I have to admit, I don’t always agree with Paul. I have committed to submit my life to the Bible and even when it’s hard for me, I trust God and believe the best in Scripture. With that being said, sometimes Paul wears me down with how extreme, literal and intense he seems to be.
I love chapter 5 and what it says about the church. The church isn’t a building, but a family taking care of one another, a picture of how Christ cares for us. But Paul’s extreme rules annoy me. Like, was a lonely widow who was only 59 denied care by the church because of this letter? (5:9)
Here’s what I know: God has called me to love people unconditionally. The logistics of that are tricky and require a submission to prayer and deep discernment. Do I think, at the end of the day, Paul is instructing Timothy to turn away a widowed member of the early church because she didn’t meet the exact requirements? I don’t.
The church is a body made up of many parts, working all together to represent Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12). We need the rule-followers, the intense Paul-like leaders (read: enneagram 1’s). I’ve been in a lot of different Christian communities during my time in the church, and I am confident things would fall apart without them.
So why am I dragging you along for the emotional ups and downs of my opinions on Paul? I’m convinced processes like this are crucial to any relationship with the Bible. It can withstand our doubts, judgements, questions and pushback. It can be pulled apart, one word at a time, dissected and scrutinized. It has nothing to hide from us and always holds up.
Do you have a safe person you can discuss Scripture with? Someone who will welcome your questions and complaints, yet point you back to God’s truth?
What does it look like for us to study our Bibles, as opposed to just reading it?