Lesson 131: 2 Timothy 1–2

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

In his Second Epistle to Timothy, Paul taught that fear does not come from God and counseled Timothy to be unashamed of his testimony of Jesus Christ. Paul encouraged Timothy to faithfully endure trials and instructed him to teach the Saints to repent.

Suggestions for Teaching

2 Timothy 1

Paul counsels Timothy to be unashamed of the gospel

Write the word Fear on the board, and ask students to consider how fear can influence us. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:

President Gordon B. Hinckley

“Who among us can say that he or she has not felt fear? I know of no one who has been entirely spared. Some, of course, experience fear to a greater degree than do others. Some are able to rise above it quickly, but others are trapped and pulled down by it and even driven to defeat. We suffer from the fear of ridicule, the fear of failure, the fear of loneliness, the fear of ignorance. Some fear the present, some the future. Some carry the burden of sin and would give almost anything to unshackle themselves from those burdens but fear to change their lives” (“God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 2).

  • According to President Hinckley, how can fear influence us?

  • How could fear affect our ability to live the gospel?

Invite students to look for a principle as they study 2 Timothy 1 that can help them overcome fear.

Explain that shortly before Paul died, he wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy while imprisoned in Rome. Summarize 2 Timothy 1:1–5 by explaining that Paul expressed his desire to see Timothy and recalled Timothy’s sincere faith.

Invite a student to read 2 Timothy 1:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul reminded Timothy to do.

  • What did Paul remind Timothy to do?

Explain that “the gift of God” received by the laying on of hands likely refers to the Holy Ghost. To “stir up” means to rekindle or revive (see verse 6, footnote a). Paul admonished Timothy to rekindle the gift of the Holy Ghost, or to earnestly seek to have the Holy Ghost to be with him.

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: As we earnestly seek to have the Spirit to be with us, …

Invite a student to read 2 Timothy 1:7–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the blessings that can come from having the Spirit with us.

  • According to verse 7, what blessings can come from having the Spirit with us?

  • What do these blessings help us overcome?

Explain that Paul referred to worldly fear, which creates anxiety, uncertainty, and alarm and differs from what the scriptures refer to as “the fear of the Lord” (Proverbs 9:10). To fear the Lord is “to feel reverence and awe for Him and to obey His commandments” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Fear,” scriptures.lds.org).

  • According to verse 8, what did Paul invite Timothy to do with the understanding that the Spirit could help him overcome fear?

Ask students how they would complete the statement on the board using Paul’s teachings in verses 7–8. Using students’ words, complete the statement so that it conveys the following principle: As we earnestly seek to have the Spirit to be with us, we can overcome fear and be unashamed of our testimony of Jesus Christ.

  • How can the divine power, love, and good judgment we receive through the Spirit help us overcome fear?

  • What are ways in which we can show that we are unashamed of our testimony of Jesus Christ?

  • When has the Spirit helped you overcome fear or given you courage to stand firm in your testimony of Jesus Christ?

Ask students to ponder what they can do to invite the Spirit to be with them so they can overcome fear and be unashamed of their testimony of Jesus Christ.

Summarize 2 Timothy 1:9–18 by explaining that Paul admonished Timothy to remain faithful to true doctrine. Paul also confirmed that widespread apostasy was occurring in the Church (see 2 Timothy 1:15).

2 Timothy 2

Paul instructs Timothy to faithfully endure hardships

Invite students to read 2 Timothy 2:1 silently, looking for Paul’s counsel to Timothy.

  • What was Paul’s counsel to Timothy? (Explain that we access the grace or divine help of Jesus Christ through our faith [see Romans 5:2].)

  • Why might someone find it difficult to remain strong in his or her faith in Jesus Christ?

Explain that Paul counseled Timothy to be strong through the grace of Jesus Christ because he knew Timothy would experience affliction and persecution as a disciple of Christ.

Display pictures of a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. (Or you could invite students to draw pictures of these three people on the board.)

drawings, soldier, hurdler, farmer

Explain that Paul used the metaphors of a soldier, an athlete, and a husbandman (or farmer) to teach Timothy how to remain strong in the faith despite hardship.

Copy the following chart on the board. Invite students to copy it into their class notebooks or scripture study journals, or provide it on a handout:

Metaphor

Description

What this metaphor teaches about remaining strong in the faith

Soldier





Athlete





Husbandman (farmer)





Invite a student to read 2 Timothy 2:3–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Paul described a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. Explain that the word hardness (verse 3) refers to afflictions or hardships (see verse 3, footnote a) and that the phrase “strive for masteries” (verse 5) refers to competing in an athletic contest (see verse 5, footnote a).

  • According to Paul’s teachings in verses 3–4, what does a good soldier do? (Write the following in the first box under “Description” on the chart: A good soldier dutifully endures hardships and sets aside other affairs to please his or her superior.)

  • What does it mean in verse 5 that an athlete will not be “crowned” unless he or she strives, or competes, “lawfully”? (Write the following in the second box under “Description”: An athlete can be victorious only if he or she obeys the rules.)

  • According to verse 6, what is the reward for a farmer who works hard to harvest his or her crops? (Write the following in the third box under “Description”: A farmer must work hard to enjoy the fruits of his or her labors.)

Invite students to complete their charts by writing in the third column what each metaphor teaches about remaining strong in the faith. Ask a few students to report their responses.

Explain that Paul said he experienced many trials for being a disciple of Christ (see 2 Timothy 2:9). Invite a student to read 2 Timothy 2:10–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Paul said about why he endured such hardship. Explain that “the elect” (verse 10) refers to faithful Church members and that the word suffer in verse 12 refers to enduring and remaining constant (see verse 12, footnote a).

  • According to Paul’s words in verses 10 and 12, why was he willing to endure hardship and remain faithful to Jesus Christ?

  • What principle can we learn from Paul about what can happen as we endure hardships and remain faithful to the Lord? (Students may use different words but should identify a principle similar to the following: As we endure hardships and remain faithful to the Lord, we can help ourselves and others obtain salvation through Jesus Christ. Write this principle on the board.)

  • How can faithfully enduring our own trials help others obtain salvation through Jesus Christ?

Summarize 2 Timothy 2:13–19 by explaining that Paul counseled Timothy to remind the Saints to avoid contention and to “depart from iniquity” (verse 19).

Display pictures of various containers, such as a bowl, a cup, and a vase. Invite a student to read 2 Timothy 2:20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what kinds of vessels are “in a great house.”

  • According to Paul, what kinds of vessels are “in a great house”?

Explain that Paul used different kinds of vessels, or containers, as a metaphor for members of the household, or Church, of Jesus Christ. Invite a student to read 2 Timothy 2:21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what makes someone a fitting “vessel … for the master’s use.”

  • According to Paul, what can we do to be fit “for the master’s use”?

Point out that the phrase “purge himself from these” (verse 21) refers to becoming thoroughly clean from iniquity (see verse 19).

  • Based on Paul’s use of vessels as a metaphor, what principle can we learn about what we can do to better serve the Lord? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: If we purge ourselves of iniquity, we can better serve the Lord.)

  • What can we do to purge ourselves of iniquity?

Invite students to read 2 Timothy 2:22 silently, looking for what else we can do to purge ourselves of iniquity. Ask students to report what they find.

  • How can purging ourselves of iniquity help us better serve the Lord?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask students to listen for how this principle applies to those who serve the Lord as missionaries:

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

“No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You can’t do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called ‘forbidden paths’ [1 Nephi 8:28] and expect to guide others to the ‘strait and narrow’ [2 Nephi 31:18] one—it can’t be done.

“… Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. … It is the miracle of forgiveness; it is the miracle of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you cannot do it without an active commitment to the gospel, and you cannot do it without repentance where it is needed. I am asking you … to be active and be clean. If required, I am asking you to get active and get clean” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 45).

  • Why is it essential to be clean from sin when proclaiming the gospel?

Conclude by testifying of the truthfulness of this principle. Invite students to ponder any sins they may need to repent of so they can better serve the Lord.

Commentary and Background Information

2 Timothy 1:7. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear”

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught about the source and effects of fear:

“Let us recognize that fear comes not of God, but rather that this gnawing, destructive element comes from the adversary of truth and righteousness. Fear is the antithesis [opposite] of faith. It is corrosive in its effects, even deadly.

“‘For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ [2 Timothy 1:7].

“These principles are the great antidotes to the fears that rob us of our strength and sometimes knock us down to defeat. They give us power.

“What power? The power of the gospel, the power of truth, the power of faith, the power of the priesthood” (“God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 2).

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained how godly fear differs from worldly fear:

“Different from but related to the fears we often experience is what the scriptures describe as ‘godly fear’ (Hebrews 12:28) or ‘the fear of the Lord’ (Job 28:28; Proverbs 16:6; Isaiah 11:2–3). Unlike worldly fear that creates alarm and anxiety, godly fear is a source of peace, assurance, and confidence.

“But how can anything associated with fear be edifying or spiritually helpful?

“The righteous fear I am attempting to describe encompasses a deep feeling of reverence, respect, and awe for the Lord Jesus Christ (see Psalm 33:8; 96:4), obedience to His commandments (see Deuteronomy 5:29; 8:6; 10:12; 13:4; Psalm 112:1), and anticipation of the Final Judgment and justice at His hand” (“Therefore They Hushed Their Fears,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 48).

2 Timothy 1:7–8. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord”

Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, Young Women general president, shared the following account of Marie Madeline Cardon, a young convert in Italy who demonstrated courage in defending her new faith:

“I recently read the story of Marie Madeline Cardon, who, with her family, received the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from the first missionaries called to serve in Italy in 1850. She was a young woman of 17 or 18 years of age when they were baptized. One Sunday, while the family was holding a worship service in their home high in the Alps of northern Italy, an angry mob of men, including some of the local ministers, gathered around the house and began shouting, yelling, and calling for the missionaries to be brought outside. I don’t think they were anxious to be taught the gospel—they intended bodily harm. It was young Marie who marched out of the house to confront the mob.

“They continued their vicious yells and demands for the missionaries to be brought out. Marie raised her Bible up in her hand and commanded them to depart. She told them that the elders were under her protection and that they could not harm one hair of their heads. Listen to her own words: ‘All stood aghast. … God was with me. He placed those words in my mouth, or I could not have spoken them. All was calm, instantly. That strong ferocious body of men stood helpless before a weak, trembling, yet fearless girl.’ The ministers asked the mob to leave, which they did quietly in shame, fear, and remorse. The small flock completed their meeting in peace.

“Can’t you just picture that brave young woman, the same age as many of you, standing up to a mob and defending her newly found beliefs with courage and conviction?” (“Defenders of the Family Proclamation,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 14).