2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 2:1

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

The grace that is in Christ Jesus. God gives us his grace through his Son (1 Cor 1:4, Eph 1:6).

Jesus is the embodiment of the Father’s grace. Consequently, we can say that the gospel of grace is the gospel of Jesus (Acts 20:24, 2 Th. 1:8). There is no difference.

Further reading: “Is Grace a Person?

2 Timothy 2:8

Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,

My gospel. Alternatively, “the gospel that I preach.” Paul did not preach a different gospel from Jesus or any of the other apostles (see Gal. 1:8).

The gospel that was sometimes known as the gospel of Christ (Rom. 15:19) or the gospel of God (Rom 15:16) or the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23), was the gospel of grace (Acts 20:24) that Paul referred to as “my gospel” (Rom. 2:16, 16:25) and “our gospel” (2 Cor. 4:3, 1 Th. 1:5, 2 Th. 2:14). See entry for The Gospel.

2 Timothy 2:9

for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.

(a) Imprisonment. Paul was not imprisoned because he preached the old covenant law. He became a target of Jewish animosity and Roman justice because he dared to tell people about the grace of God revealed in his Son. (See also Php. 1:14, Phm. 1:13.)

(b) The word of God is the good news of Jesus. See entry for Word of God.

2 Timothy 2:10

For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.

(a) I endure all things… so that they also may obtain. Paul went through many trials and hardships not to obtain salvation for himself, but so that others might hear the gospel and be saved.

(b) Those who are chosen are the elect or the church. “Many are called, but few are chosen,” said Jesus (Matt. 22:14). God’s call goes out to all but not all respond. Those who do are called the elect or the chosen. “For you are a chosen generation” (1 Pet. 2:9).

In a manner of speaking, the chosen choose themselves. But since the Lord initiates the call, it’s accurate to say we are chosen of God. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

(c) Salvation. The original word for salvation means deliverance or rescue. Jesus is the great Deliverer who rescues us from our enemies (Luke 1:71). See entry for Salvation.

(d) The salvation which is in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the unsinkable ark of your salvation (Heb. 11:7). When the flood comes, it does not matter how good a swimmer you are; it only matters how good your ark is. In Christ, we are protected by the power of God (1 Pet. 1:5).

Salvation is being put into Jesus. This is why those in Christ are eternally unpunishable (1 John 4:18). One with the Lord, his future is ours. We are as secure as the Savior himself.

Further reading: “The many benefits of union

2 Timothy 2:11

It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;

(a) We died with Him. The Christian life begins at death. This is what makes the gospel unique. Every manmade religion preaches self-denial and dying to self, but the gospel simply declares, “You died.”

Many Christians are trying to crucify the flesh or their old self, but the sinful person you used to be was crucified with Christ, and no longer lives. You are a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17). See entry for Gal. 2:20.

(b) We will also live with Him. We died with Christ, so that Christ might live his resurrected life through us. It’s an if-then statement. If A, then B. “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). You have been raised to new life and given a brand new nature. You are not a dead-in-your-sins sinner but a living saint because Jesus makes you so.

2 Timothy 2:12

If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

(a) We will also reign with Him. The new life we have in Christ is one of enduring and reigning with him (Rom. 5:17). We don’t endure to earn this new life, for everything comes to us by grace. We endure because Christ has endured and the One who overcame the world lives in you (John 16:33).

There are three parts to this trustworthy saying: Because you died with Christ and now live with Christ, you can reign with Christ. Many Christians are looking forward to a future life with Christ but they are not ruling and reigning with him here and now. They don’t know they can. They’ve been told life is one big test and maybe, if they are careful, they’ll get a crown at the end. But the abundant life Christ promised is experienced by those who know and trust him now.

(b) With Him. This passage is a wonderful affirmation of our union with the Lord. The believer has been crucified with him, buried with him, raised with him in order to live with him and reign with him (Rom. 6:4-8, 2 Cor. 13:4, Eph. 2:6, Col. 2:12-13). See entry for Union.

(c) If we deny Him, He also will deny us. Paul is talking about unbelievers. He is echoing what Jesus says in Matthew 10:33. He is not talking about those who are one with the Lord and who stand by grace.

We who have died with Christ cannot un-die. We who have been born again cannot be unborn. If you were to deny him, as Peter did three times, Jesus won’t disown you, for he cannot disown himself (see next verse).

2 Timothy 2:13

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Since Christ cannot deny or disown himself, Christ cannot disown you. One with the Lord, his future is your future. No one can snatch you from his hand (John 10:28).

The unbeliever falls on account of his faithlessness, but we stand on account of Christ’s faithfulness. Even if you have a bad day, or a moment of faithlessness, he remains utterly faithful, for he cannot disown himself. This is a trustworthy saying!

Further reading: “What if I deny Jesus?

2 Timothy 2:14

Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.

Remind them of these things. We need to be often reminded that we have died with Christ (2 Tim. 2:11), lest we be tempted to crucify the flesh or reform the old man. We need to be reminded that we live with Christ and are seated with him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6), lest we lose hope and succumb to our circumstances. And we need to be reminded that Jesus will never disown us, lest we become anxious, fearful and insecure.

2 Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

(a) Accurately handling the word of truth. There is a right way and a wrong way to read the Bible, and the right way is to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. We read it to connect with the Author himself. Jesus is the Living Word who gives meaning to the written word.

The Bible is no mere book; it is the revelation of God through his Son Jesus Christ. In essence there are two questions we should ask when reading any scripture: (i) What does this passage mean in light of Jesus and his finished work on the cross? And (ii) who is the writer writing to or about? Ignore the cross, and you could end up reading about a covenant that is obsolete and no longer applies to you. Ignore the audience, and you could end up taking somebody else’s medicine.

Further reading: “How to read your Bible without getting confused

(b) The word of truth. Jesus is the word of life (1 John 1:1) and truth personified (John 14:6), so the word of truth is the revelation of Jesus Christ. By implication, Paul is talking about the Bible (see 2 Tim. 3:16).

2 Timothy 2:18

men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

(a) Gone astray from the truth. Hymenaeus and Philetus were preaching a false message. Stray from the truth and you may cause others to stray from the faith (1 Tim. 6:21).

(b) The resurrection has already taken place. If the resurrection had happened, as Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying, then the resurrection of the dead is never going to happen. And if our hope in Christ is for this life only, then we Christians “are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor. 15:19).

(c) Upset the faith of some. Some translations say “destroy the faith of some” but the original word means to upset or overturn.

2 Timothy 2:19

Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

(a) Everyone who names the name. To name the name is to confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9).

In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to receive Jesus (John 1:11-12, 5:43), receive the message of Jesus (John 17:8), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20). Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7). But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).

(b) Abstain from wickedness. Paul seems to be paraphrasing Number 26:26 or Isaiah 5:11. In either case, he is saying something similar to what he told the Corinthians. We don’t abstain from wickedness to get God’s attention; we abstain because we are his holy children doing what holy people do. See entry for 2 Cor. 6:17.

2 Timothy 2:22

Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

(a) Pursue righteousness, not to get righteous, but because you are righteous. The moment you were put into Christ, you became as righteous as he is (2 Cor. 5:21). Paul is saying, “Become who you truly are.” Flee from dead works that make you self-righteous, and run after those things that help you grow into the righteousness you already possess in Christ Jesus.

(b) Pursue faith and love. Every believer has encountered the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 1:14, 2 Tim. 1:13). Run after nothing else. If you allow yourself to get distracted by inferior things (such as the love of money), you may wander from the faith (1 Tim. 6:10).

(c) And peace. In the kingdom, peace always follows righteousness (Rom. 5:1, 14:17, Heb. 7:2, 12:11). When you are more conscious of his righteousness than your shortcomings, you will enjoy peace with God.

2 Timothy 2:25

with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,

(a) Correcting those who are in opposition. False teachers like Hymenaeus and Philetus opposed the message of Paul and Timothy. They preached law and had a toxic influence on the church (1 Tim. 1:7, 2 Tim. 2:17). False teachers were to be gently resisted.

(b) God may grant them repentance. Like faith, repentance is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8). It is the goodness of God revealed in Jesus the exalted Savior that leads us to change our unbelieving minds and repent (Rom. 2:4).

2 Timothy 2:26

and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.

Escape from the snare of the devil. In other words, those opposing the Gospel may come to their senses and turn to Jesus. Paul knew something about this. Once upon a time, he had been the Church’s most dangerous enemy. As a Pharisee who persecuted Christians, he sincerely believed he was doing the Lord’s work, when in reality he was working for the devil. But on the road to Damascus he saw the light and escaped the devil’s snare.

The Grace Commentary is a work in progress with new content added regularly. Sign up for occasional updates below. Got a suggestion? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links on this page, please use the comment form below.

Leave a Reply