5x5x5 Reading Plan – 1 Timothy

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Dear 5x5x5 readers,  Welcome to 1 Timothy, a letter from the apostle Paul to his long-time friend and fellow laborer Timothy.  Timothy was younger than Paul, converted on Paul’s first missionary journey, and had become Paul’s most trusted disciple and co-laborer.  When new churches in the region experienced challenges, Timothy was often the pastor dispatched to help resolve issues and prevent a major meltdown.  Timothy was serving as the pastor to the church in Ephesus when Paul wrote these instructions (approximately ten years after Paul’s letter to the Ephesians).

A pastor’s job is not an easy one!  In any given week, a pastor may serve as a psychologist, priest, social worker, hospital chaplain, administrator, personnel supervisor, philosopher, teacher, and communicator.  Paul was very aware of the vital nature of such a job – churches sprouted up wherever Paul visited, but whether they survived or failed depended largely on what kind of local leadership developed.  1 & 2 Timothy and Titus are considered the “pastoral letters”, written by Paul to encourage and direct young leaders.  I often write the major themes of each Biblical book across the top of the introductory page in my Bible – on 1 Timothy I have written “church leadership and administration”.

Although this letter addresses a historical situation, many problems of the early church persist today – controversies, disorder, a generation gap, an integrity shortage, abuse of social aid, and a love of money.  As you read, look for problems Paul alludes to and ask yourself if they have any modern equivalents. What role does he expect different groups to play in local church leadership?  What example are they expected to provide?

Keep reading!  It’s September and we are going to finish the New Testament this year!

 

 

Working Together

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“Uzziel son of Harhaiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hananiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that. They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Rephaiah son of Hur, ruler of a half-district of Jerusalem, repaired the next section.” Neh 3:8-9

 It would be easy to skip over the long list of names and sections of the wall that comprises most of chapter 3.  However, there are several interesting things to note:

–          The rate of participation is extremely high.  As a volunteer coordinator, I am impressed.  There are 38 individuals and 42 different groups mentioned by name in this passage.

–          The people seemed unified, of one mind, sharing a common vision.

–          Everyone did a little bit, usually right in front of their own house, where they had a vested interest in doing a good job and adding to their own security.

–          They were not all builders – some of them were goldsmiths, elected officials, servants, and even a perfume maker.  It was a very disparate group – rather like our churches today.

–          In at least one instance the high priest was off building the wall near the temple, so his neighbors rebuild the wall in front of his house for him. (3:1,20) They were serving God by helping out their neighbor!

Most importantly, God has not called us to serve Him ALONE.  God’s people are to work together to accomplish the purposes of His kingdom.  We are the body of Christ and each of us has been given specials talents or gifts that allow us to serve in a unique manner. (1 Corinthians 12)

The role of those in church leadership is to equip others that they might serve (Ephesians 4:12).  Often we get that backwards, thinking that the church leadership should be doing everything and we can relax and be consumers… Instead church leadership should be helping identify the passions and gifting of church members and encouraging them to work and support the whole body.

Nehemiah had the vision to do something and God sent him all the people he needed to get it done.  Never forget that God provides ALL the people and the resources for the kingdom projects He has inspired.

– Nehemiah, a Bible study by Kelly Minter.