Truthfully Speaking

I Timothy 2:1-7 – The 18th Sunday after Pentecost – for Sunday, September 18, 2016

“I was appointed to be a preacher and apostle of this testimony—I’m telling the truth and I’m not lying! I’m a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” (I Timothy 2:7)

punctuation.2Imagine two people engaged in a conversation, with one pausing and then—with a raised voice—continuing with:

“Truthfully speaking,” he said.

Or: “To be frank with you,” she said.

Or maybe: “In all honesty,” he said.

Whenever those phrases are expressed, I inwardly cringe. Does this mean the speaker was deceitful until they added Truthfully and To be frank and Honestly?

Subtext defines most communication. How do you know a person means what they say? What lurks “between the lines?” When another claims to be truthful, are they emphasizing vulnerable openness or disguising real feelings?

1 Timothy 2:7 (CEB) declared: I was appointed to be a preacher and apostle of this testimony—I’m telling the truth and I’m not lying! I’m a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

For me a little red flag rose in the em dash1 after “testimony.” Why did Timothy’s author add that confession about “telling the truth?” Did the writer’s first century readers view him as a teller of tall tales? Or was the writer unknown to the readers and the phrase was added as a plea for trust? Continue reading →