Written by Don Taggart
Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
1 Timothy 2:8
In today’s riveting installment of the shelbychurch.org blog, we’ll be discussing discipleship once more. Discipleship has been a huge focus not only for SCC, but for The Church ever since Jesus uttered the admonition to his disciples “go and make disciples of all nations.”
Before we even start to dig in to what the verse in Timothy is trying to convey, we’re already treated to a biblical example of discipleship in action in Timothy himself. He was a young man Paul encountered during his second missionary journey, who was already well thought of as a disciple in his hometown. Apparently, Timothy was so affected by the message of Jesus and a call to The Great Commission, that he decided to drop whatever it was that his life was all about until that point and follow Paul. Paul walked beside Timothy and mentored him in person for several years before sending him out on his own. These letters (1st and 2nd Timothy) were Paul’s way of communicating with Timothy in a phase of his maturity in which Paul could trust Timothy’s leadership. Aside from the occasional instruction and encouragement of a letter, Paul eventually deemed Timothy ready to lead and teach on his own.
Paul’s discipleship model to Timothy is still, not shockingly, the way most good discipleship happens today. Walk closely beside for a season and slowly taper down the unidirectional leadership as the disciple becomes a mentor and leader for others.
So… back to our verse: Paul is laying out some instructions for worship. Obviously, anytime we see “Therefore” at the beginning of a verse we need to check the context by reading the stuff leading up to that. To paraphrase the several verses prior to verse 8, Paul exhorts people to pray, intercede, give thanks, etc. because it pleases the Lord, and that Jesus gave himself as ransom and now is the mediator between God and mankind… THEREFORE, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
One could read 10 different commentaries on this verse (I did) and get 10 different takes on it, but that’s the beauty and the mystery of the Bible. If we’re intentional to ask, the Holy Spirit will help interpret and amplify the text in a way that affects each of us in a personalized way, even on the off chance that we’re not fluent in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic.
My interpretation of what Paul wants Timothy to teach his disciples, which by the transitive property (math joke) includes all of us, is as simple as this-
· ALL of us are to pray (as a normal part of our minute by minute life)
· lifting up (either literally or figuratively, either in praise or need)
· holy hands (hands resolved to say no to compromise and sin)
· without anger or disputing (with a peaceful forgiving heart)
So, Father, let us become the disciples you desire for us to be. Let us be like Paul when you want us to be and let us be like Timothy when you want us to be. Use us to further Your glory by helping us to be a little part of the Great Commission. Help our hearts and our minds, in the spirit of 1 Timothy 2:8, to embrace praying constantly, praising You always, living without compromise, and loving without offense. Amen!