2:1 To be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus means to be courageous with the strength which His grace provides, to go on faithfully for the Lord with the undeserved ability that comes through union with Him.
2:2 Not only is Timothy to be strengthened himself, but he is to provide for the spiritual straightening of others. He is responsible to transmit to others the inspired teachings which he had received from the apostle.
Paul was soon to pass off the scene. He had faithfully taught Timothy in the presence of many witnesses. Timothy’s own day of service would be short at best, and he, too, should prepare others to carry on as teachers.
It has often been pointed out that there are four generations of believers in the verse, as follows:
1. The Apostle Paul.
2. Timothy and many witnesses.
3. Faithful men.
This Scripture emphasizes the importance of every-member evangelism. If each believer truly did his part the world could be evangelized within a generation.
Notice that Timothy is to entrust the truth to reliable men, that is men who are believers and who are themselves dependable. These men should be qualified to teach others.
2:3 Paul is using a wealth of similes in this chapter to describe Timothy:
1. Son (v.1);
2. Soldier (vss3,4);
3. Athlete (v.5);
4. Farmer (v.6);
5. Worker (v.15);
6. Vessel (v.21);
7. Servant (v.24)
Like a good soldier of Christ Jesus, Timothy should endure suffering and hardship. (For a list of the many hardships Paul himself endured, see 2 Corinthians 11:23-29).
2:4 The soldier described in this verse is one who is on active duty. Not only that, but he is in the thick of the combat. No soldier in such grim circumstances gets involved in civilian affairs.
Does this mean that those who are in the Lord’s service should never engage in secular occupations as well? Certainly not! Paul himself worked as a tent maker while he was preaching the gospel and planting churches.
He testified that his own hands ministered to his necessities.
2:5 The figure now changes to an athlete who competes in the games. In order to receive the reward, he must obey the rules of the game. So it is in Christian service.
How many fall out before they reach the finish line, disqualified because they did not maintain an unquestioning obedience to the word of God!
What are some of the rules in connection with Christian service?
1. The Christian must practice self-discipline (1 Corinthians 9:27).
2. He must not fight with carnal weapons, but with spiritual ones (2 Corinthians 10:4).
3. He must keep himself pure.
4. He must be patient.
Someone has said: “A spare time Christian is a contradiction in terms; a man’s whole life should be one strenuous endeavor to live out his Christianity in every moment and in every sphere of his life.”
2:6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. According to all, principles of righteousness, the one who labors to bring forth the crops has a prior right to participate in them.
This would serve as an encouragement to Timothy, should he ever become discouraged in his labor for the Lord. Although many will participate in the harvest, yet Timothy’s labor of love would not go unnoticed. Indeed, he would be the first to receive of the fruit of his own labor.
2:7 But there is more in these three illustrations of Christian service than appears on the surface. Timothy is exhorted to consider them and to meditate on them. As he does so, Paul prays that the Lord will give him understanding in all things. He will realize that the Christian ministry resembles warfare, athletics, and farming. Each of these occupations has its own responsibilities, and each brings its own reward.
2:8 At this point, the apostle reaches the high-water mark in his series of encouragements to young Timothy. He comes to the example of the Lord Jesus, and he can go no higher. His is an example of suffering followed by glory.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead descended from David. The thought is not that Timothy is to remember certain things about the Lord Jesus, but rather that he is to remember the Person Himself, alive from the dead.
In one sense, this verse is a brief summary of the gospel which Paul preached. The crucial point in that gospel is the resurrection of the
Savior. Not the crucified Jesus but the vision of a risen Lord is held up before Timothy.
The expression descended from David is a simple statement that Jesus is the Christ, the descendant of David, in whom the Messianic promises of God are fulfilled.
Constant remembrance of the Savior’s Person and work is essential for all who want to serve Him.
2:9 It was for proclaiming the gospel outlined in verse 8 that Paul was now chained in a Roman prison. He was looked upon as a criminal. There was so much to discourage. Not only was the Roman Government determined to put him to death, but some of his own Christian friends had turned away from him.
And yet in spite of these bitter circumstances, Paul’s happy spirit soars high above the dungeon walls. He forgets his own problems when he remembers that God’s ward is not chained.
2:10 Because of the irresistible nature of the gospel, Paul was willing to endure everything for the sake of the elect. The elect here refers to the Gentiles, elected by God’s goodness to enjoy every privilege formerly possessed by the Jews, and, in addition to these, all the blessings of the gospel: the salvation of Christ here, and eternal life and glory hereafter.
2:11–13 These verses are thought by some to be from an early Christian hymn. Whether that is so or not, they certainly present some very important principles concerning man’s relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we died with him. That is: As surely as Christ rose again from the dead, so surely we will also live with him. If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
If we are faithless, should we deny the faith and apostatize, He is the same, as true to His threatenings as to His promises; cannot deny, act contrary to, himself.