Bahan Alkitab: 2 Timothy
– Written by Paul from the Mamertine prison around 66AD. After Paul was released from first Roman imprisonment (62AD) and completed his fourth missionary journey, he was imprisoned again by Emperor Nero.
– It is the last letter that Paul wrote
– Paul was put in a dungeon and chained, he knew that his life was about to end.
– Reasons why Paul wrote the letter:
o He was lonely, at least twice he requested Timothy to come to Rome to visit him. Paul called Timothy “my true son in the faith”, perhaps having led him to Christ during his first visit to Lystra where Timothy came from.
o He was concerned about the wellbeing of the churches under Nero’s persecution and so he encouraged Timothy to continue preaching the gospel, living a godly life, defending the gospel and persevering through all the hardships
o He wanted to write to the Ephesian church through Timothy. Ephesus – centre of Artemis worship.
o Parting letter from apostle Paul to sum up his 30-year ministry
Summary of Paul’s missionary journeys
1. 1st Missionary Journey (46-48AD): Paul met Timothy in Lystra and led him to faith in Christ.
2. 2nd Missionary Journey (50-52AD): Timothy started to accompany Paul in his missionary journeys.
3. 3rd Missionary Journey (53-57AD):
· Paul and Timothy make Ephesus their base for the next three years (53-56AD)
· A riot at Ephesus (Acts 19:21-39)
· Prophet Agabus prophesised that Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem
· Paul was arrested in Jerusalem, tried and appealed to Caesar, sailed to Rome
· Paul was under home imprisonment for 2 years in Rome and acquitted in 62AD
4. 4th Missionary Journey (62AD)
· He made a fourth journey after his release from the first Roman imprisonment recorded in Acts 28
· Paul left Timothy in charge of the church at Ephesus
· He wrote his first letter to Timothy and his letter to Titus in Philippi
· Paul’s itinerary was likely to be: Rome, Spain, Crete, Miletus, Colosse, Ephesus, Philippi, Nicopolis, then he returned to Rome where he was imprisoned in the Mamertine prison. He wrote his second letter to Timothy shortly before being executed in circa 67AD during the intense persecution of Jews and Christians by Nero.
God’s Church has always been under attacks on their faith since the 1st century until now the 21st century, either from inside the Church or from outside the Church.
• Internal threats
• Judaism: reject Christ, claiming that for one to be saved, he must carry out the Jewish law and adhere to the Jewish rites and tradition, such as Sabbath, circumcision, and other 613 commandments in the Torah. The main thing is to carry out the law, without that then you can’t be saved.
• Disunity: conflicts among Church members, causing disharmony and separation of Church members
• External threats
• Persecutions: by governments, by other religions
• Worldly philosophy, e.g.: Gnosticism. Followers of Gnosticism emphasised personal spiritual knowledge (gnosis) over the teachings from the Bible. They viewed material existence as flawed and evil. They claimed Jesus to be merely a human who attained enlightenment through personal spiritual knowledge and taught his disciples to do the same. There’s no teaching of sin and repentance but the objective is to reach enlightenment (to have full comprehension of a situation, to have the knowledge or wisdom, to be awakened intellect). They denied bodily resurrection.
• Different kinds of gospel, e.g. the ‘glorious’ Christ
• Free thinker: a person who forms their own ideas and opinions rather than accepting those of other people, especially in religious teaching. They believe that beliefs should instead be reached by other methods such as logic, reason, and empirical observation.
• Radicalism: a belief that society needs to be changed, and that these changes are only possible through revolutionary means; changes must be done thoroughly, starting from the root.
• Worldly views: lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, etc. (2 Tim 3:1-5).
The gospel is the power that saves, the gospel produce changed lives. It is the deposit entrusted to all Christians. Christians must guard the gospel. What does guard the gospel mean?
Guard the gospel means (2 Tim 4:2):
• preach the Word
• share with others about the gospel
• be ready in season and out of season
• in favourable situation and unfavourable situation
• Reprove, rebuke, and exhort
• not sugarcoating the word
• encourage others to stay the course, keep walking on God’s path
2 Tim 1:7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control
How to guard the gospel:
· Live a godly life. 2 Tim 2:22 So, flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
· Explain with reasoning, patience and kindness. 2 Tim 2:24-26 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Can we escape hardships?
· 2 Tim 3:12-13 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
How do we prepare ourselves?
· 2 Tim 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
· Knowledge of the Word of God + Obedience
Put into practice:
· Be disciplined in learning the Word of God since young.
· Make it a habit, not easily exchange that with other things
· Ask questions if you don’t understand about a Bible verse
· Practice to answer kindly to those who challenge your faith, learn not to get upset, not to lose your cool.
· See if you can share a Bible verse you memorise to your friend.
2 Tim 1:7
For God gave us spirit not of fear but power and love and self-control.