A Bible study through 2 Timothy
As you may have already noticed, 2 Timothy is packed full of rich truths and valuable nuggets of wisdom. Remember, these are Paul’s final words and instructions to his son in the faith; therefore, the wisdom and encouragement he shared are precious and worth carefully studying. Therefore, as we head into chapter two, let’s take a moment to examine the first two verses and a word of wisdom that would be easy to overlook in this fast paced epistle.
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
~2 Timothy 2:1-2
Much of 2 Timothy feels like rapid fire instructions and exhortations. Paul didn’t have much time or a lot of parchment it seems, so he quickly gave short, weighty reminders to Timothy. This passage is one of those quick words that hold a lot of meaning. While it may seem insignificant during a first read, the point Paul is making here is the importance of building a team of co-workers in the ministry.
Remember, Timothy was the church leader in Ephesus, and, therefore, all of Asia Minor in first century Turkey. He had many responsibilities and many churches under his leadership. Therefore, Paul reminded Timothy of the importance of training up other godly teachers who could share the ministry with him. He should never work alone; but he needed to build a team—a team of faithful, wise men who were qualified and capable of teaching others the truth of the gospel.
Notice the word entrust. We looked at the meaning of that word last time and found that it carries the sense of strong belief in one’s abilities and carries much weight and responsibility. When someone entrusts you with something, they are giving you something of value that they believe you can safely and faithfully hold or maintain for them. God has entrusted us with many things including our gifts and abilities and the people He has placed in our lives. Similarly, Paul charged Timothy to entrust, believe in, or rely on faithful men. He must choose carefully those he invites into the ministry.
Keep in mind that Timothy was called to preach the gospel to everyone. The good news of Jesus was meant to be shared to anyone who would listen. However, in 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorts Timothy to entrust the teaching of this word to a select few. While anyone and everyone were welcome into the family of God through the good news of Jesus Christ, Timothy needed to carefully and prayerfully select faithful and qualified men to join his team. The gospel is for everyone, but the work of the ministry is only for those who prove themselves faithful and firmly rooted in Jesus.
And just as Timothy needed a team of faithful men and women who would serve alongside him and co-labor in building God’s kingdom, so also we need a team. We need people who will come alongside and join us in the ministry, spurring us on in the faith, and encouraging us to keep going. We were never meant to labor alone or run this race of faith by ourselves. Working alone is where Satan can trap us in feelings of inadequacy, burn out, lack of passion, and lost vision. Therefore, we need a team! No matter the size of your ministry, whether you’re in official ministry or not, or if you’re a new believer, you need a team of brothers and sisters who are faithful and whom you can trust to run beside you as you follow Christ.
However, we must be careful how we build our team and who we invite on it. Paul gave Timothy specific guidelines and qualifications for the kind of people to have on the team; therefore, we should also heed these instructions. We don’t want to invite anyone into our inner circle of co-workers for the gospel and as encouragers. We must be prayerfully selective and pick people who will challenge us in our faith, remain by our side through the good and the bad, encourage us when we’re down, and cheer us on. They must be men and women of the Word, firmly rooted in the truths of God and sensitive to His Spirit. They must be faithful to the Lord and willing to serve Him no matter the cost.
While building a team is important, we must not sacrifice quality for quantity. It is much better to run alone than run with the wrong crowd. Therefore, choose your teammates wisely and trust God to surround you with the right people. And no matter what, always find your ultimate encouragement and strength in Christ. As Paul encouraged Timothy:
“You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
~2 Timothy 2:1