Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Tag Archives: 1 Timothy

The only way is KJV

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The only way is KJV

1st Timothy 1:3 (ESV) As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, 4 nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

I love this…

I am sure you get sick of reading the words “I love this part of scripture” & must wonder if I do really love all I write about. The honest answer is for the most part I do. I am not a fan of the confrontation that Christian blogs attract. (Regrettably often times it is friendly fire from those within our own camp)

I speak of such things as I am reminded of a post I did on this blog that was repeated from an earlier blog that I had done. I had written a post that was on,  what I thought to be,  a non-inflammatory topic that was called “Which version of the Bible was the best?”

Ding, ding, offended bus stops here

I had no idea the views that this post would generate! The link was shared by those already aboard the offended bus (some had yearly passes)

Let me let my bias out here from the beginning,  I love the KJV, of course I do, it was dedicated to a Scotsman! But in my formative years I only knew of the King James version. It is what I grew up reading and I only ever found out there was a “different bible” around the age of 14 when a friend of mine gave me a NIV for Christmas. 

Treating the Word of God with due respect

I love the Word of God,  however,  we as humans turn things that are meant to point us to God and make them gods themselves.

I believe in giving the bible the due respect it deserves, that the words that quite literally jump of the page are life changing and have the ability to transform lives, however it is not a god. 

Why KJV?

The current version of the King James bible I have was given to me by a friend, he was investigating Messianic Judaism at the time and was very vociferous about the only translation worth trusting was the KJV.  I have issue with this because personally it causes division.

The KJV is a translation of the bible, nothing more, nothing less, for me the words are as God inspired as the ESV, NASB, NKJV,  Geneva or any other translation.

I say this because of one of the main points of discussion with the “King James only” is that due to the age and the fact it was translated from another language so long ago that makes it correct.

Flawed logic

Where we are going wrong is to apply man’s logic to the Words of God,  which transcend time, language and translations.

If we are using the KJV is right because of the translation,  then why do we not learn German to read Luthers translation  or learn Latin to read earlier translations or to take it to an unhealthy level learn Hebrew/Greek and Aramaic to avoid the use of translation? 

Or do we allow God to show us through the words on the page? Do we have faith that God inspired the words on the page and meant for them to be read?

Endless genealogies

I find looking at bible history interesting,  however I would not use it as my first port of call for witnessing to a new believer,  perhaps as an apologetic tool for a skeptic, but I do wonder how effective it is in reaching new believers.

Like many arguments that I hear us as Christians get into, I do wonder what fruit it will have for the kingdom of God?

Life changing power

Can only be found in the Word of God. It gives insight to the heart if God. If we truly wish to serve God and be a true disciple of Jesus Christ then we need to read whatever version that is in front of us.

To state that one version is more holy or better than another in my view demean and attacks the bible. The words that are different, unless they change the meaning, really is a null argument.

As Christians we are our own worst enemies at attacking the very things that can help others due to “personal preference”.

If a new believer understands the NIV better than the KJV and is growing daily in a relationship with Christ, that to me is what matters. They then grow and want to start discipling others.

Because that is what really matters

God bless and I pray that this was a blessing,  please prayerfully consider sharing, liking or commenting on the article.
TGBTG
TTE

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Careful who you put in charge

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Careful who you put in charge

This has been on my heart for a while, today the LORD has me write about this subject.

This is not aimed at one particular church and pull examples from several I have witnessed, of you see your situation below then pray thanks if you are in the “what you should be” and pray also if you see any of the “what you should not” category.

Titus 1:5 (ESV) This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you–6 if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. 7 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.

A lot has been said of church leadership, especially in the movement that I belong to where a leader can yield quite a bit of power locally.

I love that Paul was called by God to write on this subject in his letters to both Titus and Timothy. It is as if God had the foreknowledge (which we know that he did) that society and the standards of society would change.

What must a leader be?

We read from both passages that a leader (some texts say Bishop, some say overseer) must be the following:

THE HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE – not a man into polygamy, not a man who is in a series of lewd relationships, not a man given to same sex attraction.

This also discounts women leaders.

ABOVE REPROACH – not subject to questions about how he could possibly have been chosen as a leader, this one gets cloudy in our modern day church, we have people getting positions they were never called into and people serving in areas that they either do not wish to or feel obligated to because they were just honoured to be asked in the first place. (Or because they are in a certain family or legacy)

I am not referring to the missionary church or the church plant as in many cases, people help out based on need and gradually develop their calling from there. This happened to me as I was able to teach small group bible studies as developed a will and a calling to learn and later to teach.

This goes hand in hand with what is said in Timothy about the leader not being a recent convert, I have seen folks be elevated too quickly, become proud of their new status and fall from grace, truly sad and both parties (both leadership and the man who fell) need prayer in that situation.

ARROGANT – The leader should be someone you come to for counsel and should be of a gentle spirit.

We all all fallen creatures who ALL have an issue with pride, (if you say you don’t then you also have a problem with lying) one of the hardest parts of leadership is to not exalt yourself as an example when someone is bearing their soul to you. We are commanded to be humble, to treat that person with the gentleness that Jesus has treated our many sins.

SOBER – the text says “not given to much wine” I would go further and link the verses in Romans about not causing a brother to stumble.

In the Western world we have a culture of excess, we claim poverty but have riches that 30% of the world will never see in ten lifetimes. When we get into something and make it into a demi-God, like the almighty bottle (take it from a guy who used to bow at its altar at least 4 times a week) that grabs you slowly, entices you in with the taste and by the time you realise it has you, you are already too far gone down the path to ever enjoy it responsibly again.

If you can do it, then more power to you, if you are drunk or buzzed a lot, then you have the beginning of a problem, if you got to my stage and was annoyed he had to defer my first drink long enough to do a days work, then you are in idolatry and God does not want his leaders serving two Gods.

HOSPITABLE – if you are going to lead people then you have to get to know them. You have to be willing to show your home and your lives as an example to those you wish to serve in leadership.

Also, in order to give good counsel and not to bear false witness or give options that are not factual about believers in your body that you know little about. I have had this happen to me and it leads to your estimation of that leader as well as the reliability of his facts with other leadership members called into question.

Lastly, if you are not hospitable to all then how will you know who requires extra prayer, who requires more from you, we have a culture of just “skating through” and it does not cut it anymore.

GREEDY – he has to be temperate, not after money, he has to be honest. Can you imagine trying to respect someone in leadership in your fellowship who has a wide reputation for being a crook. It just does not add up.

HOLY – his life must show a “set apart” for Jesus Christ nature, he cannot be the one in the cheap seats telling off colour jokes during the lesson.

He must be an example to the newer believers, one who attracts folks coming to him for discipleship.

SELF-CONTROLLED/DISCIPLINED – is probably the hardest one (as if there is an easy one) as when you are a leader, you have so many more eyes on you than before, you have other leaders and also church members.

What I am trying to say is, it is not just the appearance of these things, it’s the actual living them out on a day by day basis.

ABLE TO TEACH – you will notice this is the last one on my list, but when people try to make themselves available for leadership positions in the church, this is usually top of mind for them.

In my mind it was the last thing I wanted, I love to teach, however I don’t want it to be about me as in the man, I want it to be Jesus being centre stage and like being refreshed on a hot day, you don’t thank the LORD for the jug, simply the water.

1 Timothy 3:1 (ESV) The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. 8 Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. 9 They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. 11 Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. 12 Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. 13 For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.

What he shouldn’t be.

(Here is where people get upset)

INVISIBLE – he should be attending things that the church puts on, have folks over (not just the ones he likes) and actually wish to find out where the prayer points are.

CONNECTED – Pastors need to be connected with others in their movement in order to identify trends and share from the wisdom of their peers.

Elders/Deacons need to be the conduit for connection between the body and upper leadership, this whole Sunday facade that has become commonplace really needs to stop.

The facade goes as follows 1) Shake laypersons hand 2) give warm greeting 3) smile a lot 4) advise that you will see them next week.

TOO BUSY – if you are too busy to do what someone has asked you then you need to pray about stepping down. Leadership is a calling, not just a kudos point or a way to show you are holy, so if you are there because of who you know or because you like seeing your name on the bulletin, then it perhaps should be time to prayerfully back out.

The layperson in the church buys into what the leadership are doing and there is only so much that folks without position can do, if the leadership by in large does not show a certain element of buy in, then the church as a whole wont either.

An example of this is hospitality, if the boots on the ground don’t see the ones who are called to lead see it as a priority, then they won’t either. End result is the church remains fragmented and never grows together as it is harder to break up clicks once they have started. Many churches in the US today are just a gathering of groups under the one building.

This spreads like a cancer, and it starts from leadership down. in the end you end up with falsehoods such as the smile on a Sunday/but secretly hate you the rest if the week mentality. We are supposed to be one body, can you imagine the state of your body if the brain didn’t talk to the hands or feet.

How do you measure up?

Now you have read all about leadership in the church and what the bible states that it should be, how is your ministry application coming along? Has it developed prayer points? If you have anything you would like to add then please let us know below

Thanks for reading and please share or comment as the LORD leads
TGBTG
TTE

Teach no other doctrine

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This book was a letter that was originally written by the apostle Paul, to Timothy as instruction about his pastoral duties in Ephesus. I find it encouraging and wanted to share this portion of what I was reading to you today. This is intended as a gentle exhortation rather than a “mini sermon”

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [so do]. 1 Tim 1:3-4 (KJV)

Now the interesting thing about this scripture, is that it tells us to teach “no other doctrine” but literally a translation from the Greek would be to command to not to be deviating from the truth, the truth in this case being the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ.

Also it goes on to say, do not be attentive to inventions, falsehoods (Greek word was mythos – where we get modern day myth from) and genealogies that foster debates, rather than seeking Godly edifying.

Sometimes we are all guilty of showing how “holy” we are by how we can explain theology, or how we can impress by using “holy words” we need to be careful that we are doing it for Gods glory rather than our own.

Please do not thing I am bagging on people who debate all the time, (some are called to do that – that is their ministry!) because in 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

All I am asking is that your heart be right, by all means defend Gods word, but do it for Gods sake!

The Bible is God’s infallible word, in the first part of Genesis we see that the Bible states that there was only one beginning “In the beginning, God.”

The Bible goes on to say that God (‘elohiym – plural of ‘elowahh – The triune god) created the heavens and the earth. There is no debate, this is exactly how it happened. Debates only happen when we try to apply mans ‘wisdom or logic” to Gods word. Which leads us into “sound doctrine”.

The command to teach sound doctrine is one that is used so much; it goes without saying that when we approach God’s word to teach, it must be with reverence and fear. When I teach I am still mindful and prayerful that I do not butcher what I have in front of me.

I do not try to apply my thoughts and bias to what the Holy Spirit is teaching me. (in some cases the lesson is for me, in some cases the lesson is to be shared to help others!)

I guess it all comes down to the heart and only God can see that, when I am wanting a reality check of where I am in my Christian walk, I read the book of James. I then take note of the things that “need improvement” and get set to do them.

Lastly, although it is not mentioned here, a really important thing to be doing for each other is to be in prayer for one another, we need to be lifting each other up and seeking Gods will in the lives of not just ourselves and families, but also the communities that God has allowed us to work in.

I hope this was a blessing
God bless and TGBTG
TTE

Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles

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Your mission field should you choose to accept it

Ten Commandments through the eyes of the Epistles

In a previous article I spoke of Agape love and gave a brief definition of what it was, when beginning this study I decided to take a short look at something Christ said. This question occurred when the Pharisees (The teachers of the Law, the ones who should know better) were questioning him about what the greatest commandment was.

Jesus answers in the gospel of Matthew 22:35-40 when he says:

 

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

I find this wonderful and what a teacher our LORD was, broke down the 10 Commandments in one sentence! (If you wish to read the 10 Commandments they are in Exodus 20:2-17)

10 Commandments in a paragraph

I am no way as good a teacher as our LORD so I will try to do this in a paragraph. (I also studied this a lot as I wanted to write a book on the subject) The first 4 Commandments refer to your relationship with God. (Verses 3-11) The last 6 refer to your relationship with others. (Verses 12-17)

You can’t love people the way God wants you to until you first love God.

How so you treat your neighbour?

Lets have a reality check here folks, I was in a meeting recently with a local Pastor and we were discussing an issue that was divisive in the church at large and I eventually said to him “we all have to own how we treat each other!” (This was 2014 and it was concerning two Christian brothers at opposite ends of Christendom as far as how they reach people for Christ)

Jesus himself advised this self same point in the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37, so many of us become a “Diotrephes” and become puffed up and start to think we are the main show when we are simply the tolls used by the master craftsman.

The thing that strikes me today about that parable is it is the ones who have been overlooked for the “show ministries” that are making the difference to the guys who are in the ditches, Praise God for those with a Samaritans heart that just get on with it and have the heart to do it for Gods glory and not for the praises of men.

Those folks to me are showing the real Christ, those guys who show Jesus’ love and not judgement to the guy in bondage to drugs, to alcohol or whatever their vice is. That to me is true agape love.

Verses that show the value of keeping the last 6 Commandments

Lastly, we have further reading in the Scriptures that show the principles of the Ten Commandments in other parts of the Bible. They are below:

Respect authority – Ephesians 6:1-3; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Protect Life – Deuteronomy 19:11-12; 1 John 3:15

Protect Marriage – 1 Corinthians 6:13-18; James 4:1-4

Respect Property – Exodus 22:1-15; Malachi 3:8-10

Honour Truth – Zechariah 8:16-17; Ephesians 4:29-32

Reject Greed – Psalm 106:13-15; 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Love is showing them Jesus

In conclusion, I want to share that it is great to love people on this earth and attend to their day to day needs, but if we really wish to love them we also have to show them Jesus.

To do the first would be like performing the role of a triage nurse in an ER room to a gunshot wound victim. Whilst your role is important, if they don’t have surgery they will not survive. We have to book the person we are agape-ing (is that a word?) in For a “Salvation-ectomy)

Step 1 – Bear them in love

We read in the book of Ephesians the following words:

Ephesians 4:2 (ESV) with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,

That is what we were talking about before, this applies to our relationship with believers and non-believers, if you clean a man up when he is at his lowest, he will listen to you when you try to show him a better way.

Step 2 – preaching is not just words

2 Timothy 4:2 (ESV) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,

You notice the word that is in both verses “patience” I love this because when I was in sin, I loved it! I was Mr. I can drink more than you, I can eat more than you, I can party more than you.

The person you are “agape-ing” may still be there, they may have one foot in both camps, they may still be in sin, you have to teach them honestly sound doctrine and show them the reason you are there and why you love.

Step 3 – Have compassion but save by fear

This point is summed up beautifully in the Epistle of Jude:

Jude 1:20 (ESV) But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Some will believe when they hear of Jesus love, some will believe because they do not wish to spend eternity in the lake of fire! (Revelation 20:11-15)

Hell is real folks! Lets not forget, as Christians our MO is to keep as many folks out of there as possible. We are to be missionaries to where God has planted us, and to do what he has called in our lives.

I pray this was challenging and an exhortation to you! God bless you and TGBTG
TTE