Part of what makes stories so effective as teaching tools is their ability to stick with us. But what gives the best stories staying power?
Do you ever struggle to understand how the Old and New Testaments fit together? If we think of the Old Testament as pages of promise, then how does the New Testament complete and fulfil God’s plan for us?
No fulfilment can surpass Jesus Christ, who burst onto the scene—and eventually left it—in a most dramatic and unexpected fashion. Learn what each of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—teaches us about Jesus, and be encouraged by the first Christians who boldly proclaimed the name of Christ in the book of Acts. In reading the New Testament you’ll discover at the centre of your hope stands a person—One who has come and One who will come again.
No one enters a race hoping to come in second. Runners run to win. Paul ran to win (2 Timothy 4:7-8). And he wanted the same for Timothy—for him to finish well. But how? Second Timothy 3:14–17 provides the answer.
Don’t be distracted by difficulties or hampered by hardships; don’t despair because you don’t have the highest IQ, the richest portfolio, or the finest pedigree. Rather, master a few great, majestic, unchanging, simple, glorious truths—and be mastered by them.
We’re no longer shocked and outraged by human depravity. Perhaps that’s why the Bible sometimes backs up the truck and unloads a descriptive deluge of indecency on us. That’s exactly what we get in 2 Timothy 3:1-9.
Character is no longer king; our culture champions competency. Scripture, however, champions character. So, for those of us who wish to lead in a Christian manner, character must always trump competency. That’s the message of the last seven verses 2 Timothy 2.
Words are powerful things. With them, we can lead people to life-freeing truth or life-imprisoning falsehood. That’s why Paul was concerned about certain men in the church who had “gone astray from the truth” (2 Timothy 2:18).
When Paul laid out a path of suffering for his protégé, Timothy, the young pastor may have grimaced. But Paul promised more than pain. The path, should Timothy choose it, would take him to heights unknown—to glory after death and to greater maturity in life. The same awaits us, if we choose the rough and rugged road of Christ.
Every verse in 2 Timothy echoes this everlasting truth: “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date”—including the last six verses of chapter 1. In these verses, Paul reminded Timothy (and us) that only two things are really eternal and worthy of lifelong investment.
Some of God’s choicest saints were reluctant (like Moses), rebellious (like Jonah), and fearful (like Timothy). Despite his timidity, Timothy was called to follow God onto the battleground. To do so, the young man needed courage to stand for Christ, even if it meant suffering.
Timothy ministered in Ephesus, some 830 miles to the southeast. Ministry was troublesome. Heretical hounds barked and bit. And the naturally reserved Timothy had grown weary and timid. A few tender words from his mentor were just the boost of confidence and courage the young pastor needed.