< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: 2nd Timothy

Sunday, January 24, 2010

2nd Timothy

Before studying the book of 2nd Timothy, it’s helpful to know who he was. Timothy was sort of an assistant to Paul and almost like a son to him. He was probably recruited during Paul’s first missionary visit to Lystra.

Acts 16: 1-5 1He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey. 5So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

Timothy already had solid Jewish training in the scriptures from his mother and grandmother.

2 Timothy 1:5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.

In the passage in Acts where it mentions his circumcism, this is important because of his mixed Greek/Jewish background. Since he was becoming a missionary to Jews who took that very seriously, he was showing his total commitment. At the time of this letter he was the Pastor of the church at Ephesus. We also know he was a little sensitive about his youth and also a little timid.

When you read the 2 letters you might keep in mind the phrase, “Famous last words.” 2nd Timothy was Paul’s last letter before he died. 1st and 2nd Timothy were the most personal letters in the New Testament. They revealed Paul’s heart and his priorities, which were: sound doctrine, steadfast faith, confident endurance and enduring love. And they were written to someone who had traveled with him, suffered, cried and laughed with him.

Paul and Timothy had shared the joy of seeing people respond to the Gospel and also the agony of seeing the Gospel rejected. This was Paul’s last chance to say the really important stuff and it’s meant to encourage. These are good letters to read when you have challenges that seem beyond your capabilities.

This book is only 4 chapters and I’ll start it in tomorrow’s post.

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