Reading For Wednesday 2 Timothy 2:1-26
Timothy has already been advised to guard the deposit of truth and to be steadfast in preaching that truth in the face of any opposition he might be faced with in his ministry at Ephesus. Now, Paul urges him to pass on the truth of the gospel to the next generation. Paul is well aware that his end is drawing near, and he is considering the future as he writes to Timothy. Timothy is to train faithful men from among his people at Ephesus who are qualified to carry on gospel proclamation and teaching others as well.
The faithful preaching of the Word of God without fear or favor can be a difficult task at times, so Paul uses three metaphors: the soldier, the athlete, and the farmer. The soldier faces many battles, seeks to please his commander, and should not be entailed by civilian pursuits. The minister is in daily spiritual battles, aims to please Jesus, and must not be given to only secular pursuits. The athlete must follow the rules to be crowned, and the minister must also seek to live a holy life. The farmer labors without the recognition of the soldier or the athlete, yet he enjoys the fruits of his labor. The minister must be content to serve with great effort and consistency but will enjoy a fruitful spiritual life. We are to think deeply about these things.
It may seem totally unnecessary for Paul to remind Timothy to remember Jesus, but it is most likely not just a recall of the facts instead it is a call to hold fast to the truth of the gospel. Christ should be first in our thoughts. Jesus is alive, and this points directly to hope and reminds the believer that the power of the resurrection is at work in us so that we do not have to live as slaves to sin. Paul tells Timothy that no amount of suffering or unpopularity should prevent him from preaching the gospel. Paul points Timothy to the truth that believers are united with Christ. This is also the promise that those who persevere will reign with Christ.
The warning against disputing about mere words does not mean that we do not contend for the faith or hold to essential doctrines. These philosophers speculated about God with theories about Christianity until they reduced it to some kind of meaningless and vague philosophy and sentimental mysticism. The workman will be approved by the correct handling of the word of truth. He mentions two heretics that forfeited God's approval and upset the faith of some. It spread like poison, and the church was suffering because they did not handle the word correctly. In the end, Christ knows those that are his, and he will raise them up on the last day. The foundation of truth will stand and Christ builds his church upon the rock, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
Finally, if one is to be an instrument for noble purposes in God’s household, they must set themselves apart from what is dishonorable. The pursuit of the faithful should be righteousness, faith, love, and peace. The Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind, able to teach, and exhibit patient endurance. Accountability and discipline must not be pride driven or exercised without genuine love and concern for the one in sin. They should gently correct those that are trapped and suffering in the hopes of repentance.
Things To Consider:
- How are we strengthened by grace?
- Why should we not seek to avoid suffering?
- How do the metaphors of a soldier, athlete, and farmer help you as you think about Christian ministry?
- How do we know if someone is rightly handling the word of truth?
- How can you be set apart and ready for every good work?
- What does it mean to flee youthful passions?
- Why is it difficult not to be caught up in quarrels?
- How should we approach correcting someone?
- What is the aim of correction?
- How do you know if your motives are right in your desire to correct someone in error?