Never underestimate the value of one person being brought to a saving faith. The only reason you and I know about Ananias is because of his willing response to God resulted in the conversion of this one man, Saul, who became the apostle Paul.
What if we’ve been trying to unlock 1 Timothy from a modern, western, Age of Enlightenment perspective when the letter itself is based upon the logic, letter-writing customs, and Greek idiosyncrasies of the ancient near east?
God knows life is filled with tragedy. Sin is ugly, but God is the God of beauty, and in Him you and I can overcome these things. At the end of the Bible, in Revelation, God is sitting on His throne and all around is a perfect rainbow, not half an arc, but a whole circle, heaven and earth finally made one.
I’ve been on my knees, pleading with God in tears. I’m at my most vulnerable, and I feel like nothing’s happening. So what’s the point of praying continuously?
This is a word to you and me who have, at one time or another, felt permanently condemned by something in our past, knowing with a certitude almost as hard-fast as Deuteronomy, that we don’t belong, that we have been permanently scarred or mutilated by something (or someone) unspeakable. Or, we know in our hearts it was us who did the unspeakable thing, and it can never be undone.
The Chiastic Structure or Pattern shows a different emphasis in 1 Timothy, one in which proto-gnostic teaching was becoming a problem that must be addressed head on. Timothy was to make sure everyone was properly educated before they were entrusted with being deacons and elders, teachers and leaders within the church.
God interacted with Noah’s clan at the altar, blessing them, commissioning them and covenanting with them. Our prayer life is where God is going to interact with us too, where you and I are able to hear the Lord’s voice speaking to us, blessing us, giving us God’s instruction and commission, and reassuring us of the Lord’s promises as we study God’s word..
God working miracles through Philip drew the attention of a powerful sorcerer named Simon. He was the proud resident magician of Samaria, even considered by many people to be divine, and he had a wide and loyal following. But not, Simon was losing many of his followers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, so he came to investigate this new phenomenon.
The part people often miss is that Paul wanted women in the classroom, learning scripture, theology, Greek and Hebrew, reading and writing, and presumably teaching and evangelizing, right alongside the men.
Some warm to the largely comforting and hopeful philosophy that babies are born pure and innocent, and it’s the morally unhealthy culture, surrounding society, that inclines us to sin. Others argue that to believe such a theory takes a person off the hook—my sin is always someone else’s fault, rather than owning we are born sinful.