A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
A Worker Approved by God
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Paul sat in chains writing to Timothy whom he loved deeply as a son. From behind bars, he continued to encourage and call people forward toward their God given purpose. Here is an individual who no matter what or where he found himself he was committed to the work of Christ in others. Astounding. He simply didn’t let the circumstances sway his opinion, dampen his fervor or lighten his words. He was truly a man so caught up in his love for Christ he suffered all he did, lost most if not everything the world had to offer, and still kept calling people toward their noble purpose.
The beauty though is found in Paul ultimately encouraging Timothy to hear what he is saying and let the Holy Spirit work through those things.
“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”2 Timothy 2:7
This is indeed where we find our noble purpose and God’s calling. We need the Word of God sewn into our hearts daily. We need the voices of other strong Believers and their insight. But we also need the absolute power of the Holy Spirit guiding and directing us each and every moment. We must be receptive and obedient to Him through all these avenues of opportunity for us to stay on track spiritually but also to make an impact to our own corner of the world where we’ve been placed.
2 Timothy 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There’s only one Gospel. There’s only one Gospel. There’s. Only. ONE. Gospel.
The Gospel = Suffering
Paul continues to reiterate the fact that the Gospel requires sacrifice, suffering, and even imprisonment. Suffer. Hardworking. Endure. Faithful. These are all characteristics of someone who is following Jesus. These are traits of obedience. In 2 Timothy 1, Paul urged Timothy to guard what has been entrusted to him. Guarding means more than just understanding… it means action.
Paul’s attitude is one of embracing suffering to that God’s message can flourish. He makes the statement that he is bound, but God’s message is not. This is why we press forward and endure. There are other “Pauls” out there who are currently hostile to God but who are waiting on a Spirit-led message to break through their hardened hearts. I think Paul viewed his suffering as minimal compared to the immeasurable return on investment being produced by the Spirit.
Another topic Paul continues to hammer is the idea that Timothy must avoid useless debates with divisive people. He even calls out two men specifically.
But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness. 17 And their word will spread like gangrene; Hymenaeus and Philetus are among them. 18 They have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and are overturning the faith of some.2 Timothy 2:16-18 HCSB
Like gangrene… what an image! These two were teaching that a resurrection had already taken place which was a direct assault on Paul’s teaching that our bodily resurrection will take place after death. This was serious because it changed Salvation to complete instead of “yet to come.”
“…this doctrine forced a radical reorientation of the church’s view of salvation and the Christian life. The realized resurrection meant the completion of salvation. Since this pertained only to the spirit, life in the flesh and life in the world diminished in importance.”IVP Commentary
If a resurrection has already occurred to the point of Salvation being made complete in me, why should I continue to participate here on Earth? Furthermore, it gives a license to sin knowing that you are already “complete” in a spiritual sense. When you remove this foundational principle from the Gospel, everything begins to crumble.
“This false resurrection teaching (which they called “knowledge” – 1Ti 6:21) was the antithesis of the gospel (the truth, 2Ti 2:17; the faith, 1Ti 1:6; 1Ti 6:21) taught by the apostles.”IVP Commentary
Interestingly, Paul warned Timothy against debating such nonsense. In fact, he said it would contribute to an even greater degree of ungodliness.
These are both concepts that no one has mastered. Embracing suffering is difficult. The act of restraining ourselves from divisive, ignorant people is equally difficult. I would argue that the world today teaches the exact opposite of both points. The world would say, embrace what feels good and destroy anyone who disagrees with you. Many so-called Christians do not realize how radical Jesus’ teachings actually are.
A Christian life is a life of learning, failing, sacrificing, and enduring. This is the life that Paul and many other Jesus-followers exemplified.