New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:1 be strong in the grace. True strength, real spiritual power, is to be found only in true Christian grace. Note II Corinthians 9:8; 12:9-10.
2:2 among. A better rendering of “among,” is “attested by.” The “sound words, which thou hast heard of me” (II Timothy 1:13) had not been heard only by Timothy, but had been attested by many others as well. It was vital that they be preserved and transmitted, and this would now be Timothy’s responsibility, since Paul was no longer able to do this. This was the principle and practice predicted in Psalm 145:4. “One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.”
2:3 endure hardness. “Endure hardness” is one word in the Greek (kakapatheo), the same word as in “suffer trouble” and “endure afflictions” (II Timothy 2:9; 4:5). A fruitful Christian life is inevitably accompanied by much opposition from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and Paul wanted to encourage young Timothy to stand strong, as he himself had done for so long.
2:3 soldier. The Christian is often compared in Scripture to a soldier, engaged in spiritual warfare with the hosts of darkness (II Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-18; I Thessalonians 5:8).
2:4 affairs of this life. The Greek word translated “affairs” (pragmateia) is used only this one time in the New Testament. However, a similar word (pragmateuomai), also used only one time, is translated “occupy” in Luke 19:13 (“Occupy till I come”). Our word pragmatic is derived from such words. As Christian believers, it is pragmatic for us to be active in our daily responsibilities while waiting for Christ, but it is also spiritually pragmatic not to be so involved with these pragmatic activities as to hinder our service to our Commander. In fact, even our daily occupations should be carried out in His name and in ways that please Him (Colossians 3:23; I Corinthians 10:31).
2:5 strive for masteries. Note that Paul uses seven figures in this chapter to illustrate the Christian life. The Christian is like a son (II Timothy 2:1), like a soldier (II Timothy 2:3-4), then a runner (II Timothy 2:5), a farmer (II Timothy 2:6), a workman (II Timothy 2:15), a vessel (II Timothy 2:21), and a bondservant (II Timothy 2:24).
2:9 not bound. As the old saying goes, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” The great apostle would never emerge again from his miserable prison, but the world can never imprison the Word of God, which Paul had preached so faithfully for many years, and would still proclaim as long as he lived. Its enemies have been many and mighty, but nineteen centuries later it remains the most widely read and most influential book ever written.
2:10 for the elect’s sake. The Scriptures in a very natural way combine the doctrines of divine election and human responsibility, apparently not concerned with the problem this would later seem to pose to generations of theologians. Paul was willing to suffer countless difficulties and persecutions so that the elect might hear and believe and receive the salvation for which they already had been chosen by God before the world began. The apparent paradox is only resolved in terms of the infinite mind and ability of the Creator. We may not be able to understand how both can be true, just as we cannot see both sides of a coin at the same time. However, both sides are real, and both doctrines are true. We can believe and rejoice in both truths, even though we don’t yet comprehend how each supports the other.
2:11 faithful saying. On the “faithful sayings,” see note on I Timothy 1:15. This particular saying reminds us again of the great truth that Christ died for us and rose again, so that we can identify with Him by faith and receive eternal life. See Romans 6:4-10; Galatians 2:20.
2:13 believe not. “Believe not” can better be read as “are unfaithful.”
2:15 Study. A Christian should be a student, especially a student of the Word of God, but also of the world of God and the works of God. Actually the Greek for “study” (spoudazo) means “be earnest and diligent.”
2:15 dividing. The figure is of a workman or possibly a surgeon, dissecting an object in a very straight line. The word translated “rightly dividing” (Greek orthotomeo) literally means “cutting straight”; it is used only here. That is, the one who would be a faithful teacher of God’s Word must diligently study it and be careful to accept and teach it as it is. This means taking it to mean exactly what the writer intended it to mean, not deviating to right or left. Normally, this would require taking it literally, unless the writer himself makes it evident that he is using symbolic language or a figure of speech. The writers—especially writers inspired by the Holy Spirit—wanted their writings to be understood. Consequently, they would normally use figurative language only if this would make their message easier to understand.
2:15 word of truth. Jesus said: “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17). “Thy word is true from the beginning,” said the psalmist (Psalm 119:160). The Lord Jesus said “I am the truth” (John 14:6). One who would teach the Bible effectively must teach it as absolute truth, centered in Jesus Christ.
2:16 profane. That is, “ungodly” or “unholy.”
2:16 vain babblings. See I Timothy 6:20, where Paul identifies “profane and vain babblings” as related to “science falsely so called,” referring essentially to pantheistic evolutionary philosophy.
2:17 canker. This could be an ulcer or any ulcerating sore, even a cancer.
2:17 Hymenaeus and Philetus. Hymenaeus means “singing man” and Philetus means “friendly man.” These names may well suggest the characters of these two blasphemers (see note on I Timothy 1:20). It is often true that the most effective subverters of God’s Word of truth are men who outwardly seem to be very smooth and charming (compare II Corinthians 11:13-15).
2:18 overthrow the faith. The implication of this phrase refers to those who were corrupting such vital truths as in Romans 6:5 and Colossians 3:1-3, in addition to denying the great promises of the future resurrection when Christ returns (e.g., I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
2:19 this seal. This phrase is quoted from Numbers 16:5, though in a different context. In the church, built upon God’s true foundation (Christ and His Word) the Lord identifies those who belong to Him as those who believe on the name of Christ and therefore depart from iniquity.
2:20 great house. The great house is the church (note Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20-21; I Timothy 3:15). The vessels are its members and their works (note I Corinthians 3:12-15; Romans 9:17-23).
2:21 purge himself from these. That is, we should not be influenced by the “vessels unto dishonour” in the church. In fact, depending on the particulars in a given case, such members may need to be brought under church discipline and even excommunicated.
2:21 prepared unto every good work. Compare II Timothy 3:17. If we would be “prepared unto every good work,” we must study, believe and heed the Holy Scriptures.
2:22 Flee also youthful lusts. There are some things so dangerous that the Bible simply says we are to flee from them. Not only youthful lusts, but also “the love of money” (I Timothy 6:10-11), “idolatry” (I Corinthians 10:14), “fornication” (I Corinthians 6:18), and especially “the wrath to come” (Matthew 3:7).
2:24 strive. “Strive” means to be quarrelsome, seeking to change the mind of one’s opponent by arguing with him. That approach will not win him over, even if he is unable to answer the arguments. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We are told to “contend for the faith” (Jude 3), but that doesn’t mean to be contentious about the faith.
2:25 repentance. “Repentance” involves changing of one’s mind (literal meaning of metanoia). If this is genuine, it will be a Spirit-inspired conviction, not a superficial submission to better arguments. We must be “ready always to give an answer,…a reason of the hope,” but this should be provided “in meekness and in fear” (I Peter 3:15).
2:26 taken captive. This verse is rendered in various ways by different expositors. Probably it should be understood somewhat as follows: “And that they may be recovered from the devil’s snare, having been recaptured by [the servant of the Lord] to do [God’s] will.”