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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

A Triumvirate Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7)

"For God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of love, power, self-discipline." (Emphasis added)

Paul's love for the triumvirate (any association of three in office or authority, any group or set of three equal in authority and in practice) is evident in nearly every letter and occurs twice in 2 Timothy chapter one (chapter two of 1 Thessalonians contains five such triumvirates).

Paul encourages Timothy to appropriate the triumvirate gift of God, the tri-fold spirit of love, power, and self-discipline. Why? Because:
  • Love without self-discipline is narcissism and love without power is mere sentiment.
  • Power without love is cruelty and power without self-discipline is abusive.
  • Self-discipline without love is legalism and self-discipline without power is simply religious activity.
Paul knew the strength of all three exponentially. Because he loved God and people, Paul endured suffering and hardship. And his love for God drove him into living a life of self-discipline. Love, power, and self-discipline characterize a well-balanced life.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Jude 1:17-25
  • List the characteristics which describe scoffers.
  • How are believers to behave (personally)? Interact with others?
  • What does Jude communicate to believers about God?
2 Peter 1:1-3:18
  • How does appropriating the promises of God benefit believers?
  • How are believers to be engaged in the process of developing the qualities that Peter lists?
  • How intentional are you in seeking to possess these qualities?
  • How effective and productive are you in possessing intimate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
  • What has Peter come to understand about the transfiguration of Jesus Christ which he witnessed years earlier?
  • How does Peter view the Scriptures in comparison to the Scriptures?
  • What will happen to false teachers (those who use the ministry for personal gain)?
  • Using Old Testament stories what does Peter teach about God and His interaction with the righteous and the wicked?
  • What does God's delay in His coming reveal about His heart?
  • What is Peter's main question regarding the coming judgment?
  • How then, in the light of His coming judgment, are we to live?
2 Timothy 1:1-18
  • What concern does Paul address as he begins his letter to a young Timothy?
  • What does Paul communicate to Timothy about God to strengthen him in the work of the gospel ministry?
Turning truth into prayer
All across the U.S., Christians are being marginalized because of their beliefs as scoffers abound in our courts and universities and false teachers teach "the good life now". Ask the Lord to strengthen and prepare the church for the last days. Thank Him that He rescues the righteous before He judges the wicked.