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According to some interpretations, the plural would indicate the divine "we" of the one Creator.


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This would be, in some way, a first distant trinitarian indication. In any event, according to the description of Genesis 1, man's creation is preceded by the Creator's "addressing" himself, ad intra, in this particular way. Then follows the act of creation. In this phrase, the triple use of the verb "created" bara , is striking. It seems to give a particular importance and "intensity" to the creative act.

It would appear that this same conclusion should also be drawn from the fact that, while each day of creation concludes with the observation: "God saw that is was good" cf. Gen , 10, 12, 18, 21, 25 , after the creation of man on the sixth day, it is said that "God saw everything that he had made and behold, it was very good" Gen The "Yahwist" account of Genesis 2 is the more ancient description.

It does not use the expression "image of God. Nonetheless, the Yahwist description presents the same truth, even though indirectly. It states that the man, created by God-Yahweh, while he had power to "name the animals" cf. Gen , did not find among all the creatures of the visible world "a helper fit for him. Although the account of Genesis 2 does not speak directly of the "image" of God, it presents some of its essential elements-the capacity of self-knowledge, the experience of man's own being in the world, the need to fill his solitude, his dependence on God.

These elements also indicate that man and woman are equal as regards nature and dignity. While man could not find in any creature "a helper fit for him," he finds such a "helper" in the woman created by God-Yahweh. According to Genesis , God calls the woman into being, by drawing her from the body of the man, from "one of his ribs. Both have the same dignity as persons, since both share the same nature. The truth about man created "in the image of God" is found also in other passages of Sacred Scripture, both in Genesis itself "God made man in his own image," , and in the Wisdom Books.

The Book of Wisdom says: "God created man for incorruption, and made him in the image of his own nature" In the Book of Sirach we read: "God created man out of earth, and turned him back to it again Man is created for immortality.

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He does not cease to be the image of God after sin, even though he is subjected to death. He bears in himself the reflection of God's power, which is manifested especially in the faculty of intelligence and free will. Man is an autonomous subject. He is the source of his own actions, while maintaining the characteristics of dependence on God, the Creator ontological contingency. After the creation of man, male and female, the Creator "blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds Creation in the image of God is the basis of the dominion over the other creatures in the visible world, which are called into being in view of man and "for him.

The people deriving their origin from the first man and woman share in the dominion spoken of in Genesis The Yahwist account also alludes to it Gen We shall have occasion to return to this narrative later. In transmitting life to their children, man and woman convey to them the inheritance of that "image of God" conferred on the first man in the moment of his creation. In this way man becomes a particular expression of the glory of the Creator.

The leader must not only faithfully nurture and direct the church but also pay careful attention to personal piety. A healthy church depends on healthy ministers whose ministry and personal life reflect equally the power of God. Paul emphasizes the weight of this dual responsibility by closing the letter as he opened it, with a solemn charge to Timothy in the presence of God. The dangers of unfaithfulness, both to the leader and to the church, have been graphically spelled out in the interplay between descriptions of false teacher and faithful minister throughout the letter.

Now, as the final contrast is made, the clarion call to faithful service resounds.

The shape and tone of the text suggest that Paul may have adapted a formal ordination or baptismal charge for emphasis. But again, although the focus in this passage is on leaders, the instructions Paul gives apply to us all. Personal Holiness The calling to serve God is a calling to a position of special honor.

In so doing, he sets the minister apart as one having a special relationship with and an origin in God.

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The minister is God's special representative, one whom God has personally chosen and sent. And God's expectations of those with a high calling are great.


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  7. There can be no compromise in the Christian leader's lifestyle. Against the backdrop of spiritual defection, Paul makes this clear in the flee. This traditional formula of exhortation 2 Tim compels the readers to "escape" from the dangers of sin in this case, the way of the false teachers in , all this to pursue a righteous life compare 2 Tim The tone is that of an emergency. Both flight and pursuit, however, require not only a conscious decision but also a sustained, lifelong effort; the emergency ends only with the appearance of Christ The object of pursuit is a balanced spiritual life.

    It is described with a list of virtues that throughout these letters stand for marks of genuine faith ; 2 Tim ; ; compare Gal ; Phil The purpose of this list is to provide poetic impact more than precise description. Nevertheless, the items included give ample direction for the Christian life.

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    The first four terms, righteousness, godliness, faith and love, depict the new life of faith in contrast to the perverse behavior of the false teachers Righteousness means observable "uprightness," a life in accordance with God's values. Godliness is Paul's term for the whole of the Christian experience, the vertical posture of faith and its horizontal, visible outworking in life see notes on It appears in this list it is not in the others because the heretics' false notions about it were mentioned in Faith and love see ; notes on depict these two dimensions of genuine Christianity, a balance of personal faith and correct doctrine and works done in the power of the Spirit.

    The final two items anticipate the charge to ministry v. Endurance is the "won't quit" determination of God's servants in the face of opposition to the gospel 2 Tim ; compare , Gentleness is an attitude of patient, gentle composure that encourages the repentance of the unbeliever and the apostate 2 Tim ; Tit The six virtues together describe the lifestyle of balanced spirituality that ought to characterize the Christian.

    A Christian leader must be a model of these things.

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    A holistic portrait, it encompasses one's walk with God and disposition toward unbelievers. Are these standards impossibly high? If we think in terms of human effort, yes; but with the high calling to ministry also go vast resources for godly living. The charge issued in is repeated here. Paul has changed the metaphor, however, from ministry in terms of a military struggle to ministry in terms of an athletic contest see also 2 Tim Thus the need for perseverance, sustained effort and training dominate in this charge compare 1 Cor ; 2 Tim Like a skillful coach, Paul supplies ample motivation for maintaining the struggle.

    Eternal reward Especially for the minister, to "finish the race" is no mere option. The command tone take hold reminds us of the real element of human responsibility in the salvation process, as it also implies the real possibility of success. Though the cost is great, the Christian leader can arrive at the goal of personal salvation, eternal life. But while the athletic imagery emphasizes the human side, it is the prior action of "calling" that establishes the believer's future success.

    In the passive, the verb refers clearly to God's call to eternal life. Yet as we have just seen, divine sovereignty does not preclude human responsibility. Timothy had an obligation to participate in his salvation. We too must view faithful Christian living and service, in whatever context God places us, as our necessary responsibility to God.

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    Past promises The Greek sentence continues without a break, and attention shifts to Timothy's past commitment to God. It may be as the NIV interprets it that the phrase good confession in the presence of many witnesses relates directly to God's calling to eternal life , indicating the time when realization of this occurred. In this case, the event in mind would probably be Timothy's baptism.

    However, the phrase may be linked more directly to the parallel commands to fight and to take hold, making the event grounds for obedience to those ministerial commands. In this case, the allusion would be to a commissioning ceremony of some sort. The two ceremonies would have been similar in tone, each including a confession of faith, a charge and a vow of commitment. To judge from the ministry context here and probable allusions to the event elsewhere ; , Paul may have had in mind Timothy's commissioning similar to the more modern ordination.

    Then his reasoning is that the two commands of verse 12 are in keeping with the promises of God's selection of one for ministry. The ceremony that bound the congregation to acknowledge the authority of the new minister also bound the minister to faithful service. Today the binding force of one's word is often questioned, but before God that is not so.

    The minister's pledge to serve must not be taken lightly. But it takes discipline as well as forceful reminders from coworkers or from God's Spirit to bring us back to first promises that bind. Yet what the servant must recall are not only human commitments to God but also God's commitments to his servants. Present promises This comes more clearly into view as Paul reminds Timothy of his present situation. Christian service is not something God initiates, like the christening of a ship, then leaves to run its own course. It begins with God's choice and continues in his presence and fellowship.

    So when Paul repeats the solemn charge, which begins in verse 13 and ends in verse 14, he emphasizes Timothy's continuing fellowship with God and Christ. In this fellowship, too, obligation and promise are combined. To be in the sight of God ; 2 Tim is cause for reverent fear.

    The Hebrews were terrified of God's presence, which, as Moses explained, was to keep them from sinning Ex But God's presence meant for them also his faithful care--guidance, food, clothing Deut And the description of God as life-giver means the same for Paul's readers.