Rules for the church pt 1

I’ve summarised the first batch of rules for the church, as a continuation from this post. Now, my writing here is an annotation of 1 Timothy. So, let’s hope you’ve read 1 Timothy more than once. Have you? Ok, maybe you could read it here first then without my notes, if not.

Well, if you have, I wonder if you perceived that Paul is laying down some rules for Timothy, as a guide for him to set up and oversee the church. These rules will set the precedent for an exemplary church, a church that is fit for ambassadorship, a church that functions well and remains true to its original faith. Every believer that is concerned with remaining authentic and faithful to the gospel, should take heed of these rules so as to live out the Christian life as God intended. This should be taken into consideration for the individual faith as well as for the health of the church community. It took me a while to get through a study of 1 Timothy as I did viewing it as a rulebook. I hope you read it with the care that it deserves, as Paul intended, a letter written from a father (as he so intimately describes Timothy as his son) to his only son. God wants our success, he has made sure we can have it, both in will and action, in prophesy and provision. May we walk it out.

Here they are, the first set of rules for the church.

Do not teach any different doctrine.

Do not devote yourself to myths and  endless genealogies which promote speculation rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.

The motive for the first two rules is so that you sustain love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

The law is not for the just. The just have been given a doctrine (sound, as it were) that is in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God.

Supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgivings should be made for all people, for kings and all in authority so that we may lead a peaceful  and quiet life. This is good and pleases God, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

In every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrreling.

Women should adorn themselves with modesty and self-control. May they adorn themselves with good works.

Women are not to teach men or have authority over them.

Qualifications for an overseer (bishop (episkopos) – watchman who diligently looks out and cares for a/the local church or community)

Overseers/watchmen:

  • should be dignified
  • should not be devious in speech
  • should not be greedy to gain dishonestly
  • should hold on to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience
  • should be tested first and only when proved blameless should be allowed to serve as deacons (Do not be hasty to approve and commission anyone)
  • their wives should also be upright and sober, honest,  modest and faithful
  • should have one wife and be good fathers and leaders/heads of their household.

Have nothing to do with irreverent silly myths.

Train yourself for godliness,  for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 

RulesInstructions for the Church

Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity. [This rule is being given to Timothy, a young man]

Honor widows who are truly widows (with no family at all).

But a widow with children and grandchildren should first learn to show godliness to her own household, for it is pleasing in the sight of God for her to  do so.

Widows who are truly all alone should be taken care of by the church but those who are not all alone should be provided for by their relatives. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Let a widow be added to the list of those whose needs should be taken care of if she has reached sixty years, has brought up children, has a good reputation, and has diligently devoted herself to the work of the kingdom/church of God. Younger widows who have not kept their hearts set on Christ should marry, bear children and manage their households so as to give the enemy no opportunity to allow them in slander, gossip and/or irresponsible living.

Let elders who teach/preach well be considered truly worthy enough for double honor (given extra money or whatever means of appreciation) for the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” and “The laborer deserves his ways.”

Do not accept a complaint against an elder (in this usage, it means a mature Christian) except there is evidence from two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.

With a strong admonition, backed by the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels, Paul asks Timothy to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.

Paul says to Timothy at this junction that if anyone teaches otherwise or objects to the sound instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ, they are conceited and understand nothing. This unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
I want to reiterate that Paul says those people who, in their pride, become depraved in mind and deprived of the truth think that godliness is a means to financial gain. He rejects this notion, pointing out that godliness with contentment is of great gain, because we brought nothing into this world and we cannot take anything out of it. If, though, we have food and clothing, with these we should be content. Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. This causes many to wander from the faith.
Paul reminds Timothy to flee from those things (caused by pride, the love of money and by quarrels) but rather pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness.
He also tells Timothy to fight the good fight of faith by taking charge of this Christian life, steering it so that it is evident that he lives for God, as he has professed before witnesses.
Paul gives guidelines as to how the love of money can be avoided, especially in the case of those who have earthly riches.

  • Do not be haughty
  • Set your hopes on God and not on your riches (which are uncertain)
  • Do good, be rich in good works
  • Be generous and ready to share
This would ensure that you store up for yourselves treasures that are a good foundation for the future.
Lastly Paul warns Timothy to guard the gospel (deposit) that he has been entrusted with and to avoid irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge” because professing this (knowledge) can cause you to swerve from the faith.
Note: Yes, I left out 1 Timothy 6: 1-2 . This was deliberate.
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