Thursday, September 25, 2014

07 - 1 Timothy 4:6-16 - Lessons for Leaders

Lesson 07                                       “The Servant of Christ”                          1 Timothy 4:6-16
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 3:14-5:2 to understand the context for our passage.  Reread 1 Timothy 4:6-16 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use.  The passage begins with a reference to these things.  What does "these things" refer back to?
1.     ID/WS: (4:6) How could Timothy (and we) be a good minister (diakonos) of Jesus Christ?  What would nourish (entrephō) him?
2.     WS/ID/CR: (4:7) What does it mean to “exercise (gymnasia) yourself to godliness”?  Use clues from the surrounding context develop your answer then check some cross references (Acts 24:14-16; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 5:11-14; 2 Peter 1:5-10).
3.     ID: (4:10) Why is godliness (eusebeia) better than bodily exercise?  Does this mean that there is little benefit to bodily exercise?
4.     ID:  (4:11-16) Identify the imperative verbs.  What is the opposite of each of these commands?
5.     ID:  (4:12-16) What reasons are given (or implied) for each of these commands?
6.     ID: (4:12-16) Is there a common theme or progression to these commands?
The WALK: What should I do?
1.     Curt Shacklett defines a spiritual discipline as “a strategic course of action increasingly, persistently pursued with the aid of the Spirit of Grace in order to acquire a particular quality of the mind and heart of Christ.”   How are you disciplining/exercising yourself for the purpose of Godliness?
2.     What is the difference between reading, exhortation, and doctrine?  How/when does your church practice them?  Does your spiritual intake involve all three? 
3.     Which areas that Timothy was to be an example in, do you find most challenging? Why?
4.     Describe how you meditate (meletaō).  What you have been meditating on recently?
5.     CSBI: Why does progressive revelation make it important to read all parts of the Bible?

Going Beyond: 1. Memorize and meditate on 1 Timothy 4:8-10.  
2. What areas of theology are touched on in this passage?
The Bible (Bibliology)   
God (Theology Proper)   
The Father (Paterology)   
The Lord Jesus Christ (Christology)  
The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)   
Man (Anthropology)    
Salvation (Soteriology) 
The Church (Ecclesiology)  
Angels & Satan (Angelology)
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’s revelation in the Holy Scriptures was progressive.
We deny that later revelation, which may fulfill earlier revelation, ever corrects or contradicts it.
We further deny that any normative revelation has been given since the completion of the New Testament writings.
The issues in view in Article V are of profound importance to the life of the church and are very complicated at times.  What is simply stated in the affirmation is a recognition that within the Bible itself there is a progressive revelation.  All that has been revealed of God in the totality of Scripture is not found, for example, in the book of Genesis. Much of the content of God’s redemptive activity in Christ is hinted at in part and given in shadowy ways in the earlier portions of the Old Testament.  But throughout sacred Scripture the content of divine revelation is expanded, ultimately to the fullness reached in the New Testament. That is what is meant by progressive revelation in this context, that the revelation within Scripture unfolds in an ever-deepening and broadening way.
Having made that recognition, the article of denial makes clear that such progress and expansion of revelation does not deny or contradict what has been given earlier.  Though certain precepts which were obligatory to people in the Old Testament period are no longer so in the New Testament, this does not mean that they were discontinued because they were wicked in the past and now God has corrected what he formerly endorsed, but rather that certain practices become superseded by newer practices that are consistent with fulfillment of Old Testament activities. This in no way suggests that the Old Testament is irrelevant to the New Testament believer or that earlier revelation may be dismissed out of hand in light of newer revelation.  The Bible is still to be regarded as a holistic book where the Old Testament helps us understand the New Testament and the New Testament sheds significant light on the Old Testament. Although progressive revelation is recognized, this progressiveness is not to be viewed as a license to play loosely with portions of Scripture, setting one dimension of revelation against another within the Bible itself. The Bible’s coherency and consistency is not, vitiated by progressive revelation within it.
It is also added by way of denial that no normative revelation has been given to the church since the close of the New Testament canon. The denial does not mean that God the Holy Spirit has stopped working, or that the Holy Spirit in no way leads his people today. Part of the difficulty is that theological words are used in different ways within different Christian communities. For example, what one group may call “revelation” another group may define as “illumination.”  Thus the qualifying word “normative” is important to understanding the last part of the denial. What is meant here is that no revelation has been given since the first century that merits or warrants inclusion in the canon of Holy Scripture. Private leadings or guidance or “revelations,” as some may term them, may not be seen as having the force or authority of Holy Scripture.

Read more about progressive revelation at or

Leader Notes:

2. I would encourage you to keep the comments limited to those that integrate observations from the text and context or specific cross references.  Help the men flesh out the meaning of vague platitudes.
4. When I noted all the imperative verbs, I “discovered” commands that I hadn’t seen before.  On way to reflect on a negative command is to think about what you should be doing instead of just what you shouldn’t do. 
6.  I don’t think that there is one right answer to this one.  Thinking about how the commands might relate to each other should help you see new things about them.
2. These are three things that men should have in their spiritual diet.  1) We should all be in the process of rereading the whole Bible. 2) We should have believers to hold us accountable and be mindful of exhortations.  3) We should also regularly dive deeper through deeper study of smaller portions of the Bible like we are in this study.  You might want to pick up a few Bible reading booklets from the church racks. 

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