December 9, 2005

Read 1 Timothy 1

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 they know it or not, or whether the officials are godly or evil. But the fact is: 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 be faithful witnesses 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 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). 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) and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But . . . according to His mercy He saved us (Titus 3:3-5).

Cross Reference:

For Timothy 5:18: See Deuteronomy 25:4.

Word Studies:

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 greedy of filthy lucre = craving wealth; 3:13 purchase to themselves a good degree = gain a good reputation; 5:11 wax wanton against = allow their passions to draw them away from Christ; 6:4 questions and strifes of words = controversial, contentious speculations, attacking the authority and reliability of Scripture.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The English International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Janovee C Miller · The Arabic International Shortwave Radio Broadcast sponsored by Duane Estey · Staff: Bernice Rathbone · Country: Bahrain (629,000) 11 islands in the Persian Gulf near Saudi Arabia · Major languages: Arabic and English · No evangelical work is permitted · 85% Muslim; 5% Roman Catholic; 2% Protestant; 1% Orthodox · Prayer Suggestion: Pray to be considerate to the less fortunate (Psalm 41:1).

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 1:22