Thursday, September 25, 2014

11 - 1 Timothy 6:11-21 - Lessons for Leaders

Lesson 11                                       “The Good Confession”                        1 Timothy 6:11-21

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 6:1-21 and the account of Christ’s confession before Pilate in John 18:36-37 to help understand the context.  Then read 1 Timothy 6:11-21 in a more literal or more dynamic translation than you usually use.  What does “these things” refer to?

1.     ID/WS:  (6:11-12a)  What do each of this first set of commands teach us about the Christian life?

2.   ID/CR:  (6:13)  What was Christ’s “good confession” before Pilate?  How does it relate here? (John 18:29-38)

3.     ID: (6:12b-14) What do these verses teach about eternal life?  About witnessing a good confession?  How do they relate to the exhortation to lay hold on eternal life?

4.     ID:  (6:14-15a)  What is “our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing?”  When will it be manifest?

5.     ID:  (6:15b-16) How does this doxology especially relate to the surrounding verses?

6.     ID:  (6:17-18) What commands were given to the rich?  What reasons were given for them? (How are you doing with them?)

7.     ID: (6:20-21) What was committed to Timothy’s trust?  What was he to avoid?  Why?

The WALK: What should I do?

1.     Verse seventeen speaks of being rich in “this age.”  What does it mean to be rich in the “time to come?”  How do you do that?

2.     How should Christ’s appearing motivate believers?  What are some practical ways we can be more mindful of Christ’s return?

3.     Do you consider yourself to be rich?  Why or why not?  How does your income compare to others in the world? In the US?  Why does wealth tend to make us haughty, self-confident, and selfish?

4.     What are some clues that we are trusting our riches (I.e. paychecks, retirement accounts, etc.)

5.     CSBI: What effect could the argument that truly human authors cannot help but error have on the doctrine of Christ’s sinless humanity?  What effect would it have on the Bible’s reliability?

Going Beyond: 1. 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)

Articles IX through XII deal with the matter of greatest present concern: inerrancy.  They seek to define terms and answer the chief questions that have been raised:  If the Bible has come to us through human authors, which the earlier articles acknowledge, and if it is natural for human beings to err, which all confess, isn’t the Bible necessarily errant?  Doesn’t it cease to be authentically human if it does not have errors?  Again, if inerrancy applies properly only to the original manuscript, called autographs, and if we do not possess these, as we do not, isn’t the argument for inerrancy meaningless?  Or doesn’t it stand only by appealing to documents that do not exist and whose inerrant state cannot be verified?  Why can’t inerrancy be applied to those parts of the Bible that deal with salvation and not to those parts that deal with history, science and other “unimportant” and “non-essential” matters?


We affirm that inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the biblical authors were moved to speak and write.

We deny that the finitude or fallenness of these writers, by necessity or otherwise, introduced distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.

The affirmation of Article IX indicates that inspiration guarantees that the writings of Scripture are true and trustworthy.  That is, they are not false, deceptive, or fraudulent in what they communicate.  As we dealt with the problem of the limitations of human language in Article IV, so we face now the difficulty of the speaking of truth by creatures who are not omniscient.  It is one thing for God to confer infallibility to the writings and quite another to confer omniscience to the writers.  Omniscience and infallibility must be carefully distinguished.  Although in God they are cojoined, for man it is different.  Omniscience refers to the scope of one’s knowledge and infallibility, not to the reliability of his pronouncements.  One who knows better can make a false statement if his intentions are to deceive.  And, vice versa, a person with limited knowledge can make infallible statements if they can be guaranteed to be completely reliable.  Thus we say that though the biblical writings are inspired, this does not imply thereby that the writers knew everything there was to be known or that they were infallible of themselves.  The knowledge that they communicate is not comprehensive, but it is true and trustworthy as far as it goes.

The denial of Article IX has to do with man’s propensity as a finite and fallen creature to introduce distortion or falsehood into God’s Word.  This was covered from another angle in Article IV.  But what is in view here is the recurring charge that verbal inspiration or a confession of the inerrancy of Scripture carries with it a docetic view of Scripture. Docetism applies to a particular distortion of the biblical view of Jesus.  In the earliest days of the Christian church there were those, usually associated with the school of gnosticism, who believed that not really have a human nature or a human body.  They argued that he only seemed or appeared to have a human body.  This heresy was called docetism from the Greek word dokeo which means to seem, to think or to appear.  Those who denied the reality of the incarnation and maintained that Jesus had but a phantom body were accused of this heresy.  In a more refined and sophisticated sense docetism has come to apply to any failure to take seriously the real limitations of the human nature of Jesus.  The charge of biblical docetism has been leveled against advocates of inerrancy, most notably by Karl Barth.  He accuses us of holding a view of inspiration in which the true humanity of the biblical writers is canceled out by the intrusion of the divine characteristics of infallibility.  For Barth it is fundamental to our humanity that we are liable to error. If the classic statement is errare est humanum, to err is human, we reply that though it is true that a common characteristic of mankind is to err, it does not follow that men always err or that error is necessary for humanity.  If such were to be the case, then it would be necessary for us to assert that Adam, before he fell, had to err or that he was not human.  And we must also assert that in heaven, in a state of glorification and perfected sanctification, we must continue to err if we are to continue to be human.  Not only must we ascribe such error to Adam before the fall and to glorified Christians, we would also have to apply it to the incarnate Christ.  Error would be intrinsic to his humanity, and it would have been necessary for Jesus to distort the truth in order to be fully human.  Let us never engage in such blasphemy even though we confess the depth to which we have fallen and the high degree of the propensity that we do have to err.  Even apart from inspiration, it is not necessary for a human being to err in order to be human. So if it is possible for an uninspired person to speak the truth without error, how much more will it be the case for one who is under the influence of inspiration?

Finitude implies a necessary limitation of knowledge but not necessarily a distortion of knowledge. The trustworthy character of the biblical text should not be denied on the ground of man’s finitude

Leader Notes:

1.  Another thing to think about here is how these particular commands are opposites of the love of money.
2.   Take time to look at the passage in Gospels.  Help your men make the connection between principles articulated in Christ’s confession and this 1 Timothy passage.
3.  Do you notice the way the work of God and response of man work together?
4.  It seems we tend to over look Christ’s return more than we should.  Use this questions to promote and eagerness for Christ to return and desire to “be ready.”  (1 John 3:2)
5. If you have time, take a few minutes for the men to pray and praise God for these.
6. We should probably be a little uncomfortable discussing this question.  I have a theory that our culture is soooo materialistic that most of us are blind (to some extent) to our short comings in this area.
These questions aim at two themes.  1. Are you looking and preparing for Christ’s appearing?  2. Why did God give us so much money and what is it doing to our hearts?

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