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Volume 34 - Page 148 of 261 Index | Zoom | |
The Self-Drawn Portrait of the Apostle Paul.
Separate Features: His Humanity.
pp. 25 - 27
"Here we see . . . . . that tender friendship which watches over the health of Timothy,
even with a mother's care, that intense sympathy in the joys and sorrows of his converts,
which could say, even to the rebellious Corinthians, `Ye are in our hearts to die and live
with you'. That longing desire for the intercourse of affection, and that sense of
loneliness when it was withheld, which perhaps is the most touching feature of all,
because it approaches most nearly to a weakness" (Conybeare and Howson).
Timothy was given to the Apostle as a son. Over and over again this is the title that he
uses, "My son Timothy". Like a parent, the Apostle knew the many fears and anxieties
that love and affection induce, as is evinced by his very epistles to Timothy, which show
a remarkable interchange of thought, human in the extreme.
Who but Paul, thinking of Timothy, would crowd together in four verses such themes
as elect angels, partiality, laying on of hands, personal purity, water drinking, wine,
digestion, and Timothy's "oft infirmities", sins, and judgment? (I Tim. 5: 21-24). Yet the
transition is easy, natural and intensely human. The Apostle is urging Timothy, though
young, to exercise himself in the office to which he had been called. He had to deal with
charges made against elders, and Paul directs his eyes, above and beyond all earthly
tribunals, to the Lord Himself and the elect angels. In view of that judgment-seat,
Timothy would be strengthened to administer justice impartially. On the other hand, in
appointing men to office in the church, Paul did not inculcate impartiality at the expense
of discrimination, nor must Timothy be so falsely charitable as to partake of other men's
sins. So, with all this burden resting upon his son, Paul says, "Keep thyself pure", yet, as
he writes the words, he remembers that, if anything, Timothy was inclined to be too
reserved, to abstemious, and, fearing lest this emphasis upon purity might be
misinterpreted, he adds:
"Be no longer a water-drinker, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine
oft infirmities" (I Tim. 5: 23).
Perhaps the responsibility attaching to the appointment of bishops, who must not be
"given to wine" (I Tim. 3: 3), or of deacons, who must not be "given to much wine"
(I Tim. 3: 8), had led Timothy to feel that he too should abstain.
In all this we can see the tender care of the Apostle for his son.
This same interchange of theme is brought about in passages where the Apostle
reveals how intense was his desire for human fellowship. When Paul left Berea for
Athens, Timothy remained behind, but upon arriving at Athens he sent a command that
Silas and Timothy should come to him with all speed. Yet, with blessed vacillation,