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2 Timothy

2 Timothy front

Introduction to 2 Timothy

Part 1: General Introduction

Outline of the Book of 2 Timothy
  1. Paul greets Timothy and encourages him to endure hardship as he serves God (1:1-2:13).
  2. Paul gives general instructions to Timothy (2:14–26).
  3. Paul warns Timothy about future events and instructs him about how to carry out his service to God (3:1-4:8).
  4. Paul makes personal remarks (4:9-24).
Who wrote the Book of 2 Timothy?

Paul wrote 2 Timothy. He was from the city of Tarsus. He had been known as Saul in his early life. Before becoming a Christian, Paul was a Pharisee. He persecuted Christians. After he became a Christian, he traveled several times throughout the Roman Empire telling people about Jesus.

This book is the second letter Paul wrote Timothy. Timothy was his disciple and close friend. Paul wrote this letter while in prison in Rome. Paul would die soon after writing this letter.

What is the Book of 2 Timothy about?

Paul had left Timothy in the city of Ephesus to help the believers there. Paul wrote this letter to instruct Timothy about various matter. The topics he addressed include warnings about false teachers and enduring difficult situations. This letter also shows how Paul was training Timothy to be a leader among the churches.

How should the title of this book be translated?

Translators may choose to call this book by its traditional title, “2 Timothy” or “Second Timothy.” Or they may choose a clearer title, such as “Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy” or “The Second Letter to Timothy.” (See: How to Translate Names)

Part 2: Important Religious and Cultural Concepts

What is the soldier imagery in 2 Timothy?

As Paul waited in prison, knowing he would die soon, he often spoke of himself as a soldier of Jesus Christ. Soldiers answer to their leaders. In the same way, Christians answer to Jesus. As “soldiers” of Christ, believers are to obey his commands, even if they die as a result.

What does it mean that God inspired Scripture?

God is the true author of Scripture. He inspired the human authors who wrote the books. That means God in some way caused the people to write what they wrote. This is why it is also referred to as God’s word. This implies several things about the Bible. First, the Bible is free from error and can be trusted. Second, we can rely on God to protect the scripture from those who want to distort it or destroy it. Third, God’s word should be translated into all the world’s languages.

Part 3: Important Translation Issues

Singular and plural “you”

In this book, the word “I” refers to Paul. Here the word “you” is almost always singular and refers to Timothy. The exception to this is 4:22. (See: Exclusive and Inclusive 'We' and Forms of You)

What did Paul mean by the expression “in Christ,” “in the Lord,” etc.?

Paul meant to express the idea of a very close union with Christ and the believers. Please see the introduction to the Book of Romans for more details about this kind of expression.

What are the major textual issues in the text of the Book of 2 Timothy?

For the following verses, modern versions of the Bible differ from older versions. The ULT text has the modern reading and puts the older reading in a footnote. If a translation of the Bible exists in the general region, translators should consider using the reading found in those versions. If not, translators are advised to follow the modern reading.

  • “Because of this, I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher” (1:11). Some older versions read, “Because of this, I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher to the Gentiles.”
  • “Warn them before God” (2:14). Some older versions read, “Warn them before the Lord.”

(See: Textual Variants)

2 Timothy 1

2 Timothy 01 General Notes

Structure and formatting

Paul formally introduces this letter in verses 1-2. Writers often began letters in this way in the ancient Near East.

Special concepts in this chapter

Spiritual children

Paul discipled Timothy as a Christian and a church leader. Paul may also have led him to believe in Christ. Therefore, Paul calls Timothy “beloved child.” (See: disciple and spirit, spiritual)

Other possible translation difficulties in this chapter


Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter. Paul encourages Timothy to be willing to suffer for the gospel. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

2 Timothy 1:1

In this book, unless otherwise noted, the word “our” refers to Paul (the writer of this letter) and Timothy (the one to whom this letter is written), as well as to all believers. (See: Inclusive and Exclusive “We”)


Your language may have a particular way of introducing the author of a letter. Also, immediately after introducing the author, you may need to tell to whom the letter is written, as in the UST.

διὰ θελήματος Θεοῦ

“because of God’s will” or “because God wanted it to be so.” Paul became an apostle because God wanted him to be an apostle and not because a human being chose him.


Possible meanings are (1) “for the purpose of.” This means that God appointed Paul to tell others about God’s promise of life in Jesus or (2) “in keeping with.” This means that just as God promises that Jesus gives life, by that same will God has made Paul an apostle.

ζωῆς τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

Paul speaks of “life” as if it were an object inside of Jesus. This refers to the life people receive as a result of belonging to Christ Jesus. Alternate translation: “of the life that we receive as a result of belonging to Christ Jesus” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 1:2


Your language may have a particular way of introducing the person who receives a letter. Also, immediately after introducing the author, you may need to tell to whom the letter is written, as in the UST.

ἀγαπητῷ τέκνῳ

“dear child” or “child whom I love. Here “child” is a term of great love and approval. It is also likely that Paul introduced Christ to Timothy, and so this is why Paul considered him like his own child. Alternate translation: “who is like my beloved child” (See: Metaphor)

χάρις, ἔλεος, εἰρήνη, ἀπὸ

“May you experience kindness, mercy, and peace within you from” or “I pray that you will have grace, mercy, and peace from”

Θεοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ

“God, who is the Father, and.” This is an important title for God. (See: Translating Son and Father) Paul could be referring to God here as (1) the Father of Christ, or (2) the Father of believers.

Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν

“Christ Jesus, who is our Lord”

2 Timothy 1:3

ᾧ λατρεύω ἀπὸ προγόνων

“whom I serve as my ancestors did”

ἐν καθαρᾷ συνειδήσει

Paul speaks of his conscience as if it could be physically clean. A person with a “clean conscience” does not feel guilty because he has always tried to do what was right. Alternate translation: “knowing I have tried my hardest to do what is right” (See: Metaphor)

ὡς ἀδιάλειπτον ἔχω τὴν περὶ σοῦ μνείαν

Here “remember” is used to mean “mention” or “talk about.” Alternate translation: “when I mention you continually” or “while I talk about you all the time”

νυκτὸς καὶ ἡμέρας

Here “night and day” are used together to mean “always.” Alternate translation: “always” or “at all times” (See: Merism)

2 Timothy 1:4

μεμνημένος σου τῶν δακρύων

Here “tears” represents crying. Alternate translation: “I remember how you cried for me” (See: Metonymy)

ἐπιποθῶν σε ἰδεῖν

“I want very much to see you”

χαρᾶς πληρωθῶ

Paul speaks of himself as if he were a container that someone could fill. Also, this can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I may be joyful” or “I may have complete joy” or “I may rejoice” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

2 Timothy 1:5

ὑπόμνησιν λαβὼν τῆς ἐν σοὶ

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “I also remember your” or “I also recall your” (See: Active or Passive)

τῆς ἐν σοὶ ἀνυποκρίτου πίστεως

“your faith that is real” or “your faith that is sincere”

πίστεως, ἥτις ἐνῴκησεν πρῶτον ἐν τῇ μάμμῃ σου, Λωΐδι, καὶ τῇ μητρί σου, Εὐνίκῃ; πέπεισμαι δὲ ὅτι καὶ ἐν σοί

Paul is speaking of their faith as if it were something that was alive and lived in them. Paul means they have the same sort of faith. This can be stated as a new sentence. Alternate translation: “faith. Lois, your grandmother, and then Eunice, your mother, had this genuine faith in God, and now I am confident that you have this same genuine faith as well” (See: Metaphor)


These are names of women. (See: How to Translate Names)

2 Timothy 1:6

Paul encourages Timothy to live in power, love, and discipline and not to be ashamed because of Paul’s suffering in prison because of his (Paul’s) faith in Christ.

δι’ ἣν αἰτίαν

“For this reason” or “Because of your sincere faith in Jesus”

ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα

Paul speaks about Timothy’s need to start using his gift again as if he were restarting a fire. Alternate translation: “to start using again the gift” (See: Metaphor)

τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ Θεοῦ, ὅ ἐστιν ἐν σοὶ διὰ τῆς ἐπιθέσεως τῶν χειρῶν μου

“the gift of God that you received when I laid my hands on you.” This refers to a time when Paul placed his hands on Timothy and prayed that God would give him power from God’s Spirit to enable him to do the work that God had called him to do.

2 Timothy 1:7

οὐ…ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν ὁ Θεὸς πνεῦμα δειλίας, ἀλλὰ δυνάμεως, καὶ ἀγάπης, καὶ σωφρονισμοῦ

Possible meanings are (1) “spirit” refers to the “Holy Spirit.” Alternate translation: “God’s Holy Spirit does not cause us to be afraid. He causes us to have power and love and discipline” or (2) “spirit” refers to the character of a human being. Alternate translation: “God does not cause us to be afraid but to have power and love and discipline”


Possible meanings are (1) the power to control ourselves or (2) the power to correct other people who are doing wrong.

2 Timothy 1:8

τὸ μαρτύριον

“of testifying” or “of telling others”

τὸν δέσμιον αὐτοῦ

“a prisoner for his sake” or “a prisoner because I testify about the Lord”

συνκακοπάθησον τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ

Paul speaks of suffering as if it were an object that could be shared or distributed among people. Alternate translation: “suffer with me for the gospel” (See: Metaphor)

τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ, κατὰ δύναμιν Θεοῦ

“gospel, allowing God to make you strong”

2 Timothy 1:9

κλήσει ἁγίᾳ

“with a calling that set us apart as his people” or “to be his holy people”

οὐ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ἡμῶν

“not because we did anything to deserve it”

ἀλλὰ κατὰ ἰδίαν πρόθεσιν καὶ χάριν

“but because he planned to show us kindness”

ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

“through our relationship to Christ Jesus”

πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων

“before the world began” or “before time began”

2 Timothy 1:10

φανερωθεῖσαν δὲ νῦν, διὰ τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ Σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ

Paul speaks of salvation as if it were an object that could uncovered and shown to people. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God has shown how he will save us by sending our Savior Christ Jesus” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον

Paul speaks of death as if it were an independent process instead of the event of people dying. Alternate translation: “who destroyed death” or “who made it possible for people not to remain dead forever” (See: Metaphor)

φωτίσαντος δὲ ζωὴν καὶ ἀφθαρσίαν διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου

Paul speaks of teaching about eternal life as if it were an object that could be brought from darkness into light so that people could see it. Alternate translation: “taught what life that never ends is by preaching the gospel” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 1:11

ἐτέθην ἐγὼ κῆρυξ

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God chose me to be a preacher” (See: Active or Passive)

2 Timothy 1:12

δι’ ἣν αἰτίαν

“Because I am an apostle”

καὶ ταῦτα πάσχω

Paul is referring to being a prisoner.


“I am convinced”

τὴν παραθήκην μου φυλάξαι

Paul is using a metaphor of a person leaving something with another person who is supposed to protect it until he gives it back to the first person. Possible meanings are (1) Paul is trusting Jesus to help him remain faithful, or (2) Paul is trusting that Jesus will ensure that people continue spreading the gospel message. (See: Metaphor)

ἐκείνην τὴν ἡμέραν

This refers to the day when God judges all people. (See: Metonymy)

2 Timothy 1:13

ὑποτύπωσιν ἔχε ὑγιαινόντων λόγων, ὧν παρ’ ἐμοῦ ἤκουσας

“Keep teaching the correct ideas I have taught you” or “Use how I taught you as a pattern for what and how you should teach”

ἐν πίστει καὶ ἀγάπῃ τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

“as you trust in Jesus Christ and love him”

2 Timothy 1:14

τὴν καλὴν παραθήκην

This refers to the work of proclaiming the gospel correctly.


Timothy needs to be alert because people will oppose his work, try to make him stop, and distort what he says.

διὰ Πνεύματος Ἁγίου

“with the power of the Holy Spirit”

2 Timothy 1:15

ἀπεστράφησάν με

This is a metaphor that means they stopped helping Paul. They abandoned Paul because the authorities had thrown him into prison. Alternate translation: “have stopped helping me” (See: Metaphor)

Φύγελος καὶ Ἑρμογένης

These are names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)

2 Timothy 1:16


This is the name of a man. (See: How to Translate Names)


“to the family”

τὴν ἅλυσίν μου οὐκ ἐπησχύνθη

Here “chain” is a metonym for being in prison. Onesiphorus was not ashamed that Paul was in prison but came to visit him frequently. Alternate translation: “was not ashamed that I was in prison” (See: Metonymy)

2 Timothy 1:18

δῴη αὐτῷ ὁ Κύριος, εὑρεῖν ἔλεος παρὰ Κυρίου

“May Onesiphorus receive mercy from the Lord” or “May the Lord show him mercy”

εὑρεῖν ἔλεος παρὰ Κυρίου

Paul speaks of mercy as if it were an object that could be found. (See: Metaphor)

ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ

This refers to the day when God will judge all people. (See: Metonymy)

2 Timothy 2

2 Timothy 02 General Notes

Structure and formatting

Some translations set words farther to the right on the page than the rest of the text. The ULT does this with verses 11-13. Paul may be quoting a poem or hymn in these verses.

Special concepts in this chapter

We will reign with him

Faithful Christians will reign with Christ in the future. (See: https://git.door43.org/unfoldingWord/en_tw/src/branch/master/bible/kt/faithful.md)

Important figures of speech in this chapter


In this chapter, Paul makes several analogies to teach about living as a Christian. He uses analogies of soldiers, athletes, and farmers. Later in the chapter, he uses the analogy of different kinds of containers in a house.

2 Timothy 2:1

Paul pictures Timothy’s Christian life as a soldier’s life, as a farmer’s life, and as an athlete’s life.

τέκνον μου

Here “child” is a term of great love and approval. It is also likely that Timothy was converted to Christ by Paul, and so this is why Paul considered him like his own child. Alternate translation: “who is like my child” (See: Metaphor)

ἐνδυναμοῦ ἐν τῇ χάριτι τῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

Paul speaks about the motivation and determination that God’s grace allows believers to have. Alternate translation: “let God use the grace he gave you through your relationship to Christ Jesus to make you strong” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:2

διὰ πολλῶν μαρτύρων

“with many witnesses there to agree that what I said is true”

ταῦτα παράθου πιστοῖς ἀνθρώποις

Paul speaks of his instructions to Timothy as if they were objects that Timothy could give to other people and trust them to use correctly. Alternate translation: “commit them” or “teach them” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:3


Possible meanings are (1) “Endure suffering as I do” or (2) “Share in my suffering”

ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

Paul compares suffering for Christ Jesus to the suffering that a good soldier endures. (See: Simile)

2 Timothy 2:4

οὐδεὶς στρατευόμενος ἐμπλέκεται ταῖς τοῦ βίου πραγματίαις

“No soldier serves when he is involved in the everyday business of this life” or “When soldiers are serving, they do not get distracted by the ordinary things that people do.” Christ’s servants should not allow everyday life to keep them from working for Christ.


Paul speaks of this distraction as if it were a net that tripped people up as they were walking. (See: Metaphor)

τῷ στρατολογήσαντι

“his leader” or “the one who commands him”

2 Timothy 2:5

ἀθλῇ τις, οὐ στεφανοῦται, ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως ἀθλήσῃ

Paul is implicitly speaking of Christ’s servants as if they were athletes. (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information and Metaphor)

οὐ στεφανοῦται, ἐὰν μὴ νομίμως ἀθλήσῃ

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “they will crown him as winner only if he competes by the rules” (See: Active or Passive)

οὐ στεφανοῦται

“he does not win the prize.” Athletes in Paul’s time were crowned with wreaths made from the leaves of plants when they won competitions.

νομίμως ἀθλήσῃ

“competes according to the rules” or “strictly obeys the rules”

2 Timothy 2:6

τὸν κοπιῶντα γεωργὸν δεῖ πρῶτον τῶν καρπῶν μεταλαμβάνειν

This is the third metaphor Paul gives Timothy about working. The reader should understand that Christ’s servants need to work hard. (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:7

νόει ὃ λέγω

Paul gave Timothy word pictures, but he did not completely explain their meanings. He expected Timothy to figure out what he was saying about Christ’s servants.

ἐν πᾶσιν

“about everything”

2 Timothy 2:8

Paul gives Timothy instructions on how to live for Christ, how to suffer for Christ, and how to teach others to live for Christ.

ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυείδ

This is a metaphor that means Jesus descended from David. Alternate translation: “who is a descendant of David” (See: Metaphor)

ἐγηγερμένον ἐκ νεκρῶν

Here to raise up is an idiom for causing someone who has died to become alive again. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “whom God caused to live again” or “whom God raised from the dead” (See: Active or Passive and Idiom)

κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου

Paul speaks of the gospel message as if it were especially his. He means that this is the gospel message that he proclaims. Alternate translation: “according to the gospel message that I preach” (See: Metonymy)

2 Timothy 2:9

μέχρι δεσμῶν ὡς κακοῦργος

Here “being chained” represents being a prisoner. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “to the point of wearing chains as a criminal in prison” (See: Metonymy and Active or Passive)

ὁ λόγος τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐ δέδεται

Here “bound” speaks of what happens to a prisoner, and the phrase is a metaphor that means no one can stop God’s message. This can be translated in active form. Alternate translation: “no one can put the word of God in prison” or “no one can stop the word of God” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:10

διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “for the people whom God has chosen” (See: Active or Passive)

σωτηρίας τύχωσιν τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

Paul speaks of salvation as if it were an object that could be physically grasped. Alternate translation: “will receive salvation from Christ Jesus” (See: Metaphor)

μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου

“and that they will be forever with him in the glorious place where he is”

2 Timothy 2:11

πιστὸς ὁ λόγος

“These are words you can trust”

εἰ γὰρ συναπεθάνομεν, καὶ συνζήσομεν

This is most likely the beginning of a song or poem that Paul is quoting. If your language has a way of indicating that this is poetry, you could use it here. If not, you could translate this as regular prose rather than poetry. (See: Poetry)


Paul uses this expression to mean that people share in Christ’s death when they trust in him, deny their own wants, and obey him.

2 Timothy 2:13

εἰ ἀπιστοῦμεν…ἀρνήσασθαι…ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται

This is most likely the end of a song or poem that Paul is quoting. If your language has a way of indicating that this is poetry you could use it here. If not, you could translate this as regular prose rather than poetry. (See: Poetry)

εἰ ἀπιστοῦμεν

“even if we fail God” or “even if we do not do what we believe God wants us to do”

ἀρνήσασθαι…ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται

“he must always act according to his character” or “he cannot act in ways that are the opposite of his real character”

2 Timothy 2:14

The word “them” may refer to “the teachers” or “the people of the church”

ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ

Paul speaks of God’s awareness of Paul as if he is in God’s physical presence. This implies that God will be Timothy’s witness. Alternate translation: “in God’s presence” or “with God as your witness” (See: Metaphor and Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

μὴ λογομαχεῖν

Possible meanings are (1) “not to argue about foolish things that people say” or (2) “not to quarrel about what words mean”

ἐπ’ οὐδὲν χρήσιμον

“this does not benefit anyone”

2 Timothy 2:15

σεαυτὸν, δόκιμον παραστῆσαι τῷ Θεῷ, ἐργάτην ἀνεπαίσχυντον

“to present yourself to God as a person who has proven to be worthy and with no cause for shame”


Paul presents the idea of Timothy correctly explaining God’s word as if he were a skilled workman. Alternate translation: “like a workman” or “like a worker” (See: Metaphor)

ὀρθοτομοῦντα τὸν λόγος τῆς ἀληθείας

Possible meanings are (1) “explains the message about the truth correctly” or (2) “explains the true message correctly.”

2 Timothy 2:16

ἐπὶ πλεῖον…προκόψουσιν ἀσεβείας

Paul speaks of this kind of talk as if it were something that could physically move to another location, and he speaks of godlessness as if it were that new location. Alternate translation: “which causes people to become more and more ungodly” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:17

ὁ λόγος αὐτῶν ὡς γάγγραινα νομὴν ἕξει

Cancer quickly spreads in a person’s body and destroys it. This is a metaphor that means what those people were saying would spread from person to person and harm the faith of those who heard it. Alternate translation: “What they say will spread like an infectious disease” or “Their talk will spread quickly and cause destruction like cancer” (See: Simile)

Ὑμέναιος, καὶ Φίλητος

These are names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)

2 Timothy 2:18

οἵτινες περὶ τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἠστόχησαν

Here “gone astray from the truth” is a metaphor for no longer believing or teaching what is true. Alternate translation: “who have started saying things that are not true” (See: Metaphor)

ἀνάστασιν ἤδη γεγονέναι

“God has already raised dead believers to eternal life”

ἀνατρέπουσιν τήν τινων πίστιν

“they cause some people to stop believing”

2 Timothy 2:19

Just as precious and common containers can be used for honorable ways in a wealthy house, any person who turns to God can be used by God in honorable ways in doing good works. (See: Metaphor)

ὁ…στερεὸς θεμέλιος τοῦ Θεοῦ ἕστηκεν

Possible meanings are (1) “God’s truth is like a firm foundation” or (2) “God has established his people like a building on a firm foundation” or (3) “God’s faithfulness is like a firm foundation.” In any case, Paul speaks of this idea as if it were a building’s foundation laid in the ground. (See: Metaphor)

ὁ ὀνομάζων τὸ ὄνομα Κυρίου

“who calls on the name of the Lord.” Here “name of the Lord” refers to the Lord himself. Alternate translation: “who calls on the Lord” or “who says he is a believer in Christ” (See: Metonymy)

ἀποστήτω ἀπὸ ἀδικίας

Paul speaks of unrighteousness as if it were a place from which one could leave. Alternate translation: “stop being evil” or “stop doing wrong things” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:20

σκεύη χρυσᾶ καὶ ἀργυρᾶ…ξύλινα καὶ ὀστράκινα

Here “containers” is a general word for bowls, plates, and pots, which people put food or drink into or on. If your language does not have a general word, use the word for “bowls” or “pots.” Paul is using this as a metaphor to describe different types of people. (See: Metaphor)


Possible meanings are (1) “special occasions…ordinary times” or (2) “the kinds of activities people do in public…the kinds of activities people do in private.”

2 Timothy 2:21

ἐκκαθάρῃ ἑαυτὸν ἀπὸ τούτων

Possible meanings are (1) “separates himself from dishonorable people” or (2) “makes himself pure.” In any case, Paul speaks of this process as if it were a person washing himself. (See: Metaphor)

ἔσται σκεῦος εἰς τιμήν

Paul speaks about this person as if he were an honorable container. Alternate translation: “he is like the container that is useful for special occasions” or “he is like the container that is useful for activities good people do in public” (See: Metaphor)

ἡγιασμένον εὔχρηστον τῷ Δεσπότῃ, εἰς πᾶν ἔργον ἀγαθὸν ἡτοιμασμένον

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “The Master sets him apart, and he is ready for the Master to use him for every good work” (See: Active or Passive)


He is not set apart physically or in the sense of location, but instead to fulfill a purpose. Some versions translate this “sanctified,” but the text signals the essential idea of being set apart. (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:22

τὰς δὲ νεωτερικὰς ἐπιθυμίας φεῦγε

Paul speaks about youthful lusts as if they are a dangerous person or animal that Timothy should run away from. Alternate translation: “Completely avoid youthful lusts” or “Absolutely refuse to do the wrong things that young people strongly desire to do” (See: Metaphor)


Here “Pursue” means the opposite of “Flee.” Paul speaks of righteousness as if it is an object that Timothy should run towards because it will do him good. Alternate translation: “Try your best to obtain righteousness” or “Seek after righteousness” (See: Metaphor)

μετὰ τῶν

Possible meanings are (1) Paul wants Timothy to join with other believers in pursuing righteousness, faith, love, and peace, or (2) Paul wants Timothy to be at peace and not argue with other believers.

τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων τὸν Κύριον

Here “call on the Lord” is an idiom that means to trust and worship the Lord. Alternate translation: “those who worship the Lord” (See: Idiom)

ἐκ καθαρᾶς καρδίας

Here “clean” is a metaphor for something pure or sincere. And, “heart” here is a metonym for “thoughts” or “emotions.” Alternate translation: “with a sincere mind” or “with sincerity” (See: Metaphor and Metonymy)

2 Timothy 2:23

τὰς δὲ μωρὰς καὶ ἀπαιδεύτους ζητήσεις παραιτοῦ

“refuse to answer foolish and ignorant questions.” Paul means that the people who ask such questions are foolish and ignorant. Alternate translation: “refuse to answer the questions that foolish people who do not want to know the truth ask” (See: Metonymy)

γεννῶσι μάχας

Paul speaks of ignorant questions as if they were women giving birth to children. Alternate translation: “they cause arguments” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 2:25

ἐν πραΰτητι

“meekly” or “gently”

παιδεύοντα τοὺς

“teach those” or “correct those”

μήποτε δώῃ αὐτοῖς ὁ Θεὸς μετάνοιαν

Paul speaks of repentance as if it were an object that God could give people. Alternate translation: “God may give them the opportunity to repent” (See: Metaphor)

εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας

“so that they will know the truth”

2 Timothy 2:26


Paul speaks of sinners learning to think correctly about God as if they were drunk people becoming sober again. Alternate translation: “They may think correctly again” (See: Metaphor)

ἐκ τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου παγίδος

Paul speaks of the devil’s ability to convince Christians to sin as if it were a trap. Alternate translation: “stop doing what the devil wants” (See: Metaphor)

ἐζωγρημένοι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ, εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα

Convincing Christians to sin is spoken of as if the devil had physically captured them and made them his slaves. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “after he has deceived them into obeying his will” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

2 Timothy 3

2 Timothy 03 General Notes

Structure and formatting

The “last days” could mean in the future just before Jesus returns. If so, Paul is prophesying in verses 1-9 and 13 about those days. The “last days” could also mean the Christian age, including Paul’s time. If so, what Paul teaches about being persecuted applies to all Christians. (See: prophet, prophecy, prophesy, seer, prophetess and last day, latter days)

2 Timothy 3:1

Paul lets Timothy know that in the future people will stop believing the truth, but he should continuing trusting God’s word even when he is persecuted.

ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις

Possible meanings are (1) this is a time later than Paul’s time. Alternate translation: “in the future just before Jesus returns” or (2) this refers to the Christian age, including Paul’s time. Alternate translation: “during this period of time before the end”

καιροὶ χαλεποί

These will be days, months, or even years when Christians will endure suffering and danger.

2 Timothy 3:2


Here “lovers” refers to brotherly love or love for a friend or family member, a natural human love between friends or relatives. This is not the kind of love that comes from God. Alternate translation: “self-centered”

2 Timothy 3:3


“not loving their own families”


“not agreeing with anyone” or “not living in peace with anyone”


This can be stated in positive form. Alternate translation: “haters of good”

2 Timothy 3:4


doing things either without thinking about what bad things could happen or even knowing that bad things could happen


thinking they are better than other people

2 Timothy 3:5

ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας, τὴν δὲ δύναμιν αὐτῆς ἠρνημένοι

Paul speaks of godliness, the habit of honoring God, as if it were a physical object that had a shape and had physical power. Alternate translation: “They will appear to honor God, but they way they act will show that they do not really believe in God’s power” (See: Metaphor)

ἔχοντες μόρφωσιν εὐσεβείας

“appear to have godliness” or “appear to honor God”

τούτους ἀποτρέπου

“Turn away” here is a metaphor for avoiding someone. Alternate translation: “Avoid these people” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 3:6

ἐνδύνοντες εἰς τὰς οἰκίας, καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες

“enter into houses and greatly influence”


“women who are spiritually weak.” These women may be spiritually be weak because they fail to work at becoming godly or because they are idle and have many sins.

σεσωρευμένα ἁμαρτίαις

Paul speaks of the attraction of sin as if sin were heaped up on the backs of these women. Possible meanings are (1) “who sin often” or (2) “who feel terrible guilt because they continue to sin.” The idea is that these men can easily influence these women because the women are unable to stop sinning. (See: Metaphor)

ἀγόμενα ἐπιθυμίαις ποικίλαις

Paul speaks about these various desires as if they could lead another person away. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “they desire to sin in various ways rather than obey Christ” (See: Metaphor and Active or Passive)

2 Timothy 3:8

Paul gives an example of two false teachers from the time of Moses and applies it to the way people will be. Paul encourages Timothy to follow his own example and stay in God’s word.

Ἰάννης καὶ Ἰαμβρῆς

These are names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)


Paul speaks of those who argue against someone as if they were standing against them. Alternate translation: “opposed” (See: Metaphor)

ἀνθίστανται τῇ ἀληθείᾳ

“oppose the gospel of Jesus”

ἄνθρωποι κατεφθαρμένοι τὸν νοῦν

“Their minds are corrupt” or “They cannot think rightly”

ἀδόκιμοι περὶ τὴν πίστιν

They have been tested in how well they trust in Christ and obey him, and they have failed the test. Alternate translation: “and without sincere faith” or “and they have shown that their faith is not genuine”

2 Timothy 3:9

οὐ προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ πλεῖον

Paul uses an expression about physical movement to mean that the false teachers will not have much success among the believers. Alternate translation: “they will not have much success” (See: Metaphor)


something people can easily see


“of Jannes and Jambres”

2 Timothy 3:10

σὺ…παρηκολούθησάς μου τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ

Paul speaks of giving close attention to these things as if one were physically following them as they moved. Alternate translation: “you have observed my teaching” or “you have payed close attention to my teaching” (See: Metaphor)

μου τῇ διδασκαλίᾳ

“what I have taught you to do”

τῇ ἀγωγῇ

the way a person lives his life

τῇ μακροθυμίᾳ

one person being patient with those people who do things of which he does not approve

2 Timothy 3:11

ἐκ πάντων, με ἐρρύσατο ὁ Κύριος

Paul speaks of God having stopped him from suffering these hardships and dangers as if God had carried him out of a physical location. (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 3:12

ζῆν εὐσεβῶς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

“to live godly lives as followers of Jesus”


This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “will certainly have to endure persecution” (See: Active or Passive)

2 Timothy 3:13


An imposter is a person who wants other people to think he is someone other, usually more important, than who he is.

προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον

“will become even more evil”

πλανῶντες καὶ πλανώμενοι

Here, to lead someone astray is a metaphor for persuading someone to believe something that is not true. Alternate translation: “deceiving themselves and others” or “believing lies and teaching lies” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 3:14

μένε ἐν οἷς ἔμαθες

Paul speaks of biblical instruction as if it were a place that Timothy could stay in. Alternate translation: “do not forget what you learned” or “continue doing what you have learned” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 3:15

ἱερὰ γράμματα οἶδας, τὰ δυνάμενά σε σοφίσαι εἰς σωτηρίαν διὰ πίστεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

Paul speaks of the sacred writings as if they were a person who could make someone else wise. Alternate translation: “that when you read the word of God, you can become wise so as to receive salvation from Christ Jesus by faith” (See: Personification)

2 Timothy 3:16

πᾶσα Γραφὴ θεόπνευστος

Some Bibles translate this as “All scripture is God-breathed.” This means God produced the scripture through his Spirit by telling people what to write. This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God has spoken all scripture by his Spirit” (See: Active or Passive)


“It is useful” or “It is beneficial”

πρὸς ἐλεγμόν

“for pointing out errors”

πρὸς ἐπανόρθωσιν

“for fixing errors”

πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ

“for training people to be righteous”

2 Timothy 3:17

ὁ τοῦ Θεοῦ ἄνθρωπος

This means any believer in God whether male or female. Alternate translation: “all believers” (See: When Masculine Words Include Women)

ἄρτιος ᾖ…ἐξηρτισμένος

“may be completely prepared”

2 Timothy 4

2 Timothy 04 General Notes

Structure and formatting

“I give this solemn command”

Paul begins to give personal instructions to Timothy.

Special concepts in this chapter


Scripture uses different kinds of crowns as images for different things. It appears Christ will award the crown in this chapter to believers as a reward for living rightly.

2 Timothy 4:1

Paul continues to remind Timothy to be faithful and that he, Paul, is ready to die.

διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ

“this solemn command in the presence of God and Christ Jesus.” It is implied that God and Jesus will be Paul’s witnesses. Alternate translation: “this solemn command having as my witnesses God and Christ Jesus” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ

“serious command”

ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς

Here “the living” and “the dead” are used together to mean all people. Alternate translation: “all people who have ever lived” (See: Merism)

νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ

Here “kingdom” stands for Christ’s rule as king. Alternate translation: “the dead when he returns to rule as king” (See: Metonymy)

2 Timothy 4:2

τὸν λόγον

“Word” here is a metonym for “message.” Alternate translation: “the message about Christ” (See: Metonymy)


Here the word “convenient” is understood. Alternate translation: “when it is not convenient” (See: Ellipsis)


tell someone he is guilty of doing wrong

παρακάλεσον, ἐν πάσῃ μακροθυμίᾳ καὶ διδαχῇ

“exhort, and teach the people, and always be patient with them”

2 Timothy 4:3

ἔσται γὰρ καιρὸς ὅτε

“Because at some time in the future”


The context indicates that these will be people who are a part of the community of believers.

τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας οὐκ ἀνέξονται

“will no longer want to listen to sound teaching”

τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας

This means the teaching that is true and correct, according to God’s word.

κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας, ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύσουσιν διδασκάλους

Paul speaks of people obtaining many teachers as if it were putting them into a heap or pile. Alternate translation: “they will listen to many teachers who assure them that there is nothing wrong with their sinful desires” (See: Metaphor)

κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοήν

Paul speaks of people strongly wanting to hear something as if their ears itched and could only be satisfied if teachers taught them what they wanted to hear. Alternate translation: “who say only what they want so much to hear” (See: Idiom)

2 Timothy 4:4

ἀπὸ μὲν τῆς ἀληθείας τὴν ἀκοὴν ἀποστρέψουσιν

Paul speaks about people no longer paying attention as if they were physically turning away so they cannot hear. Alternate translation: “They will no longer pay attention to the truth” (See: Metaphor)

τοὺς μύθους ἐκτραπήσονται

Paul speaks about people starting to pay attention to myths as if they were physically turning towards them to listen. Alternate translation: “they will pay attention to teachings that are not true” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 4:5


Paul wants his readers to think correctly about everything, and he speaks about them as if he wanted them to be sober, that is, not drunk with wine. Alternate translation: “think clearly” (See: Metaphor)


This means to tell people about who Jesus is, what he did for them, and how they are to live for him.

2 Timothy 4:6

ἐγὼ…ἤδη σπένδομαι

Paul speaks of his readiness to die as if he were a cup of wine ready to be poured out as a sacrifice to God. (See: Metaphor)

ὁ καιρὸς τῆς ἀναλύσεώς μου ἐφέστηκεν

Here “departure” is a polite way of referring to death. Alternate translation: “Soon I will die and leave this world” (See: Euphemism)

2 Timothy 4:7

τὸν καλὸν ἀγῶνα ἠγώνισμαι

Paul speaks of his hard work as if he had been an athlete competing for a prize. Alternate translation: “I have done my best” (See: Metaphor)

τὸν δρόμον τετέλεκα

Paul speaks of his life of service to God as if he had been running a race on foot. Alternate translation: “I have completed what I needed to do” (See: Metaphor)

τὴν πίστιν τετήρηκα

Paul speaks of his trust in Christ and his obedience to God as if they were a valuable object that he kept in his possession. Possible meanings are (1) “I have been faithful in doing my ministry” or (2) “I have kept the teachings about what we believe from any error” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 4:8

ἀπόκειταί μοι ὁ τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “God has reserved the crown of righteousness for me” (See: Active or Passive)

τῆς δικαιοσύνης στέφανος

Possible meanings are (1) the crown is the prize that God gives to people who have lived the right way or (2) the crown is a metaphor for righteousness. Just as the judge of a race gives a crown to the winner, when Paul finishes his life, God will declare that Paul is righteous. (See: Metaphor)


a wreath made of laurel tree leaves that was given to winners of athletic contests

ἐν, ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ

“on the day when the Lord comes again” or “on the day when God judges people”

ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσιν τοῖς ἠγαπηκόσι τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ

Paul speaks about this event as if it has already happened. It can be stated as a future event. Alternate translation: “but also he will give it to those who are eagerly waiting for him to return” (See: Predictive Past)

2 Timothy 4:9

Paul talks of specific people and how they behaved, of God’s work for and to him, and then closes with greetings to and from certain people.


“come…as soon as possible”

2 Timothy 4:10


These are names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)

τὸν νῦν αἰῶνα

Here “world” refers to worldly things as opposed to the things of God. Possible meanings are (1) he loves the temporary comforts of this world or (2) he is afraid he will die if he remains with Paul. (See: Metonymy)

Κρήσκης εἰς…Τίτος εἰς

These two men had left Paul, but Paul is not saying that they also “love this present world” like Demas.


This is the name of a land region. (See: How to Translate Names)

2 Timothy 4:11

μοι εὔχρηστος εἰς διακονίαν

Possible meanings are (1) “he can help me in the ministry” or (2) “he can help me by serving me.”

2 Timothy 4:13


a heavy garment worn over clothes


This is the name of a man. (See: How to Translate Names)

τὰ βιβλία

This refers to scrolls. A scroll was a type of book made of one long sheet of papyrus or leather. After writing on a scroll or reading it, people rolled it up using rods on the ends

μάλιστα τὰς μεμβράνας

This may refer to a specific type of scroll. Alternate translation: “especially those made from animal skins” (See: Assumed Knowledge and Implicit Information)

2 Timothy 4:14

Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ χαλκεὺς…ἐνεδείξατο

“Alexander, who works with metal, displayed”


This is the name of a man. (See: How to Translate Names)

πολλά μοι κακὰ ἐνεδείξατο

Paul speaks of doing evil deeds as if they were put on display. Alternate translation: “did many evil things to me” (See: Metaphor)

ἀποδώσει αὐτῷ ὁ Κύριος κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ

Paul speaks of punishment as if it were payment. Alternate translation: “The Lord will punish him for what he has done” (See: Metaphor)



2 Timothy 4:15



ἀντέστη τοῖς ἡμετέροις λόγοις

Here “words” refers to a message or teaching. Alternate translation: “opposed the message that we teach” (See: Metonymy)

2 Timothy 4:16

ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μου ἀπολογίᾳ

“When I first appeared in court and explained my actions”

οὐδείς μοι παρεγένετο

“no one stayed with me and helped me”

μὴ αὐτοῖς λογισθείη

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “May God not count it against them” or “I pray that God does not punish those believers for leaving me” (See: Active or Passive)

2 Timothy 4:17

ὁ…Κύριός μοι παρέστη

Paul is speaking as if the Lord had physically stood with him. Alternate translation: “the Lord helped me” (See: Metaphor)

ἵνα δι’ ἐμοῦ τὸ κήρυγμα πληροφορηθῇ

This can be stated in active form. Alternate translation: “so that I was able to speak all of the Lord’s message” (See: Active or Passive)

ἐρύσθην ἐκ στόματος λέοντος

Paul is speaking about danger as if he had been threatened by a lion. This danger could have been physical, spiritual, or both. Alternate translation: “I was rescued from great danger” (See: Metaphor)

2 Timothy 4:19

τὸν Ὀνησιφόρου οἶκον

Here “house” stands for the people who live there. Alternate translation: “family of Onesiphorus” (See: Metonymy)


This is the name of a man. See how you translated this name in 2 Timothy 1:16.

2 Timothy 4:20


These are all names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)


This is the name of a city to the south of Ephesus. (See: How to Translate Names)

2 Timothy 4:21


These are all names of men. (See: How to Translate Names)


“Make a way to come”

πρὸ χειμῶνος

“before the cold season”

ἀσπάζεταί σε Εὔβουλος, καὶ Πούδης, καὶ Λίνος, καὶ Κλαυδία, καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ

This can be translated as a new sentence. Alternate translation: “greets you. Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brothers also greet you”


This is a female name. (See: How to Translate Names)

οἱ ἀδελφοὶ

Here “brothers” means all believers whether male or female. Alternate translation: “all the believers here” (See: When Masculine Words Include Women)

2 Timothy 4:22

ὁ Κύριος μετὰ τοῦ πνεύματός σου

“I pray that the Lord makes your spirit strong.” Here “you” is singular and refers to Timothy. (See: Forms of You)

ἡ χάρις μεθ’ ὑμῶν

“I pray that the Lord shows his grace to all of you there.” Here “you” is plural and refers to all the believers there with Timothy. (See: Forms of You)