Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

It is said that this is probably the Apostle Paul's last letter, and that it was written from Rome during the period of his last imprisonment there, at the end of which imprisonment he was executed on the orders of Nero. According to his own testimony in this epistle, he had at this time been deserted by almost all of his friends, and his declaration in Chapter IV, verses 6 through 8, sounds very much like a farewell address, which perhaps it was intended to be. In this epistle he gives Timothy instructions concerning his personal ministry, as well as what to expect from others, including the apostatizing of many as time continues on. He also tells him the final portion of those who are apostates. Mixed through the letter are doctrinal points of great value to both Timothy and the church even today.

Chapter 1

(Verses 1 through 5) "Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, Whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."


In this address we notice that the apostle identifies himself, as is usual with him. He is Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ; and this is not by his own will, but "by the will of God", and "according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus." This establishes not only his identity, but his authority also. He then addresses Timothy as "dearly beloved son." (The "my" was added by the translators.) In his first letter to Timothy, Paul addresses him as "my own son in the faith;" and this is also the meaning of the present passage. Timothy was not Paul's biological son; but it was under Paul's ministry that he had come to the faith, had grown therein, and had developed into such a faithful minister that their bond was fully as strong as that of father and son. Paul then tells Timothy how thankful he is for Timothy's faith, which he says, "dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and in thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." This is said not to insinuate that faith is handed down by natural generation from mother to daughter or son, but simply to remind Timothy that these were women of faith, and that he, Paul, is fully convinced that the faith which Timothy has is the same kind as that of his mother and grandmother, that which will endure. In verse 3, he says, "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience." "Forefathers" does not always mean "father and grandfather" etc., but, particularly with a Jew, as was the apostle, its primary reference is to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. Another noteworthy point is that Paul says, "I serve," not "I have served." He makes no claim to having served God with a pure conscience all his life. In fact, he often laments his having persecuted the church and other things which he now regrets; but since being called to the apostleship, he has served the God of his "forefathers" with a pure conscience, and to this God he gives continual thanks for Timothy's faith and faithfulness. Part of his great longing to see Timothy springs from the great love he has for him because of that faith, and part from remembering Timothy's tears at their parting. If they could be together, the joy of their fellowship would erase the memory of those tears.


(Verses 6 through 11) "Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God: Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles."


The very first thing the apostle does is to remind Timothy to "stir up," or exercise, "the gift of God that is in thee by the putting on of my hands." Since, most likely Paul was a member of the presbytery that ordained Timothy as a minister, he may here be referring to Timothy's gift as a minister, or he could mean some special gift to enhance that ministry, since there are many "gifts of the Spirit," or "gifts of God." All spiritual gifts are gifts of God, but to the apostles were given powers to confer certain gifts upon others. At the laying on of the hands of Peter and John the Holy Ghost was given, (Acts 8:14 -17,) as also at the laying on of the hands of Paul, (Acts 19:6). Certainly, although this was given at the laying on of the hands of the apostles, it was still the gift of God, for He, not the apostles was the ultimate giver. Paul's reason for encouraging Timothy to stir up this gift is that "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Obviously, in the phrase, "the spirit of fear," the apostle is concerned not with the fear of God, for that is something that God very definitely does give us. But his concern is with the fear of the enemies of the gospel, the fear of persecutions and afflictions, which is a fear that does not come from God, and is an enemy to be fought against at all times. Instead of this "spirit of fear" God has given us the spirit of "power, and of love, and of a sound mind." The meaning of the phrase, "sound mind," has no reference to a "healthy mind" as opposed to an "unhealthy mind," but a mind that is firm and unwavering. So the Apostle's meaning here is that God has given us the spirit of power, because He has taught us to rely upon Him, and His power cannot fail; the spirit of love, because He is love, and His love is in our hearts; and the spirit of a firm mind, because there is only One Whom we must please, and there is no need for wavering. With this background Paul says, Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner." This is good admonition for all of us at all times, but it takes on far more serious force in the circumstances under which Paul is writing. He is in prison, forsaken by almost all his friends, reasonably sure that he will shortly face execution, and so heavily laden with care for Timothy, one of his dearest friends, and one whom he loves as his own son. And in this situation his first concern is to beg Timothy, "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord." Then he says, "nor of me, His prisoner." The reason for Paul's imprisonment is "the testimony of our Lord." So Timothy, and we today, with all the power God will give us, must continue to be partakers of the afflictions of the gospel, the afflictions and persecutions brought on by our adherence to the gospel, and our witness, or testimony, of it. We must keep in mind what God has done for us. He has "saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." As we consider the apostle's expression, "Who hath saved us," we should keep in mind what part of the great work of salvation it is which He has already done. We can readily see that we have not yet been delivered from the sins, sorrows, and troubles of this world, nor have we yet received that "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time," as spoken of by the Apostle Peter. What Paul means is that, Jesus has come into the world. He has died in our stead on Calvary 's cross. He has arisen from the grave, and ascended back to the Father, thus completing the work of redemption. This is the gospel. And even though the final deliverance from sin and all its attendant evils is still future, it is as sure as if it were already done. So in that assurance we can say, "He has saved us." Notice also that He has "saved us, and called us," not the other way around; and this is no accidental order of words, for this great act of the work of salvation was done before we were called. If one examines the order of the acts of God in the work of salvation, (Romans 8:28-30,) he finds that the whole work of salvation is such a chain of the acts of God that those embraced in one cannot fail to be in the others also. Since God has saved us, He has made us aware of it by calling us; and even the calling is not dependent upon our works, but upon His own purpose and grace; and our Lord Jesus the Christ is the embodiment of both. This purpose and grace were given us in Christ Jesus before the world was created, but were hidden in Him until His coming; and are "now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." This last quotation is one, which many seem to go out of their way to misunderstand. The first thing to be emphasized is that there is neither preaching, nor a preacher mentioned in this text. Paul's first mention of a preacher is in the next verse; and the construction of the language in this sentence is such that it will not permit it to be connected in any wise with the action in the quoted passage. The only Person performing any action in this text is "our Saviour Jesus Christ." His first action is that His appearing makes manifest the purpose and grace of God, which were given us in Him before the world was created. His next action (and both the things mentioned here should be considered as one action although it produced two results) is that He "hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light." The tense of both verbs is past, (technically "present perfect,") signifying that this is not an on-going operation. It was done once, and is over. The fact that the apostle says that He did it through the gospel seems to be the signal for many to abandon all consideration of the usage of language, and claim that He did not bring life and immortality to light, but that now through their preaching of the gospel He brings them to light by causing those who hear their preaching to show signs of having been called to life and immortality. How ridiculous can we get? Both of the verbs of action, as pointed out above, represent the action as already having been done, with no promise of any continuing action of either. These two things are over and done, brought about by one thing, and one only, the resurrection of our Lord. When He came forth from the tomb, He proved that death is abolished; and He now holds "the keys of hell and of death." So far as His saints are concerned there is no death; they will "sleep in Jesus" until He returns. By this same act He "hath brought life and immortality to light" Until He arose from the grave, man had never seen immortality. He had only heard of it, and believed that it does exist. Now it is brought to light by the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. All who were raised before this, even those, whom Jesus Himself raised, were only brought back to the same mortal life they had before. He only can declare, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore. Amen." Paul's usage of the phrase, "through the gospel," is easily understood if we remember that "gospel" is like "news," in that it is sometimes used as the essence or substance, and at others as the report. Should some great event take place, and we hear a reporter talking about it, we might consider two questions. First, "Which is the news? What the reporter says? Or, the event?" Then, "What does the reporter have to do with the news?" The answer to the first is, "The event, what took place, is the news. What the reporter says is only the report of the news." This is the reason why our news programs are called, "News Reports." The answer to the second question is, "The reporter has nothing to do with the news, so far as having a hand in the event's taking place. He only reports it, or bears witness of it. The same is true of the gospel and the gospel minister. Christ Jesus our Saviour came into this world, took the sins of every one of God's elect upon Himself, died for those sins, was buried, arose from the dead, and ascended back to the Father, leaving us a promise that at the appointed time He will return for us. What he did is the gospel, that is, the substance of it. What is written in the New Testament, or, what is preached by gospel ministers, is only the record, the report, the testimony, or the witness, of the gospel, though often spoken of as "the gospel." Just as it is the duty of a news reporter to give an accurate account of the news, so it is the responsibility of the gospel minister to bear faithful witness to it, but he will never bring life and immortality to light by preaching it. That was done by our Lord Himself, and will never have to be done again. Now Paul says, "Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles," not to bring life and immortality to light, but to inform God's people throughout the world, that our Lord Jesus the Christ has already done that.


(Verses 12 through 14) "For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost Which dwelleth in us."


Paul says that his being "appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles" is the reason for his suffering "these things," imprisonment, persecutions, and afflictions. Yet for all this he is not ashamed. To be ashamed can mean either, or both, of two things. It can mean "to be very sorry to have had any part in a thing, or any involvement with a person," or it can mean "to be overcome, and thus brought to ruin, or shame." In this statement Paul probably has both in mind. He has never been made sorry of his involvement in the preaching of the gospel, nor has he been overcome by the enemies of the gospel, in spite of his being at this time in prison, and probably facing a death sentence for the sake of the gospel. His reason for not being ashamed is, "For I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." His experience with the Lord has made him to so know our Lord Jesus the Christ, that he is persuaded, convinced beyond doubt, that He is able to keep him, his life, and his hope of glory "against," or until, he shall see the wonderful glory of God, of which he has been taught by the Holy Ghost. He admonishes Timothy, "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith, and love which is in Christ Jesus." The word here translated, "form," means "pattern," or "example." So the meaning here is, "You have heard me in my use of sound words, and therefore you are to follow that example in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." In addition, he says, "That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost Which dwelleth in us." No doubt "That good thing which was committed" unto Timothy is that gift of which the apostle spoke earlier, and knowing that no man can of himself keep, or "protect" it, as the word also means, he says, Keep it “by the Holy Ghost Which dwelleth in us". God has given us the keeper, and we are to rely upon Him.


In verses 15 through 18 Paul relates the sad story of being deserted by most of his friends, and tells of the faithfulness of one, all of which needs no explanation. "Thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me: of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain; but when he was in Rome , he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus , thou knowest very well."

Chapter 2

(Verses 1 through 7) "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 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. Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath called him to be a soldier. And if a man strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things."


The apostle continues to exhort and encourage Timothy to apply himself, and exercise his gift in the service of God, regardless of what may befall him, Paul. His first admonition is that Timothy "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus;" and as this admonition is good for him, it is also good for us. When Paul says, "be strong in the grace_ _ _," it is equivalent to saying, "Keep firmly in mind what the Lord said to me when I prayed for the removal of the "thorn in the flesh." (II Cor. 12:9, "And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness".) As long as we hold fast to that, we will be "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus". He then says, "And the things that thou hast heard of me before many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also." This is something in which Timothy had an advantage over ministers today. He had indeed heard Paul many times, as he witnessed publicly of the things of our Lord; and we do not have that privilege. Yet we do have the writings of the Apostle Paul, together with those of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, and Jude, which no doubt, although they do not contain all the words of the Apostle Paul, nor of our Lord either, have every thing that we need to know to be well grounded in the faith of our Lord Jesus the Christ. And we should commit to faithful men, not someone's interpretation of these things, but the things themselves, that those to whom they are committed may be able to teach others. One more point must be emphasized. Those to whom we commit these things must have the ability to teach, or the whole endeavor is brought to nothing. Paul then gives a personal admonition which each of us should take to heart, "Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ." Special notice should be given to the fact that Paul says, "endure hardness," not "become hardened." Natural soldiers, because of the terrible scenes they sometimes view, and the experiences they have to endure, (and this applies especially to professional, or career soldiers,) sometimes become hardened to the point that they have little feeling for anyone or anything. This is not what we are directed to do. We are only advised to endure those hard things, which may be our lot in the service of our Lord. Paul then presents illustrations for consideration. His first example is a soldier; the second, an athlete in some contest; and the third, a worker in the field or vineyard. What he says about them should be clear enough, but a few observations may be in order. In our nation, historically we have had a "civilian army," not a "professional army" as was the prevailing practice at the time of this writing. In the professional armies the soldiers were considered as a totally different class of people from the civilians. They went when and where they were commanded, depended upon their commanders for their support, and had no ties with civilian affairs. Their only concern was to stay in the good graces of their superiors. The athlete who engaged in any contest, whether it be a race, or a combat in the arena, had certain regulations which he must follow, or strive as he might, he could not receive the prize. The laborer in the field or vineyard is the first to partake of the fruits of that field, or vineyard. As mentioned earlier, this seems clear enough concerning those things spoken of. But the apostle says, "Consider what I say: and the Lord give thee understanding in all things," signifying that Timothy is, and we, in our turn are, to apply these things not to a soldier in a natural army, an athlete in a physical contest, nor a worker in a natural field or vineyard; but to ourselves as soldiers of our Captain, Christ Jesus, as those who "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," and as laborers in "our Lord's vineyard." Thus His ministers are to serve Him, and with no worldly ties or affairs to draw their attention away from His commands, maintain and regulate their lives by His rules; and as they do this, they are to be supported by the very fields they tend.


(Verses 8 through 13) "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: wherein I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 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. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself."


Here Paul reminds us that "Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel." As in other places, he calls it "my gospel" not because it belongs to him, nor that he is the source of it, nor even that it is about him, but that it was committed to him to preach it among the Gentiles. According to this gospel, Christ Jesus, Who as concerning the flesh, was of the seed, or lineage, of David, was raised from the dead. This is the very core of the gospel. Without it every thing else becomes worthless. In I Corinthians 15:1-34, the apostle gives a full discussion of this. It is because of this one principle that so many turn away from the gospel: they cannot believe in the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 17:32 ) "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter." The Jews also were adamantly opposed to the doctrine of the resurrection of Jesus the Christ from the dead, because this is what identified Him as the Christ, and proved them guilty of denying the Messiah, for Whom they professed to be waiting and looking. In, and for, the very work of preaching the gospel, Paul was treated as an evildoer, a criminal, so that he suffered all manner of persecution, imprisonment, beatings, stonings, etc. Yet he says, "But the word of God is not bound." Not only did their binding him not prevent his preaching, but his example of faithfulness through suffering caused others to be emboldened to preach the gospel also. Now he says, "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." Perhaps Paul's statement in Ephesians 1:13-14, will shed some light on this matter. “In Whom [Christ] ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of the inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory." Although in the earlier part of that chapter the apostle makes it crystal clear that this salvation is not given to any except those who were chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world, and predestinated of God unto the adoption of children by Jesus the Christ; and that they are recipients of that salvation through the blood of our Lord Christ Jesus according to the riches of His grace, he still maintains that they are not "sealed with that holy Spirit of promise" until after they believe. And they trust in Christ after they hear "the word of truth, the gospel" of their salvation. Since this sealing is the earnest of the inheritance, or the assurance of it, we can safely say that, not their salvation per se, but the assurance of it, comes as a result of their hearing and believing the gospel. This seems to answer to his statement here, "that they may also obtain the salvation, which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory." That is, that they may have this salvation, in the sense of having the full assurance of it in their minds and hearts. He then gives us a "saying" or quotation which is in five parts, all of which combined, he says is a "faithful saying." as we all know, a faithful saying is not one which may prove true part of the time, but one that never fails. The first part of that saying is: "For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with Him." In Romans 6:3-13, Paul gives a very strong discussion of this, proving that if we have been made partakers of His death, we shall indeed live with Him; and our Lord said, “Because I live, ye shall live also". Then the second part of the saying is: "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." In II Corinthians 4:17, Paul says, "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," and in Revelation 5:9-10 we find, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." Some may say that this does not prove that "if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." It does when we consider the fact that those who said, "and we shall reign on the earth," are the ones who are redeemed unto God "out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation," and that the Apostle Paul has said, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." The suffering are the redeemed; and the redeemed shall reign with Christ. Whether we like it or not, this is our mark of identification as the saints of God: "For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Having thus identified the saints of God as dead, and yet to live, and as suffering, and yet to reign, this saying takes up the other side of the matter; and we must remember that one side is just as true as the other. "If we deny Him, he also will deny us." This is in perfect accord with our Lord's own testimony. (Matt. 10:33) "But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I deny before My Father Which is in heaven," (Luke 12:9,) "But he that denieth Me before men shall be denied before the angels of God," and (Luke 9:26) "For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He shall come in His own glory, and in His Father's, and of the holy angels." One might raise the objection that the Apostle Peter denied the Lord three times, but surely when Christ returns, He will not deny him. This certainly is true. However what is under consideration here is not a temporary denial such as that of the Apostle Peter, from which he was brought to repentance by a look from our Lord, but a life which denies Him by its unrepentant pursuit of sin. "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful." No matter how many there may be who do not believe, their unbelief can not change nor weaken the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus the Christ. He was given that "Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." He said, "And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." Although the scriptures prove beyond any reasonable doubt that believing is the result, and not the cause of salvation, they nevertheless also teach that those who believe are also those who are saved. Someone will immediately claim that this leaves out the infant, the insane, and many others, who, as we might think, cannot believe. We have a scriptural witness concerning one infant, John the Baptist, three months before birth, (Luke 1:44,) "For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy." Since Elizabeth spoke this at the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, we can have no reason to doubt any part of it. Therefore, since the babe "leaped for joy," it must have been because he believed in the Son of God, Who, already having been conceived in Mary's womb, was present in her. The same God, Who caused this can do the same for others as He may choose. However, we must remember that the gospel is not addressed to infants, or others without the natural capacity for hearing and believing, and therefore we are not to consider such statements as, "If we believe not_ _ _," as applying to any except those who have such capacities. Finally, we consider the key statement of the whole quotation: "He cannot deny Himself." He came and suffered for the sins of His elect. And they are identified by their believing in Him, and their suffering for His name's sake. Therefore should He permit a single one of those for whom He died to be lost, He would be denying Himself, and declaring that He had failed. This He cannot do. On the other hand, if He gave salvation to one who spent his life in sin, and died in unbelief, He would be denying Himself, in that this would declare that He had done no more for the believer than for the unbeliever. And, according to John 6:36-40, “every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him” is exactly the same as “all that the Father hath given Me.” His gift of faith to the believer would have been of no value, since the unbeliever would be as well off as the believer. As we have pointed out many times, faith is the result, not the cause of salvation; but faith is always given to those who are saved. "He cannot deny Himself."


(Verses 14 through 19) "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. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying the resurrection is passed already; and overthrow the faith of some. 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."


The minister of God is to teach the Lord's people the things that are set forth in the scriptures, and in doing so it is often necessary to remind them of things already taught. We must, in charging others, charge ourselves also to leave off all strife, or argument, over words just for the sake of words, that is, just to have something to say, or just to show others how wise we think we are. Let all of our discussions be for the profit of ourselves and all who participate in, or even listen to those discussions, in the things of God. Sometimes we hear brethren asking "catch questions," questions that have little or no value for anyone. Such are always to be avoided. They being of no profit, will only "subvert," or turn away, those who hear them to foolishness instead of serious contemplation of the word of truth. To "study" to do something does not necessarily mean "spend a great deal of time in reading," although reading and meditating upon the word of God are both very necessary to us that we may be able to rightly divide the word of truth. But this is only part of the instruction given here. We are to "study," or give diligence, to bring our bodies into subjection, as Paul says of himself, in another place. We should carefully consider both what we do and what we say that we may prove, to ourselves, and others, that we are approved of God. And have no reason to be ashamed of either our lives or our teaching. From the context it seems that primary emphasis is here placed upon teaching, since that is what "rightly dividing the word of truth" consists of; but it does not in the least lessen our responsibility for guarding our conduct as well. In this modern age some are teaching that some parts of the scriptures are true, while some are not. Others are teaching that we are at liberty to choose any part of the scriptures we like, and discard the rest. Both of these ideas come straight from Satan himself. There is NO falsehood in the scriptures; and we were never given the right or privilege of selecting some parts thereof, and throwing the rest away. The Bible, Old and New Testaments alike, are the written revealed word of God; and since God is truth, they are "the word of truth." To rightly divide it is to correctly apply it. And one thing stands out very clearly: we can not rightly divide it either by taking a word or two, or even a verse, out of context, and trying to use it as a text, or by bringing an expression from some other place in scripture, which has no connection to the subject under discussion, and joining it with a text to try to prove some idea we may have dreamed up. Certainly we are to avoid all profanity, and speeches in which such occurs, but the word translated "profane," in verse 16, also means, "common," or "unhallowed." So the message is, Stay out of discussions of things which have no spiritual value. This certainly does not mean that we cannot ask after the welfare of one another, or that we cannot engage in discussion of secular things when such may be necessary, but that such things are never to be allowed to enter into the discussion of the word of truth, to which most of our time as gospel ministers is to be dedicated. If such is permitted, it will increase unto more ungodliness." This is the primary reason why the preaching in some churches today has deteriorated to what might be called "a social gospel" instead of the gospel of our Lord Jesus the Christ, if indeed it can be called a "gospel" of any kind. Paul says that "their word," the word of these vain and profane discussions, "will eat as doth a canker." As for many other words, the dictionary gives several meanings for "canker;" but the one which seems to best encompass all that are given is, "anything that insidiously or persistently destroys, corrupts, or irritates." This is the picture of what such things will do. Paul names two men who have let such things go on, and it has caused them to "err," or turn away, from the truth, so that they are now preaching that the resurrection is already past; and by such doctrine they have overthrown the faith of some. That is, they have greatly confused them. This is the very thing the apostle was condemning in II Thessalonians 2:1-17. Someone, perhaps these men he names here, had been telling them that the resurrection and rapture had already passed, and they were left to endure the tribulation period. Here, as there, Paul comforts them, saying, "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal." Before considering the seal, let us emphasize that, in spite of all the hue and cry of such men as Hymenaeus and Philetus, "the foundation of God," which is none other than God Himself, stands sure. (Isaiah says, Is.59:16, "And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore His arm brought salvation unto Him; and His righteousness, it sustained Him," and, Is. 63:5, "And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore Mine own arm brought salvation unto Me; and My fury, it upheld Me.") Not only does the foundation of God stand sure, but that we also may have assurance, it has a seal; and this seal is in two parts. We often hear men try to discuss this text; but the sad thing about it is that almost invariably they speak only of the first part of this seal, and completely leave off the second part thereof, while both are equally important. The first part is, "The Lord knoweth them that are His." This is a most profound truth, and should be precious to every believer, inasmuch as it bears witness that not one of those whom God has foreknown, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified, can ever be lost, or separated from the love of God, since He knows every one of them. But if this is preached to the exclusion of the second part of that seal, it will lead to lethargy, coldness, indifference, and failure to walk as Christians should in this life. In short it will obscure the identity of the Christian. The second part of this seal is, "Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Some Greek texts read, "the name of Christ," while others, "the name of the Lord." This, of course, makes little difference except that sometimes there are those who tend to think of "Christ" as a name, which it is not. Neither is "Lord." Both are titles. When thus speaking of Him, we properly should say, "the Christ," for there is but One. He is the only One anointed of God to be Prophet, Priest, King, and Saviour of His people. All of this is embodied in His title, "The Christ." His name is "Yeshua," or "Joshua," which means "the Help of God," or "Saviour." In its being brought through the Greek language into the English, we have it "Jesus," still with the same meaning. Another of His names is "Emmanuel," which means "God with us." Isaiah tells us, Is. 9:6, "and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace," and John the Baptist calls Him, "The Lamb of God" in reference to the fact that He was sent of the Father to be the Lamb of Sacrifice for the sins of His people. Some may think this to be wandering from the subject, but it seems good to impress upon ourselves some of the value of the name (or names) of the Christ, that those who name this name, not just in the sense of speaking it, but in that of professing to belong to Him, may realize the seriousness of that which they have professed, and thus be encouraged to indeed depart from iniquity. The first part of this seal identifies us to God; He knows those who are His. The second part identifies us to one another and gives us personal assurance that we do belong to Him, because only He can give us the will and the power to depart from iniquity. Some may claim that we can belong to the Christ, and still not depart from iniquity, the fact remains that without departing from iniquity, we cannot prove to any one else that we belong to Him, and neither can we have assurance in our own hearts that we do.


(Verses 20 and 21) "But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. 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."


Paul's metaphor is very clear concerning the presence in a great house of vessels of different materials, of different values, and for different uses. At this point, and to what purpose it is difficult to determine, brethren began to engage in "profane and vain babbling" about whether all these vessels, or just the gold and silver ones are children of God, all of which is so much nonsense. The whole lesson is about one thing only. That is, How can we be prepared for the Master's use in matters of honor. Paul has already established the fact that the Lord knows them that are His; and the only way we have of knowing (even to have the imperfect knowledge that we have) is by their conduct. Here He is instructing Timothy, and us, how to manifest ourselves as vessels of honor. The Lord will reward the others as He sees fit; and it is none of our business. If they are His He will chasten them; and if not, He will bring them to judgment. Let us concentrate upon purging ourselves from iniquity that we may be vessels "unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work."


(Verses 22 through 26) "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. and the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."


Verse 22 is no doubt clear enough to all. The apostle, knowing Timothy's youthful age, warns him specifically against those lusts which are stronger temptations to young men, which, if he will avoid now in his youth, will also be much easier to resist after he has established a habit of abstinence. Instead of yielding to such we are to follow after righteousness, faith, love, and peace, in the fellowship of those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. We should avoid "foolish and unlearned questions," because they will only cause strife. The phrase here translated, "foolish and unlearned questions," should read, "foolish and stupid questions." Although the word can mean "unlearned," its primary thought here is a senseless question, which could be one that is asked as a "catch question," or one for which no clear answer can be found in scripture, and it therefore can only be answered by, "I think_ _ _," which will immediately cause strife, because someone else will think something entirely different, and the argument begins. Sometimes one will desire to ask a question and, because he feels that he is unlearned in the scriptures, he may be afraid someone will think his question "foolish, or stupid." However, any question that is asked in honesty from a sincere desire to know more of the word of God is not foolish nor stupid, although it might be one for which we cannot find a clear cut answer in the scriptures. In such case, instead of answering with, "I think_ _ _," and expecting what we think to be taken for the answer, we should simply admit that this is one of those questions whose answer God has reserved to Himself. Anything that causes strife is to be avoided because the servant of God must not strive. The word translated "strive," literally means, "quarrel" or "fight." The servant of God must not do this; but be gentle to all men, even those who may want to fight. Instead of quarreling with them, he is to be gentle; and, since here Paul repeats one of the qualifications of a bishop, he must be "skillful in teaching," it is clear that he is to use that skill in patience and meekness, instructing those who set themselves in opposition to him, not for the purpose of showing his great wisdom and knowledge in the things of God, but in the hope that God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and that they will be enabled to "recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will." Those who set themselves in opposition to the truth are in the snare of Satan; but we can, and should, always pray that God will give them repentance that they may acknowledge the truth, and that He will enable them thus to recover themselves out of his snare.

Chapter 3

(Verses 1 through 5) "This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."


Perhaps every generation since the apostle wrote this has, as its day drew to a close, looked upon the wickedness of the world, and said, "Surely this is what the apostle meant when he wrote II Timothy 3:1-5. Because the wickedness of the world is worse now than it has ever been;" and each was correct in its assessment of the situation. The sad truth is that in each generation of the world wickedness increases, and will increase until our Lord returns, and brings all to judgment. As we view it today it seems that it would be difficult for it to get much worse; but there are many evils that have only recently advanced to the point of being especially noticed; and they will undoubtedly get worse. We often look upon this list of evils mentioned by the Apostle Paul, and think of them as individual, or different sins, which is a mistake. Although they are individual evils, they are all results of the same sin, disregard of God. Even if we do not commit an act nor say a word, but in our hearts have no respect for God, we are guilty of the one sin, which is the cause of every one of these evils. The apostle says, "in the last days," the times shortly before the return of our Lord Jesus the Christ, "perilous times shall come." "Perilous times" means times of great danger, times dangerous for individuals, for families, for communities, for nations, and for the world; but especially dangerous for the servants of God. He gives as a reason for all this great danger the fact that restraint will be to such an extent removed that all these evils will be manifested as never before in the history of mankind. Not to change the meaning of any of this passage, but possibly to clarify it a little, we offer our own translation of verses 2, 3, and 4. "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, empty pretenders, despisers of others, evil speakers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, wicked, without natural affection, implacable, false accusers, without self control, fierce, despisers of goodness and good men, betrayers, head-strong, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." As noted above, this does not change the meaning of the passage, but it may give a little clarification of some of the words. We shall not comment upon each of these evils; but there are some that today are so dominant in our society that it seems imperative that they be mentioned. So far as is known to natural science, the human species is the only one that will deliberately abort its unborn young; and it is seldom that a mother of any other species will cast away or abandon her newborn. Yet almost every day we hear reports of a newborn infant being found in a garbage bin, or some other place, dead, or left to die. If these two practices, abortion and abandonment, do not show a total lack of natural affection, it would seem that nothing will. One very sad fact of our modern times is that not only does our government declare murder [abortion] legal, but it takes money from us, the taxpayers, to pay for it. The next step will be doctor-assisted suicide, and following that, euthanasia for all non-productive members of society. Not only is disobedience to parents growing by leaps and bounds, but our governmental agencies will even forcibly take children away from their parents under the false claim of "child abuse," if the parents try to train them to be obedient. In many instances, a child can complain to the "authorities," saying that his parents have whipped him; and with no proof whatsoever of child abuse, the "case worker," who usually has no more knowledge of how to rear children than of how to create a world, will take the child from his parents, and perhaps even try to have them, the parents, put in prison. All the other evils listed by the apostle are also on the increase. It is particularly true that more and more who claim a form of godliness, are denying that there is any power in it. From all such we are to turn away, and have no fellowship with them.


(Verses 6 through 9) "For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with divers lusts. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these men also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: For their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was."


It is no doubt true that women sometimes seduce men and lead them astray. But it has always been accepted as the norm that evil men will, by false means, gain the confidence and love of foolish, silly, or thoughtless women, and lead them astray, thus taking them captive, not by force, but by wonderfully sounding but false promises, and having aroused their lusts cause them to be loaded with sins. The apostle says these are the sort of persons about whom he speaks, and he gives a little further description of them. They are "ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth_ _ _men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." Although they are constantly learning, all they learn is more evil, for they are "never able," that is, they have no ability, "to come to the knowledge of the truth, but actually are men of corrupt minds, and so far as faith is concerned, they are abandoned in sin. Now Paul says, these men resist the truth just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses. This is the only mention of these men in scripture; but according to claims of Jewish history they are Pharaoh's magicians who attempted to prove to Pharaoh that Moses, and his God were nothing to be afraid of. He declares that just as Jannes and Jambres failed, so also will these wicked ones. This does not mean that they will not cause much trouble for the Lord's people, as did those; but at His appointed time God will deal with them.


(Verses 10 through 13) "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions which came to me at Antioch , at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."


Paul reminds Timothy that there is no need for him to defend his own doctrine, manner of living, or anything else, to him since he is already well acquainted with it all, as well as the persecutions he has endured in various places, and from which God has delivered him. Just his manner of saying this seems to indicate that these things to some degree lose their importance when compared to what he is about to say. That is all in the past; and God has delivered him from it. Not only so, but it is the lot of all who will live godly in Christ Jesus, and therefore is nothing to complain about. "BUT evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." This is what Timothy and others who come after him will have to face. The times will get worse, not better. As we shall see a little further on, Paul is reasonably sure that his warfare is about over, but others will have to carry on.


(Verses 14 through 17) "But continue thou in the things thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."


In spite of the terrible things that evil men and seducers will do, Timothy, and we also, must continue in those things the apostle has taught us and assured us of, knowing of whom we have received them, that is, knowing his faithfulness, and that he has not deceived us. He reminds Timothy that he has from childhood known the Holy Scriptures. This, of course, refers to the scriptures of the Old Testament, for the New was not yet written. He further says, that even these scriptures "are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus." Here is the key to being "made wise unto salvation," or being informed of salvation. It can only be received through faith in Christ Jesus. One without that faith can memorize the scriptures of the Old Testament, and the New also, and still know nothing of salvation, whereas one who, has faith in Him can acquire that knowledge from the Old Testament alone, if that is all he has. In all the modern churches there is much discussion about whether to follow "traditional" practices based upon the word of God, or to change to those which will please modern men and, especially, modern women. The very fact that there is any discussion of it at all shows total disdain for the scriptures and their Giver, God. Paul says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God." That settles the matter completely. What God says is the law for every one who has any respect for Him; and His word is not open to democratic interpretation. If there is a question about what should be taught, the word of God settles it, no matter what someone may want. When one is in error, His word will not only reprove the erring one, but will also provide all necessary instructions for correcting the matter, as well as for avoiding the next snare of Satan. By it the man of God may be brought to maturity, furnished completely with every thing necessary for all good works. If it is not in the scriptures, we do not need it.

Chapter 4

(Verses 1 through 5) "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing in His kingdom; preach the word, be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry."


This is Paul's last charge to Timothy, the young minister whom he loved as his own son; and it would be solemn enough under any circumstances, but the solemnity is increased many fold by its location in this epistle. As he says, "I charge thee therefore," our thoughts are immediately carried back to the terrible things he has already said shall take place, followed by his declaration that all scripture, not just part of it, is given by inspiration of God, and is therefore all that the man of God needs in order to be completely furnished to all good works. Now because of this, and with God the Father, and our Lord Christ Jesus, the Judge of the quick and the dead, called to witness, he charges Timothy, "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine." In short, make use of the scriptures in every category for which he has already said they are profitable. Be instant, that is be ready, whatever the season, whether in good times or bad, whether in sickness or in health, whether before friends or enemies, in all situations and under all conditions; but do all with all long-suffering, and patience. Then he gives the reason why this must be done. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears_ _ _." For clarity, let us re-arrange the word order of this last portion, beginning at the semicolon. "But having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers according to their own lusts." Although the teachers may also have "itching ears," the emphasis is on those who "heap to themselves," or gather to themselves, teachers according to their own lusts, teachers who will tell them what they want to hear instead of teaching the truth, thus tickling their ears. Of course, the obvious result of this is that "they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables." All of this is brought about by that same old sin which will cause all the evils Paul has mentioned in the preceding chapter, disrespect and disdain for God; for "They will not endure sound doctrine." Nevertheless, even though it is like sending forth a sheep into a pack of wolves, the apostle concludes his charge thus: "But be careful [watch] in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." In spite of all the dangers that are sure to come, be faithful, and do not shrink from any part of the ministry to which God has called you. This charge is to us also, if we have been called of God to the gospel ministry.


(Verses 6 through 8) "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing."


We see that the apostle is well aware that his warfare is almost over. The beauty of it is that by the grace of God he can speak of it in such a joyful manner. Some consider this a very melancholy declaration; but, on the contrary, it appears very joyful, and well it should be. He says, "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand." To better understand the feeling of the apostle, in your mind place yourself in a military unit, in some far away foreign location, on the front line, and having just endured an extremely arduous battle. Now assurance has just been sent to you that you will very shortly be relieved of duty, and sent home; and not only so, but you are to receive a very high decoration. How would you feel? Certainly you would be joyful instead of melancholy. Someone will say, "But what he means is that it is almost time for him to die." So he does. But remember that he has already said, in another place, that it is much better to go on and be with the Lord than to stay in this world. And he has said, "I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." So with him there was no fear of death, but a desire to go on and be with the Lord. Then just as we when we, having been away from home for a long time, are preparing to return, look forward with anticipation, Paul was actually rejoicing in the prospect, not for the sake of death, but for the sake of that beyond. (II Cor. 5:4 "_ _ _not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." As he surveys the race he has run, he has no reason for regrets, and he shows no indication of any. "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." He follows this with, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day." The Greek word translated, "henceforth," just as the English, means, "hereafter, or from now on." So we might acceptably make this slight change in the wording without any change of meaning. "From now on there is nothing to concern me except that crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give me at that day." His worries are over; he is rejoicing in the contemplation of that crown of righteousness. Then he comforts Timothy, and us, with these words: "And not to me only, but to all them that love His appearing", those who are expecting and longing for His coming.


In verses 9 through 15, Paul gives Timothy some personal instructions, and tells him what his own situation is. First, anticipating the probability that he will soon be executed, he urges Timothy to put forth all diligence to come to him as soon as possible. Then he mentions several of his and Timothy's common acquaintances. We have some record of some of them; but not of others. Demas, for the love of the present world, has forsaken him and gone to Thessalonica, while Crescens has gone to Galatia , whether sent by Paul, or as Demas, forsaking him, we do not know. From what we know about Titus, we can be assured that Paul sent him to Dalmatia . He has sent Tychicus to Ephesus , perhaps for the purpose of taking Timothy's place while he comes to Rome . Thus the only one of his friends still with him is Luke, whom we know as the writer of "The Gospel According To Luke" and "The Acts Of The Apostles". He instructs Timothy to bring Mark with him, and also to bring a cloak, and some books, especially some parchments. Then he warns Timothy of one, Alexander, the coppersmith, who did him much evil, and no doubt will attempt the same with Timothy. His expression, "The Lord reward him according to his works," may be seen by some as "unchristian;" but here again we must remember that, as an apostle, he was given powers of judgment that we do not have.


(Verses 16 through 18) "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."


In verse 16, just after the colon, the clause, "I pray God", does not appear in the Greek. The original reading is, "Let it not be laid to their charge." Paul is simply saying that Timothy is not to think any less of them for this. It is exactly what all of our Lord's disciples did to Him when He was arrested. In spite of his being forsaken by his friends, Paul had the greatest support in the world, "The Lord stood with me, and strengthened me." By this strength he was able to make the preaching fully known, or, as he said in another place, "declare the whole counsel of God," so that it might reach all the Gentiles. At this time he "was delivered out of the mouth of the lion." We cannot be sure whether Paul is saying this metaphorically, or if as literal fact, for both are very possible, since at that time it was a common practice of Nero to have Christians put into the arena with hungry lions, or other wild beasts. His confidence in God is strong as he declares, "and the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." In the light of what he says in verses 6 through 8, we know that he is not expecting God to deliver him in any manner except through death. But he is confident of being preserved "unto His heavenly kingdom," and for this he ascribes to Him glory forever and ever. Verses 19 through 21 consist of salutations to various ones, a statement, "Erastus abode at Corinth : but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick," and instructions for Timothy to put forth all effort to come to Rome before winter.


He closes this epistle with these words: "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen."


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