Almost certainly the last letter written by the Apostle Paul was his second letter to Timothy. Paul was under house arrest in Rome, awaiting trial and probable execution during the reign of Nero Caesar. Knowing that he might not leave Rome alive Paul writes to Timothy, urging him to keep the faith and to train up the next generation of Christians. In Chapter Three, Paul warns Timothy against those who suffer from truth decay – false teachers. Sadly, they are still with us.
READ 2 Timothy 3
The key paragraph is verses 14-17.
- What was Timothy to do (see verse 14)?
- And why (verses 14-15)?
Central to Paul’s defence of the truth (and Timothy’s and ours too) is the Bible. In 3:15 Paul refers to ἱερος γραμματα / hieros grammata – sacred scriptures – that Timothy had known all his life. These writings would be the books we know as Old Testament because what we know as the New Testament was still being written. But if we link 2 Timothy 3 and Hebrews 1 we should remember that the Old Testament pointed towards the New.
- So what is the Bible for (see verse 16)?
- And if we handle the Bible correctly, what is to be the result (see verse 17)?
All scripture is θεοπνευτος / theopneuotos – the breath of God, or inspired by God. Somehow these words, recorded by human beings, are the very words of God. This implies that as we read and study the word of God we should have the right attitude.
- Give an example of a wrong attitude to the Bible:
- How might you correct this wrong attitude?
- What do you think about the Bible? Is your position compatible with what the Bible says about itself?