THINK: Christians often pray that God would give them a deeper understanding of His Word. But knowledge isn't God's primary aim. You can know the Word without letting it into you heart and allowing it to change your life. The fact is that most Christians know more of the Word than they put into practice. So why should God show us more when we have yet to enact much of what He's already shown us? God's Word reveals His character, and putting it into action leads to deeper love and purity. This keeps your conscience clear, which will allows you to exercise greater faith and accom- plish God's purposes. As you spend time in the Word, make it your goal to practice its principles and live what you learn.
RESPOND: Why had Paul told Timothy to stay in Ephesus, and why was this task so important? (See 1:3 note.) What were the "myths and endless genealogies" that the false teachers were obsessed with? (See 1:4 note and 4:3 note.) While not all tension and disagreement are bad, how can controversies hinder and distract people from God's work (v. 4)? In general, what's the ultimate goal of all instruction from God's Word? (See 1:5 note.) How does genuine spiritual change based on God's Word lead to love and purity? How do love and purity lead to a clear conscience and sincere faith? (See 1:5 note.) Why is it important for those who teach God's Word to model the truth in their own lives? Why is it good and necessary that God's law confronts and exposes everything that defies and contradicts the standards, commands, principles and guidelines in God's Word? (See Matthew 5:17 note.) In what way was Paul's life a prime example of God's grace and mercy? (See 1:13 note.) Why did Jesus come into the world? (See 1:15 note.) What can happen if we don't hold on to our faith and a good conscience? (See 1:19 note.) What does it mean that those men- tioned in verse 20 were "handed over to Satan," and what was the reason and desired result of this? (See 1:20 note.)
PRAY: Pray that you never get caught up in arguments and controversies that could distract you or others from God's purposes. Pray that you always take God's Word to heart by applying it to your life. Give God thanks for His law that exposed your sin and for His grace and mercy that rescued you from your sin.
ACT: Think of something (or ask God to remind you of something) that you know from His Word but have not fully put into practice. Ask God to show you a specific way today that you can live what you have learned. Then take action.
THINK: Have you noticed how many things today are aimed at giving people opportunity to draw attention to them- selves? It would seem that it's all about "you." But today's passage gives instructions regarding true worship, which is all about God. In fact, anything that draws attention to self is completely out of place in authentic Christian worship. This is true not only in church services, but in all of life. God's people must exercise humility, discretion and purity in how they present themselves. That way, Christ's character can shine through and people's attention is drawn to God, and not us.
RESPOND: Why are our prayers so vital to everyone in our lives, including family, friends, leaders, etc.? (See 2:1 note.) According to verse 4, what is God's desire, and how can our prayers help fulfill it? (See 2:4 note.) If God wants all people to be saved and come to know Him, why is it that most still don't? What does it mean that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and people, and why is He the only one who could ever fill this role? According to verse 8, what are some character issues that are vital for sincere worship and effective prayer? (See 2:8 note.) What does it mean "to dress modestly, and with decency," and why is this important for both women and men? (See 2:9 note.) What issues and influences in society today make it a challenge to follow God's standards of modesty? While humility and submission are appropriate for all Christians - women and men - what do His comments in verses 11-14 indicate about the general, God-given roles of men and women? (See 2:13 note. Also, keep in mind that some of these instructions involve cultural issues of the time, and do not nullify the role of women in spiritual leadership and church ministry.) What are the possible implications of Paul's comment that "women will be saved through child-bearing"? (See 2:15 note.)
PRAY: Pray by name for your individual family members, best friends and spiritual leaders. Thank Jesus for being the ultimate Mediator - for making the way for you to have a personal relationship with God. Ask God to help you exercise discretion in the way you present yourself as an example of God's priorities and purity.
ACT: Whether you're a guy or a girl, practice modesty and discretion today in the way you act, dress and talk, as a way of reflecting spiritual purity in every aspect of your life. Also, be sure to view others with modesty and purity.