home > Small Group Bible Studies > DEAR TIMOTHY – A father’s final words to his son, Paul’s Epistles To Timothy

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Dear Timothy, Preface and Introduction

 The apostle Paul is often considered to be a rather cold-hearted man. On the occasions when I have asked different women if they would have appreciated being pastored by him, it has been met with a resounding “No!” I suspect this is because Paul is similarly perceived as a male-chauvinist due to his various comments about women needing to be quiet in church and not permitted to teach a man. If this is your opinion of Paul, it is my hope that you might come to soften your view of him after completing this study of what are his final surviving epistles before he was executed at the command of Caesar Nero in AD 64.

 In addition to this negative opinion about the apostle Paul there are those who see him as a bigot and fundamentalist who has no place in shaping the Christianity of the current times. It is my hope that I can demonstrate that what Paul wrote in these epistles was indeed inspired by the Holy Spirit to a person and audience around AD 62 but still has divinely ordained relevance to our times. In fact, what I hope to demonstrate is that God largely used Paul to pen around 70% of the New Testament as the culmination of what I will suggest was the progressive revelation of the Bible. That is, the written truth of the God’s revelation to all mankind was given over time in a way that each stage of the unfolding revelation of God progressively built upon the previous revelation. 

 Therefore, the title of these Bible studies, Dear Timothy, is meant to convey an immediate warmth of relationship that he had over several decades with a young man whom he considered to be his son. Cold-hearted people are rarely characterised by long-term relationships. The fact that Timothy was just one of the many long-term friendships that Paul had with various men and women should tell us something important about the man who wrote to Timothy. Paul’s concern for his young lieutenant involved his concern for the Ephesians. The issues that he addresses to Timothy were really the issues that the church at Ephesus was grappling with. And it is my third hope that we come to see that these are the same issues we are also grappling with as a church today.

Andrew Corbett
February, 2021

Leader's Audio Coaching - Introducing the Dear Timothy small group Bible study series

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy Bible Study Series

STUDY 1 – Forbid Different Doctrines  [PDF] {Quiz #1} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To describe the relationship between the apostle Paul and Timothy.
  • To be able to define a doctrine and in particular what constitutes a sound doctrine.
  • To describe what is meant by the term progressive revelation and how the writings of Paul contributed to it.
  • To explain the link between false doctrine and immorality.

 

Applications

Discuss-

11. Timothy was mentored by Paul. Are you being mentored? If so, what do you find most challenging about it?

12. Timothy was instructed by Paul to correct those teaching false doctrine. Have you ever been corrected by someone who did it well? If so, how did they do it? If not, how would you have preferred to have been corrected?

13. Paul could take it for granted that Timothy knew what sound doctrine was. Why could he take it for granted? If you were called up to defend the doctrines of Christianity, which one might you struggle with and why?

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 1

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 2 – Wage Good Warfare, First Timothy 1:12-20  [PDF] {Quiz #2} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be able to identify what makes a persuasive and appropriate testimony.
  • To be able to discern and utilise a genuine prophetic word as a source of encouragement and confidence.
  • To explain the Biblical description of the term ‘spiritual-warfare’.
  • To describe when it is proper to publicly shame a Christian leader who commits apostasy.

 

Applications

Discuss and share-

11. If you were to share your testimony of how you came to Christ, and you only have three minutes, what would you say in the first minute to describe your life before you came to Christ? What facts would you include in the second minute about the moment when you surrendered to Jesus as your Saviour? Which details of the transformation that Christ caused in your life would be helpful to share in the third minute?

12. If someone gave you a prophetic word, how would you determine whether it was really from God?

13. If you were under a spiritual attack, what steps would you take to engage in ‘spiritual warfare’?

14. If it became known to you that an elder in your church was guilty of repeated and multiple incidents of sexual misconduct with young, vulnerable church members, and when confronted they denied all the allegations, and the church leadership sought to cover it up and not remove them as an elder, what would you do?

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 2 - Wage Good Warfare

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 3 – First of all, Pray! First Timothy 2:1-8  [PDF] {Quiz #3} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be more effective in praying evangelistic prayers.
  • To explain how a quiet and godly life contributes to the church’s witness.
  • To be able to defend the uniqueness of Jesus to those of other religions.
  • To discover how to identify what God has called you to do and why. 

 

Applications

Discuss and share-

11. List three prayer strategies that you could implement over the next four weeks to more effectively pray evangelistic prayers.

12. If the leadership of our church authorised you to organise a group of volunteers from our church to do an outreach “act of service” for our local community, what would you organise, and how would you maximise its impact?

13. If you befriended a Muslim and he or she claimed that Qur’an endorsed that the New Testament was indeed the “Word of Allah” and that it also described Jesus as merely a great prophet, how would you make your case from the New Testament that Jesus was more than just a great prophet to your Muslim friend?

14. There are several indicators that help us to realise who God has called us to be and what God has gifted us to do. Considering three of those indicators, what do you most often find yourself serving God, what are you often most critical about, and, what is it that most of those who know you encourage you about? Based on these three considerations, what you feel God has gifted and called you to do? As others share their answers, about their callings, evaluate whether you agree with their assessment and then be open to feedback from others when you share what you believe to be what God has called you to do.

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 3 - First of all, Pray!

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 4 – Paul’s Attitude About Women. First Timothy 2:9-15  [PDF] {Quiz #4} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be able to distinguish between those issues of cultural context and those that are timeless principles in Paul’s statements about women.
  • To compare and contrast Paul’s other statements about women and their role within the church.
  • To employ the analogy of faith in dealing with obscure or controversial biblical passages.
  • To be able to describe the two main views about the relationship of men and women in ministry within the church.

 

Applications

Discuss and share-

9. If another believer shared with you their rather odd view about God and Christianity based on an obscure verse in the Bible, what challenge might you present to them?

10. How do Paul’s views about women, shape our church’s view about the role of women within our church?

11. How might you use the analogy of faith to rebut someone’s teaching that since “faith without works is dead” (James 2:17) to become a Christian, you had to give your life to Christ and pray and read your Bible everyday, attend church twice every Sunday, attend three church prayer-meetings a week, attend two Bible studies a week, help out on the ushers’ team, serve on the worship team, teach Sunday-School at least once a month, and financially support the church’s general fund, mission’s fund, building fund, and project fund — and if you didn’t do all of this, you would lose your salvation?

12. How would you describe the biblical position of the roles of women in ministry and leadership within your church?

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 4 - Paul's Attitude About Women.

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 5 – Elders and Deacons. First Timothy 3:1-13  [PDF] {Quiz #5} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be able to give the reasons why the qualifications for an elder of church are character traits rather than purely skills-based.
  • To compare and contrast the requirements of an elder with that of a deacon.
  • To be able to explain why testing is a necessary phase for appointing a leader within a church.
  • To describe why a church needs elders and deacons.

Application

12. If you were in a position to nominate and/or consider someone for the position of an elder within your church, on what grounds would you consider someone for the position of an elder and what aspects of their life would you be wanting to know about?

13. Since the Scriptures command that a deacon should be tested before being appointed as such, what kind of testing would you wish to see? Would you tell them that you are about to “test” them for the role of a deacon? Could someone be a deacon and not be referred to as such?

14. If someone asked you why your church has elders and deacons, what would you say to them and how would you explain their different roles?

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 5 - Elders and Deacons

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 6 – How To Behave In The Household of God. First Timothy 3:14-16; 4:1-16  [PDF] {Quiz #6} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be able to explain why the Church is described as the “Household of God”.
  • To be able to defend the importance of teaching in the various ministries of the Church.
  • To compare and contrast the fruit of false teaching with that of sound teaching.
  • To describe the main responsibilities of those that Christ calls to be pastors.

Application

11. If you met someone who claimed to be a believer but they stated that since the early Church met in homes without paid pastors so should Christians today. Based on this, they also told you that our modern churches were unscriptural and so was the concept of having paid pastors. How might you use Paul’s teaching in First Timothy to respond to this?

12. The early church congregations were known as the household of God where each member worked together to bring people to Christ and make these new converts feel welcome within their communities. How can we today work together to bring people to Christ and make them feel welcome in our church?

13. What might begin to happen within a church if the pastor stopped preaching the Word for weeks on end because he or she “felt led” that all they needed to do is praise and worship together?

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 6 - How To Behave In The Household of God

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 7 – Respect, Care, Honour. First Timothy 5:1-25  [PDF] {Quiz #7} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be able to give reasons why the Church should be comprised of different generations.
  • To identify who qualifies for a church to practically support.
  • To formulate a strategy for being a single follower of Christ.
  • To describe the reasons why teaching elders should be both honoured and  possibly publicly shamed.

Application

13. What are some ways that you could suggest that a church could ensure that it welcomes and integrates people from a wide age-range into its fellowship so that there is a healthy multi-generational interaction?

14. How could our church assist and care for its older widows who do not have any nearby family?

15. If an eligible single person confided in you that they were battling with loneliness and found it difficult to find their place in our church that seemed to be focused on couples and families, what Biblically-based advice would you give them?

16. If you were approached by the senior leadership of our church to consider being appointed as an elder, why might you be both honoured and hesitant at the same time?

Dear Timothy, Leader's Audio Coaching, Study 7 - Respect, Care, and Honour

by Dr. Andrew Corbett | Dear Timothy

STUDY 8 – Circumstance and Contentment. First Timothy 6:1-21  [PDF] {Quiz #8} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To describe how a believer’s work contributes to the Christian witness of their local church.
  • To give the reasons why it is the Scriptures that informs the believer’s moral code.
  • To be able to develop a God-honouring financial stewardship plan.
  • To demonstrate how your faithfulness to God is prioritised in the light of eternity. 

Application

14. If you were the work colleague of another Christian who often arrived late for work and you heard the other staff complaining about his or her work performance, would you say anything to them as a fellow Christian? If so, what would you say?

15. You meet a new member at your club and discover that they are a believer. After chatting for a while they invite you to one of their church’s Bible Studies in another church member’s home. You agree to attend it that night and discover that the host and hostess are leaders in that church. But a couple of things trouble you that night. Firstly, it seems that although the Bible study is in the home of the of these leaders, they are not married. Secondly, during the Bible study one of the leaders stated that most of the Bible is now out-of-date. When you next see your friend at the club, they ask you how you enjoyed the Bible study. What would you say?

16. What are the three financial principles that every Christian should live by in your opinion?

17. What are two things you could do this coming week that may not win you public acclaim but will have eternal significance?

STUDY 9 – Why I Suffer As I Do. Second Timothy 2:1-18  [PDF] {Quiz #9} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To be able to defend that God’s will for His servants often includes hardship, trials and setbacks.
  • To describe how a person’s perspective of their priorities often changes toward the end of their life.
  • To give reasons why confidence is not the same as arrogance when it comes to one’s God-given calling.
  • To be able demonstrate support for those fellow believers who are suffering for Christ.

Application

12. If you were going through a very stressful time caused by others treating you unfairly shortly after you had rededicated yourself to God, how would you pray and how would you want others to pray for you? Discuss.

13. If you had recently received a terminal diagnosis as a result of some recent medical tests, where doctors had given you just 2 to 3 years left, how would you reorganise your priorities?

14. After reading several of the New Testament passages describing how God gives spiritual gifts for His children to use, a young Christian eager to serve Christ asks you for advice about which spiritual gift they should choose. What would you tell him or her?

15. Read Hebrews 10:34 and 13:3. In what practical ways can we apply these injunctions today? Consider – https://www.opendoors.org.au/persecuted-christians/about-persecution/ 

STUDY 10 – Fight! Work! Preach! Second Timothy 2:1-4:22  [PDF] {Quiz #10} (Leader’s Notes)

Objectives

  • To describe how a local church can develop a long-term plan to sustain its leadership.
  • To be able to explain the purpose of hardships and challenges in developing a Christian leader.
  • To describe the biblical teaching on what a pastor’s primary responsibility is.
  • To be able to state why some believers do not heed the pastorally delivered Word and how this can be an encouragement to pastors. 

Application

16. Many churches bemoan that they don’t have enough leaders or volunteers. Drawing inspiration from Paul’s exhortations to Timothy, what are three things that each local church can do, despite their congregation size, that will help them to sustain their church’s leadership for generations to come? Discuss.

17. Your employer, a rather large company, has just signed up to a Diversity and Equality compulsory staff training series of sessions. After completing the training sessions you will be required to wear a rainbow pin with a red enamel love-heart embossed into it. All staff will then be required to march in the Pride march on Pride Day. How would you respond to this workplace directive? Discuss.

18. Your church is looking for a new pastor. Based on what Paul has told Timothy about what a pastor’s main responsibilities are, what are the main requirements your church should expect from any candidate applying for the position?

19. You have become aware that there are a few people in your church, some of them leaders, who are compromising their commitment to Christ through marital infidelity and fornication. The pastor is not aware of this. These same people have become increasingly critical of the pastor’s preaching. The pastor has just returned to work after taking stress-leave due to the overwhelming criticism he has been receiving from his last few sermons where he called for believers to walk in holiness. What should you do? Discuss.

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