The Quadrilateral

2 Timothy 1:9-10 – God is the one who rescued and equipped us with a holy calling. This wasn’t based on what we have done, but on his own gracious worldview that he gave us in Christ Jesus before time began. Now his grace is revealed through the appearance of Jesus Christ. He destroyed death and brought life for living into clear focus through the Good News.

These verses can be viewed as a summary of the Gospel of Paul; the Good News to humanity. Like bookends, standing on either side of this summary are Memories, a Maxim, and a Model. In 2 Timothy 1:1-14, then, we have the use of Tradition, Reason, and Experience to bring to life the truth of God, and the reality of God’s worldview, in the Scriptures – the Good News.

Paul uses Memory language (vs. 3-6) to speak to Timothy about the Scriptural Traditions of history, specifically Timothy’s mother and grandmother. For Paul, the Church (and Israel) should honor the Tradition of a good conscience, where the core of a person is not clouded with and confused by personal corruption; where the community lives out an authentic faith. A corrupted conscience carries a counterfeit religion of hypocrisy and pretense; a misleading appearance that conceals the brokenness rather than exposing it to healing.

Paul uses a Maxim (vs. 7) to express the Scriptural Reason of God and God’s worldview in humanity. Clearly, God did not give us a thought process that is driven by a weak, selfish character of fear and cowardice. That kind of thinking comes out of a corrupt conscience and a counterfeit religion. But God has given us a thought process out of God’s dynamic power and love, and the ability to think according to God’s Vision. If reality flows from God’s worldview, then our obsessive insecurities are not a rational perception of reality.

And Paul uses himself as a Model to be mimicked (vs. 8, 11-14). Scriptural Experience is a sharing of the sufferings for the Good News – the joint-suffering of discipleship. We are invited to experience the call of joint-service with another. You (personally) have been rescued by God, according to God’s worldview, to live a life of faith with others (corporately) as the Body of Christ. We are called to experience the faith of Christ lived out jointly in each other. Likewise, experience dictates that God guards the deposit He made in us. We (jointly) guard the treasure of life lived according to God’s worldview through Scriptural Tradition, Reason, and Experience.

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