Monday, November 19. 1 Timothy 1 – 3

    After at least two years under house arrest in Rome, Paul was released and he began to travel once more.  His ministry took him to Ephesus where he encountered some opposition from Christian ministers preaching an aberrant gospel.  This wasn’t the first time he had encountered such people and he mentions two of them (that he had already dealt with) in chapter one.

    Either Paul had pressing matters elsewhere in Greece, or he believed the situation did not merit his personal attention, but for whatever reason, Paul left Timothy in charge to deal with the problem Christians in that church.

    Given the serious nature of the task he had given Timothy, perhaps we are surprised that Paul’s advice about dealing with this apostasy was to call Timothy and the whole Ephesian church to prayer (chapter 2).

    This is a troubled church with many problems, not the least of which was a struggle for control.  Paul reminds them that their focus should be on things that make for peace, quiet, and holiness.  Their uplifted hands in prayer should be “holy hands,” not hands of divisiveness and violence and rancor.

    He addresses the Christian women too, who likewise, are engaging in a conflict for power.  Power is not, Paul writes, something they should aspire to..  Their behavior rather should befit women who worship God, lives that exhibit modesty, decency, propriety, faith, love and holiness.

    It is amazing that a passage, written to promote peace, has all too often been used to do little more than cause trouble in the Church.  While we may all be one in Christ, that doesn’t do away with sexual distinction.  Men have their roles.  Women have theirs.  Both should pay attention to their own roles.  When they don’t, trouble is quickly afoot.