Saturday, March 14, 2015

Reflection - 'the pattern of sound teaching'

Source (book): "Faithful to the end", Question 2, Page 29.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


'the pattern of sound teaching', 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV, New International Version)
PHOTO: 'the pattern of sound teaching', 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV, New International Version)
Posted by JeffRandleman.com on Sunday, 09 February 2014
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http://www.jeffrandleman.com/2-timothy-1-13-14/



In your words, what is "the pattern of sound teaching" that Paul referred to? How do doctrine, liturgy, and lifestyle provide sound patterns of the faith? How can they be guarded and passed on at home and in church? What are serious obstacles and challenges in this process?


"the pattern of sound teaching"
2 Timothy 1:13-14 (New International Version) [2]
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. [2]

[1] Paul urged Timothy to keep what he had heard from Paul as the "pattern of sound teaching" (or as founder of the Methodist movement John Wesly puts it, the "model of pure, wholesome doctrine") and to "guard the good deposit that was entrusted" to him (2 Timothy 1:14). This doctrine content is the "truths of the faith" - truths about the triune God, about Jesus and salvation in Him, and our hope in Him.



St Paul the Apostle

PHOTO: St Paul the Apostle
Posted by Fr. Peter G. Martinez, © 2013-2015 St Paul the Apostle Catholic Church
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MdhggxXDyDE/VQQIO-OIZMI/AAAAAAAAfhs/WuGW8BgQC0U/s1600/st%2BPaul%2Bpainting%2Bpic%2Bcroped.jpg
http://www.stpaultheapostlecc.com/media/1/st%20Paul%20painting%20pic%20croped.jpg
http://www.stpaultheapostlecc.com/



[3] The “pattern of sound teaching” is the deposit given to Timothy by Paul (“which you have heard from me”). This “good thing which was committed to you” by Paul was committed to all in the power of the Holy Spirit. God has given this pattern to Timothy and Paul and US!

The “pattern of sound teaching” is what we call the Bible. To Timothy the “sound teaching” are described as being the message preached by Paul, the Gospel. Since Paul’s preaching rests on the foundation of the Old Testament, we can interpret this as a direction to guard the entire Bible! It is mere speculation as to whether or not Timothy and/or Paul would have been familiar with the other New Testament writings available at this time. It is probable that all of the New Testament exists at the time of 2 Timothy except for Hebrews, the writings of John and, perhaps, Jude. Virtually all translations use a phrase that is very similar:

. . . standard of sound words (NASB, New American Standard Bible )

. . . pattern of sound teaching (NIV, New International Version)

. . . pattern of true teaching (NCV, New Century Version)

. . . example of correct teaching (CEV, Contemporary English Version) [3]


How do doctrine, liturgy, and lifestyle provide sound patterns of the faith?
The Faith
[1]
Knowing Jesus is not antithetical (directly opposed) to knowing truths about Him. In other words, learning to develop a living relationship with Jesus does not mean we do not read good Christian literature that teach sound doctrines about God and salvation.


The Faith - relationship with Jesus Christ and the genuine knowledge of the gospel truth

Recurringly in the Pastoral Epistles, Paul uses the term "the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2, 4:1,6, 6:10,12,21; 2 Timothy 3:8, 4:7; Titus 1:1). Note that when he wrote about "faith", he was referring to the faith we have in Jesus by placing our trust in Him. Paul also mentioned "sincere faith" (1 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 1:5) which points to the relationship we have with Jesus Christ and the genuine knowledge of it. When he used the term "the faith", he was referring to a body of gospel truth. This includes several dimensions: Doctrine, Liturgy and Lifestyle.

Doctrine
Paul refers to the "truths of the faith" (1 Timothy 4:6). The faith has doctrinal content - truths about the triune God, about Jesus and salvation in Him, and our hope in Him. Paul urged Timothy to keep what he had heard from Paul as the "pattern of sound teaching" (or as founder of the Methodist movement John Wesly puts it, the "model of pure, wholesome doctrine") and to "guard the good deposit that was entrusted" to him (2 Timothy 1:14). The faith not only has sound content but can be passed from one person to another - through teaching.



The Bible is the source of 'pattern of sound teaching' - It is the model of pure, wholesome doctrine (by the founder of the Methodist movement John Wesly)

PHOTO: The Bible is the source of 'pattern of sound teaching' - It is the model of pure, wholesome doctrine (by the founder of the Methodist movement John Wesly)
Photo by Christian Sittel
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CNLemVEuz2M/VQQIOolJhFI/AAAAAAAAfhk/30tDJdeY9fs/s1600/eg47_left_and_ri_i000006.jpg
http://ladyev.com/eg47/eg47_left_and_ri_i000006.jpg
http://www.vebidoo.de/christian+sittel/fotos



These doctrines have depth that must be noted. Paul refers to the "deep truths of the faith" and how they must be held on to with a clear conscience (1 Timothy 3:9). The wonder of these gospel truths is that our understanding and appreciation of them grow deeper as we plumb their depths. That was Paul's experience, as we shall shortly see.

Liturgy
"The faith" can also refer to the way we worship God as an expression of personal faith. The early church had a simplicity of worship.We find rubrics of it in passages such as Acts 2:42, where the worship of the early church involved apostolic teaching from God's Word, prayer, the breaking of bread, and the experience of Christian fellowship. The Corinthian church had various problems during worship services, and Paul had to write to correct the abuses. Some of it involved impropriety in prayer, misunderstanding and abuse of the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11), and the disorderly use of spiritual gifts in worship (1 Corinthians 14). Paul insisted that "everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way" (1 Corinthians 14:40).



Oblation (a solemn offering or presentation to God): Liturgy and Life

PHOTO: Oblation (a solemn offering or presentation to God): Liturgy and Life
"The faith" can also refer to the way we worship God as an expression of personal faith. Liturgy - teaching from God's Word, prayer, the breaking of bread, and the experience of Christian fellowship.
Posted by Laura Taylor, “Waking Up the Echoes”
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http://blogs.nd.edu/oblation/files/2013/07/Liturgy-at-the-Basilica-of-the-Sacred-Heart-Notre-Dame.jpg
http://blogs.nd.edu/oblation/2013/08/01/waking-up-the-echoes-notre-dame-liturgical-formation-and-the-new-evangelization/



Paul gave similar instructions on worship in the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy 2). The right and proper worship of God is important and has its roots in the Old Testament commands to reject idolatry. Even in the tabernacle and temple, there were clear instructions on worship, and when those were transgressed, God often acted severely. For instances, when Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorised fire in the tabernacle, God sent a fire that killed them (Leviticus 10:1-2).

Lifestyle
The doctrine we believe in is connected to how we worship, and these are connected to how we lived. Paul not only reminded Timothy of his teaching, he also reiterated his way of life - his purpose in life, how he lived with faith and love, and how he endured suffering and persecution with godly patience and endurance (2 Timothy 3:10). In his earlier epistle to Timothy, Paul sadly pointed out some bad examples of Christians who had lost their witness. In giving in to love for money, they pursued lifestyle contrary to the faith; hence Paul identified them as "wandered from the faith" (1 Timothy 6:10).



Lifestyle - how we lived

PHOTO: Lifestyle - how we lived
The way of life, purpose in life, how we lived with faith and love 
Posted by Chindy Natalia
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The term "the faith" thus refers to the body of gospel truth that has being revealed in Scripture and by Christ. It can also secondarily refer to liturgy and lifestyle befitting the body of truth.


How can they ("the faith") be guarded and passed on at home and in church?
The church had held to a canon of Scripture containing the gospel truths. This faith is to be held with conviction, preserved and passed on. Through the study of canonical Scripture, the church has also developed canonical creeds, or statements that summarise its key beliefs. When we stray away from Scripture and creeds, we stray away from the faith. Therefore, if anyone claims that Jesus is not God or promotes a habit of lifestyle that is contrary to the teachings of Scripture, he has begun to abandon the faith.



The Malmesbury Bible

PHOTO: The Malmesbury Bible [4]
A Bible handwritten in Latin, on display in Malmesbury Abbey, Wiltshire, England. The Bible was written in Belgium in 1407 AD, for reading aloud in a monastery.
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative scripture by a particular religious community. The word "canon" comes from the Greek κανών, meaning "rule" or "measuring stick". The term was first coined in reference to scripture by Christians, but the idea is said to be Jewish.
Anonymous (photo by Adrian Pingstone) - Own work [4]
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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/01/Bible.malmesbury.arp.jpg/1024px-Bible.malmesbury.arp.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon



What are serious obstacles and challenges in this process?
As we have seen, what we believe also influences how we worship. In other words, how we worship reflects what we really believe. If someone introduces elements or directions in a church worship that challenge the scriptural and doctrinal standards of the faith (for example, the worship of nature), he is in danger of leaving the faith. Finally, what we believe not only influences how we worship, but also how we live. We cannot adopt a lifestyle that run contrary to the faith. Many Christians do live as if they were functional atheists. They make decisions, spend their leisure time, choose their lifestyles, speak, consume, and relate to people as if God is absent or irrelevant to the warp and woof of their lives. If they do this, they have already left the faith. It is for this reason that Paul urged Timothy, "Watch your life and doctrine closely" (1 Timothy 4:16).



Adam and Eve sinned and were being driven from Eden

PHOTO: Adam and Eve sinned and were being driven from Eden
Many Christians do live as if they were functional atheists. They make decisions, spend their leisure time, choose their lifestyles, speak, consume, and relate to people as if God is absent or irrelevant to the warp and woof of their lives. If they do this, they have already left the faith.
Adam and Eve being driven from Eden due to original sin, portrayed by Gustave Doré.
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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d2/Adamandevesin.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Christianity



This brings us back to an earlier point. Our faith primarily has to do with our relationship with Jesus. We are called to put our trust in Jesus for our salvation and all the needs of our lives. It is when we believe in Him that we gain truth knowledge of God. As we continue to relate with Him, we will also be in touch with the faith - comprising doctrine, liturgy and lifestyle. These are built on the fundamental relationship that we have with Jesus. Without this, all else will lack life and meaning, understanding, and reality. "I know whom I have believed" forms the basis of all the "what I had believed".



Bible valley of death

PHOTO: Bible valley of death
As we continue to relate with Him, we will also be in touch with the faith - comprising doctrine, liturgy and lifestyle. These are built on the fundamental relationship that we have with Jesus. Without this, all else will lack life and meaning.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qgQMmenaBvU/VQQIOiwoeVI/AAAAAAAAfh4/VppDyvKFbOU/s1600/OT-050_g.jpg
http://sayforward.com/sites/default/files/ext_image/OT-050_g.jpg
http://bookcoverimgs.com/bible-valley-of-death/



Paul deals with truths concerning the God he has come to know in Christ, truths he had discovered as he related with Christ and of which his understanding had grown deeper over the years. These are the gospel truths that Paul had repeatedly proclaimed through preaching and writing, and for which he was more than willing to suffer. Now he wanted Timothy to tenaciously (firmly) hold on to them in the same way.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we pray, nearer to you through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

PHOTO: O God, who taught the whole world through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Paul, draw us, we pray, nearer to you through the example of him whose conversion we celebrate today, and so make us witnesses to your truth in the world. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Paul deals with truths concerning the God he has come to know in Christ, truths he had discovered as he related with Christ and of which his understanding had grown deeper over the years.
Posted by Mark S. Haynes, Las Vegas, NV
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http://www.mshaynes.me/uploads/6/8/3/8/6838633/790546_orig.jpg
http://www.mshaynes.me/home/archives/01-2014




Reference
[1] From "Faithful to the end" A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, Copyright © 2014 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-241-0, PART ONE: UNITED WITH CHRIST, Chapter 2 "I know whom I have believed" (2 Timothy 1:1-18), Page 15-19.


[2] https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Timothy%201:13-14, 2 Timothy 1:13-14, New International Version, Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®

[3] http://www.judeministries.org/details.php?tableID=227&studyID=1, 2 Timothy Hold Fast To Sound Doctrine, © 2001-2015 James G. Arthur and Jude Ministries, March 9, 2015.

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon, Biblical canon, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, last modified on 27 January 2015, at 00:13.


NIV, New International Version