In his second epistle to Timothy, the Apostle Paul taught that fear does not come from God and counseled Timothy to not be ashamed of his testimony of Jesus Christ. He encouraged Timothy to faithfully endure trials and instructed him to teach the Saints to repent. Paul explained that although apostasy and wickedness would be prevalent in their day as well as in the last days, Timothy should remain faithful to the truths he had already learned. Paul also taught about the purposes of the scriptures. He ended his letter by encouraging Timothy to diligently fulfill his ministry.
Think of a time you experienced fear. Where were you? What were you doing?
President Gordon B. Hinckley explained how fear can influence us: “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. 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” (“God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 2).
How might fear affect our ability to live the gospel?
As you study 2 Timothy 1, look for a principle that can help you overcome fear.
While Paul was imprisoned in Rome near the end of his life, he wrote his second epistle to Timothy. As recorded in 2 Timothy 1:1–5, Paul expressed his desire to see Timothy and recalled Timothy’s sincere faith.
Read 2 Timothy 1:6–8, looking for what Paul reminded Timothy to do to overcome fear.
The “gift of God” received by the laying on of hands (2 Timothy 1:6) likely refers to the Holy Ghost. The phrase “stir up” in verse 6 means to rekindle or revive (see 2 Timothy 1:6, footnote a). Paul counseled Timothy to rekindle the gift of the Holy Ghost, or to invite the Holy Ghost to be with him.
According to 2 Timothy 1:7, what blessings can come from having the Spirit with us?
Paul referred to worldly fear, which creates anxiety, uncertainty, and alarm and differs from what the scriptures refer to as “the fear 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). Our fear, or reverence, of the Lord can strengthen us against worldly fear.
One principle we can learn from Paul’s counsel to Timothy is that 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.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are ways in which you can show that you are not ashamed of your testimony of Jesus Christ?
When has the Spirit helped you overcome worldly fear or given you courage to stand firm in your testimony of Jesus Christ?
Ponder what you can do to invite the Spirit to be with you so that you can overcome worldly fear and be unashamed of your testimony of Jesus Christ.
As recorded in 2 Timothy 1:9–18, Paul urged Timothy to remain faithful to true doctrine. He testified of the saving power of Jesus Christ, which makes possible the Resurrection, immortality, and eternal life.
As recorded in 2 Timothy 2:1–9, Paul encouraged Timothy to rely on the gospel and to endure hardships as a good soldier would. Paul also said he experienced many trials for being a disciple of Christ.
Read 2 Timothy 2:10–12, looking for what Paul said about why he endured such hardships. “The elect” (verse 10) refers to faithful Church members (see D&C 29:7), and the word suffer in verse 12 refers to enduring and remaining constant (see 2 Timothy 2:12, footnote a).
One principle we can learn from these verses is that as we endure hardships and remain faithful to the Lord, we can help ourselves and others obtain salvation through Jesus Christ.
How can we help others obtain salvation through Jesus Christ by faithfully enduring our own trials?
To help Timothy understand the Saints’ need for repentance, Paul used different kinds of vessels, or containers, as a metaphor for members of the household, or Church, of Jesus Christ.
Read 2 Timothy 2:20, looking for what kinds of vessels are “in a great house.” The phrase “some to honour, and some to dishonour” suggests that some Church members were worthy and had dedicated themselves to noble purposes, while others had not.
Read 2 Timothy 2:21, looking for what makes someone a fitting “vessel … for the master’s use.” The phrase “purge himself from these” refers to becoming thoroughly clean from iniquity (see 2 Timothy 2:19).
One principle we can learn from Paul’s metaphor is that if we purge ourselves of iniquity, we can better serve the Lord.
What can we do to purge ourselves of iniquity?
Read 2 Timothy 2:22, looking for some things Paul wrote that we can do to purge ourselves of iniquity.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave an example of how this principle applies to missionaries:
“The Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. 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.
“But there is an answer to this challenge for you every bit as much as there is for that investigator to whom you will go. Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. Every one of you … can leave behind any transgression with which you may struggle. 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).
Ponder why it is essential to be clean from sin when proclaiming the gospel. Consider any sins you may need to repent of so you can better serve the Lord. Remember that your bishop or branch president can be an important source of help as you strive to become clean and pure.
Have you ever worried that you or your future children might not be able to withstand the evils of the world in our day?
The Apostle Paul taught Timothy how to overcome the perils of the world. Read 2 Timothy 3:1–5, looking for some of the perils Paul said Timothy and we would experience or witness in our lives. You may want to use the footnotes to help you understand some difficult words.
Think about a recent time when you may have observed these types of perilous behaviors.
In 2 Timothy 3:6–13 Paul continued to describe these perils, and he prophesied that in the last days they would only get worse.
Notice in 2 Timothy 3:7 that Paul mentioned those who are “ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” What are some philosophies or ideas that are prominent today but are contrary to the truth God has revealed through His prophets?
After describing these perils, Paul provided counsel to Timothy—and us—about how to overcome these spiritual perils.
Think about what it might mean to “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of” (2 Timothy 3:14).
We can learn the following two principles from these verses: If we continue in the truths we have learned from trusted sources and in the scriptures, we can overcome the spiritual peril of the last days. As we study the scriptures, we can learn doctrine and receive correction and instruction that will help us grow toward perfection.
In your scripture study journal, write about a time when the scriptures have helped you in one or more of the following ways:
To understand a doctrine of the gospel
By offering reproof or correction concerning something in your thinking, choices, or behavior that was not right
By providing an answer to a prayer or giving instruction on how you might solve a problem
It is likely that 2 Timothy was the last letter the Apostle Paul wrote before his death. Read 2 Timothy 4:1–5, looking for two things: (1) Paul’s counsel to Timothy and (2) Paul’s prophecy about the future of the ancient Christian Church. Use the footnotes to help you understand what you read. The phrase “be instant in season, out of season” in verse 2 means to be urgent in the work of the Lord and to reprove or correct those who are not (see Joseph Smith Translation, 2 Timothy 4:2 [in 2 Timothy 4:2, footnote b]).
Write down your findings in the following chart:
Paul’s counsel to Timothy
Paul’s prophecy about the ancient Christian Church
Why do you think Paul encouraged Timothy to continue preaching and ministering to the people even though he knew that many would turn away from the truth?
Read 2 Timothy 4:6–8, looking for what Paul wrote about his own efforts to spread the gospel.
Notice that Paul’s athletic references to fighting a good fight and finishing the course describe how he faithfully completed his mission. According to verse 8, what did Paul know awaited him after death?
We can learn the following principle from these verses: If we remain faithful in all the Lord requires of us, we will receive a crown of righteousness. A “crown of righteousness” includes becoming like Heavenly Father.
In your scripture study journal, list some of the requirements the Lord has given to the youth of the Church to help them become more like their Father in Heaven. (If you need help, look in the For the Strength of Youth booklet.) Then write the answers to the following questions:
Why might youth choose to give up being faithful to some of these requirements?
Who do you know who, like Paul, is a good example of remaining faithful even when it is difficult? What have they done that exemplifies this principle?
As recorded in 2 Timothy 4:9–22, Paul concluded his letter by explaining that even though he had felt lonely at times in his work, he knew the Lord was with him and strengthened him.
Remember to remain faithful in what the Lord requires of you. You may want to write about any impressions or promptings from Heavenly Father that you may have had during this lesson. Consider setting a goal to act on your impressions.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 2 Timothy and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: