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Beyond The Four Spiritual Laws

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1Tim 4:15-16 . . Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so
that everyone may see your progress.

Goods and services are often advertised by means of comparisons; i.e. before and
after, e.g. weight loss programs, age resisting cosmetics, hormone replacements,
house paints, etc.

Well; Christianity is reputed to be not only a life-changing religion, but also a
person-changing religion. Of all the people in church, its officers really ought to be
living exhibits of the before-and-after results of their own religion; viz: the
congregation really ought to be seeing improvements in their personality, their
civility, their integrity, and their piety because if Christianity doesn't work to
improve its officers, then I believe the rank and file have a justifiable reason to
expect it won't work for them either.
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Active
1Tim 5:1a . . When speaking to an older man, appeal to him respectfully as
though he were your own father.

There's probably nothing more humiliating to a parent than to be treated like dirt
by their children-- except maybe to be treated like dirt by a spouse.

Americans have the right to a trial by a jury of their peers. Well, a child is not a
parent's peer; he's not even the parent's equal let alone his peer. Parents are not
children's peers; no, parents are their betters, not their equals. It's a thoughtless,
wicked, insolent dunce who treats their parents with no more respect than a college
beer buddy.

I was in a Sunday school class one morning where a young fellow substituted for
the regular teacher. After practically every sentence during his lecture, the fellow
would pause, tighten his lips, turn down the corners of his mouth, squint his eyes
into narrow slits, and look around the room with a fierce scowl on his face; and
better than half that room was older than he was. I don't know about the rest of
the group, but as a man easily twice his age; I deeply resented the looks that
youngster was giving us.
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1Tim 5:1b . .Speak to the younger men as you would to your own kin.

In this case, the "kin" would be sort of like a man's younger siblings; viz: his kid
brothers. Young boys look up to their big brothers; who by all rights should be
setting the example as role models that a growing boy can be proud of. Big
brothers ought to be available too, and not treat their younger siblings as excess
baggage and/or uncool nerds and morons beneath their dignity to be seen with.

Church officers who grew up in dysfunctional homes, where human relationships
were an ongoing cold war, are going to find that 1Tim 5:1b is very difficult to obey
in a manner that exemplifies peace, love, and understanding. Were they to speak
to the younger men in church the very same way that they're accustomed to
speaking to their families growing up; it would produce disastrous results.
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1Tim 5:2a . . Speak to the older women as mothers,

Speaking to older women as mothers means doing so in compliance with the fourth
of the Ten Commandments.

"Honor your mother" (Ex 20:12)

Honoring one's mother means giving her the respect that her age and her maternal
position deserve. It means watching your language, and it means keeping a civil
tongue in your head. It means speaking to her as a grown-up instead of a child. It
means treating her as superior and you as subordinate. It means deferring to her
wishes instead of demanding your own.
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1Tim 5:2b . . Speak the younger women as sisters, in all purity.

The Greek word for "purity" is hagneia (hag-ni'-ah) which means: cleanliness; viz:
chastity

Webster's defines "chastity" as: abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse and/or
purity in conduct and intention

Church officers are sometimes admired as celebrities; ergo: they're in an
advantageous position for meeting star-struck women; thus opportunities for trysts
abound.

Officers should especially avoid speaking to the young women in church as if
hanging out in a beer joint or a bowling alley. These days it's all too easy to
inadvertently pick up inappropriate speech habits due to the proliferation of vulgar
language in television and Hollywood movie scripts. Keep it professional guys.
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Active
1Tim 5:3-4 . . Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need.
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, her kin should learn first of all to put
their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their
parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

A widow in real need would be one who is unable to work and has no one of her
own to look out after her. Here in modern America that situation isn't nearly as
serious as it is in third world countries where there are no government assistance
programs for senior citizens. So you can see that in those circumstances a widow's
church may be the only thing between her and grinding poverty.

A widow's Christian progeny have a sacred obligation to provide for their aging
ancestor.

"Those who won't care for their own kin, especially those living in the same
household, have disregarded what we believe. Such people are worse than infidels."
(1Tim 5:8)
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1Tim 5:5-7 . .The widow who is really in need, and left all alone, puts her hope in
God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. But the widow
who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. Give the people these
instructions, too, so that no one may be open to blame.

The New Testament Greek word for "pleasure" means voluptuous; which Webster's
defines as luxury and/or sensual gratification.

People who live only for the best that life has to offer generally regard religion as a
ball and chain holding them back from living their lives to the fullest. Well; not
everyone has access to either the means or the wherewithal to live life to the
fullest. For some, life offers no options other than a tin shack, a dirt floor, and a
bowl of white rice; if that.

Basic necessities aren't the issue here, rather, the goal to satisfy one's appetite for
the best that life has to offer. It's said that one cannot serve God and money, well
neither can one serve God and one's inherent cravings. True, it's difficult to stop
one's self from craving the best that life has to offer; but one can choose whether
to let the satisfaction of those cravings be the dominant force in their life.

"Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the concerns of this
life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke
the word, making it unfruitful." (Mark 4:18-19)
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1Tim 5:9-10 . . No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over
sixty, has been faithful to her husband, and is well known for her good deeds, such
as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping
those in trouble, and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

There are unprincipled individuals out there who love nothing better than taking
advantage of a church's good nature, and its desire to be helpful. Following Paul's
directive is a good way to avoid being victimized by one of them. (cf. Ruth 2:11)
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1Tim 5:11 . . Refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow
wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they
have cast off their first faith.

The Greek words for "first faith" don't necessarily have to do with chronology. The
word for "first" is protos (pro'-tos) which is somewhat ambiguous. It can refer to--
besides chronology --priority, i.e. order of importance.

The passage seems to me a caution that there's always the possibility that young
widows will want to get married bad enough to do so contrary to Christ's wishes
that they marry only someone from among his followers (2Cor 6:14, 1Cor 7:39)
thus failing to maintain their loyalty to a higher power. (cf. Luke 14:26-27)
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1Tim 5:14 . . I will that younger women marry, have children, manage their
homes, and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

The Greek word for "younger" actually means new and unused; so I'd say that
Paul's orders are for girls not yet married and settled down, and maybe thinking of
putting all that off awhile for careers, adventure, and/or whatever.

A very real danger for young single women is immorality. Desire, loneliness, and
longings for appreciation, have a way of building up to unbearable levels in people
who live alone; and just about that time, along comes a really great somebody who
maybe breaks down their defenses and gets a little too chummy. That can be a
difficult moment.

"To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have
her own husband." (1Cor 7:2)

note: Immorality isn't the only danger related to long-term celibacy. Those who've
decided on that path need to think rationally and objectively about their future; and
ask themselves: Do I really want to live out my youth without someone; alone and
unloved in the world? Can I bear up without a nervous break-down and/or turning
to alcohol, Prozac, and overeating? Will I become irritable and difficult, and/or a
chronic man-hater like aunt Lucy?

Have to be brutally honest with these questions because one's mental health is on
the line here. It's very possible for a woman to wake up one day and realize, with
terrible regret, that the aging process has set in and she's allowed the very best
years of life for love and family to slip through her fingers.
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1Tim 5:16 . . If any believing man or woman have widows, let them relieve them,
and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.

It's awful to think that a religion based upon love, has to command its adherents to
extend kindness to their own kin.

But in all fairness, I should point out that Paul's directive only impacts believing
widows rather than unbelieving, because a Christian church is under zero obligation
to support widows who fail to meet all the requirements of a "widow indeed" as per
1Tim 5:9-10.

What we're talking about here are specifically Christian widows; so if those among
your relatives are say, Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahái, Hindu, Jehovah's
Witness, Scientology, or Mormon, et al; then don't even think about asking your
church to help support them. If you want to help them, okay, but leave your church
out of it.
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Active
1Tim 5:17-18 . .The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of
double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the
scripture says: "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain" and "The
laborer is worthy of his hire."

The Greek word for "elder" is presbuteros (pres-boo'-ter-os). It corresponds to
aldermen; which Webster's defines as: members of a legislative body. In other
words; elders enact and enforce the proprietary rules and bylaws that govern
everybody in a local church; including its pastor. In some churches those rules and
bylaws are called a covenant; which new members are required to accept. The
aldermen are also responsible for settling disputes between church members (1Cor
6:1-5) so that they correspond to "the church" that Christ spoke of at Matt 18:15
18.

Aldermen aren't peculiar to Christianity. Councils pre-existed amongst Moses'
people prior to Moses' commission (Ex 3:16). Anon, seventy of Israel's elders were
established by God as a supreme council (Num 11:16-17). One's failure to
cooperate with their church's aldermen is grounds for removing their name from
the role. (Matt 18:15-18)

Since Christian aldermen sometimes wear more than one hat as preachers and
teachers; then it's very possible in a large church for them to have time for nothing
else, like for instance holding down a job. For that reason, their constituents should
try and compensate them with a decent standard of living. I mean, after all, if their
service to a local church is invaluable, then by all means the congregation should
do whatever it takes to keep them on staff where they can devote all of their time
and energy towards governing (that is; if you feel your church is a worthwhile
endeavor).

Let's say for example, that one of your church's aldermen is a retiree trying to
survive on Social Security and a diminished 401K. He'll be a lot more effective
towards your church's good if the congregation, whatever its size, pitches in to help
him make ends meet; and the outside world surely won't blame your church for
doing so unless of course they're as callous towards the needs of a senior citizen as
the heels of a hobnailed jackboot.

But beware that the congregation doesn't overcompensate its aldermen to the point
where they can afford to drive a Cadillac Escalade, wear a Rolex, and own an
expensive home in an up-scale district. That will really make Christianity look bad,
and actually work against Christ's best interests.
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1Tim 5:19 . . Do not accept an accusation against an elder except before two or
three witnesses.

The Old Testament requires a minimum of two witnesses in capital cases (Deut
17:6-7). But the Greek word for "accusation" doesn't specify capital crimes. It can
apply to every variety of conduct unbecoming.

The way I see this: it isn't required that two or three witnesses accuse the elder,
but that an accuser do so in the hearing of two or three witnesses. The witnesses
are not there to testify against the elder; rather, to testify against the accuser in
the event it's discovered that he's the perpetrator of a slander.

The Old Testament requires that false accusers be punished with the very same
punishment that they expected for their victims. (Deut 19:16-21)
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1Tim 5:20 . .Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Once it's discovered that an accuser's allegations are libelous, then it's time to get
up in front of the entire congregation and expose him for the cheap goods he really
is because nobody's reputation is safe in the hands of someone like that. This is
where the testimony of the aforementioned two or three witnesses comes into play.

"I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a
brother but is a slanderer. With such a man do not even eat. Expel the wicked man
from among you." (1Cor 5:11-13)

A roast of this nature can be a very humiliating experience for a church member,
and when the others see how it goes, they'll think twice before making spurious
allegations against aldermen.
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1Tim 5:22a . . Do not lay hands upon anyone too hastily.

The laying on of hands was a commissioning ritual back in the day. (Acts 6:1-6,
Acts 13:1-3)

The ruling seems primarily concerned with the avoidance of fast-tracking
candidates for aldermen, senior pastors, associate pastors, deacons, and
deaconesses; in other words: church officials; whether high ranking or low ranking.
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1Tim 5:23 . . No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your
stomach and your frequent ailments.

In the days prior to the proliferation of antiseptics, antibiotics, inoculations, and a
host of other mass-produced treatments; wine was an important remedy for just
about everything from indigestion to open wounds. (e.g. Mark 15:23, and Luke
10:34)

Medicine has come a long ways in the last 2,000 years so that even if a little wine
would still help whatever ailed Timothy's tummy, there's probably much better
over-the-counter, non-alcoholic remedies available for his condition in our day.

Paul mentioned that his friend had other problems too. I have no clue what those
might have been; but I have to ask: Why didn't Paul utilize his apostolic gift of
healing to cure his friend? My answer is: probably because Timothy's problems
didn’t require a miracle. For example Mark 16:13 where Christ' men utilized oil to
treat certain people rather than miracles. In other words: when First Aid will do,
surgery is unnecessary.

I suspect Timothy simply wasn't taking proper care of himself and/or getting
enough rest. His diet may have been inadequate too. The old adage— God helps
those who help themselves —is very true in some cases. My view is: if you can fix
your own flat tire, then don't expect God to fix it for you. Like when a farmer prays
for a good crop, he really needs to say amen with a hoe.

What else might be taken from 1Tim 5:23? Well; I would say do NOT rely upon so
called faith healing. Too many children are being lost these days to treatable
conditions because their parents are putting so much trust in their church's
interpretation of passages like Jas 5:14-15. If Paul recommended a remedy for
Timothy's tummy; don't you think he would recommend a remedy for your child's
treatable condition? Yes; of course he would. In many, many cases; people don't
need a miracle; they just need a doctor.
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1Tim 6:1-2 . . Let all who are under the yoke as slaves regard their own masters
as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine may not be spoken
against. And let those who have believers as their masters not be disrespectful to
them because they are brethren, but let them serve them all the more, because
those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved.

I've heard that Masons practice favoritism; but Christians should never impose
upon a fellow believer in that manner. Give your Christian employer the respect and
subordination due his position; and give him a full day's work for a full days' pay.
People are watching, and they pick up on things like disparity.
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