II Timothy 2:1




The Apostle Paul wrote in the Bible in Second Timothy 2:1, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” One of the purposes of life is to become strong. When we are born into the world, we do not have much strength. We depend upon others to care for us until we become old enough and strong enough to care for ourselves. Of course, Second Timothy 2:1 is not talking about physical strength. It is talking about spiritual strength. In regards to spiritual strength we need to be reminded of where spiritual strength comes from. It comes from the same place that salvation comes from. It comes from the grace of God that is in Christ Jesus. Grace happens when Jesus gives you what you do not deserve and cannot earn. If we rely upon ourselves and our own strength, then we will not be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Grace refers to God’s unmerited favor because of Jesus. If you realize that you are nothing and that you can do nothing except by the grace of God, then you have a chance of being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. You must also believe that God operates on the principle of grace through Christ for everything in your life.


Paul taught Timothy many things especially related to the grace of God that is in Christ Jesus. Concerning the wonderful spiritual things that Paul had taught Timothy, Paul said in Second Timothy 2:2, “And of the things that you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Of course, this is one of the great verses of the New Testament that shows clearly how the gospel and how the doctrines of the Bible are to be spread around the world. You tell a few people, and then each of them tell a few, and then each of them tell a few, etc. God is not going to raise up one person who tells everyone. We each have something to do. As it turns out this is a very good method that will work in any culture and in any century. This method does not require television or radio or a budget. It does require some of your time, because it involves more than just a few words of witness. Paul said, “The things that you have heard of me… the same commit to faithful men.” “The things” are the Pauline doctrines. It is going to take some teaching and some time to commit these things to others.


Notice that Paul said to commit them to “faithful men.” In order to accomplish this, there must be some discernment of who to try and teach. Not just anyone can be taught the wonderful doctrines of the New Testament. Until a person becomes saved and becomes a person of faith, they cannot learn the doctrines. We must have wisdom from the Lord to find someone who is faithful and teachable. This is similar to an important principle in sharing the gospel. When you go forth to share the gospel, remember that there are a lot of different kinds of people out there. Some do not want the gospel. Some have already made their decision and set their sail away from God. That is what Jesus was talking about when He said, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Do not waste your words about the wonderful riches of God upon those who do not have ears to hear. An important part of witnessing and of teaching is finding someone who wants to hear.


In Second Timothy 2:3 the Bible says, “Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” Starting with this verse, in the next few verses Paul uses the symbolism of three different things to explain the Christian life. He speaks of the symbolism in a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. One thing about a soldier is that a soldier must endure hardness. The words that are translated “endure hardness” come from the Greek that means literally to suffer afflictions or to suffer evil and malice. Paul was sitting in a Roman prison and no doubt had constant reminders from his Roman guards of the life that was lived by the Roman soldiers. A soldier is much different than other members of a society.


One of the main characteristics of a soldier is given in the next verse, and that is the fact that a soldier fights in the wars. Not all of the citizens fight, just the soldiers. Of course, we are reminded throughout scripture that the entire Christian life is a war and a battle: a battle of spiritual forces. Ephesians 6:11-18 says, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints 


If you are not involved in a spiritual warfare, it means that the enemy has conquered you. If you are fighting the spiritual warfare, then there is an important principle to keep in mind. Second Timothy 2:4 says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier A soldier cannot go back and work in his hometown, if there is a war going on. He must give his attention and his time and his efforts to joining in the fight. The danger for some Christians is that they might get preoccupied with other things and be drawn away from the fight. Be careful do not get entangled with the affaires of this life. Do not get entangled with anything that takes you out of the fight.


At the end of Second Timothy 2:4 Paul wrote, “that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” The emphasis here is on the reason that we are willing to be soldiers and to suffer the hardships and afflictions that are a part of being involved in the spiritual warfare that is raging around us. We are willing to do it because we want to please the Lord. The Lord is the one who drafted us into this army, and now we want to be able to please Him with our efforts.


On the subject of pleasing the Lord with what we do, Paul used the symbolism of an athlete in Second Timothy 2:5 where the Bible says, “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully  The goal for the ancient Greek and Roman athlete was to win the prize at the end of the contest, which was to be crowned with a laurel wreath. We also are trying to win a crown. That is one of the great goals of the Christian life: to get to the end and to hear the words from the Master: “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Later on in this book Paul will speak of his own accomplishments as a follower of Jesus and will say in Second Timothy 4:8, “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.” There is a certain symbolism between the Christian life and the ancient Roman athletes. Part of the symbolism has to do with the fact that in order to win the crown, one must compete lawfully. If one breaks the rules of the contest, one will ruin one’s chance to be crowned. Paul wanted to obtain more than salvation. He wanted to be saved and to win a crown.


In Second Timothy 2:6 the Bible says, “The husbandman that labours must be first partaker of the fruits.” A husbandman is a farmer. First you have a farmer, then you have a lot of hard work, and then you have the fruits that are a result of all that work. That is the progression of events with farming. And the very thing that happens with farming is symbolic of what happens on this earth in Christian service. You will not see immediate results when you serve the Lord. You can be certain that your labor is not in vain in the Lord, but you must be patient. Do not have the wrong expectations. Do not be disappointed that you do not have a harvest, if this is a time of the planting of seed that God has put you in.


In Second Timothy 2:7 the Bible says, “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.” In this verse are given the two great criteria for increasing in wisdom and understanding. The first is human effort: spending some time in reflecting upon certain things; looking for and trying to determine a better understanding of things. But do not think that you have all the answers about something. Paul told Timothy, “Consider what I say.” There is a human side to gaining more wisdom and understanding, and there is also a divine side. The ultimate source of wisdom and understanding is God. James wrote, “If anyone lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all liberally


Paul wrote in Second Timothy 2:8-10, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, 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.” The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is an important thing to remember. It is a wonderful thing to remember. The last great enemy of mankind is death. Jesus gives the solution to the problem of death. One would think that everyone would want to hear what Jesus has done to conquer death and to bring victory over death. Paul gave out the good news about Jesus, but Paul said that because of doing so he suffered “trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds.” But Paul did not stop there. He immediately took his eyes off of his difficult circumstances and looked at the spiritual truths that override the circumstances. If you look at people, places, and things you will get discouraged; but if you look at the promises of God and spiritual truth about God, you will be more than encouraged. Through faith you will conquer and rise above your circumstances.


Paul was bound by Roman chains, but he said with confidence, “The Word of God is not bound.” The Word of God can never be chained. The Word of God is alive and powerful. There always have been, and there always will be enemies to the Word of God; but they cannot stop it. Even if they could, the very rocks would cry out. No one can stop the truth. “Glory, glory, halleluiah, His truth is marching on


Paul wrote in Second Timothy 2:10, “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.” Why did Paul willingly suffer all the things that he suffered as a result of spreading the gospel? We know that he did it out of faithfulness to the Lord, and we know that he did it out of a desire to not lose his rewards. And this verse in Second Timothy 2:10 tells us another reason that Paul was willing to suffer for the gospel of Christ. He did it “for the elect’s sake.” He did it so that others would obtain the great “salvation which is in Christ Jesus.” Paul understood the gospel, and Paul understood his part in the spread of the gospel. Paul knew that God had given him a gift that involved the presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Paul knew that God’s means of saving people is to use believers to spread the truth. Paul knew that people would benefit from what he had to say. The Bible says in Romans 10:14, “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”


Paul wrote in Second Timothy 2:11-13, “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.” If we faithfully witness and help spread the gospel, there will be both negatives and positives that will result. Paul mentioned one of the good benefits in the previous verse, the benefit that results in the lives of those who receive our teachings. Another benefit is the rewards in heaven that we will be given. That is what Paul was talking about when he said, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him


Before you can win rewards, you must be saved. Paul said, “For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him.” This is the basic principle of salvation. Part of the salvation experience is the repentance from sins and the forgiveness of sins. Just as important is a willingness to follow Jesus. We can only have that willingness, if we die to our own will. Once we are saved, God sees our human life as having died with Jesus on the cross. The better that we understand that and enter into it through faith, the better that we will be able to walk with Him in this life. Our own selfish will too easily gets in the way. Some people never get saved because of their selfish will. Others will lose their rewards because of their selfish will. Some will even do what Peter did, and deny Him. But what a wonderful savior we have. Even in those situations He will remain faithful. The truth marches on: with or without you.              



Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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