December 10 - Nº 344 1 Timothy 3:14 – 6:21
Paul could not be in Ephesus, so he wrote a letter to Timothy to help him in his new role as the pastor of the church that had been started there. He gave his young apprentice instructions on how to combat false teaching, develop strong leaders, and live a godly life. He encouraged him to always stay strong. Corrupt teachers had made their way into the church. They were teaching that it was wrong to get married and that believers should not eat certain foods. Paul insisted that these rules were nothing more than “godless myths and old wives’ tales.” He urged the believers in Ephesus to appreciate all the gifts God had created for them to enjoy. These gifts included marriage and every kind of food. “Instead of being so concerned about your physical condition, which has no eternal value,” Paul instructed them, “you should focus on your spiritual condition, which has value both now and in eternity.” Next, Paul told Timothy to be sure his life was a good example of everything he was teaching others. “Watch your own life and your doctrine closely,” he wrote. “Make sure that everything you do and teach lines up with God’s Word. And don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young. Speak to older men as you would speak to your father; treat younger men as you would treat your brothers; care for older women as you would want your mother cared for; and be as pure in your behavior toward younger women as you would be in your behavior toward your own sisters.” Paul warned Timothy that some of the widows were wasting the financial support the church was providing. They were using the money to satisfy their own pleasures rather than take care of their children or grandchildren. His advice was to distribute the aid only to older widows who really needed help and were living godly lives. Paul wanted Timothy to be certain the church elders received the compensation they deserved. In addition, he warned Timothy not to listen to accusations against an elder unless two or three witnesses agreed that they were not handling their position correctly. If it was true that they were sinning, Timothy was to confront them publicly and ask them to step down from their leadership role. This would serve as a warning to others. He commanded Timothy not to show any favoritism in such discipline. Paul never approved of slavery. As a matter of fact, he advocated for freedom (see 1 Corinthians 7:21 and #338 - December 4). But there were more than 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire at that time, and many of them had become believers. So, Paul instructed Timothy to encourage them to work with integrity and to honor their masters in order to bring glory to God. Paul wanted the believers to live godly lives and be content with what they had. It was far more important to be rich in good works than to be wealthy in worldly goods. He challenged Timothy to stay strong in his faith and fight for what was right!
Are you generally more concerned about your physical condition than you are about your spiritual condition? If you spent as much time taking care of your heart as you do taking care of your external appearances, what would your walk with God look like?