2 Timothy 2:14-26 Study 4 Leader Guide
An Approved Worker, Part 1
An Approved Worker, Part 1
2 Timothy 2:
Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
Paul starts verse 14 with the words Remind them of these things. The “them” Paul is referring to are the “faithful men” he wrote about in verse 2 of this chapter, the ones to whom Timothy is to entrust what he’s learned from Paul.
The “these things” are the truths he has already communicated in this letter, and most recently, it is the trustworthy saying in verses 11-13 of this chapter. So remind these faithful men that
The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
2 Timothy 2:11-
If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him;
if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
if we deny (reject) Him, He will also deny (reject) us;
if we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself.
So in verse 14, the first instruction is about right doctrine, about the set of beliefs held by the Church, and for Timothy to preach them, teach them, and continue to do so. The next instruction is a charge or something Paul is insisting, and that is to not quarrel about words with others, saying it does no good but only ruins the hearers. The Greek word Paul used actually means a “word fight” or an argument, and he’s saying not to get into an argument over the doctrines that Timothy is teaching.
Why would we not debate with those who disagree with our set of beliefs? Is there a difference between a debate, and argument, and a discussion? Verse 14
The understanding of this verse, is that in Timothy’s public ministry he is to preach the truth, right doctrine, and at the same time not to get into debates or arguments over it. The reason is that those that would argue or debate don’t want to know the truth, they are trying to push their own beliefs on you and others and thereby sway the crowd. That’s the danger and warning here and that’s what Paul means by it only ruins the hearers. The word he uses there in the Greek for ruin is where we get our word catastrophe, I think you get Pauls message.
If verse 14 was about Timothy’s public ministry, then verse 15 is about his private life. In essence Paul is saying, “make every effort” or do your part. We see this throughout scripture, where we are to trust God to do something and yet, at the same time, we are to do something as well, have faith in this and also do this or don’t do that. This is true of sanctification. Sanctification is the process whereby God, through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us, cleans us up and makes us more like Jesus. It is by grace through faith and yet, we play a part. We are not idle in this process but active participants. Paul says in the latter portion of , “to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” this is not to work for salvation, that is impossible, but to work it out. What he’s referring to is sanctification, the part we can work on to be and look more like Jesus and he’s saying to have a persistence and a zeal for it.
So what are we supposed to do, or work on, in regards to sanctification, in order to present ourselves to God as one approved? Verse 15
Paul lists two characteristics of an approved worker and it’s worth noting that the approval we are seeking is God’s and not mans. So many of us are persistent in the pursuit of man’s approval at the expense of gaining God’s.
The first characteristic Paul lists is, “a worker who has no need to be ashamed.” In order for a worker to not be ashamed of his work it must measure up to the standards of God, it must be worthy of His approval. The second characteristic is tied to the first, in order for Timothy to not be ashamed, he must handle the word of God accurately. This means that he must be correctly communicating God’s truth and not deviating from it even the slightest bit and at the same time, living this truth out. Timothy can’t be a preacher who says, “do as I say and not as I do”, but rather “follow me as I follow Christ.” Timothy must accurately preach the truth and confidently live the truth.
This is in stark contrast with the false teachers in verse 16, who are known for their ungodly talk and the errors in their interpretation and communication of the word of truth. Paul gives the example of Hymenaeus and Philetus, two men he mentions in verse 17, who are known for their irreverent babble (see ) that is leading people into more and more ungodliness. These men have wandered or swerved from the truth and are claiming the resurrection has already happened, which is incorrect and upsetting the faith of some. The bottom line is this, irreverent or irreligious and pointless babble leads the speaker and the listener away from the truth and into more and more ungodly behavior.
Verse 19 brings the certainty we can have in the word of truth. Paul refers twice to the Old Testament to communicate this. The first reference is from when God was dealing with some who chose to revolt from Moses’ leadership as if Moses wasn’t the only leader God could use. The reason for the usage of this verse is to say of the above cases of false teachers, that God knows who are his and who are proving themselves to not be His. The second reference is not as clear. It could be from or possibly from . Both of these verse, though, communicate the same thing. If you claim to be God’s, claim to be a Christian, claim to be a follower of Jesus, then turn away and leave sinful behaviors. The key here to this is the name of the Lord, that’s where the power to turn away comes from, but the desire to do so must come from within.
An Honorable Vessel, Part 2
An Honorable Vessel, Part 2
2 Timothy 2:20-21
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
In verses 20-21, Paul uses a metaphor to communicate his point from verse 19 and also his instruction to Timothy in verse 15. The idea in verse 20 is that there are objects used for honorable purposes, like a porcelain vase used to hold beautiful flowers, and also objects in a house that are used for dishonorable purposes, like a porcelain toilet, which holds, well you know. Here the message is not necessarily what the object or vessel is, but rather what it’s being used for, honorable or dishonorable purposes. This is where the vase and toilet comparison breaks down a bit, we’d never put flowers in a toilet, but both are made of porcelain and could be made into either a vase or a toilet. His point here is this, if we are to make every effort (V15) and depart from iniquity (V19) then we are to cleanse ourselves from all that is dishonorable, verse 21 and this speaks of the part we play in our sanctification. The purpose of this cleansing is so that we can be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, set apart for God’s purposes, and now useful to our master Jesus and ready for every good work that God has for us ().
What in your life is dishonorable and needs to be cleansed? Do you desire to be a vessel of honorable use? Verses 20-21
An Effective Witness, Part 3
An Effective Witness, Part 3
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:22-
As Paul moves on in his thought process, verse 22 is directly related to his metaphor usage in verses 20-21. If we are to cleanse ourselves of all that is dishonorable, we must flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, all from a pure heart. The youthful passions could be immoral at some level, but more than likely it is referring to immature behavior, especially in regard to how Timothy deals with the false teachers and trouble makers. Will he pursue righteousness and display godly characteristics like patience and self-control, will he demonstrate faith in the God who knows who are His, communicate love for those who are hard to love, and be a man of peace in the midst of those who are causing these problems, and will he do all this from a pure heart, not for selfish gain, but for God’s honor? If Timothy can do all this from a pure heart while pursuing righteousness he will be able to have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies, he will not be quarrelsome, but be kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, he will correct his opponents with gentleness so that God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they will come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. These people who don’t know the truth, who are causing all this trouble, are under the influence of the devil, that’s why they are coming against Timothy, and against God. This battle is spiritual, Timothy must pursue righteousness and be Spirit led in order to combat those who are being led by the devil. See Timothy’s desire must be for the salvation of these men and in order to want that, he must not view these men as the enemy, but rather as men trapped men trapped by the devil.
Have you ever viewed those who seem to be against the truth of God as prisoners of the devil? Is your desire for them to be led to repentance and a correct knowledge of the truth? Verse 24-26