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Thursday, May 25, 2023

2023.05.25 Hopewell @Home ▫ 2 Timothy 2:14–16

Read 2 Timothy 2:14–16

Questions from the Scripture text: What is Timothy to do with the faithful men (cf. 2 Timothy 2:1) whom he trains and raises up for the next generation (2 Timothy 2:14)? In addition to reminding them of the ABCs of the faith, what is he to charge them not to do? Before Whom? Because it will do what? What are they to be (2 Timothy 2:15)? At what presentation does this diligence aim? What are they to consider themselves? What are they trying to avoid as the outcome of their presentation? If they are to be unashamed, what must they do (verse 15)? In order to guide rightly/straightly through the Word of truth, what must they shun (2 Timothy 2:16)? What do these empty noises lead to? 

Why must ministers of the Word work so hard? 2 Timothy 2:14–16 looks forward to the second reading in morning public worship on the coming Lord’s Day. In these three verses of Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us that ministers of the Word must be diligent workers, so that they can guide hearers straightly through life-giving truth, rather than ruining them with empty noise.

Remind them. By quoting from a catechism that they had used in Ephesus (2 Timothy 2:11-13), Paul equips Timothy with a powerful tool as he trains up the “faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (cf. 2 Timothy 2:2). The truth that they are to preach and teach is truth by which God Himself gives that union with Christ that the catechism describes. The ABCs of Christianity remind us of what is at stake. What a crucial ministry, that would make the difference reigning with Jesus in the last day and being renounced by Jesus in the last day!

Faithful men can grow weary. Faithful men can grow discouraged. Especially in days of widespread unfaithfulness in the church. They need reminders (2 Timothy 2:14a). They need the glory of Christ set before them, so that love for Him will refresh and strengthen them. They need the glory of union with Christ set before them, so that love for the souls under their care will drive them to aim at this glory for those souls. 

Charge them not to word-battle. The apostle uses a compound word here: word-battle. Timothy is to charge them not to wordbattle (2 Timothy 2:14b). There is a temptation to let word-battling divert us from the preaching and teaching of the truth from the Bible. People who are twisted by their own ignorance or enjoyment of word-battling will wish to commandeer the teaching ministry of the church. They must not be permitted to do so, for it will bring catastrophe to the hearers (verse 14c). 

Be diligent workers. The antidote to giving in to the desire to be approved by men is to remember the desire to be approved by God (2 Timothy 2:15). With his eye bent toward that priceless joy in the last day, when God approves of his work, the elder must be diligent. He eagerly applies himself to the work. And he is a worker, one who labors and toils, who persists in the work until the work is done. 

Be straight guides. As the elder leads the congregation through the word of God, what will he see when he looks back? Spiritual catastrophes and a tangled mess of a path? Or will it be straight guidance through the word of truth? If he has worked hard to handle the truth rightly, straightly, his work will meet with the approval of God. But if he has gotten sucked into word-battling (2 Timothy 2:14b) or babblings and empty-noise (2 Timothy 2:16a), he will be ashamed. 

Whatever else men want to teach about in church, this passage should give them pause. Everything, other than straightly guiding through the Word of truth, the Spirit calls “word-battling, babbling, and empty noise.” People often enjoy that sort of teaching. Many even enjoy participating in it. But that is not the teaching in which Timothy and the faithful men are to engage. Such teaching advances not holiness but ungodliness.

A faithful preaching and teaching ministry is a blessed thing. It brings before our eyes the glories of Christ. It brings before our eyes the glory of union with Christ. It takes Christ’s own Word as a straight and sure guide to glory. Let us seek it from the Lord unto His eternal praise and our eternal good!

What should you hear in the preaching and teaching ministry of the church? What should this set before you? What sort of effort do you expect your teachers to put forth? What sort of effort do you think this means that you should put into hearing? Where is this designed to take you, ultimately?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for the instruction that You gave to Timothy. Thank You for giving us Your Word to teach us about Christ’s glory, and to guide us straightly into union with Him as our path to glory. Forgive us for being content with word-battling, or the babbling and empty-noise of the ideas of men. Forgive us for laziness in teaching and laziness in hearing. Spare us from the catastrophe that we would otherwise bring upon ourseves, we ask in Jesus’s Name, AMEN!

ARP1 “How Blessed the Man” or TPH406 “Jesus, with Thy Church Abide”

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