Home  Library  Donate

2Timothy 2:1-7

Thursday Evening Bible Study

April 26, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm

The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul being confined under house arrest in his own apartment in Rome.

We believe that Paul was released after a couple of years, and would travel to Ephesus, Macedonia, Crete, Nicopolis, and then be rearrested in Troas and taken back to Rome.

In AD 64 Nero burned Rome, blamed it on the Christians, and kicked off a period of persecution.

This time, Paul would be confined in the Mamertine Prison.

Everyone has abandoned Paul except for his friend Luke the physician.
(2 Timothy 4:11 NKJV) Only Luke is with me.
It’s from here that Paul writes this letter, his final letter somewhere around AD 66-67, just prior to his death.
Paul is hoping that Timothy would come to him, but that isn’t going to happen.
Paul will shortly be taken outside the city of Rome where he will be beheaded.


Final words

When people speak their “final words”, sometimes it’s worth paying attention to, other times not so much.

In her 2014 memoir, Ginger Alden revealed then-fiance Elvis Presley’s final words before his death in 1977. During a night of sleeplessness, Presley told Alden, “I’m going to the bathroom to read.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Convicted murderer Thomas J. Grasso used his last words to complain about his last meal. He said, “I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s; I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”
When Sir Isaac Newton died, he was humble. He said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”
That’s a little better.

In her 2014 memoir, Ginger Alden revealed then-fiance Elvis Presley's final words before his death in 1977. During a night of sleeplessness, Presley told Alden, "I'm going to the bathroom to read." The rest, as they say, is history.

Poignant, funny, sad, weird or mean—last words can make quite the impact as we shuffle off the stage of life. Here are 64 notable examples.

1. Joseph Wright was a linguist who edited the English Dialect Dictionary. His last word? “Dictionary.”

2. Italian artist Raphael’s last word was simply: “Happy.”

3. Composer Gustav Mahler died in bed, conducting an imaginary orchestra. His last word was, “Mozart!”

4. Blues singer Bessie Smith died saying, “I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord.”

5. Composer Jean-Philippe Rameau objected to a song sung at his bedside. He said, “What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune.”

6. Frank Sinatra died after saying, “I’m losing it.”

7. George Orwell’s last written words were, “At fifty, everyone has the face he deserves.” He died at age 46.

8. William Henry Seward, architect of the Alaska Purchase, was asked if he had any final words. He replied, “Nothing, only ‘love one another.’”

9. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre turned to his partner Simone de Beauvoir and said, “I love you very much, my dear Beaver.”

10. Birth control advocate Margaret Sanger’s last words were, “A party! Let’s have a party.”

11. Rainer Maria Rilke said, “I don’t want the doctor’s death. I want to have my own freedom.”

12. Nostradamus predicted, “Tomorrow, at sunrise, I shall no longer be here.” He was right.

13. Author Vladimir Nabokov was also an entomologist, particularly interested in butterflies. His last words: “A certain butterfly is already on the wing.”

14. Author Herman Melville died saying, “God bless Captain Vere!” referencing his then-unpublished novel Billy Budd, found on his desk after he died.

15. Marie Antoinette stepped on her executioner’s foot on her way to the guillotine. Her last words: “Pardonnez-moi, monsieur.”

16. Richard B. Mellon was a multimillionaire. He was the President of Alcoa, and he and his brother Andrew had a little game of Tag going. The weird thing was, this game of Tag lasted for like seven decades. When Richard was on his deathbed, he called his brother over and whispered, “Last tag.” Poor Andrew remained “It” for four years, until he died.

17. When Harriet Tubman was dying in 1913, she gathered her family around and they sang together. Her last words were, “Swing low, sweet chariot.”

18. When Sir Isaac Newton died, he was humble. He said, “I don’t know what I may seem to the world. But as to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore and diverting myself now and then in finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.”

19. Leonardo da Vinci was also overly modest, saying, “I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” I guess the Mona Lisa isn’t good enough?

20. Louise-Marie-Thérèse de Saint Maurice, Comtesse de Vercellis let one rip while she was dying. She said, “Good. A woman who can fart is not dead.”

21. Drummer Buddy Rich died after surgery in 1987. As he was being prepped for surgery, a nurse asked him, “Is there anything you can’t take?” Rich replied, “Yeah, country music.”

22. Johnny Ace, an R&B singer, died in 1954 while playing with a pistol during a break in his concert set. His last words were, “I’ll show you that it won’t shoot.”

23. Richard Feynman, a physicist, author, musician, professor, and traveler, died in Los Angeles in 1988. His last words? “This dying is boring.”

24. As Benjamin Franklin lay dying at the age of 84, his daughter told him to change position in bed so he could breathe more easily. Franklin’s last words were, “A dying man can do nothing easy.”

25. Albert Abraham Michelson dedicated his life to measuring the speed of light and was the first American to win a Nobel Prize for physics. Even as he was dying at age 78, he was measuring light. He wrote in his log: “The following is a report on the measurement of the velocity of light made at the Irvine Ranch, near Santa Ana, California, during the period of September 1929 to—.”

26. Thomas B. Moran was a pickpocket, known by the nickname “Butterfingers.” He reportedly stole as many as 50,000 wallets in his career. He died in Miami in 1971, and his last words were, “I’ve never forgiven that smart-alecky reporter who named me Butterfingers. To me, it’s not funny.”

27. Murderer James W. Rodgers was put in front of a firing squad in Utah and asked if he had a last request. He replied, “Bring me a bullet-proof vest.”

28. Charles “Lucky” Luciano was a mob leader who helped the U.S. work with the Sicilian Mafia during World War II in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. His last words were, “Tell Georgie I want to get in the movies one way or another.” And it worked! His life story is told in the movies Lucky Luciano, The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano, and many more. He also appears as a character in HBO's Boardwalk Empire.

29. John Arthur Spenkelink was executed in Florida in 1979. He spent his final days writing these last words on various pieces of mail: “Capital punishment means those without the capital get the punishment.”

30. Convicted murderer Thomas J. Grasso used his last words to complain about his last meal. He said, “I did not get my Spaghetti-O’s; I got spaghetti. I want the press to know this.”

31. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who wrote the Sherlock Holmes stories, died at age 71 in his garden. He turned to his wife and said, “You are wonderful,” then clutched his chest and died.

32. Writer T.S. Eliot was only able to whisper one word as he died: “Valerie,” the name of his wife.

33. Actor and comedian W.C. Fields died in 1946. He last words: “God damn the whole friggin’ world and everyone in it but you, Carlotta.” He was speaking to Carlotta Monti, his longtime mistress.

34. Percy Grainger was an Australian composer who, with his dying words, told his wife Ella, “You’re the only one I like.”

35. Actor Michael Landon, best known for Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven, died of cancer in 1991. His family gathered around his bed, and his son said it was time to move on. Landon said, “You’re right. It’s time. I love you all.”

36. Football coach Vince Lombardi died of cancer in 1970. As he died, Lombardi turned to his wife Marie and said, “Happy anniversary. I love you.”

37. O.O. McIntyre was an American reporter. He died at age 53, and spoke his last words to his wife Maybelle: “Snooks, will you please turn this way. I like to look at your face.”

38. When he was 57, Edward R. Murrow died while patting his wife’s hand. He said, “Well, Jan, we were lucky at that.”

39. John Wayne died at age 72 in L.A. He turned to his wife and said, “Of course I know who you are. You’re my girl. I love you."

40. Humphrey Bogart’s wife Lauren Bacall had to leave the house to pick up their kids. Bogart said, “Goodbye, kid. Hurry back.” Not quite, “Here's looking at you, kid,” but close.

41. Before Ernest Hemingway committed suicide, he told his wife Mary, “Goodnight my kitten.”

42. Donald O’Connor was a singer, dancer, and actor. He also hosted the Academy Awards in 1954. O'Connor died at age 78 with his family gathered around him. He joked, “I’d like to thank the Academy for my lifetime achievement award that I will eventually get.” He still hasn’t gotten one.

43. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill was born in a room at the Broadway Hotel on what is now Times Square. He died at age 65 in a Boston hotel. His last words? “I knew it! I knew it! Born in a hotel room and, goddamn it, dying in a hotel room.”

44. Jack Soo was an actor on the TV series Barney Miller. On the show, there was a running gag about Soo’s character making crappy coffee in the office. Soo developed cancer of the esophagus, and when was being wheeled into an operating room, he joked to Barney Miller co-star Hal Linden, “It must have been the coffee.” In a tribute episode, cast members raised coffee cups in Soo’s memory.

45. Josephine Baker knew how to party. She sang, danced, and acted. She adopted a dozen kids and lived in Paris. On the last night of her life, she left a party being held in her honor, saying, “Oh, you young people act like old men. You are no fun.”

46. Charles Gussman was a writer and TV announcer, who wrote the pilot episode of Days of Our Lives, among other shows. As he became ill, he said he wanted his last words to be memorable. When he daughter reminded him of this, he gently removed his oxygen mask and whispered: “And now for a final word from our sponsor—.”

47. When Groucho Marx was dying, he let out one last quip: “This is no way to live!”

48. Groucho’s brother Leonard, who was better known as Chico Marx, gave instructions to his wife as his last words: “Remember, Honey, don’t forget what I told you. Put in my coffin a deck of cards, a mashie niblick, and a pretty blonde.” For the record, a “mashie niblick” is a kind of golf club.

49. Wilson Mizner is best known for his bon mots, though he was a successful playwright. He’s known for the line, "Be nice to people on the way up because you'll meet the same people on the way down." When Mizner was on his deathbed, a priest said, “I’m sure you want to talk to me.” Mizner told the priest, “Why should I talk to you? I’ve just been talking to your boss.”

50. As he was dying, Alfred Hitchcock said, “One never knows the ending. One has to die to know exactly what happens after death, although Catholics have their hopes.”

51. Basketball great “Pistol" Pete Maravich collapsed during a pickup game. His last words: “I feel great.”

52. Vladimir Ilych Lenin’s last words were, “Good dog.” (Technically, he said “Vot sobaka.”) He said this to a dog that brought him a dead bird.

53. Blues guitarist Leadbelly said, “Doctor, if I put this here guitar down now, I ain’t never gonna wake up.” And he was right.

54. Thomas Fantet de Lagny was a mathematician. On his deathbed, he was asked, “What is the square of 12?” His last words: “One hundred and forty-four.”

55. Derek Jarman was an artist, writer, and filmmaker. His last words: “I want the world to be filled with white fluffy duckies.”

56. Sir Winston Churchill’s last words were, “I’m bored with it all.”

57. Actress Joan Crawford yelled at her housekeeper, who was praying as Crawford died. Crawford said, “Damn it! Don’t you dare ask God to help me!”

58. Bo Diddley died giving a thumbs-up as he listened to the song “Walk Around Heaven.” His last word was “Wow.”

59. Baseball player “Moe” Berg’s last words: “How did the Mets do today?”

60. Emily Dickinson’s last words were, “I must go in, for the fog is rising.”

61. As Truman Capote lay dying, he repeated, “Mama— Mama— Mama.”

62. James Brown said, “I’m going away tonight.”

63. Surgeon Joseph Henry Green was checking his own pulse as he lay dying. His last word: “Stopped.”

64. And according to Steve Jobs' sister Mona, the Apple founder's last words were, "Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow."

Note: the source for most of these is the fantastic reference book Last Words of Notable People: Final Words of More than 3500 Noteworthy People Throughout History by William B. Brahms. It's literally filled with this stuff.

Paul’s letter to Timothy is of particular value to us because these are Paul’s last words of instruction to Timothy, his “next generation” leader.

2:1-7 How to Serve

:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

:1 be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus

be strongendunamoo – to be strong; to receive strength, increase in strength


The Right Power

If you intend to serve the Lord in any capacity, you’ve got to learn from the start where your strength is going to come from.
Some people expect to have all the strength they need within themselves.

The problem is that you will fail at times, then what do you do?

Others find their “strength” in the people around them.

You will find that people around you will let you down.

Timothy is to find his power in grace.
Some churches give a narrow definition of “grace” as the magical thing you receive when you receive the elements of the eucharist, the mass, the bread and the cup.

These same churches will then say that you are “saved by grace” because you took communion.

Our definition of grace is a bit broader than that.
gracecharis – favor, goodwill, undeserved gift

It’s something that has been given but not necessarily deserved.

It’s all the good that God does for us, despite who we are or what we deserve.

It describes Jesus

(John 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

He was constantly giving to those around Him, despite whether or not they deserved it.

It is at times connected directly to the power of God:

(Acts 4:33 NKJV) And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

(Acts 14:3 NKJV) Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

God displays His power even when we don’t deserve it.

We are saved because of God’s “grace”
(Ephesians 2:8 NLT) God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

We are saved from our sins because God gave us the gift of salvation, despite our sin.

He gave it to us because we believed.

It’s not through the priest’s faith when he serves us the Eucharist.

We are sustained in life and ministry through grace.
When Paul was tormented by some sort of “thorn” in the flesh and he prayed to be delivered from it, God replied,

(2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV) And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

I wish I could feel “strong enough” to do all the things that are before me, but I’m not.

I can get quite discouraged when I am aware of my own weakness.

Yet weakness allows me to grow more dependent on God – that’s what “grace” is all about.

We need to keep growing in grace
(2 Peter 3:18 NLT) Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Don’t be satisfied with your understanding of what “grace” is.

We need to expand our capacity to receive more and more grace.

The grace I receive from God allows me to give the grace I need to give to others around me.
(Ephesians 4:32 NKJV) And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

The words for “forgive” and “forgave” are the Greek verb forms of charis.

We ought to “grace” each other as God has “graced” us.

Healthy ministry stays connected and empowered with grace.

:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

:2 commit these to faithful men

Timothy has been entrusted with the truths of God from Paul, and he must now pass it on to another generation.

This verse is at the core of how the church has survived for two thousand years.

Each generation is called to raise up a new generation of believers and turn things over to them.

commitparatithemi – to place beside; to deposit; to entrust, commit to one’s charge. 

The word describes what is known as “stewardship”.  It’s having someone put their wealth in your hands, and you are to protect and even multiply that wealth. 
It’s like a stockbroker.  Paul has invested in Timothy’s “mutual funds”, and Timothy now is to turn around and take all the money that he’s earned and invest it in someone else.
Paul has invested time, words, and an example in Timothy’s life, and Paul is now reminding Timothy that he needs to do the same with other men.

faithfulpistos – faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; that can be relied on

ablehikanos – sufficient; many enough, enough; sufficient in ability, i.e. meet, fit


Looking for faithfulness

Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to find men that have an exciting testimony of how they came to Christ.
Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to find handsome men that people will be drawn to.
Paul doesn’t tell Timothy to find men that are gifted speakers or comedians.
Paul tells Timothy to look for faithful men.
Some of the translations carry the idea that the persons Timothy should look for should also be “qualified to teach”, but I’m not sure that this is what Paul is saying.
The Greek could also be translated, “commit this stuff to faithful men, these will be enough to teach others also”.
It’s nice to have people that are good at teaching, but if there is no faithfulness in a person’s life, being a good teacher is worthless.
Timothy himself was a “faithful” man.
Paul wrote to the Philippians,

(Philippians 2:22 NKJV) But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel.

How could Timothy find people he could depend upon?
I see plenty of people get excited about serving the Lord.  I have heard many pledges through the years of what people intend to do for the Lord.  But I’m at the point where I’m kind of cynical about “pledges”. 
(Matthew 21:28–32 NLT) —28 “But what do you think about this? A man with two sons told the older boy, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered, ‘No, I won’t go,’ but later he changed his mind and went anyway. 30 Then the father told the other son, ‘You go,’ and he said, ‘Yes, sir, I will.’ But he didn’t go. 31 “Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” Then Jesus explained his meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do. 32 For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.

Faithfulness is demonstrated by actually doing something, not just promising it.

It’s nice that the second son said that he’d obey his dad, but it was the first son that actually did it.  It was the actual obedience that counted, not the promise.

:2 who will be able to teach others also



It is good that God has raised up people like Greg Laurie with a gift of evangelism – many have come to Christ through his ministry.
Yet this is spiritual “addition”, God “adding” to the church.
I think God would prefer “multiplication” to addition.
If a person leads one person to the Lord each year, then after ten years, there will be eleven believers.  But if each of those people had been taught to lead others to the Lord themselves, you don’t have spiritual addition, you have spiritual multiplication.

One unspayed female dog and her descendants can produce 4,372 puppies in just seven generations, and one unspayed cat and her offspring can produce 80 million kittens in ten years.

-- Tim Beougher & Alvin Reid, Evangelism for a Changing World (Shaw, 1995), p. 169.

Paul now gives three pictures of what ministry is about using a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer.

:3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

:3 endure hardship as a good soldier

endure hardshipkakopatheo – to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); to be afflicted

This is very similar to the word Paul used in 2Tim. 1:8,
(2 Timothy 1:8 NKJV) …share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
Perhaps Timothy was a little reluctant to suffer.  Just like me.


Expect Trouble

You don’t sign up for combat duty if you don’t expect to experience some pain.
As Christians, we will suffer.  That’s part of what you have signed up for.
The more you step up to serve the Lord, and the more impact you want to have on the lives of others, you will suffer.
Why will you suffer?  Because there’s an enemy that doesn’t want you on the battlefield.
There was a story of a British soldier in the First World War who lost heart for the battle and deserted. Trying to reach the coast for a boat to England that night, he ended up wandering in the pitch black night, hopelessly lost. In the darkness he came across what he thought was a signpost. It was so dark that he began to climb the post so that he could read it. As he reached the top of the pole, he struck a match to see and found himself looking squarely into the face of Jesus Christ. He realized that, rather than running into a signpost, he had climbed a roadside crucifix. Then he remembered the One who had died for him -- who had endured -- who had never turned back. The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches.
If you’re having a hard time in the battle, it doesn’t hurt to stop for a minute and look into the face of Jesus.
(Hebrews 12:2–3 NLT) —2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
Lord Joseph Duveen, American head of the art firm that bore his name, planned in 1915 to send one of his experts to England to examine some ancient pottery.  He booked passage on the Lusitania.  Then the German Embassy issued a warning that the liner might be torpedoed. Duveen wanted to call off the trip.
“I can’t take the risk of your being killed,” he said to his young employee.  “Don’t worry,” said the man, “I’m a strong swimmer, and when I read what was happening in the Atlantic, I began hardening myself by spending time every day in a tub of ice water.  At first I could sit only a few minutes, but this morning, I stayed in that tub nearly two hours.”
Naturally, Duveen laughed.  It sounded preposterous.  But his expert sailed, and the Lusitania was torpedoed.  The young man was rescued after nearly five hours in the chilly ocean, still in excellent condition. 

-- Cited in Christianity Today, February 1979, p. 25.

There is value in practicing the spiritual disciplines.
Be ready for the hardships.

:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

engaged in warfarestrateuomai – to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle, (spoken of a commander); to do military duty, be on active service, be a soldier; to fight

lifebios – life; the period, means, manner, of existence.

the affairspragmateia – prosecution of any affair; business, occupation

him who enlisted him as a soldierstratologeo – to gather (collect) an army, to enlist soldiers; of the commander

pleasearesko – to please; to strive to please

:4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself

entanglesempleko (“in” + “weave”) – to inweave; to entangle, involve in

You’ll be in trouble trouble if you get your life tangled up in the wrong things.

This is part of the “hardship”.  It can be a hardship to be disentangled from things in this world.

When a soldier signs up to fight, he has to be “all in”.

He doesn’t come and go on the battlefield for just any reason.
Imagine what the battlefields of World War II would have been like if the soldiers decided in the middle of a battle they needed some “personal time”.
Desmond Doss served as a medic on Okinawa – he didn’t even carry a gun – but he still was “all in”.
Video:  Hacksaw Ridge – Rescue

Could you imagine Desmond Doss asking for a coffee break in the middle of the battle?

There was a story about a Civil War soldier who happened to be a watchmaker. One day the bugle sounded and the men were told to break camp. “But I can’t go now!” the soldier complained. “I have a dozen watches to repair!”

He was too busy with the wrong things at the moment.  He was supposed to be fighting a battle, but he got caught up with other things.

I’m not saying that God doesn’t want us to have jobs, raise families, and take care of needs.

But there are some things we can get caught in that aren’t helpful.


Travel Light

Jesus told a story to show how different people allow God’s Word to affect their lives:
(Matthew 13:22 NLT) The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced.

Sometimes issues like the “lure of wealth” will get us off track from what it truly important in life – serving the Lord.

We are in a race
(Hebrews 12:1 NLT) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Sin can certainly slow us down and get us “tangled” up.

Yet not all things that slow us down are “sin”.  Sometimes we just have too much “baggage”.

:5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.

:5 he competes according to the rules

competes in athleticsathleo – to engage in a contest, contend in public games, contend for a prize; to endure, suffer

crownedstephanoo – to encircle with a crown, to crown: the victor in a contest; to adorn, to honour

rulesnomimos – lawfully, agreeable to the law, properly


Do it right

If you don’t do things right, you might get tossed.
Video:  Indiana Jones – No Ticket
Paul is using the language of ancient athletic games.
You can’t win the prize if you don’t follow the rules of the competition.

(1 Corinthians 9:24–27 NLT) —24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.


Lance Armstrong was known at one point as the best cyclist in the world.

He won the Tour de France a record seven consecutive times from 1999 to 2005.

And then they found out about the doping.

And he lost all of his titles.

You can do ministry many different ways.
You need to be careful that you are doing things God’s way.

:6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.

:6 first to partake of the crops

hardworkingkopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief); to labor with wearisome effort

farmergeorgos – a husbandman, tiller of the soil, a vine dresser.  A farmer.

must bedei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

cropskarpos – fruit; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result

partakemetalambano – to be or to be made a partner; to partake of, take [some] food


Receive then serve

Paul isn’t talking here about a pastor receiving a salary or benefits from his ministry.
He’s talking about the crops or “fruit” of God’s Word.
Before you can share the things of the Lord, you have to have tasted and eaten of the things of the Lord yourself.
Paul knew this himself.  When giving instruction about communion, Paul wrote,

(1 Corinthians 11:23 NKJV) For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you…

Paul had received something special from the Lord, and that’s how he was able to have something to write to the Corinthians.

Stay teachable
If you want to teach others, you need to be taught by God yourself.
If God wanted to teach you something, could He?

Howard Hendricks shares this insight about the value of learning: When I was a college student—I worked in the college dining hall, and on my way to work at 5:30 every morning I walked past the home of one of my professors.  Through a window I could see the light on at his desk, morning after morning.  At night I stayed late at the library to take advantage of evening study hours, and returning home at 10:30 or 11 o’clock I would again see his desk light on.  He was always pouring over his books.  One day he invited me home for lunch, and after the meal I said to him, “Would you mind if I asked you a question?”  “Of course not.”  “What keeps you studying?  You never seem to stop.”  His answer, “Son, I would rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool.”

Sit and listen
(Luke 10:38–42 NKJV) —38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Mary did the best thing.  She sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word.

:7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.

:7 Consider … may the Lord give you understanding

considernoeo – to perceive with the mind; to think upon, heed, ponder

Present imperative

understandingsunesis – a running together, a flowing together with; understanding


Continuing Education

Paul is praying that as Timothy keeps continually “considering” (present tense imperative) what Paul has written, and that God will respond by giving Timothy understanding.
Years ago I remember Pastor Chuck saying that he had a file folder in his brain marked “Waiting for further information”.
Whenever he came across something that he didn’t understand or didn’t make sense, he’d sort of mentally file it away in that folder.
I’ve always loved that.  I’ve found that the longer I live and continue to study and follow Jesus, that He slowly but surely has emptied many of those things out of that folder.
God does want you to ask questions.
(Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV) ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’
He doesn’t always answer all your questions right away, but God does promise to teach you.
(John 14:26 NKJV) But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
You keep pondering the Scriptures, and God will give you understanding.