II Timothy 2



1 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 

Be strong.   (ἐνδυναμοῦ - endunamoube 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 (ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν

Κυρίῳendunamousthe 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).




                        Exhortation to Timothy to be Strong (v. 1)


The apostle founds upon the foregoing examples and warnings an

admonition to Christian firmness and courage.


·         THE NEED OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. “Thou therefore, my son,

be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”


Ø      Strength was necessary to meet the difficulties and dangers of his

official life at Ephesus.


Ø      The admonition was probably needed on account of the

discouragements which Timothy himself must have felt at the

conduct of the Asiatic deserters.


Ø      Strength is the spring of happy activity in any sphere. “The joy of the

Lord shall be your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)



is in Christ Jesus.” It seems strange to say, “Be strong,” to a spiritually

discouraged man, as it would be strange to say the same thing to a

physically weak man. The injunction is reasonable, however, when we

consider that the source of our renewed power is at hand. The grace of

Christ is the inward power which enables us “to will and to do of His good

pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13) “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of

His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Here lies the true source of our strength.

The apostle declared he could do all things through Christ who strengthened

Him. (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 (παράθου - parathou); identifying the doctrine committed to be

handed on with the deposit (παραθήκη - 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.).





     Admonition to Timothy Respecting the Appointment of Faithful Preachers

                                                            (v. 2)


At such a period of unfaithfulness and timidity, it was necessary to provide

for the continuous wants of the Church.



“The things which thou heardest from me among many witnesses.”


Ø      Timothy heard these things from the apostle at his ordination, but

oftener still during his long missionary travels, when he would hear the

apostle discourse to large and varied congregations of both Jews and



Ø      The substance of his preaching would be the grand outlines of Pauline

theology, as they are exhibited in the Epistles, Jesus Christ being the

central theme.


Ø      There is nothing here to countenance the Roman idea of tradition,

      as if Timothy was to transmit a body of oral instruction to the latest

generations, through successive generations of teachers. The

instructions in question are actually contained in the Scriptures,

and are no longer committed to the doubtful custody of human memory.



      “The same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”


Ø      Timothy was to judge of their qualifications. They were not to judge of

their own fitness; they were not to find their place as teachers by self-



Ø      Their ordination in itself was to be no qualification; for they might

possibly have been wholly destitute of teaching gifts. There is nothing

in the passage to justify the idea of apostolic succession.


Ø      Their qualifications were to be twofold.


o        Faithfulness; for “a steward of the mysteries of God” must be

      faithful (I Corinthians 4:1-2), not betraying the charge committed

      to him, but:


§         declaring the whole counsel of God, and

§         keeping back nothing that is profitable.


o        Teaching power. “Who shall be able to teach others also.

      The bishop must be “apt to teach,” with:


§         a true understanding of the Scriptures,

§         a gift of explication, and

§         a faculty of edifying speech.


3 “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

 (συγκακοπάθησον)- sugkakopathaeson  suffer hardship with me),

which is the reading supported by the weightiest authorities,  as in ch.1:8.

The simple form κακοπάθησονkakopathaeson 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

 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.




                                    Culture of Strength (v. 3)


“Endure hardness.” We are all endangered by ease and self-indulgence. The

soft south wind of worldly comfort enfeebles us. Dangerous, for to the

soldier nerveless strength is death; and the great campaign requires on our

part energy and courage ALL THROUGH!



fourth verse Paul speaks of the “affairs of this life,” in which Timothy, like

the rest of us, was in danger of “being entangled;” and unquestionably,

apart from evil, the innocent side of the present life is most attractive to us,

in all its forms of pleasure seeking and outward prosperity and honor.  (In a

sexually charged culture, the term πραγματείσις  - “affairs” here, has

to do with business, occupation, etc., and has no sexual connotation.  CY – 2019)



only those know who have felt the constant irritant of a relentless

persecution for righteousness’ sake. “I suffer trouble,” says Paul, “as an

evil doer.” And this was the great trial of the early Christians — not merely

bonds and imprisonments”, but the calumnies which made them the scorn

of men. The grace of God can sustain us in all our tribulations; but it

requires “hardness” to “endure as seeing him who is invisible” when the

character is subjected to human scorn and hatred.   (There is much

persecution of Christians around the world which is noted on Facebook,

which The Modern Media often ignores, as they seem to be proponents

            of THE LIE which II Thessalonians 2 reveals.  CY – 2019)


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.   (στρατευόμενος)strateuomenos - Soldier on service;

one warring); as I Corinthians 9:7 (see, too, I Timothy 1:18). In Luke 3:14

στρατευόμενοι 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 (πραγματείσις

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.

(στρατολογήσαντι 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


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.  (ἀθλῇ - athlaecontend 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 ἄθλονathlon -  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.  (νομίμωςnomimos) 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.  (τὸν κοπιῶντα - ton kopionta – the toiling). Let not Timothy

think to shirk labor and yet enjoy its fruits. (For κοπιάω kopiaothe 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 (σύνεσιν - sunesin); one of

 the special gifts of the Spirit (Isaiah 11:2 - Septuagint; see Colossians 1:9; 2:2).





            The Apostle Bespeaks from Timothy a Copartnership in Affliction,

                                    Which Would Have Its Due Reward

                                                            (vs. 3-7)



hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ.”


Ø      The minister is a soldier of Christ, enrolled by Him, trained by Him,

armed by Him, supported by Him, as the Captain of our salvation. The

ministry is a warfare, involving, not only the “good fight of faith”

(I Timothy 6:12), but an increasing struggle against false teachers.


Ø      As a good soldier, he must be prepared to suffer hardships. Like the

soldier, he must often leave home and friends, expose himself to cold

and hunger and fatigue; he must fearlessly meet the enemies of his

Lord, and die, if need be, in the arms of victory.


Ø      The apostle strengthens his admonition by an appeal to his own

hardships and sufferings. Timothy took a sympathetic interest in

the career of the greatest of the apostles. The tried veteran appeals

to the young soldier.



REWARDS OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE. There are three pictures

presented to our view:


a.      one military,

b.      another agonistical, and

c.       another agricultural.


Ø      The supreme unembarrassed devotion of the soldier to his commander.

“No one that serveth as a soldier entangleth himself with the affairs of this

life; that he may please him who enrolled him to be a soldier.” The Roman

soldier was isolated by express law from all trades and interests and

agencies that would interfere with the discipline of his profession.


o        The minister who is supremely concerned about the affairs of the next

life must stand free from the entanglements of human occupation, so

as to devote his whole energies without distraction or dispersion of

thought to the business of his Master. The apostle had himself

occasionally to resort to industry for his own support, under

circumstances of a purely exceptional nature; but he demands an

extrication of the ministry from all secular engagements in his

elaborate plea to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 9.).


o        His sole motive is to please the Master who enrolled him in this service.

It is not to please himself, or to please men by:


§         seeking ease, or

§         emolument, or

§         social position,


but to please the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose book of life his name

is written.


Ø      The severe training and lawful striving of the athlete in the games. But

if any one also strive in the games, he is not crowned unless he have striven

lawfully.” (v. 5)  The figure was a familiar one to the people of that age who

dwelt in cities.


o        It is implied that ministers, in striving for the crown of life, must strip

off all encumbrances “laying aside every weight”  that they may the

more easily press to the mark, “looking unto Jesus, the Author and

Finisher of our faith”. (Hebrews 12:1)


o        It implies that they must undergo the discipline of severe training to fit

themselves for the work of ministry, and carry on their service according

to the high laws of the kingdom of Christ.


Ø      The reward of the laboring husbandman. “The laboring husbandman

must needs first partake of the fruits of his labor.”


o        This does not mean that the husbandman would be the first to partake

of the fruits, but that he must first labor before he obtained the reward.

There is evidently an emphasis on the fact that a laborious husbandman

was the most fully entitled to reward.


o        The minister of Christ must plough and sow before he can reap; he

must use all laborious diligence in his calling, and be not discouraged

because he does not at once see the fruits of his labor, for the seed

may not sprout up quickly, but ever looking upward for the dews of

Heaven’s grace to descend upon the wide field of his ministry.



      “Consider what I say, and the Lord will give thee understanding in

all things.”


Ø      IT IS THE LORD ONLY who can give us a true insight into both

      doctrine and duty.


Ø      Those who enjoy this DIVINE HELP are under the greatest obligation

            to use their understandings upon the highest of all themes.


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

μνημονεύω - mnaeoneuobe 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.”




       The Contemplation of Christ an Incentive to Comfort and Constancy

                                                            (v. 8)


Timothy was to think of Christ’s victory for himself and for us as a ground of




REMEMBRANCE. “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:


Ø      the Incarnation and

Ø      the Resurrection


These  two miracles that stood, respectively, at the beginning and the

end of His earthly history.


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




to my gospel.”


Ø      These two facts are fundamental in the gospel. Take them away

      there is:


o       no hope for man,

o       no atonement,

o       no blessed life hereafter.


Ø      These two facts were needed to be taught in an age when false teachers

denied a real incarnation, saying that the Saviour had a phantom body,

and a real resurrection, because a bodily resurrection was not to be

thought of, as matter, being essentially evil, could not attach to a

Divine being.   (How much more so now in this age of apostasy

and falling away from God!  CY – 2019)


9 “Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the

word of God is not bound.”  Wherein (ἐν - en  ho – in which); i.e. in which

gospel, in the preaching of which.   Suffer trouble.  (κακοπαθῶ kakopatho

suffer hardship; I am suffering evil); as v. 3, Textus Receptus - Unto bonds

(μέχρι δεσμῶνmechri desmon). So μέχρι θανάτουmechri thanatou

unto death - Philippians 2:8; μέχρις αἵματοςmechris haimatosunto

blood - Hebrews 12:4; but most frequently of time, “until,” as Matthew 11:23; 13:30;

Acts 10:30, etc. A malefactor (κακοῦργοςkakourgos ); as Luke 23:32-33, 39;

common in classical Greek. Bonds (δεσμῶνdesmon); as Acts 26:29;

Philippians 1:7, 13, etc.; Colossians 4:18. So Paul calls himself δέσμιοςdesmios

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 Rome can

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 (διὰ τοῦτο - 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 διὰ τοῦτο

clearly refers to the words which follow. But the interposition of the

words, διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούςdia tous eklektousfor 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 (ὑπομένωhupomeno);

the exact force of which is seen in the substantive ὑπομονή - hupomonae

 patienceso frequently attributed to the suffering saints of God.





                          The Example of the Apostle’s Own Sufferings:

                                    Their Spiritual Motive and Design

                                                            (vs. 9-10)



“Wherein I suffer hardship unto bonds as a malefactor.” He was now a

prisoner at Rome, because he preached the gospel of Jesus and the

resurrection, and suffered as much as if he had been a breaker of all laws,

human and DIVINE!



UPON THE GOSPEL. “But the Word of God is not bound.” This was

said for the encouragement of Timothy, who may have feared that the

Roman imprisonment would be fatal to the progress of the gospel. The

apostle, though a prisoner, had liberty to add many pages to that Word of

God which Nero could not bind, for we have no less than three or four

prison Epistles in the canon of inspiration.


Ø      The imprisonment of John Huss (Jan Hus) in a fortress on the Rhine

      gave him leisure to write the truth he could no longer proclaim with

fiery lips to the Bohemians.


Ø      The Wartburg seclusion of a year gave Martin Luther the leisure to

      translate the Scriptures for his German countrymen.


Verily the Word of God is not bound.



“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain

the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”


Ø      The zealous minister of Christ thinks no sufferings too great that are

needed for the sake of Gods elect. The apostle’s life was one long

career of labor and affliction on their behalf.

Ø      Ministers must labor for the salvation of the elect. Human

instrumentality is clearly recognized and honored in this great work.

Paul, Apollos, and Cephas were “ministers by whom the Corinthians

believed.”  (I Corinthians 3:5)

Ø      There is a salvation provided for the elect. They are “chosen in Christ”

before the foundation of the world “unto holiness” (Ephesians 1:4).

Ø      The salvation is ONLY to be obtained IN and THROUGH


Ø      It is a salvation that finds its true termination in ETERNAL GLORY!


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 ἀπεθάνομενapethanomen -  betokening patient continuance

in suffering. (ἀρνησόμεθαapnaesometha -  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.   (ἀπιστοῦμενapistoumen – 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 ἀπιστέωapisteo – 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.”





            Hardship in Connection with the Christian Ministry (vs. 1-13)




Ø      As to personal strength. “Thou therefore, my child, be strengthened in

the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” As the apostle’s power of working was

already much crippled by close imprisonment, he naturally felt anxious

regarding the future of Christ’s cause. In calling Timothy his son, he does

not formally name him as his successor. At the same time, he may be

regarded as looking to him as one like-minded, who had youth on his side,

to continue the work which he felt was passing out of his hands. While

Phygelus and Hermogenes were untrue to him, and Onesiphorus was dead,

Timothy must stand forward. For this he would require a liberal supply of

strength. With paternal anxiety, then, he points him to the great Source of

strength, viz. the grace that is in Christ Jesus and obtained by Him for us, or

the lordly power to bless without respect to the merit of the recipient. In

John 1:14 He is said to be full of grace, and, in the sixteenth verse

following, it is said that it is out of His fullness that all His people receive. As

the Fountain, He supplies all that depend upon Him with all that is necessary

for the proper discharge of their duties. To whom else, then, could he point

Timothy? In spiritual work there is a giving out of strength, for which there

is needed renewal. There are also occasions for which there are needed

special supplies of strength. At all times there is a tendency to a culpable

and enfeebling moral feebleness, against which there is needed a gracious

supply.  Let the Christian minister, then, find his empowering for his work in

the grace that is CENTERED IN CHRIST!


Ø      As to the regular transmission of the truth. And the things which thou

hast heard from me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to

faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Paul himself heard

directly from Christ, who is as full of truth as of grace. But he points to a

definite and solemn occasion, when he was the speaker and Timothy the

hearer, viz. the occasion, repeatedly referred to, of Timothy’s ordination.

What he heard then was by the mediation of many witnesses, i.e. the

presbyters who were present at his ordination, and laid their hands on him,

and who, by the part they took in it, gave their attestation to the charge.

What Timothy received then has repeatedly been called his deposit, or

talent of the universal faith. This, in turn, he was to commit to trusty men,

i.e. men who could be entrusted with the keeping of the deposit. They, in

their turn, were to teach others, so that they also could be entrusted with

the deposit. Thus there was to be a regular succession of teachers for the

handing down of the truth. There is a place assigned to tradition here; but,

as it is made to depend on the trustworthiness of each individual in the

chain of succession, we must think of a tradition that is to be tested by

Scripture. At the same time, there is a handing down of Scripture truth

with traditional associations embodying the Church’s thinking out of the

truth, and, if this is what it ought to be, then it is important that it should be

handed down by means of a regular succession of teachers. All

encouragement, then, is to be given to the proper education of young men

for the ministry; and yet a theological institution will fail of its end unless

there is the proper keeping up of the Church’s life, which is needed to

influence the right class of young men to devote themselves to the ministry.



HARDSHIP. Three figures suggestive of hard service.


Ø      The soldier. “Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life; that he

may please him who enrolled him as a soldier.” The soldier, above others,

has to have his mind made up to experiencing hardship. He has to leave

home and friends. He may have to encounter hardships on the march. He

has especially to face the hardships and dangers of the battlefield, “seeking

the bubble reputation, even in the cannon’s mouth.” So the Christian

minister is, in a special manner, a soldier of Christ Jesus. He is one whom

Christ has in a solemn way bound to Himself, he has to fight under Christ

and for Christ in an unfriendly world; and he need not be surprised if he is

called upon to experience the hardships of a soldier. Let Timothy, then,

willingly, nobly, take his part along with Paul and other soldiers of Christ.

But the apostle draws attention to a special condition of excellence in a

soldier. He does not entangle himself in the affairs and businesses of this

life. In choosing to be enrolled under a commander, he leaves his former

employment behind. He is henceforth at the will of his commander for

whatever hard service he may need him. Especially does this condition

apply to a soldier in service. Before entering on a campaign, he would

need even to have family affairs arranged, that he may give himself up

undistractedly to the service required of him. Only thus can he expect to

approve himself to his commander. The Christian minister is in the same

way to be unentangled with businesses, which he leaves to others. Paul was

not always able to free himself from the necessity of making his own bread;

but it is advisable that a minister should be left free in this respect, and it is

wrong for him unnecessarily to divide his energies, or to mix himself up

with what can be better done by others. For it is only when his mind is

thoroughly undistracted and absorbed in service that he can approve

himself to the great Commander.


Ø      The athlete. “And if also a man contend in the games, he is not crowned,

except he have contended lawfully.” The Greeks were great admirers of

physical perfection. Even their men of genius, like Plato, engaged in

athletic contests on public occasions. Great encouragement was given to

the athletic art. The successful athlete was crowned under very inspiriting

circumstances. There were many subordinate rules to be observed by the

athlete, but the great rule was to go through a course of very hard

preparation. Only thus could he expect to be crowned when the occasion

of the games came round. The minister is, in the same way, to aim at

efficiency in his art. He has many examples of this placed before him. And

there is great encouragement given by that royal Personage who is to

preside on the occasion of award. The successful minister is to be crowned.

There are many subordinate rules to be observed by him, but the great rule

is that he is to subject himself to severe discipline. Only thus can he expect

to have a fadeless crown for efficiency in the ministerial art.


Ø      The husbandman. “The husbandman that laboreth must be the first to

partake of the fruits.” The husbandman has to extract bread from the

unwilling ground; and he may have to do this under unfavorable conditions

of weather. He has need, then, for hard and persistent labor, especially in

the season of spring. In the sweat of his face he has to prepare the soil and

put in the seed. It is only the husbandman that thus exerts himself that

comes to the front in the time of fruit. He is eating of the new corn, when

the husbandman who has not exerted himself is far behind. In the same way

the minister has to extract good products from unwilling hearts, and not

always under favoring conditions from without. Hard work is needed to

prepare the soil and to put in the seed. If he engages in hard work, he has

the prospect of the farmer, viz. the fruit of his own labor. He will have joy

in those for whom he has labored — partly in this world, chiefly in the

next world. It is the minister who does not grudge hard service that comes

to the front in the enjoyment of fruit, while he who gives grudging service

lags behind in the reward. Appended call to attention. “Consider what I

say; for the Lord shall give thee understanding in all things.” What Paul

said was easily understood; but it needed to be thoroughly weighed so as

to become spiritual strengthening to Timothy. It plainly meant that he was

to set himself to hard work, and that he need not expect easy outward

conditions of working; when the mind is made up to it, the hardest work is

often felt to be light. This was a lesson which he wished Timothy to learn,

with the Lord’s promised and all-sufficient assistance.




Ø      Example of Christ.


o        Victorious aspect of Christs resurrection. “Remember Jesus Christ,

risen from the dead.” Paul’s principal encouragement is to go back in

memory upon the historical Jesus at the victorious point of his history. He seemed to be utterly defeated in death. His body was laid in the tomb, a stone rolled against the mouth of it and sealed, and a watch set; and the

rulers thought they had conquered. Could He be released from the power of death and the grave? Let not the most distressed, the most maltreated of men, despair; for it was when Christ seemed to be utterly defeated that He victoriously got for His people victory over sin and over death and the grave.


o        His resurrection culminating in His present mediatorial dignity. “Of

the seed of David, according to my gospel.” As of the seed royal, He was raised, and raised to sit upon the throne of His father David. That is the high position He has won for Himself. THE GOVERNMENT OF

THE UNIVERSE IS AT THIS MOMENT UPON HIS SHOULDERS! Under all outward defeat, then, let us enter into the spirit of the victorious termination of our Lord’s career of suffering.


Ø      Example of Paul.


o        Appearance of defeat. “Wherein I suffer hardship unto bonds, as a

malefactor.” He had not yet resisted unto blood. But though he had not

gone the length of the Master, he had gone the length of bonds, and, with

his Master, was numbered with the transgressors.


o        Promise of victory. “But the Word of God is not bound.” Not only was

his conviction strong that the Word proceeding from God could not be

bound by any tyrant, but he had the fact to lay hold of that much freedom

was enjoyed in the preaching of the Word.


o        Victorious for the sake of the elect. “Therefore I endure all things for

the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” God has appointed for the elect the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. It is a salvation which is to blossom forth under a sunnier sky into glory. This glory will be ample compensation for present sufferings, not only in its quality, but in its being eternal. (“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time aree not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  Romans 8:18  “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 4:17-18) How, then, was he to help forward the destiny of the elect, and at the same time his own destiny? He could not preach in his dungeon; but he could follow up the preaching of others by a brave bearing. He could show that he could act what he had preached. And did not much depend on his going forward bravely to martyrdom?


Ø      A saying of the martyr times. “Faithful is the saying.”


o        How the Christians encouraged one another to constancy!


§         Past act.  For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.” They first went back to a definite act in the past, viz. the profession of faith with which they commenced their Christian career. They thus in obligation came up to the martyr point. They said they were willing, should the Master call them to it, to share death with Him. If this was the true reading of their act, the bright side of it was that they would also be called to share life with Christ.


§         Abiding state. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” They next thought of their present suffering calling for an abiding spirit of endurance, and they used to say to one another, that, if they did not flinch, their future would be brightened to them by their being called to sit with Christ on His throne.

                                                (“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my                                                    throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my                                                    Father in His throne.  Revelation 3:21)


o        How the Christians discouraged one another against apostasy!


§         Future act. “If we shall deny Him, He also will deny us.” They next thought of their being put to a severe test in the future. The time might come when their choice would be between Christ and life. Far be it from them, for the sake of life, to deny Christ; for that act of denial on their part would carry with it an act of denial on His part.


§         Abiding state. “If we are faithless, He abideth faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.” They next thought of an act of denial

followed by no penitence, and they said to one another, that if that was their permanent state, their future would be darkened, even by reason of the unchanging character of their Saviour. It was impossible for Him to contradict Himself, and, as surely as He shows His approval of faith, must He show His disapproval of unbelief. The martyr times had already commenced. The first persecution was under Nero in the year 64, the last under Diocletian in the year 303. The first persecution had not yet ceased.  The Christians, charged with setting fire to Rome, were subjected to the most inhuman treatment. As the historian Tacitus informs us, they were:


ü      sewn in sacks made of the skins of wild beasts, and thrown to be torn by dogs,

ü      smeared with pitch, and set on fire as torches to illuminate the imperial gardens at night.


“This persecution extended beyond the walls of Rome, and continued with more or less severity to the end of Nero’s reign, four years afterwards.” It was in the last year of Nero’s reign that Paul was now awaiting his martyrdom. This martyr saying may be viewed as the fruit of those years of persecution. As here incorporated by Paul into this Epistle, it would be a precious legacy to the Church in the

many years of persecution to come.




            A Faithful Saying for Consolation and for Warning (vs. 11-13)


The apostle introduces the familiar formula, “This is a faithful saying,” with

its rhythmical significance and arrangement, to emphasize the importance

of what is to follow.  (See I Timothy 1:15; 4:8-9; here; and ch. 3:8)



died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign

with him.” There is here an expressive climax, setting forth two different

aspects of the union between Christ and His people.


Ø      Identification with Christ in His death. All believers died with Him, as

their Head and Representative, and thus died to sin, through the efficacy of

His death, so as to be planted together in the likeness of His death; and thus,

being made conformable to His death, they have fellowship with Him in His

sufferings.  (Philippians 3:10)


Ø      But identification with Christ in His life follows as a consequence of this

identification in death, because we rose with Him from the dead, to be

planted in the likeness of His resurrection, that we should walk in newness

of life; and thus, being made alive unto God, we live a life of holiness and

sanctification with Him  (Romans 6:5-8).


Ø      Identification with Christ in endurance involves identification in His

reigning glory. Believers who suffer shame and loss and outrage for

Christ’s sake shall reign with Him in glory hereafter, as they reign in the

kingdom of grace with Him now; for they are “a kingdom of priests,”

destined for everlasting glory (Revelation 1:6).



deny Him, He also will deny us; if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; for



Ø      The denial of Christ is FATAL!  It is to reject THE ONLY SAVIOUR!


o        Some deny His Messiahship;

o        some deny His Divinity;

o        some deny Him by their works, being ashamed of Him and refusing

      to confess Him;

o        some deny Him by OPEN APOSTASY!


In all these cases the denial involves our Lord’s denial of them

(Matthew 7:23; 10:33).


Ø      Our unbelief does not affect the essential faithfulness of Christ. “If we

believe not, yet He abideth faithful.”


Ø      This does not mean that He will save us whether we believe in Him or

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.


Ø      It means that He will abide faithful to His word of threatening, as well 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 side and the dark



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 (ὑπομίμνησκε 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

(διαμαρτύρομενοςdiamarturomenos); as I Timothy 5:21 and ch.4:1.

Strive...about words (λογομαχεῖνlogomachein); only here in the New

Testament or elsewhere. But λογομαχία logomachia strifes; controversies;

occurs in I Timothy 6:4 and in late Greek. Another reading is λογομάχει

logomachei as if addressed to Timothy himself, but λογομαχεῖν is supported

by the best authorities, and agrees best with the context. To no profit; literally,

useful for nothing; serving no good purpose. ΞρήσιμονChraesimon

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

εἰς eisin …to;  ἐπί -  epi – of and πρόςpros – 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 (ἐπὶ καταστροφῇ

 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 οἰκοδομή - 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).




            An Injunction to Put Ephesian Believers in Remembrance of These Truths

                                                            (v. 14)


This begins a new portion of the Epistle.



IN ALL ITS ASPECTS. “Put them in remembrance of these things.”


Ø      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.


Ø      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)



RUINOUS STRIFES ABOUT WORDS. “Solemnly charging them in the

sight of the Lord, not to contend about words, to no profit, to the

subverting of them that hear.”


Ø      There are many religious controversies which turn rather upon words

than upon things, and thus involve a waste of intellectual energy.

These strifes of words” were characteristic of the false teachers

(I Timothy 6:4).


Ø      There is nothing in the passage to warrant a disregard for “the form of

sound words,for the wholesome words (ibid. v. 3) of the Lord Jesus,

which  cover things as well as thoughts.


Ø      The apostle condemns a wrangling about terms which brings no

advantage to truth, but rather tends to the subversion of the hearers,

misleading their judgments and overturning their faith. Simple-minded

people might begin to doubt the truth of a gospel about which

contending controversialists were so much at variance. Unsettlement

of mind is dangerous, while it lays an arrest on all earnest work.




            Endurance the Lot of Christ’s Ministers (vs. 1-14)


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

kingdom of Christ in the world. I am set by my Lord and Master for 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


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 σπούδασονspoudason -  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

(παραστῆσαιparastaesai -  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

δόκιμον παραστῆσαιdokimon 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.

 (δόκιμον 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 τῷ Θεῷ

to Theo – unto God -  is governed by παραστῆσαι (present),  not by

δόκιμον (approved).   A workman (ἐργάτηνergataen). How natural is

such a figure in the mouth of Paul, who wrought at his trade with Aquila and

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 (ἀνεπαισχυντον

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:


·       ἀνεξιχνίαστοςanexichniastos – to trace out; track; unsearchable;

·       ἀνεξερεύνητοςanexereunaetos  to search; examine; unsearchable;

·       ἀναρίβμητοςanarithmaetos 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 δόκιμος,

(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. (ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας

opthotomounta ton logon taes alaetheias  - handling aright

the Word of truth). The verb ὀρθοτομεῖνorthotomeinto 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 (τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς

ποιήσατεtrochias orthas poiaesate).” But this does not at all

suit the context. We must look, therefore, at the etymology of the word.

Ὀρθοτόμεω 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 ὀρθότομος and ὀρθοτομία

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





         The Qualifications of the Gospel Preacher (v. 15)


“Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that

needeth not to be ashamed.”



  • HE MUST BE LABORIOUS. The term “workman” implies this fact as

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.

(Acts 24:16)




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




16 “But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto

more ungodliness.” Shun - (περιι'´στασοperiistaso – 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, ‘Ant.

Jud.,’ 4. 6:12. Profane babblings (see I Timothy 4:7; 6:20).  They will

increase.   (προκόψουσινprokopsousin - they shall be progressing); see

note on προκοπή prokopae – progress; profiting -  in I Timothy 4:15.

Unto more ungodliness.  (ἐπὶ πεῖον ἀσεβείαςepi peion asebeias

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.”



  • There is a close connection between lax doctrine and a loose life. The

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.


  • 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)


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 (νομὴν ἕξει - 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. Νομή - 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.


  • The effects of such false teaching. 


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 (ἠστόχησαν

 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 πλανᾶσθε

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 αἵρεσις - 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


UNION in the United States of America’s CULTURAL DEMISE  (IT                          

ALL BEGAN WITH A CHOICE – a la – HERESY – CY -2009)          

Such a man is a living lie against the truth. 

Overthrow (ἀνατρέπουσί - anatrepousi – are subverting); elsewhere in

the New Testament only in  Titus 1:11; but common in Septuagitnt and in

classical Greek.



A Warning Against Vain Babblings, with Their Tendency to Heresy and Impiety

                                                     (vs. 16-18)


“But shun profane babblings.”



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.” The allusion is not to the babblings, but to the false



Ø      There is a close connection between lax doctrine and a loose life. The

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.


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 Petere 3:16)


·         THE EFFECTS OF SUCH FALSE TEACHING. “And their word

will eat as doth a gangrene.” 


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.



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.


·         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. If they were ambitious of

notoriety, they have gained it far beyond the extent of their



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.


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.


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. Θεμέλιος themelios – foundation - in

classical Greek is always an adjective agreeing with λίθος 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


THAT ARE HIS,” taken verbatim from the Septuagint of Numbers 16:5: the


DEPART FROM UNRIGHTEOUSNESS,” This is nowhere to be found in the

Old Testament.


The first part of the verse is indeed equivalent to Κύριε .....τὸ ὀνομά σου ὀνομάζομεν

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 Christian standing:


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




“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 God (Revelation 21:14). The

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 Church of God.

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


 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 (ὀστράκινα - ostrakina - earthenware);

only here  and II Corinthians 4:7, where it is also applied to σκεύηskeuae

vessels (earthen) as it is in the Septuagint, e.g. Leviticus 6:28; and to ἄγγοςangos

vessel; jar; pail -  (Numbers 5:17).   Ὄστρακον 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 (ἐκκαθάρῃ - ekkatharae

should be purging; should be cleaning out); stronger than the simple

καθάρῃ - katharaepurge – (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

צָרַפ; 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 (εὔχρηστοςeuchraestos - useful); only here and ch. 4:11 and

Philemon 1:11. Also Proverbs 29:(31) 13, Septuagint.   Common in classical Greek.

The master (τῷ δεσπότῃ – to despotae - owner); the master of the house, the




                        The Church in Its Visible Aspect before the World

                                                        (vs. 20-21)


The apostle seems to be answering the question why there are such

unworthy members in the visible communion of the Church.



SORTS OF VESSELS. “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of

gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some unto honor, and

some unto dishonor.”


Ø      It is contended that the great house here is not the Church, but

Christendom, that is, all that calls itself Christian, because the Church

consists only of saints.


Ø      It is the Church, however, of which the apostle is speaking in the

context, and not the world; but whereas in the last verse it was the invisible

Church, it is here the Church visible — that is, the Church in the aspect it

presents to the world. The distinction between the Church visible and the

Church invisible is clearly recognized in Scripture.  The one represents the



o        AS IT IS SEEN BY GOD, the other,

o        as it is seen by man.


The one represents the Church:


o        as to its true idea and constitution; the other,

o        as it has appeared in the world as a mixed communion.


The Church visible appears like a great house with two distinct kinds of



o        some very precious and durable, others

o        comparatively valueless, easily and soon broken.


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).



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.


Ø      The right dedication and destination of the vessel for honor.


o        He will become “sanctified,” in its double sense:


§         consecrated to God and

§         walking in the purity of a separated life.


o        He will be serviceable to the Master of the house in all the various

ministries to which he may be called.


o        He will be prepared unto every good work. Unlike the unwise and the

evil man, who is to all good works reprobate, he is, as created in Christ

Jesus unto good works (“...which God hath ordained that he should

walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10), enabled to run in the way of the

                                    Lord’s commandments.




                                    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.


22 “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity,

peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Youthful (νεωτερικάς - neoterikas); of or belonging to νεώτεροιneoteroi

 young men.   The word only occurs here in the New Testament, never in the

Septuagint, but is found in Josephus, who speaks of αὐθαδεία νεωτερική

authadeia neoterikae youthful arrogance, and is common in classical Greek.

Lusts (ἐπιθυμίαιepithumiai) include, besides the σαρκικαὶ ἐπιθυμίαι

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 (δίωκε)

diokebe you pursuing; be you chasing; as I  Timothy 6:11, where, as here,

it is in contrast with φεῦγεpheuge – flee.   Eagerness in pursuit, and difficulty

in attainment, seem to be indicated by the word. With them, etc. (μετὰ τῶν

ἐπικαλουμένων κ.τ.λ – meta ton epidaloumenon k.t.l – with them that call, etc.).

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 εἰρήνην,

 eiraenaen – peace -  so as to limit the exhortation to peace to those who call

upon the Lord, 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.”


  • Righteousness. Fidelity in all human relations especially, but a right

manner of life. Believers are:


Ø      To yield their members as instruments of righteousness

(Romans 6:13).

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).


  • Love. Love to all men.


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).


·         Peace.


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.  (ἀπαιδεύτουςapaideutousunlearned;

 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.  (ζητήσειςzaetaeseis - questionings); see I Timothy 1:4, note,

and Titus 3:9.  Avoid.   (παραίτουparaitou - refuse;  have nothing t

do with;  (see I Timothy 4:7; Titus 3:10). Gender (γεννῶσιgennosi).

This is the only place in the New Testament where γεννάωgennao – 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 (μάχαςmachas); compare μάχας νομικάςmachas nomikas

fightings about the Law” (Titus 3:9); and “wars and fightings (James 4:1-2).

Compare, too, the verb λογομαχεῖνlogomachein – 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.





                        A Warning against Contentious Questionings (v. 23)



      “But foolish and ignorant questions avoid.” The false teachers

      wasted their energies upon questions of this class, because they

had no just idea of the relative importance of truth, taking small things for

great and great things for small. The matters in dispute were useless and

unedifying, being foreign to the true wisdom of the gospel. Four times in

these two Epistles does the apostle repeat this grave warning.


·         THE TENDENCY OF SUCH DISCUSSIONS. “Knowing that they do

gender strifes.” They:


Ø      break the peace of Churches,

Ø      alienate the hearts of ministers, and

Ø      impede the progress of the gospel.


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.   (δοῦλον Κυρίου

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 (μάχεσθαιmachesthai – strive; to be fighting); a conclusive

reason against engaging in those foolish and ignorant questionings which necessarily

engender strife. Gentle.  (ἤπιονaepion); 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. (ἀνεξίκακον

 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.


25 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God

peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of

the truth;”  Instructing.  (παιδεύονταpaideuonta – instructing;

disciplining; training; correcting), παιδεύειν 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 ἀπαίδευτοι ζητήσεις apaideutoi zaetaeseis

unlearned questions; crude questioning - of v. 23, and partly because the end

of this παιδεία (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 (τοὺς ἀντιδιατιθέμενουςtous 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 ἀντιλέγοντες antilegontes  - gainsayers;

ones contradicting - as are mentioned in the very similar passage, Titus 1:9

(see too Ibid. ch.2:8). If peradventure.  (μήποτεmaepoteseeing whether).

"Μήποτε, in later Greek, loses its aversative meaning (‘lest at any time’), and is

almost equivalent to εἴποτε eipote - equivalent to “in case God should,” etc.

Repentance (μετανοίαmetanoia); such a change of mind as shall lead them

to embrace the truth. Knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιςepignosis); 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






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


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




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 (ἀνανήψωσινananaepsosin

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 (παγίςpagis – snare; trap );

as I Timothy 3:7; 6:9. Compare the use of παγιδεύωpagideuo – ensnare;  

entangle – (Matthew 22:15). Who are taken captive  (ἐζωγρήμενοι

 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), (ὑπ αὐτοῦ hup autou); i.e. of course the devil, who had just been

named as having ensnared them. At his will.  (ἐκείνου θέλημαekeinou

thelaema - unto the will of him (margin),). The difficulty of the passage lies in

the word ἐκείνου (of that one), which at first sight seems to indicate a different

antecedent from the antecedent of αὐτοῦ (him). 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 ἐκείνου to the same person as αὐτοῦ (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 ἐκείνου 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 αὐτός to ἐκεῖνος is in John 1:7-8, Οῦτος η΅λθεν εἰς

μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτὸς ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι αὐτοῦ

οὐκ η΅ν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς - 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 ἐκείνος 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

αἰχμαλωτίζοντες - aichmalotizontes  - bringing into captivity (see ch. 3:6)

corresponds to ἐζωγρημένοιezograemenoi – taken captive of this verse

and εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Ξριστοῦ eis taen hupakoaen tou Christou

to the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:5) to εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα 

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 ἀνανήφω ananaepho – become sober again; recover oneself –

 and ζωγρέωzogreo – 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).” 





                        Conduct in View of Heresy Appearing in the Church

                                                      (vs. 14-24)


·         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




AVOIDED. “But shun profane babblings: for they will proceed further in

ungodliness, and their word will eat as doth a gangrene.” The method of

the heretics is characterized in keeping with what has been already said. It

was using empty speech, or speech without reference to reality. That,

applied to Divine things, was necessarily profane. Its natural association

was God-dishonoring representations, operating against devout feelings

and corresponding practice. This ungodly tendency had not taken its worst

form. The heretics would yet say worse things. Their word was of the

nature of a gangrene, that eats into the life, and, always in an aggravated



·         TWO HERETICS NAMED. “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.” The way in which these

men were heretics, or darted aside from the truth as the mark, was by

applying the method described to the doctrine of the resurrection. Under

the influence of an incipient Gnosticism, in which the body was regarded as

evil, they got rid of the reference of the resurrection to the body by

quibbling about the word. The word was simply “rising again,” and its

meaning was sufficiently met by what had already taken place in a Christian

believer, viz. the rising of the soul to newness of life. With their verbal

skill, they were succeeding in the case of some. But what was success to

these dialecticians was to those with whom they succeeded nothing less

than the subversion of their faith, so essential is THE RESURRECTION

OF THE BODY to Christianity.


·         THE STABILITY OF THE CHURCH. “Howbeit the firm foundation

of God standeth.” Though the faith of some is overturned, the Church

standeth. The Church is not thought of as a completed structure, which it

will not be till ages still have passed. But it is thought of as a substructure

in a satisfactory state, as having, indeed, been laid by God. It had that

firmness which is essential for the commencement of a building. As firm, it

was standing, notwithstanding the strain to which it had been subjected. As

firm, it promised to stand a long time, and the promise has not been belied.

For upon the foundation part of the building much has been laid since, and

we have no reason to fear its overthrow, but rather increased REASON TO ANTICIPATE ITS COMPLETION!  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. The Jewish congregation was

composed of them that named the Name of God, i.e. that professed to

worship Him as the Most Holy One, and to obey His commands. 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.


In the Christian religion, even more than in the Jewish religion, unrighteousness appears as receiving terrible condemnation. Let not, then, a Christian have anything to do with departure from the truth and fellowship with ungodliness.


·         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 dishonorable use.

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.


·         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

Israel in connection with the rebellion that has been referred to. Every

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

pure heart.” In this punctuation peace is not specially connected with what

follows. The idea is certainly, even from the context, pure fellowship.

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

universal virtue:


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 brethren.


The society by which he has to do his duty is regarded as composed of “them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”  All the more that some called on the Lord without the pure heart must he be faithful to the terms of communion with all who, in good faith, were servants of the Lord.




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

party victory.


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.




            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.


  • The one is skill in his work; and
  • gentleness and patience in dealing with those that oppose themselves.


By skill in his work we mean both the knowing what to avoid and shun, and THE


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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