By: Daniel Goepfrich
Enduring to the End
2 Timothy 2 continues with a few analogies, a few commands, and a few reminders. First, Paul used the analogies of a soldier and a farmer to illustrate the focus required to serve God well (2 Timothy 2:1-7). Just like a soldier cannot be concerned with things around him when he is in training or battle, so Timothy must not let his circumstances take him off mission. Just like a farmer receives the first benefit of his labor in the fields, so Timothy would receive great reward for his ministry if he remained faithful and did not quit. Knowing that all of us have only temporary commissions, Paul encouraged Timothy to faithfully pass on the truth to a new generation – as Paul did to Timothy – who could continue to pass it along faithfully to others.
Second, lest Timothy think (like the readers of Hebrews) that quitting now would not affect his spiritual life and reward, Paul reminded him that there is more at stake than our current comfort – the others who still “may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-13). The promise is true that those who remain faithful will finally be rewarded for their faithfulness. However, “since he cannot deny himself,” Jesus will have to punish those who do not remain faithful, and they will lose their reward because he is always faithful.
Dealing with False Teachers
Third, Paul told Timothy to remind those in his charge to stay true to the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:14-19). The false teachers Paul addressed in 1 Timothy were apparently still at work, arguing with “profane chatter” that was useless to everyone. He wanted Timothy to keep from getting drawn into it, “because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness.” Paul accused two men by name, calling them out for “undermining some people’s faith.” Only by being diligent to handle the Scriptures carefully can one guarantee his ministry will be approved by God.
Finally, Paul charged Timothy to keep himself pure, which will help him keep his doctrine pure (2 Timothy 2:20-26). His job was to teach the truth and correct opponents to the truth, with gentleness, not getting dragged into useless arguments that would help no one. This, Paul thought, was the method God may use to bring them “to their senses and escape the devil’s trap” of questioning, replacing, and finally denying God’s expressed word.
Each Thursday DPH runs a Chapter-by-Chapter blog by Daniel Goepfrich, progressing readers chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament. This series is taken from New Testament Chapter-by-Chapter, published by Trust House Publishers, a division of DPH. Daniel serves as Pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in South Bend, Indiana, and blogs at www.TheologyIsForEveryone.com
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