II Timothy 2:14-26
July 28, 2019
v. 14 - "Put them in remembrance"
We need to be reminded of the truth in all its
aspects in all our situations.
We are apt to forget the consolatory aspect of
truth under the pressure of present trial just as
worldly men are apt to forget its threatening aspect
under the absorbing worldliness of their lives.
Not preaching the Word and Truth as it is in
Jesus is subverting – an overthrow, a catastrophe -
II Pet. 2:6 Gen. 19:29 - subverting - "overthrow
Edification and building up contrasted with tearing
down - the effect of these vain talkers & deceivers.
v. 18 - "who concerning the truth have erred"
v. 15 - "handling aright" - "rightly dividing the word
To cut straight - teaching accurately - thought of Mr.
Cathcart in his upholstery business - also personally -
"The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places,
yea, I have a goodly heritage"
This book must form the matter of his preaching, the
mold of his thoughts, the inspiration of his imagination.
Distributing it to babes as well as full grown men
according to their capacities and their circumstances.
He must not pervert or wrest its true sense, he must
not keep back anything that is profitable, but must
declare the "whole counsel of God" - not wandering
to the right hand or to the left but keep a straight course
in the path of truth – Deuteronomy 5:32; 28:14; Proverbs 4:27
A Warning Against Vain Babblings, with Their Tendency to Heresy and Impiety
“But shun profane babblings.”
· THE DUTY OF THE MINISTER TOWARD SUCH BABBLINGS. He
is to shun them, because they are profitless — a mere sound of words,
without solid meaning; great swelling words of vanity, not only
unprofitable, but contrary to the doctrine that is according to godliness.
The minister must shun, discourage, and repudiate them in the interests of
truth and piety.
· THE TENDENCY OF SUCH BABBLINGS. “They will proceed
further in ungodliness.” They shall be progressing unto more ungodliness
Ø There is a close connection between lax doctrine and a loose life.
Ø There is a tendency in false teachers to carry their principles to their
last logical results. They have thrown off the checks of authority and
conscience; they have been emboldened, perhaps, by a temporary
success; and so they insist on wresting the whole Scripture to their
own destruction as well as that of others. (II Peter 3:16)
v. 17 - calls it a "gangrene" - will spread - errorists in
in the church - pretending to give true spiritual
food, only cause gangrene and it will spread,
if unchecked, further and further.
It enlarges in area, corrupting the flesh that was sound
before - heretical opinions spreading in the body of Christ!
Gangrene is a condition that occurs when body tissue dies. It is caused by a
loss of blood supply due to an underlying illness, injury, and/or infection.
Fingers, toes, and limbs are most often affected, but gangrene can also
occur inside the body, damaging organs and muscles. There are different
types of gangrene and all require immediate medical attention.
Their word was of the nature of a gangrene, that eats into the life, and,
always in an aggravated form, SPREADS OVER THE ENTIRE
The Greek word for heresy is - hairesis - a choosing,
choice – then that which is chosen, and hence an opinion, especially
a self-willed opinion, which is substituted for submission to the power
of truth and leads to division, the formation of sects and finally,
APOSTASY FROM GOD! (Think of the origins, influences and
roles of PRO-CHOICE and the AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES
UNION in the
ALL BEGAN WITH A CHOICE – a la – HERESY – CY -2009)
Such a man is a living lie against the truth.
Heretic: a person holding an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted.
· METHOD OF THE HERETICS. “Of these things put them in
remembrance, charging them in the sight of the Lord, that they strive not
about words, to no profit, to the subverting of them that hear.” The
method of the heretics called for solemn warning from Timothy. Its
essential character was word fighting. It dealt with the form, and not with
the reality; and so it came to be controversial. The word is not
unimportant, but it has no importance apart from its being the vehicle of
the truth. The moral defect of the method was its want of regard to
edification. The disputants only used it for dialectic display. There was,
therefore, no good result to be laid to their account. The only result to be
expected was the subversion of any who, by hearing, placed themselves
within their influence.
· THE TRUE METHOD. “Give diligence to present thyself approved
unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the
Word of truth.” (v. 15) The heretics sought to be approved unto them that
heard them, for their skill in word fighting. Timothy was to follow another
course, and to display his zeal in quitting himself so as to be approved unto
God. The way in which he was to do this was by answering to the idea of a
workman. He was not to amuse himself with profitless disputation, but he
was to give profitable work. He was to work with such rigorous regard to
the Divine rule that, whether he met with approval or disapproval from
men, he did not need to be ashamed. Especially was he to show the better
way of dealing with the Word. He was to cut rightly, or cut straight, the
Word of truth. Whatever the metaphor is, there can be no doubt that the
idea is that, instead of trifling with the Word, he was to go right into and
lay open THE DIVINE TRUTH IT CONTAINED!
· THE RING LEADERS OF HERESY. “Of whom is Hymenaeus and
Philetus; men who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the
resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some.”
Ø The leading apostles of error.
o It is a solemn thought that the Spirit of inspiration has given an
immortality of infamy to these two names.
o Hymenaeus is evidently the person referred to already (I Timothy
1:20), whom the apostle had “delivered unto Satan;” but he seems
to have profited in no way in the interval by the severe discipline
applied to him. Of Philetus nothing is known. It is a Greek name,
but it occurs in Roman inscriptions.
Paul mentioned two such - III John 9 - John
mentions another - "Diotrephes who loveth
to have the preeminence among them"
Ø The nature of their error. Their principal error, which is mentioned, was
a denial of the resurrection in its true sense.
o They probably perverted the words of the apostle himself when he
spoke of a spiritual resurrection (Romans 6:4, etc.; Colossians 2:12),
of which they could say truly enough that “it was past already;” but
they denied a resurrection of the body, which was just as expressly
taught by the same apostle.
o The error had its origin in the Greek philosophy, which regarded matter
as essentially evil, and as therefore unworthy to share in the ultimate
glorification of the redeemed.
Ø The injurious effects of their error. “And overthrow the faith of some.”
o The doctrine of the resurrection is founded on the resurrection of
Christ, which is the foundation doctrine of Christianity. Those errorists
seem to have touched with unholy hands this cornerstone of Christian
o The influence of the errorists, evil as it was, was only partial. It only
affected “some;” but even this thought was a sad one to the apostle.
v. 18 - It is the usual way with heresy to corrupt &
destroy the gospel under the pretense of
improving it and there are always some weak
souls ready to be deceived and misled.
ONE of the most serious calamities which can befall a church is to have her
own ministers teaching heresy: yet this is no new thing, it has happened
from the beginning. Paul and Peter and James and John in their epistles had
to speak of seducers in the churches, even in those primitive days, and ever
since then there have arisen in the very midst of the house of God those
who have subverted the faith of many, and led them away from the
fundamental truths into errors of their own inventing.
Ø It will spread further and further.
o Through the subtlety of seducers;
o through the unwary simplicity of Christian professors;
o and as a judicial infliction upon such as, possessing no love
of the truth, receive delusion to believe a lie. (II Thessalonians
Ø It will have corrupting and destroying effects. The strong figure of the
apostle sets the matter in an impressive light.
19 “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,
The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that
nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.”
Christ is the Cornerstone - the truth stands firm from
age to age - a constant witness in the midst of error and
v. 19 - "the foundation of God standeth sure" - unmoved
"having this seal - the Lord knoweth them that are His"
Study closely the matter of the gangrene of Korah -
I remember this story from my youth in my grandmother's
Bible story book!
· THE STABILITY OF THE CHURCH. “Howbeit the firm foundation
of God standeth.”
The Church is a structure in connection with which there is solemn engagement.
“Having this seal.” The seal on the substructure has two sides.
Ø The obverse, or Divine side. “The Lord knoweth them that are His.” The
language from this point to the close of the twenty-first verse seems to
have been suggested by a memorable passage in Jewish history, recorded in
Numbers 16, viz. the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
These men charged Moses and Aaron with taking too much upon them in
acting, the one as prophet by pre-eminence and the other as priest by
preeminence. The reply of Moses, as given in the Septuagint, was that God
knew them that were His, i.e. would maintain their cause against opposers,
AS HE DID SIGNALLY IN THAT CASE, in causing the earth to open
and swallow up these men and their company.
Ø The reverse, or human side. “And, Let every one that nameth the Name
of the Lord depart from unnghteousness. In the case
referred to, the Divine call to the whole congregation was, “Depart from
the tents of those wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be
consumed in all their sins.” (Numbers 16:26) The application is the following:
Let Timothy be comforted by the thought that the Lord would judge between
him and such opposers as Hyraenaeus and Philetus, who would not be able
to move the substructure that had been laid. (“For other foundation can
no man lay than that is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST.” I Corinthians 3:11)
On the other hand, let Christian congregations be warned. They are composed
of those who:
o name the Name of the Lord,
o profess faith in Christ as their Saviour, and
o promise obedience to His laws.
Let not, then, a Christian have anything to do with departure from the truth
and fellowship with ungodliness.
"Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart
from iniquity" - There is no place for unrighteousness
separate himself from all evil.
v. 20 - Every one that names the name of Christ
ought to depart from iniquity - yet we must
not be surprised if it is not so and find there
are those in the church with an inconsistent
Two kinds of vessels mentioned - some precious and
durable, others comparatively valueless, easily and
soon broken. Vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor.
· MIXED SOCIETY. “Now in a great house there are not only vessels
of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some unto honor,
and some unto dishonor.” In the Jewish Church (which is called the house
of God) there were faithful and unfaithful, with degrees of faithfulness and
degrees of unfaithfulness, compared here, the one class to vessels of gold
and of silver, and the other class to vessels of wood and of earth — vessels
put to honorable uses and vessels put to dishonorable uses. In the former
class were Moses and Aaron, and in the latter class Korah, Dathan, and
Abiram, as shown in the day of trial. The Christian Church is also a great
house, presided over, as we are told, not by a servant, but a Son. “And
Moses indeed was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, for a testimony
of those things which were afterward to be spoken; but Christ as a Son,
over God’s house; whose house are we, if we hold fast our boldness and
the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.” (Hebrews 3:5-6) The Church
is meant to be A PURE SOCIETY, but it is impossible under present
conditions to have this realized to the fullest extent. In the apostolic circle
around Christ there were vessels of gold and. vessels of silver — of superior
use and of inferior use in the service of the Master; but there was also shown
to be a vessel of more than ordinary baseness of material put to the most
In the Church as it was forming there were men and women with gold and
silver in their natures, “who having lands or houses sold them and laid the
prices down at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 4:34-35), but there were also Ananias
and Sapphira, whose earthliness moved them to keep back part of the price
(ibid. ch. 5). So while Paul was of gold use, we may say, at that period of the
Church’s history, and Timothy comparatively of silver use, Hymenaeus and
Philetus belonged to the other category, having nothing better than wood in
them, and put to no honorable use.
There are vessels for honor and vessels for dishonor. The idea is
much the same as that of the dragnet in the parable (Matthew 13:47-49).
· THE DUTY OF SEPARATION FROM THE VESSELS OF
DISHONOR. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall he a
vessel unto honour, sanctified, meet for the Master’s use, prepared unto
every good work.” The thought of separation from the false teachers was,
no doubt, uppermost in the apostle’s mind, but it has a wider scope.
Ø It is our duty to withdraw from error. This withdrawal may be effected
in several ways. The apostle says to Timothy, “From such withdraw
thyself” (I Timothy 6:5); he says to Titus, “A man that is a heretic
avoid” (Titus 3:10). The separation may take place by the heretic being
cast out of communion; or avoided in the intercourse of life; or, in the last
resort, the believer may withdraw himself from the society which fails to
cast him out. Or the believer may be called upon to “purge himself” —
terms which seem to imply personal defilement in a separate walk of
holiness and purity. He must purge himself from heresy and impurity.
· PURGATION. “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall
be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, meet for the Master’s use, prepared
unto every good work.” There was a purgation of the congregation of
Israelite was to get up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram;
that was the condition of his being classed among the pure — of his being,
according to the language formerly used, a vessel unto honor. We may
think of the censers used by the two hundred and fifty of Korah’s company;
their sacredness was recognized by their being taken out of the fire, and
put to another sacred use. “The censers of those sinners against their own
souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar.”
(Numbers 16:38) The same thing has to take place in the Christian Church.
A member of a Christian congregation is not to have fellowship with such
subverters as Hymenaeus and Phitetus were, or with those, whether subverted
or not as to creed, who engage in ungodly practices. He is not even to throw
himself into the society of the merely indifferent. Thus only can he be a
vessel unto honor. Three things are said about him who is a vessel unto
honor. They turn upon the idea of usefulness; for that is essential to a vessel.
Ø The first has reference to an act of consecration.
Ø The second has reference to a use the Master has for the vessel.
Ø The third has reference to a course of preparation for the use.
Christians are set apart to holy uses.
Ø This is partly their own act, in the dedication of themselves to God; and
Ø partly the Divine act in the sprinkling of the blood of Christ and
anointing of the Holy Ghost.
There is a use the Master has FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN. This use may
be said to be (distributively) every good work. A Christian can be turned to
more uses than a particular kind of vessel. It rather needs all kinds of sacred
vessels to express his usefulness. His preparation, then, is no simple matter;
it cannot be carried through in a day or a year. In and through experience,
embracing our own exercise of soul and the Divine blessing, we acquire
habitudes for various kinds of service, which are not always in actual
requisition, but may at any time be in requisition. Let us, then, be in
such a state of preparation that the Master of the house can, as it were,
take us up, and use us for whatever work He has to be done.
· PURE FELLOWSHIP. “But flee youthful lusts, and follow after
righteousness, faith, love, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a
Timothy was to act his part well in the Christian society with which he was
connected. He had yet youth on his side, and, while that had its large
possibilities of service, it had also its risks. It had fiery impulses, from
which even a youthful minister was not exempt, and by giving way to
which the Christian society would be seriously injured. Let him flee to a
distance from his peculiar temptations; on the other hand, let him be in
close pursuit of the virtues on which pure fellowship depends. There is that
Ø righteousness, which may be thought of as the observance
of the Divine rules, Then there is:
Ø faith, or reliance on promised strength.
Ø Then there is love, or proper regard for the common or individual
good. There is, lastly:
Ø peace, or the keeping up of cordial fellowship and cooperation with
Fitness for Service (v. 21)
“Meet for the Master’s use.” Christ is our Lord as well as our Saviour. We
are under a Master, and must bring our thought in captivity unto Him.
(II Corinthians 10:5)
· MEETNESS. For in man there is a power that grows by culture. Not so
with the inferior animals. Take the bee: the first cell it makes is as
geometrically perfect as the last. So take the bird: the first nest it makes is
as soft and complete as the last. But man can grow in meetness. Self-discipline
meetens. Sorrow meetens. Suffering meetens.
· MINISTRATIONS. Use. This characterizes all the works of God. The
river is not only a silver thread running through the landscape; it brings
freshness and verdure, and the cattle come to the banks to drink, and there
is emerald verdure by the riverside. Ships, too, float on its waters. We are
to be of use to the Master. He deigns to use us. “Son, go work today in my
vineyard.” (Matthew 21:28) Many in this age dislike the word “Master;”
but we are always under some master, consciously or unconsciously.
We serve God or Mammon, and we cannot serve both. We are to attend to
spiritual means of grace, and to seek out modes of service, so as to be of
use to the Master.
In I Tim. 6:5 - Paul tells Timothy "from such withdraw
thyself" and in Titus 3:10 he says "a man that is a heretic avoid"
Korah - "perished in the gainsaying of Core" -
Jude 11, v. 3
· TREATMENT OF OPPOSERS.
Ø Avoidance of controversy with them. “But foolish and ignorant
questionings refuse, knowing that they gender strifes.” The apostle does
not say all questionings; for some might arise from honest difficulties, and
these deserved to be met. But he says such questionings as were foolish,
i.e. betrayed no honest struggle after the truth, and such as were ignorant,
i.e. betrayed ignorance of the position questioned. Such questionings as,
arising from egoism, did not deserve to be met, and the proper course was
to have nothing to do with them. For they could not gender conviction, but
petty strifes, in which the contest is not for the truth, but for personal or
Ø The arts of gentleness with them. “And the Lord’s servants must not
strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness
correcting them that oppose themselves.” The Lord’s servant, such as
Timothy was in a special sense, was not to strive. For how in that way
could he be the servant of Him who did not strive, nor cry, nor let His
voice be heard in the streets? (Isaiah 42:2; Matthew 12:19) What
became the Lord’s servant was to practice the arts of gentleness
towards all. His part was, not to fight but to teach, not to be fiery
under opposition, but to be patient. In accordance with his
being a teacher and not a mere disputant, he was to communicate
knowledge of the truth, by way of correcting false impressions to those
who opposed themselves; and, in doing so, he might expect provocation,
but in the character of the Lord’s servant he was to exhibit meekness.
Ø Object aimed at. “If peradventure God may give them repentance
unto the knowledge of the truth, and they may recover themselves out
of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by the Lord’s
servant unto the will of God.” The interpretation which is introduced
into the Revised Translation in the concluding words is not likely to
find acceptance. There is a strong characterization of the opposers.
They are in the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him
at the will of that person whose will, it is hinted, is decided enough
for evil. The grammatical objection holds no more in Greek than in
English; the thought is the badness of their case, for whom
notwithstanding he asks efforts to be made. In connection
with these efforts it was not impossible for God to grant them
repentance, that change of moral disposition which was necessary
to the right appreciation of the truth, and thus to recover them as from
a state of spiritual intoxication, and to bring them out of the devil’s
snare. The Lord’s servant is not soon to give up, but is to hope on,
even with those who seem to be the devil’s willing tools.
Ill-regulated passions - intemperance, peevishness,
grudging, ambitious, love of display (show over
"avoid" - have nothing to do with
Pulpit Commentary says this has been neglected
by the Church in all ages.
"they do gender strifes"
v. 24 - "not to strive, gentle, apt to teach" - forbearing,
bearing up against ill treatment, patient,
v. 25 - "instructing" - correcting - from same root
word as "unlearned"
Bring up, train - sometimes teaching, sometimes
disciplining - the end result of παιδεία – paideia - instruction is to bring them to
the knowledge of God’s truth.
Instructor, tutor, child, chastening, chastisement,
correcting, instruct, learn, teach - all same roots
"recover themselves" - like sober up from drunkenness,
come to one's self - like the prodigal son in Luke 15:14-18
To a right mind - Luke 8:26-35
"who are taken captive by him at his will" - to take alive,
of prisoners of war, who, if not ransomed, always become
slaves of the conqueror.
Meaning here - having been captured and enslaved.
Being deprived of their own will and made subservient
to the will of another.
The will of God, once established in such hearts, as the
guiding principle of life, completes the recovery from
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