April 28, 2013 Paul and Women Part 2

Paul and Women Part 2

(If you have not reviewed the previous study of Paul and Women (130421; www.sozoclass.com), I encourage you to invest time in that teaching before considering this continuation of this study.)  Apostle Paul’s two letters to his protégé Timothy are, essentially, the advice of a mentor to his mentee about not being drawn into the relative culture of his day.  Paul stated or implied specific contemporary issues and taught a proper Christian perspective that would be ‘salt and light’ (Jesus’ imperative; Matthew 5.13-16) in the culture.

Paul’s example presents you with a dilemma: what is your responsibility to the people in your contexts relative to the cultural issues of contemporary society?  How are you to present yourself as salt and light in these contexts?  Likewise, what is your responsibility to enlist coaches and mentors for your spiritual growth and accountability within the contexts of your life?  And, how do you select that/those person(s)?

Salt and Light = Truth (John 14.6)

  • Hosea 14.9 is the conclusion reached by one of God’s minor prophets.  What are the ‘ways of the Lord’?  They are discussed and their importance is emphasized in Isaiah 33.14-16 and 66.2.
  • Consider the emphasis of Job 34.11, Psalm 62.12, Proverbs 24.12 and 14.12.  God is the final judge!  Do your ways align with His or not?  How do you know?  Any corrections needed?  When?  How?
  • God’s truth is your ‘salt and light’!  Contemplate with King David Psalm 119.9-11, 105.
  • Hear Jesus in John 17.17.  ‘Sanctification’ is your growth to become more like Him (Ephesians 4.11-13).

Who needs your ‘salt and light’?

  • Consider Luke 10.25-37, Matthew 25.31-46, and James 1.27 when you answer.
  • What about the persons in the contexts of your life?  Those in your immediate and extended family; those among your friends or on your team; those among your office peers and superiors and subordinates; and those sitting beside you in the airplane or Bible-study group?
  • Why has God put you together with them in context?  What does He want to do for them through you (Isaiah 55.5, Matthew 5.14)?  Trust God to connect you with compatibility.  He will not abuse either of you.  Trust Him to give you the wisdom you need for the moment (Matthew 10.19-20).
  • What is your responsibility to and for them?   How do Ezekiel 3.17-19 and Hebrews 3.12-15 complete your understanding?

How will you be ‘salt and light’?  Jesus said, ‘You ARE….’ 

Now, let me add to the previous ‘Paul and Women’, as follows.

  • Paul’s instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 2.11-14 should be understood as aligning according to 1 Corinthians 11.3, as understood by this Jewish scholar and a strict constructionist (the Scripture says what it means).
  • Paul is not talking about the roles of women in contemporary society.  Paul would have known about Deborah the leader of Israel in Judges 4 who led a military campaign against the king of Canaan.
  • Further, Paul would have agreed with John the Baptist’s conclusion in John 3.27: a man (woman) can only do the task that is given to him (her) by God.  Sounds like Jeremiah 29.11-13.
  • A negative illustration of this is Moses’ older sister Miriam in Numbers 12.1-15.  She tried to assume a role that God had not assigned to her.
  • A positive illustration of this is Moses’ mother Jochebed (Numbers 26.59).  Exodus 2.1-10 is the story of Moses’ birth and being taken from the Nile River by Pharaoh’s daughter.  Note that Miriam took Moses back to Jochebed to ‘nurture’ for God.
  • The role of nurturing is important to God.  He gave that assignment to women more than to men.  But, nurturing can occur outside of the home and family, as acknowledged by the following.  Note the amount of nurturing required, for which God tasked mostly women.
  • A chart in David Wessel’s article on page 4 of the morning editions of The Wall Street Journal for Thursday, April 4, 2013, shows that:
  1. Women comprise 99% of all dental hygienists’
  2. 91% of registered nurses;
  3. 81% of elementary and middle schoolteachers;
  4. 54% of pharmacists;
  5. 34% of physicians and surgeons;
  6. 31% of lawyers;
  7. 27% of chief executives (including 21 of the Fortune 500 largest corporations; website gender balance); and
  8. 9% of mechanical engineers. (Source: US Labor Department)
  • Thus, John 3.27 is true.
  • What has God called you to do?

Paul is not demeaning women in 1 Timothy 2.11-14; he is commenting on the order that God established in Genesis 1-3.

Praise God!!!  Copyright © Maurice Painter, 2013.   www.sozoclass.com

April 21, 2013 Paul and Women

Paul and Women

Let me frame this study with Jesus’ answer to Pilate in John 18.37 to which Pilate asks, ‘What is truth?’  In a relative worldview, truth is whatever you or someone you follow wants it to be and becomes the filter (comparison) for what you read, view, and hear (i.e., you become god).  But, Jesus was not ‘relative’; He was absolute…and encouraged you to be, too!  He stated this in Mark 4.21-25; ‘be careful what you hear’ (John 8.31-32, Proverbs 4.23, Isaiah 66.2).

Jesus witnessed to truth in two ways: John 12.49 and John 5.19.  Also see John 17.17.  So, John 1.17 is a good summary statement.  (Remember that ‘grace’ is God’s willingness to use His mighty power to bring His word to reality for you!)  Think about the consistency of John’s statement with Paul’s in Galatians 1.4 (escape from the present evil age only through Jesus) and Galatians 3.21 (there is no Law giving ‘life’; see John 1.4).  That’s ‘grace’!  You did not earn it and don’t deserve it.  And, it comes from God’s ‘truth’.

Paul’s knowledge, understanding, and wisdom were framed by this.

  • His IQ was probably in the top two percent of the population of his day (my conjecture based on the following).
  • Paul was born and raised in Tarsus, home for the greatest of the three universities in the world at that time (Athens and Alexandria housed the other two).  Paul benefitted from educational opportunities.
  • Rather than becoming a merchant, it was decided that Paul should go to college and become a rabbi – a minister, teacher, and lawyer all in one. (Easton Dictionary of the Bible)
  • After preliminary education and at age 13, he was sent to Jerusalem’s great Jewish school of sacred learning as a student of the Law.  There he met and studied under the great rabbi Gamaliel. (Easton)
  • Elaborate study of Scriptures and many questions occupied the rabbis.  (Compare to Luke 2.46-47 regarding Jesus.)
  • So, Paul was intellectually curious, applied the inductive and deductive reasoning of a lawyer, and had talked with Jesus!  He wanted to know the truth and teach it in his churches and through his letters!
  • He had practiced the Torah and understood that the prophetical passages foretold of Jesus as Messiah!  Thus, he was able to make the connections for his hearers and readers.  (In his example, you see the relationship of Jeremiah 29.11 and John 14.26 [note the ‘and’] as complements.)
  • Knowledge, understanding, and wisdom from God’s truth were what he used to critique the relativism of his day.  Consider the example in Acts 17.16-33What do you use?

Paul’s high regard for women

  • How much of your views of gender roles were shaped by what you learned from and observed in your parents?  How does 2 Timothy 1.5 enlighten the answer you might offer for Paul?
  • Given the information above, how do Paul’s writings about women express the viewpoint (truth) of God?  Consider the following verses from several of Paul’s books in the New Testament.
  • 1 Timothy 2.9-10: what does he say is God’s standard for dress?  How do ‘propriety’ and ‘discretion’ contrast fashion today?  So, whose end is being served by fashion today?
  • 1 Timothy 2.11-14: how do 1 Corinthians 14.33, 40, 1 Corinthians 11.3, 8-9, and this scholar’s understanding of Genesis 3.16 explain his point?  (Who did God call for in Genesis 3.9?  Further, 1 Corinthians 14.34 states that Paul considered Genesis 3.16 as part of the law.  In his letter to his other protégé, Titus [2.5], Paul said that not submitting to this order is blaspheming God’s name.)  Ladies, do you consider your opinions contrary to Paul’s teaching as ‘blasphemy’?  If so, is that ‘pride’?  Why is ‘submitting’ to God difficult?  Will this be a ‘final exam’ question or observation?
  • 1 Timothy 2.15: why do John 14.6 (Paul’s strong belief) and Ephesians 2.8-9 mean he is not talking about ‘childbirth regeneration’ or eternal salvation?  Also, in his day, a woman who died giving birth was considered wicked and under God’s judgment, resulting from Eve’s sin (Genesis 3.1-6).  Paul is debunking that myth and saying that God will protect women who exhibit Godliness as they give birth to children.  Contrast Michal in 2 Samuel 6.15-23.
  • Are Paul’s instructions legalism?  How do they express God’s desire for the holiness of His children (Leviticus 20.26)?
  • Now, consider the mutual respect Paul expressed concerning husbands and wives in Ephesians 5.22-33Does this reveal 1 Corinthians 11.3?

God’s view of women

  • Jesus was God on earth, as He stated in John 10.30.  All who saw Him and heard Him saw and heard God!  (See introduction above.)
  • Therefore, Jesus illustrated God’s view of women.  Consider the following.
  1. Although He had earthly half-brothers, Jesus gave Apostle John responsibility for His mother Mary; John 19.26-27.
  2. He had compassion even for a non-Jewish mother whose daughter was being abused by a demon; Mark 7.24-30.
  3. He expressed compassion for a widow whose only son had died; Luke 7.11-15.
  4. He healed an ‘unclean’ woman who dared to touch His clothing; Matthew 9.18-22.
  5. He did not stone the adulteress, but forgave her sin and encouraged her better lifestyle; John 8.3-11.
  • Paul’s view of women was God’s view of women!

Takeaways

  • Women should see themselves as special to God; John 20.11-18.  Jesus did not choose to reveal Himself to a man first.
  • Men should see women like Paul; 1 Timothy 5.1-2Women are to be respected and honored and not denigrated like the world promotes!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © Maurice Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com

April 14, 2013 Who Follows You?

Who Follows You?

One of the most important tasks of any leader is the selection and equipping of someone to continue initiatives that have begun to produce positive change.  This is true in government, business, education, family, etc.  Who are you training to continue the culture you have developed?  This is an age-old question that God answered with the selection and equipping of Abraham (Genesis 12.1-4), Moses (Exodus 3.9-10), Joshua (1.1-9), Jesus (Deuteronomy 18.15-18, John 1.29-34), and the Apostle Paul (Acts 13.1-3).  Paul prayerfully selected Timothy to carryon the work he had begun.  How did Paul know Timothy was the one to succeed him?  What do Paul’s two letters to Timothy express as initiatives to be continued?  Are these the initiatives you must embrace and emphasize to your successor?

Who was Timothy, and what qualities made him useful to Paul?

  • Not Paul’s biological son.
  • 2 Timothy 1.5 identifies Timothy’s grandmother as Lois and mother as Eunice.  His father was Greek (Acts 16.1-3).  Timothy means ‘honoring God’, expressing the worldview of mother and grandmother.
  • According to these verses, Paul met Timothy in Lystra, perhaps on his return after being stoned to death and resurrected there (Acts 14.19-22; 2 Timothy 3.10-11).
  • Timothy had a ‘genuine faith’; i.e., un-hypocritical; no fault found in it.  Note that this ‘genuine faith’ was handed down from generation to generation.  What faith are you passing to your successors?
  • What part do you think the Holy Spirit played in his faith and selection?  Consider Hebrews 11.6, Ephesians 2.8-9, Romans 1.16-17, and Acts 14.9Is your faith strong enough to ‘see’ someone’s faith or to hear Jesus’ voice (Isaiah 30.21, John 10.1-5, 15)?  How can you strengthen your faith (2 Timothy 1.6-7; 3.14-17).
  • Timothy was a learner, as Paul alluded in 1 Timothy 4.11-16.

Why was this the time to train Paul’s successor?

  • Paul is near the end of his ministry, as he eloquently stated in 2 Timothy 4.6-8.  His pains pale in comparison to his anticipated reward!
  • Paul wrote his first letter to Timothy in AD 62-63 while traveling inMacedonia, probably fromPhilippi.  He had been released from his first Roman imprisonment because there were no witnesses to the charge against him in Caesar’s court.
  • Timothy was with Paul during his first imprisonment (Philippians 1.1) and was imprisoned, too (Hebrews 13.23).
  • He wrote the second, and his last, letter in AD 66 from a second Roman imprisonment, after Nero burnedRome (AD 64) and blamed Christians.  Paul was executed in AD 66 (Easton Dictionary of the Bible).
  • Paul had established and/or strengthened churches inAntioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Lycaonia, Phrygia, and Pisidia (southern present-dayTurkey); grouped together asGalatia.  Timothy traveled to these churches with him
  • Additionally, Paul had trusted Timothy’s development enough to send him with Silas to Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 3.2).  He was also with Paul in Ephesus (Acts 19.22) and would reside and be martyred there after Paul’s death.
  • Now, certain of his co-laborers had been sent on assignment or had deserted him: Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1.20), Philetus (2 Timothy 2.17), Demas and Crescens and Tychicus and Erastus and Trophimus (2 Timothy 4.9-20).  Note others who remained with Paul.  Some of these had probably accompanied him on his several journeys.
  • Paul longed to go to his eternal home, perhaps the best reason to turn the work over to the one he had trained!

Overview of Paul’s Instructions to Timothy

  • Fourteen years had passed between Paul’s writing to Galatian Christ-followers, in AD 48 and his first letter to Timothy.
  • But, heresies were still spreading that contradicted the points he had made in letter titled Galatians, as follows:
  1. only Jesus could save them from the present evil age (Galatians 1.4);
  2. the Law could not give life (Galatians 3.21-22; Galatians 4.28);
  3. circumcision would evidence bondage to the past, not freedom for the future (Galatians 4.30); and
  4. they would give up their eternity with Jesus by being circumcised to follow the Law (Galatians 5.2-3).

So, what must you pass along to your followers, that next generation of leaders in the contexts of your life? 

  • List the three to five most important absolutes to teach them.
  • How will you teach them?

Praise God!!!  Copyright © Maurice L. Painter, 2013.  www.sozoclass.com