April 27, 2019
This week is the first of two studies on 2 Timothy.
“….One of the most knowledgeable, influential and beloved men of history is the apostle Paul. And we have his famous last words.
Paul was facing death. He was not dying of a disease in a sterile hospital with loved ones gathered nearby. He was very much alive, but his condition was terminal. Convicted as a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, Paul sat in a cold Roman prison, cut off from the world, with just a visitor or two and his writing materials. Paul knew that soon he would be executed (4:6), so he wrote his final words to his “son” Timothy, passing to him the torch of leadership, reminding him of what was truly important, and encouraging him in the faith. Imagine how Timothy must have read and reread every word; this was the last message from his beloved mentor, Paul. Because of the situation and the recipient, this is the most intimate and moving of all Paul’s letters and his last….
There has never been another person like Paul, the missionary apostle. He was a man of deep faith, undying love, constant hope, tenacious conviction, and profound insight. And he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to give us God’s message. As you read 2 Timothy, know that you are reading the last words of this man of God-his last words to Timothy and to all who claim to follow Christ….” # taken from ‘Life Application Study Bible’
2. Paul’s confidence in God.
What does Paul share about his experience of God in his life in the past and as he looks to the future? Read and discuss the following passages:
• 2 Timothy 1:12.
• 2 Timothy 3:11.
• 2 Timothy 4:16-18.
What comfort and encouragement can you draw from these words for whatever uncertainties the future holds for you as you have the same God who is looking after you?
3. Paul’s confidence in God’s Word.
Read 2 Timothy 2:9, 3:14-17. What does Paul say about God’s Word? What can it do in people’s lives?
4. Paul’s teaching on Endurance.
Read 2 Timothy 2:3-6. Discuss the principles/truths Paul touches on in the following comparisons.
Read 2 Timothy 2:7. What does Paul encourage Timothy to do in order to grasp these? Do you do this as you listen to, read and study God’s Word? See also Psalm 1:2, Joshua 1:8.
As Timothy preached and taught, he would face suffering, but he should be able to endure. Paul used comparisons with soldiers, athletes and farmers who must discipline themselves and be willing to sacrifice to achieve the results they want. Like soldiers, we have to give up worldly security and endure rigorous discipline. Like athletes, we must train hard and follow the rules. Like farmers, we must work extremely hard and be patient. But we keep going despite the suffering because of the thought of victory, the vision of winning, and the hope of harvest. We see that our suffering is worthwhile when we achieve our goal of glorifying God, winning people to Christ, and one day living eternally with Him. # taken from ‘Life Application Study Bible’
5. Pray for others who suffer for sharing the gospel.
There was another story of an African warrior who was converted to believing in Jesus, and he decided to return to his town to tell them about the good news. He ran around the place, knocking on doors and calling out, shouting that Jesus could be their Saviour. Expecting to see them receive the news as he had done, they instead turned violent. Then men held him down as the women beat him with barbed wire. They dragged him out into the bush and left him to die. Amazingly, this man was able to drag himself to a waterhole and after days his wounds began to heal. Unsure of why the people didn’t accept his message, he thought he must have said something wrong or left something out. He decided to go back and try again. Limping into the village he began to proclaim Jesus. But he was held down by the men as the women beat him as before. To live through this same treatment again was a miracle. He was determined to go back days later, when he had recovered enough to walk. He returned again, and this time was attacked before he could say anything. As the women were beating him the third time, he spoke of Jesus. As he lost consciousness he saw that the women had begun to weep. This time when he awoke he was in a bed. The ones who had beaten him were trying to save his life. The entire village had come to Christ. # shared by Daniel in Sunday’s message.
As you looked at some of Paul’s words to Timothy were you helped in your walk with the Lord? What encouragement can you take with you regarding your confidence in God, His Word and as you face times of suffering? Share with others in your group and pray for each other and others you know locally and overseas.
Next week we will look at some more of Paul’s testimony and the rewards he looked forward to as he was soon to leave this life.