2 Timothy 2:2 the things that thou hast heard of me... commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also
Robert L. Simpson
Paul had the spirit of home teaching and visiting teaching when he wrote to Timothy: "And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2.)
And now, listen to this, directly from the Lord: "And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom." (D&C 88:77.) This is not a mere suggestion, but listen: "I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another."
I like the analogy I once heard about home teaching. The speaker held up a piece of Scottish plaid and suggested that in our minds we think of each color in the plaid as a separate program of the Church. Then he asked the question: "Which color is home teaching?" The answer: "Home teaching is not a single color; it is the total fabric." Home teaching, properly carried out, could well involve every facet of the Church according to the varying needs of each family. I like that! Too often we think of home teaching as "just another program." It can, and should, be as long and as broad as the entire Church spectrum. (These Four Things," Ensign, May 1976, 58)
2 Timothy 2:3 therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ
"Being a good soldier of Jesus Christ implies commitment to the Savior and his kingdom... Paul thus admonished Timothy to replace fear with faith. The apostle reminded his friend that even though he was a prisoner, God was in control of the situation. Paul wanted Timothy to understand that God had called them to the work for God's 'own purpose.' Because God was in control of all things, they must rely on him. Thus, though Paul's physical body may have been at the mercy of the Roman government, he could declare triumphantly: 'I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day' (2 Timothy 1:12). Captive or not, he was firm in that faith which is built upon Jesus Christ. He would not let the terror of his imprisonment control him.
"Being a good soldier of Jesus Christ also meant being committed to protecting, defending, and advancing the causes of the kingdom of God. Paul said, 'No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier' (2 Timothy 2:4). Paul thus described for Timothy the level of commitment that one must attain to 'fight the good fight.' Only total commitment to the kingdom will 'please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.' Paul told Timothy to 'endure as a good soldier,' and he tells us the same thing. We endure when our faith, through our complete reliance on God, triumphs over the pitfalls and persecutions around us. We endure as good soldiers when we totally commit ourselves to the causes of the kingdom." (John G. Scott, The Apostle Paul, His Life and His Testimony: The 23d Annual Sidney B. Sperry Symposium [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 179-180.)
2 Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life
Ezra Taft Benson
While every young man should serve a mission, we realize that every young man is not physically, emotionally, nor morally prepared. As a consequence, some may be deprived of missionary opportunities. But all should prepare to go-to be worthy to serve the Lord. The Lord has said: "And . . . every man [notice the words every man] should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked" (D&C 63:37).
Some young men, because of transgression, say they are not interested in serving a mission. The real reason, of course, is feelings of unworthiness. If such young men would go to their bishop, confide to him their problem, and sincerely repent, they may yet fill honorable missions. We, your Brethren, sincerely invite you to prepare. Prepare now to serve the Lord. Prepare yourself physically, morally, spiritually, and emotionally. (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 183.)
2 Timothy 2:6 The husbandman... must be first partakers of the fruits
Any servant of the Lord, but particularly the missionaries, are going to be much more effective if they have already experienced the blessings of the gospel-the fruits of the Spirit which are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance." (Gal 5:22-23) These fruits must be shared with investigators and less active members. These fruits must be apart of the demeanor and stature of the servants of the Lord. How convincing is the preaching of a missionary who doesn't have a testimony? How much influence can he have if his life does not reflect Paul's list of the fruits of the Spirit?
Paul's instruction to Timothy is to reflect upon this idea, "Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." (v. 7) This concept according to Paul is worthy of careful consideration and pondering.
2 Timothy 2:8 Jesus Christ of the seed of David
"[The Messiah] was to be born of the family of David, and be the heir to the throne of David. Hence he would literally be the king of the Jews by their own law. Isaiah touches upon this matter:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. (Isa. 9:6-7. See also Isa. 11:1; D&C 113:1-2.)
Since Jesus was not begotten by mortal man, his descent from David would, by necessity, be through his mother. Thus, when Mary came to earth, she was born into that royal lineage so she could transmit it to her son Jesus. That Mary was of Davidic descent is plainly set forth in the scriptures. Jesus was frequently addressed as "Son of David"; he did not disclaim that title.
Paul made it clear that Jesus was of royal blood in his earthly lineage. To the Roman saints he wrote: "... Jesus Christ our Lord ... was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." (Rom. 1:3.) And to Timothy he said: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead." (2 Tim. 2:8. See also Acts 13:22-23 and Acts 2:30.)
That Joseph also was descended from David is likewise set forth in the New Testament, which states that Joseph was of Bethlehem and "of the house and lineage of David." (Luke 2:4. See also Luke 1:27; Matt. 1:16, 20; Luke 3:23-31.)
So Jesus, though not a blood descendant of Joseph, inherited legal status as a son of David through him. (Robert J. Matthews, "Mary and Joseph," Ensign, Dec. 1974, 15)
2 Timothy 2:9-10 I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds
"Because we possess a more prolific and personal set of writings from Paul, we can learn through his experiences a little of what [he and other prophets] must have endured. Paul's insights and writings were spawned by experience. He could write, then, of the miracle of Christ's grace because he had personally experienced it... As the book of Acts and most of his letters indicate, in his labors he experienced stonings, scourgings, mockings, illness, and accusations. He faced death many times, and his escapes were narrow. His traveling for the Word was constant. He was shipwrecked. He knew loneliness. Like Christ, he was deserted by friends. He was accused, chained, imprisoned with imprisonments as long as two years. He was tried again and again, finally condemned, and at last martyred." (Lenet H. Read, "How the Bible Came to Be: Part 3, A New Word Is Added to the Old," Ensign, Mar. 1982, 18)
2 Timothy 2:11 if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him
As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Cor. 15:22). However, many souls who are resurrected by the power of Christ shall not be worthy to live with Him. If their life and death have not been with an eye single to His glory, then they cannot expect to be recipients of that same glory. They will not live with him in the Millenium; they will not live with him in the Celestial Kingdom, "these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn." (D&C 76:102, italics added)
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory...
And they who remain shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received. (D&C 88:22,32)
As for the righteous:
These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (Rev. 7:14-17)
Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. (Rev. 20:3-4)
2 Timothy 2:14 strive not about words
"We must preach with love and concern, tenderly, and as Alma counseled his sons, with soberness-then it will be easier to have the Spirit. Do not contend, and do not Bible-bash. Simply teach the Book of Mormon. There are more than two hundred different sects in the world today that believe the Bible. Preach from the book that was brought forth for our dispensation, and let the Spirit bear witness of that book." (Ed J. Pinegar, Especially for Missionaries, 4 vols. [American Fork, Ut.: Covenant Communications, 1997], vol. 1)
Joseph F. Smith
You find the spirit of contention only among apostates and those who have denied the faith, those who have turned away from the truth and have become enemies to God and his work. There you will find the spirit of contention, the spirit of strife. There you will find them wanting to "argue the question," and to dispute with you all the time. Their food, their meat, and their drink is contention which is abominable in the sight of the Lord. We do not contend. We are not contentious, for if we were we would grieve the Spirit of the Lord from us, just as apostates do and have always done. (Gospel Doctrine: Selections from the Sermons and Writings of Joseph F. Smith, compiled by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1939], 372.)
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved... rightly dividing the word of truth
"The whole system of salvation centers in our obtaining the "mind of Christ," as Paul said (1 Cor. 2:16). It is the process by which we come to think as God thinks, to believe as he believes, and therefore to act as he would act. It embraces, Paul explained, our "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). The original sense of this text was to "cut a straight path," or to "hold to a straight course." It was a charge to teach the truths of salvation without adding to or taking from them (see 3 Ne. 11:39-40). It also embraced the idea of dividing to every man according to his need (see D&C 84:85). (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 229.)
Russell M. Nelson
Rightly dividing the word of truth portends responsibility to communicate it accurately and without perversion, taking care not to injure or destroy. ("Truth-and More," Ensign, Jan. 1986, 72)
Be careful about sending boys to preach the Gospel to the world; if they go let them be accompanied by someone who is able to guide them in the proper channel... and show yourselves workmen that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Apply yourselves diligently to study, that your minds may be stored with all necessary information. (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Alma P. Burton [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 176.)
2 Timothy 2:15 shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed
Gordon B. Hinckley
As deacons, teachers, and priests ordained to the holy priesthood, we can stand tall and, without equivocation or fear, declare our testimony of Jesus Christ.
Further from Paul, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed" (2 Tim. 2:15).
If we were called upon to stand before God and give an accounting of ourselves, could we do it without embarrassment? This is Paul's great plea to his young friend. It is his plea to each of you. He goes on to say, "Shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness" (2 Tim. 2:16).
He is warning against just fooling around, wasting our time, talking about useless things. Idleness leads to evil. ("Converts and Young Men," Ensign, May 1997, 49)
2 Timothy 2:18 the resurrection is past already
The resurrection is a key doctrine. Most members know the first four principles and ordinances of the gospel (A of F 1:4), but few realize Paul's teaching that Resurrection was the fifth principle and ordinance of the gospel (Heb. 6:2). (The Resurrection is indeed both a principle and an ordinance). Thus we see the anti-Christs immediately attacking the living reality of Christ's resurrection. The very first rumor that Satan circulated was that the disciples had taken the body of Jesus to make it look like he was resurrected (Matt 28:11-15)
"Paul's final letter, written to his beloved associate Timothy, was penned while the aged Apostle awaited his execution in Rome. In this pathetic setting, Paul spoke of the apostasy as having already begun. He warned Timothy against 'profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker.' (2 Tim. 2:16-17.) He mentioned two men guilty of spreading false doctrine who had ruined the faith of some by teaching that the final resurrection had already taken place...
"Paul's final prophecy of the abandonment of true religion is found in the last chapter of 2 Timothy, where he talks about men replacing 'sound doctrine' with 'fables.' Again, Paul saw a willful rejection of true doctrine and its replacement by doctrines that were untrue but more to the liking of the hearers. Notice that the people involved, although unwilling to put up with correct teachings, desired teachings nonetheless. Having 'itching ears'-a desire to hear religion-they would acquire teachers whose doctrines were acceptable to them." (Kent P. Jackson, "Early Signs of the Apostasy," Ensign, Dec. 1984, 13, 10)
2 Timothy 2:19 the Lord knoweth them that are his
The great intercessory prayer, though given on behalf of the apostles, is a petition on behalf of the elect of God (See commentary for John 17:2). The Savior declared his prized possession and his power "that he should give eternal life to as many as [the Father] has given him" (John 17:2). The Lord knows his sheep and has no intention of losing any of them, "none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost." (D&C 50:42) "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand... and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:28-29)
2 Timothy 2:23 foolish and unlearned questions avoid
"If Church members are careful, they can avoid problems and contention. Sometimes, there is a tendency to want to introduce something 'new' into class discussions. Often, these novel concepts are merely the philosophies of men and are not in keeping with the spirit of the gospel or in keeping with the manual's outline of the lesson. We all have a responsibility to speak only that which is true.
"The Holy Ghost can bear witness of what is true doctrine and what is false. The Book of Mormon provides an important guideline on how to judge whether or not a false statement, intentional or inadvertent, is important enough to be challenged.
Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil. ...
But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. ...
But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil. (Moro. 7:12-13, 17.)"
(Sandra Dawn Brimhall, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Oct. 1991, 63)
"The Apostle Paul said, 'But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes' (2 Tim. 2:23). 'It never ceases to amaze me,' said President Harold B. Lee, 'how gullible some of our Church members are in broadcasting sensational stories, or dreams, or visions, or purported patriarchal blessings, or quotations ... supposedly from some person's private diary' (CR, Apr. 1970, pp. 55-56). His counsel was to avoid 'these spurious writings and ... purported revelations.'
"President Joseph Fielding Smith summarized the matter in these words: 'The fundamental principles of the gospel-all that has to do with the salvation of man-are very clear and can be understood by those with ordinary intelligence. To spend time discussing useless questions which have no bearing on our salvation, and have no relationship to the commandments and obligations required of us by the plan of salvation, is just a useless pastime.' (DS 1:305-6.)" (Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 124.)
2 Timothy 2:23-24 they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive
Dallin H. Oaks
The Lord's prescribed methods of acquiring sacred knowledge are very different from the methods used by those who acquire learning exclusively by study. For example, a frequent technique of scholarship is debate or adversarial discussion, a method with which I have had considerable personal experience. But the Lord has instructed us in ancient and modern scriptures that we should not contend over the points of his doctrine. (See 3 Ne. 11:28-30; D&C 10:63.) Those who teach the gospel are instructed not to preach with "wrath" or "strife" (D&C 60:14; see also 2 Tim. 2:23-25), but in "mildness and in meekness" (D&C 38:41), "reviling not against revilers" (D&C 19:30). Similarly, techniques devised for adversary debate or to search out differences and work out compromises are not effective in acquiring gospel knowledge. Gospel truths and testimony are received from the Holy Ghost through reverent personal study and quiet contemplation. ("Alternate Voices," Ensign, May 1989, 29-30)
Bruce R. McConkie
Contention and division are of the devil. Agreement and unity are of God. Since true religion comes by revelation, man's sole purpose in trying to understand and interpret gospel principles should be to find out what the Lord means in any given revelation. This knowledge can be gained only by the power of the Spirit. Hence, there is no occasion to debate, to argue, to contend, to champion one cause as against another. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3:106)
Dallin H. Oaks
"Yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them." (D&C 10:62-63.)
...At some time or another, most Latter-day Saints have been involved in an argument over a gospel subject. But, as Professor Richard Lloyd Anderson has said, "Argument is a poor tool for discovering truth because it defends a narrow position but usually lacks breadth. Anyone can make a 'case' for or against anything."
Argument is never an appropriate way to resolve differences about the content or application of gospel principles. It is Satan who stirs up the hearts of people to contend over points of doctrine. (D&C 10:63.) Elder Russell M. Nelson has taught, "Divine doctrine of the Church is the prime target of attack by the spiritually contentious. . . . Dissecting doctrine in a controversial way in order to draw attention to oneself is not pleasing to the Lord." (The Lord's Way [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 148.)