God’s Saving Word: Encouragement
2 Timothy 2:1-26: Timothy’s ministry is compared to that of a soldier: enduring suffering, staying focused on the task at hand, and obeying his leader. Timothy is encouraged to keep his mind on Christ; and he is reminded that, even though Paul was imprisoned, “the word of God is not in chains” (verse 9).
A Loyal Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 As for you, my son, be strong through the grace that is ours in union with Christ Jesus. 2 Take the teachings that you heard me proclaim in the presence of many witnesses, and entrust them to reliable people, who will be able to teach others also.
3 Take your part in suffering, as a loyal soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 A soldier on active duty wants to please his commanding officer and so does not get mixed up in the affairs of civilian life. 5 An athlete who runs in a race cannot win the prize unless he obeys the rules. 6 The farmer who has done the hard work should have the first share of the harvest. 7 Think about what I am saying, because the Lord will enable you to understand it all.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, who was raised from death, who was a descendant of David, as is taught in the Good News I preach. 9 Because I preach the Good News, I suffer and I am even chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not in chains, 10 and so I endure everything for the sake of God’s chosen people, in order that they too may obtain the salvation that comes through Christ Jesus and brings eternal glory. 11 This is a true saying:
“If we have died with him,
we shall also live with him.
12 If we continue to endure,
we shall also rule with him.
If we deny him,
he also will deny us.
13 If we are not faithful,
he remains faithful,
because he cannot be false to himself.”
An Approved Worker
14 Remind your people of this, and give them a solemn warning in God’s presence not to fight over words. It does no good, but only ruins the people who listen. 15 Do your best to win full approval in God’s sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God’s truth. 16 Keep away from profane and foolish discussions, which only drive people farther away from God. 17 Such teaching is like an open sore that eats away the flesh. Two men who have taught such things are Hymenaeus and Philetus. 18 They have left the way of truth and are upsetting the faith of some believers by saying that our resurrection has already taken place. 19 But the solid foundation that God has laid cannot be shaken; and on it are written these words: “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Those who say that they belong to the Lord must turn away from wrongdoing.”
20 In a large house there are dishes and bowls of all kinds: some are made of silver and gold, others of wood and clay; some are for special occasions, others for ordinary use. 21 Those who make themselves clean from all those evil things, will be used for special purposes, because they are dedicated and useful to their Master, ready to be used for every good deed. 22 Avoid the passions of youth, and strive for righteousness, faith, love, and peace, together with those who with a pure heart call out to the Lord for help. 23 But keep away from foolish and ignorant arguments; you know that they end up in quarrels. 24 As the Lord’s servant, you must not quarrel. You must be kind toward all, a good and patient teacher, 25 who is gentle as you correct your opponents, for it may be that God will give them the opportunity to repent and come to know the truth. 26 And then they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the Devil, who had caught them and made them obey his will.
Today’s Key Verse: 2 Timothy 2:1
Be strong through the grace that is ours in union with Christ Jesus.
In verses 3-7, three types of people are described as hard workers. What qualities do these different types of people have that Timothy is to imitate? Reread verses 8-13. What words of hope do these verses contain? What advice is given to Timothy in verses 14-26? What are your thoughts regarding the relevancy of this advice for church workers and believers today?
Dear God, as a soldier in faith, embolden me to work for justice; as an athlete in faith, give me the endurance to stay strong and obedient to your will; as a farmer in faith, equip me to plant seeds of love and truth. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
2 Timothy 3:1-17: Difficult times in the last days are described.