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.
“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.