Journal 1 Tim 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: So, I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” (1 Tim 5:14)
Observation: Interesting observations by the Holy Spirit can be found in the strangest places in Scripture. One is found here…
Application: Before anyone goes all worldly on this and thinks this is neanderthal, I was caught by the reference,
- “…and give the adversary no occasion for slander.” (1 Tim 5:14b)
Is there a conflict with being bold for Christ and avoiding potential issues of slander?
- “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses…” (2 Cor 3:12)
- “And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Phil 1:14)
Sure, there is a conflict. Most (I think) would categorize it as the difference between being “fearless” and being “fearful.”
Personally, what I don’t want is to manufacture “scripturally” an excuse for not being bold in the name of being circumspect, cautious, prudent, or wary—which is my way of justifying no actions on my part.
Usually, when I am in situations of a “ministry” moment, the first thought that rattles around between my ears is whether I will be ridiculed and personally embarrassed.
I kind of “get” why the first teaching/directive in the continuing education of disciples is “go out and witness…Tell everyone you see what Christ has done…”—except, in many (most) cases this is where the emphasis stops.
As the Holy Spirit indicates by the hand of Paul in the previous chapters of 1st Timothy, godliness is the goal of our instruction because it is of singular value for this life and the life beyond.
What is needed, then, is to not neglect some subjects in favor of majoring in subjects that are near and dear…and comfortable. That is called “having a bias.”
The writer of Hebrews says,
- “Therefore, let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity—not laying again a foundation of:
o Repentance from dead works, and of
o Faith toward God, and
o Instructions about washings (must be a Jewish thing),
o The laying on of hands,
o The resurrection of the dead, and
o Eternal judgement.” (Heb 6:1-2)
I reference Heb 6, not because this is the “approved” checklist of a catechism (teaching plan), but to point out that a systematic approach to maturity is way better than the “shotgun” approach I grew up with. Of course, being totally transparent, I would have rebelled (and did) to any rigid course compliance back when I was a new Christian—much to my dismay decades later. Don’t make the same mistake.
As pursuit in godliness in Christ is gaining momentum in your life, the possibility of giving the adversary an opportunity to slander or to gloat in failures will lessen—and as boldness in Christ develops, it will have solid ground under your feet to work with.
Prayer: Father, steady plodding reaps results (Prov 21:5a TLB—my first bible. The ESV states “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance…)
The above to keep in prayerful mindfulness that observable change doesn’t happen overnight, it takes diligent application (and with partners and the local church) to succeed.
Make it so in my life, Father, please. Thank you for the men in my life and my wife to make me further into a Man of God.