For Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness

by Mark T. Hancock · 0 comments

2 Timothy is a beautiful letter from a loving “father-type” to his dear son.

Paul penned this at the end of his life, knowing that his time was short. He wanted to leave his loved and close follower with words that would strengthen his timid nature and establish firmly the function of the Word of God in his life and for future believers.

Paul knew that Timothy would encounter opposition, but prepared him for this opposition, reminding him of the gift of “power and of love and of a sound mind (Greek: sofronismos = self-discipline) (1:7).

From the start, Paul is stressing the presence of power, the necessity of love, and the importance of a disciplined nature. This is a familiar refrain for Paul, who gave us the beautiful love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13.

He revisits this theme by stressing again, “faith and love” (1:13-14). And encourages Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1). Faith, love, grace, hope – pillars of Paul’s gospel.

Paul’s concern stretches to the hearers of the Gospel message, urging Timothy “…not to strive about words to no profit, to the ruin of the hearers” and to “shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness” (2:14,16).

His instruction in handling the Word of God is specific and loving:

2:22 “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

Even Paul’s oft-quoted passage regarding the profitable use of scripture (“…for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” 3:16) is directed at Timothy, not at others, (“But YOU…”, 3:14) with care that Timothy wouldn’t use the scripture to bring offense to others, but maturity to himself.

In the next chapter, Paul does tell Timothy to, “Convince, rebuke, and exhort” others but reinforces this charge by adding the words, “with all long-suffering and teaching” (4:2). A different standard than when applying scripture to self.

In other words, be brutal when applying God’s Word to your own life, but exercise love (as in all things), self-control, and sound teaching when applying it to others.

We saw this in Paul’s letter to the Romans (2:3-4), too:

“And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?”

I thank God for His goodness! It brought me to repentance.

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