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11. The Second Letter to Timothy

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In our lessons so far, you have learned these truths about Christ.

  • In Romans, Christ is our righteousness. Every believer is equally right with God and has equal righteousness from God.
  • In 1 Corinthians, Christ is the wisdom of God, greater than any human wisdom or strength.
  • In 2 Corinthians, Christ is our comforter when we hurt.
  • In Galatians, Christ is our freedom from the law of works to earn God’s acceptance.
  • In Ephesians, Christ is the powerful head of the church. Christ’s power works in us to help us live God’s way and for us to protect us from anything evil.
  • In Philippians, Christ is the supplier of every need of yours so that you can help others.
  • In Colossians, Christ is Lord over everything. He is Lord over the universe, the earth, the angels, and our behavior.
  • In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Christ is our returning Lord. When He comes, we will receive new bodies and live forever with Him.
  • In 1 Timothy, Christ is our mediator. As mediator, Jesus understands our needs and the best way for God to take care of our needs.

Paul’s second letter to Timothy presents Christ as the giver of crowns.

“Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NET)

The Key Question

Do you like to give gifts? What do you like best about giving gifts to someone? How do you go about picking out what you want to give? Are you a cheerful giver, or do you resent having to bring a gift to someone? What kinds of things can you give that don’t cost money? Do those gifts still cost you something like time, effort, and creativity? What’s the best gift you have given to someone?

The key word for our lesson today is giving. The questions to ask are, “Who is the best giver, what does He give to us, and how can we be givers like He is?” Some of Paul’s friends needed to know the answer to those questions.

The People and Their Need

Remember that Paul loved Timothy as a son and a friend. After Paul’s release from his first Roman imprisonment, he and Timothy traveled to visit friends in the churches they had founded. When they got to Ephesus, Paul left Timothy to teach truth to the church there while Paul went on to Macedonia. Paul thought he’d get back to Ephesus soon, but that didn’t happen. So, he wrote the letter called First Timothy.

Paul traveled for a while longer, but then he was arrested again and sent to Rome. This time Paul was thrown into a cold dungeon, and he knew that he would soon die! Paul had already appeared once before the wicked Roman emperor Nero, and he expected to be tried again. Nero had become more wicked in his hatred for Christians.

Paul felt very lonely because many of his friends had left him. At this time, only his doctor friend Luke (the writer of Luke and Acts) was still with him in Rome. Other friends were taking care of the churches Paul had founded, including Timothy who was still pastoring the church at Ephesus. Paul knew God was with him still, even in prison. He wrote another letter to Timothy, the last one he wrote that we have in our Bibles. Paul asked Timothy to come right away and bring his coat and scrolls he left behind in Ephesus. Paul was not sure Timothy would get to Rome before Paul was killed. A very sad time!

This letter contains Paul’s last words of encouragement to Timothy and warnings that Nero’s hatred of Christians would cause many believers to suffer. We have this letter called Second Timothy. It is a gift from God to us.

In his letter, Paul reminds Timothy to stand firm on the truth he had heard from Paul. Don’t let the bad teachers win. Don’t give up because of suffering. The Holy Spirit would be his continual helper and guide. And, Jesus Christ rewards those who are faithful to Him. He gives many good gifts, including crowns. Yes, I said crowns. In Second Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns. Let’s find out what that means for us.

The Answer: Christ Is The Giver of Crowns

1. Read 2 Timothy 2:1-6, 15.

  • According to verse 2, how does the true message get passed on?
  • According to verses 4-6, what do the soldier, athlete, and farmer have in common?
  • According to verse 15, what are we supposed to do?

Pastors and church leaders are to teach trustworthy people who can teach others, also. This is called disciplemaking—making disciples for Jesus. As individual followers of Christ, we are to do our best to please God and to teach truth correctly. Paul continues to encourage Timothy to keep doing what is right and keep teaching truth even if some people who hated Christians would try to stop his teaching what the Bible says.

2. Read 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

  • Does Paul feel that his life has been faithful to the God he serves?
  • What is waiting for him?
  • Who will give it to him? [NOTE: Some translations use the word “award” rather than “give” in verse 8, but it means the same thing.]
  • Who else will receive a crown?
  • Does that include you?

In Second Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns. Christ is a giver. In fact, He is the best giver of all, including the giving of crowns.

3. Read 1 Peter 5:1-4.

  • What crown does the Lord Jesus give?
  • To whom and for what reason?

4. Read James 1:12. What crown does the Lord Jesus give to everyone who loves Him?

Some crowns are rewards to believers who have worked hard to please the Lord Jesus as in the “Crown of Righteousness” and the “Crown of Glory.” Other crowns are given to every believer as in the “Crown of Life.”

But, we’ve learned in Paul’s other letters that Christ is a giver not only of crowns but also of many other things to those who trust in Him. To all believers, Christ gives forgiveness of all sins, salvation, and eternal life. We have also learned that Christ provides a relationship between God and man (1 Timothy) that gives freedom from the law so we can choose to please God (Galatians). He is the supplier of every need (Philippians) who gives protection and Holy Spirit power to live a life that pleases God (Ephesians) as we change our behavior (Colossians).

Christ gives us spiritual wisdom (1 Corinthians), comfort (2 Corinthians), righteousness (Romans), and a new body when He returns (1 Thessalonians). We will soon learn that He also gives us hope (Titus) and new hearts (Philemon).

Jesus Christ is the best giver! He rewards those who are faithful to Him. We can follow His example and be givers, also. But, we sometimes get to thinking about ourselves too much and don’t want to be givers.

5. Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5. How does Paul describe the different types of people who are living to be takers rather than givers?

6. That sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it? Do you know anyone like that now?

Look at Paul’s warning in verse 5. The New International Readers Version puts it this way, “Teach the people not to follow their example!”

5. What choices must you make to not follow their examples?

6. Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17. How do you stay on track in following the right examples?

7. Does God want you to be a giver because you have to or because you love Him and want to please Him in gratitude for what He has done for you?

8. What do you think you will do with the crown Christ gives you when you get to heaven some day?

9. Read Revelation 4:10-11. Some think the 24 elders represents all believers in the Church. They give back their crowns, laying them at Jesus’ feet. Why do you think they do that?

Jesus Christ is the best giver! He rewards those who are faithful to Him. He gives many good gifts, including crowns. In Second Timothy, Christ is the giver of crowns.

Living Dependently on Christ

1) Bible verse to learn:

“Finally the crown of righteousness is reserved for me. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will award it to me in that day—and not to me only, but also to all who have set their affection on his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8 NET)

2) Response in prayer & praise:

Thank Jesus for what He gives to you. Ask Jesus for a heart that wants to give to others as Jesus has given to you. Ask Him to help you stick to the truth of God’s Word even when others do not.

3) Getting to know Him more:

Spend a few minutes each day reading this wonderful letter and reflecting on how God’s marvelous grace offers you a life of freedom and joy.

  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 1. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 2. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 3. Reflect on what you read.
  • Read 2 Timothy chapter 4. Reflect on what you read.

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