Daily Reading

A feed containing today's WordLive Session.
  1. Prepare

    Thank God for faithful friends (Proverbs 18:24), the friendship of God (John 15:15) and the privilege of being a friend.

  2. Bible passage: 2 Corinthians 8:16–24

    Titus Sent to Corinth
     16I thank God, who put into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. 17For Titus not only welcomed our appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative. 18And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his service to the gospel. 19What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help. 20We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. 21For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men.

     22In addition, we are sending with them our brother who has often proved to us in many ways that he is zealous, and now even more so because of his great confidence in you. 23As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of the churches and an honor to Christ. 24Therefore show these men the proof of your love and the reason for our pride in you, so that the churches can see it.

  3. Explore

    Significant role
    Titus played a significant role in Paul’s close and diverse team. We know that he was Greek and a Gentile (Galatians 2:3). He later settled in Crete and became the senior leader in the church there. But at this stage in his life he acted as messenger, postman and intermediary for Paul.

    High esteem
    It isn’t just the words we say or write, but the tone in which they are delivered that makes so much difference. Maybe Titus was particularly sensitive in interpreting Paul, an intellectual Jew, to the earthy Gentile church in Corinth. Having delivered Paul’s ‘painful letter’ (see ch 7), Titus would deliver 2 Corinthians, a commission he eagerly accepted (v 17). He would probably read it aloud to the gathered church when he arrived, introducing his two companions who had been charged with overseeing the collection and ensuring that Paul cannot be accused of embezzling funds (v 20). Paul’s description of Titus as ‘my partner and fellow worker in your service’, and the distress he felt when separated from him (2:13), points to the high esteem in which he held him.

    Easier restoration
    Sometimes, involving a ‘Titus’ – one who can relate to both parties – makes the restoration of a relationship easier.

    Steve Silvester
  4. Respond

    Are you trying to sort out situations by yourself when God has provided someone to help or mediate? Or are you aware of a situation in which you could be a Titus?

  5. Deeper Bible study

    Clearly Paul expects our pattern of giving to be carefully considered rather than poorly thought through. The collection for Jerusalem was to be as prudently administered as it was carefully planned. Here is a challenge for us: our Christian giving is too often impulsive, rather than regular and thoughtful. It is fine to give on the spur of the moment sometimes, but the Bible holds up for us a model of weekly, systematic giving to gospel work (1 Cor 16:2). How do our practices compare?

    The snapshots we have of Paul’s companions give us pictures of what it means to be partners in the gospel. We see ‘enthusiasm’, a readiness to take ‘initiative’ (v 17) and godly zeal (v 22). Clearly, these are men of financial integrity, since they will be entrusted with a substantial sum. Here are ‘representatives’ who are truly an ‘honour to Christ’ (v 23). Sometimes people say, ‘It’s not what you do but who you are that counts’, but this is false. Of course, what we are is vital – the apostle is confident of the integrity and love of these men – but they are fellow workers: what they are is shown by what they do. They are ready to step out in faith and embark on a long and dangerous journey, with many potential pitfalls, to bring the collection safely to Jerusalem. They are men of action.

    We are called to grow in knowledge and love of our Lord, so that we become all that he wants us to be, but we have failed to appreciate the practical thrust of the Scriptures if this does not impel us onward and outwards in acts of service. Character and conduct alike are important for the people of God.

    Are we growing in character, as God’s word dwells in us and his Spirit fills us daily? (Col 3:16; Eph 5:18) Is this growth seen in acts of service, wherever God sends us?

    Rev Dr Peter Morden
  6. The power of giving

    Money is not only a touchy subject; it is a source of great temptation.

    The early church faced the problem (see Acts 5:1–11; 1 Timothy 6:10; Titus 1:11), and no age in Church history has been exempt. Too many have compromised their faith through an excessive desire for wealth or a lack of integrity in handling money.

    In the popular mind the Church is associated with demands for money and is often thought to be corrupt. None of us should feel that we are above such things (see 1 Corinthians 10:12).

    Proven integrity
    Paul uses trusted individuals who have proved their integrity, whose first concern is the gospel and who have earned the approval of others (v 18). In all that we do, and especially where the temptation is great, we must do all that we can to avoid any suggestion of improper behaviour.

    We are to be motivated by a desire to honour the Lord (v 19). Everything that we do is subject to his scrutiny and we aim to please him. We are also motivated by a desire to help others (v 19).

    Love thy neighbour
    Care for the poor and needy is a priority in both Old and New Testaments (see Leviticus 19:10; Acts 2:44,45). If we love our neighbours as we love ourselves (Mark 12:31), and focus on their needs and welfare, we are less likely to be tempted by personal gain. Every act of generosity helps to weaken the grip money has over us.

    Accountability
    Finally, we are driven by the desire to avoid criticism (v 20). We maintain the highest standards so that others will honour the Lord and discover his grace, goodness and truth. This means transparency and accountability in all that we do.

    Paul here makes himself accountable to the Corinthians despite their attitude towards him. We cannot choose to whom we will be accountable, for we are accountable to the whole Christian community and ultimately to God.

    John Grayston
  7. Teamwork

    Paul’s colleagues
    Paul believed in partnership:

    • At the start of his first journey, he was the junior partner, with Barnabas, who had been Paul’s mentor, taking the lead (Acts 13:1–12). Gradually Paul emerged as the natural leader, but the two worked side by side.

    • They stood together at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:1–35), arguing for the place of Gentiles within the church.

    • Paul then teamed up with Silas for his second and third missionary journeys.

    • Early on Paul spotted the potential of Timothy, who joined them (Acts 16:1–3).

    • In Corinth he worked with Priscilla and Aquila (Acts 18:1–4) who travelled with him to Ephesus (Acts 18:16–22). Meanwhile Silas and Timothy had been working in Macedonia (Acts 17:14) and joined up with Paul again in Corinth.

    • Many others appear on the scene: Epaphroditus, who risked his life (Philippians 2:25–27) and was imprisoned for his faith (Philemon 23); Luke who was present for some of the journeys in Acts; Titus and the whole list in Romans 16, among others.

    Paul as mentor
    These are the bare facts. What we see as we look more closely is Paul constantly encouraging and affirming. There is no one like Timothy (Philippians 2:20). John Mark, reconciled after the disagreement of Acts 13:13 is ‘useful’ in Paul’s ministry (2 Timothy 4:11).

    Working with others is rarely easy, as Paul found out – and so, no doubt, did those who worked with him! But he also knew that if we put in the effort the gains are great.

    He could not have achieved what he did without his helpers, named and unnamed. Nor will we achieve much for Christ if we insist on doing it all on our own.

    John Grayston
  8. Bible in a year

    Read the Bible in a year.

    Isaiah 47,48

    Hebrews 7
 

 

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