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.
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!