A Passage Study: 2 Timothy 2:14-19

Passage outline

The main points are all imperatives in the Greek. Studying in the original languages often shows the author’s structure or frame of ideas. Imperatives are indicated in red.

2 Timothy 2:14-19

  1. Remind (vs 14) ὑπομιμνῄσκω 2nd person singular
    1. “these things” refer to 2:8-13
    2. And charge them before God:
      1. Not to quarrel about words
        1. Which does no good
        2. But only ruins the hearers.
  2. Do your best (vs 15) σπουδάζω 2nd person singular
    1. To present yourself to God as one approved
      1. A worker who has no need to be ashamed
      2. Rightly handling the Word of Truth
  3. Avoid irreverent babble (16) περιΐστημι 2nd person singular
    1. Leads to ungodliness
    2. Spreads like gangrene
    3. Hymenaeus and Philetus as examples
  4. Depart from iniquity: )19) ἀφίστημι.
    Third-person singular. God’s firm foundation
    1. The Lord knows those who are his: salvation
    2. Depart from iniquity: sanctification

Emphasis: “This is what you must do in your ministry.” I.e., “This is what the Gospel ministry looks like.”

Strategies: I notice that the passage is ordered around four imperatives: 2nd person (3x); 3rd person (1x).


a) the literary context (the passages on either side): The literary context is connected by “these things” in vs. 14 which refers to 2:8-13 (something of a creed). This context supplies what Timothy is to bring to remembrance, in addition to the things following vs. 14.

Vss. 20ff. illustrate the differences between the gangrene of vss. 17ff., and show the results of obeying vs. 19

b) the historical context (circumstances and culture of the audience): This context is the rise of false teachers in the church, even though it was only a few decades old. If vss. 11-13 form an early creed, this signals the likelihood of such statements, and their importance in countering false teachers (compare vs. 11b to vss. 16-18)

c) the Biblical context (connections to other places in the Bible): As Paul’s final extant letter, we see his stress upon true doctrine as against false.

Vs. 19 is not a direct quote, but an allusion to Num. 16:5; Nah. 1:7; John 10:14, 27; [Luke 13:27]; See 1 Cor. 8:3. God knows the elect. This is reassuring: an upset faith contrasted to the Lord’s knowledge of His elect.

Main Idea or Emphasis:

Keep to the main idea, the Gospel.

The Gospel in this passage:

The Resurrection is central to the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4; 15:12). The correct view of the resurrection, both of Christ and the future resurrection of the dead is essential to the Gospel.

In contrast to false-gospels, the foundation of the Gospel stands.


To both believers and unbelievers: there is a canon of truth that is contained in Scripture that excludes other doctrines and teachings.

Believers need to be reminded to reject idle speculation and to learn to know the difference between Biblical doctrine and hobbies. Vs. 19 makes it clear that this kind of activity is iniquity.

Unbelievers need to be told that not everything they hear or see being taught by alleged Christians is actually true.

Preaching outline

  1. Timothy, Remind Them
    1. The Essential Truths
    2. Charge them not to quarrel about non-essentials
  2. Timothy, Do Your Best
    1. Be a fit worker
  3. Timothy, Avoid Them
    1. Avoid babble
      1. The decent into babble: upset faith
  4. Everyone, God’s foundation stands. Therefore if You Name the Name of the Lord, Depart from Iniquity
    1. You are of the elect
    2. You are therefore to forsake sin


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When Enemies Become Friends

Luke 23:12 (ESV)

12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.

Ever wonder how enemies become friends?

In the middle of the trial of Jesus there is this footnote, without comment or remark. But the reader, who accepts and trusts the Bible as the inspired and inerrant word of God, will want to explore the meaning and purpose of this statement. It is obviously an editorial comment by Luke. This doesn’t diminish its inspiration, authority, or value. These kinds of comments are spread throughout the Gospels, and help to explain and clarify the passages in which they are found.

What was happening in Luke 23? Jesus has been betrayed by Judas, abandoned by the disciples, and denied by Peter. He is on trial here. To his credit, Pontus Pilate declares Him innocent three times, yet still delivers the Christ up to be crucified (Luke 23:25).

It should not, however, be missed that Jesus is on trial before two entities: the Jewish nation, as represented by the Sanhedrin, and the Gentile world, represented by Pilate. All the world condemned Him (see Acts 4:27)

Which brings us back to the original question: how do enemies become friends. Enmity (Luke 23:12) describes a serious hostility. It is a state of war. The New Testament uses this word (ἔχθρα) to describe the separation between Jew and Gentile, and sinner and God:

Luke 23:12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.
Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,
Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.
James 4:4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

Those familiar with the New Testament will quickly recognise the depth of anger between the parties who are held at enmity.

But these two men were enemies, but during the trial became friends. Now we know they did not unite in the sense found in Ephesians 2. We also know that Herod never confessed Christ (Acts 12:20-23). While it is possible that Pilate later came to know Christ, there is no extant evidence of that.

These two men became friends because that is what happens when they unite against Christ. Both oversaw his trial, condemnation, and crucifixion. Both approved, both consented. Both needed to see Jesus gone and done away with. Like John the Baptist, Jesus was a thorn in Herod’s conscience; and Pilate would not have word about this man get back to Caesar in Rome.

If opposition to Christ is what brings enemies together, then it can be understood why Islam and the LGBTQ+ can (in most of Europe, Australia, and North America) get along so well., “Queers against Islamophobia” banners can be seen in the gay pride parades around North America. The LGBTQ+ lobbies and their political allies defend Islam at every turn, while denying the fact that so-called “radical” Islam is normal Islam, according to the Quran and the Hadiths.

Looking at how the LGBTQ+ community is treated outside of the safety of the West one would think that these people would be more worried. Gays, lesbians, transsexuals, adulterers are routinely killed in Islamic governments. But in the West, it would appear that they are the best of friends.

This friendship is, of course, considered temporary by Islam. It serves a purpose. It could even be a form of Taqiyya, which is an Islamic form of propaganda where the non-Muslim is lied to about the true intent of Islam. Taqiyya is especially common in nations where the Muslims are in a minority and have little political influence. The LGBTQ+ is truly naïve if it thinks a future Sharia law will not be applied to them.

This is a friendship that cannot last. A friendship based upon a common enemy, when that enemy is Christ, is both doomed and cursed.

There is a true reconciliation for all men and women; it is not a reconciliation, friendship or peace that is one option among many, but the only one possible. This real friendship is not against Christ, but in Christ. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28) and that we have been made one in Christ (Ephesians 2:11-22).