Monday, September 10, 2012

Pastoral Letters

The Bible includes three letters from Paul to young men he had left to build churches, First and Second Timothy and Titus.  Collectively, they are called the pastoral letters.

A few themes run through the pastoral letters.  Some of these you might expect to letters addressed to young pastors.  First is doctrinal purity.  Paul didn’t want false teachers pushing their way into pulpits and teaching something other than the Gospel.  Related to this, he addressed qualifications for church leadership because Timothy and Titus were on temporary assignments and church builders and would be leaving their work in the hands of others.  Church leaders weren’t only to have a good grasp on the Gospel, but were to be people of good character who demonstrated it in their family life.

Family and other relationships is another theme in these letters.  As in most of Paul’s letters, he expresses great concern for how Christians treat each other.  Jesus Christ said his followers would be known for their love for each other and Paul drove this point home in practical terms.  He strongly opposed strife in the church and theological disputes that were intended to make someone seem superior to others.

Paul also wrote