Author: Ron Graham
Faithful and Strong 1
A verse by verse study outline in Paul’s second letter to Timothy. In this lesson we examine chapter 2, verses 1-13, looking at the strength of faith and truth in Timothy and Paul.
1 Timothy’s Strength
¶“1So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things that you have heard from me by many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will then be competent to teach others also. 3Suffer your share of hardship as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4No one serving as a soldier entangles himself with the affairs of this life, because he wants to please the one who enlisted him.”(2Timothy 2:1-4).
¶“5Again, if anyone competes in athletics, he does not win a crown if he does not compete in compliance with the laws [of the game]. 6The farmer who works hard is entitled to first share of the crops. 7Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.” (2Timothy 2:5-7).
Paul urges Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Timothy will be up to the task by God’s grace and providence. However, this does not mean Timothy can be slack while grace covers him. Timothy has a hard task and he must apply himself to it.
(Verses 1-4) —Timothy’s Task.
- Spreader. Paul encourages Timothy to teach the same gospel that Jesus gave to Paul. Timothy had access to Paul’s teaching, not ony directly from Paul, but through other genuine spreaders of Paul’s gospel. Timothy himself was to teach others so that they in turn could join in the task.
- Soldier. Although it will mean a share of hardship and suffering for Timothy, Paul encourages him to be a good soldier of Christ. Timothy can rely on the grace that is in Christ Jesus to give him strength.
- Servant. Paul encourages Timothy to sacrifice some of the pursuits of this life and dedicate himself to the service of Christ.
(Verses 5-7) —Timothy’s Attitude.
- Respecting the rules. Just as a competitor in sports has to comply with the laws of the game, so Timothy must preach according to the law of Christ. Anything more or less than the gospel would disqualify Timothy as a preacher.
- Willing to work. Just as the farmer works hard to get the best harvest, and take first share, so Timothy must work hard to bear fruit and enjoy success in his ministry.
- Getting more qualified. Timothy must consider Paul’s doctrine so as to be given deeper understanding, making him all the more qualified to preach.
2 Paul’s Strength
¶“8Remember that according to my gospel Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead. 9And so I suffer trouble —even to chains as though I were an evildoer. However the word of God is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2Timothy 2:8-10).
¶“11Here is a saying you can trust: 'For if we died with him, we shall also live with him. 12If we endure, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he in turn will deny us. 13If we are faithless, he remains faithful because he cannot deny Himself '.” (2Timothy 2:11-13).
Having encouraged Timothy to be a strong believer and teacher, Paul now talks about himself, and his ownoutlook.
(Verses 8-13) —Paul’s Principles.
- The unchanged gospel. Paul is always concerned about agents of change in the church. He tells Timothy to keep in mind that Paul’s gospel still says that Jesus was the descendant of David of whom the prophets spoke, and he arose from the dead. That truth, and many other truths, will never change.
- The unchained word. Paul sighs with relief. They can chain him, but not his gospel. Paul and Jesus have many witnesses to spread that gospel. Timothy is one of them. Paul has even been able to get a letter from himself to Timothy. This will be copied and circulated.
- The unchallenged reward. Paul’s gospel was challenged, that's why he is in prison. However there remains the "the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory". That cannot be challenged by any man. Men can take Paul’s life, but they cannot cancel his reward.
(Verses 11-13) —Paul’s Assurance.
- If we died with Christ, we shall live with him. Paul said a similar thing elsewhere: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live..." (Galatians 2:20). We die to sin and the world and become alive to God, born again. There is another layer to this dying with Christ. Paul and Timothy suffered as Christians, especially as preachers. To Paul this suffering was a kind of death but there was always the assurance of eternal life with Jesus.
- If we endure, we shall reign with him. By not letting troubles crush our faith, we keep pressing toward the eternal kingdom where Christ reigns. But his reign is so splendid, the privileges he grants so magnificent, and our crowns so bright, that not only does Christ reign over us, but we also reign with him. So Paul believed.
- If we deny him, he will also deny us. Now comes the other side of the matter. We must confess Christ even under threat of prison or death. If we won't confess him before men, he won't confess us before God (Matthew 10:32-33). This Paul knew well.
- If we are faithless, he remains faithful... Jesus is not going to stop being faithful just because we do. He has made it clear what he will do to the faithful and what he will do to the faithless. He will remain true to his promise. That's why Paul said these maxims can be trusted.