2 Timothy 2 Study Notes


2:1 This verse is a continuation of the call to Spirit-empowered boldness, which began in 1:6.

2:2 The many witnesses could testify to the soundness of the teaching as truth from God. Those who receive the gospel have a responsibility to faithfully pass it on to others, who pass it on to still others.

2:3-6 In these three analogies, Paul expounded the call to service and suffering. Verse 4 calls for single-minded desire to please God. Verse 5 declares that a person must obey God’s rules in order to succeed. Verse 6 encourages hard work by holding out the promise of blessing.

2:7 This verse is a call to contemplation of what has been written, not a promise of complete knowledge or understanding.

2:8 The phrase descended from David is a reminder of Jesus’s messianic credentials.

2:9-10 Paul was encouraged by the fact that though God’s messenger could be bound, the message itself could not be. Paul speaks of the elect here as those who had been predestined to be saved (cp. Ac 13:48: “and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed”).

2:11-13 The trustworthy statement moves from comfort to challenge and back to comfort. Verse 12 is a clear statement on the necessity of perseverance. As Jesus said, only the person who endures will be saved (Mt 10:22). Verse 13 is a reminder of God’s preserving power and faithfulness. In this context, to deny him envisions a more serious offense than being faithless. To “deny him” envisions apostasy, whereas “faithless” refers to a lapse in trust, which is something every believer does at some point.

2:14 It is clear that Paul was willing to confront people when the gospel was at stake. For example, he opposed Peter to his face (Gl 2:11). What he had in mind here was meaningless argument.

2:15 Be diligent could also be translated, “Be zealous.” Paul had in mind a zealous pursuit of God’s approval. One way to do this is to make sure we handle Scripture correctly.

2:17 Hymenaeus was mentioned as a false teacher previously in 1Tm 1:20, but Philetus is not mentioned elsewhere.

2:18 The idea that the resurrection has already taken place is similar to what Paul discussed in 1Co 15. Apparently some people were teaching that believers had already entered the glorified post-resurrection state. We do not know much about this heresy.

2:19 In spite of the work of these evildoers and evil teachers, God’s church still stands firm. The inscription emphasizes both divine sovereignty (preserving) and human responsibility (persevering).

2:20-21 The analogy in these verses connects to the end of v. 19: “turn away from wickedness.” The large house represents the Christian community; the vessels for dishonorable use represents the false teachers. The point of v. 21 is that one should try to be an honorable vessel, useful to the Master.

2:22 The word passions in this context refers to sinful desires in general. The desires that are particularly characteristic of youth could include sexual desires, the longing for novelty, or perhaps even impulsiveness (v. 24). It is significant that fleeing wrong is combined with pursuing right. Also, the pursuit of right is not to be done alone but along with other believers.

2:23 On ignorant disputes, see note at v. 14.

2:24-25 The Lord’s servant must be qualified both in ability (able to teach) and in character (not quarrelsome, gentle . . . patient). The knowledge of the truth is salvation.

2:26 Paul often described humanity as enslaved by the devil and in need of rescue (2Co 4:4).