There are two takeaways from this chapter. The first is the lovely poem (or verse from a hymn) in vv.11-13 If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful- – for he cannot deny himself. The other is the apparent contradiction between Paul’s advice to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:14) “avoid wrangling over words”, suggesting that there are details that do not matter, and him then going on to correct someone teaching nutty stuff, in theRead More →

In this chapter Paul sets out some simple effective rules for Timothy about who are suitable people to be leaders in churches in particular he deals with “Bishops” and “Deacons”. Deacon means very different things today in Anglican and in Baptist churches, to name only two of the bewildering variety of leaders called “deacon” (all claiming to be biblical).  And Bishops are potentially even more divisive – if only because some of us don’t have them. Some translations mitigate the problem by using different words: NIV e.g. uses “overseer” but keeps “deacons” – there is obviously a modern theological agenda at work here between NRSVRead More →

The “Pastoral epistles” 1 & 2 Tim and Titus offer advice to two young companions of Paul’s travels called to church leadership – Timothy, in the big city of Ephesus and Titus on the island of Crete. There is even more debate about whether these letters were written by Paul than was the case for Ephesians – but as always the issues are highly technical and one needs good Greek as well as significant knowledge of both what we know and how we know it about the development of the earliest churches so I’ll ignore the issue here 😉 and as I did for EphesiansRead More →