There is a housekeeping vibe to Paul’s first letter to his co-worker Timothy. These are his last words before he meets his end at the hands of Emperor Nero and he has business to attend to. Timothy’s job is to carry on Paul’s work and he has his work cut out – the early church is under threat from new thinking that embellishes the original message of God. Not good. Timothy is no Paul and needs moral support in the form of this letter.
The vibe is one of putting people straight – Timothy has to stop the rot setting in and must set a good example of how a good Christian should live. Paul offers advice on the importance of avoiding tit for tat arguments, how men and women should worship, how church elders should behave and who should be on the receiving end of charity.
Paul’s second letter has a sadder, more sorrowful vibe. He has been abandoned by everyone except Luke and is in a prison cell waiting to die. He tells Timothy to embrace the vibes of righteousness, faith, love and peace and not to quarrel. He warns of the evil vibes that will reign in the last days before Jesus returns and urges Timothy to have nothing to do with ungodly people. He reminds Timothy of the negativity he endured on his travels and tells him that he too should expect a rough ride.
The vibe gets blacker before rallying again: the scriptures, Paul says, make people wise and help them to be rescued by Jesus but people will turn away from this message. However he is confident that he has done enough himself to get to Heaven. So a happy ending after all.
General vibe: Stick to the script.
Factvibe: ‘Filthy lucre’ gets its first mention in Paul’s letters to Timothy.