Tag Archives: Timothy

Would The Apostle Paul Have Used Facebook?

What would the Apostle Paul have thought of Facebook?

The Apostle Paul Writing His Facebook Status by Rembrandt

Would he, like some, call Facebook the Devil in disguise? Or would he, like some 500 million others today, log in, change his status, and check in on his friends?

Some might say the ancient theologian was far too serious for such frivolity.

But I’m not sure.

Eugene C. Scott joins Mike in writing A Daily Bible Conversation twice a week.

TODAY’S READING (click here to view today’s reading online)

Jeremiah 51:54-52:34

Titus 3:1-15

Psalm 100:1-5

Proverbs 26:18-19

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Proverbs 26:18-19: Some might interpret this proverb as a slam against humor. Some see God, faith, the Bible, and life as so serious there is no place for joking. That kind of thinking is what made Mark Twain, the man with a fabulous sense of humor, think twice about going to heaven. He worried playing the same tune on a harp might be a tad boring.

We do our God no favors denying him a sense of humor. Thus, this proverb is not a prohibition against joking, but rather against using humor to cover up our true ideas or feelings.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

I believe the Apostle Paul would have embraced social media such as Facebook (though probably with a wise, critical eye) because he was an innovator, especially when it came to communicating the truth of Jesus Christ.

Not many people could read or write in Paul’s day, and letters were exchanged mainly between educated government officials, yet Paul wrote personal letters to his friends and common everyday folk (thirteen that we know of including Titus and Timothy). Some say that personal letter writing as we know it today (or used to before email and Facebook) did not really gain ground until about 1500AD. Paul was well before his time. Surely he would have seen this technology as a way to talk about Jesus.

Further, I believe Paul would have logged on because he valued relationships. Paul is famous for his theology. But above all he valued people and friendships.

Paul tells his friends in Thessolinica, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.” And he greets, names as friends, affectionately mentions, and encourages over 80 people by name in his letters. There are many others he does not name. In Titus he mentions Artemus, Tychicus, Zenas, and Apollos. Not one New Testament letter of Paul’s does not contain a warm personal greeting to some person or group. Paul’s Facebook friend list would have been almost as long as any teenage girl’s.

Like his mentor and master, Jesus, Paul cared about people. He cared about their health, families, faith, relationships, beliefs, work, theology, ideas, politics, sex lives, kids, marriages, and, especially, their eternal destinies. And he loved them so deeply he suffered physical pain and persecution to be with them. He traveled miles, wrote difficult letters, prayed, argued, taught, wept, and was imprisoned for their sake and the gospel.

Despite our modern ability to connect, many people are lonely. A recent study reported 67% of Americans are spending less time with friends than ever. And for us within the church, whom Jesus commanded to love one another, we often value doctrine and structures and systems and budgets and buildings over relationships. This must break our relational God’s heart.

I have a new friend I met through email who wrote that, as important as doctrine is, he believes right doctrine follows right relationships. I agree. For that matter, Jesus seemed to believe that love was our first doctrinal calling. Paul certainly held fast to the cord of truth. But he seldom strangled strangers with it. Rather he laid it out within the loving friendships he developed.

As the modern saying goes, “Would you rather be right or be in relationship?”

My answer, “I’d rather be in right relationships.”

Would Paul have used Facebook? Though I asked the question, I’m not sure it really matters. I just asked it to focus on this fact: Paul never forgot how important relationships were. So, where Facebook would have fostered them, he would have logged on. And where Facebook hindered knowing and loving the people God placed in his life, he may have said, “Facebook is the devil in disguise.”

1. Which passage spoke most to you?

2. What did the four have in common?

3. What social networks do you use?

4. Do they deepen or distance you from relationships?

If you’re reading this blog on Facebook and you’d like to join the conversation, click here. www.bibleconversation.com.

Eugene co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, CO and writes a blog eugenesgodsightings.blogspot.com

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The Domino Effect

When I was a kid, I used to play dominos. Not the game—I used to stack up the dominos one in front of the other and build an elaborate trail leading in numerous directions. Then, with one simple touch, I started a chain reaction affecting hundreds of other dominos.

Think about it: one domino affected hundreds of others. In the video above, you’ll see the power of one domino on over 4 million.

And you can do the same thing.

Please join us and learn how in our daily Bible conversation!

TODAY’S READING

Jeremiah 39:1-41:18
2 Timothy 1:1-18
Psalm 90:1-91:16
Proverbs 26:1-2

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Jeremiah 39:1-41:18. We step away from Jeremiah’s prophecies to read about the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C., which Jeremiah had prophesied. Apparently, King Nebuchadnezzar had heard about Jeremiah advice to Zedekiah to surrender without a fight, so he treated him well.

2 Timothy 1:1-18. During the reign of Roman Emperor Nero, Paul was thrown in prison. In contrast to his previous imprisonment where he stayed in a rented house (Acts 28:30), this time Paul was stuck in a cold dungeon (2 Timothy 4:13) and chained like a common criminal (2 Timothy 1:16; 2:9). Likely Paul’s last epistle, he wrote this because he was lonely and wanted to ensure that his churches were okay.

Paul also wanted to encourage Timothy to pastor his churches with confidence: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7).

Notice those last few words, because they apply to us, too. God has already given us a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. How do we know that? Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have made a permanent dwelling place in us! Fear doesn’t need to rule us.

If you’ve found A Daily Bible Conversation helpful, share it with your friends! Forward your daily email or send them a link to the website: http://www.bibleconversation.com.

THE WORD MADE FRESH

With the end of his life close at hand, Paul began reflecting on his life. Quite often as we get older, our deepest values rise to the surface. So while sitting in a dungeon with chains that limited his ability to even get comfortable, Paul wrote to Timothy, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also” (2 Timothy 1:5).

The Domino Effect.

Paul knew Timothy’s grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice well enough to identify the sincere faith that had passed from generation to generation. The word “sincere” is translated literally as “unhypocritical.” The three family members shared a common authenticity. More than a genetic trait, it was character quality that Timothy gained from spending time with his mother who spent time with her mother. This was mentoring in action.

Then at the end of the chapter Paul returns to the theme of mentoring: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). This time, Paul wasn’t referring to Timothy’s family, he was referring to himself. Paul was Timothy’s mentor, too. Timothy was the product of numerous people who invested themselves in him.

A key reason why Christianity still exists nearly two thousand years after Paul wrote these words is because men and women like Paul and Lois invested themselves in the lives of the people around them. They passed on their faith, their character, their life to younger men and women. Like a stack of dominos, if you are a follower of Jesus, you are benefitting TODAY from the influence of thousands, if not millions, of Christians who have gone before you.

The greatest investment you could ever make is to invest yourself in other people. You don’t need an instruction manual, you don’t even need an agenda to follow. Just find someone whose heart is open to you, someone with whom you can build a relationship. Then tip the domino: live life together. Meet for coffee. Play tennis. Sit together at church. Ask lots of questions. Talk about your hopes, fears, failures—in other words, be authentic. Just like Lois, Eunice, and Timothy.

Don’t think you have it together enough to be a mentor? Welcome to the club. It’s not about you. It’s about Christ who lives in you. That’s why it’s also good to find someone who can mentor you. Finding a good mentor will make you a a more sincere follow of Jesus.

Imagine what the church would be like if believers in Jesus intentionally invested in one other like Timothy experienced.

It would start a chain reaction that would change the world.

And it begins with the tip of just one domino.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. Who from your past has invested in your life? What difference did those people make? What character qualities did you glean from them?
  3. If you don’t already have one, who could be a mentor to you today?
  4. Who could use a mentor like you?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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