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To Be a Workman Approved of God
Summary —Training Other Evangelists. Warring as a Good Soldier. Suffering with Christ. Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth. Purity of Life.
1, 2. Thou, therefore, my son. Since his son, Timothy, should follow his example, and seek to be strong through the grace of Christ. 2. And the things that thou hast heard of me. The instruction that I gave thee to fit thee for preaching Christ, do thou impart to other men, faithful, in order that they may be able to teach others also. As Paul prepared Timothy to preach the gospel, so he is to prepare other men. Among many witnesses. This probably refers to Timothy hearing Paul teach these things before many congregations. Faithful men. Trustworthy men.
3–6. Thou, therefore, endure hardness. Timothy was a soldier of the cross. It is the part of a soldier to suffer as well as to fight. 4. No man that warreth. The soldier to do good service must devote himself entirely to the soldier's life, giving up worldly affairs. So the soldier, like Timothy, engaged as a minister, should have no other business. 5. And if a man also strive. In the various athletic games of the Greeks. Unless he complies with the regulations, no prize will be assigned to him in any contest. So one, striving for the Christian crown, must seek to please the Master. 6. The husbandman that laboreth. The farmer has the first right to the fruits. Three illustrations, that of the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer are here given. They all bear on the life of Timothy. “All three must deny themselves and suffer, in order to receive the reward. The soldier denies himself the 278world; the athlete obeys rigid laws; the husbandman labors and waits for a reward. So you must be content to deny yourself, to suffer, and to wait for your reward.”
7–10. Consider what I say. Reflect, and take in its meaning.
8. Remember. This is spoken for encouragement in suffering. That Jesus Christ of the seed of David. Even as the prophets had predicted that he should be. Was raised from the dead. He suffered, died, but was not holden of death, and was exalted.
My gospel. The gospel I preach everywhere. 9. Wherein I suffer trouble. For this gospel. For it I am now a prisoner as an evil doer. The word of God is not bound. Its great preacher was, but the Word could not be. It was being preached abroad by thousands of tongues. 10. Therefore I endure. Since the work goes on, I endure cheerfully. For the elect's sakes. All came upon him on account of his devotion to the church. He suffered that others, God's chosen ones, might obtain salvation.
11–13. It is a faithful saying. A true saying. Some think that the 11th and 12th verses were part of an early hymn. If we be dead with him. Rather, as in the Revision, “Died with him.” Compare Rom. 6:4, 5, 8, and Col. 2:12. The reference is to death to the old life, and burial into the death of Christ at baptism. 12. If we suffer. We die in order to live. So our suffering with Christ “works out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Compare also Rom. 8:17, and Matt. 19:27, 28. If we deny him. See Matt. 10:33. 13. If we believe not. If we prove faithless, he will still be faithful to keep every promise he has made.
14–18. Put them in remembrance. Those to whom you minister. Charging … that they strive not about words. We see proofs in both letters to Timothy that the idle speculations which did the church such damage a little later had already begun. 15. Study to show thyself. To this end the utmost diligence must be used. Approved unto God. Such a preacher that his work will please the Heavenly Father. A workman that needeth not to be ashamed. Whose life and work are such as to honor Christ and the gospel. This requires a pure life as well as judicious work. Rightly dividing the word of truth. The Revision reads, “Handling aright.” The Greek word means, literally, “cutting straight.” The thought, probably, is to present the truth clearly, truthfully, without 279blunders, and with an exactness which cannot be gainsaid. 16. But shun. Preach the truth. Shun foolish speculations. Profane. Unholy. 17. And their word. The profane and vain babblings. Eat as doth a canker. Eat deeper and deeper, like a gangrene. Of whom is Hymenæus. See 1 Tim. 1:20. 18. Who concerning the truth have erred. Their speculation is stated. They preached, as some do in our own times, that the resurrection which Christ teaches is only a moral resurrection, a resurrection of the soul to a better life. This error was taught also in Corinth (1 Cor. 15:12), and found some currency in the second century. 19. Nevertheless. Notwithstanding the faith of some is overthrown (verse 18), God's firm foundation stands. It stands unshaken. His promises are sure. Having this seal. On seals were often inscriptions, and the thought here is of the inscription. Upon this seal are two inscriptions. The first cheers with the assurance that the Lord knows his own, and will not forget them; the second shows who are his. The Lord knows his people, and his people obey him. Thus they may know that they are known of God.
20–22. But in a great house. As in a house there are vessels of honor and dishonor, gold and earthen, so in the house of God, the church, there are even some earthy materials. 21. If a man therefore purge himself from these. If a man wishes to be a noble vessel, of gold, for honorable uses in the Lord's house, let him cleanse himself from earthly lusts. 22. Flee also youthful lusts. Hence, let youthful passions be controlled. Flee these, and follow righteousness, etc. See note on 1 Tim. 4:12.
23–26. Foolish and unlearned questions avoid. Such unprofitable questions and speculations as the false teachers raise. 24. The servant of the Lord must not strive. Hence, should not engage in these profitless discussions. 25. In meekness correcting. Opposers must be corrected, but not rudely; rather gently, kindly, humbly. If God … will give them repentance. God gives repentance often by providences which lead to repentance. 26. And that they may recover. They are in “the snare of the devil,” taken captive at will. The only hope is that in the providence of God they “may recover” themselves (the idea is, to “return to soberness.” See margin of Revision), repent, 280and acknowledge the truth. Men are commanded to Repent, Matt. 3:2; Acts 2:38, etc., but here God is alluded to as “peradventure” giving repentance. The meaning is made clear by comparing with Acts 11:18: “Then hath God also the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” The meaning there is that God has granted to the Gentiles the privilege of repentance, even as unto the Jews. So Paul's idea here is that God, peradventure, may grant these, though sinning so grievously, opportunities for repentance, instead of delivering them over to hardness of heart. 280
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