Category Archives: New Testament

For January 18 – Discussions To Be Avoided

Last week we noted that Paul commanded Timothy to charge some that they teach no other doctrine.  We learned that we are to work to maintain “sound doctrine”.  Paul warned “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine”.  A good church will respect the authority of the Bible and seek to uphold everything it teaches.

We are to be great Bible students but not all Bible discussion is good.  An oft repeated theme in the letters Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus is that there are certain types of questions and studies that are to be avoided.

Consider the following verses from Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus:

1 Timothy 1:4

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

2 Timothy 2:14

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

2 Timothy 2:23

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?

Titus 3:9

  1. What types of discussions are to be avoided?
  2. What are the negative effects of such discussions?



  1. Why are the negative effects of foolish discussions described in these verses so serious?
  2. What would be a modern example of foolish, ignorant disputes?
  3. How does 1 Timothy 1:4-5 describe the positive results desired and the good goals of our studies?
  4. How would you determine if something is a foolish controversy or a necessary matter of faith?

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For Wednesday January 11 – Paul’s First Instruction To Timothy

Years of a heavy emphasis on doctrine made us very technical and legalistic in our thinking about God and what it means to be a church. In recent years some groups have backed off on that and sought better balance.  Finding the proper balance between commandments (laws) and attitudes (love and humility) is a challenge.  These ideas are not mutually exclusive and we will see that both are emphasized in Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus

1/ Having said that, we should observe that the first instruction to Timothy is to “charge some that they teach no other __________” (1 Timothy 1:3).

2/ What does the word “doctrine” mean?


3/ “Teach no other doctrine” implies that there is a good doctrine that is to upheld and defended. What would you say is the doctrine that is to be retained?

4/  What word do these letters use to describe that good doctrine? (1 Timothy 1:10, 6:3, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9, 2:1).


5/  There is a similar emphasis on doctrine in Titus. In Titus 1,  one of the qualifications of an elder is that he  will “hold fast the faithful word as he has been taught” (1:9). What does this verse go on to say they do with that word?


6/ Sometimes we think of “doctrine” as the structural features of the gospel such as the nature of the church and plan of salvation.  Note what specific types of things are included in the word doctrine in Timothy and Titus:

1 Timothy 1:9-10

2 Timothy 4:1-7

Titus 2:1-9


7/ WHAT IS THE TRUE SOURCE OF DOCTRINAL KNOWLEDGE?  What does 2 Timothy 3:14-17 say about the relationship between scripture and doctrine?


8/ What 3 words does Titus 2:7 use to describe Titus obligations toward the doctrine, and what does each mean?  Titus 2:7 in doctrine showing ___________, ______________, _______________,

9/ How does Paul encourage Timothy to preserve sound doctrine in 2 Timothy 2:15?

10/ THE PROBLEM: 2 Timothy 4:1-4.  What does verse 3 tell us about human nature and sound doctrine?

11/ What are some examples of SOUND DOCTRINE that people struggle with today?

12/ CONCLUSION: What do these thoughts teach us about how we can be a better church?



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Wednesday Recap – Timothy and Titus

This week we learned about who Timothy and Titus were and about how they traveled with Paul and that he eventually left Timothy at Ephesus and Titus at Crete to work on improving the churches. It is in Paul’s instructions to Timothy and Titus that we are seeking guidance as to how we can have better churches today.

In our first lesson we talked about how Timothy was willing to be circumcised.  It is an interesting event and there are many questions about the situation. We know Timothy’s father was a Greek but his mother was Jewish.  We are also pretty sure that when he submitted to circumcision it was not for the purpose of conforming to God’s law. That is what makes Timothy’s act so impressive.

The text tells us why he did it: Acts 16:3 says Paul “took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek”.  They were going to be working among unsaved Jews who would have a big “hang up” with the fact that he was uncircumcised and even though it was not required by God he was willing to go through with it in order more effective in reaching the Jews.  It is the same principle that Paul later wrote about when he said “to the Jews I became a Jew that I might win Jews” (1 Corinthians 9:19).


How many of us would voluntarily inconvenience ourselves greatly concerning a matter, if it was not required by God,  but simply because of what some people might think?  Pride and selfishness within us says no I would never do that, there is nothing in God’s law that says I have to! But Timothy had a better attitude.

Jesus had a similar attitude when He was inconvenienced greatly (an understatement) about a situation for which He was not personally responsible in that He was willing to die on the cross.

If we have the same attitude as Timothy and Jesus we will be better Christians and better Churches!

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For Wednesday Jan 4 – Everything Is Not Black Or White


Our study concerns the letters written by Paul to Timothy and Titus.

How does Paul describe both Timothy and Titus? (1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4).

Timothy was left at __________________________ (1 Timothy 1:3), Titus was left at ____________________ (Titus 1:5).

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an _________________________ (2 Timothy 4:5).

What does he tell Titus to do (2:1, 2:15, 3:8).

Paul wrote to Timothy so that he would know how to conduct himself in the ______________ of God, which is the _________________ of the living God (1 Timothy 3:15).

Paul instructed Titus to ______________ in order the things that are __________________  (Titus 1:5).


Something interesting about Timothy and Titus concerns how each responded to the debate over circumcision.  The law commanded all Jewish males be circumcised (Lev.12:3). After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead and the gospel began to be preached to both Jews and Gentiles a great controversy arose over whether or not Gentile converts had to be circumcised to be saved. (See Galatians 5:1-6 and Acts 15:1-5)

Neither Timothy nor Titus had been circumcised when they began working with the apostle Paul.  A deliberate decision was made in each case, but interestingly, the decisions was different.  Read the about the circumstances of each case:

Galatians 2:1-5

Acts 16:1-3 (this was evidently later than the incident with Titus which probably took place in Acts 15).

Why do you think Timothy submitted to circumcision but Titus did not?

Circumcision is not an issue today but what principles or attitudes do you see that we could apply to our work?


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A New Study For The New Year!


Starting January 1 this space will be used for a 3 month study of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus.  Our angle will be to ask what these letters say about how to make our churches BETTER CHURCHES.

Titus (at Crete) was to “set in order things that are lacking” (1:5) and Paul told Timothy (at Ephesus) that he was writing so that “you many know how to conduct yourself in the house of God”.  If we want our churches to not be lacking and to conduct themselves properly we could start with Paul’s instructions to Timothy and Titus.

We invite you to join us in this study.  Weekly lessons, along with opportunity for discussion,  will be found on this website. An “in classroom” review will take place on Wednesdays at 11 am and 7 pm at the Lakeshore church.

As a part of this process we are going to purge the old subscriptions so that only those who want to participate will be receiving the updates.  If you want to join us you can  (1) reply here and say include me in the new study! (2) come back after January 1 and re-subscribe, or (3) send an email to us ( and let us know.

Happy New Year to all!

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Election Day Proverbs

It is election day in the United States of America.  In this article we will review some of what the book of Proverbs says about those who would rule as kings and leaders over nations.

Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; But when a wicked man rules, the people groan.

Proverbs 21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 24:21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; 22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin those two can bring?


My observations: The most important “issue” might not be the economy or foreign policy or immigration but morality and justice. 14:34 says “Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.” We should seek leaders who respect Biblical morality.

No matter what the outcome God is still in control.  “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord!” At the end of the day some are going to be greatly disappointed. We should not despair but we should pray!  To those living under Rome Paul wrote, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1Timothy 2:1-2).

Finally, 24:21 reminds us to be submissive to those in authority.  If we rebel we bring trouble upon ourselves in this life but even more seriously we disobey God.

What did you see in these Proverbs?

It is a privilege to live in a country where we can sing (and pray), “God bless America, land that I love. Stand beside her and guide her through the night with the light from above”.

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Humilty (#2)

Today’s text:  Philippians 2:5-8

Note how Paul describes the progressively more humbling path of Jesus from “being in the form of God” to His death on the cross.   He tells us to have the same “mind”.   In particular Paul wants us to apply this mind to our relationships with one another (2-4).

Question: How is the example of Jesus in this passage helpful in achieving unity with other Christians?

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Jesus and Sinners (#2)

Jesus told the disciples that all would forsake Him when he was arrested but Peter said he would never forsake Him.  Jesus then told Peter directly that in fact he would deny Him three times.  Peter denied it again saying he would be willing to die (Matthew 26:31-35).

But when the time came Peter denied knowing Jesus just as Jesus had said.  You could say he failed miserably but given the circumstances it may not be that surprising.  Our concern is how does Jesus treat Peter? What do these verses suggest as an example for us to follow?

Luke 22:61, 1 Corinthians 15:5, John 21:15-19.


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Jesus and Sinners (#1)

Today’s reading is Jesus and the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). Again, the purpose of our study is to examine Jesus behavior and consider how we can be like Him. There are several considerations in the example of Jesus concerning this case.  What do you see in the example of Jesus concerning:

(1) How He chose to deal with the woman’s sin.

(2) How He treated the woman (especially in contrast to the scribes and Pharisees).

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Jesus In The Temple #2

Mark 12:41-44

In today’s reading we see Jesus back in the temple but this time he observes something that is beautiful and good. He teaches everyone an important lesson by commending a poor widow.

What do you think other people thought of the poor widow?

What does it say to you that Jesus noticed her and commended her?

How can we be like Him?

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