Exegetical extras: Timid Timothy?

Exegetical extras are interesting facts about or alternative interpretations of a particular Scripture passage. They’re here for interest value or to stretch our thinking. Just because something appears here doesn’t mean I’m persuaded it’s correct, just intrigued… Exegetical extras will be posted whenever I come across something interesting. And maybe a bit too nerdy for most.  

I don’t know if you’ve come across the conventional wisdom that Timothy was a bit timid. That’s the view of most commentaries. Why? Take a look at Paul’s second letter to Timothy:

2 Tim 1:7-8  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.

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Exegetical extras: Give back to Caesar

Exegetical extras are interesting facts about or alternative interpretations of a particular Scripture passage. They’re here for interest value or to stretch our thinking. Just because something appears here doesn’t mean I’m persuaded it’s correct, just intrigued… Exegetical extras will be posted whenever I come across something interesting. 

Take a look at the well-known confrontation of Jesus and the Pharisees in Matt 22:15-22. This is an “honour challenge” in which the Pharisees try to trap Jesus. They ask him whether it’s right to pay the imperial tax, thinking that whatever answer Jesus gives he’ll lose. If he says “no,” they have evidence to take to Pilate that he’s anti-Rome. If he says “yes,” then the crowds will be less-than-impressed, as they had been seeing Jesus as a Messiah figure – and top of the list for any Messiah was to get rid of the Roman overlords!

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Exegetical extras: Paul and Seneca

Exegetical extras are interesting facts about or alternative interpretations of a particular Scripture passage. They’re here for interest value or to stretch our thinking. Just because something appears here doesn’t mean I’m persuaded it’s correct, just intrigued… Exegetical extras will be posted whenever I come across something interesting. 

The Stoic philosopher Seneca represents possibly the height of Greek and Roman ethical idealism. Writing at about the same time as the apostle Paul, he urged people to live up to the highest ideals of virtuous behaviour. One such ideal was that of putting oneself at risk for the sake of another. He writes this:

If a man be worthy I would defend him even with my blood, and would share his perils. (On Benefits, 1.10.6)
I must help him who is perishing, yet so that I do not perish myself, unless by so doing I can save a great man or a great cause. (2.15)

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