- The Explore the Bible lesson for June 2 focuses on 1 Timothy 1:3-17.
Praise God, throughout my life, I have received many gifts, and I’m grateful. As the owner of these gifts, I get to decide how to use them. Will I show how grateful I really am for the gift by using it to its fullest capabilities, or will I randomly use it from time to time?
The Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy entrusted his young protege with a gift—the doctrine of the church. This doctrine was a set of beliefs for the church, the gospel or the good news of God’s word.
Based on Timothy’s commitment to God, Paul was confident Timothy would treat the gift with godly devotion and love. He also was confident Timothy would share the gift with a dedication to God and to God’s people.
Treat the gift with godly devotion and love (1 Timothy 1:3-11)
When we treat something with devotion, there is an overall commitment associated with it. Part of Timothy’s assignment was to warn the people about false teachers. This was huge. Timothy’s church was in a port city where the word of God could spread fast, but so could misleading words.
Timothy had the dual assignment to teach sound biblical doctrine while warning against those who highlighted controversy and hype simply to incite people. In inciting people, their goal was to spark useless arguments and nonsense questions based on genealogy, myths and speculations. Timothy’s charge was to edify the people. As a practical way to look at Timothy, we can ask ourselves, “What is my godly assignment and charge?”
Paul charged Timothy to use the gift of God’s word to lead people to Christ. When we treat the gift of God’s word with godly devotion, we will without doubt help people grow closer to God and each other.
Timothy also was encouraged to see purity, goodness and sincerity of faith in the word of God. These three—purity, goodness and sincerity to God’s word—lessen the chance of discounting God’s word with “meaningless talk” (1:6).
Paul let Timothy know the false teachers lacked knowledge regarding God’s laws. He also informed him the law was not for the righteous, but for those who outrightly rebel against God’s word. The rest of us—“the righteous” (2 Corinthians 5:21)—are entrusted with “the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God” (1:11).
Believers have a gift a non-believer does not possess; it is grace. “All have sinned and come short of God’s glory; but we are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). And as God’s grace was freely shared with us, we should share it with other.
If God’s goal is to demonstrate his love for us through his gift of the gospel, what is our role as it concerns a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith?
Share the gift with dedication (1 Timothy 1:12-17)
As I grow older and more seasoned, and as I increase in spiritual maturity, I want to share all good things. This has not always been the case. Yet, as my spirit is renewed, my dedication to God and love for his people is renewed, praise God!
God shared the gift of grace to Paul and to each of us. Thanks be to God for grace! There’s no better way to share the gift of grace than with dedication and love. Dedication is our unwavering forward movement with the task at hand, it is our “stick-to-it-ness.”
Our dedication to God and His word will cause us to persevere when sharing grace with someone who appears totally undeserving. Paul identifies himself as “blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man” and as one who was “shown mercy” (1:13). God’s grace, faith and love were poured out to Paul.
If we consider our wicked ways, and we view the life of Paul (formerly Saul), we see there are no ends to God’s love for us. There is no limit to how far he will extend his grace, mercy and love. God, through his son Jesus went all out for us, spared no expense and paid the ultimate penalty. God sent only son, Christ Jesus, “into the world to save sinners” (1:15). Because of our belief in Jesus, who died on the cross for us, we have eternal life (John 3:16).
I appreciate Paul considering himself “the worst of sinners” (1:16). His self-identification gives the rest of us an opportunity to witness God’s grand work of forgiveness in his life and an opportunity to receive the same.
God’s purpose is for each of us to repent and receive salvation. (For further reading, consider Ezekiel 18:32, John 3:16-18 and 2 Peter 3:9.) Because God is the King of kings, Lord of lords, eternal and immortal, the forgiver of our sins and judge of our souls, we honor him as the powerful almighty God, now and forever.
Focus on God’s Love: Have the class spend some time considering Ephesians 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5. It is God’s goodness and love that saved us.
Prayer: Lord, help us with the gift(s) you have entrusted us with. Help us to be good owners of your word and to treat it with godly devotion and reverence. Help us to share the gift of your word and grace that you have so abundantly share with us. We are grateful to you Lord, and we want to show our gratefulness by loving you and our sisters and brothers. Amen.
Lisa M. Rainey, PhD., is a member of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield.