Theological error. Church tensions. Leadership challenges. Ministry responsibilities. These are just a few realities that can distract a church from its mission. Challenges and changes are inevitable in the life of the church. But for a church to be healthy, it must realize that God’s redemptive work through the gospel is central (in belief and practice).

One of the primary reasons we are studying through 1 Timothy is so that we can learn how to guard the gospel in the church in both our orthodoxy (doctrine) and orthopraxy (ethics). We are responsible for right beliefs and behaviors.

At Wilkesboro Baptist, we began this series on Sunday January 30. Our study through 1 Timothy will take us through the end of May. This pastoral epistle is good for our church.

But it is not to the ministry only that these Epistles are of so much value. They are of scarcely less importance to the church at large. Its vitality; its purity; its freedom from strife; its zeal and love and triumph in spreading the gospel, depend on the character of the ministry. If the church will prosper from age to age, the pulpit must be filled with a pious, learned, laborious, and devoted ministry, and one of the first cares of the church should be that such a ministry should be secured. This great object cannot better be attained than by keeping the instructions in these Epistles steadily before the minds of the members of the church; and though a large part of them is particularly adapted to the ministers of the gospel, yet the church itself can in no better way promote its own purity and prosperity than by a prayerful and attentive study of the Epistles to Timothy and Titus.

Albert Barnes, Commentary on 1 Timothy.

Our study through 1 Timothy will help us as church to prayerfully seek God’s blessing and direction for the ministries and mission of Wilkesboro Baptist Church. If you are not part of our church but would like to follow along in our study, check out the media page on our website. You can also follow along by subscribing to our podcasts.

I believe deeply in the value of theology for spiritual formation. In fact, the purpose of growing deeper in our understanding of God is to become more faithful followers of Jesus Christ. Our mission at Wilkesboro Baptist Church is to lead our neighbors and the nations to follow Jesus by worshiping, learning, serving, and replicating. Learning about Christ and about our beliefs and behaviors is a significant part of following Jesus.

In addition to our study through 1 Timothy, we are adjusting our church schedule beginning March 2022. Wednesday nights since Covid have been another worship service that we have recorded for our streaming platforms on Sundays. We’ll continue streaming on Sundays at 11 each week with some modifications to the service. We plan to record from the 8 am service and upload for those who are still watching and worshiping at home.

For Wednesday nights, we will go back to a doctrinal Bible study in our sanctuary at 6 pm. We’re calling it: Doctrine and Devotion: Theological Reflections for Spiritual Formation. Each week, we’ll look at a specific doctrine, find its biblical anchor, discuss its place in theology, and link it to devotional application. If you are able, we ask that you join us in person for this doctrinal study. If you are unable to join us, we plan to record and offer each week as a regular podcast.

Frank Sheed puts it this way:

A virtuous man may be ignorant, but ignorance is not a virtue. It would be a strange God Who could be loved better bay being known less. Love of God is not the same thing as knowledge of God; but if a man loves God knowing a little about Him, he should love God more from knowing more about Him: for every new thing known about God is a new reason for loving him.

Frank Sheed, Theology and Sanity (quoted by R. Kent Hughes and Bryan Chapell in 1-2 Timothy: Guard the Deposit).

The more we learn about the God who loves us, the better able we will be to love him and fulfill our church’s mission.