HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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Second Letter to Timothy
Theme: Active in service
In this chapter the apostle continues his encouragements to Timothy, with respect both to his office and his lifestyle. Paul had urged Timothy in chapter 1, to live by the Gospel, no matter what he might suffer for it. Here he points out to him that grace and strength of Christ, would enable him to be able to do this.
The second chapter of 2 Timothy is very pleasing. In these verses there are seven figures of speech that are used to describe the duty and the activity of a believer, which need to be impressed upon us more and more as we come closer to the end time.
Seven commands to Timothy:
1. Be strong in the grace in Christ (verse 1).
2. Commit truth to faithful men (verse 2).
3. Endure hardness as a good soldier (verse 3).
4. Be not entangled with the affairs of this life, so as to please God (verse 4).
5. Strive lawfully for the crown (verse 5).
6. Consider what I say (verse 7).
7. Christ's resurrection is the chief theme of the Gospel (verse 8).
A Son (2 Timothy 2:1-2)
2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)
Thou therefore, my son . . . we saw in chapter 1, that many had turned away from the apostle, and had forsaken the paths of truth.
Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus . . . the meaning is to be strong, relying on the grace which only the Lord Jesus can impart. (Josh.1:7; Eph.6:10).
Paul begins with the first figure of speech, "Thou therefore, my son." Timothy was not the son of Paul physically, but he was his spiritual son. It was under Paul's ministry that Timothy had turned to Christ. A child of God is born into God's family by his faith in Christ (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8). "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (1 Pet.1:23). Paul encourages Timothy to "Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Dear one, IF you think that you can live the Christian life on your own, you are SO wrong! IF you think you can follow a few little rules or some rituals to make you a mature Christian, you are SO wrong! Paul gives NO rules, and the Bible has NO rules to tell the child of God how to live the Christian life. We are saved by grace, and then we are to live by the grace of God. Only God can make us strong in that grace.
When things go wrong in this life, we must go to Him and appeal to Him for help. When we fail (and we will), instead of running away from Him . . . run fast TO Him! When a TRUE child of God runs away, the chastening (Heb.12:5,7,10-11) we receive will be much worse, that if we run to Him. We are sons of the heavenly Father. How marvelous this is! 1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (KJV) Paul tells Timothy and us: "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. (KJV)
And the things which thou hast heard of me among many witnesses . . . or in the presence of many witnesses. Maybe Paul refers to a solemn charge which he gave him, in the presence of the church, when Timothy was ordained. It is by no means unlikely that such a charge was given then to a newly-ordained minister, as it is now. On such an occasion, the apostle would be likely to state a summary of Christian doctrine (2 Tim.1:13), and to urge Timothy to be faithful to it.
The same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also . . . Paul tells Timothy to bring the same Gospel to faithful men as was brought to him. Timothy was to see that only those were admitted to the ministry who were qualified to understand the Truths of religion, and to communicate them to others. Only men who are qualified to teach, and who have the Spirit of Christ, should be preachers. Many are ordained who have NO business being pastors! Many false teachers fill the pulpits! BEWARE! They will lead you to HELL!
Qualifications of ministers (1 Tim.3:2-7).
A Good Soldier (2 Timothy 2:3-4)
2 Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (KJV)
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ . . . there will be hardships, such as a soldier is called to endure. Paul knows that a minister of the Gospel might be called to endure hardships, and that he should be as ready to do it as a soldier would. On such hardships, Paul knew first hand, because he endured much! See: (2 Cor.11:23-29). Soldiers often endure great miseries: are taken from their homes and friends; exposed to cold, heat, storms, tiring marches, at times almost destitute of food, etc. Because of this, no man seek the office of the ministry thinking it as a place of ease. No one should come into it merely to enjoy himself. No one should enter it who is not prepared to lead a soldier's life, and to welcome hardship and trial as his lot. He would NOT make a good soldier.
BUT . . . many enter the ministry thinking only of how they can make a dollar in the name of Christianity! Many do it friend! BEWARE!!! These are false teachers bringing damnable heresies (2 Pet.2:1) to the gullible congregation. BEWARE!!! They will lead you to HELL!
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. (KJV)
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life . . . having told Timothy that his life would be as the life of a soldier, in which he would be exposed to many difficulties, dangers and hazards, Paul here reminds him that he is a minister of the Gospel and should not engage himself in secular employments, but give himself entirely to the ministry work, that he might please the Lord Jesus Christ, who has chosen him to be His soldier.
TRUE believers are to establish their priorities. Here Timothy (and us) may have to endure hardships, which means to tolerate these hardships, such as Paul was suffering. There are some who say this verse means that a Christian is not to get married. I disagree. Paul is NOT talking about celibacy, he is talking about being so entangled in worldliness that one is not able to live a godly Christian life. We are NOT to trap ourselves in the things of this life. The TRUE child of God is to know that he is a soldier. And we are to know that the Christian life is NOT a playground; it is a battlefield! Some battles are won, but others are lost! BEWARE!!! There is a very real spiritual battle going on. We need spiritual armor to see us through!
Eph. 6:11-20 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. (KJV)
That he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier . . . . a good pastor must approve himself to Jesus. He is not to pursue his own plans, or to have his own will, or to accumulate property or fame for himself. His will should be the will of his Master. Nowhere else is it so true that the will of one becomes lost in that of another, as it is in the case of the soldier. The main purpose of the minister of the Gospel is to please Christ. He is to pursue no separate plans, and to have no separate will, of his own; and it is expected that the whole group of Christian ministers and members of the churches shall be as entirely subordinate to the will of Christ, as an army is to the orders of its chief.
An Athlete (2 Timothy 2:5)
2 Timothy 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. (KJV)
And if a man also strive for masteries . . . here Paul compares the Christian to an athlete. Strive refers to competing in a game. A contestant wants to win, and he does everything he can to win, as in the Grecian games. (1 Cor.9:24).
Yet is he not crowned except he strives lawfully . . . no one could obtain the prize unless he had obeyed with all the laws of the games, and had given to those with whom he competed, a fair opportunity to succeed. Paul represents the Christian minister as engaged in a struggle or conflict for the crown. He says, that he could not hope to win it unless he would comply with all the laws by which it is conferred; unless he should subdue every improper tendency; and make an effort like that evinced by the combatants at the Olympic games (1 Cor.9:26-27).
Sad to say, the only exercise some Christians get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, sidestepping responsibility and pushing their luck. That is NOT the kind of exercise Paul is talking about. Paul spoke of the Christian life as being a racecourse, and he said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil.3:14). Paul also said that he wanted to keep his body under control (1 Cor.9:24-27). Paul's goal was to run the Christian race in such a way that the One who is at the end of the race . . . the Lord Jesus . . . would be able to reward him and be able to say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant" (Mat.25:21). A child of God must strive; do everything that he can, if he intends to win the race. Every TRUE child of God needs to be aware of this. BUT . . . we are to strive lawfully, meaning that we must play by the rules. There is no shortcut to living the Christian life. God gave us sixty-six books, and each one of them is very important. It takes the combined picture to give us the mind and the Word of God. We are to study the entire Bible. An athlete cannot cut the corner on a racetrack. Neither can a baseball player run by a base without touching it. He has to touch all the bases to score. A child of God has to do that, too. If you want to win the prize, you cannot take any shortcuts.
A Farmer (2 Timothy 2:6-14)
2 Timothy 2:6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. (KJV)
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits . . . the idea here is that the man who cultivates the earth, should enjoy the fruits of his labor (1 Cor.9:10). It was to remind Timothy that labour must precede reward; that if a man would reap, he must sow; that he could hope for no fruits, unless he toiled for them. The husbandman would not be the first one who would partake of the fruits; but that he must first labor before he obtained the reward. This would encourage Timothy to hang in there, looking onward to the reward.
This fourth description of a believer is a husbandman (farmer), who tills the field and sows the seed of the Word of God. I think that the TOTAL Truth of God’s Word has to be sown before there can be a harvest. Heaven must be taught . . . BUT . . . Hell also MUST be taught, because BOTH are in the Bible.
2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. (KJV)
Consider what I say . . . carefully think over what I have said in your mind.
And the Lord give thee understanding in all things . . . the Lord will enable you to see the power of these concerns, and to apply them to your own case. We all need the help of the Lord to empower us to apply the most obvious considerations, and to get support from the most plain and simple truths and promises. Only God can open the mind to understand them, and allow the heart to receive them. Pro. 2:6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (KJV)
2 Timothy 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: (KJV)
Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead . . . Timothy was to think of the Saviour Himself. Timothy was to think of the Saviour, raised up from the dead after all the sorrows of this life that He went through, and let that encourage him to bear his trials. There is nothing better to enable us to endure the labors and trials of this life, than to think of the Saviour. Seed of David (Rom.1;3).
According to my gospel . . . the Gospel which Paul preached was the same Gospel that Jesus preached, and is the same Gospel preached by TRUE and godly preachers today. That doctrine of the Gospel that Paul had preached to them, he calls my gospel, because it was committed to his trust to publish abroad (Rom.2:16; 16:25); which he preached (Gal.1:11); the Gospel preached of me: he speaks of as our gospel (1 Thes.1:5; 2 Thes.2:14), confirming that the Gospel was no more his than others' who also were ministers of it.
2 Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. (KJV)
Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds . . . Paul says that he suffered affliction, as if he were an evil doer, to that point that he was put in chains.
But the word of God is not bound . . . but yet I keep preaching the Gospel, even though they have restrained me, for they are NOT able to restrain the Gospel!
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. (KJV)
Therefore I endure all things . . . Paul withstood all things, the reproach, imprisonment and chains, but he had not yet resisted to blood. He was still alive, but not for too much longer.
For the elect's sakes . . . Paul had endured all the suffering as Jesus had endured His suffering. Paul used Jesus as his example, as we too should do. By doing this, Paul was testifying of his love to Him; and for the sake of those whom God hath chosen to eternal life, that they, seeing Paul’s patience and faithfulness, may be established in the faith of the Gospel.
That they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory . . . by that means, they may obtain eternal life, salvation, with eternal glory, which is to be had ONLY in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: (KJV)
It is a faithful saying . . . see the same phrase (1 Tim.1:15; 4:9).
For if we be dead with him . . . TRUE Christians are said to be dead with Christ in two ways: #1. By our dying to sin, as He died for sin (Rom.6:5). #2. By our suffering in our testimony of the Truth (2 Cor.4:10), which is that being dead with Him which is here mentioned.
We shall also live with him . . . there is also a twofold living with Him, by a rising again to a newness of life (Rom.6:5), and after this in glory, which the latter is here intended.
2 Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (KJV)
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him . . . IF we suffer for His Name's sake, for a nonstop owning and loyalty to His doctrine of faith, if we persistently keep the trust He hath rested in us, we shall reign with Him in glory.
If we deny him, he also will deny us . . . BUT if we, when danger lurks, deny His Truth, or forsake the profession of Him, He in the day of judgment will NOT own us before His Father and the holy angels (Mat.10:32-33; Mk.8:38; Rom.8:17). "If we deny him, he also will deny us."
2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (KJV)
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful . . . whether a person believes or refuses to believe, God will always be faithful, either to His Promises made to those who believe, or to His threats condemning them that refuse to believe (Jn.3:18,36; 5:24; 8:24; 1 Jn.5:10-13). God ALWAYS keeps His Promises . . . both to His children and to His enemies!
He cannot deny himself . . . means that it would be a denial of His very nature to save those who are unfaithful. God is absolutely pure and holy; and He will NOT save one who is unholy. God cannot deny himself, He cannot, He will NOT accept as true anyone who is false. That's why He gave such a sarcastic admonition of the religious rulers of His day (Mat.23). He called them hypocrites because they were pretending to be something they were not. If Jesus accepted someone who was not genuine, He would actually be denying Himself because He is true. Many think they can fool God. They CANNOT! He looks at the heart, and He sees what the person really is! Your false words of love, kindness, compassion and morality may fool those around you, but they will NEVER, ever fool our Almighty God! My friend, Jesus IS God! http://www.hisservants.org/is_jesus_god_h_s.htm
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. (KJV)
Of these things put them in remembrance . . . instill in other teachers all the things which I have told you.
Charging them before the Lord . . . accusing them as in the sight of God, who most certainly observes and takes notice of them, and will call them to account.
That they strive not about words to no profit . . . that they do not spend their time in their pulpits with words which bring no solid advantage of their hearers, and turning them away from the simplicity of faith. (1 Tim.1:6; 6:4).
But to the subverting of the hearers . . . but may lead to the undermining of them, and destroy their diligence in the faith, separating them into parties and factions.
A Workman, A Teacher (2 Timothy 2:15-19)
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (KJV)
Study to show thyself approved unto God . . . let it be that you do not please men, nor desire their praise for speaking skillfully or smoothly, but desire that you be accepted by God, who is your Master in this work, and whom you should serve. Study: (2 Pet.1:10).
A workman that needeth not to be ashamed . . . a workman that does his work well and faithfully, need not be ashamed, no matter who looks at it and judges it.
Rightly dividing the word of truth . . . meaning to handle rightly; rightly administer. The symbol being a father or a steward. The word for "rightly dividing," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It rightly means to cut straight, to divide it right (Mat.13:52). Truth: (2 Tim.2:18).
The opposite to "rightly dividing," or dispensing, is to "corrupt the word of God." (2 Cor.2:17).
2 Timothy 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. (KJV)
But shun profane and vain babblings . . . by these dishonorable terms the apostle Paul defames all disrespectful sermons in the discharge of the pastoral office, such as he had called fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions (1 Tim.1:4), profane and old wives' fables (1 Tim.4:7); here he calls them empty, vain, and unprofitable discourses, which though possibly not profane in themselves, yet were profane as used in the discharge of the ministerial office, where nothing should be spoken except the solid, useful Truths of the Gospel.
For they will increase unto more ungodliness . . . Paul says they will bring on only errors and ungodliness of life. Timothy was to avoid all worthless chatter that has no value whatsoever.
2 Timothy 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; (KJV)
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus . . . I don't know much about these two men, but it seems that they must have been apostates.
2 Timothy 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. (KJV)
Who concerning the truth have erred . . . have erred (1 Tim.6:21); to what extent they had erred is not known. Paul mentions only one point . . . that concerning the resurrection. But, when falsehoods are preached, it is like a rampant infection. Unless it is stopped in its tracks, it could put an end to all the other doctrines of the Gospel. No one can safely embrace a single error, any more than he can safely have one part of his body in a horrible state of infection.
Saying, that the resurrection is past already . . . they had the Truth, but they had wandered from it, saying the resurrection was already past, thus denying the resurrection of the body, and as a result, denying future rewards and punishments. They were teaching that the resurrection had already taken place, which meant that those still living had missed it!
And overthrow the faith of some . . . the falsehood on this point, and as would appear on all the related subjects of Christian belief, could overthrow the faith of some (1 Tim.1:19-20).
The Foundation of the Lord’s Work is Firm
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. (KJV)
Nevertheless the foundation of God is sure . . . the meaning is, that even though some had been turned away by the deceptions of these false teachers, yet the foundation of the church which God had laid remained firm (Eph.2:20). "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone." As long as the foundation stayed firm, there was no reason to be troubled by the few cases of apostasy which had occurred (Ps.11:3). It is common to compare the church to a building erected on a solid foundation (Eph.2:20-21; 1 Cor.3:9-10; Mat.16:18).
Having this seal . . . the word seal is at times used to mean the instrument by which an impression is made, and sometimes the impression or inscription itself. A seal is used for security (Mat.27:66), or as a mark of genuineness (Rev.9:4). The seal here is one that was attached to the foundation, and seems to refer to some inscription on the foundation-stone which always remained there, and which means the character and design of the building. The reference is to rearing an edifice, of inscribing the name of the builder and the design of the building on the corner-stone. So the Body of Christ was reared by the Hands of God.
The Lord knoweth them that are his . . . they are sealed, and confirmed in their state by the eternal decree and counsel of God, who hath foreknown His elect (Mat.25:34; Eph.1:4; Tit.1:2; Rev.13:8), both as to their number and determination. God has from eternity known who are His, and therefore such as truly are so, must be kept through faith by His power to salvation, and it is NOT possible that these should ever be totally and finally deceived.
And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity . . . this is the other seal or inscription which is made on the foundation which God has laid. The foundation has two inscriptions . . . the first implies that God knows all who are His own people; and the other, that all who are His professed people should depart from evil. This is not found in so many words in the Old Testament, and like the first one, should not to be considered as a quotation. The simple meaning is, that it is a basic principle in the TRUE church, that all who become members of it should lead holy lives. It is also true that they would lead holy lives, and amidst all the errors of false teachers, and all their attempts to draw away others from the true faith, those might be known to be the TRUE people of God who did avoid evil.
A Vessel (2 Timothy 2:20-23)
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. (KJV)
But in a great house . . . still comparing the church with a building; the idea is, that the church is a large edifice, and that in such a building we are not to expect complete uniformity in all the articles which it contains.
There are not only vessels of gold and of silver . . . not all the articles of furniture are alike, or all made of the same material. There is variety in the form, use and material, that is necessary in furnishing such a house.
And some to honour, and some to dishonor . . . some would be to most honorable uses; such as drinking vessels, and vessels to contain articles of food, and some for the less honorable purposes connected with cooking, etc. The same is to be expected in the church. See this idea under another symbol: (1 Cor.12:14-26; Rom.9:21). It seems to be, that in the church it is to be understood that there will be a great variety of gifts and achievements, and that we are not to think that all will be alike than we are that all the vessels in a large house will be made of gold.
2 Timothy 2:21 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. (KJV)
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel of honour . . . IF a man cleanse or purify himself (Acts 21:26). The word "these" refers, to the persons represented by the vessels of wood and of earth; the vessels made to dishonor, as mentioned in the previous verse. The idea is, that if one would preserve himself from the corrupting influence of such men, he would be fitted to be a vessel of honor, or to be employed in the most useful and honorable service in the cause of his Master.
In these verses a believer is pictured as a vessel. If a vessel is to be usable, it must be clean. God uses clean vessels; He does NOT use dirty vessels. Remember in the second chapter of John's Gospel we read of the Lord Jesus making wine at a wedding. He had the servants bring out the old battered crocks (which the Jews used for purification) and had those crocks filled with water. He took those old ugly (but clean) crocks and used them for His glory. My friend, today God is looking for clean vessels to use . . . NOT beautiful, but clean.
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. (KJV)
Flee also youthful lusts . . . by youthful lusts Paul means such sinful desires, tendencies, and inclinations of mind as are most common to youth, be they lusts of the flesh, or spiritual lusts such as are the vices of the mind: ambition, ostentation, pride, vain-glory, contempt of others, etc. Flee: (Ecc.11:9-10).
But follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace . . . (Heb.12:14). The general meaning here is, that Timothy was to practice all that is good and upright. He was to practice righteousness, or justice and equity, in all his dealings with men; faith, or fidelity in his duties; charity, or love to all men (1 Cor.13:1). Faith, which teaches a soul to receive Divine revelations steadily, without perverse disputings. Charity, which is kind, envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own (1 Cor.13:4-6).
Peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart . . . a union, not with men of corrupt minds and practices, but with all such as serve and worship God purely and sincerely. With them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart . . . meaning all Christians, who are often characterized as those who call on the Lord. In all his association with them, Timothy was to clearly teach the above recommended virtues. But not with them alone. He would be obligated to exhibit the same virtues in his interaction with all. Peace is agreement, harmony and friendship with all others. What virtues could be more appropriate for a minister of the Gospel?
2 Timothy 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. (KJV)
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes . . . (1 Tim.1:4,6; 4:7; 2 Tim.2:16). The word unlearned, here, means trifling; that which does not tend to edification; stupid. The Greeks and the Hebrews were given to controversies of countless kinds; and many of the questions discussed were points which could not be settled, or which, if settled, were of no importance whatsoever. Paul says that the only effect of such disputes is to create harsh disagreement.
A Servant (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (KJV)
And the servant of the Lord must not strive . . . referring mainly to the Christian minister, but applies to all Christians; ALL those who profess to be the servants of the Lord. Must not strive . . . commonly means to fight, to make war, to contend. (Jn.6:52; Acts 7:26; Jam.4:2). Servants of Christ should be peaceful, casting off feelings which bring conflict. They should not struggle for mere victory, even when trying to maintain Truth; but should in all cases, have a kind spirit and a mild temper; with total honesty; not trying to provoke and irritate an adversary, so that, a bond of peace may be preserved, IF possible (Rom.12:18).
But be gentle unto all men . . . (1 Thes.2:7). The word gentle, does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. It means that the Christian minister is to be meek and mild towards all, not be quarrelsome.
Apt to teach . . . able to teach (1Tim.3:2.
Patient . . . easy-going, forbearing, enduring, long suffering, tolerant (Eph.4:2; Col.3:12-13).
2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (KJV)
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves . . . meaning those who embrace error, and stand against the Truth. We are not to become angry with such persons, we are to patiently try to instruct them. Their big problem is that they are ignorant of the Truth that can save them. We should calmly to show them what the truth is. If they are angry, we are not to be. If they oppose the Truth, we are still to calmly state the Truth to them. If they are slow or reluctant to see it, we are not to become weary or impatient. In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves . . . if you are trying to win a person to Christ, don't argue with him. If he disagrees with you, let him disagree with you. Just keep on giving him the Truth in the Word of God.
If God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth . . . we must pray that God may give them the power, and a repentant heart to acknowledge that Truth, which they at present oppose. Even though this must be God's work, yet he does it by ministers as his means and instruments, who are to use proper means to do it. We are not to abuse and insult, but give kindly and meek instructions, and have a kind and gentle behavior to them. A foul-mouthed servant of God cannot cleanse another's heart.
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. (KJV)
And that they may recover themselves . . . or that they may awaken out of a drunken sleep, for this type of sin is a kind of drunkenness, in which men have lost the use of all reasoning.
Out of the snare of the devil; by the snare of the devil . . . Paul means the devil’s temptations, which are like crafty traps set deceitfully to catch souls.
Who are taken captive by him . . . meaning as persons taken captive in war; for it is in such a miserable captivity are sinners.
At his will . . . they were so influenced by the devil that they submitted to his will. It seems to be that the opposers of the Truth are taken captive by the devil to do his will. BEWARE!!!
A TRUE believer is like a servant, and he is to be meek and gentle to all men. Does it seem like a contradiction here? The soldier was to fight, but the servant is not to fight? It is not a contradiction (inconsistency). When you stand for the truth, you are to be assured and let people know where you stand. Do NOT be a coward. It has been said that silence is golden, but sometimes it is just yellow! My dear friend, stand up for the Truth. But . . . "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves." Any time you are trying to win a person to Christ, do not argue with him. If he disagrees with you, that is OK. Just keep on giving him the Truth that can save him.
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