Sunday, September 23, 2012

1 Timothy 5:1-2

Summary retelling of 1 Timothy 5:1-2

Paul tells Timothy to not rebuke an older man.  Rather, Paul tells Timothy to encourage an older man like one would encourage a father.  Paul says to treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters.  Then Paul says to do all of this in purity.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul is careful to talk about how Timothy relates to the people around him.  This is really an important topic.  Relationships drive the church.  In fact, we could say that it is the concept of relationships that brought Jesus to this earth.  Jesus came because of the break in the relationship between God (Creator) and humanity (creation).  Everything we say and do impacts the relationships around us.

How often do you think about the relationships that you have and how your words and actions influence those relationships? 

Second Thought:
Paul talks about encouraging rather than rebuking.  There is a saying in English that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  It is really true.  Sure – it is possible that we occasionally need to rebuke people.  That is why Jesus gives us instructions in Matthew 18:15-20.  But when dealing with people, we should want to start with a friendly approach.  We should want to encourage people to make good decisions rather than abuse them into avoiding bad decisions.

Why does encouragement tend to work better in churches?  How does encouraging interact with our relationships?  How are relationships affected by rebuke? 

Third Thought:
Paul tells Timothy to do all of this in purity.  In prior posts I’ve talked about purity in terms of catharsis.  This is not the case here as it is a different word in the Greek.  This word here literally means “without defect.”  Timothy is being encouraged to act in a manner that doesn’t have ulterior motives.  Timothy should want to encourage the people around them because he genuinely cares about them.

Have you ever experienced a person who encouraged you with ulterior motives?  Have you ever worked over another person with your own ulterior motives?  How do each of those experiences feel?  How does it feel to encourage someone genuinely?

Passage for Tomorrow: 1 Timothy 5:3-6
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