The Grace Notes devotions in 2024 will be based on verses from 1 Timothy. As we salute a new year, let’s consider the Apostle Paul’s salutation to Timothy in the first pastoral epistle (1 Tim 1:1-2):
Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν 2 Τιμοθέῳ γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει· χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν.
We will briefly consider the implications the following phrases have for our faith and ministries:
- Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
- κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν
- γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει
- χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη
- ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν
Παῦλος ἀπόστολος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ
Paul was an apostle of Christ Jesus, commissioned by Jesus himself to be an authoritative leader in the church alongside the other apostles, sent by him with signs and wonders to proclaim the gospel to others, especially to the Gentiles. This Jesus is the promised Priest-King who has reconciled people to God and who graciously rules all things for their good. Paul knew that it was God’s gracious plan that the Gentiles glorify him for his mercy (Rom 15:9). This plan continues to this day, reaching us and reaching others through us. God be praised!
κατʼ ἐπιταγὴν θεοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τῆς ἐλπίδος ἡμῶν
All this was according to the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus our hope. Why is the word command here, instead of will? Maybe to remind Timothy that Paul was acting under orders and that he, Timothy, was receiving orders through Christ’s apostle. Life and ministry were not always easy for young, timid, and sometimes frail Timothy. It must have been very encouraging to Timothy that Paul’s apostleship was from the God who saves us and from Christ Jesus who is our hope. This same Father saves us. This same Son is our hope. Through the Holy Spirit we have been called to serve as overseers and shepherds in Christ’s church.
γνησίῳ τέκνῳ ἐν πίστει
Timothy was Paul’s genuine child in the faith. Timothy’s biological father was a Greek; Timothy learned the Scriptures from his mother and his grandmother. Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father. Paul had brought the gospel to Timothy and had nurtured his faith. Timothy was imitating and serving alongside his mentor. This brought Paul great joy, and he wanted to see it continue. Let us rejoice in the bond of faith, especially among pastors, young and old. This bond of faith is based on the sound teachings of God’s word and exists because of the personal faith created in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Thanks be to God!
χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη
Verse 2 is a blessing: Grace, mercy, and peace be to you! Only in the letters to Timothy does Paul add mercy to grace and peace. Timothy was in difficult circumstances; he needed help. The God who gave Timothy grace (redemption through his Son and rich daily blessings) and peace (peace with God, peace in his heart, peace inside the church, even peace that could be expressed to the world) would also keep his merciful eye on Timothy and provide him with all that he needed for faith and ministry. The Lord does the same for us!
ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν
Paul’s three-fold blessing is from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. The Father and the Son are the powerful and reliable source of these blessings. God is our Father. Christ Jesus is our divine King. They will continue to give us grace, mercy, and peace.
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thanks and praise be to you for all your good gifts to us. Please continue to be with all the pastors of our beloved church body in 2024. Assure them of your love and forgiveness. Provide them with all that they need for life and ministry. Give them hope and peace. Through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.