Category Archives: Bible Reflection

Running Away from God

Running Away

A game many children are good at is “Hide and Seek”. The thrill of running away while the person who is seeking has their eyes closed. You look for a safe haven in which you will be able to remain while the seeker is searching hard. Sometimes a child thinks they are in great hiding spot, but the reality is they aren’t. Other times, they are and the seeker will never find them. Continue reading

Prayer and Public Worship (1 Timothy 2:1-8)

Prayer is an essential element to the Christian life and to not spend time in prayer is detrimental to our walk. It is for this reason that the people of God are to be devoted to prayer (). Such devotion reveals our dependence upon God, which of course is necessary because we need His help. Continue reading

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Gratitude for the Gospel (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

READ

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 
13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 
14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 
16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 
17 To the King of the ages,immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

STUDY
Every Christian ought to be filled with a sense of gratitude for the salvation they enjoy in the Lord Jesus Christ. The former slave trader John Newton expressed his gratitude with these famous words, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me. 
I once was lost, but now am found, 
was blind but now I see”. In this passage Paul reveals his gratitude for salvation by means of two powerful truths concerning the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ – the transformation of the gospel (1:12-14) and the trustworthiness of the gospel (1:15-17).

The Transformation of the Gospel ()
Paul begins by expressing his gratitude to the Lord for the transforming power of the gospel. He does this by thanking the Lord for a triad of blessings and for the transformation from a triad of depravity. The three blessings that Christ has granted him came as a result of believing in the glorious gospel – strength, faithfulness and appointment to service (1:12). It was the same gospel that transformed him who was formerly “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” (1:13a). Unlike the religious hypocrite, Paul “acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1:13b). Like all sinners, his salvation came by God’s mercy and the Lord’s grace was abundant (1:14).

The Trustworthiness of the Gospel ()
After thanking the Lord for the transforming power of the gospel, he affirms the trustworthiness of the gospel. He declares that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is “trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance” (1:15). This faithful saying (cf. 3:1; 4:9; ; and ) reveals three essential elements to the gospel, namely the Saviour (“Christ Jesus“), the sinners (“the world“), and the salvation (“save sinners“). The super-abounding grace of God in the life of Paul serves as an example of others who are going to be saved (1:16). After considering such glorious truths of the gospel, Paul concludes with a hymn of praise (doxology) declaring, “to the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1:17). The deeper one goes into the deep truths of the gospel, the higher and loftier our worship will be.

Like Paul, we ought to display gratitude for God’s grace in the gospel. Remember your transformation and the trustworthiness of the gospel, and respond by praising God with your walk and words. In closing, consider the wonderful words of Isaac Watt’s hymn, “Alas! And Did my Saviour Bleed?”

 At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
and the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

APPLY
1. Read the following passages and make some observations concerning Paul’s conversion and testimony (; ; ).

2. Who is the source of spiritual service (1:12)? See also and .

3. Paul received mercy and was transformed (1:13a). Discuss the meaning of “I had acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1:13b). See also .

4. The trustworthy saying (cf. 3:1; 4:9; ; and ) in 1:15 contains the gospel in a “nutshell”. Discuss the essential elements of the gospel found in this verse.

5. After thanking the Lord for the transforming power of the gospel Paul concludes with a doxology (short hymn of praise). How does thanksgiving and remembrance of God’s grace influence our worship?

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

9:1 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.

13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, 16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. 19 But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. 20 (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.

though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

22 “But if you sin unintentionally, and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses, 23 all that the Lord has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the Lord gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, 24 then if it was done unintentionally without the knowledge of the congregation, all the congregation shall offer one bull from the herd for a burnt offering, a pleasing aroma to the Lord, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the rule, and one male goat for a sin offering. 25 And the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the people of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, because it was a mistake, and they have brought their offering, a food offering to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord for their mistake. 26 And all the congregation of the people of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who sojourns among them, because the whole population was involved in the mistake.

27 “If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. 28 And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. 29 You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them. 30 But the person who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native or a sojourner, reviles the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from among his people. 31 Because he has despised the word of the Lord and has broken his commandment, that person shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be on him.”

11 The saying is trustworthy, for:

If we have died with him, we will also live with him;

The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.