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2 Timothy 2:1-7 Study Guide: Entrust to Others

Community Group Study Guide — Entrust to Others
2 Timothy 2:1-7

Study Information:
If you’re a Christian today it is because someone passed on what they learned about God to you and the wonderful thing is that they heard it from someone else, who heard it from someone else. We could theoretically trace that line of discipleship all the way back to Jesus. Sometimes this takes the form a parent to child, or someone sharing the gospel in a message, and often it happens through Bible study, mentorship and discipleship as a more experienced and mature follower of Jesus opens up their life to another to learn the way of Christ. Paul gave this command to Timothy during a season of suffering and persecution, when many were turning away. The charge was “look for faithful people and invest in them.” In this study guide we will explore how disciples make disciples who make disciples and Paul’s three metaphors about focus and hard work to accomplish this task.  

Disciples Who Make Disciples Who Make Disciples
2 Timothy 2:1-2
As discussed in the previous study guide, it is easy to focus on the things that go wrong. We can get caught up in focusing on the ones who turn away and the ministry fails, but Paul turned our attention to look for how faithful Christians loved one another in Christ and he did that through the example of Onesiphorus. The charge to Timothy is to take what he has learned and to teach others, who can teach others. This is a generational approach to ministry. Rather than building a platform or a brand, Timothy was to give away what he knew so that ministry multiplied and others got into the game of teaching and serving Christ. 2 Timothy 2:2  painted the picture of four generations. Paul (1) who entrusted the gospel to Timothy (2), Timothy who entrusted it to faithful men (3), who are able to teach others also (4). This category of “faithful” people is really important and stands as a contrast to Phygelus and Hermogenes from 1:15-18. We should share the gospel with all and really invest in those who demonstrate that they are eager and faithful. Give your time and extra to people who show you that they are eager and want to learn. 

Standing firm in the face of suffering and devoting yourself to discipling others requires strength. Notice in 2 Timothy 2:1 that this strength comes from God’s grace, not human self determination .

You may feel like you don’t have the ability to disciple someone else, but really it is passing on what you’ve been entrusted with and if you’ve been following Christ for some time there is certainly something you can pass on to someone else so they are built up in the faith. Do you have someone you’re passing on what you’ve learned to? Someone in your family, neighborhood, community group or a ministry? If not, pray about someone and take a chance in asking someone if they want to learn more about the Bible and what it means to follow Jesus. 

Work Hard and Stay Focused
2 Timothy 2:3-7
Paul calls Christians to “share in suffering,” literally in the Greek this is “suffer together.” The backdrop of persecution and opposition is brought to the forefront as Paul charged Timothy to stay focused and work hard. This happens through three metaphors. 

First, suffer together as a good soldier. Soldiers are willing to put aside civilian entanglements to stay focused on the battle at hand and preparation to fight. This is a wartime focus where the main thing stays the main thing. Notice also, the desire is to please the one who “enlisted him.” For us, that would be a growing desire to please God. In the face of suffering it is easy to want to find a way out, but here we’re called not to please other humans but God who tests our hearts (1 Thess 2:4). 

Second, an athlete who competes by the rules. In the Greco-Roman world, to compete in games like the Olympics you had to devote at least ten months of your life to training and live by a code of conduct. The games were not random feats of strength or agility, but there were rules to play by. As followers of Jesus we have a code of conduct we live by and it will require being disciplined and not falling into the sin of trying to cut corners to gain some sort of “advantage” through getting around the way of following Christ. 

Third, the hard working farmer. Farming is not easy, it requires patience and a lot of work and trust that a harvest will come. We’re detached from where our food comes from, and having a garden is great but it is not the same as farming. One typically does not get up at the crack of dawn to take care of their garden! The promise for the hardworking farmer is a share in the first fruits. I once did an orchard tour locally and the farmer grabbed a nectarine off the tree and threw it to me. It is amazing when you take a bit of really good ripe fruit. The lazy farmer cannot expect a harvest nor the first fruits. Fruitfulness in scripture is a call to holiness and discipleship. We experience fruitfulness as we grow in Christlikeness and help others to do the same.

So, stand firm in the grace that God gives, but also work hard and stay focused. The Christian life requires a lot of patience as we minister, love, serve and help others to know Christ so they too can learn and pass it on to faithful people. It will involve dealing with sorrow and suffering, but it is worth it and the greatest investment you can give to the next generation.  

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:
Read 2 Timothy 2:1-7

How does these verses connect to 2 Timothy 1:15-18? Why would Paul emphasize entrusting what you’ve learned to “faithful men?” (There is likely the context of eldership here, but we can take the shared principle and think about how we are passing on what we’ve learned to other men and women who can the share that with others). 

Who were some of the greatest influences in your growth in Christ? Do you know where they learned to follow Jesus and if so who did they learn to follow Jesus from…? How far back can you trace the line?

Paul gave three metaphors about staying focused and working hard in the face of suffering. What is the point of each metaphor? Which one seems particularly important in your life right now?

What next step can you take this week to entrust the gospel to others? Ask, invite, pray, join a group, etc?