From Handbook to Scripture, Day 322
READING: 2 TIMOTHY 3
Paul predicts a time of increasing arrogance, rebelliousness, and vulnerability to spiritual deception (3:1–9), and he warns Timothy that he can expect that persecution for the sake of following Christ will increase (3:10–13). He reminds Timothy to stay strong in Scripture and to use it effectively in this spiritual combat (3:14–17).
Paul’s letters to Timothy indicate that he was youthful, frequently ill, and timid (1 Timothy 4:12; 5:23; 2 Timothy 1:7), but that he was a trustworthy and gifted teacher. The apostle wrote this letter to encourage him to be faithful to his calling and to stand firm in the face of obstacles to the spread of the gospel. Timothy was encountering a number of hardships, and Paul wanted to strengthen him to handle external persecution and internal problems of false doctrine and dissension within the churches. This was especially urgent in light of the fact that Paul was nearing the end of his ministry and needed to entrust important areas into the care of his faithful associate and disciple.
Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge that all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, so that we may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Meditation passage: verses 12, 15–17
From Simple Prayers, Day 322
I DRAW NEAR TO YOU, GOD
O Lord, I am deeply grateful for Your wonderful acts, for Your abundant promises, and for the gift of my relationship with You through the merits of Christ.
If I have been united with Christ in the likeness of His death, I will certainly also be united with Him in the likeness of His resurrection. (Romans 6:5)
I thank God because of His grace in Christ Jesus. In Him we have been enriched in every way, in all speech and in all knowledge. We do not lack any spiritual gift, as we eagerly wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:4–5, 7)
Take a moment to express your gratitude for the many blessings that you have received from the Lord.
THANK YOU FOR WHAT YOU HAVE DONE
Jesus knew that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was returning to God. (John 13:3)
He who comes from above is above all; he who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without limit. (John 3:31, 34)
I LISTEN TO YOUR WORDS OF TRUTH
O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who depart from You will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living water. (Jeremiah 17:13)
MY RESPONSE TO YOU, LORD
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matthew 22:37–40)
This is God’s commandment: that we believe in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
Lord, I thank You that Jesus came from heaven and that You gave all things into His hands. I pray that I would never forsake You, but that I would love You with all my heart, soul, and mind, and that I would love my neighbor as myself.
Adapted from Handbook to Spiritual Growth
LOVING & KNOWING THE PERSON OF CHRIST
God is an intensely personal and relational Being, and it is an insult for us to treat Him as though He were a power or a principle. Some of us find it easier to be comfortable with abstract principles and ideas than with people and intimacy. Good things like the Bible, theology, ministry, and church can become substitutes for loving Him. We can even come to love the content of truth in the Bible more than the Source of that truth. As a countermeasure, it is good to ask God for the grace of increased passion for His Son so that, by the power of the Spirit, we will come to love Him as the Father loves Him.
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.