Are we listening?

The opening words of the Letter to the Hebrews reveal how profoundly God wants to form a relationship with humans. Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son (Hebrews 1.1-2a). We can trust that there […]

Redemption and Justification Explained

Paul uses two terms to describe what God has accomplished for humans through the crucifixion, resurrection, and gift of the Holy Spirit. Neither of the terms is common to everyday use. This article and the video that Rudy Ross and I produce are dedicated to explaining them. Redemption Redemption describes what takes place when a […]

Remember!

Remember to behave correctly. Remember how you once lived. Remember the goodness of God. These are the themes of Paul’s words to the church in Crete. Remember to behave correctly. Christians were suspect in the first century. The fact that they worshiped a crucified Messiah was inconceivable to the majority of people. Roman law demanded […]

The Blessed Hope

The blessed hope is not a “hope so” reality. Rather, the blessed hope is an anticipated event that God will enact. Rudy Ross has a good explanation of the blessed hope in today’s YouTube video. Please take a few minutes to listen to Rudy’s thoughts. God’s Grace and Hope Our blessed hope for the future […]

Rebuke the Liars!

The prophet Isaiah wrote about the loss of truth 2700 years ago. Woe to those who call evil goodand good evil,who put darkness for lightand light for darkness,who put bitter for sweetand sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5.20) Isaiah could have been talking about our era when he wrote about the absence of justice and truth […]

Why Godliness is So Important

Rudy Ross was right to draw our attention to the first verses of Titus. I skipped them in our video in a rush to get to Hebrews. We do well to take a look at Paul’s introduction to the letter to Titus. Here are some high points in Paul’s introductory remarks. (1) Verse 1 – […]

Fight the Good Fight

As I have stated in earlier blog articles, 2 Timothy was Paul’s last letter. He was in a Roman prison, awaiting execution. Paul viewed his situation like this: As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight; I […]

Tickling Ears – Touching Hearts

No preacher likes to see audience members sleeping while they are talking. I’ve had my share of times when people fell asleep. On a Sunday night in my first church, a man fell into such a deep sleep while I was preaching that he had a nightmare. He awoke with a start and a scream. […]

How to Choose a Mentor

A mentor is an experienced and trusted advisor. Timothy had three primary mentors in his life. Paul, his mother and grandmother, and the Scriptures all served as his experienced and trusted advisors. Paul’s Example The negative character traits of the false teachers are on display in the first verses of 2 Timothy 3. They remind […]

Praying NOT Preying

We will better understand Paul’s message to Timothy if we know something about the first-century environment. The church met in homes and the management of the home was the responsibility of the wife. A home was a dwelling for the family, the location of the family business, a meeting place for the church, and a […]

End-Time Evil Persons

The prophet Daniel described the end times: “There shall be a time of anguish such as has never occurred since nations first came into existence” (Daniel 12.1). Mark 13 is largely devoted to describing the anguish that will occur at the end. Paul listed 19 characteristics of the people who cause distress at the end. […]

How to Correct Foolish Opponents

One of the best statements I have heard is “It’s better to be loving than right.” Granted, this statement needs qualification, but the quote reflects the spirit of Paul’s words to Timothy. A teacher who is well-versed in the Bible will usually win a Bible argument. That person may win the battle of words, but […]

What about being useful?

My computer and my cell phone are useful, but I’m not in love with either of them. When they work, I’m happy with them. When they malfunction, I feel like smashing them. I don’t measure the usefulness of my grandchildren. I love their hugs, their goofy actions, and just being around them. Whether they are […]

You can “stand” on this!

Please take a minute to think about Paul’s words to Timothy. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness” (2 Timothy 2.19). What did you discover during your meditation on this verse? Here […]

Don’t get into a war of words.

One of the best things about the mid-term elections is that they are over. Political commercials have been replaced by advertisements for auto dealerships, wonder drugs, the newest and best cell phones, and the like. Unfortunately, our political leaders don’t follow the counsel of Paul about “wrangling over words.” The church is also guilty of […]

Who Are The Elect?

Matthew 24 and Mark 13 record Jesus’ instructions about the end times. Threats to the elect and God’s care for them are highlighted in these passages. The elect are mentioned in 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and 2 Peter. Paul wrote to Timothy, “Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that […]

The Process and the Prize

Paul used three images to describe the process and the resulting prize of our partnership with Jesus. Beyond warfare is a victory. Beyond competition is a prize. Beyond farming is a crop. The Process Paul used three images to emphasize what people who partner with God and his purposes do. (1) Single-minded devotion to God’s […]

Strength Training

Paul encouraged his younger partner with these words, “You then, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2.1). If you were to follow Paul’s words and counsel a friend on how to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,” what would you say? Here are […]

Don’t let God’s plan be hijacked.

The Bible and the example of outstanding Christ-followers is a standard or blueprint of sound teaching. The best choice we can make is to “hold to” and “guard” what has been entrusted to us. Hold to the standard of sound teaching that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in […]

How to Overcome a Spirit of Fear

Today’s article is a deep dive into one important verse. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline (2 Timothy 1.7). Let’s ask some questions and give answers about this verse. Question: What is a spirit of cowardice or fear? Answer: […]

Gratitude and Prayer

Timothy is mentioned as Paul’s partner in the ministry more than any other individual. Paul’s prayer for Timothy shows us how to pray for the people in our lives. We join Paul in gratitude and prayer for the people God has placed in our lives. I am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear […]

What are you giving to the next generation?

Here is an alarming thought! The U.S.’s Christian majority has been shrinking for decades. A Pew Research Center study shows that as of 2020, about 64% of Americans identify as Christian. Fifty years ago, that number was 90%. If recent trends in switching hold, we project that Christians could make up between 35% and 46% […]

What do you do with your money?

“It’s my money,” is an interesting thought when considered in the light of God’s will. The Old Testament prophets identified the tendency to gather possessions only to squander them as a serious problem. God’s Law taught that all of the land belonged to God. God’s people were to use the land as agents for God, […]

Praise and Practice

A truth that cannot be denied is that what humans worship affects their behavior. If we worship power, we will seek to be powerful. People who are in awe of possessions are devoted to them. The list of examples is endless that shows the connection between what humans worship and behavior. Paul connected worship and […]

Why Your Testimony is Crucial

When we give the world an accurate picture of Jesus through our attitudes and actions, we will join the multitudes who “fight the good fight of the faith.” Paul encouraged Timothy to behave like this because it was crucial to the furtherance of the gospel. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of […]

Make This Your Goal!

Paul used fighting words in his challenge to Timothy. He said that if you are going to fight, then fight for this. But as for you, man of God, shun all this; pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you […]

The Love of Money

“Click-bait” describes what social media personalities do to produce content designed to generate more clicks on their account. If they have a monetized account, they make more money off of the number of “hits” on their work. Making money off of information is not new. It was a problem in first-century Corinth and Ephesus, to […]

Make the Gospel Attractive

Even though there are nearly 25 million people who are working in forced servitude today, the people who read my blog aren’t. We can read Paul’s message as information about how to make the good news of God’s love attractive at work and among our family and friends. All who are under the yoke of […]

Disrespect Leaders? Don’t!

The specific issues Paul addressed to Timothy were important enough for two letters to be written. The issues have changed, but the larger points remain. Let’s consider Paul’s message about leaders. First Concern – Show Your Respect Three keywords denote leaders who are worthy of respect. Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy […]

Care for the Vulnerable

God cares for vulnerable people and he wants humans to do the same. God spoke through Isaiah and condemned practices that harmed defenseless people. Woe to those who make iniquitous decrees,who write oppressive statutes, To turn aside the needy from justiceand to rob the poor of my people of their right,to make widows their spoiland […]

Practices That Must Not Be Neglected

There are a few basic needs that I plan to never neglect. I don’t want to stop breathing or eating, even for a short period of time. A few other needs are less important than food and oxygen, but I still plan to continue the practice. Sleep, exercise, and personal hygiene are valued practices I […]

When You Vote, Look for This.

My father was involved in politics from before I was born until I was 25 years old. My experience with politics makes me very skeptical when politicians attempt to use religious positions to further their elections. I believe both Republicans and Democrats use religion for their own electoral goals. In today’s YouTube video, I describe […]

Your Choice – Foolishness or Godliness

The Greek text of 1 Timothy 4.7 reads: “Avoid profane and old wives tales. But train yourselves in godliness.” The New Revised Standard Version is kinder to older women and translates the passage, “Have nothing to do with profane and foolish tales. Train yourself in godliness.” Old women, who spent their days in a shop […]

Meet in the Lobby

My friend Rudy Ross is an avid reader of C. S. Lewis. Rudy often refers to Lewis’ concept of separate rooms and a lobby. Imagine a conference center with a big lobby and adjoining breakout rooms. Everyone attends the conference because they have a common interest. They go to the breakout rooms to home in […]

The Power of God’s Word and Prayer

In today’s video Rudy Ross explains the problem in Ephesus from a Jewish perspective and I look at it through the eyes of a Gentile. That’s what makes studying the Bible with Rudy a lot of fun. If you are interested in the historical situation, please visit our video on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. […]

Russian Propaganda and the Bible

Rudy Ross asked me to comment in today’s YouTube video about the latest Russian propaganda piece about the ‘de-satanization’ of Ukraine. If you are not familiar with that news, I have copied a few paragraphs from the Daily Beast. As Russia increasingly seeks to reframe its invasion of Ukraine as a holy war, Vladimir Putin […]

Let’s talk about deacons.

The meaning of “deacon” is someone who is a servant, an attendant, a waiter, or a minister. Deacons and bishops served the church in a leadership capacity. Paul did not provide a job description for either deacons or bishops. Instead, he listed character traits that were important for their role. “Deacons likewise must be serious, […]

Characteristics of Good Leaders

Paul warned the church to beware of defective leaders. The primary purpose of the first letter to Timothy was to warn against false leaders. He told Timothy to correct the very problematic situation. “Some people have deviated from these and turned to meaningless talk, desiring to be teachers of the law without understanding either what […]

Who is Qualified to Lead?

Paul knew that his earthly ministry was drawing to an end. He was concerned that the next generation of leaders would be up to the task. He charged his young partner in the ministry to make sure that the leadership of the church remained excellent. He told Timothy, “The saying is sure: whoever aspires to […]

Correcting Worship Practices

Paul begins his discussion of worship practices with instructions to men. He writes, “I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument” (1 Timothy 2.8). Churches didn’t have buildings in Ephesus and met in homes. In every location, people were to pray with lifted hands, […]

God’s Deepest Desire

There are many things we can say about God and how magnificent he is. He is the Creator of the vast universe that the James Webb telescope continues to reveal in power and majesty. God is the author of perfect ethics and morality, which directs humans to the best life possible. Paul captured the greatest […]

Why Pray for Political Leaders?

Paul was a man of prayer and he used his persuasive power to call upon the church to pray. He wrote to Timothy, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2.1). Every form of prayer at our disposal should be used to pray for […]

Share the Good – Resist the Bad

The good is actually very good news. The best news possible is the fact of God’s mercy for humans. Paul wrote of this news to Timothy. As the chief of sinners, he claimed: “But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience […]

Grace for Sinners

A common list of sins fills verses 9-11 of the first chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy. We need not despair when we find ourselves identified in Paul’s list of offenses against God’s law. God’s grace saves sinners. The letter to the Romans reveals the state of all humans is that we all “have sinned […]

Humans Live As They Think

One of the Proverbs’ many accurate statements is, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23.7 KJV). The reason why we need to be careful about what sort of teaching we accept is that thinking determines behavior. Paul knew this and directed his words to the kind of message that produced […]