Background on 1 Timothy:
· The record in the book of Acts ends with the *apostle Paul in prison in *Rome. That was about AD 60 and he was there for two years. It seems that after that he was free for a time.
· After he came out of prison, he asked Timothy to stay in *Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). He then went to *Macedonia. While he was there, he wrote this first letter to Timothy.
· Timothy was from Lystra (apx 300 miles from Ephesus) Timothy was the son of a *Gentile father and a *Jewish mother. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, both believed the *gospel of Christ (2 Timothy 1:5). They and Timothy probably became Christians when Paul first went to the town called Lystra (Acts 14). All the Christians in Lystra and in the church in the town called Iconium spoke well about Timothy.
· When Paul came the second time to Lystra, he asked Timothy to join his team (Acts 16:1-3). Timothy became a close friend and helper of Paul. He went with Paul as he travelled to many places. Paul spoke about him as his own son in the *faith.
· Now he was the leader of the church in *Ephesus. Paul writes this letter to him to encourage him in the task of leading that church. He gives Timothy a lot of advice both for the Christians in the church and for himself.
· There were some problems there, with some people who were teaching wrong things. Paul told Timothy to sort out that problem (1 Timothy 1:3). He must stop these people from doing it.
· Paul tells Timothy how to select the *elders and *deacons. He writes about the roles of men and women. He speaks about the care of widows. He tells Timothy how slaves ought to serve. He speaks to the rich persons. And he warns them about the dangers that come with wealth. He tells Timothy how he should take care of himself. And he tells him how to be a good leader.
· Paul's second visit to Lystra is when Timothy first connected with Paul while he was still a teenager. (1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 3:11).
· Paul not only brought Timothy into the faith but he was Timothy’s main mentor in Christian leadership (Acts 16:3), having done church planting and missionary journeys together. Timothy would have received his authority to preach in churches directly from Paul who of course was the greater known and accepted of the two and an apostle.
· Timothy’s official position in the church was one of an evangelist (1 Timothy 4:14) and he worked with Paul in Phrygia, Galatia, and Mysia, Troa, Philippi and Berea (Acts 17:14) and continued on to do even more work in Athens, and Thessalonica for the church (Acts 17:15; 1 Thessalonians 3:2) not to mention his work in Corinth, Macedonia, Ephesus and greater Asia.
· Timothy was also noted for coming to Paul’s aid when Paul fell into prison (Philippians 1:1, 2 Timothy 4:13).
· According to church tradition he was loyal to Paul’s wishes and stayed and worked in Ephesus until he finally suffered the Martyr's death himself. History shows that John took over as the head of the Ephesus church soon after 1&2 Timothy was written.
· Most of Paul's epistles were written to churches, but 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon were written to individuals.
· Setting: Paul is elderly and perhaps thinking about who will succeed him as the "in-charge" of the churches.
· Purpose of Writing: -To instruct Timothy about the government of the church.
-To give Timothy instructions about conduct as a christian
- To encourage Timothy to fight the good fight (of Faith)
· Paul an apostle....An apostle is: - one who has been sent out
- emissary or ambassador
· Paul saw himself as an ambassador of Jesus Christ / Do you see yourself that way? ...as someone who is sent out to represent Jesus Christ
1 Timothy 1: What Difference Does It Make?
False teachings were rampant in the church at Ephesus; Paul sent Timothy to Ephesus to deal with them. Timothy was originally from Lystra.
- 1-How does Paul describe Timothy's job (vv. 3-5)?
· 2-How do you distinguish between true and false spirituality?
- 3-Finding hidden meanings in the Old Testament was big business in first-century religion. False teachers here tried to mix these "secret teachings" with the gospel. What results were the false teachers getting for their efforts (vv. 4-6)?
- 4-From what Paul says about the proper use of the law, how does it seem that the false teachers use it (vv. 8-11)?
- 5-In what ways was Paul himself like the false teachers before his conversion (vv. 12-17)?
- 6-Note the places where the word conscience comes up (vv. 5, 19). When we speculate and theorize instead of dealing with our own issues of sin, what happens to conscience?
- 7-How can the kind of faith Paul shows in verse 15 help you face your own issues of conscience?
- 8-As in Paul's day, Christians can wander into groups that make unusual claims and demands. They may have impressive features, but engage in certain practices and pressures which make members feel uneasy. A lot of energy goes into keeping faith and conscience apart in these groups. Are you involved with some "spiritual" activities which bother your own conscience? (Be as honest as possible.)
1 Timothy 2: Barriers to Renewal
Do you ever have difficulty approaching God in prayer? The Christians in Ephesus did. The barriers to prayer described here are anger, an over-emphasis on appearance, and an inappropriate role for women. Having sized up the situation and reminded Timothy of his mission, Paul outlines first steps to dealing with the needs of the church.
New International Version
Instructions on Worship
1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.
8Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 9I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.
11A womana should learn in quietness and full submission. 12I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;b she must be quiet. 13For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15But womenc will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
1 Timothy 2
The Message (MSG)
Simple Faith and Plain Truth
2 1-3 The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Savior God wants us to live.
4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.
8-10 Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.
11-15 I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else. Adam was made first, then Eve; woman was deceived first—our pioneer in sin!—with Adam right on her heels. On the other hand, her childbearing brought about salvation, reversing Eve. But this salvation only comes to those who continue in faith, love, and holiness, gathering it all into maturity. You can depend on this.
Discovering the Word
· When do you find prayer difficult?
- Find all the times Paul says "all" and "everyone" (vv. 1-6). What does the use of these terms communicate about God?
- Why do you think Paul emphasizes the word one in verse 5?
- This entire chapter deals with worship. The church in Ephesus was probably a network of house churches. Their worship may have been patterned after the Jewish synagogues which separated men and women. What problem hindered the worship by men (v. 8)?
- What problem hindered the worship by women (v. 9)? 5. In verses 11-12, Paul forbids women to teach men. But in 1 Corinthians 11:5, he tells them how to dress when they preach (or prophesy). How do you reconcile these texts?
- According to this passage, what could hinder worship and sharing the gospel?
- Consider which of those are problems for you.
How can you better deal with them?
1 Timothy 3: Who Can Lead?
"Help Wanted" Ad:
· Men & Women wanted for difficult task of building My church
· You will often be misunderstood, even by those working with you.
· You will face constant attack from an invisible enemy.
· You may not see the results of your labor and your full reward will not come until after all your work is completed.
· It may cost you your home, your ambitions, even your life!
Some churches and fellowships have a few people who are willing to lead. Those people may end up feeling burdened and alone. Other churches have people who are willing to lead, but not ready. If there are not enough leaders, however, the work of the church will not get done. The church of Ephesus was in the latter category. Those who were willing to lead were immature. And Timothy could not hope to carry out his mission against false teachers unless the leadership was healthy
Two Greek words Paul uses are:
episkopas - (bishop), or one who takes the oversight or an oveerseer; usually the church minister
presbyteros - (deacon) or an elder of the church
pastor = shepherd
However, as you study the bible, the words are often interchangeable or the same in practise.
3 Church Government Styles:
· 1-Episcopal form: one, or several in charge at the top, typically outside the church (Bishops & Area leaders)
· 2-Presbyterian form: with representatives elected from the membership
· 3-Congregational form: the people themselves make the decisions
· All can work well; all can be characterized by strifes and divisions if not handled with maturity
· Paul says that in order to work in the church, you must be a man of faith and motivated by love.
Paul explained 3 responsibilities in a local church:
1. Teach sound doctrine (Ch2, v1-11)
2. Proclaim the gospel (Ch2, v12-17)
3. Defend the faith (Ch2, v18-20)
>Paul explains that in order to work in the church, you must be a man of faith and motivated by love.
· > v1- "episkopas" or"Bishop" must be blameless -"nothing to take hold upon" "above reproach"
· Sober: serious attitude; earnest about his work; knows the value of things
· Good behavior / Modest ": orderly; modest
· hospitality: loving a stranger
· teach: able to teach; a continual student of the Word (Timothy had a gift of teaching)
· v8 - Likewise "diakomos" or "deacons"
· v9 - "holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience" (a deacon who does not know the bible is an obstacle to growth in a local assembly)
· simply a business man or a generous contributor doesn't qualify him
· an untested christian is an unprepared christian
1 Timothy 3
New International Version
Qualifications for Overseers and Deacons
1Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer (episcopas) desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of fulla respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8In the same way, deaconsb are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
11In the same way, the womenc are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
12A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Reasons for Paul’s Instructions
14Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. 16Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:
He appeared in the flesh,
was vindicated by the Spirit,d
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
Discovering the Word
- Consider two categories of qualification—character and ability. How do the qualities mentioned in these verses divide into these two categories?
- What do you think is Paul's reason for insisting that a leader's relationships must work in the spheres of both church and family (vv. 5-6)?
- How have you seen the principle in verse 7 obeyed or disobeyed?
- "Deacon" simply means "servant." In the passage it seems that deacons deal with the more practical affairs of church life, rather than with teaching. Given that, why do you think the point about doctrine in verse 9 is made with so much emphasis?
- What do verses 14-16 tell us about Paul's purpose in writing this letter?
Applying the Word
- Verse 16 was probably a hymn sung in the church at Ephesus. The word translated as "deep truths" in v. 9 is rendered "mystery" here. We can say that the result Paul wanted from good Christian leadership was that these truths would be revealed. Therefore, when people look at our fellowship, what should they see?
- How can you serve your church through leadership, or encourage others who lead?
-Men & Women wanted for difficult task of building My church
You will often be misunderstood, even by those working with you.
You will face constant attack from an invisible enemy.
You may not see the results of your labor and your full reward will not come until after all your work is completed.
It may cost you your home, your ambitions, even your life!
1 Timothy 4: True and False Ministry
With this chapter, Paul's strategy for Timothy starts to emerge clearly. Timothy's mission was to deal with the false teachers. Paul sees, however, that fighting false teachers with ideology alone is fruitless. The real mission is that the church be healthy so that Jesus Christ is communicated through it. So he spoke of prayer and leadership first. With that foundation in place, Timothy will be able to turn his attention directly to the problems at hand.
"The real mission is that the church be healthy so that Jesus Christ is communicated through it."
One of the ways to stay healthy in a church, is to know what your gift is and use it!
ONLINE Spiritual Gift Inventory (http://buildingchurch.net/g2s-i.htm)
NIV 1 Timothy 4
1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters,a you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance. 10That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.
11Command and teach these things. 12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Discovering the Word
- What is the nature of the teachings described in verses 2-3?
- Why is this teaching—which could seem to be "superspiritual"—really a doctrine of demons (vv. 3-4)?
- When you think of "false teaching," do you think of teachers who are morally too loose or too strict? Explain.
- What was Timothy's personal life to be like (vv. 7-16)?
- How was it to differ from that of the false teachers?
- Why do you think you are motivated at some times and not motivated at other times for training in godliness (v. 7)?
- Timothy's primary ministry was teaching. What in this passage encourages you to develop and use your ministry gifts?
1 Timothy 5:1—6:2: Implementing Spiritual Teaching
At one time or another all of us have probably been in a situation in which we felt that someone in our church or fellowship was sinning. Whether or not we act on the situation and how we communicate to that person has a big effect on the outcome. Often when we rebuke others about their lifestyles, we come off as being judgmental and self-righteous. When Paul tells Timothy about specific persons and groups he needed to confront about certain issues, he is careful to show how to do so in love. Paul's teaching here gives us valuable guidance on being both direct and loving with other Christians.
New International Version
Widows, Elders and Slaves
1Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, 2older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
3Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. 4But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God. 5The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help. 6But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. 7Give the people these instructions, so that no one may be open to blame. 8Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
9No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.
11As for younger widows, do not put them on such a list. For when their sensual desires overcome their dedication to Christ, they want to marry. 12Thus they bring judgment on themselves, because they have broken their first pledge. 13Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to. 14So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander. 15Some have in fact already turned away to follow Satan.
16If any woman who is a believer has widows in her care, she should continue to help them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
17The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,”a and “The worker deserves his wages.”b 19Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. 20But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. 21I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.
22Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
23Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
1 Timothy 5 The Message (MSG)
The Family of Faith
5 1-2 Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers. Reverently honor an older woman as you would your mother, and the younger women as sisters.
3-8 Take care of widows who are destitute. If a widow has family members to take care of her, let them learn that religion begins at their own doorstep and that they should pay back with gratitude some of what they have received. This pleases God immensely. You can tell a legitimate widow by the way she has put all her hope in God, praying to him constantly for the needs of others as well as her own. But a widow who exploits people’s emotions and pocketbooks—well, there’s nothing to her. Tell these things to the people so that they will do the right thing in their extended family. Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
9-10 Sign some widows up for the special ministry of offering assistance. They will in turn receive support from the church. They must be over sixty, married only once, and have a reputation for helping out with children, strangers, tired Christians, the hurt and troubled.
11-15 Don’t put young widows on this list. No sooner will they get on than they’ll want to get off, obsessed with wanting to get a husband rather than serving Christ in this way. By breaking their word, they’re liable to go from bad to worse, frittering away their days on empty talk, gossip, and trivialities. No, I’d rather the young widows go ahead and get married in the first place, have children, manage their homes, and not give critics any foothold for finding fault. Some of them have already left and gone after Satan.
16 Any Christian woman who has widows in her family is responsible for them. They shouldn’t be dumped on the church. The church has its hands full already with widows who need help.
17-18 Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, “Don’t muzzle a working ox” and “A worker deserves his pay.”
19 Don’t listen to a complaint against a leader that isn’t backed up by two or three responsible witnesses.
20 If anyone falls into sin, call that person on the carpet. Those who are inclined that way will know right off they can’t get by with it.
21-23 God and Jesus and angels all back me up in these instructions. Carry them out without favoritism, without taking sides. Don’t appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don’t want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself. And don’t worry too much about what the critics will say. Go ahead and drink a little wine, for instance; it’s good for your digestion, good medicine for what ails you.
24-25 The sins of some people are blatant and march them right into court. The sins of others don’t show up until much later. The same with good deeds. Some you see right off, but none are hidden forever.
Discovering the Word
· When have you found—or seen—rebuke to have a positive impact?
- Paul touches on the different age and gender groups Timothy must lead. How is Timothy to regard the people he ministers to?
- How is a godly widow to be distinguished from an ungodly one (vv. 3-8)?
- What criteria did a widow need to meet to receive a place on the list of those who received financial aid from the church (vv. 9-10)?
- Why do you think Paul gives these specific instructions about rebuking an elder in verses 19-20?
- How have you found verses 24-25 to be true?
- From 6:1-2 what do you think has been happening when slaves become believers?
- How can you rebuke someone in ways that are clear but also affirm the other person as a member of God's family?
- In affluent Ephesus, like twentieth-century America, many elderly people were evidently abandoned. What obligations do you have to your own parents?
- What ideas does this passage give you for new areas of ministry?
1 Timothy 6:3-20: Find Your Riches in Christ
Some well-known Christian teachers and authors tell us that being a Christian means success and prosperity. If we are faithful, God will bless us with wealth. Other Christians advocate a simple lifestyle without interest in material possessions. What does Scripture say about how we are to regard money? In this chapter Paul concludes his agenda of how to lead the powerful and the powerless by addressing the wealthy members of the church.
False Teachers and the Love of Money (NIV)
These are the things you are to teach and insist on. 3If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
Final Charge to Timothy
11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.
20Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
Grace be with you all.
The Lust for Money -The Message (MSG)
2-5 These are the things I want you to teach and preach. If you have leaders there who teach otherwise, who refuse the solid words of our Master Jesus and this godly instruction, tag them for what they are: ignorant windbags who infect the air with germs of envy, controversy, bad-mouthing, suspicious rumors. Eventually there’s an epidemic of backstabbing, and truth is but a distant memory. They think religion is a way to make a fast buck.
6-8 A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough.
9-10 But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.
11-12 But you, Timothy, man of God: Run for your life from all this. Pursue a righteous life—a life of wonder, faith, love, steadiness, courtesy. Run hard and fast in the faith. Seize the eternal life, the life you were called to, the life you so fervently embraced in the presence of so many witnesses.
13-16 I’m charging you before the life-giving God and before Christ, who took his stand before Pontius Pilate and didn’t give an inch: Keep this command to the letter, and don’t slack off. Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He’ll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He’s the only one death can’t touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He’s never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can’t take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes.
17-19 Tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.
20-21 And oh, my dear Timothy, guard the treasure you were given! Guard it with your life. Avoid the talk-show religion and the practiced confusion of the so-called experts. People caught up in a lot of talk can miss the whole point of faith.
Overwhelming grace keep you!
Discovering the Word
- What do you think Paul means by an "unhealthy interest" (v. 4)?
- According to verses 6-8, how are we to find contentment?
- In your own words, how would you explain Paul's teaching on riches in verses 9-10?
- What was Paul commanding Timothy to do in this context (vv. 11-14)?
- How is Christ pictured in verses 13-16?
- Why do you think Paul told Timothy to turn away from "godless chatter" (v. 20)?
Applying the Word
- In what ways does your Christian life feel like a fight?
- Describe how you have seen Christians use riches to do good work.
- What has God entrusted to your care, and how do you guard it?
Responding in Prayer
Pray that you would be a good steward of what you have been given.
Introducing 2 Timothy (Overview)
Second Timothy is Paul's last letter. He is in prison in Rome again—under Nero. He is an older man and does not expect to get out, but to die in prison (contrast with Phil 1:23-25).
Opposition to Paul both inside and outside the church has intensified. Many former associates have deserted him. His loneliness and desire to see Timothy come through clearly. Further, Nero's persecution was under way, and many Christians were facing the choice of suffering or leaving the faith. Much of what he built was at risk. When Paul's personal resources were at their lowest, he faced the greatest test. In this context he reflects on his own life and gives his final counsel.
This letter has fantastic value for us. It gives us insight into facing persecution and supporting others who are persecuted. It also shows both how to give away leadership and how to assume it at the right time. Finally, it provides encouragement to us in facing our own death.
2 Timothy Chapter 1: Rejected but Not Ashamed
Shame means being revealed to others as weak and inadequate. Rejection is always cause for shame unless we are quite sure of both our ideas and our approach. We are prone to believe what others say about us, especially if they are more successful or in authority. We often need support from our own friends to maintain our dignity even in the face of unjust charges.
It is remarkable but true that when Paul was imprisoned, the church in Rome did not come to Paul's defense. Only one believer came looking for him. The rest probably held back from fear or considered the imprisonment something shameful. But although he has been rejected, Paul tells us he is not ashamed.
When have non-Christian friends or pressures from the world caused you to feel ashamed of the gospel?
New International Version
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,
2To Timothy, my dear son:
Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. 4Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5I 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.
Appeal for Loyalty to Paul and the Gospel
6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8So 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. 9He 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, 10but 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. 11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That 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.
13What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
Examples of Disloyalty and Loyalty
15You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes.
16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18May 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.
2 Timothy 1 The Message (MSG)
1 1-2 I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God’s plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
To Be Bold with God’s Gifts
3-4 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.
5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
8-10 So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. But we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
11-12 This is the Message I’ve been set apart to proclaim as preacher, emissary, and teacher. It’s also the cause of all this trouble I’m in. But I have no regrets. I couldn’t be more sure of my ground—the One I’ve trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.
13-14 So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us.
15-18 I’m sure you know by now that everyone in the province of Asia deserted me, even Phygelus and Hermogenes. But God bless Onesiphorus and his family! Many’s the time I’ve been refreshed in that house. And he wasn’t embarrassed a bit that I was in jail. The first thing he did when he got to Rome was look me up. May God on the Last Day treat him as well as he treated me. And then there was all the help he provided in Ephesus—but you know that better than I.
- What information are we given about the relationship between Paul and Timothy (vv. 2-6)?
- What is Paul's situation (vv. 1, 8, 11-12, 15-16)?
- Find the references to shame (vv. 12, 16). Why would shame be a response to Paul's imprisonment?
- How did Paul reject shame in this situation (vv. 3, 8-12)?
- Imprisonment can take many forms beyond the literal example here, such as chronic disease, financial collapse, abuse, or anything that severely restricts your freedom and separates you from people. How can we apply Paul's example of resisting the shame that arises from such situations?
- Consider Timothy's situation: his mentor has been disgraced; many of his associates have deserted the ministry; many of his church's members are drifting from the faith or cowed by the threat of persecution. How have you struggled or are you struggling with similar situations?
- How do you believe God is calling you to testify about him in your own situation?
2 Timothy 2: Pass It On
Barbara Boyd once said, "Paul had no dead-end disciples." The essence of Paul's ministry was to be certain that the gospel was handed on to other people in such a way that they came to regard this task as their own. This approach, which was very radical in its time, puts the "power" of the movement into the hands of thousands. Paul, having been deserted by many, wants to make sure the gospel won't die when he does-or when Timothy does.
Warming Up to God
Think of a time when an older Christian has entrusted some aspect of ministry to you. How did this create growth and maturity in your life?
New International Version
The Appeal Renewed
1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And 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. 3Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
Dealing With False Teachers
14Keep 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. 15Do 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. 16Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,18who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19Nevertheless, 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.”
20In 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. 21Those 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.
22Flee 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. 23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.25Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Timothy 2 The Message (MSG)
Doing Your Best for God
2 1-7 So, my son, throw yourself into this work for Christ. Pass on what you heard from me—the whole congregation saying Amen!—to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others. When the going gets rough, take it on the chin with the rest of us, the way Jesus did. A soldier on duty doesn’t get caught up in making deals at the marketplace. He concentrates on carrying out orders. An athlete who refuses to play by the rules will never get anywhere. It’s the diligent farmer who gets the produce. Think it over. God will make it all plain.
8-13 Fix this picture firmly in your mind: Jesus, descended from the line of David, raised from the dead. It’s what you’ve heard from me all along. It’s what I’m sitting in jail for right now—but God’s Word isn’t in jail! That’s why I stick it out here—so that everyone God calls will get in on the salvation of Christ in all its glory. This is a sure thing:
If we die with him, we’ll live with him;
If we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him;
If we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us;
If we give up on him, he does not give up—
for there’s no way he can be false to himself.
14-18 Repeat these basic essentials over and over to God’s people. Warn them before God against pious nitpicking, which chips away at the faith. It just wears everyone out. Concentrate on doing your best for God, work you won’t be ashamed of, laying out the truth plain and simple. Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul. Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples, throwing believers off stride and missing the truth by a mile by saying the resurrection is over and done with.
19 Meanwhile, God’s firm foundation is as firm as ever, these sentences engraved on the stones:
god knows who belongs to him.
spurn evil, all you who name god as god.
20-21 In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.
22-26 Run away from infantile indulgence. Run after mature righteousness—faith, love, peace—joining those who are in honest and serious prayer before God. Refuse to get involved in inane discussions; they always end up in fights. God’s servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the Devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands.
- Paul begins with the call to Timothy to "be strong in grace." Why does he give that instruction rather than "be strong in your gifts," "be strong in knowledge" or "be strong in willpower"?
- What does each of the three images in verses 3-7 illustrate about the ministry of entrusting the gospel to others who can pass it on?
- Why does Paul cite these specific aspects of Christ that Timothy should remember (v. 8)?
- How does this explain Paul's own confidence even while he is imprisoned (v. 9)?
- Why does Paul say he endures (vv. 10-13)?
- What do verses 18-19 say is both the potential and the limitation of false teaching?
- Which of the images in verses 3-7 seems most applicable to your life right now? Why?
- How should the trustworthy saying in verses 11-13 motivate us?
2 Timothy 3: How to Recognize God's Voice
Most of us go through stages in our lives where we are vulnerable to false teachers. Campus cults make their biggest outreaches during the opening days of school and during finals week-when students are under the greatest stress. Life crises are doors of change-for good or evil. In addition, guilt, greed and other lusts often distort judgment and give false teachers their opportunity.
Philetus and Hymanaeus represent a tradition of potent religious falsehood Timothy fought against his whole career. We can expect the same kind of struggle. In spite of the power and appeal of such groups, however, Paul had great confidence in both Scripture and those who live by it. In this chapter he encourages Timothy to have confidence in God's teaching as well.
New International Version - 2 Tim 3
1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
6They 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, 7always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8Just 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. 9But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.
A Final Charge to Timothy
10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,11persecutions, 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. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,15and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,17so that the servant of Goda may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3 The Message (MSG)
Difficult Times Ahead
3 1-5 Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.
6-9 These are the kind of people who smooth-talk themselves into the homes of unstable and needy women and take advantage of them; women who, depressed by their sinfulness, take up with every new religious fad that calls itself “truth.” They get exploited every time and never really learn. These men are like those old Egyptian frauds Jannes and Jambres, who challenged Moses. They were rejects from the faith, twisted in their thinking, defying truth itself. But nothing will come of these latest impostors. Everyone will see through them, just as people saw through that Egyptian hoax.
Keep the Message Alive
10-13 You’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings—suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me! Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it. Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.
14-17 But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
- What evidence do we have here that these people are religious?
- Notice the way those controlled by these religious leaders are described (v. 6). Why are we vulnerable to spiritual manipulation when we are "weak-willed," "loaded down with sins" and "swayed by evil desires"?
- Why could Timothy trust Paul's spiritual influence (vv. 10-13)?
- Paul does not expect blind faith from Timothy. What does he expect, and what two reasons does he give for it (vv. 14-15)?
- Where does Scripture come from, and what is its power (vv. 15-17)?
- What would enhance your own trustworthiness among those you influence (children, students, coworkers or employees and friends)?
2 Timothy 4: It's Your Turn Now
The story is told of the umpire who called a strike on Babe Ruth. The Babe turned around and angrily shouted, "Hey, meathead! Me and 40,000 people here know that pitch was a ball!" The umpire replied, "Yeah, and mine is the only opinion that matters."
The gospel is not often popular. As he gears up for ministry, Timothy needs to know that only God's opinion matters. In this passage, the last written words of Paul we have, Paul instructs Timothy to think of eternity.
New International Version -2 Tim 4
1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
9Do your best to come to me quickly, 10for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. 12I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
14Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 15You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.
16At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. 17But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
19Greet Priscillaa and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus. 21Do your best to get here before winter. Eubulus greets you, and so do Pudens, Linus, Claudia and all the brothers and sisters.b
22The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.
2 Timothy 4 The Message (MSG)
4 1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.
6-8 You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
9-13 Get here as fast as you can. Demas, chasing fads, went off to Thessalonica and left me here. Crescens is in Galatia province, Titus in Dalmatia. Luke is the only one here with me. Bring Mark with you; he’ll be my right-hand man since I’m sending Tychicus to Ephesus. Bring the winter coat I left in Troas with Carpus; also the books and parchment notebooks.
14-15 Watch out for Alexander the coppersmith. Fiercely opposed to our Message, he caused no end of trouble. God will give him what he’s got coming.
16-18 At my preliminary hearing no one stood by me. They all ran like scared rabbits. But it doesn’t matter—the Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God’s looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!
19-20 Say hello to Priscilla and Aquila; also, the family of Onesiphorus. Erastus stayed behind in Corinth. I had to leave Trophimus sick in Miletus.
21 Try hard to get here before winter.
Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all your friends here send greetings.
22 God be with you. Grace be with you.
· How do you respond (inwardly and outwardly) when you see friends turning away from the faith?
· What charge was Timothy to keep (vv. 3-5)?
- Paul is seeing a big part of what he labored so hard to build under God's power dissolve. How can he still feel such satisfaction about his life (vv. 6-8)?
- What do verses 9-13 reveal about Paul's situation?
- Rome had a big Christian community, but they shunned Paul when he came to trial (vv. 16-17, see also 1:8, 12, 16-18). Paul could have chosen to burn with resentment. What clues in the passage show why he was not bitter?
- The names in verses 19-20 denote men, women, Romans, Greeks, nobles and commoners. What comfort would that fact give both Paul and Timothy?