A new online resource
by David Jackman
Equipped to Preach the Word is a training course designed to develop faithful and effective preachers of the Bible. Click here for more.
My brother used to work in an electronics factory that had a summer shutdown. Everyone took two weeks off at the same time. That was the way it worked. Frankly, it’s not dissimilar to PT Towers. Things quieten down considerably over the summer as we recover from Cornhill and conferences. We all need a break. In order to keep the blog fresh, that means a summer shutdown, starting today. There’s lots to go back over, lots to catch up with (particularly on the resources tab), and lots of other people to read. So go on, take a break. We are. See you in the autumn.
1 Timothy 3.1-13 is a reasonably straightforward passage. There are one or two exegetical questions (perhaps particularly in v11). But given that it is found in a letter addressed to an individual with a church listening in (note the plural “you” in 6:21), what are we to learn from this great list of qualifications? Here are eight truths which every church member needs to grasp. 1. Christ appoints leaders; it is the church’s role to discern his mind (1.18; 3.1-13 and Eph 4.11). We have to hold the tension between the supernatural calling of leaders (seen explicitly in Ephesians 4 and implicitly in the prophetic setting apart of Timothy) and the fact that the church is given a checklist of sorts in 1 Tim 3.1-13. This almost certainly means we need to make a deliberate change in some of the language we use – we are not, for example, “choosing” leaders but, rather, applying wisdom to seek the man of God’s choosing. 2. If the church is to fight false teaching, it needs godly leaders in appropriate roles (3.1-13). The thrust of the letter is that Timothy is to lead the charge against heresy. This is done by having godly praying (which occupies the bulk of chapter 3) and godly living (chapter 4 onwards), underpinned by godly leaders (chapter 3). 3. It does not necessarily follow that the most gifted men and women are the most suitable (1.20; 2 Tim 2.17; 2 Tim 4.14). Our natural inclination is always to look to gifts before character. Of course, we want a man who can preach! However, that is not the emphasis of the passage. Although see (6) below. 4. It is clear that those who start well do not always continue well, and so we must use this text to encourage leaders and pray (1.20). Alexander and Hymenaeus are sobering reminders that leaders who start well do not necessarily continue. In other words, a church should not see 3.1-13 as a static entry point to leadership, but a means of bearing leaders up in prayer and deliberately and intentionally encouraging them. 5. We are not looking for perfectly formed leaders, but we should see godliness and progress (3.1-13; 4.15). There is a danger, of course, that this could lead us to look for the perfect leaders who never sin. I only know a couple of people like that. (That is a joke, for the uninitiated). Timothy himself is to make public progress and we should expect the same in all our leaders. There will be some sins which disbar them from leadership; but in other areas, we should expect to see growth as leaders grapple with sin. 6. Having said all this, gifting is not unimportant (v2, v4, v10, v12). It is tempting to make so much of the character qualities that we end up making leaders of godly incompetents. There are explicit references to gifting the passage and there is an implied (particularly from the negative commands in chapter 2) context that those being considered are gifted to lead. 7. Good leaders benefit the church AND “save themselves” (3.13; 4.16). We can sometimes make leadership a real burden which implies that those who lead do so at great personal cost with no benefit whatsoever. Not so. Verse 13 is clear and reinforced by 4:16. Serving as a leader is a joy and delight and does us good! 8. Leaders also teach by example, so their flourishing is for our good (3.1-13; 4.12). Timothy is to make himself an example, and so when we wisely apply 1 Tim 3 to our own leadership selections, we are actually making decisions about what we want to look like ourselves.
Weekend wives conference 2016
Friday 7th October 2016 –
Sunday 9th October 2016
A conference for minister's wives who would otherwise struggle to make a week-time conference. We plan to have particular application for those working outside the home, whether full or part-time, as well as for those working hard within the home. More details of speakers and topics will be added in the coming months.
If you would like to transfer your booking from another conference to attend this event instead, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can arrange this and any necessary refund for you (there will be no charge to do this).
The conference will begin at 5pm on Friday and conclude with lunch at 12.30pm on Sunday.
Marriage and Ministry Leicestershire Oct 2016
Monday 24th October 2016 –
Tuesday 25th October 2016
A 24 hour stopover for up to 14 couples. Based at Hothorpe Hall, Leicestershire. Marriage can be tough. Ministry can be tough. Together, they can be an explosive combination. What should be a joyful partnership sometimes turns out to be the very thing on which both ministry and marriage founder. We cannot let it.
The conference will begin at 11am on Monday and conclude with lunch at 12.45pm on Tuesday.
Started in 1991, PT Cornhill exists primarily to train preachers, as well as equipping men and women to teach the Bible in other contexts, such as youth/children's work and women's ministry. Click here for more details
We're gradually adding material from our archive. EMA 1993 featured Dick Lucas, Phillip Jensen, Don Carson, David Petersen and John Lennox for a mix of inspiring teaching, challenging exhortation and encouraging reports of gospel work. (Click the title, left, for the talks)