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Bible Study: Mentoring for generational impact

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NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passages: Acts 16:1-5; 2 Timothy 2:1-2; 3:10-12

Discussion Questions:
— What’s one thing someone intentionally taught you about following Jesus?

Food for Thought by Sam Crouch:

In the months and years following Paul’s invitation for Timothy to join the second missionary journey, Timothy proved to be a valuable and trustworthy partner in spreading the Gospel. In his later years, Paul said this about Timothy: “For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know his proven character because he has served with me in the Gospel ministry like a son with a father” (Philippians 2:20-22).

These words about Timothy set the ideal goal for any mentoring relationship. Ultimately, our desire ought to be for the person we’re discipling to grow in character and faith so that their spiritual maturity will shine through.

Much of Paul’s success with Timothy came through the day-to-day investment he made in the young man’s life. They were together for months at a time. Timothy benefited from Paul’s investment in his spiritual growth and maturity. Paul never ceased thinking of their relationship as that of a father and son in the faith. As a spiritual father, he still saw his responsibility for the ongoing growth of his spiritual offspring.

A significant pattern for mentoring and discipleship is seen in 2 Timothy 2:1-2 sets up. Jesus called 12 men whom He mentored and discipled in spiritual growth. From these first apostles, Barnabas learned the ways of Christianity and grew in the Lord. He in turn came alongside Saul of Tarsus to bring him into the fellowship and encourage his growth as a believer. Saul, or Paul, discipled Timothy as a convert to Christianity. Timothy, now, was charged with the responsibility to pass on what he had learned to others.

This established pattern has continued to this day as many of us can look back and see godly parents, Bible study leaders, pastors and youth ministers who invested their lives in us. Therefore, we’re to mentor others in their spiritual growth.

*Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary alumnus Sam Crouch is retired from 52 years in ministry and lives with his wife in Tucson, Ariz. “Clearing the Fog: Gaining an Understanding and Appreciation of the Old Testament” is his latest book.

Bible Studies for Life

Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students, and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found at Lifeway.com/Biblestudiesforlife.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by Lifeway can be found at Lifeway.com/SundaySchool.