Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘families’

In the Daily Lectionary the Epistle reading for today (January 29) is the beginning of 2 Timothy, 1: 1-18. Selections from 2 Timothy will continue for the next 3 days: 2 Timothy 2: 1—26; 2 Timothy 3: 1—17 and then on 1 February, 2 Timothy 4: 1—18.

I concentrate on verse 5:
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.

When asked the question, Why are you a Lutheran, one of the answers is my upbringing, as it was for Paul’s brother pastor, Timothy. Paul reminds Timothy of his education and formation in the faith delivered to the saints once and for all through Timothy’s mother and grandmother. Paul reminds him to encourage him. We all need these reminders for our encouragement to fulfill our vocations. In prison, Paul remembers Timothy with tears of joy and prayer for him (verses 3-5a), but also for Lois and Eunice.

Professor Timothy Oden in his commentary, Interpretation: First and Second Timothy and Titus, comments on the purpose of this “transmission of apostolic faith” in Timothy’s ministry and vocation as a pastor:

“The intergenerational transmission of apostolic faith was of urgent concern to Paul. That is what he seemed to be most seriously pondering in prison. He was constantly reminded of Timothy’s sincere faith (v. 5), untainted by hypocrisy, unmixed by corrupted motives—the same faith that dwelt first in the grandmother Lois and the mother Eunice and then in the son. To these two women we rightly credit the transmission of the faith to Timothy, the precondition of his transmission of the faith to countless others. In Timothy we have a young man from a transitional, cross-cultural family charged with transmitting the faith intergenerationally.”

A good solid upbringing, catechesis in the Faith, is for bringing the faith to “countless others”. Fathers and mothers are their child’s first “bishop and bishopess”, as Luther said it.

In this verse 5 the imprisoned Apostle mentions faith directly and indirectly three times in this one sentence. The Faith is not only apprehended intellectually but Faith “dwelt” first in Timothy’s grandmother and then his mother and now it dwells in Timothy. Faith holds tight the promises of God fulfilled in Jesus Christ for us all, His grace, mercy and peace for sinners (verse 2). Paul describes the abiding Faith in Christ Jesus as “sincere” but a more literal reading of the Greek word is that it is “unfeigned”, not fake. Oden calls this the “quiet transmission”:

When preaching asks how Christian mission is to be revitalized today, nothing is more central to the answer than being a good parent. We see a model of parenting embodied in the small-scale, inconspicuous transition from Lois to Eunice to Timothy. That such traditioning can occur within a highly pluralistic, syncretistic, rapidly changing environment is clear from this account. They did it. Faith can be passed on through families. Religious instruction in the family unit is crucial to the transmission of the Christian tradition.

Too much of Christianity is television and show and shallow emotionalism and wanting to accommodate to the fads and fashions of the world. The unfeigned faith can happen in the Church in the home. Just think that Christian faith was educated in the Roman Empire without a lick of support from the culture and society.  I think Professor Oden’s language is a little sterile but he is saying what the text teaches and his conclusion is startling in this noisy world and worldliness inthe sentence I emphasized. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians in his first letter, God gives the growth. Growth takes time, it takes the Lord’s time. How did Timothy grow in the Faith in Jesus Christ? Answer: the Scriptures, the Word of God:

But as for you ,continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be  complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3)

The Holy Spirit teaches and His lesson plan is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and His TextBook the Bible. We need home-church schooling more than ever. 

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Visit, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, making them a haven of blessing and of peace. Strengthen the bonds of love and faithfulness between all married couples, leading us all to honor this institution that You have established for our good. Give courage and strength to all Christian parents, that they may faithfully teach their children to know the voice of the Good Shepherd and to trust in Him alone for all good things. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: