Crossfunction: 2 Timothy 2: Five generations of apostolic tradition!

Monday, June 20, 2005

2 Timothy 2: Five generations of apostolic tradition!

Paul exhorts Timothy,

1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus:
2 And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also.

Let's unpack that verse 2...
-Paul spoke certain things to "many witnesses";
-these witnesses delivered these things to Timothy;
-Timothy is to commend these things to "faithful men";
-These men are to teach others.

Count 'em... that's five links in a chain, an unbroken chain by which the Gospel is transmitted from apostle to the far reaches of the Church via those appointed to teach.

We've already seen in the book of Acts how, after he was called by Jesus, Paul was visibly appointed to the office of apostle through the imposition of hands. And we have seen Paul speak of how he appointed Timothy to a similar role -also through the imposition of hands.

Now we see the bigger picture. Paul and the other apostles can't preach the Gospel to the whole world alone. They recognize that they have received a divine commission and have teaching authority, but they also recognize that they have the power to appoint other men to share in this same office. Timothy has received this office and ministry through the imposition of hands, as have so many others before and after him.

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