2 Timothy, 2
1: Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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. 3: Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4: 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. 5: And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 6: The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. 7: Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. 8: Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 9: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10: 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. 11: It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: 12: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. 14: 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. 15: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 16: But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17: And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18: Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 19: 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. 20: 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. 21: 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. 22: Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23: But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24: And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25: In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26: And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Having encouraged Timothy to hold on to the faith he next encourages him to become inwardly strong in the gracious empowering of Christ and to entrust these truthes that he has learnt from me to faithful men who will become able to teach others also. Paul is interested in Timothy but he is also interested in the disciples of Timothy. And Paul says there are two criteria to look for in these men. The first is faithfulness and the second is the potential ability to teach others also. If these men are not willing to make the commitment to be faithful then they are unsuitable to be candidates for Timothy’s special attention. And they must be bright, articulate and have the heart of a teacher. And then Paul moves back to the teacher. He says to Timothy endure the hardship with me like a soldier of Jesus Christ. And like a soldier do not get all tied up in the things of this world. But seek only to please your commander. If a man enters into the Olympics he is not medalled if he breaks the rules. And don’t forget that the fruit-grower is the first to taste the fruit. May God help you to understand these things. Don’t forget that Jesus Christ was a Jew and he was raised from the dead according to my gospel. It’s because of this that l suffer as an criminal and l am even in prison – But the message of the gospel is not imprisoned. Paul says it is for the truth of the Gospel that l suffer that believers might be delivered from error. It is a trustworthy saying that if we die with Christ we will also be raised with him. If we suffer with him we will also reign with him. If we publically deny him he will publically deny us. If we cease to believe, yet he remains faithful he cannot go back on his word. Some believers find that in the struggles of persecution they publically deny Christ and he then refuses to publically own them. However even if we loose faith in him he still stands by his word. Our salvation is still secure even if we are in disgrace. Tell your disciples all of these things giving them a solemn responsibility before the Lord not to argue over words to no purpose. These things only undermine those who hear it. Paul says, get ready, quickly, to present yourself to the Lord as one of his faithful workmen. A workman that is not ashamed of himself because he rightly differentiating the truth of scripture. This means to understand and to interpret scripture in such a way that it is correctly applied. But turn your back on godless and childish talk because they just increase godlessness. And the ideas are destructive like gangrene. Then Paul names two men Hymenaeus and Philetus who he says have erred from the truth by saying that Christ has come already and that the resurrection is past. They greatly disturb the faith of some believers. However in spite of these things the rock solid truth of God stands as secure as ever. The Lord knows those that belong to him (even if we don’t) and everyone that does call themselves a believer are to forsake sin. In a great villa there are not only vessels of gold and silver but there are also vessels of wood and clay. Some are honourable and others dishonourable. If a man forsakes sin he will be a vessel of honour, holy and usable in the masters service and ready for every good work. God can use large and small vessels gold and silver but never dirty vessels. So, says Paul, run away from the desires of young men and pursue righteousness, faith, charity and peace with all of those who call on the Lord with a pure mind. But stupid and ignorant discussions refuse, because they give birth to heated arguments. Paul gives a general principle to Timothy says, the servant of the Lord has a moral obligation not to be involved in pointless arguments but to be tender hearted to all men (he cannot join one side of the argument) He is to be able to teach and patient and in humility instructing those in error who contradict themselves. Maybe God will give them a change of mind to accept the truth and they will escape the snare of the Devil who has captured them against their will.