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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Timothy 2

Lipscomb's Commentary on Selected New Testament BooksLipscomb's Commentary on Selected NT Books

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Verse 1

2 Timothy 2:1

Thou therefore, my child, be strengthened—In view of the course of the individuals just mentioned, take warning on the one hand by the defection of all that are in Asia, and as en­couraged on the other hand, by the faith and courage of Paul, and the fidelity of Onesiphorus, be strengthened that you may be faithful, "for God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness, but of power.” (2 Timothy 2:7.)

in the grace—Grace is the spiritual atmosphere, in which the Christian soul exists, and from which, as a vitalizing principle, the soul derives its strength. He is to find strength to be filled with power for work and conflict by drawing it from the grace of Christ, the quickening, empowering element, in which a Christian lives. “But grow in the grace and knowl­edge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18.)

that is in Christ Jesus.—The grace which is only in Christ, and which he imparts to all who are in living union with him, as the vine imparts the life and fruit-bearing power to the branches abiding in it. (John 15:4-5.)

Verse 2

2 Timothy 2:2

And the things which thou hast heard from me among many witnesses,—The things heard were the fundamental truths of the gospel. Timothy had frequently listened to Paul preaching to the many to whom he had proclaimed the gospel.

the same commit thou to faithful men,—Not to men merely “believers” in Jesus Christ, but the faithful men here denotes loyal, trustworthy men, who, under no temptation, would be­tray the charge committed to them, but who, with ability, would teach it to others.

who shall be able to teach others also.—[Not only must the teachers of the doctrine of Christ to whom Timothy was given the commission of teaching be trustworthy men, they must also possess knowledge and the ability to communicate the knowledge to others. Although the divine help was to be prayed for and expected in this and all other sacred works, yet it is noticeable how Paul directs that no ordinary human means of securing success must be neglected. Paul’s last charge in these Epistles directed that only those shall be selected as teachers of the truth as revealed through the inspired men of God whose abilities were such as fitted them for the discharge of their duties. The words of Paul here point to the duty of the teacher, not only himself to keep unchanged and safe the oracles of God as taught by the apostles, but to hand down the same unimpaired and safe to other hands.]

Verse 3

2 Timothy 2:3

Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.—To suffer hardness is to bear persecution, deny oneself, and labor for the salvation of others. God carries his children through a discipline of hardness to try and strengthen their faith and develop the worthy elements of their character. [Here is a volume of tenderness and yearning confidence of a father’s claims to loyal imitation. Take your share in enduring hardness. Take up my mantle. Paul bids Timothy come with him, come after him, be one with all who war the good warfare. Though strange it may seem to some, he craved the right of this to nerve him for his last crowning effort.]

Verse 4

2 Timothy 2:4

No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life;—No one who serves as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of life that he may serve faithfully the gov­ernment which has called him out as a soldier. So Christians should not be so entangled with the affairs of life that they cannot render faithful service to the Lord Jesus Christ who called them to be soldiers of the kingdom of heaven. Such soldiers are under discipline and must render implicit obedi­ence to the laws of their Captain.

that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.—[In applying this figure to the Christian we are not to infer that he is forbidden to use secular calling as a means of sup­port; but he is to avoid absorption in it or complications in connection with it, such as may divert him in spirit from his high calling in Christ. It is not a secular occupation, but entanglement in it, which is forbidden. Paul wrought in an earthly occupation, but his whole soul was absorbed in the one work of pleasing the Lord; the secular was incidental, only a means to a higher end. So should it be with every earnest, faithful Christian paramount and above any earthly consideration. It is necessary, too, and most desirable that every Christian should ever be above all reproach of covet­ousness. He is to have a “single eye” in his work as a Christian and all things are to be set apart as means to that end.]

Verse 5

2 Timothy 2:5

And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned, except he have contended lawfully.—In these games rewards were offered to him who could obtain the master. But in the effort he must conform to the laws regulating the game or he could not receive the chaplet. So in striving for the crown that the Lord shall give "to all them that have loved his appearing" (4:8), it will not be bestowed unless he who strives is governed by the law of God in the effort to obtain it. In other words, no man can gain the crown except through complying with the laws of God. [These words extend to all Christians, and they warn us, not against engaging in secular callings, but against so entangling ourselves in them that they hinder the growth and development into the likeness of Christ.]

Verse 6

2 Timothy 2:6

The husbandman that laboreth must be the first to par­take of the fruits.—The husbandman must labor according to the laws of nature for the production of food, and then he who labors must first receive the benefit and fruits of that labor. In the spiritual world men must labor according to the will of God, and he who labors must first partake of the blessings. [It is the enduring, patient, self-sacrificing toil that is rewarded in the affairs of common life. The man who endures hardness, whether as soldier, athlete, or tiller of the ground, wins the reward, and as in the world so in the service of God. The teaching in the triple picture that Paul draws is not every soldier wins his commander’s applause, but only the one who devotes himself heart and soul to the conflict; not every athlete wins the prize, but only he who trains with anxious, painful care; not every toiler of the soil gathers the earths fruits, but only the patient toiler. So must it be in the life of the Christian. It is not enough to say, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God,” but we should be so earnest and diligent in the effort to grow into the like­ ness of the Lord Jesus Christ that we can say, "And such we are.” (1 John 3:1.)]

Verse 7

2 Timothy 2:7

Consider what I say;—[Think of the condition of the sol­dier, and of the principles on which he is enlisted; think of the aspirant for the crown in the Grecian games; think of the fanner patiently toiling in the prospect of the distant harvest; and then go to work with a similar spirit. These things are worth attention. When the Christian thinks of his hardships, of his struggles against the evil world, of his arduous and discouraging toil, let him think of the soldier, of the man who struggles for the world’s honors, and the patient farmer and be content. How patiently they bear all, and yet for inferior rewards.]

for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things.—Enable Timothy to see the force of these considerations and to apply them to his case. Such are after the discouragements of the Christian. So prone are we to despondency that we need the help of the Lord to enable us to apply these most obvious considerations and to derive support from the plain and simple truths and promises.

Verse 8

2 Timothy 2:8

Remember Jesus Christ,—[Timothy was to remember, was ever to bear in mind, two great facts. They are to be the foundation stones of his life’s work. Remembering these in the hour of his greatest trouble, he was never to be cast down, but ever to take fresh courage. The two parts he was to remember were: that Jesus Christ, for whose sake he suf­fered, like Timothy and Paul, was born of flesh and blood and yet he was risen from the dead. Surely in the hour of his weakness such a thought would be sufficient to inspire him with comfort and courage. Two facts, then, the resurrection and incarnation of the Lord, are ever to be in the mind of Timothy.]

risen from the dead,—The resurrection would always be reminding him of his Lord’s victory over death and of his present glory.

of the seed of David,—[The thought of Jesus being born “of the seed of David” would impress on his mind that the risen and glorified Lord Jesus sprang, too, like himself, from mortal flesh and blood. The reason of the incarnation being ex­pressed in this special manner, born “of the seed of David,” was to include another truth. The “risen from the dead” was not only born of flesh and blood, but belonged to the very race specified in those so revered by Timothy and the chosen race from which should spring the Messiah: “Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called: Jehovah our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 23:5-6.) No doubt Paul’s purpose was to raise the fainting and much-tried Timothy in this hour of discouragement, and to supply a ground of confidence to the yet unborn Christians, who, in their day, would be as Timothy was when Paul pressed these thoughts on his beloved son in the faith; but in the background, in all probability, there lay another purpose. These great comforting truths were to be maintained and taught in the presence of those false teachers who were ever ready to explain away or even to deny then as now the be­ginning and the end of the life of the Son of God and his min­istry on earth, his incarnation, and his resurrection.]

according to my gospel:—The great truth as preached by Paul was that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. He was the first fruits that gave assurance of the resurrection of all men as the full harvest.

Verse 9

2 Timothy 2:9

wherein I suffer hardship unto bonds, as a malefactor;—In and for the gospel he suffered trouble, arrest, imprison­ment, and affliction as though he had been an evildoer. Had he been a thief, a murderer, or a disturber of the peace, he would have suffered the same punishment that he did suffer.

but the word of God is not bound.—He was imprisoned, deprived of his freedom, bound, but rejoiced that the word of God was not bound and could not be. No chain or prison wall can bind the word of God. [The words have a wide range of meaning. His hands were manacled, but his tongue was free, and with it he could speak the word of God. Apart from any action of his own that word was working actively outside his prison walls. There was no ground for fear that its course was over.]

Verse 10

2 Timothy 2:10

Therefore I endure all things—Paul endured all things in order that the word of God might be widely spread and disseminated; he as a faithful soldier at his post bore up with quiet, patient courage against suffering, and he did it for the elect’s sake; that is, for those whom, in his infinite mercy, God has been pleased to choose as his people, for those who in his unfathomable love are yet to be brought into the one fold.

for the elect’s sake,From this it is clearly shown that Paul was speaking of a class, and not as individuals as such. This in no way intimates that God by any direct power elected them; but had chosen to elect a certain class, and left it to everyone to make himself of that class. It is said of that class that they were elect “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:2.) One who does not show his election by obeying God may be sure that he will never be elected to anything beyond obedi­ence. So obedience is the prerequisite to all other higher election. There is not a word in this to discourage a man from seeking to make his calling and election sure or to give him assurance of salvation save in obedience to the will of God. There is no doubt but there is a certain election taught in the Bible. In the passage before us it is clearly taught, as well as in some others. Jesus said: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and they shall become one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16.) In this he recognizes that he had a flock that were not then following him as the Shepherd. At Corinth the Lord said unto Paul: “Be not afraid, but speak and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to harm thee: for I have much people in this city.” (Acts 18:9-10.) They had not yet believed, but God called them his people. The meaning of both passages is that there were a number of persons of that frame of mind and disposition of heart that when they heard the gospel they would believe and obey it.

that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.—This was said before they were converted and shows that those willing to receive the gospel when they hear it are regarded as elect. It is possible that Paul had this class in view and for the sake of those who would receive it when they heard it, and he was willing to endure all things for this class, whether Jews or Gentiles, that they might hear the gospel, and through it obtain the salva­tion which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Verse 11

2 Timothy 2:11

Faithful is the saying: For if we died with him, we shall also live with him:—It is a true saying, if we be dead with Christ to the world, we shall also be alive with him spiritually. [Faith in Christ united us with him in his death (Romans 6:1-13; Colossians 3:3; 1 Peter 2:24); but this union with him involves, not only a new relation to him, whereby through his death we have justification with God, but also a true and real fel­lowship with him in the spirit and objects of his death, so that in our present life we know “the power of his resurrec­tion, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming con­formed unto his death.” (Philippians 3:10.) Here also a fellowship with Christ is set forth which is complete fellowship of life, and consequently also a fellowship of fortune, not barely of thought and feeling. This spiritual death with him with its consequent “fellowship of his sufferings,” and readiness to suffer, if need be, bodily death with him, is the sure pledge of life with him, not only present spiritual life (Romans 6:8), but also the future resurrection life. The necessary result of sharing his death now is the eternal sharing of his life.]

Verse 12

2 Timothy 2:12

if we endure,—It is frequently impressed in the Scrip­tures that if one would reign with him there, he must suffer with him here. To suffer with him is to suffer for the truth, for the redemption of man as he suffered. To refuse to suffer with and for him is to deny him. When we deny him before men, he will deny us before his Father and the holy angels.

we shall also reign with him:—The union with him in suf­fering, by enduring hardship and death for him, insures ulti­mate exultation with him. How must this glorious truth, believingly apprehended, have thrilled the souls of martyrs of Christ in the days of persecution! But it does not come to them only. Every Christian is under obligation to die with Christ through the mortification of his own pleasures and desires, and to put to death his former sins through the martyrdom of the flesh.

if we shall deny him, he also will deny us:—[Perhaps this is an illusion to the Lord’s own words: “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33), to which also is added: “But there arose false prophets also among the people, as among you also there shall be false teachers, who shall privily bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master that bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1). Also: “For there are certain men crept in privily, even they who were of old written of beforehand unto this con­demnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” (Judges 1:4.)]

Verse 13

2 Timothy 2:13

if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself.—If we are not true to our faith in him, yet he abideth faithful to himself. He cannot be untrue to himself or be untrue to his teachings. He must be true to them, and they will condemn everyone not true to him.

Verse 14

2 Timothy 2:14

Of these things put them in remembrance,—Paul has been urging Timothy to be strong in endurance, to bear trouble and suffering with brave patience. He now charges him respecting the special work he has to do; and first he deals with his duties as a teacher of truth brought face to face with teachers of error.

charging them in the sight of the Lord,—This is a very earnest, solemn thought for every public teacher and one cal­culated now as then to deepen the life of every proclaimer of the gospel. There was a grave danger that such empty profit­less disputes about words and expressions, which, we know, occupied the attention of many of the so-called teachers at Ephesus would end in distracting the minds of the members of the church who would naturally take their tone in matters connected with their religious life from their teachers, and thus words would soon come to be substituted for acts in the lives of men and women called by the name of Christ. See 1 Timothy 6:4 where these “disputes of words” are mentioned among the special characteristics of the false teachers.

that they strive not about words, to no profit,—It is almost universally regarded that this refers to the Judaizing teachers, but it refers equally to every and all questions not taught in the Scriptures. All things not so taught are without profit to man, and the introduction of them produces strife.

to the subverting of them that hear.—[Not only are such arguments and disputes useless and profitless, but they are positively mischievous. In the history of Christianity, Paul’s repeated warning respecting the danger of these disputes about words and expressions has been sadly verified. Such conten­tions unsettle the mind, shake the faith, and distract from real, earnest, and patient work for Christ.]

Verse 15

2 Timothy 2:15

Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God,—The study of the word of God that he might understand and obey it was the way to show himself approved of God. When God approved he would be with and bless and strengthen him. Jesus Christ was the specially appointed of God who was approved because it was his meat to do his Father’s will. All who, like Jesus, have no other will save the will of the Father, are approved of God. If he stands approved of God, he will have no cause of shame, no matter who disapproves. David says: “Oh that my ways were established to observe thy statutes! Then shall I not be put to shame, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.” (Psalms 119:5-6.) If one will learn and keep the commandments of God, he will never have cause for shame. Being approved implies being tried and proved as precious metals are proved before they are accepted as genuine. Of such it is said: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been ap­proved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12.)

a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,—[This indi­cates that ceaseless, serious, earnest zeal, which was one of his chief characteristic traits. And certainly if the proposed standard is to be reached or seriously aimed at, an abundance of zeal will be required. The end proposed is that of present­ing himself to God in such a way as to secure his approval without fear of incurring the reproach of being a workman who had shirked his responsibility.]

handling aright the word of truth.—The Scriptures were addressed to different classes of persons as any who will study them will learn. A proper regard for these divisions is needed to avoid confusion. It is probable that Paul here warned Timothy to distinguish properly between the things addressed to those under the law of Moses and those not under it. He draws the distinction by saying: “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it speaketh to them that are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for. through the law cometh the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:19-20.) It would be wrong to apply the law of circumcision to those not under the law of Moses. So there are different classes under the Christian law. Care must be had that the Scriptures be applied to those addressed. For example: “Re­pent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins.” (Acts 2:38.) If this language were applied to those in Christ who sin, it would require one every time he sinned to be baptized. This would be misleading and cause confusion. Study is required to un­derstand the different classes and divisions, to rightly apply it. Clinging to what is taught, avoiding that not taught, is very necessary in the application of the Scriptures.

Verse 16

2 Timothy 2:16

But shun profane babblings:—Everything not com­manded by God in the Scriptures may safely be placed under this head. It refers to the questions brought in then, that diverted from the word of God, caused division and strife. This was to be shunned.

for they will proceed further in ungodliness,—[Cherishing them will lead to more and more ungodliness. The addition of one thing not required of God leads to another. Their teaching is of a kind that will spread rapidly, and it is deadly in its effects.]

Verse 17

2 Timothy 2:17

and their word will eat as doth a gangrene:—Gangrene poisons the whole frame and quickly becomes fatal. So does the introduction of things not taught by God—the doctrines of men. These doctrines spread rapidly, corrupt the whole church till spiritual death ensues to the church of God. [Error is a diffusive poison rapidly spreading through the whole body and tending to vital decay and ultimate destruc­tion.]

of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;—[Of these false teachers nothing is known beyond the mention of Hymenaeus, who, regardless of the severe action which had been taken against him, was apparently still continuing in his error. (1 Timothy 1:20.) Their names were simply given as examples of the teachers of errors to whom Paul was referring—fearless leaders, most likely, in their cheerless, destructive school of doctrine.]

Verse 18

2 Timothy 2:18

men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some.—[In the absence of clearer evidence, it cannot be said with certainty what their error was, but the words apparently point to Paul’s words in Romans 6:3-4 and Col. 2; 12, where he says, “Having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.” If so, they may have taught that “raised with him” in baptism was the true resur­rection and come to the conclusion that the resurrection was already past. In reaching such a conclusion they made a fatal mistake, for the resurrection of the body, grounded upon the Lords own words, is one of the cardinal doctrines of the gospel, as the following clearly shows: “Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29.) Upon this Paul delighted to dwell, as in his words before Felix: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the Way which they call a sect, so serve I the God of our fathers, believing all things which are according to the law, and which are written in the prophets; having hope toward God, which these also themselves look for, that there shall be a resurrection both of the just and unjust. Herein I also exercise my­self to have a conscience void of offence toward God and men always.” (Acts 24:14-16.) With this resurrection of the body, Paul, guided by the Holy Spirit, taught men that the future state of rewards and punishments was intimately bound up; the soul will be clothed with a body of glory or with a body of shame, according to the deeds done in the body. These men opposed their own idealism to the strong and healthy teaching of the Holy Spirit through Paul.]

Verse 19

2 Timothy 2:19

Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal,—Great and good men may turn from the truth, may make shipwreck of their own souls and may lead others down to ruin, yet the foundation of God remains steadfast and sure. God’s faithfulness to himself, to his promises, to them that trust him as the foundation of all hope of good here and hereafter stands sure and the seal is given.

The Lord knoweth them that are his:—Those who trust him he will never forsake. Of this class, Jesus Christ said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:27-28.)

and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.—Let everyone who takes the name of the Christ upon him be careful to depart from iniquity. We believe in Christ, are consecrated to him through faith, in baptism take his name upon us and should be careful to depart from all unrighteousness; therefore, believers must separate themselves from all iniquity, injustice, and wrong. [The words, “nameth the name of the Lord,” must be under­stood in the sense that no man can confess that he believes with all his heart that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God and deliberately practice unrighteousness. The two things are utterly incompatibleincapable of existing together. Unrighteousness here includes the teaching of false teachers as their teachings led away from the truth and re­sulted in an evil and lax way of life.]

Verse 20

2 Timothy 2:20

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth;—Paul carries out here the idea of a house of which God’s promises are the foundation by which he means thus to intimate, for the en­couragement of the fainthearted believers, that the heresies and backsliding of many professing Christians does not affect Gods covenant and promises to true and faithful believers: for as: “in a great house” there are not only “vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth,” so in the church there are not only true Christians found, but persons who are not, whose hypocrisy and iniquity are overruled to fulfill his righteous purposes. Such being the case, “let every one that nameth the name” of Christ depart from iniquity if he desires to attain the resurrection of the just. This he must do. There are bad as well as good characters in the church as in a large house there are various kinds of vessels, yet it is only by cleansing himself from all iniquity that he can be fit for his Lord and Masters service here and his reward hereafter.

and some unto honor, and some unto dishonor.—[But this is by no means all. A vessel once made by the artificer can­not change itself. It cannot become any other material than of that of which it was originally made. But Paul here rep­resents vessels as changing themselves. This is absolutely incompatible with the idea that God has made a certain num­ber of persons to be saved and a certain number to be lost. It is, on the contrary, the most surprising assertion of the freedom of the human will in Scripture: for a man is not only supposed to be able, but is responsible for changing himself from that which is typified by an earthen vessel into that which is typified by a golden one. Hymenaeus and Philetus had fallen from being golden vessels into earthen ones, but if they repented they might become gold or silver ones; that is, if they purged themselves from the error in question and abstained from them who held it. By the fact that a man has once fallen into this pernicious error, he is not condemned forever, but by cleansing himself and becoming sanctified meet for the Master’s use “prepared unto every good work.”]

Verse 21

2 Timothy 2:21

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor,—God uses only such as are fitted for his use. The reason God does not use more persons, or use them more effectively, is because they are unfitted for his use.

sanctified, meet for the master’s use, prepared unto every good work.When fitted for his use, he is prepared for every good work. Man’s duty is to so live as to fit himself for the service of God, and then God will direct him and use him.

Verse 22

2 Timothy 2:22

But flee youthful lusts,—Timothy was at this time about thirty-six years old. Lusts and passions are strong in youth. He must fight with and conquer those lusts, passions, and desires which are more peculiarly tempting to those who are still in the meridian of life. These youthful lusts are by no means to be limited to those varied and fatal excesses in sensual passion, but to all the irregular desires and propensities belonging to earlier life as self-conceit, pride, ambition, love of applause; any impetuous passions to which the warmth of the age is prone.

[This is not to be interpreted of lusts properly so called, such a sense being foreign to the context, and to the character of the person addressed; and the abstinence elsewhere ascribed to Timothy executes the idea of sensuality. It would seem that Paul meant to denote those vehement, im­petuous, and headstrong passions mostly found in young men, but which are sometimes found in middle age, which Timothy had nearly reached, and accordingly against which Paul here cautions him and through him other preachers of the gospel, both young and middle aged, as well as Timothy. Now when we consider that it was rashness, vanity, and rage for controversy and novelty that hurried Hymenaeus and Philetus into those baneful errors, against which Paul here cautions Timothy, the suitableness of the present admonition will be very apparent.]

and follow after righteousness,—To restrain the sins of youth and cultivate righteousness and holiness is to lay the foundation in youth far resisting the sins of the middle and old age. He was to avoid youthful lust on the one hand, and on the other to follow after righteousness, doing right with God’s law as the standard of living.

faith,—Fidelity in all the relations to God and man. Fidelity is the practice of faith.

love,—Love is the doing good to all through discharging the duties God has laid upon man.

peace,—The peace that comes of doing the will of God; peace with all that are at peace with God.

with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.—[To call upon is to invoke his aid. To call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord is to invoke his aid as the Christ, the Messiah predicted by the prophets, and as our almighty and sov­ereign possessor and ruler. It is in that sense that Jesus is Lord. All authority in heaven and on earth was committed unto him (Matthew 28:18) after he died and rose again that he might be the Lord of the dead and the living; that is, that he might acquire that peculiar right of possession in his people which arises from his having purchased them with his own blood (Acts 20:28). To call upon the name of Jesus as Lord is therefore to worship him. It looks to him for that help which God only can give. All Christians, therefore, are worshipers of Christ and every sincere worshiper is a true Christian. The phrase expresses not so much an individual act of invocation as an habitual state of mind and its appro­priate expression.]

Verse 23

2 Timothy 2:23

But foolish and ignorant questionings refuse,—Things not taught by God are to be avoided because they breed strife and division.

knowing that they gender strifes.—[Paul correctly says that the effect of such disputes is to engender harsh contention and strife. Points of vital import can and should be discussed carefully and prayerfully by those who are diligently and prayerfully seeking the truth.]

Verse 24

2 Timothy 2:24

And the Lord’s servant must not strive,The servant of the Lord must not engage in bitter strife. [Everything which is likely to be the cause of strife, heart-burning, or hot words is singularly out of place in the life of a servant of the Lord. This, however is not out of harmony with the exhortation: “I was constrained to write unto you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered unto the saints.” (Judges 1:3.)]

but be gentle towards all,—Gentleness, with an appetite for teaching, and patience toward these in error, and, who oppose the truth is compatible with firmness and fidelity in maintain­ing the truth. [Paul would press upon Timothy and his suc­cessors the great truth that was the Master’s will that the nations of earth who sit in darkness and in the shadow of should learn by slow, though sure, degrees how lovely and desirable a thing it is to be a Christianshould come at length to see clearly that Christ is the only lover and real friend of man.]

apt to teach, forbearing,—[This is what the servant of the Lord should really aim at being—the teacher rather than the controversialist. Rather the patient endurer of wrong than the fomenter of dissensions and wordy strifes.]

Verse 25

2 Timothy 2:25

in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowl­edge of the truth,—The feelings and impulses of the flesh, the excitements and rivalries of controversy, the desire to expose error, and to make it appear unworthy—all have a tendency to lead us to forget that the Lord demands courteous con­sideration in our treatment of others. He demands that we give the same consideration to the mistakes and faults of others that we would like to receive and expect of them for our mistakes and faults. It does not mean that we should overlook their mistakes or let the faults go unreproved; but he demands that we should treat them kindly and respect their feelings in correcting them. Wisdom demands this as well as the fundamental spirit of the Christian religion. Especially we should treat every mans religious feelings and practices with the respect and courtesy we would like to have shown us. This does not involve any compromise of truth or righteousness or any winking at errors. Every man wishes, if he holds error, to be delivered from it. We desire it if we are true and honest. To treat them as we would be treated demands that we should show that we also desire to be freed from error. We should do this as far as we are able. But we regard our religion as sacred; we believe it true and holy. Others regard theirs in the same way. Our duty is to treat them in trying to correct their errors as we would would have them treat us in trying to correct what they regard as error. None of us have room for boasting of our knowledge. We should be modest, and while striving to correct and teach others, we should do it in meekness and forbearance for those most con­fident in their knowledge and practice are most liable to err. So, instead of denouncing others with harsh words, let us seek to teach them in meekness.

[By “them that oppose themselves,” it is not likely that Paul alludes so much to those teachers of false doctrine as those led away by them. He says: “A factious man after a first and second admonition refuse; knowing that such a one is perverted and sinneth, being self-condemned." (Titus 3:10-11.) But the ones re­ferred to in the passage before us were to be dealt with in a different manner. Their treatment was to be a gentle one. Nothing is said here of a first and second admonition only; no hint is given that these are to be shunned.]

Verse 26

2 Timothy 2:26

and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil,—[The sin which issues in unbelief is here repre­sented as a kind of drunkenness, and by repentance a man becomes sober again, so Jesus calls it “when he came to himself.” (Luke 15:17.) Again sin, so far from freedom to do as one likes, is a state of being ensnared by the devil, from which he is to be captured alive—to do the service of him whose service is perfect freedom. Here we have the thought frequently enunciated by Paul that man being a creature can­not have real independence; his only freedom is to choose whom he will serve. He must cast down imaginations, and every high thing that is exalted against the knowledge of God, and bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) or fall under the dominion of the devil. There is no other alternative. He cannot serve two masters, but he must serve one and his wisdom is to choose the service of the Father who created him and the Savior who died to redeem him.]

having been taken captive by him unto his will.—Men who turn from God and his ways to follow the ways of men are led by the devil. Under specious pretext of following their own wisdom, they are taken captive by him at his own will.

Bibliographical Information
Lipscomb, David. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". "Lipscomb's Commentary on Selected New Testament Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dlc/2-timothy-2.html.
 
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