Thursday, January 31, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #21

1 Tim. 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

Basically here Paul is instructing Timothy to take care of his health. A preacher should never neglect his physical infirmities. He should take measures to keep himself as healthy as his knowledge will allow him to do. He should exercise, not only in the things of God, but his own body. Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

Yes, bodily exercise profits little, but it does profit a little; so we should do what physical exercise that we can to keep in good health. Many Americans today do not exercise enough due to the curse of the couch and the TV. Some of us cannot exercise as much as others, so we do what we can; but we must keep a watch on our health through diet, exercise and cleanliness.

Sometimes we need a little medicine to help us. Evidently, Timothy had a stomach ailment and needed a medicinal remedy; so Paul told Timothy to take a little medicine for his stomach ailment. We are blessed today to have more and more natural products that will help ailments without having to use so many drugs. That is a blessing.

If a preacher is not healthy, he cannot give his mind completely to study, and his attitude sometimes will become sour. Many preachers do not get enough rest, and they seem to take it out on everyone but themselves. The body needs rest, and we as preachers should not feel guilty about taking that rest; neither should preachers brag about how little sleep they get to make people think they are really spiritual by overworking themselves.

A preacher, especially a pastor, never knows when he may need to get up in the early hours of the morning to make a hospital visit, take a member to the hospital, or visit a family who has just lost a baby in the night. I have had to do this many times. If we guard our sleep, our eating habits, and our spiritual fortitude, those things will be much easier than if we try to live haphazardly.

Washing your hands often is a good idea. You may even use a sanitizer to keep from spreading germs, especially if you are going from one room to another in the hospital. Keeping your fingernails clean is very important. They should also be cut short so as not to carry germs. This takes a little work, but it is worth it. It may keep you well and help keep down the spread of germs from one person to the other.

While you are at it, it would not hurt to keep your shirts clean, your suit pressed, and your shoes shined. We must make a good impression on people, telling them that our service to the Lord is important; it is not just a job. Our message is powerful, our work is important, and our impression on others may make the difference between being able to preach the Gospel to a person and being rejected. Let's give honor to God. He gave us only one body; let us not wear it out but use it for his service as long as we can. Long live the preacher, and may God give good health to our pastors, teachers, and evangelists; and while we are alive, let us give of our best to the Master.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #20

1 Tim. 5:22 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure.

The laying on of hands is mentioned at least three times in the New Testament (Acts 8:18; 1 Tim. 4:14; Heb 6:2, as well as here). To the preacher the laying on of hands signifies the vindication of a man's ministry. Therefore, a preacher is not to lay his hands on another preacher in ordination hastily. To accept a man's ministry in a formal way is more than just a ceremony. It is more than a mere formality. Some even say we make it too formal. If we do not know a man, we should not vindicate his ministry. Otherwise, we are putting approval on a man and a ministry which we do not know.

We cannot trust the Lord until we know him and what he has done for us (Rom. 10:14). We cannot marry a wife until we know her. Likewise, we should not approve a ministry about which we know little or nothing. Many hands out of ignorance or apathy have been put on many heads which may very well be lazy and arrogant or unlearned and unwise. Paul warns young Timothy about this in this verse.

As a part of this instruction, Paul tells Timothy that he should not be partaker of other men's sins. In putting our hands on someone without knowing about that person and approving his ministry, and if that ministry is tainted with sin or sins of some kind, then we who place our hands on the head of that preacher are partakers with his sins. We are putting our approval not only upon the man's ministry but also upon whatever sins he has that will hinder and hamper his ministry in glorifying the Lord.

Sometimes several preachers will get together in an ordination service, and a preacher will be invited who does not necessarily know the person being ordained. The one who is invited may be asked to sit on the ordaining council. Sometimes he will do this out of deference to his friends and may without realizing it place hands upon a preacher who may not be qualified for the ministry. Friends are good, but we should not allow friendship to dictate what ministry we approve. I am sure many of us have had this temptation, but we should beware of this situation lest we approve an evil thing.

And what is the reason for this? The reason is so that the preacher may "keep thyself pure." Remember Col 2:20-23 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

The preacher's life should be pure. Notice the following scriptures:

  • Matt. 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
  • Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • 1 Tim. 3:9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
  • 1 Pet. 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently
This purity comes from the conscience, so let us keep our minds pure, our hearts pure, and our actions pure so that we can serve God without guilt. Remember Rom. 14:12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #19

1 Tim. 5:21 I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

The observation of God in our individual lives is astounding. The preacher should think often of the presence of God in his life. God is never far away but resides within each believer, and every preacher should realize this presence and act accordingly. God himself is observing everything from his throne. The Lord Jesus Christ is observing the preacher while sitting at the Father's right hand on the throne. The elect angels, who are the ministers of God to help us, are also observing our lives. Should we not all as preachers be on our best behavior with all of these observers?

As these observe the preacher, the preacher should observe the things that Paul has instructed with all caution, since the preacher is under so much scrutiny and observation. The one thing that we must be sure to do under this diligence is that we observe all things without preferring one before the other. The Greek word PROKRIMA, which is translated "preferring one before another," literally means "to prejudge." Sometimes young preachers, if they are not careful, will prejudge their friends and give them a pass on certain things, perhaps some sins, because they are his friends. Some will prejudge in thinking that another person is such a good leader or such a good preacher that he cannot say or do nothing wrong. If the preacher has an offensive attitude toward a person, he will prejudge him as an enemy when he may very well be a friend.

To whom are we as preachers responsible? We are not responsible to man, but we are responsible to God himself. With God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the elect angels watching us and the Holy Spirit indwelling us, should we not be more careful not to be prejudiced toward certain people? Should we not preach the Gospel and the doctrines of the Bible to every man alike? Do these doctrines meet equally every man's need for exhortation and judgment? Is it not the same Bible and the same Spirit that rebukes and refreshes every believer? Then why do we give to one differently from another?

The word translated "partiality" is not the same word translated "preferring one another." The latter is literally "to prejudge." The former (partiality) is "to bend toward, to bow before." In other words, to be partial to someone is to bow to him. We are not to allow our relationship to the world to affect the way we preach the word of God whether it be to friend of foe. We are not to bow to friends because of our love to them, and we are not to bow to our foes because of our fear of them. The word of God says in 1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Jesus said in Matt. 6:24, . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

How can we accomplish all of this? The only way to accomplish this instruction of Paul is to spend much time in secret, praying to our God in Heaven that he will give us wisdom and understanding; the Bible says in James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Study alone, and do not depend upon commentaries completely. Do not preach your sermons from the internet or directly from some other preacher. Do some study on your own, and bring your message with your own personal experiences between you and God under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Do not allow men to love you into changing your doctrine, and do not allow mean men to squelch your voice for the Gospel of God and the doctrines of scripture.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #18

1 Tim. 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

One of the hardest things for me to do (which is easy for some preachers) is to rebuke someone. If I do it, I try to do it with kindness and gentleness. I would prefer to rebuke someone in private where no one can hear with only the two of us present. This is not so hard as doing it publicly.

But Paul tells Timothy to rebuke the sinner before all. This assumes that Timothy has a public platform from which to speak to every member of a local church. When I preach, I try to tell everything as it is to men as they are even though it may not be the most pleasant thing to do. Preaching the Bible as it is sometimes will suffice to fulfill this instruction of Paul to Timothy.

The Bible is God's infallible word; and when it goes forth, it will not return unto him void; but we must be sure to preach the truth of it before we can be confident that it will do the job. Let us be faithful to preach the word, every part of the word, even the hard parts and the parts that we do not completely understand. We must tell the part of it that we do understand. This is Paul's command to Timothy to "Preach the word."

When we preach, everyone in our hearing should be rebuked. When we preach the Gospel, the sinner who is lost is convinced or rebuked. When we speak about the word of God, those who do not read it should be rebuked. When we preach about living a holy life, those who are not living a holy life should be rebuked and should feel the Holy Spirit directing them to live holy before God.

Preachers should not shy away from prominent sins of the day. We must preach on murder, theft, abortion, unfaithfulness in marriage, money management, lust, habits that hurt our bodies, etc. We should not refrain from the preaching of these things, because we are to rebuke before all concerning these sins and others.

If we rebuke a sin that only one person in the church is practicing, then others who are not practicing the sin will fear the consequences of doing that particular sin. Then we have prevented the sin of multitudes of members of the church by speaking only of one person or simply by preaching on the subject at hand.

We must preach to all publicly so that all will fear God and fear breaking his commandments. They will also fear becoming involved in habits that are binding to the mind and the soul. We must pray for the individuals who are bound to sin and preach on sin until that sin is eliminated from that person's life.

Modernists do not like to preach on sin, because they believe that a man has the right to do whatever he wants and still get forgiveness time and time and time; but the Bible does not teach that. No sin is too large or too horrible to be forgiven; but once that forgiveness has been given, the sinner must abandon that sin. This we must preach to our churches so that others may fear. Let us be faithful to preach these things in our churches so that the church may be offered to Christ as a chaste virgin.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Instruction For A Young Preacher #17

1 Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

It is sad but true that we hear negative things about preachers. If we are not careful, this will become juicy gossip, and many people can be hurt by the idle words that preachers say about one another.

Sometimes we may hear something about a preacher or a church, and we can partly believe it in regard to some previous report or some things that have been seen in the preacher or church. Paul did this in 1 Cor. 11:18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. But Paul did not write letters to all the churches and pastors around the world to announce the problems at Corinth. He wrote a letter to them personally and expressed his concern that what he had heard may be true. His purpose in writing to them personally was that there be no divisions among them, as he expresses in 1 Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

Certainly we are concerned when tales are told about preachers and churches, but Paul's rule to Timothy here is that we are not to receive these accusations quickly or easily. They are to be investigated before accepting their validity. Instead of quickly turning away from an elder about which you hear a negative report, call him up and tell him that you have heard the report and that you are concerned about it. You may find that the report is nothing like what you have heard. This has happened in my ministry several times.

If you have doubts after speaking to the preacher who has been accused, then wait for two or three witnesses to confirm the report. We are not to go out looking for witnesses, but wait until witnesses are heard from different places. We must hear the accusation many times before we receiving it. Mt 18:16 says, . . . in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Let's be sure that we keep this saying true in our ministries. Young preacher, don't be quick to judge; because one day you will be an "elder" in the true sense of the word, and you will be at the brunt of many accusations, no doubt. If you do not want others to think wrong of you, then don't thing wrong of others. This will retain trust in the ministry and hinder needless hurt and harm to the ministry and in God's kingdom.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #16

1 Tim. 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

The elders, or preachers, should, first of all, rule well. This honor is not bestowed upon those who do not rule well but upon those who rule by honest reputation, superintending the things of God's house. This honor is not bestowed simply because a man is a preacher; it is bestowed only if he does his job honestly and in a systematic and consistent manner. And do not be deceived; people are watching the life of each preacher they know. These preachers are put to a higher standard than anyone else, and that should be so.

To be counted worthy means to measure up to the right and not fail to do the right thing in all affairs. Those around you will deem you either worthy or unworthy. If you cheat, lie, steal, curse, dress in a shabby way, talk down to people, are arrogant or elitist, then they will not count you worthy of any honor. But if you as a preacher will watch your P's and Q's, considering what others think of you in regard to your trustworthiness, your honesty, and your care and love for others, then you will be counted worthy.

The Greek word translated "double honor," literally means "twice greater." It means "double great." If you will live as a preacher, a step above others, then others will count you worthy of double honor, and you will receive from them that honor if they have learned the scriptures. You are not to seek this honor, but this honor will come as you live piously for the Lord. It is worth the effort.

Specifically, preachers who give their entire time to labor in the word of God and the doctrine of it are to receive this double honor. They may not be honored for their oratory or their wit, but they will be sought after for wisdom in the word of God and in living the Christian life.

Preachers do not preach for honor; but if they will follow this instruction of Paul to Timothy, they will be honored for their love for God and for their study in doctrine. Let us never be guilty of saying that doctrine is not important. Those who do not study and preach doctrine will never be worthy of double honor.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #15

It is imperative that a preacher take care of his own things, provide for himself without being lazy to do so, not depending upon others to give him everything he needs, spending his money on nice things and begging others for necessities. Not only so, but he must provide for his own family, those of his own household. He is not to neglect this and should pursue it with great energy; for in 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul explains to him, But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

This is quite a reprimand for a young preacher. These are hard words, but they are true words. Preachers cannot be lazy. They must, first of all, take care of their own things, their own private personal affairs and their family's affairs, else they will not be equipped to serve the Lord. The Lord requires faithfulness: 1 Cor. 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. Faithfulness requires energy, renewed each day with proper physical exercise, mental preparation, and spiritual meditation. No preacher can be effective without this daily, consistent exercise. Those who will not take care of the things at home will not take care of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul's previous exhortation to Timothy was that a bishop must rule his own house well (1 Tim. 3:4).

The consequence of neglecting such a great command is devastating. As our text goes on to say, anyone who will not provide for his own house has denied the faith. He has by his witness denied the very faith that saved him. It is not that he has lost his faith, but he has denied his faith. Peter did not lose his faith, but he denied it when he denied the Lord. Later, Peter repented with many tears. The preacher, also, may repent with tears and reclaim his faith, exercise his faith, and teach his faith to others. We must all be true to our faith as stewards of it.

Young preacher, do not deny the faith by living in such a way that people cannot see your faith. If you cannot provide for your own house, then others will not see your faith but assume that you are depending upon material things rather than on your faith in Christ Jesus. Remember that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). We cannot see tomorrow, but we can believe in tomorrow, whether that tomorrow is lived here on earth or in Heaven with Jesus Christ. Our faith reminds us of that. But when we have denied the faith, we lose sight of our goal to serve Christ faithfully, and life will become dull and discouraging. Paul told the Colossians in Col 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. This is where our faith is, and this is where our sight should be--on heavenly things.

Young preacher, do not lose sight of the race that is set before you lest you be worse than an infidel. Keep on running the race, for it is a good race, a needed race, and a race that can be won. Remember what Paul told the Hebrews in Heb 12:1-2 1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Let all of us as God's preachers strive for this goal. It is worth the effort, the pain, the discouragements, and the glory that shall follow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #14

1 Tim. 5:1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. 3 ¶ Honour widows that are widows indeed.

There are several things to consider for the young preacher in these verses, the first of which is not to rebuke an elder. To rebuke here means to deride with words, to chide or to be arrogant against a person. Do not think your older members or older preachers are castaways to be regarded as garbage ready to be taken to the dump. Do not talk them down to your peers or your friends. Do not disregard them, but consider them as a great help to you in your ministry.

Intreat an elder as a father. This word for intreat means to plead with, to summons, to ask advice. The longer a person lives, the more experience he has had, and the better tool he will be to the young preacher who will come to him for advice and counsel. Young preacher, instead of reading the advice of young men in their books, looking to always do something new or modern, take the time to ask advice from an elder, an older preacher, who may be much wiser than you think. If you do not like his advice, at least take the time to consider it due to his greater experience and wisdom that comes with age. Many of our older preachers are not nearly as ignorant as they may look. If they have been faithful to reading and study, they may be able to give a young preacher some very good advice that will save the young preacher many hours of study or even from much embarrassment. Call an old preacher to your side; call one on the phone; go to one's house; and sit down and talk and pray with him. You may be surprised at the blessing he may be to you.

Intreat the younger men as brethren. Neither should the young preacher disdain or malign his peers. He should call them to his side, also, and teach them what he knows, some of which he may have learned at the side of an elder. Then encourage the younger men to be chase, pure, and faithful to the Lord. Then the churches may look forward to the younger men growing into men of knowledge and sincerity. This takes much prayer and consideration, and we must always be at work trying to encourage our young people to consider the things of God as being more valuable than the things of the world.

Intreat the elder women as mothers. I have many mothers. Sometimes I do not like what they say to me, but I always love them. These are spiritual mothers which I have acquired down through the years, and I have been reprimanded by them as well as praised by them. We should also intreat these wonderful women to be alongside us in our work of the Lord. Paul depended heavily upon women to do the work God had given him to do, and we should do the same.

Intreat the younger women as sisters, with all purity. The young preacher should not be "free with the women." He should respect the younger women very highly and be careful of any temptation that he may have to be less than chase with them. He must keep himself at all times in company with others while speaking to a young lady. He should never, ever allow himself to be alone with a young lady due to the possibility of being overcome with temptation. Satan is sly, and he will draw a young preacher into sexual temptation quickly, because he knows, along with the love of money, this will destroy a young preachers' ministry more quickly than anything else.

Honor widows that are widows indeed. Honor them with your prayers, your kindness, your help, leading the church to care for them and help them financially or otherwise if necessary. Keep a close watch on the widows. Many have families to help, and they should help their own; but sometimes the time comes when the churches need to help their widows. Paul has much to say about this in the following verses, but that will not be discussed here.

So, young preacher, love those old, wrinkle-faced preachers. Go to them for advice. Let them pray with you and for you. Take the young people, especially the young men, and allow them to see you talking with the elders and seeing your deportment with the ladies. They have no better example to follow than you, young preacher. Paul said it well when he said in 1 Cor 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #13

Paul instructs young Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. This is, no doubt, the gift of preaching, of understanding, of delineation of that understanding to others, and of having a pastor's heart to serve others. The word in the Greek for "neglect" means "careless." We are not to be careless or to disregard the gift or to shun it or put it to the side; it should be the primary calling in life.

Many preachers have put their secular jobs before their preaching, thus opening themselves up to many temptations which hinder their work for the Lord if they fall into them and succumb to them. Our purpose as God's preachers is to preach the word no matter whatever else we may do. Some preachers may have no choice but to work a secular job, but they must be diligent concerning their lives and their ministries. They must give time to God's word, prayer, and meditation, and they must preach and teach God's word no matter how busy they may become with the basic necessities of life. This is God's calling.

This gift is in the preacher, not from man, whether it be mother or father, a preacher friend, a college buddy, or even an apostle, but from God. When Paul the apostle was called to preach the word, he admitted that he preached the Gospel that God gave him, not a Gospel that was copied from someone else. He did not even corroborate with the apostles at Jerusalem but was taught by Jesus Christ himself in the desert for three years (Gal. 1:17-18). We are not apostles, so we must preach the same doctrine that Paul preached and teach the apostles' doctrine, taking from them the truths that God gave to them; for they are just as pertinent today as they were in New Testament times.

We have already considered that this gift was by prophecy. Some had prophesied that Timothy would be one of God's chosen ones to preach the word of God, and Timothy was certainly called by God and equipped by God to do the job assigned to him (See 1 Tim. 1:18). No one may have prophesied that you or I would be preachers, but we are still called of God to preach his word; and we must preach it in its purity--we must not neglect this work.

The gift or gifts that Timothy had were not only given by God himself, but the apostles laid their hands on him, therefore giving him the capacity to do signs and wonders with his preaching. Only apostles could give this gift. Paul admits that Timothy has a gift from Paul's laying his own hands on Timothy (2 Tim. 1.6). But Paul was not the only one, because the entire presbytery, or the elders laid their hands on Timothy. These, no doubt, would be the elders (or pastors) of the church at Jerusalem perhaps along with some other elders who may have been there, including Paul himself.

Today preachers do not have the personal gift of signs and wonders--they have ceased, and that is another matter for discussion somewhere else); but we are to preach nonetheless. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We do not need special healing powers. God brings miracles when he wants, and he does, many times through our prayers; but we do not need to produce them in order to have God's power. Dr. John Gill reminds us in his commentary that "Philip, an evangelist, laid not hands on the believing Samaritans; but Peter and John, apostles, were sent down from Jerusalem to Samaria to do it, whereby many received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, fitting them to take the care of those new converts, and to spread the Gospel further in those parts, Acts 8:5,12,14,17,18."

Our gift is teaching and preaching; it is not signs and wonders. Jesus told us that an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign (Matt. 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:12). Today many people are seeking after signs, but Jesus said that only one sign will be given to an evil and adulterous generation, that of the prophet Jonas (Jonah). The prophet Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. This is analogous to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the greatest sign of all, the power of God unto salvation.

If we are living in an evil and adulterous generation, we need to care about the gift that is in us, which God has put there to preach the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is no calling that is higher than this calling. Let us not neglect it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #12

In the heart of every preacher is a longing and a need for meditation. This is Paul's instruction to Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. The Greek word for meditate is MELETAO, and its root means "to care about." The word itself has the meaning "to attend to something carefully." Preachers must attend to their duties as pastors, evangelists, teachers, etc., with the utmost care, being certain to make them top priority in life. If a preacher allows his mind to get off the things of God and on mundane and sinful things, he will lose a great blessing for himself and for many others whom he may be able to teach the things of God. Meditation is not an effort to release all things from our minds; it is the effort at staying our minds upon Christ and the work that he has called us to do. We must be obsessed about the work of God. If we take college training, whatever we study must be used in some way for the work of God; that is our whole duty.

The Greek word for "give thyself" is a word that literally means "be thou." The root word means "to be present." We should always be present at the Lord's work. We should never veer off the path of service to Jesus Christ. The words "wholly to them" means "to be in them." So literally the Greek says, "meditate on these things and be in them." Do not just read about them, do not simply listen to your pastor teach them, do not debate them; just be in them, or practice them. Knowing is not enough; preachers must "practice what they preach." The only way to practice these things consistently is to meditate upon these things.

We must do this so that our profiting (progress) may appear (be evident) to all (everyone). Everyone must see in our lives what we say we believe. Peter said he believed that God had opened the door of salvation to the Gentiles and that they were not under the Mosaic law; but when he was confronted with practicing the same, he could not do so in the presence of other Jewish brethren. Then Paul confronted him to the face about this. Peter was preaching one thing but practicing another (Gal. 2:11-15).

Do preachers today practice what they preach? Some certainly try to do so, but many are very loose with their living though strong in their talking. I just heard this past Sunday about a preacher (thankfully not Baptist) who committed an immoral act while being pastor, and the church wants to fire him. This is an example of a preacher's saying one thing and doing another. His reputation will be marred for the rest of his life.

Paul did not want to be a castaway, so he kept his body under subjection every day. Thus we must do, not simply by negative discipline, but by a day-to-day meditation upon the word of God and a daily practice of righteous things. This is not an easy thing to do, but we preachers must do it. We who try to live godly lives need to continue to do so, because the ministry is maligned often for its sin. Jesus said in Matt 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #11

This devotion is taken from 1 Tim.4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Self-Reliance

By Ralph Waldo Emerson
Henceforth, please God, forever I forego
The yoke of men's opinions. I will be
Light-hearted as a bird, and live with God.
I find him in the bottom of my heart,
I hear continually his voice therein.

To the neglect of the world we who are God's children turn from it to the God who rests within our souls, leading and guiding us into his own will to do that which is better than the entertainment of the world and better than all the pleasures that the world has to offer.

So, the young preacher must also be separated from the world lest other youth see his bad life and he misrepresent his purpose in life. Others may make fun and mock his spiritual life, but the young preacher must know that he has a higher calling, a calling that, though many may disdain, yet it is a calling still; and it must be lived up and beyond the fray with a goal of pure righteousness. Else how can the world see a better life, a greater calling, a purer righteousness than that which the world offers?

With righteousness imputed, the heart stays in love with Jesus, and with that righteousness the young preacher can give a better testimony than he sees in the world. With his words he offers hope to those around him, and with his life he tells them that life is worth the living, especially a life of righteousness and purity in the presents of an Almighty God.

He must be an example of the believers; in other words, he must live the good and right life, the perfect life as much as possible. He must shun anything less than perfect (though we all know he cannot live a perfect life, but that must be his goal). He must show other believers by example that they, too, can live a more holy life.

He is not to live as an example just in generalities; he is to live as an example in word, carefully choosing his language not to bring disgrace upon his God; he is to live as an example in conversation, which is his manner of life, staying away from all needless jesting and joking, gossiping, and lying; he is to be an example in charity, always loving even those who may hate his stand for the truths of God's word; in spirit, he must stay focused upon God always; in faith, he must not turn away from, he must challenge others to have his same faith and offer it to those who believe not; in purity, he must be an example of all that is right and good.

This is a huge bill to fill for a young preacher, but he must endure to obtain to this, since he is serving the eternal God of Heaven and delivering a Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation. If he gives the true Gospel with a life that may be despised by others, what good will his preaching do? But with his eyes upon God, his faith strong, and his conversation under his own scrutiny every day, what can he do for God? Only God know!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #10

1 Tim. 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. Not only is the young preacher to preach the right things and to bring them to remembrance of the brethren, but he is to refuse or turn away from fables. Strong says that the root word translated "fables" is from MOOEO, which means "to initiate in the mysteries." In other words, these are the traditions of men. Most philosophies of the world have at one point or another some mysteries in them. Those who deny the book of God and the supernatural things it says will on the other hand accept many supernatural things in the realm of the demonic. Many believe in ghosts and goblins, lost cities, extrasensory perception, etc. So, to accept tradition means to reject God's book; to accept God's book means to reject tradition.

Paul puts these fables into two categories: profane and old wives' fables. The profane are those things that are common among men and are identified with ungodly things. Many fables or stories are told in the realm of the profane. We have many profane philosophies and religions. Remember what Paul says in Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

These old wives' fables are silly stories that are built upon the profane traditions. To save my life I cannot determine whether these are old wives or old fables, but it matters little. For all time people have at times put more trust in the sayings of people than in the word of God. Many are the young preachers who listen to the quips and quotes of older preachers and pick them up as pure Gospel; but, when they are analyzed, many times they are found to hold little if any truth. They sound good, but they are empty words. Also, many stories were told about the pagan gods which they worshiped, and these were told by the women on a continual basis. Their lives depended upon these stories much as soap operas dictate the lives of many women today. These are the old wives' fables.

This young preacher is being instructed to "preach the word" (2 Tim. 4:2), and that he will do. But first he must remember to refuse those things that are not patterned after the pure word of God. God's word is not here to build upon; it is here to preach as it is to men as they are. Let us all as God's preachers preach the word and have the mind of Christ. Thus we shall build up the Kingdom of God to his glory and honor.

But then there is one more point that Paul makes in this short clause. He tells young Timothy to exercise himself unto godliness. Not only is the young preacher not to preach the traditions of men, but he is also not to exercise them. He is not to be found in the halls of drunken men, the tables of gambling men, the crowds of entertainment, or the houses of ill repute. He must keep himself unspotted from the world (James 1:27). He will find himself in his study with God's word, in the house of God for worship, and the homes of the sick and needy to help, and in the closet for prayer. This is pure religion, and that is what God wants his young preachers to have.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #9

Many of the things a preacher must do, being called by God into service, may not be pleasant. Positive things are easy to speak of, but many times God speaks through preachers concerning the problems of the day concerning those who have gone away from the faith. That is why Paul tells Timothy in 1 Tim. 4:6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.

Young preachers love to preach on the basic truths of God's word: his grace, faith in Christ, repentance, and a whole litany of other things; but in doing this the preacher is not preaching the counsel of God as he should. He must put many in remembrance of those who have departed from "the faith" and have made faith shipwreck.

Paul is speaking of those mentioned in 1 Tim. 4:1-5, who have departed from the faith, have given heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, have spoken lies in hypocrisy, having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and have commanded to abstain from meats. These are things of which the preacher must bring brethren into remembrance.

Who speaks these lies? Who heeds seducing spirits, etc.? I would say that any religion that contradicts the basic belief that Jesus is the Son of God and that he was manifested in the flesh to take away our sins by this death, burial and resurrection would be in this category.

Rome has departed from "the faith," that set of doctrine that was once for all delivered unto the saints. Rome has given heed to seducing spirits and doctrine of devils through their statues and relics which supposedly have power to heal and do other miraculous things.

They forbid the priesthood to marry, and even others besides the priesthood are not allowed by their doctrine to marry without their blessing. They command people to abstain from certain meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving. And all those who follow in Rome's path are under the same condemnation with her.

The Roman church did not exist in Timothy's day, but even then pagan religions flourished, and they gave heed to seducing spirits, the spirits of men who claim to have the Spirit of God but who do not. Also, the doctrines of devils are those lies which the Devil himself tells through his preachers, he being the father of lies, and many are taken away with his deceit.

Timothy is to put in remembrance these things to the brethren, the true brethren, lest they, too, be taken away from the doctrines of faith, which God has laid down with his proper ministers. Pray that God will give us the fortitude, the wisdom and the opportunity to bring these things into remembrance. Some have forgotten from which they have been brought, and they have turned back to the beggarly elements of the world. They need to be reminded of their roots of faith in Christ so that they may through the true preaching of the word be converted to the right way. Young preachers have an awesome responsibility. Let young and old preacher alike carry out his responsibility so that he may be "nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine."

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #8

After giving some instructions to deacons, which, by the way, includes instructions that are not included for the preacher for some reason, Paul continues to talk to young Timothy and says in 1 Tim. 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is far more important than many people realize. The social concept today is that a Christian can worship just as well at home as he can at church, but that just is not the case. Not only does every Christian need a church, but the church needs every Christian. When you attend church, you are going there, not only for yourself, but also for others. You may never know what a blessing your presence will be to someone. Space will not allow expansion on this point. Please read 1 Cor. 12:21.

The point to Timothy here is not necessarily attendance at church (which was pretty well taken for granted in New Testament times), but the point is to "know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God." Literally, the word "oughtest" means to do the proper thing. Paul is telling Timothy that he must know how to do the right thing in his behavior in the house of God.

We all know that the house of God is the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the local assembly of which a person is a member; and there are some ways in which we must behave ourselves in that body. Many could be mentioned, but let us consider just a few.

  • We attend for fellowship, so let us be considerate to others while we are in church.
  • We attend for worship, so let us be in the attitude of worship from the time we enter the church building until we leave the building.
  • We attend for praise, so let us sing every song with energy and intent so that God will be pleased with our genuine praise to him.
  • We attend for giving, so let us plan ahead to bring our tithe and offering to the house of God so that the work of the Lord may proceed and so that missionaries may have their needs met.
  • We attend for personal benefit, so let us go to church with the expectation that we will receive something spiritual and personal from the fellowship and the preaching. Without that expectation, we may go home disappointed. We should NEVER go home from church disappointed.
  • We attend to meet God, so let us present ourselves in a way that will reflect our respect to God as our Creator and Jesus Christ as our Savior. This will be reflected in the way we dress, our timeliness in arriving, our attention to singing and God's word, and our attitude while we worship God.
Young Timothy had some hold-backs to worship. He was half Jewish and half Greek. He had to be obedient to Paul's advice not to be circumcised, and this brought him, I am sure, some doubting looks from the Jewish believers. But Timothy must remain faithful to his behavior as a child of God.

We must always be faithful to our good behavior no matter what goes on in the church, because the church is at stake here. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth, so we are not playing with toys here; we are benefiting from the most powerful organization in the world, because the Gospel is being handled here. The Gospel, as we know, is the power of God unto salvation.

May God teach us how to behave in his house. If we will learn our behavior, we will benefit much from God's house, which is the church. God loved his church, and we are to love his church, also. Behave well in it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #7

1Tim 3:1 says, This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. Then Paul gives Timothy some rules concerning the office of bishop. In verse 7 Paul tells this young preacher, Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

This good report is not one that is written in the newspaper, shown or television, or announced to the world. This report is the day-to-day life of a preacher as he meets people on the street, in the store, and at the gas station. Sometimes preachers go to places they should not go and practice things publicly that they should not, because some things do not have a good report.

This word for report is the Greek word MARTURIA, and it is the word from which we get our word martyr. It is translated witness in some passages of the New Testament. In other words, the preacher should have a good witness wherever he goes and whatever he does. He is not free to "do what he wants." A preacher must always be on guard against doing something or being somewhere that will mar his witness.

The way a preacher presents himself, the way he dresses, and his mannerisms should not necessarily be the same as the people around him. We are called to a higher standard, and God expect more from us as preachers; and, believe it or not, the world expects more of the preacher, also.

So, before going headlong into a profession that you are taking up just because you like what little prestige that goes along with the position, be sure to count the cost of discipleship, that you as a disciple should be a step above other disciples, not because preachers are better, but because preachers are spectacles of the community.

And do not do it to be spoken of well, but do it to please God. A good conscience is of great value to a preacher, and that comes only when the preacher surrenders to be virtuous and honorable in the presence of God and in the presence of those around him. God is watching you, but the neighbors are, also.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #6

After telling young Timothy that all men must lift up their holy hands without wrath and doubting and instructing that the women should keep silence with all subjection, he gives this striking insight in 1Tim. 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless . . . . This word blameless is an interesting Greek word. It is ANEPILEPTOS, and it has a special meaning. It literally means to not be able to take hold of or to lay hold upon. It has the general meaning of "irreproachable, not open to censure."

Therefore, the preacher should be irreproachable, keeping himself in a position where no one will be able to rightfully point a finger at the preacher and accuse him of some wrong that is apparent in his life. God's preachers are to live a notch above all others, not because they are any better, but they have been called to a higher standard of life. The idea of being "just like everyone else" sounds pious, but it is not biblical.

Paul delineates the clause "a bishop then must be blameless" by giving some particular items which should be present in the preacher's life: the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach, etc. These are the things that will keep a young preacher irreproachable.

Paul mentions in verse 6 that a preacher should not be a novice, acting as if he has just recently come to the faith. There must be steady growth in a preacher's life. There should never be a time when the preacher stops working or stops learning. He must be prayed up and powered up to continue the work of God, for if preachers do not lead the battle, where will the soldiers be who follow behind?

Blameless! That is a hard bill to fill. We are not blameless before God except in the sense of justification, since God has declared us to be just before him. But we are to be blameless before our peers, our followers, and before a Lord who watches day and night not only what we do but also the condition of our hearts.

People are watching the preacher. If anyone else does anything wrong, very few people may notice; but if the preacher does one little thing wrong, it seems that everyone knows. That is the calling the Lord has given us, so we must be sure to keep our lives above reproach. I have sadly in my 45 years of preaching seen too many young preachers neglect to protect their lives, and today they are not serving the Lord because of some tragedy of morals to which they succumbed. Our church members deserve more than this. When we let our morals down, we let God's people down.

Paul said it well in 1 Cor 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #5

Let us go back to 1 Timothy 1:18 and retrieve a command which Paul gives to young Timothy which is very important to every young preacher. He says to Timothy that he should . . . war a good warfare.

For Timothy, this instruction was based upon the good report of Timothy by the elders of the churches and upon his being taught the word of God from his youth up. These prophecies that went before upon Timothy were good words given in regard to this diligent and sincere young preacher.

With this good reputation, Timothy is to war a good warfare. Timothy was not to please or compromise or bend as do the liberal preachers; he was to war (Greek STRATIA). This word is used for a band of soldiers, strategically gathered together to attack a certain enemy, having been trained to do so, knowing the enemy well and ready to go head-to-head with the enemy.

Too many young preachers desire to have the office of pastor or to be called a preacher or use the word Reverend with their names. These egoistic preachers are not worth their salt when they are confronted with an enemy who has readied himself for the battle and who is eager to assault and to destroy the stalwarts of Christianity.

It is fine if people admire you for your calling of God to preach the word, but it is not all right to take that with a stretched ego. An ego may be plundered as quickly as a brick falls from the third story of a building. We must all, young and old alike, as preachers be able and willing to face the oppressor, and having done all, to stand (Eph. 6:13).

Young preachers, be diligent, be ready, prepare yourselves daily for the wars of the enemy. He will come as a friend, as an opportunity, as a peer, and in many other forms to trick you. Satan is ready to plunder the work of the Lord when possible, and we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

In order to be ready for this battle, a young preacher must remember that his calling is for life, not for a number of years. He must remember that his commitment needs continual spiritual growth and much practice. He must remember that there is no quitting this job; it is for good.

Training may be received by your pastor and other good teachers of the word of God along with the examples of good pastors and dedicated Christians. A structured education is important, so attending a good Baptist college is a great way to get that structure.

A good warfare is one that is worth fighting. We must select our battles well and have a strategy to win them. We are fighting against the world, the flesh, and the devil; and they are not easy opponents to beat. But with God's help and our preparation, we can win, and we will win in the end.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #4

The fourth item of instruction given to Timothy by Paul the apostle is found in 1 Tim. 2:1 . . . That, first of all, supplications, prayers, inercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. This is a very large order to fill. One of the greatest privileges of a preacher is to stand in the gap between a lost sinner, a broken hearted friend, or a member of a church and God. It is an awesome responsibility, but it is a great privilege, also.

A supplication is a need, actually and basically the Greek word means to be tied up or bound. So, we are bound to our own weaknesses, and we cry out to God for liberty from that bondage as we beg God to release from worldly bondage those who are lost, those who are in need, those who have lost loved ones. For these we are to have supplications to God.

It goes without saying that preachers should pray. Without prayer a preacher would have no power at all with the use of scripture, with witnessing, with caring for others. Prayer is not only our link of communication with God, but it is also our link to communication with other men. Our love is shown by our prayers for others. Our churches are stronger with prayer. The pulpit is more powerful through prayer. God is nearer through prayer. Prayer is a guard against sin and an incentive to go forward in God's work.

Intercessions are the finishing of our prayers. The basic Greek word means "to hit the mark, to come to a person without invitation." Prayer is our begging or pleading with God due to our own need and helplessness; intercession is actually reaching God with that prayer so that it will be answered. Many concessions should be made before intercessions can be made. We must deal with our own sins, grow in grace and knowledge, and desire God's will in our lives.

Once the preacher has approached God through prayer and interceded for others, he must give God thanks. This implies that our thanks is given before we see the answer to our prayers; because what God is going to do we must believe is his will, and we must trust him to do the best thing. Let us thank him beforehand for all of his providences.

These supplications, prayers, intercessions and givings of thanks are to be done for all men. We cannot be racially discriminate, gender discriminate, or socially discriminate. We must pray for all people. Do not hold back prayers for some while begging God's blessings upon others. There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; there is no difference between the races in the presence of God; there is no difference in whether a person is of the so-called "clergy" and "laity." All men need prayer, and it is the duty of every God-called preacher to pray in that way.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #3


By Pastor Ronnie Wolfe -- January 11, 2008

The third instruction that Paul gives to young Timothy is holding
faith, and a good conscience . . . . (1 Tim. 1:19). The word
“holding” is the simple word “to have” in the Greek. In other words,
Paul is telling Timothy to always “have faith,” to be aware that he has
faith, to be conscious that his faith is always with him and that his
faith will persevere.

Of this perseverance Timothy was well aware, for in 2 Tim. 1:12
Paul tells him, For the which cause I also suffer these things:
nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and
am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed
unto him against that day. This was Paul’s teaching, that faith is
eternal; that is, true faith is eternal. Timothy never had to worry
about losing his faith, and he knew that his faith would persevere; so
all he needed to do is to be conscious of that faith and to use that faith
to serve Jesus Christ.

The Greek word translated conscience is SUNEIDESIS, and it
literally means “to see together.” In other words, you must see with
your literal and physical eyes in order to live and work in this life, but
you must also see with your spiritual eye in order to live properly for
the Lord.

This some have put away, seeing only with the physical eye, so
they have shipwrecked their faith in Christ by seeing everything
through physical eyes rather than both physical and spiritual eyes.
Many today, it seems, have put away their spiritual eyes; they do
not see from God’s vantage point. They do not read the scriptures, so
they do not see what God sees. With their minds and eyes on the
world, their judgments are shipwrecked or marred by their spiritual
blindness. Even believers do this, so we must be very careful how we
perceive God’s word and his work.

Is your faith shipwrecked? Spend some time getting the eyes of
your mind and the eyes of God’s mind together. This takes prayer,
study and meditation of God’s word. May he bless you thus!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Instruction For A Young Precher #2

These are instructions that the Apostle Paul gave to the
young preacher, Timothy, in his two books to him.


The second of Paul's instructions to the young preacher, Timothy, is found in 1 Timothy 1:4, which says, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies. These are called "Old wives' fables" in 1 Tim. 4:7 and "Jewish fables" in Titus 1:14. This includes anything that was not true, not agreeable to the inspired word of God. We seem to have an abundance of those fables in our own day and time. Paul tells Timothy in his second letter in Chapter 4 and verse 4 that . . . they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Peter admitted that he did not use cunningly devised fables when he made known unto his readers the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:16).

These endless genealogies were kept by the Jews, especially after they came back from the 70-year captivity. They tried to identify from which tribe they sprang, and this became very important to the Jews. Those from one tribe had more privilege than those from a different tribe, so each Jew kept as good record as possible of his genealogy. This became a fable, also, in a sense, because some Jews would try to prove they were from a tribe with more distinction than the one from which they actually came.

These endless genealogies and fables engendered many questions rather than godly edifying. The fables and genealogies edified the flesh but not God. God is edified through faith, not through the flesh. Godly edifying is in faith, and faith is that channel through which God brings his sheep to the fold and keeps them with his own Spirit.

But the believers are to have charity out of a pure heart (verse 5). Charity is love, and love is at the root of all true obedience to God. Three things that believers have, which those under Jewish law do not have:

(1) A Pure Heart -- This heart is no longer a heart of stone but a heart of flesh, which God has transformed to make it usable and tender.

(2) A Good Conscience -- Those who cheated to try to be in a better Jewish tribe did not have a good conscience; and those who trusted fables did not have a good conscience, because they were skeptical of those fables. Some even knew that they were fables and not truth.

(3) A Faith Unfeigned -- This is a faith that is transparent and true, not a faith that is put on or practiced with deceit. True and pure faith is genuine in the eyes of God and will answer to a good conscience and a pure heart.


So, young preachers (as well as all believers) must be careful not to give heed (Greek PROSECHO, meaning "to turn the mind to) these fables and genealogies. It does not matter what our linage is; it matters what is the object of our faith. Preachers must preach Christ, not genealogies, not denominationalism, not personal significance. God does not look on the outward man but on the heart. He must see a pure heart that has been changed by the power of the Holy Spirit and brought under subjection to the will of God.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Instructions For A Young Preacher #1

The books of First and Second Timothy are written so that Paul the apostle might instruct the young preacher, Timothy, in the things that he should abide as a young preacher and throughout his ministry.

The first of these instructions is found in 1 Tim. 1:3, which says to Timothy, . . . that thou might charge some that they teach no other doctrine. Timothy's job as a young preacher was to charge others to teach no other doctrine except that which was taught by Paul himself.

Why should Timothy teach only the doctrine that Paul taught? It is because Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior (verse 1). Being an apostle "out of due season," Paul had to continually vindicate his apostleship. As he did that, he was faithful to his cause as an apostle. He died in Christ so that he might live in Christ.

Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


Timothy was to learn the same lesson that Paul learned: that Christ is all that is important. The world must pass away, but Christ must be taught. Man's wisdom is temporary and insufficient, but God's wisdom is powerful and sufficient for every purpose of reason.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God (2 Tim. 3:16), and all scripture is in unity in relation to the doctrines that it teaches. The writings of Paul which the Holy Spirit gave to him are all consistent in their teachings; and Timothy, being taught the scriptures from his youth, knew that Paul's doctrine was consistent with every scripture that Timothy knew.

Today many people are wanting us to listen to new revelations from God, but the only true revelation from God in written form is his completed and perfect word, the 66 books of the Bible.

In order to charge others, Timothy needed to study the word of God so that he could handle it appropriately (2 Tim. 2:15).

May we also study the scriptures so that we may instruct others to teach no other doctrine than that which is written in the scriptures.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Apostasy

The Greek word APOSTASIA is used only twice in the New Testament. One is in Acts 21:21 where many are accusing the apostle Paul of "turning away" many from the teachings of Moses. The second is the turning away from "the faith" in 2 Thess. 2:3.

So there are two apostasies mentioned in the N. T. These will be delineated later. But first, let us take a look at the basic meaning of the word apostasy.

The word APOSTASIA in the Greek is feminine, but it comes from the neuter word APOSTASION, meaning "divorcement." The primary root word is APHISTEIMI, and it means basically "faithless." The connotation of the word is a turning from the right path, a perverting of the right way.

In opposition to apostasy are other scriptures which refer to a staying with the faith or protecting "the faith." In 2 Tim. 4:7 we read Paul's comment, ". . . I have kept the faith." The word for "kept" here in the Greek means "to stand a watch, to guard." Paul was responsible for and faithful to guard, not faith, but "the faith:" that body of divinity or doctrine that God has set down in his word.

In Acts 6:7 we read of priests' being "obedient to the faith." Notice this is not faith but "the faith." This word obedient in the Greek means to "hearken to a command." In other words, these priests were converted to the doctrines of Christ, and they obeyed Christ's commands and were faithful to that position.

Remember that in Acts 13:8 Elymas endeavored to "turn away" a deputy from "the faith." This Greek word is DIASTREPHO and means "to pervert, or to turn away from the right path" (Strong). Literally this word means "through turning."

The two apostasies are: (1) the turning away from the teachings of Moses, which Paul was accused of doing. Whether he actually did this or not may be debatable, but the word is nonetheless used in this situation, and (2) the apostasy of turning from "the faith" as we see happening even before the Bible is closed.

Next time the specifics of what this apostasy is will be considered.