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Monday, February 11, 2013

Role Models

Today I'm reading 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 from J. B. Philipps "The New Testament in Modern English"

1-2 My brothers, you know from your own experience that our visit to you was no failure. We had, as you also know, been treated abominably at Philippi, and we came on to you only because God gave us courage. We came to tell you the Gospel, whatever the opposition might be.
3-12 Our message to you is true, our motives are pure, our conduct is absolutely above board. We speak under the solemn sense of being trusted by God with the Gospel. We do not aim to please men, but to please God who knows us through and through. No one could ever say, as again you know, that we used flattery to conceal greedy motives, and God himself is witness to our honesty. We made no attempt to win honour from men, either from you or from anybody else, though I suppose as Christ’s own messengers we might have done so. Our attitude among you was one of tenderness, rather like that of a devoted nurse among her babies. Because we loved you, it was a joy to us to give you not only the Gospel of God but our very hearts—so dear did you become to us. Our struggles and hard work, my brothers, must still be fresh in your minds. Day and night we worked so that our preaching of the Gospel to you might not cost you a penny. You are witnesses, as is God himself, that our life among you believers was honest, straightforward and above criticism. You will remember how we dealt with each one of you personally, like a father with his own children, stimulating your faith and courage and giving you instruction. Our only object was to help you to live lives worthy of the God who has called you to share the splendour of his kingdom.

This has been one of my favorite passages in the Bible about how to conduct ministry. The character qualities that Paul and his team display in this passage are applicable to everyone who seeks to serve Christ in leadership. Just go through it and underline everything that you can learn about the Apostle Paul in these 8 verses. It's quite a list. 

Here's another tip for doing personal Bible study. Here are four questions that can be used on almost every passage of Scripture.  Get a notebook and write them out. 

1. Are there any commands to obey?
2. Are there any promises to claim?
3. Are there any examples to follow?
4. Are there any errors to avoid?

Not every passage will yield answers to each question, but usually one of the questions will hit home. In this passage the main question would be "Are there any examples to follow?" Paul's example is worth exploring.


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