Archive for the ‘2 Timothy’ Category

The Restoration Movement: (As Noted in 1 and 2 Timothy)

September 5th, 2008

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned…

knowing from whom you have learned it”

(2 Timothy 3:14)

The letters of Paul to Timothy (1 and 2 Timothy) contain the rationale for why churches and individuals today should discover, re-discover, and/or maintain the Christian faith.

1. Paul’s documents are backed up by his apostleship (1 Tim. 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:1); and his apostleship is based upon the “will of God” (2 Tim. 1:11-12). Paul’s writings are inspired scripture (2 Tim. 3:16,17).

2. Different doctrines are discouraged (1 Tim. 1:3); and are contrary to “sound doctrine” (1 Tim. 1:10). The positive command, here, is to “Follow the pattern of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13).

3. Doctrinal deviations were predicted (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).

While many modern Christian churches (and individuals) teach that there is no need to insist upon sound doctrine, conversely, the restoration movement takes seriously Paul’s concluding directives to avoid doctrinal contradictions and false knowledge which results in a swerving from the faith (1 Tim. 6:20-21).

-Robert M. Housby

Who Would Not Sing for Lycidas?

March 23rd, 2008

“Will you not tell it today?”

(Jesse Browns Pounds, Will You Not Tell It Today?, 1887)

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord”

(2 Timothy 1:8)

Milton wrote “Lycidas” in 1637. The poem contains an event that would forever change him. Edward King, for whom the poem is about, was Milton’s learned friend who had drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish Seas. “Lycidas” has been called the high-water mark of English poetry in the form of elegy—the lament and praise for the dead. In. the first portion of the poem, Milton memorializes his dead schoolfellow. Then, in each of the three movements thereafter we find a pagan lament beginning each section, and a Christian triumph. ending these sections. Line 10 reads: “Who would not sing for Lycidas?” John Milton had a Christian heart; a Christian friend; and, now, a Christian sadness coupled with hope.

This English poem calls to mind our own allegiance to the Lord Jesus. The gospel, itself, is both a lament and a triumph. The apostle Paul reminds us regarding the communion—“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). This theme of lament and triumph is also contained in an early Christian hymn of 1 Timothy 3:16: “He was manifested in the flesh, / vindicated by the Spirit, / seen by angels, / proclaimed among the nations, / believed on in the world, / taken up in glory.”

Who would not sing for Jesus? Will you not tell it today?

-Robert M. Housby

A Return to the Original Gospel

February 10th, 2008

“Hold the pattern of sound words”

(2 Timothy 1:13, ASV)

When it comes to religion, many operate along the lines of truth as: (1) what works, pragmatism (2) one’s individual opinion, existentialism (3) what is culturally normative, relativism (4) what is scientifically verifiable, positivism (5) any combination of the above four options, eclecticism. A sixth option (despite its being invalid by reason of its self-refuting claim) is, that there are no absolutely true claims available to finite minds, agnosticism. No wonder Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).

Into this world, then, of religious options, is the gospel; not any gospel being touted on the boulevard, but the original gospel, as written in Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This gospel is not strictly pragmatic; existential; relativistic; positivistic; eclectic; nor pluralistic—but, rather, absolute and exclusive (Jude 3).

Walter Scott wrote in The Gospel Restored (1836, reprinted by College Press Publishing Co.: Joplin, MO, 1986, vi): regarding the restoration of the gospel “(1) The Bible was adopted as our sole authority (2) The apostolic order contained in that Bible was proposed as the method of restoration, and (3) The true gospel arising from these, then, became the message.” Wherever men may find themselves today, a return to the original gospel is always desirable. Have you made it your message?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Timothy, Bible, gospel, New Testament Tags:

Competing By the Rules

October 14th, 2007

“An athlete is not crowned unless he competes
according to the rules”

(2 Timothy 2:5)

The Associated Press reports, “Jones surrenders five medals from 2000 Olympics. Her reputation is gone now so are Marion Jones’ Olympic medals. Jones gave back five medals she won at Sydney Olympics…further punishment for her admission that she was a drug cheat…She will be sentenced on Jan. 11, and prosecutors had suggested to Jones the prison term would be a maximum of six months” (Southeast Missourian, Oct. 9, 2007, B).

We were saddened to learn of Marion Jones’ recent admission that she had used illegal steroids prior to the Sydney Olympics. We want to think the best of our heroes. Unfortunately, even the best among us take a fall. Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 2:5 appears as relevant as this week’s newspaper, despite a time lapse of several thousand years.

1. 2 Timothy 2:5 teaches that rules count.

2. 2 Timothy 2:5 teaches also that competing is necessary for a reward.

3. And, taken together, if there is going to be a crown received, then the competing must be according to the rules.

Marion Jones is not unique in her transgression (Rom. 3:23). But, when it comes to receiving the crown of the Christian reward, we want to be aware of the possibility of disqualification (2 Tim. 3:8). So, “let us run with endurance..”

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Timothy, Bible, New Testament, salvation Tags:

Torah and Mitzvah: Making the Message Yours’

May 20th, 2007

“…the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for
salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”

(2 Timothy 3:15)

We believe that the Bible has an overarching message. While certainly kingdom is a major doctrine, along with covenant; promise; and salvation, perhaps it is the coming of Messiah which holds all of these together (John 5:39; Luke 24:44-47). The Messiah is Hebrew for “the Christ” (John 1:41). To make the message yours’, several biblical concepts become important.

Torah – The essential ideas behind torah are: teaching, law and direction. Torah, while often identified with the first five books, involves more than a quantity of scrolls, however. Guidance seems dominant.

Mitzvah – This Hebrew term is translated along the lines of commandment. We recognize the Jewish ceremony of Bar-Mitzvah, when a male becomes a son of the commandment in Judaism (Bat-Mitzvah for girls).

Torah and mitzvah enable the sons of God to live for Him—guided specifically by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). Jesus, himself, seems to be using these two Jewish concepts in his final plea for his disciples in Matthew 28:20—“ teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Make the message yours’ today. His presence is conditioned upon these two directives.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Timothy, Bible, mitzvah, New Testament, torah Tags:

Ritual or Relationship?

February 25th, 2007

“Those whose god is religion will not have God in their religion”

– Erskine

“…having a form of godliness, but denying its power”

(2 Timothy 3:5, NKJV)

The English Standard Version translates 2 Timothy 3:5—“…having the appearance of godliness.” Things are not always as they appear. Paul condemns this kind of Christianity. It seems that some are quite religious in the sense of having the ritual down pat, but, in actuality, there is something very wrong. The relationship aspect is missing.

Today, it is of vital necessity that we worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). Going to assembly should be a habit of the heart (Hebrews 10:23-25). Hearing the gospel preached; praying to the Father; eating the Lord’s Supper—these are all examples of having vital communion with God. While they do contain ritual, in the sense that they are repeatable, they also afford precious moments of relationship with the Lord. Form of worship is important (2 Tim. 1:13; Rom. 6:17; etc), but, so is function. Hebrews 8:10 reads: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

One’s heart should not be made of stone (see Ezek. 11:19). Religious format and religious relationship are both valid Scripturally. May your religious habits (ritual) always be conjoined in heart (relationship).

– Robert M. Housby

The Greek Games and the New Testament

August 15th, 2004

“An athlete is not crowned
unless he competes according to the rules”

(2 Timothy 2:5)

Paul’s style of speaking and writing often reflected familiar things of the Greek world. One such area, in which Paul alluded on numerous occasions were the Greek games (1 Corinthians 9:24,25; 2 Timothy 2:5; Ephesians 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7). To Paul, these games served to illustrate discipline, rules, personal integrity, and joyous victory. Paul tried to communicate the gospel in terms of this very Greek mentality (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Although the Olympic games are usually associated with Athens, Greece, or the Corinthian Isthmian games, there was a gaming atmosphere fostered even in Palestine by Herod the Great. In a city of Samaria, Sebaste (Acts 6:5), Herod built a stadium out of personal devotion to the Greek games. The New Testament scholar, Merrill F. Unger states that: “Herod supported the Olympic games, and even offered rewards for the 192 Olympiad” (Archaeology and the New Testament, p. 150).

The popular Greek historian, Edith Hamilton, and others, have observed, “The Greeks played, but the Romans watched.” Perhaps, it is this spectator mood versus the participation mode that James had in mind when he wrote: “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life…” (James 1:12).

The crown of the games was a simple garland of olive leaves, or pine needles. The crown (stephanos) of Christians is an imperishable wreath from the thorny brow of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:4). Herod did not compete by the rules; while the Romans merely watched. Watch the Summer Games of Athens. But, participate in the eternal gospel of heaven.

— Robert M. Housby