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