As a Christian and evangelist, how did Timothy need to conduct himself? In what did he need to engage? Two inspired letters which he received from the apostle Paul provided him with guidance about those crucial matters. One clear portion of that message is recorded in 2 Timothy 2:1-4:
(1) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2) And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (3) You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (4) No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
Let us investigate these verses to see some of the direct and implied instructions given to Timothy.
Be strong (2:1) – Timothy had seen spiritual strength demonstrated in the life of his mentor, Paul, but Paul’s strength could not be transferred to Timothy. No, on his own accord Timothy must be strong. Be strong where? The text says for Timothy to be strong “in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1). A child of God must recognize his power source and not trust in himself. For one to detach himself from the Lord’s grace is a spiritual catastrophe, as one can be strong and produce fruit only when he abides in Him and His grace (John 15:4-6).
Commit certain things to faithful men (2:2) – What Timothy had heard/learned from Paul, that is what he was to commit to others. Of course, what he had learned from the apostle were “sound words” (1:13), the inspired word of God (3:16,17). The Greek word for “commit” is “ / paratith mi” and means “to entrust, commit to one’s charge” [Vine, www2.mf.no/bibelprog/vines.pl?tofrom].
So, Paul had taught and trained Timothy. Now, Timothy was to turn around and entrust that saving message to others. Which others? Those counted as “faithful men” (2:2). The word “men” is the generic term for “a human being, male or female” [Vine]. This charge to Timothy involves these implications: (1) he must be able to discern which saints were “faithful” and (2) he must have the ability to communicate effectively what he had learned from Paul.
What was the expressed purpose of having Timothy commit the faithful word to faithful saints? It was so that they, too, could “be able to teach others also” (2:2). The Lord expected Timothy to preach the word (4:2) and to be diligent in doing so. The reality, though, is that the task of teaching the saving gospel in order to save souls is not a one- person job!
When evangelists take the time to share (1) their knowledge and (2) their know-how in the matter of evangelism, this has the potential to be a great blessing to the church. Such an approach will help us increase the church’s work force as we will get more saints sowing the seed in a faithful way. That is what it is all about, my brothers and sisters, going out to spread the good news! It also goes without saying that Timothy was not a machine that could work 24/7. Seeking out and training more members to help teach the gospel does not prove that a gospel preacher is lazy. Rather, it indicates that he is trying to approach evangelism in the way that God prescribed it.
Endure hardship (2:3) – Timothy knew of the persecutions and afflictions that Paul had endured (3:11,12). If Paul could endure such, then so could Timothy, and so can we. Facing various difficulties is part of the life of a Christian, especially one like Timothy who was involved frequently in teaching the word to the world and to the church. Serving Jesus and staying committed to preaching the word requires strength (2:1) and perseverance/endurance (2:3). Being a follower of Jesus and dedicating oneself to teaching His word is not for the timid or fearful!
Be a good soldier of Jesus (2:3) – Disciples of Jesus are fighters, being committed to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). We take the whole armor of God so we can stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:10,11). We know that if we resist Satan with a steadfast faith, he will flee (James 4:7).
In the context of 2 Timothy 2:3, what are a couple of matters that must take place in order for us to be the Christ’s good soldiers? That is our goal, correct, to be our Lord’s good soldiers?! First of all, we must not entangle ourselves with the affairs of this life (2:4). No soldier can serve well when he is distracted, when he does not have his whole mind focused on his warfare. Second, a good soldier of Jesus always has this mindset: he seeks to “please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2:4). We strive to please our Master at all times, in all places, in all that we do.
The message of 2 Timothy 2:1-4 both challenges and inspires us. Be strong, commit the truth to others, endure hardship, and be Jesus’ good soldier. These are life-long activities, charges that serve to remind us of the seriousness of following the glorious Son of God.
— Roger D. Campbell