Exegesis Paper on 2 Timothy 3:10-17–The Man of God and the Word of God Part 1

2008/03/08 at 1:38 下午 發表留言

Translation 2 Timothy 3:10-17 (New King James Version)[1]

 

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,

11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,

15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 

 

Introduction

            This exegetical paper on 2 Timothy 3:10-17 seeks to explicate the relationship between the Man of God and the Word of God. It will argue that it is impossible to be an effective minister of Jesus Christ without being properly grounded and trained in the doctrine and meditation of the Scriptures. By establishing the historical, characteristic, and literary context of the passage, we are provided with a framework for a proper exegesis. We will then see that Paul’s last words to his spiritual son Timothy are of utmost importance for clergies and lay Christians today. The Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God, living and powerful to make a true disciple of Christ and vital to a fruitful ministry. When the Church teaches and puts into practice sound doctrines persistently, she will attain spiritual zenith. For when the Word of God “grows mightily and prevails,” such as happened to Paul in Ephesus, God will work unusual miracles of salvation, healing, and deliverance by the hands of men and women of God (Acts 19:9-20; Matt 28:18-20).

 

Historical Context

            Saint Paul was a Hebrew of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom 11:1). He described himself as being “advanced in Judaism beyond many of [his] contemporaries in [his] own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of [his] fathers” (Gal 1:14). Paul was a skilled Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Phil 3:5), and may be a member of the Sanhedrin or an elite religious group (Acts 26:10; 7:58; 9:1-2). He persecuted the Church unrelentingly (Gal 1:13), but conversion transpired dramatically on the road to Damascus with a heavenly vision of the One whom he has offended heartlessly (Acts 9:1-9; 22:1-22; 26:12-19). After this close encounter with the risen Christ, he became an ardent espouser of the Christian faith. His disposition was that of a perfectionist, a keen student and laborious worker both in his profession as a tentmaker and in the ministry as a fivefold apostle, evangelist, and teacher, especially called to the Gentiles (Gal 1:13-14; Acts 18:3; 22:3-5; 1 Tim 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11; Rom 11:13; Gal 2:8).

            As for Timothy’s background and his relationship with Paul, he was first mentioned in the Bible in Acts 16:2, during Paul’s visit to Lystra in his second missionary journey. Timothy was probably a resident of Lystra and may have been converted there during Paul’s first visit there in his earliest missionary journey (1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 3:11). Paul took Timothy with him as his ministry companion and circumcised him for the sake of the Jews, since Timothy’s father was Greek (Acts 16:1-3). Timothy accompanied Paul in his second and third apostolic missions (Acts 17-19), and also co-labored with him in many places and functions such as his first imprisonment in Rome (Phil 1:1; 2:19-24; Col 1:1; Phm 1).

            When the Apostle Paul was released from his first Roman house imprisonment as recorded in Acts 28, he apparently continued in additional missionary travels, possibly preaching as far as Spain.[2] He commissioned Timothy to be over the great Ephesus church and to ordain her elders in the region.[3] Timothy was probably in his mid-thirties when he received the epistles that bore his name as the chief recipient.[4] Paul wrote First Timothy at some point during this period of freedom.[5] At the persecution era of Emperor Nero in A.D. 64, Paul was arrested again and this came to be known as his Second Roman imprisonment. He was apparently confined in an underground dungeon with extremely limited access and autonomy (2 Tim 2:9).[6] Unlike his first imprisonment, Paul was not allowed to freely receive visitors, and he looked not to be liberated but to be a martyr for the Lord (2 Tim 4:6-8). Most of Paul’s companions have left him except Luke (2 Tim 4:11). It is during this very trying circumstance that Paul wrote to his spiritual son Timothy, who was overseeing the Ephesian Church at the time of writing. It is worth mentioning that although he was imprisoned under harsh conditions, he considered himself as the Lord’s prisoner, suffering for His sake (2 Tim 1:8). Second Timothy is probably penned around A.D. 66-67 in Rome.[7] This is the last inspired epistle that Paul authored in the Bible.[8] In other words, recorded in this letter are the “last words” of the great and aged apostle to his spiritual mentee and the Church. This fact is important as we seek to elaborate on the passage that was addressed to an intimate personal friend and believers worldwide.

 

Purpose and Characteristics

            Second Timothy was birthed out of Paul’s concern for Timothy as well as for his own. He charged Timothy of his responsibilities to guard the Gospel, preach the Word, and refute false teachings. The letter was also meant to bring encouragement by reminding Timothy of the all-sufficient strengthening of God’s grace and power for the timid and young minister as he faced persecutions without and false teachers within. The elderly apostle, on the other hand, sought for companionship and some personal belongings (1:3-4; 4:9-13, 21). Paul was very lonely, and he greatly desired close friends and things to keep him occupied and satisfied besides the Lord being with him (4:17).[9]

            In regard to admonishment for Timothy, Paul instructed him to especially pay attention to the ministry of the Word—to persevere to teach sound doctrines and disprove false teachers and their teachings. Perceiving his own imminent death in mind, Paul preoccupied the letter with an earnest admonition to uphold and proclaim the true Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully and fervently. He reassured and cheered Timothy on in the face of external hardships and internal problems in the church. Second Timothy is concise yet passionate. It is likely the most emotional Pauline epistle, with comparatively less intellect, inasmuch as Paul was leaving his last testament to a longtime confidant and loyal co-worker. The Holy Spirit has intentionally inspired him to write this personal note to be part of the Bible, expressing the apostle’s heart and affective quality more than his mind and intelligence.[10]

 

Literary Context

            Second Timothy can be outlined as follows according to Life in the Spirit Study Bible:[11] Introduction (1:1-4)

I.                    Paul’s charge to Timothy (1:5-18)

II.                 Requirements for a faithful minister (2:1-26)

III.               The approaching final upsurge of evil (3:1-9)

IV.              Endurance in the truth (3:10-17)

V.                 Preach the Word (4:1-5)

VI.              Paul’s testimony and instructions (4:16-18)

Conclusion (4:19-22)

            Chapter three verse ten to seventeen is located in the fourth section under “Endurance in the Truth.” This passage can be further divided into two segments: as learned from Paul (3:10-14), and as learned from the Scriptures (3:15-17).[12] The New King James Version of the Bible titles this portion as “The Man of God and the Word of God.”[13] In verses one to nine, Paul speaks about the worsening condition of evil in the last days. In chapter two, he exhorted Timothy to be strong in the grace of God as a minister. In the fourth and last chapter, Paul charged Timothy to preach the Word with other remarks of warning, explanation, and final greetings.

 

Exegesis Discussion

10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,

11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.

12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.

14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them

            Verses 10-12 is a historical reminder to Timothy of Paul’s own examples that are in stark contrast with the characteristics of false teachers and evil men mentioned in the preceding nine verses and throughout the letter. The Greek words in the beginning of verse ten, “but you,” συ δε (su de), can be translated as “but as for you.” Paul also once again addressed this in verse fourteen. John Stott notes Paul’s emphatic use of su de as a strong urge to Timothy to be different from the world. The first su de in verses ten to thirteen describes Timothy’s past loyalty to Paul’s doctrine and manner of life. The second su de in verses fourteen to seventeen encourages him to continue in them as he had done before.[14] True Christians should be, as Jesus said, in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-16). The Greek translated as “carefully followed” is “parakoloutheo,” which is an apt translation, for the word means to “follow up a thing in mind so as to attain the knowledge of it, to understand, to examine thoroughly, and to follow faithfully.”[15] Therefore, Timothy need not necessary be an eyewitness of Paul’s earliest sufferings in his first missionary in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra in Galatia as recorded in Acts 13 and 14.[16] Here Paul testified two important universal truths that are extremely relevant to followers of Christ today. Firstly, the grace of God is sufficient, and more than sufficient to sustain His workers in all of life’s trials and tasks regardless of how difficult they may be (v.11; also cf 2 Cor 12:9-10).[17] The second fact is plainly stated in verse twelve, that “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution,” exactly because they do not belong to the world (John 15:19). Hence, if we are not experiencing any kind or type of persecution or suffering for Christ’s sake, not necessarily physical, it would do us good to re-examine ourselves. It would be either because we have withdrew from the world physically and living a hermit lifestyle, or we have assimilated into the secular society so much that the world sees no cause for despising us.

            Paul then stated in verse thirteen that this persecution and suffering of the godly will continue because evil men and their false teaching will only go from bad to worse as the last days draw to a close. However, this does not mean that they will succeed in terms of their teachings, for Paul said in verse nine that “they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was,” and that they themselves will be deceived. The Greek word here prokopto means “to go forward, advance,” is used in an ironical sense, as the NKJV rendering of “grow worse and worse.” In verse fifteen, therefore, Paul summoned Timothy to continue in the sound teachings and conduct he has learned from him as the evildoers will also go on in their personal moral and doctrinal deterioration. It is a call to be steadfast and unwavering in the apostolic faith passed down from Jesus. The instruction to look to Paul as a role model does not imply immodesty on the aging apostle’s part. He was merely pointing to his own example as a contrast to that of false teachers and impostors, who are lovers of themselves and the world. Furthermore, it is biblical to humbly exhort others to follow after a spiritual role model in areas that demonstrate genuine Christlikeness. Paul advised the Corinthian Christians to “imitate him, just as [he] also imitate[s] Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). We discover three qualifications for this type of counsel from verses ten to fourteen: 1) the exemplar must hold to biblical theology, 2) the exemplar must have godly character, 3) the exemplar’s Christlikeness and service must be evidenced by satanic opposition. I believe when these three criterion are met, we can invite the spiritual youths to imitate us as we imitate Christ for their growth in a spirit of humility and holy motivation. Timothy learned to endure in the truth from the life of the Apostle Paul, whom he knew personally and can, thus, testify to the genuineness of his claims. On the other hand, Paul, being a firsthand eyewitness and instigator, had his example in Stephen’s divine bravery as Christ’s very first martyr before he was converted (see Acts 6 and 7 for this heart-moving account).[18]


[1] I have used and compared several English versions due to different translating style and underlying manuscripts. I have also checked and included the original Greek for this passage. See Appendix for the specification. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in this work are from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc.

[2] Hayford, Jack W. et al. (ed.) New Spirit-Filled Life® Bible (New King James Version). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2002, pp.1709-1710.

[3] Stott, John R. W. The Message of 2 Timothy. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p.19.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Hayford, Jack W. et al. (ed.) New Spirit-Filled Life® Bible (New King James Version). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2002, pp.1698-1700.

[6] Stott, John R. W. The Message of 2 Timothy. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p.16.

[7] Moule, H. C. G. Studies in II Timothy. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1977, pp.9-11.

[8] Unless Paul also wrote the Book of Hebrews, in which the authorship is uncertain among most scholars today, after he wrote 2 Timothy. Personally I believe Hebrews was written by Paul, for various reasons, sometime before Nero’s death in A.D. 68.

[9] Although it is true that the Lord’s presence is abundantly comforting; however, God still created and intended man to have fellow intimacy with other people. He said in the original creation of Adam that “it is not good that man should be alone” even though He was ever present with all the angels and animals around (Gen 2:18). Thus, God made Eve to be Adam’s comparable wife and assistant (Gen 2:21-24).

[10] Being an expert Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Phil 3:5), this approach was very noteworthy of Paul.

[11] Stamps, Donald C. et al. (ed.) NIV Life in the Spirit Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003, pp.1922-1923.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Hayford, Jack W. et al. (ed.) New Spirit-Filled Life® Bible (New King James Version). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2002, pp.1714.

[14] Stott, John R. W. The Message of 2 Timothy. Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973, p.92.

[15] The New American Standard New Testament Greek Lexicon, based on Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible Dictionary plus others (public domain), http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?search=G3877&version=nas.

[16] Nevertheless, being a resident of Lystra (Acts 16:1-2), Timothy may have actually observed Paul’s suffering there firsthand.

[17] Many scholars believe that Paul was even actually stoned to death at Lystra and was later raised back to life (Acts 14:19-20). He likely have also received his Third Heaven revelation as described in 2 Cor 12:2-5 during this brief “death period.”

[18] Easton’s Bible Dictionary and Smith’s Bible Dictionary.

Entry filed under: 神の話分享. Tags: .

Edited Excerpt of My Journal (Feb 2008) Exegesis Paper on 2 Timothy 3:10-17–The Man of God and the Word of God Part 2

發表迴響

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / 變更 )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / 變更 )

Facebook照片

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / 變更 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / 變更 )

連結到 %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


「即使祂不再垂聽我任何一個祈禱,我也要愛祂到永永遠遠。」

《 Op. Love – プロポーズ大作戦 》

月曆分類

三月 2008
« 二月   四月 »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

近期文章

點擊或輸入您的電子郵件 / Click or enter your email.

加入其他 2 位關注者

Blog Stats

  • 31,520 hits

%d 位部落客按了讚: