the book of
Rénald Leroux Jr.
A Doctrinal and Devotional Commentary on the book of 2nd Timothy.
© Copyright 2018 by Rénald Leroux Jr.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author except as provided by the Canadian copyright laws.
One can use this commentary for personal use and for teaching as long as one does not change the text and gives credits to its author Rénald Leroux Jr.
The entire text of Second Timothy is taken from the Lexham English Bible (LEB).
All 216 verses taken OUTSIDE of the text of Second Timothy are from the NKJV. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Adam Clark Commentary (On Line)
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible (On Line)
Apolausis New Testament Greek Lexicon (online)
Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (On Line)
Complete Word Study N-T by Spiros Zodhiates Editor (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible (On Line)
Expository Dictionary of N-T Words by W.E. Vine (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
Expository notes of Dr. Thomas Constable (On Line)
Interlinear Hebrew/Greek English Bible by Jay Green (Associated Pub. and authors, Lafayette, Indiana, U.S.A.)
John Gill’s exposition of the whole Bible (On Line)
Matthew Henry’s Complete Commentary on the Bible (On Line)
New Testament Word Studies by J.A. Bengel (Kregel Pub. Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Strong’s exhaustive concordance of the Bible (Abingdon Pub., Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
Strong’s Greek Lexicon (online)
Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible (On Line)
Word Studies in the N-T by Marvin R. Vincent (Eerdmans Pub., Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A.)
Word Study Concordance (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A.)
Word study New Testament (Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Illinois, U.S.A.)
Table of contents for the text
01 – General introduction
AUTHOR, DATE AND SETTING
It seems that Paul had been released from house arrest in 62 a.d. After his fourth missionary trip where he had written 1st Timothy and Titus he was once again imprisoned under Nero (65-67 a.d.). This time he was in a dungeon and chained like any other criminal. Paul knows that his time on earth was coming to a close. No one knows the exact year Paul died, all the dates are estimates.
PURPOSE FOR WRITING THIS LETTER
Paul was concerned about the health of the churches and Timothy’s personal spiritual life, for Nero had begun his great persecution. He writes to Timothy to remind him to persevere in his ministry even through these difficult times. Knowing that his time is short, Paul writes one last time to his beloved son in the faith.
Suffering is part of the Christian experience (1:8,12; 2:3,9;33:11-12; 4:5, 14-18)
The Christian response to suffering (1:8; 2:1, 11-13; 4:1-18)
The gospel is the foundation for our perseverance (1:9-11; 2:8-10)
The Scriptures have power to enable us to persevere (2:15; 3:15-17; 4:1,2)
True believers will continue in the faith (2:11-13,19; 3:14; 4:7,10)
False teachings must be dealt with firmly (2:16-18, 23-26; 3:1-9; 4:3-5)
02 – Greetings and thanksgiving
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 to Timothy, my dear child. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I am thankful to God, whom I have served with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you as I remember your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, 5 remembering the sincere faith in you, which lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am convinced that is in you also
Have you ever noticed the similarities in the greetings of both 1st and 2nd Timothy? Here is Paul’s opening statement in First Timothy:
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 to Timothy, my dear child. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is his opening statement in 2nd Timothy:
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2 to Timothy, my dear child. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
In both, he declares himself to be the writer of the letter. He also declares himself to be an apostle (APOSTOLOS) meaning: a delegate, an ambassador, he that is sent. Although Timothy knew this very well, Paul reminds him of where he has obtained his authority in spiritual matters.
In both he declares that he is an ambassador of Jesus Christ. This is whom he represents. May all true believers also be reminded whom they represent in life – Jesus. Remember what Christ said:
8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (NKJV)
In both cases Paul writes that the capacity for becoming a representative of Christ was not of his doing but that of the Lord God. In First Timothy it is ‘through the will of God’ and in Second Timothy ‘according to the command of God’. The word ‘through’ (DIA) means: the channel of an act. This became real through ‘the will of the God’. The word ‘will’ (THELEMA) means: a determination, an active choice, volition. God wanted Paul to be his ambassador and it was through his will that it became true.
In both greetings Paul speaks of something to look ahead for, something that is encouraging for his ministry. In First Timothy he speaks of HOPE that is found in Jesus Christ. In Second Timothy he speaks of the ‘promise of life’ which is also found in Christ Jesus. The word ‘promise’ (EPAGGELIA) means: an announcement, a message, a promise. The word ‘life’ (ZOE) means: life literally or figuratively. These seem to be two pillars that sustained Paul during his ministry. The HOPE and the LIFE that is in Christ. May I ask you what it is that sustains you in your life? Where do you find your strength to carry on in the faith?
In both opening statements Paul speaks dearly of Timothy. In First Timothy he calls him ‘my true child in the faith’ and in Second Timothy ‘my dear child’. The word ‘dear’ (AGAPETOS) means: beloved, well loved. This is a tender term, one that is filled with love and affection. Although Titus is called ‘a true son in the faith’ (Titus 1:4) no other person was as close to Paul as Timothy.
The last sentence in his greetings in both letters is exactly the same:
(v.2) …Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
This is Paul’s blessing on Timothy, that he would be filled with these three things. The first is ‘grace’ (CHARIS) meaning: graciousness in manner or act, an undeserved favor. Timothy needed all the grace he could receive for he lived in a very perilous time of persecution directed by Rome. Then Paul blessed Timothy with ‘mercy’ (ELEOS) meaning: to join, peace, prosperity, rest. With troubles from within the church and persecution without, Timothy needed God’s rest and mercy upon him. Finally, Paul blessed Timothy with ‘peace’ (EIRENE) meaning: human or divine active compassion. May each child of God be blessed with grace, mercy and peace. All of these blessings in both opening statements were from the Father and Jesus Christ.
3 I am thankful to God, whom I have served with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day, 4 longing to see you as I remember your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, 5 remembering the sincere faith in you, which lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am convinced that is in you also
Before speaking to Timothy about his relationship with him, Paul thinks of God. He places his relationship with God before all relationships. This is how it ought to be with all true believers. No relationship is more precious and valuable than the one we have with our heavenly Father. Is this true of you? Is your closeness with God more important than to you with anyone else?
Paul writes: ‘I am thankful to God’. The word ‘thankful’ (CHERIS) means: to rejoice, gratitude, joy, pleasure. As we will soon see, he is rejoicing in the Lord for the memories of Timothy. Paul describes the key to the relationship he has with God. We should all take note of this like Timothy probably did! This is what he says concerning his life with the Lord ‘whom I have served with a clear conscience’. Two things are mentioned. The first is ‘I have served’. Paul knew he was called to ‘serve’ (LATREUO) meaning: a hired menial, serve, do the service. He was quite content simply to be a servant of the Lord (Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1; Philemon 1:1). All children of God should consider themselves the Lord’s servant. If our God is Master, Lord, King, Creator and Sustainer and if we are dust, what does that make us – servants at best! May it be our joy to serve the Lord God.
The second thing Paul mentions about his relationship with God is that he served the Lord with ‘a clear conscience’. The word ‘clear’ (KATHAROS) means: clean, clear, pure. The word ‘conscience’ (SUNEIDESIS) means: moral consciousness. In other words, his ‘heart’ was pure before the Lord. His conscience did not bother him for he walked straight before the Lord. His conscience had already been cleansed at the cross:
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
But Paul kept a pure heart before the Lord which kept his conscience pure. Do you remember the weight that David carried until he confessed his sin with Bathsheba? His conscience bothered him until he broke down and admitted his wrong doing (Ps. 51). The apostle John tell us how to get rid of a burdened conscience:
1 John 1
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Then Paul writes ‘as my ancestors did’. We can understand that not ALL of his ancestors lived with a clear conscience. I believe that this is a general statement which he is making. The word ‘ancestors’ (PROGONOS) means: an ancestor, a forefather. It was in the same spirit as his forefathers that Paul served the Lord God.
(v.3) …when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day,
Paul is thankful unto God ‘when I remember you constantly’. Paul is grateful that he had such a disciple as Timothy. Timothy had followed Paul in his missionary trips and suffered the cost of following the Lord alongside him. Paul liked to ‘remember’ (MNEIA) meaning: recollection, remembrance. In other words, he thought of Timothy chained in his dark gloomy dungeon. Paul reflected on his life and had fond memories of Timothy.
He remembered Timothy ‘constantly’ (ADIALEIPTOS) meaning: permanent, continually, without ceasing. His face appeared in his mind when he was in his ‘prayers’ (DEESIS) meaning: a petition, request, a prayer. Being in prison, Paul had a lot of time on his hands and he used it to pray. He remembers him and the days past, evangelizing, teaching and caring for churches but he also remembers him for the present and presents him to the Lord for wisdom and safety. His prayers for Timothy were not sporadic for he prayed ‘night and day’. Do we care and love people enough to carry them in our prayers day after day as Paul did?
4 longing to see you as I remember your tears, so that I may be filled with joy,
His thoughts of Timothy flooded his mind and it stirred up his emotions: ‘longing to see you’ was his desire. The word ‘longing’ (EPIPOTHEO) means: a great desire, intensive crave. How he wished that Timothy would be by his side, old and in chains and fragile because of the abuse of his body (2 Cor. 11:22-27), Paul would have loved for Timothy to be of help – but he could not.
Paul writes: ‘I remember your tears’. Another thing that Paul ‘remember(s)’ (MNAOMAI) meaning: to bear in mind, fixture of the mind, are ‘your tears’ (DAKRU) meaning: a tear. Paul does not reveal in what circumstances these tears were shed but this does manifest the human side of Timothy. Was he tired of his voyages and of following Paul? Were the dangers of ministry overflowing and too much for him? Were Christians hard on him as it often happens to people in leadership? We do not know but what we do know is that Paul remembered his tears.
Paul was ‘longing’ to see Timothy ‘so that I may be filled with joy’. The word ‘filled’ (PLEROO) means: to make replete, to cram, to level up. The thoughts concerning Timothy filled his heart as one fills a cup of water to its brim. And all of these memories which filled his heart brought him ‘joy’ (CHARA) meaning: calm delight, gladness, joy. One can imagine a peaceful smile on this old man’s face when he thought of Timothy.
5 remembering the sincere faith in you, which lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am convinced that is in you also
One of the many things that he remembered about Timothy was ‘the sincere faith in you’. The word ‘sincere’ (ANUPOKRITOS) means: sincere, without hypocrisy. Timothy was true and honest in his ‘faith’ (PISTIS) persuasion, credence, moral conviction. Remember when those who followed Jesus suddenly abandoned him because his teachings were too difficult to accept?
64 "But there are some of you who do not believe." For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him.
65 And He said, "Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father."
66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
Many had abandoned Jesus because their faith was not ‘sincere’. This was not the case with Timothy! He never abandoned his faith nor Paul. Speaking concerning his ‘faith’ Paul states that it ‘lived first’ in his grandmother and his mother. The word ‘lived’ (ENOIKEO) means: to inhabit, to dwell in. How his grandmother and his mother believed unto salvation is not explained. What we do know is that his father was a Greek gentile (Acts 16:1) but it was both his grandmother and mother (who were believers) who had an important spiritual part in Timothy’s life. Thank God for godly parents and grandparents! One does not always understand the profound impact of their faith on these little ones.
Paul ends by saying that ‘I am convinced that is in you also'. The word ‘convinced’ (PEITHO) means: to convince, to asset, to have confidence. Paul had seen the faith of Timothy at work and knew he was inhabited by it. May our faith shine brightly so that it can be seen by those all around us. May we be remembered because of our faith. May our faith bring joy to those who think about us.
03 – The exhortation to persevere
6 for which reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and love and self-discipline. 8 Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor me his prisoner, but suffer along with me for the gospel, according to the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been disclosed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a proclaimer and an apostle and a teacher
Before we begin, I would like to point out the use of the word ‘ashamed’ in Second Timothy. It is an important word for Paul uses it on four occasions (1:8,12,16; 2:15). Three times he uses the word EPAISCHUNOMAI which means: to feel shame or fear for something (1:8,12,16) and once the word ANEPAISKUNTOS (which is only used once in the N-T) which means: having NO cause for shame (2:15). This is a very strong negative adjective. We may be hitting the nail on the head with understanding the importance of this in Timothy’s life. When a believer is ashamed of Christ this blocks him from being the person he should be. He is chained by this sin and is stuck being unable to move forward and being useful for the Lord. Remember what happened to Peter when he was ashamed of Jesus on the night he was captured – he denied him three times!
74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.
It seems that Paul was worried about Timothy’s spiritual life. Paul had been away in prison and Timothy (it is believed) was still in Ephesus. We have seen in his first letter that Paul wanted his spiritual son to ‘step up’ and be at the forefront of his ministry as a church leader. He needed to confront false teachers and even elders that were not the men of God that they should be. This could have easily brought great stress in this man’s life, not including the regular ‘church business’, teaching and disciplining that he attended to. It just may be that Timothy was growing weary, tired and spiritually fatigued. This would harm his ministry and the good standing of the church before the Lord. We can see three aspects of his life which Paul was concerned about.
6 for which reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands.
This is the first aspect Paul wrote about. The word ‘reason’ (AITIA) means: logical reason, motive or matter. Paul wanted to ‘remind’ (ANAMIMNESKO) meaning: to remind, to recollect, to call to mind, as though Timothy may sometimes forget certain spiritual things or truths. We ALL need to be reminded and that is why we go to church to receive the nourishment of God’s Word and why we need to read and study the Holy Scriptures. We need to be reminded of these things and the apostle Peter tells his readers that this was an objective he kept in life:
2 Peter 1
12 For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.
13 Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you,
This is what Paul wanted to remind Timothy about: ‘to rekindle the gift of God that is in you’. The word ‘rekindle’ (ANAZOPUREO) means: to re-kindle the embers, to stir-up, to inflame one’s mind. This is a hapax which means that it is the only place this word is used in the New Testament. We can only suppose that Timothy may have been losing heart so Paul reminds him of ‘the gift of God that is in you’. The word ‘gift’ (CHARISMA) means: gratuity, a spiritual endowment. As children of God we ALL have the benefit of having at least one spiritual gift bestowed unto us for the benefit of his kingdom.
1 Corinthians 12
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
1 Corinthians 12
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
This gift was ‘of God’. No man can personally decide to give a spiritual gift to someone. Remember when Simon saw Peter and the others lay their hands on people and they received the Holy Spirit, how he desperately wanted to have the same ability? This is what happened:
17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money,
19 saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
20 But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!
21 "You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.
Paul reminds Timothy that this gift was ‘in you’ (EN) meaning: fixed in position, time or state. It was there but it needed to be ‘rekindled’. How many of God’s children have these spiritual gifts in them and they are dormant? How many neglect this treasure deposited in them by their Lord and Savior? May we all search our hearts and revive the gift(s) that is in us!
(v.6) …through the laying on of my hands.
Actually, this is the second time that Paul speaks to Timothy concerning this gift(s) that he had received.
1 Timothy 4
14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.
Here Timothy was not to ‘neglect’ (AMELEO) which means: to be careless of, to make light of. Seeing this we can understand better why Paul later tells him to ‘rekindle’ (ANAZOPUREO) means: to re-kindle the embers, to stir-up, to inflame one’s mind. No one knows what happened but it seems that there may have been some type of carelessness or lassitude on Timothy’s part. He may not have heeded Paul’s warning and now there were just ambers slowly burning instead of flames! May all children of God be on their guard, for their spiritual gift(s) may also dwindle and die out if it is neglected! On both occasions (1 Tim. 4:14 and 2 Tim. 1:6) we see that the laying of the hands was used to pass this gift unto the believer. This is exceptional and we do not see this often in the New Testament.
7 For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and love and self-discipline.
This is the second aspect of Timothy’s life which Paul was concerned about, Timothy seemed to be a timid person. For the second time Paul tells Timothy that these spiritual gifts are from God: ‘For God’. There is no other author of gift-giving than the Lord God in a Disciple of Christ. One must always remind himself that all his capacities, either human or spiritual are from God. All your talents, capacities and intellect are from the Lord and you have no reason to glory in yourself for having them.
1 Corinthians 4
7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
Paul tells Timothy that God ‘has not given us a spirit of cowardice’. The word ‘cowardice’ (DEILIA) means: timidity, fearfulness, cowardice, to dread. As a leader in his Christian community there were things that Timothy was called to do and he would have done anything not to have to do them. Every one in pastoral leadership knows this feeling. Sometimes this feeling is so great that a person can delay and often totally neglect to do what needs to be done. Notice that Paul writes ‘given us’, this is in general and for all of God’s children. We have not received a spirit of ‘cowardice’ but rather a spirit of:
(v.7) …power and love and self-discipline.
A spirit of ‘power’ (DUNAMIS) meaning: force, miraculous power or strength is given. With the Lord the words ‘I can’t’ should not be in our vocabulary. Yes, I can, for the Lord has given me power to do his will. I now have the capacities to fill the ministries he has given me. Even when Paul felt the most helpless in his life, he was able to say:
2 Corinthians 1
8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life.
9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead,
10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,
The key is ‘we should not trust in ourselves’ (v.9). It is when we trust in our self that we lack power. When we look unto the Lord for strength then he enables us to move forward.
A spirit of ‘love’ (AGAPE) meaning: love, affection, charity is also in the believer. One of the reasons why people crowded around Jesus was his love and care for them. The religious elite saw themselves as being ‘above’ the general people. The love of Christ was seen and felt by those who came to him. One needs only to read about anyone who was miraculously cured by him! If we sense we lack ‘love’ it is not because it is not in us, but like Timothy, we may need to re-kindle what is in us.
Finally, Paul writes that the good Lord has given his children a spirit of ‘self-discipline’ (SOPHRONISMOS) meaning: discipline, self-control, calling to soundness of the mind. We also know that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:23). When we see a believer who lacks in power, love or self-control we instantly know that he/she has not kindled these in a long while!
8 Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor me his prisoner, but suffer along with me for the gospel, according to the power of God,
This is the third aspect of Timothy’s life that Paul is concerned with, he seemed to be rather shy of his testimony of Christ. Paul writes ‘do not be ashamed’. The words ‘do not’ (ME) mean: a qualified negation, neither, never, no. Paul really put his foot down on this one – NEVER, NEVER be ‘ashamed’ (EPAISCHUNOMAI) meaning: to feel shame for something. This reminds me of the story of Peter and how he was ashamed of Christ and denied him three times (Mat. 26:34). Most of God’s children do deny Christ in one way or another but for some it is more often than others. We are not told how or why Timothy sometimes was ashamed – but he was. For Paul this had to be corrected for how can you be a Christian leader if you have difficulty to openly present yourself as a Disciple of Christ! He was ashamed of the ‘testimony of our Lord’. The word ‘testimony’ (MARTURION) means: evidence given, testimony, witness. Jesus said:
8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
In both verses, the words ‘testimony’ and ‘witness’ are from the same Greek root word MARTUS which means: a witness, a martyr. May this be a reminder for all true believers that we are to be witnesses of the Lord God. But Paul adds ‘nor me his prisoner’. The word ‘prisoner’ (DESMIOS) means: a captive, to be in bonds, prisoner. It may be that at this time Paul was no longer regarded lovingly as he should have been. After all he has been gone for years and we have heard that he was in prison. Who would want to be a witness for a prisoner!
(v.8) …but suffer along with me for the gospel, according to the power of God,
Instead of sometimes being ashamed of God and of myself, this is what you aught to do – be ready to ‘suffer along with me for the gospel’. The word ‘suffer’ (SUGKAKOPATHEO) means: to suffer hardship along with or in company with. Suffer with me, not for my sake but ‘for the gospel’ (EUAGGELION) meaning: a good message, the gospel. This is what we all should be ready to suffer for – the gospel of Christ. Paul adds ‘according to the power of God’. This is an encouraging few words. Don’t be ashamed of Christ or of my chains. Be ready to suffer for the glory of the gospel, all of this ‘according to the power of God’. Paul reminds Timothy that God will be along-side him in his suffering for the gospel. God will provide all the ‘power’ (DUNAMIS) meaning: force, miraculous power, strength, when you go through these sufferings. God will not abandon you – never, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us:
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
Paul continues to encourage Timothy by speaking about the one he is serving.
9 who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been disclosed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a proclaimer and an apostle and a teacher
Here Paul reminds Timothy what the Lord God (who he should not be ashamed of) has done for him (and all his children). Paul writes ‘who saved us’ (SOZO) meaning: to save, deliver or protect. He has saved us from the coming wrath, from the judgment to come, from what is called ‘the second death’. John writes that believers shall not be hurt by the second death (Rev.2:11), nor shall the second death have any power over God’s children (Rev. 20:6). The second death is the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14) where death and hades shall be thrown in.
Paul also states that Timothy (as well as all true believers) received ‘a holy calling’. The word ‘holy’ (HAGIOS) means: sacred, pure, morally blameless and the word ‘calling’ (KLESIS) means: an invitation. This word is used especially for God’s invitation to man to accept the benefits of salvation. The calling of Timothy was to become Christ-like, to resemble the beloved Son, to be transformed into his image (2 Cor. 3:18). There is no higher calling in life, no greater vocation than to be an adopted child of God (Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5). This is the greatest gift that one can receive, to be called by God to enter into a relationship with him.
(v.9) …not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace that was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
Receiving salvation and a holy calling is ‘not according to our works’. The word ‘according’ (KATA) means: about, according as, just as. It is not about us and the amount of ‘works’ (ERGON) meaning: to work, toil, labor, that we can do (Titus 3:5), for salvation is of the Lord (Jonas 2:9). If it is not according to our works then it is according to what? Paul answers by writing: ‘but according to his own purpose and grace’. It is again ‘according’ this is the same Greek word used just above. This is not according to man, BUT according to ‘his own’ (IDIOS) meaning: pertaining to self, one’s own. The salvation pertains to God and God alone, no one else has anything to do with redemption! All of this is according to his own ‘purpose’ (PROTHESIS) meaning: a setting forth of a thing, a purpose. God has designed a plan for HIS own purpose. Paul explains this in the first fourteen verses of Ephesians:
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
Once more we see the word ‘grace’, Paul uses it seven times in both letters to Timothy. All is covered by grace – our redemption and our calling. May each true believer rejoice and be eternally thankful for the grace given unto him! This ‘salvation’ and ‘calling’ given to Timothy through ‘grace’ is not through anything that he had done but it ‘was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began’. Who made this possible – if not the Messiah? All of this was ‘given in Christ Jesus’. He is the agent through which the grace, forgiveness and calling of the Father flows unto repentant believers! That is why Jesus could say:
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
All of this was prepared by the Lord God ‘before time began’. The word ‘before’ (PRO) means: in front of, prior, before and the word ‘time’ (CHRONOS) meaning: a space of time, a while. Finally, the word ‘began’ (AIONIOS) means: without beginning. This is another proof that people have nothing to do with their salvation. It was determined before time even existed!
10 but has now been disclosed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel,
The mystery that Paul is writing about – the plan of God for redemption – was brought forth before time ever existed. What Paul is saying in this verse is that the plan was one day revealed to mankind!
The word ‘disclosed’ (PHANEROO) means: to render apparent, to manifest. At a time solely determined by God, he executed or brought forth his plan and this was done ‘by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ’. The Messiah is God’s only plan of salvation. His plan was revealed by the ‘appearing’ (EPIPHANEIA) meaning: a manifestation, an appearing. In other words, the birth of Christ was the beginning of the manifestation of the redemptive plan of God. When Simeon saw baby Jesus this is what he said:
29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."
This great plan had one main goal (although there are many others) as Paul writes: ‘Jesus Christ who has abolished death and brought to light life and immortality through the gospel’. The Messiah came to ‘abolish death’ – Amen! The word ‘abolish’ (KATARGEO) means: to be entirely useless, abolish. Death was rendered useless, Christ was victorious over death, which was the penalty for our sins.
13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
There is no second death for those who have received Christ as their Savior! May all of God’s children rejoice and be eternally grateful. Christ has not only abolished death he ‘brought to life and immortality through the gospel’. It was through the perfect and eternal sacrifice of the Son that ‘life’ (ZOE) meaning: life literally or figuratively and ‘immortality’ (APHHTRSIA) meaning: incorruptibility, immortality was brought forth ‘through the gospel’. The Good News brings ‘life and immortality’, to ALL who receive it with a humble repentant heart.
11 for which I was appointed a proclaimer and an apostle and a teacher
Paul reminds Timothy of what was his calling in life, for he was ‘appointed’ (TITHEMI) meaning: to place, to lay aside. From the very beginning Paul was called to be a ‘proclaimer’ (KERUX) meaning: a herald of divine truth and also an ‘apostle’ (APOSTOLOS) meaning: a delegate, an ambassador, of this glorious gospel.
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."
If you are a true child of God may you never lose sight of your calling to be a witness of Jesus (Acts 1:8).
04 – The example of Paul
2 Tim. 1 :12-14
12 for which reason also I suffer these things. But I am not ashamed, because I know in whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted until that day. 13 Hold fast to the pattern of sound words which you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
After telling Timothy to persevere and also giving him the reason why he should, Paul now turns to himself as an example of what he should follow. It is one thing to follow Christ and have him as our perfect example, it is another thing to see what the power of Christ can do in the life of a person such as Paul. May we never forget that Paul was a murderer and a religious fanatic. Today he would easily fall into the category of being a terrorist!
Paul speaks of the ‘reasons also I suffer these things’. In verse eight, Paul invites Timothy to suffer along-side of him. He recalls to Timothy’s memory that he IS SUFFERING for Christ. The word ‘reason’ (AITIA) means: a cause, a logical reason, a motive. He told Timothy that his calling was to be a preacher and an apostle (v.11) and it is because of his calling, that is the precise reason ‘I suffer these things’. Now the word ‘suffer’ (PASCHO) means: to feel, to suffer usually in a painful way. He was suffering, being old and chained in a dungeon cell. His freedom had been taken away from him, his friends were all gone except for one – Luke (2 Tim. 4:11). It was because of the gospel that he was waiting for his death sentence. He could tell Timothy: ‘look at me and what I suffer for Christ’.
(v.12) …But I am not ashamed, because I know in whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted until that day.
He has just written Timothy to not to be ashamed of him. Here Paul gives the reason why he is not ashamed of the gospel. The word ‘ashamed’ (EPAISCHUOMAI) means: to feel shame for something, be ashamed. Be like me Timothy and don’t be ‘ashamed’. I am not ashamed because ‘I know in whom I have believed’. I ‘know’ (EIDO) means: to see, to know, to be aware, to behold. Do you know Timothy? Have you forgotten Timothy? The word ‘believed’ (PISTEUO) means: to have faith in, to entrust, to believe. I remember in whom I have entrusted my faith – Jesus Christ! It is when we forget, that we slack in our commitment! Not only did Paul know but he also was ‘convinced’ (PEITHO) meaning: to convince, to assent, to agree. No one could take away his assurance of Christ, who he was and what he had done. This is what kept Paul above all circumstances life could throw at him. He was solidly grounded and founded on the person of Jesus Christ. Paul was convinced ‘that he is able to guard what I have entrusted until that day’. Christ was able to ‘guard’ (PHULASSO) meaning: to watch, to be on guard, to preserve. May we all remember the following words of Christ:
28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
30 "I and My Father are one."
Here we have a ‘double security’! Disciples of Christ are in his hand and also in the hand of the Father. Jesus says ‘neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hands’ so we are secure in his hand but he also says: ‘no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand’ – a double security. No wonder Jesus is able to ‘guard’ all his Father’s children. He is able to guard us ‘until that day’. The word ‘day’ (HEMERA) simply means: a day, a period, an age. I believe that Paul is either speaking of the day he will leave this earth or the day of the re-establishing of all things. Either way he is assured that he is well protected until he is with the Lord one way or the another.
13 Hold fast to the pattern of sound words which you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Two recommendations are given. The first is to ‘hold fast’ (ECHO) meaning: to hold, to be able to hold. What Timothy needed to do was to hold on tightly ‘to the pattern’ (HUPOTUPOSIS) meaning: a sketch, a form or pattern. What Paul had outlined in his teachings – this is what Timothy had to hold on to tightly. When we loosen our grip on God’s word we slip automatically down! These were ‘sound words’ and not echoes of human thought or philosophy. The word ‘sound’ (HUGIAINO) means: to have sound health, wholesome and the word ‘words’ (LOGOS) means: something said, the divine expression. What I have taught you and spoken to you, these words are true – so hold on to them.
Paul had given these words in ‘the faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction and ‘love’ (AGAPE) meaning: affection, benevolence, charity. All his teachings were out of the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. May we receive this also and remember that when we speak of the Lord, we also must do this out of the very heart of Christ.
14 Guard the good deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
The second recommendation Paul gives to Timothy is also meant for us. This is the second time Paul reminds Timothy concerning the spiritual gifts he has received. He called upon Timothy to ‘guard’ (PHULAX) meaning: a watcher, a sentry, a keeper. It was his duty to ‘guard’, to have a watchful eye over. Just as we guard our little children from harm by being attentive, we also need to guard ‘the good deposit’. The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: beautiful, good, valuable. What God had given Timothy, and what God has given to all his children, the spiritual gifts – they are ‘good’. They are also intended to do good to others.
God has placed a ‘deposit through the Holy Spirit who lives in us’. The word ‘deposit’ (PARAKATATHEKE) means: something put down along-side. God has placed spiritual gifts in his children – they are in us. They were placed in us ‘through the Holy Spirit’. He is the agent through which these spiritual gifts come. Notice the following ‘who lives in us’. Not only are believers endowed with spiritual gifts but the Holy Spirit actually ‘lives in’ (ENOIKEO) meaning: to inhabit, to dwell in. The Holy Spirit is not ‘up there’ somewhere, he is living IN the true believer.
Before the presence of God was OUTSIDE and man needed to go to Him. Now, through Christ, God lives INSIDE and we have become holy temples of the living God.
1 Corinthians 3
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
1 Corinthians 6
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.
May we remember who we have become!
05 – The example of Onesiphorus
15 You know this, that all those in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he refreshed me many times, and was not ashamed of my imprisonment, 17 but when he was in Rome, he diligently sought me and found me. 18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord in that day! And how much he served me in Ephesus you know very well.
In this section Paul speaks of his present condition in relationship with Christians in Rome. He was chained in prison and he needed a support system. If he did not have one, he would soon perish because of lack of care. The prison made for Rome’s worst enemies are called a Tullianum. This was a place where people waited for their execution. The Carcer was a prison for those who awaited their trials. Since Paul knew that his death was close at hand (4:6) we can believe that he was held in the Tullianum. This was literally a dungeon dug out of solid rock. It was underneath the Carcer and impossible for humans to escape.
Paul refers to the knowledge of Timothy ‘you know’ (EIDO) meaning: to see, to know, to be aware. Timothy had knowledge of Paul’s situation in Rome. We may believe that ‘news’ concerning Paul was brought from Rome by the traveling brethren. But what did Timothy know?
(v.15) …that all those in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.
Paul had been abandoned except for Luke (4:11). The word ‘all’ (PAS) means: all, any, every. It is difficult to believe that even the children of God in the church of Rome to whom he had previously wrote his greatest epistle, were not there to help him! How cold hearted can one be? Where was the love of Christ? What a model Paul is for he did not complain about this to Timothy! He writes ‘all in Asia turned away from me’. When Paul speaks of ‘Asia’ (ASIA) it means: Asia Minor usually on its Western shore. The Christians had ‘turned away’ (APOSTREPHO) meaning: to turn away or to turn back. No one came to see him or cared for him! Can you imagine your friends in Christ turning their backs on you when you are in your greatest need? Two people are mentioned. The first is Phygelus. His name means fugitive in Greek. This is the only verse where we find his name and nothing is known about him. We also find the name of Hermogenes. His name in Greek means: begotten of Mercury. He also is named once and nothing is known, about him either. What we do know is that both of them had ‘turned away from’ Paul.
16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he refreshed me many times, and was not ashamed of my imprisonment, 17 but when he was in Rome, he diligently sought me and found me. 18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord in that day! And how much he served me in Ephesus you know very well.
These three verses talk about another Christian, the one we should all look upon as an inspiration – his name was Onesiphorus. His name means: useful or profitable. He carried his name well for he certainly was profitable for Paul! We can see that Onesiphorus was a Christian from Ephesus (1:18) who took care of Paul while he was imprisoned.
Paul prayed a blessing upon him: ‘May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus’. He turned to the ‘Lord’ (KURIOS) meaning: supreme in authority, God, Lord, in prayer. No one should turn to anyone but the Lord in prayer. It is blasphemous to call on anyone else – it is idolatry! He hopes that God will ‘grant mercy’. Now the word ‘grant’ (DIDOMI) means: to give, to bestow, to bring forth. Paul asks the good Lord to give something to Onesiphorus’ family and that is ‘mercy’ (ELEOS) meaning: compassion, tender mercy. He desires God to place his hand upon his family ‘to the household’ (OIKOS) meaning: a dwelling, a family, a house. God’s blessing was for all his family, each and every person. I wonder how many blessings have been given to one’s family because of the ‘good works’ that one does for those in need? May this thought encourage us to care for others.
Paul was more than willing to bless Onesiphorus because ‘he refreshed me many times’. The word ‘refreshed’ (ANAPSUXIS) means: properly, a recovery of breath, revival. We do not know what Onesiphorus exactly did for Paul but the testimony of Paul was that it was like a breath of fresh air in his life. I can imagine the smile on Paul’s face when the door of the dungeon opened and the guards allowed Onesiphorus to visit Paul. This reminds me of the words of Christ:
36 'I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'
Onesiphorus visited Paul not only once but ‘many times’ (POLLAKIS) meaning: many times, frequently, often. We can imagine that it was like visiting an elderly parent at the retirement home a few times a week. May we also regard it our caring duty to visit those who are lonesome or in need.
(v.16) …and was not ashamed of my imprisonment,
If Paul told Timothy not to be ashamed of his chains (1:8), he now tells Timothy that Onesiphorus was not! What Timothy seemed to lack, Onesiphorus did not. The word ‘ashamed’ (EPAISCHUNOMAI) means: to feel shame for something. This man was a Christian and acted like a Christian. As Christ was not ashamed of us (Heb. 2:11) and God – the Father is also not ashamed of us (Heb. 11:16) Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul. He was not ashamed of his ‘imprisonment’ (HALUSIS) meaning: a fetter, a bond, chains. May we never be ashamed of brothers or sisters who suffer for the name of Christ!
17 but when he was in Rome, he diligently sought me and found me.
In this verse, Paul tells Timothy in what way Onesiphorus was not ashamed of him, for we see that he sought him out. Here we read ‘but when he was in Rome’. We can understand that Onesiphorus was not normally in Rome. This was not his home town. As I wrote before Onesiphorus was from Ephesus and might have intentionally left to seek Paul and come to his aid. If this is the case one needs to remember that the modern distance from Ephesus to Rome by land and sea is 2023 km. If you travel only by land it is 2555 km. Imagine how difficult, dangerous and costly it would have been for Onesiphorus to travel that distance! Can you also imagine how long this trip would take?
When he landed in Rome ‘he diligently sought me and found me’. The words ‘diligently sought’ mean: very promptly, meticulously, thoroughly. He had a specific intent and was not going to be led astray by the ‘big city’ and all that it offers. He had a ‘one track mind’. We would say that he was ‘goal oriented’ and his goal was to find Paul and he did. Paul writes ‘and found me’. The word ‘found’ (HEURISKO) means: to find, to get, attain. Even if Paul was locked away in Rome’s deepest dungeon, this fine Christian man found Paul! Remember what Jesus said:
7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.
Do you give up after a short while? Do you get tired of trying and trying again? Do you abandon your ministries or things that you know the Lord God wants you to be doing? If so, have a change of heart and become like Onesiphorus!
18 May the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord in that day! And how much he served me in Ephesus you know very well.
Paul calls upon the Lord for another blessing This time it was to ‘find mercy from the Lord in that day!’ It was again for ‘mercy’ (ELEOS) meaning: compassion, tender mercy but this time NOT for here on earth as with his family in verse sixteen. But rather when he will meet the Lord face to face at the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10). That is the ‘day’ (HEMERA) meaning: a literal day, an age, a specific time, that Paul is referring to.
2 Corinthians 5
9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
In a way, Paul asked the Lord not to forget all that Onesiphorus had done in his favor. May all true children of God remember that they also will pass before this tribunal, not to be judged for our sins (for Christ died on the cross in our stead) but for rewards for our deeds in the Lord’s name.
Paul tells the Lord ‘how much he served me’. This was dear to his heart. The presence of Onesiphorus and his help and comfort had a great price in his eyes. He ‘served’ (DIAKONEO) meaning: to be an attendant, to wait upon. He served Paul manifesting that Christ was truly living in him. He did this ‘very well’ (BELTION) meaning: better, very well. Onesiphorus took his ministry to heart and did a good job at it.
Paul states that it was in ‘Ephesus’ that Onesiphorus had also served him. We know by this that they had met there. We can only imagine the friendship that was built between both men.
I also would like you to notice that behind all of this it was the Lord God who placed in Onesiphorus’ heart to go, find Paul and be at his service. This encourages me because it tells me that even though you are locked up in an underground cell God sees and God knows and God can bring his comforting hand. He sent a man that was 2555 km. away and brought him to Rome just for Paul. If you are in a difficult situation, no matter what it is, trust that God sees, knows and is able to bring aid and support you in your times of trouble!
06 – The illustration of a man of God
2 You, therefore, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these things to faithful people who will be competent to teach others also.
As you may have noticed, I sometimes like to break down the Scriptures into smaller sections. In this one, Paul reminds Timothy to emulate him in his Christian ministry. We all need people who we can look up to and we all need to also be models for the ones around us.
After speaking about Onesiphorus and how he was a true encouragement in his life Paul now turns to Timothy by saying ‘You’. A bit like saying ‘Hey Timothy!’ The word ‘therefore’ (OUN) means: accordingly, certainly, verily, therefore. It is a link between what he has just written and what will be said. Paul had given the example of Phygellus and Hermogenes who had abandoned him and also of Onesiphorus the good servant. It may be that Paul is subtly saying: ‘who are you going to be like?’ It seems that Timothy had weakened in faith and needed to take a stand.
Paul calls him ‘my child’ (TEKNON) meaning: a child, daughter or son. Again, we see the very close relationship he had with Timothy. One can say that Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father. As his ‘father’ he encourages Timothy with the following:
(v.1) …be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
The word ‘strong’ (ENDUNAMOO) means: to empower, strength, be strong. The word ‘grace’ (CHARIS) can also mean: the divine influence upon the heart. From what I see, here is something that all true believers experience – let me explain. The ‘grace’ of God is there and is always surrounding us. From our new birth to our last breath we are enveloped by God’s favor. What I also see is that the true believer has a responsibility towards this amazing grace. He has to be ‘strong’ in it. This is our obligation. The Lord God is favorable to his child and gives him all that he needs to live a life worthy of his calling. The child needs to believe this, apply it to himself and to walk in faith. This ‘grace’ is only found ‘in Christ Jesus’. It is as though the Father has deposited all the ‘grace’ that we will ever need in the person of his beloved Son. What we need to do is to approach the Son in humility to receive all the grace we need to carry on. Remember what Paul wrote:
11 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Imagine an apple tree filled with its ripe fruit with hundreds of apples covering the entire tree. The farmer opens his gate and invites you to walk in his apple grove and to taste its fruits. What will you do? Will you accept his invitation and enjoy the fruits or will you sit there wishing you could have some apples? God invites you to take all the grace you need but you have to come to him to receive it.
2 and the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these things to faithful people who will be competent to teach others also.
What is one of the reasons why Timothy had to strengthen himself in God’s grace? It was because of his ministry. He had to do something which was sometimes not pleasant. He had to take all the things, the sermons, the exhortations, the proclamation of the Good News that ‘you have heard’ (AKOUO) meaning: to hear, to come to the ears. All that he had been taught ‘from me’ Here Paul speaks of himself. Timothy had been traveling with Paul for years and had the privilege of being taught by him. Just as Paul learned at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) he passed on his knowledge to Timothy who also was ‘at his feet’. Can you imagine how it must have been?
This knowledge, all that he had been taught was not given in secret for it is written ‘in the presence of many witnesses’. Just as Jesus taught to anyone who desired to listen, Paul preached in the open. Nothing was to be hidden or only for a ‘special group’ of people. Paul preached openly and there were ‘many witnesses’ to attest to this. The word ‘many’ (POLUS) means: much, many, abundant and the word ‘witnesses’ (MARTUS) means: a witness, a martyr.
Timothy had to do something with all the teachings he had heard from Paul. He was not called to write them down but rather to ‘entrust these things’ (PARATHEKE) meaning: a deposit, to trust, commit to. Just as he received from Paul, he had to pass it down to others. These others were the ‘faithful people’. There are people who see the instruction from God as a more precious gift than others do. Timothy had to seek them out and deposit in them a deeper knowledge of the Scriptures.
(v.2) …who will be competent to teach others also.
The idea was to pass down what he knew so that others could pass down what they had learned. The word ‘competent’ (HIKANOS) means: to arrive, competent. Some had a greater ability to learn and teach than others. These are the ones you should specifically search for and invest yourself in.
To master this task, it would take God’s grace. Are we learning the Scriptures? Are they precious to us? Are we also passing this knowledge and experience on to the next generation?
07 – A soldier, an athlete and a farmer
3 Suffer together with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one who serves as a soldier is entangled in the activities of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him. 5 And also if anyone competes, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The farmer who works hard must be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Consider what I am saying, for the Lord will grant you understanding in all these things.
In this section Paul will give three examples of people who work hard at what they do even to a point of enduring hardship. Is this Paul’s way of showing Timothy that he has relaxed his standards as a Christian leader? If these three categories of laborer’s work hard at what they do – how much more should you and I also work hard for the Lord!
3 Suffer together with me as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
This is Paul’s general opening statement, this is what he wants Timothy to remember. The word ‘suffer’ (KAKOPATHEO) means: to undergo hardships, to endure afflictions. Christian life and Christian ministry are not for the feeble hearted! Suffering is part of the very core of being a child of God (1 Peter 3:14). Paul wrote this concerning suffering:
29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
Paul calls Timothy to suffer ‘together with me’. He is reminding Timothy that while he is asking Timothy to be ready to suffer – he is truly suffering, chained in a dungeon and waiting for death. Paul indicates what suffering is all about. I’m living it to its utmost! So, suffer with me Timothy ‘as a good soldier of Christ’. The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: well (usually morally), honest. Be a good moral soldier of Christ and don’t avoid suffering for it is part of being a soldier.
Having introduced the illustration of a soldier, Paul will now use this and give his first example: a soldier
4 No one who serves as a soldier is entangled in the activities of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him.
Paul is absolutely positive when he writes ‘No one’ (OUDEIS) meaning: not even one, none, nothing. I wonder if each example has to do with a different aspect of Timothy’s life? Could it be that Paul is giving examples or hints of where Timothy needs to ‘step up’ in his Christian life?
There is not a ‘soldier’ (STRATEUOMAI) meaning: to serve in a military campaign that does this. What is Paul speaking about? No soldier ‘is entangled’ (EMPLEKO) meaning: to intertwine, to be involved with. This gives the picture of doing more than one thing at a time or being busy with things that takes you away from your first mission. A soldier is a soldier and should be occupied with soldier - things. That’s why Paul speaks of ‘activities of everyday life’. The word ‘activities’ (PRAGMATEIA) means: a transaction, negotiation. You cannot be a good soldier if your heart in not in warfare but in ‘everyday life’. Jesus spoke of something similar when he said:
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
A soldier has only one person to please and that is his commander. That is why Paul writes that a soldier should not be occupied with everyday things. By doing so he will ‘please the one who enlisted him’. The word ‘please’ (ARESKO) means: to be agreeable, to please while the word ‘enlisted’ (STRATOLOGEO) means: to select as a warrior, enlist in the army. The one who enlisted you will be pleased with you if you keep your focus on what a soldier should do. Was Timothy slowly slipping away from the one who ‘enlisted him’? Was he taking more time with the things of this world than Paul would have liked him to?
5 And also if anyone competes, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
The second example Paul gives is that of an athlete. Here we see that Paul introduces the idea of entering into a competition ‘if anyone competes’. The word ‘competes’ (ATHLEO) means: to contend in the competitive games. Paul knew about these competitive events – everyone did! There were the Greek Olympics which went back to the seventh century B.C., which consisted of different sports such as running, jumping, disc throwing, boxing, equestrian events and wrestling. Rome also held competitive events in the colosseum. These were popular events which were greatly attended! Such events were popular all across the Roman empire.
Paul points out that an athlete ‘is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules’. Being ‘crowned’ (STEPHANOO) means: to adorn the honorary wreath. For the competing slaves it even meant that they could be set free and even become a Roman citizen! All athletes lived and worked out in their personal sport just to receive this honor. But they had to compete ‘according to the rules’. The word ‘according’ (NOMIMOS) meaning: legitimately, lawfully. There was NO crown if you cheated. You had to compete with the rules that were established. If not, then you were disqualified. Had Timothy lost sight of the rules that the Lord had set down to be qualified to represent him and have authority in the local church? Was he beginning to ‘cut corners’ and cheat a little? We do not know but in the context of First Timothy and also this second letter we may have certain concerns for Timothy.
The third and final example is one of a farmer.
6 The farmer who works hard must be the first to receive a share of the crops.
The word ‘farmer’ (GEORGOS) means: a land worker, a farmer. Paul knows how difficult it is to work the land for it had been cursed by God!
17 Then to Adam He said, "Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat of it': "Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return."
A farmer ‘works hard’ (KOPIAO) meaning: to feel fatigued, to work hard. He has to, for his harvest depends on it! From early in the morning to sunset, a farmer works the land. Because he does this he should be ‘the first to receive a share of the crops’. His work should be rewarded by being the first one to take advantage of his harvest. Had Timothy neglected to work hard for the Lord? Again, we do not know. What we do know is that Paul is concerned and gives Timothy a message with these three examples.
7 Consider what I am saying, for the Lord will grant you understanding in all these things.
Paul wants Timothy to reflect on what he is saying and uses the word ‘consider’ (NOIEO) meaning: to exercise the mind. Think about what I am saying, contemplate and reason things out. Surely you understand what I am saying? In case you don’t have a clue ‘the Lord will grant you understanding in all these things’. If you don’t understand, turn to the Lord and he will ‘grant’ (DIDOMI) meaning: to give, to bestow, to bring forth, all the ‘understanding’ (SUNESIS) meaning: a mental putting together. Ask God to guide you and help you put all these things together and he will!
We also may need to reflect on this section. Are we too busy with trivial things that have no eternal value? Do we accept the rules that the Lord wishes us to live by? Do we work hard for the kingdom of God? If you need help to figure these things out – ask the Lord.
08 – The example of Jesus
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David according to my gospel, 9 in connection with which I suffer misfortune to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but the word of God is not bound. 10 Because of this, I endure all things for the sake of the chosen, in order that they also may obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy:
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 unfaithful, he remains faithful—he cannot deny himself.
So far there is a flowing theme in chapter two. In our sixth section, Paul tells Timothy to be strong in Jesus (2:1). In our seventh section, Paul explains to Timothy that he should be a good soldier of Jesus and endure hardships (2:3). Finally, in our present section, Paul tells Timothy to ‘Remember Jesus Christ’. Everything is focused on the beloved Son of God and so should our focus be! The word ‘remember’ (MNEMONEUO) means: to exercise memory, to recollect. Timothy may have needed to come back to his spiritual roots which is Christ Jesus. All that believers have become is fundamentally because of what Jesus has done for them at the cross. He is the source of the grace of God upon them. When Jesus is no longer our focus, when he is no longer the treasure of our hearts, we lose track of our calling. So, remember Jesus Christ and let him sit on the throne of your heart every day!
Here Paul gives a short (but important) description of who Timothy needed to remember. He first describes Jesus as being ‘raised from the dead’. This distinguishes true Christianity from all other religions and spiritual philosophies. We have a divine leader which death could not hold in its grasp. The resurrection of Christ is proof that he was the divine Messiah that the Jews were waiting for and of the coming judgment.
30 "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,
31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Remember Jesus, he was raised from the dead – he is the Messiah! Now the word ‘raised’ (EGEIRO) means: to waken, arouse from sleep and the word ‘dead’ (NEKROS) means: a corpse, dead. He was within the community of the non-living but was not detained there because he had never sinned. The penalty of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) but Christ did not stay in the underworld and his body was revived to live again. Please note that when I say that Christ died, I mean that his body died. The earthly carrier of life died but not his spirit.
The second fact that Paul brings up is that Jesus was ‘a descendant of David according to my gospel’. This also is very important because the Messiah absolutely needed to be a descendant of the family of king David (2 Sam. 7:15,16; Ps. 89:3,4). Paul reminded Timothy, Christ has saved you, he has called and appointed you into ministry NEVER forget who he is and what he has done for you. When Paul writes ‘according to my gospel’ he is not saying that he has a personal gospel that he shares with others – NO! This means that the Christ he has just mentioned is the gospel that he personally preaches. Remember what he wrote to the Galatians:
6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,
7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
Paul writes to Timothy that it is because of the gospel that he suffers.
9 in connection with which I suffer misfortune to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but the word of God is not bound.
If Paul would have never spoken up about the gospel or defended it vigorously, he would have lived a normal life as a tent maker (Acts 18:2-4). But he chose to follow his calling and become a herald for God!
The words ‘in connection with’ (EN) mean: a fixed position in place time or state. It was because of his state as a Christian that he says ‘I suffer misfortune’. The words ‘suffer misfortune’ (KAKOPATHEO) mean: to undergo hardship, to be afflicted. There was no other reason why he was in prison and was waiting for his execution. He had done no human wrong to anyone. But he carried in himself the dread of so many Jewish authorities – the rejection of the Messiah! They hated him because of the message that he brought concerning Jesus of Nazareth – the one they had killed!
His ‘misfortune’ was ‘to the point of imprisonment as a criminal’. His present hardship was his ‘imprisonment’ (DESMON) meaning: a band, a shackle, chains. This was the cost of his alliance with Christ. He had become an outlaw chained in a dungeon and awaiting death. Not many of us in North America and Europe have to face this, but it is still happening in certain countries where Christianity is not welcomed. It is believed that there are more Christians who die today because of their faith than in any other time-period! May we keep these imprisoned brethren in our prayers.
(v.9) …but the word of God is not bound.
Paul was ‘bound’ (DEO) but the word of God was not ‘bound’ (DEO) meaning: to bind, be in bonds, tie. Paul was not free but the ‘word of God’ was! Paul was waiting for his death but the ‘word of God’ would stand for ever as Jesus said:
34 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.
35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
May all true believers rejoice knowing that all that was said by our Lord God will be accomplished. Nothing, nor no one can prevent, modify or annul the mighty word of God.
10 Because of this, I endure all things for the sake of the chosen, in order that they also may obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Because Jesus is the Christ and because the words of God last forever, Paul comes to this conclusion. The word ‘endure’ (HUPOMENO) means: to stay under, to remain, to persevere. Timothy, I am in jail, I am chained, my time on earth is nearly over but I ‘endure’. I freely accept this condition for ‘the sake of the chosen’. It is for the ‘chosen’ for their good that I remain where I am. What an unbelievable Christian Paul was. He loved not only his fellow brothers and sister in Christ but he also loved the ones who were to become his brothers and sisters!
The word ‘chosen’ (EKLEKTOS) means: select, favorite, chosen, elect, to pick out. This is a difficult subject for many. May we remember if it was left for men to decide NONE would turn to God for salvation. Remember what is written:
9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.
10 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one."
13 "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips";
14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known."
18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Timothy, this is why I persevere, I continue and do all I can for the kingdom of God. This is why my faith is strong even though I suffer as a criminal. I do all these things for the glory of God and also…
(v.10) …in order that they also may obtain salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
The words ‘in order that’ (HINA) mean: in order that, to the intent that. He persevered and was not ashamed of his faith in Christ Jesus because he wanted others to hear so that others could ‘obtain salvation’. The word ‘obtain’ (TOPOS) means: an opportunity, a place limited by occupancy. How will people be saved if they do not hear (Rom. 10:13,14)? So, Paul spoke and wrote, even in chains! This ‘salvation’ (SOTERIA) meaning: rescue, safety and deliver, is only found in Christ Jesus (John 14:6). Eternal life and ‘glory’ (DOXA) meaning: dignity, glory, honor, praise is the reward of having true faith.
11 The saying is trustworthy:
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 unfaithful, he remains faithful—he cannot deny himself.
I have found no better explanation for these three verses than that of Dr. Thomas Constable, who graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1960 and later graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the founder of Dallas Seminary’s field Education department (1970) and the Center for Biblical Studies (1973). This is what he wrote concerning these three verses in his commentary on Second Timothy.
The first couplet ( 2 Timothy 2:11) is a comforting reminder that since the believer died with Christ ( Colossians 2:20; Colossians 3:1; Colossians 3:3) he or she has also experienced resurrection with Him to newness of life (cf. Romans 6:2-23, esp. 2 Timothy 2:8). This seems to be a better interpretation than the one that views this statement as a reference to dying as a martyr. [Note: Hiebert, pp62-3; et al.] The first-class condition and the aorist tense of the verb synapethanomen, translated "died," argue for the former view. [Note: Cf. Newport J. D. White, "The First and Second Epistles to Timothy and the Epistle to Titus," in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, 4:163.]
The second couplet ( 2 Timothy 2:12 a) is also a comfort. If the believer successfully endures temptations to apostatize, he or she will one day reign with Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:10). While all Christians will reign with Christ in the sense that we will be with Him when He reigns, the faithful will reign with Christ in a more active sense (cf. Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:9). [Note: See Zane C. Hodges, Grace in Eclipse, pp67-81.] The Bible seems to teach that there are degrees of reigning as there are differences in rewards (cf. Luke 19:11-27; Revelation 2:26-27; Revelation 3:21). The idea that all Christians will remain faithful is true to neither revelation nor reality (cf. Luke 8:13; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12; cf. 2 Timothy 4:4).
The third couplet ( 2 Timothy 2:12 b) is a warning. If the believer departs from following Christ faithfully during his or her life (i.e, apostatizes), Christ will deny him or her at the judgment seat of Christ ( Matthew 10:33; Mark 8:38; Luke 12:9; cf. Luke 19:22; Matthew 22:13). [Note: Mounce, p517.] The unfaithful believer will not lose his salvation ( 1 John 5:13) or all of his reward ( 1 Peter 1:4), but he will lose some of his reward ( 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; cf. Luke 19:24-26). [Note: See Davey S. Ermold, "The Soteriology of2Timothy2:11-13 - Part III," Journal of Dispensational Theology15:45 (August2011):71-89.] To deny Christ clearly does not mean to deny Him only once or twice (cf. Luke 22:54-62) but to deny Him permanently since the other three human conditions in the couplets are permanent.
"Denial of Christ manifests itself in various ways in the NT. It can consist in denying his name ( Revelation 3:8) or faith in him ( Revelation 2:13). It can thus take the form of forsaking or repudiating the Christian faith and its truths, particularly the truth concerning Jesus. In doing so one personally denies Christ (and the Father, cf. 1 John 2:22-23). The denial can also manifest itself in the moral realm. Some may "profess to know God, but by their deeds deny him" ( Titus 1:16; cf. 1 Timothy 5:8)." [Note: Knight, p406. Cf. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, 2:245.]
The fourth and final couplet ( 2 Timothy 2:13) is another comforting reminder that if the believer is unfaithful to God, Christ will still remain faithful to him or her. The Greek word apistoumen can mean either "unbelief" or "unfaithful." The context makes clear that "unfaithful" is the meaning here since the contrast is with "faithful." The present tense of the Greek word translated "faithless" denotes a continuing attitude. Christ will not renege on His promises to save us (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; et al.) even though we may go back on our commitments to Him ( 1 John 5:13). God’s dealings with the Israelites in the Old Testament are the great proof that God will not cast off or abandon those He has redeemed and adopted even if they prove unfaithful and unbelieving. Christ’s faithfulness to us should motivate us to remain faithful to Him (cf. Luke 22:31-32; John 21:15-22).
The point of this quotation is that Christians should continue to endure hardship and remain faithful to the Lord in view of what Jesus Christ has done and will do. [Note: See also Brad McCoy, "Secure Yet Scrutinized-2Timothy2:11-13 ," Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society1:1 (Autumn1988):21-33.]
Some interpreters believe the references to denying the Lord and being denied by him refer to unbelievers. However, there is nothing in the context to indicate that Paul had unbelievers in mind. On the contrary he used "we" and "us," which without further explanation would naturally include Paul and Timothy. In the context Paul made frequent references to the judgment seat of Christ ( 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:18; 2 Timothy 4:8). This whole epistle constitutes an exhortation for Christians to remain faithful to the Lord in view of that coming event.
09 – Pointless chatter
14 Remind people of these things, solemnly urging them before the Lord not to dispute about words. This is in no way beneficial and leads to the ruin of the hearers. 15 Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, a worker having no need to be ashamed, guiding the word of truth along a straight path. 16 But avoid pointless chatter, for it will progress to greater ungodliness, 17 and their message will spread like gangrene, among whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have deviated concerning the truth by saying the resurrection has already taken place, and they are upsetting the faith of some. 19 However, the solid foundation of God stands firm, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who names the name of the Lord must abstain from unrighteousness.”
Paul tells Timothy to ‘remind people of these things’. The word ‘remind’ (HUPOMIMNESKO) means: to remind quietly, to suggest to the memory. That is one of the most important ministries of a church leader – he needs constantly to remind the congregation of the things of the Lord. We are so forgetful and often will err and fall away very easily. What was it that Timothy needed to ‘remind’ people of? Paul writes ‘these things’ – what things? The things he had just written concerning Jesus Christ (2:8-13).
Because the subject of Jesus and theology in general can be somewhat difficult to understand, simply because we sometimes do not have all the information, there are different views that are expressed. This can cause vigorous disputes among the brethren. That is why Paul writes:
(v.14) …solemnly urging them before the Lord not to dispute about words.
Paul wanted Timothy to react as fast as possible. The words ‘solemnly urging’ (DIAMARTUROMAI) mean: to attest or protest earnestly. He wanted Timothy to step in and with the authority he had to bring this to an end. They were ‘not to dispute about words’. How our modern Christianity would need to apply this! The words ‘not to dispute’ (LOGOMACHEO) mean: to be disputatious, to strive about words. All these disputes about different thoughts were to be stopped. There is a difference between honestly discussing our theological points of view and ‘disputing’ them. Normally when there is a dispute it is not friendly or harmonious! Paul tells Timothy that when he does this, he should bring the name of the Lord into his conversation. This would certainly (and always does) bring more pressure to conform to the Lord’s will!
(v.14) …This is in no way beneficial and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
Paul gives two reasons why disputing with each other is to be stopped. The first is because it is ‘is in no way beneficial’. The words ‘no way’ (ME) mean: an absolute negative, never, no, none. There is absolutely NOTHING that is ‘beneficial’ about this. Now the word ‘beneficial’ (CHRESIMOS) means: serviceable or profitable. People need to stop arguing about certain subjects because nothing good will come out of this – nothing. So why do something that will never end up beneficial for you or the person you are speaking to?
The second reason is the following: ‘and leads to the ruin of the hearers’. This time Paul speaks about those who are hearing these people who are arguing. Now it brings no benefit to those who speak but it also brings nothing good for those who hear. Paul writes that it ‘leads to ruin’ (KATASTROPHE). These words mean: an overturn, demolition, apostacy. It will be devastating for the faith of the hearers. How many Christians no longer go to church or participate in church activities because they have seen too much arguing, quarrelling and disagreeing between the brethren?
15 Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, a worker having no need to be ashamed, guiding the word of truth along a straight path.
It seems that Paul strongly encourages Timothy to ‘set up’ and stop this from happening by presenting three motives to do so. The first is to make ‘every effort to present yourself approved to God’. Do all you can to do things right because one of these days you will be asked for what you have done. Notice that Paul writes ‘make every effort’ (SPOUDAZO): meaning: to use speed, to be diligent, to labour. Often the work of God is not easily done and one needs to be assiduous and hard working. The work you do is to be done in a way that it will be ‘approved’ (DOKIMOS) meaning: properly, acceptable, approved. Is your work done in a way that the Lord finds it proper? Are you doing a good job at it?
The second motive is ‘a worker having no need to be ashamed’. This is the last of the four times that Paul speaks about being ashamed (1:8,12,16 and 2:15). But as noted earlier, this fourth time Paul uses a different Greek word (ANEPAISKUNTOS) which is a very strong negative giving the idea of ‘having NO CAUSE for shame’. Timothy if you stop people from foolish disputing of words then you will have no cause for shame when you will present yourself before the Lord.
The third motive is ‘guiding the word of truth along a straight path’. By doing this you will be ‘guiding the word of truth’. The word ‘guiding’ (ORTHOMEO) means: to make a straight cut, rightly divided. When you teach people not to quarrel over theological issues you will be guiding them in the right path. God does not want quarreling therefore exposing this will be the right thing to do.
16 But avoid pointless chatter, for it will progress to greater ungodliness, 17 and their message will spread like gangrene, among whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
I wonder if verse sixteen is for Timothy himself? Has he also sometimes fallen into this trap of useless chatter? Paul tells him to ‘avoid’ (PERISTEMI) meaning: to keep away from, avoid. He also needed to turn away from this foolish idle talk. This was even more so, since he is a leader in the church! Sometimes chatter is ‘pointless’ (BEBELOS) meaning: heathenish, wicked, profane. Nothing of this sort should come out of a disciple’s mouth. Remember what James wrote:
5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell
7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
This ‘pointless chatter’ will bear the following fruit ‘it will progress to greater ungodliness’. In verse fourteen we are told that ‘chatter’ is not beneficial and leads to the ruin of the hearers. If that was not enough Paul adds that it will ‘progress’ (PROKOPTO) meaning: to drive forward, to advance. It will bring you into ‘greater ungodliness’! The word ‘greater’ (PLEION) means: greater in quantity and the word ‘ungodliness’ (ASEBEIA) means: wickedness, ungodly. The road you might be tempted to take will only bring you further away from godliness and it will entice you to go deeper and deeper into darkness. That is why Timothy needed to warn others and keep himself from having idle chatter or vain discussions about certain subjects.
17 and their message will spread like gangrene, among whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
What happens when this is not stopped, when people argue over trivialities? Paul writes ‘their message will spread like gangrene’. The lies or the misinformation will spread like ‘gangrene’ (GAGGRAINA) meaning: to gnaw, an ulcer, canker. This is like the worst cancer or like a prairie fire. These lies will spread like a deadly disease and kill the body that it is feeding upon!
Paul gives the example of two men: Hymenaeus and Philetus. If this is the same person, Hymenaeus was delivered unto Satan by Paul in 1 Tim. 1:20 because he was blaspheming. We have no information about Philetus for he is not named elsewhere in the New Testament.
18 who have deviated concerning the truth by saying the resurrection has already taken place, and they are upsetting the faith of some.
This is a perfect example of what he was talking about – the negative effects of spreading idle chatter. These two men had ‘deviated concerning the truth’. The word ‘deviated’ (ASTOCHEO) means: to miss the mark, deviate from the truth, err. They did this ‘by saying that the resurrection has already taken place’. For some reason they believed that since Christ was raised from the dead (physically) somehow so did his followers that had died. Now the fruits of this was that they were ‘upsetting the faith of some’. The word ‘upsetting’ (ANATREPO) means: to overturn, overthrow, subvert. For ‘some’ (amen not all) this was upsetting and shook their faith. May we also be very careful with what we say and to whom we say it. Shaking the faith of another in a bad way does not please the Lord.
19 However, the solid foundation of God stands firm, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who names the name of the Lord must abstain from unrighteousness.”
Paul ends this section with encouraging words. Even if there are people who upset the faith of others by teaching things that are not the truth – we should persevere because ‘the solid foundation of God stands firm’. There is something that can never be moved – it is the ‘solid foundation’ of our Lord – His word! The word ‘solid’ (STEREOS) means: solid, stable, strong, sure. The word ‘foundation’ (THEMELIOS) means: something put down, a foundation. There is a solid foundation that no one can change and that is that ‘the Lord knows those who are his’. The words ‘are his’ (HAUTOU) means: his own. God knows who are his own, who are his children, who are the redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. This means that the Lord will not ‘forget’ some of his children – all will spend eternity with him. How comforting to know that!
And the second foundation that Paul mentions is that ‘Everyone who names the name of the Lord must abstain from unrighteousness’. If you have called upon the name of Jesus to save you from the coming judgment there is something that you ABSOLUTELKY need to do and that is you ‘must abstain’ (APHISTEMI) meaning: to remove, to desist, to depart. This means to have nothing to do with and to turn your back ‘from unrighteousness’ (ADIKIA) meaning: injustice, wrongfulness, iniquity. A Christian who does not walk away from the deeds of darkness is not who he says he is. This is what John wrote:
1 John 2
4 He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.
6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
7 Brethren, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
10 – The example of a vessel
20 Now in a great house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also wooden and earthenware ones, some of which are for honorable use, and some of which are for ordinary use. 21 Therefore, if someone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
In this section Paul will give the example of different vessels and how important it is that they remain clean. This is an analogy for Timothy’s education. The vessels he is speaking about refers to our bodies which are also the vessels of our lives as Paul writes to the Thessalonians:
1 Thessalonians 4
4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor,
Paul imagines ‘a great house’. The word ‘great’ (MEGAS) means: big, exceedingly, large. This gives the idea that an owner has a huge ‘house’ (OIKIA) meaning: residence, an abode, home, house. Imagine a mansion, we can also imagine the rich furniture, fixtures, paintings, rugs and everything else that embellishes this manor. Everything is costly and well chosen. As you come to sit at the table, for you are his guest, you notice something very particular.
There are ‘vessels’ (SKEUOS) meaning: a vessel, implement, on the table. Some are extraordinary and being a common person, you have never seen such stunning cups, bowls, cutlery, and plates! For some were made of ‘gold’ (CHRUSEOS) meaning: made of gold, golden, while others were made of ‘silver’ (ARGUREOS) meaning: made of silver, silver. The worth of these vessels is incalculable and in your eyes, they are worth a fortune.
But your eyes can’t keep from staring at other vessels that are also on the table. How unfitting they seem to be. You wonder why on earth they were set beside the silver and golden ones! These were made of ‘wooden and earth-ware’. The word ‘wooden’ (XULINOS) means: of wood, wooden and the word ‘earth-ware’ (OSTRAKINOS) means: earthen-ware, clayey, frail. One is so beautiful, rare and precious why the other is made of common material that is not appropriate to be on the table aside the chosen ware. How unfitting!
(v.20) …some of which are for honorable use, and some of which are for ordinary use.
These just don’t belong together, certainly not to be used on this table and in this mansion by this Master! The golden and silver vessels ‘are for honorable use’. The word ‘honorable’ (TIME) means: esteem, dignity, honor, precious. They stand out and they are the ones you desire to use. Not the wooden and earthen vessels which have no value or attraction to you for they are of ‘ordinary use’ (ATIMIA) meaning: infamy, disgrace or dishonor. They shouldn’t even be on the table!
21 Therefore, if someone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
Paul has placed the setting before Timothy and with verse twenty-one he comes to his conclusion.
The word ‘therefore’ (OUN) means: accordingly, so truly, now then, therefore. He explains his analogy and may we open our ears! The different ‘vessels’ are compared to people ‘if someone’. That includes all true believers but please notice that it is not every single believer that this refers to. Paul says ‘if someone’. It is only for those who desire to be a chosen vessel. Jesus used this same thought of ‘if anyone’ so many times in his sermons. He knew that they were not meant for everyone but only for those who had ears to listen and receive his teachings.
If anyone desires to follow me (Mat. 16:24)
If anyone has ears (Mark 4:23)
If anyone desires (Mark 9:35)
If anyone comes to me (Luke 14:26)
If anyone eats this bread (John 6:51)
If anyone wants to do his will (John 7:17)
If anyone thirsts (John 7:37)
There are many more instances where Jesus speaks not to everyone but to ‘anyone’, the one who has a heart and a desire to receive from Christ. This is the same thought for Paul when he writes ‘if someone’. He calls to the individual, the sincere, caring and attached disciple of Christ. If YOU are that person please listen and think through what Paul is talking about.
If someone ‘cleanses himself’. The word ‘cleanses’ (EKKATHA) means: to cleans thoroughly, to purge. Most disciples of Christ do get rid of some of the fruits of darkness that they once held dear. They change, become better men and women. But there are some who really change and become transformed people. These are the disciples who are looking for a deep ‘cleansing’. People just don’t believe how they have changed! It is as though they have become totally different people. Their language, life-style, actions and re-actions, thinking and vision of life have changed for the better.
(v.21) …he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.
He and only he will be these four things in life. The first is that he ‘will be a vessel for honorable use’. On the table set before us there were vessels of gold and silver. They were the ones that were of ‘honorable use’ not the wooden or earthen (common) vessels. The word ‘honorable’ (TIME) means: esteem, dignity, honor, precious. Only the clean vessels (believers who are wholesome before the Lord) will be used by the Lord. Have you ever thought why the Lord might not be using you for his glory? Could it be that you have not cleansed yourself? That you are still ‘dirty’ because of recurring or wilful sinning? Would YOU use a dirty glass for a friend who asks you for some water? Would you use a dirty pan lying on the counter for days to cook you next meal? Would you not clean it thoroughly before using it? If we would not use dirty or filthy glasses or pots and pans – why would God use you, if sin is alive and well in your life?
The second thought is that the person who is a ‘clean’ vessel will be ‘set apart’ (HAGIAZO) meaning: to make holy, consecrated, sanctify. A believer who sets in his heart to get rid of sins in his life and walk in the light – that person will be ‘set apart’ for the Lord. We all have instruments that are ‘set apart’ for special use, e.g. kitchen utensils that are for specific use and tools that are made for a certain type of work. The believer who ‘cleanses himself’ will become a special instrument in the hands of the Lord. This is exactly what happened to Paul:
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."
He was ‘set apart’ by the Lord God to be used for a specific purpose which was ‘to bear my name before the Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel’ but also that ‘he must suffer for My name’s sake’.
A third thought concerning he who ‘cleanses himself’ is that he will be ‘useful to the Master’. Do you remember the parable of the ten servants and how one of the ten was NOT useful for his Master (Luke 19:12-26)? He buried the mina that his Master had given him to multiply while he was gone instead of investing it. The Master was displeased because his servant had been useless for him. May I ask if your ‘uncleanliness’ stops you from using all the spiritual gifts that he has planted in you? Are you stuck and jammed and you are unable to serve your Lord? If so, do you now understand that the Lord is not pleased with you. He has not died on the cross so you can live a life of carelessness but a life of holiness.
A fourth and final thought concerning he who ‘cleanses himself’ is that he will be ‘prepared for every good work’. The word ‘prepared’ (HETOIMAZO) means: to prepare, make ready. You will not be ready for the Lord’s work if you are still a dirty vessel and never will be useful. The word ‘good’ (AGATHOS) means: good, benefit, well and the word ‘work’ (ERGON) means: an act, a deed, labor. When a young person begins a job as a carpenter’s aid, he is not ready ‘for every good work’. He will do menial work, clean the floors, place the tools in their proper place, go and fetch the wood the master carpenter asks for and so forth. It is only with time and experience that the ‘helper’ becomes a ‘good worker’ to finally become a ‘skilful master’. Only then is the man able to do ‘every good work’. What standing do you have before the Lord – a helping hand, a good worker or a master of his trade? What is stopping you from being able to do ‘every good work’ that the Lord has prepared for you? When was the last time you took a spiritual bath and cleansed yourself from sin?
11 – Have a pure heart
22 But flee from youthful desires, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, in company with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and uninformed controversies, because you know that they produce quarrels. 24 And the slave of the Lord must not quarrel, but be kind toward everyone, skillful in teaching, tolerant, 25 correcting those who are opposed with gentleness, seeing whether perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they will come to their senses again and escape from the trap of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will.
In this section the apostle Paul will be speaking about one of the most important aspects of Christian living. This aspect makes all the difference in your relationship with the Lord God and also your fellow man – having a pure heart!
23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
We will see that Paul separates having a pure heart into three divisions which have their own key-word. These three key-words are: flee, pursue and avoid.
22 But flee from youthful desires
Having a pure heart demands that you act and think in a certain way. There are things that you must do (as we will see) there are also things that you must stop doing. In our first division Paul stresses what you should not do by using the word ‘flee’ (PHEUGO) meaning: to shun, to vanish, to escape, to flee. Just as an antelope flees before a lion and runs for its life so must the true believer flee ‘from youthful desires’. When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy he was still considered as a young man. When he wrote his first letter, he mentions this to Timothy in 1Tim. 4:12 ‘Let no one despise your youth’. The Greek word that Paul uses for ‘youth’ (NEOTES) describes a person up to 40 years old. There is no mention of Timothy being married and we may believe that Paul taught Timothy that staying single was best if he really wanted to give himself totally for the Lord’s work (1 Cor. 7:8).
Paul does not mention what these ‘youthful desires’ are. What we do know is that the word ‘youthful’ (NEOTERIKOS) means: pertaining to younger persons. The word ‘desires’ (EPITHUMIA) means: a longing, a desire, to lust after. So, it seems that there are things that a younger person would lust after more than an older person. I must say that I agree with Paul totally! As we grow older there are things which we realize are either just vanity or vain desires of the flesh. John wrote about this:
1 John 2
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The desires of the flesh, the love of the world, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life are dangerous. This is specially true for younger people simply because they have not yet gained enough experience to see the traps. To have a pure heart one needs to FLEE from all ‘youthful desires’.
The second key-word is ‘pursue’.
(v.22) …and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, in company with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.
Have you noticed that to ‘pursue’ is the opposite to ‘flee’? So, there are things that having a pure heart will lead us to run away from and things that it will encourage believers to ‘pursue’ (DIOKO) meaning: to pursue, to ensue, to follow after. In other words, to have (or keep) a pure heart we should run towards the following four things.
The first is ‘righteousness’ (DIKAIOSUNE) meaning: equity of character or act. Paul uses this word 54 times in his writings (especially in Romans). To have a pure heart one needs to have a righteous character or is it that a pure heart will bring a righteous character? Having a righteous character is simply having the character of God living in us, to act Christ-like by allowing the Holy Spirit to determine how we act in life. Paul calls this the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:1,2). The desire to emulate our Savior needs to be deeply ingrained in the child of God. I do not believe that there is greater worship (here on earth) than to follow Christ in all things.
The second aspect of having a pure heart is having ‘faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. One can not have a pure heart if he does not have true faith in the Lord God! It is TOTALLY impossible.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
In Romans 4:12-17 it is written three times (in different forms) that Abraham is the father of our faith. The perfect example of his faith is when God called him to leave everything he had and all he was accustomed to. He needed to abandon all to follow the Lord whom he had never known before – and he did. He had faith and acted upon it.
1 Now the LORD had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."
4 So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
If you do not desire to follow the Lord where he will guide you, then you do not have ‘faith’ and a pure heart before him. How is your ‘faith’ these days? Is it alive and well or weak and struggling?
The third aspect of having a pure heart is ‘love’ (AGAPE) meaning: affection, benevolence, a love feast. Christ has greatly emphasized the absolute need of having true spiritual love in our hearts. He said the following:
Love your enemies (Mat. 5:44)
Love your neighbor as yourself (Mat. 19:19)
Love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind (Mat.22:37)
You do not have the love of God in you (John 5:42)
Love one another as I have loved you (John 13:34)
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:35)
If you love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15)
Abide in my love (John 15:9)
There are so many other verses that one needs to look up in order to have a full picture of what true godly love is all about. It is the very essence of a born-again person to possess this type of love. It is obvious that one can not have a pure heart if he does not love others the way the good Lord desires him to.
A fourth aspect of having a pure heart is ‘peace’ (EIRENE) which means: peace, prosperity, rest. Believers in Christ need to be peacemakers for remember what Jesus said:
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God.
Since Christ is our peace between God and us (Eph. 2:14) are we not also called to bring peace around us? When being around us brings irritation, annoyance and exasperation – we are not people of peace. Children of God are called ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18,19) and when we do not manifest a peaceful attitude, we do the exact opposite of what we should be doing.
(v.22) … in company with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.
It is true that the company we keep influences us. There is a saying that goes like this: ‘birds of a feather flock together’. When you keep ‘company’ (META) means: denoting accompaniment, among. The word of God warns us against being around the wrong ‘type’ of people (Pr.1:10-19). The wrong ‘crowd’ will turn your heart away from the Lord – it always does! So, what are disciples of Christ to do? They should keep company ‘with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart’. They are to keep company with a different set of people, the ones ‘who call upon the Lord’. The words ‘call upon’ (EPIKALEOMAI) means: to invoke for aid, worship, call on. Be with people who are true disciples of Christ; those who really know and love the Lord, those who trust him and call upon his name. Notice that Paul gives Timothy a warning about doing this, for he writes ‘from a pure heart’. Timothy is not only to be with people who call upon the Lord but with the ones who do this with ‘a pure heart’. The word ‘pure’ (KATHAROS) means: clean, pure, clear and the word ‘heart’ (KARDIA) means: the heart, fig: the thoughts and feelings of the mind.
There are people who are not as spiritually honest as others. Some even pretend to be Christians and they are not. People need to be aware of this and to analyse the fruits they bear. Jesus told the following:
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
17 "Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18 "A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Timothy is told to pursue four things: righteousness, faith, love and peace. He needs to do this with people who have a pure heart before the Lord.
23 But avoid foolish and uninformed controversies, because you know that they produce quarrels. 24 And the slave of the Lord must not quarrel, but be kind toward everyone, skillful in teaching, tolerant, 25 correcting those who are opposed with gentleness, seeing whether perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they will come to their senses again and escape from the trap of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will.
The third division concerning having a pure heart is found in verses twenty-three to twenty-six. This time Paul speaks about having to ‘avoid’ (PARAITEOMAI) meaning: deprecate, decline, shun, certain things.
First of all, to keep a pure heart, believers need to AVOID ‘foolish’ (MOROS) meaning: dull or stupid or absurd. We also need to avoid, ‘uninformed’ (APAIDEUTOS) meaning: uninstructed, stupid, unlearned – ‘controversies’ (ZETESIS) which means: a searching, a dispute, questions. There are discussions that are worth while and others that are not (we have spoken about this before). When people say or affirm things that they really have no clue about, it is not wise to talk and talk because it will only bring more friction. That is why Paul writes ‘because you know that they produce quarrels.’ The fruit of disputing with unlearned people are ‘quarrels’ (MACHE) meaning: a battle, controversy, fighting. There are those who have ears to listen and those who don’t. If the person does have ears to listen and is truly desiring to learn from you, then it is worth your while. Jesus said the following in the gospel of Matthew:
6 "Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
In the following verses Paul teaches how a child of God should act instead of having controversies and also why they should act this way.
24 And the slave of the Lord must not quarrel, but be kind toward everyone, skillful in teaching, tolerant, 25 correcting those who are opposed with gentleness, seeing whether perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they will come to their senses again and escape from the trap of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will.
The word ‘slave’ (DOULOS) means: a bond man, a servant. This describes all of those who have truly passed from death unto life, those who are born again of the Spirit of God. There are many picture words that describe such a person. Here are some of them:
Brothers or sister in the Lord
Children of adoption
A holy nation
A chosen generation
A royal priesthood
His own special people
A kingdom of priests
The bride of Christ
The body of Christ
Children of light
Children of God
Children of the promise
Even if we are all of the above, we are still servants of the Lord. We need to remember who we are and not to step beyond what believers are to be. Paul names four things that the ‘slave of the Lord’ must do instead of having ‘controversies’ and ‘quarrels’ with people.
The first is ‘but be kind to everyone’. The word ‘kind’ (EPIOS) means: affable, mild, gentle, kind. This speaks of our general attitude not to be a quarrelsome person but a ‘kind’ person. Let us not forget that love… is ‘kind’ (1 Cor. 13:4). One of the best ways to show kindness is taught by Paul:
And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Forgiving the faults and sins of others is a great manifestation of our kindness. The motive of our forgiveness is remembering that Christ has forgiven our own trespasses. This kindness of ours should be manifested to ‘everyone’ (PAS) meaning: all, any, every. We are not to be kind only to a certain group of people (family & friends) but even to those who offend us. Remember what Jesus said about how we treat others:
46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 "And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
48 "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Second, instead of quarreling we should be ‘skillful in teaching’. The words ‘skillful in teaching’ (DIDAKTIKOS) mean: instructive, apt to teach. Instead of arguing with people we should be teaching them, encouraging them with the word of God and dispensing truth from the Bible. A teacher hopes that his student will understand and grow – so should the child of God.
Third, instead of quarreling we should be ‘tolerant’ (ANEXIKAKOS) meaning: enduring of ill, patient. One of the reasons why one quarrels is that he does not tolerate that someone may have a different point of view than he has. Paul has spoken of vain talk over issues that bring nothing good in a person’s life. All true believers need to be tolerant of others, their traditions, language, customs, life style even religion. The only place where I see that there is no tolerance is when biblical truth is at stake. But there is a way to convey the gospel truth that honors God and a way that does not.
25 correcting those who are opposed with gentleness, seeing whether perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of the truth,
This is the way we can be tolerant when there is a theological difference. Paul says we need to be ‘correcting those who are opposed with gentleness’. The word ‘correcting’ (PAIDEUO) means: to train up a child, educate, discipline. We need to look at these people as if they were children who need to learn and not to be scolded because they do not understand! Paul writes ‘with gentleness’ (PRAIOTES) meaning: gentleness, humility and meekness. Our words need to be gentle and so does the intonation. We are not to manifest superiority or to be condescending towards them. Jesus never spoke like that with people who did not know better!
The reason why we should be gentle with those who oppose Christianity is that ‘perhaps God may grant them repentance to a knowledge of truth’. Paul is saying ‘have the right attitude Timothy and be kind and gentle – you never know what God might be doing through you!’ The word ‘grant’ (DIDOMI) means: to give, to bestow, to bring forth. God might bring forth something very special ‘repentance’ (METANOIA) meaning: reversal, repentance. They just might be saved. Our job is not to turn them ‘off’ with our bad or arrogant attitude but rather to turn them ‘on’ with our gentleness. One never knows, they just might come to the ‘knowledge of the truth’. They just might understand the gospel and ask Christ to save them!
26 and they will come to their senses again and escape from the trap of the devil, being held captive by him to do his will.
If they do get ‘saved’ they ‘will come to their senses’. The word ‘senses’ (ANANEPHO) means: to become sober again, recover self. It is as though they will come out of being hypnotized or mesmerized by the ‘devil’ (DIABOLOS), meaning: false accuser, slanderer. The person was held in his ‘trap’ (PAGIS) meaning: a trap, a trick, a snare. Because of this he was ‘held captive’ (DZOGUE) meaning: to take alive, make a prisoner, catch and was forced to ‘do his will’ (THELEMA) meaning: desire, pleasure, will. As long as the person was lacking knowledge of the saving grace found in Christ, he was trapped by the enemy and a slave to do his will!
If you are a true believer, may you understand this section, for it is important for being a minister of reconciliation.
12 – The coming apostacy
But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come, 2 for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, 5 maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people. 6 For from these are those who slip into houses and captivate foolish women loaded down with sins, led by various kinds of desires, 7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these oppose the truth, people corrupted in mind, disqualified concerning the faith. 9 But they will not progress to a greater extent, for their folly will be quite evident to everyone, as also the folly of those two was.
There are those who believe that Christianity will usher in a new world-wide Golden Age and at the end of this millennium Christ will return. The Bible tells a different story – the world will go deeper and deeper into sin and darkness until Christ comes to re-establish all things. In this section, Paul paints a pretty horrific scene of what the future holds!
(v.1) …But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come,
In his two letters to Timothy the apostle Paul uses the word ‘know’ on nine occasions and the word ‘knowledge’ on tree occasions. Does the Bible need to stress more the importance of knowing the Word of God and the things of God? I am always dumbfounded when I realise how little (in general) the people of God know their Bibles. Some people who say they have been saved for twenty – thirty years can’t even find where the gospels are in their Bibles! The lack of knowledge is ALWAYS a trap that the enemy will use against you.
So, Paul begins with ‘But know this’. He wants to be certain that Timothy will ‘know’ (GINOSKO) meaning: to know, to be aware of, understanding. The Good Lord placed this in his Scripture so I believe that he also wants all of his children to ‘know’ what will follow. Paul speaks of ‘the last days’. The word ‘last’ (ESCHATOS) meaning: farthest, final, ends of. This is the word where we get our English word eschatology which is the theology of the end-times. The word ‘days’ (HEMERA) means: a period, a time, the time space between dawn and darkness. He is speaking of a definite period of time, which is at the end of God’s time-table for the earth. This will not be a Golden Age, as some believe, but rather ‘difficult times’. The word ‘difficult’ (CHALEPOS) means: reducing the strength, dangerous, perilous. And the word ‘times’ (KAIROS) means: an occasion, a set or prepared time, a season. So, we see that the end-times is a time that is set by God that will be dangerous and perilous. This includes the times of judgment that we see in the book of Revelation, where disasters, disease and dread will be overflowing the planet and men will even desire to die but will not be able to!
5 And they were not given authority to kill them, but to torment them for five months. Their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it strikes a man.
6 In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will desire to die, and death will flee from them.
It is typical for Paul to give a string of words to describe what he is writing about and this is what he does in verses five and six. Here he describes what people will look like in the end-times. Let’s quickly look at each trait of character.
2 for people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 hardhearted, irreconcilable, slanderous, without self-control, savage, with no interest for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God, 5 maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people.
First, ‘people will be lovers of themselves’. Now the word ‘people’ (ANTHROPOS) means: man-faced, a human being, man. This include men and women, this is not exclusive to one of the two sexes – both are spoken of here. They will be ‘lovers of themselves’ (PHILAUTOS) meaning: fond of self, lover of own self, selfish. The hearts of people will be turned on themselves instead of others first. They will have forgotten what Jesus said: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mat. 22:39). The evil trinity of ‘me-myself and I’ will be alive and well.
The second, ‘lovers of money’ (PHILARGUROS) means: fond of silver, avaricious, covetous. The treasure of their life will not be the Lord but the god called Mammon! This will be what brings them happiness and contentment in life. Their lives will be controlled by monetary gain. They will serve Mammon and leave the Lord behind (Luke 16:13).
The third is ‘boasters’ (ALAZON) meaning: braggards, boasters. Paul speaks about this in Rom. 1:30 where it is included in another of his famous ‘lists’. These are people who are show-offs. They are like the Pharisees who liked to show that they were fasting (Mat. 6:16,17) or prayed in the open street so people could see them (Mat. 6:5). They were ‘boasters’ and loved the attention to be on them.
The fourth is ‘arrogant’ (HUPEREPHANOS) which means: appearing above others, haughty, proud. In other words, people will believe that they are better than others and will look down on them. How far people will have come from God, for we know that the Lord dislikes those who think too much of themselves (James 4:6).
The fifth is ‘slanderers’ (BLASPHEMOS) meaning: calumnious against man or God, impious, blasphemer. These will rail and speak against the Most High. Please note that this will be a trait of character of the Beast! Nothing good will come out of their mouths!
4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
The sixth is ‘disobedient to parents’. The word ‘disobedient’ (APEITHES) means: unpersuadable, disobedient. Not only are the adults going to be evil-minded but their children also! The honor that parents should receive (Deut. 5:16) will be lacking. The young will revolt against their parents and turn away from their authority.
The seventh is ‘ungrateful’ (ACHARISTOS) meaning: thankless, ungrateful, ungracious. There will come a time when people will forget to be thankful toward God, believing that all that happens depends on their own capacities. Remember the parable of the ten men who were healed (Luke 17:12-19) and only one came back? Jesus asked: ‘"Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?’. The nine who had been lepers and were cleansed – they were ‘ungrateful’ unto the Lord.
The eight is ‘unholy’ (ANOSIOS) meaning: wicked, profane. This word occurs only twice and it is used only by Paul and only in his letters to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:9; 2 Tim. 3:2). This gives the idea that the people will revel in things that are against the character of God. They will be lovers of the fruits of darkness and live their lives accordingly.
The ninth is ‘hardhearted’ (ASTORGOS) meaning: hard-hearted, without natural affection. The hearts of the people will grow cold and insensitive to the needs of others even the ones in their own family. They will always think of themselves first before they think of others. They will not be inclined to give a helping hand and they will care little for others.
The tenth is ‘irreconcilable’ (ASPONDOS) meaning: truce-less, truce-breaker. In other words, they will not keep their word or their promises. They will not be people who you can rely upon. What Jesus says will not be true for them:
37 "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
The eleventh is ‘slanderous’ (DIABOLOS) meaning: a traducer, false accuser, slanderer. This is the typical Greek word translated in English for the devil! They will have evil intent and spread lies concerning others. They will defame, insult and denigrate people without a second thought.
The twelfth is ‘without self-control’ (AKRATES) meaning: powerless, without self-control, incontinent. We all know that ‘self-control’ is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22,23). It seems that they will not be able to control their emotions, vices and personality. Life will be very difficult and dangerous for everyone.
The thirteenth is ‘savage’ (ANEMEROS) meaning: savage, fierce, violent. It seems that their lack of ‘self-control’ will also be manifested physically by being violent. Instead of thinking and calculating their words and deeds, they will lash out at others and harm them.
The fourteenth is ‘with no interest for what is good’ (APHILAGATHOS) meaning: hostile to virtue, despiser of those who are good. Their fury might be aimed at those who will still be doing good. They will seek them out and desire to do them harm, a bit like Paul before his conversion. He hated the followers of Christ so much that he approved of their death and sought them out to imprison them (Acts 8:1-3). He thought he was doing good but actually was a tool in the hands of the devil!
The fifteenth is ‘traitors’ (PROPOTES) meaning: a surrender, betrayer, traitor. There will no longer be any allegiance, even between members of the family. One will be disloyal and betray others. Jesus spoke concerning this:
12 "Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
The sixteenth is ‘reckless’ (PORPETES) meaning: falling forward, heady, rashly. It seems that people will not take time to think things through. They will act out of emotion instead of wisdom. They will not mind hurting others or doing ‘stupid’ things. They will not calculate the impact of what they will say or do.
The seventeenth is ‘conceited’ (TUPHOO) meaning: to inflate with self, conceit, high-minded. They will be lovers of themselves. They will be filled with pride, arrogance and self-importance. It will be difficult for them to accept advice and guidance from others. They are the center of their world!
The eighteenth is ‘loving pleasure rather than loving God’. The words ‘loving pleasure’ (PHILEDONOS) means: fond of pleasure, voluptuous. They will desire to, live a life of leisure, pleasure and seek to satisfy their flesh in whatever way they can. This will be at the detriment of ‘loving God’ (PHILOTHEOS) meaning: fond of God, lovers of God. They will have made their choice and it will not be the ‘narrow road’ nor the cross of Christ.
5 maintaining a form of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid these people.
What they will do is ‘maintaining a form of godliness’. They will be hypocrites of the highest form! Living for the flesh they will play spiritual ‘make believe’. The word ‘maintaining’ (ECHO) means: to hold, be able, keep. They will have a façade and wear a mask. They will maintain ‘a form’ (MORPHOSIS) meaning: appearance, form. They will LOOK spiritual but inside darkness will reign! The word ‘godliness’ (EUSEBEIA) means: piety, godliness, holiness, like the Pharisees who looked so spiritual but were white-washed tombs (Mat. 23:27). They will be ‘denying its power’. The word ‘denying’ (ARNEOMAI) means: to contradict, disavow, reject. They will LOOK spiritual but contradict this with their lives! How many so-called Christians live like that today! Paul ends by telling Timothy to ‘avoid these people’. The word ‘avoid’ (APOTREPO) means: to deflect, avoid, turn away. In other word Timothy was told (if he could) not to have anything to do with them and so should all Disciples of Christ!
6 For from these are those who slip into houses and captivate foolish women loaded down with sins, led by various kinds of desires, 7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Paul now speaks of the ravages that these people do in the congregation. They ‘slip into houses’. The word ‘slip’ (ENDUNO) means: to sink, to sneak, to creep. They are like slippery eels that just weasel themselves into the lives of others. They usually do this by being nice and giving attention and speaking in a way that certain ears will be eager to hear. Once they have invited themselves into your house or have been invited, they ‘captivate foolish women’. Notice that they seek easy preys, not the wise nor the people of God but rather the ‘foolish’ (GUNAIKARION) meaning: a foolish or silly woman. They are the easy prey and they are the ones who are targeted by these people. It is written that the goal that they have is not noble for they want to ‘captivate’ these women. The word ‘captivate’ (AICHMALOTEUO) means: to capture, to lead captive. They do not go to their homes to set them free in Christ but to enslave them to themselves.
They are able to do this because these foolish women are ‘loaded down with sins’. The words ‘loaded down’ (SOREUO) mean: to pile up, heap, load. They are heavily burdened and have not yet unloaded their loads onto Christ. They may not have known the full extent of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. None the less, these poor burdened souls fell prey to these smooth talkers.
One of the reasons that they were ‘loaded down with sins’ is that they were ‘led by various kinds of desires’. The word ‘led’ (AGO) means: to lead, to bring, to go. Their various ‘desires’ (EPITHUMIA) meaning: a longing, a desire, a lust, just kept on burning inside. They gave way to these desires and it only made their load even heavier! May this be a warning for all believers – giving way to sin never satisfies but only burdens your conscience.
The second reason they were ‘loaded down with sins’ is because they are ‘always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.’ They seem to be trying to gather wisdom but are UNABLE to do so. They are ‘never able’. The word (MEDEPOTE DUNAMAI) gives the idea of never, never able because they don’t have the capacity. Now, were they ‘simple minded’ or were they not of Christ? One way or another, wisdom and knowledge was not present in them!
8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these oppose the truth, people corrupted in mind, disqualified concerning the faith. 9 But they will not progress to a greater extent, for their folly will be quite evident to everyone, as also the folly of those two was.
Paul gives an example of people who oppose the truth and speaks about two men: Jannes and Jambres. This is the only place in the Bible where these two men are named. We really know nothing about them. Some suppose that they might have been some of the magicians who opposed Moses during the ten plagues (Ex. 7:11). Their names are found in some Hebrew writings in relationship with Moses but this has little weight since it is not found in the Bible.
Whoever these two men were, Paul says that they ‘opposed’ (ANTHISTEMI) meaning: to stand against, to oppose. Moses came with the truth and they opposed the truth that he was bringing. Paul describes them as ‘people corrupted in mind’. The word ‘corrupted’ (KATAPHTHEIRO) means: to spoil entirely, to destroy. It was the Message of Moses that they wanted to do away with and so do the people that Paul is writing about. It was their ‘mind’ (NOUS) meaning: the intellect, the mind, the understanding, that was warped! Being filled with the lies of the enemy they can not see the light. Because of this they were ‘disqualified concerning the faith’. The word ‘disqualified’ (ADOKIMOS) means: un approved, worthless. Their faith was not true, they were not honest before the Lord. They were spiritual hypocrites therefore they were disqualified before him.
9 But they will not progress to a greater extent, for their folly will be quite evident to everyone, as also the folly of those two was.
Paul gives an encouraging word to Timothy concerning people like them. They ‘will not progress’ (PROKOPTO) meaning: to drive forward, to advance. They will cause trouble but it seems that the Lord has placed a limit to what they can do for it is written ‘to a greater extent’ (PLEON) meaning: more in quantity or number. This reminds me of what happened with Job and how the Lord limited the ravages Satan could do to him.
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
7 And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it."
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?"
9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing?
10 "Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
11 "But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!"
12 And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Paul says that their ‘folly’ (ANOIA) meaning: stupidity, madness, folly, will be ‘quite evident’ (EKDELOS) meaning: wholly evident, manifest. People will see that what they say and do (at a certain point) will make no sense! Because of this it will limit their power over others. Folly seems to be evident not only in the days of Timothy and the days of Moses, but still today.
May all children of God be on guard against such people. May we analyse their lives to see what type of fruit they bear. That of the flesh or of the Holy Spirit.
13 – Continue in the faith
10 But you have faithfully followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra, what sort of persecutions I endured, and the Lord delivered me from all of them. 12 And indeed, all those who want to live in a godly manner in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 But evil people and imposters will progress to the worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you continue in the things which you have learned and are convinced of, because you know from whom you learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the holy writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, 17 in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Turning away from those who bring trouble within the church family, Paul now encourages Timothy to continue in the faith. He calls to mind what Timothy had already done and what he should continue to do.
10 But you have faithfully followed my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra, what sort of persecutions I endured, and the Lord delivered me from all of them.
He begins by telling how Timothy had acted in the past ‘you have faithfully followed’. He did not simply follow Paul but ‘faithfully followed’. The words ‘faithfully’ (PARAKOLOUTHEO) mean: to follow near, to trace out, to conform to. Remember when Jesus had been arrested and how Peter followed him from afar contrary to John who was not shy to enter into the courtyard (Mat. 26:58)? Timothy was more like John than Peter. May we also follow our Lord and Savior as closely as we can. There are nine things (another list) that Timothy followed closely concerning Paul. Here is the list:
First, he followed ‘my teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) meaning: instruction, doctrine, teaching. Imagine listening to the apostle Paul as he preached or evangelized! Imagine receiving his instructions and teachings! What an immense privilege Timothy had been given by the Lord God. May we never neglect the opportunities we have to listen to the great preachers of our time. The more you listen the more you will understand and receive the knowledge so precious for our Christian life. He not only listened but put into practice what he had learned.
Second, he followed Paul’s ‘way of life’ (AGOGE) meaning: mode of living, manners of life. He may have been Paul’s shadow! He may have tried to imitate Paul’s ways of serving the Lord. It is wonderful to have a living model that you can look up to and actually see how he acts in different circumstances. May we also remember that we all are models for others. It may be for our children or grand-children or others in the church or at work or on the street. Wherever we are we should be models of what God can do in the life of a person.
Third, he followed his ‘purpose’ (PROTHESIS) meaning: a setting forth, a proposal, a setting forth of a thing. We know what was the purpose of God for Paul:
15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake."
We also know by reading the book of Acts and Paul’s epistles that he kept the ‘purpose’ God had set for his life – until the very end! Do you know God’s purpose for your life? If so, have you kept it – Timothy did!
Fourth, he followed Paul’s ‘faith’ (PISTIS) meaning: persuasion, credence, moral conviction. His faith caused him to abandon all that he loved and thought precious:
4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
His faith made him instantly follow God and leave everything behind. When he was converted this is what he did:
20 Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.
21 Then all who heard were amazed, and said, "Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?"
His faith made him travel all over the Middle East, Italy and Greece spreading the Good News everywhere he went during his missionary trips.
His faith allowed him to accept great difficulties in life because of his testimony of Christ.
2 Corinthians 11
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? --I speak as a fool--I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.
24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness--
28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
His faith supported him to the very end. Old, fragile and chained because of his testimony, he knew that his life would soon end. Yet he wrote this last letter of encouragement to Timothy.
2 Timothy 4
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Fifth, Timothy followed Paul’s ‘patience’ (MAKROTHUMIA) meaning: longanimity, forbearance, fortitude. In another of his lists, Paul describes what godly love is and at the head is ‘patient’ (1 Cor. 13:4). One can not be in ministry if he is not patient. One can not be a wise disciple of Christ if he is not patient. Being patient also means that one is willing to silently suffer for the good of others.
Sixth, he followed Paul’s ‘love’ (AGAPE) meaning: affection, benevolence, charity. This is the main trait of character of a true believer. Jesus said that it would be through their ‘love’ that people would know that they were his disciples.
34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
35 "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."
How can we manifest that we truly love the brethren if we do not show it through our actions?
Seventh, he followed Paul’s ‘endurance’ (HUPOMONE) meaning: cheerful and hopeful endurance. Some people endure circumstances but are irritable and unhappy. They manifest it by being short-tempered and grumpy. Not so with Paul and Timothy. Notice that they endured while staying cheerful and hopeful. How many long-faced Christians do we see in our meetings! They are living difficulties but are not cheerful and hopeful. May we learn from Paul’s vision of things.
Eighth, he also followed Paul’s ‘persecutions’ (DIOGMOS) meaning: persecution. Almost everywhere he went Paul saw opposition with the pagans on one side and the Jews on the other. He was beaten, stoned, flogged, chained, and imprisoned. No wrong had he done – he only told of the Good news of Jesus Christ! His body bore the witness of his persecutions but that did not stop him from following his calling!
Ninth, finally Timothy followed Paul’s ‘sufferings’ (PATHEMA) meaning: hardship or pain, affliction. Verse eleven describes his persecutions and sufferings:
11 persecutions, and sufferings that happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, and in Lystra, what sort of persecutions I endured, and the Lord delivered me from all of them.
In Antioch Paul’s preaching was powerful and many came to the Lord but the envy of certain Jews raged against him and Paul and Barnabas were persecuted and had to leave the area.
50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
In Iconium, both Gentiles and Jews wanted to do him violence but he was able to escape their plans.
5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them,
6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region.
In Lystra, Paul was stoned and left as if he had died! Yet the Lord had other plans for him and miraculously healed Paul.
19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
Paul reminds Timothy that ‘the lord delivered me from all of them’. The Lord was always there for him and ‘delivered’ (RHOUMAI) meaning: to rush or draw for oneself, to recue. God rescued Paul from all these attacks. Notice that this did not mean that he did not suffer, for he suffered greatly, but that God brought him through all of these events. May we understand that God DOES NOT keep his children from adversities but is WITH THEM as they pass through them. These are the nine different aspects of Paul’s life that Timothy had followed. Paul concludes these verses by stating the following:
12 And indeed, all those who want to live in a godly manner in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
This is a familiar text – a text that we should all remember. There is no getting away from this. Jesus said:
18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19 "If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
20 "Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
May true followers of Christ never believe those who teach that once you are saved your life will be filled with joy, health and riches! The only certain thing for the Disciple of Christ is that they will suffer for following Jesus and that the Lord God will be with them at all times. If you live in a ‘godly manner’ (EUSEBOS) meaning: piously, godly – you will be ‘persecuted’ (DIOKO) meaning: to flee, to persecute.
13 But evil people and imposters will progress to the worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Although some believe that the world is heading for a golden age (without Christ), that mankind will eventually all live in harmony, that social justice will exist for all and that the wealth of the world will be equally distributed – the Bible says this will never happen! There are people who are ‘evil’ (PORNEROS) meaning: evil, calamitous, morally culpable. There are people who are ‘imposters’ (GOES) meaning: an imposter, a seducer. These wicked and malicious hypocrites will not disappear but actually ‘progress’ (PROKOPTO) meaning: to drive forward, to advance. The word ‘worse’ (CHEIRON) means: more evil, sorer, worse. Darkness will prevail and gain more and more ‘territory’ until the return of the Messiah. These people will be ‘deceiving’ (PLANAO) meaning: cause to roam, go astray. They will deceive people and draw them away from the Lord and deeper into darkness. Notice that they are themselves being ‘deceived’ (same word as above). They are deceived by evil spirits and they don’t even know it!
14 But you continue in the things which you have learned and are convinced of, because you know from whom you learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the holy writings that are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
Paul is saying: ‘This is what evil people do’ - ‘but you’. Children of God are NOT like anybody else in this world. They are born of the Spirit and no longer citizens of this world (Phil. 3:20). Timothy (and all true believers) need to ‘continue’ (MENO) meaning: to stay in a given place or state, abide. The state we need to stay in is in the light – to live and walk in the light and not as evil people live. To do this, Paul encourages Timothy to continue ‘in the things which you have learned’. The word, ‘learned’ (MANTHANO) means: to learn in any way, to understand. He is speaking of the nine things Timothy had learned and followed from him. Continue in them because you ‘are convinced of’ (PISTOO) means: to assure, be assured of. You are certain of what you have learned because of two things.
The first is ‘because of whom you learned them’ This may mean from Paul himself or from Lois and Eunice which we spoke about in 2 Tim. 1:5, or both! The second reason is that ‘from childhood you have known the holy writings’. His mother and grand-mother were both believers and they had ‘passed on’ their faith to the life of Timothy when he was a child. May all parents and grand-parents remember the importance of teaching their little loved ones in the faith.
These teachings from his mother and grand-mother as well as Paul ‘are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ’. In every heart lies foolishness and the role of the holy writings is to ‘push away’ the foolishness and ‘make you wise’ (SOPHIZO) meaning: to render wise, make wise. This wisdom is acquired ‘through faith in Christ Jesus’. Once we become a child of God, the Holy Spirit indwells the believer and guides him (John 16:13).
16 All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, 17 in order that the person of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
This may be one of the most important verse in the Bible. If the Scripture is not believable what good is it? If it is just a gathering of historical stories and human sayings – what good is it? If Jesus is just a symbol of the perfect man, what does that change in our life? We need to rest assured of the worthiness of the Bible. Here Paul (through the Holy Spirit) describes the Bible as ‘inspired by God’. The word ‘inspired’ (THEOPNEUSTOS) means: divinely breathed in. When you read the Scriptures, you are technically reading NOT what Paul, Amos, Isaiah or any other writer wrote but what the Holy Spirit inspired them to write. He ‘breathed’ into them what he wanted them to write. The second letter of Paul to Timothy was written by the Holy Spirit through the hand of Paul with his style of writing. All writers were human instruments which the Almighty used to bring his word of salvation and wisdom for living to mankind.
This Holy Scripture is ‘profitable’ (OPHELIMOS) meaning: helpful, profitable, advantageous. It is ‘profitable’ for many things and Paul names six of them.
First, the Scriptures are profitable for ‘teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) meaning: instruction, doctrine, teaching. We have already seen the importance of knowledge in Paul’s writings. Jesus tells us the following:
4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
Allow yourself to be taught, be willing to take the time to study and read the word of God. Feed on the Scriptures, like manna in the desert, everyday take what is needed for your spiritual health. Use the Bible to be taught and use it also to teach others.
Second, the Holy Scripture is profitable for ‘reproof’ (ELEGOHOS) meaning: proof, evidence, reproof. We can rely and should rely on the Bible alone to bring proof in spiritual matters. It sometimes happens that a Christian will use the Bible to prove things that it was not meant to bring light upon. The Bible is NOT a book of physics, astronomy or science (although it does speak of these things). It is the final authority in spiritual matters.
Third, the Holy Scripture is profitable for ‘correction’ (EPANORTHOSIS) meaning: a straightening up again. It is to be used to manifest to a person that he is not walking in the right path. In Romans 4:3 and Galatians 4:30 Paul writes: ‘what does the Scripture say?’. The Bible is the “proof text’ for the aspects of our life. Wise sayings and human philosophy are not tools to be used for ‘reproof’. Only the word of God is worthy of this.
Fourth, the Holy Scripture is profitable for ‘training in righteousness’. The word ‘training’ (PAIDEIA) means: tutorage, disciplinary, correction. It is good to train believers ‘in righteousness’ (DIKAIOSUNE) meaning: equity of character. It is profitable to change your character and mold you and conform you into the image of the Messiah through the Holy Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Five, the Holy Scripture is profitable ‘in order that the person of God may be competent,’. It is to be used to make the children of God ‘competent’ (ARTIOS) meaning: complete, perfect, fresh. As we grow, we become more and more complete in our faith. The old man dies away while the new man appears, grows and takes hold of the believer. Imagine a child that stops growing? While being twenty years old he acts as though he was six - not because of illness but rather by choice! Remember what is written in Ephesians:
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love,
3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Sixth, the Holy Scripture is profitable so that we can be ‘equipped for every good work’. The word ‘equipped’ (EXARTIZO) means: to equip fully, accomplish. When God calls someone to be his child, he does not leave him helpless in life, he equips him thoroughly. Notice that he equips his child ‘for every good work’. The word ‘every’ (PAS) means: all, any, every. He is equipping his child for all the different aspects of life and spiritual ministry. I believe that there is not one situation that a believer can be placed in that he is not equipped to face – IF he reacts in a godly fashion. So, God equips his child for every ‘good work’. This is not any type of work, but for ‘good’ (AGATHOS) meaning: good in any sense, benefit. The word ‘work’ (ERGON) means: to work, toil, an act, a deed, labor. God equips his children to be prepared to do all the work he needs in God’s kingdom. Remember what Paul wrote:
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Never say: ‘I’m not prepared to do this’, if you know God is calling you to do so. Rather believe that the Holy Spirit that is ‘in you’ will do ‘in you’ all you need so that you will be prepared to do a ‘good job’ for the Lord.
14 – Paul’s charge to Timothy to preach
I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom, 2 preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction.
This is the beginning of the last chapter of his letter and these are the last exhortations Paul leaves for Timothy.
The first is a charge given to Timothy. Paul writes: ‘I solemnly charge you’. The word ‘solemnly’ (EPIPHONEO) means: to call at something, to exclaim. I can imagine that it was with the deepest emotions that Paul was writing this. He knew the importance of evangelizing and the teaching of the word of God.
17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
This was a solemn ‘charge’ (DIAMARTUROMAI) meaning: to attest or protest earnestly. With all his energy, his cry to Timothy was to be heard and hopefully well received. We need to remember that Timothy may have been ‘slack’ in his ministry and needed to be a wakened. Now the charge that Paul was about to declare was accompanied by two witnesses and this made it even more solemn! Paul desired to stand ‘before God’. The word ‘before’ (ENOPION) means: in the face of, in the presence of. Paul is taking God – the Father as a witness to his future declaration. He also calls ‘Christ Jesus’ to be a witness. We can see that Paul places the risen Son on equal standing with the Father. This is either a blasphemy or a declaration of the deity of Jesus.
22 "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.
Paul continues to describe the beloved Son by writing ‘who is going to judge the living and the dead’. Please notice that it is God who is judge in the Old Testament (Ps. 7:8,11; 9:8; 50:4.6). Here we see (as in other places) that it is Christ Jesus who is the judge. This is yet another proof of the deity of Jesus! The words ‘going to’ (MELLO) mean: to be about to do or be. Jesus is not tarrying. It is just that the set time has not yet come. The word ‘judge’ (KRINO) means: to distinguish, to decide, to sentence. Jesus, one day, will judge and distinguish between those who belong to him and those who do not.
31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
33 "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world
What does it mean that Jesus will ‘judge the living and the dead’? On the one hand it can mean everybody. On the other hand, it can be more specific. The ‘living’ (ZOA) means: to live, lifetime. These can be the ones who have received eternal life through the sacrifice of Christ at the cross. Those who have received redemption will be judged NOT for eternal banishment but for rewards for what they have done for the name and kingdom of God (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10). The ‘dead’ (NEKROS) means: a corpse, dead. These are the ones who have rejected Christ and stand to be judged since they have no righteousness before the Living God.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.
14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
In his second description of the Son, Paul speaks about his advent.
(v.1) …and by his appearing and his kingdom
His ‘appearing’ (EPIPHANEIA) meaning: a manifestation, advent of Christ, is the hope of all true believers. Have you noticed that in both of his letters to Timothy Paul speaks of the Lord’s ‘appearing’? In fact, he mentions this four times!
We should keep his commandments until his appearing (1 Tim. 6:14)
The purpose of God is in Christ and his coming appearing (2 Tim. 1:8-10)
The judgment of God will pass through the appearing of Christ (2 Tim. 4:1)
The day of rewards is on his appearing (2 Tim. 4:8)
Notice that Paul speaks of ‘his kingdom’. The word ‘kingdom’ (BASILILEIA) means: royalty, a realm, a kingdom, to reign. There will come a time (at his appearing) that the Lord Jesus will reign as Sovereign over the universe. I can see that this is also teaching us concerning the deity of Christ. There is only one God and no other!
22 "Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
The following is the charge that Paul asks the Father and the Son to be his witness of:
2 preach the word, be ready in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all patience and instruction.
This charge has five facet’s and the first is ‘preach the word’. The word ‘preach’ (KERUSSO) means: to herald, especially of the divine truth. First of all, Timothy, be the mouth piece of God. Wherever you are, with whomever you are, your calling is to speak in the name of God. Notice that Timothy needed to preach ‘the word’ (LOGOS) meaning: something said, the divine expression. His calling was not to speak about philosophy nor any other important human subject. He was called to expound God’s word to others. How much time is wasted speaking concerning all sorts of things that will never bring the message of salvation! A soldier is called to fight, not to go fishing with his enemies! May we all learn from this.
The second facet is to ‘be ready in season and out of season’. The word ‘ready’ (EPHISTEMI) means: to stand upon, to be present. Remember how five of the ten virgins were not ready for the arrival of the bridegroom (Mat. 25:1-13). Jesus warns his disciples not only to be ready but also to be busy until he returns.
44 "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
45 "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?
46 "Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing.
The words ‘in season’ (EUKAIROS) mean: opportunity, conveniently, in season. While the words ‘out of season’ (AKAIROS) mean: inopportunity, out of season. Timothy, speak of God and don’t wait for the perfect timing! When the door slightly opens, use it and let the Lord do the rest.
The third facet is to ‘reprove’ (ELEGCHO) meaning: to confute, admonish, convict. In his first letter Paul had also told Timothy to be ready to ‘reprove’ others (1 Tim. 5:20). He himself did not fear to reprove others. Even the apostle Peter needed to be admonished in public!
14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?
It is never easy or pleasing to reprimand someone but when it is needed it has to be done. In order to ‘reprove’, Timothy would need to use spiritual arguments to try to get the person to understand the true meaning of things.
The fourth facet is to ‘rebuke’ (EPITIMAO) meaning: to censure, to forbid. The difference between ‘reprove’ and ‘rebuke’ is the following. To ‘reprove’ is to use different arguments to bring the person to understand while to ‘rebuke’ is to express a judgment of what is wrong and contrary to God’s will. I believe that the disciple of Christ should first speak and communicate truth. When the person does not agree and continues in his sinful way of life – then ‘rebuke’ is given.
The fifth facet is to ‘exhort’ (PARAKALEO) meaning: to call near, to beseech, to intreat. This gives the idea of keeping a good attitude while speaking, reproving, rebuking and exhorting. The person is not an enemy – he is a sinner in need of salvation. He is what you were before your spiritual birth. So, have the right attitude when you do these things.
(v.2) …with all patience and instruction.
This is how it should be done ‘with all’, you need to do your very best at this. Speaking for God and representing him needs to be done with ‘all patience’ (MAKROTHUMIA) meaning: longanimity, forbearance, long-suffering. When you are dealing with people by either speaking, reproving, rebuking or exhorting them, be very, very patient with them. Keep calm, listen and react in a godly fashion. The word ‘instruction’ (DADACHE) means: instruction, doctrine. The aim is to teach the things of the Lord, hoping that the Holy Spirit will bring that person to repentance.
15 – The need for preaching
3 For there will be a time when they will not put up with sound teaching, but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, because they have an insatiable curiosity, 4 and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths. 5 But you, be self-controlled in all things, bear hardship patiently, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Paul’s charge to Timothy (4:1,2) has many reasons and one of them is expressed in verse three. It seems that the apostle Paul had received knowledge that was not disclosed to others. He speaks of things to come, things that we may be experiencing today!
‘For there will be a time’. Paul looks into the future and sees how things will be. The word ‘time’ (KAIROS) means: an occasion, a set or proper time. Time is everywhere in the Bible yet it does not exist for everyone! God is not concerned with time since he existed before it began. Time is only for those who are mortal – the children of Adam who one day must die. Yet our entire life is governed by time. Did Solomon not speak about time?
1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
Paul speaks of a ‘time’ - a time where darkness and evil will cover the earth and make its way into human hearts as never before, a time when un-believers ‘will not put up’. The words ‘will not’ (OU) means: neither, never, nor. They will not have the desire to ‘put up’ (ANECHOMAI) meaning: to hold oneself up against for the truth. They will do all they can, in every way they can, to rise against ‘sound doctrine’. The word ‘sound’ (HUGIANO) means: to have sound health, to be uncorrupt. Being in darkness and having the devil as their father, they will not be able to tolerate light and truth. They will want to get rid of it as the Pharisees wanted to get rid of the Son. It is sound ‘teaching’ (DIDASKALIA) meaning: instruction, doctrine or teaching that they will not tolerate. Paul did not tolerate ‘sound teaching’ before he met Christ. He hated Christians and enjoyed doing harm and silencing them (Acts 9:1,2).
(v.3) …but in accordance with their own desires, they will accumulate for themselves teachers, because they have an insatiable curiosity, 4 and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths.
They will hate the Scriptures and its teachings and so they will make their own religion to replace it. This will be ‘in accordance with their own desires’. The word ‘accordance’ (KATA) means: according to. Their religion will not be according to the Lord God and his written word but ‘in accordance with their own desires’. Philosophy and religion will now be based on my ‘own desires’. The word ‘desires’ (EPITHUMIA) means: a longing, especially for what is forbidden. Just like Eve had a longing for the fruit after the devil deceived her so will people in ‘this time’ also long for what is forbidden. Because of this sinful longing they will create for themselves a human religion where the Lord God has no place! This is what they will do. First ‘they will accumulate for themselves teachers’. They will do away with sound and devoted Christian teachers and will ‘accumulate’ (EPISOREUO) meaning: to accumulate further, heap-up. They will search and search to find as many false ‘teachers’ (DIDASKALOS) meaning: an instructor, master, teacher as they can. Anyone who speaks against the Lord or has ‘new ideas’ or philosophies will do.
But why do this – ‘because they have an insatiable curiosity’. Not content with the revelation the Lord has given, again, like Eve, they will desire to know more not knowing that this is a trap. The word ‘insatiable’ (KNETHO) means: to scratch, tickle, to itch, fig. to be desirous of hearing something pleasant. Being told that all are sinners and need to turn away from their sin in repentance does not ‘tickle’ the ears of most people – so you listen to what pleases you even though deep down you know that they are lies. The word ‘curiosity’ (AKOE) means: hearing, a report, a rumor. Remember what the Athenians loved to do in Acts 17:18-21? They were lovers of new or strange teachings, they also had itching ears!
4 and they will turn away from the hearing of the truth, but will turn to myths.
Because of their desire for what is forbidden ‘they will turn away from the hearing of the truth’. The words ‘turn away’ (APOSTREPHO) means: to turn away, to turn back. They will leave sound teaching, get their own pleasing preachers and will ‘turn to myths’. They will make an ‘about-face’, turn 180 degrees and accept all sorts of ‘myths’ (MUTHOS) meaning: a tale, fiction, a fable. Like the fool who builds his house on sand, they will also not build their lives on the solid rock of God’s word.
26 "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
27 "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall."
28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching,
29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Paul now returns to his focus on Timothy and his need to keep teaching, preaching and evangelizing.
5 But you, be self-controlled in all things, bear hardship patiently, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Paul ends with four more encouragements for Timothy. The first is to be ‘self-controlled in all things’. As we have seen before, one needs this fruit of the Spirit if he is to be able to be a worthy mouth-piece for the Lord. The word ‘self-controlled’ (NEPHO) means: to abstain, to be sober, circumspect. One needs to be master of his thoughts, actions and emotions. One needs to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit at all times. Self-control is also for the body and its illicit desires. How many ‘men of God’ have fallen into disgrace and ruined the work of God because they had no self-control!
The second is ‘bear hardship patiently’. The Lord’s work is long and difficult. It is filled with dangers from without and within. One needs to be able to ‘bear hardship’ (KAKOPATHEO) meaning: to undergo hardship, be afflicted. There is a price that the child of God needs to be willing to pay if he does the Lord’s work. One needs to do this with a great amount of patience
The third is a reminder to ‘do the work of an evangelist’. I believe that there is a difference between having the gift of evangelist and doing the work of an evangelist. Some have the gift of evangelist and you can tell that because of what ease they bring the gospel into conversations. Others do not have this gift but that does not mean that they do not have to evangelize. Jesus expected all of his disciples to be his witnesses (Acts 1:8). For the vast majority of his disciples they have to ‘do the work’ because it does not come as simply as with evangelists. They work at it, it may be difficult and even frightening but this should not stop them.
The fourth is ‘fulfill your ministry’. The word ‘fulfill’ (PLEROPHOREO) means: entirely accomplished. If God has given you a ‘ministry’ (DIAKONIA) meaning: a service, serving at tables ,you are to do it right and bring it to its entirety. There are to be no slackers with the Lord, no half job done, no I’ll do it another time. We are called to be good servants.
15 "And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 "Then came the first, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned ten minas.'
17 "And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.'
18 "And the second came, saying, 'Master, your mina has earned five minas.'
19 "Likewise he said to him, 'You also be over five cities.'
20 "Then another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief.
21 'For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.'
22 "And he said to him, 'Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
23 'Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?'
16 – Paul’s thoughts concerning his departure
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is imminent. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have completed the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, the crown of righteousness is reserved for me, that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
These are Paul’s last profound thoughts concerning himself and his situation. He sees himself as an offering. This is encouraging for all who arrive at the last stage of their life, wondering if they can still be pleasing to the Lord. Although old, with their strength abandoning them, their thought fleeing from their memory, unable to do any apparent ‘good deeds’, sometimes nailed to their beds or wheelchair. Am I any good for the Lord? The answer is YES as we will see.
Paul speaks of himself as ‘already’ (EDE) meaning: even now, already, by this time. The ‘now’ he is speaking about is being chained in a prison dungeon locked with no way of getting out. In his present state Paul sees himself as ‘being poured out as a drink offering’. He pictures himself as one last offering for the Lord God. He is ‘poured out’ (SPENDO) meaning: to pour out as a libation, to be offered. Even then his life was still an offering to God!
2 Corinthians 2
14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.
15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
The offering he speaks of is ‘a drink offering’. A drink offering would be poured out on the altar where animal sacrifices would be given. Paul knew of his coming death; his sentence must have been passed if not he would have hoped for the intervention of the Lord. The pouring of the drink offering was the last act of the sacrificial ceremony which symbolized the dedication of the offering of the believer to God (Num. 15:1-10; 28:4-7). Paul was dedicating his death to the Lord like he had dedicated his life to him!
He continues by writing: ‘the time of my departure is immanent’. The word ‘time’ (KAIROS) means: a set or proper time, due season. He may not have known the exact date but he did know that it was coming. Paul speaks of his ‘departure’ and not his death. The word ‘departure’ (ANALUSIS) means: departure, loosing anchor. Before a ship would set sail for another port it first needed to lift its anchor which would liberate it from its position. Death is not death for a child of God but it is rather a ‘loosing of the anchor’ – a ‘departure’ for his heavenly home.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have completed the race, I have kept the faith.
As he looks back on his life Paul brings to mind three important points. The first is ‘I fought the good fight’. The word ‘fought’ (AGONAZOMAI) means: to struggle, fight, labor, strive. This is where we get our English word to agonize. The fight was not easy, far from it. From the opening of his eyes in the morning to their closing at night – the spiritual fight was on. His enemies were found in the church and out of it. Little rest was found and hardship was part of his daily food. What did he fight for – the ‘good fight’. The word ‘good’ (KALOS) means: good, valuable, virtuous and the word ‘fight’ (AGON) means: a contest, a conflict, a fight. There are many ‘fights’ that one can enrol in but only one has any eternal value and Paul had given all he had for it. In his first letter Paul had encouraged Timothy to do the same with his life.
1 Timothy 6
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.
The second is ‘I have completed the race’. This may be a reference to his lifespan here on earth. It can also speak of the goals that the Lord had given him for his life (Acts 9:15,16) as his servant. The word ‘completed’ (TELEO) means: complete, accomplish, finish. Whatever the Lord had set for him to do – it was done with all his capacities. The word ‘race’ (DROMOS) means: a race, a course. In every race there is always a finishing line and Paul was about to arrive at it. May we learn from Paul not only to fight the good fight but also to complete the race that we are in. In the Olympics, runners DO NOT rest until they have reached the finishing mark. May true believers also remember not to quit until the time has come.
The third is ‘I have kept the faith’. There are many things that we keep through our lifetime – these are the most precious possessions that we have. What Paul kept through out his Christian life was his faith. The word ‘kept’ (TEREO) means: to guard, to keep an eye on. He guarded his faith, he protected it. It may have been the most valuable thing he had. How disturbing it is to see believers who abandon their faith and stop running, never ending the race that the Lord had set before them. Men and women who shine brightly, suddenly grow dim and are no where to be seen. But not for Paul: he fought the good fight, completed the race and kept the faith until the very end. May we all have the same desire.
8 Finally, the crown of righteousness is reserved for me, that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Because he had done all those things Paul could say ‘finally’ (LOIPON) meaning: besides, finally, henceforth. It is as though Paul could almost touch ‘the crown of righteousness’. The New Testament mentions different crowns one can receive:
2 Tim. 4:8 the crown of righteousness
1 Cor. 9:25 the imperishable crown
James 1:12 the crown of life
1 Peter 5:4 the crown of glory
The word ‘crown’ (STEPHANOS) means: a chaplet, a badge of royalty, a crown. It is a symbol of honor that one receives. In the old Olympic games, it was a crown (head ban) of olive leaves that was placed on the head of the winner. Paul knew that the Lord God had something reserved for him and it was a crown of ‘righteousness’. The word ‘righteousness’ (DIKAIOSUNE) means: equity of character. The righteousness of Christ was to be placed on Paul.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
This crown was ‘reserved for me’. The word ‘reserved’ (APOKEIMAI) means: to be reserved, laid up. No one can touch it, no one can take it away and no one can modify it, for it is reserved by the Lord himself.
(v.8) …that the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have loved his appearing.
Who will award this crown of righteousness to Paul? We see that it is ‘the Lord, the righteous judge’. His crown is safe, the Lord who is ‘the righteous judge’ will give it to him. The word ‘righteous’ (DIKAIOS) means: equitable, holy. While the word ‘judge’ (KRITES) means: a judge. Jesus is the judge of his disciples and Jesus will give rewards to those who are his and have worked for his glory and have kept his words. Paul knew that one day he will receive this ‘award’ (APODIDOMI) meaning: to give away, reward, to give back. In some of his teachings Jesus speaks of rewards given for those who follow him.
28 So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
30 "But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
This crown of righteousness was not exclusively for Paul ‘but also to all who have loved his appearing’. It is for all who belong to him, who ‘loved’ (AGAPAO) meaning: to love in a social or moral sense, his ‘appearing’. All who love Christ and eagerly await his ‘appearing’ (EPIPHANEIA) meaning: a manifestation, an appearing – his return, will also receive this crown.
May I ask if you are in love with Christ? Are you earnestly waiting for his return and walking in his light until this happens? Which crown will the righteous judge give you and what will you do with it?
17 – Paul’s present situation
9 Make haste to come to me quickly. 10 For Demas deserted me, because he loved the present age, and went to Thessalonica. Crescens went to Galatia; Titus went to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Take along Mark and bring him with you, because he is useful to me for ministry. 12 But I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left behind in Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the metalworker did me much harm; may the Lord pay back to him according to his deeds, 15 against whom you also be on guard, because he vehemently opposed our words. 16 At my first defense, no one came to my aid, but they all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord helped me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fulfilled and all the Gentiles might hear, and he rescued me from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
In this section the apostle Paul gives an overview of what his present situation is, in relationship with people surrounding him. As you will see some are good news and some are not. We will divide this section in relation to the people Paul names.
9 Make haste to come to me quickly.
On two occasions Paul will ask Timothy to do something for him. Here we see the desire of Paul ‘make haste to come’. The words ‘make haste’ (SPOUDAZO) means: to use speed, to make an effort, be prompt. Paul wanted Timothy to hurry up ‘to come to me’. He wanted Timothy to be by his side, after all, was he not his ‘spiritual child’? He adds the word ‘quickly’ (TACHEOS) meaning: speedily, rapidly, quickly. It is like a double emphasis on the urgency of this matter. We need to remember that Paul knew that his time on earth was short.
10 For Demas deserted me, because he loved the present age, and went to Thessalonica
He is a co-worker of Paul’s that is mentioned three times. We see that in the beginning (Col. 4:14 and Philemon 1:23,24) he is working along-side Paul. When we arrive in this epistle Paul writes that ‘Demas deserted me’. The word ‘deserted’ (EGKATALEIPO) means: to leave behind in some place, forsake. For some reason and ‘out of the blue’ Demas had a change of heart and abandoned Paul. What a tragedy it must have been for this old, worn-out apostle! Paul also writes the reason why Demas abandoned him: ‘because he loved the present age’. He fell in love with the ‘present age’. The word ‘loved’ (AGAPAO) means: to love in a social or moral sense. The target of his love (which was the Lord) changed and now his love was for the ‘present age’ (NUN AION) which means: the present time and this world or age. You may have heard of or seen good Christian people suddenly abandon their first love and return to their ‘old life’. This is what Demas did, he left Paul and went to Thessalonica. This was a city in Asia Minor where a church had been established. It was a large and populous city and one of the four capitols of the Roman district of Macedonia. May we retain our love solely for the Lord God. Remember what Jesus said concerning our first love:
4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent.
(v.10) …Crescens went to Galatia
We know nothing else but what this verse tells us for he is mentioned no where else. As far as we can deduct Crescens was also a co-worker of Paul’s. It seems that he was faithful enough to be sent by Paul to Galatia. Galatia was in the central region of Asia Minor. As you know, Paul had written a letter to the churches of this region. In Paul’s second missionary journey he went to Galatia (Acts 16:6) and stayed a while because of sickness (Gal. 4:13). At the end of his life, Paul sends Crescens to these beloved Christians.
(v.10) …Titus went to Dalmatia
Titus is named twelve times and was one of the best known co-workers of Paul with Timothy being the first. He was with Paul and Barnabas in Antioch and accompanied them to the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:2). He was also with Paul and Timothy at Ephesus. From there he was sent by Paul to Corinth so he could gather the special offering for the poor of Jerusalem (2 Cor. 8:6; 12:18). He was sent to Crete to organize the church there (Epistle to Titus). This is the last mention of his name and we have no later knowledge of his life or death. Paul sent him on one last mission to Dalmatia which is on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and part of the Roman province of Illyricum.
11 Luke alone is with me.
Luke is the beloved doctor who wrote the book of Acts and also the gospel of Luke. He followed Paul in some of his voyages. It is believed that he was a physician in Troas where he was converted by Paul. He accompanied Paul to Philippi and, for some reason, did not accompany him any further. When Paul returns to Philippi, we see that the two meet again (Acts 20:5,6). This must have been seven or eight years later. It is probable that Luke had stayed in Philippi all that time. From this time on Luke was a constant co-worker with Paul (Acts 20:6 – 21:18). Later, Luke is no where to be seen, but re-appears when Paul sets out for Rome (Acts 27:1) where he will remain with him. Paul, having assigned his co-workers on different missions, finds himself with only Luke by his side.
(v.11) …Take along Mark and bring him with you, because he is useful to me for ministry.
Here we see that Mark had come back to ministry with Paul. Mark was the cousin (nephew) of Barnabas (Col. 4:10). He was with Paul and Barnabas on Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 12:25) but for some reason he left both of them for Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). When Paul and Barnabas wanted to set out for another journey, Barnabas wanted to take Mark along but Paul did not and a very sharp discussion occurred. Paul decided to take Silas and went to Syria while Barnabas took Mark and went to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41).
Paul asked Timothy to ‘take along Mark’. We can imagine that Mark was either with Timothy or close at hand. He asked Timothy to ‘bring him with you’. The word ‘bring’ (AGO) means: to lead, to bring, to carry. There was a reason why Mark should follow Timothy to Rome and this was ‘because he is useful’. The word ‘useful’ (EUCHRESTOS) means: easily used, profitable. Paul had a change of heart towards Mark and Mark also had a change of heart concerning the things of God and being in ministry. It is wonderful that a person who had become ‘non grata’ had with time became important for Paul. This manifests that there is always hope for people in the Lord.
12 But I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
He is named five times in the New-Testament. He is called a ‘faithful minister in the Lord’ (Eph. 6:21,22) by Paul. He accompanied Paul from Macedonia to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). Here we see that he was with Paul in Rome. At one-point Paul ‘sent’ (APOSTELLO) meaning: set apart, to send out on a mission, him to Ephesus. We can imagine that it was to bring spiritual help to the brethren of this church.
13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left behind in Troas with Carpus, and the scrolls, especially the parchments.
Paul now refers back to Timothy by writing ‘when you come’. Here we see again that Paul was expecting Timothy to come to be with him in Rome. I believe that Paul wanted to see Timothy before he died, like a father with his only son. He was asked to ‘bring’ (PHERO) meaning: to bear, to carry, to bring forth, the ‘cloak’ (PHELONES) meaning: a mantle, a cloak, an outside garment. Remember that Paul is in a dungeon and he needed all the warmth he could have. This cloak was in Troas where Paul had visited (Acts 16:8-11). Paul also speaks of Troas in his letter to the Corinthians (2 Cor.2:12). Paul asks Timothy to bring with him the ‘scrolls’ (BIBLION) meaning: a book, a scroll, a roll and ‘especially’ (MALLON) meaning: more in a greater degree, the ‘parchments’ (MEMBRANA) meaning: a written sheep skin parchment. It seems that there were certain writings that Paul especially wanted to have with him. I can see that even with death at hand, Paul desires to work for the Lord. May we understand what this man was made of, what dwelled him. May I ask what is on your mind and if the Scriptures are as important to you as they were four Paul.
He is only mentioned here in verse thirteen and nothing else is known about him except that he was a believer and that Paul had left his cloak at his home.
14 Alexander the metalworker did me much harm; may the Lord pay back to him according to his deeds, 15 against whom you also be on guard, because he vehemently opposed our words.
This Alexander is only named once in the New Testament. Some have tried to make links with another Alexander but this is a stretch. He was a ‘metalworker’ (CHALKEUS) meaning: a copper worker. This must have been his trade, a coppersmith. This Alexander ‘did me much harm’. The word ‘much’ (POLUS) means: much in any respect and the word ‘harm’ (KAKOS) means: worthless, bad, evil, harm, ill. We do not know what harm exactly was brought against Paul but for Paul to write ‘much harm’ it must have been a lot knowing all that he went through! Instead of wanting to personally seek revenge – he refuses to do so! He rather places this in the hands of the Lord: ‘may the Lord pay back to him according to his deeds’. The words ‘pay back’ (APODIDOMI) means: to give away, to render. He knew that he would be judged ‘according to his deeds’, according to all he had done. May we take Paul as a model and leave all things in the hands of the Lord God Almighty and not seek personal revenge.
Hoping that Timothy would soon come to see him, Paul warns him concerning Alexander: ‘you also be on guard’. The words ‘on guard’ (PHULASSO) mean: to watch, to be on guard, to avoid. If there was one-man Timothy needed to watch out for it was Alexander. This reminds me of what Peter wrote about another enemy:
1 Peter 5
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
What we do know about Alexander is that ‘he vehemently opposed our words’. The word ‘vehemently’ (LIAN) means: exceedingly great, greatly. While the word ‘opposed’ (ANTISTEMI) means: to stand against, to resist. This man stood up with all the energy he had. It seems that he hated Paul because of what Paul was preaching. The Lord Jesus had warned his disciples that this would happen:
17 "But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.
18 "You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19 "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;
20 "for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21 "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
22 "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
23 "When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.
25 "It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!
Paul continues and speaks about his first defense. Was this because of the attacks of this Alexander or was it when he presented himself in Caesar’s court – we do not know. It would make sense that it was a preliminary hearing since Paul called upon Caesar.
16 At my first defense, no one came to my aid, but they all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.
It is heart-breaking to read this verse ‘no one came to my aid’. The words ‘my aid’ (SUMPARAGINOMAI) mean: to be present together, to appear in aid. Absolutely no Christian stood with him. We need to remember that persecution of Christians was well under way with Nero!
Everyone was afraid of what might happen to them. Paul writes ‘all deserted me’. The word ‘deserted’ (EGKATALEIPO) means: to leave behind in some place. I wonder how Paul felt as he stood there all alone? The answer is ‘may it not be counted against them’! The heart of Paul remained true even through the vilest personal persecutions! The words ‘may it not’ (ME) mean: an absolute denial, never, no. Paul absolutely did not want this to be ‘counted against them’. The word ‘counted’ (LOGIZOMAI) means: to take an inventory, impute. He did not want the Lord to bring any charges against them for what they had done.
Please note the difference between when a non-believer does something to you and a believer does. With Alexander Paul said:
(v.14) …may the Lord pay back to him according to his deeds,
And with the brethren who failed him he said:
(v.16) …may it not be counted against them.
On one hand you leave everything in the hands of God and on the other you ask that nothing would be retained against them. May we never wish any ill on a brother and sister in Christ and may we never take things ‘in hand’ and revenge ourselves.
The following is Paul’s conclusion in regards to all injustice he was suffering.
17 But the Lord helped me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fulfilled and all the Gentiles might hear, and he rescued me from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Pagans were against him and Christians abandoned him but his spirit was strong for he wrote ‘the Lord helped me and strengthened me’. The Lord did two things for him. The first is that he ‘helped me’. The word ‘helped’ (PARISTEMI) means: to stand beside, to be at hand. If brothers in the faith had abandoned him, not so with the Lord – he was right there with him like Jesus had promised:
20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
The second thing that the Lord did is that he ‘strengthened me’ (ENDUNAMOO) meaning: to empower, to enable, to make strong. The Lord filled Paul with his presence and made him stand strong. The reason this was done is because Paul’s mission had not yet been finished – ‘the proclamation might be fulfilled’. Paul still needed to bring this ‘proclamation’ (KERUGMA) meaning: a proclamation, preaching. This ‘proclamation’ had not yet been ‘fulfilled’ (PLEROPHOREO) meaning: to carry out fully, accomplish. Others needed to hear the Good News, which brings us to a final group of people.
(v.17) …and all the Gentiles might hear, and he rescued me from the lion’s mouth.
The ‘Gentiles’ (ETHNOS) means: a race, a tribe, a foreigner. They also needed to ‘hear’ (AKOUO) meaning: to hear, come to the ears. Paul was ready to stand trial in Rome if this meant that others would be able to hear the news of Salvation in Christ Jesus. How far are we ready to go to bring the Good News to people? Is there a limit to the cost you are willing to pay? Paul glorified the Lord saying that he had ‘rescued me’ (RHOUMAI) meaning: to draw for oneself, rescue, deliver. God delivered Paul from the ‘lion’s mouth’ – from those who wanted to see him dead! You might say: ‘But he did die, he was beheaded!’. Yes, he was but it was not the ‘lion’ that devoured him it was the Lord who took him home. As long as Paul’s time had not arrived – no one could kill him!
18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will save me for his heavenly kingdom, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul was certain of this, the Lord ‘will rescue me from every evil deed’. He knew he was untouchable until his time had come. He also knew that the time was not set by Satan or any human hand, it was the Lord who had control over everything. No ‘evil deed’ could touch his life. The word ‘evil’ (PONEROS) means: hurtful, evil, diseased. And the word ‘deed’ (ERGON) means: to work, toil make an effort. No matter what effort was put in, no one could take his life away. It is reassuring that the lives of God’s children are in his hands!
27 "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
28 "And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.
29 "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.
30 "I and My Father are one."
Paul knows where he is heading and that is ‘his heavenly kingdom’. His place is reserved with his Lord and Savior in his kingdom for all eternity. Paul ends with a small doxology:
(v.18) …to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
May these few words also be on our lips in whatever situation we may be in.
18 – Conclusion
19 Greet Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained in Corinth, but Trophimus I left behind in Miletus because he was sick. 21 Make haste to come before winter. Eubulus and Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers greet you. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
We have arrived at the last section of Paul’s second letter to Timothy. No other letter written from Paul’s hand after this one has ever been found. In our last section Paul wrote about certain people and he continues to so do.
PRISCA AND AQUILA
They are often mentioned (Acts 18:2,3; Rom. 16:3,4; 1 Cor. 16:19; 2 Tim. 4:19) in the New Testament. They were banished from Rome by emperor Claudius and met Paul. They became his companions in the faith. Paul calls them ‘my fellow workers in Jesus Christ’ (Rom. 16:3,4). We see that they opened their home for the church to meet (1 Cor. 16:19). This is the only Christian ‘couple’ whom we have a history of in the New Testament. They loved the Lord and gave their life for the advancement of the kingdom of God. They were a model for all couples to follow. Paul tells Timothy to ‘greet’ (ASPAZOMAI) meaning: to enfold in the arms, to salute, to welcome, them for they were workers in the Lord.
He is mentioned twice (2 Tim. 1:16; 4:19) in the Scriptures. We see that he came to the aid of Paul in prison, for Paul wrote: ‘he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains’ (2 Tim. 1:16). This would have been dangerous for him to identify himself so closely with an ‘outlaw’ Nazarene sect leader! May we learn from this man and not be ashamed to manifest who we are – Disciples of Christ and bring all the help we can to suffering brethren. Paul desires that his entire household be warmly greeted. We can see by this that the Lord had blessed Onesiphorus by having his entire household come to the faith.
Paul writes that he remained in Corinth (v.20). He is mentioned three times in the New Testament (Acts 19:22; Rom. 16:23; 2 Tim. 4:20). It is written that he ministered with Paul alongside Timothy (Acts 19:22). It is mentioned that he was the treasurer of the city of Corinth (Rom. 16:23). This would have been an extremely important status.
His name is mentioned three times (Acts 20:4; 21:29; 2 Tim. 4:20). He is named along side Timothy and others as men who were sent by Paul ahead of him to Troas (Acts 20:4). He was mistakenly taken for a man that Paul presumedly had brought inside the Temple in Jerusalem and this caused an out roar! The statement Paul wrote about this Christian is extremely important: ‘I left behind in Miletus because he was sick’. Some Christians teach that a Disciple of Christ should not be ill that Christ came and took all his sickness on himself at the cross. They teach that God does not want his child to be sick. As you know this is false and Trophimus is proof of this.
He was ‘left behind’ (APOLEIPO) meaning: to leave behind. But why did Paul leave Trophimus behind and not bring him on his voyage? Simply ‘because he was sick’. The word ‘sick’ (ASTHENEO) means: to be feeble, be diseased, weak or sick. He was not able to follow Paul because of his physical condition. Even Paul could not get him to be better – had he not cured other people from their sickness? Was not Timothy also often sick (1 Tim. 5:23)? Please do not fall into this false teaching Christians do and will become ill.
21 Make haste to come before winter. Eubulus and Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers greet you. 22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Paul opens a parenthesis and stops writing about people he knows. He directs his attention to Timothy and writes ‘make haste’ (SPOUDAZO) meaning: to use speed, to make an effort, to be prompt. This is the third time that in some way or another Paul tells Timothy that he wants him to come to him as soon as possible, for he is on ‘death row’ and will be executed anytime now. We do not know if he was able to see Paul before he died – let us hope so. He wanted Timothy to arrive before ‘winter’ (CHEIMON) meaning: a storm, the rainy season, foul weather. May we remember that winters in Rome are not like winters in Canada!
He is only mentioned here in the Bible and nothing is known about him. He has a Greek name and therefore we can assume that he was a Gentile believer who lived in Rome.
He also is mentioned only here in the Bible. People may not know what he did for the benefit of Paul and the advancement of the Lord’s kingdom, but the Lord does and he will be rewarded for his toil.
This is the third person who is only mentioned here in the Bible. He was a believer living in the city of Rome who had gotten to know the apostle Paul. How many ‘unknown’ or behind the scene believers are there. They work silently and discreetly and are not mentioned on men’s lips. These are brave people who work out of love and not for fame and glory. All believers should be like these three brothers in Christ, humble and caring.
This lady is only found once in the New Testament and nothing is known about her. Apart from being a believer and living in Rome there is nothing else we know.
(v.21) …and all the brothers greet you.
The ‘brothers’ (ADEPHOS) meaning: a brother near or remote, that Paul is writing about are the people in the congregation that is in Rome. They all add their names to let Timothy know that when he will come, he will be welcomed and well-received. They all greet him. The word ‘greet’ (ASPAZOMAI) (the same word used in verse nineteen) means: to enfold in the arms, to salute, to welcome, him. What a wonderful attitude they have by telling others that they are waiting for them to arrive and making certain that they will be well received.
22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Paul ends his letter with a blessing for Timothy. He speaks of the ‘Lord’ (KURIOS) which means: supreme in authority. True blessings come from the Lord. A person may be blessed by a good parent but nothing compares with a blessing given by the hand of God himself! The blessing that Paul gives is that ‘The Lord be with your spirit’. He desires that the Lord God be with his heart, his soul, his spirit. These are different words forming the same idea. It is the believer’s spirit that is revived and it is through the spirit of man that God makes himself known.
1 Corinthians 2
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
16 For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
A final blessing: ‘grace be with you’ is given. It is the ‘grace’ (CHARIS) meaning: graciousness in manner or act, that gives us eternal life and sustains us until the time has come to go home. This is what all true believers need, every single day of their life.