Tag Archives: encourage

Discipling According to Paul

Discipling can very easily be thought of as an overwhelming, daunting task of developing and maintaining a Bible study with a new believer. One who does not believe he/she is gifted in teaching are likely to break out into a fearful, sweaty mess of person. Yet, it does not have to be this way. If one were to follow the pattern of Paul in 2 Timothy, one would see that there are categories of discipleship that the apostle interweaves together. While he does incorporate Scripture with his protégé/disciple, he is not performing any type of rigorous, verse by verse Bible study with him. Instead, he is simply using Scripture to prove the point at hand.

Personally, I found five categories of discipleship in 2 Timothy that are crucial for the discipler and disciple. In the next few paragraphs, I will give one example within the text, but also list references that could be studied for further understanding. These five categories are:

1. Encouragement

2. Gospel-Remembrance

3. Personal Testimony

4. Warnings

5. Admonishment


It is more often the case than not that a person (whether a new believer or old) sees his/her failings more than their accomplishments. Christians will sit through sermon after sermon hearing about sins and being better Christians than hearing about the progress that they are making. This can lead to a defeated life. Paul, however does not forget to include Timothy’s growth in his letter to him. The apostle encourages him in such a manner as: “I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and now, I am convinced, is in you also,” (2 Timothy 1:5, CSB). How encouraging would it be for Timothy to hear that Paul is convinced of this young man’s faith. It very well could be that Timothy questioned his own faith as many are apt to do, but to hear someone who is well-known and respected within the Christian community to write and say he was convinced of Timothy’s faith could be a life-saver. A discipler must never neglect the power of encouragement. (Cf. 2 Timothy 3:10-11 also).


Keeping the gospel in front of a believer is crucial to their godliness and growth. Who has not sought to serve God in their own power? Who has not at some time forgotten that we do not gain God’s love through works, but it is by God’s love that we have our works?  Here was Timothy, serving the church in Ephesus and encountering much affliction. It would have been unfortunate if he had allowed the gospel to be buried beneath all the burdens he was carrying. Thankfully, Paul reminded him time and again of the gospel message. “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,” (2 Timothy 1:9, CSB). If we are wanting to be good disciplers, it is imperative that we keep the gospel before our own eyes as well as those whom we disciple. (cf. 2:19; 4:7, 18 also).

Personal Testimony

The personal testimony is not only for speaking to the lost. It encourages and strengthens the saved as well. The testimony of afflictions, failures, hardships, and accomplishments can go a long way in the growth of a disciple. People need to know that others have faced what they are facing. They need to know that there is an end in sight. Of course, they also need to know that there is no foreseeable end, but one can remain faithful. Then again, they need to know that there is grace when a believer fails to be as faithful as he/she ought. Paul shared his testimony with Timothy. “For this gospel I was appointed a herald, apostle, and teacher and that is why I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that day,” (2 Timothy 1:11-12). In essence, Paul just told Timothy, who was a herald and a teacher, that he has gone through what Timothy is going through (in fact, he’s still in prison about to die). Yet he has not given up hope, but is convinced of God’s faithfulness. What a blessing for Timothy. A timely word through a personal testimony. Let us never neglect to give the power of a personal testimony. Disciples need them so let us give them. (cf. 2:8-10; 3:11; 4:6-7 also).


Warnings are a must. While there are three positive discipling categories, there are two negative–at least in one sense. Warnings are one of those two. Having fought so hard and so long against enemies of the faith, it is easy to see Timothy growing tired and wanting to throw in the towel. Perhaps, some of the arguments of his opponents are starting to make a bit more sense. Who knows? Paul takes no chances. He warns Timothy what giving in and giving up can do. This false teaching can spread like gangrene. “Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them. They have departed from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and are ruining the faith of some,” (2 Timothy 2:17b-18, CSB). Paul used concrete examples, names of those who have departed from the truth, showing the devastation they left in their wake. It is not wrong to use names and specifics when warning others not to go in such a direction as those who shipwreck their faith. The discipler will be discerning about when to use such warnings with those whom they teach. (cf. 3:1-9; 4:3-4 also).


The second of the negative categories could be looked at in the positive light as well since the point is to push the believer to holiness. However, admonishment typically comes when a believer is negligent in some aspect of their life, and needs to be shown where he/she goes wrong and how to correct it. In the positive Paul wrote, “Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment,” (2 Timothy 1:6-7, CSB). Yet then goes negative and back to positive in verse 8: “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner. Instead share in suffering for the gospel relying on the power of God,” (CSB). One could say that this was an Oreo admonishment with the negative situated between two positives. Admonishments are different than warnings as warnings are used to show what happens if one does not heed the admonishments, where as the admonishments are entreaties to live in a manner worthy of the calling. The discipler ought to be intimately aware of the dealings with the one they teach so that they can admonish when necessary. (cf. 1:1314; 2:1-3, 14-16, 22-25; 3:12-17; 4:1-2, 5 also).

Note however that in this entire letter there is the mood of love, care, and understanding. It is quite conversational, though of course, one hears (reads) only one side of the conversation. This is not a Bible study, a lecture, a sermon, or anything else that would be deemed “official.” Paul is writing as one who cares about Timothy–one who knows him and his thoughts, pains, fears, etc. These categories are interspersed throughout the letter. He goes from one to another back to one and then a completely different one. The point is that one does not have to prepare too much to be a discipler. He/She simply needs to be a friend who listens and then talks, helping the new-believer through questions and fears. It is organic and natural, not forced or separated from “real life.” Yes, use the Bible. Let it be a guide and a help. After all “All Scripture is inspired and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CSB). May we all be discipling according to Paul.

Six Ways to Better Show You Love Your Spouse

Today is “Family Friday” and I thought I’d pass down some advice that I’ve heard/read over the past 18 years of marriage (June 17, 2018 will be 18 years to be exact).  Three ways for husbands to show their love and three ways for wives to show their love.


  1. Listen to your wife.  By listen, I don’t mean obey.  I mean hear her out.  Listen to what she has to say.  Peter wrote that husbands are to live with their wives in an understanding way.  I’m pretty sure he was not saying that in a condescending way, but actually saying, “seek to understand your wife.”  How does one understand another person unless they listen to them?  If you’re newly married or if you are one who is arrogant and think you know it all, then you don’t realize that your wife is full of wisdom, and it behooves you to listen to her.  Understand her perspective on issues.  She probably thinks differently than you, and that’s good!  Try and sit down on a daily basis and talk. Ask questions about her day, and then ask follow up questions.  Talk about what’s on your mind: decisions you’re wrestling with, thoughts about life, etc.  Then ask her opinion.  This isn’t easy.  I’m not a talker myself.  I like to just get the gist of stories.  I’m learning along with you that love is not in the gist.  It’s in the details.
  2. Take care of your wife.  Amazingly, women are strong.  They do so much in such little time.  I’m not saying men don’t, but women do, especially if they work outside the home and inside the home (which is a full-time, exhausting job).  You need to take care of your wife.  Don’t tell her she needs to take care of herself; that’s abdicating your responsibility.  Paul wrote that husbands are to cherish their wives (and nourish them).  To cherish literally means to take care of.  If you cherish your body, you are taking care of it.  You make sure it eats right.  You exercise it.  You give it sleep.  You give it rest.  The list could go on.  Paul wrote, “In the same way, husbands love your wives as you their own bodies.  He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,” (Ephesians 5:28-29, ESV).  Since you take care of your body (feed it, rest it, exercise it, protect it, etc.) then do that to your wife.  You get up and feed the baby at 3:00am, if you can (or at least change the diaper).  Give her a hand with the dishes.  Draw a bath for her and keep the kids from knocking on the door every 2 minutes.
  3. Lead her in growing as a woman/wife and as a disciple of Christ.  That’s the first part of that verse: nourish her.  The same word is used when Paul tells the fathers to “not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” (Ephesians 6:4, ESV).  To nourish is to grow, to bring up.  Wives are grown physically, but like all of us, there is more growth to be had: spirit-wise, emotion-wise, and maturity-wise.  As husband, you can help.  One of the ways to nourish your wife, is to give her time with God daily.  Make sure she is in the word and in prayer.   Do a devotional with her (I’d recommend New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp).  Lead the family in family worship/devotions.  Pray for her and with her.  It takes dedication to nourish your wife; but that is what we are called to do.  Dedicate our lives to her.


  1. Encourage your husband, but don’t nag.  Nagging is the opposite of encouraging.  Encouraging builds up.  It lifts the spirit.  Nagging cripples the spirit and tears down.  Solomon wrote, “It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife,” (Proverbs 21:9, ESV).  That word quarrelsome can have the connotation of a nagging wife.  A husband tends to fume, at least inwardly, when a wife nags.  Even if there is no quarrel outwardly, there is one going on in his head.  Resentment can easily build up.  Instead of nagging, show encouragement.  Most husbands want to be good men who nourish and cherish our wives.  We want to be the white knights, the superheros, the John Waynes who come in and save the day.  So when the project that has taken weeks to even be looked at, let alone accomplished is finally done, don’t say “It’s about time.  I’ve been waiting forever.”  Instead, encourage: “You’re the best.  Thank you so much for doing that for me and the kids.  I love it when you show your love by doing little things around the house for me.”  And whatever you do, don’t point out the flaws.  Most men are not professional handy-men.  Often our work will not look professional.  We know it.  In fact, it is what we will always notice about any project.  We don’t need our wives to see them even if they see them (wink. wink.).
  2. Let him lead.  God has called on husbands to be the head of the household.  That does not mean that husbands get to do as they wish. It does mean that they are accountable for the direction of the household and, of course, how he leads.  Leading is difficult, and many men are just as well abdicating that role to the wife since she manages the household.  There is a difference between managing and leading.  Leading is influencing, motivating, making difficult decision, setting the course, etc.  Managing is the ins and outs of how that happens.  We see in Proverbs 31, the wife there is a fantastic manager of her household.  In fact, that woman is so great she’s intimidating.  The leader, the husband, is to set the course.  He makes the difficult decisions and keeps the family on the right path.  He calls the family to prayer, study, etc.  Even if your husband has already abdicated this role, encourage him to lead, and trust him while he learns as he goes.
  3. Respect him.  This is an overarching idea, which would encompass 1 and 2 in this list.  But a man needs respect.  Notice in Proverbs 31 that it says, “Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land,” (v. 23, ESV).  This verse calls attention to the husband’s status.  Being that this entire section is about the woman, and not the man, it shows that what she does and how she does it, can bring honor to her husband.  What she says and how she says it can bring honor or shame to him.  Respecting the husband is both direct and indirect.  It is how you talk to him and how you talk about him to others.  It is how you build him up, encourage him, let him lead in private as well as in public.  Just a quick tip, if your husband is in earshot, say something good about him to your friends.  Let him hear your words of affirmation to others, but not always when he is standing by you (it may embarrass him if done when he is right by your side).

There you have it.  Let me know some other ways husbands and wives can show each other love.  I’m sure there are millions.  Leave me a comment below.  If you like it or agree, let’s just say, I wouldn’t mind you sharing the article.