BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday June 23, 2013
(Remember and share your heritage of faith)
2 Timothy 1
After winning release from his first imprisonment in Rome in A.D. 63, Paul went on to preach in Spain for a short while. Soon afterwards, hostility initiated by the Emperor Nero, toward the early Christian Church in Rome, was intensified. Nero had hoped to divert attention from himself, as he, at that time, was under suspicion of being involved in a disastrous fire that had destroyed a large section of Rome in A.D. 64. It was this new wave of persecution that led to the eventual deaths, of both Paul and Peter circa A.D. 68.
And so it was, that, the guidance of the Christian Church would have to be passed on to the next generation, where both Timothy and Titus had certainly proven themselves as strong young leaders. Paul had worked diligently to get them trained and experienced in his final years of ministry, and he was very confident that they would be able to carry on in his absence, once the LORD had called him home.
Paul’s return to Rome did indeed lead to his final imprisonment, and, it was during this incarceration, that, he wrote this second and final letter of instructions to Timothy. In fact, this letter is Paul’s last known written communication, and shortly thereafter, according to Jewish tradition, he was beheaded near the end of the reign Nero.
Here in 2 Timothy, Paul looks back on his own life with a deep feeling of satisfaction. He has kept the faith, and he looks forward to the rewards he is sure to claim at the end of his race. But Paul also has words of encouragement, and warning, for young Timothy. He tells him that he must remain totally committed, and must be ready for the mounting difficulties, and new challenges that had developed from within the church.
The values and commitments that Paul imparts to Timothy are something that, we today, can also readily adopt to help enrich our own lives. Today’s professed Christians must seriously “fan into flames, the spiritual gifts that GOD has given us”, not using them for selfish gains, but rather, using them to promote the plan of GOD in the world.
In 2 Timothy 1:2, as expressed in the original Greek, the word Paul uses for the term “dearly beloved” is “agapetos” (ag-ap-ay-tos). It is a term of deep and warm affection, that, Paul often used to address and greet his favorite son, student, and brother in CHRIST, Timothy. However, it is rather fascinating that in this letter, Paul is urging his “dear son” Timothy to follow him in full commitment to a ministry that had brought, he himself, tremendous suffering, persecution, and ultimately, death by execution in Rome.
This attitude would be held in stark contrast to the things most parents would want for their children, then and now. We always want for our children, a life of much less hardships than we ourselves had to endure in our lifetimes. However, as Christians, we are called to suffer by our LEADER, CHRIST JESUS, because, like HIM, the only way for us to get to heaven is through the cross. We must follow JESUS, and that means going the way HE showed us to get to glory (through suffering for HIS cause, which is also our cause). GOD has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity.
After Paul’s warm greeting to Timothy (Vs.1-2), he sets out again to encourage him to remain faithful, and to remember the heritage of faith that was instilled in him by his mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois. He also urges young Timothy to rekindle the flames of his passion for the spiritual gift that GOD bestowed upon him that day, when Paul first laid hands on him, back in Lystra, Timothy’s home town (Acts 16:1-3).
And so in our key verse in this passage, verse 6, Paul shares with Timothy, the four qualities that should characterize every Christian teacher; they are;
· The first one is “Courage” (GOD did not give us the spirit of fear, so DON’T BE SCARED),
· The second is “Power” (GOD always gives us the power to do what HE calls us to do, and so we don’t need to supply our own power. We only need to be willing to do what GOD says do),
· Thirdly, Paul says we have to have “Love” (love is the greatest of the “three great enduring things” (1 Cor. 13:13), the other two being “faith” and “hope”. Without love, which is the most excellent gift of all, nothing that we do is of any good),
· And finally, there is “Self-discipline” (without self-discipline one can never carry out the task of doing GOD’s will. An undisciplined person will eventually squelch the power of the HOLY SPIRIT in them, causing HIM to be of none-effect in their work and life).
We, as Christians, must never be ashamed to proclaim the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST, and, we must forever be ready to suffer for the CHRIST, who suffered and died for us. It is GOD, WHO chose us to live a holy life, and HE did not choose us because we deserved it, but rather, HE is carrying out HIS eternal plan to show HIS love for us, and kindness to us, through our LORD and SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST (verse 8-9).
GOD, through HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, broke the power of death, over us, and showed us the way to eternal life, through faith in HIM (v.10). And so, just like Paul, we, as Christians, must be willing to suffer for the faith, we say we hold, and then be willing to pass that heritage of faith on to the next generation. And remember, CHRIST died for us, and now, we, in return, must live for HIM (v.13), and THE ALMIGHTY GOD knows, that’s the very least that we can do. Amen.
As we know, we can’t always depend on people to stand with us in our fight for anything, let alone our fight for the things of our “invisible GOD”, WHOM we’ve chosen to serve. Most people in the Christian church are not going to embody those four characteristics that I talked about earlier, such as Phygelus and Hermogenes, whom Paul mentions in the closing verses of this chapter (v.15), however, GOD always sends us special people like Onesiphorus and his family (Vs.16-18) who remained faithful to GOD, and to the Apostle Paul, over the years. GOD sees our struggles and knows our weaknesses and limitations, and when we reach points that seem impossible for us to overcome, GOD is faithful to lift us up, and carry us on to our next appointed destination.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website