I just finished the book of 1 Timothy again. I really like both 1 and 2 Timothy, but I kind of wish it wasn’t so. I feel lame telling people that my favorite book of the Bible is 1 Timothy when my name is Timothy. I guess I was just named correctly. It could be worse; I could be named Amos. I’m sure I’d have to undergo horrible ridicule as a child – “Amos anus” and so forth. Always look on the bright side, right?
Putting aside what could have been, I found it rather comforting to learn what 1 Timothy was all about – Paul giving instructions to a young man who was looking to be a leader of the church. Timothy looked up to Paul, and Paul gave him excellent advice in the two letters he wrote – 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy.
While I’m no Bible thumper, and I’m hardly an expert in theology, I do enjoy reading this stuff and sharing what I learn. Although many people are much smarter than I am when it comes to religion, please bare with me as I share a few great verses I read recently. Maybe this is a repeat for you, maybe you’ve forgot it, or maybe you’ve never read it yourself. Take it or leave it.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance; Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.“
1 Timothy 1:15
Paul says upfront – this is important. What he’s about to say needs to be taken seriously and literally. Jesus came to the world to save sinners. There are a number of ways to look at this. First, Paul doesn’t specify which sinners Jesus came to save; he just says “sinners”. Isn’t that ALL of us? We’re all sinners, and Jesus came to save everyone, not just people of a certain background or certain heritage.
Secondly, Paul wants Timothy to learn from Jesus. If we look back into Jesus’ time, he wasn’t hanging out with the kings of the land. He wasn’t hanging out with celebrities and rockstars. He was having dinner with the poor, the elderly, the sick. Too often today we think that to be a follower we need to push away people from our lives. Thats not what Jesus did. What we ought to do is reach out to the people who need Jesus most, even if they are seen as horrible people. Jesus had a number of personal conversations with prostitutes, did he not?
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.“
1 Timothy 4:8
Did Paul seriously just smash the meaning of my life to pieces? I’ve spent so many hours on exercise and diet and all of that stuff – just to have Paul say it isn’t important? Well, no. Paul admits that there is value in training your body; keeping it healthy and so forth. What he’s saying is that we shouldn’t be short sighted and overlook the most important thing – training our hearts. We all die – our bodies will turn to dirt. Our souls, on the other hand, last forever.
“Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.”
1 Timothy 5:1
Isn’t this the key to having great relationships? Paul is telling Timothy that if he wants to be a leader he needs to be worthy of respect, and they only way you get respect is by giving it. Treat your elders well, and treat those younger than you as though they were your siblings; look after people. If we are to be leaders we need to look after those in our life the way a shepherd looks after his flock of sheep.
Meh. Just a few things I took away from that book. Its some really great reading, and I encourage everyone to pick up their Bibles soon and read it. Only a few chapters long – a half hour of reading should be enough to get through it, but I recommend more. Its good to sit and think about what is being said, and realize the deeper meaning.