Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
Established November 2008 Published Weekly on Friday
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men (and women) to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
Welcome to Home Bible Study©
But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you (in Philippi), that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state (2:19).
Last week I thought it would be worthwhile to investigate Paul’s faithful coworker Timothy and I pray you learned at least one new thing about him. Paul held him in high regard and their relationship was that of father and “son in the faith.” Verses 2:20-21 shines greater light on the faithfulness of Timothy: “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own (interests), not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.”
Timothy’s name appears in most of Paul’s letters to the churches. You didn’t have to wonder where he was or what he was doing because he was usually at Paul’s side or away carrying out his instructions. He was with Paul in Rome when he wrote this letter. Paul planned on sending him to Philippi just as soon as he knew what the Roman government had decided to do with him (2:23). Explaining this fact to the saints in Philippi prompted him to consider Timothy’s worth and his character which inspired him to consider Timothy’s value in relation to those self-centered men in the church who were wrongly motivated; they put their interests above all (2:20-22). It could be said his inspiration in coming to Philippi was therefore related to his love and respect for Paul and his sincere concern to glorify the Lord by providing much needed encouragement and counsel to the saints in Philippi (Ephesians 4:29; Philippians 3:20).
Please open your Bible at Philippians 2:20-24.
For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s. But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the Father, he hath served with me in the gospel. Him therefore I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me. But I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come (to y’all) shortly. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state (2:20).
Here Paul is saying Timothy and Timothy alone possessed the same mental fortitude and spiritual disposition as our Apostle Paul. He would be sent to Philippi shortly or ASAP just as soon as the proceedings in Rome ran their course. Why? Timothy naturally cared for the Philippian’s state (condition; the circumstances of a being or thing at any given time).
I’ve heard countless sermons over the years, but I only remember a few comments from some of them. Having said that, I remember each instance when someone proved they genuinely cared about me and my state, especially recently. In the last 11.5 months, I experienced a divorce and shortly thereafter the death of my dear mother. Six months to the day after her death my oldest sister passed away unexpectedly. One month later my last surviving aunt died. Then, in September, my great-nephew (age 14) was shot and killed by local law enforcement on his school campus. He wasn’t a terrorist. In retaliation to years of bullying, he came to school one morning with his parent’s handgun to frighten the people persecuting him. When he entered the building, the police were waiting for him because his mother had called and alerted them. But instead of surrendering to the authorities he turned the gun in the direction of the police, and they shot him. He died instantly. We’ll never know the minute details of this incident because Brandon is no longer with us. However, I believe this was an act of teenage suicide via law enforcement; it’s not uncommon. Ignorant people have, in turn, harassed his mother in person and by telephone and several death threats have been made, so the pain continues for the family.
Each one of these life events was a devastating, emotional loss. In response to my grief, the community I reside in sent me a sympathy card containing more than 40 signatures and several personal sentiments. A few came to my home to express their concern about my state (wellbeing), asking if they could do anything for me. Some of my Facebook friends expressed concern over my losses. A friend of my sister and mine from our childhood days called and we talked for more than an hour, sharing memories. We could not hold back the tears during our conversation. My local church expressed their condolences and concerns, and a few told me they were praying for me and my family. I don’t recall every word of every conversation. What I do remember is they cared, and I appreciate each one of them.
To care for someone is to express genuine love for them. This is taking the Lord’s instructions/commands to heart and then to the streets, literally.
Getting back to young Timothy, our Apostle Paul said, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” Let’s not overlook the significance of the word “likeminded” here. Timothy understood something that many church-going people fail to see today. What’s that? I’m glad you asked. He knew Paul was God’s spokesperson for the present Age of Grace and not the twelve. Now, I’ve been told many times, by many people, over the years I make too much of Paul. But, in response to that remark, I refer them to scripture, specifically 1 Corinthians 14:37 because the message is so clear:
“If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the (what) commandments of God.”
Therefore, Timothy followed Paul as he followed Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). To follow in the footsteps of Paul is to acknowledge the teachings of Christ Jesus in this dispensation. Paul is God’s example of how Believers are to live (walk worthy) in this present age and not the Sermon on the Mount. Timothy was instep with Paul and his teachings therefore Paul referred to him as likeminded. This subtly declares Timothy was not only willing to learn he put the knowledge into practice. Can the same be said of you? (Galatians 6:2, 9-10; Ephesians 4:17-32, 5:1)
Timothy had a genuine burden for the church, and Paul communicated this truth to the Philippians saying he “will naturally care for your state.” Having Timothy by their side would not be the same as Paul himself, but it runs a close second. Timothy cared!
Thus, we learn an individual may understand and preach from this book, but if he
doesn’t show interest in other people and their concerns, he certainly is not likeminded.
The adage “Actions speak louder than words” comes to mind and serves to take me to Paul’s statement in 2:21: “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” This remark tells us there were some narcissistic people in the church at Rome who were only interested in themselves and their concerns. This character trait is not only common today it is becoming more and more predominant which is why we find in the church. Plainly said, not every person preaching God’s Word “rightly divides” it and is genuinely interested in you and your spiritual well-being (state). Although some of these folks preach the name of Jesus Christ it’s only for their personal gain and self-glory (1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:15).
Let’s go to verse 2:22.
“But ye know the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served me in the gospel.”
Sometime after the Jerusalem Council, recorded for us in Acts 15, we find Paul beginning another missionary journey. He took Silas and left Antioch traveling to Asia Minor to strengthen the churches he had planted there. At Lystra Paul discovered young Timothy had served the Lord and the church diligently and had been given a position of leadership in that assembly. Because of this favorable report from the brethren he had Timothy join him on his second missionary journey and he proved to be dependable on this apostolic journey as well.
This experience stands in stark contrast to Paul’s involvement with another man of God named John Mark, the son of Mary, a woman whose house was used as a meeting place for Jewish Believers (Acts 12:12). He is also the author of the gospel Mark. During Paul’s first missionary journey, John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas, accompanied them. Along the way, however, he “deserted them” and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). The reason for his decision to up and leave is not mentioned in the Bible text and I choose not to speculate. We know sometime later, when a second missionary journey was being planned, Barnabas proposed taking John Mark along with them as a helper, but Paul strongly resisted the notion because of his proven unreliability. A “sharp contention” developed between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-41). Since, they could not reach a compromise, they split up: “Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus, and Paul chose Silas and left, committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord” (Acts 15:40).
This true story doesn’t end badly for in Colossians 4:10-11 we learn while Apostle Paul was imprisoned in Rome John Mark was there with him as a “fellow worker” (Philemon 24). Apparently, Paul planned to send John Mark to Colossae and urged the Believers there to receive him warmly should that plan come to fruition:
Aristarchus (a Jewish convert from Thessalonica) my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus (John Mark), sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;) And Jesus, which is called Justus, who are of the circumcision. These only are my fellowworkers unto the kingdom of God, which have been a comfort unto me.
During Paul’s second and final imprisonment in the Mamertine Prison in Rome, he instructed Timothy to bring John Mark with him when he comes to Rome because “he is useful to me” (2 Timothy 2:11). Evidently, John Mark had proven his worth.
Let’s go to verse 2:23.
Him (Timothy) I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me.
Timothy had not only proved to be likeminded in the gospel of grace but also in his sincere concern for the Body of Christ. So, whenever Paul desired information from one of the grace churches, or if a church needed encouragement or rebuking and he could not make the trip himself, he usually sent Timothy (See 1 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 2:23; 1 Thessalonians 3:6; 1 Timothy 1:3).
Ephesians 4:11-12 states “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”
Young Timothy was a living example of all God wants those in Christ Jesus to be. He was selfless, single-minded, spiritually mature, sympathetic, teachable, and what’s more he made himself available. He proved himself to be a faithful servant of the Lord and Paul. He willingly traveled far and wide without complaining. In this, he proved all people mattered, especially those of the household of faith.
There’s always a down-side to every story, after all, Timothy was as human as anyone of us. Because of his timidity he desired to avoid conflict. That’s a problem because if you’re doing “it” right, i.e. sharing God’s Truth with people you can’t do this without upsetting the people you’re talking to. Jesus preached God’s truth and encountered bigotry, hatred, and scorn. Why would we think it will be different for us? So, it could be said Timothy was in danger of neglecting the ministry:
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee (1 Timothy 4:11-16).
Timothy also had frequent ailments and a chronic stomach condition probably brought about by stress. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul issued some clear instructions on how to deal with this. We note again Paul did not heal him miraculously. The time of the sign gifts had passed.
Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities.
(To be continued)
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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