v1-7 - Look at all of the different analogies Paul uses for the Christian life in v3-6. The Christian life is like:
A soldier (v4): Don't get tangled up in civilian affairs, but keep focused on the mission and fulfilling your commanding officer's orders.
An athlete (v5): You won't win if you don't compete according to the rules,
A farmer (v6): "The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops."
This section ends with Paul telling Pastor Timothy to reflect on these analogies, so that the Lord will provide insight. Follow this advice today, and pause to think often about how you can be like a soldier, athlete or farmer in how you can do the tasks you've been given here and now in such a way that advances the cause of Christ.
v8-13 - Just like we've seen before, Paul likes to drop in these mini-creeds into his letters to remind us why he's writing (it's also possible that these were early church hymns). This passage has two:
"Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David (v8)."
"If we died with [Christ], we will also live with Him;
if we [will] endure, we will also reign with Him.
If we [will] disown Him, He will disown us;
[But even] If we are faithless, He remains faithful (v12-13).
Notice the way that line C poetically cancels out the possibility of lines B for those whom God has chosen.
v14-19 - This short passage are specific instructions for Pastor Timothy (and all other pastors), but they have application for all people:
"Keep reminding them... (v14)"
It may seem like we hear the same things over and over, week after week in church, but that's because it's exactly what God has commanded pastors to do!
Sinful Christians (that would be all of us) need constant reminders of how God has transformed their lives so that they don't slip back into sin.
"Present yourself to God as... a worker... who correctly handles the word of truth (v15)."
Ever since the beginning of the church, there have been those who twist the Bible into whatever position they want it to support.
Pastors need to be diligent workmen who do the hard work of "rightly dividing" (literally: keeping straight) the Bible.
This has application for non-pastors as well: support pastors who truthfully present God's Word, even if it's in conflict with worldly opinion."
"Avoid godless chatter," as it only leads to more ungodliness which will spread like gangrene (v16-17).
There's no shortage of ideas about what the church ought to be doing, and what principles it should promote. Unfortunately, most of these ideas are just "godless chatter" (literally: empty noise from worldly people).
Faithful pastors and parishioners are to ignore this noise, because once worldly ideas infect the church, they spread like gangrene.
v20-24 - Paul uses several metaphors and straight out imperatives to warn Timothy from getting embroiled in "stupid arguments (v23)."
v25-26 - Paul throws some tension into his instructions to "avoid / flee / don't have anything to do" with those who promote these empty arguments: in v25 we read that instead of flat out ignoring these opponents, we must "gently instruct them in the hope that God will grant them repentance [which] leads them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses..."
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Proverbs 26:4-5 captures the tension of Paul's teaching in this chapter:
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Paul tells Timothy in this chapter to remember something specific. What was it? (See verse 8.)
Which of the three metaphors at the beginning of this chapter (soldier, athlete, or farmer) resonates with you the most, and why?
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and descended from David (v8)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God equips you to be presented to Him as "one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed (v15)."
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: