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Leaders and Members’ Basics www.TheLAMBofCA.com House Church Training Materials for Central Asia See page 47 for the full curriculum
Table of Contents INTRODUCTION ......................................................................7
The Naming of the Letters.......................................................................... 9 Times and Places of Writing ......................................................................10 Key Words and Themes ............................................................................. 11 Who Was Timothy? ....................................................................................12 Who Was Titus?..........................................................................................13 The Situation in Ephesus...........................................................................14 The Situation in Crete ................................................................................15
FIRST TIMOTHY..................................................................... 17
Warnings Against False Teachers..............................................................19 Women in the Local Church ..................................................................... 20 Elders in the Church ..................................................................................21 The Church................................................................................................ 22 The Requirements of a Minister ............................................................... 23 Advice about Widows and Elders ............................................................. 24 The Believer and Wealth ........................................................................... 25
TITUS .......................................................................................... 27
Proclaiming the Word ............................................................................... 29 Appointing Elders ..................................................................................... 30 Refuting False Teachers.............................................................................31 Encouraging the Saints ............................................................................. 32 Magnificent Grace ..................................................................................... 33 The Washing of Rebirth ............................................................................ 34 People Who Cause Problems .................................................................... 35
SECOND TIMOTHY .............................................................. 37
Timothy’s Gift and Calling........................................................................ 39
A Steward and a Soldier............................................................................. 40 A Farmer and a Workman ..........................................................................41 The Vessel and the Servant ....................................................................... 42 Continuing in the Word............................................................................. 43 Fulfill Your Ministry .................................................................................. 44 The Crown of Righteousness .................................................................... 45
How to Read and Study this Book
Greetings. As you start your study of “Pastoral Letters,” you will see that the book can be read in one month. The book has 28 chapters, which are divided into 4 units. As you study, let us call your attention to three parts of the book, which are as follows: Meditation: At the beginning of each unit, you will see two verses on which to mediate and apply to your life during the week. Personal Thought Questions: There are seven chapters in each unit. You can read a chapter a day or as many as you feel you have time. Usually, there are questions near the end of each chapter about which you will want to think and pray. Discussion Guide: At the end of each unit, you will find questions for church or small group discussion. These will help you and your church better evaluate what you have learned during the week. One method is for one person to read a question then have the group discuss the question. As disciples of Isa Masih, we want to be complete, equipped for every good work. God has “prepared in advance” good works for us to do (Ephesians 2:10). These are His good works, which He continually works in and through us. However, in order to do any good work, we must know God’s Holy Word and apply His Word in our lives. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). No matter how much we know about God’s Word, if we do not apply what we learn, Scripture will never benefit our life. The Scripture is “God-breathed.” We are to read it, memorize it, meditate upon it, and use its teachings to guide our conduct. To help your study, read 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus this month as you read this book. If you will read one chapter every day, you can easily finish the three pastoral letters in only two weeks.
Meditate upon and apply these Scriptures to your life this week: 1. 1 Timothy 6:20 – “Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge…” 2. Titus 2:1 – “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.”
The Naming of the Letters
First and Second Timothy and Titus are commonly called the “Pastoral Letters.” Bible scholars give the letters this name because they provide instruction concerning the shepherding and pastoral care of churches. These letters focus upon church life as well as upon leadership qualifications and responsibilities for elders (pastors/overseers/shepherds) and deacons. The need for sound doctrine and a life of Godliness are important themes in these letters. The apostle Paul probably wrote First Timothy, Titus, and Second Timothy in that particular order. Therefore, in this book, we shall study the three letters in their correct chronological order. They are most likely Paul’s last letters and share some common characteristics. Three of these common characteristics are as follows: First, the letters were addressed to individuals, although Paul also intended that someone read the letters to the churches. Timothy and Titus were responsible for the churches in Ephesus and Crete. Second, Paul wanted to deal with the false teachers who were leading the Ephesian and Cretan believers astray. These false teachers had caused great problems. Third, Paul wrote these three “pastoral letters” toward the end of his life. The need for greater church organization was becoming more apparent. Paul wanted to help them organize well functioning spiritual bodies of believers – the churches of Isa Masih. Even though Timothy and Titus were sent on pastoral assignments, Paul actually sent them to the churches on temporary assignments. Paul instructed them to teach the believers and to warn them against false teachers. Thus, a few scholars say that we should not call these the “pastoral letters.” They say this because Timothy and Titus did not settle down in Ephesus and Crete to work as long-term elders (overseers/pastors/shepherds). However, most Bible teachers do call these three letters the “Pastoral Letters.” Is there a problem with false teachers in your particular area?
Times and Places of Writing
You may remember that the Book of Acts ends with Paul’s arrest and imprisonment for two years in Rome (Acts 28:16, 30, 31). The well-known fourth-century church historian Eusebius writes about the apostle’s release from that imprisonment [probably AD 62]. Paul then continued his missionary labors. He began what some Bible scholars call the “fourth missionary journey.” Paul probably wrote the first two Pastoral Letters (1 Timothy and Titus) during this fourth missionary journey. Most likely, he wrote them during the earlier part of this period [from AD 62 to 64]. It is likely that Paul was in Macedonia when he wrote the first letter to young Timothy (1 Timothy 1:3). He was planning to return to Ephesus shortly afterward. The details of Paul’s fourth journey are sketchy. The journey must be reconstructed largely from hints in the Pastoral Letters. There is some evidence that Paul fulfilled his earlier wish to go to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28). Either on his return from Spain or [if the journey to Spain never took place] upon his departure from Rome, he seems to have returned to the east, probably first sailing to Crete. He left Titus in Crete (Titus 1:5) and then continued his journey north to Ephesus [perhaps making a trip to Colosse (Philemon 22)], and then on to Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3). From that point, things become less clear. Paul may have planned to leave Macedonia for both Ephesus (1 Timothy 3:14, 4:13) and Nicopolis (Titus 3:12). The last thing we hear about Paul’s travels is that he is back in Rome. He was imprisoned a second time and was awaiting execution (2 Timothy 1:8, 12, and 2:9). He had probably already visited Troas (2 Timothy 4:13), Miletus, and perhaps Corinth (2 Timothy 4:20). Shortly before his death, Paul wrote his third and final “pastoral” letter (2 Timothy) to his beloved “son in the ministry.” According to tradition, Nero executed Paul in about AD 68. Think about the fact that Paul did not even allow imprisonment and certain death to stop his work. What was Paul’s motivation?
Key Words and Themes
Several words and themes occur frequently in these letters. These give us an insight into the subjects that occupied Paul’s mind increasingly as his life and ministry were ending. “Faith” is one of the key words. As the danger of turning away from the Lord increased, Paul emphasized the great Christian doctrines. He wanted men to know the truths of the faith. Another term that Paul uses frequently is the term “sound teaching.” “Sound” here means more than simply “correct” teaching. It means (spiritually) healthy or health giving. Paul uses the Greek word “didaskalia” for “teaching.” This word occurs 21 times in the New Testament. Of those 21 times, it is found 15 times in the Pastoral Letters. Paul considered the elder’s work of teaching good doctrine to be important for the new churches. The word “conscience” is mentioned six times in the Pastoral Letters. Paul wants Timothy to be “holding on to faith and a good conscience” (1 Timothy 1:19). “Godliness” is another word that Paul emphasizes as he writes to Timothy and Titus. Godliness is the practical proof of the soundness of one’s doctrine. Paul also used the word “sophrosune” several times in the letters to indicate soundness of mind, sound judgment, or soberness. The apostle wanted Timothy and Titus to have these character traits. The basic meaning is to be able to exercise self-control over one’s emotions and desires. Another of the key words is “parangello,” often translated “command.” It was a military term, referring to an order to be passed down the line. For example, God entrusted the Gospel to Paul, who passed it along to Timothy. Timothy was “commanded” to pass this Gospel treasure along to faithful people who would pass it to others. Finally, an interesting word study concerns the medical terms that are found in these letters. Some think that this is a reflection of the fact that Doctor Luke was a close companion of Paul at this time. If you have time, scan through the letters and underline some of the key words and themes that you can find.
Who Was Timothy?
Timothy was one of the Apostle Paul’s special assistants. He and Titus tackled some of the difficult assignments in the churches that Paul had founded. Probably Paul himself had led young Timothy to faith in Isa Masih. Paul said that Timothy was “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). This comment suggests that Timothy was converted during Paul’s first journey to Lystra (Acts 14:6-20). Timothy was a native of Lystra. He had been brought up in a religious home (Acts 16:1–3, 2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy’s mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. His mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were godly women (2 Timothy 1:5, 3:14-15). It was through their influence that Timothy learned the Hebrew Scriptures as a child. Timothy had a deep concern for God’s people (Philippians 2:19-22). At the beginning of Paul’s second journey, he chose Timothy to go with him and Silas (Acts 16:3). Paul often reminded Timothy that God chose him for this ministry (1 Timothy 1:18, 4:14). Since they would be preaching to Jews, Timothy was circumcised (Acts 16:3), and the elders of the church laid hands on him (2 Timothy 1:6). He traveled with Paul and Silas, helping them in their evangelistic work in Philippi and Thessaloniki. Timothy remained in Thessaloniki and then joined Paul and Silas in Berea (Acts 17:10). Later, Paul sent Timothy to work in Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17, 16:10). According to Acts 19:22, Paul then sent Timothy and Erastus to prepare the churches in Macedonia for his arrival. Timothy remained in Macedonia and accompanied Paul to Corinth, where probably Paul wrote the letter to the Romans (Romans 16:21). In spite of his calling and his spiritual gifts, Timothy was sometimes discouraged. Paul encouraged him to stay in Ephesus and finish his work (1 Timothy 1:3). He was frequently ill (1 Timothy 5:23) and it is possible that some church members were not giving Timothy the proper respect as God’s servant (1 Timothy 4:12, 2 Timothy 1:6-8). Why do you think Paul would call Timothy “my son…who is faithful in the Lord?” (1 Corinthians 4:17)
Who Was Titus?
Bible scholars know little about Titus’ background. He is not mentioned in the book of Acts. He probably was a convert from paganism. Apparently, Titus had been won to faith in Isa Masih through Paul’s personal evangelistic ministry (Titus 1:4), just like Timothy (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul calls both of them “my true son.” Concerning Titus, Paul wrote, “As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you…” (2 Corinthians 8:23). Titus was a Greek believer (Galatians 2:3) who had served well in his ministry in Corinth. He assisted in taking the offering for the saints in Jerusalem. He met Paul in Macedonia with the report of the Corinthian church situation (2 Corinthians 7:5-16). Titus carried back the letter of 2 Corinthians for Paul (2 Corinthians 8:6, 16-17). While Timothy was working in the city of Ephesus, Titus was laboring on the island of Crete. Paul had been with Titus on Crete and had left him there to organize the church (Titus 1:5) and correct the things that were wrong. Titus faced many problems in Crete. The people on the island of Crete were not the easiest to work with (Titus 1:10-13). Titus, like Timothy, became somewhat discouraged. In addition, like Timothy, he was a young man. However, unlike Timothy, he was not timid and did not have physical ailments. The churches needed qualified leaders and they needed good shepherding and teaching. One group of false teachers was trying to mix Jewish law with the Gospel of grace (Titus 1:10, 14). Some Gentile believers had abused the message of grace. They turned it into license for sin (Titus 2:11-15). Titus needed great patience and love. However, he did not quit. He stayed and worked until Paul could send Tychicus or Artemas to take over (Titus 3:12). Several years later, Titus was at Rome during Paul’s second imprisonment. From Rome, he went to Dalmatia (modern Yugoslavia) on a mission for the apostle (2 Timothy 4:10). As you think about Titus’ life and ministry, what is the most impressive thing to you?
The Situation in Ephesus
The apostle Paul did a great work in Ephesus during his three-year ministry there, “…so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord” (Acts 19:10). Of course, the devil had many workers in the city. When believers find spiritual opportunities they will also face difficulties (1 Corinthians 16:8-9). Many in Ephesus worshiped the Roman goddess Diana [Greek name – Artemis] (Acts 19:24, 27–28, and 34–35). The pagans believed that she was the goddess of the moon, hunting, wild animals, and virginity. When Paul lived in Ephesus, the people almost rioted on one occasion because the Gospel threatened to destroy the profit of the craftsmen who made shrines of the goddess. Diana’s erotic images encouraged sexual immorality (Acts 19:24, 35). False teachers in Ephesus were another reason why it was a difficult place to shepherd God’s flock. Paul prophesied that “…savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30). When Paul visited Ephesus later, with Luke and Timothy, he saw that the “savage wolves” (or, false teachers) had already attacked the church. Paul’s warnings to Timothy suggest that the false teaching was similar to “Gnosticism” [a teaching that salvation occurs when one’s spirit possesses “superior knowledge.”] Paul had attacked this kind of false teaching at Colosse. Paul left Timothy behind to shepherd the flock and to get rid of the false teachers. Their parting had been sorrowful, “Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy” (2 Timothy 1:4). Paul was probably in Macedonia when he wrote his first letter to Timothy and told him of his plans to return “soon” (1 Timothy 1:3 and 3:14). However, matters in Ephesus were urgent and he wanted to quickly send advice and encouragement to young Timothy. Paul also wrote to explain how to manage a local church and how to exercise authority as God’s servant. He explained to Timothy the basic responsibilities of a pastor and people in a local church. What do you think was the most difficult problem in Ephesus?
The Situation in Crete
As we read earlier (page 13), Paul left Titus at Crete to organize the church. Bible scholars do not know who started the church at Crete. However, the Book of Acts records that Cretans were among those present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:11). Paul left Crete hastily and this made it necessary for him to write to encourage and instruct his young and dedicated co-laborer. He asked Titus to “…straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town…” (Titus 1:5). Later, Paul intended to send Tychicus or Artemas to take over Titus’ shepherding work (Titus 3:12). The people of the first century knew about the excesses of the Cretan lifestyle. Paul quoted from the Greek poet Epimenides (who lived about 600 BC) and wrote: “Even one of their own prophets has said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:12-13). Paul quoted from this same poet when he preached on Mars Hill in Athens (Acts 17:28). Thus, it seems that it was difficult to work with Cretans. Moreover, when Paul wrote the letter to Titus, the church was having problems. The church suffered from two main false teachings. First, there were “Judaizers” who taught a mixture of law and grace. Second, some abused the grace of God and taught “license” (willful sin without repentance). Paul wanted to speak against these problems. In addition, besides writing about these fundamental problems in the church, it seems Paul wanted to write Titus about these other matters: The work of organizing the church and appointing elders Being able to work with different kinds of people in the church Understanding how to deal with people who cause trouble in the church Thus, Paul had much instruction that he felt compelled to give “To Titus, my true son in our common faith…” (Titus 1:4). What would be Titus’ main resource to fight the false teachings?
1. Discuss this question with your house church group: Why would Paul address the letters to Timothy and Titus? Why did he not address them to the churches? 2. Discuss with your house church group what life must have been like on a typical “missionary journey.” What daily obstacles would Paul and others likely encounter? 3. With your house church group, discuss Paul’s emphasis upon “sound teaching,” or, “sound doctrine.” Why do you think that this emphasis is stronger in the letters to Timothy and Titus than anywhere else? 4. Discuss with your house church the problem that Timothy had in Ephesus – specifically, the lack of respect for him as a young leader. How would this be for a young pastor/elder in your culture? 5. With your house church group, study Titus 1. Now, imagine that you are Titus. How would you try to begin your ministry among the Cretan people? What would be your most important message to them? 6. Discuss these major problems in Ephesus: Sexual immorality, worship of the goddess Diana, and false teaching within the church body. Discuss the effects that these can have on a group of believers. Which type of problem is the worst in your culture? 7. Paul started many churches in various cities. However, in Crete, he left the organizing work to Titus. Discuss the different kinds of gifts and skills needed both to start and to organize a church. Can you see people with these skills in your church?
Meditate upon and apply these Scriptures to your life this week: 1. 1 Timothy 1:3 – “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” 2. 1 Timothy 3:1 – “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task.”
Warnings Against False Teachers
False teachers try to capture believers. There were teachers of false doctrines in Ephesus in the first century just as there are today. Paul used military language as he told Timothy to “…command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Timothy 1:3). Paul wanted Timothy to see that the problem was serious. He used the word “command” (page 11), which means “to give strict orders from a superior officer.” Paul used this word (sometimes translated “commandment”) eight times in his two letters to Timothy. What exactly did Paul “command”? Simply, “Do not teach different doctrines.” In the original Greek text, we find thirty-two references in the Pastoral Letters to “doctrine,” “teach,” “teacher,” “teaches,” and “teaching.” In the early church, men like Paul taught believers the Word of God and the basic Christian doctrines. God committed His Word to Paul (1 Timothy 1:11), and Paul committed the Word to Timothy (1 Timothy 6:20). Paul instructed Timothy to “Guard the good deposit…” (2 Timothy 1:14) and to “…Entrust (God’s Word) to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2). The principle of passing God’s Word along to faithful people is the cornerstone of the SALT training. The false teachers used Old Testament laws, especially “myths and endless genealogies,” to invent new doctrines (1 Timothy 1:4). This led people astray and confused them. They did not understand the purpose of God’s Law. They were leading believers out of the freedom of grace (Galatians 5) into the slavery of legalism. The sin nature loves legalism because rules and regulations help a person to appear holy without having to change his heart. Paul asked Timothy to stop the false teachers. Their doctrines had caused division, hypocrisy, and many problems. God gave Paul His “glorious Gospel,” not a system of laws (1 Timothy 1:11). Paul told Timothy, “…the Law is good if one uses it properly” (1 Timothy 1:8). Paul wrote, “…the Law was put in charge to lead us to the Masih that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Have you heard any false teachings since you became a believer?
Women in the Local Church
In 1 Timothy 2:9-15, Paul discusses principles of headship and authority (Ephesians 5:21-24 and 1 Corinthians 11:1-16) and women in the church. Concerning headship, he taught the headship of Isa over the church (Colossians 1:18), the pastor over the flock (Acts 20:28), and the man over the woman. In 1 Timothy 2:11, “submission” means “to rank under.” Rank deals with order and authority, not value or ability. Armies would be in confusion without levels of authority. Submission is not slavery, but it means recognizing and obeying God’s order in the home and church. If a wife joyfully submits to the Lord and to her husband, it brings out the best in her. Submission is a key to our spiritual growth. Paul asked the women in the church to show submission in several ways. First, they “dress modestly” (1 Timothy 2:9). The word “modestly” means “decent and orderly.” Clothing should be clean and in good taste. The spiritual woman has an inner self-control that tells her what is proper. Paul wanted a woman to concentrate on her “inner beauty.” Second, they do “good deeds” (1 Timothy 2:10). Later, Paul warns about idleness and giving satan an opportunity to attack. A believing woman “preaches” with her life. Paul wants women to do good deeds, have godly character, and serve the Lord. Third, “A woman should learn in quietness…” (1 Timothy 2:11). “Silence” is not a good translation. In 1 Timothy 2:2, this word is translated “peaceful.” Some abused their freedom and interrupted worship. Thus, Paul teaches that women should submit and if they have questions, they should ask their husbands at home. A woman can still teach or lead in ministry that the church may assign to her. Fourth, Paul says he does “…not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man” (1 Timothy 2:12). She is not to take a man’s role. This will help keep order in the church. Remember, this does not mean man is superior. God created man AND woman in His image. The issues are headship and authority. If we violate spiritual principles, there is confusion in the church and in the home. Can you find other Scripture verses that speak of submission?
Elders in the Church
Leadership is very important, whether it be in a family or in a local church. In 1 Timothy 3, Paul discusses church leadership, specifically the elder (pastor/overseer) and the deacon. By understanding this passage, we can have better leadership in our churches. There are at least eight different titles for the New Testament elder (or, pastor). These titles are as follows: Elder, bishop, pastor, shepherd, preacher, teacher, servant, and steward. Elder emphasizes wisdom and maturity; bishop emphasizes his administrative work; pastor emphasizes the responsibility of caring for the church, as a shepherd cares for his sheep. Preacher emphasizes proclaiming God’s Word, while teacher emphasizes teaching the Word of God. A servant reminds us of ministry to others and a steward is one who manages the property of others (the church of Isa Masih). The elder who looks after today’s church fulfills the New Testament role of pastor and overseer. He is responsible to God for the spiritual welfare of the church (Acts 20:28). When Isa Masih returns, He will judge and reward these elders according to their faithfulness in leading the church to do God’s will (1 Peter 5:4). When we compare the qualifications given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 [for pastor/overseer] with those given in Titus 1:5-9 [for elder/overseer], we notice that Paul speaks of the same office. Church organization was quite simple in apostolic days: There were elders (or, overseers) and deacons (Philippians 1:1). It seems that there was a plurality of elders overseeing the work of each church. There were some “…who direct the affairs of the church…” while others were involved in the work of “…preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17). Elders must be qualified. Paul said, “…If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1). The best way to achieve this was to develop a godly character and meet certain requirements. To become an elder was a serious decision in the early church. Paul gave fifteen qualifications for a man to meet if he wanted to serve as an elder. Carefully read this list in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Did your church study 1 Timothy 3:1-7 before choosing elders?
Though we know the truth of the universal Church, the New Testament emphasizes the local church. Isa expects us to be a part of His local church and serve Him there. Paul gives a beautiful description of the local church with three “pictures” (1 Timothy 3:15). The household of God The church is God’s “family of believers” (Galatians 6:10). Believers are God’s children, and the church is His “household” (Ephesians 2:19). When a sinner receives Isa, he is born again into God’s family (John 1:12-13, 3:3, and 1 Peter 1:22-23). Paul instructed people how to live as members of God’s family. He asked Timothy to treat the believers just like members of his family (1 Timothy 5:1-2). The family’s diet is God’s Word. It is our bread (Matthew 4:4), our milk (1 Corinthians 3:2), our solid food (Hebrews 5:12-14). Moreover, a church needs gentle discipline. Church leaders should use loving discipline (1 Corinthians 4:18-5:13 and 2 Corinthians 2:6-11), and encourage and lead by their example (1 Thessalonians 2:7-12). The assembly of the living God “Church” (Greek = ekklesia) means “assembly.” Greek cities had assemblies (Acts 19:32) where the citizens conducted city business. In the New Testament, “ekklesia” refers to local churches or, “assemblies of believers.” It also means “those called out” (Acts 7:38 refers to Israel, “called out” of Egypt.) God tell us how to govern the assembly because Isa bought it “…with His own blood” (Acts 20:28). The pillar and foundation of the truth The temple of Diana in Ephesus was huge, with 127 pillars. God builds His church upon the pillar of Isa, the Truth (John 14:6). The church holds up God’s truth and must faithfully preserve, teach, preach, and practice the truth. Otherwise, we weaken the foundation of God’s truth in the world. The foundation (1 Corinthians 3:9-15) of truth is strong and the church must stand upon it (1 Timothy 4:1). The church of Isa Masih stands firmly against satan and his lies. Which of the above “pictures” is meaningful in your culture?
The Requirements of a Minister
God calls all of us to be “ministers.” However, what is true ministry, and what kind of person must I be to fulfill my God-given ministry? In 1 Timothy 4, Paul emphasizes the character and the work of the minister himself. He lists three requirements of a minister who effectively serves God. Let us look at these three requirements. The first requirement of a minister of Isa is to read, study, and teach the Word of God. Remember that in Ephesus there was great danger from false teachers. Paul said the answer to the danger is “…the Word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5). A good minister of Isa will feed on the Word so that he (or, she) might be able to feed others. In this way, all of the flock will remain healthy and strong. The second requirement of a minister of Isa Masih is to practice the Word of God. Believers, and especially elders and leaders, must practice the Word of God and be known for godliness. Paul urged Timothy to “…train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7). Paul knew that physical food and exercise are good, but he wanted Timothy to emphasize spiritual training more than physical training. “…Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things…” (1 Timothy 4:8). What is godliness? It is practicing the Word of God in our life. We may suffer (2 Timothy 3:12), but it is worth it. Even a young person can be “…an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). The third requirement of a minister of Isa is to make progress in God’s Word. God wants others to see our progress (1 Timothy 4:15). How can we progress as a believer? Paul gave Timothy advice in four areas to help him progress spiritually. First, he urged Timothy, “…devote yourself…” to the Scripture (1 Timothy 4:13). Second, Paul commanded, “Do not neglect your gift…” (1 Timothy 4:14). Third, he wrote, “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them…” (1 Timothy 4:15). He wanted his young disciple to fully dedicate himself to the Lord. Finally, he wrote, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them…” (1 Timothy 4:16). Do you think that perseverance is the key to your walk of faith?
Advice about Widows and Elders
In chapter 5, Paul first gave instructions about the care of widows. In that culture, women married early, usually in their teen years. Most men did not marry until they were 20 – 30 years old. That difference, along with disease, wars, and other factors, often created widows. Jewish communities were responsible for the widows. Sometimes, family members supported widows. However, without any support, widows often begged, or became prostitutes or slaves. Paul did not want that to happen among believers. Thus, he gave four principles concerning the care of widows (Also refer to Acts 6:1). First, if a widow was “…put on the list…” (1 Timothy 5:9), she got help. Second, Paul asked the church to support “…widows who are really in need” (1 Timothy 5:3). Third, she had to meet certain character standards (1 Timothy 5:5–10). Fourth, the church expected young widows to remarry and have children (1 Timothy 5:11-15). Then, Paul gave instructions about the elders. Instead of one man, usually there were several elders in a church. They often devoted themselves fully to the Lord’s work, deserving some kind of payment. There were two kinds of elders needed: ruling elders who supervised the ministry, and teaching elders who taught the Word. The church appointed elders based on God’s calling, the Spirit’s leading, and the fruit of the men themselves (Acts 14:23, 20:17, 28, and Titus 1:5). The men of 1 Timothy 5:17 seem to be both ruling and teaching elders. As pastors/overseers, they had oversight of the church and should have double honor [respect for the office of elder, and payment for their work]. God commands that those who teach the Word should get help from the Word (1 Corinthians 9:1-14). Paul quoted, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain…” and “...the worker deserves his wages” (Deuteronomy 25:4 and Luke 10:7). Finally, Paul instructed the church not to hastily put men into leadership, but examine each person. The church must carefully examine a man before appointing him to be an elder (1 Timothy 5:22). How does your culture take care of widows? Is it a problem?
The Believer and Wealth
After Paul mentioned “financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:5), he warned against “…the love of money…” (1 Timothy 6:10). Using godliness to try to get money will never bring us contentment. As Paul finished his letter, he warned Timothy about the dangers of covetousness (or, the love of money). To do this, Paul mentioned four fundamental facts: Wealth does not bring contentment (1 Timothy 6:6). The word “contentment” means “an inner sufficiency that keeps us at peace in spite of outward circumstances” [also Philippians 4:11]. True contentment comes from godliness in the heart, not money. That is “great gain.” A person who depends on material things for his peace will never be satisfied, for material things soon lose their appeal. Wealth does not last (1 Timothy 6:7). When someone’s spirit leaves his body at death, it takes nothing with it. When that person came into the world at birth, he brought nothing with him. Whatever wealth we have goes to our family, to our church, to the state, or to our friends. We only have a few basic needs (1 Timothy 6:8). Food, clothing, and shelter are our basic needs. Isa said, “…Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33). Thoreau [the great naturalist of the 1800s] said that a man is wealthy in proportion to the things he can do without. The desire for wealth leads to sin (1 Timothy 6:9-10). “They that want to get rich” is the accurate translation of verse 9. This describes the man who seeks to have more and more material things to be happy. However, wealth is like a trap. It may lead to slavery, not freedom. Instead of giving satisfaction, riches create additional desires. Paul described the result of these desires: “…Harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). Think about “the love of money” in your culture. Has it affected you and your house church to any extent?
1. Discuss the problem of false teachers in your region. How have they tried to deceive followers of Isa? Do you know anyone who has believed one of these “new doctrines?” How can you resist false teachings? 2. Discuss these passages as they relate to the authority of a man over a woman in the home and in the local church: 1 Corinthians 11:116, Ephesians 5:21-33, and 1 Timothy 2:9-15. Do these Scripture passages “agree” with your culture, or do they “go against” your culture? 3. Discuss the fifteen qualifications for a church elder given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Discuss the kinds of problems your church might have if it ignores these spiritual qualifications. Also, discuss the eight different titles given to an elder. 4. Discuss the three “pictures” that Paul gives about the church (1 Timothy 3:15). To describe the church to a non-believing friend, which one would you use? Can you think of other related and appropriate Scriptures? 5. Discuss the three requirements of a minister that Paul emphasized in 1 Timothy 4. All three requirements involve the Word of God. Therefore, what does this mean for us as believers? Discuss the problems that we face trying to persevere in the Word of God. 6. Discuss the advantages of a plurality of elders, rather than just one man. Discuss the responsibilities of a “ruling” elder and a “teaching” elder. Are both equally important in the growth of the kingdom? 7. Discuss the Scriptural principles of tithing and giving. Have you discussed the topic of money in your house meetings?
Meditate upon and apply these Scriptures to your life this week: 1. Titus 2:11 – “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.” 2. Titus 3:5 – “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit”
Proclaiming the Word
Paul began the letter to Titus, his “…true son in our common faith,” (Titus 1:4) with a rather lengthy greeting. In the beginning of the letter to his young co-laborer in Crete, Paul emphasized the importance of the Word of God. Along with words of grace and peace to Titus (Titus 1:4), Paul began the letter with instruction. In chapter 1, Paul gave Titus three general instructions about his work on the island of Crete. Now, we shall study the first of these three instructions that Paul gave to the young pastor – proclaim the Word. Paul’s greeting (Titus 1:1-4) is basically stating the importance of God’s Word in the life of the church. Paul was “…a servant of God and an apostle of Isa Masih for the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1). [“God’s elect” means His church, His chosen ones.] Jude calls this “…the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). It (“the faith”) is that “…glorious gospel of the blessed God, which He entrusted to me [Paul]” (1 Timothy 1:11). Paul then passed along the “glorious gospel” to Titus and Timothy (2 Timothy 2:2). One of the problems in Crete was an abuse of the grace of God. The Cretans argued that “God saved us by grace, so we are free to sin.” Paul answered this false teaching by writing about “…the truth that leads to godliness…” (Titus 1:1). Paul used the word “godliness” at least seven times in First and Second Timothy. It means practical holiness in one’s life. Paul says that God’s grace saves us and “…teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness…” (Titus 2:11-12). Grace teaches us how to live for the Lord. The person who uses the doctrine of grace to excuse sins either has not received Isa or does not understand what grace really means. Paul wanted Titus to preach that God’s grace saves sinners and sanctifies believers. His grace and truth lead to godliness. Paul wanted Titus to teach the holy life that follows true faith in Isa. God’s great salvation has now been revealed through preaching, the proclamation of the Word of the Gospel. Does your church faithfully proclaim the Word of grace that leads to salvation?
Paul left Titus in Crete to organize the church. Some people opposed him, and it is possible that young Titus wanted to resign. However, Paul encouraged him and wrote, “The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished…” (Titus 1:5). Paul basically said to Titus, “If there were no problems, the church would not need you.” As long as we believers are here on earth in our sinful, human bodies, there will be problems in our churches. When problems arise, the answer is not to hide them, or for leaders to leave and go somewhere else. The answer is to face them honestly and prayerfully and settle them according to the Word of God. “Straighten out” (Titus 1:5) is a medical term that means “to set a broken bone, or straighten a crooked limb.” The church is a body, and the elder (or, leader) must occasionally be like a “spiritual physician.” Paul’s first instruction to Titus was to proclaim the Word (page 29). Now, Paul gives the second instruction, to “…appoint elders in every town…” (Titus 1:5). Obviously, the Gospel had spread to other towns and villages. The “overseer [or, elder]…is entrusted with God’s work…”(Titus 1:7) and he must be a godly man. (The qualifications given in Titus 1:6-9 are parallel to those given in 1 Timothy 3:1-7.) Paul wrote that the elder “…must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught…” (Titus 1:9). The “trustworthy saying” phrases (1 Timothy 1:15, 3:1, 4:9, 2 Timothy 2:11 and Titus 3:8) probably were “sayings” (or, messages) of the prophets in the early church that summarized important teachings. Early believers had no written Bible. Thus, they quoted these “sayings” as correct and authoritative statements of their Christian faith. Paul told Titus that elders “…must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught…” for two fundamental reasons: To encourage the believers To properly refute the false teachers who opposed the sound doctrine that Paul had taught. Why do you think elders must “hold firmly” to the Word of God?
Refuting False Teachers
Let us now examine Paul’s third instruction to young Titus. First, Paul told him to proclaim the word, then to organize the church (appoint elders). Now, he says, “refute the false teachers.” Some of these false teachers had opposed Paul for a long time. In Crete, some false teachers contradicted Paul and taught “Jewish myths” (Titus 1:14), legalism and man’s traditions. These false teachers mixed law with grace and the result was false doctrine. Paul said they were “…rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers…” (Titus 1:10). Remember that (page 15) Paul had described Cretans as “liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons…” (Titus 1:12). Paul did not mean that all Cretans were like this – he referred only to the evil false teachers. Some have used Titus 1:15 (“To the pure, all things are pure…”) to support sin and say, “What I am doing is not wrong.” However, Paul was dealing with the problem of clean and unclean foods (refer also to 1 Timothy 4:2-5). He taught that the believer who knows the Word of God receives all foods as clean. For unbelievers (this included these false teachers), “...Nothing is pure…both their minds and consciences are corrupted” (Titus 1:15). However, moral purity is not a matter of food, rather a matter of a clean heart and a good conscience. Isa and Paul both taught this (Matthew 6:22-23 and Romans 14:14). Therefore, Paul told Titus to silence the false teachers (Titus 1:11) and “…rebuke them sharply…” (Titus 1:13). They were “…ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach – and that for the sake of dishonest gain” (Titus 1:11). They simply wanted money. Titus 1:16 sums up the situation: “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.” Paul’s wanted these men to “…be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13). However, he must protect the church from false doctrine, which, like yeast, secretly enters, grows quickly, and “…works through the whole batch of dough” (Galatians 5:9). The best time to stop false doctrine is in the beginning, before it grows. Do you know teachings from Isa Masih similar to Titus 1:16?
Encouraging the Saints
Paul did not want Titus to neglect the matters that are necessary for a healthy church. The elder/leader must have a balanced ministry, teaching and encouraging the saints as well as refuting the false teachers. In chapter two, Paul mentioned three groups of people in the church who have responsibilities in the Lord. These were the older believers, the younger believers, and the slaves (or, servants). There were probably older believers in the church at Crete. It is a blessing if a church has believers who have walked a long time with God. God has blessed them and they have responsibilities. Paul wanted “…older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance” (Titus 2:2). Paul wanted “…older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine… (Titus 2:3). They have a wonderful opportunity to teach younger women. Then, Paul asked young women to learn how to be godly wives and mothers, “…to love their husbands and children, to be selfcontrolled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands…” (Titus 2:4-5). Young women who do not want to be serious wives and mothers should not marry. Love is the key element in the home. Paul gave these instructions “…So that no one will malign the Word of God” (Titus 2:5). Paul next gave instructions to young men. He told Titus to “…Set them an example by doing what is good…show integrity, seriousness…” (Titus 2:7). He warned Titus to be careful in his speech so that those who oppose him will “…have nothing bad to say…” (Titus 2:8). Then Paul gave instructions about slaves. Slaves must obey their masters and not “…talk back…” (Titus 2:9). Paul wanted them to be submissive and control their tongues. They must not steal from their masters. Slaves were tempted to steal since their masters often left their possessions in their care. However, Paul wanted them “…to show that they can be fully trusted, so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10). Does your church have a mixture of different kinds of people?
The grace of God was an abused doctrine in Crete. There were some who turned grace into “license” by teaching that believers can live in sin since they are not under the law. Of course, the believer is not under law but under grace. However, grace brings an even greater responsibility. Therefore, Paul wrote particularly about the Lord’s magnificent grace in Titus 2:11–13. Moreover, these verses reveal to us the three tenses of the believer’s life: Past: “…The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11) Present: “It teaches us…” (Titus 2:12) Future: “While we wait for the blessed hope…” (Titus 2:13) God’s grace redeemed us [Isa “…gave Himself for us to redeem us… (Titus 2:14)]. “Redeem” means to purchase out of slavery. Isa has purchased us from slavery to sin and we are His “treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5), His “chosen people” (1 Peter 2:9). We “…are His very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14). Grace also teaches us. “Teaches” (Titus 2:12) is the Greek word for training or disciplining. Grace trains and disciplines us. If we understand the grace of God, we will not want to sin. We will “…say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and…live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age” (Titus 2:12). “Waiting (or, looking) for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Isa Masih” is the best translation of Titus 2:13. God’s glory lived on earth [Isa -John 1:14]. Isa has given us His glory, and when He returns, we shall see His glory (John 17:22-24). Paul writes, “...the Masih in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Paul told Titus that “These…are the things you should teach…” (Titus 2:15). He wanted Titus to encourage and, if necessary, to rebuke the believers at Crete. Titus had God’s authority as the servant leader of the flock. No one should look down on him or despise him. What has grace recently taught you about God?
The Washing of Rebirth
Salvation came not only because of “…the kindness and love of God our Savior…” (Titus 3:4), but it came also “…because of His mercy…” (Titus 3:5). We did not save ourselves. How did God do it? The Word of God says, “…He saved us through the washing of rebirth” (rebirth = regeneration) (Titus 3:5). This refers to the Holy Spirit’s work at the moment of salvation as He produces new life in the believer. Isa used the expression “born again” (or, “born from above”) in His conversation with Nicodemus (John 3:3–8). Regeneration is God’s work. By the Holy Spirit, He places a new nature, capable of doing God’s will, in the one who has faith. The Holy Spirit is the agent or divine workman of this regeneration. His instrument is the Word, which is compared to a hammer that judges sin (Jeremiah 23:29), a mirror that reveals sin (James 1:23), a sword that penetrates our soul and judges our thoughts (Hebrews 4:12), and a lamp that guides us (Psalm 119:105). Paul related this same “washing” experience to the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). Salvation comes to a sinner when he trusts the Masih. The Spirit of God uses the Word of God to bring about the new birth. We are born of the Spirit (John 3:5-6) [where “born of water” refers to physical birth] and of the Word (1 Peter 1:23-25). We believers have not only been washed and made new in Isa, but we have been justified (Titus 3:7). [The Bible discusses the doctrine of justification in detail in Romans 3:21-5:11.] Justification is God’s act of grace whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous because of the finished work of Isa on the cross. God credits the righteousness of Isa to the believer. Moreover, the Lord not only forgives the sinner, He now looks at him as a saint (Philippians 1:1). People are “born again” the very moment they trust Isa as Savior. Believers should be careful to obey God in order to grow as His child after He has regenerated them, or, given them new life “from above.” Finally, notice that Titus 3:8 refers to a “trustworthy saying” (page 30). This “trustworthy saying” is probably Titus 3:3-7. Please read John 3:1-8, Romans 3:21-5:11, and 1 Peter 1:23-25.
People Who Cause Problems
As Paul finished his letter to young Titus, he mentioned another kind of person who causes problems. This is the “heretic.” This word originally meant “choosing one’s own ideas” or, “a person who causes divisions.” This is a self-willed person who thinks he is right. He goes from person to person in the church, forcing people to make a choice. This is a work of the flesh (Galatians 5:20). Paul instructed Titus to admonish this kind of person (the “heretic”) at least twice (Titus 3:10). But if he does it a third time, do not receive him back into the fellowship of the church. Why would Paul so sternly warn Titus about this? The reason is that “You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned” (Titus 3:11). If churches follow this principle, there will be fewer people going from church to church causing problems. A heretic was originally a person who caused divisions or factions. Later, the word came to mean a person with peculiar, untrue, and incorrect beliefs. Therefore, the church rejected heretics. In all of his letters, Paul urged the believers to be faithful to the apostles’ teaching. Even the New Testament church had false or heretical teachers who taught incorrect doctrine. Paul wrote some letters, specifically Galatians and 2 Thessalonians, to combat them. Paul warned the Romans to “…keep away…” from those who caused divisions and who taught heresies (Romans 16:17). In the same way, he advised Titus to reject heretics if they did not respond after two warnings. The apostle John warned that believers should not allow a heretic into their homes (2 John 7-11). Remember that not everyone who makes a false doctrinal statement is a heretic. When Apollos was further instructed concerning the Gospel, he became a mighty teacher and leader (Acts 18:24–28). On the contrary, Hymenaeus and Philetus were heretics. They rejected God’s truth and hurt the faith of some believers (2 Timothy 2:16–18). Scripturally, what would be the best way to approach someone whose Bible teaching had errors? Who should approach this person?
1. In your culture, have you observed any churches that tend to abuse the doctrine of the grace of God in their teachings? Discuss with your group some ways that your church might abuse the doctrine of God’s grace. 2. It seems (from Titus 1:5-9) that appointing elders was one of the first steps in organizing the churches in Crete. Discuss why you think this is wise counsel that Paul gave Titus. How does this help solve problems? 3. Discuss Paul’s command to Titus concerning the false teachers – “Rebuke them sharply” (Titus 1:13). What if the false teacher were an older man? In your culture, can an elder/leader politely give this kind of rebuke? How should a member receive a rebuke? 4. Paul urged Titus to teach and encourage all the saints in the church. Discuss the difficulty that leaders have in encouraging all the different groups of people in the church. How can you help solve this problem? 5. Discuss the three tenses of the believer’s life. In addition, discuss the three tenses of salvation. Can you find Scripture to support “three tenses” of salvation? 6. Discuss the Bible teachings of “regeneration” and “justification” and use appropriate Scripture. Discuss the importance of the work of both the Spirit and the Word in our salvation. 7. Discuss the possibility of false, heretical teachings in your house church. What should you do if an elder or leader is teaching things that are not true according to the Word of God? Should you approach him alone?
Meditate upon and apply these Scriptures to your life this week: 1. 2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” 2. 2 Timothy 4:5 – “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”
Timothy’s Gift and Calling
Second Timothy was Paul’s final letter. He knew that he was soon to die. Second Timothy encouraged godly living in the face of threats and difficulties. The false teaching mentioned in the first letter is again mentioned (2 Timothy 2:16–18). However, the main message is that faithful living as a believer demands that we seek after godliness. The apostle wanted Timothy to understand his gift and calling. Paul sent Tychicus to replace Timothy at Ephesus, and he wanted Timothy to join him at Rome (2 Timothy 4:9, 12). Though Paul faced execution, he took time to pray for Timothy. He reminded Timothy to be thankful, in spite of the problems he faced. He reminded him of his godly heritage and of the faith that God had given him. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul wrote, “Do not neglect your gift…” (1 Timothy 4:14). Timothy needed to stir up his gift from God, as a man fans into flame a dying fire (2 Timothy 1:6). Paul did not say that Timothy had lost his salvation, but possibly that he had lost his enthusiasm for the Lord and His work. Now, Paul wrote about the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7). The Spirit does not give fear (Romans 8:15). He gives the things we need – power, love, and self-discipline. The Spirit is the power of our lives (Acts 1:8 and Ephesians 3:20). The Spirit also gives love, the first fruit mentioned (Galatians 5:22). Our love for Isa, for His Word, for other believers, and for the lost, comes from the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). The Spirit also gives us discipline and self-control. We do not allow feelings or circumstances to control us. When God’s Spirit controls us, we have peace and confidence – fear disappears. Paul then reminded Timothy of his calling. He told Timothy not to be ashamed of the Lord or of him. His suffering is a part of his calling. When we suffer, we share in Isa’s sufferings (Philippians 3:10). The power that saves us also strengthens us. Paul wrote that God “…has saved us and called us…” by grace (2 Timothy 1:9). We do not deserve this salvation and calling. Thus, if God permits us to suffer, He must have a wonderful purpose for us in His mind. Do you understand your own gifts and calling?
A Steward and a Soldier
Paul reminded Timothy of his gift and calling and now he writes about Timothy’s responsibilities as an elder. Paul did not want Timothy to be confused about his task, so he carefully explained what an elder is and what he does. These same principles apply to all believers. Paul gave seven “pictures” of the elder, showing the various ministries God has for His people and their leader. In this chapter and in the following two chapters, we will study six of these pictures. In 2 Timothy 2:1-2, we see the picture of the steward. God’s Word is not something we get for ourselves and keep to ourselves. We are stewards of this “spiritual treasure” (the Word) that God has given to us. It is our responsibility to guard the treasure and then invest it in the lives of others. They, in turn, should share the Word with other people. We base the SALT training program upon this re-teaching principle. We receive God’s Word and then pass it along to other faithful believers, who will then share the Word with others. It takes strength to teach the Word of God. We must dig out of the rich mines of Scripture the “gold, silver, and costly stones” hidden there (Proverbs 2:1-6, 3:13-15; 8:10-21 and 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). This strength can only come from God’s grace, which was the secret of Paul’s great ministry (1 Corinthians 15:10). The ability to study, understand, and teach the Word is a gift of God’s grace. Being “able to teach” is one of God’s requirements for the elders (1 Timothy 3:2 and 2 Timothy 2:24). This implies an ability to learn – so stewards must also be serious students of the Word of God and eager to learn. In 2 Timothy 2:3-4, we see the second picture – the soldier. Paul often used military examples in his letters. This is not surprising since Rome was a military state and Paul himself was in prison. Here, he described the characteristics of “a good soldier” of the Masih Isa. The two special characteristics of the good soldier are as follows: He endures hardship (2 Timothy 2:3) He wants to please his Commander (2 Timothy 2:4) Are you willing to endure hardship to please your Commander?
A Farmer and a Workman
The Word is a treasure that the steward must guard and invest. The soldier must be ready to endure hardship. In 2 Timothy 2:6, we see the third picture – “The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” Moreover, the Word of God is the seed of this hardworking farmer. In God’s Word, we can find several practical truths from examples of the farmer and the field. Some of these important, practical truths are as follows: A farmer works hard and needs patience A farmer deserves his share of the harvest A farmer enjoys the blessings and rewards of his work In 2 Timothy 2:15, we see the fourth picture – the workman. The Word of God is the workman’s tool for building, measuring and repairing God’s people. The preacher who uses the Word correctly will build the church the way God wants it built. In this verse, there are two important words that we must consider – approved and ashamed. Paul emphasizes that the workman must be diligent in his labor so that he will not be ashamed when God inspects his work. Approved means “one who has been tested and found acceptable.” They used this word for testing and approving metals. Each trial that we face forces us to study the Word in order to find God’s will. An approved worker studies the Word and seeks to apply it to his life. He does not waste time “quarreling about words” (2 Timothy 2:14) because he knows that quarreling hurts God’s work (1 Timothy 6:4 and Titus 3:9). This workman shuns “godless chatter” and he also knows that false doctrine is very dangerous (2 Timothy 2:16–18). If a workman is “ashamed,” this means his work is below standard and God does not accept it. In Paul’s day, the authorities fined a builder if he failed to meet the standards. When God judges our work, He will reveal if we, as workmen, have handled His Word honestly, correctly, and carefully. If not, we are ashamed of our work. Do you know any teachings of Isa that relate to a steward, a soldier, a farmer, or a workman? If possible, find and read these teachings.
The Vessel and the Servant
In 2 Timothy 2:20, we see the fifth picture - the vessel. Paul described a “large house,” the church. Its foundation is strong because God’s seal is on it. In the Bible, a seal is a mark of ownership and security. No one would dare break a Roman seal that did not belong to him. This house not only has a solid foundation that is sealed, but it also has vessels (or, utensils) for household tasks. Paul divides the “vessels” into two groups: those of honor (gold and silver) and those of dishonor (wood and clay). He is probably not writing about two kinds of believers, but about true teachers of the Word and the false teachers he described in 2 Timothy 2:16-18. A faithful teacher is like a gold or silver vessel that brings honor to Isa. However, like wood or clay, false teachers are not valuable. They are vessels of dishonor. Wood and clay will not stand the test of fire. Paul did not want the dishonorable vessels (false teachers) to infect the honorable vessels. He wanted Timothy to get away from false teachers. Then, God would honor him, set him apart, and train him to serve. It is an honor to be “…useful to the Master” (2 Timothy 2:21). “Timothy” comes from two Greek words which taken together mean “Godhonoring.” Paul encouraged Timothy to live up to his name. In 2 Timothy 2:24, we see the sixth picture – the servant. (The word “doulos” is often translated “slave” – one who is under the command of a master.) God’s servant does not have an easy time teaching the Word. Satan will oppose him and try to deceive those who listen to the Word. Often, it is difficult to teach spiritual truth. Paul wrote, “…the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful” (2 Timothy 2:24). The false teachers opposed Timothy. However, Paul told him to “gently instruct” (2 Timothy 2:25) those who opposed him. He wanted them to “…come to their senses” (2 Timothy 2:26). If these people will repent, and confess the truth of God’s Word, then they will “…escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). How do you “gently instruct” those who oppose you?
Continuing in the Word
Paul wanted Timothy to “…continue in what you have learned…” (2 Timothy 3:14). Continue literally means “remain.” Timothy had received Old Testament instruction from his mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois). Their teaching gave Timothy assurance and spiritual understanding. Timothy knew the truth of the Word which gave him faith (Romans 10:17), and this faith in Isa brought salvation. Second Timothy 3:16-17 tells us about the divine origin and character of the Bible. Let us look at four things Paul wrote about God’s Word. First, it is the “holy Scripture,” which literally means, “the sacred letters.” “Holy” means “consecrated for sacred use.” The Bible is different because God has set it apart for sacred use. We treat the Bible as the holy book, and accept it “…not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the Word of God…” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Second, the Scriptures lead us to salvation. The Bible does not save us (John 5:39). God saves us when we trust Isa Masih whom the Bible reveals. Timothy grew up in a godly home and read the Holy Scriptures. Yet it was not until Paul led him to know Isa that he was saved. The Bible reveals our need for salvation. The Bible explains that every lost sinner is condemned (John 3:18-21) and needs a Savior. Third, the Scriptures are true and dependable. “All Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) which means inspired by God. This describes the unique character of God’s Word. God and man together wrote the Scriptures. This doctrine is very important. Satan has attacked it from the beginning (Genesis 3:1). God did not give us a book we could not trust. He is “the God of truth” (Isaiah 65:16). Isa is “the truth” (John 14:6) and the “the Spirit is the truth” (1 John 5:6). Fourth, the Scriptures are useful and they train us for service. They are useful for teaching truth, for rebuking error, for correction and for training in righteousness. A believer who studies the Word and applies what he learns will grow. “Equipped” (2 Timothy 3:17) has the meaning, “trained for service.” In other words, the Bible trains us so we can please God and do the work God wants us to do. What other verses tell of God’s Word being perfect and inspired?
Fulfill Your Ministry
As Paul began the last chapter of his last letter, he told Timothy to “Preach the Word…” (2 Timothy 4:2). The apostle knew very well that “…The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine…” (2 Timothy 4:3). Thus, as in all of his Pastoral Letters, the apostle emphasized the importance of sound doctrine. Paul, a Roman prisoner, was about to die. However, Timothy’s life and ministry still lay before him. God has a specific ministry for each of His children, which He has “…prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Our task is to find His will and do it as long as we live. This involves watching, enduring, and working. We must “discharge all the duties” of our ministry (2 Timothy 4:5). In other words, we are to fulfill our ministry. Each one of us is to fulfill the ministry that the LORD has given specifically to us. Timothy was a preacher and a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3-4) who would have to “endure hardship” (2 Timothy 4:5). He had seen Paul suffer on several occasions (2 Corinthians 6:3-10 and 2 Timothy 3:1012). Like Paul, most of Timothy’s sufferings would come from “religious people” who do not want to hear the truth. These people also crucified Isa Masih and persecuted Paul and put him in prison. “Do the work of an evangelist” (2 Timothy 4:5) reminded Timothy that his ministry must center on evangelism. This does not mean that every preaching or teaching must be a salvation message. Believers also need spiritual food. However, it does mean that a preacher should keep lost people in his heart and in his prayers. A burden for the lost should characterize the ministry of every believer. Paul then gave the reason behind these words to his young coworker (2 Timothy 4:6-8). He was ready to be with the Lord and Timothy would take his place. With these beautiful words of personal testimony, Paul looked forward to his departure from this earth. He was now “passing the mantle of ministry” on to his beloved disciple Timothy. Paul fulfilled the ministry that God had given him. Now, he wanted Timothy to fulfill his ministry. Read 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Meditate on how Paul fulfilled his ministry.
The Crown of Righteousness
Paul knew that the time of his death was very soon. From the Old Testament, we learn that a “drink offering” (2 Timothy 4:6) was made by pouring wine out on the ground or altar (Leviticus 23:13 and Numbers 15:7). Paul poured out his life in service to Isa, the Lamb of God (Revelation 5:6). He knew that “the time has come for my departure” (2 Timothy 4:6). Paul was confident that no one could harm him until the Heavenly Father brought him into his eternal home with a victory celebration. Paul had been diligent in his service to God. He did not write these words until the end of his race, until he was about to die. He did not rely on His past service. Instead, he persevered, struggled, and served God until the end (1 Corinthians 9:24–27). He was ready for the prize. Paul understood the eternal reward for a life of faithful service to God. The crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) is a special reward given to all who serve God faithfully (Matthew 5:10–12). “…All who have longed for His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8) means those who have lived faithfully looking for His return (Titus 2:11–13 and 1 John 2:28). We can win the same kind of crown that Paul won. Paul wrote, “Come to me quickly” because Tychicus would soon take Timothy’s place in Ephesus (2 Timothy 4:9, 12). He wanted Timothy to stop in Troas and pick up his cloak, scrolls, and parchments (2 Timothy 4:13) and hurry on to Rome. Now only Doctor Luke was with Paul. As he waited patiently for the Lord to call him home, Paul wanted to see his dear son in the faith. Paul was also very practical – he needed his cloak for warmth and he wanted his “scrolls” for study. These “scrolls” were probably papyrus scrolls of the Old Testament Scriptures. “Grace be with you” (2 Timothy 4:22) was Paul’s usual, personal farewell. Grace was the key word in his ministry. The Bible does not record the final days of Paul. Tradition says that the court sentenced him to die. They probably took him outside the city and beheaded him. Timothy and the other devoted believers carried on the work. Test yourself: Are you diligent in your service to God?
1. Read 2 Timothy 1:6-13. Discuss Paul’s instructions to Timothy regarding Timothy’s gifts and calling. Discuss how we believers can better understand our gifts and calling from God. 2. Discuss the importance of being a “steward” of the Word of God. Discuss some practical ways that you and your church can invest your spiritual treasure in the lives of others. 3. Discuss the “pictures” of the farmer and the workman. Discuss the key words of 2 Timothy 2:15 – approved and ashamed. Discuss the difficulty, in your culture, of “correctly handling” the Word of God. 4. Discuss the differences between “vessels of honor” and “vessels of dishonor.” Why is it difficult to teach spiritual truth? Discuss the attitude a “servant” must take in order to properly teach the truth of the Word. 5. Discuss the inspiration of the Bible. Why do you think it is important to believe that the Word is perfect, without any error? Discuss how you might share, with a non-believing friend, 2 Timothy 3:14-17? 6. Discuss how the ministry of your church can center on evangelism. Discuss how each member of the body can fulfill the specific ministry that God has given him or her. Review Ephesians 2:10 and 2 Timothy 4:1-8. 7. Discuss a relationship between these two verses: Romans 12:1 and 2 Timothy 4:6. Discuss these New Testament passages about rewards – Matthew 5:10-12, 1 Corinthians 3:1-15, Ephesians 6:8, Colossians 3:24, and Hebrews 11:6. Please read the context of the passages before you discuss them.
For Further Study and Training in Righteousness
Doctrine 1. Servant Leadership 3. Personal Evangelism I (The Camel Method) 5. Personal Evangelism II (Chronological Storying) 7. Believer’s Lifestyle 9. Spiritual Warfare 11. Church Planting 13. Doctrine of the Holy Spirit 15. Bible Interpretation 17. Doctrine of Salvation 19. The Godhead 21. Spiritual Disciplines 23. Old Testament Survey 25. Stewardship 27. Personal Evangelism III Bible 2. Pastoral Letters (1 - 2 Timothy, Titus) 4. Romans 6. Theology of Genesis 8. 1 Corinthians 10. Ephesians 12. The Gospel of John 14. Acts 1 – 12 16. Acts 13 – 28 (The Ministry of Paul) 18. Exodus 20. The Journeys of Jesus (Synoptic Gospels) 22. Galatians 24. Hebrews 26. Psalms
A program of: CASALT: Servant June 2005
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