20 February 2009

I Charge You

Could Paul have given a more solemn final charge to his young, timid, and sickly seminary student Timothy at the end of his first letter to him than this?

13 I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, 14 to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which he will display at the proper time--he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. (1 Tim 6:13-16)

The nagging question is: what is "the commandment" at the center of Paul's charge (v. 14)? Bill Mounce's commentary on the Pastorals in my favorite, despite coming as it does in one of my least favorite commentary series, WBC. I am convinced by what he writes, and stirred. He says "the commandment" encompasses

Timothy's commitment to Christ and his ministry, a commitment to preach the gospel that included righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and meekness . . . and a commitment that demanded perseverance until the Lord returned.

--Mounce, The Pastoral Epistles, 357

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