Understanding The Bible
Clarence E. Mason's "Later New Testament Epistles"
2 Timothy


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Dr. Clarence E. Mason, Jr.
Philadelphia College of Bible

EXPOSITORY ANALYSIS (after B. B. Sutcliffe)


It is a private letter, but carries apostolic authority!


    1. For remembrance of Timothy 3-4
      Timothy was especially dear to Paul; he was his son in the faith. He was probably a reticent, retiring sort of chap who needed to be continually urged and encouraged "to stir up the gift" within him and take the place of leadership to which God had called him and apostolic authority had commissioned him.

    2. For the faith of Timothy 5
      Timothy was well-trained; his grandmother and mother were women of faith. Either of them (more likely his grandmother) might have been among the women who followed the Lord; she may have been associated with Anna in looking for Messiah (Lk. 2). A good background .


    1. To stir up the gift 6-12 ("to fan into flame")
      It was a gift FROM God THROUGH the laying on of the APOSTLE'S hand. It doesn't follow that this is to be the case of all. Anyway there is no apostolic succession.

      He is not to be ashamed 7-8
      Doubtless Timothy was a timid man. God has given us sober minds which think on all sides, but minds controlled from above by Him. The false teachers are not so bright. Contradictions glare out from practically every page of their writings. No man can think straight without having first put God and the Bible in their proper place. "Now, " Paul says, "don't be ashamed or distressed by afflictions, Timothy; but be a partaker of them."

      He encourages Timothy 9-10
      Paul's own example 11-12
      I am also in affliction, Timothy, but I'm resting in Him; you should also. I know He won't fail me; nor will He fail you! "He is able to keep the deposit I entrusted to Him."

    2. To guard the deposit 13-18
      There are three deposits: I have deposited my soul with Him for safekeeping (12); He has deposited His truth with me for safekeeping (13-14); and I am to deposit His truth in others (2:2).

      I am to guard the deposit by:

      1. Holding fast the Word 13

      2. "Guarding the glorious trust" 14
        Timothy is not to seek to have the Spirit dwell in him. He already does. Timothy is to depend on Him as being resident. By the aid of this Spirit he is to guard carefully "the form of sound words." This is a tacit reference to a definite body of truth called "the faith" (1 Tim. 4:1), and which is so definite as to be capable of being summarized in a creedal statement.

      3. By remembering those who had turned from Paul 15-18 Don't be like those who have turned from me (15)! But be like dear Onesiphorus (i.e., "profit-bringing"), who is not ashamed of me!


    1. What it was 1-2
      He desired that what he had learned he pass on, especially to those who would in turn pass it on. There are four links in this chain (Paul - Timothy - faithful men - others).

      One of the "others" passed it on to you. Have you passed the truth on to "others" or have you broken someone's chain of testimony and influence?

    2. Three illustrations to spur him on 3-6

      1. Soldier 3-4
        Self-denial; courage; and obedience. A soldier endures hardness and does not entangle himself with things of the world.

      2. Athlete 5
        Keep on the track; strive according to the Word. The method is more important than the result; don't cut the corners on the track (1 Cor. 9:24-27).

      3. Husbandman (farmer) 6
        He himself must be the first to receive of fruit. (Or, it may be that Timothy's fruit is here thought of as belonging to the Lord as Husbandman.) "Shake loose, Timothy; hard work is ahead; get along! Keep on going on."

    3. Paul' s example 7-14

      1. Timothy needed understanding which only the Lord could give 7

      2. Remember the death and resurrection of the Lord, Timothy 8
        There are many discouraging things; but remember Jesus Christ is ALIVE and with you! It is HIS business; leave the results with Him. It is for you to serve faithfully.

      3. Remember the opposition 9-10

      4. Remember the faithfulness of the Lord to His Word 11-13
        Probably an old creed, or creed chant. But correspondingly a warning to walk according to the Word, lest judgment come (12b). Verse 13 is no basis for presumption. He is not saying Christ is faithful to us even though we are unfaithful to Him. Rather it says that He abides faithful to His Word and cannot be false to Himself, even if it means discipline to believers and damnation to false professors. He will be true to His Word whether we obey or disobey, believe or disbelieve.

      5. Remember the unprofitableness of anything else 14

    4. The proper workman 15-26

      1. Diligence is required of workmen 15
        We should work so diligently that we shall not have to blush for it. We are to hold a straight course right through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation and not be sidetracked by superficials and non-essentials (14,16). Centenary translates it: "Cut a straight furrow for the Word of truth.

      2. Dangers surrounding workmen 16-26 Certain things to avoid:

        1. Avoid erroneous teaching 16-19
          A bodily resurrection (except that of Christ's) was denied by these men. (They believed only in a spiritual resurrection for Christians.) The "iniquity" of verse 19 is not unspecific or general iniquity but the iniquity of false doctrine which "eats as a gangrene" (17)1

        2. Avoid apostates holding these errors 20-21
          These professing believers are in the great house-­the visible church. We can't help them by fellow-shipping with them. One must be OUTSIDE of what he hopes to help. It is not simply false teaching that we are to purge ourselves from but false teachers; the word "these" is masculine and indicates it is our duty "to keep ourselves clear of these latter (men)" (Centenary).

        3. Avoid youthful desires 22
          You're a man now Timothy; brace up; don't live easy or lazily. Do not cater to immature whims and desires. Grow up!

        4. Avoid strife, especially over childish questions 23-26 While not being drawn aside to trivial matters (23), we must learn to disagree without being disagreeable in matters that are important (24). The Lord's servant must not be a quarreler but a skilful teacher, "gentle when instructing opponents. " Such an approach gives God an opportunity of bringing opponents to repentance ("a change of mind for the recognition of the truth"), with the result that "they may come to their senses, and escape the snare of the Devil, as they are restored to life by God to do His will" (Centenary).


    1. The perilous character of the last days of the Church 3:1-9 Perilous times characterized by:

      1. Love of self l-4a
        Selfishness - covers all the things mentioned in these verses. In the last times, this kind of person will characterize the Church. This account is speaking of professing Christians INSIDE the Church; not the world outside. The world in every era has been rife with these sins (Rom. 1:29-31), but Paul prophesies the day will come when those ("Christians") inside the Church will be guilty of them, and yet be allowed to remain in the Church "in good standing"! Discipline in the Church will be a forgotten thing.

      2. Love of pleasures 4b
        Not necessarily pleasures of the flesh, but rather pleasures for the cultured, as, e.g., intellectual pleasure in music, literature, etc., as substitutes for the Word of God. We are exhorted to guard against this. We have no business throwing out the world's bait to get young people into the church! "Lovers of pleasure": not more than, but rather than, "lovers of God." This statement is proved by verse 5: "For although they keep up the outward form of religion, they deny its power."

      3. Formalism 5
        The result of the first two things. Each one of these things leads to the next thing. We must not fellowship such people. "From (all) such, turn away. "

      4. Ignorance of the truth 6-7
        Ever learning but NEVER coming to the knowledge of the truth! What a picture of today! How few pastors know the truth. You talk it to them and they look at you as if you were talking a foreign language.

        How true of much "religious" education of today. Having rejected the final authority of a verbally inspired Bible, they follow the latest leader and do not nail down anything solid as being the truth. All truth to them is general, approximate, hence not final and settled. Existentialism has moved into the Church in the form of neo-orthodoxy, whether called that or not.

      5. A mere imitation of truth 8-9
        Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses with seeming success (by imitation and trickery) until something supernatural had to be done. Then their "folly" became apparent (9). The Church for the most part does not believe in supernatural new birth, so the imitation is easy for Satan's imitators today also. But when false religionists have a supernatural new birth to face in an individual's changed life, they are unable to duplicate it anymore than Jannes and Jambres could produce life when Moses did. Hence, the reality of the supernatural flowing through us in the gospel and in our yielded lives is the only effective answer to erroneous teaching (cp. 3:14-17).

    2. The consequence of the last days of the Church 3:10-13

      1. Persecution and affliction 10-12
        If this was true in Paul's day, how much more when the Church becomes like verses 1-9,13!
        It is possible to live in Christ Jesus without persecution. It is not possible to live godly in Christ Jesus without it!

      2. The trend is not better but worse! 13

    3. The protection in those days 3:14-17

      1. Continuance in the things learned 14

      2. Constant appeal to Scripture 15

      3. Continual correction by Scripture 16-17
        "Doctrine" - what to believe
        "Reproof" - the thought is of a plumb line; it reproves the wall; so our lives are to be laid alongside of Scripture and any bulges in or out are checked up by Scripture. Scripture shows us when we are out of line. Then,
        "Correction" comes; and after we are corrected before Him, we receive
        "Instruction in righteousness, " the practical application of truth to the daily life.

        This process alone brings us to maturity of Christian graces ("may be perfect") and to effectiveness of Christian service, being "fully equipped unto every good work" (17). We shall need this till our dying day - or till the day He comes!

    4. The charge in view of those last days of the Church 4:1-5

      1. Its solemnity 1

      2. Its nature 2
        "Preach the Word" - in two seasons! Note that "rebuke" is to be rendered in company with "longsuffering"!

      3. Reason for it 3-4
        The time will come when, because of lawlessness in the pews, the choice of the pews will be for mere ear-pleasers -purveyors of myths!

      4. Exhortation 5
        Timothy did not have the gift of an evangelist, but he could do the work of an evangelist, which is to preach the gospel (the evangel)!


    1. From looking at the present 6
      Joy at departure; even though through martyrdom.

    2. From looking at the past 7
      He had been victorious, holding true to the end. We see him as the warrior, the runner, the sentinel.

    3. From looking into the future 8
      Crown of righteousness will be given to him, indeed to all who "LOVE His appearing." It will not be mercy that will give us a crown, but righteousness. If we get a crown, we will have earned it. "Loving His appearing" is more than believing in the second coming. It means an occupation with the person of Christ which causes us to purify ourselves while we eagerly await His return as our Bridegroom.


    A.    Human need 9-13
            He had a spiritual need.
                    He had need for fellowship. He wants Timothy to come; he was alone except for Luke.
            He had a bodily need.
                    He had need for a cloak. It was cold down there in that dungeon.
            He had a mental need.
                    He had need for his books and parchments. He couldn't just look at bare walls; he had an active mind.

    B.    Definite warning 14-15
            This Alexander was probably associated with promoting the agitation which led to the mob scene at Ephesus (Acts 19:23-29).

    C.    His full assurance 16-18 Christ stood with him!
            Despite the fact that all deserted him, the Lord did not! "The lion's mouth" may well be a guarded reference to bestial Nero!

    D.    Salutations 19-21

    E.    Benediction 22
            "The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen!"

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