Season After Pentecost, 2019 Year C : The Epistle Passage – Wrestling with teaching others, and being attentive to yourself

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14 – 15)

Setting up this passage with the quotation marks, parenthesis, and other hallmarks of my posting – I am reminded of the person who first invited me to start commenting on scripture passages on a blog that he had started. What I am remembering most right now is how nervous I was the first time I set and sat down to write something. I was not familiar with posting on WordPress and was not sure the protocol was, nor the mechanics of it. I was unsure also how to differentiate my remarks from the scripture passage in question. I was very, very nervous! But I did it. And he, gentle person that he is, complimented me on the care I took to make sure everything looked legible and clear. I learned pretty quickly how to do it, and before the first year was posting and blogging up a storm! Haven’t really slowed down since!

While it was hard to know how to write to the site and how to make sure it posted at the appropriate time, what was not hard was knowing what to say. Well, I may have hmmed and uhhed a little, it did not seem like too much time had passed before I was very confident what to say. I cannot, however, claim any human insight expertise. Like Timothy, I had good teachers and a good foundation of instruction was laid down for me.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I solemnly urge you: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favorable or unfavorable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” (Chapter 3, Verses 16 – 17 & Chapter 4, verses 1 – 4 )

It may sound strange to ask, but was Paul prophetic in what he was saying to Timothy? Or did he have knowledge of human nature in his time, which segues into human nature in our time? Many feel that Paul was in error in some of his theology and teaching. Yes, Paul is a tremendous example of dedicated belief, and his letters form a good foundation of instruction. Buuut, some things he said are not exactly the way we understand them now. The better understand might be ours or Paul’s; or, with the changing times, there needed to be a change in application and living out Christian principles. Still and nonetheless, Paul is correct about people accumulating teachers that are more palatable to their tastes and agendas – for good or for bad you understand. And in the judgment of some, “turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.” But and however, that is Paul venting and maybe prophesying for Timothy’s benefit and may not be the word that Paul would have for others. And in a sense Paul sets that aside when he says to Timothy . . . .

“As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully.” (Verse 5)

What strikes me the most about that verse, other than it being good advice, is that Paul did not really consider Timothy a “peer” yet. The phrase “as for you” signifies to me that Timothy is not to worry about such things. And I would be inclined to get a little huffy on Timothy’s behalf – until I remember that the Divine does not want us to worry about such things either. Be aware, yes. But worry and fret about it – no. The Divine and the Spirit of the Divine take care of mis-beliefs and mis-understandings. It is in the Divine Hands to correct others; our task is to teach what we belief and know. Which sort of brings us back around to the opening verses of this scripture passage.

May you, beloved reader, find and have good solid instruction in your spiritual journey. And may you be lead to share it with others for their benefit and to the glory of our Lord God. Selah!