Just as a skillful coach will often return to the basics of the sport to pull the team or a player out of a slump, Paul returns to the basics to keep this church on track. As he seeks to counteract the influences of the false teaching here, he emphasizes one of the most important practical lessons of the Pastoral Epistles: the soundness of a church depends on ministers and leaders who are sound in their faith and practice.
But wait! This teaching applies to all Christians. Yes, in this section Paul focuses on Timothy, the paradigm of the good minister or Christian leader, who must pursue spiritual priorities and pay attention to his lifestyle and calling. But we shouldn't be fooled by the term minister—the principles apply to all believers, just as all believers are to be vitally involved in ministry. The leader or minister is to be a model. In the leader's ministry and life God's Word and its application must be central. Attention to these basics will make a critical difference. As we saw in chapter 1 of this letter, the minister and ministry that accord with God's will are exact opposites of the "enthusiasts" and their version of the faith.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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