Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

2 Timothy 2

Verses 2-9



Here is all you can find in the Bible on the boasted apostolical and ecclesiastical succession.

2. Whatsoever things you have heard with me through many witnesses, commit these to faithful people, who shall also be competent to teach others.We all have these same inspired oracles, transmitted from sire to son through successive generations. The great mistake of the age is in not going to the inspired originals, and drinking in the same identical words which Jesus, Paul, and Peter preached. Neglect of the originals is among the sad phenomena of the current apostasy. A metropolitan pastor is not longer required to be “mighty in the Scriptures.” Good Lord, succeed me by a thousand exegetes of the inspired Word more able than I have ever been! This is the great rallying-point of the holiness movement; back to the inspired oracles all along the line.

4,5. The lawful fight of the Christian soldier, to fight with all the power of soul, mind, and body, armed only with the Lord’s panoply.

7-9. According to my gospel, in which I suffer affliction as an evildoer, even unto bonds.Evildoer, kakourgos, a very strong word; from kakos, evil, and ergao, to work. Hence, it means a “doer of evil.” This would not apply to Paul in his first imprisonment, for simple disharmony with the Jewish institutions, which was not at all criminal in Roman law. Hence, the word is certainly an argument in favor of the conclusion of the critics that he was arrested on the charge of burning Rome, which was a high crime.

Verse 10



10. Therefore I suffer all things for the sake of the elect, in order that they indeed may receive the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.The Greek, eklectoi, is really double election. It is from ek, out, and lego, to select. Hence, means “selected out of the select.” God chose the seed of Abraham in the old dispensation to be his holy peculiar people chosen out of all nations the honored custodians of the Divine oracles, to prepare the world to receive his Incarnate Son, and preach him to all nations. While they failed by unfaithfulness and missed their blessing, the elect few—e.g., old Simeon, Anna, Zacharias and Elisabeth, Joseph and Mary, and the shepherds on the plains—proved true, and received the blessing. So now the entire Christian Church are the chosen people of God, honored and blessed as the custodians and propagators of his truth, and the recipients of their returning King. But like their predecessors, they are proving unfaithful. But the sanctified, corresponding with the inspired Word, eklectoi, “the elect out of the elect,” are going to verify Paul’s prayer in this passage; i.e., “receive the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory;” i.e., enter the glorified transfiguration, joining with angels and archangels in the coronation of their Lord, King of kings; i.e., King of the nations, Satan, their present king, having been taken out of the world.

Verses 16-22



Here we have emphatic warning against logomachy; i.e., word war, tit-for- tat disputation; not an organized debate, which does good. So never argue; but, like Jesus and Paul, teach your opponents in a loving, uncontroversial manner, at the same time rightly dividing the word of truth. Lord, save us

from the ignorant quackery which will give the medicine to the wrong patient, killing instead of curing, casting the pearls of holiness to the swine of carnality. Unsanctified preachers are utterly incompetent to rightly divide the word of truth. They mix it all up into a heterogeneous mass, giving toothless babies bacon and beans, and Herculean stalwarts gruel. Good reason to tarry at Jerusalem till endued with power from on high.

16. But “common empty talks avoid.” Everything without the Holy Ghost is “empty.” This is really a hackneyed phrase of the apostle. Hence the inestimable importance of keeping your soul stayed on God, your heart in constant prayer, so your words, whether in conversation, sermon, exhortation, prayer, testimony, or song, will be freighted with the Holy Ghost. For they shall proceed to more of ungodliness; i.e., freeze out more and more and get farther from God, till you fall into hell. Once you get rid of the Holy Ghost, and you are adrift, floating away on the dubious sea of carnality, whose ultimatum is the bottomless pit.

17. Their word shall eat as a gangrene;i.e., a cancer. “Empty utterances” are the ruin of the age. They will soon eat up the spiritual life of a Church. We see them all around us, eaten up by these spiritual cancers. What is the remedy? Fall down on the altar, and all cry to God till he pours on you the Holy Ghost, the only possible antidote for spiritual death.

18. Hymeneus and Philetus are examples of fallen preachers, who have lost the Holy Ghost, the only Conservator of orthodoxy, and gone off into the Swedenborgian heresy, which denies the physical resurrection and spiritualizes it. Many heresies emanate from spiritualizing the literal, and literalizing the spiritual. We must not tinker with God’s Bible; we must let it stay where he has put it, or we will have an awful account. (Revelation 22.) What about the thousands of preachers in the Protestant Churches who spiritualize the pre millennial resurrection? (Revelation 20.) They are certainly semi-Swedenborgian, and close on the track of Hymeneus and Philetus. If the first resurrection is spiritual, so is the second, because the Holy Ghost uses the same language to reveal both. All this is to evade the plainly revealed truth of the Lord’s millennium, and his pre millennial coming.

20,21. These long verses describe two classes of people in the same great house; i.e., the visible Church. Some vessels of gold and silver; i.e., fireproof, and others wooden and earthen; i.e., evanescent. Then, if any one will purify himself from these—i.e., “wooden and earthen”—he shall be a vessel unto honor, having been sanctified and acceptable unto the Lord.This is too plain for comment. The sanctified are vessels unto honor, represented by gold and silver. The unsanctified are vessels unto dishonor, represented by wood and earth.

22. Corroborates the preceding in behalf of all who call on the Lord out of a clean heart.

Verses 23-26



23. Avoid foolish and unlearned questions, knowing that they gender strifes.The great Spurgeon said when his members backslid they always became much concerned to know who Cain’s wife and Melchizedek were. Satan uses all sorts of silly, foolish, and worthless questions to tangle weak Christians and attract their attention from Christ, and plunge them into hell. These foolish questions are not answered in the Bible, from the simple fact that they are not worth answering.

24. It does not behoove the servant of the Lord to strive, but to be gentle toward all, competent to teach, enduring evil.Never argue with any one. You see here you are positively forbidden to contend with any person. Be thoroughly posted in God’s Word, and competent to teach the people; but be sure you teach them in an uncontroversial way. Utterly ignore their spirit of controversy. Like a Christian gentleman, teach all you meet the simple truth of God in a kind, frank, and uncontroversial spirit. These disputers are all idolaters, worshipping their creed, and trying to bend the Bible to it. They need your prayers for personal salvation, instead of the cudgel of controversy. Teach them the Word of God; patiently endure all their abuse for Christ’s sake, and pray for them with your might.

25. In meekness instructing the opposers, lest at some time God may give unto them repentance unto the perfect knowledge of the truth.We receive

knowledge of the truth in regeneration and perfect knowledge; i.e., we reach experimental certainty in sanctification. John Wesley preached the repentance of Christians.In that case we call it consecration, which is but a continuation of the repentance we began when a sinner, both being generically identical; i.e., a giving up; e.g., the sinner giving all of his bad things (for he has nothing else) to the devil, where they belong, and leaving him and his sins with him forever, and the Christian giving up all of his good things (in consecration) to the Lord, to be used for his glory forever.

26. They may escape from the snare of the devil, having been led captive by same [servant of the Lord] at his will;i.e., the will of this servant of the Lord. (See R.V.) Of course, these wicked disputers have been captivated by the devil and led away, but this servant of the Lord,in patience, love, and kindness, suffering all their abuses and persecutions by the grace of God out generals the devil, captivating them and leading them away from Satan to God, and receiving a crown of glory for saving them, which he never could have done if he had antagonized them in controversy.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament".