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Lesson 7: A Faithful Life with No Regrets (2 Timothy 3:14-4:8)

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Day One Study—Get the Big Picture

What does the Bible say?

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-4:8, (including verses from the last lesson). Ask the Lord Jesus to teach you through His Word.

If possible, print out the verses we are studying. Use your own method (colored pencils, lines, shapes) to mark 1) anything that grabs your attention, 2) words you want to understand, and 3) anything repeated in this passage. Draw arrows between thoughts that connect. Put a star  next to anything you think relates to being faithful or staying faithful.

1. What grabbed your attention from these verses?

2. What verses or specific words do you want to understand better?

3. What topics are repeated in this passage or continue an earlier discussion in this letter?

4. What verses illustrate or help you understand what staying faithful looks like?

5. From this lesson’s passage, choose one verse to dwell upon all week long. Write it in the space below. Ask God to teach you through this verse.

Respond to the Lord about what He’s shown you today.

Day Two Study

Read 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2. Ask the Lord Jesus to teach you through His Word.

What does it mean?

6. Paul wants Timothy to draw strength from what he has “learned and become convinced of,” according to this verse. What is the difference between what you have “learned” and what you have “become convinced of?” Refer back to 2 Timothy 3:6-7.

7. What does Paul assert about the Scriptures (v. 15)?

8. Reread 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and 2 Peter 1:20-21. “Scripture” means “sacred writing.” Although Paul is referring primarily to the Old Testament, the word Scripture applies to all divinely inspired writings (Old and New Testaments) as a whole. By the way, When you read 1 Timothy 5:18 and 2 Peter 3:15-16, you get indications that some material ultimately included in the New Testament were already considered equal in authority to the Old Testament Scriptures.

Read the information below and summarize what “God breathed” means regarding the Scriptures.

Focus on the Meaning: All Scripture is divinely “inspired” (Gr. theopneustos, lit. “God-breathed”). The Greek word theopneustos is composed of theo, meaning “God,” and pneustos, which refers to “breathing, blowing, or sending forth one’s spirit.” It does not merely contain the Word of God, or become the Word of God under certain conditions. It is God’s Word, the expression of His Person (heart, mind, will, etc.). This was the view of the Hebrew Bible that Jews in the first century commonly held. (Adapted from 2 Timothy Life Change Bible Study, p. 63, Dr. Constables Notes on 2 Timothy 2017 Edition, p. 34)

Summary:

9. According to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, how is “God-breathed” Scripture useful or profitable to us? List the ways given in these verses, and explain what the words mean.

10. From verse 17, what is the ultimate goal of using God’s Word for these purposes? See Romans 15:4 for another goal.

11. Focus on 4:1-2. Paul’s final words to Timothy in this letter carried a particularly solemn charge (command or injunction). Verse 1 is like a long “therefore.” And, remember that the “last days” refers to being UNTIL Jesus comes back.

  • What truths does Paul stress about Christ who is witnessing this charge to Timothy? See also 4:8.
  • Why would this motivate Timothy to carry out Paul’s charge?

Historical Insight: “Appearing” was a meaningful term in Paul’s day. “The [Roman] Emperor’s appearance in any place was his epiphaneia [“appearing”]. Obviously when the Emperor was due to visit any place, everything was put in perfect order. The streets were swept and garnished; all work was up-to-date. The town was scoured and decorated to be fit for the epiphaneia of the Emperor. So Paul says to Timothy: ‘You know what happens when any town is expecting the epiphaneia of the Emperor; you are expecting the epiphaneia of Jesus Christ. Do your work in such a way that all things will be ready whenever He appears.’” (Dr. Constables Notes on 2 Timothy, p. 35)

12. Continuing his declaration from 3:16-17, write out Paul’s charge to Timothy in v. 2. [Note: this same charge is for every servant of Christ who has a circle of influence (2 Timothy 2:2, 15).]

Focus on the Meaning: The word translated “preach” refers to the ‘herald’ whose duty it was to make public proclamation. The verb thus means ‘proclaim aloud, publicly’ and is used in the NT of public proclamation of the message that God has given … We are not to preach about the Word of God or from the Word of God [i.e., lifting a text from it and then weaving a message around that text], but preach the Word of God itself! (Dr. Constables Notes on 2 Timothy 2017 Edition, p. 36)

13. What does “be prepared in season and out of season” mean (v. 2)?

14. As he preached the Word of God, Timothy would come up against false teaching, believers who are willingly sinning, and those sincerely trying to grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ. Review 2 Timothy 2:15, 24-25. How is a servant of Christ to interact with all of these people?

What application will you make to stay faithful to God?

15. What does the truth that Scripture was actually “God-breathed” mean to you personally? What implications, or applications, does that have for you…in your teaching, your way of life, your purpose, your faith, your character…?

16. What responsibilities and tasks do you administer that require great patience and instruction? Usually, nothing good happens when you carry them out in anger and frustration. How can you apply what you have learned in this lesson to those tasks?

Respond to the Lord about what He’s shown you today.

Day Three Study

Read 2 Timothy 4:1-8. Ask the Lord Jesus to teach you through His Word.

What does it mean?

Paul’s continuing concern about false teaching was a catalyst in issuing such a charge (v. 1-2) to Timothy. When Paul spoke about false teaching, he usually focused on the evil intentions of the false teachers. However, false teachers could not flourish if they had no audience. In this context, the listeners in Ephesus are believers. See 1 Timothy 4:1.

17. List the process by which they become willing participants in their own deception (vv. 3-4).

Focus on the Meaning: Paul pictured people who would be bored by, apathetic to, and annoyed by “sound doctrine.” "In other words, they have made themselves the measure of who should teach them and what teaching is acceptable.” Moreover, they would choose to believe “myths” rather than the truth. (Dr. Constable’s Notes on 2 Timothy 2017 Edition, p. 37)

18. Paul uses a word picture of people having itchy ears and wanting them to be “scratched.” See other examples of this in Acts 7:51 and 17:21. The question to ask here in 2 Timothy 4 and in our own world is this, “What is causing the itch?”

19. When people reject sound doctrine, what or who are they really rejecting and why?

20. In what way do people take comfort in their “own doctrine?”

21. Regardless of false teaching around him, what is to be Timothy’s focus so as not to be distracted (v. 5) so that he can complete the work God has given him to do (v. 2)?

22. Paul then reflects on his life of staying faithful to God. How did he view what was happening (v. 6)?

Scriptural Insight: A drink offering consisted of wine poured out on an altar as a sacrifice to God (Numbers 15:1-10). It was the last act of the Jewish sacrificial ceremony. Paul’s view was that his life was not being taken from him; he was laying it down.

23. Paul knew he would be executed soon. The time for his departure had come.

  • As he looked back over 30 years of labor as an apostle, what did he say about his life?
  • Based upon what you have learned in 2 Timothy, what does it mean to “keep the faith?”
  • Why did Paul compare the task of “keeping the faith” to a “good fight” and a “race?”

Dependent Living: Paul was able to “keep the faith” because he relied on the strength and power of Jesus Christ more than on himself (2 Timothy 1:7, 2:1). He depended on Christ in his weaknesses and in his strengths. We can and should do the same.

24. Looking at verse 8:

  • What reward is Paul anticipating?
  • Who will bestow this reward?
  • To whom will this reward be given?

Scriptural Insight: The Bible describes 5 crowns in relation to believers. 1) An “imperishable crown” in 1 Corinthians 9:25 for leading a disciplined life, 2) A “crown of rejoicing” in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 for evangelism and discipleship, 3) A “crown of righteousness” in 2 Timothy 4:8 for loving the Lord’s appearing, 4) A “crown of life” in James 1:12; revelation 2:10 for enduring trials, and 5) A “crown of glory” in 1 Peter 5;4 for shepherding God’s flock faithfully. (Adapted from Dr. Constables Notes on 2 Timothy 2017 Edition, p. 41)

What application will you make to stay faithful to God?

25. How do you see what Paul describes in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 taking place in our world? Do you personally know anyone like those described in verses 3-4? How will you pray for her specifically?

Or, on a deeper level, was this ever a portrait of you? If so, how have you changed? To what do you attribute this change?

26. As he neared the end of his life, Paul could confidently say he had been faithful to God’s call. Thus, he faced death calmly, knowing that Christ would reward him. Is your life preparing you for death? Do you share Paul’s confident expectation of meeting Christ? How do Paul’s words challenge your life?

Respond to the Lord about what He’s shown you today.

© 2019.

Related Topics: Curriculum

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