2023 Study Summary 44: “BE THOU AN EXAMPLE OF THE BELIEVERS”
1 and 2 Thessalonians
“BE THOU AN EXAMPLE OF THE BELIEVERS”
1 Timothy 1. Counsel is given to teach true doctrine only—Christ came to save repentant sinners.
1 Timothy 2. 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.
1 Timothy 3. Qualifications are given for bishops and deacons—Great is the mystery of godliness.
1 Timothy 4, Paul describes the latter-day apostasy—Christ is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
1 Timothy 5. Saints are to care for their worthy poor—Policies concerning elders are given.
1 Timothy 6. The love of money is the root of all evil—Fight the good fight of faith—Do not trust in worldly riches.
2 Timothy 1. Christ brings immortality and eternal life through the gospel—Be strong in the faith.
2 Timothy 2. Christ gives eternal glory to the elect—Shun contention and seek godliness.
2 Timothy 3. Paul describes the apostasy and perilous times of the last days—The scriptures guide man to salvation.
2 Timothy 4. Paul gives a solemn charge to preach the gospel in a day of apostasy—Paul and all Saints are assured of exaltation.
Titus 1. Eternal life was promised before the world began—The qualifications of bishops are given—Unto the pure, all things are pure.
Titus2. Saints should live righteously, deny ungodliness, and seek the Lord.
Titus 3. Saints must live righteously after baptism.
Philemon 1. The gospel changes a servant into a brother.
How does the Holiness of Womanhood affect my life?
A godly woman is clothed in modestly and adorns herself with good deeds, professing worship of God” (1 Timothy 2:9–10). Righteous women see the vanity in allurements of the world “under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). A godly woman dismisses the lies that attractiveness, personal worth, and fulfillment are found in physical, external beauty. The godly woman’s affections are like her Savior, and she endeavors to follow His example of good works. Her focus is heavenly, and she adorns herself with godliness, instead of worldliness. The godly woman trains herself to overcome the world’s temptations as she exercises holiness. The godly woman constantly fills her mind with the truths of the Scriptures. She appeals to the Spirit of God to train her thoughts, attitudes, and words, reflecting those of her Lord. “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). The godly woman has “sincere faith” like Eunice and Lois (2 Timothy 1:5), kind, like Ruth (Ruth 1:8), lives righteously, as Elizabeth, (Luke 1:5–6), is of “noble character,” and follows the example of a virtuous woman referred to in (Proverbs 31:10–31). She shows good judgment, generosity, and prudence as shown by Abigail (1 Samuel 25).
How does purpose exceed procedure?
The beauty of these chapters 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. During daily prayers and reading scriptures, religious Jews will cover the entire Bible (Old Testament) in one year. These readings include some repetition of verses. There is an Akeda reading (God’s command to Abraham to offer Isaac) 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. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The point here is the daily reminder of the imagery of the Father and the Son. All our daily reading and prayers should have the same intent and purpose.
What do I do to keep the “Word of the Lord” central in my life?
“In the (Hebrew) liturgy, readings from the Bible play a prominent role. The Shema (Jewish prayer in (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) as well as the Song of Moses (Exodus 15, Psalms 90, Deuteronomy 32) 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.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) “On most weekdays, Tahanun (supplication prayer) 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 (our duty to praise God) and the daily Psalm.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) 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 do religious Jews do to keep “God’s word in front of them at all times?”
The Jewish biblical expression of keeping “God’s word in front of you at all times” is done by binding leather phylacteries (Tfillin) on the arm and forehead as well as on all Jewish doorposts (Mezuzah). These are the words in them: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) “There should be a mezuzah at the entrance to every home and on the doorpost of every living room within the home—this, of course, excludes lavatories, bathrooms, storerooms and stables. It is also customary to place mezuzot at the entrances to synagogues and public buildings, including all government offices in Israel. In Israel, a mezuzah must be put up immediately when a house is occupied by a Jew— outside Israel, after the householder has lived in the house for 30 days. If the house is later sold to Jews, the mezuzot must be left on the doorposts. Today the mezuzah represents one of Judaism’s most widely observed ceremonial commandments.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Keeping the word of the Lord before our eyes at all times is repeated in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, a dedication suitable for our homes as well: “And that this house may be a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory and of God, even thy house; That all the incomings of thy people, into this house, may be in the name of the Lord; That all their outgoings from this house may be in the name of the Lord. And that all their salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with holy hands, uplifted to the Most High;” (Doctrine & Covenants 109:16-19)
How do I relate to money and riches?
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. This myth was largely perpetuated by Karl Marx in his description 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.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How do I guide my use of money or wealth to bless others?
“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 (commandment, blessing) of zedakah (charity). Lending money is, of course, also a basic component of any business economy, but both in biblical and Talmudic (biblical Jewish) 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 . . .” (Deuteronomy 15:6) “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 is my understanding of “faith” and “fear?”
Although the word “fear” is used often in the scriptures, it has two meanings. One meaning is the opposite of faith. Fear is thinking about things what you “don’t want to happen” while faith is thinking about things you “do want to happen.” Additionally, faith in the Lord is thinking about things He wants to happen! “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) “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.” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, Psalms 119:3) “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.
What is a better understanding of “fear of God?”
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.) 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.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What does the Bible teach about theft?
“Prohibitions against theft are scattered throughout the Torah, and the rabbis of the Talmud (Jewish biblical interpretations) 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.” “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.” “Stealing a human being for gain is a capital offense in the Bible. One verse (Exodus 21:16) says that kidnaping is to be punished by death under all circumstances. Another (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 kidnaping 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 kidnaping and not to ordinary theft which is prohibited elsewhere in the Torah.” “Since the prohibition against kidnaping 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.)
What slavery is acceptable?
Consider a thought about slavery, 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)
How do I relate to “community?”
“Community of Israel” is the term used to describe the common responsibility, destiny, and kinship of all members of the Jewish people. The rabbis declared that “all Israel are responsible one for another” and sinners must be rebuked because the entire community is ultimately responsible for the sinner’s wrongdoings. The unity of the Jewish nation was considered an historic and spiritual concept, in addition to being a social reality. All generations of Jews (including converts to Judaism) were viewed as having been present at Mount Sinai and sharing in the responsibilities of the covenant with God. Likewise, the righteous of all generations will be reunited at the time of the resurrection of the dead during the messianic period. This concept of community and shared fate is referred to often in the Talmud with the terms kelal Yisrael and keneset Yisrael. (Jewish community as a whole).”
“World Jewish Congress (WJC), is an association of major Jewish organizations from more than 80 countries, whose aim is to “assure the survival and to foster the unity of the Jewish people.” “The activities of the World Jewish Congress included working on behalf of threatened Jewish communities such as those in Arab and communist countries; representing the Jewish world community in international organizations such as the United Nations, promoting inter-religious cooperation, and preserving Jewish identity in the face of the increasing trend towards assimilation . . .” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How is “family” the essence of humanity?
The family has always been the basic unifying element of the community of Israel. “Judaism considers the establishment of a family a holy task. Children are a gift from God and childlessness the greatest misfortune that could befall a marriage. The virtues of domestic bliss have been frequently extolled by the rabbis, and the close-knit Jewish family, where the home has been the center of religious practice and ceremony, has greatly helped the survival of Judaism and preserved the moral integrity of the Jews.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
What lifestyle was adopted as Israel began to birth into a modern nation?
Modern Jewish communities reflect some similar cooperative efforts as was done anciently. One such community structure is called the Kibbutz (from the Hebrew word for group). “Kibbutzim with similar ways of thinking often group together in federations, which save their member-villages money by purchasing for them all in bulk and arranging from one central office to sell all their crops. In addition, they cooperate with other kibbutzim in the same region, whether they share the same ideas or not, and together they are able to build central silos and arrange heavy transport. Likewise, the kibbutz associations have their own adult education courses, choirs, amateur orchestras, art collections, bulletins, publishing houses, and even their own teachers’ training college. Thousands of members of certain older kibbutzim, after completing their three-year army service, volunteer a year’s labor — unpaid, of course — in newer kibbutzim, in order to help them stand on their own feet.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) A similar unity and community bond can be seen in the scriptures. “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:44-47) “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” (Acts 4:32) “And they taught, and did minister one to another; and they had all things common among them, every man dealing justly, one with another.” (3 Nephi 26:19)
What should be central to human unity?
The valuable lesson that we can learn is that unity represented in the scriptures is always connected with a central belief and faith in the Lord. That focus assures a unity because His directive powers are the same for everyone. “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:6) “Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.” (1 Thessalonians 3:11) “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” (Alma 37:37) “And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.” (Doctrine and Covenants 43:8) “. . . you would not criticize a group of people who sought the same high ground in the midst of a flood; you would not see their presence in one place as an unintelligent act, for they came together in order to be saved. So it is here. Life here is life in a large, affectionate, and unified family. Love in a family does not diminish the freedom of each member thereof; our unity does not jeopardize our individuality. Undivided, we are multiplied. Being of one heart and one mind permits no divorce between knowing and feeling in the City of Enoch.” (Neal A. Maxwell, Of One Heart, p.51) A beautiful principle of Jewish unity can be sensed in the repeated prayers said when a “prayer circle” (minyan) is formed in Jewish ritual. The request for forgiveness should include all. “The rabbis placed great emphasis on the relationship of the individual to the community during prayer. Almost all prayers, for example, was written in the first-person plural –“Forgive us,” “Teach us,” “Bring us to our Land.” Although private prayer was certainly permitted, the individual was urged to join a congregation (minyan) when he prays and to incorporate the needs of the minyan in his prayers.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s concept of focusing on the Lord has promoted a unified way of community life that can still be expressed individually. The thirteenth Article of Faith reflects a unified lifestyle that reaches back to God’s initial instructions to all humankind.