November 1, 2017
Fall Bible Study Series: Part 7
The fall Bible study series on “The Life and Teachings of Paul” continued on November 1 with a session taught by Earl Phillips on Paul’s mentoring of Christians. The primary texts were taken from 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. Brother Earl began by pointing out that these epistles from Paul were special because they were written to individuals, rather than to churches. In his opening greetings, Paul called the recipients his “sons,” revealing how close their relationship was. He felt like a father to these men and wanted to see them succeed in the call God placed on their lives, and his letters contained advice and instructions to help them. For example, Paul told Timothy not to let anyone to despise his youth. He did not end the command there, but continued by advising Timothy to set an example in studying the Word, and in his comportment, love, spirit, faith, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12). In 2 Timothy 2:3, Paul did not simply command the younger man to be a soldier, but went on to acknowledge the hard things Timothy faced and to encourage him to be a good soldier for Christ. Brother Earl spoke about his own experience as a soldier in the United States military, and pointed out that sometimes it is the hard things that make good soldiers.
Speaking of the importance of having a mentor in the Gospel, Brother Earl recounted how much he appreciated being mentored by Loyce Carver. When he was a new preacher, Brother Carver took him aside and gently warned him not to say “Oh” so often in his sermons, or else he might be nick-named the “O-preacher”! Brother Carver also instructed him to listen to his wife’s suggestions, because she would be the best critic of his preaching and anything else. Later, when Brother Earl became a pastor, Brother Carver wisely advised him to develop a bond with the young people, because if the young people love their pastor, their parents will also love the pastor, and then the aunts and uncles and grandparents will too. Like Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus, those pieces of advice were given in love by an experienced elder, and they proved invaluable.
Some of the priceless instruction Paul gave to his spiritual sons included avoiding profitless religious debates, focusing instead on activities that will save souls. He also wrote about how to select elders and ministers in the church, listing attributes that are necessary for church leaders but can also serve as a measure to evaluate ourselves personally. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul gave wonderful teaching about adhering closely to Scripture—all Scripture, because nothing is to be left out, and it has an answer for every need we may have. In another place, Paul encouraged Timothy to pray always for all men, including oppressive rulers, because this will bring peace.
Brother Earl closed by stating that if Paul were to write to a young pastor today, he would not have to change anything. The precious teachings he gave to Timothy and Titus are still a treasure for us today.
Watch the full service in the Media Center.