(last updated 5/13/15)
Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus are called the Pastoral Epistles, because they were to pastors, not churches. Pastors were different than elders, who were appointed in every church as leaders. Pastors apparently traveled around to churches, starting, ministering, setting things in order, appointing local leaders--not quite like what we call pastors today. So these directions are specifically to a pastor, but there is much application for the average Christian. He wrote this letter following his first arrest and imprisonment. We will see that according to Paul, the emphasis of a church--then and now--should be on teaching sound doctrine--truth.
1-2 Paul establishes his apostolic credentials, as usual, and addresses Timothy; what do we learn about their relationship? Either Paul led him to the Lord, or they just have a father-son-type relationship. Timothy had accompanied Paul on much of his missionary traveling, and at this time was pastoring the church at Ephesus. What do we learn about Timothy in Acts 16:1? And in 16:3? In Acts 15 we read that the church council had clarified the doctrine that circumcision was NOT required for Gentiles to be saved, so why would Paul do this? Timothy is already a believer; this circumcision was not for salvation. Paul wished to preach in the Jewish synagogues, and Greeks were not allowed, so this would make Timothy acceptable on their preaching mission. Sometimes, might the same act be either right or wrong, depending on the circumstances and the motives involved? Other things are expressly forbidden in Scripture; the Bible clearly teaches what is right and wrong.
3-5 Apparently Timothy was there temporarily and Paul wished him to stay longer; perhaps Timothy had written him about joining Paul. Because there is no record of Paul assigning Timothy to Ephesus, this passage, among others, leads commentators to believe that although Acts ends with Paul in prison, he probably was released, proceeded to travel and minister, and was later arrested again. I Timothy would have been written in that period of ministry.
What problem required Timothy's presence, even though this church had elders (Acts 20:17)? The Bible stresses doctrine; today many in the church falsely teach that doctrine should be down-played in order to allow more "unity." However, the Bible also teaches that unity can only exist around the truth of God's Word and its teachings about Jesus Christ, Eph. 4:13. There can be no Christian unity with those who do not accept and believe biblical truth. Many claim that love is more important than doctrine (truth), but the church is not to accept those who deny truth. Eph. 4:15, II Thes. 2:10, I Pet. 1:22, I John 3:18, II John 1:1,3, III John 1:1.
False teaching in the church has been a problem from the very beginning. Myths/fables (Jewish or otherwise) = fiction. Endless genealogies: probably not Jewish, but Gnostic teachings. Recall from Colossians the remote supreme cause (the "demiurge") who created a creature below him that created something below him ("emanations") and so on, until Christ was eventually created (supposedly). How can we avoid such fiction and speculation in the church today, whether it be "religious" or pagan/New Age/occult? Stick to the Bible--summed up here as faith and love. Paul stresses a pure what and good what? If you don't have these, can you really exercise or teach sincere faith?
6-7 The Judaizers wanted to add Jewish laws, customs and traditions to the simplicity and freedom of faith in Christ. Do we see much "straying" (swerving, missing the mark, erring) going on in the church today? Vain/empty/fruitless talk? Those "teachers" who would add to God's Word with their "babblings" obviously don't understand the Word.
8-11 Do we study about the Law? Why--in order to live by it? Or in order to understand why we are no longer under Law but rather live by faith? What purpose does the Law serve, 9-10? To reveal to sinners that, according to God, their actions are sin, so that the good news of the Gospel would be shown to be what? Homosexuality is clearly classed here as a sin.
12-14 As usual, Paul shares his prayer, as a model for us. What is he thankful for? Were any of us any more or less sinful than Paul was? Can God change and use any sinner? God shows us both His grace and His mercy: He gives us what we don't deserve, and He doesn't give us what we do deserve.
15-17 He continues his prayer. In the Pastoral Epistles, Paul mentions four important "trustworthy statements" (KJV, "faithful sayings"). Perhaps they were hymns or doctrinal statements of the early church, perhaps given to them by Paul himself: I Tim. 1:15, I Tim. 4:7-9, II Tim. 2:11-13, Titus 3:7-8.
A recent movie, "The Son of God," has Jesus saying that He came to "change the world"; what does the Bible say? Does Paul say he "was" or "is" the foremost of sinners? Why might he say this? Why does Paul praise God? 16, how does Paul see God using his sinful past? Do you think some people have trouble believing that God can save them or use them? Even after we're saved, isn't there danger of continuing to wallowing in guilt, or going in the opposite direction and becoming self-righteous?
We've seen Paul focus on the basics of grace, mercy, faith, love, sin, salvation; what are two more key concepts he brings out, end of 16? He gives a description of God in 17, perhaps to help Timothy clarify these key teachings about God to those who are bringing in the fictions and myths. King: God is sovereign. Eternal: no beginning, no "emanations." Immortal, invisible: not like us, not one of us who then became God, not an image carved by men. The only God: not one in a line of gods, not one of the many pagans gods. Therefore He deserves praise and worship; this closing reminds us of the end of the Lord's Prayer also.
18-20 Paul commands Timothy to carry out the things he has just mentioned; perhaps this is because Timothy, not being an apostle, does not have the authority that God gave the apostles, II Cor. 10:8, so he is acting within Paul's authority. Those in the church with the gift of prophecy not only spoke God's words to the church, but also gave God-given predictions, as in Timothy's case. End of 18, Paul uses what analogy? Spiritual warfare speaks of the seriousness of the Christian walk. What analogy does he use in 19? Again Paul stresses and connects conscience and faith to Timothy--how do we keep a good conscience? Isn't this even more important for a church leader or pastor? When we excuse sin in our lives, is it possible to truly uphold and preach the Christian faith? We also read of Hymenaeus in II Tim. 2:17. Paul doesn't specify if these two individuals are troublesome believers or simply false teachers. Can we always know the difference? Could Paul know? Paul was exercising his authority as an apostle; pastors today do not have apostolic authority, so "delivering over to Satan" is not for a pastor to do today. (Anything Satan does is only allowed under the sovereign purposes of God.) Should churches today deal with members or teachers that bring in false teachings? What if their message is mostly biblical? What does Paul say in I Cor. 5:6-7? In almost every New Testament book, we see references to church discipline of some sort.
1-2 What is one important aspect of a pastor's responsibilities? Is that equally important for the rest of us? This could be speaking of public prayer in particular. Why should we pray about our governing authorities? Does he say that if they are unjust, we don't have to obey them? Does he say political activism is the answer? Is there anything wrong with political activism? It's fine for Christians, but it is not the role of the church. What are dangers for churches or Christian leaders who become politically involved and prominent? Some, who do not believe in Christ's thousand-year earthly reign, falsely teach that the church is called to bring in the kingdom, by taking over government and other institutions, and impose Christian values on non-Christians, in order to prepare the world for Christ's return. But the Bible teaches that rather, the world will get worse and worse just before the rapture, the seven-year tribulation, and the second coming--that God will pour out His wrath on evil during the tribulation, then Christ will come to earth to reign.
3-4 What does "Savior" mean? Truth is emphasized 11 times in the two letters to Timothy. Because God desires it, will it happen? So here we find the concept of God's "ideal" will and His "permissive" will. God's ideal will for all men is that they come (of their own free will--not to be dragged by God) to the knowledge of the truth, that they believe, that they be saved. He could force us to do this, but He doesn't, because He also gives us free will. He permits us to sin, to go our own way instead of His. Why does our Mediator have to be both God AND man?
Why is it important to pray for ALL men? This is an important doctrinal verse. It does NOT say that all will be saved--universal salvation, or universalism. It also answers those Calvinists who falsely believe that God has pre-selected some for salvation and others for damnation, that the latter cannot be saved, cannot believe, even if they wanted to. The Bible does teach predestination, but we have seen in Rom. 8:29 and I Pet. 1:1-2 that He predestined those He "foreknew." All must still exercise choice/faith/belief in order to receive that salvation. This passage teaches that it is possible for ALL to believe, not just some. What must they do, end of 4?
Calvinists teach that Christ only died for the elect; compare Is. 53:6, Rom. 5:18, Heb. 2:9. They believe in "limited atonement": that His blood could not have been shed for the non-elect. They believe salvation took place at the cross, prior to any faith being exercised. Therefore it is impossible that Christ's blood was shed for the non-elect; in hell their sins would be paid for a second time. (But this is unbiblical because sins are not paid for in hell--they are punished.) Therefore, Christ must have only died for the elect. So they interpret "all" to mean "all kinds of men," but still only the elect.
They believe the work of the cross is applied to the elect by grace BEFORE they exercise faith--that the elect were actually saved when Christ was on the cross. So if you are the elect, you are unable to resist the grace of God: "irresistible grace." They believe that man is so completely sinful that he cannot exercise saving faith of his own dead works; saving faith is given only to the elect, even though the Bible tells us over and over to believe on Christ. This view is called "the total depravity of man." So if a non-elect person believed in Christ, it would be a false conversion. How can you know if your salvation was true or false? If you received the grace to believe, then you also received the grace to obey, so your life of obedience will show whether you are truly saved; this is called "the perseverance of the saints." The beliefs of Calvinism/Reformed theology/Covenant theology (which are pretty much synonymous) are represented by the acronym TULIP: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, Perseverance of the saints.
Is this the true gospel? For a fuller explanation, here is an excerpt from Basic Reformed Theology Explained and Exposed, e-book by Brenda Nickel, pp. 82-83. Bolding and brackets are mine, not the author's.
In the Reformed system of theology, Unconditional Election means God chose some men to be saved before meeting the condition of faith in the gospel. Unconditional Election means that God chose some men, but not all, to be saved.....effectively consigning the rest to the lake of fire. Only those predestined and elected will be enabled to respond to the gospel by means of Irresistible Grace. It is reasoned that mankind is too dead in sins to choose to believe the gospel [total depravity]; therefore the Holy Spirit must, through irresistible grace, grant faith to the elect for them to believe. Irresistible grace not only brings the gift of faith, but it also applies the blood of Christ before faith so that the elect are said to be born again before belief. Irresistible Grace brings both regeneration and gifted faith: grace to apply the blood of Christ before belief and faith employed at belief for justification..
The Reformed justify their doctrine of election by claiming that inside the Godhead, an inter-Trinitarian covenant was made before time began called the 'Covenant of Redemption.' In this covenant, which cannot be found in the Bible but is instead deduced by intellectual and spiritualized reasoning, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit made a covenant within the Trinity before the foundations of the world..... and determined that God would create and choose an elect people for Himself, permit the fall of man, provide atonement for and redeem the elect only [limited atonement]. God the Son would die an atoning death for this special elect people and live a perfect life to give them His perfect law-keeping righteousness. God the Holy Spirit would give the elect Irresistible Grace that would apply the work of the cross and save them before hearing the gospel, give faith as a gift to enable a response to the gospel, justify them by the earthly law-keeping righteousness of Christ, and enable perseverance in good works and obedience throughout the elect's life [perseverance of the saints]. This quick overview of the Reformed gospel is predicated upon this Covenant of Redemption.....not found in the Bible with chapter and verse, is one of three pre-time covenants which form the basis of Covenant Theology.
The Biblical view of election is what's called Conditional Election. The Bible teaches God chooses or elects men who meet the condition of faith in the gospel. Election is conditioned upon belief. Men are elected based on the foreknowledge God (1 Peter 1:1-2). All men are required to obey this command in order to be saved. "And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son," 1 John 3:23a. God's righteous character doesn't command man to do what he is unable to do. All men are expected to consider the existence of God from creation. From creation all men can conclude that God exists. And for those who believe that God is Creator, He is able to bring whatever needed biblical revelation they require to know His Son, Jesus Christ. No one can be saved apart from believing in the Son as Lord and Savior. We clearly know that Jesus is the narrow gate that all must pass through for there is salvation in no one else.
From the vantage point of earthly time, men who believe the gospel are then elected to salvation. But from the vantage point of eternity, God elects the believer based on His foreknowledge. God knows everything before it happens. So election for believers is in time (whosoever may come) and election by God happens from eternity (chosen from before the foundations of the world).
Think about the politician whom the public elects. The public doesn't arbitrarily choose a candidate but chooses and elects a candidate based on what is known about him. The word election is in voting because information is disclosed that makes the candidate desirable. God also elects believers to salvation based on what He knows about them. As 1 Peter 1:1-2 says, God elects based on foreknowledge. Foreknowledge simply means to know before, although the Calvinist will redefine the word foreknowledge as foreordained. This reinterpreted definition supports his theology.
God, in His omniscience, sees the future perfectly. Therefore, He knows who will exercise faith and believe that Jesus is God who died for mankind's sins. This is the faith that God chooses to save The believing person has met the condition for election, which is why the correct view is called 'Conditional Election' while the opposing view is called 'Unconditional Election.' For the Calvinist, Unconditional Election is election not conditioned on belief, but rather on being elected.
These views are the outcome of not understanding and interpreting the Bible in its literal and normal sense. They come from seeing Israel and the church as the same group, now being "spiritual Israel," with the church inheriting the promises that were made to Israel. This stems from an allegorical interpretation of the Bible, where it does not mean what it actually says, but where other symbolic meanings can be read into it. A literal reading leads inevitably to a dispensational view, where Israel and the church are seen as two separate groups, with prophecy pointing to the pre-trib rapture followed by a seven-year tribulation, the second coming, the 1000-year earthly reign of Christ, the great white throne judgment, then the eternal state.
5-6 Here is some more very important doctrine. The pagan Greeks of that day had many "gods." Do all men worship the same God, or can we choose among various Gods? Do Muslims, Buddhists, New Agers, etc., worship a God who has a son named Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, who is the one and only mediator between God and men? Is God just an idea or a force within? Are the various pagan gods just another word for God? There is only one true and living God, the Creator. But because there is only one God, He is the God of all, not just of the Jews, His chosen people.
The recent movie "Son of God" presented Jesus as the Son of God, but not as dying on the cross to pay the price for the sins of all mankind. He was presented as coming in order to change the world, as not really knowing ahead of time, or being OK with, His death. The Jesus of this movie was not really the Jesus of the Bible. If it had been, it is unlikely it would have been so popular. It was not about sin, righteousness or judgment to come, John 16:8-11. It was about a New Age Jesus. The movie claims to present Jesus as the biblical Son of God, but is leavened with some serious error; many undiscerning people will be less concerned about this error than if the movie was blatantly anti-Bible. This is the same danger attacking the church on many fronts--Satan is successfully using this same strategy through many pastors, teachers, teachings and books.
What is a mediator? A go-between, between God and man. This passage has two important doctrinal applications. Many non-Christians think they have a relationship with "God," but they do not believe in Jesus Christ. So is that possible? Not according to this passage. So are there many paths to God, to salvation? And what large religions have priests? Catholics and Mormons. Catholics teach that you confess your sins to a priest--that is not what the Bible teaches. They teach that you should pray to other go-betweens also, such as Mary and "saints" (that meaning of the word "saint" is not in the Bible). Mormons teach that the restoration of the priesthood is the key element of their faith restored by Joseph Smith, who obviously did not know, or believe, the Bible. Why were there Jewish priests in the Old Testament? Hebrews has much to say about Christ being our High Priest.
6, who gave? According to John 3:16, who gave? What does that tell us about who Jesus is? What is a ransom? Who did Christ die for? Calvinists (Reformed theology) teach that Christ only died for the elect--those predestined for heaven; they believe the rest are predestined for hell, are not able to even choose to believe, and are beyond salvation. This false doctrine is called "limited atonement" and is clearly refuted in this verse, and also in Is. 53:6, Rom. 5:18 and Heb. 2:8. Paul's emphasis of the word "all" in 1-6 (three times) shows how important he thinks this is. Apparently these false teachings were already around in his day.
7 These were obviously issues that Paul himself had been dealing with as a preacher and an apostle, since these are teachings and warnings he gives to Timothy. Again we see him defend his apostleship, which was so often attacked. What group was the main object of his evangelism? Along with faith, what does he emphasize? Truth = doctrine. (KJV/verity: compare to "verify" or "veracity") If a church downplays doctrine, these false teachings will creep in.
8 When they prayed, they apparently raised their palms toward God. Is Paul concerned with whether they washed their hands before they prayed? How can hands be guilty of wrath or dissention/doubting/disputing? Lifting hands represents prayer--what is Paul really concerned about? The outward should reflect the inward. Apparently the men, or the leadership, were not acting Christlike toward each other. Some say this verse teaches that public prayer should characterize the church gathering, or that only men should be praying publicly; perhaps the implication is that women were usurping this role, that men were not carrying out the role of public prayer.
9-10 "Likewise" seems that now Paul is talking about how women should comport themselves in the public gatherings in the matter of dress. Again we assume he addresses this because of hearing about problems: inappropriate dress, drawing attention to their sexuality, trying to impress others, flaunting Self. Are these ever problems in churches today? What is the source of such problems? Is a dress code Paul's solution, 10? What is the solution? Focusing on godliness, modesty. The outer is merely a reflection of the inner. Is modesty valued today like it used to be?
11-15 This section gets many people's dander up. What is the problem, 12? The key concept is "authority over a man." The NASB says "exercise authority" but the KJV says "usurp authority," which I think better speaks to the problem. Our society used to be male-dominated, but the feminist movement has been changing this to treat men and women equally. Are men and women equal before God? Are their roles the same, in the family and the church? Who was created first? This is significant. God's plan is for men to lead, to be held responsible. Paul references Adam and Eve; why is Eve's sin attributed to Adam? God gave the man the commandment, and held him responsible for the woman's actions. This sets a precedent we should not ignore.
Do you think Paul's purpose was to make sure that women never speak up in church, in public worship? We don't know the situation Paul may have been addressing; perhaps a particular troublesome woman was trying to run things or take over. (Note that in 15 he speaks of "women"--in general--yet in 11-12 he speaks of "a woman.") She is not being submissive to the order God has established through Paul in the church. Paul speaks very firmly to this issue--this needs to be addressed and brought to a stop. Timothy needs lots of encouraging to do his job; perhaps with his timid nature or lack of confidence, he had shied away from doing the necessary rebuking.
Do we ever have women like this in churches today? Like in the Garden of Eden, sometimes the man fails to take the leadership role God wants him to exercise, in both the family and the church; does that justify the woman taking over, in either family or the church? Do we sometimes see this same scenario in the family, even the Christian family? 14 might even be implying that women, by their nature, are more easily deceived than men; God's plan, if followed, would guard against this.
Paul just talked in 8 and 9 about a problem some men were having, and a problem some women were having. In the larger context of this entire letter, Paul is talking to pastor Timothy about how things should be done in the church in a properly and orderly manner. Seen in this way, it is easy to see that Paul might not actually be saying that all women are always to be quiet in church. Women in Roman society were not considered the equals of men, as they are in our society today. Paul has taught that before God, the distinction between men and women does not exist, nor does Jew/Gentile or slave/free. It is quite likely that some women took this freedom within the church and went overboard with it (kind of like today). Therefore Paul had to make it clear that even though women and men are equal before God, yet God has given them clearly defined roles within the church and within marriage, and women are not to usurp the authority of men. Paul will go on in the next chapter to lay out more details about the roles of men and women in the church. Human nature has not really changed, has it? It actually started in the Garden of Eden, as Paul points out in 13-14.
The New Testament uses several Greek words for "teach." One, "didaskalos," includes more in its meaning than "instructor" or "teacher;" it has the connotation of "master" or "doctor." This term is applied to Jesus many times in the Gospels. It implies great respect, and teaching with high authority. Paul uses this term in I Corinthians 12:28-29 and Ephesians 4:11 in the lists of spiritual gifts. Apparently this gift of teaching is that of a "master" teacher--one who establishes the doctrine to be taught. This contrasts with the "average" teacher--anyone with some knowledge who is teaching someone else with less knowledge. Paul claims to be such a master teacher in I Timothy 2:7 and II Timothy 1:11. In II Timothy 4:3 he warns against the wrong kind of master teacher.
This term for "teach" is used here in 12 and may shed some light on the issue of women teaching men. Women are not to be in the highest position of teaching with authority over men--not functioning as a pastor. This may leave room for the possibility of a woman teaching a class that men may be part of, if the woman is not functioning as a "master" teacher in the church. Some might disagree with that statement, if not seeing that there are different Greek words involved, with different connotations.
Is 15 speaking of "saved" as salvation? What do you think this verse means, in context? Saved (Strong's): healed, delivered, protected, preserved, do well, be well, make whole, be whole. Bearing children could refer to the act of childbirth, to parenting, to mothering. What was told the woman about childbearing in Gen. 3:16, because of sin? Perhaps Paul is saying that in spite of the pain and labor accompanying childbearing, the same can be a positive in the life of a woman, if she stays rightly related to God (faith), to others (love), and to Self (sanctity/holiness and self-restraint/sobriety). Until recently, childbearing has been the primary role of women. This may not be entirely so today, but Paul's principles are true regardless.
There are three basic types of church government, all based on interpretations and the English and/or Greek terminology found in the epistles of Timothy and Titus. 1)Episcopal: one man at the top, outside the local church--a pope, an archbishop. Examples: Catholics, Anglicans. 2) Presbyterian (representative): several men in the local church run things, called elders or deacons. They are often controlled by a higher denominational organization outside the local church; they can hire, fire, or move pastors without consent of the local church. Example: Presbyterians. 3) Congregational: the people vote and make all the decisions. Examples: Congregationalists, Baptists.
1 Whichever type is followed, the most important factor is the godliness of the man or men in leadership, who may go by the title of bishop, overseer, elder, presbyter; we might add pastor, shepherd, or minister, because today they often run the business of the church. Elder seems to imply age and/or spiritual maturity. These were not appointed when a new church was formed, but on a missionary's return visit. Why might that be? No new converts. Later, their maturity and their spiritual gifts can be evaluated.
Continuing with his discussion of men in leadership in the church, Paul gets more specific. He begins in 1 by clearly limiting leadership to men. Nowhere do we find women in leadership in the church; those today who teach this must ignore clear scriptural teaching. Nothing is said here about leadership positions being for those with the spiritual gift of serving, teaching, or leading (Rom. 12:6-8). Many commentators note that the later Epistles don't talk about spiritual gifts, which were given earlier to provide a foundation for the church, Rom. 1:11, and then apparently began passing away. Instead, this position is available for any who desire it, who are qualified.
Today many think one of the most important qualifications for a pastor, missionary, or other leader to that they have a "call" to the ministry--that they have experienced some sort of "call" from God. Paul mentions nothing about a call, but twice in 1 speaks of aspiring or desiring to do this work. Neither does Paul give this qualification anywhere else. The only ones who had a direct call from God were Paul and Barnabas, at the beginning of the church age, when God supernaturally intervened in various ways to lay the foundation of the church. They had a vision or heard a voice, either directly from God or through a prophet speaking God's words. There are no other examples of a "call" to the ministry.
2-3 Blameless does not mean sinless; rather, not guilty of anything, above reproach. Job was said to be blameless, and God tells us to be blameless, so it must be possible. Husband: men in leadership, not women. Husband of one wife could have several possible meanings: he must be married, he must not be engaged in polygamy (common in that culture), he can only have been married once, he cannot be divorced and remarried, or simply he must be a one-woman man--a faithful devoted husband (not the flirtatious type). Some believe a remarried widower should not be a pastor, or that a widowed pastor should not remarry. He must be of good character and behavior, hospitable, and able/apt to teach. Again we do not see the spiritual gift of teaching (Rom. 12:7, Eph. 4:11).
What does the Bible say about drinking? It never forbids drinking, but it does forbid what? Drunkenness. Would you think that not fighting or quarreling includes both physical and verbal? Contrasting with: gentle, peaceable. Not greedy or covetous (materialistic): might this also cover the desire for a big church, or pressuring people to give, or even the temptation to embezzle? Some churches do not have financial accountability to the congregation, and pastors can be tempted by such an arrangement.
4-5 Some think this implies that a pastor should be a married man. Whether or not that is so, how does his family life impact his suitability for leadership in the church? How does having a family help prepare a pastor for that position? Problems in the home raise a red flag. This passage implies that an overseer manages the church.
So, not every pastor is Mr. Personality, or the best preacher you ever heard, or the most astute administrator; what do you think is the one most important over-riding characteristic? Godliness? Spiritual maturity? Or?
6-7 So why are leaders not chosen when a church was formed? So he is to be well-liked in the church? Why those outside? So what is a danger for church leaders given here? Is this a danger for all of us? What was Satan's sin, and what he loves to trip us up with?
8-10 Deacon: attendant, waiter, one who serves/ministers/does menial tasks. For more on this position, see Acts 6:1-7. Who chose them? What were their qualifications? The list in Timothy is similar to overseers. Are all the sins in this chapter really to be found in the church? Again, could we sum up the requirements as godliness? spiritual maturity? Isn't this the goal for all believers? In II Tim. 2:2, Paul speaks again of the need for Timothy to choose men, but instead of listing their qualifications, what term does he use that sums it all up?
11 Apparently the wives of deacons are the deaconesses; sometimes they are elected separately. Some service is more appropriate to women, some to men. If not given the actual position and title, at least we can see that deacons would have access to knowledge of personal details that their wives would also be privy to. No one would trust a deacon with a gossiping, slandering wife.
12-13 More qualifications similar to overseers. Managing responsibility well leads to greater responsibility in the church, yet the purpose is not personal gain but what?
14-15 What is the purpose of Paul's letter? That Timothy would know how to conduct himself in relation to the church, and how the church ought to conduct itself. What three parallel phrases does he use at the end of 15? So the church (not the building, but all believers: "called-out ones") is where God dwells; it supports what? Not the other way around.
16 This may have been a confession of faith in the early church, or it may have been a hymn--about Christ. The phrases seem to be in sets of two, parallel in both verbs and nouns. What is contrasted in the first two phrases? Vindicated(NASB)/justified(KJV) = shown to be righteous. The next two? Nations = Gentiles. The last two? Christ is God in the flesh; God the Father is spirit, therefore unseen by angels until they saw Christ beginning at His birth. He is not just the Messiah of the Israel but also the Savior of the Gentiles. He is to be "believed on"--salvation is by faith. He was taken up in glory--not dead, not a mere man. This is a great doctrinal statement of the faith.
1-2 Latter/later times are not necessarily the endtimes, but rather time that is future of when Paul is writing. Is this warning about believers or unbelievers? We don't know; both. Paul is warning Timothy, a pastor; why would God warn specifically about these things? Are these things always easy to recognize? Fall away (NASB), or depart from (KJV), could speak of believers who are what the Bible calls carnal, or unbelievers who are pretenders. We know it can't be misled believers, because of what two words in 2? Lying is purposeful. Hypocrisy means acting a part.
When we see well-known Bible teachers begin bringing in error, we wonder why. Are they confused, misled, ignorant of the Bible? Are they giving in to pressure from others or from the desire for greater acceptance and therefore power and money? Perhaps they were never truly saved but have been put in place by Satan, like Trojan horses, to deceive the church by first giving a steady diet of truth, thereby gaining trust; then later few are vigilant enough to notice the gradual introduction of error. Didn't we just see Paul warning the church of spiritual lethargy in I Thes. 5:6 and 10? Can such teachers start out as true believers, then lose their salvation? No, but they can act sinfully, with sinful motives. Why might an unbelieving false teacher be in the church, bringing in false doctrines? Money, power, prestige, a desire to manipulate people, or? Do you think some of them might know they are doing Satan's work? Why doesn't it bother these people to do such things?
Is everything "spiritual" of God? What other source of spiritual enlightenment is there? I Cor. 12:1-3 warns about making sure someone is truly speaking by God's Spirit, as does I John 4:1-6. If someone "receives a message," why might some not care about testing that spirit? They might not be concerned about sticking to just the Bible. They might not believe that the Bible alone is our source of truth. Those who think the Bible should be more "broad-minded" might be prime candidates to "hear" other messages and not to test them. Some lying spirits even identify themselves as Jesus; if you are already open to the unbiblical idea that God continues to speak today, you have left yourself wide open to Satan's deceptions.
For example, take the popular book, "The Purpose-Driven Life"--endorsed by and widely used within Southern Baptist churches, since the author, Rick Warren, is SBC and is welcomed and upheld by them. In discussing how to become a Christian, there is no mention of recognizing our sinfulness, that our sins have separated us from God, that we have NOTHING to give Him, that we need to repent or confess. It states that "Jesus died on the cross for you." This is misleading; what does the Bible actually teach about why Jesus died on the cross? For your SINS. But there is lots of focus in this book on "love" and "fellowship." This book sounds good and is accepted by many Christians, who can read into it however much or little doctrine they know and believe.
The book is never clear on the doctrine that Jesus is God. It never mentions the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, that the resurrection is what proves He is God, that He has the power to free us from sin. It refers a number of times to the Trinity, and to Jesus as the Son of God, but doesn't go into what that means. Many nonbelievers will agree that Jesus is the Son of God, but they do not mean that He IS God--equal with the Father. This leaves room for many differences in belief about Jesus: that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, or that He was a man that had the "christ spirit" (a New Age concept). So when it says that if you believe in Jesus and receive Him and then you are a Christian, which Jesus is meant? The Jesus of the Bible, or another Jesus?
Warren's definition of a Christian is not the biblical definition--is he preaching "another gospel"? If you do not believe that Jesus is God, but you say you believe in Jesus and have prayed to "receive" Him, are you saved? Might this result in many pseudo-Christians who think they are saved but are not? Will they go up in the rapture or be left? Do you see how the false church of the tribulation will be inclusive of all beliefs, focusing on love, tolerance, and "spiritual" practices which are actually from seducing spirits/demons (verse 1)?
3-5 There have been many false doctrines in the church over the years. Who comes to mind regarding forbidding marriage and abstaining from meat? Catholics teach celibacy for priests and nuns; they used to forbid meat on Fridays. What are some other groups or teachings about abstaining from certain foods? Jewish and Seventh-Day Adventist law-keeping dietary restrictions. This could even include fasting to be more spiritual. In what ways are biblical marriage (permanent, monogamous, heterosexual) being attacked today?
Does abstaining from sex, or food, or some foods, have spiritual value? Why, 3? Traditional marriage and meat-eating are demonized today by New Age and the many similar cults. Where in the Bible are these clearly taught? The creation account, Gen. 2:18-25, and the flood account, Gen. 9:1-4, both of which are denied by many inside and outside of the church due to what false teaching? Evolutionism. Believe and know the truth: some believe on Jesus and stop there. Why should we then go on to read and study the Bible? How can we guard against the dangers of 1-3? What attitude toward these things does Paul stress in both 3 and 4? Thankfulness in prayer. The Word of God makes it clear that we are no longer held to dietary restrictions, Mat. 15:10-11, Acts 10:9-16.
In Paul's day, false doctrine came from Judaizers (adding law to grace) and Gnostics (claiming secret sources of human wisdom and knowledge). Is there anything we can add to God's truth? Can any outward actions make us more spiritual? Compare Col. 2:16-23. Today many churches are adding mystical practices, from the early mystics (often Catholic), such as methods of praying, breathing, chanting, labyrinths, visualization, teachings of quantum mysticism, and other extra-biblical practices, geared to promote unity with all religions and to downplay salvation by faith in Christ. This move, mimicking many Eastern and New Age practices, also goes by the names "contemplative" and "emergent." (The "emergent church" is a trend today that would have the church "emerging" into something new and better; actually it is the same old anti-Bible liberalism.)
What was Satan's first lie, Gen. 3:1-6? Isn't part of his strategy to mix truth with error so it sounds good? Did he encourage man to doubt God's truthfulness, wisdom and goodness? Did he encourage man to trust that God has our best interests at heart? Did he encourage man to trust human thinking, feelings and experiences above God's Word? Satan's lies haven't changed much.
6 A good pastor, like Timothy, will point out what to the brethren? Everything Paul has been writing about. Here a pastor is likened to a waiter, attendant, server. What sort of "diet" should a pastor, or a Christian, have? The bread of life; how is God's Word described here? The words of the faith--God's truth--and sound doctrine. Those who wish to downplay the Bible and emphasize experience instead would have us see "doctrine" as a bad word, but it is a very good word; it simply means teaching God's truth. The Bible stresses sound doctrine; so should we, and so should our churches. Paul contrasts physical nourishment, 5, with what in 6?
7-9 Paul contrasts the teaching of God's truth--facts--with the teaching of what? Fiction--old wives' tales. "Profane" (KJV) does not refer to profanity--bad language--but to heathens, to wickedness, false teaching. The Christian needs to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction. In order not to fall for fictional teachings, what quality do we need? Do all believers automatically have this quality, or how do we develop it? Discipline speaks of training, of exercise. What two kinds of exercise does Paul contrast? He may be referring back to the "bodily disciplines" of abstaining from sex or food, or he may be referring to the excessive exercise of training engaged in by the Olympic athletes, relating spiritual truths to something those people are familiar with. He may be encouraging Timothy to teach this things to the church, or it's possible he is admonishing Timothy himself regarding his personal practices. (In the next chapter we learn that Timothy had health issues.) Is health, appearance and fitness still an obsession with many today?
How does godliness relate to both the present and the future life? Salvation has a past, present and future: we were saved (justification), we are being saved (sanctification), and we will be saved (glorification). Because he then emphasizes what he just said, 9, what can we conclude about discipline for the purpose of godliness? This is the second of four "trustworthy statements" (KJV, faithful sayings) Paul gives in the Pastoral Epistles. The other doctrinal statements are found in I Tim. 1:15, II Tim. 2:11, Titus 3:8.
10 Paul clarifies why this teaching is so important. Because of it, we do what? Labor: work hard, be fatigued or wearied. Strive/NASB, suffer reproach/KJV: we are defamed, railed at, chided, taunted, reviled, upbraided. Do we do those things in order to be saved? No, the context is talking about developing godliness by disciplining ourselves--accepting hardship. And why are we willing to do these things? Because we trust/KJV, fix our hope/NASB, on God, yet Paul doesn't say "God." There are many false gods; who specifically is he talking about? Today do some talk about "God" yet not the God Paul just described? "God" may mean just about anything you want it to mean today. God is our Savior, but who specifically is the Savior? Jesus = God. Most people don't even think they need a Savior. Many people talk about God but don't mean a god who has a Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins and was resurrected; they are not talking about the God of the Bible but a false god.
Does "Savior of all men" mean all are or will be saved--universal salvation? Since the rest of the Bible does not support that, what does the Bible teach? Salvation through Jesus Christ is available to all who believe in Him. (This refutes the Calvinist belief that Jesus only died for the elect.) Paul clarifies that he is not just talking about a Jewish God, or a limited God, as one of many. Don't many today think Jesus is fine for Christians, but there are equally valid ways to God for those with other beliefs? He is available to all men as Savior, but only to believers is He truly Savior. He has purchased everyone's ticket to heaven, but not everyone has come to Him to pick up their ticket.
11-12 In 11-16, Paul gives Timothy firm guidelines on his teaching: teaching is mentioned three times. So what is the pastor's primary duty? To teach correct doctrine. Timothy was probably 30-40, whereas Paul was about 70. Perhaps it was hard for Timothy to give firm leadership when many in the church were older than him, or perhaps he was not exactly an extrovert. Pastors come with all types of personalities. What are the first two things Paul tells him to pay attention to? Then what two pillars of Christianity? Purity: apparently Timothy was single. Do these instructions apply only to pastors? If Timothy didn't do these things, WOULD older believers accept his teaching?
13 Paul is an apostle and Timothy is not, but Paul delegates leadership responsibilities to a pastor: "till I come." Do we see Paul teaching Timothy that he will someday become an apostle? Nowhere do we find the expectation of future apostles. What should a sermon consist of? Read God's Word to the church, teach them what it says and means, and speak to them about its application for their lives. We see a similar picture in Neh. 8:1-3,7-8,13. This biblical example of reading through Scripture, explaining and applying, is called "expository" preaching: setting forth the meaning or intent, giving information or explanation.
14 Let's start at the end of this verse and work backwards. The presbytery is the group or council or order of elders. It was a word used both of Israel's Sanhedrin and of the elders of the Christian church. It is the term that Presbyterians based their name on. So the elders had "laid hands" on Timothy at some earlier point. We will read more about elders and the laying on of hands in the next chapter; it was what we would call ordination--the formality of choosing an elder or pastor for ministry. So at that time, what had taken place? Apparently a prophecy was given regarding Timothy's spiritual gift which equipped him for ministry. So why might Paul say "neglect not"? Commentators seem to think that Timothy might have been reticent to stand up and lead; verse 12 implies this also. Timothy needed prodded or encouraged; he was apparently not using his gift. Perhaps he lacked confidence, or was just naturally quiet, nonconfrontational, reticent. Does God only use strong natural leaders? Just like in the Old Testament, we see hard-headed Ezekiel, tearful Jeremiah, and the poetic warrior David.
Charismatics might take this verse as support for the practice of laying hands on one another for the purpose of receiving spiritual gifts, especially the gift of speaking in tongues, but the context doesn't really support that. Here, the laying on of hands does not confer the gift, or "do" anything else, but it accompanied it: "with" not "by." It seems to have the connotation of identifying with someone, or solemnizing something, Lev. 3 and 4. Just as with baptism or the Lord's supper, physical acts or rituals do not confer spiritual benefits; they are merely symbolic. I Cor. 12-14 explains that God gave spiritual gifts, at that time, and says nothing about receiving them by having people gather around you, lay hands on you, and pray, so that you will receive a particular gift, or any gift at all.
15-16 Again we wonder why Paul must tell Timothy these things; apparently Timothy needs some direction and encouragement, some prodding. Paul is training him to be a leader. How would doing these things benefit Timothy himself? How would they benefit the church? Do pastors sometimes slack off, stray from what is important, get sidetracked? Don't all of us? We need to help each other.
1-2 Now Paul speaks to Timothy about how he ought to relate to and handle various people within the church--here, various age groups and sexes. As a younger man, Timothy needed direction about relating properly to older believers. What do you notice about each of the four suggestions? As family. Paul adds what other important warning? Is this just important for single pastors (like Timothy seemed to be)? Is a pastor to be authoritarian? Now Paul will speak in more detail about certain women and men in the church, older ones in particular: widows, and elders.
3-16 The Old Testament law provided for the care of widows and orphans; this section deals with widows in the church. Read through this whole section first.
3-8 Paul seems to speak of two groups of widows: those with family who can take care of them financially, and those put on a list who are taken care of by the church. The meaning of "widow" here seems to imply not only having lost a spouse, but having no children or grandchildren--alone. 3 and 4 seem to contrast the two groups, "but." What does 4 say about family life, at least in the church at that time? Based on 4, what can we infer that 3 means by "honor"? So what can we infer the Ten Commandments mean by "honor your father and mother"?
So Paul is telling Timothy that that church is provide for certain widows, those with no family: widows "indeed," 3 and 5. What does 5 tell us about these widows? How does being left alone equal this description? It would seem that these qualities may or may not be true of a widow. And these widows are contrasted with other widow behavior in 6.
Again Paul repeats what phrase in 7 to draw attention to important teaching? It could refer to what he just said, or to what immediately follows, 8, which reiterates 4. What is this important teaching? Compare James 2:14-17? So choosing to financially disregard your family when you are in a position to provide apparently indicates what? How does the parable of the good Samaritan, Luke 10:27-37, define love as caring actions toward others?
9-16 "The list" seems to refer to the "widows indeed" of 3 and 5. Paul gives what qualifications for this list--for widows the church is to support, 9-10? 11-15 tells why younger widows are not to be put on the list; why would getting remarried bring condemnation, since Paul teaches in 14, and elsewhere, that it is okay to remarry after a spouse dies? A desire for marriage is not sinful, but what is? Sensual pleasure in disregard of Christ, immoral behavior; Paul seems to be speaking of a carnal Christian. Is he talking about condemnation by God (losing your salvation) or by man? Does "following Satan," 15, mean losing your salvation, or rather, falling into Satan's snares, falling for his lies, giving unbelievers cause to slander the name of Christ? What clue is at the end of 12?
Apparently a pledge went hand-in-hand with being put on the list of "widows indeed." 11-15 explain why younger widows should not be put on the list and take such a pledge; remarrying is not wrong, for those who have not taken the pledge, but the pledge seems to include a commitment to now serve Christ alone. Apparently these older widows with godly reputations take a pledge to serve the Lord through the church, and in return, the church "honors" them--supports them financially. Or conversely, if the church supports someone financially, should that person be providing some service to the church? If the church is supporting someone, is it appropriate to expect a certain standard of godly living? The Bible does not support our society's form of welfare--financial assistance without accountability or anything expected in return. In 16, Paul summarizes: the family is to take care of its own, and the church is to take care of its members who have no means of support.
What do we learn in this passage about how Christian women ought to conduct themselves? Does this teach that Christian women today ought to get married? What behavior do Christian women need to guard against?
17-18 As we read through the Epistles, we find this is the first time Paul uses the term "elders." Some think this term may be synonymous with overseer, bishop, or pastor--I don't know. Luke speaks of elders in Acts, both of the Jewish leaders and of leaders in the church. Acts 15:23 speaks of "the apostles, the elders and the brethren" in Jerusalem. Acts 4:23, Paul and Barnabas "appointed elders for them in every church." James speaks of elders as leaders in the church; in I Pet. 5:1, Peter, an apostle, includes himself among the elders.
Elders serve what three functions in the church? Apparently there were ruling elders and teaching elders. For those who do both, what should result? "Honor" has what meaning in the discussion on widows, 5:3-4? Financial support; 18 speaks of what? Why might they be paid more? So in this chapter Paul is addressing what is to be expected of those the church supports financially. Paul provides Old Testament support; his second support is from Luke, so perhaps Luke's writings were already recognized as Scripture.
19-20 It would seem that with the qualification given in I Tim. 3, elders would not be likely to be accused of any wrongdoing; Paul speaks to the possibility of false accusations, so any accusation must be well documented. What does "a witness" mean? It is not just someone who heard about it from their friend or through the grapevine and wants to stand up for a friend or is jumping on this opportunity to get rid of a leader they don't like or agree with. But isn't this the way things often happen? Is gossip a minor sin, or a serious problem in churches? There are two kinds of gossip--hearsay, and what, I Tim. 3:11? Malicious gossip/NASB, slander/KJV. What might be the difference? Intent: a DESIRE to cause harm.
Why might elders be targets of false accusations? What were leaders to do that might not sit well with some people? Titus 1:7-11, 3:10. So now we can see why it is extra important that those in this position be as blameless as possible in character. So then we wonder in 20 who Paul is speaking of--leaders who were sinning, that being a warning to other leaders? Or those spoken of in Titus 1, who continued in sin after being reproved and after bringing false accusations against a leader. If so, what is to be done about them at this point, as a warning to the rest of the church?
21-22 Why would Paul warn about such a possibility? So often we hear of Christians--leaders or otherwise--who commit sin but are protected by those around them, who lie for them, refuse to consider evidence against them, and demonize the accuser. Why does this happen? What do we learn here about angels? Compare I Cor. 4:9. Laying hands on someone would probably refer to ordination of leaders. What does 3:10 say about "too hastily"? A period of time is needed to observe whether someone has the qualifications listed in 3:1-13. Does that period of testing guarantee a blameless leader? But if you put someone in a leadership position without this character test, and he ends up molesting someone, or many individuals, what does Paul say about you? Therefore Timothy needs to be very careful of his own walk.
23 What do we learn about Timothy? We already suspect he is timid; he is also subject to poor health. "Water drinker" in the Greek implies someone who drinks water exclusively; Paul just reminded him to be free of sin, but he qualifies that as not necessarily being a teetotaler. In that day wine was used for its medicinal purposes. Is drinking wine a sin? What is? Drunkenness. Why doesn't Paul just heal Timothy of his poor health? Divine healing was not for the purpose of fixing the health problems of Christians. It is also highly probable, as we have seen elsewhere, that this supernatural spiritual gift, along with the others--given for the establishment of the church--had passed away by this time, II Cor. 12:7-10,12, Phil. 2:25-27. God still heals but we do not see anyone today with the spiritual gift of healing. Instead, we see Christians pointed in the direction of medicine and health remedies.
24-25 Paul returns to the subject of not choosing leaders too quickly; so now we can see that the wine comment was a parenthesis, qualifying Paul's admonition to be careful of sin in his own life. But Paul apparently wanted to remind Timothy that practicing extreme self-denial was not necessary to the Christian life. In choosing men to lead the church, aren't some of their sins, and their good qualities, going to be obvious? But are all their sins and shortcomings? We need to be as careful as possible in choosing well, because even then, there still may be unpleasant surprises down the road.
1-2 In Ephesians and Colossians Paul admonished both masters and slaves; why might he only speak about slaves in this letter? Perhaps a clue is at the end of 1; perhaps he had heard that Christian slaves, perhaps those in this church, were bringing dishonor on Christianity. Among Christian slaves with Christian masters, why might such attitudes develop?
3-5 What actions and attitudes result from rejecting biblical truth? Conceited (Strong's): inflated, lifted up with pride. Morbid/doting about questions (Strong's): a diseased appetite; hankering after, harping on. Envy (Strong's): ill will. Strife (Strong's): quarrelling, wrangling, debate. Abusive language/railings (Strong's): especially vilifying God. Does this describe many of our unsaved friends, and especially some of what we read on Facebook? Might this imply that Timothy was being warned about people in his own church? Is Paul talking about Christians, 5? When false Christians permeate the church, even becoming leaders, and when the Bible is not the authoritative source of truth, what false idea is common? What do we call this belief today? The prosperity gospel. Under the Law, in the Old Testament, the obedient were promised prosperity, so some of that thinking may have carried over into the church among Jewish believers.
6-8 So what two types of godliness does Paul contrast? Religiosity by the unsaved (5) vs. true godliness by the saved. He also contrasts what two types of gain? So in 6, what plus what equals what? What does he say about money/possessions, and about contentment?
9-10 What two words in 9 speak about not being content? What two in 10? So does the Bible say wealth is wrong? What is the warning here for wealthy believers? What is the warning for those who aren't wealthy?
11-13 Two words in 11 are commands from Paul to Timothy--what two opposite action words do you see? Flee what? So what is the solution to covetousness, greed, materialism? Doesn't the second half of 11 sound like the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23? How does Paul describe what we need to do in Rom. 8:4? What other two commands do we see in 12? How does Paul describe what we need to do in Rom. 13:14? So do these qualities appear automatically when we become Christians? What's the difference being having salvation and "taking hold" of it? Fight, as used in various places, could imply competing for a prize, a struggle, conflict; how does this reflect the Christian life?
Paul reminds Timothy of perhaps his baptism or his ordination. Again it seems he may have been timid or hesitant ot not as strong in these areas as Paul would have liked. Apparently Timothy needs to be encouraged to be more active in the faith and in his role as pastor. "Called" does not speak of a "calling" to become a pastor; Paul is talking about being called (invited by God) to eternal life, as he frequently speaks of elsewhere.
13-16 Now let's restart this sentence in 13. Paul mentions human witnesses in 12 and now what witnesses? God (the Father) and Jesus. What aspect of God does Paul reference? The Bible often identifies God as Creator; why is this important? He compares Timothy's "good confession" (or profession) to Christ's "good confession" in John 18:37--so what is that confession/profession? Who Christ is--bearing witness to the truth. Why might Paul be reminding Timothy about all these witnesses?
What event does Paul reference in 14? The "appearing" is not the "coming" of the second coming. Does he talk like Timothy may still be alive when the rapture takes place? Paul implies in several passages that he thinks it likely the rapture will be in his lifetime--a belief in the imminence of the rapture, the continual expectation which Christians of all ages have held to. What does Paul say about setting dates for the rapture? God uses dates and timetables with Israel, but not with the church. What should Timothy, and we, be doing until that takes place? The commandment would be the faith, the confession/profession we made--living as blamelessly as possible.
What do we learn here about God's nature? Potentate = Sovereign: mighty ruler, the highest ruler of all. God alone is what, 16? Then how can we also experience immortality? II Tim. 1:10. Who none can see: is this speaking of Jesus, who is God, and who was seen by many? Look back earlier in the verse: He/God would be God the Father, who is Spirit, therefore unseen by human eyes, John 1:18, 4:24.
17-19 This could be general instructions for believers, or perhaps there was a number of rich people in Timothy's church, perhaps who weren't handling their wealth in a godly way. Does he say it's wrong to be rich, that the wealthy should get rid of their wealth? What are they to focus on? Generosity and spiritual wealth. We lay up treasure by doing what with our riches, 18? Can Christians be too focused on this world?
20-21 What is he to guard--what has been entrusted to him? The faith, sound doctrine. Again we might wonder why Paul is giving such advice--perhaps Timothy doesn't stay focused and needs a loving "kick in the rear." What does the godless world engage in? Science = knowledge. Paul is probably referring to the Gnostic heresy of special knowledge for the spiritual elite. What philosophy today is falsely called knowledge or science? Evolution. Can the Bible-believing Christian also believe in some form of evolution? Hints: 1)Which came first--death or sin? Rom. 5:12. 2)Science has no explanation for how matter came from non-matter and life from non-life; how does the Bible explain it? Gen. 1. Is 21 speaking of believers or unbelievers? Maybe both. Erred/gone astray: swerved, missed the mark. Have we ever done this? What is the solution?
Usually Paul's closing benediction includes grace and peace; here, and in the other letters to individuals (not churches), he just prays God's grace (His gracious gift of forgiveness in Christ) on Timothy, but in his opening greeting, he had referenced God's grace, peace and mercy.
This letter is especially important because it is Paul's last communication, written during his second imprisonment and shortly before his execution. We will note how little Paul is concerned about his own circumstances, and what he is truly concerned about instead--the future of the church.
1-2 Paul begins his letter by affirming his God-given apostolic authority. Is he in prison because he missed God's will for his life? When we are in difficult circumstances, might we wonder if we're still in God's will? Might our difficult circumstances be because we are NOT in His will? But is that always true? Grace, mercy and peace--the foundations of our faith--are from who and who--where are they? Where is the Holy Spirit? So no greetings need be sent from Him! How does Paul feel about Timothy?
3-5 We wonder if Paul suspects this may be his last letter. What does he speak of doing, 3, that he often speaks of in the opening remarks of his letters? What is his prayer life like? Why is it good not just to pray for someone, but to let them know it? The forefathers would refer to whom? Acts 3:13. Paul speaks of following in the faith footsteps of those who came before us.
6-7 The apostles apparently had the ability to bestow spiritual gifts. What do we learn about Timothy from Paul's gentle and tactful prodding? Why might Paul say "us" not "you" in 7? Do WE empathize with others we counsel, teach or otherwise speak to, or do we point a finger, so to speak? Sometimes just a careful choice of words makes all the difference.
So might timidity be a problem for some pastors? For us? Perhaps in our witnessing, or just simply our personality. So for those of us with timid personalities, can we change? Can we CHOOSE to be different that what we are? Do we have the choice whether or not to let Self control us? Again we read that the indwelling Holy Spirit provides us with God's power to do what is right. What if we don't have love for others? Can we act in Christian love toward those we don't like? Sound mind/self-discipline/self-control: if we struggle with any of those things, what is the answer?
8 Paul was concerned that Timothy might be hesitant to be identified with him (in prison) because of the gospel. Have we ever been hesitant to let others know we are Christians, or speak up about the Lord, the Bible, or our testimony? What if we do, but the other person does not respond, or responds negatively? Might we have to take a stand regarding homosexuality? Might there be negative repercussions? What if our boss or co-worker wants us to do something that isn't right? If we stand for the Lord, might there be negative repercussions? There are countries where Christians are truly suffering for the gospel. Over there, if you were a weak believer, might you be tempted to disassociate yourself from other believers who were being targeted? We know Timothy was timid; Paul was afraid he could be tempted to give in to fear of persecution. How was Paul getting through it? The indwelling Spirit's empowering.
9 And WHY should we be willing to risk such suffering? Paul emphasizes the great New Testament theme of salvation by grace--by God's kindness and favor, not by what, as in the past? In the Old Testament, people were saved by faith in God, demonstrated through keeping the Law He gave the nation of Israel through Moses. Who is the "us" in this verse? The church. Doing the works of the Law was God's plan for Israel in the previous dispensation, but now, in this next dispensation, His plan is what? For who? When did God formulate this plan?
10 What do we learn here about that eternal plan? In the Old Testament, God had not revealed His entire plan. What is the gospel--the good news? I Cor. 15:1-5.
11 Paul reminds Timothy that he was appointed--by who? Apostle/preacher/teacher: how are these be separate roles? They are each listed as a separate spiritual gift, Eph. 4:11.
12 What two words does he repeat here that he just mentioned in 8? We are getting a picture of a timid Timothy, who perhaps shrinks back from the possibility of what? But Paul equates that to being what? The opposite would be: unashamed, unabashed, unembarrassed. Can God help us with this problem? We can decide to make different choices and not be controlled by our feelings.
The second half of 12 is familiar why? A well-known hymn. Many hymns, and other good Christian songs, put Scripture, or scriptural ideas, to music. What is the purpose of Christian music? To entertain? To make us feel good? Col. 3:16. Singing Scripture is a great way to learn and remember Scripture. Sunday School songs learned in childhood stick with us for years.
Do we only HOPE we are saved and will make it to heaven, or be taken in the rapture? Rather, we can what? So is being a Christian about being good enough? Rather, it is about doing what? What did we commit/entrust to Him? Ourselves! What will He do with that? Guard/keep us. For how long? When is "that day"? Compare I Cor. 1:8, II Tim. 1:18, and especially II Tim. 4:8. The day of His appearing; Paul is always looking forward eagerly to the rapture, knowing it could happen any day, and teaching us to do the same. The rapture is the what, Titus 2:13? Paul's teaching about the Lord's appearing is part of teaching sound doctrine, which is his emphasis in this book.
13-14 How important to Paul is correct doctrine? In 14 he calls it a what? And what should Timothy (and us) do with this treasure? Why would we need to guard it, to "keep" it? What word does he repeat and contrast in 12 and 14? We entrust/commit what to God? And what is entrusted/committed to us? How do we guard it? How does the Holy Spirit function in the Christian (the church), which was not said about Him in the Old Testament dispensation? Only the church has the indwelling Holy Spirit.
15-18 Taken in the context of what Paul has just said to Timothy, we get some clues in these next verses about what might have been going on. Twice he has said there should be no shame regarding Paul's suffering (his imprisonment in Rome); he mentions it again in 16. Apparently those believers, or pastors or workers, who were from Asia, who were with him in Rome, including two in particular, have done what? So Paul is concerned that Timothy is tempted to also distance himself from Paul, perhaps by modifying his teaching to be less offensive to the people, or to leading teachers, or even to the authorities. Paul holds up Onesiphorus as a positive example for Timothy. Perhaps he is referring to God being merciful to him at the judgment seat of Christ, following the rapture, where Christians will be recompensed for their deeds.
We don't know if the ones who turned away from Paul had abandoned him in Rome in his time of need, out of fear, or if they were even turning away from the gospel. Are preachers and teachers judged by those they associate themselves with? If your favorite preacher starts quoting or making appearances with those whose teachings you disagree with, is that something to be concerned about? Are they sometimes tempted to soften the gospel message, to keep it light, to downplay sin and repentance, to keep from offending people, to draw in more people with a more inclusive message? This is happening in the church today in a big way. There are numerous websites and blogs, often called "discernment ministries," devoted to keeping us informed about these troubling developments in the church. Paul will write in this letter about a huge move away from the truth in the last days.
1 Paul contrasts the men he just spoke of in the previous verses, with who? Unlike those men, what should Timothy do? He reminds Timothy of what he told him in Eph. 6:10. Do we get stronger by positive thinking, by telling ourselves we are awesome (as many think)? How does the Lord provide us with that strength, that power? Acts 1:8a, I Cor. 2:4, 5:4, Eph. 3:16. Does that mean we always FEEL strong?
2 Did they have the written New Testament yet? So what needed to be done? What might happen if Timothy did not do this, or he did not choose faithful men, or it turned out they were not able to teach others? Now we have the complete written Word of God. Does Paul expect that the message will change and evolve, or that it is complete and to be passed on exactly as it stands? Not everyone believes this today; beware of those who claim to hear more from God.
Do we ever see Paul making provisions for future apostles? No, only teachers and preachers. Does he tell Timothy to choose men who have the spiritual gift of teaching? What type of men is he to select? The supernaturally spiritual gifts seem to have been temporary. Are natural abilities we use for the Lord the same as spiritual gifts? That was not the meaning in the early church.
3 Again Paul reminds Timothy of his imprisonment, and the suffering involved. Is Paul moaning and groaning about it and asking for prayer for deliverance? What is Paul's approach to suffering? "Cowboy up! Man up! Take it like a man!" We may not suffer imprisonment for our faith, but we face many types of suffering in life. What does James say in James 1:2-4? We often feel life is unfair, or it is too much; compare Paul's experiences in II Cor. 11:25-28. Elsewhere he mentions something about his eyes, and something about a thorn in the flesh that God wouldn't remove. He talks about those who have disappointed. Is Paul ever bitter or self-absorbed about his troubles? What can we do to keep from being like that?
4-6 Does this mean a pastor shouldn't have an outside job? How did Paul meet his expenses? He was what we call bi-vocational: a pastor with an outside job also. Is he saying Christians shouldn't engage in activities outside the church? What IS he saying? Don't be in love with "the world"--keep your priorities right. Did we enlist, or did someone enlist us? How is the Christian life like a soldier's life? Obedience. How is like an athlete's life? Obedience, self-discipline, focus on the end goal. How is like the farmer's life? Where else do we have the analogy of the farmer? What does the farmer do in Mat. 13:3? Because Paul is speaking to Timothy as a pastor, what else might he do if he hopes to get a good crop? How does Paul describe this farmer?
7 Do you have to be brainy to understand spiritual things? Consider: exercise your mind, take heed, observe, comprehend, think. So do we do nothing, and God just fills us with understanding?
8-10 As we saw in Acts in every sermon Paul preached, what one fact of the gospel (and all that it implies) causes much dissension and strong reaction from those who refuse to believe it? Why will believing that fact turn our lives upside down and make us willing to face suffering and death? Timid Timothy is getting a major pep talk from Paul about being prepared to suffer for the gospel; Paul brings it up over and over. Endure implies bearing up patiently, not with gritted teeth and bad attitude. David's descendant = the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament. Can God's Word be stopped? And Timothy is to do his part. What motive does Paul give Timothy for enduring suffering? Who is the elect, the chosen? The church--all who will believe in the risen Christ. Salvation is wonderful, but what else comes with it?
11-13 Trustworthy/faithful statement #3 (compare I Tim. 1:15 and 4:9)--perhaps hymns or doctrinal statements of the early church. Four "if" statements of possible actions; the first two tell consequences of positive actions, the second two tell consequences of negative actions. 1)Did all believers die with Christ? Rom. 6:4-6 (Paul quotes verse 8). So will all live with Him? 2)Do all believers suffer for Christ? (NASB: endure, as endure suffering) What awaits those who do? Several passages talk about the church reigning with Christ; here (and elsewhere) we learn that there are different degrees of rewards, and that certain believers will reign in a greater way than others.
3)Do believers deny Him? This can be taken several ways. In a parallel passage in Mat. 10:33, Christ seems to speak of denying Him as never believing on Him. If that is the meaning here, and Paul is speaking of "we" and "us" as believers, then will He deny us? No! If believers fail the Lord, that possibility is covered in #4. So, 4)are believers sometimes faithless? And what are we assured? Note especially the last phrase; aren't we believers the body of Christ? This is a wonderful assurance for those who fear losing their salvation over weak, faithless words or deeds. So are "failing" and "denying" the Lord two different things?
14-18 Paul returns to what important subject he brought up in 1:13-14 and 2:2? Accurately handing (NASB) or rightly dividing (KJV) means literally to cut straight; can you think of various workmen whose work needs to be straight and accurate? How does Paul say that workman attains that level of skill? Study, diligence. How does Paul describe what happens when that is missing? And the resulting ungodliness is like gangrene or cancer--lives ruined. Is 15 just for pastors? Why is it important for us? Might "rightly dividing" refer also to understanding the divisions of Scripture--what many call dispensations?
Again Paul names names, warning Timothy who to watch out for. Those today who are "watchmen on the wall," warning the church of which leaders are staying true to the Word and who is deviating, are often criticized for naming names in a public way, and for not just going to their brother privately as in Mat. 18:15. But that teaching is about a brother who offends you--privately. When did we see Paul publicly rebuke a brother who was in the public eye for his hypocrisy? Peter, in Gal. 2:11-14. We are to hold leaders accountable. Is there a temptation to overlook such problems in our favorite people?
19-21 When false teachers exchange the truth for error, does the truth change? We may not always be able to tell if a teacher or preacher is truly saved or is a false teacher, but does God know? The Bible teaches us to hold our leaders to a standard of truth and of godliness. 20 may be speaking of the true church--true believers--who vary in their level of spiritual maturity and sanctification. Or it may be speaking of the visible church, reminding us that there are both saved and unsaved present, and we may have trouble telling them apart, as in the parable of the wheat and tares, Mat. 13:24-30. 21, but what can happen to the vessels of dishonor? It is our choice.
22-26 In the light of these things, here's how Timothy needs to act. 22, what's the negative and the positive? 23-24, what's the negative and positive? We need to know both--how NOT to act as well as positive things we can do. Lusts could obviously include sexual temptation, but in the context, it might refer to the temptation to destroy his opponents by clever arguments, sarcasm and a sharp tongue.
Again we wonder if he is speaking of argumentative Christians, or if the opposition are false teachers and those against the gospel who try to destroy it by intellectual arguments. Is a sharp-tongued, obnoxious Christian going to draw the opposition to the Lord? What characteristics will? Is "able to teach" about being able to spit out all the facts, or to help the listener engage his mind to discover truth for himself, to create an attitude where the light might come on for the listener? 25, what is needed besides knowledge? What do we need to change our minds about? Is 26 only about unbelievers, or could this also apply to believers? What did Paul say in I Tim. 3:7 and 6:9? The believer's three enemies are the world, the flesh and the devil. What important Bible fact does Paul emphasize in 15, 18 and 25? This fact is disputed by many today, by most unbelievers and even by many within the so-called church.
1-5 What is to be expected shortly before the rapture? Days that are perilous (KJV) or difficult (NASB); Strong's also adds: dangerous, fierce. Do we see this general trend in society? If indeed we are in the last days before the rapture, life for the true Bible-believing Christian could get quite difficult. This passage speaks not of the secular world, but of what will be happening in the "visible church." Are many people into "spirituality" in its many forms but NOT into the Bible? This is the false church that will be left behind at the rapture and will continue on into the one-world religion--the church of Laodicea in Rev. 3:14-22, where Jesus stands OUTSIDE their door. Do we see this "church" characterized by the fruit of the Spirit? Does this section describe saved or unsaved people? We especially can see these characteristics in many TV preachers--notorious for hypocritical, materialistic, extravagant lifestyles.
What is first on the list? Psychology and the self-esteem movement have heavily infiltrated the church; it's all about Self. What is second? Society is more materialistic than ever. Are many churches teaching Christianity as a way to become prosperous? What is the next item? Same thing. Boasters and pride are related; it's all about who? Instead of who? Blasphemy is the opposite of piety, godliness, reverence. Has there been a breakdown in parental authority in these last days? Are those who are not truly saved grateful to God? Living holy lives? Rom. 1:21-32 describes this same scenario, of religious people who deny the truth of God. What do we see in 1:26,27 and 31 and in II Tim. 3:3? Is this becoming acceptable in churches today?
Are all churches teaching the Bible and based on the authority of God's Word? NO. Are all churches teaching that Jesus is the only way to eternal life? NO. Are all churches teaching that we are all sinners and need to repent and believe on Jesus? NO. Are all churches teaching that Jesus is God? NO. Yet do people in such churches consider themselves Christians? Yes. Are some churches teaching "another Jesus"? Yes. Do some churches major in emotional experiences and false signs and wonders instead of solid doctrinal teaching? Yes. Do many churches aim to cater to unbelievers, with rock bands, light shows, coffee houses, and no uncomfortable gospel message? Yes. What are they lacking, 5? How do we get that power? Through the indwelling Holy Spirit, who all receive when they believe on Jesus Christ. If we don't have the indwelling Holy Spirit, are we saved? If Jesus and the Bible have been watered down, what is being taught instead? Man's ideas...Satan's deceptions.
There are many true churches out there, but more and more today, churches are going off in many directions. In the next chapter, Paul will tell us why people accept this. But here we see what will characterize empty religion, where the old nature has not been replaced with the new nature, or where the new nature is not being fed from the Word. How does 5 make it clear that this section is describing the church rather than the world? Paul and the early church expected the rapture in their day, so Paul expected that Timothy would experience days such as these. Is Timothy (and are we) to be open-minded and tolerant of these false doctrines and false teachers?
6-7 Paul warned that in the last days, these people would enter homes--how is that actually happening today? In Paul's day, women were mostly at home, uneducated, unsophisticated, and therefore gullible. Do women tend to be more easily swayed because of their more emotional nature? The more educated ones tend to be in the workplace, so the ones at home might be more easily influenced by claims of unprincipled TV preachers. Paul speaks of those who are silly, sinful and lustful as falling for such beautifully packaged deceptions. He also characterizes such people as "learning" without coming to what? every new idea--open to every new idea or teaching that comes along from every popular Christian speaker (or on every TV talk show, Christian or otherwise) but not having a love of the truth. Whether women or men, at home or anywhere else, are such people ripe for deception?
8-9 Though unnamed in Exodus, Paul refers to the account of the magicians in Ex. 7:11-12,20-22, 8:5-8,16-19, 9:8-11. So what is Paul saying about the people he has just described above? Are they merely misguided Christians? So do some who appear to be Christian teachers and preachers, not even saved? Perhaps some think they are, but apparently others know exactly what they are doing and why. Do you see why Paul says these last days are dangerous? Some Christians teach that there will be one last huge revival before the rapture--does the Bible teach this? Paul does not speak of it. Some claim God has told them this, in a prophecy or revelation; when people claim to hear from God and the message differs from the Bible, which should we believe? The Bible claims to be the infallible word of God, and proves it through prophecies which were fulfilled in detail. When someone claims to have a word from God, they have no way of proving that, so we have no reason to believe them.
10-13 Paul contrasts Timothy with the false teachers. Has Timothy learned what Paul has been teaching? Paul's entire life is about teaching what? What does he again emphasize to Timothy in 11-12? Apparently Timothy needs a godly loving "kick in the pants"--Paul seems unsure that Timothy will handle persecution. As we see our country rapidly changing for the worse, does it seem likely that we might suffer some type of consequences for being Bible-believing Christians? Is there pressure on us to be tolerant of all beliefs and behaviors? Do you think 13 is talking about the world, or the church? Evil men are obvious. Seducers or imposters may be pretending to be one thing when they are really another; the word could also imply wizardry, occult powers, reminding us that "signs and wonders" aren't necessarily of God. They deceive others because they themselves are deceived. Compare II John 1:7; spiritual deceivers are antichrists. The Bible never speaks of the final world ruler as Antichrist; it is a spirit shared by many since the early church. What is he called in Rev. 13:1? In II Thes. 2:3 and 8? How is Satan described in John 8:44? Because this warning about deceivers is for the church in the last days, what should our response be?
14-17 Again Paul contrasts Timothy with the ones he has just spoken of. Again we wonder if Paul has doubts about Timothy, that he might NOT continue as strongly as Paul hopes? Everyone has personality strengths which God can use; can He use, or even change, our weaknesses? Did Paul have personality weaknesses? Timothy was not like him, maybe was even the opposite of him; can God use any personality type? Who has Timothy learned from? What does Timothy's life say to Christian parents? Prov. 22:6. His mother and grandmother were Jewish and raised him under the Law, but they knew Scripture well enough that they recognized Jesus as Messiah. The Scriptures (KJV) or sacred writings (NASB) would be the Old Testament, which points to who?
What important facts about the Bible do we learn in 15-17? This is a very important section of Scripture. The Bible itself claims to be the word--the words--of God: inspired (God-breathed). Is the Bible trustworthy? All of it, or part of it? Some Christians would say, only in some things. If that is so, how can we know which things? If it claims to be God's Word--truth--and part of is it not trustworthy, then it is a lie and none of it should be believed. "All" includes every word, Jer. 26:2, Mat. 5:18, which means the literal interpretation is the most biblical (not treating the Bible as an allegory). Many scoffers claim that it was written by men; how would you answer that? Reproof and correction point to church discipline, a topic that comes up in almost every New Testament book. According to this passage, does a Christian need anything besides the Bible to live the Christian life? This doctrine is called the adequacy or sufficiency of Scripture. A pastor is to use the Word for what purposes? He is to teach and preach the Bible alone. What is the goal here for the Christian? Maturity, which comes how?
1-2 Why would Paul add verse 1--why not just tell him 2? Possibly because of Timothy's timidity, or he had doubts about Timothy, or he was emphasizing the importance of these last words, or because this was THE MOST important thing. He uses the image of solemnly testifying in court, before what judge? Does he speak of the rapture or the second coming? Could be either? 1)Rapture--at which time believers who were caught up alive and believers who died will experience the judgment seat of Christ for recompense of our deeds; or 2)second coming--the sheep and goats will be separated, the sheep to enter the kingdom alive and the goats to be sent to their eternal punishment, and following the kingdom, the final judgment of all without Christ included the dead waiting in Hades.
What is so important that Paul reminds Timothy that they are in the presence of The Judge? This is THE important thing for pastor. Not to preach, or to win souls, or keep the church running smoothly. How might "preach" differ from "preach the Word"? Preach God's words, not man's. Will he only preach when he has a well-prepared sermon? Even when it's not convenient or he is caught off-guard. We are not preachers, but how do these commands speak to us? A pastor, and to a lesser extent us, are also to what? Reprove: admonish, convince. Rebuke: stronger--censure. Exhort: implore, invite. Do these three things also apply to us? Possibly. These things are all to be done with what and what? Why those two things? They will balance each other: love and truth. A church needs this balance, and so do we.
3-5 Who is "they" in 3? For what reason has Paul been building up Timothy in this letter so strongly? If that's how the church will be at some point, what will Timothy face by preaching the truth of the Word? Paul is speaking of what will develop in the church's last days; are we seeing this today? Do you think Timothy saw any of it in his day? Instead of hungry hearts, they have what? What does that mean? They will turn from what? Paul mentions truth six times in this letter and five times in his previous letter; what might we conclude from that? What is another term for truth? God's Word; correct doctrine. So should this be the emphasis in our church too? What else will characterize the church then? Fable/myth = fiction. There is much fiction being presented as fact in today's church. Is Timothy to go with the flow? He is to be sober, watchful, which the church may not be. How might such a scenario cause him hardship? So if everything around us, even in the church, is falling away, what should we do? Stick to what WE are supposed to do. In a faltering church, how should we decide if we should stay or leave?
6-8 What is another reason Paul has been building Timothy up? Paul knows his time is about up, and Timothy is his hope for the future of the church. What are some pictures Paul uses of the end of his life, 7? Do any of these feel like our lives, or might in the future? What important doctrinal facts do we learn in 8? There are several possible crowns mentioned for the church; what is this one given for? Apparently crowns will be part of the recompense spoken of in II Cor. 5:10, at what event? What comparison might Paul have been making to the Righteous Judge? What is "that day"? That phrase is used often in the Old and New Testament to refer to some aspect of the endtimes--depending on the context, the rapture, the tribulation, the second coming, the millenium. Here, "that day" and His "appearing" would be the rapture, which Paul continually refers to and expects to happen at any time, as all believers are to do. Focusing on the rapture is scriptural and is part of sound doctrine.
9-15 Practical matters, and personalities. Why does Paul want Timothy to come soon? Paul wants some items--what do we learn about him? Why is Paul alone? How is Demas the opposite of John Mark? Demas started well, Col. 4:14, Phil. 1:24, but ended poorly; Mark started poorly, Acts 13:5,13, 15:37-40, but ended well. Was Paul spiteful, giving in to the temptation to hold Mark's failure against him? Do we give others a second chance? Why was Alexander such trouble, and still is for Timothy, I Tim.1:20? We wonder if Alexander was just a false teacher, or if he did something else to stand against, to strongly oppose Paul? Might he have turned him in to the authorities, brought charges against him, testified against him in court, lie about him? Might Christians face this in other countries today? Could it happen to us? But what enemy are we are often warned about? We don't have to be vindictive toward others because what do we know about God, Gal. 6:7? It may not be in this life, and we may not see it, but God is the Righteous Judge.
16-18 Timothy was with Paul during his first imprisonment, Phil. 1:1,7. Paul tells Timothy of what transpired during his second imprisonment; what happened at his first trial there? Why is his attitude different here than in 14? Are we ever bitter and vindictive, hoping that God will "give them what they deserve"? Why might they have not stood with him or defended him in court? Perhaps Paul is empathizing with their fear and weakness. Ought we to think twice before condemning those who disappoint us? Has Paul, in any of his letters, spoken of his imprisonment or his hardships as something not fair, something that he did not deserve to have happen? Why? Can we have that attitude about our troubles? Might his pre-salvation days give us a clue as to his humble submission to whatever God brings? What did the Lord tell him when He appeared to Saul on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:15-16? Again, might this relate to Gal. 6:7 (Paul's own words)? God has built the principle of sowing and reaping into both the physical world of agriculture and the spiritual world, to both the saved and the unsaved; the Bible contains numerous examples.
What did their desertion result in? God's mighty hand was seen. Is it the end of the world when people let us down? Is God still in control? Can He use that for His purposes? Can we stay positive? The "lion" is probably Satan's snares rather than a literal lion; have you ever experienced God's deliverance from danger, death, temptation or evil? Paul's second trial resulted in his beheading; how could he claim the Lord would deliver him from evil? Was it by helping him to stay faithful to Jesus even to death? Might heaven be our deliverance? Is heaven our goal, or is it life and safety? Paul gives us his perspective by pointing us to what thought?
19-22 Paul sends greetings to those who had been his fellow workers along with Timothy. Priscilla and Aquila have been mentioned a number of times as being Paul's trusted helpers. Paul spoke warmly of Onesiphorus earlier in this letter, 1:16. He mentioned Erastus in Acts and Romans. Trophimus was mentioned twice in Acts as being with Paul; why would Paul not have healed him? Possibilities: 1)Paul (and the other apostles who had the gift) did not heal at will, but only in specific instances as God directed, for His special purposes. 2)The supernatural spiritual gifts had passed away by then, being temporarily for the establishing of the church and to serve as attesting signs and wonders. 3)The gift of healing was not for the purpose of maintaining the health of believers, being temporarily for the establishing of the church and to serve as attesting signs and wonders. This verse contradicts those who believe healing is for all believers today. Poor health is part of the tribulations Jesus warned us to expect, John 16:33.
Travel in winter was difficult, so Paul urges Timothy to leave soon. The four in 21 were known to Paul there at Rome. Other historical records mention Pudens as a knight, later married to Claudia; here, they don't appear to be married yet since their names are not together. Linus some time later was a bishop. Paul's final words speak of what basic foundational fact? Grace--God's free gift of salvation--is ours through Jesus Christ, who is the Lord God, who indwells our spirit through the Holy Spirit.
As we think of Paul's comments about the church in its final days, before all true believers are caught up to be with the Lord, we see a somber vision of the future. Some teach that there will be a huge revival before Christ returns, or that the church will gradually take over society, but that is not taught in the Bible. Some people claim to be getting new messages from God, but all things must be tested against Scripture. We need to be aware of the many dangerous deceptions sneaking quietly into the church today. We don't know how long we have, or how much worse things will get in the church and in the world, but we need to be in the Word and have our focus on Jesus.TITUS
Paul wrote this pastoral epistle to Titus, the pastor overseeing the churches on the island of Crete, after he wrote his first letter to pastor Timothy and following his first imprisonment. We don't have a record in Acts about Titus or about the planting of the Cretan church, but we know that Acts only records some of the major events in the life of the early church, particularly concerning Peter and Paul. This letter encouraged Titus to make sure the church was characterized by orderliness, by the teaching of sound doctrine--truth--and by good deeds.
1-3 What doctrinal facts does Paul cover in his opening greeting? Why might he cram the basics of the gospel into a greeting? Did the church, or the local pastors, have the written New Testament yet? How did they know what to believe and teach? All they had was the Old Testament and the teachings of the apostles. Besides addressing specific issues to each church, the apostles wrote down doctrinal truths because this was crucial to the life of the early church. Who are the chosen of God? So who is Paul writing for? The church. When did God come up with His plan for eternal life?
Paul refers to knowledge of what? He speaks of this in every letter to every church. Not worldly knowledge but truth about god. Today the popular thinking is that truth can be whatever you think it is; is this what the Bible teaches? Paul mentions truth and sound doctrine numerous times in this short letter, so it must be very important for the church. How does truth relate to 2? Paul may be emphasizing truth vs. lies because of the Cretans' reputation for being liars, 12, or even because Zeus, one of their gods, is also a liar. Does doctrinal truth change? Some people, denominations and religions would say yes; what does the Bible say? These differences explain why some interpret the Bible strictly and some loosely.
How did God give doctrinal truth for the church? Through Jesus? Jesus came to present Himself as who? Israel's Messiah. And to bring salvation by what act? And to prove He is God by what act? But the church--the body of Christ consisting of Jews AND Gentiles--was a "mystery" revealed through the apostle Paul. Eph. 3:1-7.
4 Paul is addressing not the churches in Crete but their pastor; what does he affirm about Titus? The Roman emperor was often given the title of Savior, and demanded worship; who does Paul say the Savior is in 3? In 4? What does this tell us? There were many Jews in Crete at that time--did the Jews accept Jesus as the Savior? What is the meaning of "common" in 4? Paul always starts his letters with grace and peace--what do those terms signify? Salvation through Christ. Why does he never send the greetings from the Holy Spirit?
5 There was obviously more than one city, and church, on the island, which was 150 miles long--what was necessary in each church? This is one of the themes of this short book--to set in order the local churches, to see that things in the church are done in an orderly way, ordained by God. Why are pastors not self-appointed?
6-9 We have Paul's same basic description that we just read and discussed in I Timothy; what two terms, 5 & 7, for church leadership does he use here, as he did to Timothy? What quality is mentioned twice, 6-7? Why might that be? 6-8 seem to be a list of personal qualifications, but 9 speaks of his ability to do what? What two specific things is the leadership to do with God's Word? Exhort: invite, beseech, implore, entreat. Refute/convince: reprove, admonish, convict, rebuke, tell a fault. So what two kinds of people does a pastor or elder need to be prepared to speak to? How can we be better prepared to speak intelligently to people who question the Bible?
9, is the pastor given the leeway to add to or leave out what he wishes, to water down the Word? A pastor must be doctrinally qualified for his job, and must be strongly committed to God's Word. What two phrases in 9 speak of the importance of the truth? As in I Timothy, Paul speaks of the ability to teach, not of having the spiritual gift of teaching, so we might conclude that the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit were already passing away, being given for the initial establishing of the church.
10-16 Paul elaborates on those mentioned last in 9. What are some words that lead us to think Paul is speaking of false teachers who are not believers? Rebellious, deceivers, must be silenced, teaching for the sake of gain, who turn away from the truth, defiled, by their deeds they deny Him. 11, houses could be families, or could speak of churches that meet in homes. Paul quotes their poet, Epimenides. Everyone lies at times; have you ever known anyone who has a reputation as a liar? These false teachers were known liars, were known to be of evil character, were lazy, gluttonous (lived for their appetites), and taught for what purpose, 11?
13 speaks again of the importance of being what? Paul continues to put the emphasis on truth--doctrine. Today many churches focus on love rather than truth; love is mentioned three times in this letter, but speaking of a woman loving her family, of God's love for us, and of sending greetings to those they loved. Was Titus to reprove these people gently, trying not to offend them or hurt their feelings? Jesus was gentle and loving, but how did He act toward the false teachers--the Pharisees? He was very blunt. Was the purpose to make sure the false teachers might now be sound in the faith, or that who might?
14, the Judaizers were here in Crete too, adding extra-biblical writing to the Old Testament--always a red flag. Are Judaizers a problem today? There is a cult today called Hebrew Roots, or Messianic, that seeks to combine Judaism and Christianity--salvation through Jesus while keeping the Law. They tend to be Gentiles, rather than true Jews who are trying to do both. They prefer the name "Yeshua" to Jesus, and they believe that the teachings of Paul are incorrect or have been changed. A similar movement, called the Sacred Name, also uses the Old Testament names for God and requires law-keeping. How might we respond to such a person?
Some falsely use 15 to teach that once you are saved, you are pure, and therefore nothing you do is sin; can you see where this leads? Paul contrasts the purity of true believers with what? The thoughts and feelings of unbelievers are tainted, contaminated. They may talk good, but what? So is everyone a Christian who says they are? Is every pastor, preacher, Bible teachers really saved? How can we protect ourselves from this possibility? Even if they are doing "good" things, not disgusting things, are they an abomination to God? Can false teachers be involved in "good works" while leading people astray doctrinally? Might Satan's deception be to put forward a false teacher who looks and sounds a lot like a Christian, and who even teaches a great deal of biblical truth? How does God feel about these deceivers? Is God pleased by our good deeds/NASB, good works/KJV? This is the first of six mentions of good works in this short letter to pastor Titus; so we might conclude that what should characterize a church--what should characterize true believers?
1 What is one of the themes of this letter? Sound doctrine--"the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"! This verse seems like it might fit better with the end of the previous chapter; Paul is contrasting Timothy's speech with whose? who speak in what way?
2-5 Now Paul speaks, not of leaders in the church, but of various types of people in the church, and what the church should look like. These descriptions are similar to that of the leadership, but not as strict, and covered more briefly. Why might we need to have these descriptions and standards of Christian behavior?
What is the first quality mentioned for men? Why? What are pitfalls for Christian women? As today, drinking was a problem, and was to be faced up to and dealt with. All are to hold to sound doctrine--Bible teaching is to be the church's highest priority. We are all responsible to see that the teachings of God's Word do not become corrupted. Bible study should take place at all ages. Today many large churches offer "small groups," which are often for fellowship and creating relationships, and may not even involve Bible study. Personal and Christian maturity is to be a goal for all. What should motivate us, end of 5?
Some use this passage to teach that it is wrong for a Christian wife and mother to work outside the home. In Paul's day, that would not be common; today it often can't be avoided. But what is the woman's priority to be? Family and home. Why would older more mature Christian women need to teach the younger ones to love their husbands and children--doesn't everyone know that? How does the biblical concept of love compare with the world's concept? The world is all about feelings, which are based on circumstances. The world says, if you do not experience personal fulfillment from your relationships with your husband and children, put yourself first! What is biblical love? (Hint: Jesus answers that question with the story of the good Samaritan.) Love is a choice, not a feeling. What can happen in the home if her love is only feeling-based? How would the older women teach this? a class? mentoring? casual conversation? Are age-segregated groups always the best? Again we see God's order for leadership in the family as centered in the husband.
6-8 Paul directs his remarks now at who? He again mentions good deeds, as in 1:16, so such behavior should characterize Christians. Is our speech beyond reproach? Do we use language that is shameful or disrespectful to God? How do we treat His name? Is it just a word, or does it represent His person, His character, His holiness?
9-10 Here he speaks to slaves, or as we would say today, to employees. What are some pitfalls for them to avoid? If a slave becomes a Christian, is he equal, in the church and in the Lord's eyes, to his master? But in his actual earthly social position, is he? Might that be a difficult act to balance? Whether in the workplace or the home, the Christian is to show respect for God-given authority; our obedience is as unto who? not who? The Lord, not man. Our Christian walk makes the gospel message more attractive--to who? "Adorn" is from the Greek word from which we get "cosmetics" which do what for us?
11-13 HOW did grace "appear"? In the form of who? Is salvation only for the elect, as the Calvinists say? This passage makes it clear that salvation is an option for ALL. How do you see the past, present and future pictured in these verses? Is it possible for a Christian to live in an ungodly manner? Does godliness come naturally and automatically? We must be instructed. In 12 is Paul talking about trying to get the world--unbelievers--to be nicer and better people?
13, what is the Christian to be doing? Are we being warned about the tribulation, as were the Jews in Mat. 24? If that was for the church, wouldn't Paul teach us about that? How is the rapture described? All Christians have the hope (expectation, confidence) of heaven, of being resurrected to immortality. But the blessed hope...the supreme blessing...the rapture--the appearing of Christ--is for one generation of believers, yet all are to look for it. Paul hoped and believed it would happen in his day. This doctrine of the any-moment appearing of Christ at the rapture is called the doctrine of imminence. Imminent: impending, about to occur. How is Christ identified in 13? More evidence for the Trinity.
14-15 In language familiar in a slave culture, Christ redeemed us; He paid the ransom required to buy our freedom--from what? Sin. He cleansed us from sin. What does He want from us now? To have a zeal for what? Here again is one of the letter's themes: good deeds. Do they bring salvation, or are they the result of salvation? (15 seems to go with the next chapter.)
2:15-3:2 Are the things Paul has just written about just for Pastor Titus's own information? 15, he is to preach about all this (speak). What is he also to do, similar but stronger? And what, even stronger, is to he do about those who disagree, dispute him, disobey him? Does Paul think there is a chance some may look down on Titus or treat him lightly, even disrespectfully? Titus is not an apostle and therefore does not have the authority of an apostle (what we call apostolic authority), but Paul is conferring his own authority to Titus; Titus's words and actions have Paul's authority behind him. Sounds like things could get ugly, and Titus is to be prepared to administer church discipline; some reference to church discipline is found in almost every epistle.
3:1-2 Titus is also to preach these things to his churches. Outside the church, are we to be careful of our behavior? Do you know Christians who don't exactly match this picture Paul gives? As long as we believe the right doctrines, why should obnoxious behavior matter to anyone? Haha. What happens if Christians look just like the world, either in Paul's day or ours? Again we see Paul stress good deeds--our behavior. Not just good deeds designed to make us look good, but what does "be ready" imply? A mindset, a way of life.
What does "remind" imply in 1? Had they already been taught this? Why would they/we need reminded? Pastors teach us things we may not know; they also do a lot of reminding of what we already heard but fail to keep in mind. Paul speaks in 1 of principalities and powers. This phrase is used five other times in the Epistles; in each case, the context makes it clear that it is speaking of angelic beings of a negative sort--Satan's minions. Does the context here support that same meaning? What does it mean here? Earthly authority figures.
3 "We" could be Paul's way of referring to himself, as it has appeared in other places. Paul could be including himself, Titus, and all the believers there. It could also be applied to include us; it probably means all of these. Why do we sometimes need to be reminded of that? Sometimes Christians get to feeling better than "sinners"--the Pharisee complex--and need to be reminded of what? Sometimes we need to look in the mirror and see if we are looking more like the world or more like who? If Christians are living like the world, is the pastor to preach about that, or maybe even go speak to believers? Sometimes we fail to see ourselves as forgiven and need to be reminded that even though we, as the Cretans, may struggle with giving up past sins and practices, our sins have all been paid for. Could God change even the Cretans, sinful as they were? Is God working through even the negative circumstances and the failures of our lives?
4-7 Why is the first word of 4 important? Who is the Savior in 4? Who is the Savior in 6? What does that tell us? In this long sentence, Jesus is mentioned in 6, so is "God" in 4 referring to the Father or the Son? What do we learn about the Holy Spirit? Renew = renovate (sanctification). So is this sentence mostly about what God did or what Jesus did? How did God's kindness and love appear? "He": a person!
What does regeneration mean? Reborn, born again. Baptism (washing) does not regenerate us--that is the result of what? Faith, believing. But baptism accompanies regeneration; it was, and is, how believers publicly announced their identification with Jesus Christ. (In New Testament times, other groups besides Christians also baptized their followers.) Just as water pours over us in baptism, who is poured out on us when we are born again? Water baptism is the outward evidence of being baptized in the Spirit. What is an heir? What inheritance are we waiting to receive?
8 Here is "trustworthy statement" (faithful saying, KJV) #4. These doctrinal truths characterize the Christian faith, and set it apart from the Law that God gave the Jews in the Old Testament. Under the Law, righteousness came by faith also, Gen. 15:6, but was to be accompanied by works--keeping the Law. They were not born again, nor was the Holy Spirit poured out on them as on us. Why is it important that believers engage in good deeds? Are they not the proof that we have truly repented? Did our change of thinking result in any change of actions? James 2:20.
9-11 Are all controversies wrong? Is it wrong to study your family background? No; Paul's references to genealogies and the Law are obviously referring to Jewish false teachers who were stirring up controversy and who were getting people's focus off sound doctrine and onto the Law, including some sort of fabricated genealogies. 10, is Paul saying that any church member that is obnoxious or off in his beliefs should be shunned? No; the context is false teachers who were purposefully creating schisms in the church. Were they just to be loved, or maybe ignored? The church, and the pastor, is to deal firmly, even harshly, with false teachers. Pervert/subvert: to overturn, overthrow, undermine, to corrupt, to cause to turn aside from what is right. Is this talking about someone who is "off," who just doesn't "get it" yet?
12-13 Was Paul in prison when he wrote this? How do we know? Tychicus is mentioned numerous times in Acts and the Epistles; Paul describes him as a faithful minister and fellow-worker. Apparently Paul will send one of these men to take Titus's place so that he can do what? Paul as an apostle had the authority to direct the various ministers and workers as to their duties. It is thought that Zenas and Apollos had delivered this letter to Titus; what are Titus and the churches in Crete to do for them? Here we see the biblical example of churches providing material or financial support for pastors and missionaries.
14-15 Once again Paul talks about the importance of what theme? Does this come naturally to the Christian? Are some Christians unfruitful? Does fruit mean souls, as in saving souls? Is soul-saving the context here? What is the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23? Paul speaks about meeting pressing or necessary needs; what good deeds would help the Cretans to meet their own needs (compare 1:12)? What other needs do churches meet? Pastors, missionaries, the poor, those in the church with special needs. Why should Christians not be lazy? How does the fruit of the Spirit relate to laziness?
We don't know who was with Paul or whether or not they personally knew Titus or the Cretans--what bond, that Paul mentions here, do we share with Christians we don't know? We don't know if Paul had ever visited Crete or if they knew him personally, but he assumes some of them love him--why? Can we even love Christians that we don't particularly like? What is Christian love? How is God's grace with them? In Jesus Christ.
Copyright 2014 Jan Young
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