2 Timothy 2Paul’s letter to his “son” Timothy is literally bursting with lessons and challenges for all of us, especially those of us who are in ministry. In 2 Timothy 2, he covers a plethora of areas and I have simplified them into five themes. The themes overlap each other throughout and are general to the entire chapter rather than being based on verse sections. Here are the five themes:
Work to do
Word to give
Warning to follow
Ways to live
War to wage
Let’s examine the first one.
Paul challenges Timothy about the work he needed to do.
Verse 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.”
Verse 10: “Therefore, I endure all things for the elects sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Verse 15: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Verse 25: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth:”
1. Paul challenges Timothy to “deposit” the truth of the gospel in others so that they in turn can do the same work that he and Timothy were doing. As preachers of the Gospel, we are to continually be training others to do what we do. Paul was older and Timothy was younger, but both needed to do this work.
2. Paul challenges Timothy to “endure” whatever the enemy throws his way so that the gospel can continue to convert sinners and “grow” saints. We may have to “suffer trouble” and even face “bonds” but if we endure the word of God will continue to go forth in power and change lives. Our work will not always be easy and will often include all sorts of troubles. No matter what, we must stay faithful to our work and continue to reach people and teach people.
3. Paul challenges Timothy to “study” to be a successful preacher of the truth. He is to be diligent and “earnest” in his labors and studies. He is to do it in such a way that he can minister with the confidence that he has pleased God. He is also to do it in such a way that he can impart the truths of the gospel with great confidence and with great understanding.
4. Paul challenges Timothy to carefully “instruct” those who are wrong. It requires meekness or gentleness. Being harsh and impatient and condescending will not help at all and will in fact hinder the work God desires to do. It requires “instruction.” As we continually and simply teach the truth it will make a way for error to be corrected. In fact, the construction of the verse seems to indicate that if we handle error incorrectly (with harshness or anger or hard words or impatience) it will hinder God’s work in bringing the one who is in error to a place of truth.
We have work to do! May God help us to do it. May He help us to do it well.