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Posts Tagged ‘Timothy’

Acts 20: 28-35

Psalm 71: 1-14

Titus 1: 1-9

St. Luke 10: 1-9

St. Titus, like Timothy with whom he is often  associated, was a friend and co-worker of St, Paul. Titus was a Gentile, perhaps a native of Antioch, who accompanied Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem when they brought assistance to the Christians in Judea during a famine (Acts 11:29-30; Galatians 2:1). It is not known if he accompanied Paul on his first or second missionary journeys, but Titus was with him on the third one, when he helped reconcile the Corinthians to Paul (2 Corinthians 7:6-7) and assisted with the collection for the Church in Jerusalem (2 Corinthians 8:3-6). It was probably on the return to Jerusalem that Paul left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:4-5). Afterward he is found working in Dalmatia (2 Timothy 4:10). According to tradition, Titus returned to Crete, where he served as bishop until he died about AD 96. 

(From The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

The Epistle Reading:  Titus 1: 1-9

Greeting

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior;

To Titus, my true child in a common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Qualifications for Elders

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

Note:  I was on a 24 hour overnight retreat, the 26th and 27th, and the worship leader, ans was not able post this article in time- Pr. Schroeder

Reflection:

This past Friday was the Feast Day of St. Timothy, yesterday, January 25th, the Conversion of St. Paul, today St. Titus and tomorrow the Commemoration of St. John Chrysostom, Preacher.  When I began at my third congregation, the first one in the south, I went to see a homebound man, in a wheelchair, at his home and when I came in, in a Southern accent said, “The preacher man is here!”  These four days of feasts and a commemoration are all about preacher men.  

The Apostle Paul tells his brother Pastor Titus that through the preaching of Word that the fulness of the truth was “manifested”.  The Greek word is very much akin to the name of this liturgical season:  epiphany. God makes manifest His will of salvation by grace alone through the preaching of the Word which means the Lord calls faithful preachers.  This is a good day to give thanks to the Lord for faithful preachers especially the men you have known, bringing the Word to pulpit Sunday after Sunday, at the hospital, in a home bound member’s home, in a school, in classes, at the grave.  As  you give thanks to the Lord let your thanks be known to your pastor as well.

In The Large Catechism by Martin Luther, in his explanation of the 4th Commandment, Honor Your Father and Your Mother, Luther taught about fathers that the commandment is  expansive:

“…we have three kinds of fathers presented in this commandment: fathers by blood, fathers of a household, and fathers of the nation. Besides these, there are also spiritual fathers—not like those in the papacy who applied this title to themselves but performed no fatherly office. For the name spiritual father belongs only to those who govern and guide us by the Word of God. St. Paul boasts that he is a father in I Cor. 4:15, where he says, “I became your father in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.”

The two words in the good work of being a father, or a mother, are the authority of “no” and “yes”.  You can’t do this, you should not do that, be careful and the like.  Yes, come, let us worship the Lord, Yes,the Lord has forgiven you, Yes, I love you and will care for you.  “Fathers of a nation”, that is government, usually only use the word “No”, the political use of the Law for restraining evil (cf.  Romans 13:4) .  “Fathers of a household” meant for Luther the household with staff, that is, maids and servants.  Since many of us do not have such (!), and watch Downton Abbey wishing we did (!), this portion of the catechism seems irrelevant, but some have suggested that the modern equivalent is our places of work and  our superiors at work.  The boss must also apply with wisdom “no” and “yes”.  It is clear mothers and fathers do as well, and so do pastors.

In Paul’s short epistle to Titus, describing the work of the elder/overseer, that is pastor, Paul uses the word rebuke three times, as in the first time in the Epistle reading above:

 He (the pastor)  must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine (yes) and also to rebuke those who contradict it (no).

But in our forever affirming, self-esteeming, always should feel good culture and society, the role of pastor actually rebuking, saying “no”  to false doctrine spoken by the baptized, is even actively despised.  This means that the reality of sound doctrine, that Christ saves sinners, is also blunted.  Some pastors like to think of themselves as “coaches”, constantly cheering on the team…but that’s a cheerleader and an actual sports’ coach has plenty of rebukes!  Pastors are not to relish in rebuking, and they do not, because it is not pleasant to receive  discipline or to discipline, but for the sake of the “sound doctrine”, it needs to be done at the right time.   The pastor is also “disciplined” in his comportment according the humility of knowing that the Lord loves me a sinner as well, but when that sinfulness is not acknowledged and confessed (cf.1 John 1:7-9), and false doctrines are sought to justify sinfulness, something has to be said.  Pray for your pastor or priest and minister as he teaches you God’s Word of No and Yes, Law and Promise for you to love and know Jesus Christ!

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Prayer of the Day

Lord Jesus Christ, You have always given to Your Church on earth faithful shepherds such as Timothy to guide and feed Your flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Word and administer Your means of grace, and grant Your people wisdom to follow in the way that leads to life eternal; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Psalm 71:15-24
Acts 16:1-5
1 Timothy 6:11-16
Matthew 24:42-47

Bio:  St. Timothy had Christian believers in his family. His mother, Eunice, was a Christian woman and was the daughter of a Christian woman named Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). Acts records that St. Paul met Timothy on his second missionary journey and wanted Timothy to continue on with him (16:1-3). Over time, Timothy became a dear friend and close associate of Paul to whom Paul entrusted mission work in Greece and Asia Minor. Timothy was also with Paul in Rome. According to tradition, after Paul’s death, Timothy went to Ephesus, where he served as bishop and was martyred around AD 97. Timothy is best remembered as a faithful companion of Paul, one who rendered great service among the Gentile churches.

Reflection by  Fr. Valerius Herberger (21 April 1562-18 May 1627, German Lutheran preacher and theologian):

Dearly beloved, today we celebrate the commemoration of St. Timothy. He was born in Lystra (Acts 16:2); his father was a pagan, but his mother, Eunice, born an Israelite, had accepted the Christian faith and had committed her son, Timothy, to be raised by her mother, Lois, who was also a Christian. So Timothy learned the catechism from his grandmother. See, dear parents, what the diligent training of children can do! Now since he was a good, excellent thinker, St. Paul accepted him as his colleague or chaplain, and since he improved himself daily, Paul eventually ordained him as bishop of Ephesus, where he was also killed by the raging pagans. St.  Paul loved him dearly, which we can see from both epistles that he wrote to him. In 1 Timothy 1:2, he calls him his true son in the faith. From these two epistles, many passages shine forth like the stars of heaven:

  • 1 Timothy 1:5: “The aim of the commandment is love from a pure heart and from a good conscience and from a faith unfeigned.”
  • 1 Timothy 1:15: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:12: “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”

Since St. Paul and St. Timothy were dear friends, they were put beside each other in the calendar, and also on the day of St. Timothy, the Gospel of John 15:9-16 is read, which speaks of pure love and friendship.

(Source for the above: The Treasury of Daily Prayer)

Further Reflection:  

Paul’s two letters to Timothy are pastoral correspondence, that is, from Apostle to fellow pastor.  The two letters are about pastoral formation in these areas:

  • Preaching Law and Promise and rightly distinguishing the two:  1 Timothy 1: 8-12, 2 Timothy 2: 15
  • Prayers of God’s people:  1 Timothy 2
  • Servants of Jesus Christ in His Church: overseers (or bishops), deacons:  1 Timothy 3
  • Description of the called and ordained Servant of the Word:  1 Timothy 4
  • Servants of Jesus Christ:  widows, 1 Timothy 5
  • Pastors’ salaries:  1 Timothy 5: 17-18;  6: 6-10
  • Sound Doctrine and false teaching and teachers:  1 Timothy 6: 2b-21
  • Homeschooling in the Scriptures:  2 Timothy 1:  3-5
  • Unity of Purpose for the soldier of Christ Jesus in His militia Christi: 2 Timothy 2
  • The Centrality of the Lord’s Last Word in the last days:  the Scriptures:  1 Timothy 3
  • The Office of Preacher:  1 Timothy 4

The Apostle Paul encouraged his son in faith and fellow Pastor of that same Faith: “Fight the good fight of the faith”.  The Apostle was preeminently qualified in both the Word and experience  of what pastors were up against in the fighting the good fight of faith. Read for yourselves, for the first time, or for hundredth time, the catechetical and authoritative teaching of the manual of the Christian soldier in 1 and 2 Timothy.  In these days, we need this manual more than ever as the world, and church bodies, turn vociferously against the Word of God with itching ears

As the old saying has it, “What’s good the goose is good for the gander”:  Paul’s counsel and exhortation to his dear brother and fellow pastor, is also for every brother and sister in Christ being formed in His school of the Holy Spirit.  Paul not only wrote to Timothy but also to us.  As the Lord inspired clearly the Apostle, this is the Lord’s Word to you.

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In the Daily Lectionary the Epistle reading for today (January 29) is the beginning of 2 Timothy, 1: 1-18. Selections from 2 Timothy will continue for the next 3 days: 2 Timothy 2: 1—26; 2 Timothy 3: 1—17 and then on 1 February, 2 Timothy 4: 1—18.

I concentrate on verse 5:
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

When asked the question, Why are you a Lutheran, one of the answers is my upbringing, as it was for Paul’s brother pastor, Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy of his education and formation in the faith delivered to the saints once and for all through Timothy’s mother and grandmother. Paul reminds him to encourage him. We all need these reminders for our encouragement to fulfill our vocations. In prison, Paul remembers Timothy with tears of joy and prayer for him (verses 3-5a), but also for Lois and Eunice.

Professor Timothy Oden in his commentary, Interpretation: First and Second Timothy and Titus, comments on the purpose of this “transmission of apostolic faith” in Timothy’s ministry and vocation as a pastor:

“The intergenerational transmission of apostolic faith was of urgent concern to Paul. That is what he seemed to be most seriously pondering in prison. He was constantly reminded of Timothy’s sincere faith (v. 5), untainted by hypocrisy, unmixed by corrupted motives—the same faith that dwelt first in the grandmother Lois and the mother Eunice and then in the son. To these two women we rightly credit the transmission of the faith to Timothy, the precondition of his transmission of the faith to countless others. In Timothy we have a young man from a transitional, cross-cultural family charged with transmitting the faith intergenerationally.”

A good solid upbringing, catechesis in the Faith, is for bringing the faith to “countless others”. Fathers and mothers are their child’s first “bishop and bishopess”, as Luther said it.

In this verse 5 the imprisoned Apostle mentions faith directly and indirectly three times in this one sentence. The Faith is not only apprehended intellectually but Faith “dwelt” first in Timothy’s grandmother and then his mother and now it dwells in Timothy. Faith holds tight the promises of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ for us all, His grace, mercy and peace for sinners (verse 2). Paul describes the abiding Faith in Christ Jesus as “sincere” but a more literal reading of the Greek word is that it is “unfeigned”, not fake. Oden calls this the “quiet transmission”:

When preaching asks how Christian mission is to be revitalized today, nothing is more central to the answer than being a good parent. We see a model of parenting embodied in the small-scale, inconspicuous transition from Lois to Eunice to Timothy. That such traditioning can occur within a highly pluralistic, syncretistic, rapidly changing environment is clear from this account. They did it. Faith can be passed on through families. Religious instruction in the family unit is crucial to the transmission of the Christian tradition.

Too much of Christianity is television and show and shallow emotionalism and wanting to accommodate to the fads and fashions of the world. The unfeigned faith can happen in the Church in the home. Just think that Christian faith was educated in the Roman Empire without a lick of support from the culture and society.  I think Professor Oden’s language is a little sterile but he is saying what the text teaches and his conclusion is startling in this noisy world and worldliness inthe sentence I emphasized. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter, God gives the growth. Growth takes time, it takes the Lord’s time. How did Timothy grow in the Faith in Jesus Christ? Answer: the Scriptures, the Word of God:

But as for you ,continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be  complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3)

The Holy Spirit teaches and His lesson plan is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His TextBook the Bible. We need home-church schooling more than ever. 

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Visit, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, making them a haven of blessing and of peace. Strengthen the bonds of love and faithfulness between all married couples, leading us all to honor this institution that You have established for our good. Give courage and strength to all Christian parents, that they may faithfully teach their children to know the voice of the Good Shepherd and to trust in Him alone for all good things. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

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