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First Quarter 2014 (January–March)
COMMENTARY ON DISCIPLESHIP
Week 1: December 28–January 3
COMMENTARY ON DISCIPLES AND SCRIPTURE
Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
FIRST TIMOTHY OUTLINE
1 Tim. 1:1-11 (Paul’s authority and his theme concerning myths and false teachers)
COMMENT: Our only sure way to avoid ‘myths and false doctrines’ is to build our faith on Scripture alone, be indwelt and led by the Holy Spirit and study all Scripture in context.
1 Tim. 1:12-17 (Jesus came to save sinners)
COMMENT: Among several other things, this means that Jesus Christ’s mission is not and never was to vindicate the character of God. God does not need to justify himself before those he has created. Consider God’s challenge to Job, Job chapters 38-42.
COMMENT: What Paul is saying is that, because of what Jesus did for him, all those who come to Jesus in believing faith can know they have eternal life. How dare Ellen White say different!
1 Tim. 1:18-20 (Hold to faith and a good conscience)
1 Tim. 2:1-7 (Pray for all people)
1 Tim. 2:8-15 (Pray and conduct our lives with holy hands)
COMMENT: Theologians have pondered Paul’s statement ‘she will be saved through childbearing’ for centuries without coming to an agreeable interpretation. As a possible understanding of what Paul was referring to consider what God said in Gen. 3:14-19. What is clear through the study of related scripture is that personal salvation and the forgiveness of our sins is only and totally through the shed blood of our Savior at Calvary therefore Paul appears to be referring to something different.
1 Tim. 3:1-7 (Those who lead as Shepherds of the Church)
1 Tim. 3:8-13 (Those who lead as Servants of the Church)
COMMENT: The study of both the root Hebrew and Greek words used in the Bible which are translated into English as the word ‘wine’, including the grammatical context, makes it clear here and elsewhere in the Bible that this is an alcoholic beverage Paul is referring to. The only thing condemned throughout Scripture is the drinking of too much wine. Don’t be a drunkard.
1 Tim. 3:14-15 (The household of God is a pillar and buttress of truth)
1 Tim. 3:16 (The mystery of godliness, Jesus Christ our Savior)
1 Tim. 4:1-5 (Indicators of those who have departed from the faith)
COMMENT: Even though maintaining good health is important and a right thing to do what you eat is not part of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. To do so and call it ‘the right hand of the gospel’ is one of those things Paul identifies as a ‘teaching of demons’.
1 Tim. 4:6-10 (Concerning good doctrine)
1 Tim. 4:11-16 (Concerning issues that apply to all who teach and lead other Christians)
1 Tim. 5:1-2 (Encouraging the spiritual growth of the church)
COMMENT: The implication here is that needed correction is to be appropriate, tactful and most likely not normally done in public. Of course, Paul has very different instructions concerning those who teach heresy, especially where the gospel of Jesus Christ is altered, or there are those who are unrepentant in sins that affect the whole Body of Christ, Gal. 1:8-9; 1 Cor. 3:1-9; 1 Cor. 5:1-11.
1 Tim. 5:3-16 (Concerning those who are a widow)
COMMENT: In today’s society the government has taken over the responsibility for the care of those in need in the form of public ‘welfare’. However, when the ‘system’ fails it is still important for the church to fulfill these biblical mandates of looking after the truly needy, working within or without governmental support.
1 Tim. 5:17-25 (Concerning the rights and conduct of elders)
1 Tim. 6:1-5 (The duty of servants)
COMMENT: The Bible and Christianity in particular neither condemn nor accept slavery. Historians tell us that at the time Paul wrote this there were sixty million slaves in the Roman Empire which means this was a major issue in the First Century Church when both slaves and their masters became believers within the same local church. However, history also tells us that largely because of the spread of Christianity slavery has, in most cases, peacefully disappeared from both the Roman Empire and the rest of the modern world. A tragic exception to this is the American Civil War. The natural question is; does this passage of Scripture have any relevance for the age we live in? The answer is yes because in truth the dynamics of the present day employer-employee workplace dynamics is the same, making our root Christian attitudes and responsibilities universal principles that haven’t changed.
1 Tim. 6:6-10 (Godliness is great gain)
1 Tim. 6:11-16 (The things to pursue)
COMMENT: The Great Commission, Matt. 28:11-20, is the one command all who are disciples of the Lord are personally commanded by our Savior to keep until his reappearing at the end of this age.
1 Tim. 6:17-20 (Final words)
To be a Christian disciple means that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord. Jesus did not come to prove we could do the same as him by him living here among sinners. Jesus is and always has been holy without sin since eternity. Jesus could not sin because he does not have a sin nature. Consequently, he did for us what we can never do for ourselves. That is, he came to die and pay the penalty of death for our sins, overthrow death and come back from the grave guaranteeing our own resurrection when we place our faith in his salvation and lordship. It is by his gift of the Holy Spirit that he changes us. As Christians, our spiritual growth (sanctification) is totally and only through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Even that is not a work of our own.
The following Scripture describes the spiritual life of the saints of God by outlining the working of God. Sanctification and consequently discipleship is totally a work of God:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:26-30 ESV)
The purpose of presenting this outline and encouraging the inductive verse-by-verse study of First Timothy has been to show that the topic of discipleship, or any other biblical topic, can best be learned and understood by taking one section or book of the Bible and study through it the way it was originally written instead of jumping all around Scripture patch-working potentially unrelated verses together. When including biblical references at least make sure you have maintained the context the supporting passage was found in. Also understand that it is the role of the Holy Spirit to lead each and every person into an understanding of God word, John 16:5-11. Therefore accepting the gospel message of Jesus Christ and receiving his gift of the Holy Spirit would be the very first step in truly understanding the will of God and the meaning of Scripture in your life.