Paul’s early and middle letters were written to churches (except Philemon) to help put their roots down in the gospel of grace and then to establish and strengthen them. These latter letters are written to individuals. They also are written near the end of Paul’s life. His experience with planting churches and getting them established, underscored the need for ordered households and qualified leaders who had godly character. The priority was passing this on to the next generation of leaders, and continuum.
First Timothy was written to establish churches as a properly ordered household. This begins with the individual which then affects the marriage, the family and the church. Paul passed on to his spiritual son Timothy, the pattern necessary for him to effectively carry on Paul’s work after his departure. The pattern is sound teaching, godliness with contentment, and appointment of qualified spiritual overseers.
Titus, another “true child in a common faith” was left in Crete to “put what remained into order and appoint elders in every town” (1:4-5). This would establish churches in sound doctrine, which is the proper order of God’s household as persons fulfill their biblical roles. Such roles require living by grace and maintaining purity in God’s household.
Second Timothy is Paul’s last letter. As he spends his last days in prison, Paul passes on the baton to Timothy with clear instructions to commit what he had learned to other faithful leaders who will be able to entrust the timeless principles to others.
The challenge of ordered households and churches that are led by faithful leaders is still a top priority today. Let’s take this seriously and not cave in to mediocrity or cultural compromise!
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