Thursday, September 25, 2014

06 - 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5 - Lessons for Leaders

Lesson 06                                   “Godliness vs. Apostasy”                      1 Timothy 3:14-4:5
ID: Inductive Questions (Asking the text questions like who, what, where, when, why, & how?”)
CR: Cross References (Comparing Scripture to Scripture, understanding the vague by the clear.)
WS: Word Study (Understanding definition, theological meaning, and usages in other passages.)
The WORD: What does the Bible say?
Context:  Read 1 Timothy 3:8-4:11 to understand the context of this passage.  Then read 1 Timothy 3:14-4:5 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use.
1.     ID: (3:14-15) What insights do verses 14-15 give about why Paul wrote 1 Timothy?
2.     ID: (3:15) What do these verses teach us about the nature and purpose of the church?
3.     CR: (3:16) Find where these events are recorded in the Gospels.  
4.     ID: (4:1-2) How are these false teachers described? 
5.     ID: (4: 3) What false teachings did these false teachers promote?  How serious are these false teachings?  What religious groups practice these “doctrines of demons” today?
6.     ID: (4:4-5) What reasoning does Paul provide to contradict this specific false teaching about abstaining from certain foods? (Genesis 1:29-31; Acts 10:10-15) 
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     How do the items in this ancient confession or hymn compare with the content of current doctrinal statements and hymns?  (See the TBC Articles of Faith below)
2.     Is there a difference between not eating certain foods to be more healthy and not partaking for “spiritual” reasons?  How does this false teaching relate to fasting?
3.     How do we keep a vigilant eye out for false teachers without pouncing on everybody for honest differences and secondary errors?
4.      What causes our conscience (syneidēsis) to become seared (kaustēriazō)?  (Rom. 1:28; Eph. 4:19)
5.      Would common sayings like “let your conscience be your guide” or “to your own heart be true” have helped these false teachers?  What lessons are for us?
Going Beyond:  1 Timothy 3:16 was probably an ancient chorus or creed and is a great verse to memorize and meditate on.  If you like to use music in Scripture memory, this chorus might be useful.
q   The Bible (Bibliology)   q  God (Theology Proper)   q  The Father (Paterology)   q  The Son (Christology)   q  The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)   q  Man (Anthropology)    q  Salvation (Soteriology)   q  The Church (Ecclesiology)   q  Angels & Satan (Angelology)    q  Future Things (eschatology)

The next three articles deal with revelation. Article III defines what we mean when we say that the Bible is revelation and not merely a witness to revelation, as is affirmed by the neo-orthodox theologians. Article IV considers the use of human language as a vehicle for divine revelation.  Article V notes the way in which the revelation of God unfolds progressively throughout Scripture so that later texts more fully expound the earlier ones. In these articles the framers of the Statement guard against any view which would lessen the unique nature of the Bible as God’s written revelation or negate the teaching of some parts of it by appeal to other parts

We affirm that God who made mankind in his image has used language as a means of revelation.
We deny that human language is so limited by our creatureliness that it is rendered inadequate as a vehicle for divine revelation.
We further deny that the corruption of human culture and language through sin has thwarted God’s work of inspiration.
One of the most significant attacks on biblical inerrancy that has come to light in the twentieth century is that based on the limitations of human language.  Since the Bible was not written by God himself, but by human writers, the question has emerged again and again whether such human involvement by virtue of the limitations built in human creatureliness would, of necessity, render the Bible less than infallible.  Since men are not infallible in and of themselves, and are prone to error in all that they do, would it not follow logically that anything coming from the pen of man must be errant?  To this we reply, erroneousness is not an inevitable concomitant of human nature.  Adam, before the fall, may well have been free from proneness to error, and Christ, though fully human, never erred.  Since the fall it is a common tendency of men to err.  We deny, however, that it is necessary for men to err always and everywhere in what they say or write, even apart from inspiration.
However, with the aid of divine inspiration and the superintendence of the Holy Spirit in the giving of sacred Scripture, the writings of the Bible are free from the normal tendencies and propensities of fallen men to distort the truth.  Though our language, and especially our language about God, is never comprehensive and exhaustive in its ability to capture eternal truths, nevertheless it is adequate to give us truth without falsehood.  For example, if we made a statement that Chicago is a city in the state of Illinois, the truth communicated by that statement would in no way be exhaustive.  That is, all that could possibly be understood of the nature and scope of the city of Chicago would not be known by any human being who made such a statement, nor would all the complexities that go into and comprise the state of Illinois be understood totally by the speaker.  Certainly if God made the statement, “Chicago is a city in the state of Illinois,” within his mind there would be total comprehension of all that is involved in Chicago and Illinois.  Nevertheless, the fact that God makes the statement “Chicago is a city in the state of Illinois” would not in itself make the statement more or less true than if a human being made the statement.  Though we recognize that human language is limited by creatureliness, we do not allow the inference that therefore human language must necessarily be distortive of truth.
If human language were to be judged intrinsically inadequate to convey revelation, there would be no possible means by which God could reveal anything about himself to us in verbal form.  Since, however, the Bible teaches that man is created in the image of God and that there is some point of likeness between man and God, communication between God and man is possible.  Such possibility of communication is built into creation by God himself.  With respect to the denial that human language is so limited that it is rendered inadequate, particularly in view of the effects of sin on our human culture and language, we must say that though man’s fall renders us guilty before the divine judgment and, though “all men are liars,” it does not follow necessarily that therefore “all men lie all the time.”  Though all of us lie at one time or another, this does not mean that we lie every time we speak.  Again, that tendency toward corruption, distortion and falsehood is precisely that which we believe to be overcome by the divine inspiration and involvement in the preparation of Holy Scripture.  Thus, we think that skepticism about biblical integrity based on inferences drawn from the adequacy or inadequacy of human speech is unwarranted.


The doctrine to which the Church requires the assent of all applicants for Membership is contained in the following Articles of Faith:
1.      The Bible, consisting of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, is the Word of God, a supernaturally given revelation from God Himself, concerning Himself, His being, nature, character, will, and purposes; and concerning man, his nature, need, duty, and destiny. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are without error or misstatement in their moral and spiritual teachings and record of historical facts. They are without error or defect of any kind.
2.      There is one God, eternally existing and manifesting Himself to us in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
3.      Our Lord Jesus was supernaturally conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, a lineal descendant of David. He lived and taught and wrought mighty works and wonders and signs exactly as is recorded in the four Gospels. He was put to death by crucifixion under Pontius Pilate. God raised from the dead the body that had been nailed to the cross. The Lord Jesus after His crucifixion shows Himself alive to His disciples, appearing unto them by the space of forty days. After this, the Lord Jesus ascended into heaven and the Father caused Him to sit at His right hand in heavenly places far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church.
4.      The Lord Jesus before His incarnation existed in the form of God and of His own choice laid aside His divine glory and took upon Himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men. In His preexistent state, He was with God and was God. He is a divine person possessed of all of the attributes of Deity and should be worshipped as God by angels and men." In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." All the words that He spoke during His earthly life are the words of God. There is absolutely no error of any kind in them and by the words of Jesus Christ; the words of all other teachers must be tested.
5.      The Lord Jesus became in every respect a real man, possessed of all the essential characteristics of human nature.
6.      By His death upon the cross, the Lord Jesus made a perfect atonement for sin, by which the wrath of God against sinners is appeased and a ground furnished upon which God can deal in mercy with sinners. He redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse in our place. He who Himself was absolutely without sin was made to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. The Lord Jesus is coming again to this earth, personally, bodily, and visibly. The return of our Lord is the blessed hope of the believer and in it God's purpose of grace toward mankind will find its consummation.
7.      The Holy Spirit is a person and is possessed of all the distinctively divine attributes. He is God.
8.      Man was created in the image of God, after His likeness, but the whole human race fell in the fall of the first Adam. All men, until they accept the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior, are lost, darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, hardened in heart, morally and spiritually dead through their trespasses and sins. They cannot see nor enter the kingdom of God until they are born again of the Holy Spirit.
9.      Men are justified on the simple and single ground of the shed blood of Christ and upon the simple and single condition of faith in Him who shed the blood, and are born again by the quickening, renewing, cleansing work of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God.
10.   All those who receive Jesus Christ as their Savior and their Lord and who confess Him as such before their fellow men become heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. At death, their spirits depart to be with Christ in conscious blessedness, and at the second coming of Christ, their bodies shall be raised and transformed into the likeness of the body of His glory.
11.   All those who persistently reject Jesus Christ in the present life shall be raised from the dead and throughout eternity exist in a state of conscious, unutterable, endless torment and anguish.                                                     (continued)
12.   The Church consists of all those who, in this present dispensation, truly believe on Jesus Christ. It is the body and bride of Christ, which Christ loves and for which Christ has given Himself up.
13.   There is a personal devil, a being of great cunning and power. "The prince of the power of the air." "The prince of this world." "The god of this age." He can exert vast power only so far as God suffers him to do so. He shall ultimately be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone and shall be tormented day and night forever.

 Leader Notes:

1-3. Don’t be in such a hurry to get to those juicy false teachers and what they teach that you short change these glorious truths about the church and the mystery of godliness.
“It is now generally recognized that this paragraph is the heart of the Pastoral corpus . . ., which puts the instructions of the corpus into proper perspective.” –Thomas Constable
3. Dr. Utley’s Free Bible Commentary will be helpful on this question.
4.  This question is pretty broad, so dive in.  Included is the issue of what it means that they “fell away.”  Avoid the bias of common theological usage and use a good word study and context to identify the meaning here.
5. I think that taking a little time to track through Paul’s argument would be helpful for 1) understanding these specific errors and 2) learning how to reason with Scripture.  There are also Scriptures that talk about when we should and shouldn’t marry, but I don’t think we will have time to open that “can of worms.”
3.  This is huge!  We need to talk about the importance of not allowing serious error to creep into the church while still being kind, patient, and charitable to believers who have honest disagreements and non-critical errors.  We also need to think about and discern what “hills are and aren’t worth dying on.”  While we don’t kill people for differences over things like mode and time of baptism like they did in the 1600’s, we might make them wish they were dead by the way we treat them.
4-5. What I am driving at with these questions is that while a tender conscience is desirable and a seared conscience should be avoided, we cannot completely trust our conscience.
→ I don’t have a question about the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, but you might take a minute to point it out.

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