2 Timothy 2:21-26
2 Tim 2:21 (KJB)
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
Purge - Clean out or cleanse thoroughly
This verse is a warning and an admonition to all Christians. The basic intention here is that the Christian always be in a state of readiness because the Lord could call him into service at any time. However, before the Christian is ready to be used of the Master, they must be completely cleansed of everything which could hinder a Christian for service. They must completely reject the teachings of the false teachers because amalgamation of false and true, always tends to lead the Christian toward the false. When the Christian rejects any false teachings they are purifying their biblical understanding. The reason why so many Christians are confused is because they are listening to the voices of many different teachers. Just because someone claims to be a Christian, does not mean they are and if a person is not well grounded in the Scriptures, they will accept instead of reject false teaching and this will disallow them from being ready for the Master’s use. If a Christian continues in the Scriptures alone, this will sanctify them unto the Lord more deeply as they become stronger in the Scriptures. A Christian is not only to be ready physically to become involved in the Lord’s work but they must be ready in the area of the Scriptures, that is, their understanding must come from the Scriptures and not man’s mind.
2 Tim 2:22 (KJB)
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Flee - Escape or shun or take one’s flight
Lusts - Desires, longings, or cravings
Follow - Pursue
Pure - Clean
(1 Cor 13:11 KJV) When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Paul is now commanding Timothy to flee youthful lusts. The word “flee” is in the Imperative Mood making it a command. When were younger, we had desires which fit only for the present and those desires were normally according to what we wanted, and not for the good of others. Now Paul is telling Timothy to put those childish things behind him and not seek those things which could cause a Christian to stumble. He is basically telling him that no longer are you a child but now you are a mature Christian and you must no longer concern yourself with what foolish youth concerns it self with, which are things tied only to this world. Paul is telling him that he must leave those desires and that life behind him because now he is a new creature. (2 Cor 5:17 KJV) Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. Since we are a new creature, we must seek those things which are appropriate for the new life and Paul gives Timothy a short list.
He gives Timothy four things which he follow. The word “follow” is in the Imperative Mood also making this a command. The Bible does not make suggestions when it comes to the believer but these are commands from the Lord. Instead of seeking youthful lusts, Timothy is to pursue righteousness which is living in accordance with the dictates of Scripture. This includes holiness, virtue, honesty, and other traits of the new life. Then Timothy is to exercise the faith given him by the Holy Spirit. The Christian life goes from faith to faith and not from faith to sight to faith. (Rom 1:17 KJV) For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. In fact Martin Luther read this and saw that the true believer lives from faith to faith. It was that biblical fact that sparked the Reformation. Then Timothy is to practice charity. The modern versions all change this to love which really weakens the meaning. When you give to charity, the ones receiving what you are giving are unable to pay back and that is the true essence of charity. If you love someone, they can return that love but charity is unrequited love on the part of the recipients. (1 Cor 16:14 KJV) Let all your things be done with charity. Everything the believer does must be from a heart of charity. Then Timothy is to follow peace. (Heb 12:14 KJV) Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: The Christian is not to be like the false teachers who stir up enmity but we are to deliver the message of the Gospel without any hostility or arrogance on our part. Paul ends this verse by stating that Timothy is to follow after or pursue these things with people of like mind, those who have a pure heart, who have become saved and have rejected the teachings and mannerisms of the false teachers.
2 Tim 2:23 (KJB)
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
Unlearned - Ignorant, rude, or uninstructed
Avoid - Refuse
After Paul tells Timothy what he is to follow, he starts this verse with a conjunction telling him what to avoid. How many times have we heard questions from those who just want to start trouble and divert the conversation? Sometimes when you are discussing the Bible with someone, one of Satan’s people comes over and interrupts with a completely nonsensical statement or question. These things are going to happen and Paul is commanding Timothy, and us, that we are to completely refuse to become involved or even respond to such nonsense. I have been on the internet since Feb. 1996, and I have received so many farcical questions and statements that I just delete them. In the beginning, I would answer them until I wised up and saw it was Satan trying to anger me and use up the time for nonsense. These kinds of questions only bring trouble and diverts us from the teaching at hand. Do not waste your time and effort on those who are intentionally causing distress in your ministry. (2 Th 1:6 KJV) Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; The Lord will deal with them in His time.
2 Tim 2:24 (KJB)
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
Strive - Fight, dispute, or contend
Gentle - Mild, soft, or kind
Apt to teach - Skillful or well able to teach or instruct
The true servant of the Lord must not be one who is contentious or ready to fight. Those who are religious will be ready to fight such as those in Islam as they have no qualms about taking life or the Roman Catholic Institution during the Middle Ages attacked and subdued Christians in their homelands like the Vaudois otherwise known as the Waldensians. The difference between religion and Christianity is that religious people are unbelievers with a religious face and Christians are true servants of the Lord and do not cause damage to other people. The true Christian should be apt to teach, that is, they should be skillful in the Word and mature in their walk. If a novice is sent to teach, them being immature, will get into trouble by arguing, I know because I did it when I was a young Christian. We must also be gentle because we are bringing the word of God to people who may be very new Christians and understand very little, or they may be unbelievers who are hearing the gospel for the first time. In either case, the Christian is to show themselves gentle and approachable, not like the false teachers who parade around arrogantly and are unapproachable because they think they are in a super class by themselves.
2 Tim 2:25 (KJB)
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
Instructing - Train, teach, or correct
Paul continues and by stating that the true Christian must be very meek when instructing people. Now this meekness does not mean we accept false teachings or add them to our teachings. The key is that when we instruct other people, whether it be believers or unbelievers, we are meek for the purpose of letting the people feel at ease with no pressure on them like the false teachers do to their listeners. A meek person is one who is soft on temper, gentle, or mild but that does not mean they back off in the face of satanic opposition because unbelievers can be challenged without a loud altercation. Now those who are still unbelievers are, in essence, opposing themselves. They do this by rejecting the true gospel, which is the only way they can become saved. If a person latches on to a false religion, they will be on their way to hell, even though they think they are on the right path. They are opposing themselves by means of rejecting the true gospel and this rejection means they will receive eternal damnation on the last day. Now the reason we are meek when instructing these people, is to be able to show them where they are in error. Then in the second half of this verse, we read that if someone we are witnessing to or instructing, begins to see the light of the truth from Scripture, then it is God granting them repentance, which is a synonym for salvation and when their spiritual eyes are opened, they will then acknowledge the truth and realize they are no longer opposing themselves, but have become saved and are on the right path. This verse is a bane to those who believe in free will. How many times have you heard some preacher say that for a person to become saved, they must first, repent of their sins and then accept Christ? Well this verse teaches very plainly that no person can repent of their sins before salvation. It is God who grants a person repentance and not a person of themselves. Salvation is totally of the Lord and when He saves someone, they have repentance. Repentance is a change of mind and a person can only have a change of mind after salvation because before salvation a person is spiritually dead, so how can a dead person change their mind unless it is first regenerated. (Eph 2:1 KJV) And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
2 Tim 2:26 (KJB)
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
May recover themselves - Come to one’s senses or awakened
Those whom God grants repentance to will be awakened to the truth of the Gospel and once they realize that truth, they will be freed from the snare of the devil, that is, in this case false teachings which sound so good but is really a satanic trap for the soul. These are the unbelievers whom Satan had taken captive by his will but have been freed by God’s will. (Isa 14:17 KJV) That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? In Isaiah 14, we have a description of Satan and how he took the human race captive. In Isaiah 14:17, they are called prisoners and we know that prisoners are taken captive by the victor. When Satan won in the Garden of Eden over Eve, he then took the whole human race captive and would not let the prisoners out. When God grants a person repentance, He is opening the prison door and releasing the captive from Satan’s prison. Only when that happens, will a person come out of the snare of the devil and be able to acknowledge the truth of the light of the Gospel. (2 Cor 4:4 KJV) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.