Formations lesson for May 4: Family Tradition
April 11 2003 by David Stratton , 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:3-14; 3:14-17

Formations lesson for May 4: Family Tradition | Friday, April 11, 2003

Friday, April 11, 2003

Formations lesson for May 4: Family Tradition

By David Stratton 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:3-14; 3:14-17

Chris' dad died five weeks before Chris was born. When he was seven, his brother died while his stepdad was in Vietnam. Chris asked his mother if his father was in heaven. She laughed and said, "No, he is not in heaven."

Chris asked why he was not in heaven. "Because there is no heaven," his mother replied.

Then Chris asked why there is no heaven. "Because there is no God. It was all made up," his mother said.

This is the sort of religious education Chris received from his family. Fortunately Chris did not believe his mother. He is now a dedicated Christian, active in his church.

Timothy's religious education at home was far different from that of Chris.

Family Bible study Young Timothy carried out the challenging work of leading the organization of the churches in and around Ephesus. The apostle Paul encouraged Timothy in his task by reminding the young man of his sincere faith that lived first in his grandmother, Lois, and his mother Eunice (2 Tim. 1:5). A few lines later Paul reminded Timothy that he had been taught the inspired words of scripture from childhood, and was told to remember who instructed him (2 Tim 3:14-17).

So Timothy was strengthened for his work not only through the memory of the biblical instruction he had received but also by the memory of a faithful family that taught him the scriptures.

Two families merge Alongside the reminders of his faithful biological family, Timothy read intimate encouragement from a church family member. Paul, who had no traditional family connection to Timothy, called the young man his "loyal child in the faith" (1 Tim. 1:2). The apostle's words to Timothy sound like those of a concerned father writing to his son.

Paul was thankful to God when he thought of Timothy and he prayed for him day and night (2 Tim.1:3). Remembering Timothy's tears when they parted, Paul longed for the joy he would experience when he saw his loyal son in the faith again (2 Tim. 1:4). The apostle exhorted young Timothy to be courageous, calling to mind the moving moment when his "faith father" laid hands on him, perhaps in a commissioning service (2 Tim. 1:6-7).

So encouragements related to Timothy's biological family merge with those related to his church family. However, faith is the common denominator in the discussions of both families. In the end it is the faith connection more than the biological connection that brings meaning to Timothy's relationships.

Our family Acts 2:42 tells us that believers in the early church devoted themselves to "fellowship," a translation of the Greek word koinonia. The Contemporary English Version attempts to bring out the intimate bond implied by the Greek word by using the phrase "they were like family to each other." This fits with Jesus' teaching that whoever does the will of God is his brother and sister and mother (Mark 3:35).

We all have biological families that impact us in various ways, yet the New Testament teaches that we also have a family of faith to which we are to devote ourselves.

The Bible contains examples of dysfunctional families producing godly people (e.g. Joseph). The Bible also teaches us that godly parents may raise children who choose to be ungodly (e.g. Samuel's sons, 1 Sam. 8:1-5). The effect of the biological family on one's faith often cannot be explained through simple formulas.

We do not know the details of Timothy's family life, but it is obvious that he received much encouragement in the Christian faith at home. God has shown that He can overcome the failings of faithless families.

Let us strive to make our homes a place where the Bible is taught and faith is alive.

Paul's communication to Timothy teaches us that faith is the key to meaningful relationships. Let us nurture the bond of love with our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters in faith. Through our family of faith we are presented with the challenges and encouraged by the joy that will stand the test of time and eternity.

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4/11/2003 12:00:00 AM by David Stratton , 1 Timothy 1:1-2; 2 Timothy 1:3-14; 3:14-17 | with 0 comments
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