2 Timothy 2

The Word Made Fresh

1You, my son, must be strong in the grace of Christ Jesus. 2Take what you have learned from me through many witnesses, and pass it on to faithful followers who will be able to teach others as well. 3Suffer together like good soldiers of Christ Jesus. 4No one who serves in the army gets involved in day-to-day business, but rather concentrates on pleasing the officer above him. 5And an athlete doesn’t receive a crown without following the rules of competition. 6The farmer who does all the work should have the first share of the crop. 7Consider these things, and the Lord will help you understand all things.

8Remember that Christ Jesus, a descendant of David, was raised from the dead. That is the good news I proclaim, 9and because of that I suffer and even am chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10So, I suffer through it all on behalf of those who are chosen in order that they might also gain salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus. 11The old saying is true:

“If we die with him, we will also live with him;
12and if we live with him, we will also rule with him.
But if we deny him, he will deny us;
13and if we are without faith, he will still be faithful,
for he cannot deny himself.”

14Remind others of this and warn them that Christ wants them to stop arguing over words, because that does no good; it only confuses those who are listening. 15Try to present yourself to God as someone who has his approval, a worker who is not ashamed, who explains the word of truth. 16Stay away from godless gossip, because that is what leads people into even more sacrilege 17that spreads like gangrene. I’m referring to Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18who have abandoned the truth and claim that the resurrection has already taken place. They are only corrupting the faith of others. 19But God is our foundation, inscribed with these words: “The Lord knows who belongs to him; let all those who call on the Lord’s name turn away from sinfulness.”

20In a big family there are not only items of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay. Some things are for special use and others for ordinary service.  21Just so, everyone who avoids the things I have mentioned will become important and available to do good work for the owner of the house. 22So, lay aside youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with all those who have pure hearts and call on the Lord. 23Don’t take part in silly worthless controversies which only serve to breed arguments. 24A servant of the Lord shouldn’t take part in quarrels, but should be kind to everyone. Be a good teacher. Be patient, 25and gently correct those who oppose you. God may allow them to repent and come to know the truth, 26avoid the devil’s trap, and do God’s will.


1-7: Paul uses a hodgepodge of metaphors to describe the work in which followers of Christ are engaged; the good soldier, the enlisting officer, the athlete, the farmer. These descriptions are a bit tangled, and somewhat confusing as to which are intended to apply to Timothy (the good soldier, the athlete, or the farmer, perhaps?) and which apply to Paul (the enlisting officer, the athlete, the farmer?).

8-13: Paul says he is willing to endure every hardship, even chains, for the sake of “those who are chosen,” i.e., those who will hear and receive the gospel and become believers. We should not be afraid to die with Christ, or to endure the suffering he endured, because that makes us partners to live and reign with him. But denial of him reaps a reciprocal denial from him, although his faithfulness will never be compromised by our lack of faith.

14-19: Timothy is to warn them that they must be like Christ in suffering, and must endure so that they can share in eternal life with him. Paul roundly condemns Hymenaeus and Philetus for trying to convince people that the general resurrection of the dead had already taken place (see 2 Thessalonians 2:2).

20-26: Slipping now into the metaphor of household pots and pans, Paul says the faithful are like the more valuable utensils in the house. Stick to your guns, he tells Timothy. Live a life of mature faith not swayed by youthful pursuits, but steady and pure. Stay away from controversy, he says, and be gentle but firm in correcting others; maybe your faithfulness will lead to their repentance.


Being faithful to the Lord often puts us in opposition to others who may try to exploit us for their own personal gain, even if that gain is nothing more than feeling important or in charge. Be faithful anyway.