“October 23–29. 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon: ‘Be Thou an Example of the Believers,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“October 23–29. 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
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 reconcile with 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 Timothy and Titus 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). How might Timothy have felt, knowing that he might soon be without his trusted mentor and leader? What did Paul say to encourage him? You might also read with your own challenges and fears in mind. What messages of hope and encouragement does the Lord have for you in 2 Timothy?
See also Kelly R. Johnson, “Enduring Power,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 112–14.
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. Philemon owned a slave named Onesimus, who apparently escaped to Rome. There Onesimus met Paul and converted to the gospel. Paul sent Onesimus back to Philemon with a letter encouraging Philemon to receive Onesimus “not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved” (Philemon 1:16).
As you read Paul’s epistle to Philemon, ponder how you might apply his counsel to your relationships with others. Below are some questions you could consider:
Verses 1–7: What do words like “fellowlabourer” and “fellowsoldier” suggest to you about relationships among Saints? When have you felt “refreshed by” a brother or sister in Christ?
Verses 8–16: What does it mean to “enjoin” and “beseech”? Why did Paul choose to beseech Philemon rather than enjoin him? What did Paul hope would be accomplished by sending Onesimus back to Philemon?
Verse 16: What does it mean to be “a brother [or sister] beloved … in the Lord”? Do you know someone who you need to receive in this way?
1 Timothy 2:9–10.
What does it mean to “adorn [ourselves] … with good works”? What are some good works our family could do this week? You might sing together a song about doing good, such as “Have I Done Any Good?” (Hymns, no. 223).
1 Timothy 4:12.
To help your family members desire to be “an example of the believers,” consider inviting them to draw pictures of people who 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) can give some ideas on how to be an example to others.
1 Timothy 6:7–12.
Why do you think “the love of money is the root of all evil”? What are the dangers of focusing our lives on money or possessions? How can we be content with the blessings we have?
2 Timothy 3:14–17.
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.”
What was Paul willing to do for Onesimus? How is this similar to what the Savior willingly did for us? (see also 1 Timothy 2:5–6; Doctrine and Covenants 45:3–5). How can we follow the examples of Paul and the Savior?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Shine On,” Children’s Songbook, 144.