Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Most bible scholars believe the Apostle Paul wrote thirteen or fourteen letters (epistles) to different churches during his ministry. Even so, I suspect he never thought they would one day become books of the New Testament. I was thinking about that possibility as I was reading his second letter to Timothy because he shared some things in that letter which, in my opinion, were of a personal and confidential nature.
These are some of them: (1) He told him about Demas deserting him, seemingly assured that he did so because he was more in love with the things of the world than on the things of God. (2) He asked Timothy to bring him his cloak, scrolls, and parchments when he came to see him. Some have wondered why that is in the Bible in the first place. Paul would probably have had the same question himself. (3) He specifically pointed out Alexander the metalworker as doing him a great deal of harm and advised Timothy to be on guard against this enemy of the gospel. (4) He told him that none of his friends stood by his side to give testimony on his behalf in his trial before the emperor. Imagine that; a man who did so much for others had no one to stand with him when he needed them. The way in which he related this fact gives me more reason to think that he thought no one but Timothy was going to read his letter. Here’s how he wrote it: “At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them.” (2 Tim. 4;16)
Having said that, whether or not Paul knew others would read his letter, by sharing these personal things with Timothy he also said a lot about his young associate, which, in the end, should remind us why God decided it would be in the Bible in the first place. Evidently, Timothy was the type of person Paul could confide it, a confidant, if you will. The MW Dictionary says that a confidant is “one to whom secrets are entrusted; especially intimate ones.” I also do not believe Timothy shared these things with anyone in his lifetime and suspect that the letter did not become public until many, many years later, perhaps even centuries. We should all have at least one person in our life we can trust with personal and delicate matters. Unfortunately, I believe all of us can admit that we have been burned more than once by people we thought could be trusted. How about you? Can you be trusted to keep someone else’s shared private matters to yourself? I choose to believe that many of you qualify as being confidants. In the end, all those who prove themselves to be trustworthy honor God in the process.
God’s word for today: (Proverbs 20:7) “The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.”