2 TIMOTHY 2 - ADVICE TO A YOUNG PASTOR
A. Working hard for a faithful God.
1. (2 Tim. 2:1) Be strong in grace.
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2
a. Be strong: This was an important encouragement. Paul knew that Timothy would need strength and endurance to fulfill the calling God gave him.
i. Again, this is one of the twenty-five times Paul encouraged Timothy to be strong and endure in his work in Ephesus. Perhaps Timothy was naturally timid and easily discouraged, or perhaps he was a man of normal courage who had great responsibilities. He needed to be told often, "be strong."
b. Be strong: God is always there to give us strength; He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, He increases strength... those that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength (Isaiah 40:29, 31). However, we must receive this strength, therefore Paul had to encourage Timothy to be strong.
i. God makes the resource of His strength available to us (Ephesians 6:10-11). Yet it does not come as we sit back passively and suppose that God will simply pour it into us. He brings His strength to us as we seek Him and rely on Him instead of our own strength.
c. Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus: Paul told Timothy a specific way to be strong - that is, to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. This strength in grace is essential for a strong Christian life.
i. "Grace here has its simplest theological meaning, as the divine help, the unmerited gift of assistance that comes from God" (White). Resting in the grace - the unmerited favor of God towards us that is in Christ Jesus - gives a confidence and boldness we could never have when thinking we are on probation or thinking God hasn't made up His mind about us yet.
ii. There is nothing that can makes us as strong as saying, "I am a child of God in Jesus Christ" and "I have the love and favor of God even though I don't deserve it." That is the strength that comes by grace.
iii. Paul knew what it was like to receive the strength of God's grace, as he explained in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. He could encourage Timothy like this from his own life experience.
2. (2 Tim. 2:2) Spread the word among faithful men.
2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
a. The things that you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses: Paul reminded Timothy of the body of truth that he had heard from the Apostle in the presence of many others. Certainly, Timothy heard many Bible studies from Paul, and shared much time with the Apostle in personal discipleship.
i. It may be that Paul reminded Timothy of a special message he presented at Timothy's ordination service in the presence of many witnesses. "But he seems to refer here to the doctrines delivered to him when, in the presence of many witnesses, he laid his hands upon him; see 1 Timothy 6:12. Then the apostle gave him the proper form of sound words which he was to teach; and now he tells him to commit those truths to faithful men in the say way that they were committed to him" (Clarke).
b. entrust these to faithful men: God gave ministry to Timothy, not for him to keep to himself, but for him to pass on to others. An essential part of his work as a pastor was to pour into others what God had committed to him.
i. One may say that everything that a pastor does in his ministry he should train others to do. There are no duties of a pastor so holy or so secret that he should keep them all to himself. He should always seek to spread ministry about to others, and to train others to do the work of the ministry.
ii. Timothy was not to teach others his own particular ideas or theories, but simple apostolic doctrine and example (the things that you have heard from me). What Paul poured into him he was responsible to pour into others.
iii. The job of training leaders is simply part of a pastor's job description. He should not only train leaders when the need for a leader is obvious; nor should he only train leaders for the needs of his congregation alone. He should train leaders for the Kingdom of God in general, whether they are used in ministry at the particular pastor's congregation or not.
c. To faithful men: When Timothy looked for those whom he could pour apostolic doctrine and practice into, he was to look for the quality of faithfulness. He didn't need to find smart men, popular men, strong men, easy men, perfect men, or good-looking men; Paul told him to look for faithful men.\
i. Through the history of Christianity, some have held to the idea of apostolic succession. This is the idea that you can know who a true minister of the gospel is because Peter ordained someone to succeed him, and that one ordained someone to succeed him, and the next one ordained someone to succeed him, so forth and so on down the line. However, this verse reveals the real apostolic succession - the succession of faithful men, who take the teachings of the apostles and pass them on.
ii. Without faithfulness to the teaching and example of the apostles, the idea of apostolic succession is nothing more than the laying of empty hands upon empty heads. "Where is the uninterrupted apostolic succession? Who can tell? Probably it does not exist on the face of the world. All the pretensions to it by certain Churches are as stupid as they are idle and futile" (Clarke).
d. Who will be able to teach others also: This job of training leaders was so important that it could not be restricted to Timothy alone. Those whom he had trained must also be given the job to teach others also.
i. Will be able "Expresses capability as proved by experience" (White).
3. (2 Tim. 2:3-4) Persevere for God with a soldier's attitude.
3 Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
b. Suffer hardship with me as a good solider:Timothy must take the attitude of soldier who expects to suffer hardship for their cause. No real solider - or at least no good solider - ever gave up simply because some hardship came to them.
i. In the same way, if a believer is not willing to endure hardship, they will never accomplish much for Jesus Christ. They will give up as soon as something hard is required of them; they cannot fulfill Jesus' call: If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.(Matthew 16:24 )
ii. "Never dream of delicacy; think not to find God in the gardens of Egypt, whom Moses found not but in the burning-bush." (Trapp)
iii. "Paul does not exhort Timothy to be a common, or ordinary soldier, but to be a 'good soldier of Jesus Christ;' for all soldiers, and all true soldiers, may not be good soldiers. There are men who are but just soldiers and nothing more; they only need sufficient temptation and they readily become cowardly, idle, useless and worthless; but he is the good soldier who is bravest of the brave, courageous at all times, who is zealous, does his duty with heart and earnestness." (Spurgeon)
c. No soldier in active service entangles himself with the affairs of everyday life: Timothy must take the attitude of a solider, who willingly separates himself from the things of civilian life.
i. A solider has to give up many things. Some of them are bad things (pride, independence, self-will), and some of them are good things (his home, his family). Nevertheless, if a soldier is not willing to give up these things, he is not a soldier at all.
ii. The things that might entangle a soldier might be good or bad for a civilian. The soldier can't ask if something is good or bad for those who are not soldiers; he must give up anything that gets in the way of being a good soldier or serving his commanding officer. A faithful soldier does not have the right to do anything that will entangle them and make them less effective as a soldier.
iii. "It is well remarked by Grotius, on this passage, that the legionary soldiers among the Romans were not permitted to engage in husbandry, merchandise, mechanical employments, or any thing that might be inconsistent with their calling." (Clarke)
d. That he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier: If Timothy did not endure hardship and if he did not put away the things that entangled him in the affairs of this life, he would not be pleasing to his Commanding Officer.
i. Jesus Christ is the commander of all heaven's armies. In Joshua 5, Jesus appeared to Joshua as Commander of the army of the LORD (Joshua 5:14 ). He is our Commanding Officer, and we owe total obedience to Him as such.
ii. It is likely that Paul was chained to a soldier even as he wrote this. He saw how these soldiers acted, and how they obeyed their commanding officers. Paul knew that this is how a Christian must act towards their Lord.
4. (1 Tim. 2:5) Persevere for God with an athlete's attitude.
5 Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.
a. If anyone competes as an athlete: Paul often drew upon the world of athletics for illustrations of the Christian life, mentioning track and field (1 Cor. 9:12), boxing (1 Cori. 9:26), and wrestling (Eph. 6:12).
b. He does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules: The point is clear. An athlete can't make up the rules as he pleases; he must compete according to the rules if he wants to receive the crown.
i. It is possible to fall into the mistake of thinking that we can make up our own rules for our Christian life. For some people, their special arrangement goes something like this: "I know this is sin, but God understands, so I'll just keep going in this sin." This goes against the attitude of an athlete who must compete according to the rules.
5. (2 Tim. 2:6) Persevere for God with the attitude of a farmer.
6 The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.
a. The hard-working farmer: In calling Timothy to have the attitude of a farmer, Paul emphasized the fact that farmers are hard-working. In the same way, all who serve the Lord should be hard-working.
i. Unlike the soldier and the athlete, there is nothing glamorous about the work a farmer does. It is often tedious, boring, and unexciting. The nation's best farmer really isn't a celebrity. But he must work hard just the same.
ii. God has no place for lazy ministers. If you will not work hard, get out of the ministry. If you will only work hard if you are in the limelight, then let God change your heart.
iii. "Idle drones disgrace every department of the Christian Church. They cannot teach because they will not learn." (Clarke)
b. Hard-working: Paul knew the value of hard work. He could say, comparing himself with the other apostles, I labored more abundantly than they all (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul wasn't just called, he wasn't just blessed, he wasn't just anointed; Paul was also hard-working. His ministry would have been far less than it was if he had not worked hard.
i. Some people expect something for nothing. But wise people know that you often get out of things according to the measure you put into them. If you are putting forth little effort in your Christian walk, you should expect little result.
ii. Yet at the same time, Paul knew that all the work he did was the gift of God's grace in him: I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (1 Corinthians 15:10). Paul knew the balance of working hard, yet always knowing it is all of grace.
c. Must be the first to receive his share of the crops: When Timothy had spiritual food to give to the congregation, he must eat of it first. If he wasn't being fed from the Word of God, he couldn't really feed others.
i. An effective pastor or teacher will get more out of the message than the audience does, and his time of preparation to teach God's word will also be a time of warm fellowship with God.
d. his share of the crops: Like a good farmer, any godly pastor will work hard and he will patiently await the harvest - which really comes at the end of the age, not at the end of the meeting.
6. (2 Tim. 2:7) Looking to the Lord for understanding.
7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
a. Consider what I say: Paul has just explained three illustrations of the Christian life - a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. Each of these three occupations need great perseverance to succeed.
b. The Lord will give give you understanding in everything: Timothy was instructed to see the importance of perseverance, and to receive understanding from the Lord in everything.
B. Holding steadfast to the truth.
1. (2 Tim. 2:8) The content of Paul's gospel.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,
a. Remember: Paul did not give this warning because it was something Timothy might easily forget. He said it because Timothy needed to be reminded to keep this in the forefront of his message.
b. Jesus Christ, risen from the dead: This is the great fact, the great credential of the authenticity of Jesus Christ - His resurrection from the dead.
i. Remember that Jesus was the first one ever resurrected. Others, such as Jesus' friend Lazarus, had been resuscitated, but only Jesus had been resurrected - raised to a new order of life, with a new body, which though based on the old, was still new and fitted for the glories of eternal life.
ii. Jesus' resurrection was the proof that though it looked like He died on the cross as a common criminal, He actually died as a sinless man, giving His life out of love and self-sacrifice to bear the guilt of our sin. Jesus' death on the cross was the payment but the resurrection was the receipt, showing that the payment was received as perfect before God the Father.
c. descendant of David: Timothy needed to keep the fact that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel - a descendant of David - in the forefront of his preaching.
i. God's plan of rescue through Jesus Christ did not begin when the baby was born in Bethlehem. All of history looked forward to what Jesus would do to save us. This statement means that Jesus was fully man, while risen from the dead means Jesus was fully God. For Paul, it was essential that Timothy remember and teach the truth about who Jesus was.
d. According to my gospel: Of course, the gospel belonged to Paul in the sense that he preached it; but it also belonged to him in the sense that he believed it. It was his gospel and it should also be the gospel of each individual Christian.
i. Remember what the word gospel means: good news. For Paul, the best news was not about more money, more love, more status, or more stuff. The good news was about a real relationship with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
2. (2 Tim. 2:9) The consequences of Paul's gospel.
9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.
a. For which I suffer hardship: This gospel did not bring Paul a life of glamour and ease. It brought him a life full of adventure and challenge, and a life also marked by suffering.
i. It was around the time Paul wrote 2 Timothy that a terrible fire destroyed much of Rome, a fire that was reportedly set by the emperor Nero as the first step of his own peculiar urban renewal program. The fire destroyed vast neighborhoods of the poor, and when they rioted, Nero blamed the Christians. He then arrested many of them - perhaps including Paul.
ii. One of the most spectacular sights in Israel is the ancient city of Beit She'an - a spectacular city that is, piece by piece, being uncovered and restored by archaeologists. If you ever visit, you can see the coliseum there - the oval stadium, complete with chambers and rooms for lions and other wild animals - animals that were almost certainly set upon Christians for the entertainment of the mob. For me, to walk on floor of that stadium - on the ground that had almost surely received the blood of Christians - was something sacred, and reminded me of the extreme price many have had to pay. In the modern western world, the price we pay for faithfulness to Jesus seems small in comparison.
iii. Any true follower of Jesus Christ will be willing to suffer with Him. Those who are determined to never suffer for Jesus may admire Him from a distance, but they do not genuinely follow Him.
b. even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned: Paul's wrist was shackled at the very moment he wrote this. Nevertheless, he understood that they could imprison him but they could never imprison the word of God.
i. The Bible has been attacked more than any other book through history. It has been burned, banned, mocked, twisted, and ignored - but the word of God still stands forever. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8 ).
ii. The word of God is not imprisoned. No government, no religious authorities, no skeptics, no scientists, no philosophers, or no book burners have ever been able to stop the work of the Word of God. Yet, if there is any sense in which the Word is bound, it is bound when its supposed friends abandon it. When pulpits sound more like self-help books than those who proclaim God's word; when Scripture is used sparingly like a spice in a message, instead of being the core of it, pastors themselves have, in effect, put a chain around-imprisoned-the Bible.
3. (2 Tim. 2:10) Why Paul endures the consequences of the gospel.
10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.
a. For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen: We might have expected Paul to say he endures all things for the sake of God. Yet Paul knew that his love for God could reliably be measured by his love for God's people.
i. "Paul was much sustained by the thought that his labours and sufferings were, in the providence of God, beneficial to others." (White)
b. That they may also obtain the salvation: Paul's life was not spent merely in getting people rescued in Jesus, but also in seeing them grow and become complete in their relationship with Him.
c. Eternal glory: The idea of eternal glory is hard for us to comprehend. The Bible tells us there is a glory that belongs to the people of God in eternity that is greater than any earthly glory. Eternal glory is worth much more than earthly glory.
4. (2 Tim. 2:11-13) Paul describes his gospel with a faithful saying.
11 It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
a. It is a trustworthy statement: We know what it is like to have a worship song on our mind, one that expressing our heart. Here Paul quoted an early Christian hymn known among the Christians of his day.
b. For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him: The song begins with a promise of resurrection to those who have died with Jesus. The Bible speaks of dying with Jesus in at least two ways:
▪ The first is common to all Christians, and is illustrated by baptism (Romans 6:3-5). Each of us can have a life-after-death experience with Jesus, seeing our old life ended with Jesus on the cross, and have our new life beginning with His being raised from the dead.
▪ The other way the Bible speaks of dying with Jesus is, of course, in the sense of martyrdom - of paying the ultimate price for following Jesus. This is probably Paul's idea here; he is saying, "If we die with Him, we aren't dead - we live with Him." More significantly, Paul wrote this awaiting his own execution by the Roman government.
ii. "The context here seems rather to point to physical death as the highest point of suffering for Christ. The reference then is to the martyr's death now viewed from the standpoint of the crowning day."
c. If we endure, we will also reign with Him: The song assures the faithful believer of eternal reward. This principle assures us that our present difficulty or trial is worth enduring. The reward is greater than what one might gain from quitting. We will reign with Him!
i. The Bible says that we will rule and reign with Jesus Christ. This future destiny explains much of the difficulty described in this passage. We understand that God is training us to rule and reign beside Him in the world to come.
d. If we deny Him, He also will deny us: The song warns those who deny Jesus that they themselves will be denied. By doctrine or manner of living, one may deny who Jesus is, deny what He has done for us, or deny what He commands us to do.
i. Jesus said it plainly: But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33)
e. If we are faithless, He remains faithful: We cannot deny Jesus and we must keep our allegiance to Him. Yet if one does fall away, it doesn't change who God is - He remains faithful.
i. It is a terrible thing when people who name the name of Jesus show themselves unfaithful; many have been turned off from Jesus because of the hypocrisy of those who take His name. But all the faithlessness of man doesn't disprove the faithfulness of God.
ii. "Our faithlessness cannot in any way detract from the Son of God and His Glory. Being all sufficient in Himself He has no need of our confession. It is as if he had said, 'Let all who will desert Christ, for they deprive him of nothing; when they perish, He remains unchanged.'" (Calvin)
iii. But the Christian can stand faithful as God empowers them. Even if one has been wavering, they still have time - as the Spirit of God calls to them even now - to turn back to the faithful God. We can be like the prodigal son, who came to his senses, saw his faithfulness, and came home to his father who had been faithful to him the whole time.
iv. When one Christian in the days of the ancient Roman Empire was commanded to give money to the building of a pagan temple, he refused; and though he was old, they stripped him practically naked, and cut him all over his body with knives and spears. They started to feel sorry for him, so they said, "Just give one dollar to the building of the temple." But he still would not. "Just burn one grain of incense to this pagan god," they asked - but he would not. So, he was smeared with honey, and while his wounds were still bleeding, they set bees and wasps upon him until he was stung to death. He could die; but he could not deny his Lord. The Lord can give you the same strength to live for Him, even as this man died for Him.
2 TIM. 2:1-13 - WORD AND PHRASE STUDY - UTLEY - Bible.org
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2:1-7
1You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. 3Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 5And also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 6The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 7Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
2:1 "You therefore" This seems to relate to 1:15-18, where Paul contrasts those who abandoned him with those who remained faithful.
▣ "my son" This refers to Paul as Timothy's father in the gospel (cf. 1:2; 1 Tim. 1:2; Titus 1:4).
▣ "be strong" This can be
1. a present passive imperative, "continue to be made strong" (Word Pictures in the Greek New Testament by A. T. Robertson; A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek NT by Zerwick and Grosvenor; and Analytical Greek New Testament by Barbara and Timothy Friberg)
2. a present middle imperative, "continue to be strong" (The Analytical Greek Lexicon Revised by Harold K. Moulton and the Charles B. Williams translation).
Does the believer participate in the empowering, or does God do the empowering? This is the tension between the sovereignty of God and the free will of humans. In the NT both are involved in salvation and the Christian life. God deals with fallen mankind in a covenant relationship. There are both rights and responsibilities, requirements and privileges! Grace (i.e., divine initiative) is always priority, but a human response is mandated!
SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT
2:2 "the things you have heard from me" Timothy is to pass on Paul's Apostolic teachings, not his own personal opinions or theories (cf. 1:13, see Special Topic at 1:14).
▣ "in the presence of many witnesses" This phrase could mean
1. Timothy's ordination sermon (cf. 1:6; 1 Tim. 4:14)
2. what Timothy heard Paul teach he also heard confirmed by other prophets/teachers
3. Timothy heard Paul preach/teach the same truths many times
▣ "entrust these" This is an aorist middle imperative. This is the same word used in 1:12,14 and 1 Tim. 1:18. See note at 2 Tim. 1:12 and 1 Tim. 1:18. This is the Greek noun pistis translated into English as "faith," belief" or "trust." Here it is used as an adjective, pistos, in the OT sense of trustworthy, faithful, hopefully discerning potential church leaders. This is the principle of delegation and multiplication. Jesus spent His time on a select few so as to reach many through them. Two wonderful books which develop this concept are The Master Plan of Evangelism and The Maser Plan of Discipleship, both by Robert E. Coleman.
▣ "who will be able" Christian preachers'/teachers' competency/adequacy comes from
1. God Himself, cf. II Cor. 2:17; 3:5-6
2. their having received/believed Apostolic truth
Adequacy does not come from one's intelligence or education or personality type. We must be faithful communicators of God's word/truth!
2:3 "Suffer hardship with me" This is an aorist active imperative. It has been a recurrent theme (cf. 1:8,12; 2:3,9; 4:5). See fuller note at 1:8. Ministry often causes a reaction from a lost neighbor, civil authority or culture.
▣ "as a good soldier" Paul often described the Christian life in military (cf. v.4) or athletic (cf. v.3) metaphors (cf. Rom. 13:12; II Cor. 6:7; 9:7; 10:4; Eph. 6:11-17; Phil. 2:25; Philemon 2; 1 Tim. 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7).
2:4 "No soldier. . .athlete. . .farmer" Paul uses three occupational examples to express his encourage-ment to Timothy.
▣ "entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life" This is a present middle participle which emphasizes continuing actions on the part of the subject. It is not that secular things are bad, they just cannot be priority or ultimate (cf. II Pet. 2:20). Leaders must maintain a ministry focus!
2:5 "if" This is a third class conditional sentence which speaks of potential action.
▣ "competes according to the rules" This was used of professional, full-time athletes. If a competitor deviates from the rules, he/she is disqualified (cf. I Cor. 9:24-27).
2:6 "the hard-working farmer" Paul uses three strenuous professional examples:
1. soldiers fight for their commander
2. athletes strive within the rules to win a crown
3. farmers work hard to partake of the fruit of their crops
Note: All involve commitment, effort, patience and suffering! All receive their due reward (cf. Pro. 27:18).
2:7 "Consider what I say" This is present active imperative which implies "continue to think through this carefully." Notice the continuing play between human responsibility and God's gracious provision.
▣ "the Lord will give you understanding in everything" The Lord, by means of the Holy Spirit, will give His people understanding (cf. John 14:16; 16:13). This may reflect the new covenant of Jer. 31:31-34 (esp. vv. 33-34). This surely does not refer to specific, complete knowledge in every area of life, but a full and complete knowledge of the gospel and its implications. The Spirit provides believers with all the knowledge they need to live a life pleasing to God.
NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: 2:8-13
8Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 11It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; 12If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.
2:8 "Remember" This is present active imperative. Paul calls on Timothy's memory several times (cf. 1:3,4,5,6; 2:8,14). This particular occurrence emphasizes doctrines related to Christology.
▣ "Jesus Christ, risen from the dead" This is a perfect passive participle which implies that Jesus was raised by the Father and that He remains the resurrected One. Jesus' resurrection was the sign that the Father fully accepted the Son's earthly work, teachings and sacrifice for sin. Jesus' resurrection is one of the central pillars of Christianity (cf. I Cor. 15).
The resurrection of Jesus is also an integral part of the early preaching (kerygma, see Special Topic at 3:15) of Peter and Paul in Acts, which shows the often-repeated main truths of the gospel in the early church:
1. the Messiah must suffer
2. Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy
3. the new age of the Spirit has come in Jesus
4. Jesus died for sinners, which was God's predetermined plan
5. Jesus was raised from the dead and exalted to God's right hand
6. Jesus is coming again
7. whoever will trust Him in repentance and faith will be saved
A footnote (2,d) on page 365 of the Jerusalem Bible (1966) makes a good comment, "the Greek mind found the resurrection particularly hard to accept, Acts 17:37; I Cor. 15:12."
2:9 "I suffer hardship" This was a characteristic of first century gospel preaching. Paul knew it will and called on Timothy to join him (cf. 1:8; 2:3; 4:5).
▣ "even to imprisonment as a criminal" Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel and was expecting to be beheaded soon (cf. 4:6). Serving God in a fallen world costs (cf. II Cor. 4:7-15; 6:1-10; 11:23-30)!
▣ "but the word of God is not imprisoned" I entitled this volume "Paul Bound, but the Gospel Unbound" from this verse. Only our silence imprisons "the word of God"!
▣ "descendant of David" This speaks of His true humanity (cf. Matt. 1:1; Rom. 1:3) and the fulfillment of prophecy (cf. II Sam. 7:14ff).
▣ "according to my gospel" These are Paul's very words in Rom. 2:16; 16:25. This refers to his apostolic preaching of the gospel.
2:10 "I endure" This means "voluntary, active, steadfast endurance." Paul chose to remain under the load of gospel ministry for the sake of others.
▣ "who are chosen" God knows His own (cf. Titus 1:1; Rev. 13:8). Apparently this refers both to those who have responded and those who have not yet responded (cf. Rom. 11:25-26) to the gospel.
▣ "that they also may obtain the salvation" This salvation is only through Christ and unto eternal life (cf. I Thess. 5:9; II Thess. 2:13-14).
▣ "and with it eternal glory" NT salvation can be characterized by the things one is delivered from and the things one is given, to-wit:
A. Salvation delivers us from:
2. Satan and the demonic powers
B. And we are given:
1. a peace with God now
2. a purpose in life now
3. a giftedness for ministry now
4. a Spirit-filled and directed life now
5. a future consummation
6. a future home in heaven
7. a future glory with Christ
8. a future reigning with Christ
9. a future body like Christ's
▣ "glory" This glory refers to the final salvation called "glorification" in Rom. 8:28-30. See fuller note at I Tim. 1:17.
2:11 "if" This is the last of the five "trustworthy statements" in the Pastoral Letters (cf. 1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Titus 3:8). This one (vv. 11-13) appears to be a quote from a creed or hymn.
1. a series of four "if" clauses (first class conditional sentences, cf. vv. 11,12,13 twice)
2. the first two are positive; the last two are negative
3. the third and fourth clauses have an extra line
▣ "we died with Him" This is one of several syn compounds in 2 Timothy. It speaks of the biblical metaphor of baptism by immersion (cf. Rom. 6:1-11; Gal. 2:20). This exact form occurs only here, in Mark 14:31, and II Cor. 7:3.
▣ "we shall live with Him" This is another rare syn compound (cf. Rom. 6:8; II Cor. 7:3). This refers to the believers' confidence of sustained fellowship with Jesus, not only now by faith but one day (and every day) face to face.
The first three "if" clauses end in future tense verbs which assume an eschatological (i.e., end time) setting. The entire NT has this same already-but-not-yet tension. The kingdom of God has come (inaugurated) in Jesus but it has not been consummated. Believers experience many aspects of the Kingdom now, but others are reserved for the Second Coming.
▣ "if we endure" This grammatical construction (first class conditional sentence) assumes believers will persevere.
SPECIAL TOPIC: PERSEVERANCE
2:12 "we will also reign" This is another syn compound found here and in I Cor. 4:8. Paul is very fond of these compounds. The time, place, and participants are uncertain.
SPECIAL TOPIC: REIGNING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
▣ "If we deny Him He also will deny us" This is a strong warning (see SPECIAL TOPIC: APOSTASY (APHISTĒMI) at 1 Tim. 4:1)! Remember that this was an age of persecution, torture, and death (cf. Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 9:26; 1 Tim. 5:8; Titus 1:16; II Pet. 2:1; Jude 4).
2:13 "If we are faithless, He remains faithful" This phrase is very surprising. The condition is still first class (assumed to be true); one would have expected a third class (potential action).
In what sense is the believer faithless? Does this mean
1. faltering under persecution or trial
2. following the false teachers
3. ungodly lifestyle
This may reflect the OT covenant's concept of God's faithfulness amidst Israel's continual unfaithfulness (cf. Mal. 3:6). Ultimately the hope of believers is on the unchanging character and promises of God. YHWH's faithfulness is both a descriptive title (Deut. 7:9; Isa. 49:7; I Cor. 1:9; 10:13; II Cor. 1:18; I Thess. 5:24; II Thess. 3:3) and a characteristic (Ps. 36:5; 40:10; 89:1,2,5,8; 92:2; 119:90; Heb. 6:17-18; I Pet. 4:19) which is fully revealed in Christ (Heb. 6:13-20). Because some abandon the faith (see Special Topic: Apostasy at 1 Tim. 4:1) does not imply that God abandoned them (see SPECIAL TOPIC: ASSURANCE at 1:12)! Free will functions at every level. God's grace and faithfulness are not in jeopardy because of the false teachers and their followers' faithlessness!
▣ "He cannot deny Himself" This asserts that as the character of God is unchanging (i.e., Ps. 102:27; Mal. 3:6), so too, Jesus is unchangeable (cf. Heb. 13:8). It is this unchanging Divine nature of mercy and grace that is the bedrock of the believer's hope, confidence, and assurance!