Page 9 - October 2018 - Truth & Tidings
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about how those who teach are to do it. So,   any way, there were many brethren who
        for example, Paul instructs Timothy that   could have stepped forward to say, “That’s
        the importance of his role as a teacher must   not what Paul said.” Paul’s wisdom in this
        not result in an arrogant or overbearing   is patent, and what was wise for Paul is
        approach to either saint or sinner. Rather,   wise still today. We cannot value highly
        Timothy’s priority in teaching was always   enough the public teaching meetings of the
        to be the welfare of those he taught: “the   assembly, and ought to be present when
        servant of the Lord must not strive; but be   such teaching is given. This does not mean
        gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,   that believers, in their homes, should not
        in meekness instructing those that oppose   emulate the example of the godly remnant
        themselves” (2Tim 2:14, KJV).        in Malachi’s day, when “they that feared
          Teaching must also be sensitive to the   the Lord spake often one to another” (Mal
        culture and background of those being   3:16, KJV). Indeed, it is a sad indictment
        taught. In Titus 1:12–13 (KJV), Paul warns   of our Christianity if the discussion at our
        Titus that “one of themselves, even a   supper table rises no higher than that of
        prophet of their own, said, The Cretans   our unsaved friends and neighbors. Nor
        are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.   does it mean that we disregard the gra-
        This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke   cious approach that Aquilla and Priscilla
        them sharply, that they may be sound in   adopted to Apollos, when they welcomed
        the faith.” Debate about whether Paul is   him to their home and “expounded unto
        speaking about saved or unsaved Cretans   him the way of God more perfectly” (Acts
        rather misses the point of the passage. Paul   18:26, KJV). But these passages and others
        is quoting a very broad statement about   like them in no way negate the value of
        what Cretans are like. And because Cretan   Paul’s example in this passage.  The pat-
        culture produces people like that, Titus   tern of the NT is that the assembly should
        must be prepared to teach them in an ap-  “come together” and “gather together”
        propriate way. The lesson is still relevant.   for prayer, preaching, the remembrance
        Different cultures produce different sorts   of the Lord Jesus, and the imposition of
        of traits and, while we must never alter the   assembly discipline (Matt 18:20; Acts 14:27;
        message, we must temper our teaching to   20:7–8; 1Cor 5:4; 11:17–18, 20, 30; 14:23,
        the temperament of our audience.     26). We abandon this Scriptural template
          So, the pastoral epistles tell us who is   at our peril.
        to teach publicly (and not) and how we   So the assembly is “the pillar and ground
        are to teach. They also tell us where, or at   of the truth” because it is where the truth is
        any rate in what setting, we should teach.   taught. But we cannot stop there, because
        This emerges most clearly in 2 Timothy   the pastoral epistles forbid us to decouple
        2:2: “the things that thou hast heard of me   the teaching and the practice of the truth.
        among many witnesses, the same commit   It  is  neither  accidental  nor incidental
        thou to faithful men, who shall be able to   that “godliness” and “good works” are
        teach others also” (KJV). The crucial words   recurring themes in these epistles. So, for
        here are “among many witnesses.” Paul’s   example, in 1 Timothy 2, the chapter where
        teaching to Timothy had been public and,   the public teaching of women is unambigu-
        because of this, Timothy could not depart   ously proscribed, the significance of the
        from that teaching. If he distorted it in   behavior of the sisters is stressed: “women
                                                                 - Continued on p. 299
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