Timothy’s Conduct. 1* So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well. 3Bear your share of hardship along with me like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.a 4To satisfy the one who recruited him, a soldier does not become entangled in the business affairs of life.b 5Similarly, an athlete cannot receive the winner’s crown except by competing according to the rules.c 6The hardworking farmer ought to have the first share of the crop.d 7Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.e
8* Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel,f 9for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.g 10Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory.h 11This saying is trustworthy:
If we have died with him
we shall also live with him;i
12if we persevere
we shall also reign with him.
But if we deny him
he will deny us.j
13If we are unfaithful
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.k
III. Instructions Concerning False Teaching
Warning against Useless Disputes. 14* Remind people of these things and charge them before God* to stop disputing about words. This serves no useful purpose since it harms those who listen.l 15Be eager to present yourself as acceptable to God, a workman who causes no disgrace, imparting the word of truth without deviation.m 16Avoid profane, idle talk, for such people will become more and more godless,n 17and their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,o 18who have deviated from the truth by saying that [the] resurrection has already taken place and are upsetting the faith of some.p 19Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands, bearing this inscription, “The Lord knows those who are his”; and, “Let everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord avoid evil.”q
20In a large household there are vessels not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for lofty and others for humble use. 21If anyone cleanses himself of these things, he will be a vessel for lofty use, dedicated, beneficial to the master of the house, ready for every good work.r 22So turn from youthful desires and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord* with purity of heart.s 23Avoid foolish and ignorant debates, for you know that they breed quarrels.t 24A slave of the Lord should not quarrel, but should be gentle with everyone, able to teach, tolerant,u 25correcting opponents with kindness. It may be that God will grant them repentance that leads to knowledge of the truth,v 26* and that they may return to their senses out of the devil’s snare,w where they are entrapped by him, for his will.
* [2:1–7] This passage manifests a characteristic deep concern for safeguarding the faith and faithfully transmitting it through trustworthy people (2 Tm 2:1–2; cf. 2 Tm 1:14; 1 Tm 6:20; Ti 1:9). Comparisons to the soldier’s detachment, the athlete’s sportsmanship, and the farmer’s arduous work as the price of recompense (2 Tm 2:4–6) emphasize the need of singleness of purpose in preaching the word, even at the cost of hardship, for the sake of Christ (2 Tm 2:3).
* [2:8–13] The section begins with a sloganlike summary of Paul’s gospel about Christ (2 Tm 2:8) and concludes with what may be part of an early Christian hymn (2 Tm 2:11b–12a; most exegetes include the rest of 2 Tm 2:12 and all of 2 Tm 2:13 as part of the quotation). The poetic lines suggest that through baptism Christians die spiritually with Christ and hope to live with him and reign with him forever, but the Christian life includes endurance, witness, and even suffering, as the final judgment will show and as Paul’s own case makes clear; while he is imprisoned for preaching the gospel (2 Tm 2:9), his sufferings are helpful to the elect for obtaining the salvation and glory available in Christ (2 Tm 2:10), who will be true to those who are faithful and will disown those who deny him (2 Tm 2:12–13).
* [2:14–19] For those who dispute about mere words (cf. 2 Tm 2:23–24) and indulge in irreligious talk to the detriment of their listeners (2 Tm 2:16–19), see notes on 1 Tm 1:3–7; 6:20–21. Hymenaeus and Philetus (2 Tm 2:17), while accepting the Christian’s mystical death and resurrection in Christ through baptism, claimed that baptized Christians are already risen with Christ in this life and thus that there is no future bodily resurrection or eternal glory to come. The first quotation in 2 Tm 2:19 is from Nm 16:5; the other quotation is from some unidentified Jewish or Christian writing.
* [2:14] Before God: many ancient manuscripts read “before the Lord.”
* [2:22] Those who call on the Lord: those who believe in Christ and worship him as Lord, i.e., Christians (Acts 9:14–16, 20–21; Rom 10:12–13; cf. 2 Tm 2:19, literally, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord”).
* [2:26] Some interpreters would render this passage, “Thus they may come to their senses and, forced to do his (i.e., God’s) will, may escape the devil’s trap.” This interpretation of the Greek is possible, but the one accepted in the text seems more likely.