Module 36: Vocational Church Life Part 3
Module Guide: Ephesians - Christ and His Church, the Eternal Vocation; and 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus - Christ and His Minister
This pre-read guide is taken from the public domain source "The Analysed Bible in 3 Volumes" by G. Campbell Morgan.
It is open to question whether this letter was originally sent to the church at Ephesus alone, or to a group of churches in Asia, of which Ephesus was one. The words "at Ephesus" are considered to be doubtful. The fact that there is no salutation, or directly personal matter in the letter, would seem to lend force to the idea that it was intended for a group of churches. Unlike many of the other letters of Paul, this one does not seem to have been called out by any local circumstance, but is rather a document concerning the whole Church.
The absence of local colouring makes it unnecessary to dwell upon the history of the church at Ephesus. All of it, so far as recorded, is to be found in the Acts, and in the Apocalypse.
The letter may be spoken of as the Manifesto of the Church's ultimate vocation. In it the apostle is no longer dealing in detail with the fundamental doctrine of salvation as he did in the letter to the Romans, nor with the Church's equipment for present service, as in those to the Corinthians; but with the still more glorious matter of the Church's eternal vocation. This, however, is not a doctrine revealed merely for the sake of the instruction of the intelligence of the believer. It has its bearing upon the present life, and while the first half of the epistle deals with the heavenly calling, the second half shows the effect that will be produced by an understanding of this upon the present life.
The contents may thus simply be analyzed; Introduction (1:1-1:2); the Church, the heavenly Calling (1:3-3:21); the Church, the earthly Conduct (4:1-6:18); Conclusion (6:19-6:24).
The apostle introduced himself by claiming apostleship through the will of God, and then carefully defined those to whom the letter is addressed. He wrote to the saints, that is, to such as live by faith in Christ Jesus. He saluted his readers with the benediction of grace and peace.
The Church. The heavenly Calling
The main object of the letter is suggested by the benediction which affirms the blessedness of God, and declares that He has conferred blessing upon the saints in Christ.
Following closely upon this introductory benediction, the subject of the Church's heavenly calling is commenced. It falls into three sections: Predestination, or the Church's origin; Edification, or the Church's construction; Vocation, or the Church's function.
Before the foundation of the world God chose One, even Christ, and all who put their faith in Him. God's predestination of the saints was to such relationship with Christ as should issue in their being holy, in order to the manifestation of His grace. Predestination was not only to this purpose, but included the method of redemption by blood, the revelation and consequent realization of grace in the character of such as believed. This doctrine of grace created desires in the heart of the apostle for the saints, which he expressed in prayer. This prayer asked that they might have a full knowledge of the purpose, and of the power at their disposal for its realization.
Passing to the subject of the edification, or building of the Church according to the predestined purpose and method, he first described the materials of the building. These are individuals living in the midst of conditions absolutely opposed to the will and purpose of God. These are made alive, raised up, made to sit in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. The words "in Christ Jesus" refer to the whole process. Thus out of the deep and awful darkness God brings, through Christ, the materials with which He will build His Church. These are His workmanship as to preparation. The apostle then passed to the subject of the unification of these materials into one building. Writing to Gentiles, he declared that Jew and Gentile were to be united in Christ. Those united become "a holy temple in the Lord," the purpose of which is that it should be "a habitation of God in the Spirit." The creation of the temple is accomplished through the work of Christ. The incoming of the Spirit appropriates the temple according to the intended purpose. Thus the edification or building of the Church goes forward according to predestination.
Dealing with the vocation of the Church the apostle showed that God's dwelling therein is not finality, but rather equipment. By the Church, God Himself is equipped for the display of His blessedness. By the indwelling Spirit the Church is equipped for the fulfilment of her Divine purpose. That purpose is, that to the high intelligences, "the principalities and powers in the heavenlies," the Church is to be the medium for the manifestation of "the manifold wisdom of God." The stupendous magnitude of the subject is clearly set forth in the second prayer of the apostle, which proceeded through causes to an effect. The final petition was "that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God." In order to this he prayed that they might be rooted and grounded in love, and so, strong to apprehend. In order to this he prayed that Christ might dwell in their hearts. In order to this he prayed that they might be strengthened with power through the Spirit. The division ends with the great doxology. So stupendous is the idea developed that in the presence of it faith staggers, save as it recognizes that God bestows power equal to the accomplishment of the purpose. That power is already at work in those who are saints by faith in Christ.
The Church. The earthly Conduct
The apostle at once moved to the application of this great doctrine to the present life of the Church, and dealt with it as it concerns the Church as such, as it affects conduct, and as it creates conflict.
The first responsibility of the Church is that it maintain the unity of the Spirit. Having described the unity as to the process of its creation, and its glorious inclusiveness, he dealt with its growth. In doing so he maintained the figure of his previous section, that of building; and yet it is the building of a living organism. To every individual, grace is given, in order that all may grow up toward the ultimate fulness of the entire Church, which he described as a "full grown man, the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." There is an individual bestowment of grace from the Head in order that there may be mutual growth into right relationship, and simultaneous action, with the Head.
Turning to the subject of conduct, he dealt first with individual responsibility. In a series of eight remarkable contrasts, illustrating the difference between the old life and the new, he urged the believer to put off the former, and to put on the latter. These contrasts are between lying and truth, malice and mercy, stealing and giving, corrupting and edifying speech, hatred and love, purity and impurity, folly and wisdom, excitement and enthusiasm. This whole section of contrasts and injunctions must be considered and obeyed in the light of the opening words, which describe inclusively the earthly conduct of the people of the heavenly calling. "Walk worthily of the calling." Two commands may be spoken of as the dynamic centres. First, "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, in Whom ye were sealed unto the day of redemption," and "Be filled with the Spirit."
Passing from the question of individual conduct the apostle approached that of the Christian family, dealing first with the heads thereof, husbands and wives. The wife is to be subject to the love of the husband, finding the fulfilment of the natural capacities of the love of woman in trusting so perfectly the loved one, as to rejoice in his guidance and direction, knowing that it is the expression of his love. The apostle's teaching concerning the husband was the exact correlative of that concerning the wife. He spoke only of his love, which is to be self-emptying, and is to have as its purpose the perfecting of the wife. The radiant vision of the perfect love of Christ to His Church, and the true ideal of the Church's love to Christ, is the pattern of the relationship which ought to exist between husband and wife. The heads of the house-hold are to bear such relation to each other as is worthy of that high calling of the Church, which is made possible in the glorious union existing between her and her Lord. Concerning children the apostle had two commands, which should be carefully distinguished. The first is that they are to obey, and the second that they are to honour their parents. Obedience is the attitude of the child under age, during the process of training, and ends with the coming of manhood and womanhood. The duty of honouring parents never ends. The responsibility of parents is stated only with reference to fathers. The exercise of authority is to be on the principle of reasonableness; and its method that of nurture, which suggests the thought of development; chastening, which includes restraint in all its forms; and admonition, which is that of warning.
The wider circle of the Christian household is dealt with as to the relationship between servants and masters. Servants are to obey, always remembering that their final reward comes from the hand of Christ. The master is ever to have in mind, as the revelation of his true relation to his servant, his own Master in heaven, and is to remember that with the Lord is no respect of persons.
The last section of the second division of the letter deals with conflict. It is significant that at the close of so great an argument concerning the heavenly calling and the earthly conduct, the apostle should recognize the fact that life on earth after the pattern of the heavens necessarily brings conflict with all the forces that are opposed to God. He recognized that behind all the opposition of man is the more terrific opposition of spiritual forces. While the teaching realizes that the conflict is indeed a terrible one, there is not a single note that indicates the necessity for cowardly fear. Perfect provision is made for the saint in the "whole armour of God." If advantage is taken of this provision, conflict always issues in victory. The armour must not only be put on, it must be taken up; and the soldier must fight. His true attitude in conflict is that of dependence upon God in prayer.
The final injunction in the previous section concerning prayer, merges into the personal element with which the apostle concluded. They were to remember him as "an ambassador in chains." The letter closes with a benediction, consisting of words of peace and of grace, in which the Source of blessing, "God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ," and the recipients thereof, "all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruptness," are brought together in suggestive sentences.
INTRODUCTION - Ephesians 1:1-1:2
1. The Message - Eph. 1:1
2. The Salutation - Eph. 1:2
Part A: THE CHURCH - THE HEAVENLY CALLING - Ephesians 1:3-3:21
Inclusive Preliminary Benediction - Eph. 1:3
A.1. Predestination "Before the Foundation of the World" - Eph. 1:4-1:23
- The Predestined Purpose - 1:4-1:6
- The Predestined Method - 1:7-1:14
- The Parenthical Prayer - 1:15-1:23
A.2. Edification "Now ... made Nigh" - Eph. 2:1-2:22
- The Materials. Individuals the Workmanship of God - 2:1-2:10
- The Building. The Union of such Individuals in the one Church - 2:11-2:22
A.3. Vocation "Unto all generations for ever and ever" - Eph. 3:1-3:21
- The Personal Parenthesis - 3:2-3:13
- The Great Prayer - 3:1 and 3:14-3:19
- The Great Doxology - 3:20-3:21
Part B: THE CHURCH - THE EARTHLY CONDUCT - Ephesians 4:1-6:18
B.1. Concerning the Church - Eph. 4:1-4:16
- Basic Unity - 4:1-4:6
- Growth - 4:7-4:12 and 4:14-4:16
- Ultimate Unity - 4:13
B.2. Concerning Conduct - Eph. 4:17-6:9
- Individual - 4:17-5:21
- Family - 5:22-6:4
- Household - 6:5-6:9
B.3. Concerning Conflict - Eph. 6:10-6:18
- "Put on the Armour"
- "Take up the Armour"
CONCLUSION - Ephesians 6:19-6:24
1. Personal Conclusion - Eph. 6:19-6:22
2. Resultant final Benediction - Eph. 6:23-6:24
1 Timothy Introduction
The subject of Paul's association with Timothy is very full of interest, and of beauty. It is the story of a sacred and beautiful comradeship in Christ between an old and a young man. The apostle's references to Eunice and Lois would suggest a long acquaintance with them; and from the fact that Lystra is not far from Tarsus it has been conjectured that these women had been influenced by the apostle during the early days of his Christian life in which he lived there, before Barnabas sought him and brought him to Antioch. The first recorded visit to Lystra ended in the terrible stoning of the apostle, when he seemed to be dead. Almost immediately he returned to confirm the disciples. In all probability the boy Timothy was led to Christ then, for Paul speaks of him as his son in the faith, and on the occasion of his next visit Timothy is a disciple, "well reported of by the brethren."
It was at this time that the apostle officially set him apart to the work of the ministry, and from that time onward he shared his journeyings and helped him in his work. Near the end of the life of Paul, certain conditions obtaining in the church at Ephesus made it necessary that some one should be stationed there, having apostolic authority to set things in order. To this work Timothy was assigned. Paul's supreme passion was ever that of the well-being of the Church as "the pillar and ground of the truth," and he parted from Timothy, sacrificing his own personal comfort, as many tender touches reveal, in order that the church at Ephesus might be cared for.
This epistle was sent to Timothy at Ephesus, and contains such instructions as are necessary to fit him for the work he has to do. It may broadly be divided thus; Introduction (1:1-1:2); Timothy's Charge, the Church (1:3-3:16); Charge to Timothy, the Ministry (4:1-6:16); Conclusion (6:17-6:21).
In the apostolic salutation two elements are revealed which characterize the whole epistle, those namely of authority and tenderness. Paul's introduction of himself is a declaration of authority. In order to the proper government of the church there must be duly constituted authority, and this is traced and set in its true relation. Paul's greeting to Timothy is a revelation of tenderness in his form of address, "My true child in faith"; and in the words of actual salutation, "Grace, mercy, peace."
Timothy's Charge. The Church
Through all the personal and local values of this section there may be discovered the apostolic conceptions of the Church itself, and these constitute the bases of interpretation. The apostle first had in mind the Church and man, her Gospel; then the Church and God, her intercession; finally the Church herself, her office and officers.
The Church's Gospel is the Gospel of "the blessed God," and therefore Timothy is to safeguard it against any different doctrine. The law is good, but it is for the lawless. All the things of evil, against which it protests, are absent in the lives of those obedient to sound doctrine. The power of the Gospel is illustrated by an experimental passage in which he confessed the sin of the past, triumphed in the grace which overcame it, and claimed the service resulting. All ended in a great song of praise. Timothy is charged to "war the good warfare," which means a great deal more than fighting the good fight of faith in personal life. The words convey the thought of a campaign, and include all the responsibilities of the officer in command. He is to engage in the warfare, remembering the prophecies uttered concerning him, and holding faith in a good conscience. The apostle emphasized the urgency of his charge by words of warning, in which he cited instances of those who had failed.
The Church is not only called to proclaim to men the evangel of God, but to plead with God the cause of men. The apostle exhorted to the exercise of this function, which he described by the use of words covering the whole ground, "supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings." He then named the subjects of prayer, declared its warrant, and insisted that those who prayed should be clean in conduct, and strong in character. The subject of the public assemblies of the church in Ephesus was evidently in the mind of the apostle as he described the demeanour and position of women.
In order to the proclamation of the evangel, and the exercise of intercession, the church itself must be properly governed, and recognize the true meaning of her existence. Turning to the subject of government, the apostle dealt with two orders, bishops and deacons. The bishop is an overseer - that is, one whose duty it is to watch over the flock, and know them, to become acquainted with their condition and their needs. After declaring the excellence of the office, he proceeded to describe the qualifications necessary for its fulfilment. The picture is that of a perfectly balanced life, neither given to excess in any direction, nor ascetic. The office of the deacon was not inferior, but different. It was complementary and co-operative. In a description of the qualifications therefore for this work the apostle was as careful as when dealing with the calling of the bishop. He also recognized the possible necessity of appointing women to the office, under certain circumstances; and in a few words defined their qualifications, showing them to be practically the same as those for men.
All this leads to the final declaration of this first division, which is a remarkable and singularly beautiful description of the Church and her purpose. She is the house of God, and moreover, the pillar and ground of the truth - that is, the institution which upholds and manifests truth in the sight of all. This led the apostle further, and he declared what that truth was which the Church supports and reveals.
Charge to Timothy. The Ministry
Having thus dealt with the Church as the charge committed to Timothy, the apostle charged Timothy as to how he was to fulfil his responsibility; and dealt with his duty toward the truth, his duty toAvard his flock, and his duty toward himself.
With regard to the first, Paul first definitely and solemnly warned him of an approaching danger. There would be a decline in faith consequent upon ascetic practices. The corrective consists in a declaration of the breadth of true godliness, which takes in life as a whole; both in its present and future realizations. Godliness does not starve any life, does not produce any crippling of the powers, has nothing to do with limitation. The secrets of strength for those who are called upon to defend the truth against error are next set forth. Hope is to be set on God. The teacher must be such a man as to carry conviction and command respect. In order to this, he must give himself to reading, exhortation, teaching, which words here undoubtedly all refer to the public work, and their combination suggests the true type of preaching. Again, in order to such public ministry there must be the cultivation of the gift, and then earnest devotion to the things to be declared. This is expressed in the charge, "give thyself wholly to them." No man gifted for the ministry can afford to devote himself, giving part of his strength of body or of mind, to other things. So sacred and so spacious is the glorious work, that it demands the whole man. The general attitude therefore is expressed in the language, "Take heed to thyself, and to thy teaching." That is the duty of the preacher to truth, first the answer of his own life to its claims, and then the teaching of it to others.
The next section deals with the duty of the minister to his flock. His demeanour toward men and women is described. The large section devoted to widows indicates the local conditions and dangers. Elders in the church are to be held in honour, and provided for. If an elder is found guilty of sin, his public position demands public reproof, for the sake of the maintenance of a general discipline. The responsibility in this connection is so great that the apostle solemnly charged Timothy as to how he is to act in the light of God, of Jesus Christ, and the elect angels. At this point in the letter there occurs a personal parenthesis; in all probability on a subject occurring to his mind at the moment, and dealt with immediately lest it should be forgotten. The last injunction of the apostle concerning Timothy's duty toward his flock indicated the line of his teaching of those Christian slaves who were members thereof. Those who serve unbelieving masters are to let their service be a testimony to the profession they make. Those who serve Christian masters are not to presume upon their spiritual relation to such as a reason for the neglect of duty. They are rather to serve all the more zealously, out of love and respect.
The apostle now reverted to the prime occasion of Timothy's appointment to Ephesus, that namely of the false teachers. His reference to this consisted of a scathing description of them, and a startling revelation of the real reason of their action. This prepared the way for his dealing with Timothy's duty toward himself. The apostolic form of address here recognized the character of Timothy, "O man of God." His charge to him was three-fold: he was to flee, to follow, to fight. The young ambassador of the Cross is placed between the sad and sorrowful Jesus testifying to truth in the court of the Roman governor, and the glorious Person of the manifested King at the day of His advent.
The conclusion seems to be of the nature of a postscript. The final charge to Timothy had brought to the mind of the apostle the perils which threatened all those who were rich in this world, and for their sakes he described the true attitude of a Christian man. The letter closes in an outburst of personal appeal which seems to gather within itself all the varied tones of what had already been written - personal tenderness, apostolic authority, a great sense of wrong being done to truth, and consequent anger, with tremendous urgency in the special charge. Positive responsibility is that he guard the deposit; and negative that he turn away from the things which oppose. The brief final benediction is full of comfort. For such responsibilities as rested upon this man, how much was needed of the full grace of God; and there need be no anxiety, no panic, for that grace is ever the portion of such as are appointed to responsibility.
INTRODUCTION - 1 Timothy 1:1-1:2
1. Paul's Introduction of himself - 1Tim. 1:1
- A Declaration of Authority
2. Paul's Greeting to Timothy - 1Tim. 1:2
- A Revelation of Tenderness
Part A: TIMOTHY'S CHARGE - THE CHURCH - 1 Timothy 1:3-3:16
A.1. The Church and Man. Her Gospel - 1Tim. 1:3-1:20
- The Gospel - 1:3-1:11
- Experimental Illustration - 1:12-1:17
- Timothy Charged and Warned - 1:18-1:20
A.2. The Church and God. Her Intercession - 1Tim. 2:1-2:15
- Common Prayer - 2:1-2:7
- The Worshippers - 2:8-2:15
A.3. The Church Herself. Her Officers and Office - 1Tim. 3:1-3:16
- Her Officers - 3:1-3:13
- The Bishop - 3:1-3:7
- Deacons - 3:8-3:13
- Her Office - 3:14-3:16
- The Depository of Truth - 3:14-3:15
- The Truth Deposited - 3:16
Part B: CHARGE TO TIMOTHY - THE MINISTRY - 1 Timothy 4:1-6:16
B.1. His Duty toward the Truth - 1Tim. 4:1-4:16
- The Perils of Spurious Pietism - 4:1-4:3
- The Breadth of True Godliness to be declared by Timothy as Corrective - 4:4-4:9
- The Strength in which he is to do this - 4:10-4:16
B.2. His Duty toward the Flock - 1Tim. 5:1-6:2
- Men - 5:1
- Women - 5:2
- Widows - 5:3-5:16
- Bishops - 5:17-5:22
- (Personal Parenthesis - 5:23-5:25)
- Servants - 6:1-6:2
B.3. His Duty toward Himself - 1Tim. 6:3-6:16
- The Manner and Method of False Teachers - 6:3-6:10
- Timothy's Duty by Contrast - 6:11-6:16
CONCLUSION - 1 Timothy 6:17-6:21
1. Postscript - 1Tim. 6:17-6:19
2. Summing up - 1Tim. 6:20-6:21a
3. Benediction - 1Tim. 6:21b
2 Timothy Introduction
This second letter to Timothy was also written from prison, and in all likelihood followed the first within a very few months. It is evidently a sequel to it. The troubles in the church were the same as those referred to before, and the charge to Timothy was of the same kind. The note of apostolic urgency seems to be accentuated. It is evident that Paul wrote again under a threefold consciousness. He was conscious of his own approaching departure. He recognized the evil existing in the church at Ephesus, and forecast the terrible days that are coming. He was, moreover, most acutely conscious of the grave responsibility resting on Timothy. In the light of the first two facts - his departure and the evil days at hand - he addressed himself to Timothy concerning his responsibility.
The epistle is consequently almost exclusively personal. His heart was set on this child of his own labour with solicitous anxiety, that he in turn might be faithful to his opportunity, both for his own sake, and for the sake of the truth.
The letter is intensely interesting as the last of Paul's writings, and as revealing the true attitude of the minister in days of declension and peril. The letter may be divided thus; Introduction (1:1-1:5); Personal Responsibility (1:6-2:13); Church Responsibility (2:14-3:13); Truth Responsibility (3:14-4:5); Conclusion (4:6-4:22).
In this introduction there are two phrases differing from those used in the first letter. He described his apostleship as being "according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus." This is particularly suited to this letter, which was intended to strengthen Timothy in view of his difl&cult work. He called Timothy his beloved child, and thus expressed a growing tenderness for him. The passage of thanksgiving breathes the very spirit of this affection.
The subject of Timothy's personal responsibility the apostle dealt with first as to gifts, and secondly as to grace.
He first laid two injunctions upon him to "stir up the gift," and not to be ashamed of the testimony. The gift bestowed upon him was that of capacity for oversight, and was characterized by power, love, and discipline. This twofold injunction is emphasized by a twofold incentive, that namely of the greatness of the Gospel committed as a deposit, and of Paul's experience and convictions in relation to the responsibility of the ministry. The discussion of these is followed by an injunction, including a question of government and courage, and the paragraph ends with examples of those who failed, and of one who has been true.
Continuing, the apostle came to the subject of grace, and again there are two injunctions, "Be strengthened in the grace," "suffer hardship," the latter being illustrated by the soldier who is loyal to a king, the athlete who observes the conditions, and the husbandman who labours and waits. Here again the apostle passed from injunctions to incentives, and the first is expressed in the comprehensive words, "Remember Jesus Christ." This command recognized the limitations of human life, and called to definite acts and seasons of meditation. The apostle then passed to a lower level of incentive, that of his own experience, yet this would have special weight with Timothy, the child of his love. Paul's suffering is declared in the words, "I suffer hardship unto bonds, as a malefactor." His confidence flames out in the declaration, "The word of God is not bound." Turning finally from the supreme example of Jesus, and his own corroborative evidence of the possibility of triumph in service over suffering, the apostle quoted one "faithful saying," which at once set the principles of responsibility clearly before the mind. The foundation principle is that of identification with Jesus in death and resurrection, and the whole experience of Christian service is described in the words, "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him." To understand these things is to feel the force of the warnings, "If we shall deny Him, He also will deny us."
In charging Timothy as to his responsibility concerning the church, the apostle dealt with the perils and duties then present, and with the coming troubles.
His first duty to the church was that of the exercise of his gift, and the apostle's instruction gathered round the threefold thought contained in the description of the spirit of the gift already stated. Placing the workman into contrast with the destroyers, he was to exercise power. This exercise was made necessary by the presence of those who were disputing about words, and indulging in "profane babblings." He was, moreover, to exercise his gift in the spirit of love, but in the definite administration of discipline. In order to all this he must himself flee aspirations and desires which are self-centred, follow the truth, and refuse questions likely to engender strife.
The apostle then turned aside to give Timothy a distinct foretelling of coming trouble. Even more trying times would come than those in the midst of which Timothy was then exercising his ministry, days characterized by "holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof." In view of these coming troubles the apostle wrote of his own manner of life in order to prepare Timothy. He had passed through all manner of suffering, but always, through the strength and faithfulness of his Lord, unto victory.
Paul now turned to the question of Timothy's responsibility concerning the truth, dealing first with the Scriptures themselves, and then uttering his final charge. One word indicates the personal responsibility, and that is "abide." The words which indicate the values of the Scriptures are evidently carefully chosen: "teaching, reproof, correction, instruction." Their purpose is the making complete of the man of God in order that he may be prepared for his work.
His final charge had to do first with his work. The incentives are those of the final testing, and the very perils in the midst of which he laboured. His work is stated in four words, "preach, reprove, rebuke, exhort," which exactly correspond to the values of the Scriptures already declared. Moreover, the measure in which he will be able to use the Word influentially for the edification of others, is the measure in which he himself is established in character and conduct thereby.
In this conclusion we have in all probability the last written words of Paul preserved to us, and they declare his own final attitude as to his own ministry, as to his associates, as to his enemies. The final salutations are followed by the words "grace be with you." The one great theme of all Paul's preaching and teaching had been that of grace, and therefore this brief sentence forms a most fitting conclusion to the things he has written.
INTRODUCTION - 2 Timothy 1:1-1:5
1. Personal Introduction - 2Tim. 1:1
2. Greeting to Timothy - 2Tim. 1:2
3. Thanksgiving - 2Tim. 1:3-1:5
Part A: PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY - 2 Timothy 1:6-2:13
A.1. Gifts - 2Tim. 1:6-1:18
- The Injunction - 1:6-1:8
- The Incentives - 1:9-1:18
A.2. Grace - 2Tim. 2:1-2:13
- The Injunctions - 2:1-2:6
- The Incentives - 2:7-2:13
Part B: CHURCH RESPONSIBILITY - 2 Timothy 2:14-3:13
B.1. Present Perils and Duties - 2Tim. 2:14-2:26
- The Workman and the Destroyers - 2:14-2:19
- The Lord's Servant - 2:20-2:26
B.2. The Coming Troubles - 2Tim. 3:1-3:13
- Description - 3:1-3:9
- Paul's Experience - 3:10-3:13
Part C: TRUTH RESPONSIBILITY - 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
C.1. The Scriptures and their Value - 2Tim. 3:14-3:17
- "Abide" - 3:14
- The Value of the Writings - 3:15-3:16
- The Purpose of Abiding - 3:17
C.2. The Final Charge - 2Tim. 4:1-4:5
- His Work - 4:1-4:4
- His Character - 4:5
CONCLUSION - 2 Timothy 4:6-4:22
1. Paul's Final Attitudes - 2Tim. 4:6-4:18
- As to his Ministry - 4:6-4:8
- As to his Associates - 4:9-4:13
- As to his Enemies - 4:14-4:18
2. The Last Salutation - 2Tim. 4:19-4:22
It is a remarkable fact that Titus is not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles. All we know of him we gather from the writings of Paul. From the present letter we learn that he was a convert of the apostle. From the letter to the Galatians we learn that he was a Greek. In the second letter to the Corinthians there are sundry references to him. He met Paul in Macedonia, and gave him an account of the effect produced by his first letter to Corinth. He voluntarily undertook the completing of the collections for the saints at Jerusalem. Paul speaks of him as a partner and fellow-worker. He was sent to Corinth to make collections for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Finally, Paul declares his confidence in him.
The present epistle finds him in Crete for a temporary sojourn, having a definite purpose. His stay there was to be short. There is uncertainty as to the foundation of the churches in Crete. Most probably they were the direct results of the day of Pentecost. Christian doctrine had been corrupted by Judaizing teachers. This, taken together with the natural characteristics of the Cretans, had brought about a state of disorder. Titus was sent to set things in order, and this letter contains his instructions. The epistle may be divided in the following way; Introduction (1:1-1:4); Church Government (1:5-1:16); Church Behaviour (2:1-2:15); Church and State (3:1-3:11); Conclusion (3:12-3:15).
Paul described himself first by the fundamental and inclusive truth, as the "bond-servant of God." His definition of apostleship follows, and is full and remarkable. He was an apostle "according to the faith of God's elect," that is to say, all his ministry was exercised within the limits of that faith. Its strength is indicated in the words, "in hope of eternal life." His salutation of Titus as "my true child after a common faith" suggests relationship in that which conditioned the relationship and apostleship of Paul.
The chief business of Titus in Crete was that of setting the church in order, and the apostle first discussed the true form of government as to its office, its functions, its character.
The office is that of the elder, which is coincident with that of the bishop. The function of the elder is declared to be that of a steward, which suggests general oversight, and management of the affairs of the household. The fulfilment of this will be realized by a recognition of the fact that he is a teacher. The function of the bishop, therefore, is not that of making laws and regulations, but that of interpreting the will of God as revealed in the sound doctrine, and insisting upon obedience. Only men of character are to be appointed to such office, and the apostle described the character as that of a threefold blamelessness. The bishop must be blameless in family life, blameless personally, blameless in doctrine.
The immediate reason for the work of Titus in Crete was that of the presence there of Judaizing teachers, who for filthy lucre's sake were perverting the truth, and working havoc in whole houses. His method, therefore, would necessarily be that of severity. He was to reprove them sharply. The reason of the severity, however, is here, as always, that the highest purposes of love may be realized.
In showing what the behaviour of the Church of God should be, the apostle first laid down particular precepts, and then declared the power in which it would be possible to obey. The behaviour is to be such as befits sound doctrine, and he made application of this to the aged men and aged women, to the young women and young men, and finally to servants. It was of these last that he declared, "that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things," thus revealing the fact that the more difficult the circumstances in which Christian life is to be lived, the greater is the opportunity for revealing to the world the graciousness and glory of the government.
If these are the commandments laid upon the members of the Church, he proceeded to show that it is possible to obey them because of the resources at the disposal of every Christian. In a passage of singular beauty and power he declared the fourfold value of the grace of God. That grace had its epiphany at the first advent of Jesus. It first brings salvation; then teaches; next through the result produced by teaching, denies ungodliness and worldly lusts; and throughout all these it directs the eyes of the saint toward the advent of glory. Thus the two advents are referred to. The first was the occasion of the epiphany of grace. The second will be the occasion of the epiphany of glory. In order to obey the precepts it is necessary to live in the light of the twofold relation to the advent of grace and the advent of glory. This description of the power of grace merges into a statement concerning the work of Christ through which the grace of God has become operative in the need of man.
Church and State
The final division, called forth by local circumstances, nevertheless clearly reveals the apostle's conception of the relation between Church and State. This he dealt with by declaring the Church's duty, the Church's impulse, and showing the method of realization.
The duty of the Church is first that of subjection to the authorities, secondly readiness to every good work, thirdly freedom from all evil speech, and finally the maintenance toward all men of the attitude of gentleness and meekness. The presence of such persons in any State is a positive benefit conferred. The multiplication of such lives serves to strengthen and establish the life and order of any nation.
There are certain facts which, being remembered, will contribute to the fulfilment of these ideals of life and conduct, in relation to the State. The first is that they should remember their own past; the second is that they should remember the Divine grace whereby the change has been wrought in them; and finally, they should recognize what is the value of their present position of life. This threefold memory of what we were, of how the change has been wrought, and of what we are, will serve ever to create the spirit of subjection to authority, when that authority does not conflict with submission to the will of God, will equip us for all honesty of toil, will silence all evil speech, and will generate an unceasing passion toward those that are without.
For the realization of these ideals of life by the local church Titus, as appointed to oversight, is held responsible. He is to fulfil his office as steward of God by the declaration of that which is profitable, by the shunning of all that is unprofitable, and by the persistent maintenance of discipline.
The conclusion of this epistle shows that it was written at an earlier date than that to Timothy, for the apostle was evidently at liberty, and choosing his own place of winter residence. He then dealt with matters of local significance, and closed with a benediction which harmonizes with his opening salutation. For the fulfilment of his work as steward of the house of God, and for the Church's submission to his direction, grace is needed and supplied.
INTRODUCTION - Titus 1:1-1:4
1. Personal Introduction - Tit. 1:1-1:3
- Divine Authority
2. Address to Titus - Tit. 1:4
Part A: CHURCH GOVERNMENT - Titus 1:5-1:16
A.1. The Office - Tit. 1:5-1:9
- Elders - 1:5
- Bishops 1:7
A.2. The Functions - Tit. 1:5-1:9
- God's Steward - 1:7
- The Teacher - 1:9
A.3. The Character - Tit. 1:5-1:9
- Blameless in family - 1:6
- Blameless personally - 1:7-1:8
- Blameless in doctrine - 1:9
(Parenthesis Local Reason for the Instruction - Tit. 1:10-1:16)
Part B: CHURCH BEHAVIOUR - Titus 2:1-2:15
B.1. The Precepts - Tit. 2:1-2:10
- Aged Men - 2:1-2:2
- Aged Women - 2:3
- Young Women - 2:4-2:5
- Young Men - 2:6-2:8
- Servants - 2:9-2:10
B.2. The Power - Tit. 2:11-2:15
- The two Epiphanies - 2:11-2:13
- The Gift and its Purpose - 2:14-2:15
Part C: CHURCH AND STATE - Titus 3:1-3:11
C.1. The Church's Duty - Tit. 3:1-3:2
C.2. The Church's Impulse - Tit. 3:3-3:7
C.3. The Method of Realization - Tit. 3:8-3:11
CONCLUSION - Titus 3:12-3:15
1. Personal - Tit. 3:12
2. Zenas and Apollos - Tit. 3:13
3. Postscripts - Tit. 3:14
4. Valuation and Benediction - Tit. 3:15
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