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LESSON 1 – TIMOTHY 2 BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1 -TIMOTHY 2 BIBLE LESSONS
THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL TO TIMOTHY
The Setting—a Day of Ruin and Failure
In the first epistle of Paul to Timothy, he instructed believers as to the proper order of conduct suited to the house of God. In this second epistle, he instructs us as to how we are to conduct ourselves when things in God̓s house have fallen into disorder. What stands out in the second epistle is that there would be widespread spiritual declension in the Christian testimony in the last days, and need for wisdom to conduct oneself in such times.
This epistle was written to encourage Timothy to serve in a difficult day when the masses in the Christian profession were forsaking Paul and his doctrine (2 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes). It forewarns believers of the progressive character of corruption in Christendom, which would culminate in the last days when there would be wholesale departure from the truth of God. It anticipates a time of complete ruin and failure in the Christian testimony (2 Timothy 3:1-8 (KJV) 1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith; 2 Timothy 4:3-4 (KJV) 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; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables). At the same time, it carefully marks out the path in which the faithful are to walk in such times.
In the first epistle, the mass of Christians are seen as desiring to answer to their responsibilities in maintaining the order in God̓s house, though a few individuals prove to be defective (1 Timothy 1:20 (KJV) Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme; 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils - “some”). In the second epistle, it is the opposite. It views the mass of Christians as having failed (2 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes), and only a few individuals remain faithful to their profession (2 Timothy 1:16-18 (KJV) 16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well; 2 Timothy 4:11 (KJV) Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry).
What has happened in the history of the Church is foreseen in this epistle. Paul likens the ruin of the Christian testimony to “a great house” that is full of disorder and defilement (2 Timothy 2:20 (KJV) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour). In fact, the beginning of this departure was already noticeable when Paul wrote to Timothy. The Lord Himself foretold this time of failure and public breakdown in the parables of Matthew Chapter 13. He said that when things would be committed into the hands of men in the time of His absence, the “enemy” (Satan) would introduce “tares” (evil persons), “fowls” (evil spirits), and “leaven” (evil doctrines). Looking at the history of the Christian profession, we see that this has happened indeed. Satan’s emissaries have worked through human agents to subvert the truth of God in the hearts of men. Much corruption and disorder has been introduced into that which bears the name of Christ.
It is significant that there is no promise in the epistle (or anywhere in Scripture) of a recovery of the Christian testimony after it has fallen into this corrupted state. Instead, the Apostle told Timothy that things would only go from bad to worse (2 Timothy 3:13 (KJV) But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived). He could not expect to see a recovery to the Church’s former glory as found in the early chapters of Acts, when all were filled with the Spirit, and all dwelt together in happy unity, and there were signs of the power of the Spirit. Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, indicate that the Church’s history on earth will end on a sad note of gross indifference to the claims of Christ. Not only would the Apostle be shunned, as mentioned in this epistle (2 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes), but the Lord Himself would be left outside! (Rev. 3:20) This is generally the case today.
This condition of gross departure from the truth will continue until the Lord comes and takes every true believer out of the professing mass (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 (KJV) 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words). With this dark picture before the Apostle, he seeks to stir up Timothy to continue in the service of the Lord. The theme of the epistle, therefore, is individual responsibility in service in a time of collective failure.
“THE MAN OF GOD”
The expression, “the man of God” (1 Samuel 2:27 (KJV) And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh's house?; 1 Samuel 9:10 (KJV) Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was, etc.), occurs in Scripture when the mass of God̓s professing people fail in their collective responsibility. It signifies a man who stands for God and acts for Him when those who profess to know God prove to be unfaithful. The term is always used in the singular form; Scripture never speaks of “men of God.” This shows that faithfulness is on an individual basis when there is a public breakdown in the testimony of the Lord. The expression, “the man of God,” is not used in Scripture when conditions are good among the Lord’s people, but when they are poor. The second epistles in the New Testament are particularly applicable for such times; they anticipate the public failure of God̓s people and emphasize the need for individual faithfulness. It is striking, therefore, to see that Timothy is called a “man of God” (1 Timothy 6:11 (KJV) But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness; 2 Timothy 3:17 (KJV) That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works).
Since Timothy was a young man (1 Timothy 4:12 (KJV) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity), some have concluded that this epistle was written for young people who are struggling with the issues of youth, i.e. the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, etc. However, it clearly wasn’t written with this in mind. To imply that Timothy was struggling with the world etc. is to demean his sterling character and his incredible devotion to the Lord. He was a mature, godly Christian, though relatively young, who was totally committed to doing the will of God and serving His people. Timothy, therefore, was not a careless and indifferent young Christian.
Paul could say of him, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally (genuinely) care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel” (Philippians 2:20-22 (KJV) 20 For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. 22 But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel). To read this epistle with the mistaken idea that it is addressing worldly young people is to take it out of its context.
We are not saying that we cannot make applications to the young and careless from the epistle, but the context and primary interpretation is that of an older labourer (who is about to pass off the scene) counselling and encouraging a younger labourer. The object of the epistle, therefore, is to encourage Timothy to faithfully carry the torch that was being passed to him. Being a pastoral epistle, an epistle not written to an assembly or a group of assemblies, but to an individual, it is full of godly counsel from the Apostle to Timothy regarding his life and service for the Lord. Paul passes on to him many helpful pointers that have been graciously preserved for us in the Word of God, so that anyone who desires to serve the Lord will have these guiding principles for their service. It is a very needed word for today.
The first chapter outlines the moral and spiritual qualities needed in the “man of God” in a day of ruin.
The second chapter lays out some great principles needed for service in such a time.
The third chapter recounts the resources available for the servant of God in order that he would be preserved and be found useful in such a day.
The fourth chapter closes the epistle with some divine incentives for service that are calculated to stimulate the servant of the Lord in His work.
The moral and spiritual qualities needed in the Man of God in a day of ruin
2 Timothy Chapter 1
In Paul’s greetings and encouragements to Timothy, he carefully outlines the moral and spiritual qualities that are needed in the servant of the Lord in a time of public ruin in the Christian testimony. It presents to us a graphic picture of what every servant ought to be in difficult times such as these closing days of the Church’s history.
2 Timothy 1:1-2 (KJV) 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord, - contain the address and greeting of the Apostle. After establishing his apostleship he speaks of “the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.” This, we believe, was mentioned for Timothy’s encouragement. In the face of all the declension and departure, Timothy could take courage that there were things that could not be touched by the failure of man. It was something on which he could confidently rest his soul. While everything connected to the testimony of the Church has been corrupted by the ruin and failure, none of these things can be touched by man’s unfaithfulness because everything we have “in Christ Jesus” abides for eternity.
The promise of life is the first of a number of things Paul mentions in the epistle that will survive all the failures and defections of believers. They are:
● “Life” in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:1-2 (KJV) 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus).
● A “holy calling” in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9 (KJV) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began).
● “Sound words” (the truth) in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13 (KJV) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus).
● “Grace” in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1 (KJV) Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus).
● “Salvation” in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:10 (KJV) Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory).
● “Godly” living in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12 (KJV) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution).
● “Faith” in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15 (KJV) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus).
Paul reminds Timothy that there would be a fresh supply of “grace, mercy, and peace” from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ for the path in which he had been called to walk. Similarly, we also need “grace” to go on in a day of ruin and failure, and we can count on God to supply it (James 4:6 (KJV) But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble).
There is “mercy” for us too, if we fail in the path. It has often been noted that when the Apostle addresses assemblies, he says that there is “grace and peace” from God for them, but in addressing individuals he adds a third thing, “mercy.” As individuals there is mercy available for restoration, for failing Christians. Whereas in regards to assemblies, which stand as a responsible corporate witnesses in this world, if they fail and lack corporate repentance (as has been the case in the Christian testimony), there is no mercy in the sense of restoration (Romans 11:13-27 (KJV) 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: 14 If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. 15 For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; 18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. 19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. 20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: 21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. 23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. 24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? 25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: 27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins; Revelation 3:15 (KJV) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot). Instead, the candlestick is removed in the place in which it has stood locally, as a governmental judgment (Revelation 2:5 (KJV) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent). This is also true in regard to the Christian testimony as a whole. Having failed in its world-wide testimony, the Church will not be restored to its former glory as seen in the book of the Acts. This is a solemn thing; there will be no restoration of the Christian testimony, only judgment. Individuals can be restored through mercy, but the public testimony of the assembly as the house of God and the body of Christ will not.
God also gives “peace.” There are some very frustrating things that the servant of the Lord will encounter in his work. The Lord gives peace in such circumstances so that we are not chafed or overwhelmed by all the confusion.
A pure conscience.
2 Timothy 1:3 (KJV) I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day. - As mentioned, in sending encouragements to Timothy, the Spirit of God, who inspired the writing of the letter, leads Paul to emphasize certain qualities that will be needed in the servant of the Lord in a day of ruin. The first thing he names is a pure conscience.” It is absolutely necessary that we maintain a good conscience before God at all times; we will never be able to go on without it.
Having a “pure conscience” doesn’t mean that a person never fails, but that he judges himself when he fails, so that he maintains communion with the Lord. It is significant that Paul connects a pure conscience with prayer, stating, “That without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day.” See also Hebrews 13:18 (KJV) Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.
A good conscience is very important in the life of the servant of the Lord. It is perhaps why the Apostle mentions it first. If we allow anything on our conscience to go unjudged, it will have a direct effect on our prayer life. We will not have boldness to go into the presence of God, and as a result, our prayers will drop off. Nor will we have boldness to stand before men to confess Christ. If the servant of the Lord is to stand for Him against the tide of evil that has come into the Christian profession, he must be careful to have a “pure conscience” himself. Therefore, if we have done something that is inconsistent with the name of the Lord, we must judge it immediately. Furthermore, a “pure conscience” does not mean that we understand and walk in all the truth, but that we seek to live up to the light that we have in connection with the truth. Thus, we can with good conscience stand before God and men. Paul cites his own case as an example. Even when he was quite ignorant of the heavenly revelation of truth in the gospel, he acted according to the light he had. Even when he was in the Jew’s religion, he sought to maintain a good conscience by not allowing himself to violate any known law (Acts 23:1 (KJV) And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day; Acts 24:16 (KJV) And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men; Philippians 3:6 (KJV) Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless). However, Paul’s conscience was not in the light of the heavenly revelation of Christianity then, and he even approved of the evil of persecuting the Church. He does not justify his wrongs here, but he mentions it rather to show that he acted with good conscience in what he did, and therefore, was not guilty of deliberate dishonesty. His point is that the servant of the Lord must walk in the light that he has with all good conscience. It also shows that the conscience is not a sufficient guide for the soul; we must have the light of the truth of God too.
TEST - LESSON 1 – TIMOTHY 2 BIBLE LESSONS
TRUE OR FALSE
1. The Christian profession, he must be careful to have a pure conscience himself.
2. A Believe must judge himself when he fails, so that he maintains communion with the Lord.
3. As individuals there is mercy available for restoration, for failing Christians.
4. The servant of the Lord must walk in the light that he has with all good conscience.
5. The Spirit of God inspired the writing of the letter.
6. After establishing his apostleship he speaks of “the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.
7. having a pure conscience doesn’t mean that a person never fails.
8. The conscience is not a sufficient guide for the soul; we must have the light of the truth of God too.
9. There will be widespread spiritual declension in the Christian testimony in the last days.
10. A bad conscience is very important in the life of the servant of the Lord.
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Updated November 2015 2012 by Shelly Allen