2 Timothy 2:1–10, 14–15, 22–26 comment (0)
April 18, 2013
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:1–10, 14–15, 22–26
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
BE STRONG IN GOD’S WORK
2 Timothy 2:1–10, 14–15, 22–26
“No pain, no gain.” Athletes are well acquainted with that saying. In most occupational fields, there is a direct relationship between the effort expended and the results obtained. What about the Christian life? Some believers adopt an attitude that not much personal effort is required to be successful in either living like a Christian or doing the work of the Lord. Other believers have endured hardships and are intentional about staying strong in their Christian life and service. All these believers can benefit from paying attention to Paul’s teachings about what it means to be strong in the Lord.
Pass On the Faith (1–2)
Paul urges Timothy to be strong in the grace that is found in Christ. He wants Timothy to be courageous with the strength that God’s grace provides. Not only is Timothy to strengthen himself, but he is to encourage the spiritual strengthening of others.
Timothy was to take the divine revelation he had learned from Paul and teach it to other faithful men, men of spiritual depth and character, who would in turn pass the truth on to the next generation. From Paul to Timothy to faithful men to others comprises four generations. This process of spiritual transmission and reproduction is valid for today and the future. Teaching others biblical truth helps them become strong in their faith so they can make disciples of others.
Stay Focused (3–10)
Paul gives three illustrations of the kind of person these faithful men must be. These illustrations would be readily understood by everyone in the first century. This trio of illustrations encourages Timothy to stay focused on Jesus and on declaring His gospel.
(1) A soldier. This metaphor pictures the Christian life as warfare against the world, the flesh and Satan. Just as a soldier who is called to active duty must sever his activities with the normal civic life and focus steadily on his task, so the believer must not allow the things of the world to distract him.
(2) An athlete. This pictures the effort and determination needed to participate in an athletic event. The athlete’s hard work and discipline will be wasted if he does not compete according to the rules. Just so, the believer must discipline himself and obey God’s Word for spiritual victory.
(3) A farmer. The backbreaking labor and long hours in all kinds of weather conditions are necessary if the farmer is to produce a good harvest. Timothy is not to be lazy but to labor intensely with a view to the spiritual harvest.
We will be stronger in our work for the Lord when we stay focused on the task (like a soldier), on discipline (like an athlete) and on the harvest (like a farmer).
Teach the Truth (14–15)
Paul refers, in a general sense, to all Timothy’s hearers and, in a special sense, to those who teach strange doctrines. Apparently there were those in Ephesus who made great issues over certain technical words, leading to undermining the faith of some. Timothy is to give his maximum effort to impart God’s Word completely, accurately and clearly to his hearers. This is crucial to counter the effect of false teaching. Precision and accuracy are required for biblical interpretation. By correctly teaching (“rightly dividing”— KJV) the truth Timothy will prove to be a teacher approved by God.
Be Gentle and Patient (22–26)
The last illustration Paul uses in this week’s lesson is that of a slave. Paul frequently uses the term “slave” (Greek doulos) to refer to himself positively as one owned by and indebted to Jesus. With this term here Paul points out Timothy’s need for sexual purity and for gentleness in ministry. Although Timothy must contend for the truth, he must not be contentious or argumentative. Gentleness, patience and humility are to characterize his relationships with people who have been misled and need to return to the Lord. We will be stronger in our work for the Lord when we serve with purity and gentleness.