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Tuesday, June 25th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 2

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

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Verses 1-26

Chapter 2

Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace ( 2 Timothy 2:1 )

You see, it is legalism that is threatening the church. This idea that you can work yourself into divine favor. So "be strong in the grace"

that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also ( 2 Timothy 2:1-2 ).

And so this is how the Gospel is spread. As Paul said, Now you remember the things that I said and I was teaching among many of the brethren. Now you take these same things and commit them to faithful brethren who will be able to teach others, the discipling of men in the truths of God, investing your lives in others. As we have grown older we've sought to invest our lives into younger ministers, sharing with them, spending time with them, teaching them, committing to them the Word of God, in order that they might then go out and give the same thing to faithful men, who will then be able to go out and teach others.

When we started our ministry here at Calvary Chapel, we met with a group of men and many times their wives five nights a week. For two years, the first two years, five nights a week we gathered together entrusting to these men the teaching of the Word of God, studying several books, going through the entire Bible with them. After two years with these men, I said, All right, the time has come; you fellows start teaching your own home Bible studies. And so they started teaching their Bible studies in their homes. I would every week get calls from them when they were going to have a Bible study that night; they'd have a list of questions that they'd go over before they went to their Bible study, they had their Bible studies in their homes.

After two years many people who were saved in their Bible studies then started their own home Bible studies. And it was passed on and on and on from spiritual generation to spiritual generation. People who were saved in a Bible study began to teach a Bible study in which men were saved, who went out and later on began to teach their own Bible studies, and so it goes on and on. It is, as it is passed, you teach faithful men who are able then to teach others. You disciple others so that they in turn can disciple others. And so the progression goes.

Paul said,

Endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ ( 2 Timothy 2:3 ).

We're in a real battle, a tough battle. It's a battle of the eternal destiny of human soul. It's a fierce battle. The enemy is relentless. He attacks night and day. He never eases. The pressure is great. "Endure hardness," Paul said, "as a good soldier". Hang in there.

And no man that wars entangles himself with the affairs of this life ( 2 Timothy 2:4 );

And that's our problem so often. As Jesus said, "In the last days, be careful lest you at any time be overcharged with gluttony, surfeiting, or with drunkenness, or the cares of this life so that the day of the coming of the Lord will catch you by surprise" ( Luke 21:34 ). Catch you unaware. Jesus in talking about how that the thorns grew up with the wheat. Identifying the thorns, He said the desire for riches, the cares of this life and the desires of other things choke out the fruitfulness of the Gospel within their life. So the cares of this life can choke out the fruitfulness. No man who is in war, no man who has signed up for the army gets all involved in the little mundane things of life. Hey, I'm in a battle and I can't get bogged down with the cares of this life.

My desire is that I might

please him who has chosen me to be his soldier ( 2 Timothy 2:4 ).

You see, I have made a commitment unto the commanding general that I will serve, that I would go into battle, that I am on-call. Anytime he can give an order for me to move out, must be ready to go. I want to please Him who has called me to be His soldier. That's the whole desire of my life, to please God who has called me into this warfare.

Also if any man strive for the masteries ( 2 Timothy 2:5 ),

Now Paul was referring here to the Olympics and the wrestling competition within the Olympics. And the wrestling competition in those days was called striving for the masteries, striving to master over another one. Throw him out of the ring. Pin him on his back. He who "strives for the masteries,"

is not crowned, unless he strive lawfully ( 2 Timothy 2:5 ).

You see, the referee can blow the whistle on you and say, Hey, hey, that was not right, you know, you hit him after I called "Break." You're not crowned unless you strive lawfully. There are the rules by which you must wrestle.

The husbandman that laboureth ( 2 Timothy 2:6 )

The man who is out there in the field laboring gets the first fruit of harvest. You are able to eat while you are in the field working, picking the fruit. You could eat the fruit.

He's the

first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and may the Lord give you understanding in all of these things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel ( 2 Timothy 2:6-8 ):

This is the heart of the Gospel, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Don't forget that. Remember the resurrection, without that we have no gospel. And so he's encouraging him to come back to the heart of the Gospel. And you find that everywhere they went the center message, the thing that made Christianity different from Buddhism or Confucianism or any other religious system is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So he's reminding him of that unique difference in Christianity.

Wherein [he said] I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto these bonds [these chains]; but [thank God] the word of God isn't bound ( 2 Timothy 2:9 ).

They can bind me, they can bind my arms to the soldier next to me, to this guard, but they can't bind the word of God.

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 ( 2 Timothy 2:10 ).

So I endure these things because God has elected certain people to be saved. And if by my sacrifice, by my commitment, I can bring them the knowledge of Jesus Christ, great. My desire is to see the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus, that they might share the eternal glory of a child of God. So in another place he said, "I know that the present suffering isn't worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed when Christ comes" ( Romans 8:18 ).

Oh yeah, it's hard now. Yeah, it's tough. Yeah, it's not easy. There's suffering, but it can't be compared with the glory, the eternal glory. So he said, Our light affliction. Light affliction, Paul? You see, you say once you were stoned, three times you were beaten with rods, three times you received thirty-nine stripes, you were shipwrecked, you were beat up, you were imprisoned, how many times? Light affliction, Paul? "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh an exceeding eternal weight of glory" ( 2 Corinthians 4:17 ). Interesting contrast: light affliction for a moment, eternal weight of glory. So endure hardness as a good soldier. Don't get all entangled in worldly things. Seek to please the One who has called you to be a good soldier.

It's a faithful saying [it's a true saying]: If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him ( 2 Timothy 2:11 ):

They're going to take my life pretty soon, but that is this physical life, but I'm going to be living with Him.

If we suffer, we shall also reign: if we deny, he also will deny: If we believe not, he abides faithful: he cannot abide deny himself ( 2 Timothy 2:12-13 ).

There are some people who say rather pompously, Well I just don't believe in Jesus Christ. So what? You see, your believing or not believing doesn't alter the facts one iota. You may deny Him but He can't deny Himself. That would be impossible to deny your own existence. So your saying I don't believe that Jesus was the Son of God is like saying, I don't believe that two and two equals four. I just look at you and think you're a little nuts, but that's all right, you have your right to be but you don't change the facts. Your believing or not believing doesn't alter the fact at all.

The fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He did die for our sins, is a fact that remains whether you believe it or not. You see, your believing or not doesn't affect Him at all. It does affect you seriously and for eternity. And so it is rather ridiculous to say, Well I don't believe, and to think that it doesn't exist just because you don't believe it. You can deny the truth but He can't deny it. He can't deny Himself, what He is and what He has done. So if we don't believe, it's still true. He can't deny Himself.


Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, all they do is subvert the hearers ( 2 Timothy 2:14 ).

There are those that get all involved in words and in little concepts and twists, and all, of a scripture, and they are really totally unprofitable. Do you know that the church was divided once over an argument on how many angels could stand on a head of a pin? People used to argue over that. And people have all these concepts. Oh, it's stupid. That's not going to help anybody. And you look at a lot of these things that people bring up and a lot of divisions that are created. How were you baptized, brother? You know, and they well, you weren't really baptized then. And, You better be baptized the right way. You were baptized backwards? Oh no, that face down, man. That's the only way. And they get in these silly, little things and all, and all it does is subvert people, subvert the hearers.

Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that doesn't need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth ( 2 Timothy 2:15 ).

This particular scripture was the inspiration to Scoffield in setting out the dispensations in the Scoffield Bible, rightly dividing the word of truth. I think he went a little far with it. But it's interesting that this is the verse that inspired him to make the divisions, especially within the Scoffield Bible as he shows you the dispensation of innocence, the dispensation of government, the dispensation of law, the dispensation of grace, and the dispensation of the future reign of Christ. The dispensations, rightly dividing. But it is important that we rightly divide the word of truth. Study. It's important that we study.

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness ( 2 Timothy 2:16 ).

There are those who turn the grace of God into a cloak to cover their own lasciviousness. Well, if God is so ready to forgive and so full of grace, it really doesn't matter if we do it because we can just ask Him immediately to forgive us then, and it would, He's graceful and it's all over. So let's go ahead and do it and then we'll seek the grace of God to forgive us. No, these kinds of vain and profane babblings only increase ungodliness.

Paul himself said, Shall we go out and sin freely then that grace may abound? Perish the thought! How can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein? The grace of God is not an excuse or a cloak or a reason to go out and just to live recklessly saying, well, the grace of God will cover me. Profane, vain babbling, be careful of it.

Their words will eat like a canker worm: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus ( 2 Timothy 2:17 );

I mean, Paul doesn't mind naming these fellows, does he? Paul, shame on you. I'm going to write you a letter.

Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and they overthrow the faith of some ( 2 Timothy 2:18 ).

Now the Jehovah Witnesses say the resurrection is already past and Jesus came again in 1914; didn't you know? Oh, but I thought every eye was going to see Him. Oh no, only those with spiritual eyes. Those who were living in the headquarters in, they saw Him, in New York spiritually, with spiritual eyes. And He set up His reign in a secret chamber and He is ruling now from this secret chamber through these men in New York. But we're in the Kingdom Age. Satan is bound. Glory to God.

Hey, if this is the Kingdom Age, I'm greatly disappointed. I was hoping for much better than this. I wish the Lord had not put such a long chain on him. He still has enough rope to give me a bad time. "Who have erred concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection has already taken place and they subvert the faith of many people." They're turning a lot of people away to this weird little doctrine of theirs, drawing a lot of people after this.

Nevertheless the foundation of God stands, it stands sure, it has this seal, The Lord knows those that are his ( 2 Timothy 2:19 ).

"The Lord knows those that are His."

And, Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity ( 2 Timothy 2:19 ).

If you take the name of Christian, if you take the name of Christ, then depart from iniquity. The Lord knows those who are His.

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth [clay]; some to honour, some to dishonour ( 2 Timothy 2:20 ).

Paul here refers to the church as a great house. Jesus in the kingdom parables indicated that the church was going to become something God didn't intend it to be. Those seven parables in Matthew's gospel, twelfth and thirteenth chapter, that deal with the Kingdom Age, talking about the church.

It's like unto a mustard seed that's very small, but it was planted and it grew up into a great tree. Wait a minute. Mustard, you know they don't really have mustard trees, they have mustard bushes. If you've got a tree, you've got to have normal growth. And the birds or the fowls of the air came and lodged in it. The birds in the Scripture are always used in an evil sense. You remember the parable of the seed that fell by the wayside and the birds came and plucked it up. Now the birds were Satan who plucked the Word out that it couldn't take root. What's He saying, Satan's going to lodge in the branches of the church? Oh yes, he has found lodging within the branches of the church.

There is more junk that comes out of the World Council of Churches proclamations and the National Council of Churches proclamations than you can believe. "Concerning Hymenaeus and Philetus who have erred concerning the truth." Corrupt men of corrupt minds putting on a clerical garb, taking the title of Reverend and espousing every rotten cause that comes along, every damning issue that would demoralize and destroy our society, and these men are ready to take it up and champion it. And they're ready to fight against anything that is good.

A group of ministers filed a suit against President Reagan for proclaiming the Year of the Bible in 1983. Hey, wearing a backward collar doesn't make a minister out of anybody, only God ordains. A lot of men have the title of Reverend. I would fear anybody taking that title. Sometimes people call me Reverend Smith and I cringe. They write that on the book on the letters and I cringe, I know that they don't know me when I get these letters, Reverend Charles Smith or the Reverend Charles Smith or the Most Reverend Charles Smith. I know, hey, they don't know me cause I don't consider myself Reverend at all. There's nothing reverend about Chuck Smith. The Bible says we are to reverence God's holy name. That I do. But I don't want anybody reverencing my name or me. God help me. I'm a sinner just like you. I need the grace of God just like you.

"In a great house, though, many vessels, some gold, some silver; some wood, some clay. Some for honor, some for dishonor." Kingdom of heaven is like a woman hiding leaven in three measures of meal until it permeates the whole lump. Leaven is always used in an evil sense in the Scriptures, the leaven of sin, the leaven of hypocrisy. It's a type of sin because it multiplies by putrefication. It does make an excellent type of sin, which multiplies by putrefication. And so the church, the leaven within it until it leavens the whole lump, the evil influences that have their way of permeating through the whole church.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man who planted wheat in his field, and at night the enemy came and sowed the tares. So that the servants, as it began to grow said, Lord, there are tares going on among the wheat, shall we go out and pull them up? No, He said, let them grow together until the end and then at harvest, take and gather the tares together and put them in bundles and cast them into fire but bring the wheat into my barn. Jesus taught that these evil influences would exist within the church, that they would grow together until the time of the great harvest.

The church is not a perfect organization. The church is made up of all kinds of people. And it's wise for you to recognize that because you can get skinned by people calling themselves Christians almost more readily than anybody else. Not all who say, "Lord, Lord", are going to enter the kingdom of heaven. And let's not be blind or foolish about this. The church is not a perfect organization; it's made up of all kinds of people.

Thank God there is the good. Thank God for the faithful. Thank God for those who are really seeking after God with all of their hearts. And it's because of those we can continue to exist. If it weren't for those, the Lord would have brought judgment on the church a long time ago and it would have been wiped out. But the time will come when judgment will begin. Where? At the house of God. And "if the righteous scarcely be saved, where will the sinner and the ungodly appear?" ( 1 Peter 4:18 ). I mean, if the judgment begins at the house of God, what you going to do when you get to San Francisco?

So the church is not a perfect organization. And those that are spending their lives in ministries to perfect the church so that the Lord can come again are due for a great disappointment, because in a great house there are all kinds of vessels, some are for honorable purposes, some for dishonorable purposes. Those of gold and silver were for the master of the house, that he might eat and drink out of these vessels of gold and silver. These were those that you love to use and entertain with when company comes. You bring out your best silver and your best golden cups and bowls and all, vessels of honor, want to display.

But in the same house, big house, you got so much garbage it's got to go out. So you've got a clay pot over there in which you dump all the garbage, vessel of dishonor. You throw the trash in it; you carry the trash out with that, all kinds of vessels, some of honor, some of dishonor. We are in this great house. We are a vessel.

What kind of a vessel am I? Am I a vessel of honor that is fit for the master's use? How can I be? First of all, I've got to separate myself from those impure doctrines and men who are espousing the impure doctrines.

If a man will purge himself from these ( 2 Timothy 2:21 ),

These what I often call sterile doctrines. You say, well, nothing's really wrong with that. Sounds a little weird but doesn't hurt anybody. Oh yes it does. So often there are doctrines that are being promulgated that the effect of the doctrine is sterilization. When you start to embrace it, it sterilizes you so that you are no longer fruitful, doctrines that get the people all introspective, all into themselves.

Demon, demon, who's got the demon? You know, and they have these parlor games where they cast the demons out of each other, lust and gluttony and lethargy and all of these demons that are hovering around and possessing the believers, you know. So we're going to have a casting-out party tonight. Come on over, we're going to cast demons out. And so a person yawns and says, Oh oh, did you see him yawn? We'd better cast the demon of sleepiness out of him. And if you burp, man, hands are laid on you, even the gluttony demon has to go. Purge yourself from these things. They're not profitable. Purge yourself from these things.

And you will be a vessel unto honour, sanctified ( 2 Timothy 2:21 ),

That is, God will set you apart. God will anoint you and you will be fit for the Master's use, then God will begin to use you. And that really is what it's all about, isn't it; to be used of God to touch some life, to be used of God to share His love, to be used of God as an instrument. That's what life is all about.

fit for the master's use, as He prepares us unto every good work ( 2 Timothy 2:21 ).

God begins to prepare you through the word, through prayer, through your experiences; they're all a part of God's necessary preparation. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and said, "You are His workmanship," God's working in you. Created together unto, created together unto Christ Jesus. No, "created together in Christ Jesus unto the good works that God has before ordained that you should accomplish" ( Ephesians 2:10 ). God has already foreordained that service that He wants you to accomplish for His glory, but He has to, first of all, work in you, preparing you.

So the experiences that I go through, the hardships, the difficulties, the testings, the trials, the sorrows; they're all a part of God's necessary preparation. As He is seeking to prepare the vessel to be used by the Master, as He empties me of myself, that He might fill me with His fullness that I no longer live for my own glory but I live now for His glory. That I serve Him in such a way that it brings glory to Him. "Let your light so shine before men, that when they see your good works, they glorify your Father which is in heaven" ( Matthew 5:16 ). "Prepared unto every good work."

Flee also [Timothy] youthful lusts ( 2 Timothy 2:22 ):

How many have been injured, destroyed because of youthful lusts? Flee them. Great example is that of Joseph as he was serving in the house of Potiphar. And the wife of Potiphar fell in love with him, sought to entice him to come into her bedchamber, daily was flirting, enticing. Until finally one day, when the rest of the servants were out, she grabbed hold of him, want to force him into the bed, and he wriggled free leaving his coat in her hand. And he ran out naked, fleeing youthful lusts. Smartest thing he could do. There are some times when the wisest thing you can do is run. "Flee youthful lusts:"

but follow righteousness, faith, love, peace, with those that call on the Lord out of a pure heart ( 2 Timothy 2:22 ).

And so those that are calling from a pure heart. What are the things, what are the characteristics? Righteousness, faith, love, peace.

But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they are only designed to create strifes ( 2 Timothy 2:23 ).

There are a lot of lead questions that are only designed to create an argument. A person has a position that they want to espouse and so they come to you with a question. Why don't you baptize people immediately when they're saved? You see, they believe that a person really isn't saved until he's baptized. They want to get into an argument with you over baptism. Now he said avoid these questions. All they are intended to do is create strife. They're not really wanting to learn, they're only wanting an argument. They want to get in a fight.

The servant of the Lord must not strive ( 2 Timothy 2:24 );

Mustn't get into these arguments.

but be gentle unto all men, and apt to teach, and patient ( 2 Timothy 2:24 ),

Ready to teach but you got to be patient because in a great house, there are all kinds of vessels.

In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance unto the acknowledging of the truth ( 2 Timothy 2:25 );

So you hope that God will work. You take your time. You're patient. You teach, teaching in meekness and just hoping that peradventure their hearts will be opened, that they might turn to the truth.

And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will ( 2 Timothy 2:26 ).

Oh, what an important verse. This verse teaches us that there are certain people who have been taken captive by Satan. They are bound by Satan, they are his captives. Now we have the power, the authority through Jesus Christ to deliver them from the captivity of the enemy, those who Satan holds, he holds by usurped power. You see, Jesus died for all men. He died for the sins of the world. That work of redemption was complete for all mankind. It covered every man's sin. Jesus redeemed the world back to God; however, Satan is still holding captive many people. But that hold that he has is a usurped authority that he has taken, but as long as the people are consenting to it, they remain his captives. And they consent to it because he has blinded their eyes to the truth of their own condition.

Paul said "the god of this world having blinded their eyes that they cannot see the truth" ( 2 Corinthians 4:4 ). So what a sad predicament the unbeliever is in as he is bound by Satan, a captive of Satan, but his eyes are blind so that he doesn't even realize the truth of his own condition. He doesn't know how precarious is his position for Satan has blinded his eyes. He's prejudiced against the Lord. Satan has blinded his eyes concerning the truth in Christ Jesus. Oh, I don't believe the Bible, all kinds of contradiction all in it. You hear that all the time.

I always say show me one. Oh well, there are lots of them. Well then, show me one. Oh it's filled with them, you know. I don't have to. It's full of them, you know. Well, tell me one. I heard someone say that one time. God of this world has blinded their eyes; they can't see the truth. Sad place to be that we might take them from the captivity. Is it possible that we can take them from the captivity?

Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free" ( John 8:32 ). We can in love teaching them, instructing them, bring them the truth which can set them free. We can through prayer open their eyes to see the truth. We can bind that work of Satan that is blinding their eyes, that is keeping them from knowing the truth and we can deliver them from this captivity. Surely we ought to be engaged in this warfare. Enduring hardness as a good soldier. Getting out in the trenches. Fighting against the enemy. Delivering these who he has taken captive. Setting them free through the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Vessels of honor used by the master to bring His love and grace to a needy world around us. God help us.

Jesus, we thank You tonight for Your word, for Your help, for Your strength. And now, Lord, let the word of God dwell in our hearts richly through faith, that we being rooted and grounded may be able to comprehend more fully what is the length and the breadth and the depth and the height of the love of Jesus Christ for us. And Lord, we wish tonight to present our bodies to You, as living sacrifices, yielding to You our hands, our mouths, our feet, that You might use them, Lord, as instruments of righteousness to bring Your love to a dying world. In Jesus' name, Amen.

May the Lord richly bless you, fill you with His love and with His word and with His truth, guide you in all things. Make this a glorious week as we begin it in the word, founded on the truth. May you grow up in Christ, maturing and growing and developing until the life is being used by the Master in a great way, bringing glory and pleasure to Him. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-timothy-2.html. 2014.
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