Persons who accept positions of power and importance in this world must also accept the obligations and responsibilities that go with them. The same is true in the church. Here Paul calls to mind Timothy's God-given responsibility to serve. The instructions, Paul reminds, were part of the "package" that Timothy agreed to when he responded to God's call. The event of appointment to ministry (the modern parallel would be ordination), referred to here obliquely as the prophecies once made about you, involved the recognition of gifts appropriate to ministry, God's selection and the prophetic announcement of God's choice to the congregation, as depicted by the (public) laying on of hands (4:14; compare Acts 13:1-3). Ultimately, the minister's enlistment is in God's service, not simply in a church which, should it happen to falter or split, the minister could choose to leave behind. Appointment to ministry involves commitment to service even when it is under less than ideal circumstances. Thus Timothy's "package" includes the instruction to oppose false teachers.
But Paul calls Timothy's appointment to mind for another reason as well. The event involves more than vows to serve God. As Paul reminds Timothy, the prophecies or proclamations surrounding his assistant's commissioning also announced God's promise of support to him (see below on 6:13-14).
Paul's instructions to Timothy are in keeping with Timothy's call to ministry in that the task of opposing heresy belongs to the ministry. By keeping in mind his earlier commitment to God and God's commitment to him, Timothy will be able to fight well.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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