“I Have Finished My Course”
Learn and teach true doctrine.
Be...an example of the believers.
Follow after righteousness and deny
A study of this lesson will encourage us to learn and teach true doctrine and
be righteous examples for others.
Scripture references for study:
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
notes: Click on links for expanded information.
Lesson 41 Handout (PDF)
Paul's release from prison in Rome.
Luke, in the book of Acts, says nothing
about Paul's release from prison.
Tradition and other indicators point
to the idea that Paul was acquitted after he had been imprisoned for two
Probably released about A.D. 63.
Paul resumed his missionary travels.
It is believed that he went to Spain.
Clement of Rome, reported in A.D. 96,
that Paul "reached the limit of the West."
There are additional sources that report
his travel there.
Much of his travel after his release
is left to speculation.
It is presumed that he traveled to Ephesus,
where he left Timothy to minister to the Church.
In Crete he left Titus with a similar
As he continued his travels, he wrote
the letters to Timothy and Titus to strengthen them and to counsel them
in their responsibilities as pastors or shepherds over the Saints.
Because of this, these letters are often
called the pastoral epistles.
Who Was Timothy?
He became the companion, confidant,
and missionary associate of Paul.
At the time he received this first epistle,
it appears that he must have held some major position of church supervision
and administration. Paul instructs him in the calling of bishops
and other church officers. He may have been the equivalent of a stake
president or even a member of the Council of the Twelve.
Who was Titus?
An early Greek convert to the Church.
Titus must have been a companion to
Paul when he visited the island of Crete.
Titus was left on Crete to set order
in the Church.
Warnings against apostasy and false doctrine
1:3-4. Teach no other doctrine.
Most of Paul's letters include warnings
about apostasy and false doctrines.
WHY WAS HE SO CONCERNED ABOUT THIS?
He knew the time would come when there
would be those that teach the doctrines of men.
4:1-4. In the latter times some shall depart from the faith.
evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
(2 Timothy 3:13)
4:3-4. The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.
WHAT SHOULD WE TEACH?
READ D&C 88:77-80.
Teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "Teachers
in the Church represent the Lord in their teaching. The Church is the Lord's;
the doctrine is the Lord's. Teachers speak at the invitation of the Lord
and are appointed to say what he wants said, nothing more and nothing less.
There is no freedom to teach or speculate contrary to the revealed will.
Those who desire to express views contrary to gospel truth are at liberty
to find other forums or to organize churches of their own. But in God's
Church, the only approved doctrine is God's doctrine." (DNTC
Consider these thoughts from the address
Dallin H. Oaks at the October 1999 General Conference:
teacher of the gospel will teach from the prescribed course material, with
greatest emphasis on teaching the doctrine and principles and covenants
of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is commanded in modern revelation,
where the Lord said:
"'Teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which
are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of
"'And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them,
and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit'
are commanded to teach 'the principles of [the] gospel' and 'the doctrine
of the kingdom' (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific
rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for
determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of
dos and don'ts for keeping the Sabbath Day holy. Once a teacher has taught
the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the
living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the
responsibility of individuals and families.
"Well-taught doctrines and principles have a more powerful influence
on behavior than rules. When we teach gospel doctrine and principles, we
can qualify for the witness and guidance of the Spirit to reinforce our
teaching, and we enlist the faith of our students in seeking the guidance
of that same Spirit in applying those teachings in their personal lives."
"As I have
visited in quorums and Relief Societies, I have generally been pleased
and impressed at how these Teachings of Presidents of the Church are being
presented and received. However, I have sometimes observed teachers who
gave the designated chapter no more than a casual mention and then presented
a lesson and invited discussion on other materials of the teacher's choice.
That is not acceptable. A gospel teacher is not called to choose the subject
of the lesson but to teach and discuss what has been specified. Gospel
teachers should also be scrupulous to avoid hobby topics, personal speculations,
and controversial subjects. The Lord's revelations and the directions of
His servants are clear on this point. We should all be mindful of President
Spencer W. Kimball's great instruction that a gospel teacher is a 'guest':
"'He has been given an authoritative position and a stamp of approval
is placed upon him, and those whom he teaches are justified in assuming
that, having been chosen and sustained in the proper order, he represents
the Church and the things which he teaches are approved by the Church.
No matter how brilliant he may be and how many new truths he may think
he has found, he has no right to go beyond the program of the Church'."
HOW CAN WE BE SURE WE TEACH THE
let them journey from thence preaching the word by the way, saying none
other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written, and
that which is taught them by the Comforter through the prayer of faith."
WHAT DID PAUL
MEAN WHEN HE REFERRED TO ENDLESS GENEALOGIES?
President Joseph Fielding
Smith: "The Jews had scrupulously preserved
their genealogical tables, till the advent of Christ; and the evangelists
had recourse to them, and appealed to them in reference to our Lord's descent
from the house of David: Matthew taking this genealogy of the descending,
Luke of the ascending line. And whatever difficulties we may now find in
these genealogies, they were certainly clear to the Jews; nor did the most
determined enemies of the gospel attempt to raise one objection to it from
the appeal which the evangelists had made to their own public and accredited
tables. All was then certain; but we are told that Herod destroyed the
public registers: he, being an Idumean, was jealous of the noble origin
of the Jews: and that none might be able to reproach him with his descent,
he ordered the genealogical tables, which were kept among the archives
in the temple, to be burned.... From this time the Jews could refer to
their genealogies only from memory, or from those imperfect tables which
had been preserved in private hands; and to make out any regular line from
these, must have been endless and uncertain. It is probably to this the
apostle refers; I mean the endless and useless labor which the attempt
to make out these genealogies, must produce; the authentic tables being
"So we may well conclude that Paul's denunciation was towards doubtful
and untruthful genealogies which had been tampered with for improper purposes."
(Answers To Gospel Questions, 1:214-215)
Paul may also
have had reference to the Jewish tendency to take great pride in their
ancestry and in their belief that genealogical descent was a proof of God's
Praying For Others
1 TIMOTHY 2:1-4. Prayers be made for all men.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
FOR US TO HEED PAUL'S COUNSEL TO PRAY FOR ALL PEOPLE?
It is good in the sight of
the Savior. He desires to have all men come to him and be saved. (see v3-4)
If we are to become
like God, we must develop a love for all men and wish for all to be partakers
of eternal salvation.
WHAT BE MIGHT
SOME CHALLENGES TO DOING THIS MEANINGFULLY?
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME
Paul says that
we should pray for kings and all that are in authority.
WHY SHOULD WE
PRAY PARTICULARLY FOR THE LEADERS OF NATIONS?
That we may lead a quiet and
peaceable life. (see v2)
That the doors
of missionary work may be opened.
So that men can
fulfill their religious duties without interference.
Jesus: Our Mediator
"For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1
IN WHAT WAYS IS
JESUS THE MEDIATOR BETWEEN US AND THE FATHER?
saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
We cannot achieve
eternal life with Heavenly Father without the intervention of Jesus Christ
on our behalf.
for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of
death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first
testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
WHAT IS A MEDIATOR?
One who brings
two sides of an issue together in hopes of finding resolution.
I spent several years as an
elected union official and spent a lot of time in labor/management relations. In
that position, I often had the opportunity to be a mediator between an employee
and management. In order to avoid the filing of grievances, and the costly
process of arbitration, I attempted to work with the two disputing parties in an
effort to resolve their differences.
I recall a situation where an employee was frustrated because she had
not received promotion to the next level in the career level. The
employee blamed the employer for being unfair and cheating her out of the
promotion. In contrast, the employer maintained that the employee
was not performing in all areas up to the standard required for the position. The two sides were at an impasse. As a mediator, I brought both sides
together to discuss the situation. A three month performance plan
was mapped out, to which both sides agreed. If the employee adhered
to the plan, the employer agreed to make the promotion. The plan
was executed and the employee received the promotion at the end of three
Christ is our
mediator with the Father. In a sense, we are like the disgruntled
employee. Our performance level is such, that we are unable to achieve
the lofty goal of eternal life with Heavenly Father. We cannot overcome
the penalty of sin on our own. We need a mediator to step in and
help us. Jesus Christ is the mediator. He overcame physical
death and through the atonement bridged the gap between us and eternal
life with the Father. He stepped in, provided that which we could not provide,
and has now put us on a performance plan. Like the frustrated employee,
if we follow through on the performance plan (keeping the commandments
and living the gospel of Jesus Christ) we will receive the eternal promotion.
Teachings on Modesty
1 TIMOTHY 2:8-10. Adorn in modest apparel.
HOW DOES PAUL'S
COUNSEL ABOUT MODEST DRESS AND BEHAVIOR COMPARE WITH THE COUNSEL OF MODERN
DAY CHURCH LEADERS?
Smith: "The standards expressed by the
General Authorities of the Church are that women, as well as men, should
dress modestly. They are taught proper deportment and modesty at all times.
It is, in my judgment, a sad reflection on the 'daughters of Zion' when
they dress immodestly. Moreover, this remark pertains to the men as well
as to the women. The Lord gave commandments to ancient Israel that both
men and women should cover their bodies and observe the law of chastity
at all times." (Answers To Gospel Questions, 5:174)
Excerpt from For The Strength
of Youth, pages 14-15
- "Prophets of God have
always counseled His children to dress modestly. The way you dress is a
reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages
about you to others and influence the way you and others act. When you are well
groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and can
exercise a good influence on those around you.
"Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing
so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval
and that modesty is important only when it is convenient."
WHY HAVE OUR LEADERS
PUT SUCH AN EMPHASIS ON THIS COUNSEL?
WHY DO YOU THINK
PAUL WARNED US AGAINST WEARING COSTLY APPAREL?
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
styles and fashions in women's dress, whatever they may happen to be at
any moment, being of the world, which those who join the Church are commanded
to forsake, are improper and to be avoided. Almost always the apparel so
involved is excessively costly, with those who wear it being lifted up
in the pride of their hearts. The Nephite prophets repeatedly identified
the wearing of costly clothing with apostasy and failure to live by gospel
standards. (Jac. 2:13; Alma 1:6, 32; 4:6; 5:53; 31:27-28; 4 Ne. 24; Morm.8:36-37.)
The love of precious clothing is one of the desires of the great and abominable
church. (1 Ne. 13:7-8.) In this dispensation, the Lord has commanded: 'Thou
shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their
beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands.' (D. & C. 42:40.)"
Be An Example
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."
(1 Timothy 4:12)
WHAT DOES PAUL'S
COUNSEL TO TIMOTHY TEACH US ABOUT THE WAYS WE SHOULD BE AN EXAMPLE TO OTHERS?
Paul says that
we are to be an example of the believers. When others view us they
should see within us the characteristics of a true follower of Christ.
We should be upbeat
and optimistic. We should have the greatest hope of all men.
In word and conversation:
The way we write and speak says everything about our character and what
we truly believe.
In charity: How
do we treat others? Do we follow the example of Christ.
In spirit and
faith: Are we true to the church and the gospel. Do we radiate the
spirit. Do we keep the commandments.
In purity: We
talked about modesty. What do we read? What kind of television,
videos, and movies do we view?
WHY SUCH EMPHASIS
ON SETTING A PROPER EXAMPLE?
We are a billboard
for the gospel, either positive or negative. Billions are spent each
year to advertise a multitude of products and services. Most
any organization will admit that the best kind of advertising is also free,
"word of mouth." We are the "word of mouth" advertisers of the gospel.
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father which is in heaven."
As Paul wrote to
the Galatians, "A little leaven leaveneth the
whole lump" (Galatians 5:7). We can make a difference
in the world.
1 TIMOTHY 6:7-10. The love of money.
It is important
to note that it is the "love of money," not
the money, that is the root of all evil (see v10).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks:
"There is nothing inherently evil about
money. The Good Samaritan used the same coinage to serve his fellowman
that Judas used to betray the Master. It is 'the love of money [which]
is the root of all evil.' (1 Timothy 6:10) The critical difference
is the degree of spirituality we exercise in viewing, evaluating, and managing
the things of this world." (Ensign,
Nov 1985, p63)
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS
OF BEING OBSESSED WITH RICHES?
According to Paul:
One may fall or
be snared into temptation.
One could be led
into foolish and hurtful lusts.
Once we have fallen
into temptation and partaken of foolish and hurtful lusts, we have begun the
slide down the slippery slope which can drown men in eternal destruction.
Those who covet
money have erred from the faith.
It has led to
piercing one "through with many sorrows."
IN WHAT SENSE
IS THE LOVE OF MONEY THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL?
unto the rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because
they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their
hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their God.
And behold, their treasure shall perish with them also."
(2 Nephi 9:30)
According to this
verse, those who love money have their hearts set upon their riches. When
our hearts become
focused on anything besides the gospel, we can be led away from that which
is good and right and eternal.
Money has the
allure of security, of things, of power, and fame. It has the potential
of leading us into all kinds of sins.
HOW CAN WE BE
SURE THAT WE DO NOT BECOME CORRUPTED BY THE DESIRE FOR MATERIAL WEALTH?
Time after time
after time, we discuss the question of how we resist influences that can
lead us and our families away from the gospel and its saving principles. The answers remain basically the same: feast on the word of God, prayer
and meditation, repentance, service to our fellow men, commune with our
fellow Saints, and the variety of other activities involved in the gospel.
before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.
And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek
them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good--to clothe the naked, and
to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the
sick and the afflicted." (Jacob
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
of the great purposes of this mortal probation is to allow men to choose
between the riches of the world and the riches of eternity. Those who set
their hearts on the things of this world lose their souls. 'Wo unto the
rich, who are rich as to the things of the world. For because they are
rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts
are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their God. And behold.
their treasure shall perish with them also.' (2 Ne. 9:30.) 'For what shall
it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?' (Mark 8:36-37.) Those
who set their hearts on the things of the Spirit inherit eternal riches
which consist of eternal life." (DNTC,
Evils of the
2 TIMOTHY 3:1-5. Perilous times to come.
ARE WE EXPERIENCING
THIS IN OUR TIME?
Lovers of their
own selves: The time we are living in is a time of the "me."
parents: Many children seem to be turning away from parental authority and
affection: So many seem to have no concern for others. Consider the
increasing rates of violence, particularly within homes.
Trucebreakers: Consider the lawsuits and counter suits within society.
Incontinent: According to
Elder McConkie this means "Without self-control;
failing to restrain appetites and passions, especially sexual appetites" (DNTC 3:109).
Having a form
of godliness, but denying the power thereof: Consider the multitude of
churches and religions professing the path to salvation, but lack the power
Elder Bruce R. McConkie:
speaks here of the direful spiritual darkness that covers the earth in
the dispensation of the fulness of times, the seeds of which were even
then sprouting among the meridian Christians. This apostasy, spawned by
Satan and nurtured in lust, has increased and abounded for two millenniums
-- until it is universal and all pervading; until God himself has quoted
Paul's very words in describing it; until the perilous times following
the restoration of the gospel; until this final period of the earth's temporal
continuance in which we now live; and it shall continue until the cup of
iniquity overflows; until the Lord shall return to take vengeance on the
wicked; until he shall come to destroy and burn and consume every ungodly
thing and to usher in his own era of millennial righteousness."
AGAIN, HOW CAN
WE PROTECT OURSELVES FROM THESE EVILS?
We need to learn to turn away
from the allure of evil and avoid the temptation.
We must seek to
know the Lord as never before.
Study the scriptures.
2 TIMOTHY 3:12-17. Scripture inspiration from God.
A study and knowledge
of the scriptures provides knowledge regarding the principles of salvation.
They teach us
the correct path and may reprove us at times.
Teach us how to
Lead us towards
discourse on the Last Days, Paul says that men are, "Ever
learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."
(2 Timothy 3:7)
IS THIS HAPPENING
IN OUR DAY?
It is another
evil to be wary of in our day.
that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties,
and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they
are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it
aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness
and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.
But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God."
(2 Nephi 9:28-29)
2 TIMOTHY 4:6-8. Paul has fought the good fight.
Paul occasionally makes
reference to athletics.
"Know ye not that they which run
in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain."
(1 Corinthians 9:24)
us run with patience the race that is set before us."
I have made reference
to my experience in running a marathon. Such a race
is a capsule of what we are attempting to do in this life. Over 26.2
miles, one goes through many struggles including the desire to quit. For most, success in a marathon is simply in finishing the race. We don't need to be the first across the finish line. But as Paul
stated to the Hebrews, we need to run with "patience the race that is set
before us." We want to "finish the course." Running a marathon
is sometimes an exercise in patience. When one begins the race, there
is a lot of adrenaline and energy. If one runs too fast, the runner
will collapse before the race is finished. We want to be consistent
in our efforts throughout life, doing the best we can at the time, so that
we can endure to the end, finish the course, and win the prize.
HOW CAN WE RECEIVE
THIS SAME ASSURANCE THAT PAUL SEEMED TO HAVE NEAR THE END OF HIS LIFE?
Fight a good fight: Stand up to evil.
Finish the course: Endure to the end.
In his letter to Titus, Paul gave many
instructions about living righteously. Consider these:
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of Paul to Timothy and Titus. What
can you do so that you can say as Paul, " I have fought a good fight, I have
finished my course, I have kept the faith."
Resources Used In This Lesson
Answers To Gospel Questions by Joseph Fielding Smith.
Conference Reports (CR).
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary by Bruce R. McConkie (DNTC).
For The Strength of Youth.
New Testament Apostles Testify of Christ by D. Kelly Ogden and Andrew C.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
02 September 2015