2 Tim/Titus devotional guide

2 Tim/Titus devotional guide January 20, 2023

Monday: Read 2 Tim 3:1-9

It is critical for understanding today’s passage to recall that the entirety of 2nd Timothy is Paul’s personal correspondence to Timothy with regard to Timothy’s fulfilling his ministerial calling.

Paul intensifies the importance of Timothy’s maintaining his faith and continuing his ministerial responsibilities. He warns Timothy of the dangers of false teachers, by making him aware of the crisis that awaits the Church in the “last days” (1). The fact that Paul encourages Timothy to watch out for false teachers who will be prevalent in the “last days” (1) surely indicates that the last days are a present reality for Timothy. This is why Timothy is to “realize this” (1) and “avoid such men as these” (5).

Perhaps the primary description of such persons is that they are “lovers of self” (2) and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (4). When we love self and pleasure more than the Lord it is easy to be conceited, reckless, gossips, and haters of good (2-4).

Questions to ponder/discuss:

  • This list of sins and sinful acts in 3:1-9 are characteristic of persons of all ages. That this is true of all ages is evident in that Paul appeals to Pharaoh’s sorcerers who opposed Moses (8). Such persons have always existed.
  • The list of vices is not simply what “others” do. Paul gave this list to warn Timothy about such matters. If Timothy was in danger of falling prey to such vices then how much more does Paul’s warning apply to us?
  • What vices are you most susceptible to? Turn them to the Lord. What else can you do to “realize this” and “avoid” such things?

Tuesday: Read 2 Tim 3:10-17

In the next section, Paul contrasts Timothy with the false teachers. Unlike them, Timothy has been faithful and followed Paul’s teaching and his way of life (10). This included Timothy’s following of Paul in “persecutions” and “sufferings” (11). Paul, then, affirms that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (12).

Paul next encourages Timothy to “continue” in the things which he has “learned and become convinced of” (3:14). He then adds, “knowing from whom you have learned them” (3:14). In case we are uncertain as to what Paul is referring to (after all, Timothy certainly knew what he meant), Paul tells us. He is talking about the fact that Timothy’s mom (and perhaps his grandmother; 1:5) raised him on the Word (15).

For Paul, the Scriptures are able “to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation” (3:15).

Questions to ponder/discuss:

  • There is no question that Paul believed that suffering for the Gospel was part and parcel of what it means to be a follower of Christ. Why do you suppose that most Christians in the West do not suffer?
  • 2 Tim 3:16-17 are two of the most famous verses in the Bible. Even though at the time Paul penned these verses, he likely had only the OT scriptures in mind, the application of these verses to the entirety of the Bible seems warranted. These verses, along with many others, affirm the centrality of the Bible for the Christian life. How central are the Scriptures to your life?
  • What do you think being equipped for “every good work” (17) means?

Wednesday: Read 2 Tim 4:1-22

Paul concludes this letter with a strong exhortation (“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus”; 1) to Timothy by summarizing the commands that Timothy is to do in fulfillment of his ministerial calling; or, in the words of the 1:6, what it means for Timothy to “kindle afresh the gift of God.” Thus, Paul concludes by encouraging Timothy to both “preach the Word” at all times (4:2), and to “fulfill your ministry” (4:5)!

As we noted in the opening to our study of 2nd Timothy, Paul seems to be aware that his present imprisonment will end in his death. He declares, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come” (6). Then he adds, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (7).

The end of this letter is a real tear-jerker. Paul pleads with Timothy to “make every effort to come to me soon” (9). When we recognize that Paul is convinced that he will not live much longer, the encouragement to come soon takes on an added weight.

Questions to ponder/discuss:

  • As we have noted, the entire letter of 2nd Timothy is a personal correspondence of Paul to Timothy. Yet, the last word of the letter is “you” (22), which in the Greek is plural. Paul seems to have been aware that others were intended to read this letter. This means Paul’s exhortations to Timothy have a wider application. Read 4:1-2 and 5 and note which commands strike you the most.
  • Make it your prayer that when you have finished the race, you are able to say that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.” Of course, this doesn’t mean that we have kept it perfectly. Paul certainly didn’t. It simply means that by the power of the Holy Spirit, we have persevered to the end.

Thursday: read Titus 1:1-16

The letter to Titus is one of the three “pastoral epistles” (along with 1st and 2nd Timothy). This letter has much in common with 1st Timothy.

Paul begins by noting that he left Titus on the Island of Crete in order that he might “set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you” (5). What follows in 1:6-16 is quite similar to 1 Tim 3 where Paul lays out the requirements for being a pastor. Without repeating the details given in our study of 1 Tim 3, we will note here only the items that are unique to Titus.

Paul begins by adding that the pastor is to be one who is “not self-willed” (7). This indicates that the pastor is not to be “arrogant” (ESV; NET; NLT; NRS), or one who seeks their own interests. Paul also adds, “not quick-tempered” (7), which indicates one who is slow to anger. This is an important attribute for one in pastoral ministry. There will certainly be ample opportunities for one to be angry. Being quick to anger, however, rarely accomplishes anything good. Other attributes include, “not fond of sordid gain” (7) which connotes dishonesty with regard to money.

Finally, there are several self-explanatory attributes including, “loving what is good” (8), “just” (8), which relates to one’s conduct towards others, “holy” (8), which relates to one’s conduct towards God, and “holding fast the faithful word” (9).

Questions to ponder/discuss:

  • The fact that Paul adds items to his list of requirements suggests that each list was relevant to the situation. This doesn’t mean that the items are negotiable. It simply means that the standard of being “above reproach” (1:7). What this looks like in particular situations is different. Clearly, Paul discerned the need to add (though we really can’t be certain if 1st Timothy or Titus was written first) some provisions to his list from 1 Timothy. Look at the list in Tit 1:6-9 again and discuss what qualifications stand out for you.
  • It is important for non-pastors to recognize the tremendous burdens that are placed on this in pastoral ministry. In light of this, it might be beneficial to look at Paul’s lists not in order to “judge” the worthiness of your pastor but to discern what safeguards your church might put in place to protect those in pastoral ministry.

Friday: Read Titus 2:1-15

Paul next instructs Titus on how to mentor those within his church(es). He is to instruct older men “to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance” (2). These attributes are essential for older men who are to be examples for others in the faith.

Paul then advises Titus to instruct older women in 3-5. Again Paul’s advice to Titus relates to attributes that will enhance their ability to lead others—especially younger women.

Paul next advises Titus on how to instruct younger men (6). Paul only lists one item: younger men are to be “sensible” or “self-controlled” (ESV; NET; NRS). The implication is captured by the NLT, which says, “encourage the young men to live wisely.”

Paul then provides the reason why such instructions are so important. “For,” he says God’s grace has saved us and it teaches us to deny ungodliness and to live well until the Lord returns (11-12).

We do so, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (13). After all, Paul notes, Jesus “gave Himself for us” (14). Christ did so in order to “purify for Himself a people for His own possession” (14).

Questions to ponder/discuss:

  • Contrary to some, Paul is not advocating that women today must be housewives who are responsible for raising the children. For one, in a two-parent household, raising children is the work of both parents. Second, just because women were tasked with raising children in the ancient Roman culture, this does not mean that it was the God-inspired way of doing things. Romans had slaves, yet no one suggests that we too should have slaves in order to follow Paul’s teachings on slave-master relations.
  • The call for the people of God to live in a manner to makes the love of Christ known to the world is mission-critical. Though this may mean forgoing some of the pleasures of the world and it may also include suffering, we do so, however, looking forward to the coming of our Lord.
  • What quality do you need to be more diligent in following?


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About Rob Dalrymple
Rob Dalrymple is married to his wife Toni and is the father of four fabulous children, and two grandchildren. He has been teaching and pastoring for over 33 years at colleges, seminaries, and the local church. He has a PhD in biblical interpretation. He is the author of four books (including Follow the Lamb: A Guide to Reading, Understanding, and Applying the Book of Revelation & Understanding the New Testament and the End Times: Why it Matters) as well as numerous articles and other publications. He is currently completing a commentary on the book of Revelation titled, “Revelation: a Love story” (Cascade Books, pending 2024). You can read more about the author here.

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