September 11, 2015.
Note that I am switching Sunday’s reading to today, likely to be followed by Daniel and then the reading from John. I apologize for any confusion.
Daily Reading: II Timothy 3-4.
Background: II Timothy 1-2.
Concepts and Connections.
1. The coming godlessness: Paul continues on with Timothy here warning him of the difficulty that would come in the last days, and list a bunch of immoral characteristics of people in that time. Note that Paul says that some would have the appearance of godliness, but deny its power. Timothy is told to avoid such people that practice these things for they lead people astray. The two examples given here, Jannes and Jambres, are the names traditionally given to the magicians who stood against Moses when he was before Pharaoh (see Exodus 7:8-13). The folly of this godlessness would not get far, however, as it would be plain to all.
2. The inspired word: Though godlessness would rise, Timothy was to remain strong in the example that Paul had lived before him, holding on to the teachings and everything that he had seen. He encourages him to remain strong through persecution, as all who chose to follow Christ will receive persecution. Timothy was to remain strong in the teaching that he had received from his youth from the sacred writings, and then Paul gives one of the most notable testimonies to the written word in scripture, confirming that it is inspired by God, that is God-breathed, and is profitable for all things necessary for the growth of the man of God (that is, messenger of God, an echo of an Old Testament phrase), that he might be complete and equipped for every good work.
Encouragement and final words: Paul continues his firm encouragement to Timothy here charging him to preach the word, always being ready, and to lead the people of God though reproof, rebuke and exhortation. He was to do the work of an evangelist, always being sober-minded and enduring suffering with patience. He is warned that a time would come when people would not want to listen to the truth, but would rather find people who would tell them what they wanted to hear so that they could believe them comfortably. Timothy was not to loose heart at this, but to continue on. It seems that Paul is in a way passing on the touch to Timothy here, as it is apparent that he will not be in this world too much longer. He was ready to depart to be with the Lord, for his time drew near and he had fought the good fight of faith to this point in his life. He was confident in his Master and Savior, that He would have a crown of righteousness waiting for him when he came, and not only for him, but for all those who bear His name.
After this, Paul gives some personal instructions and updates to Timothy, and we can actually learn a lot about different people in this section. We learn of people who have deserted Paul, those who have done him harm. We learn about where some of the disciples, such as Titus and Luke, are currently. We also get an interesting insight perhaps to Paul’s relationship with Barnabas though the person they had a sharp disagreement about, John Mark (see Acts 15:36-41), as we see that Paul now considered him very useful in the ministry. We see that when Paul was in trouble, even when no one stood with him, he always put his faith and trust in the Lord, Who strengthened him in his time of need. There are some final greetings, and then Paul is left to await Timothy’s visit to him, preferably before winter.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Daniel 7-12.
Grace be with you.