2 Timothy 2:3
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
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(3) Thou therefore endure hardness.—The older authorities do not contain the Greek word rendered “thou therefore.” The word translated “endure hardness” in the older authorities is compounded with a preposition, and is better and more literally rendered, take thy share in suffering. But Timothy must remember, if he obeys St. Paul’s voice, and with steady earnestness follows St. Paul’s tracks, the very same sufferings which have been the master’s guerdon will be the lot of the loyal disciple. So St. Paul adds, “Take thy share of suffering,” or, “Suffer hardship with me.” Timothy must be prepared for this. He must look on himself as one of the pioneers of the army of the great King, as a tried veteran, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, prepared for the dangers and trials which in those days awaited such a calling. Then, under three different pictures, the Apostle paints the duties and rewards of a Christian’s life.

2 Timothy 2:3-7. Thou therefore endure hardness Κακοπαθησον, literally, endure evil; that is, expect persecutions and various sufferings, and, by the powerful aids of divine grace, endure them with courage, constancy, and patience; as a good soldier of Jesus Christ — Who endured much greater afflictions in the days of his flesh, and hath thereby shown all who engage to fight under his banner, and would approve themselves his faithful soldiers, that they must expect to meet with various hardships and sufferings, and in what spirit they must sustain them, that they may war a good warfare, and prove victorious. No man that warreth entangleth himself — any more than is unavoidable, in the affairs of this life — With any other business or employment; that — Minding war only; he may please him who hath chosen him, &c. — Namely, his captain or general. In this and the next verse, there is a plain allusion to the Roman law of arms, and to that of the Grecian games. According to the former, no soldier, at least no legionary soldier, (as Grotius has here shown,) was suffered to engage in any civil occupation, such as agriculture, merchandise, mechanical employments, or any business which might divert him from his profession. According to the latter, no one could be crowned as conqueror who did not keep strictly to the rules of the game. The apostle, by applying these things to the ministers of the gospel, hath shown that all who undertake the office of the ministry should, on the one hand, avoid engaging in such secular businesses as would engross their attention, and require much time to execute; and, on the other, should be careful to observe all the rules of faith and practice enjoined in the gospel. The husbandman that laboureth, &c. — This should undoubtedly be rather rendered, The husbandman must first labour, and then partake of the fruits; or, must labour before he partake of the fruits. For it was entirely to the apostle’s purpose to remind Timothy that the labour of the husbandman must precede the harvest; but whether he was to receive these fruits first, or before any others, was not the point in question. How much more, as if the apostle had said, oughtest thou to labour, O Timothy, in the ministry before thou art rewarded. Consider what I say — Concerning the necessity of devoting thyself wholly to the ministry, and enduring evil; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things — Belonging to the gospel, and thy duty as a Christian and a minister.

2:1-7 As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our being strong in our own strength. All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws. We must take care that we do good in a right manner, that our good may not be spoken evil of. Some who are active, spend their zeal about outward forms and doubtful disputations. But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last. If we would partake the fruits, we must labour; if we would gain the prize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, before we receive the promises, for which reason we have need of patience. Together with our prayers for others, that the Lord would give them understanding in all things, we must exhort and stir them up to consider what they hear or read.Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ - Such hardships as a soldier is called to endure. The apostle supposes that a minister of the gospel might be called to endure hardships, and that it is reasonable that he should be as ready to do it as a soldier is. On the hardships which he endured himself, see the notes at 2 Corinthians 11:23-29. Soldiers often endure great privations. Taken from their homes and friends; exposed to cold, or heat, or storms, or fatiguing marches; sustained on coarse fare, or almost destitute of food, they are often compelled to endure as much as the human frame can bear, and often indeed, sink under their burdens, and die. If, for reward or their country's sake, they are willing to do this, the soldier of the cross should be willing to do it for his Saviour's sake, and for the good of the human race. Hence, let no man seek the office of the ministry as a place of ease. Let no one come into it merely to enjoy himself. Let no one enter it who is not prepared to lead a soldier's life and to welcome hardship and trial as his portion. He would make a bad soldier, who, at his enlistment, should make it a condition that he should be permitted to sleep on a bed of down, and always be well clothed and fed, and never exposed to peril, or compelled to pursue a wearisome march. Yet do not some men enter the ministry, making these the conditions? And would they enter the ministry on any other terms? 3. Thou therefore endure hardness—The oldest manuscripts have no "Thou therefore," and read, "Endure hardship with (me)." "Take thy share in suffering" [Conybeare and Howson]. Endure hardness; in the Greek it is, suffer evils, that is evils of affliction, expect them, and encounter and patiently eudure them.

As a good soldier of Jesus Christ; remembering that the life of a minister is not a life of ease and pleasure, but the life of a soldier, whose life is a life of hardship, exposed to numberless hazards and dangers.

Thou therefore endure hardness,.... "Or afflictions"; as in 2 Timothy 4:5. The same word is used there as here, and properly signifies, "suffer evil"; and means the evil of afflictions, as persecutions of every kind, loss of name and goods, scourging, imprisonment, and death itself, for the sake of Christ and the Gospel:

as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Captain of salvation, the Leader and Commander of the people, who are made a willing people in the day of his power; or when he raises his forces, and musters his armies, these are volunteers, who willingly enlist themselves into his service, and under his banners fight his battles; and such who manfully behave against sin, Satan, and the world, are his good soldiers; such are all true believers in Christ, and particularly the ministers of the word, whose ministry is a warfare, and who fight the good fight of faith; and besides the above enemies, which they have in common with other saints, have to do with teachers, who are wolves in sheep's clothing.

{2} Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

(2) Another admonition: that the ministry of the word is a spiritual warfare, which no man can so travail in that he pleases his captain, unless he abstains from and parts with all hindrances which might draw him away from it.

2 Timothy 2:3. Συγκακοπάθησον] Timothy is not to shun a community of suffering with the apostle, 2 Timothy 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:16.

ὡς καλὸς στρατιώτης Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ] στρατιώτης stands elsewhere in the N. T. only in its proper sense, but, as is well known, the kindred words στρατεία, στρατεύεσθαι, are often used of the Christian life. Here, however, the apostle is speaking not generally of Timothy’s work as a Christian, but more specially of his work in the office committed to him, viz. of his struggle against the opponents of evangelic truth and the toils connected therewith.

2 Timothy 2:3-13. The condition of all success is toil; toil which may involve pain. Think of the price of a soldier’s victory, the conditions of an athlete’s crown, of a field-labourer’s wage. Our Lord Jesus Himself, as man, is the great Exemplar of this law. I am another. This is a faithful saying; and therefore we sing, “We shall live with Him because we died with Him, etc.”.

3. Thou therefore endure hardness] The best mss. give one compound verb instead of pronoun conjunction and simple verb, take-part in-suffering-hardship. As our A.V. stands, the words may seem hard and severe, with little allowance for difficulty and weakness. But the phrase in the Greek is a volume of tenderness and yearning confidence, of a father’s claim to loyal imitation. ‘Take your share in the enduring of hardness. Take up my mantle. I say not—go and brave hard fighting in the trench, hard words, hard deeds, for Christ your Master. I rather say—being such an one as Paul the aged—come with me, come after me, be one with us all who war the good warfare. My own son in the faith, I crave (strange though it seem), to nerve me for my last crowning effort, the sight of your young heroism. The standard that must fall from my failing hands you will grasp will you not?’

3–6. The three illustrations follow of the soldier, the athlete, the farmer, with the common point of persevering pains. They are all familiar to St Paul. That of the soldier has occurred already, 1 Timothy 1:18, where see references.

2 Timothy 2:3. Σὺ οὖν, thou then) An Anaphora;[2] comp. 2 Timothy 2:1. Timothy is here, 2 Timothy 2:3, called to higher duties; comp. 2 Timothy 2:2.

[2] Frequent repetition of the same word in beginnings. Append.—ED.

Verse 3. - Suffer hardship with me for thou therefore endure hardness, A.V. and T.R.; Christ Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R. Suffer hardship with me (συγκακοπάθησον), which is the reading "supported by the weightiest authorities" (Huther), as in 2 Timothy 1:8. The simple form κακοπάθησον, which is the reading of the T.R., occurs also in ver. 9 of this chapter, in 2 Timothy 4:5, and in James 5:13, and κακοπαθεία in James 5:10. Both these simple forms are classical. But the context favours the compound form, and is supported by 2 Timothy 1:8, 12. (For the sentiment, see the "Ministration of Public Baptism" - "We receive this child," etc.) 2 Timothy 2:3Endure hardness (συνκακοπάθησον)

Comp. 2 Timothy 1:8. A.V. verse fails to give the force of συν with. Rend. suffer hardship with me.

Soldier (στρατιώτης)

Only here in Pastorals. oP. Frequent in Acts.

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