October 08: Hebrews 12-13 & 2 Timothy 1-3
|October 08th||October 09th||October 10th||October 11th||October 12th|
|Hebrews 12||Hebrews 13||2 Timothy 1||2 Timothy 2||2 Timothy 3|
As we look at these final chapters of Hebrews and then read Paul’s 2nd letter to Timothy we are reminded of the need to focus our lives right. Without the right focus the pressures of life, the attacks of the devil and other people’s failures could cause us to give up on the greatest gift – eternal life.
Hebrews 12 reminds us that we are never alone! All of heaven is cheering us on in our daily life. God’s promise to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6) was first spoken by Moses to Joshua as he passed the leadership of Israel over to him. Hebrews echoes that with the picture of an athlete being cheered on by his coaching staff, team mates and country. At the recent Olympics the British team often commented on how they were energised by each other’s victories. We have Jesus to inspire us!
Just as those athletes train hard and discipline themselves for the race so too we are trained by our heavenly Father. He disciplines those He loves. Note the word is discipline, not punishment! Repetitive training in order to win. The kind of training that gives confidence. The kind of training that produces champions.
This training is something we see in godly leaders, both their way of life and their faith. Consistent rather than up and down in the face of trials, just like Jesus. The kind of leaders that inspire others to follow. The kind of leaders that are worthy of respect, living strengthened by grace.
Godly leaders are not ruled by fear. They are rooted in love, established and flourishing. Discipline is not legalism to leaders but a normal part of living a supernatural life. Leaders recognise that God is holy and He has called us to live like Him. Grace rather than law governing our daily relationship. We know what we have believed and that controls our decision-making.
Paul wrote to Timothy that this type of teaching required reliable men. Leadership invests in people who prove themselves faithful. Faithful people are those who have settled in their hearts both the big and little life decisions long before opportunities to sin come. Jesus phrased this thinking “many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). Few take the time to prepare themselves, to cleanse themselves (2 Timothy 2:21) so that they can be used.
The contrast between the Christian dedicated to God and those who just live for themselves is huge. The end times are terrible times. People attacking any teaching that tells them what to do. God is not going to work miracles for those who are disobedient. He is not going to reveal His thoughts to those who do not seek Him. Scripture itself reveals His thoughts so leaders consistently read the bible. They train themselves to listen.
He who began a good work in us will carry it on until completion (Philippians 1:6) requires a holy people dedicated to doing God’s will.
Questions to consider
- Do you have one standard for church but a different standard for when you are with your friends?
- Honour the Lord. Honour marriage. Honour leaders. Honour teaching. What does the word honour mean? Do a word study to find out what honour means.
- How does fear affect us? Do you recognise fear or the things that cause you to fear?
- How would other people describe your faith? Paul wrote about Timothy’s heritage of faith
- What helps you study God’s word? Do you keep a record or journal of the things God says?
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews is unknown, no author being directly attributed or claimed in the letter.
The apostle Paul was considered the author for many years especially by the King James translators. Some early church fathers, Origen (3rd Century) and Jerome & Augustine (4th Century) wrote about the letter supporting Paul’s direct or indirect authorship. Other early church fathers, Eusebius (4th Century) questioned this in his history of the church.
Other possible authors are Luke (author of gospel & Acts), Barnabus (Paul’s mentor), Apollos (Paul’s co-worker) or Clement of Rome (Bishop of Rome 88-99AD). Some references to Priscilla (wife of Aquila & Paul’s co-worker) being the author have also been made.
The final parts of the letter, Hebrews 13:22-24 references being written from Italy, probably Rome and also references Timothy’s release from prison. Together with many references throughout the letter to the Temple in Jerusalem which are all written as if it was still standing suggest this letter was written around 63-64AD. Paul was martyred in 66-67AD and the temple was destroyed in 70AD. These events would be probably have been referenced if written afterwards.