2019 Study Summary 42: Be Thou an Example of the Believers
1 and 2 Timothy; Titus: Philemon
“Be Thou an Example of the Believers”
Counsel is given to teach true doctrine only—Christ came to save repentant sinners.
We should pray for all people—Christ is our Mediator—Women should dress modestly—Women are blessed in childbearing and are admonished to continue in faith, charity, and holiness.
Qualifications are given for bishops and deacons—Great is the mystery of godliness.
Paul describes the latter-day apostasy—Christ is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
Saints are to care for their worthy poor—Policies concerning elders are given.
The love of money is the root of all evil—Fight the good fight of faith—Do not trust in worldly riches.
Christ brings immortality and eternal life through the gospel—Be strong in the faith.
Christ gives eternal glory to the elect—Shun contention and seek godliness.
Paul describes the apostasy and perilous times of the last days—The scriptures guide man to salvation.
Paul gives a solemn charge to preach the gospel in a day of apostasy—Paul and all Saints are assured of exaltation.
Eternal life was promised before the world began—The qualifications of bishops are given—Unto the pure, all things are pure.
Saints should live righteously, deny ungodliness, and seek the Lord.
Saints must live righteously after baptism.
The gospel changes a servant into a brother.
Considering procedure versus purpose, how is my reading of the scriptures?
The beauty of this lesson may be in the consideration of the difference between procedure and purpose. Like the Jews practiced for thousands of years, some Latter-day Saints are very faithful in reading scriptures daily. In the course of daily prayers and reading of the scriptures, religious Jews will cover the entire Bible (Old Testament) in one year. These readings include some repetition of verses.
What is the real purpose of scripture reading?
In Judaism, there is an Akeda reading every morning during daily prayers. It is a reminder of Abraham’s and Isaac’s willingness to obey the Lord and perform the sacrifice of Isaac on Mount Moriah. The point here is the daily reminder of the imagery of the Father and the Son. All of our daily reading and prayers should have the same intent and purpose, the great deliverance—that brings us back to our Father in Heaven. “In the liturgy, readings from the Bible play a prominent role. The Shema as well as the Song of Moses after the crossing of the Red Sea are central to the daily morning service, and the prayers are studded with various selections from the Book of Psalms as well as verses from other Books.” “. . . the declaration of faith that every Jew is required to recite twice daily, reads: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” “On most weekdays, Tahanun is recited (including some scriptures, Psalms); on Mondays and Thursdays the Torah (first five books of Moses) is read. The service is concluded by the recitation of Aleinu le-Shabbe’ah and the daily Psalm.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Among many Jews, the daily reading and prayers were often used to ward off “the evil eye.” “Famous men, attractive women and newborn babies were thought to be in particular danger from the evil eye. Thus, the use of praise and the display of beauty, wealth, success and happiness were generally avoided.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What is my attitude about money?
The process of acquiring money versus the proper use of money has often been taught in the scriptures. Unfortunately, the Jews have often been maligned with the love of money. Karl Marx perpetuated the myth of greedy Jews. “Marx’s father Heinrich, whose original name was Hirschel ha-Levi, was the son of a rabbi and the descendant of many generations of Talmudic scholars. His brother was chief rabbi of Trier. Marx described his attitude to Jews and Judaism as one of “self-hatred.” At 15 he was confirmed a Protestant and became deeply attached to Christianity and to German culture. Marx associated Jews largely with greed, self-interest and love of money. He reveals a surprising ignorance of Jewish history and culture, and often refers to Jews as the symbol of financial power and capitalist mentality. This attitude did not protect Marx or his ideas from anti-Semitic attacks by his enemies. Ironically, the fascists and Nazis of the 1930s and 1940s used the term “Marxism” to denote a sinister worldwide “Jewish” plot against their national interests. Marx’s Jewish origins, though hinted at in Soviet encyclopedias up to the 1940s, were studiously concealed thereafter.” “In Jewish tradition, the lending of money to the needy is a moral obligation of extreme importance. It is an essential component of the mitzvah of zedakah (charity). Lending money is, of course, also a basic component of any business economy, but both in biblical and Talmudic law, no distinction is made between the two situations: no matter what the occasion, money lent by one Jew to another must not earn interest. Usury of even the most minimal amount is flatly prohibited by the Torah: “You shall not lend upon interest to your brother, interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of anything that is lent upon interest . . .” “This prohibition proved to be one of the most universally violated obligations of biblical law. The prophets repeatedly denounce “evil-doers” who oppress the poor by taking interest on loans, and this would seem to indicate that even in biblical times there were many who did not live up to this moral requirement imposed by the Torah.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What do my thoughts of fear and faith evident in my life?
Although the word “fear” is used often in the scriptures, it has two meanings. One meaning is opposite of faith. Fear is thinking and expecting what you “don’t want” while faith is thinking and expecting things you “do want.” “In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.” (Psalms 56:4) “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1)
What influences my purpose in life?
Just before he died, and on the eve of the Children of Israel’s entry into the Promised Land, Moses made a farewell speech to the Jews. In it, he reviewed their history and gave direction for their future. In one sentence (Deuteronomy 10:12) he summed up what the Bible considers to be the entire purpose of human existence: “And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God demand of you? Only this: to revere (fear) the Lord your God, to walk only in His paths, to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.”
How can “opposition” or “contradiction” help me understand God?
“The Hebrew word for “revere” is (yirah) which is usually translated as “fear,” and that for “love” is (aha’vah). These two concepts, although they may seem contradictory at first glance, are the essence of Judaism’s view of man’s attitude to God.” “The “fear” referred to is not the fright or scaredness which a person feels when he is confronted, for example, with a hungry lion. It is rather a feeling of awe or reverence felt when witnessing greatness or grandeur. The view of a major natural wonder, for instance, is breathtaking and inspires the beholder with awe. It is this kind of feeling that is meant by the “fear of God”; that is, awe at the thought of the infinity and greatness of God.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What is included in the concept of stealing?
According to the (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.), on the subject of theft, stealing, embezzlement, and purloining, Jewish law classifies the criminal act of theft or of robbery into seven broad categories: “1) fraud, that is, “stealing another person’s mind”; 2) stealing by way of falsifying weights and measures; 3) stealing objects that are useless or have no value; 4) misappropriating documents, land or property consecrated to the Temple; 5) stealing personal items of worth; 6) stealing animals (sheep or oxen) and then slaughtering or selling them; 7) stealing a person, that is, kidnaping.” “Each of these categories carries a different penalty, ranging from death in the case of kidnaping to the payment of a double fine in the case of the theft of a personal item of worth and of a fourfold or fivefold fine in the case of the theft and subsequent slaughtering or selling of an animal. The distinction in Jewish law between theft and robbery is a formal one — theft being defined as an act of stealing done clandestinely, while robbery is an act of stealing done openly and with force.” “Prohibitions against theft are scattered throughout the Torah, and the rabbis of the Talmud generally tended to see each as referring to a specific category of theft rather than as a prohibition against theft in general. Thus, the “Thou shalt not steal” of the Ten Commandments, because it appears in the context of prohibitions that carry the death penalty, was interpreted to be a reference to kidnaping, since that is the only type of theft punishable by death.”
How is biblical reparation of theft described?
“A thief who has been caught must, of course, return the objects he has stolen to their rightful owners. If he no longer has them in his possession, he must pay the value of the objects as they were assessed at the time of the robbery. The money to cover the value of the objects as well as for all the fines imposed, was drawn from the thief’s possessions and property. If, after selling all he owns, the thief manages to accumulate sufficient funds to cover the cost value of the objects, he is allowed to pay the fines in instalments. However, if his net worth does not cover the value of the stolen objects, the court has the right to sell him into slavery and use the proceeds to repay the victim. Women, however, were never sold into slavery.”
How is the value of a human life related to slavery?
“Stealing a human being for gain is a capital offense in the Bible. One verse (Exodus 21:16) says that kidnapping is to be punished by death under all circumstances. Another (verse) (Deuteronomy 24:7) states that the kidnapper should be put to death if he enslaved or sold his victim. The rabbis interpreted the verses to mean that kidnapping either a Jew or non-Jew is forbidden under all circumstances. But the death penalty is only applicable if the kidnapper actually exploited his victim as a slave or sold him in slavery. Of course, in order to convict there has to be testimony of valid witnesses. The eighth of the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt not steal” is understood by the sages to refer to kidnapping and not to ordinary theft which is prohibited elsewhere in the Torah.” “Since the prohibition against kidnapping applies to both Jews and non-Jews, slave-trading is absolutely forbidden according to Judaism. There can be no justification whatsoever for enslaving another person against his will.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
When is it alright to be a slave?
As a closing thought, in a very righteous sense, we are all “slaves of our God.” We have been bought and paid for. We should, therefore, show our willingness to serve Him through all of our activities and in all our thoughts and expressions. “And now, in the first place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. And secondly, he doth require that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast? And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.” (Mosiah 2:23-25)
What prompts us to be as Brother and Sister?
As we are adopted by our elder brother, the Son of God, we become brothers and sisters. We serve each other, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40) “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)