Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 24 2013 - 2 Timothy 2:20-3:17 – The word of God

Paul's second letter to Timothy is the last of his letters. Paul knows that he probably does not have many days left before he is put to death for preaching the good news about Jesus. Timothy also is facing opposition. What advice can Paul give this young man as some around him are abandoning the faith?

Firstly, Paul tells Timothy that he must, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2:22). He is to be careful not to be led astray by the desires that could so easily preoccupy a young man. He is to make it his goal to live a life pleasing to God and profitable to others and to do this in fellowship with God’s people. He is to avoid foolish arguments and to be gentle and kind even with those who need putting right – seeking to win them by grace rather than crushing them with clever arguments. And he is to do all this even when he is faced with abusive, treacherous and slanderous people (3:1-5).

How is Timothy going to manage all this without Paul to be his strength and guide?

Paul has one great treasure and legacy to hand on to his son, Timothy; "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Stick with the Scriptures, says Paul. The Bible is God's Word, given not only to bring you salvation, but also to shape your life so that it may be pleasing to God. The Scriptures are able to equip you for the work that God has called you to do. They are not just historical documents revealing God’s purposes, they are a living word, accompanied by the power of the risen Christ, powerful to accomplish God’s purposes for Timothy and for those among whom he ministers.

We also need to stick with the Scriptures. They speak to us of God’s great plan of salvation centring in the Lord Jesus Christ. Here we learn of God – we are taught by him and our eyes are opened to his grace and goodness and the wonder of his saving plans for a world that has turned its back on him. Here we are directed and trained up in the way we should go and are rebuked and redirected when we turn aside to go our own way. Through his word and by his Spirit, God purposes to make us like his Son. More than that, he intends to pursue his saving purpose for the world through us, to equip us to continue the mission of Christ.

The Bible is not simply Paul’s legacy which he leaves with Timothy, it is God’s love-gift to us and to a needy and quarrelsome world (3:1-4).

Father, we thank you for your word, the revelation of your heart and saving purposes. Breathe on us afresh through your word that we may hear you calling to us and may understand what you have to say to us. May we grow in our knowledge of you, be trained in godliness and be fully equipped to serve you. We pray also that the Bible's life-changing message may reach people everywhere. Help us to continue the work begun long ago by Paul the apostle and by his young friend Timothy.

Peter Misselbrook