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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
2 Timothy 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-13

2 Timothy 1:1-2. Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

This is the true apostolical succession,-one minister brings another to Christ, and then charges that other to train other preachers and teachers to carry on the blessed work of evangelization.

2 Timothy 1:3-4. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

The man who has given himself wholly to the service of Christ must not undertake any other business that would prevent his giving his whole strength to his Master’s work.

2 Timothy 1:5-8. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say, and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to My gospel:

The resurrection of Christ is the corner-stone of the glorious temple of truth, the key-stone of the arch of revelation. Paul tells us, in that great chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, how hopeless our case would be if Christ was not “raised from the dead; “but he also proves most conclusively that he was raised “the third day, according to the Scriptures.”

2 Timothy 1:9. Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

Thank God that it is not yet bound though many have tried to fetter it. When they think that they have manacled it, it breaks loose again, and so it always will. However low this heavenly fire may burn, it soon blazes up again, and so it shall to the world’s end. Immortal as the Christ who is the sum and substance of it is the everlasting gospel of the blessed God.

2 Timothy 1:10-13. Therefore I endure all things from the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.—

Blessed truth, God grant us the grace to mediate upon it until we also shall become faithful to him and to his truth!

This exposition consisted of readings from 2 Timothy 1; and 2 Timothy 2:1-13.


Verses 1-14

2 Timothy 2:1. Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Is an exhortation to every one of us, not only to have grace, but to be strong in it. There are many professors who, so long as they are just saved, are content. We are not content with being barely alive spiritually; we do not wish to have our life shivering with cold, but we seek after comfort as well as existence, and we seek to be in health, as well as to be in life. So should it be with the Christian. He should pray, “Lord, make me strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Oh! that these words might be, not merely an exhortation, but a divine fiat, that as God said, “Let there be light,” so he may say to his children, “Be ye strong,” and then oh! how soon shall the weakest of us leap into immortal strength!

2 Timothy 2:2. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

So, then, there is to be a succession of teachers in the church, and these do ill who are always speaking against the ministry of God. Timothy receives his ministry of Paul; he is to commit it to faithful men, and these are to hold it in custody to teach to others also. But there are some who say that all Christians should be teachers. To which we answer, if the whole body were a mouth, where were the ear. The mouth is, after all, but a vacuum; if the whole body be mouth, there will be no body at all. If all are to be shepherds, where are to be the sheep? If all are to sow, where are we to find the ground? Nay, brethren, we must be careful to pray God to continue the ministry in our midst, for without it we miss many blessings. “The same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”

2 Timothy 2:3. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

If thou desirest delicacy, join not the army. A soldier’s calling is not to be linked with softnesses, and if thou desirest ease and comfort, join not the army of Christ, for a Christian’s profession and these go not together.

2 Timothy 2:4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

So Timothy, as a Christian minister, is to act as the Roman soldier did. It was a law in Rome that no soldier was to plead in court for another as a lawyer, or to act in business for another as a bailiff, or to have anything to do, while a soldier, with either husbandry or merchandise. And so should it be with the men of God who strove to break the Word, and every Christian indeed, though he meddleth with common things, is to take care that he be not entangled by them, not to be caught, as it were, as game is entangled in a net. There is a way, you know, of making the actions of common life subservient to the purposes of divine grace. This is the Christian’s business; let him take care that ‘he be not entangled with the cares of this life.

2 Timothy 2:5. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

There were rules in the Grecian games. When they struck each other, the blow was not to be given except upon a certain part of the body, and if a man fought unlawfully, he could not get the prize. So there are laws, too, for the Christian ministry, and also holy regulations for the great wrestling of Christians.

2 Timothy 2:6. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

This is a law. No man has any right to be a partaker at all till he has first tasted of the fruits of the field. Until we have first tasted that the “Lord is gracious,” we cannot effectively or properly minister the things of God.

2 Timothy 2:7-9. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doers; even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

See how the apostle comforts himself. Here he is in prison, but the truth is free. He sits with the chains about his wrists, but the Word of God travels from nation to nation, from continent to continent, like the free spirit that dwelleth in it.

2 Timothy 2:10. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Not that the sufferings of Paul had anything meritoriously to do with the salvation of the elect, but that by his earnest strivings and sufferings the word of the gospel was brought to their hearing; faith then came by hearing, and so they were saved.

2 Timothy 2:11-13. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

Glory be to God, the unbelief of man cannot make God break his promises. Christian, all thine unbelief has not made God unfaithful to thee: and sinner, though thou cast out the promise of God as being good for nothing, yet he will not therefore raise the recompense of reward, for Jesus will save others if he save not thee. “He abideth faithful.”

2 Timothy 2:14. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

There are some Christians who need this exhortation given to them in these days, for they are always striving about words to no profit. Beware of these men, if you would not have your faith staggered.


Verses 15-26

2 Timothy 2:15. Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

This is a metaphor taken from the action of the priest at the sacrifice. The priest cut up the bullock, and then laid it in its different pieces according to order. Or, as some think, it is taken from the part of the father at the table, when he carves the meat and gives to every child its portion. Old Master Trapp says that “there are some ministers who are only fit to be Gibeonites and certainly not to be Levites, for they hardly understand the cutting of wood, much less the art of cutting up the sacrifice of God.” Brethren, it is well so to handle the word as to be able to give rebuke when rebuke is wanted, exhortation when it is needed, and comfort when consolation is required, for otherwise we do mischief. As it is said in the old fable of the simpleton, that he gave to the ass a bone and to the dog hay, so there are some who give wrong exhortations, not because they are wrong in themselves, but because they are wrong in their application.

2 Timothy 2:16-17. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker:

Now, there are some people who can never be content except they make their religion a sort of wrangling match. They get a-hold of a word in Scripture, and away they go with it. Here shall be another opportunity for finding fault with all the church of God; here shall be another occasion for railing against all the preachers of the truth. How delighted they are when they can do this! Shun profane and vain babblings. Martin Luther said that there were some in his day so nice and precise about the letter of Scripture that when one of them had delivered an exposition upon the Book of Job, Luther said that by the time the man had got to the tenth chapter Job had been a thousand times more plagued by the expositors than he had ever been by the losses which he suffered upon the dunghill, and doubtless there are many truths of Scripture which are turned to mischief because men will be for ever making them opportunities for strife, and not bonds of love. Brethren, hold the five points of the Calvinistic doctrine, but mind you do not hold them as babbling questions. What you have received of God do not learn in order to fight with it, and to make contention and strife, and to divide the church of God, and rail against the people of the Most high, as some do. But, on the contrary, love one another as brethren, and hold the truth in love, and seek after the unity of the Spirit and the perfect bond of charity. The word of those who raise these questions will eat as doth a cancer, which eats till it gets to the bones, and turns the sound flesh into rottenness. Oh! there are many contentions which have done this mischief in the church of Christ.

2 Timothy 2:17-19. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.

How careful the apostle is lest we should think that any have turned aside who were the Lord’s people. He says the faith of some was overthrown, but nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure. Oh brethren, whenever we see apparent apostasy, let us not therefore think that any of God’s people have perished. Oh, no; for the Lord knoweth them that are his.

2 Timothy 2:19-21. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

When Mr. Philpot the martyr, was addressing a young man about to die for Christ, he said to him, “Brother, thou art a vessel in the great house of thy Master, and this day he will scour thee, scour thee hard, but remember thou shalt soon stand upon the shelf, shining bright and glorious.” Well, sometimes pains, and troubles, and tribulations do have this effect of scouring the vessels of God to make them bright for heaven. We must all be purged and scoured from sinful lusts, from all the contamination of the flesh and of the creature, and then we shall be fit for the Master’s use.

2 Timothy 2:22. Flee also youthful lusts:

Run away from them; it is no use contending with them. Fight with the devil. Resist the devil, and make him flee, but never fight with the flesh. Run away from that. The only way to avoid the lust of the flesh is to keep out of its way. If you subject yourself to carnal temptations and fleshly lusts, remember it is almost certain that you will be overcome by them. “Flee youthful lusts”, and as you must keep going and have something after which to follow —

2 Timothy 2:22-23. But follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

It is generally a good thing to avoid all questions that gender strife, except they be upon vital and important matters. For, oh! brethren, it is so important to keep the unity of the Spirit, it is such a blessed thing to preserve love among Christian brethren, and there be some who in order to create disunion, go about the land, and tear, and rend the body of Christ as much as ever they can. Beware of such; seek not their company; come not nigh unto them, lest their canker pollute you also.

2 Timothy 2:24-26. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

We have here laid down, then, the duty of the Christian minister, and the duty of each Christian, too, and let us seek, in the Holy Spirit’s grace, to carry it out, being at once firm, and gentle, and loving of heart, and yet honest for the truth as it is in Jesus.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 2 Timothy 2:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/2-timothy-2.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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