Of Pastoral Epistles: A Reflection
This post discusses some of my reflections for the intensive module on Pastoral Epistles which I took over the past few days.
Firstly, reflecting on the qualities of a leader makes me think about my own leadership journey. The one quality that has always stood out to me is the part on 1 Timothy 3:4 - where the leader is exhorted to manage his own household well. As I think about this quality, I ask myself if I am truly prepared to manage my own household well. This resonates with what I learned a few years back from a podcast sermon, where the preacher asked the single men if they are ready to form their own household. The key point behind that particular sermon was that in order to be able to manage one's own household well, the preparation has to start now, even if I am not about to get married. Today, being a leader who knows how to manage my own household well is something that I know that I will need to continue to grow in - particularly because I am someone who tends to be too engrossed over ministry work that I can forget about the relationship around me. Furthermore, during a service a few weeks back in church, the speaker mentioned that his wife told him that she did not want to mention how he was like as a husband at home as she did not want to tarnish his reputation as a leader in church. It resonated so much in me during this period that I felt that this is indeed a call for me to more intentional with the relationships around me, in the preparation to be a man who knows how to manage household.
The second reflection pertains to the topic of men, when we were studying the verse on 1 Timothy 2:8. There was a discussion on how women can let men lead when they were arguing and angry. Indeed, in relations to my previous reflection, this rings true of our society today. I remember earlier today, I was discussing with another colleague and he lamented that we do not have a lot of male role models whom we can model after. This may be a little overstated but I must say that there may be some grounds for such sentiments. I have argued elsewhere in this blog that men are created by God to lead and women are created to be the 'suitable helper'. While my view on gender may be a little different from majority of my class, I must say that whatever views we take on gender roles, the Scripture is very clear on how men should behave as disciples of Christ. Perhaps it i not that women have failed men but a lot of times, it's men who have failed to live up to the roles that God has called us to be. It is a sober reminder to myself as a man, on my own growth in self-control.
Thirdly, in the lesson on structural diagramming (which still remains one of the most fascinating tools in Bible study to me) and the discussion on the types of genitive forms, it highlights to me the importance of knowing my language. The discussions about all these grammatical forms make me confused but they tell me that I need to brush up my language skill further if I want to understand my Scripture better. It helps me to further appreciate my past training in my previous job. Yet understanding that this is going to help me in my own bible study just excites me further and motivates me to persevere on with my current theological education to the furthest that I can and to want to go for my Greek classes next semester. I guess at the heart of this also lies the realisation that I am unable to glean as much insights into the text if I do not know the original language and how to utilise tools such as structural diagramming. At the end of the day, it perhaps reflects my own hunger for the word of God.
Lastly, I want to reflect on a question on 2 Timothy 1:7-8, if we are facing any pressure and whether we are learning to rely on God's Holy Spirit of power, love and self-discipline. To be honest, the pressure is always there for the ministers of God. For me, it is especially so during this period when I have to deal not only with assignments and other deadlines but also many 'storms' that are happening in my life and ministry. And yes, perhaps a little power, love and self-discipline will help. But I have come to realise that it is really about relying on His Holy Spirit and trusting in Him to work for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. And it is great to see His grace sustaining me throughout during the past week, to see how power was given to strengthen me, to see how love was given so that I can channel it back to the one I love, and to see how self-discipline was bestowed to help me to handle all that are needed to be done. It is in this context that I think all glory and praise be given to God who graciously saved us.