Exploring Christ's Spiritual Laws

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1Tim 2:8-9 . . I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up
holy hands, without wrath and evil thoughts.

Lifting up one's hands is the posture of an anxious beggar seeking charity
and compassion. Holy hands are hands dedicated to serving Christ faithfully,
loyally, and effectively. Other kinds of hands should be kept at one's side till
such a time as they qualify as holy.

The koiné Greek word for "wrath" is orge (or-gay') which means: hot desire.
Orge is sometimes translated anger, indignation, and vengeance. The idea is
that a believer should never pray out of spite and/or use prayer as a tool to
hurt somebody's feelings. That is the ugliest abuse of the privilege of prayer
that I can possibly imagine. In my opinion, people who pray out of spite are
no different than slanderers, witches, sorcerers and voodoo priests.
Especially annoying are people who can't keep a civil tongue in their heads,
and then have the nerve to say "you're in our prayers"
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1Tim 2:9-10 . . In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in
modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or
gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becomes women professing piety)
with good works.

The Greek word for "sobriety" is sophrosune (so-fros-oo'-nay) which means
soundness of mind; viz: sane, composed, and self controlled. A woman in
the throes of hysteria, passionate rage, misandry, door-slamming, or a hissy
fit doesn't fit the definition.

Some folk, obsessed with asceticism, use that verse to prove it's wrong for
women to use cosmetics and dress themselves in current fashions. But the
passage doesn't forbid that. What it forbids is a woman putting a higher
priority on her appearance than her character.

The old adage "You can't judge a book by its cover" applies here as well as
in literature. I've met women with tattoos, studs in their tongues,
multicolored hair, fishnet stockings, outrageous earrings, tight-fitting concert
tee shirts, low-slung hip huggers, and black lipstick that were really peaches
while I've met elegant, neatly dressed women with horrible personalities.
They say a rose in any language is still a rose; yeah, well, a pig, no matter
how it's dressed, is still a pig whether in belly shirts and flip-flops or haute
couture.

"An attractive woman who lacks discretion is like a gold ring in a pig's
snout." (Prov 11:22) (cf. 1Pet 3:1-6)

The koiné Greek word for "shamefacedness" is aidos (ahee-doce') which
means: bashfulness; which is just the opposite of insolence, impudence, and
brazenness. Bashful people have a hard time looking people in the eye
because they are so shy, non-confrontational, timid, self conscious, and non
assertive. What we're looking at here relates to one of The Lord's beatitudes.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt
5:3)

That's a very comforting beatitude because it confirms that difficult people
aren't permitted in the kingdom of heaven.
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1Tim 2:11 . . Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire
submissiveness.

The koiné Greek word for "submissiveness" is hupotage (hoop-ot-ag-ay')
which basically refers to subordination.

Hupotgage appears in a number of applications. In Matt 22:12 the word
means tongue tied. In Mark 4:39 it means calm down. In 1Tim 5:18 it infers
suppression. In 1Tim 2:15 it means to negate, i.e. render invalid and/or
unworthy of consideration.

During my 74 years on this planet; I've encountered quite a few women that
enjoy debating with men; and especially pointing out men's faults and/or
proving men wrong. I don't know why they're like that, I guess it's just a
female thing. But Christ doesn't allow it.

If 1Tim 2:11 is telling me anything at all it's that Christ doesn't want to see
Christian women debating, quarrelling, or arguing with men in church; and
that includes Sunday school discussions. In point of fact, according to 1Cor
14:35, women aren't even allowed to raise their hands and ask a question.

Gender equality is a big issue out in the world; but God forbid it should
become an issue in church because the personal feelings and/or opinions of
Christ's believing followers are trumped by a final opinion higher than any on
Earth.
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1Tim 2:12-15 . . I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over
a man, but to remain quiet.

In the "my" church of Matt 16:18, male Christians are the gender designated
to captain the ship; not the females. I pity a church supervised by female
managers and pastors. Why? Because it tells me that Christ is not active in
that church providing it with the tools the congregation needs in order to
grow in strength and maturity as per Eph 4:11-16.
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1Tim 2:15 . . Women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if
they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.

In other words, it isn't necessary for women to be pastors, deacons, and/or
adult Sunday school teachers in order to serve Christ faithfully, loyally, and
effectively. Homemaking is just as high a calling as any in church.

Can a female church manager or a pastor; continue in faith, love, and
sanctity with self-restraint? In point of fact, it is a non sequitur to say a
female church manager or pastor continues in faith. If she did, she would be
neither a church manager nor a pastor. This is precisely why God rejected
Cain's offering. It was a perfectly good offering, and no doubt Cain had
brought God the very same thing in the past, but God rejected it that time
because that's the one time that Cain failed to offer it in faith. (Gen 4:7, Heb
11:4)
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1Tim 3:2a . . An overseer, then, must be above reproach

The koiné Greek word for "overseer" is episkopos (ep-is'-kop-os) which
means: a superintendent; viz: church officers.

Pastors of modern churches aren't really pastors in the true Biblical sense;
they're actually managers. A true pastor is essentially a shepherd; which is
totally different (and somewhat rare too). In point of fact, pastors no longer
supervise churches at all: boards run churches, and pastors are merely
employees; viz: hirelings.

To tell the truth, I'm afraid of today's career pastors; I don't trust them, and
do my best to avoid them because I don't feel safe in their presence; which
is very abnormal. If there's anybody on God's green earth that The Lord's
sheep should be able to trust, it's their local shepherd but far too many
church managers today regard their congregations as numbers and/or
threats to their security.

Why must pastors be above reproach? Because the work they do is a "good"
work (1Tim 3:1) but much good can be ruined by even a little wickedness.

"Dead insects will cause even a bottle of perfume to stink! Yes, an ounce of
foolishness can outweigh a pound of wisdom and honor." (Ecc 10:1)

Before the wonders of modern chemistry, perfumes were made (and many
still are) from animal and vegetable sources. Those, being 100% organic in a
time when chemical preservatives didn't exists, could spoil if the perfumer
wasn't careful to keep his product protected from exposure to temperature,
insects, dirt, moisture, and other contaminants. All the skills and patience
and knowledge exercised in the making of expensive ointments could be
completely annulled by simply forgetting to put the cap (or the cork;
whatever) back on a jar.

Anyway, Ecc 10:1 certainly rings true in this day and age as the Roman
Catholic Church's credibility steadily diminishes because of its ongoing
pedophilia scandals and the hierarchy's deplorable cover-ups.
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1Tim 3:2b . . the husband of one wife

That directive is a bit ambiguous. Some feel it says a pastor can have only
one wife at a time; viz: not a polygamist; while others feel it says he can be
married only once in his lifetime; viz: not a widower or a divorced man.

I tend to think it means one wife at a time. If so; then this passage, and
Titus 1:5-6 have the distinction of being the only places in the entire Bible
prohibiting polygamy.

However; the rule is very narrow. It specifically regulates the home life of
church officers, so it would be wrong to use those passages to justify forcing
monogamy upon the rank and file. But, if polygamy conflicts with the laws of
one's State of residence, then of course the State has the final say in that
regard. (cf. Rom 13:1-5)
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1Tim 3:2c . . temperate

This kind of temperance relates to a personality that's self controlled,
sensible, disciplined, levelheaded, avoiding extremes of behavior or
expression: observing reasonable limits.
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1Tim 3:2d . . prudent

The koiné word for "prudent" is sophron (so'-frone) which means having a
sound mind; viz: rational, reasonable, and sensible as opposed to emotional
and reactive.
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1Tim 3:2e . . respectable

The koiné Greek word for "respectable" is kosmios (kos'-mee-os) which
means: orderly, viz: decorous.

Webster's defines decorous as marked by propriety; viz: correct; and
exhibiting good taste in conduct, language, or appearance. A decorous
person is-- among other things --neat, tidy, well-mannered, well-groomed,
and polite. They bathe often too.
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1Tim 3:2f . . hospitable

The koiné word for "hospitable" is philoxenos (fil-ox'-en-os) which means:
fond of guests.

In other words, church officers shouldn't be hermit types, or friendless
loners preferring solitude. Not that there's anything wrong with hermits and
loners; it's just that church officers are supposed to be shepherds, which
requires them to associate with the sheep entrusted to their care. A man
who doesn't mingle easily and comfortably really should consider another
line of work.
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1Tim 3:2g . . apt to teach

"apt to teach" is from the Greek word didaktikos (did-ak-tik-os') which
means: instructive ("didactic")

That word is tricky. It's sometimes translated "able to teach". That's okay I
guess, but i suspect didaktikos actually refers to role models, i.e. people
whose manner of life exemplifies Christianity. In other words; their teaching
is in shoe leather rather than only in a classroom.
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1Tim 3:3a . . not addicted to wine

Church officers aren't forbidden alcohol; just too much alcohol.

"No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your
stomach and your frequent ailments." (1Tim 5:23)

A "little" wine can lead to a lot for someone with a predilection to over
imbibe. For people like that, it's best to avoid wine altogether rather than
risk becoming a candidate for AA.

For church officers with health issues, I'd suggest confiding in a doctor
because there are much better treatments available in our day than there
were in Timothy's.
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1Tim 3:3b . . not pugnacious

Webster's defines pugnacious as: militant, defensive, warlike, combative,
confrontational, pushy, assertive, scrappy, and belligerent. Some men are
natural-born bullies and others are ready to "take it outside" at every
challenge. You sure don't want one of them running your church. God forbid!
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1Tim 3:3c . . gentle, non contentious

A good church officer isn't what might be called shrinking; but rather, he's
an affable, courageous man who selects his conflicts carefully. For some
people, every disagreement is an act of war: they're assertive, demanding,
reactive, defensive, and confrontational not just some of the time; but all
the time. A gentle man is not so quick to draw his guns at the slightest
provocation. However, though shepherds walk softly so as not to frighten
the sheep; at the same time; they carry a big stick.
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1Tim 3:3d . . free from the love of money.

L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, started out as an author of pulp
fiction novels for a penny per word. One day he came to the conclusion that
the real money was in religion, especially if it had a non-profit tax
exemption.

Well; today, the net worth of just the top three of Scientology's upwards of
thirty entities-- Scientology International, the Flag Service Organization, and
the Church Of Spiritual Technology --is in the neighborhood of 1.5 billion
dollars. The personal net worth of David Miscavige, Scientology's current
head, is rumored to be somewhere around 50 million. It's very curious how
a supposedly non-profit church, and it's head, amassed such fortunes.

Back in 1988-99, a tel-evangelist named James Orsen Bakker was sentenced
to 45 years in Federal prison (later reduced to 8) for embezzling millions of
dollars from his own ministry and using some of the money to construct an
extravagant mansion-- complete with gold plumbing --for he and wife
Tammy, and a luxurious kennel for their pet dog.

I would highly recommend that a prospective church officer's background be
checked before proceeding with the interview process. Is his credit good?
Does he have gambling debts? Does he prefer gourmet foods and
restaurants? Does he wear Armani suits, hand-made shoes, a Cartier wrist
watch, and drive a new Lexus SUV? What's his current home worth? What
part of town does he live in?

Because, unfortunately, there are men out there seeking careers in the
business of religion, and are very good at finding ways to get their fingers in
a church's treasury-- and not a few are looking for lucrative wage and
benefit packages instead of an opportunity to serve Christ faithfully, loyally,
and effectively; and to look out for his best interests instead of their own.
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1Tim 3:4-5 . . He must manage his own family well, and see that his
children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to
manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)

There's respect, and then there's "proper" respect which has to be nurtured
because a father cannot get proper respect by force. Tyranny doesn't earn
respect; it earns fear, suspicion, mistrust, and dread. Instilling fear into the
hearts of one's children is sure to backfire some day when they're older.

Back in Ephesians, we pointed out that children are discouraged by fathers
that abuse their human rights. Well, abusive church officers are just as bad.
Despots and dictators are certain to discourage their congregations just as
surely as abusive fathers break their children's spirit.

Managing a home falls into the category of stewardship; which is a power
very easily abused if one isn't careful. I would say that Joseph was a good
steward because he didn't use his power for personal gain, but rather for the
protection of the Egyptians under whom Pharaoh put his control. But not all
stewards are like Joseph.

Take for example Bhumibol Adulyadej, the late king of Thailand. His personal
wealth at the time of his death was estimated to be 30 billion dollars.
I really have to question the integrity of a steward who goes to his grave
with 30 billion dollars the meanwhile that poverty levels in his country are
rising.
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1Tim 3:6 . . He must not be a novice, or he may become conceited and fall
under the same judgment as the Devil.

Conceited people are usually infected with a superiority complex; which can
be roughly defined as a sort of master-race mentality.

If an inexperienced Christian is advanced too soon in church, they could
easily become so proud of themselves that they regard their position as an
achievement instead of a sacred trust. When someone is promoted to a
position in church they ought not celebrate as if they won valedictorian in
their senior graduating class; no; they really ought to be scared because
God will hold them to a higher standard than the rank and file.
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1Tim 3:7 . . He must also have a good reputation with outsiders

Paul lists that qualification as a must, as opposed to merely a good idea.

You know; that's all a church needs is to install a new church officer only to
find out later he's the classic neighbor from Hell.

The new guy might be a one-eyed Jack in church, but the kids on his street,
and the people whose property adjoins his, the post man, the convenience
store, the gas station, the super market, the department store, the drive-up
at McDonald's, the trick-or-treaters, the bank, the paperboy, etc, have all
seen the other side of his face. It had better match the one he's shown you
or your church's overall influence in the community will be in the tank; and
you will have a man in a key spot whom Christ does not approve, and with
whom he does not care to associate.
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1Tim 3:8-9 . . Deacons likewise must be men of dignity; etc, etc.

"dignity" is from the Greek word semnos (sem-nos') which means venerable,
i.e. deserving honor and respect, especially by reason of age; viz: esteemed.

The koiné Greek word for "deacons" is diakonos (dee-ak'-on-os) which
means: an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other
menial duties).

Deacons aren't necessarily clergy. In point of fact, many are laymen because
theirs is a support role rather than a shepherd's role. And "deacon" isn't a
career track, rather, deacons are typically uncompensated volunteers.

It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for a church's officers to run the
operation all by themselves without a ready pool of reliable grunts; viz: ones
who step up to routine, unglamorous tasks.
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