example
Scheduled for study Oct 28-Nov 3, 2019. To be an “example of the believers” isn’t always an easy task. We must learn to have confidence in what the Lord expects of us, to forgive others, and to learn to navigate the spiritual troubles of our day.

Day 1

1 and 2 Timothy; Titus – Who were Timothy and Titus?

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Sometimes it’s helpful to approach your scripture study with one or more questions in mind. Invite the Spirit to guide you to answers as you study, and record any inspiration you receive.

The short answer is Timothy and Titus were two of Paul’s missionary companions who were eventually called to watch over whole congregations of Saints. The longer answer below addresses Paul’s teachings about the importance of following the examples set for us by our leaders.

Paul’s focus in his letters was to teach and encourage the Saints of his day to follow Christ’s example. He pled with them to look to Christ in all things. But he also recognized that he, as an Apostle, was setting an example that would do them good if they were to follow him and behave as he had been careful to behave with them. Too often these days people are so busy focusing on the human frailties of our apostles and prophets that we forget that they have lived exemplary lives we would all do well to emulate. In 1 Timothy 1:16 Paul tells Timothy that his own life is an example of how the Lord can take even the vilest of sinner and through his grace help a person achieve life everlasting.

16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Paul never asked to be worshiped or treated like a hero. He recognized that his former sins were only swept away because of God’s goodness in his life. But he admits that he has lived circumspectly before all people in his obedience to the Lord, and Paul encourages Timothy to teach the Saints to do the same.

Titus was also one of Paul’s missionary companions. He was also called to preside over a body of Saints, like Timothy. Paul gives Titus the same loving urging to live and be a good example to others. This is found in Titus 2:7–8.

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravitysincerity,

Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

An important point needs to be made here. If Christ was our only example of how to be good, none of us would ever feel completely able to measure up to his level of perfection. Jesus commanded his chief servants, the apostles to set examples of what it means to be Saints. Through their constant repentance and efforts to serve us as our Lord served us, we see that even imperfect humans can attain to the higher standards of holiness taught by the Lord. I truly believe that we should look to our Church leaders for motivation and encouragement that we too can improve each day and be better than we have been in the past. By emulating the Lord’s chosen servants, we too can become like Timothy and titus, stalwart servants the Lord can trust to lead others and set an example of worthiness for others to follow.

Day 2

1 Timothy 4:10–16 – If I am “an example of the believers,” I can lead others to the Savior and His gospel.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Sometimes it’s helpful to approach your scripture study with one or more questions in mind. Invite the Spirit to guide you to answers as you study, and record any inspiration you receive.

Paul’s counsel to Timothy can apply equally to all of us. Timothy was newly called as a leader among the Saints. He was young, but capable. Paul reminds Timothy that when he was set apart for his calling he was given spiritual gifts (1 Timothy 4:14). In verse 13 he urges Timothy to focus on his study of the scriptures and the doctrines of the gospel, as well as teaching others about the gospel (exhortation).

The hope we can gain from these verses is found in verses 15 and 16 where Paul promises Timothy that if he will do these three things certain promised blessings will be manifested in Timothy’s and everyone else’s lives as well.

15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

Paul promised Timothy that by giving himself over to scripture study, a study of the doctrines of the gospel, and of preaching repentance to others (exhortation) that he would personally profit from those habits. And because the Lord would bless him so abundantly, others would see the changes that would take place in his life and it would profit and bless them as well. This is a wonderful point of doctrine that by watching carefully our own behavior, setting an example for others, and continuing in the doctrine, we both save ourselves and those who hear what we teach.

Isn’t this what we do as parents? We set an example for our children of obedience and good behavior, and this teaches them how they should learn and work out their own salvation. So whether we are a Church leader or just a member of the Church, Paul’s counsel to Timothy, if heeded can bless the lives of many people.

Day 3

2 Timothy – “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Sometimes it’s helpful to approach your scripture study with one or more questions in mind. Invite the Spirit to guide you to answers as you study, and record any inspiration you receive.

There is a misunderstanding that often creates confusion among some latter-day saints. We are told to be humble, meek, submissive, to turn the other cheek, to forgive, and to never be the first to give offense. Yet Paul teaches Timothy in one of his very last pieces of correspondence before his own death that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” That sounds just the opposite of all those other qualities I first mentioned. It may sound just the opposite, but it is not.

People who don’t forgive are easily controlled by those who hurt them. Those who are not meek or who are not humble cannot be taught truth, which is freeing to the soul. Those who are not submissive don’t often learn the lesson that it is only through submitting our will to God that we learn wisdom. It is through all these seemingly “weak” attributes that we actually become the most powerful people on earth.

Power, true power, comes not from physical strength or the ability to hurt or control others. True power comes from the effects of love. This is why the attribute of charity, the pure love of Christ is the most cherished of all virtues. Love changes people’s minds and hearts, their attitudes and behaviors, far more effectively than any other force. This is why Paul confidently proclaims that God has given us the spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind.

It is the one who loves purely, serves devotedly, forgives completely, and learns thoroughly who is fit to lead others. This is true for all the members of God’s Church. When we commit to follow the Spirit and are willing to do whatever he tells us to do we will be filled with confidence in the course we have chosen to pursue. Confidence in our obedience to God changes us and teaches us that every course of action given to us by the Spirit is the right thing to do.

Day 4

2 Timothy 3 – Living the gospel provides safety from the spiritual dangers of the last days.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Sometimes it’s helpful to approach your scripture study with one or more questions in mind. Invite the Spirit to guide you to answers as you study, and record any inspiration you receive.

In 2 Timothy 3:1–7 Paul lists just some of the characteristics of those who will live in the last days, which are the days in which we live.

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affectiontrucebreakersfalse accusersincontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitorsheadyhighminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

His list doesn’t even have to be complete. It still shows a complete enough picture that we can think of multiple examples of everything he is describing. Just as a little exercise, pick any one or two items from the list and see if you can think of any modern examples of that behavior. As an example, the other day I was looking at the curriculum for a lesson in a PathwayConnect class and read about a learning principle. This principle states that creating cues that remind you of what you just learned will help you recall that learning at a later date. They gave as an example of doing some studying while on the bus or while listening to some classical music. The next time you get on the bus you might remember some of what you studied. The more cues you can give yourself while studying, the more opportunities you will have of bringing back that information at a future date.

As I thought of how that might be applied in my life, I thought of the advertising premiss that “sex sells.” That is when it hit me. Satan uses this same principle to sell his perversions. So many commercials have some sort of sexual tone to them. Why? Because sex sells. When you think of your laundry detergent, you are reminded of the woman in the commercial who gets swept away by the man of her dreams because she used this very brand of detergent. When you think about the sporting event you watched last week you remember the scantily clad cheerleaders who may not have been the center of attention, but were so often in the camera’s frame. The list is endless. Our music has references to sex, our movies are loaded with references to free-wheeling sex, our politics is loaded with sex. Sex is everywhere. And we wonder why we have so much difficulty keeping our thoughts clean. Satan has been using this teaching principle for many, many centuries.

Satan doesn’t just lead away “silly women laden with sins.” He leads away silly men as well. Anyone he can get hooked on a lust or desire of the flesh become easier prey to his other enticements. And for those who aren’t so easily swayed with physical lusts, he attacks us with intellectual or social enticements that blind our minds to the truths of the gospel message.

Protection

Paul didn’t just let us know what the problems of our day would be then leave us to fend for ourselves. He also gave us some sound counsel to help us stay strong in the gospel so we are not so easily deceived. Here are some of Paul’s helps for us to keep us spiritually safe in the last days (2 Timothy 3:12–17).

12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

We need to understand that persecution and trials in this life come with just living, as well as a result of our discipleship. Expect both to happen in plentiful quantities. Be aware that those who pretend to be better off than the disciples of Christ “shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” When we continue down the path of righteousness we can have assurance that what we are doing is the right thing to do. This lack of assurance of “rightness” in the world is why there are so many voices claiming they have found the “right way” to live, in the end they are just guessing and hoping. They cannot receive the same kind of assurance we can receive, because the constant companionship of the Spirit to testify to them that they have chosen wisely.

When we rely on the scriptures, and study them regularly, they will help us become “wise unto salvation.” The wisdom we find in the scriptures leads us to become wise in our teaching, our reproof of our children, in our own correction, in teaching us to recognize true doctrine that leads to salvation. This is how we become “furnished unto all good works.” The manual provides other passages in this week’s lessons that would be good for you to look up and think about as well. Those references are at the bottom of this day’s lesson in the manual.

Day 5

Philemon – Followers of Christ forgive one another.

Record your impressions in your journal or notebook. Sometimes it’s helpful to approach your scripture study with one or more questions in mind. Invite the Spirit to guide you to answers as you study, and record any inspiration you receive.

As far as perception goes, forgiveness is a double-edged sword. We are commanded to forgive, but most of us don’t have a natural inclination to let slights and hurts go without some form of payment or retribution. Even then sometimes we wish there was some way to make the offender pay even more for the hurt they caused. But if we don’t forgive then it is we who stand condemned before God. What to do? What to do? What was Paul’s advice to Philemon?

Philemon owned a slave named Onesimus. Onesimus ran away from him and went to Paul. Paul received him and Onesimus became a valuable member of the Church, and was a respected servant to Paul. In Philemon, Paul is writing to Philemon and asking him to forgive his former slave’s behavior. His reason for the request is that Philemon could have killed Onesimus for his betrayal of running away. It was within Philemon’s rights as his owner. But Paul wants Philemon to not only accept Onesimus back as a servant, but now as a respected member of Philemon’s household.

Paul actually wants Philemon to treat Onesimus as though Onesimus were Paul, himself. That is asking a lot of Philemon, to treat a runaway slave like an Apostle of the Lord in his own home. This requires a complete change of outlook and attitude for Philemon. He has to now go from resenting the actions of betrayal from a slave to treating a slave like an honored member of his own household. That is a level of forgiveness that many would struggle with.

I think Paul’s lesson here is partly like king Benjamin taught in the Book of Mormon. We are all beggars before the Lord. We all rely on God for every breath we take. None of us have reason or cause to feel superior to someone else, for we are all equally loved before the Lord, and we all equally rely on the Lord’s mercy from moment to moment just to live out our lives. Humility and love for each other are universal requirements of us from God.

Can you think of someone who has caused you great hurt?

Considering Paul’s counsel to Philemon, what do you think the Lord would ask of you in regards to the person who hurt you?

What is one step you think you can take to bring your hurt to the Lord to enlist His help in forgiving the person who hurt you?

Scripture Study and Home Evening

2 Timothy 3:14–17 – Blessings that come from studying the scriptures

I have quoted these verses earlier in the week, but will quote them again here.

14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

I love the first half of these two sentences (each verse has 1/2 of a sentence). Paul is reminding us that what we have learned of the scriptures has, in part been learned from apostles and wise people who have greater knowledge than us of the ways of God. He wants us to continue to listen to our leaders and listen to their assurances they have given to us. We are told in verse 15 that those scriptures we have been studying from our childhood are able to make us wise through our faith in Christ. This reminds us of the scriptural statement that we cannot be saved in ignorance (Doctrine and Covenants 131:6). Only the wisdom we obtain from faithful scripture study will help us find the salvation we seek.

Verse 16 tells us that all scriptures are good for use in correction, reproving, and to learn doctrines or teachings of salvation. He reminds us that scriptures are all inspired by God. Finally, in verse 17 he teaches us that through scripture study we will receive all that is needed to be “furnished unto all good works,” and that by studying the scriptures we can be lead to perfection. That is a lot of information and instruction in just two sentences!

Here is a PDF of this week’s study material.
Print it out for greater convenience in your studies.

New Testament 44