By Joseph L. Watkins
Our continuing Quest is ever The Truth, yes, The Truth of God which was given to mankind with this present age in view, even "Truth For Today".
Our current task is trying to encourage folks toward the understanding of 1 Timothy and Titus having been given "after Acts-times, and only after the apostle Paul had received "The Musterion Truth" (Eph. 5:32).
Sometimes we see and we understand things as we will or desire, and sometimes we will not to see that which we might if only we had eyes to see, and ears to hear. And in all honesty, I must acknowledge my mind has been prejudiced by the works of Mr. W. J. Conybeare and Mr. J. S. Howson in their great classic The Life and Epistles of St. Paul where on page 740 they state, "...that the historical facts mentioned in the Epistles to Timotheus and Titus cannot be placed in any portion of Paul's life before or during his first imprisonment in Rome..." Also, on page 829 of the same book we read " ... no one has ever attempted (successfully) to place all three (1 Tim., 2 Tim. & Titus) together, at any period of Paul's life before the end of his first Roman imprisonment; yet this is a necessary condition."
In our last paper we were sharing our own thoughts on a few objections some folks find with these Epistles containing any Truth For Today. However, we see things set forth in them that could not have been recorded before Israel had been rendered "lo-ammi - not my people" (see Hosea 1:9-10, 6:1-3).
And until after both Paul and Timothy had departed Rome, they are together as Paul wrote Phil. 1:1, 2:19, Col. 1:1 and Philemon 1:1, and from all this we must assume they were also together in Rome as the Ephesians letter was written. So we must conclude that Paul did have knowledge of "The Great Musterion Truth" as he writes both 1 Timothy and Titus.
Now, it is also true that Paul did not openly and boldly write of his "New Revelation" in either 1 Timothy or Titus, yet we find faint hints of such truths in both. In 1 Tim. 2:3 & 4 we read, "God our Saviour; Who will (desires) have all men to saved, and to come unto the knowledge of "THE TRUTH."
To be saved means to have received the gift of life that is in Christ Jesus, and to have life in Christ Jesus is to be a saint of God. So God desires that all men be saints in Christ Jesus, and He also desires that all saints come to the knowledge of The Truth. The knowledge of what truth?, we must ask. And when considering all the many "Truths" that were in the heart and mind of Paul in that traumatic hour, we must think first of this "NEW" message of truth he has just received, for he had just recently set forth this most profound charge: "And to make all men see what is the dispensation of The Musterion which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God"
Also in 1 Tim. 6:14, we read of a new hope, a new day that Paul now has to commend his son Timothy to. All throughout Acts times it would have been The Coming Parosia of Jesus The Christ, King of Israel." But now, this hope having been postponed, he has the appearing, "The Epiphaneia" in view. And without question this is the very same "Epiphaneia" which is Paul's hope we read of in 2 Tim. 4:1 and 4:8. Can anyone prove this to be a totally different "appearing" than we find set forth in Col. 3:4? We do not believe they can.
And turning to Paul's letter to Titus, we read of a hope that was in view long before the coming of Christ Jesus in His Parousia (His personal presence) in and with the one nation Israel, Titus 1:2, "In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie promised before the world began."
And when we read of such a hope as this, our minds must also be drawn to the blessed hope set forth in Eph. 1:4: "...as He hath chosen us in Him before the founding of the world."
Always give "The Spirit of Truth" total liberty to teach us the true significance, of Him saying "since and before" the founding of the world, for one has His purpose on this earth in view, the other has His purpose above the earth in view.
And once again we read of the Lord Christ Jesus and His promised "Epiphaneia" in Paul's letter to Titus 2:13, "Lookingfor "that blessed hope" and the glorious appearing (Epiphancia) of the great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ."
That Blessed Hope (hope #1680) - this word has both the inherent ideas of expectation and anticipation, not only should one fully expect this Happening, but eagerly anticipate this happening. And it is said to be a "Blessed" hope (#3107). This and related words we find over fifty times. Most have reference to persons, both of God and of men, and having the inherent ideas of enrichment, being favored, being honored or being held in the highest regard. Yet, in Titus 2:13 it is used in relation to an anticipate event - The Lord's appearing, Epiphaneia. Comparing this new blessed hope with the old hope of the Lord's Coming Parousia set forth in both the synoptic gospels and the Acts times epistles, to my mind and heart, is become proof positive of which event is first in the sight of the God of all Grace.