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A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus (v. 1-13)
Paul tells Timothy to be a good worker for Christ and make sure to do his part. To make this point he uses several analogies, a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. Paul says that he endures his suffering in the hope that it will lead to people following Christ and being saved.
There is something noble about putting yourself through hardship to benefit someone else. I'm not completely sure that is happening here, but Paul thinks it is and it is good that he is willing to do that. I suppose Paul recognized the whole time that his actions might cause himself harm and he is willing to do it because he thinks he is helping people out.
v3 "Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus"
This I don't like so much, I don't like the fact that we are glorifying suffering here. So does this contradict my previous paragraph? Not really. As I read it, in verse 10 Paul was willing to put himself in harms way while he was doing something to help other people. He was willing to risk some personal suffering for the benefit of others. This I see as good. Here, in verse 3, Paul is telling Timothy to make sure he endures his share of suffering, implying that suffering itself is a good thing. This is bad. As I've talked about in the past, our reasons are as important as our actions.
David Guzik uses a different translation than I do, and it seems to lend itself more to the idea that the Christian should expect to endure some hardship because of their walk with Christ. It sounds a little better in his translation than mine, but I still think he's twisting the words a bit. "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ". He interprets this as saying you must not simply back down if you encounter hardship. These messages are very similar but different. Guzik says you must be willing to accept hardship if it comes your way, this I am fine with. The bible says you must endure hardship. These 2 things are not the same.
Matthew Henry says that in regard to this suffering "we must expect it and count upon it in this world, must endure and accustom ourselves to it" This goes beyond just being prepared for it, we must expect it and we must endure it. This entire way of thinking I find dangerous and harmful.
A Worker Approved by God (v. 14-26)
A good worker will rightly handle the word of God. Don't quarrel over the details as this might upset some people's faith.
How weak must your faith be if it can't stand up to the slightest bit of scrutiny. You would think that someone who has the truth on their side would be happy for it to be examined as much as possible. A few quotes to demonstrate my point.
v14 "...not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers."
v16 "But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness."
v17 "their talk will spread like gangrene..."
v18 "...they are upsetting the faith of some"
v22 flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.
Youthful passions are great, a blanket command to get rid of them all together is terrible. Granted if taken to extreme they can lead to bad things, but they can also lead to the best experiences of our lives. This is just foolishness. And we have this same problem of a list of good things with faith shoved in there. I suppose if I wanted to give the bible the maximum possible credit I could extract the love and peace part here and call it a good thing, but I'm not going to, the spirit of this is bad.
I read a few different commentaries, but everyone just seems to be happy about fleeing youthful lusts. No one even considered it might be a bad thing. I will quote one line from Guzik though "If you cannot flee also youthful lusts, there is a real limit to how much God can use you". Seems like a pretty shitty thing to say to me, the message here seems to be if you want to have sex you are worthless to God.
Christians should be kind to their opponents and correct them gently providing them the truth.
Finally, something I agree with. Simply getting into arguments is bad, it is very difficult to change someone's mind while yelling at them or calling them stupid. A discussion is better than an argument. That being said, there are times when yelling can become appropriate, but I like the rule of thumb that calm is best.
For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation)
2:10 endure hardship to help other people out
"Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
2:25 Calm discussion is best
"[RE: the Lord's servants] correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth"
2:3 Suffering itself is a good thing
"Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus."
2:16 looking at details is bad
"But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness"
2:22 passion is bad, and another mixed list of good and bad things claimed all good
"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."