Bible Reading Blog
“Sincerity & Transparency”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 1-3
The pervading message of 1 Timothy is the need to act with sincerity and transparency. As was the case in Titus’ situation, some in Ephesus had impure motives that were disturbing the church’s unity (1 Timothy 1.6-7, 19-20). The church needed men not just to lead but to behave with integrity.
To do this, Paul encouraged Timothy’s to step up and teach sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1.3-4). This meant standing against those who taught the law according to their own interpretation. The bible often warns of our tendency to read God’s word through a subjective lens. We are more prone to ask, “what does this mean to me?” rather than listen to the objective truth of scripture. There is a right way to handle God’s word (2 Timothy 2.15), and it requires humility and stewardship. The preacher’s role should be to center God’s people on what is sure and true from God’s word. We can know what God wants and we should not invest ourselves in the business of speculating.
In this context, Paul also introduced the role of the overseers. The term “overseer” is often used in scripture to describe someone who inspects or goes looking for someone in need (as in Matthew 25.36). Paul depicts this service as caring for the church (1 Timothy 3.5) and his immediate concern is with the integrity of these men. Each of the qualities listed emphasized the need to be men of proven character, both in the home and the community. Nothing could be worse for a local church than to have leadership with questionable character. His actions must be consistent in all venues so that others, both in the body and in the world, know what sort of person he is.
The office of overseer (aka elder, shepherd) is not a role for just anyone. They must have an attitude that both aspires to this role and desires it (1 Timothy 3.1). This implies pursuit and forethought with an eye on something not yet attained (as in Hebrews 11.16). But there also must be gumption and want to seek out the well-being of other people. This means it is not simply a title but an active role in the body that serves to maintain the spiritual health of every person.
Both of these roles are desperately needed within every church body, and we must be diligent in our selection process. Preachers and elders have significant influence over our spiritual well-being. Their teaching and their lives will impact the course of our faith, and even that of future generations. We need men who not only lead us to do what is right, but who lead us to live honestly before God and before others.
“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1.5)