The Book of 2 Timothy Bible Study Chapter 2 Part 4

Our last reading for this week is 2 Timothy 2:20-26

v20: Great: Large.

  • In a great house: Paul is likening the world that we live in to a large house. 
  • Some for honour and some for dishonour: These vessels have two distinct purposes – some honour G-d’s will and others are against the will of G-d. 

v21: Cleanses himself: We are only able to do this through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

  • The latter: The wood and clay. Those things which are false, and which have missed the mark. These refer to the fruitless things in life, the vain and profitless things. 
  • A vessel for honour: We want to be those who are committed to doing things according to G-d’s will. 
  • Sanctified and useful: This is how we are called to live in this world. Being sanctified and useful means being called to live lives of G-dly purpose. 
  • Prepared for every good work: As believers we have been called to be people who do good works. We do not do good works to earn our salvation. Good works are a fruit of salvation. They testify to the fact that we are indeed saved. 

v22: Note: There is a process whereby we become individuals that do good works. This process involves a change.

  • Youthful lusts: There is a need to move away from spiritual immaturity. 
  • Pursue: Pursuing something diligently means that we pursue it with an all-encompassing commitment, being passionate, not compromising, not losing heart, not being discouraged, not giving attention to anything else.
  • Pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace: We flee youthful desires (spiritual immaturity) by chasing after these things. 
  • A pure heart: A heart that has been cleansed and prepared for service to G-d. When we pursue the things mentioned above (righteousness, faith etc) they have a purifying effect on our hearts (our minds, out thoughts). 

v23: Foolish and ignorant (untrained) disputes: The enemy loves strife and conflict. He always tries to bring arguments into families, amongst believers in local congregations, into organisations etc. If someone is foolish, we are not to answer them in their foolishness. Likewise, if someone is untrained in the things of G-d (they are not a disciple of Messiah and nor do they want to be one) we are to avoid disputing with them. Foolish and unteachable people like strife. We need to refuse to be a part of this. 

  • They generate strife: Conflict produces greater conflict. 

v24: A servant of the L-rd must not quarrel: We do not have to be gifted in quarrelling. We are people who are called to put forth truth (to teach truth). If someone does not want to hear it, that is upon their own heads. Once we have laid out truth, we do not need to defend it and fight over it. Those who are foolish and unteachable will attempt to fight truth, but we are not to engage and conflict with them over it. 

  • (Forbearing): This is not the word for being ‘patient’. This is a word which means to bear or to carry evil. Frequently throughout his letters to Timothy, Paul has alluded to the fact that as believers we are going to suffer evil (things which are against the will of G-d). Evil (suffering, persecution, tribulation etc) is going to be placed upon us and we have to endure/overcome this in order to have victory. 

v25: (Gentleness): This is not the word for humility but is the word for being gentle, with a quiet spirit, not engaging harshly with others. As leaders there are numerous things that we are warned not to be engaged in. Getting into conflicts and debates with people is not a good use of our time. Conflict sows seeds of division and dissension. Leaders are not to become ensnared in one conflict after another. 

  • Correcting those: (literally: Training). This is a word for tutoring. When children are trained (educated) they grow and mature. Paul’s desire is that Timothy (leaders) will train, disciple or educate those who are in opposition to the things of G-d, so that those who do not know any better have an opportunity to learn, mature and grow. 
  • G-d perhaps will grant them repentance: This is the hope. When leaders help to set in order (straighten out) theology, doctrine, truth, etc in the lives of those who are contrary, there is a hope that G-d will grant them repentance so that they can come to the knowledge of the truth. 
  • So that they may know the truth: This comes after repentance. We will not have knowledge of the truth until we have turned away from sin. This is why it is so vital that we affirm G-d’s moral or ethical standards – everything that He sets forth in the law. The law is not an instrument of salvation, but it teaches us G-d’s standards (expectations) of morality, of conduct, of ethics, of justice etc. It is only when we embrace G-d’s standards, affirming them in our lives, that we will have knowledge of the truth. G-d’s law reveals to us what righteous and unrighteous behaviour is. We cannot practice repentance if we do not understand what constitutes unrighteous behaviour. 

Literally: Verse 26: And returning to being sound minded from the snare of the devil (escaping), having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Note: Something to be aware of: many Bibles add words to a text to try to help us to understand what the verse is saying. Often these added words are italicized in our Bibles. 

  • Returning: Going back to. This is referring to those who go back to a right way of thinking. 
  • Sound mind: Sober minded.
  • (Escaping): This is not written in the original text, but it is implied. When we have been restored to a proper way of thinking we will be able to recognise the devil’s snares or traps. 
  • Taken captive by him to do his will: Arguing, contentions, conflicts, false teaching, lack of proper training etc can lead to people becoming ensnared in satan’s traps – being caught by him. When we are held captive by the devil, we become people who do the devil’s will rather than doing the L-rd’s will. There is a need to return to sound mindedness so that we can recognise this trap in our lives and so that we can escape from it. We return to sound mindedness by embracing G-d’s truth. 

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