“(Timothy) will remind you of the principles which I follow in the new life in union with Christ Jesus and which I teach in all the churches everywhere”.
1 Cor 4:17 GNB
The Christian community always has reference to the Bible and the guidance it gives when facing problems of belief and behaviour. Even so, most denominations still compile constitutions which spell out what shall be done, when and how it shall be done. And still individual Christian believers run into problems. So do individual congregations and whole denominations.
In Paul’s day there was no New Testament. Parts of it were in the course of being written but it would be another four hundred years before the present twenty seven books that make up the New Testament were declared to be part of the Bible. Paul was writing the Bible as he went along. And he had to think it all out as problems arose. Hence when he was away from a church the people there had no written documents to guide them. It is not surprising that Paul had constantly to go to places to answer questions and unravel problems. But he knew that Timothy understood that it was the new Christian life that was to be the centre point for resolving the difficulties. The principles would include – understanding the life of Jesus, making a clean break with the ways of the old religions, a strict adherence to sexual discipline, the discernment and prohibition of false teaching, the full divinity and humanity of Jesus, and worship and prayer.
Make sure that “the new life in Christ” is the standard in your Christian fellowship, that you pattern belief and behaviour on Jesus. And make sure love prevails in all things.
Lord, help me always to live “in Christ”.