"Love Well" Explore the Bible Curriculum
Adjective game - Ask for a volunteer to silently choose an adjective that describes their personality. Tell this student to choose an adjective that expresses something positive or good about their personality and not to reveal this adjective to the group. Instruct the rest of the group to try and guess this adjective by asking yes or no questions to the student.
After a few rounds, point out that none of the students used the word “poor” or “needy” to describe themselves. We don’t want to be perceived as people who are in need. We’d like others to think we are strong and self-sufficient.If we are to see the needs that people around us have, we will need to get to know each other better. This is important because Christ calls us to love the most vulnerable in our midst.
Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.
Summarize how Paul commanded Timothy to treat the various groups of people in verses 1-2. What can we learn from the fact that Paul did not place any conditions on these commands?
Paul gave a command to Timothy without any conditions because there is no place for a pastor to give tongue lashings to his people. Pastors are called here to deal graciously with others when confrontation is needed, the way you would deal with family.
Why did Paul use family language when describing how Timothy should treat various types of people in the church?
Paul was driving toward a spiritual reality in the church, that we are all family. This is who we are in Christ. We ought to treat each other with the love and respect that an image bearer of God deserves, but even further, we ought to especially show respect to one another as members of God’s family.
How did Paul instruct Timothy to treat younger women? How might this relate to how you interact with people of the opposite gender?
Timothy was commanded by Paul to act toward younger women in purity. This ought to cause us to think about the way we treat the opposite sex. Do we show respect, honor, and exhibit purity; or do you view them as under you and therefore you treat them with disrespect, dishonor, and objectify them in your language and your thought life?
Honor widows who are truly widows. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show godliness to their own household and to make some return to their parents, for this is pleasing in the sight of God. She who is truly a widow, left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day, but she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Why was Paul so concerned about making sure widows were supported and cared for? What can we learn from this?
Paul seemed to be concerned that widows were cared for because even unbelievers cared for widows. Believers ought to be the most caring people since we have been shown such grace and care from God. Paul goes so far to say that believers who do not take care of widows in their own family have denied the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. It’s obvious from this passage that the care of widows is important, not only to Paul, but also to God who divinely inspired this text of Scripture. Therefore, we ought to be doing something to care and help widows who have needs.
How might Paul’s commands about caring for widows apply to us? To what people or groups do we have a similar responsibility today?
We have widows and single spouses in our church that could use help. We have orphans and those in the foster care system that could use our help. We have homeless in our community that could use ourself. There are needs all around us, we just need to take our eyes off of self long enough to see them and then be moved with compassion to do something about it!
What does Paul say about those who refuse to provide for their own families? Does this surprise you?
Paul says they have departed from the faith and are worse than an unbeliever. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise because one who has been touched by the Gospel cannot help but to share Gospel-like acts.
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.” Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.
How did Paul say leaders in the church ought to be treated? What might this look like for us today?
Paul said they were to be treated with double honor, especially if they labored in the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. In other words, Paul thought it was appropriate for pastors to be paid, and paid generously, especially if they handled the Scriptures well. Churches today can find creative ways to do this even if there are not a lot of finances. The point is that these kinds of pastors are to be considered worthy of their Gospel work.
Why did Paul close out this section of his letter to Timothy with a warning about favoritism? How can favoritism be a destructive force in the church?
Paul warns Timothy about favoritism as it relates to his rebukes of others. People need to be called out in their sin, but if you only call out the sin of some and not others, that stands as hypocritical. Timothy’s testimony was on the line here. He needed to rebuke others, but not in a prejudiced way. Favoritism has a way of rotting a church and potentially causing splits among the people as well as others who end up receiving little to no help spiritually.
What might need to change in your heart to respect and honor the people in your church as brothers and sisters in Christ?
Whose needs in our church or community are most likely to be overlooked? How might we show love to and serve such people?
How could our group show appreciation and love to the pastors and leaders of our church this week?
How often do you encourage other believers in our church? What might be holding you back from doing this more often?