My sweet 29:11 family!
Hello and greetings from Germany!
For those who don't know who I am, my name is Meghan Augustson. I am a missionary outside of Munich, Germany and I work with Youth With A Mission YWAM is a global missionary organization striving to reach each and every person on this wonderful earth with the love of Jesus and the knowledge of his word. I work in a school here that we run called the Creative School of Biblical Studies; in fact, I was a student in this school in 2013. It's a nine-month-long program where we go through the Bible five times, each book individually, and study using the inductive method. This simply means we allow the Bible to speak for itself and we study it in the context of itself. We research the historical background of each book, the authors, the original readers, and then the text itself. It was certainly the most intense nine months of my life, but I consider it one of the greatest things I have ever done. After I finished my school in 2014, I went to Kyiv, Ukraine for a teaching program for the bible school graduates. We spent one month in Kyiv preparing teachings as a team of 11 teachers and then split off into different countries on three different continents for two months to teach. I went on to Germany, Greece, and Ukraine. I taught anywhere from non-believers to pastors how to study the bible, how to teach the bible, and took them from Genesis to Revelation in the text. It was quite the experience!
After all of that I was able to go to America for two months from December to February. And that's when I heard of what my awesome friends did! They planted a church! And they call it 29:11 Church. Spending two months in Arizona was a dream, because I hadn't been home in two years! And to come home to a place like 29:11 Church and call it home? More than I ever could have asked for!
When Mark asked me to begin writing a blog on Bible study to be able to keep in touch with the church and be involved, though an ocean and continent away, I was honored. I am so inspired by each and every one of you in 29:11 Church and beyond thrilled that I get to call myself a small part of this great family.
So with all that being said, let's start with some Bible study, our road map to knowing God more!
For the first blog series called, “Timothy, the Young and Mighty Teacher” we will be going through 1 & 2 Timothy! Woo! So this means that we will have a few different blog posts going through the two books.
For the first blog we will go through 1 Timothy 1 – 5:2. You can read it all at once or split it up over the next day or two. Another tool I would recommend you to get is a journal and a pen. Write down what you are ready daily and any thoughts, even if its just a few words regarding what the scripture is saying to you.
The first thing we want to do is read, so take a seat and read 1 Timothy 1-5:2 before reading further.
I use the ESV bible, but feel free to use what you prefer. You can download different translations from an app called YOUVERSION that you can get on your mobile phone. Although I prefer a bible that’s right in front of you, a mobile version is an awesome tool to have with you wherever you go.
Now that you've read what we will talk about, I want to give you some background of the book of 1 Timothy now.
Timothy's father was a Greek Gentile; his mother and grandmother were believing Jews and those two taught him everything he knows. Timothy lived in Ephesus and led the church there. The church in Ephesus was a growing church where God was surely moving. However, there was a temple of a goddess in Ephesus - The goddess Artemis, the goddess of fertility. The way the local Ephesians would worship her was to go to her temple and have sex with the temple prostitutes. Artemis still had an effect on people after they became Christians. As we see in Acts
19, the Ephesians were passionate about idols. There were Jews and Greeks in the churches, and the Greek philosophy had much influence. The Greek philosophy revolved around reasoning, pro-counsel, and a lot of magic. We also see that Paul had much impact on the city of Ephesus and the Ephesians looked up to Paul. The people of Ephesus are also a group of people who are easily influenced, and seemingly easily swayed, which becomes a problem for the church.
So, Paul and Timothy were pretty tight. Timothy had been travelling with Paul since his second missionary journey (we can read this in Acts), and Paul became what was like a father to Timothy. In many different places in the Bible Paul expresses how much he loves Timothy and how special he was to Paul. Paul one time even says he had 'no one like Timothy.'
The relationship of Paul and Timothy is important to understand before going deeper into the letters to Timothy because we can begin to understand Paul's role in Timothy's life and the authority he has earned to say the things he says to Timothy.
So what exactly was happening in Ephesus when Paul wrote this letter to Timothy?
False teachings were a big problem. For examples:
1. Dualism- two parts: spiritual and physical. They were struggling with the dualism belief. They believed that all earthly matter is evil, only the spirit is good, and there is a complete separation between God and the world. Because they believed the earth is evil, they also believed that an evil God must have created the world. Therefore if God was evil, they believed that he wasn't the true God because the true God wasn't evil and couldn't touch anything evil. This means they believed that there was more than one God: an evil creator and a good God in heaven who couldn't touch anything evil.
2. The Gnostics believed that the god that made the world was Ialdaboth, a Hebrew god. In this story of the world, the serpent is the hero taking them out of evil. It then showed Adam and Eve knowledge and they believed that knowledge is the way to salvation. Eve was believed to be the mediator between the serpent and man.
3. Asceticism- matter is evil, body is evil, and spirit is good. They believed in leading a life of self denial with strict food laws to keep the desires of the body minimal. They fasted to reach the spiritual sphere and escape the earthly lies. They starved themselves to have hallucinations, which they believed to be heavenly visions.
4. Libertinism- opposite of asceticism: they lived a crazy life with no boundaries, they did whatever they wanted, and believed that the body wasn't really important because it wasn't connected with the spirit. Those who practiced this often indulged their bodies in whatever pleasure they could.
5. Jewish- and then the Jews were there, still teaching the law above grace.
The point of all of this is that it's not just the Gentiles causing problems, the Jews were as well. The Jew’s and the Christian’s beliefs were being tainted and they both were big problems facing the church.
So, what does Paul have to say about this?
Notice the instructions to Timothy, he doesn't just want the church to shut its doors and do things in private, instead… Paul wants the church to take action through prayer and building up strong leaders with good character. It's important for Timothy to understand Paul's point.
1 Timothy 1:1-20
This chunk of text is about false teachings and that Jesus came. Here Paul opens his letter to Timothy foretelling false teachings that will come and a reminder of Christ's sacrifice. This reminds us today that Jesus came and changed everything; he came for the sinners and not the already saved.
1 Timothy 2:1-3:13
This section is written specifically towards the church: how to run the church. In this section we specifically see the infamous passage about women speaking in the church. A key term we need to remember is the word 'learn' that is used in 2:11. Paul doesn't completely rule women out; he says they should learn, quietly in the church. Why? …because during this time, the women were false teachers and were teaching about Eve and different theologies. The men believed it because of the high view of women the Ephesians had from Artemis and the stories of women being the mediators. Paul basically wants them to be quiet and learn the truth so to not falsely teach. More or less to rebuke the proud attitude the women had and reshape the culture.
In this section of text Paul gives Timothy specific instructions and lists to give him a clear structure and practical ways to move forward in leading the church.
1 Timothy 3:14-5:2
This text is directed towards Timothy about faith and godliness as a leader. Paul urges him to teach the truth in faith and godliness to save the people. He encourages Timothy that he knows the truth and wants to see Timothy be more confident in his position. Paul really emphasizes Timothy's gift in teaching and that people will be saved through the Truth of his words.
Look for our next installment in a few days. We will post a couple of these a week.