Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives. The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version. At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture. To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.
1 Timothy 1-2:15
Questions & Observations
Q. (James 4:2b-3): I must be guilty of this passage. I do pray for God to bless us with more work. He has but we could use more. I want that so we don’t struggle to pay the bills and buy groceries. I want it so I can buy a new computer and start another phase of this BibleBum journey which I am so looking forward to. I want to not have to dip into our savings. OK, that’s enough of that, you get the picture. But, I also want to have some money to make repairs to the house and afford a nice, reasonable vacation. Although spending quality time together with my family would give me “pleasure,” I think it’s also nice to strengthen our bond. Families are so important! Does pleasure here mean a mansion, a nice sports car, lavish trips, etc.?
A. I believe that James is talking about people who are not truly seeking God in the midst of their desire for riches and pleasure. The standard is 10% to the church, be generous with what you have beyond the 10%, and you should be in good shape. God is aware of obligations and the difficulty of certain seasons — we’ve been going through one at my house as well — but if you withhold from generosity for the purpose of gathering money above what you need, then that is when I feel we have slipped into greed, which is what James is speaking of. We should always be listening to the conviction of the Holy Spirit to let us know when we have slipped away from what God desires — and remember that God WANTS us to repent and come back to Him, not to feel guilt for our failures.
Q. (4:9b): Can you explain, “Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy”?
A. He’s talking about repentance in this passage, not just in this verse. Having a spirit of repentance for one’s sin makes one humble before God, and that is a spirit that God can use — or as James puts it, to “lift up in due time.”
Q. (4:11-12): What law are they talking about here? I’m confused if it’s the NT or the OT.
A. James is referring to the OT law, but saying that Christians should not scorn it by slandering each other and violating what it instructs about loving each other.
Q. (4:17): This is so eye-opening. Whenever I doubt what I believe God is directing me to, I get a bad feeling — one of self-doubt, weakness, etc. But, when I talk about it with confidence, I get fulfilled like God is saying “yes!” and “you go, girl!” I told my husband that our pastor, Zack, had said that it was a sin to worry too. Is that right? To me, that goes along the lines with me worrying about my salvation. It certainly doesn’t do any good to worry about it and takes up brain time that could be used to serve God.
A. James is talking here about one category of sins — that of omission — knowing the right thing to do and NOT doing it is just as sinful as doing the wrong thing you know you shouldn’t. Worry is one of those things, as we have discussed: it shows a lack of faith in a God who has proclaimed loud and clear that He will provide for our needs. Just remember that removing sin of that sort is a process, and won’t happen overnight.
Q. (5:12): What does James mean by “never take an oath?” Is it the same thing that we talked about way back when the Scripture said to not make promises?
A. It is very similar to what James’ half brother, Jesus, said in Matthew 5:33-37 about oaths: don’t flippantly use God’s name to get what you want. Just speak the truth, and don’t swear by anything to do so.
Q. (1 Timothy 1:3-11): So these teachers are spending time preaching the Law of Moses when, although that’s good for the lawless to help set them straight, it does no good for those believers who should be hearing that Jesus will save them, not obeying laws.
A. My notes indicate that these false teachers were going well beyond the Law of Moses into endless speculation around things like obscure genealogies of the OT. That’s what he means by endless speculation and talk, which was taking them away from being active servants of God. They were missing the “boat,” so to speak.
Q. (1:20): I just wondered how the guy downstairs got two different names — the devil and Satan. And, then there’s his given name of Lucifer, right?
A. Part of the issue is the difference of language between the OT and NT. The words “Satan” (accuser) and “Lucifer” (light bringer, which occurs ONLY in Isaiah 14:12) are both OT/Hebrew words. The word “devil” (slanderer) is a NT word, first used in Matthew 4 to refer to Jesus’ tempter, but it means the same thing as “Satan,” simply in Greek instead of Hebrew.
Q. (2:9-10): This Scripture has it’s roots in a situation Paul dealt with where women were distracting a worship service by having revealing clothes, right? But, I would think this would apply today also. I would say it would apply to men, but I never see them dressed inappropriately at church. And, I have seen plenty of Christian women today who are not modest.
A. I agree: modesty and humility are often forsaken Christian values that it would do us a great deal of good to rediscover.
Q. (2:11-15): Here we go with the women’s rights questions. Does this still apply today that women should not teach men? And, would this be for anything, including business matters, or just matters of the Bible? Also, Adam allowed himself was deceived by Eve. What does “women will be saved through childbearing” mean?
A. Your answer to “does this apply today?” question is in the eye of the beholder: some modern denominations — Roman Catholics, Orthodox, and Southern Baptist are among them — see this verse as still being applicable today, but ONLY when in reference to preaching from the Word and specifically leading a congregation: this is why these groups do not ordain women. Other denominations — United Methodists, Episcopalians, and the more frankly liberal denominations, argue that this is a relic verse that can be ignored. I’ve heard good arguments for both, with the limits on women’s role in the church being traced back to different, God-given roles, but some of the best ministers I have personally heard preach were women, so I don’t have a strong opinion either way. As to the “saved by childbearing” verse, I don’t really know what Paul is after here, but there is a lot of speculation that is not worth going into. I wouldn’t sweat that verse too much.