February 25, 2018 – 2 Timothy 4:1-22

Lesson Date: February 25, 2018

Focal Scripture Passage: 2 Timothy 4:1-22

AIM: To lead students to discover the urgent instructions Paul gave Timothy, and to decide on some specific actions they can take to put those instructions to work in their lives this week.


Before class: Read the notes on 2 Timothy 4:1-22 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Gather some sale flyers that convey a sense of urgency. They should contain phrases such as: “Limited time offer,” “Only three days left,” “One-day sale,” or “Time is running out.” Get enough copies of the handout for 2 Timothy 4 for your anticipated attendance. The handout has a puzzle on one side and a commitment form on the other. Be sure to have some pens or pencils available if needed. Put the handout (puzzle side down) on the chairs before members arrive. Post some of the sale flyers on the wall or bulletin board.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask the students to turn their handout over and try to unscramble the ten scrambled words. Offer pens or pencils to those who need them. Give them 60 seconds to do this, while you time them. Every 10 seconds, tell them how many seconds are remaining and urge them to hurry. Continually remind them that time is running out. At the end of the 60 seconds, ask how many words they unscrambled. Ask: “Could you have unscrambled more if you had more time?” (The correct words are: PREACH, EVANGELIST, ENDURE, CROWN, REBUKE, ITCHING, AFFLICTIONS, DEPARTURE, DILIGENCE, AND DOCTRINE.)

Tell the students that we are often pushed and hurried by time pressures. Direct their attention to the sale flyers, emphasizing the phrases that urge us to act quickly, before time runs out. Tell them today’s lesson contains urgent instructions the Apostle Paul sent to Timothy.



  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that Paul wrote this letter to Timothy shortly before he was executed in a Roman prison.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (instructions for living in perilous times).
    • Ask: “Has the world become any less perilous or dangerous than it was last week?” (no).
    • We are still living in perilous times, and today’s lesson tells us that time is running out!
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verses (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
    • Tell the class this is our last lesson from 2 Timothy. The verses we will study today are Paul’s last recorded words before he was executed.
  2. Urgent Instructions.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Timothy 4:1-2.
    • Ask: “Based on the wording of verse 1, how important are these instructions?” (very).
    • Explain that Jesus came the first time as Savior, but when He comes again He will be the great and final Judge.
    • Ask the class to name the instructions Paul gave Timothy in verse 2.
    • Explain the meaning of the following words:
      • Preach means to proclaim or announce.
      • Reprove means to expose sin.
      • Rebuke means to strongly condemn sin.
      • Exhort means to encourage someone to do right.
    • Tell the class that these are pretty serious instructions. The next two verses reveal why these serious instructions are necessary.
    • Ask them to listen for that reason, as you read 2 Timothy 4:3-4.
    • Ask: “Why are these serious instructions in the Bible?” (because time is running out).
    • Write the word “Urgency” on the marker board or chalkboard.
    • Ask: “According to verse 3, what will people no longer endure?” (sound doctrine).
    • Ask: “What will they heap to themselves?” (teachers who tell them what they want to hear).
    • Ask: “According to verse 4, what will people turn away from?” (the truth).
    • Ask: “What will they turn to instead?” (fables, myths, and made-up stories; this turning away from the truth to embrace a lie is also described in Rom. 1:25).
    • Summarize: Because time was running out, Paul gave Timothy some urgent instructions. Time is also running out for us.
  3. Specific Instructions.
    • Tell the class more specific instructions are found in the next verse.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Timothy 4:5.
    • Ask the students to name the instructions found in that verse (watch, endure, evangelize, minister).
    • Write the words “Watch,” “Endure,” “Evangelize,” and “Minister” on the board.
    • Ask: “What does it mean to watch?” (be aware, be alert).
    • Ask: “How can you be more watchful?”
    • Ask: “How can God help you endure afflictions?”
    • Ask: “What work do evangelists do?” (they tell others about Jesus Christ).
    • Ask: “How can you do the work of an evangelist?”
    • Explain that make full proof means to carry out fully, completely, and entirely.
    • Ask: “Are you doing all the ministry God wants you to?”
    • Summarize: Because time was running out, Paul instructed Timothy to watch, endure, evangelize, and minister. We should do the same.
  4. Paul’s Example of Faithfulness.
    • Tell the class that the next three verses constitute Paul’s last testimony.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
    • Tell the class in verse 6 Paul was looking forward.
    • Ask: “What lay ahead of him?” (execution).
    • Tell them in verse 7 Paul was looking backward.
    • Ask: “What had he done?” (lived a faithful life).
    • Explain that three images are implied in that verse:
      • A soldier – Paul had “fought a good fight.”
      • An athlete – Paul had “finished my course.”
      • A guard – Paul had “kept the faith.”
    • Tell the class in verse 8 Paul was looking upward.
    • Ask: “What did he expect?” (rewards in heaven for his faithful service to the Lord).
    • Ask: “In what ways do you think Paul’s example of faithfulness would encourage Timothy?”
    • Summarize: Paul encouraged Timothy to endure and remain faithful by sharing his personal experience of doing the same things. Paul’s example should encourage us, too.
  5. Paul Trusted the Lord, even when Men Abandoned Him.
    • Read 2 Timothy 4:9-16.
    • Tell the class that Paul was alone in Rome, with only Luke for companionship and encouragement.
    • Paul had been forsaken by some and opposed by others. Some of his friends were off ministering in other parts of the world.
    • Read 2 Timothy 4:17-18.
    • Ask: “Even though some men had forsaken him, who did Paul know was with him?” (the Lord).
    • Tell the class the Lord strengthened Paul. He enabled Paul to watch, endure, evangelize, and minister, even while he was in prison awaiting execution.
    • Paul knew that until it was time for him to die and be with Jesus, the Lord would deliver him from every evil work.
    • Summarize: When everyone else abandoned Paul, the Lord was still with him. The same is true for us.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention to the words written on the board. Tell them today’s lesson is a message of urgency. Ask: “Why is it urgent?” (because time is running out). While we still have the chance, we should watch and be alert, endure afflictions, evangelize in this lost world, and continue to minister. The good news for us is that the Lord will stand with us, just as He stood with Paul!

Ask everyone to turn their puzzle handout over, where they will find a commitment form. Ask them to write some specific actions they can take to put these instructions to work in their lives this week.

Ask everyone to select a partner (be prepared to partner with any guests that might be present). Ask them to share the actions they have written with their partner. Ask them to discuss with their partner the things they have written, and to select two specific actions they can take this week (the actions don’t have to be done with the partner, but they may be).   Ask them to circle the actions they have selected. Tell the pairs to briefly pray together, asking the Lord to stand with them and help them do the things they have decided upon.

After the prayers are concluded, tell everyone to put the handout in their Bible at the first page of the book of 1 Peter. This will remind them of their commitment during the week.


CONCLUSION: Urge the students to do the things they have committed to do this week. Suggest that the partners talk during the week to see how the other is doing. Offer to help and encourage the students any way you can.

Be sure everyone present has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly for the spring quarter. Tell them next Sunday we begin a study of 1 & 2 Peter. Encourage them to start following the Daily Bible Reading Guide (found on pages 4-5 of the quarterly) tomorrow.

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