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Timothy Series

2nd Timothy 2:2

 

John Baugh
January 12, 2009

 

 

Making Disciples – The 2nd Timothy 2:2 Model

 

2 Timothy 2:2 (New American Standard Bible)

 

2The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

 

There may be no more significant verse that Paul wrote in support of discipling than 2 Timothy 2:2. In addition to being an evangelist and church builder, Paul was a master disciple maker who modeled a lifelong commitment to discipling others to Christ Jesus (Luke, Titus, Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila and many others). His understanding of the discipling process is clearly stated in 2nd Timothy 2:2. 

 

In this statement, Paul shows:

 

·        Demonstration of his discipled Life in Christ to the one he was discipling - Timothy (the things & the presence)

·        The transmission of the way and the life (the Gospel message) to others (Timothy’s hearing the word spoken by Paul  - the witness or seeing of Paul’s life in action  – the emphasis on a chain of reproduction (Paul, Timothy, faithful men, others)

·        Teaching of the discipling concept, scripture, lifestyle (entrust and teach the things you have heard from me)

·        Value of being with the disciple and having the disciple with you (many witnesses).

·        Wise investment of discipling effort (entrust to faithful men) 

·        Goal of reproduction into future generations (able to teach others also)

 

 

 

 

Four Generations of Disciples in Paul’s Statement to Timothy:

 

The Picture of Discipleship in 2 Timothy 2:2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When Paul wrote these words to Timothy, where was his heart?

 

The placement of emphasis in Greek may be determined by tense and placement. In the statement made by Paul, one word carries major emphasis. This word indicates where Paul’s hopes and desires for the discipling process lay. He knew that special truth had been committed to (invested in) him, not just for his benefit, but so that he could invest it in others. And that is where he placed his emphasis in the statement to Timothy.

 

The Greek word with major emphasis in 2nd Timothy 2:2 is the word we translate as “others also”.  Paul’s heart, the place that he was most concerned, was not with Timothy, the man he had invested so heavily in for between 14-18 years (praying with, teaching, working alongside, modeling the life of commitment to the discipling process). He knew the things he had transferred to Timothy (the things heard before many witnesses) and was confident he had made the required commitment in Timothy. Neither was his heart with the ones that Timothy was discipling. If Paul’s work with Timothy was effective (and he believed it had been) then Timothy would also pass on Christ Jesus to those he had chosen to disciple. Paul’s heart lay with the ones who would come as the result of the discipling work of the “faithful men” Timothy selected. In all likelihood, these were people that Paul would never know.

 

It would not be fair to pass by the “faithful men” Paul mentions without looking at them for a moment. What would Paul consider o be a faithful man? Most likely the faithful men would have been men like Timothy. They would have been men who were righteous, with habits and discipline that made them worthy of investment (since no one wants to place their investment of time, effort and resources in a shaky position). The word faithful has great meaning. It indicates someone who can be trusted to remain true to their calling, someone who can be trusted to stay the course and finish the race. A faithful person will continue on even when things are difficult. They go forward even when the one sending them is no longer present. You can count on a faithful person. You can put your faith in them. And so, Paul wanted Timothy to find men of faithfulness, who were worthy of his investment of time and effort.

 

Paul’s Interesting Words:

2The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

 

·        Things – (What things?)  1 - God’s Holy word – the scriptures. 2 - Christ’s life (the Gospel). 3 - Christ’s teachings - The truth and the light for all men, given to show us the way out of darkness. 4 – Application – The way that leads to eternal life.

·        Heard from me – Paul was involved in Timothy. His involvement was personal, not second hand. It was life to life. This emphasizes the way of Gospel transmission (speaking, entrusting, teaching) and the reception of the Gospel message (hearing, accepting, learning)

·        In the presence of many witnesses – Paul was never ashamed of the Gospel of Christ and of sharing it with others. John wrote the words “the word became flesh” and Paul lived them. Among many witnesses (dia pollwn marturwn) is a legal term, indicating not just hearing, but testimony of truthfulness. Paul was willing to have people testify as to what he had shared (the Gospel).

·        Entrust – “Commit thou” (paratou) – This word in Greek means to deposit. It is a banker’s term, indicating an investment (a commitment) with the expectation of a return. What was the investment? (the things Paul shared, his time given to Timothy). What was the expected return? (Timothy, the faithful men and the others also – multiple generations of disciples to Christ).

·        Faithful – Trustworthy, righteous, dependable, loyal, reliable, someone you can count on.

·        Able – capable, qualified, competent

·        Teach – to take that which has been received and pass it on (accurately and completely) to others, so that they understand and are able to apply that which was transmitted. Nothing has actually been taught unless the one receiving the teaching is able to usefully apply what has been taught after the teaching is accomplished.

·        Others, also (kai eterouv) – not different, but in addition to - as in an endless ladder (see John 1:14, below). Paul places his major emphasis on an endless ladder of disciples going out toward eternity, or as Jesus indicated in his Great Commission (see following), “the end of the age”.

 

Paul, Timothy and the Great Commission

 

And so Paul completed Christ’s command through his discipling work with Timothy. He completed the investment that Christ commanded in the Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20

 

18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

 

The 2nd Timothy model of disciple making is “life on life” training. It is sharing your life with another so that they will know Christ, and grow to a point of reproductive ability, so that the process will be repeated (reproduced) in another. It is more than teaching words and doctrine. It is also teaching the lifestyle and commitment that go with the words and doctrine. In understanding of the full meaning of discipleship, it is transferring Christ like discipline, from one to another (from discipler to disciple).

 

The John 1:14 Model of Discipling:

 

John 1:14

 

14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

“The Word became flesh”. The word (God) became flesh in the person of Christ and was transmitted to the disciples, and then became flesh in them and was transmitted to those that they discipled, and so on, until finally (after almost 2000 years) to us – to you and to me.

The representation looks like this:

 

Word >>> flesh >>> Word >>> flesh >>> Word >>> flesh >>> Word >>> You and me

 

Everyone who claims salvation today can trace their claim to eternal life in a straight line of transmission through multiple generations of disciples back to these words from John’s Gospel. As the Word became flesh and was shared with the first believers and was taken by them as the Word and shared with others who shared the Word with others, we have a direct link back to Christ Jesus.

 

From William Barkley:

 

“It is not only a privilege to receive the Christian faith; it is a duty to transmit it. All Christians must look at themselves as a link between two generations…The teacher (discipler) is a link in the living chain which stretches unbroken from this present moment back to Jesus Christ.”

 

I do not know how many names are contained in my progression. I doubt that anyone can state their chain, but most of us know at least a few links. I know that my Grandson links to his father (and Mother and Pastor in Starkville, Mississippi), who links to me (and my wife and a Pastor in Mountain Home, Arkansas), who links to my father and a Pastor at Boling Street Methodist Church), who links to his father (and a Country Church Pastor), who links … (through several thousand links) to one of the original hearers of the Word as shared by Christ Jesus to the first disciples.

 

I find the similarity to this progression (chain) and the statement made by Paul to Timothy. Paul knew himself. He knew Timothy (and his mother and Grandmother). After that he knew there would be faithful men, but no names were stated. Then there were the ones where his hope and emphasis lay – the others. That is the way the Gospel is transmitted.

 

Even those who simply pick up a Bible or Gospel tract and find salvation directly from God’s Holy Word owe their salvation to the one who wrote the Gospel and to those who assured it remained in circulation through the early church and those who translated the Bible from Greek and committed to having it published.

 

This line of transmission may well be what Jesus intended when he told Simon that he (as Peter) was to be the rock upon which the church was to be built. In the case of Simon Peter and the Gospel of Mark, Peter was most likely the one who delivered the Word that became flesh in the young disciple John Mark and eventually led to Peter’s cousin Mark writing the Gospel record we know as the book of Mark. It is not unreasonable to ask how many people have achieved salvation through Mark’s Gospel? Would the answer by 1,000,000? Could it be 10,000,000? Might it be even more? The simple fact is that only God knows how many times the Word as shared by Simon Peter to become flesh in John Mark became flesh in another through his sharing.

 

From the Foundation of Peter to Us, Today:

 

How does this Word to Flesh transmission impact our lives today? Most of us have heard at least one preacher, evangelist or Sunday school teacher say that we are always one generation away from losing the Gospel message of life, hope and salvation. What they are trying to share is that if our generation stops the word to flesh transmission, everything will stop with us. It does not seem unreasonable to ask if I allow the Word to flesh transmission to stop with me, who will be responsible for the next one in line past me? 

 

Someone will read this and comment, “Surely God will take care of those who would be lost if I break the progression!” To those who bring up that question, I would ask, “What if you and your replacement(s) all fail to honor the 2 Timothy 2:2 challenge and John 1:14 progression? What would happen to those God intended to have you witness”

 

There is a story that I have used many times, but it is a favorite that is full of truths. It comes (loosely quoted) from one of my favorite books, by one of my favorite authors.

 

From The Master Plan of Evangelism - by Dr. Robert E Coleman

 

After his ascension, Christ was met by legions of angels in Heaven.  They praised and praised him and then one of them asked what plan he had placed into effect to assure his vision would continue across the world and time, as God had desired. 

 

Jesus looked toward the brilliance of God's throne and then told the angels, "I have left a small band of laymen, mostly fishermen, who will take over my vision and deliver my message to the world. I have made these laymen "fishers of men." They will be responsible for teaching my vision to other faithful believers, who will carry on in the same manner until the end of time."

 

The legions of angels all looked at our Lord with wonder. Finally, one of them spoke. “What an incredible vision. What if they fail?”

 

Jesus replied, “This is my vision. I have no other plan."

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

Paul had a Discipling Plan that he shared with Timothy (me, you, faithful men, others also). Paul’s plan fit in very well with his master’s plan and has been adopted by thousands of Disciple Makers across the years since he first shared it with his disciple.

 

Paul’s plan and intent to look out past his work to people he would likely never meet this side of heaven can be our plan, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2009, by ToBeLikeHim Ministries

 

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