2nd Timothy Chapter 2 Study
2 Timothy 2:1: Paul had been talking in chapter one about the holy calling of Christ’s Gospel and how affliction is inevitable as one walks according to its terms in obedience to Christ. In Timothy’s case, he should press forward in his duties as a Gospel minister undeterred. Paul is about to elaborate on these.
2:2: If Timothy will take the time and effort to teach the truth of God’s Word to faithful men (he has a guide to what is profitable to teach by the things which he heard Paul teach publicly), the faithful who hear him will find a way to teach these things to others also. They may not have great ability. Yet, where there is a wall there is a way. To be faithful one must embrace the hardship involved in faithfulness. To continue in faithfulness one must not shrink from the trials and difficulty which they perceive staying true to the Lord and His Word will lead to. There is no point in Timothy discipling unfaithful people, no matter how gifted they seem. We’re dealing with personal discipleship here.
2:3: Or, affliction or hardship. Paul will use the same Greek word a handful of verses later in 2:9 to describe his own trouble as a Gospel minister. He will use the same word again to exhort Timothy in 4:5 of this book.
2:4: That warreth= Serves in a military campaign.
Understand that though this could directly apply to Timothy not getting a secular job so he can be freed up for his duties as a Gospel minister (h likely had adequate, righteous financial support from the church at this time), there is a principle given here that any Gospel minister who would be faithful to the Lord needs to not get entangled in affairs (or business) of life more than is necessary. To many Christian men, family becomes an excuse to settle into a comfort zone where they take no risks and shrink from inconvenience for the Lord- because their family supposedly can’t do without them for a few hours or a few days or a few nights.
2:5: There are no shortcuts around taking up the cross and facing the afflictions which staying true to God’s Word causes for you and leads you into. There are no shortcuts to the crown. As Paul will shortly say directly, we’ll live with Christ if we are dead with Him. We plainly won’t otherwise. Only the way of the cross leads to glory. But there are many schemes devised by man, even right in evangelical Christianity at this time, which falsely promise eternal life to people without calling them into this way. These are simultaneously means whereby unfaithful ministers shrink from the cross and heap damnation to themselves. One really, really, really obvious example would be the churches which create a carnival atmosphere and induce the people they draw into this to say a quick 1-2-3 sinner’s prayer, to supposedly accept Christ, which they are promised will be their guaranteed ticket to heaven. That is not striving lawfully!
The truth here in verse five also rebukes the multitude of imposter gospel ministers who commit adultery, do other perverted things and/or criminal things, and shelter workers under them who do the same. They often threaten those who know what is going on not to report it to the police or make it public. The reason they often give to compel silence is that (they say) telling the truth about the corruption will “destroy the ministry.” Yet such a ministry is already destroyed. It is a devil’s den. It cannot minister righteousness. Anyone involved in the ministry who is involved in its corruption, or who knows about its corruption, can’t do what is honest and strive lawfully unless they come clean.
2:6: This is related to 1 Timothy 4:16. A Gospel minister must take heed to himself and to his doctrine to save himself and those who hear him. He must be fed himself with the Word he eventually ministers to others, and he must walk in the light of the same, in order to feed others with the Word and lead them according to the Word. He should come to the Word to be ministered and gain understanding rather than to prepare sermons. The messages for others should stem from coming to the Word like that. .
2:7: The things just said should especially be thought upon in order to glean the important insights which can be derived from them.
2:8: Those who follow Him will be led into circumstances of trouble which in themselves are figurative graves. Yet the One whose path brought them into hardship is working out His own holy purpose and demonstrating the sufficiency of His grace through the same. Those who follow the real Jesus Christ through affliction can be assured of eventual deliverance. They can also be assured that the things they are going through in obedience to His Word are of eternal profit.
John 12:24-26: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.”
2:9-10: We see the same concept here that we see throughout the Bible, but especially in the epistles to Timothy. That is, the concept that the elect (or the chosen ones) still need to be saved. Colossians 1:21-29, which is frequently quoted in these studies, is an especially fitting cross reference here along with Matthew 24:4-13 and Matthew 24:25.
2:11-12: And those who live with Him in eternity will reign with Him in eternity. There is no “lesser salvation” that one can obtain in Christ. It is either that or the second death in the lake of fire.
Revelation 22:3-5: “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.”
2:13: If we believe not= if we betray our trust; if we are unfaithful.
That He cannot deny Himself is why He will deny us if we deny Him. The previous verse says that if we deny Him He will deny us. That He cannot deny Himself is also the reason we’ll live with Him if we be dead with Him, and will reign with Him if we suffer with Him. Verse thirteen gives the logic of the things stated in verses eleven and twelve.
2:14: The word for subverting here is katastrophe in the Greek. The elect can have a spiritual catastrophe. Keep in mind that Paul is charging Timothy to charge the Christians not to strive over words which are unprofitable but which are rather to the subverting of the hearers. He is not saying that such words should not just be ignored. The Christians shouldn’t be so speaking- but if they are, the leadership needs to deal with them.
2:15: Paul is telling Timothy to study to make a straight cut with the Word of truth; to use the Word properly so it directs people properly in the narrow way to life in Christ Jesus. Many wrongly teach Bible passages so that the errant conclusions they state are contrary to other passages in the Bible. Remember how Satan selectively quoted from the Bible to try to lead Jesus into sin in the wilderness. Jesus understood all of the principles of the Word so well that He recognized Satan’s use of the word as improper. Rightly dividing the Word is not a mysterious, subjective thing. Yet it does take diligence, honesty, and the willingness to bear the hardship which rightly dividing the Word could very well bring upon one who does so. Only those ministers of the Word who do these things will be approved (“dokimos” in the Greek) by God. Those who don’t do so will be ashamed- even (and especially) by the sin committed by those actually heeded them. One can also be an unfaithful workman by failing to understand Bible truth like they should have and/or by deliberately holding back things from the Word of truth which their hearers really need to hear. We’re about to read about the doctrine of Hymaneus and Philetus which will inevitably lead those who heed it into sin. Teachers like this should be ashamed of themselves.
2:16: Or, avoid or keep away from unholy and empty talk. Such will promote and increase ungodliness. The Greek word for “increase” here gives the picture of lengthening out by hammering.
2:17a: Canker here is “gangraina” in the Greek. It’s obviously a reference to gangrene. Consider how the previous verse talked about how profane, vain babblings will increase unto more ungodliness.
Strong’s Concordance explains gangrene here with the following: “a disease by which any part of the body suffering from inflammation becomes so corrupted that, unless a remedy be seasonably applied, the evil continually spreads, attacks other parts, and at last eats away the bones.”
In the last study on First Timothy, it was said regarding 1 Timothy 4:15-16: If Timothy is not faithful himself and does not have the dealings with the Lord which he needs to have, then his doctrine will get twisted somehow. And even if it somehow did not, he could not be the example he needed to be nor exercise the wisdom an overseer needs to exercise to guide the church and those in it right. One wrong concept in their mind can lead to their eventual derailing if not properly addressed.
2:17b-18: The concept which Hymaneus and Philetus were promoting would surely derail those who heeded their promotion of it. They must have really sounded convincing. They deceived even some of the elect. The Once Saved Always Saved teachers and the healing in the atonement people essentially say that the resurrection is past as they teach that Christians are promised the benefits of a blessed resurrection now, before the resurrection. They can sound convincing too like Hymaneus and Philetus must have sounded. And like them, they also even deceive the elect so that they fall from grace and disqualify themselves from the rightful hope of a blessed resurrection which they once had in truth.
2:19: Iniquity here is not anomia (without law) like it frequently is in the Greek when we find the word “iniquity” in the New Testament. Yet the word here in the Greek is “adikia” (ad-ee-kee-ah), which is a synonym of anomia. It is speaking of a deed violating law or justice; an act of unrighteousness.
Those who preach Christ without insisting on departure from unrighteousness in coming to Him, and in remaining in Him, thus prove themselves to be preachers of a counterfeit salvation which opposes real salvation in Jesus Christ. Such are like Judas who betrayed the Son of Man with a kiss.
2:20: Wicked professing Christians will not stand in the judgment in their spiritual state. They nevertheless can be useful on earth for God’s purpose in preparing a pleasing bride for Christ. People should at least take heed to their bad example and take great care not to follow them in that. This verse is not saying that heretics and false doctrine ought to be suffered in a church that would be faithful to the Lord. It is only speaking about the inevitability that such must be dealt with. When that dealing is done well, the vessels of dishonor will not be heeded and they will be cast out of the church in the instances they have crept into it.
2:21: This is referring to the profane, vain babblings which have been spoken of and those who promote them. This is said with the implication that those who purge themselves from these also embrace sound Christian doctrine and live accordingly. The next verse makes this clear.
2:22: And consider that this is said to Timothy who had already proven himself a holy, faithful younger man. Youthful lusts can be much more subtle ,and they can come in other forms than people generally think of them. There is a principle given here that we should be on guard against the types of sins which our particular age makes us more susceptible to.
2:23: This is not saying not to contend for true doctrine when that is challenged. Note that this is dealing with foolish and unlearned questions. The Greek words for foolish and unlearned here could have been translated as moronic and uneducated. There is a time when true wisdom calls for certain issues or questions to be avoided- at least at the given moment in the given circumstances. This topic with this particular person right now can go nowhere good and it will rather likely cause a childish quarrel or at least be a big distraction and a waste of time. Along with that, there are several boldly professing Christians who are like the Athenians described in Acts chapter 17:21 who spend their time “in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” There are several church environments and internet discussion forums like that too. This is related to what Paul is warning Timothy against getting into himself and warning him against letting the church environment at Ephesus turn into.
2:24a: The qualifications given for an elder in 1 Timothy include not being a striker nor a brawler. The servant of the Lord must not have an argumentative, confrontational character. Remember though that Timothy isn’t fighting the Philistines like David was. Even David, when he was walking right with the Lord, didn’t have an argumentative, confrontational nature in his personal dealings. Yet David dealt harshly with enemy invaders of his nation. Even Timothy, in overseeing the church, has to do the same thing in principle with wolves which threaten the flock and known hypocrites within.
We have to receive the entire counsel of God. We have to take what is said here, and we also have to receive things like what Paul told Titus regarding what an overseer must do.
Titus 1:9-13: “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.”
Paul will say similar things to Timothy in the remainder of this book.
2:24b-2:25a: Meekness or mildness should be the servant of the Lord’s normal disposition. We have a message dealing with why preachers should not be regularly screaming at their audience.” There are times it is appropriate for a preacher to yell, but a guy whose normal disposition causes him to do that constantly is not a faithful servant of God, no matter what he says, and he ought to be fled from.
A wise servant of Christ will not look to win an argument but will rather look to attack the error the person is in at its root so the source of why they’re drawn to this error, and so zealous for it, will be cut off.
2:25b: This is not saying that God repents for anyone. The command to repent is given to man. No one can rightfully blame God for their failure to properly repent. Some people though have hardened their heart and seared their conscience so much that God has given them over entirely to the delusions of their own heart and His Spirit has ceased striving with them.
2:26a: Proving that they have to repent themselves.
2:26b: Yet those who hold onto sin and refuse to come under the authority of the only true Lord and Savior must remain under the devil’s dominion.
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