A Little Greek, Grants Big Context

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Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth ( 2 TIM 2:15, NKJV)

The call to be diligent works in conjunction with the ability to rightly divide scripture. The word “diligent” is utilized in the NKJV and other translations. The English definition of diligent is” having or showing care and conscientiousness in one’s work or duties”. The word σπούδασον is the Greek word from which the term diligent derives. This Greek word appears a total of two times in scripture. The Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament asserts this usage of the term σπούδασον derives from the root word σπουδάζω. The same Lexicon states the term is an adverb used to add intensity and emphases. When understood like this one can translate this term with emphases saying “be diligent or as quickly as possible”. The Strongs Greek definition is “use speed, i.e. to make effort, be prompt or earnest:—do (give) diligence, be diligent (forward), endeavour, labour, study”. Utilizing either of these two resources helps an English reader understand the clear sense of urgency in the Greek manuscript that can be missed in the English translations. Therefore, it should be noted that an individual should be working with a sense of urgency to present themselves approved, and this of course will show itself in the ability to rightfully understand the word of God. The old saying is “context is key”, understanding the correct context of 2 TIM 2:15 can make a huge difference in interpretation.

2 Timothy 1- Spirit of Power and Love

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 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,  greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,  when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 TIM 1:3-7, NKJV)

In order to understand 2nd Timothy, it is best to read this letter as if we are gazing over the shoulder of Timothy as he reads this passionate letter from his mentor in the faith. We should do all we can to immerse ourselves in the time and setting of Paul and Timothy. As mentioned in the previous post, Paul is writing Timothy from prison. Paul had previously been in prison but this time was different. In the book of Acts we learn Paul is imprisoned in his home and the outlook of his incarceration was favorable. However, this time things have changed, Paul is in a dungeon prison and he was certain he was facing the death penalty.

Paul with this knowledge wrote this letter with the future of faith in mind. He knew he had ran the race, and now he was ready to receive his award. However, Paul was concerned for the church and was writing to a young Timothy some final instructions. In short it is fair to say that 2nd Timothy is a bit of a last will and testament from Paul to the early church.

Paul opens his letter in similar fashion to his other writings. Declaring himself the author and noting his status as an apostle of Jesus Christ. However, Paul refers to Timothy as his beloved son. Paul lead Timothy in the faith and their connection was that of father and son. That is the lens in which we should read this letter. A father writing his final words to a son.

Paul after commending Timothy on his authentic faith and telling him of how he prays for him day and night seeks to comfort Timothy by ensuring him God does not give a spirit of fear but of power and love. As Christians these words of Paul speak to us today. There are obstacles that all Christians will face. However, we must recognize that we are to trust God, and have the knowledge to understand that God does not want us to dwell in fear, but to know the power and love God has given to all Christians.