JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…any other thing that opposes healthy teaching…” (Part 1)
March 29, 2015, 1:49 pm
Filed under: R - First Letter to Timothy

“The law does not apply for the innocent but for the lawless…” The law was also meant to curb the flesh. As Paul told the Roman believers “through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20) The law is for those who live by the flesh. In every letter Paul says something about the works of the flesh in contrast to living by the Spirit, it is part of learning Christ together, the tension between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the spirit and how the gathering moves forward through it in love. Even Jesus said that “The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.” (John 6:63) So in like manner Paul gives an interesting list of the entropy of the flesh in pairs in his first letter to Timothy. (1) Interestingly a case could be made that this list looks very similar to the abominations that described Samaria and Jerusalem, the capitols of the northern and southern tribes of Israel respectively, before their downfall by the Assyrians and Babylonians in the Book of Ezekiel, specifically chapter 22. Even the same Greek words used by Paul can be found in the Greek version of Ezekiel from the Septuagint. Perhaps all delve a bit into this in another blog. Perhaps Paul is inferring a concern of a possible similar judgment could fall upon the ecclesias as that which befell Israel if we live with a law/lawless mindset versus an innocent mindset. I have intentionally listed the writing in pairs below to hopefully see some connections. “…but for lawless and for unruly, for impious and for sinful, for unholy and for profane, for parricides and matricides, for menkillers, for fornicators, for paederasts, for menstealers, for liars, for perjurers, and if any other thing the healthy teaching opposes…” (2) Fee notes that the first three pairs seem to be “general classifications” while the other pairs have “a remarkable coincidence with the Ten Commandments (the fifth through the ninth), often giving more grotesque expressions of these sins.” (3) N. T. Wright in his little booklet says similarly. (4) The descriptions of these Greek words are pretty clear. The first three pairs are adjectives and other than the last word the other pairs are all nouns. This blog will look at the first three pairs of adjectives. (5) Lawless (6) and unruly (7) describe those who live without regard for authority and submission respectively. As Paul noted to the Roman brothers and sisters “let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established…For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong…Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” (Romans 13:1-5) Society operates by law, ecclesias operate by grace. In Christ authority describes Christ’s headship and submission. You cannot have one without the other. Brothers and sisters who are following the Lord together are under the authority of Christ, under His headship and will follow His law, a law of selfless sacrificial love. And this agape love, Christ’s life, will demonstrate itself in submission to one another, mutual submission. To live without headship to Christ or submission to others in the body is to be lawless and unruly. If there is one thing that will steal, kill, and destroy the fellowship of a gathering of brothers and sisters it is this. Additionally, if any one or more persons in the body attempt to usurp Christ’s authority, His headship, whether personally or through some set of procedures or agenda, they have become lawless and unruly to Christ. We are to live under His authority, His headship in submissive sacrifice to one another. Impious (8) and sinful (9) describe those who live without respect for others and without approval of God respectively. Brothers and sisters who are following the Lord together will be respectful and honorable towards one another, this demonstrates approval of God. There is much written in the scriptures that describe the importance of honoring God and one another. As Paul told the Roman brothers and sisters: “Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10) We are called to live honorably, never disrespecting others. To do so would be to disrespect Christ, His Body and His Spirit will show His disapproval by our conscious not approving. The Lord gave some remarkable words to Isaiah and is often quoted by Jesus: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.” (Isaiah 29:13) Wow! Sadly, how much of our religious institutions have fallen to such dishonorable status with our Lord. As an archer if my arrows fall short of the target I am forfeit, I have missed the purpose in shooting the arrows. Without Christ I fall short of what God approves. We will be tempted to stray, to miss the mark of God’s purpose, there will be conflict. Let us be attuned to what our conscience tells us as His Spirit works in us in order to follow Him, His path for us, by faith with love. In Christ we are no longer “sinful.” Paul told the Roman ecclesia “Christ died for the ‘impious’” or the ungodly and cleansed us from all sin! (10) In Him, who is sinless, we have been cleansed of all that fell short of what God approved. In Christ the arrow hits the bulls-eye every time. To live with a clear conscience, innocent before one another is to manifest Christ. We live together as those who have been forgiven and now live approved by God by our respect towards one-another. Unholy (11) and profane (12) describe those who live without respect for the things of God and for God Himself respectively. Christ’s literal body was described as holy and the literal temple in Jerusalem was never to be profaned. The character of the physical Christ and physical temple are now applied to the ecclesias, because they are one with Christ. Paul articulates in great detail to the Roman ecclesia in the first part of his letter how those who are in Christ are now to “live a new life.” (13) This life is none other than Christ’s life and His life is holy! In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible “holy” is a key word that is used to describe “an object or place or day.” (14) Also, from the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, these two words often appear together. Perhaps Paul, a former teacher of the law, speaking of the “babble” of these certain persons has thoughts from Ezekiel in mind? (Ezekiel 22) Profane can also have the idea of unauthorized entrance into a building. If we gather together for the sake of forcing our agenda onto the brothers and sisters than to live by the life of Christ together, but making a pretense of such we have become a thief, entering the Home without the permission of the Home Owner. Jesus had some poignant words for the Pharisees in this regard: “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.” (John 10:1-2) Those who enter the gate, or the building without His authority Jesus calls a thief, a robber, a hired hand, and a wolf. We are a new creation and we now live by His new life, His holy life and we are learning to hear Christ together, Our Shepherd. May we truly hear our Lord’s words and live by His life of love together, “love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” We gratefully gather together and submit to His headship, we show respect to Christ and His body honoring Him and one another above ourselves, and we are learning to live by His holy life and hearing Him and following Him together. (1) Fee noted that he was amazed that from among the Pauline letters that “no single sin is specifically repeated in them all….They seem in each case to be ad hoc catalogues, although they also seem to be somewhat adapted to contexts.” Gordon D. Fee; 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus: New International Biblical Commentary; Hendrickson Publishers, 1988, 45. (2) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 613. (3) Fee, 45-46. (4) Nicholas Thomas Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Pastoral Letters, Second Edition, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, 9-10. (5) See the Greek Interlinear at (6) Paul, when describing those the law was meant for, uses the word “lawless” to begin the list. It could in fact generalize the rest of the descriptions. The Greek word translated “lawless” is “anomois” and means “without law,” a complete disregard for any authority. This word is used in the letter to the ecclesias in Corinth and later to Rome to describe those who are non Jewish or Gentile. To his first letter to the ecclesia in Corinth, Paul describes how he relates to both Jew and Gentile for their salvation: “I became to the Jews as a Jew, in order that I might gain Jews; to the ones under law as under law, not being myself under law, in order that I might gain the ones under law; to the ones ‘anomois’ (lawless or without the law) as ‘anomos,’ not being without law of God but under the law of Christ, in order that I might gain the ones ‘anomous’…” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21) So lawless in this regard would mean, for example those who are not Jew and do not follow the Law of Moses. Paul also said something similar to the ecclesia in Rome where he described that a person can fail to be approved of God whether one is ‘anomos’ (without the law) or under the law. (Romans 2:12) In Luke and Acts the word is used to describe those who crucified Christ Jesus. Only Luke uses this word in his gospel and in the letter of Acts. In the gospel by Luke the word is used from the Greek translation for the Hebrew ‘pō•šə•‘îm’ from Isaiah 53:12 that means to rebel against God where the author describes the Jesus fulfilling Old Testament prophecy. Some manuscripts also use the word in Mark 15:28. And in Acts Luke uses the word to describe those who crucified Christ Jesus. (Acts 2:23) It seems in the letters where a future description of the word is used and letters written later it typically refers to a state of complete rebellion against God such as Paul’s second letter to the ecclesia in Thessalonica. 2 Thessalonians 2:8. See for a summary of the definition of the word. Based on the context of Paul’s letter to Timothy this is how the word is being used. (7) The Greek word translated as “unruly” is “anypotaktois.” The forms of this word only occur in the letter to the Hebrews and Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus. It literally means “not under arrangement,” without submission, and therefore means not submissive or disobedient. One form of the word is also used in Hebrews 2:8. To not be mutually submissive to one another is to be “anypotaktois” to be unsubmissive to our brothers and sisters in Christ, and because we are His body to be “anypotakois” is to be disobedient to Christ Himself. (8) The Greek word translated as “impious” or “ungodly” is “asebesi.” This word means the opposite of “respect,” without respect, and means lack of reverence and dishonorable. Paul wrote to the ecclesia in Rome that “Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6. (9) The Greek word translated as “sinful” or “sinners” is “hamartōlois.” This word is used often in the gospels and on occasion in the New Testament letters. The word literally means “to forfeit by missing the mark.” (11) (10) Romans 5:6. (11) The Greek word translated as “unholy” is “anosiois,” or without holy. The adjective form of the word holy, “hosios,” is only used a few times in the New Testament and typically describes Christ, often where Christ has fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament. Typically meaning respect for the things of God. Paul is the only New Testament writer to use the word “anosiois” and only in his letters to Timothy. “Anosiois” means without respect or without regard for the things of God, a disregard or disrespect for the things of God. (12) Profane. The Greek word translated as “profane” is “bebēlois,” which means “crossing threshold” or “improper or unauthorized entrance into a building.” Like the previous word for “unholy” the word variants of this adjective are only used in his letters to Timothy and once in Hebrews describing Esau in the Old Testament. There are two verb forms of this adjective, Jesus says of the Pharisees “on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent” and the accusation of Tertullus against Paul saying “and even tried to desecrate the temple.” Much could be said of Jesus and Tertullus statements alone, one a truth the other a lie. Matthew 12:5 and Acts 24:6. Perhaps the idea here is attempting to follow Christ apart from love and faith, perhaps Paul is reflecting back to the foolish Galatians and now these certain persons in Ephesus? (13) Romans 6:1-4. Paul argues “what shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” To do so would be to profane His Body, His Temple. Pau then describes to the Romans the importance of seeing ourselves in both Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection “so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with….no longer…slaves to sin.” We are to “count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:5-14. (14) Vine’s, Nelson’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament, 113.

“I am the vine; you are the branches…”
February 22, 2015, 5:24 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

At a new organic fellowship last night while listening to the sharing of one another in the midst of the sharing I noticed the room had a very ornate clock on the mantle of the fireplace and to its left was what looked like limbs from a tree with long leaves. I was reminded that as humans we are very inclined to make what is simple complex. All of our institutions and organizations are perfected so that they run like clockwork and in so doing become more and more complex and we become enslaved in a system void of relationships as it is more about the system, keeping it running with all of its deadlines and productivity, and the egos that run it, instead of how well we relate to one another. The church, the organized way it has become institutionalized is very much like this, it is about running a machine that works like clockwork fueled by the passions of those who think they know what’s best for everyone, no matter who gets knocked over in the process.

clock 1

Christ Jesus had a different way, a different reality of how His body shared life together. Jesus during his last moments on Earth said “I am the vine; you are the branches…”

As I looked at this tree and thought about trees in general, I remembered this morning while working on the front lawn that branches of a tree tended to veer about in seemingly random ways but always outward and upward because of the Sun. The brothers and sisters in Christ are like this. When we gather Christ in us is giving us His life to share with one another, sometimes it may seem kind of random, but as we see more of Him and allow Christ to be Head of His body, what appeared to be random gives shape to something quite beautiful, Christ Himself, His life to us through one another. Sometimes our soul life gets in the way and we hurt one another, Christ is our healer and as we learn to hear Him we follow Him by forgiving or asking for forgiveness and making amends.  Love, truth, and faith always builds up the body and Christ in us continues our upward and forward growth in Him together.


This life together just like with various trees can look quite differently from one another, and hence not make clockwork or set a precedent on what happens as we gather together. Christ is too creative than that! There are also seasons to consider. No matter the season it is still about allowing Christ as Head together and being sustained by Him as He lives through one another. The world often judges the poor seasons of life. We should  see it differently. If we see the brothers and sisters in one place being broken and hurt by the world around them be careful in your judgements, for even a myrtle tree only grows unless it’s branches are cut completely, but it’s roots are ever growing deeper.


“I have installed my King on Zion…”
February 15, 2015, 3:34 pm
Filed under: 1A - Spiritual Notes

“I have installed my King on Zion…The LORD is King for ever and ever…Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty-he is the King of glory…For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth…For God is King of all the earth…above all gods.” Psalms

“…I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted…my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Isaiah

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King…God made the earth by his power; he founded the world by his wisdom and stretched out the heavens by his understanding.” Jeremiah

See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation…” Zechariah

“But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you…” Jesus

If you are the Messiah…tell us.
Jesus answered “…the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied, “You say that I am.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.


“…be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” Peter

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Paul

Every Morning You Greet Me
September 26, 2014, 1:12 pm
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

This is such a wonderful song! This past week some young brothers and sisters and parents met together in front of a public school for what is called See You At The Pole. We sang and shared Christ together, the younger ones still a bit apprehensive to participate. My prayer was asking Father to reveal His Son in each one, since He is pleased to do so. We ended our gathering together with this little song and Christ did a beautiful work in our hearts. The morning was beautiful and as I saw the first words it fit the moment. I believe everyone who gathered were from an institutional church and had never heard the song before. I think the song was written in a an organic church somewhere and was passed on to us. So I am unsure of the author of the words. I thought I would pass it on to you.

Every Morning You Greet Me
(Tune: Edelweiss)

Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ
Every morning You greet me,
God’s pure light, my delight,
You look happy to meet me.

Strong in my spirit
You bloom and grow,
Bloom and grow forever.
Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ,
You’re my Bridegroom forever!

Lord, Most High, how can I
Thank you for all You give me?
Your dear Son left His home,
Gave up heaven to love me.

Over and over I’ll spread the news,
There’s no greater story,
Once you came bearing shame,
Soon you’ll come in Your glory!

We Are Gathering Together Unto Him
September 8, 2014, 12:53 am
Filed under: 1B Favorite Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs

We Are Gathering Together Unto Him

We are gathering together unto Him
We are gathering together unto Him
Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be
We are gathering together unto Him

We are gathering together in His name
We are gathering together in His name
In His name shall the gathering of the people be
We are gathering together in His name

We are gathering together in His love
We are gathering together in His love
In His love shall the gathering of the people be
We are gathering together in His love

We are gathering together in His life
We are gathering together in His life
In His life shall the gathering of the people be
We are gathering together in His life

We are gathering together one in Him
We are gathering together one in Him
One in Him shall the gathering of the people be
We are gathering together one in Him

“…the law does not apply for those who are innocent…”
July 28, 2014, 1:24 pm
Filed under: R - First Letter to Timothy

This section of the letter to Timothy seems to hearken back to Paul’s letter to the Galatians. After Paul describes the overarching goal of love for the ecclesia, which enables the working of God in His people, he then, in this same sentence clarifies the main issue or the bottom line of these “certain persons.” They have wandered from the focus of love to a focus on law in their gatherings. Their “teaching differently” emphasizes the law over selfless sacrificial love. “They desire,” they want “to be teachers of the law, not understanding either what things they say nor concerning what things they emphatically assert.” (1)
Paul has dealt with this terrible teaching with an emphasis of law over grace before with the gatherings in Galatia. They had the same problem. For most of his letter to the Galatians Paul spoke about this issue. It is interesting how Paul’s first letter and his last letters over a span of at least a couple decades would deal with this same issue. It perhaps bespeaks to our times, the movement of some gatherings that swerve out of line of God’s purpose to focusing on matters of the law. Paul is not at a loss for words when it comes to legalism in the Galatian gatherings, or for any other ecclesia for that matter, then or now.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all.” Logically Paul says: if it is a different good news, then it cannot be good news. “If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let that person be cursed!” “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?…Are you so foolish?” (2)

In typical fashion Paul describes the different teaching of these brothers and sisters in Ephesus who think they are “law teachers” as “babble.” It is meaningless and empty of life. It is unhealthy for the body of Christ. If you are predisposed to details, to following rules over and above relationships then legalism can be something you will need to deal with in your life, it has been the case in mine. I could see Paul right now, rolling his eyes with what is going on, thinking to himself: “How many times do I need to go over this, do I really have to repeat myself to every ecclesia?” Yep, you do. For Paul it is part of his testimony. And again he takes a bit of time in the front part of his letter describing his testimony again to Timothy (as if Timothy had not heard it before already) but writing it down for the record so to speak giving historical merit for the apostolic helper. I’ll go into that in a later blog.

In this first letter to Timothy Paul does not go into the details of the usefulness of the Old Testament like he does with the Galatians. Timothy has heard Paul’s teaching on legalism already, quite a few times but he does say “we know now that the law is good if anyone uses it lawfully, knowing this, the law does not apply for the innocent.” (3) Paul understood the law in context for those who are in Christ. In Christ we are innocent. Christ gives new meaning to how we understand the law and why the law is good. Before Christ we were under a curse, but because of what Jesus did on the cross, that curse has been removed. The Old Testament law showed to every man and women that they could not stand approved or innocent before God. Even when Christ came during His earthly ministry He showed this to be true. In and of ourselves, in our flesh, we are not innocent, we are guilty. Our conscious tells us this. But in Christ we are no longer condemned but stand innocent before the Lord. We are considered innocent of every sin, everything that was against God. Paul told the Galatians that the reason for the law was to lead us to Christ. The law was to show we could not do it but needed Christ to do it for us.

The law is for those who live by the flesh. Not just the Old Testament law, but in general the laws of other cultures as well. The law was put into effect to help curb the entropy of the fall, the downward spiraling effect that the flesh causes. The depth by which a person who lives by the flesh who lowers themselves to such selfish levels can be horrendous, and its affect on human and spiritual relationships catastrophic. It is a curse. So in this regard the law is good.

But I think Paul’s meaning regarding why “the law is good if anyone uses it lawfully” implies using it. How do we, who are innocent before the Lord, use the law lawfully? What is the usefulness of the law for those who are innocent? The law of the Old Testament is good if anyone uses it like it was meant to be used. The first thought that comes to mind is what Jesus said in Luke’s gospel (an apprentice of Paul by the way):

To the disciples “going to a village called Emmaus” Luke says that Jesus “beginning with Moses and all the Prophets…explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” These disciples told each other after Jesus left: “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” And later when these disciples returned to Jerusalem with the other disciples Jesus appeared and He said “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (4) In other words “all the Scriptures.” Even today the Jewish people break all the Scriptures into these same three parts. (5) And interestingly Luke mentions that “he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”

The law of the Old Testament shows two things, it was meant to help control the flesh and second show the grace and mercy of God in Christ through types and shadows and stories. This requires the mind to be opened by Christ in us. If we come to the Bible without Christ in view and without His help then we will begin to wander away from what Jesus says it was intended to be used for: it was “written about me.”

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 613.
(2) Galatians 1:6-7, 9; 3:1, 3.
(3) Marshall, 613.
(4) Luke 24: 27, 32, 44-45.
(5) The Jewish Bible is called the Tanakh. It includes the three parts of Torah (the five books of Moses), Nevi’im (the Prophets), and Kethuvim (the Writings). Tanakh: A New Translation of The Holy Scriptures, According to the Traditional Hebrew Text; The Jewish Publication Society, 1985.

“now the end of the charge is love…”
July 17, 2014, 1:34 pm
Filed under: R - First Letter to Timothy

Paul described to Timothy and in his previous letter to the ecclesia in Ephesus that there is “a stewardship of God in faith.” The brothers and sisters in Ephesus know how to live by Christ; Paul was in Ephesus for years helping them live by Christ. They know Paul. Later while In Rome he wrote perhaps his most encouraging and enlightening seminal work in his letter to this ecclesia! But there are “certain” brothers and sisters over the years in this ecclesia who have wandered from Christ’s life, the world had captured their focus, teaching differently and debating one another in the body due to paying attention to those things that seem important in their world’s culture.

God’s eternal purpose, His stewardship, is to live, to work through a body, His ecclesia as she lives by faith together. That is essentially what the letter to the Ephesians was all about (and every letter in the New Testament). What does this look like among the brothers and sisters? Sacrificial selfless love. Love bleeds through every book and letter of Scripture! In every letter Paul deals with the many issues that confront the gatherings of God’s people but in every single letter the goal was love. Christ’s love. Love is the outcome or the goal, the end result of what Paul is charging or trying to get across these “certain persons!” It is “love out of a clean heart and good conscience and unfeigned faith.” (1)

When Christ Jesus is “the Lord of us” then His Spirit will give life through our spirits. And as He lives through our spirits He will always manifest sacrificial selfless love, “agape,” through our soul and body. This love comes from within our spirit and manifests itself outwardly through our soul and body. This love is none other than Christ Himself! Christ resides in His people in their spirits by His Spirit. He has cleansed us from within, our hearts, our will. He has cleansed our conscience and we are no longer condemned. (2) He has cleansed our understanding and mindset of this world and we no longer “lie to get by,” but live in the reality of the truth of who we are in Christ and live by faith, a faith that is sincere and genuine and without hypocrisy. But in reality it is Christ Himself who is the clean One, the good One and the genuine One! Christ in us is what makes our hearts clean, our consciences good, and our faith genuine!

Given this understanding of how God works in His people, Paul states that these brothers and sisters who are teaching differently than this, creating worldly debates in the gatherings are wandering from God’s purpose for His body. The word “missing aim” means to wander, to get off target or swerve out of line. (3) If you are driving down the road in a car in heavy traffic and swerve out of line the consequences can be devastating, even deadly. My son is currently learning how to drive, about to get his driver’s license. Let me say that it is a scary feeling to see my son swerve in the other line of traffic! I didn’t just sit there and do nothing but quickly let him know what he was doing so he could make his correction. I didn’t grab the wheel and fix the problem, he did it. So to in the body of Christ.

We must help each other hear Christ and follow Him, even if it means making corrections. Part of the problem in the ecclesias is how to make corrections. Too often it is done outside the context of relationships and done without respect. Let us hear Christ first. Corrections are always based on relationships. Perhaps Jesus gave us the answer: “between you and them alone,” if that doesn’t work “take with you one or two more” believers as a witness, and if that doesn’t work “tell it to the ecclesia.” (4) Timothy is told not to tell the gathering in Ephesus, but “certain persons.” Whether the “certain persons” like what Paul says or not does not matter, they must bear in mind that swerving out of line of God’s purpose in the gatherings is deadly to the life of the body. If we are going forward in the Lord we will have to deal with our fleshly issues that we are blind to. Those who correct us, even that not done in love, is meant to help us see our blind spots, and as we confess it and realize the delusion of it, we see how Christ is our reality, even in this that we were blind to, and He becomes our cleanser and we move forward anew with “a clean heart and good conscience and a genuine faith” having experienced Christ and His body anew and in a real way drawing the body closer together in Christ. The Father loves the Son in us and only wants to see His Son expressed by His Spirit.

The goal, the conclusion, the end result of this charge by Christ in Paul is selfless “love out of a clean heart and good conscience and a genuine faith.” This is the overarching goal for this first letter to Timothy.

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 613.

(2) T. Austin-Sparks, “What Is Man?” T. Austin-Sparks in his seminal work “What is Man?” describes how our spirit has “three faculties” of “conscience, communion and intuition” and states that “the main value” of the spirit is “spiritual apprehension.” In this first letter to Timothy as well as in his other letters, including his joint letter to Hebrews, you can see how Paul always goes back to learning to hear and follow Christ’s life together from our spirits. His letter to Timothy is no exception. This is Paul’s overarching thought for every letter he has ever written, under the inspiration of the Spirit. It is how God’s eternal purpose is accomplished, by His Spirit living in, to and through us to the praise and glory of God.


(4) Matthew 18:15-17.