Translations: Chinese GB Big5

2Timothy 2:1-13 (web)

Characteristics of a Faithful Minister

Discipling Teacher

2:1 You therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2:2 The things which you have heard from me among many witnesses,
commit the same to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.

Single-Minded Soldier or Athlete

2:3 You therefore must endure hardship, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2:4 No soldier on service entangles himself in the affairs of life,
that he may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.
2:5 Also, if anyone competes in athletics, he isn't crowned unless he has competed by the rules.

Enduring Farmer

2:6 The farmers who labor must be the first to get a share of the crops.
2:7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.
2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David, according to my gospel,
2:9 in which I suffer hardship to the point of chains as a criminal. But God's word isn't chained.
2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the chosen ones' sake,
that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
2:11 This saying is faithful:
For if we died with him, We will also live with him.
2:12 If we endure, We will also reign with him.
If we deny him, He also will deny us.
2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He can't deny himself.

Discussion Questions

Discipling Teacher

How many generations are mentioned in vs 2?
What are you doing to help Christians in the future?
What long-term goals do you have for the furtherance of the kingdom?
What constitutes a "reliable" person?

Single-Minded Soldier or Athlete

What does it mean for a Christian to get involved (be entangled) with civilian affairs?
What rules must a Christian follow to receive a reward? What reward is he referring to? (see 1Cor 3:11-15)

Enduring Farmer

What "crops" is Paul referring to? (example: 1Cor 9:11-14)
What hinderances have you encountered in communicating the gospel?
vs 12,13 What is the difference between being "faithless" and "disowning" Christ?


Entrust the Word to the Reliable

2Tim 2:1,2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

While we all may seek to find strength from various things from food to relationships, what we need to learn is to gain strength from the grace of God. "Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods, which are of no value to those who eat them." Heb 13:9

The most important ideas to propagate are those things of which the Bible speaks about abundantly, clearly and explicitly. For many will focus on things which may be unclear or not emphasized or to read into the Bible ideas which the Bible doesn't intend, in order to inflate such ideas so as to justify one's denominational or personal beliefs as being superior to others. You take, for example, the idea of infant baptism, of which the Bible never speaks, and yet was considered so important early in the Reformation that Christians would murder fellow Christians over that issue. But Paul never said such a thing in the presence of many witnesses.

A Gnostic view of scripture is to view it as containing hidden meaning. But that which may have been hidden has been revealed to all through the New Testament. It is very important to entrust the teaching of the Bible to those who will keep it public, emphasizing that which the Bible clearly states. There came a time when it was entrusted to unreliable men and for over 1000 years the Bible was taken away from the public by those who replaced what it clearly said with their own ideas.

A person, though even having the spiritual gift of teaching, may not be qualified to teach unless they are found to be faithful to the Word. There is a maturing process to become such a candidate, but all too often there are those assigned to teach who are yet in the process of developing convictions about what they are assigned to teach. In fact "some have wandered away from these (a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith), and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm." 1Tim 1:5-7

Endure Hardship

2Tim 2:3,4  Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs— he wants to please his commanding officer.

As I commented previously in chapter 1, becoming a Christian is free, much like joining the US Marines is free. And though it is quite different than the sense inherent in Militant Islamo-facism, we Christians are analogous to soldiers. Though perhaps firemen might be the better analogy. In either case, Jesus is to be viewed as our Lord. Those who view him as merely Savior, but not Lord have entered through the window and not through the door. Since Jesus is Lord we make it our aim to comply with Him in all things. Jesus is our commanding officer. We are His "friends" in so much as we obey His commands. John 15:14 "You are my friends if you do what I command."

But what would constitute "civilian affairs" to be avoided? Perhaps that is what Paul was alluding to when he said, "From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs— how he can please the Lord. But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world— how he can please his wife— and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world— how she can please her husband. I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord." 1Cor 7:29-35

In other words, there are things what are optional in life - things which are not bad in themselves, but may unnecessarily drain our time, energy and resources, making us unavailable for ministry. So beware of being engrossed in the temporal things of this life and missing out on affecting people's eternal destiny.

Devote Youself to the Ministry

2Tim 2:5-7 Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

In chapter 4 Paul will again call upon this analogy of competing in an athelitic competition. "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day— and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2Tim 4:7,8

Though there is the question as to whom we are commpeting against, seeing Paul desires to see all Christians win the race. You don't get a sense in his writings that he's competing against other Christians. So perhaps that's where the analogy breaks down. Rather it seems here to emphasize the idea firstly that there are rules to follow. This is not to say that we are under the regulations of the Law. But rather that there are general principles to Christian ministry, primary of which is to comply one's doctrine and practice to that which Paul teaches. And secondly he uses this analogy to communicate the concept of devotion. For as an athlete must devote himself to training, so must those involved in minstry.

Likewise the hardworking farmer works laboriously, and must follow the rules of farming, sowing in season, watering, and reaping in season. But in addition Paul adds that such a farmer be the first to receive a share. This he mentions elsewhere, such as in 1Tim 5:17,18 "The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, 'Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,' and 'The worker deserves his wages.'" And also this passage:

1Cor 9:6-14 "Is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living? Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn’t the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn’t he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you? If others have this right of support from you, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. Don’t you know that those who work in the temple get their food from the temple, and those who In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel."

So reflect on that!

Unleash God's Word

2Tim 2:8,9 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

Whenever the gospel is preached in the Bible the resurrection of Christ is mention as forensic evidence validating the propositions of the gospel. For faith in Christ is not blind faith or wishful thinking. But rather it's based upon the affadavit of eyewitnesses to the miracles and resurrection of Christ. Being descended from David is not just a statement if His humanity, but also refers to Him being the Christ prophecied in the Old Testament who was to come through the line of David.

Note how Paul starts his epistle to the Romans, "Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." Rom 1:1-4

Paul's main concern, indeed the main concern we Christians should all have, is that he Word of God be unleased upon the world. The one thing that has historically hindered Christiantity is restricting access to the Word of God. Catholicism did the worse damage of all where for over 1000 years it kept the Word of God in chains and kept populations illiterate, even speaking the Word in Latin - a dead language - so that no one would understand it. The most important thing in Christian ministry is to keep the Word of God accessable and in a languages people understand.

See to Others' Salvation

2Tim 2:10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

The "elect" are those who will obtain salvation through faith in Christ. Notice the elect are not presumed to be saved apart form the gospel. For salvation is contingent upon hearing and believing the gospel. Yet given God's foreknowlege of how people will respond to the gospel, it could be said that there are those who are elect, though presently unsaved, but only elect insomuch as they will inevitably hear and believe the gospel. That is they are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." 1Peter 1:2

But contrary to a fatalistic hyper-Calvinistic view whereby when John Ryland heard William Carey talking about becoming a missionary to India, and told him, "Sit down, young man. When God decides to save the heathen, He will do it without your help.", Paul viewed the situation much differently. Paul did not have a dispassionate fatalistic viewpoint concerning people's salvation. For God doesn't save people apart from hearing and believing the gospel.For example in 1Thess 2:16 he speaks of Jews "forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved."

The only logical explanation for Paul's attitude is to assume Paul was speaking of election in terms of God's foreknowledge of those who would hear and believe the gospel. In other words there are people who are not elect, but who would have been elect, had the Christian community not been so lazy and irresponsible with regards to the ministry of the gospel. How many people have unnecessarily gone to hell because you were too busy with other things, too distracted, to be involved in saving others from hell?

A TrustWorthy Saying

2Tim 2:11-13  Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him, we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we deny him, he will also deny us;
if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.

The first conditional clause is the doctrine of Eternal Security. "Died" is speaking of a past event, as Jesus said, "whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." Jn 5:24 And consequently "if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him." Rom 6:8

The second conditional clause is the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints. Which speaks not of a condition for salvation, but rather diagnoses whether a person is saved. For while "those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" Rom 5:17, it is also the case that "he who endures to the end shall be saved" Mt 24:13, or as Paul puts it, "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain." 1Cor 15:2

The third conditional clause speaks not of singular event, such as Peter's denial of Christ, but of a lifestyle conviction denying Christ, seeing as the verb in the present rather than aorist, which in Greek has the sense of characteristic behavior. This is the converse to the perseverance of the saints, which is to say, "if and only if we endure in faith to the end".

For the fourth conditional clause, the Greek word for "faithless" is used seven times in the New Testament. Six of the seven times it's translated "not believed". And again given the usage of the Greek present tense here, which indicates lifestyle characteristic versus a mere singular event or uncharacteristic behavior, this should more accurately be translated "If we are characteristically unbelievers"... If we are unbelievers, He will faithfully throw us into hell, being faithful to his New Covenant whereby "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him." John 3:36 You can count on that!

Notice the commands
  • Entrust - (delegating responsibilities to other Christians)
  • Endure - (reacting properly to difficulties)
  • Reflect - (deriving applications from the Word of God through meditation)

  • The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

    Jul 29,2015