Philemon 1

Philemon 1: The Gospel Changes a servant into a Brother

The book of Philemon contains only one chapter, and was written to Philemon by Paul, while in he was in Prison.

Paul writes to Philemon and gives his greetings, appreciation and gratitude to him. Paul goes on to mention Onesimus, who was a runaway slave of Philemon who lived in Colosse (see Colossians 4:9) Paul writes to Philemon; “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds; Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.” (Philemon 1:10-11)

Onesimus had run away and traveled to Rome where he met Paul. While there, Onesimus surrendered his life to Christ. Under Roman Law, Philemon could execute his slave for running away. Paul writes this letter to Philemon to plead with Philemon to accept his plea. However, Paul goes beyond this and asks Philemon to also accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ and to overlook his faults and errors. “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him forever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specifically to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord?” (Philemon 1:15-16)

 

 

Summary of Titus

Summary of Titus

The book of Titus is an Epistle written from Paul to Titus regarding policies of the Church of Jesus Christ.

In Chapter 1: Paul explains that eternal life was “…promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2) Paul lays out the roles, duties and responsibilities of the Bishop in the Church.

In Chapters 2-3: Paul explains that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Saints should;  teach their children to be sober, to love their spouse and their own children. Paul urges members to be obedient, have a pattern of good works, and to be sincere. Paul then explains the Baptismal Covenant and the duties and responsibilities members of the Church have after they are baptized. He explains that the Saints are “…subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready for every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3: 1-2) Paul goes on to explain that members of the Church are not perfect, but should strive to be perfect every day.

Titus 3

Titus 3: After Baptism, Live Righteously

                Paul explains to Titus that after baptism, those who become members of Christ’s Church, must be; “…subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready for every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3: 1-2)

As Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have often explained that we follow after the words of Paul, for he was an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ. One of our Articles of Faith explains; “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 1:12)

Paul goes on to explain that just because someone is a member of Christ’s Church, does not mean that they are perfect; “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating on another.” (Titus 3:3) But Paul makes it clear that whether that was in the past or present, we can always better ourselves through Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for us. Paul urges the members of the church to “…avoid foolish questions… contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” (Titus 3:9) Essentially Paul is telling us that we should not argue over the scriptures, but rather put them into practice and follow Jesus Christ. We should not be judgmental of how others worship Christ, but instead worship Christ.

 

 

Titus 2

Titus 2: Saints Live Righteously

                Paul explains that as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, the Saints should; “…teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncoruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again.” (Titus 2:4-9)

Essentially Members of the Church, also known as “Saints” should teach their young to be clean, righteous, full of good works and to be sincere in doctrine and in life. Paul promises that if we refrain from ungodliness, we will overcome the world and live to see the “…glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

Titus 1

Titus 1: Eternal Life Promised before the World was

                Paul writes to Titus, and explains to him that eternal life was “…promised before the world began;” (Titus 1:2) Paul explains that a bishop has stewardship over the flock of God; “…a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine, not given to filthy lucre. But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort [urge] and convince the gainsayers.” (Titus 1:7-9)

Paul explains that a Bishop must be all of those things, because of men who try to change the truth and lead people away by the “…commandments of men…” (Titus 1:14) For these people “…profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable and disobedient…” (Titus 1:16)

Summary of 2 Timothy

Summary of 2 Timothy

The book of Second Timothy is a letter from Paul to Timothy on how to guide the Church. He writes one last time before his death.

In Chapters 1-2: Paul explains that he has been faithful and strong and invites all followers of Christ to also remain faithful and strong. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord.” (2 Timothy 1:7-8) He goes on to explain that those who follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ WILL “…endure hardness…” (2 Timothy 2:3) But that we need to strive for the goal, and follow all the rules on our journey to that goal. He warns those who deny Christ, will also be denied by Him. We need to be filled with “…righteousness, faith, charity [and] peace…” (2 Timothy 2:22)

In Chapters 3-4: Paul explains that there will come a time of great wickedness and war, where wise men will never come to the knowledge of the TRUTH! He urges people to study the scriptures and know for themselves of the TRUTH of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul tells Timothy to remain faithful and “preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Paul tells Timothy to press on and be faithful, for he knows that his time to depart this life is rapidly approaching.

2 Timothy 4

2 Timothy 4: Preach the Gospel

                Paul writes to Timothy and explains that he needs to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove [to disapprove of someone], rebuke [criticize], exhort [urge] with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:1) Paul tells Timothy sharply that he must be quick to preach and if necessary tell someone he is teaching that they are wrong, criticize their thinking and urge them to change their thinking using sound doctrine. At first thought one might think Paul is encouraging Timothy to go around and bash others beliefs and force the teachings of Jesus Christ on others. HOWEVER, I believe that Paul wrote to Timothy in this way to encourage him to work hard to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because Paul explains; “…the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itchy ears; And they shall turn away from the truth, and shall be turned into fables [A story that teaches a lesson or a false account].” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

What is Paul trying to say? He is telling Timothy to hurry and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because soon the people will not listen to the TRUE doctrine, because they will consume themselves in their own lusts and find teachers to tell them that what they are doing is ok.

In March of 1839, while in the jail at Liberty, Missouri; Joseph Smith received revelation which the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know as the 123rd Section of the  Doctrine and Covenants, verses 12-13 read;

“For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it – Therefore, that we should waster and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven.” (Doctrine and Covenants 123: 12-13) For this reason Paul urged Timothy to work hard to convince his fellow brother and sister of the truth!

Paul explains that he “…is now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)