II Timothy 2
1 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Be strong. (ejndunamou~ - endunamou – be strong, being enabled; be you
invigorated); more exactly, become strong, or, which is the same thing, strengthen
thyself; implying, perhaps, though gently expressed, some previous weakness, as in
Hebrews 11:34, “From weakness were made strong;” where the image seems to
be that of recovery from sickness. In Ephesians 6:10, however (ejndunamou~sqe
ejn Kuri>w| – endunamousthe en Kurio – be strong in the Lord), there is no evidence
of preceding weakness, but only a call to use the strength they had; and it may be so
here too. The strength, Timothy is reminded, by which he was to fight the good fight,
was not his own, but that which would come to him from the grace and love of
Jesus Christ (compare I Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 4:13).
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.”
The things which thou hast heard, etc. Here we have distinctly enunciated the
succession of apostolical doctrine through apostolical men. We have also set before
us the partnership of the presbyterate, and, in a secondary degree, of the
whole Church, with the apostles and bishops their successors, in preserving
pure and unadulterated the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
There can be little doubt that Paul is here alluding to Timothy’s ordination, as in
I Timothy 4:14; 6:12; ch. 1:6-7, 13-14. Timothy had then heard from the apostle’s
lips a certain “form of sound words” — something in the nature of a creed,
some summary of gospel truth, which was the deposit placed in his charge; and in
committing it to him, he and the presbyters present had laid their hands on him,
and the whole Church had assented, and confirmed the same. “Thus through many
witnesses,” whose presence and assent, like that of witnesses to the execution of a
deed of transfer of land (Genesis 23:10, 16, 18), was necessary to make the
transaction valid and complete, had Timothy received his commission to
preach the Word of God; and what he had received he was to hand on in
like manner to faithful men, who should be able to teach the same to others
also. Commit (para>qou - parathou); identifying the doctrine committed to be
handed on with the deposit (paraqh>kh - parathaekae) of I Timothy 6:20 and
ch.1:14. It is important to note here both the concurrence of the presbyters and the
assent of the Church. The Church has ever been averse to private ordinations, and
has ever associated the people as consentient parties in ordination (Thirty-first Canon;
Preface to “Form and Manner of Making of Deacons,” and rubric at close —
“in the face of the Church;” “Form and Manner of Ordering of Priests” —
“Good people,” etc.).
3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
(sugkakopa>qhson - sugkakopathaeson – suffer hardship with me),
which is the reading supported by the weightiest authorities, as in ch.1:8.
The simple form kakopa>qhson – kakopathaeson – I suffer trouble;
I am suffering evil -, which
is the reading of the Textus Receptus, occurs
also in v. 9 of this chapter, in ch.4:5, and in James 5:13, and kakopaqei>a –
kakopatheia – suffering evil; suffering affliction in James 5:10. Both these
simple forms are classical. But the context favors the compound form, and is
supported by ch. 1:8,12.
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.”
Man that warreth. (strateuo>menov – strateuomenos - Soldier on service;
one warring); as I Corinthians 9:7 (see, too, I Timothy 1:18). In Luke 3:14
strateuo>menoi – strateuomenoi - is rendered simply “soldiers,” with
margin, “Greek, soldiers on service.” There is no difference in meaning
between the “man that warreth” in the Authorized Version., and the
“soldier on service” of the Revised Version. Affairs (pragmatei>siv –
pragmateisis – affairs; practices; business ); only here in the New Testament,
but common in the Septuagint and in classical Greek, where it means, as here,
“business,” “affairs,” “occupation,” “trade,” and the like, with the
accessory idea of its being an “absorbing, engrossing pursuit” etc.
(stratologh>santi – stratologaesanti – chosen him; enrolled him;
one enlisting him); only here in the New Testament, not found in the
Septuagint, but common in classical Greek for “to levy an army,”
“to enlist soldiers.” The great lesson here taught is that the warfare of the
Christian soldier REQUIRES THE SAME CONCENTRATION OF
PURPOSE as that of the earthly warrior, IF HE WOULD WIN
5 “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except
he strive lawfully.” Strive for masteries. (ajqlh~| - athlae – contend in the
games); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the Septuagint, but
common in classical Greek. It means “to contend for a]qlon” – athlon - the prize,
to be an athlete. This is also the meaning of the Authorized Version “strive for
masteries.” “To strive,” means properly to contend with an antagonist, and
“mastery” is an old English word for “superiority,” “victory,” or the like.
Dryden has “mastership” in the same sense —
“When noble youths for mastership should strive,
To quoit, to run, and steeds and chariots drive.”
(Ovid., ‘Met,’ bk. 1.)
Lawfully. (nomi>mwv – nomimos) as I Timothy 1:8); according to the laws and
usages of the games. So TIMOTHY MUST CONFORM TO THE LAWS
OF THE CHRISTIAN WARFARE and not shrink from afflictions, if he
would gain the great Christian prize.
6 “The husbandman that laboreth must be first partaker of the fruits.”
That laboureth. (to<n kopiw~nta - ton kopionta – the toiling). Let not Timothy
think to shirk labor and yet enjoy its fruits. (For kopia>w – kopiao – the word
has two meanings:
a. growing weary
b. toiling; to bestow labor).
7 “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all
things.” Consider what I say. The apostle’s lessons had been given in parables
or similitudes. He therefore begs Timothy to note them well, lest the
application to himself should escape him, suggesting further that he should
seek the necessary wisdom and understanding FROM GOD! So our Lord,
at the end of the parables recorded in Matthew 13, says to his disciples in
v. 51, “Have ye understood all these things?” and elsewhere, “He that
hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Understanding (su>nesin - sunesin); one of
the special gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2 - Septuagint; see Colossians 1:9; 2:2).
8 “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from
the dead according to my gospel:” The point of the exhortation is to
remember that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and by that
remembrance to be encouraged to face even death courageously. The verb
mnhmoneu>w - mnaeoneuo – be you remembering - in the New Testament,
usually governs the genitive case as e.g. Acts 20:35; Galatians 2:10. But in
I Thessalonians 2:9; Matthew 16:9; Revelation 18:5, it has an accusative, as here,
and commonly in classical Greek. It is more difficult to determine the exact force
and intent of the clause, “of the seed of David.” It seems, however, to point to
Christ’s human nature, so as to make the example of Christ’s resurrection apposite
as an encouragement to Timothy. And this view is much strengthened by
Romans 1:3, where the addition, “according to the flesh,” as contrasted
with “the Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness,” marks the
clause, “of the seed of David,” as specially pointing to the human nature of
Christ. The particular form which the reference takes probably arises from
the form to which the apostle refers us as “my gospel.” In that creed, which
was the epitome of the gospel as preached by Paul, there was no doubt
mention made of Christ’s Davidic descent. Others think the
clause points to the Messianic dignity of David. Others that it is inserted in
refutation of the Docetae, and to show the reality of the death and
resurrection of Christ; or that it is meant to mark especially the fulfillment
of prophecy. But the first explanation is quite satisfactory, and the general
purpose of the reference to our Lord as intended to encourage Timothy to
endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, is fully borne out by the
“faithful saying” in vs. 11 and 12, “If we died with Him, we shall also live
with Him: if we endure, we shall also reign with Him.”
Christ the Perpetual Object of Christian Remembrance (v. 8)
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, of the seed of David,
according to my gospel.” The two great facts that were to be ever present to
Timothy’s mind were:
o the Incarnation and
o the Resurrection
The two miracles that stood, respectively, at the beginning and the end of His earthly
Ø The one would speak of the hopes of the race of man
springing from the Saviour’s assumption of our nature in
the royal line of David;
Ø the other of the completeness of the redemption sealed
by the resurrection from the dead.
Timothy would be encouraged to bear his trials by the thought of Christ’s victory
9 “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the
word of God is not bound.” Wherein (ejn w=| - en ho – in which); i.e. in which
gospel, in the preaching of which. Suffer trouble. (kakopaqw~ – kakopatho –
suffer hardship; I am suffering evil); as v. 3, Textus Receptus - Unto bonds
(me>cri desmw~n – mechrei desmon). So me>cri qana>tou – mechri thanatou –
unto death - Philippians 2:8; me>criv ai[matov – mechris haimatos – unto
blood - Hebrews 12:4; but most frequently of time, “until,” as Matthew 11:23; 13:30;
Acts 10:30, etc. A malefactor (kakou~rgov – kakourgos ); as Luke 23:32-33, 39;
common in classical Greek. Bonds (desmw~n – desmon); as Acts 26:29;
Philippians 1:7, 13, etc.; Colossians 4:18. So Paul calls himself de>smiov – desmios
prisoner - in respect of these bonds (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1; ch.1:8; Philemon 1:9).
The Word of God is not bound. A beautiful reflection of an utterly unselfish mind!
The thought of his own bonds, likely soon to be exchanged for the bonds of a martyr’s
death, awakens the comforting thought, though they bind me with an iron chain,
they cannot bind the gospel! While I am here, shut up in prison, the Word of God,
preached by a thousand tongues, is giving life and liberty to myriads of my
brethren of the human race. The tyrant can silence my voice and confine it
within the walls of my dungeon; but all the while the sound of the gospel is
going through all the earth, its saving words to the ends of the world; and I
therein rejoice, yea, and will rejoice; and not all the legions of
take this joy from me.”
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.”
Therefore (dia< tou~to - dia touto – therefore; because of; for this cause.
Some refer this to what follows, viz. “that the elect may obtain the salvation,” etc.,
after the model of I Timothy 1:16 and Philemon 1:15, where dia< tou~to
clearly refers to the words which follow. But the interposition of the
words, dia< tou<v ejklektou>v – dia tous eklektous – for the elect’s sake;
because of the chosen ones - is strongly adverse to this view. It seems,
therefore, rather to refer collectively to all the considerations which he had
just been urging upon Timothy, perhaps especially the last, of the
resurrection of Christ, which he now again enforces by his own example of
willing suffering in order that the elect may obtain the eternal salvation
which is in Jesus Christ — adding, in vs. 11 and 12, the encouragement
to suffering derived from the “faithful saying.” I endure (uJpome>nw – hupomeno);
the exact force of which is seen in the substantive uJpomonh> - hupomonae –
patience – so frequently attributed to the suffering saints of God.
11 “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live
with Him:” Died; i.e. in baptism (Romans 6:8), as denoted by the aorist. But
the death with Christ in baptism is conceived of as carrying with it, as a consequence,
the daily death of which Paul speaks so often (Galatians 2:20; I Corinthians 15:31;
II Corinthians 4:10), as well as the death to sin.
12 “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also
will deny us:” Suffer. Endure; as v. 10. Mark the present tense as distinguished
from the aorist in ajpeqa>nomen – apethanomen - betokening patient continuance
in suffering. (ajrnhso>meqa – apnaesometha - if we shall deny him); compare
Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:9; Acts 3:13-14. The denial of Christ is fatal.
It is to reject THE ONLY SAVIOUR! Some deny His Messiahship; some
deny His Divinity; some deny Him by their works, being ashamed of Him and
refusing to confess Him; some deny him by open apostasy. In all these cases the
denial involves our Lord’s denial of them (Matthew 7:23; 10:33).
13 “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.”
If we believe not. (ajpistou~men – apistoumen – if we are unbelieving;
are faithless); meaning the same as the Authorized Version, believe not, which
is everywhere in the New Testament the sense of ajpiste>w – apisteo – believe
not - Mark 16:11; Luke 24:11; Romans 3:3). (For the contrast between man’s
unbelief and God’s faithfulness, see Romans 3:3.) He cannot deny Himself,
by coming short of any promise once made by Him (compare Titus 1:2;
Hebrews 6:18; 10:23). This and the two preceding couplets in vs. 11 and 12
make up “the faithful saying” spoken of in v. 11 (see I Timothy 1:15, note).
Our unbelief does not affect the essential faithfulness of Christ. “If we
believe not, yet he abideth faithful.”
not; for He has just said that if we deny Him He will also deny us, and
faith is always an essential condition of salvation.
as to HIS NATURE AND PERFECTIONS, for He cannot falsify His
declarations that “he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
He will say to apostates in the last day, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23).
It would be to deny Himself to act otherwise. He cannot consistently with His
character regard faith and unbelief as the same thing. Thus the apostle stimulates
Timothy to fidelity by an exhibition at once of the bright and the dark sides
of Divine truth.
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.” Put them in remembrance (uJpomi>mnhske – hupomimnaeske –
be you reminding them) John 14:26; Titus 3:1; II Peter 1:12). Paul skillfully
strengthens his preceding exhortations to Timothy by now charging him to
impress upon others — referring, perhaps, especially to “the faithful men”
spoken of in v. 2, but generally to the whole flock committed to him —
the truths which he had just been urging upon Timothy. Charging
(diamartu>romenov – diamarturomenos); as I Timothy 5:21 and ch.4:1.
Strive...about words (logomacei~n – logomachein); only here in the New
Testament or elsewhere. But logomaci>a – logomachia – strifes; controversies;
occurs in I Timothy 6:4 and in late Greek. Another reading is logoma>cei –
logomachei as if addressed to Timothy himself, but logomacei~n is supported
by the best authorities, and agrees best with the context. To no profit; literally,
useful for nothing; serving no good purpose. Crh>simon – Chraesimon –
useful - which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, is found repeatedly
in the Septuagitn, and is very common in classical Greek, where it is followed by
eijv – eis – in …to - ejpi> - epi – of and pro>v – pros – compare. The construction
is “not to strive about words, a thing useful for nothing, but, on the contrary, tending
to subvert those who hear such strife.” To the subverting (ejpi< katastrofh~| –
epi katastrophae – on upsetting ); elsewhere only in II Peter 2:6, where it is used
of a material overthrow, as it is in the Septuagint of Genesis 19:29, to which
Peter is referring. The history of its use here of a moral overthrow, which
is not borne out by its classical use, seems to be that the apostle had in his
mind the very common metaphor of oijkodomh> - oikodomae - edification,
as the proper result of speaking and teaching, and so uses the contrary to
“building up,” viz. an “overthrowing” or “destruction,” to describe the
effect of the teaching of those vain talkers and deceivers (compare v. 18).
Christian people need to be reminded of the truth in all its aspects.
We are apt to forget the consolatory aspect of truth UNDER THE
PRESSURE OF PRESENT TRIAL, AS WORLDLY MEN ARE
APT TO FORGET ITS THREATENING ASPECT UNDER THE
ABSORBING WORLDLINESS OF THEIR LIVES. The Lord has made
provision, to “put us in remembrance,” through the ministry and through the
Word of God, to which we do well to take heed as to a light shining in a dark
place. (II Peter 1:19)
Continual endurance of evil, whether directed specially against himself, or
generally thwarting the cause which he has most at heart, is the ordinary lot
of the minister of Jesus Christ exercising his ministry in an evil world. And
in order to be ready to encounter this evil, actively or passively, as the case may
require, A COMPLETE CONSECRATION OF PURPOSE on the fulfillment
of his ministry is absolutely required. If the heart is divided between the ministry
of God’s Word and the enjoyment of an easy life, there will be a constant
temptation to avoid those various forms of “hardship” which properly
belong to the campaign of the soldiers of Christ. Troubles will be shirked
rather than endured; and ministerial duties will be made to stand on one
side when they interfere with the inclinations of the moment. Labor will
be evaded when the soul calls for ease. The determined struggle, and the
sturdy stand against evil, whether in his own heart or in the world around
him, will be postponed to a more convenient season, while weak
compromises and sinful compliances take their place in the immediate
present. (Could that be the explanation of why the world seems to be having
more influence on the Church than the Church having on the world? – CY –
2013). At the same time, contradiction and opposition, crooks and
crosses of various kinds, untoward events, troubles, disappointments, and
difficulties of all sorts, will be met, not in the spirit of Christian fortitude,
not in the spirit of Christian meekness and patience, but with petulant
complaints, or with roughness and ill temper, as running against the current
of the love of ease in the soul. It is, therefore, incumbent upon the servant
of God to be wholly given up to the ministry which he has received. He
must resolutely shake off the entanglements of the affairs of this life, that
he may please Him who called him to be a soldier. He must feel, “My work
in life, my mission, the dispensation committed to me, is to advance the
defense of the gospel — to preach it, to vindicate it, to uphold it against all
gainsayers, to adorn it with my own life, to use my utmost endeavor for
its maintenance, its propagation, its triumphs. I must no more shrink from
obloquy, from labor, from suffering, from troubles, or, if need be, from
bonds and death, in the fulfillment of this work and ministry, than the
soldier shrinks from fatigue and exposure, from hunger and hardship, from
wounds and from death, in bravely discharging the duties of his warfare.”
For his encouragement in carrying out this resolve, he has the example of
his LORD WHO SUFFERED UNTO DEATH AND WAS RAISED
AGAIN FROM THE DEAD. He has the example of the apostles who
endured troubles and bonds and imprisonment, and yet saw the gospel which
they preached triumphing over all opposition. He has the promises of God
assuring life, and a kingdom, to those who suffer and die with Christ.
And so, accepting endurance as the portion of Christ’s servants, he pursues
his ministry diligently, joyfully, and steadfastly, throws his whole strength into it,
and looks forward with an unwavering hope to obtain the salvation which
is in Christ Jesus with ETERNAL GLORY!
15 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Study.
Give diligence. The Authorized Version “study,” if we
give it its proper force, as in the Latin studeo, studium, studiosus,
expresses the sense of spou>dason – spoudason - endeavor you; be you
diligent - exactly. Zeal, earnest desire, effort, and haste, are all implied in it
(compare ch. 4:9, 21; Titus 3:12; II Peter 1:10, 15; 3:14). To present thyself
(parasth~sai – parastaesai - to present); as in Luke 2:22; Acts 1:3; 9:41.
In I Corinthians 8:8 it has the sense of “to commend,” nearly the same as
do>kimon parasth~sai – dokimon parastaesai – tested; approved; qualified
to present. The rendering, to show thyself, of the Authorized Version is a very
good one, and is preserved in the Revised Version of Acts 1:3. Approved.
(do>kimon – dokimon) - Romans 16:10; I Corinthians 11:19); one that has been
tried and tested and found to be sterling; properly of metals. This, with the two
following qualifications, “a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,” and
“one that rightly handles the Word of truth,” is the character which
Timothy is exhorted to APPEAR IN BEFORE GOD! The dative tw~| Qew~| –
to Theo – unto God - is governed by parasth~sai (present), not by
do>kimon (approved). A workman (ejrga>thn – ergataen). How natural is
such a figure in the mouth of Paul, who wrought at his trade with
Priscilla (Acts 18:3), and was working night and day at Thessalonica, that he
might earn his own living! That needeth not to be ashamed (ajnepaiscunton –
anepaischunton - unashamed); not found anywhere else, either in the New
Testament or in the Septuagint, or in classical Greek. Bengel hits the right force
of the word when he renders it “non pudefactum,” only that by the common use
of the passive participial form (compare ajnexicni>astov – anexichniastos –
to trace out; track; unsearchable - ajnexereu>nhtov – anexereunaetos –
to search; examine; unsearchable - ajnariq>mhtov – anarithmaetos –
innumerable ), it means further “that cannot be put to shame.” The workman
whose work is skimped is put to shame when, upon its being tested, it is found to
be bad, dishonest work; the workman whose work, like himself, is do>kimov
(approved), honest, conscientious, good work, and moreover sound and skilful
work, never has been, and never can be, put to shame. Paul shows how to
secure its being good work, viz. by its being done for the eye of God.
Rightly dividing the Word of truth. (ojrqotomou~nta to<n lo>gon th~v
ajlhqei>av – opthotomounta ton logon taes alaetheias - handling aright
the Word of truth). The verb ojrqotomei~n – orthotomein – to cut
straight as in road making - occurs only here in the New Testament.
In the Septuagint, in Proverbs 3:6, it stands for “He shall direct [or ‘make
straight’] thy paths;” and so in Proverbs 11:5. The idea is the same as
that in Hebrews 12:13, “Make straight paths for your feet (trocia<v
ojrqa<v poih>sate – trochias orthas poiaesate).” But this does not at all
suit the context. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word.
jOrqoto>mew – orthotomeo must mean “to cut straight,” and, as the
apostle is speaking of a good workman, he must be thinking of some work
in which the workman’s skill consists in cutting straight: why not his own trade,
in which it was all-important to cut the pieces straight that were afterwards
to be joined to each other when making tents (see ojrqo>tomov and ojrqotomi>a –
orthotomos and orthotomia - both forms of rightly divide)? Hence, by an
easy metaphor, “divide rightly,” or “handle rightly, THE WORD OF
TRUTH” preserving THE TRUE MEASURE of the different portions
of DIVINE TRUTH!
The Qualifications of the Gospel Preacher (v. 15)
well as the direct admonition to “give diligence” to his ministry. The ministry
is a good work, demanding industry, study, and care, and no man is sufficient
for it without THE GRACE OF GOD! It is a comfort as well as an honor
to think that ministers are “workers with God” (I Corinthians 3:9).
must not study to please men, else they will not be the servants of Christ;
but they must approve themselves to God, showing all good fidelity, and
commend themselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
THAT WILL NOT BRING SHAME UPON THEMSELVES. The
negligent, or unskilled, or ignorant workman will produce work which may
well put him to shame. But the true workman loves to produce good and
abiding work, such as will stand the fiery test of the last day (1 Corinthians
3:13). He may often feel his insufficiency; but he will never be ashamed of
the gospel, nor of his sufferings, nor of his faithful ministrations of the Word.
“Handling aright (rightly dividing) the Word of truth.”
Ø His one book, his one weapon, his one interest, is the
DIVINE WORD! His mind, his heart, his will, must be
concentrated upon THIS DIVINE WORD! It must
form the matter of his preaching, the mold of his thoughts,
the inspiration of his imagination.
Ø He must be able to handle it aright, with due regard for the
authority of God, to its own intrinsic claims, and to the welfare
of the souls of men. He must be able to:
o “divide it aright,” distributing to babes in Christ and to full
grown men according to their capacities and their circumstances;
o he must not pervert it or wrest it from its true sense;
o he must not keep back anything that is profitable, but declare
THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD! (Acts 20:20,27)
o He must not wander to the right or left, but keep
A STRAIGHT COURSE FORWARD IN THE PATH
16 “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto
more ungodliness.” Shun - (perii`>staso – periistaso – shun; be you
standing aloof from - as in Titus 3:9); literally, step out of the way of, or stand
away from — an unusual use
of the word, found also in Josephus, ‘
Jud.,’ 4. 6:12. Profane babblings (see I Timothy 4:7; 6:20). They will
increase. (proko>yousin – prokopsousin - they shall be progressing); see
note on prokoph> – prokopae – progress; profiting - in I Timothy 4:15.
more ungodliness. (ejpi<
further in ungodliness; more irreverence); surely better rendered in the
Authorized Version to more ungodliness. It may be questioned whether “they”
Refers to the babblings or to the false teachers. It makes very good sense to say,
“Avoid these profane babblings, for they won’t stop there — they will
grow into open impiety and blasphemy.” But v. 17 is in favor of the “teachers”
being the subject of “will proceed;” but it is not conclusive. If a full stop be put after
“ungodliness,” as in the Authorized Version, v. 17 comes in quite naturally with the
further statement, in the next verse, that “their word will eat as doth a gangrene.”
error of the false teachers had not yet appeared in its fully developed form,
but its true moral tendency was clearly foreseen from the first.
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)
17 “And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus
and Philetus;” Their word; as opposed to “the Word of truth” in v. 15.
Will eat (nomh<n e[xei - nomaen hexei – pasture shall be having); i.e. spread,
like a gangrene, which gradually enlarges its area, corrupting the flesh that was
sound before. So these heretical opinions spread in the body of the Church
which is affected by them. Nomh> - nomae - is literally “pasture” (John 10:9),
“grazing of flocks,” and hence is applied to fire (Polybius), which as it were
feeds upon all around it, and, in medical language (Hippocrates), to sores
and gangrenes, which grow larger and depasture the flesh. Of whom; of
the number of those pointed at in the phrase, “their word.” Hymenaeus;
probably the same person as is mentioned as a blasphemer in I Timothy
1:20. Philetus. Nothing is known of him.
Ø It will spread further and further.
o Through the subtlety of seducers;
o through the unwary simplicity of Christian professors; and
o 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.
Ø “and overthrow the faith of some.” (v. 18)
18 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is
past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” Have erred (hjsto>chsan –
aestochaesan – deviate; swerve); see I Timothy 1:6 (note) and 6:21. In
Matthew 22:29 and in Mark 12:24 our Lord’s word for “erring” is plana~sqe –
planasthe. It is remarkable that it was the subject of the resurrection which was
so misunderstood in both cases. The heretics to whom Paul here alludes probably
explained away the resurrection, as the Gnostics in the time of Irenaeus and
Tertullian did, by spiritualizing it in the sense of Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:1;
Colossians 2:12; 3:1, etc. It is the usual way with heresy to corrupt
and destroy the gospel, under pretence of improving it. And there are
always some weak brethren ready to be deceived and misled.
(The Greek word for heresy is ai[resiv - hah’ee-res-is; - 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)
a man is a living lie against the truth.
Overthrow (ajnatre>pousi> - anatrepousi – are subverting); elsewhere in
the New Testament only in Titus 1:11; but common in Septuagitnt and in
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.” The foundation of
God standeth sure; i.e., though the faith of some is thrown down like a wall built
with untempered mortar, the foundation which God has laid fast and firm stands
unmoved and unmovable. This is equally true of individual souls and of the Church,
against which the gates of hell shall not prevail. (Matthew 16:18). Compare
our Lord’s saying, when the Pharisees were offended at Him, “Every plant which
my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15:13); and
those in John 10:28-29; and I John 2:19. Qeme>liov – themelios – foundation - in
classical Greek is always an adjective agreeing with li>qov – lithos – stone -
expressed or understood. In the New Testament it is used only as a substantive
(Luke 6:48; I Corinthians 3:10; I Timothy 6:19, etc.). Here the word seems to be
employed, not so much to denote a foundation on which a house was to be built,
as to denote strength and solidity. The elect of God are like foundation-stones,
which may not be moved. (“Ye also as lively stones, are built up a
spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” – I Peter 2:5). Having this seal. In
Revelation 21:14 the twelve foundation-stones of the new Jerusalem were each
inscribed with the name of an apostle. In like manner there are inscriptions, of the
nature of seals, on God’s strong foundations, SHOWING THEIR
IMMUTABLE CONDITION! One is, “THE LORD KNOWETH THEM
THAT ARE HIS,” taken verbatim from the Septuagint of Numbers 16:5: the
other is, “LET EVERY ONE THAT NAMETH THE NAME OF THE LORD
DEPART FROM UNRIGHTEOUSNESS,” This is nowhere to be found in the
The first part of the verse is indeed equivalent to Ku>rie to< ojnoma> sou
ojnoma>zomen - Kurie to onoma sou onomazomen – Lord, we name your
name in Isaiah 26:13, but there is nothing to answer to the second part. The passages
quoted by commentators from Numbers 16:26 and Isaiah 52:11 are far too general
to indicate any particular reference. Possibly the motto is one of those “faithful sayings”
before referred to. The two inscriptions, taken together, show the two sides of the
o God’s election, and
o man’s holiness (compare I John 1:6; 3:7-8).
The Comfort Amidst Abounding Apostasy (v. 19)
Though some turn away from the truth, God’s Church stands firm in its integrity.
“Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth sure.”
Ø The Church is very properly called a foundation, because it
is placed in the world as the platform on which the whole future
household of faith is to rest (Ephesians 2:20). CHRIST IS THE
CORNERSTONE of the foundation.
Ø It stands firm from AGE TO AGE on its unshaken foundation,
notwithstanding all the efforts made to destroy it (Revelation 12:13-17).
It was to be the CONSTANT WITNESS to THE TRUTH amidst
all ERROR and APOSTASY!
“Having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his; and, Let every
one that nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”
It was an ancient custom to engrave upon a building an inscription which told
of its origin and purpose. (Thus Second Baptist Church, 1910-present, has
engraved on one of it’s corners “Erected to the Glory of God” – 1973 –
CY – 2013). The names of the apostles were written in the twelve
foundations el the apocalyptic city of
Church has a seal with a double inscription, which displays the true
character of the edifice.
Ø One inscription is the legend of comfort and hope.
“The Lord knoweth them that are His.” What a comfort
there is in the thought of this individualizing knowledge! (God is
a “one on one God”; “If a man love me, he will keep my
words: and my Father will love him, and we will come
unto him, and make our abode with him.” – John 14:23 –
What a hope there is in the thought that the saints are God’s
“purchased possession”! (Acts 20:28; Ephesians 1:14; Titus
2:14) (I recommend Deuteronomy ch.32 – v.9 – God’s
Inheritance by Arthur Pink – this web site – CY – 2013)
Ø Another inscription is the legend of duty. “Let every one that
nameth the Name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.”
There is no
place for unrighteousness in the
Therefore believers must separate themselves from ALL EVIL!
20 “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 honor, and some to dishonor.”
Now in a great house, etc. “Now” is hardly the right conjunction. It should rather be
“howbeit.” The object of the figure of the various vessels in the “great
house” is to show that, though every one that names the Name of the Lord
OUGHT TO DEPART FROM UNRIGHTEOUSNESS, yet we must not
be surprised if it is not so, and if there are found in the Church some professing
Christians whose practice is quite inconsistent with their profession. Perhaps even the
vilest members of the visible Church perform some useful function,
howbeit they do not mean it. With this mention of the vessels, compare the
enumeration in I Corinthians 3:12. Of earth (ojstra>kina- ostrakina - earthenware);
only here and II Corinthians 4:7, where it is also applied to skeu>h – skeuae –
vessels (earthen) as it is in the Septuagint, e.g. Leviticus 6:28; and to a]ggov – angos –
vessel; jar; pail - (Numbers 5:17). ]Ostrakon – ostrakon - a tile. (For the same
figure, see Romans 9:22-23.)
21 “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel
unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared
unto every good work.” Purge himself from these (ejkkaqa>rh| - ekkatharae –
should be purging; should be cleaning out); stronger than the simple
kaqa>raiw - katharaio – purge – (thoroughly purge himself) as in I Corinthians
5:7 (the only other place in the New Testament where it occurs) and as in classical
Greek. It is used also by the Septuagint in Judges 7:4, as the rendering of
pr"x;, to try metals. The idea, therefore, seems to be that of separation,
and, if so, “from these” may certainly mean from the false teachers
described under the image of the vessels unto dishonor, as usually
explained. At the same time, the image is better sustained if we understand
“from these” to mean the babblings, and ungodliness, and eating words of
the heretics denounced. It is hardly natural to imply that one vessel in the
house will become a golden vessel by purging itself from the wooden and
earthen vessels. Neither is separation from the false teachers the point
which Paul is here pressing, but avoidance of false doctrines. Meet
for…use (eu]crhstov – euchraestos - useful); only here and ch. 4:11 and
Philemon 1:11. Also Proverbs 29:(31) 13, Septuagint. Common in classical Greek.
The master (tw~| despo>th| – to despotae - owner); the master of the house, the
oijkodespo>thv – oikodespotaes.
22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity,
peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Youthful (newterika>v - neoterikas); of or belonging to new>teroi – neoteroi –
young men. The word only occurs here in the New Testament, never in the
Septuagint, but is found in Josephus, who speaks of aujqadei>a newterikh> –
authadeia neoterikae – youthful arrogance, and is common in classical Greek.
Lusts (ejpiqumi>ai – epithumiai) include, besides the sarkikwn ejpiqumi>ai –
sarkikon epithumiai – fleshly lusts of I Peter 2:11, all those ill-regulated
passions to which youth is peculiarly liable, such as intemperance, love of
company, arrogance, petulance, ambition, love of display,
levity, vehemence of action, wilfulness, and the like. Timothy at this time
was probably under forty (see note on I Timothy 4:12. Follow after (di>wke) –
dioke – be you pursuing; be you chasing; as I Timothy 6:11, where, as here,
it is in contrast with feu~ge – pheuge – flee. Eagerness in pursuit, and difficulty
in attainment, seem to be indicated by the word. With them, etc. (meta< tw~n
ejpikaloume>nwn – meta ton epidaloumenon – with them that call). “With them”
may mean either pursue righteousness, etc., in partnership with all who call upon
the Lord; i.e. make the pursuit of righteousness, etc., YOUR PURSUIT as it
is that of all who call upon the Lord; or it may be construed with eijrh>nhn –
eiraenaen – peace - so as to limit the exhortation to peace to those who call
upon the Lord, eijrh>nhn meta< tw~n ejpikaloume>nwn – eiraenaen meta ton
epikaloumenon - peace with those that call - etc., which is the
construction in Hebrews 12:14 and Romans 12:18. It is, however,
remarkable that in both these passages, which are referred to for the
grammar, the inference from the doctrine goes rather the other way, as
they teach “peace with all men.” So does the balance of the sentence here.
The Importance of Purity Before the World (v. 22)
Negatively, his refers to those passions and desires which are so tempting to youth. They
“war against the soul,” and are most inimical to holiness and salvation. The indulgence
of corrupt passions also leads to serious scandals. God’s people need to be aware of
and avoid those vehement and headstrong passions which often lead young men
into foolish courses, or to the rage for novelty and the egotistic vanity which so often
lead to religious errors like those of Hymenaeus and Philetus.
Positively, we are to “Follow after righteousness, love, peace, with them
that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
manner of life. Believers are:
Ø To yield their members as instruments of righteousness
Ø To be armed with righteousness as a breastplate (Ephesians 6:14).
Ø Righteousness tends to life (Proverbs 11:19).
Ø It brings its own reward (Ibid. v.18).
Ø Its effect is quietness and assurance forever (Isaiah 32:17).
Ø It is of God (I John 4:7).
Ø It is taught by God (I Thessalonians 4:9).
Ø It is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Ø It ought to be an active and abiding principle (Hebrews 6:10;
I Corinthians 8:13).
Ø The greatest sacrifices are nothing without it (I Corinthians 13:3).
Ø Its nature and advantages:
o It springs from heavenly wisdom (James 3:17).
o It is necessary to the enjoyment of life (I Peter 3:10-11).
o There is a blessing for the peacemaker (Matthew 5:9).
Ø Its objects. “Them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart.”
That is, believers. We are to endeavor to have peace with all men
(Romans 12:18). But we are to seek the peace of the Church
(Psalm 122:6-8); of those who worship Christ with all purity of
heart, as contrasted with those “whose mind and conscience are
defiled” (Titus 1:15).
23 “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do
gender strifes.” Unlearned. (ajpaideu>touv – apaideutous – unlearned;
crude; ignorant); only here in the New Testament, but not uncommon in the
Septuagint, applied to persons, and in classical Greek. Unlearned is quite as
good a rendering as ignorant. It is a term applied properly to ill-educated,
ill-disciplined people, (in our culture of the 21st century, low-informed).
and thence, by an easy metonymy, to the questions such persons delight in.
Questions. (zhth>seiv – zaetaeseis - questionings); see I Timothy 1:4, note,
and Titus 3:9. Avoid. (parai>tou – paraitou - refuse; have nothing t
do with; (see I Timothy 4:7; Titus 3:10). Gender (gennw~si – gennosi).
This is the only place in the New Testament where genna>w – gennao – to
beget - is used in this metaphorical sense, unless Galatians 4:24 is included.
(For the sentiment, see I Timothy 6:4, “Whereof cometh envy, strife,” etc.)
Strifes (ma>cav – machas); compare ma>cav nomika>v – machas nomikas –
“fightings about the Law” (Titus 3:9); and “wars and fightings” (James 4:1-2).
Compare, too, the verb logomacei~n – logomachein – strive; engaging in
controversy - in v.14. Nothing can be more emphatic than Paul’s warnings
against foolish and angry controversies about words, and yet nothing has
been more neglected in the Church, in all ages.
24 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all
men, apt to teach, patient,” The servant of the Lord. (dou~lon Kuri>ou –
doulon Kuriou – the Lord’s servant). So Paul repeatedly describes himself
(Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1), as do also the apostles
James, Peter, Jude, and John (James 1:1; II Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Revelation 1:1).
The term seems, therefore, especially (though not exclusively, Ephesians 6:6;
I Peter 2:16; Revelation 19:2, 5; 22:3) to describe those whose office it is to
Preach the gospel, either as apostles or as ministers (Colossians 4:12). Must
not strive (ma>cesqai – machesthai – strive; to be fighting); a conclusive
reason against engaging in those foolish and ignorant questionings which necessarily
engender strife. Gentle. (h]pion – aepion); only here and in I Thessalonians 2:7,
where we see how Paul carried this precept into practice. A nurse does not meet
the child’s waywardness by blows or threats, but by gentleness and love. It is a
classical word. Apt to teach. (see I Timothy 3:2, note). Patient. (ajnexi>kakon –
anexikakon - patient; forbearing; bearing with evil); only here in the New
Testament, not found in the Septuagint, and only in late Greek. It means literally
“bearing up against ill treatment,” patiently enduring it.
The True Temper of the Minister of Christ (v. 24-25)
“The servant of the Lord must not strive.” This does not mean that he is not to
contend earnestly for the faith (Jude 1:4); but that he is not to fight about trifles,
nor to argue with acerbity of temper, nor for mere victory. The “bond of peace”
must be maintained in controversy. He is to be gentle unto all men; cultivating a
spirit of habitual conciliation, while using arguments of the greatest cogency. He is
to be apt to teach, showing capacity and disposition to instruct the ignorant and
the obstinate. He is patient; bearing with the infirmities of weak brethren, with the
irritating oppositions of adversaries, and with the reproaches of evil men
generally. He is to use meekness in instructing those that oppose themselves
to the truth as it is in Jesus, thwarting or perverting the gospel. The minister
must be ready to instruct such persons in a meek and humble spirit, because
they may be ignorant, or ill-informed, or deeply prejudiced from the
circumstances of their early training.
This method of instruction will be beneficial to those who need it!
“If God peradventure will 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.”
A meek and gentle address may bring such errorists to repent of their
sin and accept the true doctrine of faith. It is possible to repel them by our
harsh reproaches. We ought rather to show them the truth without passion,
and enforce it with all the kindly urgency of true affection. The necessity of
repentance in such a case MARKS THE ESSENTIALLY SINFUL
CHARACTER OF OPPOSITION TO THE TRUTH! There may
be some errorists who will awake out of their intellectual intoxication,
if they are wisely dealt with, and open their eyes to THE BLESSED
TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL. The will of God once established in such
hearts, as the guiding principle of life, COMPLETES THE RECOVERY
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, it may be pleasure, alcohol,
drugs, love of money, etc., 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!
25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God
peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of
the truth;” Instructing. (paideu>onta – paideuonta – instructing;
disciplining; training; correcting), paideu>ein – paideuein - means properly
to “educate,” “bring up,” or “train” a child. Hence sometimes the idea of teaching
predominates, sometimes that of correcting or chastising. Here the context shows
that the idea of teaching is predominant — partly because the word suggests
something contrary to the ajpai>deutoi zhth>seiv – apaideutoi zaetaeseis –
unlearned questions; crude questioning - of v. 23, and partly because the end
of this paidei>a (instruction) is to bring them to the knowledge of God’s truth.
The Authorized Version “instructing” is therefore the right word here. Those that
oppose themselves (tou<v ajntidiatiqe>menouv – tous antidiatithemenous);
only here in the New Testament or the Septuagint, or in classical Greek. Literally,
those who arrange or set themselves in opposition; or, in one word, “opponents,”
referring, no doubt, chiefly to such ajntile>gontev – antilegontes - gainsayers;
ones contradicting - as are mentioned in the very similar passage, Titus 1:9
(see too Ibid. ch.2:8). If peradventure. (mh>pote – maepote – seeing whether).
“Mh>pote, in later Greek, loses its aversative meaning (‘lest at any time’), and is
almost equivalent to ei]pote – eipote - equivalent to “in case God should,” etc.
Repentance (metanoi>a – metanoia); such a change of mind as shall lead them
to embrace the truth. Knowledge (ejpi>gnwsiv – epignosis); almost
invariably used of the knowledge of God or of God’s truth (ch. 3:7; Romans 1:28;
Ephesians 1:17; 4:13; Colossians 1:9, 10; 3:10; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 10:26, etc.).
The truth; that truth which before they set themselves to oppose, disputing against
it and resisting it. The servant of the Lord must never despair of any one, never
throw an additional obstacle in any one’s way by roughness or harsh speech, and
never allow unkind feelings to be roused in his own breast by the
perverseness or unreasonableness of them THAT OPPOSE THEMSELVES
26 “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil,
who are taken captive by him at his will.” This is undoubtedly a
difficult passage. We will first take the individual words, and then turn to
the general meaning. Recover themselves (ajnanh>ywsin – ananaepsosin –
they shall be sobering up); only found here in the New Testament, and never
in the Septuagint. In classical Greek, where it is, however, uncommon, it means
literally “to recover from drunkenness,” hence, “to come to one’s self,”
“to come to a right mind.” Snare (pagi>dov – pagidos – snare; trap );
as I Timothy 3:7; 6:9. Compare the use of pagideus>wsin – pagideusosin -
entangle – (Matthew 22:15). Who are taken captive (ejzwgrh>menoi –
ezograemenoi - having been taken captive; having been caught alive);
only found in the New Testament in Luke 5:10 besides this place, but common
in the Septuagint and in classical Greek, in the sense of “to take alive,” of
prisoners of war, who, if not ransomed, always became slaves of the conqueror.
Here, therefore, the meaning is “having been captured and enslaved.” By him
(margin), (uJp aujtou~ – hup autou); i.e. of course the devil, who had just been
named as having ensnared them. At his will. (ejkei>nou qe>lhma – ekeinou
thelaema - unto the will of him (margin),). The difficulty of the passage lies in
the word ejkei>nou, which at first sight seems to indicate a different
antecedent from the antecedent of aujtou~. This grammatical difficulty has
led to the strange rendering of the Revised Version, and to the wholly unjustifiable
intrusion into the text of the words, “the Lord’s servant” and of “God,”
producing altogether a sentence of unparalleled awkwardness and
grotesqueness, and utter improbability. But there is no real difficulty in
referring ejkei>nou to the same person as aujtou~ (meaning in both cases the
devil), as in the passage from Plato’s ‘Cratylus,’ cited by Huther, after De
Wette, the cause of the use of ejkei>nou being that Paul was at the
moment emphasizing the fact of these captives being deprived of their own
will, and made subservient to the will of another. (Dear Reader, may
you and I make sure that we never agree to be under the spell of the devil! –
CY – 2013) The passage may be paraphrased: “If peradventure God may give
them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, so as to recover themselves
out of the snare of the devil, after they had been led captive by him, so as to
be no longer their own masters, but obliged to do his will.” Another example
of the transition from aujto>v to ejkei~nov is in John 1:7-8, Ou=tov h+lqen eijv
marturi>an, i[na marturh>sh| peri< tou~ fwto<v i[na pa>ntev
pisteu>swsi di aujtou~ oujk h+n ejkei~nov to<u fw~v - Outos aelthen eis
marturian, hina marturaesae peri tou photos hina pantes psiteusosi di
autou ouk aen ekeinos tou phos – “The same came for a witness, to bear
witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. He was
not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light” - where there is
a contrast between John as the witness and Christ as the true Light
(compare, too, John 4:25, where ejkei>nov has the force of “not you,
but He”). For the general turn of phrase, compare II Corinthians 10:5,
“Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” where
aijcmalwti>zontev - aichmalotizontes - bringing into captivity (see ch. 3:6)
corresponds to ejzwgrhme>noi – ezograemenoi – taken captive of this verse
and eijv th<n uJpakoh<n tou~ Cristou~ – eis taen hupakoaen tou Christou –
to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5) to eijv to< ejkei>nou qe>lhma –
eis to ekeinou thelaema - at his will of this verse.. It should be noted further that
the sentence is certainly rather a peculiar one, from the use of such uncommon
words as ajnanh>fw – ananaepho – become sober again; recover oneself –
and zwgre>w – zogreo – take captive; catch; ensnare, and the
mixture of metaphors. But the sense of the Authorized Version is fully borne out.
The interpretation preferred is “they may recover themselves
from the snare of the devil unto His will (viz. God’s), having (previously)
been led captive by him (viz. the devil).”
The Skilful Workman (vs. 15-26)
Besides the concentration of purpose, and the willingness to endure, which
are necessary to the faithful minister of Christ, two other qualifications are
no less needed.
By skill in his work we mean both the knowing what to avoid and shun, and THE
EFFECTIVE HANDLING OF THE WORD OF TRUTH. The minister of
Christ who wastes his time, and spends his strength in foolish and unlearned
questions and profane babblings; who strives about words to no profit; who
dabbles with philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, and not
after Christ; who intrudes into things which he hath not seen, bringing in strange
doctrines and carnal ordinances, and laying burdens upon the consciences
of his hearers, which God has not laid; — however earnest he may be, and
however willing he may be to endure trouble in defenSe of his teaching, is
not a workman approved unto God, or one that needeth not to be ashamed
of his work. He builds upon the foundation hay and stubble, instead of gold
and costly stones. But the skilful workman shuns this. He will not allow
himself to be enticed into unprofitable controversies, or fritter away his
zeal upon things of no moment. But he bends all the powers of his mind to
divide rightly the Word of truth. HOLY SCRIPTURE IS HIS MODEL!
What is made much of in Scripture he makes much of in his teaching. He
endeavors to preserve the relative proportion of doctrines which he finds in the
inspired pages; to treat of doctrine and of practice in the same way that they are
treated of in the Word — to speak as do the oracles of God. (For a role model
as a minister of Christ, I submit Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892, and
his example can be found profusely on the Internet – CY – 2013). His aim is
neither to exaggerate nor to attenuate; to speak soberly, but not to speak
coldly; to say nothing that ought not to be said, and to leave unsaid nothing
that ought to be said. (He speaks “the truth in love” - Ephesians 4:15)
Thus will he be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, “rightly
dividing the Word of truth” (v. 15). The other qualification is
scarcely less important. “The Lord’s servant must not strive” (v. 24).
He must meet contradiction, opposition, gainsaying, with gentleness, meekness,
and love. The voice of his Master was not heard in the street, lifted up
in anger, or crying out in wrangling and disputes. He neither reviled
His revilers nor threatened His persecutors (Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew
12:17-21; II Peter 2:23). His servant must be like Him. Loving,
forbearing, patient, apt to teach, with a burning desire to save his
opponents, he must go on his work, despairing of none, wearied out by
none, praying for all, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the
acknowledging of the truth, and bring them out of the captivity of sin into
the glorious liberty of the children of God.
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