Why Memorize 2 Timothy 4:1-8?

Part of our “homework” for our Answers in Genesis Demolishing Strongholds series that we are studying on Wednesday nights involves memorizing eight verses from 2 Timothy 4 over the 12-weeks of the study. Someone asked me (out of curiosity, not resistance) why it was profitable for us to memorize the passage if it was communicated primarily to pastors. I thought this was an excellent question.

Here is the passage, the eight verses assigned for the 12-week series:

1 I charge [you] therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season [and] out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, [because] they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn [their] ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

I briefly went through the passage and wrote down some quick principles, lessons, and warnings that I found. (And I am sure more time in the passage would yield a good number more.)

Here, then, is my list of first glance" suggestions as to why this passage is worth memorizing by anyone, not just pastors. Needless to say, 2 Timothy 4:1-8 is brimming with profitable truths of warning and promise!

Q: If this was written to a pastor (Timothy), why would / should we memorize it?

A: Here is a brief list of challenging principles from each verse:

4:1I charge [you] therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:

  • We are reminded that the Lord will return (what is now will not continue forever).
  • We are reminded that the Lord will judge each of us when He returns.

4:2Preach the word! Be ready in season [and] out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

  • We are reminded what pastors are responsible to be doing, and how they are to be doing it.
  • We are reminded what to expect from pastors (not fluff...) and further, to encourage them to do it.
  • We are reminded that we have to be willing to be convinced (the Word should change our minds!).
  • We are reminded that we have to be willing to be rebuked.
  • We are reminded that we have to be willing to be exhorted.

4:3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, [because] they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;

  • We have to be aware of the danger of giving up on sound doctrine.
  • We have to be aware of the danger of ME giving up on sound doctrine.
  • We have to be aware of the danger of our own desires dictating rather than the truth.
  • We have to be aware of our leaning what we WANT to hear (which is UNSOUND), including information that might be "new," different, easy, or exciting.
  • We have to be aware of the danger of teachers (“Christian” teaching does not necessarily = good).

4:4and they will turn [their] ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

  • We have to know that some will be turned away from the truth.
  • We have to know that some will be turned aside to falsehoods (fables).
  • We have to be consciously cautious that we do not become such.

4:5But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

  • We need to encourage our pastors to be watchful in all things, to endure afflictions, and to fulfill their ministry.
  • We need to encourage ourselves to be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, evangelize, and to fulfill our own ministries.

4:6For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

  • We need to know the attitude and sacrifice of Paul near his death.
  • We need to develop the same attitude and willingness to sacrifice as Paul.
  • We need to see that sacrifice might be better than safety in the Lord's work.

4:7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

  • We need to recognize that Paul "made it" faithfully to the end.
  • We need to recognize that we can "make it" faithfully to the end.
  • We need to recognize that the Christian walk is not easy, but it is like: (1) a fight that we are fighting; (2) a race that we are running; (3) and a treasure that we are protecting.
  • We need to recognize that the Christian walk is not automatic, but requires great and ongoing effort and sacrifice.

4:8Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

  • We need to see why Paul was willing to go all the way.
  • We need to see why we should be willing to go all the way.
  • We need to see that God recognizes and rewards the faithful and enduring efforts of v. 7.
  • We need to be focusing on the future return of the Lord for our present strength.

You can clearly see that “all scripture is … profitable!” Memorizing Scripture is helpful – even essential – to spiritual growth, obedience, and a proper awareness of the truths that God has revealed. – PK

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