Today you should read: 2 Timothy 2:15-21
This passage means a lot to me as 2 Timothy 2:15 was our school verse at the Moody Bible Institute. It is why they trained us in the Word of God.
The book of 2 Timothy in an inspiring book. The Apostle Paul is in prison in Rome, facing intense suffering, and knows his time is coming to an end (2 Timothy 4). He is writing to Timothy, his disciple, to encourage him to persevere in the gospel and continue to fight for faith. In chapters 1 and 2 he is calling him to BOLD faith and endurance while teaching against false teachers… in the latter part of chapter 2 Paul is contrasting him with the false teachers… How he should be different.
I love how Paul leads into this after 2 Timothy 2:13 which says,
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny Himself.”
I believe he wrote this to remind Timothy (and us) that everything he is about to tell us is not about IMPRESSING God (earning His love) but about PLEASING God (living out of the love we have been given). These are close but not equal. We are to seek to please God not to impress God.
Paul tells Timothy three things here about how our lives/ministries should look in contrast to unbelievers/false teachers:
1) LIVE FOR GODLINESS (v.15)
The first thing Paul tells Timothy is to “DO YOUR BEST to present yourself to God as one approved…” This goes back to pleasing vs. impressing. Without the rest of Scripture this would lead us to believe that we have to earn God. We know we do not. He is given. So now we get to live to HONOR Him because of what He has given us in King Jesus. Paul goes on to tell us how… “rightly handling the word of truth.” This means a couple things: (1) we have to be IN the word of truth daily (2) we have to LISTEN to what it says (3) we have to APPLY it. We are not to make God’s word mean what we want it to mean. We are to let it speak for itself.
We are to do our best to do this. What sin do we need to give up? How can we pursue the Word of God this week?
2) LIVE AGAINST UNGODLINESS (v.16-20)
Paul says a second thing… avoid “irreverent babble” and ungodliness. Other translations say “godless chatter” or “worthless, foolish talk.” Paul says that this will only lead to more and more ungodliness. This lifestyle will lead to a life we are not meant to live as followers of Jesus (Romans 6:1-2). If we are in Christ Jesus we are on the “firm foundation” of God bearing the seal of His Holy Spirit (v.19, Ephesians 1:14). If we bear the name of King Jesus we should “depart from iniquity”… we should actively live against ungodliness. This shows our God is real and we are different.
3) LIVE AS A HONORABLE VESSEL (v.20-21)
The world is full of honorable vessels and dishonorable ones. Paul is begging Timothy (and us) to live as an honorable vessel by (1) CLEANSING ourselves, (2) being SET APART in Jesus (3) being READY to be used.
Today I am praying that you seek to please God in the way you live because God has given you a fresh new identity in Jesus.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
By: Nick Parsons — Pastoral Ministry Associate: College
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