The Explicit Command in 2 Timothy 2:2
In this passage, Paul directly orders his former student to ensure the continuity of sound doctrine by entrusting it to faithful men who can also teach. Paul states, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” During this time, Timothy was apparently leading the Ephesian church under Paul’s directive (1 Tim. 1:3). The passage shows a clear example of a departing leader giving orders to a younger leader he himself had instructed, telling him to arm other (presumably younger) men in propagating the truth. Timothy must prepare these faithful and gifted men by entrusting them with “the things that he has heard [from Paul] among many witnesses.” Just as Paul felt compelled to prepare men like Timothy to carry on the gospel ministry, so he now requires Timothy to do the same. It is then a pastoral obligation to entrust the Word of God to the rising generation of faithful men.
Two Pastoral Responsibilities
Equipping every believer
Ephesians 4:11 indicates that the Lord Jesus gave to His church certain spiritually-gifted individuals. They are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers (though the latter two can also be rendered as one role, “pastors/teachers”). The following verse states the reason for Christ’s bestowal of gifted believers to His body. They were given “for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry” in order to fulfill the ultimate purpose of “edifying the body of Christ,” the church. Perfecting (καταρτισμὸν) means “equipping.” Thus, along with other gifted men, the pastor bears the responsibility of preparing each of the church members that God has sovereignly placed under his care for Christian service (“work of the ministry”). This ministry scope also includes the ministerial students in the congregation, and the pastor is one of the primary men who are responsible in preparing future pastors for the work of the ministry. Like the pastor, ministerial students will soon be responsible in equipping other believers for service. This reality must motivate current ministers all the more to equip these future equippers.
Overseeing God’s flock
Pastors are the designated overseers of the believers in a local church. Speaking to the Ephesian elders or pastors, Paul states that the Holy Spirit has made them the “overseers” (ἐπισκόπος) of God’s flock (Acts 20:28). This designation communicates the pastoral responsibility of watching over or supervising the believers in the church. The scope of the responsibility seems to focus on the church as a group (“flock”). But practically speaking, fulfilling the command implies watching over the individual members of the body. As one cannot adequately take care of his whole body without giving attention to the well-being of each part of it, so the pastor cannot completely fulfill the mandate of being an overseer without paying attention to individual members of his congregation. He cannot be an accomplished overseer without overseeing the preparation of those who would be future overseers themselves. Since pastors must watch over the believers who are under their care, expecting them to mentor the ministerial students in their congregation does not really constitute an unreasonable, above-the-norm expectation.
Welcome to the BJMBC Biblical Baptist, a twice-a-month blog from Bob Jones Memorial Bible College. We pray that these truths that God is using in our lives will help others to grow in their walk and service for God.
This first article is unusual because we just experienced the home-going of one of BJMBC’s founding fathers, Pastor Dennis Potts. The Lord commands us in Hebrews 13:7 to remember our leaders who spoke the word of God to us, to consider the outcome of their way of life, and to imitate their faith. God knows that we quickly forget those we no longer see, even our leaders. By forgetting and not considering their life example, we neglect a pattern that God intends to help us – a pattern that we have seen with our own eyes and of how the faith should be lived in this world. Remembering will help us to glorify our Father in heaven.
Since a person’s character and ways make him especially useful to God, I will focus on those personal details which displayed Pastor Potts’ character and ways.
The Lord uses someone with a passion to witness and see souls saved. Pastor Potts constantly grabbed opportunities to witness each day. What he loved the most was to seek souls for Christ. His favorite song for BJMBC’s Preachers Forum class was “Souls for Jesus.” Even after multiple system atrophy slurred his speech, affected his balance, and weakened his legs, he used his remaining strength to go out, meet people, have extended conversations, and talk about Jesus. The root of his passion for souls and witnessing was his passion for Christ and His cross. No one took the Lord’s supper more seriously and with greater sacred devotion than Pastor Potts. No wonder that his favorite song was “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”
The Lord uses someone who also has strong biblical convictions. Pastor Potts preached hard against sin. He preached strong because he was convinced of the truth. According to the record in his Bible, he had read the Bible at least 33 times and the New Testament at least 40 times. Even more significantly, his Bible was marked on every page with underlines, many notes, lines connecting words, and sermon outline points. His convictions led him to speak out and take stands even when in the minority. For example, He strongly held to the qualification of purity for anyone going into the ministry. But he also loved to have fun, as long as it was holy fun.
The Lord uses someone who is kind and compassionate. Pastor Potts preached loudly in public but never raised his voice in private. When needed, he would visit at midnight or rush to the emergency room. He was the accountability partner for struggling members and gave load credit when a member ran out of load to text him. When a member had board exams, he would call him each day and pray with him over the phone. He would meet men in the church for coffee and pour out his heart to them. To those who wrongly left the church, he was gracious and kind, following Christ’s example who said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” In discipline, he would try to package truth and mercy. But his genuine love also led him to do and say the difficult things, such as when a fellow-pastor needed rebuke.
Lastly, the Lord uses someone who faithfully, dependently, and believingly prays. One morning I made a surprise visit to his house and found him on the floor face down in earnest prayer for his family, church, souls, and friends around the world. His well-worn prayer cards guided his extended time of daily prayer. After reading Mark 11:23, he said that if it were needed to advance Christ’s work, God could pick up Taal volcano, remove it from Lake Taal, and cast it into the Pacific Ocean in answer to his prayer.
He now sees what he believed. His ears hear the heavenly voices praising the eternal King, his voice is joining with them, and his knees are once again strong to bend before the Lamb. Our lives will pass as quickly as his did. Let us see ourselves as lives in Christ and make choices for Him.
by Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama
Times have changed, even within Christianity. Just look at what is produced by today’s Christian publishers and media, the standards and lifestyle of Christians, and even the way Christians worship in churches. The Bible teaches that some changes are bad and some are good. We are called to discern the difference by God’s Word.
II Timothy is Paul’s last words to the next generation—Timothy. Paul told him that times would change for the worse, and Paul exhorted him what to do—how to keep firm in the faith in changing times. Paul has 3 main themes here: 1) Suffering 2) Testifying of the Truth 3) Increasingly Evil Times. The main truth of 2 Timothy is this: Although you suffer for it, testify of the words of truth during this increasingly evil age.
Our Gospel Sufferings: Paul exhorts Timothy in 1: 8: “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” First, be not ashamed to testify about the Lord. Second, be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel. There is suffering for testifying about the Lord, but do not be ashamed of Him! Speak about the Lord! Stand with His people! Join in suffering for the truth! 1:12a: “For the which cause [vv. 8-11: speaking the gospel] I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed.” Vv. 15-16 mention 2 sufferings: V. 15: All other believers turned away from Paul. Why? V. 16: They were ashamed of “his chain.” But 2:3 commands “Endure hardness/hardships.” 2:10 tells us to endure all kinds of hardships because the salvation of souls is stake!
Our Mission: to Testify the Words of Truth. Secondly, we endure gospel sufferings because they are part of fulfilling our mission. Our mission starts with holding the truth. 1:13: Hold fast the form of sound words. V. 14 calls the truth “that good thing which was committed unto thee.” What are we commanded to do with that truth? Keep it! Do not change because of trends. Do not yield to worldly influences. Then we are to testify of the truth to others! 2:2: Teach it to faithful men. 2:14: Remind them of it. 2:25: Instruct those that oppose (themselves). Of course, to testify of God’s truth, you must study diligently the Word to accurately explain it. Do you study God’s Word? (Not only reading the Bible or studying Christian books.) To stand for truth, we must be convinced of it. To be convinced, we must study it! Then, to hold and testify of the truth, we must avoid unprofitable words (2:14, 16, 23). This refers to religious speculations and issues of curiosity. They have no profit! Instead, study what the Biblical text actually says! God also commands us to purge ourselves from bad influences (2:21) and to flee youthful lusts (2:22). Testifying of God’s truth involves your entire being: what is in your mind and heart, what is in your life, what is in your relationships. We must be pure. Do not be lukewarm! 1) Are you studying God’s Word? 2) Are you holding on to it? 3) Are you avoiding bad influences and unprofitable words that pull you away from the truth? 4) Are you telling God’s Word to others? Last question: Will you maintain a Bible-filled life and testify the truth even as the world gets worse?
Our World: People will become worse. 3:1-5 pictures an increasingly anti-truth world. From such ungodly people, turn away! 3:8 says these people resist the truth. 3:13 says evil men and false teachers shall become worse and worse. BUT YOU, v. 14, continue thou in the truth you have learned even when there is more opposition to the truth and a life obedient to the truth. YOU maintain a Bible-filled life and testify of its truths. This is because the Scripture is from GOD and is profitable for every need of man. Chapter 4 says the Word is what we must preach, no matter what people do.
Someday, we will all stand before God. Each one of us will give an account of whether we were faithful to God and His truth in our generation. We must study the truth, stand for the truth, speak the truth, live the truth, and endure any suffering that comes with holding the truth. Will you do this? Although you suffer for it, testify of the words of truth during this increasingly evil age.
by Dr. Timothy Berrey
I recently read Gerald Bray’s The Doctrine of God. Bray is an evangelical (in the Church of England), and we could not give him a full endorsement. His book, however, helpfully surveys the historical battles and issues in Theology Proper.
Bray’s book reminded me how important terminology is in theology. A small misstep in statement can plunge a man over the abyss of heresy. Even in a well-meaning man, a faulty logical paradigm can reap unintended consequences. Origen (ca. 185-254 AD), for example, correctly held that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were three Persons (hypostases) of a single Being (ousia). His proposal, however, in which the Son and the Holy Spirit both had some kind of a beginning forced him to the position that only the Father was “God in Himself” (autotheos). Arian, the fourth century heretic, took Origen’s conclusion to its logical end when he concluded that the Son is similar in nature to the Father (homoiousios) but not the same (homoousios).
Bray’s book also reminded me that we see better than our predecessors because we stand on their shoulders. Century after century the church has wrestled to come to a balanced understanding of our Trinitarian God. Men, unknowingly sometimes, introduced a word or concept that the next generation seized as the key to unlocking a “knotty” theological problem. One good example might be the Carthage Church Father, Tertullian (160-220 AD). In responding to the heretic Praxeas, Tertullian argued for the Trinity but a bit mistakenly. He viewed the Son and the Holy Spirit as coming out of the Father in time (not in eternity); the Father was God in a way that the other two Persons were not. Yet as Tertullian fumbled his way toward a clearer understanding, he clarified the difference among the Trinity’s Persons as one of status, not gradus. Later generations latched onto this idea to assert that the difference in the Persons of God is one of position, not of inherent quality.
Bray’s book, lastly, reminded me of the need of a theology for today. I had a professor who once observed that in theory(!) a theologian could write a biblical theology “to end all biblical theologies.” No more would be left to be said. This professor went on to observe, though, that not so is the writing of systematic theology. The job of doing systematic theology never ceases because new theological challenges always appear with which the church must do battle. Part of systematic theology is applying the Sword of the Spirit to these incessant challenges. Who would have thought the day would ever come when professing evangelicals would deny that God is omniscient, question the reality of a fiery hell, and discard the doctrine of inerrancy?! Yet that is exactly what has happened. These challenges require pastors to be armed and ready to reprove those who oppose sound doctrine (Titus 1:9).
This leads me to conclude with a related final observation: We really need a Theology for Our Day in the Philippines! We need more Filipino pastors to write and preach theology. (I praise God for a systematic theology written by a Filipino pastor that was given to me a few months ago!) We need a fundamental, Filipino Systematic Theology, written in language understood by all, that addresses Filipino theological challenges. Let the most uneducated believer in the remotest province of the Philippines understand and embrace his Baptist theology! Perhaps a lack of a clear, relevant Theology for Today has prevented a generation of Filipino believers from really enjoying to the fullest their God. God forbid!
By Pastor Albert Tiangco
When I was in my second year of high school, I bought a bookmarker that has on it the wordings of 2 Tim. 2:15--Study to shew thyself approved unto God a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. I had that bookmarker everyday with me in that school year because, in my mind, the text teaches that studying results into “approval” of God. It is my impression that Study to shew thyself approved unto God is commonly understood this way.
Contrary to popular understanding, study in 2 Tim. 2:15 does not mean “study.” The main New Testament sense of the Greek word spoudazo (spoo-dad'-zo) underlying study is to “be zealous/eager, take pains, make every effort, be conscientious” (BDAG). The majority of the words that KJV translators used to render spoudazo proves that this (be zealous...) is the main sense of the word. spoudazo occurs 11x in the New Testament. Five times KJV translators translated it in connection with the word “diligence” (2 Tim. 4:9, 21; Titus 3:12; 2 Pet. 1:10; 3:14). Three times it was rendered as “endeavor” (Eph. 4:3; 1 Thess. 2:17; 2 Pet. 1:15), and once it was translated as “labor” (Heb. 4:11). Paul, therefore, was not merely exhorting Timothy to read books and study but commanding him to be zealous, eager, to take pains, to make every effort or to be diligent.
Paul commands Timothy to be diligent or make every effort to present (shew) himself approved unto God. While the world and, sadly, even many Christians are making effort to gain the approval of man, Christian ministers must diligently strive to gain God’s approval. But what does it mean to be approved unto God? A divinely approved minister is a person who is laboring for the Lord (a workman) with a clear conscience before self and God (that needeth not to be ashamed). It is not enough that we labor for God; Christian ministers must labor for the Lord with a clean conscience. Serving God does not always result into being approved of God.
The primary purpose, therefore, for preachers and teachers of God’s Word is not merely to prepare sermons that people would like to hear but to prepare sermons that faithfully reflect what the Word of God says; It is to this that we must apply our utmost diligence and effort. Those who minister God’s Word have a mandate from God to handle His Word accurately. We, preachers and teachers, are disapproved of God and ought to be ashamed of ourselves whenever we handle the word of God carelessly. Pastors specially are reminded of the paramount attention they need to be giving to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
We must handle the Word of God with great care or not handle it at all. Clearly, God does not approve every preaching and teaching done from and about His Word. But to those who diligently labor to teach and preach what God has revealed in His Word, God’s approval is certain.
By Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama (BJMBC Director)
BJMBC is not for all Christians, just like the Philippine Military Academy is not for all citizens. The church is for all Christians, but we believe that Bible school is for those who are active members of a good church, have a good Christian testimony, are recommended by their pastor for further equipping, and are teachable academically and spiritually. Without these qualifications, a believer lacks the foundation to make studying at BJMBC really profitable.
A key to our philosophy is what God has called BJMBC to do. BJMBC exists to train primarily front-line soldiers: full-time Christian servants. We are glad to include other believers—if they have a soldier’s heart. To produce godly soldiers for Jesus Christ, we give specialized training to a certain kind of believer, one who has strong spiritual interest and is a positive spiritual influence on others. Not every believer has: 1) a strong, spiritual interest to study the Bible in-depth and 2) a godly influence that sharpens others spiritually. We are intentionally selective in order to ensure that BJMBC produces its primary product: godly full-time Christian servants who make disciples for Jesus Christ.
You must be recommended for Bible college training by your pastor. You must be an active, participating member of a fundamental church. You must also be teachable. Teachableness is not sinlessness. But a Christian who is not regularly repenting of his/her sin is probably not humble or teachable. Genuine repentance results in fruit, such as humbly admitting your sins without excuses and sincerely striving to change. Without this kind of teachableness, a person will not really learn and will even weaken others spiritually. Also, his or her testimony is in much danger.
Even though BJMBC is for believers who already have a good Christian testimony, we still see God using His Word to transform students’ lives. But BJMBC is not the last hope for change in a person’s life. The church is the fundamental institution ordained by God to help all believers. However, even in the church, the time comes when it must remove a believer from its fellowship. This is when a believer’s testimony is characterized by sin through either persisting in sin or the gravity of the sin. According to 1 Corinthians 5 and 2 Thessalonians 3, we should not fellowship with a believer whose life is characterized by immorality, covetousness, idolatry, speaking abusively, drinking alcohol, stealing-deceiving, or walking disorderly especially among others. The purpose of a believer’s removal from fellowship is to preserve the testimony of the body of believers and to help the erring brother to realize the error of his/her ways, repent, and be restored.
BJMBC must also take similar action for similar offenses and for similar purposes. Our desire is for BJMBC to be a place where, even at the student level, iron is sharpening iron. If you have a well-established relationship with your church, have a good Christian testimony, could be recommended by your pastor for further equipping, and are teachable academically and spiritually, we encourage you to prayerfully consider enrolling at BJMBC! We exist to assist churches in training members of this kind for ministry that truly honors the Lord Jesus Christ.
By Pastor Albert Tiangco
Perhaps the greatest need of the hour among believers is genuine repentance. The symptoms abound, the need is undeniable. Inquiring about the general life status of an unfaithful believer yields the answer, “Ok lang po ako.” A child of God who evades worship, refuse service, and embrace the world cannot be “ok lang.”
More than ever, believers must heed the words of James, “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” Indeed, many believers who are “comforted” need to be troubled.
Lack of true repentance among Christians can be traced back to their lack of high view of God. Man will not see the need for genuine repentance unless they come face to face with the full magnitude of God’s awesome majesty and glory. There is no repentance of sin because there is no respect of God.
In Acts 19, the Ephesian believers show that whenever God’s people come to an exalted view of God, true repentance inevitably follows. Luke records that these Christians “confessed and shewed their deeds” and that “many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men” (vv.18-19).
Seeing the greatness of God moved the believers at Ephesus to repentance. Several related reasons contribute to their high view of God. First, these believers were saturated with God’s Word. Paul spent two years with these disciples, teaching them God’s Word (vv.9-10). The more Christians know God’s Word, the more they see God’s greatness and His worthiness to be feared. Therefore, constant exposure to the Scriptures is critical to the believer’s growth in the fear of God. Those who fail to repent as they should do not view God accurately because they are not in God’s Word as they ought to. A high view of God comes from being exposed in the Word.
The second reason for the Ephesians’ high view of God is that they have seen God’s great works. These people witnessed God’s awesome power in two instances. First, they have seen God performed extraordinary miracles through Paul; pieces of cloth that touched Paul’s body became instruments of healing from diseases and deliverance from demons (vv.11-12).
Second, they have witnessed the power of the Lord Jesus through an incident with demon possession. Unbelieving Jews invoked the name of Jesus in attempting to cast out evil spirits (v.13). These unbelievers were identified by Luke as “itinerant exorcists,” referring to their apparent success in casting out demons. Satan, the master deceiver, employs his own to cast out demons in order to further delude people away from the truth.
But to the surprise of the Jewish exorcists, the result was different this time. Instead of leaving its host, the evil spirit spoke to them. Perhaps with a deep and terrible voice the demon acknowledged the name of Jesus and Paul His servant and asked the pretenders, “Who are you?” (v.15). This incident ended violently, as the demon possessed man attacked and overcame the pseudo exorcists, exposing them to shame. Luke records the immediate results—“fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (17).
Witnessing God’s great works promotes a high view of God. One may argue that lack of miracles in the present church prevents believers from having an exalted view of the Lord. The answer is that we have an entire book, the Scriptures, that without error narrates to us the awesome deeds of God. Hence, for present day believers, being saturated with the Word and witnessing God’s great works are inseparably linked; believers are primarily reminded of the great works of the Lord by constantly gazing upon the Scriptures. Again, lack of God’s Word in one’s life results into improper appreciation of God, which then results into the absence of genuine repentance.
Acts 19 also show two qualities of genuine repentance. Genuine repentance, first of all, does not focus on people’s reaction. Amidst the grossly pagan surrounding, the Ephesian believers renounce their sinful practices “before all men” (v.19). Often, the fear of man prevents believers from repenting from their sins. But if God is regarded as supreme, fear of Him overcomes fear of man.
Another characteristic of genuine repentance is that it does not focus on the cost of repentance. Often, genuine repentance has a price. The believers at Ephesus surrendered their wicked books, which cost 50,000 pieces of silver (v.19). If “silver” refers to a day wage called drachma, the present value of the books amounts to at least 20 million pesos. Genuine repentance for some believers means breaking off a romantic relationship with an unbeliever. For others, it may mean experiencing shame as a consequence of sin. Whatever the price of repentance maybe, a person who has a high view of God is convinced that there is no price too high to pay.
Believers who do not respect God will never be able to demonstrate genuine repentance. If we want repentance, we need pure theology that does not only pass through our minds, but that also dwells in our hearts. As believers, we must seek to know our God and behold His glory in the Scriptures, so that like Isaiah, who has seen the glory of God, we may say, “Woe is me! For I am undone!”
Reading, learning, growing. God calls us to be changed through His Word. At BJMBC, our goal is to speak truthfully and clearly about that Word, while we prepare a future generation of students to proclaim it.