2 Timothy 2

Serving Faithfully Despite Hardship

1So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And entrust what you heard me say
Grk “what you heard from me” (cf. 1:13).
in the presence of many others as witnesses
Grk “through many witnesses.” The “through” is used here to show attendant circumstances: “accompanied by,” “in the presence of.”
to faithful people
Grk “faithful men”; but here ἀνθρώποις (anthrōpois) is generic, referring to both men and women.
who will be competent
Or “able” (see Paul’s use of this word in regard to ministry in 2 Cor 2:16; 3:5–6).
to teach others as well.
3Take your share of suffering
Grk “suffer hardship together,” implying “join with me and others in suffering” (cf. 1:8).
as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
4No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please
Grk “that he may please.”
the one who recruited him.
5Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner
Grk “will not be crowned,” speaking of the wreath awarded to the victor.
unless he competes according to the rules.
According to the rules (Grk “lawfully, by law”) referring to the rules of competition. In the ancient world these included requirements for training as well as rules for the competition itself.
6The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops. 7Think about what I am saying and
The Greek word here usually means “for,” but is used in this verse for a milder continuation of thought.
the Lord will give you understanding of all this.
Grk “in all things.”

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David;
Grk “of David’s seed” (an idiom for physical descent).
such is my gospel,
Grk “according to my gospel.”
9for which I suffer hardship to the point of imprisonment
Or “chains,” “bonds.”
as a criminal, but God’s message
Or “word.”
is not imprisoned!
Or “chained,” “bound.”
10So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God,
Grk “the elect.”
that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory.
Grk “with eternal glory.”
11This saying
This saying (Grk “the saying”) refers to the following citation. See 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; Titus 3:8 for other occurrences of this phrase.
is trustworthy:
The following passage has been typeset as poetry because many scholars regard this passage as poetic or hymnic. These terms are used broadly to refer to the genre of writing, not to the content. There are two broad criteria for determining if a passage is poetic or hymnic: “(a) stylistic: a certain rhythmical lilt when the passages are read aloud, the presence of parallelismus membrorum (i.e., an arrangement into couplets), the semblance of some metre, and the presence of rhetorical devices such as alliteration, chiasmus, and antithesis; and (b) linguistic: an unusual vocabulary, particularly the presence of theological terms, which is different from the surrounding context” (P. T. O’Brien, Philippians [NIGTC], 188–89). Classifying a passage as hymnic or poetic is important because understanding this genre can provide keys to interpretation. However, not all scholars agree that the above criteria are present in this passage, so the decision to typeset it as poetry should be viewed as a tentative decision about its genre.

If we died with him, we will also live with him.
12 If we endure, we will also reign with him.
Grk “died together…will live together…will reign together,” without “him” stated explicitly. But “him” is implied by the parallel ideas in Rom 6:8; 8:17 and by the reference to Christ in vv. 12b–13.

If we deny
Or “renounce,” “disown,” “repudiate.” It is important to note that the object of Christ’s denial is “us.” The text does not contain an implied object complement (“he will deny us [x]”), which would mean that Christ was withholding something from us (for example, “The owner denied his pets water”), since the verb ἀρνέομαι (arneomai) is not one of the category of verbs that normally occurs in these constructions (see ExSyn 182–89).
Grk “if we renounce,” but the “him” is implied by the parallel clauses.
he will also deny us.
13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.
If we are unfaithful…he cannot deny himself. This could be (1) a word of warning (The Lord will exact punishment; he cannot deny his holiness) or (2) a word of hope (Because of who he is, he remains faithful to us despite our lapses). The latter is more likely, since Paul consistently cites God’s faithfulness as a reassurance, not as a warning (cf. especially Rom 3:3; also 1 Cor 1:9; 10:13; 2 Cor 1:18; 1 Thess 5:24; 2 Thess 3:3).

Dealing with False Teachers

14 Remind people
Grk “remind of these things,” implying “them” or “people” as the object.
of these things and solemnly charge them
Grk “solemnly charging.” The participle διαμαρτυρόμενος (diamarturomenos) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
before the Lord
‡ Most witnesses (A D Ψ 048 1739 1881 Maj. sy) have κυρίου (kuriou, “Lord”) instead of θεοῦ (qeou, “God”) here, while a few have Χριστοῦ (Christou, “Christ”; 206 {429 1758}). θεοῦ, however, is well supported by א C F G I 614 629 630 1175 al. Internally, the Pastorals never elsewhere use the expression ἐνώπιον κυρίου (enōpion kuriou, “before the Lord”), but consistently use ἐνώπιον θεοῦ (“before God”; cf. 1 Tim 2:3; 5:4, 21; 6:13; 2 Tim 4:1). But this fact could be argued both ways: The author’s style may be in view, or scribes may have adjusted the wording to conform it to the Pastorals’ universal expression. Further, only twice in the NT (Jas 4:10 [v.l. θεοῦ]; Rev 11:4 [v.l. θεοῦ]) is the expression ἐνώπιον κυρίου found. That such an expression is not found in the corpus Paulinum seems to be sufficient impetus for scribes to change the wording here. Thus, although the external evidence is somewhat on the side of θεοῦ, the internal evidence is on the side of κυρίου. A decision is difficult, but κυρίου is the preferred reading.
not to wrangle over words. This is of no benefit; it just brings ruin on those who listen.
Grk “[it is] beneficial for nothing, for the ruin of those who listen.”
15Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.
Accurately is a figure of speech that literally means something like “cutting a straight road.” In regard to the message of truth, it means “correctly handling” or “imparting it without deviation.”
16But avoid profane chatter,
Profane chatter was apparently a characteristic of the false teachers in Ephesus (cf. 1 Tim 1:3–4; 4:7; 6:20).
because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness,
Grk “they [who engage in it] will progress even more in ungodliness.”
17and their message will spread its infection
Or “eat away.”
like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are in this group.
Grk “of whom are Hymenaeus and Philetus.” Because of the length and complexity of the Greek sentence, this last clause has been made a new sentence in the translation.
18They have strayed from the truth
Grk “have deviated concerning the truth.”
by saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and they are undermining some people’s faith.
19However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “ The Lord knows those who are his ,”
A quotation from Num 16:5.
and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord
Grk “names the name of the Lord.”
must turn away from evil.”

20 Now in a wealthy home
Grk “a great house.”
there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also ones made of wood and of clay, and some are for honorable use, but others for ignoble use.
Grk “for dishonor,” probably referring to vessels used for refuse or excrement.
21So if someone cleanses himself of such behavior,
Grk “from these,” alluding to the errors and deeds of the false teachers described in vv. 14–19.
he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart, useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
22But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others
Grk “and peace, with those.”
who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
In company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart alludes to the value of the community of believers for the development of Christian virtues.
23But reject foolish and ignorant
Or “uninstructed,” “silly.”
controversies, because you know they breed infighting.
Or “fights,” although this could suggest weapons and blows, whereas in the present context this is not the primary focus. Although “quarrel” is frequently used here (NAB, NIV, NRSV) it may be understood to refer to a relatively minor disagreement.
24And the Lord’s slave
Traditionally, “servant” or “bondservant.” Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.
Undoubtedly the background for the concept of being the Lord’s slave or servant is to be found in the Old Testament scriptures. For a Jew this concept did not connote drudgery, but honor and privilege. It was used of national Israel at times (Isa 43:10), but was especially associated with famous OT personalities, including such great men as Moses (Josh 14:7), David (Ps 89:3; cf. 2 Sam 7:5, 8) and Elijah (2 Kgs 10:10); all these men were “servants (or slaves) of the Lord.”
must not engage in heated disputes
Grk “must not fight” or “must not quarrel.” The Greek verb is related to the noun translated “infighting” in v. 23.
but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient,
Correcting is the word for “child-training” or “discipline.” It is often positive (training, educating) but here denotes the negative side (correcting, disciplining).
opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth
Grk “repentance unto knowledge of the truth.”
26and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive
Grk “having been captured by him.”
to do his will.
Grk “for that one’s will,” referring to the devil, but with a different pronoun than in the previous phrase “by him.” Some have construed “for his will” with the earlier verb and referred the pronoun to God: “come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap (though they have been captured by him) in order to do His will.” In Classical Greek the shift in pronouns would suggest this, but in Koine Greek this change is not significant. The more natural sense is a reference to the devil’s will.

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