Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Pastoral Epistles: Paul's Instructions For Local Pastors

In 1st Timothy the apostle Paul instructs Timothy about the requirements for ordination of local teaching-pastors, deacons and deaconesses, how a pastor is to treat an "elder" (not another pastor, by context and grammar, but a man over 60), young men, older women, younger women, older widows, younger widows, slaves and masters (don't forget the Roman Empire was 50 percent slave in population).  Also in 1st Timothy the apostle Paul instructs Timothy (who is his emissary, representative to the local pastors at Ephesus) about what is important for a pastor to teach, the major doctrines of the faith, and reading through the Word of God, not to focus on twiggy issues.  And that is just a short summation of what's in the first Pastoral Epistle, 1st Timothy.  Transcripts of the three Pastoral Epistles will be coming along, about one Epistle a month up till June, so keep a lookout here for updates and links to these important instructions from Paul to local pastors.  It's important to remember, the Pastoral Epistles can be applied to everyone, but most importantly, they are the personal instructions from the apostle Paul which should govern how pastors are to behave and act toward those under them in the congregation, not like authotarian goose-stepping Nazi's, but treating everyone like you would members of your own family, and it is, the family of God you've been entrusted the care of, as loving elder brothers over the flock of God (see 1st Timothy 5:1-2 for that particular instruction in this series).  These are the Bible's instructions on how pastors should act, what they should and shouldn't teach and major in, the whole nine yards of instructions from the apostle Paul to Timothy and Titus, overseers of the pastors under them.  Lately, the question has been asked on Christianity Today's CT-Today online news letter, "how should a pastor be dealt with if he has a moral failing?"  "Should he remain in ministry?" they asked, and after several major recent moral failings of pastors, several articles on CT-Today got wide coverage and multiple comments after their articles.  All ask the question, "Can the pastor be restored, and return to office?"  As you will read in the transcripts below covering 1st and 2nd Timothy, yes, the person can be restored.  But can he be restored to the office of an elder, teaching-pastor?  Paul says a resounding "no way."  When we get to his instructions to Titus, the same message comes through loud and clear.  There are certain "qualifiers" given by the apostle Paul for pastors, elders, which must not be violated.  These Pastoral Epistles are also very nourishing spiritually for ordinary believers as well.  There is no reason a local member of a church can't be just as spiritually pure as a pastor, meet the same standards.  Thus these Epistles are beautiful for spiritual growth.  Enjoy.  Titus and Philemon are coming next, probably in early July.

For the connective expository series on 1st Timothy and the first half of 2nd Timothy,  see: