2 Peter Overview

On December 19th, I posted an overview on 1 Peter (if you want to go back to it).  His first letter was about what was happening around the church, outside.  This book is very different.  Actually, I think it is written as a ‘Sermon’ to be used at their church (it ends in a doxology, rather than the standard ending).  Peter, who died around 68AD at the hands of Nero (hung upsidedown on a cross), writes this letter/sermon because of teachings that were infiltrating the church.  It is called: Epicurean.  (Feel free to see how this is still taught today)

Epicurean belief teaches people to relax and enjoy life without worrying so much. They believed God or gods did exist, but they lived so far away from the affairs of man, in a permanent state of ataraxia, that they didn’t interfere with humans.  They just sat up there in their world or Heaven.

There are two advantages (for them) having this mindset:

  • First, there is no judgment after death; therefore, death shouldn’t be feared.
  • Second, there is no judgment during life. There is no way to appease a god who doesn’t know you personally exist.  Therefore, you are free to find fulfillment in life outside of religious rules and expectations.

They believe in the “golden mean.”  The ‘golden mean’ means to maximize your pleasure without leading to negative consequences.  Yup, that about sums up our world.

So, in true Epicureanism, the best life is characterized by sufficient food, a comfortable dwelling, peaceful relationships, and good friends. But, wait, it gets MORE relevant.  They back it up by taking scriptures and applying them to their lives.

  • “Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?”
  • “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Shall I go on?  You get my point.

You KNOW this is going to be a good book!

Jude Overview

Obviously, I googled the Beatles song to see if there was any correlation, and there isn’t.  BUT now the song is stuck in my head.  Click here if you want it stuck in your head too!  (and if you are too young to know this song, go away!)

This book opens with:

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James,

So I went back and looked at the book of James, which opens with:

1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

Let me show you how prideful I am.  If I was James or Jude, I would have said, “I am Jesus’ brother!”.  😳

We know practically nothing about Jude other than his love for Jesus (and proud of his brother James).  James was martyred around 62 AD.  According to other writings and traditions, James (not officially an apostle because he did not become a believer till after the Resurrection) was the church leader in Jerusalem. He was thrown from the southeast pinnacle of the temple (over a hundred feet down) when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. When they discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat James to death with a club. This is thought to be the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the temptation.

So the fact that Jude is willing to write this letter proves that he too is willing to die for Jesus if the letter gets in the wrong hands. 

The Book of Jude is an important book for us today because it is written for the end times, for the end of the church age. The church age began on the Day of Pentecost. Jude is the only book given entirely to apostasy. (fancy word, I know 😂). But now that we are not on milk but mature enough in the Word, we can start using “meat” words.   From the Greek term apostasia, apostasy means “a defiance of an established system or authority; a rebellion; an abandonment or breach of faith.”   Ummm what? This will help:

  • there are two main types:
    •  a falling away from key and true doctrines (I ask you, without reading the Bible, how do people know True Doctrine?)
    • a complete renouncement of the Christian faith.

Jude is a small but important book worthy of study, written for today’s Christian.

2 Timothy

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. (In short, thank you ladies for raising a godly man)

  • Eunice was a Jewish believer who had been married to a Greek man, which would explain that, as an infant, Timothy was not circumcised as all Jewish boys were. It was the responsibility of Jewish fathers to oversee that rite, and since Timothy’s father was Greek, circumcision would not have been his custom. Paul had Timothy circumcised before they began their missionary journeys together to not offend their Jewish audiences.
  • Lois was either Eunice’s mother or her mother-in-law. The fact that she helped raise Timothy may indicate that Timothy’s father had died or that the family all lived together, which was not uncommon in those days. The father may have died while Timothy was young since Paul takes on a fatherly role with Timothy and often refers to him as “my true son in the faith.”

If I start quoting scripture on this book, this post will be longer than the Bible!  Click here (if you don’t have a Bible in front of you) and reread verses 6-12.  Now that you are a week away from reading EVERY word God wrote, what are you going to do?

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Phygelus, Hermogenes, and Onesiphorus. Onesiphorus was from Ephesus and probably came to know the Lord during Paul’s 3rd mission trip.  The other two knuckleheads deserted him.  We don’t know anything about them, but I assume they “fell away” from all the false teachings preached from the “The Way.” The flesh is weak!

Chapter 2- Three great examples are given soldier, athlete, and farmer.

  • No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs but instead tries to please his commanding officer.
  • Anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
  • The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

Dealing With False Teachers (verse 14-26)

  • don’t quarrel about words; it is of no value and only ruins those who listen. 
  • BUT do not be ashamed of correctly speaking the word of truth
  • Avoid godless chatter; it only adds fuel to their fire (their teaching will spread like gangrene 😂 verse 17).
  • Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus?  Free yourself up a little when words fall on deaf ears: “The Lord knows those who are his,” 
  • Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments because you know they produce quarrels. BUT be kind in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Chapter 3

So I hear people say all the time, “Look around, we are definitely getting closer to the End Times.”  Umm, here is my advice: Each day we check off the calendar-we are 1 day closer.   😂

Even Paul says, “MARK MY WORDS.”

“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Ummmm. Jesus said:

Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

So what are Paul’s final words to Timothy?  The same ones to us: (here are a few that stood out) for January 1, 2022, for you and me:

  • 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it (from God’s Word), 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 
  • I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.

A few names if you are interested:

  • Demas– was one of Paul’s fellow co-workers (once) (Phil 1:24)
  • Crescens and Titus-they have left, but it does not say they left him.  Maybe they went to share the Good News.
  • Luke is still with him.  Probably as his Dr.
  • Bring Mark back!
  • Tychicus is actually mentioned quite a bit.  He is called a “dear brother” of Paul’s and a “faithful servant” of the Lord’s.  He was with Paul on Mission trips and stayed with him during a time of Prison. He was also entrusted to deliver Paul’s epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians. While traveling to Colossae, Tychicus accompanied Onesimus, the former slave who was returning to Philemon.  Finally, Tychicus was sent to Ephesus as an “interim pastor” to free up Timothy to visit Paul.
  • Some guy named Carpus clearly borrowed his coat! And his parchment paper 😝  JK.
  • Alexander 🤬.  Do you remember way back in Acts 19 when Paul was in Ephesus, and there was a silversmith that was selling his trinkets at the Temple?  This guy rallied up other silversmiths and said, “Dude, if they become believers, they won’t buy our fake idols” (clearly not a direct quote).  Well, this is the guy!
  • Idols for Sale
  • Priscilla and Aquila-I think you remember them!   The Power couple! (Acts 18)
  • Erastus-worked with Paul in Corinth- He was also an influential man in Public Works. So it made sense for him to stay in Corinth and represent.
  • Trophimus sick in Miletus, Covid maybe??
  • Eubulus, Prudens, and Linus  (historical writings have them as the ‘bishops.’
  • Claudia- this is fascinating.  She knows Timothy, but hang with the 3 musketeers listed above. However, the name Cladia is only given to women in Rome that come from Royalty.  Some rumors have her as Pruden’s wife; others suspect she may have been Pilate’s wife.  (remember she was against the crucifixion).  She may have just been a woman of Royalty who left her comfortable life behind to serve the Lord through Paul.  Interesting possibilities.22 

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you all.

2 Timothy Overview

Last week we read 1 Timothy and the overview was quite long, so I will keep this short 😂 I promise!

Paul,  imprisoned in Rome, recognized that his earthly life was likely coming to an end soon. The Book of 2 Timothy is essentially Paul’s “last words.” Paul looked past his own circumstances to express concern for the churches and specifically for Timothy. Paul wanted to use his last words to encourage Timothy, and all other believers, to persevere in faith.  What would your last words be for the ones you love? ❤️

See, I told you.  Short. (I know what you are thinking…why can’t all her posts be that short!)😝