Featured Items Ritchie Christian Media

The Word of God in 2 Timothy

P Harding, Newton Stewart

Undoubtedly "last days" are in the mind of the apostle as he writes this epistle. He has before him the difficulties for the child of God in such an environment and the resources available to the believer at the close of this day of grace. This epistle describes the moral and spiritual features which show that in the "last days" the Word of God is rejected and its moral and spiritual authority disallowed by men and women. Disloyalty is to be expected even by those who claim to be Christians. Due to this, the epistle places great emphasis upon the Word of God. The importance of Scripture and its rightful place in the lives of believers is emphasised in the description given to it in every chapter.

The Wholesome Word for our Sustenance (1.13)

"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me." The emphasis here is on the need to have and hold fast the outline of sound words. The word "sound" (Strong, 5198) is found seven times in the pastoral epistles: "sound doctrine" (1 Tim 1.10; 2 Tim 4.3; Tit 1.9; 2.1); "sound words" (2 Tim 1.13); "sound in (the) faith" (Tit 1.13; 2.2). "Sound" indicates that which is healthy and wholesome. It is the essential character of the Scriptures which contain all that is vitally necessary for promoting and maintaining spiritual health. God has provided the necessary spiritual food to make us spiritually healthy and strong. The measure of our spiritual health and strength depends on how much we feed upon the Word of God, and thus the exhortation is: "As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (1 Pet 2.2). John writes, "I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong" (1 Jn 2.14.). Why were they strong? Because, John continues by stating, "…the word of God abideth in you". The divine life in them was energetic, vigorous and healthy.

The Word of God was not merely a text book or reading matter, but food on which they fed; it was nourishment which strengthened them spiritually. What was the result? "Ye have overcome the wicked one." When the enemy attacked them they were able to stand and overcome him. Wrong food will undermine our spiritual health and strength so we must take care as to what we read and what we feed upon. The wholesome, health-giving Word of God will produce godliness and holiness in our lives.

The Word of Truth for our Study (2.15)

The exhortation in this verse is to be "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". The essence of the Word is truth in contrast to the error of false teachers. The instruction to "Study" is to be diligent with earnest endeavour. To what purpose is this diligence necessary? "To show thyself approved unto God." The approval of God is important, not the applause of men, as the Judgment Seat is ahead.

Such diligence would mark us out as workmen that need not to be ashamed. There would then be no cause for shame as to our service for Him and our handling of the Word of Truth. Shame is avoided by "rightly dividing the word of truth". This is cutting straight, dividing carefully and accurately sacrificial animals. "Trust in the Lord…In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct (make straight or guide accurately) thy paths" (Prov 3.5-6).

In the light of false teachers who corrupt the Word of Truth we need care and diligence in handling it. The Word of Truth must be taught accurately in order that the steps of the saints are rightly directed in the pathway of the will of God. It is dreadful to misdirect the steps of the saints. There is the need for diligent, prayerful, methodical study of the Scriptures. To know the will of God we must spend time in the Word of Truth for a most important thing in life is knowing the will of God.

The Word of God for our Sufficiency (3.16-17)

The believer must seek sufficiency in every sphere and circumstance. Through the Word of God we were instructed in the way of salvation (vv.14-15), but its profit embraces much more for it is profitable or valuable for:


Teaching - imparting knowledge as to the mind of God, the purpose of God and most importantly of God Himself. This is knowledge intended to be applied to our hearts and minds; knowledge to mould and fashion our lives for God. Doctrine is the opening up the mind of God to our hearts.


Conviction - the Holy Scriptures spread a divine light that exposes everything in our lives that is contrary to the mind of God. Thus the Word of God convicts and rebukes us regarding what is wrong in our lives.


The inevitable result of reproof - and the word carries the idea of restoration. It is the adjusting of one’s life to correspond with the standard set out in the Scriptures, i.e. to restore to an upright position.

Instruction in Righteousness

Training in right doing - this training can only be effectual by the application of the Word of God to one’s life, so that "the man of God may be perfect (mature), throughly furnished (fitted out) unto all good works (every good work)". The goal is to be fully equipped and competent in the things of God.

The Whole Counsel of God for our Service (4.2)

"Preach the word" is part of the charge laid before Timothy. This is in accord with the words of the Lord Jesus: "Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples of) all nations…" (Mt 28.19). Paul did preach and teach the whole counsel of God; nothing was omitted or only taught in part, as he stated to the Ephesian elders: "I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you" (Acts 20.20) and, "I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20.26-27). Scripture must be respected and taught in its entirety.



Back issues are provided here as a free resource. To support production and to receive current editions of Believer's Magazine, please subscribe...

Print Edition

Digital Edition

Copyright © 2017 John Ritchie Ltd. Home