(Vs. 1) "MY SON" indicates the close relationship between these two servants of Christ and expresses the deep affection Paul had for Timothy. We are members of His family, and we love one another. "BE STRONG," inwardly and outwardly, in the grace of Christ. Be rooted and grounded in it, have a full persuasion of your interest in it, preach it boldly, and defend it bravely. Oppose every error and false teacher. Grace comes from Christ alone; it is to be found only in Him; and what He gives in His Son, He will maintain and strengthen by His Spirit. The flesh is sluggish, and we must frequently be aroused and encouraged (Heb. 3:13; 10:24-25).
(Vs. 2) The things Timothy had heard from Paul were the doctrines of the gospel, the mysteries of the grace of God, the walk and works of faith, and justification by faith alone apart from works of the law. This was not Paul's theology and teaching ALONE, but was confirmed by many witnesses Moses and the prophets, Christ Jesus our Lord and Saviour, and all the other apostles and witnesses of His grace and glory (Acts 10:43; I John 1:1-3).
"COMMIT THIS GOSPEL TO COMPETENT, CAPABLE, AND FAITHFUL MEN," men who are not only believers in Christ and have received the grace of God into their hearts, but men who will preach it boldly, declare the whole counsel of God, and will not be turned aside by covetousness, fear, nor the praise of men. If future generations are to hear the gospel, we must pass the torch on to faithful young men who will continue the ministry of the gospel.
(Vs. 3) It is certain that those who believe and preach the gospel of God's grace shall suffer persecution, trial, and affliction for the sake of the gospel (John 16:33; 15:18-20; II Tim. 3:12-14). Christ is our Captain and we are His warriors, engaged in the warfare against the forces of evil! We must expect to be attacked by the enemy and put to a stern test by our adversaries. These hardships and trials are to be borne patiently and courageously for the glory of our Lord.
(Vs. 4) This verse is applicable to every believer. As soon as a soldier enrolls himself under a general, he leaves his affairs and thinks of nothing but war. The war is first and foremost; and the soldier must relinquish all hindrances, alliances, and employments of the world that would interfere with his devotion to his general and the victory of his cause. But the main reference is to MINISTERS OF THE GOSPEL, who are gospel preachers and are not to be involved and implicated in worldly affairs, politics, secular businesses and cares (I Cur. 9:13-14; 2:2). Our chief concern is pleasing Christ, making Christ known, and honoring Christ.
(Vs. 5) If a man competes in a sporting event such as running, jumping, or wrestling, he is not acclaimed a winner unless he competes according to the rules and finishes the required distance or time set. Even so, no man who calls himself a Christian or a minister can expect the crown of life unless he runs the race set before him according to the word of God, looking to Christ alone, pressing through all hardships and barriers to the end of the race (Heb. 3:6; 12:1-2).
(Vs. 6) To interpret this verse correctly, we must examine and stay with the context. The farmer does not gather fruits until he has first plowed, sowed the seed, and labored in the field. "The farmer must labor before of the fruits partaking" is the better translation. As laborers together with Christ, we must be faithful in the preaching of the gospel, witnessing, enduring hardships and trials; and that to the end if we are to sit down in the kingdom of heaven, take our rest, and enjoy the crown of glory. All three of these illustrations (soldier, athlete, farmer) are encouraging us to faithfulness, devotion, consecration, and perseverance in the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
(Vs. 7) "CONSIDER WHAT I SAY." Be strong in the grace of Christ, commit the truth of the gospel to faithful men, endure trials and hardship as a good soldier of Christ, persevere in the ministry according to the rules and word of God as a soldier, runner, and farmer. May the Lord give you an understanding of these things. No man has understanding of the mysteries of grace in himself; this is the gift of God (I Cor. 2:7-10).