Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I have been completely overwhelmed by the Pastoral Epistles as of recent months and so I have determined to make it my ambition to know - I mean, really KNOW - them in and out. I want to make it my goal to understand these letters so well that I understand Paul's thought in every chapter and in every verse. I will make it my goal to be able to know and read the Greek text without any problem. This will come with work, time and labor, but it will be worth it. This morning I read 1 Timothy 1:1-4 in the Greek repeatedly.

I was struck by one significant (and yet fairly uncommon) word that Paul used:

1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope;

What struck me this morning is that this word for "the commandment" is the Greek epitagein which means "authority or command." It is a very strong word. It is a military term that is not found very often in the NT.

It is also found in 2 Timothy 2:15 after a marvelous discourse on the Gospel and how we as believers are awaiting the "blessed hope" of our Savior who gave Himself on behalf of us to redeem us from every lawless deed, etc. Then after that wonderful Gospel presentation, Paul tells Titus:

Titus 2:15 15 These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

The word here in Titus 2:15 for "authority" is that same word epitagein. Paul had this authority of God Himself behind Him in his writing of this letter.

What a marvelous thought to ponder. That we have the very letter that Paul wrote with the absolute and full Divine authority behind him in every letter that he wrote. How amazing. May we as pastors heed this command know that when we are behind the pulpit preaching the Word of God that we must preach and teach with all authority (epitagein) understanding that we are heralding the Divine Words of God. This is a supernatural calling. May we be found faithful.
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