The theme of Paul’s first letter to Timothy is a resolute charge to hold fast to the truth of God in the midst of the swirling storms of falsehood. Paul’s commission is to stay firm in promoting and proclaiming the doctrine with which he entrusted the young pastor. Timothy was undoubtedly enduring severe ministerial trials as the burgeoning philosophies and theosophies of gnosticism were threatening the church. Such is why Paul aims to affirm the indefatigable truth of God’s gospel by contrasting what was being taught, the false versus the true.
In the Pastoral Epistles, the apostle Paul is passing the torch as the primary doctrinal voice for the church to a new generation of pastors and preachers in both Timothy and Titus. Paul anticipates the frailty of his life and senses the winds of change that are coming for the nascent churches with which he spent his life laboring for the sake of the gospel. A new phase of pastoral ministry is looming: a defense of the faith. That which was fresh and new and took the churches by storm in the first wave of apostolic preaching has given way to discontent and falsehood. Such is why Paul is adamant in his resolve to Timothy and Titus to keep the faith and hold fast to sound doctrine.
St. Paul loved the Philippian Church. He affectionately calls them his “joy and crown” in the opening verses of chapter 4 and refers to them as his “dearly beloved” twice in the first verse alone. (Phil. 4:1) Paul was desirous and determined that this church would not succumb to the trivial disputes and divisions which might have so easily plagued it had they lost their way, their focus. Such is why the apostle spends nearly the entire letter emphasizing unity, “like-mindedness,” and having the “same mind.” And so it is that we are made to recognize the primary ingredient of the church: unity in Christ.
In the heart of man resides a hatred towards God. This is mostly due, I think, because of the grave misconception regarding God that portrays him a grumpy old man out to get them. Most think that God is merely a lion on the prowl, ready to pounce on you when you mess up. That he’s only concerned with hemming you in and keeping you line. He doesn’t really care about your happiness, so long as you act appropriately. But that is not the God of the Bible. the Bible tells us of “the glorious gospel of the happy God.”
It is an encouraging and emboldening truth to know that God uses the weak and insignificant people of this world to expand his kingdom. God has uniquely chosen the foolish to shame the wise in this mission to exalt his name. Such is what Paul says to the Corinthians in his first letter to them. It is God’s prerogative to assign the great mandate of the Great Commission to frail, feeble creatures like us. 3rd John speaks to this point excellently, showing both God’s gracious choice of us and our function as his children.
How would you answer the question, “What is the Bible about?” What is its point? Its message? Its overarching story? There are over 30,000 verses and 66 books in the canonical Scriptures, but what are they all saying? Churchgoers ought to know what their Bible says. It only makes sense if the system of belief that defines your entire life is derived from a book that you know what that book says. Such is modern Christianity’s biggest problem: the utter lack of biblical understanding.
Mark 8 is, perhaps, the lynchpin chapter of Mark’s Gospel account. In it, we have the apostle Peter’s confession of The Christ. But it also records for us one of the strangest miracles written down in Scripture. As Jesus heals the blind man from Bethsaida, he was making a specific and significant point to his apostles (and us). Through it, he was revealing who he is and who he is for.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible. It serves as King David’s magnum opus as he eloquently describes the incredible refuge God’s Word is for him. It isn’t certain what occasion in David’s life inspired these words, but whatever it was it must have been a truly terrifying circumstance to galvanize the kind of resolve on display here to trust in God’s Word alone. But the ending of Psalm 119 is the most telling, the most intriguing part as this glorious psalm seemingly ends with a fizzle.
There’s a fascinating scene that appears at the end of Matthew 19, in which Peter, speaking on behalf of the rest of the apostles, makes the same self-righteous claim that the “rich young ruler” made to Jesus’s face only a few moments prior. It’s this erroneous assertion by Christ’s disciples that leads him to tell, perhaps, the most intriguing and unsettling parable of the kingdom in all of Scripture.
Zechariah 3 commences the fourth vision of the Lord to the prophet Zechariah. The first, second, and third visions having told of the future spiritual restoration of the nation of Israel, give way to the fourth vision, as if to answer the prophet’s inquiry, “How?” How will God accomplish this restoration? How will a righteous God clear the names of the guilty?