2 Timothy - Remember and Ditch
(February 7, 2016 version)


A person can come to Christ with great joy, excitement, and passion. But as the years go by, the flame can grow smaller, and they can "forsake their first love" (Revelation 2:4). Revelation 2:5 is a verse that says to remember the height from which they have fallen, but 2 Timothy is an entire book on remembering. But mixed in with that, Paul tells us what we need to forget about too.

Key themes in 2 Timothy are remember/remind/recall/mark (7X), truth/trustworthy (6X), grace (5X), ashamed (5X), endure (5X), suffering/hardship (5X), life/live/living (5X), avoid/flee/pay no attention to/turn away (5X), guard (4X), desert/wander (4X), entrust (3X), power (3X), and do your best (3X),
2 Timothy can be aid to have five life lessons.
1:1 The Promise of life.
1:10 The Presentation of life through Jesus Christ
2:11 The Participation of life
3:12 The Pattern of life
4:1 The Purpose of life
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.2108 for more info.

Dating of 2 Timothy: Paul was executed by Nero according to Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.), Tertullian (198-220 A.D.), and Lactantius (c.303-320/325 A.D.). Nero committed suicide in June of 68 A.D., and 1 Timothy was most probably written about between 62 and 66 A.D. 2 Timothy was most probably written 67 A.D, when Paul was in the Mamertine prison in Rome, though 2 Timothy could have been as late as spring 68 A.D.

Pre-Nicene writers who quote or allude to 2 Timothy

Polycarp (c.150 A.D.) Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.)
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) Origen (225-254 A.D.)
The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.) Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258A.D.)
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.)
Tertullian (198-220 A.D.)


Pre-Nicene manuscripts of 2 Timothy
Sinaiticus (Si) 340-350 A.D.)
Bohairic Coptic (3rd-4th century)
Sahidic Coptic (3rd-4th century)
Italic (4th-5th century)
Peshitta Syriac (411-435 A.D.) over 350 manuscripts
I Washington, D.C. 5th century
Armenian from the 5th century
Georgian from the 5th century
Alexandrinus (=A) c.450 A.D.)
Vulgate (4th-5th century)


An Outline of 2 Timothy
1 Remember to Guard the Good Deposit
2:1-13 Remember to be Strong in Christ's Grace
2:14-26 Remind them of Truth, and Ditch Foolishness
3 Continue despite the coming Apostasy
4 In All Seasons Preach the Word, and Come

Similarities between 2 Timothy and the rest of Paul's Letters
2 Timothy Other letters of Paul Other books
2 Tim 1:1 apostle by the will of God 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1 apostle by the will of God. 1 Tim 1:1 apostle by the command of God -
"Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" 2 Tim 1:2 Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Php 1:2; 2 Thess 1:2; Phm 3; 1 Tim 1:2; Tt 1:4 2 Jn 3 "Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Son of the Father..."
Not ashamed of the Gospel. 2 Timothy 1:12 Romans 1:16  
Doing things for the elect. 2 Tim 2:12 Tt 1:1 Col 3:12 (partial, mentions the elect)  
Sound doctrine 2 Tim 4:2; Sound teaching 2 Tim 1:13 Sound doctrine 1 Tim 1:11; Tt 1:9, sound in the faith Tt 1:14; Sound instruction 1 Tim 6:3 -
Trustworthy saying: 2 Tim 2:11 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Tt 3:8 -
"continues day and night to pray" 2 Tim 1:3 1 Thess 2:9; 3:10; 2 Thess 3:8; 1 Tim 5:5 Day and night Rev 4:8; 7:15; 12:10; 14:11; 20:10; Acts 26:7 (day and night, Paul is speaking); Acts 20:31 (night and day, Paul is speaking)
Charge to Timothy 2 Tim 4:1 1 Tim 5:21; 6:13 -
soldier 2 Tim 2:3-4   1 Tim 1:18  
Athlete 2 Tim 2:5 1 Cor 9:24-27 Heb 12:1-2
Farmer 2 Tim 2:6   Jms 5:7

2 Timothy 1 - Remember to Guard the Good Deposit


1. In 2 Tim 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; and Col 1:1, why do you think Paul emphasized that it was by the will of God that he was an apostle?



2. In 2 Tim 1:4, Paul did not just have an altruistic love for Timothy; Paul enjoyed his company and longed to see him again. How can we foster that same sort of love with our Christian brothers and sisters?



3. In 2 Tim 1:5, from Lois' perspective having faith in God does not guarantee your child will have it, much less your grandchild. How do godly parents influence their kids to follow God?



4. In 2 Tim 1:5, why did Paul not talk about Timothy's father's faith as well as his mother's?



5. In 2 Tim 1:6 some Christians consider this gift (charisma) the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, while others consider this to mean spiritual gifts. Which do you think is true?



6. In 2 Tim 1:6 if God gives us one or more spiritual gifts, why do we need to "fan into flame" or rekindle our gift?



7. In 2 Tim 1:7, does this mean that a true Christian can never have an "unsound mind" including mental illness?



8. In 2 Tim 1:9, since God saved us only by His own purpose and grace before time began, why should we try to persuade men as 1 Cor 9:20-23 says? Either they are predestined to get saved or they are not.



9. In 2 Tim 1:10, since Christ abolished death, why do believers still die?



10. In 2 Tim 1:13 what is "sound teaching" here?



11. In 2 Tim 1:13, since we are to hold fast to the form of sound words, why does Paul rebuke those who hold the form of godliness, but deny its power, in 2 Tim 3:5?



12. In 2 Tim 1:14, who does the guarding, and why is Timothy given this responsibility/command?



13. In 2 Tim 1:15, what are three possibilities of how Phygelus and Hermogenes "deserted" Paul?



14. In 2 Tim 1:16-18, why do Christians, even like Paul, still need refreshing by other saints?



15. In 2 Tim 1:16-18, how should we refresh other Christians?

2 Timothy 2:1-13 - Remember to Be Strong in Christ's Grace


1. In 2 Tim 2:1 and Eph 6:10, since grace is undeserved favor given by God, how can we do something to be strong in grace?




2. In 2 Tim 2:5, do you think the rules here are the rules of the event, or the rules of training and qualification?



3. In 2 Tim 2:1-9, how do the obedience, endurance, and hard work of a son, soldier, athlete, farmer, and Christ differ?









4. In 2 Tim 2:7, why did Paul not explain himself to Timothy as clearly as possible?



5. In 2 Tim 2:8, why would Paul tell Timothy to remember Jesus raised from the dead, [allegedly] like it was an afterthought easy to forget?



6. In 2 Tim 2:10, why does Paul endure for the sake of the elect, and not everyone else's?



7. In 2 Tim 2:11, how would you explain that you have to die to live?



8. In 2 Tim 2:12, Col 3:12; Tt 1:1; in what sense are we doing things for the elect?



9. Does 2 Tim 2:12 indicate we can lose our salvation by denying Christ?

2 Timothy 2:14-26 - Remind them of Truth, and Shun Foolishness


1. In 2 Tim 2:14, since we should not quarrel about words, should we never dispute with those who disagree with us?




2. In 2 Tim 2:15, should everyone be a student to be approved by God?




3. In 2 Tim 2:15,20-21,24-26 How do a workman, vessel, and servant differ?




4. In 2 Tim 2:17, how does bad teaching spread?





4. In 2 Tim 2:20-21, how can we choose what kind of vessel we are, since Rom 9:21-23 says it was God who made some vessels for honor and some for no honor?




5. In 2 Tim 2:21, what does the "latter" refer to?



6. In 2 Tim 2:22 since God has already pronounced us righteous, and we love God and have faith in Him, how are we supposed to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace?



8. In 2 Tim 2:14,22-24, how do you oppose heresies without quarreling?



9. In 2 Tim 2:24-25, how do you handle stupid questions?



10. In 2 Tim 2:25 and Acts 5:31, is repentance given by God, or is it something we are commanded to do as Acts 17:30 and Mark 1:5 show?

2 Timothy 3 - Continue despite the Coming Apostasy


1. In 2 Tim 3:1-8, instead of God just telling us He knows about a future terrible time, why did God not do something to prevent it?




2. In 2 Tim 3:2, how are some people today lovers of themselves?




3. In 2 Tim 3:2, since it is bad for people to be "lovers of themselves", why are we to love our neighbor as ourselves in Mt 22:39?




4. In 2 Tim 3:2, why do people love money, and what does this have to do with the deceitfulness of wealth in Mt 13:23?




5. In 2 Tim 3:8, who are Jannes and Jambres, and how did their names get in the New Testament?




6. In 2 Tim 3:12, if someone has not been persecuted, does that mean he or she is not a Christian?




7. In 2 Tim 3:16, does that mean all scripture, or only the scripture that is given by God?




8. In 2 Tim 3:16, is Paul referring to just the Old Testament?



9. In 2 Tim 3:16-17, is it really true that the Bible contains what is needed for Christian doctrine?



10. In 2 Tim 3:17, can people become perfect?

2 Timothy 4 - In All Seasons Preach the Word, and Come


1. In 2 Tim 4:2, what do you think "in season and out of season" means"


2. In 2 Tim 4:7, how did Paul fight the good fight, and how should we today?



3. In 2 Tim 4:8, did Paul do things just to get a Heavenly crown?


4. In 2 Tim 4:10, how could Demas forsake Paul, since Paul spoke well of Demas in Phm 24?



5. In 2 Tim 4:10, who do Demas and others serve God for a while, but leave because they love this world?



6. In 2 Tim 4:10 and Titus 3:12, what is interesting about Titus going to Dalmatia?



7. In 2 Tim 4:11, why was Mark profitable to Paul, since Paul did not want to take Mark along in Acts 15:37-40?



8. In 2 Tim 4:13, why did Paul keep personal property, like scrolls and a cloak? The disciples had all things in common in Acts 4:32-35.



9. What does 2 Tim 4:13 say about personal property?



10. In 2 Tim 4:13, why is Paul asking a personal favor in God's word?



11. In 2 Tim 4:14, is this the same Alexander mentioned in 1 Tim 1:20?



12. In 2 Tim 4:14, is Paul cursing Alexander?


13. In 2 Tim 4:17, how did the Lord stand by Paul's side give him strength, and how do we get that?

2 Timothy 1 - Remember to Guard the Good Deposit - some brief answers


1. In 2 Tim 1:1; 1 Cor 1:1; 2 Cor 1:1; Eph 1:1; and Col 1:1, why do you think Paul emphasized that it was by the will of God that he was an apostle?
A: It was not by Paul's own choice, and it was not by a democratic vote. Nobody but God appointed Paul as an apostle. However, Peter and the other apostles recognized Paul as an apostle in Galatians 1:18-2:10.

2. In 2 Tim 1:4, Paul did not just have an altruistic love for Timothy; Paul enjoyed his company and longed to see him again. How can we foster that same sort of love with our Christian brothers and sisters?
A: We should pray for them, and with them. We should share theirs (and our) joys and sorrows. We should slow down and choose to spend time with them. Jesus said they will know we are Christians by our love, so part of our witness is our love with have for other people and each other. We should have a pure heart and a clear conscience, which in Greek uses the word catharsis. J.H. Jowett wrote, "Tearless hearts can never be heralds of the passion. When our sympathy loses its pang, we can no longer be the servants of the passion."
(Believer's Bible Commentary p.2109)

3. In 2 Tim 1:5, from Lois' perspective having faith in God does not guarantee your child will have it, much less your grandchild. How do godly parents influence their kids to follow God?
A: There are at least three aspects.
How you live: What do your kids see when they see you? On one level do they see drunkenness, drugs, foul language, immorality, lying, pirating media and stealing, etc. On another level do they see someone who delights in God and desires to live to please him. In 2 Timothy 1:5 the word "sincere" means "unhypocritical" or literally, "not wearing a mask".
What you teach: We are to train our children with words, not just our lives. Do you teach them to feed themselves in reading the Bible and praying. Do you teach them to care for others, and to share the gospel with others?
Their environment: To the best of your ability, do you live in a place that is a good environment for your children? Do you have a good fellowship of Christians they and you associate with?

4. In 2 Tim 1:5, why did Paul not talk about Timothy's father's faith as well as his mother's?
A: Acts 16:1 says Timothy's mother was a Jewess and a believer, and his father was a Greek. By the way, Lois was probably Jewish when she raised Timothy's mother Eunice, not Christian.

5. In 2 Tim 1:6 some Christians consider this gift (charisma) the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, while others consider this to mean spiritual gifts. Which do you think is true?
A: This refers to spiritual gifts, not just the Holy Spirit. The reason is that it did not come to Timothy when he was saved, but when Paul laid his hands on him. Furthermore, Timothy was commanded to fan it into flame; we do not need to fan God dwelling in us into flame.

6. In 2 Tim 1:6 if God gives us one or more spiritual gifts, why do we need to "fan into flame" or rekindle our gift?
A: What happens when God gives us a spiritual gift? Maybe nothing, because we are negligent and don't use it. Timothy was commanded to be diligent and use and strengthen the gift(s) God have him. We are to do all aspects of ministry, but like Timothy we might have a special aspect that God has gifted us with, and we have a responsibility to develop that. We are supposed to look for opportunities to exercise our special gift as 1 Timothy 4:14 says. We should also look out for other believers. It they might have a special gift, we should find opportunities for them to use their gifts too.

7. In 2 Tim 1:7, does this mean that a true Christian can never have an "unsound mind" including mental illness?
A: Not at all. A few people have claimed this, but this is a command to guard sound teaching in our mind, but that a Christian is any more immune to mental illness than physical illness. We often do not see why God allows what He allows, but we know that God can take us through the storm, even when He does not take us around the storm.

8. In 2 Tim 1:9, since God saved us only by His own purpose and grace before time began, why should we try to persuade men as 1 Cor 9:20-23 says? Either they are predestined to get saved or they are not.
A: Ephesians 2:8 says they are saved by grace through faith. God did save the elect before time began, but not in a way that lessens our responsibility or our choice. Do not confuse the ends with the means. Our preaching and persuasion, and their response, is a part of the means to their salvation.

9. In 2 Tim 1:10, since Christ abolished death, why do believers still die?
A: There are two aspects to the answer.
1. Jesus abolished eternal death for believers.
2. While Jesus officially conquered death at the cross, He will come and abolish physical death eventually after His Second Coming.
See When Critics Ask p.503 for more info.

10. In 2 Tim 1:13 what is "sound teaching" here?
A: This is the primary truths of our faith. Genuine Christians can differ on trivial things, and even some important but secondary things, but they don't differ on the primary things, such as Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 15:107.
Sound teaching means more than just non-heretical teaching; some false teaching is not soul-perishing heresy, but is still false and distracting. Sometimes people can be so caught up in speculations that they loose their focus on Christ. Paul made a point that he guarded healthy teaching, and Paul was not ashamed of it in 2 Timothy 1:12 and Romans 1:16.

11. In 2 Tim 1:13, since we are to hold fast to the form of sound words, why does Paul rebuke those who hold the form of godliness, but deny its power, in 2 Tim 3:5?
A: We are to hold the form of godliness as well as believe its power. We are supposed to have godliness on both the inside and outside, as Jesus taught in Matthew 23:15-26.
Believing most of the right things is not good enough. It is not even good enough to know all of the right things, if you do not trust your life to believing them. And if you believe in them, you will live them out in your life.

12. In 2 Tim 1:14, who does the guarding, and why is Timothy given this responsibility/command?
A: On one hand, the Holy Spirit guards the deposit within us according to Ephesians 1:14. On the other hand, Paul told Timothy that he had a job to do: not only guard the truth of faith for himself, but guard it for other believers too. The Holy Spirit can use the agency of other believers as the means for guarding the faith.
It is a joint effort. Timothy, and by extension, we, are given the command to guard, with the help of the Holy Spirit. What are we guarding? We are guarding the "truth", which is both the right teaching, and right living. We are to guard it both in ourselves and others, including our family, friends, and other believers in the church. Also, we are to be salt and light in society.
Christians know we are commanded to help the poor, love others, preach the word, and live a holy life, but we are also commanded to guard or defend.

13. In 2 Tim 1:15, what are three possibilities of how Phygelus and Hermogenes "deserted" Paul?
A: While we don't know anything more about Phylegus and Hermogenes, and how they deserted Paul, it may have been in of these three areas.
1) They might have become heretics.
2) They might have remained in the faith, but divided from Paul as schismatics.
3) Or they might have just stopped helping Paul because they were scared of persecution or that they might suffer hardship too as in 2 Timothy 4:16.
While any of the three possibilities could be true, the third is the most probable.

14. In 2 Tim 1:16-18, why do Christians, even like Paul, still need refreshing by other saints?
A: We were made to be together, in one body, as one temple of God. We need to refresh each other in at least three ways.
1) We need each other for encouragement, comfort, correction, and sometimes rebuke (1 Thessalonians 5:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:15-17).
2) In addition to helping each other spiritually, we should help them materially and financially too.
3) Finally, we can refresh other believers just by our presence and spending time with them.
Be available to others, be led by the Holy Spirit, and be caring of others as more important than yourselves (Philippians 2:3b).
But what about other believers who are isolated by distance, health, or prison? We need to keep them in our prayers, and God can make up for our lack.
In a sense this letter was refreshing for Timothy. It showed that Paul, though in chains in the dungeon, was still thinking of Timothy. Here you have a chained prisoner, about to be executed, instructing Timothy that he does not need to be afraid of anything. And here you have a penniless criminal, telling Timothy you should not be ashamed of anything. It is one thing for me to tell you that; but it is another thing for Paul, the prisoner, to tell you that.
Paul was not a "superman" Christian; he was a person just like us, and he needed refreshing by other people too. We should be able to be refreshed by God, but we should also recognize that we need to be refreshed by others people too. Since even Paul needed refreshing by others, has it ever crossed your mind that sometimes your pastor might need refreshing too?

15. In 2 Tim 1:16-18, how should we refresh other Christians?
A: Besides the previous answer, we should express our love by doing things nice for them, such as making a scarf for them, baking them cookies or food, inviting them over, etc.
Sometimes there are things that seem small to you but are much more important, difficult, or troublesome for someone else. By on the lookout for those things, so that you can help.
Lastly, there are some things that are big for both you and them, and be willing to sacrifice for them. Consider others as more important than yourselves, as Philippians 2:3 says.

2 Timothy 2:1-13 - Remember to Be Strong in Christ's Grace - some brief answers


1. In 2 Tim 2:1 and Eph 6:10, since grace is undeserved favor given by God, how can we do something to be strong in grace?
A: There are multiple aspects to God's grace. God's grace was promised before time began (Titus 1:2), and redemption through Jesus (Romans 3:24). Grace also sustains us day to day. Paul called Timothy "my child". The Greek word for child here, teknon, is a term of endearment. God not only gave us His grace to live forever with Him, but God also gave us each other forever.

2. In 2 Tim 2:5, do you think the rules here are the rules of the event, or the rules of training and qualification?
A: In the ancient Olympics, an athlete had to swear that he had trained for at least ten months before the race or contest. But probably it is primarily the rules of an event according to the Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament p.752. If you start a race before the whistle is blown, you disqualify yourself and nobody cares how fast you run. Likewise if you try to do God's will by dishonorable or otherwise sinful means, nobody cares about the good you thought you might accomplish.

3. In 2 Tim 2:1-9, how do the obedience, endurance, and hard work of a son, soldier, athlete, farmer, and Christ differ?
A: "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.'" Believers Bible Commentary p.2116. Here are differences between the three.
Son: 2 Tim 2:1
Soldier: 2 Tim 2:3-4; 1 Tim 1:18
Athlete: 2 Tim 2:5; 1 Cor 9:24-27; Heb 12:1-2
2 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:7 Crown here is a victor's wreath, not a gem-studded king's crown
Farmer: 2 Tim 2:6; Jms 5:7
Christ: 2 Tim 2:8

4. In 2 Tim 2:7, why did Paul not explain himself to Timothy as clearly as possible?
A: Why did the Greek philosopher Socrates ask questions? Probably Paul asked for the same reasons. Paul was clear, but Paul spoke these illustrations in general terms for Timothy to ponder. Sometimes when we teach others, a good method is to use general illustrations and questions and have the students go through the process of coming up with the particular answers. Of course, Timothy could write Paul or see him later, to ask on anything about which he failed to get insight.
Likewise, God often uses general illustrations to teach us. He does not leave us in the dark either, for God has given us the Holy Spirit, and each other, to guide us.

5. In 2 Tim 2:8, why would Paul tell Timothy to remember Jesus raised from the dead, [allegedly] like it was an afterthought easy to forget?
A: It was no afterthought. Paul in 2 Timothy 2:8 is saying to remember to emphasize this as one of the essential and primary parts of the Gospel, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Just one chapter prior Paul says that Christ Jesus "destroyed death" in 2 Timothy 1:10.
One might incorrectly think Paul would not need to mention it at all, since he was writing to his trusted co-worker Timothy. But as Paul still reminded even Timothy about the resurrection, we still need to remind each other.

6. In 2 Tim 2:10, why does Paul endure for the sake of the elect, and not everyone else's?
A: Paul preached and suffered persecution indiscriminately for all. Yet, while all of Paul's work glorified God, Paul knew that his efforts would be in vain for those who did not choose the Lord (Joshua 24:21-22) and did not combine the Gospel they heard with faith (Hebrews 4:2).

7. In 2 Tim 2:11, how would you explain that you have to die to live?
A: Some rich people, seemingly with everything they could want, commit suicide (quickly) or else turn to drugs which is committing suicide slowly. If everything you have to live for is inside yourself, you find that lie is an empty, hollow, shell. Only by loving others and caring about something bigger than yourself can you escape the depressing singularity that everything is meaningless if you have no other purpose. 1 Timothy 5:6 says that someone who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.401 for more info.

8. In 2 Tim 2:12, Col 3:12; Tt 1:1; in what sense are we doing things for the elect?
A: The elect are not just those who have turned to Christ. The elect are also those who will come to Christ but have not yet. Salvation through Christ has no eternal benefit for those who reject Christ. Our efforts only give significant, eternal benefit to the elect. Of course we don't know who the elect are, and we should preach to all. We might think we have a good general idea about some, but others, like Saul of Tarsus, take us completely by surprise. We love, care for, and share the gospel indiscriminately with everyone, praying for their salvation, i.e., that they will be the elect.

9. Does 2 Tim 2:12 indicate we can lose our salvation by denying Christ?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this. Many early Christians, and Christians today such as many Biblical Methodists, Nazarenes, free-will Baptists, most charismatics, and Lutherans would say yes. Other Baptists, Bible Church, Reformed, and the Presbyterian Church of America, would generally say no. Most views should all agree on the following points.
1. God is never surprised. Before anyone was born, God knew for certain everyone who would go to Heaven (Revelation 20:12,15; 17:8; Psalm 139:16).
2. Some people will be surprised at the judgment (Matthew 7:21-23).
3. We can have confidence in our salvation (1 John 5:13; Hebrews 4:16; 10:35; Acts 8:13,20-23).
4. Our rightful confidence should not turn into complacency. Christians can lose rewards in Heaven, and Philippians 2:12-13 shows that (after being saved) the outworking of our salvation should be with fear and trembling. Praise God that it is He that is working in us!
5. There is such as thing a counterfeit conversion (1 John 2:19; Jeremiah 17:10; James 2:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10; 2 Peter 2:17-22).
6. We can know if our salvation is genuine by examining ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5-6), in other words, by comparing our doctrine and life with scripture.
7. We are given the responsibility to persevere (Hebrews 6:11; 10:36; James 1:3-4; 2 Timothy 2:3; 4:5).
8. The Holy Spirit has sealed genuine believers until the Day of Judgment. (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; Jude 24; 1 Timothy 1:14). The Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing what is to come (2 Corinthians 5:5).
See The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.191-193, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.419-421, and Now That's a Good Question p.115-117 for complementary answers. See also the discussion on Ephesians 1:14 for more info.

2 Timothy 2:14-26 - Remind them of Truth, and Shun Foolishness - some brief answers


1. In 2 Tim 2:14, since we should not quarrel about words, should we never dispute with those who disagree with us?
A: No, we should dispute what is false. First, 2 Timothy 2:14 says "quarrel", not debate, dispute, correct, or rebuke. Second, it says quarrel "about words", versus more substantive matters. See When Critics Ask p.503-504 for more info.

2. In 2 Tim 2:15, should everyone be a student to be approved by God?
A: Yes. Every Christian should study the scriptures, as Acts 2:42, Psalms 119, and 2 Timothy 3:15-16 imply. Only some have the gift of teaching and should be teachers (1 Corinthians 12:29; James 3:1). The closest translation is "Be zealous", "make haste", "do your best" or "make every effort", not only "study", according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.402.
The Greek word for "correctly handles" is rather unusual; it means to cut straight. It could refer to a maker of clothes cutting straight, a surgeon, or somebody making something.

3. In 2 Tim 2:15,20-21,24-26 How do a workman, vessel, and servant differ?
A: A workman in 2 Tim 2:15 should try to excel in his or her workmanship.
With a vessel in 2 Timothy 2:20 Paul is focused on its composition, use, and destiny. We are commanded to be clean vessels in Isaiah 52:11.
A servant in 2 Timothy 2:24-26 is not just a lowly unlearned slave, but a servant entrusted with responsibility to figure out how to accomplish his master's will. A servant should try to serve well.

4. In 2 Tim 2:17, how does bad teaching spread?
A: The Greek word here, gangraina, can mean gangrene (NIV, NRSV) or cancer/canker (NKJV, KJV, Wuest). Either one could be in view according to the Believers Bible Commentary p.2117. Regardless though, it refers to a disease that if not dealt with promptly and severely will infect and take over the entire body. Imagine a doctor telling you that you just need to live healthy and unlock the healing power you already have in your body, when you have gangrene. No, the doctor needs to take action immediately to save your life. Likewise when an individual or a group is led astray by false teaching, we need to warn and rebuke immediately, to keep the problem from getting more serious.
Even though Paul was present, defectors and false teachers, such as Hymenaeus (1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:17), Alexander (1 Timothy 1:20) and Philetus (2 Timothy 2:17) needed to be exposed and publicly rebuked right away. We do not have the apostle Paul's authority, so we need to be even more diligent is standing against false teachers.

5. In 2 Tim 2:20-21, how can we choose what kind of vessel we are, since Rom 9:21-23 says it was God who made some vessels for honor and some for no honor?
A: God formed us like clay, but God and us interact more than simply as a potter and clay. Even more than lifeless clay, we have some ability to either harden ourselves (Exodus 8:15, Hebrews 3:15) or be soft. To at least some degree, all people can choose whether to ignore or to see their own sinfulness, their need for God, and cry out for help.

6. In 2 Tim 2:21, what does the "latter" refer to?
A: Grammatically "latter" here can be a vessel of wood and clay, or wickedness and false teaching, or evil people, or all of the above. However, it does not make sense for it just to mean wood and clay, because Paul is not saying we should literally avoid these materials. Rather, it means to avoid the false teaching and evil people that the wood and clay represent, because we don't want to become those too.

7. In 2 Tim 2:22 since God has already pronounced us righteous, and we love God and have faith in Him, how are we supposed to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace?
A: 2 Timothy 2:22 pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. When we came to Christ, our struggle to please God and be Christ-like did not finish; rather it just began.

8. In 2 Tim 2:14,22-24, how do you oppose heresies without quarreling?
A: We are to oppose the error, not hate the person. We are to vigorously defend the faith, but at the same time make sure people know you love, not hate the person. You want the best thing to happen that can possibly happen to your human opponents. You want them to see the truth, turn their life over to Christ, and you can be with them in heaven forever.

9. In 2 Tim 2:24-25, how do you handle stupid questions?
A: First of all, recognize that something that might seem stupid to you might be a serious question to the person who asked it. But sometimes people ask questions where they are not serious either, or just want to try to trap you. If you are in doubt, respect the person, assume the first way, and meet their need for an answer. For the second category, realize they might just want to waste your time, and you could say nothing helpful to them, that they would hear. They will only hear if you mess up. However, other people might hear your answer to them, so answer wisely, regardless of whether the questioner is sincere or not.

10. In 2 Tim 2:25 and Acts 5:31, is repentance given by God, or is it something we are commanded to do as Acts 17:30 and Mark 1:5 show?
A: Both. God gives us the opportunity to repent, but God does not actually repent for us. Repentance is a gift from God, but we have to receive this gift. See When Critics Ask p.504 for more info.

"As Van Oosterzee says, 'He is just as faithful in His threatenings as in His promises.'" Believers Bible Commentary p.2116

2 Timothy 3 - Continue despite the Coming Apostasy - some brief answers


1. In 2 Tim 3:1-8, instead of God just telling us He knows about a future terrible time, why did God not do something to prevent it?
A: An important part of sound theology is understanding two words: "God permits". Every single thing is worked together in God's purpose (Ephesians 1:11, Proverbs 16:4), but as Matthew 23:37-39, Ephesians 4:30, and Hebrews 3:10 show, God allows things that break his heart, make Him angry, and grieve His Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10). The Bible never says this is the best possible world, but many believe this is God's best possible process for making the best possible world, in Heaven.

2. In 2 Tim 3:2, how are some people today lovers of themselves?
A: When you think the most important thing in the universe is you, then your universe appears very small indeed. Meaningless is everything, if there is no purpose outside of your tiny, fleeting life. People can gradually become more and more lovers of themselves when they very others as unimportant, and strive only to advance themselves. Sometimes they are impatient when others slow them down, because they think the other people are not important; only them. But if you don't live for someone or something, then you are living for nothing.
Perhaps an antidote for believers for that is to consider just how long your life is and yet how short is your life on earth. Your time on earth is less than a spec compared to your time in heaven with God, the angels, and other believers. With that in mind, be concerned about the eternal things that are important, not the trivial things that perish.

3. In 2 Tim 3:2, since it is bad for people to be "lovers of themselves", why are we to love our neighbor as ourselves in Mt 22:39?
A: The meaning of 2 Timothy 3:2 is people who love themselves more than others, including people who love only themselves and not others. We are all to be characterized as lovers of God more than lovers of ourselves. We should also love our neighbors as ourselves and consider others as more important than ourselves as Philippians 2:3 says. See When Critics Ask p.355-356 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.335-337 for complementary answers.

4. In 2 Tim 3:2, why do people love money, and what does this have to do with the deceitfulness of wealth in Mt 13:23?
A: People love money due to greed, due to fear and insecurity, or due to status and prestige. Everyone knows that money can be used for bad, or for good, but many people forget that Jesus also said that wealth itself is "deceitful". We can far too easily rationalized that we are collecting/hoarding money for a good cause, such as giving to charity after we die, when it is primarily for ourselves.
Robin hood robbed from the rich to give to the poor. But I am sure Robin hood and his "poor men" got a substantial share for themselves too. Also, while giving to the poor is a good thing, God does not want people so sin against Him and other people by robbing them. It is better not to give to the poor than to steal or rob to give to the poor.

5. In 2 Tim 3:8, who are Jannes and Jambres, and how did their names get in the New Testament?
A: These are the Greek form of names of two of the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses in Exodus 7:11-12,22; 8:7,18-19. Their names are not mentioned in the Old Testament, but their names were preserved in Jewish tradition and the historian Pliny.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary
volume 3 p.638 says "the two brother magicians appear frequently in Jewish, Christian, and pagan sources extant in Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Old and Middle English, and Syriac. Hebrew and Aramaic literature gives the names as y(2)hny// and mmr/ as well as in more Hellenized guise with final samek: ynys and ym(b)rys."
Here are some examples:
Menahoth 85a: "Yohane and Mambres"
Zadokite Work at Qumran 7:19 "Yohaneh and his brother"
Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 7:11.
At Qumran 6Q15 (The Damascus Document) 5 17b-19 1st century B.C. (Yohanah/Yhnh) and his brother) Apparently they are portrayed here as Israelite enemies of Moses and Aaron, rather than Egyptian.
Yalqut Reu.
The non-Jewish historian Pliny (77 A.D.) mentions Moses, Jannes, and "Lotapes" as magicians among the Jews thousands of years after Zoroaster.
The neo-Platonist Numenius of Apamea (2nd century A.D. mentions that Jannes and Jambres were able to undo even the greatest of the disasters which Moses brought against Egypt. (from Eusebius' Praeparation Evangelica 9:8). Origen also mentions this about Numenius of Apamea.
There was a book called Jannes and Jambres (probably written by a Jew), referenced in Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.
Prior to Nicea the Christian writers who referenced Jannes and Jambres are Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, and Archelaus. There are additional Christian references after Nicea too. See The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 3 p.638-640, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 2 p.407-408, and The New Bible Dictionary first edition p.599 for more info.

6. In 2 Tim 3:12, if someone has not been persecuted, does that mean he or she is not a Christian?
A: No and yes. While godly people, such as Paul, endured severe persecution from other men, other godly people, such as Job, have little or no persecution from people. However, all godly people need to persevere against inevitable persecution from demons. This persecution, in the form of threats, acts, and temptations, often comes through other people too. See When Critics Ask p.505 for more info.

7. In 2 Tim 3:16, does that mean all scripture, or only the scripture that is given by God?
A: According to rules of Greek grammar, when there is no first main verb, the phrase is "all scripture is inspired by God". It is incorrect to translate it "all scripture that is inspired by God" According to Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions, p.13 Martin Luther translated it the incorrect way, though Luther believed that all Scripture was inspired of God.
"Scripture" that was not given by God was a concept unknown to all the Old and New Testament, and early church witnesses. The first known concept of people of another religion believing that "true" scripture that was not given God, or even given by God and later "abrogated" is not in Christianity but Islam in Mohammed's time.
The KJV and all modern translations I am aware of translated this correctly. The NRSV translates this correctly, but puts in a footnote "Or Every scripture inspired by God is also" See When Critics Ask p.505-506 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.416-417 for a more detailed discussion, and 2 Peter 3:16-17 for another difficulty with the RSV.

8. In 2 Tim 3:16, is Paul referring to just the Old Testament?
A: No. When Paul said "all scripture" that would refer to all that he considered scripture. Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.12-13 mentions that Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18 quoted, as Scripture, from the gospels (Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7).

9. In 2 Tim 3:16-17, is it really true that the Bible contains what is needed for Christian doctrine?
A: Yes. Here is an unusual statement from an unlikely source. In the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower magazine 8/15/1981 p.28-29 it says, "They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago..." - strange indeed that Bible readers would revert back to these doctrines!
Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.98-100 points out that the Watchtower Society admits that JW's who read the Bible alone stop believing in Watchtower teachings and return to the teachings of Christian churches. Whose doctrines, then, are the ones that are truly based on the Bible?

10. In 2 Tim 3:17, can people become perfect?
A: -In this life no, but in Heaven all believers will be perfect. Paul said he was not "perfect" in Philippians 3:12, yet he was "mature" in Philippians 3:15. There can be confusion in the King James, since it uses "perfect" for both, but the words are different in the Greek. See When Critics Ask p.482 and Haley's Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible p.169 for more info.
This is translated as "mature" in NIV, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, and Williams.
The NET Bible translates this as "perfect" but it puts the perfect in quotes.
Wuest's Expanded Translation has "mature (in a relative sense)"
uNASB has "perfect" with a footnote saying, "Or mature".

2 Timothy 4 - In All Seasons Preach the Word, and Come - some brief answers


1. In 2 Tim 4:2, what do you think "in season and out of season" means"
A: There are times when sharing the gospel is easy, many people are getting saved, and you can easily see the fruit of your labor. There are other times when sharing is difficult, and for all of your difficulty you don't see many results. We are to be faithful and obey in all circumstances. We are to be motivated by love for God, not results.

2. In 2 Tim 4:7, how did Paul fight the good fight, and how should we today?
A: Forgetting about the evil Paul did in the past, staying close to Christ, and vigorously exercising the gifts God gave him, Paul worked as hard as he could to spread the gospel, disciple others, protect and grow the church, and glorify God. But Paul not only wanted to do more and more. Given his instructions to Timothy about "avoiding entanglements" Paul advised Timothy to do less of what was not concerned with God's kingdom.

3. In 2 Tim 4:8, did Paul do things just to get a Heavenly crown?
A: No, God called Him, and it was primarily "the love of God that constrained him" (2 Corinthians 5:14). However, Paul also eagerly longed for his heavenly crown (2 Timothy 4:8). Paul's crown was not just a mere gold weight, but the joy and fellowship of the people to whom Paul introduced the Gospel, as Philippians 4:1 states.

4. In 2 Tim 4:10, how could Demas forsake Paul, since Paul spoke well of Demas in Phm 24?
A: 2 Timothy and Titus were the last epistles (letters) Paul wrote. Paul spoke well of Demas earlier in Philemon 24, and Paul was with Demas in Colossians 4:14 However, Demas turned back and deserted Paul because Demas loved this world. Even today, some can be serving Christ and yet later turn away because they love this world.

5. In 2 Tim 4:10, who do Demas and others serve God for a while, but leave because they love this world?
A: It did not say that Demas explicitly turned his back on God. Though he could have, it is possible that Demas still wanted to love God as well as the world also But when you love the world also, that can get larger and larger, until a person eventually and implicitly turns their back on God and His will.

6. In 2 Tim 4:10 and Titus 3:12, what is interesting about Titus going to Dalmatia?
A: In Titus 3:12 Paul asked Titus to meet him there in Nicopolis. Since Paul said "there", this indicates that Paul had not arrived in Nicopolis yet according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.448. The New International Bible Commentary p.1491 points out that Nicopolis was a strategic city for moving into Dalmatia. In 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul says that Titus has gone into Dalmatia. This shows us that Paul wrote Titus before 2 Timothy.

7. In 2 Tim 4:11, why was Mark profitable to Paul, since Paul did not want to take Mark along in Acts 15:37-40?
A: Previously Mark left Paul in the middle of his second missionary journey. When Barnabas wanted to give him another chance, Paul refused, so they separated. Church history tells us that Barnabas and Mark were much used of God to evangelize Egypt. Paul had an error in judgment in not taking Mark, but God is so wonderful, He can even use our errors for His glory as a part of His plan.
Later Paul recognized the Mark was valuable, and to underscore that fact without emphasizing Mark's previous behavior, asked for Mark by name.

8. In 2 Tim 4:13, why did Paul keep personal property, like scrolls and a cloak? The disciples had all things in common in Acts 4:32-35.
A: Acts 4:32-35 is an example, not a command, of the early disciples having all in common. 2 Timothy 4:13 shows that personal property is fine too. However, Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 show that whatever you decide to give to God, be honest about what you give. See the New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology p.697-699 for more on owning property.

9. What does 2 Tim 4:13 say about personal property?
A: Scripture shows us not only by direct teaching but by example. This verse is useful to show how Paul related to people and that personal property is fine. This is a good verse to use when (consistent) communists say that the early Christians did not have personal property.

10. In 2 Tim 4:13, why is Paul asking a personal favor in God's word?
A: Scripture shows us not only by direct teaching but by example. This verse is useful to show how Paul related to people and that personal property is fine.

11. In 2 Tim 4:14, is this the same Alexander mentioned in 1 Tim 1:20?
A: Paul is talking to Timothy both times, and nothing prevents this from being the same Alexander. On the other hand, Alexander was a fairly common Greek name. The NIV Study Bible p.1847 and The Nelson Study Bible p.2061 say it possibly is the same person. The New Geneva Study Bible p.1908 says it is unclear.

12. In 2 Tim 4:14, is Paul cursing Alexander?
A: Paul never said he cursed Alexander, but Paul reminded his readers that Christians do not need to seek retribution, because God will repay people according to their deeds.
 
13. In 2 Tim 4:17, how did the Lord stand by Paul's side give him strength, and how do we get that?

A: Paul read the scriptures and knew the truth, but that is not what he is talking about here. Paul said that Christ lived in him, and the Holy Spirit worked through Paul. We, like Paul, need to abide and walk closely with God.

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