2 Timothy 4

2 Timothy 4: Preach the Gospel

                Paul writes to Timothy and explains that he needs to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove [to disapprove of someone], rebuke [criticize], exhort [urge] with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:1) Paul tells Timothy sharply that he must be quick to preach and if necessary tell someone he is teaching that they are wrong, criticize their thinking and urge them to change their thinking using sound doctrine. At first thought one might think Paul is encouraging Timothy to go around and bash others beliefs and force the teachings of Jesus Christ on others. HOWEVER, I believe that Paul wrote to Timothy in this way to encourage him to work hard to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because Paul explains; “…the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itchy ears; And they shall turn away from the truth, and shall be turned into fables [A story that teaches a lesson or a false account].” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

What is Paul trying to say? He is telling Timothy to hurry and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because soon the people will not listen to the TRUE doctrine, because they will consume themselves in their own lusts and find teachers to tell them that what they are doing is ok.

In March of 1839, while in the jail at Liberty, Missouri; Joseph Smith received revelation which the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints know as the 123rd Section of the  Doctrine and Covenants, verses 12-13 read;

“For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it – Therefore, that we should waster and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven.” (Doctrine and Covenants 123: 12-13) For this reason Paul urged Timothy to work hard to convince his fellow brother and sister of the truth!

Paul explains that he “…is now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

Acts 28

Acts 28: Paul Heals Many

Paul arrives at the island called Melita, the people on the island welcome the survivors and build a fire and provide shelter for them. As Paul gathered sticks for the fire; “…there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whome, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. And he shook of the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen: but after they saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.” (Acts 28:3-6)

Paul heals the father of Publius, a famous citizen, and many others. Because of his great works and miracles the people praise him and provide him with the things he needed for his travels. Paul finally arrives at Rome, where he meets the Jewish leaders, and again stresses that Moses and the prophets prophesied the coming of Christ. Paul quotes Isaiah; “…Go unto this people, and say,Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed….” (Acts 28:26-27) The Jews dispute amongst themselves. Paul spends two years in rented accommodation in Rome before his trial in Caesar’s court, freely preaching the gospel.

Acts 18

Acts 18: Apollos Preaches with Power

Paul departs from Athens and arrives in Corinth, where he stays with tentmakers named Aquila and Priscilla. Paul preaches to both Jews and Greeks, and many believe and are baptized. Paul receives encouragement in a vision to stay, and remains in Corinth for one and a half years. The Lord tells Paul in the vision; “…Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee…” (Acts 18:9-10) The Jews of Corinth attempt unsuccessfully to convict Paul before the civil authorities, but they refuse to convict Paul on the grounds of lawlessness. Paul cuts his hair in order to make a Nazirite vow. From here Paul travels to Ephesus, Antioch, Galatia and Phrygia. Aquila and Priscilla instruct a fervent Jew named Apollos about Christ; “…publickly shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.” (Acts 18:28)

A few things are very interesting from this chapter, first God tells Paul to not be afraid. Often times we can become afraid of spreading the Gospel, for fear of those who may reject it. God has made it clear that if we spread His Gospel, we will have His peace and comfort. The second thing that is interesting, is that Aquilla and Priscilla taught a Jew and not only did they verbally testify to him, they also used the scriptures to teach and convince. This means that it is ok to question things, but we need to fervently seek the answers by means of scripture study and help ourselves build our testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel through the testimonies and experiences of others.