Tuesdays in 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Introduction

Have you ever felt inadequate to finish the race? You started out strong, but the competition is fierce, and you feel like you don’t have what it takes to finish. You’ve gone farther than most and maybe this is good enough for you. Paul tells Timothy, that’s not enough. The word of truth deep within him is for more than just his own salvation. It is all that he needs to finish well and lead others to salvation and holiness.

Last week, Mary pointed out Paul’s deep commitment and love for Timothy in how he helps him prepare for the dark days ahead. Paul describes the characteristics of the people; warning Timothy not assimilate with them. And, despite the growing darkness, God’s will is still sovereign and his plans unchanged. Like today, the self-centered culture was repulsive. I would have also been tempted to disengage. But Paul encourages Timothy that he must continue the race, and he has all he needs to finish well.

Scripture

2 Timothy 3:10-17  “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings–what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Observation – what does the passage say?

• Paul reminds Timothy that he has seen Paul’s life, his faith in action, many persecutions and deliverance from them all.
• Not just Paul, but everyone who follows Christ will be persecuted.
• Evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse.
• The Holy Scriptures will make you wise not only for salvation but also for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
• The Holy Scriptures completely equip the servant of God for every good work.

Can you find a few other observations? Please consider sharing them in the comment section below so we can continue to learn from each other.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Paul provided warning, reminders and encouragement to Timothy. Paul warns Timothy that he and all who desire to follow God will face persecution and evil will increase. Paul points to his perils and his Deliverer, reminding Timothy that “the Lord rescued me from all of them.” Paul is inviting Timothy to face persecution with confidence.

Most importantly, Paul reminds Timothy that the Holy Scriptures are not only for his own salvation, but they equip him to chase after the lost, lead them to salvation, stand against evil, correct and train in righteousness. Timothy can’t stop now. His work is incomplete. He has all that he needs to continue in God’s Scripture, which is “God-breathed”.  Let’s take a closer look into what that means.

According to Dr. Constable’s commentary, Sonic Light, “All Scripture,” is divinely “inspired” (Gr. theopneustos, lit. “God-breathed,” cf. 2 Pet 1:21). This fact in itself should be adequate reason for proclaiming it. It does not merely contain the Word of God, or become the Word of God under certain conditions. It is God’s Word, the expression of His Person (heart, mind, will, etc.).

Take a few minutes to follow the link to read an online commentary called Sonic Light by a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. Include a few sentences in your notes describing the meaning of the passage after reading the scripture and gleaning insights from the commentary. Consider sharing your insights describing the meaning of the passage in the comments section too.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

This letter from Paul is God-breathed, it is the expression of God’s heart, mind and will, not only for Timothy, but for you and me.  Will you go on a journey with me and let it come alive?  Let’s open your letter.

A letter from Paul to you:

Dear [insert your name],

Remember my story, my teachings, my faith, my hard-headed perseverance through many near-death perils and most amazingly, my deliverance from them all. I see what you are enduring. I know it’s hard to stand for righteousness. I know it hurts emotionally and sometimes physically. I understand your frustration when you see evil increase and applauded in this life. It’s hard when friends turn their backs and wrong wins. I know how weary you feel.

I also know your faith in the word of God and I know the temptation to receive salvation for yourself and let the world go. What you hold inside is beautiful. You hold in your heart the very heart of God. Why continue to share beauty for them to defame, reject and spit upon? I feel the accusations.  Blasphemy still rings in my ears and rattles my soul. Let it rattle yours. You are fully equipped to finish well and lead others to salvation and holiness.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. You were saved to serve. I know you won’t turn your back on the lost, even when you feel inadequate. Stand against it, empowered by the wisdom of The King. He’s got you!

In His Unfailing Love,
Paul

What do you think of Paul’s letter to you?

Tuesdays in II Timothy 3:1-9

Introduction

As I continue to read II Timothy, Paul’s deep commitment and love for his friend, Timothy blows me away. He cuts to the heart of what is most important for Timothy to hear by sharing truth to help prepare him the best that he knew how for the dark days ahead. What are the top qualities that characterize your good friends? Do you have on your list: share truth and help equip you to deal with the challenges in life with God’s strength and His Spirit? Would you say most of your friends agree with you or challenge you?

About a month ago I had a conversation with a friend about how she has noticed that she attracts a certain type of person as a friend. Many of these friendships are very difficult and have ended. She wants to figure out why she attracts them. I asked her: What are you looking for in a friend? She said that she had not seriously thought about it. I would encourage you to take some time to think about it and make a list.

Looking back at the end of chapter 2, Paul knew Timothy needed the encouragement to interact with gentleness and humility in those dark days that he speaks about in chapter 3. Let’s see what Paul has to say in chapter 3.

Scripture

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Observation – what does the passage say?

  • Paul gives Timothy instruction about the terrible times in the last days. (v. 1).
  • Paul lists 18 characteristics of humanity in the last days: lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (vv. 2-4)
  • The last characteristic of humanity is that they will have a form of godliness but deny its power. Paul says to have nothing to do with them. (v. 5)
  • Paul warns against the false teachers whom he described above who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women loaded down by sin. (v. 6a)
  • These women are swayed by evil desires (v. 6b) and are learning false teaching but not learning the truth of God. (v. 7)
  • Like these magicians, Jannes and Jambres who opposed Moses, the false teacher’s folly will be clear to everyone (vv. 8-9).

Can you find a few other observations? Please consider sharing them in the comment section below as we always learn so much from one another.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Paul begins his third chapter of 2 Timothy with a chilling account of the days ahead as he refers to the “last days.” Not wanting his dear friend to be unaware and fall prey to temptation, instead he reminds Timothy that God is still sovereign and His plans are moving forward despite the darkness burgeoning in culture. In the Old Testament, Isaiah 2:2, Micah 4:1, and Joel 2:28 refer to “the last days.” On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:17, Peter quotes Joel 2:28 affirming that the era of the “the last days” are inaugurated from Jesus’ death until He returns. In Philippians 1:6, Paul says “the last days” will continue until Christ’s return.

In verses 2-4, Paul lists 18 characteristics of humanity in those last days. From reading the list, none of the characteristics are new, just watch the news or talk to a friend. So, why does Paul have this seemingly common list here? The intensity and prevalence of these characteristics will spread like a fire or cancer through our bodies, homes, children, schools, communities, and governments.

As noted by Dr. Constable in his commentary, Sonic Light on 2 Timothy, the list of characteristics in verses 2-4 begins and ends with two groups of two words expressing misdirected loves. Then two groups with three terms focus on pride, hostility towards others, and unwillingness to reconcile with one another. The seventh through fourteenth characteristics begin with “a” prefix in Greek, and this prefix negates the word. Instead of becoming lovers of God, they have become lovers of themselves. In verse 5 Paul says that these people described in verses 2-4 will claim to be religious. They will say that they know God, but they do not believe in Jesus or believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. The last part of verse 5 is very important. Paul does not say: never talk to people who demonstrate these characteristics. Otherwise, we would be avoiding everyone. He is saying avoid associating very closely with those whose lifestyle and actions are overcome with these vices. Remember this letter is all about instructing Timothy in his ministry and encouraging him in his faith. Paul is saying by all means share the gospel and love these people.

Then in verses 6-7 he addresses the issue of false teachers gaining access to homes through weak-willed women. Please do not think that the Bible is saying women are weak, or Paul is suggesting women are weak. Also, Paul is not describing all women; instead he is exposing the manipulation of these male false teachers in Ephesus who target women. Women who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by evil desires are the most vulnerable. A women loaded down with sin might be one who continues to give into her jealousy, greed, ambition, or seduction. Paul is saying when these passions have so infiltrated your lifestyle, you have become a slave to them. Our culture celebrates living according to your natural desires, while the Bible celebrates living according to healthy desires and redirecting our desires towards Jesus that He might change unhealthy desires and reorder good desires.

Lastly, in vv. 8-9 Paul mentions the magicians, Jannes and Jambres who opposed Moses in the plagues (Ex. 7:11; 9:11) to point out the fate of these false teachers. Like these magicians who opposed truth, these false teachers opposed God’s truth, and their foolishness will be evident when their power is inadequate.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

* How am I a lover of myself above God?

* What sin continues to sway me away from God?

* Spend time confessing my sin and ask for God’s help. Seek instruction and direction in how to develop specific tools to fight that sin.

* Thank a few of my friends who encourage me spiritually and prepare me for the days ahead. I love you and thank God for you!

After sharing how God’s Word is impacting my heart, let me ask you:

  • How are you a lover of yourself above God?
  • What sin is loading you down or swaying you?
  • Talk time to unload your sins with Jesus.
  • Ask God to help you not deny His truth and to change your misdirected loves.

– Mary Carmen

Tuesdays in II Timothy 2:24-26

Introduction

In June and July we dug into the first and second chapters of II Timothy. We are half way through Paul’s final thoughts before he departed this sin ridden world and entered the untainted presence of his Lord! Sister, our prayer is that you are absorbing the treasure of God’s Word as you observe, interpret, and apply with us. Paul’s opening to his letter gives a glimpse of his kindred journey with Timothy while Paul urges him to carry on the divine calling entrusted in the Gospel. In chapter two Paul paints pictures of the attitude and focus required as a servant of the Lord – soldier, athlete, farmer, vessel – while also explaining the reward of perseverance in this life and the next. Last week Courtney reflected on using our giftedness and capacity for the Lord’s purposes, reminding us of the open invitation to pursue the Lord’s cleansing and receive His forgiveness when we are off track. An overarching theme in chapter two is to avoid distraction and the world’s chatter. Now let’s turn to Paul’s thoughts which tie up chapter two.

Scripture

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.  II Timothy 2:24-26

Observation – what does the passage say?

  • Contrast – the Lord’s servant is kind, not resentful versus contentious
  • Cause and Effect – opponents are dealt with gently in the hope that they will repent
  • Cause and Effect – repentance results in knowing the truth and escaping from evil
  • Contrast – coming to one’s senses versus being captive
  • Cause and Effect – the traps of the devil cause people to do his will

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Believers are to interact with those who oppose the truths of the faith and are caught in sin and error with gentleness and humility. Galatians 1:6 and I Peter 3:15 speak to gentleness and respect as the believer corrects a believer or explains the hope he or she has in Christ to an unbeliever. The motive in having these conversations is the hope that the person will understand what it means to be a true follower of Jesus. This means resisting the temptation to be right, put the person in his/her place, or have the last word. Prayer for the person to change his/her mind, or repent, and to be delivered from being a tool for the devil is paramount. God’s passion is for all to come to the knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). The reality of the devil plotting traps and snares to take people captive to do his will stands out as a sobering reminder of the unseen battle.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

*The mystery of God’s sovereignty and man’s choice in turning to Christ is a discussion that’s been debated for centuries among respected scholars. For our purposes we can remember that our part is to not shy away from interactions with those who oppose or stray but instead engage the person with gentleness. Pray for God to give you a spirit of wisdom, boldness, and meekness as you relate.

*How important is it to you to be right? I ask this because I struggle with wanting to be right. I remind myself to give up my “right” to be right.

*Praise God for being the One who can bring people to their senses and deliver them from doing the will of the devil – including giving you and me eyes to see. Think of a person or people you can pray for in regard to God’s work in their heart.

*Next week Mary Carmen will guide us through II Timothy 3:1-9. I encourage you to get a jumpstart and come up with observations before next Tuesday. As an incentive, share one of your observation in the comments below on next Tuesday’s passage and you will be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my study Capture My Heart, Lord. It’s not a problem if you have the same observation below as another sister as we trust we are looking at the passage for ourselves AND coming to similar conclusions. A drawing will be held next Monday so get on those observations this week and let me know how it’s going!

~Laura

Faith to Move Forward

“Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come, it will not delay…  the righteous person will live by faith.” Habakkuk 2:4

Habakkuk and I share a similar rhythm of berating God with our questions and doubts, then receiving a divine response full of grace and long-suffering patience. Talk about humbling!  I have been in a season of pleading with God to move in my ministry much like Habakkuk was pleading with God to move on behalf of his people. I want him to move now, right this minute, in ways that I can see and feel. I want the results and success today and am frustrated by his perceived inefficiency. I want to see him reconcile injustice and solve problems created by generations of conflict by Friday. I want a booming ministry that is respected and thriving by July, and am confused why it is taking so long for the Lord to “get on it.”

Have you found yourself in a similar season?

We look around us and do not see the Lord’s hand, but a bleak future and painful present. It is unclear where the Lord is leading and uncertain what to do in the day to day. Confusion comes in waves as we survey the grey fog that seems to have descended into the landscape of our lives. The questions pile up, the doubts roll in, and the anxiety takes over. We either become too paralyzed to proceed, or we maneuver our way to the pilot seat of our lives, taking over where we feel God is absent.

Slow down, take a deep breath, for the Lord is on the throne.

The Lord is full of long-suffering patience for his people — for you and for me. He is patient with us in our questions and angst. He is not offended by our angry demands, honest doubts or self- centered plans. He answers Habakkuk and me with the same everlasting patience and compassion. He knows our eyes are not on eternity but what we can see right in front of us.

His pace is perfect. He leads with everlasting purpose in the grind of the day to day. God’s story is bigger than our story. God is moving in the present with the vision of eternity. He is reconciling all things to himself in his perfect timing. You and I are invited in to what God is doing if we will engage with what he is working on today. He is with us in the small tasks, the small moments, the small failures, the small victories. The small of today is part of a much bigger story, one spanning generations.

What is the next best thing you can do today with the information you currently have? It may be small, it may feel like moving in the dark, but by taking just one small step forward you are telling God, “I trust you when I cannot see.” You can have confidence that God has equipped you to make a decision in this moment. You can trust that the Lord is sovereign and will protect you if it goes poorly- a fear that often binds me. Moving forward does not mean you always have the right answer or direction but it does mean you start taking steps. We can move forward despite the unknown because we serve the One who does know. The Lord will move. He will come with the swiftness of the wind, the strength of heaven, and the splendor of fire. He will come.

Being an idealist, I struggle seeing the concrete steps I can take to solve a complex issue crowding my head space. I get lost in the ideal solution and subsequent confusion and need help breaking down the problem into actionable steps. I am learning to chip away at the mountain in front of me through the daily discipline of accomplishing the simple, small tasks of the present day.  I get up, go for a run, then go line by line down my prioritized task list repeating with every step “There is no need to panic when God is in control.” This way when the anxiety rushes in and threatens to overtake my day, I am not consumed because the Lord is with me in executing the next step.

There were once two farmers who desperately needed rain. Both of them pleaded with the Lord for the rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive the rain. Which one do you think had faith? The one who got up and trusted that Lord would provide. Go out today and prepare your fields: make a list of three steps you can take today, then rest in the confidence that the Lord will bring the rain. Let us be a people who have the faith to move forward!

Sacred Story is honored to have Emma Abernathy as a guest contributor. Her passion to make an impact in this generation through the timeless truth of The Gospel led her to serve on staff with Young Life, a high school outreach ministry. Emma is a graduate from the University of Texas and will begin studying this fall at Dallas Theological Seminary. She and her husband Nathan live in Houston, TX and enjoy backpacking (not in Houston) with high school students, reading, and watching political dramas.

 

 

 

Tuesdays in II Timothy 2:20-23

Introduction

Last week Brandi reminded us that we need the foundational truths of the Gospel to be firmly rooted in our hearts. What we experience now has consequences later, both in this life and the one to come. If we are in Christ we always have hope. We must remind ourselves and each other of the truth and not fall prey to the “godless chatter” or “irreverent babble” that goes on around us continually.

This week Paul urges Timothy to be the most useful he can be for the kingdom and avoid the temptations and pitfalls that would hinder his effectiveness.

Scripture

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.

Observation – what does the passage say?

vs.20-21:

-Paul uses a metaphor of a “great house.”

-He mentions vessels of gold and silver contrasted with vessels of wood and clay.

-He contrasts honorable use and dishonorable use.

-Paul encourages being cleansed of what is dishonorable in order to become honorable.

-Honorable use is described as: set apart as holy, useful to the master, ready for every good work.

vs.22-23:

-Commands: 1) flee youthful passions, 2) pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace;  3) do these things alongside others who call on the Lord with a pure heart

-Warning: have nothing to do with foolish/stupid arguments = quarrels

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

After imploring Timothy to cling to truth and what is trustworthy, He stops to use a metaphor to illustrate His point. Paul mentions in vs. 20-21 “vessels” in a “large” or “great house.” Dr. Constable in his commentary Sonic Light explains the large house as the church (based on his context in 1 Tim. 3:15) and the vessels as faithful and unfaithful Christians.

Not all Christians are useful in the same way. Some Christians Paul was referring to were turning from the truth and quarreling. This, in turn, was leading others astray. These Christians were not fit to be useful in the kingdom because they were distracted by wrong things. They were not “vessels for honorable use.” However, Paul’s encouragement was to “cleanse themselves” so that they could become set apart, useful, ready for every good work.

This would involve confession, repentance and pursuing the truth by repenting–fleeing evil desires and pursuing righteousness, faith, love and peace. The key here is “along with.” There were those who were pursuing truth and Paul exhorts Timothy to run alongside others who were desiring the right things while turning from the wrong things.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

When you read through verses 20-21, the tendency is to ask: “What kind of vessel am I? Honorable or dishonorable? Am I made of gold or silver? Wood or clay?” This is when Bible study methods is so critical. We can’t jump right to application without first looking at context and the overall message Paul teaching Timothy.

In looking at the context, Paul is imploring Timothy to realize that all believers have the capacity and giftedness to be useful to the Lord. We all have the same opportunity to be greatly used by the Lord. The key is whether or not we are going to faithfully pursue the truth and turn from what is evil. When we get off track and turn from the truth, we are limited in the ways God can use us; however, the wonderful promise in v. 21 is that those who cleanse themselves (turn, repent, confess) can become useful once again. We all get distracted, side-tracked and turn from the Lord at times. The Lord always stands ready to forgive and make us useful once again as gold and silver vessels. We have a Loving Father and it is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4) and true life (John 10:10).

As we seek to live fruitful, obedient lives grounded in the truth, we must turn from evil desires and turn toward the pursuit of righteousness, faith, love and peace. It is not enough to turn from the wrong things. We must pursue the right things. All of this is impossible on our own. God gives us His Holy Spirit and the community of other believers so that we can encourage each other and spur one another on (Heb. 10: 24).

It is comforting to know that God wants to use each one of us uniquely for His purposes. Our gifts and talents look different but they are all useful. Our job is to walk faithfully with the Lord with truth as our guide so we can point others to true life found in Christ. There will always be temptations to walk away from the truth by believing the lies of the world. Let’s encourage each other to run hard after the Lord.

1) Spend time asking the Lord to reveal any area of your life that is not honoring Him. Is it a sinful behavior, your thought life, paralyzing fear? Confess these sins to the Lord and ask Him to make you useful (honorable) for His glory.

2) How practically can you pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace? How are you currently pursuing these things with others  (through friendship, a Bible study, your church community)?

Let’s continue to walk in the truth together!

~Courtney

 

Tuesdays in II Timothy Chapter 1:11-19

Introduction

Have you ever had a friend remind you of who you and urge you on towards your destiny with the very words you have used to encourage others? This Tuesday with Timothy, Paul does just that. He uses very familiar and trustworthy sayings to remind Timothy why the journey is worth it, that he will make it even if his faith fails, because he is sealed and compelled by a greater love that never fails.

Last week, Mary Carmen showed us how Timothy is not alone in his suffering. Paul encouraged Timothy like a good friend saying, “I have been there too.” This week Paul is pointing Timothy towards his eternal prize and how perseverance here impacts eternity. He has a great reward at stake. When the journey gets tough, as they all do, we need to be reminded of deep, familiar foundational truth. We must silence and turn away the temporary noise around us and press on toward the eternal prize.

Scripture

11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

Observation – what does the passage say?

* Paul provides comfort, motivation and warning through 4 trustworthy sayings:
1. If we die with Christ, we also live with Him through His resurrection power.
2. If we endure, we will also reign with Christ.
3. If we disown Him, He will also disown us.
4. If we are faithless, Christ remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.

* Paul issues 4 commands to Timothy:
1. Remind the people of the 4 trustworthy sayings.
2. Do not quarrel about words.
3. Present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
4. Avoid godless chatter.

* Paul warns Timothy of ungodliness spreading like gangrene, causing people to fall away from the faith.

* Paul assures Timothy that nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

Can you find a few other observations? Please consider sharing them in the comment section below so we can continue to learn from each other.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

According to Dr. Constable’s commentary, Sonic Light, Paul used a commonly accepted and used quotation that encouraged believers to remain faithful to their Christian profession. With the trustworthy sayings that are familiar to Timothy, Paul is reminding him of 4 things:

1. The comfort in knowing that whoever gives their life away to Christ will also experience the resurrection power of new life in Christ. Timothy can surrender his exhaustion and emotions to Christ and rise in Christ’s strength.

2. The motivation to endure in this life in order to reign with Christ in eternity. Dr. Constable explains the Bible seems to teach there are degrees of reigning, just as there are differences in rewards.

3. The warning that if the believer departs from following Christ faithfully during his or her life, Christ will “deny him” or her at the judgment seat of Christ. Sonic Light continues, the unfaithful believer will not lose his salvation or all of his reward, but he will lose some of his reward. Paul is urging Timothy to live a life that does not deny him any of his reward.

4. The comfort in knowing that if a believer is unfaithful to God, Christ will still remain faithful to him or her. “While we were sinners, Christ died for us.” Timothy’s weakness and temptations do not change the living God in him. We should be compelled by such faithful love to live faithful lives.

A sobering perspective from The Dake Bible: The 4 trustworthy sayings reveal that God is as true to His threats as He is to His promises. He cannot lie and act contrary to His Word or to Himself, so He is obligated to curse for sin and to bless for righteousness.

With this inescapable, convicting truth about God’s character, Paul is warning Timothy to remind the people of the trustworthy sayings, not to get caught up in meaningless arguments that have divided the church and spread like cancer causing believers to fall away and abandon the faith. Because, regardless of how many believers shipwreck their faith, God’s solid foundation stands firm with a seal. It is the only sure foundation on which believers should build their faith. They will be measured by it.

Take a few minutes to follow the link to Sonic Light by a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. Include a few sentences in your notes describing the meaning of the passage after reading the scripture and gleaning insights from the commentary. Consider sharing your insights describing the meaning of the passage in the comments section too.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

I find comfort in knowing my salvation is sealed, that my faith can waiver, and the Lord’s faithfulness will sustain me into heaven, because “He can’t deny Himself.” But, I want to more than make it into heaven. Is that selfish? No. Christ died for more than that. The reconciliation of sinful me to Holy God that happened that day the perfect Lamb decided to be tortured to death for me, who would continue to sin, and never made to choose Him, was for greater intimacy than simply walking through the gates of His Kingdom.

We are invited to also reign with Him and receive a full reward that He died to set up for us. Who am I to decide that getting just enough of Jesus to get into heaven is just enough? Who am I to decide that I’m not qualified to reign and receive reward?

Who would walk into their own birthday party, remain standing just inside the door and reject the gifts? This would break the heart of the host. We wouldn’t do that here on earth. That is exactly what I am doing with my relentless desire to reign here on earth.  Under the guise of strategic diligence, I engage in godless chatter, striving to win meaningless arguments that build on my foundation of pride and add to my collection of “reward” here on earth.  I refuse to continue breaking the heart of the Host.

There are levels of reigning in heaven. What do you think they look like?

Imagine your full reward set aside just for you in heaven. How does it compare to the world’s definition of success here?

How does Paul’s message move on your heart and stretch your expectation of heaven?

What is the godless chatter in your life?

Thank you for going on this journey through II Timothy with us this Summer. Like, Paul, let’s be vulnerable and share our hearts with each other. We can’t wait to hear from you.

In His Unfailing Love,
brandi

Tuesdays in II Timothy 2: 5-10

Introduction

How has a dear friend who has endured a suffering similar to your own encouraged you? Doesn’t having a friend say, “I have been there too” make you feel not alone? When we see how another person endures suffering, we receive courage to persevere through our suffering.

Just as Paul endured suffering in his ministry, Paul encourages Timothy that he can endure the suffering that comes through the ministry of the gospel. Not wanting Timothy to be surprised or discouraged by suffering, Paul uses a couple of illustrations to encourage Timothy. Last week, Laura focused on the first one: enduring hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. She reminded us that God wants us to guard against getting distracted, entangled, and overcome with everyday problems that we forgot to involve God in those problems. Our faith is not just a Sunday thing but designed to give us purpose, insight, and strength for our daily living.

Scripture

Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

Observation – what does the passage say?

  • Comparison – Paul gives examples to stay strong in Christ: as an athlete (v. 5) and a hardworking farmer (v. 6).
  • Cause and effect – Reflecting on what the Lord said will give Timothy insight. (v. 7).
  • Paul exhorts Timothy to remember Jesus was raised from the dead and descended from David. This is the gospel (v. 8).
  • Paul bears the suffering to the point of being chained like a criminal for the gospel (v. 9a).
  • Though Paul is chained, the gospel is not chained (v. 9b).
  • Paul endures suffering for those chosen ones so that they might receive salvation that is in Christ Jesus (v. 10).

Can you find a few other observations? Please consider sharing them in the comment section below as we always learn so much from one another.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Following the first illustration discussed in the introduction, secondly Paul compares a Christian’s approach to enduring the trials and sufferings of life to competing as an athlete. In God’s gymnasium of life, the foundation of all our training is built on God’s rules, and the number one rule is love. To receive the victor’s crown, one must be trained in the ways of God- living by faith, pursuing righteousness and peace, and seeking to love God and His people. Paul’s third illustration in v. 6 of the “hardworking farmer” emphasizes the rigorous work and the importance of patience in one’s work. Just as a farmer must plant and water seeds, so must a Christian plant and nourish spiritual seeds. In v. 7 after reflecting on all these illustrations, Paul encourages Timothy to step back and reflect on these things and listen for the Lord to give insight into how these words apply to his life.

Continuing his exhortation to endure hardship, Paul encourages Timothy with the examples of Jesus (v. 8) and himself (v. 9-10). Meditating on Jesus’ suffering who is the ultimate example of suffering puts Timothy’s suffering in perspective. According to Dr. Constable’s commentary, Sonic Light, the use of the perfect tense of the participle for “raised” referring to Christ’s resurrection might proclaim His deity or might refer to the Lord’s resurrection power with Timothy. Secondly, the lineage from David speaks to Jesus fulfilling the messianic qualification and as a reminder of Jesus’ humanity. Instead of getting entangled and bogged down in the suffering, Paul wants to encourage Timothy to look back at the gospel and allow the gospel to give him perspective on his current suffering. Not to be discouraged by Paul’s imprisonment, Timothy needed to be reminded that the gospel is not imprisoned but is just as powerful as ever. Lastly, Paul encourages Timothy that he was content to endure anything for the elect that they might obtain salvation. Dr. Constable in his commentary, Sonic Light presents two views of the “elect” as those who have not believed but will or justified men. He concludes the best understanding of the “elect” is justified men, who have believed in Jesus. According to Dr. Constable’s view, salvation in v. 10 refers to the sanctification process of God’s work of salvation in the life of a believer over time as they persevere in the Christian life through suffering and trials.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

* Presently, I am recovering from a head injury, so this passage reminded me that God will use my suffering for good to encourage people who are struggling with a similar issue.

* Secondly, this passage helps me to put my suffering in perspective. If Christ suffered, then I will suffer to; for suffering is a normal part of the Christian life.

* Lastly, this past weekend, a friend who struggles with some similar pain encouraged me, and I was able to encourage her.

After sharing how God’s Word is impacting my heart, let me ask you:

  • How has your suffering encouraged someone who is enduring similar suffering?
  • What suffering is currently distracting and entangling you?
  • How does God want to increase your endurance in preserving through suffering and trials?
  • Paul believed that God was just as present in the bad times as He was in the good times. Do you believe that?

I would encourage you to pray specifically how you can encourage someone this week and look for the opportunity. So excited that you are studying II Timothy with us this summer, and we always love to hear what God is teaching you.

– Mary Carmen

Tuesdays in II Timothy 2:1-4

Introduction:

Sacred sisters, we spent time in the month of June studying chapter 1 of II Timothy using the Inductive Bible Study Method. Whether you have been on the journey from the beginning or recently joined, I want to encourage you to press on in discovering treasures in the Scripture by carving out time to observe, interpret, and apply God’s Word. Read through the first chapter in one sitting and come up with a phrase or sentence to summarize what Paul is saying. As a review, I kicked off our study by looking at how well Paul knew Timothy as a beloved son who he encouraged to resist fear; Mary Carmen gave us insight as Paul exhorted Timothy not to be embarrassed the Gospel and to embrace suffering; Brandi reflected on Paul’s reality that he entrusted his life to Christ and his encouragement for Timothy to guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit; and Courtney’s study revealed the personal side of Paul’s experience with betrayal and hurt as well as those who refreshed him. This Tuesday we begin chapter two of II Timothy. Paul instructs Timothy on the actions and attitudes of a soldier of the Lord.

Scripture:

“You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.”  II Timothy 2:1-4

Observation – what does the passage say?

  • Paul begins the chapter with “You then. . .” or in some translations “Therefore” which indicates personal action points are to follow (1)
  • Repetition – Paul affectionately refers to Timothy as “my son” (1:2, 2:1)
  • Cause and effect – Timothy passing on the things he has heard from Paul will cause others to pass on (2)
  • Repetition – the word “entrust” is used in the context of entrusting to reliable people (1:12, 14; 2:2)
  • Figure of speech – a simile is used by Paul to describe the Christian mindset, “as a soldier” (3)
  • Contrast – Paul addresses being entangled in civilian affairs versus pleasing his commanding officer
  • Comparison – Paul exhorts Timothy to join him in suffering for the sake of the Gospel (1:8, 2:3)

Can you make several more observations beyond these? Your comments fuel our study of God’s Word.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Paul senses his time on earth is short and he bears the burden of passing on to Timothy what will ensure the growth of the Body of Christ. In chapter one verses 12 and 14, Paul talks about entrusting his life to Jesus because He is able to guard it. Then he instructs Timothy to guard through the Holy Spirit what is entrusted to him. In chapter two the theme of entrusting comes full circle with Paul’s command to entrust to reliable people. Reliable – or faithful in some versions – means “steadfast in affection or allegiance; trustworthy.” He longs for the maturity of faith he sees in Timothy to be multiplied so that the torch of the Gospel will not be extinguished and the Lord’s church remains viable.

Paul describes the mindset Timothy must maintain “as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” which means the Christian life is a battlefield, involving hardship and fighting against distractions. Timothy is to avoid getting so caught up in everyday problems and the world’s way of thinking that he forgets about keeping as his priority pleasing his commanding officer, the Lord Jesus.  I encourage you to read Dr. Constable’s commentary called Sonic Light, beginning on page 15, for  2:1-4. Here is an explanation I found helpful about being single-minded, “A Christian must concentrate on his Christianity. That does not mean he must engage on [sic] no worldly task or business. He must live in this world, and he must still make a living; but it does mean that he must use whatever task he is engaged upon to live out and to demonstrate his Christianity.”

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

I am in awe of the reality that Timothy’s obedience in entrusting to others means I am sitting at my computer able to write to you about faith in Christ because His grace reached me through reliable people. I am so grateful for my kindred friend Tina in high school and my dear friend Sharon in college who began to broach spiritual things with me. After coming to Christ, I don’t have time to write about the tribe of believers who are sources of my personal growth and courage for next steps in sharing the Gospel and helping others learn. While Timothy served as a pastor and there are specific duties within his role, all believers are called to engage in entrusting the treasure given through faith in Christ to others (Matthew 28:18-20). I am planning on starting a Bible study at my apartment complex in mid July and enlist your prayers for lives to be changed through the Holy Spirit’s work. On the command to avoid entanglement in everyday affairs, I am thinking about ways to disconnect from my phone throughout the day. If you have a strategy that works for you, please do share.

How will you seek out believers to help you grow personally and encourage you to invest in others?

How will you take part in multiplying your faith into others? Perhaps it begins with prayer for God’s guidance.

What “civilian affairs” keep you from focusing on the Lord and His presence in your story?

Finally, I encourage you to memorize verses, passages, or perhaps the entire book of II Timothy. Beth Moore designed Scripture Cards to help. I love to memorize verses with a buddy so do let me know if you are looking for a Scripture Memory sister.

~Laura

Tuesday in II Timothy 1:15-18

Introduction

Paul has been encouraging Timothy in many things at the beginning of this letter. He has affirmed Timothy’s faith, encouraged him to not be afraid and then reminded him that he has been given power, love and self-control. He then has gone on to exhort him to not be ashamed of the Gospel or of Paul being in prison. He reminds Timothy that they both share a holy calling. This Gospel is that Jesus Christ “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light” (v. 10). This past week Brandi encouraged us to entrust our lives fully to Christ. We can have the same confidence Paul was wanting Timothy to have because of the Gospel.

Scripture

“You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes. May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.”

Observations-what does the passage say?

  • Paul states that many have been against him in Asia.
  • Phygelus and Hermogenes are names as two who turned away from him.
  • Onesiphorus is identified as one who “refreshed” Paul, was not ashamed of his imprisonment, searched for him and found him in Rome.
  • Paul wants Onesiphorus to have mercy from the Lord.
  • This isn’t the first time Onesiphorus has helped Paul; he helped him in Ephesus.

Interpretation-what does the passage mean?

We know that many in Paul’s day turned away from him. There has always been cost involved in following Jesus and Paul demonstrates this. He states that everyone in the province of Asia deserted him. While this is likely an exaggerated statement for affect, it is clear that the majority of the people turned from him when he really needed their support and encouragement. How discouraging to not just have a few against him, but the majority! Paul demonstrates that faith has action and we need each other. Not all were called to be like Paul and preach the Gospel in such a vocal and visual way; however, the need for community and encouragement is evident here. Who knows how Onesiphorus encouraged him? It could have been by providing physically for him with food etc. or spiritually through prayer and support. It was likely a dangerous thing to be associated with one who was so vocal for the Gospel. Onesiphorus was willing to take risks and Paul desires mercy and blessings for him because of his sacrifice.

Application-how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

Paul shows us how much he counted on the support and encouragement of others. Sometimes we think we can go it alone, that we can handle the hard things of life privately with the Lord; however, the Lord has given us the gift of fellowship with other believers not as a crutch but as a vital part of our growth in Him. We need each other! We are also called to take risks for the sake of the Gospel even when (especially when) it isn’t popular or what the majority is doing. I want to be willing to come alongside my friends and encourage them even when it is costly to me. That could mean my time, my money or any other resources I could offer. I also don’t want to be ashamed to stand up for what I believe. I may be ridiculed or rejected but I must stand for truth. This must be done with both kindness and conviction.

  1. Who are you coming alongside right now that needs your encouragement? What resources do have to offer?
  2. How can you pray for the Lord to bless those who have been a blessing to you?
  3. How have you been called to stand for the Gospel recently? (perhaps at work, in your neighborhood or with your friends)?

May the Lord bless your study of His Word!!

~Courtney

*Don’t forget to sign-up for more posts as we study II Timothy this summer. You can do so on the home page!

Tuesdays in II Timothy Chapter 1:12-14

Introduction

Who do you trust with your life?  This Tuesday with Timothy reveals the foundation of Paul’s strength and motivation to shamelessly suffer for the gospel, the only truth.  Paul entrusted his life to Christ.  He handed it over to the One who conquered death.  He exhorts Timothy to do the same so that he can get on with the good work deposited in him.  Last week Mary reminded us that Timothy was struggling with embarrassment and Paul gave him an injection of courage to stand up for the gospel.  This week Paul reminds us of why we can stand in confidence.

Scripture

“That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

Observation – what does the passage say?

  • Paul is suffering as a prisoner facing execution for the gospel.
  • Paul is not ashamed because of his great confidence in Christ’s ability and faithfulness to usher him from death to life.
  • Paul is imprisoned by powerful men on earth but empowered by Christ though the Holy Spirit.
  • Paul can’t save his own life, but he knows Christ can and believes that He will.  He has entrusted his life to Christ.
  • Paul urges Timothy to hold fast to the gospel as the only pattern of sound teaching, so he won’t be influenced by other doctrine fighting against the truth.
  • Paul warns Timothy he will need the help of the Holy Spirit to guard the good deposit.

Can you find a few other observations? Please consider sharing them in the comment section below so we can continue to learn from each other.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Paul’s journey is coming to an end, but Timothy must carry the gospel forward.  Paul is warning Timothy about things Paul has endured and learned how to overcome: suffering, shame, fear, and unsound doctrine.  Timothy will have to stand firm with his eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of his faith. He will need the help of the Holy Spirit to guard the truth deposited in him through Paul, his mother and his grandmother.  Like Paul, Timothy will face persecution and death but there is no reason to fear because the One who called Timothy conquered death and the shame of the cross.

Paul’s key to overcoming is “entrusting”.  It is used twice in the passage.  Entrusting what to whom? Let’s go to Strong’s translation found at blueletterbible.org.  Search 2 Timothy 1:12-14, select KJV and click on the box “STRONG’S”.  The original Greek word “entrusted” means “a deposit, a trust or thing consigned to one’s faithful keeping”.  Paul entrusted his life to Christ who entrusted a “good deposit” of truth into Paul on the road to Damascus.  When Paul was pierced with and blinded by the light of Truth by the very One he had persecuted, he was convicted of his sin, repentant and called to carry the gospel to the Gentiles.  Paul’s life was saved, and it was no longer his own.  It was entrusted to Christ.  Paul deserved death in that very moment but was saved to serve.

Take a few minutes to follow the link to read an online commentary called Sonic Light by a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. Include a few sentences in your notes describing the meaning of the passage after reading the scripture and gleaning insights from the commentary. Consider sharing your insights describing the meaning of the passage in the comments section too.

Application – how does the meaning of the passage apply to me?

When I entrust money to a bank for safe keeping, I expect to get it back out, ideally with interest.  When I entrust my child to a caregiver for safe keeping, I expect to receive her back, healthy and happy.  When I entrust my life to Christ, do I hand it over in the same way, with the same confidence and expectations?  Like the bank deposit and child drop off, do I confidently go about God’s business knowing He’s got me, no matter what?  I’m convicted to confess that I am more like Timothy than Paul.  I check on my deposits, I call the sitter, and I ask God where He is and what He’s doing with my life when things get tough.  “My” life is His.  That’s the core issue.  Paul understood his life was not his own.  I want to fully entrust my life to Christ like Paul.

Who do you trust with your life?

Is it possible to entrust your life to Christ and keep it as your own?

What are you willing to fully entrust to Christ?

Thank you for going on this journey through II Timothy with us this Summer.  Like, Paul, let’s be vulnerable and share our hearts with each other.  We can’t wait to hear from you.

In His Unfailing Love,

brandi