The Pastoral Letters, lesson 5



Remembering Ephesus | Lucy Dickens 







In 1 Timothy, chapter 5, Paul has two main themes. First, he instructs Timothy how widows are to be treated. John MacArthur gives us an understanding of the Greek word “widow”.

The English word widow describes a woman whose husband is dead. The Greek word chēra (“widow”) includes that meaning, but is not limited to it. It is an adjective used as a noun, and means “bereft,” “robbed,” “having suffered loss,” or “left alone.” The word does not speak of how a woman was left alone, it merely describes the situation. It is broad enough to encompass those who lost their husbands through death, desertion, divorce, or imprisonment. It could even encompass those cases where a polygamist came to Christ and sent away his extra wives (William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1975], 105).3

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Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 4

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.


In this, our fourth lesson, we will slow down a bit to consider the foundational doctrines of our faith which John here sets before us. But first, let’s orient ourselves to what has already been taught, what will yet be taught, and what this passage is not teaching. Simon Kistemaker opens his commentary on 1 John 2:1-2 by observing:

Except for Jesus, there is no one who is sinless. Even if we know God’s law and precepts, we still stumble and sin from time to time. What remedy is there for the person who has fallen into sin? John provides the answer by pointing to Jesus Christ, who is our helper.[1]

We need to keep this comforting reminder at hand because John, with pastoral affection together with apostolic authority, will spend much of this epistle encouraging believers not to sin in terms that, at first blush, are rather challenging. The vast testimony of Scripture assures us that those who are in Christ have been freed from bondage to sin—sin is no longer our master—and yet, we will battle with indwelling sin and temptations from the world and the devil until the moment we pass into glory. So, take heart, dear one, when (not if) you sin, God has provided a means for our cleansing, His own Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, as John will unfold for us in this passage of his epistle. Continue reading “Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 4”

P2R 1 John, Week 4


Beloved, we have reached week 4 in our Partnering to Remember 1 John and something is happening as I rehearse that which I have already memorized from 1:1-2:6. At the beginning of each week, getting the words parsed and put in order in my head was my main focus. But now, as I recite the now-memorized verses, comprehension is growing. As I repeat the passages out loud to myself, the meaning of what John has written is dawning on me with increasing understanding, and it is wondrous to behold. Continue reading “P2R 1 John, Week 4”

Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 3


This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)

In last week’s lesson we learned that John’s prologue (1:1-4), once untangled, reveals that he and his fellow apostles are commissioned with a message; a message not of their own devising, but one which they have heard from God through his Son Jesus Christ; a message that “is rooted in both the historical facts about Jesus and his true significance.”[1] He begins now (v. 5) to unveil this message more clearly with a proclamation of the nature of God. Continue reading “Fellowship with God: Confidence in Christ, Lesson 3”