Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

“Be Thou an Example of the Believers”



Scripture links are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org
Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog


This year, for the first time, I attended Time Out For Women.  It is a gathering of women, mostly Latter-day Saints, with the purpose of strengthening and edifying.  We come together to share and build up, which is a great purpose in being a Christian.

At this "retreat"  was a board that contained small cards with written words of encouragement.  The written words came from the women who attended the event, as they were encouraged to write and post the card on the board, then were encouraged to take a card that had been written and posted that reached out to them and touched their heart, that gave them that special encouragement needed.

I wrote a card and was touched when I saw it was gone, that I had somehow said something that uplifted another, it gave me a great feeling of sisterhood, of service.  But I was even more touched when I looked up and read a card in front of me, and knew it had been put there for me.  The card read: "Be the person that inspires others to look to Christ."  That is exactly what I want to be, above all else in this world this is my number one goal.  So I took the card and it sits in front of my computer and every time I sit down to work, or write, I first read, "Be the person that inspires others to look to Christ."

This week's lesson 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon with letters from Paul to his friends, and companions, reminded me of this card, for his letters were that of encouragement and lifting and teaching to be an example of the believers. When reading these chapters, its like picking a card off the board and leaving one; we get a glimpse into the heart of a servant of the Lord.



History and Background

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 forgive 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.

Paul’s letters known as 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are often called pastoral Epistles because they contain Paul’s counsel to pastors or leaders in the Church (pastor comes from the Latin word for “shepherd”). In 1 Timothy, Paul counseled Timothy, a Church leader in Ephesus, to ensure that sound doctrine was taught and not to allow popular untruths to distract from Christ’s teachings. He taught Timothy about the offices of bishop and deacon and discussed the qualifications of those who serve in these offices. Though this counsel pertains to specific offices in the early Church, much of it is applicable to all men and women who serve in the Church today. Paul also recounted his deep gratitude for the mercy he received from Jesus Christ when he was converted, and he pointed out that all believers could receive forgiveness of sins and a call to serve the Lord.

Chronologically, 2 Timothy appears to be Paul’s final letter in the New Testament, having been written shortly before his death. It contains the reason why Paul labored so diligently in his ministry: his conviction that he had been called by Jesus Christ, who had “abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” Having witnessed the difficulties that false teachers can cause for Church members, Paul encouraged Timothy to trust in the scriptures and in Church leaders  and to rely on true doctrine Modern readers can easily see the accuracy of Paul’s prophetic description of the “perilous times” that would exist in the last days The Second Epistle to Timothy emphasizes the power that comes from having a testimony of Jesus Christ.  

Paul’s letter to Titus, like his letters to Timothy, contains timeless counsel to a local Church leader. Paul wrote that the “hope of eternal life” was first promised by God in the pre-earth life “before the world began”. He taught that the Saints should look forward to “that blessed hope” of exaltation and to the Second Coming. Paul also wrote to Titus about the “washing of regeneration” and the “renewing of the Holy Ghost,” alluding to the ordinance of baptism and the purifying effect of receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, both of which are preparatory to being “made heirs according to the hope of eternal life”. Paul’s inspired counsel reminds modern Christians that the doctrines and ordinances of the gospel bring hope for eternal life.

Philemon is perhaps the most personal of all Paul’s letters, and it clearly illustrates the fact that when people join the Church of Jesus Christ, they become brothers and sisters in the gospel. One principle that Paul taught Philemon was that when a person is offended or hurt by another, it is the injured person’s duty to forgive the wrongdoer.

Chapter Summaries

1 Timothy 1
Paul cautioned against false teachings that do not edify. He gloried in the Lord Jesus Christ, who extended great mercy to save him. Paul referred to himself as the “chief” or worst of sinners, alluding to the persecution he committed against Christians before his conversion (1 Timothy 1:15). Paul reassured others that Christ’s mercy will also help them.

1 Timothy 2–3
Paul taught about the need for prayer and proper worship. He taught that Jesus Christ is the ransom for all and is our Mediator with the Father. He instructed men and women how to conduct themselves during worship and outlined the qualifications for bishops and deacons. Paul also explained the mystery of godliness as being the condescension of Jesus Christ, His perfect life on earth, and His 
ascension to glory.

1 Timothy 4
Paul warned Timothy that some people will be deceived by false teachings regarding marriage and dietary practices. He spoke about the importance of marriage and of receiving God’s creations with thankfulness. Paul taught Timothy how to deal with the false teachings of his day and those that would soon come.

1 Timothy 5–6
Paul gave Timothy guidelines to help him minister to the needs of the elderly, young people, widows, elders, and slaves. Paul described false teachers to Timothy. He also warned that “the love of money is the root of all evil” and instructed Timothy of how Saints can obtain eternal life.

Paul spoke of the gift and power of God that is received through priesthood ordination. He taught that the “spirit of fear” does not come from God and that we should not be ashamed of our testimony of Jesus Christ. Paul testified that he was called by Jesus Christ to be “a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles” 

2 Timothy 2
Paul used the imagery of a good soldier, a victorious athlete, and a hardworking farmer to illustrate the need for endurance to receive eternal glory. He contrasted true and false teachers, as well as honorable and dishonorable vessels. He warned Timothy to avoid controversies and to patiently teach those who need repentance.

2 Timothy 3–4
Paul described the evil conditions of the last days and encouraged Timothy to use the scriptures in his role as a priesthood leader. He wrote of his impending death and declared, “I have kept the faith” Paul testified that the Lord would deliver him to the “heavenly kingdom” 

Paul instructed Titus to ordain Church leaders; then he listed some qualifications for bishops. He instructed Titus to correct heresies and to rebuke false teachers who “profess that they know God; but in works they deny him” 

Titus 2
Paul encouraged Titus to instruct elderly Church members to set examples for the younger Saints. He also asked Titus to teach servants to submit to their masters. Paul explained the manner in which disciples should live as they prepare for the Lord’s return. He described the redemption brought about through Jesus Christ.

Titus 3
Paul taught that Church members are to be good citizens and righteous followers of Jesus Christ after baptism. Through baptism, we may receive eternal life through the Lord’s grace.

Philemon 1
Paul greeted Philemon and the Church members who were meeting in Philemon’s house. Paul encouraged Philemon to receive back the runaway slave Onesimus as he would receive Paul himself.

Part 1: 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus  Understanding true doctrine will help us avoid being deceived

Paul wrote to Timothy, a priesthood leader in Ephesus, and counseled him to ensure that true doctrine was taught. He set forth the qualifications for bishops and deacons and counseled Timothy to be an example of the believers. Paul admonished the Saints to care for the poor and widows. He closed his epistle by teaching that “the love of money is the root of all evil” 

In his Second Epistle to Timothy, Paul taught that fear does not come from God and counseled Timothy to be unashamed of his testimony of Jesus Christ. Paul encouraged Timothy to faithfully endure trials and instructed him to teach the Saints to repent.  Then Paul exhorted Titus, who was a fellow missionary then serving in Crete, to use sound doctrine to teach and correct others. Paul also counseled Titus to teach the Saints to be righteous examples, to have hope of redemption through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and to continue in good works.

According to 1 Timothy: 3–4, what responsibility did Paul give Timothy?
3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do
.

In 1 Timothy 1:4, Paul asked Timothy to teach Church members not to “give heed to fables and endless genealogies.” In this verse Paul was not condemning the proper practice of collecting and preserving family records. The recording of genealogy has long been practiced by God’s people (see Matthew 1:1–16; Luke 3:23–38), and elsewhere Paul made references to his own genealogy (see Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5). In this case, Paul wrote to Timothy about “fables and endless genealogies” as examples of false ideas that simply “minister questions” and do not edify (1 Timothy 1:4) and as a rebuke to those who sought out their ancestry to prove they were “chosen,” or superior to other people. Paul wrote that “the end of the commandment [the summary or capstone of all doctrine] is charity” (1 Timothy 1:5). The Book of Mormon prophet Mormon similarly taught that “charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever” (Moroni 7:47). (New Testament Student Manual) 

Paul’s counsel about true doctrine.
1 Timothy 1:1–7; 4:1–2, 6; 6:3–5, 20–21
2 Timothy 3:13–17; 4:2–4


Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught that the Church is to teach God’s truths:  “In God’s Church, the only approved doctrine is God’s doctrine.  The Church is not a debating society; it is not searching for a system of salvation; it is not a forum for social or political philosophies. It is, rather, the Lord’s kingdom with a commission to teach his truths for the salvation of men” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:71).

“Endless genealogies” Elder Bruce R. McConkie further taught that the “genealogies” mentioned in 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 referred to “the false Jewish tradition that salvation was for the chosen seed as such was known by genealogical recitations. In this dispensation, the Lord has commanded genealogical research as an essential requisite in making salvation available to those who do not have opportunity to receive the gospel in this life” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:127).

According to 1 Timothy: 6–7, why was it important for Timothy to fulfill this responsibility?
6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

In connection with false teachings that do not edify, Paul also wrote about “vain jangling,” which refers to fruitless discussion or intellectualizing (1 Timothy 1:6); “questions and strifes of words” (1 Timothy 6:4); and “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called” (1 Timothy 6:20; see the commentary for 1 Timothy 6:20). Paul warned that these activities distract believers from the truth and generate strife and contention (see 1 Timothy 4:7; 6:20; Titus 3:9). (New Testament Student Manual)

What is a truth we can learn from Paul’s counsel to Timothy about the responsibility of priesthood leaders?  Priesthood leaders have the responsibility to ensure that true doctrine and correct practices are taught.  And further we learn in 1 Timothy 1:8–11 that Paul warned against those who desired to be teachers of God’s law but did not have a correct understanding of it.

President Gordon B. Hinckley taught the importance of teaching correct doctrine in the Church:  “I have spoken before about the importance of keeping the doctrine of the Church pure, and seeing that it is taught in all of our meetings. … Small aberrations in doctrinal teaching can lead to large and evil falsehoods” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], 620).


Part 2 1 Timothy 4:10–16 If we are “example[s] of the believers,” we can lead others to the Savior and His gospel.

In 1 Timothy 4:1–16 Paul prophesied that in the “latter times” some Church members would depart from the faith and follow false teachings and practices, such as “forbidding to marry”. Paul exhorted Timothy to nourish the Saints with true doctrine. Note that in verse 12 the word conversation refers to conduct or behavior

1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
6 If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.
7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

11 These things command and teach.
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
What do you think it means to be an “example of the believers” ?

In what ways did Paul counsel Timothy to be an example of the believers? Word, conversation (which can also mean conduct or behavior), charity, spirit, faith, and purity...

In 1 Timothy 4:13–16 what additional advice did Paul give that would help Timothy be an example of the believers?13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.
16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

According to verse 15, why did Paul tell Timothy to meditate upon the doctrines Paul taught and to give himself completely to living them? So that others could see how doing so profited Timothy.

Based on Paul’s teachings in 1 Timothy 4:16 what can result as we strive to be examples of the believers of Jesus Christ? If we are examples of the believers of Jesus Christ, we can help bring salvation to ourselves and others.

How can being an example of one who believes in and follows Jesus Christ help bring salvation to others?

When has someone acted as an example of the believers for you in one of the ways Paul mentioned?

Part 3: 2 Timothy 1 “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

How can fear influence us? President Gordon B. Hinckley told us that: “Who among us can say that he or she has not felt fear? I know of no one who has been entirely spared. Some, of course, experience fear to a greater degree than do others. Some are able to rise above it quickly, but others are trapped and pulled down by it and even driven to defeat. We suffer from the fear of ridicule, the fear of failure, the fear of loneliness, the fear of ignorance. Some fear the present, some the future. Some carry the burden of sin and would give almost anything to unshackle themselves from those burdens but fear to change their lives” (“God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 2).

How could fear affect our ability to live the gospel? 2 Timothy 1 helps us to find out.  Shortly before Paul died, he wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy while imprisoned in Rome. Paul expressed his desire to see Timothy and recalled Timothy’s sincere faith. Paul referred to worldly fear, which creates anxiety, uncertainty, and alarm and differs from what the scriptures refer to as “the fear of the Lord” To fear the Lord is “to feel reverence and awe for Him and to obey His commandments” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Fear,” scriptures.lds.org).


1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

What principle in 2 Timothy 1 can help us overcome fear?

 In the opening of his Second Epistle to Timothy, Paul encouraged Timothy to “stir up the gift of God, which is in thee” (2 Timothy 1:6); this was an admonition to Timothy to revive the gift of the Holy Ghost and keep it strong and alive in his life. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles pointed out: “These four words—‘Receive the Holy Ghost’—are not a passive pronouncement; rather, they constitute a priesthood injunction—an authoritative admonition to act and not simply to be acted upon (see 2 Nephi 2:26). The Holy Ghost does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads and those four important words are spoken. As we receive this ordinance, each of us accepts a sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live that we indeed ‘receive the Holy Ghost’ and its attendant spiritual gifts” (“Receive the Holy Ghost,” Ensign Nov. 2010, 95).  (New Testament Student Manual) 

What did Paul remind Timothy to do in this epistle?  Paul admonished Timothy to rekindle the gift of the Holy Ghost, or to earnestly seek to have the Holy Ghost to be with him.

According to verse 7, what blessings can come from having the Spirit with us?  
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

What do these blessings help us overcome?

Paul had been imprisoned and endured severe persecution himself, so he knew firsthand how persecution could cause followers of Christ to fear. President Thomas S. Monson quoted 2 Timothy 1:7 as he encouraged members of the Church not to become fearful about the future:  “It would be easy to become discouraged and cynical about the future—or even fearful of what might come—if we allowed ourselves to dwell only on that which is wrong in the world and in our lives. Today, however, I’d like us to turn our thoughts and our attitudes away from the troubles around us and to focus instead on our blessings as members of the Church. The Apostle Paul declared, ‘God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind’ [2 Timothy 1:7]. …The history of the Church in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times, is replete with the experiences of those who have struggled and yet who have remained steadfast and of good cheer as they have made the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of their lives. This attitude is what will pull us through whatever comes our way. It will not remove our troubles from us but rather will enable us to face our challenges, to meet them head on, and to emerge victorious” (“Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign May 2009, 89).

According to verse 8, what did Paul invite Timothy to do with the understanding that the Spirit could help him overcome fear? 

8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

Paul reflected on his life of discipleship and encouraged Timothy, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord” Paul himself was not ashamed of his faith, for he knew in whom he had believed. He counseled Timothy to “hold fast” to the doctrines once he had learned them 2 Timothy 1:13, and this counsel certainly applies to us today. Paul anticipated that he would soon be put to death by the Romans, yet he knew that Jesus Christ had “abolished death” 2 Timothy 1:10.

Recognizing that Timothy too would be a “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel” 2 Timothy 1:8, Paul exhorted Timothy to faithfulness by using the metaphors of a good soldier who dutifully endures hardships and sets aside other affairs to please his superior, an athlete who can be victorious only if he acts according to the established rules, and a hardworking farmer who must toil to harvest the fruits of his labors. At the heart of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy was an understanding that a disciple must be willing to endure hardships in order to help others obtain salvation through Jesus Christ.

How would you finish this statement: As we earnestly seek to have the Spirit to be with us, …
As we earnestly seek to have the Spirit to be with us, we can overcome fear and be unashamed of our testimony of Jesus Christ.

Part 4: 2 Timothy 3 Studying the scriptures can help us overcome the perils of the last days.
After warning Timothy about “perilous times” to come, Paul testified of the power and importance of the scriptures.  He wrote to Timothy and explained that apostasy and wickedness would be prevalent in their day as well as in the last days. He instructed Timothy to remain faithful to the truths he had already learned. Paul taught about the purposes of scriptures. Paul ended his letter by encouraging Timothy to diligently fulfill his ministry.

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
9 But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works

As part of his Second Epistle to Timothy, Paul prophesied of conditions in his day and ours.

How did Paul describe the times we live in?

What are some of the moral or spiritual perils or dangers you have seen in our day?

Do you ever worry that you might be affected by some of the dangers Paul mentioned in these verses?

According to the end of 2 Timothy 3:5, what did Paul encourage Timothy to do that can also help us in our day?  5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Paul told Timothy that those who resist the truth will have their foolishness made known. He also wrote of the many perils and persecutions he had endured because of his efforts to live the gospel.

What did Paul prophesy would happen to those who live the gospel?

What did Paul teach about resisting the perils he described?

What do you think it means in verse 14 to “continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of”?  14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them

Jeffrey R. Holland taught: “In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won. … When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes” (“Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 93–94)

What principle can we learn from verses 14–15 about how to overcome the spiritual perils of the last days?  If we continue in the truths we have learned from trusted sources and in the scriptures, we can overcome the spiritual peril of the last days.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

What did Paul teach about studying the scriptures that can help us in our day?  2 Timothy 3:16–17  As we study the scriptures, we can learn doctrine and receive correction and instruction that will help us grow toward perfection. 
16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works


Scriptures that protect us against the perils of the last days described in 2 Timothy 3:2.
Perils of the Last Days
Scriptures That Protect Us
Lovers of their own selves
Covetous
Boasters
Proud
Blasphemers
Disobedient to parents
Unthankful
Unholy
Given what we have learned about the value of the scriptures, why do you think we are encouraged to study them daily?  

Elder Richard G Scott’s counsel and promise with regard to studying the scriptures:  “Don’t yield to Satan’s lie that you don’t have time to study the scriptures. Choose to take time to study them. Feasting on the word of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, television shows, video games, or social media. You may need to reorganize your priorities to provide time for the study of the word of God. If so, do it! “… As you dedicate time every day, personally and with your family, to the study of God’s word, peace will prevail in your life” (“Make the Exercise of Faith Your First Priority,” Ensign, Nov. 2014, 93)

Part 5: Philemon Followers of Christ forgive one another
In this epistle the Apostle Paul commended Philemon for his faith and his love for the Savior and fellow Church members. He counseled Philemon to receive his runaway slave Onesimus back as a brother in the gospel.  During his first imprisonment in Rome, while under house arrest, Paul wrote to Philemon, who was probably a Greek convert to the Church. As recorded in Philemon 1:1–3, Paul began his epistle by greeting Philemon and others, including the congregation that met in Philemon’s home.

1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.
8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,
9 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:
13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.
15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.
18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.
21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.
22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
23 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;
24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
¶ Written from Rome to Philemon, by Onesimus a servant.

Why did Paul praise Philemon?  It may help to know that when Paul said that “the bowels of the Saints [had been] refreshed” Philemon 1:7, he meant that their hearts had been cheered by Philemon.  Paul’s main purpose in writing to Philemon was to address a situation involving Philemon and his servant, or slave, named Onesimus. Onesimus had run away and may have stolen something from Philemon  Philemon 1:18. Slavery was not viewed as evil within the New Testament Judeo-Christian culture and was supported by Roman law. Punishments for runaway slaves included being severely beaten, branded on the forehead, or even killed. After running away, Onesimus had encountered the Apostle Paul.

What did Paul beseeched, or sincerely ask Philemon to do? Philemon 1:8–12 Note that in verse 8, the word enjoin means to command and convenient means proper or fitting.
8 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,
9 Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.
10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:
11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:
12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:

If you had been in Philemon’s position, what might you have thought or felt when you received Paul’s request?

Notice the phrase “whom I have begotten in my bonds” Philemon 1:10. One meaning of the verb beget is to give life to someone. While Paul was in prison, he had helped Onesimus begin a new life as a follower of Jesus Christ.  As recorded in Philemon 1:13–14, Paul wanted to keep Onesimus with him so that Onesimus could assist him, but Paul did not want to do so without Philemon’s consent.

13 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:
14 But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

How did Paul encourage Philemon to view his relationship with the newly converted Onesimus?Philemon 1:15–16
15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;
16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?

One truth we can learn from verse 16 is that we are brothers and sisters in the gospel.  We are all spirit children of Heavenly Father Hebrews 12:9, and thus are all brothers and sisters. In addition, through the ordinances of baptism and confirmation, the continual exercise of faith in Jesus Christ, and consistent repentance, we are spiritually reborn. In this way we become sons and daughters of Jesus Christ  Mosiah 5:7 and, therefore, brothers and sisters in His covenant family. Regardless of our gender, culture, age, background, or social status, we become equal in God’s kingdom.

“I have always been uplifted by reading the short epistle of Paul to Philemon; it teaches us a principle and a spirit concerning gospel brotherhood. …

“It is an inspiration and joy to see this same spirit at work throughout the Church, to see the Saints embrace and help and assist and pray for those who daily enter the kingdom of our Lord. Continue to reach out to each other—and the many more who will enter the Church. Welcome them and love and fellowship them.
“Sadly, there have been occasional incidents where some among us have not done so, accounts of some who have rejected those whom the Lord has accepted by baptism. If the Lord was ‘not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Heb. 2:11), let us, therefore, … take our brothers and sisters by the hand and lift them up into our circles of concern and love” (Spencer W Kimball “Always a Convert Church: Some Lessons to Learn and Apply This Year,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 4)

In Philemon 1:17 what did Paul counsel Philemon to do for Onesimus, who was Philemon’s runaway slave?  17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

Paul was asking Philemon to welcome Onesimus back into his household without inflicting on him the severe punishments that runaway slaves normally received. As illustrated in Paul’s instruction to Philemon, we learn that disciples of Jesus Christ extend mercy and forgiveness to others.

However its important to remember that extending mercy and forgiveness to those who have wronged us does not necessarily mean allowing them to avoid the consequences of their actions, nor does it mean immediately restoring our trust in them. Instead, it means that we show compassion toward others and let go of any resentment, anger, or hurt we may be harboring. When appropriate, we may also allow those who have wronged us to regain our trust.

What similarities do you see between what Paul was willing to do for Onesimus and what the Savior willingly did for us?  Philemon 1:18–21  
18 If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;
19 I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.
20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.
21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

Just as Paul interceded on Onesimus’s behalf, Jesus Christ will intercede on our behalf and plead our cause before Heavenly Father D&C 45:3–5. Jesus Christ has also paid the spiritual debt we owe for our sins.

Elder Kevin R. Duncan taught:  “There is not a soul alive who will not, at one time or another, be the victim to someone else’s careless actions, hurtful conduct, or even sinful behavior. This is one thing we all have in common.

“Gratefully, God, in His love and mercy for His children, has prepared a way to help us navigate these sometimes turbulent experiences of life. He has provided an escape for all who fall victim to the misdeeds of others. He has taught us that we can forgive! …

“Many years ago, while I was mending a fence, a small sliver of wood entered into my finger. I made a meager attempt to remove the sliver and thought I had done so, but apparently I had not. As time went on, skin grew over the sliver, creating a lump on my finger. It was annoying and sometimes painful.

“Years later I decided to finally take action. All I did was simply apply ointment to the lump and cover it with a bandage. I repeated this process frequently. You cannot imagine my surprise when one day, as I removed the bandage, the sliver had emerged from my finger.

“The ointment had softened the skin and created an escape for the very thing that had caused pain for so many years. Once the sliver was removed, the finger quickly healed, and to this day, there remains no evidence of any injury.

“In a similar way, an unforgiving heart harbors so much needless pain. When we apply the healing ointment of the Savior’s Atonement, He will soften our heart and help us to change. He can heal the wounded soul
(see Jacob 2:8)” (“The Healing Ointment of Forgiveness,” Ensign, May 2016, 33).

Some points to ponder: 

When have you, like Philemon, needed to extend mercy and forgiveness to someone else? How were you able to extend mercy to and forgive this person? How were you blessed in doing so?

When have you, like Onesimus, hoped to receive mercy and forgiveness from another person? How did you seek this person’s mercy and forgiveness? How were you blessed by doing so?

When have you, like Paul, served as a mediator between someone who was seeking forgiveness and the person who needed to extend forgiveness and mercy? How were you able to help the wrongdoer receive forgiveness and the injured person forgive the wrongdoer?


Consider what you can do to extend mercy and forgiveness to others. As you seek to include, accept, and extend forgiveness to others, the Lord will help you in your efforts.

Conclusion
There is great importance in keeping the doctrine of the Church pure. Paul has taught us this great lesson and just by observing in our day, we can truly see how great a blessing the true Church of Jesus Christ is because it is the same where ever you may attend, the doctrine is the same, no matter where it is taught. How comforting to know and to have a consistent true connection with Father in Heaven. Likewise the perils prophesied of in 2 Timothy 3:1–7 are current conditions that exist in the world today. “Covetous, boasters, proud—all are present and among us. “Blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection—all of these are well accounted for. Trucebreakers, false accusers, and so on—all can be checked off against the prevailing evidence that exists all around us” Yet we need not fear.  Paul has taught us that as we be examples of the believers, we will be safe and we have the opportunity to lead others to Christ as well. Thus we must continue in the things we have learned and are assured of as spiritual anchors to keep us safe and on course, forgiving one another and living as A son or daughter of God until that day come... 

Resources
New Testament Student Manual
Ensign
Doctrine and Covenants
Book of Mormon
Guide to the Scriptures
Teachings of Gordon B Hinkley
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary

The Fall of Adam and Eve

  Scriptures are hyperlinked to Scriptures at ChurchofJesusChrist.org Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end...