2 Timothy 2:1-7 Amplified Bible
2 So you, my son, be strong [constantly strengthened] and empowered in the grace that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus. 2 The things [the doctrine, the precepts, the admonitions, the sum of my ministry] which you have heard me teach [a]in the presence of many witnesses, entrust [as a treasure] to reliable and faithful men who will also be capable and qualified to teach others. 3 Take with me your share of hardship [passing through the difficulties which you are called to endure], like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve. 5 And if anyone competes as an athlete [in competitive games], he is not crowned [with the wreath of victory] unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hard-working farmer [who labors to produce crops] ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 7 Think over the things I am saying [grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you insight and understanding in everything.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
Our lives today are pretty easy.
We expect that others (conscientious Christians) will automatically work hard, ponder how they will sacrifice over much just to make our lives easier for us.
We don’t know what it means to wait for something anymore.
If you want food, simply go to a fast food joint.
If you want a new record, click a link on your computer instead of waiting in line at a record store.
If you want to know what a friend is doing, text them instead of calling or check out their Facebook or Twitter page.
We have became a people who consume food, entertainment, news, and so on.
But the obvious observation to be made here is – have we become a people who consume the manna of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Unfortunately we have brought this into the church as well.
We go to church because we know we can consume a great worship experience.
We don’t have to do anything on our part because the lights are set low, the music is excellently performed, and we don’t have to think about the Bible because we are told by our Pastors precisely what to believe and how to act.
It dawned on me: this can foster a consumerist mentality in the body of Christ.
The consumerist mentality not only deals with our experience at church, but extends back into our personal experience as we read the Bible individually.
We have a study Bible which gives us the answer right away, or we are one click away from a Bible site to explain to us the meaning of a given text.
Or even the daily devotion in the email every morning (yes we know). These are not bad resources, but can cause us to be dependent on them instead of God.
In 2 Timothy, Paul is imparting his wisdom, giving instructions to Timothy.
Some of these instructions were hard to understand, even harder to grasp and then give it application and Paul did not want Timothy to just depend on him.
Instead, he said Timothy should “read Paul’s words” “try to understand the message,” but depend on God, the Holy Spirit alone that was dwelling in Him.
Paul’s message to his student Timothy: We must be very careful that we don’t become a simple consumer, but learn to pray over everything, think long and hard over what we have read and ask God to give us wisdom, understanding.
Through my own experience, there tends to be much greater joy in God’s word when we think and pray often over it than just read what others have said of it.
The Apostle Paul was acutely aware that at any time the Emperor himself could come down from his throne, knock on Paul’s prison door and demand his life.
The Apostle Paul here knows and accepts that his life is near its appointed end and he feels deep within his soul the message of Savior Christ must go forth.
When we become older, and prayerfully wiser, we start pondering our spiritual heritage and too our “faith-filled” faith in Jesus Christ, and we begin to wonder whether or not the succeeding generations will carry on what we have learned.
So, we try to provide up and coming generations of young and younger people with positive exposure to our morals, ethics, worship attitudes and practices, hoping against hope that our values and worship practices will rub off on them;
However, it can sometimes be very difficult to efficiently, effectively instill our hard fought, harder won morals ethics, “Godly” values in another generation.
Usually, when separate generations convene together, viewpoints tend to clash.
In families we witness the soils of bitterness and divisiveness raise up between young people and adults, leading to sowing the seeds of generational divisions.
There are a few examples in Scripture that might lead us to strongly conclude that it’s difficult to accomplish the task of ministering into other generations.
Acts 13:36 says, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay.”
This verse from Dr. Luke implies his deep and deeper belief that the ‘great’ King David was only able to effectively “reach,” to disciple, “of his own generation.”
The pages of Scripture frequently records that it “normally” takes a new and younger generation to provide leadership to communicate to new generations.
Perhaps the best example in the Bible is that of Moses and Joshua.
God selected Moses to lead the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, but he used Joshua, not Moses, to teach, lead, reach a new generation into a new land.
It appears as though, even in 2022 we are only able to effectively minister to our own generation, but we still observe with a crystal clarity in the Bible where we are supposed to try and reach other generations with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For example, David said in Psalm 71:17-18,
“Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.”
We can see from these verses that we are not exempt from sharing the love of Christ with our generation but with the “next generation” and with “all who are to come.” We might not be as effective with another age group as with our own, but we still need to teach the ways of Jesus to the succeeding generations.
Put yourself into Timothy’s shoes for a moment – he was the pastoral leader of his rather sizable faith community – he has just read this letter from his mentor Apostle Paul – which leads him to think he will not be hearing from him again.
He still has his responsibilities to the people he leads – but n0w what becomes of the future where the words and writings of Paul cease to come from Paul?
There is suddenly this vacuum – and all one’s hope seems to get sucked out.
Have you ever been in a situation when you just didn’t know what to do?
There just didn’t seem to be any good options or maybe there were several good possibilities but you didn’t know which one to pursue? You’ve made pro and con lists of all your choices, but it’s not clear what your next step should be.
Your heart cries out,
“I wish God would just tell me what to do.”
But all you get is silence.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could talk to God just like we talk to our friends and ask Him what to do?
Imagine this scenario as Timothy might have:
You ask God a question.
He answers. You hear His voice. You answer. He responds, then asks you a question. You respond. He tells you what to do. You have a conversation.
How do you have a conversation with anyone?
You ask questions.
You share your ideas.
More importantly, you listen ….
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. 2 Timothy 2:7 ESV
Imagine young Timothy trying to have a “final” conversation with his mentor:
Timothy: Okay, wait a minute, Paul. You tell me to think before I preach and act, but isn’t the organ of our thinking fallen and unreliable and unwise too?
Paul: Yes, your mind lacks wisdom is fallen and fallible. Yes, it is prone to self-justifying errors. But Christ alone is in the business of “renewing our minds” (Romans 12:2; Ephesians 4:23).
Do you think there is some unfallen part of you that you could substitute for your mind? We are fallen and depraved in every part. You can’t retreat from thinking yourself into some other safe, untainted faculty of knowing.
Take note, Timothy: even in raising the objection against thinking you are thinking! You can’t escape the necessity of thinking. God’s call is to do it well.
Timothy: But, Paul, I don’t want to become a cold, impersonal intellectual.
Paul: There is danger on both sides, Timothy. There is cold knowledge, and there is a red hot zeal that “is not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2).
But thinking does not have to cool your zeal. In fact, in my life the vigorous exercise of my mind in spiritual things causes me to boil inside, not to freeze.
You are right not to want to become “impersonal.”
That happens when thinking is emphasized to the exclusion of feeling about people; and reason is exalted above love.
But note this, Timothy: abandonment of thinking is the destruction of persons.
Yes, there is significantly more to personal relationships than thinking, but they are less human without it. God honored his image in us when he said, “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Should we do less?
Timothy: But, Paul, should I not just take you at your obviously wiser words, and not ‘think’ ask so many questions? You’re an apostle, and speak for God.
Paul: Take what, Timothy?
Timothy: Your words, what you say in your letters.
Paul: Do you mean the black marks on some fleeting piece of parchment?
Timothy: No. What they are meant to stand for. You know. What they mean.
Paul: How do you think or believe you genuinely know what I mean, Timothy?
Timothy: I carefully and deeply read each word and though of what you write.
Paul: You mean you pass your eyes over the black marks on the parchment?
Timothy: No, do not just glance over them – I . . . I try hard to think about it. I pray and ask how the words and sentences fit together. I look for what it means.
Paul: That’s right, Timothy. Thinking and asking questions is the only way you will ever understand what I want to communicate in my letters.
And either you do it poorly, or you do it well. So “do not be a child in your thinking: be a babe in evil, but in thinking be mature” (1 Corinthians 14:20).
As the Master said, “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Timothy: But, Paul, I am confused here – won’t I become arrogant and boastful by using my mind on my own won’t I discover not too Godly things on my own?
Paul: Timothy, you never have and never will discover anything “on your own.”
And you would know this if you had thought more deeply about what I said.
What I said was:
And what you apparently overlooked was …
“Think over and about what I say, but remember this only exhortation:
“for God ALONE will grant you a measure of understanding in everything.”
The Lord, Timothy, the Lord! “From him, through him, and to him are all things. To him be the glory!” (Romans 11:36)
He is the only ground on which all the Word of God stands and speaks to us.
He is the only true Foundation of your faith and only true goal of all thought.
So, be strong, Timothy – for you stand upon the faith of your fathers who stood most upright, the firmest, surest on ALL of the promises of the Lord your God.
So think, Timothy. Gird up your mind and think on all of the Promises of God!
Pray to God the Holy Spirit to Bring this wisdom to the forefront of your mind …
Savior Jesus said, 33 But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:33-34 Amplified)
Remain steadfast and immovable upon all of the promises of God which came true through the coming of Christ – his life – his ministry – his teachings – his crucifixion – his death – his resurrection and ascension – grasp them – to LIVE!
In the name of God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
God of my whole life, My God of encouragement, there are so many philosophies and views out there. Give me an acceptable measure of understanding of your truth, so I can know what is right. May the Word of God through the Holy Spirit of God guide me into a daily measure of all truth. May I also be taught by Spirit-filled ministers and teachers of your word. I pray that through Your Scriptures, I will be pure in heart and mind, so that I don’t block your truth through my sin and stubbornness. I know your truth is my only foundation for spiritual maturity and for wisdom in all parts of my life. As I walk in your truth, help me better live out your purpose for my life. Amen.