Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri. This lesson treatment is published in the October 2020 issue of Christian Standard + The Lookout. (Subscribe to our print edition.)
“From Whom You Learned It” by David Faust (Lesson Application)
Lesson Aim: Take up from others the responsibilities of serving Christ.
By Mark Scott
Hans Finzel said, “There is no success without a successor” (The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make). Wise Christian leaders are always on the lookout for and intentionally training the next generation of leaders. It is similar to the task of parenting children; church leaders always should be striving to work themselves out of a job. It is not enough to disciple people. Christian leaders must disciple people in such a way that those new disciples are equipped to disciple others.
What Timothy Heard
2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:1-2
After offering thanks for Timothy and challenging his son in the faith not to be ashamed, Paul shared a reminder of his teaching. The Bible has great respect for ears. The theology of “hearing” matters. Hearing, in Scripture, means to heed and obey. The word heard in 1:13 and 2:2 reminds one of the call to worship for Israel (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Timothy heard a pattern of sound (healthy) teaching. The content of that teaching would be in the substance of the Pastoral Epistles and the rest of the New Testament. What Timothy heard he was to keep, and he was to keep it with the faith and love in Christ.
Timothy had been given a deposit (the gift within the gospel). His job was to guard it (as in a sentry guarding a prison cell) with the help of the Holy Spirit. The job of an elder is threefold: feed, lead, and guard. Why was this important? Because people like Phygelus and Hermongenes are always on the loose (2 Timothy 1:15-18).
Timothy heard the very words of his mentor in Christ. Paul called Timothy to be strong (vigorous like Samson and Hezekiah in the Old Testament; also used in Ephesians 6:10) and entrust to (place before) reliable (faithful) people who will be qualified (sufficient) to teach others. Wilford Lown said, “This verse [2 Timothy 2:2] was Paul’s great commission.”
Whom Timothy Followed
2 Timothy 3:10-15a
Timothy stood in contrast to the people described in 2 Timothy 3:1-9. (In fact, Paul often used the phrase, “But you . . .” when he wanted to show this contrast; e.g., 3:10, 14.) Timothy did not follow the ways of the world described in the previous vice list. He followed (knew all about) two profound influences in his life. One influence was Paul himself. Paul reminded Timothy of his words and deeds, five of his virtues, and his trials. Timothy could never say, “I never knew ministry would be this tough.” He had witnessed too many persecutions and sufferings not to understand the significance of the statement, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22, New American Standard Bible; cf. Acts 13:50-51; 14:5-6, 21-22). Paul had endured these, and the Lord rescued him from them.
Verses 12-13 could have been enclosed in parentheses. Essentially, Timothy and all others who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will experience persecution. That’s because of evildoers (evil people) and imposters (a pharmaceutical term meaning to enchant with drugs). These people go from bad to worse. They deceive others and are being deceived themselves.
The second profound influence on Timothy’s life was a maternal influence (1:5). Paul told Timothy to continue (remain) in what he had learned. While much of that came from Paul, it also came—during Timothy’s infancy—from his mother and grandmother. It is never too early to begin training a preacher, and many a preacher has been trained first on his mother’s knee.
What Timothy Knew
2 Timothy 3:15b-17
Timothy’s knowledge of Scripture is truly what made him a good successor of Paul. Two expressions are used to describe “written revelation.” Holy Scriptures are “sacred writings” (sacred grammar). These can make one wise for salvation. Scripture (3:16) is where we get our English word graphics. It refers to something written down. Clearly these are references to the text of the Bible. They certainly refer to the Old Testament but, due to the use of all, could also refer to the parts of the New Testament that had been written by this time
Scripture finds its origin in God (God-breathed), and it is useful (profitable or advantageous) for building us up and tearing us up (Jeremiah 1:10). The result of this usefulness is so that the servant (man) of God may be thoroughly equipped (set straight) for the work of the church in the world. Who will succeed you?
Lesson study ©2019, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on the scope and sequence, ©2019 by Christian Standard Media. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.