David Pawson - Unlocking the Bible - Timothy & Titus pt1

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Thoughtful Thoughts 27.1.23 by John Dunning: Timothy and Titus Part 1

Introduction…

The authority of these letters has been attacked by ‘theologians’. Before getting to the content we need to undo the damage done by so-called ‘theologians’ from established churches, teaching students that the letters to Timothy and Titus are not by St Paul and therefore they lack the authority to be in the Bible. One way to undermine an unpopular message is to undermine the messenger…

Background…

Some establishment theologians argued that as Crete is mentioned in the letter to Titus, but only mentioned in the book of “Acts” as a place that they bypassed on the way to Rome, then Paul didn’t actually visit Crete properly to establish a church. They say that if Paul bypassed Crete, (as Acts records,) then Paul could not have written to Titus on Crete.

Their whole argument for saying that Paul didn’t actually go into Crete is simply because they argue that as Paul was beheaded in Rome, Crete never had an opportunity of an on-site visit by Paul. They argue that what is recorded in Acts are the only things that Paul had any reason to write about. 

The authority of the Bible…

That then gives them a reason to speculate that the real visit to Crete happened to someone else, and so Titus’s letter is not by Paul at all, and therefore not a Bible book. Then they add that as the letter to Timothy was written about the same time as Titus, that therefore that cannot be written by Paul either.

These so-called theologians arrive at all those conclusions by assuming that Paul was only on trial once and that his life was cut short after that first trial by being beheaded. 

Well, in order to help students who have an open mind to the Bible and are seekers after truth, I point out that it didn’t happen that way at all. It happened like this… Paul had TWO arrests and TWO  trials in Rome, and not just one… As certain establishment theologians have proven to be antagonistic towards the Bible, I will prove my contradiction of them for the sake of those who want to have confidence in the Bible, in spite of theologians who have lived off churchgoers, as expensive and ‘kept’ religious leaders, as if they had knowledge…

1). Paul’s first imprisonment at Rome…

Initially, Paul was held at Caesarea facing a trial before Festus.  To escape from some Jewish leaders who lied in order to have Paul killed, he then appealed to Caesar, (in Acts 25), as was his right as a Roman citizen. So, Paul was sent to Rome.

Prior to his first trial in Rome, Paul only had “home detention”, not prison.

Dr. Luke then wrote his first book, the gospel of Luke and what we call the book of “Acts”, which were actually letters written to a Roman legal official, (called “Most Excellent” Theophilus). 

Why did he do that? 

To provide evidence for Paul’s defence for his upcoming trial in Rome. Paul says in the letter to the Philippians that he expected to be released. The book of “Acts” finishes abruptly because his house arrest time was up because his trial arrived. “Most Excellent” Theophilus won the case for Paul this first time, and Paul was released. So the book of Acts ends in chapter 28… So then Paul goes on his way rejoicing, which is how he came to go onto his 4th missionary trip… 

2). Paul’s second imprisonment at Rome…

Years later, when Nero was on the throne inciting hatred against Christians, Paul says a man called “Alexander” betrayed him. That resulted in a totally fresh arrest leading to Paul’s suffering in a Roman prison under Nero. This was very different to the much kinder “home detention” which happened the first time, where friends could help provide for his needs. This time Paul said he knew his time was up and he would be going to be with the Lord. (The first time he said he knew he would be released.)

It was years after his first trial that Paul faced his second arrest and trial, which resulted in being beheaded. (A privilege for Roman citizens only. For everyone else, executions were by crucifixion, or for public paid entertainment, or even by torture.) 

Summary…

So, now we have the answer… Paul had been released following his first home detention and trial in Rome. The book of Acts stopped suddenly as Luke didn’t need to write any further evidence for Theophilus as it was unnecessary. After that, Paul then visited Crete.

It was on Paul’s 4th missionary trip that Paul left Titus at Crete and Timothy at Ephesus.

Application…

So you can have confidence in the letters to Timothy and Titus as being written by Paul, and therefore being part of the Word of God. 

Billy Graham had a crisis of faith after having to study critical scholarship at a theological college. He saw an evangelist friend of his losing his faith at his college while he was there. Billy went on a long walk and put his Bible on a fence post, and promised God that he would trust Him, that the Bible was His inspired Word. We all know the fruit that came from that faith. So students should do what Billy Graham did. Avoid becoming like Billy Graham’s friend who lost his faith due to believing the fake news of some establishment theologians.

A twist on this coming from clergy has been senior clergy teaching that Bible theology evolves. I can’t go into all that now except to use it as an example of what happens when the church undermines the authority of the Bible, which is how we started the blog. As this blog is to build up and encourage believers in Jesus Christ, I won’t elaborate on fifth-column ‘theologians’, but I would say that there have been some good ones around too, like David Pawson.

Find a community of believers who build up your faith in Jesus Christ. Feel free to use the videos for Bible Study groups. 

This is John Dunning signing off from “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.

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