by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 1 Lincolnton, NC April 11, 2004
There is one difference between the Textus Receptus and the Nestle/Aland 26 in verse 12. The Textus Receptus has an "and" at the beginning of the sentence which the Nestle/Aland 26 does not have. The weight of this difference is very slight in that it only makes a change of subject more or less notable. The Nestle/Aland 26 is just slightly more abrupt without the connective "and".
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
12 I thank him that enabled me, even Christ Jesus our Lord, for that he counted me faithful, appointing me to his service;
1. Paul opens this paragraph with a statement of his gratitude toward Christ Jesus.
a. He characterizes Christ Jesus in two ways...
1) First, He is the One who empowered Paul.
2) Second, He is "our Lord".
b. The reason for his gratitude is that Christ Jesus...
1) Counted him faithful.
2) Put him into service.
2. It is clear from his focus upon "activity" that Paul was grateful to have been given his responsibilities.
a. The initial focus is upon "empowerment" [this is always unto activity of some kind].
b. The last phrase is "placing me into service" [this is the end result of being counted faithful].
3. That Paul is thankful indicates that he sees being "in service" as a weighty benefit.
a. Most people consider being "in service to God" as a weight to be endured.
1) If they accept the weight at all, it is generally with significant reluctance.
2) The obligations of "His service" are typically seen to be a "drag" on the experience of life.
b. Clearly Paul did not look at things the way most folks do.
1) He obviously thought that being "in service to Christ Jesus" would lead to a rather phenomenal experience of life down the road.
2) And because he looked at it that way, he experienced a rather phenomenal life in the present.
a) This raises the issue of just how absolutely crucial one's perceptions of his place in life are to his experience of life.
b) This illustrates how different one's experience of life is depending upon the attitude he/she takes toward his calling.
4. This issue of gratitude at this place in his letter to Timothy illustrates why Paul considered that thanklessness was such a big deal in Romans 1 (...neither were thankful...).
a. Everyone has a "place in life" and everyone has to deal with his/her attitude about that "place".
b. The "empowerment" for one's place in life is always sufficient unto that "place".
5. This brings us to "He counted me faithful"...
a. Paul seems to be saying here that Christ saw him as one who would be "faithful".
1) What does this mean?
a) First, it is not a comment on something "in" Paul as "naturally there" -- in my flesh is no good thing.
b) Second, it was very likely that it was a comment on the measure of grace that Jesus was going to impart to Paul as one whom He empowered.
c) The word translated "counted" has the idea inherent in it that one is "considering another's situation or character in a given way". It has overtones of "thinking of someone highly" as a person whose wishes should be taken into account. In this text, Paul says that Christ Jesus, thinking of the nature of the task before him, regarded Paul as one who would be faithful to that task. This is an enormously encouraging way of thinking: that Christ has confidence in His servant.
2) It should go without saying that Christ would not have put Paul into the particular kind of service that He chose for him if He had not determined that Paul would prove to be a good choice.
b. The tension of the Scripture between what God does to underwrite His agenda and what He permits men to do as they choose to act is omnipresent: men have the obligation to be faithful but fidelity to the difficult is not inherently in them except by the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus.