Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 4:12
Currently, I am on a study track that is taking me through Paul’s epistles. This started by remembering being in one of Allen Hood’s classes about six years ago, when he told us, “You need to make friends with some dead guys!”
Now, before anyone gets too weirded out, this is not in the Sixth Sense vein (“I see dead people!”) or in the light-some-candles-and-get-out-the-Ouija-board vein. What Allen was talking about is getting to know the Biblical authors and characters. This means seeing and being inspired by their lifestyles, successes, struggles, hardships, and victories. It means observing how God moved in them and through them in their unique lives and personalities. If all we do is sift through their works looking for quotable soundbites and cut-and-paste sermon illustrations, we are significantly losing out on some of the richness that God has packed into His Word.
So right now, I’m being intentional about making friends with Paul. We’re presently hanging out in 1 Timothy. I’m finding that the pastoral epistles are incredible opportunities to get to know Paul as not just the powerful apostle, but a father in the house of God. In these books, we get to see some very personal stuff regarding how he cares for the churches, as well as how he cares for the leaders of those churches (Timothy and Titus).
So it’s in writing to Timothy, a “true son in the faith” (1:2), that Paul gives a bit of fatherly advice. This is perhaps the most-quoted — and most-misquoted — verse in the history of church youth groups: “Let no one despise your youth”. Read the rest of this entry »