By Adam Brown –
Having received a letter of instructions (1 Timothy) from Paul, Timothy set his energy to its implementation in the Ephesian church. Timothy’s commitment to that letter, however, spawned even greater resistance and opposition within his local church. So much so, that Timothy was on the verge of a personal break-down and a ministry burn-out.
In response to Timothy’s fragile situation, Paul penned a second letter (2 Timothy) to encourage his young disciple to persevere. The context of 2 Timothy, then, is the open rebellion of a local church against the established leadership and Word of God. Sadly, this is a context that the modern pastor and elder team in Canada today are all too familiar with.
It is in keeping with God’s lavish generosity that He has inspired 2 Timothy to be a balm and a motivator for the heavy laden pastor and elder team. It is also a sure comfort to any and to all Christians who face opposition within the church on account of their fidelity to, and zeal for, the Word of God. Indeed, this is a letter of encouragement to an embattled and weary church.
It is appropriate that this letter, which would be Paul’s last, captures the apostle’s gutsy endurance and, in so doing, passes this same resolve to the next generation of church leaders and members. Through the ages, this letter has breathed life and perseverance into a church that is always finding strength in the midst of weakness.
In this letter, we find seven additional instructions for the local church. It is amazing how relevant the Word of God continues to be, proving yet again that these are not the words of mere men (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
I truly believe that any church that takes seriously the implementation of the fifteen instructions found in 1 Timothy, will, in some degree, need the binding-up and healing that comes as a precious gift from God through the preaching and implementation of 2 Timothy. Thus, the relevance and eerie applicability of 2 Timothy may serve as a sort of litmus test for the efforts of the local church to conform itself to the Word of God.