Today is day 87 in our journey through the Bible in 90 days.
2 Timothy is not only Paul’s final “prison epistle,” but it is also valuable because it contains the last words of Paul to his “son” in the faith, Timothy. His advice is pure gold: endure persecution and affliction, preach the word, don’t tolerate false doctrine, run hard after your calling, etc. – HUGE, important topics, especially for a young preacher. 2 Timothy joins 1 Timothy and Titus in a grouping of books known as the “pastoral epistles.”
Chapter 1 seems to address an issue with confidence that Timothy must have been having – Paul tells him to stand his ground and take whatever comes his way.
Timothy was the pastor of the church in Ephesus, which was very idolatrous and hostile to the Gospel. It was not an easy task that he had! In addition to that hostility, Timothy was young. It would have been easy for older, “more experienced” men to step in and abuse Timothy. That’s a lesson I’ve had to learn as a young pastor. I got hired as a youth pastor when I was 20, so at times I encountered older men and women who had a hard time receiving spiritual counsel from me. Regardless, like Paul told Timothy earlier, I try to set an example in faith, love, and purity.
One thing that Paul was big on was discipleship. He discipled Timothy, Silas, Barnabas, and many more, but it didn’t stop there. He encouraged them to continue the discipleship process. After all, Jesus did tell us to make disciples.
“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” – 2 Timothy 2:2
Just as he did in his first letter to Timothy, Paul reminds him that one of his main tasks is to preach the word. He challenges him to be a man of God “rightly handling the word of truth” and to “avoid irreverent babble.”
We would all do good to stop arguing over stupid things. I love Paul’s honesty about arguing: it “ruins the hearers” (2:14), it leads “people into more and more ungodliness” (2:16), and it “will spread like gangrene” (2:17). To that, I give a hearty, “AMEN!” I get so tired of people who just want to debate and argue instead of live like a Christian and put their faith into action. Tell people about Jesus and make disciples – let’s make that our focus, not theological debates that end up dividing the church.
As Paul closes the book (as well as his career as a Biblical author), some of his most powerful words stand out…
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of Godt may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:5
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” – 2 Timothy 4:18
And with that, Paul signs off. What a man of faith and a legacy to follow!