Category Archives: 2 Timothy
We’re supposed to be presenting the Gospel at all times even when it is not popular. In 2 Timothy 4, Paul encourages Timothy to remember that it might become difficult to continue following Christ, but it is what he needs to be doing.
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Throughout history, there have been multiple times when preaching the Gospel was restricted. Even today, there are many countries around the world where proclaiming the Gospel can mean imprisonment or death. People don’t want to hear the message or are incredibly entrenched in their own ideologies, so rather than defeat Christianity through intellectual means, they prefer to use brute strength and silence those who will continue to preach faithfully.
I think that this type of persecution that Timothy faced is actually an indirect indication of the truth of Christianity. Nobody is persecuted who believes in the Greek gods as far as I have ever heard. Why? Because a belief in that system has already been disproven. It was not able to stand up to scrutiny of intellectual investigation, so there is no further need to silence it. Sure, I assume there are people who do believe in these gods, but it does seem to me that if something has already been disproven, then there is no need to silence it. It does not appear to be a threat, and it goes away quietly.
The fact then that many people perceive Christianity to be a threat indicates to me that perhaps there is something there that they might not see in other religions. There might be something about Christianity that even though these people do not want to hear it, they feel like they have no choice but to kill or persecute because they cannot intellectually silence it. If you don’t want to hear it but cannot stop it, then you need to do something.
In apologetics, we talk a lot about 2 Timothy 3:16, and I know there’s good reason for that, but I want to focus on the next verse for today.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
2Ti 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
The Scripture is inspired by God. It is profitable for a variety of things, but all of those things serve a purpose. God gives us doctrine to do good works. We receive reproof from God to do good works. We are corrected by God to perform good works, and we are instructed by God so that we will do good works.
I always think about the fact that the greatest commandment is to love God first. However, the second commandment is to love those around us. We do have a relationship with God through Scripture as I tried to emphasize above. That is part of the first commandment. We can love God when we know who we are actually loving.
However, as a result of that relationship, we should begin seeing results. Again, I do not believe in works-based salvation, but I do believe that good works are the result of salvation. We learn all of these things from Scripture to develop a relationship with God, and then we’re supposed to bring that to those around us.
Book knowledge is excellent, but we also need to remember that a major part of the Christian life is serving those around us. As we learn more about God, I am convinced that we will want to share the love of God even more with those around us. As we do these good works, they are going to see God glorified.
We need to remember this character of love. If we do not communicate that to the world around us, I don’t know how we will gain their attention.
Timothy 2 brings me back to my school days. How do you do well in school? Although it is certainly the case that some people have natural propensities towards reading or math, it is also true that there comes a point where everyone needs to put in work in order to do well.
2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Similarly, Timothy needed to make sure that he was studying the word of God. He was in a leadership position, and it was his responsibility to help the people rightly divide or understand the word of God. How would he be able to do that well unless the devoted time and effort to learning all that he could?
This clearly has practical application for all of us. If we want to talk about the Bible and if we want to help other people with their own understanding, then seems to be the case that we need to know the material. We need to know what God has said if we want to be in a position to actually help people understand it.
I know that that seems intuitive. How can we talk about something that we do not understand ourselves? It would be almost like trying to be a referee in basketball and explain the rules to people when you have never read the rulebook.
We certainly do not all have to be perfect Biblical scholars who know every possible interpretation of every possible passage, but we do need to be engaged in study so that when questions come up, we are able to have some type of answer. After all, if we are claiming to be Christians, then we probably should know what it means to follow Jesus Christ.
Well, we are pressing on to another book of the Bible. In 2 Timothy 1, Paul reminds Timothy that the life of a Christian is not a life that is characterized by fear.
2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2Ti 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
There are three things that Paul mentions belong to a Christian in the place of the spirit of fear. Power is rather obvious. We have the power of God working through us, so why would we be afraid of anything? God is greater than whatever we might be facing.
However, we also have experience of love. People seem to fear things that they don’t like. As a kind of ridiculous example from my own life, I have never liked needles, so when I was young, I was afraid of them. However, when we move that to people, maybe we are afraid of people because we are intimidated or something like that, but when we recognize that we are called to love people, that fear is simply not necessary either.
Finally, having a sound mind drives away fear. Many of our fears are not logical. We might be afraid of something funny like the dark, but when we think about it logically, there is really not much to worry about. After all, when you are in your bedroom at home in the dark, it is not as if there is all of a sudden something terrifying in your bedroom. It is still your bedroom. That type of sound mind that ought to characterize the Christian helps drive away fear as well.
Overall, there is a lot of fear out there, and the Christian life simply does not need it. God is with us, so what could possibly stand against us?