If you haven’t already read the January Encourager’s Devotional, you might want to check that out before proceeding to the Bible study below. And if you need to get caught up on the details of how this series works, see the introductory post.
Note, the Bible study format will always have four sections:
- Information – This section may include additional reading, further thoughts on the month’s texts, background information and Bible study questions.
- Meditation – Here you’ll find things to prompt personal reflection and thoughts on how the devotion may be speaking to you.
- Application – This is where we’ll brainstorm together to stimulate ideas for possible follow-up responses to this month’s devotion. We’ll consider activities you may want to do, jot down the names of people who come to mind as you’re reading, and note personal promptings you may want to act on after contemplation and prayer. Many options should be considered even though you may not act on all of them.
- Dedication – In this section you’ll be challenged to write down (either in the comments section following the blog, or in your own notes) things you want to commit to doing for this month or in months ahead. The list may contain both individual and group project ideas. I hope you choose to share your commitments here or with a friend or two to increase accountability for follow-through. If you choose to note them here, I’ll personally check in on you later and try to “spur you on toward the love and good deeds” you’re hoping to undertake.
ENCOURAGER’S DEVOTIONAL SERIES – JANUARY BIBLE STUDY
Why was Paul in prison? 2 Timothy 1:11-12; 2:9 (Note: I’m providing one link here to the book of 2 Timothy so you can scroll through the book for other references. For all other Scripture references, I’ll link to those specific texts).
How do Galatians 6:8-10 and Matthew 5:10-12 advise us to respond when we are persecuted for doing good? How do these Scriptures bring encouragement?
In 2 Timothy 4:14,15 Paul has two responses to those who hurt him. What are his responses and how are they different?
What else does Paul say about dealing with those who hurt or persecute us? Romans 12:14, 17-21
Paul had to deal with hurts from non-Christians, but also with disappointment in fellow Christians. Read Philippians 4:2-9 where Paul gives advice to two women in the church who are not getting along. What advice does he give them in verse 8?
How did Paul model this advice in his own life? (You might want to refer back to the January devotion to answer this.)
Who went out of his way to be with Paul? 2 Timothy 1:16-18
What was Paul willing to endure in order to bring salvation to others and glory to God? 2 Timothy 2:10
Look up 2 Timothy 4:2 in several different translations if possible. Note that the words “exhort” and “encourage” are used interchangeably. It is the same word in the original Greek (parakaleson) and has a broad range of meaning, from exhort, admonish, and urge strongly, to comfort and come alongside someone.
Looking at the Greek meaning of another word in 2 Timothy 4:2 (efisthami) is also helpful. It is the word translated “be ready” or “be prepared” or “be instant” and it denotes a sense of suddenness or urgency.
Does realizing there is a broad meaning for the word “encourage” affect the way you might think about encouraging someone?
Our other word study in 2 Timothy 4:2 implies that opportunities to minister encouragement sometimes come on suddenly. You have to be prepared with the Word and with the right attitude in order to seize those opportunities and be an effective encourager. How might the “sudden nature” of such a ministry challenge you?
What might make you feel unprepared to be an encourager?
What troubles or situations in your own life might make it seem “out of season” for you to think about ministering to others?
Which of Paul’s troubles can you most relate to?
How might you go about overcoming these obstacles?
Which of Paul’s “reminders” (for example 2 Tim 1:12 or 4:18), or which of this month’s passages from this study or the devotional, most encouraged or affected you? Why?
How could Paul’s words regarding the end of his life encourage those who are dying or grieving a loss? 2 Timothy 2:9,11,12; 4:8
Paul reminded himself of the truth of the Gospel and the end result of the Christian life. Read Romans 8:18-39 and list the things God promises to give His children. Which of these things excites you the most? Why?
Paul reminded himself of how God had helped him in the past. How has God helped you in the past?
Paul also reviewed how other people had blessed him in the past. How have others blessed you?
Would it be helpful to you to memorize any of the texts from this month’s devotion or to keep them on a card or note somewhere? If yes, note which one(s):
Write down names of anyone who comes to mind when you think of the following needs. Also, jot down any ideas as to how you might help someone with those needs:
- end of life
- in need of companionship/lonely
- prison persecution
- facing opposition
- disappointed by friends
- physical/material needs
- spiritual needs
- need for help in ministry
- feelings of shame, or fear others are ashamed
Who might benefit from reading some of the texts you’ve studied this month? Actually write down names and Scripture references.
From all the notes taken above, what do you specifically want to do in response to this month’s devotion? If you are doing this study with a group, you may want to think in terms of both personal and group projects. And, again, feel free to make your commitment known in the comments here so we can all cheer you on in the days ahead.
You can find the answers to this Bible study here. If you would like a leader’s guide to facilitate the study with a group of friends, feel free to email me at email@example.com.