Today’s reading is 2 Timothy 1:15-2:13. Today, I’m going to share with you how I studied this passage.
I start by reading through it and making notes on my paper–a few words about each verse. Then, questions come up along the way, and I write them down. This is what turned up:
1:15-18 Paul’s deserted by mostly everyone but Onesiphorus, he’s not ashamed, Paul thanks and blesses him–Who is this Onesiphorus person?
2:1 Be strong–in the grace that is in Christ Jesus–What does it mean to be strong in grace?
v.2 Pass on the teaching, testimony–How?–Paul to Timothy to other reliable people to others
v. 3-6 Examples of how to be strong, to be faithful–a soldier (obedience, commitment), an athlete (discipline), and a farmer (hard work, persistence)
v. 7 Paul doesn’t give Tim (or us) an easy explanation–reflect and the Lord will give you insight
vv. 8-10 Remember Jesus, this is my gospel, worth suffering, Paul is chained, the word of God is not–What does that mean?–endure for the sake of others’ salvation
vv. 11-13 Be encouraged by this–4 if/then statements–the text changes–looks like a psalm or hymn–Where did this saying come from? What does this mean “if we are faithless, he remains faithful–for he cannot deny himself” ?
Then, to start finding answers to my questions, I look in the study notes of my Bible. I didn’t find out much more about Onesiphorus, but there is a note that his name appears again in the closing of the letter, chapter 4 verse 19. I also read that vv. 11-13 are “a hymnic fragment.”
If I wanted more context, academic background or answers to further questions, I would consult one of the commentaries I have at home or the various resources available online at Bible Crosswalk or Bible Gateway.
After reading the text, I would take Paul’s advice to Timothy in 2:7 and spend some time reflecting on 2:1-6 and asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me through those verses.
Beyond the GPS questions, here are a few more:
-How I can “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” and gain “understanding in all things”?
-How am I passing on sound teaching? Is my information about Christ sound, and from what source(s) do I get this information? Who am I passing it on to?
-In light of this passage, how do I live differently?
Rev. Molly Simpson is the Campus Pastor at Resurrection West, and can be reached at Molly.Simpson@rezwest.org.