1 Timothy 4:13

Verse of the Day Devotion 1 Timothy 4:13

“Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” – 1 Timothy 4:13

Over the next couple of days as we approach the New Year, I will be looking at verses that I believe we all, including myself, should focus on as we approach and go into 2022.  I am preparing myself to focus my attention on how I want to think next year.  Thus, the verse selections for this week.

Paul here is writing to his disciple Timothy.  He is encouraging him to do the work of God and be a good servant of Jesus Christ. He starts out by reminding him that some will leave the Christian Faith. “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:1-3.  And this message is also meant for us, for we are seeing the same thing today.  People are falling away from the faith because of the deception by spirits through the bad teachings being put forth in this world, and unfortunately by pastors and teachers in some of our churches today.

Paul then said that we should make this known to our brothers and sisters in Christ. “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.” 1 Timothy 4:6. These are important things to tell our brothers and sisters about.  It is important to inform them of what is true and what is error, so that they may be cautious of these things and avoid the effect of wrong teachings. And in so doing, as it says in verse 7, we must tell them and ourselves “But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Timothy 4:7.  What is meant here is fables and ignorant stories.  As an interesting point, Paul calls them graōdeis, which, in the Greek, literally means “old womanish.” In the culture of that day, superstition and gossip were rampant. Today, we refer to a superstitious myth as an “old wives’ tale,” and this is a similar sense of what Paul is saying here. The claims about God which Timothy needs to avoid are “silly:” unreliable hearsay which does not honor God.

Now we come to our focus verse. “Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching.” 1 Timothy 4:13.  Paul tells Timothy three things which he must devote his time to.  First, the public reading of scripture.  This was an important duty to perform.  In a social setting where few could have afforded or owned copies of Scripture (which would have been scrolls at this point in history), public reading was a primary avenue of teaching what the Scriptures say. Because of its perceived heavenly origin and edifying effect, it would also be a catalyst for worship. 

Second is exhortation. This regards us exhorting, admonishing, and encouraging them through the Word.  Another way to put this is to expound on the word in order to help them live the life they are called to live.  It is easy to be frustrated with the difficulty that this life can be.  And this frustration can cause us to back off if we are not careful.  And this can be done individually or in a group setting.  The idea is to use the Word to encourage and if necessary correct them so that they will stay on the right track.  And finally, teaching. There are many who are new Christians who need to understand what the Word says regarding what is true and what this Christian life is all about. There are also many who have been Christians for a while but have not been taught properly in the past.  If we do not take the opportunity to help these Christians understand this new life they are living, there is a good possibility they will stray from the truth, not because they want to, but because they may easily be duped by false teachers.

As I look forward to 2022, the Holy Spirit is placing this in my heart.  I want to read the scriptures more than I have in the past.  I want to read it privately on my own, as well as to and with those who need help in their Christian walk. I want to preach more so that I can share with a group of Christians what this life is and how to live it with much vigor.  And also, I want to teach more, getting deeper in the scriptures so as to educate people as to what the scriptures say and what they mean at a higher level then they have see before.  And this is another of my New Year resolutions that God has placed on my heart. 

And again, I encourage all of my Christian friends and family members to pray about what God is calling you to do in 2022 in service to Him.  There are many who need our help in understanding this Christian life as well as the scriptures in more depth.  And also, spending time in prayer that God will continue to work through you to become more fruitful in your calling.  These are my prayers for myself, and also for you all.  And for anyone who is reading this and have not accepted Christ, please feel free to send me an email to the address below if you desire more information or just wish to talk about it.

God Bless you All.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.

Mark 12:24

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Mark 12:24 

“Jesus said to them, is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” – Mark 12:24

This verse was spoken by Jesus to the Sadducees because of their wrong understanding of the scriptures.  They asked Jesus a question regarding the resurrection.  The Sadducees denied there were angels and spirits, as well as the immortality of the soul.  They also believed when the body died the soul did as well.  They did not believe there was any future state of mankind or a resurrection.  Therefore, this was essentially a trick question to get Jesus to stumble in giving an answer, thus exposing a weakness in the doctrine. 

The Sadducees were an aristocratic class connected with everything going on in the temple in Jerusalem.  They tended to be wealthy and held powerful positions, including that of chief priests and high priest.  They also held the majority of the seats in the Sanhedrin.  Some of their wrong beliefs were  1. They were self-sufficient and therefore denied God’s involvement in everyday life. 2. Denied the resurrection and the afterlife as stated above, 3. They denied the existence of a spiritual world; angels, demons, etc.  They were essentially a political sect rather than a religious sect; however, they took this role as well and when  Jesus came, they feared He would create issues the among the Jewish people.

The question they asked was,  “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.’ Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no offspring left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” Mark 12:19-23.  Jesus responded in the words of our focus verse, essentially insinuating they did not know the scriptures.  He then goes on to say, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.” Mark 12:25-27.

They, as well as the Pharisees taught the people about God and what it meant to serve Him and do His will.  Unfortunately, they did not understand what the truth was, and because they were in a top position within Judaism, they taught what they believed and not necessarily what was reality.  They expected the people to just accept what they said with no questions.  And unfortunately, we see the same thing today, and I see it becoming more prevalent as time goes by.  Many preachers teach what they want to believe and ultimately what they want us to believe. 

Therefore, there are two things we need to do in order to ensure we understand what God is saying in His word.  First, we must study the word ourselves so that we can learn as much as we can about Him and what He expects.  Paul wrote this to Timothy, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”. As we pray and study, we will be prepared to help others who are working to understand what His word says.  And secondly, check what others teach and ensure it is truth.  Paul said it was a good thing to do this.  “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”  Acts 17:11.  If something seems odd or not quite right, check it out.  And if it is wrong, go to them who taught this and discuss it with them.  It is important that everything taught from the Word of God is accurate and helps us all grow in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

The Bible is far too important a document not to understood it as meant by the authors.  It helps us  to truly understand God and His great love for us and how we can show our love for Him.  Jesus told us “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.“ John 14:15.  And the best way for us to keep His commandments is to know what they are and how best to keep them.  That is why we need to spend concerted time in the study of His word, and also check out anything taught that seems off base.  And by doing this, we will be able to answer questions that may come up or defend the truth when it is questioned.  “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.” 1 Peter 3:15-16.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Romans 15:4

Verse of the Day Devotion: Romans 15:4 

“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” – Romans 15:4       

When we read the Old Testament, we learn a lot about the history of God’s dealings with mankind. First is, of course, our creation in Genesis 1 -2.  How He created the heavens and the earth, and then formed the earth as a perfect place for His ultimate creation, mankind, to live in perfect peace with Himself.  From there, we see the fall of mankind and ultimately the coming of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.  However, from what Paul tells us from our focus verse, there is more to learn in the Old Testament then the history of mankind.  We also have the opportunity to learn God’s ways in dealing with man, and ultimately with us.  As the focus verse says, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4. 

The author of Hebrews tells us that God is unchanging, and the way He dealt with the people of the Old Testament is the same as He deals with us.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8.  God has not changed one iota regarding how He deals with His people.  If we believe in Him and follow His ways, then God will watch over us just as He watched over Israel in the wilderness.  This should give us incredible hope.  Remember also in Hebrews what hope is.  It is what we look forward to, knowing it will come to pass.  It is knowing it will happen, not desiring it to happen. 

So, when we look in the Old Testament, we see how God guided His people through the wilderness, giving them a beautiful and prosperous land as their inheritance.  No matter what trials they came upon in their journey, God delivered them.  We can take comfort in this as well, knowing that whatever trials we come upon, He already knows about them  and will bring us safely through them.  There were several times when God’s people experienced times of famine, and again, God brought them through.  And He will do the same for us.  When they needed to hear from God, He spoke to them, either through prophets or directly.  Great examples of this were King David, Moses, and Joshua.  And He will speak to us as well when we need to hear His words.  And remember when Elijah was challenged by the prophets of Baal: that God made it known that He was God, and then comforted Him in the wilderness when they wanted to kill Him.  (1 Kings 18:20-40)

I want to encourage everyone reading this to look at the Old Testament not only as a means to learn history, but also as a way to be encouraged that as He took care of His people in the Old Testament, He will take care of us as well.  We need to use these  scriptures to see the blessings Israel had from God, knowing that He will bless us in a similar way.  And through this, it will help us to see the hope we have in God, and how He will never leave or forsake us, and our future is just as wonderful too.    

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Acts 17:11

Verse of the Day Devotion: Acts 17:11 

“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” – Acts 17:11

Paul and Silas, and their fellow travelers went  to Thessalonica, spending time reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue.  “explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, this Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” Acts 17:3.  This was standard procedure for Paul, always going to the Jews first to try and convince them of the truth prior to going out to the gentiles.  He spent three Sabbaths trying to convince them.  However, in the next couple of verses we read, “And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women. But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.” Acts 17:4-5.   

After all this, the brethren sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea.  When they arrived, they found the Bereans to be noble minded, more so than the Thessalonians.  However, there was something they discovered about them that was more important.  They received the word with great eagerness,  not just accepting what had been told them, but they examined the scriptures to ensure what they were told was truth.  And because of this, “Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”  Acts 17:12

I want to encourage everyone to be as the Bereans were.  It is important that we verify teachings we are unsure of, verifying that what they say is scriptural and accurate.  There are many teachers and preachers in the world who teach what the people want to hear, rather then teaching them what God wants them to hear.  This can be in the form of sermons, teachings, books, videos, essentially any format we use to study and learn from.  Do not accept every teaching you hear, even from those who are popular preachers and teachers.  Also, there are many people that are not well known, but have a solid understanding of the word.  We should check them out as well. 

There is no need to check everything out, just those teachings you are not sure of.  If there is no question of its truth, then good.  You have already validated the teaching and found it to be true.  The main idea is to grasp the truth and let go of what is not.  We cannot allow ourselves or others around us to be deceived into believing a false teaching.  We should also spend time reading the scriptures on a regular basis, studying His word to become so familiar with it we will quickly see error if it exists. 

Take the time to check anything teaching that does not sound right.  For not only will you protect yourself from false teaching, you will also be able to assist others who may find themselves believing a false teaching.  Both of these are important in the work God has called us to.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.