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

Tuesdays in II Timothy 1:8-11

Introduction

Does the gospel embarrass you? This Tuesday with Timothy exhorts us to throw off embarrassment and embrace suffering for the gospel. After his fourth missionary journey and during his second imprisonment, Paul writes to encourage Timothy to not be ashamed of the gospel. Last week Laura reminded us that Paul, like a spiritual father and dear friend, spoke truth and love to encourage Timothy at time when He needed it.

Scripture

So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.” II Tim. 1:8-11 (NIV)

Observation – what does the passage say?

  • Paul writes to encourage Timothy not to be ashamed to testify of our Lord or of him.
  • Paul exhorts Timothy to join in the sufferings for the gospel.
  • Paul reminds Timothy that God saved and called them to live a holy life, not by works.
  • Salvation is by grace alone based on God’s saving plan before time through Christ Jesus.
  • Jesus destroys death and gives life and immortality through the gospel.
  • Paul is appointed a herald, apostle, and a teacher of the gospel.

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?

Out of deep love for Paul’s dear friend, he encourages Timothy to not be afraid to speak up and stand up for the gospel for fear of persecution. He reminds Timothy that he felt no shame as a prisoner because the Lord had placed him there and he viewed himself as Christ’s prisoner (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; Phile. 1, 9). Rather than feeling ashamed, Paul exhorts Timothy to join him in suffering for the gospel, not by imprisonment but by proclaiming the gospel boldly. Recounting the gospel (saving sinners from the penalty of sin) Paul hopes to encourage Timothy to live a holy life by God’s grace not by works (Eph. 2: 8-9). Paul also desires that his dear friend will feel privileged and thankful just as he does to share the gospel.

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. Your thoughts are a blessing to everyone. We will be using this commentary throughout our study, so it might be good to bookmark it or save the link.

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 suffering is a part of the Christian life. Through this physical pain, the Lord is giving me more compassion for people who suffer from an illness or physical pain particularly those not visible to the eyes.
  • Secondly, I will thank Him that He works good from suffering and ask Him to help me rely on His strength to see me through this suffering.
  • I will continue to pray for an acquaintance who experienced a head injury recently and I’m hopeful I can be an an encouragement to her.

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

  • How can you encourage a friend to not be embarrassed by the gospel?
  • If you stand up for the gospel, you will suffer. How are you suffering for the gospel currently?
  • How has God’s grace carried you through suffering?
  • How can God use your suffering to encourage others who are also suffering?

As I mentioned above it would be a great encouragement to everyone to hear what God is teaching you from this passage in the comment section below. We are so excited that you are studying II Timothy with us this summer. Thank you for sharing what God is teaching you through this study. We love you!

– Mary Carmen

Tuesdays in II Timothy 1:1-7

It’s Tuesday June 5th which means time to kick off our online study, TUESDAYS in II TIMOTHY through September 4th. Sacred Sisters, I understand it can be intimidating to study the Bible. Let me start out by reminding us that it does require effort and discipline. Yet I am confident as we lean on the Holy Spirit, God will reveal rich treasure from His Word as He equips us to study. I am so glad you are taking the journey as we need each other’s encouragement. It’s easy to avoid putting our heart into the Word and default to things that “suck our time” like TV and Social Media as well as conversations and pursuits that distract us.

The great thing about Tuesdays in II Timothy is that we are studying the Bible using the Inductive Bible Study Method. This process helps us work through the passages of Scripture as we digest one of the most personal letters Paul writes in the New Testament one bite at a time. For an overview, look at Kaye Arthur’s explanation and/or a longer description in Walk Through the Word. I will also describe the flow of Observation, Interpretation, and Application below.

Take a minute to pray with me for God to enlighten our hearts as we study.

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” I Tim. 1:1-7 (NIV)

Introduction

We are studying the first 7 verses of II Timothy today. Think of visiting the apostle Paul in prison and asking him, “I’ve heard about your friend and fellow laborer Timothy. Tell me about him.” After we look at this portion Mary Carmen will guide us next Tuesday the 12th through verses 8-11. I am eager to hear her reflections so get a jump start by reviewing the verses for yourself!

Observation – What does the passage say?

Observation means we are looking at the text for the obvious, what is stated. It’s tempting to skip over observation to Interpretation and Application but the accuracy of our interpretation and applications depends on carving out time to observe.

When observing, make note of the 5 W’s and the 1 H question: who is speaking, what is the subject or event, when did this take place, where did it happen (or will happen), why is this being said and how is it to be done?

Observation also involves noting repeated words and phrases, contrasts and comparisons, themes, cause and effect, terms of conclusion (therefore, finally, for this reason, etc.), timeframes mentioned, and lists.

Here are 7 Observations I came up with along with the verse:

  • Paul is writing to Timothy (2)
  • Repeated- Christ Jesus, 3 times (1-2)
  • Paul is telling Timothy how grateful he is for him (3)
  • The writing of the book takes place around 66 AD (according to my study Bible)
  • Comparison -sincere faith in Timothy’s mother Lois and grandmother Eunice and Timothy (5)
  • Comparison – constantly remembering you in prayer, long to see you, recalling your tears (3-4)
  • Cause and Effect – seeing Timothy will cause Paul joy (4)

Now your homework is to find at least 3 more observations – it would be a boost for all of us to hear one another’s finding so consider leaving a comment below. Your thoughts are a blessing to our study.

Interpretation – what does the passage mean?

Interpretation flows out of your observation as you seek to discern the meaning. When determining what the passage means, take the context into consideration. First, look up cross referenced Scriptures usually found in the margins or footnotes of your Bible to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. You may also look at Bible dictionaries and commentaries to gain more insight. A couple of questions to consider are, “What is the author’s intent in this passage? What is one principle or lesson the writer/God is trying to communicate? What was the author saying to the people of his day?”

Based on what I explained above, I am going to share several sentences about how the meaning of verses 1-7.

*Paul considers Timothy a dear friend and spiritual son since he chose him to accompany him on the mission and discipled him in the faith while doing ministry together. (Acts 16:1-3) Through shared experiences and trials the two men have forged a deep friendship where there is connection emotionally and spiritually. Paul is incredibly grateful for Timothy and as a spiritual father, he affirms Timothy’s conversion to Christ and calling to ministry. Paul exhorts Timothy to resist fear and choose to live with boldness and confidence in the Lord. (Romans 8:15)

Your homework is to follow this link to read the online commentary called Sonic Light which is written by a Dallas Theological Seminary professor. Make note of the insight you receive and write several sentences in your own words to describe the meaning of the passage. Be sure and keep this link handy through our weeks of study!

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

The final step in the Inductive Bible Study Method is to ask the Holy Spirit how He desires for you to apply the passage. The actual application of the Scripture occurs when you are confronted with a truth from the Scripture and respond in obedience. At times I think of an application and then fail to carry it out. The goal in this process is to consider an application and a plan for carrying it out if needed.

Questions to ask when thinking about application: What is the Holy Spirit saying to me? What am I challenged to believe, receive, or do? What will I stop doing, begin to do or do differently as a result of studying this passage?

  • As I think about application for this portion of the letter, I think about the importance of having friends in my life who are ahead of my faith journey in experience and then friends who I can come alongside. Like Paul, I am beyond grateful for the younger women in my life who encourage me to stay the course and will reach out to one of them and share my gratitude.
  • I also think about where I can be tempted to fear and timidity instead of trust and boldness. I am praying daily this week that God will give me boldness with family, friends, and those I meet spontaneously as He opens the doors for me to speak about His work in my story.

Now that I’ve shared how God’s Word is impacting my heart, let me ask you:

How can you be intentional about cultivating friendships and doing ministry with faith filled women you can learn from as well as women you can nurture and disciple in the faith?

Consider the reactions, environment, or attitudes that tend to make you feel fearful and timid about your faith. How can you depend on God’s Spirit to resist conforming to the world or giving into silence?

We’ve talked through the Inductive Bible Study Method and looked at the first 7 verses of II Timothy. Our stories will never be the same. I’d love to hear how you are encouraged, insight you are gaining, and any questions. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at laura@sacredstoryministries.org. Study on sister!

~Laura

Tuesdays in II Timothy: June 4th to Sept. 4th

Hi sacred sisters, we are excited to spend time with you on the blog this summer, diving into the book of II Timothy! Every Tuesday for 14 weeks, kicking off June 4th with this introduction through Sept. 4th, a member of our blog team will share insight on the book of II Timothy as we enter into a verse-by-verse study.

If you’ve thought about studying the Bible on your own or equipping others to do the same, you will gain experience of how to do so. We will draw from the inductive Bible study method of observation, interpretation, application when looking at the passage of Scripture which allows us to learn a transferable way to study the Bible. As a review, here are a couple of articles, overview article by Kaye Arthur and a more detailed explanation of each step from Walk with the Word.

We welcome your prayers for our first online study with the Sacred Story community. We also value your input on each post as we grow together. Consider encouraging a gal pal or two to sign up to receive the posts in her inbox and take time to connect about what you are learning through God’s revelation from Paul’s letter to Timothy. Friends can subscribe on the right hand side of the home page, “subscribe via email.” You may also want to memorize selected verses, whether on your own or with a sister(s).

Summer sizzles and so does God’s Word. I look SO forward to digging in to II Timothy on Tuesdays! See you tomorrow as I introduce our journey.

~Laura

Secure Connection Through Prayer

“If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” Luke 11:13

More than five years ago, during a season of life when I was knee-deep in changing diapers, making meals, and keeping three little people alive, my prayer life was pretty dry— nonexistent, really. Studying God’s Word and filling in blanks on a Bible study was something I could handle, but prayer seemed like one more relational task for which I didn’t have time or energy.

But a challenge from a friend changed all that. I got a glimpse into the ordinary, daily rhythms of her prayer life and her commitment to pray for others, my family included, on a consistent basis. And more than anything, I saw the fruit this woman’s prayer life was bearing. Quietly and in a behind-the-scenes kind of way, this woman was affecting an entire neighborhood and group of people by the work of her hands and the prayers of her heart.

So, because of her example, I decided to start praying as well. The first few years of prayer were more like checking off names and items on a to-do list before the Lord than experiencing real relational intimacy or internal change.

But then we adopted our youngest daughter, Mia Grace, from an orphanage in China when she was 17 months old. And adoption changed everything, for her, of course, but for me as well. As my husband and I began the long process of helping Mia Grace securely attach to us, I saw myself in our daughter. Legally, she was our child, and we had the court documents to prove it, but in many ways, she still acted like an orphan.

But the primary thing that began to change her orphan habits into secure, confident behavior was sensory connection. When she hurt herself, we taught her she could cry out, and we would be there to comfort her. When she woke up in the morning or from her nap, we taught her she had a voice and could call out, “Momma, I’m awake!” and we would come to get her. When eye contact and intimate touch like hugging, rocking, and holding were difficult for her to receive, we taught her by slow degrees that she had permission to be dependent instead of independent and nestle into our arms and laps. When she sat at the table and refused to eat anything that did not come from her own hand, we slowly taught her that mommy and daddy were there to help her body receive the nutrition it needed and craved.

And through daily, repeated attempts at secure sensory connection, her defenses and orphan habits slowly and surely came down through the touch of our hands, the look in our eyes, the sound of our voices, the taste of our goodness as her parents, and the constancy of our presence.

Through this process, I began to see myself in Mia Grace. I, too, had been adopted by a Father, but one who, unlike me, was good, perfect, and loving in every way. Yet I often acted like an orphan. I pushed away the touch of His hands, demanded to feed myself the food of my own choosing on my own plate, nursed my own hurts and wounds instead of calling out for comfort, and spent more time looking down and in instead of up and out as the secure, confident daughter He created me to be.

And gradually, I realized that if I, as a very imperfect parent, could change certain orphan habits in Mia Grace through secure, sensory connection, then my perfect heavenly father could certainly accomplish secure, sensory connection with me, His beloved child, through the regular practice of prayer.

So, instead of seeing my prayer life as a to-do list to check off, I began to see it as necessary face-time with my Heavenly Father who heard, saw, touched, comforted, guided, led, and invited me to taste and see His goodness. And little by little, I saw how persistent prayer slowly changed—and is still changing—my independent orphan habits into the dependent, trusting responses of an adopted, secure child.

So if you, like me, act more like an orphan than a beloved child, take time this summer to slow down, and come to the table of prayer.  Allow God to rewrite your story by telling you His story, through the lens of His Word.  And sit down at a feast where you are regularly invited to taste, see, talk, listen, and receive the healing grace of a good Father who knows exactly what you need and longs to have face- time with you, His beloved child. Secure connection is waiting.

Sacred Story is honored to have Susannah Baker as a guest contributor this month. Susannah’s prayer guide and accompanying prayer journal, Secure, will be released this summer.  To learn more about these resources and to read Susannah’s blog, you can visit her at www.susannahbaker.com.

God Sees Our Need for Encouragement

“Encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Did not realize how sensitive the head is until I experienced a head injury a few months ago. I have hit my head a number of times on taxi doors and my car but not until a cold night in February did the impact of my head against the doorframe bruise my scalp so bad to cause nerve damage. Thankfully, I did not blackout and do not have neurological damage. But, over the past few months, I have struggled with pain in my head, light sensitivity, and nerve pain particularly on my forehead and other parts of my face and behind my ears. While I am so thankful for the lessening of the nerve pain and my doctor saying the nerves will heal, it has been incredible frustrating to “feel off” and not be able to complete the book that I am so close to finishing.

During this time, God has led others to encourage me in the moments when I needed it and taught me that I need people regularly praying for me so that they can fight for me in the spiritual realm. I know that the Lord allowed this injury and want to learn what He desires to teach me during this time. The enemy has used this to delay my writing and put pressure on me through pain and his voice of discouragement. But, I have felt strengthening through the prayers of a few friends and family members. With head injuries, your head feels heavy, so the lightness that I have experienced as I continue to heal feels heavenly. The burden of this pain feels so much lighter as others help carry my burden through prayer.

 Hearing the voice of preachers say since I was a teen about receiving nourishment through the Lord’s Supper has made me want to experience that more. With nerves quite active one Sunday evening, I sat on the back row of my brother’s church. During the Lord’s Supper, I experienced more of the fullness of that nourishment in ways that I have never experienced- the warmth of God’s presence smoothing the pain and lightness in the form of joy not just on the inside but I felt like my whole body was alive. I walked out of the service feeling like I had been to a doctor. This happened at a small PCA church during a normal Sunday service. My point for saying that is: God meets us in our daily lives in extraordinary ways.

It has not been an uphill climb with my progress as there have been some dips. One Saturday, a headache hit me harder than I had ever experienced. Then on Tuesday though it was much better, I did not realize since I have a high endurance factor and positive attitude how I needed to let God more into my pain. In a safe space with a loving friend and physical therapist, I allowed myself to release the pain built up on the inside. I did not know this was a common experience a part of facilitating healing for a head injury. I laid it all out on the table with God that day, and then the next day God showed me that He sees my pain and need for encouragement. Someone reached out to my about an opportunity that could be very rewarding and make a difference in other’s lives and further God’s plan for my book.

Often we think that God will do big things when we are feeling strong and doing well. But, in our weakness He is strong. I realize that I will have to rely on His strength to finish my writing enduring nerve pain. He sees all of this and allowed me to finish my writing pushing through pain with His strength. There are many more things that God will teach me from this experience. The number one thing that He wants me to tell you today is: God sees you and will encourage you through your pain.

– Mary Carmen

The Faith Test

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45 NKJV

Thank you for going on a faith journey with me this year. Now, it’s time for a faith test.

Do you really believe that all you are working for will work out?  It seems like an easy yes, but look a little deeper.  When you work hard for something you assume there is a possibility that it will work out.  Otherwise, why would you invest the time and effort? I thought my faith was soaring at a 10 out of 10 until until something actually worked out and I was stunned.  Why was I stunned that the highest and best possible outcome actually happened?  Do I pour out my life with the expectation it won’t go well?  Then, why all this effort?  What good is faith if you don’t walk in the peace of true expectation.

When the angel appear to Mary and told her she would be the mother of the Savior of the world, her reaction was pure belief.  In my speak, she responded, “Let’s do this.”  Her faith was a 10 out of 10.  I get her.  At the beginning of a recent journey where I know I hear the Lord call me out into a new season far beyond my expectation and own ability, I believed.  I acted on it.  Then, the journey got long.  The initial excitement of the new adventure morphed into work, a lot of work.  I began working out a God-sized dream in my own strength, and apparently my expectation faded.

Now it’s time to test everything I claim to believe.

  1. Do I really believe in heaven?  The answer is in my view of death. Do I fear it, or not?
  2. Do I really believe the Lord works out all things for my good and His glory? The answer is in my worry, or freedom from it.  What am I worried about?
  3. Do I believe “there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told [to me] from the Lord?”  The answer is in my restlessness, or rest.  Am I at rest in His great peace, or wrestling with myself?

How will you respond to good news?

Take the faith test and continue the great adventure!

In His Unfailing Love,

brandi