1 & 2 Timothy - Lesson 9

By John Harrison

God's Spirit is at work in those gifted to teach

(2 Timothy 1:1-18)

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

  1. Describe how Paul encouraged Timothy to teach and how we can similarly encourage those who teach God's word.
  2. Explain what Paul meant when he told Timothy to "rekindle God's gift" in him and how the Holy Spirit works in all those who teach God's word.
  3. Identify three early Christian teaching roles and what types of responses we can expect from others when God's word is proclaimed.

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.

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 bless those who are charged with the responsibility of teaching in the church. Ask God to bless teachers with knowledge of the truth, clear insights into what that truth means for our lives, and the ability to teach the truth clearly and effectively.
  3. Explain to the class that in today's lesson they will learn :
    1. Gifted teachers need encouragement as they confront false teachings.
    2. The Holy Spirit equips teachers to confront false teachings.
    3. The gospel is protected by God and it motivates Christians in faith and love.

Learning Experience: (30 minutes)

Note to Teacher: Before examining the content of 2nd Timothy 1, you may want to remind the class about the background information of this letter that was shared in Lesson 1: Here it is:

In 2nd Timothy, Paul is in Roman custody and is probably being held in Rome awaiting his trial (1:8, 17; 2:9), which he doesn't believe will result in him being set free (4:6).

Paul has two reasons for writing 2nd Timothy. First, he wants to encourage Timothy to carry out his ministry duties with faithfulness and courage despite hardships and opposition (1:6-14). Second, Paul is imprisoned in Rome awaiting a trial and feels abandoned by several co-workers (1:15; 4:10), so he wants Timothy to come join him (4:9). Luke is still with Paul but Paul wants the company of Timothy and Mark, presumably John Mark of Acts 13:13 and 15:37-40. He also wants Timothy to bring Paul's cloak and scrolls to him (4:13).

Part I: Gifted teachers need encouragement as they confront false teachings.

Have someone read 2nd Timothy 1:1-5

Q: What does Paul say to Timothy that will communicate to him that he is confident in Timothy's ability to carry out his duties in Ephesus?

A: There are three things Paul states which shows his affection and confidence in Timothy.

  1. First, Paul calls Timothy his "beloved son" (v. 2), indicating both Paul's personal affection for him and confidence in Timothy's role as Paul's "son" or the"representative" of Paul's apostolic authority. Paul could also be calling Timothy his "son" because Paul has been a "father" to Timothy, providing guidance to his faith.
  2. Second, Paul recalls that he prays for Timothy constantly and he longs to see him and be filled with joy (vs. 3-4).
  3. Third, Paul reminds Timothy of the sincere faith that his mother Eunice andgrandmother Lois had. Paul sees their faith being alive in Timothy.

One of the things that Paul is doing here is he is trying to encourage and motivateTimothy to withstand the pressures and attacks from the false teachers. Part of hisstrategy to encourage Timothy is to recall the people (grandmother, mother and Paul himself) who have helped Timothy develop in his spiritual growth and faith.

Q: When you feel attacked by someone peddling false teachings and getdiscouraged, is there someone whose investment in your spiritual life you oftenrecall to keep you encouraged and strong in the faith?

A: Allow enough time for two or three people to share their personal stories ofpeople whose influence in their life give them spiritual encouragement to face conflicts.

Q: Do you make it a conscious practice to encourage those who are gifted teachers of faith? If so, how do you encourage them?

A: Several answers could be given for how people encourage the church's teachers. Allow enough time for two or three people to share how they do it.

Part II: The Holy Spirit equips teachers to confront false teachings.

Have someone read 2nd Timothy 1:6-10

Q: What does Paul mean when he tells Timothy to "rekindle God's gift" that Timothy came to possess through the laying on of Paul's hands? A: There have been different interpretations of this verse. Some argue that the"gift" is the "gift of ministry" and that Paul's "laying on of hands" is a commissioning (or ordaining) function. Timothy was commissioned (or charged) to his ministry in Ephesus when either Paul or Paul and the elders (see 1 Tim 4:14) lay hands on him. Others argue that the "gift" refers to a special blessing from the Spirit of courage and stamina or even a miraculous gift of the Spirit, such as Paul gave to twelve men in Acts 19:6. Paul is urging Timothy to be open to the Spirit's efforts to provide him with courage to confront the false teachers. Does the class see either argument asmore persuasive than the other and if so, why?

Q: In verse 7, Paul tells Timothy that God had given "us" a Spirit of "power and love and self-control." Do you think Paul meant that God had given Paul and Timothy specially these things in order to carry out their ministry or that He gives all those who teach the truth those things to help them? [Teacher's Note: Even though Pau lwrites "a Spirit," on account of the emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the rest of the chapter, Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit and not a human's spirit under the influence of the Holy Spirit.]

A: While Paul probably was thinking specifically of the strength that the Holy Spirit gives to him and Timothy, it seems certain that Paul believed that all Christians receive strength from the Spirit. In his earlier letter to the Galatians, Paul stated that the Spirit helps Christians to live holy lives (Gal. 5:22-23).

Part III: The gospel is protected by God and it motivates Christians in faith and love.

Have someone read 2nd Timothy 1:11-14

Paul states in verse 11 that he was appointed (by God) to be three things: a "preacher" (literally a "herald"), an "apostle" and a "teacher."

Q: What do "preachers," "teachers" and "apostles" all have in common? What is different about these roles?

A: All three roles are responsible for declaring truth. Being a "herald" conveys the idea that Paul has been sent by a king (God or Jesus) primarily to announce God's will. Being an "apostle" conveys the idea that Paul has been sent by Jesus as the bodily representation of Jesus' authority. This role is similar in some ways to the role today of an "ambassador". Being a "teacher" conveys the idea that Paul is to engage in an ongoing relationship of disciple-making with those who want to learn how to live according to God's will. In verse 12 Paul states that he suffers (a reference to his arrest and trial) due to the fact that he preaches and teaches the gospel. While these circumstances might cause some to be ashamed and conclude that God is not with them, Paul is not ashamed and is convinced that God is with him.

Q: How was Paul able to use this difficult circumstance to further the spread of the gospel?

A: He taught people in prison, he wrote letters from prison, he demonstrated to others how to be faithful in difficulty.

Q: What are situations in which we can turn hardships into blessings for others?

A: Allow time for several responses.

It can be noted that translators are puzzled as to how to translate accurately a specific phrase (literally "my entrustment") that occurs in verse 12. Paul could be saying that he is convinced either "? that he (referring to God) is able to guard what I have entrusted to himfor that day" (KJV, NIV, NRSV) or "? that he is able to guard what he has entrusted to me for that day" (NAB, TEV, NCV).

  1. If the first translation is most accurate, then Paul is referring to his life in general or more specifically to his life of ministry. He has entrusted his life to God and whatever happens to him is part of God's will. God will ultimately reward him.

Q: Paul tells Timothy to hold to the standard of sound words with "faith and love that are in Christ Jesus." How do we keep sound teaching with faith and love? What results do you expect to occur among Christians and non-Christians when the gospel is preached and taught?

A: Several different answers could be given. Allow enough time for 2 or 3 responses.

Application: (5 minutes)

Discuss ways in which we can encourage people to teach within the church who have a gift of teaching and to encourage those that currently teach.

Assignment: (2 minutes)

This week write a note or email to someone that has touched your life through their teaching from God's word.

Lesson Wrap Up: (5 minutes)

In this lesson we learned that Paul encouraged Timothy by:

  1. Calling him his "son".
  2. Telling him that he is praying for him.
  3. Reminding him of the faith his mother and grandmother possessed.

We also learned that by the phrase "rekindle God's gift," Paul was referring to Timothy's gift of ministry which God had given him.

Finally, we learned that there were three teaching roles in Ephesus: "preachers," "teachers"and "apostles."

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