Key Verse: “I have finished the race.” (2 Timothy 4:7 NKJV)
10-13 You’ve been a good apprentice to me, a part of my teaching, my manner of life, direction, faith, steadiness, love, patience, troubles, sufferings—suffering along with me in all the grief I had to put up with in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. And you also well know that God rescued me! Anyone who wants to live all out for Christ is in for a lot of trouble; there’s no getting around it. Unscrupulous con men will continue to exploit the faith. They’re as deceived as the people they lead astray. As long as they are out there, things can only get worse.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:11)
In Lystra, Timothy’s hometown, Paul had been stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19); and this was only one incident among many.
In 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 Paul summarized his lifetime of suffering for the sake of the Good News.
Paul mentioned his suffering here to contrast his experience with that of the pleasure-seeking false teachers.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:12)
In this charge, Paul told Timothy that people who obey God and live for Christ will be persecuted.
Don’t be surprised when people misunderstand, criticize, and even try to hurt you because of what you believe and how you live.
Don’t give up.
Continue to live as you know you should.
God is the only one you need to please.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:13)
Don’t expect false teachers and evil people to reform and change on their own.
Left alone, they will go from bad to worse.
If you have the opportunity correct them so as to bring them back to faith in Christ.
Fight for the truth, especially to protect younger Christians.
14-17 But don’t let it faze you. Stick with what you learned and believed, sure of the integrity of your teachers—why, you took in the sacred Scriptures with your mother’s milk! There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:14)
Besieged by false teachers and the inevitable pressures of a growing ministry, Timothy could easily have abandoned his faith or modified his doctrine.
Once again, Paul counseled Timothy to look to his past and to hold to the basic teachings about Jesus that are eternally true.
Like Timothy we are surrounded by false teachings.
But we must not allow our society to distort or crown oud God’s eternal truth.
Spend time every day reflecting on the foundation of your Christian faith found in God’s Word, the great truths that build up your life.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:15)
Timothy was one of the first second-generation Christians.
He became a Christian, not because an evangelist preached a powerful sermon, but because his mother and grandmother had taught him the Holy Scriptures when he was a small child (2 Timothy 1:5).
A parent’s work is vitally important.
At home and in church, we should realize that teaching small children is both an opportunity and a responsibility.
Jesus wanted little children to come to him (Matthew 19:13-15).
Like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, Eunice and Lois, do you part in leading children to Christ.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:15)
For Timothy, the “Holy Scriptures” were the books of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is important because it is God’s Word, and it points to Jesus.
Faith Christ makes the whole Bible intelligible.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:16)
The Bible is not a collection of stories, fables, myths, or merely human ideas about God.
It is not a human book.
Through the Holy Spirit, God revealed His person and plan to certain believers, who wrote down His message for His people (2 Peter 1:20-21).
This process is known as inspiration.
The writers wrote from their own personal, historical, and cultural contexts.
Although they used their own minds, talents, language, and style, they wrote what God wanted them to write.
Scripture is completely trustworthy because God was in control of its writing.
Its words are entirely authoritative for our faith and life.
The Bible is “God-breathed.”
Read it, and use its teachings to guide your conduct.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
The whole Bible is God’s inspired Word.
Because it is inspired and trustworthy, we should read it, and apply it to our lives.
The Bible is our standard for testing everything else that claims to be true.
It is our safeguard against false teachings and our source of guidance for how we should live.
It is our only source of knowledge about how we can be saved.
God wants to show you what is true and equip you to live for Him.
How much time do you spend in God’s Word?
Read it regularly to discover God’s truth and to become confident in your life and faith.
Develop a plan for reading the whole Bible, not just the familiar passages.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 3:17)
In our zeal for the truth of Scripture, we must never forget its purpose – to equip us to do good.
We should not study God’s Word simply to increase our knowledge or to prepare us to win arguments.
We should study the Bible so that we will know how to do Christ’s work in the world.
Our knowledge of God’s Word is not useful unless it strengthens our faith and leads us to do good.
4 1-2 I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder. Christ himself is the Judge, with the final say on everyone, living and dead. He is about to break into the open with his rule, so proclaim the Message with intensity; keep on your watch. Challenge, warn, and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 4:1-2)
It was important for Timothy to preach the Good News so that the Christian faith could spread throughout the world.
We believe in Christ today because people like Timothy were faithful to their mission.
It is still vitally important for believers to spread the Good News.
Over seven billion people are alive today, and most of them do not know Christ.
He is coming soon, and He wants to find His faithful believers ready for Him.
It may be inconvenient to take a stand for Christ or to tell others about His love, but preaching the Word of God is the most important responsibility the church and its members have been given.
Be prepared for, courageous in, and sensitive to God-given opportunities to tell the Good News.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 4:2)
We should always be ready to serve God in any situation, whether or not it is convenient.
Be sensitive to the opportunities God gives you.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 4:2)
Paul told Timothy to “correct, rebuke, and encourage”).
It is difficult to accept correction, to be told we have to change.
But no matter how much the truth hurts, we must be willing to listen to it so we can more fully obey God.
3-5 You’re going to find that there will be times when people will have no stomach for solid teaching, but will fill up on spiritual junk food—catchy opinions that tickle their fancy. They’ll turn their backs on truth and chase mirages. But you—keep your eye on what you’re doing; accept the hard times along with the good; keep the Message alive; do a thorough job as God’s servant.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 4:3-5)
Many speakers, teachers, and writers talk about the pursuit of knowledge.
But often they don’t want knowledge, they want power.
Such people won’t listen to “sound and wholesome teaching.”
Instead, the “reject the truth and chase after myths.”
You can see this everywhere – from university campuses to even some churches.
People claiming to have a bit more enlightenment than what the dusty Bible has to say; people claiming to improve on God’s words.
Such people have several things in common:
- They do not tolerate the truth. They have no interest in or respect for absolute truth or for any standard of judgment.
- They reject truth for sensationalism. They want truth that fits their situation and makes sense for them.What they feel, what works for them, what seems compelling – that is their truth and they claim an absolute right to it.No one should even attempt to tell them differently.
- They gather viewpoints to suit their selfish desires. Although they professess objectivity, their only defense for their viewpoints is that those viewpoints suit their desires.
Such teachers have a following because they are telling people “whatever their itching ears want to hear.”
These people are following myths.
False teaching can be found in many places – even inside the doors of some churches.
Like Timothy, you must “keep a clear mind in every situation” and seek God’s Word for the truth.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 4:5)
To keep cool when you are jarred and jolted by people or circumstances, don’t react quickly.
In any work of ministry that you undertake, keeping a clear mind in every situation makes you morally alert to temptation, resistant to pressure, and vigilant when facing heavy responsibility.
6-8 You take over. I’m about to die, my life an offering on God’s altar. This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way. All that’s left now is the shouting—God’s applause! Depend on it, he’s an honest judge. He’ll do right not only by me, but by everyone eager for his coming.
Reflection: (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
As he neared the end of his life, Paul could confidently say that he had been faithful to his call.
Thus, he faced death calmly, knowing that he would be rewarded by Christ.
Is your life preparing you for death?
Do you share Paul’s confident expectation of meeting Christ?
The good news is that the heavenly reward is not just for giants of faith like Paul, but for all who are eagerly looking forward to Christ’s second coming.
Paul gave these words to encourage Timothy and us, so that no matter how difficult the fight seems, we can keep fighting.
When we are with Jesus Christ, we will discover that it was all worth it.