''Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus"
1 Tim. 2:3 (N.A.S.B.)
After Paul's release from Rome, he went back to Ephesus with Timothy and left him there as he went on to Macedonia. From Macedonia, he wrote to Timothy his first letter. After this they were probably both united again at Troas . . .
Meanwhile, in Rome there was a ruthless eccentric Caesar by the name of Nero. It was Nero's dream to build a bigger, grander city of Rome. But to do this he had to destroy the existing city and start again. So he set fire to Rome and watched it from his Palace balcony as he played his fiddle. To divert blame for this horrific act, he charged Christians with the crime. This heralded a violent wave of persecution against the church.
Christians were tortured in some of the most gruesome acts of cruelty ever conceived. Some were wrapped in animal skins and thrown to wolves or wild starving dogs to be mauled alive in front of huge bloodthirsty crowds. Others were covered with pitch and tied to poles in Nero's gardens, then set alight to provide night lights for Nero as he rode naked around his gardens in his chariots.
But the burning of Rome was only one of the charges against the church. They were also charged with 'atheism' for not worshiping the Caesar. For these 'crimes' Nero wanted the world leader of the Christian movement brought to justice. So, its probable that Roman soldiers went to Troas and hauled Paul off to Rome to be tried. This time the charges were not made by some Jews about some aspect of Jewish Law, but by Caesar himself in regard to Roman Law.
The snatching away of Paul under Roman arrest left Paul with the memory of Timothy's tears (1:4). Remarkably throughout this epistle Paul's concern is not for himself, but for Timothy and the church at large.
This was Paul's last letter. It many ways it was a farewell-for-now, but not a 'goodbye'. In the letter there's not one trace of regret for his whole-hearted service for the Lord. Despite the fact that much of what Paul had achieved was now coming undone, with churches being corrupted, key people turning their backs on the Lord, and incredible persecution resulting in brutal killing of believers, he realised that God would always preserve His church (2:19). He also knew that Christians would not be free from persecution, but in the midst of this wicked world, all those who would seek to live a godly life would be persecuted (3:12). Paul urges Timothy to be prepared to endure suffering by joining with Paul (1:8)
1. With the threat of trials and sufferings ahead, what reassuring words does Paul give ? (2 Tim. 1:7)
1. REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST
Second Timothy 2
"Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel"
2 Tim. 2:8 (N.A.S.B.)
2. What is the similar thought found in the previous verse and Hebrews 12:2?
Paul says that it was because he kept his eyes on Jesus and continually reminded himself that he was serving Him, not himself, he was able to endure suffering. Often we fall into the trap of forgetting about Jesus and His life/message. We think that we have 'rights', and deserve things from God when we take our eyes off Jesus. Here's some signs to watch out for:
a) Beginning to mill over decisions- rather than seeking God for the answer and leaving it with Him to speak to us about the answer.
b) Taking offence at people's comments.
c) Feeling insecure and threatened. God has everything under control, therefore there's no need for worry.
d) Becoming more interested in what we want, than what God wants.
The life and person of Christ should always be a constant source of meditation for the believer.
3. What are some ways we can practically keep our eyes on Jesus?
2. ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED
Second Timothy 3
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, or reproof, or correction, for instruction (training) in 'righteousness, "
2 Tim. 3:16
The Bible is entirely inspired. The Bible itself reveals that its inspiration was not by a) dictation (God dictating to a man word-for-word), b) mechanical controls (God didnít take over an authorís hand and cause him to start writing), or c) recognition of human literature (God didnít inspire an authorís work after they had written it). God communicated His message to mankind via plenary inspiration. This involved God using a manís intellect, personality, and culture to communicate His eternal Word.
4. How do we know that the Bible is the Word of God?
5. What has God magnified above His name? (Ps. l38:2b)
6. According to Psalm 107:20, what was it that healed?
7. How is the Bible described in these Verses?
a) Ps. 119:105
b) Prov. 30:5
c) Jn. 17:17
d) Heb. 4:12
e) 1 Pet. 1:23
8. What are we told to do with the Word of God?
a) Dt. 6:6
b) Dt. 6:7
c) Josh. 1:8
d) Ps. 119:42
e) 2 Tim. 2:15 [K.J.V.]
The Word of God is in two forms. The first is the written Word. If we keep the Word of God, it's clear that we will be blessed by God (Dt. 11:26-27). But if we despise the Word, we will be destroyed (Num. 15:31; Prov. 13:13). We get to know Jesus better by getting to know His Word better. In fact that's what Jesus basically said in John 14:23 ". . . if you love Me, you'll keep my Word . . .". And that leads to the second form of the Word: Jesus.
9. How does John 1:14 describe Jesus?
Jesus is Truth and so is the Word. Both can be trusted totally. Paul was driven to ensure that only pure doctrine was taught. He mentions "doctrine" directly at least eleven times in First and Second Timothy alone and many more times indirectly. Understanding the doctrines of the Bible is essential for growth in God. Never shy away from doctrine or those who teach it. It may not be as glamorous as some styles of preaching to listen to, but it will build you up and bless you spiritually.
3. PREACH THE WORD
Second Timothy 4
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching."
2 Timothy 4:2
With the thought of judgment from God for every preacher of the Word, Paul commands Timothy to preach the Word. This command applies to every preacher and minister of the Word today as well.
9. What does the expression "in season and out of season" mean? (4:2)
10. Why did Paul see it as necessary to preach the Word so often? (4:3)
Paul knew that his time was just about up. He said he was already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of his departure was at hand (4:6).
11. How did Paul reflect on his life? (4:7)
He was looking ahead to what his Lord had ready for him- a crown of righteousness. That is, the honor of being in the presence of his Lord forever and receiving his reward for his labors. The old apostle, in some of his last words before his death, makes a remarkable statement about someone who virtually drove a wedge between him and Barnabas- Mark.
12. What does he say about him? (4:11)
Just before Paul was to depart this world, he asks Timothy to come and see him off. Not long after this letter, Nero ordered the beheading of this old apostle.
New Testament Survey
© 2001 Andrew Corbett, Legana, Tasmania