This is the second pastoral epistle to Timothy who was assigned by Paul as a bishop over Ephesus in Asia Minor. The apostle told him “You know all about my teaching” and Paul cares a lot about the validity of the teaching, which he called his Gospel, and he cares a lot about being a model to his disciple. Timothy’s following to the apostle’s way of life also means: My way in managing the Church. And his usage to the word “purpose” could also mean: My intentions and convictions.

Then Paul mentions his faith, endurance, love and patience. He lived these virtues in the midst of persecutions, and he clarifies that he suffered in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra (three cities in Asia Minor). These three cities are mentioned together in the Book of Acts 14: 21 and Paul said to the faithful in these cities that “through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God”.

What happened with him was happening to all the believers, and he expressed that by saying: “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted”. Paul must be talking here about some Christians especially leaders. In Christian history, everyone that performed a persecution used to torture the leaders, i.e. bishops and priests, because our enemies thought that by killing the leaders they could exterminate the Church, and this is not right because the Church stayed alive despite the suppression over the spiritual leaders and their imprisonment and killing.

Then, the apostle asks his disciple to continue in his straight faith that he took from his family as he says: “from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures”. The expression “Holy Scriptures” means that Old Testament because the Gospels weren’t written yet, and Paul doesn’t refer to his epistles because they weren’t considered holy books yet.

The author of this epistle ends this passage by hoping for Timothy to be “wise for salvation”. And wisdom, as the writer says, comes from “the faith in Jesus Christ” and Christ is the wisdom and the power of God (1Corinthians 1: 25). He who is responsible for the Gospel in Church takes the teaching and the model from the one that preceded him. It is not enough to have a school of theology to learn the faith because we need the example of teachers and the purity of their lives.

The second thing in choosing theology students is that it is better to choose a person that knows the Holy Scriptures before entering the institute, and a person that is ready to accept suffering for Christ and sometimes this suffering comes from the members of the Church themselves. The insistence of Paul on teaching makes us eager to have a priest who is educated theologically and pure in his way of life. Purity alone is not enough, and knowledge alone isn’t either. The responsible person in Church must be on the likeness of Timothy. The energy of the Church comes, to a large extent, from the first leader and from those who he guides.

Translated by Mark Najjar

Original Text: “حديث عن الفضائل” –Raiati 06- 05.02.2012