1 & 2 Timothy - Lesson 10

By John Harrison

To Teach Truth, Prepare to Endure

(2 Timothy 2:1-26)

Objectives: By the end of this session the learner will be able to:

  1. List the three illustrations Paul used to encourage Timothy to work hard and faithfully.
  2. List the three things Paul indicates are taught in the gospel.
  3. List specific things Paul tells Timothy to avoid and pursue while he endures hardship for the gospel.

Teaching Aids and Materials:

  1. Easy to understand Bibles for every student (CEV, RSV, NAV, NIV, NRSV, etc.).
  2. A marker board and/or chalkboard.
  3. A sign-up sheet with items for a missionary care package.
  4. Picture of your missionaries.

Lesson Plan for Conducting the Class

Introduction: (5-8 minutes)

  1. Begin class by welcoming members and any visitors; make all necessary class announcements.
  2. Have the class led in prayer. The prayer should include a request that God strengthens us to endure hardship for the cause of Christ.
  3. Discuss last week's assignment
  4. Explain to the class what this lesson will focus on:
    1. It will encourage us to work hard and faithfully in our ministries.
    2. It will remind us what can help motivate us to endure hardship in our confession of Jesus as Christ.
    3. It will urge us to avoid youthful passions and pursue four key attributes.

Learning Experiences: (30 minutes)

Part I: Be strong in the grace of Jesus Christ

Have someone read 2 Timothy 2:1-7

Q: What three major things does Paul urge Timothy to do?

A: 1. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus2, Entrust Paul's public teaching to other people who are competent to teach.3. Endure suffering on account of this ministry.

Q:* To illustrate that toilsome work is honorable, Paul makes a parallel between suffering for the gospel and what three things?

A: 1. military service. 2. athletic competition. 3) farming.

Q: Do the three illustrations make the same point or is each one making a different point?

A: They appear to make three different points.

A: Several answers are possible. Allow enough time for 2 or 3 responses.

Part II: Endure all things for the sake of the gospel

Have someone read 2 Timothy 2:8-19

Q: Paul states that his "gospel" consisted of at least three claims about Jesus. What are they?

A: The first claim is that Jesus is "Christ." Jesus' identity as God's anointed king (i.e.Messiah) was paramount in Paul's preaching. While there exists on earth emperors,kings and rulers, none of them are the uniquely appointed king over all things.Second, Jesus has risen from the dead. Paul taught that God's victorious news(which is what is conveyed by the term "gospel") is made evident in the fact thatGod has conquered sin and death through the physical, bodily resurrection of God(see 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 12-28).Third, Jesus is a descendant of David. Paul made a similar point in Romans 1:3-4.But why is Paul making this point in 2nd Timothy? One opinion is that Paul is affirming the incarnation of the Son of God, by insinuating that, like all humans,Jesus was made of flesh and blood (some believers in Christ denied that Jesus was the Christ, see 1 John 2:22). Other people argue that Paul is emphasizing that Jesus is an offspring of King David in fulfillment of OT prophecies about God's future anointed king. A third interpretation claims that by this remark Paul is not responding to any particular question on incarnation or prophecy but is merely repeating a traditional statement made by all early Christians: "Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, has been raised from the dead."No matter which interpretation is most accurate, it should not be overlooked that all three elements focuses on God's victory through physical means. God's anointed(i.e. "Christ") is Jesus (the physical person). He was the physical offspring of KingDavid. He rose from the dead in a physical body.

Q: Why is it important to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the resurrected Son of David?

A: Because these truths make up the heart of the gospel. If they are not true, Jesus died in vain and God's promised salvation of the world has not begun.

Verse 11 points to one of those "trustworthy sayings" which may indicate an early Christian hymn or statement of faith. It emphasizes what Jesus will do depending upon what believers will do. If believers die with Jesus, then they will live with him. If believers will endure suffering for the sake of Jesus now, they will reign with Jesus in the future. If believers deny Jesus (as the Christ?), then he will deny them before God, which will result in them being condemned.

Verse 13 is problematic. It states that if believers are unfaithful, Jesus will remain faithful.What does this mean? Some interpreters have claimed that this means that despite believers becoming unfaithful, Jesus will be faithful to them and save them in the end.However, this interpretation seems to fly in the face of the warning in the previous verse that says if believers deny Jesus, he will deny them. Others have interpreted verse 13 to mean that if Christians are unfaithful in small ways, Jesus will not abandon them and will stay faithful to his promise to save them. Finally, a third view argues that the verse means that if believers are unfaithful, Christ will be faithful to his promise to condemn those who are unfaithful.

Q: Paul wants Timothy to urge believers to endure hardship for the sake of the gospel,even as he has done as a prisoner. What kinds of hardships do Christians today often have to endure for the sake of the gospel?

A: Some Christians endure mocking, slander, and social and political marginalization for their faith. Allow a few minutes for the class to describe types of hardships they know Christians have endure for the sake of sharing the gospel.

Q: When we are called upon to endure hardships for the gospel, what can give us encouragement to endure in our confession of Jesus Christ?

A: Again, allow time for several suggestions to be offered by the class.

Q: What are some specific things in verses 14-19 that Paul tells Timothy to continue to do?

A: Students may come up with several different types of answers. Here are few which the teacher will want to mention:1. Continue to teach the message of truth (i.e. the gospel) accurately (v. 15)2. Continue to avoid profane chatter (v. 16)3. Continue to turn away from evil (v. 19)

Part III: Remove dishonorable behavior from your life

Have someone read 2 Timothy 2:20-26

In this section Paul appeals to Timothy to be careful of behavior that will erode his character and effectiveness as a teacher of the truth.

Q: Paul tells Timothy in verse 22 to keep away (or "flee") youth passions. What do you think Paul has in mind?

A: Many people might think that Paul has in mind sexual lust. However, in this context that is not the most likely interpretation. Paul more likely has in mind the youthful passion for new teachings and arguments, which is being shown in the lives of such men as Hymenaeus and Philetus (vs. 17-18).

Q: The Christian life cannot simply be about avoiding bad behavior but must focus on embodying good behavior. What are some of the specific good behaviors Paul wantsTimothy to embody?

A: 1. Pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace (v. 22)2. Be kind toward everyone (v. 24)3. Be patient and gentle with those you are correcting (vs. 24-25)

Application: (5 minutes)

Talk to the class about getting a care package together for your chosen missionary. Get input about items you could send and then pass a sheet around for people to sign-up. You may want to get one or two people in the class to be in charge of postage.

Assignment: (2 minutes)

Purchase the item/s you signed up for and bring to class next week. If you have children you may want to encourage them to draw pictures or write notes to put into the shipping boxes.

Lesson Wrap Up: (5 minutes)

In this lesson we learned that Paul told Timothy that he has to work hard and faithfully in his ministry as does the soldier who doesn't get entangled in civilian affairs, the athlete who competes according to the rules, and the farmer who is the first to share in his crops.We also learned that part of Paul's gospel is that Jesus is the Christ, the son of David, who is risen from the dead and it is for this confession that Christians must be willing to endure hardship.

Finally, we learned that in the midst of our hardship for the sake of the gospel, we must avoid the youthful passion for new teachings and disputes about words but instead pursue what we know is true about righteousness, faithfulness, love and peace.

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