By Joseph L. Watkins
Paul's Book "The Great Musterion" concerning Christ Jesus and His Out-Calling, consists of seven chapters, or seven epistles. In our last paper we said five seemed to be well accounted of; we are now seeking to justify both I Timothy and Titus as having their rightful place in Paul's Book.
I have often said, "the study of God's Word, is a study of His choice of word's." In the opening of both the Ephesians and the Colossians epistles it is stated, "Paul, an apostleof Jesus Christ, by the will (=desire #2307) of God." Had it been the direct determination that was to be expressed here the word of choice would have been Strong's #1013, as it is in Rom. 9:19. The point being that "The Direct Determination of our All-Wise Lord" is that Paul and all men in Christ Jesus are to only serve Him out of a heart's desire to do so. He does not need the service of anyone, and especially any that do not desire to serve Him.
Our Saviour's heart's desire is that all men be saved, and our Lord's heart's desire is that all saved men come to the knowledge of the truth, and as they do, then He also desires that each one might then desire to serve Him, but he has no need or desire for robots or puppets.
However, when men do desire to serve Him and enter into that service, or become as Paul did, His apostle to the world of men, they do not become either like robots or puppets, and at times must be "commanded" to do the very service they expressed to do in the first place. The Saviour may not order His children (#5043 teknon) into service, but The One Lord of all men in Christ Jesus is the rightful director of each and every workman, "sons" (#5207 huios) in His service.
And such is the picture we find in both I Timothy and Titus, as Paul is in an altogether different mind set than when He wrote Ephesians and Colossians. There He is for the first time writing of his new message, and in his epistle to the folks at Philippi he is rejoicing and has a very positive attitude, even in consideration of "the otherwise minded."
But in I Tim. 1:1 we read these words, " ... Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command (#2003 eptiage) of God" which means an injunction, a decree or an order. And in Titus 1:3 we see that God, also "commanded" (#2003) that Paul proclaim (#2782) the message that he had been entrusted with. Now I do not mean to suggest that Paul was ever reluctant to proclaim any message he had been given out of God. However, this new message concerning "The Musterion Truth of The Out-Calling" had been met with great rejection, out of cold and dark disbelief.
The warring tactics of the enemy held but little fear Paul was a well-seasoned and faithful soldier, so for him, however, this magnitude of rejection had given place for real concern. Not for the world of the unbelieving in Adam, or for the militant work of the Jews. Such reaction from these forces he is well accustomed to, even strongly anticipating it, but the unbelieving and rejecting saints of God in Christ Jesus, that is the source of Paul's deep concern and dark disappointment. Yes, always the "Unbelieving believers" are of great concern to their Father, and our Lord, and at that hour it was on Paul's heart as well. Now the first two years were not so filled with the spirit of rejection, Paul was in bonds, yet he was free.
"... in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him..." Yes, he was at liberty to share his new message with all that came to him. "...with all confidence none forbidding..." (Acts 28:30-31).
We do not see this as a huge time of revival, those that did come to him came partly out of a sense of curiosity, but I don't see him doing a lot of arguing, and needing to deal with the unbelieving ones. All in all we feel that Paul had a peaceful and happy two years there in Rome.
Please excuse a personal comparison, as I just want us to have a better understanding of the circumstances that Paul was facing. Our own service is from a house, in a quiet and peaceful rural setting. Here we keep the many books we help make available, and here we receive our many phone conversations, and from time to time we have folks coming by for books and for conversation. And almost each day we hear from folks in many other countries from around the world (our newsletter is now going to some 66 nations). So in a way we have it quite good, hearing and seeing most encouraging things, and experiencing very little personal rejection, as many of you do that are out there in the world, of the lost and dying in Adam, and the truth-rejecting saints of God, in Christ Jesus, that are also all bond up in their "religious self-serving lives."
And it was such as this that Paul became faced with upon being freed of his "Great" days of joy as "The Prisoner of The Lord," in his own hired house.
Some very faithful Bible teachers have a very difficult time reconciling the character and themes they find in I Tim. and Titus (some even 2 Tim.) with the message of Ephesians and Colossians. They just don't "Sound Alike," they say, and I must agree. However, they do not fit Acts-times any better, so we shall continue to fit them into Paul's Book.