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Basic Facts from 2 Timothy (Part 5)

Paul’s instruction for Timothy to continue in the things he had learned (2 Timothy 3:14) is actually a parallel to Jesus’ own statement to the disciples in John 8:31 – “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.” In effect, Paul is telling Timothy that the way to stay completely prepared/equipped for serving God in this world is to “stay where God put the equipment for your task” (vv. 15-17). Christians sometimes make the mistake of trying…

Basic Facts from 2 Timothy (Part 4)

For many Christian, 2 Timothy 2:15 may be the most familiar verse in the entire letter. Paul’s instruction that we “study” (lit. make an effort, try, exert ourselves) is actually a counterpoint to the “efforts” of those who “strive about words to no profit” in verse 14. It also sets the stage for his command in verses 16-18, to “shun” (avoid, keep away from) the behaviors – unholy, empty “chattering” – of those like Hymenaeus and Philetus, whose actions and…

Basic Facts from 2 Timothy (Part 3)

Just as children sometimes protest that they “have no choices” or are “controlled” by their parents’ rules and requirements, so immature Christians sometimes resent the limits God’s word places on our behavior. Paul did not imply that Timothy was spiritually immature, or even that he was in any way feeling “boxed in” by being a Christian, but in 2 Timothy 2:3-7, Paul indirectly addresses this attitude (as something Timothy would undoubtedly confront, and need to answer, in others). Through three…

Basic Facts from 2 Timothy (Part 2)

After vividly expressing his own commitment to the Lord, his affection for Timothy, and the purpose of his writing, Paul issues the first actual instruction of this letter in chapter 1:8 – “don’t be ashamed of either the Lord’s ‘testimony’ or of me as a prisoner for His sake.” The word “ashamed” has the same range of meanings in our English bibles as in the original Greek text; a sense of guilt or remorse, fear of embarrassment or humiliation, lacking…