Chapter two continues with a few analogies, a few commands, and a few reminders. First, Paul used the analogies of a soldier and a farmer to illustrate the focus required to serve God well (2 Timothy 2:1-7). Just like a soldier cannot be concerned with things around him when he is in training and in battle, so Timothy must not let his circumstances take him off mission. Just like a farmer receives the first benefit of his labor in the fields, so Timothy would receive great reward for his ministry, if he remained faithful and did not quit. Knowing that none of us will last forever, Paul encouraged him to faithfully pass on the truth to a new generation – like Paul did to Timothy – who would continue to faithfully pass it along.
Second, lest Timothy think (like the readers of Hebrews) that quitting now would not affect his spiritual life and reward, Paul reminded him that there is more at stake than our current comfort – the others who still “may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-13). The promise is true that those who remain faithful will finally be rewarded for their faithfulness. However, “since he cannot deny himself,” those who do not remain faithful will be punished and lose their reward, because he is always faithful.
Third, Paul told Timothy to remind those in his charge to stay true to the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:14-19). The false teachers Paul addressed in 1 Timothy were apparently still at work, arguing with “profane chatter” that was useless to everyone. He wanted Timothy to not get drawn into it, “because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness.” Paul accused two men by name, calling them out for “undermining some people’s faith.” Only by being diligent to handle the Scriptures carefully can one guarantee his ministry to be approved by God.
Finally, Paul charged Timothy to keep himself pure, which will help him keep his doctrine pure (2 Timothy 2:20-26). His job was to teach the truth and correct opponents to the truth, with gentleness, not getting dragged into useless arguments that would help no one. This, Paul thought, was the method God may use to bring them “to their senses and escape the devil’s trap” of questioning, substituting, and finally denying God’s expressed word.