“October 28–November 3. 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon: ‘Be Thou an Example of the Believers’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“October 28–November 3. 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
In the epistles Paul wrote to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, we get a glimpse into the heart of a servant of the Lord. Unlike Paul’s other epistles to entire congregations, these were written to individuals—Paul’s close friends and associates in God’s work—and reading them is like listening in on a conversation. We see Paul encouraging Timothy and Titus, two leaders of congregations, in their Church service. We see him entreating his friend Philemon to forgive a fellow Saint and treat him like a brother in the gospel. Paul’s words were not addressed to us directly, and he may never have expected that so many people would one day read them. Yet we find in these epistles counsel and encouragement for us, whatever our personal ministry in the service of Christ might be.
Timothy and Titus had served with Paul on some of his missionary journeys. During their service, they earned Paul’s respect and trust. Timothy was later called as a Church leader in Ephesus, and Titus was called as a leader in Crete. In these epistles, Paul gave the leaders instruction and encouragement regarding their responsibilities, which included preaching the gospel and calling men to serve as bishops.
Timothy was relatively young, but Paul knew that he could be a great Church leader despite his youth. What counsel did Paul give to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:10–16? How can this counsel help you lead others to the Savior and His gospel?
See also Alma 17:11.
2 Timothy is believed to be the last epistle Paul wrote, and it seems that he knew his time on earth was short (see 2 Timothy 4:6–8). As you read this epistle, think about how Timothy might have felt knowing that he might soon be without his trusted mentor and leader. What did Paul say to encourage him? What do Paul’s words teach you about facing your own trials and fears?
We are living in “the last days” that Paul spoke of, and the “perilous times” have come (2 Timothy 3:1). As you read 2 Timothy 3, write down the perils of the last days that are mentioned (see also 1 Timothy 4:1–3):
Can you think of examples of these perils in the world around you—or in your own life? How do these perils, like the people described in verse 6, “creep into [your house], and lead [you] captive”? What counsel do you find in 2 Timothy 3, and elsewhere in these epistles, that could keep you and your family safe from these spiritual dangers? (see, for example, 1 Timothy 1:3–11; 2 Timothy 2:15–16; Titus 2:1–8).
Philemon was a Christian who had been converted to the gospel by Paul. He owned a slave named Onesimus, who escaped slavery, met Paul, and converted to the gospel as well. In a letter to Philemon, Paul encouraged his friend to forgive Onesimus and receive him “not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved” (verse 16).
Have you ever been in a situation when someone sought your forgiveness? Think about that situation as you read the epistle to Philemon. What did Paul teach Philemon about why he should forgive Onesimus? Are there any messages to you in this epistle?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
While aspects of Paul’s counsel for women to dress modestly do not apply to our time, we can all learn from his counsel to “adorn [ourselves] … with good works.” Your family might enjoy putting together a fashion show, with family members dressing up in clothing or jewelry labeled with different kinds of good works. What are some good works your family could do this week?
To help your family members desire to be “an example of the believers,” consider inviting them to draw pictures of how people have been good examples to them. How have these people inspired us to follow Jesus Christ? President Thomas S. Monson’s message “Be an Example and a Light” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 86–88) might give some ideas.
Why do you think “the love of money” is considered “the root of all evil”? What are the dangers of focusing our lives on money? How can we be content with the blessings we have?
According to these verses, what blessings come to those who know and study the scriptures? Perhaps family members could share scriptures they have found to be especially “profitable.”
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.