Read verses 8-11
Q: We’ve noted that Paul was in prison in Rome. Where was Timothy at this time?
A: From the information in Paul’s letters it’s believed that Timothy was most likely in or near Ephesus at this time.
Q: Why might this be significant in the context of Paul’s appeal, “do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me”?
A: From Paul’s letters we’ve pieced together that at this time there was a great falling away, especially in and around Ephesus.
Observation: In 1 Timothy, Paul repeatedly uses the phrase “some” when describing those who have fallen away:
- 1 Tim. 1:6 – “For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion,”
- 1 Tim 1:19 – “keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”
- 1 Tim. 5:15 – “for some have already turned aside to follow Satan.”
- 1 Tim. 6:10 – “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
- 1 Tim. 6:21 – “which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. Grace be with you.”
But in 2 Timothy, for which there is probably a significant span of time between the two letters, Paul uses “all” instead of “some”:
- 2 Tim. 1:15 – “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.”
- 2 Tim. 4:16 – “At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.
The churches were turning from their faith, a kind of example of the final apostasy (“falling away”) to come in the Last Days.
Application: Regardless of how others around us behave, we’re still responsible for maintaining our personal faithfulness to both our walk and ministry.
Q: What is the reality about suffering that comes about for the sake of the Gospel?
A: When Christians suffer, they don’t suffer on their own but with Christ.
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
— Philippians 3:10
Q: How does Paul reaffirm that such things are still in God’s control?
A: In v.9 Paul states it comes about “according to His own purpose and grace”.
Q: How does Paul tie this into both he and Timothy’s personal situation?
A: Paul goes on in v.10 to explain that the Gospel has “abolished death”. In other words, people may die physically, but never spiritually. The so-called “worst-case scenario” facing them – death for serving Christ, is no deterrent at all.
Point: Paul’s personal example of support is to remind Timothy of his holy calling, that his life and work are striving for something far greater than mere man can achieve on his own.
Application: How well do you recognize that you should be encouraging others in regard to their overall calling and purpose in Christ? What might it indicate when such things are missing from a so-called “Christian” relationship?