The Pastoral Letters, Lesson 3

This week we discussed officers in the church, requirements and qualities. We see that elders and deacons share very similar character traits. However, elders must be able to teach. Their roles are quite different. Elders shepherd the flock, deacons take care of mercy ministries. They are both required to be of good moral character, with a list of specifics in the scriptures. John Stott explains:

Looking back, it is clear that the qualifications for the presbyterate and the diaconate are very similar. There is a core of Christian qualities, which all Christian leaders should exhibit. Putting the two lists together, we note that there are five main areas to be investigated. In regard to himself the candidate must be self-controlled and mature, including the areas of drink, money, temper and tongue; in regard to his family, both faithful to his wife and able to discipline his children; in regard to his relationships, hospitable and gentle; in regard to outsiders, highly esteemed; and in regard to the faith, strong in his hold on its truth and gifted in teaching it. (Stott, John. The Message of 1 Timothy & Titus: Guard the Truth (The Bible Speaks Today Series) (Kindle Locations 1816-1820). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.)

Paul speaks of a  significant involvement of women helping the deacons of the church do their diaconal work of mercy ministry. Here is a wonderful article by Jen Wilken on Ligonier entitled Mothers in the Church,  discussing the role of women in ministry.

The Pastoral Letters, Lesson 2


Today we worked our way through I Timothy 1 and 2. As we discussed last week, Paul was writing to his young associate Timothy, who  he had sent to Ephesus to pastor the church there. Paul writes to encourage Timothy and instruct him in managing a variety of problems that were occurring. Paul was especially concerned about the false teaching that was taking place in the church.

Paul says to him that the goal of the ministry is love, which will produce in believers a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. Having been saved by grace through faith, the goal of God’s grace at work in us is to cause us to love God and neighbor. (He is pointing towards Jesus’ words in Matthew 22).  Continue reading “The Pastoral Letters, Lesson 2”

The Pastoral Letters, Lesson 1

We began our study of the Pastoral Epistles by revisiting Acts and where we pick up from that study. When we finished Acts Paul was a prisoner in Rome. During that time period he wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon, known as the “prison epistles”.  After he was released, he wrote the Pastoral Epistles in which he gives direction to Timothy and Titus about how to manage the various duties and problems involved in pastoring a church. Continue reading “The Pastoral Letters, Lesson 1”