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Of all Paul's Epistles none have been as maligned as these!

Why does the devil so hate these 3 little inspired letters?

Perhaps it is because they teach the man of God how to lead the church in these last days of doubt and apostasy.

Here is a "key" verse from the Pastorals:

"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."  1st Timothy 3:15

 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
II Timothy 2:15










They call them the "Pastoral Epistles!"

Three in number, they are among the most debated of all Paul's writings.

If fact, nearly every contemporary commentary today written on 1st or 2nd Timothy or Titus questions the authorship of those little Books!

We are told that Paul just could NOT have written such literature.

One liberal says the Pastorals (again, 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus) just are not Paul's style! His "favorite terms" are missing!

Another modernist says the vocabulary is vastly different (between Paul's other Epistles and the Pastorals)!

And so go the objections!  (There are plenty more, too!)

But ... I have a problem with all those "questions!"

Here's why I believe the "scholars" are wrong and that Paul really did write to those young preachers named Timothy and Titus.

I will give you the verses here and in order.

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."  1 Timothy 1:1

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."  2 Timothy 1:1-2

"Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;  In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;  But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;  To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour."  Titus 1:1-4

Each of the Pastoral Epistles says that Paul is the writer!  Of course we all know the Holy Spirit is the Real Author! (2 Timothy 3:16)

But Paul held the pen!

It just seems that things in these last days can be "summed up" this way:  Will I believe man and his  teaching?  Or will I believe God and His Word?

I am going with God!

Paul says it best in another place:  "Let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."  Romans 3:4

The Word of God is ALWAYS right!

Study it today!

                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The enemies of the Bible call these Pastoral Epistles "non-Pauline."  They deny Paul's authorship of the Books. 

One of their "reasons" is this.  They say that the church organization Paul describes in 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus is far too advanced to have been in existence during Paul's lifetime.

In other words they believe that church officers such as bishops and elders and deacons and church programs such as care for the widows are second century developments (100-200 AD) ... rather than first century events.  Paul was martyred by Nero around 64 AD.

But I believe the Bible proves them wrong!

For example, Paul did co-operate with a church council in Jerusalem in Acts 15.  He and Barnabas went there to present their case for salvation by grace alone for the Gentiles!  Paul's argument won the day too!  The whole assembly voted to send Paul and his company to the Gentiles with no further legal burdens!  Gentiles did not have to keep the law to be saved!  Salvation indeed was a free gift of God! 

Friend, there Paul was involved personally with church hierarchy and organization!

Again in Acts 20, Paul sends for the Ephesian Elders (church organization again) to come to Miletus and meet with him for some final words of exhortation!  He charges them to be good shepherds of God's people!  "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." (Acts 20:28-29)  Here is ecclesiastical order if I've ever seen it!

Also consider with me Philippians 1:1 --- "Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons ...."  Isn't that church order?  Bishops and Deacons?

If the liberals are going to attack Paul's writing of the Pastorals ... they had better get some stronger ammunition that this!

Jesus founded the Church ... but Paul surely helped organize it!

In fact the church built upon men like Paul.  See what I mean:  "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone."  Ephesians 2:19-20

Paul was a church builder.  He told Titus:  "For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee."  (Titus 1:5)  Ordaining elders (Pastors) ... that's the very "meat" of church organization!

I rest my case.

Paul IS the author of the Pastoral Epistles ... just like the Bible says!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




I was making some tapes yesterday.  As the duplicator worked, I reviewed 1st Timothy. Sister Norma and I are studying the "Pastoral Epistles" this month.

It was then that the verses just seemed to "jump" out at me!

I thought about them and saw something.

There's a paragraph in 1st Timothy chapter 1 that perfectly gives Paul's testimony!  In fact, from beginning to end it teaches us all HOW to give a testimony.

Let me show you what I mean.  It's 1st Timothy 1:12-17.

"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.   Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.  Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

Let's notice a few things about these good words.

Notice that Paul begins his "testimony" with a word of praise and thanks to the dear Lord.  That's ALWAYS the way to start.  (Jesus even began His prayers that way!)

I believe he next mentions both his salvation and his call to preach! Salvation is included in the name He uses for our Lord:  Jesus Christ!  The call to preach is included in the expression "enabled me" (empowered me), putting me into the ministry.

Next he reflects (without giving any detail) on his past life of sin!  "Injurious" can mean brutal or mean ... but also means lifted up with pride!

Following that Paul again exalts the Grace of God!  It looks to me like Paul is saying that God's Grace came to him ... and gave him faith and love!  "Exceeding abundant" is a lovely term.  It combines "hyper" and "pleion" meaning "above and beyond and more and more!"

The Paul calls himself a sinner!  (A "chief" sinner!  The adjective here is "protos," the first sinner, the prototype sinner!)

His testimony gets the "Gospel" into its very fabric.  Jesus came to save sinners! Testifying can be witnessing!

Then Paul instructs us concerning why he believes God has been so good to him. He calls himself a "pattern."  (A "type" for you Bible students!)  The word is "hupotuposis," the imprint or mark left after a hammer strikes something! 

Then lastly (and for the third time in this short exhortation) Paul praises God ... more fully than ever before!  "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

I really believe we could learn some things here today about testifying.  And about witnessing!

And, if not that, we could at least re-read these precious words ... and worship a while!

Is anyone reading today who is thankful that God still saves old sinners?

                                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Often Paul makes a glorious "summary" statement that is just "perfect" (... just as one would expect from a Holy Spirit inspired pen)!

One such declaration is found in 1 Timothy 1:5-6.  I'll share those verses with you here:

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: 6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling."  1 Timothy 1:5-6

Paul is writing to his young "preacher boy" named Timothy, his "son" in the faith. 

In this text Paul mentions two groups of people.  Those who finally reach the "end" of the commandment ... and those who "swerve" away from it.

He of course wants Timothy to be in the first crowd!

What is our "goal" as Christians?  (It is stated several different ways in the Word of God ... but always centers around this one thought ... maturity in Christ Jesus!)

Here we have a one word goal ("charity" = agape in Greek) supported by three "legs" (a "pure heart" = katharos kardia in Greek ... then a "good conscience" = agathos suneidesis ... plus "faith unfeigned" = pistis anupokritos)!

Paul loves to emphasize that word love!

Agape love springs from a heart that gives!  It gives to meet the needs of the one being loved ... regardless of the response!  (It is described in a 15 fold way in 1 Corinthians 13.)

This love is our goal because God is love! (1 John 4:8)

This love is ours because God gave it to us when He saved us too!  In Romans 5:5 we are told:  "Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."  That verb "shed abroad" literally means poured into!  Wow! When you got saved, the Holy Ghost poured a big dose of God's love into your heart!

The 3 "legs" that support this love are also identified and described by Paul.  We will have to look at them in detail tomorrow, Lord willing.

After all, if this is the goal of the Christian life, it is certainly worth the study time!

That word "end" (in Greek = telos) means the termination, the finish line, the utmost accomplishment!  (One textbook says it means "the last in any succession or series!)

Simon Peter also tells us that love (charity) is the final goal.  Listen to him.  "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity."  2 Peter 1:5-7

Note that Peter begins with faith and ends with charity.

Then Peter tells us that if we reach this goal (by Holy Spirit help and fullness), other things will follow.  "For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth."  2 Peter 1:8-12

That paragraph alone makes this love worth achieving!

What Wisdom these little Epistles contain!

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul says there are 3 qualities in the Christian life that combine to produce maturity.

One of them is a "pure heart."

The second is a "good conscience."

And the third ... "faith unfeigned."

These produce "charity" (or "agape" in Greek) in the life of the Believer.

This "charity" is not a silly sentimental compromising kind of "love" with no character to it.  No!  It is a Biblically balanced love.  Technically Paul does not even tell us if the focus here is our love for God ... or God's love for us ... or our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ or love for our family members ... or all of these!

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling."  1 Timothy 1:5-6

A pure heart is a heart that has been cleansed.  Pure in Greek is "katharos" and means free from dirt.  (It started its word journey meaning dirt in a house that must be removed.  Then it became a blemish on a lamb that rendered it unacceptable for sacrifice.  Lastly it morphed into sin in a soul that spoiled fellowship with God!)  I read last week that the human heart has been found to have a few "neuron" endings like the brain.  This suggests to medical scientists now that man's heart can "think" too (at least to some degree)!  That discovery sure sounds Biblical to me!  Be sure your so very critical heart is scrubbed clean!  Without a clean heart you will never see "the end of the commandment!"  (That's "maturity" to Paul!)

But what is a "good conscience?"  The noun "suneidesis" (Greek from "sun" and "eido" means that which one "sees" within his own being!  What one himself knows to be true.)  Conscience is that "light" which God gives man with which he can examine the genuineness of his own innermost soul.  It is "moral co-perception" one textbook says.  And the adjective "good' (in Greek = "agathos") means good in an intrinsic way.  Goodness within a person.  This is not the word "kalos," a goodness that is active and outworking and spreads.  "Agathos" stays home and keeps the inner man good!  It means satisfactory, beneficial, useful, fitting or well.  (When used of trees it means "sound."  When used of soil it is "fertile."  When used of days it is "happy."  When used of conscience it is "clear!")  If one's conscience knows something against itself ... it longs to clear that matter quickly!  A violated conscience is a dangerous hindrance to spiritual growth!  (A "clear" conscience will demand that we learn to say "I'm sorry" a whole lot!  We well may have to go back and make some past things right with others also!)

Now lastly, study with me "faith unfeigned."  It too is an interesting term.  Hebrews 11:1 proves that faith is the very foundation of our relationship to Jesus Christ!  It's the "substance of things hoped for!"  (Substance there means that which "stands under" everything else!  Your faith supports all you are as a Christian.)  It is also the "evidence" of things not seed.  The word means conviction!  Or proof!  And if you are going to be that absolutely sure about the things of God ... your faith must be "unfeigned."  Here's that word in Greek.  You will know it immediately. "Anupokritos" is a negation (meaning "no") of hypocrisy!  An un-hypocritical faith! A "hypocrite" in Paul's day was a stage actor who "faked" who he really was!  One's faith MUST be real to lead to maturity!

Christian friend, be sure these 3 "tools" are available for your spiritual journey.  For if we "swerve" (in Greek = astocheo, meaning to miss that for which we've aimed) from them, we will "turn aside" from the truth.  That verb "ektrepo" means to change course or divert from one's original destination! 

That expression "vain jangling" means empty (vain = "mataios" = profitless, useless) talking (in Greek = lego = to lay forth one's thoughts, to express one's thinking)! Without the true goal in sight ... one well may end up babbling  a bunch of "nothings!"

What a lesson Paul has presented us today!

Again, here's the Scripture:  "Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling."  1 Timothy 1:5-6

Three traits we MUST maintain in our lives ... IF we are going to mature as Followers of our dear Lord!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It is certainly a great paragraph of Scripture. 

And it is obviously in the Pastoral Epistles.

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.  Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.  I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.  Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure.  Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.  Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid."

There it is!

It's found in 1 Timothy 5:17-25.

It gives us careful instructions on how to honor the Pastor!

The "elders" (in Greek = "presbuteros") here are our present day Pastors and Preachers.

The Lord willing, we are going to study these words for the next few lessons.

At the end ... I guarantee you on the authority of the Word of God ... we will better know how to respect the true Men of God!

There are at least five sound principles presented in detail here for us to consider.

Each will help us to Biblically give the Preacher his proper place in God's work!

Join me here tomorrow when class begins!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell



LESSON 7 ...

Paul has been teaching the young preacher Timothy how to behave himself (1 Timothy 3:15) toward certain groups in the church.  Most recently he has been talking about the widows (the younger ones and the older ones).  Now he directs his attention to the Pastor!

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine."  1 Timothy 5:17

The noun for "elders" is "presbuteros" is Greek.  The word literally means one who is aged.  One who is advanced in life.  However Paul uses the term to mean those who have matured in the faith.  (Of course this rules out newly saved individuals and babies in the Christian life.)  In this context Paul has the Pastor of the local church in view.  You can easily tell that by the qualifying traits of the elders.  (To rule well and to labor in the Word and doctrine!)

"Be counted worthy" is an imperative verb.  It expresses a command from Paul!  Its "present" tense tells us that it is a binding and on-going command too.  Keep on honoring those Pastors!  (To hold in high regard!  To think them fit, right, qualified! To esteem!)

"Double" (in Greek = diplous) means twofold! 

And "honour" is in Greek "time" (pronounced tee-may') and means value or price!  (It often means "honorarium" too!  That suggests double pay for these dear men of God!)  The next verse proves that Paul has "pay" in mind here I think.  "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

"Especially" translates "malista," an adverb meaning above all ... or most of all ... or especially.    Therefore just as Paul singled our "widows indeed" for special care ... so he now singles out "pastors indeed" who are to receive this double honor!

But who are these men?

They are the preachers who do two things (and do them well)!

They "rule well!"

"Rule" translates "proistemi" which means to stand in front!  The verb is only used by Paul in all the Bible!  It means one who is placed before (to lead) the whole church!  It has a touch of assertiveness in it too!  Here is Biblical Pastoral authority! Our word is a perfect participle too.  That means that their ruling began when they were called (or ordained or took a church to lead) ... and continues the rest of their lives (to the present moment)!  In 1 Thessalonians 5:12 the King James Bible translates the verb as ... "Those who are OVER YOU in the Lord!"  I think, based on Titus 3:8 and 14 that the word can also mean to be a leader, a faithful example to the people of God too!

"Good," an adjective, means excellent, lovely, choice or even precious!  It is the Greek word ("kalos") and has the idea of a goodness that spreads and influences others also.

To "labor" in the Word translates "kopiao" and means to toil with exhaustive work! This is real work, hard work, grueling work!  (Preaching is not as easy as it seems sometimes!  Especially the preparation and study that must precede it!)  Our word is a present participle.  This labour is a "rest of your life" kind of thing!  The verb literally means "to cut" and it has reference to that which cuts into your strength!  It is often used of physical labour!

The "word" ("logos") I believe means the Word of God!  Paul has in mind those Preachers who teach and preach the unadulterated Word of God!  This Bible as it is!

"Doctrine" ("didaskalia") is a noun that means teaching (that which is taught).  I fear that in our day there is a dearth (a famine) of the teaching of the Doctrinal Truths of the Bible!  (And that's why so many are blown about by every wind of change too!)

Here in these last two words I believe we have preaching and teaching in view!  Elsewhere Paul combines them also.  "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers."  Ephesians 4:11

Well, are we so honoring these rare but precious men of God?

I certainly trust so!

If your Pastor qualifies, let him know Sunday what an honor it is to sit under his ministry!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The Old Testament is God's Word too!

In fact, hundreds and hundreds of times the New Testament either quotes directly of refers indirectly to the Old Testament for proof of its great truths!

I would like to give you an example today.

Paul, in 1st Timothy 5:17 has just told us that the godly Preacher (who leads the people of God according to the paths of Truth) is worthy of "double honor!"  In fact that word for honor (in Greek = "time" and pronounced "tee-may'") means "pay!"

Paul teaches us to especially give double reward to those men of God who labor well in the Word!

Here's the verse:  "Let the elders (Pastors) that rule well be counted worthy of double honour (double pay), especially they who labour in the Word and doctrine."  (1st Timothy 5:17)

Paul has just been teaching Timothy about the "widows" in the first century church.  If they are "widows indeed" (at least 60 years old, having been the wife of one man, having done good works, a lady of prayer) "honor" them too!  Take financial care of such widows!  Read 1 Timothy 5:3-16.

Then ... from taking financial care of widows indeed, the Apostle goes to taking financial care of the Pastors who labor well in Word in doctrine!

Now, here is HOW Paul makes his point.

He quotes from the OLD TESTAMENT!


1 Timothy 5:18a --- "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn."

Paul is quoting Moses.  The place that statement is found: Deuteronomy 25:4! "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."

In other words, if an ox works all day plowing corn (grain, wheat), let him eat some of it as he plows!  He deserves to be fed from the field where he labors!

Every farmer feeds his livestock ... simply because they labor for him so faithfully!

Do you see how Paul "lifts" this truth from Moses and "applies" it to us today in our local churches?

He is not calling the Preacher an ox!  He is just saying that as the ox who plows is fed from his labors ... so the man of God who preaches is to be fed by his people!

Take good care of the Preacher!  (And "double honor" DOES mean double pay!)

I rest my case!

The OLD TESTAMENT is important to the development of additional New Testament Truth!

Thank God we have a whole Bible!

That's a Bible of 66 Books, 1189 chapters and 31,105 words!  (All equally inspired!)

Let the Word of God summarize for us this Wednesday:  "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."  2 Timothy 3:16

And "all Scripture" includes the Old Testament for sure!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul always "proved" what he said!

He uses the fact of "inspiration" usually to buttress his preaching.

But often he also would simply quote from the Old Testament.

But I've found something else he was capable of doing too!

I want to show you a place where he apparently used the Words of Jesus to validate his point!

And, here's the great thing, as he uses Jesus' words he calls them "Scripture" ... just like he called the Old Testament "Scripture!"

Now we today of course understand that.  What Jesus said is a great part of the New Testament and every real Believer accepts that!

But Paul was writing only a few years after Jesus Death,  Burial and Resurrection. Yet he was already calling Christ's statements the inspired Word of God!  (Proof that parts of the New Testament were already in existence at that early date!  Of course other parts like the late Epistles and the Revelation had not yet been written.)

Here's where Paul does this.

"For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."  1 Timothy 5:18

The first part of Paul's statement is from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 25:4. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn."  This is also quoted in 1 Corinthians 9:9!

But the second part of the statement is our focus today!  "And, The labourer is worthy of his reward."

These words quote Jesus in Luke 10:7 --- "And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire."  (In Greek it is a direct quote!)

Paul ... quoting Jesus!

The liberals and Bible haters would tell us that there were no New Testament Scriptures for many years to come!  It seems to me that Paul's action right here proves otherwise!

And, look at this!

Notice what Paul calls this Old Testament quote from Moses and this added quote from Jesus!

He calls them "Scripture!"

"For the Scripture saith ...."

Glory to God, what Jesus says is BIBLE too!

Do not take away from me the Words of Jesus!

(The four Gospels are under heavy attack today from the Bible despisers!  They are trying to convince the ungrounded that Jesus did not say much of what is attributed to Him!  Notice they waited until Paul was dead to start that!)

In fact, Paul defined "wholesome words" (in Greek = sound doctrine) as words that produces godly living and were based on Jesus' teaching (Jesus Own words)!  "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself."  (Get away from him!)  1 Timothy 6:3-5

By the way, when Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18 declares "For the Scripture saith ...," the verb "saith" there is "lego" as an indicative present active.  That shows us that Paul believed the Scriptures were still talking!  Still saying!  Still teaching Christians how to live!

And here we are 2,000 years later and (sure enough) the Bible is STILL talking to us!  Still speaking us each day we live!  It is alive!

Praise the dear Lord!

Dear friends, spend some time today listening to Jesus.  Read some in the Gospels! Or in the Old Testament!  Or anywhere in our wonderful Bible!

You will be glad you did!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Today we are ready for 1 Timothy 5:19.  It seems a bit strange in a paragraph written to "honor" the Preacher!  But it does belong here!

"Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses."

Paul sure makes things clear, doesn't he?

If we are going to honor our Pastor ... we must discourage all the unfounded criticism and gossip and slander that is too often thrown his way!

In fact, if someone is going to accuse him of something ... Paul provides some guidelines!

The opening word in the sentence, "against," is in Greek a preposition ("kata") and really means DOWN!  Talking down on someone!  Tearing them down verbally! Trying to hurt them and belittle them!  (And plenty of this is done against the men of God today too!)

Remember that the noun "elder" (in Greek = "presbuteros") means here a person (the Pastor) with authority and gravity (seriousness) in the word of the Lord.

To "receive" an accusation (in Greek = paradechomai) means to accept with approval!  It is an imperative verb too!  Paul is commanding Timothy NOT to listen to a bunch of garbage about a preacher!  This verb is in the middle voice, suggesting that to receive such an accusation will influence the one with the listening ear! (Impacting him for the worse!)  What we hear does influence us!

And the noun "accusation" translates "kategoria," which is obviously a compound word.  "Agora" is the town square or gathering place!  It literally means something said against one in public!  Or in the assembly!  At church!  (This is our English word category!)  One etymology dictionary says it means "to declaim  in the assembly!"

The word "but" has the idea of "except."  It serves as a conjunction.  The requirement for receiving an accusation against a man of God is about to be given by Paul.

"Before" translates "epi," another preposition meaning upon, by, against, across or before.  This needs to be a face-to-face confrontation!  It is describing a formal complaint!

"Two" (in Greek = duo) or "three" (in Greek = treis) gives the number of accusers that must be present!  I believe Paul is drawing here from Jesus' teaching in Matthew 18. However Paul is additionally applying the situation to the man of God!  "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."  Matthew 18:15-17

And if Matthew 18 is not Paul's proof text here ... certainly Deuteronomy 19:15 is! "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established."

The noun "witnesses" translates "martus" in Greek.  (This gives us our word "martyr!")  It has the idea of an eye-witness!

Paul is discounting the frivolous talking about Preachers that occurs so often today! He says ... if you've got something to say ... make it official!  Have witnesses and bring charges before the church!


THAT would stop a lot of silly chatter, wouldn't it?

Don't criticize the Preacher!

Love him and encourage him and edify (to build up) him for the glory of God!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It is strange that Paul's instructions on how to honor the Pastor also include further directions on how to expose and rebuke sinning Preachers as well!

Here's what I mean ...

"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."  1 Timothy 5:20

Perhaps one reason the more deserving Pastors are not honored as taught by Scripture is that we have let the "Preacher Pool" become diluted and contaminated with many unqualified men!

I have no doubt that there are many in the pulpits of America today who are sinning wildly and without any apparent restraint.

Well, what's to be done?

Notice our verse.

The command deals with those (preachers) who have sinned.

The verb is from a Greek term ("hamartano") which means "to miss the mark" or to sin or to do wrong.

It is a present participle (on-going sin) and is in the active voice. The Preacher himself did the wrong!  It was not simply done to him.  He pursued it.

And obviously this is open and blatant sin!  (It's not just something like having an argument with your wife.  Or eating too much at dinner.)  It involves morals and ethics in all likelihood.

Once a man is found in sin ... and has been confronted ... and refuses to repent ... take the matter to the whole Church! 

He is to be rebuked! 

The verb is a command (an imperative)!

It translates "elegcho" and means to show someone his fault or error.  It is a strong term that can mean to convince them that what they've done is wrong!  To convict them!  (With the full expectation that they are going to then repent and correct the bad behavior!)

And do this "before" all.

The adverb "before (in Greek it is an adverb = "enopion") and means "before the eyes of!"  (Or "in the eyes of") 

Do this in the public assembly!

"All" just means all the believers in the church!

Why do this?

No doubt there are many reasons.  (To glorify God!  To keep the work of the Lord pure!  To help wake this sinning preacher to reality!  To show the danger of sin! And no doubt many more!)

But ... here's the reason our text gives!

"That" (in Greek = "hina") is a word that introduces a "purpose clause."

It means:  "In order that ...."

"Others" translates "loipoi" and means "the rest" or the "remaining ones."  All the other preachers are technically here in view.  (And perhaps all the other Believers in the Church too!)

That they may "fear!"  The verb is "phobos" (in English "phobia") and means to have a terror about something!  To be made scared of sin!  To dread sin!  To even hate sin because of its consequences!

Would you not agree with me that we have lost much of the "Fear of the Lord" in our churches today?

Here's one sure way to help restore it!

I happen to have known a few churches through the years who have practiced this disciplinary command.  And ... always ... with good results!

If we would deal with the sinning hypocritical so-called preachers more stringently, I'll guarantee you that such action would increase our honor for the truly godly men in our midst!

And that is exactly what Paul is saying here!

Praise God for Pastors who labor well in the Word and live clean lives for Jesus' sake!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul always seemed to be fair in his dealings with other Christians.

He is even so here with Timothy and the other young preachers under his authority.

"I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality."  1 Timothy 5:21

He is asking Timothy to apply these rules of conduct to all preachers (and for that matter to all Christians) equally!  No partiality please!

This must be important too.  I say that because of the way Paul frames his command.  "Charge" in Greek ("diamarturomai") is an indicative present middle verb.  It is to be an on-going practice for Timothy (present tense).  It is also something that has impacted, influenced and changed Paul (middle voice)!  Paul obeys these guidelines also!  In using this word Paul draws from the legal scene of Greek and Romans culture.  It's a serious verb ... meaning "to declare solemnly and emphatically!"

But here Paul does something unusual.  He calls on three witnesses to hear his charge to Timothy!  Based on the best research I can do, this is the only time Paul uses this exact formula.  (Two other times in his writings he mentions all three together.  2 Thessalonians 1:6-7 and Hebrews 12:22-24)

Again, for some reason Paul feels very strongly about this issue at hand!  (He sure puts all his heart into these Pastoral Epistles!)

"Elect" angels, an adjective not used of them elsewhere ("eklektos") is apparently employed to distinguish these angels from the fallen angels that followed Satan.

To "observe" (in Greek = "phulasso") these things means to guard and protect them as well as to practice them!  This verb is a subjunctive.  That means Paul is expressing a deep heartfelt desire that this be done faithfully!

The word for "without" is unusual. "Choris" in Greek really means "no space between!"  (Let there be no room for deviation from what I've said, Timothy!)  No exceptions!

"Preferring one another" is a technical term.  ""Prokrima" translates into something like this:  an opinion (a judgment = "krino") formed before the facts are known ("pro" = before)!  One text says:  prejudgment or discrimination.  Without advance commitment to guilt or innocence!  Hear the facts!  No "favorites" allowed!

And "partiality" (in Greek = "prosklisis") means slanting or leaning or laying or reclining ("klono") toward ("pros") something or someone!

Paul means for these "rules" to be strictly applied to all.

Remember Peter has taught us that Jesus is no Respecter of persons.  "Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons."  Acts 10:34

Neither should we be!

                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




There is a verse in 1st Timothy 5 that has nearly "shocked" me.  It of course is from the pen of the great Apostle Paul.  In it he is warning young Preacher Timothy NOT to do something.

"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." 1 Timothy 5:22

What's the shocking part, Preacher?

First, here's a paragraph of explanation.

Paul is teaching Timothy how to properly honour one's Pastor.  Especially those who  "rule well" (are good dynamic leaders ... not "sissy" follow-the-crowd men pleasers) at the church ... and those who work hard teaching the Word of God! Apparently part of honoring the GOOD men of God involves not ordaining BAD candidates for the Ministry!

But ... HOW can one be sure?  How do you know what kind of a leader and preacher a young man will be?

Now ... let our verse enter the conversation!

"Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure." 

Timothy, do not ordain anyone too quickly!

That alone will help avoid having to later deal with some preacher's blatant sins! (Like running off with another man's wife or dishonesty in business or other major character flaws!)

To "lay hands" on a man was to ordain or help ordain him.

The word "suddenly" (in Greek = tacheos") means quickly, soon, hastily or shortly. Mark that man and observe his life for a while.  Examine him carefully.  Let some time pass.  See how he develops in the things of the Lord.

Have none of this: "I'll help you ordain your man if you will come help ordain mine!" (That's Preacher talk!)


So what?

What if I occasionally help ordain some man who is not what he claims to be?  Who is not qualified?  Who has major moral issues still unresolved in his heart?

Here's what! 

In so doing we can become "partaker of other men's sins." 

The verb  "be partaker" is in Greek "koinoneo" and means to share in!  To become a partner with!  To become an associate to! 

If I ordain the man ... and carelessly fail to "check him out" ... and he fails, hurting himself and others ... I have made myself a PARTAKER of his evil deeds!


I guess we had better be careful who and what we endorse!

If you don't believe me (and Paul) ... just read 2 John verses 9-11.  They illustrate the very same principle!  "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

Do not casually condone sin ... or even possible sin!

Then Paul closes with another command:  "Keep thyself pure!"

"Keep" is an imperative verb in the present tense.  Keep on keeping thyself pure ... from this day forward!  "Tereo" means to guard!  To pay attention to!  To maintain or to keep firm!

And "pure" is in Greek "hagnos," which is the same word for HOLY in Holy Spirit!  It means set apart, separated, different! 

And the little pronoun "thyself" could have been supplied by the verb alone.  (It is a second person singular.)  But Paul adds a second word for "thyself" (in Greek = "seautou") solely for emphasis.  Timothy, do this for yourself please (as well as for the sake of the Ministry!)

What a warning!

Listen to me friend, be careful what you appear to endorse!

Some of you are attending churches that are drifting toward the liberal side of the Gospel world!  (Liberal Bible versions and liberal music and liberal standards of dress and loose worldly leadership!)  You had better be careful!  You might be blamed for those sins.  Get out!  "Keep thyself pure!"

It just can't be any plainer than that.

Thank you, Paul.  Thank you, dear Lord. 

Now it is up to us to obey!

                                                                       --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




In honoring the young Preacher Timothy ... Paul does some strange things!

For example he tells him:  "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities."  1 Timothy 5:23

The implication of that first prohibition is that Timothy drank only water.  I admire him for that!  (You try it!  No Coke or Pepsi!  No coffee or tea!  Just water!  That alone takes some discipline!)

But you see Timothy had a medical problem of some kind.  It involved his stomach (in Greek = "stomachos") in some way. 

And Doctor Paul here (as a father often does for a son) is prescribing some medicine!

I have no doubt that Paul would have gladly left Timothy alone here ... drinking just his water ... apart from the stomach situation.

Do notice that the qualifying adjective "little" is used in regard to the wine!  A little ... as in a teaspoon or tablespoon ... as one takes other liquid medicines!

I do NOT believe Paul is here condoning drinking alcoholic beverages!

Not when the Bible elsewhere says things like this:  "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."  Proberbs 20:1

Besides, this "wine" Paul recommends here may have just been the fresh juice of the grape.  No one can prove differently!

(One writer believes Timothy may have also taken the Nazarite Vow.  "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the LORD:  He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.  All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk."  Numbers 6:1-4

Every time the word "wine" falls from the lips of Paul ... there is a caution or a limitation of some kind concerning it!

See what I mean:

Romans 14:21 --- "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."

Ephesians 5:18 --- "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit."

1 Timothy 3:3 Of the Preachers ... "Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous."

1 Timothy 3:8 --- "Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre."

Titus 1:7 --- "For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre."

Titus 2:3 --- "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things."

What else can he say?

And the word "often" (in Greek = "puknos") means thick or dense (in reference to time)!  That is:  happening in rapid succession.

"Infirmities" translates "astheneia" and means weaknesses (lack of strength literally) or sicknesses or even diseases.  Timothy had stomach trouble.  He indeed seems to have been a nervous young preacher.  Paul constantly had to be encouraging him. (And he often encouraged others to encourage him too!)

Timothy ... "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."  2nd Timothy 1:7

So ... in properly honoring the man of God ... care for his health as best as possible! Respect and provide for the whole man, Paul is saying!

What a vast and broad text this paragraph is!

I believe we are all learning something here today!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Paul is closing his great text on honoring the Pastor!  (1 Timothy 5:17-25)  Soon we will have studied ever verse in that paragraph!

Paul seems to believe that one of the greatest enemies to properly honoring the Man of God is ... SIN!  (The purer that preacher's life ... ultimately the more he will be honored!)

He is saying for us to keep the quality of men in the ministry very high!  (There ARE qualifications, you know.)

And today Paul adds an interesting note.

"Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after."  1 Timothy 5:24

What does this mean?

I believe he is teaching us to carefully examine each candidate for the Gospel preaching ministry.  Be sure their lives are of a high spiritual quality.

And the reason we MUST do this?

Because the sins of some folks (potential preachers particularly in mind here) are not so easily know.  They are "secretive!"  They are "hidden!"  They "follow long after" these men.  Other men's sins are much more easily discovered and can be eliminated. These are said to be "open beforehand." 

It's just hard to tell about a person until he is carefully scrutinized by the church body!

In other words, here Paul ... "stipulates that although the sins of some people are so evident that one can make an early judgment about them and realize that they should not be ordained, with others sins only become evident after some time."

Therefore ... do not ordain the men in too big of a hurry! 

The words "open beforehand" translate the Greek word "prodelos," which means before ("pro") and clear ("delos").  They can be clearly seen in advance!  (Paul uses a related term "adelos" in 1 Corinthians 9:26 --- "not as uncertainly!")

And the verb "follow after" is a rendering of "epakoloutheo," which means "over" or "on" ("epi") and a road ("keleuthos")!  Those (hidden) sins will follow th4 man wherever he goes!  That may refer to "patterns" of sin which are inevitable present with a man who has fallen into some habit of iniquity!

This is just another caution from the Apostle Paul ... to be careful whom we ordain!

To him "sin" was serious!  And dangerous!

I saw a sermon recently named "The most expensive thing in the world."   It is about ... sin!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Some folks who believe in our Lord have good works that are obvious and evident for all to see. They are outstanding members of the Christian community.

Others who are just as godly have good works that are not so prominent ... yet just under the surface of public gaze those precious deeds and attitudes abide.

This is also true of men whom God has called to preach!

Some of them appear to be abundantly qualified. Their works declare them so! Look! Anyone can see!

And the others ... while their good deeds may not be as visible, if we allow some time ... enough time please ... even those acts of service will surface too! (Perhaps declaring these men worthy of ordination following Godís Call in their lives.)

At least that seems to be what Paul is saying in 1 Timothy 5:25.

"Likewise also the good works of some are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid."

What was true of sins in 1 Timothy 5:24 ("Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after.") is now said to be true of good deeds also!

Let me describe these "good" works by discussing the Greek adjective the Holy Spirit uses here. "Kalos" means good ... but also means excellent or beautiful or precious or surpassing! This word means "intrinsically" good ... goodness within a person! (Genuine inner beauty that here produces non-hypocritical lovely deeds!)

"Manifest beforehand" translates "prodelos," meaning "made clearly visible in an early time frame!"

And the pronoun "otherwise" means another ... but another of the same kind!

"Hid" translates "krupto," to keep concealed. (An aorist infinitive)

Be encouraged, men of God ... what you do for Jesus will be recognized (and rewarded) some day! That will happen, if not before, at the Judgment Seat of Christ!

In 2 Corinthians 5:10 Paul says: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."

Whatís done for Jesus (even giving a cup of cold water) will not be unnoticed!

Stay faithful!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




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