Read I Timothy 1 -- 6
In Today's Reading:
Warning against false doctrine; thankfulness for mercy; qualifications of church leaders; instructions about the widows and the elderly; the good fight of faith
The Roman emperor Nero was ruthlessly persecuting Christians and condemning many of them to death at the time Paul wrote this letter to Timothy. Yet, Paul emphasized the importance of Christians praying for those who were in authority over them, regardless of their conduct. He wrote: I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (I Timothy 2:1-2).
As we pray for world leaders, as well as for our local officials, we can be sure our prayers will have an effect upon their actions, whether the men themselves are godly or evil. The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turns it wherever He will (Proverbs 21:1).
Christians should faithfully witness to the truth as revealed by Christ in His Word, even when it could mean imprisonment or death. While many shall turn away their ears from the truth, we must remain faithful in all things, endure afflictions (II Timothy 4:4-5). The number of those suffering affliction (James 5:10) and being martyred for their faith in Christ continues to grow in many countries.
Later, Peter also emphasized the responsibility of Christians to be law-abiding citizens, writing: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or to governors, as to them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well (I Peter 2:13-14). The New Testament provides no example to justify responding to corrupt government with force or by not paying taxes. We are taught that it is Satan who instigates rebellion, violence, and riots.
We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts (enslaved to various self-centered desires) . . . living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But . . . according to His mercy He saved us (Titus 3:3-5).
1:5 unfeigned = genuine; without hypocrisy; 1:10 menstealers = kidnappers, people who enslave (control) others for their own evil purposes; 2:9 shamefacedness = modest behavior; 2:12 usurp = domineer over a man; 3:2 vigilant = self-controlled:3:8 of filthy lucre = craving wealth; 3:13 purchase to themselves a good degree = gain a good reputation; 5:11 wax wanton = allow their passions to draw them away from Christ; 6:4 questions and strife = controversial, contentious speculations
For Timothy 5:18: See Deuteronomy 25:4.
BP Staff: Ilene Wallace · Pray for Every Home for Christ Ministries and Dick Eastman · Government Officials: Sen. Tom Daschle (SD) and Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (TX) · Country: Finland (5 million) in northern Europe · Major languages: Finnish and Swedish · Religious freedom · 91% Protestant; 1% Eastern Orthodox; 1% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Trust in the Lord; He is your refuge (Psalm 15:1-4)
Memory Verse for the Week: Ephesians 5:6