2 Timothy


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

(2 Timothy 1:2) To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Paul considers Timothy to be a son (and himself to be a spiritual father). I wonder whether Timothy ever called Paul "father"?

(2 Timothy 1:3) 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;

(2 Timothy 1:4) Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;

Apparently, crying by men to express their love for one another was culturally acceptable. If it weren't, this line from Paul would embarrass or dishonor Timothy every time it was read aloud in Church.

(2 Timothy 1:5) 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.

Paul has to convince himself that Timothy's deep faith is real. Perhaps this is what Paul means when he says that he is not a good speaker. This is a graceless way to compliment someone's faith.

(2 Timothy 1:6) 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.

(2 Timothy 1:7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Fear is not of God (but fear of God is from God). Apparently, Timothy was a bit skittish or insecure in asserting himself boldly as Paul habitually did. Paul lists 3 characteristics of a bishop...

  1. power — they are to teach and preach boldly. Sadly, many bishops throughout church history were either mere administrators or corrupt and unqualified.
  2. love
  3. sound mind — probably refers to sound teaching and living a life of virtue.

(2 Timothy 1:8) 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;

Perhaps Timothy was nervous about being mocked when he mentioned the gospel or that Paul was imprisoned. Perhaps he was a sensitive soul who didn't like being mocked and jeered.

(2 Timothy 1:9) 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,

(2 Timothy 1:10) 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:

Even though Christ conquered death, most of us will die anyway and will only finally receive the gift of eternal life in the far distant future.

The gospel is the way God communicates the way we can receive eternal life. We must hear it, and receive it, and obey it. It is not sufficient to merely hear it or to believe it.

(2 Timothy 1:11) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

(2 Timothy 1:12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Paul suffered various kinds of persecution and difficulties in his role as apostle, and was now a prisoner. Apparently, those opposing the gospel make it out to be an utterly foolish message, and heap-on derision and mocking on those who teach and preach its message. Paul is not embarrassed or ashamed by all this and he exhorts Timothy to not be either. Perhaps Timothy is a sensitive soul and is affected by the taunts of the opposition.

Paul has a certain advantage in a way, having had mystical encounters with Christ himself; Timothy must rely on hearsay and apostolic teaching. This is all we have today. Notice that Timothy's authority, his source of truth, was apostolic teaching and preaching. That is our source of truth as well. Timothy had an advantage over us in that the apostle Paul had spoken directly to him and addressed his concerns in a personal manner. We must content ourselves with reading about it all.

Paul refers to "that day", meaning, the day of judgment, the day in which our eternal fate is sealed. This occurs at death. God is able to keep each true believer until this day of judgment.

(2 Timothy 1:13) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Timothy is to not be influenced by various false teachers and those who distort and twist the gospel message. His authority and source of truth is to be apostolic teaching. That is our source of truth as well. The apostles taught in faith and love; false teachers are often controlling and dominating individuals, cultlike figures. True apostolic teaching emphasizes faith and love. Heresy often emphasizes extreme ascetic practices, abstaining from food, complete withdrawal from the world, etc. Nowadays, heresy often emphasizes new modern cultural models and makes Jesus out to be someone who accepts anyone no matter what. But the gospel message of salvation is to be aways at the forefront of our thinking; if it becomes buried, the faith life languishes. Christianity means nothing without repentance from sin and living a life of virtue and holiness.

Paul exhorts everybody to remain true to his teaching.

(2 Timothy 1:14) That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Everything relating to truth and the gospel is through the Holy Spirit. Unholy Church leaders are not of the Holy Spirit and should be rejected.

(2 Timothy 1:15) This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

(2 Timothy 1:16) The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:

(2 Timothy 1:17) But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.

(2 Timothy 1:18) 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.

(2 Timothy 2:1) Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

(2 Timothy 2:2) 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.

Timothy is a link of the chain of apostolic succession. He passes on the teaching he learned from Paul to the next generation of church leaders.

(2 Timothy 2:3) Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

(2 Timothy 2:4) 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.

(2 Timothy 2:5) And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

(2 Timothy 2:6) The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

(2 Timothy 2:7) Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

(2 Timothy 2:8) Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:

(2 Timothy 2:9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

(2 Timothy 2:10) 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.

(2 Timothy 2:11) It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

(2 Timothy 2:12) If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

We must remain faithful to Christ until our death even though doing so may cause persecution and suffering, even martyrdom.

(2 Timothy 2:13) If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

(2 Timothy 2:14) 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.

(2 Timothy 2:15) Study [be diligent] to shew [show] thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [handling] the word of truth.

I wonder how Timothy felt about Paul remarking that he needed to show himself approved to God so he would not be ashamed? I think I would be annoyed, but maybe this was a cultural way that superiors addressed those under them; or maybe Paul was really speaking to all leaders, not just to Timothy (but I wonder if Timothy knew he was doing this).

The theme of accurately presenting God's word, God's message of truth, is very common in the New Testament as well as the writings of the early church fathers. And for good reason: there were many heretics, false teachers, and schismatics from the very beginning of the Church — I suppose you could say Judas was the first.

Pleasing God requires diligence. And how do we please God? This verse provides the answer: by our works! Certainly we are not saved by works only, but the New Testament again and again and again emphasizes the role of works in salvation. As a high ranking bishop, Timothy was a workman, working God's work. And this work consisted of teaching God's word. We encounter God and interact with God through his word. This is why Jesus emphasized that he is the word of God, because we interact with the Trinity through Jesus, the Son of God who took on human form and made it part of God's nature. Jesus "deified" human nature so that redeemed humans can one day themselves be deified.

(2 Timothy 2:16) But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

(2 Timothy 2:17) And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

(2 Timothy 2:18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

What kind of resurrection was this false teaching? Preterism has a view of the second coming of Christ in 70 A.D. in which it is completely invisible, impossible to detect. But Paul wrote this letter long before then.

Perhaps this was a reference to Docetism, the idea that the physical universe is evil and, therefore, Jesus was spiritual only, a phantasm. Based on this, the event called the resurrection of Jesus was not a physical event at all. Since the body is evil it cannot be resurrected. There would, therefore, be no future bodily resurrection for Christians. In this way it could be said that the resurrection was past, over, done. It only happened for Jesus, but spiritually, not physically.

(2 Timothy 2:19) 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.

Even though some pervert the message of the gospel, yet it stands firm because is it founded on God; because it is God's message, God's gospel. Two seals on this foundation are mentioned...

  1. The Lord knows those who are his.
  2. Each Christian is to abstain from wickedness.

(1) Some belong to God, some don't. Those who pervert God's message of salvation probably do not belong to God. Paul has been mentioning some of these.

(2) It is such a common theme in the New Testament that Christians are to be holy and righteousness. Paul likely has in mind that those who are not holy are also not redeemed. Thus, there is a link between faith and works.

(2 Timothy 2:20) 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.

(2 Timothy 2:21) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet [suitable] for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

Without good deeds we cannot possess saving faith.

(2 Timothy 2:22) Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Probably referring to remaining firmly committed to his duties rather than looking for ways to squander time to avoid the stress and pressure of the job.

(2 Timothy 2:23) But foolish and unlearned questions [speculations] avoid, knowing that they do gender [produce] strifes [quarrels].

Paul admonishes Timothy to avoid quarrels with false teachers about false teaching, but doesn't mention how to discipline these, other than to command them not to teach false teaching. Paul tells Timothy to preach, reprove, rebuke, and exhort. Perhaps the thinking is that if worthy bishops are ordained, they will impose discipline. Unfortunately, as history shows, the bishops were often heretics.

(2 Timothy 2:24) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

(2 Timothy 2:25) In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Saved by repentance.

(2 Timothy 2:26) And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

(2 Timothy 3:1) This know also, that in the last days perilous [dangerous] times shall come.

There have been perilous times for Christians throughout Church history. Perhaps the worst was the widespread persecution and martyrdom of Christians during Roman times/p>

This verse says nothing useful to determine whether the phrase "last days" refers to a yet-future great tribulation. The next several verses list characteristics common to certain people claiming to be Christian throughout Church history.

(2 Timothy 3:2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

(2 Timothy 3:3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

(2 Timothy 3:4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

(2 Timothy 3:5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

(2 Timothy 3:6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

(2 Timothy 3:7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(2 Timothy 3:8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

(2 Timothy 3:9) But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

(2 Timothy 3:10) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

(2 Timothy 3:11) Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

(2 Timothy 3:12) Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

(2 Timothy 3:13) But evil men and seducers shall wax [grow] worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

(2 Timothy 3:14) But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

Paul often writes to encourage everyone to continue firm in the true faith.

(2 Timothy 3:15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Timothy was well educated in the faith.

(2 Timothy 3:16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The scripture referred to here is the Old Testament and especially the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. This verse does not teach Sola Scriptura.

The Bible has all the benefits listed here and more. The Bible is inspired by God in a way that no other writing or teaching is — it is unique. This illustrates a key difference between Christianity (and Judaism) and all the other religions and philosophical systems.

This verse states that scripture is profitable for these things...

  1. doctrine — weirdly, some Christians de-emphasize doctrine or claim it is not needed, but Paul disagrees. And where do we get true doctrine? From the Bible, of course. Any doctrine not having a clear connection with biblical teaching should be rejected or de-emphasized. This includes Sola Scriptura which has no biblical support whatsoever; the early church looked to the apostles as their source of truth, not to scripture.
  2. reproof — criticism of faults, rebuke. Some faults need to be noted or they will destroy the spiritual destiny of the person or the community.
  3. correction — if you have a wrong idea it needs correction. We are to match our views with those of scripture.
  4. instruction in righteousness — it is not enough to know truth; we must act on it. We must become holy, pure, and righteous.

In saying "all" scripture, Paul is not including scripture from other religions. Thus the word "all" doesn't mean all. Bible teachers and preachers often make much of the word "all" and make it to be all-inclusive — except when doing so is inconvenient for the viewpoint they are espousing.

(2 Timothy 3:17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly equipped for every good work.

A person of God is to be perfect. This is not referring merely to some eternal after-death state, but to our lives in this world in the here and now. We are to have only good works and no bad works: scripture provides the tools to do this.

Some teach that are sins are merely covered and that we always remain totally depraved. This verse refutes this notion. What good is it to use scripture as a tool to become perfect if we never actually change? So many wrong ideas about salvation are based on legal arguments in which our salvation is a legal transaction between God and us. This approach leads to the most absurd and unbiblical conclusions! Our redemption is organic, not legal.

(2 Timothy 4:1) I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;

(2 Timothy 4:2) Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

(2 Timothy 4:3) For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

(2 Timothy 4:4) And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

(2 Timothy 4:5) But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:6) For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

(2 Timothy 4:7) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

Only by keeping the faith did Paul end up redeemed. This point is where many Christians get it wrong. In their zeal to avoid the error of salvation by works only, they strip salvation of works altogether. Thus, salvation becomes a vaporous, once in a lifetime utterance of accepting Jesus into their heart during an emotionally charged moment. After that, works are just something you do because God likes good works. But Paul has a different view of his good works, of his good fight, of his finishing the course. They are the essential ingredient of his redemption. Without the perseverance of fighting the fight of faith, he considers himself lost.

(2 Timothy 4:8) Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Three possibilities for the meaning of the phrase "at that day"...

  1. At each person's death when Jesus appears to them, they love his appearing, and they accept eternal redemption. Jesus will give them a crown to rule and reign with him from the spiritual realm.
  2. When receiving a resurrected body after the 2nd coming of Christ and before the great white throne judgment. But why would we need a crown since there is no longer any need to rule and reign?
  3. After the great white throne judgment. But again, why do we need a crown?

(2 Timothy 4:9) Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me:

Paul wants Timothy to come to him soon. Paul would be executed in Rome by Nero in a few years but he seems to think this prison term is the end for him although he mentions he was delivered, at least for the time being. Certainly prison life in those days was extremely unpleasant and Paul wished for Timothy to come assist him.

I wonder why Paul seemingly stepped into being taken captive? He could have easily avoided it the first time in Jerusalem. Perhaps he had a martyr complex and was trying to atone for his persecution of Christians. He would have been more effective if he was free; he wouldn't need other people to stop doing what they were doing to assist him. Sadly, the early church seemed to follow in his footsteps and had many more martyrs than were absolutely necessary. This harshness of the Church influenced it through history and continues to influence it today.

(2 Timothy 4:10) For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

(2 Timothy 4:11) Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

(2 Timothy 4:12) And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus.

(2 Timothy 4:13) The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.

(2 Timothy 4:14) Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

Notice that we are judged by our works. If a person is damned by his deeds he should also be saved by his deeds.

(2 Timothy 4:15) Of whom be thou ware [wary] also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.

Alexander opposed apostolic teaching. Presumably he was teaching heresy and schism.

(2 Timothy 4:16) At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge [held against them].

Opposing apostolic teaching is different than what these others did; they merely distanced themselves from Paul, presumably in fear of arrest of imprisonment. When Paul was in court the first time to give his defense, no one came to defend him or to give positive evidence for him.

(2 Timothy 4:17) Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

Just as Daniel was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. The kingdom of Babylon was also referred to as a lion and the 1st beast of Revelation has the mouth of a lion. Perhaps Paul was referring to being martyred in the Colosseum by lions, but this practice against Christians may not have yet begun.

(2 Timothy 4:18) And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

This refers to life after death for the redeemed and finally to the new heavens and new earth.

(2 Timothy 4:19) Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

(2 Timothy 4:20) Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

(2 Timothy 4:21) Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren.

(2 Timothy 4:22) The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.


King James Version