BIBLE STUDY


Paul's Letters To Timothy
by Greg Williamson (c) 2014, 2019
Featuring the text of the New American Standard Bible *
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Intro | 1 Timothy 1:1-11 / 1:12-17 / 1:18-20 | 2:1-8 / 2:9-15 | 3:1-7 / 3:8-13 / 3:14-16 | 4:1-6 / 4:7-12 / 4:13-16 | 5:1-16 / 5:17-25 | 6:1-2 / 6:3-10 / 6:11-21 | 2 Timothy 1:1-7 / 1:8-12 / 1:13-18 | 2:1-7 / 2:8-13 / 2:14-18 / 2:19-26 | 3:1-9 / 3:10-12 / 3:13-17 | 4:1-4 / 4:5-8 / 4:9-22 ** | Articles & Definitions | Sources

SHAMELESS SUFFERING
(2 TIMOTHY 1:8-12)

8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,
10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher.
12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrustedto Him until that day.

 
Perhaps some of the “enemies” that attacked Timothy are attacking you and making you want to give up. Shame: Paul was not ashamed of the gospel or of the Lord. Timothy should not be ashamed of either the Lord or Paul. - Warren Wiersbe [ref]
 

QuoteWorthy: If Christ Were Not, We Could Not
If Christ were not the life, the dead could never live; if He were not the resurrection, they could never rise; had He not the keys of hell and death (Revelation 1:18), we could never break through the bars of death or gates of hell. - Bishop Pearson [ref]

2 TIMOTHY 1:8 - The Holy Spirit and the Gospel (vv. 8-12)


A PRINCIPLE TO LIVE BY
Identifying with Christ

With God’s help, we should determine never to be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (see 2 Timothy 1:6-12) [ref]

do not be ashamed (2 Timothy 1:8)
The full thought here is "do not become ashamed." [ref] And so Paul was warning Timothy against the possibility of becoming ashamed, not rebuking him for already having done so. [ref] [ref] [ref] Why would Timothy be tempted to be ashamed of either Jesus or Paul? Because, as a prisoner of the Roman empire, public "[d]isgrace had come upon Paul which automatically involved all his converts, his churches, and especially his assistants." [ref] [ref] [ref] This goes along with the cultural attitude toward honor vs. shame: "In Paul’s time, people sought honor (i.e. public recognition of worth) and avoided shame (i.e. public criticism and disgrace). Roman culture was based on honor and shame. People were honored or shamed according to whether or not they conformed to the values of a particular group (e.g., a religious sect or a Roman colony). Persecution and imprisonment were instruments of shame used to correct the behavior of individuals. Whoever associated with individuals undergoing such correction shared in their shame. This explains why some of Paul’s coworkers deserted him [2 Timothy 4:10], and why Timothy’s faith and loyalty meant so much to him." [ref]

Timothy's tempation

 
is to take the course of least resistance, which means in the face of opposition to keep quiet about the gospel. This in Paul's mind is to be ashamed, which in that culture meant to regard someone (or the message about someone) as scandalous, having a dishonorable reputation. It might seem incredible that anyone would view Jesus in this way. But for both Jews and Gentiles, crucifixion (a penalty reserved for the worst criminals) was the supreme emblem of shame and dishonor. So failure to identify fully with the crucified One and the message about him was to be ashamed of him (compare Rom 1:16). Failure to identify openly with Paul, who suffered imprisonment in Rome for his faithfulness to the message about Christ, also amounted to shame for the gospel. However, the added dimension of opposition by false teachers suggests that the issue here is not simply Timothy's reluctance to proclaim the crucifixion of Christ but his reluctance to preach the gospel Paul endorsed, because its "limited," traditional notions about the Holy Spirit and the resurrection of believers were being ridiculed by the opponents as unspiritual, insufficient or outmoded. In any case, to withdraw from battle in this way is simply not consistent with the Spirit Timothy possesses. So (because of the power and courage of the Holy Spirit) Paul urges him to continue in bold service. There is no middle ground offered. [ref]
 

Paul goes on to identify the three main areas or ways in which every believer is tempted to feel ashamed:

 
• of the name of Christ, to whom we are called to witness
• of the people of Christ, to whom we also belong if we belong to him
• of the gospel of Christ, which is entrusted to us to spread [ref]
 

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ARE YOU EMBARRASSED?

We show that we are ashamed of Christ when we:

  • hope no one will think we are Christians
  • decide not to speak up for what is right
  • are silent about our relationship with God
  • blend into society
  • accept our culture's non-Christian values

By contrast, we testify about him when we:

  • live moral, upright, Christ-honoring lives
  • look for opportunities to share our faith with others
  • help others in need
  • take a stand for justice
  • love others
  • acknowledge our loyalty to Christ
  • use our lives and resources to carry out his desires rather than our own
- Life Application Bible Commentary on the New Testament [ref]

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SHAME

In our psychologically oriented age we are likely to think of shame, like guilt, as a feeling. Certainly feelings are involved in shame. But in the Bible shame has greater substance than mere feeling.

OLD TESTAMENT
Two Hebrew words are most likely to be translated “shame” or “ashamed” in the NIV and the NASB: kālam and bôš. Kālam and cognate words are used to indicate the disgrace that attends any public humiliation. It portrays some crushing hurt, which may be physical but is more likely to involve destruction of pride and confidence. The prophets often relate such shame to national defeats that were sure to come when Israel trusted foreign alliances rather than God. [See Isa. 30:3.]

The most common Hebrew word is bôš. This root with its cognates is found 155 times in the OT. Again the underlying thought is one of a failure of some sort that leads to disgrace. This word emphasizes the objective condition that causes the disgrace. The subjective, the shamed state of mind, is also present in shame situations. But the shame itself is the public exposure of the person or group because of the failure.

The most common use of this word group in the OT is to describe the result of defeat by some enemy. The defeated are humiliated and confused. Only by reliance on God can such defeats be avoided and the Lord’s people be guarded against shame. [See Ps 25:1-3.]

The history of Israel shows that God’s people all too often failed to trust. They turned to other gods and suffered crushing defeats. They came to know shame only too well. But the prophets continued to express God’s commitment to his people. One day God will cause a great turning to him. [See Joel 2:27.]

In some passages, “shame” is used to describe the inner state rather than the objective situation. Ezra was ashamed to ask a pagan king for a military escort to guard him on his return to Jerusalem “because,” he said, “we had told the king, `The good hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him’ ” (Ezr 8:22). Arriving in Judah, Ezra found that God’s people had intermarried with pagans. Crushed, Ezra prayed, “O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you” [Ezra 9:6]. Here a sensitive believer feels shame at the wrong itself, not when the consequences of wrongdoing are experienced. For most people, feelings of shame are associated with the consequences rather than the wrong itself.

Bôš is, by the way, the verb used in Ge 2:25, which says, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Before the Fall warped humanity there was no humiliation in nakedness, for male and female were guarded by their innocence.

NEW TESTAMENT
Several different Greek words are found where the NIV reads “shame” or “ashamed.” The basic words are aischynō, entrepō, and atimia.

Aischynō and its compound forms kataischynō and epaischynomai are used in the Septuagint as translations of bôš and its derivatives. In Greek culture, the focus was not on the objective consequences of actions but on the feeling of shame that might come with exposure of shameful deeds to others. The OT sense of the word is clearly seen in Ro 9:33 and 10:11, each of which quotes from the OT and affirms that anyone “who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Some other passages, including Mk 8:34–38, raise another issue -- that of being ashamed of Christ and his words in an “adulterous and sinful generation.” Here is an example of shame in the form of fear of ridicule by others. It is important not only to do right but also to take pride in the right action itself, rather than to rely on the approval of others. Jesus was willing to endure the shame associated with a criminal’s death (Heb 12:2). He is not ashamed to call us brothers (Heb 2:11). No wonder Peter wrote, “If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name” (1 Pe 4:16).

From this brief survey we can see that the emphasis in this word “shame” is on reaction to public ridicule. It is what others think of us that, in the NT’s more subjective sense, is the source of shame.

This word and compounds of it (translated “ashamed” or “shame”) are aischynō (Lk 16:3; 2 Co 10:8; Php 1:20; 1 Pe 4:16 1 Jn 2:28), aischynē (Lk 14:9; 2 Co 4:2; Php 3:19; Heb 12:2; Jude 13; Rev 3:18), epaischynomai (Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26; Ro 1:16; 6:21; 2 Ti 1:8, 12, 16; Heb 2:11; 11:16), and kataischynō (Lk 13:17; Ro 5:5; 9:33; 10:11; 1 Co 1:27; 11:4; 2 Co 7:14; 9:4; 1 Pe 2:6; 3:16).

Entrepō is also translated “shame.” It does not suggest a reaction to public opinion but a personal shame for unworthy conduct. There is also the suggestion that this shame will lead to a change in behavior. The NIV reads “ashamed” or “shame” in three of the nine NT occurrences of this word (1 Co 4:14; 2 Th 3:14; Tit 2:8) and in both of the NT occurrences of its cognate, entropē (1 Co 6:5; 15:34).

Atimia, meaning “dishonor,” is translated “shame” by the NIV in one of the seven times it occurs in the NT (2 Co 11:21).

CONCLUSION
Shame, then, is a complex concept in Scripture. In the OT, shame focuses attention on the objective situation, a personal or national disaster that humbles people before others. In the NT, shame comes with public ridicule and represents a powerful fear that all too often motivates one to conform to the world. God calls on us to follow Jesus, whatever others may think. We are not to be ashamed even if others deride us. But shame in a good person can be a positive force, leading to a change in behavior. Those who are good feel shame when they do a dishonorable act, even though no one may know of that act.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref]

of the testimony of our Lord (2 Timothy 1:8)
This refers to the testimony that Timothy is fully expected to give regarding Christ and his teachings [ref]: "of the testimony which you are bound to give in the cause of our Lord" [ref]; "the testimony 'for our Lord,' made by us 'about him' in all our preaching and teaching." [ref] In a word, it is the Gospel. [ref] (Paul may have had "in mind the saying of Jesus preserved in Mark 8:38 [Luke 9:26; see 2 Timothy 2:12]." [ref] [ref])

The word "testimony" refers to "the witness of the Lord; the Greek term is the source of the English word martyr. Church tradition says that most of the apostles died as martyrs." [ref]

of me His prisoner (2 Timothy 1:8)
Paul belonged to the Lord and was a prisoner for his sake and purpose [ref] [ref] (cf. Ephesians 3:1; Philippians 1:12-14; Philemon 1:1, 9). Whatever happened regarding his imprisonment, Paul "was entirely safe in the hands of the Sovereign Disposer of destinies." [ref]

Paul specifically mentions his imprisonment three times in this epistle (2 Timothy 1:8, 16; 2:9). [ref]

join with me in suffering for the gospel (2 Timothy 1:8)
"Join with me in suffering for" (literally: "suffer bad together" [ref]) means "to undergo the same type of suffering as others do -- ‘to join in suffering, to assume one’s share of suffering, to suffer together.’" [ref]

This suffering is "for, in the interest of, the gospel." [ref] "The thought is not that future suffering and disgrace may come upon Timothy, but that without a touch of shame he shall accept the disgrace that has now come upon Paul, which also involves Timothy." [ref]

To be unashamed of the Gospel is to be willing to suffer disgrace and humiliation for it. This is necessary because, sadly, many times opponents of the Gospel will shoot the messenger in hopes of muting the message. [ref]

As Paul makes clear in this section of his letter (2 Timothy 2:8-12), the Gospel is indeed worth suffering for:

 
• It is the gospel of power.
• It is the gospel of salvation.
• It is the gospel of consecration.
• It is the gospel of grace.
• It is the gospel of God's eternal purpose.
• It is the gospel of life and immortality.
• It is the gospel of service.
• It is the gospel of Christ Jesus. [ref]
 

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PAIN & SUFFERING

Pain and suffering have been themes for many a philosopher. But when we enter a time of suffering, all the wisest speculations of the philosophers seem empty and meaningless. We simply hurt. We struggle to cope with our pain. And sometimes when we look to Scripture to find a word on pain and suffering, hoping for a message that will heal, it may seem that we find little help.

Unlike the ancient Greek Stoics, who viewed suffering as man’s fate in an impersonal universe, the Bible affirms a world ordered by a personal God. The OT consistently sets pain and suffering in the context of morality and the divine purpose. There is no hint there of chance or fate. The NT speaks more directly about human pain and suffering and explores the stunning theme of the suffering of God. But Scripture has no magic remedy to offer when suffering surprises and overwhelms us. There is no verse to read that will instantly heal us or even dull our pain. However, there is a perspective on suffering that, if we adopt it by faith, will enable us to cope and even to overcome.

OLD TESTAMENT
Hebrew words for pain and suffering

[Some Hebrew words speak of pain, sadness or sorrow, being most concerned with mental anguish. Others emphasize physical and mental stress. Childbirth is a source of significant pain.]

Pain and suffering are concepts in the OT that draw attention to how human beings are affected by the tragedies of life. It is not the loss of a home or a loved one, nor physical agony, that seems devastating. It is how such an experience affects us within, causing doubts and fears and trembling as the pattern of our lives is shaken and our expectations fail.

Job: Why the good suffer
The prime OT example of one who endured pain and suffering is Job. Although he was a person whom God himself called blameless and upright (Job 1:8), his long prosperity was suddenly transformed into tragedy. Wealth, family, the respect of his peers, and even physical health were torn away in a single day.

Most of the book is a dialogue in which Job and three of his friends probe for the reason for Job’s suffering. All the speakers link suffering with God. God is active in the universe, a moral judge who shapes events. His commitment to goodness leads him to bless the righteous and to bring tragedy on the sinful. Thus, pain and suffering cannot be shrugged away, nor should they be borne stoically as being no more than human fate in a harsh and mindless universe.

But Job was led to anguish by the conviction that God is personally involved on some level of causation when pain and suffering come. Job’s friends argued that some secret sin must have been the cause of Job’s suffering. His pain was his punishment. Job should repent, they said, and get right with God, and God would lift his crushing hand. Job accepted this reasoning, but knew within his own heart that he had not sinned intentionally. Searching his memory, he could not even locate unintentional sins. Job’s integrity would not allow him to lie, even to protect God’s “honor.” And so Job was thrown into deepest anguish. His image of God and his justice was challenged at the deepest level of Job’s personality. Job felt stripped of hope, alone in a universe he suddenly could not understand. In his shattered trembling, thoughts of God were no comfort; they seemed only a part of the curse of suffering.

Job’s experience and his feelings have been shared by thousands of believers across the centuries. But the Book of Job only hints at an answer to the problem of pain. The window to hope is opened by a younger man who had sat and listened as his elders wrestled with Job on the ash heap. Elihu, the youth, broke the linkage between suffering and punishment by pointing out that God may at times use suffering to instruct human beings. Elihu did not explain why Job suffered. He merely said that in human suffering God may have a purpose that is separate from punishment. But that statement alone allowed Job to return in heart to God. Once again Job began to believe that God was good and would not act against his own character.

Finally, God appeared. In two magnificent discourses, Job was shown the greatness of God and the insignificance of human beings. God is not to be questioned by mere man. God is to be trusted -- even when suffering comes.

God’s discourses do not answer the question of just why Job suffered; but in this revelation of himself, God restored Job’s faith. Job took his place as a mere creature before the Creator. With restored trust came the restoration of blessing as well.

It is significant that the Book of Job never draws back from the conviction that somehow God is at work when suffering comes. His hand is there, in our days of darkness as well as in the sunshine. We may not understand his reasons for the pain that grips us. But we need not doubt his presence or his love.

Pain and childbirth
Again and again the Hebrew words turn our attention to childbirth. Pain’s essence is summed up in the writhing body and straining muscles of the woman in the pain of childbirth. The image is theologically significant. It offers hope, in that the outcome of that pain is the emergence of fresh life into the world. But it is also a constant reminder of sin’s origin. Pain and the image of childbirth take us back to Eden and to God’s announcement to Adam and Eve of the impact of their sin. To Eve he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children” (Ge 3:16). And to Adam, “Through painful toil you will eat … all the days of your life” (Ge 3:17).

The pain and suffering of the human condition are an outcome and a reminder of man’s shattered relationship with God. Pain and suffering are linked not only with individual choices but also with the sinful condition of man. How beautiful, then, the image of pain as childbirth’s travail. The seed of our suffering was planted long ago. Pain testifies to our need for deliverance. And despite our pain, we have hope that it will one day bring new life (cf. Paul’s use of this image in Ro 8:18–25).

Isa 53: The suffering servant
The OT introduces a theme that will be explained in the NT. God was to send his servant, who would be “a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (53:3). Although he was innocent, it was God’s will “to crush him and cause him to suffer” (v. 10).

The suffering servant is Jesus. And every word of Isaiah’s majestic account of what was to happen some seven hundred years later on Calvary reminds us that God has not left us to suffer alone. God has stepped into history. We have sinned. But it is God who suffers with us -- and for us (Isa 53:4–6).

NEW TESTAMENT
Greek words for pain and suffering

In most NT references to suffering, the Greek word is paschō. Other words ... are part of the same word group, which in Greek culture expressed the view that humanity is afflicted with experiences that are beyond our control and yet cause us physical and mental anguish. In the NT, these words for suffering are found most often in the Synoptics, sporadically in Paul, and frequently in Peter’s letters. The passages are usually referring to the death of Jesus and the events associated with it. Here the strongest language is used to remind us that Jesus suffered by God’s express will (e.g., Mt 16:21; Mk 8:31; Lk 17:25; 24:26; Ac 17:3) and that his suffering was foretold in the OT (e.g., Mk 9:12; Lk 24:26; Ac 3:18; 1 Pe 1:11).

English versions often use “suffer” to mean “experience”—e.g., the phrases “suffer loss” (1 Co 3:15), “suffer wrath” (1 Th 5:9), and others. These can be disregarded as we examine suffering and its meaning.

The suffering of Jesus
The NT’s view of suffering is seen most clearly in Jesus’ experience. Suffering, the OT teaches, is a direct or indirect result of sin. Either one makes the wrong choices that bring suffering as punishment or one is affected unjustly by the wrong choices of others. Jesus’ suffering, of course, falls in this latter category. He died, “the righteous one for [hyper, on account of] the unrighteous ones” (1 Pe 3:18). The sins for which Jesus was punished were not his own. In the immediate context of history, it was the sins of Jesus’ enemies that led to his suffering. In the grand context of eternity, it was your sins and mine that led him to Calvary.

The OT also sees the hand of God behind every experience of the individual. In Jesus’ experiences the hand of God is undisguised. Jesus’ suffering was “foretold through all the prophets” (Ac 3:18). He was in fact “handed over” to the wicked men who caused his death “by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge” (Ac 2:23). God’s hand is shown to operate even in the suffering that comes on us unjustly.

Finally, the suffering of Jesus is purposeful. Although an injustice, Jesus’ suffering had as its purpose our being brought to God (1 Pe 3:18). To accomplish this, Jesus’ suffering and death were a sacrifice of atonement (Heb 13:12; 1 Pe 2:21). Despite the gross injustice evident in Jesus’ execution, God has purified and in fact used his Son’s suffering to accomplish history’s greatest mission, the salvation of the race.

The suffering of Jesus underlines his full humanity. Only by truly becoming man could God not only subject himself to the suffering that has invaded history but also, through Christ’s death, lift all who believe beyond the vale of tears.

The suffering of the believer
The Christian, redeemed by Jesus, has been delivered, but not from earthly suffering. Rightly approached, “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Ro 5:3–4). Confident of our inheritance through Jesus’ resurrection, we rejoice “though now for a little while [we] may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials” (1 Pe 1:6). To produce its greatest benefits, suffering is not to be a consequence of our own sinful choices (1 Pe 2:19; 4:15).

Moreover, suffering should be viewed as fellowship (koinōnia, “participation”). Jesus suffered for his commitment to doing the will of God. A similar commitment on our part leads to a uniquely “Christian” suffering, which is linked with the completion of Jesus’ mission on earth and which is in fact an aspect of fellowship (a close relationship) with our Lord (e.g., 1 Pe 4:1, 13; Php 3:10). Thus, truly Christian suffering is also purposive: it is for the sake of Jesus, his kingdom, and his righteousness (e.g., Ac 9:16; Php 1:29; 2 Th 1:5; 1 Pe 2:19; 3:14; 4:14, 16, 19).

But what about the suffering that comes in the normal course of life? Or the suffering that comes when we have tried to do good, and some tragedy occurs? Here too the NT adds a distinct perspective. Grasping what the Bible teaches about suffering and how to meet it will not relieve our pain nor release us from circumstances beyond our control. But grasping the Bible’s teaching will enable us to cope and will rekindle our hope.

Peter’s perspective on suffering
A Christian perspective on suffering is presented in 1 Peter. Peter begins [1 Peter 1:3–9] by pointing out that our hope is fixed on Christ and the future he has for us, even though we may “suffer grief in all kinds of trials” now [1 Peter 1:6]. These trials demonstrate the genuineness of our faith and will result in praise and glory when Jesus comes [1 Peter 1:7].

The apostle moves on [1 Peter 1:13–25] to show that our hope is to be fixed fully on the grace to be given us when Jesus returns. This will free us to commit ourselves to obedience and to holiness now. As we live good lives [1 Peter 2:13–25], in submission to existing authorities, suffering may come. Peter commends bearing up under unjust suffering because one is “conscious of God” [1 Peter 2:19]. In consciousness of God, not only do we seek to be obedient and holy for his sake, but we also remember that Jesus too suffered. We are to follow his example and walk in his steps. Our attitude is to be one of simple trust in the ultimate justice of God.

God so supervises events that normally good comes to the one who does good [1 Peter 3:8–13]. But at times one who does good will suffer for it. In such a case the believer is (1) not to fear, (2) to remember that Jesus is Lord and is in charge of all events, (3) to, despite suffering, display so much hope that others will ask about it, and (4) to always keep a good conscience. To encourage his readers, Peter points to Jesus. Jesus did only good. Yet he, not the unrighteous men who were his opponents, suffered. But God used Jesus’ suffering to bring us to himself [1 Peter 3:18]. Peter’s point is that when we suffer despite doing good, we too can be sure that God has some good purpose in view.

Peter then reminds us of Noah and his family [1 Peter 3:20]. They were delivered from judgment by hearing and responding to God’s voice and were deposited in a new world. Spiritually speaking, we too have been carried in Christ into a new realm. In this new creation, we no longer live “for evil human desires but rather for the will of God” [1 Peter 4:2].

Christians are not to be surprised at suffering. When we live by the will of God, we “suffer as a Christian” [1 Peter 4:16], and this is a cause for praise rather than shame. Suffering is only for “a little while”; our destiny is to share “his eternal glory” [1 Peter 5:10].

SUMMARY
The OT portrays suffering and pain as experiences that are in the immediate control of God. They also are aspects of the human condition and must be traced back to sin. It was the disobedient act of Adam and Eve that introduced sin and suffering into history. Since that time human beings have suffered because of their own wrong choices and because of the wrong choices and acts of others. Sin is so much an integral part of human experience that both individual and society are warped and twisted, and each is a constant source of injustice and suffering.

In the NT we discover God’s attitude to suffering expressed in Jesus. Not only did God sympathize, hurting with our hurts and suffering with our suffering, but God in Jesus even entered the human race and took on himself the full weight of sin, and with it the weight of suffering. Christ’s suffering was vicarious (in the place of others). And it was an atoning sacrifice. But in the NT, Christ’s suffering is also presented as a model. Christians are to adopt his attitude of trusting obedience and to accept patiently the suffering that may come. Like Jesus, we will be vindicated by our righteous persistence in doing God’s will, and God’s wisdom will one day be known as we discover the purpose for which he has led us into pain.

The mystery of why a particular individual suffers as he or she does remains shrouded and hidden. Let us remember that from God’s perspective, time is fleeting. It is eternity that counts. And in eternity all mysteries will be known, and the bright glow of glory will wash out the last remaining stain of any despair.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

the power of God (2 Timothy 1:8)
"The same power that saves us also strengthens us for the battle." [ref]

"The power of God" is the "power given by God" [ref] (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:7; Ephesians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:5) "to those who are afflicted on account of the gospel." [ref] God "will help us through all trouble incurred for Him." [ref] Paul is telling Timothy "to use 'the spirit of power' [2 Timothy 1:7] which God has given him for suffering disgrace conjointly with Paul." [ref]

God's power comes to us via his Holy Spirit, who

 
is the ground of all ministry; therefore this call to renew the struggle begins and ends with the enablement and staying power he provides. Second, the gift of the Holy Spirit is linked expressly to suffering, struggling, and what he provides for the believer is what is needed to keep one persevering in the midst of trials that come because of faith—not removal to some higher plane. This view of the Spirit was quite different from that of the enthusiasts that Timothy and Paul faced. It is also an understanding quite different from that held by those in our churches who equate "spiritual" Christianity with the immediate resolution of life's difficulties. Paul's view is the correct one; the other is escapist fantasy covered over with a thin coat of "spiritual" paint. [ref]
 

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2 TIMOTHY 1:9 - The Holy Spirit and the Gospel (vv. 8-12)

"The source of power in our spirit is God and his power. The test of our power comes when we must suffer for the gospel. Then we must not disgrace the power of God’s love and grace which has done so much for us by having saved us and called us to our holy calling." [ref]

In 2 Timothy 1:9-10, the apostle Paul describes "the salvation which is offered us in the gospel and which is ours in Christ. Its character is man’s re-creation and transformation into the holiness of Christ here and hereafter. Its source is God’s eternal purpose of grace. Its ground is Christ’s historical appearing and abolition of death." [ref]

2 Timothy 1:9-10 may be/include "a hymn or early creed." [ref]

saved us (2 Timothy 1:9)
Salvation is relational: "God took the active role because he wants us to be related to himself." [ref]

Our salvation is a miraculous truth that we all too easily take for granted. As one commentator notes well: "The term ‘salvation’ urgently needs to be rescued from the mean and meagre concepts to which we tend to degrade it. ‘Salvation’ is a majestic word, denoting that comprehensive purpose of God by which he justifies, sanctifies and glorifies his people: first, pardoning our offences and accepting us as righteous in his sight through Christ, then progressively transforming us by his Spirit into the image of his Son, until finally we become like Christ in heaven, with new bodies in a new world. We must not minimize the greatness of ‘such a great salvation’ (Heb. 2:3)." [ref]

called us with a holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9)
This should be understood as "called us to a holy calling" -- that is, "to a life of holiness" [ref] [ref] (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:18; 4:1; Philippians 3:14). Holiness is "the condition into which, or the purpose for which, we have been called" [ref] [ref] (cf. Luke 1:47; Romans 6:19 [sanctification = holiness/holy living/a holy life]; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 7:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 4, 7; Hebrews 12:14).

"Holy" means that believers are separated "from the rest of the world unto God." [ref] Apart from Christ, even our very best works are as filthy rags. Once having been saved, however, God's Holy Spirit indwells our hearts and continually urges us to become more like Christ in our every thought, word, and deed. The basic building blocks in this process are prayer, Bible study, and Christian fellowship.

Like salvation itself, there are three phases or aspects of holiness. Holiness: 1) has been imputed (justification), 2) is being imparted (sanctification), and will be completed (glorification). [ref]

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ELECTION

[Election is the] act of choice whereby God picks an individual or group out of a larger company for a purpose or destiny of his own appointment.

Paul finds in the believer’s knowledge of his election a threefold religious significance.

a. It shows him that his salvation, first to last, is all of God, a fruit of sovereign discriminating mercy. The redemption which he finds in Christ alone and receives by faith alone has its source, not in any personal qualification, but in grace alone -- the grace of election. Every spiritual blessing flows to him from God’s electing decree (Eph. 1:3ff.). The knowledge of his election, therefore, should teach him to glory in God, and God only (1 Cor 1:31), and to give him the praise that is his due (Rom. 11:36). The ultimate end of election is that God should be praised (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14), and the thought of election should drive ransomed sinners to incessant doxologies and thanksgivings, as it does Paul (Rom. 11:33f.; Eph. 1:3ff.; 1 Thes. 1:3ff.; 2 Thes. 2:13ff.). What God has revealed about election is to Paul a theme, not for argument, but for worship.

b. It assures the believer of his eternal security, and removes all grounds for fear and despondency. If he is in grace now he is in grace for ever. Nothing can affect his justified status (Rom. 8:33f.); nothing can cut him off from God’s love in Christ (Rom. 8:35–39). He will never be safer than he is, for he is already as safe as he can be. This is precious knowledge; hence the desirability of making sure that one’s election is a fact (cf. 2 Pet. 1:10).

c. It spurs the believer to ethical endeavour. So far from sanctioning licence (cf. Eph. 5:5f.) or presumption (cf. Rom. 11:19–22), the knowledge of one’s election and the benefits that flow from it is the supreme incentive to humble, joyful, thankful love, the mainspring of sanctifying gratitude (Col. 3:12–17).

- J. I. Packer [ref]


We have to confess that the doctrine of election is difficult to finite minds. But it is incontrovertibly a biblical doctrine. It emphasizes that salvation is due to God’s grace alone, not to man’s merit; not to our works performed in time, but to God’s purpose conceived in eternity, ‘that purpose’, as Bishop Ellicott expressed it, ‘which was suggested by nothing outward, but arose only from the innermost depths of the divine eudokia’ (eudokia means ‘good pleasure’). Or, in E. K. Simpson’s words, ‘the Lord’s choices have their unfathomable grounds, but they are not founded on the innate eligibility of the chosen’. Thus understood, God’s purpose of election is bound to be mysterious to men, for we cannot aspire to an understanding of the secret thoughts and decisions of the mind of God. However, the doctrine of election is never introduced in Scripture either to arouse or to baffle our carnal curiosity, but always for a practical purpose. On the one hand, it engenders deep humility and gratitude, for it excludes all boasting. On the other, it brings both peace and assurance, for nothing can quieten our fears for our own stability like the knowledge that our safety depends ultimately not on ourselves but on God’s own purpose of grace.

- John Stott [ref]


Average folks and theologians alike have been troubled by the doctrine of divine election that is evident in the NT’s strong statements about God’s choice of believers for salvation. The fear is that this biblical theme rules out human responsibility and makes the universal gospel invitation a mockery. How can a valid invitation be extended to all if some have been preselected to respond?

Before coming to such a conclusion, however, it is important to make a few observations about how the eklegomai word group is used in the NT.

First, while statements about God’s choices found in the NT may suggest a logical problem, they do not suggest a biblical problem. That is, we may feel that the fact of God’s sovereign choice must predetermine how an individual will respond to the gospel and even that it must overrule a human being’s exercise of free choice. This may appear logical to us. But that logic is not supported by any statements of Scripture limiting human freedom or responsibility. Biblically, the choice of faith or unbelief is called for in the gospel message, and each person is held responsible for his or her decision. There is no suggestion that one is prevented from believing, or that one is forced to believe against his will. We must be careful never to exalt human reasoning above Scripture, or to suppose that our logic can stand in judgment on the logic of God.

Second, some have noted that in most contexts, God’s choices seem related to the believing community rather than the individuals that make it up. Election, in this view, deals with God’s relationship to the saved in aggregate, and it is not intended to make a statement about a divine choice of individuals.

But most importantly, the passages affirming God’s sovereign choices related to salvation should be read in the light of the writers’ purposes. Each seems to emphasize the fact that God has chosen and acted to provide salvation. This emphasis precludes the notion that salvation is a joint enterprise, part from God and part from man. Long before the first man and woman looked around at God’s fresh creation, God conceived, planned, and provided for a wondrous salvation for his church. This salvation is a work of God alone. It is rooted in his character of love and in his purposes. We human beings are simply the recipients of a free gift, prepared for us before we existed. The stress in the NT on God’s choices, linked as they are with salvation, teaches us that we must seek to understand salvation in terms of God alone. We can never explain salvation by looking at human actions or choices.

We can explain salvation only by discovery of the loving heart and costly grace of our matchless God.

- Lawrence O. Richards [ref]

not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace (2 Timothy 1:9)
Not "after the measure of, in accordance with" our works, but "after the measure of, in pursuance of" his own purpose [ref] (cf. Ephesians 2:8-10). "Grace is central to our idea of God, and to our idea of the gospel and Christianity. ... [G]race is an essential, vital part of God's nature. Grace is not a back-up plan God instituted when all else failed." [ref]

Here "purpose and grace" actually means "purpose of grace. [God's] saving purpose was not arbitrary, but gracious. It is plain, therefore, that the source of our salvation is not our own works. For God gave us his own purpose of grace in Christ before we did any good works, before we were born and could do any good works, indeed before history, before time, in eternity." [ref]

As one Bible commentator puts it: "It is the gospel of grace. It is not something which we achieve, but something which we accept. God did not call us because we are holy; he called us to make us holy. If we had to deserve the love of God, our situation would be helpless and hopeless. The gospel is the free gift of God. He does not love us because we deserve his love; he loves us out of the sheer generosity of his heart." [ref]

granted us ... from all eternity (2 Timothy 1:9)
"[T]hat which God determines in Eternity, is as good as already accomplished in time." [ref]

"From all eternity" means "before the world began, that is, before time was reckoned by aeons or cycles. Then, in that timeless present, grace was given to us in God's decree, not actually, since we did not exist. The gift planned and ordered in the eternal counsels is here treated as an actual bestowment." [ref] In Jesus Christ "was present, germ-wise, redeemed humanity, to be realised in races and individuals in succeeding ages." [ref] (See Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:4.)

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2 TIMOTHY 1:10 - The Holy Spirit and the Gospel (vv. 8-12)

but now has been revealed (2 Timothy 1:10)

"The purpose to save us was long concealed in the divine mind, but the Saviour came that he might make it known" [ref] (cf. Ephesians 3:5; Colossians 1:26; Titus 1:3). Paul's "use of 'revealed' (phanerotheisan) also implies Christ's preexistence before the Incarnation. Jesus' life did not begin at conception in Mary but has always been. He was present and active in creation (see Colossians 1:15-17)." [ref]

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REVELATION: SCRIPTURE IS THE WORD OF GOD

Christianity is the true worship and service of the true God, humankind’s Creator and Redeemer. It is a religion that rests on revelation: nobody would know the truth about God, or be able to relate to him in a personal way, had not God first acted to make himself known. But God has so acted, and the sixty-six books of the Bible, thirty-nine written before Christ came and twenty-seven after, are together the record, interpretation, expression, and embodiment of his self-disclosure. God and godliness are the Bible’s uniting themes.

From one standpoint, the Scriptures (Scriptures means “writings”) are the faithful testimony of the godly to the God whom they loved and served; from another standpoint, through a unique exercise of divine overruling in their composition, they are God’s own testimony and teaching in human form. The church calls these writings the Word of God because their authorship and contents are both divine.

Decisive assurance that Scripture is from God and consists entirely of his wisdom and truth comes from Jesus Christ and his apostles, who taught in his name. Jesus, God incarnate, viewed his Bible (our Old Testament) as his heavenly Father’s written instruction, which he no less than others must obey (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10; 5:19–20; 19:4–6; 26:31, 52–54; Luke 4:16–21; 16:17; 18:31–33; 22:37; 24:25–27, 45–47; John 10:35), and which he had come to fulfill (Matt. 5:17–18; 26:24; John 5:46). Paul described the Old Testament as entirely “God-breathed” -- that is, a product of God’s Spirit (“breath”) just as the cosmos is (Ps. 33:6; Gen. 1:2) -- and written to teach Christianity (2 Tim. 3:15–17; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). Peter affirms the divine origin of biblical teaching in 2 Peter 1:21 and 1 Peter 1:10–12, and so also by his manner of quoting does the writer to the Hebrews (Heb. 1:5–13; 3:7; 4:3; 10:5–7, 15–17; cf. Acts 4:25; 28:25–27).

Since the apostles’ teaching about Christ is itself revealed truth in God-taught words (1 Cor. 2:12–13), the church rightly regards authentic apostolic writings as completing the Scriptures. Already Peter refers to Paul’s letters as Scripture (2 Pet. 3:15–16), and Paul is apparently calling Luke’s gospel Scripture in 1 Timothy 5:18, where he quotes the words of Luke 10:7.

The idea of written directives from God himself as a basis for godly living goes back to God’s act of inscribing the Decalogue on stone tablets and then prompting Moses to write his laws and the history of his dealings with his people (Exod. 32:15–16; 34:1, 27–28; Num. 33:2; Deut. 31:9). Digesting and living by this material was always central to true devotion in Israel for both leaders and ordinary people (Josh. 1:7–8; 2 Kings 17:13; 22:8–13; 1 Chron. 22:12–13; Neh. 8; Ps. 119). The principle that all must be governed by the Scriptures, that is, by the Old and New Testaments taken together, is equally basic to Christianity.

What Scripture says, God says; for, in a manner comparable only to the deeper mystery of the Incarnation, the Bible is both fully human and fully divine. So all its manifold contents -- histories, prophecies, poems, songs, wisdom writings, sermons, statistics, letters, and whatever else -- should be received as from God, and all that Bible writers teach should be revered as God’s authoritative instruction. Christians should be grateful to God for the gift of his written Word, and conscientious in basing their faith and life entirely and exclusively upon it. Otherwise, we cannot ever honor or please him as he calls us to do.

- J. I Packer [ref]

the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:10)
The "saving purpose and plan" of God the Father was embodied by Christ the Son. [ref] "Our salvation rests firmly grounded upon the historical work performed by Jesus Christ at his first appearing. For though God ‘gave’ us his grace in Christ Jesus ‘before eternal times’, he ‘manifested’ it in time, ‘now’, through the appearing of the same Christ Jesus, our Saviour. Both divine stages were in and through Jesus Christ, but the giving was eternal and secret, while the manifesting was historical and public." [ref]

Of the six times Paul writes of "appearing" (Greek epiphaneia), five refer to Christ's future return, and five are in the pastoral epistles (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13).

Elsewhere both God and Jesus are called "Savior" (see: Saviour).

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INCARNATION

Literally, “in flesh”; theologically, the doctrine that in Jesus of Nazareth God took on human flesh and became the divine God-man. Historically, the doctrine of incarnation was central in the christological debates of patristic times and has recently come to the fore again in academic circles. Biblically, it expresses the mystery of Jesus’ identity.

NEW TESTAMENT EVIDENCE
The Synoptic Gospels
The Gospel of Mark has no account of the incarnation and stresses Jesus’ messiahship more than his deity. Although he stresses Jesus’ humanity, Mark accents it with an emphasis on divinity. [See Mark 1:11; 9:7; 14:36, 61-62; 15:39]. Thus, though the incarnation is nowhere explicitly stated in Mark, it is implicitly affirmed.

Matthew and Luke are openly incarnational. The birth narratives, of course, stress the event itself, with Matthew emphasizing Jesus’ royal messiahship and Luke, the divine witness of the Holy Spirit. Matthew’s Gospel is Christ-centered; Luke concentrates on Christ as Savior, or, more precisely, on salvation-history. [See Matthew 23:6–10; Luke 2:11; 4:16–30.]

John’s Writings
The apostle John’s doctrine of incarnation is more explicit than any of the others, teaching not only Jesus’ God-man status but also his preexistent “glory” (Jn 1:1–18). Central in this presentation is the oneness between Jesus and God the Father (Jn 10:29, 30; 14:8–11; 1 Jn 2:23). [See Jn 1:1-3, 4, 5, 9, 14, 18; Jn 3:14–18; 4:7, 31; 7:1–18; 11:35].

Acts
Many argue that the Book of Acts does not exhibit an incarnational Christology but rather is adoptionist, portraying Jesus as God’s appointed or anointed one with no hint of divine overtones (see e.g., Acts 2:22; 10:38). [However,] the Christology of Acts [is] one of exaltation rather than adoptionism. [See Acts 2:33–36, 39; 3:13-15; 7:52; 16:31; 20:24.]

Paul’s Letters
The apostle Paul presented the incarnation as Jesus’ path to suffering and redemption. [See Galatians 4:4-5; Philippians 2:6-11.]

Paul described Christ as a second Adam (Rom 5:12–19; 1 Cor 15:45–47), who brought humanity a new possibility to attain what Adam had forsaken. Through assuming the form of a man, Christ became the redeemer who reconciles people to God (Rom 3:25; 2 Cor 5:19; 1 Tm 1:15). Paul’s greatest stress, however, was that the exalted Christ provides newness of life (Rom 6:4–6; 2 Cor 3:17, 18; Col 3:1–4).

Hebrews
The Letter to the Hebrews is strongly incarnational. The opening hymn (Hebrews 1:2b–4) accents Christ’s exalted status as “the very stamp” of God’s image, aligning it with his work of redemption (“purification for sins”). [See Hebrews 1:4-9; 2:9, 18; 4:15; 5:7-9; 7:26.] The incarnation was Christ’s path to final, once-for-all atonement and victory over sin (Hebrews 7:28; 9:26).

HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
(See below for this info.)

APPLICATION
Recent incarnational theology has sometimes had difficulty balancing its understanding of Christ’s humanity and deity. Some theologians have given too much emphasis to his manhood, with the result that his atoning work is neglected. He then becomes an example of God’s gracious dealing with humanity. Such theological imbalance appears in those who have reacted too strongly to the “demythologizing” movement, stressing the Jesus of history to the extent that he has become little more than an object of rational thought.

On the other hand, some modern theology focuses only on Christ’s divinity. The Bultmannian (after Rudolf Bultmann) school has separated the “Christ of faith” from the “Jesus of history,” making him a hero in the Greek style. Some evangelicals make a similar error by removing Jesus’ teachings from the real world of history and placing them in a subjective realm of religious experience. Jesus thus becomes a vague object of religious devotion having no contact with the real world.

Another group has interpreted the biblical image of the church as the “body of Christ” to mean that the church somehow continues the incarnation on earth. The NT does not teach that idea, however; it is based on a metaphor rather than on explicit biblical doctrine. Moreover, such an application of the theme can mislead the church to assume more divine authority for itself than it actually possesses.

CONCLUSION
The NT teaching on the incarnation balances the humanity and divinity of Christ. Those two facts must harmonize in any theological system, for both are absolutely necessary parts of God’s redemptive plan. In the incarnation, Jesus became a perfect human being. As God in human flesh, he suffered the divine penalty for sin as an innocent substitute. Being both God and a man, Jesus simultaneously revealed God’s will for human life and reconciled sinful people to God through his own perfect life and death. Because of the incarnation, therefore, those who believe in Christ have peace with God and new life from God.


INCARNATION: HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT

Person(s)/Teaching: THE GNOSTICS & MARCION (2nd cent)
Challenge: "They believed Christ to be a quasi-spiritual being who merely appeared human." [ref]
Response: "After his excommunication in A.D. 144, Marcion founded his own church, and his views were widely disseminated in the next two centuries. Partly in reaction to Marcion’s christological heresy, the orthodox churches unified their doctrine." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: ARIUS (died 336) / ARIANISM
Challenge: "Arius held that the Son of God was not eternal but was created before the foundation of the world by the Father. He was therefore not God by nature, but a creature." [ref]
Response: "The Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325) affirmed that Jesus was indeed both God and man." [ref] "[T]he council produced a creed that upheld the orthodox position. Its crucial point was its insistence on Christ’s being of the same essence with the Father, rather than of similar essence (a view the Arians would have accepted). ... [Arianism] persisted (often among the highly placed) until its final condemnation at the Council of Constantinople in 381." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: NESTORIUS (late 4th cent-c. 451) / NESTORIANISM
Challenge: Nestorius "split Jesus Christ, the God-man, into two distinct persons, one human, one divine." [ref]
Response: This teaching "was condemned at the Third Ecumenical Council at Ephesus in 431." [ref] "Rejected by the Roman Empire, Nestorianism not only persisted but expanded in the East, evincing a remarkable missionary activity that extended as far as China. Modern representatives of Nestorianism are to be found in the Persian or Assyrian Church, located in Iraq, Syria, and Iran." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: APOLLINARIUS (c. 310-390) / APOLLINARIANISM
Challenge: "The special feature of his theory that made it questionable was Apollinarius's view of the human spirit in Jesus. For him, the spirit was the seat of sin. Christ, he argued, could not have had a human spirit or else he would have been liable to sin and therefore could not have been the Redeemer." [ref]
Response: "The view of Apollinarius was condemned in several church councils, first in the Council of Alexandria (362) without mention of his name. His view was condemned again in Rome (376). Between 376 and 381 when Apollinarius was condemned for the final time, a state of open theological conflict existed between the more orthodox church fathers and Apollinarius and his followers. In the Council of Constantinople (381), which settled the Trinitarian controversy by affirming the full identity of the Word with the Father, Apollinarianism was condemned ... In the Council of Chalcedon (451), the church finally and officially affirmed the full humanity of Christ. Rejecting the notion that Christ did not have a rational soul, the Chalcedonian statement affirmed that Christ is 'consubstantial with us in manhood, like us in all things except sin.' Apollinarius died still affirming his heretical view. His following, which at one time was quite large throughout Constantinople, Syria, and Phoenicia, barely survived him. Within a few years of his death they either returned to the mother church or drifted off into Monophysitism, a view which insisted that there was only one nature in Christ." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: MONOPHYSITES / MONOPHYSITISM (5th cent)
Challenge: "[T]here is but one nature [= divine] in the Incarnation and not two. ... This reaction to orthodoxy which seems to suddenly emerge after Chalcedon in reality goes back to previous aspects of Christian history. Part of its roots can be traced to Christian monasticism as practiced in the Syro-Palestinian region and in Egypt. The monks were in constant battle against their own human weakness and sinfulness. To overcome one’s humanity was to gain Christian victory. That which was identified as human had to be destroyed within one’s character. For Christ to have a similar human nature as their own would be unthinkable to the Eastern monk." [ref]
Response: "[T]he Council of Constantinople (680–681) reaffirmed Chalcedon and established the orthodox incarnation theology." [ref] "Monophysitism was extremely popular among the laity of the Eastern churches. This mob popularity often found expression in many outbursts of violence such as in Alexandria, Antioch, and other church centers in the Middle East. Even to this day this issue on the nature of Christ is one of the main theological divisions between several of the Eastern churches." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: ADOPTIONISM (2nd-3rd cents)
Challenge: "[T]aught that at birth Jesus was human, but at his baptism he underwent a 'second birth' and was 'adopted' as Son of God." [ref] Taught that "the divine Spirit descended upon Jesus -- a man of perfect virtue, sometimes granted to have been born of a virgin -- at His baptism, and that He was deified after His resurrection." [ref]
Response: "It was condemned in a series of synods and never gained many adherents until modern times." [ref] "A Roman council under Leo III reiterated the orthodox view and anathematized Adoptianism. The latter died out in Spain, but the Scholastic theology of men like Abelard and Peter Lombard caused them to draw a distinction between the two natures in order to safeguard the immutability of God. This involved them in a position rather like Adoptianism." [ref] "The historian Adolf Harnack is among those who tried to revive the term in the nineteenth century." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: ANTITRINITARIANS (after 16th cent)
"Several aberrant antitrinitarian movements took advantage of the breakdown in ecclesiastical authority [associated with the Protestant Reformation]," including Servetus and Socinus. [ref]
Challenge: "Michael Servetus (1511–53) taught a pantheistic view of the incarnation, focused on the divine Spirit becoming manifest in the human form of Jesus. Thus the Logos is not a distinct person in the Godhead, nor is it fundamentally different from a 'divine spark' in every person. At the same time Laelius Socinus (1525–62) and his nephew, Faustus Socinus (1539–1604), taught a unitarian system. The incarnation was not a transferral of the divine essence, but a communication of divine authority and revelation. Christ thus did not die as an atonement, but as a moral example." [ref]
Response: "Both Servetus and Socinianism were condemned by Catholics and Protestants alike." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: KENOTICISM (17th & 18th cents)
Challenge: "[I]n the incarnation the Logos totally 'emptied himself' (Phil 2:7) of the divine attributes." [ref]
Response: "Against that view the majority of theologians argued that Jesus was at all times both God and man, and that in Philippians 2:6–8 Jesus did not lay aside the attributes of deity (he still exhibited the 'form of God') but rather the majesty associated with deity." [ref]

Person(s)/Teaching: MYTHOLOGY (19th & 20th cents)
Challenge: "[T]he incarnation was a 'myth,' a pictorial way of describing how God spoke through Jesus. The virgin birth was not historical, nor did any of the supernatural events of the Gospels ever take place. Rather, the stories in the Gospels were concoctions of the later church, efforts to portray Jesus’ impact on the movement." [ref]
Response: The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) contain "too strong a flavor of accurate history for such a view to prevail (see Lk 1:1–5; Jn 19:35; 21:24)." [ref]

- Grant R. Osborne [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

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SAVIOUR

Whenever men by their own fault or through some superior power have come under the control of someone else, and have lost their freedom to implement their will and decisions, and when their own resources are inadequate to deal with that other power, they can regain their freedom only by the intervention of a third party. In the NT, depending on the aspect envisaged, the [language associated with saving and salvation is] used to express such intervention: liberation from bonds or by payment of a ransom ... to save, preserve and rescue ... to rescue, deliver, and thus save from a threatening or acute danger ... deliverer, saviour.

Classical Literature
The gods are saviours from the dangers of life and also protectors and preservers of men. Men could also be called saviours, in saving others from trouble and danger, and also in the case of doctors, philosophers, statesmen and rulers.

In the Hellenistic ruler cult the lord became part of the official title of kings, and divine honours were accorded them. This development found its strongest expression in the Roman imperial cultus. The term soter tes oikoumenes, saviour of the (inhabited) world, was first applied to Caesar, and soter tou kosmou, saviour of the world, is attested from the time of Hadrian, but is probably older. However, soter [saviour] was not incorporated into the official titles of the Roman rulers. The inscriptions hail Hadrian as soter of a particular city. The appellation "saviour of the world" was a generalization. It was rare for an emperor to allow himself to be called saviour on coins. The idea of the emperor as a benefactor was also linked with that of the golden age of peace, order and prosperity inaugurated by his beneficent rule.

Old Testament (LXX)
In Jdg. 3:9, 15 "saviour" might be taken as a technical term for the judges. At the time of the judges, Yahweh raised up such "saviours" for Israel who rescued them from their enemies (cf. Jdg. 12:3).

Saviour is applied above all to Yahweh, though not as a technical term. Isa. 45 contrasts the mysteries of Yahweh's working with the impotence of the idols. The prophet cries: "Truly, thou art a God who hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour" (Isa. 45:15). Israel is saved by Yahweh "with an everlasting salvation" [Isa. 45:17]. Whereas [Isa. 45:15] celebrates the mysterious working of Yahweh in history to liberate his people from exile, [Isa. 45:21] has a universal, eschatological dimension.

Yahweh is presented as saviour in Deut. 32:15; 1 Chr. 16:35; Pss. 24:5; 25:5; 27:1, 9; 62:2, 6; 65:5; 79:9; 95:1; Prov. 29:25 v.l.; Mic. 7:7; Hab. 3:18; Isa. 12:2; 17:10; 25:9; 62:11. Often the LXX speaks concretely of (e.g.) "God my saviour [ho theos ho soter mou]", whereas the MT speaks of "the God of my salvation".

The messiah is not called saviour.

New Testament
Saviour occurs 24 times in the NT, and in 16 of these instances it is applied to Christ. The remaining 8 are applied to God. It is never used of ordinary men. [See Luke 1:47; 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31; 13:23; Ephesians 5:23; Philippians 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:3, 4; 2:10, 13; 3:4, 6; 2 Peter 1:1, 11; 2:20; 3:2, 18; 1 John 4:14; Jude 1:25.]

The angel who announced the birth of Jesus to the shepherds told them not to be afraid, "for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk. 2:11). The use of saviour here takes up the descriptions given to the national leaders and to God in the OT and Judaism. In Lk. the word occurs elsewhere only in the Magnificat, where it is applied to God: "and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour" (Lk. 1:47). The latter passage echoes Hab. 3:18. It is significant that in Zechariah's psalm saviour is linked with the promised intervention of God. The use of saviour may also reflect the Christian response to the emperor cult. Whereas in the Halicarnassus inscription Augustus was celebrated as the soter who brought peace, Jesus is the true bringer of peace (Lk. 2:14).

In the proclamation of the primitive church to the Jews, Jesus is presented as the saviour of Israel: "God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:31); "Of this man's posterity God has brought to Israel a Saviour, Jesus, as he promised" (Acts 13:23). This preaching clearly draws a distinction between Jesus and God. At the same time, it draws attention to the uniqueness of Jesus as the divinely appointed and empowered one whom God had chosen as the instrument of salvation. It was precisely this that was the point of conflict between the church and the Jews.

In Jn. it is left to the Samaritans to conclude: "It is no longer because of your [the Samaritan woman's] words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world" (Jn. 4:42). This contrasts with Jesus' reminder to the Samaritan woman: "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews" (Jn. 4:22). In the latter v. Jesus draws attention to the futility of Samaritan worship, and that salvation is bound up with Judaism and comes from within it. But paradoxically Jn. 4:42 brings out its universal aspect. There is also the further paradox implied by Jn., that the Samaritans have seen this and responded to it in the person of Jesus, whereas the Jews have not.

Pauline Epistles. In the Pauline Epistles to churches saviour is found only twice. Phil. 3:20 reminds its readers of their eschatological existence and expectation in the midst of the trials of the present life. Eph. 5:21-33 is an exhortation to mutual love and respect within the marriage relationship which is seen as an image of Christ and the church.

Pastoral Epistles. In the Pastoral Epistles saviour occurs relatively more frequently than in any other NT writings: 6 times for God and 4 times for Christ. This title for God links with the usage of the LXX (e.g. Pss. 25:5; 27:9; Hab. 3:18; Sir. 51:1).

The statements in the Pastorals about God as Saviour show that God's offer of salvation is universal. They are in contrast to the exclusive attitude of the synagogue and of the gnostics, who promised salvation only to the righteous or to those possessing knowledge.

The passages which speak of the Saviour Christ are, apart from 2 Tim. 1:10, all in Tit. They furnish an all-embracing picture of God's activity for our salvation. [See Tit. 1:4; 2:13; 3:6.]

The term "Jesus Christ our Saviour" cannot be derived directly from the OT, for there the messiah is never called saviour. Jesus never called himself saviour. Nor do we find the term so used in the older strata of NT tradition, rooted in Palestinian concepts. The designation of Jesus as saviour is found "first hesitatingly, then increasingly in the Hellenistic sphere" (J. Jeremias, NTD 9, 45). From the assumption that expressions from the imperial cultus are repeatedly applied to Christ (e.g. 2 Tim. 1:10; Tit. 3:4), the conclusion was drawn that the designation of Jesus as saviour was borrowed from this cultus. J. Jeremias considers that this explanation covered only part of the facts. "The roots of this designation of Jesus as Saviour are older." Matt. 1:21 shows that "the oldest churches, using Aram. or Syr., explained the name Jesus, literally 'Yahweh is salvation', as 'Bringer of salvation'. This explanation of the name of Jesus could be the reason that Jesus was called Saviour (soter) in the Gk.-speaking areas, the oldest extant example being Phil. 3:20" (J. Jeremias). The title Saviour was necessary to help the Greeks understand what the title messiah implied for the Jews.

2 Peter. 2 Pet. uses saviour, generally linked with the title kyrios (Lord), comparatively frequently to identify Christ. [See 2 Peter 1:1 f.; 1:11; 2:20-21; 3:2, 18.]

- J. Schneider, C. Brown [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

who abolished death (2 Timothy 1:10)
This could/should/would help bolster the courage of believers who were being persecuted and put to death for their faith. "Through their faith in Christ, believers have inherited eternal life. We have nothing to fear, not even death. Therefore we can proclaim with boldness our trust in Christ." [ref]

Through his own death and resurrection Christ utterly defeated death, put it out of commission, rendered it ineffective. [ref] "Abolished" "means 'made of no effect, disarmed.' God did not eliminate death through the cross, because people still die. But He did disarm death -- take the sting out of it -- for the believer." [ref]

"The Greek article before 'death' implies that Christ abolished death, not only in some particular instance, but in its very essence, being, and idea, as well as in all its aspects and consequences (John 11:26; Romans 8:2, 38; 1 Corinthians 15:26, 55; Hebrews 2:14)." [ref] "'The death' is not a personification but 'the well-known death' that had full power over men. Since it has been shattered and pierced, this death’s grip is released; all its victims are free to escape, it cannot hold them. Only those who will not have life, who deliberately throw themselves into the arms of this death, are its victims." [ref]

What's more, "through the gospel, death will cease to reign, and over those who are saved there will be no such thing as we now understand by dying." [ref] "The carrying out of the abolition of death into full effect is to be at the resurrection (Revelation 20:14)." [ref] In that respect, "[i]t is an inheritance stored away for us." [ref]

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WHY DO WE STILL DIE?

2 TIMOTHY 1:10 -- If Jesus abolished death, why do we still die?

PROBLEM: Paul affirms in this text that Christ “has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” But death is not abolished, since “death spread to all men” (Rom. 5:12), and “it is appointed for men to die once” (Heb. 9:27).

SOLUTION: First of all, Christ did not abolish physical death immediately, but by His death and resurrection it will be abolished eventually. Christ is the first one to experience resurrection in an immortal body (1 Cor. 15:20) -- the rest of the human race will experience this later, at His second coming (1 Cor. 15:50–56). Second, Christ abolished death officially when He personally defeated it by His resurrection. However, physical death will not be completely destroyed actually until He returns again and “death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor. 15:54). For Paul tells us that “the last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26).

- Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe [ref]

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DEATH DEFEATED

[Ref 2 Timothy 1:10.] ‘Death’ is, in fact, the one word which summarizes our human predicament as a result of sin. For death is the ‘wage’ sin pays, its grim penalty (Rom. 6:23). And this is true of each form which death takes. For Scripture speaks of death in three ways. There is physical death, the separation of the soul from the body. There is spiritual death, the separation of the soul from God. And there is eternal death, the separation of both soul and body from God for ever. All are due to sin; they are sin’s terrible though just reward.

But Jesus Christ ‘abolished’ death. This cannot mean that he eliminated it, as we know from our everyday experience. Sinners are still ‘dead through the trespasses and sins’ in which they walk (Eph. 2:1, 2) until God makes them alive in Christ. All human beings die physically and will continue to do so, with the exception of the generation who are alive when Christ returns in glory. And some are going to die ‘the second death’, which is one of the fearful expressions used in the book of Revelation for hell (e.g. Rev. 20:14; 21:8). Indeed, Paul has written previously that the final abolition of death still lies in the future, as the last enemy of God to be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26). Not until the return of Christ and the resurrection of the dead shall we be able to shout with joy ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’ (1 Cor. 15:54; cf. Rev. 21:4).

What is triumphantly asserted in this verse by Paul is that at his first appearing Christ decisively ‘defeated’ or ‘overthrew’ death. The Greek verb katargeō is not in itself conclusive, for it can be used with a variety of meanings, which must be determined by the context. Nevertheless, its first and foremost meaning is “make ineffective, powerless, idle’ or ‘nullify’ (AG). So Paul can liken death to a scorpion whose sting has been drawn and to a military commander whose army has been defeated, and can cry out with defiance: ‘O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?’ (1 Cor. 15:55). For Christ ‘has broken the power of death’ (AG, NEB).

It is surely significant that this same verb katargeō is used in the New Testament with reference to the devil and to our fallen nature as well as to death (Heb. 2:14; Rom. 6:6). Neither the devil, nor our fallen nature, nor death has been annihilated. But by the power of Christ the tyranny of each has been broken, so that if we are in Christ we can be set free.

Consider in particular how Christ has ‘abolished’ or ‘nullified’ death.

Physical death is no longer the grim ogre it once seemed to us and still seems to many whom Christ has not yet liberated. “Through fear of death’ they are ‘subject to lifelong bondage’ (Heb. 2:15). But for Christian believers death is simply ‘falling asleep’ in Christ. It is, in fact, a positive ‘gain’, because it is the gateway to being ‘with Christ’ which is ‘far better’. It is one of the possessions which become ‘ours’ when we are Christ’s (1 Thes. 4:14, 15; Phil. 1:21, 23; 1 Cor. 3:22, 23). It has been rendered so innocuous that Jesus could even state that the believer, though he dies, ‘shall never die’ (Jn. 11:25, 26). What is absolutely certain is that death will never be able to separate us from God’s love in Christ (Rom. 8:38, 39).

Spiritual death has, for Christian believers, given place to that eternal life which is communion with God begun on earth and perfected in heaven. Further, those who are in Christ will ‘not be hurt by the second death’, for they have already passed out of death into life (Rev. 2:11; Jn. 5:24; 1 Jn. 3:14).

- John Stott [ref]

brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Timothy 1:10)
By means of the preaching of the Gospel, light is shed upon what was previously hidden -- namely, "the new and glorious life of the Spirit, begun here below and enduring for ever" and the immortality "of the new life, not merely of the risen body" [ref] (cf. Romans 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:42, 53-54). In that respect, it may be that here Paul uses "life" to refer to "the new life made available in this world," while "immortality" refers to "its prolongation after death." [ref] We know that in the future state "there will be no corruption or decay." [ref

"Immortality" speaks especially to the human body. [ref] "Corruption, decay, rotting pertains to the body and not to the soul or the spirit. Here we have the resurrection of the body (1 Cor. 15:53–57; Phil. 3:21). The delay until the day of resurrection does not alter the fact. The 'life' itself, although we already have it, assures also our blessed bodily resurrection." [ref]

That said, "life and immortality" may simply be another way of saying "eternal life." As one commentator explains: "Whether we should distinguish between the words ‘life’ and ‘immortality’ is not clear. They may be synonymous, the second word defining the first. That is, the kind of life Christ has secured for us, and now discloses and offers through the gospel is eternal life, a life that is immortal and incorruptible. Only God possesses immortality in himself. But Christ gives it to men." [ref]

QuoteWorthy: Translation, Not Alteration
[A]lthough both words ‘gospel’ and ‘salvation’ need today to be translated into terms meaningful to modern man, we have no liberty to alter the substance of our message. - John Stott [ref]

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2 TIMOTHY 1:11 - The Holy Spirit and the Gospel (vv. 8-12)

for which (2 Timothy 1:11)
That is, "the publication of this good news to men." [ref] Following Paul's conversion experience, the Lord "laid on him the inescapable task of wearing himself out in the service of God and of his fellow-men." [ref]

appointed (2 Timothy 1:11)
Paul uses this same word (Greek tithēmi) to make this same point three times in the pastoral epistles (1 Timothy 1:12; 2:7; 2 Timothy 1:11).

preacher ... apostle ... teacher (2 Timothy 1:11) (cf. 1 Timothy 2:7)
"God appointed Paul to be a herald (kerux, 'one who announces and proclaims'), and an apostle (apostolos, 'one who is sent'), and a teacher (didaskalos, 'one who imparts knowledge and gives instruction')." [ref] "Herald, ambassador, teacher -- here is the threefold function of the Christian who would serve his Lord and his Church." [ref]

preacher

"The word is kērux, which has three main lines of meaning, each with something to suggest about our Christian duty. The kērux was the herald who brought the announcement from the king. The kērux was the emissary when two armies were opposed to each other, who brought the terms of or the request for truce and peace. The kērux was the man whom an auctioneer or a merchantman employed to shout his wares and invite people to come and buy. So the Christian is to be the man who brings the message to his fellow-men; the man who brings men into peace with God; the man who calls on his fellow-men to accept the rich offer which God is making to them." [ref]

apostle

Paul "maintained he had been made an 'apostle' the same way the original Twelve had been commissioned -- by Jesus himself (see 1 Corinthians 15:8; 9:1; Galatians 1:11–2:10). Yes, they had spent three years with Jesus, but the final proof of apostleship was not that they had chosen to be with Christ, but that Christ had chosen them (John 15:16)." [ref]

"There are no apostles of Christ today. We have already seen how restricted is the New Testament use of this term. The gospel was formulated by the apostles and has now been bequeathed by them to the church. It is found in its definitive form in the New Testament. This apostolic New Testament faith is regulative for the church of every age and place. The church is ‘built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets’ (Eph. 2:20). There is no other gospel. There can be no new gospel." [ref]

While the original apostles left the scene long ago and have never been -- and will never be -- replaced, every true Christian is an apostle in the wider sense of the word. "The word can mean an envoy or an ambassador. The apostolos did not speak for himself, but for him who sent him. He did not come in his own authority, but in the authority of him who sent him. The Christian is the ambassador of Christ, come to speak for him and to represent him to men." [ref]

teacher

 
It made him a teacher. There is a very real sense in which the teaching task of the Christian and of the Church is the most important of all. Certainly the task of the teacher is very much harder than the task of the evangelist. The evangelist's task is to appeal to men and confront them with the love of God. In a moment of vivid emotion, a man may respond to that summons. But a long road remains. He must learn the meaning and discipline of the Christian life. The foundations have been laid but the edifice has still to be raised. The flame of evangelism has to be followed by the steady glow of Christian teaching. It may well be that people drift away from the Church, after their first decision, for the simple, yet fundamental, reason that they have not been taught into the meaning of the Christian faith. [ref]
 

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TEACH, INSTRUCT

CLASSICAL LITERATURE
didasko, to teach, suggests the idea of causing someone to accept something. It occurs frequently in Gk. from Homer onwards, and in the act. means to teach, inform, instruct, demonstrate, prescribe; in the pass. to be instructed, be taught; in the mid. to learn for oneself, to think out, to master. [T]he word is used typically for the relationship between teacher and pupil, instructor and apprentice. What is taught may be knowledge, opinions or facts, but also artistic and technical skills, all of which are to be systematically and thoroughly acquired by the learner as a result of the repeated activity of both teacher and pupil. The aim of all teaching is to communicate knowledge and skill with a view to developing the pupil's abilities, but not to force his will in a particular direction.

OLD TESTAMENT (LXX)
[I]n its LXX usage (as opposed to that of profane Gk.), the word does not primarily denote the communication of knowledge and skills (e.g. 2 Sam. 22:35), but means chiefly instruction in how to live (e.g. Deut. 11:19; 20:18 and passim), the subject matter being the will of God. God's dikaiomata, ordinances, and krimata, judgments, are to be learnt and understood; being learnt, however, they require obedience and an act of the will. They may be taught by God himself (Deut. 4:1, 10, 14 and passim), by the fathers of families teaching their children (Deut. 11:19; Exod. 10:1 f. and passim) or by the godly who know the will of God. The fact that the LXX never uses didasko for the preaching of the prophets may be explained by the close link between teaching and the law.

RABBINIC JUDAISM
In rabbinic Judaism, despite the intellectual exertions of both expositor and pupil, the rabbi's undoubted concern was not the development of his pupil's abilities but the promotion of obedience to the will of God.

NEW TESTAMENT
Jesus' Teaching Work according to the Synoptic Gospels
It is the unanimous testimony of all the Synoptic writers, and one that doubtless coincides with historical reality, that Jesus "taught" publicly, i.e. in synagogues (Matt. 9:35; 13:54 par. Mk. 6:2; Mk. 1:21 and passim), in the temple (Mk. 12:35; Lk. 21:37; Matt. 26:55 par. Mk. 14:49, cf. Jn. 18:20) or in the open air (Matt. 5:2; Mk. 6:34; Lk. 5:3 and passim). Only Lk. 4:16 ff. gives details concerning the outward form of his teaching, viz. his standing to read a portion from the prophets, then sitting to expound it, this being the normal Jewish and rabbinic custom (cf. Lk. 5:3; Mk. 9:35; Matt. 5:2; SB II 150; IV 161, 185).

In 13 places in the Gospels didasko is used absolutely as a comprehensive term for Jesus' preaching (Mk. 2:13; 6:6; 10:1; 12:35; 14:49; Lk. 4:15; 13:22, 26; 19:47; Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:1). In addition, the vb. is also used to denote his preaching and teaching in given situations (e.g. Mk. 1:21 f.; 4:1 f.; 8:31; 11:17; Matt. 5:2; 21:23; Lk. 5:3, 17; 6:6; 13:10).

What did Jesus teach when on earth? In brief, the answer is God, his kingdom and his will, all themes of contemporary Judaism, which Jesus, in the manner of a rabbi or a prophet, spoke about in his conversations with the Jews (Israel). He differed from his rabbinic counterparts not in his subject-matter but in the radical way he handled it, consistently applying all he said to concrete situations in man's life with his fellow-man, and involving himself personally in the subjects under discussion. Instead of giving merely theoretical teaching about God, his providence, his grace or his wrath, Jesus shows God's goodness and wrath at work in concrete situations (e.g. Lk. 15:1 ff.). Instead of speculating on the kingdom of God, he announces its nearness (Mk. 1:15) and so issues a call to repentance and to a change of behaviour (Mk. 7:15; Matt. 5:21 ff.). And instead of inculcating the type of legal casuistry which seeks to ensure salvation, he tells his hearers: "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them" (Matt. 7:12).

Mark. Mk. uses didasko not only in the sense of to teach, i.e. to give practical instructions or rulings on the basis of scriptural interpretation, but also (as in Mk. 1:15) in the sense of to preach the kingdom of God and the gospel, the content of the latter being Jesus himself.

Luke. Lk. frequently adopts Mk.'s use of didasko and, where he does so, uses it in senses barely distinguishable from those of Mk. This applies also to passages where the vb. is peculiar to Lk. (6:6; 11:1; 12:12; 13:26; 23:5). His view of what Jesus taught emerges most clearly from his account of Jesus in the Temple (chs. 20 f.), where the subjects are the Law, future events (goal) and matters concerned with christology. [T]he main thrust in Lk. is to the nearness of God's kingdom.

Matthew. [T]he basic sense of didasko still remains: to teach, preach. [F]or Matt., Jesus is the teacher of the church who supersedes the Sinaitic revelation and its rabbinic interpretations ("it was said to men of old") in order to lay a new foundation ("but I say to you"). After the death of Jesus, Peter guarantees this foundation (Matt. 16:18), holding the office of the keys which to the Jews meant the office of a teacher. The foundation guaranteed by him is no new law, but the fulfilment of the old, now freed from rabbinic distortions. Only now does the original intention of the law become clear (Matt. 19:8: "from the beginning"). These two verses (Matt. 16:18; 19:8) throw light on Matt. 5:19: he who lives without the Torah is without righteousness. The follower of Jesus is called not to lawlessness but to a superior righteousness, the foundation of which is the law and Christ's interpretation of it. This is why, after his resurrection, this interpretation must be passed on through teaching (Matt. 28:20).

The Disciples' Teaching
The Synoptic Gospels speak not only of the teaching carried out by Jesus but also of that undertaken by his disciples (Mk. 6:30; Matt. 28:20 and passim), and of the "human tradition" passed on by the scribes (e.g. Mk. 7:1-23 par. Matt. 15:1-20). In Lk. 12:12 the Holy Spirit is promised as teacher (cf. Jn. 14:26).

[It is] salvation as understood by the post-resurrection church which forms the subject-matter of didasko in Acts. Conversely Paul is accused of teaching the Jewish people to forsake Moses, the customs of the Jews, the temple, the people and the law (Acts 21:21, 28). Luke regards the essence of this salvation as having become manifest in Jesus (Lk. 4:16 ff.; Acts 1:21 f.).

In the Johannine writings the theme of the teaching is always the message of Jesus as the one who reveals God; it is a message which demands faith and is recognized as the true message from God only by him who believes.

Paul
Paul uses didasko only 5 times in Rom., 1 Cor. and Gal. (Rom. 2:21; 12:7; 1 Cor. 4:17; 11:14; Gal. 1:12), which is not surprising when one considers the weight of associations it must have brought to his mind after his conversion. His whole life had been governed by the paradoseis patrikai, the traditions of the fathers (Gal. 1:14), which were "taught".

The situation is somewhat different in those epistles which some scholars regard as Deutero-Pauline. In 2 Thess. 2:15 ("hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter") the reference is to 1 Thess. and to (more or less fixed) oral traditions. Here, therefore, "to be taught" no longer means "to hear the message in a concrete situation", but "to receive and keep the teaching handed down" -- reminiscent of the teaching methods employed by the rabbis. didasko also occurs in the pass. in Eph. 4:21, where the phrase en auto edidachthete, "you were taught in him", like the previous phrase manthanein Christon, to "learn Christ", refers to the conversion of those who are being addressed (cf. Col. 2:7).

In the Pastoral Epistles, it is Timothy's right and duty to teach (1 Tim. 4:11; 6:2); in 2 Tim. 2:2 teaching is the task of those who meet certain requirements, while in 1 Tim. 2:12, women are debarred from teaching. In all these passages what is taught is assumed to be "good" or "sound" doctrine (didaskalia), which is passed on and preserved (i.e. taught). It is interesting that teaching is now restricted to specific persons, and is no longer for all Christians as in Col. 1:28. In Tit. 1:11 didasko refers to heretics who, for the sake of gain, are teaching Jewish myths and commands of men. But invariably "to teach" involves passing on a tradition which is more or less fixed, as is stressed in the Pastorals by the phrase pistos ho logos, "the saying is sure" (1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11; Tit. 3:8). The emphasis falls on handing it on. The sole instances of didaktikos, skilful in teaching, occur in 1 Tim. 3:2 and 2 Tim. 2:24, where it is listed among the qualifications of bishops and God's servants.

Hebrews
Closely related to the usage of the word in the Pastoral Epistles is that of the Epistle to the Hebrews. In Heb. 5:12 the author reproaches his readers with the fact that, although they might already have been teachers, they still need to be taught afresh the first principles of God's word (i.e. those basic Christian doctrines indicated in Heb. 6:1 ff.). In Heb. 8:11 the word occurs in the quotation of Jer. 31:31 ff., where the knowledge of God, which doubtless is also knowledge of his will, seems to be the subject of the teaching.

Revelation
The two occurrences of didasko in Rev. [Rev. 2:14, 20] refer to the activity of false teachers in Pergamum and Thyatira respectively.

SUMMARY
To summarize: the NT uses didasko in the following two senses:

(a) (mainly in the Gospels and Acts) to proclaim, call for a decision, address men in the sense of teaching them those things which God requires of the whole man;

(b) (mainly in the Pastorals and 2 Thess.) to teach in the sense of handing down a fixed body of doctrine which must be mastered and then preserved intact. The only passage not conforming to this usage is Eph. 4:21.

- K. Wegenast [ref] (condensed/extracted from longer article)

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2 TIMOTHY 1:12 - The Holy Spirit and the Gospel (vv. 8-12)

suffer these things (2 Timothy 1:12)
Paul was in pain for the sake of the Gospel ("suffer" = Greek paschō: "to suffer pain" [ref]). We can almost hear Paul saying: "Because of the fulfilment of my assignment as an apostle of Jesus Christ I suffer here in this terrible Roman prison -- a dismal underground dungeon with a hole in the ceiling for light and air -- with the prospect of execution as a criminal!" [ref] And yet "Paul had no doubts, no apologies, and no fear for the future." [ref]

People will always take offense at the Gospel and seek the suffering of those who proclaim it. Why? Because "God saves sinners in virtue of his own purpose and grace, and not in virtue of their good works [2 Timothy 1:9]. It is the undeserved freeness of the gospel which offends. The ‘natural’ or unregenerate man hates to have to admit the gravity of his sin and guilt, his complete helplessness to save himself, the indispensable necessity of God’s grace and Christ’s sinbearing death to save him, and therefore his inescapable indebtedness to the cross." [ref]

I know whom I have believed (2 Timothy 1:12)
"Whom I have believed" means "in whom I have put my trust." [ref]

As one commentator notes well: "Why was he so sure? Because he knew whom he had believed in. We must always remember that Paul does not say that he knew what he had believed. His certainty did not come from the intellectual knowledge of a creed or a theology; it came from a personal knowledge of God. He knew God personally and intimately; he knew what he was like in love and in power; and to Paul it was inconceivable that he should fail him." [ref]

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WHO VS. WHAT

[In 2 Timothy 1: 12] Paul doesn’t say, “I know what I believe.” He says, “I know Who I believe.” That’s the key. What gets you through the dark, damp, dungeons of life? Not what you believe. It’s who you believe.

Many people know what they believe doctrinally. They know what they believe theologically. But they don’t know Jesus personally. Others may not be all that familiar with the theology, but they know Jesus intimately—and they’re a joy to be around.

“What” will never see you through dark, damp dungeon days. It will only say, “Wait a minute. This doesn’t figure in to my theology.”

But if you know Who you believe, you’ll join Paul in saying, “Lord, if You have me here in this dungeon, that’s okay with me. After all, when I remember what You did for me on the Cross, how could I not trust You?”

- Jon Courson [ref]

He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day (2 Timothy 1:12)
"To guard" refers "to guard[ing] against any robbery or any loss." [ref] "What I have entrusted to Him" "is best taken as that which I have deposited for safe keeping." [ref]

In the Greek, Paul's "what I have entrusted" is "'my entrustment,' meaning either (1) 'what I have entrusted to him' [his life, destiny, etc.] or (2) 'what he has entrusted to me' [the truth of the gospel]). The parallel with 2 Timothy 1:14 and use of similar words in the pastorals (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:2) argue for the latter sense." [ref] As one commentator explains more fully:

 
What Paul says is that the gospel, for which he suffers and is not ashamed, is entirely safe; he knows the Christ whom he trusts and is persuaded that, despite his imprisonment and expected martyrdom, Christ is able to guard the gospel so that its work shall not be stopped, guard it against that day when this gospel’s work will be wholly done. Taken out of Paul’s hands at his death, this “my deposit” Christ will guard, place into other hands, ever keep safe. This interpretation keeps to the line of the thought. In [2 Timothy 1:11] Paul says that he was appointed as the gospel’s herald, apostle, teacher; then he says that for this cause he is now suffering. His concern is not for himself, it is entirely for the gospel, his deposit, held by him from the Lord. In [2 Timothy 1:13-14] he calls upon Timothy to hold and to guard this same deposit. ... Many Christians would cry out at the news of Paul’s death: “Now all is lost!” Timothy himself would experience a devastating shock. Calmly, in advance Paul says: “Though I die, Christ will not fail to guard his gospel.” [ref]
 

This has profound implications for Christians living in today's increasingly secular/anti-Christian world. As one commentator puts it:

 
There is great encouragement here. Ultimately, it is God himself who is the guarantor of the gospel. It is his responsibility to preserve it. ‘On no other ground would the work of preaching be for a moment endurable’ (Barrett, p. 97). We may see the evangelical faith, the faith of the gospel, everywhere spoken against, and the apostolic message of the New Testament ridiculed. We may have to watch an increasing apostasy in the church, as our generation abandons the faith of its fathers. Do not be afraid! God will never allow the light of the gospel to be finally extinguished. True, he has committed it to us, frail and fallible creatures. He has placed his treasure in brittle, earthenware vessels. And we must play our part in guarding and defending the truth. Nevertheless, in entrusting the deposit to our hands, he has not taken his own hands off it. He is himself its final guardian, and he will preserve the truth which he has committed to the church. We know this because we know him in whom we have trusted and continue to trust. [ref]
 

If the NASB is correct -- "what I have entrusted to Him" -- then Paul may be speaking of himself: "myself and my complete salvation." [ref] [ref] As one source explains well:

 
But what has Paul entrusted to God? The Greek speaks of ‘my deposit’. Some have seen it to relate to what God has entrusted to Paul, i.e. his commission or his doctrine, and this would be in agreement with the use of the same word in [2 Timothy 1:14]. But the preceding passage would be better served by regarding Paul’s ‘deposit’ as something Paul is entrusting to God, i.e. himself and the success and continuation of his mission, everything in fact that is dear to him. The words for that day must refer to the day when Paul knows he must give account of his stewardship. He was living and working in the light of the final day of reckoning, but was sure that he could entrust the result to God. This was intended to bring real encouragement to Timothy. [ref]
 

While only one interpretation may be correct (in an absolute sense), both are true. God entrusted Paul with the Gospel, and Paul entrusted God with the results, including his own salvation.

that day (2 Timothy 1:12)
This is "[a]lso called 'Day of Christ,' when believers will stand before the judgment seat and be rewarded" [ref] (cf. Matthew 7:22; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:18; 4:8).

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*Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) | **This outline is from The Bible Exposition Commentary, by Warren W. Wiersbe