He spent the morning reviewing the second letter of Paul to Timothy. Lots of gems but a few highlights from my notes,
- Paul needs people around him and he needs books to sustain him-2 Tim 4.9-13 (pastors who spend most of their time in the study need to get out amongst people)
- Some translations can cause us problems by presenting an unrealistic spirituality. Since we cannot reasonably claim to 'long for Christ's appearing' (2 Tim 4.8 NIV) as a daily experience, we can however claim to have, 'loved his appearing' (ESB). A subtle point but well observed.
- Paul's primary advice to Timothy was to 'keep his head' or remain 'sober (''be sober minded' 2Tim 4.5)'. A balancing act to think though in the light of Paul's injunction to the Ephesians to be 'not drunk with wine but to be filled with the Spirit'. This latter best understood as not a loss of control but rather to be 'under the influence of the Spirit.
- 'Most people's doubts are second hand'. A great observation about many of our friends and the views that they may hold about the 'unreasonableness' of Christianity. Dick pondered on this point in the light of the 'irreverent babble or godless chatter' of 2Tim 2.16.
- 'Fanaticism is as dangerous as liberalism'.
- Dick spoke of the danger of a 'superior' view of spirituality ('who say the resurrection has already happened' 2Tim 2.17), although Dick challenged the assumption made by others over his years of ministry, that he did not believe in God's ability to heal. Dick pointed out nonetheless, that oftentimes 'faith is shown most wonderfully when God says "No"'.
Perhaps his most useful comment was to me in personal conversation when he acknowledged that one of the great advantages of getting old is that people can tell you their most intimate problems and you forget what you have been told almost straight away. So confidences are preserved by default!
Long may he thrive.