Week 53: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon

Prepare these questions for Sunday, April 13, 2014.  We will not meet on April 6 due to Spring Break.

1 and 2 Timothy are letters from Paul to his friend and protege, Timothy. While Paul was in prison the church at Ephesus had a lot of corruption in the form of leaders who were taking too much money from the people, a lot of dissent within the community of believers, and a lot of arguments about which laws should be followed. To help, Paul sent Timothy to lead the church there and sent Timothy these two letters. The letters were meant to both encourage Timothy and to be read aloud to the church and, hopefully, help Timothy lead more effectively.

1. 1 Timothy has a decent amount of specific advice for the Ephesians. Paul gives instruction for worship, how to treat young widows, and how Christian slaves should act toward their masters. How does this advice for a different time and place have relevance for you life today?

2. 2 Timothy is primarily Paul's letter of encouragement to Timothy as he deals with the difficult Ephesians. What general advice does Paul give Timothy? Choose a particular verse or phrase that encourages you to memorize.

Titus is a letter from Paul to his co-worker Titus who was working with the church on the island of Crete. They had the same problems that the Ephesians did; namely arguments about circumcision, what foods to eat, and pursuing "mysterious" knowledge.

3. Paul encourages the people of all ages and stages of life to be humble, obedient, and respectful. Why was this such a hard message for people to take to heart? Why is it an important message for the Christian church?

While Paul was in prison in Rome he met an escaped slave named Onesimus who had become a believer and helped Paul deliver his messages to the churches around the Roman Empire. Philemon was the man from whom Onesimus escaped. When Paul needed Onesimus to return to the city of Colossae, he wrote Philemon this letter asking Philemon to forgive Onesimus and greet him as a fellow brother in Christ.

4. Although it is hard for us to relate to the slave owner in this case, Philemon was the wronged party in their culture and their time period. His slave had run away and probably stolen from him in the process, but the slave returned with a letter from Paul asking for forgiveness and to be taken back as a brother. Would you be willing to put aside your justified hurt or anger and still love the person who wronged you? What does this letter reveal to us about Jesus and His message while here on earth?

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