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Lesson 16: Paul's Life After Acts - Part 2
Lesson 16: Paul's Life After Acts - Part 2
Titus (Continued) and 2 Timothy
I. THE LETTER OPENING, 1:1-4
We are looking at Paul’s life after Acts and focusing at this point on his letter to Titus. The letter begins with a traditional opening, “Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, 3 but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior.”
II. THE BODY OF THE LETTER, 1:5-3:14
A. The Purpose (hina, v. 5) for leaving, Titus 5-9
So, Paul gives his introduction and then he moves into the body of the letter. We see this in verse 5, where Paul says, “For this reason I left you in Crete.” Why did Paul leave Titus in Crete? He gives a purpose statement, the little word that in verse 5 is the hina phrase, in order that. So, we have the purpose for leaving Titus in Crete. He explains, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders. And he goes on to give qualifications for elders in verses 5-9. So there’s the purpose that Paul gives us for his leaving Titus in Crete, to appoint elders.
B. The Reason (gar, v.10) for the assignment, 10-16
He proceeds in verses 10-16 to give the reason for this assignment. It’s in verse 10 that we have the Greek word Gar, and the Greek word is a particle that shows the reason for something. For and he gives the reason for this assignment, 10 For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers, and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. So, Paul is saying we need leadership in the church, you should appoint elders because of this problem of rebellious men, empty talkers, deceivers. We need leadership in order to give good guidance and direction for this church. Paul goes on to give the reason for the assignment, and he mentions the Cretans in verse 16 he says, They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. Boy! That’s quite a commentary on the lifestyle of these professed believers, they professed to be followers of Jesus but their deeds, their actions, their lifestyle contradicted their profession. Paul wants consistency in what we say and in what we do.
C. The request of Paul, 2:1-10
In Chapter 2 Paul continues his letter. But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Paul is giving instructions in Chapter 1 about church leadership now he proceeds in Chapter 2 with some exhortations to Titus, keep on speaking. It’s a present imperative in verse 1, keep on speaking the things which ae fitting for sound doctrine. Notice in verse 4, so that, there’s the hina, that’s the purpose clause, the hina phrase. In order that (here’s the purpose) that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 to be sensible, pure, workers at home, etc. Then another hina, so that the word of God, in verse 5, will not be dishonored. A fourth hina, purpose clause, is found in verse 8 where Paul says, so that the opponent will be put to shame, keep on speaking the sound doctrine so that the Word of God won’t be dishonored, and so that the opponents to the Christian faith will be put to shame. Then in verse 10 another hina phrase, so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. Keep on teaching the sound doctrine so that this teaching will adorn God’s character and show truly who he is to the people there on the Island of Crete.
D. The reason (gar) for Paul’s command, 2:11-15
Now in verses 11-15 Paul gives the reason for these commands and instructions. The reason is the importance of sound doctrine. Here in verses 11-15 Paul gives the first of two doctrinal summaries in the book. Paul is emphasizing the need to teach sound doctrine and he gives an example of it in verses 11-15. Here he defines sound doctrine in terms of the past, the present and the future provision of divine grace. He says in verse 11, For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, the past appearance of God’s grace accomplishes our redemption. The provision of salvation was sufficient for all people and affective for all who would believe. This is a universal provision for salvation, it’s not a universal salvation. Everybody, must make a decision and believe, but there is a universal provision that God makes for people to be saved. We look to the past and we see the grace of God appeared providing a means of salvation for all people. The grace which saves us, verse 12, also instructs us, instructing us to deny ungodliness, worldly desires and live sensible, righteously and Godly in the present age. This instruction is accomplished, by the Spirit, through the Bible and Spirit empowered teachers. So, we have a present ministry of God’s grace instructing us. Then we have the grace which saves us and the grace which instructs us also gives us hope for the future, verses 13 & 14. Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior. I suggest that the “and the blessed hope and the appearing” should be understood and translated “even.” This is what we call in Greek, grammar exegetical, the even here goes back and explains the hope. The blessed hope is in fact the appearing of the glory of Christ at his second coming. This is the blessed hope, the coming of Christ, his appearing again at his second coming. Paul has given us a nice doctrinal summary and he says in verse 15, these things speak, exhort, and reprove. Again, these are present tenses, keep on speaking, keep on exhorting, keep on reproving, keep on teaching this important sound doctrine.
E. The Priority of Good Deeds, 3:1-7
And then Paul goes on to explain the priority of good deeds. Chapter 3:3 Paul says, for, and there we have the reason for these commands. He says remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient and ready for every good deed. It’s in verses 4-7 that Paul gives us the second doctrinal summary in this little letter. Paul makes it clear here that the change in our condition, from sinner to saints, was entirely the result of God’s grace. It’s not something we did, not something we accomplished, it’s entirely the result of God’s grace. Notice verse 4, But when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness but according to his mercy by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Here we see God’s provision as salvation and this is basically a description of the work of the New Covenant that provides the washing of regeneration. This is spiritual cleansing, that comes as a result of the new birth. The renewing by the Holy Spirit, this is the promise of God that he would put his Spirit within us, and when the Spirit indwells us we become a new creation, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Paul is encouraging us, in light of God’s provision. Then in verse 7 Paul adds, so that being justified by his grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Justified, declared righteous. We looked at that word in our study of the Book of Romans. To be justified is to be declared righteous, it is to have the very righteousness of Christ placed on our account, on the basis of faith. We have an inheritance and notice what he says about this inheritance, it’s one that can’t be lost. We are heirs according to the hope of eternal life. We have this confident expectation of eternal life based upon the fact that we have been declared righteous.
As you study the Book of Titus you’ll be surprised how often Paul mentions the subject of good deeds. I’d like you to just to count them. How many do you find as you page through the Book here, it’s just three chapters, circle every occurrence you find of the word good deeds. You’re going to find quite a few. What does this suggest about genuine faith? What does this suggest about the kind of faith that saves? I think there is an emphasis here on the fact that the faith that saves also empowers us to live obediently, and in a way that honors the Lord. I was a Boy Scout in my youth, and a Scout Leader in my adulthood, and the Boy Scout’s slogan is, do a good turn daily, do a good deed daily. But you know you don’t have to be a Boy Scout to do that. As we go through life we should look for opportunities as Christians to do a good deed, to do a good work, to help someone, to help a widow, to help a child in need, to help our wife our husband, to help our children, to help our pastor, to help people in our church who have needs. Looking for opportunities to find the joy of helping and assisting others. Do a good turn daily, that’s not only a Boy Scout slogan it’s a good principle to live by as a Christian.
F. The Conclusion of the Body, 3:8-14
Verses 8-14 Paul goes on to encourage Titus to keep on speaking. To keep on speaking confidently this truth. This is a trustworthy statement and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed in God will careful to engage in good deeds and these things are good and profitable for people. Engage in those good deeds, look for the opportunities to do those good deeds.
G. The Closing, 3:15
He closes this letter in verse 15, all who are with me greet you, greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. And Paul concludes his little letter to Titus.
III. SECOND TIMOTHY
A. Author, 1:1. 3:10-11, 4:10-11, 19-20
Now we come to Paul’s last letter. I have in my desk drawer at home the last Christmas cards sent to me by my mother. Her hand writing is not too good in this letter, but she communicates her love and that’s precious to me. This is Paul’s last letter and it is precious to us as believers. It is written to Timothy, Paul last letter before he died. We read it with great interest as Paul wrote this last letter to Timothy.
So, 2 Tim. defending the faith in a time of doctrinal defection. That’s what this book is about. Let’s get acquainted with this book of 2 Tim. Some blanks there in your notes to fill in. The Apostle Paul claims to have authored 2 Tim. and the audio biographical remarks in the letter certainly fit with his life and the end of his life. We’ve mentioned that not all believe that Paul wrote these pastoral letters, but I think the testimony of the early church and the internal indicators are sufficient to convince us that Paul did write theses things.
B. Reader, Acts 16:1-3, 2 Tim 4:1,21
Who did he write them to? Well, again a second letter to Timothy. Paul’s associate, Timothy as you recall, was from Lystra, came to faith under Paul’s ministry. His background was a little unusual he had a Greek father and Jewish mother and grandmother, who were devote in their faith and taught Timothy the scriptures from his youth. What a wonderful heritage Timothy had from the faithful teaching of his mother and his grandmother. Timothy joined with Paul on his second journey and on the third journey and then was with Paul in Rome during his imprisonment. Timothy ministered as Paul’s representative in Ephesus and may have been with the Apostle during his last days of imprisonment in Rome. Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:1 and 21 that he wants Timothy to join him in Rome, and we believe that Timothy was able to get to Rome before Paul’s death.
C. Date, 4:6-8
The date of the letter written shortly before his death, Paul mentions in Chapter 4 that he expects his departure imminently. Paul died in the spring of AD68 and the letter was probably written in the fall or perhaps as late as the winter AD67.
D. Historical Setting
Under historical setting during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome he was able to have his own rented quarters. He welcomed visitors and to spoke to the Jewish people and had quite an interaction with the people in Rome. His second imprisonment is quite different. Paul was in prison. He was arrested as a criminal. No longer a situation of house arrest, now he’s in prison as a criminal. His death is imminent. He tells that his fellow workers have deserted him, 4:16. Paul wrote Timothy who was still in Ephesus and told Timothy to bring John Mark and join Paul in Rome before winter. Paul knew that his time was short, and he wanted Timothy and Mark to join him before winter. Paul was sending Tychicus to replace Timothy at Ephesus. Ephesus still needed some leadership and Tychicus was going to be sent to replace Timothy.
E. Purpose & Theme
The purpose of this letter was to encourage Timothy in the ministry, and outline the course of Christ’s servant during a time of doctrinal declination or defection. The theme I suggest is defending the faith in a time of doctrinal defection. How do you defend the faith when people are turning against the truth? Paul gives Timothy some insight and how to defend the faith in a time of doctrinal defection.
IV. THE OUTLINE
The first chapter is encouragement for ministry. Chapter 2 gives some directives for service. Chapter 3 warning against apostasy. Chapter 4 Paul’s charge to Timothy. The situation once again Timothy is in Ephesus, Paul’s in Rome. Paul’s in Rome in the Mamertine Prison there in Rome. He’s writing Timothy to tell Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, come to him before winter and to also give Timothy some final instructions in this letter, Paul’s last letter.
VI. WARNING CONCERNING APOSTASY, 3
We want to focus our attention on Chapter 3, Paul’s warning concerning apostasy. Then we’ll conclude by looking at end of Paul’s life. It seems like Ephesus was quite susceptible to the exploitation by false teachers. Paul had warned about this when he spoke to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20 and later on in Rev. 2:4 we see that they had lost their first love. They were being exploited, by false teachers. In his first Epistle, Paul had warned Timothy that in the last times there would be many who departed from the faith.
A. The Anti-God Attitude, 3:1-9
Now he warns again of an anti-God attitude that would characterize the last days. Now Paul is not describing in Chapter 3 the apostasy within the church but really an anti-God attitude that will characterize the world in the last days. Now Paul refers to the last days and he’s talking about the last days of this present age. In a Jewish understanding, there were two ages, the present age, and the age to come. The present age is the age we live in now, the age to come is the Kingdom when Jesus returns and sets up his throne and fulfills the prophecies that were made about the Kingdom. So, the last days of this present age Paul says that in the last days these things would happen. We are certainly in the last days and so we can expect these things to be taking place now. Paul just gives us a bit of a summary of what it’s going to be like. He speaks of treachery, recklessness, conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Doesn’t that just characterize the age in which we live? Lovers of pleasure, lovers of entertainment, but really ignorant of God.
B. The Persecution of the Faithful, 3:10-13
Paul warns that his followers would experience the world’s hostility. Jesus said the same thing in John 15:18-21 Jesus said, “since the world hates me it’s going to hate you. It’s going to hate because the world hated me.” Now Paul is developing that theme here in Chapter 3. The persecution of God’s people, God’s faithful people by the unbelieving hostile world during these last days. So, how shall we face this decline in our cultural, the spiritual decline? How shall we face this anti-God attitude that characterizes these days? What resource do we have as believers to stand strong and to be faithful to God during these difficult times?
C. The Sufficiency of the Scriptures, 3:14-17
God has given us his word and the Word of God has the answer. The Word of God is sufficient to help us through these last days, and this difficult time. In Chapter 3:14 Paul comments, “you however continue in the things you’ve learned and become convinced of knowing from whom you have learned them. Continue in the scripture, continue in the sound doctrine that you were instructed in by your mother and your grandmother. He says that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom and leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. The scriptures lead to salvation, read the scriptures and you’ll find the message of salvation.” Timothy had learned these things from his mother and from his grandmother.
And then he precedes on to talk about the scripture and what the scriptures can do for us as we live in these difficult times. Paul gives an explanation here about the character of scripture. In verse16, all scripture, is inspired by God, and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training and righteousness. Notice that Paul is talking about scripture and he says all scripture is inspired of God. Now he’s not saying just part of it, just the New Testament or just the Gospels or just the part that is in red letters. Paul is saying ALL of scripture, this includes the Hebrew Bible, this includes our New Testament, ALL of scripture is inspired of God. ALL not part. What’s he talking about? Graphe, scripture, Paul is referring to the writings of the Old Testament. He’s even including writings of the New Testament. Peter refers to Paul’s writings as scripture, graphe. Paul, since he used the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, Paul is referring to the translation of the Old Testament scripture as scripture as well. ALL scripture, Old Testament, New Testament, translated scripture ALL of this is graphe, ALL scripture is God breathed. Now that expression, inspired of God, really gives us the wrong impression. The Greek word is theopneustos, it means, God breathed. It’s the expiration of God’s breath, theopneustos, God expired, not God breathing in like inspiration but expiration the expiration of God’s breath. Scripture is the breathing out of God’s truth. and when God breathes out his truth we can be confident that that scripture is reliable and trustworthy and without error.
On the basis of what Paul says about God’s Word, ALL scripture is God breathed we can come to some conclusions about scripture. This is the definition of inspiration, God so directed the human authors of scripture that, using their individual interests and literary styles, his complete thought toward humanity was recorded without error in the words of the original manuscripts. Notice that we recognize there are individual interests. Luke was more interested in medical background so he’s going to use some medical terms in his writings. There’s a literary style that Paul uses that is different from Luke’s style, that’s different from John’s style. God accommodated himself to allow the individual interests and literary style to be reflected in the divinely inspired or expired scripture. It doesn’t take away the human element, God used the human element to communicate his truth to humanity. God breathed scripture, this is a good definition of divine inspiration.
2. Inerrant & Infallible
Based upon what we know to be true about divine inspiration, here’s two things that we can conclude. Scripture is inerrant. Inerrancy speaks of the accuracy of the record. It’s not liable to be proven false or mistaken. There are lots of problem passages in scripture. I’ve written a book, Answers to Tough Questions from Book of the Bible and in that book, I seek to answer many of the difficult problems that we find in scripture. But you know I have found answers to most of them. I won’t say all because I’m still studying some of them, but I’ve found answers. It’s easy to say well there’s an error here because you know somebody made a mistake, or it’s an error because the writer didn’t know something. But it takes a little more work and research to find out could the writer have written what is true and we are the ones that don’t have all the information. It’s fun to research and study those problems. Scripture is inerrant. It’s not liable to prove false or mistaken. And, it’s infallible. In other words, it’s a reliable guide, not capable of teaching deception. These are two things we can say about scripture, because it is divinely inspired it is inerrant and it is infallible. Embrace those trues about scripture and as you do that will provide a solid foundation for you to get to know God better through his word. If you don’t have a solid foundation of what you know, and believe, to be true about scripture, you’ve got a shaky foundation on which to explore God’s revelation and his character, because you can’t be sure that what he has written is true and reliable and trustworthy, if you don’t have a strong Biblical view scripture.
Not only is all scripture God-breathed, but Paul says it’s profitable. It’s profitable, and he tells us a number of areas where scripture is profitable. It’s profitable for teaching, instructing disciples. It’s profitable for reproof, refuting heresy. It’s profitable for correction, setting confused people straight. And it’s profitable for training, for training in Godliness. So scripture is profitable, it’s not only divinely inspired but it’s profitable.
Then notice in verse 17 we’ve got a purpose clause there, so that the man of God, and this is a generic term and I usually translate it the people of God because it’s not talking about males or females, it’s talking about a non-gender specific community. “So that the people of God may be”, and I use the NAS, but I think it’s missed the mark in translating the word “adequate” here. That the people of God may be adequate. The Greek word means sufficient, capable, competent, able to meet all demands in a world that shakes its fist in the face of God. The Word of God doesn’t just make us adequate, you know we’re not going to just slip by, based on the fact that we’ve got the scripture. The Word of God makes us proficient, capable, competent to meet the challenges of this day. Capable, equipped for every good work. Isn’t that a wonderful truth to know, that the scripture equips us to live our lives in a world that is hostile to Christians and to Christ.
I want to introduce you to an important question now. And the question is translation graphe. I have my Greek Testament here and I can read this Greek Testament with the help of my Greek Lexicon, some parts I can read without the Lexicon but this is the original Greek text. I study this, and this is the basis for my research and writing. This is the Greek text, this is translation. Is translation graphe? Paul says that all graphe is God breathed. Can we trust that translation is graphe? Or, is only the original Greek graphe? It’s an important question because it is a question of whether you hold in your hand, as a lay reader, the Word of God. Or does only the pastor hold it when he is interacting with the Greek text. Is this translation graphe? It’s an important question. Is the NASB graphe? Is the Amplified Bible graphe? Is the LB graphe? Is the RSV graphe? Is the NIV graphe? Are these translations of scripture what Paul is talking about when he says ALL scripture is God breathed? Did these translations qualify and fit the category of graphe and therefore we can rely upon them as God breathed?
Let me take you on a little exercise here to help you answer that question. Is this wrecked Edsel a Ford? Some of you know the answer to that and would say of course it’s a Ford. Back in 1958, 59, and 60, Ford Motor Company wanted to compete with GM and Chrysler on having something that was more of a luxury car, kind of a mid-line vehicle. And so they created the Edsel, and it was a terrible disaster. Ford Motor Company lost millions of dollars on this car. But is it a Ford? A wrecked Ford? Yes, you’d have to admit this wrecked Edsel is indeed a Ford. Let’s take it a step further. Is this old truck, pretty rusted out and dilapidated a Ford? Well, you’d look carefully, and you would find Ford parts on this truck. We’d have to say even though it’s not a good-looking Ford, it’s an old Ford, it’s a rusted-out Ford, it’s a Ford. Let me take it a step further. Is this military jeep a Ford? Some of you say no that must be a Willys. But the fact is both Ford and Willys both made jeeps during WWII, both made about 300,000 of them and I’ve got one of each that I’ve restored. But this is a Ford Jeep and if you look carefully you can find the script F mark on some of the parts of this old military jeep. Now what’s my point with these illustrations? Here’s my point. Imperfections in the body of a vehicle do not deny the true character of an automobile. There may be imperfections, there may be damage that is done, scratched paint, wrecked fenders, broken wheels, motor that doesn’t operate but it doesn’t change the character of that automobile. A Ford is a Ford, a Chevy is a Chevy no matter what its condition. Here’s the application, imperfections in translations, and there are imperfections in every translation, but these imperfections do not deny the true character of the whole as the inerrant divinely inspired infallible Word of God. What am I telling you? When you hold in your hand a translation of God’s Word, you hold the divinely inspired theopneustos Word of God. It’s not just the pastor who has the Word of God in his study when he’s working through his Greek Testament. You’ve got the Word of God in your hand. What a precious gift God has given us in his Word of God.
Is translation graphe? The King’s Speech even when translated is still the King’s Speech. It may not be translated as well as it could be, but it is still the King’s Speech. And, scripture though it may not be translated as well as it could be, and I like to make corrections in my NASB as you noted in this lecture, Chapter 3:17 of 2 Tim. the translation adequate is not adequate. The better translation is proficient; the man of God may be proficient. And so, there are always improvements that can be made, but the true character of the whole is not lost in translation. My point here, and this is a point that I want to leave you with at this juncture, the true character of God’s Word is not lost in translation and when you have the Word of God in translation you have the divinely inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.
Now since we don’t have the original manuscripts, even this is not the original manuscript, should we be concerned about textual corruption? Scribal errors? Manuscript variance? Scholars have addressed these concerns, Westcott and Hort write and say, with regard to great bulk of the words of the New Testament as of most other writings there is no variation or other ground of doubt, and therefore no room for textual criticism. The amount of what can in any sense be called substantial variation is but a small fraction of the whole variation, and can hardly form more than a 1,000 part of the entire text. So, they say what we have here is reliable. And then, Philip Schaff says only about 400 of the 100,000 or 150,000 variations material affect the sense of the text. Of these, again, not more than about 50 are really important for some reason or another, and even of these 50 not one effects any article of faith or precept of duty which is not abundantly sustained by other undoubted passages, or by the whole tenor of scriptural teaching. So, with that confidence in mind when you read and study the Word of God you can be assured that you have in your translation the divinely inspired Word of God.
We’re going to conclude by looking at Paul’s testimony in Chapter 4, Paul says, “I’m already being poured out as a drink offering, the time of my departure has come, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith. In the future, there’s laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will award me on that day and not only me but also all who have loved his appearing.” This is Paul’s testimony at the end of his life. Paul was a strong finisher. He didn’t blow out in his Christian life somewhere along the way. He kept faithful till the end. I think Paul is a model and an example for me and for you too. I want to finish strong. I want to run the race well. I want to cross the finish line at the end of the race knowing that Jesus crossed the finish line and is waiting for me there. I want to be faithful till the finish.
It was from a dark cell in the Mamertine Prison that Paul spent his last days and wrote this last letter. Access to this dark cell is through a hole in the ceiling and people were lowered down into this cell. There was no way to escape from this cell, no exits, no way to escape and that’s where Paul, we believe, wrote this letter to young Timothy, and told Timothy to endure hardship, to do the work of an evangelist and to fulfill his ministry.
According to tradition Paul was taken outside this cell, walked on a path to the Ostian Way and at the gate of the Ostian Way leading out of the city of Rome, Paul was executed. He was beheaded. This is the gate of Paul on the Ostian Way, the exit from the city of Rome as it would have been in the time of Paul. This is the place we have our last contact with Paul, our last identifiable location on our Journey and the footsteps of Paul.
Tradition records that Paul was buried in the catacombs south of the city of Rome. Here Christians buried their dead, and held religious services in times of persecution. The body of Paul was later moved, in the Byzantine Period, to a more suitable location and a church was built over his grave. St. Paul death and burial are commemorated today at the Church of St. Paul outside the walls in the city of Rome. Scientific tests have been conducted on bones found in a white marble sarcophagus under the altar there at the church of St. Paul outside the walls. And carbon dating test indicate that these bones date from the first or second century confirming the tradition that they well might be the remains of the Apostle Paul.
The death of Paul was not the end of his influence. His letters are a major contribution to our New Testament. His life is an example to all believers, for he said, be imitators of me as I also am of Christ. Because of Paul’s ministry the Christian faith would live on. The end of Paul’s life was but a beginning.