Bible Query from
2 Timothy

Q: In 2 Tim 1:5, why did Paul not talk about Timothy's father's faith as well as his mother's?
A: Acts 16:1 says Timothy's mother was a Jewess and a believer, and his father was a Greek.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:9, since God saved us only by His own purpose and grace before time began, why should we try to persuade men as 1 Cor 9:20-23 says? Either they are predestined to get saved or they are not.
A: Ephesians 2:8 says they are saved by grace through faith. God did save the elect before time began, but not in a way that lessens our responsibility or our choice. Do not confuse the ends with the means. Our preaching and persuasion, and their response, is a part of the means to their salvation.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:10, since Christ abolished death, why do believers still die?
A: There are two aspects to the answer.
1. Jesus abolished eternal death for believers.
2. While Jesus officially conquered death at the cross, He will come and abolish physical death eventually after His Second Coming.
See When Critics Ask p.503 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 1:13, since we are to hold fast to the form of sound words, why does Paul rebuke those who hold the form of godliness, but deny its power, in 2 Tim 3:5?
A: We are to hold the form of godliness as well as believe its power. We are supposed to have godliness on both the inside and outside, as Jesus taught in Matthew 23:15-26.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:1, since grace is undeserved favor given by God, how can we do something to be strong in grace?
A: There are multiple aspects to God's grace. God's grace was promised before time began (Titus 1:2), and redemption through Jesus (Romans 3:24). Grace also sustains us day to day.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:7, why did Paul not explain himself to Timothy as clearly as possible?
A: Why did the Greek philosopher Socrates ask questions? Probably Paul asked for the same reasons. Paul was clear, but Paul spoke these illustrations in general terms for Timothy to ponder. Sometimes when we teach others, a good method is to use general illustrations and questions and have the students go through the process of coming up with the particular answers. Of course, Timothy could write Paul or see him later, to ask on anything about which he failed to get insight.
Likewise, God often uses general illustrations to teach us. He does not leave us in the dark either, for God has given us the Holy Spirit, and each other, to guide us.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:8, why would Paul tell Timothy to remember Jesus raised from the dead, [allegedly] like it was an afterthought easy to forget?
A: It was no afterthought. Paul in 2 Timothy 2:8 is saying to remember to emphasize this as one of the essential and primary parts of the Gospel, as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Just one chapter prior Paul says that Christ Jesus "destroyed death" in 2 Timothy 1:10.
One might incorrectly think Paul would not need to mention it at all, since he was writing to his trusted co-worker Timothy. But as Paul still reminded even Timothy about the resurrection, we still need to remind each other.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:10, why does Paul endure for the sake of the elect, and not everyone else's?
A: Paul preached and suffered persecution indiscriminately for all. Yet, while all of Paul's work glorified God, Paul knew that his efforts would be in vain for those who did not choose the Lord (Joshua 24:21-22) and did not combine the Gospel they heard with faith (Hebrews 4:2).

Q: Does 2 Tim 2:12 indicate we can lose our salvation by denying Christ?
A: Genuine Christians disagree on this. Many early Christians, and Christians today such as many Biblical Methodists, Nazarenes, free-will Baptists, most charismatics, and Lutherans would say yes. Other Baptists, Bible Church, and Reformed would generally say no. See the discussion on Hebrews 6:4-12 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:14, since we should not quarrel about words, should we never dispute with those who disagree with us?
A: No. First, 2 Timothy 2:14 says "quarrel", not debate, dispute, correct, or rebuke. Second, it says quarrel "about words", versus more substantive matters. See When Critics Ask p.503-504 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:15, should everyone be a student to be approved by God?
A: Yes. Every Christian should study the scriptures, as Acts 2:42, Psalms 119, and 2 Timothy 3:15-16 imply. Only some have the gift of teaching and should be teachers (1 Corinthians 12:29; James 3:1).

Q: In 2 Tim 2:20-21, how can we choose what kind of vessel we are, since Rom 9:21-23 says it was God who made some vessels for honor and some for no honor?
A: God formed us like clay, but God and us interact more than simply as a potter and clay. Even more than lifeless clay, we have some ability to either harden ourselves (Exodus 8:15, Hebrews 3:15) or be soft. To at least some degree, all people can choose whether to ignore or to see their own sinfulness, their need for God, and cry out for help.

Q: In 2 Tim 2:25 and Acts 5:31, is repentance given by God, or is it something we are commanded to do as Acts 17:30 and Mark 1:5 show?
A: Both.
God gives us the opportunity to repent, but God does not actually repent for us. Repentance is a gift from God, but we have to receive this gift. See When Critics Ask p.504 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:1-8, instead of God just telling us He knows about a future terrible time, why did God not do something to prevent it?
A: An important part of sound theology is understanding two words: "God permits". Every single thing is worked together in God's purpose (Ephesians 1:11, Proverbs 16:4), but as Matthew 23:37-39, Ephesians 4:30, and Hebrews 3:10 show, God allows things that break his heart, make Him angry, and grieve His Holy Spirit (Isaiah 63:10). The Bible never says this is the best possible world, but many believe this is God's best possible process for making the best possible world, in Heaven.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:2, since it is bad for people to be "lovers of themselves", why are we to love our neighbor as ourselves in Mt 22:39?
A: The meaning of 2 Timothy 3:2 is people who love themselves more than others, including people who love only themselves and not others. See When Critics Ask p.355-356 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.335-337 for complementary answers.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:3 (KJV), is this "truce breakers" or "implacable" as other translations say?
A: This is a shortcoming in the KJV English translation. It is "implacable" in the Greek manuscripts. See the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1750 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:8, who are Jannes and Jambres, and how did their names get in the New Testament?
A: These are the Greek form of names of some of the Egyptian magicians who opposed Moses in Exodus 7:11-12,22; 8:7,18-19. Their names are not mentioned in the Old Testament, but their names were preserved in Jewish tradition and the historian Pliny.
The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 3 p.638 says "the two brother magicians appear frequently in Jewish, Christian, and pagan sources extant in Arabic, Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, Old and Middle English, and Syriac. Hebrew and Aramaic literature gives the names as y(2)hny// and mmr/ as well as in more Hellenized guise with final samek: ynys and ym(b)rys."
Here are some examples:
Menahoth 85a: "Yohane and Mambres"
Zadokite Work at Qumran 7:19 "Yohaneh and his brother"
Targum of Jonathan on Exodus 7:11.
At Qumran 6Q15 (The Damascus Document) 5 17b-19 1st century B.C. (Yohanah/Yhnh) and his brother) Apparently they are portrayed here as Israelite enemies of Moses and Aaron, rather than Egyptian.
Yalqut Reu.
The non-Jewish historian Pliny (77 A.D.) mentions Moses, Jannes, and "Lotapes" as magicians among the Jews thousands of years after Zoroaster.
The neo-Platonist Numenius of Apamea (2nd century A.D. mentions that Jannes and Jambres were able to undo even the greatest of the disasters which Moses brought against Egypt. (from Eusebius' Praeparation Evangelica 9:8). Origen also mentions this about Numenius of Apamea.
There was a book called Jannes and Jambres (probably written by a Jew), referenced in Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.
Prior to Nicea the Christian writers who referenced Jannes and Jambres are Origen, Cyprian of Carthage, and Archelaus. There are additional Christian references after Nicea too. See The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 3 p.638-640, The Expositor's Bible Commentary volume 2 p.407-408, and The New Bible Dictionary first edition p.599 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:12, if someone has not been persecuted, does that mean he or she is not a Christian?
A: Yes and no. Some godly people, such as Paul, endured severe persecution from other men. Other godly people, such as Job, have little or no persecution from people. However, all godly people need to persevere against inevitable persecution from demons. This persecution, in the form of threats, acts, and temptations, often comes through other people too. See When Critics Ask p.505 for more info.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:16, does that mean all scripture, or only the scripture that is given by God?
A: According to rules of Greek grammar, when there is no first main verb, the phrase is "all scripture is inspired by God". It is incorrect to translate it "all scripture that is inspired by God" According to Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions, p.13 Martin Luther translated it the incorrect way, though Luther believed that all Scripture was inspired of God.
"Scripture" that was not given by God was a concept unknown to all the Old and New Testament, and early church witnesses. The first known concept of people of another religion believing that "true" scripture that was not given God, or even given by God and later "abrogated" is not in Christianity but Islam in Mohammed's time.
The KJV and all modern translations I am aware of translated this correctly. The NRSV translates this correctly, but puts in a footnote "Or Every scripture inspired by God is also" See When Critics Ask p.505-506 and Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.416-417 for a more detailed discussion, and 2 Peter 3:16-17 for another difficulty with the RSV.

Q: In 2 Tim 3:16, is Paul referring to just the Old Testament?
A: No. When Paul said "all scripture" that would refer to all that he considered scripture. Bible Difficulties and Seeming Contradictions p.12-13 mentions that Paul in 1 Timothy 5:18 quoted, as Scripture, from the gospels (Matthew 10:10 and Luke 10:7).

Q: In 2 Tim 3:16-17, is it really true that the Bible contains what is needed for Christian doctrine?
A: Yes. Here is an unusual statement from an unlikely source. In the Jehovah's Witnesses Watchtower magazine 8/15/1981 p.28-29 it says, "They say that it is sufficient to read the Bible exclusively, either alone or in small groups at home. But, strangely, through such 'Bible reading,' they have reverted right back to the apostate doctrines that commentaries by Christendom's clergy were teaching 100 years ago..." - strange indeed that Bible readers would revert back to these doctrines!
Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse p.98-100 points out that the Watchtower Society admits that JW's who read the Bible alone stop believing in Watchtower teachings and return to the teachings of Christian churches. Whose doctrines, then, are the ones that are truly based on the Bible?

Q: In 2 Tim 3:17, can people become perfect?
A: -In this life no, but in Heaven all believers will be perfect. See also the discussion on Philippians 3:15.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:8, did Paul do things just to get a Heavenly crown?
A: No, it was primarily "the love of God that constrained him" (2 Corinthians 5:14). However, Paul also eagerly longed for his heavenly crown (2 Timothy 4:8). Paul's crown was not just a mere gold weight, but the joy and fellowship of the people to whom Paul introduced the Gospel, as Philippians 4:1 states.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:10, how could Demas forsake Paul, since Paul spoke well of Demas in Phm 24?
A: 2 Timothy and Titus were the last epistles (letters) Paul wrote. Paul spoke well of Demas earlier in Philemon 24, and Paul was with Demas in Colossians 4:14 However, Demas turned back and deserted Paul because Demas loved this world. Even today, some can be serving Christ and yet later turn away because they love this world.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:10 and Titus 3:12, what is interesting about Titus going to Dalmatia?
A: In Titus 3:12 Paul asked Titus to meet him there in Nicopolis. Since Paul said "there", this indicates that Paul had not arrived in Nicopolis yet according to The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.11 p.448. The New International Bible Commentary p.1491 points out that Nicopolis was a strategic city for moving into Dalmatia. In 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul says that Titus has gone into Dalmatia. This shows us that Paul wrote Titus before 2 Timothy.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:11, why was Mark profitable to Paul, since Paul did not want to take Mark along in Acts 15:37-40?
A: Previously Mark left Paul in the middle of his missionary journey. When Barnabas wanted to give him another chance, Paul refused, so they separated. Church history tells us that Barnabas and Mark were much used of God to evangelize Egypt. Paul had an error in judgment in not taking Mark, but God is so wonderful, He can even use our errors for His glory as a part of His plan.
Later Paul recognized the Mark was valuable, and to underscore that fact without emphasizing Mark's previous behavior, asked for Mark by name.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:13, why did Paul keep personal property, like scrolls and a cloak? The disciples had all things in common in Acts 4:32-35.
A: Acts 4:32-35 is an example, not a command, of the early disciples having all in common. 2 Timothy 4:13 shows that personal property is fine too. However, Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1-11 show that whatever you decide to give to God, be honest about what you give. See the New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology p.697-699 for more on owning property.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:13, why is Paul asking a personal favor in God's word?
A: Scripture shows us not only by direct teaching but by example. This verse is useful to show how Paul related to people and that personal property is fine.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:14, is this the same Alexander mentioned in 1 Tim 1:20?
A: Paul is talking to Timothy both times, and nothing prevents this from being the same Alexander. On the other hand, Alexander was a fairly common Greek name. The NIV Study Bible p.1847 and The Nelson Study Bible p.2061 say it possibly is the same person. The New Geneva Study Bible p.1908 says it is unclear.

Q: In 2 Tim 4:14, is Paul cursing Alexander?
A: Paul never said he cursed Alexander, but Paul reminded his readers that Christians do not need to seek retribution, because God will repay people according to their deeds.

Q: In 2 Tim, How do we know that Paul really wrote this book?
A: 2 Timothy claims it was by Paul, often just called the apostle", and the early church never found reason to question this claim.
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:10,11 as by Paul in the epistles. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 14.1 p.438
The Muratorian Canon (190-217 A.D.) ch.3 p.603 mentions that Paul wrote to seven churches in his epistles, Corinthians (2 letters), Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Galatians, Thessalonians (2 letters), Romans. Wrote Philemon, Titus, two letters to Timothy.
Clement of Alexandria (202 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 6:20,21 as by Timothy. Then he says, "Convicted by this utterance, the heretics reject the Epistles to Timothy." Stromata book 2 ch.11 p.359
Tertullian (207/208 A.D.) (partial) asks Marcion why he rejects as scripture the apostle's two letters to Timothy and one to Titus. Five Books Against Marcion book 5 ch.21 p.473.
Origen (225-253/254 A.D.) (implied) quotes 2 Timothy 3:6-7 as by Paul. Origen Against Celsus book 6 ch.24 p.584
Origen (239-242 A.D.) (partial) quotes part of 2 Timothy 3:4 as by the apostle. Homilies on Ezekiel homily 3 ch.5.2 p.59
Origen (233/234 A.D.) (1 Timoth implies a 2 Timothy) quotes 1 Timothy 2:8 as by Paul in 1 Timothy. Prayer ch.9.1 p.38
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "Of this same thing, Paul in the second Epistle to Timothy: 'I am now offered up, and the time of my assumption is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. There now remains for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me in that day; and not only to me, but to all also who love His appearing.'" [2 Timothy 4:6-8] Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 third part ch.16 p.539. See also Treatise 12 third part ch.67 p.551.
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) "Looking forward to which, the blessed Apostle Paul writes to Timothy, and warns him that a bishop must not be 'litigious, nor contentious, but gentle and teachable.'" [2 Timothy 2:24] Epistles of Cyprian Letter 73 ch.10 p.389
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) (implied, if a first, then a second) "The apostle in his First Epistle to Timothy: 'But if any take not care of his own, and especially of those of his own household, he denies the faith, and is worse than an infidel.'" Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 12 part 3 ch.75 p.552
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) "as Paul also gives us to understand when he writes in the following terms in his second Epistle to Timothy: 'As Jamnes and Mambres withstood Moses, so have these also resisted the truth: men of corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith." (The orthodox Diodorus is speaking) Disputation with Manes ch.45 p.221
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) (partial) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7-8 as by "the blessed apostle" Disputation with Manes ch.35 p.209. He also alludes to 2 Timothy 3:8,9 in ch.36 p.210.
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) quotes half of 2 Timothy 3:4. It is at the end of a long catena of three verses introduced as "according to the blessed Paul". Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 1 ch.13 p.296
After Nicea John Chrysostom (c.396 A.D.) said it was by Paul the apostle in Homily 1 on 2 Timothy.
One unusual phrase in 2 Timothy 2:, is that Jesus is "seed of David." It is found elsewhere only in Romans 1:3. Other places, do not use this wording, such as Revelation 5:5 where instead it says "root of David".

Q: In 2 Tim, how do we know if what we have today is a reliable preservation of what was originally written?
A: There are at least three reasons.
1. God promised to preserve His word in Isaiah 55:10-11; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 40:6-8; 1 Peter 1:24-25; and Matthew 24:35.
2. Evidence of the early church. Here are the 10 pre-Nicene writers who referred to verses in 2 Timothy.
Polycarp (100-155 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 2:12 He [the Lord] has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, 'we shall also reign together with Him,' provided only we believe." Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians ch.5 p.34
Irenaeus (182-188 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:10,11 as by Paul in the epistles. Irenaeus Against Heresies book 3 14.1 p.438
The Muratorian Canon (170-210 A.D.) ANF vol.5 p.603 mentions Paul's two letters to Timothy, as well as Paul's other 11 letters.
Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.) says "the blessed apostle" wrote 2 Timothy 2:14,16,17 and he quotes those verses. Stromata book 1 ch.10 p.311
Tertullian (207/208 A.D.) asks Marcion why he rejects as scripture the apostle's two letters to Timothy and one to Titus. Five Books Against Marcion book 5 ch.21 p.473.
Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.) alludes to 2 Timothy 4:8a. Treatise on Christ and Antichrist ch.31 p.210
Origen (c.240 A.D.) quotes Isaiah 11:2-3 and then 2 Timothy 1:7. "And you yourself can bring together from the Scriptures these winds." Homilies on Jeremiah Homily 8 ch.5 p.81
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 2:4,5 as "to Timothy" Treatises of Cyprian Treatise 3 Third book Testimonies ch.11 p.536
Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.) mentions Paul to Timothy and quotes 2 Timothy 2:24 Letter 73.9 p.389
Archelaus (262-278 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7-8 as by "the blessed apostle" Disputation with Manes ch.35 p.209. He also alludes to 2 Timothy 3:8,9 in ch.36 p.210.
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) quotes half of 2 Timothy 3:4. It is at the end of a long catena of three verses introduced as "according to the blessed Paul". Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 1 ch.13 p.296
Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.) mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus, alluding to 2 Timothy 2:17. Epistles on the Arian Heresy Epistle 2 ch.5 p.298
33+ writers After Nicea
Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History
(323-326 A.D.)
Aphrahat the Syrian (337-345 A.D.) paraphrases 2 Timothy 2:11,12 Select Demonstrations Demonstration 6 ch.1 p.363
Athanasius (367 A.D.) lists the books of the New Testament in Festal Letter 39 p.552
Hilary of Poitiers (355-367/368 A.D.) quotes half of 2 Timothy 2:17 as by the Apostle, just after he mentioned the Blessed Apostle Paul in the same chapter. On the Trinity book 8 ch.1 p.137
Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae (350-370 A.D. or 5th century) mentions Paul's two letters to Timothy as part of the New Testament. It quotes 2 Timothy 1:1-2a.
Cheltenham Canon (ca.360-370 A.D.)
Ephraem the Syrian (373 A.D.)
Synod of Laodicea (343-381, 363 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia (357-378/379 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 2:2 as by Paul. On the Spirit ch.13.29 p.19
Ambrosiaster (after 384 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem (c.349-386 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan (370-390 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7,8 as by Paul Duties of the Clergy book 1 ch.15.58 p.11.
Gregory Nanzianus (330-391 A.D.)
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 1:4 as Paul writing to Timothy. Letter 3 ch.15.1 p.55
Amphilochius (before 394 A.D.) Iambi ad Seleucum
John Chrysostom 396 A.D. wrote down ten sermons on 2 Timothy which we still have preserved today. He said it was by Paul the apostle in homily 1 on 2 Timothy.
Gregory of Nyssa (c.356-397 A.D.) quotes of 2 Timothy 3:16 as by the Apostle in Against Eunomius book 7 ch.1 p.192
Syriac Book of Steps (Liber Graduum) (350-400 A.D.)
Syrian Catalog of St. Catherine's (ca.400 A.D.)
Epiphanius of Salamis (360-403 A.D.)
Pope Innocent I of Rome (ca.405 A.D.)
Rufinus (374-406 A.D.)
Severian (after 408 A.D.)
Jerome (373-420 A.D.) quotes 2 Timothy 4:7,8 as by the Apostle Paul.
Council of Carthage (393-419 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo (388-430 A.D.) says Paul wrote 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy On the Forgiveness of Sin, and Baptism ch.48 p.33
John Cassian (419-430 A.D.) quotes 1 Timothy 4:14 and 2 Timothy 1:6 as "To Timothy" in The Third Conference of the Abbot Chaeremon ch.12 p.429
Vincent of Lerins (c.434 A.D.)
Socrates (c.400-439 A.D.) Ecclesiastical History
Eucharius (ca.424-455) Instructiones
Theodoret of Cyrus (bishop and historian) (423-458 A.D.)
Cyril of Alexandria (444 A.D.)
Euthalius of Sulca (ca.450 A.D.)
Prosper of Aquitaine (425-465 A.D.) refers to 2 Timothy 1:8f as "To Timothy"
others too.
Among heretics and spurious books
Arian heretic Eunomius (c.360-c.394 A.D.) alludes to 2 Timothy 2:25 as by "the blessed Paul" Apologetic Letter ch.19 p.57
The heretic Pelagius (416-418 A.D.)
The Pelagian heretic Theodore of Mopsuestia (392-423/429 A.D.) quotes part of 2 Timothy 2:19: "The Lord knows who are His." Commentary on Zechariah ch.14 p.393
3. Earliest manuscripts we have of 2 Timothy show there are small manuscript variations, but zero theologically significant errors.
Sinaiticus [Si] 340-350 A.D.
2 Timothy was not preserved in Vaticanus [B]
Alexandrinus [A] c.450 A.D.
Ephraemi Rescriptus [C] 5th century
Claromontanus [D] 5th/6th century
I Washington, D.C. 5th century
Italic [Ital] 4th to 13th centuries
Bohairic Coptic [Boh] 3rd/4th century
Sahidic Coptic [Sah] 3rd/4rth century
Latin Vulgate [Vg] 4th and 5th centuries
Armenian [Arm] from 5th century
Georgian [Geo] from 5th century
Ethiopic [Eth] from c.500 A.D.
Peshitta Syriac [Syr P] 400-450 A.D.
Harclean Syriac [Syr H] 616 A.D.
See for more on early manuscripts of 2 Timothy.

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