as he returns and conquers all and makes a new heaven and a new earth.

But the second is more profound for me. He is Jesus – the perfect man. John expressed such hope like this: “When he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” That secure promise of absolute redemption is the foundational hope of the life of the believer: the quest for righteousness will not be in vain, and in fact will be achieved by God himself.

Yet that hope applies today, as inwardly we are renewed day by day. Jesus is more than a Savior: he is our example, our big brother. Through love the Father is disciplining us to take on that perfection, replacing and renewing the fallen Adam with the abundant life of the new Adam. And the goal – the hope – is not some arbitrary or relative righteousness. It is the Son.

What is writing? February 28, 2009

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After many months, I’ve decided to resurrect this blog. I have been continuing (and will continue) to post on my new blog, dedicated to my life in Russia. But over the last month I’ve been more and more wanting to write, and write things that don’t belong there.

I’ll begin with this, something I journaled out a few months ago:

What is writing? Writing is the crafting of language into a vessel for the soul. Each language offers its own tools and instruments, but the cry of men’s hearts strike the same notes through all time. Writing is the searching out, the discovery of the precise pockets of words that will capture the sounds of man’s cry and resonate eternally. Good writing maintains the tone through the medium of ink and pages. Great writing magnifies and clarifies, it makes the notes more brilliant, the soul more spoken than if language had not interfered. But the masterful writing crafts an instrument that is transformed by the cry. The words and structures so deeply harmonize that the writing ceases to be a tool and becomes an extension of the man. It does not merely broadcast a message, it expands the boundaries of the very man. And so we have our giants, who need no resurrection to grip us and demand we listen to their soul. And some have imparted to writing a living being, so infused with themselves that their body of words breath independently. Legions still wrestle with Shakespeare, crowds still ask Fitzgerald: ‘what is youth?’ Why? It is not as simple as study or appreciation. Their soul is so preserved in the cloistered echo-chambers of their writing that they yet take in questions, and answer. They spot the passive observer and entice him with a riddle. They seal their lips for the haughty inquirers.

Writing is Prometheus’ fire. But a vapor, it is an immortality the gods cannot assail. It is not the notes of the song. It is what makes it a song.

As always, I invite your comments.

Words October 1, 2008

Posted by Tim in Uncategorized.
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I deeply desire to write right now.  I need to.  I have so many thoughts bouncing around on everything I can think of.  But the vagueness of an online audience cannot satisfy.  I want to be the letter-writing sort.  But I want a conversation, not just a victim.