1st Timothy

EXCERPT AND INTRODUCTION

Now I have put you through a bit of sentimental rambling as a part of my introduction to our study of 1st and 2nd Timothy because I wanted to burn into your souls the emotional power of what is going on here in these two wonderful letters written by the aged Apostle Paul to his young protégé Timothy. I am doing that because 1st and 2nd Timothy are often read as something of a blueprint or pattern for successful ministry. That is, they are sometimes treated one of those yellow‐covered books you always see on the shelves at HalfPriced Books. You know which ones I mean…the ones that always end in the phrase “for Dummies.” You know Learning Ancient Latin for Dummies or Learning English Composition for Dummies or Learning to Give Yourself a Full-Frontal Lobotomy for Dummies. You know the sort of books I am talking about. My point is that 1st and 2nd Timothy are not that sort of thing at all. They are not simply handbooks on how to run a church or how to train church leaders. Both letters include some of that, but they are so much more than that. Paul wasn’t just interested in giving Timothy a checklist to measure his performance. He wasn’t simply asking Timothy to check some things off a list somewhere in hopes that Timothy will wind up at the helm of a well‐oiled machine. No, there’s nothing like that here. Here in 1st and 2nd Timothy Paul is pleading; he’s cajoling; he’s pressuring; he’s charging his one true son in the faith to intellectually, and emotionally come to grips with the true value of the extraordinary treasure with which he has been entrusted, and doing so he is saying something like this, “Timothy…my one true son in the gospel…here you go…don’t lose this.”

I want you to see that as we work our way through the text. No, that’s not quite right. I want, rather, for you to feel that deep down in your gut. I want you to feel the emotional and rhetorical pressure Paul applies to Timothy because here in 1st Timothy Paul is urging Timothy to hold fast to the treasure he has been given until Paul can join him there in Ephesus. While in 2nd Timothy, Paul switches gears. urging him to hold on to the treasure he has been given until Timothy can join him in heaven. Paul does, you see, that because knows he is on his way to martyrdom.