In addition to reading in Jeremiah, I’m also reading in 2 Timothy. Paul had so much great stuff to say to flesh out how we can practically follow Jesus and his letters are like gems. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in the last few years, though, is how important it is to place his letters in their context.
What struck me today, though was 2 Timothy 4:2-5
2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Paul had been mentoring Timothy and two of his letters to Timothy are part of the New Testament. The section of this passage that struck me was verses 3-4. People don’t always want sound doctrine and they want to hear what they want to hear. In verse 5, Paul tells Timothy to stand strong for truth. In verse 5, Paul tells Timothy to stand strong for truth.
One reason this is so important to me is that I’m coming to believe that much of what I’ve been taught about the role of women in the church is incorrect or misleading, at best. But Paul’s words to Timothy are a reminder to me to check my own motives. We need to read the Bible and do exegesis (learn what the passage means using history, cultural studies, and grammatical studies) and not eisegesis (bring our own meaning to the text).
Am I bringing my own prejudices to the Bible, or am I reading critically, using the resources available to do good exegesis in a consistent hermeneutic. Either way, someone will disagree with me. I’m strongly leaning toward egalitarianism over complemetarianism. I’m already made the jump from literal 6-day creationism to theistic evolutionism. Are these good choices? Have I made them using the brain God gave me along with the wisdom from the Holy Spirit? I hope so. But Paul’s admonition to Timothy reminds me to be careful. Be very careful.
Are there theological issues that you question? Or question your motives?