Study Notes

2Timothy 2:11-19


Back in verse eight, Paul said,

2Tim. 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead...

In verse ten, he reminded Timothy of the salvation that is found in His death and resurrection. Now he quotes what most scholars believe was an early hymn of the church.

2:11 Die With Him

This hymn begins by saying, "If we died with Him, we shall also live with Him." How many of us here today have died? It would seem at first thought that if you can answer this question, you haven't died. But a physical death is not what is being referred to here.

The death here is a death to sin. Paul told the Galatians,

Gal. 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the {life} which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.

We have willingly died to ourselves, denying sin, giving our lives to Jesus to live through us. Romans chapter six addresses this fully. Paul writes in that chapter that we have died to sin, thus we shall not live in it (Rom 6:2).

Rom. 6:6-7 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with {Him,} that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.

Rom. 6:11 Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin {as} instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members {as} instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace.

We talked about grace in our last study, about how we are not saved by our works, but by the gift of God that we did not and do not deserve. But the flip side of that coin is that if you are truly saved by grace, you will be denying sin in your life. You won't want to continue in sin, but will desire to live a life pleasing to God, in love and thankfulness for His sacrifice for you.

So, this hymn begins by saying that if we have died with Him, we're going to live with Him.

2:12 Endure

The second line of the hymn says,

2Tim. 2:12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him...

There is an endurance that is necessary in the Christian walk. A continuing, growing faith. You can't give up, you can't flake out. You've got to keep going, persevering. The word carries with it the meaning of endurance through trials and sufferings. As 1Corinthians says,

2Cor. 6:4-5 everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger

We don't have the option of giving up. Someone gossiped about you, so you're going to stop going to church. The girl you loved married someone else, so you're not talking to God anymore. The business you started went belly up, so you're not going to trust God for finances anymore. As a Christian, you don't have that option. You've got to keep going, to keep pressing on. During pain, anxiety, trouble, etc. you've got to endure.

And if you endure, there is a great reward. Just as those who run a marathon are rewarded for their endurance, so we too will be rewarded at the end of our race. We will rule and reign with Christ as kings and priests in His new kingdom.


The oppostie of one who endures is one who denies Christ. Jesus warned,

Matt. 10:32-33 "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."

If you fail to endure, you're saying that Jesus wasn't enough to carry you through your difficulties. That the power of His resurrection was insufficient. The writer of the book of Hebrews says that when you deny the resurrected Christ, you crucify Christ again, putting Him back on the cross, putting Him to shame (Heb. 6:6).

If you have done this in the past and are now feeling condemned, simply repent of the sin. Remember that Jesus forgave and restored Simon Peter after Peter denied Him three times.

2:13 Faithless

Finally, the hymn ends with,

2Tim. 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

Even when people do not believe in Christ, even when they reject the gospel, God remains faithful to His Word. Jesus didn't take the rejection of men and say, "Well, that's it! I've had it with these sinners. They're all on their own." He continues to be faithful to His Word, He will never deny that He has promised salvation to all who believe.

2:14-15 Don't Wrangle About Words

Part of the pastor's job is to charge people not to wrangle about words. That's really sad when you consider that many pastors are the biggest wranglers of words!

The word "wrangle" in Greek refers to those in an armed conflict, people who engage in hand-to-hand combat. How sad it is that the body of Christ has been divided by those who would wrangle over words!

What happens when Christians argue over trivial matters is that it brings ruin to the hearers. Someone was sharing with me recently about their new job. About how there are several Christians there, but that they are constantly bickering over doctrinal issues. How does that appear to the non-Christian employees? Why would they want to become believers in Christ, if this is what they have to look forward to? May it never be said of any of us,


Being argumentative with other Christians will quickly turn people away from desiring salvation. Yes, there are times to discuss doctrine. But never to the point of combat. As Saint Augustine said, "In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in all things, charity." Love for the body of Christ is essential in discussing these matters.


The word for "approved" in Greek is "DOK-ee-mos," which has an interesting history. Back in the days that money was minted by hand, the uneven edges left from coin molds had to be smoothed. Human nature being what it is, guys would frequently shave off more than they should have, meaning that the coin was using less of the precious metal than its apparent value. "In one century, more than eighty laws were passed in Athens, to stop the practice of shaving down the coins then in circulation. But some money changers were men of integrity, who would accept no counterfeit money. They were men of honour who put only genuine full weighted money into circulation. Such men were called "DOK-ee-mos." (Barnhouse)

So we are being diligent to be approved, DOK-ee-mos, to God. Showing ourselves to be honorable, trustworthy, regarding the Word of God, a workman who doesn't need to be ashamed. We're not cutting corners anywhere, we're not being slackers, we're not being dishonest. Remember Paul told the Thessalonians,

1Ths. 2:3-4 For our exhortation does not {come} from error or impurity or by way of deceit; but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.

Many employers give periodic job performance reviews. Have you been a good workman? Are you being diligent with your responsibilities? God is doing the same thing regarding your handling of His Word. What's He looking for? That you handle accurately the Word of truth.

Handling Accurately The Word Of Truth

What does it mean, "to handle accurately the Word of truth?" It is interesting that the Word of God is repeatedly referred to as "the sword of the Spirit."

Eph. 6:17 ...the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Hebr. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

We must handle this sword accurately, because swords are dangerous. If you don't know how to use it, you may hurt yourself or someone else.

Now it is interesting to me that the translators have tried to clarify this but lost the sharpness of the Greek. The NAS translates this "handling accurately," the King James renders it, "rightly dividing," and the NIV says, "correctly handling." But in Greek, it means "to cut straight." God is looking to see that you're taking the sword of the Spirit and cutting straight with it.

Too many Christians throw the sword around like a clumsy oaf, misquoting and misappropriating the Word of God. They quote verses completely out of their original context, they have no idea what they're talking about. However, we should be experienced at it, swift and skillful. Knowing the right times to quote the right verses. That doesn't come only from sitting in church. That doesn't come only from listening to the radio. That doesn't come only from reading someone's book. That comes from personal Bible study. And only you can do that.

2:16-19 The Lord Knows Those Who Are His

If you are the Lord's today, He knows it. He also knows if you are not His. Today, if you are not His, He is calling you to repentance.

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