2 Timothy 2:22 MEANING

2 Timothy 2:22
(22) Flee also youthful lusts.--But he who would indeed become a "vessel for honour" in that great house of God must do more than merely separate himself from all outward communion and friendship with men who, by their teaching and in their lives, did dishonour to the Master's religion. There was an inner work to be accomplished, as well as an outer and more public protest to be made. He must fight with and conquer those lusts, passions, and desires which are more peculiarly tempting to those who are still in the meridian of life. That Timothy was not now in early manhood has been already shown. He was at this time, probably, between thirty and forty years of age. These youthful lusts are by no means to be limited to those varied and fatal excesses summed up in the Seventh Commandment. A victory over these, of course, is imperatively necessary for one who would be "of use" in the house of his God: but such a one must train himself to subdue other and far more subtle lusts than are included in these. He must be watchful and stamp down all covetousness, whether of rank or gold; all longing for empty shows; all pride, conceit, readiness to take offence; all the kindred forms of love of self.

But follow righteousness, faith, charity. See Note on 1 Timothy 6:11, where the same charge occurs.

Peace.--This last, "peace," must be joined with the words immediately following: "with them that call on the Lord," &c. The "peace" here signifies absence of contention: it is well paraphrased by, "that spiritual concord which unites together all who call upon and who love their Lord," Theodoret thus draws a distinction between "love" and "peace":--"It is possible to love all, and this the gospel law enjoins us in the words, 'Love your enemies:' but to be at peace with all is not possible." The words "out of a pure heart" contrast those holy and humble men of heart who servo God without any ulterior motive, with those false teachers who dare to make their religion a gain, a source of profit.

Verse 22. - But flee for flee also, A.V.; and follow after for but follow, A.V.; love for charity, A.V. Youthful (νεωτερικάς); of or belonging to νεώτεροι, young men; "cupiditates adolescentiae" (Tacit., 'Hist.,' 1:15). The word only occurs here in the New Testament, never in the LXX., but is found in Josephus, who speaks of αὐθαδεία νεωτερική, "youthful arrogance," and is common in classical Greek. Lusts (ἐπιθυμίαι) include, besides the σαρκικαὶ ἐπιθυμίαι of 1 Peter 2:11, all those ill-regulated passions to which youth is peculiarly liable, such as intem perance, love of company, arrogance, petulance, ambition, love of display, levity, vehemence of action, wilfulness, and the like. Timothy at this time was probably under forty (see note on q Timothy 4:12, and Ellicott on ditto). Follow after (δίωκε); as 1 Timothy 6:11, where, as here, it is in contrast with φεῦγε. Eagerness in pursuit, and difficulty in attainment, seem to be indicated by the word. With them, etc. (μετὰ τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων κ.τ.λ..). "With them" may mean either pursue righteousness, etc., in partnership with all who call upon the Lord; i.e. make the pursuit of righteousness, etc., your pursuit, as it is that of all who call upon the Lord; or it may be construed with εἰρήνην, so as to limit the exhortation to peace to those who call upon the Lord, εἰρήνην μετὰ τῶν ἐπικαλουμένων "peace with those that call," etc., which is the construction in Hebrews 12:14 and Romans 12:18. It is, however, remarkable that in both these passages, which are referred to for the grammar, the inference from the doctrine goes rather the other way, as they teach "peace with all men." So does the balance of the sentence here.

2:22-26 The more we follow that which is good, the faster and the further we shall flee from that which is evil. The keeping up the communion of saints, will take us from fellowship with unfruitful works of darkness. See how often the apostle cautions against disputes in religion; which surely shows that religion consists more in believing and practising what God requires, than in subtle disputes. Those are unapt to teach, who are apt to strive, and are fierce and froward. Teaching, not persecution, is the Scripture method of dealing with those in error. The same God who gives the discovery of the truth, by his grace brings us to acknowledge it, otherwise our hearts would continue to rebel against it. There is no peradventure, in respect of God's pardoning those who do repent; but we cannot tell that he will give repentance to those who oppose his will. Sinners are taken in a snare, and in the worst snare, because it is the devil's; they are slaves to him. And if any long for deliverance, let them remember they never can escape, except by repentance, which is the gift of God; and we must ask it of him by earnest, persevering prayer.Flee also youthful lusts,.... Meaning not lusts of uncleanness, lasciviousness, and filthiness; nor any of those follies and vanities which the youthful age usually lusts and desires after, to which Timothy was not inclined; but such lusts as are apt to prevail with young ministers of the Gospel, such as vain glory, popular applause, seeking to have the pre-eminence, contentions with, and contempt of others, and the like.

But follow righteousness; the righteousness of Christ; or doing that which is just between man and man, and as one man would choose another should do to him; or rather integrity and faithfulness, in the ministry of the word, without seeking honour from men:

faith; both as a doctrine and grace; or veracity and truth in preaching the Gospel, striving for that, and not through ambition, and for the pre-eminence:

charity; or love, to God and Christ, and to his people; without which all gifts and works are of no avail; and which will engage a man to bear much, and to hope and believe all things:

peace with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart; peace is to be pursued and followed after with all men, as much as possible, but especially with the saints, the true worshippers of God; who draw nigh to him with true hearts, and call upon him in the sincerity of their souls: great care should be taken that peace be maintained with them; for they have great interest at the throne of grace; and God is nigh unto them, and hears their prayers. The Alexandrian copy reads, "with all that love the Lord".

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