October 4 — 2 Timothy 1 — Final Words of Certainty. Paul was released from prison in Rome after two years and ministered for a while in somewhat uncertain places until he was arrested again and imprisoned, probably in a Roman dungeon, before being executed. It was from this prison that Paul wrote this final letter. In this chapter, he mentions two things he is certain about. The first was that he knew his Savior. Although he had suffered imprisonment for sharing the gospel, he wrote, “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed” (v. 12). His second certainty was that he knew his future: “I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (v. 12). God would guard that for him but we find out that it is not all God’s responsibility. Although it is “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us,” Paul tells Timothy to, “guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (v. 14). That is in the form of a command, so it is what we must do. We have a responsibility to cooperate with the Spirit by yielding and obeying.
October 5 — 2 Timothy 2 — Pondering Scripture. One statement stood out to me today: “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything” (v. 7). I hope that when you read these chapters every day, you will also be thinking over, pondering, and meditating on the things you read. Read it a second time! Highlight things that stand out to you! Take notes in a journal of insights that come to you or questions that you have! Put effort into your reading! The benefit of those efforts is given as a gift from God and He “will give you understanding.” We can never exhaust the meaning of God’s Word; it is bottomless.
October 6 — 2 Timothy 3 — Tough Times. Many of the attitudes and actions of ungodly people described in verses 2-4 are present with us today. We are not to be caught up in their ways but should rather, “Avoid such people” (v. 5). We should stand out from them by following Paul’s “teaching … conduct … aim in life … faith … patience … love … [and] steadfastness” (v. 10). When we do, ungodly people will oppose us because the contrast of that kind of life exposes their evil ways. It is no wonder that “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (v. 12). We must make this decision: Do I want to please people or do I want to please God?
October 7 — 2 Timothy 4 — Farewell. These are the last words we have from the great Apostle Paul. He knew he was going to die by execution. If we knew we had a terminal illness with only a few weeks to live, what would we be thinking about? Paul was thinking about others. He was concerned about Timothy’s future, how he was to “preach the word” (v. 2), “do the work of an evangelist” (v. 5), and avoid the dangerous opposition of Alexander the coppersmith (vv. 14-15). He wanted Timothy to come to him in Rome and bring Mark (v. 11). Why would he want Mark, the one who had deserted him earlier in ministry? Paul said it was because Mark would be “very useful to me for …” What would you anticipate would logically follow? For companionship … comfort … personal service? No, it was because he would be useful to Paul “for ministry” (v. 11). Paul was still doing ministry and Mark could help him to reach outside the dungeon to others. Oh, that our hearts would also still be set on others when we approach our final days on earth!
October 8 — Titus 1 — Pastoral Epistles. The three letters Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus are known as the Pastoral Epistles because these two recipients were both pastors and Paul’s representative overseers to pastors of other churches. This letter to Titus, like 1 Timothy, was written after Paul’s first house-imprisonment in Rome, and the two letters have similar content about the proper function of the churches and their leadership. He emphasized that the church elder, or overseer, “must hold firm to the trustworthy word, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it” (v. 9). God’s Word is the absolute foundation of our faith—our standard of truth. Jesus said to His Father, “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). When we read it, we may sometimes not understand it but we must not question its truth.