How do I grow in my understanding of God’s word? That question has been asked repeatedly in a variety of contexts with people who are being stirred up by God. I’ve met more than my share of leaders who’ve stopped studying, stopped learning, stopped growing. One of the perils of formal theological education is weariness, exhaustion from the serious labour that ministry demands.
As Paul presses Timothy to greater endurance and fruitful ministry, in chapter two of the final book he will pen, he urges careful reflection. Learning is solidified and confirmed through reflection. God’s children need to budget time to think.
“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” 2 Timothy 4:7
The communication of truth demands careful preparation and presentation on behalf of the speaker. The reception of truth demands careful preparation and reflection on behalf of the listener.
Reflect on what I am saying… Ponder what is being spoken. Take notes either physically or mentally and follow through the reasoning of the truth presented. Is this a doctrine to be studied further? A practice to be applied? Define the terms and meditate on the message.
In chapter 2:1-6 what has Paul said? What good questions might Timothy ponder as he reflected on the teaching of his mentor?
I suggest the following.
1. Define the following words – grace, witnesses, hardship, soldier, civilian, competes, athlete, victor, rules, hardworking, farmer, crops.
2. What is it like to be a soldier? How does a soldier respond to authority? What strict disciplines does he practice while serving?
3. What are the athletic rules which must be followed but those aiming to win? What might disqualify an anthlete from his / her competition?
4. What sowing and reaping principles are followed by hardworking farmers? What are the best practices of good farmers?
5. What do soldiers, athletes and farmers have in common? How might serious Christ followers imitate their best practices when it comes to following Christ? Who is our commanding officer? What rules apply to the Christian faith? What crops might Christians share in as part of the harvest process?
Basically, Paul is calling Timothy to study and study and study the text. Think about it. Meditate on the truth and be rewarded with fresh insights from the Lord Himself who rewards those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6) We are called to follow the same process and we too will learn truths from the Master Teacher as He embeds eternal truth into our lives.