Thursday, August 25, 2011


So far, we have looked at the writings of the Apostle Paul to the churches of Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica. Today, we begin our study of the Apostle's letters to individuals in what are called his Pastoral Epistles; that is, letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. However, it is not certain that Philemon was a pastor. Timothy was the bishop of the Church at Ephesus in Asia Minor. According to tradition, Paul ordained Titus bishop of Gortyn in Crete. Philemon, apparently a wealthy Christian having a large home, was believed to be the host to the Church at Colosse (Col. 4:17).

Paul's only mention of the Gospel in his first letter to Timothy was written to state his authority in addressing trouble-makers in the Church (1:3-10). He wrote, "According to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (v. 11). Paul's second letter to Timothy addresses much of the same as did his first epistle, but it is aimed more at strengthening Timothy who was facing opposition, and was apparently becoming discouraged. Paul wrote:

"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel according to the power of God; who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" (2 Tim.1:6-11).

Paul's foundation for his own calling and that of Timothy is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is worthy of the suffering Timothy was experiencing, and it was to be his basis for boldness in facing opposition. Chapter two is more of the same, with Paul reminding Timothy of the foundation of his faith: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my Gospel" (2 Tim. 2:8).

The Apostle Paul does not mention the Gospel in his letter to Titus. He only mentions it once in Philemon, and it is in regard to his imprisonment for preaching the Gospel (v. 13). When you stop and think about it, we should not be surprised that Paul had little need to mention the Gospel in these letters. After all, he was writing to Pastors and a leader in established churches. Their need had more to do with encouragement.

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will look at Paul's ministry of the Gospel in the Book of Acts.

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