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2 Timothy 2:10-18 (KJV)

2:10-13 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

In order to understand what “all things” are and why the Apostle Paul endures them, one must look to the prior verses in 2 Timothy. The things that he endures are the troubles that led him to his current situation. Biblically, these are often described with words such as trials, tribulations, and persecution. 

One verse prior, Timothy is reaffirmed of the things that led to Paul’s bondage and soon martyrdom for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These things occured in order that others may receive the salvation Jesus Christ offers and be built up in it. 

Paul was not entertained in the things of the world. This is evident as Paul humbly lays his life down despite the trials that afflict him. He does this so that there will be a gain in Heaven. Elsewhere, Paul elicits the believer to follow him “even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1). 

In verse 2 Timothy 2:10, we find an example of this pursuit as Paul takes very seriously the words of Christ in John 15:13,

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

We have received the Holy Spirit, and have obtained an eternal inheritance knowing that in pursuing this greater love, we have victory in this life, and ultimately the next as well. This is the perpetual, eternal glory of Jesus’s salvation. 

In regards to verse 11, the reader should note the similarity between his faithful saying here and to that which he wrote to the Roman church in Romans 6:8. Paul writes,

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him.”

The context in which Paul wrote this was in discussion of the Christian’s likeness to Christ according to His Gospel and the freedom from sin that results. The freedom is derived from participating in Christ’s death and the life that comes by His resurrection (Romans 6:2-7).

This is possible by being displaced from the sin and likeness of Adam into the Body of Christ which is the second Adam. Jesus, the second Adam, came to restore our depraved, eternally damned condition instituted by the fall of humanity. Now, those in Christ will live eternally (Romans 5:12-21). 

This bond does not stop at a matter of death or life. With God’s glory being the ultimate end to every righteous thing, as we humbly suffer as Christ and as later the apostle Paul exemplified, we will be glorified like our God, often referred to by prophetic word- The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53). 

Within the Christian life, suffering precedes glorification. By the Spirit, we are empowered to glory within tribulation as well because we know that the ultimate end of tribulation is spiritual edification in the love of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:2-5). 

This is all said to say that although Paul’s situation was grim, he had hope that it was not his final end and that he, as a child of God, would reign with Christ for eternity (Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12). 

Christians have nothing to be threatened with. We live by Christ, and in our death, we have all to gain (Philippians 1:21). Those who deny Christ, have everything to be threatened with in their death. Their destination is eternal loss and separation from God (2 Thessalonians 1:9).  Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our Faith. When the Christian believes in Him, He will see them through unto eternity by the sealing which is in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 12:2)

Therefore, Paul knowing that he had nothing to fear and was living for those who had no hope. This is the purpose of testimony and the Gospel by which Paul, Timothy, and Christians today preach.

2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.

Subversion depicts an undermining and devaluing of something. Here, Paul warns against the subversion and devaluing of Godly truth. A practical way to maintain the quality of truth, is to constantly call it to mind and remember it. 

Scripture is alive and powerful; it will stand and interpret itself (Hebrews 4:12). The people of God must simply esteem, remember, and apply it faithfully according to how it prescribes it should be done. Paul is telling Timothy to charge others to maintain the value of Godly wisdom.

This practically looks like preaching and teaching of the Word. This is a prominent reason in which Churches congregate. The Body of Christ is working its spiritual muscles and builds each other up in Truth (Ephesians 4:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:11). The Church is to edify each other by valuing the Word of God, day in and day out. 

2:15-16 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

The original Greek word for “study” here is spoudazō and it means to “give diligence,” “to labor,” and “to endeavor.” Here we see that the labor unto which one shows yourself approved unto God is laboring unto His Word, rightly divided.

One way to devalue the Word of God is to forget it. Another way is to deliver Scripture outside of the parameters elicited for who it was given to. When the Word is not rightly divided, issues arise similar to what occurred in the Galatian church. 

Christians will take the pure and unadulterated gift of grace offered by Jesus through His death, burial, and resurrection, and muddy it with the bondage of works and law. 

As an example, one may examine the Galatian church. Paul, to the church of Galatia, was shocked that the Gospel of Christ was perverted in this way (Galatians 1:7). 

The Church was infiltrated with false teachers, who predominantly did not teach anything unbiblical. They taught that which is in the Law, plus the grace of Jesus Christ, and as a result tried to place Christians back into Spiritual bondage (Galatians 2:4). 

This was a failure to rightly divide what was for them, in their dispensation. Paul was teaching what God was (And is) doing currently while the teachers were teaching what God had actively done in the past, or outside of their dispensation (Ephesians 3:2-9).

Our dispensation was delivered by revelation to the apostle Paul, and it is here that we see that this dispensation is to the Body of Christ, where there is no longer Jew or Gentile (Ephesians 1:9-11; Ephesians 3:6; Galatians 3:28). 

Right division is a hermeneutical method in which the believer discerns what knowledge is currently to the Church, and what was directed to the Jews in times past or still yet to come. Dispensationally, a guiding principle is placing a strong emphasis on the Pauline epistles categorized Romans to Philemon. 

This is not to say to disregard the remnant of Scripture, as Paul teaches that,

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). 

When this was written, only the Old Testament was canon and Paul would at times lean on his understanding of the Old Testament in order to present the revelation given by Jesus Christ directly to him (Galatians 1:12). The Old Testament will point to prophecies, Christ, and ultimately teach us about the character of God. 

Yet, there are distinctions to be made that if not rightly divided, hinder the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is important to consider the specificity of Paul’s teaching for the revelations he received from Jesus (Galatians 1:8-9; Titus 1:9)

Rightly dividing the Word of God ultimately brings hope for the Christian in this dispensation, and it is hope that makes the Christian unashamed (Romans 5:5; Romans 15:4).

In contrast to diligent study, Paul states that right division of Scripture needs to be accompanied by the subtraction and avoidance of “profane and vain babblings.” Babblings here are interpreted from the word, kenophōnia, and literally depicts “empty discussion.”

These are discussions that are devoid of value or quality and lead to ungodliness, the opposite goal of what we seek when we study rightly divided (1 Timothy 4:7-8). 

2:17-18 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

Paul specifically highlights two people, whom of which Timothy would be familiar. These me had devoted themselves to ungodliness by false teaching. He states that they will eat “as doth a canker.”

The word for “canker” in its original Greek is gangraina or better known as gangrene. The root for this word, graino, literally means “to gnaw.” Gangrene is a disease that will eat away tissue, and left untreated and or amputated, will eat away bone. Debridement (Or amputation) is often the only solution to a condition this bad, especially in Biblical times.  

In order to save the rest of the Body and the spirit of the aggressor, Paul often responded to these such people by delivering them “unto Satan” (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:20). This means to let them have the world, outside of the Church setting. The ultimate purpose of this action was restoration and reflects the nature of God in itself with the truth that truly no one is too far from salvation. 

Hymenaeus is the only one of these two men which is seen elsewhere in Scripture. In 1 Timothy 1:20, Hymenaeus is explicitly handed over to Satan for the same cause and obviously had not repented, which was the purpose of the whole experience. 

The heresy of these two men would not only have been false, but detrimental to Paul’s teaching regarding the future hope of the Church with Jesus Christ. There heresy revolved around the timing of the Churches bodily resurrection, which essentially would have asserted that the Church missed the resurrection unto glory.

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