Rely on God-Given Strength
Highlights From Second Timothy
JEHOVAH gives his servants power to endure trials and persecution. And how Timothy and other Christians needed God-given strength! A fire ravaged Rome in 64 C.E., and rumor had it that Emperor Nero was responsible. To protect himself, he blamed the Christians, and this apparently prompted a wave of persecution. Likely at that time (about 65 C.E.), the apostle Paul was again imprisoned in Rome. Though facing death, he then wrote his second letter to Timothy.
Paul’s letter prepared Timothy to resist apostates and stand firm in the face of persecution. It encouraged him to keep making spiritual progress and told about Paul’s circumstances in prison. The letter also helps readers to rely on God-given strength.
Suffer Evil and Teach With Mildness
God imparts strength for us to endure persecution as proclaimers of the good news. (2Ti 1:1-18) Paul never forgot Timothy in his prayers, and he remembered his unhypocritical faith. God gave Timothy ‘not a spirit of cowardice, but that of power, love, and soundness of mind.’ So let him be unashamed in witnessing and suffering evil for the good news. He was also urged to “keep holding the pattern of healthful words” heard from Paul, even as we should adhere strictly to genuine Christian truth though others turn from it.
The things Paul taught were to be committed to faithful men who would teach others. (2:1-26) Timothy was urged to be a fine soldier of Christ, faithful when suffering evil. Paul himself suffered in prison bonds for preaching the good news. He encouraged Timothy to do his utmost to present himself an approved workman of God, shunning empty speeches that violate what is holy. And he was told that a slave of the Lord must instruct others with mildness.
Preach the Word!
God-given strength would be needed to face the last days and uphold Scriptural truth. (3:1-17) From among the ungodly would arise men ‘always learning but never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth.’ Such ‘wicked men and impostors would advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.’ However, Timothy was to ‘continue in the things he had learned.’ So should we, knowing that ‘all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, reproving, setting things straight, and disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.’
Timothy was to resist apostates and accomplish his ministry. (4:1-22) He could do so by ‘preaching the word’ and staying with it. This was vital, since the congregation faced a “troublesome season” because some were teaching false doctrine. Jehovah’s Witnesses also adhere to God’s Word now, preaching it urgently in the congregation and to people outside, even in unfavorable situations. Paul “observed the faith,” though he was forsaken by some. But ‘the Lord infused power into him, that through him the preaching might be fully accomplished.’ May we too rely on God-given strength and keep preaching the good news.
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A Fine Soldier: Paul urged Timothy: “As a fine soldier of Christ Jesus take your part in suffering evil. No man serving as a soldier involves himself in the commercial businesses of life, in order that he may gain the approval of the one who enrolled him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3, 4) A Roman foot soldier ‘suffered evil’ when carrying heavy weapons, an ax, a basket, rations for three days, and other items. (Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, Book 3, chapter 5) He did not pursue commercial interests, for that would not please his superior, and his expenses were covered. Similarly, a Christian suffers trials linked with being “a fine soldier of Christ.” Though he may work secularly to discharge Scriptural obligations, he must not let undue involvement with material things make him stop waging spiritual warfare. (1 Thessalonians 2:9) Witnessing from house to house, he wields “the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word,” and helps to free people from religious error. (Ephesians 6:11-17; John 8:31, 32) Since life is at stake, let all Christian soldiers keep on pleasing Jesus Christ and Jehovah God in this way.