Evening Bible Study
The book of Acts ends in AD 60 with Paul being in Rome under house arrest.
We believe Paul was later released, and visited various places, including
While traveling, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to pastor the church.
Timothy had spent many years with Paul and was like a spiritual “son” to
This letter was written somewhere around AD 63, to guide Timothy to correct
the problems in Ephesus.
Timothy is in his mid-forties about now.
Timothy would pastor the church for 30 years, and die a martyr in AD 97.
4:12-16 Timothy’s Ministry
:12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in
word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
:12 Let no one despise your youth
despise – kataphroneo – despise,
disdain, think little or nothing of
I remember as a young man in my teens holding on to this verse.
Later I thought that perhaps Timothy was in his twenties.
Now when I backtrack his age from his death in AD 97 in his eighties, and
this being AD 63, that would put Timothy in his forties, maybe even fifties.
God uses youth
The older I get, I seem to forget how God uses young people.
I forget I was in my teens and twenties when God began to use me.
I tend to only want to listen to teachers who are at least my age.
When I hear a younger man teach, I think to myself, “Oh he has so much to
I’m afraid that some of us might run the risk of turning into grumpy old
men who never have anything positive to say…
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or maybe sometimes we’re even a little stronger than that…
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The truth is, God often uses those who are younger, inexperienced, and
The Philistines were constantly tormenting the weaker Israelites. The worst came when a 9-foot-tall warrior
named Goliath used to taunt the armies of Israel.
David was just a young man, perhaps in his teens.
He had never fought in a battle, but he had faced a lion
and a bear.
He wasn’t experienced with things like swords and shields,
but he knew how to use a sling and stones.
While the older Israelite warriors cowered in fear at
Goliath, David was willing to meet the challenge.
Samuel 17:45–47 NKJV) —45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to
me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the
name of the Lord of hosts, the
God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the
Lord will deliver you into my
hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will
give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and
the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God
in Israel. 47 Then all
this assembly shall know that the Lord
does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our
You know how that story ended.
The Lunch Boy
You might be tempted to think that you don’t have what it takes to be a
warrior like David.
One time God used a simple boy was willing to share his lunch.
A huge crowd had come out to hear Jesus teach. When Jesus realized that these people were
going to need to be fed at some time, He challenged His disciples to take care
While most of the disciples thought that it was impossible
to feed all those people…
6:8–9 NKJV) —8 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, 9 “There is a
lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among
Jesus would take the little boys bread and fish and use
them to feed 5,000.
Sometimes we forget that God can do amazing things with
just a little to work with, as long as we’re willing to give up our lunch like
that YOUNG man did.
No matter how old Timothy actually was, he wasn’t as old as “Paul”.
There will always be people who will want to compare the younger
“Timothy’s” to the older “Pauls”.
There is a danger some of us will face when Caleb comes home from Hungary
and after a few years takes my place as Sr. Pastor.
Some of you may be tempted to think that he won’t be as
good as old guys like me.
You will be wrong.
:12 but be an example to the believers
example – tupos – the mark
of a stroke or blow, print; a figure formed by a blow or impression; an example
Paul is saying to Timothy that he is the stamp that is to leave an
impression on those around him. As he
presses against the people in his church, he will leave an impression.
He’s supposed to “leave a mark” on those around him.
Leave a mark
We have lots of excuses as to why we can’t be used by the Lord.
Sometimes we’re like Timothy and we think we’re too young or inexperienced
for God to use us.
Don’t hide behind your excuses.
Let God shape your life and press you into the lives of others.
Give them an example to follow, even if you think you’re an uneven,
Paul tells Timothy what kind of “marks” he should be leaving…
:12 in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity
The example’s character
Paul lists six areas for Timothy to be an example in.
word – logos – word
This probably refers to Timothy’s ministry of teaching at Ephesus.
It may simply refer to the kinds of words that come out of Timothy’s mouth.
conduct – anastrophe –
manner of life, conduct, behavior
Not only was Timothy an example in what he says, but also in what he
does. People are watching you.
Paul wants Timothy’s walk to match his talk.
(Matthew 5:16 NKJV)
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify
your Father in heaven.
The way we live, the works we do, are a light to the world
love – agape – brotherly
love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
People aren’t impressed by hearing about God’s love as much as by seeing
13:34–35 NKJV) —34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I
have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are
My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
spirit – pneuma –
This could be talking about Timothy’s human “spirit”, or his “attitude” in
I wonder if it isn’t talking more about Timothy living a life dependent on
the power of the Holy Spirit.
faith – pistis –
conviction of the truth of anything, belief; fidelity, faithfulness
Paul might be talking about Timothy’s faithfulness, his ability to have
others count on him without letting them down.
Paul might be talking about Timothy’s ability to trust God.
People need to see what it looks like to trust God.
They need to see men and women who are willing to take
“ventures in faith”.
purity – hagneia – purity,
sinlessness of life
Sometimes we let others set the standards for us. We allow ourselves to do certain things that
we feel uncomfortable with because “others are doing it”. When you are the example, you are the one
setting the standard.
The world has lost a treasure in Billy Graham.
We may sometimes get lost in the number of people he reached for Christ,
but I believe the bigger impact of his life was not his preaching, but the
example his life was.
Though the message of the gospel is powerful all on it’s
own, I believe when Billy preached there was a measure of power because of the
example of his life – in humility, faith, and purity.
Some of us think of him as an old man that God has used, but most of us
don’t realize that he started his ministry as a young man.
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:13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
:13 Till I come, give attention to …
Paul was expecting to make it back to Ephesus one more time, though we’re
not sure he did.
The things he lists here are the things that he considered the priorities
There are the things that the church ought to be about when we’re together.
:13 to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine
reading – anagnosis – knowing;
a knowing again, owning; reading.
NAS has “public reading”, the idea of the public reading of
Scripture. Reading it together.
exhortation – paraklesis –
a calling near; exhortation, admonition, encouragement; consolation
This is taking the ideas in Scripture and encouraging people to go out and
do them. It’s moving people to action.
It’s putting God’s Word into practice into our lives.
doctrine – didaskalia –
teaching, instruction; that which is taught, doctrine
This involves the correct explanation of the Scriptures, getting the people
connected to what the meaning of Scripture is.
Inductive Bible Study
These three things are at the heart of what we call “inductive Bible
This is the proper way to study the Scriptures.
Inductive Bible Study involves three things:
This is the “reading”, simply going through the text and observing what is
in the text.
You will see on my notes on the screen a part of the text that is
underlined – that’s the “observation” that I’m going to be talking about.
This is the “doctrine”.
This is getting into the meaning of the text. What did Paul mean when he said these things?
Scripture does not mean whatever you want it to mean, it means what the
author meant it to mean.
It’s our job to try to get at the root idea of what the text is all about.
In my notes you will see me add words that define, Greek
definitions, phrases, all designed to get at what the text means.
This is the “exhortation”, encouraging us to think about how to put God’s
Word into practice.
In my notes I will usually put a red block with a “lesson” – and this is
usually aimed at some sort of practical way that we can put this text into
practice in our lives.
This is how we all should be studying the Bible, whether in church or on
What am I looking at? (Observation)
What does it mean? (Interpretation)
How should I act? (Application)
:14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by
prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
:14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you
neglect – ameleo (“not” +
“care about”) – to be careless of, to neglect
the gift – charisma – a
favor with which one receives without any merit of his own; the gift of divine
grace; a “working of grace”
Paul is clearly talking about a “spiritual gift” here.
Some would look at this as some sort of “ordination” for Timothy.
It’s more likely that it just looks back to a time when Timothy was prayed
for, he received certain spiritual gifts, and there was accompanying prophetic
words that would speak of Timothy’s ministry.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are often given through the laying on of
hands, and often through the laying on of hands by the elders.
The church at Ephesus was started this way –
(Acts 19:6 NKJV) And when
Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke
with tongues and prophesied.
Receive your gifts
You may not know if you even have any spiritual gifts. All you need to do is ask.
(Luke 11:9–13 NKJV)
—9 “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you
will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and
he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son
asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he
asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he
asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to
give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
You can ask God while laying on your bed at night.
You can ask God while having elders lay hands on you.
Will God give you some amazing supernatural ability every time you
ask? Maybe yes, maybe no.
That’s really up to God. Our part is
simply to ask. We will let God do the
giving of the gifts as He wants.
I have some dear friends who have known the Lord for awhile, and recently
they have received the gift of healing.
They’ve been going out to visit the homeless and the illegal immigrants and
have been praying for God to heal these folks.
They’ve seen several hundred healings.
And God is using them to bring many to Christ.
Use your gifts
(2 Timothy 1:6
NKJV) Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you
through the laying on of my hands.
The word “stir up” speaks of the sparks of a fire that are beginning to die
down. When you “stir up” the embers, the
flames come popping back out.
We all have things that make us want to stop using our gifts from time to
Sometimes we’ve had people make us believe that these gifts aren’t genuine.
When I was sixteen, I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and
spoke in tongues. It was a huge
milestone in my life and great doors for ministry started at that time. I’ve
never been the same.
Six years later I went to a Bible school that taught me
that the gifts had ceased to operate after the apostles died off. I was confused and stopped using my spiritual
gifts. A couple of years after seminary I went back, did my homework, and found
out for myself that spiritual gifts are indeed in operation today.
Scripture does teach that certain gifts will cease, but
they will cease when Jesus comes back. (1Cor. 13:8).
Sometimes we’ve exercised our gifts, and they’ve led to trouble.
Spiritual gifts may be abused.
A common abuse is to exercise authority over another person
by claiming that God is telling you what they need to do.
Don’t let someone else’ abuse cause you to stop what God
wants to do in your life.
The Bible says:
Corinthians 12:7 NIV) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common
Gifts are good.
They are meant for the good of the church. Receive them. Use them.
:15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your
progress may be evident to all.
:15 Meditate on these things
meditate – meletao – to
care for, attend to carefully, practice
This is a related, opposite word of that translated “neglect” in the
previous verse. Instead of “not caring”
about spiritual gifts, we are to “care for” them, to “practice” them.
God wants us to keep growing.
If we’re not careful, we can reach certain stages in our walk with Christ
where we think we’ve “arrived”.
Maybe I’ve taken all the Servant School classes.
Maybe I’ve been a Christian for 10 years.
Maybe I’ve heard all of Rich’s jokes twice.
Timothy is at risk of thinking that he’s “arrived”.
Timothy has followed Paul for ten years now, and he finally has his own
ministry. He’s “arrived”.
Paul says he still has farther to go.
There is a danger I see happening to people when they get to the place
where they think they’ve “arrived” in ministry.
They stop growing.
Years ago I heard Pastor Romaine (Pastor Chuck’s original assistant) talk
about the problem they would have at Calvary Costa Mesa whenever they would
hire a new assistant pastor. They would
see a guy growing and serving the Lord, but as soon as they would bring him on
staff, he’d slack off.
Romaine would say that the worst thing you could do to a healthy servant
was to hire him.
As an older believer I need to be careful of thinking that I don’t have
much more to learn.
In Hampton Court near London, there is a grapevine under glass; it is about
1,000 years old and has but one root which is at least two feet thick. Some of the branches are 200 feet long.
Because of skillful cutting and pruning, the vine produces several tons of
grapes each year.
It may be old, but it still grows and still bears fruit.
:16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in
doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.
:16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine
(1 Timothy 4:16
NLT) Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching.
I know I have to keep checking my own teaching.
I often look at my old notes when I teach a passage, and I often find
things that I got wrong fifteen years ago.
I think that we each have our own ideas of what is correct “doctrine”.
I’ve often compared this to those old fishing nets that used to hang on the
walls of seafood restaurants. They would
have colored glass floats hanging on the nets.
The glass floats are where we “place” our doctrines.
And from time to time we need to get up and move some of those glass floats
to a more correct position.
Once a person is saved, are they always saved?
Does a person have a choice as to whether they can be saved?
When will the Rapture occur?
Do I need to be baptized?
Do I need to be baptized by an ordained minister?
It’s good to have opinions on doctrines like these but be aware that the
more you study the ENTIRE Bible, you may need to tweak some of your opinions
because you may find you didn’t know as much as you thought you did.
:16 save both yourself and those who hear you
Paul isn’t saying that Timothy is only going to be saved by being a good
We are saved by believing in Jesus Christ.
We are saved when we realize that we are sinners, and that our sin is
keeping us from coming to know God.
We are saved when we realize that Jesus died on a cross to pay the penalty
for our sins.
We are saved when we open our heart to Jesus and receive the forgiveness
that comes from the cross.
This is the “teaching” that Timothy is supposed to be careful about.
As Timothy stays faithful to the teaching of the gospel, as Timothy himself
believes in the gospel, then Timothy will be saved.
But not only will Timothy be saved, but those who are in his church will be
able to be saved because they will be hearing the truth.