1 & 2 Timothy Anne O’BrieN
A Bible Study on 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. We encourage you to pray before you begin reading that the Lord would open your heart and mind to be receptive and responsive to God’s message contained within this study. There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or
worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.
The Epistles to Timothy An Introduction and a Challenge This letter, from Paul to Timothy, is a letter of advice and encouragement to a young man in a very difficult place. So, what do we know about Timothy? Read 2 Timothy 1v5 and Acts 16v1-3: He was of mixed parentage. His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, were Jewesses and taught him well so that he was well-versed in Old Testament Scripture. And his father was a Greek who did not know the Lord and who had apparently not allowed his circumcision. Timothy was saved under Paul’s ministry and that is why Paul refers to him as, “my own dear son in the faith” (1 Tim 1v2). He grew up in Lystra where he was converted under Paul’s ministry during his first missionary journey. Timothy had become one of the disciples and accompanied Paul, showing his ability to preach – first at Corinth (1 Cor 4v17) and then at Philippi (Phil 2v20-23). He became one of the best known of Paul’s fellow workers. But when Paul wrote this letter to him, Timothy – still a young man (possibly he was in his twenties) was heading up the work in Ephesus. Q. Who taught you about the gospel? Who led you to faith? Have you ever had letters, cards or written notes/verses which have encouraged you? Paul usually wrote to churches. Imagine how Timothy must have felt to receive these letters of encouragement personally. They must have really inspired him and challenged him at a time when he was feeling quite daunted by his commission, which was to plant, teach and grow churches in Ephesus – one of the most ungodly places around. Q. How can a letter have more impact than the spoken word, or an email or text?
Ephesus Ephesus was a busy seaport in Asia Minor – see the map (now S.W Turkey, bordering the Mediterranean) with a population of 35,000 people. One of the major features of this city was that it was the guardian of the Temple of Artemis, one of the many Roman gods. As a port, it was a place of mixed cultures, religions, trades and commerce. Sport, sex and magic were also gods of the day. When Paul first arrived with the Christian gospel he “upset the apple cart” – as it were. His preaching resulted in a sharp decline in the magic trade and interest in Artemis.
Read Acts 19v1-12; 19v23-27 and 20v1. Many believed on hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ and Paul stayed for nearly 3 years to establish the church in Ephesus. They should have been well grounded in Scripture, but many without Biblical knowledge were starting up false sects, and someone reliable was required to manage the situation and maintain the truth of the gospel. Timothy was one of the disciples sent to take over the work when Paul left to continue his missionary travels. What a daunting prospect for Timothy. But Paul knew Timothy to be a man of “good conscience” whom he could trust. Timothy’s Ordination: Read 1 Timothy 4v14: It was, and still is, right that people who feel God’s call to ministry should be ordained for the task. Once the elders/leaders of the church recognize and agree on God’s calling on a person’s life, the next step is ordination. Ordination is the commissioning of the person – to set them apart for an office or duty or work, according to their calling. Often this will require a degree of theological academic ability, of which Timothy was proficient; but that is not always the case. The important thing is to be called by God. Timothy not only had academic ability, but he shared in the Pentecostal experience with Paul and the other disciples. Words of prophecy were spoken over his life at his ordination and Paul reminded him of those. False sects arise when this procedure is not followed. A fellow-worker Paul felt the attachment to Timothy very strongly, so that he mentions Timothy at the beginning of several of his letters to the churches, including: 2 Corinthians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and 1&2 Thessalonians. 2
Timothy is also found with Paul in his trials in Jerusalem (Acts 21v8) and in his house-arrest in Rome (Philippians 2v19-24). Read Hebrews 13v23: But here we see that Timothy also spent time in prison. Where, why and when, we are not told. This greeting comes from Italy so it seems likely that Timothy could have been imprisoned in Rome because of his associations with Paul. Read Philippians 2v19-24: What a wonderful reference of Timothy’s character! If we were being commissioned to work abroad, I wonder what our reference would look like when the Pastor sent it to the Missions Board? So here is the challenge of Timothy’s life and character: How do we measure up, in the light of such an excellent example?
1 Timothy chapter 1 Read verses 1&2 Paul saw himself as a captain under “God’s command” – part of a Christian army. And yet there is nothing regimental about the tone of his letter or the way that he writes to Timothy. Notice the content of Paul’s greeting and how much he has included in these first two verses. Q. How does Paul describe a) God, b) Jesus, and c) Timothy? What one word would you use to describe them? Q. How do we see ourselves? ... soldiers; workers; children; friends ... or just followers of God? Read verses 3-7 So, Timothy has been sent to Ephesus by Paul to sort out the troubles there. After Paul had left Ephesus, the church had continued to grow, but with very little clear teaching about the Scriptures and salvation in Jesus Christ. The word “command” is used twice more here (v3 & v5). Paul was under God’s command and now he is asking Timothy to take command of the church situation. Although Ephesus was a very difficult place (it had taken Paul 2-3 years to establish the church there), young Timothy was not to feel intimidated, but to take leadership in a very difficult situation where there were teachers of false doctrine within the church. Paul warned Timothy about people who want to assert Christian teaching, but who don’t really know what they are talking about (v7). Q. Which word shows us how this command should be given? (v5) Q. How would we feel if asked to sort out a similar problem within our group of Christian friends? What advice could we give? 3
Q. Why did Paul think Timothy was equipped for such a task? (see verse 18) Read verses 8-11 The Law is for people who do wrong, but it is also for anybody that doesn’t conform to the sound doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ (because Christ is the fulfillment of the Law). The Law still stands as an indicator of what is right and wrong (as listed in verses 9&10). As Christians, we interpret it with grace and in love for the individual; but that does not change what is laid down as right and wrong. Q, What is “conforming to the gospel of Jesus”? (v11) Conforming is doing the right thing, as a result of our right relationship with God; as a result of thinking based on faith; it is action motivated by love, without hypocrisy and with a pure heart. Acting in accordance with the gospel of Jesus should result in obedience to the Law. Therefore, the Law has to be taught, because it provides guidelines for behavior and it alerts people to their sin. But, praise God, Paul didn’t leave it there, because Jesus provided a way out and a way forward for sinners. He calls it the gospel of the glory of God. Read verses 12-17 Paul is overwhelmed by the fact that God saved him and entrusted him with the task of spreading the gospel abroad, acknowledging his many serious sins (v13) and thanking God for his amazing grace (v14). The first trustworthy saying: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst (v.15) Here is Paul praising God for the mercy he has received. Even though he had done major wrongs (the worse of sinners – v13&15), God forgave him and was now using him as an example of grace. Paul took no credit himself but gave the glory to God. He says these things to encourage Timothy. Q. Why was Paul’s testimony of salvation so powerful? Q. How can our testimony, like Paul’s, be an encouragement to others? Read verses 18-20 The word translated as ‘command’ is actually referring to Paul giving Timothy a mandate to act on his behalf (Strongs); he is charging him with a commission to declare God’s truth in Ephesus. Notice that this commission is in keeping with the prophecies that had been spoken over his life (probably at his ordination). Paul didn’t just choose any available person, he didn’t just choose someone he loved and trusted, and he didn’t just choose a “yes man”. His choice was in line with the will of God as shown by the Holy Spirit in prophecy. In verse 19 Paul talks about “faith and a good conscience”. What he means is: not being a hypocrite; practising what you preach; living according to your beliefs. Sadly, 2 people in the church at Ephesus had failed to do so and the result was dishonouring to God (blasphemy). (Probably verse 3 ties in with verse 19.) Hymenaeus and Alexander were “handed over to Satan” – which could have several meanings. It could mean that they were handed over to 4
sickness; or the natural results of their wrong ways; or God’s hand of protection was removed; or all three. Q. What was the purpose of their removal from the fellowship – and why was it necessary? The Biblical position is that when a Christian consistently refuses to repent of a wrong, he can be disciplined and removed from the local church – and it follows that he would be vulnerable to attacks from Satan. See 1 Cor 5v5; Note ‘flesh’ refers to the sinful nature Matt 18v15-17: If we are going to point out faults in others we’d better be careful we don’t have any faults of our own! But see also Galatians 6v1-3: When we point the finger at someone, we have three fingers pointing back at us!! Q. Why is it important to maintain the integrity of the gospel?
1 Timothy chapter 2 Chapter 2 is mainly concerned with individual and collective prayer and worship. It appears that the new Christians in Ephesus understandably had difficulty in these areas. It’s easy enough to read or chant set prayers which have already been formulated, but some find it difficult to offer personal prayer or to intercede on behalf of others. Paul’s advice to Timothy makes good guidelines for us. Read verses 1&2 “First of all” – the priority is prayer, Paul “urges” us to pray. It has been said: Much prayer – much power / No prayer – no power Paul lists 4 kinds of (and depths of) prayers: (I’ve tried to explain the original meaning in the words.) Requests – These prayers are born out of need. They are like our lists of needs, and our prayer chain requests. They are like petitions that we ask for over again, and get other people to pray for. They are like the words of a person in trouble who calls out “help me”. This kind of prayer request can be spoken by anyone – Christian or not – and God will hear. Prayers – We can make requests to God or man, but we can only pray to God. There is a deeper connection to the One we are praying to. When we pray, we are talking to our Father, whom we know. There’s a greater spiritual dimension. Prayers are about spiritual needs, spiritual strength and forgiveness and healing, as well as for practical requests. They are about us talking to Father. 5
Intercessions – Interceding is being ‘in step’ with God and understanding His will – like walking hand in hand with him, and knowing the right time and the right way to ask things of him – like having a confidential conversation we know really well. The Holy Spirit helps us in this kind of prayer as we rely on him for enlightenment and guidance on how to pray. Thanksgiving – Prayer also means thanking God for who he is and for what he does. This pleases and glorifies God – it also encourages others. Offering prayers of thanksgiving should not be dependent on receiving the answer to our prayer, but should come as a result of our trust that God will answer. The prayer of thanksgiving should lead to worship. “For everyone” The second imperative in verses 1&2 is that everyone should be included in our prayers. Q. Who does ‘everyone’ include? (v2) When Paul wrote this letter, Nero was the Emperor over the Roman Empire. History reveals that Nero was an evil man, a tyrant, a murderer, someone who “fiddled while Rome burnt”! He was the archetype of an evil ruler. Paul didn’t mention any of this – just that we should pray for our rulers. He makes the point that we need strong rulers to maintain peace in a country. We only have to see the results of the “Arab Spring” in the Middle East to realize that he was right, because the alternative is anarchy. Q. How else can you interpret the command to pray for rulers? Read verses 3-7 Several times in these verses it is stressed that all men and women should be prayed for – he “wants all people to be saved” (4) – the gospel is for everyone. But there is only ONE WAY. In Ephesus particularly, the Greeks and Romans had many gods as do many people today. Paul emphasizes that Jesus is the mediator between God and man – we pray to God through Jesus, and in His Name (v.5). Why? Because Jesus was the only one to be fully God and fully man. It wouldn’t be possible for anyone else to do it. Q. What is the function of a mediator? Read verses 8-10: What do the words in verse 8 say to us about our attitude when we pray? And who are these words specifically directed to? Paul doesn’t leave out the women, so much as expecting the men to lead by example. Do you think that a wrong attitude can stop our prayers being effective (v8)? Can we pray for a terrorist whilst secretly hating him? Can we pray for an abuser whilst being reviled by their actions? How often do we pray for “bad” people who hurt us? How do we align our attitudes and speech with what God wants from us? Matthew 5v44: Love your enemies and pray for them. (Read verses 9&10 in the context of prayer and worship.) Women are to dress in such a way as not to be a diversion to each other and to the men (remember this was Ephesus). They are not to be chatting and gossiping in church, or to wear provocative and overly ornamented clothing, hair braids or jewelry (or even hats!). These new Christians had to learn about modesty and humility. Like us, they lived in a culture where 6
“anything goes”. Society in those days was morally depraved and corrupt. In Jewish communities this was not common, but in areas where the Jews had not settled, such as Ephesus – a busy sea-port, things were very different. (Timothy was certainly being dropped in the “deep end”! As a young man, he had a hard job to teach his congregation how to go about things God’s way.) Note: Paul talks about the women worshippers. He is not against their input when it comes from spirituality. And he has already commended Timothy’s mother and grandmother for their influence on his life. It is also a fact that many of the early churches were hosted by wealthy women. Therefore the verses here (9-12) must be taken in context. Read verses 11-14: The women also had to learn about respect for the Pastor and elders (who were men) and to be willing to submit to what they taught about God’s ways. Paul explained that this was because Adam was formed first. I don’t believe God wants women to be robots. They are part of the “all people” who need to hear the gospel and then get involved in the work of the church. Paul’s point is that they shouldn’t usurp or undermine a man’s authority in Christ. The word “quiet” in verse 12 can also be translated as peaceable. Q. Does God’s order of authority have any relation to the value of men and women and their ability to contribute equally in spiritual matters? Read verse 15: This is a difficult verse. Are women saved through childbirth? They are not saved spiritually. And not all women’s lives are saved – some die. And not all women have babies. And anyway, in Genesis, God had promised pain in childbirth, not salvation. So, what was Paul getting at? In the context of the preceding verses, he probably means that their calling is to show Christ’s love in the home – as opposed to the call for men to teach and guide in the church. Their ministry was needed every bit as much as the men’s.
1 Timothy chapter 3
Read verses 1-7 Second trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Instructions to Overseers/Bishops/Pastors/Elders; that is: all those who have spiritual oversight in the church, spiritually mature people who are in charge. Paul writes a list of qualifications for the job: The Pastor should be – Blameless – above reproach, not easy to criticize Only married once – not been divorced or had previous partners Temperate – moderate and sensible in all things Self-controlled – sober, not foolish in nature 7
Respectable – of good behavior, orderly and organized Given to hospitality – loving and welcoming the stranger or needy Able to teach – must know the Bible well and have an aptitude for teaching Not given to drunkenness – a moderate drinker Not violent – or quarrelsome or contentious. Gentle with people Not a lover of money – and not motivated by money Able to manage his family – respected by wife and children, good management A mature Christian – not letting his position go to his head. Portraying a good testimony and reputation with outsiders Read verses 8-13 Instructions to deacons, those who serve in church offices, those who support the minister. Deacon means “servant”. It seems to be a Bible principle that most leaders start as servants and continue the ministry in their leadership. (Think of Joseph, Moses, Gideon, David and of course, Jesus.) Paul writes a list of qualifications for the job of deacon. The first deacons are mentioned in Acts chapter 6 v1-6. The Deacon should be – Respected – a person will not be effective in their job if they are not looked up to Sincere – not “double tongued”, not hypocritical Sensible with drink – an example to others Honest – important because they often deal with money, spiritual stewardship Sound in their beliefs – they must know the Word of God Only be married once – and have a Christian wife Good manager of their household – and all their affairs Able to be “tested” against all of these standards Read verses 14-16 A) The church as God’s household – a family, treating everyone as if they are brothers and sisters, mothers, fathers and children. The most basic needs of a family are a house (a church building), warmth (a loving fellowship) and food (the Word of God). Also important are order and occasionally discipline – but always encouragement. B) The church as an assembly – those called to come together into God’s presence, with leaders and deacons to oversee and carry out the teaching, nurturing, pasturing and admin. C) The church as the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth – the basis and all the supporting work is to be built on Jesus Christ who is the truth. You could say Jesus is the foundation and we are the pillars. The final paragraph was probably recited as a creed and is an expression of the truth of the gospel.
1 Timothy chapter 4 Read verses 1-3 Paul warns of the possibility of false teaching, hypocrisy and going to extremes – all of which are a threat to the church, because these can all come from people within the church who listen to their own reasoning rather than God’s Word. Q. What do you think could be the nature of the teachings in verses 2-3? Often false teachers advocate lower morals, yet the teachers here are encouraging excessively strict morals. Both can be damaging. Q. Why does Paul say a super-spiritual doctrine is a “doctrine of demons” (v.1)?
Marks of false doctrine: Satan is an imitator of Christ and tries to deceive people so that they will not hear the truth, he uses this deception to damage God’s work. False teachers become ‘puffed up’ and proud of their own ideas and power over others. They, if they remain in the church, become hypocritical and lead people astray. They replace the truth and teaching of Christ with their own teaching and take away people’s freedom by requiring obedience to their “laws”. Often, they are hypocritical, preaching one thing and practicing another. They become desensitized to the truth of the gospel. They often combine God’s Word with the teachings of other faiths, thus watering it down and taking away its supremacy. Tests of false doctrine: • What do they believe about Jesus Christ? Do they believe in the Incarnation, Christ’s vicarious death, the Resurrection & Ascension? • Does it build up and edify the church, or does it turn people away from the true God? • Are the leaders just sincere; or are they also morally upright, devoted to God’s Word, honest and wise? • How much of their preaching includes the word “I” and how much focusses on the Saviour? Read verses 4&5: We say, “Jesus Christ sets us free”, so why do we live in a place of bondage? We have a choice. Ultimately, we are saved by faith and not by works. “Being religious” or living out our Christian lives in a religious manner may seem good, but it can bring us to a place of spiritual bondage, where we begin to feel justified by our religiosity. In times gone by, Christians were judged on things like: wearing a hat, having washing out on a Sunday, catching a bus to church on a Sunday, not putting money in the offering bag, meeting the family instead of going to church etc. To be set free, we need our hearts to be in right relationship with Father God, through Jesus Christ. And we need to hear from him rather than people who are mis-led. 9
Read verses 6-8 Verse 6 reminds us to have the right effect on others, encouraging them and not judging them. Verse 7 says, “Train yourself to be godly”. We need to train to be physically fit – “Use it or lose it” is the well-known saying – and we need to train to be spiritually fit. That is why it is important to read our Bible and pray every day – more important than listening to what others say (Old wives’ tales). If we don’t do this we could be deceiving ourselves, and it could lead to deceiving of others. An example of this is when an immature Christian might give a talk on the words of a Christmas Carol when many of the words are not strictly correct! How often do we really read the Bible account? Q. Why are we sometimes motivated for ‘training in godliness’ and other times we are not? Read verses 9&10 Paul’s third trustworthy saying: We work because we have put our hope in the living God who is the Saviour of all people, especially of those who believe. This is like a conclusion showing the correct motivation for Christians and leaders. We do it all for the love of Christ and the hope we have in Him. Any other reason is not right. Read verses 11-14 Timothy’s life was to say just as much about the gospel as his words. How he lived would back up what he said (or deny it). Q. In what ways was he to achieve this? (v.12&13) Paul keeps coming back to his theme of a clear conscience; a lack of hypocrisy; and a knowledge of the Scriptures. Notice the encouragement to read the Scripture out in church. Not all churches do this every week. How important do you think this is? Q. What would help Timothy to achieve what was expected of him? (v.14) If God has blessed us with a gift, whether spiritual or natural, we should be using it in his service. When ministers, deacons and office holders are called, it is usual to lay hands on them and ask God to anoint them for service. Sometimes there is a word given over a person’s life, sometimes the person will receive a new gift of the Spirit, and sometimes they will experience a physical demonstration of the working of the Spirit. Timothy is being reminded to use the Gifts of the Spirit that he had received – and not try to do the hard work of running this difficult church without God’s constant help. Read verses 15&16 Paul clearly didn’t see Timothy’s assignment in Ephesus as being a quick fix for the church. The words “be diligent” and “persevere” implied it would be a steady effort over a long time. Paul said people would get saved. Compare Timothy’s ministry with a Christian TV host or a popular short-stay evangelist. God has different ministries for different people, but most of us have to just ‘keep on keeping on’. Q. What were Timothy’s resources? 10
He had the Old Testament scriptures, and he had Paul’s letters, and possibly a copy of the gospel. He had Paul as his spiritual father and mentor. He had received a spiritual gift/s when the brothers laid hands on him. And he had all the resources of God. All the things Timothy was told to do in his private life would help him in his public ministry. The last phrase shows us that the way we live our life is just as important as the words we say – not being religious, but interpreting God’s Word in love.
1 Timothy chapter 5 Chapter 5 relates to the church’s responsibility towards Christians with little, or no, income. Who should be encouraged to work and who should be supported? Read verses 1&2 Regarding the need for Timothy to make corrections in the church, Paul says that everything should be done in a manner of love and respect. The family is a model for church – and there should be no partiality. (That doesn’t mean that all are treated the same – they can be dealt with and respected equally, but not necessarily the same.) And we are to act towards one another as God does towards us. We are not to be like a dysfunctional family, but like a family where each person supports the others. Read Deuteronomy 10v18 Read verses 3-8 This long passage belies the problems that the church must have had. It gives clear guidance on how to look after the widows in the church. Their’s was a culture and time in history when there was no support from the state (and this is still the same in many countries today), so if they were not provided for by their late husbands or by their families, then it was the duty of the church leadership and fellowship to make sure they were properly provided for. Read Deuteronomy 14v28-29. Q. In the twentieth century who might our “widows” be, and what kind of provision would be in keeping with Paul’s guidance in these verses? These verses do not take away the responsibility of the individual to provide for themselves when possible. Paul makes it quite clear that if you are in need, and you can work, then you should work. However, the family should be prepared to help those who cannot work – verse 8 could not be clearer! And that goes for the church family also. But Paul goes on to make some stipulations. 11
Read verses 9-10 Help was not indiscriminate. Deserving widows were put on a list and had to meet certain criteria. They should have had a good work ethic. They should be over 60 – perhaps for two reasons. Firstly (especially then) they would be too old to work. And secondly, it was unlikely that they would marry, and certain that they would not have further children. Read verses 11-16 ‘Marry or work’ seems to be what Paul is saying. Being idle, being “ladies who lunch”, having too much time on your hands is not good and can result in time spent unwisely (v15). One of the best examples to us, in the Bible, is that of Naomi and Ruth. Naomi looked after Ruth and Ruth went out to support them both. And then a relative was found – Boaz – who took responsibility for them both. Naomi and Ruth both trusted God AND worked, and God supplied all their needs. Read verses 17-20 – ELDERS/LEADERS Look up Deut.25v4 and Luke 10v7. A man or woman’s reward should be proportional to their toil (v17&18). Leaders deserve their wages, they should not be expected to be martyrs to their calling (although in truth many of them are). Likewise (19-21), they should expect to be treated equally with respect, and to be rebuked if necessary. Q. How does verse 21 tell us we should do this? Do we often hold one set of standards for our leaders and another for ourselves? (For discipline in the church see also: Matthew 18v15-17; 2 Corinthians 2v5-11; Galatians 6v1-2
Read verses 22-25 – TIMOTHY Verse 22 is in the context of the previous verses about elders. Timothy must be careful and know the Spirit’s leading when it comes to “laying on of hands”, appointing elders. Leaders shouldn’t be too hasty – time must be taken to know a person before putting them in a position of leadership. Verse 23 ... Leaders should look after their health and not over- or under- indulge (Paul mentions drink, but this must include food, leisure pursuits etc etc.) Verse 24 ... Both good and bad deeds are found out! Nothing is secret before God – a point worth pondering on.
1 Timothy Chapter 6 In this chapter Paul gives advice to Timothy about slaves, false teachers, the wealthy – and finally, to Timothy himself. Read verses 1&2 - SLAVES Slaves from all social strata made up a high percentage of the population and workforce. Wherever the Roman army went they made slaves of the indigenous peoples. Paul never attacked the institution of slavery (it is estimated that there were 60,000,000 slaves worldwide; attacking the system could have resulted in chaos and civil war) but Paul did say they should be treated equally with other men. And in turn they should show respect to others, particularly their masters. There should even be a bond of love between Christian masters and slaves, in Jesus Christ. The Christian can be an ambassador for Christ by the way he acts at work. Read verses 2b-5 – FALSE IDEAS If there are slaves and workers, there are people getting rich off the back of their work. There are also people who try to make financial gain from proclaiming the gospel (those who think godliness is a means to financial gain. v5). But the basis of the gospel is love. The Christian’s duty is to serve in love – whatever the circumstances. And some circumstances are very difficult: difficult marriage, demanding or ill parents; unfair boss; unreasonable colleagues etc. etc. Paul says: These are the things to insist on – sound doctrine, love and respect. Q. How does this square with our “human rights”? Do we complain too much? Read verses 6-10 – RICHES AND CONTENTMENT But conversely godliness with contentment is great gain (v6). If we do our best, “as unto the Lord”, we can trust God to provide for us; having a spirit of thanks, rather than a spirit of greed. This passage reminds us of the problems that too much money can bring: • It does not bring contentment • It does not last (we can’t take it with us when we die) • It is good for our basic needs BUT • Too much can lead us into sin (verse 10) Q. How would you define true contentment? Q. Is it wrong to be rich? Is it a responsibility? Read verses 11-12 – ADVICE TO TIMOTHY Paul gives Timothy 4 imperatives (things he must do) • Flee. Turn away from the world’s thinking. Get out of the “rat race”. Separate yourself to God, and his Word, and seek his ways • Pursue. Instead, chase after righteousness (moral living), a healthy spiritual life, and be loving and gentle. 13
Fight. Being gentle doesn’t mean we cannot stand up for our faith and fight for it when necessary. Grasp. “Take hold of” the fact that we have eternal life – and live in the light of that knowledge. It is never money that can offer us security. It is only truly found in our salvation and God’s provision and protection.
Q. How can we apply these verses to ourselves? If you could choose between your salvation and a really good, secure, large pension for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Read verses 13-16: Jesus, as described in verses 13-16, is both our challenge and our comfort – the only one we can truly depend on. Verses 15&16 are in the form of a doxology – probably an early hymn or verse of praise and truth, glorifying God. (dox: relating to belief)
Read verses 17-20 Paul uses the strong word “command” in verses 17&18. Be rich in good deeds, share what you have, for God will richly provide for our needs. Store up for yourselves riches in heaven, for in becoming poorer we become richer. Paul could say these things because he lived them. He both worked when he could, but he also received when he was given to. He commended people (especially women) who out of their abundance provided meeting houses and food for the early Christians. Paul finishes by asking Timothy to guard that which has been entrusted to him, to stick to the Word of God, and to turn away from the latest thoughts and ideas. Q. What are the latest thoughts and ideas of our age? How can we apply this request to ourselves?
The Second Epistle to Timothy 2 Timothy chapter 1 We need to bear in mind that when Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy his circumstances had changed significantly. (He was, apparently, a prisoner in Rome and facing a death sentence – no longer just under house arrest.) He experienced persecution for his faith in the same way that many people around the world are doing today. 2 Timothy 4v9-13 explains how Paul would send Tychicus to replace Timothy at Ephesus, so that Timothy could be free to go to Rome to give support to Paul. But more than that, Timothy was expected to take Paul’s place in giving spiritual encouragement to the churches. Paul had run his race – and because he knew that it was soon time to pass the baton on he wanted to see Timothy face to face. Q. What kind of training had Timothy had for this greater task? Do we see our everyday work as training for something greater in the Lord’s work? Read verses 1&2 Why would Paul call Timothy his “dear son” (he wasn’t his son – it was a mark of affection) but also describe himself in a very formal way as he does in verse 1? Perhaps it was because Paul’s letters (whoever they were written to) were copied and circulated amongst all the churches. Paul’s writing forms half of the New Testament, and so these letters would have been to many, like our Bibles are to us today. They were so full of teaching about the gospel and how, as Christians, we should be living our lives. Read verses 3-5 Paul often thought about his friend with fondness and love. And he prayed for him constantly. Remember – people are praying for you. Are you praying for them?
Read verses 6&7 In these verses Paul encourages Timothy (apparently still timid, despite his experiences in Ephesus) to be courageous and faithful. Looking at Paul’s example here, we have some guidelines on the ways in which we can encourage each other: • By showing love/concern/care/understanding • By praying, and telling people that we are praying (v3) • By having confidence in people (and only giving them tasks that are appropriate) (v5) • By reminding them of their spiritual gift/ministry. Paul used the words: “Fan into flame.” (v6) • By reminding them and ourselves of our standing in Christ, and not to fear (keeping calm) (v7)
We don’t always see ourselves as we really are. When people take time to tell us they pray for us, or they affirm some quality in us, it certainly does bring us encouragement (especially if it comes at a time when we are feeling like giving up!) Read verses 8-12 Q. Paul talks about not being ashamed of the gospel (v.8). What did he mean? Why would we avoid talking about Jesus? - natural timidity, finding ourselves tongue-tied, embarrassment, or fear of suffering in some way perhaps, fear of being laughed at? Christians shouldn’t suffer for doing wrong (because they shouldn’t be doing wrong!) but they can expect to suffer for doing right. Paul calls this “sharing in Christ’s sufferings” (Phil. 3v10). It’s not something we would want to do – even Jesus struggled with the concept, but suffering was part of God’s plan. And strangely enough, the suffering church across the world is growing faster than the church in affluent, liberal societies. Q. What was Paul convinced of that made it possible for him to face suffering? (v9)
Read verses 13&14 These are the key verses for the book of Timothy and good advice for all of us: • We should base our lives on the sound teaching in Paul’s letters (v13) which perfectly complement the teachings of Jesus. • Faith and love in Christ Jesus must be our motivation for sharing the gospel What other motivation could there be? • We should guard the “deposit” of Christian truth, stand up for it and pass it on. As Christians this is our responsibility (v14a). Note: These are commands, not suggestions. • How should we do it? We should depend on the Holy Spirit, who lives within us. Q. How can we define truth unless we have something to measure it against? What would that be? Read verses 15 As we saw in the first letter to Timothy, Christian ministry and leadership can be a very daunting and lonely task. And here Paul was sad (inferred from verse 4). Christian leaders get sad like anyone else - they need love and support and prayer from their congregation. Verse 15 is very sad, because it appears that many who followed Paul in the “good old days” had deserted him. Christian ministry is serving one another, but the leaders need to be served and listened to as well as everyone else. They need to know our encouragement and confidence in them too. They don’t need a fan base, but they do need spiritual loyalty and friends. Read verses 16-18 16
Consequently, Onesiphorus gets a special mention of commendation from Paul because he went out of his way to help him, especially while he was in prison. In Rome, he went out of his way to find Paul and bring encouragement. But we also see that he had been a help in Ephesus (probably a co-worker of Timothy there.) Q. In what ways can we be discouraging to our Pastors? Q. In what ways can we encourage and support the pastors and leaders of our church?
2 Timothy chapter 2 Read verses 1-7 We are told to reflect on this passage (v.7) in which Paul talks about the soldier, the athlete and the farmer. Paul is here simply using images that are familiar to him. He lived in a military state and he was in prison at the time of writing so he could observe the life of a Roman soldier. The Greeks and Romans had vast stadiums where they hosted all types of sporting events – and sport was very high profile as it is today. And farming was the occupation of many ordinary individuals at that time. Verses 3-6 contain three qualities that Christians need; allegiance, obedience and hard work. As with any area of life, there can be disappointments, but the rewards make it all worthwhile. These are the things Paul tells us to reflect on: Verse 1: We are strong by God’s grace (not by following rules) Verse 2: We have been given the Message and should pass it on Verse 3: We should be willing to suffer for the truth (like a soldier) Verse 4: We should try to please God – but how? Verse 5: Like an athlete we should put in the extra work Verse 6:We should be hard-working like a farmer – digging, sowing, weeding and reaping. Read verses 8-10 Paul reminds Timothy that the gospel is all about Jesus who was both God and Man (descended from David). And it is because he stated that Jesus is God that the Romans had put him in chains in prison. (The Roman Emperors saw this as a personal slight because they saw themselves as a god of the Empire – not unlike Kim Jong Un of North Korea.) Q. What reason does Paul give in verse 10 for his willingness to suffer? Read verses 11-13 Paul reminds us of the reason for our endurance and suffering in his fourth ‘trustworthy saying’:
If we died with him we will also live with him; if we endure we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us 17
If we are faithless he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (An example of
an early song or creed) For those who trust in Jesus this must be one of the most encouraging passages in the Bible. We have the promise of eternal life which starts now – living with him – and carries on throughout eternity. And it will be an eternity that is no mere existence, but one where we reign with Christ as Kings and Priests, full of purpose and promise. Only if we openly rebel against Christ and set ourselves against his kingdom will he disown us – in other words we are choosing to be disowned. But he will remain faithful to us, even when our faith is very small or seemingly non-existent (“faithless”). Q. How can this verse encourage those who have friends and family who once walked with Jesus but have left the church? Read verses 14-18 Paul encourages us not to quarrel (v14) and to handle correctly the Word of Truth (v15), as opposed to “godless chatter” (v16). Godless chatter can be what we listen to on the TV as well as how we speak with our friends (probably more-so). Q. How do we handle all the “chatter” that we are fed every day on the media? How do you think it affects the minds of children growing up? God’s Word should be our tool for building people up, for encouragement and it should be used as a standard for living. The original mission statement of the BBC was: Inform, Educate and Entertain. If only all TV programmes kept to this. The thinking nowadays is to make people ‘push the boundaries’ and form their own opinions – but where is truth in that thinking? In verse 17 Paul cites Hymenaeus and Philetus as an example of distorting the truth because, along with some modern thinkers today, they taught that the resurrection had already taken place in a spiritual sense at the time of salvation, thus denying a physical resurrection. But the resurrection is a foundational truth of the Bible – just because we can’t explain it, it doesn’t make it any less true. Read verse 19 The foundation of our faith on which we stand is sealed with the words: The Lord knows those who are his. The “seal” is a mark of ownership and security and authority. When something is sealed it cannot be changed. Praise the Lord he calls us “his own”. But notice, the onus is on us to stay belonging to him. Read verses 20&21 Paul goes on to talk about the articles (a metaphor for people) in this house. The house of God is made up of all sorts of people (by God’s grace), some more noble (or honourable) than others – all at different stages in their Christian walk. If we try to keep ourselves pure and honourable God can use us better to do his work. 18
Read verses 22-26 Q. How does Paul suggest we do this (keep ourselves pure)? (See the list in v.22-24) Our reward is not special honour or privilege – but special service to others, being used by God for “noble purposes” (v.21).
2 Timothy chapter 3 Read verses 1-5 In the Last Days people will be: • Lovers of themselves – egocentric, self-centred, placing themselves higher than God:– fashion; make-up; botox; facelifts; hairdos; teeth whitening; etc. The average woman spends over £1,000 in the UK each year! 66 billion pounds is spent in the fashion industry in the UK each year. • Lovers of money :– ambitious; bankers; credit cards; store cards; debt. The average household debt (excluding mortgage) is £12,000 • Boastful and proud :– mobile phones, cars; kids schools; big house; new furniture; materialistic goals; fitness; cooking skills (all perpetuated by the media) • Abusive – physicaly, mentally, verbally :– the obvious wife/husband beating; child neglect; racial/religious abuse and then the cyberbullying and abuse and hatred online. Statistics (from NSPCC): One in five 8 year olds and seven in ten 12-15 year olds has a social media profile (e.g. facebook). 12,000 children phoned Childline for counselling last year! • Disobedient and ungrateful :– children disrespectful of adults; troublesome teenagers. On the other hand, there are 7.7 million single parent families and millions of “mixed” families. • Unholy and without love :– Certain sections of society are Godless; not putting others first; no standards or good example because they have grown up without direction. • Unforgiving and slanderous :– Litigation is big business and makes a lot of money. We live in a blame culture; revenge; popular press and media make it worse (look at the cover of most magazines!) • Without self-control :- influence of drink/drugs; no anger management; “anything goes” culture. Statistics: 1 in 6 adults binge drink at least 4 times a month 56% of adults drink every month. Alcohol related harm costs the NHS £3.5 billion each year. In the UK 10,000 people die in road accidents each year because of alcohol. 1.5 million people a year are 19
arrested for drug related crimes. • Brutal; not lovers of good; treacherous; rash; conceited; lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Q. Do you therefore think THESE ARE THE LAST DAYS? What part has the internet and social media played in creating a) Global evil and b) Global good and Christian enlightenment? Read verses 6-9 “These people” mentioned here are the kind who take advantage of vulnerable people in all kinds of evil ways. They “worm their way in” like the modern-day equivalent of internet grooming. They sometimes even come in the guise of godliness but lead people away from the truth (wolves in sheep’s clothing). Paul refers to Jannes and Jambres who’s names, strangely enough are not mentioned in the Bible. However they are mentioned in other old manuscripts (some of which are in the Chester Beatty Museum in Dublin). Paul is referring to Exodus 7v10-13. Jannes and Jambres were a byword for counterfeit miracles and false religion – and they opposed the truth. Verse 5 tells us to have nothing to do with such people as these – people who have a form of godliness, yet denying its power. Read verses 10-17 In contrast Paul describes his way of life: Purpose – he has a goal which is to serve God and stay in His will, Faith – he’s not reliant on his own strength and resources but on God, Patience – everything is done in God’s perfect timing, Love – Christ’s love in Paul enabled him to show that love to others, Endurance – Paul knew all about difficulty, pain and setbacks, Persecutions and sufferings - In fact, Paul said that we should all experience these things if we seek to follow a godly life. But, Paul says, we cope because we have the Scriptures which can make us wise to God’s plan and purpose for our lives. And Paul is inferring that we also get help for Christian living by following godly Christian leaders; people who practice what they preach; people who preach true doctrine; and people who glorify God and not themselves. Q. What persecutions and sufferings was Paul referring to in verse 11? Read Acts 13v14, 14 verses 1,8&21 Q. With all the above statistics in view, what does Paul have to say to us today in verse 14? What is our standard?
2 Timothy chapter 4
Read verses 1-2 Preach the Word: Once again Paul emphasizes the preaching of the Word to teach, correct and encourage. As the centuries have rolled by there have been innumerable false doctrines, religions, sects and even myths that have deceived and misled people away from the truth. Satan is the author of deception. We keep from being deceived by knowing the Word of God. Be prepared: You cannot pass on the gospel until you have first received it and spent time learning what the message is. Correct, rebuke, encourage: An old rule says the preacher should be able to disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. Our message should be balanced. With patience and careful instruction: The aim should be to help people understand good Bible doctrine. But the Word should be spoken carefully with Christ’s love as our motivation. Read verses 3-5: The preacher should not allow people to turn away from the truth by “wishy washy” teaching. Whether you are a minister of the Word or not, be careful to hold on to the truth, even if it means enduring hardship. Q. Why is Paul saying all these things to those who will follow on after him? Q. Consider Paul’s amazing legacy. Now consider your own. Read verses 6-8 Paul could say: “I have fought the good fight”; “I have finished the race”; “I have kept the faith”. Paul very likely knew he was about to be executed when he spoke these words but he didn’t think of it as his life being taken, so much as him finishing the race and giving himself to God as a sacrifice (v.6). He did not fear death but looked forward to his crown of righteousness and being in the presence of his Lord. The word used for “departure” meant to move on, to go to another country. Paul looked on death as a journey to heaven. Perhaps, in our eyes, Paul was the winner of the race, way out in front. But Paul didn’t say that the reward, the Crown, was just for winners. The crown is for believers who want to see Jesus again (v8). The crown is for faithfulness – not for being the best. The crown is for those who stumble and fall, but keep going until they have finished the race; because their goal is not the finishing tape, but the Lord Jesus Christ. Q. Should this make a difference to the way we look at death? Read verses 9-22 Here was Paul at the end of his life and only Luke was with him (v.11). And he says in verse 16 that at his first trial no-one was with him – he was deserted by all. No-one was brave enough to stand by him for fear of their own life. But the Lord was with him. But we do get an insight into the many other disciples who worked with Paul – and some who let him down. 21
Demas – originally one of Paul’s circle (Philemon 24/Col 4v14), deserted Paul, preferred what the world had to offer in Thessalonica. Crescens – went to Galatia Titus – went to Dalmatia, trusted by Paul Tychicus – who Paul sent to Ephesus to relieve Timothy Carpas – was at Troas where Paul had left some of his things: cloak, scrolls (Old Testament scriptures), parchments (for writing epistles) Alexander – also mentioned in 1 Tim 1v20 as a blasphemer – had been a believer but had caused a lot of damage to the work (a deceiver). Priscilla and Aquilla and Onesiphorus – were in Ephesus helping Timothy. Erastus – stayed in Corinth (treasurer) Trophimus – stayed in Miletus because he was ill. Luke – Only Luke stayed with Paul, and had been alongside him for most of his ministry, compiling notes for his gospel and the Book of Acts. Eubulus, Pudens, Linus, Claudius – and the other brothers and sisters from the fellowship in Rome send their greetings. Mark – had travelled with Paul on his first missionary journey and let him down. He joined Paul at a subsequent date and now … he was the person, along with Timothy that Paul most wanted to be with him at the end. Q. If you were in Paul’s position who would you most want to be with you? Or, could you be that person who supports someone in their last days? Paul finishes his letters with greetings to those who have kept the faith. His first greeting was Grace, as is his last. Why? Because we are only what we are in Christ through God’s grace. Praise God that he pours out his grace on us, even when we don’t deserve it. GRACE – God giving us what we don’t deserve. MERCY – God not giving us what we do deserve.
The Estuary Elim Group of Churches are three Essex based Elim Pentecostal Churches in Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend on Sea with a shared Leadership team. We are a group of people responding to the love of God and the life changing message of Jesus Christ. Our services are lively with contemporary music, worship and preaching and teaching relevant to the 21st Century. To find out more about us visit www.estuaryelim.church Whether you are new to church, someone with questions or a committed Christian, we want to serve you and help you discover and fulfil Godâ€™s purpose for your life. If you would like an opportunity to email or talk to one of the team email your contact details to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you. The Ashingdon, Rayleigh and Southend Elim Pentecostal Churches are branches of The Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance (Registered Charity No. 251549)
Bible study on 1 and 2 Timothy