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2 Timothy 2:15  (King James Version)
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<< 2 Timothy 2:14   2 Timothy 2:16 >>


2 Timothy 2:15-18

In this era of the church, the one that we are living in, we have our own problems with certain doctrinal matters. The first century also had problems with certain doctrines that they had to deal with. The very first bridge that they had to cross had to do with justification—justification by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

This was a new concept, which is why God commissioned the apostle Paul to write so much about justification by faith—not by works, not by earning justification, but by faith in what God said and what Jesus Christ did. This doctrinal instruction takes up much of the books of Romans and Galatians.

The second bridge they had to cross was law and grace. Even today, people like to separate the two, as if a Christian cannot believe in law and grace at the same time. The apostles had to convince the people that law and grace are not opposed to one another, but work in harmony to complete the process of justification and then sanctification. God not only forgives us, but He also gives us gifts by His Spirit by which we can be sanctified unto holiness, the middle part of the process of salvation, which absolutely cannot be left out.

The third thing is the second coming of Christ. As time passed, the pressure mounted and the return of Jesus Christ became increasingly important in the minds of people. It naturally led people to believe that they had plenty of time to overcome, and it seemed to work to cast them adrift. This is why Paul says that the Hebrews were neglecting their salvation.

In Matthew 24:42, we find that Jesus anticipated this. He really understood human nature. Incidentally, do you want to know what it is that causes people to go to sleep spiritually, so that you can be aware? It is not a hard principle at all to understand. It is having to face so many difficulties, so many pressures, that one becomes weary with facing them. This is a simplification, but it is true. When people have to face so many stresses, they become apathetic and say, "What's the use?" We need to stir ourselves up and recognize that this can happen to us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic



2 Timothy 2:15

He begins to describe two different kinds of workmen in their relationships to the gospel. Although the instruction specifically applies to a minister, in principle it applies to everyone as sons of God, having His Spirit. Whether minister or laymember, all work toward the Kingdom of God.

The phrase "rightly dividing the word of truth" is not inaccurate, but somewhat misleading. The word picture is of a work party cutting a road through an area that has no roads. A geometric law, "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line," gives a similar thought. Paul instructs Timothy, "Cut a straight line with your teaching. Avoid convoluted twists and turns that people cannot understand. Go right to the heart of a matter." Today, we would say, "Make it plain and true."

He illustrates this by saying, "But shun profane and vain babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some" (verses 16-18).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Guard the Truth!



2 Timothy 2:14-17

Renouncing ungodliness appears here in an interesting context. People in the congregation were getting into heated discussions about genealogies, meanings of words, and technicalities of law. Paul called this "ungodliness" (or irreligion) and instructed Timothy to shun such things. These brethren had missed the point of God's way of life, which Paul says is righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Being technically correct about a minor point is not as important as building right relationships through kindness, forgiveness, service, and sensitive concern for others.

The word also appears in Romans 1:18-32 within a broad denunciation of obvious ungodliness, shown as the fruit of an unholy marriage of idolatry and immorality. When grace truly comes into a person's life, he must consciously repudiate and utterly reject ungodliness. That is, he must rid himself of the leaven of those sins. It will not happen all at once, but one must make consistent effort in that direction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Five Teachings of Grace



2 Timothy 2:15-18

Today, people are saying, not that the resurrection has occurred, but that Christ is not going to come soon, indeed not for a few hundred years. How bad will this world be in a few hundred years? Can humanity possibly survive that long at the rate things are going? Can the world survive, considering how angry the nations are and how competitive they are with one another?

Can things possibly go on for that long, when the nations have weapons that can wipe mankind out completely? Man's history proves that, eventually, every weapon is used! When some madman sees particular advantage to himself or his country, he will use those weapons. Men will take those chances because human nature gambles, and the human nature in some people gambles recklessly with other people's lives.

It is irresponsible to be telling church members we will have to wait a few hundred years for the return of Christ, but that idea is out there, floating among the churches.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope



2 Timothy 2:15

The King James translates that as "study." However, modern translation typically do not agree because the meaning and usage of this English word has changed. To us, study means "hit the books," "learn," "analyze, investigate, examine, scrutinize," or "earnestly contemplate." But the Greek word means something quite a bit different. It literally means to "make speed," "to hurry." It conveys the sense of "to make earnest effort; be prompt to labor." In almost all modern translations, "study" is rendered "be diligent," "work hard," or "do your best."

The primary question, then, is, "What can we do to show ourselves approved by God?" because God's charge is, "Hurry to do it! Be quick about it! Be diligent at it. Do your best."

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part 4)



2 Timothy 2:13-18

People in the congregation were getting into arguments about genealogies, meanings of words, and technicalities about the law of Moses. Paul called these arguments ungodliness. These arguers probably felt that they were more righteous than anyone else, but Paul calls it ungodliness. Why? Because of what it was producing: disorder and disunity. If it was producing disorder and disunity within the congregation, it was not producing an environment for growth. Peace had gone by the wayside.

Paul also says in verse 16 to "shun" those things. Shunning denotes walking away from someone or something, turning one's back on it. These kinds of arguments do not produce the right kinds of fruit. To the contrary, Romans 14:17 says the Kingdom of God is represented by "righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."

This is an example of ungodliness within a congregation, but a more common application appears in a context like Romans 1:18, 28-32:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. . . . And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

Most of these behaviors and attitudes listed here as ungodliness are what we are more familiar. They can also occur within a congregation of the church of God. In this context, though, we find the unholy marriage of idolatry with immorality—true ungodliness.

In the context of Titus 2:11-13, we can understand that when grace truly comes into a person's life, the Christian will consciously repudiate and utterly reject ungodliness. It will not happen all at once, but if he or she is growing, the Christian will be moving precisely in that direction.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Titus 2:11-14




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing 2 Timothy 2:15:

Ephesians :
1 Thessalonians 5:21
Hebrews 12:14
Hebrews :
Revelation 2:11

 

<< 2 Timothy 2:14   2 Timothy 2:16 >>



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