II Timothy Brief Study Notes
Verse 1: “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This passage is a conclusion to what Paul said to Timothy at the end of chapter one. It is a period of weakness for brethren due to imprisonments and other forms of persecution. Paul’s exhortation is for Timothy to be strong. Timothy can be strong by putting on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Verse 2: “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Paul often told brethren to follow the example he has left for them (I Corinthians 4:16, Philippians 3:17, and I Thessalonians 1:6). Paul made no attempt to get brethren to follow his doctrine, as that would be wrong (Galatians 6:1-12). He wanted brethren to follow his example, so long as he was following the Lord (I Corinthians 11:1). Paul and the other Apostles serve as patterns for us to follow when they have done those things approved of by God. Paul tells Timothy to teach others (faithful men) as he had taught Timothy. The goal was to train faithful men to spread the Gospel. This is a pattern for us to follow today. No inspired writer ever hinted to the fact that secular schools were to serve as training programs for Gospel preachers.
Verses 3-5: “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.” Paul is now telling Timothy to endure hardships as a good soldier. He tells Timothy not to get wrapped up in the affairs of this life. The devil likes to make us too busy for spiritual things. Our focus must be first on our spiritual lives then on our secular lives. Hardships are sure to come to faithful Christians (Matthew 5:10-12, Luke 6:26, and II Timothy 3:12). One sure way to overcome those trials is to be busy doing God’s bidding (I Corinthians 15:58). Paul concludes this specific instruction with verse 5 in which he points out that a man must strive for a prize lawfully. In our spiritual warfare we must be willing to be obedient to God. In our striving to finish the course we must observe our actions to make sure we are not castaways (I Corinthians 9:27).
Verses 6-7: “The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” The husbandman is the “tiller of the soil”, thus we find an instruction fit for a preacher of the Gospel of Christ. The seed is the word of God (Luke 8:11). The fruit of the seed would be obedience. So, the one who is to teach must first heed to what he is teaching: (Romans 2:21) “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself...” (cf. I Timothy 4:16). Paul wants Timothy to perceive what he has said and in so doing he will have understanding.
Verses 8-14: “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.” Paul says that according to his proclamation of the grace of God Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. The Gospel Paul taught was that which was revealed to him through the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 2:9-13 and Galatians 6:8-12). It is faith in the resurrection of not only Christ, but also oneself that keeps the faithful able to endure persecution with something to look forward to (I Corinthians 15:13-26, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, and Peter 1:3). The message of the Resurrection of Christ was important to teach as it was a frequent message to audiences. Notice just a few examples: (Acts 2:31-32, Acts 4:1-2; 32-33, and Acts 17:30-31).
Paul points out in verse 8 that he is bound as a wrong doer (by the standards of men), but the Gospel is not bound. Men can do what they want to try and silence the truth, but the word of God endures and goes on (I Peter 1:25). Paul is willing to endure for the sake of the elect [chosen]. The chosen are Christians (I Peter 2:9). Paul realizes that he must continue on to preach the Gospel so that sinners can be saved regardless of the consequences for he is needed (Philippians 1:21-24). We must be willing to live our lives for Christ, being dead to the ways of sin, and continually confess Him (Romans 6:1-18, Matthew 10:32-33, and Romans 10:11). For Christ to accept those who will not confess Him, is for Christ to deny who He is. Paul concludes these sayings in verse 14 by pointing out that Timothy is to have brethren remember these things so that they do not teach unprofitable things that lead to the destruction of the hearers. Teachers of God’s word need to teach those things which save (Romans 1:16), not empty words.
Verse 15: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The ASV of 1901 translates this verse to say: “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth.” The NKJV says: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The word translated “study” in the KJV is the Greek word “spoudazo” which is defined by Thayer as meaning: “to hasten, make haste 2) to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence.” The idea conveyed in this verse is that a Christian is to endeavor to be approved unto God. We need to examine ourselves (II Corinthians 13:5). We are to be workmen who are not ashamed. We are to properly handle [teach correctly] the word of God. This verse does not convey that we are to study the Bible in the way it is often referenced. The Bible is clear in that we are to study God’s word and know what it means (John 5:39, Acts 17:10-11 and II Peter 3:18). The Bible is clear that we need to be able to prove truth (I Thessalonians 5:21 and I Peter 3:15). But, this verse is not saying that. This verse is about introspection. The conclusion of this verse introduces the next few verses. We are to be sure of what we are teaching. We are to properly handle God’s word.
Verses 16-19: “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” In contrast to rightly handling the word of truth Timothy is told to shun [avoid] profane [ungodly] and vain babblings [empty discussion]. These things lead to more ungodliness. These profane and vain words eat as a canker [gangrene]. Such is what occurred with Hymenaeus and Philetus whom taught error about the Resurrection and caused some to have their faith destroyed by this false doctrine. This is obviously a false doctrine because the Bible is clear that all will stand before the Lord in the day of which the Resurrection and Judgment occur (Matthew 25:31-46 and John 5:28-29). Clearly this doctrine would destroy that which kept believers going. To have no more hope is to lead a hopeless life.
Nevertheless, though this false doctrine is being taught, the foundation of God still stands. We are built upon the sure foundation of Jesus and the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20-22). Paul shows that God knows those who are His. We will not be lost in the mix of sinners or left behind. God will reward the faithful (Revelation 2:10). If you are going to be known as a follower of Christ you are to depart from sin. Otherwise, you are a hypocrite and hypocrites have their reward (Matthew 6:16).
Verses 20-21: “But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.” In the context here Paul is discussing false teachers. Paul points to a large house and how there are valuable precious things and then there are objects which are not valuable. Among brethren there are Christians of honor who are valuable and there are the dishonorable as well. Those who are faithful Christians are to purge [clean out] those who are false and unfaithful. Such is what Paul instructed to the brethren at Corinth (I Corinthians 5:1-13) and to those in Thessalonica (II Thessalonians 3:6). If we continue to remain joined together with dishonorable brethren we are then guilty of partaking in their sins by association (II John 9-11). So, for us to be good for the usage of God, we must rid ourselves [the faithful] of the unfaithful. Thus, by our understanding of verse 15 we can be ready for good works.
Verse 22: “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Similar words as these can be found written to Timothy in the first letter from Paul (I Timothy 4:12 and 6:11). The word youthful applies to those things typically desired among the young. Speculation might lead us to think of the social affairs typical among young folks. Timothy can avoid this by following the right ways in his conduct (Matthew 5:14-16), his faith (James 2:14-26), his love (I Corinthians 13:4-13), his control (I Corinthians 9:27), peace (Romans 2:10), and having a pure [clean] heart (I Timothy 1:5). Having a pure heart is necessary for anyone to obey the Lord. Here in this verse Paul points out that it is from our hearts that we have love [charity]. It is love that brings forth obedience (John 14:15 and I John 5:1-3). Notice some of the things that occur in our hearts:1. It is with the heart that man believes (Romans 10:10).
2. It is the heart of man that thinks [as Christ points out here] (Matthew 9:4).
3. It is from the heart man speaks (Matthew 12:34).
4. Forgiveness is from the heart (Matthew 18:35).
5. It is with our hearts that we reason (Mark 2:6).
6. It is with the heart that man purposes (II Corinthians 9:7).
7. It is with the heart we can condemn ourselves (I John 3:21).
8. It is with the heart that man desires (Psalms 10:3).
9. It is with the heart that man sorrows (Psalms 13:2).
10. It is in our heart that we have intentions and thoughts (Hebrews 4:12).
Verse 23: “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Paul has written to Titus a very similar statement (Titus 3:9). Asking foolish and unlearned questions to cause strife was what the enemies of the Lord tried to do to Him (Matthew 22:15-46). We are told to avoid these questions that have a hidden agenda.
Verses 24-26: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Servants of Christ must not strive [engage in a war of words, to quarrel, wrangle, dispute], but must be gentle (Matthew 10:16). A Christian must be able to teach (Hebrews 5:12-14). A Christian must be able to be meek [gentle] in instructing those who are spiritually opposing themselves. Faithful Christians must be willing to help those who are in need of spiritual guidance. We must be willing to help those caught in sin and bear their burden (Galatians 6:1-2 and Jude 22-23). Those individuals have not been calm and watchful for Satan (I Peter 5:8), as he has taken them. They must come to their senses about their current spiritual status. They are doing Satan’s will, not the Lord’s.
2003 by Brian A. Yeager may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.
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