July 4, 2006

I Cor. 16:9  “For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”

Thumbnail Sketches – I Timothy

This with II Timothy and Titus are called the pastoral letters as they deal with qualifications and duties of church ministers. Paul in humility in writing to a young man admits he himself is the foremost of sinners. 1:15 This certainly sets the tone for accepting what comes then by inspiration to the young man. It is in 2:11-12 that we have one of the defining passages that explains the position of women in the church. They are not to teach or have authority over men, for men are the head of the church as they are the head of the home. In 3:16 we have an early creed statement about Jesus. These six statements are put forward as a confession of faith. While the pastoral section in 3:1-13 is the focus, there are other matters dealt with and some in detail. One example is widows and how to determine to help them in 5:3-16.

I   Salutation – 1:1-2
II  Instructions for the Church and Church Officers – 1:3-3:16
III Instructions to Timothy – 4:1-6:21

Thumbnail Sketches – II Timothy

This letter was likely written around 67. It is Paul’s last letter and gives his last warnings, 3:1f, 4:3f. He gives all ministers the clear direction in 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the Word of truth.” While Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome under house arrest ended with his release, the second imprisonment ended in his death. He was arrested at Nicopolis and taken to Rome where he wrote this letter and soon after died a martyr’s death. His pastor’s heart is burdened for the converts and he writes to warn them. Outlining his suffering, betrayals, persecution and bereavements, yet he knows the One in whom he believes and he knows He will reward him with the crown of righteousness. 4:8
There is a special poignancy to be seen in the letter when we remember the context. He directs us to the Word in all things with that passage so all inclusive 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

I   Salutation – 1:1-2
II  Appeal and Exhortation to Timothy – 1:3-2:13
III Sound Doctrine, Right Conduct, False Teaching – 2:14-4:8
IV Conclusion – 4:9-22

Thumbnail Sketches – Titus

While Timothy worked at Ephesus and received instructions on how ministers were to be, Titus worked on Crete and received such also. Those of Crete were certainly a difficult group to work with as Paul affirms even quoting one of their own about them. 1:12 Paul wrote to encourage him in his dealings in controversies, debates, dissensions and all the time upholding the truth and the standard of  God’s Word. While we think the letter was written about 63, the exact time is not given. Though in Paul’s references to Tychicus, Artemas, Zenas, and Apollos we do have painted for us the activity of the the work being carried on indicating yet again the many willing hands and voices to serve Him in His gracious rule and its expansion. In 3:5-7 we succinctly put for us the grace of God in baptism and justification which we have ‘richly’ in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. So much in so few words!

I   Salutation – 1:1-4
II  Church Organization – 1:5-16
III The Christian Life – 2:1-3:11
IV Personal Matters and Benediction – 3:12-15

Noting a 300 year anniversary…
“India’s Coral Strand”

Second in a Series

Syrian, Jacobite and Nestorian

Beyond the rule of the bishop of Rome in the western Roman Empire and also
of the patriarch of Constantinople in the Byzantine (Eastern Roman) Empire,
the Gospel advanced to India. After 226 there was a new Persian Empire to
the East through which the Gospel speeded on by means of merchants and
missionaries, through concerted efforts and through natural everyday
witnessing. At times also in the Persian Empire persecution drove Christians
into India where they propagated their faith.

We know that Antioch in Syria in Paul’s day was a vibrant center of outreach
to Gentiles. It also gave its name and zeal to later Syrian churches further
east in the Persian Empire. Churches that grew up in India under this name
had their headquarters for a long time in the Persian Empire.

Jacobites or monophysites disagreed with the Council of Chalcedon of 451 on
the two natures of Christ, among some other things. These two groups opposed
each other in the Persian Empire, but did not embroil themselves to such an
extent in fighting that they did not reach out. Even today there are
Jacobite churches in India.

The Nestorians were condemned at the Council of Ephesus of 431 over their
terminology on the nature(s) of Christ. These also headed East, and I mean
way East as far as China. Nestorius’ followers were very mission minded.

The doctrinal difference between the Nestorians and monophysites is over how
our Lord is both God and man. Nestorians so emphasized the difference so as
to give the impression that in the incarnate Christ there are two persons,
man and a divine Being indwelling Him. Monophysites so emphasize Christ’s
divinity as to give the impression that the incarnate Christ is purely God,
the human nature being swallowed up by the divine. Between these groups over
the years there have been some changes and variation. Yet despite all of
this they did reach out.  In India today there are literally hundreds of
thousands of those who came from the Syrian and Jacobite backgrounds in
Kerala State. And in history they give evidence that God uses even such
cracked vessels of clay as these to transport His Gospel. To Him alone
belongs the glory, especially when you consider how frail and fraught with
errors and problems man is.

–Missionary David Koenig