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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

2 Timothy 2

Verses 1-13

  1. Intro:
    1. Here Paul borrows images from daily life to illustrate the traits necessary for effective service. (Shepherd’s Notes; pg.48)
    2. Outline: Discipling Teacher; Dedicated Soldier; Disciplined Athlete; Diligent Farmer.
  2. THE WINNING CHRISTIAN LIFE! (1-13)
    1. DISCIPLING TEACHER! (1,2)
    2. Be strong – “keep on being empowered by God” - “Keep in touch w/the power” (A.T.Robertson)
    3. In Jesus Grace – free grace, saving grace, gifting grace, enabling grace, providing grace, abounding grace, strengthening grace.
    4. We are not only to guard the treasure(1 Tim 6:20) but pass it on to others!
      1. A Sunday School teacher, a Mr. Kimball, in 1858, led a Boston shoe clerk to give his life to Christ.
      2. The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, became an evangelist. In England in 1879, he awakened evangelistic zeal in the heart of Fredrick Meyer, pastor of a small church.
      3. F. B. Meyer, preaching to an American college campus, brought to Christ a student named J. Wilbur Chapman.
      4. Chapman, engaged in YMCA work, employed a former baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work.
      5. Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, N.C. A group of local men were so enthusiastic afterward that they planned another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to town to preach.
      6. During Hamm's revival, a young man named Billy Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ.
        1. Only eternity will reveal the tremendous impact of that one Sunday School teacher, Mr. Kimball, who invested his life in the lives of others.
      7. “The task of the local church is no to preserve the truth, as in a museum; but to live it & to teach it to the generation to come.” (Warren Wiersbe; N.T. Oulines.)
      8. We need to have active involvement in the training of a future generation of Christian servants.
        1. 2.4.8.1. Preaching isn’t enough, we must carefully instruct.
      9. A teacher is not there just to acquaint you with the tools of your trade; a teacher is a tool of your trade, no matter what that trade is.
    5. Sterile Christians…reproduce yourself!
      1. S. Truett Cathay, owner of Chick Filet said, “If you wish to enrich days, plant flowers; If you wish to enrich years, plant trees; If you wish to enrich Eternity, plant ideals in the lives of others.”
    6. There was a Filipino Methodist Bishop on a Europe-bound ship. The Bishop told of his experience when he came to North America as a student years before. The 1st Sunday his roommate appeared in the doorway, an umbrella under each arm. He offered to show him the way to his place of worship and then planned to go on to his own church. As they started down the street he thought, "If this man has this kind of faith and interest in my spiritual life surely I should find out what his faith is like." He asked his friend to take him to his church and he attended it all four years.As a result he attended Drew Theological Seminary and years later became a Bishop in the church.
      1. "There is such a thing as a direct call from God w/o mediators…but it's rare. - Usually there is a man with two umbrellas."
    7. DEDICATED SOLDIER! (3,4)
    8. Here we have the opposite of a terrorist.
      1. Even if the terrorist who takes his own life with a bomb. He is still a chicken for not giving anyone a fighting chance against him…not even the elderly & little children that he destroys.
    9. Every Christian is already a soldier in God’s army; it is just that some troops are loyal & some are not.
      1. Q: Are you a battle-ready soldier? Do you know gallantry & sacrifice? Are you fresh out of boot camp?
      2. There are no safe battles—but there are no safe compromises either.
    10. [1] Endure Hardship!
      1. Remember back in Judges 7 when God was looking for “a few good men?”
      2. Gideon had an army of 32,000, the Midianites 135,000 [1 in 4 ratio].
      3. Any tremble w/fear can turn back – 22,000 left [new ratio 1 to 13].
      4. Another screening process - cup there hands to drink{300} [1 to 450]
      5. They were Semper Fidelis! (Always faithful!)
      6. They might die, but they would die with their sandals on, defending Israel! (Kent Hughes pg.191,192)​​​​​​​
      7. “The sword of the Lord & Gideon!” was their battle cry!
      8. Story of a British soldier in the 1st World War who lost heart for the battle and deserted. Trying to reach the coast for a boat to England that night, he ended up wandering in the pitch black night, hopelessly lost. In the darkness he came across what he thought was a signpost. It was so dark that he began to climb the post so that he could read it. As he reached the top of the pole, he struck a match to see and found himself looking squarely into the face of Jesus Christ. He realized that, rather than running into a signpost, he had climbed a roadside crucifix. Then he remembered the One who had died for him -- who had endured -- who had never turned back. The next morning the soldier was back in the trenches.
        1. As a Christian soldier, when you are tired, afraid and discouraged, strike a match in the darkness and look on the face of Jesus Christ!
    11. [2] Not encumbered by civilian life!
      1. Elizabeth Howard(Elliot) was a student at Wheaton College. She had scrutinized the boys on campus and decided that there was really only one who at all interested her: Jim Elliot. He displayed a maturity and godliness that was very attractive. When the school yearbooks were handed out, Elizabeth asked Jim to sign hers, hoping that if there was any interest in her, he might indicate so in signing her yearbook. When he returned it, she rushed to her room, found his signature and read beneath it, “2 Timothy 2:4.”
      2. Uriah was a great example of this! – when David had taken his wife Bathsheba & she conceived, to hide it he brought Uriah back from the battle so he’d come home & sleep w/his wife…but he slept at the door of the kings house(w/servants). 2nd night got him drunk, still didn’t go home. {Sent him into the heat of battle & had Joab retreat back} (2 Sam.11)
      3. Shortly after joining the Navy, the new recruit asked his officer for a pass so he could attend a wedding. The officer gave him the pass, but informed the young man he would have to be back by 7 p.m. Sunday. “You don’t understand, sir,” said the recruit. “I’m in the wedding.” “No, you don’t understand,” the officer shot back.“You’re in the Navy!”
    12. [3] Please your recruiting officer!
      1. Our main task is to please Him – not others, & not ourselves.
      2. Audie Murphy was an unlikely hero. Weighing in at only 112 pounds and with the face of a child, Audie was 18 years old when he went overseas during World War II. Nothing about him suggested a hero in the making. Yet when called upon by his commanding officers to do the duty of a soldier, Murphy held nothing back. By war’s end, the quiet boy from Texas had fought with extraordinary bravery and saved the lives of countless fellow soldiers. He returned home to an adoring public, was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and received at least 36 other medals—more than anyone else in U.S. history, all because nothing meant more to him as a soldier than the will of his commanding officer. (Today in the Word, June 21, 1995) [Headstone: Arlington Nat. Cemetery]

        Napoleon’s genius had been attributed to many things, but, above all, he was a superb natural leader of men. Like any wise leader he was aware that his own success would have been nothing had his men not been willing, even eager, to follow him. Obviously he could not know and personally inspire every man in his vast army, therefore he devised a simple technique for circumventing this difficulty. Before visiting a regiment he would call the colonel aside and ask for the name of a soldier who had served well in previous campaigns, but who had not been given the credit he deserved. The colonel would indicate such a man. Napoleon would then learn everything about him, where he was born, the names of his family, his exploits in battle, etc. Later, upon passing this man while reviewing the troops, and at a signal from the colonel, Napoleon would stop, single out the man, greet him warmly, ask about his family, compliment him on his bravery and loyalty, reminisce about old campaigns, then pin a medal on the grateful soldier. The gesture worked. After the review, the other soldiers would remark, “You see, he knows us—he remembers. He knows our families. He knows we have served.” Bits and Pieces, Oct. 17, 1991
    13. DISCIPLINED ATHLETE! (5)
    14. Here is another proof text that Paul subscribed to ESPN & ESPN2!
      1. In his letters he makes more than 2 dozen references to athletics (Including: boxing, wrestling, running)
      2. Both the Greeks & Romans were enthusiastic athletes, & spectators.
        1. So Paul uses the Olympic Games as an illustration of the practical life of the believer.
      3. The Christina life demands the practice of self-discipline, affecting both personal behavior & inner attitude.
    15. Obeying the Rules! – Ancient athletes who participated in the Olympiad 1st had to complete a required 10 month training period & then swear an oath(before the statue of Zeus) that they had done it. These were the rules.
      1. There must be single-minded, whole hearted discipline!
      2. Think of it – no one gets anywhere w/o this in any area of life!
      3. It suggests rigor & sweat!
    16. The Promised Prize!
    17. If they won the race but broke the rules they were disqualified.
      1. It took discipline, dedication, & direction for an athlete to be a winner.
        1. And it takes these same qualities to produce a winning Christian life.
      2. Scott Hamilton the Olympic skater, shortly after winning his Gold medal said, "Someone asked me why I was looking at the medal so intently. What I was doing was looking at 16 years of my life."
    18. DILIGENT FARMER! (6,7)
    19. Farming was & still is very hard work.
      1. [1] Early & long hours [2] Constant toil(plowing, sowing, tending, weeding, reaping, storing) [3] Regular disappointments(frost, pests, disease) [4] Much Patience(everything happens at less than slow motion) [5] Boredom. (Kent Hughes; pg.196)
    20. The church is a garden, & the seed is the Word of God.
      1. Various servants plant, water, & harvest the seed in due season.
      2. Timothy was not to be discouraged if the harvest failed to come immediately.
        1. It takes time, patience, & hard work to develop a fruitful garden.
        2. “In due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal.6:9)
    21. The farmer who works hard is the 1st to enjoy his fruits.
      1. And the diligent Christian servant can expect the same!
      2. This passage anticipates a final reward for serious & steady service.
    22. (7) Reflect on this. The Lord will give you the insight how to apply it.
    23. A CHAINED MESSENGER & AN UNCHAINED MESSAGE! (8-10)
    24. (8) Jesus is the source & substance of “my gospel” & the reason for my suffering!
      1. Resurrection from the dead is the prime example of victory over death. (It is an encouragement for any believer who faces suffering)
    25. (9) Luther sang(“A Mighty Fortress”), “The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still: His kingdom is forever.”
    26. (10) Paul reminds Timothy that he too was suffering, & it was both for & with Christ, & their suffering was for the benefit of the church.
    27. A HYMN OF HIS FAITHFULNESS! (11-13)
    28. Possibly an early Christian Hymn, or confession of faith, or a Creed of the day.
      1. It emphasizes the believer’s oneness with Christ.
    29. Note the four conditional statements - “If”.
      1. Each statement is an action of the believer.
      2. His main point…the faithfulness of God!
      3. Listen to these “hang in there” lines for Timothy (& us).
      4. 1st Stanza = Conversion – Jesus’ res gives us res life right now!
        1. The proprietor of a drycleaning and dyeing business hung this quaint sign in his window: "We dye to live, we live to dye; the more we dye, the more we live; and the more we live, the more we dye."
          1. 2.29.4.1.1.For the child of God, the more he dies, the more he lives!
      5. 2nd Stanza = Perseverance – Endure, hold your ground. Esp during affliction.
      6. 3rd Stanza = Apostacy – knowingly disown Him.
      7. 4th Stanza = Faithfulness – The final stanza comes as a surprise a magnificent reversal. (wrestling freshman yr.)
    30. He remains faithful - “Are you not afraid you will slip through His fingers?” an unbeliever asked an old saint. “How can I?” “I am one of His fingers!”
      1. We are often unfaithful…God is never unfaithful.
      2. We can always trust God to act according to His character & promises!
      3. What a promise to end on! - Especially to those of us saints, like Peter, who fall into unfaithfulness at times.
        1. Samuel Rutherford, who spent years in Aberdeen prison, wrote, “Often & often, I have in my folly torn up my copy of God’s covenant w/me; but, blessed be His name, He keeps it in heaven safe; & he stands by it always.”
    31. He cannot deny(disown) Himself – No man is always himself, but God is always Himself.
    32. I challenge you saints of Murrieta:
      Find a Timothy & be a teacher that trains, equips, & disciples!
      Be a single-minded, tough-skinned, unencumbered soldier!
      Be a winning athlete that plays by the rules & is pursuing a wreath that won’t perish!
      Be a hard-working, diligent farmer…who will 1 day enjoy his fruit!
      1. C.K.Barrett observes “Beyond warfare is victory, beyond the athlete’s effort is the prize, & beyond agricultural labor is the crop!”
    33. [1st Service] We’ve talked today about a Teacher, a Soldier, an Athlete, & a Farmer…before we close I would like to introduce to you a Pilot!

Verses 14-26

  1. Intro:
    1. What are the Christians answer, attitude, & approach toward Evil things & Enemies of the truth?
  2. jhgjhgjj! (14-26)
    1. WORD-WARRING! (14)
    2. Strive = battle, to wage a war. A war of words!
      1. We are warned NOT to do this saints!
      2. Stay away from petty arguments. Stick to essentials!
      3. Why? – Because the results are no profit, & possibly ruin hearers.
    3. WORD-WARRIORS! (15)
    4. Be Diligent!
    5. Be Diligent! - God has hidden every precious thing in such a way that it is a reward to the diligent, a prize to the earnest, but a disappointment to the slothful soul.
      1. The pearl is buried beneath the ocean waves;
      2. The gold is imprisoned in the rocky heart of the mountains;
      3. The gem is found only after you crush the rock which encloses it;
      4. The soil gives its harvest as a reward to the laboring farmer.
      5. The nut is hidden in its hard case;
      6. So truth and God must be earnestly sought. - The most beneficial study of God’s Word requires diligence and perseverance, but the results are worth the effort. (Adapted from A. B. Simpson; from Streams in the Desert.)
      7. Q: What is the best tasting nut in the world? (macadamia nut for sure!)
      8. The Macadamia is the hardest nut in the world to crack, requiring 300 pound per square inch of pressure to break the shell!
        1. One nut cracker machine…shoots the nut with a speed of 400 mph against an anvil. This action knocks the kernel off but does not yet break the shell. A thousand of a second later a piston breaks open the shell.
        2. We are to be Macadamia Nut Ministers!
    6. Be Approved by God! - Obtain Gods approval.
    7. Be a Workman! - With no reason to be ashamed.
    8. Be Accurate! - In developing the truth.
    9. Rightly dividing “correctly handling” – ὀρθοτοµέω(orthotomeo)
      1. Ortho = straight. {orthopedic, orthodontics, orthodoxy}
      2. Impart the Word Timothy…w/o deviation, straight, undiluted.
      3. Implies cutting through, to cut a straight line/or road, plowing a straight furrow, a mason squaring & cutting a stone.
      4. Get it straight & Give it straight!” (Kent Hughes)
      5. Church requirement – Every Church should be a Bible School, where the Word of God is taught accurately.
      6. Individual requirement – Every Christian should be a Bible
    10. A GANGRENE GOSPEL! (16-19)
    11. What to Avoid!
    12. (17) Cancer = γάγγραινα (gangrene) {what a repulsive metaphor}
      1. Death of tissue: death and decay of soft tissues of the body as a result of lack of blood to the area.
      2. Various causes: including extreme heat or cold, obstruction of blood vessels by disease or a blood clot, or a neurological disorder.
        1. Isn’t this the exact problem with false teaching?
        2. [1] Lack of blood(Jesus’). [2] They are never balanced, but are always at an extreme(Blistering Hot, or Frigid Cold).
          [3] Causing “obstructions” in peoples lives.
        3. They have a “Malaria Message, a Dengue Doctrine, & accompanied by a Tetanus Teaching.”
      3. Their infection oozed w/heresy! (Kent Hughes; pg.211)
      4. Hymenaeus & Philetus were “carriers” of this dangerous infection.
      5. One remedy for false doctrine that eats like cancer?...Healthy doctrine!
      6. So, a repulsive metaphor for a repulsive message!
    13. (18) Resurrection past? – Not speaking of Jesus’ but the final res.
    14. (19) A double seal/inscription!
    15. God knows His own.
      1. Numb.16:3(LXX) – Paul references a famous event in Israel’s history, the rebellion of Korah.
      2. The Levites Korah, & Dathan, & Abiram + 250 other leaders rose up against Moses & Aaron. “The whole community is holy…& the Lord is w/them.”
      3. Moses fell on his face before God & said, “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to Him & who is holy.”
      4. Earth split apart swallowed their tents, livestock, & families.
      5. The others fled, so God consumed them w/a fire come down from heaven, incinerating them.
        1. Now, tie this in with what was happening between Paul & Timothy & their teachings vs. Hymenaeus & Philetus.
    16. His own ought to be known by others by their godly lives.
      1. Our calling is to live in a way that honors Him.
      2. Any sin you need to depart from. Leave it today!
      3. “Those who would take comfort in the 1st inscription must take responsibility for the 2nd.
      4. Knowing the deep things about God demands deep things from us.” (Ibid; pg.213)
    17. VICTORIOUS VESSELS! (20,21)
    18. The visible church on earth, has always been & will continue to be a mixture of true believers(gold & silver vessels) & false teachers (wood & earthenware).
      1. Those who cleanse themselves(forsake false teaching) will be vessels of honor used in the service of the lord.
      2. This is the biblical doctrine of separation.
    19. Present your body as a clean vessel to God.
      1. What if you went to a friend’s house one day and wanted a glass of water. You go into the kitchen and see all across the counter numerous glasses. As you look closer, you see that every one is dirty—lipstick, old cocoa, mold, food, etc. But behind the sink you notice a peanut butter jar that is sparkling clean. What would you use to drink out of?
      2. God is no dumber than we!
    20. (21) Keep yourself in a useable condition for the Lord.
    21. Robert Murray McCheyne, to a young ministerial student:
      1. How diligently the cavalry officer keeps his sabre clean and sharp.
      2. Every stain he rubs off with the greatest care.
      3. Remember you are God’s sword, His instrument, a chosen vessel unto Him to bear His name. - In great measure, according to the purity and perfection of the instrument, will be the success.
      4. It is not great talents God blesses so much as likeness to Jesus.
      5. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God. [Robert Murray McCheyne, to a young ministerial student]
    22. Sanctified – made holy, set apart, for a special purpose before God.
      1. “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts” 1 Pet.3:15
    23. Useful – obviously our level of consecration can affect our level of usefulness to God.
    24. Prepared – to do any good work(NIV).
    25. Contrast between paper plates and fine china.
      1. Paper plates are used once, and thrown away.
      2. Fine china is used and washed and reused.
    26. RUN, RUN! (22)
    27. Flee! – Run Away! Flee as fast as your feet will fly!
      1. Sins of the flesh are never to be reasoned with.
        1. It would be like reasoning with a tornado!
      2. Run from it...not see how close you can get to it.
        1. What would you think of the man who went as near as he could to burning down his house, just to test how much fire it would stand?
        2. Or one who cut himself w/a knife to see how deep he could go w/o mortally wounding himself?
        3. Or one who experimented as to how large a quantity of poison he could take?
        4. So is the man who tries to see how much sin he may indulge in & yet be saved. (Spurgeon #2192)
    28. Pursue! - Run To! Sprint towards. Chase after. Hunt these 4 virtues.
      1. Pursue righteousness – He must personally pursue ethical(right) conduct that glorifies God.
      2. Pursue faith – A combination of belief, plus trust in God.
      3. Pursue love – Namely, love for people. Love the saints, & when you run into circumstances where you realize that some saints are sinners, go on loving them w/all their faults & weaknesses.
      4. Pursue peace – Calm & harmony w/his people...in the company of other believers.
    29. Ok, so Running away from is as important as Running toward! Fleeing is as important as Pursuing. Our no is as important as our yes! Q: What should you flee, what should you chase?
    30. AVOID FOOLS! (23-26)
    31. Don’t get sucked into fruitless controversy.
      1. KRTM call in Q & A show. See screen of callers. I scratched on my notebook & held up a note to the operator, “get rid of caller #10”. [explain who he was] {he never wanted an answer, he wanted a debate}
      2. Q: How many times have you known it was one of those conversations…but continued anyway?
    32. How to win back the misled! (24,25a)​​​​​​​
      1. ​​​​​​​Be Gentle – even to those who oppose or insult us.
        1. ​​​​​​​Often a greater argument than what we say is how we bear being differed from. (J.Sidlow Baxter)
      2. ​​​​​​​Able to teach – Not just apt to talk! Having carefully compared the teachings of the Word on the subject.
        1. ​​​​​​​This takes time but it our decisive weapon.
      3. ​​​​​​​Patient – when wronged. Not resentful.
      4. In Humility – correct those in opposition, with no pride, or we’ll prejudice them.
    33. ​​​​​​​Experience Repentance! if God perhaps will grant them repentance
    34. Know the truth and be set free!
    35. Sober Up! - Come to their senses.
      1. ​​​​​​​LKGNT – The metaphor implies some previous duping by evil influences as in the case of intoxication.
        1. ​​​​​​​The devil loves to numb the conscience.
    36. Escape the Snare! escape the snare of the devil.
      1. Win release of Satan’s stronghold.
    37. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​What is our weapon in all of this?
      1. Our weapon is the Word; but the vital handling of it is in the spirit we show, & the way we behave.
      2. We need a loving spirit & prayerful dependence on the H.S.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/2-timothy-2.html. 2017.