How we should Encourage each other to do God’s Work
An EasyEnglish Commentary (2800 word vocabulary) on Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy
The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
A word list at the end explains words with a *star by them.
At the end of the book of Acts, the *apostle Paul was still in prison in *Rome. When he came out of prison, he went to *Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3). After that, he travelled to other places. While on these journeys, he wrote the first letter to Timothy. Timothy was then in the city of Ephesus. Timothy was the leader of the church there. Later Paul was again in prison in *Rome. It was from there that he wrote this second letter to Timothy. Timothy was still in Ephesus.
Timothy was the son of a *Gentile father and a *Jewish mother. His mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois, both believed the *gospel of Christ (2 Timothy 1:5). They and Timothy probably became Christians when Paul first went to the town of Lystra (Acts 14). All the Christians in Lystra and in the church in the town of Iconium said good things about Timothy.
When Paul came the second time to Lystra, he asked Timothy to join his team (Acts 16:1-3). Timothy became a close friend and helper of Paul. He went with Paul as he travelled to many places. Then Paul appointed Timothy to lead and look after the church at Ephesus.
The first time that Paul was in prison in *Rome was about AD 60. He was there for two years. Then he travelled again and he went to *Macedonia. He may have travelled as far as Spain before he went back to *Rome. He was in prison again and soon after that the *Emperor Nero had him killed.
Paul wrote this second letter to Timothy from prison just before he died. Paul knew that the time of his death had come (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
The *Emperor Nero killed himself in the month of June AD 68. Paul asked Timothy to come to him before winter (2 Timothy 4:21). So, the date of the letter could not be later than AD 67.
Paul wanted to see Timothy again. He thinks about him as his own son (2 Timothy 1:4). Paul is lonely and the prison is cold. He urges Timothy to try to come before the winter (2 Timothy 4:21). He asks Timothy to bring the warm coat that he had left in the town of Troas. He also wants Timothy to bring his books and *papers (2 Timothy 4:13).
In the court for the first time, he had been successful. But all his friends except Luke had left him (2 Timothy 4:11, 16). Although he had succeeded that time, the *Romans would not set him free. He expects that they will soon kill him (2 Timothy 4:6).
Paul writes to encourage Timothy in his Christian life. He urges him to be strong in what he believes. Timothy must use the gifts that God has given to him. He must *preach the *gospel and teach the truth.
This letter is much more personal than the first one. Paul urges him to be strong in his belief in the *Lord (1:1-7). He should not be ashamed of the *Lord or of Paul. He must be prepared to suffer for the *gospel (1:8-2:13).
As he had done in the first letter, Paul warns against the false teachers (2:14-19). Timothy must be a noble servant of Christ (2:20-26). In the last days, people will do awful things (3:1-9). But Timothy must continue to do what he has learned and knows. He must do what the *scriptures say (3:10-17). He must *preach the *gospel because it is urgent that people hear it (4:1-5).
Paul then talks about his own life and what he expects to happen (4:6-8). Then he asks Timothy to come and he tells him about his situation (4:9-18). He ends the letter with greetings to his friends and asks the *Lord to bless Timothy (4:19-22).
Greetings and prayer for Timothy
Paul thanks God
Words to encourage Timothy
Attitudes to Paul
Appeal to be strong and to suffer
How to deal with what is false
Evil persons in the last days
Continue in what you have learned
*Preach the *gospel and teach the truth
Paul is ready to die
Personal words to Timothy
Final remarks and greeting
Verse 1 Paul is an *apostle of Christ Jesus. The *Lord sent him to be his agent. He gave to Paul the authority to speak for him. Paul became an *apostle because God chose him for the task. That task was to tell people that they could have a new life. God has promised to give that life to all who believe in Christ Jesus. Those who trust in Christ will live with him. And that life will never end.
Verse 2 Timothy probably first believed in Christ because of what Paul taught. Timothy travelled with Paul and helped him in his work. Paul says that as a son works with his father so Timothy worked with him (Philippians 2:22). Their friendship was very close because of what they believed. That is why Paul calls Timothy his son. He was very fond of him. And he loved him as a father loves his son.
In his greeting, Paul asks God the Father and the *Lord Jesus to give Timothy grace, *mercy and peace. Grace means all the benefits that God gives. He gives them to those whom he loves. No one deserves them. God blesses those who do not deserve it. That is what grace is. *Mercy is the love of God as he helps those in need. It is the kindness of God. The peace of God is an inner quiet and calm. God puts this in the hearts and minds of those who trust him. It makes us feel calm and well inside. We do not stop feeling like this when bad things happen.
Verse 3 When Paul writes a letter, he usually starts by giving thanks to God. Here he expresses his thanks as he thinks of Timothy. Perhaps he is remembering how Timothy had first come to believe in Jesus Christ. He is grateful to God for all that Timothy has meant to him from that time until now.
Paul served and *worshipped God. In this, he followed what his *ancestors had done. As *Jews, they had *worshipped and served the one true God. He does not regard the *worship of God by the *Jews as bad. But it is not complete because they do not believe in the *Lord Jesus.
Before he believed in Christ, Paul had a clean conscience. He believed that he was doing what God wanted him to do. He tried to keep all of the law of God. He did much that was wrong. But he did not know then that it was wrong. Now he knows the *Lord Jesus and he has *repented of all those acts.
When Paul prays to God, he always prays for Timothy. It was his habit to pray to the *Lord at night and in the morning.
Verse 4 Most likely, when Paul last parted from him, Timothy was sad. Probably, he cried a little. As Paul thought about it, he had a strong desire to see Timothy again. It was sad when they parted. But it would be a great joy to Paul if they could meet again.
Verse 5 Something had reminded Paul about the kind of *faith that Timothy had in the *Lord. It was so sincere and real. Paul thanked God that he had given such *faith to Timothy. Paul thanked God for all that he had done in Timothy’s life.
The thought of Timothy’s *faith reminds Paul of Timothy’s family. Both Timothy’s grandmother (Lois) and his mother (Eunice) had the same real *faith in God. They put their trust in the *Lord before Timothy did. Paul could see that Timothy believed in the *Lord Jesus. He believed just as they did. His *faith is as genuine as theirs was.
Verse 6 Paul knows that Timothy has a sincere *faith. So Paul reminds him to use the gift that God gave him. He thinks about this gift as a fire inside Timothy. He wants Timothy to fan that fire into a flame. Timothy had not used that gift enough. Paul is urging him to be more eager to use it.
God had given Timothy this special gift. It was a gift from the Holy Spirit for the work of God. The gift was like a powerful tool for Timothy to use in the task that God had given him.
We do not know when God gave Timothy this gift. It could have been when Paul first asked him to join him in his travels (Acts 14:23). But it is more likely when Paul and the *elders appointed him to lead the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 4:14). The Holy Spirit gave this gift to him as Paul laid his hands on him.
Verse 7 When God calls a person to do a task, he makes that person able to do it. Timothy was a quiet and shy man. But God had appointed him to lead the church at Ephesus. So, God gave him all that he needed to do the task.
The gift of the Holy Spirit of God would not cause him to be afraid. Instead, it would make him bold. He need not be shy or afraid to use his authority in the church.
God by his Spirit gives power to all who need it. He gives them the power to do what he asks them to do. Timothy can be the leader that God wants. He can be that leader with the power that God gives. The gift of God provides the strength of character that he needs.
In the church of God, the leader serves the people. Those who have authority must use it with love. They must love God and his people. It is difficult for us to love like this. But the gift of God is love. So then we can love as God intends us to love.
Paul also says that the gift of the Spirit brings with it the control of our minds. He makes us able to control our thoughts and actions.
Verse 8 God gave to Timothy a gift of power and love and control of the mind like that. So he should tell other people about the *Lord. He should not be shy or afraid to do this. Paul does not suggest that Timothy was not doing this. But he wants to encourage him to be bold. He must not be ashamed to confess that he belongs to the *Lord Jesus Christ.
He must not be ashamed to say that he is a friend of Paul. Paul calls himself the *prisoner of the *Lord. He was in prison because he believed in Christ. He was in prison because he served Christ. He was there because God allowed it. Paul served the *Lord Jesus and *preached the *gospel. That is the reason that he suffered.
Timothy must be ready to suffer, as Paul did, for the *gospel. In this, he would share with Paul and other Christians and with Christ himself. He can take his share of suffering by the power that God will give him. All who suffer for Christ can depend on God to give them strength. He will give them the strength that they need.
Verse 9 God uses his power on behalf of those who trust in him. He has already shown this because he has saved them. He has rescued his people from their *sins. He has freed them from the death that *sin brings. He has given to them a new life. He chose them to be his people. He wants them to live as those who belong to him. They should be clean and pure and holy as he is.
God did not save us because of what we had done. We can do nothing that could earn for us this *salvation. God did not choose us because we were good. And he did not choose us because we had done the right things. The *scripture says that all of us have *sinned (Romans 3:23). He saved us because he decided to do so. God in his grace blesses those who do not deserve it.
He gave us the benefits of his grace in Christ Jesus. By the *Lord Jesus, we can receive the grace of God. It comes to us as we are in union with Christ by *faith.
God planned and did this before time began. That was even before he made the world. Before we had *sinned, God had the remedy for *sin.
Verse 10 The grace of God, the remedy for our *sin, was there in Christ before time began. But until the *Lord Jesus came, we failed to see it. Now Christ Jesus has come. He lived on earth as a human being. He died to take away our *sins. God raised him from the dead. He has shown us the grace of God. He saves all who will believe in him from their *sins.
When God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he defeated death for us. Therefore death is not the end for those who believe in the *Lord. Jesus gives to them a new life now. Their bodies may die but death has no power over their life. After death those who belong to the *Lord will live with him. The *Lord will make them perfect and they will live. And they will never die.
This is the good news that Paul and Timothy *preached. Those who receive this *gospel and give themselves to the *Lord will know the grace of God. They will know that God forgives and removes their *sins. They will have that new life and be sure of the future life beyond death.
Verse 11 God sent Paul to declare this good news. He describes this task by three functions. Christ chose Paul to be an *apostle. He sent Paul with the authority to speak for him. As an *apostle, Paul set up churches and looked after them. He would *preach the *gospel and bring people to believe in Jesus Christ. He would teach them and train them in the truth.
Verse 12 God had sent Paul to declare the *gospel of Christ and he did it. That was the cause of his suffering. He suffered and was in prison because he *preached this good news.
Paul was not ashamed to be in prison or to suffer. He knew that it was for the *Lord Jesus that he suffered. To him it was an honour to suffer for the *Lord. He is not ashamed of the *gospel. He is not afraid to speak for the *Lord. Paul knows the *Lord. That is the reason why he is not ashamed. He trusts God. And he knows that God will never fail him.
God is able to protect and keep safe what Paul has given to God. Paul is convinced about that. He does not say what he has put into the care of God. But he had given himself to the *Lord. He trusted God for his own life both now and for the future. He depended on God for his work as he taught the *gospel.
God will keep Paul and his work until that day which is to come. Paul is confident about that. That day is the period after the *Lord Jesus comes to judge everybody. Then all who belong to him will give an account of their lives to the *Lord Jesus.
Verse 13 Paul had taught Timothy the truth about God and the *Lord Jesus. He had told Timothy how Christians should behave. He had shown him what Christians ought to believe. All that Paul taught was correct and true. God sent Paul for this purpose to declare what was true. All of this was a pattern for Timothy to follow. He must preserve and guard the truth of these words of Paul.
These true words are a pattern of what Timothy should teach. He must not merely repeat what Paul said. This is because that was not complete in all the details of the truth. But it forms the base on which Timothy should express the truth.
Timothy should not just follow the words. He must do so with *faith and love. *Faith and love are ours when we belong to Christ. We have to know Christ Jesus as our *Lord before we can have this *faith and love. The only way to keep the truth is to both live and speak it with *faith and love.
Verse 14 Timothy had received all the good words that Paul had taught him. In effect, he received them from God because God has sent Paul. These words were the *gospel of Christ and what Christians should believe. Timothy had to defend and teach the truth. He must not allow the false teachers to change the truth.
Timothy could not protect the truth in his own strength. The means by which he must guard the truth is with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives in Timothy and in all who believe in the *Lord Jesus.
Verse 15 Asia here is not the continent of Asia. It was only a part of what is now the country of Turkey. And Ephesus was its capital city.
Timothy knew that many Christians in Asia or from Asia had failed to help Paul. He cannot mean that all of the Christians there had turned against him. He must have meant a group of them. Perhaps the church leaders had not sent their support for him. Or perhaps he means those from Asia who were in *Rome. He would expect them to come and help him but they did not.
Paul names two of those who failed him. They are Phygelus and Hermogenes. We do not know anything about these two men.
Verses 16-18 Paul asks the *Lord to be kind to the family of Onesiphorus. He wants the *Lord to provide for them what they need. It seems that Onesiphorus was not at home. The family stayed in Ephesus while he went to *Rome.
When Onesiphorus first arrived there, he searched for Paul. And he searched for him until he found him. This was not an easy task. There were many in prison in *Rome. He was not ashamed or afraid to be a friend of Paul. Paul was in prison and in chains. But this did not worry Onesiphorus. He often came to see Paul. When he came, he brought Paul what he needed. He may have brought food and other things. But Paul most appreciated his being there with him. He often encouraged Paul. And he cheered him when he was unhappy.
It was not only in *Rome that Onesiphorus had helped Paul. Timothy knew how much Onesiphorus had done for the church and for Paul when he was in Ephesus. Paul prays about that day when Onesiphorus will give an account of his life to the *Lord. He prays that the *Lord will receive Onesiphorus and bless him.
Verse 1 Paul tells Timothy to be strong but not with just natural strength. This is the power to live the Christian life. Timothy can only get this power by the grace that is in Christ Jesus. This grace is the kindness of Christ. He gives strength to those who ask him for it. With the help of Christ, Timothy will be strong.
Verse 2 Paul had taught Timothy the truth about God. He had shown him what Christians should believe. He had taught him how Christians should live. There were many other Christians there when Paul taught these things. These are witnesses to all the truth, which Paul spoke.
Timothy’s task was to *preach the *gospel and to teach the truth in the church at Ephesus. Now Paul says that Timothy must select those whom he could trust. He must train them in the truth. Then they too will be able to spread the message and teach other people.
Verse 3 The Christian life is like a war. This is because there are enemies who fight against it. All followers of Christ must be prepared to suffer for what they believe. So Paul tells Timothy to join with him and other Christians and take a share of the suffering. He must serve Christ as a good soldier fights with the army. But Christians do not fight against people. The fight is against the forces of evil.
Verse 4 A soldier in the fight needs to concentrate on the task. He must not let anything disturb him or stop him. He must put all of his effort into the fight. His aim is to please the one for whom he is fighting.
Like soldiers, Christians should work hard to do what the *Lord wants. They should not get involved with things that would prevent them from doing this. Their main purpose in life is to please the *Lord whom they serve.
Verse 5 Any one who wants to run in a race must train hard. To have a chance of winning they need to be very fit and strong. Then in the race, they must obey the rules. The winner receives the crown, which is the prize. This is not the crown of a king but a crown of success. People made it from leaves and put it round the neck of the winner. To win that crown was a great honour.
Paul is saying that the Christian life is like a race. Those who believe should train hard. They should accept the discipline of the *Lord. This is so that they can do what he wants. But in this race, there is not only one winner. God promises the crown of life to all who love and trust him to the end of their lives (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).
Verse 6 A good farmer has to work hard. He has to prepare the ground and sow the seed. He has to make sure that the plants have enough water. And he has to clear the weeds. Then the harvest comes when he gathers the crops. He has done all this work for the owner of the farm. As his reward, he should have the first share of the crop.
Christians, like the farmer, should work hard to do what the *Lord wants. The results of that good work will be like a harvest. The *Lord will bless those who have worked well for him. This may be in this life. But the *Lord will give rewards to them in the life that is future.
Verse 7 Timothy is to think about the soldier, the *athlete and the farmer. He should learn the lessons that we can learn from each of them. They each show how a Christian should live and work for the *Lord. As Timothy thinks about these things, the *Lord will help him to understand.
The soldier needs discipline to win the fight. His chief aim is to please his officer. The *athlete must train himself if he is to win the race. He must obey all the rules. The farmer has to work hard if there is to be a good harvest. So Christians must have this kind of attitude to do the tasks that the *Lord has given them.
Verse 8 Jesus Christ was and is God. But, although he was God, he was born as a man. He was born to Mary who was of the family of David. This shows that he was the *Messiah. He was the one whom God had promised to send.
What Paul writes here is similar to what he wrote in Romans 1:3-4. There he wrote that the Holy Spirit declared Jesus to be the Son of God. He did this when God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the Son of God. Timothy is to remember, not a dead Christ, but the living *Lord. Jesus suffered and died. But now he is alive. This should encourage Timothy, as he will have to suffer for Christ.
The fact that Jesus Christ died and rose again is the heart of the *gospel. This is the good news that Paul *preached.
Verse 9 Paul urged Timothy to *preach the *gospel. And he urged him to be ready to suffer for doing so. He writes about his own experience. He *preached the good news of Jesus Christ and he had to suffer because of it. He was now in prison and in chains. He had not done any crime. But he suffered as if he were a criminal.
Paul was no longer free but that did not stop the spread of the *gospel. No one can bind up the word of God. It is free to go wherever God sends it.
Verse 10 Paul is willing to suffer for the good news. That is because God saves those whom he has chosen by this *gospel. So Paul is suffering for them so that they may believe in Christ Jesus.
It is true that when we accept the *gospel, we choose Christ. But before we came to him, God chose us. So Jesus says, ‘You have not chosen me but I have chosen you’ (John 15:16).
Those who do accept the *gospel will have *salvation. They will have the *salvation that is in Christ Jesus. Paul and all who believe have this *salvation now. Their future life will be with Christ. And they will share the *glory that he has.
Verse 11 Timothy would have known these words. They were from a Christian song or poem. Paul says that the message of these words is true.
In this part of the song or poem, ‘we’ means the Christians and ‘him’ means Christ. There are four lines. Each one shows the actions of Christians and the result or the reaction of Christ.
1. If we have died with him, we shall also live with him (verse 11)
2. If we do not give up, we will also govern with him (verse 12)
3. If we refuse him, he will also refuse us (verse 12)
4. If we do not believe, he will remain true. He cannot deny who he is (verse 13)
Death with Christ will result in life with him. Death with Christ is death to *sin even as Christ died to *sin. It is in the death of Christ that Christians have died with him. The death of Christ has freed them from *sin. As they believe in Christ, it is as if God has put their old life into his death.
They receive a new life now. Christians should consider that they are dead to *sin. And they should consider that they are alive to God. The *Lord has also promised them that as Christ rose from the dead so they will rise. They will live with Christ and never die again.
Verse 12 The life of the Christians is not an easy one. They may have to suffer many things. There will always be problems that tempt them to give up. But they must remain loyal to Christ.
Those who do remain loyal to Christ will rule with him. This looks forward beyond this present life to the life which is to come. Then those who have not given up will join with Christ as he rules as the king of heaven.
There are those who did once claim to be Christians but then say that they are not. Now they refuse to admit that Jesus is the Christ. They did not really believe in the *Lord Jesus and they do not know him. They have turned away from him.
The day will come when they will have to stand before God. Then Christ will deny them. He will say that He does not know them. They will not live with him in that day.
Verse 13 There are those who did believe in the *Lord Jesus but have turned away from him. Some Christians fail to trust him. But he will keep his promises to them. He will never turn away from them.
He is the *Lord who does not change. He will do what he has promised to do. He is always true to his own nature. He is God.
For those who do not trust in the *Lord Jesus at all, this is a serious warning. What God has said about the results of their *sins will happen.
But some have believed but are weak. They may fail but this should encourage them. They may not always be true to him but he will always be true to them.
Verse 14 Timothy must remind the Christians about the true words that Paul has just written. These are what the *gospel of Christ teaches. These are what the Christians should believe and teach.
There were some in that church who argued about words. This was a waste of time and effort. To fight about words can have no value for any one. It is of no use and it does no good. It could so easily be the cause of a split in the church. It could upset and damage the *faith of some of the Christians.
This is such a serious matter that Timothy must warn them not to do it. He should look to God as witness to what he tells them. If they continue to fight about words, they will have to account for it to God. He will be their judge.
Verse 15 Timothy and all Christians must do their best to please God. They must work to please God and not to please other people. They must be eager to do what God wants them to do. They are his servants. And they should act as those of whom he approves. God is the judge of all that they do. He decides what is good or bad. And he decides what is right or wrong.
A good worker is not ashamed when people test his work. He knows that what he has done is of the right quality. Timothy must be like that. God has given him a job to do. He must so complete the task that God will say that it was well done.
Timothy had to *preach the good news of Christ and teach the word of God. He must teach the truth of God as he had learned it from the *Lord and from Paul. He must not change that truth. He must not add to it or take anything away from it.
Verse 16 To argue about words is of no use at all. It is foolish and vain. There is nothing of God in it. It is against the truth of God. The only effect that it can have is to draw people away from the *Lord. That is both those who say these things and those who listen to them.
It would be wrong for Timothy to argue with them. He would not be able to convince them to change their minds. He must not get involved with it. He must avoid all such talk.
Verse 17 What the false teachers say is like a disease. The disease spreads sores that eat into the body. What these teachers say is like that. It seems to eat into the minds and hearts of those who accept it. If these false ideas are allowed to spread, they will cause trouble in the church.
Hymenaeus and Philetus are two of the men who speak like this. They were, or had been, members of the church at Ephesus. Paul mentions Hymenaeus in the first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 1:20). We know nothing about Philetus other than what Paul writes here.
Verse 18 These men have turned from the truth. They teach many things that are not true. Among these things, they say that the *resurrection is past. But the Bible teaches that it is still in the future. The *Lord Jesus will come again. Then those who have died as believers in him will rise from the dead. God will also raise up the rest of the people. All of them will have to come before God who will be their judge.
These men thought that when they believed they came to life again. They said that this was the *resurrection. They did not believe that God would raise people from the dead. They thought that the body would remain in the grave.
Some people believed the errors that these men taught. They too were turning from the truth. The result of this would be that they would no longer trust in the *Lord.
Verse 19 God has given a firm base for our *faith. This contrasts with the weakness caused by what the false teachers say. The foundation of God is the true church. This is a solid foundation of truth based on the *Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). God has made it and no one has the power to shake it. The truth of God and the church will last for all time.
It was the custom to write words on the foundation of a building. God has written words on this foundation. They prove that it will not fail. He owns the church and he will protect it.
Long ago, God brought the *Jews out of Egypt. God chose Moses to lead them as they went through the desert. One day a man called Korah, with some other people, came against Moses. In the *Greek translation of the *Old Testament Moses said, ‘The *Lord knows who are his.’ (See Numbers 16.) The *Lord is the judge. He knows who are true to him. And he knows who are false. He will reward those who trust him. But he will punish those who are false.
Those who are loyal to the *Lord show it. They show it by how they live. They show that they belong to him by not doing wrong things. They do not accept as true what the false teachers say. Those who say that they are Christians must do what is right.
Verses 20-21 In the house of a rich man, there would be a variety of pots, pans, jars and dishes. Some of these would be gold or silver. Some would be cheaper materials such as wood or baked mud. Each of them would have their uses.
In the church, there is a variety of people. They do not all have the same work to do for the *Lord. But each of them should be ready to do what the master wants them to do. Some of the tasks seem to be better than other tasks. But the tasks that seem to be less pleasant are just as essential.
In the church there are both good and bad people. Those who want to follow the *Lord must not go after the false teachers. They must be clean from all that is evil. Then they will be ready to do good works. They will be fit for the *Lord to use in whatever tasks he wants them to do.
The bad people are like dirty pots and pans that the master cannot use. He will throw them away as rubbish.
Verse 22 Paul refers to Timothy as a young man. In that society, a man was young up to about 40 years of age. Timothy must have been between 30 and 40 years old.
We all have wrong and bad desires. But some of these seem to be stronger in young people. Paul does not say what he meant by the wrong desires of youth. They may be such things as selfish ambitions, a lack of patience and the urge for wrong sex. Paul may have known that Timothy had some weak tendencies. So he tells Timothy to run away from these.
Instead of these wrong desires, Timothy must pursue good things. He must be eager to do what is right. That is to do what God requires of him. He must want to please God. Timothy must trust God and put his confidence in him. He must love God and try to love other people. He must do all that he can to live in peace with all people.
All who trust in the *Lord will desire these good qualities. They confessed their *sins and the *Lord forgave them. So, to God, their hearts are clean. Timothy must be one with them.
Verse 23 Paul tells Timothy to have nothing to do with foolish discussions. He must refuse to argue with those who question the truth. He knows that such vain arguments will lead to quarrels. These tend to divide the church and so destroy it.
Verse 24 All Christians are servants of the *Lord. But here it refers to those like Timothy whom God has called to be leaders. They are the slaves of the *Lord to do what he wants them to do. They must not be people who quarrel. Rather they should be gentle and kind to all. They must be pleasant even to those who attack them or are unkind to them.
The servants of the *Lord must be able to teach the truth. They should try to correct those who oppose the truth. They should be patient with them even when they do wrong or evil things.
Verse 25 The attitude of the servants of the *Lord must be strong but gentle. They should be humble as they teach the truth to those who oppose them. Their aim is to correct what is false. And it is to help these people to accept the truth.
Perhaps God will cause them to *repent. This is a gift from God. It causes a change of heart and mind. When they *repent, God will forgive them. As a result, God would cause them to know the truth.
Verse 26 As these people turn from what is false they will know the truth. They will see that the false teachers taught things that were really from the devil. It was a trap to keep them from trusting the *Lord. Now, as they accept the truth, it frees them from that trap of the devil.
They had believed the lies of the devil and he had caught them in his trap. They did not know it but he was their master. He caused them to do what he wanted. Therefore they had opposed the truth that comes from God.
Verse 1 The *Lord Jesus will return one day. The period before he comes will be the last days. They will be terrible times and life will be hard. The next few verses list the bad attitudes and the evils that are to come. We can see them all already in the world. But they will spread wider and get far worse in the last days.
Paul writes this not to frighten us but to warn us. He wants to prepare us for what is to come.
Verses 2-4 Paul lists the kind of attitudes that people will have. And he lists what they will do in the last days. This gives the reason why life will be so hard. It is not that these things are new. There have been people like this all through history. But in the last days, there will be a big increase in such evil.
These people will not look after anyone else. They are selfish and only think about themselves. Their aim in life is to get as much money as they can for their own benefit.
They will think of themselves as being most important. They are proud of what they have. And they are proud of what they are in their own opinion. They try to convince people of how much better they are. They talk as if other people, as compared to themselves, are of no worth.
They will say evil things. They will not respect other people in how they speak. They will be insulting and not polite. They will not obey or show respect for their own parents.
They are not at all grateful for what they are or have. They do not give thanks to God for all that he has given. They live as if there were no God. This is because they will not believe in him.
They do not have natural feelings and they do not show love. They never forgive people if they think that they have done wrong things to them.
They will wrongly accuse people and speak bad things about them. They are not able to control their own actions. They are fierce and wild. They hate everything good because they are evil.
You cannot depend on them because they will not be loyal. They will not do what they have promised. They do things without thinking. And they do not care what the effects might be. They will do anything to get what they want.
They see themselves as important and they are proud of it. Their one aim is to satisfy their own desires. They love to please themselves. They have no room for God in their lives. They do not love or know him.
Verse 5 Many of these wicked persons say that they have some kind of religion. Some will even claim to be Christians. A true belief in God will have the power to change us. And it will change how we live. The attitudes of these people show that they do not have a real belief in God. How they live denies the power of their religion. And so it shows that their religion is false.
Paul tells Timothy to avoid these people. He should not receive them into the church.
Verses 6-7 In that society, the women stayed in the home. Few of them went to school or had an education. Some of the false teachers went from house to house. They persuaded the women to let them come in. They lied to the women. They said that they had come with good news for them.
Once in the house, these teachers explain their strange ideas. These ideas seem good to those women who were weak. They believed what they heard. And so they came under the control of the false teachers.
Some women were weak. They would accept without question what they heard. It was so easy to convince them that these false ideas were the truth. They were conscious of their *sins and they wanted to find an answer. They suffered from the shame of what they had done. They knew that in their hearts there were all kinds of wrong desires. Here was a message that could make them feel better, they thought.
These women were eager for change, for new things. They wanted to know about the latest ideas. But with all their searching, they could not find the truth. So they remained in their *sin. And they did not know the truth that could set them free. This truth is the *gospel of Christ.
Verse 8 There was a tradition that these two men, Jannes and Jambres, did magic. They were evil men, who were against the truth of God. They opposed Moses and Aaron whom God had sent to free the *Jews from Egypt. Paul says that the false teachers are like those evil men. What they were doing was not the same. But like those men, these are enemies of the truth. They are working against God.
They have believed a lie and there is no truth with them. The evil that they have accepted has ruined them. Their minds have become wicked. They can no longer know what is true or receive it. They have denied the truth of God.
Verse 9 These false teachers may seem to succeed. But that success will not last long. The truth will win in the end. In due time, all will see the true character of these teachers. They are foolish to oppose the truth.
Jannes and Jambres were foolish to oppose Moses. They could not do the powerful works that God gave to Moses. God defeated them. And everyone could see that they were foolish. So it will be with all who oppose God.
Verse 10 In contrast to the false teachers, Paul had taught the truth. The false teachers had not believed it. Instead, they had changed it to fit with their own ideas. But Timothy had accepted it as true. He knew all about what Paul taught. He had travelled and worked with Paul. He had seen how Paul lived out what he believed. Paul gave to Timothy a good pattern to follow.
Paul’s aim in life was to please the *Lord. His main purpose in life was to *preach the *gospel of Christ to all people. He believed and trusted in God. He always tried to do what God wanted him to do.
He was patient with people and he loved them. Even when they were unkind to him, he still wanted the best for them.
Verse 11 Paul reminded Timothy of what had happened to him in these places (see Acts 13:45, 50; 14:1-6, 19). These events showed how he had acted with patience and love. At the time, Timothy was a young man who lived in Lystra. No doubt, he could remember all that had happened. Paul had to suffer much from the people in these cities. But he says that the *Lord delivered him from them all.
Verse 12 Paul is not the only one who has to suffer for being a Christian. All who live out their trust in the *Lord Jesus will have *persecution. To live a holy life in Christ Jesus means to belong to him and to live as he directs. All who want to live like this must be ready to suffer. It should not surprise them when trouble comes because they serve the *Lord.
Verse 13 There will be a growth in evil as time goes on. Those who are wicked will get still more evil. There is so much that is false. And there is so much that will turn people from the truth. Even the false teachers will start to believe what they teach. They will cause each other to trust in wrong things and to fight against the truth.
Verse 14 Timothy must continue in what he had learned. He must not accept the new ideas of the false teachers. He must remain loyal to the truth that he had believed.
He should continue in what he had learned. This is because he knew who taught him. He knows what they believed. And he knows how they lived. He can trust them because he knows them.
Among those who taught him were his mother Eunice, his grandmother Lois and Paul.
Verse 15 It was the custom for the *Jews to teach their children the law of God from an early age. This law of God is the *Old Testament, called here the holy *scriptures. Timothy’s father was not a *Jew but his mother Eunice was (Acts 16:1). She and his grandmother, Lois, taught Timothy the law of God when he was a little child.
God gave these *scriptures to prepare the *Jews and us for the coming of the *Messiah. He is the *Lord Jesus Christ. He came to die for us so that he could bring us to God. This is *salvation. And we receive it when we believe in the *Lord Jesus. The *scriptures teach us about the *Lord Jesus and about our need of *salvation. By the *scriptures, we can know the truth because they are the words of God.
Verse 16 God has given to us all of the *scriptures. It is as if he breathed them through the human writers. Peter tells us that holy men spoke by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). The *scriptures are then in a real sense the word of God. As the *scriptures come from God, they must be important for us. He has given them for our use as a necessary guide to how we should live. Paul then gives four areas in which the use of the *scriptures is of great benefit.
They show us what God is like. And they show us how God sees us. They teach us what pleases God. Christian teachers should teach the *scriptures. This is because in them is the truth that God wants everyone to know.
The *scriptures show us what *sin is. By them God tells us that all people have *sinned. He uses them to convince us that we have done wrong things. He shows us where we have wrong ideas and thoughts.
The *scriptures teach that, as we trust in the *Lord Jesus Christ, God can forgive us our *sins. If we *repent of them and bring them to God, he will remove them from us. By doing what the *scriptures tell us, God can change us. He can correct the errors in our minds and in what we do.
The *scriptures are there to educate us in all that is right. They teach us how to live, as God wants us to live. It is essential then that Christians read them and learn from them.
Verse 17 The purpose for which God gave the *scriptures was to prepare his people for good works. As they obey the word of God, they are able to do what he expects them to do. When God has chosen people to do tasks, he qualifies the people to do them. God makes them able to do all that the tasks require.
Verse 1 Paul calls on God and the *Lord Jesus to be witnesses. He is telling Timothy what he must do. The task that Timothy has to do is a serious one. He will have to account to the *Lord for how he does it.
When the *Lord Jesus appears again he will be the judge. All those who have died will have to stand before him. And so will all those who are then alive. He will examine all that they have done. Then he will decide what to do with them. Knowing this should make us all more careful to do what the *Lord wants us to do.
When Jesus comes, he will not only be the judge. He will be the king too. This too should encourage us to work for him now.
Verse 2 The false teachers spoke from their own ideas and not from God. But Timothy must be sure to teach the word of God and not his own opinions. He is to be ready at all times to share the good news of Jesus Christ. No matter how hard it may seem, he must not be afraid or shy to do so.
As a leader, he has to do more than just teach. He must lead those who believe. He must educate them. And he must show them how they should live. So he must show them where they are wrong. He must reason with them so that they may see their errors. He must urge them to change and to follow the truth. If they will not accept this, they may need some discipline.
He must be gentle and patient with all the people. He should encourage them and teach them the principles of the word of God.
Verse 3 The task that Timothy has is urgent. While he has the chance, he must *preach the truth. This is because Paul is warning him about a future time. At that time, the people will not listen to the truth. The truth would make them uneasy because of their *sin. It would demand that they *repent and change. Many will then oppose the good news of Jesus Christ.
Instead of the truth, they would rather hear what pleases them. They will gather many teachers. And these teachers will tell them what they want to hear. These teachers will not question what they do. They may amuse them, or interest them in some new thing. But the result will be that they will not change. They will go on living for themselves and for their own desires.
Verse 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth so that they cannot hear it. They will choose not to listen to the truth. They will prefer that which is new or strange. So, they will believe false ideas and refuse the word of God.
Verse 5 As for Timothy, he must be aware of what is happening. He needs to be in control of himself at all times. As he lives for the truth, he may well have to suffer what other people will do against him.
There are some to whom the *Lord gives a special task. That task is to *preach the *gospel. But all Christians should spread the good news of Christ. Paul tells Timothy that he should do the work of one who preaches the good news.
The *Lord has called Timothy to be a leader in the church. In this role, he has many tasks to perform. Paul urges him to do these things. Then he will complete all that God wants him to do.
Verse 6 Timothy must continue to do the work. Paul can do no more because he is going to die.
The priests of the *Jews had to make *sacrifices to God. They had to burn animals. But, before they burned them, they had to pour some drink over them. This drink was part of the *sacrifice (Numbers 28:24). The priest poured it out. Paul says that his life is like that drink. He is offering his life to God.
He is in prison in *Rome. He knows that he will never be free again. He says that the time has come for his departure. One day very soon, those who are keeping him in prison will kill him.
The word that Paul used had an idea of success in it. The word that he used we could translate as departure. But it has the idea of success and setting free. To him death would make him free from this life and be the way to a better life.
Verse 7 Paul had told Timothy that, as he trusted in Christ, life would be a struggle (1 Timothy 6:12). This struggle is for God and the *gospel. That is why he calls it a good struggle. Paul looks back on his own life. He can say with some satisfaction that he fought well. For him the struggle is now over and he has finished his fight.
Life is like the race that those who compete have to run. They have to work hard to run the distance. They have to reach the end of the race. Paul says that he has finished the race. That race was the work that the *Lord had given him to do. He has completed that task.
Paul had kept the *faith. His trust in Christ never failed. He believed in Christ to the end. God had trusted him with the truth and he had kept it. He had been loyal to the *Lord and to the *gospel of Christ.
Verse 8 Paul has spoken about life as if it was a race. He has run that race and the prize is waiting for him. In those times, the man who won the race had a crown of leaves. Paul had finished his race. All that remained was for him to receive his reward. This crown is not a crown of leaves but a crown of *righteousness.
The *Lord had prepared that crown. Paul had worked hard to achieve all that the *Lord asked of him. The crown is a reward for those who are *righteous. But Paul would not claim that he was *righteous by himself. The good news is that Jesus is *righteous. He gives that *righteousness to all who trust him for it.
There will be a day when the *Lord Jesus Christ will come again. He will be the judge of all that men and women have done. He will then give that crown as a reward to Paul. He will change Paul to be perfect as he himself is perfect.
This promise is not only for Paul. This same promise is for all who love Christ. It is for all those who are waiting for him to appear. They too will receive this crown. They will become like the *Lord Jesus and be perfect.
Verse 9 Paul had just said that he was going to die. By this, he meant that his death would happen soon. But he could not know how long he would have to remain in prison before that event. In the short while that he had left, he really wanted to see Timothy. So, he urges Timothy to come as quickly as he can.
Verse 10 It seems that Paul was almost alone. Those who had been close to him had left him for one reason or another. Demas was one of these.
Demas had been a friend whom Paul trusted. The first time Paul was in prison in *Rome, Demas supported him well. When writing to Philemon Paul refers to Demas as one who worked with him (Philemon 24). But now Demas had gone from him.
Demas left because he loved this world. Paul did not say what the cause of this was. It must have been hard and perhaps dangerous to be a friend of Paul in *Rome. Demas was not ready to share or risk the same kind of suffering that Paul had. Perhaps he wanted an easier life. Perhaps a desire for money caused him to leave Paul. Whatever the reason, he did leave Paul and went to Thessalonica.
Paul does not seem to complain that Crescens and Titus had gone away. We are not told the reason why these two men left Paul at *Rome. It could be that Paul had sent them to continue the work of the *gospel.
Verse 11 All the rest had gone and only Luke had stayed with Paul. Luke had travelled much with him. Luke had looked after Paul because Luke was a doctor. Paul refers to him as the much loved doctor (Colossians 4:14). Luke was also the writer of the *Gospel of Luke and of the Acts.
Paul asks Timothy, when he comes, to bring Mark with him. Mark was probably not in Ephesus with Timothy. Paul is asking Timothy to bring Mark from wherever he was.
When the *angel freed Peter from prison, he went to the house of Mary (Acts 12:12). This Mary was the mother of John who was called Mark. Barnabas and Paul took Mark to Antioch (Acts 12:25). On their first journey, Barnabas and Paul took Mark with them (Acts 13:5). For some reason he left them and returned home (Acts 13:13). Because of this, Paul refused to take him on the next journey (Acts 15:36-40). Mark, who at first failed, later proved his worth. While Paul was in prison the first time, Mark was a great help to him (Colossians 4:10). Since that early failure, Mark had served the *Lord and Paul in the spread of the *gospel. Now Paul is eager for Mark to come and help him again.
Verse 12 Tychicus had been with Paul on his last visit to Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). Paul calls him a brother whom he loved. And he calls him a man who served the *Lord. Paul had sent him with his letters to Ephesus and to the Colossians (Ephesians 6:22-23; Colossians 4:7-8).
Paul has now sent him with this letter to Timothy in Ephesus. Perhaps Paul sent Tychicus to replace Timothy while he came to *Rome.
Perhaps Paul wanted Mark to come to replace Tychicus.
Verse 13 Later in the letter, Paul asks Timothy to try as hard as he can to come before winter (4:21). It could be quite cold at that time of year in a *Roman prison. He had left his coat with a man called Carpus who was in the town of Troas. He would need that coat when the weather turned cold. When he comes, Timothy will have to go to Troas first in order to get the coat for Paul.
We do not know what the books and *papers were. But they were very valuable to Paul. He was most eager for Timothy to bring his *papers.
Verse 14 We do not know when, where, or how Alexander caused Paul a great deal of trouble. All we know about him is that he worked with metal. Alexander was a common name. A *Jew called Alexander tried to stop the angry crowd in Ephesus (Acts 19:33-34). There was another man called Alexander whom Paul put out of the church there (1 Timothy 1:19-20). It could have been either of these men or some other man with the same name.
Paul is not asking the *Lord to punish him. This is not a prayer but a statement of fact. The *Lord will punish him for the evil that he has done.
Verse 15 Paul warns Timothy that Alexander is a dangerous man. As he has troubled Paul, he could well attack Timothy. He opposed the Christian teachers as they taught the truth. He was an enemy of the *gospel of Christ. He may also have spoken in the courts against Paul.
Verse 16 When Paul first had to go in front of the judge he was alone. He had expected some of his friends to be there. They could have helped him to answer those who accused him. They could have encouraged him. This was the custom in those days. But none of them came and stood with him. They all left him to answer for himself. It may be that they were afraid to stand with him.
Paul did not blame them although they had failed him. They had done wrong but Paul forgave them. He did not want the *Lord to hold it against them.
Verse 17 All his friends had left him and failed to help him. But he did not lack the help that he needed. That was because the *Lord was there. The *Lord gave him the strength to answer those who accused him. The result of this was that Paul was able to speak about the *gospel. So, all who were in the court heard the good news about Jesus Christ.
He was able to *preach the message in full. His task was to *preach the *gospel. He felt that now he had *preached it in *Rome he had completed that task. He had finished all that the *Lord had given him to do.
This first time in court went well for Paul. The judge did not at that time order his death. But now he expected that they would kill him.
The *Lord saved him from the mouth of the lion. Since Paul was a *Roman citizen, by law they could not throw him to the lions. He may have used the word lion to refer to the *emperor whose name was Nero. Tradition has it that some time later *Emperor Nero ordered the death of Paul. But more likely, he used the phrase ‘mouth of the lion’ to mean extreme danger.
Verse 18 Paul is confident that the *Lord will save him from everything evil. He is not here thinking about being set free from prison. He does not expect to be free again. He is sure that the next time he comes before the judge it will not go well. He believes that the judge will decide that he should die. Paul means that the *Lord will save him when he dies. The *Lord will rescue him from death and raise him to a new life.
When he dies, Paul believes that the *Lord will take him into the *kingdom of heaven. The *Lord is the king there. Nothing that is evil can get into that place. It is where the Christ will live with his people. And there shall be no end to that life.
As he thinks of what Christ has done, Paul praises him. He appreciates the goodness of the *Lord, which shines like a bright light. All *glory belongs to Christ for who he is. And for what he has done. His *glory will never end.
Verse 19 Priscilla and Aquila were old friends of Paul. When he first arrived in Corinth, he lived and worked with them. Like him, they made tents (Acts 18:2-3). They had not been in Corinth long but had come from *Rome. They then went with Paul to Ephesus and stayed there (Acts 18:18-19). Some time later they went back to *Rome and Paul sent greetings to them (Romans 16:3-4). But now they were once more in Ephesus.
Paul sent greetings to the family of Onesiphorus. Earlier in this letter he had asked the *Lord to be kind to them (1:16).
Verse 20 When Paul wrote to *Rome from Corinth, he sent greetings from Erastus. This man had an important job in that city (Romans 16:23). There was also a man called Erastus who, with Timothy, helped Paul when he was in Ephesus (Acts 19:22). We do not know whether these two are the same person.
Trophimus went with Paul when he took the gifts to the poor Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 20:4). The *Jews had seen him there with Paul. They thought that Paul had taken Trophimus into the *temple where he should not go (Acts 21:29).
Verse 21 Perhaps Paul is starting to feel the cold and the damp in the prison. Soon it will be winter and he will suffer with the cold weather. He needs that coat which he had asked Timothy to bring. So, he urges him to try as hard as he can to come before winter. It may not be possible for Timothy to make that voyage in the winter months. To wait for spring could be too late. By then, Paul may have been to the court for the final time. The result of that would probably be his death.
Paul sends greetings from four members of the church at *Rome. The rest of the church there also sends greetings.
Verse 22 Paul gives a blessing to Timothy first and then to all the Christians in the church at Ephesus. He prays that the *Lord will be with Timothy. Then he ends as he prays for the grace of the *Lord to be with them all.
amen ~ a word from the *Hebrew language that means we agree, or it is true, or let it be so.
ancestors ~ any persons from whom the families of your father or mother come.
angel ~ a servant of God. He brings messages from God to people on earth.
anoint ~ to put oil put on someone’s head. This shows that God has chosen the person for a special task.
apostle ~ a person that God chose to lead his church; one of the 12 men that Jesus chose to be his helpers and to teach about him.
athlete ~ one who runs races.
elders ~ older men, respected men, or leaders in the church.
emperor ~ a very important ruler or king.
faith ~ trust in someone or something; belief and trust in God and in Jesus Christ his Son. The *faith is the Christian religion. It is what Christians believe.
Gentile ~ a person who is not a *Jew.
glory ~ great honour and beauty; splendid beauty.
gospel ~ the good news that God saves people from *sin by Jesus Christ.
Gospel ~ one of the four books at the beginning of the *New Testament.
Greek ~ the language in which the authors wrote the *New Testament.
Hebrew ~ the language of the *Jewish people.
Jewish ~ people or things that are from the *Jews.
Jews ~ people who were born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children. It is also a name for the *Jewish people.
kingdom ~ the place or territory where a king rules; the people that a king rules over.
Lord ~ a title for God, or Jesus, to show that he is over all people and things.
Macedonia ~ the northern part of the modern country called Greece.
mercy ~ God’s love and goodness.
Messiah ~ the Christ whom God promised to sent in the *Old Testament. Messiah is a *Hebrew word that means ‘*anointed one’. ‘Christ’ comes from a Greek word that means the same.
New Testament ~ the last part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after the life of Jesus. It is about the things that Jesus did and taught. And it is about the church.
Old Testament ~ the first part of the Bible; the holy things that the writers wrote before Christ’s birth.
papers ~ important information in writing.
persecution ~ when enemies of God hurt people because they believe in Jesus Christ.
preach ~ to speak out the message from God and to teach his word.
prisoner ~ a person who is in prison.
repent ~ to change one’s mind and heart, to turn away from *sin and turn to God. To turn one’s mind and heart away from *sin is to *repent.
resurrection ~ when God will raise people to life from the dead.
righteous ~ being right with God; people who do what is right.
righteousness ~ goodness.
Roman ~ *Rome was the capital city of the rulers at that time. That which belonged to *Rome was *Roman.
Rome ~ the capital city of the rulers at that time. They were the *Romans.
sacrifice ~ something that the priests offered to God.
salvation ~ the result when God saves us from *sin and punishment; the new life that God gives. He gives it to those who believe in the *Lord Jesus.
scriptures ~ the books of the Bible.
sin ~ to *sin is to do wrong, bad or evil; not to obey God; *sins are the wrong things that we do.
temple ~ the special building in Jerusalem in which the *Jews *worshipped God.
worship ~ to show honour to God with praise, thanks and respect.
George W. Knight ~ The Pastoral Epistles ~ The New International Greek Testament Commentary
J. N. D. Kelly ~ The Pastoral Epistles ~ Black’s New Testament Commentaries
A. M. Stibbs ~ The New Bible Commentary ~ Inter-varsity Fellowship
Donald Guthrie ~ The Pastoral Epistles ~ The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries
Ralph Earle ~ in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
W. Barclay ~ The Letters to Timothy ~ The Daily Study Bible
W. E. Vine ~ Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
Bibles ~ NIV, RSV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, AV
A. Marshall ~ The Interlinear Greek New Testament
Friberg and Friberg ~ Analytical Greek New Testament
© 1997-2003, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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