Because churches are populated and pastored by imperfect people, we should stop every once in a while to administer an examination against the standard of God’s Word. As we close our study of 1 Timothy, let’s do that—let’s evaluate your ministry.
First Timothy addresses the role of the shepherd and his responsibility for the life of the flock. The shepherd must know and teach sound doctrine, live a godly life, and maintain order in the church. This letter highlights the importance of choosing godly leaders according to God’s design.
It’s time to push aside the negative thinking and draw our attention to God’s perspective of His church. He smells the sin, but He also breathes in the sweet aroma. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul highlighted six fragrant qualities that will help us think rightly about the church.
In this brief vignette, we read of Paul—called Saul—before his conversion to Christ. Saul was “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” who, by his own admission, “acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). Ironically, Saul was a religious zealot, an intense rabbi, sincere to the core…but sincerely wrong. And so? Mercy in the form of Jesus Christ came to the rescue!
No matter what you’ve done God loves you. The Apostle Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, calls himself the worst of sinners. Before he met Christ he killed Christians and yet he was rescued by God’s grace. And you can be too.
This study offers insight on the biblical theology of ministry—as opposed to an approach to ministry based on experience, opinion, prejudice, culture, and preference. Let’s keep a keen eye on what is written in God’s Word and then do our best to let it shape our thinking.
Over the centuries, tradition has often outshouted biblical principles and caused the church to get off course, which has resulted in every conceivable extreme in teaching and doctrine, including heresy. In this expositional study of 1 Timothy, we return to the source—the Bible—and discover afresh how God planned the church to function.
In the church where I grew up, hypocrisy was rewarded well. I learned early that looking right and sounding right was all I needed to get by. But if ever I started asking tough questions, or stepped out of line, it was like climbing Everest on a scooter. I thank God for parents who were real, who taught me that God looks past the outward appearance.
We all wrestle with doing things in order of importance. One of the reasons for this struggle is that we often don’t know what deserves our immediate attention. For ministry our first priority is clear: prayer.
In the workaday world of daily life, it’s simple to overlook the significance of the Gospel. Paul, of course, never did, and in this section of 1 Timothy—in one of the most practical and clearest presentations of the Gospel in the New Testament—he challenges us to open our eyes and our hearts, once again, to its wonder.