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God’s Word for You

1 Corinthians 16:10-11 God’s word for you

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, August 11, 2023

10 If Timothy comes, make sure he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is doing the work of the Lord just as I am. 11 Don’t let anyone among you look down on him. Send him on his way in peace, so that he may come back to me; for I am expecting him with the brothers.

Paul was bold, easily handling the word of God against the outrageous lies of heretics on every side and the self-righteous posturing of the Corinthians at the same time. But since he couldn’t be there, he needed to send someone else as a capable minister of the gospel to explain the simple truths to the Corinthians. Not every pastor has the same gift of boldness against heretics, nor against their own members who often mistake a pastor’s humility for weakness. Timothy was being sent through because he was fully capable of teaching the Corinthians the truths of Scripture.

When I first began my formal studies for the ministry, I began to receive questions from people in my home town who would write letters to me or call me (even during my first week of school!) asking me to explain about the laying on of hands, women in the ministry, the rapture, and all sorts of doctrines that pastors with twelve years of study and ten years of ministry behind them have trouble explaining. I would politely tell them that I was doing well learning my Greek grammar, and I would be happy to talk about their questions down the road a bit. What I should have said was, go and read your Catechism again! Read Moses, and then read the Gospels, and then re-read them, before you search for loopholes in Peter, Paul and John. Just as a child needs to learn the alphabet before he can learn to read, and he needs to learn some grammar before he can learn to write well, so also a Christian must know the creeds and the catechism before they wrestle with the hard doctrines that trouble them. Is the creation of the world and the incarnation of the Son of God by a virgin girl so easy to comprehend that we worry about the timetable of the Last Day? Is the payment of the blood of the Son of God for the sins and carnal impulses of every man, woman and child so clear to people that they don’t think that they need to pray about it, ponder it, see their own stinking filth there at the foot of the cross, and that they can ask frivolous questions about angels lusting after the people they see while they are invisible and the sort of philosophical drivel that the Buddhists are so snobbish about? What is the sound of one hand clapping, they ask? None at all. How much water can you catch in a net? None of any value. What is the value of any of Buddha’s teaching? None at all, because none of it points anyone to Christ, the cross, or the resurrection. Instead it all leads people astray to reincarnation and second chances that are all lies, lies, and more lies. Like all the Eastern religions, it is a sudden trapdoor to hell.

Timothy was the kind of preacher who would take the Corinthians deeply into the Scriptures, the basics of the word of God, and the sort of confession of faith that would soon be recognized as the Apostles’ Creed. But Paul wanted him treated with respect for his office. It is the divine call that makes the preacher, not his own abilities nor the opinions of his congregation. A member of a church who tries to bully or threaten a minister or teacher or pressure them into making decisions that will go their way is a member who has turned on Christ himself and should be thrown out of the church and every church. But Paul is gentle with the Corinthians. He encourages them: “Don’t let anyone look down on him.” That turned the whole congregation into a cloud of witnesses, a collection of loving aunts and uncles to this young man who was there in the name of the Holy Spirit among them.

“Send him on his way in peace” means that when the time came, they should help him get ready to continue his travels, provide him with warm clothing for the sea voyage, food or wine (although Timothy was known to avoid wine despite stomach troubles, 1 Timothy 5:23), and a little money to afford the journey across the Aegean Sea and back to Paul, who says, “so that he may come back to me.”

Timothy’s role, then, was to keep instructing the Corinthians, to make sure they were well-grounded in the holy Scriptures, to carry out the duties of a minister among them (administering the sacraments, carefully teaching, rebuking, correcting, and encouraging, and paying attention to sound doctrine, 2 Timothy 4:2). He was also there to make a report for Paul on how they were doing. The role of shepherds in the church is “to lead you with knowledge and understanding” (Jeremiah 3:15) and to be “examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2). They are there to guide as we learn to love the basics of God’s holy word, to love our Lord Jesus, and to look to him for comfort, for guidance in godly living, and for peace.

Pray for you pastor, but pray about your own faith as well. Pray that the Lord would deepen your love for Jesus and turn you to godly repentance over your sins day by day. Make an effort to read your Bible and a section of the Catechism every day, to pray about what you’ve read, and to seek a clear understanding of the words. This is God’s word, after all, for you.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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