Resources » The IVP New Testament Commentary Series » 1 Timothy » Behavior in God's Household (2:1—3:16) » The Motivation and Mystery of Godly Behavior (3:14-16)

The Motivation and Mystery of Godly Behavior (3:14-16)

These days my youngest daughter responds to most commands or corrections with the one-word question "Why?" Although this particular question tends to drive parents "around the bend," it is reasonable enough, given that children need to make sense of their life. Instructions concerning behavior, apart from some kind of rationale, do not automatically make sense.

Paul knew only too well that teaching about specific aspects of Christian behavior could fall on deaf ears if it came across as impersonal or irrelevant, if its relation to basic spiritual realities and importance for spiritual life and witness were not clear. Therefore, in this summary of the larger section (2:1—3:13) the apostle infuses his teaching with life and purpose. First, he returns to the personal tone with which he began the letter. Second, he relates godly behavior to the very nature of the church God formed. Finally, he inserts a piece of a hymn celebrating Christ's incarnation and redemptive ministry, a hymn that was well known by this church.

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