2 Timothy Highlights

This book is about our responsibility to know His Word and to live it out daily.  Paul writes this book at the end of his life from prison to Timothy.  He is in prison for the sake of the gospel, and while he is in prison, he is being treated unfairly.  He feels alone and rejected because everyone has deserted him except Luke.  It is a short book, with only four chapters, but is full of wisdom for our daily lives.
It is generally believed that Nero, the Roman emperor at that time, had set a large majority of the city of Rome on fire and blamed the Christians.  To divert the suspicion from himself, he ordered Christians be imprisoned and executed.  Many Christians were put on poles alongside the highway and then, while still alive, set on fire to become human torches. 

Paul wouldn't escape the psychotic madness of Nero. 
As he writes these words, he is imprisoned and writes his last will and testament to Timothy.

In Chapter 1, Paul gives a greeting to Timothy and says that he longs to see him because he was like a son to him.  Paul reminded Timothy of his former faithful generations through his mother and grandmother, and encouraged him to not be timid, but of power and love and discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). 

Paul didn't want Timothy to be ashamed of the testimony (gospel) or of him, Christ's prisoner, but join him in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God (1:8). 
It is through the difficult times that our responses to adversity reveal our true character.  We can sometimes fake our reactions to unfavorable situations, but true, genuine, overwhelming difficulties and tragedies reveal much about us.  Sometimes tragedies, devastating situations, or unexpected events can bring to the surface some emotions, thoughts, and words we never thought were in us.  Sometimes the temperature of response can reveal the temperature of our heart.  I have found this to be true recently, sadly.  I didn't even know some thoughts and feelings were there until a difficult situation arose.  It was ugly, embarrassing, and unlike myself.  I guess God chooses to bring some things to the surface so I could deal with it.

What makes the difference between those who chose to be faithful and carry out their responsibilities and those who abandon the work of God?  Could it be that in those times of great difficulty, knowing the Word of God has something to do with the ability to go through difficult times and respond appropriately?

He wanted Timothy to hold to the standard of sound words, which he heard from Paul and guard, through the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you." (1:14)  This verse stuck out to me like it was in flashing neon lights.   I thought a lot on that verse over the next few days.  We are to guard the treasure which has been entrusted to us.  What exactly is the treasure, and how to we guard it?  I looked up several commentaries on this verse and I discovered that that the treasure is a rich one that contains the riches of grace, even the unsearchable riches of Christ.  That treasure is more valuable than thousands of gold and silver.  The treasure is the Christian doctrine and it is a trust committed to us to be preserved, pure and entire, and to be transmitted to those what come after us.  We must keep it, and not contribute any thing to the corrupting of its purity, the weakening of its power, or the diminishing of its perfection.  Paul made an investment in Timothy, just as God has made an investment in us.  Are we protecting and preserving (in His power) His deposit of the gospel so that we might be able to reliably transmit it to other faithful men and women?

In Chapter 2, Paul warns Timothy that some strayed from the faith.  Paul encouraged Timothy to entrust the things he taught him to faithful men who will also be able to teach others.  He used three different examples for this very important exhortation:
1) Good soldier:  no good soldier in active duty entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life,
     so he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
2) Athlete: does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules
3) Hard-Working Farmer: ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.

2:11-13 speaks of a trustworthy statement:
1) If we died with Him, we will also live with Him
2) If we endure, we will also reign with Him
3) If we deny Him, He will deny us.
4) If we are faithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

I think we all need to memorize this verse, especially women..."but avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene" (2 Timothy 2:15-16).  I don't know how many times I have gotten myself into trouble over this very thing!  Sometimes, just trying to talk to fill up the silence gets me into some conversations that I wish I could take back.

"The Lord knows who are His and everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness" (2:19).  Paul says "flee from youthful lust and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.  But refuse foolish and arrogant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.  The Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will" (2:22-26).  That is a rather lofty list. 

We are not saved by our works, but according to His purpose (1:9); however, we are known by what we do: our deeds, our actions, our reactions.  Our actions bear witness of the condition of our heart.  We aren't saved by our works, but we are recognized by them.  Our works prove who we are. 

Chapter 3 talks about the last days being difficult for Christian service.  "Men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.  Avoid such men as these" (3:2-5). 

Kay defined each of the words this list because sometimes I can skim over it and not have an exact understanding of the meaning.  I thought it was useful, so I will share it...

DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS: a person who resists the authority of his parents, leading him to resist all other authority, both human and divine.

REVILERS: a person who uses his speech to cause harm to people, attempting to "tear them down" in his conversations with others.

IRRECONCILABLE: a person who will not accept a truce but continues in his enmity and unforgiveness

MALICIOUS GOSSIPS: a person who intentionally thinks up evil reports and accusations and falsely accuses someone else.  (This is the same word used to describe the devil).

WITHOUT SELF-CONTROL: a person who is void of any self-imposed restraints over his passions and lusts.

BRUTAL: a person who is untamed, savage, and wild in his actions and attitudes.

TREACHEROUS: a person who betrays any confidence and trust placed in him-a traitor.

CONCEITED: a person who knows it all and cannot be told anything by anyone.

LOVERS OF PLEASURE RATHER THAN LOVERS OF GOD: a person who loves what is pleasurable to himself rather that what pleases God; a person who is controlled by satisfying his passions--food, drink, recreation, success, entertainment, sex...etc, rather than being controlled by what God would be pleased with.

HOLDING TO A FORM OF GODLINESS: a person who holds to an appearance of religion, a mask of godliness.  This person would attend church as a ritual and embrace some traditions of religious activity (like celebrating Christmas and Easter), but would not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Are we living in the last days?
A recent survey showed that 80% of the people who went to a local church, heard the gospel preached, and made a commitment to Him, quit going to church with just a few months because they said they saw no difference in the lives of the "Christians" and those who did not profess Christ.

We now have megachurches that offer everything from arts and crafts classes to recreational facilities; everything from Mom's Day Out nursery programs to senior adults extended care; everything from summer camps for teenagers to marriage retreats for couples; and everything from single-again activities to college mission trips.  But immortality is infiltrating almost every family.

We feed the hungry, we clothe the naked, we evangelize the sinners, we assist the devastated, we encourage the downtrodden, and we give millions of dollars to the unfortunate.  But no matter what we do, our world is crumbling around us. 

We are liberated as we sing in our services with absolute freedom, we are entertained by humorous sermons, we are enlightened by pulpit discussions on relevant issues, and we even feel better every day of the week because we attended an hour service once a week.  Yet we are bound by feeling of guilt, burdened by the past, and stymied by fear of the future.

One would think that, with all we are doing, we would have more of an impact on the world around us.  Are we doing some good?  Yes, I think so.  But what's wrong?  Why aren't we seeing more improvement in the moral condition of our world? What is the answer? Could it be that we are placing such an emphasis on programs that minister to the physical, emotional, mental, financial, vocational, and recreational pleasure of people that we have abandoned ministering to their greatest need--the spiritual--where we could help them learn what pleases God?

Maybe we've gotten the horse before the cart.  Maybe we need to return to the biblical pattern.  Could it be that we are so busy performing all this work in the name of God through these many programs that we've not had the time to study His Word?  It is the Word that makes us adequate, equipped for every good work. 

Are we living in the last days?  I think so.  Today most people are holding to a form of godliness but are lacking in the power thereof.  Everyone is doing what is right in their own eyes, without regard to what the Word of God has to say about the issues.  What can you do personally to make a difference?  What did Paul do?  What did Timothy do?  Do that!  Study His Word (2:15).  Entrust His Word to faithful men so they can teach others (2:2).  Live out what you are taught (3:10).  Continue in the things you have learned and are convinced of (3:14).

No matter what, Paul wanted Timothy to "continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them." (3:14)

2 Timothy 3:15-16 is quoted often, but I think it is a crucial scripture to understand.  For me, it validates the study of all scripture, Old Testament mainly, because although we are under the new covenant, there are important truths that we can glean from the study of the entire bible.

Some more definitions to these two verses:

TEACHING:  the Word of God teaches us with absolute authority what is right.

REPROOF:  the Word of God convicts us when we think, say or do something wrong.

CORRECTION:  the Word of God shows us how to correct what we've done wrong and to make it right. 

TRAINING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS:  the Word of God trains us in righteousness, showing us how to do it right the first time.

In Chapter 4, Paul knows his time here on earth is drawing to an end soon.  He desperately wants to see Timothy before that time.  You can hear the urgency in this chapter.  In his lifetime, Paul had been through more than we could ever imagine--beatings, sufferings, persecutions, imprisonments, abandonment by people who were close to him, opposition to his teaching, the twisting of what he taught to make it heresy, and yet, look at his attitude about the future.  As I read this, I prayed that I would have the same kind of attitude.  

I love this whole chapter that Kay wrote, so I won't try to summarize it.  I am just going to type the whole thing..."Relationships are the canvas upon which our very lives are painted.  Everything we do, think, and say seems to come from our multicolored relationships.  We act like our forefathers.  We are biased in our opinions because of the culture that raised us.  We are recognized geographically by our speech.  We are a portrait of our past associations.  Good friends. Bad friends.  Faithful.  Unfaithful.  Godly family.  Ungodly family.  When physical death comes to pay a personal visit, life boils down to the one very critical, important relationship: the relationship we have with God the Father.  Everything else is temporary.  In the end, that is the relationship that determines our eternal destiny."   

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."  2 Timothy 2:15

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