While reading the Bible, especially the following passage I started asking myself an obvious question: is this related to Timothy or me, the reader? I'm sorry for asking about very basic theology, but I need to know it.

Thank you for your patience!

4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

2 Timothy 4:1-7


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  • Romans 15:4 tells us
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There are some helpful questions you might like to ask about 2 Timothy in order to answer that question. The letter was written to Timothy (2 Timothy 1:2). Who was he?

It seems that he was a co-worker of Paul, who worked alongside him in the proclamation of the gospel. He's mentioned quite a few times in the New Testament, for example 1 Corinthians 4:17

For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

So Paul is addressing this message to a fellow-worker, who he has given the responsibility of preaching the gospel.

So how does this help us with relating these words to ourselves?

Paul is writing to someone who had a special responsibility to proclaim the gospel - which in the church has developed to become a pastor-teacher, or priest, or bishop, or anyone with the authority of the church to proclaim God's word (preaching and teaching). So these words are directly applicable to them.

However, it is also relevant to the whole church because Paul predicts what would happen in the future - that people would turn aside from the truth and gather round them false teachers. Therefore, Paul's words here are a warning and encouragement to us to ensure that we do not turn aside to myths but stick to the truth of the apostolic message, and to hold to account our teachers to ensure that they are doing the same.


Phil’s answer is really good and I’d like to add a bit to it.

A good rule of thumb is to check out the context; does this text concern a specific group? Sometimes in the Old Testament it is written “for this reason I have driven out xx from the land”, that’s something universal. But if you see the context is about e.g. the Levites or kings, then it’s likely only addressed to that specific group. An example would be the issue of not being allowed to marry a widow (Lev 21:14); that’s addressed to the high priest.

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