Reading 2 Timothy

By modern standards, 2 Timothy 1:8-12 is something of a run-on sentence.  I am going to break my own rule and quote only a portion of the complete thought:

“…who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace…”  2 Tim 1:9

That is the verse I quoted to the church the night I announced my call to preach, and still one of my favorites in all of scripture.  I have just finished reading 2 Timothy, and like Reading 1 Timothy will be sharing some of the more prominent passages.  The format is a little different, and I will be sharing more of my own comments.

Jesus spent much of his time with regular people, you know like farmers, fishermen and housewives.  He taught about salvation and God’s Kingdom in terms that common laborers could understand.  Paul has a knack for doing the same:

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.  (2 Timothy 2:3-6 ESV)

To pastors and teachers:

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.  (2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV)

Paul gives practical application for doing this beginning in verse 22 and continuing to the end of chapter 2.  One must really read the entire passage.

Practical warnings:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.  (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)

Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  (2 Timothy 3:12-13 ESV)

Scripture extolled:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Consider this passage and 2:15 as we go into this charge in chapter 4:

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.  (2 Timothy 4:2 ESV)

As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.  (2 Timothy 4:5 ESV)

As noted yesterday, Paul is training Timothy and others to be the next generation of church leaders.  Near the end of this letter there is definitely a sense of the torch being passed:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  (2 Timothy 4:6-7 ESV)

2 Timothy is four chapters long and could easily be read in under 10 minutes.  Read from the ESV, or King James, or The Message if that suits you.  Any leader from senior church pastor to VBS snack helper will benefit from these instructions and encouragements.  God bless.

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