This is Paul's last letter and was written to Timothy while he was in a Roman prison. Paul knew that his time on earth was almost up, and wanted to give Timothy some good, sound council for how to continue to spread the gospel. Here is the structure of the letter:
Ch. 1:1-8 Encouragement Ch.1:1-8
Ch. 2:1-13 What effective ministry looks like
Ch. 2:14-3:9 Opposing false teaching
Ch. 3:10-4:22 Paul's charge to Timothy
This letter is a combat manual, and speaks to how to deal with suffering in the world. This is a letter on how to finish well...
1. Dance with the One who brought you. Ch. 1:1-8
You were born again by the grace and mercy of God, so live that way. Abide in Christ.
2. Run...but run in the right direction Ch. 2:20-24
Flee youthful passions that pull you in the wrong direction. You must deliberately make a decision to run the right way. To pursue means "to persecute" or "hunting an animal". We often focus too much on what NOT to do, but we should focus on what TO do.
3. Keep standing on God's Word Ch. 3:16-17
Keep standing implies that you already are standing. God's word has to stand OVER us. We can't make it say what we want it to say. It is perfect in itself. It is sufficient, authoritative, and inerrant. Keep a high view of the Scriptures. It is alive!
4. Don't quit! Ch. 4:6-8
Don't stop in the process. Christ did not stop. He resolutely set His face towards Jerusalem because He knew it would take dying on the cross to save humanity. He took our sins. Paul had also willingly given his life. God is pouring him out. Paul uses the analogy of a farmer, soldier, worker, and athlete - all which speak to discipline, suffering, and hard work.
5. Fulfill your ministry Ch. 4:5
Your role is vital in the Kingdom. Everything you do counts!
6. Don't walk alone
Paul had community. We know this because he is lonely while in prison, and asks for Timothy to come and visit him. We can't walk through life alone, or disaster will happen.
We must follow those that go before us, and expect the greater reward (Ch. 4:8). There is a crown of righteousness and restoration that is waiting for us. Remember, you can't finish what you haven't started...
Questions to Consider:
1. How are you deliberate in moving away from your passions to pursue worldly things?
2. How do you allow the Scripture to shape and change you? Remember, that takes humility...
3. What is your God-given assignment? Are you currently living that out? Remember, Carmel, our community, and the world NEED you... just "dip your toe in the water".