II Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
In chapter 1, God directed the apostle Paul to remind Timothy of his qualifications to write this letter. Timothy knew Paul well. However, as we noted in chapter 1, Timothy was dealing with some issues that were causing him to waver in his walk with the Lord. It may well be that at that point, he was doubting the apostle Paul’s authority. God reminded Timothy that he was not dealing with a false teacher in Paul. Paul was a genuine servant of God who was in prison for serving the Lord.
A person might look at prison as an infringement upon freedoms. I have listened to reports of several religious leaders who have spent time in prison over the past Wuhan virus restrictions. They talked about the treatment they received in prison. They were not prepared for that when they entered the jail. There was isolation and a restriction even on having a Bible to read. They were very limited in communication within the prison system. We do not know if they were treated differently than a criminal who is put in jail. Certainly, while in prison you do not have the freedom to go to the store or even outside for some fresh air just because you want to. However, the apostle Paul was not complaining about his time in prison. He used that time to continue to serve the Lord and he had opportunity to witness to many soldiers during his time in prison. It no doubt would not have been his first choice of a place to be, but he accepted his lot in life because he knew he was not in prison for any crime. Timothy seems to have been ashamed of the fact that Paul was in prison. He needed to be reminded of the reality of serving the Lord. Any true soldier of Jesus Christ will face opposition. He needs to be trained and rely on his training in all things. The good news as well is that the Holy Spirit indwells the true child of God, so that beside the training they have, they also have the presence of the Lord within them at all times.
In chapter 2 Paul addressed Timothy as his son. Paul had a vested interest in Timothy. He was not some stranger off the street that just dropped in. Paul had an interest in all people, but there was a special bond between himself and Timothy. As that father figure, Paul was directed by God to encourage Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. That is the only source of strength a true believer has. If we think we can hype ourselves up for the challenges of the Christian life, we will find out that will not work. If we draw our strength from the Lord Jesus Christ as we should, we will be surprised at how God will supply our every need. Timothy needed to keep his eyes on the mark. He needed to keep in mind that calling he had and the provision for that call that he had already drawn on in the past.
In verse 2, he was reminded that the things he had heard from Paul were not given in secret. Paul taught Timothy in the presence of many witnesses. Paul was seeking to help others to know and follow the Lord as well. Timothy needed to embrace those truths and he also needed to teach them to others. That is how we grow in the Lord. When we are taught something, we pass that on to others. No truth is original with us. When we are asked where we learned some truth, we need to point the listener back to the Word of God. We did not all of a sudden come up with it. Those we are seeking to teach need to know where truth comes from. It is good to know the human source, but it is more important to know that God is the One Who is Truth. We need to teach people to learn how to study God’s Word so that they can teach others even if we are not close at hand.
Notice that Paul was encouraging Timothy to teach the truth to faithful men. We need to prayerfully seek out faithful men who will accept the truth and then be able to pass that on to others as well. Over the years we have seen men who are not faithful who have taken parts of God’s Word and distorted it and then passed it on as a lie, rather than the truth as they were given it. God’s intent is for there to be a chain reaction of truth being given and spread. We have that in every generation. Today, we do not have the originals of the Scripture. However, there have been faithful men who copied the Scriptures and recopied them faithfully under God’s protection and then there were faithful men who translated those original language writings, into the common language of the world, which is English. The Bible has also been translated into many other languages as well. Today we can still have full confidence in the Word of God. Of course that is only true if we have God’s Word in our possession. We have talked about this in the past.
In verse 3, Timothy was challenged to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Notice again that Timothy was not a soldier of the apostle Paul. Paul was the messenger. He was a faithful ambassador of Jesus Christ. Every saved person is under the command of Jesus Christ. Every teacher needs to point his students to Jesus Christ as the source and authority of their teaching. When someone asks for the source of what I believe, I do not point them to one of my teachers as the source of what I believe. I need to know the Bible well enough to be able to show them from the Bible what I believe. God will help me to know His Word if I am faithful in my study of It. Certainly there have been and will continue to be men that assist me in the understanding of God’s Word. However, in the end it is God’s Word that is the authority.
A good soldier is familiar with his equipment. He knows how to handle his gun. He knows how to tear that gun down and put it back together. He knows how to fix his gun if something goes wrong with it. He understands the range of the shells he is using. He understands the range of the shells of the enemy weapons as well.
A true Christian understands the power of God’s Word. He knows how to refute false doctrine and if he doesn’t, he seeks to find the answers needed. He also understands the subtle nature of the devil and he draws nigh to the Lord so that he is not trapped by the devil. A good soldier does not run and hide when the bullets start flying. He makes sure he has his armour on, but he fights to keep the enemy from doing harm.
A good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ does not run and hide when confronted. He has the armour on as described in Ephesians 6 and he is a contender of the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. He is not developing some new doctrine. He is simply standing upon the doctrines that God has given us.
Timothy was not being asked to develop any new thing. He was not an apostle. God gave His Word to the apostles and they wrote it down and they also taught it to men like Timothy. Timothy was entrusted with the Word of God and was called upon to faithfully teach that Word to other faithful men as God would lead him to them.
When we stop to think about it, God has supplied all we need to contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints. We can be successful and when we are attacked we can remain strong and true because the indwelling Holy Spirit is always with us to guide us in our response to each particular situation. We have nothing to fear if we are walking faithfully with the Lord. A good soldier also looks forward to the end of the battle. He looks forward to being able to go home. A true soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ looks forward to the salvation of souls and he also looks forward to going home to meet his Lord and Saviour. The Bible tells us that day is imminent. We do not know the day nor the hour, but we know it is coming. We look for indicators that show us the time is near, but the Bible tells us there are no indicators. There are no signs to show that Jesus’ return is coming closer. History has shown us that there have been times when true Christians have been persecuted severely, and there are other times when they have been left to preach and teach openly without restraint. The danger is to get careless during the peaceful times. The danger is also to get weary in the midst of the battle. We need to draw upon the grace of God at all times to keep us faithful and true to our Master. That is the place that our soul and spirit want to be at and we can be there as well.