2 Timothy, Lesson 6: Follow and Deliver the Apostles’ Teaching from the Scriptures

Delivery Man Delivering the Goods (610x351)Paul just finishing describing false teachers in Ephesus, comparing them to Jannes and Jambres, Pharaoh’s magicians who opposed Moses. In contrast to those false teachers, Paul now commends Pastor Timothy.


Continue in the Apostles’ Teaching 

Read 2 Timothy 3:10-12

“followed”: Greek, parakoloutheo. This means more than “follow”; it has the idea of “accompanying” or even “study at close range.” Luke the Evangelist used this word to describe how carefully he researched what he wrote in the book of Luke: “It also seemed good to me, since I have carefully followed [parakoloutheo] everything from the beginning, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus.”

In Greek philosophy, parakoloutheo referred to the close relationship of the disciple and master where the disciple not only learned from the master, but also imitated him (Epictetus Discourses 1.7.33; 2.24.19). That’s what Paul means here.

  • What is the first thing that Paul does? (vs. 10-11)


Lesson 6, What Timothy Carefully Followed



  • What does Paul tell Timothy to be prepared for? (vs. 12)


  • Yet, how does Paul encourage Timothy? (vs. 11)


  • Discuss: The Christian Faith and the connection between confess (homolegeo, to “say the same thing”) and parakoloutheo, follow carefully, even imitate.


Read 2 Timothy 3:13

  • What direction are “evil people and impostors” inclined to go?  Why?


Read 2 Timothy 3:14-15

  • Paul tells Timothy to “continue in what you have learned.”  To what is Paul pointing Timothy?


  • But the Christian faith is knowing more than content; it also includes what?


“from childhood”: Greek, brephos, an unborn child or newborn infant. The New Testament uses brephos for “unborn child” in Luke 1:41, 44 and “infant” in Luke 2:12, 16; 18:15; Acts 7:19; and 1 Peter 2:2. A more accurate translation would be “from infancy.”

“been acquainted”: Greek, oida, “known” would be a better translation. “Been acquainted” underplays the meaning of oida, which can even mean “understand” and/or “remember.”

  • What are the Scriptures able to do? What does that mean about the “power of the Word”?


“The sacred writings”: Paul did something quite clever when he referred to the “writings.” We would expect Paul to use the normal term for the Scripture, graphe. But he, instead, used grammata, “letters of the alphabet.” This word choice is deliberate: it points to the Scriptures having its way with someone even while still young, even when too young to learn to read.

  • When Paul wrote 2 Timothy, what were the “sacred Scriptures”?


The “sacred Scriptures” of the Old Testament: When Paul referred to the “sacred Scriptures,” he primarily meant the Septuagint, the Greek-language translation of the Old Testament. We know this by looking at Paul’s use of the Old Testament in his epistles. Paul primarily quoted and referenced the Septuagint.

For example, in Romans 3:12-18, Paul quoted from the Old Testament. Now, if he used what was later to become the Hebrew Masoretic Text, he would have had to pull from six different Old-Testament passages: Psalm 14:1-3, Psalm 5:9, Psalm 140:3, Psalm 10:7, Isaiah 59:7-9, and Psalm 36:1. But if Paul was quoting from the Septuagint, then he only needed to use Psalm 14.

We even find Paul using the Septuagint when he wrote to Timothy that “from infancy… the sacred letters [have made] you wise for salvation”:

  • Psalm 19:8, Septuagint: “The testimony of the Lord is faithful, making infants wise.”

  • Psalm 19:8, Masoretic Text: “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

So, when Paul referred to the Old Testament, the “sacred letters” of his day, he primarily meant the Septuagint.

  • Yet, how do the Scriptures come to someone (how did they come to Timothy)?


How the sacred “letters” came to Timothy: In Timothy’s day, only the wealthiest members of society could afford to own multiple texts of any writings, sacred or secular! Among the Jews (remember Timothy’s mother was a Jew), only the religious leaders regularly had access to read the Scriptures. The New Testament reflects this reality.

When Jesus spoke the Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of His day, He said, “Have you not read” (Matthew 12:3, 12:5, 19:4, 21:16, 21:42, 22:31; Mark 2:25, 12:10, 12:26; Luke 6:3, and 10:26). But when Jesus spoke to the crowds, He said, “You have heard it was said” (Matthew 5:21, 27, 33, 38, 43). And the crowd, as recorded in John 12:34, responded, “We have heard from the Law.”

Depending on when Timothy’s mother, Eunice, became a Christian, Timothy learned the Scriptures in the Church (and possibly early in life, in the synagogue).

 Lesson 6, How the Scriptures Came to Timothy


Why Scripture Matters

Read 2 Timothy 3:16

Here, Paul goes back to using graphe, “Scripture.”

“breathed out”: Greek, theopneustos, traditionally translated as “inspired.” The Greek word literally means “breathed out.” What it means is that God speaks through the words of Scripture. Spirit and breath are the same word in both Hebrew and Greek.

As someone cannot speak without breath, so “breathed out” conveys the idea that God is speaking through Scripture on both ends. But we are to remember that Paul wrote this to Timothy, the pastor who was to speak God’s Scripture to the congregation at Ephesus.


  • Discuss: What is Scripture profitable for doing?


“teaching”: instruction in the content of the Faith.

“reproof”: to refute.

“correction”: The idea here is bringing someone back on the right path. This correction is turning from sin back to God.

“training in righteousness”: sanctification, the living out of the Christian Faith.

Read 2 Timothy 3:17

“man of God”: Grammatically, this can apply to those receiving Timothy’s preaching and teaching (Christians in general) or Timothy (pastors). Based on context, “man of God” applies better to those in the congregation. The “man of God” is on the receiving end of what Timothy was doing: teaching, refuting opponents, correcting his flock (calling them from sin back to life and salvation), and training in righteousness (sanctification, living the Christian life).

“competent”: Greek, artios, complete, capable, proficient.

“equipped”: Here, Paul uses a perfect passive participle, meaning “having been equipped,” or “having been fully equipped.” This shows that the Scripture comes to someone from the outside to him. The Scripture does the equipping. Of course the Holy Spirit (Holy Breath) is in the thick of this doing because the Scriptures have been “breathed, Spirited” on the people.

  • What makes the “man of God” competent?


  • If someone hasn’t received, and isn’t receiving the Scripture, what will be the result?


  • Thus, what does someone need for real sanctification (not simply outward, observable behavior)?


Click here to go the final Lesson on 2 Timothy.