2 Timothy 3-4 Keeping the Faith

2 Timothy 3-4 Keeping the Faith

Bill Blurb: If you've been finding DailyTruthbase helpful, follow 2 Timothy 2:2 and pass it on to others (make it a monthly goal to get another person reading the Scriptures daily). Have them start in Genesis 1:1 and ask them what they're reading weekly.

Note on the text in DTB. In the OT, I edited out the text people tend to get bogged down in, and included it at the end of the post. In the NT all the text is included, but edited to reflect the meaning where the translators missed the context or argument. I underline the words in the text to teach folks how to read and note what is important and emphasized. A basic Bible Study skill is to read in multiple versions to highlight differences, which will underscore difficulties in interpretation. So do read the text carefully, since I sometimes clarify concepts and structure in it which I don't mention in the observations.

Don't just keep the faith, pass it on.

TMS Hebrews 2:18 Help Is Only A Prayer Away
Heb 2:18 “17 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted,
He is able to aid those who are tempted.”

Observations: 2:18 The author of Hebrews demonstrates the superiority of what believers have in Christ, compared to what they had in Judaism. Jesus, as our faithful High Priest, knows what we go though, because He was tempted in all the ways we are: power (security/significance), pleasure, possessions, etc., yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Therefore He is able to help us if we seek Him and His grace to live victoriously.

Application: We can always ask Jesus for help to overcome temptation, and if we fail to do that, we can ask him for forgiveness, but He'd rather give the help.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thanks for dying for me, and for Your desire and offer to empower me to live victoriously; may I seek Your help in my every need. Amen.

2 Timothy 3-4 In the end of the last chapter Paul warned Timothy against those in the church who would oppose him (being taken captive by Satan to do his will). In these chapters he warns Timothy against those who would ignore him (and God's word) foolishly following Satan's decoys rather than finding delight in God. Paul encourages Timothy to endure the opposition and do the job for which God put him on earth and commissioned him: to proclaim the inspired word to those believers who didn't want to hear it, and were thus disqualified from their reward. Paul looked forward to his reward in the future kingdom, as should all mature, God-serving believers.

2 Timothy 3 Iniquity and Inspiration
3:1 But know this, that in the last days, grievous times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 without natural affection, truce breakers, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; 5 holding a form of godliness, but denying its power. Turn away from these, also.
6 For some of these are people who creep into houses, and take captive gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Even as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these also oppose the truth; men corrupted in mind, who concerning the faith, are rejected. 9 But they will proceed no further. For their folly will be evident to all men, as theirs also came to be.
10 But you did follow my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, steadfastness, 11 persecutions, and sufferings: those things that happened to me at Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. I endured those persecutions. Out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you remain/abide in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.
15 From infancy, you have known the holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith, which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Observations: 3:1-9 Paul tells Timothy to expect that the world won't get better and better, but in reality will get worse. People will be:
  • self-centered rather than other centered,
  • materialistic rather than spiritual,
  • boastful rather than humble,
  • arrogant rather than serving,
  • abusive revilers rather than edifying speakers,
  • disobedient to parents rather than honoring them,
  • ungrateful complainers rather than thankful praisers,
  • unholy rather than sanctified and godly,
  • friendless rather than enjoying healthy relationships,
  • covenant breakers rather than keepers of their word,
  • bitter and vengeful rather than forgiving,
  • slanderers rather than truth speakers,
  • lacking self-control rather than disciplined,
  • fierce/savage rather than civilized/kind,
  • despisers rather than lovers of what is good,
  • traitors rather than loyal,
  • headstrong rather than prudent,
  • blinded by pride rather than wise,
  • lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
And these folks are in the church, “serving” on staff, on boards, in the choir, teaching, etc., having an outward form of ritual godliness, but inwardly denying/disregarding the power of God to transform their lives. From such Timothy is to turn away. They are false teachers and leaders, gaining influence over unsanctified people who lack discernment, particularly silly women, who are among those always learning yet never able to arrive at experiential knowledge of the truth (godliness). Their head knowledge never quite made it into their heart and the rest of their lives. This is an equal indictment of both men and women. According to rabbinic tradition, Jan and Jam are the names of Pharaoh's magicians who drew on the dark arts of the devil to oppose Moses. Similarly the folks described above also oppose the truth, since they are corrupted in their thinking/minds, because they have embraced false teaching/theology of men/Satan, rather than the truth reveled by the Holy Spirit. As a result of their opposition to truth, they are not approved (rejected) concerning the faith (the belief in the promises of God which result in reward). This applies to believers, for they are in the church, influencing others, and in opposition to Timothy (Paul wouldn't have to warn him to withdraw from pagans who were teaching in the church). The word for “rejected/not approved” (Strong's #96) is always used of forgiven believers, who don't qualify for glory (see contexts of: Romans 1:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5, 7; Titus 1:16; Hebrews 6:8). Paul even considered the fate of being rejected from reward could apply to himself if he didn't exercise constant vigilance and self-control (1 Corinthians 9:27; Corinthians 13:6 - "reprobate" in KJV). The noun without the negating prefix (approved - Strong's #1384) is used of those who have endured purifying trails and are on target to be rewarded (Romans 14:18; 16:10; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 10:18; 13:7; 2 Timothy 2:15)
James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love Him.”
Those who insist on thinking otherwise, contrary to the facts, might want to reconsider why they think as they do, and correct their thinking back in line with the Scriptures before it's too late. Paul says that the folly of the false teachers would be exposed and evident to all just like that of Jan and Jam was (Exodus 7:12; 8:18; 9:11). This could happen in the present or at the return of Christ (1 Timothy 5:24). The Exodus context would argue for the present age, but the future judgment is more in line with the context of 2 Timothy (4:1) and usages of the contexts of “approved” or “disapproved.”
3:10-14 In contrast to those above, who had been corrupted from the truth by the deceiving lies of Satan (3:13), Timothy should embrace the truth he learned from Paul. Timothy fully understands (present tense of a verb that means to follow alongside as a disciple and thus have full knowledge) Paul's teaching, lifestyle, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance in the midst of persecutions and afflictions. Paul, who had been beaten, and stoned, says that the Lord delivered him out of them all (cf Psalms 22:21). Apparently the bruises didn't bother him that much, because they go with the territory. All who will/desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (cross-stitch that promise on a pillow). If you're swimming upstream, you're bound to encounter some flotsam drifting downstream with the flow. Evil men/women and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving others and being deceived by Satan. They will be the source of most opposition and persecution.
If we endure, God will deliver.
Paul charges Timothy to abide in what he has learned from Paul and been persuaded of because he knows the character of Paul, and the consequences of his teaching in his life.
3:15-17 Paul reminds Timothy that from his youth he has known the (OT) Scriptures, which have power to make him wise with respect to the salvation which is in Christ Jesus. Don't miss the applicability of the OT Scriptures to our walk with Christ. The aspect of salvation in view is that of glorification (approved/disapproved). The OT repeatedly teaches redeemed believers to be careful to do what is right in God's sight (righteousness) so they can be blessed (protected and prospered). Paul then tells him that all Scripture is God-breathed (inspired) and thus profitable (both temporally -how to live this life, and eternally -how to get rewarded in the next life - 4:1-8). The four spheres where the Scriptures are temporally profitable are:
  • teaching/doctrine – marking out the path God wants us to take;
  • reproof – showing us where we're off the path;
  • correction – how to get back on the path;
  • training in righteousness – how to stay on the path when you're tempted to wander or quit.
This is a great pattern for a quiet time, observing God's word for these four things, and then responding in obedience and prayer (response to revelation = worship). This is one of the 7 Passages in the sidebar, that you need to own, so you can pass it on to others. There are lots more observations and applications in the study in the sidebar. Learn it, live it, and then love others with it. The purpose of the Scriptures being profitable in the above areas is so that the man of God (OT term for prophet) can have all they need for every good work. The word for perfect or complete is used only here in the NT and comes from a root that means fitted, which Paul elaborates as completely furnished or supplied for every good work (the means of gaining glory - Ephesians 2:10 the first of the 7 Passages). The specific good works Timothy needs to do are delineated in the next chapter.

Application: God's word equips us with all we need to resist evil and do good, therefore we need to be guided by it every day on our path to glory.

Prayer: God, I praise You for breathing life into me and Your words; may I incorporate their power and wisdom into my life as I do the good works for which You created me. Thanks. Amen.

2 Timothy 4 Teaching and Triumph
4:1 "I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom: 2 preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.
5 But you be sober/sound-minded in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry. 6 For I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith. 8 From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved His appearing.
9 Be diligent to come to me soon, 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you, for he is profitable to me for ministry. 12 But I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus when you come, and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander, the coppersmith, did much evil to me. The Lord will repay him according to his works, 15 of whom you also must beware; for He greatly opposed our words.
16 At my first defense, no one came to help me, but all left me. May it not be held against them. 17 But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will save/preserve me for His heavenly Kingdom; to Whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 19 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but I left Trophimus at Miletus sick. 21 Be diligent to come before winter. Eubulus salutes you, as do Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen."

Observations: 4:1 In light of the Scriptures being God's words (breath), profitable, and all one needs to do His will, Paul charges Timothy to use them to do His work. The charge is made in light of the judgment of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, who will appear and set up His Kingdom (still future).
4:2-4 The task for which Timothy needs such a solemn charge is to tell evil and potentially verbally violent church people (those described ) what they don't want to hear. Paul commands Timothy to preach the word (of God), regardless of whether people are receptive (in season) or rejective (out of season). He is to use the word to highlight (reprove = bring to light) sin or lack of conformity to God's will; to rebuke (spell out the consequences to sinning believers), and exhort/encourage (call them to do the right thing which he models). The reason this will require lots of patience (long suffering) and instruction is because the time will come (and is already here) when people won't bear with nor listen to sound/healthy teaching/doctrine but will gather heaps of teachers who will tickle their ears, and tell them what they want to hear, keeping them comfortable in the sin and lack of victory (worms vs. butterflies - see comments on Romans 12:1-2, another of the 7 Passages). The people will turn away their ears from the truth and want to hear fables and stories that don't expose their evil ambitions, lusts, and behaviors. Believers who fail to pursue God's truth will delude themselves, (and be deceived by Satan) into thinking they are doing or can't do God's will, and that such rebellion is fine. When Christ returns, they will receive a rude awakening unless they respond to the wake-up call of truth (Ephesians 5:14).
4:5-8 So Paul reminds Timothy to be sound-minded in all things (life governed by objectives rather than emotions/passions), to suffer hardship/endure afflictions, and do his job of proclaiming the good news of the Messiah: He's coming back to judge and reward His faithful servants and discipline those who aren't. The reminder to fulfill the ministry Timothy received from the Lord via the hands of Paul is all the more poignant in light of Paul impending martyrdom. In facing his departure from earth he can say:
  • he has fought the good fight (also used of competing in athletic games);
  • he has finished the course; (perfect tense, of fulfilling a commission);
  • he has kept the faith (he has observed or attended to carefully the promises of God);
  • he will be rewarded.
He knows that the the Lord, being a righteous judge will give him, on Judgment Day, the reward he has laid up in heaven by his actions on earth (cf 1 Peter 1). The reward is described a crown or rulership in the Kingdom, which comes from his righteousness on earth (being careful to do what is right in God's sight). The Lord will not only give Paul his due, but will reward all those who have loved (sacrificed themselves for continually - perfect tense), the prospect of His appearing in glory to rule over the Millennial Kingdom (cf 4:1). Some of the judgments of Christ will have their consequences for a thousand years in the Messiah's Kingdom.
4:9-15 Paul is anxious for the companionship of Timothy during his last days on earth, because everyone has left him, but Luke. Demas forsook him for the deceiving delights of this temporal world, a really bad trade. He gave up the incorruptible delights of eternity for the passing pleasures of sin which are subject to the laws of diminishing returns, and decay. He should have given up that which he couldn't keep, for that which he couldn't lose. On a brighter note, Paul recognized the benefit of Mark for ministry (probably the John-Mark over whose faithfulness Paul and Barnabas split in Acts 15:39). He asks for the cloak and books, especially the parchments. These can't be identified with precision. He warns Timothy against Alexander who greatly opposed the truth and did much evil. He reminds Timothy not to seek vengeance, because the Lord will repay him.
4:16-22 At his first defense/apologia at his trial, no one stood with him, except the Lord, who strengthened him, so that the message might be fully heard, and the commission of Christ discharged. God is always by our side to strengthen and help us as we do His will. People are fallible, and will frequently fail us, so while it is nice to have fellow-laborers and companions, our hope and help must ultimately be in Christ alone. As a result of the Lord empowering him, all the Gentiles (in Rome and beyond) heard the good news of Christ. He confidently expected that God would continue to deliver him from every evil attack. Nevertheless, servants of God are not immortal (yet), just impervious to destruction until their job here on earth is done. Paul says that God will save/preserve him for/eis His heavenly Kingdom. He was even delivered from the mouth of a surprised and hungry lion. Roman citizens were not subject to being cat food in the Colosseum, so it is possibly a veiled reference to Nero (who was called a lion by Seneca) or Satan (1 Peter 5:8, in which case “lion” would have the definite article in front of it, and it doesn't). Note that the heavenly Kingdom is still future (cf Luke 17:21). Paul gives greeting to Priscilla and Aquila, and the house of Onesiphorus, honorable saints of the Lord. Note that the miracle working, sick healing and dead resurrecting apostle left Trophimus at Miletus sick. Those who think they must claim physical healing in the atonement might benefit by thinking again. Paul requests that Timothy come before winter (with the cloak). All the brothers salute/greet Timothy, and Paul prays the Lord Jesus would be with Timothy's spirit (cf 1:7) and that the empowerment and covenantal blessing of grace would be his.

Application: Those who love Christ's appearing, and want to look forward to their reward, must learn and faithfully carry out God's will for them.

Prayer: Lord, I praise You for Your word, and the wisdom You give through it; thanks for Your presence and the strength You give; may I draw upon Your grace to do Your will for my life. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God breathed His words into the Scripture so we would have truth profitable for our lives and ministry.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus is the future judge who will appear to reward faithful believers, and disqualify the unfaithful. He strengthens His servants to accomplish His purposes for them, and then takes them home to glory.

Us in a nutshell: All who purpose to live doing what Christ desires will experience persecution from men and praise from God. Many believers on the broad and easy road to destruction will not want to hear truth, but will find teachers who tell them what they want to hear (that they're OK living to please themselves rather than Christ). Justification is given by faith; Glorification is gotten by faithful works.

Where to Go for More:

No comments:

Post a Comment