The Bible written by real people, to real people, for real reasons, at a real point in time. This is important to remember when we start to study a new book of the Bible. It is very easy for us to treat the Bible as a technical manual, forgetting it was written to people just like us, by people just like us, and for struggles just like ours. This week let’s look into the realness of 1 Timothy.
I do not spend a lot of time on the first couple of verses. This isn’t to say they are not important. They remind us of what I just said. But, my summery that it’s Paul saying hi to Timothy is the point. The greetings state the name, title, and address and a blessing. The blessing is key, as well as Paul’s title. Here is a quick take away: You are sent by God as well. You are a missionary. Bless those you speak with.
Offering peace is a common greeting in the near east. It is something our culture would benefit from. Sure, saying peace to you may throw people off. Our standard greeting is “How are you (please don’t answer, I'm just following the rules by asking).” When talking with people, on the phone or other wise, think through how to offer hope and peace to someone. Why? In the church another word was added: Grace. Grace conveys both power of a sovereign (Jesus!) and giving something undeserved. Like we spoke about in church on Sunday, God pursues the mess, he doesn’t run from it.
There is more to the realness of 1 Timothy, and I’d encourage you to dig in for yourself! Read about the area, the people, the author and Timothy. It adds depth to what we will be learning these next few weeks. A good commentary or a Study Bible is helpful in this regard. The links below are some helpful resources:
Net Bible Online Study Tool
ESV Study Bible
Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament
IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament
Journaling is a good tool to process what we are learning and going through. It is not about being right as much as processing. (Remember, we’ll be perfect when we see Jesus face to face. Until then, working towards being like Jesus is the goal!) Take time to journal your answers or ponder them: