Read verses 1-4
Q: How did Paul close out the section just before this?
A: By encouraging Timothy to continue putting God’s Word into practice personally in his own life.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
— 2 Timothy 3:14-15
Q: How does that compare and contrast with Paul’s opening charge in this section?
A: Whereas previously an appeal for personally applying God’s Word, here He charges Timothy to preach God’s Word to others.
Application: Preaching God’s Word alone is always insufficient if we fail to first put it into practice ourselves.
Q: What instruction did Paul give at the close of the previous section which should be used here to define “preach the word”?
A: Paul elaborated on what it takes to really be able to rightly handle God’s Word.
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
— 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Q: How is this affirmed in v.2?
A: With the qualifying terms “reprove, rebuke, exhort with great patience and instruction” mirroring “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”.
Application: These terms all have in common a description of changed behavior. The purpose of God’s Word, both applied personally and in our preaching of it, is to change behavior.
Q: What if the timing just doesn’t feel right? What if we don’t feel adequately prepared in advance when it comes to God’s Word?
A: “…be ready in season and out of season”. (v.2)
Application: How prepared do you feel right now? What should you do about it?
Q: Is it enough to simply tell people the truth?
A: The qualifier “with great patience” indicates that it is always important how we treat others and that we live up to Paul’s instruction in Eph. 4:15, “Speaking the truth in love”.
Q: In v.4, what further defines the kind of preaching we should be engaged in?
A: It is defined as “sound doctrine”, a way of stating that the object is to teach biblical truth according to God’s Word, the doctrinal foundation established by Christ and the Apostles.
Q: What are the characteristics of the apostate—those ultimately rejecting the truth of God’s Word?
- They want to “have their ears tickled”. (v.3)
- They only want to hear what pleases them.
They leave sound doctrinal teachers for “teachers in accordance with their own desires”. (v.3)
- They want a license to behave in the flesh.
They exchange “the truth and…turn aside to myths” (v.4)
- They end up exactly like the false teachers Paul spoke about in the previous chapter, going “from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived”. (2 Ti. 3:13)
Application: It is always important to both put God’s Word into practice and to preach it to others, but in the Last Days this is even more important.