St. Irenaeus Ministries
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The letters to Timothy begin shortly after the end of Acts, with Paul's release from Rome in 62 AD. Paul writes a personal letter to Timothy, but it is evident from the language that it is an open letter.

In Ephesus, where Timothy was, there were people, at least two known to Paul, who were teaching a sort of legalistic Gnosticism. These people suggested reading the Bible through some sort of lens. Paul condemns this sort of interpretation of the Bible. These people focused more on the law, which was for the correction of those who are in error, rather than on love.

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Timothy was a convert to Christianity, a product of a mixed marriage between a Jewish mother and a pagan Greek father, and a Christian of some note in Lystra by the time of Paul's second visit to that city. Timothy would have heard Paul's preaching that afflictions would be necessarry to enter the kingdom of God. In addition to the basic rules that Gentile Christians must follow, the prohibition on eating meat with blood, the prohibition on sexual immorality, and the prohibition on food sacrificed to idols, Timothy was circumcised to avoid a distracting confrontation with the Judaizers in the Church. Timothy was quite influential as Paul's envoy in Macedonia.

Titus was an early convert from a pagan background who went up to Jerusalem with Paul (possibly from Antioch). This background comes largely from the second chapter of Galatians.

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This study of the Pastoral Epistles of Paul comprises the two epistles to Timothy, the epistle to Titus and also the epistle to Philemon, which is not considered part of the pastoral epistles. Paul had a marked ability to find and train men to as parts of a missionary network, and while these letters show the sort of care and relationship Paul had with his men, they were also meant to be read. Many of the details of Paul's life after the events in the book of Acts can be found here.

Some have questioned whether these letters are genuinely of Paul. There are some marked differences between these and Paul's other letters, particularly in vocabulary. The Church has always affirmed that these letters are of Paul, and the differences can be attributed in part due to the fact that these are personal letters, not letters intended for the community at large, and differing uses of a scribe, or amanuensis. The early church fathers, going back as far as the sub-apostolic age, one generation removed from Paul's, who knew the Greek of the time, believe them to be authentic.

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We must know God's word if we are His people, but we must also have it in our hearts. This word is for all of us, not just the clergy. We must drill it into our children's hearts so that we can act on it rather than knowing the word but not acting on it. We must act with justice toward all in the Christian community, as we cannot lift out hands to God if there is injustice in the community.

Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah all show for us how heroic our leaders should be. Like them, we must continually labor to renew and reform the Church to God's will. There are those who are those who do not work to reform the Church, or even work against them, but we must not be fearful, as God will take care of His Church. We must work on and have patience. God is being patient for us, which He can afford to do, as God controls history.

These books, like all of the Bible, should be read not simplistically. There is an adult reality with realistic lessons for all of us and applications to our lives today. To the faithful, Ezra and Nehemiah show us many duties that we have to the Church today.

We must have faith.

Direct download: EzraNehemiah16.mp3
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