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 turneth it whithersoever 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; Matthew 10:28). The number of those suffering affliction (James 5:10) and being martyred for their faith in Christ continues to grow in many countries.
The Apostle Peter was willing to defend his faith in Christ when he was confronted by government officials who warned him that he should not teach in this name and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:28-29).
Later, Peter 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 unto governors, as unto 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). If the law of a government violates the revealed will of God then the believer is to obey God and willingly suffer any penalties.
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).
For Timothy 5:18: See Deuteronomy 25:4.
1:5 unfeigned =b> genuine; without hypocrisy; 1:10 menstealers =b> kidnappers, people who enslave (control) others for their own evil purposes; 2:9 shamefacedness =b> modest behavior; 2:12 usurp =b> domineer over a man; 3:2 vigilant =b> self-controlled: 3:8 greedy of filthy lucre =b> craving wealth; 3:13 purchase to themselves a good degree =b> gain a good reputation; 5:11 wax wanton against =b> allow their passions to draw them away from Christ; 6:4 questions and strifes of words =b> controversial, contentious speculations, attacking the authority and reliability of Scripture.
Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Rep. Mary Fallin (OK), Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Rep. Ciro Rodrigues (TX) • Country: Switzerland (7 million) in central Europe • Major languages: German and French • Religious freedom • 53% Roman Catholic; 41% Protestant • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice in the Lord, for He is forgiving to those who call upon Him (Psalm 86:4-5).
Memory Verse for the Week: Hebrews 12:15