I love being called mom – or as I’m titled in my home “mumzey.” Psalm 127:3-5 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” (NASB) Now a quiver is no less than 5, so many people advocate having at least as many children. I think large families are wonderful, but having one or two children is a good thing, too. A common battle analogy used is that the more children you have the more damage you can do to the enemy. That’s true. But as Tolkien fans will recall, Bard only needed one arrow to fell Smaug the dragon.
One of my two “arrows” asked me to speak at her graduation. Along with two other moms from our homeschool group, my daughter asked us to talk about three aspects of womanhood from a Biblical perspective. With just 5 to 10 minutes each, we were to cover being a godly woman, a godly wife, and a godly mother, that final topic and time slot being for me.
How in the world could I encapsulate what it means to be a good mom in 10 minutes or less? It took 10 years for me to realize I hadn’t found the perfect method for motherhood because there wasn’t one. The remaining near decade was spent desperately trying not to cause too much damage. Like any mom, I felt woefully inadequate.
But it doesn’t really take long to say that God alone can turn a laughable attempt into a laudable result. He did. He does. Every day. That reliance on His strength, His adequacy, and His purposes is what makes for magical motherhood. In spite of my frailties, He honed my children, crafted them into straight and true weapons for His own, particular use.
So I spoke.
My time to “mommy” my youngest was at an end. I needed to go from disciplining to discipling, from pushing to presenting. I needed to now talk with instead of simply teach her. I needed to shift from mother-of-child to mentor-of-adult. Could I actually take that arrow, fit it into the bow, and shoot with confidence?
After pouring all we can into the lives given to us for our short-term safekeeping, we need to step back. In spite of how we feel, we need to draw the bow. Like the thrush who told Bard where to aim, the Holy Spirit gives us confidence. We may have only one arrow left in our quiver, but it’s His.
Let it fly.
Timothy’s challenge – and ours – in this week’s chapter is to “fight the good fight.” Paul is constantly pouring into his young mentee ways to do just that. Prayerfully study this week with confidence that the Holy Spirit will move in you to help Him intentionally hone for His purposes those He’s placed in your care.
DAYS 1 and 2
I. Read 1 Timothy 6:1-2.
We will go into more detail about the idea of slavery and attitudes of slaves and masters when we study Philemon. In Roman society, the point of whether or not slavery was right was moot. It was out of the average citizen’s control. Suffice it to say that here Paul is focusing on people’s hearts – no matter the circumstance in which they found themselves.
1. Why should slaves who were Christ followers regard masters with honor?
2. Whether our masters or our bosses, why does it make a difference how we treat them if they are believers?
3. What is Paul saying to the church regarding the relationships between its members?
II. Read 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Acts 17:10-16.
As he did at the beginning of his letter, Paul again addresses false teachers. It’s always amazing to see just how relevant God’s word is for present day living. Analyzing what people believe in today’s world from books, articles and responses to polls is difficult because people are often confused in what they themselves claim to believe.
In Paul’s day polytheism from both Greece and Rome was common. Today’s Western nations promote “inter-faith” situations. Both then and now most seem happy to have all comers in regards to faith, multiple options being fine, depending on what an individual wants as long as it doesn’t upset the usual routine of life. In Paul’s day, Caesar was the ultimate god. In our day, peace and tolerance are the ultimate goals. Unfortunately, what’s happening within the culture often infiltrates the church.
Tragically, some church-goers never come to the place of understanding the all-encompassing truth of the gospel. Others are swayed into a mixed theology by incorrect, often culturally-tied teaching. Leaders leading astray were a problem for the young churches of Timothy’s day. It still is.
With mentoring, there must be careful, consistent scrutiny of what we’re sharing and advising. It’s up to us to cross-check all we hear and read so that we are firmly on course ourselves. The account of the believers in Berea receives only a few verses in Acts, but it is a favorite among Bible study advocates. The Bereans took no teaching at face value, not even from Paul. And they’ve been honored in sermons and illustrations ever since. (In fact, the story took place earlier in Timothy’s life. When Paul had to leave due to persecution, Timothy was given responsibility with Silas to continue the work among the young Berean believers.)
Regular, quality time to search the Scriptures is vital. Not making time for Bible exploration is like playing the telephone game where whispered sentences become completely garbled by the time they get around a circle of participants. As a game, the results are hilarious. In mentoring, the results are tragic.
1. What does Paul say about the character of those who teach false doctrine?
2. What do the resulting quarrels and questions lead to?
3. What is one word that best expresses how the Bereans approached the Word?
4. How do you need to change in your approach to the preaching you hear and books you read as it applies to your mentoring?
5. Using Romans 11:33 to 12:3 as a guide, list those things that would enable you as a mentor to stay on track doctrinally.
III. Read Numbers 22, and skim 23 to 25:9, 31:1-16; read 2 Peter 2:15-16; Jude 11; Revelation 2:14.
The story of Balaam is an interesting example of something Paul begins to address in I Timothy 6:5. Balaam was a man who had a reputation and a seemingly successful career as a diviner, fortune-teller or oracle, not only predicting the future but offering the placing of curses on the enemies of his clients. For a price. One commentator said, “Balaam was guilty of covetousness which is idolatry. He was a hired preacher. He wanted to make a buck with the gift he had, a gift that was apparently God-given. This was the way of Balaam, and it was his undoing.” 1
Ordinarily, Balaam’s words must have appeared to come true, for Balak, king of Moab sought him out when he felt threatened by the Israelites as they worked their way to the Promised Land. King Balak wanted Balaam to lay a curse of destruction on Israel and was willing to pay a lot. Things didn’t work out quite as planned, however. God actually revealed Himself to this non-Jew Balaam in order to protect and ultimately bless His people. In spite of divine intervention, Balaam’s heart didn’t change. His motivation and loyalties were divided and he never allowed his eyes to be opened to the One who gave him his amazing gifts in the first place. And Balaam had an influence on God’s people, after all.
1. What were Balaam’s responses to Balak about the One True God and how did his actions counter them?
2. How did God miraculously break through to Balaam with His message?
3. Did Balaam’s heart ever change? How did he finally make headway and in a way ultimately helped Balak “curse” Israel?
4. For what is Balaam remembered in the New Testament?
5. 2 Peter 2:9 says, “…the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation…” (NASB) How does this verse encourage you?
[Note: Both the HCSB and the ESV use the word “trial” here instead of “temptation.” The Greek word used is the same, only context creates subtle nuances. Though either trials or temptation can result in sin depending on our reaction to our circumstances, “to tempt” is something God does not do. All versions agree with this when translating James 1:13: “No one undergoing a trial should say, ‘I am being tempted by God.’ For God is not tempted by evil, and He Himself doesn’t tempt anyone.” (HCSB) God will give us trials to help us grow and learn to trust Him. Satan will tempt us not to follow God’s commands, to not remember His promises, to not make good choices, and to not have a good attitude during our trials.]
I. Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10; Matthew 16:24-27; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Galatians 5:25-26.
The lure of wealth has been a stumbling block for leaders throughout the ages, both godly and secular. “Gain” emphasizes financial advancement in 1 Timothy 6:5. Yet the Greek word used for “gain,” both there and here in verse 6, is used in conjunction with godliness. The word is porismos.2 It means “to cause a thing to get on well, to carry forward, to convey, to acquire; to bring about or procure for one’s self.” On the worldly side there is actually a deeper essence of pride and self, whether wealth, fame, material things, notoriety – even control of others – found within the word. On the spiritual side, gain is a longing, an urgency for God’s best. Paul forces us to look at these deeper issues in ourselves as he contrasts the idea of material wealth with spiritual wealth and pivots on the idea of contentment.
Two enemies of contentment are greed and envy. Small amounts of either can rapidly grow and build the snare verse 9 talks about, trapping people into the unhealthy lust for money of verse 10. My pastor recently defined greed as “a desire for inordinate amounts of personal possessions or status,” and envy as “being dissatisfied with our lives, talents and gifts, focusing on the circumstances of another’s life” which in fact builds a hatred for that person. Both greed and envy change how we treat people.3
1. According to the I Timothy passage, instead of riches, what can godliness bring and under what circumstances?
2. What area of your life lacks contentment?
3. How are greed and envy manifested?
4. How can you achieve godly satisfaction in that area?
5. What comfort do verses 7 and 8 bring?
II. Re-read 1 Timothy 6: 9-10.
Taking things a step further, verse 9 gives a distinction between those who are rich and those who want to get rich. The latter find temptation and numerous other pitfalls because God gives wealth to be used for His glory, but they instead desire wealth at the expense of God’s glory. Paul points out in the next verse how this longing for money has made people wander from the faith, leading to extreme misery. Verse 10 in the Philips Translation says, “For loving money leads to all kinds of evil, and some men in the struggle to be rich have lost their faith and cause themselves untold agonies of mind.” Many translations use the phrase “pierced themselves” with sorrows or grief or “many pains.”
In Isaiah 53:5 we read that Christ was “pierced” or wounded for our wrong doings. He already took the punishment of sin and spared us all the grief sin brings. But when we take ourselves out from under the protective shield of Christ and His desires for us, we open up ourselves to being pierced afresh with heartache, misery and discontent.
Discontent builds huge barriers to effective mentoring. The woman being mentored can even become an object of derision if greed and envy are allowed to fester in a mentor’s heart. Remember: it changes how we treat people. We can become happy and satisfied when misfortune falls on others. We can gossip. We can plant seeds of question about another’s character. We can use sarcasm to tear down those around us. We can hate. And dissatisfaction about our appearance, our talents, and our lot in life simply increases.
1. Looking over today’s entire lesson, how have greed, envy or longing for the offerings of this world affected your relationships with others?
2. Read through Isaiah 53:4-5. Everywhere you see a plural pronoun such as “our” or “us,” replace it with “my” or “me.” How does this change your perspective?
I. Read 1 Timothy 6:11-12; Matthew 2:13, 24:16; Mark 13:14; John 10:5; Revelation 9:6.
After much instruction and warning, Paul now offers some strong mentoring advice in the form of four action verbs: flee, pursue, fight and take hold.
Let’s start with “flee.” The above verses give a cross section of how it is used throughout the New Testament. (Some versions may also use “run away” or even “elude.”) “Pursue” has the opposite connotation – that of running after. Though often seen negatively in terms of an enemy or nemesis, it can also be intentionally chasing something good as in Psalm 34:14, Romans 14:19 and Hebrews 12:14.
1. What comes to your mind as you read the word “flee” in its various contexts?
2. What does Paul call Timothy in verse 11?
3. Why should this designation make a difference to Timothy?
4. What is Timothy to pursue?
II. Read 1 Timothy 6:13-16; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and Philippians 1:29-30.
Paul’s love of athletics and sportsmanship is evident with the famous phrase, “Fight the good fight” from I Timothy 6:12. As we come to the term “fight,” Paul is encouraging Timothy to stand firm in his faith, to compete whole-heartedly. But Paul isn’t sitting in the stands shouting at him to dive into the water. Instead, he’s in the pool calling for Timothy to jump from the 30-meter platform. Fight the fear. Fight the exhaustion. Fight with honor. Dive with faith. And with each action of purposeful faith, a stronger hold is taken on all that God has for this life – a life in the here and now that is only the beginning of forever.
As a mentor, advise from your own experience. Stories you’ve read, places you’ve been, miracles – both large and small – that you’ve seen the Father work in you. Whether it’s to prove a point or to make someone laugh, giving someone a glimpse into your life can be profoundly helpful or insightful to others. It could be just the thing to get them to dive into the pool, too.
1. When did you make your first “good confession in the presence of many witnesses”?
2. Detail one time of suffering or struggle in your life – large or small – and tell how God brought you through it.
3. How has God shown Himself to you this week?
III. Read Matthew 27:11-26; Mark 15:1-15; Luke 23:1-5, 13-25; John 18:28- 19:16.
Christ’s few words to the Roman governor dealt with truth. Ultimate Truth. In the face of crucifixion Christ pointed him to the only life-giving source available in this world: Jesus, himself, the embodiment of truth. This confession should ultimately be our confession of which we “take hold” with white-knuckled refusal to let go. And Christ should be infused into all the stories we share with those we are mentoring.
1. What jumps out at you from the four accounts of Jesus before Pilate?
2. To what commandment is Paul referring in verse 1 Timothy 6:14?
3. From verses 15 and 16 in 1 Timothy 6, list some of the attributes and titles Paul gives to God.
I. Read Timothy 6:17-21; Luke 11:21; John 17:12.
After an interlude of Paul’s worshipful expressions of Christ’s attributes, verse 17 again opens discussion on worldly wealth. Notice that there is no condemnation for being rich. The problem isn’t the money, it’s the heart. I’ve known affluent people you would never guess had a lot of money; conversely, I’ve met many who like the appearance of wealth above all things. There are wealthy people who are extremely generous, giving to their church, their communities, to mission organizations and to local groups. There are those who could never part with any of their money. Timothy was to encourage the former. Enjoy what has been given, and add to the joy by sharing with fellow believers.
Paul has heartfelt endings for his letters with his beloved “sons” and this is no exception. He ends this letter again warning Timothy to watch out. He wanted this pounded into Timothy’s heart. “O Timothy” – an entreaty, much stronger than an encouragement or suggestion. And “guard” in the Greek means “to keep from being snatched away, preserve safe and unimpaired.” The warning is not a light one. Apparently, other leaders and presumably strong men of the faith had “gone astray” (verse 21).
The exact phrase “gone astray,” in reality the same Greek word used twice. This impacting double-word phrase is only used in 1 Timothy 6:21 and 2 Timothy 2:18. It means “to deviate from, to miss the mark.”4
Another “gone astray” phrase (a different word used twice, as well) can be found in Matthew 18:12, 13 as well as in 2 Peter 2:15. This one means to wander, to roam about; to fall away from the truth. Used alone and not in the double-word phrase in other places in the New Testament it’s translated as “led astray,” “mislead,” “deceived,” and even “in error.”5
It seems a lot of time to spend on one tiny portion of Scripture, but you get the feeling from these ending verses in his first letter to Timothy that Paul wanted more than anything to have his true son in the faith finish well, holding fast to the truth of Scripture no matter what else happened in life. David Guzik puts it this way:
“Paul had confidence in Timothy and he did trust him. Yet Paul also knew how great the power of seduction is, and how high the stakes are – so he warned, and warned, and warned again. The gospel is a trust committed to pastors like Timothy; but also to all believers. And when that trust is broken, some have strayed concerning the faith. We must do all that we can to keep this trust.”6
1. Paul gives Timothy some guidelines for which to “instruct” those believers who are wealthy. List some of those principles.
2. What word in verse 17 shows God’s heart for us regarding what we’ve been given?
3. How does this idea of “guard” or “keep” deepen for you as you read it in other contexts?
Listen to this dialogue between Christ and the Father as penned by the prophet Isaiah:
“Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me, he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. And he said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’” (Isaiah 49:1-3, ESV)
As co-heirs with Christ, we are also now God’s servants, his arrows, hidden in his quiver for just the right moment to bring Him glory, to show His beauty. He has named you. He has honed you. Guard what’s been entrusted to you, knowing that the outcome of your mentoring is in His hands.
1. McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. V. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville. 1983. Pg. 863.
2. “Greek Lexicon :: G4200 (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 10 Feb, 2014.
3. Buck, David. “How to Recover Joy and Contentment With God.” From the sermon series, What Idols? Calvary Bible Church. Bakersfield, CA. Feb. 9, 2014.
4. “Greek Lexicon :: G795 (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 11 Feb, 2014.
5. “Greek Lexicon :: G4105 (NASB).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 11 Feb, 2014.
6. Guzik, David. “Study Guide for 1 Timothy 6.” Blue Letter Bible. Sowing Circle. 7 Jul, 2006. Web. 22 Nov, 2013.
[button caption=”Lesson Download” link=”https://thriveministry.box.com/s/a2jpes2diaj8q6uupi2b”][/button]