1 Timothy 1:1-20

Dear Ladies,

Let's face it. We like to be prepared. We like to know what's happening in our day. We watch the news so we know whether or not to put a sweater in our kids' backpacks. We keep Kleenex in our purses because sooner or later somebody's going to sniffle. And we prepare our husbands to not disappoint us by asking them where they'd like to go to eat.....? You know.....? Next Friday.....? For our anniversary?

When I first started in the emergency room I had a 4 week orientation period. I was already a nurse, had been for 18 years. I just needed to adjust my skill set to meet the situations common to emergency rooms. Probably one of the most beneficial things I learned came from a well-seasoned night shift nurse. She explained the unique culture of each shift.

The day shift is mostly filled with injuries. Sometimes those injuries occurred the night before but they were too drunk to come then. Sometimes they just come looking for a worknote because they couldn't possibly flip burgers on a sore ankle. Second shift tends to have a mixture of sick and wounded. Kids are home from school, falling off their bikes. Moms are cutting their fingers trying to chop vegetables for dinner. Grandma's been sick since yesterday but couldn't get a doctor's appointment today and can't wait til morning. Nights are reserved for the spiritually broken, the homeless, the drunks and/or the victims of their intoxication. After she explained all this she pointed out the nurses who would help me to grow. This nurse, Joyce, wanted me armed with the weapons I would need to be a competent, well-rounded ER nurse.

That's why we spent this past week in Acts. I wanted us to understand what Ephesus was like, the culture Timothy would face, the culture Timothy would face (think rioting silversmiths), and the certainty of trouble to come. Those savage wolves coming to distort the truth and destroy the flock.

I appreciate all that information about Ephesus so we can rejoice together as we see how Paul guides young Timothy through possible pitfalls. We'll see his tender care over Timothy and for the church he's being called to serve. I look forward to walking through this next study with you.

Love, as always, Renée

Now on to this week's lesson

Read 1 Timothy 1:1-20 Memory verse 1:15 "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance; Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst."

1. Why do you think Paul felt it necessary to lay out his credentials in 1 Timothy 1:1?

2. How might myths and genealogies have gotten in the way of God's work then?

3. What kinds of things get in the way of God's work today?

4. How might God be calling you to untwist the half-truths you hear spoken today?

5. Paul tells Timothy that the Law is made for lawbreakers and then points out a laundry list of sins. Do you think the Ephesians sinned because they were ignorant of the law or just didn't care? Explain your answer.

6. Paul says he was shown mercy because he acted in ignorance and unbelief. Why do you think God chose to be merciful?

7. Can you tell of a time when God was merciful to you?

8. What was your response to God's mercy?

For the good of the group:

Paul names names at the end of 1 Timothy 1. How likely is it that you'd call someone out on their sins?

For personal growth:

Paul gave Timothy several reasons to stay and serve the Ephesian church, beginning with the fact that they needed truth. (1:3-7). Who do you know that needs understand the truth of who God is and what He's done? Are there people you hold back from sharing this with? What gets in the way? Is it fear of being rejected? Is it that you lack confidence? Do you feel like it's someone else's responsibility? Do you think Jesus was only kidding when He issued the great commission at the end of Matthew 28? When you read your Bible do you find it hard to find God's commands or do you see them and think they don't really matter?