BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday June 30, 2013
BE STRONG IN GOD’S WORK
(How to grow strong in GOD’s work)
2 Timothy 2
In 2 Timothy 2, verses 1-15, Paul stresses the importance of applying GOD’s word “the right way”, and “following GOD’s rules only, when doing GOD’s work”. In verses 1-2, we can readily see two things;
· First, we see “reception of faith”, which is based on “the hearing of GOD’s word”.
· And then, we see “transmission of faith”, which is based on “the spreading of GOD’s word”.
Timothy had received the truth of GOD’s word from Paul, and the words he had heard were confirmed by witnesses, who had also found GOD’s truth, through Paul’s teachings, and had seen that truth, work in their own lives. Everyone who hears the word will not be able to teach the word in a formal setting, however, even those who don’t have the gift of expression can become vital witnesses to the affects that GOD’s word has had on their own lives.
In verses 3-4, Paul tells Timothy that, as a “soldier” in CHRIST’s army, he must endure suffering, just as CHRIST had done, and, just as he himself has done while he continues to fight to uphold GOD’s standards. If you become too involved and engaged in the things and pleasures of this world, you cannot possibly satisfy the one who enlisted you in his army, and that is, CHRIST JESUS HIMSELF.
In verse 5, Paul quickly shifts from using the analogy of a soldier, to engaging the metaphor of an “athlete”, to describe the “self discipline” one has to have in order to run the Christian race. The Christian race “must be run by GOD’s rules”, in order to win GOD’s rewards at the finish line.
Those of us, who are called to “spiritual leadership in GOD’s work”, (for example, teachers, pastors, elders, deacons, etc.), can only do that work properly, if they do it according to GOD’s rules. It can be a disturbing thing if a person crosses the finish line of a race, thinking they’ve won, only to find out later from the judge, that they have been disqualified, because they didn’t follow the rules of the race.
The final analogy that Paul presents in this passage is that of a “farmer” (v.6). The emphasis here is placed on the word “hardworking”, which is, in the Greek “kopiao” (kop-ee-ah-o), which is “the fatigue one feels as a result of one’s toils or hard labors”.
The diligence Paul describes, in each instance, will have its rewards at the end of the struggle:
· The soldier will win the praise of his commanding officer.
· The athlete who runs by the rules will win, and get to keep his prize.
· The hardworking farmer will be the first to enjoy his crop.
Christian success is achieved through discipline, hard work, and, by remaining undivided in one’s allegiance to GOD. JESUS CHRIST is our great example of endurance, faith and discipline, and HE is the subject of the Good News, of which we preach and teach about. We are responsible to HIM to make our life on earth conform more fully to the word of GOD, just as HE presented it to us, during HIS three-year earthly ministry. And so, we should work hard, so GOD will approve us in the way that we correctly preach and teach HIS word, and do HIS work, by HIS rules, not by ours.
In 2 Timothy 2, verse 14, as it is expressed in his original Greek writings, the word Paul uses for “subverting” is “katastrophe” (kat-as-trof-ay), and it means “to overturn, demolish, or ruin”. It is from that word that we derive our English word “catastrophe” and this is the only place in Scripture, were this particular word is found.
Here Paul is urging Timothy to remind the believers not to get into arguments over words, because such arguments are not only useless, but, they can also destroy and tear down the faith of those believers, who hear them. He further urges Timothy to, instead, work hard, and don’t let words become a substitute for deeds. That way, GOD will always approve him (v. 15). Paul also tells Timothy that, he never has to be ashamed when he correctly explains the word of the truth of the Gospel, and that, GOD-less, foolish discussions only lead to more ungodliness (verse 16).
GOD’s “truth” must be “a Christian’s only foundation stone”, as the LORD knows just who HIS people are. Anyone who claims to belong to the LORD must first turn away from all wickedness of this world. In 2 Timothy 2, verse 19, Paul gives us a rather vivid image of what could be a “two-sided seal”. This seal can be used to explain GOD’s omniscience on one side, and our behavior, as Christians, on the other side. Here, Paul is reminding us that GOD sees all, hears all, and knows all that we do.
The Christian must take on the same attitude of a “Hagar”, after she had spoken with the angel of the LORD that day at the well, which was later named “Beer-lahairoi”, located between Kadesh and Bered. From that day forward she would refer to the LORD, as “The GOD WHO sees me” (Genesis 16:7-15).
It is the will of GOD, that man not be able to see, into another person’s heart, however, what GOD does allow us to see, is the commitment and behavior of a person, once CHRIST takes up residence in their lives. The choices we make each day will either tarnish us so GOD can’t use us, or polish us so that HE can use us for every good work (2 Tim. 2:20-21).
The committed Christian must move away from those things that tempt us to do evil, and move toward those things that spur us to righteousness. We must pursue faith, love, and peace, and also, seek the companionship of those who seek after righteousness with the “earnest expectations” of the fulfillment of GOD’s promise (verse 22).
Remember, unbelievers are sinners just like us, but only, they still remain blinded to the truth of the Gospel. Satan’s influence still holds most people captive, and as a result, they are still thoroughly enjoying their sinful lives. They may not even believe in the existence of GOD or satan, but either way, satan is in complete control of their lives.
We must not spend a lot of time arguing with those who are not yet receptive to word of GOD (the world). Remember too, that, we only “plant seeds”, and “water”, and that GOD THE CREATOR is the only ONE, WHO can change a person’s heart, so that their lives will show an increase. We, as mere humans, will never be able to change another person’s heart, no matter how long we sit there and argue with them. We can only change those things, which we ourselves create, and mankind, is not one of those things. We can only plant the seeds that GOD gives us through HIS word, and HE is totally in charge of the increase, or, positive change.
Our charge is to use gentleness and patience as tools to make us effective teachers. And all the while, we should pray that GOD will perhaps, choose to change those person’s hearts, so that they may be able to accept and grow in the truth, and thereby, escape the chains by which satan holds them captive.
And perhaps most importantly, we who are striving everyday to bring people to CHRIST, must be extremely careful to keep ourselves in the will of GOD, at all times displaying right behavior, publicly and privately, lest we ourselves, be in danger of rendering our own efforts and ministry, ineffective.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website