As we read Paul's two letters to Timothy we begin to understand the problems of this young pastor. For one thing, he hesitated to face matters squarely and settle them according to God's Word. There was "fear" in his life; perhaps the fear of man that "bringeth a snare" (Proverbs 29:25). He faced the usual temptations of a young man, and he certainly did not feel adequate to the task that was before him. Paul wrote to encourage him in this first chapter that he might continue to be faithful in his service. This letter is very personal. Paul was alone at Rome, awaiting trial and certain death. He longed to see Timothy and to encourage him to take his rightful place in the ministry of the Gospel. He could see the apostasy and defeat all around him and urged Timothy to be true to his calling and fulfill his ministry.

In chapter 1 Paul encourages the young pastor. In chapter 2 he reminds Timothy of his pastoral calling and deals in a very practical way with the local church and the pastor's special responsibilities. In chapter 3 he looks down through the years with the eyes of a prophet and tells us what to expect. Finally, in chapter 4, he appeals to Timothy to be careful and busy in the Master's work, because satanic seducers continue to do their work. The Christian's only weapon against them is to continue in the Word of God. The only answer to Satan's lies is God's truths! If every local church would get back to the Word of God, and if every preacher and Sunday school teacher would get back to teaching in simplicity and truth, our churches would grow, and Satan's disciples would be defeated.

This chapter is the final message from the inspired pen of Paul. Shortly after penning these words he was martyred for the cause of Christ. It is no surprise that we find in it an intense personal appeal for Timothy's faithfulness to the Lord and to his beloved Paul. Paul's admonitions in this chapter apply to pastors and Christian workers today: (1) We should preach the Word and rightly divide it--make it understandable and applicable to the lives of people today. (2) We should fulfill the ministry God has given us to do. Too many quit because of discouragement brought on by the devil. Paul's instruction in I Corinthians 16:13,14 says, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all things be done with charity." That is my prayer for each one reading these comments today.

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