These small group studies of 2 Timothy contain outlines, cross-references, Bible study discussion questions, and applications. Visit our library of inductive Bible studies for more in depth inductive studies on this and other books of the Bible you can use in your small group.
2 Timothy 2:8-19 Inductive Bible Study
- Endure (7-13)
- Focus on what is important (14-19)
- Endure (7-13)
How does God give us understanding? How can we increase our understanding?
What was the reason Paul was willing to suffer so much?
How can remembering Christ help encourage us to face suffering without giving up?
What fact encouraged Paul even in the midst of his imprisonment?
In verse 10, Paul says, “for this reason.” For what reason?
What is Paul’s goal in all of this? Are you willing to face death in order to see the gospel spread?
What does it mean to die with him?
When can we reign with Him? What does it mean, “if we deny Him, He will deny us?”
What does it mean, “for He cannot deny Himself?”
Joshua 1:8 – Meditate on the Book of the Law day and night.
Psalm 1:2 – He delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night.
Proverbs 4:20-22 – Be attentive to my words.
Psalms 119: 97 – How I love your law! It is my meditation day and night.
Psalms 119:11 – I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
- Verse 7 – In this verse we see both God’s work and our responsibility. God is the one who grants understanding. He is the one who enlightens our hearts. He is the one who opens our spiritual eyes. At the same time, Paul told Timothy to “Consider what I say.” We must meditate carefully on the God’s Word to increase our understanding of it. Many things in the Bible are simple. But not everything is simple. Sometimes when we read it, we don’t understand. Maybe we don’t understand the logic, the culture, the principle, or the doctrine. What do you do when you don’t understand the Bible? You should meditate on it. You should study it more. Don’t just forget it and move on to something easier. In the book of Hebrews (5:14), the author says that their minds had become dull. They kept drinking milk and would not move on to solid food. Their minds were not sharpened by practice. Instead they were lazy spiritually. Instead of diligently pursuing answers, they lazily just said, “never mind.” When we listen to sermons, we should meditate. When we read the Bible in our quiet times, we should meditate. When we join Bible study, we should meditate. What practices can help you to do this?
- Jesus is your inspiration (8-9) – Remembering Jesus could encourage Timothy to face suffering without fear or giving up. Jesus’ example of suffering and His sacrifice for us should also motivate us to face persecution boldly without thought of compromise. Jesus gave His life for us even though we had done nothing for Him and had done everything against Him. We should be willing to give our lives for Him who has done everything for us.
- The Word of God is not imprisoned – No matter what happens to you, God’s enemies cannot stop the spread of His Word. Many times God even uses the death of His saints to begin revivals. Share the story of the legion of Roman believers whose commander charged with their execution became a believer and was executed along with them together. A biblical example is the Philippian jailer. A more recent example is the guard of a believer in the Muslim world who became a believer because of the witnessing of the believer in prison.
- The lost motivate us – Jesus is our inspiration. Yet He is not the only reason Paul (and we) must endure. Another thing driving Paul was the necessity to keep sharing the gospel so that all of God’s elect would hear and believe. We should have the same drive to share the gospel with the lost. Do you like Paul say “woe is me” if I don’t share the gospel?
- Verses 11-13 – We die with him figuratively when we die to our sins and are “baptized” into His death. We must die to live. If we die to ourselves, we can live for Christ. But we won’t only live with Him. We will also reign with Him. See 1 Corinthians 6:3. If we deny Him, He will deny us. See Mark 8:38. God’s character doesn’t change. God will not break His promises even when we do. God will not abandon us even when we sin. In Deuteronomy 31:6 we learn that God will never leave us or forsake us. But yet verse 12 also has a warning. If we publicly deny our belief in Christ, then He too will be ashamed of us. God is willing to forgive as we see in the example of Peter, but note too that Peter in the future publicly professed His faith in Christ many times.
II. Focus on what is important (14-19)
Who is the “them” in verse 14?
What does it mean to “wrangle about words?” Can you give any examples?
What is the result of arguing about words?
What does verse 15 tell us we should focus on instead?
In what way are we to be a “workman?”
Why does this workman not need to be ashamed?
What is the word of truth? How are we to handle it? What will it look like in our lives if we are a workman accurately handling the word of truth?
What kind of talk is worldly and empty? What will the result of it be? What should you do if the people around you want to talk about these things? What can you do to steer conversations toward more meaningful topics? How can you prepare to do that ahead of time?
What is the relationship between verse 19 and the rest of the chapter?
How does the knowledge that the “Lord knows those who are His” effect your everyday life?
Matthew 12:36-37 – We will give an account for every careless word we speak.
Proverbs 12:28 – The tongue of the wise brings healing.
James 1:26 – The one who thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue has worthless religion.
Ephesians 5:6 – Let there be no foolish talk or crude joking…
Proverbs 10:19 – When words are many transgression is not lacking.
- Overview – In the past chapter and a half we have learned that Timothy should not give in to fear. He should stand strong and uncompromising on the truth of God’s Word. He should not turn away from Paul or the Lord. He should be strong in God’s grace and not give up because of persecution. He should renew his zeal for serving the Lord. He should give his life for the Lord. He should endure to the very end. He should remain faithful no matter what. Starting in verse 14 we see Paul encourages Timothy not to get sidetracked, but instead to focus on the important things. He is also to remind those he trained, taught, and discipled of the same principle. It makes sense that Paul would want to remind Timothy of this. Paul was facing an imminent death. That brings perspective. He could look back at his life and ministry and know what was important and what wasn’t. He knew what was worth arguing about and taking a stand on and what was not. This is something a lot of young people do not understand. When we are prideful, we want to to be right. And when all we care about is being right, we lose sight of what is really important. In these verses Paul reminds Timothy of what is important and what is not.
- Do not wrangle about words – Do not get stuck on minute details. We should not enjoy arguing. We should not pridefully seek to defend our own opinion on obscure and unimportant matters. This is so important that Paul tells him to charge the people in the presence of God not to be like this. We have probably all been around people like this, people who enjoy arguing, people who always want to show how smart they are by correcting others on meaningless points. These people often interrupt others to correct them: “It wasn’t 12:30 when we went. It was 12:20.” “That happened Tuesday, not Wednesday!” These people are not fun to be around. While they may just desire to show how smart they all (acting like a know-it-all), in reality it just annoys people and doesn’t accomplish anything productive. Believers may do the same thing toward the Bible. There was a guy who attended GICF. He wrote emails to at least 3 different speakers criticizing very small points in their messages. They wrote back gracious and considerate replies in essence saying, “It is not so important. We will have to agree to disagree.” But he could not take that as an answer. He continued sending email after email trying to force them to agree with his viewpoints. He became angry and bitter. His emails often referenced his seminary education as a reason why they should listen to him. This brother was sidetracked by details. He missed on the most important things of following Christ like love and unity and mercy and kindness and instead allowed his pride to take over. According to Paul this is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Application: What can we learn from this? How can we avoid these things? We should ask ourselves “is this important enough to argue about?” before we start arguing. There are some things that are worth arguing about. Examples include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, the inerrancy of Scripture, etc. But many things are not. Simple application: if it is not worth arguing about, then don’t argue about it.
- Verse 15 – AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed). Verses 14 and 16 tell us things that are not important enough to waste our time on. Verse 15 shows us what is important enough to dedicate our time to. We are to be diligent to understand the word of truth (the Bible.) We are to be like a workman. A workman understands his tools. A carpenter knows where his tools are and exactly what they do. He has a specific tool for every task. Each one has a specific purpose. When he uses the tools, he does so effortlessly because he has practiced and has become very familiar with them. This is how we are to be toward the Bible. Your Bible is your most important tool. It should be familiar in your hands. You should be able to find different passages, verses, and books quickly. You should memorize the books of the Bible so you can turn to different places smoothly. You should memorize verses in the Bible so that you can pull them out when you need them. You should study the Bible diligently so that you understand it deeper and deeper and can explain it to others. You should understand how to interpret the Bible so that you can understand it correctly and teach it correctly to others. Last week we learned from 2 Timothy 2:2 that we should pass on what we have learned. If you do not study the Bible diligently you will not be able to discern if what you have learned is true or not. You must not rely on other people to spoon feed you God’s Word. Instead you must study it yourself so that you can discern the truth and only pass on the truth to others. Do not try to put your own meaning or opinions into the Bible. Instead our goal should be to understand what God’s intended meaning is. To do that you must be diligent. Let’s go around the table and each person share one specific way they can be more diligent in their Bible study (For example, one idea is to write down a question in a notebook whenever you don’t understand something you are reading and then hunt for the answer.)
- Avoid worldly and empty chatter – See also 1 Timothy 6:20-21. Worldly and empty chatter is talk which does not build people up. It either accomplishes nothing, distracts people from God, or even has a negative impact on their relationship with Christ. Many topics which unbelievers spend a lot of time on are worldly and empty. For example? (Dirty jokes, having silly conversations about girl/guy relationships, talking about details of the lives of actors/singers/models/celebrities, always talking about making money, comparing ourselves with others, envious talk, etc.) I have a simple test for you to ask yourself to make sure you don’t engage in any worldly or empty chatter. It is called WWJS (What Would Jesus Say)? If Jesus would not say it, then you would probably be better off to not say it either. We should not get into conversations with the unbelievers around us which are unedifying. What can you do when they talk about these things around you? How can you guide your conversations toward something more meaningful? How about when you are together with other believers?
- Their talk will spread – Sin spreads quickly. These kinds of conversations lead people away from the Lord and to foolishness. It is not just “harmless fun.” It is dangerous. If you don’t believe me, see what happens in verse 18.
- Verse 18 – Here we see the story of Hymenaeus and Philetus. Here we learn that they went astray from the truth and said that the resurrection (which occurs at the end of the age) had already happened. By doing so they misled many people. From verses 16-18 we see the steady progression of foolish talk. What starts of as a bad habit leads people farther and farther from Christ and into serious sin and delusion. After that it spreads even further and misleads others. The safest place to be is in a close relationship with Christ. If you leave the shelter of His will and venture into the world, it is a dangerous business and you may end up much further from Him than you ever expected.
- Verse 19 – The firm foundation of God stands. Paul returns again to what is important. His Word, His truth is important. That is the solid rock we stand on. That is what will protect us from the storms and temptations of life. We belong to the Lord. He holds us in His hands. We should stay close to Him and far from the world. When we are close to Him we will want to be holy like He is holy so we will abstain from wickedness. If we let Christ remain the center of our hearts we will spend our time and energy doing what we see in verse 15 (studying God’s word diligently and teaching it to others) and not the things we see in verses 14 and 16 (arguing about nonsense and talking about nothing). What kind of person are you? Are you the diligent workman in verse 15? Or are you the prideful and foolish arguer in verses 14 and 16? How can you become a better workman?