2Timothy 1-2

Sunday Evening Bible Study

December 3, 2000


Paul’s second letter to Timothy was the last New Testament letter written by the apostle.  We believe it was written around AD 66, just prior to his death.

The history recorded in the book of Acts ends around AD 60, with Paul still being confined to an apartment, under house arrest, in Rome.  Church tradition has it that Paul was soon afterwards released from arrest and allowed to travel.  It was in AD 64 that Nero burned Rome and later blamed it on the Christians.

We can piece together some of what happened to Paul from these letters, which were the last letters written during the last few years of his life.  After having been released from imprisonment in Rome, Paul visited Ephesus (1Tim. 1:3), and left Timothy there to run the work.  Paul then went on to Macedonia (northern Greece), and writes his first letter to Timothy.  Then Paul went on to the island of Crete, leaving Titus in charge there.  Paul’s next stop was Nicopolis in Achaia (southern Greece) and wrote to Titus either from Macedonia while on the way to Nicopolis, or from Nicopolis (Tit. 3:12).  Paul then went to Troas (2Tim. 4:13), where he was rearrested, sent to Rome, and imprisoned.  It’s from prison in Rome that Paul writes his second letter to Timothy.  Paul would then be tried, let to the Ostian Way, west of Rome, and beheaded.  He death occurred somewhere around AD 66-67.

The account in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs:

“Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.”

2Timothy 1

:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure

promiseepaggelia – announcement; promise; the act of promising, a promise given or to be given

life zoe – life; the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate; of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic “logos” and to Christ in whom the “logos” put on human nature; life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.

:2 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

dearly belovedagapetos – beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love

:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;

serve latreuo – to serve for hire; to serve, minister to, either to the gods or men and used alike of slaves and freemen; in the NT, to render religious service or homage, to worship; to perform sacred services, to offer gifts, to worship God in the observance of the rites instituted for his worship; of priests, to officiate, to discharge the sacred office

from my forefathers – Paul had learned about the True God from his Jewish forefathers.  After coming to Jesus, Paul was now able to serve with a pure conscience.

purekatharos – clean, pure; in a levitical sense clean, the use of which is not forbidden, imparts no uncleanness; free from corrupt desire, from sin and guilt

without ceasingadialeiptos – unintermitted, unceasing, continual

remembrancemneia – remembrance, memory, mention

prayersdeesis – need, indigence, want, privation, penury; a seeking, asking, entreating, entreaty to God or to man

Paul again is using very “Levitical” language here.  He’s describing his prayer time in a way that parallels that of the Jewish priests.

He “serves” God, in the same manner as the priests and Levites serve God by offering up sacrifices and prayers for worship.

His conscience is “clean”, something that a priest had to keep current with.

He makes “remembrance” of Timothy in his prayers, as a priest wore the names of the tribes of Israel on his garments, as a “memorial” to God, reminding God of the people he represents.

:4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

greatly desiringepipotheo – to long for, desire; to pursue with love, to long after; the word is even used in a negative way at times:  to lust, harbour forbidden desire

being mindfulmnaomai – to remind; to be recalled or to return to one’s mind, to remind one’s self of, to remember; be mindful of

tears – Timothy may have had an idea about Paul’s soon coming death.

:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

remembrancehupomnesis – a reminding; remembrance

unfeigned anupokritos – unfeigned, undisguised, sincere

faithpistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it


God is looking for real faith.

There is “real” faith, and there is “phony” faith.
I’m not sure I can always tell them apart.
Phony faith is when a person is trying to pretend to trust the Lord, usually in order to impress someone.
I think that some people think that since they are constantly playing games and pretending to be this or that, that everyone must be playing games.  They assume that there is no such thing as a God in heaven, and that we’re all just pretending.  In order to fit in, they act like we do, but without the real reasons for doing what we do.
Real faith is when a person has come to the place where they are actually trusting that God is going to help them in their life.
They worship because they love God, not because everyone else is singing songs.
They obey the things of Scripture, not because they want to fit in with the crowd at church, but because they truly love God and want to please Him.
They will see God’s power at work in their life because God will respond to their faith.  The phony is only going to be able to pretend so far.

It’s like Moses and the magicians of Egypt.  The magicians were able to copy the first couple of miracles that Moses performed.  But after awhile they couldn’t keep up with the things that God was doing.

Don’t play games with God.  We’re not here to play games.

:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

put … in remembrance anamimnesko – to call to remembrance, to remind, to admonish; to remember, to remember and weigh well and consider

There’s connection between verses 3-6 that you see in the Greek:

Up to this point, Paul has been talking about his own “memories”, in how “without ceasing I have remembrance of thee” (vs.3), “being mindful of thy tears” (vs.4), “call to remembrance the unfeigned faith” (vs.5), and not Paul tells Timothy to do his part, to “remember” what God has given to him.

stir up anazopureo – to kindle up, inflame one’s mind, strength, zeal.  The picture is that of stirring up coals where the fire has died down.  When you begin to stir up smoldering embers, the flames come back to life.

Timothy already had all he needed for his ministry.  All he needed to do was to stir it up.

Some people need further equipping for ministry, but some already have what they need.

gift charisma – a favour with which one receives without any merit of his own; the gift of divine grace; grace or gifts denoting extraordinary powers, distinguishing certain Christians and enabling them to serve the church of Christ, the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating on their souls by the Holy Spirit

putting onepithesis – a laying on, imposition; The imposition of hands was a sacred rite transmitted by the Jews to the Christians, and employed in praying for another, or in conferring upon him divine blessings, especially bodily health, or the Holy Spirit (at the administration of baptism and the inauguration to their office of the teachers and ministers of the church).


Gifts and ministries need tending

I believe that once God has given you a gift, it’s yours to keep.  He doesn’t take gifts away (Rom. 11:29).
But we can let the “fire” die down in our gifts or ministries. 
Philip Henry's advice to his daughter: "If you want to keep warm in this cold season (January, 1692), take these four directions:

1) Get into the sun; under his blessed beams there are warmth and comfort.

2) Go near the fire. 'Is not my word like a fire?' How many cheering passages there are!

3) Keep in motion and action--stirring up the grace and gift of God that is in you.

4) Seek Christian communion. 'How can one be warm alone?'"

-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Quotable Spurgeon, (Wheaton: Harold Shaw Publishers, Inc, 1990)

:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

spirit pneuma – spirit; the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit; human spirit; spirit being; attitude; the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one; the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.

I’ve heard this verse abused by trying to make “spirit” be that of some type of demonic spirit.  People will take this verse and try to “cast out the demon of fear” in people.  The word “spirit” can indeed be used to describe a demonic being, but it seems in the context that Paul is talking about human attitudes.

fear deilia – This is a “negative” kind of “fear”, meaning:  timidity, fearfulness, cowardice; Paul doesn’t use eulabeia, a good kind of “fear” – caution, circumspection, discretion; reverence, veneration

This negative kind of fear is one that keeps us from doing the right things.


God doesn’t make cowards

I think that Timothy was having a problem being a little timid.  Personally I find a little comfort in that because I don’t always feel so “brave”.
But the Lord had an effect on Timothy, because he didn’t die like a coward.  Some thirty-five years after Paul wrote this letter, Timothy was still the pastor in Ephesus:
From Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, chapter II:

“Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until a.d. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him with their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days later.”

From history’s pages we learn of a cowardly young soldier in the army of Alexander the Great. Whenever the battle grew fierce, the young soldier would yield. The general’s pride was cut because this timid soldier also bore the name Alexander. One day Alexander the Great sternly addressed him and said, “Stop being a coward or drop that good name.”
The call to all Christians is the same today. May we faithfully live up to all the name Christian implies. “Lord, what will You have me to do?”

-- George Sweeting, Great Quotes & Illustrations (Word, 1985), p. 50.

power dunamis – strength, power, ability

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

sound mind sophronismos – an admonishing or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control; self-control, moderation.  The word comes from sophron (“safe” + “mind”) – of a sound mind, sane, in one’s senses; curbing one’s desires and impulses, self-controlled, temperate


God gives us what we need.

God gives us the strength we need to keep going.  He gives us the love we need to keep ministering to those around us.  He gives us the ability to curb our own desires and obey Him.
An uneducated miner in Scotland began to preach among his fellow workmen with great power. Soon his witness took him far beyond the confines of the mining towns. Someone asked him how he had received his call to preach. He replied thus:  Oh, I had such a burden on my soul for those who did not know the gospel, I argued with the Lord that I had no education and no gift. But He said to me, “Jamie, you know what the sickness is, don’t you?”  I answered, “Yes, Lord, the sickness is sin.”  “And you know what the remedy is, don’t you, Jamie?”  I answered, “Yes, Lord, the remedy is the Lord Jesus Christ.”  And He said to me, “Jamie, just take the remedy to those who are sick.” That is my call to preach. 
This is God’s call to every believer.

-- Donald Grey Barnhouse, Let Me Illustrate, (Fleming H. Revell Co., 1967), p. 33.

:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

ashamed epaischunomai – to be ashamed; from aischuno – to disfigure; to dishonour; to suffuse with shame, make ashamed, be ashamed

testimonymarturion – testimony

be thou partaker of the afflictions sugkakopatheo (“with” + “bad” + “suffer”) – to suffer hardship together with one

Paul is in prison again, suffering.  He invites Timothy to be willing to suffer with him.

power dunamis – strength, power, ability


Power to suffer

We often think of this dunamis power as being able to make us into some kind of Superman, able to conquer every bad guy with a super punch.
But sometimes God’s power is meant to simply help us make it through the times of pain, without making the situation itself change.
Warren Wiersbe writes,
“Years ago, I read about a Christian who was in prison because of his faith. He was to be burned at the stake, and he was certain he would never be able to endure the suffering. One night, he experimented with pain by putting his little finger into the candle flame. It hurt, and he immediately withdrew it. “I will disgrace my Lord,” he said to himself. “I cannot bear the pain.” But when the hour came for him to die, he praised God and gave a noble witness for Jesus Christ. God gave him the power when he needed it, and not before.”

:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

savedsozo – to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction

calledkaleo – to call; to call i.e. to name, by name

purposeprothesis – a setting forth of a thing, placing of it in view, the shewbread; a purpose

gracecharis – grace; good will, loving-kindness, favour

before the world began – literally, “before time eternal”.

timechronos – time either long or short

eternalaionios – without beginning and end, that which always has been and always will be

Our salvation:  We are not saved by works, but we are saved by God’s purpose (His working) and grace.  These things God provided for us before the world began.  It was always in God’s plan to save us.  The plan just wasn’t evident until Jesus came.

:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

made manifestphaneroo – to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way

appearingepiphaneia – an appearing, appearance

hath abolishedkatargeo – to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative; to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish

Jesus has conquered death through His resurrection.  Even though we may still experience physical death (a separation between our body and spirit), we will no longer have to experience spiritual death (a separation between us and God).

brought … to light photizo – to give light, to shine; to enlighten, light up, illumine; to bring to light, render evident

I think of a darkened theater with a single spotlight on the stage.  Something is dragged out of the surrounding shadows and put into the spotlight to the whole audience can see what it is.  Jesus has put “life” and “immortality” into the spotlight so we can see what these things really are.

life zoe – life; of the absolute fulness of life, both essential and ethical, which belongs to God, and through him both to the hypostatic "logos" and to Christ in whom the "logos" put on human nature; life real and genuine, a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, in the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions (among them a more perfect body), and to last for ever.

This was the same word used by Paul in 1:1, “the promise of life”.

immortality aphtharsia – incorruption, perpetuity; purity, sincerity, incorrupt.  Paul is talking about our new bodies, which will be “incorruptible”.  Our new bodies won’t get old, sick, or break down.

It’s only through the gospel of Jesus Christ that we can experience true life to it’s fullest.

It’s only through the gospel that we can have eternal life with God.

:11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

appointedtithemi – to set, put, place; fix, establish

preacherkerux – a herald or messenger vested with public authority, who conveyed the official messages of kings, magistrates, princes, military commanders, or who gave a public summons or demand, and performed various other duties. In the NT God’s ambassador, and the herald or proclaimer of the divine word.

apostleapostolos – a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

teacherdidaskalos – a teacher

:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things:

causeaitia – cause, reason; cause for which one is worthy of punishment, crime; charge of crime, accusation

Paul is saying that these were the charges filed against him, that he was a preacher.

:12  nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed

ashamedepaischunomai – to be ashamed

knoweido – to see; to perceive with the eyes; to know; to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive; to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to (#1Th 5:12)

I have believedpisteuo – to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in

Paul has confidence in Jesus.  Paul knows Jesus.

Paul doesn’t say, “I know what I believe”, but he says, “I know whom I have believed”.

:12  and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

he is abledunatos – able, powerful, mighty, strong; to be able (to do something)

that which I have committedparatheke – a deposit, a trust or thing consigned to one’s faithful keeping

to keepphulasso – to guard; to guard a person (or thing) that he may remain safe; to keep from being snatched away, preserve safe and unimpaired

against that day – when Jesus returns

What has Paul entrusted with Jesus?  His entire life.

:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

the form hupotuposis (from the word tupos, “type”) – an outline, sketch, brief and summary exposition; an example, pattern

hold fastecho – to have, i.e. to hold; to have i.e. own, possess; to hold one’s self to a thing, to lay hold of a thing, to adhere or cling to

soundhugiaino – to be sound, to be well, to be in good health

Paul provided an example for Timothy to follow.

:14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

good thingkalos – beautiful, handsome, excellent, eminent, choice, surpassing, precious, useful, suitable, commendable, admirable

which was committedparakatatheke – a deposit, a trust or thing consigned to one’s faithful keeping; used of the correct knowledge and pure doctrine of the gospel, to be held firmly and faithfully, and to be conscientiously delivered unto others

keepphulasso – to guard

Paul had talked about how Jesus was able to “guard” what Paul had “committed” to Him (vs.12).  Now he says that Timothy should “guard” what has been “committed” to him through the power of the Holy Spirit.

dwelleth inenoikeo – to dwell in; metaph. to dwell in one and influence him (for good)

:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

turned awayapostrepho – to turn away; to turn him away from allegiance to any one; tempt to defect

Asia – meaning Asia Minor, modern Turkey.  Timothy is the pastor at Ephesus, one of the major churches in that area.

PhygellusPhugellos = “a little fugitive”; a Christian who was with Paul and deserted him

HermogenesHermogenes – “lucky born or born of Mercury”; a certain Christian

Apparently these guys had been with Paul in Rome, but they deserted him at some point.

:16 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

OnesiphorusOnesiphoros – “bringing profit”; the name of a certain Christian in #2Ti 1:16-18, 4:19

refreshed anapsucho – to cool again, to cool off, recover from the effects of heat; to refresh (one’s spirit); to recover breath, take the air, cool off, revive, refresh one’s self

ashamedepaischunomai – to be ashamed

Onesiphorus was not ashamed to go visit Paul in prison.

:17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

very diligentlyspoudaioteron – very diligently; from spoudaioteros – active, diligent, zealous, earnest

:18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

he ministereddiakoneo – to be a servant, attendant, domestic, to serve, wait upon

Onesiphorus had helped Paul when he was in Ephesus, now he helped Paul in Rome.

2Timothy 2

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

be strongendunamoo – to be strong, endue with strength, strengthen; to receive strength, be strengthened, increase in strength

gracecharis – grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favour

:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

commitparatithemi – to place beside or near or set before; to set before (one) in teaching; to set forth (from one’s self), to explain; to place down (from one’s self or for one’s self) with any one; to deposit; to intrust, commit to one’s charge

faithfulpistos – trusty, faithful; of persons who show themselves faithful in the transaction of business, the execution of commands, or the discharge of official duties; that can be relied on

ablehikanos – sufficient; many enough, enough; sufficient in ability, i.e. meet, fit

Timothy had been discipled by Paul.  He had heard much and learned much from Paul.

Now Timothy was to find faithful men who had the ability to teach others, and put the things of the gospel into their hands.


Discipling others

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

endure hardnesskakopatheo – to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); to be afflicted

This is very similar to the word Paul used in 2Tim. 1:8, “be thou partaker of the afflictions”.  Paul gets back to telling Timothy to not be afraid of hard times.

:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

that warrethstrateuomai – to make a military expedition, to lead soldiers to war or to battle, (spoken of a commander); to do military duty, be on active service, be a soldier; to fight

entanglethempleko (“in” + “weave”) – to inweave; of a thing: to entangle, involve in

lifebios – life; the period, means, manner, of existence.

the affairspragmateia – prosecution of any affair; business, occupation

him who hath chosen … a soldierstratologeo – to gather (collect) an army, to enlist soldiers; of the commander

pleasearesko – to please; to strive to please

If you want to get serious about serving Jesus Christ, then there are going to be times when you don’t have the luxury of doing some of the things that other people do.  It seems that I find myself getting so busy with the things of the ministry that I don’t have time to do some of the things I used to love to do.  When I hear about the annual awards for TV shows or movies, I rarely have an idea of what they’re about.  Who has time for those things?


There was a story about a Civil War soldier who happened to be a watchmaker. One day the bugle sounded and the men were told to break camp. “But I can’t go now!” the soldier complained. “I have a dozen watches to repair!”

:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

striveathleo – to engage in a contest, contend in public games, contend for a prize; to endure, suffer

crownedstephanoo – to encircle with a crown, to crown: the victor in a contest; to adorn, to honour

lawfullynomimos – lawfully, agreeable to the law, properly

Unless that is, he requests a “recount”.

:6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

labourethkopiao – to grow weary, tired, exhausted (with toil or burdens or grief); to labour with wearisome effort, to toil; of bodily labour

husbandmangeorgos – a husbandman, tiller of the soil, a vine dresser

must bedei – it is necessary, there is need of, it behooves, is right and proper

fruitskarpos – fruit; that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result

partakermetalambano – to be or to be made a partner; to partake of, take [some] food; of a thing, to get, find (a whole)

Some say this is trying to say –

If you’ve labored hard in your ministry, you will receive rewards from that ministry.

But I also wonder if it isn’t trying to say –

Before you can share the things of the Lord, you have to have tasted and eaten of the things of the Lord.

:7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

considernoeo – to perceive with the mind, to understand, to have understanding; to think upon, heed, ponder, consider

understandingsunesis – a running together, a flowing together with; knowledge; understanding; the understanding, i.e the mind so far forth as it understands


God will teach you

He doesn’t always answer all your questions right away, but God will teach you.
(John 14:26 KJV)  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
(1 John 2:27 KJV)  But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
I think it’s good to have a file in your brain marked, “Waiting for further information”.

:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

remembermnemoneuo – to be mindful of, to remember, to call to mind; to think of and feel for a person or thing; to hold in memory, keep in mind; to make mention of

There’s that “remember” thing again (like 2Tim. 1:3-6).

seed of David – Jesus was of the royal line of the kings of Judah.

raised from the dead – a central part of the gospel.

:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

suffer troublekakopatheo – to suffer (endure) evils (hardships, troubles); to be afflicted

evil doerkakourgos – a malefactor

bondsdesmon – a band or bond

bounddeo – to bind tie, fasten

Paul might be in prison, but God’s Word isn’t.

:10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

endurehupomeno – to remain; to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee; to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments

obtaintugchano – to hit the mark; of one discharging a javelin or arrow; to reach, attain, obtain, get, become master of

:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

faithful saying – Paul is constantly giving Timothy “faithful sayings”, things to pay attention to, things to remember, things to pass on.

Paul is going to give FOUR faithful sayings.

be dead withsunapothnesko – to die together; to die with one

live withsuzao – to live together with one

:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

suffer hupomeno – to remain; to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee; to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments.  Bad translation for us, better would be, “if we endure”.

We will reign with Him if we endure, if we keep holding on to Him.

reign withsumbasileuo – to reign together; metaph. to possess supreme honour, liberty, blessedness, with one in the kingdom of God

denyarneomai – to deny; to deny someone; not to accept, to reject, to refuse something offered.  Jesus said,

(Mat 10:32-33 KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. {33} But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

cannotdunamai – to be able, have power whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, or of a state of mind, or through favourable circumstances, or by permission of law or custom; to be able to do something; to be capable, strong and powerful

Even if we should choose to not believe in Him, that doesn’t make Him go away.

God is NOT like Tinkerbell.

Some people have the idea that if enough people stopped believing in God, that He would just whither away.  Remember the old Peter Pan TV special, where Peter looks at the TV camera and told us children that we needed to believe or else Tinkerbell would die?
Just because you don’t believe in God doesn’t make Him stop existing.  You’re just a fool, that’s all.

A robber comes into a bank and announces the holdup.  He walks up to a teller and sticks a gun in the teller’s face.  “I don’t believe in guns” says the teller, refusing to give the robber any money.  When the robber pulls the trigger, will the gun hurt the teller, even if the teller refuses to believe in guns?  Of course it will.

Paul’s “faithful sayings”

1)  If we die with Christ, we’ll be raised with Christ.

2)  If we endure the hard times, we’ll reign with Christ

3)  If we deny Him, He’ll deny us

4)  If we don’t believe Him, He’ll still be God and do what He must do.

:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

put them in remembrancehupomimnesko – to cause one to remember, bring to remembrance, recall to mind: to another; to put one in remembrance, admonish, of something; to be reminded, to remember

chargingdiamarturomai – to testify; to attest, testify to, solemnly affirm; to confirm a thing by testimony, to testify, cause it to be believed

strive … about words logomacheo (“word” + “fight”) – to contend about words; to wrangle about empty and trifling matters

profitchresimos – fit for use, useful

subverting katastrophe (“catastrophe”) – overthrow, destruction

There are some things that aren’t worth arguing over.  You end up simply hurting everyone who is listening to the arguing.

:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Study spoudazo – to hasten, make haste; to exert one’s self, endeavour, give diligence

approved dokimos – accepted, particularly of coins and money.; accepted, pleasing, acceptable

In the ancient world there was no banking system as we know it today, and no paper money. All money was made from metal, heated until liquid, poured into moulds and allowed to cool. When the coins were cooled, it was necessary to smooth off the uneven edges. The coins were comparatively soft and of course many people shaved them closely. In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called “dokimos” or “approved”. (Donald Barnhouse)

to showparistemi – to place beside or near; to present a person for another to see and question; to present or show

workmanergates – a workman, a labourer; usually one who works for hire esp. an agricultural worker; one who does, a worker, perpetrator

needeth not to be ashamedanepaischuntos – having no cause to be ashamed

rightly dividing orthotomeo (“straight” + “cutting”) – to cut straight, to cut straight ways; to proceed on straight paths, hold a straight course, equiv. to doing right; to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly


Handle God’s Word with care

Know what the Bible says.  Learn it well.

Many people don't know what the Bible really says.  It's good to check up on our knowledge.  For example, which of the following are biblical quotations?

1. "Cleanliness is next to godliness."

2. "God helps those who help themselves."

3. "An honest confession is good for the soul."

4. "We are as prone to sin as sparks fly upward."

5. "Honesty is the best policy."

The answer?  While some of these statements are truisms, none of them, as quoted, are found in the Bible!  So before you quote the Bible, make sure it is in the Bible.

Learn to “cut straight” in the Scriptures.  Learn to study the Scriptures in their “context”.  Don’t just take a verse here and a verse there.  Learn the whole chapter.
There is the classic story of the man who was in a difficult situation, and in desperation turns to the Bible.  He didn’t know where to look, so he let the book flop open and he laid his finger on a verse, which said that Judas “went and hanged himself.” After a moment’s thought, he decided to turn to a different verse for help; he repeated the process and read, “What thou doest, do quickly.”

:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

profanebebelos – accessible, lawful to be trodden; profane; unhallowed, common, public place

vain babblingskenophonia – empty discussion, discussion of vain and useless matters

shun periistemi – to place around one; to stand around; to turn one’s self about for the purpose of avoiding something; to avoid, shun

The word has the picture of when you see someone you don’t want to talk to, and you turn to walk the other way so you don’t run into them.

will increaseprokopto – to beat forward; to lengthen out by hammering (as a smith forges metals); to go forward, advance, proceed; metaph. to increase, make progress

ungodlinessasebeia – want of reverence towards God, impiety, ungodliness


Arguing over words versus living correctly

I’ve known people over the years who like to take great pains in arguing over this or concerning theological ideas.
I don’t want to make too hasty a generalization, but in most cases, these guys have lives that are pretty messy.
They also tend to be guys that are pretty brainy, and perhaps they fall into the trap of thinking that their whole relationship with God is a “brain” kind of thing.  It’s not.
Sometimes there are more important things to be talking about.
Is your life together?  Are you growing in your relationship with God?  Are you falling deeper and deeper in love with God?  Are you gaining more and more victory over sin in your life?

:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

a canker gaggraina – a gangrene, a disease by which any part of the body suffering from inflammation becomes so corrupted that, unless a remedy be seasonably applied, the evil continually spreads, attacks other parts, and at last eats away the bones

eatnome – pasturage, fodder, food; growth, increase; of evils spreading like a gangrene; of ulcers; of a conflagration

HymenaeusHumenaios – “belonging to marriage; a heretic, one of the opponents of the apostle Paul

Paul had delivered Hymenaeus to Satan because of his blasphemy.

(1 Tim 1:19-20 KJV)  Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: {20} Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

PhiletusPhiletos – “beloved”; a heretic and a disciple of Hymenaeus,

:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

have erredastocheo – to deviate from, miss (the mark)

overthrowanatrepo – to overthrow, overturn, destroy; to subvert

These guys were teaching false doctrine.  Their “theories” were leading people away from the Lord and destroying their faith.

They were teaching that the resurrection had already taken place.

:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

surestereos – strong, firm, immovable, solid, hard, rigid

foundation themelios – laid down as a foundation, the foundation (of a building, wall, city); metaph. the foundations, beginnings, first principals; of institution or system of truth

seal sphragis – a seal; the seal placed upon books; a signet ring; the inscription or impression made by a seal; that by which anything is confirmed, proved, authenticated, as by a seal (a token or proof)

departaphistemi – to make stand off, cause to withdraw, to remove; to stand off, to stand aloof; to go away, to depart from anyone; to shun, flee from

iniquityadikia – injustice, of a judge; unrighteousness of heart and life; a deed violating law and justice, act of unrighteousness

namethonomazo – to name; to name, to utter, to make mention of the name; be named; to bear the name of a person or thing

God’s system of truth has a solid foundation.  There is a “seal” (actually two “seals”), a way of telling for sure that someone is on track or not.  The “seals” are:

1.  Does God know them?

This doesn’t help us much (as far as telling who is true and who is false), but the fact is that some people can claim all kinds of authority and have all kinds of goofy ideas, but when they face God, they won’t be able to bluff their way into heaven.
Jesus said,
(Mat 7:21-23 KJV)  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. {22} Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? {23} And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

2.  Do they stay away from sin?

God isn’t as interested in you memorizing Greek words as He is in seeing your life change. 
He wants you to sin less.
A person may be a theological giant in terms of knowledge of doctrines, and they may even be correct in their doctrines, but if they aren’t dealing with the sin in their life, it’s all worthless.

:20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

great house – probably talking about the church.

vesselsskeuos – a vessel; an implement; household utensils, domestic gear. I think Paul is talking about individual people as “vessels”.

woodxulinos – wooden, made of wood

earthostrakinos – earthen, clay

honourtime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honour which belongs or is shown to one

dishonouratimia – dishonour, ignominy, disgrace

In a typical house, there are going to be all sorts of containers and utensils.  Some are going to be the best china or the finest silverware.  Others are going to be things like trashcans or diaper pails.

The question is going to be, “How can I be something worth serving dinner to the King, instead of something that only holds garbage?”

:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

purgeekkathairo – to cleanse out, clean thoroughly, to cleanse

these – I think the “these” refers to: profane and vain babblings (vs.16); ungodliness (vs.16); iniquity (vs.19); dishonour (vs.20)

honourtime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honour which belongs or is shown to one

sanctifiedhagiazo – to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow; to separate from profane things and dedicate to God; to purify

meet euchrestos (“good” + “useful”) – easy to make use of, useful

master’sdespotes – a master, Lord

prepared hetoimazo – to make ready, prepare; to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready

Putting it together –

There are all kinds of people in the church, like all kinds of vessels.  If Timothy wants to be useful to the Lord, then he needs to cleanse his life from things like profane and vain babblings (vs.16), ungodliness (vs.16), iniquity (vs.19), and dishonour (vs.20) to be useful to the Lord.


Clean and useful

God can use anybody.  He can use a talking donkey if He has to.  Don’t go away this morning thinking that God can’t use you.
But I think the idea is that we are more useful to the Lord as we stay away from the things of “dishonour”.
We become prepared for “every good work”.
Elton Trueblood wrote the following: “It is hard to think of any job in which the moral element is lacking. The skill of the dentist is wholly irrelevant if he is unprincipled and irresponsible. There is little in that case to keep him from withdrawing teeth unnecessarily, because the patient is usually in a helpless situation. It is easy to see the harm that can be done by an unprincipled lawyer. Indeed such a man is far more dangerous if he is skilled than if he is not skilled.” After quoting Trueblood, Charles Swindoll added: “You and I (ie., pastors) are dangerous people, because we are skilled people. We have influence, we make an impact in a community. I’ve never been asked to show my GPA in ministry. Nobody’s ever asked about the grades I made in school. But I have been checked again and again and again and again in character, because the ministry is a character profession.”

-- Charles Swindoll, The Integrity of the Spiritual Leader, from a message given at the Christian Booksellers Convention, 1987.

I have found an interesting way to “clean house”.

Those inventive people, the Italians, have a custom.  As midnight on New Year's Eve approaches, the streets are clear. There is no traffic; there are no pedestrians; even the policemen take cover. Then, at the stroke of 12, the windows of the houses fly open.  To the sound of laughter, music and fireworks, each member of the family pitches out old crockery, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalogue of personal possessions which remind them of something in the past year they are determined to wipe out of their minds.

-- House & Garden

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

youthfulneoterikos – peculiar to an age, of youth, youthful, younger

lustsepithumia – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust

fleepheugo (“fugitive”) – to flee away, seek safety by flight; metaph. to flee (to shun or avoid by flight) something abhorrent, esp. vices

followdioko – to make to run or flee, put to flight, drive away; to run swiftly in order to catch a person or thing, to run after; to press on: figuratively of one who in a race runs swiftly to reach the goal; metaph., to pursue; to seek after eagerly, earnestly endeavour to acquire

righteousnessdikaiosune – in a broad sense: state of him who is as he ought to be, righteousness, the condition acceptable to God

It’s not just what you run from, but what you run toward that counts.

:22 with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

purekatharos – clean, pure


Don’t run alone.

God wants you to be hanging out with people who have the same goal as you do, pleasing the Lord.

:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

foolish moros (“moron”) – foolish; impious, godless

unlearned apaideutos – without instruction, and disciple, uneducated, ignorant, rude.  It’s the opposite of the word that means “training of children”.  The idea is that these questions are like those who haven’t even learned the basics yet.

avoid paraiteomai – to ask along side, beg to have near one; to avert by entreaty or seek to avert, to deprecate; to beg pardon, crave indulgence, to excuse; of one excusing himself for not accepting a wedding invitation to a feast

gendergennao – of men who fathered children; to engender, cause to arise, excite

strifesmache – a fight or combat; of those in arms, a battle; of persons at variance, disputants etc., strife, contention; a quarrel

:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

servantdoulos – a slave, bondman, man of servile condition

Paul is talking to Timothy here, but it applies to us as well.

strive machomai – to fight; of armed combatants, or those who engage in a hand to hand struggle; of those who engage in a war of words, to quarrel, wrangle, dispute; of those who contend at law for property and privileges.  Related to “strifes” in verse 23.

gentleepios – affable; mild, gentle

apt to teachdidaktikos – apt and skilful in teaching

patient anexikakos (“hold up” + “bad”) – patient of ills and wrongs, forbearing

:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

meekness praotes – gentleness, mildness, meekness.  It is the attitude of mind and behavior which, arising from humility, disposes one to receive with gentleness and meekness whatever may come to him from others or from God.

instructing paideuo – to train children; to be instructed or taught or learn; to cause one to learn; to chastise; to chastise or castigate with words, to correct; of those who are moulding the character of others by reproof and admonition

oppose themselvesantidiatithemai – to place one’s self in opposition, to oppose, to dispose in turn, to take in hand in turn, to retaliate

repentancemetanoia – a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done

acknowledging epignosis – precise and correct knowledge

Repentance involves truth.

:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

recoverananepho (“again” + “sober”) – to return to soberness

snarepagis – snare, trap, noose; of snares in which birds are entangled and caught; implies unexpectedly, suddenly, because birds and beasts are caught unawares; a snare, i.e. whatever brings peril, loss, destruction; of a sudden and unexpected deadly peril; of the allurements and seductions of sin

taken captivezogreo – to take alive; to take, catch, capture

willthelema – what one wishes or has determined shall be done; will, choice, inclination, desire, pleasure


Help free the captives

There are basically two things involved in what Paul is telling Timothy: 
He needs to be able to instruct people.

He needs to have the right things to say to help.

He needs to be patient with people.

This has to do with attitude, with the heart.  It has to do with kindness and understanding.


Eighty percent of the problem patients that have come to me, come because good manners were never taught them as children.  As adults, they made mistakes and were rejected.  They couldn't play the game of life because they didn't know the rules.

-- Dr. Smiley Blanton 


What will it profit a man if he gains his cause, and silences his adversary, if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made!

-- John Newton, from The Letters of John Newton. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 11.


Harvey Mackay in his book Swim with the Sharks tells of the 88 year old President of Japan's largest enterprise, Matsushita Electric, answering an interviewer's questions on the future of his company. The interview went as follows:

Question:  “Mr. President, does your company have long-range goals?”

Answer:  “Yes.”

Question:  “How long are your long-range goals?”

Answer:  “Two hundred fifty years.”

Question:  “What do you need to carry them out?”

Answer:  “Patience.”

It doesn’t mean that people will necessarily be released.  They have to really want to be free.