Thursday 18 October 2012

Bible Book:
2 Timothy

"As for you, always be sober, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, carry out your ministry fully." (v. 5)

2 Timothy 4:5-17 Thursday 18 October 2012


We are reading this passage because it mentions Luke (verse 11)whom the Christian calendar commemorates today. What is known aboutLuke is established here and by a reference to him in Colossians 4:14, where is described as aphysician and where he is listed as a Gentile (non Jew). He iscommemorated chiefly as the author of the Gospel of Luke and theActs of the Apostles, as an exponent of salvation which involvedhealing in the here and now, and as an inclusive theologian whofocused attention on women and the poor.

2 Timothy is presented as being a letter from Paul stuck inprison in Rome to Timothy, his younger partner in the work ofevangelism. Many scholars doubt that the letters to Timothy werewritten by Paul himself but there is no reason to suppose that Lukewas not a companion of Paul. Further, whichever communities orindividuals put Luke-Acts into the form we have them today they arecertainly worthy of commemoration. They, Paul and whoever wrote 2Timothy form part of the cloud of witnesses to the life of Jesus,along with the early Church who offers us a variety of ways ofunderstanding the gospel (the good news about Jesus) and how toproclaim it.

When the author of 2 Timothy says "… always be sober, enduresuffering, do the work of an evangelist", these words are addressedto Timothy. They evoke, though, the ministry of others, includingLuke the Evangelist - 'evangelist' being a word which means'bringer of the good news' - Luke is celebrated for doing this bysetting out an orderly account in writing, but there are many waysto be bringers of the good news: in the way we treat people; in theway we bear disappointments and disasters in our own lives; in thewords we write whether on web pages or on twitter or in cards ofcondolence… It was not only the saints of the Christian calendarwho were called to bear the good news of Jesus Christ, but all ofus who follow him.

To Ponder

  • During your life who has brought the good news to you? What hasmade it convincing?
  • What are the ways in which you do the work of anevangelist?
  • What might it mean for you to carry out "your ministryfully"?
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