Paul returns to the issues he raised at the beginning of the letter. He reiterates the danger of false teachers because of the harm they do in church.
About Robert Solomon
Robert M. Solomon served as Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000-2012. He now has an active itinerant ministry of preaching and teaching in Singapore and abroad. He is the author of 19 books, including The Race, The Conscience, The Sermon of Jesus and Faithful to the End.
Entries by Robert Solomon
The church in Ephesus, like many other churches in the Roman Empire, had a significant number of slaves. This reflected the societies in which the churches were found.
As Paul’s representative and a spiritual shepherd in Ephesus, Timothy had many responsibilities. Paul has already carefully instructed him on how to guide and minister to the various groups in the church, while being mindful that believers are to conduct themselves in a way that glorifies God and builds up the church.
Paul now turns his attention to how the church should treat its ministry leadership. He refers to the elders in the church and points to their essential duties: directing the affairs of the church, as well as preaching and teaching (v.17). There are two things the believers must give them: respect and financial support.
The church in Ephesus had widows in its community. From its earliest days, the church exercised its responsibility to take care of widows (Acts 6:1). This was in line with scriptural teaching as well as practical necessity. God expects His people to help the needy—such as widows and orphans (Deuteronomy 24:17–21, 26:12–13, 27:19; Isaiah 1:17; James 1:27).
Gregory the Great wrote a classic in the sixth century that is still used for pastoral training today. In his Pastoral Rule, he outlines 34 types of people in the church and how a pastor must minister to them in different ways. One shoe size will not fit all feet.
Timothy was a young pastor. It is not easy for a young pastor to instruct and teach older people. In Asian societies, older people may tell a younger person, “The salt I have eaten is more than the rice you have eaten!” This is like saying, “Young man, I know life better than you do.”
A good minister holds firmly to God’s truth. Paul reminds Timothy of being “brought up in the truths of the faith” and the “good teaching” that he had sincerely followed (v.6).
False and harmful teaching is unable to produce Christ-like character and behaviour. It is also dangerous because of the spiritual realities behind it.
YMI (which stands for Why Am I?), is a platform for Christian young people all over the world to ask questions about life and discover their true purpose. We are a community with different talents but the same desire to make sense of God’s life-changing word in our everyday lives.
YMI is a part of Our Daily Bread Ministries.
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